Breidenbacher Hof – Düsseldorf

Knipsel

Hotelchain: Capella hotels
Location: Dusseldorf – Germany
Classification: 5 star superior hotel
Official websitecapellahotels.com/en/capella-dusseldorf

Knipsel2.PNG

Another time to visit Düsseldorf! A great city with the most wonderful hospitality and hotels!

20190511_205121

Rated as one of the top hotels in Dusseldorf, we knew that our stay at the Breidenbacher Hof (a Capella hotel) was going to be a great experience and it was … As soon as we arrived at the hotel, we were greeted by a very friendly, yet not too formal, bellman. He kindly asked my name and guided me to the reception. Check-in was very efficient and we did get some clear information about the hotel such as the free non alcoholic drinks during the day in the guests “dining room”, etc. Oh, I do need to mention this: no “staff” here, they call it “personal assistants”, very nice touch and very personal approach. We also received a map of the city and were surprised by how central this hotel is located. The upscale shops are just a few steps away and we walked to the old city center in about 10 minutes. The lobby area is spectacular with a stunning staircase and cosy luxurious seating areas.

20190511_180308.jpg
20190512_102351.jpg
20190511_162134.jpg

We stayed in a very spacious grand deluxe room on the Royal Level and absolutely loved it! As you enter the room, you will notice the high quality decoration. To be honest, it was one of the nicest 5 star hotel rooms I have ever seen and I have been to MANY five star properties all over the world 🙂 After a full day of shopping and sightseeing, there is no better place than relaxing in those cozy couches. The bedroom is very large and has very soft beds with plenty of pillows to choose from. The bathroom with Italian marble has a bathtub and separate shower, double sinks and a toilet. Bathrobes, a Bose Sound system and espresso machine are there for your comfort. Even the minibar with soft drinks is included in the rate. There are touch panels from which you can control drapes, lighting, etc. The room actually felt like a Junior Suite to me and had a sitting area with the most comfortable couches. As you’d expect from a high class hotel like this, turn down service is provided each night.

IMG_20190511_164244_651
20190511_215023.jpg
20190511_160818.jpg
20190511_161330.jpg

It would be very difficult to get bored at the Breidenbacher Hof as it offers a fully equipped hotel gym and a luxurious spa area. We tried everything: the indoor pool, traditional sauna and steam room. The place is very relaxing, beautifully decorated and impeccably clean.

20190511_183946.jpg
20190512_082040.jpg

At night, we had diner at the Lobby Lounge and you should definitely try their traditional “Currywurst” 🙂 You’ll love it! But first we had a delicious cocktail in their stylish bar. After dinner it was great to just hang out in the ‘Living Room’ where they serve the non-alcoholic soft drinks and hot drinks throughout the day and night.

20190512_095223.jpg
20190512_095239.jpg
20190511_211036.jpg
20190511_161925.jpg

The next morning we were able to try out the other restaurant, the Brasserie 1806. Again, very classy! Breakfast was of a very high quality and offered a good variety of hot and cold items. There were several options: buffet, à la carte or both. We tried both and did not regret it. From the delicious latte macchiato to the freshly made apple pie… Once again, one of the best buffets I have ever seen! I loved every single bite and sip. By the way, their coffees are prepared with an eye for attention. Love those small things! They do make a HUGE difference!

20190512_091203.jpg
20190512_091620.jpg
20190512_091807.jpg

If you are looking for an upscale hotel in a great spot, do not hesitate to stay at the Breidenbacher Hof. It is a true 5 star superior hotel where you will be treated as a star!

Screenshot_20190511-203946_Instagram.jpg

Advertisements

Cruise review: MSC Meraviglia

Cruiseline: MSC Cruises
Ship: MSC Meraviglia
Itinerary: Mediterranean
For bookingsmsccruises.com

e9ce190b-396f-473d-8126-bef7d887d72a

Most of you know I LOVE cruise ships… Cruising is definitely my favorite way to explore new destinations in a glamorous environment. MSC Cruises launched in 1988 and what began with one ship has now grown into a magnificent fleet of 15 ships. It is actually one the fastest growing cruise companies in the industry.

