Which was your best hotel room?

I’ve been to more than 200 cities in more than 20 countries, and stayed in more than a 100 hotels. I suppose my dear followers, you too like to travel. Here is the question: Which was the best hotel room you have ever stayed? Probably, like me, very many hotels come to your mind, right?

I think all three of us in my family would answer this question differently. my husband’s answer was straight: Polonia Palace Hotel. Why? Because the best sleeping quality is his only concern.

Polonia Palace Hotel

Polonia Palace Hotel

The room was very ordinary at the first sight. One double bed, a bathroom, a sofa turned into a child’s bed, and a little free space. That’s it. But my husband has a saying: Never decide about a hotel before 24 hours. So after 24 hours, his decision is “the best”.

For my son, I guess would be Hilton, Las Vegas. (I can not ask him now, he is out with his friends, but I’ll ask and let you know if I am right) Why? Because there were 3 televisions in the room, one of which was just in front of his bed, with a wall-to-wall screen of barcovision. Of course he spent hours watching Formula 1 and some other staff. Plus a good hotel for our son means a high hotel, preferably some floors over 20th is the best for him.

My answer to a best room would be, Pullman Cove Hotel in Cairns, Australia. I will probably write another post, sometime later about the hotel, but just to give you some hints, here are two photos.

Living room and kitchen

Living room and kitchen

Terrace and private pool

Terrace and private pool

Yes, our room was a 2 bedroom flat, with a big kitchen, living room, a laundry room, two bathrooms, a terrace and a private pool and the sound of ocean waves. A room you wouldn’t want to go out.

On the other hand, when we think of a “best room” we also tend to think of a room with the “best view”. What if I asked the best view room you have ever stayed? All the answers would change and the only answer would be Francischiello Hotel & Spa Bellavista near Sorrento, Italy. A view of Italian farmlands, the Mediterranean sea and the Capri island beyond.

Our room view in Sorrento

Our room view in Sorrento

And the view in the evening
And the view in the evening

 

Now I understand that, I have been to very few hotel room with a “best view” other than the sea views.  I think a hotel would not have much chance in terms of “best view”, if it was not by the sea. Maybe some mountain views in the Alpines of Switzerland, some of the Golf Hotel views, maybe a desert view, or some room overlooking the city lights, or a view of unlimited wine yards in France, or a Christmas market in Austria, or a medieval Piazza in Toscana,  or a castle in Germany, or… whatever, I should note to make sure some stays in “best view” hotels next time.

PS. Please share your best hotel experiences with a link to my post.

 

Butchery and Wine

The finest restaurant we have been in Warsaw, actually one of the finest “red” restaurants we have ever been was Butchery and Wine. Having studied the tripadvisor in advance and taking the note as: “close to our hotel”, our very helpful reception staff did make a reservation for us, which I strongly recommend to do, as it is a very tiny restaurant and it’s not easy to just pop in and ask for a table.

Warm atmosphere with very few tables

Warm atmosphere with very few tables

With a short walk of 10 minutes from our hotel, we reached to the restaurant and settled to our table. The menu involves very few varieties and all three we ordered were lovely cooked and very well fitted with our wine of the day.

Wine, butter and bread. Mmmm...

Wine, butter and bread. Mmmm…

Aged beef fillet with fondant potato, spinach and truffles

Aged beef fillet with fondant potato, spinach and truffles

Any guess, whose order is this?

Any guess, whose order is this?

What on earth would our son wish more, other than a hamburger. So that’s it, this is the finest for all of us.

The Inn Under the Red Hog

Our super helpful reception staff in Warsaw, Polonia Palace Hotel with perfect concierge abilities, advised this interesting restaurant, which sounded perfect and so we did give it a chance to try.

Interesting logo

Interesting logo

The name of the restaurant comes from the original Inn, which was operating in the very same place until WW2. The “Red” comes from the communist leaders meeting in this Inn. In the restoration of the building, some letters of Rosa Luxemburg to Gustav Lubeck were found, in which they found many information about the building history, these meetings were mentioned. Today with nice decoration of old times you can feel the communist restaurant with flags and pictures and the climate of Lenin, Fidel Castro and Mao.

The cover of the menu, with the story of the building

The cover of the menu, with the story of the building

The restaurant also has a nice outside area which we preferred in the nice May weather of Poland.

Ordering the wine, from the wine list

Ordering the wine, from the wine list

The menu, a creative approach

The menu, a creative approach

Today's wine

Today’s wine

IKEA candles, the most international object of restaurants

IKEA candles, the most international object of restaurants

In short, it is a nice place to go, sounds very touristy, but I can say it is not a tourist trap. Delicious food, warm and welcoming atmosphere and helpful and patient staff.

