ArchivesPosts Tagged ‘europe’

08Dec


The Location

Copenhagen rivals Stockholm as the coolest, most cosmopolitan city in Scandinavia. Excellent shopping, culture and nightlife can all be found here. It’s also drop dead gorgeous in that romantic European way, with it’s many canals, cobbled squares and copper spires. The metropolis of about 1 million people is easy to navigate and also very safe. The transportation system is ridiculously easy to use and most of the locals speak English. Price wise, Copenhagen is up there with London and Paris but tends to be slightly less expensive than other Scandinavian cities. The Danish Design Center, Danish National Gallery and the changing of the guards at Amalienborg should all be on your must-see list.


The Hotel

The Nimb is located in the famed Tivoli gardens. The fairytale location is worth it’s weight in gold. All but one of the fourteen suites has a view of the gardens (which is especially spectacular when they are lit up at night). Guests of the hotel also have free entrance to the gardens.

But as fabulous as they are, the gardens aren’t the only reason to stay here. The 1909 building was originally a grand banqueting hall, but was refurbished into the luxe hotel it is today in 2008. The white-washed exterior recalls the Taj Mahal and is bedecked with white lights year round. You might think that the hotel’s interiors would be totally Scandinavian-minimalist, but the Nimb is a pleasant surprise. The theme is a comfortable mix of antiques and Chinoiserie accents blended with sleek pieces for a totally one-of-a-kind aesthetic.

Many hotels have been inaccurately described as feeling like an (incredible) private home, but in this case those words ring totally true. It’s cool but definitely not over-the-top. Rooms sport genuine elegant antique furniture, such as armoires and secretaries and warm wood floors. The walls are mostly crisp clean white and most display some antique landscapes on the walls. All rooms also have four poster beds and all but one have wood-burning fireplaces. They also sport B&O soundsystems and flat screen TVs, and have B&O phones in every room (even the bathrooms). All rooms are also outfitted with an ample seating area and two comfortable sofas.

Bathrooms are also oversized, and sport double sinks, heated floors, free-standing bathtubs and huge shower stalls with rain shower heads. The toiletries are from luxe brand Molton Brown, so you might be forgiven if a few extras sneak into your luggage on your way out.


The Extras

Gourmets will do well to stay here – or even just to visit here if you are not a guest. The focus on food is quite heavy and you will find something for every taste. The main draw is undoubtedly Restaurant Herman, which holds one Michelin star. Executive Chef Thomas Herman crafts radically re-imagined Danish dishes, with names such as Captains Stew and Burning Love.

If you are after something more casual the Brasserie, the Bar and Grill or the Terasse are your other options. The Brasserie showcases three kitchens in an open concept space, to show off the skills of the chefs and servers. The Scandinavian brasserie menu changes once a month to reflect seasonal changes. Breakfast here is usually included with your room rate and includes standard buffet items as well as cooked options. It can be taken in the restaurant or in your room.

The Bar and Grill occupies the former on-site Dairy and serves casual grilled dishes, such as seafood and steaks.


The Terasse is the former free-standing restaurant Divan 2, which opened in 1877. The Terasse serves french style bistro food and has separate banquet and meeting rooms, as well as a large outdoor seating area and wine bar.

The Nimb Bar occupies the old ballroom, which is still adorned with some amazing original chandeliers. There is a huge baronial fireplace at one end and a grand piano at the other. If you are looking for something more intimate, try the cellar wine bar – Vinotek – which spectacularly displays it’s 1200 bottle collection around a few communal style tables.

Service and attention to detail are first and foremost here. Check in takes place in your guest room, with a complimentary glass of champagne. Limousine service in an Audi A8 is available and there are even iPads available at reception for guest use. You will be unlikely to ever want to leave.


The Nimb
Bernstorffsgade 5
1577 Copenhagen
Denmark
T: +45 88 70 00 00
Rooms from $346.


If you are looking to give your space a dose of style- whether you are splashing out or on a budget – drop me a line. Check out my Hire Me! page for more details.

01Dec



The Location

Zurich is a picturesque city and also the largest in the Swiss Confederation. Zurich has long had a reputation as a boring banking city, but even here things are changing rapidly. Contemporary Zurich is affluent and trendy. It’s former warehouse district ‘Züri-West’ is now buzzing with numerous bars, restaurants and clubs giving it a similar feel to Mitte in Berlin. It’s annual Street Parade has also overtaken London’s Notting Hill Carnival as Europe’s largest annual street party and is filled with young revellers. Be sure to have some fondue and partake in some Swiss beer or wine at one of the numerous cafes.


