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Romance and Restoration in Bedford, NY

Hotel Reviews

Feb
12
2011

A mere 40 minutes from Manhattan, tucked along one of the area’s many winding country routes, Richard Gere’s lauded, <strong>Bedford Post</strong>, an intimate, 8-room country Inn in Bedford, N.Y offers just the backdrop for an elegant and bucolic Valentines Day celebration. For those who’s eyes alight at the combination of ‘easy’ alongside Valentine’s Day plans (yes, I’m talking to Dudes, here), Bedford Post is a no-brainer, particularly for those time-pressed Manhattanites that want to impress, but have little time to investigate nor travel far.
Having just spent the night myself, I can assure you that Bedford Post is sure to delight any princess or prince who favors manicured surroundings, delicious, well-executed dining and fresh, fireplace-adorned guest rooms with excellent linens and fresh and spacious bathrooms.
Dinner at the Inn’s pleasant, leather-accented restaurant, the Farmhouse, where white-tablecolothed tables surround a roaring fireplace and each table is looked after by at least three waiters, will certainly appease your Valentine. In honor of cupid’s holiday, the chef is offering a special, three-course <strong>Valentine’s Day Menu</strong> ($90 a head) featuring such treats as oysters, black-truffle risotto, steak tartare with pecorino (yum!) and of course, the decadent chocolate torte with passionfruit caramel. Ask for either of the corner banquets, preferably the one just to the right of the fireplace for extra canoodling space.
Tell your Valentine to enjoy his or her gastro-indulgence because your overnight stay includes <em>complimentary yoga classes</em>, to which my sore hamstrings can attest, are not your average hotel-yoga stretch-fests. Instead, the yoga roster at the the Bedford Post offers invigorating Vinyasa and Hatha-style practices led by competent and encouraging teachers. Further, the classes are taught in an inspiring, light-filled studio refashioned from an old Barn where the angled ceiling, exposed beams and asian light-box lanterns allow for, again, an easy, zen-like experience. The majority of the classes are filled with local regulars who have made Bedford Post’s Yoga Barn <em>the</em> in-town studio for devout yogis. Of course, the Inn’s freshly baked breakfasts and organic lunch menu served in the Barn restaurant just below the studio may also play a role. The location and occasional waft of cinnamon and sausage make the Barn an ideal after-practice hangout. As an overnight Guest your stay also includes an assortment of the Barn’s tempting, home-cooked pastries, coffee/tea and juice, which is best enjoyed fireside in the cozy, country-style cafe where complimentary wifi keeps those iPad users (and HuffPost readers) happily entertained. <a href=”http://www.bedfordpostinn.com” target=”_hplink”>Bedford Post Inn</a>; Rates start at $395 a night and
The exterior of the lovely Bedford Post Inn

The exterior of the lovely Bedford Post Inn

A mere 40 minutes from Manhattan, tucked along one of the area’s many winding country routes, Richard Gere’s lauded, Bedford Post Inn, an intimate, 8-room country Inn in Bedford, N.Y offers just the backdrop for an elegant and bucolic Valentines Day celebration. For those who’s eyes alight at the combination of ‘easy’ alongside Valentine’s Day plans (yes, I’m talking to Dudes secret in their eye english torrent, here), Bedford Post is a no-brainer, particularly for those time-pressed Manhattanites that want to impress, but have little time to investigate nor travel far.

Having just spent the night myself, I can assure you that Bedford Post is sure to delight any Princess or Prince who favors manicured surroundings, delicious, well-executed dining and fresh, fireplace-adorned guest rooms. Plus, the rooms are like fresh interpretations of a traditional, Connecticut-style guest room featuring top linens, streaming natural light and most importantly, wonderfully spacious bathrooms with clawfoot tubs and heated marble floors.

A Guestroom at Bedford Post. Be sure to request one with a fireplace!

A Guestroom at Bedford Post. Be sure to request one with a fireplace!

