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

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

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

Thursday, 4 August 2016

Southern France, Experience the Gard

Nîmes

The Gard is a department in southern France in the Languedoc-Roussillon-Midi-Pyrénées region. It's  one of the original 83 departments created during the French Revolution on March 4, 1790. It was created from the ancient province of Languedoc.

Languedoc means "language of oc". The oc languages are traditionally opposed to the oil languages, oc and oil being the old forms of Oui (yes).

The department is named after the River Gardon, and the Occitan name of the river has been replacing the French name of the department in recent decades, even among French speakers.

Nîmes - gastronomy and history


Nîmes is a city in the Languedoc-Roussillon region of southern France, It is a vibrant and attractive city located between the sea and the Cevennes hills, it was an important outpost of the Roman Empire. It’s known for well-preserved monuments such as the Arena of Nîmes, a double-tiered circa-70 A.D. amphitheatre still in use for concerts and bullfights.
Maison Carrée in Nimes

The Maison Carrée white limestone temple is the best-preserved temple from the Roman empire. It's located in the center of the hassle and bustle of the city and opposite a very modern Norman Foster 's Carré d’Art which is made of glass and steel. Maison Carrée has had many different uses including a private house. Nowadays is part of the Forum, the economic and administrative heart of the Roman town.

Visit of the centrally located covered market, Nîmes Les Halles,  fresh food market, is a must as well as a look around the pedestrian area full of independent shops showcasing the local artifacts, food, and other products.  Thankfully Nîmes Les Halles air-conditioned and covered the temperature was soaring the day I visited.



Local biscuits

Another attraction is The Roman Amphitheatre (or arena) is the best-preserved amphitheatre in the Roman world. It was used for hunting wild animals and for gladiatorial games from the end of the 1st century AD onwards. 


Restaurant Vincent Croizard at Nîmes


Chef Vincent Croizard born in New Caledonia and arrived in France at the age of 18. In 2001, Together with his wife, they moved to Nîmes and opened a hugely successful restaurant,  Darling. They were rewarded by numerous awards and mentioned in the best gastronomic guides.
Chef Vincent Croizard
Afterward, They opened this boutique restaurant in a very unassuming street, where we least expect it. Do not look for a storefront classic restaurant: it is a private house door, and you ring the bell. Just as if you were sharing a meal with friends.

Sheltered from the bustle of the city, yet in the heart of Old Nimes, the place is cozy, elegant and warm, this place offers a contemporary space, a terrace and a beautiful garden with a pond and fountain. The music of the water provided by the fountain and waterfall is very soothing.

The service was friendly and charming.  The food was very imaginative. The ingredients are chosen according to seasons and daily availability. Beautiful lunch!
Beautiful setting for lunch in Nimes

Brandade

Artichoke cream ham and tomato confit

Rouille soup Mediterranean polpo black rice lemon confit piquant sauce with coriander and lemon confit
Duck grilled and steamed  polenta sour cherries

Palette cleanser: olive sorbet - amazing!

Chocolate coffee ice cream gingerbread

Restaurant Vincent Croizard
 17, rue des Chassaintes, 30900 Nîmes
Tel: +33 (0) 4 66 67 04 99 - www.restaurantcroizard.com
Facebook: Vincent Croizard

Uzès

Uzès is an architectural jewel with outstanding heritage assets. The preserved, protected quarters have been continually widened to include further sections of the town and Uzès has been awarded the distinction “City of Art and History” since November 2008.
Uzès



Uzès

Uzès

Cook’n with Class Uzès 

A short drive from Uzès; about 10 minutes away is the commune of Arpaillargues. Just outside of it, you can find Cook’n with Class Uzès.  French cooking classes in English
I had a private class with Chef Eric and learned some techniques as well as some presentation tips. The place is airy, light and well-equipped with lessons with a hands-on approach.
It was an insight into Provençal and Mediterranean cuisine and plate presentation. Highly recommended!
Cook’n with Class Uzès

'Fennel & Citrus Salad, Spicy Pecan & Crispy Duck Recipe by Eric Fraudeau'

 Ingredients

1 Fennel Bulb
1 Orange
3 Tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil, preferably strong
1 or 2 Duck breasts
A Pinch of Salt and Pepper
half of a lime juice
20 gr. / 0.7 oz. tarragon or coriander fresh leaves
1 grapefruit
4 Tbsp honey
1tsp chilli powder
12 Pecan or Walnut