The Hotel

The Dolder Grand re-opened in 2008 after an extensive renovation. The 1898 building was completely transformed into a modern masterpiece by architect Sir Norman Foster – his first ever hotel design. The stunning building appeals to almost everyone. It really is one part castle and one part spaceship, making it a completely unique destination hotel – or “City Resort” as the hotel refers to itself. It’s one well worth staying at despite it’s location just outside of the city center.

The hotel is divided into three separate wings, one old and two new. However, sumptuous modern furnishings and amenities can be found in each. Every room in the Main building features a white marble bathroom with separate tub and shower areas, as well as an original balcony. The new Spa Wing and Golf Wing feature bathrooms with sandy limestone tiles and the rooms feature floor to ceiling windows instead of balconies.

All guest rooms are fully automated and feature a Bang and Olufson interface that controls everything: the lights, curtains, TV, DVD player as well as the Do Not Disturb notification. Bathrooms also feature separate televisons and free wifi is available throughout the hotel.

Most guest rooms are soothing but err on the cautious “hotel chic” side of design. However, the four sprawling luxury suites have each been designed by a different interior designer, giving each one a unique personality. These are some of the best rooms in Europe and come equipped with extras like whirlpool baths and steam showers. One suite even features a grand piano. If you are willing and able to truly splash out, this is the place to do it.


The Extras

There are two restaurants at the hotel. The Restaurant serves gourmet cuisine from Chef Heiko Nieder, in a chic tailored space. The restaurant holds two Michelin stars and is a draw even for those not staying at the hotel.

The Garden Restaurant is open all day, every day and serves lighter European fare than the Restaurant. Chef Gion Fetz serves a seasonal inspired menu. An Amuse Bouche Menu is available for those on a business lunch, while in the evenings 4 to 7-course dinners are served, alongside a special vegetarian menu.

The hotel also offers a separate bar, lounge and lobby bar as well as a Spa Cafe as another dining options.

The Spa is the one of the best in Europe. It is over 4000 square metres and features separate men’s and women’s areas. It is fully equipped with the best spa features imaginable, including an indoor lap pool, plunge pools, steam baths, Sunaburo Pods (filled with warm Japanese mini stones) plus a room that snows. They also offer a huge array of services, from make up application to massage to medical procedures.

There is also a state of the art gym on the property, as well as a separate outdoor pool. If you visit during the summer months, the hotel offers mountain bikes on loan and there is also a mini-golf course for guest use. If you prefer real golfing, the 9-hole Dolder Golf Club Zurich is adjacent to the property.

The slightly out of town location means a stunning view of the city and lake below that can be seen from many of the rooms and public settings. But the hotel also offers hourly shuttles into the city in a vintage bus. But with so many amenities, maybe you won’t ever need to leave.


The Dolder Grand
Kurhausstrasse 65
8032 Zurich
Switzerland

Rooms from $590 CHF per night.


If you are looking to give your space a dose of style- whether you are splashing out or on a budget – drop me a line. Check out my Hire Me! page for more details.

03Nov



The Location

Warsaw, the capital city of Poland, is a study in contrasts. Most of the city was rebuilt after being destroyed in WWII. But these days you would be hard pressed to pick out the newer buildings compared to the few originals. However tragic it’s past may have been, this is not a city that dwells on it. Today Warsaw is vibrant and boasts lively nightlife as well as a bustling art and music scene. A visit to one of the many museums or local castles is a great way to acquaint yourself with the city’s history. And before you go home, be sure to spend some time at a cafe with some “wódka” (bison grass blends are particularly popular here).


The Hotel

Warsaw is still an incredible bargain, compared to the rest of Europe. So keeping that in mind, don’t let the price of MaMaison Hotel Le Regina scare you into thinking it’s not worthy of it’s five stars. MaMaison is one of the top boutique hotels in Warsaw and boast the distinct advantage being the only hotel located in Warsaw’s Old Town. Not only that, the MaMaison occcupies part of the 18th century Mokrowski Palace, which once belonged to Polish royalty, making it something of an attraction in itself.

But despite it’s historic setting, the hotel boasts refreshingly contemporary interiors, mostly rendered in a palette of chocolate and vanilla. Walnut millwork and sandstone accents are used throughout the private and public spaces. Many rooms also boast hand painted frescos.

