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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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Crans Ambassador

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Location: Crans-Montana, Switzerland
Classification: 5 star hotel
Official websitecransambassador.ch/en

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Located in the fancy town of Crans Montana, Crans Ambassador is a top notch five star hotel with fairytale surroundings. This prestigious hotel has an excellent reputation and I can only say that it definitely deserves its fantastic ratings. Crans Ambassador recently underwent a complete make over and opened back its doors in December 2013. Every single aspect in this hotel has been developed with attention to detail. It is all about “well-being” here and I can only say that we loved every single second of our stay here.

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Crans Ambassador is designed in a luxurious contemporary mountain style. This is the kind of hotel where a surprise is waiting for you behind every corner. The comfortable seating areas all over the hotel are excellent for meet up with family and friends. It all felt ‘right’ from the moment I stepped in to Crans Ambassador to the moment I checked out.

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Lobby area is just gorgeous and decorated in luxurious way. Front desk staff was ultra friendly and everything we needed to know about the hotel was explained in a very professional (and kind!) way. I couldn’t wait to explore the rooms as soon as I got the key… Note that Crans Ambassador offers different kind of rooms. I stayed in an Alpina Prestige room. At 30m² it had a great size. I immediately fell in love with the large south-facing terrace overlooking the Swiss mountains. What a gorgeous room! It had a very thoughtful floor plan and beautiful furnishings. I appreciated the separate small living area with its comfy couches and other five star amenities such as coffee making facilities and the amazingly designed bathroom with wooden fittings to emphasize the mountain feeling even more. Molton Brown toiletries were a bonus! Trust me, all rooms here are in a class of their own, offering exceptional comfort and tranquility with enough place to ensure complete relaxation!

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A must visit while staying at Crans Ambassador, is a visit to their wellness center, Spa Nescens. Spread over 1,300 m² it is HUGE! From the moment you step in, every sensation invites you to unwind. The 17-metre pool is one of a kind and offers surrounding views. This is the place to swim in style with gentle sounds of the water. A luxurious sauna and steam room are available as well. If you are into working out, the nice fitness center is the place for you with high tech equipment. I loved the floor to ceiling windows with panoramic views over the Swiss Alps! Just beautiful!

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I totally enjoyed a ‘De-stressing’ massage with gentle pressing motions that are combined with targeted stretchings. It felt so good… this kind of treatment releases accumulated tension (where I’m suffering of) and even improves quality of sleep. The therapist used essential oils and excellent massage techniques to make me feel completely relaxed and energized at the same time. Can’t say enough good things about Spa Nescens! This is a place where time seems to stand still and every moment is devoted to tranquility.

After the treatment I was ready to explore the restaurants at Crans Ambassador. The first night, we totally enjoyed a delicious dinner at La Terrasse. As a starter I ordered the royal sea bream tartar accompanied with passion fruits and crunchy vegetables. What a great start 😊 The pan fried Swiss Black Angus beef Entrecote with a pepper condiment was one of the best I have ever had! This dish came with mashed sweet potatoes, grilled Pak Choi and sweet chili eggplants. Trust me, you will LOVE it as much as I did! And I always keep some space for dessert – the Swiss chocolate soft heart cake was a treat! La Terrasse is a superb restaurant with an excellent menu!

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The second night, we had dinner at Le Carnotzet, a typically Swiss restaurant where they serve local dishes such as Cheese fondue and Raclette. I must admit the champagne fondue and raclette with two local cheeses were sooooo yummie! Service was top notch as well! Every request was dealt with in a very kind and professional way! A must-try is the meringues with double cream from Gruyeres and exotic fruits. I loved every single bite and I’m sure you will too.

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Breakfast is something to look forward to at Crans Ambassador! Each morning, a delicious breakfast is waiting for you offering fresh ingredients and many healthy options for an excellent start of the day!

Crans Amabassador is a great luxury hotel with the best atmosphere one could wish for! From the moment I stepped in until I checked out, I felt at home here and can’t wait to return! I truly loved every single aspect of this place.

Steigenberger Frankfurt Airport

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Hotelchain: Steigenberger
Location: Frankfurt Airport
Classification: 5 star hotel
Official websitesteigenberger.com/…/steigenberger-airport-hotel-frankfurt

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Steigenberger Frankfurt Airport is one of the best airport hotels I have stayed at. This hotel is only 1km away from the airport of Frankfurt (the hotel offers complimentary shuttle service from/to the airport) and only offers the best to the guests. Did you know that Steigenberger Frankfurt is the only hotel in the airport area with an indoor pool? But there’s much more to tell about this place…

I could easily recommend this hotel for both leisure and business. Steigenberger Frankfurt Airport has 40 (!) meeting rooms for up to 1000 delegates which makes it ideal for business purposes. Of course, traveling from/to the airport of Frankfurt can be exhausting. Trust me, a stay at Steigenberger Frankfurt Airport will be a relaxing one. From the moment I entered the hotel, I was welcomed by the most friendly staff. Although the building may look kind of old from the outside, I was surprised by how modern and up to day it looked from the inside.

