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Monthly Archives: March 2017

Hotel with a Touch of Whimsy In Dijon

Like the rest of France, Dijon, the capital of Burgundy, has seen an explosion of refurbished midrange hotels. Housed in a renovated 1926 Haussmann-style building, this 42-room, five-story property in the city center was opened in 2015 by the hotelier brothers Bruno and Christophe Massucco. It is Dijon’s first Design Hotel member, and interior spaces are accordingly whimsical and contemporary, a refreshing touch in sometimes stodgy Burgundy. But at times, spaces are confined and overly designed. The lobby is cramped, the breakfast room is crammed with chandeliers and a D.J. station, and a small glass-floored elevator barely fits two pieces of luggage and seems to be the sole reason for the hotel’s name.

Location

Ideally located in Dijon’s ancient city center, the hotel is a flat eight-minute walk (or three-minute tram ride) from the train station and a 10-minute walk to sites like Les Halles Dijon, the city’s covered food market; the 13th-century L’Église Notre-Dame de Dijon; and many shops, restaurants and museums. There’s a bus stop just outside for going farther afield.

The Room

My Cocoon Room, the least expensive category, was soundproofed but tight quarters, even for one person. Tasteful Ligne Roset furniture, charcoal wool curtains and slate-colored walls clashed with more frivolous “design surprises” like an iPhone-shaped TV, a small black ceramic polar bear crawling up the wall, and an empty frame mounted askew on the ceiling above the bed. Maybe cool if you’re under 30; silly if you’re not. My window opened to a quiet courtyard, and the air-conditioning was powerful, a rarity in France. The minibar was stocked with salted caramel cookies, goji-berry juice, crème de cassis nips and jars of mustard sweetened with Chablis and morels. Beds had quilted headboards and quality duvets, but pillows were overstuffed. Wi-Fi was free and fast.

The Bathroom

The toilet was separated from the rest of the room by a sliding door that was heavily scuffed on the bottom. The shower featured a black-and-white tile mosaic and Missoni toiletries.

Amenities

Vertigo has several small leisure spaces. A subterranean spa features a narrow pool decorated with blue-lit disco balls and ergonomic loungers, a sauna and exercise and massage rooms. A cigar room, in a second-floor loft, is furnished with leather loungers. And at night, the breakfast lounge transforms into a clubby bar bathed in pink light, ideal for sipping glasses of rosé and Champagne. At midnight on an August weeknight, it was empty. Members of the staff were quick and responsive to in-person and email requests, but noticeably inexperienced and unpolished. The best amenity is the free use of an electric car, a BMW i3, for exploring Burgundy’s vineyards. There are also free regular and electric bicycles.

Dining

Breakfast was a whopping €20 for standard buffet fare like croissants, eggs and bacon. There’s no restaurant, but room service offers a limited menu of soups, desserts and precooked jars of local dishes like boeuf bourguignon and Alsatian choucroute garnie, priced steeply at €14 to €18 per jar. It’s available 24/7.

Bottom Line

This is a fun and welcome addition to Dijon. The hotel’s design, a mixed bag that’s more likely to induce claustrophobia than vertigo, is easy to overlook because of the excellent central location, affordable price, comfortable beds and quiet rooms.

Tips to Search Hotel For Family Vacation

Do A Little Research:

You can find thousands of hotels listed online, however, make sure you check the feedback and history of the hotels you shortlist. Flip through some magazines and brochures and try to look for hotels that best suit your needs. Take opinion from your friends who have already visited the hotel before. Discuss with your family members who are going to accompany you. By doing so, not only will the family be able to enjoy the trip as one group but it will also lessen the decision-making pressure on one person.

Decide On A Budget:

Setting a clear budget before booking a hotel is important because you need to be realistic about what you can afford. Also look for offers and discounts, so that you can reduce the budget and spend the balance amount for something else that’s more useful.

