Cabin-Check: Business Class at Iberia

 Route: Bogota D.C. - Madrid

Flight Time: 10:20

Airplane: Airbus 340-600

Seat: 6G & 6E

Check-in: 9/10
Lounge: 9/10
Service: 8/10
Seat: 9/10
Food: 7/10
Beverages: 8/10
Entertainment: 9/10
Total: 8/10

After an amazing sleep and a wonderful experience at the Four Seasons Casa Medina, by the way the best place to embark for an exciting journey back to Europe crossing the Atlantic. After a 30-minute ride in our black limousine, we arrived at the brand new Bogota Airport. Upon entering the terminal, we headed towards Iberia Business Class counter without any queues and waiting time. The lady at the counter handed us over the boarding passes plus the invitation for the LATAM Lounge. Unfortunately, there is no dedicated Security Control for Business and First Class Passengers, however Security was not an issue at all and we found ourselves in the spacy LATAM Lounge within minutes. The staff welcomed us in a friendly way and we were impressed by the Lounge in Bogota.

Although the Lounge is branded and managed by LATAM (who is a partner of Iberia), it was wonderfully designed and in perfect shape. The entire furniture looked amazing and matched perfect with the design. There was a huge buffet with a selection of very good finger food, cold soft drinks, a selection of alcoholic drinks and a super cool wine bar with a nice selection of wines (2 white, 2 red and an excellent sparkling wine from Chile). We loved the opportunity to be at least able to test South American wines at the Lounge, after having Spanish or South African wine at the restaurants. Sometimes there is nothing more annoying if your flight is delayed, however this time it was just the best news of the day when we were informed that our Iberia machine arrived late so they would need to depart later than scheduled. We were very happy, ordering another round of Argentinian sparkling wine. If we wouldn’t have such an amazing hotel with a top spa (Four Seasons Casa Medina), I would have definitely chosen to take a shower in their super cool bathrooms. In general, I also loved their toilets, which were always extremely clean and had high ceilings. Super chic!

Once boarding started we were the first to board the plane and after a hand luggage control with dogs, we were allowed to our final destination: The Iberia Business Class! With 46 seats in Business class, it is the biggest business class cabin connecting Europe and Colombia. While it is an airy business class, with no galley separating the 46 seats, the seats itself already gave enough privacy and it did not feel too big. As soon as we were seated, we received the amenity kit, menu, wine list and headphones. I kind of liked the seat layout with solely single seats on the windows, and either single seats or double seats in the middle. So if you are travelling with a partner you can go for the middle seats, while single travellers may appreciate the window seats for full privacy. Before I could look for the entertainment we were served a glass of Cava and slippers to enjoy the time on ground. Generally, there was plenty of storage space with space to put your shoes, headphones, magazines, hand luggage and other things. The seats are similar to those in Emirates and Air Berlin.

As soon as we took off and reached cruising altitude, the staff began with service. The first course was a plate of cheese together with a kind of antipasti plate, including roast beef, salad, plums and mozzarella. Bread was served as well and instead of butter, Iberia served extremely nice olive oil. My colleague Lukas was responsible for the wine selection and chose a very nice white wine from Iberia’s regularly changing wine list – by the way the same wines you can have in the Wine bar at Iberia’s VIP lounges in Madrid. For main course we received a chicken breast stuffed with herbs on potatoes and vegetables. I really liked the combination and it was of very good quality, plus matched perfectly with this amazing white wine! The dessert consisted of a typical Catalan dish, which was very tasty and not too heavy. We had a glass of Port wine to the sweet dish and after a Spanish version of Grappa, I fell asleep like never before.

The seats in Iberia business class are extremely good, with a fully flat (180 degrees) bed, which is also long enough for my colleague Lukas. Thanks to the wonderful staff, could get a second pillow which made my sleep even more perfect. Toilets were also very clean and there was a bar in front of the business class where you could get a snack and drinks. Exactly one hour before we landed in Madrid, the staff began to serve breakfast, consisting of orange juice, coffee, scrambled eggs, fruits and a slice of toast. I liked the egg dish as it tasted very nice and creamy. Soon after we finished breakfast, we began with our descending and landed in Madrid quite on time, with just a few minutes of delay which was fine since we had to wait 5 hours anyways for our connecting flight to Munich. Therefore, we directly headed towards the Terminal 4 and Dali Lounge.

The Lounge Dali is Iberia’s flagship lounge accessible when flying within Spain and -Schengen countries. It is very airy, spacious and has lots of seating space. The centre of the lounge is the wine bar and the buffet. Although there is no Bistro and hot buffet like in Iberia’s Lounge at Terminal 4S, it was very nice and beautifully designed. Being arrived from a night flight plus having slight jetlag, we were super happy to see they offer a relaxation room which we made use of for the most time. Indeed, it was very relaxing and gave us some more hours of sleep – a nice invention. There are also shower areas which I also inspected during the 4-hour stay. Although the showers are not as spacious as in Dubai, it looked all very new, clean and I was provided with towels and toiletries by Melia. I like the idea of having the possibility to shower before a connecting flight so you arrive at your final destination refreshed and relaxed.

Our last leg was in an Airbus 320 to Munich, where we opted for the seats 2D and 2F, since these have the most legroom in the entire plane. Iberia was one of the first airlines to stop serving customers with snacks within Europe, tough when flying Business Class, it is still the same with any other European airline. You are served a menu on china and drinks in glasses. So after breakfast and a stop in the lounge, we were served a lunch menu consisting of chicken breast with kind of a risotto, a salad and a cheese plate as well as a Spanish dessert which was really really good. So basically we landed in Munich without being hungry or thirsty at all. Travelling in Business Class is really stress less and helps you so much to arrive in a relaxed way. You simply don’t feel that tired and are able to keep on working. Therefore, I can fully recommend choosing Iberia for your leisure travels and business trips alike! It is an excellent airline and probably the best option for Europeans to go to South America, especially Colombia, Peru or the Caribbean.

