Hotel Alexander, Tel Aviv

There is a hotel to suit every kind of traveller in Tel Aviv; fashionable beach-bods will be very content at Hotel Alexander, a stylish hotel with 69 spacious suites and modern facilities.

Alexander HotelAlexander Hotel

We were lucky to also see some of the newly designed rooms which have an open-plan layout and are found on floors 5 & 6. Hotel Alexander also offers 2-bedroom suites, 3-bed serviced apartments (in a separate building) and a spectacular presidential suite.

Alexander HotelAlexander Hotel

Those in need of a little more TLC can visit the wonderfully zen Alexander spa which is arranged in an immaculate minimalist Japanese style. There is also a huge gym for fitness enthusiasts and soon an indoor pool will be built inside the hotel, particularly useful for the cooler seasons.

Alexander Hotel

Breakfast at Hotel Alexander is served in the sky at the impressive rooftop restaurant. Here we enjoyed the freshest orange juice, delicious Shakshuka and chocolate pastries. A great start to the day before heading to the beach or into town for an Israeli adventure.

More information or book a stay at Hotel Alexander here.

Royal Savoy Hotel & Spa, Lausanne

There are many photogenic, fairytale towns in Switzerland but Lausanne is one of the prettiest I’ve ever seen. In early July, a small group of us flew over from London to Geneva with Swiss Air, a very quick and efficient flight. From Geneva we took a short train ride to Lausanne where we checked in to the grand Royal Savoy Hotel & Spa.

Royal Savoy Lausanne

We arrived weary from travelling and an early wake-up, so were relieved when the Royal Savoy staff welcomed us with genuine warmth, and ensured that we felt instantly relaxed. In 2015 the hotel reopened after a $100 million makeover, and the city’s grand dame hotel has never looked better. The hotel is positioned on the edge of the scenic Lake Geneva just a short, if steep, walk into the centre of the old town. This art nouveau palace has hosted many notable celebrities and royals over the years, but it’s new renovation aims to appeal to a younger crowd too with a hip rooftop restaurant and a welcoming lack of dress code.

Royal Savoy Lausanne

My Deluxe Terrace bedroom was room 314 on the third floor, a luxurious but business-like room decorated in hues of grey and cream. The room had a spacious feel, and I loved the small balcony overlooking the garden down below. The huge king-sized bed was a highlight, with a super soft duvet and wonderfully plump pillows. I found that I didn’t use the desk area much but was appreciative of the tea and coffee making facilities, and the room service staff were more than happy to deliver hot milk for my homemade cappuccino as and when required.

Royal Savoy LausanneRoyal Savoy Lausanne

The suites at The Royal Savoy are decorated in a similar colour scheme. There is also the Royal Savoy Suite which uses many of the buildings original features to emulate a more historic and regal style. This refined suite includes a dining room for up to 10 people, and beautiful artwork everywhere you look.

Royal Savoy LausanneHôtel Royal Savoy LausanneRoyal Savoy Lausanne

The eateries on offer at the Royal Savoy aim to cater to all tastes and occasions. The Lounge bar serves creative and exotic cocktails and a casual all-day menu. On the roof, the SkyLounge is a favourite for Lausanne locals and guests of the hotel. The stunning glass eatery offers panoramic views of the city and serves a range of sharing dishes which are influenced by the culinary traditions from the 5 continents. I found ‘The Inspired Iberico’ particularly memorable – a fine piece of pork cooked with grilled aubergine, Chinese cabbage and parmesan.

Downstairs, the main Brasserie du Royal eatery is sophisticated and refined, with a beautiful menu of signature dishes created by renowned Michelin-starred chef Marc Haeberlin. Don’t miss the ‘The Perfect Egg’ which changes flavour with the seasons, I adored the subtle hint of liquorice and tomato paired with the rich oozing egg. The Aged meat from the Vitrine is also unmissable, carefully selected for quality and consequently full of flavour.

Royal Savoy Lausanne

It is unusual to find a city hotel which has a decent spa, but The Royal Savoy prides itself on its new, exceptional spa that has an indoor & outdoor pool, numerous treatment rooms and sauna & steam room facilities. At every opportunity I popped down to this calm sanctuary to have a leisurely swim or to unwind in the sauna. One afternoon we were all treated to tailored massages, I fell asleep after 10 minutes in utter bliss as the experienced therapist used essential oils to relieve the tension in my upper back and shoulders using the lovely Aromatherapy Associates products.

Hôtel Royal Savoy Lausanne

It felt very indulgent enjoying the Royal Savoy breakfast in my bedroom. The room had plenty of light streaming in through the windows which meant I could have a quiet few moments to myself whilst waking up with a strong morning coffee and a big breakfast of fruit salad, scrambled eggs, cereal and juice.

