Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Curio Collection By Hilton Opens First Hotel In The Eternal City, Aleph Rome Hotel.

Al Rayyan Tourism Investment Company’s (ARTIC’s) Newly Renovated Aleph Rome Hotel Reopens as Part of Hilton’s Collection of Distinctive, One-of-a-Kind Properties


ROME  – Following an extensive restoration,  Aleph Rome Hotel – an elegant property in the heart of Rome – has reopened as part of the exclusive Curio Collection by Hilton, a global portfolio of upper upscale, independent hotels and resorts.

Acquired by Al Rayyan Tourism Investment Company “ARTIC” in early 2015, Aleph Rome Hotel, Curio Collection by Hilton, is now an 88-room hotel based just a short stroll from the legendary Spanish Steps, Trevi Fountain, Villa Borghese and many other key attractions. The 1930s-built property is the first in Rome and the second in Italy for the rapidly growing Curio Collection by Hilton of locally authentic hotels.

Sheikh Mohammad Bin Faisal Al Thani, Vice Chairman of ARTIC, owner of Aleph Rome Hotel, commented: “We are excited to announce that Aleph Rome Hotel, Curio Collection by Hilton, is now open. We are very proud of this property which has undergone substantial renovation and restoration work to transform it into one of Rome’s most distinctive and iconic hotels. This project reflects ARTIC’s strategy to add value to its portfolio properties, enhancing their growth and development and increasing the returns on our investments. We are confident that Aleph Rome Hotel will be another long term successful investment and another step in strengthening our position as a growing international hotel investment group.”

“We’re proud to bring Curio Collection to Rome, a city full of classic treasures,” said Mark Nogal, global head, Curio Collection by Hilton. “Aleph Rome Hotel – with its historic yet modern charm and prime location – epitomizes our commitment to allowing guests to discover and experience distinctive hand-picked properties, each with its own character and story to explore.”

Mr. Tarek M. El Sayed, Managing Director and CEO of Al Rayyan Tourism Investment Company “ARTIC” also commented:

“This project reflects ARTIC’s commitment to maintaining a strong investment presence in the world’s leading hospitality markets. The renovation of the Hotel adds significant value to its existing attributes, its central location and beautiful architecture.  As part of the Curio Collection, our partnership with Hilton will now ensure it operates to the highest standards, further enhancing its value and demonstrating the continuing momentum of ARTIC’s growth as a global hotel investment company.”

Roman Charm, Contemporary Features
The property-wide renovation of Aleph Rome Hotel focused on blending its Roman charm with contemporary features, while preserving its spirit, grandeur and historical treasures, including authentic Cipollino marble. Guests will enjoy a distinctly remarkable experience, taking advantage of a wide range of uniquely re-designed guest rooms and suites, restaurants and bars, along with a rooftop pool overlooking the city of Rome. The hotel is conveniently located near the Barberini metro station, between Via Veneto and Piazza Barberini.

Hotel Highlights
Comfort with Style
·         Spacious Guest Rooms: The hotel offers 88 guest rooms, including 14 suites and a junior suite, each featuring modern Italian furniture, high ceilings and marble floors. Guests may also enjoy contemporary comforts, such as an interactive TV, Nespresso® machine and walk-in shower.
·         Rooftop Swimming: Guests can enjoy the rooftop swimming pool, overlooking the city of Rome. The hotel also offers a wellness spa, fitness center and indoor pool.
·         Exquisite Meeting Space: The hotel has a meeting room adorned with marble flooring. With a 100-guest capacity, it is well-suited for both business meetings and events. A private suite on the fifth floor can accommodate up to eight guests in a more intimate setting.  

Delectable Dining Options
·         Dinner with a View: Sky Blu Restaurant is the hotel’s rooftop dining option, serving a creative reinterpretation of Italian cuisine featuring local ingredients. It offers fantastic views of Rome from its private outdoor terrace.
·         Bountiful Buffet: Restaurant 1930 serves creative local dishes, including a sumptuous lunch buffet.
·         After Hours: The late-night cocktail bar, Onyx Bar, offers fantastic dining and drink options – such as the signature Aleph cocktail.
·         Cognac Lounge: Guests are invited to make their choice from the sizable collection of cigars and spirits in the hotel’s own Cognac Lounge. 

