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Why Hotel Amigo's Flower Carpet Package Is The Best Of Brussels

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  Site Where: Rue de l'Amigo 1, Brussels, Belgium, 1000
August 12, 2014 at 10:29 AM | by | Comments (0)

If there’s one main event in the Brussels social calendar, the Flower Carpet, which runs 14-17 August, would be it. And if you think, “Pshaw, the best they can do is a flower carpet, that just proves everything I thought about Brussels being boring,” you’re totally wrong. Not only is Brussels ace, but the flower carpet is extraordinary: a carpet of begonias in pretty patterns all across the cobbles of the Grand Place, one of the most impressive squares in Europe. It is, apparently, so overwhelmingly beautiful that they can only hold it every two years for three days (disclaimer: that may be hyperbole, and also an excuse).

Seeing the Flower Carpet properly is fiendishly tricky – you can’t walk over it, so you can only get a squiz from the sides. Those in the know book a guided tour of the squareside City Hall – you can get a bird’s eye view from the second floor. But this weekend, there are only two English tours – both on Sunday – and you can’t book ahead, so you’re going to wait in line forever, and probably be disappointed.

Which is where the Hotel Amigo comes in. The Rocco Forte hotel has created a brilliant Begonia Package that will get you perfect views without the need for queuing. It includes:
· Availability-dependent upgrade to a Deluxe room
· Specially created Rose Blossom welcome cocktail;
· In-room facial (ooh-err missus);
· Dinner for two including a sommelier-selected bottle of wine;
· 4pm late check out;
· Breakfast.

So far, so luxury hotel blah. But here’s the kicker: if you check in August 14, you’ll get an invite to the Flower Carpet’s inauguration cocktail party, in the courtyard of the City Hall; and you’ll also get two tickets to the City Hall to see the panorama: something that will be out of reach for all but the most dedicated wait-in-liners.

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10 Packing Commandments from Hotel de Rome's 'Professional Packer'

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  Site Where: Behrenstrasse 37, Berlin, Germany, 10117
June 3, 2014 at 5:42 PM | by | Comment (1)

Problematic packers, you know who you are.

You can’t zip your suitcase without your entire family doing a tap dance on top of it. At the airport, people congratulate your Samsonite and ask “how far along” it is. When you unpack at the hotel, your once-neatly pressed wardrobe looks like someone was trying to teach themselves origami with your conference outfits.

There is help for people like you, and his name is Ivica Tot-Genz. As the laundry manager at Rocco Forte’s Hotel de Rome in Berlin, Tot-Genz has become the Yoda of luggage management. He’s an interesting guy, a trained bespoke tailor (eye for measurements) who used to fold parachutes for stowing under pilots’ seats in his native Croatia. And his “professional packing” service is inclusive for Hotel de Rome guests.

To give us a taste of his experience-gleaned ideas, Tot-Genz shared with us ten of his Top 10 Packing Tips:

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Meet the Bag Buggies of Hotel de Russie's FENDI Christmas Tree

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  Site Where: Via del Babuino, 9, Rome, Italy, 00187
December 13, 2013 at 5:33 PM | by | Comments (0)

The world is officially in "Countdown to Christmas" mode and now, so are we. Every day until Christmas we'll be featuring a hotel that's in a holiday mood--whether it be with gigantic gingerbread houses, over-the-top Christmas decorations, thrilling lighting displays and best of all, Santa appearances. But of course, any hotel can assemble a fake tree, put on some lights and declare themselves "festive." Which is why we're looking at hotels that are really going ALL OUT. Know of a hotel that's super excited for Christmas? Let us know!

Not to be outdone by the Lulu Guinness tree in London, the Hotel de Russie in Rome has its very own designer Christmas tree to show off. In a match made in fashion heaven, the hotel has enlisted utterly Roman brand FENDI to create chic Christmas decorations throughout the hotel and garden.

Inspired by FENDI’s latest kooky, and some might say creepy, 'Bag Bug' handbag accessory line, the brand has also decorated the hotel's impressive 16-foot Christmas tree on the Piazzetta Valadier with plexiglass versions of the fuzzy critters.

