Wondrous Stays on the French Riviera !

Three favorite legendary hotels that are popular with the Cannes Film Festival’s high-profile guests.

Since 1946, the Cannes Film Festival has been considered one of the five most prestigious film festivals worldwide, offering all the glitz and glamor that the crème de la crème of international cinema has to offer. Every year during the festival, the French Riviera’s legendary palatial hotels are buzzing with personalities and VIPs who flock to its most sophisticated seaside resorts. Here are three favorite hotels during the 2021 festival.

Hôtel Martinez

Here’s a jewel of a hotel from the roaring 20s. Renovated just a couple of years ago, Hôtel Martinez is one of these historic Southern France hotels that, by belonging to the exclusive Unbound Collection by Hyatt, gets to keep all that makes it special yet offers the upscale services and facilities that Hyatt’s finest properties represent.

Respecting its heritage, the hotel has done up its rooms in an art-deco theme yet married it with lighter colors that match with the today’s aesthetic standards and the Mediterranean vibe of the iconic Promenade de la Croisette. All the interiors, from the circular staircase to the lobby ceilings, are works of art that pay homage to this enchanting era.

Spellbinding features of the hotel include suave outdoor terraces with wrought-iron railings, stunning sea views with palm trees in the foreground, and an aptly named restaurant with two Michelin stars, called La Palme d’Or after the highest prize given at the film festival. Needless to say, the food and beverage offerings at the Martinez will impress, not least because of award-winning head chef Christian Sinicropi who has earned all the accolades and prizes to prove it. Do ask for signature cocktails and make a reservation at La Plage du Martinez for lunch by the sea.

www.hotel-martinez.com

Hôtel Barrière Le Majestic Cannes

There are many reasons why the Hôtel Barrière Le Majestic Cannes belongs to The Leading Hotels of the World, whether it’s the gourmet element, fine service, rich heritage or impressive awards. In late 2020 Conde Nast Traveler even put the property in its Top 10 Hotels in France, while Travel & Leisure had listed it in its Top 5 France Resort Hotels. Its claim to fame is bolstered by being right across from the Palais des Festivals in Cannes and also on the famous promenade, La Croisette.

The enchantment of this hotel begins with its palace-like property built at end of France’s Belle Epoque, the period in the late 1800s and early 1900s known for its art, entertainment and joie de vivre. There certainly is an art-deco 1920s element as well, which can be witnessed at Fouquet’s Cannes, the esteemed sister restaurant of Fouquet’s in Paris. The restaurant’s Gallery Bar is a must for afternoon tea accompanied by mouthwatering pastries or for champagne and cocktails with amuse-bouches.

There’s a great surprise awaiting those of visit the hotel’s BFire By Mauro Colagreco, the specialty restaurant where Italian meets Argentinian, with dishes served booth indoors and right by the beach at your lounge chair. If you’re there in summer, you must try some of France’s best champagnes in the property’s gardens, and particularly at the Rotonde Veuve Cliquot. Don’t forget to make a reservation at the hotel’s Spa Diane Barrière where the ayurvedic and hot stone treatments can do miracles to the body while soothing the soul.

www.hotelsbarriere.com

Hotel du Cap-Eden-Roc

If you want to enjoy the vibe of the Cannes Film Festival yet prefer more secluded accommodation, you’re going to love the Hotel du Cap-Eden-Roc. About half an hour by car from Cannes and set on a gorgeous green peninsula known as Cap d’Antibes, the property has been one of the French Riviera’s finest for over 150 years. Set on a private bay that will impress any visitor, the hotel began its history with the European and the Russian aristocracy which coveted Hotel du Cap-Eden-Roc as their summer getaway.

It is clear to see why the hotel is part of the Oetker Collection, whose properties “are true masterpieces located in the world’s most desirable destinations”. In this particular property, you’ll be welcomed by France’s luxuriously classical splendor along with the personal attention, yet with all the high-tech comforts and conveniences of the modern world. The rooms are designed in a classically elegant French theme, where fine fabrics with floral prints are juxtaposed against gorgeous sea views and verdant landscapes.

No effort has been spared on the culinary front, where Le Bristol Paris’s three-Michelin-starred chef Eric Frechon, also consulting chef at the hotel), teamed up with the property’s executive chef Arnaud Poette to present Mediterranean and Provençal cuisine with a modern take. You can sample the results at the one-star Michelin Louroc Restaurant, at the Eden Roc Grill and all across the property’s food and beverage outlets.