Patrick Fitzgibbon, senior vice president, development EMEA, Hilton said: “Italy remains one of the most attractive destinations in the world for tourists, yet less than 5 percent of its hotel stock operates under an international brand. Curio Collection by Hilton offers owners the chance to become part of Hilton and enjoy the benefits of our global network, while maintaining the unique identities of their individual properties.  With two Curio Collection hotels now open in Italy we look forward to sharing the benefits of this approach with the market and laying the foundations for further growth.”

To receive instant access to the benefits they care about most – including exclusive discounts, free Wi-Fi and Honors Points towards free nights – guests are encouraged to join Hilton Honors and book directly through preferred Hilton channels.

Monday, July 17, 2017

Disney Riviera Resort: Skyway Of Gondolas Will Connect Resort To Theme Parks

The next planned development for Disney Vacation Club will be an entirely new resort called Disney Riviera Resort. Estimated to open in fall 2019, this new resort experience is slated to be the 15th Disney Vacation Club property with approximately 300 units spread across a variety of accommodation types. A new skyway transportation system will connect the new resort to other areas on Walt Disney World property. (Proposed – Artist Concept Only, © Disney) (PRNewsfoto/Disney Vacation Club)
Bob Chapek, Chairman of Walt Disney Parks and Resorts has announced the next planned development for Disney Vacation Club will be an entirely new resort near Epcot called Disney Riviera Resort and that a new skyway transportation system will connect the new resort to other areas on Walt Disney World property.
“We’re thrilled to announce plans for a new Disney Vacation Club property called Disney Riviera Resort coming to Walt Disney World Resort,” Chapek said. “Our Vacation Club Members are among our most loyal fans, and we think that they will love what we have planned, especially the rooftop restaurant that will offer unbelievable views of nighttime spectaculars at both Epcot and Hollywood Studios.”
In addition, Chapek announced that a whole new transportation system of gondolas is planned, called the Disney Skyliner, to give guests a never-before-seen birds-eye view of Walt Disney World and connect the new Disney Vacation Club property, Disney’s Art of Animation, Pop Century and Caribbean Beach resorts with Disney’s Hollywood Studios and the International Gateway at Epcot.
Estimated to open in fall 2019, this new resort experience is slated to be the 15th Disney Vacation Club property with approximately 300 units spread across a variety of accommodation types.
On July 17, Disney Vacation Club will welcome its 14th resort with the opening of Copper Creek Villas & Cabins at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge, featuring 184 rustically elegant vacation accommodations including Deluxe Studios, one- and two-bedroom Villas, three-bedroom Grand Villas and unique waterfront cabins.
Ken Potrock, Senior Vice President & General Manager of Disney Vacation Club, said, “The opening of Copper Creek Villas & Cabins at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge in just a few days and the announcement of our next planned development, Disney Riviera Resort, demonstrate the incredible momentum underway at Disney Vacation Club. Our members tell us over and over again how much they love the outstanding accommodations and the value and flexibility of a Disney Vacation Club Membership, as well as the unique location to our growing and evolving theme parks and the exclusive member experiences and benefits they get from our Membership Extras program.”