For Example, There are many hotels in Mumbai near airport like Tunga hotels – that provide amazing offers if you do the bookings online. Without the need to step out of your house, you can get the best of the deals for the hotel, by just sitting in the comfort of your couch.

Remember, there is no hard and fast rule about how much you should spend on a hotel stay. Just make sure that you spend to a limit what feels comfortable for you and your family.

Ambiance And Decor:

Even if you’re on a tight budget, you want to relax somewhere comfortable, clean and inviting. So look for a hotel that offers a feeling of being pampered that is unmatched at home. Opt for rooms that are decorated with fresh flowers, attractive art, and thoughtful interior designs. This will allure your energy level and make your vacation even more enjoyable. In short, the feeling of comfort and relaxation that the ambiance creates will make your stay worth the money spent.

On-Site Restaurant Options:

After a long travel day, it is nice to have an on-site restaurant or two at your hotel. You save on time hunting for other eating outlets around the vicinity. Moreover, the all day dining bar and lip-smacking meal options in your own hotel will make your stay more exhilarating and thrilling.

Look For Facilities:

If you’re on a family vacation, your in-room time has to be exciting, thus extra features like convenient valet parking, pool and beautiful view from the room are more important.

Moreover, if you want to stay connected with other relatives and friends while you are away on a vacation, look for hotels that offer WI-FI connectivity at no extra charge. This will make your stay even more simple and stress-free.

Location:

The location is a factor, too. Be sure to choose a hotel that can be easily located. If you are new to the city, look for hotels that are near to the airport, the railway station, or the bus stand. This in all will save your traveling money, time and energy.

For example, if you visit Mumbai, you will find many hotels in Mumbai near international airport that are well connected to the other parts of the city. Be it any time of the day, you can easily access the hotels near airport with great ease without many hassles.

Just knowing that your hotel is only minutes away from almost everywhere is an incredible boon when you’ve spent a long day shopping and need an hour’s rest before the next adventure or event. Moreover, it becomes easier to experience more of what excites you than if you were in a hotel somewhere on the outside edge.

Way to Get a Hotel Upgrade

Who doesn’t love a hotel room upgrade? The chances of getting a better room than the one you booked aren’t a pipe dream, according to Jack Ezon, a hotel specialist at the New York City-based travel consultancy Ovation Vacations. “There are lots of ways to get upgrades at a hotel,” he said.

Below, he shares tips for snagging better accommodations for no extra cost but cautions that travelers should make sure that they actually want the upgrade they’re getting. “I’ve had clients who booked a junior suite and got upgraded to a duplex suite that they hated because of the steps. In another instance, I had four couples traveling together who booked separate rooms and got upgraded to a four-bedroom villa. They were irate because they wanted space from each other on their vacation,” he said.

Book with a Travel Adviser. Booking the old-fashioned way has its privileges, according to Mr. Ezon, because many advisers have close relationships with hotel managers. “An adviser can call or email the manager and instantly get you an upgrade,” he said. And, he said, travelers usually don’t have to pay an adviser a fee to make the hotel booking.

Some travel agencies are also part of agency-only hotel loyalty programs like the Dorchester Diamond Club from the Dorchester Collection, which has 10 upscale properties. Travelers who book a stay at a Dorchester property like the Hotel Bel-Air in Los Angeles through one of these agencies receive an automatic upgrade when they make their reservation.

Additionally, travelers who reserve a hotel through a Virtuoso adviser — there are more than 11,000 globally — are guaranteed a space-available upgrade when they check in.

Ask on Arrival. It sounds almost too simplistic, but it’s not, according to Mr. Ezon, because very few hotel guests outright ask for a better hotel room. “Usually, if rooms aren’t booked, the person checking you in is open to giving you an upgrade,” he said. In some cases, he said, hotels may be willing to upgrade you to a significantly better room for a minimal charge. “Instead of paying $1,000 or more a night for a fabulous suite, they may ask you to pay $100” for an upgrade, he said.