Dinner at the Inn’s intimate, leather-accented restaurant, the Farmhouse, offers fine dining in a charming, cozy space. White tablecloths surround a corner fireplace while each table is catered by at least three waiters, ensuring the attentive service will appease your Valentine. In honor of cupid’s holiday, the chef is offering a special, three-course, Valentine’s Day Menu ($90 a head) featuring such treats as oysters, black-truffle risotto, steak tartare with pecorino (yum!) and of course, the decadent chocolate torte with passionfruit caramel. Ask for either of the corner banquets, preferably the one just to the right of the fireplace for extra canoodling space.

The zen-like Yoga Barn

The zen-like Yoga Barn

Tell your Valentine to enjoy his or her gastro-indulgence because your overnight stay includes complimentary yoga classes, to which my sore hamstrings can attest, are not your average hotel-yoga stretch-fests. Instead, the yoga roster at the the Bedford Post offers invigorating Vinyasa and Hatha-style practices led by competent and encouraging teachers. Further, the classes are taught in an inspiring, light-filled studio refashioned from an old Barn where the angled ceiling, exposed beams and asian light-box lanterns allow for, again, an easy, zen-like experience. The majority of the classes are filled with local regulars who have made Bedford Post’s Yoga Barn the in-town studio for devout yogis. Of course, the Inn’s freshly baked breakfasts and organic lunch menu served in the Barn restaurant just below the studio may also play a role in the studio’s popularity. The eventual waft of cinnamon and sausage floating through the studio’s open doors after class make the Barn an ideal after-practice hangout. It’s no surprise the tables are often full. As an overnight guest your stay also includes an assortment of the Barn’s tempting, home-cooked pastries, which can either be delivered to your room or enjoyed fireside in the cozy, country-style Barn cafe, where complimentary wifi keeps those iPad users happily entertained.

So, even if you can’t make it this Valentine’s Day – the Bedford Post suits well to any romantic or celebratory occasion, ideal for the modern couple who appreciates a morning tree-pose alongside their goose-down comfort and fresh cooked breakfast. (Rates start at $395 a night.)

Those delectable pastries

Those delectable pastries. The Barn is open all week long and is already a clear, local favorite

Posted in: Hotel Reviews

Published by Meg, Saturday, February 12, 2011 No Comments

Hotel de Rome

Europe, Hotel Reviews

Mar
14
2010

Berlin, Germany

January 31st 2009

The elegant entryway of the Hotel de Rome

The elegant entryway of the Hotel de Rome

Despite my brief stay, one night only, I managed to engage in a dramatic love affair with Berlin’s Hotel de Rome. Perhaps it is because it is one of the few luxury hotels in Berlin that’s housed in an original building. As the former head office of the Dresder bank, original building’s classic and ornate design are still visible however, designer Tommaso Ziffer has given it a more contemporary twist. And, similar to other hotels in Sir Rocco Forte’s collection (see review on Hotel Amigo in Brussels), the interiors of Hotel de Rome were overseen by his talented sister, Olga Polizzi.

The stately facade of the Hotel de Rome

The stately facade of the Hotel de Rome

Located on Bebelplatz, off Unter den Linden near the  museum island and within walking distance to the Brandenburg Gate, the Hotel de Rome is well situated for tourist visits. The hotel’s best coup though is its magnificent rooftop terrace which overlooks Bebelplatz and virtually the whole city.

What struck me most about the hotel was it’s masterful blend of  the austere proportions with the dramatic colors, elegant details and soothing fabrics used in each of the public room’s furnishings. Corner banquettes dressed in velvet, impressive floral displays and daily offerings like high tea and apertifs in the sleek bar keep the hotel filled with local patrons and guests feeling swathed in definitive glamor.

photo courtesy of Wallpaper Mag who voted the hotel, Best Business Hotel in 2008

photo courtesy of Wallpaper Mag who voted the hotel, Best Business Hotel in 2008

Hotel de Rome's Teatime Treats

Hotel de Rome's Tea setup in the Opera Court room, which features the original glazed ceiling

Known for catering to business clients, the hotel offers just the sought-after serene backdrop for any professional meeting, while the restaurant is both refined and reliably outstanding with mediterrean style fare and a knowledgeable (and friendly) sommelier. Do yourself a favor and have a romantic or expense account (if those still exist) dinner at Parioli Restaurant. Begin with the champagne, indulge in the measured black truffle topping and do not skip desert. We were delighted to have the actor, Michael Douglas dining at the table next to us, elevating the restaurant’s stature instantly.