Method
1)Peel the orange and the grapefruit with a knife, get the segments, save in the fridge, squeeze the skin and membranes, and save the juice. Squeeze the lime juice.
2)Slice the fennel into very thin slices (use a mandoline slicer if you have one). Add half of the orange and grapefruit juices, three tablespoons of olive oil, a pinch of salt and a pinch of pepper and the sliced herbs and the lime juice and a TBS of Honey.
Mix well and pour over the fennel. Let rest in the fridge for at least 1 hour.
3)In the meantime, in a saucepan, non-stick is better, caramelize the 2 TBS of honey and add the pecans... cook for 3 to 5 minutes until golden brown. Remove from heat, spread the chili powder and salt and pepper and reserve for later.
4)Start cooking the duck breast in a cold pan, non-stick again, skin down on medium heat for 5 mn, pour out the fat, flip the breast and cook 5 minutes on that side, season well, remove and place in 160 Celsius (325ºF) oven for 5 minutes. Let it rest 5 minutes before you cut it into 6 large slices.
5)Plate nicely with the orange segments and some tarragon leaves.



Cook’n with Class Uzès
Chemin du Moulin de Chalier, 30700 Arpaillargues
(lookout for sign for Musee 1900, the cookery school is just behind it)
Tel: +33 (0) 4 66 01 35 15 – www.cooknwithclass-uzes.com
FB: Cook’n with Class Uzès

They also have a cookery school in Paris:
Cook’n with Class Paris
6 rue Baudelique
Paris 75018
Tel: +33 (0)142 57 22 84
www.cooknwithclass-paris.com

Where to stay in the Gard: 
Le Vieux Castillon Hotel 


Guide Prive ( Private Guide)


Next day, my guide for the morning was  Florian Stoll, who took me to discover  Duché d’Uzès vineyards, and wine tasting on a 2CV (old Citroën car),  a hidden gem of a local coffee family business and visit the Pond du Gard - It was so much fun!  
If you ever in the region you must contact Florian, he was friendly, knowledgeable and made the experience very special.

Guide Prive ( Private Guide)
2 CV Tours

www.ailleurs-et-uzes.fr
contact@ailleurs-et-uzes.fr
T: +33 (0) 601 755928


A Visit to the Pont du Gard

Pont Du Gard , aqueduct up and close

The Gard proudly boasts on one of the world's most beautiful monuments, the tallest aqueduct in the Roman world. It was built in a mere five years.  Also most 2000 years ago, this magnificent structure, inscribed in the UNESCO World Heritage since 1985, supplied the habitats of Nimes with running water throughout five centuries. It's stature, perfect preservation, and magnificent arches make the Pont du Gard the greatest bridge ever built in classical times. It measures: 360m long, 50m high, on three levels

Set in a serene and verdant surroundings. It is placed to admire and in the summer days enjoy sunbathing, and water sports on the river.

This sightseeing is well organised, and full infrastructure on site.

Pont du Gard – 400 Route du Pont du Gard, 30210 Vers-Pont-du-Gard
T: +33 (0) 4 66 37 50 99 – www.pontdugard.fr
Twitter: @pontdugard / FB: Site du Pont du Gard Officiel

Lunch at La Petite Gare in the village of Vers-Pont-du-Gard

La Petite Gare – 435 route d’Uzès, 30210 Vers-Pont-du-Gard
T: +33 (0) 4 66 03 40 67 – www.lapetitegare.net
FB:  La Petite Gare vers-Pont-du-Gard


How to get to The Gard
By train  from Paris to Toulouse and Nîmes
For more information, destinations and costs:
www.voyages-sncf.com
Twitter : @voyagessncf_uk / FB : Voyages-sncf.com
 Instagram: @Voyagessncf #Voyagessncf

Airports:
Marseille, Montpellier and Nîmes
More information on the region:  
www.tourismegard.com
Twitter: @VacancesGard / FB: Gard Tourisme

Until next time why not join me on  InstagramTwitter and Facebook…X


Other related posts:
Planning your trip: Rhone Valley
Previous adventures: Southern France, Savour The Drome
                                    Southern France, food and wine adventure in the Ardeche

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Disclosure: I was a guest of Le Gard Tourisme on this leg of the press trip. As usual, all views are my own.
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