Tuesday, December 23, 2014

48 Hours at the Aria Hotel Prague

Our party was divided into two groups. One stayed at the new and ultra chic Emblem Hotel, while we decided to stay at the more casual and more luxurious Aria Hotel. Never did we regret this simply amazing choice. Upon arrival we were greeted with a smile and a welcoming "Welcome to the Aria Prague!". I wouldn't say that probably this is the most personal front desk staff if I hadn't stayed at so many luxury hotels. Honestly this is the secret formula for a successful hotel - a place where also I will return many times. 

Our rooms were situated on the fourth floor meaning that our rooms are designed in the Classical colour scheme - well, the rooms are not as chic as at the Emblem, but they definitely are twice as comfortable and welcoming with lots of warm colours. The bathroom was large and the tub was huge as well. I also loved the huge shower head - honestly it reminded me of The Savoy in London, probably because the toiletries are from London, by Molton Brown!

The Apple TV is really really cool and we could even connect our iPads to the TV and could hear our Music through the excellent loundspeakers! There is also a turn-down service with chocolate, which was done normally between 4 and 5 pm - guess it could be a bit too early for some people! In contrary to the Emblem, the do not have boxspring beds, but therefore enormous King beds with a size of approximately 2m x 2 m. A very nice gesture when we arrived: a bottle of red wine and a fruit plate!

One of the nicest touches at this musical themed hotel is the afternoon tea, held daily between 4 and 5pm - fully complimentary for hotel guests. With sweets, finger food, hot tea and wine (during christmas time), we were completely in the mood for the christmas markets at the Prague castle, Venceslas Square and Old Town Square - the most wonderful I have seen in Prague!

After all these excellent reviews on Tripadvsior (and of course because we were extremely tired of our 5 hours drive ;-) ) we decided to eat at the Coda Restaurant. Again, an excellent choice! Our menu consisted of three courses and an accompanying house wine, which was incredible! Beginning this excellent evening with an Amuse Bouche, a slice of tuna, followed by Foie Gras - it was truly magificent. I was quite insecure if it is a good idea to take the "Papardelle with Truffle" in December. As you might guess, all my believes were incorrect! These papardelle were simply extraordinary - never had such excellent truffle dish outside the Piedmont or Italy before! For dessert we had the famous Valhrona chocolate cake, another fabulous choice! Honestly all our expectations were exceeded on all ways! Congratulations to the chef David!

Of course we discovered some of Pragues best cocktail bars before we headed back to our worldclass accomodation. At breakfast we were greeted with a smile once again and started the day with some scrambled eggs and omlettes, together with a real Capuccino!

Finally I can just assure that you won't regret to forget the Four Seasons or Mandarin Oriental and head therefore to this picturesque Boutique Hotel in the real heart of one of our Top favourite cities in the world. If you are looking for something really special, then book one of the few Suites overlooking the Vrtbovska Garden - one of the most wonderful baroque gardens in the world, accessible free of charge from the hotel. 

A special thanks to the team of the Aria for being so welcoming and kind!

Our stay at the Aria Hotel Prague was sponsored by Mr. Vostiar and we were guests of the hotel throughout the weekend. Our above written review is our personal opinion and hasn't been influenced.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

24 Hours at the Aqua Dome

You might know it from my first posts here on this Blog, that I was very unsatisfied with the services at this Austrian Spa Resort. Well, yes I was one of the many many users on TripAdvisor - also because this Blog wasn't as successful as it is now - and of course I wrote  a very extensive and very bad review on the profile of the Aqua Dome. One day later I received a message from the GM who asked me to get in touch with her personally. Glad that someone was interested in my opinion, I contacted her and she invited me to another stay.

So it was time to get into the car and go to the Ötztal valley - the longest valley in Tirol, but definitely not the most wonderful. Upon arrival I experienced a warm welcome with a christmas tea and cookies. When we arrived around 11 am the room was not ready which is quite usual, being the hotel fully occupied over the weekend. In general it is always impressive for me, that these Spa Resorts are nearly always fully booked - at these high prices, charging 350 euros for one night and room! Of course the half board is included but when you imagine that you get the best Kitzbühel Five-Star Hotels for around 200 euros per room and night including an extensive breakfast, then you should think of the vast Spa/Sauna and Thermal area at the Aqua Dome. 

