Browsing Tag

hotel

Blog, Date Spot, Drink, Eat, London, Stay

Henrietta Hotel, Covent Garden

June 20, 2017
The Henrietta, Covent Garden

I’ve been to the Henrietta Hotel twice in 24 hours.  In my defence, it’s a stone’s throw from my office, so easy to get excited about.  Yesterday for drinks, today for a nosey around the rooms.  Because yes, I am a hotel geek and I do like to do things like that on my lunch break.

Founded by the Experimental Group guys (think the Experimental Cocktail Chinatown, but they also own lots of hip venues in Paris, New York & Ibiza), the Henrietta is many things.  Firstly it is a small, luxury hotel, with 18 rather beautiful rooms.  With heavy Art Deco influences and pastel colours, each room is unique, from the pretty headboards to brass lamps and mirrors in all different shapes and sizes.   Many of the bathrooms have large baths and all have fluffy branded robes and towels.

The Henrietta, Covent GardenThe Henrietta, Covent Garden

The Henrietta has also got a great bar.  Last night, post excellent dinner at Frenchie (which I would recommend to all who would fork out a casual £38 on lamb), I dragged my friend there for cocktails.  We were there long enough for the bill to be fairly substantial (be warned).  The cocktail menu is a little unusual, as I suppose you would expect from these guys.  I wasn’t sure about my Palomar cocktail (tequila based but perhaps with a touch too much salt) but the vibe was good, and I love the design of the place.  There is also a mezzanine level with another bar and more tables.

The Henrietta, Covent GardenThe Henrietta, Covent Garden

Perhaps the most talked about aspect of the Henrietta is its restaurant, with the food being by the one & only Ollie Dabbous (of Dabbous fame).  I sent my colleague there for lunch yesterday (come to think of it I really have been giving this place a lot of love) and he said the food was excellent.

The Henrietta, Covent GardenThe Henrietta, Covent Garden

And so today, having not seen any of the rooms, I popped by and was shown around.  Sadly their two suites were booked, as I would have loved to have seen the views from their terrace.  But I saw two rooms: their smallest Covent Garden room (super cosy, under the eaves of the house, not for giants) and the Henrietta room (much more spacious, fabulous bed).

The Henrietta, Covent GardenThe Henrietta, Covent Garden

All in all it’s good to see Covent Garden has a new, hip hotel, and I’m sure I’ll be stopping by regularly for food and booze, and maybe even a snooze..!

The Henrietta

14-15 Henrietta St,

London WC2E 8QH

Blog, UK - Outside London

No 38 the Park, Cheltenham

April 2, 2017
No. 38 The Park, Cheltenham

I find myself in Cheltenham a number of times a year but usually for work, and so never really tend to see this pretty Cotswold town as a weekend break destination.  But it really is, ideal for accessing the rolling Cotswolds hills or for those (locals or tourists) looking for a weekend break in an elegant Regency spa town.

Last week I was in Cheltenham again for work, and this time we had a full day meeting at No 38 the Park, a boutique hotel close to the centre of town.  I absolutely loved it.  The sure way to winning my affection is by having a dog greet you upon arrival.  She was the best host possible, and even wanted to come into the meeting with me.

No 38 the Park, Cheltenham

No. 38 the Park is one of the Lucky Onion’s Cotswold ventures (who are known for the equally wonderful Wheatsheaf and No 131).  While No 38 is in a stunning Regency Townhouse, it feels more like a home than a hotel (you can in fact take over the whole place privately).  There is no reception desk, or staff wandering around constantly.  It’s peaceful and homely and very stylish, with a unique art collection.

No. 38 The Park, Cheltenham

They don’t have a restaurant as such, but they do have a beautiful ‘dining room’ where you can have a lazy breakfast or a relaxed pre-ordered lunch (the sandwiches were incredible).  They also have a wonderful courtyard terrace which will be great in the summer.  If you’re thirsty they have a huge honestly bar, where you can help yourself to a selection of their local beers, or make a Fever Tree G&T.

