Absalon Hotel in Copenhagen – and the Designers Guild connection

The colours sizzle and sing as I step into the lime and turquoise reception area of Absalon Hotel in Copenhagen from the stone grey streets of Vesterbro. Colour is at the heart of this newly renovated boutique hotel, as the elegant CEO, Karen Nedergaard told me, when I stayed at the hotel in June; ” In Denmark everything is black and white but I wanted this to be different, to have an international touch.

Absalon Hotel Copenhagen Photo: Heatheronhertravels.com

Having used Designers Guild furnishings in the sister hotel, Andersen Hotel (as in Hans Christian ) just across the road, Karen was keen to work with the design company again when her much larger Absalon Hotel was due for renovation. Karen and her designers worked with Creative Director, Tricia Guild and the Designers Guild team in their London and Paris showrooms, as well as visiting other hotels for inspiration.

Lobby of Absalon Hotel, Copenhagen using Designers Guild furnishings Photo: Heatheronhertravels.com

Lobby of Absalon Hotel, Copenhagen using Designers Guild furnishings

Over many months of renovation, structural changes were made to the 160 room boutique hotel, opening up the ground floor to the street with larger windows for more daylight and restoring many of the traditional plaster cornices and door frames. But Karen was also keen to create the cosy feeling of wellbeing that is known here in Denmark as Hygge, telling me “anyone can sell a night’s stay but what’s difficult is to make the guests feel comfortable and relaxed so they want to come back, you have to work with the emotions as well.”

Lobby of Absalon Hotel, Copenhagen using Designers Guild furnishings Photo: Heatheronhertravels.com

Lobby of Absalon Hotel, Copenhagen using Designers Guild furnishings

The vibrant colour choices on the ground floor were a conscious decision as Karen told me “Maybe the guests don’t want to have this in their own home, but they’ll remember that it was something different and that they felt well when they were here.” Interestingly Social Media also influenced the design choices, and old books and an antique telephone booth were placed around the reception area, knowing that guests would love to photograph these details and share the photos with their friends. The new Absalon Hotel aims to attract the well-travelled, design conscious traveller, both Danes and international travellers spending a few days in Copenhagen or starting their cruise here.

Heather (left) meets Tricia Guild of Designer's Guild (centre) and Karen Nedergaard (right) of Absalon Hotel Photo: Heatheronhertravels.com

Heather meets Tricia Guild of Designer’s Guild and Karen Nedergaard of Absalon Hotel

During my stay for the opening party I was thrilled to meet my design heroine, Tricia Guild, Creative Director of Designers Guild, who was there as guest of honour to open the hotel. Over the years I’ve loved Designers Guild fabrics for the colourful designs that reference global and vintage inspiration but always feel fresh and modern. Tricia told me that she feels hotel design around the world is a new way for travellers to learn to express themselves;

“Hotels are no longer 5000 rooms with the same wallpaper in every bedroom, they are really design spaces and I think that’s brilliant. People travel more, they see more individuality and I think that tempts them into being more individual themselves.”

I hope you enjoy the video below where Tricia Guild gives her thoughts on the Absalon Hotel Design

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I chatted with Tricia about the many sources of inspirations she has drawn from her travels, from the renaissance art of Florence to the vibrant saris worn by women in India. It might be an impression from the colours of the landscape or the wild flowers growing, yet everday situations can also be inspiring; “You can walk down the street and be inspired if you keep your eyes open”. A great collector of vintage and antiques, Tricia told me how she loves the great Scandinavian designers like Arne Jacobsen, Hans Wegner and Finn Juhl and uses their iconic furniture designs in her interiors.

Bedroom in Absalon Hotel, Copenhagen Photo: Heatheronhrtravels.com

Bedroom in Absalon Hotel, Copenhagen

For the Absalon Hotel, a classic Designers Guild silky taffeta stripe fabric called Zetani was used in a different colourway for each floor. The vibrant shades were picked up in other elements of the furnishings, wallpaper, furniture and accessories with the help of the Copenhagen Designers Guild team at ZenOut Home in Hellerup.

5th floor Bedroom in Absalon Hotel, Copenhagen Photo: Heatheronhrtravels.com

5th floor Bedroom in Absalon Hotel, Copenhagen

Our cosy room up on the 5th floor under the eves reminded me of a circus tent with stripes of green, lime and fuschia on a base of silver grey and black. The rooms up here were a little more luxurious, with deep green carpet and air conditioning (not that we needed it in June). We had all the essentials; a flat screen TV, fridge and safe, but the trendy design was not at the expense of details such as the built in reading lights on the headboard and lighting under the bed to guide you in the night. There was a touch of glamour in the mirrored wardrobe and glass chrome tables, with an easy chair to relax and a view over the rooftops of Vesterbro. The only thing I could have done without was the strange perspex box on the wall displaying a design item, since I kept banging it as I passed to get to the wardrobe.

