Hotel Heritage : Ljubljana : Slovenia

Hotel Heritage : Ljubljana : Slovenia

According to the website, the recently renovated Heritage Hotel is…

…one of Ljubljana’s finest boutique hotels. It combines the rich cultural heritage of a Renaissance bourgeois building from the 16th century with the luxury of modern architecture and the prestige of residing in a listed building within the cultural and historically-protected part of the old city.

The building is on the riverside, nestled behind another amazingly renovated heritage building, and is close to everything you’d want to explore in the centre of the old city.

Image : https://hotelheritage.si

Image : https://hotelheritage.si

The restoration and renovation of the building is really quite beautiful. The integrity of the building has been retained, but enhanced with contemporary features and heritage colours.

Hotel Heritage, Ljubljana

Hotel Heritage, Ljubljana

The reception area is more like a cool lounge, with funky, but understated, seating areas and window seats, coupled with clever lighting to create a welcoming vibe. Forest green walls, tangerine orange and baby blue soft furnishings and gold accessories create a feel of opulence. And, it also helps that when you are checking in, you are offered a complimentary drink. Great attention to detail.

Reception area

Reception area

The hotel has twenty unique rooms. The Atrium style room is a cosy and quiet room in the heart of the house with a view of the internal atrium or, if you look up, the starry sky. The Old Town Rooms have views of the medieval buildings which line the river and The Superior Rooms are spacious and exquisitely furnished, with a views of the old town, Ljubljana Castle or the Ljubljanica River. We’d booked an Old Town View Room and were delighted with the facilities and the decor.

Old Town View Room

Old Town View Room

The deep, heritage colours of the communal areas give way to softer colours in the rooms. Crisp white walls and beddings are complemented by the deep mulberry and plum shades of the velvet chairs and woollen bed throws, complete with the hotel logo. The original ceilings and beams, and the parquet flooring, add a touch of heritage to the contemporary design of the rooms.

Bedroom & ensuite bathroom

Bedroom & ensuite bathroom

The large ensuite bathroom is behind a glass wall – perhaps not ideal if you don’t like seeing yourself, but a really good way of bouncing light around the room and creating a feeling of space. The bathroom itself is well though out, design wise, and with marbled walls, a white floor, a wooden ceiling with beams and matte gold taps and rainshower, creates a feeling of luxury Like the bedroom, the bathroom is also scrupulously clean.

Sleek & contemporary styling in the ensuite bathroom

Sleek & contemporary styling in the ensuite bathroom

Matte gold

Matte gold taps

Heritage & contemporary styling

Heritage & contemporary styling

Breakfast area

Breakfast area

A very substantial breakfast fare is served in the room through the crittal doors, but we chose to eat in the atrium. Light and airy, because of the glass lantern ceiling, it’s not only well designed and very tastefully decorated, but full of nods to the history of the building. The wall display of hexagonal shapes takes you through the historical owners and events over the years, rooting the hotel firmly in its past and present.

Historical details...

Historical details…

Heritage details...

Heritage details…

Everything about Hotel Heritage oozes class and understatement. From the decor to the staff to the soft furnishings and bedding, to the colour palettes, nothing is showy or over-the-top. Whilst it’s not overly expensive either, you do see exactly what you are paying for – and with its location, right on the banks of the river, on the cobbles of the old town of Ljubljana, it’s definitely somewhere to go when you want to just decompress, and breathe. And not pay silly money.

Hotel Heritage : Čevljarska Ulica 2, 1000 Ljubljana, Slovenia

Exterior : Hotel Heritage, Ljubljana

Exterior : Hotel Heritage, Ljubljana

 

 

Boutique B&B Mali Pariz : Marušići : Crikvenica : Croatia

Boutique B&B Mali Pariz : Marušići : Crikvenica : Croatia

Every now and again, you stumble upon the most perfect place to stay. It happened to us last year when we discovered The Dolphin Suites, on the beautiful island of Veli Lošinj. And it’s happened to us again this year, having discovered the most wonderful little boutique B&B, in a renovated villa, high up in the hills above Crikvenica on the Adriatic coast of Croatia.

We finally had family out to visit us for three weeks – the first time since 2019 – and when we took them back down south to Zadar to fly home, we decided to do a stop over, to break up the journey home. However, my chosen hotel – the Almayer Art & Heritage Hotel – in the historical centre of Zadar, was fully booked, so the search was on to find something as unusual and special. And this was when we stumbled upon Boutique B&B Mali Pariz (“Little Paris”).

