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Hotel Chais Monnet and Spa: french elegance meets slick modernity | Travel News | Travel



Hotel Chais Monnet and Spa: french elegance meets slick modernity | Travel News | Travel

This luxurious lodge opened in 2018. (Picture: Resort Chais Monnet and Spa)

The Vibe

At first look, my arrival on the Resort Chais Monnet and Spa doesn’t look like notably welcoming. Thick imposing partitions conceal what was as soon as a Nineteenth-century buying and selling home and cellars owned by Jean-Gabriel Monnet in 1898. When you’ve swept by the gates, you’ve entered an immaculately landscaped backyard of garden and decorative grasses neglected by two grand mansions – one a categorised monument. Past sit two arresting, up to date glass sq. buildings adorned with metal tendrils which resemble vines.

As a reminder you’re in France, two pristine iconic Citroen 2CVs (which visitors can use to pootle across the vineyards) sit on the entrance.

A couple of 90-minute prepare trip away from Bordeaux or La Rochelle, sitting simply exterior the city, the property is now within the succesful fingers of Javad Marandi (proprietor of movie star hangout Soho Farmhouse within the Cotswolds). He enlisted architect Didier Poignant to rework this industrial property right into a luxurious lodge which opened in 2018.

Many of the 92 rooms are reached by way of the huge glass atrium with authentic beams, a circular-glass elevator and a sweeping Hollywood-style staircase. It’s all been sensitively designed across the outdated buildings and adorned with dramatic trendy sculptural items. Regardless of its slick look, Chais Monnet is sublimely enjoyable.

Maybe it’s the sunshine streaming by the glass roof, the extremely discreet workers who hover silently, showing simply whenever you want them, or the pure pleasure of being on this quintessential a part of rural France, nevertheless it’s a heady mixture.

Hotel room

The lodge has 92 refined and cosy rooms. (Picture: Resort Chais Monnet and Spa)

Rooms are available 4 classes. There’s additionally a further 4 flats for bigger teams and an exquisite suite. All typify French magnificence and are available within the colors of the Cognac ageing course of – from warming ambers to deep tobacco tones.

Textured materials from Pierre Frey sit superbly towards pale oak furnishings with leather-based tops and herringbone flooring are topped with lovely rugs. 

Rooms are refined and cosy sanctuaries with little out of doors seating areas. There are cabinets galore, lovely sofas and chairs, mini bars, even monogrammed writing paper. Nothing has been neglected and the luxurious bogs include toiletries from Grasse perfumer, Fragonard.

Meals and Drink

You’ll be dizzy earlier than you even strive a sip of one of many 220 completely different Cognacs on the elevated bar in Le 1838, the previous cooperage. It has a gents’s club-meets grandcountry-house vibe with chesterfields, brass devices and cowskincovered ottomans.

If the climate’s positive, there’s additionally a rooftop bar with sweeping views throughout city. Chais Monnet’s fine-dining restaurant, Les Foudres, has simply been awarded a Michelin star and this 12 months, for the primary time exterior Paris, the Michelin information will likely be launched in Cognac. That’s some recognition.

Hotel bar

Trendy Le 1838 cocktail bar is about within the outdated cooperage. (Picture: Resort Chais Monnet and Spa)

Chais Monnet’s Head Chef Marc-Antoine Lepage is a grasp at creating culinary masterpieces but additionally artistically visible creations. The elegant restaurant sits within the ageing cellars below 100-year-old barrels.

A taster of the menu consists of artichoke cream ravioli, line-caught wild turbot and veal cooked in a crust of bread. The five-course tasting menu prices €135.

For one thing slightly extra relaxed, La Distillery, with its closely beamed roof, picket tables and tiled flooring, affords all of the French classics, from snails and oysters, to steaks, duck and guinea fowl. Starters from €14, mains, €22. And for a fast pick-me-up after touring the Cognac distillers, the Angelique cafe does a depraved afternoon tea served by the completely charming Brit, David.


