Hotel review: Le Dokhan’s Paris

Le Dokhan’s Paris, located between Trocadero and Champs Elysees, is part of the Starwood Group of Hotels, under the Tribute Portfolio collection. A five star hotel, originally built as a residence in the 18th century, it was our choice mainly due to its wonderful location (walking distance to the Eiffel Tower), but also as we are SPG members. SPG is the Starwood Preferred Guest loyalty program. Our closest station was Trocadero.

When I first read about the hotel, what caught my attention was that it houses Paris’s first and oldest champagne bar, which has also featured in the World’s Best Bars list as well as the World’s Best Champagne Bars. The dream!

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Le Dokhan’s has 45 chic guest rooms, including four suites, across six floors that are accessed by a famous Louis Vuitton elevator.

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To our delight, when we checked in we were upgraded to the Ming Suite, which was on the 6th floor of the hotel. We took the Louis Vuitton elevator (YES CAN YOU BELIEVE IT) up to the 6th floor and were in awe of how pretty the décor was. From the large windows we had a view of the Eiffel Tower which was an extra bonus.

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The room was decked out with lots of amenities and we had a Nespresso machine for that all important morning coffee, a hairdryer, toiletries from Korres, a lovely mini lounge area, a TV and a desk. Wifi is complimentary which is always a plus!

 

The bathroom was spacious and bright and had a tub with an overhead shower. Everything had a modern feel and was luxurious.

My favourite aspect though wasthat they had left a Samsung Smart phone with data on it in the room for us to use when we went out exploring which was incredibly handy for navigating around. I thought this was a really nice touch. You could even make free calls from it and use it to order cabs.

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While we were settling in the room after check in, there was a knock on the door and we were given an invitation for 2 Complimentary glasses of Champagne of our choice as well as 2 Macarons to indulge in. This is the type of service from the Starwood Group of Hotels that keeps me loyal!

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The Champagne bar is the venue for breakfast at the hotel in the morning. The bar itself opens at 6pm and we headed there later that evening to relax and enjoy a glass. I had a glass of Champagne in a gorgeous coupe glass whilst Amit changed his option for a classic Gin and Tonic instead. What was lovely was that the bartender came over with a tray of different Champagne glasses and asked me to pick one. Some were truly fancy and I had never seen glasses like that before!

Although we didn’t have breakfast at the hotel as we had our heart set on going to get fresh bread and pastries from a Boulangerie in the morning, I can imagine that it was really good as when we walked past in the morning there were a lot of happy faces in the restaurant/bar area and a lovely aroma.

In terms of the room, the bed was so comfortable! I had a really good night’s sleep after a day of exploring and walking around the City of Light. The size of the room wasn’t the biggest for a suite but Parisians sure know how to meticulously decor and fit everything in that we had everything we could have possibly wanted.

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Downstairs near the reception, is a comfortable lounge area complete with a roaring fireplace. It was the perfect spot to come and sit with a book to unwind. It was rather difficult to get up once we had made ourselves comfortable!

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I loved my stay at Le Dokhan’s. Whilst more a boutique hotel, its location is absolutely perfect, prices are so reasonable for a 5 star hotel and the service was exemplary. Plus you are super close to a global award winning Champagne Bar! C’est parfait!

There were so many restaurants in close proximity to the hotel and our favourite was literally across the road, a French Bistro called  Ducale Café on 110 rue Lauriston. I highly recommend the French Onion Soup there!

Disclaimer: We received an upgrade. We had pre-paid for a room however all views and photos are my own.

Paris is always a good idea! What to do in a weekend in the City of Lights

Paris is always a good idea! This quote rings so true as every time we visit the City of Lights we come back utterly refreshed and happy. This was our fourth visit to Paris and we decided to go for a cheeky weekend break and left London on Saturday morning  and returned Sunday evening.