Thursday, July 13, 2017

New Crime Museum Pays Tribute to Natalee Holloway, Offers Travel Safety Tips

Alcatraz East pays tribute to Natalee Holloway on the anniversary of her disappearance
PIGEON FORGE, Tennessee (May 25, 2017) – May 30 marks the anniversary of the date that the world heard about Natalee Holloway, a missing teen from Alabama who, along with 100 of her classmates, had taken a trip to Aruba to celebrate their high school graduation. While her body has never been found, and in January 2012 she was officially declared dead, her story rocked the nation and helped raise awareness about missing persons. Alcatraz East, a new crime museum in Pigeon Forge, Tenn., is paying tribute to her on the anniversary of her disappearance.
“Natalee Holloway is a name that millions of people are familiar with, because we all felt the fear and pain of her disappearance,” states Janine Vaccarello, chief operating officer for Alcatraz East, “By paying tribute to her we keep her memory alive and help to continue awareness about the importance of missing persons crimes and traveling safe. Natalee is a face that represents many others who are missing as well.”
On May 30, 2017, there will be a Natalee Holloway tribute at Alcatraz East. They will honor her by adding a marble etching of her that was part of a larger memorial originally created and erected by a local man when she first disappeared. The image will become part of the Unsolved Cases section of the museum, which features information about her, as well other cold cases like JonBenét Ramsey, whose case is still receiving national media attention, and Amber Hageman, whose case spawned Amber Alerts.  The section also highlights the Natalee Holloway Resource Center which was founded by Beth Holloway in May 2010. The center focuses on educating the public on traveling safe, as well as guiding loved ones on steps to take if a person does go missing.
According to the National Crime Information Centers, as of December 31, 2016, there were over 88,000 active files on people who are missing in the country. During 2016 alone, they report that there were over 674,000 people reported as missing in the country, which includes those who were later found. Of the current active missing persons’ cases, 38% of them are under the age of 18, and 48% are under the age of 21.
The U.S. Department of State cautions travelers, warning that U.S. citizens are strongly encouraged to maintain a high level of vigilance and take appropriate steps to increase their security awareness when traveling. Alcatraz East offers visitors a wealth of tips that can help keep them safer when traveling both domestically and abroad, including:
  • Making a point to always be aware of your surroundings, and not become distracted, which will put you at risk. It’s important to be alert at all times.
  • Know your surroundings and stay in control of every situation. Look and act confident, like you know where you are going. Do not look lost or confused; simply look for a person in authority or business where you can ask for directions.
  • Never flash your money in public. Exchange funds with reputable and recognized exchangers only.
  • Do not discuss travel plans, your room number, or any other personal information in public within earshot of strangers.
  • Watch for scams on the street. Children working with adults are notorious as pickpockets.
  • Avoid public demonstrations and other civil disturbances.
  • Learn the emergency number for the country you are visiting, because 9-1-1 does not apply worldwide.
  • Always visit Department of State website for information regarding which country you will be visiting. They provide safety tips and share information about what crime issues tourists may encounter there.
  • Provide your family or a close friend with your itinerary, all travel information and contacts. Write down important contact numbers that you will need, in the event your cell phone gets lost or stolen.
“There is nothing we can do to be 100% free from risks when we travel anywhere in the country or abroad,” states Vaccarello, “But there are a lot of little things we can do to try and reduce risks and help keep ourselves safe. We hope that Natalee Holloway’s anniversary helps shed light once again on this tragic story that plays out for thousands of families each year.”
Alcatraz East officially opened December 16, 2016. The new crime museum is located at the entrance to The Island, at 2757 Parkway in Pigeon Forge, near the Margaritaville Hotel and Paula Deen’s Family Kitchen. The 25,000 square foot museum is designed with a jail façade, and has a star-studded board of experts who make up the Advisory Board, including Jim Willett, a retired prison warden, Anthony Rivera, a combat veteran and Navy SEAL chief, and Judge Belvin Perry, Jr., best known for the Casey Anthony trial. General admission tickets are $14.95 for children, $24.95 for adults. Group ticket sales are available. The museum will be open 365 days per year, from 10 am to 9 pm, with the last ticket sold 60 minutes before closing. For more information and to purchase tickets, visit:
About Alcatraz East
Alcatraz East is the most arresting crime museum in the United States. Guests encounter a unique journey into the history of American crime, crime solving, and our justice system. Through interactive exhibits and original artifacts, Alcatraz East is an entertaining and educational experience for all ages - so much fun it’s a crime! This family attraction is located at the entrance of The Island, located at 2757 Parkway, Pigeon Forge, TN. For more information, visit

Saturday, July 8, 2017

The New York Times Will Fly You Around The World For $135,000. Is That A Problem?

