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!

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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!

Pulitzer Barcelona

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Hotelchain: Pulitzer
Location: Barcelona – Spain
Classification: 4 star hotel
Official websitehotelpulitzer.es

Pulitzer Barcelona is a great four star hotel in the center of Barcelona. You can’t beat the location, you are in the middle of it all. The famous Ramblas is only a few minutes away! This is a very convenient location to explore all the major attractions Barcelona has to offer!

They kept the façade of the old historic building which is exactly what they needed to do because it is just stunning and gives the hotel a ‘grand’ feeling! Once inside, i was surprised that the hotel is modern and totally up to date. It looks like a new hotel and you wouldn’t expect that from the outside. The reception staff was friendly and Everything we needed to know about the hotel and its facilities were explained in a very kind way.

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I love the large bar at Pulitzer Barcelona right next to the check in area. Several cozy sitting areas can be found here with plush sofas and amazing drinks at affordable prices! This is the perfect spot to chat with friends and have a great time! It was great to find out that a lot of local people were enjoying themselves in the hotel as well. It is the place where local people and guests merge!

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The rooms at Pulitzer hotel are of a four star level and although not too large, they do offer all the comfort you’d need for an upmost comfortable stay. I loved the ‘blue themed’ bathroom with bath tub. It was so nice to relax and unwind after a day of exploring this beautiful city! Bathrobes and slippers as well as complimentary water can be found in every room. I must highlight the small balcony which added even more comfort. Always nice to be able to sit outside and watch the everyday life!

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Their restaurant, the Greenhouse, offers delightful dishes with a lot of healthy options. Decoration is wonderful, they used a lot of wooden furniture and there are plants all over the place.

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At night, we thoroughly enjoyed a wonderful dinner here. The chef definitely knows how to combine ingredients, flavors were amazing! As a starter, the micro vegetables with green peas and Pestle bread with maple syrup and butter were delicious. The duck as a main course was outstanding! And we always have some room for dessert, the churros was one of the best I have had in my life! I must mention that each plate was beautifully presented! Service was easy going yet professional – Top!

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The Greenhouse is also the place where they serve breakfast. The Mediterranean buffet consists of several cheeses and meat such as chorizo. Most of you know I love eggs and they do know how to prepare the eggs just the way I prefer! Thumbs up! Each morning guests can enjoy homemade quiches with spinage, definitely a must-try!

As mentioned before, the large bar downstairs is the perfect place to relax and hang out. If the weather is great, a rooftop bar is great option. They have the best cocktails there, be sure to check out the Vermut, I’m sure you will love it as much as I did!

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Pulitzer Barcelona is a perfect hotel to visit Barcelona! Each time I entered the hotel, I felt like coming home which is quite unique! Can’t wait to return to this beautiful place with the most convenient location and accommodating staff.

Hyatt Regency Amsterdam

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Hotelchain: Hyatt
Location: Amsterdam – The Netherlands
Classification: 5 star hotel
Official websiteamsterdam.regency.hyatt.com/…n/hotel/home

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Hyatt Regency recently opened a hotel in Amsterdam. Of course, after staying at the Andaz Prinsengracht, I needed to explore this brand new Hyatt hotel as well and it didn’t disappoint!

This five star hotel is located near the city center of Amsterdam, it is just a 15 minute walk to all the major attractions beautiful Amsterdam has to offer! Hyatt Regency Amsterdam is located near the beautiful Plantage district. The Tropenmuseum – a ethnographic museum – is only a short walk. The historic canal area is just 15 minutes away by foot.

Entering this hotel is entering a contemporary styled luxury hotel with all the comfort one could wish for. The lobby area is spacious and their ‘living’ green wall definitely is an eye catcher. Check-in staff was very helpful and accommodating and after some useful information, they handed us the keys for our room.

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They integrated the whole ‘green’ theme throughout the entire hotel, the wallpaper in the rooms has botanical illustrations on it, even in the hallways. Very nice!

