Posts Tagged ‘hotel’
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
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.
Fancy celebrating Canada Day? Here are a few ideas. Trafalgar Square will hold quite a party on July 01, concerts included. You can also indulge in the special Canadian menu at the Charing Cross Hotel. Or you can raise your glass to this fascinating country at the Glenn Miller bar, overlooking Oxford Street (and shopping can make you so thirsty right?). The atmosphere is of course dedicate to the American singer, a little swing, a little jazzy, funly blue lights, memorabilia on the walls. And their brand new creations, The Red Frog. Aromas of juicy fruit, of almond. To the palate, nutty, very refreshing, sweet, reminding slightly of kirsch but slightly more floral. The secret? Chambord, Canadian Club, Disannoro and cranberry juice. The little plus? The cherry - not on the cake but in the cocktail, infused with the flavours. Go on. You know you want one too…
Glenn Miller Bar
Thistle Hotel Marble Arch
London W1H 7EH
Did you know Canada Day is on July 01? London being an incredible melting pot, Trafalgar Square will theme a whole party around this – music and food included. You can also go the extra step, especially if you are nostalgic from this fascinating country. The Charing Cross Hotel is just a minute walk from there and will be serving a few treats inspired by the maple syrup territory… The perfect conclusion!
Iprobably have passed this hotel a thousand times. I never expected such splendour inside – quite a surprise. Flower arrangement, comfy chairs, very cocoon like Just go up the gorgeous stairs (ah to come here for a ball with a luxurious silky gown!), The Brasserie is on the first floor with sculpted ceilings and chiselled glass lamps. It overlooks The Strand, offering a lovely natural light and design atmosphere.
Chef Tim Wanless recently visited Canada and was so inspired he could not resist receating some of the delicious ideas and specialties. Sit back, order a chilled Coors and enjoy. The mains include a tempting Grilled Canadian Pacific Salmon Steak with Clam Chowder and Ontario sweet corn which I hear simply melts in the mouth. Yet t my heart fell for the Newfoundland Caribou wrapped in Peameal bacon, the title simply made me smile. No worry, no real caribou but the most superb venison you have ever tasted, served pink and so, so intense in taste. Let alone they have matched two different cuts. This is wrapped in a Toronto special bacon, marinated in maple syrup which added a sweet final note that is particularly addictive. Such tender meat, such a complex taste, you simply cannot stop. And look at the plate - doesn’t it look like a work of art, with the carrot and parsnip mash, the confit fennel like stylish touches on a contemporary painting? I wasn’t expecting such an elegant dish, and spent a few minutes just taking pictures of it. It makes it taste even better!
The oh-so-famous pancakes are of course on the dessert menu with a very elegant maple syrup ice-cream, the kind you feel like licking the spoon for. My curiosity was stronger. What could the Beaver Tail look and taste like? Imagine dough, flattened and fried, topped with butter. No greasiness though, just pure taste, a lot more flavour than I expected. This is absolutely decadent with maple syrup, jam, peanut butter or Nutella. Or you can try a bit of each - I did. I ever found out you can have a layer of jam on top and of Nutella inside and that is pure bliss. I still do not have a favourite. Just don’t think of the calories, go for it! I swear you will miss these at breakfast the following day.
This Canadian menu is served until July 01 so be quick, go and try it! It is ever so rare to get a taste of Canuck cuisine: not to be missed. Main meals start from £13.95 per person and desserts cost £6.50 per person.
Charing Cross Hotel
London WC2N 5HX
Afternoon teas are so very British. But the London touch is to constantly reinvent them, make them magical. Here is a most fantastic one, a Thai twist, fusion of two culture. Pure elegance and refined taste, with an extraordinary attention to details, down to the traditional chiselled flowers.
This takes place at Nipa Thai, a gem hidden on the first floor of Lancaster London hotel. Gorgeous chairs, discreet but perfect service, golden sculptures on the wall, curved arum flowers on the tables…
…and a fantastic view on Hyde Park. This is only the first floor and yet, being above the double decker changes everything, almost as if there were no window, as if you were on a terrace and could touch the branches. How did we not know about this? Is this one of London’s most guarded secrets?
