Thursday, July 31, 2014

HOTEL CHECK LONDON, The Dorchester

Luxury in London. A quick look at at some of our wonderful choices of where to stay in the endlessly entertaining city, by Product Director Neil Bedford. Starting with the legendary Dorchester...


The Dorchester

One of the world’s most iconic hotels and quite simply the place to be in London. The Dorchester is a beautiful hotel that enfolds you in classic luxury, exuding traditional glamour.


Rooms

Of the Dorchester’s classically styled rooms the majority have been refurbished over the last year and been given an lighter feel while not taking away from their classic styling.

Dorchester suite bedroom
The suites have seen a veritable who’s who of famous figures from the world of politics and entertainment over the years. I stayed in a refurbished 125 sq metre Dorchester Suite on the first floor. The vast sitting room has distinct areas for comfortable seating and elegant dining, while the luxurious marble ensuite bathroom and 4-poster bed felt very exclusive. In both the bedroom and living room was an oversized Bang & Olufsen LCD screen with integrated entertainment system. From every room I enjoyed views over Hyde Park and the alcove corner window a particularly nice feature.

Dorchester Suite lounge 
Dorchester suite bathroom

Dining

Alain Ducasse at The Dorchester is the only UK hotel restaurant with three Michelin-stars, putting its creative French cuisine firmly in London’s culinary spotlight. The restaurant is booked out months in advance so please advise us on booking if you would like to dine here…and you really should.

Enjoy the finest pastries with your afternoon tea at The Promenade where you can choose from a number of options if you don’t want to stick with the classic selection. The ‘Ice Cream Afternoon Tea’ is particularly popular with families this summer!

Perfect for a hot summer

Enjoy British classics at The Grill (to reopen autumn 2014) or visit the hotspot that is China Tang for the finest Cantonese cuisine.


One of the places to dine these days

The Spa

The Dorchester Spa was reopened in 2009 and leaves most other London hotel spas trailing in it’s wake. Exuding 1930s Art Deco glamour, combined with a contemporary edge, unique aspects include an indulgent Spatisserie where you can enjoy a spa day with afternoon tea. The spa features nine spacious treatment rooms including two double suites, a manicure-pedicure suite, a sleek relaxation room, male and female aromatic steam rooms and experience showers. I can safely say that the treatment I enjoyed was one of the best I have experienced and you can see why it has won so many awards for the quality of the treatments not just the ambience.


The Fitness Studio is equipped with TechnoGym resistance equipment and cardio vascular equipment with integrated televisions as well as a full set of free weights, Swiss Balls, a Bosu Ball and various Medicine Balls.



Newly refurbished  traditional luxury

Spacious suites

Brightness and the jewels of time

The Dorchester location

5 mins from Hyde Park Corner tube. Strategically located in London's exclusive Mayfair on Park Lane (between Marble Arch and Hyde Park Corner), The Dorchester is within easy access to London's most exclusive shopping areas, including New Bond Street, Old Bond Street and Knightsbridge. Oxford Street and Piccadilly are also close by while peak and quiet are easily found in Hyde Park which the hotel overlooks.

Nearby

  • Oxford Street/Bond Street (10mins) - All the favourite High Street shops as well as Selfridges department store.
  • Buckingham Palace (15mins) - Visit the working headquarters of the Monarchy, and the place where The Queen carries out her official duties (only open late July – end September).
  • Knightsbridge (15mins) – Walk through Hype Park to the exclusive area of Knightsbridge with iconic department stores like Harrod’s and Harvey Nichols competing for your attention.
  • Hyde Park (over the road) - There's something for everyone in Hyde Park, from swimming and boating in the Serpentine to concerts and exhibitions.
  • The streets of Mayfair (on your doorstep) – London’s most bespoke galleries, theatres, boutiques, bars, cafes, restaurants…
  • Soho (15mins) - Countless drinking holes, excellent restaurants, unique boutiques and varied nightlife

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

WE HAVE JUST BEEN TO THAILAND, part 11, Soneva Kiri

Koh Kood (Soneva Kiri)
We arrived at Soneva Kiri Pier with a speedboat about 1 hour from mainland and got a warm and lovely welcome from or Ms. Friday and Peter, of course the first thing we was told to do is take off our shoes.
At this property you will find huge villas, the beach villas are a little bit smaller than the other.
We stayed in a Hill Pool Ville (nr 51) and I absolutely love it, we had a great sea view and large pool. All the villas have a big terrace with sun beds, dining table and nice sitting area to just sit and relax. From the master bedroom you have a small pool even outside, the rooms are nice decorated and all the technology is well hidden. On the back yard you find the big outdoor bathroom with an outdoor shower and bathtub in the middle and dressing room with toilet on the right side and on the left side the bathroom with the washbasin. In the Bathrooms you will find bathrobes, toiletries (shampoo, conditioner, body lotion, Sun cream, after sun lotion, mosquito spray etc.)
All the villas have their own buggy to drive around on this huge property with was really fun.


