A lovely weekend we thought we would enjoy in Luxembourg. However, it was already raining cats and dogs when we got there. What to do then? We managed to fill our weekend with culture and gastronomy, which surprisingly led to a whole series of true highlights. One of them was La Cristallerie at Hôtel Le Place d’Armes.
Text Anja Van Der Borght – Pictures/video Yas Han
We love luxurious accommodation and good food, and then the address of choice is: Hôtel Le Place d’Armes, a cosy Art Deco-style Relais & Chateaux on the square of the same name. Ideally located in the antique and commercial city centre, the Place d’Armes is only a few steps away from the ‘Palais Grand-Ducal’, the City Hall, the business district, the prestigious shopping street where big names such as Hermès, Louis Vuitton and Cartier have their own place and lots of museums. As such Hôtel Le Place d’Armes is an ideal departure point for your excursions.
Hôtel Le Place d’Armes is an ideal departure point for your excursions.
On our rainy arrival day, we even found it particularly fascinating to spend a whole afternoon in the hotel itself. Hôtel Le Place d’Armes has 28 luxury rooms and suites and is an unconventional ensemble of seven houses built on a former printing house site in a 18th century building. Meticulously refurbished the houses put together, create a wonderful hotel linked with suspended terraces and verandas. As we wander through the curved corridors and stairs up and down we discover new things: art works and a lot of gold leaf behind every corner. Intimate, cozy and homely, this establishment invites to be discovered piece by piece. The decor wonderfully mixes classical atmosphere and contemporary elements, keeping always in mind the intimacy and the comfort welcoming you as a privileged guest in a private residence. Here, everyone should feel just like home without taking anything out of the service of excellence and courtesy.
For a unique experience with the loved ones, La Cristallerie gladly suggests the Baroque privatization and a tailor-made menu imagined with the Chef.
Best Bar in a Hotel in Europe
Before heading to an exclusive dinner for two in a reserved part of La Cristallerie (awarded with 1 Michelin Star till 2022) we enjoy an apero in Bar Le 18, elected ‘Best Bar in a Hotel in Europe 2019’. Simultaneously refined and relaxed, ‘Le 18’ is a vibrant living place, nested in the heart of the Place d’Armes Hotel adjacent to one of the inner courtyards. A stylish Bar with contemporary sophistication. The structure, the rough and simple materials, a soft lighting and the inner decoration with a lot of different patterns bring to the Bar ‘Le 18’ an informal atmosphere, creating a soothing setting to enjoy a drink. The selection of rums of French, English and Hispanic influences, goes alongside rare and exceptional whiskeys and innovative cocktails through the seasons. As gin lovers we always want to try new gins so beiing in Luxembourg of course we wanted to try a Luxembourg gin. When premier barman Ayrton finds out we are into gins with a zest of citrus or herbs he strongly goes against our desire of testing a Luxembourg gin but we are adamant. A choice we soon will regret once tasting the gin. It is very ‘strong but without character’. It is a gin in the traditional way like the London dry gin from Beefeater or Gordon’s, not so tasty as the modern aromatic gins we love to drink. But hey, there is no accounting for tastes and we learned that it is important to listen to the bartender! Our companion however gives the bartender carte blanche and receives a delicious cocktail based on white rum, a creamy emulsion with the taste of a strawberry Gervais, lime and mint. It tastes heavenly. So heavenly that our companion had to drink fast to make sure we would not drink the whole cocktail before he had the chance to.
Best sommelier of Luxembourg 2022
And then le moment suprême of the day the Baroque privatization and a tailor-made menu imagined with the Chef (or in normal words a dinner for two in a private salon of La Cristallerie). In this salon where gold leaf and Art Nouveau stained glass windows create a very ‘Grand Siècle’ atmosphere we enjoy a cuisine made of sincerity and precise and playful pairings of the Head Sommelier Grégory Mio, awarded best sommelier of Luxembourg 2022.
Fresh and local
The dishes we enjoy are carefully prepared by Executive Sous-Chef Julien Neagely. Having joined the hotel’s kitchens in January 2017 as chef de partie, Julien Naegely thinks of his cuisine as fresh, precise and delicate with products selected from the best producers. The Alsacian chef’s creativity is reflected in his dishes, introducing discovery menus that are regularly updated according to market products. Julien as much as Nicolas Navarro are dedicated to bringing Relais & Châteaux values to life, using products from responsible fishing and enhancing the value of local partners who bring nature to life by respecting seasonality.
From Julien Neagely to Nicolas Navarro
But by the time you book in the near future, Nicolas Navarro will be supervising the restaurant. Native of Toulouse, born to a restaurateur father in Lyon, Nicolas Navarro could only embrace a career in the kitchen: Dominique Bouchet at the Crillon Hotel, Jean François Piège at the Plaza-Athénée, Thierry Thiercelin at the Villa Belrose in Gassin, trainer for Alain Ducasse, during 6 years around the world, and obtaining a Michelin star at the head of the restaurant Les Pêcheurs during his time as Executive Chef of the two restaurants of this beautiful Relais & Châteaux hotel.
Freshly arrived in Place d’Armes in January 2023, Nicolas Navarro takes under his culinary direction all the universes of the house. Namely, La Cristallerie, the Plëss, the Cafe de Paris as well as the privatization and event part of the whole hotel.
Guimauve of coconut and mango, tartlet of corn and chocolate with passion fruit. Coffee sweets we couldn’t resist especially the tartlet of corn.
Le 18 Bar, email@example.com, www.hotel-leplacedarmes.com