The Hari Hotel and Il Pampero Restaurant, Belgravia

The Hari Hotel has arrived in Belgravia and it is wonderful. This stylish new accommodation option is the perfect place to rest your head after a long day of shopping on Sloane Avenue, or to pop into for aperitivo in the Italian eatery, Il Pampero.

The Hari Hotel

The hotel is found on the corner of Chesham Place, a short walk from Hyde Park Corner, Victoria and Sloane Square tube stations, but tucked away from the noise and tourism of these popular areas. It was previously the Thompson Hotel before a recent renovation transformed it into the sophisticated Hari Hotel, named after the owner’s father. Inside, the building has a welcoming warmth and lovely feeling of luxury, with lavish velvet sofas and plenty of intriguing artwork adorning the walls.

The Hari HotelThe Hari HotelThe Hari Hotel

I was very at home in the Studio Suite, a cosy but spacious room with enviable views over the townhouses of Belgravia. The decor is simple and chic with a hint of eccentricity… I loved creative touches like the animal-skin rug and the sheer curtains concealing extra sections of the room. The huge bed was blissfully comfortable, and the small writing desk was a pleasant place to work. Thoughtful amenities like a Nespresso machine and inspiring book collection give guests little reason to leave the room.

The Hari Hotel

Our bathroom had serious wow-factor, with floor to ceiling windows offering panoramic views of the streets below. The glamorous bathroom was clad in white marble with a powerful walk in shower and stocked with pear-scented toiletries from Noble Isle.

The Hari HotelThe Hari HotelThe Hari Hotel

The resident restaurant, Il Pampero, is definitely not an afterthought with a menu of classic Italian dishes and drinks. After a round of immaculately-made cocktails we picked a couple of the pasta recipes on offer (both recommended by the waiter). Pappardelle All’Astice was plated in a majestic style, wonderful homemade strands of pasta with chunks of soft and creamy native lobster and sweet cherry tomatoes. Priced at £32 a plate, it seemed a little on the expensive side even if the ingredients were luxurious. I tried the rather more simple, but utterly delicious, Tagliolini Cacio E Pepe, homemade tagliolini with creamy cream and black pepper, mixed in a pecorino wheel at the table.

There were plenty of other tempting choices on the menu, but thanks to the generous pasta portion sizes we were too full to eat anything else, aside from a dessert to share, of course! The Il Pampero Tiramisu promised to be special, and it was certainly a unique take on the famous pudding. Layers of thick cream and sponge were covered in strong espresso, an intense but tasty take on the classic tiramisu.

The Hari Hotel

The next morning, our breakfast was a delight, with an array of treats served in the room. Don’t miss the ‘Hari Specials’… dishes like Nutella stuffed french toast with caramelised banana will put a smile on your face and get you through the morning. I also loved the tropical fruit salad which looked pretty enough to be on a Michelin-starred menu.

The Hari Hotel is an asset to the area, offering stylish visitors a beautiful place to stay, with delicious food and faultless service.

More information and book a room at The Hari Hotel here.

Basel and the Fasnacht Carnival

Geographically Basel is an interesting little place. This stunning Swiss city is sandwiched in between the borders of France and Germany and yet has a strong sense of identity and pride for its traditions and culture.

I visited a few weeks ago to experience the Basel Fasnacht, Switzerland’s largest Carnival and one of the most significant Protestant carnivals in the world. The annual celebration goes back to the medieval tradition of fasting at Lent before Easter to mark Christ’s suffering. Old documents suggest that the Fasnacht dates back to 1376 when it was known as the ‘evil carnival’.

Fasnacht Carnival

The Basel Fasnact begins with the pre-dawn Morgenstreich at 4am on the Monday morning after Ash Wednesday. All the city centre lights are switched off and flash photography is prohibited as hundreds of masked drummers and piccolo players march the streets with painted lanterns to lead their way. It is a mesmerising spectacle that we were lucky to watch from a balcony. After the grand opening ceremony, onlookers visit local restaurants to enjoy the traditional flour soup (Mehlsuppe) and onion and cheese tarts (Waihe). Despite feeling exhausted from the early wake-up we all got into the spirit of things with this special feasting, the flour soup was meaty and comforting and the tart was like a luxuriously rich quiche.

Fasnacht CarnivalFasnacht CarnivalFasnacht Carnival

The next day (after a few hours’ power nap!) we took to Basel’s streets again to immerse ourselves in the daytime festivities. Fasnacht lasts three days, with each day dedicated to different groups of people. Those involved are split into cliques, bands of people all following a particular theme. The themes each year are dependent on the topic. For 2017 the subject was ‘Mer sprange dr Raame’ (think outside the frame), and this was interpreted in a variety of ways with themes from Trump to Brexit, bumblebees to clowns.

