Posts Tagged ‘hotel’
Oh the joy, after spending 4 weeks going from one neutral motel to another in the USA, to finally find a place with a soul in Paris. Direction Villa Daubenton, an appart-hotel in a quiet street . You can even leave your window open without being bothered by the traffic noise. Ideally placed close to the Rue Mouffetard, with its deli shops, its restaurants, its street art, its market on Sundays. Putting your suitcases down, it does not feel like another passing place. It feels like arriving in your own Paris flat.
Stella Cadente had decorated the room (remember Hôtel Original!). Emerald green, a blue befitting jewels, gold on the frames, metallic nails adding presence to the bed stand, feathers on the lamp. Such glamour, such elegance. Discreet but powerful touches. A Hollywood vibe in the bathroom, to make you smile, forget jetlag and tiredness. A cute kitchen, vintage chairs against traditional tiles. The flat I’d love to have for real. And of course, there is a large flatscreen and free wifi! Ah, a slice of luxury.
No breakfast room here as you have a kitchen to prepare what you fancy (you will find two tiny supermarkets in Rue Mouffetard to stock up) but you can also get a tray delivered right to your door and it is quite a delicious feeling indeed… Best way to start a stay in the city of lights!
34, rue de l’arbalète
Quite a modern hotel, a thousand reflections, colours of the night. A red-tinted glass chandelier in the entrance, the bar an electric, glossy black. You’ll find a neon yellow rocking chair on the top floor. A hotel of contrasts too, with enlarged photographs playing on seduction - déshabillez‑moi - carefully staged near Renaissance‑like portraits. MonHotel, a four‑star stay, at the very least. Spellbinding.
There is also an interesting marriage of styles, Italian opulence on the ground floor, a more industrial feel to the rooms. After the dynamic and colourful explosion of the reception, the more neutral tones of our suite have a soothing effect. White, black, grey, aluminium. In some hotels, it could have been boring. Here, it simply brought the designer angle forward. Ours was situated at the very front of the building, nestled into a street corner. Views on two sides, luxurious space, bathed in pale winter light. It felt like being in a movie.
Between the bed and the bathroom, a dark wooden‑panelled screen, very art deco. And what a bath, worthy of a diva, spacious enough for two, a pure invite to a mountain of bubbles (you will find a divine set of Lanvin Vetyver Blanc toiletries) but also champagne, go crazy! You are in Paris, 5 minutes away from the Arc de Triomphe and the most beautiful avenue in the world, isn’t that worthy of a celebration? Go on. Give room service a call. Plug your iPhone in – there is a dock in each room – put some music on, dance. The city and the night is yours… You could also decide on a touch of volupté and stay in, go down to the beautiful hammam and spa, finish on a cocktail at the bar.
Tomorrow, you can lazily make yourself a Nespresso in the room, sip it happily in bed. A buffet awaits, loaded with an amazing variety of food that would satisfy even the most gargantuan of appetites. And after your second plate and third croissant, you can plan the day ahead thanks to the free wifi…
1-3 rue d’Argentine
The entrance of The Albus is already quite surprising. Japanese inspired flower arrangements, lyrically staged, arum and orchids, a luxurious ikebana presentation. On the side, you will be drawn to the wine crack, itself a piece of art. A whole wall, transparent, showcasing bottles, each suspended in the air. Quite an effect – you will almost forget to check in! A lounge welcomes visitors, bright 60′s colours, a neon arch, contemporary chimney fire. A sense of bliss is engraved on one of the walls. A fitting sentence indeed. Why not have a look at their presentation video to have a better idea? It’s fun and you can even enter your name which will appear throughout the film.
Our room was inspired by a similar mix of styles. Shaped like an L, the space naturally separated bedroom and sitting room, the latter placed close to the windows, naturally bathed in daylight. Banquettes rather than sofas, in a light caramel colour, invite you to relax and a Nespresso machine is close at hand. If you have been travelling the whole day, you will sigh in delight. However, if you are here on business, there is a working space too, a flatscreen monitor and even a keyboard provided. Wifi is free throughout the hotel so you can check your itinerary and stay in touch with friends back home as you wish. The bed is so, so comfortable (a must as you will walk constantly around Amsterdam until you crash happily onto that mattress!), wide also, with a mountain of cushions to sink into. There are reading lamps on each side and even a couple of complimentary bottles of water. A simple detail but it always makes a difference. A very soothing atmosphere.
