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Me, myself and I

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Having a passion for hotels and exploring new cultures. Giving advice to future guests is invaluable. In this blog, I will be writing reviews about quality hotels and I will be adding some pictures and videos. I will comment on the overall atmosphere, the architecture and the interior. A hotel is more than just a room to stay in: amenities such as the bar, the restaurant and the spa services are equally important. Everyone has their own opinion, but I will provide you with an objective impression to give you a general and clear idea of what is awaiting you.

Enjoy reading and travelling!

Christophe Delcroix

Christophe.Delcroix@gmail.com

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Burj Al Arab – Dubai

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Hotelchain: Jumeirah
Location: Dubai – UAE
Classification: 5 star hotel deluxe (some say world’s only 7 star hotel)
Official websitehttp://www.jumeirah.com/en/hotels-resorts/dubai/burj-al-arab/

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Internationally renowned as world’s most luxurious hotel, I had the opportunity to experience the famous Burj Al Arab in Dubai. It is located on a man-made island, 280 meters from the Jumeirah beach. It is the flagship of the Jumeirah hotel group.  Only hotel guests (or guests with a reservation in one of the restaurants) can enter the hotel, so there is no sightseeing here.  This is a good thing, as I saw a number of people at the front gate taking pictures of the hotel.

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Location

Located at Jumeirah beach, Burj Al Arab is located between Dubai Marina and Business Bay. There’s a holiday vibe around the area.

When I approached the entrance, I was impressed with the height of the hotel… 321 meters above sea level… Trust me, it is HUGE!  As soon as you enter the Burj Al Arab, you will enter in a completely different world.  I truly was blown away… Gold everywhere.  It is reportedly the only 7 star hotel in the world and I can easily understand why.  After taking the escalator — with a huge aquarium – you can look up 200 meters. A lot of looking up!  Did you know that the Statue of Liberty would fit inside?  Also, there are dancing fountains all over the place with tons of different programs, so you’ll never get bored when watching!

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The suites

There are no rooms in the Burj al Arab, only suites. Starting at 170m² (1,829 sq. ft.), all of the rooms are duplex suites, each with the highest level of comfort one could wish for.  The Burj has 1600 staff members looking over “only” 202 suites.  So that’s… eight members for each suite? Yep! There is a private check-in and butler service for each suite. No waiting times here at the reception. They explain everything you need to know and will do anything you ask — like making reservations in one of the restaurants, booking day trips to the city, making sure you will get the dessert you want, etc.

Every suite in the Burj Al Arab is beautifully decorated. Although the hotel opened back in 1999, the suites look very up to date and brand new. From the marble entrance with large staircase to the oversized living rooms, you will feel like a king or queen while walking around. They have the world’s most expensive mattresses, which can be adapted to customer needs and preferences. These things are making this hotel truly unique; returning guests are assured they will have a wonderful night.

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The bathrooms are huge — they used Italian marble – and you will be so relaxed after spending some time in the oversized jacuzzi.  Oh, a great thing: did you know that Hermès produced a special edition of perfume for the Burj Al Arab?  That is right, full-size Hermès Burj Al Arab amenities (female + male) are offered to guests at no additional charge. Of course, you could take them home as a souvenir.

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Spa facilities

A full spa – the Talise Spa – is located on one of the top floors. I was not able to take pictures of the spa area, but there is an indoor pool, jacuzzi, fitness, etc. Several treatments are offered and after a relaxing massage you can relax in the spa resting area, accessible for guests only, of course. From there, you can look straight down (200 meters!) to the ground level. Very impressive and not recommended when afraid of heights 🙂

Spa treatments are excellent! They exactly know how to make you feel at ease and so relaxed. Just tell them which pressure you prefer and you will enjoy every single minute. The soft music all over the place made it even more relaxing.

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There is also an outdoor pool area — and the Burj has its own beach across the bridge. The recently opened Terrace is stunning! For water fun, there is complimentary access to the Wild Wadi Waterpark, which is located across the bridge.

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The famous Burj Al Arab hotel is one of Dubai’s highlights and one of world’s best hotels… The hotel’s immaculate reputation is well earned and you will be impressed with every aspect of your stay!

