Natural Sense of Place: Huus Gstaad

By Shereen Shabnam

Someone once said that to get a true feel of Switzerland, you need to visit Gstaad. Having been all over Switzerland in the last few years, we continued our search of unique Alpine experiences and had the most memorable holiday at HUUS Gstaad, a warm homely hotel nestled among the rolling peaks of the Bernese Alps with the best views in all of Gstaad.

I travelled with my family and we loved the friendly and down to earth staff who went above and beyond to make us feel at home the minute we arrived at the hotel with some value-added experiences that got my daughter realise her dream of river rafting.  

The hotel encourages us to go outdoors and explore the beautiful region in as many ways as possible. My daughter was given other host of professionally-led activities like trekking, climbing and rope courses to choose from.

We visited well-known world-class ski resorts, saw stunning scenery from cable cars, met friendly locals and met other global jet-setters and families in the evenings in the cosy lobby of the hotel while playing board games and sipping the best hot chocolate one can get in Switzerland.

The hotel has views of soaring mountain ranges and cloud-free blue skies set in a landscape that’s as rich in natural beauty as it is adventure. When inside, the hotel’s architectural and interior design is characterised by the Alpine traditions, using locally sourced woods and stones to create the authentically rustic, Alpine style

After a week of work travel, my favourite part of the hotel was the sauna and pool at HUUSspa for some relaxation and wellbeing.  There are more than 2,000 square meters of wellness facilities spread across three floors for guests to enjoy at Huus Gstaad.

At the hotel’s restaurant, we enjoyed the flavours of the Alpine world trying out oozy cheese fondue, seafood dishes and some contemporary cuisine while enjoying the views through the restaurant’s panoramic windows and the expansive terrace. Breakfast offers over 200 choices of staples, organic and health foods and my daughter learned how to press fresh orange.

My favourite memory of the stay at Huus Gstaad is the unparalleled views of the great outdoors from both the lounge and the lounge terrace, the crackle of the log fire and the many cosy corners around the HUUS library and the live music in the lobby.

Every moment at Huus Gstaad left an imprint on our hearts and it is a place that beckons you back to the alpines. Personally I look forward to my next Gstaad experience with warm memories of mountain adventures and hot chocolate by the Huus Gstaad library and fireplace.

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Sanctuary for the Senses: Corinthia Hotel London

By Shereen Shabnam

Going back to London and stopping in the city before seeing family is always a good idea … and the place you stay in makes the London experience that much better. In my case, there are three hotels that I select each time, one of which is the Corinthia Hotel London, rated amongst London’s finest 5-star luxury hotels.

The palatial property combines traditional grandeur with modern freshness and the luxuriously redesigned Victorian destination is ideally located in the heart of London, a short walk from many of the city’s major attractions.

The primary reason I selected this property was to experience a day at ESPA Life at the Corinthia, which is a new generation of spa designed for those seeking an exclusive haven dedicated to relaxation, health and fitness.

Spread over four floors and covering 3,300 square metres in the heart of London, ESPA Life at Corinthia offers revolutionary lifestyle programmes, incorporating complementary and alternative medicine and targeted fitness and rehabilitation services that focus on sports training, detox, sleep, weight loss and general vitality.

After a rejuvenating facial and massage, I rested in a tranquil lounge.

Trying out one of ESPA Life’s 17 oval treatment pods was the highlight. Each treatment uses the highly efficacious and natural ESPA product range and combines both new and indigenous techniques of the world’s most renowned therapies to deliver a unique treatment offering.

An extensive thermal floor area provides a dedicated space in which guests can completely relax and unwind. Alongside a swimming pool, there is a vitality pool, glass amphitheatre sauna, steam room and heated marble loungers. ESPA Life at Corinthia is also a destination for grooming and fitness needs with a salon and a state-of-the-art gym.

