Recieving a great reception!

This may be a case of “judging a book by its cover” but those first few steps I take into a hotel lobby always seem to determine how I feel about that hotel.

Mr PB and I love to travel and have had the privilege of visiting many fabulous destinations around the globe. I intend to do separate reviews of those special hotels that we have stayed in but I thought I would share some first impressions.

The Royalton, Manhattan – I love New York. It was a dream of mine to visit since a young age and therefore, when the opportunity arose, it had to be right. Mr PB and I scoured the Internet many times over, trying to find that quintessential Manhattan hotel – with the feel of a Brownstone but centrally located. I was so overwhelmed by our final choice – I even cried when I saw the gallery on the internet so heaven knew what I would be like when we actually arrived. Walking through the statement fire engine red doors, you will be taken aback by how dark it is in comparison to most hotel lobby’s. However, the designers have thought carefully to bring you into a space that is both reception, wine bar and restaurant. With large dark leather sofas that you sink into, statement double-sided fires and a gorgeous modern take on wood panelling adorning the walls, you can imagine this lobby transitioning from day to night with little changes. The receptionists are concealed so that your eye is drawn to the bar area, again allowing it to welcome both hotel guests and residents of Manhattan. I would be quite happy sipping on a tea reading a book by day and then changing it up to a fabulous cocktail perched at the bar in the evening. P.S. I did both!

The One and Only, Cape Town – I will be honest and share that prior to our South African trip, I had concerns about the standard of the hotels – how would they compare with the more salubrious that we have stayed in. However, pulling into the entrance at The One and Only, Cape Town, I soon came to realise that this amazing country knows how to be the perfect host. Floor to ceiling windows in a light and airy space give you a beautiful view of table mountain. Dark wood mixed with cream rugs and colonial soft furnishings, it was pleasantly unexpected. And with a bar that would rival most in London, both from the quality of the cocktails and the decor, it was a superb welcome

The Spa Hotel, Tunbridge Wells – although our visit was only for dinner, I fell in love with the Reception area and have been planning my next visit.

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You are greeted by an expansive marbled floor with 3 different areas surrounding a large, gorgeous copper table. Proudly displaying a selection of vases, this table is just out of this world spectacular.  20150704_210808349_iOS20150704_210834998_iOSBanquet seating in a grey and blue floral, pale grey and steel blue sofas and armchairs and an array of table lamps and coffee tables are complimented by the cornflower blue on the walls. Wrought iron occasional tables sit around the edge sectionning the 3 seating areas providing an opportunity for some stylised placements of magazines, candles and books. I would recommend you book for dinner just to enjoy the reception area!

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Where are your favourite hotel receptions?

x PB x

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From the sublime to the ridiculous…Our Italian adventure part 2!

Leaving the tranquil calm of Lake Como, we took a 3 hour drive to Venice (Venezia). Hopping on board a vaporetto, we travelled up the Grand Canal which, at times, felt more like a confused motorway with the amount of boats that seemed to dash in front of one another – removal companies, delivery firms and hoards of tourists using the river to it’s full capacity.

We disembarked at San Giglio and made our way to our hotel – AD Place. Tucked away between the winding canal and narrow cobbled streets, the hotel had an unimposing entrance that, without a map, you may well walk past without realising it.

The entrance hall was swathed in heavy Moroccan style fabrics covering the walls and the floor was adourned with lanterns of all shapes and sizes. At night, the candlelight added to an already romantic setting.

Climbing up the uneven stairs, you could only imagine what secret those steps and walls could share, even beneath the bright purple décor. After having to take our luggage up several flights of stairs in Lake Como, I was intrigued as to how this hotel would avoid it without a lift – the answer was in the chairlift type contraption with hugged the staircase!

There was a small bar area with extravagant silver sofas and a fantastic Marilyn Monroe coffee table. This was also where the simple breakfast was served each morning.

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The hotel also benefits from a small, almost bijou, roof terrace. We were fortunate to have this to ourselves on both afternoons – watching the sun disappear behind the red tiled rooftops whilst enjoying a bottle of wine and reading our books was the perfect end to the hustle and bustle of the day.

Entering our room, we were greeted by a bold purple and green colour scheme – not something you would naturally expect behind the traditional brick walls. A large room with double aspect windows which looked down onto the canal, I realised I was in Venice when we were treated to a verse of Nessun Dorma by a passing gondola which resonated up the passageway filling our room.

A four poster bed dressed in voile dominated the room and I’m pleased to share that the bed was covered in cushions of varying textures and a throw

IMG_3543A large white wardrobe and matching dressing table were practical and standard but the dressing room chair was just divine – a traditional button back in lime green and woodwork painted a beautiful lilac.

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The windows were draped in a heavy purple velvet and the walls were covered in a purple and white stripe fabric. I realised during our stay the walls were padded, presuming that Italian preservation orders don’t allow wallpaper but this added to the eccentricity.

The table lamps and floor lamps were dressed in a gorgeous deep purple voile with crystal accents which reflected across the room – not particularly practical if you want to read at night but I guess its a good job I had my Kindle Paperwhite!

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The bathroom was a reasonable size, although the shower was a little cosy compared to the luxury we had in Lake Como.

The piece de la resistance had to be the Granny Smith apple place on a wall bracket. Not obvious at first as so much of the room takes your attention but a bizarre addition that made us both smile…and we aren’t even sure why.

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I am sure that this hotel’s décor would not be to everyone’s taste and some may seek the more Venetian style extravagance but I personally swooned at their ability to mix the bold and brash with the traditional. Venice has an ability to embrace a style that most would not dare and for that, I admire this beautiful city that may one day be forever lost.

x PB x

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