Parioli Restaurant

Parioli Restaurant

In the warmer months, the outdoor terrace makes for a pleasant and tranquil spot for an al-fresco lunch or breakfast. The breakfast buffet at the Hotel de Rome was quite memorable with multiple fresh-squeezed juices, fluffy eggs with mozarella and sun dried tomatoes and virtually every type of bread product you might fancy. I would go back for breakfast alone, particularly because the service was wonderfully attentive. My cappuccino was never empty for long. Now, onto the guestrooms…

luxe_hotel_de_rome_berlin_opera_suite_hotel_55_365

Hotel de Rome has 146 large bedrooms (61 Classic rooms, 27 Deluxe rooms, 15 Superior Deluxe rooms, 30 Junior suites, five Classic suites, three Executive suites, two historical Deluxe suites, two Historic suites and the uber-hitter, 105m2 Bebel suite). The majority of the rooms have high ceilings and classical proportions like this one pictured above. I am particularly fond of the wood paneling and the dark stained floors featured above in a Superior Deluxe room however, we were in a Deluxe room which, while still comfortable and spacious, was farm more sleek and modern. A classic room is pictured below.

rome-room_1367164c

Once again, Rocco Forte hotels have pleased me with their bathrooms and especially, the heated bathroom floors. Winter in Norther Europe can be cruel (very cruel) and little luxuries like heated bathroom floors can make a world of difference.

Hotel de Room Deluxe Bathroom

Hotel de Room Deluxe Bathroom

Another huge plus to the Hotel de Rome is its basement setup for fitness and wellness. The generously sized gym features top quality machines and plenty of space for multiple guests at a time (a rarity here in Europe). The spa and health center area includes an indoor pool, Finnish sauna and an aromatherapy steam room.

The indoor pool in the subterranean spa area

The indoor pool in the subterranean spa area

My husband and I opted for a couple’s massage at the spa and were both pleased with our treatments and the spa experience (check in, locker-rooms, professionalism) In all honesty, mine was a bit light (odd coming from a German) however, my current condition (pregnancy) may have been the reason for the therapist’s hesitancy.

Overall, I was very pleased with my stay at the Hotel de Rome and have no compunction recommending it to future visitors. Before booking, please note the Hotel de Rome’s definitively contemporary, cool design and marked absence of ornate gilding. If old-world luxury is more what you’re after then I would steer you instead to the highly lauded Hotel Adlon Kempinksi, whose grandness cannot be denied. Nevertheless, for something a bit more modern and ideally suited to both those on holiday and savvy business travelers, the Hotel de Rome is my top pick.

Posted in: Europe, Hotel Reviews

Published by Meg, Sunday, March 14, 2010 No Comments

Lupita Island Lodge

Africa, Family, Hotel Reviews, Travel Tips

Oct
04
2009

Lake Taganyika, Tanzania

October 4th, 2009

After the glorious safari tour in Tanzania, my last stop was to Lupita Island Lodge, a private island located in the middle of the world’s second largest lake;  Lake Taganyika.  A fresh water lake with a maximum depth of over a mile, Lake Taganyika is a skinny sliver running down the western coast of Tanzania and bordering Burundi, Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) and Zambia.

laketag2

The Lake’s blue green waters are wonderfully vibrant while the rocky islands feature curious granite boulders and very little fauna. Then again, it was just before the rainy season and I’m told it gets more lush after the rains. Either way, after being hot, sweaty and somewhat tormented by flies in the Bush for a week, I was thrilled to be near the Lake’s cool water.

