Review: Radisson Blu Stansted Airport Hotel

Image via Radisson Blu
Image via Radisson Blu

HOTEL NAME: Radisson Blu Hotel London Stansted Airport

LOCATION: Stansted, England

BEST FOR: Easy and relaxing one-night stays before or after a flight.

GENERAL IMPRESSIONS:  A sleek, modern hotel with friendly, professional staff and intriguing architectural features.

ROOMS: All rooms feature flat-screen TVs and free WiFi, as well as laptop-sized safes, minibars, and tea and coffeemaking equipment. The decor style is simple, modern and understated.

Image via Radisson Blu
Image via Radisson Blu

AMENITIES:  There are 4 dining venues including an American grill and an Italian restaurant, plus a bar area with a wine-tower and acrobatic hostesses. There’s also a spa, a gym and meeting space on-site. The express check-out service means you can just pop your keycard in a postbox at reception and head inside the airport when it’s time for your flight.

BREAKFAST: A standard hot and cold buffet breakfast is included in some room rates and deals, or available for a surcharge on the day.

PRICE GUIDE: Prices start from £99 for a standard double room (excluding breakfast).

Image via Radisson Blu
Image via Radisson Blu

LOCAL AREA: The Radisson Blu is the only hotel within walking distance of Stansted Airport. Just a 5-minute walk from both arrivals and departures, it’s a super convenient before an early flight out or after a late return journey.

GETTING THERE: The airport’s train and bus stations are just a couple of minutes’ walk from the hotel. Short-term and long-term parking options are available at the hotel for additional fees.

CONTACT INFO: Radisson Blu Hotel London Stansted Airport Hotel, Waltham Close, Stansted Airport, Stansted CM24 1PP | 0127 966 1012

WEBSITE: radissonblu.co.uk/hotel-stanstedairport

Review: Hotel Felix | Cambridge, England

Image via Hotel Felix
Image via Hotel Felix

HOTEL NAME: Hotel Felix

LOCATION: Cambridge, England

BEST FOR: Short breaks for foodies seeking relaxation and travelling by car.

GENERAL IMPRESSIONS:  An independent, modern hotel with notable culinary offerings and walls full of contemporary artwork.

Image via Hotel Felix
Image via Hotel Felix

ROOMS: Premier King rooms are spacious and modern, and their bathrooms include rainfall showers and separate bathtubs. Note that ‘King’ beds are actually two single beds pushed together. Other features include work desks, seating areas, laptop-size safes and minibars. There are also flat-screen TVs, though channels beyond a basic few incur a surcharge.

AMENITIES:  There’s a guest conservatory attached to the bar and a spacious garden area with outdoor seating. Other amenities include an off-road gravel car park (free for guests to use) and complimentary WiFi access (unlimited, though it’s pretty slow).

PRICE GUIDE: Standard king rooms from £215 per night including hot breakfast for two.

Image via Hotel Felix
Image via Hotel Felix

BREAKFAST: The full English breakfast is served in generous portions and offers a hearty start to the day, while there’s also a continental buffet spread if you fancy something lighter. The breakfast menu includes alternative hot options such as kippers and scrambled eggs, though some dishes incur a surcharge.

OTHER FOOD AND DRINK: The on-site Graffiti Restaurant (see our restaurant review here) offers upscale British cuisine in a contemporary setting, as well as a bar area with a generous selection of wines, beers, spirits, soft drinks and coffees. Room service is also available.

Image via Hotel Felix
Image via Hotel Felix

LOCAL AREA: Situated just off the A14 and M11 roads and a 30-minute walk from the city centre. Close to the University of Cambridge’s Girton College with a few small shops dotted around for essentials.

GETTING THERE: A better option for those travelling by car than those using public transport. It’s just under four miles from the train station so plan to take a taxi if you’ll be arriving by train.

CONTACT INFO: Hotel Felix, Whitehouse Lane, Cambridge CB3 0LX | 01223 277977

WEBSITE: hotelfelix.co.uk

Review: Graffiti Restaurant | Cambridge, England

Hotel Felix Graffiti Restaurant Cambridge
Image via Graffiti Restaurant

RESTAURANT NAME: Graffiti Restaurant

LOCATION: Cambridge, England

CUISINE: British fine dining with lots of seasonal produce.

BEST FOR: Couples and families looking for a special night out where good food is paramount.

