All posts by Cristian Burbano

KENZO X Thélios Eyewear

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KENZO’s Creative Directors Carol Lim & Humberto Leon, have announced the launch of the French brand’s debut eyewear collection for SS19 made in partnership with LVMH eyewear expert Thélios.

Shot by Nick Harwood the images and film follows the fashion house’s KENZOTOPIA theme for the season, showcasing a bright and fantastical world, full of their signature pops of colour. A utopia for a community who celebrate optimism and unity.

The brand’s American creative duo looked back at the near 50-year heritage of KENZO, picking out hints of the high energy and fun aesthetic the label has become recognized for a collection of equally bold eyewear and manufactured by master craftsmen Thélios, effortlessly fusing Parisian confidence with California Cool.

The brand’s bold and fluorescent tones echo those from their SS19 dress designs, playing with unique shapes and futuristic influences, complimenting the recognized KENZO vibe.

www.kenzo.com

Hovarda – London

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Hovarda Interior
Soho seems to be the new hot spot for fine dining with the foodies flocking to Rupert Street for the latest hot spot, Hovarda. Nestled between Soho and Chinatown the new opening from the restaurant group behind eateries Yosma and Frescobaldi have opened their latest with dishes inspired by countries of the Aegean Sea. To be more specific the culinary delights of Turkey and Greece, but no shawarma or pitta bread in sight, instead a fresh and delicious menu with a focus on sea food, all fresh off the grill.

Upon entering you will be met by a luxurious for unpretentious setting, with a spacious restaurant on the ground floor with an open plan kitchen and grills and first floor cocktail bar, designed by architect Lázaro Rosa‐Violan.

The menu was created by Turkish chef Hus Vedat and features plenty of fare from the Aegean region so there’s plenty of fresh seafood and a daily changing menu filled with fresh catches from the British seas.

Used in both Turkish and Greek the word ‘Horvada’ refers to “a generous host with a free spirit” and that’s certainly the case with the menu on offer, with a contemporary take on traditional dishes from the region.

Designed to share meze options include raw, hot and cold options, with our favourite being the Octopus, which comes with a grape and tomato relish.  The sea bass ceviche was another highlight, which comes simply prepared with tomato, avocado and red onion but is plentiful in flavour.

Next up the menu is divided simply into land (meat and vegetables) and sea (fish and shellfish) options as a larger main.  We opted for the latter trying out the Langoustines which were generous in size and flavour and went for the equally delicious oven roasted potatoes as a side.  The helpful waiter is on hand to help you navigate through the menu if you’re not too familiar with the cuisine and there are plenty of drink options to keep you going.

Next time you hit up Soho, Hovarda is a must. If you fancy some music to accompany your evening check out their rotating schedule of live music performers, with many musicians from Turkey and Greece, a perfect soundtrack for your drink.

Hovarda
36 – 40 Rupert Street
London
W1D 6DW

For more information on Hovarda and other restaurants on Rupert Street and Soho please visit thisissoho.co.uk

 

Huawei Releases P30 Series

Tech giant Huawei chose Paris for the launch of their latest P30 range of smart phones, and we were in for quite a reveal. The latest handsets certainly deliver what you have come to expect from the brand with top notch features and abilities packaged in a sleek and eye-catching design, quickly becoming the world’s number 2 smart phone brand.

The P30 series is available in two variations, the 6.1 inch P30 and the 6.47 inch P30 Pro, both building on the P series’ core of photographic abilities, making leaps from its predecessors models.  The latest handsets capture breathtaking images and videos, to their barrel load of features, which includes SuperSpectrum Sensor, an optical SuperZoom Lens, a new Huawei Time of Flight (ToF) Camera, and enhanced optical and AI image stabilisation technology.

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The top tier P30 Pro comes with new Leica Quad Camera System, including a 40MP main camera and the front facing camera is packed with an incredible 32MP, for that ultra-sharp selfie.  They didn’t just tell us about these new features, they showed us, with live demonstrations of zoom and low light abilities, with results putting competitors Samsung and Apple devices to shame.