If you check in advance you can get some pretty decent deals on the Eurostar and you just have to live once and book those tickets! I always favour going on the Eurostar over flying as you get the scenic route as well as arrive at Gare Du Nord which is so convenient. For the amount of time you save it is worth it.

In terms of location, we decided to stay centrally so that we could walk around and lucky for us the weather forecast was pretty positive and we had some decent sunshine and blue skies. We had a fantastic time revisiting the main sites we had been to on our previous visits as well as trying out different Bistros.  I would recommend getting a metro ticket as it is so easy to use!

Based on our weekend in Paris, here are my suggestions of what to do.

The Eiffel Tower

The Eiffel Tower is always so magnificent to look at no matter how many times you visit Paris. There are 3 places I love observing it from. On the ground at its base, from a viewpoint at Trocadero station, and from the Jardin des Tuileries.

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Jardin des Tuileries

The Jardin des Tuileries are so beautiful and strolling through them is a real pleasure. I would recommend purchasing some French treats such as Macarons or pastries and sitting down and people watching whilst indulging. There are different spaces where there are chairs available too so you could just settle down with a good book and relax.

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The Louvre Museum

The Louvre Museum is the most well-known Parisian museum and is the city’s heart. It is a must visit whether you are an art lover or not as it is full of treasures and even looks beautiful from the outside!

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Arc De Triomphe 

If you are feeling fit enough you can actually go to the top of the Arc De Triomphe for panoramic views of the city. It is equally as nice observing from the various avenues leading up to it.

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The Avenue des Champs-Élysées

My favourite shopping avenue in Paris is the Avenue des Champs-Élysées which houses some amazing shops, restaurants and definitely the place to be if you want to splurge or treat yourself. You can make a pit stop at Laduree for some Macarons and tea too.

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Eat at a French Bistro

Our favourite places to eat are in French Bistros, and we had a really good one called Ducale Café on 110 rue Lauriston which had the most immense French Onion Soup ever. The rest of the food was equally as good and our second favourite was Camembert with Honey and Thyme. When in France you have got to make the most of all that amazing cheese.

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Eat Macarons

When in Paris you have got to treat yourself to some Macarons. My personal Favourites are Laduree, Carette and Pierre Hermes.

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Visit Les Deux Plateaux at Palais royale

Les Deux Plateaux, more commonly known as the Colonnes de Buren, is a highly controversial art installation created by the French artist Daniel Buren in the 80’s and is located in the inner courtyard (Cour d’Honneur) of the Palais Royal. It is also very instagrammable and perfect for photos.

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Have a glass of bubbly at Paris’s first champagne bar at Le Dokhan

Le Dokhan was Paris’s first and is still the oldest Champagne bar and can be found in a prime location, between the avenue des Champs-Élysées and Trocadéro. It has also won accolades in the World’s Best Bars list and is definitely worth a visit.

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Have fresh bread and pastries from a Boulangerie 

Our favourite thing to do when in Paris is wake up early and buy bread from a Boulangerie. On this trip we had one within walking distance  of our hotel and it was so good! We bought a baguette, as well as some cheesy pastries followed by a selection of mini cakes. The choice inside the Boulangerie was unbelievably good and we literally were finding everything irresistible. There is always one within walking distance so definitely go exploring the day before so you have one to go to in the morning.

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Bonus tip: If you have longer than a weekend you can also visit Disneyland Paris by taking a train from Gare Du Nord. It is such fun and it doesn’t matter how old you are!

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What are your favourite things to do in Paris? I would love to know in the comments below xx

Top 10 things to do in Athens

Athens is so perfect for a city break and we spent 4 days in this eclectic, vibrant and cultural city which boasts ancient monuments that I promise will leave you in awe. It is also an European city you can visit all year round – we visited in January and had fabulous blue skies throughout our trip!

Here are a list of my top 7 suggestions to do in Athens based on our trip.