Mandarin Oriental Bangkok

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Hotelchain: Mandarin Oriental
Location: Bangkok – Thailand
Classification: 5 star hotel
Official websitemandarinoriental.com/bangkok

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The famous Mandarin Oriental Bangkok is the flagship of the prestigious Mandarin Oriental Group. The Mandarin Oriental Bangkok was the first hotel in Thailand and is more than 140 years old, it was built in 1876. Today it is still one of world’s best hotels. Actually, it has been rated as world’s best hotel for 10 years and I can easily understand why. I was so fortunate to stay here and truly was and still am blown away by the service and comfort they provide.

Location

You can’t beat the location, the Mandarin Oriental Bangkok is located right next to the Chao Phraya River and the most popular tourist sites are nearby. The public boat will take you to the Grand Palace in just about 15 minutes.

This ultra-luxurious five star hotel offers 324 rooms and 44 suites, a world-class spa and several high end restaurants which I will tell you more about later.

As soon as I entered this palace, I noticed the attention to details. The way they combined the elegant Thai style with seductive modern touches is just wonderful. Mandarin Oriental hotels are known for their hospitality and service. Several staff members actually remembered my name. Those are small things, but they make a world difference. Every single staff member I met, greeted me with a smile and took care of every request in a very kind and professional way. Upon arrival, we were greeted with a traditional Thai flower hand garland.

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Rooms/suites

We stayed in a deluxe room and luxurious it definitely was. They decorated the rooms in a very elegant and very classy way. The leather couch was great for watching television. I could have spent here all day long 🙂 The view over the river and Bangkok’s surroundings was great. I watched the long tail boats floating by while enjoying some drinks. This is what a perfect hotel room looks like. Even the marble bathroom was an eye catcher featuring a separate bath tub and walk-in shower. The silk bathrobes were amazing. Another feature I appreciated very much was the in-room interactive entertainment system which allows iPod/MP3 integration. The high quality audio system was of a very good quality. All rooms at the Mandarin Oriental come with Butler Service, always a bonus! Did you know that the Mandarin Oriental has one of the highest staff to guest room ratio in the entire hotel industry (3 staff per guest room)!

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The recently redecorated rooms at the Author’s Wing are very stylish and the Royal Suite which I visited was the best and most luxurious suite I have ever seen, hands down!

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Restaurants/bars

At night we had dinner at Sala Rim Naam offering an authentic Thai cuisine, but first we had some cocktails at the Bamboo bar. It was pretty hard to choose from the extensive cocktail menu but the very knowledgeable bartender gave us some good recommendations.   While we were enjoying the delicious Thai food (I LOVE Thai food!), we were enjoying a classical Thai dance show. We were in Bangkok for just a few days and this was the perfect evening to experience the true Thai tradition and hospitality. I thoroughly likes the Mussamun Nuea, the southern style beef curry with sweet potato and onion. The menu was prepared in an excellent way and service was top notch! Although there’s a smart casual dress code where they kindly request guests to wear elegant attire, the atmosphere was very relaxed and easy going.

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Pool area

The next morning I started my day with a swim in the stunning pool. There are two pools, a wading pool which is perfect for leisure and a 25 metre long pool which is ideal for swimming laps. As soon as I approached the pool area, staff member greeted me and gave me some plush towels and some water. Although the Mandarin Oriental is right in the middle of Bangkok, it felt like a hidden gem here. It was so quiet here… fantastic way to start my day! Beside the pools, a full fitness center is available 24 hrs. They offer complimentary fitness classes… After your work out you can relax in the sauna, steam room or jacuzzi. And if you are into tennis and/or squash, the Mandarin Oriental has two outdoor tennis courts and one squash court.

Spa facilities

If you just want to relax make sure you visit the Spa facilities which are located in a separate building across the river. The spa of the Mandarin Oriental Bangkok is one of Asia’s leading spa center offering several beautifully decorated treatment rooms and steam facilities. They even have a few ‘specialty suites’ for couples with private steam showers and vitality pools.

