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Category Archives: France

Wine and Water

Wine and Water

Wine and Water

The French do believe in fairy tales: Their Wine Museum in Paris is located in the ….Water street (or more precisely the Ch. Dickens square…still named after a fairy tale writer)

Chateau Eza – an Eagle’s Nest Hotel

Chateau-Eza-IMG_8185Full Moon and a view on St Jean Cap Ferrat

Chateau-Eza-IMG_8198An excellent place for Super Yacht spotting, here the 90m Lauren L, built in 2002 in Germany

Last year we took a few days off from our hectic life as hoteliers to visit the south of France.

I was able to make a last minute reservation for one night in a suite of the magnificent Chateau Eza.

However, there are a couple of things to note:

  • Eza is the old name for Eze. It is a little picturesque medieval and hence car free village on a rock approximately 500m above sea level with a magnificent view of the Mediterranean. It is the first village west from Monaco and not far from Nice and Nice Airport. It is draped like an Eagle’s Nest on a steep hill. Hotel Chateau Eza is situated on top of the village, about 20 minutes walking on a steep uphill path, partly with stairs. It’s an excellent place for Yacht spotting.
  • If you travel by car like we do, you should be aware that Eze village is a bit of a tourist trap with few parkings. On busy days it is hardly possible to park your car somewhere in the neighborhood of the entrance to the village. Many buses drop by. If you want to make a day trip by car to for instance Monaco or Nice, it takes about 1/2 hour before you reach your car and you have no guarantee you’ll find a parking spot when you return after your trip.
  • Eze can be foggy, even if the rest of the Riviera is sun blazed. Just be aware of this, if you booked for the view as we did.
  • They run an excellent restaurant, but they don’t give hotel guests a guaranteed seat for a session in the restaurant, what amazed me for a 10 rooms only hotel.
  • Checking in into the hotel is a somewhat peculiar experience, as there is a little office for the concierge in the main street not far from the car park, approximately a mile downhill form the hotel entrance itself. The hotel site is not clear about this feature. It should be in my opinion. The confirmation of the reservation gives some directions, but are not very clear. The porter does a good job bringing your luggage to the hotel. All in all it took us 2 hours from arrival by car until we were checked in.
  • Friends of us stayed somewhere in the not too distant neighborhood, and we would have liked them to meet us at the hotel for lunch, however when we were settled Eza had closed the kitchen, notwithstanding they advertise, even today, on their site: Tapas service and à la carte salads are served from 12h30 to 18h00. Moreover with a 5 stars rating you may expect 24/7 room service for tapas and salads. No flexibility at all and that annoyed me most.
  • As a final observation: The neighborhood is rocky. On the night vision photo above you look West and see the light glow of Nice behind the hill and the traffic on the secondary road. It means if there is no wind, there is a lot of traffic noise amplified by the steep rocks around. Traffic goes on all night.

All in all it was quite an, but not so quiet, experience which I won’t repeat.

Chateau-Eza-IMG_8207

After a wonderful, but bit hazy, breakfast on the terrace we left for the Burgundy region.

Proud 2010 Gault Millau Hotelier

Gault Millau 2010 sticker for Haagsche Suites

Yesterday, as the first of the 5 or 6 prestigious restaurant guides in The Netherlands, the Dutch version of the Gault Millau Guide presented its 2010 awards and 2010 guide with the best 500 and something Restaurants and best 220 Hotels of The Netherlands here around the corner in The Hague. I’m a bit sad I had to miss the ceremony…so near by.

Today I received the sticker proving the Gault Millau editors deem Haagsche Suites worthy to belong to the best 220 Dutch Hotels in their guide. Thank you Gault Millau for the quick service, that even beats the new listings on your own website :-)

Gault Millau started in France as a restaurant guide in 1969. It was founded by two restaurant critics, Henri Gault (1929-2000) and Christian Millau. The French site is a mere window for their paper guide.

Yesterday the Belgian and Luxemburg Branche of Gault Millau also presented its 2010 Guide and awards.

I grabbed the following from the Misset Horeca Site:

Plaese note the best restaurant has been awarded 20 points out of 20 which is remarkable in the Gault Millau history. At the same time our Belgian neighbors awarded a Dutchman, Roger van Damme the Chef of the year award for his Antwerp based lunches only restaurant.