All in all the welcome was warm wand we were given a bag for the thermal spa. When we arrived at the hotel's "Spa 3000" we feel that it was not too crowded and more lounge beds have been installed - well done! Everything was quite nice and new - the Spa is huge and there are lots of different saunas, steam baths as well as one inside jacuzzi on the first floor and four outdoor jacuzzis on the second floor overlooking the town. My favourite place was the Panorma Sauna with glass window and panoramic views of the valley and the glacier.

When we came back to the front desk, our room was ready and we were hungry enough for dinner. Our room was situated in the older part of the hotel, which has been refurbished as well! Generously, the Aqua Dome invited us for the half board, which means that the dinner is included. On this day, a lazy Monday and bank holiday in Austria, they supposed to have a buffet but due to the fact it was a bank holiday we were lucky and were served nearly all courses. The whole dishes were on the small side, but nicely decorated and with a good taste. Well, the dishes are not super-chic dishes, but they fit perfectly into the hotel and the location, being it one of the most original valleys in the world (Their language/slang made it into the Unesco!).

The beds still had those nervy blankets on it, but after removing them, they were quite alright. Breakfast is build in form of a buffet and was quite huge for 4-star standards. I did not allow myself to order scrambled eggs, to avoid any discussion with a cook (like I had at my previous stay! I would like to point out the personal and kind staff, who always managed to bring everything we wanted!

Finally I can say, the Aqua Dome is worth its 4-Star Superior rating. However when I plan to do a wellness trip, it might be a trip to Eastern Tyrol (Kitzbühel area), just because it's a bit more intimate! 

A very special thanks to the Management of the Aqua Dome for inviting us for a one-night stay to have a different point of view! Our above written review is our personal opinion and hasn't been influenced.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Restaurant-Check - Innsbruck - Lucy Wang

Yesterday, we have been to Innsbruck's latest Restaurant addition - Lucy Wang - a completely new concept and extremely cool design in the capital of the Tyrolean Alps. Recently, many new restaurants opened in Innsbruck during this season (Ludwig's Burger, L'Osteria, Ebi's, just to mention the best ones), but after our experience at this extraordinary place, we are sure that this is by far the best place to be and to-be-seen in Tyrol. 

Upon entering the glamorous restaurant you are welcomed by an elegant smell - reminding us of a luxe London Restaurant in Knightsbridge - and a kind staff member who takes care of your jackets and accompany you to the main restaurant. We decided to take two non-alcoholic cocktails. One was a Mango Colada - excellently tasty with a taste of coconut - and the other was called Lipp Gloss, very refreshing with ginger and berries. 

As starter we had excellent Sushi with salmon on top, lobster, spinach, avocado and wasabi in the inside. It might not sound tasty at first but it was gorgeous! Simply the best sushi I have tasted outside Japan. It was also very fresh, not like we were used to at Sushi Shop in France, where we had good Sushi, too. 

Our next course was probably one of the most expensive dishes in Innsbruck at this time: US Rib Eye with mashed potatoes, vegetables and a excellent red butter jus. The presentation of the dish was completely different from how we imagined, but therefore the taste exceeded by far our expectations - we were impressed! On the other side, I would say it was exactly what should be expected for 28 Euros per dish.

One of our favorite things at this marvelous place is of course the design, the color scheme as well as the atmosphere and the smell. All guests of this restaurant made the impression to be really wealthy and belong to the upperclass of Innsbruck. The whole restaurant goes a heartwarming feeling and you think like dining in a In-Restaurant in Central London or New York City. We believe that this restaurant fits perfectly into the Alpine landscape of Tyrol and we are sure that this place can make it to the Top place of the Best restaurants in Innsbruck.

All in all, 90 euros for two courses with water and cocktails is a lot of money. If you take a bottle of wine and a dessert you will be spending 150 euros for the two of you! Well, not something for the everyday life, but really a place to be when you are seeking for something sophisticated and very elegant in Innsbruck.

Our test dinner at Lucy Wang was not sponsored by anyone. We paid for the food and beverages by ourselfs. Our above written review is our personal opinion and hasn't been influenced.