1. The Parthenon

You cannot visit Athens and not go to the Acropolis to see the Parthenon, one of the wonders of the ancient world. This site was dedicated to the goddess Athena and was completed in 436 BC and is generally considered to be the most important remaining building of Classical Greece as well as a symbol of western civilization.

It was top on my list of sites to visit, part of the reason we chose Athens as a destination, and it is truly spectacular to see. We spent a couple of hours here and it is a great place to kick off your sightseeing in Athens.

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2. Erechtheion

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On the north side of the Acropolis, on a slope, lies an ancient Greek temple which is made entirely of marble with stunning carvings. This is called there the Erechtheion, and was dedicated to both Athena and Poseidon. The views from here are absolutely breathtaking.

3. Acropolis Museum

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We weren’t allowed to take photos inside the Acropolis museum, but we spent some time going through the various floors of this impressive museum.

It enables you to delve deeper into the history sounding Greece as well as the Acropolis and you can see various artefacts which paint a picture of what life in that era was like.

4. Plaka


Close to the Acropolis is one of the oldest neighborhoods in Athens which is fantastic to walk through. You will find a plethora of shops ranging from touristy ones to some superb artisan ones. There are also restaurants where you can sit alfresco and enjoy a variety of cuisines. You will come across ancient Greek and Roman ruins amongst your wanders as well as some beautiful old buildings with stunning architecture.

5. Eat Traditional Greek Food

Whilst in Athens, there is no excuse not to try some classic traditional Greek dishes such as the Greek Salad, Moussaka and Spinach pie. The feta cheese I tried was unlike no other I had had before and was just sensational. The olive oil is worth purchasing and taking home too once you have tasted it! You will never buy it from the supermarkets back home again.

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6. Enjoy Athens at night

At night, Athens sparkles with its various lights and lit up view of the Acropolis, no matter what side of the city you are in. There are various roof top bars and restaurants where you can relax while taking in the night views. Pictured below is the Galaxy Bar and Restaurant at the Hilton Athens, located in central Athens.

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7. Eat Greek Street Food – Koulouri

Whilst wandering the streets, you will find several stalls selling different food. Be sure to try some out! My personal favourite was Koulouri, which is a popular breakfast snack for Greeks to grab and eat on the go as they are not traditional breakfast eaters. It is a bread ring covered in toasted sesame seeds. Relatively simple but so good!

We came across this stand outside Zara on Ermou Street in Syntagma and the Koulouri was divine!

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8. Athens Central Market

A visit to the hectic,  lively and buzzing Central market on Athinas Street is a must to see the variety of fish, meat and vegetables on offer. This is a historical market and plays an important role in supplying homes and restaurants in Athens. What we learned was that the Greek favour fish over meat and have an incredibly healthy lifestyle.

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9. The Temple Of Poseidon at Sounion

On a hill overlooking the Aegean sea at the very tip of the Attiki Peninsula, just an hour’s drive from central Athens, lies the spectacular Temple of Poseidon. Whilst exploring, try and find the graffiti by Lord Byron too!


The views from here were superb and we visited on a breezy day in January, and were lucky to have had a lovely bright day. It can get chilly there so do take some warm clothing just in case! It is so worth it and there is a lovely coffee shop where you can chill after visiting the site.

10. Shopping and lunch in Glyfada

Get your shopping fix in Glyfada, where you can wander the streets and shop at places like Sephora (much to my excitement) and other high street and designer brands. Only around a 40 minute drive from central Athens and close to the seaside.

There are so many lovely cafes and restaurants in the area, and we ate at a lovely Greek restaurant called Mezze.

Have you visited Athens? What were your favourite things to do? I would love to know in the comments section below.

 

5 Romantic Things to do in London

London is full of romance, whether you are dining at the city’s finest restaurants, taking in its seductive views from different sites, or trying out brand new experiences. Here are my 5 favourite romantic things to do in my favourite city.

Go sightseeing 

I can never tire of London and there is nothing more romantic than strolling hand in hand walking around the city marvelling at its grand sights.