I explored and experienced one their newest ships, the MSC Meraviglia. This ship was launched in June 2017 and is one of the largest cruise ships in the world. Trust me, she’s huge with a capacity of 4,500 passengers and 1,536 crew members. There are 15 glamorous passenger decks offering the most luxurious facilities one could wish for. I immediately fell in love with the interior design of the MSC Meraviglia. MSC is known for its glitter and glamour finishing and that’s how it should be on a cruise ship. The eye catcher on Deck 6 is the Galleria Meraviglia with a magnificent digital ceiling: a LED screen with gorgeous images and videos that change depending on the time of the day. It is really spectacular. As you walk through this promenade, you will pass the Infinity Atrium. I see why they call it the Infinity Atrium as there are mirror on the ceilings. As usual at most MSC cruise ships, the Swarovski Crystal Staircase is a must!

IMG_6212
IMG_6709.jpg

Let me tell you something more about the cabins. MSC offers inside cabins, ocean view cabins and balcony cabins. The balcony cabin we stayed in was absolutely amazing and very spacious. Actually, one the largest balcony cabins Ive ever stayed in. The king sized bed was among the best as well. No small couch here, but a full sized comfortable couch which was excellent for relaxing and reading a book. The balcony had a good size too with high quality furniture. There was a big interactive tv with several channels that we enjoyed. I can tell that a lot of thought has gone into the design and lay out of the cabins. What I appreciate is that each cabin has a minibar, even insides. Also, the touch panels to control the bedside lights were great! Another feature I like is the switch controlled ‘Do Not Disturb’ and ‘Make Up My Room’ signs. There’s a double wardrobe in the cabin which was large enough to store your luggage and clothes.

IMG_6158.jpg
0F770E43-1E5C-4201-868B-11FE70717A7A

The bathroom has a large shower with glass doors, a footrest which is ideal for leg shaving. There also a clothes wire for drying laundry. There are no toiletries provided, but there’s shampoo and soap available in fixed dispensers. The single sink has a great design and there’s a convenient cupboard with shelves. Do note that MSC sells its cruises by “experience” rather than cabin types. For example, the standard experience is called Fantastica which offers a classic cruise experience. The next level is Bella which offers a complimentary room service, etc.

IMG_6152.jpg

There is so much to do on board of the MSC Meraviglia. As mentioned before, there are 15 (!) passenger decks. On Deck 5 I loved the infinity bar. This modern bar is the perfect place for people watching which is always fun, right? Oh by the way, drinks are not included in the fare, but I do recommend to buy a drinks package as it is great value for money. We paid 206 EUR per person for the Easy Package which includes unlimited consumption of selected drinks priced up to 6 EUR. There’s a good selection of spirits, wine, cocktails, mocktails, soft drinks and juices available. Also bottled water and classic hot drinks are included in all bars and restaurants, excluding specialty restaurants. I do like the all inclusive feeling without having to worry about the final bill at the end of the cruise. With a drinks package you know exactly what you will spend on board regarding drinks.

IMG_6200
IMG_6196
IMG_6210.jpg
IMG_6265
IMG_6191.jpg

I would call Deck 6 the heart of the ship as it is home to the Galleria Meraviglia with the LED ceiling. Here you can shop and dine as you walk by many beautiful shops and dining venues. Also, make sure to visit the Jean-Philippe Chocolate store! The chocolate masterpieces they show are incredible (and I’m sure they taste pretty good as well!).

IMG_6693.jpg

Plaza Meraviglia is the small shopping area of MSC Meraviglia with watches and sunglasses, perfumes and cosmetics and a mini hall. Here you can also find the MSC Excursions desk where you can book your shore excursions. The MSC shop is the place to buy souvenirs. Right across this gift shops, there’s Fashion Jewellery.

IMG_7031
IMG_6237.jpg
IMG_7034.jpg

If you walk through the Galleria Meraviglia to the front of the shop, you will enter Broadway Theatre. A spectacular theatre where passengers can enjoy shows each night. In terms of entertainment, MSC is one of my favorite! Behind every corner, there’s something new waiting for you. I like to get entertained! There’s so much to do on this ship… I’ve found the quality of the shows excellent, especially Virtual, a resolutely contemporary show for today’s generation. Do note that you must book to attend a show. You can book any time up to 10 minutes before show time very conveniently through the MSC For Me app which I will tell you more about later. Speaking about shows, MSC works together with Cirque Du Soleil. That is right, for the first time ever, Cirque Du Soleil is at sea and they designed a special theatre on board the MSC Meraviglia. There are two 40-minute productions – Sonor and Viaggio – for you to enjoy at a small surcharge. We paid 15 EUR per person for each show and this includes a cocktail. I liked both shows, but found Sonor a little bit better as the special effects during this show were stunning.

