Top 10 Museums in Europe

Europe is home to some of the world’s most renowned museums, the vast majority of which boast extensive collections and a wide variety of exhibits. Many holidaymakers head to Europe in pursuit of the kind of cultural holiday the continent’s museums help provide. Museums offer a fun and interactive way of learning and there’s no denying that visiting them reaps many educational benefits, both for you and your children. Should you be unsure which museums to visit, we recommend you go to any one of the top ten we’ve chosen below. They’re guaranteed to give you a valuable, enjoyable experience.

1. The Louvre, Paris

Musée du Louvre, Paris

The Louvre is both the largest museum in the world and the museum which receives the most visitors. The architecture of the building the museum is housed in, the Louvre Palace, is a work of art in itself. Large and opulent, the palace dates back to the medieval period, though it evolved considerably in the 16th century, when it was the seat of power until the Sun King, Louis XIV, moved to the Palace of Versailles. One of the most popular artworks in the museum is the Mona Lisa, painted by Renaissance artist Leonardo da Vinci. Nearby the Louvre is the Jardin des Tuileries, a large public garden with plenty of seats and benches to sit on and rest your feet after a day spent wandering around the museum.

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2. The Prado Museum, Madrid

Museo de Prado, Madrid

The Prado Museum, in central Madrid, is an institution dating back almost 200 years. It houses work by famous European artists including Velázquez, Goya, Raphael, Rubens and Bosch. It has a unique collection; collectors in the past amassed works by their favourite artists, rather than from a particular period. You will therefore see a focus on the works of individual artists, rather than a focus on particular styles or time periods, at the Prado Museum.

Luxury hotels near the Prado Museum

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3. The British Museum, London

British Museum, London

The British museum holds one of the world’s most comprehensive collections of world art and artefacts. The museum was founded due to physician and naturalist Sir Hans Sloane, who had gathered a large collection of objects over his lifetime and did not want his collection to be broken up and distributed amongst different buyers. He therefore decided to leave the collection to the British public in his will and in 1753, with the assent of King George II, the British Museum was established. The museum consisted of a collection of 71,000 objects, which included 337 dried plants, prints and drawings, 7,000 manuscripts and 40,000 printed books, as well as antiquities from various countries around the world. Today, the museum houses a collection of over thirteen million objects.

5 top luxury hotels near the British Museum

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4. Museum Island, Berlin

Museum Island, Berlin

Museum Island, an island in the River Spree in central Germany, is home to an ensemble of five world renowned museums: the Pergamon Museum, which houses classical treasures; the Bode Museum, which has an extensive collection of sculptures; the Neues Museum, showcasing treasures from the Ancient World; the Alte Nationalgalerie, with art from the nineteenth century and, finally, the Altes Museum, where you’ll find a collection of ancient art, sculptures and a gold treasury. As a result of its unique museums and cultural artefacts, the island has been named a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Since the museums on Museum Island are so close to one another, you can easily go from one to another, allowing you to see a lot in a short space of time.

Luxury hotels near Museum Island:

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5. Lobkowicz Palace, Prague

Lobkowicz Palace, Prague

The Lobkowicz Palace is part of Prague Castle, the largest ancient castle in the world. The Lobkowicz Palace is the only privately owned palace in the Prague Castle complex and is home to the Lobkowicz Collections, the oldest and largest privately owned art collection in the Czech Republic. The museum houses works by masters including Antonio Canaletto, Pieter Brueghel the Elder, Lucas Cranach the Elder and Diego Velázquez, as well as porcelain, ceramics, rare decorative arts, musical instruments and original scores and manuscripts by Beethoven and Mozart, including Beethoven’s 4th and 5th symphonies.

Luxury hotels near Lobkowicz Palace:

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6. Guggenheim Museum, Bilbao

Guggenheim Museum, Bilbao

The building of the Guggenheim Museum, in Bilbao, was designed by American architect Frank Gehry. It is an example of extraordinary innovative and imaginative architecture, reflecting the artwork to be found in the museum itself. The museum, built along the Nevrion River, is one of the largest museums in Spain and showcases permanent and temporary exhibits from Spanish and international artists.

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7. The Albertina, Vienna

Albertina, Vienna

The Albertina, is a museum located in Innere Stadt, housed in the largest Hapsburg Palace. The museum is home to the largest print room in the world and showcases many works of note, including Albrecht Dürer’s Young Hare, Pieter Bruegel’s The Painter and the Buyer and Leonardo da Vinci’s Study for the Last Supper.  The magnificent 20 Hapsburg staterooms of the palace, with the spectacular Hall of the Muses as the centrepiece, are also available for viewing.

Luxury hotels near the Albertina:

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8. National Museum of Ancient Art, Lisbon

6 Saint Vincent Panels
The Saint Vincent Panels, housed in the museum

The National Museum of Ancient Art, located in the Palácio de Alvor-Pombal (a work of art in itself) has an extensive collection spanning from the 12th century to the 19th century. The collection includes paintings, sculptures, metalwork, textiles, furnitures and drawings, which all offer a fascinating insight into Portugal’s history. One of the museum’s most famous works is the Saint Vincent Panels, which date back to before 1470 and are attributed to King Afonso V’s court painter, Nuno Gonçlaves. The six panels depict people from all levels of Portuguese society honouring Saint Vincent.

Luxury hotels near the National Museum of Art: 

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9. Musée des Beaux-Arts, Bordeaux

L'embarquement de la duchesse d'Angoulême
L’embarquement de la duchesse d’Angoulême, by Antoine-Jean Gros, housed in the museum

The Musée des Beaux-Arts de Bordeaux, established in 1801 by the painter Pierre Lacour, is one of France’s largest galleries outside of Paris. It has a large collection of paintings, sculptures and drawings, with impressive works by French and Dutch painters in particular, housed in a dependency of the Palais Rohan, in central Bordeaux. It also houses paintings which were looted during the French revolutionaries and never returned to their legal owners.

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10. Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam

Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam

The Rijksmuseum, in Museum Square, is a Dutch national museum dedicated to arts and history. Opened in 1800, and listed as one of the Top 100 Heritage Sites, the museum has undergone many renovations. Its collection, which includes historic art by Vermeer, Frans Hals and Rembrandt, as well as work by artists outside of the Netherlands, is as impressive as the building it is housed in.

Luxury hotels near the Rijksmuseum

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Afternoon Tea

“There are few hours in life more agreeable than the hour dedicated to the ceremony known as afternoon tea.”

Henry James, 19th century writer

Afternoon Tea is a traditional English custom which was supposedly introduced in 1840, by the Duchess of Bedford. Most of the upper class at the time only ate twice a day, once during the morning and once during the fashionably ‘late’ hour of eight o’clock. Due to the long period of time between meals, the Duchess of Bedford would often become hungry. She thus asked that a tray of tea, bread, butter and cake be brought to her room during the late afternoon. Friends were soon invited to join her and it was here, it is believed, that the tradition of Afternoon Tea began. It became particularly popular when Queen Victoria (1819-1901) engaged in the ritual, inviting people to ‘tea receptions’, which were on a much larger scale and had as many as two hundred guests.

Nowadays, Afternoon Tea is not part of a typical day for the majority of the population in England. Owing to the fact that most people in England eat three meals a day, there is less need for a snack in the afternoon to help tide over a hungry stomach before dinner. Instead, the tradition of Afternoon Tea has become more of an indulgent treat.

Below are some of the best places to eat a quintessential Afternoon Tea.

