Paris: Day 6

Day 6-Thu Oct 13th

Today was DH’s birthday. We checked out of the Maurice, and checked into Hotel Crillon. They are cleaning up the facade of the hotel and by Christmas time it will be done. This is also another Palace hotel. The lobby has undergone some renovations and it looks fresh, but still very much like a grand palace. Gold, ornate and marble everywhere.

The rooms and suites were nice and spacious, but I think they are in need of a serious face lift. If it was refurbished, I would love it more, but as is, it was really old-looking. I am sure it was splendid and at its peak 15-20 years ago, but currently, it’s just dull and drab. The door staff outside, do look at you and then greet you IF they think you really belong in the hotel. A little strange. A little more friendliness, would be nicer.

They have 103 rooms and 44 of they are suites. 80% of the rooms can be connected. It can be a beautiful place for a wedding, with cocktails overlooking place de la Concorde (once the renovations are done, of course).

They have an area, just off the lobby,”Winter Garden”  which is great for afternoon tea and connecting to this, is an outdoor created garden, with revolving themes every year- this year its an English garden theme. It was pretty.

The Spa does treatments by Carita and the fitness center has a personal trainer who used to work with President Nicolas Sarkozy.

They do fun kids programs to keep them entertained as well, and can arrange baby sitters.The Piano bar, with its red-gold and wood decor, was just not for me.

Overall , an average experience in a grand palace property.





















Rahul saw his friend for lunch– who by the way has a fantastic store – in personalised computers, where the computer is more like a piece of art. A must buy for anyone looking for something to stand out, be amazingly cool and just a fantastic well maintained machine, with great support. You can customize it to any degree.

I went in pursuit of chocolate, thanks to David Lebovitz, and made my way to A L’etiole d’Or.

I was in this area just to buy chocolates
Only available in this Paris shop!! must buy!!
a L'etiole d'Or
Loving the selecting and not being able to decide-- rare for me!

Dinner tonight was at Agape Substance– a 26 seat restaurant, on Rue Mazarine.

It was a gastronomical experience, one that we will not forget quite so easily! Before dinner, we had drinks at the Pharmacy. Highly recommend it, its right across the street from the restaurant, cool vibe, music, art deco and fantastic cocktails!
























































Paris: Day 5

Day 5-Wed Oct 12th

We checked into Hotel Maurice , another Palace hotel and we were going to stay here 2 nights, just to get a break from the moving around!  It was purchased by the Dorchester group in 1998.

Very grand hotel, with modern touches, the interiors are by Philippe Starck. There are 160 rooms on 7 floors, 45 suites and Jr. suites. They also have presidential suites, Prestige suite, Marco Polo Suite and the Belle Etoile Suite which has a private terrace and panoramic views.




Restaurant le Meurice is their  three Michelin-starred restaurant that serves Haute French cuisine in a grand dining room, originally inspired by the Salon de la Paix at the Château de Versailles.

Bar 228, old world in feel, is very popular for drinks as well. Dali was a regular at this hotel and spent 30 years here!


Next inspection, was of the Mandarin Oriental

Its right next to the Costes hotel, on Rue St.-Honare. It used to be an office building that was made into a hotel. Just the outside walls were kept, it was all renovated from the inside, totally!

When you enter you are totally transported to a far away place; it feels nothing like any of the other Parisian hotels, thought it had a modern and cool feel, it felt contemporary French. The outdoor garden is the heart of the hotel and you feel that , as the lobby, bar and the restaurant all open out or look onto it.

138 guest rooms, 39 suites , some of them mind blowing duplex’s were awe-inspiring and refreshing to what else is out there!

The award winning chef Thierry Marx’s restaurant that seats 40 per night ” Sur Mesure by Thierry Marx” is a culinary experience,experts say its not to be missed.If you are a guest at the hotel, you MAY be able to get a table, otherwise do book ahead. It feels like a space ship.Check out the red and pink bathroom.