No. 38 The Park, Cheltenham

They have 13 bedrooms, all very individual, in different sizes.  But all stunning.  I loved the different wall papers, and the use of colour.  Even the smaller bedrooms have their own charm, often with incredible roll top baths.  Each bedroom comes with a Nespresso machine, 100 Acres bath products and HD TV with Sky.  Their honeymoon suite is a real show stopped, with the most incredible ‘his ‘n her’ showers.

No. 38 The Park, CheltenhamNo. 38 The Park, CheltenhamNo. 38 The Park, Cheltenham

If you’re looking for a romantic bolthole with affordable prices, No. 38 is ideal.  Next time I come here I just hope to stay the night and sample those very comfortable looking beds.

No. 38 the Park

38 Evesham Road,

Cheltenham

The Cotswolds

Amsterdam, Blog, Drink, Eat, Stay, The Netherlands

The Pulitzer Hotel, Amsterdam

March 18, 2017
The Pulitzer, Amsterdam

Amsterdam has changed hugely in the past few years when it comes to hotels.  The iconic Amstel and De L’Europe have been pushed aside with the openings of new, better, glitzier or more contemporary hotels like the Waldorf Astoria (stunning all round), the W (I love the bar here) and the Hoxton (great for brunch).

The Pulitzer Amsterdam has been around for years, but shut for a massive refurbishment.  It re-opened in August 2016 and wow, it’s a stunner.  I’d never been to it before the renovation, so I don’t have much to compare it to.  But I was impressed not only with the look and feel of the place (a little Soho House-esque in terms of design and quirky touches) but also by how despite the hotel having 225 rooms, it still feels like a boutique hotel.

The Pulitzer, Amsterdam

It looks small(ish) from the outside too, but it’s actually 25 (!) canal houses put together, and connected by wonderful gardens and terraces, which will, I’m sure, be very popular in the summer.  The lobby stands out upon entering, with lots of colour and art.  And I love their cafe Pause, where we had tea and a delicious banana cake.

The Pulitzer, AmsterdamThe Pulitzer, AmsterdamThe Pulitzer, Amsterdam

While we only saw one room, I loved the look of it, under the beams, which is so quintessentially Dutch.  And it’s this mixture of classic Dutch design and a touch of the eclectic (and eccentric) which works so well here.   Some of the suites look amazing too.

The Pulitzer, AmsterdamThe Pulitzer, Amsterdam

My favourite part of the hotel was the Pulitzer Bar, so slick and beautiful and inviting and of course open to locals too.  I will be returning their for one of their signature cocktails.  Their restaurant Jansz also looks great, and can be accessed from the Reestraat (one of the nine ‘little streets’ / Negen Straatjes).

The Pulitzer, AmsterdamThe Pulitzer, Amsterdam

In short, all the Amsterdam old-timer hotels and even the new kids on the block need to watch out, as the Pulitzer provides a more affordable five star option, which will especially attract a younger, trendier crowd.

The Pulitzer

Prinsengracht 323,

1016 GZ Amsterdam

Rooms from EUR 275 a night

Photo credit: Pulitzer Hotel (apart from the photo of the bar)

Blog, Italy, Rome

The Terrace at Hotel Raphael, Rome – DRINK

February 18, 2017
Hotel Raphael, Rome

When in Rome I am forever trying to find new bars, preferably with good views.  The terrace at Hotel Raphael goes to the top of my recommendations.  Even though it was January and fairly chilly, it was so special having this terrace completely to ourselves.  And with it the most stunning 360 degree view of Rome.

Hotel Raphael, Rome

The hotel itself is Relais & Chateaux, and has a wonderful location right behind Piazza Navonna.  I’m not quite sure if I would recommend staying there though – the interiors were modern and I felt lacked taste.  Even the (vegetarian) restaurant on the top floor lacked character or atmosphere, though it has great views.   But the multi-level terrace is something else.  I can imagine it being wonderful in the summer, where you can enjoy a warm summer evening with a cold glass of prosecco or even have dinner outside (the terrace is part of the restaurant).

Hotel Raphael, Rome

A drink with a view like this comes with a premium.  This is not the place for a cheap drink.  A bottle of prosecco will set you back about 36EUR.  But it’s worth it as the staff are wonderful, friendly and warm, and they also brought out some aperitivo.