Here’s a little tip: the hotel’s legendary Cognac-based cocktail, Eden-Roc Splash, has been updated with a hint of raspberry and is a must for fine palates. Bar lovers will be spoiled for choice, whether it’s Bar La Rotonde indoors yet with gorgeous sunset views, the lobby’s Bar Bellini for its exquisite wines and tapa-like dishes, or the Eden-Roc Champagne Lounge by the sea where the choice of Champagnes – accompanied of course by sublime hors d’œuvres – will delight every amateur and connoisseur alike.

www.oetkercollection.com

With gratitude, T.

Niyama Maldives : An exceptional family-friendly resort!

Tourism is recovering around the world, and the secluded islands of the Maldives are no exception. This is one of the safest and most gorgeous destinations to visit this summer, and there’s one particular resort that I am very impressed with: the Niyama Private Islands Maldives.

If you’re ready for a completely different experience in the middle of the Indian Ocean, this resort represents an escape that’s beyond the imagination for even the most discerning travelers. There’s a luxurious yet natural air about this thatched-roof resort which is divided among two neighboring islands, aptly called Play and Chill. Initially, it’s easy to understand which one appeals to you more, depending of course on whether you feel like actively playing outdoors or just chilling around. In both cases, you’re going to be treated to a world of hospitality options, much beyond the expected comforts and delightful cuisine offerings.

Overall, the premises represent the ultimate in privacy, and you won’t even notice there are 134 different rooms and suites, all with large decks and meters away from the water. For an added level of luxury, ask for accommodations with private swimming pool and your own Thakuru (butler) service. The collection of beachside abodes on the Crescent, one of the most exclusive parts of the resort, are especially coveted by VIP guests. That said, all accommodation at Niyama is considered luxurious by any standard.

Play outdoors or chill at the spa?

The twin island concept is really a great feature. If you’re more of an adventurous type who craves outdoor activity, here’s your chance to kayak around various islands in shallow waters and surf to your heart’s content. Exploring the island by foot or by bike is highly recommended if you want to experience the elements of nature and stay fit, while at the same time knowing that you’re in a safe environment.

On the other hand, if you’re into wellbeing and relaxation, you can simply take a serenity-inducing yoga class in nature or try one of the different treatments and therapies at the Drift Spa. Niyama’s guests have written great reviews about the cooling aloe vera body wrap, ideal for relaxing after long days. Needless to say, you can easily mix and match all these delights and attractions to achieve your own balance of Chill and Play.

Gourmet dilemma

You’re going to find it pleasantly challenging to choose among the different dining choices at Niyama, whether you’re in the mood for a fine juicy burger on land or marinated octopus below sea level.

To mention only a few of these options, and beyond the many fabulous breakfast treats that include anything from succulent omelets to exotic fried rice, you’re in for a bouquet of culinary surprises that offers not only Maldivian and western flavors, but also the best of Asian, African and Latin American ones.

Niyama’s standalone fine-dining restaurant, Edge, is a haven for local seafood and is accessible only by boat as it’s right in the middle of the water. For a complete contrast, try some Asian gourmet with a modern twist, from Teppanyaki to Thai, which can be enjoyed in a fabulous tree-top environment at Nest.

If you really want a jungle experience, head to Tribal, where the tastes of Central and South America mingle with those of Africa in an open kitchen ambiance. This is the perfect place to try exotic dishes such as ostrich, tamer lobster and dry-aged beef with a dose of spice.

The Blu all-day dining restaurant with Mediterranean-style dishes affords stunning vistas over the sea, while the Deli offers grab-and-go treats with a true gourmet twist. End your day at Fahrenheit, the rooftop bar with sunset views and live music at night, or at one of the weekly glow parties underwater at Subsix. Only after trying all options do you realize that the gastronomy at Niyama is in a class of its own.

A world of activities for all ages

Niyama realizes that family escapes are a major part of enjoying life in the post-pandemic era, which is why it also wants to be there for its younger guests as well. Board games, cartoons, movies, baby yoga, snorkeling, treasure hunts and even pizza making are all part of these offerings. Professional nannies and babysitters are also there for parents to get some downtime as well.