First are brought warm towels, lemongrass fragranced. The perfect transition, allowing you to leave the routine outside and relax. Why not ask for a fresh mint tea which will underline the exotic tastes perfectly?
And that is when you go wow. Just wow. There is no other word for it. You were expecting a treat, this is a feast in 4 plates.
First, the sandwiches, remodernised. A vegetarian version, cream infused with green papaya, avocado and just a hint of chilli… Moist bang bang chicken, slightly peppery on caraway seed bread… Rare spiced beed with pickled cucumber on white bread… Thai shrimp salad, so very tasty on tomato bread. What a range of colours, so beautiful you almost want to play dominos with them. the kind of sandwich you take a bite a of, mmmmh, then gesture to your friends they have to try this at this very instant.
For more exotic flavours, switch to the next plate - crunchy spring roll, sweetcorn and vegetable fritters with lemony pan sauce, ravioli hiding a bite of chicken and nuts, sweet, crunchy: I could eat a mountain of those!
Desserts are as extraordinary and could sincerely be in a French pâtisserie, there is a real savoir-faire behind these. It is just difficult to decide where to start! With the banana doughnut and its heart of caramelised coconut rice? Ot the cloud like chocolate mousse cake, made with coconut milk and jasmine, and just a touch of liquid chocolate on top that melts in the mouth? The lychee log is lovely too, wrapped in thin sliced of fresh pineapple. There also is quite a surprising Thai Bakewell tart, cruncy thin pastry, water chestnut layer, silky coconut cream and cherries. Yet my favourite definitely is the sweet sushi: mango, coconut rice pudding, more mango and seaweeds. So different, so fine, so refreshing too.
Of course, there are scones, some plain, others mango flavoured. Just add your clotted cream then choose between a strawberry & basil jam or an orange and jasmine one. It is not just an afternoon tea, it’s an edible poem!
A last note, a Thai shot with lychee jelly, cubes of fresh mango and pineapple, sprinkled with cocont. Melt in the mouth, simply divine.
The most surprising is the price. All this, with such a quality, for £22/person? Really? In London? What are you waiting for? Bring the love of your life, your mum, your best friends!
Thai afternoon tea, from June 01, 2013
Served on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays from 14.00 to 16.00
Lancaster London hotel, 1st floor
London W2 2TY
There are Sundays I just want not to do anything. I do not mean crashing on a sofa – rather just be taken somewhere, be taken care of and be completely wowed. A chic late breakfast, with glistening glasses, flowers on the table, a family brunch I wouldn’t have had to prepare, a cocoon feeling. Effortless refinement. Well, effortless on my side. Well, Cucina Asellina, part of the gorgeous Me Hotel, a few streets away from Covent Garden is my slice of heaven. A luxurious background, yet very warm and welcoming, thought almost as an architecture with its geometrical lines, its play on straight angles and curves. We loved the leather banquettes, the wine wall where each bottle looks like a jewel or a piece of art, the mosaic mirrors reflecting a hundred details of the room. Bonus - a simple thing, space between the tables. Space away from your neighbours, so soothing. Wander round, have a look at the open space kitchen with its pizza oven in a corner. The menu is mouthwatering so do start by ordering an assortment of bread. Crunchy, tender, moist, just the touch of salt to make you want to have another bite - don’t count on having some left for the rest of your meal, it will disappear in minutes.
Our love at first bite were the stuffed Cerignola olives (red giant olives, buttery notes) with roasted veal, mortadella, thyme, parmigiano in a crunchy polenta crust. Each forkful is slightly different, such a sharp, fine taste. You could easily bring me a small mountain of these to dine on – that alone would make me happy anytime. There is no kids’ menu here and yet you will be grateful for it. Why? Because the staff will simply adapt to your request. Nothing is impossible, nothing is difficult, there always is a smile on - stress free. For once, you do not feel you almost have to apologise for asking and that, my friends is extremely precious! The children had a real feast with the melt-in-the-mouth scrambles eggs on rich salmon and real toasted bread (sorry, the detail matters tremendously to French people!). We quite like, on the menu, the idea of family pasta dishes to share – for 2 or 4. The descriptions are quite inviting too: square spaghettis/pomodoro/olive oil/basil… saffron Strozzapeti/prawns/spinach/squash… Lasagn/spinach/pecorino…
We focused on the meat dishes. My husband is classical but aims for excellence. He was delighted with his grilled beef rib, juicy, sprinkled with fresh herbs, served with triple cooked chips and a perfect gorgonzola sauce. I was similarly seduced by the roasted lamb, pink and oh-so-tender with braised chicory sublimed by the fragrant juices, superb roasted fennel, almost creamy, infused with rosemary. Match this to a glass of Castello Banfi Rosso di Montalcino, a tuscany wine balancing notes of cherry and blackberry, a long finish, final hint of tobacco and grilled hazelnut.