Hotel Raphael, Rome

Hotel Raphael, Rome

We had a very special time here, and spent a number of hours drinking and enjoying the view. And watching the sun set over the eternal visit.  I would highly recommend a pre-dinner drink here.

The Terrace

Hotel Raphael

Largo Febo, 2

Rome

Blog, Italy, Rome

Relais Rione Ponte, Rome – STAY

August 22, 2016
Relais Rione Ponte, Rome

Rome isn’t known for it’s hotels.  It doesn’t have a George V equivalent.  There are no Mandarin Orientals or Amans  But what Rome is good at, is its boutique hotels.   I love JK Place, Palazzo Manfredi and the newest (and most modern) G Rough.  Relais Rione Ponte is one I came across most recently, and had the absolute pleasure at staying at.

It’s not really a hotel, it’s a guest house.  It doesn’t boast many facilities or a restaurant, but Relais Rione Ponte is perfect as a base to explore Rome.  So here is what it does have:

Location

Couldn’t be better, a stone’s throw from Piazza Navona and all the other historical centre sights.  We in fact woke up at 6am and walked through Rome as it was waking up, a magical experience and highly recommended.  While Relais Rione Ponte is so central, it was very quiet in the rooms and we were not disturbed by late party animals.

Piazza NavonaRome

Stylish Rooms

As there isn’t much of a ‘central’ area it’s important that the rooms are good, and spacious.  Which they really are.  The beds are super comfortable and massive, the sheets crisp and we had a very good sleep here.  The attention to detail was fantastic: the art on the walls, the Bose sound system, a Nespresso machine in the public area, very good wifi.  The bathroom was beautifully designed, with a huge walk in shower and lovely Nuxe bath products.

Relais Rione Ponte, RomeRelais Rione Ponte, Rome

Service

Our initial experience was not great.  We arrived very late so understandably the host had gone home, and the man on night duty for the whole building was a little odd to say the least.  However, once we got to our room we were greeted by a bottle of bubbles which was more than welcome.  The lady at reception the following morning was nothing but friendly, as was the lady who served us breakfast.  We had a nice but not spectacular breakfast (but excellent coffee, of course) but you could tell that they really cared about their guests, and have city maps at the ready should you want some tips on what to do and see in Rome.

Relais Rione Ponte, Rome

Value for money

Rome is no Venice, but it’s not cheap either.  Finding accommodation this central, where the standard is this high, is difficult.  With small touches like a complimentary glass of prosecco every evening, Nespresso when you want it, good wifi and excellent bath products, it’s really good value for money.

Double rooms from £120 per night

Relais Rione Ponte

Via Giuseppe Zanardelli, 20,

00186 Roma

Photo Credit: Relais Rione Ponte

Amsterdam, Blog, Eat, Stay, The Netherlands

Hoxton, Amsterdam – the perfect brunch & coffee place

March 25, 2016
Hoxton, Amsterdam

I love the Hoxton in London (Hubbard & Bell is great for brunch), so I had high hopes when I heard that the Hoxton had opened in Amsterdam. A few years ago Amsterdam was severely lacking in good hotels.  Then the Waldorf Astoria opened, then the Hoxton, and the W Hotel, and soon even Soho House will be arriving in Amsterdam.

The Hoxton is five canal houses combined, and occupies prime location on the Herengracht.  Lotti’s is what they call their ‘neighbourhood restaurant’ (managed by Soho House), and it really has become a hub for locals; from businessmen having meetings over lunch, to bloggers and entrepreneurs typing away furiously on their Macbooks, sipping cappuccinos.  Amsterdam has needed a place like this, and the Hoxton has fitted in superbly.

Hoxton, AmsterdamHoxton, Amsterdam

Their design is what you’d expect from a Hoxton Hotel; sleek but homely, a combination of mustard yellows, muted blues and worn leather sofas.  The main eating space has a large retractable roof, which lets in the light in the winter, and the sun in the summer.  I came here with old friends, and we much enjoyed brunch here; a combination of avocado on toast, eggs and pastries.

While I didn’t see the bedrooms, they are stylish and comfortable, and not ridiculously priced (rooms from £110 per night).