Housed in one of many glass buildings, start your wellness journey within the spa both within the inviting indoor/out of doors pool, Jacuzzi or the array of “bathe experiences” which features a tranquil waterfall full with tropical birdsong and heat waters, earlier than the heavens open and a monster storm with lightning and thunder rains down. 5 rooms supply all the pieces from salt scrubs to deep massages. In case you fancy one thing extra intense, there’s a gymnasium with all you want. Physique exfoliation from €130.

woman getting massage

Calm down within the spa with a remedy or two. (Picture: Resort Chais Monnet and Spa)

THE DEAL: Double rooms at Chais Monnet Resort & Spa begin from £220, room solely, Excursions might be aranged by way of the lodge.

Extra to see and do

There’s a lot extra to Cognac than Cognac. Right here’s a taster of issues and locations to not miss:

  • Chais Monnet sits minutes from the city. Meander by the winding streets, lined with lovely shuttered buildings, Twelfth-century church buildings and boutiques. Seize a bicycle on the lodge for a pootle alongside the riverside promenade, residence to traditional Cognac homes, Martell, Hennessy and, additional on the town, Remy Martin.

  • Sail alongside the waters of the Charente River on a reproduction of a picket crusing boat, the Gabarre. The boats sailed within the 18th and Nineteenth centuries transporting items reminiscent of wine, stone and salt. Today, you’ll have the river nearly to your self as you glide alongside.

  • Cognac is residence to fifteen cognac homes and there are additionally greater than 4,000 winegrowers within the area, and its greatest export market is the US due to their love of a cocktail. The Queen sources her cognac from Thomas Hine and Co based in 1763 the place Cellar Grasp Eric has been mixing cognacs for 20 years. There are extra variations than you would possibly suppose, and with older ones, reminiscent of VSOP (very particular outdated pale), the richer and smoother it turns into. Unsurprisingly a tour culminates in a marathon tasting of six varieties.

  • The smaller, fourth-generation Cognac Home, Painturaud Freres, within the fairly city of Segonzac, has an cute distillery and you may even take pleasure in a picnic within the winery earlier than taking a tour of its “engine room”. Proper now it’s harvest time and they’re busy beginning the distillation course of.

  • The breakfast of French champions is oysters with balsamic vinegar, washed down with a crisp white wine. The tiny hilltop village of Bouteville, round a 20-minute drive from Cognac, is residence to France’s solely balsamic vinegar producer, Le Baume de Bouteville. Teaming up with Huitres Cocollos run by French- Irishman, Jacques Cocollos, they provide tastings with each French and Irish oysters, of their distillery.

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This charming city on Lake Como is the place Italians go to flee the summer time crowds



This charming city on Lake Como is the place Italians go to flee the summer time crowds

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Louise Thomas

Lake Como has lengthy been a preferred getaway for holidaymakers looking for a chic lakeside retreat, with the cities of Bellagio and Como attracting tens, if not tons of, of 1000’s of tourists a yr.

Its enchantment is in no way new. Lake Como was one of many main luxurious European hotspots of the Sixties, offering a haven for Hollywood stars and rich households eager to flee the town. Winston Churchill got here right here to color after the conflict and Verdi was impressed to jot down La Traviata on these very banks.

Right this moment, signs of luxury abound – personal boats dot a lake surrounded by waterfront mansions, and there’s a Ferrari round each nook. The wealthy and well-known flock to the lake each summer time, with the likes of George and Amal Clooney, Tom Cruise, Madonna, and Sylvester Stallone all having fun with the shores of Como. Lake Como has a wealthy status, and the crowds and infrequently exorbitant costs replicate that.

Nevertheless, Lake Como isn’t simply made up of high-end tourist-filled hotspots. Alongside the 30-mile-long lake, you could find culturally historic cities resembling Lecco, Sorico, Menaggio, and Domaso that present a respite from the oppressive crowds. In any case, a part of the magic of escaping to a lakeside city or mountainous refuge is to get in contact with nature, not be jostled by the hordes making an attempt to get the proper lakefront picture.

Como winds for 30 miles through Lecco, Sorico and Menaggio
Como winds for 30 miles by means of Lecco, Sorico and Menaggio (Getty Photographs/iStockphoto)

Simply south of Varenna lies the city of Lecco, beloved by Italians in search of a Lake Como getaway. The city itself feels small and the centre is walkable – you may get from the practice station to the ferry terminal in simply 10 minutes on foot.