Of course, activities like snorkeling and kayaking can be enjoyed as a family but are also great for couples. Recreational crats, glass-bottom fishing boats, elegant sailboats, parasailing and even cocktail making will make sure that you’re not going to get bored here. It is worth noting that fitness lovers will appreciate the private classes, from beach volleyball and Zumba to open-air yoga. Lastly, both amateur and professional surfers will have their chance to experience this amazing activity away from any crowds, thanks to the dedicated seaplane transfers offered by the resort.

How to reach Niyama

You can get to the Niyama Private Islands by shared seaplane transfer, domestic transfer or VIP chartered private flight. The latter can be handled from the Maldive’s airport on the southern Dhaalu Atoll, only seven minutes by speedboat. Alternatively, guests can take a 40-minute shared seaplane flight from Malé or a 30-minute domestic flight to Dhaalu Airport.

www.niyama.com

With gratitude, T.

The Sinner Paris : Sensual luxury and modern aesthetic in Le Marais!

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Like a well-kept secret, hidden behind a heavy door, Sinner hotel invites you to a half-lit forbidden journey and monastic atmosphere.
Remaining true to his signature, interior designer Tristan Auer leaves trends behind and blends the beauty and grandeur of religious buildings with the sensuality of eclectic art.
One of the most iconic and daring interior designers of his generation he shows a preference for dramatic artistic styles, and combination of eras which create a unique atmosphere.
From the electric relaxation of the restaurant to rooms inspired by ecclesiastical quarters and from dark hallways illuminated by aromatic candles to the concept store in the crypt.
A blend of modern aesthetic, opulent rooms and spectacular spaces entice you into a feeling of unpolished luxury.
The attention to detail continues in the mysterious spa, inspired by Roman baths. Guests navigate into a journey through the eras of the religious Marais to the vibrant and carefree Marais of the 70’s and to the aromas of a forbidden scent.
Sinner definitely marks a new chapter in the life of Paris, liberated from the old standards, in the heart of Le Marais.

With gratitude, T.

www.sinnerparis.com

116 rue du Temple, 75003, Paris France

+33142722000

 

Kids-friendly Rome!

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Rome is one of the most spectacular capital cities in the world.  It’s steeped in culture and history and no matter where you turn there’s something interesting to look at.  Its ancient ruins are amazingly well preserved and the beauty of its churches is unsurpassed. Modern Rome has 280 fountains and more than 900 churches!

I don’t know about you, but the first thing I wanted to show my kids in Rome was the Colosseum, so I’ll recommend beginning your first day in Rome here.  There are lots of tours and ticket options for visiting the Colosseum and you can choose the one that suits you and your family best.  However a skip the line ticket of some sort is definitely worth buying.

We took a family friendly guided tour of the Colosseum and the Forum.  This was really informative and our guide was great with the kids. The Colosseum doesn’t disappoint.  It’s an incredible structure and your eyes can’t help but be drawn to it.

Your ticket to the Colosseum will also include entry to the Forum and Palatine Hill.  Here you’ll find the spectacular ruins of ancient temples, palaces and baths – a great way to get a glimpse of roman history.

Vatican City and St Peter’s Basilica

Vatican City is the world’s smallest state and is the centre of Catholicism.  Visiting the Vatican means crossing an international border, but you don’t need your passport.  Getting skip the line tickets is recommended.

The Vatican Museums themselves are stuffed to the gills with treasures collected over hundreds of years.  The wealth on display is quite staggering.  The Sistine Chapel is one of the most famous things to see here and you shouldn’t miss it.

St Peter’s Basilica is also incredible.  Linked to the Vatican by a doorway from the Sistine Chapel, this was our last stop on our Vatican visit.   A great thing to do is the climb the steps to the top of the dome to get a fantastic view over Rome. Remember that you need to cover your shoulders and knees or you won’t be allowed in.

Castel Sant’Angelo

This amazing looking castle sits on the riverside and has a statue lined bridge to reach it.  It’s a former papal fortress and a secret tunnel connects the Castel to the Vatican. The Castel has a long and bloody history which you can learn about in its large museum.  The views from the terrace are also fabulous.

Tickets from €10.50 per adult.

Pantheon

Although it’s an ancient Roman building, the Pantheon has been a Christian church for centuries.