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This is a pretty large hotel and I can happily tell you that even though there are 550 rooms, they still offer a personalized service which was appreciated very much. There are different kind of rooms and I stayed at a business room. The fresh contemporary design was very appealing. The lounge chair was so relaxing… I could have spent hours in this chair reading a book or playing with my iPad. Bathroom featured single sink and a great walk-in shower. Other amenities I liked in the room: a coffee machine and high quality bathrobes. Also, many plug-ins and USB ports. Very convenient!

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One of the highlights at Steigenberger Frankfurt Airport is the spa area ‘Open Sky’ which won the World Luxury Spa Award again this year. Usually, spa areas are located on the ground or lower floor. At Steigenberger Frankfurt Airport Open Sky is located on their top floor offering amazing views of the airport. It was great to work out while watching the planes fly by. The indoor pool is top notch and the best thing: Open Sky is open 24/7. Right next to pool is a sauna and steam available, again at no extra cost for hotel guests. I must highlight the fitness facility as well as it is pretty large for a hotel and has high quality equipment (and you can’t beat the views!!).

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For ultimate relaxation, make sure to book a spa treatment. They offer a great menu with many treatments. I thoroughly enjoyed a relaxing massage with warm oils… It alleviated muscle fatigue and tension. I suffer from neck tension from time to time and the therapist did an excellent job by massaging my neck in a very professional way. The aromatic fragrances stimulated all my senses… I left in a state of absolute well-being! Make sure to book your appointment on time as it seemed pretty busy.

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Steigenberger Frankfurt Airport has 3 restaurants, so there is something for everybody! If you like a more casual dinner, choose Con.nex.ion… It is located in the lobby area and offers small bites such as hamburgers, pasta, etc. They have a great bar by the way with fancy cocktails. If you are into a more classy dinner, Restaurant Faces is the place to be. The chef will spoil you with his creative dishes from all over the world. I had dinner at Restaurant Unterschweinstiege, this typical authentic German restaurant is located at the back of the hotel and offers regional specialties. As it was pretty hot outside, I enjoyed my dinner on the huge terrace surrounded by beautiful gardens. What a hidden gem! The food was out of this world! As a starter I thoroughly enjoyed the green asparagus served in paper with baked beef tongue. This dish also came with mozzarella, tomato relish, shallots, lemon grass and aged balsamic syrup. I enjoyed each bite… The steak I ordered for the main course was excellent but the highlight of the night definitely was the dessert: a red fruit compote trifle served in a glass with berries, mascarpone crème, crumble of cookies, mountain milk and yoghurt ice cream topped with lemon cress. I would drive to Frankfurt only for this dessert!

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Each morning I enjoyed breakfast at Five Continents. This is the place where you will find a large breakfast buffet with fresh ingredients and different kinds of bread. Make sure to order your favorite egg specialty as they were really yummie!

As you can read, I’m a fan of Steigenberger Frankfurt Airport. This upscale hotel offers a great level of hospitality. The staff will do anything to make your stay unforgettable. From the heavenly wellness facilities, the great dining options to the convenient location nearby the airport of Frankfurt, I loved it all. Highly recommended!

 

Hilton Amsterdam Airport – Schiphol

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Hotelchain: Hilton
Location: Amsterdam airport Schiphol – The Netherlands
Classification: 4 star hotel de luxe
Official website: amsterdamairportschiphol.hilton.com

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Directly connected to Schiphol Airport, the brand new Hilton Schiphol truly has everything you would expect from a luxurious airport hotel. When I stayed at this Hilton, it only opened 2,5 years ago. This hotel is huge and has 433 comfortable rooms. When I entered the hotel, I was blown away by the gorgeous lobby. The open-plan atrium is the center of the hotel with a very cozy yet trendy bar and sitting areas. Do visit the lobby at night and look up to the sky, all the small lights look like stars, it is just stunning! By the way, the outfits of the staff members are fun and reminded me immediately that this is Amsterdam 🙂

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Check-in went smoothly and the staff made me feel at ease in seconds. Everything I needed to know has been explained in a very professional, not too formal way.

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My room was on the top floor and as soon as the elevator door opened, I was “wowed” again by the beautiful and spectacular atrium. Ok, time to check out my room… Rooms at the Hilton Schiphol are very nicely decorated in a contemporary style: strong lines, smooth forms and minimal accessories — with room for rule breaking. I loved the funny shaped garbage bin! Each bathroom has a huge walk-in shower, single sink and toilet. My room had a view of the airport which was fun! Bed was great, nota bene…

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I had access to the executive lounge and this was one of the best executive lounges I have experienced. Most lounges I have been to, were not that cozy and offered not many advantages. The lounge at the Hilton Schiphol definitely is worth the upgrade! Complimentary soft drinks and snacks throughout the day, alcoholic beverages (including some spirits) and light bites at night… Perfect! On top of that, I appreciated the tranquil atmosphere, comfortable décor and friendliness of the staff.

