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It’s summer, and wherever you live, that means a trip to Europe. New to the continent? Keen to try something other than your major chains, but nervous about going independent? Here are six of the best European chains. NB: These are all also suitable for anti-chain snobs.
Think grabbing a quick bite in a hotel is limited to a club sandwich or a burger? Think again because Mövenpick Hotels have completely overhauled their menus to consider those health-conscious and calorie-counting guests. The healthy eating initiative, "Go Healthy", was such a success when trailed in the Middle East and Asia, it's being rolled out to the entire portfolio.
A nice sampling from the menus sees guests in Europe treated to seasonal asparagus, fresh perch and apricot cake with almonds where hotels in Jordan will have 90 percent the menu purchased from local markets including local honey. Any combination of appetizer, main and dessert from the special Go Healhty menu will not only be full in flavor but light on calories with a full meal totaling to under 1,000 calories.
Fans of Mövenpick Hotels should be happy this week: the Swiss-based hotel chain have just launched a new website which should make it quick and easy for potential guests to make bookings and get all the info they want from Mövenpick using their cell phone.
The newly optimized www.moevenpick-hotels.com is ready for perfect viewing whatever you're using – the geeky tech people that did it say the site is now ready to be viewed from 5,000 different mobile devices across the world, so if your phone doesn't bring this site up beautifully, you're pretty damn unlucky.
The site is available in both English and German, with photos of the various Mövenpick hotels and resorts across the world, and real-time booking (and even cancelling!) facilities. Probably we shouldn't be surprised to see a precision Swiss company like this one making sure they're on top of the technical stuff.
Can't satisfy your thirst for Bollywood entertainment? Never fear, it's spreading faster than swine flu. The Acentic digital TV people have set up a deal with Shemaroo Entertainment (a "leading Bollywood content house") to get more gleeful song-and-belly-dance onto your hotel room television.
They say they've recognized that there's a high demand amongst hotel guests for this kind of programming, although we don't remember putting Bollywood requests on any guest suggestion forms ourselves.
The South Asian video-on-demand content will include Bollywood films, yoga instructional videos and Indian documentaries. Acentic has deals with hotel chains like Intercontinental Hotels, Marriott Hotels and Movenpick Hotels across the Middle East, Europe and Africa, so there's a high probability you'll be switching on to a screen full of Bollywood sometime soon.
[Photo: Generation X-Ray]
About eighteen months ago we mentioned that the former Candia Maris resort on the beautiful Greek island of Crete was being taken over and turned into the Mövenpick Resort and Thalasso Crete. In fact, they've spent a good two years doing renovations and are finally open for business.
With all that time passing we're figuring the new resort won't resemble the old one very much. The Mövenpick people are advertising the new Crete resort as being upscale and modern, with some particular cultural characteristics, including an:
exquisite combination of typical Greek hospitality and the traditional Swiss passion for efficiency, reliability, punctuality and precision.
They have a huge seawater spa known as the Aegeo Spa Center which includes a range of seawater baths, a sauna, solarium and steam baths, just to name a few of the ways you can relax there. The resort also includes several restaurants with various dining styles, including the open-air "Taverna" which fits the Greek surroundings well.
For all the talk of being upscale and fancy, Crete's Mövenpick seems very reasonably priced. At short notice, we'd be able to book a double room for tonight for just 95 (US$150); we're not sure if it's opening teething problems or solid bookings, but online availability of rooms from mid-May through the summer is non-existent at the moment.
This weekend, the New York Times recommends Mövenpick Hotel Berlin as a choice pick for "hipsters on a budget." While we don't know anyone who actually likes to be identified as a hipster these days, we do know that the Times seems to have uncovered something worth looking into.
Despite its penchant for trendy guests, the author notes that the hotel isn't in the coolest part of town. No matter, because S-Bahn and U-Bahn stops are just blocks away and Potsdamer Platz and Tiergarten Park are within walking distance. Rooms are chic and comfortable and come equipped with TVs, on-demand video and wireless. The Times bottom line: "What you give up in location, you gain in affordability, with rooms starting at about 100 euros a night."
Even if you can't stay the night, the paper says it's worth stopping by to check out Mövenpick's "space-agey" Anhalter Bar, which attracts a late-night loving younger crowd--hipsters, you might say.
Photo: [NY Times]