The enormity and grandeur of the spa is simply breathtaking and after a relaxed time there, the best place to head for a meal is the Massimo Restaurant & Oyster, offering modern Italian cuisine, and the musically inspired Bassoon Bar.

The Northall restaurant, serves the best in British produce throughout the day and having breakfast there in the mornings every day was a delight. The new Garden Lounge offers all-day dining options in an al fresco David Collins Studio designed garden landscape.

Housed within a Victorian building, Corinthia Hotel London features 294 rooms, including 40 suites and 7 penthouses, offering sweeping views across London’s most popular landmarks.

Cutting-edge technology in rooms was handy considering the beautiful ambience motivated me to write a few creative articles while staying there. The meeting rooms allow for recording, mixing and broadcasting from dedicated media rooms.

Corinthia London is a great place to stay in the heart of London and I particularly took advantage of its location to walk and watch popular theatre productions and spend quality time in the bookshops in between sampling lovely tea offerings at Fortnum & Masons.

It is a great point from where every part of London with attractions is within easy reach and the staff are helpful in terms of directing you to places that interest you most. It is definitely a spa destination I would go back to as well for rest and relaxation.

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Land of Growth: Sri Lanka

By Shereen Shabnam

My first visit to Sri Lanka was when I was working as the Head of PR for Air Arabia, and we decided to take a family trip to get to know the latest destination for the airline that became part of my life when I lived in Sharjah.

Thanks to the extensive research I did for the destination before the maiden flight, we came prepared to enjoy the tropical climate, endless beaches, famous tea, trendy fashion boutiques, best seafood and fresh flavorful dishes that makes Sri Lanka irresistible.

We had a week to discover Sri Lanka’s myriad of charms through its history, culture and natural beauty that are undeniably alluring. It is a country that has beautiful beaches, high mountains, tropical forests and lots of wild animals like elephants, leopards, sea turtles, dolphins and whales.

To keep my daughter entertained, we stayed on a beach resort at the Mount Lavinia Hotel that had amazing staff and the best food one can have in a hotel. The evenings were memorable as we dined under the stars each night on the beach, sand between our toes as we selected our fresh sea food from the day’s catch and the chef cooked our meal according to our preference. the hotel had live performances in the weekend as well.

The beaches in Colombo have sports activities like flying kites, diving, snorkelling, hiking, sailing and much more.  The best thing to do in Sri Lanka is to escape the tropical climate of the coast and head for the hills to explore the tea plantations and rainforests. But the capital city of Colombo is just as intriguing as it combines the incredible culture and history of the island with modern attractions and amenities.

The city’s unique colonial history (Portuguese, Dutch, and British) is evident in the buildings, the food and the museums that illustrate the country’s rich history. Our host took us to a Portuguese fort, which guarded the harbor area and we went past the Galle Face Green, a large oceanfront park.

The National Museum of Colombo is also a must visit as it takes you on a journey over the thousands of years of Sri Lankan culture through artifacts such as jewellery, clothes, coins, arms, and craftwork. The displays showcase both the cultural and natural heritage of the country. Nearby is the Viharamahadevi Park which is home to a large, 15-foot-tall Buddha statue. There are also other museums and temples worth a visit.

Animal lovers will be thrilled at the Colombo Zoo which hosts almost 3,000 different animals of all shapes and sizes and has daily demonstrations with keepers of various animals. There is one for the zoo’s friendly sea lion, one in front of the elephant enclosure, a bird presentation, and one on snakes.

If you are a culture enthusiast, head to Nelum Pokuna Mahinda Rajapaksa Theatre, a modern performing arts complex that has music, dance, and cultural performances and modern pop concerts. Performances are held in the main auditorium or in the open-air amphitheater.

Pettah Floating Market is the best for retail therapy. It has so many vendors selling their wares along a canal, lined with sidewalks and wooden boardwalks. It is a fun area for shopping, strolling, and people watching with great street food, clothes, handicrafts and lovely costume jewellery.

