JACKIE: We want to Talk about two historic, exotic and very beautiful European cities, not always on the beaten path. Time to rethink travels? And think about visiting some of David’s spring highlights.…
DAVID: LUXEMBOURG! Once upon a time – actually Today — there was this fairy tale city in this fairy tale country called Luxembourg. The Grand Duchy, as a country, is smaller than our smallest state. The capital, Luxembourg City, can be explored on foot in a single day. It is like a toy town model of the best bits of old Europe, with castles and forts, palaces and rivers and hills and the most amazing maze you ever got lost in. Luxembourg is home to some of the happiest, most affluent, best-educated folks anywhere. It is also home to the Hotel Parc Beaux-Arts, my home for a few splendid days in the land of almost make-believe. My hotel is part of the family-owned Goeres Group which owns six outstanding properties in Luxembourg covering all bases from economy to business to charming to spa to (my choice) exclusive. All provide friendly hospitality, excellent service and a sense of history and art. The Parc Beaux-Arts excels in all these; one of the oldest houses in the city with all the up-to-date comforts and amenities that delight including satellite TV and free internet access in the rooms and a wonderful daily breakfast. The first words that came to my mind – “warm,” “cozy,” “colorful,” “friendly”; a place that feels like home and is filled with wonderful art, fresh flowers and that most important ingredient in any hotel – pleasant, helpful staff ready to offer suggestions about the sights and attractions of their marvelous city. My top floor corner suite had everything but my wife. Enormous living room with comfortable chairs and workspace. Filled with colorful contemporary art. Huge bedroom; more splendid art. Modern bathroom, with wood floors and spotless. Terrific restaurant Le Friquet’s where I enjoyed a delicious local soup followed by a too-big Caesar salad and a supreme boeuf bourguignon with a fruity local pinot noir. A special thanks to Goeres Group Sales Manager, Stephanie Schmidt for making my stay as memorable as this fabulous city itself. You’ll see what I mean when you visit attractions like The Casements (prepare to get lost!), Forum of Contemporary Art, Grand Ducal Palace, and of course Parc Beaux Arts hotel. It’s all Disneyland for grow-ups!
LYON: One of the stars in the MGallery Collection of excellent hotels is the one I happily occupied for my 2-night stay in France’s second largest city. The Hotel Carlton Lyon is my kind of architecture, Haussmann style born in 1894, calling up the very essence of elegant French buildings. The Carlton presides over the Presqu’ile, the peninsula between the Rivers Rhone and Saone. Perfectly located a few minutes from the enormous Place Bellecour with its magnificent statues, fountains, parks, palaces, public buildings and designer shopping. There’s even a colorful antique merry-go-round (you’d love it, Jackie!) The Carlton was completely renovated just last year (my room looked like it was re-done this morning; fresh, bright, cheerful with balcony and all the latest tech stuff). The 80 elegant rooms and suites, perfectly presided over by Directrice Corinne Dupont, deserves its 4 stars by providing top-notch service from friendly and professional staff, and a host of necessities – valet car park, internet, lavish buffet breakfast, satellite TV, 24-hour front desk and a spa with steam room and nail bar. There’s no restaurant, however room service provides meals from a very good local place with Lyonnaise specialties. Saturday night rocks in Lyon; everybody wanders the cobblestone streets, sits in or out of cafes and restaurants. Sunday is quiet, time for a lovely walk to Lyon’s Old Town, an area not to be missed; just across one of the city’s many bridges and filled with narrow streets, some buildings from the 11th and 12th centuries, cafes and shops and that marvelous sense of times gone by. Something old, something new; perfect reasons for a visit to this vibrant city of Lyon. And one more: The Hotel Carlton; I heartily recommend it.