Who are you Virginie?
Over Internet, I am also known as Argone most of the time ; I leave next to Lyon with my family and my cat. I am an assistant in a large company where I work part time thus giving me enough spare time for my blog. Obviously, I like the travels, but also the photography, the movies, English or American soaps that I am watching in original version to perfect my English. I stopped smoking more than a year ago and started again to practice sport, I try to run twice a week.
Can you talk about your blog “A taste of my life”?
With A taste of my life, I didn’t want to lock myself into one topic so the topics found are quite diverse. The main editorial line is made of posts purely related to travel, about a destination I have been to, but also good addresses (also tested) such as hotels, but also restaurants or tea house. I also like to share from time to time my recipes as on a previous blog. This blog was already initiated four years and a half! It allowed me to enjoy nice travels but it didn’t happen overnight, it took time to be recognized by the tourism offices and others partners… It also allowed me to make wonderful encounters, and this is magic!
Indeed, I started to perform hotel reviews in 2014 and it worked pretty well. Hoteliers as well as customers are looking for more creative pictures and feedback from a true experience, something different than regular press release publication.
I have also been contacted to write small travel guides for websites, I would like to develop this part of the blog and also continue to travel and stay in nice hotels!
What are your favorite destinations while traveling?
I really enjoy European cities such as London or Berlin for short getaways, there are so many things to discover and even if the change of scenery is not really huge, I found these experiences very rich for the museums, the street art, the city parks, the markets, etc…
I would like also to get back to USA as I only know New York and few states of the West Coast – why not discover Chicago, Philadelphia and also Boston? In my aspirations also, Asia, where I have never been to.
What are your criteria to select a hotel in a target destination?
I would say that first priority is the location, for sure! It is right that brands are the insurance of a level of quality, when you have a bit of experience. Depending on my mood, I would select a boutique hotel (with few rooms and an intimate atmosphere) or a larger property with additional services such as a restaurant, a pool or a spa. I have an open mind, the priority are the warm welcome, a comfortable bed and silence. The rest is just icing on the cake!
Since I am a blogger, I use to search for more details than those available on the hotel website… So I look for blog posts, I also check if the hotel has a Twitter and an Instagram account… It gives me a fresh feeling of the level of interaction of the hotel with its past, current and future customers as well as the willingness to discuss or not with its customers, to know their feelings about their stay. Yes, I am a social media addict!
What are the main criteria for you while selecting a room category in a hotel?
Of course, I appreciate large rooms but on the other end, I spend little time there. I would rather say that the services, such as the in-room breakfast and also free and fast wifi. My second criterion is also the price.
What is the best hotel experience you ever had?
How could you forget a stay at the Carlton or the Paris Le Grand. Both are Intercontinental hotels and as of today, the best hotels I had the opportunity to stay in. At the Cannes Carlton, I would dream to stay in one of their suites, I could visit one and it was splendid. At Le Grand, I took the elevator with Rafael Nadal, who is a regular guest of this hotel when he plays in Bercy or Roland Garros.
What is the hotel where you would dream to spend a night?
My dream is to stay in a hotel of the Banyan Tree brand. Everything looks so refined in these properties, set on outstanding locations, usually with very high end spa. If I really had to select one… it would be the Bintan one in Indonesia, where I would stay in a seaside villa. Well, we like to dream.
What are your preferred hotels?
The Palm Hotel & Spa at Grande Anse in the Réunion island which isn’t directly on the beach but I really enjoyed staying there, the rooms are spanned across the garden and the infinite pool with the sea view is really nice! The breakfast in the opened room with the small birds is a true pleasure but be careful, watch out your plate!
And the hotels restaurants, which ones did you like?
I really enjoyed the Miramar Crouesty **** hotel restaurant in the Gulf of Morbihan. I thought that in a thalasso hotel, I would get an insipid and light food but I was completely wrong. The Chef Christian Bourhis has done wonders! Also, I want to especially mention the Mama Shelter breakfasts, that are quite exceptional both for the choice and the quality.
What is the hotel where you had the best sleep and you thought after that “I want to have this bed at home”?
Strangely enough, it isn’t in a high luxury hotel that I found my preferred bed… but in a Mama Shelter, in Lyon. On the noise side, the hotel is located in the city but fortunately not in a noisy area. But let’s talk about the bed, I am quite sensible to the thickness of pillows to have a good sleep (not too flat, not too thick) and I regularly regret that we don’t have enough choice on that front. Moreover, we can’t find any more anywhere a bolster, while it is so comfortable to read or watch television from the bed. Maybe it is old-fashioned?
What are the services or specific consideration that you have especially enjoyed?
I am always very fond of the little welcome things that you can find in the room, even if it is pretty classic such as flowers, fruit basket or chocolates. It is the sign that you are welcome and it has a tendency to disappear. And also, pay attention to not mispronounce the guest name, it would ruin everything! (it sometime happens).
What is your preferred loyalty program for hotel brands and why?
I only had the opportunity to test the Club InterContinental services and I really enjoyed those, it was in Berlin : free mini bar, access to members lounge with free alcoholic beverages, where you could have a light meal and the breakfast, in a more intimate background than the regular room and even more benefits.