Sri Lanka is spectacular, affordable and still untouched by large crowds of tourists. Now is the best time to discover this incredible land.

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Shores of Serenity: Sun Siyam Iru Fushi – Maldives

By Shereen Shabnam

Holidays in this pandemic affected times seem like a dream but Maldives is one country that has ensured we can still have an island holiday safely and has kpt thousands of GCC residents sane.

Although my recent visit to Maldives saw me island hopping to new resorts, I fondly remember my visit to Sun Siyam Iru Fushi, a paradise resort known for luxury, romance, water sports, picturesque clear blue sea and tropical bliss when the travel industry was booming.

Meeting the team recently from Sun Siyam Resorts brought back a lot of beautiful memories of lounging by the beach, good food and sailing into the sunset before dinner.

Being an islander, I love the sun, sand and sea when on holiday and the marine world in Maldives is known for its beauty, especially the coral reefs that are home to a variety of marine ecosystems. During my first two days at the Sun Siyam Iru Fushi, I explored the cool and contemporary spaces, stylish interiors, and beautiful gardens around the island.

The island offered water based activities such as scuba diving, fishing, swimming, water skiing, wind surfing and snorkeling but my favourite was the sting ray feeding experience and a boat ride to spot dolphins at play – these two experiences were magical.

Guests at Iru Fushi can enjoy the unspoilt islands of Noonu Atoll, where Maldivian past life is reflected with boat builders working meticulously sanding wood to reveal a silken finish, children being educated about local marine species and farming of fruits and organic vegetables.

My room was a water villa on stilts with a small glass on the floor that gave me a view of the area below serving as personal coral garden and natural aquarium. The area felt like having a large natural swimming pool that protected me from the ocean waves and strong tidal currents beyond the villas. Close by, other guests enjoyed walking on the soft sand and sun bathing before jumping into the crystal clear waters.

Spas are my weakness and the resort offers a 20-room tropical spa with an enormous range of treatments, including massages, relaxation therapies and facials set in a tranquil environment. It is the perfect place for a beauty break. I enjoyed walking barefoot along the cobbled paths; the white sands and watched the palm trees as they gently leaned into the breeze after my massage session.

While waiting for my flight, I waited at the hotel’s private lounge near the airport where I tried a refreshing welcome drink, a quick snack and a short shoulder massage. Designed to be the one of the best airport lounges in the Maldives, the spacious private lounge is used by guests arriving to The Sun Siyam Iru Fushi.  The lounge also has a children’s play room, outdoor balcony, free WiFi, computer stations as well as showers and changing facilities.

The Sun Siyam Iru Fushi’s Deluxe Beach has Villas with Pool, Pool Beach Villas, Sunset Horizon Water Villas or Infinity Water Villas. It is 45 minutes seaplane journey from the capital, Malé, where Velana International Airport is located. At Sun Siyam Iru Fushi you can expect relaxing days that are long and sun-filled and nights that are exciting and energetic. Island experiences at this mesmerizing award-winning resort has to be on everyone’s bucket list.

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Enticing Thailand

The land of beautiful beaches, great viewpoints, temples, nightlife and countless excursions

Shereen Shabnam

While Thailand is popular as a holiday destination to many, it was more of a wedding destination for me during my first visit when I tied the knot in Hat Yai and felt grateful for the many memorable experiences as we headed to Krabi soon after for some sand, sea and beach life. The Krabi region is one of the most beautiful areas in southern Thailand.

Our trip was full of countless surprises, from meeting friendly people who married us, to becoming food-obsessed with the countless choice of food all around while losing count of the country’s many glittering temples and the lazy days spent on tropical beaches.

Visiting Thailand a number of times since that first trip, we came across bustling cities and tropical forests dramatically different from the turquoise sea we initially went in search of. The foodie experience of course is the best in Nakhon Sawan where seafood is in abundance.

