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Sunday, 9 July 2017

Exploring Paris with Small Luxury Hotels of The World - PART 2

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Next on our itinerary was the glamorous Grand Hotel du Palais Royal, a magnificent 18th century listed building located between the (v insta-famous!) Palais Royal and the Louvre. The Royal Gardens that sit beside, flow through the decor of the hotel in the form of lush green accents and floral features.

The hotel also has a Carita spa with an authentic Turkish hammam, as well as it's own fine dining restaurant; Le Lulli. I recommend the salmon!

One of the most spectacular and unique delights of the Grand Hotel du Palais Royal has to be its inredible views - one of the rooms we visited had spectacular views over Paris and all the way to Sacré-Cœur. Grand Hotel du Palais Royal is one of many hotels in the SLH Parisian portfolio that has everything to offer on its doorstep.

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We also popped into Hotel du Petit Moulin, a historic 17th-century bakery complete with its original shop front. From the outside, Hôtel du Petit Moulin looks like another one of Paris' charming bakeries, but inside lies a 17-room hotel flamboyantly decorated in baroque, couture and rococo styles by Christian Lacroix. 

Hotel du Petit Moulin is definitely a hotel to note if you're looking for a more intimate, understated (on the outside!) place to stay in Paris.
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Lastly, we visited Hotel San Regis for an indulgent, three course lunch before heading back to Gare du Nord to enjoy the Eurostar Business Class lounge.

A short walk from Champs-Élysées and Avenue Montaigne, Hotel San Regis is located in the designer district of Paris, the 8th arrondissement. The classic, elegant decor of the San Regis was one of my personal favourites. I've mentioned before that my tastes regarding decor and furnishings are more on the traditional side, without being stuffy and old fashioned. The hotel, which it set within a townhouse that dates back to 1857, is styled in a grand, extravagant way whilst still maintaining an intimate charm. It's impressive without feeling cold, unwelcoming or overbearing. 

The rooms, like many of the hotels in the Small Luxury Hotels of The World group, the 42 rooms are individually decorated in a traditionally elegant and Parisian style. If you choose to stay in one of the hotel's Deluxe Junior Suites, you'll enjoy your very own balcony with a magnificent view of The Eiffel Tower.

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For lunch, we dined in Hotel San Regis's very own gourmet restaurant. Like the rest of the hotel, the restaurant is impeccably decorated, intertwining antique oil paintings with modern glass features - the most impressive of which being the eye-catching glass roof that really gives the room a light and airy atmosphere - almost as if you're dining on an enclosed balcony or terrace.


Thank you so much for reading! I really hope you enjoyed this little two part series. Do check out Small Luxury Hotels of The World if you're looking for a place to stay in Paris in the future.

Wednesday, 28 June 2017

GET READY WITH ME - THE RACES AT SANDOWN PARK

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When preparing for a big event, any woman knows (and hey, some men too!) that the preparation/getting ready stage is almost as, if not more time consuming than the actual event itself. There's a lot of thought and planning involved.

Which dress shall I wear?! 
Do I have a matching clutch? 
WILL MY FOLDING FLATS FIT IN THE MATCHING CLUTCH? 
etc.

On the 8th of next month, I'll be attending Sandown Park for a day at the races, so in this instance there are a few more aspects for me to consider. If you've never been to the races before, it's a wise move to familiarise yourself with the rules a little. I've been to the polo before, but obviously they're very different - so the only piece of wisdom I've gained through my time as a person allergic to horses at a horse related event... is to take my antihistamines. (I spent a portion of my childhood riding horses whilst drugged up on Clarityn so I'll be fine.)

So, I thought I'd share a few things I've learned through my getting ready process in case you find yourself in a similar situation!



The part of the preparation I'm most looking forward to is the hat/fascinator decision. Sandown encourages visitors to dress smartly, so hats and fascinators are encouraged but not compulsory. I need no encouragement. 

Sandown Park's website has an entire section dedicated to travel and parking, which I found really useful as I'll be driving a couple of hours to get there. 

The website also has lots of other helpful tips regarding the dress code, dining options, and a betting guide. Regarding betting, if you're going to get involved, of course I encourage you to bet responsibly. I've said to friends in the past, only bet what you'd be willing/can AFFORD to lose. If you dropped £10 in the street would you be very, very irritated? Only bet £5 then. Or alternatively, it's perfectly alright to refrain from the betting element of the day and simply enjoy the fun, exciting atmosphere! 

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I also wanted to find out a little more about the history of the racecourse before attending, and found that Sandown Park, which opened in 1875, was one of the first courses to charge visitors for attending and everyone had to pay at least half a crown. 