Hoxton, AmsterdamHoxton, Amsterdam

The Hoxton

Herengracht 255,

1016 BJ Amsterdam

Photo credit: The Hoxton

Amsterdam, Blog, Drink, Stay, The Netherlands

W Lounge, Amsterdam

March 19, 2016
W-Amsterdam---W-Lounge---WET

I’m not really a W Hotel girl.  Yes, they are luxurious and super comfortable hotels.  But usually they are a bit flash, a bit loud and a bit ‘trendy’ for me.  But then I went up to the W Lounge (6th floor) for the new-ish W Hotel in Amsterdam and, while the interiors aren’t really my style, I could quite happily admit that this was a very cool place to come for a drink.

W Hotel, Amsterdam

Firstly, the views.  They are quite ridiculous, especially in a city which doesn’t have much of a cityscape.  With the W Hotel’s enviable location right in the centre of town, the views are directly of the Dam Palace and Amsterdam’s beautiful centre.

Secondly, the terrace.  Yes, it’s small and I can imagine it overflowing with people in the summer months.  We came on a sunny day in December and we had the whole place to ourselves.  There is a long pool, which you can swim in (guests only) and while it’s clearly not for children’s recreational use, I can’t think of a better wake up than a few laps in the pool with the view of the palace.

W Hotel, Amsterdam

And lastly, the vibe.  While I mentioned above that I find the W Hotels a bit too loud, that doesn’t mean that they’re not fun.  And the W Lounge is certainly a lively place to be in the late afternoon and evening.  Even if you’re not outside the huge windows mean you can still enjoy the views of the city, while fireplaces and comfy sofas mean it’s a great place to visit all year round.  The ideal place for a pre-dinner cocktail.

W Hotel, Amsterdam

W Hotel Amsterdam

Spuistraat 175, 1012 VN

Photo credit: W Hotel

Blog, Drink, Eat, London, Stay

Mondrian Hotel, South Bank

December 25, 2015
Mondrian Hotel, South Bank

London has had quite a few show-stopping hotel openings in 2015, but the Mondrian Hotel may be the most prominent one of all.  And for good reason – this modern beauty, with prime location in the Sea Containers building on the South Bank is worth a visit.  Whether it be for breakfast, dinner, cocktails or an overnight stay, the Mondrian will delight.

I went for dinner and cocktails about a month ago. Even your arrival is memorable – the copper, sea inspired ‘wave’ is perhaps more unique than it is beautiful, but I loved it.  The whole design of the place is to echo a 1920s cruise ship.  In my mind that description sounds like it should look hideous, but it’s far from it.

Mondrian Hotel, South BankMondrian Hotel, South Bank

The restaurant – colourful and shiny – was busy in a pleasant way; the design sleek with a flashy bar in the centre of the room.  But your eyes are instantly drawn to the views.  You’re right on the river Thames and you’ve got Blackfriars Bridge and the City on your right (the Tate Modern is an 8 minute walk), and Westminster and all its glories to your left.  The food was delicious and light, presented with care.  Perhaps I chose healthy options, but I left feeling satisfied without overly full (which is sadly usually the case when you’re as greedy as I am).

Mondrian Hotel, South BankMondrian Hotel, South Bank

The bar at the Mondrian is perhaps even more of a highlight than the restaurant – the decor (modern, of course) again stands out. While bright pink leather sofas may not necessarily be my cup of tea, here they fit perfectly with the emerald green walls. At night the bar is so dimly lit you don’t even necessarily notice the colours.  Again, the view drew my attention more than anything. London looks so magical at night, and from the bar (make sure you sit close to the window) the views are uninterrupted.  The cocktails too deserve a mention, the menu beautifully designed and the drinks were well crafted.

Mondrian Hotel, South Bank

The Mondrian hotel may not be for everyone – it’s daring and loud, the design is ridiculously slick and it perhaps lacks a degree coziness.  But its style is fun and original, the views phenomenal, the location ideal to see London and the pricing fair (this is all relative of course).  While I didn’t see the rooms I know some say they do feel slightly more business-like than the hotel’s communal areas, but still very comfortable with all the mod-cons you could wish for.