We also hosted an exhibition in Bangkok not long ago. As the capital of Thailand, Bangkok can be overwhelming the first time but there is so much to do that you wish you had more time. The best option is to plan ahead what you would like to experience as there is so much on offer from food experiences, cultural sites, river tours and the best shopping if you like retail therapy.

If you like monuments of the past, I suggest heading to the historic town of Sukhothai and the UNESCO World Heritage site and discover lost history and ancient treasures. Another popular destination is Chiang Mai that offers the best of nature in from of jungle treks, hot springs, waterfalls, old town visits, festivals and vibrant markets.

No visit to Thailand is complete without going to Phuket which is Thailand’s largest island and a popular holiday destination. It has a great nightlife, plenty of restaurants and good base to do island hopping across to Koh Phi Phi, Koh Yao Yai and Kon Bon,

My husband is a big fan of Koh Samui as well. This is the third largest tropical island in Thailand with beautiful beaches and it had less tourists in the past when he ventured there a number of times. Today, Koh Samui is full of life and caters to tourists looking for an idyllic island holiday with various water activities but that old island charm still remains.

Synonymous with the exceptional service and authentic hospitality, Thailand has always offered us an experience that will remains memorable forever. For me, being married there at short notice with the hospitable locals is one memory I will always cherish.

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Journey of Discovery: Barcelona

 

By Shereen Shabnam

Every time we go to our Spanish home, we try and explore a different city and Barcelona, the second-largest city in Spain has been delight for all senses from visiting cultural sites, city attractions, art venues, trying out Catalan dishes and evening tapas experiences as well as taking a cruise ship that saw us visiting a number of nearby countries.

It is a city steeped in history with so much to see, especially in the Gothic Quarter which is the oldest neighborhood of Barcelona. Here you will find medieval structures, Gaudi’s architecture from the 19th and 20th centuries, winding alleys, the Cathedral of Barcelona, plazas and Roman ruins.

After a week on a cruise ship, we spent a lot of time in Las Ramblas, a pedestrian only street lined with cafes with the best tapas and drinks, shops and a bustling vibe. We also went to the La Boqueria nearby which had some beautiful Spanish gift items and then stopped at Placa Reial, a beautiful square perfect for people watching.

One late afternoon we drove to El Born which is the most trendy and artistic part of the city and explored a few avant-garde galleries, indulged in vintage shops vintage shops and took a stroll with our daughter who loved the idea of sampling little plates of dishes at tapas outlets. Our favourite dishes were laced with olive oil and include seafood dishes, fried potatoes and Spanish omelettes stuffed in baguettes.

Spain is famous for their tapas that are meant to be snacked on but we ordered a wide range of dishes and made a meal out of it. Seafood paella in Barcelona is an absolute must try dish and so is seafood done in different styles. I always enjoyed the cold sweet Spanish coffees that seem to inject life and energy into me in between the tours.

After fuelling up on food and drinks, head to L’Eixample for some famous architectural highlights such as the La Sagrada Familia and to El Raval which has some interesting boutiques and restaurants. We were on a trail to see as many of Gaudi’s work so we explored the area of Gràcia which has great views of the city and home to Gaudí’s famous hilltop park, Parc Güell. Gaudi is Barcelona’s most famous architect whose Gothic and Art Nouveau styles made him legendary around the world. We also loved Sagrada Familia, Casa Batlló, and Casa Milà.

If you are into art, head to the Picasso museum to learn about the life of one of the most influential artists in the 20th century. There are over 3,000 pieces of art and one of the biggest Picasso museums in the world.

If you have a lot of time, head to Barcelona History Museum. There are4,000 square meters of Roman ruins located beneath the city that you can walk through and learn more with an audio guide explaining the mosaics, wall frescoes and ancient documents.

