Showing posts with label luxury travel. Show all posts
Showing posts with label luxury travel. Show all posts

Friday, 7 July 2017

Abadia Retuerta Le Domaine: michelin-starred meal at Refectorio

Abadia Retuerta - Refectorio
Food and service go hand-in-hand at Michelin star restaurant  Refectorio. I had an excellent and elegant dining experience here. The whole of Abadia Retuerta LeDomaine is set up to make you feel super relaxed in exquisite surroundings.

Refectorio is set in a long room with a high and gothic featured ceiling. The stone walls are the background to some beautiful antique original paintings.  Even though it is large, there’s so much to see, and yet it doesn’t feel cluttered. The antique furniture sets off the room nicely. There are about ten dining tables; it feels intimate and yet spacious. As you enter the room, the back wall features a stunning fresco, and by the entrance, there is a bookcase displaying an original collection of books dating back the 12th Century.

The service is impeccable, friendly and elegant. The staff is knowledgeable about the food, wine and spa everywhere you go in this property. Customer service is second to none, they learn about your wishes and likes, and when you least expect it, they offer what you like throughout your stay.  That’s what I call service!

My meal at Refectorio was beyond my expectations, perhaps one of the best meals I've had in Spain this year. The menu was matched with some of the Abadia Retuerta's fine wines.

The first time I entered the room my jaw dropped, everything was so amazing. at the dinner I was directed to my table. I travel solo most of the time nowadays, but the staff made me feel at home. Every single dish was explained in detail, and the wines complimented the dishes so well. I had the Abadia Retuerta wines as I was reviewing everything 'Abadia Retuerta Le Domaine'  and the matches were just superb.

The Meal at Refectorio

Crunch Toast with an intense  gazpacho water (out of the picture)
Bread with olive oil ice cream spring onion and mint - amazing flavours matched with champagne

Mushroom  cheese  stunning umami flavours
Pickled quail encased in sugary eggshell - soft centre and sweet hard shell tasted so good

Cauliflower Soup with smoked trout, the clear soup is made with bones of the trout.  smoky and textured fish was a delight served with Abadia Blanco de Garda wine

Leek hazelnut vinaigrette, roasted garlic croquettes, local mushrooms.  This dish was  full of textures, a mix of fresh and earthy umami flavours

Local Mushroom pork jowl Abadia pine nuts puree of mushrooms concentrated earthy flavours matched with Abadia Retuerta Touriga Nacional red wine

Cod with Iberico tripe sauce and turnip  wine pairing Abadia  Graciano, an intense wine to match the robust sauce. The combination of delicate fish and strong sauce made a exquisite visual appeal as well of element of surprise.  Wine: Abadia Graciano 2013

Tender and  juicy Lamb, mint and kale puree  and coffee matched with Abadia Retuerta Pago Negralada 2014, Tempranillo

Bayonne (blue cheese) from Basque Country with whisky
Sheep's cheese encased in a light, crisp case made with sheets cheese and rosemary topped  black olive topping served with Late Harvest Syrah Vendimia Tardia 2014

Rosemary ice cream toffee honey and Abadia pine nuts
Floral tea with homemade chocolate lemon cream and toffee

I can’t recommend Refectorio enough. Ok, I get that the place is a bit remote, but it’s worth the pilgrimage, believe me!  They have beautiful rooms and a very inviting bar. A stay at the hotel and Spa is also a must. For more on prices  and how to get there: Abadia Retuerta - Refectorio

PS:  A visit to their wine cellar is a must!

How to get there

LeDomaine is located in Spain’s north central province of Castilla y León. It is situated on the banks of the River Duero east of Valladolid in Ribera del Duero region.

Connected by plane to the airports of Valladolid "Villanubla" and Madrid "Barajas".
    By car from the airport of Valladolid to LeDomaine: 40 km.
    By car from the airport of Madrid to LeDomaine: 220 km.

By High-Speed Train from Madrid "Chamartin" Station to Valladolid "Campo Grande" Station: 55 minutes.

By car from Valladolid "Campo Grande" Station to LeDomaine: 30 km.