Bathroom in Absalon Hotel, Copenhagen Photo: Heatheronhertravels.com

Bathroom in Absalon Hotel, Copenhagen

The bathroom was ultra-modern with Philippe Starck fittings softened with creamy marble tiles and cool lighting effects from Phillips so you can bathe in any colour of the rainbow. To avoid waste, the toiletries from Karmameju were in dispensers above the bath and sink but there’s no skimping on quality from this Danish skincare company that uses pure, natural ingredients.

Bedroom in Absalon Hotel, Copenhagen Photo: Heatheronhrtravels.com

Bedroom in Absalon Hotel, Copenhagen

On other floors the scheme is silver grey with highlights of royal blue and green or softer lilac and plum and here wooden floors have been used for a Scandinavian touch. While there’s no restaurant in the hotel, there is plenty of seating space and a bar area where guests can relax in the evening with coloured lighting that changes mood depending on the time of day.

Bar at Absalon Hotel, Copenhagen Photo: Heatheronhrtravels.com

Bar at Absalon Hotel, Copenhagen

Who will enjoy Absalon Hotel? Anyone who loves colour and individual style and is looking for a cool base to explore Copenhagen. The hotel is conveniently located just a 5 minute walk from the main station in the trendy Vesterbro district so you are surrounded by hip bars and restaurants, but be aware that it’s the red light district too. The breakfast is a continental buffet with plentiful and varied choices including fabulous nutty Danish bread and all the speciality teas you could wish for. Staff are efficient, helpful and happy to help with recommendations or anything else you need. With a Concept24 policy that allows you late check-out, we think it’s the perfect hotel for your Copenhagen city break. Prices for a double room from around 1665 DKK (£160, €225 or $250)

Absalon Hotel Website | Address: Helgolandsgade 15 | Twitter | Facebook | Instagram

You can also read my review of Andersen Hotel just across the road

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Read about Absalon Hotel in Copenhagen and the Designers Guild connection

Check out the neighbourhood

Dinner at Bio-Mio

A 10 minute walk down the road from Absalon and you reach Vesterbro’s trendy Meatpacking district where the boxy industrial buildings, some of which still house catering wholesalers, are being converted into restaurants and bars. There wasn’t too much happening in the day when we passed by, but at night this area is buzzing. If you want relaxed dining with a bistro feel we can recommend Bio-Mio which you’ll spot by the large neon Bosch sign. This organic all-day diner has an open kitchen running down one side, so you can watch the chefs at work, and you sit at high tables on bar stools and order your meal at the central till. We ordered from the specials board with simple, well cooked dishes under 200 DKK like my fish of the day that arrived topped with a swirl of fennel and leeks. Bio Mio website | English Menu | Address: Halmtorvet 19

Dinner at Bio-Mio, Copenhagen Photo: Heatheronhertravels.com

Dinner at Bio-Mio, Copenhagen

Cocktails at Lidkoeb

Make your way through the side streets to the main drag of Vesterbrogade and tucked away through an arch you’ll find Lidkoeb, in an old restored townhouse. Up the stairs we sat in the wooden booths draped with shaggy sheepskins and sipped our summertime cocktails. Apparently the Danes love anything with ginger but I tried the Kolonihaven, fragrent of summer, made from geranium gin, cloudy apple and cucumber juice.

On the top floor is the cool whisky bar, serving only the finest whiskies and whisky cocktails. It’s a cross between a student attic and a gentleman’s club with old leather chairs, cut glass decanters and flickering candle-light. Lidkoeb website | Address: Vesterbrogade 72B

Cocktails at Lidkoeb in Copenhagen Photo: Heatheronhertravels.com

Cocktails at Lidkoeb in Copenhagen

Hot dogs at Urban House

If you fancy something more gritty, to relive your student days, head across the road to Urban House Hostel where their bar serves gourmet hot dogs smothered in various delicious toppings. Choose from Classy Sassy, Grill’n’Chill or the veggie Green Spleen Dog, for an evening snack they’re a snip at 35 DKK. Urban House Website | Address: Colbjørnsensgade 5-11

Hot Dogs at Urban House in Copenhagen Photo: Heatheronhertravels.com

Hot Dogs at Urban House in Copenhagen

Fun time at Tivoli

Tivoli is a must-see pillar of the Copenhagen scene; part amusement park, part landscape gardens, with restaurant quarter and entertainment venues packed in. During the day it’s great for families who’ll enjoy the rowing boats on the lake, old fashioned carousels and ballet in the open air pantomime theatre. As the evening wears on, the Chinese lanterns glow and the screams from The Demon roller coaster get ever louder as the teenagers and after-work crowd arrive for thrills and dinner.

