Travel

Theme 8: California Diary. Loews Hollywood Hotel Review

"There's something in the air in Hollywood"
Blogger Ulia Ali review on Los Angeles Hollywood hotel

As every self-respecting blogger who is trying hard to fit in, every April I attend Coachella festival with Ben, who from a highly ranked financial consultant transforms into my full time photographer during our trips. The festival is actually our favorite excuse to stay in Los Angeles and explore the city more (aka looking for the most instagrammable places). One of the hotels we stayed at during our annual 'Californication', was Loews Hollywood Hotel.

Located in the heart of Hollywood - literally just next to the Hollywood Walk of Fame and Dolby Theater that is best known as Oscars location since 2002, Loews Hollywood Hotel is a dreamy and tasteful choice of accommodation for every traveler that wants to be close to the La La Land world.

The Hills! The Hollywood sign! The Theaters! Do I even need to say more?!

Loews Hollywood Blogger Review

Waking up to the world famous Hollywood sign is definitely a very cliche thing that HAS TO BE on your bucket list, and Loews Hollywood can make that dream come true! Apart from having the A-list view, the hotel room we had was beautiful, spacious and comfortable, and had a bunch of informative magazines and books that helped to plan our city walks.

As Ben and I used to live in hotels full time, we have an eye for details and pay a very close attention to how a hotel's staff treats their guests. We were very impressed by how clean and equipped was the room, and how INCREDIBLY friendly and respectful every member of the Loews Hollywood family was. It is mind blowing how many luxury hotels nowadays have problems with their staff. W Hotel in Dubai was a great hotel, but had the worst valet service ever; St. Regis Kauai staff couldn't remember our names after two weeks of us staying there and were not attentive at all. We not only had zero issues with Loews Hollywood Hotel, but we actually had one of the best valet experiences in the last few years. It might seem like a small detail, but small things do really matter!

Loews Hollywood pool review and rating

There are a lot of great amenities at the hotel, including a well-equipped gym, but me and my friend Vivien, who joined Ben and I on this trip, fell in love with the pool and hanged out there more than we initially planned. The view at the pool area make me geek out to this day as it a little bit reminds me of Ancient Assyrian wall reliefs. And any historical reference and a unique photo spot ranks high in my book.

I honestly think it is one of the most Instagrammable and just photogenic in general, pools in Los Angeles!

Loews Hollywood 4 star hotel review

If you are hungry, Loews Hollywood offers a great variety of dining options, including a lovely American restaurant Preston's and a fun, filled with beautiful people, H2 Kitchen & Bar. It is not a secret that the breakfast buffet is one of my favorite parts of the staying at hotels (oh c'mon, we all can appreciate a variety of pastries and 10 types of cheeses on a plate to choose from!), and Loews Hollywood has an excellent one. I am getting hungry now by just thinking of that freshly made omelette and a bowl of fruits, soaked in honey :)

Loews Hollywood

Another thing to mention and that is, I am sure, important for many of you, is the pricing point. For the service, location and the comfort you can't beat Loews Hollywood prices (less than $300 a night). The hotel is modern, chic and upbeat, but is family friendly and offers a calm retreat to the adventurers in the middle of the Hollywood's delicious madness!

Ulia Ali - review of Los Angeles hotels

Yandy swimsuits review

Swimsuit from: Yandy


Theme 39. Arabian Adventure. Four Seasons Dubai, Sea Fu review

Ulia Ali - travel and fashion blogger, fiction writer. Review on Four Seasons Dubai at Jumeirah. Sea Fu restaurant.

Four Seasons Resort Dubai at Jumeirah Beach - Jet Set Oasis

Dubai has made a name for itself catering to the luxury-minded jet set crowd over the years, so it was only a matter of time before the Toronto-based Four Seasons Hotels group installed their beach-side desert offering: Four Seasons Resort Dubai at Jumeirah Beach (FS for short because #carpaltunnel).

