Ulus 29 – Istnbul, Turkey

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Ulus 29 Restaurant

(90)  212 358-2929
Adnan Saygun Caddesi
Ulus Parkı İçi No:71/1
34340, Istnbul, Turkey

www.group-29.com

OPEN HOURS:
12:00pm  3:00 pm – Monday – Friday
6:30 pm – Daily

In 1993, on a hilltop in the center of the Ulus neighborhood, interior designer Zeynep Fadıllıoğlu created this platform for marvelous views of the Bosphorus, the semi-circular enclosed space is a true example of east meets west.  There are magnificent crystal chandeliers hung over the center lounge and a fire place and the adjacent bar.   There is also a grand outdoor terrace, but we visited s during winter, so we did not get to enjoy much of it (although we tried but the chilling breeze sent us back inside).

The menu consist of 29 (a play on the name) traditional Ottoman dishes as well as well as some french and Japanese fusion options.  The eggplant was highly smoked, while being pure and fresh.  A few other standouts were the deep fried goat cheese salad with mizzuna, mint, arugula and strawberry reduction, the rice pilaf with butter and the grilled octopus with white-bean-and-tomato salad.

Reservations, as well as smart dress are highly recommended at this classic restaurant with its impeccable service.  We highly recommend a nice outing at Ulus 29; so enjoy a wonderful lunch or dinner, and then walk down the hill, all the way to the water. It’s not a bad way to enjoy some vacation time!

Ulus_29_-001lavaş bread garlic butter goat cheese rosettes

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Ulus_29_-006Mizzuna, poached egg salad with perfect artichoke hearts and asparagus
Ulus_29_-008Dolmas, slightly sweet and very aromatic and lemony, defenetely the best we’ve had so far

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Bota Bota Spa – Montreal, Canada

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5856564371_f60134a13d_zabove photo © Sid Lee

Bota Bota Spa

(1) 514 284 0333
Old Port of Montreal
358 rue de la Commune Ouest,
Montreal, QC, Canada

www.botabota.ca

OPEN HOURS:
10:00 – 22:00   Daily

A 52-meter long floating ferry, converted into a Scandinavian style spa by Sid Lee Architecture, on the St. Lawrence River provides perfect views of Moshe Safdie’s Habitat 67 and BuckyFuller’s geodesic dome; as well as a lovely place to grab a bit of hot and sun near old Montreal.

Go for a treatment, or simply take the Water Circuit – a three hour package that gives you access to saunas, steam room and the whirlpools, located on the third and fourth decks.  If weather permits, you can also get nice lay-down outside for some sunbathing.

There is no photo taking and severely policed, no talking rules – you are constantly remained to be quiet. This is both nice and annoying depending on your state of mind & company!  The restaurant is good enough with a health oriented menu.  Interestingly enough, and quite intelligently, the price varies depending day and time.

The top floor Sauna is  one of the most beautiful we have been to.  It is spacious, with a panoramic view of old Montreal.   Bota Bota is interesting place to explore and well worth a visit.  You journey from the locker rooms – in the former engine room – up to the the therapy rooms on the next deck – along side some interesting resting areas, with hammocks reclining beds.  Then as you climb you get to the aforementioned hot tubs and hotter saunas; culminating on the lovely roof deck.  Even in winter – a great escape!

5857106358_0809d0df55_zabove photo © Sid Lee
5857159116_bf8995aba0_zabove photo © Sid Lee
5857167116_932f2f9943_zAs you journey towards the river – above photo © Sid Lee
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5856639869_9798c8eaf8_zabove photo © Sid Lee
5856662713_e87fc7075a_z above photo © Sid Lee
5856560653_faf7af6e3b_zabove photo © Sid Lee
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5856545853_4dd2198c30_babove photo © Sid Lee
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Les Cols Pavellons – Olot, Spain

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Les Cols Pavellons

(34) 69 – 981 3817
Avinguda de les Cols, 2
17800 Olot, Girona, Spain

www.lescolspavellons.com

About an hour and a half north of Barcelona is the Garrotxa, an area full of small volcanoes, nature reserves, and picturesque little towns.  One of these is Olot, and nestled towards the back of a 13th century farm house is the anachronistic Le Cols Pavellons hotel.

This science-fiction like hotel was designed by RCR Architects;  Who are also responsible for the superb restaurant next door, the two Michelin star “Les Cols”

In the Pavellons, all rooms are built out of glass; floating over petrified lava.  The ceiling is metal and glass, and the rooms are separated from each other by front and back zen gardens.  Each is isolated in vision and sound – and it is hard  imagine where you are in the world whilst inside your private world.

Miquel-Guifreabove photo ©  Miquel Guifré

As noted, the rooms, or pavellons, are very private being made out of several layers of opaque / translucent green glasses. Blackout shades, the same color tone as the glass, are remote-controlled via a minimalist panel that also controls ambient lighting.

The bathroom has a a floor level plunge tub that fills with soothing volcanic thermal spring water.  The amenities are likewise enjoyable – including the lovely, and very warm, slippers.

Breakfast is planed a day ahead and is left outside your door.  A tray of bread, orange juice,  yogurt, fruits, hard boiled eggs, honey and preserves, butter and tomatoes along with thermoses filled with hot coffee and cold milk.  This is such a lovely way to start the day; my words are just failing to describe the happiness this breakfast brings.

At checkout time, we were given a picnic bag with bread, olive oil, sausage, a round of cheese, salad, mineral water and a lovely bottle of wine.  A loving touch was a collection of postcards depicting watercolors of local attractions – and on the backs were hand drawn road maps of how to get to each one.  We took up the conceit and enjoyed a lovely day of site seeing and picnics!

The Pavellons at Les Cols is not the hotel for everyone;  we recommend reading other reviews before booking.   For us it was a dream location, painful to leave and first in our hearts to return!

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Les_colsabove photo © Les Cols Pavellons
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