Saturday, August 28, 2010

Rich Norwegians badly behaved on luxury resorts

- crash course on how to behave in Norwegian paper

Photo: The Ritz hotel in London by Dickbauch
Norwegians have more or less been spared the effects of the ongoing recession. This thanks to riches created by the abundance of oil produced in the North Sea. Whereas many European travelers must save money, Norwegian travelers increasingly book luxurious holidays, but many behave badly, ignoring important etiquette found on many high-priced hotels and resorts.

If booking a hotel like the London Ritz, the Negresco in Nice or the George V in Paris, it is important to blend in with the rich crowd. The Norwegian newspaper Aftenposten dedicated an article on the do's and dont's of how to behave on exclusive hotels July 12th - a lesson to learn for most of us, if choosing a hotel out of the ordinary on a destination.

A main rule is to look around, and act as the others do. 10 other do's and don'ts are:
  1. Do not act as if you own the place, even if you have paid a small fortune to stay there
    Most rich guests know how to behave, and it is considered bad taste to brag.

  2. Avoid laptops and mobile phones in bars or restaurants
    Hammering on a lap top or having a loud telephone call may ruin a romantic meal for the couple beside you in the hotel restaurant.

  3. Respect the dress codes - pack the best part of your wardrobe
    Dress properly when you stay in a high-class hotel, and do bring a suit or a fine dress for dinner, and do not forget a tie!

  4. Let the staff do their job, allow the porter to carry your luggage to your room
    Do not insist on carrying your own luggage, just follow the porter up and remember to follow advise number 9 - see below

  5. Be polite and greet fellow guests
    Looking down, staying silent many be considered rude. Greet staff and fellow guests discreetly and politely.

  6. Enjoy one glass of champagne at the buffet breakfast - only!
    Do not start your party at 10 AM in the morning. One glass for breakfast may be a lifting experience, but four may be considered rude and vulgar

  7. Stay slightly tipsy in the hotel bar - if getting drunk - book another (cheaper) hotel
    You may easily pay 20 EUR or more for a drink or a glass of wine or beer in a high class hotel. Getting drunk is rude, and may be a very costly experience.

  8. Use many plates at the breakfast or lunch buffet - do not pile everything on one!
    Go several times and help yourself to a moderate amount of food on each plate during breakfast and lunch buffets. Rich people do not eat as if each day was the last.

  9. Give a tip for service - a smaller one is better than none!
    The staff may depend on tips to earn a decent living. Leaving a small amount for the staff that clean the room or the porter that order you a taxi is an important sign of appreciation, and they may even give you better service! And do remember - a small tip is better than none.

  10. Enjoy your five star stay!
    Staying a luxury hotel is a grand experience for you as well as your fellow guests. When staying there, pamper yourself to room service or a visit to the spa.
Luxury hotels and resorts as featured at Enjoy Food & Travel

See the luxury offered at the London Ritz on this video

For your information; price for double room from September 10th to September 11th starts at GBP 300. A deluxe suite will cost 900 GBP. And that is "best available rate"

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Enjoy Food & Travel - Fall 2010

This will be a busy fall for Enjoy Food & Travel. I have sold my flat and will move in the end of September. My traveling season will start when I have concluded this process. I have, however, still ideas of what travel projects that may came this fall and winter.

October / November 2010: Massachusetts, Upstate New York

I always travel to the US annually during fall. This time I will extend my traveling period to two weeks and visit upstate New York in addition to the Boston area.

The Erie Depot, Port Jervis by Daniel Case.
I have been invited to stay with relations close to Port Jervis, in the tri-state area, i.e. area bordering New Your, Pennsylvania and New Jersey.

I will, as always, travel with Icelandair to Boston, then travel on to New York City by bus or train, and then take the Port Jervis Line, a commuter railroad line from Hoboken, New Jersey and New York City.

The second week will be spent with my two cousins in Scituate and Salisbury Beach, Massachusetts.

Latest stories on New England on Enjoy Food & Travel

View New England on Enjoy Food & Travel 2006 - 2010 in a larger map

NEW: November 2010 - Trondheim, Norway

November 12th I will attend the christening of my grand nephew in Trondheim, in the mid part of Norway.
Photo: Nidaros Cathedral, Trondheim by Morten Dreie
Trondheim once was the religious capital in the country with the shrine of Saint Olaf and Nidaros Cathedral.

I have visited Trondheim several times before.  This time I will stay at Comfort Hotel Trondheim in the middle of the city centre. I hope to give reviews of a few good restaurants as well.

So stay tuned here on Enjoy Food & Travel for the November destination.

November 2010 - Brussels, Belgium

Another trip to Brussels, the heart of Europe, will take place in November. I lived in Brussels in 1999, and have visited friends there for almost two decades.

Manneken Pis
Brussels is underrated as a tourist destination. You may find accommodation and enjoy a meal at a lower price than in London and Paris.

You may have a romantic drink at Grand Place or take an hours train ride to enjoy the historic splendours of cities like Brügge or Ghent.

I will join my friend Ketil, who is attending an annual meeting at the NATO headquarters in November.

We usually meet at Cirio, my favourite bar, located by the Bourse for a drink and a snack. The following weekend we explore what this beautiful city has to offer of food, drink, and historic sights.

Last year we stayed at Conrad Brussels. This year we will try another place to stay, as last years "luxury stay" proved to be a disappointment.

