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Bucharest's Hotel Epoque Beckons Guests with Fine Dining, Tranquility and Location

Hotel Epoque

Photo Credit: Epoque Hotel

Inscribed on the wall outside its entrance door is a catchphrase that accurately sums up one of the prime attractions of the five-star Hotel Epoque in central Bucharest: "Retreat in the heart of the city." Close to the charming, century-old Cismigiu Park and tucked away among a maze of quiet backstreets of an historic neighborhood, this modern-style hotel certainly provides a sedate sanctuary removed from noisy capital city traffic.

Hotel Epoque
Photo Credit: Epoque Hotel

It even grants views over what is known colloquially as Ceausescu's Wedding Cake, a giant, multi-story, cream-colored building that the former Communist dictator built to reflect his self-glorified status, and is also a short walk from such tourist highlights as the Romanian Athenaeum, home of the national philharmonic orchestra, the Bucharest Opera House, the Royal Palace, now hosting the National Art Museum, and Piata Constitutiei, where frequent open-air concerts are held.

An impressive wrought-iron gate beckons guests to enter the hotel’s short circular driveway adorned with quaint, sculptured lamp-posts, decorative bicycles and a landscape of small, manicured bushes. An impressive glass and metal canopy stands above the entrance door on either side of which are two small terraces complete with tables and chairs suitable for alfresco dining or informal drinks and snacks.

Hotel Epoque
Photo Credit: Columbia Hillen

The property’s rotund restaurant, L'Atelier, with seating for 30 people, overlooks the hotel’s entrance driveway and garden. Weather permitting, guests can also enjoy dining in the winter garden area. Under the close direction of Executive Chef, Samuel Le Torriellec, a comprehensive menu has been designed that ranges from traditional onion soup with aged Emmental cheese to black Angus ribeye with Béarnaise sauce and potatoes; and octopus fricassee with aromatic herbs served with barbecue sauce and endives in Thai vinaigrette. Ambience here is cozy, with a glass surround permitting ample natural light, and an overlying chic, black and white decor, complete with crisp white tablecloths.

My wife and I began our dinner with a Caesar salad with shrimp tempura and boiled quail eggs; and a caramelized duck liver terrine with lime mousse and homemade brioche with Guerande sea salt, the latter being presented in a nest of parsnip chips and decorated with laced crisp beetroot. Encouraged by the well-balanced tastes, we chose the veal sweetbreads and potatoes cooked in Barigoule style for the main dish and were richly rewarded by the flavors of this delicacy, braised with onions, garlic and carrots seasoned in a broth of wine. A delightful dessert comprised traditional mille-feuille with crème anglaise, mango jelly and raspberry sauce.

Hotel Epoque
Photo Credit: Columbia Hillen

An impressive wine menu constructed by Sommelier Eduard Jakab includes a wide selection of French, Italian, Spanish and South American productions, but we enjoyed a Romanian wine—still not so known internationally but rapidly gaining a good reputation—such as Stonewine from Balla Gheza, using an old variety of grape called cadarca.

Rooms range from junior and executive style to grand, luxury and VIP suites, varying in size from 431 to 1,184 square feet, with multiple rooms in each. The largest, the Epoque suite, accommodates up to six guests, with two bedrooms with king-size beds, two bathrooms, a separate living room, a kitchenette and a large terrace.

Hotel Epoque
Photo Credit: Columbia Hillen

Our room, a junior suite, comprised a king-size bed, a living room with a spacious working desk, an expandable sofa bed, a French balcony and two plasma television sets.

Leisure facilities at the Epoque include an intimate, 10 by 13 foot, indoor heated swimming pool in the basement, with hydro massage and water jets, as well as a dry sauna, a steam room, a fitness room and various spa treatments. There is also what hotel staff term ‘emotional showers,’ offering a combined experience of water, colors, lights and fragrances.

Hotel Epoque
Photo Credit: Columbia Hillen

Whether for business or vacation, Hotel Epoque, with its central city location, overall tranquility and thoughtful classic design, is a serious contender as hotel of choice for the discerning traveler to Romania.

Sean Hillen

Sean Hillen has been an international journalist and editor for almost 40 years and is also a published author. His latest book is a high-end contemporary fiction novel, Pretty Ugly - a thrilling, intriguing ride through the murky undercurrent of corporate and political machinations bridging the complex worlds of medicine, media and modeling. http://www.seanhillenauthor.com/ His experience spa...(Read More)

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