Richard Yu, CEO of Huawei Consumer BG, said, “The HUAWEI P30 Series is a fundamental breakthrough after decades of digital camera technology development; it will rewrite the rules and reshape everyone’s perception of mobile photography. Innovations such as the HUAWEI SuperSpectrum Sensor and SuperZoom Lens allow us to push the envelope of both photography and videography—a frontier long overdue for disruption. The Huawei P30 Series will set the pace for the next generation of smartphones by empowering people to capture the true beauty of the world around them through a device that fits in the palm of their hands.”

Another feature that caught people’s attention was the Dual- View video, with the P30 models being able to record two perspectives of the same scene at once, using it’s multiple cameras simultaneously so you can view a long shot and zoomed in angle at the same time in the same composition.

With such abilities you might be worried about battery life, but no need, with the Pro packing a huge 4200mAh battery, and thanks to supercharge function you are able to charge from 0 to 70% in just 30 minutes so you’ll never be caught short on juice.

Not only does do the new phones perform amazingly but they also look great too, taking inspiration from nature and technology. The near bezel free bodies feature a tiny top notch for maximum screen surface area and come in Breathing Crystal, Amber Sunrise, Aurora, Pearl White and Black, Amber Sunrise, a bold and rich red proved to be the most popular id the audience’s reaction is anything to go by.

Other products announced at the launch include a line of Huawei GT watches, FreeLace wireless earphones and their collaboration with eyewear designers Gentle Monster on a collection of smart eyewear.

Prices start at £699 for the base model, and the Pro versions priced at £899 for the 128gb model or £1099 for the huge 512gb version.

For full spec and list of retailers visit consumer.huawei.com

Parister Hotel – Paris

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An office block may not sound like the ideal setting for a 5 star luxury hotel but that’s exactly how The Parister began life.Nestled in the centre of Paris the hotel is the creation of hotelier Nicolas Nonon, the entrepreneur created a luxurious 45 room hotel from a 1990s  office block and garden for Parisians and visitors alike.

Located in a narrow street the elegant façade houses a spaces lobby with elegant and stylish decor.  The 45 rooms feature feature suites and duplexes all Wirth large windows and some feature outdoor terraces. The higher priced suites feature  hammam, a sauna and a private terrace, a perfect escape from the busy city street.

On our visit we stayed in a Junior Suite, located at the rear of the building behind a large garden and dining space.  The room was elegantly decorated with a view over the courtyard and large windows, a highlight was the huge bathroom which features separate shower and bath tub and luxury bathroom toiletries by the brand ZENOLOGY.  Ceilings are high  with bespoke walnut headboard and brass wall sconces and bold wallpaper adorn the room.

If you want a workout during your stay then in the lower ground floor is the health and wellbeing space with a on site gym and a 20-metre pool bathed in natural light, a rarity in such a central location. Talking of location it is situated between  Folies Bergères and the Garnier Opera with loads of places to shop and eat, one of the most desirable locations in Paris.

If you face staying closer to home for a drink or bite to eat then on the ground floor you will find Les Passerelles, with extensive menu for both.  Offering plenty of sitting options either outdoors in the garden or indoors in the different library and lounge spaces.  The menu offers plenty of delicious food choices and the cocktail menu is extensive with spirits from around the globe, yuzu powder & Icelandic gin, goji berries & Jamaican rum, or timut pepper & South American pisco.
Our stay was bliss, with a truly boutique and bespoke experience.  Everything from the bedding and decor to the helpful staff made sure our stay was an enjoyable one, so it’s a must for your visit.

Prices for rooms start at €250, for full details and bookings visit hotelparister.com

PARISTER HÔTEL
19 rue Saulnier
75009
Paris

Fenchurch Restaurant- Sky Garden London

Located on top of London’s famous ‘walkie talkie’ building, Fenchurch is the capital’s must visit for a meal with a view… and a tasty menu.

Located on the top level of the sky scrapper the restaurant offers dinners magnificent views of the city landscape, a perfect setting for either lunch or dinner.  On a recent Saturday visit for lunch we got to experience the restaurant for ourselves.