The Aqua Shard

The Aqua Shard, Floor 31, 32 London Bridge, London, SE1 9SG

picture of The Shard, London

On the 31st level of the Shard, a famous skyscraper in Southwark, London, is the Aqua Shard, a restaurant and bar which offers a sumptuous Afternoon Tea. The meal consists of a selection of finger sandwiches, homemade cakes and sweet treats and freshly baked scones. There is also the option to choose the Champagne Afternoon Tea, which is like the classic Afternoon Tea, but with a glass of either Veuve Clicquot ‘Yellow Label’ Brut Champagne and Ruinart Rosé Champagne.  The restaurant’s walls are entirely of glass, allowing you to enjoy your meal whilst enjoying panoramic views of the city of London.

Diamond Jubilee Salon

 Fortnum & Mason, 181 Piccadilly, St. James’s, London W1A 1ER

Fortnum and Mason Afternoon Tea

At Fortnum & Mason, a luxury department store which has sold tea for more than 300 years, you can enjoy Afternoon Tea in the Diamond Jubilee Tea Salon. Opened by Queen Elizabeth II, who was accompanied by the Duchess of Cornwall and the Duchess of Cambridge, the salon, which was previously named St. James’s restaurant, has become a stylish destination for visitors from all of the world. Individual tea-tasting is offered at your table, with expert ‘tearistas’ there to help and advise you, and you can purchase the teas you most enjoyed at the Food Halls on the lower floors of the department store.

The Pump Room Restaurant

The Pump Room Restaurant, Abbey Chambers, church St. Avon, Bath, BA1 1LZ

The Pump Room Restaurant, Bath

The Pump Room Restaurant, located at the Roman Baths in Bath, is an elegant, historically fascinating place to enjoy delectable afternoon treats. Formerly a salon and ballroom, the place where the Pump Room Restaurant is now housed was once regarded as Bath’s social hub. Today, the restaurant, which is highly popular, has retained the vibrant, busy character which its rooms once boasted.

Rosylee Restaurant & Lounge

Rosylee Restaurant & Lounge, 11 Stevenson Square, Manchester M1 1DB 

View of Manchester
Manchester, where the RosyLee Restaurant & Lounge is located

Rosylee Restaurant & Lounge is located in Manchester’s trendy Northern Quarter. Its Afternoon Tea, with its homemade cakes and scones, is served in an elegant room decorated with a mixture of Georgian and Edwardian style. The Afternoon Tea Menu has two options: one classical menu and one ‘royal’ menu. The Rosley Afternoon Tea is served with a glass of champagne and chocolate dipped strawberries for a marginally higher price than the classical menu.

Harriet’s Café & Tearooms

1) 57 Cornhill Building, Bury St. Edmunds, Suffolk, IP31 1BT

2) 16 & 17 Green Street, Cambridge, Cambridgeshire, CB2 3JU

3) 38 London Street, Norwich, NR2 1LD

Cornhill Exchange, Bury St. Edmunds
The Cornhill Exchange building, where Harriet’s Café & Tearooms is housed

Harriet’s Café & Tearooms are located in three separate locations in East Anglia: Cambridge, Bury St. Edmunds and Norwich. Waitresses and waiters at the hotel are dressed in period attire and the tearooms themselves have a warm, inviting atmosphere owing to the period décor used. Each of three tearooms are centrally located, close by to many shops.

Wellington Lounge

The Intercontinental, 1 Hamilton Pl, London W1J 7QY

Intercontinental, London, Park Lane Hotel

Overlooking the Royal Parks and important London Landmarks, the Wellington Lounge was awarded with the Award of Excellence from the UK Tea Guild. Its Afternoon Tea menu is far more extensive than most tearooms. The five options it offers are:

1) Guiltless Afternoon Tea, which is free of refined sugar and has natural, nutrient filled ingredients.

2) Royal-Tea, which includes English classics paying homage to the hotel’s location on the site of the Queen’s former childhood residence, 145 Picadilly.

3) Chocolate Afternoon Tea. As its name would suggest, Wellington Lounge’s Chocolate Afternoon Tea is perfect for chocolate lovers. Unusual, delectable treats on the menu include chocolate marshmallow scones and cocoa desserts.

4) Market Garden Tea. The Market Garden Afternoon Tea option features seasonal products grown in the English countryside.

5) Christmas Unwrapped Afternoon Tea. This celebrates the best of a British Christmas with heart warming, traditional Christmas delights.

Richmond Tea Rooms

15 Richmond St, Manchester M1 3HZ, United Kingdom

Mad Hatters Tea Party

Richmond Tea Rooms offers a delicious Afternoon Tea, but with a twist. Its Afternoon Tea menu is highly individual, serving both traditional Afternoon Tea items, but also beer, sausage rolls, fish fingers and mushy peas. Its décor is particularly fun. Inspired by Alice and Wonderland, its over-the-top style brings to mind a Mad Hatter’s Tea Party.

How to Travel with Children

When going on holiday, there are many who choose to leave their children at home.  The stress and hassle of accommodating a child’s needs might not seem worth it. But going on holiday as a whole family can be an incredibly rewarding experience, both for you and your children. For one, travelling serves an educational purpose, opening your child’s eyes to the wide world we live in. Spending time together as a family will also help bring you all closer together. If you follow these tips, you won’t even have to worry about the potential drawbacks of travelling with children, and can instead have a holiday which you and your children will forever look back on fondly.

Planning

Research on laptop

Spend a little time researching what there is to do in your next holiday destination, thinking carefully about activities which will be fun for the whole family. Amusement parks (particularly those of the Disney variety), zoos and national parks are but a few examples of places to visit which will no doubt appeal to both you and your children. Many museums are also child friendly, featuring interactive exhibitions as well as games and treasure hunts which encourage children to engage in what they’re seeing whilst still having fun. It is also a good idea to involve your children in the planning process. In this way, they can help give you an idea of what they want to do and will appreciate the fact you’ve taken their opinion into account. If there really is something you want to see and that the rest of your family don’t, nothing’s to say you can’t split off from them for a bit. Your other half may want to do the same, so you may want to take turns.

Avoid Walking

Child in Stroller

Children can tire out easily and can’t move as quickly as you might like. Distraction and constant stopping may also be something your child, particularly if they are a young toddler, is wont to do. Many cities have excellent public transport which will help cut down on the amount of time you have to spend walking. Paris, for example, has an extensive metro system, with stops all over the city. Tokyo, Berlin, Zurich, Munich and London also rank amongst the places with the best public transportation in the world. And don’t forget to bring a stroller! It might be cumbersome to carry at times, and there are some attractions which don’t allow them, but it has the all important advantage of allowing you to walk and explore the sights without waiting around for your child to catch up with you.

Packing

child pulling trunki
Child pulling a trunki, a fun suitcase designed for children

There are a few things it is advisable to bring with you on holiday if you are travelling with children and want to ease the travelling process. Have your child pack their own small backpack or suitcase. They’ll be excited about having their own personal bag and will consequently be less reluctant to carry it, as long as they haven’t made it too heavy. Make sure they fill the bag with toys and games which will prevent them from getting bored and fighting with their siblings during long journeys by car or plane. In addition, make sure you bring medicine to deal with any unexpected illnesses and, if your child has serious allergies, it is advisable to travel with a medical allergy card which specifies what they’re allergic to in the language of the destination you’re travelling to. Don’t forget, however, to check regulations on liquids if you’re putting things in a carry on. As a general rule, a quantity of only 100 ml is permitted. Bringing wipes and a change of clothes is essential if you have a baby, but also a good idea if your young child is a messy eater.