Barcelona is one of those cities where you can easily spend weeks exploring. We rented a car and drove up to Cadaques to see Dali’s House – this remains of the best experiences ever even though it took a full day to get there with multiple coffee stops, tapas breaks and winding roads but it was well worth the journey.

It is best to stay the night there, get rested and explore the many attractions on the way back. It is a beautiful city with impressive architecture, charming medieval streets, amazing beaches and has something for everyone.

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Picturesque Prague

By Shereen Shabnam

Every time I go back to Prague, there are a host of new surprises the city that keep us busy an entire week and my favourite place to stay each time is the Buddha bar Hotel in Prague which is a place that is hard to leave and my favourite past time is exploring the city in vintage cars.

Prague is a truly unique city, unlike any other with some of the world’s most exquisite architectural styles and a city where we love walking. Apart from tours in classic cars, my family has walked together on cobbled lanes, iconic bridges, and hidden alleys and courtyards and its never enough.

Every day there are new areas to wander around especially near the Old Town Square you can stumble across ancient chapels, exotic gardens, cafes with amazing views plus the vibe of art, music and live performances at every corner keeps the people entertained all day.

We lovePrague’s art galleries that offer contemporary art, sculptures, Bohemian art, Gothic altarpieces, luscious art nouveau of Alfons Mucha plus a magnificent collection of the 20th-century surrealists, cubists and constructivists.

We walked most of the time and came across Prague Castle which has several buildings and palaces with a cathedral (St Vitus) that attracts visitors with its magnificent gothic architecture. We walked along the ‘Golden Lane’ and found the small colourful houses, viewing areas, and local goldsmiths, which gave the lane its current name. 

The iconic Charles Bridge offers a stroll through ancient history and my daughter thoroughly enjoyed watching artists doing caricatures of us while we enjoyed live music by some very talented youth and posed near the many baroque statues along the way. Not to be missed is Prague’s Astronomical clock built in medieval times and is the world’s oldest functioning clock.

Staying at the Buddah Bar Hotel meant we were spoilt for choice at our doorstep but it is worth trying some classic Czech dishes outside such meat with bread dumplings topped with a creamy sauce, local cheeses, goulash and schnitzel. 

Out hotel recommended we go to a riverbank area called Naplavka which was picturesque and lined with boats offering various refreshments perfect for a picnic while watching swans and ducks on the water. The gardens in Prague are also lovely for afternoon visits.

Retail therapy on Prague is a delight. One of the cutest images I have of my daughter is when she is holding a host of shopping bags when we discovered we could get more choice in premium brands in Prague at much better prices.

When it comes to family holidays, Prague is always a good idea – for food, long strolls, street art and music, clothes and jewellery shopping, vintage car tours, sunset boat rides and of course evenings at the Buddah Bar Restaurant.

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New daily flights from Turkish Airlines from Dubai

Turkish Airlines, flying to more countries than any other airline, increased the frequency of its Dubai to Turkey route to three daily flights to its Istanbul hub which connects travelers to over 300 destinations worldwide while maintaining the utmost care for a safe and healthy travel experience.

The new flight will start to operate from the 17th of June and is now available for purchase for holiday planners looking to escape the summer heat. It will depart from Dubai daily at 10:20 and arrive in Istanbul at 14:00 with return flights leaving Istanbul at 20:40 and arriving in Dubai the next morning at 2:00. All times are local times of their departure points. 

Turkish Airlines launched a promotional campaign that will be available until June 18, 2021 to announce the new flights. Tickets for Economy Class are starting at AED 1595 while Business Class tickets are starting from AED 10775 for the campaign period. The tickets purchased during the campaign are valid for the travel period until February 28, 2022. The flight will be operated with wide body aircrafts.

The passengers travelling from UAE will not be required to submit a negative PCR test result if they submit a document issued by the relevant country’s official authorities stating that they have been vaccinated at least 14 days before entry to Turkey and /or have contracted the Covid-19 and were cured within the last 6 months. Passengers may visit Turkish Airlines website to have more details.