A very special thanks to Iberia for supporting us on our trip to Colombia with the flights. However all above written expresses our own opinion and has not been influenced.

Going to South America with Iberia

Route: Madrid - Bogota

Flight Time: 10:30

Airplane: Airbus 340-600

Seat: 25L and 25J (the best seats in Economy)

Check-in: 9/10
Lounge: 7/10
Service: 7/10
Seat: 6/10
Food: 8/10
Beverages: 8/10
Entertainment: 8/10
Total: 7.5/10

South America is one of the most interesting continents on our planet. Not just because of the culture, the freedom feeling and their lifestyle. Also because they speak the same language as we know from the European countries Spain and Portugal. In fact, languages we are also able to study and understand. Although there are many direct connections to South America, a lot of people still go via North America. Since we were looking at the prices 5 months before our travel already, we found the direct flight from Europe (well going out from Madrid) to be the cheapest and Iberia to be a very reliable and well reputed airline. Since it was also the fastest connection to Bogota, we were sure that we are going to try out Spain's most famous airline. With Iberia being part of OneWorld it is a great idea to use our AirBerlin Status and access the lounge in Madrid and Munich which was another big plus. So in the end, it was clear: Iberia is the airline to bring us to Colombia. 

We were checking in at Munich Airport's Terminal 1 and found the process to be done fast and efficient. Even tough it was the first day of holidays even in Germany, the queues were quite alright and everything went quick. Upon entering the plane, the staff was quite friendly, however as Iberia was the first airline to stop in-flight service in Economy class during European flights, we did not have any further encounter with them. Luckily our flight was perfectly on time and we could go to the runway earlier than expected. As it was cloudy in Southern Germany, as soon as we were over the clouds we could gather a simply breath-taking sunrise over the Austrian Alps. I felt this was the perfect start into the adventurous holidays that followed. After 2 hours we arrived on time at the new Terminal 4 at Madrid International Airport. To get to the international departures you have to get to Terminal 4S for which you have to take an underground train. The whole process can take you 20-30 minutes so make sure to plan this time ahead. 

As soon as we arrived at T4S, we went towards the Velázquez Lounge, Iberia's International Lounge. Yes there is also the Dali Lounge (which looks more impressive and has more seating space) which can be found in Terminal 4. Inside the Velázquez Lounge they even have a warm buffet (at the Dali it's only cold snacks) as well as a bistro for dinner, when leaving for non-Schengen and long-haul flights. During our stay there was a breakfast buffet set up with potatoes quiche, sausages, scrambled eggs, ham and cheese selection as well as various Spanish breakfast dishes. Bread selection was nice and there has been a toaster as well. In general, there was everything you can expect from an European airport lounge. What I loved most was the bar in front of the entrance with an extensive selection of spirits and wines. Nobody can deny a Gin Tonic in Spain, can you? Well if you have to leave the lounge before noon, you definitely should avoid a G&T. 

Boarding was on time and we immediately found our seats. Since we were seated on am emergency exit, a stewardess arrived welcomed us and asked if everything was fine plus introduced us to the usual emergency exit procedures. She also said in case of emergency she will come and help, which I found very nice tough. In the end we did not need her help as there was no emergency of course. As soon as everybody took place, we were ready to leave for Bogota! In fact, we were really excited what was awaiting us - inspecting the people... Do they look like mysterious Colombian men? Will we feel and see the danger of the city? Before we could proceed, we departed and were served the drinks and the lunch for this flight. There was a choice between chicken and pasta. We both decided to take the pasta dish and it was a good choice. Well the Lasagna tasted good and was very good for economy class standards. In addition to the main course there was a small green salad and a dessert. Overall the lunch menu was quite alright and we finished everything. 

Having booked emergency exit seats (the surcharge was 20€ and 60€ but well worth the money since it's a 11 hours’ flight and therefore unlimited legroom is a great plus!) and being the flight a day flight, we had such an enjoyable journey. As I don't sleep on day flights anyhow it was absolutely fine to go to South America in economy but for night flights I definitely prefer to have a bed. Flying Iberia also gives you access to onboard Wi-Fi, though I find it a little bit expensive so we did not use it. Well, I am one of these persons (even though I am a blogger) who appreciates the fact of being offline while flying. Back to the food offerings: During the entire flight there was always the possibility to get drinks at the galley or grab a sandwich (the taste was really good, so we probably could have had more than one...just saying ;) ). One hour before landing, there was another service where they offered a big red snack box for afternoon tea. Inside this box there was a bar of KitKat, yoghurt, biscuit and a croissant with ham and cheese. Unfortunately, we did not try the Economy Class' alcoholic selection of Iberia, however their wines in the lounge were quite nice. 

In general, it was a super convenient flight and we arrived in Bogota perfectly on time. Even though it might not be usual to have a review of an economy class here at this luxurious travel blog, but let's be honest. There are more and more people getting the cheapest airplane fares but spending all the money at the destination. So do we, there is no need for a business class within Europe and yes Economy class on a day flight to the US is survivable nowadays. Why not staying at the Four Seasons instead the Sheraton? Or why not taking the Executive Suite Canal Grande View instead the darkest Superior Room you have ever seen in Venice? Iberia is definitely our favorite choice for flying to South America (and many other destinations of course) since the connections are perfect and the hardware was very convincing. Value for money is definitely amazing when you consider that the flights from Munich to Bogota via Madrid were at 550€ per person return. Now add a one way upgrade back from Bogota to Madrid and you might have an amazing trip for an amazing amount of money as flights to South America are always costly. 

Thanks to Iberia Airlines for supporting us on  our trip to South America. However all above written expresses our own opinion and has not been influenced.

