Category Archives: Travel

Belmond Copacabana Palace – Rio de Janeiro

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Rio de Janeiro’s famed Belmond Copacabana Palace Hotel has become the premier choice for those looking to get the Brazilian luxury experience during their stay. Since opening in 1923 the Art Deco inspired hotel has hosted A-listers including Tom Cruise,  Miley Cyrus and Madonna to Hollywood icons Marilyn Monroe and Fred Astaire in the process making it not only one of the most luxurious hotels in the country but the world.

The vast white building is located on the world famous Copacabana beach and houses 139 Rooms, 93 Suites and 7 Penthouse Suites as well as restaurants, bars, a pool, spa and gym. Its location makes it ideal to explore the nearby beaches of Ipanema and Leblon and landmarks including Christ the Redeemer, Sugarloaf Mountain and Botanical Gardens.

What has made the hotel so renowned and loved is its high standards of customer service which is evident as soon as you step you foot off your taxi, with a friendly porter helping you with your luggage and warm receptionist waiting to check you in.

Staying in a sea view suite will get you a spaces home away from home, with decor veering towards the more classic than modern though flat screen TVs and IPod docks do come as standard.  King or twin options are available with an ultra comfortable bed in crisp white bedding. The large en suite has both a shower and large bathtub in luxurious marble. A separate living room makes a great space to wind down or entertain guests with a fully stocked mini bar. All guests are given free  standard wifi access with higher speed connection available for an additional fee.

The most striking feature of the palace is its Half-Olympic size heated swimming pool, the perfect setting for an instagram snap. You can take a dip or just sit back and relax while topping up your tan while waiters are on hand for any request you may have with the bar offering a comprehensive selection of alcoholic and non alcoholic drinks, including the tasty watermelon juice.

The hotel also has its own designated section of the beach (a mere walk across the street away), providing complimentary loungers, towels and bottled water for all its guests.

MEE Restaurant 
3 restaurants are available to guests, Pérgula which specialises in Brazilian and international cuisine, Cipriani which offers Northern Italian cuisine and finally the MEE with its Pan-Asian menu.

The MEE kitchen is lead by celebrity chef Ken Hom and recently one of the first restaurants in South America to be awarded a prestigious Michelin star. Launching in 2014 the 92 seater restaurant offers diners a exotic gastronomic journey through Thailand, Cambodia, Malaysia, Singapore, Korea, Vietnam, China and Japan.

Under the direction of Hom, MEE’s chefs travelled to Bangkok to perfect their cooking techniques. The comprehensive menu features several sushi and sashimi options as well at hot mains.  As a starter the Kobe Beef Tataki cannot be beaten, the tender Japanese Wagyu beef comes in Ponzu sauce and Momiiji Oroshi and makes for a delicious yet light start to the meal. Mains include prawn, beef and duck dishes (as well as a vegetarian pad thai) but we opted for the Tonkatsu Onsen Tamagô, Japanese steamed pork belly and deep fried served with egg and bok choy which we teamed up with the tasty special fried rice. Those with a sweet tooth will be more than happy with the dessert option which include classic chocolate cake as well as more experimental options, including the Mango Yuzu Raviolli a Mango raviolli stuffed with Yuzu cream, crunchy Sembei and citric sorbet.

The MEE also has Rio’s only sake stewardess is on hand to pair each dish with over 25 varieties specially imported from Japan as well as 18 cocktail varieties

A stay at the Belmond Copacabana Palace is truly a magical experience, a beautiful building with prestige interiors and top notch service with dedicated and warm staff on hand to make your stay memorable.

Belmond Copacabana Palace
Avenida Atlântica 1702
Rio de Janeiro
CEP 22021 001
Brazil

Prices for a stay at the Belmond Copacabana Palace start from £248 per room, per night based on a stay  in a Superior  City View room  and includes breakfast. To book or for further information visit belmond.com or call 0845 077 2222.

Alàbriga Hotel & Home Suites – Costa Brava

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If you are after a the ultimate 5 star experience then the Alàbriga Hotel & Home Suites is a must next time you visit Costa Brava. The Spanish resort is a 90 minute drive from Barcelona so if you want to get away from the city for a few days then a visit is a must, with its eye catching facade designed to resemble a yacht.

The resort sits on a headland at the far end of the bay of Sant Pol, with all rooms sea facing, the beach being just a 10 minute walk away.