For those of you who have not had the privilege of gracing the threshold of a Four Seasons, let me be the first to tell you that you are in for a treat should the opportunity arise to visit one of their 109 (and counting) properties worldwide.

Gorgeous Four Seasons
Four Seasons Dubai beach

Like many of their locations, the FS exudes opulence from the moment you approach the grounds. A sweeping paver stone driveway lined with trees lifts you up and away from the bustle of Jumeirah St. Through gaps in the greenery as your drive deeper, you will begin to notice the neutrally colored, Arabian influenced lines of the main building. Terraced construction incorporating terra-cotta and neutral tones is the perfect complement to the landscape, causing one to forget that a city of steel and glass is only 15 minutes away. If you look closely at the buildings, you may notice nods to the Arabian culture in the form of Horseshoe Arches and large, ornate doors standing between you and marble lined lobby of the FS.

Four Seasons Dubai Review

As one would expect from a Four Seasons, the lobby is the crown jewel. Every Four Seasons seeks to make the entry way to each of their hotels a statement. Dubai is no exception. With an attention to detail second to none, the FS unabashedly flaunts the line between palace and hotel. Gold trim, deep brown hues, neutral tones, complex light fixtures comprised of baubles and more flowers than Versailles in spring, the FS transports you.

Now, our engagement on this particular adventure was at one of the FS’s dining venues known as Sea Fu. The FS mantra is about experiencing sensory environments. So, if you can accept that the lobby overwhelms, Sea Fu relaxes, much to the same degree.

Sea Fu Dubai, UAE
Free People dress in Dubai
Sea Fu menu, Dubai

Set in a quasi-outdoor, beachside setting, Sea Fu serves an Asian-inspired menu amongst pillars of wood and beneath umbrellas and billowing fabric. I highly recommend sitting outside as the breeze in winter or early spring is still pleasant. However, should the sun be too harsh, the interior of Sea-Fu is a perfect alternative and a welcome respite from the sun. There is something about an ocean breeze and eating lunch on a terrace that is just…pleasing.

The staff at Sea Fu was, for lack of a better term, phenomenal. From the moment we approached the host stand to announce our arrival, we were treated with near-perfect deference (I say near-perfect because I have a penchant for restaurants that maintain a dress code that includes white gloves for their staff, but that is a story for another time). The truly standout quality however, ignoring the smiles, friendliness and attention of the staff was something that I believe every restaurant should take to heart and do: responsive and thoughtful guidance on the menu.

Best sushi in Dubai
Sea Fu Dubai, Four Seasons review by travel blogger Ulia Ali Pillmore
Four Season's Sea Fu review by Ulia Ali Pillmore.
sea-fu-review

This may sound like a simple task, but the vast majority of restaurants do not ensure that their staff knows the menu.

When I patronize a restaurant I like to ask the waiter or waitress to pick items from the menu that they believe will constitute a meal representative of the quality and diversity of the restaurant. Few get this right. More often than not, the selections are representative, but not of what is good, but what is popular, or what they think I will like based on their judgement. For those of you who know me personally, you will know that I drink and I know things. But you will also know that I eat. I love good food.

Sea Fu understood this. Our waitress selected dishes that complemented one another, were varied enough in their execution to not leave us bored and diverse in flavor to the point that we had to throw in the proverbial towel for lack of capacity. It was beautifully executed and showcased what I love best in a restaurant: mastery of a variety of techniques. 

In the words of Paul Prudhomme: “You don't need a silver fork to eat good food.”. Fine by me, the FS (and Dubai) happens to prefer gold anyway.

Until next time,

- BAP

Free People dress in Dubai
Desert in Dubai. Sea Fu at Four Seasons review.
Lotus Flower Sea Fu
Sea Fu review
Impressive deserts of the world
Dubai food - Sea Fu Four Seasons review

P.S. For the curious among you, here is what we had for lunch:

Small Plates: Edamame, Spicy Chicken

Sushi: Yuzu Tempura Roll

Raw Bar: Hokkaido Scallops

Main: Seared Black Cod

Dessert: Mochi Selection, Lotus Flower

Four Seasons Dubai

SHOP MY LOOk:

My Dress - Free People (it comes in 4 colors and it is my favorite dress EVER!)