The carnival is wonderful but relentless, the marching and playing continues throughout the night so don’t expect to get much sleep! We noticed a plethora of traditions whilst wandering around town… one of the most hilarious / irritating was the throwing of coloured confetti… you never quite know when a costumed child is going to shower you, and weeks later I’m still finding the remnants in my shoes and handbag!

Swissotel BaselSwissotel Basel

When we weren’t out dancing with the carnival-goers we were based at the smart Swissotel Le Plaza. This hotel has a business feel, with functional but pleasant bedrooms and facilities for all work needs. I was impressed with the large bedrooms, indulgent pillow menus and the delicious array of breakfast treats.

The hotel restaurant Grill 25 was a helpful addition when we couldn’t find dinner in the crowded town. The menu has a range of class dishes from burgers to pasta, an extensive wine list and very attentive service.

Basel food and drinkBasel foodBasel food

During the carnival many of the restaurants and cafes are shut, but I wasn’t going to let that stop me finding some speciality coffee shops and traditional Swiss pastries! We enjoyed simple but tasty meals at Les Garecons (inside the amazing train station) and 1777, an eatery inspired by the Viennese cafe culture.

All the coffee connoisseurs I asked pointed me in the direction of Café Frühling, a beautifully designed venue with great coffee. Located on the outskirts of town, it was the perfect place to sit quietly with a hot drink and escape the carnival chaos for a little while!

While in Basel you must sample the famous Schoggiweggli (a chocolate chip brioche bun) which is sold everywhere. We found a particularly delicious variety at Confiserie Bachmann.

BaselBasel

Basel is a beautiful city that I thoroughly enjoyed getting to know. The old town, with cobbled streets and traditional houses is heaven for keen photographers and I spotted lots of little shops and eateries I’d love to return to. For food lovers the fine dining scene is renowned and there are over 40 museums to enjoy if you fancy something artistic or cultural.

Thoroughly Modern Milly was a guest of Visit Basel, more information on the city here.

Hotel D’Angleterre, Copenhagen

Copenhagen is a city adored for many reasons, but when it comes to five star hotels the options are slim. There is one hotel however, Hotel D’Angleterre, which offers the ultimate opulence. With magnificent rooms and faultless service, none would dispute it’s reputation as the ‘best hotel in Copenhagen’. Needless to say, I was pretty excited about visiting this palatial accommodation.

Hotel D'Angleterre

Hotel D’Angleterre has a prime location moments away from the 17th century colourful facades of Nyhavn, and nearby to all the central attractions in town. The grandeur and beauty of the hotel is immediately noticeable from the prestigious white exterior, which explains why it is widely known as “the White Lady on Kongens Nytorv”. Inside, the property is chic and modern (thanks to a recent $70 million renovation) but remains timeless and traditional in style.

Hotel D'AngleterreHotel D'Angleterre

There are 90 rooms in total, each sensitively redesigned to remain loyal to the hotel’s heritage whilst offering guests every contemporary amenity they could need for their stay. We were immediately at home in our stunning Deluxe one-bedroom suite on the third floor. The spacious suite was decorated in subtle shades of dusty lavender, with delicate soft furnishings and modern artwork on the walls.

The living room featured a large sofa and working area with functional desk and writing set. Fresh pink roses, gourmet chocolates and a bottle of champagne were a lovely touch.

Hotel D'Angleterre

I fell in love instantly with the bedroom. The bed (perhaps the largest I have ever seen) was topped with plump pillows of varying sizes and a luxe purple blanket. A pillow menu offered a range of alternative pillows for the bed, which we delighted in choosing from. State of the art art conditioning systems meant that the room temperature was easy to control and ensured we had a blissful nights sleep.

Hotel D'AngleterreHotel D'Angleterre

The elegant bathroom was luxuriously decorated in white marble, with a huge bath and walk-in shower. The toiletries, from Hotel D’Angleterre’s own brand ‘Amazing Space by Laura Bonne’, are of a high quality, with a larger range of products stocked downstairs in the spa. As well as the usual toiletries, Hotel D’Angleterre offer extras such as a packet of make-up remover wipes, which I found very useful and thoughtful.

Hotel D'AngleterreHotel D'Angleterre

After a long and restful night’s sleep we ventured downstairs (in our super soft D’Angleterre dressing gowns) to experience the spa. Here, there is an amazing indoor swimming pool, sauna and steam room. After 20 lengths and a relax in the sauna we were refreshed and ready for our room-service breakfast.

The array of breakfast treats was almost too pretty to eat. Every dish was carefully cooked and perfectly plated, made from the highest quality ingredients. It was all divine, but I can particularly recommend the mini Danish pastries, super sweet fresh orange juice and the delicious hot egg dishes.

Hotel D'Angleterre

Hotel D’Angleterre was the most special part of our trip to Copenhagen. I left with a heavy heart and a complete understanding of why this hotel has such a sparkling reputation both in Denmark and around the world.

More information and book a stay at Hotel D’Angleterre here.

Read my review of Hotel D’Angleterre’s Michelin star restaurant Marchal here.