GPS: 41º 36' 54.95" N, 4º 24' 39" W

Personalised transfer service on request.


47340 Sardon de Duero Valladolid,Spain

Tel: +34 983 680 368


Disclosure: I was a guest at Abadia Retuerta for review purposes, this press trip was organised by Magellan PR . All views are my own.

Wednesday, 5 July 2017

Spain, a luxury stay at Abadia Retuerta LeDomaine

Abadia Retuerta LeDomaine

Arriving in Abadia Retuerta LeDomaine is very much like the start of a glamorous Hollywood film. A long curved driveway reveals a limestone Abadia (monastery) from the 12th Century.  Reception is very welcoming, and understated elegance seems to flow over the building from decor to service.

The refurbishment work took ten years to complete. Its craftsmanship is of high quality, and the materials work in tandem with the local ecosystem.  The abbey is sustainable and historical, sharing close ties to the technical development that took place during the Roman Empire.  The rooms have windows and shutters, thermally insulated curtains and an underfloor heating system to ensure they are visually sleek and pleasing.

Everything has been thought out. The service at the hotel is discreet and elegant with small personal touches that make the whole experience even more enjoyable.

The resident Stork

detail of the church

The rooms are very spacious; mine had a beautiful view of the vineyard. The estate produces a small amount of wine of high quality.  The vineyard and the winery are very well kept, and they have interesting wines in their bodega.

My room at LeDomaine

My superior double room was a perfect size for a solo traveller, decked out with Loewe TV with international channels and Nespresso coffee machine. The Queen size bed was comfortable and dressed in crisp white linen. The fluffy white towels and bathrobe are of the best quality possible.

A bottle of their award winning  Abadia Retuerta Special Selection Sardon de Duero 2013  was waiting for me in the room. One thing made me very happy was my room views to the vineyard in both the room and the bathroom. The bath was strategically positioned so I could see the vineyard from it.  That's luxury!

A bathroom with a view at LeDomaine
The view from my room

The wine at Abadia Retuerta LeDomaine

They have a range of wines; the first one is their Special Selection which is a blend of 3 varietals, 75%tempranillo (Spanish varietal), 15% cabernet sauvignon and  10% Syrah, it is their best seller.

The second one is their Pago (plot) wine; these are single varietal Pagos - 100% cabernet sauvignon, the Pago Garduna, 100% Syrah, the Pago 100% Tempranillo, and the Pago 100% Petit Verdot. T

Their third line is the Nine Marker Collection which is an experimental wine list, made with international varietals, like Nebbiolo, Sangiovese, Touriga National,  Gewürztraminer, and Graciano. These wines are not on the market; they are experimental wines to see and study the behaviour of international grapes in their terroir and weather conditions.

A tour around the vineyard and winery is a must!

The SPA at Abadia Retuerta LeDomaine

The underground spa won the award for Best Spa 2016, it is beautifully designed and very welcoming. Every treatment room is named after an estate wine.

The Spa Sommelier Experience is a unique personalised wellness experience inspired by Traditional Chinese Medicine's five element theory and wine tasting ritual. 'The five S'  - see, swirl, sniff, sip and savour.
The Spa Sommelier Experience

My first treatment was a surprising mix of wine, essential oils; cedar, (woody) thyme - herbal and yuzu (citrus/grassy). What follows is then a bespoke wine tasting where you choose an oil to have with your treatment. The Sommelier 1 treatments last for 90 minutes and let me tell you that it’s not long enough! It’s an enjoyable experience when you have a full body massage with the essential oil of your choice. The room overlooked an internal garden with green vegetation and a water feature.  It’s enclosed and very private.  I feel asleep during the treatment, and I left the spa floating!

The next day, my second treatment was a full body scrub, a body wrap and another full body massage with yuzu oil. I am not sure if it was the oil or the vigorous massage, but I felt super sleepy afterwards. My skin felt very smooth and revitalised.  Ahhh, Bliss!
One of many treatment rooms

On my third day, I had a full facial with an added delightful 30-minute foot massage. This time we were in the ‘Special Selection’ room. It’s a bigger space, with two massage tables, an oval bathtub, private shower and steam room. An enormous double silver sofa dominates the room. This room can be booked in advance to enjoy as a couple, with your lover, your parent, or your best friend.  It overlooks another private internal garden.