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All rooms at Hyatt Regency Amsterdam are luxuriously appointed and have decent sizes compared to other hotels in Amsterdam. I love the design and lay-out of the rooms particularly the oversized desk and (ultra comfortable!) cozy couch.

The bathroom had one of the best walk-in showers I have experienced so far. I should definitely highlight the pharmacopeia toiletries. They smell amazing!

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We had access to the Regency Club Lounge – a very nice and relaxing area! I was pretty impressed with this lounge, the décor is – again – contemporary and I loved the fact that they have some beautiful artwork here. The Regency Club Lounge offers some pastries in the morning and all day complimentary soft and hot beverages. In the evening, a very large selection of small bites are offered as well as several types of wine and spirits. A must try are the home-made apple crumble with vanilla sauce. Very yummie!

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After exploring the room and Regency Club Lounge, I went down for a work out. The onsite fitness center is excellent and pretty large for a hotel. Working out while watching television is the perfect combination.

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After burning calories, it was time to enjoy wonderful meal. Mama Makan is their fine dining restaurant, located on the ground floor next to the lobby area. This Indonesian styled restaurant is the perfect place to enjoy an Indonesian meal prepared by the Indonesian lady chef Rosmina Napitupulu. The restaurant is beautifully designed and staff was super friendly and knowledgeable about each dish and drink.

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We ordered the chef’s Rosima’s rijsttafel (rice table). This definitely is their signature choice! The rice table consists of an exciting variety of dishes – or let’s call them tapas – from all over Indonesia. The food truly was outstanding. I particularly liked the Sate Ayam Daging Dan Lilit as a starter, the Tongseng Kambing and Terung Sambal Balado as main course. The dessert, a selection of home-made ice cream and sorbet along with fresh fruit, was a treat! We loved the rice table, the small portions were excellent and each bite was divine!

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Hyatt Regency Amsterdam is a brand new top notch five star hotel near the center of Amsterdam. I felt great here and can recommend this hotel for your next trip to Amsterdam! Be sure to check out Mama Makan too when you’re there, you won’t be disappointed! J

Hilton Paris Opéra

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Hotelchain: Hilton
Location: Paris – France
Classification: 4 star hotel
Official websitewww3.hilton.com/…/hilton-paris-opera-PAROPHI

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Hilton Paris Opéra is one of the best four star hotels I have stayed at in the city of lights. This upscale hotel has a prime location in Paris and offers the most comfortable rooms one could wish for. I was surprised with this hotel, let me tell you why…

Although, Hilton Paris Opéra is located within a historic building, when I entered this hotel I was blown away by how they managed to combine a contemporary style without eliminating the historic touches. The grand lobby area is gorgeous with large chandeliers and comfortable couches. Again, the well-designed bar is an eye-catcher and definitely a must-visit! Their cocktails are delicious – check it out yourself 🙂

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Check-in went smoothly and in just seconds, we were ready to explore our room. Every room at Hilton Paris Opéra is luxuriously appointed and the fact that almost every room has a different shape does add some charm to this place. No ordinary, boring rooms here … all rooms are decorated in a very stylish way. Although I was in the middle of Paris, the room had a descent size. I had plenty of room to work, relax and sleep. Perfect!

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Bathrooms are impressive and again, large. Each bathroom is equipped with a walk-in shower and marble sinks.

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As every Hilton, this hotel also has an executive lounge. For an additional charge, guests are able to relax, work, eat and drink in a private lounge located on the first floor. Some lounges at hotels are pretty boring, but the one at Hilton Paris Opéra is definitely worth the upgrade. From candies to afternoon treats, they have it all here. Guests can enjoy complimentary soft and hot drinks throughout the day. During the evening hours (6pm-8pm), complimentary wine and spirits are offered as well as light bites. Breakfast is served here as well and is included when you have access to the executive lounge so once again, definitely worth the price!

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Each morning, a large breakfast buffet is available next to the executive lounge. The food was outstanding with several hot à la carte items which are included in the rate.

Hilton Paris Opéra is a top notch four star hotel in the center of Paris. The grand boutique feeling is noticeable throughout the entire hotel! Loved it!

 

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!