Next: A heaven for “Carnivore”: Butchery and wine

Enjoy parks cafes and streets of Warsaw

Before going to Warsaw, I was very much concerned about the history of Warsaw. You can read my post of my concerns here, in another post. However, when we got there it was a totally different scene, with lots of festivities in the city, very nice weather and lots of things to do with our son.

The reason of going to Warsaw was primarily, my husband had to give some lectures in The University of Warsaw. So we thought it was a good reason to make a long weekend in Warsaw.

When we arrived to our hotel, the very helpful reception staff adviced us a half day city tour, which would be possible to start from our hotel. That sounded very nice to get to know the city, so we joined in. Next morning, after a super breakfast in our hotel, our city guide met us in the lobby and so our tour started, together with another 10-12 tourists in our mini bus. First we went to the Lazienki Park, at which we were left at the top gate of the park and enjoyed a downhill walk trough the park. Lazienki park is a really nice, green park with very nice trees, palaces, ponds and statues.

Lazienki Park

Lazienki Park

Lazienki Park

Lazienki Park

Very nice statues

Very nice statues

Palaces and gardens

Palaces and gardens

Nice details

Nice details

After a nice walk trough the park with a nice ice cream break in it, we headed to the city center, which is very typically called “Old Town Square”. What was different from very typically, was the crowd of people, with flags in their hands, balloons and music everywhere, and a huge stage on main “piazza” with big screens on both sides and very nice music.

A walk in old town square

A walk in old town square

Old Town Square

Old Town Square

A street lamp on the old town square

A street lamp on the old town square

Enjoy "people watch" activity on street cafes

Enjoy “people watch” activity on street cafes

A colorful Sunday afternoon

A colorful Sunday afternoon

Our guided tour ended, after some stops in Jewish quarter and a walk in Old Town area. So we had lots of time enjoying the street cafes and have lunch escorted by a “people watch” activity.

After wards we decided to return to our hotel with another good walk, at which we gave a break of evening wine and “we deserved this” deserts at the famous Bristol Cafe. When I say “a walk” do not think of a small walking. It took us about 3 hours, with lots of things to see on the way, shops (Yes-open on Sunday), on-street exhibitions of old Warsaw photographs and “I’m tired”s of our son.

Bristol Cafe

Famous Cafe Bristol

Loved this "wall" at Cafe Bristol

Loved this “wall” at Cafe Bristol

Evening wine, with a nice evening sun

Evening wine, with a nice evening sun

The Inn Under the Red Hog is to come in the following days… Do not hesitate to follow me…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Polonia Palace Hotel and Folk Gospoda in Warsaw

If you have already read my previous post, you probably know, we arrived later than we planned to Warsaw and to our hotel-Polonia Palace hotel. The hotel is in the very center of Warsaw and is one of the best stays and value for money hotels I have ever stayed. Having read the tripadvisor advice in advance, I have already asked, not a main street room, but a side street room instead, in order to avoid the street voice. That was settled, but we were asked to wait about another hour, for our room to be ready. we were just starting to be angry, but luckily the receptionist guy told us that our room is upgraded to a suit, which is a nicer and bigger room. Well, that sound fine than, right?

Polonia Palace Hotel 100th year

Polonia Palace Hotel 100th year

So after waiting one more hour, we finally settled in our room. The hotel is 100 years old, but nicely refurbished and minimally decorated. Everything you need is on arm’s length. A fine restaurant, a bar, relaxing lobby and high ceiling rooms with finest bed and most importantly very very helpful staff. By the time, we reached our room, it was already time for dinner, so we went to the reception to ask some advice. What they did was more than an advice. They provided a booklet of fine restaurants with a few paragraphes of what they provide each. A couple of dozens of alternatives to choose from and the receptionist staff were very eager to answer any question about them. So we chose to go a local cuisine one called Folk Gospoda, which was a 5-10-minute-taxi away from our hotel.

Folk Gospoda looked more local than we tought, with wooden interior, needlework cushions and dark little windows.

The interior

The interior

The most common food in Warsaw is dumplings, where various kinds of staff dumped in flour, and boiled or fried.

Dumplings

Dumplings

The wine of the evening was a house wine. Well, I am not a wine expert, but I can say it was -how can I say- awful.

The house wine

The house wine

The other food we chose were not so bad, but the best thing I suppose was what our son had ordered. Any guess?

The white think is very very buttery butter.

The white think is very very buttery butter.

The soup, very tasty

The soup, very tasty

Something we could not understand, not so fancy.

Something we could not understand, not so fancy.

Our son's order

Our son’s plate

Next posts; streets and cafes in Warsaw.

 

What do you do when you miss a flight?

