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Travel: Looking For A Hotel in Central Barcelona With A Rooftop Pool?

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balcony at NH collection barcelona
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marble bathroom at NH collection podium Barcelona hotel
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rooftop pool at NH Collection Barcelona Podium hotel
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Affordable Luxury in the heart of Barcelona

I spent many evenings trawling through different hotel comparison websites on my hunt for an affordable, centrally located hotel that would be perfect for our short weekend break in Barcelona. 

I don't know about you, but when it comes to holidays or trips away, I always like to spend a few hours/evenings doing my research and making sure I find the best deal possible.

I do love a little bit of luxury, even more so when I can get a luxury deal for less!

When starting out my search I had a couple of tick boxes to check when it came to finding a short 3-day city break to Barcelona...

Rooftop pool? Check!
Central location? Check!
Bars and restaurants local? Check!
Easy access to local attractions? Check!

I wouldn't usually be so fussy about finding a rooftop pool when choosing a hotel for a city break, but I had originally compromised on having a short beach break so the rooftop pool was that little something extra that would still allow me the pool/beach vibe downtime that I was searching for.

The Hotel - NH Collection Barcelona Podium

Which brought my search to the Hotel NH Collection Barcelona Podium - a luxury 4-star hotel housed in a restored 19th-century building which lies in the heart of Barcelona.

The hotel is bright and modern with a light and airy interior. The lobby opens out into the main reception area with access to both the hotel restaurant and bar.

The best feature about this hotel? Take the lift up to the top floor and you'll find a large outdoor terrace with lots of comfy, inviting seating areas, both open and undercover - plus there's a bar area where you can order cocktails and light bites. There's a great view across the Barcelona cityscape.

To add to this trendy rooftop vibe, there’s a sizeable pool available for all hotel guests to use, as well as a separate roof terrace area lined with plenty of sun loungers for guests.

Upon arrival we were shown to our bedroom, kindly upgraded to an extra large superior room by NH Collection hotels. Again, the room was modern, light, bright and airy and decorated in muted, neutral colours. The floor-to-ceiling patio doors which opened out onto a small balcony immediately caught my eye - with the luxury white sheer curtains gently lapping in the wind.

Our room featured an open-plan bathroom with his and hers sinks, a large sliding wardrobe and a separate room for the bath/shower and toilet. The bedroom was of ample size with a large king-size bed, separate desk area, coffee machine and fridge.

NH Collection Barcelona Podium - Luxury in the City

The hotel is conveniently located near the Plaza de Cataluna, the city's main shopping, and cultural district. The Arc de Triomf and Parc de la Ciudadela are also very close by - with a zoo and boating lake!

It's great because the hotel is very centrally placed, however, it's still in a very peaceful area and thankfully, a little removed from the hustle and bustle. It's perfectly located for access to bars, restaurants, and shops.

If you're a foodie and tapas lover, the hotel backs onto the district of El Born - a delightful little corner in Barcelona which has all of the beauty of Barri Gotic with its characteristic narrow streets and quaint cafes around every corner, but just far enough removed from the beaten track to maintain  a vibe of sophisticated calm and class.

There are plenty of champagne bars dotted around in El Born serving up quality cava and plenty of tapas bars - too many to visit on a short weekend in-fact. My recommendation would be to embark on a tapas bar crawl one evening.

I will have more blog posts with recommendations on bars and restaurants to visit in Barcelona.

(*) Our room upgrade at NH Collection Barcelona Podium and breakfast board was provided on a complimentary basis in exchange for an honest review on my blog.  The rest of the accommodation and travel costs were purchased through lastminute.com.  All opinions expressed here are my own (*)
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Travel: Hurley House Hotel, A Boutique Hotel in Henley, Berkshire

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Superior rooms with free-standing bathtub at Hurley house hotel
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Hurley House boutique hotel near Henley on Thames
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walking by the river on Henley on Thames
A weekend exploring Henley on Thames
Board walk henley on thames
elegant fine-dining restaurant at hurley house hotel
delicious bed and breakfast at hurley house boutique hotel in Berkshire

Laid back luxury in the heart of Berkshire

A gorgeous hotel - boutique chic at its finest. 

Last week I published a blog post all about the gastronomical dinner delights we experienced at Hurley House Hotel and today I'm going to be talking in more detail about the hotel and our stay. 

As mentioned in my previous post, dinner at Hurley House was by far one of my favourite meals to date. 

So what were the boutique hotel quarters like?