It’s the trip of a lifetime — around the world in 26 days, with stops in nine countries. Just 50 people will travel on this guided tour next year via a private Boeing 757 to places like Marrakesh, Easter Island and Reykjavik, Iceland.
The price: $135,000 per person.
And that’s not all. Those who make the journey will be accompanied on various legs by journalists from the New York Times. The newspaper is organizing and promoting the package, which it calls “Around the World by Private Jet: Cultures in Transformation.” Among those scheduled to join the traveling party are Washington bureau chief Elisabeth Bumiller, op-ed columnist Nicholas Kristof and Publisher Arthur O. Sulzberger Jr.
The super-luxe journey and other Times-sponsored travel packages are a lucrative source of income for the paper at a time when news organizations are under increasing financial pressure. The round-the-world trip — which could gross as much as $6.7 million — is part of a range of products and services designed to “monetize” the Times’s brand name, from $100 tote bags to event sponsorships. Other news organizations, including The Washington Post, which sells T-shirts and other merchandise, engage in the practice.
But the Times’s trips raise a question among journalism ethics experts about ethics and access: Is the Times effectively selling its journalists to private interests? Could, for example, corporate lobbyists or political operatives sign on and seek to influence the Times’s coverage?
Although the question is largely theoretical, the issue has come up before in a somewhat different context. In 2009, The Washington Post aborted an effort to produce “salons,” or small private dinners that would bring together the newspaper’s top editors and publisher with government officials and industry lobbyists. The off-the-record dinners were to be sponsored by individuals or corporations willing to pay anywhere from $25,000 to $250,000.
Media reports about The Post’s plans triggered a public outcry. Critics said the paper was violating its own principles by peddling its journalists to vested interests and cutting its readers out of the dinner party. The acrimony prompted the paper to back away from the idea before it was ever implemented.
The Times’s round-the-world excursion is by far the most elaborate and expensive package it markets using its journalists as a lure. But it also offers other packages under its Times Journeys brand for those with somewhat less disposable income.
For example, a 13-day cruise in October around Southeast Asia aboard a “megayacht,” as an online brochure describes it, starts at $10,790 per person, not including international airfare to the trip’s embarkation point. The cruise features lectures on “Donald Trump’s grand economic plan” by Gretchen Morgenson, the Times’s assistant business editor and a Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist.
Prices for a 15-day cruise around Scandinavia featuring columnist Maureen Dowd and chief Washington correspondent Carl Hulse start at $5,129 for an interior cabin. The fare rises to $16,489 per person for a “pinnacle” suite on the tour, which the Times is marketing as “Fjords, Falls and Foreign Affairs.”
Times spokeswoman Danielle Rhoades Ha said the paper’s travel packages are “educational travel experiences” and that its journalists don’t engage in any reporting or writing while abroad or afloat.
“We see no comparison to The Washington Post’s much-criticized concept to host private parties that were marketed as having the potential to alter political debates by interacting with elected officials, policymakers and others,” she said.
On the other hand: The Times doesn’t control who signs up. The passenger manifest isn’t screened, she said.
That means the Times “essentially gives unrestricted access to some of the paper’s best-known journalists and names,” said Andrew Seaman, the chairman of the ethics committee for the Society of Professional Journalists and a reporter for Reuters.
Said Seaman: “No matter what safeguards the paper puts in place, it looks like a bunch of journalists flying off to far corners of the world with incredibly wealthy people. Of course, it looks like that, because that’s what it is.”
Even without an actual conflict, the arrangement is bound to raise questions, he said. “An already skeptical public is left wondering if the paper may give preferential treatment to the person who just gave a very large chunk of change to their news organization. I don’t think that’s the question the Times or any news organization wants floating around in the world.”
But Indira Lakshmanan, an ethicist at the Poynter Institute, a journalism-education organization, points out that other news organizations have long sponsored private travel packages without ethical repercussions. For example, PBS NewsHour anchor Judy Woodruff is the featured attraction for a 10-night cruise to Alaska in August that costs between $7,300 and $20,000 per person. National Geographic and NPR have also used their journalists to attract travelers.
“More than anything, it raises a sad commentary on the state of our business, that there’s a need for newspapers and news organizations to raise money like this,” Lakshmanan said. “This is another high-end way to make money.”
Times Executive Editor Dean Baquet declined to comment, as did several Times journalists who are participating in one of the paper’s “Journeys.” But others at the paper doubted that their involvement raised any ethical concerns.
Veteran reporter Adam Nagourney said his last trip — a 12-day cruise around the Greek islands and Turkey in 2015 — involved about 60 to 70 people, most of whom were “intensely interested in current events and the Times.” Much of the shipboard conversation, he said, was about how the paper operates, how decisions are made and who makes them (“It’s like, ‘You know Maureen Dowd!’ ” he said).
Nagourney, who is featured on a Times cruise around the Gulf of Mexico in late November, added, “I get [this enthusiasm] completely. I would be one of those people if I didn’t work here. . . . But movers and shakers? Advertisers? People trying to get access to influence things? Honestly, I did not find that at all.”
In her only comment, Dowd wrote via email, “I’m not involved in that pricey plane trip one. I did a normal boat one. You should ask one of those people.”
Morgenson, who will participate in her first trip this year, said the Times’s travel packages are “quite different” from The Post’s aborted “salons.” The Post’s concept was designed to “connect people in power like lobbyists in intimate settings,” she said. “The Times Journeys seem focused on the reader.”
Morgenson added that no one has to buy an expensive travel package to reach her. “I’m accessible to anyone who has a phone or an email address,” she said.
Still, Seaman, the journalism-ethics maven, said it might be time for the Times to stay home.
“My suggestion would be to skip Easter Island, Iceland and wherever else these trips may go,” he said. “The Times and other news organizations should send journalists to communities around the United States to teach them what responsible journalism is, how it’s made and why it’s important.”