Coming off the coast road – The Adriatic Highway – we wound our way up into quite hilly territory. Renovated villas nestled next to very contemporary new builds, all with spectacular views across the bay to the northern Croatian islands. Tiny villages emerged around hairpin bends, with the obligatory abandoned houses and churches, being reclaimed by nature. We climbed higher and higher, not sure what we were going to find at our destination – but we need not have been concerned, It was just gorgeous.

A very elegant, pale pink early nineteenth century, with shuttered windows and a huge double wooden front door revealed itself as Mali Pariz, with the the hand-painted signage on the side of the building. Through the grey iron gates, the prettiest courtyard was revealed. Pea-gravels paths, lots of plants in terracotta and zinc containers, established fruit trees and creepers, growing across the walls. Hanging baskets and pots on window sills. A raised area with different sized tables and chairs. Candle holders. Hurricane lamps. Strings of lights in the trees. And, a tantalising glimpse of a upper level, with sun umbrellas and loungers – and hidden from view, so completely private, a swimming pool.

There are only seven rooms available in this boutique hotel – two family suites on the ground floor, two doubles on the first floor and two doubles in the eaves of the house, as well as a stand alone annexe in the garden. Our room was a deluxe double in the attic, up two flights of wooden stairs and through very pretty landing areas, with lots of French style furnishings.

Being right at the top of the house, the ceiling could be an issue as it sloped down, almost to ground level on both sides. It’s probably best to remember, at all times, that there are low beams, both above the seating area and the bed. As cute as our room was, the jewel in the crown of this little hotel, is definitely the outside space. Hidden behind the big gates, it’s completely private and as pretty as picture.

Breakfast is included in the room rate, but for an additional (very reasonable) charge, Martina, the owner, will prepare an evening meal, which we were very grateful for, not arriving until 7.30pm. The nearest large town, Crikvenica, is a drive away and we didn’t fancy heading out again, especially as the garden looked so alluring as dusk set in. I think because we hadn’t pre-ordered, we largely had to take what was on offer and we were offered pasta, which was fine with us. However, we definitely didn’t expect such a simple dish – spaghetti with tomato, garlic and basil – and a rocket salad, smothered in nutty olive oil, to be quite so delicious. This is our staple kind of week night dinner, but whatever Martina did with it, it was super gorgeous. Maybe it was a combination of the setting and her excellent white wine…

Self service breakfast was simple, but substantial – meats, cheeses, bread, juices, coffee – and eggs. We opted for an omelette, which was perfect – light and fluffy but browned, just right. And again, sitting under a fig tree, and surrounded by oleanders, as the hot sun shine down on the terrace, was lovely. However, the best thing was the relaxed approach to the morning. Although check out is stated as 11am, I got the distinct impression that if you were a little later, there would be no problem. And with breakfast being served until 11am, it all felt very laid back. We had the most amazing weather – in fact, the whole summer in Croatia, has been amazing – but this little boutique B&B is also well set up if the weather is a little more inclement, with a very pretty glass walled internal dining room.

If you are looking to stay somewhere that is right in the centre of the action, with bars and restaurants on the doorstep, we definitely wouldn’t recommend you book a night or two here. But, if like us, you’re looking for peace, quiet, relaxation and somewhere that is beautifully quirky, we definitely would recommend Mali Pariz. A little bit of French chic, up the hills, on the Adriatic coast.

 

 

 

The Falstaff : Canterbury : Kent : England

The Falstaff : Canterbury : Kent : England

When we drive back to England, we tend to do a much needed stopover in the south-east after the ferry crossing from Calais. This year, we plumped for The Falstaff in Canterbury, which, according to its website

…has been a focus for hospitality in Canterbury for over 600 years. A traditional 15th century coaching inn, the hotel is steeped in history…

Only 30 minutes from the Port of Dover, we found it to be absolutely ideal for what we wanted. As we were travelling for a few weeks, and therefore staying at a quite few places on our travels, we couldn’t splash out on the most expensive rooms. The hotel (the rooms are situated above a bar and restaurant, more of which later) offers rooms called “Cosy Doubles”, and we decided to book one of these, knowing that it would probably be a bit on the small side, especially given the description on the website –

Our cosy double rooms comprise one small double bed and are all ensuite. All rooms have baths and integrated showers or walk-in showers, hairdryers, tea and coffee making facilities and flatscreen televisions with Freeview. They are best suited as double rooms for single occupancy, but do make for very cosy double rooms also. If you require more space we recommend booking one of our traditional double rooms. Cosy double rooms cannot accommodate extra beds and cannot be used as twin.