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The Brown's Hotel Christmas Tree is Sealed With a Kiss (or Two) From Lulu Guinness

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  Site Where: 33 Albemarle Street, London, United Kingdom, W1S 4BP
December 12, 2013 at 5:45 PM | by | Comments (0)

The world is officially in "Countdown to Christmas" mode and now, so are we. Every day until Christmas we'll be featuring a hotel that's in a holiday mood--whether it be with gigantic gingerbread houses, over-the-top Christmas decorations, thrilling lighting displays and best of all, Santa appearances. But of course, any hotel can assemble a fake tree, put on some lights and declare themselves "festive." Which is why we're looking at hotels that are really going ALL OUT. Know of a hotel that's super excited for Christmas? Let us know!

Last week, Brown’s Hotel in London unveiled this Christmas tree, created in partnership with legendary British accessories fashion designer, Lulu Guinness. As you'd expect it's a very stylish festive ensemble. Atop the tree you'll find no run-of-mill angel but Guinness' trademark ruby-red pouting lips. The hotel is certainly in the Christmas spirit, offering guests who stay during December the chance to win a two-night stay at the hotel and £250 to spend on a Lulu Guinness handbag.

Throughout the holiday period, The Spa at Brown’s Hotel will also be offering a MERRY BERRY manicure and pedicure using Claté products and festive ingredients such as orange, clove, juniper berry and cinnamon. The treatments are available now through February 1, 2014.

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The Balmoral Now Has A Dedicated Scotch Bar (and Whisky Ambassadors Too)

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  Site Where: 1 Princes Street, Edinburgh, United Kingdom, EH2 2EQ
September 18, 2013 at 9:19 AM | by | Comments (0)

If that photo above tickles your fancy -- for both the Scotch collection and the be-kilted Scotsman -- you'll want to be adding Edinburgh's The Balmoral, a Rocco Forte property to your hotel bucket list.

The five-star landmark hotel, located on the city's main Princes Street, has just opened SCOTCH a new signature whisky bar located in its former drawing room space that features the largest collection of purely Scottish whiskies available to the general public in Edinburgh.

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Rocco Forte Hotels Struggles, Drops The Augustine Prague

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  Site Where: Letenska 12/33, Prague, Czech Republic, 11800
April 24, 2013 at 1:10 PM | by | Comments (0)

Despite optimism and tons of hotel openings in some places, especially Europe, we all know the travel industry isn’t completely out of the water when it comes to the financial crisis.

One hotel group that's been feeling the squeeze is Rocco Forte Hotels, a small family-run collection of hotels across Europe, including Brown’s Hotel in London and Hotel de Russie in Rome. After a difficult few years, this month the group dropped both Rocco Forte Abu Dhabi, the first hotel to be introduced solely with the group name, and The Augustine in Prague.

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Would The Hotel Inspector Approve Of Rocco Forte's Hotel Amigo?

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  Site Where: Rue de l'Amigo 1-3, Brussels, Belgium, 1000
November 14, 2012 at 12:57 PM | by | Comments (0)

We only bring this up because The Hotel Inspector was the name of the UK’s (first-out) version of Hotel Hell, and that show was hosted not by Gordon Ramsay, but by Alex Polizzi. Serious hotel geeks know that Alex's clan are owners of Rocco Forte Hotels. It’s all coming together!

Well, we had the chance to stay at Brussel's Hotel Amigo for our own hotel inspection and will say that it does pass inspection, so Polizzi (or Ramsay) needn't have worried.

The hotel has 173 rooms and feels cozy and intimate. The decor is very authentic with original Surrealist artwork and other Belgium touches scattered throughout, and leans more toward a contemporary, refined style in both the public areas and the rooms.

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London's Brown's Hotel Has a Paul Smith Present for You This Christmas

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  Site Where: 33 Albemarle Street, London, United Kingdom, W1S 4BP
November 15, 2010 at 3:25 PM | by | Comments (0)

Hotels are getting in a holiday mood! Usually around this time, we spotlight all the delicious holiday cocktails that hotels concoct for the season. Don't worry, we're not giving up the booze but we are keeping tabs on all the wonderful, wild, and in some cases, weird Holiday Hotel Decorations that hotels put up this year. Seen some great holiday decor in a hotel recently? Send us a snapshot!