Illness

thermometer and tabelts

On the subject of illness, it is best to be wary when travelling to countries with poorer sanitation standards than those of your own home country. Avoid buffets, where food sits around for longer periods of time and is notorious for harbouring bugs. It is also a good idea to avoid ice, seafood, salads and similar food which isn’t heated, as well fruit which doesn’t have a peal.  Remember too that tap water is not always safe to drink.

Souvenirs 

Travel journal

You don’t have to indulge your child’s constant requests for little knick-knacks and toys if you don’t want to. The best things to take back from a trip, and which your child will enjoy looking back on, are journals and scrapbooks. Let them take their own photos and collect fun mementos, such as tickets from a museum you enjoyed visiting. Mementos don’t have to cost anything and can be just as fun to keep as something you’ve bought.

Let kids be kids

Children on plane

Don’t worry about your child being a little noisy or restless on the plane. Definitely don’t start stressing if your baby starts wailing. This is all normal behaviour for children and it can’t be helped. This isn’t to stay that children should be deliberately obnoxious and irritating to yourself and other passengers. But passengers who can’t deal with normal child behaviour are not worth worrying about.

London’s Top 10 Bars

1) SUSHISAMBA

Heron Tower, 110 Bishopsgate, London, EC2N 4AY

View from Heron Tower elevator
View of the Gherkin from the Heron Tower elevator

SUSHISAMBA is worth going to not only for the exquisite food and drink which feature on its menu, but also for the impressive, panoramic views of London which can be enjoyed from its terraces. Take the glass elevator to the 39th floor of Heron Tower, admiring the city you shoot past as you do so, in order to reach the bar. Once there, you can enjoy the experience of having a drink on some of the highest outdoor dining terraces in Europe. The bar’s main dining room, located on the inside, has floor to ceiling glass on three sides. Its open bamboo ceiling is decorated with a grid of lights, making the bar’s ambiance particularly spectacular.

2) Dukes Hotel Bar

Dukes Hotel, 35 St James’s Pl, St. James’s, London, SW1A 1NY

Bar at the Dukes Hotel
Bar at the Dukes Hotel

The Dukes Hotel, one of our luxury hotels overlooking Green Park, has a legendary cocktail bar which is said to have given Ian Fleming the idea for James Bond’s signature martini. The bar has a regency era chic and is calm instead of noisy, making it the ideal place to go to if you want to be able to enjoy good conversation with family or friends.

3) Guanabara

New London Theatre, Parker St, London, WC2B 5PW

Samba dancer at Rio carnival
Samba dancer in typical Brazilian carnival attire

Guanabara is perfect if you’re looking for a lively evening. At this Brazilian inspired bar, you can see the best acts and live entertainment to be found outside of Brazil. Live music and bands, samba dancing, capoeira performers, percussions artists and classical carnival music played by top DJs are just some examples of the kind of entertainment Guanabara has on offer. As regards food and beverages, it serves flavourful Brazilian dishes made with high quality ingredients as well as both classical and contemporary cocktails.

4) The Beaufort Bar and The American Bar 

The Savoy Hotel, 189 Strand, London, WC2R 0EU 

Bartender at the American Bar, The Savoy Hotel in London
Bartender at the American Bar, The Savoy Hotel

The Beaufort Bar and The American Bar are located in another of our luxury hotels, The Savoy.

The Beaufort Bar, which won the Best International Hotel Bar award at the Tales of the Cocktail in 2015, serves unique, imaginative and innovative drinks you won’t be able to try anywhere else. The bar is located on a former cabaret stage where the likes of George Gershwin once performed. It has a plush black and gold art deco style and drinks are served there in vintage glassware. If it is champagne more than cocktails which take your fancy, choose from the bar’s vintage and non-vintage champagne collection.

Many American bars opened throughout London during the late 19th and early 20th centuries, when transatlantic travel became more popular. The American Bar, also at The Savoy, is the longest surviving of these.  Its present bartender, Erik Lorincz, was awarded the title of Best International Bartender at Tales of the Cocktail. The American Bar itself has also won significant awards, including the title of World’s Best Hotel Bar, also from the Tales of the Cocktail awards, and Best Bar in the Virtuoso Best of the Best Awards.

5) The Luggage Room 

84-86 Duke Street, London, W1K 6JP

20s style smokingThe Luggage Room is one of London’s best, less well known bars, tucked away on the corner of Grovesnor Square. The bar really plays on the theme of hiding and secrecy; arrive at its inconspicuous black door, knock using its knocker and then wait for the shutter to open so you can confirm your booking. The bar, which was formerly a luggage room but has since been converted, has a 1920s style decor and a cosy, intimate feel.

6) The Trading House

89-91 Gresham St, London, EC2V 7NQ

london beer

‘Frontier importers and exporters of particular and peculiar eccentricities, curiosities and antiquities’ is what The Trading House, housed in a Grade II listed building which was once the Bank of New Zealand, claims to be.  But its fun, light hearted attitude should not make you underestimate how seriously it takes the quality of the drinks it serves. Highly extensive, its drinks menu features cocktails, a traditionally British G&T list, champagne, wine and a vast worldwide selection of craft beers, ales and ciders. With live music every night, you’re guaranteed to have a great evening if you spend it here.

7) Ruby’s Bar and Lounge

76 Stoke Newington Road, London, N16 7XB

CocktailRuby’s Bar and Lounge, which was once cited by Vogue as its ‘favourite subterranean drinking den’, is one of London’s newly opened establishments. It is a place which combines a laid back, relaxed approach with the utmost sophistication.  In its bar, you’ll experience a more formal atmosphere, with a table service. In the lounge, there is more of a party atmosphere, with areas for music and dancing.

8) Wyld

10 Leicester Square, London W1D 6QF, United Kingdom

Leicester Square tube sign

Wyld is a stylish West End lounge and bar, located on London’s Leceister Square. The name of the bar reflects its energetic, vibrant nature; it’s a place where you can enjoy regular live music and DJ nights, sip on bespoke cocktails and even meet celebrities, since plenty frequent this fashionable hotspot.

9) Nightjar

129 City Rd, London, EC1V 1JB

Saxophonist playing jazz music

Nightjar has become a huge success in London and booking is essential if you want a chance of being able to go there. It’s hardly surprising that the bar is so popular. It has comfortable seating, an extensive cocktail menu (which is interestingly divided into different historical eras, such as the post-war era) and different kinds of music. Go there early in the evening and you’ll hear a discreet jazz and swing soundtrack. Stay on a little later and you’ll be able to hear live jazz and swing bands.

10) Madison 

Rooftop Terrace, 1 New Change, St Paul’s, London, EC4M 9AF

View of Saint Paul's Cathedral and London Millenium Bridge,
View of Saint Paul’s Cathedral and London Millenium Bridge, taken from the side of the Thames opposite the Madison

Situated on the Penthouse spot of One New Change, Madison has several rooftop terraces which give spectacular views of the City of London. St. Paul’s Cathedral is in particularly clear view from Madison’s terraces since the iconic domed building is located nearby. Heaters, umbrellas and evening lighting ensure you can enjoy a drink on the terraces all year round and at any time of the day. The bar boasts in house DJs, an impressive cocktail menu and a delicious variety of bar snacks, created by Head Chef Robin Tarver.

