Member Postcards

Member Postcard: A Summer Getaway to France and Spain

Indagare member CT recently returned from a trip with her family to Paris, Biarritz and Madrid. Here are some of her impressions:

My family had the most wonderful trip, thanks to Indagare for arranging and selecting such fabulous hotels and restaurants! We started in Paris staying at the Ritz Paris, which was incredible. Since they closed their doors in 2012 for extensive renovations, they had only been open for 10 days upon our arrival. Some parts of the hotel weren’t set up yet (such as directional signs—I recall us hilariously wandering around in bathing suits and bathrobes with other hotel guests looking for the pool). We felt a bit like guinea pigs, but we soon realized that we were so lucky to be at this magnificent place and witness the historic opening, and we knew that their initial fumbles would never happen again in the future.

We arrived from California in the evening, and by breakfast the following morning we were lulled into a state of bliss. Our deluxe rooms (that opened to views of the hotel courtyard) were stunning and spacious, each with a small seating area, a full bathroom and separate toilet room. In my opinion, the room amenities are the ultimate luxury: the best bedding, the peach–colored towels, stunning furniture, state-of-the-art lighting and gold leaf everywhere. All amenities have an original Ritz monogram and have been made exclusively for the hotel. I could seriously go on and on about all of the details of the hotel, as they are so thoughtful!

The staff seemed like they had been waiting for years to take care of us. We were met at the airport gate and whisked through customs by a Ritz employee like we were diplomats or movie stars. They have truly perfected the art of service here: we have never been so well taken care of in our lives and felt as if our every wish was fulfilled. This was the ultimate luxury and comfort. As we returned from a full day of sightseeing around Paris each day, we felt like we had come home.

Related: First Look: Ritz ParisParis: Dining in August The breakfasts were outstanding. I am still thinking about them. I also highly recommend high tea in the Proust Sitting Room, as there are over 30 varieties of tea and a succession of sweets, handcrafted by the hotel’s celebrated pastry chef. Of course, you must also have a cocktail at the Hemingway Bar. The hotel pool is a masterpiece and we went swimming every day. The spa wasn’t yet open during our stay, but I look forward to returning when it is. Anyone who appreciates real luxury and rarefied service will love the Ritz Paris. It is quite formal but not stuffy at all. All in all, the Ritz Paris offers a sublime experience and I can’t wait to return!

When we did venture outside the Ritz, we had fantastic dining experiences. We loved Monsieur Bleu for its food and atmosphere. Angelina, Bertillon and Fauchon (now closed) were also musts for our family.

We made a day trip to the Château Du Chantilly and the hotel arranged for a car to take us there. We enjoyed the paintings and gardens as well as lunch inside the château and a horse show on the grounds. You can rent a golf cart to drive around the gardens, which my son thought was a lot more fun than walking!

We were sorry to leave Paris, until we arrived in Biarritz at the magnificent Hotel du Palais! Wow! Thanks to Indagare we were upgraded and had two connecting suites with stunning views of the beach and ocean. The spa is great here and very beautiful. We had several treatments including facials, massages, wraps and scrubs and they all were fabulous.

We had a lot of fun walking around town and people watching. One day, my daughter and I had a driver from the hotel to take us to San Sebastian for the day while my husband and son played golf. San Sebastian is a great day trip—the tapas bars are not to be missed, the shopping is good and walking along the Playa de la Concha was very enjoyable. It is such a charming place.

As far as dining, we absolutely loved Chez Albert for dinner and I highly recommend their seafood (51bis Allée Port des Pêcheurs; (33) 5 59 24 43 84). We also loved Bar Jean, a happening tapas restaurant, because it felt like all of Biarritz is there.

Related: Biarritz & Pays Basque Destination Report From Biarritz, we had an easy flight to Madrid on Iberia Airlines. The Villa Magna is a nice hotel, but had more of a business vibe. While the city was hot, humid and bustling, we had a lot of fun paralleling the activities of Michelle Obama and her girls: Parque del Retiro, Museo del Prado, Palacio Real. We were disappointed not to be able to visit the embassy but seeing that the Obamas were there it was understandable! We also loved the flamenco show at Corral de la Moriera and my son thought it was one of the most memorable parts of the trip.  Ten Con Ten is one of the best restaurants I have ever been to and I could literally eat there every day. Luzi Bombon was a really fun spot and I highly recommend it.

This trip was really special and we enjoyed the printed Indagare materials and helpful guides that took us through each city. At every hotel we had a welcome note and a special amenity, which was very thoughtful and made us feel at home.

Related: Member Postcards

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