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There are so many lovely vantage points for some of the finest views. You could even go for a ride on the London Eye or take a boat ride on the Thames Clipper.  I challenge you to find the best spots, whether at sunrise, sunset or in the middle of the day, and do let me know in the comments section below! I would recommend starting off at Southbank!

A Cheese and Wine Date

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Sharing an epic cheese board whilst sipping on wine and sherry in a gorgeous restaurant? Yes now you can have someone prepare the ultimate cheese board for you while you just relax and stare at each other lovingly at The Montagu restaurant at The Hyatt Regency – The Churchill.

The experience is fantastic and so interactive. You learn so much about the cheese, which are the finest from Alsop & Walker, and it is a truly unique and fun way to spend an evening.

Fun fact, Winston Churchill used to indulge in a cheese platter almost every day! A lovely fact to use as an ice breaker or to impress your date with!

I absolutely loved my experience and you can read about it in depth here.

To make a booking click here.

Cocktails with a view

Take your romance to new heights by sharing cocktails with a rather spectacular view of all the key landmarks in London from the 31st floor, at  Aqua Shard. Not only are the cocktails delicious, the restaurant and bar area are stunning and the view…doesn’t get better than this! No better way to spend time soaking up London’s sexy skyline with a cocktail in hand.

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The best bit is there is no need to book if you are going for drinks so go if you haven’t been!  They also have a brilliant breakfast, lunch, dinner and afternoon tea menu if you want to make it extra special but you will need to book for that.

For more information and to book click here.

Table for two at an Italian restaurant

For me every time I think of a romantic meal, the image of the kissing scene from the Lady and the Tramp comes to mind, where they are sharing spaghetti.

While I prefer pizza and tagliatelle or pappardelle, Italian food shouts romance to me and my current favourite and recommendation is Fucina.

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The food is marvellous, the ambience is lovely and very romantic, the restaurant is pretty and the service is excellent. For my review click here.

“Press for Champagne” at Bob Bob Ricard

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A restaurant where you can press a button to order more Champagne? Your date will definitely be suitably impressed. The food is fantastic but  please do save space for the dessert, especially the Signature Chocolate Glory! You won’t be disappointed.

For more information click here.

If you have any suggestions for romantic things to do in London would love to hear them in the comments section below.

 

My Top 6 Travel Outtakes – funny moments and disasters

From my photos on Instagram, my tweets and my Facebook updates, everyone probably thinks my travels consist of me sipping mojitos, sun bathing on a beach or eating at lovely restaurants as well as trying to see as much of the destination as possible. A lot of that is true but there are also some behind the scene aspects that you never get to see.

This post contains some awful pictures so if you need a good laugh or are having a bad day hopefully this will produce some light humour.

The pictures that will NEVER EVER make it on Instagram

First of all, there are some photos that will NEVER make it on Instagram! Such as the food photos below – I am actually upset with myself because I went for lunch at the Hotel Chocolat restaurant in St Lucia and forgot my camera so had to use my phone (iPhone 5 at the time) to take these food photos.

Safe to say you will never find a review on this particular lunch either for this reason!

Then there is the result of TOO many Mojitos in Mauritius combined with a lack of straightener and voila you get me looking like a hungover and curly mess LOL

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And finally, the below was taken in Vienna, when I gave up on fashion because it was too darn cold and donned a hat to save my ears from frost bite. I don’t think anyone has seen me in a hat since.

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The original photo and the edited version

Ever find the most instagrammable spot (this one was in Lisbon) and then someone just annoyingly sits in the middle refusing to move and ruining your shot while you wait patiently for 20 minutes?

Take the photo……

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…And then crop them out!

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The before and after shots

Everyone has seen the picture of me kissing a giraffe in Nairobi, Kenya (repeatedly) and I love that photo…because well I am kissing a giraffe.