The bar at the hotel, Bar 8 , glimmers with Lalique crystals on the walls and murano fixtures. My favourite part about the bar is being able to sit outside, and enjoy your drinks, in the outdoor garden.



All rooms are sound proofed, and come with 2 sinks in the bathroom. The rooms are spacious and modern. They come with all the adapters and cables you would need, saves you the hassle of packing all those things.  It is a green hotel, it has the French equivalent certification of a LEEDS hotel i.e HQE. Some of the suites over look the garden and can come with terraces.




This was another suite, it was a duple- totally fantastic.


The duplex suite was amazing, but what totally blew my mind was the Royal Mandarin Suite with a private dining room, terraces, and views. This is for 20000 euros/ night. Any takers?





The Spa at the Mandarin. ( It has a pool too).

We tried the 114 Le Faubourg restaurant at Hotel Le Bristol for lunch. It was a fantastic meals- the pictures do show the same hopefully! 🙂 it was absolutely packed by 1 pm, there was not a single table available.

Dinner tonight, was at Frenchie. One of the hardest to get tables in town.. don’t ask me how I got it ! 🙂 Le Bristol Concierge is VERY connected – I had asked 2 hotels to make the same reservations, gave a wide range of dates- but only 1 succeeded…

Menu was easy to choose from- all in 2’s- 2 appetizer choices, 2 entrees to pick between and  2 desserts choices.

People kept coming into the restaurant , checking to see if there were any last-minute cancellations, or if they could somehow get in ! The bar across , has their own menu that serves food too- put your name on the list hanging outside the bar.

There was a nice gentleman, who decided to come to the restaurant to use the bathroom, then he somehow made it to the chef’s window  and after that he was eating right there, bu the kitchen window, along with a glass of wine.. standing of course!! it was funny.


Another great evening! Bon nuit!


Paris: Day 4

Day 4-Tuesday Oct 11th

In the morning I did a site inspection of Le Scribe hotel, very close to the Opera. It was a nice hotel, modern, clean, lots of historical references. A botique hotel, built in 1861. It was renovated in 2008.

Very close to Galleries Lafayatte and the Opera.

The tea room is hugely popular and the bar/ breakfast room was nice and bright with the sky light.


Site inspection of the Westin , just off Rue de Rivoli- was next on the agenda. This used to be the intercontinental hotel, but now has become the Westin. It is a historic property , the architecture represents the 4 continents. It has the largest number of suites all of Paris 79  rooms, total of 440 rooms. They have standard, deluxe, Jr. Suites, rooms with a view, Jr. suites, Prestige and Ambassador suites, Royal suites and Presidential suites.

The Standard rooms don’t come with a mini bar, just good to keep in mind.


















Room #1052, was the salon of the Royal Suite, and 10 suites come with the salon. They have a 100% view room of jardin tuileries. Pic below.

The standard rooms were small,

but small is normal for Paris! The rooms are all decorated in shades of purple with grey.

The spa here is by the world- renowed six senses.

Great feel ! Check out the pics below . A convenient location, from a trusted brand. The hotel is huge, so if you are looking for an intimate feel, this is not the place. Great for groups etc as well and businesses.









We tried lunch at La Teressa, it was an international cuisine, emphasis on herbs. It offered a street view and a park view of the tuiliers. It was average food, artistically presented thought, I must say.

Dinner was at Chez Janou– one of our favorite places in Paris. It has a lot of things going for it- its in the Marais, its casual, fun and young, the food is great and the desert rocks. They do Provençal cuisine. You have to get the chocolate mousse (to share) for dessert. In all the excitement and anticipation of eating here, I missed to take a pic of the chocolate mousse!


Paris: Day 3

Day 3-Monday Oct 10th

Property inspection of Victoria Palace. The hotel was built in 1913. They have a lot of Jr. Suites- 28 to be exact ! See day 2 for pics.

