Subscribers Forum | Page Three
Asia, Paris, London.
It has been an extremely busy two months of travel: family commitments, business trips, and some personal time too. I hope you and David are someplace exciting preparing your next issue. A few end-of-summer thoughts about very recent hotel stays:
PENINSULA SHANGHAI. Regrettably, Peninsula Shanghai is to be avoided, and the service is not coming together at all one year after the opening. I entered the men's locker room to find the attendant, in full uniform, stretched out on a bench sound asleep. Restaurant served carpaccio with a spoon. Shanghai is supposed to be among their flagship locations, but someone must intervene quickly before this turns into the next Peninsula New York. Believe it or not, I would recommend someone to stay at the Park Hyatt Shanghai instead. (By the way, the Four Seasons in Shanghai is among the ugliest, most sterile Four Seasons I have ever stayed in.)
PENINSULA BEVERLY HILLS & PENINSULA HONG KONG. Both remain in excellent condition. Offer Nissenbaum does a great job in Beverly Hills, which feels much more residential than commercial with very efficient, relaxed service. Best pool cabanas anywhere I can think of. Rainy Chan is keeping standards very high at the "mini-city" that is the Pen HK, with so many different outlets. Alongside Tokyo and Chicago, these are their very best hotels. Stopped by the new Peninsula Paris construction location on Avenue Kleber - building looks beautiful, the location slightly off center, but this will be an exciting property to watch.
FOUR SEASONS GEORGE V. The very best combination of high-end service and unpretentious service rolled into one, and outstanding upkeep of the property, spa services, bar service, and a delicious dinner at Le Cinq. Every single employee seems friendly, outgoing and not the least bit snooty -- the anti-Parisian, Parisian hotel.
FOUR SEASONS HONG KONG. For variety, stayed here instead of Peninsula on my second stay in Hong Kong last month. Like this hotel very much and for very different reasons than Peninsula HK - Four Seasons is sleek and modern, very conveniently located for business, much more of a buzz than its neighbor across the harbor, and two excellent restaurants. The fitness center is outstanding (better than Peninsula), though I don't think the spa is quite as good.
Note to Four Seasons generally: Unbelievably bad form to charge extra for internet service in 2010 in hotels in Paris and Hong Kong. Perhaps they could put a coin slot by the hot water tap to stimulate extra revenue, too.
LANESBOROUGH LONDON. Their palpable fear of the re-opening Four Seasons Park Lane has translated into a polishing of service, which has been very good and very friendly of late. An unremarkable concierge desk (yawn, blah) but strong reception and housekeeping staff. They need to learn to serve breakfast promptly, the decor remains cluttered and over the top, but they have been advancing the ball.
Will be keeping my eyes open for your next arrival in my mailbox.
Thanks Lyn for all your advice. I must say since I have gotten to know you we have experienced completely different vacations than we could have ever imagined - The Amans, the One and Only Reethi Rah, Taj Exotica (maldives), countless new 4 Seasons resorts etc etc.
Thanks for opening up our horizons.
JH – Canada.
California & Eastern Europe
Lyn: Los Angeles: Four Seasons, Beverly Hills - Recently remodeled and much improved. The new Italian restaurant is good, a little cold in decor and the prices are reasonable. New museum, called Grammy Museum in downtown LA is worthy of a full day if one likes nostalgic music of the 60s, 70s, 80s.
Pellican Hill Resort - Newport Beach, California. Beautiful rooms and setting overlooking the Pacific Ocean. Golf courses were great and the food was good, not great and the atmosphere was very Italianate and well done. The one bedroom suite was very large with all the amenities.
Encantado Resort (Auberge Property) - Sante Fe, New Mexico - After touring several other properties- La Posada (RockResort), Inn of the Anasazi (RoseWood) and the ElDorado (Fine Hotels and Resorts), we were fortunate to get in the Encantado which is a typically beautiful Auberge property. The one bedroom suite had two fireplaces- one in and one out, heated bathroom floors, etc. The other three properties are embarrassments to any high end chain and to be avoided unless someone must be right in downtown Sante Fe and doesn't mind a Holiday Inn atmosphere at high end prices.
As for Eastern Europe, you were spot on, the winner was Budapest. Even though the weather was wet the whole time, we loved the beauty, exchange rate, people, food and especially the Four Seasons overlooking the river. One of the most gorgeous lobbies we have seen. We had a suite with a balcony. Shame it rained.
Vienna was a surprise. We were not expecting to like it ……. yet we loved the architecture and the beauty. We were lucky to have enjoyed a great performance of La Traviata at their Opera House. The Imperial was a little old and needs "cleaning" up. We had some rat droppings in our huge suite, which they were amused by! This is not a property in the same level as the Four Seasons that we stayed in Prague and Budapest. Good location and the food at the Imperial was fair at best. The "high-end” restaurant- SteinRerich (sic) was pretty with good service, but the food was just fair and very pricey. We enjoyed the Antinori Restaurant near the main church.
Prague was overrun with tour buses and college kids. The Jewish history and old synagogues was worthy as was the Terezin Camp and Ghetto. I would put Prague in third place among the three cities for adults! We stayed in the new wing and our room was right on the river. We did like the Four Seasons in Prague as it had a deserved Michelin Star, but the meal on the deck was better priced and came from the same kitchen.
RT – USA