Lupita Island from the air

Lupita Island from the air

I arrived via chartered flight from Katavi National Park and landed on an airstrip that was stunning; in the purest form of the word. Just look at this arrival!

laketagapproach

lupitaapproachrunway

The small hut on the right served as the terminal where we unloaded our luggage and supplies for the Lodge.  It’s also where we were met by smiling fleet of local luggage handlers – ready and eager to carry our bags down to the awaiting boat.

Most of this was food supplies for the Lodge

Most of this was food supplies for the Lodge

These adorable little boys insisted on carrying our bags and refused any sort of tip

These adorable little boys insisted on carrying our bags and refused any sort of tip

Once on the boat, with the spray from the Lake cooling my sunburn, I could truly marvel at the size, color and overall magnitude of Lake Taganyika. I recall thinking: this is surely somewhere I could never have imagined.  We zoomed across the chop to Lupita Island passing by locals shuttling on boats between the various islands and shorelines. Our first glimpse of the island was the wooden dock and perhaps the island’s most beloved resident, Roddy the goat.

The dock at Lupita Island Lodge

The dock at Lupita Island Lodge

Once on land we were ferried up the hill in golf cars (if you squint you can see them parked under the center hut in the photo above). At the main house of the Lodge we were greeted by the two women that run the show. After a nice lime-flavored drink I, along with the group, was shown to my private cottage room. My room, number 5, was tucked down into the hillside, at the end of two separate paths and surrounded by acacia trees and chirping birds. The cottages are done in a treehouse-like style with open walls affording intimate views of the lake and direct (yes, direct) communication with nature. The views of the moon, however, are unbelievably stunning, as is the ability to actually ready by moonlight.

The open-air plan with thatched roofing and wood deck flooring just remodeled by <a href=https://www.palmbeachroofingexpert.com/highland-beach-roofing/” width=”460″ height=”345″ />

The open-air plan with thatched roofing and wood deck flooring

The comfy plantation chair with the plunge pool on the deck below below

The comfy plantation chair with the plunge pool on the deck below below

The best feature of my room was without a doubt, the bathroom. From both the shower and the tub the views of Lake Taganyika were uninterrupted. Even the john had a prime vista. I didn’t expect much from the place, I thought the rooms and the whole house was going to be in a really bad shape, but they told me they recently remodeled it and even did some foundation repair services so the rooms feels like brand new.

One of the best soaks in a tub I've ever had or may ever have - truly outstanding

One of the best soaks in a tub I've ever had

As a special romantic touch, the staff will fill a warm bath with local flower petals, line the deck floor with candles and leave a champagne bucket right alongside the tub all as a delicious surprise for the guests arriving back from cocktails on the water.

Activities at Lake Lupita Lodge include kayaking, swimming, diving, snorkeling, plus there’s a full gym, gorgeous lakeside spa, a games room with table tennis, pool and darts and a Boma and huge terrace bar ideal for the transition from fireside cocktails to late-night dance parties. The island is well-suited for a family or group takeover with 14 cottages and two family suites. Having the run of the island makes every element even more enjoyable. And from our group’s amusing 3 night stay, we vowed that what happens on Lupita Island, stays on Lupita Island.

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Posted in: Africa, Family, Hotel Reviews, Travel Tips

Published by Meg, Sunday, October 4, 2009 No Comments

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About Meg

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Meg is the founder of luxury travel consulting company, Friend of a Friend Consulting. Her three books, Italian Hideaways, Caribbean Hideaways and England's Hideaways are published by Rizzoli. Passionate about travel, hotels and wine, she continues to write freelance travel pieces and is currently pursuing a Masters in Wine through the WSET.

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The opinions expressed on this blog are solely my own and do not reflect separate business relationships with the subject. Whenever posts are supported financially, they are designated as such.