Dessert wise 9always my favourite part of the meal. I tend to choose that first!) , the tiramisu is almost cloud like, focusing on the quality of the mascarpone, highlighted by the chocolate, not drowned in alcohol as they too often are. The chocolate cake is soaked with a lip-licking good caramel syrup. Do not, as I did, tempt your children into trying it. You will never get your plate back… Now, to really wake your tastebud, have the passionfruit cheesecake with its tropical fruit salad, and passionfruit sorbet. Zesty, tonic, a concentrate of sun and vitamin C!
Verdict: such a relaxing moment, refined tastes, a friendly welcome and such attention brought to the kids who were so proud to be as considered as the adults they were extra quiet. A wonderful address for an elegant meal and to let go of the routine.
Un hôtel de charme, would the French say. A charming yet luxurious little address, in the heart of Séville, yet set in the narrowest street like a hidden gem, a place to be cherished, whispered as a secret. Behind the heavy wooden door, a 17th century private palace, with the traditional patio, so much natural light, stone arches, polishes stones. It is easy to fall in love with it, really. It usually happens within 5 minutes.
Corral de Rey is divided in two, separated by the street. On one side, the superior rooms, on the other the suites, the penthouse with terrace and jaccuzzi on the rooftop. It feels… soft like a carress with the natural, soothing colours, the wooden furniture, the white boutis on the beds, the oh-so-comfy pillows you’d really like to take back home. Even the bathrooms are romantic. You just want to sit, dream, have a cup of tea.
It has a heart, a soul, an atmosphere. Home away from home. We particularly love the warm welcome, the fantastic tips on the city, the help booking and confirming taxis and the smiles, always a smile on.
A problem, though: it is quite hard going back to reality!
Corral del rey
Calle Corral del Rey, 12
At the Royal Horseguard Hotel, details are everything. Afternoon teas are so fashionable they are not a rainy day treat anymore. Birthdays, anniversary, elegant hen parties even weddings, followed or not by a dinner. It makes you dream and smile, transports you to a different, sugary world for a little while. To celebrate spring, until April 07, they will be serving a very special one, inspired by the Mad Hatter’s tea party. Gorgeous china, flowers in cups, there definitely be some magic!
On the savoury side, salmon is first class, Forman & Son, one of the best in the UK. Melt-in-the-mouth, very rich texture, fragrant, not much salt or smoke to let the flavours seduce you entirely, just a dash of lemon juice or caperberries are enough to sublime it. The vegetable bites, roasted aubergine slices wrapped on dried tomatoes and parmesan shavings are worth falling for too. On the presentation evening, I anchored myself to the workshop preparing them. I was amazed by how much attention was brought to the cakes, so much work considering they were making hundreds of them! Look at those: crunchy hats filled with Earl Grey cream and decorated with a white chocolate cup… Mini Battenberg reminding of a chessboard… Decadent chocolate torte delicately infused with thyme, topped with an edible clock, a nice play on words… Irresistible coconut rabbits… Flower biscuit sandwiches on fresh raspberries and a spoonful of jam… Even a “Eat me” passionfruit fizz cake and a “Drink me” potion inspired by bubble drinks, fruit nectar with tapioca pearls. Finally an afternoon tea to fascinate adults and kids alike!
Mad Hatter Afternoon Tea, Until April 07, 2013, £35/adults, £12 per child.
Royal Horseguards Hotel
2 Whitehall Ct
London SW1A 2EJ