Heading towards a colorful Summer with Bluemint

We all have got the same problem every year. The big question mark on where to spend the big summer holiday! It is terribly difficult and the once not-so-famous destinations are extremely demanded, just to have talked about Croatia, Montenegro and Ibiza. So, that's when my colleague Lukas came to the conclusion to head to the Caribbean this year. Of course I was excited by the idea and soon we got hotels like the Amanyara, Spice Island Grenada, Ralph-Lauren's Round Hill and of course the Hermitage Bay in Antigua. But hey, unfortunately you cannot wear these flashy styled bath shorts in a place like the Caribbean. What you need is lots of colors, preferably nice blue and turquoise tones. A little bit of texture is not bad at all, at least we both want to look different. 

The Bluemint Spring Summer Collection 2017 takes its main inspiration from the wild and colorful fauna of the tropical islands. Inspired by the sea, sun and sandy beaches, the colour palette of this season varies from traditional Caribbean blues and bayou green, fire red and dusty sand tones. The new Bluemint swimwear styles remain timeless and tailored with the addition of an exclusive and sophisticated line made from yarn dyed fabrics. Bluemint’s bestseller piece Arthur swim short is also reinterpreted this season combining creative and bold prints in washed blues and pops of pink as well as in citrus shades and island greens.

In addition to the impressive range of light weight swimwear, Bluemint also brought in new essential beachwear items such as printed linen shirts and camp-collar shirts - just perfect for a dinner at the Michelin starred restaurant of Cobbler's Cove or a light lunch at Amanyara's Signature Restaurant. With an international appeal and a timeless philosophy, Bluemint captures season after season its Mediterranean heritage in products that combine comfort, fit and quality made for unforgettable moments.

24 Hours at the Four Seasons Casa Medina, Bogota

As one of the fastest developing cities (not just tourism-vise) in South America, Bogota has seen lots of hotel opening in 2016. Among all of them the most popular properties are the two brand new Four Seasons properties. Yes, you are reading correctly: Two. What might sound like a London, New York or Shanghai is in fact the same case for Bogota. There is a more business like Four Seasons Hotel in Zona Rosa and the Four Seasons Casa Medina in Zona G. As I was more into the colonial-styled palace and historical building, I decided to stay at the Four Seasons Casa Medina, which is beautifully located on Carerra 9 - one of the most important streets in the city and therefore very busy. Due to the fact that I knew a stay at the Four Seasons would be an amazing grand final of our trip to Colombia, I scheduled the stay on our last day. So we landed at the airport of Bogota and arranged a private pick-up for 30 USD one way which went really well.

Upon arriving at the hotel we were impressed by the style of the building and as soon as we entered the building, we were greeted by four staff members (two bellmen and two front desk staff members). We checked-in and for the very first time I was introduced an "Upgrade your stay programme" which allowed us to upgrade our room to a One Bedroom Suite for just 100 USD per room and night. It would be an extremely good value considering that the nightly rates are quite low in Bogota compared to other Four Seasons Hotels (I think Paris, George V is all I need to say). However it was already 6pm and we knew we would not be spending the entire stay inside the room, so we kindly declined - next time I will consider to accept. Without knowing which room type we would get, we were accompanied to the room by the bellman. We walked by a wonderful cozy courtyard, the wonderful restaurant Castanyoles until we arrived at two old school elevators. I have to mention here that this Four Seasons is really something special with the wood paneling plus carpets making it look old and on the opposite site the modern furniture with grey textiles, chic fabrics and sleek marble. 

We entered the room (through these heavy Four Seasons doors) and walked through the nice entree to gather more of our Deluxe King Room. I could say whatever I want, but the bed being so big, so high and so terribly comfortable, it was the main highlight of the room. Well, of course I also loved the wonderful design of the room with the cool armchair, the chic nightstand tables or the amazing writing desk, but they were not the reason for the best sleep we both ever had... And thank god, they are also available for purchase, so there would just be the question how this immense bed should fit into our bedrooms :). Beside an amazing bedroom and entree there was plenty of wardrobe space and the minibar selection was very extensive. I loved the attention to the detail including the touch screen pad next to the door where you could turn on the "Do not disturb" sign, as well as the welcome amenities consisting of two watter bottle, a handwritten letter and an extensive fruit selection with exotic fruits. Just right next to the wardrobe was the entrance to the bathroom. Well, compared to other Four Seasons this would the place where you have to make compromises. There is no separate toilet are and no separate bath tub plus the storage space around the sink is very limited. However it was wonderfully designed and I loved the marble. The shower was a massive walk-in one with amazing toiletries by an upscale local brand called Loto del Sur - so a big plus on this! There were 2 towels per person and super comfy bathrobes as well as the best hotel room slippers you can get! 

In fact a review about a Four Seasons property does not a lot of words, since the Hardware is always perfect! You simply can rely on this brand wherever you go. Since a few years they also have a Four Seasons App which is adding even more value and fun to your next hotel stay. From your personal mobile device you can order any additional amenity or send any request you can dream of. Need more shower gel? Extra slippers or pillows? No problem just select the items you want inside the app and order it. Within a few minutes your order will arrive. You can't expect luxury hotels to provide the heart-warming service (you would get in Switzerland or Asia) everywhere as cultures and people all over the world are different, so are the staff members at Four Seasons Bogota. Just socialize a bit and talk to them in order to really get to their spirit. Even tough we thought they will forget some things to bring, minutes later two (!) ladies from the housekeeping arrived in the middle of the night and provided us with all the amenities we ordered. This defines perfect service to me and what I expect by Four Seasons standards. 

Did I mention the amazing beds? So I guess you can imagine we were not sitting at breakfast at 8am... In fact we arrive at 10 am with the breakfast being served until 10.30 so we had to hurry a little bit - which in the end was no problem at all. The buffet was selective though of really high quality and the service was very kind and attentive as well. My personal highlight of that day was the fact of sitting open air in the courtyard enjoying the blue sky whispering through the glass roof and having amazing eggs Benedict with freshly cut Iberico ham. For breakfast we had freshly squeezed orange juice (finally again after a few days in the jungle) as well as the best hot chocolate we have tried in Colombia. I have to admit that the atmosphere was so relaxing and enjoyable that we were lounging and sitting until 11am. 