The World’s 50 Best Restaurants: Our Pick

The prestigious San Pellegrino 50 Best Restaurants list has once again brought us the crème de la crème of culinary delights from around the world. The sheer amount of tasty treats on offer from the best 50 eateries around the world seems impossible to choose from, so we’ve done the hard work and picked out the five best standout contenders… so sit back, relax and try not to get too hungry!

Our Categories

Winner: El Celler de Can Roca – World ranking º1 

Best in Italy: Osteria Francescana – World ranking º2 

Best in Scandinavia: Noma – World ranking º3

Best in Asia: Narisawa – World ranking º8

Our choice: Dinner by Heston Blumenthal – World ranking º7

El Celler de Can Roca, Spain – º1

celler_1angeleta

 

 

 

 

 

 

This year’s winner defines the key principles of Catalan cooking by stripping them back down to their rawest components: family, passion and heritage. The Roca brothers grew up in the outskirts of Girona, where their love for uncomplicated, honest and true flavours was kindled in the small local restaurant their mother ran. Now boasting 3 Michelin stars, Jordi, Joan and Josep’s masterpiece El Celler de Can Roca is globally acclaimed for its innovative and tastebud-tingling creations, each elaborated from childhood memories before being painstakingly crafted and meticulously presented in a series of inventive compositions. So what can you dine on at San Pellegrino’s best restaurant in the world? Signature showstoppers include caramelised olives still attached to the tree, pickled barnacles with bay leaves and albarino, oyster with anemone, veal shin with mushroom, truffles and avocado, pigeon ‘trilogy’, all paired with the finest local wines and concluded with impeccably presented, delicate desserts such as ‘Chocolate Anarchy’ and fig millefeuille. A concept which originally bloomed from a simple love for food has been crowned the best in the world, and the reasons why could not be more clear…

Where to stay: Hotel Llegendes de Girona Catedral

Osteria Francescana, Italy – º2

910PRESSosteria

 

 

 

 

A country long renowned for its culinary prowess, it is hardly surprising that an Italian restaurant made it to the runner-up spot, climbing up a place from the previous two years. Set in the beautiful ancient town of Modena, Massimo Bottura’s Osteria Francescana sounds like a typical village trattoria. Yet the rustic-sounding name conceals an institution which defines sheer bravery and daring creativity. Bottura does not simply craft unique, groundbreaking gastronomic concepts; he refers to art and history from his proud cultural heritage for inspiration, aspiring to heights never reached before to transmit an array of emotions through the ingredients which represent his region. Retaining the belief that food is a tradition, he takes snippets of feelings, thoughts, tastes and aromas to conceive a plethora of intriguing, yet truly mind-blowing dishes; ambrosie of foie gras with 44-year aged balsamic vinegar, fragrance-infused sea bass and eel ravioli to name but a few. The end result is much more than flavour, it is a series of emotions… it is art.

Where to stay: Hotel Metropolitan

Noma, Denmark – º3

nomano

 

 

 

 

 

Last year’s number one Noma is, as coined by the list, a ‘world-conquering restaurant that knows its place’. Utilising experimental techniques such as fermenting and pickling, René Redzepi unearths inspiration from his nordic motherland’s culture, landscape and history, combined with a futuristic scope. The results are truly original and have gained raving critical acclaim, as was demonstrated by a five-week relocation to Japan in early 2015, which saw the amalgamation of indigenous ingredients such as raw botan ebi shrimp and wild duck. Back home in Copenhagen, Scandinavia is summarised and redefined in a few sublimely simple, yet wonderfully original flavours, such as sweet peas with milk curd and sliced kelp, sweet shrimps wrapped in ramson leaves, the ‘first shoots of the season’ with scallop marinade, and flower tart, finished with magnificent rhubarb and sheep milk yoghurt or Gammel Dansk ice cream with shell of whey and sorrel sauce.

Where to stay: Copenhagen Admiral Hotel

Narisawa, Japan – º8

narimenu

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Become lost in the gentle aromas of Yoshihiro Narisawa’s spine-tingling flavours, which will transport you on a voyage through the Far East and Asia, a land of mild spices, tangy fruits and exotic bursts of fresh, organic tastes, passed down for hundreds of generations. Poetic flavours reminiscent of a fresh autumn breeze, a pallid crescent moon or the sweet song of birds, entwine food with the natural environment. Japan’s flourishing landscape and diverse seasons are perfectly depicted, for a unique yet nostalgic experience in each and every bite. Prepare to be astonished by standout dishes such as hokkaido sea urchin with peach, sea snake soup or melt-in-the-mouth Hida beef served alongside ‘bread of the forest’, freshly baked at the dining table. A Japanese green tea and honeycomb dessert or piña colada with jelly and nitrogen-infused ice cream round off this spectacular gastronomic journey.

Where to stay: The Peninsula Tokyo

Dinner by Heston Blumenthal , UK– º7

din london-restaurant-dinner-3

 

 

 

 

 

 

A land celebrated for many great things, though perhaps not historically its cuisine, British cooking is truly redeemed by Heston Blumenthal’s modern spin on old classics. Under Heston’s guidance, the real genius behind this restaurant is head chef Ashley Palmer-Watts, who takes his love for his native Dorset countryside and the exceptional produce of the British Isles to present a celebration of 600 years of heritage. Opting for molecular gastronomy conducted by chefs working across four kitchens, the aptly named ‘Dinner’ chooses not to exhaust flavours with avant-garde attempts or scientific table experiments, but to serve an unpretentious and flavour-focussed series of ancient British recipes, revived from the past to showcase the glory of classic simplicity. Traditional tastes include spiced pigeon, ‘meat fruit’ – bread with chicken liver paté concealed within an orange skin, earl grey tea cured salmon, chicken oysters with bone marrow and horseradish sauce, and goat’s milk cheesecake topped with perry poached pear and smoked walnut.

Where to stay: The Levin Hotel

Image credits: El Celler de Can Roca, Osteria Francescana, Noma, Narisawa, Dinner by Heston Blumenthal

 

New on Splendia: June – Rooms with a View

Whether rolling, rustic hills or a sweeping cityscape, fantastic views have the power to simultaneously restore and inspire. Our brand new selection of Rooms with a View will ensure an unforgettable stay, whatever your perspective…

The Mark Hotel – New York City, USA

new-york-city-the-mark-hotelA stone’s throw from Central Park, this exclusive edifice on Manhattan’s Upper East Side is perfect for discovering iconic New York on foot or from the air.

Cape Weligama – Weligama, Sri Lanka

weligama-cape-weligama-401031_1000_560Admire the Indian Ocean from this clifftop hotel’s outdoor infinity pool, set against a beautiful backdrop of rich tropical flora.

Torre Zumeltzegi – Oñate, Portugal

onate-torre-zumeltzegi-395985_1000_560Gaze across endless Portuguese countryside from the terrace of this delightfully restored 13th-century tower, a glass of excellent Madeira in hand.

Domaine de Biar – Montpellier, France

montpellier-domaine-de-biar
Wander through rolling parkland, English gardens and bamboo groves to your heart’s content at this charming retreat, or rest weary legs and enjoy a ride on one of the hotel’s equine residents.

Hotel Corallo – Sorrento, Italy

sorrento-hotel-corallo-401646_1000_560Breakfast on the terrace, a day spent lounging at the solarium, and then a candle-lit dinner accompanied by stunning sea views… the outlook is magnificent for guests at Corallo.