Gault Millau’s top 13 Restaurants of The Netherlands:

Points Restaurant City
20 Oud Sluis Sluis
19,5 Inter Scaldes Kruiningen
19,5 Beluga Maastricht
19,5 De Librije Zwolle
19 De Leest Vaassen
18 La Rive Amstel Hotel Amsterdam
18 Chalet Royal Den Bosch
18 De Lindenhof Giethoorn
18 De Bokkedoorns Overveen
18 Parkheuvel Rotterdam
18 De Zwethheul Schipluiden
18 De Leuf Ubachsberg
18 ‘t Brouwerskolkje Overveen



gaultmillau 2010 logo
Two of those top restaurants, Parkheuvel and De Zwetheul are easy to reach for a dinner when staying in Haagsche Suites.

Two other Restaurants Calla’s and Seinpost who also earned good points are even nearer to Haagsche Suites. Seinpost has the best wine food combining sommelier of 2010.

Austria, Italy, Germany and Switzerland each have their own Gault Millau guides.The US and the UK have their Gayot guides. Gayot was a friend of Gault and Millau and they published joint guides until a schism in 2000.

Gault Millau is said to be the guide of the food purists more than the Guide Michelin….

10 Questions For (31): Gesa Noormann of Escapio

Happy to present Gesa Noormann of Escapio

Gesa-Noormann
1) Who Are you?
My name is Gesa Noormann. I am doing PR for Escapio, a booking platform for exclusive, handpicked hotels. I especially love testing out and reporting on our gorgeous hotels in the Escapio Blog. I live in the middle of Berlin with my twin daughters and two rabbits. Aside from travelling, I love cooking and having friends over to share food and drinks

2) What do you like about what you do?
It may sound a little kitschy, but I have always dreamt of landing a job like I have at Escapio. It combines my passions for travel, great hotels and writing. The internet offers so many possibilities to communicate with people and to develop new marketing ideas that I really feel I’m doing exciting and new things every day.

3) What don’t you like about what you do?
Sometimes I miss meeting people personally instead of having virtual contacts on the internet.

4) Please tell us all about your site / blog and your aims with it.
Escapio is a booking website with a selection of handpicked hotels. Our concept is that customers can choose their hotel by lifestyle criteria like romantic or design hotels rather than just by destination or price. In times of bargain deals we want to give our customers the security of enjoying a special stay in an excellent hotel. Our blog is a complement to the website, for our customers to share our experiences with hotels, locations and lifestyle.

5) Your top 3 destination experiences you’ve ever stayed to date and why?
Egypt: so many things to see, such a rich cultural heritage, the Nile in the middle of the desert… just great!

Provence/Côte d’Azur: beautiful landscape, great food, my favorite language, fabulous shopping opportunities.

Venice: The City of my heart, a mix of beauty, decadence and melancholia.

La-Posta-Vecchia
La-Posta-Vecchia

6) Your top 3 accommodations you’ve ever stayed to date and why?
La Posta Vecchia, Rome. The perfect hideaway for lovers (ex-villa of Paul Getty and his lover). You actually sleep in the bed of Katharina de Medici, enjoy great food and eternal beauty near the city. Great restaurant with one Michelin star

The Hotel Al Moudira Louxor. The Lebanese owner brought all the antiquities and style from her villa in Cairo to this new built hotel in the middle of the desert. This hotel near King’s valley is a real oriental dream.

The Hollmann Beletage in Vienna: A very special and unique place in the historic center of Vienna. Actor Robert Hollmann realized with this hotel his personal idea of feeling at home – only better.

7) Your top 3 most memorable food / wine experiences to date and why?
Restaurant Hugo’s in the Intercontinental Hotel Berlin: Thomas Kammeier got his Michelin star for a good reason. He serves excellent, honest food with regional influences (his interpretation of the “currywurst” is unforgettable). Great panoramic view of Berlin.

Restaurant Le Castelleras near Fayence, France: This attractive stone villa is perched on a hillside and overlooks Fayence and the valley. A hidden and splendid location to enjoy refined Provençal-style cuisine. Great home-made ice cream with olive oil from the olive plantation behind the villa.

Harry’s Dolci in Venice with a great view on the Canale Grande. The food is fantastic and the other reason why I will never forget this experience is that my boyfriend and I, freshly in love, were not allowed to kiss. The manager’s severe call “Not in my restaurant” has become kind of an idiom between us since then.

8) Your top 3 worst destination/ accommodation /food experiences to date and why?
Unfortunately, I have canceled the names of these places out of my memory, so I cannot warn you

A hotel in downtown New York City, a so called in-place for artists. Perhaps I am not bohemian enough to live cockroaches in my bed as an interesting experience.

A hotel in Etropole/Bulgaria (best place in town!): My boyfriend is still getting spots on his face when he remembers the 50-years-of-socialism-carpet, 40 degrees in the room and no curtains…The wedding of my ex au pair was great, however, and for 19 euros per night you cannot really complain either.