Checked out and into Hotel Le Bristol.

From the minute we walked into this door, we felt like royalty. The staff at the reception was so friendly, the guest services manager wonderful and kind, and since we arrived early, for our 3 pm check in, they escorted us to the bar, we relaxed there, till our room was ready 30 min later. I felt that I was being greeted by family rather than the staff at a hotel, it was that warm their welcome!

The room, was a suite, #994/995, an apartment, with an outdoor terrace. It was spectacular with views of the garden below, it felt just like home. Though the hotel is a Palace hotel, the rooms were not over the top, they were actually very tastefully done , bathrooms were totally renovated and state of the art with tubs and shower, 2 separate toilets.

All the rooms in the hotel were very refined, very understand luxury, but beautiful. The concierge at this hotel was top-notch, helping me secure reservations for my much awaited meal at Frenchie and Agape Substance ( more on that later).

“Midnight in Paris” was also filmed here, I got to see that room too.

They have a 3 star Michelin restaurant, “Le restaurant Gastronomique” which is moving to be facing the garden, and their 2nd restaurant 114 Le Faubourg, serves some delicious food in a bright, eye-popping setting. the flowers along the wall are very 3D and seem to be coming out at you.

We had a drink at the bar, it was lovely.

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The pool at the Bristol is on the top floor of the hotel . Amazing view of the Sacré-Cœur Basilica.







Dinner was at Au Passage, but a chef that used to work at Spring and Au Verre.

1 bis, passage saint-sebastien, 75011 Paris, Tél. : 01 43 55 07 52.

It was so fantastic! it was just hubby and me, but I think it would be a great casual dinner spot with friends, as it so relaxed and you can then taste everything on the menu! Small plates, modern , tapas style.

We tried the pork rillette, the squid, the brussel sprouts with bacon, the burrata (which was the only thing that was average) , a white fish carpaccio and an amazing ganache with strawberries. Some pics below.

The table over from us was trying the pork served for 4 and it looked just amazing!! Highly recommend it for lunch or a large group of friends. Looks like a run down place, don’t judge it!

Another great relaxing evening, after a super busy day.

Paris: Day 2


Bunch at Place du marche St Honore, a great sq, on the way (well not if its Sunday, you can stop by the Collette store).

Brunch at Cuisine + confidences, good food.

Got a coffee at Cafe Vivienne, which was served with some delicious caramel!

Checked into Hotel Victoria Palace, after this.

This is just off Rue de Rennes.

Not one of my favourite places it was a 4 star,which is fine, but  it was a little old-looking from the outside, the internet didn’t work well ( at all, though I was reassured they were getting fiber optics cable soon and within a month these issues will be resolved.).

The rooms were very spacious but it was like being taken into the past, by around 20 years, wallpaper and sofa  in matching print.

The Jr. Suite that we stayed in, was very large and comfortable, it was a clean hotel, short walk (15 m) to St. Germain, renovated bathrooms but just not my kind of style. Continental buffet was good and filling.

Decided to do “Le Comptoir de Relais”, by legendary  bistro chef Yves Camdeborde. Weekends they don’t take reservations, but the 30 min wait, was totally worth the food. Service was brusque, our table was right in the door way, seriously, but the food made it worth the while and the apple pie was the best my DH has ever had!

More soon! 🙂

Paris Returned, 8 nights, stayed at 7 hotels : Day 1

This is the view from the room that " Midnight in Paris was filmed in"

So, the Paris trip was a long trip in the making. I wanted to surprise Rahul ( DH) with a return trip to Paris, where we spent a year in 2007-’08 during his business school.

I started planning this in late July and started salivating dreaming of eating at some of the hot spots currently!

Since I have the pleasure of working in the travel industry, I called in a few favors and decided to spend time in our fav city by moving around almost every night. Rahul’s close friends from UK, Portugal and Switzerland also flew in to spend time with us. Occupancy rates at all hotels were around 95%.