On a recent visit we checked out this Sea Club, a beautiful lounge and dining space for hotel guests and visitors.   A heated infinity pool and two jacuzzis are the highlight, with beds surrounding the deck for you to relax under the Spanish sun, the beds can be converted into a table that sits six if you want to have lunch or dinner.

The Sea Club offers dining by Catalan chef Paco Pérez, with an array of local dishes all made from the freshest of ingredients, our recommendation is the Lobster paella which serves 2, a delicious version of the Spanish dish. if you want a full range of dishes the the hotel’s in house restaurant Terra is a few steps away, with breathtaking view of the ocean.

If you decide to spend the nigh then you’re in for a treat, every room comes with Breakfast, butler service and parking.  The spa on the ground floor has a steam room, sauna and treatment rooms

So for a for a day or even a few of bliss and relaxation then a visit is a must.

hotelalabriga.com

Huîtres Amélie – Barcelona

 

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For the ultimate champagne and oyster experience then French brand  Huîtres Amélie is a must, the brand is globally recognized by gastronomy experts as one of the leaders in Oyster production at the upmost quality. This culinary delight comes from the region Marennes-Oléron in France and is the only designation of origin that exists among this type of ocean products. From there Huîtres  Amélie cultivates, pampers and brings to everybody this exquisite delicatessen so appreciated by the world.

Barcelona has two branches, one in the world famous Boqueria Market, though if you are after a calmer experience then we suggest heading to the pop up branch located at El Corte Ingles in Plaza Catalunña, the famed Spanish department store were Huîtres Amélie has a chic bar space in the food hall, with expert staff on hand to guide you through the dining experience.

On our visit to the branch at El Corte Ingles we got to experience some of Huîtres Amélie’s signature dishes first hand.  If you are new to oysters then we recommend the dish we had, which was the Amélie Sensations (priced at 25€)   tasting menu which includes three oysters; smoked and vaporised with premium liquors (whisky, gin and vodka) with a glass of champagne. The whole presentation was a marvel to the eye that elevated the whole dining experiences, first the oysters were smoked which consisted of a glass vessel encasing the oyster while wood smoke was pumped into a passage opening, known as the “Amélie Fumée” method, then an atomiser is used to infuse them with the spirit of your choice, we went for the whiskey and lastly an oyster with champagne gelée. The oysters themselves are beautifully presented in branded ice trays upon which 2 oysters are places with mini plastic syringes of condiments and lemon juice to add as you wish.

We didn’t have much experience with oysters before but these tasted beautiful, no over bearing salty aftertaste instead a mild and delicate flavour provided by the smoke and infusion process.

A selection of small dishes are also available to compliment your oyster experience, these include tuna tartar, Iberian ham, salmon and salt foie gras with champagne jelly. From the selection we tried the salmon and Iberian ham and they were both delicious and added to the whole experience, and not to mention the glass of champagne to top it off, after all it is a French brand!

So next time you are in Barcelona and fancy a truly unique gastronomy experience and at a reasonable price point then champagne and oysters at Huîtres Amélie is highly recommended, a beautiful location (perfect for pre or post shopping!) a tasty product and helpful warm staff to guide you, a must.
www.huitresamelie.com

Barcelona Helicopter Tour – BCN Travel

If you’re after a truly unique and unforgettable experience in Barcelona then what better than a bird’s eye view of the city with a helicopter ride.  Offered by BCN Travel it offers 3 different tour choicest varying tour length and price points.

The one we were able to experience was the Costa Tour, the shortest of the 3 lasts 6 minutes and is priced at €79 per person, you have the choice of booking a single seat and sharing with other passengers or buying the 3 passenger seats available for a private trip.
With only 3 passengers (and the pilot). eat means everyone gets a prime window seat, so perfect to capture the best images of your adventure.

Located in Barcelona’s cruise ship terminal the heliport is a short walk/cab ride from the beach. Upon entering you have to register and get get your weight taken (there is a 110kg limit) and after a short induction you’re ready to go. You are given a headset to wear to protect your ears from the loud sounds made by the helicopter.

While 6 minutes may seem like a short time you actually get to see a lot, the day we visited had fine weather so views were amazing.  All the famous monuments are visible ad the views make for great photo ops.  An unforgettable experience.

If you fancy going on longer trips then there are two further options.