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After some drinks and snacks, it was time for a work out. The Hilton Schiphol has a full fitness center and spa area. I used the spa area the next day and tell me … is there a better way to start your day in a jacuzzi? The spa area is worth a visit! Besides the jacuzzi, there’s a sauna and steam room as well which can be used at no additional charge. I can imagine that – after a long flight – you will feel reborn after your visit to this spa! Before heading to bed, I thoroughly enjoyed a relaxing massage. The therapist did an excellent job and provided the perfect pressure on my body as I requested. While listening to relaxing music, this definitely was the perfect way to end my day at Hilton Schiphol.

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One of the highlights at Hilton Schiphol is definitely their signature Bowery Restaurant. This is the place to enjoy a delicious meal in a trendy environment. We were welcomed by the most friendly and accommodating staff dressed up in a lovely Dutch way, loved it! They have several different kind of kitchens such as grill and Asian dishes. There’s something for just anyone! The open style kitchen is a bonus, I always love the fact that a kitchen has nothing to hide and watching the chefs preparing the food, is entertaining!

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I must admit that the food was heavenly! Let me share some of my favorite dishes: the oysters we started with were out of this world accompanied with some delicious champagne (of course!). The Dutch lamb with king bolete, polenta, radish and lamb gravy was great as was the Cod accompanied with Dutch langoustine, asparagus, potato and lobster foam… sounds delicious huh? Well, it was 😊 The unbaked cheese cake with strawberry, pistachio and rose wine was the perfect way to end this unforgettable night! Thumbs up, Browery Restaurant! Loved every second at this place! Non-hotel guests are also invited and enjoy complimentary parking arrangements!

The next morning I had breakfast at Bowery Restaurant. The buffet style breakfast was great with excellent choices of both hot and cold dishes. A buffet is also available at the executive lounge.

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The Hilton Schiphol is very conveniently located at the airport of Amsterdam Schiphol. The hotel is directly connected with the airport with a covered walkway and it only takes 5 minutes by foot to the main terminal. Highly recommended!

 

Pestana Amsterdam Riverside

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Hotelchain: Pestana hotels
Location: Amsterdam – The Netherlands
Classification: 5 star hotel
Official websitepestana.com/…/pestana-amsterdam-riverside

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Pestana Amsterdam Riverside is one the newest five star hotels in the heart of Amsterdam. You really can’t beat the location, the hotel is located on one of the most stunning places in Amsterdam, near the Amstel. The historic building is gorgeous and is considered as a national monument. It used to be a suburban town hall. Once you enter Pestana Amsterdam Riverside, you enter a top notch hotel with great interior designer elements and attention to details whether I’m writing about service or rooms.

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The lobby area is beautiful and gives an excellent first impression. It felt like an ultra luxurious boutique lobby with high ceilings and white interior designer elements. Welcome staff is attentive to your entrance and departure and always willing to provide a hand or transport assistance. Our room keys were handed in seconds while they explained everything we needed to know in a very friendly and accommodating way.

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Pestana Amsterdam Riverside has 154 luxuriously appointed rooms in different categories. We stayed in an executive room which I liked very much. For Amsterdam standards, the room had a great size and I could spend a whole day in the room without leaving. No bright colors nor shoddy elements … Every room at Pestana Amsterdam Riverside is tastefully decorated with high quality materials. I loved the bed! It felt like sleeping on a cloud… Our room had everything I’d expect from a five star hotel including high quality toiletries, a Nespresso coffee machine and a luxurious bathroom with excellent (rain)shower.

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Did you know that Pestana Amsterdam Riverside has several apartments with the same contemporary décors and features? Those apartments are perfect for families and friends when visiting beautiful Amsterdam!

For me, one of the key features of Pestana Amsterdam Riverside is the spa area. This is the perfect spot to relax and unwind. The indoor pool is pretty large for a city hotel (3m x 12,5m) and water temperature was just perfect for me (not too cold, nor too hot). On top of that, there’s a traditional sauna and steam room. The whole place is immaculately clean and staff was very kind and informative. Do note that several treatments can be booked here. The gym is well equipped with all the latest technology facilities.