We had an amazing champagne breakfast in their Dining Tree Pod, we spent about 3 hours here and just enjoyed the view. I recommend booking this experience for breakfast or lunch since it´s getting really dark in the evening.

The beach is manmade but absolutely gorgeous and here you find different activities like windsurfing, canoeing, volleyball etc. They have a nice Beach Restaurant with lots of different choices as a sushi and cold cut buffé or dishes as pizza, pasta etc.

On the property of course you will find a Six Senses Spa, a full equipped gym, outdoor cinema, a really cool Kids Club (The Den), a main pool area were you also find a bar and pool restaurant with lovely Thai food. Next to the kids club you also find their So Chilled & So Chocoholic where they produce their own chocolate and ice cream, a popular place to gathering for some tee in the afternoon.
We tried all the Restaurants on the Resort The View that serves cuisines, you can chose to sit close to the kitchen and see when they make all the dishes or you can enjoy the view outside with is very romantic.
The breakfast restaurant is amazing with lots of different fruits, juices, Thai dishes, cold cuts and bakery to choose from.
Then you have The Benz, on the river outside the property. The chef Khun Benz serves you a set menu with lovely local Thai dishes, it´s a really a unique experience. Absolutely my favorite restaurant.
The last night they had a barbeque on the beach and we started with some nice drinks in the sun beds while we enjoyed the sunset. The barbeque offered lovely meat, seafood and other dishes.
During our stay our Friday was taking care of all the restaurant reservations and everything around which I appreciated. You can just relax and enjoy everything.



This hotel is perfect for everybody that would love a luxurious but more layback vacation.
I had the opportunity to also see one Beach Villa and the Ecco Villa so if you have some questions just sent it to me or if you are interested to see some pictures.
On our departure we left with Soneva Kiri private plane to Bangkok.

Monday, July 14, 2014

HOTEL CHECK MARRAKECH, Royal Palm Marrakech

Royal Palm Mauritius is one of our favourite high end properties. Now there is a new classy sister much closer to home - Royal Palm Marrakech. If you are planning ahead to an autumn escape, this is a great choice...

Collette O'Connor, Select sales manager UK, visited Royal Palm during its soft opening. She was hugely impressed...

She found this property perfect for those who demand the highest levels of luxury (whether couples, families or golfers). The food and service at Royal Palm Marrakech are exceptional, and the hotel wraps you in silken gloves, peace and tranquility.

All around the hotel, your can hear the calming trickle of water and birdsong. It is a tranquil haven of perfection. The grounds are filled with the scent of rosemary, and the vegetation is lush.



You forget you are far from the sea in this watery world
Plenty of chance to sun and swim

Palms, olives and golf

Golf course and beyond the Atlas Mountains
Entering into exotic ambience

The entrance to the main hotel is striking and shows influences from Asia or Mauritius at their finest. On arrival, we were escorted through the bar outdoors for a cold welcome drink and wonderful view of the huge pool and water features whilst the formalities are completed. 

Then to our room, a Palm suite on the first floor, in the first of two of the blocks that were opened in December 2013 (there are four in total). The suite is very generous with space, as is the super king bed (all can be converted to twins, but you cannot feel any divide). Décor is stunning – dark woods meeting unique Moroccan fittings. 

The bathroom / closet area is equally spacious with full bath, large walk-in shower, double sinks and more than ample wardrobe space.


Junior Suite

...and its balcony

Spacious room

...with a view


All room categories face the Atlas Mountains, and the view is breathtaking. The golf course – probably the best in all Morocco, lies between the hotel and the mountains.

The hotel is now closed and will reopen 2nd of August. Excellent facilities such as the Clarins Spa, Moroccan Restaurant and Club House are all due to be ready by that date.

There is also a large gym, with state of the art equipment, adult-only lap pool (at the spa), tennis courts, squash courts and the cutest kiddies club I have ever seen!

When guests can tear themselves away from the soothing tranquility of Royal Palm they enjoy a complimentary shuttle from 10 – 5pm (subject to change) to the vibrant, hectic and fascinating Medina.


One hundred and one surprises
 per metre in the Medina



Of course one should enjoy the delights of Marrakech proper, but do make sure your stay is long enough to spend days relaxing (or playing golf) at this beautiful property. Not to mention the most romantic evenings;  illuminated by what seems like hundreds of Moroccan lanterns … creating a very special ambience. Life can stand still for a moment. Priceless...