Upon entering the building you will be met with a security check, not the usual for a restaurant but the effort is worth it once the elevator doors open onto the top floor. Hereto will be met with London’s ‘Garden in the sky’ or as it is known Sky Garden, offering a lush green space nestled into an urban skyscraper. After a few minutes exploring the multi tiered garden and taking in the magnificent city views we headed to the even higher level7 were Fenchurch is located.

The warm hostess greeted up and sat in the far end, a table with dunning views over the city.  It was quite busy, with the sun making an early appearance so the restaurant was buzzing. The menu specialises in seafood with a European touch, but mainly sticks to classic and loved dishes.

To kick things off I opted for the sea trout (£12.50) to start, which comes with broccoli, anchovy and black olive, the dish was delicious and light, a highly recommended pick.

For my main I decided to move away from the seafood options and opt for my favourite meat, pork, with the Iberico pork (£28.50) that comes served with hispi cabbage, black pudding, apple and sage. Though black pudding, seemed like an odd combination it proved to be a successful one, alongside this I opted for a side of chips which were another highlight.

If you still have room for it then dessert is not to be missed. The desert selections small but covers all bases, after mulling it over I went for the strawberry cheesecake (£10.50), classic and very satisfying, with the cheese layer light and delicate on the palette.

At the waiter;s recommendation we accompanied our meal with the Rioja Reserva, Ondarre, Rioja, 2011 (£39.50), a red wine full of flavour and deep hues than went terrifically with our menu.

Located a short walk from Liverpool Street Station, Fenchurch is a highly recommended busy, with a delicious menu match by spectacular setting with breath taking city views.

Fenchurch Restaurant
1 Sky Garden Walk,
London
EC3M 8AF

skygarden.london

 

 

 

The Courthouse Hotel, London

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Famed hangout of the likes of Oscar Wilde, Mick Jagger and John Lennon, The Courthouse Hotel is one of the capital’s premier 5 star resorts.

Located across the road from shopping  hot spot, Carnaby street the hotel offers visitors an ideal base to explore the city with Regent, bond and oxford streets all mere minutes away.

Housed in the former Great Marlborough Street Magistrates Court, with many of the original interiors still on display (including a huge vault) in the striking Grade II listed Georgian building.

116 rooms are on offer varying in sizes and style from standard to luxury suites, each providing all the mod cons needed for a perfect break away.

The hotel manages to be deceiving from the outside as the smart exterior hides the vast size of the hotel one inside. A large lobby awaits with huge L shaped sofas and ornate Oyster shell inspired seats, with their iridescent shimmer glowing in the light.

On our visit we stayed in one of the Magistrate Suites, a beautifully decorated room offering a grand King size bed, Italian-sourced Bathroom interiors and separate living room area for entertaining. One of the best features of the suite was its view, looking over Carnaby street and the Liberty London’s famous Tudor inspired facade. the suite comes with a desk working area, large flat screen TV’s with satellite channels, luxurious soft furnishing and free high speed internet throughout so you’ll always be connected.

The Soho Sky Terrace stands as the jewel in the crown of the Courthouse Hotel,  refurbished in 20115 the terrace overlooks Great Marlborough Street, and is the perfect setting for afternoon cocktails or to grab a light bite to eat.

Also on offer are two restaurants Silk providing tasty Asian fare and The Carnaby, a modern brassiere offering lunch, dinner, afternoon tea and casual refreshments throughout the day.

If you want to rejuvenate after a hard day then also the hotel’s Sanook Spa is a must.  Located in the basement of the hotel it offers  range of luxurious spa treatments, including facials, body massages, sauna and fitness rooms. If you fancy a workout then a few lengths the heated indoor swimming pool is ideal.

overall we had a great experience staying at The Courthouse Hotel, staff were warm and accommodating with rooms spacious and tastefully decorated, overlooking one of the best locations in the city Carnaby Street.  It’s Soho locations makes it ideal to explore all of London has to offer, with numerous shopping and dining options mere minutes away.  So next tome you;re in town, book yourself a stay.

