A touch of class

Want to mark a special anniversary or pamper a loved one? When only the best is good enough, travel editor Winsor Dobbin has three very special destinations in mind.

City style

Pavillon de la Reine

Paris is among the most elegant cities on the planet and one hotel that perfectly fits that vibe is Pavillon de la Reine; a chic, ivy-draped small hotel hidden away just off one of the city’s most beautiful squares, the Place des Vosges.

This boutique hotel is popular with movie stars and models; privately owned and family-run, it offers style, charm and elegance and multilingual staff for whom nothing is too much trouble.

Part of the Small Luxury Hotels group, all of the hotel’s 54 rooms and suites are individually decorated and feature a mix of antique furnishings and modern facilities.

Pavillon de la Reine sits in a gracious 17th-century building. The hotel is brilliantly situated in the vibrant Marais district and the Chemin Vert and Saint-Paul Metro stations are just a short stroll.

The surrounding streets combine old-world charm and modern-day creativity – with cobblestone streets, hidden courtyards and hip wine bars side by side. The Pavillon de la Reine is just a short walk from the Musée Picasso, the Musée Carnavalet, Place de la Bastille and the the Rue des Francs-Bourgeois shopping quarter.

This is a hotel for those happy to entertain themselves; perhaps ask for one of the hotel’s test tube sets of wines from the finest regions of France, or enjoy a sauna at the Carita Spa.

All rooms feature free wi-fi, air-conditioning, flat-screen TVs with international channels, Molton Brown bathroom amenities, a turndown service, bathrobe and slippers, complimentary bottles of water, iPod docking systems, safes and mini bars.

Breakfasts are served in one of two delightful lounge/libraries with an al a carte selection along with buffet choices. And guests can also enjoy afternoon tea or a late night glass of Champagne from the Honesty Bar.

Yes, an Honesty Bar. The Pavillon de la Reine is so stylish that no one would dream of helping themselves to a free drink.

Pavillon de la Reine, 28 Place des Vosges, 75003 Paris. +33 1 4029 1919.


Country comforts

Frenchman’s Cottages

The Huon Valley in southern Tasmania is a gourmet hotspot; home to several boutique wineries like Home Hill, Two Bud Spur and Sailor Seeks Horse, along with Willie Smith’s, Franks and Pagan cider.

Now the region, 45 minutes out of Hobart, has luxury accommodation: two luxury cottages at Frenchman’s River on a 90-hectare cattle farm owned by McLeod’s Daughters and Hi-5 creator Posie Graeme-Evans and her designer partner Andrew Blaxland.

The couple moved to Cygnet almost a decade ago as Posie’s second career as a novelist took off and they have now opened the Writer’s House and the Helmsman’s House to share their little slice of paradise with visitors.

Think beautifully decorated and appointed cottages, private, both with sweeping views of the Huon River below, delightful garden decks, birds of prey overhead and a resident platypus in the dam. The southernmost region of Australia is both wild and beautiful.

The cottages have roaring wood fires and every little luxury from Netflix movies on tap on the Apple TV, to a Bose sound system, to luxurious baths and cupboards and fridges full of local gourmet treats.

Well-organised guests will time their visit to coincide with one of Cygnet’s festivals (a folk festival each January, the Le Weekend festival celebrating the port’s links with France in April, or the mid-winter lantern parade), or, perhaps, with the lively Cygnet Market (held on the first and third Sundays of the month).

The name Frenchman’s River celebrates the little-known French history of the Huon region. More than 200 years ago, French explorers sailed into Cygnet Bay and would have claimed Tasmania for France had they not been under the misapprehension that it was part of the mainland. Names like Bruny Island, Freycinet and the d’Entrecasteaux Channel keep alive the stories of adventurers Huon de Kermadec and Bruni d’Entrecasteaux.

Both cottages feature high-quality linens, original Tasmanian artworks, informative house books and comfortable furnishings.

The opening rate for The Writer’s House is $345 per night while the Helmsman’s House is $365 per night for one couple. All introductory package bookings are for a minimum two nights and are subject to availability. Free dinner is included for the first night if requested.

Frenchman’s River is at 130 Winns Road, Cygnet. 0466 790 142 or see

Effortless chic

The Capital Hotel

London addresses do not come any more stylish, or convenient, than the family owned and operated Capital Hotel, just around the corner from Harrods.

Knightsbridge is ultra chic and The Capital matches that vibe, being wonderfully understated and offering personalised service from impeccably mannered staff, plushly comfortable rooms and a one-star Michelin restaurant, Outlaws at the Capital, on site.

Elegant, luxurious and exclusive, it is a home away from home for winemakers like Peter Gago of Penfolds, Brian Croser of Tapanappa and property developer Elias Jreissati.  Members of the Royal Family have been known to drop by for supper or a drink (seriously!).

This five-star townhouse has been owned and operated by the Levin family since 1971 and David Levin MBE also owns vineyards in the Loire Valley, hence his friendship with winemakers from around the world.

The wine list in the bar offers a selection of international wines, including some of the Levin family’s own, a range of whiskies, spirits, cocktails and a bar menu for casual dining in a very cool space.

There are 49 guest bedrooms in total. Each of the air conditioned suites and bedrooms are individually designed with superbly comfortable beds.

All rooms have interactive television systems, mini bars, large safes, bathrobes and toiletries by Templespa, umbrellas and complimentary wi-fi. There is 24-hour room service, same-day laundry and and twice-daily room servicing.

A concierge can arrange private car hire, theatre and restaurant bookings, travel reservations and personal shopping service (Harrods and Harvey Nichols are nearby).

For those wanting more space, The Capital Hotel also has apartments, and the family also owns The Levin Hotel on the same block.

Outlaw’s at The Capital is renowned chef Nathan Outlaw’s one-hatted London outpost, focusing on simply prepared seafood from Cornwall. It is open Monday-Saturday with three courses from the a la carte menu costing £55 per head, while set lunches are an affordable way of enjoying a little luxury. There is a very serious wine list on offer.

The Natural History Museum, Victoria and Albert Museum and the Science Museum are all within strolling distance, as is Hyde Park; perfect for summer picnics.

The Capital Hotel, 22 Basil Street, Knightsbridge, London SW3 1AT. +44 207 589 5171.