The airline also launched its Newark route, starting its flights on 22nd May 2021. Newark is the 10th USA destination in the extensive network of the flag carrier. Other new destinations launched include Vancouver, Canada and Turkistan, Kazakhstan.

            To view the flight schedules and learn more please visit http://www.turkishairlines.com, contact the call center at 04 4440999 or visit Turkish Airlines Sales Office located Emaar Square Building 6.

Republic of San Marino showcases attractions at Arabian Travel Market and reveals Dubai Expo plans

Officials to highlight key national attractions and plans for the participation at the upcoming Expo Dubai

DUBAI, UAE: The Republic of San Marino for the first time ever will showcase the unique attractions and heritage in the UAE during the Arabian Travel Market (ATM) and will offer insights about the country’s participation at the upcoming Dubai Expo later this year. Attending the ATM will be Republic of San Marino’s Minister for Tourism and Expo, Federico Pedini Amati and Commissioner General of San Marino to Expo 2020 Dubai, Mauro Maiani. 

The ATM is an ideal platform for the Republic of San Marino officials to communicate and engage with partners, media and sponsors about the deep cultural and economic ties between San Marino and the UAE as well as strengthen crucial relationships to encourage more tourists at cultural sites, natural areas, retail and tourist attractions within the Republic of San Marino.

As the country gears up to be at the Expo Dubai, its participation at ATM reinforces the country’s efforts to position itself as a must-see tourist destination nestled within Italy and easily accessible via key airports such as Rome and Bologna. San Marino is located in Northern Italy and is an independent country founded more than 1700 years ago with a territory of 24 sq miles and 33.000 inhabitants.

Minister for Tourism and Expo of the Republic of San Marino, Federico Pedini Amati said, “We are delighted to be part of the Arabian Travel Market and share new developments for tourism and highlight our participation at Dubai Expo as we work together to help rebuild trust in travel and showcase our country’s appeal to potential visitors around the globe. This ATM is a great opportunity to highlight our country’s strengths and offer a short glimpse into our culture and our common interests. We are also keen for visitors to see a piece of San Marino in the UAE as we have a unique Fibula – a brooch in form of an eagle currently exhibited at the Louvre Abu Dhabi.”

During the presentation, the Ambassador to the UAE and Commissioner General Expo 2020, Mauro Maiani will unveil the main theme and title of the San Marino Pavilion at the Expo located in the Opportunity area. The Pavilion will be dedicated to the replica of the “Treasure of Domagnano” found in San Marino in late 1800.

The most important piece of the treasure, the fibula is now at Louvre Abu Dhabi. The pavilion will also tell the History and tradition of the country as well as its modern economic system based on tourism but also in innovative companies. The national day of San Marino at Expo 2020 will be on 10 December 2021.

Ambassador to the UAE and Commissioner General Expo 2020, Mauro Maiani  said, “We are keen to present our country as a destination for different types of travellers. Tourists can enjoy the classical Italian tourism tour, attend cultural and festival events that we organize mainly during summer time and we cater to the wedding tourism industry as well. San Marino is also a shopping destination with its old town full of stores and the brand new San Marino Outlet Experience, one of the biggest Italian fashion outlet malls in Northern Italy, opening on June 24.”

The San Marino Tourism Board, together with San Marino Outlet Experience and the incoming tour operators Mondo Immagine and Podium Tour Operator will be present at the ATM within the Italian National Tourist Board (ENIT) Stand number EU2550.

An Aura of Elegance: Hotel du Palais

By Shereen Shabnam

I fell in love with Biarritz the minute I got off the train. Facing the Ocean Atlantic and on the beach “La Grande Plage de Biarritz” near the city center of Biarritz, the prestigious sea side deluxe Hotel du Palais of Biarritz was breathtaking at first sight.