If you fancy fine dinning, head down to the Senses restaurant on the ground floor, sure to seduce your taste buds. They also have sophisticated cocktails if you’re tempted. Also where breakfast will be served in the morning, an impressive buffet of organic delicacies, eggs cooked as you prefer, charcuterie, a nice assortment of cheese, bread and pastries. Just what you need to stock up on energy for the day.
A really beautiful boutique hotel, ideally located just a few steps from the flower market and 15 mins walk from the Rijksmuseum. Still have a little time before going back to the airport? You will find a coffee machine on the side of the reception, newspapers and a jar of the most addictive liquorice. Nice conclusion, isn’t it? The perfect place to forget the routine and recharge your batteries.
491017 HE Amsterdam
Picture a Flemish painting. The Dylan has succeeded to capture the Amsterdam light to perfection, its pale crystal quality which transforms bland tints to a palette of pearl, ivory, luminous and elegant grey. If the building has kept its original charm (the restaurant features beautiful brick walls and even the original bread ovens, memories of a distant past when the room was just a bakery), the hotel has re-modernised some of the structural lines. A purer, more vibrant white, contempory art here and there, a balance between wood, leather and more daring colours, lilac sometimes, an asian inspired lock, a fold-up bar that any traveller would love to bring to each new destination. Some of the luxurious suites remind me of the such well designed New York penthouses. Irresistible charm.
Outside, the night is falling softly. We are in the lounge, the sculptural chimney throws amber shadows all around. We have walked around the city all day, the armchairs are comfortable, soothing the tiredness in our legs and shoulders. A pure moment of peace, which we celebrate with a glass of Apostelhoeve Riesling Brut 2011, produced using the Champagne method. Oh, such a lovely sparkle, fast lace keeping its pace quite a long time too, aromas reminiscent of musk but closer to lemon and vanilla in taste. As if each little bubble magically faded the real world away. The crisp acidity of the wine, making your mouth water for more, is a perfect match to the plump, fruity olives brought to our table.
We’re here for the High Wine. Quite a novelty, a sophisticated version of the afternoon tea. There will be no scones but four carefully chosen wines, each paired with a delicious bite (rather generous though, as you will see), three savoury and one sweet. It easily replaces dinner but with a playful side.
The first wine is a Sauvignon blanc, a Domaine Octavie 2012 from the Touraine region. A floral caress, white lily followed by apple and honey, very modern. This was served with thin slices of halibut, nicely framed by the tanginess of juicy grapefruit. Accompanied by tiny sweet cucumber balls, crunchy mini croutons, a really pleasurable contrast of textures.
The second chapter of this wine story opens on a South Australian chardonnay, a 2012 by Milton Park. look at the golden straw colour! It smells of nectarine, ripe peach, superb pear, a summer afternoon in an orchard, bottled. It is to be enjoyed with Red Gurnard, the pink flesh of the fish easily coming away as tender flakes. Underneath is a nest of freshly made pasta with a succulent, velvety, slightly spicy tomato sauce.
The tasting now turns to red, a poetically named Les Romanes. This Côteaux du languedoc is faithful to its promise: red fruit and spices from the Syrah and garrigue flavours that only the Grenache noir can bring… Soft but enchanting, with just a hint of grass and mint, it would also be perfect with a dessert.
But here, it highlights oh-so-so-so-tender veal slices. Asparagus, blanched to leave a little crunchy texture, a comforting mushroom risotto. All woken up by a touch of Savora mustard, with its famous notes of homey, turmeric, clove, nutmeg…
The High Wine concludes on a suprising Swiss dessert vintage by John & Mike Favre. This Sauvignon, a 2011, proves a real nectar, rich but well structured in sugar, both honeyish and floral. That with the moist banana cake, the kind that makes me think of my mother’s Sunday baking on rainy days, pure heaven. The addition of black pepper ice cream adds another dimension, brings the cinnamon to the fore.
Verdict? Cocooned, charmed by the wide palette of wines, soothed by the music of the open fire, it is rather difficult to find the will to get up and leave… This is an excellent alternative to a formal dinner, with a real refinement in the dishes served. Very romantic atmosphere too.
