Showing posts with label hotel. Show all posts
Showing posts with label hotel. Show all posts

Wednesday, 3 May 2017

Italy, Veneto: A luxury stay at Almar Jesolo


Here we go again on another beautiful, luxury adventure - this time in Italy. Almar Jesolo Resort & Spa is an exceptional 5-star resort and spa just 50 minutes east of Venice. Situated right in the middle of the Jesolo Lido, it is a 15km strip of beach – the longest promenade in Europe.  Jesolo is a quaint seaside town that can be easily explored by foot or bike.  It's within easy reach of the beautiful floating Venice or the equally famous Verona, by car/taxi and ferry or a combination of both. 

The property overlooks a golden sandy beach with a cinematic walkway to the promenade and beyond. The beach is known for their small piers all along the coast.  In the summer, the hotel places white chairs, beach umbrellas as well as white double beach sunbeds for their guests.

The Almar Jesolo pride themselves on extraordinary quality and incredibly attentive and superior service.   The hotel facilities are superb, clean and well staffed.   From the moment you check-in to check-out all your desires and requests are attended to, without any questions.  The service is professional, friendly and discreet.   The staff speak perfect English and are fluent in other languages too.

The rooms are just gorgeous; spacious, comfortable and high-tech. My 8th-floor apartment overlooked the sea and the pool downstairs.  The bed is what we call in England Emperor size, with crisp white bedding.  The room has one walk-in shower room with all facilities and the other a bath and his & hers basins. The living room was a delight with a desk and plugs for everything you could image.  A beautifully fragrant bouquet of flowers and a bottle of their prosecco were waiting on my arrival. 

The balcony was quite big, with two loungers, towels, a table and chairs and plenty of room to move around.  Space is not a concern in this place. The decor was very relaxing with designer touches throughout the property.

It's silent all around, it's a place to relax and forget about the world. A place to concentrate on yourself and recharge your batteries.



Wellness, Spa and Beauty services at Almar Jesolo


Being a wellness and spa resort, Almar Jesolo offers an extensive list of pleasurable body treatments, massages and beauty treatments that put you on the right path to wellness.  

I had a 'Journey between Heaven and Earth'  a 90-minute full body massage  - It was so relaxing I fell asleep, only to be woken when the therapist asked me to turn around... I thought I was dreaming....  The whole experience took place in the very exclusive Almablu's hidden gem - a luxurious room overlooking the sea, a very private part of the Spa, that can be booked for 3 hours for treatments, private sauna and jacuzzi.  A fantastic experience.


They have two lines of products: Almablu, which was an absolute delight at my massage session and the Eau d'Altitude, made with Dolomitic water. The latter is a cosmetic line made of the unique and innovative formulation using water from San Martino di Castrozza - characterised by a high degree of purity.  I am loving using this product at home too.  They can purchase online: Eau d'Altitude, www.dolomiticwater.com/en

The Spa and the covered whirlpool (32C)  are very calming places. There is a sauna, steam baths and steam rooms for every taste.
Finnish sauna, Himalayan salt sauna and soft sauna, steam bath, salt steam bath and a Mediterranean bath - each at different temperatures. Another feature is the ice room with frozen cold water or ice for massages.  The Kneipp Therapy treatment is a coloured dual hot tub (hot and cold water) where you soak in hot water before plunging into cold water, this stimulates the blood flow, tones the muscles and increases the elasticity of the tissues.

There is also a well-equipped gym set in a glass cube, including the floor,  that overlooks the sea.

Eating at Almar Jesolo

Despite the fact it is a wellness resort, Almar Jesolo caters to everyone's needs and tastes. I had a couple of lunches by the pool.
Carbonara Almar Jesolo style



Mediterra Restaurant

The restaurant at Almar Jesolo is beautifully designed. It overlooks one part of three adjoining pools at differing temperatures and the pristine white table, chairs and loungers surrounding it.
With temperatures at around  26C with a light breeze in April,  lunches were served by the pool - the menu was light, exciting and quite creative.

I had an excellent modern Venetian dinner at Mediterra Restaurant.