I enjoyed a after-jet-lag treatment and absolutely loved it! After selecting my favorite scent I felt so relaxed and almost fell asleep which is a huge compliment. Just take a look at their spa menu as they offer several kind of treatments.

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Then it was time for breakfast! Breakfast is served at the Riverside Terrace and believe me, having breakfast here with such a stunning view is just awesome! Quality of the food was outstanding! The riverside terrace offers stunning views. I enjoyed the long tail boats passing by. Service was great, never was asked for too much. Do try their home made yoghurt and pastries!

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No wonder the Mandarin Oriental Bangkok is well known for its service and overall facilities! The high reputation is well deserved and I can easily understand why this hotel is one of world’s leading hotels! From the personal printed writing paper with your name on it to the fresh flowers all over the room… The Thai hospitality is amazing and I can’t say enough good things about this hotel! Six stars all the way!

Four Seasons Des Bergues – Geneva

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Hotelchain: Four Seasons
Location: Geneva – Switzerland
Classification: 5 star hotel
Official websitefourseasons.com/geneva

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Located in the center of beautiful Geneva, Four Seasons hotel des Bergues is an ultra luxurious five star hotel decorated by the renowned architect Pierre-Yves Rochon. The hotel was built back in 1834 and is still one of the best hotels Geneva has to offer! Four Seasons is famous for their amazing flowers and interior designs. As soon as you enter the hotel, you will enter a place with eye for attention and details.

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With ‘only’ 115 rooms, this is not a very large hotel and that’s why they are able to provide a personal service to their guests. Right upon arrival, guests are pampered… nothing is asked for too much, really.

Each room is elegant and decorated with high quality materials. In a hotel like this, they really should keep the tradition of the old days. I liked the ‘old fashioned’ themed rooms. With plush king sized beds and the most comfortable sitting areas, you can in room all day long!

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Marble bathrooms are nice and feature oversized bathtubs and walk-in showers. Bulgari toiletries are offered and most of you know that those are my number one toiletries! 🙂

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One of the highlights at Four Seasons hotel Des Bergues is the rooftop spa with heated pool, sauna, steam rooms, etc. In most hotels spa areas are located on one of the lower floors, but here you are able to see the city while relaxing! I was surprised that the area has a totally different styling comparing to the rest of the hotel. It has a contemporary modern feeling which I loved very much! The adjoining fitness center has the most comfortable equipment one could wish for. Several body treatments are available. Trust me, this is the best place to relax and unwind after a day exploring the city!

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Four Seasons hotel Des Bergues has three restaurants. Their signature restaurant Il Lago has been awarded with one Michelin star and the food here truly is outstanding! Located near the spa area is Izumi, a Japanese fusion restaurant.

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Le Bar des Bergues offers inventive and delicious cocktails as well as an all-day dining menu. Again, food is outstanding and we thoroughly enjoyed lunch here. Do not forget to try one of the delicious desserts! They are to die for!

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The rooftop of Four Seasons des Bergues is fantastic and offers picture perfect views over Geneva!

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Four Seasons des Bergues is an exceptional five star hotel with an impeccable service – as a Four Seasons hotel should be! Guests are treated as royalty here without being over the top. Every staff member I met was friendly and greeted us with a smile! Highly recommended for a luxurious getaway in Geneva!

Sofitel Frankfurt Opera

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Hotelchain: Sofitel
Location: Frankfurt – Germany
Classification: 5 star hotel
Official websitesofitel.com/…-frankfurt-opera/index.shtml

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Do you know the feeling when you walk into a hotel and immediately feel at home? I had this feeling at Sofitel Frankfurt Opera! This top notch five star hotel only opened one year ago and definitely is one of my favorite hotels in Frankfurt! The hotel is located on one of the prime locations in the city, on the iconic Opernplatz. I explored the neighborhood and noticed the fancy luxury shops around the hotel. All major things you should visit in Frankfurt are within walking distance. The friendly concierge gave me a map and some helpful tips on things I needed to see.