Although we have planned to go out and do a little bit of sightseeing, we decided to stay in this amazing hotel and enjoy the facilities. Therefore our first stop was the Spa of the hotel. Once we arrived at the Spa, we were welcomed in a super nice and friendly way. The two ladies immediately made sure that the steam bath is turned on, however the men steam bath seemed to have a technical problem. So what did they do? They asked us to have a sit in the relaxation room, offered and served us tea and bottled water and kept us updating of the reparation process. Within 15 minutes the steam bath was ready and already prepared for us. It is always so nice to see the Spa areas at the Four Seasons. They have all products to pamper yourself (I just know a few other upscale brands that provide so many and high quality guest products), such as hair spray, Gilette shaving gel, Deodorant spray, wooden comb, facial mist, shaving kits, plenty of toiletries and lots of other amenities. 

Entirely relaxed we went out of the hotel for a bit of shopping in Zona Rosa, however Bogota is definitely not our favorite place to shop. Luxury brands are extremely expensive and markets are only opened on the weekends, so we could not even get a souvenir at the end. Thanks to the generous late check-out of the Four Seasons Casa Medina, we were allowed to keep our room until 3pm. Once we went back to the hotel we packed our staff, checked-out and made us on our way back to the airport (with the hotel car again but for only 20 USD now - seems TO the hotel is more expensive) for our final flight home to Europe with Iberia Business Class which made this day even better! 

It was my third experience with Four Seasons and after a sleek experience in Milan, Italy this time definitely changed my mind entirely. Four Seasons is constantly investing into their properties and their new beds are really amazing plus I love their new kind of design which definitely makes me consider a Four Seasons again in the near future. One is already booked and will be featured in April - more to follow ;)

We were guests of the Four Seasons Hotel Casa Medina Bogota and stayed at the hotel for editorial purposes. However all above written expresses our own opinion. 

24 Hours at the B.O.G. Hotel, Bogota

After a quite comfortable flight from Madrid to Bogota with Iberia, and a 30-minute ride (which was just 20 USD one way) we finally arrived at the wonderful B.O.G. Hotel which is located in the chic and upcoming Zona Rosa. What a magnificent place to start an adventure in South America. This new and trendy hotel was just open for a couple of months but already gave a homely feeling – just perfect when you are so far away from home.

When we entered the lobby we were quite amazed by the lovely interior of the building. It was furnished with light and pale furniture with stylish wooden aspects but only dimly lit which gave the area a cozy touch. After checking-in we were accompanied to our wonderful room in the first floor where our friends Jonas and Simon - both are in South America for more than 2 months ;) - were already waiting for us.

After an hour of jabbering over all our experiences of the last month we were ready to explore our Business Suite, a very spacious room on the corner of the building.

The big bed was definitely an eye catcher in the middle of the room and after this long time of traveling and the fact of being in a different time zone, it was such a blessing to jump inside and stretch out in bed for a few minutes. 

Photo Courtesy: Designhotels™

At the end of the bed, there was a stylish desk with a matching cow skin chair. The desk was equipped with a telephone an angle poise lamp and a GERMAN welcome letter (the guest experience manager worked in Austria for a few years ;)) with some Colombian goodies. Behind the desk was a nice sofa area and right behind was the exit to our lovely terrace which was amazingly calm and perfect for a timeout after a long day of work, sightseeing or shopping. At the other side of the bed the room was separated through a huge mirror/window wall. There was the super cool bathroom which we loved very, very much. The shower was just huuuuge and stocked with local shampoo of Colombian brand “Calima".

Before the dinner we wanted to refresh ourselves and went to the pool area. Sadly, the rooftop pool was already closed (only opened until 4pm) but the view and the whole area seemed amazing. So we decided to go back to the room and took a wonderful shower. After a long day we were really hungry and happy to have dinner in the wonderful restaurant. We were so kindly welcomed and met the South American friendliness due to the super kind service. We had a nice corner table directly next to the fireplace.

They offered us to order a small selection of traditional dishes - which weren't that small :D but even more delicious. We started with a bread selection which was served with a homemade chocolate spread and sliced mango which was served with salt and lemon - a topical way to eat mango in South America. The starters were small goodies including small burritos filled with meat, deep-fried Balls filled with meat and cheese, mini Hamburgers and kind of meatballs in BBQ sauce served with potatoes. The main courses were Paella with squid and eatable flowers, a knuckle of lamb, which was heavenly soft and with such a delicious red wine accompanied by homemade chips, and freshly caught shrimps served with mashed potatoes.

For drinks, we had a Colombian beer, called "Club Colombia oro". A fresh and light beer - it's perfect for the hot temperatures. A chocolate cake with a liquid heart served with vanilla ice-cream and kind of a panna cotta with a caramel sauce made the dinner just more amazing. A special thanks to the attentive service which did a wonderful job and had so much patience to explain us every course and gave us good tips for our stay in Bogota. After this delicious dinner it was already 10:30 p.m. that means 4:30 a.m. in Europe so we were super tired and went to bed.

After an amazingly deep sleep, we were ready for. We were wondering how we could eat again after this dinner the night before but when we saw the buffet with all the fresh fruits and juices we could nearly everything. The chef prepared us a toothsome omelet with fresh mushrooms, tomatoes, ham and cheese. So I was ready to try all those exotic fruits and took a plate with twelve different exotic fruits -from super sweet to very sour but all of them delicious. After the fruits we tried the homemade granola with a liquid strawberry yoghurt.

It was so sunny so we decided to went upstairs to the rooftop pool where we were completely by our own so we could chill out and enjoy the sun after the cold winter time in Germany and Austria. After swimming a few laps we took a short nap on one of their comfy sunbeds and collected our first sunburn in 2017. It as so relaxing in the green rooftop area with the view over Bogota on one side and the view in the green mountains on the other side. In the end we walked around the beautiful area of the hotel and it was not dangerous at all. Actually, it is part of the safest areas in entire Bogota. 