Mondrian Hotel, South BankMondrian Hotel, South Bank

But I suppose what I liked so much about the place was that the restaurant and bar did not feel like they were part of a hotel at all.  So regardless of whether you’re a hotel guest or not, you still very much feel like a special guest in your own right.

The Mondrian Hotel

Sea Containers

20 Upper Ground,

London SE1 9PD

Argentina, Blog

Aguas Arriba, Argentina – STAY

November 17, 2015
Aguas Arriba, Argentina

In a world where people are striving for more space, for peace and quiet and for privacy, Aguas Arriba is a welcome arrival.  This lodge is a place like no other, where there is no phone reception, no wifi.  You are in the middle of no where.  Your television is an astonishing view of Lake Desertios, Mount Fitzroy and a glacier.

A small lodge with five rooms, the only draw back is that it’s a bit of a mission to get here (4 hours drive from El Calafate and then a 15 minute boat ride across the lake), but it means that those who come here, really want to be here. And don’t underestimate the beauty of your journey – of the long road to El Chalten past glacial lakes, snow capped mountains and brooding skies.  The final hours’ drive through El Chalten’s National Park is remarkable – you understand why so many people make the journey to this hikers paradise. It is breathtakingly beautiful.  And the prize for those who make it this far? The sight of the majestic Mount Fitzroy, renowned for her steep, granite walls, making her one of the world’s most challenging mountains to climb.  Seeing Mount Fitzroy really is worth it, whether it’s partially hidden in the clouds, or the fog, or is basking in the Patagonian sun, or turned a pinkish hue at sunset.

Aguas Arriba, Argentina
Aguas Arriba is all about Mount Fitzroy; you wake up to it, watch it change colour and appearance during the day, and go to sleep with it – if you’re lucky – lit by the stars.  But Aguas Arriba is also so much more than that.  It’s balanced on the edge of Lake Desertios, with a glacier right in front of it (surreal), quiet, stunning forests and the Andes dividing Argentina from its neighbouring (and very close) Chile.  Its position is everything.
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Aguas Arriba, Argentina
Aguas Arriba, Argentina Aguas Arriba, Argentina
But there is more. Aguas Arriba is also about the people. They make the experience. Without them it would be a pretty, comfortable lodge in a remarkable location. With them it is one of the warmest, most hospitable places I have stayed. Pato and Ivo welcome you into their home like it is yours.  They tailor your trip exactly to how you want it; which hikes you do, when you want to fly fish or do a boat trip on the lake, or when you want to do yoga with Pato.  For those who want to take it easy, you can relax on the deck and drink in the view, or read a book by the huge log fire.
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Aguas Arriba, Argentina
Aguas Arriba, Argentina
The rest of the staff – 9 in total – are all as charming as can be, from the enthusiastic guides to the phenomenal chef.  The food was some of the best I had in Argentina which, considering its location and the effort it is to bring anything to the lodge – let alone fresh produce – is remarkable.  We enjoyed not just excellent steak, but also wonderful pumpkin soups, delicious salads, home made breads, avocado chocolate mousse and the best apple crumble I’ve ever had. Argentina doesn’t really ‘do’ vegetables, but here they do (I found the food very light and healthy – contrary to a lot of other places I stayed).  And if you consider the fact they get most of their vegetables from Mendoza (in Northern Argentina) it’s quite a feat.  It goes without saying that the views from the dining room – or the deck in good weather – are fantastic.
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Aguas Arriba, Argentina
Aguas Arriba, Argentina
Hiking is the main activity on offer. And bearing in mind I am no hiker, the hikes here are really something else and I loved every moment of them. It is just you and nature and no one else. We hiked up to a glacier on the other side of the lake and sat drinking tea by a green glacial lake with an uninterrupted view of the glacier (photo below). One afternoon we hiked high up to the top of one of the mountains, and every level we went up the views got more breath taking.  There were man-made wooden benches in different locations, designed for guests to enjoy the views in peace.  And when you return to the lodge, exhilarated and with flushed cheeks, you can flop on their comfortable sofas in front of a burning log fire and slowly doze off, still with the view of the lake through the huge glass ceiling to floor windows.
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Aguas Arriba, Argentina
Aguas Arriba, Argentina
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Forbes named it one of the special places to go to in 2015, and I agree.  It was one of the true highlights of my trip through Argentina, and I would recommend it to all.
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Aguas Arriba
Lago del Desierto
El Chalten 9301
i
Photo credit: Aguas Arriba
Amsterdam, Blog, Stay, The Netherlands