Friday, July 7, 2017

The Marquette Hotel In Minneapolis, Curio Collection By Hilton Now Accepting Reservations

Image result for The Marquette Hotel, Curio Collection
WHAT: The Marquette Hotel, Curio Collection by Hilton is accepting reservations for room bookings
WHEN:                 June 25, 2017 is the official opening date
WHERE: 710 S Marquette Ave, Minneapolis, MN 55402
HOW:   Guests may make reservations by:
Guests of The Marquette Hotel, Curio Collection by Hilton are also encouraged to participate in Hilton Honors®, the award-winning guest-loyalty program for Hilton's 14 distinct hotel brands. To receive instant access to the benefits they care about most - including exclusive discounts, free Wi-Fi, Digital Check-In and Hilton Honors Points towards free nights - guests are encouraged to join Hilton Honors and book directly through preferred Hilton channels.
The Marquette Hotel, Curio Collection by Hilton is known for its classic approach to style and service. This renovation marks the next chapter for the lauded property with 282-completely updated rooms as well as a new lobby, food & beverage outlets, public spaces and more. The renovations also include the opening of Jacques’ - a new street-level restaurant paying tribute to the history and culture of Minneapolis with an Italian-Mediterranean seasonal menu and creative cocktail program in an elegant, yet comfortable atmosphere.
About Curio Collection by HiltonTM
Curio Collection by HiltonTM (, launched in 2014, is a global portfolio of more than 35 remarkable, upper upscale hotels and resorts handpicked for their unique character and personality. Curio Collection properties appeal to travelers seeking one-of-a-kind discoveries and authentic experiences, all backed by Hilton (NYSE: HLT) and its award-winning Hilton Honors program. Read the latest Curio Collection stories at, discover Curio Collection destinations through Cities by Curio itineraries at and connect with the collection on and

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Toulouse City Guide: What To See Plus The Best Bars, Restaurants And Hotels

Sreet life … a bar in Toulouse, France
Street life … a bar in Toulouse, France Photograph: PR

In France’s sunny ‘pink city’, ancient palaces show world-class art and crowds sip pastis and eat cassoulet and top-notch tapas at lively food markets

Ask French people where they would prefer to live and one answer that keeps coming up is Toulouse. Some 10,000 people settle here each year, drawn to the romantic ville rose, by the sunny southern climate and the lively bistros and bodegas serving delicious regional cuisine alongside tasty Spanish tapas. A Latin spirit pervades the city just 100km from the Spanish border, and the laid-back toulousains could not be more welcoming. Many of the distinctive red-brick palaces and mansions in the historic centre house world-class museums, and with a 100,000-strong student population, weekends turn into one long fiesta. Join them sipping a pastis apéro on the grassy banks of the fast-flowing Garonne river, or dancing salsa into the early hours.


Place du Capitole

Place du Capitole
 Photograph: Andia/UIG/Getty
One of the most majestic squares in France, the Capitole is bordered by grand buildings made from Toulouse’s hallmark rose-red bricks, with one side dominated by the pastel facade of the 18th-century city hall. It’s open to the public unless there’s a wedding on, and a grand marble staircase leads up to the sumptuous Salle des Illustres, covered with flamboyant frescoes. The square is the heart of Toulouse, packed at all hours, with locals vying to get a table on the terrace of Café Le Florida.