Rates start from £119 per night.

The Courthouse Hotel
19 -21 Great Marlborough Street, London,
W1F 7HL

 

Hotel: Meliá Dubai

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Dubai is a city in constant transition, a city with constant new openings, be it restaurants, clubs, bars and indeed hotels. This sheer choice might be intimidation to visitors so we decided to visit one of the most established ones in a recent visit, Hotel Meliá Dubai.

The Melia name is a long established and respected one, synonymous with luxury and quality and it is this ethos that has carried over to their opening in Dubai.  Located in the heart of the city Meliá Dubai is the first five star Spanish hotel in the Middle East. Designed by a Milan based architect, the hotel has a fresh, modern air geared to make guests’ stays truly exceptional.  Located close to the World Trade Centre, Gold & Spice Souqs, historical Bastakiya, Dubai Museum and Dubai Creek, the hotel is perfectly situated within a short reach to Dubai’s main shopping and commercial districts like the iconic Burj Khalifa and only 10 km away from Dubai International Airport.

164 rooms and suites are housed in the hotel, each decorated in a contemporary and modern style. The 5 star hotel isalso home to the restaurant, Signature by Sanjeev Kapoor.  The celebrity chef offers a delicious menu of authentic Indian fare but with a modern spin, a must.

If you plan to relax then the hotels also offers the Yhi Spa and the rooftop swimming pool, the spa offers a comprehensive menu of treatments to you can have a lazy afternoon poolside with beautiful views over the whole of Dubai.

Room rates start at £68 and you certainly get a lot, with rooms big and spacious, floor to ceiling windows, a huge king bed and a double sink bathroom with freestanding bath to soak to and relax. Staff were warm and helpful and wifi is even thrown in for free, we highly recommend a stay.

 

 

melia.com

K Spa – London

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Shepherd’s Bush may not be the first name that comes to mind when thinking about rest and relaxation but thanks to its K – Spa it should be!

Housed in the K West hotel (a stone’s throw from the famous Westfield shopping centre) K – Spa offers a range of treatments and experiences to pamper yourself.

So highly recommended that it won the Best Spa in London’ at the Good Spa Guide Awards 2015 and winner of a World Luxury Spa Award, K West’s holistic spa offers a range of exclusive treatments.  K Spa introduced the first ‘Snow Paradise’ to London, which mimics the Finnish experience of alternating between freezing and steamy environments.  The unique ‘Sun Meadow’ offers specialist light therapy to treat SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder) and the Nail Bar is the place to be pampered.  The spa also features a twinkling hydrotherapy pool, sanarium, sauna, dry flotation tank, aromatic herbal steam room and the fully equipped K Fit gymnasium.

On a recent visit we got to experience a treatment ourselves, the Men’s C+ Energy Facial (from £85). The 50 minute facial comes highly recommended by the helpful Spa staff to relax and also combat signs of ageing.

The treatment mixes together an array of ingredients including plant extracts, trace elements and vitamins, all specifically designed to meet the needs of men’s skin, often irritated by shaving and combat fine lines and wrinkles. The experience was a dream, with the beautiful designed room dimly lit for an extra lux experience, after working your face the experience ends with a neck and shoulder massage to alleviate tension.

An experience to remember K Spa offers a truly indulgent experience and a great addition to the West London beauty scene, no need to journey in central!. A beautifully designed space (not too girly) with modern facilities along with a very helpful and skilled staff.

K West Hotel & Spa
Richmond Way,
London W14 0AX

www.k-west.co.uk

SALON64 London

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SALON64 is a new innovative hair salon come coffee bar that opened up in London’s Soho, serving the area’s hippest clientele.

The salon is the creation of top London hairstylist Ricky Walters, the 26 year old has previous stints at The Corinthia & John Frieda on his CV.

Covering 2 floors and over 2000 square feet Walters worked with JaK Studio and creative partner Brash Brands to create an unprecedented beauty parlour experience in London.  Taking inspiration from a traditional French salon SALON64 offers a social hub to the soho set, perfect for those on the go to meet friends, get their hair done or even just grab a coffee and charge your phone.