Hotel Not Hotel, Amsterdam

September 22, 2015
Hotel Not Hotel, Amsterdam

If you’re going to stay in a quirky, creative, unusual hotel, it might as well be in Amsterdam.  For those of you looking for affordable and fun accommodation then Hotel Not Hotel is the place for you.  As we were in Amsterdam to see the fantastic contemporary photographic fair and festival UNSEEN, it seemed an apt place for us to stay.

Hotel Not Hotel, Amsterdam

There’s a strong hint in the name in terms of what you may, or may not, expect from Hotel Not Hotel.  This is a hotel, but it’s also a series of individual pieces of ‘art’ (in a loose sense of the word); where each room is different, no room is just a ‘room’.  It also has a few hostel-esque features, namely the shared bathrooms (which are very clean and modern) for some of the cheaper rooms, and a relaxed, laid back vibe.  But it’s far from a hostel.  The interiors are in fact, rather beautifully done.  I love the book cases doubling for doors to hidden rooms.  And the Mr and Mrs front doors leading to two rooms (one of which was ours for the night).  The crows nest and the tram cart are two other unique rooms.  It’s all well thought through and, even though it may not be for everyone, it is at least a very original idea.

Hotel Not Hotel, AmsterdamHotel Not Hotel, AmsterdamHotel Not Hotel, AmsterdamHotel Not Hotel, Amsterdam

They have a bar called Kevin Bacon.  While I’m not a massive fan of the actor, I thought the bar itself was rather beautiful.  It also has a small roadside terrace from which you can enjoy a morning coffee, or an early evening cocktail.

Hotel Not Hotel, AmsterdamHotel Not Hotel, Amsterdam

Bicycles are for rent, for €12 a day (and they’ll reserve them for you in advance).  We depended on this mode of transport throughout the weekend, and if you want to act like a local, then it’s key that you rent one too.  Then the hotel’s location – slightly out of the city centre, in bustling Amsterdam West – is not a problem either.  It takes 10 minutes max (depending on the calibre of the bikers you’re with) to cycle into the centre, or Amsterdam West has so many cosy neighbourhood cafes and bars (like Ted’s), as well as the brand new Cafe Panache, which seems to be the place to be for dinner on the weekend (blogs to follow on these).

Hotel Not Hotel, Amsterdam

Stay here for the experience, for a laugh.  It’s full of surprises.  Don’t take it too seriously, just enjoy it for what it is.  Then like us you’ll giggle when you wake up in a room which is not much bigger than a cupboard, looks like a chapel and is labeled ‘Crisis Free Zone’.  100% worth considering for a weekend away with friends.

Hotel Not Hotel, AmsterdamHotel Not Hotel, Amsterdam

For other Amsterdam accommodation ideas, consider the Volkshotel.  Plus sides is that it’s even more affordable than Hotel Not Hotel, has hot tubs on the roof, and a really fun bar.  Negatives are that it’s even further out of town.

Hotel Not Hotel

Piri Reisplein 34
1057 KH Amsterdam

Photos belong to Hotel Not Hotel

Barcelona, Blog, Spain

Terraza del Pulitzer, Barcelona – DRINK

September 14, 2015
Pulitzer Terrace, Barcelona

There’s something special about roof top bars.  For some reason they tend to have that slightly more exclusive feel to them.   Height has its advantages of course: usually they have views worth seeing, of they offer the perfect place to catch some rays, as well as a breeze.  While hotels do frequently have great roof top bars (the Four Seasons’ Aer bar in Mumbai, the Boundary Rooftop in London and the Peninsula’s Sir Elly’s Terrace in Shanghai are some of my favourites), during European weekend breaks I tend to avoid hotel bars in search of more local places.  But the Pulitzer’s Terraza is an exception.  I’d read about it numerous times and thought it looked fun and attractive, with no airs or graces as hotels can have.

