SIGHTS in Bucharest:
Macy Gray, Louie Austen and Melanie Fiona have already been here and gave concerts. Also Hurts and Vaya con Dios provided for hot nights in the Fratelli Studios and in doing so even competed with the huge chandelier at the ceiling. The latter is - along with cleverly placed spots - responsible for the lighting which does not only show off the stars on stage. Not less iconic is the lounge bar with panelled wooden walls where guests can relax after the concerts on chocolate-coloured sofas. Altering light effects and oriental mirrors support the recreation and communication. And that's even more easier in the Social Club, designed in white colours with threaded upholstered furniture. But only when you aren't thunderstruck at the sight of the overhead deer trophies. In this case the best option is to flee to the Fratelli Beach Club in Mamaia, the most important bathing place along the Romanian Black Sea Coast.
If you have had your fill of the city's monumental, socialist-style, and unfinished buildings, then head for Muzeul Satului or the Village Museum. Here you will see buildings similar to those which once stood in the area around Bucharest, and indeed all over Romania. Wood predominates as the building material. The original homes, workshops, and stables that have been reassembled here will whisk you off to another age.Traditional crafts are to be seen in the buildings. The interiors are in part decorated with traditional furniture. When one of the horse-drawn carriages carrying museum workers creaks by, you will think you have just stepped out of a time machine. Occasionally special exhibitions are also mounted in the houses. The Village Museum is located next to Her?str?u Park and can be easily reached by bus. On the way you can also pay a visit to the Arcul de Triumf.
In and around Bucharest there are many parks that beckon you to take a stroll, unwind and relax. These landscaped gardens are given their distinctive character by long and winding lakes. A glance at the map shows that Bucharest is studded with green areas and bodies of water. The biggest such leisure area is Her?str?u Park. It impresses by sheer size?187 hectares. In relation to the city's area it is thus a good deal larger than New York's famous Central Park with its 349 hectares. The lake gracing the park's centre is so long and narrow that it looks more like a river, whose banks make the perfect setting for a picnic. When the weather is warm, the Her?str?u Park is great for people-watching and soaking up the city's flair.
EAT in Bucharest:
If you see a Turabo Café, then go straight in. The chain has a number of locations across Bucharest, all of which are stormed by the capital's hip and young, posing over their coffee until they are sure of having been seen by absolutely everyone who passes by. This works best in the Turabo on Piata Unirii. The building's façade?at least on the café level?is glass, affording an undisturbed view of the busy street scene outside. Of course, that means everyone can see you while you enjoy your pastry too.
Mihai Panfil loves good coffee. And he always has. Together with his friend he has designed his own machine for coffee roasting and has surrounded himself with people who also love coffee. He has thought of a place that he would want to work every day - and in April 2013 he eventually opened his coffee shop Origo in Bucharest. As former Romanian representative of the barista championships he puts all his energy and experience into the new venue. He's travelling the world and imports selected coffee beans to Bucharest. These are used to create a perfect blend that is served under 276 hanging coffee mugs. And where do these mugs come from? From the young Bucharest architectural team Lama who have put a massive bar under the flying mugs to create a visual contrast. The front is riddled with brass, and the top is made of solid oak. After all the coffee shop can also be transformed into a cocktail bar at late hours. That means: you also need some perseverance at the counter!
Life at the Amsterdam Grand Café starts early in the morning: fancy citizens of Bucharest are reading newspapers and taking breaths for their days in the elegant building in the historic district Lipscani. The seats in front of the large windows with view onto the cobbles and rushing people are the best spots within the two-storey venue. At midday, lunch is following. But as soon as the late afternoon arrives, the Grand Café changes its costume and turns from an unconventional café into a funky bar. Cocktails, beer and music replace the smell of the coffee house. On Thursdays and Fridays, it might happen that a live jazz session is performed on the little stage. This colourful life also takes place around the Grand Café Amsterdam: bars and lively cafés cluster in the streets of Lipscani, many lounge barss and jazz venues can be found around the Calea Victoriei boulevard.