GENERAL IMPRESSIONS: A contemporary fine dining restaurant with colourful decor and a short menu of premium British cuisine.

PRICE GUIDE: £5 to £9 for starters and sides, £15 to £22 for main dishes, £6 to £11 for desserts.

DECOR: Modern, colourful interiors with contemporary artwork and bright lighting.

Image via Graffiti Restaurant
Image via Graffiti Restaurant

SERVICE: Staff are polite, respectful and engaged. Expect a 10-15 minute wait for starters and a 20-25 minute wait for main courses.

STARTERS AND SIDES: Bold and inventive options from Shanghai risotto to wild mushroom fricassée and even venison tartare. The starters are small plates that are big in flavour but won’t ruin your appetite for the main course. Sides include vegetables, salads and chunky hand-cut chips.

MAINS: Mouthwatering dishes such as slow-cooked pork belly, braised beef cheeks and market fish of the day are combined with imaginative accompaniments like spiced red cabbage, wilted shard and pommery mustard sauce. Everything on the menu is perfectly conceived, delicately prepared and served in an attractive gastronomic style.

DESSERTS: A flavoursome and rich selection including chilli chocolate mousse, homemade ice creams and sorbets, and a British and European cheese plate (port and digestifs available to go alongside).

DRINKS: A diverse wine list and a good selection of beers and spirits.

Image via Graffiti Restaurant
Image via Graffiti Restaurant

DO THEY TAKE BOOKINGS? Yes, and the restaurant gets busy, so it’s worth booking in advance.

CLIENTELE Mainly a 50s-plus crowd including lots of smartly-dressed couples enjoying a meal out.

CONTACT INFO: Hotel Felix, Whitehouse Lane, Cambridge CB3 0LX | 01223 277977

WEBSITE: hotelfelix.co.uk

Review: Jamie’s Italian Restaurant | Norwich, England

Image via Jamie's Italian
Image via Jamie’s Italian

RESTAURANT NAME: Jamie’s Italian

LOCATION: Norwich, England

CUISINE: Italian dishes with British flair.

BEST FOR: A quick bite to eat after a day of shopping.

GENERAL IMPRESSIONS: A casual eatery with a rustic feel and a simple menu offering a few welcome surprises.

PRICE GUIDE: £3 to £10 for starters and sides, £5 to £25 for main dishes, £4 to £6 for desserts.

Image via Jamie's Italian
Image via Jamie’s Italian

 

DECOR: Sturdy wooden tables and chairs, soft lighting and plenty of food-related knickknacks on the walls and display shelves. Everything is explicitly Jamie Oliver-branded, but that doesn’t detract from the pleasant, almost-Italian atmosphere.

SERVICE: Friendly, enthusiastic and efficient staff with a good knowledge of the menu. Expect a 5-10 minute wait for starters and a 10-15 minute wait for main courses.

Image via Jamie's Italian
Image via Jamie’s Italian

 

STARTERS AND SIDES: As well as artisan breads, olives, bruschetta, squid, kale and something called “Italian nachos”, there are lots of sharing plates (known as “planks” on the menu) including cold meats and vegetarian options.

MAINS: Most ingredients are seasonal and locally-sourced, and the menu includes salads, pastas and lots of meat and fish dishes like lobster al forno and chicken al mattone that are inspired by traditional Italian cuisine. For the less daring, there’s always the Jamie’s Italian burger with mortadella, balsamic onions, tomato, melted smoked mozzarella, pickles and chillies.

DESSERTS: Cheesecake, brownies, tarts, pavlova and ice cream – pretty basic offerings, and much more British than Italian.

DRINKS: A good selection including Italian specialities like Amalfi Limoncello, Bellini and Aperol. All the usual beers, wines, soft drinks and coffees you’d expect, and the Jamie Oliver-branded house wines are, perhaps surprisingly, very good.

Image via Jamie's Italian
Image via Jamie’s Italian

DO THEY TAKE BOOKINGS? Yes, and the restaurant gets busy, so do book in advance.

CLIENTELE: A huge variety — from couples to families, students to pensioners, birthday celebrations to girls’ nights out.

CONTACT INFO: 21-24, Royal Arcade, Castle Street, Norwich, Norfolk NR2 1NQ | 01603 519967

WEBSITE: jamieoliver.com/italian