Sky Tour – The summer version of this tour (there is also a winter one) lasts June to October and the tour duration is 12 minutes,  starting with the port along the old town and the beaches to Diagonal and Port Forum and from here we will continue further along the coast and the beaches. Priced at €125.

Montserrat – Priced at €340 but lasting a whopping 40 minutes this tour takes you over all of Barcelona’s highlights and onto Montserrat, which is known as the most sacred place of Catalunya.

So if you’re looking for something a little bit extra while on your visit then a helicopter is a well justified splurge.

For full information and bookings visit www.bcn.travel

Row NYC

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Affordable accommodation in NYC? May sound like a fantasy but with the launch of the brand new Row NYC Hotel that dream may just have arrived to the capital.

Launched earlier this year the $140 million development took two years to complete and is located in a perfect location for visitors, a mere stone’s throw from the lights of Times Square (and across the road from Shake Shack),

The stylish new player to the competitive NY hotel scene comprises of 1,331 rooms, with each room offering high end and sleek specs without the over inflated price tag.

Row NYC turned to renowned New York based architectural and interior design firm Gabellini Sheppard Associates to reinvent the property’s public spaces. Inspired by the refined grittiness of New York City, Gabellini Sheppard has delivered grandeur. “The bold aesthetic speaks to the area’s unbridled spirit and engages the excitement and energy that is Times Square,” said Michael Gabellini, Partner.

Upon entering the hotel, located at 700 8th Avenue, visitors are met with a grand 24-foot high crystalline glass façade along with an artistically crafted lobby with industrial and organic materials, including stainless steel drapery, concrete and multiple wood species.

Its reception area is flanked by two light sculptures on which groundbreaking New York-based vartist Yorgo Alexopoulos projects an abstract tableau of graphic animations timed throughout the course of a New York City day. The dynamic lobby also features Iconic M, a satellite location of the cult international news retailer Soho News, as well as an expansive state-of-the-art Internet lounge. Another innovative feature of Row NYC are its time saving elevators, simply type in your room number and the screen will direct you to the next available elevator going to your floor.

The hotel also comprises of its own bar, District M, and restaurant City Kitchen, offering guests a deslicious selection of dishes and drinks.

Rooms vary from standard to penthouses, with varying price points and amenities for each.
Standards rooms are compact, with a large bed, desk, drawers and an en-suite bathroom. Every room is high on tech specs with free high-speed wireless internet included, 32 inch LCD TV, cordless phone and lots of power outlets and iHome docking station. Though a bit on the small side standard room are ideal for those visiting the city for a few days who will be out seeing the plethora of sights he city has to offer.

The real highlight of the hotel is it’s location, every imaginable food and shopping destination is walking distance, and although right by Times Square it doesn’t face it, meaning you’re sheltered away from the hustle and bustle of the masses, the double glazed windows also keep out any unwanted noise from traffic below.

Staff are helpful, although do avoid making queries around check in time as desks can get very busy. If you arrive early or need to store luggage after checking out then the concierge can hold this for you.

Row NYC offers modern and stylish interiors but at an affordable price point, right in the centre of NYC’s famous and iconic sights.

Current prices start from $159 (+tax) and you can book online at rownyc.com

STK IBIZA – A Weekend Getaway

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Global restaurant brand STK has opening its latest post in the sunny island of Ibiza, joining its other restaurants in New York, Miami, Los Angeles and London.

Situated in the Ibiza Corso Hotel & Spa at Marina Botafoch in Ibiza Town, STK has already become a celebrity hot spot attracting celebrities including Eva Longoria, Nicole Scherzinger, Tinie Tempah, Alesha Dixon and Tyson Beckford since its opening in July.

In the short few months since its opening the restaurants has become one of the hottest spots in the island, offering visitors a delicious menu and live entertainment in an ultra lux and beautiful interiors.

The latest opening is the brand’s first into the Spanish market, with hospitality company The One Group teaming up with Dubai based global venture capital group, Foxhole Holding for the launch. 

Split over two floors, the restaurant can hold  250 guests with a fab catwalk stage taking centre stage, along with a  DJ booth, sexy low-lit bar and beautiful ocean view terrace –  a perfect place to enjoy the night and watch the beautiful sunset with friends and loved ones. Seating options include cool booths located right by the stage.

The restaurant is upscale but unpretentious, welcoming all its guests with a friendly and warm staff, combining top notch dining with a party fun atmosphere.  On our visit we were entertained by a troop of dancers performing throughout the night on the catwalk stage as well as costumed characters making  appearances… the perfect selfie opp!