9) Can you offer the readers 3 destination/ food / accommodation / things to do tips about the city you are currently living in?
Well, just have a look on Escapio’s Berlin hotels. I would send my most stylish friends to the Hotel Q in West Berlin. It is really fashionable and cool with guests like Angelina Jolie and Amy Whinehouse. Prices are really affordable, and the bar is a great chill out place.
The Ellington Hotel is great, too. Or for party people, I would choose the Arcotel Velvet in Berlin Mitte. If you want more luxury and are post materialist-design lover, please do not miss The Mandala at Potsdamer Platz, it is just gorgeous!

For people who like to spend money on food, I would suggest the Hugo’s (mentioned above), the Margaux at Unter den Linden or the Horvath in Kreuzberg. For a lower budget, a great rustic Italian is the Café Aroma in Kreuzberg or the Vietnamese Si An (http://www.tripsbytips.de/reisetipp/restaurant-si-an/10164700.html) in Prenzlauer Berg.

Hollmann-Beletage-Vienna
Hollmann-Beletage-Vienna

10) Any Question(s) you’d expected me to ask that you would like to answer?
Perhaps why people should choose Escapio? Because we believe in our choice of hotels (one of the best in the Mediterranean) and have a great, enthusiastic team that loves to help our customers book their dream hotel.

My Take

Thank you Gesa! In Berlin you mention places I certainly will check out at a future occasion and your mention of Hollmann Beletage will surely make me try out that one once over my current Vienna favorites. Big question: When will Escapio follow up my suggestions for Dutch additions to its site?

Paris (2): The undiscovered Panhard Levassor X73 Cabriolet

At Retromobile in Paris there are many historic cars on show to be auctioned during the show by Bonhams.
Lot no. 141 the Panhard Levassor X73 Cabriolet was undiscovered, because it had been several decades in storage. It is amazing to see a car with such patina. The storage coverage dust stil in tact.

It fetched €37,950.- in the auction.

To compare: Lot number 138 A, 1931 Panhard et Levassor 3½-Litre SS Special Saloon Chassis no. 80141 Engine no. 80141 was not sold (offer With Reserve) and was estimated at €80,000 – 100,000.

Bonhams’ notes:

Panhard et Levassor’s Type X73 first appeared in 1934. Designated ‘CS Special’, it superseded the 2½-litre 6CS model. The Type X73 was powered by a six-cylinder sleeve valve engine with a capacity of 2,861cc, which was rated at 16CV for taxation purposes. Its larger engine made the X73 a better performer than its predecessor, the top speed going up from 125 to 135km/h (84mph). After September 1934, the range was updated with more modern styling and the X73 continued in production until June 1938.

Panhard et Levassor offered a ‘Velun’ convertible on the X73 chassis. Exclusive even by Panhard’s standards, it was built in limited numbers: only one was sold in 1934, 31 in 1935, 25 in 1936 and six more in 1937. But the ‘Velun’ coachwork, built by Jansen, was different from that of the car offered here, so it seems reasonable to assume that this particular car’s is the work of another coachbuilder.

Close inspection of this car’s coachwork leads us to believe that it was produced by Meulemeester Frères, whose office was located at l’Ile Robinson, in Clichy-sur-Seine and the workshop at 7 rue Traversière. This coachbuilder exhibited for the first time at the 1927 Le Salon de l’Automobile and in 1933 offered an aerodynamic convertible on a Peugeot 301 chassis, very similar in appearance to our Panhard convertible. It is expected that further information will be available at time of sale.
Preserved in remarkably original condition, having been stored for several decades on chassis stands, this Panhard et Levassor X73 convertible evokes the typically intense feelings of nostalgia associated with such ‘barn find’ vehicles. The car affords four-seat accommodation under its folding soft-top, while the two doors are hinged at the rear as was customary at that time. In short: it represents a unique and elegant variation on a reliable and sporting chassis from that most celebrated pre-war marque, Panhard et Levassor. Deserving a high quality restoration, this rare car would make a worthy addition to any collection dedicated both to technology and aesthetics.

Lot Notice
The coachbuilder is Gangloff not Meulemeester

Real Nostalgia!

The Bonhams sale included some extraordinary results:

€3,417,500 for the Ex-Earl Howe 1937 Bugatti Type 57S Atalantiuq;
€2,427,500 for ‘Black Bess’ – the ex-Roland Garros Bugatti Type 13; and
€337,500 for a Citroen DS23 EFi Cabriolet.

BTW this is the third way of presentimng a slide slow…just copy and paste the embed code from Flickr..What do you think?