Terraza del Pulitzer, Barcelona

Terraza del Pulitzer is one of those places where your mood lifts when you arrive.  Yes its busy, but not heaving.  Loud, but not noisy.  Full enough to create a vibe, with lots of locals to give it that all important authentic feel.  In fact, I don’t think I heard a word of English (apart from from the bar man when speaking to us).  We were there on a Friday evening and you could tell everyone was in a good mood; people were unwinding on the dance floor after a long week at work, dancing as only the Spanish can to upbeat music.  People were sipping cocktails, many the ever-popular ‘Gin-Tonic’, and we almost felt part of the local, trendy Catalonian crowd.  Bar the language and the dance moves of course.

Terraza del Pulitzer, Barcelona

You’re not here for the views (below average), but it’s a beautiful, leafy space where you can easily spend the whole day.  It is the ideal place for pre-dinner drinks (their cocktails are fantastic, the prices sadly what you’d expect from a hotel).  We didn’t really want to leave, but dinner was calling (Llamber in El Born).  It was certainly one of my favourite places of the weekend.

Other rooftop bars like La Terrassa at Hotel Villa Emilia and the Sky Bar are apparently also worth going to.

Terraza del Pulitzer

Hotel Pulizter

Calle Bergara, 8
08002 – Barcelona

Open from May to September

Photos Hotel Pulitzer’s own

Blog, Greece

Amanzo’e, Greece

June 22, 2014

There is a name for people who love Aman hotels: Amanjunkies. If you’re lucky enough to be able to afford a night at any Aman (there are 26 world wide), then it is highly likely you too will become addicted to them.  Because these hotels are one of a kind. Unique, exclusive and utterly heavenly, they are not your usual five star.  And the price per night (from £1,000 per night) certainly reflects this.

Through work I was fortunate enough to spend a weekend at Amanzo’e – one of the newest additions to the Aman brand in Europe, situated near Porto Heli in the Peloponnese in Greece.  A two and a half hour drive from Athens, or a short helicopter ride (which, despite costing 2300 euro one way, is a frequent mode of transport for the Aman guests).  We of course opted for the drive, and thank god we were upgraded to an Audi as would had felt a little out of place rocking up in a Fiat Punto.

Amanzo'e

Aman comes from the Sanskrit word for ‘peace’ and zo’e, the Greek word for ‘life’. Indeed, peace and tranquility is what you get. Set high on a hill, surrounded by pine forests and olive groves with sweeping views of the azure sea (the sunsets are some of the best I have seen), 38 pool pavilions enjoy complete privacy and luxury.  You can understand why people come here to escape their hectic lives, to get away from work and forget their worries.  Aside from the crickets chirping, you are completely undisturbed.

Amanzo'e

THE PAVILIONS

Amanzo'e

The resort is very Grecian in style, with grand, open communal areas.  Clearly inspired by traditional Greek acropolises, you can expect elegant colonnades and pretty cornices, cream stone and light interiors.  For those who know the Aman brand, the design and interiors are always simple, with clean lines and few frills.  Critics call the Aman hotels ‘sterile’ and ‘soulless’.  But Amanzo’e is none of this.

Amanzo'e

Amanzo'e

THE LIBRARY

Amanzo'e

Our pavilion is as large as my house in Fulham.  We had to pinch ourselves constantly to make sure we weren’t dreaming.  They’ve thought of everything, from the heated loo seat, to the Bose speakers, the complimentary mini bar to the his and hers bathrooms.  The sunken bath has views of the garden and a tiny bit of the sea.  Our terrace is so big we don’t know where to sit.  The bathrobes are so soft I want to take one home.  They provide sun hats and a beach bag, mosquito spray and a constant (and complimentary) supply of bottled water.  Our infinity pool is shallow but big enough for a cooling swim.

Amanzo'e

Amanzo'e

Amanzo'e

Amanzo'e

Amanzo'e

The main infinity pool is huge and in some photos looks almost like a lake.  Guest rarely seem to sit around the pool, preferring the beach club or their own pavilion pool, so it feels like it’s just yours. The restaurant here is open for lunch and dinner, and serves Greek food. Prices are reasonable here (for an Aman), and we enjoyed numerous glasses of 8 euro wines, spaghetti bolognese (14 euros) and fresh salads.  My sea bass carpaccio (14 euros) was exquisite too.