Just down Albemarle Street from London's famous Brown's Hotel sits Sir Paul Smith's flagship store. It's all a charming, traditionally British area, so it only makes sense that the hotel will be partnering up with the fashion designer for their Christmas decorations. Smith and his team will design a tree with hand-decorated ornaments to adorn the Brown's lobby from December 3 to January 2, 2011.

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A Room for the Night and a 'Dirndl' for Oktoberfest at Munich's Charles Hotel

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  Site Where: Sophienstraße 28, Munich, Germany, 80333
August 27, 2010 at 10:31 AM | by | Comment (1)

Boobs. That's what the German Oktoberfest celebrations is all about, right? Wrong, but we're at least close. On September 18th, Munich will tap the first kegs to kick off the month-long festival of beer, brats, bretzeln (pretzels) and yes—boobs too. You see, the Bavarian traditional costume for women is a Dirndl, a highly decorated peasant dress of sorts, which is typically specially made and heavy on the cleavage-baring.

If you're thinking of heading to Munich for Oktoberfest this year and you like the look of these Dirndls, the the Rocco Forte Collection property The Charles Hotel at the center of the city has a deal for you: their "Dressed for Oktoberfest" package.

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Inside Frankfurt's Villa Kennedy: A Palace with a Past

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  Site Where: Kennedyallee 70, Frankfurt, Germany, 60596
May 27, 2010 at 4:31 PM | by | Comments (0)

The largest hotel suite in all of Germany, as we showed you yesterday, sits at the top of a palatial private villa turned 5-star hotel, in the ritzy neighborhood of Sachsenhausen in Frankfurt. This property, the Villa Kennedy of the Rocco Forte Collection, is a restored historical complex originally built for a banker family in 1904, and which also housed the Max Planck Institut for the Advancement of Science before becoming a luxury hotel.

These days, the expansive courtyard and sprawling suites are known more for housing celebs, politicians and CEOs than test tubes and scientists, but one thing remains the same: that this is an exclusive, pristine property.

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Inside the Largest Hotel Suite in Germany

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  Site Where: Kennedyallee 70, Frankfurt, Germany, 60596
May 26, 2010 at 9:50 AM | by | Comments (2)

Above the staircase where President Kennedy once stood during his famous visit to Germany to give his "Ich bin ein Berliner" speech, now sits the country's largest hotel suite. Villa Kennedy's Speyer Suite measures an impressive 3,509 square feet, has three bedrooms, a chef's kitchen with Gaggenau appliances, and completely bulletproof windows.

Chances are, since the Villa Kennedy (of the Rocco Forte Collection of hotels) is the best show in town when it comes to 5-star hotels in Frankfurt, that when the big celebrities and politicians are in town, they stay in this suite. It also helps that it's got a private elevator, panic buttons in the rooms (just in case), a massive entrance hall, and an impressive dining room inside one of the Villa's turrets, that lends itself well to interviews and photoshoots.

No, we didn't stay here, but just had a drool-tastic look around.

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On the Frankfurt Hotel Stairs Where President Kennedy Once Stood

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  Site Where: Kennedyallee 70, Frankfurt, Germany, 60596
May 21, 2010 at 3:23 PM | by | Comments (0)


Inside the lobby atrium at the Villa Kennedy

Last time we popped into a Rocco Forte Collection hotel, it was nearly a year ago when we treated ourselves to tea on the rooftop terrace of Berlin's Hotel de Rome. But then, it is slightly difficult to hit all the Forte uber-luxury hotels; there are only 13 all around the world.

This week however, since we're back in Germany, we had to get ourselves all up in the Villa Kennedy, a 163-room 5-star property which was once a private family home and also a stop on President John F. Kennedy's trip to Germany for his famous "Ich bin ein Berliner" speech.

Although we didn't sleep here—just downed a cappuccino and toured the magical castle-like place—expect a full photo gallery and more early next week. Look—if a big name celebrity or official is in Frankfurt, then this is the place they're calling home temporarily. It's not completely out of range for regular travelers though, since weekend rates start at 220 Euro per night.

Photo: HotelChatter