A Modern Venetian dinner at Mediterra restaurant

Fried ravioli filled with pumpkin  paired with Champagne - a delightful starter

Local Sardines onion confit slowly cooked, sweet dried  tomatoes white raisins, micro herbs, pine nuts  and paired with champagne

Black ink risotto with sheep cheese ricotta and  pistachio+lime+ricotta purée and grated hard ricotta rosemary flower matched with Pinot Grigio from Friuli ( northern Italy) -  great taste of sheep cheese and black ink rice

Veal liver, polenta and croutons, onion Cooked with butter, vinegar, milk low for 20 minutes paired with red Valpolicella - a full of texture and very flavoursome

Dessert: We went off-piste to Sicily, and I had the Dolce Lampone
Lampone: Pistachio based biscuit, jelly, blackcurrant, velvety and extraordinary light diplomat cream and chocolate reduction matched with Sicily dessert wine, Muscat de Alexandria the wine is quite soft with low acidity, bright and floral and not too sweet.  The perfect ending to the meal.

I really enjoy this meal. Very creative cooking and lots of techniques. I choose to have the Venetian dishes on the evening menu. There are plenty of other choices for all tastes and needs.

The River Lounge Bar

An around the clock and informal bar serving light meals, snacks and the lunch time menu from the Mediterra restaurant. They serve excellent cocktails and drinks in minimalistic and pastel beige coloured surroundings, overlooking a large water feature.  Very calming.


Almar salad - juicy tiger prawns, green leaves, bloody oranges - very light and tasty.

Spritz at River Lounge bar

Tea time at The River Lounge Bar

They have a couple of choices, the Detox Tea (in keeping with the wellness theme) and the Chocolate Tea, where all items are, as you expect, cocoa based - an absolute delight!
I felt quite sad to leave Almar Jesolo after 3 days and 2 nights. It's a fabulous place to recharge and reconnect with oneself.  Highly recommended.  It's not as expensive as I thought, quite reasonable for what you get - Pure Luxury!  For more info:  Almar Jesolo

Nearest airport: Marco Polo Airport about 40 minutes away without traffic in the Summer (high season).  I hear that local and airport traffic is terrible in the high-season, Summer, so expect delays.
Highly recommended. 

Almar Jesolo video


Disclosure: I was a guest of Almar Jesolo. All opinions are my own.

Tuesday, 21 March 2017

A stylish stay at The George Townhouse, Warwickshire


I love living in London, such a vibrant city. But  I understand the need to get out of the big smoke. I am a big fan of the English countryside; it's so lovely and calming.   A road trip in and around the Cotswold has been on the cards for a while. Two weeks ago I adventured on a solo trip to recharge the batteries and have a 'me time' without the noise of the big city. 

I drove through the Cotswold little villages and towns and arrived at The George Townhouse in Shipston-on-Stour in Warwickshire. I was thrilled when I arrived and saw my room.

The George has been in the neighbourhood for years.  Located on the edge of the Cotswold in England is an ideal place to spend time, relax and explore the area. 

The George got an extensive makeover in early 2016 that included all the 15 en-suite bedrooms. Found right at the heart of Shipston High Street, it stands at three and a half stories tall that make it the tallest structure on that stretch of land. It is a  Georgian townhouse  with 18th century features, which gives it a casual and yet an elegant look.

 


The rooms at The George Townhouse have been decorated using only high-quality materials and craftsmanship. They have a luxurious feel to them while providing comfort. All the rooms have an en-suite bathroom, and breakfast is included in the room rate. 

My room was at the top of the building and overlooked the town's church tower. There was a crystal carafe with brandy waiting for me!  There was also a beautiful Spa Box just next to be most amazing free standing Victorian bath.  Little details that make all the difference.  

My room was well appointed. Crisp white bedding 100% cotton, the room was spotless. It was very welcoming, comfortable, roomy and airy.  One thing I missed in the room was a folding luggage rack, the chairs in my room were so beautiful that I didn't want to rest my suitcase on them.

There was complimentary, water still and sparkling, tea, hot chocolate  and an excellent Nespresso machine and coffee pods.  Crisps and biscuits were on offer as well.

 



The Spa box!


 


Eating  at The George Townhouse

The George Townhouse serves meals from breakfast to dinner. The ground floor you will find the parlour, where you can eat your first meal of the day. Lunch can be eaten in the garden room or in the swish dining room. Most of the food served at The George Townhouse is sourced locally. 