There’s something for all ages to enjoy and the park maintains a quality, Danish feel that manages to stay charming rather than tacky. Tivoli Gardens are open April-end September and also at Halloween and Christmas. Entrance 99 DKK, Multiride ticket 209 DKK with other packages available. Tivoli Website | Address: Vesterbrogade 3

Tivoli in Copenhagen Photo: Heatheronhertravels.com

Tivoli in Copenhagen

New Nordic cuisine at UFormel

For a sophisticated but informal dining experience our new find on this visit was uFormel, the cool younger brother to Michelin star Formul B. The restaurant menu offers small plates, with the idea that you order around four dishes, which are served in a succession of different courses. This is the place for adventurous palates and between us we tried scallops, ceviche, beef tartar, lamb and numerous and varied taste combinations. The decor is dark, the ambiance lively and loud (I found it difficult at times to hear any conversation) but the dishes priced at 100 DKK are well priced for the standard of cuisine. If you really want a blow out you could try 750DKK menu with wine pairings but I think it would have been too much. Read the review of uFormal from Alex Berger who joined us for dinner and took all the tasting notes for me.  uFormel website | Address: Studiestræde 69

Dinner at uFormel in Copenhagen Photo: Heatheronhertravels.com

Dinner at uFormel in Copenhagen

Culture fix at Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek

Just a 10 minute walk from the Absalon Hotel and opposite Tivoli is the delightful Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek. This museum houses the art and sculpture collection of the 19th century brewing magnate Carl Jacobsen and is full of classical Greek and Roman sculpures as well as turn of the century marble figures by Danish sculptors.

We also enjoyed the impressionist galleries upstairs, packed with Gauguins, Van Goghs and Cezannes and the petite bronze by Degas of the Little Ballerina which my daughter loved. The winter garden with glass roof and tropical foliage has an elegant cafe where you’ll be tempted to stop for a coffee or light lunch. It’s free on Tuesday, otherwise 95 DKK.  Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek website | Address: Dantes Plads 7

Sculpture Garden of Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek Photo: Heatheronhertravels.com

Sculpture Garden of Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek

Visiting Copenhagen

For more information about things to do in and around Copenhagen, check out the Visit Copenhagen website as well as the Visit Denmark website for other parts of Denmark.

Heather and Sophie-Anne flew with Scandinavian Airlines from London Heathrow to Copenhagen. SAS fly several times a day to and from London to Copenhagen giving you a choice of times to make the most of your time in Copenhagen. On arrival take the train or metro direct to the centre of Copenhagen.

Heather and Sophie-Anne used the Copenhagen Card which covers free public transport around Copenhagen as well as free or reduced price entry to many of the attractions in and around Copenhagen.

More things to do in Copenhagen

Light, Air, Water – finding a healthy holiday in Copenhagen – healthy tips for rest and relaxation on your spa break by the sea in Copenhagen
How to make New Nordic Cocktails in Copenhagen – cocktails to try that use authentic Danish flavours such as cherry wine.
Like Mother Like Daughter – What we loved on our trip to Copenhagen – My daughter, Sophie-Anne suggests some things to do in Copenhagen that mothers and daughters will both enjoy.

Thanks to Absalon Hotel for hosting our stay at the hotel, to Wonderful Copenhagen and Visit Denmark for providing some of the experiences mentioned and to Scandinavian Airlines for providing Heather’s flight to Copenhagen.

This article is originally published at Heatheronhertravels.com – Read the original article here

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You’ll also find our sister blog with tips on how to build a successful travel blog at My Blogging Journey

A gourmet walking tour of Luxembourg old town

Our weekend break in Luxembourg was full of surprises; a city that’s unexpectedly small and walkable, packed with history and culture. And then there was the food! This tiny Europan capital combines the elegance of France, the gourmet delights of Belgium and the efficiency of Germany into one easy going package. As we walked around the old town, I was struck by the number of tempting places to stop for a taste of this or a glass of that, so I’ve decided to take you on a gastronomic walking tour. History and culture are always more fun with a bite to eat or a cup of hot chocolate thrown in!