SHOPPING in Bucharest:
How do a Dutch hotel owner and a Chilean architect get together? By jointly opening the Beros & van Schaik wine trade in Sofia. Jerry van Schaik runs a hotel, his partner Christian Beros designs houses. They both like good wine and have established a wine trade in the historic district of Sofia where they sell gourmet wines that cannot be bought in the supermarket. These come from France, Spain, South Africa, Australia, Chile and Romania - among other countries: for example Corcova, Terra Romana, Avincis or La Certa. Additionally they serve small snacks in their bar including smoked meat, cheese, olives and daily specials. The wine partners celebrate gusto. They also arrange regular wine tasting sessions in the stylish setting of their wine bar. No time? No problem - Beros & van Schaik also deliver to your door. And the matching goodies can still be bought at the supermarket.
Yes indeed, the Romanians are proud of their imposing shopping malls and have plenty of them. So take part in a total shopping craze at least once, and stroll through one of the popular malls. Why not the most typical of them all, the gargantuan Bucuresti Mall. Opened in 2001, it boasts over 140 shops on an area of some 99,000 square metres. The building dates from Communist times and is appropriately massive, grey and heavy on the cement. Still, the locals continue to crowd the place, to shop, bowl, drink coffee, or take in a film at one of the ten cinemas. The shops include all the usual international labels?Adidas, Esprit, Marks & Spencer, Levi's and the like. But there are also less well-known brands, like Aldo Shoes, the local wedding outfitter, Alb ?i Negru, and Romanian designer, Irina Schrotter. It's well worth having a look around, although you probably won't pay less for international brands than you would at home.
Victims of fashion and chic freaks must stop by L'Armoire Concept Store. Forget Versace and Gaultier?here Romania's young designers rule. There are a great many of them and they are ever more frequently the stars of international fashion shows. Are the names Ludmila Carlateanu, ana alexe, DADA or Roxana Davidescu familiar? What about Elena Perseil, Eugenia Enciu, Stephan Pelger, Zasha oder Dorin Negrau? No? Reason enough to have a look at their latest collections. As numerous the designers are, so too is the variety of their creations. Evening gowns, business outfits, smart casual wear. What all of the clothes have in common though is an elegance that highlights and complements the wearer's femininity, Have browse around for yourself.
STAY in Bucharest:
Opinions are split on the rooms' decor that tries to impress with kitschy red and gold braid. Either you find it fantastic or dreadful, there's nothing in between. There is no dispute however about the staff. Their friendliness and warmth make a stay at the Suter Inn relaxing and enjoyable. With just 16 rooms and one apartment of course they can afford to take time for their guests.The building was constructed in 1900 by an architect by the name of Suter. The house was restored to its former glory in 2003. The hotel is located not in the busy centre of town, but in a quiet neighbourhood not far from Piata Unirii and parliament.A night in a double room starts from 43.50 euro.
Where is the hotel? The savvy traveller will have already guessed: right next to parliament. That means right in the centre of town: sights, shopping, and restaurants are just a stone's throw away. The four-star hotel with 76 rooms is not too big, not too small, not over-designed, but decorated in a contemporary style, and quite inviting. That is due in no small measure to the friendly staff who do their utmost to make each and every guest feel at home. Deluxe rooms are the simplest category: chic, generously proportioned, and with a work space for the business traveller. Only two rooms are barrier-free, so if you need one of these, book early. If you want to treat yourself to something special, check in to the Junior Suite; it has its own private terrace affording a marvellous view of the parliament building. More luxurious still is the Jacuzzi Suite, just perfect for relaxing after a strenuous day.A night in a deluxe room for two persons costs 90 euro. The junior suite is just 15 euro more, so maybe you should reconsider.
You like your hotels big? Then this is the place for you. Others might be tempted to take flight at the sight of the two enormous buildings in which the Hotel Alexander is located. The four-star Alexander, which is about to open, occupies one building, whilst the five-star version?an apartment hotel?offers guests every conceivable luxury. Obviously such a big hotel isn't in the heart of town, but it's just 10-15 minutes away.To compensate for not being able to stroll downtown, you enjoy superb service, timeless luxury, serene surroundings, an array of dining options, and amenities like spa, massage studio, fitness room, whirlpool, and sauna. If you want to spread out a bit, then book one of the apartments that measure 56-60 square metres.One night in a double room runs from 99 euro.