All in all, we had a truly Golden Experience, as B.O.G. is the most dazzling hotels and definitely coolest place to stay in Bogota. The next time we touch down in the capital of Colombia, we will get a room there again. 

We were guests of the B.O.G. Hotel and OXO Hotels. However all above written expresses our own opinion and has not been influenced. 

72 Hours at the W Amsterdam

Sometimes in life there are extraordinary experiences waiting to be discovered. Well the fact that you are staying at a luxury hotel can be one of these experiences. But when is it actually accurate to call a hotel a luxury hotel? How is luxury defined in the 21st century, when hotel star ratings disappear more and more? Can an uber-cool design hotel be luxurious at all? Well, we don't know the answer to these questions, as luxury is defined by each individual in themselves. It is just an amazing feeling when you visit a city for your first time and stay at the best hotel or at the best location - best case, both are met. Now, let's consider a city like Amsterdam. The best place that meets both conditions is without any doubt: the W Amsterdam. Situated behind the Royal Palace and with amazing rooms, a top spa and even more spectacular dining venues; this is definitely a luxury hotel. 

Lobby at the Exchange Building

It was a sunny, wonderful Friday, we were arriving at the W Amsterdam by our Uber (interestingly a Jaguar through Uber X) and welcomed by an array of bellmen. Well not an array but for a city like Amsterdam, three staff members outside the hotel is a lot. The hotel is actually divided into the Exchange and Bank building - where we arrived at the only inconvenient thing about the W: You have to decide what you prefer in order to choose the building where you want to stay ;). If you have done that heavy decision, you are free to enjoy your stay. As everybody might already know, we prefer to Spa. Furthermore we were having a dinner reservation at THE DUCHESS, so no further doubts, we had to stay at the Bank building. I was curious as well since this was the newer building being reopened in October 2016 - so everything is brand new while the Exchange building has been reopened in October 2015already. Check-in was nice and welcoming and we made our way up to the room (W Hotels normally do not provide tours as this is part of the philosophy). Once we arrived at our WOW Suite, we were impressed. Never would we have expected to find such a vast suite with high ceilings in a city like Amsterdam. 

Living Room of our WOW Suite

Welcome Amenity by W Amsterdam

From previous experiences in the city we thought we knew what to expect from Suites in Amsterdam, this time, we were surprised to see the opposite. Where should we start with the wow things inside the suite? Was it the amazing round bed, the super cool safe-like minibar, the vast living room, the record player with funny records, the bathtub inside the bedroom or the gorgeous bathroom with automatic lightning. We cannot decide. Probably it was the bottle of Veuve Cliquot as a welcome and the peaceful view of the canals of Amsterdam. Every detail of this gorgeous WOW Suite was perfect. I loved the minibar with all products and the gorgeous glasses, while Lukas enjoyed the record player and the fact that the music from the player could be played over the Bose speakers in the entire suite. Literally we arrived in heaven. In fact it is exactly what we love and appreciate. The dark colours made the total W experience complete and proved once again - it's the coolest global hotel brand. 

The bathroom at our WOW Suite

How about the comfort inside the room? Well, the beds were magnifique, the bathroom had so many towels that we could have taken a shower three times within morning service and turn-down service, plenty of full size bliss toiletries as well as a separate guest toilet next to the entrance. There was absolutely no noise from outside, and that's also what makes Amsterdam so adorable. We just had fire alarm one night which probably was due to a guest forgetting what he signed at check-in: the no smoking policy. But don't forget you are in Amsterdam, coffee shops are on nearly every corner. Well, you are not in Amsterdam every day and you need to make the most out of the short time :)! Let's not forget about these heavenly beds so the next day we hardly remembered. But how can you focus on the past if your day starts in the most amazing way possible. We love the fact that you can choose between having breakfast in THE DUCHESS and MR PORTER, which is currently one of Amsterdam's most exciting restaurants.



While the breakfast at THE DUCHESS is more casual with wonderful egg dishes and some outrageous specials such as Egg Benedict in Tomato Sauce or the Avocado Boiled Egg, the breakfast at MR PORTER is more sophisticated in terms of views and dishes. You could even order a freshly prepared beef steak with French fries. I absolutely fell in love with this amazing dish - since MR PORTER is a steakhouse, their steaks are amazing and I thought myself why not having brunch in style? At least it was Sunday so it was a more than perfect breakfast. Although the steak was amazing, I would rather THE DUCHESS for breakfast since the atmosphere is more laid-back and the interior is more glamorous. I found it super cool that even as a guest of the Bank building you could have breakfast at MR PORTER and vice versa. You just have to bring your jackets in winter as you have to cross the street.  

After we explored the beauty of Amsterdam (a truly wonderful city) including a visit of the Van Gogh Museum, a shopping tour in the big Department store where we of course found some nice things plus having been to Amsterdam's north quarter with the renovated Adam Tower, we were looking forward to experience the highlight of the Bank building: the AWAY Spa! With one of Europe's coolest indoor pools, the spa was definitely breath-taking. I simply love to have a choice of pools, especially warm pools. Inside the spa, which by the way is in the vault of the old bank and therefore includes old safe doors and gold tiles, there was a sauna and steam bath area where you could find the cold pool and a hot pool. Next to this area was the main pool area with the indoor pool and super comfy and secret daybeds (we loved the one opposite the fire place) as well as another hot jacuzzi. Furthermore we had the pleasure to enjoy a wonderful hot stone massage, which was perfect and very relaxing. Generally said, we were simply impressed by the spa, and this is definitely reason number one for another stay at W Amsterdam along the perfect location next to the Royal Palace.  

