By Elena del Valle and photos by Gary Cox
Chocolate dessert at Guy Savoy
A young server brings the cheese trolley at Guy Savoy
Lunch at Guy Savoy
A fabulous dining experience for me is a combination of several things: extraordinary food that makes my heart sing with every bite, a harmonious wine pairing that enhances the dishes, professional and attentive staff who do their best to make the meal special, and a pleasant environment conducive to the maximum enjoyment of the experience. Our most recent visit to Guy Savoy delivered that and more. Click here to read about Guy Savoy
By Elena del Valle and photos by Gary Cox
Sleeping area in our Villa Kennedy suite
One of three Rocco Forte German properties Villa Kennedy opened as a hotel in 2006 on the grounds of the former Villa Speyer, the home of a wealthy family dating back to 1904. Recently, the owners added three wings to the original historic building, updating and modernizing wherever possible and creating a square property around an inner courtyard with an attractive open terrace. According to a hotel spokesperson, while most Villa Kennedy guests are German many are also British and American visitors including celebrities, musicians and politicians. Most staff we encountered spoke some English.
We stayed in a Classic Suite with a Rocco Forte Suite Experience package (1,050 euros per night). Our 615 square foot vertically shaped courtyard facing room was on the second floor of the four floor luxury property. The 163 room (including 29 suites) business oriented hotel with a staff compliment of 170 and emphasis on security was named for John F. Kennedy who met with local politicians before his famous visit to Berlin.
Our suite, decorated in shades of sandstone, had a living area immediately past the entrance populated by wall facing desk, two-seat sofa, armchair, coffee chair, and cabinet with a mini refrigerator and flat screen Phillips television. The sleeping area had five large windows from which we could see the courtyard, the windows of neighboring rooms across the square, and our immediate neighbor’s balcony. This meant it was filled with sunlight. It also gave us the impression the interior of the room could be seen from the rooms across the courtyard. As the sun set we closed our shades to maintain some privacy.
Living area in Villa Kennedy Suite
In addition to regular suite amenities like underfloor heating in the bathroom, cotton bathrobes and slippers, room temperature set at a maximum of 69 degrees Fahrenheit (21 degrees Celsius), choice of five types of pillow, Lino Vino white linen sheets and made in the U.S.A. Aromatherapy Associates toiletries; there were several additional amenities in our Rocco Forte Suite Experience package.
These included: high speed Internet access (we were surfing within minutes), movies, packing and unpacking service, a loaner mobile phone for complimentary local use, pre-programmed with area numbers as well as a direct line to reception and the concierge (the phone we were given was out of batteries and there was no back up phone available), in-suite check in and check-out (our check-in was at the front desk and when we departed we took advantage of the express check out option), in-suite breakfast option (we had breakfast in the dining room) and pressing service (the second time I called reception to request pressing pick up someone came by for my clothing. The two items I sent were pressed with alacrity and returned within the hour).
Jacuzzi at Villa Kennedy
Salient features of the child friendly property included high ceilings, a minimalist deluxe style, organic products, a restaurant and an in house spa with a 15 meter indoor swimming pool, eight treatment rooms, and a his and her saunas. We especially enjoyed an early morning swim in the cool waters of the swimming pool and the organically oriented yummy breakfast buffet with cooked to order hot dishes. A friendly Italian server looked after us during our weekend meal. Villa Kennedy, Kennedyalle 70 D-60596 Frankfurt am Main, +49 49 717 120, villakennedy.com and info.villakennedy@roccofortecollection.
A waiter shaves white truffle slices at Les Ambassadeurs
The butter at Les Ambassadeurs
The beautiful dining room at Les Ambassadeurs
Our team’s lunch at Les Ambassadeurs, the gourmet restaurant at the well known and well situated Hotel de Crillon in Paris, France, was a resounding success. A combination of excellent and detail oriented service, expertly prepared and presented and delicious tasting dishes, and an elegant dining service and dining room with a pleasant ambiance made the midday experience memorable.
Jean-François Piège, Les Ambassadeurs’ young and confident chef, and his team show much promise. We look forward to following their progress. Click here to read a complete article about Les Ambassadeurs.
The cheese course at Taillevent
Taillevent Restaurant Manager Jean-Marie Ancher
Petit Fours at Taillevent
For years Taillevent was the restaurant of choice for many Parisians and among visitors to Paris, especially Americans. Over time it became less desirable and in 2003 when our foodie team dined at the well known restaurant they were disappointed.
A new chef, Alain Solivérès, joined the restaurant and in 2004, Taillevent redecorated the interior. By 2008 when our team returned Chef Solivérès, Jean-Marie Ancher, the restaurant manager, and their team had the right combination of quality food and service for the posh neighborhood and the city’s picky gourmet crowd. Click here to find out what our team liked about their lunch at Taillevent.
A private entrance at the foot of the Eiffel Tower leads to Le Jules Verne
A Jules Verne treat
Few places are more distinctive and reminiscent of Paris, the capital of love, as the iconic Eiffel Tower. Our team dined at the popular (rumor is that reservations require three months advance planning) Le Jules Verne, a revamped and renovated gourmet restaurant within the Tower. They reached the restaurant through a private and well marked entrance at the foot of the famed monument. After being cleared by a restaurant staff member at the ground level reception they were escorted by a young man in a private elevator to the restaurant lobby.
Sweet temptations at Le Jules Verne
On their return, they raved about their meal which was outstanding even in a city whose citizens have for centuries venerated gourmet experiences; and a setting that was ideal for romance. Le Jules Verne stood out for its attractive dinning room, handsome dinnerware service, delicious dishes and a meal with one of the most memorable views in Paris. Click here to read more about why they would return to Le Jules Verne.