Menu options are wide with fabulous seafood and vegetarian dishes available but as its name would suggest is its meant and steak options that make it shine,  with only the highest quality USDA prime meat served.  You can choose from  9 cuts including sirloin, rib eye, fillet, hanger, t-bone, New York strip and tomahawk all served with a selection of toppings, sides and sauces. The mini burgers are a must!

A definite visit when you’re on the island STK Ibiza offers a fun mix of party and fine dining, delicious food with a party going on around you but with dimly lit beautiful surroundings for that intimate feel.  Resident DJs will make sure to have you on your feet between courses, so pay them a visit before the season is over !

For more information visit www.stkibiza.com

Where to party? – Ocean Beach Club

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No visit to Ibiza is complete without the perfect party experience and with several clubs on the island you’ll certainly have no troubles finding a spot .

One these is the highly recommended Ocean Beach Ibiza, the all day venue is the perfect mix of fun and chill out spots with prime location under the Mediterranean sun.

Located on the west coast of Ibiza in San Antonio, Ocean Beach is situated along the beautiul S’Arenal waterfront, complete with ocean views by day and the iconic Balearic sunset at night.

Decorated in an eye catching orange the venue houses a large 600m2 swimming pool with guests, surrounded by booths and lounge beds and if you want to go all out VIP beds are also available for booking.

The club’s in house restaurant also serves up an all day menu of delicious treats, the sushi options in particular are delicious and perfect option for the summer heat – the rainbow roll is a must.

As day turns to night is when thing’s really heat up with the club’s resident DJ’s providing a lively soundtrack as you gaze into the sunset in the club’s very own roof garden.

For more information and bookings visit  www.oceanbeachibiza.com

Where to stay? OD Talamanca
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If you’re going for a quick weekend away or longer than we recommend the brand new OD Talamanca, the latest 5 star hotel on the island.

The location is a bit away from the hustle and bustle of the main town which means you you can truly wind down and relax with amazing views of the Mediterranean sea available from most rooms.

The hotel offers 117 rooms and suites, with a beautiful lobby and reception waiting to greet guests on arrival. Its in house restaurant offers a delicious Asian and European influenced menu which you can enjoy seated or poolside.

The beautiful interiors are thanks to architect Victor Rahola and the interior designer Mayte Matutes who created the sleek and stylish interiors and furnishings.

Materials take local building traditions of using morter-free stone walls and lime washed walls to the present using exposed concrete elements, large wooden windows, sunscreens and parquet.

The hotel is located next to a beutiful marina with all the nightlife a short drive away, getting the best of both worlds, a quiet and butiful location but within easy reach of all the night life. A must.

For further information, latest room rates  and bookings visit www.od-hotels.com

 

Jet off to Glastonbury with Addison Lee

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With the UK’s biggest music festival, Galstonbury, kicking off this week this week what better way to kick it off by arriving in style?

Addison Lee is offering  its most loyal customers the chance to experience the ultimate start to the Glasto weekend by providing a private jet service to Glastonbury.

Europe’s largest minicab company is offering the luxury service to its ‘ClubLee’ customers – the new scheme accessible to all Addison Lee passengers that rewards the minicab company’s loyal customers, enabling them to build up points for the journey’s they take and have access to priority services.

ClubLee customers will be offered the private jet trip  at an affordable prices with per person fares coming in at £612.50 with the journey taking around 90 minutes.

There are three jets available to hire, that cater for four, six and eight people respectively. The service will go from any London airport to Bristol Airport and then a luxury car will pick them up from to take them  straight to the Glastonbury site.

A more affordable  but stil luxurious option is  a VIP Glaston-Leecar service to the festival on a shoestring. The car come complete with complimentary phone chargers, 4G Wi-Fi and private driver, members simply book via the app and tap in Glastonbury festival as the destination pin.  

Car journeys will be discounted by a £100, when tapping in the code GLASTONLEE100 to the app upon booking. A one-way journey for a 6-seater Ford Galaxy from W1 London pickup point could cost as little as £46 per head / £280 per car.

Peter Boucher, Chief Commercial Officer at Addison Lee comments… “With some 175,000 people expected to descend upon Glastonbury this year, we are delighted to offer Londoners the chance to travel to the festival VIP-style with the Glaston-Lee service.