Terhills Hotel – Maasmechelen, Belgium

maasmechelen-terhills-hotel-403094_1000_560Michelin-starred dining and stylish grey interiors await after a stroll through the impressive grounds surrounding this Belgian abode…

Ixian All Suites – Rhodes, Greece

rhodes-ixian-all-suites-404196_1000_560The classic trio of sun, sea and sand unite in heavenly Greece… and here even mere mortals have their own private swimming pools.

H10 London Waterloo – London, United Kingdom

london-h10-london-waterloo-404999_1000_560Whether enjoyed at dawn from the comfort of guest rooms, or from the rooftop bar with a sunset cocktail, H10 Waterloo offers unrivalled views of London from the chicest of vantage points.

Kasteel TerWorm – Heerlen, Netherlands

heerlen-kasteel-terworm-405005_1000_560Stay in splendour at a 14th-century castle in the Dutch countryside, surrounded by regal French gardens. Charmant!

Aspaki Exclusive Hotel – Oia, Greece

oia-aspaki-exclusive-hotel-402736_1000_560Boasting just eight guest rooms, all with stunning sea views, residents at the gorgeous Aspaki Exclusive Hotel can be assured of the perfect spot for evening dining, thanks to the hotel’s intimate size and picturesque setting.

Grootbos Private Nature Reserve – Gansbaai, South Africa

gansbaai-grootbos-private-nature-reserve-406090_1000_560

Lose yourself in the stunning Cape Floral Kingdom which surrounds this luxury lodge. Think flower safaris, quad biking, toasting marshmallows around a campfire, and divine suites to retire to after an exhilarating day…

 Vollererhof –  Puch bei Hallein, Austria

puch-bei-hallein-kurhotel-vollererhof-398779_1000_560Perched on a hillside in the Salzach Valley, Vollererhof is much more than a traditional health resort. Guests can hike, explore beautiful nearby Salzburg or unwind in the extensive spa, all in spectacular surroundings.

What’s on: October

Falling leaves, frosty mornings and crackling fires; there really is something special about this time of year. Make this autumn particularly memorable with our selection of October events…

Calendar dates2International Festival of the Sahara, Douz, Tunisia

Discover the enchanting traditions of the North African desert at the International Festival of the Sahara, from 1–4 October. Each year people flock to the small town of Douz, also known as the gateway to the Sahara, for this unique cultural festival involving camel races, belly dancing, and even a Bedouin marriage ceremony.

Where to stay: Dar Nejma

Calendar dates9Photomonth East London, London, UK

Taking place in various venues across East London, Photomonth is a truly picture-perfect event that celebrates the diversity of contemporary photography. Whether you’re a Testino in training or an Instagram addict, the 150 exhibitions, events, talks and workshops offer something for everyone. Until 30 November.

Where to stay: Andaz Liverpool Street

Calendar dates3Nuit Blanche, Paris, France

Planning a Parisian city break this autumn? Be sure your getaway coincides with the Nuit Blanche, an all-night cultural extravaganza that takes place annually on the first Saturday of October. Galleries, museums, and other art institutions open their doors to the public, free of charge, from 7pm–7am. This year, the Left Bank will be at the epicentre of the action, as 50 local artists are given free reign to reinvent the city with creative installations and quirky decorations.

Where to stay: Le Grey Hotel

Calendar dates4Frankfurt Book Fair, Frankfurt, Germany

This October, the annual Frankfurt Book Fair offers the ideal event for fiction fanatics and publishing pros alike. The entire literary industry gathers for five days of panel discussions, readings and interviews with renowned authors. With the 2013 edition attracting over 7,275 exhibitors, this year’s fair promises to be a real treat for bookworms, if they can put down their paperbacks long enough to attend…

Where to stay: InnSide Frankfurt Eurotheum

Calendar dates5SF Open Studios, San Francisco, USA

If you’re an art lover then this event is just the ticket! San Francisco Open Studios offers visitors the chance to go behind the scenes and explore the studios of more than 800 celebrated artists, ask them questions about their work and even purchase unique pieces. Until 9 November.

Where to stay: Fairmont Heritage Place Ghirardelli Square

Calendar dates6CMJ Music Marathon, New York, USA

CMJ Music Marathon is the world’s largest festival for emerging music, bringing spine-tingling voices and irresistibly catchy riffs to the Big Apple from 21–25 October. This year’s event will see breakthrough acts take to the stage in over 80 of Brooklyn and Manhattan’s coolest venues, offering visitors the perfect way to spend the evening in NYC. Who knows, you may just discover the next big thing…

Where to stay: The Plaza Hotel

Calendar dates7Diwali, India

The 23 October marks the most important Hindu festival of the year, Diwali. This joyous occasion, often referred to as the Festival of Light, represents a day filled with true happiness for many people all over the world. From the illuminated markets of Jaipur to the fireworks displays of Varanasi, India comes alive to honour the victory of light over dark and good over evil.

Where to stay: Lebua Resort

Calendar dates8Día de los Muertos, Oaxaca, Mexico

Central America goes all out for the Día de los Muertos, a remembrance celebration of loved ones gone before. The Latin version of Halloween sees families across Mexico welcome departed spirits home with elaborate altars adorned with sugar skulls and marigolds. Oaxaca is considered to be one of the best places to dance with the dead as the crowds dress up as catrina and catrin, skeletal figures created by Mexican illustrator José Guadalupe Posada. Want to know more? We have just the thing for you… http://bit.ly/1hSqOcg

Where to stay: Hotel Azul

Brussels Light Festival, Brussels, Belgium

A newcomer to the world festival scene, the Brussels Light Festival illuminates the Sainctelette Canal from 31 October–3 November in celebration of the city’s cultural diversity. Follow the beaming waterside route that encompasses a mesmerising LED Leaning Tower of Pisa and a sparkling elephant hologram, culminating in a barbecue feast for all!

Where to stay: Hotel Sandton Pillows

Voodoo Experience, New Orleans, USA

Leave the trick-or-treating, pumpkin carving and costume parties to someone else and dabble in a totally different Halloween tradition at the Voodoo Experience. Reflecting the diverse musical heritage of New Orleans, this three-day music festival features unforgettable performances by both high-profile international artists and local Louisiana musicians. This year’s line-up includes Outkast, Arctic Monkeys and Awolnation, to name but a few. Until 2 November.

 Where to stay: Windsor Court Hotel

Image credits: Thomas McGowan, Dave G, Angelica Renee H. on Flickr | License and Voodoo Experience

What’s on: July

The time of year you’ve been waiting for is finally here; the holidays are booked, the flip flops are on, so start making some summer memories at events taking place across the globe! Whether you’ll be rolling around in the South Korean mud or dancing atop the London skyline, there’s sure to be something to fill your daydreams until next summer comes around…

July 5Tour de France, France & UK

The 101st Tour de France sees the peloton come to the Yorkshire Dales this month, for the 20th Grand Départ outside of French borders. Setting off from the Victorian Town Hall in Leeds and finishing on the Champs-Élysées on 27 July, riders will cover a total of 3664km on this year’s arduous, yet picturesque route. Pack some snacks, whether scones or baguettes, and take to the streets to cheer on riders from all over the world.

Cheer along the route: Hotel De La Cité Carcassonne

July 6Fiesta de San Fermín, Pamplona, Spain

One for all those daredevils out there, the annual Fiesta de San Fermín offers a truly thrilling experience, thanks to its infamous Running of the Bulls. As one of the most internationally renowned Spanish festivals, San Fermín is a must see, so dress in white, don a scarlet sash and join the one million people expected to flock to the streets of Pamplona this year. Whether you want to get involved in the chaos, or you’d rather observe from the safety of the sidelines, don’t miss out on this historical event! 6 – 14 July.