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As mentioned before, I was impressed with this hotel right from the beginning. The intimate lobby area is impressive with all its art work. Sofitel worked together with several interior designers such as the Parisian designer Nicholas Adnet and Berlin designer Frank Stüve. Everything is translated in the feel of 17th and 18th century Parisian hotels. Trust me, this is not just an ordinary hotel, behind every corner, a new surprise is waiting for you! Let me share some pictures of the beautiful art work I noticed at the Sofitel Frankfurt Opera.

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The Junior Suite I stayed in was very large and luxuriously appointed. All the amenities I would expect from a five star luxury hotel were there such as coffee making facilities, mirror television and (of course!) Sofitel’s MyBed… Still one of my favorite beds! The suite also had a nice sitting area with the most comfortable couches and a nice working desk with designer touches such as the fancy designer phone (it is ALL about details!).

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Bathroom was very large featuring a bathtub, a large walk-in (rain)shower and fancy Hermes toiletries. Some highlights of the bathroom were the Skinjay shower capsules and the Japanese toilet with electrical control elements. Skinjay capsules revolutionize the shower experience, delivering nutrients straight to your skin. It is a true in-room spa experience! They have different capsules for you to experience. I tried several and recommend the ‘Pschhht’ capsule with a Cola (!) smell. Truly surprising! I need to point out that only suites have the capsules and electronic toilet (request for an upgrade upon arrival, if they have any suites available they might upgrade you for a small surcharge).

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Sofitel Frankfurt Opera has on site spa facilities. The hotel has a partnership with the neighboring Fitness First and guests of the hotel can use the (large) indoor pool and sauna/hammam facilities at no additional charge. Do note that the hotel has its own (small) gym.

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The hotel offers several beauty treatments. I thoroughly enjoyed the Skin-Body-Mind treatment by Decleor. A treatment that incorporates the body and face through the products used by Decleor. The therapist was a true professional! She first showed me around the spa facilities. I was pleasantly surprised by the size and facilities. The place is just beautiful and peacefully decorated. This is the perfect place to unwind. She explained what she was going to do and I do appreciate that as some people just start a treatment without any explanation. The 90’ that followed were true relaxing. The pressure was perfect as requested. I must highlight the Decleor product which are high quality products. Highly recommend to book a treatment here! You won’t be disappointed!

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Another highlight at the Sofitel Frankfurt Opera is the Schönemann restaurant and Lili’s wine bar. Both are named after the first great love of famed German author Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, who was born in Frankfurt in 1749. Dinner at the Schönemann restaurant was delicious! I started with the freshly sliced yellow fin tuna tartar with wasabi cream and coriander, one of the best I’ve ever had! The dry aged rib-eye from butcher Ludwig as a main course was to die for and prepared just the way I asked for. I always have some space for dessert, the crème brûlée cake of Bourbon vanilla was fantastic! Yes, it was a cake with some fresh fruit and some crème brûlée on the top.

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This is also the place where they serve breakfast. Breakfast at Sofitel Frankfurt Opera is something to look forward to! It consists of an extensive buffet and several à la carte options. A bonus is the complimentary sparkling wine! A must try is the apple crumble pie… Loved it!

I can’t say enough good things about the Sofitel Frankfurt Opera. This well designed hotel is one of the most luxurious hotels in Frankfurt with an intimate yet stylish design. This is not a hotel just for business travelers, also leisure travelers will appreciate the unique prime location and facilities. Can’t wait to return to this jewel!

Grandhotel Hessischer Hof

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Location: Frankfurt – Germany
Classification: 5 star hotel
Official websitegrandhotel-hessischerhof.com

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Grand Hessischer Hof in Frankfurt is known as one of the best hotel in Frankfurt. I just had to explore and experience this hotel myself and I can definitely say that it deserves its good reputation. Making part of the Leading hotels of the World, Grand Hessischer hof offers a very high quality level. The hotel is located in the city center, near the central train station. Whether you are in Frankfurt for shopping, sightseeing or businesses purposes, everything is nearby… Very convenient! Did you know by the way that the nearby famous Frankfurt Messe is the third-largest trade fair in the world? The Grandhotel Hessischer Hof is located directly across the trade fair grounds. I stayed in many hotels in Frankfurt already, but this one definitely has one of the better locations!