That’s to not say that there isn’t a wealth of retailers, bakeries, and eating places that you could dive into. You’ll discover massive title European shops like H&M, Calzedonia, and Carrefour supermarkets blended in with native impartial clothes and bookshops. The shortage of touristy stands is obvious. Not like Bellagio, you received’t discover stalls promoting fridge magnets and trinkets on each nook.

There are additionally the everyday Italian piazzas, resembling Piazza Garibaldi, the place you possibly can take pleasure in an espresso with a pastry whereas listening to a busker play. Afterwards, wander alongside the lakefront promenade with its well-maintained cycle lanes and rows of flowers with a beneficiant scoop of gelato from Capo Horn Gelateria Artigianale. For the primary eating places and bars like Bottega del Maiale, L’EK Bistrot, and Cardamomo Persian Palace Lecco, head to Piazza Septembre the place you’ll discover alfresco eating areas and common stay music simply a few streets again from the lakefront.

Learn extra on Italy travel:

A brief wander to the lakefront is rewarded with awe-inspiring views of the encompassing mountains, resembling Monte Rosa, Monviso, and Adamello, and you may typically discover households and {couples} sitting on the shoreline having fun with a picnic because the solar goes down.

Every part right here strikes slightly slower. You’ll be able to simply whereas away hours with a beneficiant glass of Sforzato di Valtellina or Franciacorta and people-watch in the primary sq. of Palazzo delle Paure. For panoramas of the lake and mountains, take a passeggiata to the Lungolago di Lecco viewpoint with its medieval ruins.

Whereas there may be far more selection by way of lodging in Bellagio and Como, together with extra chain lodges and massive manufacturers, when you’re in search of reasonably priced luxurious, there are many good choices in Lecco such because the Lodge Griso and Lodge Villa Cipresi.

The area surrounding Lecco is full of hiking trails, cycling routes and other opportunities for outdoor activities
The realm surrounding Lecco is filled with mountaineering trails, biking routes and different alternatives for outside actions (Rebecca Crowe)

The lake and the encompassing mountains are glorious for hiking and climbing, with the Nibbio crag that’s well-liked with climbers inside a half hour’s drive. Close by trails embody the intimidating Magnodeno Mountain, Monte Barro and the tranquil Sentiero delle Pozze (or Path of the Swimming pools) the place you possibly can take a dip in pure swimming pools all alongside the route.

A  hike to Piani d’Erna or Monte Resegone is a good way to construct up an urge for food for scrumptious, and reasonably priced, native fare resembling pizzoccheri alla Valtellinese, creamy polenta dishes, and unctuous risotto.

The place to remain

Lecco Hostel & Rooms

For an reasonably priced Lake Como expertise, Lecco Hostel and Rooms provides shiny, trendy widespread areas and a mixture of comfortable personal rooms and dorm beds, only a kilometre from the primary practice station. The hostel additionally advantages from an exquisite backyard, a spacious shared lounge, co-working areas, and an onsite restaurant.

Casa al Lago

Lots of the high locations to remain in Lecco are vacation properties and residence leases. Casa al Lago has the most effective places on the town, proper on the lakefront. This small however stunning one-bedroom residence has a balcony that appears straight out throughout Lake Como, instantly reverse the ferry terminal in the course of city.

HLL Lodge Lungolago Lecco

If you wish to keep proper by the gorgeous Lungolago di Lecco viewpoint, contemplate reserving a keep at HLL Hotel Lungolago Lecco. With the favored Tabula Rosa restaurant being connected to the lodge, a location simply steps from the lakefront promenade, and beautiful balcony views, it’s undoubtedly the most effective locations to remain in Lecco.

Easy methods to get there

Essentially the most handy route includes flying into Milan Malpensa Airport (MXP) or Milan Bergamo Airport (BGY). British Airways, ITA, easyJet, and Ryanair fly from throughout the UK with a flight time of slightly below two hours.

After a 45-minute practice from Malpensa to Milan, or a 17-minute bus from Bergamo airport to Bergamo, you possibly can take a direct practice to Lecco. From both Bergamo or Milan, this takes 40 minutes, with 58 trains a day from Milan and round 29 from Bergamo.

Getting round

For journeys across the lake, there are 29 trains a day between Varenna and Lecco in addition to 4-6 ferries per day between Lecco and Bellagio (relying on the day).