The bathrooms are extra large and luxe and the bedrooms are sumptuous. The furniture is Italian and much is finished with satin and leather. Rooms have inidividually controlled air conditioning, large LCD TVs and the hotel offers free wifi. Nespresso coffee machines are supplied in your room. Suites come with large private terraces. Most rooms have views of either the inner courtyard or the stunning Old Town outside. The Penthouse is extra large and has striking black and white interiors.


The Extras

The location is, hands-down, the best draw at this hotel. Staying here puts you in close proximity to many of the Old Town’s attractions including the Royal Castle and the Old Town Square. Plus you can expect top notch service from the staff, with an eye for the details. They are known to provide umbrellas to guests and have been know to arrange complimentary airport pick-up on occasion.

La Rotisserie, the onsite restaurant, offers up contemporary French cuisine with Italian and Polish
influences. A hearty breakfast buffet is also available for €20.

There is a small fitness centre on the premises but more notable is the stunning Roman style indoor swimming pool (perfect if you happen to be visiting during the colder months). There is also a sauna on site and the hotel can arrange for spa treatments and personal trainers.


MaMaison Hotel Le Regina
Ko?cielna 12 00-218 Warsaw, Poland
T: +48 22 531 60 00
Rooms from €110.


If you are looking to give your space a dose of style- whether you are splashing out or on a budget – drop me a line. Check out my Hire Me! page for more details.

22Sep


The Location

Forget Paris – in my opinion Venice is the most romantic city in Europe. It’s very existence on the sea makes the whole experience of it somewhat magical (it’s also a feat of engineering) and much of the city remains the same as it was 600 years ago. Of course, the city is also slowly decaying and is one of the most touristed locations in Europe. But there really is nowhere else in the world quite like it. La Serenissma is just plain beautiful.

Grab a gondola and sit back to admire the mix of beautiful Byzantine, Baroque and Renaissance buildings. Linger in a cafe over espresso – or better yet – prosecco. (Il Caffè Florian in the Piazza San Marco is a legendary choice.) Visit one of the many outstanding art galleries – there are more artistic masterpieces here per square kilometer than anywhere else in the world. Or if you lucky enough to visit during Carnival, don a mask, rent an elaborate costume and head to one of the cities many masked balls.


The Hotel

The Centurion Palace is refreshing antidote to the area’s opulent norm. The hotel is located at the mouth of the Grand Canal in the Palazzo Genovese. San Marco Piazza is directly opposite meaning that quaint shops and restaurants are right at your fingertips. The hotel is also close the the Guggenheim Museum and the Basilica of Santa Maria della Salute. It’s location is perfect for accessing the major tourist spots, yet tucked away for a little peace and quiet.

The hotel occupies one of San Gregorio Convent’s two former cloisters. The stunning Venetian-Gothic exterior belies it’s stunning contemporary interiors. The lobby is playful and it’s centerpiece is a lighting fixture created out of an actual gondola keel. The baroque red velvet banquettes and futuristic white leather furniture play off each other, and set the offbeat yet sophisticated mood. The hotel is situated around an internal courtyard ensuring that every room has a fantastic view. (Note that there is a particularly stunning view from suite 401, if you don’t want to leave this detail to chance.)

The hotels fifty guestrooms have been individually designed by Florentine architect Guido Ciompi. His signature move is to incorporate traditional elements into a contemporary design, and the hotel is an artful testament to his work. Each room also has it’s own architectural elements – some have barrel ceilings, marble fireplaces or loft-like dual levels. The colour palette also varies wildly. Some rooms are red or chocolate brown, others pale green and yet others persimmon.

Each room has walls lined in silk fabric, ornate chandeliers and Pucci-inspired carpets over the natural wood floors. Bathrooms are outfitted in shimmering gold, giving one the effect of being encased in a giant Ferrero Rocher (not at all a bad thing!). The beds are made up with Silk Comfort matresses, down bedding and premium linens. Every room has an LCD TV with satellite and wifi. Extras include guest robes and slippers, as well as make-up/shaving mirrors in the bathrooms.


The Extras

Antinoo’s Lounge and Restaurant is comprised of two equally striking parts. The bar and lounge are open for drinks, and the stunning white restaurant offers excellent seasonal cuisine that is both regional and international. The bar is known for it’s exquisite drinks and it’s definitely well worth settling in here for a nightcap. The restaurant is everything you would expect for a five star hotel and it has views to match. Breakfast is included with your stay and, if you are lucky, it can be served on the spectacular outdoor patio overlooking the canal.

A small but adequate fitness centre is located under the eaves of the attic, complete with eliptical machines, treadmills and LCD TVs. The hotel also offers small meeting rooms as well as a larger conference room and secretarial services to those who require it. The hotel is also known for it’s friendly and efficient staff, who are more than happy to help you navigate the somewhat tricky canals and alleyways.