Bag - Louis Vuitton (It was a Christmas gift from my hubby)

Jewelry - Sequin Jewelry (My favorite Jewelry company! Everything is so gorgeous)


Week 30: Utah. Exploring Park City in Thursday Boots.

Main Street in Park City

Here is a little photo diary of our trip to Park City! Check out my summer posts about Park City here, if you haven't seen it before.

Almost the whole trip Ben and I were rocking our awesome matching pairs of Thursday Boots. They are definitely not just pretty shoes, but very well designed, durable and comfortable boots that you can wear almost in ANY weather conditions. I am 5'5 (167 cm), so I always feel I need that extra height, so I was happy that my pair had a small heel. The design of these boots is very classic, and won't go out of "trend" in, dare I say, decades!

Thursday boots review

The left boot was rubbing my foot in the first few days, however a pair of wool socks worn with the boots quickly solved the problem. And a week later I was able to put on my Thursday Boots pair with just thin stockings, and could walk for hours! They are really comfortable and super affordable, so I definitely recommend you to have at least a pair of these durable, timeless shoes that are perfect for not only city walks, but for even hiking adventures, and long road trips.

Thursday boots in Park City snow
Thursday Boots for Men
Park city souvenirs
Thursday Boots review
Park City, Utah. Wild West souvenirs.
Thursday Boots review for men.
PArk City colourful houses
cool books
Thursday Boots review
PArk City spirit

I am wearing PRESIDENT in Brown and Ben is wearing CAPTAIN in NATURAL.

 
 

Week 30: Utah. The Most Romantic Restaurant in the United States!

The Most romantic restaurant in The United States. Beautiful fairy La Caille.

When Ben and I were in Utah, he took me on a surprise date. I didn't know where exactly we were driving, but from the moment I saw the gates of La Caille, I knew I would inevitably fall in love with the place. The grounds of La Caille are like a magical fairytale land with stunning scenery a la Narnia in Winter or SnowWhite's little castle in summer.

We drove through the beautiful snow-covered forest towards the French-inspired Chateau, passing a frozen lake with a lonely, graceful swan white as winter, greeting us like a wild guardian. Have you ever seen a single, wild swan on a frozen lake? It is more magnificent that you can ever imagine, and reminded me of the Swan Princess fairytale (yes, yes, I love fables!).

La Caille Restaurant
Beauty and the Best USA restaurant
La Caille
La Caille Restaurant. Fairy Tale Castle

But the surprises didn't end there. After we parked and started walking to the main building, we saw peacocks - brightly coloured, proud and magnificent sitting on the snow dusted branches of trees, or strolling around, almost guiding us to La Caille's entrance. I was already imagining myself as Belle from Beauty and the Beast, secretly wondering if all these wonderful creatures were under some sort of spell. A few seconds later I noticed an abundance of fluffy bunnies and hares jumping around. Squealing with great delight like a 5-year old, I was finally dragged by my already freezing husband inside the little 18th-century Chateau. He knew I could spend hours just chasing bunnies and petting exotic birds, and we would probably never get to the actual dining experience if he let me do that :)

The decor of the castle is no less than a feast for your eyes, especially if you like opulent French style and a Marie Antoinette vibe. The story of this hidden treasure of Utah, is also fascinating,and deserves its own TV series: steamy affairs, multi-million dollar legal battles, and a murder-suicide of the owners, husband and wife, who fulfilled a pact to end their lives together on Christmas night a decade ago.

Such a tragic Shakespearean love story only adds to the mystique of La Caille, the most magical restaurant in the United States, that will put you under its spell the moment you set your foot on its grounds.