Hurley House Hotel is a chic boutique hotel in the heart of Berkshire, just outside Henley on Thames and recently underwent a huge refurbishment in 2016. 

Only a mere 45 minutes drive from central London it is the perfect countryside escape for a luxury staycation outside of the city.

The pub houses 10 boutique rooms. Our room was spacious and featured a huge squishy bed, armchair with dressing table, large wardrobes and a cubby hole for our teas, coffees and minibar.

Decor is countryside chic in its purest form with the walls adorned in cream, grey and beige tones - rural with homely touches throughout. Follow the polished wooden floors out into the hallway and you'll be greeted with the bathroom - where a free-standing bathtub occupies.

There is a separate walk-in shower for those who don't enjoy a good old soak in the bathtub, plus a huge free-standing sink with a big mirror surrounded by glimmering lights. The toilet area is separate too - a bathroom with ample space for two!

There was a beautiful exposed beam running straight through the middle of our bedroom which added to the rustic, countryside feel of the property.

Other stand-out rooms in the superior category feature their own outdoor patio.

A must visit if you're looking for somewhere to lay your weary head in the local area!

(*) Our overnight stay and food and drink at Hurley House Hotel were provided on a complimentary basis in exchange for an honest review on my blog. All opinions expressed here are my own (*)
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Food & Drink: Gastronomical Dinner Delights at Hurley House Hotel

Onions, salt baked celaric and goats curd starter
Dinner and overnight stay at Hurley House Hotel
Gin cocktail infused with pink peppercorns and plum
Starters menu at Hurley House Hotel
Pub, restaurant and fine dining
Guinea fowl terrine on the a la carte menu at Hurley House Hotel
The interiors of the Hurley House Hotel fine-dining restaurant
Rightupmystreet UK travel and hotel blogger reviewing Hurley House Hotel
Reviewing the delicious food menu at Hurley House Hotel
Cornish cod, haddock and potato broth a la carte menu
Gin cocktail with a twist at Hurley House Hotel
Experimental dessert - strawberries and cream
Chocolate and caramel snickers with peanut butter icecream
Restaurants to visit near Henley on Thames

Gastronomical Dinner Delights at Hurley House Hotel

A boutique pub with 10 enviable bedrooms - your next staycation!

I believe it's the best of both worlds when you get to stay in a super cosy, chic room as well as sample a delightful dinner right on your doorstep. Take a couple of steps downstairs and voila, you're ready to be seated for dinner/breakfast. Finished, full up and ready to rest your food bloat? Even better, you have the luxury of tottering straight back upstairs to your cosy abode.

It really is one of the simplest pleasures in life! 

So, while staying at Hurley House Hotel we were lucky enough to be boarding on a dinner, bed and breakfast basis. There was no need to even leave the premises that evening - blissful!

So, shall we start with the talent behind the food? Michael Chapman is the talented Michelin-Starred chef at the forefront of the Hurley House Hotel kitchen. Menu's feature only the freshest of locally-sourced ingredients from Berkshire's best producers and farmers. 

The pub itself was recently renovated in 2016 and boasts a new modern-age elegance with rustic wood burning stoves, flagstone floors and mismatched furniture amongst the various seating areas and warm atmosphere. For sunnier months the hotel/pub also boasts an enviable outdoor terrace with outdoor dining in mind. The outdoor area is also ideal for large events and parties - as the outdoor space can hold up 300 guests. 

As you may know, I review quite a lot of restaurants, both casual and fine-dining on Rightupmystreet and this by far has been one of my favourite meals to date. 

The restaurant at Hurley House Hotel offers a formal dining space in homely surroundings. Delicate details have all been heartfelt. Although unrelated to the food I loved the fact that the staff's dress code was black jeans with a dark green and black checkered shirt - it worked really well and was a nice informal, laid-back touch... (clearly something I remembered well!). 

So, where do I start with the food? I guess starters and tipple of choice are the most obvious starting place!

I was pleased to see a variety of gin options on the drinks menu, in particular, a couple there were a couple of signature gins paired with floating fruity pieces. I opted for the gin which was infused with pink peppercorns and slices of plums. After a while, all of the flavours really began to infuse and I enjoyed the drink more and more as I reached the bottom.

The food, as I've mentioned already, was utterly delicious and very memorable. I can't fault a single dish that we tried - I made a special effort (like that was going to be hard... *rolls eyes*) to sample each of Alex's courses too. Each dish was presented with impeccable detail - a delight to photograph!