Lantern lit magic

HOW TO GET TO ROYAL PALM MARRAKECH

Royal Palm Marrakech is a convenient 15 minute drive from the airport. The hotel can arrange a local taxi (approx 25 euro per way), or their own luxury vehicle.

Note that private private residences and villas are still being built. They are far enough from the main hotel site to not cause any disturbance.


NOTE

A report by Ulrika Thelander, Sales Manager Sweden, on all our luxury properties in Marrakech, including Royal Palm, will follow soon...

Thursday, July 3, 2014

HOTEL CHECK FRANCE, Evian Resort

Evian water gushes out of a sublime mountain towering above Lake Geneva. Also under that mountain lies Evian Resort. Our Product Director Neil Bedford samples its beauty, its waters, and even its famous golf course...

Neil declares it a haven for discerning golfers with plenty to do for any not-so-avid-golfer companions.


Water and mountains at Evian Resort

View from Hotel Ermitage - balcony of Lake View Suite

The Resort

Within Evian resort are two unique hotels: the illustrious Hotel Royal and the family-friendly Ermitage Hotel. The resort offers a wide choice of restaurants and one of the best golf courses in Europe – The Evian Resort Golf Course – which every year hosts The Evian Championship. An excellent golf academy plus two spas including thermal baths complete the picture. There are resort shuttles than run between all of these locations while the resort also owns the casino in Evian village.

The resort itself is owned by Evian (the water) who also own Danon (the yoghurt) and many other companies. The revenue generated from these two business’s have helped deliver the owners’ dream of creating an unrivalled golf course that places a firm emphasis on it’s minimal environmental impact. Evian Golf Course is now firmly on the international map as it now hosts the (Womens) Evian Masters in September and is considered one of the best courses in Europe.

See our great special offer for Evian Resort. More about the resort here.

Beautiful and famous golf course

Accommodation

The flagship hotel at the resort is Hotel Royal, which has seen many famous guests and been a byword for deep traditinal luxury since 1905. Now it has been totally refurbished to add lustre to its long and famous life as a spa resort. Its little sister Ermitage was also renovated in recent years and is a very comfortable place to stay, particularly for families.

Hotel Ermitage (4*) 

Completely refurbished by the Parisian interior designer Patrick Ribes in 2010, Hotel Ermitage nurtures the feeling of a family home and the choice of raw materials like wood, stone and leather forge links with nature. Elevated higher up the slope and further from the lake than Hotel Royal, the hotel's lake views are excellent. I recommend Deluxe Lakeview rooms on a high floor to maximise the views.


Ermitage room

Lake view suite Ermitage
Ermitage, perched on the mountain

Hotel Royal (5*)

Hotel Royal re-opened in the first week of July 2014. It gives sensational unobstructed lake views from most rooms and if you book a higher floor you will enjoy mesmerizing views over the water to Lausanne (in Switzerland). Hotel Royal also has its own restaurant, bar and terrace as well as a large indoor-outdoor spa.

Golf

It is a beautiful Par 72 course with lake views from much of it. The course is exceptionally well maintained and the facilities are world class. The narrow fairways will certainly test the accuracy of your driving as we found it! A bonus feature is the separate Golf Academy which is a golfer’s dream. Numerous ranges with the latest technology, putting greens, bunker practice as well as a beautiful 3 hole short course with different tees and flag set ups on each hole to test your ability/even things out against your partner. Normal price for the academy is €60 per day but hotel guests use it for free. This is a real drawcard for golfers of any standard.

It ended up in the hole but don’t ask
how many shots it took


Evian Resort Ambassadress Helen Alfredsson
in action at the Golf Academy


Green velvety magnificence


Non-golfers

While the prime reason for coming here is the golf, there is lots to do to keep non-golfers busy and happy. The high standard of modern accommodation, excellent choice of bars and restaurants, plus friendly and efficient service….not to forget the magical spas and the views…means the resort is geared up for everyone. The nearby village of Evian is very pretty and worth taking the funicular down the steep hill for dinner or a walk around. Slightly further afield Geneva (45 mins) and Lausanne (35 mins by boat) are close enough for day trips while other attractions are the beautiful Medieval towns of Yvoire and Montreux (a lovely 3 km walk from Chateau de Chillon, made famous by poet Lord Byron).

How to get to Evian Resort

Airport transfers from Geneva international airport can take just 45 mins though you do need to go through the centre of Geneva and at rush hours (7-10 am and 3-7 pm Monday-Friday) the journey time can easily double.

See our previous blog on Evian Resort and Hôtel Royal, before its closure for refurbishment - even then a treasure of art and architecture and a magnet for the elite of Europe who came to "take the waters". The blog mentions an alternative scenic route by train and boat, wellsuited to a departure that take you onward by train up into the Alps.