The city’s practice station has direct and frequent traces into Varenna simply north of the city, and into Bergamo and Milan, which are perfect for day journeys or for heading out to the airport. Prepare tickets to Milan price simply 5 euros every manner and you may be within the centre of the town inside an hour.

Learn extra on why you should pick North Macedonia for a lakeside break

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Savannah vs Charleston: which Southern metropolis is greatest?



Savannah vs Charleston: which Southern metropolis is greatest?

It is arduous to search out two extra stunning cities within the USA than Savannah, Georgia, and Charleston, South Carolina.

The proximity – roughly two hours aside by automobile – and related historic character of those standard Southern gems have led to many comparisons, however when you’ve solely received restricted time, how do you select which one to go to? In a pleasant spirit of competitors, we requested two journey writers to make the case for the place they love essentially the most. Let’s examine how the 2 cities stack up.

Pastel-colored houses and palm trees on a street on a sunny day
Charleston is filled with Southern allure. Martina Birnbaum / Getty Photos

Sorry Savannah, Charleston is holier than thou

A local of Fredericksburg, Virginia, and resident of Fort Lauderdale, Florida, Jesse Scott has visited Charleston dozens of occasions by the many years. He has written extensively on town in addition to the state of South Carolina for Lonely Planet.

Charleston has been a daily household vacation spot for this East Coast lifer since I used to be a time, and now, at 38 years outdated, my spouse and I return, typically with buddies in tow, at each doable second. Certain, the origins of its “Holy Metropolis” moniker are ingrained in its steeple-loaded skyline, however greater than 350 years into its existence, it’s true heaven on each cultural stage.

In a nod to Savannah’s baseball team, selecting the Georgia metropolis over Charleston could be, effectively, bananas. Enjoyable truth: Charleston’s RiverDogs are co-owned by native/icon/common man of awesomeness, Invoice Murray, who’s the staff’s – look ahead to it – Director of Enjoyable. Constructing on Murray’s title, Charleston is fuuuuuuuuuun (9 extra Us worthy than Savannah). It is a true faculty city finished proper: townies and vacationers mesh fantastically with the inhabitants of College of Charleston for a nonstop, Southern-charmed buzz. The unending panorama of rooftop bars, a mixture of historic and modern inns, cobblestone streets, palmettos and posh boutiques solely full the vibe. It is best on show through the SEWE wildlife festival the place, amongst different issues, the DockDogs Competitors entails lovely sporting canine leaping and flying by the air so far as they’ll, earlier than splashing down into swimming pools beneath.

Cars parked on a street with historic architecture in downtown Charleston, South Carolina
Charleston is a university city with nonstop Southern allure. f11photo / Shutterstock

Yeah, yeah, yeah, Savannah is loaded with seen historical past. However perceive that Charleston is a metropolis of so many firsts and bests, which make it that rather more particular. At Fort Sumter looming off its coast have been the primary photographs of the Civil Battle. On the location of the Country Club of Charleston, the nation’s first golf membership was born. It is a blast to walk and bike over the Arthur Ravenel Jr. Bridge, which is the longest cable-stayed bridge within the nation.

And, one way or the other, someway, now we have made it this far with out addressing Charleston’s OMG-worthy culinary scene. Holy Metropolis is broadly considered “the meals capital of the South.” That is the birthplace of sherry-dashed, cream-alicious she-crab soup in addition to Planters Punch, a rum-loaded, pineapple-y concoction that all the time turns a frown the wrong way up. Georgia could declare to be the Peach State, however, ahem, South Carolina is definitely a much bigger producer. Be it downing a peach bellini (or three) at Carmella’s Café and Dessert Bar or a bourbon-doused peach cobbler at Poogan’s Porch, it is all the time a peach (actually).

The variety of Charleston’s foodie scene is actually hanging. On the snag-and-go gamut, the oft-long queue at Callie’s Hot Little Biscuit on King St for a scorching, handmade morsel is all the time price it. In relation to elaborate eating, spots like Honeysuckle Rose are serving up Michelin star-worthy, eight-course tasting menus with wine pairings on the bottom stage of a comfy home on town’s westside. And, whereas we’re at it, the truth that Charleston does not have a Michelin Information of its personal by this level is a borderline atrocity.

Past all of its multisensory bliss, it actually is the individuals of Charleston which might be the glue of a visit to town. You are positive to get somewhat twang, historical past, allure and persona in any interplay you pursue. The trendy Charleston is various, has a inventive edge and is infectious to locals and guests alike – Southern metropolis perfection.

