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May 28, 2009

Recession revives question marks over fancy hotel restaurants

andamanThe Four Seasons in Boston has announced it's to close its fine dining restaurant Aujourd'hui and another hotel restaurant, Great Bay at the Commonwealth Hotel in the same city is also due to shut soon. OK that's in America, but the question of what to do with hotel restaurant spaces has proved an eternal dilema for operators.

Will the same happen over here? Are fine dining hotel restaurants doomed to go the way of Dieter Muller's disastrous Andaman offering at the St James' hotel and whither away with barely a whimper?

But perhaps this trend of out-sourcing these spaces to celebitry chef names - think Ramsay, Locatelli and Wareing may acutally help them survive.  

I guess the key question is how long will people pay top dollar for posh hotel grub and will it have to have a s'leb name above the door to succeed?

 

July 8, 2009

Royal Lancaster Hotel gets some furry friends

Busy beeThe Royal Lancaster Hotel in London is buzzing with the news that it is set to receive half a million guests.

Dressed in black and yellow striped garb the army of buzzy bodies will descend upon the Hyde Park hotel this week.

So many? Well yes, you may have guessed it, the guests are not human, but nature's favourite- bees

The hotel is installing beehives on its roof due to the sharp decline in honey bees, which is having a serious effect on food production around the world. 

The hotel is situated next to Hyde Park which is an ideal stomping ground for the bees to flourish.

The hotel will employ a "Bee Team" to care for the bees and collect the 40kg of honey produced every year- which will then be snaffled up by guests straight from the honeycomb in the hotel's restaurant, Island. 

Pots of honey will also be offered to VIPs and 'honey'mooners (groan), while the wax from the hives will be used to create candles for gifts. 

Honey Bee Facts   
* The average honey bee will produce only one twelfth of a teaspoon of honey in its life time.

* The male honey bees are called drones, and they do no work at all and have no stinger.  All they do is mate. (Nice work if you can get it)

* Worker honey bees live for about four weeks in the spring or summer, but up to six weeks during the winter.  They are all female and do all the work...

* The honey bee is the only insect that produces food eaten by man.

August 27, 2009

Top chef Heinz Beck comes to the Lanesborough

Internationally renowned chef Heinz Beck is to open a restaurant in the Lanesborough hotel.

This is his first resturant outside Italy, where he runs the three Michelin star La Pergola at the Cavalieri.

Apsleys - a Heinz Beck Restaurant' will open on September 7 and offer "traditional Italian fare" in the hotel's conservatory (below).

It seems the hotel restaurant needed a breath of fresh air, as reviews of the newly opened Aspleys in 2008 said it was having something of an identity crisis.

Beck is one of the most well-known chefs in the world, so this is quite a triumph for the Hyde Park Corner hotel.

lanesborough.jpg 

January 5, 2011

Hotel Girl Review: One&Only, Cape Town

amazing bath.JPGLOCATION:  One&Only has chosen a vibrant location for its first city property. The hotel is a couple of minutes walk from the atmospheric Victoria and Albert waterfront, where clowns, jugglers, mime artists and street musicians entertain the throngs. The city centre, with its museums and shopping at Greenmarket Square, is a short taxi ride away.

FIRST IMPRESSION: The One&Only is a large and lavish hotel and makes a first impression to match. As you walk into the lobby, your eyes are drawn to a three storey picture window framing a breathtaking view of Table Mountain, with the hotel's glamourous cocktail bar in the foreground. At either end of the vast lobby are the hotel's restaurants: the first African branch of Nobu and Reuben's, which opened in October after Gordon Ramsey was forced to close his Maze outpost.

marina room.jpgTHE FACTS: Flamboyant gambling and hotel magnate Sol Kerzner opened the hotel in 2009 in one of the most expensive hotel developments South Africa has ever seen. Mariah Carey sang to Nelson Mandela at his no-expense-spared opening party.

The resort is comprised of Marina Rise, a crescent shaped block of 91 rooms and suites, and a separate Villa Island with 40 suites. Our entry-level room was very spacious, at least 63 sq metres, and decorated in understated shades of orange and brown. The bathroom was the ultimate in luxury with his and hers Perspex basins, a free standing bathtub and rain shower.

The swimming pool area, built around a man-made island, is a blissful place to wind down after a busy morning exploring Cape Town. Friendly staff bring complimentary fruit skewers and smoothies.

WHO'S IT FOR: Couples looking for a sophisticated retreat that's still close to the buzz of Cape Town.  Families are also welcome: the hotel has a fully supervised KidsOnly programme.

A GOOD BASE FOR: The V&A is a convenient starting point for exploring the city. The ferry to Robben Island, where Nelson Mandela was imprisoned during the Apartheid era, departs from here three times a day. A ten minute taxi will take you to the immaculate beaches of Camps Bay and Clifton.

WOW: The chic Island Spa, the largest spa in Cape Town, is set on its own lushly landscaped island and offers heavenly ESPA treatments.

HOW MUCH: £396 per room, per night, including breakfast

exterior of hotel.JPG

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