Showing posts with label review. Show all posts
Showing posts with label review. Show all posts

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.

Sunday, 21 August 2016

Sunday lunch at The Punchbowl

Having a roast lunch or roast dinner is a must when in Britain. It is one of the long-standing British traditions. My latest roast dinner took place at The Punchbowl.

The Punch Bowl is a very well known Mayfair pub in London. It became a favourite of the rich and famous after falling into the hands of Guy Richie and Madonna in 2008. At the time it was popular with Royalties, celebrities, stars with Hollywood pedigree. It was sold in 2013, but it hasn't lost its charm.

Nowadays, the 300-year-old  Georgian pub, a hidden gem tucked away on a small street in Mayfair still with the same façade and historic interior to match. The real traditional pub is something hard to find in Central London, so I was happy to visit and try their food too.

As you enter the place, you instantly feel the warmth and friendless of the staff. The Georgian decor makes you feel you have step back in time. The bar is on your right as you enter it and the pub dining area is right at the back with a range of tables,  a bar with high chairs,  and  three booths for a more private dining experience.

We started with a sample of three beers from the Ale menu.  You then settled for a pint of Punchbowl very own ale .

The artisan sourdough with Jersey butter, as expected they were delicious.

Smoked duck breast, green beans, pomegranate, almonds drizzled with vintage port  dressing - It was juicy duck and delectable dressing

deep fried squid, green salad and avocado  - very appetising

A succulent 350g dry aged Ribeye steak (28 days hung from South Devon), truffle chips, watercress & shallot salad and classic béarnaise sauce

Sunday roast - I chose beef with all the trimmings. A tender and medium rare roasted meat, roast potato, the most unusual Yorkshire pudding - it looked like a muffin, and it was a bit like 'soft bread';  lovely vegetables and a very flavoursome gravy.  They cater for vegetarians too.

Amazing Rolo chocolate and blood orange fondant, honeycomb ice cream topped sugared almonds   - a dish full of textures, the fondant was set by the time I cut into it still very palatable.

trio of ice cream
We drunk Malbec, Chumayo, 2015, Argentina @£28/bottle with our main meal

All in all we had a good time, the place was quiet when we arrived at 1pm but it was very busy by the time we left. A meal with aperitif, wine and  3 very substantial courses will set back around £50+/per person.

They also have an express menu during the week:
Monday -Friday 12pm- 3:30pm | 5:30pm-7pm
1 course £13.50 | 2 courses £17.50 | 3 courses £21.50

The Pub also serves nibbles and sandwiches at reasonable prices.

41 Farm Street, Mayfair, London, W1J 5RP
T: 0207 493 6841

Mon - Sat: Noon to 11.00PM
Sun: Noon to 10.30PM
(Bar Snacks served all day)

Mon - Fri: LUNCH (Noon to 3.30PM); DINNER (5.30PM to 10.00PM)
Sat: All Day (Noon - 10:00pm)
Sun: Noon to 9.00PM (last order)

Disclosure: I was provided with a complimentary meal for two for review purposes. All views are my own. 

Saturday, 4 June 2016

Luxury stay at Villa Baulieu, Provence

I've spent the most incredible couple of days at the stunning Villa Baulieu, located just a 10 minutes' drive outside Aix-en-Provence and 45 minutes from Marseille Airport, in Provence.

An idyllic place that screams peaceful luxury, this property is not a hotel or a guesthouse. It's a secluded private home with rooms to stay. Rental of the whole property can also be arranged. The property can't be seen from the road; as you approach it via the long driveway, it reveals itself as the most beautiful castle taken from a period film or a fairy tale.

It's a serene space that invites you to relax and enjoy its surroundings. There's a lot to take in! A stroll in the luscious rose garden or the perfectly manicured historical gardens, dipping in the magnificent pool, biking through its 140 hectares of vineyard- the largest domain in the Coteaux d'Aix en Provence, and wine tasting are the order of the day.

The vineyard

The decor is tasteful and executed with comfort in mind. Every detail has been calculated, from the antiques to the state-of-the-art pieces from the owners' travels. The property took ten years to restore. It is every inch of grandeur you can think of in a relaxed atmosphere.  It is ideal for large groups on holiday, celebrations, or, in my view, the perfect romantic getaway or honeymoon. It is a genuine Provencal stately home with Italian accents.

The Library

The rooms

There are eleven guest rooms, each with magnificent views of the gardens. Every bedroom is assigned a historical name significant to Baulieu or the owner's family and decorated with antiques and exquisite soft furnishings. All rooms come with the modern amenities including working air-conditioning and heating, free WiFi, a safe, good, powerful hairdryer, an iPhone dock, and, to my delight, a Nespresso machine. The bedrooms can be classified as ranging from very roomy to palatial. The majority are double rooms with two guest rooms that can be transformed into the twin chambers.

my room

Food and Wine
The only meal served daily is breakfast, and dinner can be arranged upon request only. Guests must explore the surrounding area for lunches and dinners. However, the host and the butlers are on hand to help with suggestions and even drive if necessary. 

The continental breakfast offering consists of local and homemade jams, cakes, tarts, croissants, bread, honey, and cheese. Freshly brewed coffee and teas are made to order.  If the whole house is rented, meals can be arranged. The house butler, David, and his helper, Alexis, were incredibly helpful, and their attentive service was on point. They also provide cooking  lessons showcasing local ingredients.

These were little details that made me feel at home and so welcomed. David cooked for us; he's a talented chef too. He cooked Provencal style dishes and also some creative dishes, in the most beautiful kitchen I've ever seen. I had a bit of kitchen envy!


food & wine

To Do & See
A stroll and shopping in Aix en Provence – approx. 10  minutes by car. There are other villages to be discovered in the area: Rognes, Lourmarin & Cadenet are the closest. Other villages of Luberon include Gordes & Cassis. There are a small number of golf courses nearby – a tee time can be organized by the house manager, as well as horse riding, wine tasting, wine safari and many occasional Festivals of Jazz/Classic music.

Swimming pool and relaxation: It has a stunning pool for swimming as well as a communal bathhouse for relaxation. Massages can be arranged either in the room or out in the vineyard.

Eat and market
The nearest town, Aix-en-Provence, and surrounding areas have a few pleasant eateries within a 15 minute drive.  We went to the Thursday market in Aix-en-Provence. It's divided into flowers, local food and specialties, and local artisanal textile and leather goods. The spring and summer months are ideal to visit the area when the lavender is in full bloom. September & October are glorious times too!

The hosts and house manager are very kind and beyond helpful. It feels like staying at a distant relative’s extravagant home – attentive and accessible, but never overbearing.

aperitif  time with Villa Baulieu wines

Getting there  
Nearest airport: 30 minutes from Marseille-Provence Airport; 2 hours to Nice Airport. A 3-hour drive from Paris and 30 minutes from the epicenter of the Luberon.

Contact | location | prices: 
Rognes en Provence
Tel: +33 (0)4 42 60 39 40

Disclosure: I was a guest of Villa Baulieu, All opinions, eating and wine intake are all mine! 

A photo posted by Rosana | London 🍾🍷🍽🍸✈️🌶 (@rosana_mcphee) on

A photo posted by Rosana | London 🍾🍷🍽🍸✈️🌶 (@rosana_mcphee) on

A photo posted by Rosana | London 🍾🍷🍽🍸✈️🌶 (@rosana_mcphee) on
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