The Bar at The George Townhouse

Dinner
Aperol Spritz
Twice baked cheddar soufflé, spinach & grain mustard sauce - it was very lightevenly risen and slightly wobbly, the creamy sauce with mustard worked very well with the cheese and spinach
8oz. Todenham farm rump steak, triple cooked chips, peppercorn sauce, served medium-are and no blood running, excellent  and quality meat! The peppercorn sauce that accompanied the steak was very tasty.
My dessert: Espresso Martini - It had to be done!
Stolichnaya Vodka, Tia Maria & Espresso Coffee
Breakfast

Breakfast is  served from 8 am to 11 am, and it's a serious affair The menu is quite comprehensive. There's something for everyone. From a full English which consists of Todenham Farm sausages & dry cured bacon, roasted flat cap mushroom, grilled plum tomato, black pudding, dripping beef toast, baked beans, two of eggs of your choice & toast; to  eggs Benedict, toasted English muffin, poached egg, ham & Hollandaise  to a much lighter option Fresh fruit salad and granola. 

The breakfast buffet is beautifully presented with fresh local bread, croissant, toasts, fruits, cereals, fresh fruits, juices & more! 
 Buttermilk pancakes, smoked bacon & maple syrup

The staff at The George are from the nearby neighbourhoods, young, polite and enthusiastic.  They can provide you with information about places to visit while you are in town. The next time you are in Shipston-on-Stour or in the vicinity, be sure to drop by The George Townhouse whether you are going to stay for the night, have a glass of wine, or dine in.


The George Townhouse press

For bookings: book@thegeorgeshipston.co.uk
www.thegeorgeshipston.co.uk

THE GEORGE TOWNHOUSE
8 High Street,
Shipston-on-Stour,
Warwickshire,
CV36 4AJ

Rooms rates (2017)
From £100-£200 during the week (depending on the chamber) and from £140-£250 at weekends on a B&B basis and including VAT
Standard rooms from £100-£130 a night
Superior rooms from £120-£140
Deluxe Rooms from £140 to £160 per night
Deluxe Plus from £160 to £180
The Suite from £200 to £240 per night

Disclosure: I was a guest of The George Townhouse. All views are my own.

Thursday, 11 August 2016

London, Afternoon Tea at The Kensington Hotel


It's national afternoon tea week, and  I got to celebrate the occasion at the glamours Kensington Hotel, in relaxing surroundings with delicious treats on the menu. Their new afternoon tea is served in the newly refurbished Drawing Room, a blend of traditional with accents of modern decor. The traditional British afternoon tea was accompanied by an exclusive cocktail, unique for this event, made with Half Hitch Gin, Camden Lock’s Malawian Black Tea & Calabrian Bergamot infused gin.



The tea at The Kensington Hotel is supplied by The Rare Tea Company which founded in 2004 by Henrietta Lovell.  They source and provide the world’s best tea from sustainable and independent farmers worldwide. They collaborate with many of the world’s finest chefs and restaurants, including Noma, Momofuku and, now, The Kensington.

The Rare Tea Company

The Kensington Hotel Classic Afternoon Tea




I never had starters before an afternoon tea - it was awesome addition to the proceedings.

 Summer vegetable tart with broad beans & girolle mushrooms - the pastry had the right consistency, and  seasonal toppings worked well together; Crab Tartine with pickled cucumber had a lovely mix of texture; The creamed duck pate and blackberry cornet were very much like foies gras, Pea and gorgonzola arancini with basil cream  hit the spot!


Smoked salmon & chive crème fraîche on malted brown bread was very appetising; the cucumber sandwich and cream cheese was deliciously fresh as it was the chicken and cranberry  sandwich.  I liked the micro herbs garnishes that came with the sandwiches, small but powerful!


Amalfi lemon éclair filled choux with glazed meringue, and mint had the right notes and freshness; Bitter chocolate macaron with sea salt caramel as expected mouth-watering; the strawberry tart with edible gold was so glam! The pastry had the right snap!
Passion fruit & apricot mousse was literally melting in the mouth!
The freshly baked scones with strawberry jam & Devonshire clotted cream were just amazing!



 
The service at The Kensington Hotel is charming and attentive. Our waiter explained each course and was very knowledgeable about the tea. They remove and replace plates between the starter the main event.   It's true that we eat with our eyes first.  Mine eat the beautifully presented food as soon as it arrived at the table.   The table was entirely set with white linen, powder blue and white china and silver service.  They check periodically if we need anything including fresh teas. Perfect afternoon tea at reasonable price.

The afternoon tea costs £35/person or £45 with a glass of champagne
They have a gluten-free menu too.


The Kensington
109-113 Queen’s Gate
London
SW 7 5LR
Tel: 020 7589 6300

PIN



Disclosure: I was a guest of The Kensington on this occasion.
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