You can also read about our wine tour of the Moselle Region of Luxembourg

Heather and Guy Overlooking the Petrusse Valley Luxembourg City Photo: Heatheronhertravels.com

Heather and Guy in Luxembourg City

Place d’Armes at the heart of the city

Let’s start in Place d’Armes in the centre of Luxembourg old town, a tree-filled square with plenty of cafe terraces and a bandstand where you’ll often find live music in summer. The elegant Palais Municipal stands at one end and since its renovation in the last few years, is now used as a cultural centre, although it served as the Nazi headquarters during WW2. On the Saturday that we visited there was a flea market full of granny’s best china and some more unusual items, like antique bird cages and piles of deer antlers. Who doesn’t need a set of deer antlers these days?

Flea Market in Luxembourg City Photo: Heatheronhertravels.com

Flea Market at Place d’Armes in Luxembourg City

Elegant patisserie at Oberweis by the Sheep fountain

Let’s walk down the cobbled street at the side of the Palais Municipal until we reach another Luxembourg landmark, the charming fountain known as Hammelsmarsch or the March of the Sheep. The bronze fountain, by sculptor Will Lofy, depicts the shepherds who would bring their sheep into town once a year to attend the annual Schueberfour market, accompanied by a troupe of musicians. The cute children shelter from the dripping water under an umbrella and the accordion player is a self-portrait of the sculptor himself.

The Sheep Fountain Outside Oberweis in Luxembourg Photo: Heatheronhertravels.com

The Sheep Fountain Outside Oberweis in Luxembourg

Gastro-stop #1 – Oberweis for elegant patisserie

Once you’ve admired the fountain, be sure to pop into Oberweis, a family business established over 50 years ago that produces some of the best patisserie, chocolates and marzipan in town. There are five branches around the city but we’ll stop for a coffee or light lunch at the flagship store at 16 Grand-Rue. Take your time to feast your eyes on the beautifully decorated tarts and cakes as you enter, with chocolates and marzipan towards the back of the store.

If the weather’s fine, take a seat at one of the tables outside or climb to the first floor for waitress service. Should the long list of patisserie on the menu be too perplexing, simply pop downstairs again to make your selection from the cakes on display, then you’ll be handed a ticket to give to your waitress telling her which to serve. We loved the seasonal marzipan – in September there were horse chestnuts with glowing brown nut and spiky green shell. Just the place to stock up with gastronomic gifts for the chocoholics back home.

Oberwis, 16 Grand-Rue, Luxembourg

Patisserie at Oberweis in Luxembourg Photo: Heatheronhertravels.com

Patisserie at Oberweis in Luxembourg

Place Guillaume II– the food market and restaurants

From Oberwis let’s take a right down Rue du Fosse which will bring us to Place Guillaume II, the largest square in the old city. The square is named after William II, King of the Netherlands who ruled Luxembourg from 1840-1849, but locals also know it as Knuedler after the knots in the belt of the Franciscan friars whose monastery once stood on this spot. Here you’ll find the town hall, tourist office and a if you’re lucky enough to be there on a Saturday or Wednesday, the market selling fresh produce will be in full swing.

Vegetable Market in Place Guillaume II in Luxembourg Photo: Heatheronhertravels.com

Vegetable Market in Place Guillaume II in Luxembourg

Gastro-stop #2 – buy a picnic in the market

We wandered around the Saturday market which was truly a feast for the eyes, with one end devoted to flowers and plants and other areas a mixture of fresh fruit and vegetables with stalls of cheese, bread and deli produce thrown in. The aroma of freshly roasted rotisserie chicken wafted from at least three stalls and the picnic possibilities were plentiful. At one stall baskets of dried sausages, at another rosy strings of garlic, while vegetables were beautifully laid out as if awaiting a prize at the village show. We treated ourselves to pretty pastel slices of nougat in pistachio, raspberry and almond and sat at the foot of King William’s statue eating the lunch we bought at the deli van.

Fresh Produce in the Market at Luxembourg Photo: Heatheronhertravels.com

Fresh Produce in the Market at Luxembourg

Gastro-stop #3 – restaurants to try in Place Guillaume II

If you are not there on market day, fear not, as there are a number of other cafes and restaurants that we spotted in the square. Try one of these;

Kaempff-Kohler at 18 Place Guillaume II – have a look in their deli-shop specialising in cheese and wine and then find a table inside or on the outdoor terrace to order one of their cheese plates for lunch with a glass of local wine.

Brasserie Guillaume at 12 Place Guillaume II – right next door to Kaempff-Kohler, this brasserie is a fishmonger and fish restaurant combined. After you’ve admired their colourful window displays of seafood, take a seat and order the freshest of fish. They serve other things in the brasserie, but fish is the main event.

