Le Dalí Le Meurice Paris

My first professional introduction to the Dorchester Collection Parisian properties was in the first months of my business. A dear client requested a few days of quiet at Plaza Athenee after a long Villa month in Italy. Almost 15 days later, she departed, apparently rested. As a child, she had stayed many times at Le Meurice in the dazzling penthouse suite. You can imagine after 15 days, the Plaza Athenee was very happy to have me as a new contact.

Le Meurice and Plaza Athenee to me, are the ultimate in all that is French – if you think luxurious Paris hotel, these two grand properties come to mind. They may be a bit larger in scale than a few others, and actually smaller in scale than some very lovely Parisian hotels. My mantra: there is a perfect hotel for every client. I’m fortunate to stay here every time I visit Paris. On some visits, I’ve been ensconced in suites that could host half a dozen guests, truly Madeline at the hotel experience! My most recent visit found me in a petite suite on the top floor with two Juliet balconies looking out to the Festive Ferris Wheel and the branches of the winter bare Tuileries Garden and the Palace.- it was awe-inspiring!

Frequently dining by myself, Le Dalí is a very comfortable restaurant to enjoy a magnificent dinner. Amazing people watching, especially if you dine traditionally late, as the Americans have gone to bed, they just aren’t as glamorous as the French! Dress up, people!

Alain Ducasse, world-renowned chef, oversees both Le Meurice restaurants. Le Dalí setting is a combination of chic high style and French elegance by Philippe Starck. Restaurant Le Dalí is a unique homage to Salvador Dalí’s unmistakable spirit and flair. Philippe Starck has recently updated his previous vision of the restaurant’s distinctive interior, enhancing Dalí ’s love of quirky design and distorting reality. Eye-catching additions include a new carpet designed by his daughter, Ara Starck, and chairs covered with her canvas drawings. It is truly a very glamorous setting, luxury with a twist of whimsy in the art.

Le Menu: traditional French brasserie specialties or a creative culinary journey of delicious Mediterranean cuisine. The dishes are designed to be shared or served in half portions for light apéritif dining. From the site: The journey upon which guests embark begins with the Catalan lands of Salvador Dalí, with specialties such as stuffed pimiento del piquillo with romesco sauce or black rice, baby squid and shellfish.The voyage then continues in Italy through some of that country’s finest foods, like black pork culatello from Massimo Spigaroli, straight from Emilia-Romagna. But also home-style cooking – slow-simmered and colorful – like aubergine caviar, a Provence-style vegetable caponata or minestrone broth and vegetables with garlic-basil condiment. Guests can also sample patatas bravas with an authentic tasca taste and enjoy down-to-earth specialties like salt cod, aioli and coco beans sourced from Valence up to the County of Nice, served here with Catalan accents.

In the “Timeless” selection, the restaurant is faithful to the Parisian brasserie cooking, dishes that have been the bedrock of Le Dalí’s popularity across several generations. These classics include Grenoble-style sole with croutons and cubed lemon and the light and creamy free-range chicken fricassee. Smaller appetites will succumb to the celebrated Hansen & Lydersen Norwegian smoked salmon for example.

I questioned the ripeness of a tomato & mozzarella di bufala dish and was assured: Madame, summer tomatoes were, of course, available in November. Summer somewhere, indeed…the dish was scrumptious!

The attention to detail and care in the chef selections is evident if you ask questions about the provenance of the entrees. A petite book has been created: Histories in Carnees, providing a complete description of the meats served in the restaurant. My question on menu item: Duck from Mrs. Burgaud House, citrus and red chicory. Le duck: Semi-freed raised in the damp swamp grass of Vendee, this little plump duck is fed with corn, wheat and all the small treasures found in the rich and fertile soils. It has a strong and yet subtle flesh. Are you not enticed?

Melt in your mouth flavor is assured; Le Dalí takes time to produce a small descriptive book on exceptional and seasonal offerings, their passion for perfection is evident in the devotion to details. Swoon!

Le Dalí…one must always make a pilgrimage!


Coworth Park, Acscot – Travel Mantra

New Year, New Travel Mantra Update…

If we design your travel or you read my website posts, you know I have a few you must do, travel mantras and I love discovering new options for the list. Reed Hastings once told The Hollywood Reporter about our Istanbul mantra: One must take a yacht up the Bosporus following a long flight. It’s essential to have fresh air, avoid the constant traffic snarl and view the brilliant mosque filled Istanbul skyline from the water. Dock at your hotel and life is perfect!