Where to stay: Almapamplona – Muga De Beloso

July 11Broadway in Bryant Park, New York, USA

The casts of famous Broadway musicals will be performing their biggest hits in the beautiful leafy setting of Manhattan’s Bryant Park every Thursday, starting 11 July. Throughout this musical extravaganza, members of the public can enjoy spectacular songs from iconic shows, such as Chicago and The Phantom of the Opera, completely free of charge under the shade of the trees. Bring along a picnic, find your spot on the grass and be dazzled by an al fresco performance that truly is too good to miss. 11 July – 14 August.

Where to stay: The Surrey

July 14Bastille Day, France

France’s national holiday promises to paint the town red, white and blue once again, as Bastille Day fever sparks a party to be proud of. Parisians mark the occasion with a traditional military parade on the Champs-Elysées and a fireworks display by the Eiffel Tower, but celebrations continue nationwide…not to be outdone by the glamour of the capital, Lyon stages its own French fête, complete with lively beach party and illuminations of its own. Vive la France!

Where to stay: Hotel Fouquet’€™s Barriere

July 18Boryeong Mud Festival, Boryeong, South Korea

Boryeong Mud Festival is a unique Korean festival celebrating mineral-rich mud in a somewhat messy fashion. For 9 days each year the sleepy town of Boryeong, also known as Daecheon, on the coast of the Yellow Sea transforms into a tourist mecca as thousands turn up to get their hands dirty. Whether mud-pie making, childishly wrestling, or mud-mask beautifying, it is impossible to resist getting stuck in! 18 – 27 July.

Extend your stay: The Plaza Hotel

July 53Tomorrowland, Boom, Belgium

Tomorrowland, widely regarded as the world’s best dance party, arrives in the aptly-named Belgian town of Boom on 18 July, promising world class music and spectacular stages. Enjoy sets by your favourite DJs or discover unsung dancefloor heroes, as Tomorrowland celebrates its 10th anniversary with a “Key to Happiness” theme. Music lovers can expect an unforgettable experience at this wonderfully quirky festival which is truly one of a kind. 18 – 27 July.

Extend your stay: Hotel Odette en Ville

July 24Comic-con International, San Diego, USA  

The hugely popular Comic-con convention in San Diego this month is the perfect opportunity to unleash your inner geek and embrace all things sci-fi! Rub shoulders with famous Hollywood stars at exclusive film screenings, compete for best costume with fellow fantasy fans or bring along your favourite comic books for once in a lifetime signatures. Escape from reality as fiction comes to life at this spectacular four-day event… 24 – 27 July.

Where to stay: Paradise Point Resort & Spa

July 27

Gertrude Street Projection FestivalMelbourneAustralia

The Gertrude Street Projection Festival, Melbourne’s most accessible large scale arts festival, takes place in the buzzing Fitzroy district for the seventh time this July. Each night from 6pm until midnight, over 30 sites on Gertrude Street will be illuminated with the vibrant works of talented projection artists. Visitors will be impressed by this true celebration of diversity, a collaborative, volunteer effort of artists and traders, residents and community groups. 18  27 July.

Where to stay: Art Series – The Olsen

Nov 16 Silent Disco at The View from The Shard, London, UK

Dance the night away at the top of the tallest building in Western Europe throughout the month of July. With sky-high sets to suit all tastes, three DJs will battle it out on the decks across a trio of channels at each Silent Disco at The View from The Shard event, hosted by Time Out. Twice a month until November, breathtaking views and a great soundtrack guarantee a night out like no other at one of London’s most popular tourist attractions. All you need now are some comfortable dancing shoes… 5 July – 16 November.

Where to stay: St Martins Lane Hotel

Image credits: Chris PhutullyPeter BurgessJean-Christophe BENOIST & Yann Caradec on Flickr | LicenseTour de FranceFiesta de San FermínTomorrowlandSilent Disco at The View from The Shard

What’s On: April

April showers and blossoming flowers…spring is finally in full swing, bringing with it a brand new bunch of things to do! Whether you see yourself as a flourishing fashionista or a secret surf enthusiast, we have a vibrant selection of enticing events set to brighten up your calendar.

April Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week, Sydney, Australia

Set against the sparkling backdrop of Sydney Harbour, Australian Fashion Week brings haute couture, upcoming designers and future trends to the catwalk. Recent survey results revealed that Sydney has made a triumphant return to the top flight, as one of the top ten fashion capitals in the world. If you’re unsure of what’s in this season, the fashion-forward flock have revealed that monochrome is here to stay, whilst icy pastels and hints of pink are also in the mix…(Until 10 April)

 Where to stay: Establishment Hotel

April4Songkran, Thailand

Whilst most visitors to Thailand chill out on the sun-kissed beaches, tropical landscapes and crystal clear seas, for three days in April, the natives find another way to cool off. Celebrated with a giant water fight, the Thai New Year festival of Songkran sees buckets of water thrown over everyone and everything, washing away any bad luck from the previous year. Although festivities take place nationwide, Bangkok is by far the biggest place to join in the action. Pack your water pistols, some waterproof clothes, and head to the Banglamphu area of the city for the                                                       fiercest fight! (Until 15 April)

Where to stay: The Siam

April5Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach, Torquay, Australia

Nestled in rolling farmland and framed by ancient cliffs, Bells Beach is a pristine surfer’s paradise and the impressive coastal setting of the annual Rip Curl Pro surfing contest. This year, the competition celebrates its 53rd birthday, making it the world’s longest-running surfing event and by far the most prestigious; open to the raw brunt of the Bells Beach breaks, even the world’s finest surfers will have to beat off stiff competition to land that coveted trophy.  And those afraid to get their feet wet need not worry; there’s guaranteed to be plenty of action on dry                                                       land too…(Until 23 April)

Where to stay: The Prince

April6Henri Matisse: The Cut-Outs, Tate Modern, London, United Kingdom

Prepare for a blockbuster show at the Tate Modern this summer with `The Cut-Outs´ exhibition, showcasing the final chapter of Henri Matisse’s artistic career. When ill health prevented Matisse from painting, he began experimenting with alternative methods of expression, and found the medium of paper-cutting particularly suited his unique fluid style. From snowflakes to dancers, circus scenes to snails, this is the first time the eclectic collection of 120 works will be exhibited together in London. (Until 7 September)

Where to stay: The Wellesley Hotel

April7Sant Jordi, Barcelona, Spain

Although he may be the patron of many lands, nowhere trumps Catalonia in the celebration of the legendary dragon slayer. St. George’s Day, or Sant Jordi, is Catalonia’s answer to Valentine’s Day, where tradition dictates that men present roses to their loved ones in commemoration of the red rose that grew in the spot where Jordi killed the dragon. This day also coincides with World Book Day (and curiously the deaths of both Shakespeare and Cervantes, who died on this day in 1616), and, thus, the women give books in return. Across                                                       the region, the rose-scented streets are lined with book stalls and flower sellers, famous authors signing their latest release and joy and                                                           romance fill the air; truly a sight to behold.