Beet at 32 Place Guillaume II serves vegetarian and vegan food in a trendy but informal cafe with a terrace on the square. Mostly organic and locally sourced, this is the less traditional but still delicious choice for a healthy lunch or dinner.

An alternative to walking – the Veloh! bike scheme

If you need to work off your delicious lunch you may spot the bright blue veloh! bikes in the square and at bike stations around the city. They cost practically nothing – €1 for a day so long as you can use your credit card to register at the machine and leave a deposit from your card. Sadly the system was not working when we tried it and our card was not accepted but we think it’s a great idea! Now, let’s continue with our gastro-walk around the old town.

The Velo Bike Scheme in Luxembourg Photo: Heatheronhertravels.com

The Velo Bike Scheme in Luxembourg

The Grand Ducal Palace and the Chocolate House

A few steps from the Place Guillaume II is the Palais Grand-Ducal, official residence of Grand Duke Henri of Luxembourg and the royal family. In fact the family spend most of their time outside the city but you’ll know if Grand Duke Henri is at home by the flag flying. Apart from the mellow stone facade and the balcony where the royal family appear on special occasions, there’s not much to see from outside. The palace is open in July and August (information here) but other times you’ll have to just content yourself with watching the tourists having their photo taken next to the good humoured sentries.

The Grand Ducal Palace in Luxembourg Photo: Heatheronhertravels.com

The Grand Ducal Palace in Luxembourg

Gastro stop #4 – The Chocolate House

Just opposite the sentry post is our next gastro-stop at Chocolate House, famed for the hot chocolate and other sweet treats you’ll find inside. As soon as I heard about the chocolate spoons that are served with hot milk to make the hot chocolate of your choice on The Amateur Traveller Podcast about Luxembourg (thanks Rosie) I knew I had to give this place a try! Luckily Jennifer from Luxe Adventure Traveler had already bagged a prime spot when Guy and I passed by, so we joined her to order our hot chocolate and watch the world go by.

The Chocolate House in Luxembourg Photo: Heatheronhertravels.com

The Chocolate House in Luxembourg

Those chocolate spoons come in over 40 flavours but they also serve enormous slices of cake and sell very pretty chocolates and marzipan inside too. It was tough choosing between all the chocolate spoon flavours like lavender, hot chilli orange, almond raspberry and a few naughty alcoholic versions too, so I brought a few home in my suitcase.

Chocolate House, 20, rue du marché aux herbes

Chocolates and Marzipan at the Chocolate House Luxembourg Photo: Heatheronhertravels.com

Chocolates and Marzipan at the Chocolate House Luxembourg

The Statue of Grand Duchess Charlotte

Just around the corner in Clairefontaine square, you’ll find the bronze statue of Grand Duchess Charlotte. It was designed by the Parisian sculptor Jean Cardot and inaugurated in 1990 to commemorate the Grand Duchess, grandmother of the present Grand Duke Henri, who ruled Luxembourg from 1919 to 1964. After WW1 her sister Marie-Adelaide had to abdicate in favour of her sister, Charlotte and during WW2 the Grand Duchess and her family had to flee as Germany occupied Luxembourg, creating a focus for resistance in England and America.

Grand Duchess Charlotte of Luxembourg Photo: Heatheronhertravels.com

Grand Duchess Charlotte of Luxembourg

Now we are just a short walk from the cobbled path known as the Corniche that runs along the top of the cliff overlooking the lower part of the old town in the Petrusse valley. This is the place to take your photographs from the “Balcony of Europe” looking down on the church of St Jean-Baptiste in the valley which is now an arts venue and the green terraces and gardens that line the river banks.

Read about our wine tour of the Moselle Valley in Luxembourg

View of the Petrusse Valley Luxembourg Photo: Heatheronhertravels.com

View of the Petrusse Valley Luxembourg

The Casmates

At the end of the Corniche you’ll get a view of the Casmates, the complex of tunnels and storage rooms that were built into the rockface providing gun emplacements overlooking the valley to defend the Rocher du Bock fortress that stood at this point. It’s easy to see why the fortress was such a key stronghold, with steep cliffs on both sides until it was dismantled at the end of the 19th century. The casmates were at various times used as munition stores, workshops, stables and garrisons and you can visit them and look out from the different openings down into the valley. Casemates are open daily March to November.

