8000 Travel Guide
This week, a combination of wanderlust and hotel lust led us to research the Mount Nelson Hotel in Cape Town, South Africa, which a roving HotelChatter correspondent briefly had the chance to visit last year. We deemed Mount Nelson worth a second look from afar, because of the consistent buzz it garners for its exaggerated sense of luxury. Then again, if it weren't exaggerated it wouldn't be lust-worthy, would it?
Fat cats who travel to areas of the world deemed "exotic" aren't usually in the game of roughing it. Maybe they've come for a safari, but they better be welcomed home at the end of the day by plush linens at the very least.
No need to worry about that at Mount Nelson, where Garden Cottages located away from the main hotel building offer grown-up Richie/Regina Riches their very own white picket fence, rose garden, marble bathrooms, and use of an adults-only pool. Socialite's kids can be notoriously snotty, so this division of property is welcomed by singles and child-free couples alike. The price of privacy: approximately $1,478 per night, according to listed rates and our currency conversion.
We’ve been itching to go to the fabulous-looking Kempinksi Dukes’ Palace in a 15th-century castle in Bruges since it opened, and every time we hear some more news about it, we get closer to opening up our wallets. This time it’s the new spa menu taking our fancy.
It’s using the French Thalgo line (nice) for some pretty well-priced treatments including a Detox (scrub, detox gel, sauna and massage, €85) for after you've gone overboard on the local chocolate, and the cozy-sounding Mother’s Cocoon (massage, facial and foot treatment, €140) for the preggers among you.
Best of all, they’re making an admirable break from the creepy couple’s massage – their Harmony for Two treatment (€120) is being sold to "mothers and daughters or friends".
Cape Town Hotels / South Africa Hotels / Hotel Restaurants / Orient-Express Hotels / Monica Guy / → All Tags
Our roving correspondent Monica Guy has recently blessed the rains down in Africa--South Africa--and is giving us the scoop this week on the Cape Town hotel scene. Have a question or a suggestion? Let us know and we'll do our best to answer it. Enjoy.
How the other half live. Or rather, not half, but the small minority of wealthy (almost all white) travellers who stay in the Mount Nelson Hotel, Cape Town's Grande Dame.
The drive up to the hotel entrance (a guard salutes you on the way in) is via a tree-lined road through their vast, landscaped grounds - smoother than most of Cape Town's main roads. A huge, white columned building, and inside, a marble-floored entrance hall complete with antique décor, oil paintings, stuffed animal heads and suited butlers.
We didn't stay overnight so we can't tell you more about the rooms. But we did try out the restaurant, however, which is allegedly the best in Cape Town for Cape Malay-style fine dining.
Guess what Monica Guy was doing yesterday on Boxing Day? Yup. Fantasizing about hotels....
It's Boxing Day and you're wishing you'd gone away for Christmas. The turkey-smeared plates are piled up in the sink and you are feeling the after-effects of Aunty Jean's home-made concrete mince pies and knock-out Christmas pud. (Or is it just the English who inflict these Christmas "treats" upon each other?)
Either way, you've vowed you won't be messing around with Christmas at home again - you're on the internet checking out Christmas hotels for next year.
Bruges, Belgium is possibly the sweetest Christmas city in Europe. Okay, so it's cold...but you might get snow and at least it's small and cosy enough to stroll around. The Christmas market in the main square is a mulled wine and roasted chestnuts extravaganza. Perfect.
If you can spell the name, stay in the 4-star Hotel Relais Bourgondisch Cruyce.
It's not the most well-known hotel in Bruges or even the most classic - for that you'll want the equally bizarrely-spelt Hotel Tuilerieen. But that's about to change - the RBC's got a starring role in the forthcoming black comedy In Bruges featuring Ralph Fiennes and Colin Farrell. After March 2008, you'll be able to say, "Well, I was there before it was famous..."
[Ed. Note: Welcome to our Good Rate/Bad Rate feature where we look at hotel prices in the same city and decide which one most deserves your hard-earned benjamins. Rates quotes here were valid for April 7 to 9, 2007 and are subject to change. Enjoy.]
We couldn't resist anything that lets us say "choco-laté" over and over, so this week we're checking out rates in Bruges (or Brugge), Belgium for the Choco-Laté Festival running April 6 to 10. Do your dieting before you head in this direction, then dive in for a few days of indulgence, sleeping it off at the Ibis Brugge Centrum.