High Wine – 39.50€ / person
1016 GB Amsterdam
I was recently telling you about the gorgeous, gorgeous beaches in Cornwall, absolutely perfect to let kids run in soft waves and build sand fortresses, let alone invent a thousand adventures. Tempted by a family break there? I have just the hotel for you. Bedruthan Steps is THE ideal place. I am not exaggerating. It is entirely thought through for parents, allowing them an “us and me” time altogether, even if you have forgotten half of the essentials. And whatever the age of your little ones.
First, super comfy rooms, simple but elegant, each presenting Cornish artwork, a painting, a sculpture. And there’s space, lots of it. For an extra bed or two, more still for suitcases and for the kids to play. A working space too should you need one – well balanced worlds. We had a splendid view on Mawgan Porth beach, just down the hill, there is a path you can quickly take to get there. It’s easy to spend the whole day on the sands, up to sunset. In the bathroom, you’ll find Cornwall Soap Box toiletries - herb-filled shampoo and soap bars all handmade locally, organic too. I had to keep one intact just to make the clothes fragrant with this in our suitcase – just imagine: lavander-rosemary-patchouli. It leaves your skin ever so soft after the salt and sand.
The building is… amazingly huge – so many places to explore! Lots of cosy lounges to relax with fantastic armchairs and sofas. And cushions. And toys, even for babies and toddlers – allowing you a pause to drink that coffee. Even better: they have a children’s club with a full program of activities and even softplay. Yes, this will be a holiday for you too. How about a massage at the hotel spa, mmmh? They also propose baby massage lessons and family yoga ones. In the summer time, you can enjoy the outdoor swimming pools (yes, plural) but for cold or rainy days there is a heated indoor one with a smaller paddle-pool for kids who can’t swim yet. The green spaces have a play area with slides, etc… and a picturesque view.
Coming with a baby? The rooms are well sound-proofed. I am still amazed at never hearing a cry at all during my stay. None. Very quiet. But if you’re wondering – there is a microwave available to anyone at any time. And you can go down to the lounges whenever you want in the middle of the night. The reception will listen to you, offer a hot drink, help you de-stress and sometimes that is all you need to in turn soothe your little one. This is all about you here. They will even provide a baby monitor with coverage all the way to their restaurant.
During the day, The Wild Café will welcome you – Scandinavian deco (Skandium touches, Orla Kiely mugs…). Kids friendly, of course: high chairs, patience, round and colourful cutlery, special menus. And, once again, wow, what a view. There are lots of mouthwatering cookies on the counter and treats to take back too, all homemade: Bramley apple, bramble and lemon curd, wild rosehip jelly… This is where breakfast is served: local apple juice, charcuterie, cheese, yogurt, fantastic muesli, even French pancakes! It is open till late evening when replaced by The Herring: more adult (kids from 12+), more gourmet, more refined. Watch this space, I’ll show you very soon what that is all about…
It’s the best family pause I can recommend, really covering all you could dream of. Between everything the hotel has to offer and the nearby beach, I even doubt you need the rest of Cornwall!
Bedruthan Hotel & Spa
It was just before Christmas. One of those days when clouds seem to brush against the Parisian roofs, where light paints everything in shades of grey. When the only weapon against winter sadness seems to be wrapping yourself in the flashiest scarf you can find, a discreet sign of rebellion. And so I pushed the door of la Villa Madame with a sigh of relief, welcomed by a honeyish, comforting luminosity. For a second, the voice of the concierge fades away. There are two glass jars on the side of the counter, one filled with Fraises Tagada (sugary strawberry Haribo, slightly sour, addictive. they dissolve wonderfully in vodka) and marshmallow bears covered in chocolate. Dare to tell me that wouldn’t distract you too…
Some hotels tell a story. La Villa Madame can be explored as you would turn the pages of a beautiful fairy-tale book. At the bottom of the spiralling stairs, a single metallic escarpin looks suspended in the air, silently calling for an urban Cinderella. All around, a rather magical landscape was reinventing snow, orchid blooms recreating snow flakes, carpet of pinecones on the ground, silver birch trees, moss here and there. A few more colourful orchids catch the eye, ephemeral sculptures. The yard had been turned into an alpine alcove, amazing tables cut straight into a tree trunk, showing off natural marble, curved shapes. Sheltered by the Christmas trees, a few candles lit, oh, it wouldn’t have suprised me to see a reindeer appear!