Where to stay: Murmuri

April8Judo European Championships, Montpellier, France

Montpellier, the stylish yet quaint city in southern France, plays host to this year’s European Judo Championships. The hotly anticipated matches will be held in the multi-purpose Park & Suites Arena, which opened its doors in 2010. The car-free historic centre bustles with vibrant bars, authentic bistros and family-run restaurants, to be explored in between the hair-raising and adrenaline-fuelled Judo events… (Until 27 April)

Where to stay: Baudon de Mauny

April2Ladies and Gentlemen…The Beatles!,  New York Public Library for the Performing Arts at Lincoln Centre, New York, United States of America

It’s been 50 years since The Beatles were greeted by frenzied fans and mass hysteria at New York’s JFK airport, and this month, New York Public Library for the Performing Arts celebrates the British invasion and rapid rise of ‘Beatlemania’ in the United States. Covering the band’s formative period from 1964 to 1966, this new retrospective explores the Fab Four’s sizeable influence on popular culture; from musical memorabilia to interactive displays, don’t be afraid to twist and shout your way through the exhibition!

Where to stay: The Maritime Hotel

 

Dramatic Heights of Fashion

Last month, fashionistas of the world descended on the four major fashion capitals – New York, London, Milan and Paris – to witness the spectacles bestowed upon them by the most renowned and enterprising designers. Expectations were at an all time high following the unequivocal success of the Fall/Winter collections presented in February, but despite the pressure, this season did not disappoint

From galactic backdrops to innovative art exhibitions, the designers yearned to entertain with their eccentric and positively peculiar themes. And entertain they did. Here at Splendia, we bring you our pick of the most impressive spectacles, with the Parisian fashion houses stealing the show, bringing drama and surrealism to the stage…

Louis Vuitton

Following Marc Jacobs’ announcement of his departure from Louis Vuitton, his final show was, rather aptly, funeral themed; a requiem for his time at the helm of this major European fashion house. Jacobs combined his most memorable stage sets – a train clock, a large fountain, an opulent hotel and a traditional carousel – to successfully create an intense, all-black spectacle. From extravagant feather headdresses to the old-fashioned elevator entrance, this exhibition was a spectacular feast of drama and fantasy.

Dior

Set within the opulent grounds of Musée Rodin, Raf Simons adopted a flamboyant floral backdrop to display his latest creations. Surreal forest fauna and a kaleidoscope of silk flowers embellished the venue, whilst the models strutted to symphonic music that escalated into a techno rave. Simons’ ready-to-wear collection gleamed with brilliance, proving that he has blossomed into his recently-appointed position as Creative Director at Dior.

Anya Hindmarch

Portrayed by Vogue as the “Cirque de Soleil for handbags”, Anya Hindmarch’s London show was simply mystifying. The runway was transformed into a stylish planetarium, with light-filled globes and twinkling stars creating an ethereal backdrop for her latest collection. As the lights dimmed, cat-suited acrobats were lifted into the heavens and her chic leather bags levitated above the ground. Unsurprisingly, it has been heralded as an astronomical success.

Chanel

Grand Palais, a setting synonymous with Chanel, became the impressive backdrop to Karl Lagerfeld’s fashion and art collaboration this season. The historic venue was transformed, somewhat paradoxically, into a modern art gallery, adorned with 75 Chanel inspired life size art pieces. A marble No. 5 perfume bottle and giant pearl-laden replica of the iconic Chanel logo, were amongst a host of curious objects scattered along the runway, blurring the boundaries between creative disciplines and once again igniting the age-old debate: Is fashion art?

Visit the fashion capitals of the world with Splendia and inspire your inner fashionista with our stylish collection of Great Fashion Hotels.

Image credits: style.uk.msn.com, handbag.com, whitewallmag.com, creativereview.co.uk

 

No Business Like Show Business

With the bright lights of New York City and the buzzing atmosphere in London, it can be difficult to know where to start when planning a night out. Luckily, Splendia is here to lend a hand. New York’s Broadway and London’s West End have a combined total of nearly 100 theatres, so where better to enjoy an evening of utter sophistication and old-fashioned good fun? Continue reading No Business Like Show Business

Live Like a Spy: Stay in a James Bond Hotel with Splendia

James Bond is famous for his lavish taste in strictly luxurious 5-star hotels. Following the release of the much-anticipated Skyfall, the 23rd film in the legendary spy series, Splendia brings you a selection of our hotels that have played host to 007, his ever-changing enemies and his Bond girls over the years.

Continue reading Live Like a Spy: Stay in a James Bond Hotel with Splendia

London’s Most Stylish Spots

New York, London, Milan and Paris – the world’s four most stylish cities take centre stage this month. New York kicked off the global fashion calendar last week, but tomorrow the world of fashion turns its well-groomed head towards London. Stylists, celebrities, fashionistas and, of course, models will all flock in to Somerset House to catch the first glimpse of the Autumn/Winter 2013 collections of over 80 designers.

With its huge number of designer department stores, quirky boutiques and vintage shops, London has long since established itself as one of the fashion capitals of the world. Now, following the success of the London 2012 Olympics, Kate Middleton’s famed royal style and the death of respected British designer Alexander McQueen in 2010, it has been named theFashion Capital of the World’ for the second year running.

Here at Splendia we bring you three of London’s most fashion-forward hotspots that you don’t have to be an industry insider to visit.

Continue reading London’s Most Stylish Spots

Our Top 3: Beer Festivals

Whilst many of 2012’s music and cultural festivals have been and gone, this year’s beer festival season is still very much in full swing. A celebration unlike any other, the “beerfest” has undergone a renaissance in recent years, with more and more events across the globe welcoming a record breaking number of guests. Even if you’re not too sure of the difference between a pilsner and a pale ale, beer festivals offer great entertainment for all ages, along with the perfect excuse to visit some unique destinations. Read on to discover the Splendia team’s top 3… Continue reading Our Top 3: Beer Festivals

Lights, Camera, Action: Hotel Film Locations

As well as being popular amongst travellers worldwide for their quality service and luxurious atmosphere, the hotels below may also have caught the eye of film fans over the years. Whether it’s the hotel that played host to Javier Bardem’s antics in Vicky Cristina Barcelona, or the site for Pierce Brosnan strutting his stuff as 007 in GoldenEye, these hotels are definitely worth a visit!

Splendia brings you a selection of top hotels, which have not only hosted some of Hollywood’s biggest stars, but also featured in some of their films…
Continue reading Lights, Camera, Action: Hotel Film Locations

Experimental Cocktail Club

On a quiet street in Paris’ second arrondissement lies a bar, visible from the outside only due to an unassuming plaque. Inconspicuous it may be, but this well-hidden spot has beaten the odds to become the hangout du jour of many a cosmopolitan Parisian. Based on the fashionable bars of New York, it seems only natural that after such resounding success in the French capital, it should hop stateside to make waves in the very city that inspired its unique brand of innovative tipple.

Continue reading Experimental Cocktail Club

Brunch Is Served

There’s nothing quite like recovering from one too many cocktails during a long, leisurely Sunday brunch. Blueberry pancakes or French toast drizzled in sweet maple syrup, creamy fruit smoothies or freshly squeezed orange juice, Eggs Benedict smothered in Hollandaise sauce – all accompanied with a healthy dose of freshly brewed coffee, of course. With something to please every palate, this is the meal to top all meals.

How do you take your brunch? Whatever takes your mid-morning fancy, you are entitled to indulge. Those with a sweet tooth can tuck into fluffy pancakes, buttery pastries, yogurt and honey or waffles with a snowy sugar topping.

If all that glucose at midday will send your systems into overdrive, a safe bet is the brunch staple: eggs. Scrambled, poached or fried; perched upon on golden toast or the classic English muffin, accompanied with spinach, salmon or ham – the possibilities are endless.

