Who are you Nathalie?
I am a Quebecker living in the Montreal area and working in freelance in the communication field, especially as a journalist. I have a passion for travel, but also for history, culture and sweets. I am a “nomadic sedentary”, because I also like cocooning (Quebec is perfect for that!), and I don’t imagine myself always on the road.
Can you talk about your blog “Une porte sur deux continents”?
The purpose of my blog “Une porte sur deux continents” is to present places that I love between North America where I live and Europe where I frequently travel. It’s a blog focused on happiness, discoveries and pleasures, whether small or big. Launched at the end of 2011, it grew up progressively and opened me to several opportunities. My wish is to be able to travel again for a long time and to share my experience with a community passionate like me about travel.
What are your favorite destinations while traveling?
South of France, Greece, Switzerland, Belgium, Italy and London, again and again. I would like to discover new countries in the near future such as Ireland and Holland. I usually travel during spring; a perfect time to visit those countries before the rush and the heat of summer.
What are your criteria to select a hotel in a target destination?
My first thought when I have to select a hotel is to read customers feedback on websites such as Trip Advisor. If the hotel has a good rating, then I will check the location (area, public transportation availability, etc…), but also what makes it unique. I always look for charming hotels with a specific style ; a hotel that stands out. The priority for me is to live a special experience. As a result of that, my choice often goes to boutique hotels more than hotels brands.
What are the main criteria for you while selecting a room category in a hotel?
The space is quite important for me as I’m looking for a well-organized room, not necessary large, but functional and comfortable. A view is always welcomed, not to mention the Internet connection, preferably complimentary.
What is the best hotel experience you ever had?
The Apartments by the Sloane Club! It’s not really a hotel, but it isn’t either only an apartment. It’s the best of both worlds, since the services of a 5 star hotel are included. Located in the Chelsea area of London, those apartments are stunning. I was welcomed with a bottle of Champagne and a welcome basket. It was a nice feeling to have my own apartment in London, even just for 24h, for the same price of a lot of hotel rooms in the city.
What is the hotel where you would dream to spend a night?
The Ashford Castle in Ireland! Not only the area is wonderful, but it is part of the Red Carnation hotels collection. I trust a lot this group after a few stays in their London properties.
What are your preferred hotels?
I had great experiences in all the hotels that I present on my blog. So it’s quite difficult to choose, but I would say that I have been really impressed by the Villa Madame in Paris, a confidential address in the heart of Saint-Germain-des-Prés with the best Parisian breakfast in my opinion. I also had a very good time at The Egerton House Hotel in London where the staff is really charming.
And the hotels restaurants, which ones did you like?
I have to say that the restaurant of the Landmark in London, The Winter Garden, was amazing not only for the meals quality but also for the attentive service and the grandiose setting. Also in London, I really enjoyed the Evoluzione restaurant of the Xenia Hotel for its refined and dietetic cuisine, perfect while traveling!
What is the hotel where you had the best sleep and you thought after that “I want to have this bed at home”?
At the Hidden Hotel in Paris, in a very cozy and relaxing guest room. While being only two steps away from the Champs Elysées, we couldn’t hear any noise. Designed by Coco-Mat, the mattresses of this 4 stars boutique hotel are made in coconut fibers. We had a really good sleep there!
What are the services or specific consideration that you have especially enjoyed?
The Fouquet’s hotel in Paris really offers to its guests several advanced benefits such as the free mini-bar, Champagne and sweets upon arrival. Also, a butler is available for every guest, 24h/24. It’s a much customized service, really unique. But, it isn’t always in the palaces and the 5 stars hotels that you can be pampered. I’m thinking especially about the Xenia hotel in London (4 stars) where I was really spoiled. While coming back to my room in the evening, a large plate of fruits with sweets was waiting for me. This place has really the sense of hospitality.
What is your preferred loyalty program for hotel brands and why?
I don’t have any for now since most of the time, I opt for boutique hotels.