All posts by Cristian Burbano

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

 

 

 

 

Limani – Rockefeller Plaza – New York

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Famed New York restaurant Limani has opened its follow up location in Rockerfeller Centre, joining its debut post in Roslyn, Long Island.

Set in prime location for locals and visitors alike upon entering the restaurant your eyes are met with beautiful all white interiors with blue accents, echoing the picturesque white architecture of Santorini or similar islands along the Greek coast.  Limani, meaning “seaport” in Greek, is a Greek/Mediterranean restaurant offering an array of dishes, but its signature is its seafood., with plenty of it.

The spacious 200 seater restaurant even has an open market display of fish, which diners able to select which takes their fancy.  Modern and white its interiors create a sense of vast space, with its open plan design even including the kitchen, with visitors able to take a look as the staff prepare dishes.

The new opening was helmed by Chef Alam, with Limani’s owners in the orchestration of the opening of the Rockefeller Center venture, which embodies many culinary and atmospheric elements of the original, while updating these with  new components created for a New York City audience.

A selection of staple and seasonal selections make up the menu, all using the  highest quality local and Mediterranean seafood, authentic Greek preparations and use of artisanal small-batch items, such as capers from Santorini and Saffron from Kozani. Meat eaters need not worry as the menu also offers the Tomahawk, a 36 ounce, bone-in 30-day, dry-aged USDA Prime rib eye steak.

The comprehensive menu includes 22 seafood entrée selections with some priced by the pound. On our visit we opted for the Stuffed Calamri, which is grilled and filled with a delicious mixture of feta, manouri and kefalograviera cheeses. A perfect opener for the meal the calamari was tender with the cheese filling perfectly complimenting its subtle taste.

Next up we went for the Swordfsh, served whole and simply grilled with peppers and tomatoes. The flesh was moist and meaty, with its signature slightly sweet taste. To accompany the dish we opted from a few sides, Asparagus, served simply in olive oil and sea salt and Yukon gold steamed potatoes tossed with shallots, oregano, olive oil and lemon.

Alongside food Limani also offers a large selection of drinks, including wines, spirits and cocktails. The cocktail selection is particularly tasty, The Passionate Punch is a particular highlight – Passion fruit, Grey goose, peach schnapps, fresh pineapple juice and cranberry juice, served on the rocks.

The restaurant will serve lunch and dinner from noon to midnight, Monday through Saturday and from noon to 10 p.m. on Sunday. For additional information or to book your reservation, please call 212-858-9200 or visit www.limani.com.

Limani
Rockefeller Center,
45 Rockefeller Plaza,
New York, NY 10111

 

The Arch London – Hotel

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Nestled a few blocks away from London’s famed Oxford Street /Marble Arch is The Arch,  a beautiful  Georgian townhouse hotel.

The five star hotel houses 82 bedrooms (11 of which are suites) and is spread out over seven Grade II listed Georgian townhouses and two mews homes, a perfectly English location for those taking a break in the capital.

Ideally located at 50 Great Cumberland Place it has the appeal of a residential setting but a mere walk to the city’s best shopping and fine dining locations, with Bond Street, Hyde Park and the West End all walking distance.

We recently visited the property for ourselves to check it out. Upon entering  guests are welcomed with  open-fireplace, perfect to nestle around in the freezing temperatures.  Interiors fuse together marble and glass with a specially selected selection of art and installation adorning the communal spaces. The Arch manages to seamlessly merge grand listed Georgian exterior but inside proves modern and stylish decor and facilities.

On our visit we stayed at the Sullivan Studio Suite, which is located on the base of the hotel.  The suite was truly beautiful offering with full height glass doors which open up to the private courtyard, a real rarity in central London hotels! The suite has a comfortable seating area which looks onto the courtyard, with photography from leading London photographer, Amy Murrell.  The king sized bed is handmade with duvets made from duck down for the perfect night’s sleep.  A stocked mini bar is supplied with a generous selection of soft drinks which come complimentary from the hotel.  A handpicked selection of classic novels can be found in the suites, while all rooms have a full Sky HD TV package, DVD Player and internet radio with over 19,000 channels for international guests.

The real highlight of the suite though is the vast en suite which comes with a walk in rain shower and a large bath, with a built in TV, a great touch.

The suite’s location means it’s sheltered from any outside noises and you are on the same floor as the hotel’s gym so perfect if you want to catch a workout during your stay.  The

The Arch also has its own restaurant, Hunter 486, the unusual name derived from the 1950s dialing code for Marylebone. The spacious restaurant is located on the ground floor and
offers a ‘Best of British’ inspired menu carefully curated by Head Chef Gary Durrant.  Light flows into the restaurants thanks to its large windows with table and booth seating available as well as an open plan kitchen so guests can see the skilled staff at work.  On our visit for lunch we opted for the Heritage beetroot and orange salad (£8), light and tasty, followed by their famous Hunter burger (£18), the generously sized burger comes served in a brioche bun with cheddar cheese, onion marmalade, homemade ketchup and hand cut chips.