Amanzo'e

Amanzo'e

Amanzo'e

GREEK RESTAURANT BY THE POOL

Amanzo'e

Amanzo'e

The main, fine dining restaurant truly reminds you you’re in Greece. With stunning views of the ocean, and private dining options amongst the gardens, this may be one of the most special restaurants I have eaten at. The food is as beautiful as your surroundings and Amanzo’e were kind enough to treat us to an incredible dinner here.

Amanzo'e

Amanzo'e

Amanzo'e

Amanzo'e

GRILLED OCTOPUS

Amanzo'e

RAW SEA URCHIN & FENNEL

Amanzo'e

SEA URCHIN AND BLACK TRUFFLE RISOTTO

The bar is one of Amanzoe’s big wow factors. Guests probably Instagram and Facebook the photo of this more than anything else at the resort.  The main place to sit is on an ‘island’, surrounded by a water feature, overlooking ‘that view’.  The cocktail list is based on the Greek Gods, and there is also a non alcoholic cocktail list named after the Greek Demi gods.  I tried the Hera, being a big fan of pomegranate, and while I found it delicious I struggled with the 18 euro price tag.  But at Amanzo’e there is no point worrying about the cost, you just have to embrace it as a treat of a lifetime.

Amanzo'e

Amanzo'e

Amanzo'e

 

Amanzo'e

Amanzo'e

 

Amanzo'e

Amanzo’e is 6km away from the beach club.  Many find the distance Amanzo’e’s weakest feature.  It is far away, but you can bike there (the loveliest down hill bike ride ever) or be driven. Or walk. And if you wish to bike down and be driven back up (like we did), it’s not a problem.  The beach club is in a completely isolated bay, you truly feel like it’s just your beach (even though none of Greece’s beaches are private). While it is a pebbly beach, amanzoe have added sand too.  There are two swimming pools, a beach restaurant (serving food with a focus on Asia), and lots of water sports available.  Rob initially resisted kayaking, in the end we went for it and loved it.  The sea is crystal clear and you are completely undisturbed, apart from the odd yacht mooring at the jetty.

Amanzo'e

ROB BIKING TO THE BEACH CLUB

Amanzo'e

Amanzo'e

Amanzo'e

Amanzo'e

QUINOA & RAW SALMON SALAD AT THE BEACH RESTAURANT

Apart from the material luxury, there is one other thing which stands out. The service. You’ll never be looked after better than here. The staff, elegantly clad in creams and browns, are helpful to the extent that they preempt what you want. They remember what you like.  They are always there if you need them, but not in your face. Rob briefly mentioned he wanted to iron his shirt. An ironing board was placed in our villa immediately.  Every evening a little gift is placed on your pillow – one night am olive soap, the next a small bottle of Greek spirits.  Small touches which make a difference.

When the time came to leave, we both felt fairly miserable.  They drove our car round to the front.  We found that they had not only cleaned the inside, but also the outside.  Were we surprised? A little.  But at Amanzo’e you quickly come to realise that their aim is to constantly exceed your expectations.  In our case, the staff, and the resort, certainly did.

Amanzo'e

Around the corner from Amanzo’e Nikki Beach Porto Heli is opening at the end of July.  We were invited on a tour around the building site which is quickly turning into what will be a very cool beach club and resort (like the one in Koh Samui, this Nikki Beach will have accommodation too).  Their rooftop restaurant has the most incredible views of Porto Heli and the sea. It’s sure to become a big hit. I’m sure people from Spetses will water taxi over to party here for the day.

NIKKI BEACH PORTO HELI

VIEW FROM NIKKI BEACH

NIKKI BEACH PORTO HELI

With the Chedi also set to open in the next few years, Porto Heli – or the Greek Riviera as it is called – is soon to become the place to be in Greece.

Amanzo’e

Agios Panteleimonas,
Kranidi, Argolida,
213 00, Greece
Tel: (30) 275 4772 888

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