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Wednesday 19 October 2011

Hotel Review: Hilton Wangfujing, Beijing, China

World Travel Awards recently awarded Hilton Wangfujing with the “world’s leading lifestyle hotel”, third year in a row. The hotel is set in the shopping area of Wangfujing, forty minutes by taxi from the Capital Airport and just ten minutes from the Forbidden city.

At the very first sight, the hotel gives you a sense of luxury and modern style, and when you step out of the taxi you immediately feel the excellent service from the concierge who opens the door for you and quickly gets your bags. It is all done in such smoothness and already before you enter the door you feel welcome. When you step in to the reception you are struck by the clean design and lovely white lilies that will follow you all through the hotel. Even the smell gives you a calm sense of feeling. You are greeted with a smile and exceptionally good service every time you step towards the reception. Only time when the service fails is when a problem occurs at the front office. They can not take a decision and the problem twirls around from person to person, which makes the customer desperate and angry. A small problem then turns out to be a big problem, and that is not good customer service. It is important for them to see the big picture and the future business they can make with that customer.

The deluxe rooms with their 50m2 takes your breath away, they are very spacious, with walk in closet, and gives you a feeling of calm and serenity. You immediately get content and when you see the big spacious bed you can not do anything else than to smile and try it out. The beds have perfect comfort and makes you feel truly relaxed, which gives you a good nights rest. They are not, like other heavenly hotel beds, to warm. There is a perfect balance and the mattress breaths in perfect harmony with your body. The bathrooms are well thought out and made in the same clean design as the rest of the room. With a rain fall shower, TV and a beautiful bath tub standing with lion head legs.

Hilton also offers a spa area, gym and a grandiose swimming pool with glass walls overlooking the area. The only thing that’s a bit of a shame is that they don’t offer a sauna, which is a perfect way of relaxation when being out in the busy Beijing.

The three different restaurants/bars all blend in to each other, except the Chinese restaurant Chynna, which has a more specific Chinese touch. 
Chynna is their Chinese restaurant that offers the traditional Beijing duck as well as other well combined Chinese dishes. The Beijing duck is one of the best ducks we’ve eaten; it even beats the famous Da Dong. I would strongly recommend you to try it. The restaurant has a very elegant design and is empowered by all the red features and the white little details. That is also an on going theme through out the whole hotel; every little detail is very carefully thought out and fits perfect.
The all day dining restaurant Vasco’s, which is connected with the bar and lounge restaurant Flames, has a more clean design and has more natural colours. The breakfast at Vasco’s offers a wide range of both traditional Chinese breakfast, including for example dim sum and fresh made wonton soup, to an intercontinental breakfast with omelette, bacon, fruit and much more. We can guarantee that you won’t be hungry when you leave.
Flames is where you can have a stylish cocktail sitting by the elegant bar, or have a glass of wine in the comfortable sofa in front of the fire. What ever mood you are in, you will surely be satisfied. Down by the lobby we have the lounge area and The Library, where you are offered a coffee and
some gourmet snacks while you have a nice conversation with your friends or colleagues.

The down side with all the restaurants; is that the staff has very little training in how to serve, there is no lack of trying it’s just a lack of knowledge. A big recurring problem is when it comes to serve wine, several of the staff doesn’t know how to serve, in which order or when to serve. 

We can not forget that Hilton Wangfujing have the largest wine cellar in Beijing, where you are offer
ed a wide selection of different wines. The Vintage Bank has more than 1000 bottles with more than 500 different labels.

Overall I can say that Hilton Wangfujing is well worth a visit, either you are on a business trip or leisure. I can guarantee that you wont be disappointed and what ever your needs are, they will be fulfilled.

Hotel Grade: 4 out of 5

Hilton Wangfujing
8 Wangfujing East Street,
Beijing, China 100006
Tel: 86-10-58128888

Written by: Sofie Yü

Monday 17 October 2011

Restaurant Review: PM & Vänner

Dear readers,

In the mist and deep forests of Småland, Sweden where nothing is represented except for IKEA and famous furniture designs you will find the very small town of Växjö. A town that is more famous for its active green and sustainable work than culinary experience. However, the town offers more than meets the eye, it offers a distinct restaurant with prestigious and high class service. The food is creative, high in quality and impressive in taste. They even have the world champion Sommelier from the World Championship Competition for Sommeliers to select the wine list.

This little restaurant is called PM & Vänner and gives great quality food with innovative cooking and distinct service. Through the years I have been disappointed by their service but impressed with its cooking. For the first time it has shown great performance when it comes to its staff where the first point of aspect are, customers first and service as it should.

Please do try the oysters for starter and go for its locally bred meet. Its local ingredients are all eco friendly and locally bred for a more sustainable thinking and pleasant palate.

My final grade for PM & Vänner is:

4 out of 5

Storgatan 22

352 31, Växjö

Written by: Alexander Yü

Saturday 1 October 2011

Wine of the Month: Mt. Difficulty Pinot Noir 2009

This wine reflects the nature of a cooler vintage displaying great concentration and balance; red fruits of the forest dominate the aroma and these are underpinned by black cherry, Christmas cake spice and savoury herb. The wine has a dark concentrated front palate, which displays these same characters in abundance. The mid palate is fleshy and well textured. The wine finishes with a lovely combination of sinewy tannin, fruit and acidity.

Mt Difficulty Estate Pinot Noir will improve for 7-10 years given optimal vintage and cellaring conditions.

The wine can only be special ordered at Australian Wine Club for home delivery and is not available at the Swedish Systembolaget.

Cost: 369 SEK (Australian Wine Club)
Grape: 100% Pinot Noir
Aging: Can be opened from 2011-2016