Casmates in Luxembourg Photo: Heatheronhertravels.com

Casmates in Luxembourg

Unfortunately, the Casemates were just closing when we passed by so let’s continue along the road with views across the other valley to some of the museums that stand on the opposite plateau of Kirchberg. As we walk down the hill it is tempting to stop at the Beim Siggy brasserie with a sunny terrace bar overlooking the valley. Keen to get to the bottom of the valley for a river walk, we’ll continue, pausing briefly to investigate;

Gastro-stop #5 – Rives de Clausen

The old Mousel Brewery by the river has been repurposed to make a lively nightlife scene where 9 different themed bars and restaurants crowd into the old brick buildings overshadowed by the tall chimney. All is quiet as we pass by in the afternoon but later on you can eat, drink and be merry with live music and anything from Brazilian to gourmet dishes and Belgian beer to sophisticated cocktails. Rives de Clausen: 2, rue Emile Mousel

Rives de Clausen in Luxembourg Photo: Heatheronhertravels.com

Rives de Clausen – the nightlife of Luxembourg

We continue our walk along the river over the arched stone bridge and through the lower part of the old town, known as the Grund. In these old buildings you’ll find a number of bars and cafes and although we don’t have time to stop at any of them on our walk, you might look out for;

Gastro-stop #6 – the cafes and restaurants of the Grund

Michelin star at Mosconi – If fine dining is your thing, you may like to reserve a table at Mosconi restaurant where the 8 course, Italian inspired set menu is served in an elegant dining room beside the river. Mosconi: 13 rue Münster

Café Des Artistes – If you’re after something more informal, try the cosy Cafe des Artistes nearby with vintage posters covering the walls and a piano where you’re invited to tinkle the keys and sing along. Café Des Artistes: 22 Montée du Grund

 Petrusse Valley in Luxembourg Photo: Heatheronhertravels.com

Petrusse Valley in Luxembourg

Crossing the old arched bridge, we find the elevator that takes us back up to the upper level of the old town at the top of the cliff. If we decide to come back here in the evening, it runs until the early hours. After our walking tour of Luxembourg’s old city, there’s one further gastro-stop later in the evening when we’re off for dinner at;

Gastro-stop #7 – Chiggeri

In an old townhouse, down one of the narrow cobbled streets of the old town, you’ll find Chiggeri with dining experiences depending on your mood and budget. On the ground floor is a Moroccan style winter garden and cafe, serving ‘cuisine bourgeoise’ with plates of charcuterie and cheeses, tartiflette and steak tartare. We, however, climb the steep wooden stairs to the top floor with painted walls that seemed inspired by Maori tribal markings, combined with a sophisticated four course menu and accompanying wines. The restaurant boasts an entry in the Guiness book of records for its selection of over 2000 fine wines.

Restaurant in Luxembourg Photo: Heatheronhertravels.com

Chiggeri Restaurant in Luxembourg

Today’s menu includes a skewer of grilled scampi garnished with black olive oil and crispy strips of onion, a main course of grilled red mullet on a bed of risotto and a desert of strawberries in a sweet crispy pastry shell. All quite delicious and with carefully matched wines recommended by our sommelier. This is the place to come if you want the fine food and wine in an informal setting without all the fanfare.

Chiggeri, 15, rue du Nord, Luxembourg

Restaurant in Luxembourg Photo: Heatheronhertravels.com

Chiggeri Restaurant in Luxembourg

Read More about Luxembourg

Read about our Wine tasting in the Moselle Valley of Luxembourg 
From LuxeAdventureTraveler: Unexpected Luxembourg: Fine wines and fabulous food

To plan your trip to Luxembourg

For more information to plan your visit to Luxembourg check out the Visit Luxembourg Website | Twitter | Facebook | Google+

Where to sleep in Luxembourg

We stayed at Hotel Le Chatelet, in a smart residential area that was a 15 minute walk from the heart of the old town. The hotel is a large townhouse with a restaurant and panelled bar on the ground floor, a handy car park and 32 bedrooms on the two upper floors. The decor has a dark and trendy feel, with black walls combined with white and grey finishes and modern, industrial touches. The dark scheme was a bit love it or hate it and at times I felt I was in a night-club on the morning after the night before.

Hotel Le Chatelet in Luxembourg Photo: Heatheronhertravels.com

Hotel Le Chatelet in Luxembourg

Our room on the second floor was perfectly comfortable, with the same dark colour scheme, warmed a little by the aubergine carpet. The bathroom was large with industrial looking plastic flooring and those mirror lights you see in theatre dressing rooms. With a curtained enclosure for a wardrobe, the room felt a little low budget compared to the elegant chandeliers and panelling in the public areas. The hotel will suit stylish city-break couples looking for a quiet and convenient base that’s an easy walk from the old centre.

