The Jubilee knees-up for the Queen refuted the Brits’ stiff-upper-lip reputation. Now, Luxembourg is getting in on the celebratory act: Europe’s petite powerhouse is looking forward to a weekend of Trappist beer, bratwurst and fireworks. Stay at halcyon hideaway Hotel Albert Premier to sleep off the dusk-till-dawn excesses in style.
Why this week? The Grand Duchy of Luxembourg may sound like a posh biscuit, but the country gets well into party mode for its Fête National on 23 June. The celebrations start with military parades and cannon salutes… and then the Luxembourgians let loose in the evening with live music and street parties until the wee hours. It’s also the official birthday of the Grand Duke – with blue-blooded bashes shaping up to be 2012’s hottest trend, this is a bandwagon you’ll want to be on. Visit on 23 June to whet your appetite; then take advantage of Hotel Albert Premier’s exclusive, Smith-member offers to return for panoramic views along the Chemin de la Corniche, fairy-tale churches in the Grund and Clausen neighbourhoods and to blow a Euro banker’s budget in the designer shops.
Our favourite bits Hotel Albert Premier is close enough to the centre to watch the fireworks light up Petrusse Valley and raise a glass to Grand Duke Henri, but inside you could hear a pin drop; just the kind of louche and lazy ambience you need when Luxembourg’s usually sedate streets are packed with revelers. Smith loves the subtle blend of chic and calm throughout the hotel: the fully stocked bookshelves in the dove-grey, neo-Georgian-style lounge; the blissful hammam; the spa’s range of massages; and, in-room, the sharp design of the free-standing fireplaces, rain showers and cheeky see-through bathroom walls. Liver dumplings and boiled pork are traditional Luxembourgian fare; so the hotel’s restaurant and bar, Cuore, has wisely chosen to serve Venetian and Tuscan-influenced fare – a good move, because the elegant, simple dishes (such as bruschetta, beef carpaccio and melanzane al forno) are much more appealing.
Mr & Mrs Smith say… ‘It’s so dark inside the entry of the Hotel Albert Premier that it feels like we’re entering an exclusive nightclub. It takes a moment for my eyes to adjust to the velvety environs; strategically placed spotlights punctuate dark walls and wooden floors and oversized black-and-white photos cover entire walls. We receive a friendly, low-fuss greeting and are soon on our way to level three, key in hand. Our room follows the same sleek, ultra-modern design, with low, dark wooden furniture, all in black, white and tones of charcoal grey. A single white orchid and framed photography adds a certain Robert Mapplethorpe-evoking charm – très chic, très minimaliste. Mr Smith likes the retro clock radio and the rectangular lampshade hanging over the bed. Mrs Smith is particularly taken by the bath, which is deep and roomy enough for two to soak comfortably.’ Read the full Hotel Albert Premier review.