There are a couple of cosy lounges inside too, classical chairs covered in cheerful colours – red circled with gold, a spring green with intricate tracery in the velvety fabric. Art books, a Go game, invite one to stay a little longer, to ask for a steaming cup of green tea…
The room retained the same soothing elegance. It may seem classical, but look closely – little touches of The Orient, a vibrant red, a particular kind of lacquer, a sculpture above the bed like an inked brush tracing a random line. Lots of little details that make it so comfortable, sticking in your mind, making a difference – a design pencil, a very gentleman-like umbrella, a Richard coffee machine with a large choice of capsules (even tea ones for the perfect brew!), books and travel guides to leaf through. In the bathroom, gorgeous orchid and spellbinding Hermes products, green orange zest scent. Such luxury indulging in a bubble bath under an arc of delicate flowers.
Breakfast is quite a feast, the table for two suddenly covered in treats. Creamy scrambled eggs or eggs and soldiers with perfectly grilled sourdough bread… butter pastries, with that particular crunchiness you only really get in France… Chic English jam, Tiptree… Freshly pressed green apple juice, fruit salad… Monogrammed butter – an importance in every detail, the shape of a teapot, the roundness of a knife.
And as for fairy tale stories, it feels such a pity to reach “The End”. How about switching to “And they lived there happy forever after”? Now I get why they give you candies on the way out, to stop you from sighing sadly…
Hôtel Villa Madame
44 Rue Madame
Nice is such a fascinating town that you really want to stay right in the centre, enjoy each moment of sunshine. What you do not want, however, is to spend a fortune on that hotel room. Difficult compromise when you are not a 20 year old and still have an idea of comfort in mind! We stayed at Le Grimaldi hotel, part of the Coeur de City collection. A simple but a very comfortable hotel of the Coeur de City collection. A 4* too! The location is ideal – in the heart of the famous Carré d’Or, 2mn walk from the pedestrian street Massena and 10mn from the station.
Behind a Belle Epoque facade, you can first relax in the colourful lounge, taking in the cheerful atmosphere of the region. In the rooms, the decoration is really cosy, spacious, in appeasing beige hues that capture perfectly the Provence light. A welcoming armchair here, detailed botanical prints there will catch your eye… The bed was so nice I slept 8 hours in a row, which rarely happens in my books! Yes, the building is so quiet, helping you relax immediately, it is quite a break from the routine. Depending on which floor you are on, the view is on the Nice roofs or even towards its beautiful hill. Mine was directly on a palmtree – such a lovely touch of exoticism, even more so in winter. A fantastic good quality/price ratio.
Bonus points for:
* The free, unlimited Wifi. A computer is also available on the ground floor.
* Forgotten anything in your suitcase? There’s a mini supermarket in the street.
* The breakfast buffet is super generous and varied. You can even indulge in brioche and eggs and soldiers!
Hôtel Le Grimaldi Nice
15, Rue Grimaldi
The Legend Hotel is a place where lights really come alive, where nights bring an even more magical atmosphere, very fairy-tale like. Ideally placed between Montparnasse and Saint-Germain with even a tube station around the corner, it truly is a gem. The boutique hotel par excellence, jewel-sized, 34 rooms only, chic but very friendly, every detail in thoughtful design. Oh yes. As soon as you step in – don’t forget to look up and admire the ceiling, blooming into futuristic foliage.
Further on, a tree carries strange fruits, honey light suspended in the air, surreal. This is where you will have breakfast – or simply indulge in a glass of wine. The counter encapsulates forest moss in resin and this is quite a sight. The room opens up to a comfortable lounge, almond armchairs, bottle-shaped lamps, wooden stools. Outside, a tiny yard becomes a cocoon for lovers, cheerful aniseed chairs, red roses on the table, screen of bamboo…
The bedrooms hide behind heavy, gold doors with a metal hammered effect, a fantastic luxurious touch. Do come in. On the walls and ceiling, floral sculptures, some laced with fibre optics, shiny petals projecting complex, poetic shadows on the walls. It feels like sleeping under a starry night. The bed is framed with subtle, transparent, almost vaporous curtains, lit in sepia – such an invite for romance, sweet words, confidences of the night. In this magical setting, dreams can only come true… to the point that you will forget to open the shutters. The ever so comfortable mattress and wide selection of cushions are from Tempur – truly soporific (remember, I called them the Rolls of pillows here).