On Friday evening we enjoyed a wonderful dinner in THE DUCHESS Restaurant. The atmosphere of the restaurant is simply amazing, being an old bank hall and some additional monuments make it even more unique. Exclusively for us they served a selection of different dishes including finest wagyu beef, Tagliatelle with caviar as well as finest black cod along a lobster-based dish. It was simply amazing and is definitely one of the fanciest and most glamorous places in the entire Netherlands! Together with the dinner we had a truly perfectly matching white wine from Israel, which made the whole evening even more unforgettable. As we were also having a gourmet dinner on Thursday night, we wanted to try the famous burger bar THE BUTCHER on the corner of the Bank building for Saturday. THE BUTCHER is a brand by the Entourage group; owned by Liran Wizman, the owner of the W Amsterdam and Food and beverage partner Yossi Eliyahoo. They have the BEST burgers we ever tried in Europe so far. You have the choice between the classic burgers, but without doubt go for their Truffle burger - what a fancy dinner option! I would say the concept of THE BUTCHER is simply gorgeous if you want something sophisticated but in an uncomplicated atmosphere. After the spontaneous burger dinner we went out and enjoyed the beauty of Amsterdam at night. If you are in for a truly outrageous experience, familiarize with the key staff members and try to get the password for the Private Club where the hidden bar is located at THE BUTCHER Albert Cuyp (not THE BUTCHER at Bank building but the other one opposite Sir Albert Hotel). We had the chance to get there due to the Personal Assistant of Liran Wizman (the owner of W Amsterdam and Europe Hotels Private Collection) - it's really just about connections and contacts.

A Wonderful Room in the Exchange Building

A Wonderful Room in the Exchange Building

Generally said, W Hotels are always a cool spot and perfect for young luxury travelers as well and stylish travelers alike. We already stayed at the W Bangkok and Bogota as well, but the W Amsterdam is definitely different. The spa is simply wow, the restaurants amazing and the rooms quite unique and more luxurious than the other W Hotels we have stayed so far. On top of all that, the design of the two buildings is something truly special! In fact, the prices are also higher than at other W properties, but the +200 euros a night are very fair and compared to other luxury hotels in Amsterdam, you get more than you pay for! 

This article might contain external pictures provided by the hotel, based on a strict policy of the hotel owner not to present self-taken pictures on online platforms. 

We were hosted by Europe Hotels Private Collection and Liran Wizman.

The View from our WOW Suite

A weekend at La Reserve Geneva

What we love:

  • The unique design - Feeling more like a private club in Paris instead a Swiss luxury resort
  • The fact of being an urban resort - just 5 car minutes by from the centre plus resort-vibes
  • A vast spa area with a cool indoor pool and one of the best gyms we have seen
  • Superb service - even the housekeeping knew my last name as the servers in the restaurant
  • It's all about scents, as soon as you enter you will be in the La Reserve mood

Best for:

Spa, Luxury, Gourmet and City Break


9.5 out of 10

The perfect song: 
Freedom Island -
The Free

We are in Switzerland, the small European country with the continents best luxury hotels (together with Italy and London). I recently had the pleasure to stay at some amazing Swiss properties such as on Lake Lucerne, St Moritz and now on Lake Geneva. When it comes to Lac Leman - as Lake Geneva is called in French - you would think of the glamorous Beau Rivage Palace in Lausanne, the Montreux Palace or the Four Seasons Des Bergues in Geneva center. However would you also think of La Reserve as one of Europe's best places to stay? Most probably not at first instance (as La Reserve is known to be intimate and frequented by the real insiders) and so did I. When you are going to stay at a Swiss five star hotel you already have certain expectations (and primary only big ones) but you never expect the wow effect though. Interestingly hotels in Switzerland are the ones that will surprise you most - be aware of high price tags! Therefore I love when I go to a hotel with certain high expectations and they even make it possible to exceed my highest expectations. Honestly, it rarely happens - probably twice a year! But what does that have in common with the La Reserve Geneva? And why is this relevant? 

It is simple as that story. My colleague Lukas decided spontaneously to visit me in Lausanne for the weekend. I was keen in showing him the Lac Leman from the most amazing site and was looking for amazing properties that were opened in Janaury and still create a little story. Since we had the pleasure to meet the Director of Sales and Marketing at the ILTM Cannes, my choice was sure. I finally had an occasion to stay at one of Switzerland's coolest high-end hotels. I picked my colleague up and we were heading towards Geneva. Of course shopping was a must, being Sale time. So we ended up with Shopping totes by Burberry, Uggs, Globus and Tods. Well, it escalated like the weekend before in Amsterdam but let's not go into details...

Just a short car ride of 10 minutes from Geneva we arrived in the town of Bellevue, where La Reserve Resort is situated. A small, unimpressive gate opened and we were driving through the vast ground of the resort. Honestly, we were not just impressed of the fire places outside the entrance and the elegantly dressed staff members waiting for us, we were also speechless of the cars parked at the hotel. From the latest Ferarri, via Bugatti to the most expensive Bentely. Welcome to the most glamorous place in Western Switzerland!

The Guest Experience Manager Justine was waiting along the bellmen and as soon as I stepped out of the car she was already doing the right thing by saying: "Welcome Mr Egger! Hello Mr Spendler". The first Wow-effect happened! The next Wow-effect followed when she was heading directly to the Junior Suite with us - at La Reserve no guest has to hassle with the paperwork at an indescreet front desk. She explained everything about the room and honestly I loved everything about it. From the gorgeous design, the comfy sofa, the out-of-this-world bed, the ultra glamorous bathroom with bath tub, double vanities and separated toilet and rainshower. While I was so impressed by the vast welcome amenities (consisting of a chocolate, fruit cocktails, fruit plate and a full size bottle of the company's own champagne), my highlight remained the perfect smelling toiletries - and the best they are branded by the hotel itself. I felt that the entire hotel had a signature scent and I really really love this - although some people cannot stand this. For me Wow-effect number four.

The next thing is something that has even been new to me and is more than wow. Instead of using trolleys for the housekeeping team, maids are running around in chic Longchamp bags where you can gather towels and shower gels popping out. Isn't that an impressive way of showing discreet service? By the way, once the housekeeping arrived to ask when they could prepare our room for turn-down, they also spoke to me by last name! This is outstanding service. It's in the little details that show that a hotel is simply managed in a flawless way. We both did not found a thing inside the Junior Suite that we would like to change. Everything was 10/10 points and they even provided any wardrobe amenity you can dream of - I am still wishing I would have taken the suit bag with the hotel logo on it.