My latest Travel Mantra – if you stay in London, you must exit the city a night or two before your flight and stay at Coworth Park. I’ve actually sent clients with young children before an early Heathrow transfer and have insisted a client with a 7-hour layover, pop over to Coworth Park for massage appointment and enjoy a delightful spa lunch.

Coworth Park Mansion Ascot

After my all too brief stay, it’s now on the Travel Mantra List. Coworth Park is actually in Ascot, which is barely 20 minutes from Heathrow. A Dorchester Collection country house gem, situated in a picturesque parkland, the luxurious property sits on the borders of Windsor Great Park; the hotel is high-end style without stuffiness. Choose to stay in the Mansion House or if you prefer more seclusion and you have kiddos with you, stay in the converted Stables & Cottages. The Mansion rooms and suites are a bit more spacious, but the entire property oozes sophisticated British country charm.

I wish I had stayed two nights; it would have been the perfect antidote to nine days of Paris and London site inspection carousing! The return to real life detox from rich meals and endless amounts of bubbly, stay at Coworth Park and begin the slow assimilation.

Mansion House Executive Suite Coworth Park

My Shepherds Suite was adorable and perfect for a two-night visit. The suite features an enormous copper-clad soaking tub with a divine view of the polo fields and nearby woods. Comfy living room and a woods themed bedroom, it was scrumptious!

Mansion House Junior Suite Copper Tub, Coworth Park

Mansion House Junior Suite Coworth Park

Coworth Park

Coworth Park

Restaurant Coworth Parks’ Best of British menu offers the finest locally sourced seasonal ingredients. If it’s comfort food you crave, sample The Barn’s menu in utter rustic charm where diners are more than welcome to keep their muddy boots on. My son gave me a travel mantra – dine on Fish & Chips and have a pint…the fish & chips were perfectly prepared, lightly battered flaky tender white fish, there is nothing like it outside of the UK. Champagne was already poured, so I missed the pint, next time! Spring and summer dining, you may wish to be seated on a lovely terrace. Take part in quintessentially English activities such as tennis, croquet, horse riding or take polo lessons with the Guards Polo Club on one of Coworth Park’s two professional polo fields. Ascot Park is not far, so if the ponies thrill you, there are additional reasons to visit!

My UK Mantra- Fish & Chips- perfect!

The luxury Spa at Coworth Park is an architectural wonder. Partially submerged in The Spa’s landscape, its upper floor takes in breathtaking views of the surrounding English parkland. This sense of the natural environment continues through to the interior design, every area of The Spa is flooded with natural light, crisp contemporary architecture, art and sculptures throughout.

Spa Pool Coworth Park

Built over two floors, the upper floor has eight treatment rooms, a manicure/pedicure salon, relaxation room and a lovely dining area called The Spatisserie which serves light meals, afternoon tea, wine and champagne.

On the lower level, there is a heated indoor swimming pool with underwater music, a relaxation area around the swimming pool and a sun terrace with luxurious loungers, an aromatic steam room, experience shower and pre-swim shower. The Spa’s gym has natural light and tree top views and the Technogym equipment has integrated televisions.

The Spa at Coworth Park was awarded ‘Best Destination Spa’ at the 2017 Condé Nast Johansens awards.

My late afternoon fall walk was brisk and scenic punctuated by pond geese fluffing and preening and the deer looked up from grazing in the afternoon twilight. With a 10 am flight from Heathrow the next morning, I had enough time to take a dawn walk across the meadow trail, crunchy frost glistened, silent planes left vapor trails across the morning pink hued sky.

Park like Grounds

My 20-minute ride to the airport was the most relaxed London departure I have ever experienced. There is no reason to depart the center of London at the crack of dawn through unpredictable traffic for a flight ever again!

If you have a long layover, Coworth Park is also an elixir – escape the canned air, take a short jaunt to Coworth Park, work out, enjoy a massage and a spa lunch…and head back to your flight refreshed.

Travel has become so uncivilized. Coworth Park exudes civility and comfort and country sophistication! Highly recommend!