LausanneLausanne

Despite its relatively small size there is a huge amount to do and see in and around Lausanne. Highlights for me included wandering around the charming (and photogenic) old town and visiting Domaine de Daley vineyards on the Unesco World Heritage site just 10 minutes drive from the hotel. Cully is also a pretty little villa to explore… I loved discovering the little boutiques here selling all kinds of artisan products.

Royal Savoy Lausanne

As a travel blogger one of the most frequent questions I get asked is: ‘Where should I go for a unique weekend break?’ I honestly can’t think of a better destination than Lausanne… quick and easy to reach, beautiful and charming in character and with so many interesting things to do and see… not to mention the chocolate! If you do visit be sure to check in to the Royal Savoy Hotel & Spa, a luxurious city sanctuary that truly looks after its guests.

More information and book a stay at Hôtel Royal Savoy Lausanne here.

The Royal Savoy Lausanne is a member of Preferred Hotels & Resorts.

Thoroughly Modern Milly travelled with Preferred Hotels and Swiss Air.

A Rutte Distillery Experience in Dordrecht

I knew little about genever was when I was invited to visit Rutte Distillery in Dordrecht. All I did know was that this mysterious spirit was the predecessor to gin, a very familiar spirit to me! I later found out that genever, and more specifically Rutte Genever, is a specialist malted grain-based spirit which originates from particular areas of Holland and Belgium. The spirit is clear and botanically rich, and is a blend of two of more distillates: a juniper-infused distillate and malt wine. Many consider it to be a cross between whiskey and gin. It can be served straight up or within a more complex cocktail.

Rutte

And so a group of us embarked on a journey to Holland to discover more about the Rutte range of genevers and gins. The Rutte company was founded in 1872 by Simon Rutte in Dordrecht near Rotterdam and is famously the smallest distillery in the Netherlands.

It was fascinating to visit the historic house where Rutte Genever started and still today is produced. We toured the tiny distillery (which is found below the little old-fashioned shop) with the knowledgeable Master Distiller Myriam Hendrickx… here the genever and gin is made using the traditional method; blending exotic botanicals and ingredients to produce a spirit which is completely unique and distinctive in quality and taste.

Rutte

The Rutte team organised a wonderful 24-hour itinerary in Rotterdam and Dordrecht, the perfect Holland mini-break, where we got to experience a few of the fine food and drink experiences which use the Rutte brand with such innovation and flare.

In Rotterdam we enjoyed a special meal at FG Food Labs, a creative Michelin-starred restaurant that presented a meal of food and cocktail pairings. Tuna ceviche with Yuzu vinaigrette (Japanese mayonaise, spicy tomato, hoisin, sweet-and-sour celery, tapioca krupuk & squid ink) was paired with the Luscombe Lime Crush cocktail (a mix of Luscombe St. Clements, Rutte Celery Gin, and Pink Peppers) and Poussin de Loire (with merquez de Turqui sausages, seasonal vegetables, rosemary, lemongrass, ginger & garlic) was matched with a spicy Loopuyt Ginger Beer concoction (Luscombe Lime Crush, Old Simon’s Genever, Juniper berries and Rosemary). The food dishes were thoughtfully and creatively prepared but I found the cocktails a little sweet and overpowering.

Rutte

After dinner we were treated to an extra special round of drinks at the city’s award-winning prohibition bar, Dr. Rotterdam. This immaculate little bar has strict rules, first and foremost: no phones and no photos, to ensure the mood is maintained and the secrets kept within the walls of the bar. It was a great relief to enjoy the drinks without the usual pressure of ‘getting the perfect instagram shot’. Here we sampled a range of seasonal cocktails as well as the 2017 Official Cocktail Competition winning drink, a recipe which includes Rutte Genever created by Zachary Faden of Mirabelle in Washington D.C.

Rutte

On the second day in Holland we had the opportunity to try some of Dordrecht’s speciality foods: cheese from Gert Jan De Kaasboer, raw Herring from the street stalls and chocolate from ‘Njoy Chocolate shop. My favourite thing we tried was at Vissers Poffertjes, a much-loved cafe serving traditional tiny Dutch pancakes coated in icing sugar and Rutte Genever!

After just 24 (sunny) hours in Holland it was clear to see just how many uses the unique and delicious Rutte Genever can have. I know some of London’s best restaurants (Hoppers, for example) and bars are already beginning to introduce this incredible spirit into their cocktail and spirit repertoire and I can’t wait to see more Rutte on menus soon.

More information on Rutte Genever and gin here.

We stayed at the characterful Hotel New York in Rotterdam, which has spacious rooms, plenty of personality and a lovely location on the waterfront.