Hotel d’Assézat

Hotel d’Assezat, Toulouse
 Photograph: Alamy
Built in 1555 for a wealthy Toulouse merchant, this fairy tale pink palace is worth a visit just for its stunning Renaissance architecture, but since 1994 it has also housed the Bemberg Foundation’s art collection. Five centuries of breathtaking paintings are exhibited in intimate salons: Canaletto, Brueghel, Bosch, Tintoretto. Modern masters include Picasso, Toulouse-Lautrec, Cézanne and Matisse, with one room dedicated to 30 works by Pierre Bonnard.

Quartier Saint-Cyprien

Art by Damien Deroubaix at Les Abattoirs.
 Art by Damien Deroubaix at Les Abattoirs. Photograph: Eric Cabanis/AFP/Getty
This neighbourhood is a quiet oasis on the other side of the Garonne from the town centre. Start off with a plate of oysters at Madame Ginette’s stall outside the covered food market, then wander across to the Matou, Europe’s biggest poster museum. Then tour the avant-garde art in Les Abattoirs, the city’s former slaughterhouse.

Musée des Augustins

An installation by Cuban-American artist Jorge Pardo in the Augustins museum.
 Photograph: Remy Gabalda/AFP/Getty
This immense Gothic convent is one of the country’s oldest museums – dating from 1795, when it was secularised during the French revolution – and has an eclectic collection ranging from Rubens to Toulouse-Lautrec, who was born in nearby Albi. The medieval cloister and garden are especially magical, surrounded by salons filled with evocative statues and sculptures.

Marché Victor Hugo

Marche Victor Hugo
 Photograph: Alamy
Toulouse has several covered markets but none compares to this foodie paradise, whose 88 stalls include sausage and foie gras specialist Maison Garcia, cheesemonger Chez Betty and artisan chocolatier Busquets. There are five restaurants on the upper floor, but it’s more fun to buy oysters and charcuterie from a stall and order drinks at one of the market’s watering holes, like Electro Bar or Bar des Amis, who are happy for customers to picnic at the bar. There’s also a lively farmers’ market in Place Saint-Aubin, east of the centre, on Sunday mornings.


 Photograph: Alamy
Toulouse has a reputation for vintage fashion boutiques, with half-a-dozen lining narrow rue Peyrolières in the old town. Groucho at no 39 is by far the most popular, with an immense choice of retro outfits, from Hawaiian shirts to 1970s Gucci sunglasses or original Stan Smith Adidas trainers.

Cité de l’Espace

Cite de l'Espace
 Photograph: Alamy
Families travelling with kids – and anyone interested in space travel – should not miss this sprawling futuristic park (a half-hour bus ride from the centre) that reflects the importance of Toulouse in the European Aerospace industry. Take a tour through the original Mir Space Station, gaze up at the towering Ariane space rocket, and experience what it might feel like to travel to Mars.


Le Colombier

Le Colombier
In a former 18th-century inn, Le Colombier specialises in tempting regional dishes, including exquisite foie gras. But most people come for the legendary cassoulet, slow-cooked for some eight hours and served in a traditional earthenware dish (€25). Not for small appetites, it’s a mountain of white beans, Toulouse sausage, pork shank and confit goose leg.
 14 rue Bayard, +33 5 61 62 40 05,

N°5 Wine Bar

No 5 Wine Bar, Toulouse, France
 Photograph: Thomas Cabrol
This buzzing, casual venue boasts one of the most extensive wine lists in Europe, stretching to some 2,300 bottles, with prices for all budgets and more than 30 served by the glass. The cuisine is a gourmet French take on tapas: creative seasonal nibbles like truffled egg, scallop carpaccio, grilled artichoke, and plates of local cheese and charcuterie (from €4).
 5 rue de la Bourse,+33 5 61 38 44 51,

Chez Vicente

Bodega Chez Vicente, Toulouse,
The Carmes neighbourhood is the heart of Toulouse’s nightlife scene, and the laid-back Vicente, a French-style bodega, is surrounded by funky restaurants. Wines are mostly from the nearby Fronton area and Languedoc, and the tapas have a hearty local flavour: grilled duck hearts, garlicky potatoes, barbecued octopus, bone marrow on toast (from €8).
 Place de la Dalbade, +33 5 31 22 64 40