And for those who simply can’t decide: why not live dangerously, and have a combination of the two. This is supposed to be half-breakfast and half-lunch, after all. Pancakes or waffles topped with salty bacon and drenched in sugary maple syrup, anyone?

Splendia have scoured Barcelona for the most mouthwatering brunches of them all. Our top tip: Picnic in the Born. Typical fare with a twist is on offer (note the accompanying Bloody Mary sauce, to be splashed as you see fit), alongside a mouthwatering burger, pulled pork sandwich, cheesecake and crumble. Wash it down with a mimosa or bellini for ultimate indulgence.

Milk, on Carrer d’En Gignàs, and Marmalade, on Raval’s Riera Alta, serve typical American-style brunch in a friendly and relaxed ambience. At Poble Sec’s Federal, you can enjoy your late-morning delights in the sun on the café’s terrace.

Brunch is fast becoming a worldwide phenomenon. In London, try the famous Fortnum & Mason, or the trendy Breakfast Club. New York offers the French bistro Pastis and Parisians can enjoy their scrambled eggs at Le Fumoir, before walking it off during a trip round the iconic Louvre museum, just next door.

For more information about Splendia or to view our worldwide collection of unique Luxury & Character Hotels, click here.

Ballgowns: British Glamour Since 1950

A new exhibition heralds the opening of the recently renovated Fashion Galleries at London‘s V&A – and what an exhibition it is!

From 19th May, fashion lovers from all over the world will unite to take in the spectacular sight of over 60 exquisite ballgowns at Ballgowns: British Glamour Since 1950.

Continue reading Ballgowns: British Glamour Since 1950

Our Top 3: European Football Stadiums

Europe is home to some of the world’s most exciting and emblematic sporting venues, and football is no exception. Prestigious, impressive and full of atmosphere, it’s not surprising that many European football stadiums tempt millions of people inside to discover the incredible settings of The Beautiful Game.

Read on for our bite-size guide to Europe’s three biggest football stadiums.

Continue reading Our Top 3: European Football Stadiums

Silver Screens

A trip to the cinema is a holiday from real life. On a dreary Sunday afternoon you can travel the world, see someone save the human race, or immerse yourself in a love affair. However, just as there are thousand of different hotels out there to suit your mood, there are also different genres of cinema to cater to your every need.

Continue reading Silver Screens

London Calling: Odile Dicks-Mireaux

Odile Dicks-Mireaux is a BAFTA award-winning costume designer based in London. A background in Theatre Design led to a contract at the BBC in the 1980s, where she worked on iconic British classics Dr Who and Black Adder. Leaving the daleks and tardis behind, she has gone on to create the looks for hit movies such as The Constant Gardener, An Education and the recent of adaptation of bestselling book by David Nicholls, One Day. Odile may have worked with Hollywood royalty, but the born-and-bred Londoner has always made the capital city her home.

Here, she takes us on a tour of her most-loved central London spots and streets…

Continue reading London Calling: Odile Dicks-Mireaux

Spice Up Your Life

A welcome culinary invasion of our delicate palates, it seems that Mexican restaurants are popping up all over the place. Though you could be forgiven for thinking it was all about chimichangas and cheddar-drenched nachos, genuine Mexican cuisine is one of the world’s most diverse. Nowadays, the Americanised version is the most prevalent, but don’t limit yourself to the Taco Bell variety – there’s lots out there to try and no time to waste!

Continue reading Spice Up Your Life

Our Top 3: London Art Picks

We all made our New Year’s resolutions with the best of intentions…but midway through February, our enthusiasm has waned: the gym membership card lies untouched, the ambitious collection of “books to read” sits resolutely unread, and somehow those chocolate puddings have managed to creep back into the fridge.

But all is not lost! That cultural hotbed, London town, is showcasing some seriously unmissable exhibitions to nudge your virtuosity levels out of the red.

Read on for our top three…

Continue reading Our Top 3: London Art Picks

Macarons are everywhere in the French capital

The legendary macaron has origins dating back to 1792, when two Carmelite nuns seeking asylum in Nancy during the French Revolution baked and sold macarons in order to support themselves – thus becoming known as the ‘macaron sisters’. However, it wasn’t until the 1900s that Pierre Desfontaines of Parisian pastry shop Ladurée decided to take two of the cookies and fill them with a silky smooth ganache.

In recent years the macaron has become fashionable again, with weird and wonderful fillings cropping up in bakeries. Splendia have tried and tested (maybe one too many of) the crème de la crème of macarons from around the world. Step aside cupcake: the macaron is back – this time with a foie gras and cream cheese filling…

Continue reading Macarons are everywhere in the French capital

High in the Sky

One way to truly see the sights of a city is from high up in the sky. With that in mind, we’ve compiled a list of the best places from which to take in spectacular views of 10 of our favourites.

Barcelona
The Christopher Columbus monument stands tall at the bottom of the city’s bustling Las Ramblas, not far from the sea, inviting visitors to ascend to the top and enjoy breathtaking views of the Catalan capital and Cataluña’s coastline. Or, head up one of the towers of the renowned Sagrada Família or to the rooftop terrace of Casa Milà.

Berlin
On a trip to the German capital, be sure to rise to the top of the Fernsehturm, the city’s TV Tower. Have a drink or snack in the revolving restaurant whilst enjoying a 360º vista of Berlin’s magnificent monuments.

Continue reading High in the Sky

Tour de Shop: London

Book yourself a break away in the British capital and take a tour of some of London’s most iconic shops for your Christmas shopping this year!

Best for traditional gifts

Harrods, the world’s most famous department store, comprises seven floors of luxury and is a tourist attraction in itself. You’ll be sure to find a traditional present that will go down a treat, whether it’s a custom-designed rocking horse or the ever-popular Harrods Christmas pudding. You’ll make someone very happy on Christmas morning with a present from this great British institution.

Best for a sweet tooth

Since the 1700s, Fortnum & Mason has brought the world’s best food into their spectacular Piccadilly store. Indulge in the finest confectionery, caviar and champagne and truly spoil your loved one with a signature Fortum & Mason hamper, or personally design your own and fill it with their favourite truffles and sweets.

Continue reading Tour de Shop: London

Cupcake Crazy Story

A craze that has taken the world by storm is the cupcake – and with good reason! Small but perfectly formed, the cupcake was created as an individual serving, designed to bring a little piece of joy to a person’s day. Ideally served with a cup of tea or coffee, or a hot chocolate for those with a real sweet tooth, it’s the ideal treat – morning, noon or night!

They do say, after all, that the best things come in small packages…

Here’s our pick of the best places to enjoy a perfectly-sized piece of deliciousness! Continue reading Cupcake Crazy Story

Spin Under the Stars

The winter months are here, and what better way to celebrate the holidays than with a whirl around an outdoor ice rink! From the dazzling Somerset House in London to the historic Wollman in New York, we’ve compiled the most attractive settings for a truly magical evening spin under the stars…

London

Premier jeweller, Tiffany & Co, is back to support the world’s most glamorous rink at the enchanting Somerset House in Covent Garden. Perfect for adults and children alike, parents can enjoy a glass of champagne whilst children are entertained by skating penguins, magical storytelling under the Tiffany Tree or a skating lesson with a prima ballerina. If you’re looking for something a bit different to the bars of Mayfair and Chelsea, try open-air clubbing on the ice starting at 10:30pm and skate the night away to the sound of international DJs.  Stay at the luxurious One Aldwych Hotel, just a stone’s throw away, where you can warm up with a glass of mulled wine in the Lobby Bar.

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