If you space for dessert then I recommend the hazelnut and apple tart with cinnamon custard (£6.50) , a perfect comforting dish for these chilly months.  If you just fancy a drink then the bar offers a comprehensive selection of drinks and cocktails while sat in original designer chairs by designer Tom Dixon. Cocktails are priced at £12.

We thoroughly enjoyed our stay and highly recommend you pay a visit. The Arch manages to combine a stylish boutique hotel feel but offering all the latest mod cons and facilities offered by much larger chains. Staff are helpful and friendly and rooms are beautifully decorated making them a tranquil escape from the bustle of the city centre.

Prices start from £350 for a Deluxe Room and from £420 for a Suite.

The Arch London, 50 Great Cumberland Place, Marble Arch, London W1H 7FDFor reservations, please call: 020 7724 4700 or www.thearchlondon.com

Fasano Hotel – Rio de Janeiro

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Located smack bang in the middle of Ipaname beach Rio de Janeiro’s Fasano Hotel is the capital’s premiere destination for the young and happening crowd.

The luxury hotel has a boutique feel with a curated selection of 89 rooms (including 10 suites) but still offers the big facilities of any larger chain but with added warmth and character which makes Brazil so special. French designer Philippe Starck is responsible for the stylish decor of the hotel which uses wood, glass and marble  as its key materials, inspired by the golden age of 1960s Bossa Nova.

Fasano is not only popular with Brazilians but a global clientele which includes several A listers: Madonna, Lady GaGa, One Direction and David Beckham to name but a few, when we paid the hotel a visit Jared Leto was a guest, with fans of the Oscar winner and Thirty Seconds to Mars frontman waiting outside for a glimpse of the star, in town for 2 nights at Rio’s  Fundição Progresso venue.

Gastronomy is also at the heart of the hotel which houses its own restaurant, Al Mare. The restaurant is regarded as one of the best in the city and offers guests breakfast, lunch and dinner dining options and a beautiful setting.  Its menu is inspired by Italian cuisine  with dishes like seared tuna with baked endive and a fish-based lasagne.

If its a drink you fancy then pay a visit to its bar Baretto Londra is named after the owner’s favourite city, London. As well as the signature Brazilian caipirinha a vast selection of drinks and cocktails are available in a setting decorated with leather chairs, aged Argentine red brick, low-lighting and Union Flags.

To keep you looking you best during your holiday then a fitness centre and spa, offering  guests personal trainers and a selection of facials and massages to make your stay even more special.

The highlight of the hotel is the heated marble infinity pool on the roof overlooking Ipanema Beach, the rooftop space also has a bar with staff there to look after your every need. Though the pool is on the smaller side it’s really the views that are the main draw, with sugarloaf mountain in sight it makes the perfect spot to watch the sunset.  Loungers surround the pool, the serene setting a great spot to top up your tan in-between swims. If you fancy beach action then the hotel has a designated private section of Ipanema for its guests.

Fasano is still family owned and operate 4 hotels, 3 in Brazil and a further one in Punta Del Este, Uruguay.

The Fasano is truly stunning, a beautifully designed space with top notch staff and what has to be the best view in the city from its rooftop. Unlike its neighbour Copacabana which can be a bit of a tourist trap and busy, Ipanema is the perfect setting for those wanting a relaxing break, filled with Rio’s best bars, restaurants and boutiques.  A definite must stay.

Current rates and availability are available on www.fasano.com.br

 

Casa San Agustin – Cartagena, Colombia

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Cartagena has become a must visit destination in Colombia, with its beautiful beaches, stunning architecture and warm people aplenty.  A visit to the city isn’t one to be missed, neither is a stay at the  Hotel Casa San Agustín, has been voted top hotel in the city and for good reason, housed within the walls of the Old City, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

The luxury boutique hotel features 20 guestrooms and 10 spacious suites across three restored XVII century whitewashed Colonial-era homes.

A short taxi ride from the local airport will have you within the walls of the old city and upon first walking into the hotel you are met by a beautiful lobby high wood-beamed ceilings, elegant tile accents all evoking 17th century Spanish designs.

An L shaped pool lies at the centre of the hotel,  with sun loungers and seating surrounding it. Sunlight flows into the space thanks to an open top, perfect to top up your sun tan before hitting the local beaches. If you want to venture out further afield then the helpful staff at reception can also help you organise excursions and tours.

Rooms fuse the hotel’s Colonial past and contemporary touches, spacious with a huge comfortable king size bed, living area and a small patio for some private outdoor space.
The rooms, like the hotel itself, offers a great secluded getaway from the sometimes lively city. A library room also offers tranquil space during your stay in the hotel, with snacks and drinks available.

Though the city offers many great restaurants, included the amazing Candé nearby (recommended by staff) the hotel’s own Alma Restaurant is a great choice, Headed  by
Chef Heberto Eljach, one of the most celebrated chefs in Colombia. The menu fuses Colombian flavours with an international twist and is set a stunning courtyard setting, and if you go on certain days during the week the live music will be on show.