Latest story on Brussels, Belgium
See map of bars, hotels, restaurants, sights and travel information from visits to Brussels, Belgium 2006-2009 here.

Christmas 2010 by the Arctic circle

Photo: Nykvåg in Nordland county by Blue Elf
Christmas 2010 will be spent with my brother and sister-in-law at Sortland, Northern Norway.

Sortland is a city located on the Langøya island in the Vesterålen / Lofoten archipelago in Nordland county.

This is a land of contrast, from ice and snow during the Arctic night to 24 hour sunlight during the Arctic summer, as the sun never dip under the horizon.

I will travel to Evenes airport serving the cities of Harstad, Narvik and Sortland, and travel 2 hours by bus past Hinnøya, Norway's largest island passing over to Langøya.

Stories on Northern Norway on Enjoy Food & Travel

See map of the Vesterålen area here

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

La Peña, Las Palmas de Gran Canaria

Just a stone's throw from the famous Canteras beach in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria you can order tapas at La Peña. We did, and enjoyed the traditional stuff at ridiculous prices and with a view from our table to die for.

Rating La Peña: BBBB+ (4,24 points)
  • Location: BBBB+ (5,0 points)
  • Interior & atmosphere: BBBB- (3,33 points)
  • Service: BBBBB (3,67)
  • Food: BBBBB- (4,6 points)
  • Beverage: BBBBB (5,0 points)
By the beautiful Canteras Beach

The Canteras Beach is located in the middle of Las Palmas de Gran Canarias. As you sit down at La Peña, you have this European Coapacabana in sight. We were on a day trip to town, and discovered how far it was to walk from the bus station and took a taxi cab in order to get back. For you planning to stay in Las Palmas, you'll find it easier to get to this small tapas restaurant.

My advise is to go there for the view and the food. La Peña is not the place with buckets of charm and a great interior. If you are looking for a romantic spot to indulge in bite-sized foods, do some research. I'll bet you'll find restaurants better than this.

The interior is basic, to say the least, and the staff does its job, nothing more nothing less. The good thing was that we did not have to wait long to get our food, and that was superb!!

Great beachfront tapas

Tapas is, in its original form, no-nonsense foods, made from simple and honest ingredients. Whereas modern cooks has developed the tradition in all directions (often successfully), we were served the truly genuine stuff at La Peña.

We were served Patatas Bravas with with spicy mayonnaise, cheese, and croquetas de jamon (ham).

And this was seriously genuine Spanish food, made from exquisite ingredients and well seasoned.

Mild, and we asked us, young local cheese?

We were served a young cheese, soft and crumbly. we were not told what variety, but it neither tasted nor looked like a traditional manchego, and very mild in taste.

Patatas bravas Canarian style

Patatas bravas is a classic Spanish tapa found on the menu on nearly all tapas restaurants.

We have been served patatas bravas in Oslo, as well as Barcelone, but those at La Peña were served with a twist.

We were served whole small, bite-sized Canary potatoes with shells. The shell gave a delicious crunch as we were biting into them before we hit the creamy, tender, moist stuff inside.

Delicious and very hot mayonnaise was the perfect contrast to the mild taste of the potatoes.

Croquetas, croquetas, croquetas......!

I have written on the Spanish delicacy countless times already, as I simply luv, even adore Spanish croquetas.

The ones served at La Peña were no exceptions. Deep brown, mouthwateringly crunchy crust and tasty, soft creamy, ham flavoured stew inside, a revelation to the pallet. No fat on fingers as these had been properly dried on kitchen paper.

Aside we were served a generous portion French fries as well, just to drive us to high-carb ecstasy summit.

And we ordered even more carb to drink, as nothing is as refreshing, soothing, as a cold pint to beer.

What food, what drink, what view!!!

These are the words to describe La Peña. Not much to talk of on service, ambience or comfort, but the food and location drives this tavern to a level close to highly recommendable. Here you get the real tapas and they taste divinely.

My latest tapas stories

The beautiful Canteras beach - see video here

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Flightstats: Scandinavian Airlines on time this summer

Scandinavian Airlines was the most punctual among the major European airlines summer 2010. According to a survey by Flightstats 9 out of 10 of its vessels departed and arrived on schedule.

Good news for Scandinavian Airlines - at last! The grad old man in Scandinavian air industry has the last years struggled with increased competition, lower consumer satisfaction, industrial action and increasingly worse annual results.

In times like this, it must be good for the company to know that most departures and arrivals have been on time this summer. Punctuality is crucial for travelers during the summer season and Scandinavian has performed better than all of the major airlines in Europe.

It is, however, not the most the best performing European airline all in all. It ranks as number 5 on the performance statistics for June. It was beaten by 4 small airlines, one being the Norwegian air carrier (and SAS subsidiary) Widerøe.

Scandinavian Airline's main rival, Norwegian Air Shuttle, is also among the 10 with 88% of its flights on schedule.

Her are the performance list for June 2010.
  1. VG VLM Airlines - 94.73%
  2. WF Wideroe's - 94.14%
  3. WA KLM Cityhopper - 92.48%
  4. NT Binter Canarias - 91.74%
  5. SK SAS - 90.62%
  6. OA Olympic Air - 90.40%
  7. A3 Aegean Airlines - 89.57%
  8. KL KLM - 88.70%
  9. DY Norwegian Air Shuttle - 88.03%
  10. XM Alitalia Express - 87.24%
See the complete flightstats survey here

(Photo: Zedjunior)