Need I mention that food at the restaurant is FANTASTIC?! From the most delicious cocktails to mouthwatering French dishes, and original desserts, La Caille will amaze even the most sophisticated gourmand. La Caille also has beautiful gardens, a huge greenhouse, and an amazing vineyard you should definitely check out.

Ladies, if you are looking for the perfect wedding destination, I seriously recommend you look into La Caille.

You won't regret it! To be honest, I cannot wait to visit La Caille in Summer, and bring more people to this little piece of a fairytale land in our mundane world.

The most beautiful restaurant in the world! La Caille
Photo of Ulia Ali
french-restaurant-utah
Monkey Lamp in French Restaurant
Gorgeous door
La Caille Restaurant
La Caille sculptures
The most beautiful restaurant in the world
La Caille
La Caille fire
The most romantic restaurant in the United States.
La Caille restaurant
La Caille bathroom
La Caille gates
Gorgeous romantic fairytale castle open to public. Restaurant.

Week 30: Utah. Stein Eriksen Lodge Review

Stein Eriksen Lodge hot tub. Review by blogger Ulia Ali Pillmore.

First of all, I cannot believe that I have been leading Pastiche.today for one year already! I have been amazed by the amount of support and love I have received, and still cannot believe with how many of my favourite brands I have been privileged enough to work with. Thank you very much!

To celebrate my blog's one year anniversary, Ben and I decided to fly to Utah for a little, snowy adventure. We were lucky to stay at the, I dare say, legendary Stein Eriksen Lodge. The hotel is a luxurious, 5-Star, 5-Diamond, chic, Norwegian-style property with ski-in, ski-out access to Deer Valley Resort

Deer Valley Resort is not only one of the top skiing destinations in America, but in the world. Hence it was chosen as a site for the 2002 Olympic Winter Games. By the way, the hotel was founded by Norwegian, Olympic-Gold medalist, skier Stein Eriksen, and there is a huge display of his trophies and awards in a beautiful, hand-painted case in the Main Lodge. 

Stein Eriksen awards and medals

The hotel has a beautiful chalet-chic decor - cozy, warm and gorgeous. Each room in the lodge has a unique Nordic design, but all of them have dark-wood furnishings, amazingly comfortable beds, stunning views and spacious bathrooms with Molton Brown amenities. 

My husband and I were staying in a luxury suite with a full kitchen, dining area, two enormous fireplaces, huge bath and walk-in shower, and our own private deck with a hot tub overlooking the snowy mountains! I can honestly say that it was an incredible experience to relax in a hot tub with steaming water, after a long day of skiing, breathing that fresh mountain air, taking in the breathtaking, picturesque mountain view, while being super warm and cozy.

Cozy warm winter morning by Ulia Ali.
Stein Eriksen Lodge Review.

Stein Eriksen Lodge is a top hotel, therefore if you don't think you will be able to stay there just yet, at least make a reservation at one of their celebrated restaurants: Glitretind or the Troll Hallen Lounge. The food is original and delicious, and their selection of hot cocktails (I am a sucker for any good variations of mulled wine or Irish coffee) is PHENOMENAL, and I don't use that word lightly :)

Stein Eriken restaurant

There is also a huge, heated outdoor(!!!) pool, which is so cool! The experience of swimming in warm water while white, fluffy snowflakes land on your head is quite surreal, and should be added to your bucket list.

Heated pool in snowy mountains

And of course, the hotel has a beautiful spa, with many individual massage rooms that bare the names of Scandinavian Gods.

 

By the way, Stein Eriksen Lodge is a year-round mountain resort, and it is worthy of a visit in summer as much as during the ski season.

Deer Valley skiing resort
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Stein Eriken Lodge review
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Hot tub in Stein Eriksen Lodge
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Park City is a charming city and has deserved a name of one of the most beautiful and prestigious places in the United States, so I definitely recommend you to explore it! While you are waiting for my upcoming Utah posts, here you can find my Park City summer adventures and a visitor's guide I prepared for you. Enjoy and let me know if you visit Park City!