A few days ago while in Paris, researching for options for a very important client of mine, the name Le Bristol Hotel came before my eyes while walking along rue du Faubourg Saint-Honore. Of course I knew about their existence, but honestly never paid attention to them, judging mainly by their exterior. Before contacting them, I asked around, and one dear friend told me …” it is a French cliche for American travelers…”. So I took the challenge and I did some research online. I was quite happily surprised, when I realized that I have met the sales team before at one of the international Luxury Travel events, and more so when I found out they are part of the Oetker Collection, hands down one of my favorite luxury hotel groups. So I need to come to see it with my own eyes, and so very happy I did. I scheduled an appointment for a site inspection followed by lunch at 114 Faubourg. After my visit, I can say I could not disagree more with my friend. Perhaps he based his ideas on the fact that Le Bristol became from June 1940, the home of the American embassy and American nationals living in Paris. But that was way long ago.
Today I was invited to visit the brand new Park Hyatt New York, followed by a casual and wonderful lunch at The Back Room ONE57 Restaurant, American Grill with a touch of French, all prepared by the expert hand of Executive Chef Sebastien Archambault. Park Hyatt New York is located in the heart of midtown at 153 West 57th street between Avenue of the Americas and Seventh Avenue, across from Carnegie Hall and a short stroll from Central Park. The hotel, designed by world-renowned, Pritzker Prize-winning architect Christian de Portzamparc, features 210 generously sized guest rooms including 92 suites, designed by Yabu Pushelberg. The state-of-the-art guest rooms are among the largest in the city, starting from 475 square feet or 44 square meters. Throughout the hotel, guests will experience an uncommon space offering sophistication and elegance. The hotel is located at New York’s tallest residential building, occupying ground floor to the 25th floor. Onwards is all private residences with the services and amenities, signature of Park Hyatt.
During my last visit to Paris, my last night stay was at the recently renovated hotel Prince de Galles, on Avenue George V, Etoile. The hotel shares the exclusive zip code and block with the iconic Four Seasons George V, the Hotel de Sers and the Fouquet’s Barrière. So if you are looking for location, then you are already on the right place, right in the Golden Triangle of Paris (aka. the area bounded by Avenues des Champs-Élysées, George V, and Montaigne). Beautiful property, Prince de Galles is a bit more modest than its next door neighbor, the Four Seasons. Member of Starwood and the Luxury Collection, Prince de Galles is a genuine Maison de Luxe of exceptional warmth. A five stars hotel, legendary jewel of the Parisian Art Deco movement.
During my last visit to Paris, I was invited to stay at the chic-modern and avant-garde hotel Le Royal Monceau by one of my favorite hotel chains in the world, Raffles Hotels. Been to the hotel, a few times, in the past, having drinks at the iconic Le Long Bar or enjoying a lovely dinner their one-Michelin-stared Italian restaurant Il Carpacio, but this was my first time staying overnight with them. We were hosted at one of their lovely Junior Suites. Located on the prestigious Avenue Hoche, only steps away from the Champs-Elysées, Arc de Triomphe and elegant Parc Monceau, Le Royal Monceau Raffles Paris is ideally located for guests to fully experience the rich and vibrant atmosphere of Paris.
Right after our visit to the “La Citta Bianca” of Ostuni, in Puglia, South of Italy, we carried on to our next hotel for the night, this time we not only where staying at a Masseria (local farm house) but also, a working vineyard and olives plantation, which promised a great afternoon overlooking the sunset over local wines and olives, and dinner. The estate called Le Fabriche covers about 20 hectares of grapevines, centuries-old olive trees and Mediterranean Maquis. From the panoramic position of the “Serre Tarantine”, the 17th century farmhouse, the Masseria, overlooks this rural amphitheater designed by nature and by men over the centuries. The Masseria offers stunning views of the Ionian sea which is only 4 km far.
A charming manor house resort and spa, Belmond The Inn at Perry Cabin sits in beautiful gardens that reach down to the gentle waters of the iconic Maryland’s Eastern shore. Relaxation is the order of the day: lounge in the fabulous Linden Spa, float in the infinity pool or savor seafood in the gastronomic restaurant. Stroll into St. Michaels to discover intriguing antiques shops—or set out to sea on a yacht or heritage craft. Unfortunately I have to do all this in quite a rushed mode, since we were there only for an overnight stay. Mea Culpa, we should have stayed there at leas for an entire century, ha ha ha, no really at least two nights, to fully enjoy the property.
I am still catching up with my last two month of extensive travels, and this time I am reporting on my recent visit to Paris during Fashion Week and my two nights stay at the FABULOUS Hotel Raphael Paris member of LGTNetwork and Leading Hotels of the World. I mean, if we talk about style and old traditional charm. and we combine it with these three words Location Location Location, then click your hills Dorothy because you are in the heart of Paris, at a true heritage Parisian hotel. I fully get it, not the style everyone enjoys nor appreciates. It is not modern, it is stuffy and rococo, and I have to say I LOVE IT. This is my type of hotel when I want to have my true vivre dans le luxe European experience.
If there is a hot spot in Berlin these days, it would have to be the new Das Stue Hotel and all its food and beverage outlets, which include the fine dinning 5 – Cinco by Paco Pérez, the first project of four-times Michelin starred Catalonian Chef Paco Pérez outside of Spain. Cinco, Spanish for five, tickles all five senses, from eyes to tongue, and also represents the five fingers of the hand, symbolizing the handcrafted flavours of Pérez’s culinary art. Cinco fine dining awakens the emotions with avant-garde taste experiences. In November 2013 the Michelin Guide awarded Cinco its first Michelin star. The design of the room, by Patricia Urquiola, is cosy and avant-garde, while understated and simple. I loved the open views to the kitchen. Our only comment, seating in the middle main tables, since we were four, was that the lights were too bright. Other than than that Cinco was indeed a treat to all senses.
Yesterday, invited by their General Manager, I got to explore around the new and recently inaugurated VICEROY New York City. An urban retreat, right on 57th Street, located steps away to some of my favorite restaurants in town, and centrally located, for those looking to experience New York City in full and beyond the usual city attraction. Do not be deceived by the look of their lobby, which is tiny, understated and has not much character. The façade is defined by two shoulders – made of iron-spot black brick – that define, frame and ground the building’s front elevation. Over-scaled, fluted, cast-glass bricks march over the building’s twenty-foot storefront. Above this street façade, glazed black brick-and-metal muntined windows continue up the thirty-story building to comprise the bulk of the façade. When lit from within, they create the effect of a glowing lantern. These windows relate the new hotel to much of the traditional, iconic architecture in the neighborhood.
One of the things which quite strike me during my recent visit to Edinburgh, Scotland, was the number of FABULOUS restaurants available, for such a lovely but tiny destination. The Pompadour Restaurant was not an exception, on the contrary was pretty much on my top 05 rule. I guess I could define myself as a foodie, but what I truly enjoy is the experience overall. I am not a gourmet connoisseur, but I do know who to create experiences and tell a travel or gourmet story, and The Pompadour, has quite and interesting one, lead by this legion of young professionals, whom will blow you away with the style, knowledge and artistry.