The honey-stone walls of Oxford city centre conjure all kinds of wishes and whimsy – and each time that I’ve stayed overnight in Oxford, it’s like slipping into an architectural Narnia. Disclaimer: On this visit I was an invited guest of Mercure Hotels and Experience Oxfordshire, but all thoughts and laboured literary metaphors are very much my own.
Oxford is one of those cities that seems unaffected by the passing of time.
One of the main reasons for going up to stay at the lovely Tewkesbury Park (a full review of our hotel stay here) was to try the delicious dishes served in the newly refurbished Mint Restaurant. Disclaimer: We were invited to spend a weekend at Tewkesbury Park but all thoughts, images and fork twirlings are very much my own.
Hotel restaurants can be hit and miss – we stayed in a hotel a fortnight later that didn’t hold a candle to just how delicious Mint Restaurant at Tewkesbury Park was.
It was 37°C. Our faces were practically melting off in the unusual summer heatwave across Europe, and we’d already spent the morning climbing via cable car 1,320m up the Untersberg Mountain, so we headed for Hellbrunn Palace with its trick fountains
Hellbrunn Palace is an early Baroque villa of palatial size, near Morzg, a southern district of the city of Salzburg, Austria. It was built in 1613–19 by Markus Sittikus von Hohenems, Prince-Archbishop of Salzburg, and named for the clear spring that supplied it.
Modern art tends to divide people. There are those that hate it, those that see deep meanings behind the canvases and those that aren’t bothered either way. The beauty of taking anyone to the Tate Modern, is that all camps are totally looked after. Confused? Follow me.
The building face only an architect could love…
The Tate Modern is quite some edifice, rising up from the Thames riverbank. A former power station designed by Giles Gilbert Scott, it consisted of a stunning turbine hall, 35 metres high and 152 metres long, with the boiler house alongside it and a single central chimney. It was an imposing building along the London Southbank but apart from a remaining operational London Electricity sub-station, the site had been redundant since 1981. Herzog & De Meuron (Basel architects) were commissioned in 1994 to convert the building into the gallery that we know and love today.
There aren’t many hotels that have pulled me away from exploring a town, but the four-star La Villa K Hotel and Spa managed that with aplomb. The night before I flew home from my city break in Basel, I spent an evening in the Alsace town of Saint Louis, 2 meals into my 3 country/3 meal sojourn.
Disclaimer: My trip was supported by the Alsace tourism board (thank you!) but all relaxation enjoyment is very much all my own!
Slipping straight off the tram that darts between Basel, Switzerland and Saint-Louis, France (the number 3) I strolled through the Saint-Louis street fair, one my way to La Villa K Hotel & Spa.