I chose to start with the Wiltshire Guinea Fowl and Foie Gras Terrine (£12.50) which was wrapped in a single layer of ham hock, delightful splodges of celeriac graced the plate and the pickled shimeji button cup mushrooms sat on top. The side salad was sweet and tasted delicious with mouthfuls of the terrine.

Apparent on most fine-dining menu's celeriac tends to make repeat appearances throughout courses and featured in Alex's first course too - Stout Braised Roscoff Onions, Salt Baked Celeriac, Innes Goats Curd and Garlic Crumb (£7) which was beautifully presented.

For the main course, I chose a meat dish and Alex with the fish.  The fish featured a variety of seafood - Cornish Cod, Smoked Scottish Haddock, Potato Broth, Samphire, Pancetta, Leeks, Mussels (£26) in generous portions which Alex thoroughly enjoyed - I've never seen him finish a plate so quickly. The main course was a tricky choice as stand-out others included a fillet of beef and lamb shoulder.

The pork fillet caught my eye as it was paired with a slow cooked pork belly, cauliflower, fregola and a sweet granny smith apple sauce (£27). The meat was cooked to perfection and every mouthful featured the right of savoury and sweet and contrasting textures.

For dessert, a clever finish! I had lots of fun breaking the glass-style exterior of my perfectly crafted Gariguette Strawberries, White Chocolate Cream and Shortbread (£7.50) spectacle. Shards of hard-boiled sweet strawberries tasted delicious in the white chocolate cream and shortbread under layer. Alex opted for full dessert indulgence - the Chocolate and Caramel 'Snickers' with Peanut Icecream (£7.50), every mouthful felt very naughty and the dusted caramel brittle added the perfect crunch.

The food quality is of a very high standard and you can expect a 3-course dinner for two with a drink each to total around the £100 mark, so all in all, not half bad!


(*) Our overnight stay and food and drink at Hurley House Hotel were provided on a complimentary basis in exchange for an honest review on my blog. All opinions expressed here are my own (*)

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Food & Drink: Brunching in Guildford? Here's What CAU Has To Offer

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New brunch menu at CAU steakhouse
Morning frappe with spiced rum
CAU brunch menu guildford
outdoor seating at CAU guildford high street
Full english breakfast at CAU with black pudding
Sweet potato pancakes with grilled pork belly and maple syrup

Breakfast Brunch at CAU - Buenos Aires Style

I recently experienced a breakfast brunch - Buenos Aires style!

One of my favourite steak restaurants has always been CAU, not only a play on words but an Argentinian steakhouse with its own distinctive twist. 

Ever since the first time I tried their mouth-watering lomito fillet steak - I knew I would continue to come back and back for more. 

If you haven't tried CAU and you love steak, you really do need to find out where your nearest branch is, I'm really not exaggerating how good the food is. To my delight, I was recently contacted by their PR team who invited me down to Guildford to try CAU's new breakfast/brunch menu

What's better than being told you're now able to visit your favourite steak restaurant for delicious grub both morning and night? 

At the end of the day, brunch is brunch and most places do it fairly similar. Personally, I like to keep a look out for restaurants or cafes offering a breakfast brunch with a little twist on the traditional dishes. 

At CAU each dish is served up with its own distinctive Argentinian twist - delicious comfort food at its best so I was excited to see if their brunch menu offered this too. 

At 12.30pm on a Saturday it was a welcome sight to see the brunch drinks menu complete with an alcoholic twist on the classics. 

Fancy a Frappe with your brunch? Of course, you do - especially if it is served with an extra special helping of spiced rum and coffee liqueur. Naughty but nice, but hey its the weekend!

Alex choose the Frappe (£6) - sweetened coffee churned over crushed ice with spiced rum and coffee liqueur, I had a trusty Mimosa (£6) refreshing orange juice shaken with Grand Marnier and topped off with bubbles. 

To follow, I couldn't falter from my favourite (not today!) so decided to see what the CAU Breakfast (£9.95) had to offer. 

The full breakfast includes pork & herb sausage, morcilla black pudding, eggs, mushrooms, tomatoes, smoked bacon and sourdough toast. Alex chose something a little unusual - the Sweet Potato Pancakes with grilled pork belly, a fried egg and maple syrup (£8.95). 

My breakfast was spot on - the meat was of high quality, the smokey black pudding, pork and herb sausages and bacon all tasted delicious, washed down perfectly with a side of bubbles!


(*) My brunch at CAU, Guildford was provided on a complimentary basis in exchange for an honest review on my blog. All opinions expressed here are my own (*)

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