Ok, Day 1-Sat Oct. 8th

Landed at CDG at 11 am via the red-eye and took the RER-B to the city.

Met up with friends for a lunch at Hotel Costes

On the way we saw this marathon, it was quite  site!

I had the king of crab leg with lettuce salad, it was divine. Crunchy and bright, citrus-y.

Checked into Hotel Pont Royale– in my preferred part of town, the Left bank.(unless of course I am in the Marais, which is heaven on Earth!)  Hotel Pont Royale- built-in 1923 and has been famous with literary figures and painters like Miro and Chigal. We were in room #707, street view of Rue de Bac, we were in the deluxe room, which is the 2 levels above the entry-level room category. Odd angles make every room unique and individual.

also the home of a yummy restaurant!

They have connecting rooms, junior suites and rooms with juliet balconies. All rooms are slightly different sizes, but if you want a larger room, go with the ones facing the church. Luckily the Church bells don’t ring from 8 pm – 8 am.

Breakfast was fresh, continental eggs, cheese, yogurt, cold cuts, cereal, fruits and bread.

I would recommend this hotel. Things I didn’t like about it were:

It did bother me slightly that the Hotel kept reminding guests that check in was at 3 pm, instead of empathizing that a lot of them had come on 7-8 hour red-eye flights, they were a little brusque in dealing with them. I would have preferred if they offered them a suggest of a cafe to hang out at and re-assure them that they were doing all that they can to get their room ready ASAP. A drink at the bar perhaps, suggestion to freshen up at the fitness center bathroom.. some outside the box thinking.




























Dinner at Victor

Great food, had a wine from the Provencal region.

They carry a LARGE selection of chocolate desserts from Jean Paul Hervin- the nogurt dessert, chocolate tart and the chocolate mousse were heaven on earth.

Red Rooster- harlem, Chef Marcus Samuelsson

This past friday, my dear friend took me out for dinner to celebrate my birthday. Since it was my celebration, I picked Red Rooster– though I realised without a reservation it may turn into a LONG night.. so I called- the young hostess advised, that the wait was very bearable. ( waiting for 1 1/2 hours, is NOT a bearable wait!! LOL) .

This is the first time I had even been up to Harlem- (getting lost on the subway lines dosn’t count!). The cab driver too wanted to drop us off on Adam Ave. instead of Malcom X. He was lost too… Though- the 2/ 3 train literally stop right outside this restaurant.

We get there, look across to the restaurant- its full of people- jam packed like sardines- inside, outside, by the bar!! We were determined to eat here, as we had no desire to be walking around without knowing our way around.

Finally made our way into the restaurant, we were super impressed with the ambience, as its quite a cool looking place. A wrap around bar with high table seating near the bar and a small dining room for those organized enough to call a month ahead to book their tables!

We hung out at the bar, amazed at the crowd that was there- very artsy, very creative and super friendly. We ordered 2 glasses of Prosecco, and it was poured from 2 different bottles. When I told the bartender it was flat, he gladly told me, that prosecco doesn’t have bubbles like champagne, so if I wanted bubbles I got get the cava. I got the Cava instead, but it wasn’t so great. Did he not know that I had a wine tasting a few weeks ago- I know that prosecco has little bubbles and isn’t meant to taste flat, like water.

Anyway, then we decided to order the ” Snacks” at the bar. We got these mini tostados , they were yummy. Made with ceviche , it was a delight.

So, for our main courses, we decided to order the below-

My friend got the Chicken (which was recommended by the waiter) and I was thinking of getting the blackened fish, but the waiter suggested the Snapper instead.

When the meals showed up, I was served the blackened catfish, but I didn’ t care, as by that time it was 11 pm and we were starved. It was a very average course, nothing exciting , nothing particularly yummy.

" A don't get , in my books! "
It was juicy and tender.. recommend it !