The bathroom is as elegant. Nice optical illusion on the mosaic, uneven, pearly and glittering, matched with silver accessories. Excellent tropical shower, appeasing, mineral scented toiletries by Pascal Morabito. The space is very Zen, as contemporary as the rest of the hotel.
In the morning, you finally wander onto the balcony and enjoy the view over Hausmanian roofs, such a Parisian sight. Turning around, you’ll notice more details of the room, gold speckles on the curtains, the embossed velvety fabric on the walls…
Do take the time to have breakfast, yes, yes, under that tree. The counter will be covered high with treats – sincerely the best hotel breakfast I have ever seen! Salads, charcuteries, savoury and sweet tartines, fresh fruit salad, cheese, bread, pastries, brioche, a mountain of cakes… There is a great coffee machine too in case you fancy a cappuccino. Loved the tea infusing-bags, very stylish and unusual flavours – honey, herbs, smoked.
A fascinating hotel, sparkling, full of surprises. For memorable weekends!
Such a pleasure to eat outside, in the tiny, tiny but so green terrace space of the Hôtel Amour. Eyes looking at the sky, even if it is grey, feeling free from the outside urban world. Walls covered in ivy and ferns, leafy garlands under the conservatory, a pond with Japanese carps. So soothing. The menu prices are, hum, very Parisian but the selection is delicious. When the waitress underlined the 13 Euros salad was a small portion, she really meant it. It would not be a meal even if you were on a strict diet. It was, however, suberb, super fresh products, super tasty: peas, broad peas, chiselled herbs, lemon zests, melt-in-the-mouth goat’s cheese. Why not try the summery faisselle with honey and pinenuts? Or the small (yep, you got the message) but so cloud-like Valrhona chocolate mousse sprinkled with chopped hazelnuts (I so have to do this at home)? Warming: the address is very well known and very much like so do book to avoid disappointment.
8 rue Navarin
Garden by GrowLittle - see more of their work at Café Beaubourg and Café Français
Life is sweet in Berlin. Streets are so vibrant closer to the evening, laughs cascading, terraces getting busy, music making you feel so alive. You want to stay close to this night life, as close as you can. In Mitte, the art and shopping center, we loved Lux 11 with rooms so spacious you can really call them an apartment. Even better, they do have a kitchenette complete with fridge, microwave and dishwasher : ideal if you are staying more than a week-end.
And, oh, the joy of getting back to the flat bathed in light, kicking off your shoes, walking barefoot on the comfy carpet and crashing on that bed with crisp white sheets… The bathroom is very discreet, melting in the room deco, the shower (tropical rain effect, my favourite) hidden behind a mirror. Even the usual goodies (cotton, file…) are put in a lovely box closed with a ribbon. And finally a hotel that puts a real green concept in place (and not just the towel changing thing). Rather than the miniature toiletries (lovely to take back but such a waste of plastic too when you think of it), giant bottles decorated by a designer. Called Love it or leave it, they exist in two ranges for the shower gel and body cream: women (fresh and floral) and men (spicy, a touch of musc).
Little luxuries such as a plasma screen and DVD player are also there. On the desk, we found the cutest vodka bottle, shaped as a skull which you can buy in various sizes from reception. And sweets for the sweet, a popcake planted in bear candy, this animal being the symbol of Berlin.
The little plus: fashionistas will want to make a detour via the Aveda hair-spa, highlighting plant power.
Some rooms, like ours, also have a balcony so do enjoy the local view: straight on, a 10mn walk, is the famous Fernsehturm, from which you can have a 360 degrees view on the town.
Rosa-Luxemburg Str 9-13
Just for info – a taxi ride from Tegel Airport on a Friday evening is a mere 21€. There also is a bus from/to the airport stopping a few streets away, for a few euros.