The menu changes every day in this industrial-style redbrick diner, where reservations are vital. The cuisine is high-end and inventive – plump oysters atop creamy cauliflower with vodka and tabasco sauce, say – but the prices are decidedly bistronomique (three courses €19.50 at lunch, €35 for dinner), and there’s a great selection of organic local wines.
 40 rue Peyrolières, +33 9 83 34 03 50,

Le Vélo Sentimental

La Maison du Vélo, on the banks of the Canal du Midi, rents bikes and organises cycle tours, and at the back has a shady garden cafe plus a cheerful bohemian canteen upstairs. Relax on battered sofas and choose from tasty dishes such as provençale-style cod or spare ribs marinated in lemongrass and ginger. There is always a vegetarian option, which is unusual in meat-loving Toulouse (mains €10.50).
 12 blvd Bonrepos, +33 5 34 42 92 52,


Chez Tonton

Chez Tonton
 Photograph: Remy Gabalda/AFP/Getty Images
Toulouse is crazy for rugby and pretty much all sports, and the numerous bars around riverside Place Saint-Pierre are invaded each night by raucous crowds. The best atmosphere is at Chez Tonton, run by the genial Madame Françoise, where the speciality order is a metre-long line of pastis shots.
 16 place Saint-Pierre,

Fat Cat

Cocktails at this laid-back art deco piano bar just off Place du Capitole are created by award-winning mixologist Andre da Silva, who shakes everything from classic martini to tiki concoctions using seasonal fruits (gooseberry, say) and local walnut liqueur. Most cocktails €10.
 4 rue de Rémusat, on Facebook

Le Filochard

Le Filochard
Crowds spill out from this brilliant hole-in-the-wall bar on to the pavement and the Garonne bridge. It opens at 6pm daily and happy hour mojitos at €4 are the preferred tipple until 7.30pm, with free olives and peanuts and a mix of reggae and French techno booming out. Later at night there is usually a live band.
 6 place du Pont Neuf,

La Tantina de Burgos

La Tantina de Burgos, Toulouse
Be ready for a shock if you walk through the doors of the anonymous-looking Tantina after midnight. The long bar will be seething like a fiesta, with crowds dancing to 1970s pop, a band of flamenco guitarists or Cuban salsa. Most people order sangria or tequila shots, and there are generous helpings of tapas from €3.
 27 avenue de la Garonette,

Monsieur Georges

M. Georges, Toulouse
The latest addition to Toulouse’s nightlife scene, the maze-like home of the mythical Monsieur Georges stretches from a vaulted wine cellar in the basement through intimate chill-out and cocktail bars, up to a dance floor with DJ sets.
 20 place Saint-Georges


Hôtel des Beaux Arts

Hotel des Beaux-Arts, Toulouse, France
 Photograph: Jyvestudio
Overlooking the Garonne on Place du Pont Neuf, this chic boutique hotel is perfect for a romantic stay. The 17 rooms have been decorated by Toulouse artists, in styles ranging from arty photography to graffiti.
 From €110 B&B,

Hotel Albert Premier

Hotel Albert 1er, Toulouse, France
Right in the centre on rue Rivals, this reasonably priced family-run hotel makes a great base. It rents out bikes for €5 a day and can organise a baking course for guests at the patisserie school next door.
 From €70 B&B,

La Fonderie

La Fonderie
Over in Saint-Cyprien, Gaëlle and Nicolas, escapees from Paris, have beautifully transformed an old iron foundry, living on one side of their shady courtyard and renting out a spacious two-storey B&B apartment (sleeping up to five) on the other.
 From €110 B&B,


Ammappart, Toulouse, France
The pedestrianised rue Saint-Rome is always busy, but guests discover an oasis of calm once they enter the building where Amélie and Manu rent out two stylish, light-filled one-bedroom apartments. The young couple also offer advice on anything from eating out to where to shop for organic food.
 From €70 a might,
La Petite Auberge de Saint-Sernin
Surprisingly for such a big city, Toulouse has only one hostel. La Petite Auberge, near the university on rue d’Embarthe, resembles a friendly but chaotic hall of residence, each dorm having its own bathroom and kitchenette.
 Dorm beds €22,
More information from, and