The Pantheon was designed by the Emperor Hadrian around 120 AD.  It’s one of ancient Rome’s best preserved buildings and gives you an idea of what some of those ruins at the Forum must have looked like long ago.

Outside, the pillared entrance is imposing but the interior is a real surprise – there is a huge domed ceiling.  Covered in decorated cloisters, the ceiling has a hole, or oculus, in the middle, letting the sunshine (or the rain) in.   The artist Raphael is buried here so make sure you find his tomb.

Villa Borghese and its gardens

You’ll find the Borghese Gardens just up the hill from the Spanish Steps.  If you turn left at the Spanish Steps you can get a great view over Rome before you explore the gardens.  Even in winter the gardens were green and pretty, and the kids found a carousel to ride on which kept them happy.

There’s loads to explore in the gardens – you can ride a boat on the lake or try to catch a show at the replica of Shakespeare’s Globe.  There is a Biopark (zoo)  and hiring bikes is the best way to get around the park.

The Villa Borghese itself is now an art gallery with works by Raphael, Caravaggio and Titian and is highly recommended.   Tickets for Villa Borghese gallery must be reserved in advance.  Cost is from €22 per adult.

Trevi Fountain

Every night at the Trevi fountain about 3000 euros are swept up from the bottom of the basin. The money is donated to a catholic charity who uses the money to provide services for needy families in Rome.  The kids enjoyed throwing the obligatory coins into the water.  Looks like we’ll be coming back to Rome!

Spanish Steps

The Spanish Steps is a famous meeting place for Romans and  there’s a pretty fountain at the base.  If you’re going to the Borghese gardens then you’ll be going right past it.Nearby the streets are filled with designer shops, so if shopping is your thing, this is the place to come!

Day trips from Rome

Other possible day trips include the ruined city of Pompeii or the Amalfi Coast.  If you’re feeling really brave and you’re up for a long day, you could even try visiting Florence.

Where to stay:

  • Hotel de Russie, Rome: One of the most prestigious luxury hotels next to Piazza del Popolo. roccofortehotels.com

Where to eat:

  • Al Fredo alla Scrofa Restaurant –don’t miss the famous Fetuccine alfredo.
  • Tartufi and friends for truffle lovers.
  • Ginger Sapori e Salute for brunch and panini sandwiches on the go!
  • Zuma Rome inside the iconic Palazzo Fendi.

 

 

 

Spanish mornings in Seville!

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One of Spain’s most prestigious hotels, Hotel Alfonso XIII – A Luxury Collection Hotel is located next to Seville’s Real Alcazares. It offers an outdoor swimming pool, gym and a typical garden courtyard with fountain.

The Alfonso XIII’s elegant design includes Arabic-style arches and ceramic tiles. Rooms are individually decorated and feature air conditioning, a minibar, bathrobe and slippers. Each room has a mini fridge with drinks and snacks. Free internet is also available.

Hotel Alfonso XIII – A Luxury Collection Hotel offers casual al fresco dining in its Taifas Restaurant next to the swimming pool. Sweet snacks are available, as well as beers and wines. The San Fernando restaurant is located in the Andalusian-style courtyard and serves traditional local dishes for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

There is also a terrace set next to the courtyard, as well as the elegant Bar Americano cocktail bar.

Set on the edge of the historic Santa Cruz district, hotel is within 300 m of Seville Cathedral and the Giralda. The Torre de Oro and the banks of the River Guadalquivir are just 100 m away.

Old town is a great choice for travellers interested in architecture, atmosphere and tapas.

 

Treehotel: A unique Swedish adventure!

 

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10 things you should know about the Treehotel :

1. You can get to the Treehotel by taking a one-hour flight from Stockholm to Lulea airport.

2. Treehotel has been voted best family hotel in the world!

3. It comprises of seven tree- rooms and a guest house. All rooms are equipped with WIFI.

4. The action-packed dog-sled tour is a must activity.

5. The restaurant menu comprises of wild game and local fish such as dear, moose and perch.

6. It is one of the best places to experience the captivating northern lights phenomenon.

7. The snowmobile safari has a liberating feeling just like surfing or riding a motorbike.

8. Kent, the owner is the best guide for your lake fishing trip!

9. The idea of the treehouse came after shooting for the film ‘The tree lover’. A philosophical story about the significance of trees for us, human beings.