Though the hotel is beautiful, we do recommend exploring the surrounding area, guests can see varied architecture, from Colonial homes draped in bougainvillea, to the church and Plaza San Pedro Claver, the first saint of the new world for his work with slaves. Another point of interest is Cathedral of Cartagena de Indias, one of the oldest Episcopal churches in the Americas. Late at night horse carriage tours are available and very well priced, which give you a ride around the main areas of interest within the walled city.

Though small the hotels offers plenty, with top notch service by a warm and helpful staff. Very highly recommended to anyone thinking of visiting the city, with friends, family or as a lone traveller.

For full information and current rates visit here

 

Rilke – Barcelona

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Barcelona is fast becoming one of Europe’s fine dining capitals and the opening of Rilke is sure to carry on with that reputation.  The new restaurant and cocktail is the mastermind of two restaurant group heavyweights, with Grupo Kafka, directed by Karel Schröder and owner of Café Kafka, Bananas, and The Corner; and on the other is Grupo Confitería, owner of Paradiso, Confitería, and Dr.Stravinsky, among others.

Named after the early 20th century poet, Rainer Maria Rilke, the restaurant is located a few steps away from Paseo de Garcia. The Mezzazine space is understated with its Calle Malloraca location almost hidden, with a only a door to greet you but once on restaurant level you can fully take in the stunning space.

First up is the striking cocktail bar, akin to something out of the great Gatsby it oozes glamour with seating on the main floor and also private booths on the side all with plush velvet seating and an ornate stained glass ceiling.

What follows is the main restaurant space, spacious yet intimate with the best seating located by the large windows which overlook the beautiful open garden. Attention to detail is at the upmost at Rilke with the team working with Barcelona based decorator Yolanda Vilalta on the interiors, out favorites were the oversized copper lighting fixtures.

Now for the food, chefs Rafa Peña and Jaime Tejedor have created a menu that looks to fuse simplicity with good taste, literally. With a foundation on traditional Catalan cuisine the two chefs have built on this seasonal dishes that offer a fresh take on the region’s dishes with signature dishes including potatoes Parmentier with veal sweetbreads, oysters and onion, and mackerel with eggplant and crème fraîche.

Our favorites included the Quail and roasted leek salad, the perfectly balanced flavours were delicious. The lam confit was another highlight, served with spinach and garnished with raisins and pine nuts.

If you fancy a drink then the cocktail bar is a must with a menu devised by mixologist Juan Serrano, from the avant garde bar 41 Degrees. Serrano has created an experimental menu full on flavour with the Metrolope being a standout, a fresh and citrus mixture, perfect for these summer months.

After your meal a wonder around the garden is a must, equally as beautiful as the interiors it is a secluded haven from the bustling city streets.  With beautiful interiors, friendly service and top quality food a visit to Rilke is a must.

Meal prices start at €35 with cocktails from €10, for further information and bookings visit rilkebcn.com.

Rilke
Carrer de Mallorca, 275,
08008
Barcelona,
Spain

Jatachi – Barcelona

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Jatachi is one the the latest new foodie hot spots in the ever growing Barcelona food scene, fusing together the dishes from across Asia for an ultimate fashion menu.

Located in Castelldefels, Barcelona the industrial looking eatery was created by co-founders after their extensive trips to the continent, with stops in Thailand, Singapore or Japan wanting to combine experiences from their travel into one new destination.

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Wanting to create a venue were  “the street comes into the restaurant” the duo created just that, with an industrial space that echoes the hustle and bustle and neon lights of bustling streets markets in Asia. The space is sleek and modern, with concrete and metal throughout and cold graffiti artwork and bright yellow logos decorating the space throughout.

Jatachi is modern and minimal but at the same time inviting and a perfect excuse to wonder off from central Barcelona, we tried for ourselves on a recent visit.

The menu is diverse and is based of sharing dishes, not starters and mains here. Dishes take inspiration from across Asia, with Thai, Chinese, Korean, Japanese, and Vietnamese just some of the cuisines referenced in the menu. The staff encourage you to select a variety of dishes for you to share with friends and try a variety of flavours.

The sushi section features several roll fillings, from mango to kimchi,  with the latter being particularly taste, with the Korean staple mixed in with avocado, tuna and mayonnaise for an all mighty combo. Maki and Nigris options are also available if you want to stick to just sushi options.

Salmon tartar was another highlight, super fresh fish served on a bed of rice, a tuna option of the same dish is also available.

The hot dish section is varied with curries and pad Thai options, but we went for the Tori Yakisoba, a noodle dish with vegetables and chicken, super tasty and filling. The red curry was another success, the Thai dish coming in chicken and prawn options.

If you still have room then there is a small selection os sweet dishes, we recommend the cheesecake and artisan mochis.

Kat Sumi
The cocktails are delicious with a nod to Asia in their ingredient choice, the Kat Sumi, the passion fruit and tequila mix with a touch with ginger for a kick.

We recommend you selecting a few dishes demo each section depending how many people you go with so you can try a bit of all the menu, with no dish over €10 it’s a bargain, and worth the half hour trip from Barcelona centre

To book and for further information visit www.jatachi.com