Also, the feature race on the 8th of July is called Eclipse, eponymously named after the racehorse born in 1764. Amazingly, more than 95% of modern racehorses are descended from Eclipse. I also had no idea that horseracing is the second biggest spectator sport in Britain, with over 6 million people attending the races each year.

A few of my other favourite facts include: 
A racehorse can cover 100m in half the time of the current Olympic record held by Usain Bolt.
Jockey silks (the colours they wear to differentiate themselves) date back to the 18th century and there are over 26,000 possible colour combinations.
The average daily calorie intake for a racehorse is 35,000. I'm jealous. 

You'll be able to follow what I get up to on the day on my Instagram, Instagram stories and twitter if you're interested. All @arabellagolby. 

Have you ever been to the races before? If not, do you have plans to? Let me know! 

Wednesday, 31 May 2017

Exploring Paris with Small Luxury Hotels of The World - PART 1

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In April, I spent 4 glorious days exploring some of the best boutique hotels that Paris has to offer, with Small Luxury Hotels of The World.

Our first stop and the hotel we spent our first night in, was Pavillon de la Reine. Hidden within a courtyard in the heart of the Marais district, Pavillon de la Reine is a stunning 17th century building covered in cascading ivy that changes colour with the seasons. 


The beautiful Place des Vosges is right outside the hotel's courtyard and is lined with restaurants, pretty cafes, shops, art galleries and even an ice cream parlour. The hotel also provides bikes free of charge for it's guests if you feel in the mood to explore the local area on wheels!



Pavillon de la Reine has 56 rooms and suites, all decorated in their own individual way. The rooms are luxurious and full of personality - filled with period furniture, geometric patterns and exposed beams. Upon arrival to my suite, I was greeted with a handwritten note and a box of colourful Carette macarons - a patisserie conveniently located in the adjoining square if you develop a taste for them! I had my own beautifully furnished sitting room, bedroom, bathroom and separate toilet (which is always convenient if there's more than one person staying in the room!) joined together by a beautiful corridor lined with windows - all featuring the original, dark wooden beams. 

The next morning, I was greeted with breakfast in bed and blue skies. I opted for freshly baked pastries, juice and a cappuccino. Many more options were available, including hot food, but this truly was my idea of a perfect Parisian breakfast. We had such beautiful weather for our trip, so I opened all of the windows and enjoyed my breakfast in my giant bed, accompanied by a pleasant morning breeze and the sounds of Paris waking.


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Next, we visited Paris' smallest 5 star hotel - L'Hotel. This hidden gem, located in St-Germain-des-Prés on a small, quiet street, was the former and final home of Oscar Wilde. The architectural crown of this hotel is surely it's stunning, circular atrium; almost as soon as you walk through the hotel's doors you can look up and see its corridors winding high above you. The outside of L'Hotel is relatively unassuming, which makes it's dramatic and flamboyant interior all the more of an intriguing surprise.

L'Hotel also boasts a Michelin starred restaurant specialising in french cuisine, headed by chef Julien Montbabut, as well as a bar, spa and traditional Turkish Hammam pool. As a guest here, there's almost no need to leave. 


The 20 rooms at L'Hotel echo the property's colourful history. The rooms are stylishly decorated - all individually themed, with baroque prints, fabric covered walls and dramatic, tasseled drapes.
Some of the rooms even have their own private terrace, so you can take breakfast in bed to an entirely new level; breakfast on balcony.

So, if you're a lover of decadent decor, attentive service and fine dining, french cuisine, L'Hotel can deliver it all - right on your doorstep.


Later that evening, we drove through the Parisian golden hour for a sumptuous dinner at Hotel de Vendôme, located in the famous and architectural masterpiece that is Place Vendome - one of my favourite locations in Paris because of it's stunning buildings and huge, colourful doors. The mansion that is now the hotel started life in 1723, as the private residence of The Duke of Vendome. After this, it was purchased by Louis XIV to create the Place Vendome we know today.

Place Vendôme is not only a beautiful location, but a well-placed location surrounded by art, culture, antiques and high-end shops, with the Opera and the Louvre both within walking distance.


The mansion hotel has 29 lavishly decorated rooms and suites, within which you can expect to find anything from decadent antique chandeliers to art deco themes. Hotel de Vendome also hides a very stylish and recently renovated restaurant headed by up and coming new chef, Josselin Marie, with haute couture decor inspired by Chanel and Dior. 

Hotel du Vendome is another Parisian gem, with all of the luxuries one could possibly hope for.


Have you visited any of these hotels? Let me know!

Hotels mentioned:
Pavillon de la Reine - http://www.pavillon-de-la-reine.com/fr/
L'Hotel - http://www.l-hotel.com
Hotel du Vendome - http://www.hoteldevendome.com/fr/

Thank you to Small Luxury Hotels of The World for inviting me on this wonderful trip.