When you start travelling quite a lot, you also start to experience some unexpected circumstances. The worst of all in my opinion are: 1. lost luggage (Please see my post about New York) and 2. missing flight. 

Yes, as you have already guessed, we experienced them both. I missed flight twice. One was in Moscow, but it was a business trip, so not in the context of this blog, but the second one was this year on our trip to Warsaw, in our travel with our son.

A family travel is so much different from a business trip. First of all, you pay it all yourself. That’s why, you try to get most out of it, with minimum hours, minimum days, maximum points of interest to see. That’s why when I plan all our activities, minutes by minutes, hours and hours and than miss a flight or any other kind of delay, I really really get upset. And when this happening is beyond my will and ability, that’s even worse.

Our journey started very normal. Our flight was Lufthansa, with a connection flight in Munich, with a good 1,5 hours in between. However, when we got to the Munich airport, and headed for our next flight gate, we found out a huge crowd of people in long queues. At first we did not panic about it, as we still had another hour for our flight, but as time went by and there was hardly any move in our queue, we asked politely to people in our front, to allow us to the front. When we came at the very front, we understood why it took the queues so long to walk. Here I want to ask, if anyone has any idea about why on earth this “liquid limitations” are different in every single airport in the world. As I have previously told about it, since we lost our luggage in a New York flight, we try to travel with one carry-on luggage each, especially if there is a connection flight in our travel.  And in my luggage there is a slightly blue bag for toiletries, which can be sealed and everything inside can be seen. In about 25 countries I have been so far, I have carried it in my carry-on luggage without any problem (Including in our previous Germany flights) However, one despot German guard thinks that this is beyond the “liquid limitations” and decides that, all our luggage should be opened and checked because of that. Moreover, this despot German guard wants to do it while your name is already announced twice. More moreover, this despot German guard does this in the slowest motion a human can do. Well, we just said, “take whatever you like and leave us” and ran to the gate, which we found out that it was in the furthest point possible at the airport. Is Murphy in love with us?

Well, you know how the story ended. When we got to the gate, the gate was already closed. After laying on the chairs for some time for our heart rate to get to normal rates, we went to the Lufthansa desk to ask for a new flight to Warsaw. Luckily, there was a flight about 4 hours later and we were not charged extra for the next flight, as the airport was overcrowded than expected, because of a bank holiday in Germany.

When you start travelling quite a lot you learn to be happy with small things and be flexible. Thanks God, there was another flight the same day. Thanks God, Munich is a nice airport to look around. Thanks God, my L’ocitane staff were in their original pack, so that the despot German guard did not take them. So here what we did afterwards.

Try the things we buy

Try the things we buy

We did some unnecessary shopping and bought things that when we got back home, we never know, where they are and we never remembered to take them with us in our next travel.

Football cards

Football cards

Our son bought the football cards that were triple of the price compared to our country. He even does not fancy football. Total waste of money.

Looking at the books

Looking at the books

With our son we found an interesting book of Kunst Aufraumen, by Ursus Wehrli. We did not buy this one, as we had loads of time to look at it all in the shop. Some pics from inside:

A detail from the book

A detail from the book

A detail from the book

A detail from the book

A detail from the book

A detail from the book

More about the Warsaw trip will be coming soon.

 

 

 

Warsaw Culture and Science Palace

View from our hotel room

View from our hotel room

One of the stops in Warsaw was the Culture and Science Palace, which is a landmark building in Warsaw. The building itself did not seem so fancy at all, actually too huge to be nice I can say. A present from Russia to Poland. Even tough our hotel was just accross the building, it took us more than 20 minutes, to cross the street and to find the right entrance.

The "right" entrance

The “right” entrance

It is a cinema, theater, galeries, business and conferance complex, but the main attraction is to go up 30th floor and enjoy the view of the city from every angle. Especially worth visiting in a nice weather with clear sky.

Our son loves to use these wherever he finds. Warsaw was not an exception.

Our son loves to use these wherever he finds. Warsaw was not an exception.

Children love to look at these and find out what they can see beyond city limits and try to find out something interesting. And if this spot is one of your latest stops, he can try to recognise where he had been in the previous days.

Detail from interior ceiling

Detail from interior ceiling

Viewing terrace

Viewing terrace

Unlike many towers we have been (for instance Empire State Building in NY, or Galata Tower in Istanbul or Eifel in Paris or Pisa in Italy or… that’s enough), there were no hassle of ticketing, elevator and viewing. Especially for children it is really annoying to be so up high but not to be able to see freely. The viewing terrace was wide and calm enough for him to enjoy the view of the city from every angle.

Notice the signs of Ghetto walls by the building

Notice the signs of Ghetto walls by the building