The hotel pickings are slim already for the weekend nights of April 7 and 8, with only a few hotels showing availability on both nights. The best bet for strolling, at a rate that won't take a year of cocoa bean picking wages to pay off, is the Ibis Brugge Centrum--at $178 per night. This is a mid-range 3-star hotel that's part of the Accor group, but in a historic building at least. It has a 24-hour snack bar, a reasonably priced restaurant, and rooms that are on the small side but well-kept. You'll probably want to skip that $15 breakfast though and grab something light nearby. (Plus while most 3-star hotels in the U.S. throw in free wi-fi now, here you'll pay a minimum of 10 euros to log on.)
Here's the description of the mouth-watering festival itself from What's On When:
The self-proclaimed Belgian chocolate capital goes a step further with chocolate sculpture contests, body painting, children's activities and a trail taking in the city's landmark chocolatiers such as Leonidas, Godiva and Neuhaus.
Brushing aside chocolate's sinful connotations, the festival reveals the health benefits of cocoa in massage, beauty therapy and skin products - so there's no reason to feel guilty about a little sweet indulgence.
The Ibis Brugge Centrum is a mile from the city center, so you can walk off the choco-laté afterwards too.
[Photo: David Wilmot]
· Bad Rate: Venere Comes Up Short for Our Chocolate Fix [HotelChatter]
Actor Ralph Fiennes caused quite a stir last month when he joined the Mile High Club with a Qantas stewardess yet that hasn't slowed down his travelling sex drive.
The latest report has the actor frolicking naked in a hotel pool in Belgium with not one, but four women.
Guests at the Hotel Tuilerieen in Bruges were awoken at 5am by loud music, yelling and screaming. Usually, hotel managers don't like to disturb celebrity guests no matter how bad the behavior, but this hotel's rep, Patricia Homble said: "I wasn't happy about it."
But did she ask Fiennes and co. to leave? We doubt it.
Valentine's Day is a month away and if you want to impress your significant lover with a spectacular hotel stay, then you better get cracking. Luckily, we will make your job a little easier by featuring some hotel packages that we have heard about this week. Any tips or questions about how to romance your lover in a hotel (not sexually of course), send 'em our way and we'll do our best to answer them.
The Hotel Heritage in Bruges may not have an exotic Valentine's day package with erotic cooking but they are counting on the charm of Europe to set the romantic tone. From their Valentine Package description?
What would you think about strolling along the Canals, being carried around the medieval centre or to enjoy the first ray of sunshine at the Park of the Lake of Love? This doesn't sound so bad? Forget the world for a while and come to enjoy the magic of Bruges! It has been said a million times before: Bruges and romance are an everlasting match!!
The very enthusiastic package includes up to three nights accommodations, breakfast buffet, a horse-drawn carriage through the heart of town, a box of Godiva chocolates, a bottle of Veuve Clicquot, a teddy bear holding a red heart with "I Love You" embroidered on it (seriously) and tourist information. And an added touch, the hotel keeps little cupid statues in the bathroom.
Rooms start at 163 Euros for a stay during the week and start at 171 Euros for a weekend stay.
· Hotel Heritage: Blogger in the Belfry [HotelChatter]
Spring fever is in full effect in Brugge, Belgium. The country gets little to no rain during April, only green grass, blossoming trees and warmer weather.
The Hotel Heritage is capitalizing on the bloom with their Spring Wellness Package which includes:
· 1 or 2 nights inluxurious accommodations
· Hot and cold buffet breakfast
· Boat ride on the picturesque canals of Brugge
· Four-course dinner with aperitif and coffee (sorry, no booze. It's called the Wellness package for a reason)
· Use of sauna, steambath, fitness room and sunbed.
To up your healthy intake, grab a vitamin cocktail at the bar, and this time you can choose to add alcohol but 4 out of 5 doctors won't recommend that.
Plus, put on your walking shoes and take a two-hour guided tour of the city in English to get your heart-rate up.
As for the hotel itself, the building dates back to 1869 but is now a modern boutique hotel with luxury furnishings. And with prime real estate:
The hotel sits on the perfect location -- close to the square and great shopping. The staff was courteous and friendly, and were especially helpful with dinner recommendations. Breakfast was not to be missed!
If for some reason it does rain in April while you are there, the hotel has complementary umbrellas to give out, sans a snooty note.
Package prices start at 130 Euros per person per night.