IMG_6894
IMG_6900.jpg

Also during the day, there is so much to do. There are quizzes, dance classes, games, etc. all over the ship.

I should also highlight the Polar Aqua Park on Deck 19. It is the best water park at sea I have ever seen with 3 great water slides and the Himalayan Bridge which was very fun and actually a bit scary too. All activities are included in the rate. Very cool! Kids will have the time of their life here (and not only kids!). There are large outdoor pools available, Atmosphere Pool and Bamboo Pool, on deck 15. If the weather is bad, they will cover the Bamboo pool with a sliding roof, turning it into an indoor pool.

IMG_6973.jpg
IMG_6238

If you want to relax and unwind, make sure to visit the MSC Aurea Spa. This beautiful area is the place to visit when you want to come at ease. For a cruise ship, this spa center is huge offering several kinds of saunas and steam rooms. Do note that access is not included so you need to pay extra to make use of those facilities.

MSC is known for their family facilities. On Deck 18 you will find the kids clubs. That is right, there are several clubs on this ship especially built for kids. It is safe to leave your children here since there’s a reception and kids can’t just leave this area. They divided the clubs based on ages. There’s the Baby Club Chicco, Mini Club Lego, Junior Club Lego, Doremi Studio and the Young and Teen Club. This is also the place where you will find Sportplex, a place to play soccer, basketball, etc. Very cool!

IMG_6240.jpg

Cruising is also about dining. There are many restaurants on board the MSC Meraviglia. Not all the restaurants are included in the fares. There are 5 specialty restaurants which cost extra. I did not make use of them as I found the food and service in the main restaurants to be really good. Beside the main restaurants, there’s also the huge Marketplace buffet on deck 15 with endless choices of freshly prepared food. The quality of the food was excellent and since this place is so huge, we never found any problem finding a table. The Marketplace buffet was our favorite place to have lunch. At night, we had dinner at L’Olive Doree. The food was just amazing! Each night, a delicious three course menu will be served. I’ve found the overall quality of the food pretty good and it all tasted fresh. Service was great too.

IMG_6141.jpg
IMG_6146.jpg
IMG_6997
IMG_6994
IMG_7028.jpg

Cruising is not only about the ship, the ports we visited were beautiful. We had such a nice itinerary and visited Italy (Genua and Rom), Malta, Sicily (Palermo), Spain (Barcelona) and France (Marseille). That’s the main advantage of a cruise. You can visit so many places. You can book your excursions via MSC or just go off the ship and explore the area on your own which we did most of the time. It’s always nice though when you get back on the ship. It almost feels like coming home 😊

By the way, make sure to download the MSC For Me app when you cruise with MSC. It is so convenient to navigate and see what’s going on. You can even see the menus and book your seats for shows. You can actually chat with your fellow passengers and keep in touch. All you need to do is log in on the on board wifi system. The use of the MSC For Me app is free and a must have while you are on board.

MSC Meraviglia is new ship with tons of facilities and endless dining options. The service on board was great. Our cabin steward was very nice and nothing was asked for too much. The whole ship is maintained very well and was spotlessly clean. Make sure to check it out yourself, you will love it! We had the time of our lives on this jewel! Can’t wait to sail on her again!

 

Burj Al Arab – Dubai

1

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/

2

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.

5 3

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!

17

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.

19
21 20

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.

12 13

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.

23
18
25

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.

24

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!

Guarda Golf – Crans Montana

1                            28

Location: Crans-Montana – Switzerland
Classification: 5 star hotel superior
Official websiteguardagolf.com

image10 (46)

Guarda Golf hotel & residences is a top notch five star hotel in Crans-Montana. Making part of Swiss Deluxe Hotels and The Leading Hotels of the World, my expectations were high and were met in every single way! We arrived during their winter opening weekend and I was blown away as soon as I entered this gorgeous place! I always like mountain style interiors when staying in the Alps and the warm and cozy interiors definitely gave me the mountain feelings. Guarda Golf hotel & residences is not an ultra modern design hotel, but a very stylish, elegant and luxurious appointed place instead. The traditional wooden décors and furniture are all beautiful.

image7 (56)

The most friendly and professional check-in staff greeted us with a smile and gave us some useful information about the hotel and the village. I loved the personal approach and I immediately noticed the high service level. The hotel has ‘only’ 23 rooms which is why guests are treated as royalty here. From this winter, they added 7 huge suite apartments, each with a lot of space to move (225m²!). Also new is the new private 15-seat cinema which is accessible at no additional charge. I should definitely mention that a lot of other services are included in the rates too such as complimentary valet (underground)parking, a limousine service within Crans Montana and each day you’ll receive a newspaper upon request.