We were prepared to be a bit cramped but it was only for one night, so weren’t overly concerned. But, we definitely weren’t expecting what we were actually allocated.

Westgate Towers, Canterbury, Kent

First impressions of the hotel were excellent. Located just outside the famous medieval gateway, known as Westgate Towers, it was clear immediately that a lot of thought and creativity had gone into the refurbishment of The Falstaff. The reception area is a beautiful room in its own right, and I think we were lucky to visit just before Christmas and see it in all of its festive glory.

The Falstaff Hotel Canterbury, Kent

Room 1 (take note of that number if you want a room that doesn’t break the bank, is much larger than you might think it will be and doesn’t scrimp on design details) is up in the eaves of the building – it’s called one of the Turret Rooms. If you are tall, you need to be aware that the ceilings are low, with exposed beams – there are notices alerting you to this, but best to just watch out. Once inside the room, we were really, really surprised at the size of this cosy double. The bed was definitely not small – it was more than spacious and super comfortable, with gorgeous white Egyptian cotton bed linen. Sumptuous velvet cushions and throws, in pale pinks and greens, added texture and colour. The room had everything you would need for a stay – excellent wi-fi, wall-mounted TV (so out of the way), a good size table/desk & chair, ample storage, soft lighting with switches next to the bed (always a plus point!), tea and coffee making facilities and a really good selection of said teas and coffee. Thick curtains and a double glazed panel, which slid across the old leaded windows, kept the heat in and the noise out.

The Falstaff Hotel, Canterbury, Kent

If you like your rooms to be on the toasty side, then the cast iron radiator will definitely warm your cockles. However, it was just a bit too toasty for us and we actually turned it off completely – and the room was still warm enough.

The Falstaff Hotel, Canterbury. Kent

The Falstaff Hotel, Canterbury. Kent

When we are travelling, we usually accept that if a room we book, offers a bath or a shower, we’ll end up with the shower, unless we specifically request a bath. We didn’t on this occasion, and so expected a teeny weeny bathroom with a shower shoe-horned in. Wrong! The bathroom was huge, with a great bath and a very powerful shower. Double treat!

The Falstaff Hotel, Canterbury, Kent
think you can tell a lot about a hotel from the attention to detail in the bathroom. It’s easy to bung in a relatively inexpensive white bathroom suite and for it to look OK, but when you can see that what has been installed isn’t budget, it does make a massive difference. A heavy ceramic bath and sink, beautiful waterfall taps, rainhead shower. And metro tiles.
The Falstaff Hotel, Canterbury. Kent
Plus, another leaded window. And the fluffiest, whitest, cleanest towels.
The Falstaff Hotel, Canterbury, Kent
As mentioned previously, downstairs there is a bar and restaurant area, with a number of interesting rooms, perfect for groups of friends or cosying up by one of the log fires. Again, Christmas time definitely lent itself to a more cosy look, but I’m guessing The Falstaff gets it right all year round. (And, with it being Xmas, the bar was busy, but we didn’t hear a thing once we’d retired to our room).
The Falstaff Hotel, Canterbury, Kent
The Falstaff Hotel, Canterbury, Kent
The Falstaff Hotel, Canterbury, Kent
The Falstaff Hotel, Canterbury, Kent
The Falstaff Hotel, Canterbury, Kent
The Falstaff Hotel, Canterbury, Kent
A big plus for us, as we don’t travel light, was the secure car parking (for an additional £10 per day), at the rear of the hotel. Easily accessible and as far as we were concerned, super secure. Breakfast was another plus. Buffet style, and in a lovely dining area, there was more than enough choice. Cereals, cheeses, hams, bread, fruit, juices – as well as a hot breakfast, with excellent quality produce.

We actually rated The Falstaff so highly that we chose to reurn, this time for two nights, on our journey back to Dover. Booking directly via the hotel (as opposed to Booking.Com) meant a discount was applied to both the room rate and the breakfast. And we got Room 1 again. Just like a home from home ?