The sleek minimal interiors feature herringbone floors alongside a blue colour scheme with pops of raspberry, with tapestries and print adorning walls.At the front of the salon, The Stye Bar features, which welcomes guests with its jewellery box mirrors so you can freshen up before dinner or drinks while enjoying a coffee from the in house bar.

At the rear and on the basement floor features the hairdressing spaces, which features the striking fire pit, which runs alongside the centre of the designated seating unit, again with prop open stations that are reminiscent of jewellery boxes that house a mirror as well as power plugs to charge your phone, laptop or tablets while you get your treatment done.

On our Ricky and I discussed the cut I wanted making his recommendations that would set suit my hair length and texture and get got straight to work. Staff rand over the latest issues of Esquire and GQ and regular cappuccinos throughout the cut. I loved the result and my whole SALON64 experience so a visit is a must.

Men’s cuts start at £50, full info can be found on their website www.salon64.co.uk

SALON64
14 Bateman St,
Soho,
London
W1D 3AG

Only YOU Boutique Hotel – Madrid

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Nestled in the heart of the uber cool Chueca (think Soho) neighbourhood Only YOU Boutique Hotel  has become one of Madrid’s  most fashionable and in demand hotels, during our stay in fact it was completely booked out!

The 125 room property was originally the home of a 19th century palace, with plenty of charm the moment you step through its front doors. A stone throws from the capital’s  famous Gran Via the hotel and its surrounding areas has plenty to keep you entertained with the hippest restaurants and boutiques.

Barcelona-based interior designer Lázaro Rosa-Violán worked on the hotel’s interiors and they are truly marvellous with the communal areas featuring triple heigh ceilings with chic furnishings and interiors, personal favourite being the Moet champagne lounge. The Instagram famous elevators are a fun touch with its interiors decorated with ‘book shelves’ and walls in blue/white tile work. The main reception area is again another photo opportunity with a converted train station ticket unit adorning the centre. At every corner there are new areas to discover, all with character and charm.

The interiors design flair continues into the bedrooms, we stayed in the Deluxe room,  the room is compact but feels spaces with an  en suite bathroom and charming decorative touches, with retro object and art work. The large bed was the highlight, ultra comfortable for a perfect night’s sleep.

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If you’re after wellbeing during your stay then the hotel has its own on site gym that’s open 24 hours, small but perfectly formed with all the essentials you need to keep your workouts in order. If you’re after pampering then the hotel also houses The Thai Room spa,  which offers authentic Asian massages and therapy treatments,  inspired by therapies used in South East Asia the spa has the Brest treatments from India, Bali, Hawaii, China and Thailand.  On our visit we tried the 90m minute YOUltimate Massage, a treatment specially curated for hotel guests that starts with a herbal steam bath then a full coconut body scrub and lastly a full body Thai-Bali massage, a must to let go of those aches and pains.

The hotel also houses its own restaurant, a beautiful space with indoor and outdoor seating that offers some tasty Spanish fare, guests also have the option of taking their breakfast (which is included in your stay) all day, particularly  handy for those that want an extra long lie in in their ultra comfortable beds.  If you want a drink with friends then El Padrino is perfect, the hotel’s bar is an old converted library and is perfect cocktail sport or a relaxing evening enjoying fine cheese and wine with friends.

If you happen to visit during a Sunday  then hotel’s Brunch is highly recommended, running from 1-4pm, for £44 you get delicious food as well as soft drinks, beer, wine, coffees, teas and juice with a soundtrack provided by resident DJs.

Our stay was wonderful, the staff are warm and friendly and always going out of their way to make you comfortable.  As the name suggests you are in for a very much boutique experience, with a beautifully funky interiors with pently of amenities and in a neighbourhood that is always buzzing.  Although in our stay the hotel was fully booked it never felt crowded or overly busy, with plenty or communal areas to sit back and relax if you want to wander away from your room.

Room are priced from £157, for bookings visit www.onlyyouhotels.com