Before we headed to our dinner reservation at the hotel's michelin starred restaurant, Lukas and me discovered the gym and spa. Never would I have imagined that the Spa as well as the gym is so big. Within the gym there were four different rooms where one could do the work-out with the absolute latest equipment and most elegant finishings. What's better than a dip into the wonderful mosaic tiled pool after the work-out? Probably nothing and so did we hit the most impressive part of the spa at La Reserve. In general the spa was flawless as well, maybe the pool could have been warmer being it January and there is no jacuzzi on site. They even have a Spa restaurant with a small complimentary buffet (including fruits, water and various nuts) plus a menu for lunch and breakfast. I loved the fact that you have the choice between a healthy breakfast option and the regular breakfast at the main restaurant. For dinner we had the pleasure to try the michelin starred chinese restaurant which is predicted to be the best on Lake Lemain.

Since we already did the workout during the evening, we had breakfast in the main restaurant. The design and set-up was truly unbelievable: they had a decorated tree in the middle of the restaurant that even looked real. There is a small buffet with products of the highest quality (including best salmon, fresh sushi, wonderdul cakes and Millefeuille (I adored the rasberry one!), as well as a menu with every dish you can just dream of. Don't ask why bur anyhow we both were stuck at the classics and had scrabled eggs and omlette. The only thing that was missing has been the champagne ;) Fun aside, who needs alcohol when there is such an impressive breakfast buffet with a service that already catches your breath?

So what else is to say than that La Reserve Geneve perfectly represents the definition "Urban Luxury Resort", since it is still located in the city of Geneva, tough feels like a resort rather than just a hotel. If you stay at the hotel from spring to autumn, you will benefit from the complimentary boat shuttle with a Venetian luxury boat from La Reserve's private pier (reachable via a 5-minute walk along the outdoor pool and through the hotel's own tunnel) to Geneva centre. We did not have the chance to do that so we are already looking for a date to return... How about you? 

We were invited by Michel Reybier Hospitality Group and stayed at La Reserve Geneve for editorial purposes. However all above written expresses our own opinion and has not been influenced. 

24 Hours at The Artisan DC, Bogota


As one of Bogota's latest additions to the five star market, we were quite excited to stay at The Artisan DC. After an amazing stay at the B.O.G Hotel and the W Bogota, we had very high expectations towards the service and check-in efficiency. We found out that these two hotels remained an exception. As one would expect you simply need time and patience with the front desk staff in South America, so at The Artisan DC. In general we found the complete appeal of the hotel very attractive and the cool design was not really fitting to the old-school check-in process (they used hard files for the booking and therefore the process of finding a reservation took slightly longer).


Once we were through the check-in we went to our rooms which were located on the 6th and 8th floors in the first tower. We were staying in a Metropolitan Double Room with two vast queen beds and a very spacious room layout. While the one on the 6th floor was more spacious, the one on the 8th floor had a better view. We really loved the accessories inside the room such as the vintage telephone, the cool toiletries or the handmade blankets and carpet. In general the bathroom was very spacious and had lots of storage room. There was a walk-in shower, a toilet and a bath sink - they could have added a bath tub inside this spacious bathroom ;).


After a very heavenly sleep in the amazing beds, we were ready to explore the breakfast. Once we had a seat in the restaurant, a server arrived and asked us for our egg orders and coffee. Compared to our recent hotel stays in Bogota, the breakfast buffet was quite limited. They had a station to make waffles on your own, a microwave, a small selection of ham and cheese, very limited choice of bread, two jams and a lame choice of muesli. The fruit selection was very nice but we were shoked that they did not refill the buffet at all during our breakfast time (from 9 am until 10 am). We really appreciated the friendliness of the server tough and their explanation of the products was really nice as well.


They also have a small but sufficient gym which is situated on the top floor. We had the feeling that it is still not finished yet, as there was one third of the room without any light. Being situated in Zona G, the Gastronomic heart of Bogota, there are plenty of amazing restaurants in the area around the hotel. Also the hotel's own japanese restaurant looked iviting and was super busy. We would definitely stay in this area rather than in Usaquen or La Candelaria. It is a very safe and upscale neighborhood.


When we checked-out we unfortunately had to experience some troubles with our bill. There were still checks of the guests who stayed in our room on the 8th floor before. It looked like they consumed things even though they already left the room but checked out after we were checking-in. Although that it was obvious on the bills that the signature and guest names are not equal to ours, the PR Manager sent me an email to tell that the signatures would look the same and they would need to investigate the case. For me this was a little bit unpleasant - how can we have a transfer from the airport to the hotel when we were droven to the Artisan DC by the W Bogota and paid there already for this transfer? And how can we have a bar check timed a few minutes before we were even left the W Bogota? It is very important to consider, that The Artisan DC is still brand new and therefore can have some beginner's problems which will definitel disappear in the next years. The management by Marriott will be doing a better job and I am sure the way of handling such inconvenient situations will be a different one at our next stay.


We were guests of OXO Hotels and The Artisan DC Hotel for Editorial Purposes. Our stay has been arranged by Communication Alternativa, however as you can read, this review has not been influenced.

24 Hours at the W Bogota


When it comes to stylish, international luxury hotels, W Hotels are always a great choice. Having stayed at the W Bangkok back in August 2016, we fell in love with their funky design and local touches. Service was beyond our expectations and after the exciting rooms and spa of the W Amsterdam at the beginning of the year, we were sure: we have to see the W Bogota as well! As we decided to stay the first night of our trip to Bogota in the B.O.G Hotel, we arrived smoothly with our Uber (never ever order Uber X when you have more than two big suitcases). The quater around the W Bogota is called Usaqueen and is predicted to be one of the wealthiest areas in the Colombian Capital, so the crime rate is very low. In terms of hotel choice in Bogota you just have three choices of areas: Usaqueen, Zona T/Rosa or Zona G - forget the rest! Simply believe us and you will experience Bogota as a city that exceeds your expectations. While Zona T/Rosa is perfect for shopping, Zona G is the place to eat. My personal favorite though is Usaqueen as it is like a small town within a big city. Just around the corner, there is a local market every sunday with handicraft, local procucts and more. We loved to walk though the market seeking for a place to have dinner.