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Another highlight of Pestana Amsterdam Riverside is ARC. This fine dining restaurant with leading Chef Peter Lute blew me away! The unique and young décor of the hotel is very appealing. Again, they did an incredible job decorating the place in a very minimalistic yet stylish way. Food was out of this world, each dish was divine and tasted fantastic! The amuse they served was just delicious and each dish that followed looked like pictures. The first cours – Cod accompanied with pear, kaffir lime and purslane was excellent. Incredible how the chef combines unique products… I loved the smokey entrecote (thin loin) with portobello, bear leak foam and rose hip as a main course. As usual, there’s always room for dessert: they served us forest fruit and pansy sorbet, tarragon and fennel… Loved each bite! As the weather was sweet, we had dinner at the wonderful terrace. Can’t say enough good things about ARC. Make sure to book your table before arrival as it is usually pretty busy here (no wonder why!!).

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After a great peaceful night, we were hungry again and couldn’t wait to explore breakfast. After our wonderful experience at ARC the night before, our expectations were high and I’m happy to write they were met in a every single way. The buffet style breakfast is large and offers a great selection of fresh ingredients, breads, pastries and fruit.

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It would be simple to say the defining factor was having the spa and fine dining restaurant available, but that would not do justice to the other elements which I found of the highest standard. To recap – the location is superb. Service is unbeatable and food is outstanding. This definitely is one of my favorite picks in Amsterdam! Amenities at Pestana Amsterdam Riverside truly are impeccable! Loved it!

Stanhope Brussels

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Hotelchain: Thon hotels
Location: Brussels – Belgium
Classification: 5 star hotel
Official websitethonhotels.be/…gie/brussel/stanhope-hotel

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OK, let me tell you a little secret: if you are looking for a hidden gem right in the middle of Brussels… Stop looking! I found it for you! Stanhope hotel is the place to stay at! This five star hotel is located within walking distance of several cultural highlights in Brussels. By the way, the Stanhope hotel was the first five star hotel in Brussels and still is an up to date hotel while they kept the original elements of the building. When I entered the hotel, it felt like entering a palace…

The lobby are is bright and spacious. I could spend hours here, reading a book or browsing on my iPad. It is such a relaxing area where guests can enjoy a drink in the authentic library bar. Check-in was a breeze and I was warmly welcomed with a smile. I was so ready to explore this hotel! J

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Firstly I was wowed by the elevator which looks like a mini library with several books showing names of former workers who used to work at the Stanhope hotel. And this is just one of the special touches at the Stanhope hotel. After every corner a new surprise is waiting. It truly is a magical place with a lot of history. Some parts of the hotel are classified.

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I stayed in a gorgeous room. Actually, the most luxurious hotel room I stayed at in Brussels. It was decorated by interior designer Pieter Porters with the motto “more is more”. The room itself felt more like a small fancy New York apartment to me. The adjoining dressing room was very convenient. Other five star amenities: Nespresso coffee machine, bathrobes and good quality toiletries. They seriously think about the environment protection here and the hotel is awarded with both the eco-dynamic enterprise and Green Key label. They encourage guests to reduce waste and energy consumption which is great!

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Later that night we had dinner at their signature restaurant Brighton, labeled by Michelin with 3 red forks. It is like going back in time, the décor is classy and sophisticated. The three course menu was delicious! As a starter I had the Roma tomatoes and mozzarella ‘di buffala’ with a coulis of pesto with rocket salad. The grilled lamb chops that followed were to die for! Service was flawless! The overall quality of the food was great and I definitely recommend you to have dinner here. You won’t be sorry!

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The next morning, I worked out at the intimate fitness center. Although not too large, it has high quality equipment which is ideal to start your day! There’s a sauna as well. Great for relaxing after a busy day.

And then I was totally ready to enjoy the most wonderful breakfast. Breakfast at the Stanhope hotel is not just an ordinary breakfast, it is an impressive buffet with several cold and hot items. I appreciated the pleasant and relaxing atmosphere. It was the perfect start of the day! Again, products were of a great quality and I noticed the fact that there were no individual portions to avoid food and plastic waste. If the weather permits, you can even sit outside peacefully!

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The Stanhope hotel has amazed me and not only for its gorgeous rooms. There is so much more to do in this hotel. Also, several up to date meeting rooms are available. Most rooms look different from each other but all of them are decorated in a very nice and comfortable way! Five stars all the way!

Update: Stanhope by Thon hotels recently renovated their rooms and the colorful theme which is why Thon hotels is famous for is noticeable throughout their new décor. I got to experience their new fancy rooms… The suite I stayed at was ultra cozy and tastefully decorated. It felt like a royal suite to me with the large king sized bed and wonderful furniture. The dark wooden floor added even more coziness to the room. The suite even came with a separate living area. Bathroom featured both bath tub and shower. All rooms at Stanhope are of a five star level and guarantee a peaceful night. The best part is that eventhough Stanhope hotel did undergo a renovation, many of the 19th century details have been kept! Today, Stanhope hotel is still among the best five star hotels we have in Belgium. Highly recommended!

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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!

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!