10. The aim behind the treehouse is to offer a high-standard accommodation in a harmonious place where daily stress melts away.

With gratitude, T.

 

 

Saint James : The only chateau -hotel in Paris!

 

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A prestige hotel in a park in the heart of Paris, a great restaurant with terrace and a Private Club? The Saint James Paris is all those things, and much more! Part chateau, part family townhouse , a blend of grandeur and intimacy , of classicism and extravagance. Highly Parisian yet decidedly beyond fashion. Indefinable, unclassifiable, simply unique.

Built in the 19th century on Paris’s first balloon landing field in the exclusive 16th arrondissement, this magnificent neo-classical mansion hosted the Thiers foundation for scholars for over a century , before becoming the Saint James Club of Paris. Now a member of Relais & Chateaux, the Saint James Paris is an experience of its own, totally revisited by the dream- maker Bambi Sloan.

Chef Adrian Brunet shares his passion with sincerity through subtle recipes that combine French gastronomical classics and contemporary dining. The gourmet experience has a wonderfully unique atmosphere and its rounded out with a spectacular dessert by the Pastry chef.

In a fascinating shrine, subtle Oriental, Western blend, the Guerlain Spa offers two treatment rooms, two steam-rooms and an exercise room as elegant as a fencing room.

Madeleine Castaing, Rene Magritte or Elizabeth of Austria are examples of the characters who inspired the 49 rooms and suites each one with its own story and especially spacious.

The guests are welcomed like friends would be in this eccentric family house!

Euphoria retreat: A transformation journey!

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Euphoria retreat is a holistic wellbeing destination spa that invites you to a personal journey of transformation following an authentic healing philosophy in a unique cultural and historical location: The Unesco –protected town of Mystras in mythical Peloponnese.

We were recommended not to drink coffee, alcohol or use our mobile phones while we were experiencing our personal transformation journey at the Euphoria retreat.

And even though it seemed difficult at the beginning, the lovely alternatives offered by the Euphoria –like the herbal tea experience- made us change our minds.

No phones were needed when we had a light bio lunch at the Gaia restaurant and certainly not needed when we entered the unique pool and spa and enjoyed one of the most relaxing massage by awarded therapists.

We had to capture a few pictures though of the magical Mystras castle during our morning trekking ritual and a glass of local red wine at night at the highly recommended tavern in Mystras called ‘Chromata’ ! An experience not to be missed.

Brach Paris: Modern romanticism!

 

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Philippe Starck is best known for his distinctive approach to design. The French designer, architect and creator has plenty of experience when it comes to designing interiors, having already created some of the world’s best, including the Hudson Paramount in NYC and Le Meurice Hotel in France. Quite recently, Starck extended his hospitality resumé by designing the Brach Hotel, which opened this month in Paris!
“My hotels aren’t based on any particular cultural, fashion, or architectural aesthetic. I create mental spaces, emotional surprises, and enigmas. A successful hotel today is a contrast between the purely emotional and purely functional.” – Philippe Starck
Brach is situated in the 16th arrondissement neighbouring the Trocadéro, Eiffel Tower and Passy market. All the emotions and possibilities of a place brimming with positive energy for locals and travellers alike.
“Brach is all about the period when the Dadaists, surrealists, and architects like Le Corbusier discovered Africa and what would later be known as art brut,” disclosed Starck. “It’s Bauhaus modernism with African wonder. The Brach could be Pierre Jeanneret’s, Charlotte Perriand’s or Mallet-Stevens’s place, with a nod to Pierre Chareau’s glass house—it just might spark up the revival of this very staid part of the 16th,” concluded the French creator.
The hotel is comprised of 52 guest rooms and seven suites. Due to the rooms’ massive high structure, Strack was able to play with volume, installing unreachable decorative shelves with eclectic displays of books, photos, and African masks. Inspirations based on the work of Le Corbusier, the renowned French-Swiss architect and designer, can be seen especially in the furniture and room fixtures.
Lastly, the hotel also highlights plenty of other amenities such as a fitness centre, two pools, a bar, a pastry shop managed by Yann Brys and an extraordinary Mediterranean restaurant. On the rooftop, guests can benefit from a 4,300-square-foot vegetable garden, a deck and a jacuzzi.

This is an amazing and benevolent living patchwork, creating a lifestyle to fulfil every dream!