Hotel Le Chatelet, 2 Boulevard de la Pétrusse.
Compare prices and book for Hotel Le Chatelet on our Hotels Booking Page

For more information to plan your visit to Luxembourg, head for the Visit Luxembourg website

Looking for Airport Parking?

Heather used the Meet and Greet Parking Service at Heathrow, booked through Airport Parking and Hotels (APH) who offer airport parking at a range of airports across the UK as well as travel extras such as airport lounge booking and airport hotel stays.

Hotel Le Chatelet in Luxembourg Photo: Heatheronhertravels.com

Hotel Le Chatelet in Luxembourg

Our thanks to Visit Luxembourg who hosted our weekend stay and Airport Parking and Hotels (APH) who provided our airport parking.

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Read about our gourmet walking tour of Luxembourg City

This article by Heather Cowper is originally published at Heatheronhertravels.com – Read the original article here

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You’ll also find our sister blog with tips on how to build a successful travel blog at My Blogging Journey

How not to eat badly in Venice

There’s a saying that if you eat badly in Italy you must be in Venice. Being something of a foodie myself, on my long weekend in Venice, I was determined to search out the best of Venetian food. I’m afraid to report, however, that my food experiences ranged from the average to the mediocre. Since Venice is such a tourist hotspot, and so many of the visitors are there for such a short time, it is all too easy for many businesses not to try too hard. Still with a little research and planning I think that you can find the best that Venice has to offer, so here are my tips to ensure that you don’t eat too badly in Venice.

Get well away from San Marco

The San Marco district and especially the area around St Mark’s Square is the tourist hub of Venice and is always packed with visitors. Many come for the day from a cruise ship or coach tour and just have time for the tick list sights of the Doge’s palace, San Marco Cathedral, climb the campenile and then a quick gondola tour or foray to the Rialto Bridge. I’m not saying it’s not possible to find a good restaurant in this area, but you are just as likely to stumble into one with a multi-lingual menu designed to service tourists only.

Seafood Pasta in Venice Photo: Heatheronhertravels.com

Seafood Pasta in Venice

Better to venture into the less touristy districts such as Cannaregio, Arsenale or Dorsoduro where you will find more authentic wine bars and restaurants. The area around the Rialto market is good and has a number of good bacari (wine bars) plus it’s a feast for the eyes. Arrive in the morning when the fish is on sale to see the market in full flow; by lunchtime the market is winding down and stalls are packing up, although the fruit and veg stalls will be there for a little longer.

Linguine alle Vongole in Venice Photo: Heatheronhertravels.com

Linguine alle Vongole in Venice

What to eat in Venice

If you’re not sure what to order we found that it was difficult to go wrong with a seafood pasta or pizza. It’s not terribly adventurous but tends to be the least expensive things on the menu if you’re on a budget. Local specialities to look out for are linguine alle vongole, the hot antipasti of mussels and clams and a risotto with black squid ink. The meat dishes that we eat at home such as lasagne and ravioli we found were disappointing.

If you are offered fresh fish, it may be priced by weight and you should take care to establish the cost in advance or you may find yourself landed with an unexpectedly large bill. This is a bit of a scam in the San Marco tourist restaurants where a big show is made of a whole fish cooked in salt which you discover later has a hefty price tag.

Pizza in Venice Photo: Heatheronhertravels.com

Pizza in Venice

Other things to check are the cover charge which may add a few euros per person and a service charge which may be added on to the bill. Of course if you’d like to have that coffee at Florian in St Mark’s Square while listening to the musicians, you should do so knowing that it has a tourist price tag (the prices are clearly shown on the menu outside). Venice is a great place to try local Italian wines by the glass in a side-street wine bar and in the early evening you can join the locals in a bright orange Aperol Spritz, a Bellini or a glass of Prosecco.

Try the cicchetti or bar snacks in Venice Photo: Heatheronhertravels.com

Try the cicchetti or bar snacks in Venice

Eat standing up

A custom that takes us Brits by surprise, but is quite the done thing, is to stand up or perch on a bar stool while having a drink and a snack with friends. Don’t be put off in the wine bars if there are only a few small tables and you have to rest your drink on a shelf along the wall. This is where you can order cicchetti, or small bar snacks which range from miniature sandwiches to dishes of salad and cold seafood. The ideas is to order a glass of wine and point at whatever dish looks tempting, then stay for another or move on to the next bar.