Walking into the reception area, I had images of the past filled with memories of Gala evenings and stately affairs of the past era. During one of my visits to France over the last few years, I go back in time when I experienced the best of all that a luxury resort can offer at Hotel du Palais.

During meals where I was never left alone, I found that luxury travellers come from all over the world, all year long to enjoy this fabulous setting, warm welcome, elite service, charm and comfort. It is indeed a living souvenir of the history of Biarritz, France and Europe. The “Villa Eugénie”, now the Hotel du Palais, was constructed in 1855 by Napoléon III for his wife Eugénie de Montijo.

No matter how many times I go back to France, the memory of this visit is as fresh and alive in my mind. The clear blue sea at my doorstep reminded me of my home country, Fiji Islands. I still visualise the elegance is deco in every corner from the entrance to my breakfast table where I enjoyed writing while gazing at the blue waters overlooking the hotel.

The main hall, the private salons, the dining room and the grounds have all maintained their Second Empire style. A style that defines Biarritz and assures its reputation as an amazing sea resort, it is this charm, touched with elegance, deluxe and personal that makes this hotel one of a kind.

Biarritz is a little city that has it all. Lively with its casinos, its greens (the region has ten 18 holes golf courses and an International training center, unique in Europe), its boutiques, and the rich green hillsides and its gentle year-round climate.

This picturesque seaside town became a favourite with European royalty in the 19th Century, who fell in love with its pretty beaches, warm climate and relaxed atmosphere. The Hotel du Palais has played host to stars of screen and other luminaries since the 1950s and 60s and offers a timeless glamour and luxury rarely found in today’s resorts.

Biarritz has a lot of beautiful buildings to offer today amongst which, the Hotel du Palais stand out. It’s a vibrant cosmopolitan town with magnificent beaches, golf courses and numerous sporting facilities, not forgetting the surf. Surfing started in France here in Biarritz and surfers come from all over the world to ride the waves.

The Hotel du Palais has practiced and perfected the art of receiving people. In the public areas and guest rooms the original Second Empire style has been retained, with period furniture, original works of art and high decorated ceilings. This is the place to stay for the ultimate Biarritz experience. Guests can lounge by the pool with a cocktail, or head to the nearby beach for some sunbathing, surfing or people-watching.

I enjoyed the world of the Spa Imperial with Guerlain dedicated to well-being, relaxation and fitness. It is the most transforming and customized Spa experience, where cutting edge innovation unites with luxury, emotion and sensuality. It comes with an indoor swimming pool, sauna, stream rooms, fitness center and a beauty parlour with a Hair Care Institute.

Food in France is always a talking point and the great dining experience at the hotel’s restaurants and lounges provide guests with an unforgettable culinary experience. Among the facilities available at the hotel is a foreign exchange service, safe deposit boxes, telex, photocopy, fax and secretariat services. Other Business centre facilities at the hotel include computers for guest use and in room facilities include voice mail, fax machine on request, work desk and modem point.

Executive rooms in addition boast butler service and express check out. L’Hotel du Palais also boasts a selection of reception rooms which can host from 14 to 500 people in various settings – ideal for meetings, seminars or launch parties

All reservations for tickets, sightseeing tours, shows etc are available from the Concierge. For guest convenience, there is also a babysitting as well as medical assistance.  The hotel also has a boutique, hairdresser, heated sea-water swimming-pool with direct access to the beach, solarium, sauna and a golf pitching green. For the active guests, there is the option of playing tennis, golf and horse riding.

There are a number of interesting museums in the area, including the Biarritz Marine Museum with its underwater viewing area, and the rather indulgent Chocolate Museum, which offers tasting sessions. The Historical Museum of Biarritz is situated in a former church and tells the story of the town’s transformation from tiny fishing village to high-society resort.

Hotel du Palais is obviously an address of undeniable prestige and one of the last great palaces around where guests can enjoy being treated like royalty. I felt regal throughout my stay and it has become one of my top destinations in Europe.

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