A sidewalk lined with old-fashiond lampposts is sheltered by Spanish moss drooping from the trees above
Savannah has laid-back vibes and character at each flip. joe daniel value / Getty Photos

Savannah has the artsy edge on Charleston

Caroline Eubanks is a journey author from Atlanta, Georgia, and the writer of This Is My South: The Important Journey Information to the Southern States. She could have lived in Charleston for a time, however Savannah is her most popular getaway.

Regardless of residing in Charleston in my twenties, today, I want the artsy neighborhoods, classic purchasing and funky cocktail bars of the Hostess Metropolis. My first visit was a few years in the past, and regardless that I nonetheless discover one thing new to do every journey, each time I’m going, I be sure to sip and snack by the Forsyth Park Farmers Market and eat as a lot recent seafood as doable on Tybee Island. 

Whereas each Charleston and Savannah are coastal locales, they’ve loads of variations that set them aside. Savannah is extra laid-back. Charleston’s King St is now crammed with nationwide chain outlets, however Savannah’s Broughton St continues to be largely native. You possibly can choose up crystals from Mystic Apothecary earlier than making a customized scent on the Story Fragrance Library. Wander the Paris Market and discover one thing particular from Levy Jewelers, which has been domestically owned since 1900. 

Charleston has a well-earned repute for its culinary scene, however Savannah has equally unimaginable eating places. James Beard award-winning chef Mashama Bailey’s the Grey is only one of them, situated within the metropolis’s former Greyhound bus depot. Mrs. Wilkes Dining Room has earned the America’s Classics title, and Elizabeth on thirty seventh was acknowledged for its excellent service. There are numerous extra that have not been honored with the large awards however deserve reward, like my favorites, Crystal Beer Parlor, Sea Wolf and the Black Rabbit

Savannah additionally pays homage to its heritage, particularly the historical past of the Gullah-Geechee communities which have inhabited the Sea Islands for generations. The Pin Point Heritage Museum is ready within the former warehouse of a neighborhood shrimp and oyster firm and options displays on the language, foodways and historical past of Gullah-Geechee individuals.  

Town has a long-running connection to the humanities and is dwelling to the Savannah Faculty of Artwork and Design, one of many nation’s main arts establishments. The school has its personal wonderful museum and the two-building Telfair Museums, with its well-known Chicken Woman statue from the duvet of the bestselling e book set in Savannah, Midnight within the Backyard of Good and Evil

Lights from buildings reflected in the Savannah River at dusk
River St, alongside the Savannah River, comes alive within the evenings. Sean Pavone / Shutterstock

The neighborhoods are its greatest asset, the place you possibly can go to the cool native spots. The historic district is clearly the preferred because it contains the big-name museums and eating places, plus the open container district on River St, one thing that Charleston does not have. Colourful Starland District has a document store, pinball arcade, a Texas-themed bar, and Starland Yard, an open-air meals corridor made up of transformed transport containers. Within the Victorian District, you possibly can watch glass blowers in motion, eat at Betty Bombers, a diner inside an American Legion, and admire town’s most stunning properties.

I additionally love that you could spend a weekend in Savannah with out breaking the financial institution, one thing I can not do in Charleston. Most motels there begin at $200, however Savannah has the fashionable however cheap motel vibes on the Thunderbird Inn and the scenic campground at Skidaway Island State Park. Staying in Midtown, on Tybee Island, and throughout the harbor can even save money.

Like Charleston, Savannah is often explored on foot, however the metropolis has a well-connected bus system, together with two routes that loop across the historic district and a ferry to Hutchinson Island. For those who’re touring by automobile, you may have to concentrate to the one-way streets, however I can normally discover road parking and am not spending a fortune on a parking deck, one thing I am unable to say in Charleston. 

I nonetheless maintain Charleston near my coronary heart, however in the case of town that most closely fits my persona, today, it is received to be Savannah. 

This text was first printed Could 23, 2019 and up to date Jul 22, 2024.

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Most airways besides one are recovering from the CrowdStrike tech outage. The feds have observed – ABC Information



Most airways besides one are recovering from the CrowdStrike tech outage. The feds have observed – ABC Information

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