Artizan gelato in Venice Photo: Heatheronhertravels.com

Artizan gelato in Venice

The stand up principle also applies to gelateria. Look for those that are artizan, which indicates the gelato is made on the premises, where you will often find a few small tables or stool to sit inside. The same stand-up approach can also apply at the Pasticceria where you can grab a coffee at the bar with a sweet pastry or cake. Generally eating or drinking standing up means that the price is cheaper since table service is not required.

Eat Venice food app

Before I visited Venice I downloaded the Eat Venice app onto my phone in the hope that I could find some more authentic places to eat. The app is by Elizabeth Minchelli whose blog about Italian food is also a great source of information about eating in Venice. I loved reading about all the great places to eat on this app but found that once we were there we invariably couldn’t find them or were too hungry to hunt around.

It’s certainly worth using the app to find out good food places in your neighbourhood, but don’t get too worried if you don’t find them, it’s better to use your eyes to judge whether a place looks authentic. If it’s busy, packed, full of Italians chatting with their friends, then it’s worth waiting for a table.

Rialto market in venice Photo: Heatheronhertravels.com

The Rialto market in venice

Self catering in Venice

While there are plenty of apartments in Venice and indeed we stayed in one of them, although it seems to be a bit sad to always be eating in when you are in the midst of a living postcard. There are a few supermarkets in Venice but not really the convenience stores that you find in other cities. The culture is to eat out in a bar or restaurant and picnics are discouraged, in fact there seems to be a rule that they are not allowed. Still an apartment does mean you have the flexibility to make yourself the breakfast or lunch that you want, while perhaps eating out in the evening.

Food Tours in Venice

Another great way to get the feel of the local food culture is to take a food tour like the Rialto Market and Cicchetti wine bar tour with Walks of Italy. This tour takes you around the Rialto fish market and into the artizan food shops with a stop at three different local bars to taste the cicchetti as well as restaurant recommendations from the local guide. I wish that we had been able to take this tour as I feel sure that our food experience in Venice would have been improved had we been armed with some insider knowledge.

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Read about how to eat well in Venice

Some more Venice recommendations

The Go with Oh apartment we stayed in was one that I won through Murissa’s blog at The Wanderful Traveller in the Passports with Purpose fundraiser. Murissa knows Venice well and kindly made me some recommendations of where to eat in Venice;

Hilton Molino Stucky Venice
If you don’t mind your kids drinking a bit of prossecco and toasting to what an amazing city you’ve all traveled to then head up to the top of this hotel. There is a bar that has a picturesque pool and overlooks the entire city of Venice. Take the Zattere water bus stop over to Stucky.

Osteria Enoteca ai Artisti
You’ll find this recommendation in your Eat Venice app. Delicious and not too pricey food in a quaint location not far from where we stayed. http://www.enotecaartisti.com

Al Mercà (Rialto market area)
One of my favourite cicchetti bars – cheap and amazing sandwiches (the prosciutto is my favourite!), delicious prossecco, and a view of the hustle of the market/canal. Standing room only.

All’Arco (Rialto market area)
Family run cicchetti bar where you can eat local foods for very cheap. Cicchetti are Venetian snacks for cheap and have been served for hundreds of years. I personally love the deep fried mozzarella with fresh sardines but stuffed zucchinni flowers are divine as well. Good for lunch – mostly standing room only when you visit cicchetti bars.

Do Spade (Rialto Market area)
Where Casanova frequented in the mid 1700s. Delicious cicchetti, wine and beer. Locals and tourists alike. Just go up to the counter order and find a spot. Not far from the Rialto Bridge/Market.

Book a tour of Venice

We highly recommend Walks of Italy who offer a number of different tours in  Venice and other parts of Italy, which are ideal if you are only visiting for a short time. You’ll have an expert local guide to show you around and can often skip the queues at key sites. We took the 2 hour Venice Boat Tour which took us down the Grand Canal and many of the smaller canals with views of the key sites of Venice including a visit to the island of San Giorgio Maggiore where we climbed the bell tower with amazing views of Venice. Read my review of the Walks of Italy Boat Tour here.

Where to stay in Venice

For our 3 day stay in Venice I rented an apartment with Go with Oh and was able to use the €250 voucher that I won with Passports with Purpose blogger fundraiser. We chose this apartment in the San Marco district since it was so well located for all the main sites.

Thanks to Murissa from The Wonderful Traveller who hosted this prize contributed by Go with Oh and and for her tips on what to see in Venice. Passports with Purpose is a really worthwhile organisation which supports a different cause each year and you can win some really fabulous prizes so it’s definitely participating.

This article is originally published at Heatheronhertravels.com – Read the original article here

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