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When I entered the hotel, I immediately knew that our stay here would be a great one. The hotel has a great history. Did you know that the hotel is owned by the Hessian princely family? The grand lobby is stylish with beautiful art works and furnishings. Staff made us feel welcome right from the beginning. From the comfortable seating areas to the efficient check-in procedure, everything went smoothly and ultra friendly right from the beginning. With a total of 121 rooms and suites, the Grandhotel Hessischer Hof isn’t a very large hotel which is why they offer a very personal service to each guest.

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The superior room we stayed in was large and ultra luxurious. All rooms are decorated with high quality materials. The lines on the king sized bed were great! The room actually felt like a junior suite to me with an entrée, nice couch and large desk. Other highlights in the room are the complimentary minibar and complimentary shoeshine service!

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The marble bathroom was very comfortable featuring bath tub and separate shower. Grand Hessischer Hof’s toiletries were a plus! Love those…

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The Grandhotel Hessischer Hof has a spa area with sauna, steam room and a complete fitness center. Always nice to be able to make use of those facilities after a day in busy Frankfurt. The place was immaculately clean and staff was, again, very professional and kind. In most hotels, fitness centers are located in the basement of the hotel, but at Grand Hessischer Hof you can enjoy impressive panoramic views over Frankfurt. They even have a large terrace overlooking the surrounding areas.

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The hotel offers several dining options such as Jimmy’s Bar. This traditional bar is fun to hang out and is a Frankfurt instituation for more than 50 years with live piano music in the evenings and the most delicious cocktails. This is the place to be for a nice aperitif before enjoying a delicious meal at Restaurant Sèvres which is one the best restaurants in Frankfurt. This is also the place where they serve breakfast. Having breakfast at the Grandhotel Hessischer Hof is something to look forward to. The extensive buffet truly offers something for just everybody! Some highlights I experienced were the fancy à la carte options (a must try is their cheese-omelette, loved those!) and of course, a glass of champagne is the perfect start of the day!

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Grandhotel Hessischer Hof is one of a kind! I love every aspect of this place. It truly is a ‘grandhotel’ and staying here is a guarantee of a flawless stay in an ultra luxurious environment. You will love it!

Le Méridien Frankfurt

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Hotelchain
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Location: Frankfurt – Germany
Classification: 5 star hotel
Official websitelemeridienfrankfurt.com

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Le Méridien Frankfurt is a five star hotel in the center of Frankfurt. The hotel is located just a few steps from Frankfurt’s main train station and all major shopping districts are within walking distance. I love the fact that Le Méridien Frankfurt is located within two buildings which obviously are connected to each other. There’s a more traditional building and a contemporary styled building. I visited both sides and must say there both totally different but each with its own charm.

The main areas of the hotel are modern and decorated in a modern yet cozy style. It is great to hang out here and I had the feeling of being at a brand new hotel. Every staff member I met was super friendly and greeted us with a smile! Thumbs up!

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As mentioned before, le Méridien Frankfurt has two different ‘styles’ of rooms. The Chic Palais rooms are located in the historic Palais section. 80 guestrooms are located here and each boast beautiful high ceilings and a warm and intimate ambiance. I recommend those rooms for romantic getaways. The oversized working desk, nice sitting area and comfortable bed look very appealing. Bathrooms feature bathtub, large single sink and toilet.

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The Legacy Wing offers 220 recently renovated rooms. I really like the modern design and layout of the deluxe rooms. They are spacious and offer all the comfort one could wish for. Modern bathrooms have walk-in (rain) showers and oversized sinks.

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The Skyline suite was absolutely mind blowing! It looked like a large city apartment with stunning panoramic views over the skyline of Frankfurt. Beautiful! Marble bathroom was to die for…

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Le Méridien Frankfurt has a fitness center with the latest equipment. The fact that the spa facilities are located on one of the higher floors has a lot of advantages such as the views and outdoor terrace which is the perfect place to cool down after a session in the sauna.