For dessert, we decided to share 1 between us- we decided to go with the shortbread cake , it was terrible. It was not like a shortbread cookie, it was a mix between a scone and a cookie.

The dessert of choice here are the sweet potato donuts, but I didn’t want donuts.

Don't recommend it


While it was a fun evening out, I may go back and try their brunch on Sundays ” Gospel brunch”. But to be served average food, perhaps due to the number of people, really put me off……



A prosecco and lambrusco tasting party

I love having parties, I love going out, being social. Any excuse to have people over, is good…. so for this party, I though it would be nice to have a party with a theme. Who hasn’t gone to the wine store and been over whelmed with the choices,  suggestions given or just the sheer look of these bottles starring back at you ” BUY ME! DRINK ME”!

So, I thought I would try to sort out a party, these were the rules:(and some info on the regions)

a. Prosecco- I haven’t met anyone who doesn’t like this, this is someone that most people drink instead of champagne, just as an apertif, and to be honest, its quite affordable- usually. So this is slightly cheaper, as the 2nd fermentation that takes place, takes place in steel vats, (vs the bottles , in the case of Champagne) hence the price difference is lower. The prosecco comes from the hills outside Venice. Also, unlike champagne, the primary flavor are what makes this sparking special- I usually can taste pears, or apricots, apples or something along these lines. Unlike champagne, that has 2 flavors, the initial and the secondary, prosecco only has 1.

b. I thought a nice match to this wine would be lambrusco- for the sheer reason, I am starting to enjoy this for the last 5 years and its kind of hard to find drinkable lambrusco’s. ( so these come from the Balsamic city of Modena), they are a sparking red wine and can often taste like coke, or worse.

c. Everyone had to bring  a bottle of each, along with some form of appetizer. The wines should be between $12 and $25 each.

So, the results:

a. The expensive stuff doesn’t have to be the best always- in some cases, its the worst ( point taken- this below bottle “#3” , was purchased after a recommendation at the Whole Foods wine store– it was given a “0” on a scale of 1-5..)

$20 bottle that was just terrible, but looked pretty– looks CAN kill.

b. 1 person can purchase 2 terrible bottles- ( bottles 2,3 and 6, were the same, but I also bought this) so my prosecco and lambrusco were the worst of the evening.

Bad, bad and bad.

c. The people at Astor place wine ALSO recommended a rubbish lambruso.

d. This prosecco was awarded 4-5 points and was an overall favorite. We wish we had more of this to drink. So, do go ahead and buy some of this , it was yummy.

I need a case of this!

Some random pics

At midnight, my son finally woke up and gave this loud scream, which sounded like he wanted to be part of the party, so we put on the music and rocked the house.. he was a real trooper.

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Top of the Rock event hosted by The Dorchester hotel group

I had a chance to attend a lovely event hosted by the Dorchester Hotel group tonight. It was at the ” TOP of the ROCK” and on the way up the elevator, believe it was the 62nd floor, my ears started to pop.

The view was just fantastic and the event superb. It was classy, personal (we met every GM of every hotel) , it was intimate ( small gathering), it was gracious and beautiful. There was a photo exhibition that we can walk around and look at, and some of us even won a picture if we drew the right number from the raffle . ( Ofcourse I won  pic of Paris!) .

Hotel Bel Ami opens Oct 14th after a long renovation. Hotel Beverly Hills, is going to be 100 years old next year. Some re-furbishments planned for them.

Here is a picture from the The top of the rock. After living in NYC, I can finally say, now I know where all these movie and TV shows get their views! The ariel views of Central Park are just divine.

I am in love, all over again, with one of my favorite cities of the world. NYC….

This view is a couple million bucks, don't you think?

A favorite lunch/ dinner spot- casual and great food!

I have a new fav. neighborhood place- yes, its Mexican, one of my fav kinds of food and its close to home.

They don’t bat an eye when my son creates a storm under his high chair either!

I had the chance to do lunch here last week and try their amazing drinks.

A must go !