Once we arrived at the hotel we were greeted in a very friendly way and thanks to the fact that one of us spoke spanish, everybody was more relaxed and we were talking about city recommendations before we even got the keys. I found it very nice that the bellmen accompanied us to our amazing Wonderful rooms. Upon opening the door, we were welcomed by white colours meeting gold tones. As usual the W bed is simply gorgeous (I would call them one of the best hotel beds so far - you can always rely on them wherever you are), the bathroom super-cool and the views stunning. Our room was overlooking Usaqueen and the sunset of Bogota (if they would have cleaned the windows, the pictures would have been even more beautiful). Next to the bed was a small sofa along a writing desk with a table lamp by Artemide. I was impressed of the white curtain (which made the room look bigger even though it wasn't) as well as the open bathroom with separate shower, toilet and double basin. The toiletries by Bliss are always a nice touch (tough we had the small sized ones this time, it's our first time in a standard room with W). There was one complimentary bottle of water and they arrived with a welcome amenity consisting of Cupcakes and a handwritten letter, which was kind of attentive. I missed the turn-down service where they refilled the free bottled water. I never use the tap water in cities outside of Europe so complimentary bottled water is a must for me. Otherwise the room was perfect and we appreciated the make-up corner with mirrors all around. Being situated on the 11th floor was amazing and we would recommend to take a room facing the city rather than the office buildings, the sunset view will reward you.


We love the spa at the W Amsterdam and find the pool at the W Bangkok to be impressive, so it was sure that the spa of W Bogota won't be unspectacular. With an oversized Hot Jacuzzi plus the biggest fitness in a five star hotel in Bogota, the Away Spa is definitely not just a place for hotel guests. Also locals love the spa. Unfortunately you have to go to the spa reception and ask for big towels for the pool, otherwise you just have small towels on site. However there was a staff member on site so this has not been a problem at all. There is also a steam bath inside the changing areas, though they don't have a sauna or relaxation room inside the public spaces.


According to TripAdvisor "Cafe Amarti" was the best restaurant around the corner and so we walked there after sunset and retrurned to the W around 10pm - which was not a problem at all, tough would not walk this way alone as a common thing in South America. If you are travelling alone, there is the Market Restaurant inside the W, which seemed to be a place where locals go as well. 


After having stayed at some of the best hotels in Bogota, the W Bogota is definitely the one to book a bed and breakfast rate. They serve the best breakfat buffet in the entire country and you won't be disappointed in any way. They had a big seletion of alreadry prepared eggs plus a menu with many various egg dishes, a huge bread selection and a vast choice of fruits, cheese, ham and they even had salmon and sparkling wine - last two are very hard to find at other hotels in Colombia! Service was attentive and a few glasses of sparkling wine later, we were exploring the efficiency of the Concierge aka Whatever Whenever Service. As we had troubles with our LATAM booking they called the airline immediately and checked-us in a very fast way! It's amazing to get professional support for such things in a country like Colombia where English is not spoken widely.


We really loved our stay at the W Bogota! It is one of the three best places to stay in the Colombian capital and you simply can't go wrong with it. The value for money is very good but it is important to consider that you are staying in Usaqueen rather than Zona G, so going to Plaza de Bolivar and the heart of Bogota (La Candelaria) can take from 40 minutes up to an hour. On the other side, the more north you stay, the more safe is the area!


We were guests of the W Bogota and stayed at the property for Editorial purposes. All above written expresses our own opinion and has not been influenced. 


Restaurant-Check: Auberge Jean & Marie, Amsterdam


What a wonderful day! The first weekend of the year and we are already exploring Europe again. This time we had the honour to stay in Amsterdam, definitely one of the most beautiful cities in northern Europe.

After a comfy flight and an easygoing pickup to our lovely hotel (Review - The Waldorf Astoria) we were hungry and decided to go to a beautiful small restaurant.
As we arrived at the Auberge Jean & Marie we were warmly welcomed by the manager ... and were seated in a calm corner next to a beautiful fireplace. The whole restaurant was elegantly furnished with dimmed light and cosy atmosphere.


Our first course was a trio of the duck - a little bit of duck liver, stomach and two slices of the breast served with a seasonal green salad and walnuts as well as a mushroom ragout filled in puff paste -a very old, traditional german dish which gave us a wonderful throwback to our childhood.
The starters were served with an wonderful "Petit Chablis" Chardonnay from Bordeaux.

The entree was a special french dish, which got a bit lost in the last years. Frog legs in a creamy garlic sauce accompanied by a mineralic white wine from Côtes de Rhone.


The fin of ray with capers, fresh herbs, oyster mushrooms served on mashed potatos with fennel was the first main course. A fruity white wine from Latio, Italy matched perfectly to this dish.

A medium rare Rib-Eye steak with melting potatoes was served with the best red wine sauce we've ever had. This dish was served with sweet onions and sliced raddish. The meat was served with a full bodied red wine with strong tannins from Rioja, Spain. 


As a dessert we had a small cheese selection - a slice of blue mold cheese, dutch gouda and a Vacherin.
The corresponding wines to the cheese was a glass of Madeira - a liqueur wine from the to Portugal belonging island in the Atlantic ocean. And a Pineau des Charentes - a mixture of unfermented grape juice and eau de vie this quite unknown product which is produced in the departments Charente in western France.

We had a truly perfect evening at the Auberge Jean & Marie and will be back soon. The service was so nice and we even got a tour of the restaurant's wine room by the owner personally. 

Thank you for this wonderful invitation and an outstanding experience.