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Definitely a highlight of Le Méridien Frankfurt is their restaurant, Legacy. This restaurant is known for its spare ribs and steaks. We thoroughly enjoyed the overall atmosphere and had a great time here. We started with some signature cocktails followed by the most delicious meal. We started with the smoked juicy spare ribs St. Louis Cut and tender pulled pork. Did you know that their meat rest 24 hours in a barbecue marinade to develop their delicate taste? All I can say is try it yourself, you will love it too! As a main course, we ordered the US Black Angus Filet and loved every single bite. Definitely one of the best steaks I have ever eaten! It came with leaf spinach and steak fries with (of course!) truffle mayonnaise. To finish, we couldn’t resist some dessert which were presented in a very funny way. Loved the presentation! I must highlight the excellent service! Staff was ultra friendly, fun and easy going! Great job!

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Le Méridien is a great five star hotel in Frankfurt which I can totally recommend!

Swiss Luxury Apartments – Geneva

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Location: Geneva – Switzerland
Classification: 5 star aparthotel
Official websiteswiss-luxury-apartments.ch

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Swiss Luxury apartments is a top notch five star apartment hotel right in the center of beautiful Geneva! I flew to Geneva and took a train to the city center. From the Cornavin train station, it is only a 5 minute walk to the hotel. Very conventient! You can’t beat the location! This hotel is located in a historical building and on one of the most central spots in the city. All major attractions are within walking distance. The lake with the majestic waterjet is only 2 minutes away from the hotel. By the way, did you know that they offer complimentary tickets for public transportation? I do recommend you to take the boat to cross the lake. The fountain views are amazing!

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Right upon arrival, we were welcomed by the most accommodating and kind staff! The lobby itself is very appealing and I liked the contemporary design. Swiss Luxury Apartments is a small hotel with 24 apartments but they do offer all the amenities for a most comfortable stay.

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Right next to the lobby area is a comfortable relaxing lounge where guests can unwind and enjoy complimentary drinks (coffee, tea, soft drinks, etc.).

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They offer several types of apartments each with either one, two or three bedrooms. All are pretty spacious and designed in a very stylish way. I should definitely highlight the wine refrigerator and complimentary soft drinks and snacks. That is right, at Swiss Luxury Apartments, they offer local products (honey, chocolate and much more) to their guests to enjoy. Our living room had great couches and a dining table. Once again, more than enough room for all four of us!

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Other things I liked about the rooms were the three televisions and the many possibilities to connect and charge your mobile devices. My favorite feature of the room was the Handy mobile phone which you can take with you wherever you are in Geneva. That is right, you can browse the internet, look for great places to go, etc. Never saw that before at any hotel! I took it with me the whole time I was out! Loved it!

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Each bedroom had a comfortable king sized bed and their own bathroom with bathtub and shower. One bathroom even had its own walk-in shower. Spa toiletries are offered and my mother loved the hairdryer! Although this hotel is an all apartment place, they do offer housekeeping services such as daily cleaning and replacement of towels. The whole place is maintained in an excellent way! By the way, I do need to mention the complimentary laundry services! You can go down and request if they can wash and dry your clothes and within 24 hours, they will bring them back to your room – clean! How amazing is that?

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After a wonderful night (loved the beds), we were ready to enjoy a delicious breakfast. I highly recommend to add breakfast to your stay. There’s no on site restaurant, but they do serve breakfast in your apartment. It contains of several types of bread (including a croissant), typical local Swiss gruyere cheese, sliced grison meat, orange juice, Swiss fruit yoghurt (I ate that together with the cereals – a must try!), a selection of Swiss made jams and fresh fruit. Each apartment has a Nespresso coffee machine, so you can enjoy your cup of coffee while having breakfast.

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Swiss Luxury Apartments is an excellent place to stay while in Geneva! I loved the home away from home facilities such as a small kitchen, living room, etc. I appreciated the easy going atmosphere here at Swiss Luxury Apartments and staff member will do anything to make your stay enjoyable! The gift I got when we left, raclette cheese, was a treat! The high service level was appreciated and I recommend this place for anyone looking for a most comfortable stay in the center of this beautiful city. What a great time we had here at Luxury Suites Geneva!