The rooms at Guarda Golf hotel & residences are glorious, spacious and elegantly appointed. The dark wood made it even more romantic. Our room had a gorgeous king sized bed and the most comfortable sitting area with two comfortable couches. The oversized desk was perfect for doing some work and internet speed was excellent! By the way, each room comes with a minibar with complimentary soft drinks.

The balcony had picture perfect views over the surrounding areas. Beautiful!

image8 (53)
image11 (20)

The luxurious bathroom featured a bathtub and an excellent shower! Water pressure was superb and 2 people could easily fit in! As most of you know, I’m a true fan of Bulgari toiletries and was happy to find out they provide those here!

image24 (1) 12

Enough things to do here! A must visit is the spa area! This is THE place to relax and unwind after a day in the mountains. It is just gorgeous. The indoor pool has a good size and water temperature is excellent! I felt great in the large sauna and steam room as it was freezing outside!

image3 (70)
image4 (66)

They offer a large spa menu with several beauty treatments to choose from. I enjoyed a relaxing massage which was given by a talented spa therapist. She did an excellent job and made me feel reborn after the treatment. She was very knowledgeable about the products and took my preferences about the medium/soft pressure which I requested in mind. Loved every single minute of this wonderful beauty treatment. They’re real professionals here and the entire spa area is maintained in an excellent way! They use Eva.j products which is a Swiss-made line of products using only the best, biological ingredients, certified for Swiss pharmaceuticals.

image9 (50)
13

Guarda Golf hotel & residences is located near a 18 holes golf course, called Severiano Ballesteros. As it was the start of the winter season, we weren’t able to play golf, but they do offer an indoor golf facility as well. Very cool!

The ski slopes are only a short drive from the hotel. We took advantage of the wonderful complimentary limousine service and they took us to the slopes in their brand new Mercedes. The ski area at Crans Montana is stunning. With 23 lifts and 140 km of ski slopes, this is a perfect place to enjoy several days of winter fun. I was happy to find out there are many blue and red slopes as I’m not a fan of black slopes. What I liked about this ski area is that it is not over crowded. We never had to wait at the lifts and the whole area is connected in a very convenient way.

image3 (72)
image6 (58)

Back to the hotel, as you would expect from a hotel of this class, they offer several gourmet dining options for their guests. The first night we had dinner at the Guarda Golf Lounge with a more international all round cuisine. As we arrived pretty late in the evening and since we were a bit tired, we enjoyed a more casual dinner. The food here was to die for and service was top notch! A must try is their crème brulee! The most beautiful crème brulee I have ever seen. Period!

image25
image4 (64)
image1 (84)

Mizuki by Kakinuma is their fine dining restaurant and is one of the better restaurants in Crans-Montana. We thoroughly enjoyed our dinner here the second night. This restaurant offers an authentic Japanese cuisine in a unique setting. The décor is stylish and the panoramic views over the mountains is fantastic! The food really is out of this world and each plate was like a picture. As a starter we just had to try the suhi and we loved every single bite. For the main course we enjoyed a traditional hot pot called Marmite Sukiyaki with thin slices of beef and a selection of fresh vegetables in a sweet and salty soy bouillon, served with a raw egg on the side.

image8 (54)
image1 (85)
14

Guarda Golf hotel & residences recently underwent expansion works which are completed this week and I just had to see the new expansions myself! They added 7 luxury three-bedrooms suite apartments – and trust me, I wouldn’t just call them apartments but presidential suites instead, a library, private dining space, an adults and children’s games room, a cigar lounge and a private cinema honoring the legendary James Bond actor who used to be a loyal guest for many years. Let me share some pictures!

image12 (21)
image13 (20)
image15 (12)
image16 (10)
image17 (6)

As you read, I really liked our stay at Guarda Golf hotel & residences. From the moment I stepped in to the moment I checked out, we enjoyed every single minute here and we can’t wait to return to this jewel in the Swiss Alps! Five stars all the way!