Full information on the service is available online addisonlee.com/glastonlee

Wi-Fi on the Go: Goodspeed

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Those frequent travellers among you tired of returning home to be met by astronomical data charges then there’s a new device for you, the Goodspeed.

Goodspeed brings an end to sky high data roaming charges but providing users with their very own Wi-Fi connection on the go. The discreet device is the size of a smart phone and once switched on allows you to tap into its high speed Wi-Fi connection, multiple devices can use the connection depending on the package you decide.

Goodpseed boasts comprehensive service coverage in 60 countries across the globe, including major European countries, the USA, Latin America, Canada, Russia,  Asia, Australia and China and the device can accommodate up to nine SIM cards. Paying a flat rate gives users a generous allowance of between 500MB and 1GB roaming data, with UK mobile operators charging between £3-£8 per MB of data outside of the EU you can start to see how much you can start saving.

It you’re tired of having to search around for a Starbucks’ intermittently for Wi-Fi the Goodspeed offers a connection on the go, charge the device and either put it discreetly in your pocket of backpack/handbag for a reachable Wi-Fi signal instantly.

To get set up you have purchase the device for £198 alongside a £8.20 monthly line rental charge.

When using the device abroad there is a £4.90 charge a day (only on the days that you actually use it).

Full information can be found at  goodspeed.io

The Hospital Club Launches Bedrooms

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London’s legendary members club has launched its 15 luxury bedrooms to provide the ultimate luxurious stay for members and visitors.

The launch marks the first time the club is opening its doors to non-members with bedrooms where guests will be able to enjoy all the member privileges, these include state-of-the-art facilities, mixology classes, comedy nights, cinema screenings and chef master classes.

Twice a year the club becomes the home base for London Collections: Men, the 4-day event celebrates the latest in men’s fashion. During this time the club becomes a base for journalists, designers, models and array of creative’s involved in the fashion scene. With this association with the creative industries its only fitting that the newly launched bedrooms offer something different that a standard hotel stay, with each of the new rooms features works of established artists and designers including Alyson Mowat’s bespoke terrarium house plants and Rick Guest’s famous set of portraits of Royal Ballet performers.

Each of the 15 rooms has been individually designed with four sizes available: small, medium, large and suite. At the top end of the available room the Suites will include a private terrace, walk-in showers, a bathtub and separate dividable lounge area.
During our recent visit we were able to experience a stay at the extra large suite, measuring 60m2 in size. The suite is equipped with loads of unexpected treats including a huge Super King size ‘Pinnacle’ by Savoir bed, Libratone speakers; cocktail bar with complimentary h.made mixed drinks, School of Life Toolkit for the Mind, Erotic Minibar and a spacious en suite bathroom with a rainforest shower and a freestanding bath, stocked with complimentary full sized REN toiletries.

The open plan suite features stylish interiors; think modern 70s, with the living room featuring a rich copper curved sofa and chairs. An LG Ultra HD 4K television features not only in the living space but also in the bedroom.
Light flows thanks to the floor to ceiling windows overlooking the streets of Covent Garden. Towards the rear is the bedroom area that can be left open plan of sectioned off with a rolling screen door.

Also featuring in the suite is a large private terrace were guests can smoke and or enjoy the outdoor seating available. The terrace is private with greenery giving guests complete privacy.

Another added treat for guests is the bespoke bartending experience on offer to all during their stay, every day at 7pm your own personal bartender come knocking with their cocktail trolley to offer you and your guests complimentary drinks, a definite highlight of the stay!

A dedicated reception is available 24 hrs a day and only a phone call away if you need anything extra sent up to your room.

The suite was truly striking, feeling more like a personal apartment than a mere hotel room and thought you may not want to leave the full club facilities are available to you including the restaurant and several bars.

So if you fancy an altogether more interesting stay in London then The Hospital Club Bedroom is a definite must. Everything you expect from a top-notch hotel but with added personal and luxury touches making your time there more of a rounded experience.

During your stay you are also allowed to bring in 3 guests (before 6pm) or 6 (after) to join in experiencing the club facilities with you.

Current rates for the bedrooms are as follows

Small sleeper room – from £124
Medium room – from £230
Large room – from £360
Suite – from £520

The suite was also the location for our most recent editorial, Summer Daze

The Hospital Club
24 Endell Street
London WC2H 9HQ

www.thehospitalclub.com