Centurion Palace
Dorsoduro, 173
30123 – Venezia (VE)
T. +39 041 34281
F. +39 041 2413119
centurionpalace@sinahotels.com
Rooms from $198.


If you are looking to give your space a dose of style- whether you are splashing out or on a budget – drop me a line. Check out my Hire Me! page for more details.

25Aug


The Location

Brussels is arguably one of the most multi-cultural cities in Europe. It is a mostly French speaking city that happens to be surrounded by Dutch speaking Flemish country. German and English are also widely spoken here, so it’s only fitting that Brussels is (unofficially) considered the capital of the Eurpoean Union.

Brussels is also a chic city with a gorgeous historic area (namely the UNESCO protected Grand Place), an armload of museums and excellent shopping on the Avenue Louise or Boulevard de la Waterloo. The food in Brussels is also amazing and if you haven’t grabbed a crepe while wandering through the Grand Place you simply have not done your trip justice.


The Hotel

The Dominican is a chic hotel tucked in behind the 19th century neclassical façade of the national opera house, La Monnaie. The location is superb – it’s close the historic centre of Brussels, as well as within five minutes walking distance from a metro stop. The hotel surrounds a beautiful and quiet inner courtyard, so those seeking nightime quiet would do well with an interior courtyard room.

The hotel was designed and “curated” by Dutch design duo FGStigl and won Best Interior Design 2005 at the prestigious Prix Villégiature-Paris awards. The carefully planned exterior work was handled by Belgian architect Lens Ass. A few pieces from the site’s storied past remain in place, including the archways from a 15th century abbey and the façade of French Revolutionary painter Jacques-Louis David’s home. The theme throughout the hotel is “dramatic intimacy” and this theme is most clearly visible in the hotel’s public spaces.

150 rooms and suites have been individually designed around the pretty central courtyard. The overheight ceilings and tall windows provide the drama, while the contemporary interiors, luxurious furnishings and chic bedding provide the intimacy. Each room is swathed in an array of neutrals and most rooms have vibrant eclectic art pieces on display. The beds have memory foam mattresses ensuring a perfect night’s sleep.

The bathrooms are their own properly-large rooms and are done in a mix of dark woods and shimmery natural stone. They are complete with open concept showers with luxury rain heads and the bath products are from De Luxe Spa. Each room comes with excellent blackout blinds, air conditioning and Nespresso machines, fully equipped with both coffee and tea. For the tech addicts, quick free wifi throughout the hotel plus a computer station in the lobby, for the convenient printing of boarding passes (or whatever else it is that you need).

Two level executive loft suites are also available, and boast glorious views to La Monnaie. If you require even more room to stretch out (or if you are on a long stay) the Grand Place suite is for you. This 77 square meter (827 sq ft) suite has an extra large bathroom, fireplace and gracious dining area.


The Extras

The hotel is known for it’s restful details, such as the serene Gregorian chants that are piped into the public spaces – a nod to the Abbey’s history. The staff are also amiable and provide efficient service without being overly chipper or too in your face.

The Lounge Bar is hopping come nightfall with an eclectic mix of the chic Brussels crowd alongside power business types and seasoned travelers. The hip lounge atmosphere of a typical hotel bar is mixed here with the traditional stylings of a classic cafe. The backdrop of soaring ceilings and huge glass windows and doors give the room that sense of drama. The comfortable white banquettes and chairs offer a place to sip on of the many original cocktails or to enjoy something from the cutting edge a la carte menu.

The Grand Lounge serves food all day, including a hearty breakfast buffet (€27 per person). If the weather is good, tables spill out into the interior courtyard, a surprisingly quiet space boasting a 300 year old fig tree as it’s centrepiece. If you can sit outside, then do. It is the perfect place to wind down with some international cuisine after a hard day of sightseeing and a great escape from the bustling city outside.

The hotel offers a fully equipped gym along with both a Finnish sauna and Turkish steam bath for hotel guests exclusive use. The gym is a pretty space, partially screened in by a dramatic quatrefoil motif. It is, in fact, the mark of the original Dominican Abbey, and it can be found repeated throughout the hotel.


The Dominican, Rue Léopold / Leopoldstraat 9, 1000 Brussels, Belgium. Rooms from €125.


If you are looking to give your space a dose of style- whether you are splashing out or on a budget – drop me a line. Check out my Hire Me! page for more details.