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However, the truth was different…

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I was actually freaked out by its raspy tongue LOL

The holiday flings

Much to my husband’s despair, a lot of our time on holiday is me running after goats, sheep and cats. Yes I am weird but you all knew that already.

Take Tom (yes I name them all too)…we met, fell in love and were pretty inseparable for around an hour. An hour which could have been spent looking at slightly more exotic animals like tigers or bears!

 

Not forgetting all my holiday cats! If I see a cat that’s it. Toby turned up on our last evening in Mauritius and not only did I ensure he slept in our verandah that night (and he actually did…the loyal sweety), I cancelled all my plans to go swimming, sunbathing and out for lunch on our last day to sit there with him right up until the time we had to leave for the airport.

I think I might need c0unselling!

The truth behind the photo

During the afternoon tea we had at the Giraffe Manor in Nairobi, Kenya, the resident Warthog decided he wanted to join our party.

I don’t know what came over me that day because I am never scared of animals, but I totally freaked myself and my mum out to the point my mum ran inside the hotel and I climbed up on the chair thinking that it was going to eat me alive. The poor warthog just stood there bemused and not sure what to make of me!

After a while I realised he just wanted cake and let him be. Him and the other warthogs were actually cute and cheeky little chaps.

The golf wife

Finally, when you are married to a golfer you become the caddy and a whole day of your trip goes into you driving (with him constantly criticizing your driving) him and a golf kit around a golf course. The not so glamourous part of my holidays such as this day in St Lucia.

 

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So there you have some behind the scenes of what actually goes down on our holidays! Do you have any funny moments that have happened on your holidays or aspects you will never reveal on social media? I would love to know in the comments section below.

How to link up your post
 
Just pop your post up over the first week of the month (the 1st – 7th February), add it to the link up widget – found on either Polly’sAngie‘s, Emma’s or on Eppie’s blogs – from the 1st of the month.
As ever, there are no rules – all we ask is that you check out some of the other cool bloggers that are involved in that months travel link up; make a few comments here and there and tweet a few of the posts out to your followers that you think they will love. It’s always a great way to meet some new travel bloggers and share some blogging joy!

 

Lunch at the Kitchen – Lux Le Morne

While we were staying in Mauritius, we took a stroll down the beach from our hotel, the St Regis, and came across the 5 star Lux Le Morne hotel, which also had a dramatic view of the majestic Le Morne.

Le Morne is an UNESCO World Heritage site and the location of the hotel is highly privileged as the beach surrounding it has white, powder soft sand and is spectacular.

We were feeling peckish so we wandered in and asked if we could have lunch there, as there was a beautiful decking area with a gorgeous view of Le Morne. The restaurant was called the Kitchen and is the hotel’s central restaurant.

While we decided what to eat, we nibbled on bread that arrived with a choice of dips.

For drinks I went for a Mojito and Amit tried the local beer, Blue Marlin. The Mojito was not the best I have had and was slightly on the strong bitter side. It was still refreshing on a hot day.

The heat was intense in Mauritius so we opted for lighter dishes for our lunch. The first one was a Papaya Salad and carrot, which was served inside a rice leaf pouch and drizzled with olive oil and with a pink peppercorn crunch. It was lovely and tangy.

Amit opted for a less lighter option and went for a club sandwich with a side of chips and coleslaw. He loved that everything tasted so fresh and the chips (I stole a few) were amazing.

The second of the lighter options was Vietnamese rice spring rolls, which were filled with vegetables and a light soya dressing. It was delish! It was massive too and surprisingly very filling.

The restaurant location was stunning and we found it to be a lovely relaxing spot to have lunch with the sea breeze and the beautiful view.

This was our palm fringed view of the sea on one side which was stunning. It is also a dolphin territory but unfortunately we didn’t spot any that day.

We really enjoyed our lunch and it was nice to try somewhere different so if you are staying around Le Morne during a trip to Mauritius, it is worth checking out the Kitchen at Lux Le Morne.

For more information on Lux Le Morne click here.