Hotel de Cortes, a intimate nest in a huge city.

One of the first hostels in America from the year 1620, protected by the Anthropology and History National Institute, has been transformed into the Hotel De CORTES. A Mexican baroque jewel fully remodeled that offers upscale lodging services. Located in the main entrance of the Historical Centre, overlooking the Alameda Central and a few steps away from the main square, this place is a unique concept in town.

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Hotel Nacional in Havana

The land now occupied by the “HOTEL NACIONAL DE CUBA” was part of an area known in the early centuries of the colonial area as Monte Vedado (vedado – prohibited) because of a Spanish government decree banning the creation of paths to the beach in that area.

The constant attacks by pirates, followed by the capture of Havana by the English, prompted the construction of various fortifications, towers, batteries, including at this site (now occupied by the hotel gardens) the Santa Clara battery. Together with Havana’s old town (La Havana Vieja), this was listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1982. The remnants of this defence system, two cannons, are currently on display in the garden: the Krupp and the Ordóñez; the latter was the world’s largest in its day.

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When you are entertaining at Home…

Sometimes it is stressfull. So here are a few good tips. Try to cook some dishes that could be prepared the day before.

I make sure that the decor is different each time if the same people are coming back. Table cloth, flowers with no fragance on the table, decors displayed on the table, candles, all must be different at each dinner.

I usually lay the table in advance, and prepare the other plates and silver that I will need for all the courses, in the kitchen.

I think of what we will do first. Ok, drink in the sitting room, so get the glasses ready on a tray. Ice cubes ready, Nuts or hors d’oeuvres ready. Cocktail napkins ready and some soft music is on. Flowers ready. Just have to light the candles before they arrive…

Then the meal. Appetizers need plates, ok they are on the table, on top of the chargers. Bread basket ready in the kitchen and some butter on the bread side plates. I open the wine and do not forget a bottle of water, no plastic pleasse. Salt and pepper are there as well as Mustard if needed, now you are fine.

I will just have to light the candles before my guests come in the dinning room. Then check in the kitchen if I have the plates for entrees and cheese and dessert ready with their cuttlery. Take the cheeses out of the fridge. Heat the food. Always go back to the dinning table to see if your guests are fine.

Now take it easy. You are ready to start and welcome your guests. just enjoy and that will be a very good time for them and you.

Enjoy and Bon Appétit.

Awesome Trianon Palace, hotel and restaurant in Versailles.

french ideas

Trianon Palace Versailles, an exceptional woodland retreat nestled on the edge of the tranquil Royal Domain. Steeped in tradition yet thoroughly contemporary, this high-design hotel features gourmet dining and an exclusive spa.

Witness the splendour of France’s leading luxury retreat at Trianon Palace Versailles, A Waldorf Astoria Hotel. Situated less than a mile from the world famous Chateau de Versailles, and only 20 kilometers outside Paris, this fashionable Chateau de Versailles hotel recently benefitted from an artful, full-scale redesign, adding an air of tasteful, modern elegance to the atmosphere of regal luxury. Find solitude among centuries-old trees and lush, vivid gardens, newly updated by famous landscape designer Louis Benech. Experience a splendid reflection of the palatial surroundings within the sumptuous style and decor. Enjoy indulgent features, from lavishly appointed accomodation and an exquisite French restaurant by famous Chef Gordon Ramsay, to the Guerlain SPA with a hammam, steam rooms and a beautiful, heated…

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China Girl, chinese treasure in Cancun.

I love Chinese cuisine and I was not happy so far with the options we had in Cancun. But last night we discovered a treasure.

Not easy to find as this lovely restaurant is not on the street level. You must go to the second floor of a modern building. Large spaces where to park your car.

This place is modern and very elegant. The entrance is chic and you immediately guess you will have a great moment. The staff was very welcoming and we entered into a beautiful room nicely decored. The seats are very confortable. Then we got our menus.

We were dreaming of Dumplings and we went for a big order of steam pork and chicken Won Ton. We both did enjoy these so so much.

Then we shared a chicken with cashew nuts and a Mongolian beef. So delicious. No need to order rice as the garnish was enough. I did enjoy a nice Cabernet Sauvignon wine as well.

This was a fantastic discover and we for sure shall return.

Chateau de Blois

The Royal “Chateau of Blois“, was the residence of 7 Kings and Queens of France.

Beginning with Louis XII, who was born in Blois in 1462, the château became the favorite residence of the kings of France for more than a century. Blois was the first construction undertaken by François I and his successors often resided here. François II spent half of his brief reign at the château and Henri III twice summoned the Estates General of the kingdom here in an attempt to end the Wars of Religion (1576 and 1588) twice.

It was for this occasion that the château of Blois became the setting for the assassination of the Duke of Guise, ordered by the king on December 23, 1588.

The Château of Blois reached it’s apogee in the first half of the 16th century under the sumptuous reigns of Louis XII and François Ier, who rebuilt the château acordeing to Renaissance taste and style. On April 1498, the Duke Louis II d’Orléans (1462-1515) became King of France under the name of Louis XII. He immediately proceeded with the reconstruction of the château of Blois where he had been born 36 years ago. The new wing, built in brick and stone and since named after the king, was described by the chronicler Jean d’Auton as being “so new and so sumptuous that it seems truly deserving of a King”.

The 16th century in Blois was also the century of the Queens: Anne de Bretagne, whose remarriage with Louis XII allowed the return of Brittany to France, followed by Claude of France, who gave her name to a variety of plums (« Reine Claude » that she cultivated in the gardens of Blois. After the brief reign of Mary Stuart, Catherine de Medicis often resided here before dying in her apartments. The memory of the two wives of Henri IV still lingers in Blois: Marguerite de Valois, the so-called “Reine Margot”, and Marie de Médicis, who escaped from the château in 1619.

From the Renaissance, Kings have made the place bigger. It is amazing to be abble to see so many fine arts, some furnishes and all those polychromatic decors. There are three different wings of three different periods.In 1845, it was the first historical residence to be restored and acted as a model for the restoration of many other chateaux. The Royal Chateau of Blois, classified as Museum of France, filled with more than 35,000 works of art, presents a section of its collections in the Royal apartments of the Francis the First’s wing, in the Fine Arts Museum set in the Louis the 12th’s wing, but also during its many temporary exhibitions.

For the 500th anniversary of the king Francois 1er, the chateau is organising a “Royal Treasures Francis 1 of France’s library”.

During the season, you could see the Sound and light show. Very very nice, I am telling you.

As the chateau is right in the middle of the city, you may visit the beautiful city of Blois as well.

Very good introduction to the Loire valley.