Play the Special Occasion Card. If you mention that you’re celebrating a special occasion, such as a birthday or anniversary, at the time of booking, many hotels make a note of the event in your reservation, said Mr. Ezon, and may upgrade you when you check in.

Book a New Hotel. When hotels first open, they usually have low occupancy, according to Mr. Ezon, and actually make it a point to upgrade guests. “New properties want to get as many people buzzing about their hotel as possible and want to spoil you with an upgrade with the hope that you will come back,” he said.

Travel Off-Season. Since hotels have lower occupancy when it’s not the peak season, they are more apt to upgrade guests to a room that is several categories higher than what they booked, Mr. Ezon said. “It’s no consequence or lost revenue to a hotel to let you stay in a better room that’s sitting empty. If anything, it’s going to make you so happy that you’ll book another stay at the property,” he said.

Grimm’s hotel in Berlin

Welcome to the fun house. Opened last year, the second Grimm’s Hotel in the German capital is bigger, bolder and more tranquil than its little brother, thanks to an eye-catching wedge-shaped building and nearby green spaces. The design is inspired by Grimm’s fairy tales, infusing the flamboyant lobby and 110 rooms and suites with bright colors and strange characters. Outfitted with a wall of wooden shingles and a fireplace crackling with digitally generated flames, the faux-lodge lobby is a kaleidoscope of hues and textures. Trippy, color-soaked forest scenes — maidens, wolves, giant mushrooms — cover the wall over the reception desk, while the lounge is inhabited by a sculptural wild boar (propping up an end table) and a lamp shaped like a rabbit. Chairs and couches in a mishmash of forms, colors and patterns (calfskin, plaid, orange, turquoise) complete the hallucinogenic atmosphere.

Location

No bread crumb trail is necessary to find your way to the hotel, which is tucked in a niche alongside a tranquil park and canal near the bright lights and crowds of Potsdamer Platz, the Times Square of Berlin. A 10-minute walk brings you to its shopping malls, multiplex cinemas, restaurants and casino. The Berlin Philharmonic and Gemäldegalerie museum, known for European art, are also nearby.

The Room

Angular and white, the uncluttered room was suffused with light from large windows and featured a small balcony. Fabrics and surfaces in autumnal colors — brown, beige, gray — enhanced the relaxed vibe. Silvery contemporary lamps, a flat-screen TV and a sliding wall panel that hid a spacious lighted closet all provided reasonable functionality, though certain standard features of contemporary hotel rooms (docking station, coffee maker, minibar) were conspicuously absent. One wall had a colorful fairy-tale mural rendered in pixilated, geometric forms. Its repeating, futuristic images — a blond princess beckoning to a frog in a golden crown — appeared to allude to the story of the Frog Prince.

The Bathroom

More than a kiss from a fairy-tale princess would be required to transform the rather pedestrian bathroom into something special. Though clean, the narrow, minimalist space had no tub and lacked standard extras: robes and toiletries (there was a wall-mounted tube of dual shampoo-shower gel).

Amenities

The small, efficient gym houses a Technogym treadmill, elliptical trainer, stationary bike and more — as well as views of the green spaces nearby — while the adjacent park has a jogging track. When it’s warm, guests can use the top-floor sun deck.

Dining

The Wishing Table proved surprisingly mainstream in décor and menu. The specialties are burgers and tarte flambée (an Alsatian dish suggesting a rectangular thin-crust pizza), and changing German seasonal dishes (many named for fairy tales). The magic, alas, was wanting: no burgers were available. So we ended up with a solid tart flambée with ham and a serviceable salad with pumpkin and mushrooms.

The Bottom Line

With its contemporary architecture, a funky lobby, spotless rooms and easy access to Potsdamer Platz, the hotel is visually enchanting, comfortable and practical. Yet spotty service, skimpy in-room amenities and a half-baked restaurant experience spoiled the fairy tale ending.