PS – the bar has a very extensive cocktail and gin menu. I’d like to personally recommend the Salted Caramel Martini. Probably the best I’ve had…

The Falstaff Hotel, Canterbury, Kent

the georgian townhouse : walton-on-the-naze : essex

the georgian townhouse : walton-on-the-naze : essex

Recently, we travelled south to Essex to visit a We Are Life client and decided to make a bit of trip of it. Not having ever been to Essex before, assuming it was all brash a-la “The Only Way is Essex”, we weren’t really sure what to expect and I certainly didn’t have high hopes for a bit of high end, but affordable, luxury. In fact, this was probably what I thought Essex was all about…

But, Walton-on-the-Naze, is so much more than jellied eels. Sure, there are very traditional English seaside touches but there’s also a lot of beauty…

And, in a major stroke of luck – especially as they don’t have a website or a twitter account – we found The Georgian House. It’s described as a “B&B” over on website booking sites, but I don’t think it would be stretching it too far to say that it’s as good as any self-described “boutique hotel” we’ve stayed in. The house itself is very large – a stunningly restored Georgian townhouse over four floors, full of the original features. Perhaps one of the reasons it is described as a “B&B”, is that it is primarily a home, lived in by the owners, Geoff & Chris. However, it’s not the kind of B&B where it’s stuffed full of the owner’s mis-matching knick-knacks. This one exudes style, taste and elegance. Everything – from light switches to door handles to cutlery to taps to bedding to Farrow & Ball heritage colours – is in keeping with the style of the property, whilst acknowledging that guests probably also want a bit of 21st century luxury. It is beyond clean – taps literally sparkle. The bathroom was pristine – and like a boutique hotel, with complimentary toiletries. No half used bottle of liquid soap here. Towels were big, white and fluffy. Lush!

There are two “rooms” available for guests. Ours was just off the main staircase on the first floor and it was not a room at all. It was a mini apartment. A huge bedroom (again attention to detail was superb) with a separate bathroom (free standing bath) & toilet – although our room didn’t overlook the sea, this was not a problem because the accommodation was just spectacular.

Now, breakfast. I always have an issue with B&B breakfasts. Either the dining room is pretty horrible, or the food is bland or just plain awful. But The Georgian House does breakfast, with bells on. There’s only one table in the dining room – which is at the front of the house so all you can see is the sea – but as there are only two rooms to let, I don’t think you’d ever be fighting for a seat. Fresh fruit, juices, cereals, fresh breads & croissants, proper coffee served in a proper silver coffee pot and a full English that ranks up there with one of the best I’ve had.

Our first visit to the Georgian Townhouse was in 2013 and we always said if we were ever in the area again, we’d definitely do a stop-over. Fast forward to 2019, and we’d moved to Istria from Manchester. But on a trip back to the UK in September 2019, we drove and did a ferry crossing from Harwich, meaning were back in Essex and close to the Georgian Townhouse, so we made a booking.

It was good to see that, after fouor years, the high standards were still there. We got to stay in the same room again – but were shown the other – and everything was still pristine. Just as we remembered. As was breakfast – superb quality ingredients, fabulous presentation and all served in a room, with huge Georgian windows, overlooking the sea, right across the road.

We have not been paid to write this blog post – we paid full price for both of our stays – but we felt that The Georgian Townhouse is well deserving of a very high recommendation.

rimini : emilia-romagna : italy

rimini : emilia-romagna : italy

Rimini – Hotel DuoMo… a pretty spectacular find of a hotel, right in the heart of Rimini. Surrounded by historical buildings and vaulted, arched walkways, sits the very striking Hotel DuoMo – almost brash compared to its neighbours, but somehow it fits. Bold, cherry reds and purples dominate with lots of glass and steel. A very modern reception area sets the tone for the rest of the hotel. Being on a long road-trip, we couldn’t splash out on the best rooms and had to be very mindful about what we were paying for accommodation – but this hotel came up trumps.

A very cool place indeed. The inaugral project from architect & designer, Ron Arad…

What would please Me Most in a hotel is not soMeone else’s idea of chic, elegance of style, but rather coMfort, clarity and ease of access to inforMation, entertainMent and aMbience…

Located in the heart of Rimini centre (about a 20 minute walk from the beach), this was definitely a stand-out hotel. A little bit more expensive than other hotels we stayed in, it was definitely worth it. We booked via Booking.com, so obviously didn’t get the best room in the hotel, but wow! It was amazing. Very futuristic in design but so comfortable – and with a balcony. Although, it was tipping it down when we stayed here, so no vino on the balcony pre-dinner, sadly. Breakfast was fabulous too – meats, cheeses, breads, pastries, cereals, juices, herbal teas etc etc. So, so welcome from the staple diet of cakes we’d been enjoying for breakfast!

So, another kind of accommodation chalked up on our road trip of Italy. We’d have bankrupted ourselves if we’d stayed in places like this one, all the time, but sometimes, it’s a bit of a treat to opt for something a little bit out of the ordinary. Super cool, right in the heart of Rimini and close to the beach. Ticked all of our boxes!