Interestingly every treatment starts with a foot scrub in gorgeous ceramic bowls and jugs! They are made by a local ceramist, again in keeping with Abadia Retuerta’s philosophy of supporting their staff, the local economy and the environment. After the foot scrub, I moved to the massage table. The treatment always starts with the sound of small double bells.  It’s a terrific experience; it's no wonder this SPA was awarded Best Spa 2016.
The Spa at LeDomaine
SPA indoor pool

Eating at Abadia Retuerta LeDomaine

Michelin starred Refectorio at LeDomaine

There are two restaurants at Abadia Retuerta LeDomaine; one is the Michelin starred Refectorio, and the other is the Vinoteca, the later is an all day modern and relaxed approach to dining using local and seasonal ingredients.
Their wine cellar is incredibly well stocked, both with their wines as well as with a small but well-formed list of fine wines from all over the world. 

The all day dining restaurant's wall is covered with their wines. It’s an informal space but still has a carefully curated menu and the service is excellent.

Some of the beautiful dishes I ate at Vinoteca
butter was divine dusted with Salt de Vino (wine salt), baking is done in the premisses
white asparagus and aioli

grilled artichokes with hazelnut cream

air baguette, marinated 'iberico presa', capers, rocket and parmesan

steak tartare
this was amazing white fish carpaccio served with a very hot olive oil dressing and Tiger mussel

my love for rice .... juice rice with prawns  from Medina del Campo (nearby town), squid and aioli

Cecina  de Leon, salted and dried meat, served with oli, pepper and pan con tomate  served with Cava

Breakfast at Abadia Retuerta LeDomaine

One of my many delicious experiences at LeDomaine was the breakfast.  Talk about starting the day off right!

They offer an excellent list of coffee, teas, infusions, and fresh juices. There is also a platter of seasonal fruits available. They also have a variety of milk for all tastes and dietary requirements. The bread basket is very comprehensive, full of local cakes and homemade bread - whatever you choose, you can’t go wrong!

The eggs were cooked as they should be! I had Eggs Benedict with Iberico ham - a fabulous combination. Pan con Tomate - one of my favourite Spanish dishes - so simple but made with ingredients that were top notch.

A selection of cured meats from Iberico to loin, chorizo to boiled ham. The cheeses were both from cow and cured sheep's milk - accompanied with quince and walnuts

Abadia Retuerta LeDomaine is a hidden gem in the Ribera del Duero. It is just outside a small village called Sardon de Duero, near Valladolid.
They also offer plenty of other activities in and around the estate.
I had lunch in the nearby village of Traspinedo at 'Entre Brasas y Sarmiento',  a very modest local restaurant serving regional and seasonal food, it's no frills and done just right.  Their speciality is pincho de Lechazo Asado a la brasa de Sarmiento, translated as:  local baby lamb cooked on the skewer over an open fire. Fantastic food and friendly service. I also learned to make sourdough bread at the Michelin star  Refectorio's kitchen

Abadia Retuerta LeDomaine

How to get there

LeDomaine is located in Spain’s north central province of Castilla y León. It is situated on the banks of the River Duero east of Valladolid in Ribera del Duero region.

Connected by plane to the airports of Valladolid "Villanubla" and Madrid "Barajas".
    By car from the airport of Valladolid to LeDomaine: 40 km.
    By car from the airport of Madrid to LeDomaine: 220 km.

By High-Speed Train from Madrid "Chamartin" Station to Valladolid "Campo Grande" Station: 55 minutes.

By car from Valladolid "Campo Grande" Station to LeDomaine: 30 km.

GPS: 41º 36' 54.95" N, 4º 24' 39" W

Personalised transfer service on request.


47340 Sardon de Duero Valladolid,Spain

Tel: +34 983 680 368


Next Post: A Michelin dinner at Refectorio at LeDomaine

Disclosure: I was a guest at Abadia Retuerta for review purposes, this press trip was organised by Magellan PR . All views are my own.

Wednesday, 31 May 2017

Wiltshire, lunch at Michelin-starred The Harrow at Little Bedwyn

The Harrow at Little Bedwyn

Another adventure in Wiltshire this year started on a high note at  The Harrow at Little Bedwyn,  a small  Michelin-starred restaurant situated in a charming and hidden country lane in the village of Little Bedwyn in Wiltshire.  It was established about 18 years ago by Sue and Roger Jones. Roger, I was told, heads the kitchen, devises the menu and is in charge of the wine list. Sue meanwhile, looks after the front of the house and service.  They accommodate a maximum of 34 patrons at a time. In Summer they open the Garden Terrace.

I was very excited as I have been looking forward to a meal at The Harrow for a long time. Leaving the Big smoke, I headed off to Wiltshire. After driving along the motorway and through the winding beautiful country lanes of the area, I arrived at the restaurant in just under 2 hours. It was a very pleasant trip and I arrived famished.

The Harrow is well-known for its excellent food as well as their  900 bin wine list which has been admired by many discerning customers and the industry as a whole.  The ingredients are carefully sourced according to seasonality, locality, and use of free-range suppliers as much as possible. 

I arrived and encountered smiles all around.  Izzy was fronting the house on this occasion as Sue was away on business.  Izzy and the team looked after me impeccably in a kind and genteel manner.

The meal at The Harrow

The Harrow is formed by two small rooms, with tables nicely dressed. The rooms are light and airy with very comfortable chairs.  The wine flight that accompanied the dishes were spot on! That just shows why The Harrow has retained its Michelin star for so many years.

Amuse-bouche: Salmon

Cured salmon (cured in house with five different citruses for 24 hours; lemon, orange, grapefruit, yuzu, a tiny bit of lime), capers tomato yoghurt fennel toasted sourdough
Pickled cucumber, garlic, olives

Fresh and full of textures Torbay Crab salad, tiny watermelon balls, watermelon consumé, cucumber balls, cherry tomatoes, brown crab meat  purée Wine: Larry Cherubino Laissez Faire Field Blend 2016, Pemberton Western Australia

Simply stunning Cornish Line caught Turbot, sea and land Asparagus, lemon dressing  - the fish was perfectly cooked and served with a smooth and sweet pea puree. Wine: Adega de Pegoes, Seleccionada 2015, Adega de Pegoes Portugal

Slow cooked beef cheeks in breadcrumbs, parsnip purée, amazing PX caramel, Highland fillet cooked without blood running,  peas and greens, horseradish, separate jus.  Wine: Andre Brunel Rasteau Les Sambiches 2009, Rhone Valley France

A tasting of British cheeses:
Mild: Wigmore Sheep, Cerney Ash goats, Lincolnshire poacher cheddar - cow's milk. Sharp cheeses and cow's milk: Stinking Bishop - cow's; Perl Las Blue - Welsh cheese.
Flatbread:   Fennel and Almond, Ginger biscuit excellent with cheeses
Wine: Pedro Ximénez

Palate cleanser
Boiled egg and soldier

Boiled egg and soldier  - It was a pleasant surprise.
Mango and passion fruit purée, Crème Anglaise, topped with  Italian meringue and dusted with vanilla salt. Beautiful visually and on the palate.

Dessert : Lemon at The Harrow at Little Bedwyn

Lemon - it was four delightful desserts in one!
Passion fruit, mango yuzu parfait; a light vanilla and lemon sponge; vanilla ice cream was just delicious, creamy and flavourful and yuzu macaron with white chocolate and lemon ganache. The macaron was fresh, light, just a little chewy, and soft - melted in the mouth. This dessert excites all senses.  Wine: Echeveria Late Harvest Sauvignon Blanc 20123, Curico Valley Chile.

I had a brilliant time at The Harrow, what a gem of place. Pity its miles away from London but the pilgrimage is worth it!

Disclosure: I was a guest of The Harrow at Little Bedwyn organised by Visit Wiltshire. All views are my own. 
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