Looking for a peaceful weekend getaway?

Drive out to experience nature in Wales. Visit the shore and Pembrokeshire Coast National Park.

Have a cupcake at Casa MariaMagnolia has met it’s match!

Dine at Wolfscastle.

Stay at Crundale House, a picture-perfect bed and breakfast in Wales. Veronica and her husband go out of their way to ensure that their guests are completely content, with the kind of genuine hospital that doesn’t really exist that much anymore. The rooms are tastefully decorated, especially the Rudbaxton room with a view of their beautiful garden and a welcoming bathtub to soak in. The rooms have a cozy feel, and Veronica has added tasteful touches like the True Grace orangery room diffuser leaving you feeling calm and relaxed. They make a delicious breakfast which you can select from their menu, including fresh cut fruit.

As always, have a great trip!


Fuerteventura is the oldest of the Canary Islands, formed by a volcanic eruption 20million years ago, and it still remains a fairly barren, deserted island today, at least in the Corralejo area. Depending on what you’re looking for, this could be the perfect long-weekend getaway with nothing but beautiful beaches, a great hotel and great food at your fingertips.

Where to stay:

Gran Hotel Atlantis Bahia Real in Corralejo – breathtaking views, great service, and tastefully decorated – this is the perfect getaway spot for a romantic weekend away.

Where to eat:

Restaurants in this area generally are not very fancy, but the food is delicious.
Restaurante La Scarpetta da Mario – an Italian restaurant with succulent meats, and freshly made pasta.

Restaurante Avelino (c/. Galicia, 35) – run by the sweetest older gentleman who goes out of his way to ensure his clients are well taken care of. The jamon Iberico and paella were excellent and they even put together a great simple salad. Eat outside so you can enjoy views of the ocean.

As always, have a great trip!


Antwerp has long been known as a diamond hub, and is one of the largest in the world with $16billion in polished diamonds passing through here each year. It is also known for the Antwerp Six, the fashion designers who’ve made a name for themselves in this city, including Walter Van Beirendonck, Ann Demeulemeester, Dries van Noten, Dirk Van Saene, Dirk Bikkembergs, and Marina Yee (Source: Wikipedia).

If you happen to be in this trendy port city in the summer, make sure you stop by Strantwerpen, a beach bar on the water where people go to see and be seen or just relax and enjoy some drinks on beds in the sand. It has a bit of an Ibiza feel to it, but a bit calmer of course.

If you’re looking for typical Belgian cuisine, indulge in a steak tartar with salad and fries at Vieux Depot in Brasschaat (Oude baan 11). You can ask to prepare it yourself or they can prepare it for you (meaning adding pickles, egg yolk, mustard and other tasty ingredients).

As always, have a good trip!


Looking for a romantic, relaxing weekend getaway in Europe? Check out Ashford Castle in Cong, Ireland, part of The Leading Hotels of the World group. Their website depicts great views of the idyllic countryside surroundings which are even more breathtaking in person.

Service is excellent – TJ especially goes above and beyond. You can choose to do many activities or nothing at all, depending on your preference. If you land at Dublin, the drive is approximately two and a half hours, but it’s worth it. Built in 1228, the castle still retains its charm to this day, and has intrigued many world leaders and celebrities who have stayed here. Take a walk and see the beautiful grounds.

Activities include horseback riding, golf, falconry, and clay target shooting among other things. Spa treatments are also available.

I highly recommend their Virgin Mary cocktail, and both the red and white Puna Snipe wines, and the George V restaurant offers delicious cuisine!

As always, have a great trip:).


Getting its name (city of lights) originally from being the center of ideas and education in the Age of Enlightenment, Paris emanates all that is romance, exquisiteness, and glamour – basically anything that holds an indefinable allure. Here are a few ideas to keep you entertained on your trip, touristy and otherwise…

STAY:

Stay at the charming, boutique hotel Le Pavillon des Lettres, part of the Small Luxury Hotels of the World group and sister hotel of Le Pavillon de la Reine. The location in the 8th arrondissement, the service, the rooms and the hotel itself are excellent and ensure an enjoyable  experience.

SHOP:

The Champs-Élysées has all the high street brands, including the much coveted Sephora that for some odd reason has not opened in the UK yet.  Try coming here before noon as it otherwise gets swamped with tourists shopping and taking photos of the Arc de Triomphe. There are also quite a few museums you can check out here.

If you’re looking for luxury, take a walk down Avenue Montaigne. Louis Vuitton (also on the Champs), Prada, Harry Winston, Chanel, etc. are all here. You can stop in the famed Plaza Athénée for tea.

Go to Galeries Lafayette and Printemps which is even nicer, for a wider variety of brands in a high-end department store setting. Make sure you get there early if you’re going on a weekend as the crowds can be overwhelming!

EAT: 

The Mini Palais is architecturally stunning and the food is delicious – I recommend the tuna tartare. Make sure you allow plenty of time to eat here though as service takes a while.

tuna tartare

Mini Palais

 

L’Avenue restaurant on Avenue Montaigne is the perfect way to treat yourself after walking all around Paris. Everything on the menu is excellent. And when the weather is nice you can sit on the terrace and people-watch in an intimate setting.

La Société is a super trendy spot that is great for group dinners. ‘Le tigre qui pleure’ is a delicious steak dish that melts in your mouth. You’ll be sure to bump into a celebrity or two here.

Make sure you soak in all the sights and sounds of this magical city before you go on to your next destination.

As always, have a great trip!


Getting its name originally from being the center of ideas and education in the Age of Enlightenment, Paris emanates all that is romance, exquisiteness, and glamour – basically anything that holds an indefinable allure. Here are a few ideas to keep you entertained on your trip, touristy and otherwise…

SHOP:

The Champs-Élysées has all the high street brands, including the much coveted Sephora that for some odd reason has not opened in the UK yet. Massimo Dutti is a classy premium brand worth taking a look at too. Try coming here before noon as it otherwise gets swamped with tourists shopping and taking photos of the Arc de Triomphe. There are also quite a few museums you can check out here.

Photo credit: journeymart.com

If you’re looking for luxury, take a walk down Avenue Montaigne. Louis Vuitton (also on the Champs), Prada, Harry Winston, Chanel, etc. are all here. You can stop in the famed Plaza Athénée for tea.

Go to Galeries Lafayette and Printemps which is even nicer, for a wider variety of brands in a high-end department store setting. Make sure you get there early if you’re going on a weekend as the crowds can be overwhelming!

EAT: 

L’Avenue restaurant on Avenue Montaigne is the perfect way to treat yourself after walking all around Paris. Everything on the menu is excellent. And when the weather is nice you can sit on the terrace and people-watch in an intimate setting.

La Société is a super trendy spot that is great for group dinners. ‘Le tigre qui pleure’ is a delicious steak dish that melts in your mouth. You’ll be sure to bump into a celebrity or two here.

Make sure you soak in all the sights and sounds of this magical city before you go on to your next destination.

As always, have a great trip!


For a quiet haven away from your daily routine, pamper yourself with a massage and facial from Nalika’s Beauty – Nalika even tailors the facials to suit your skin’s needs. One and a half hours of this treatment leaves you feeling refreshed and re-energized, and Nalika herself is extremely professional and always smiling.

Stop into Evolve Wellness for yoga, meditation, and holistic therapy sessions. Located in a quiet mews in South Kensington by the tube station, this sanctuary has a yoga timetable to suit your needs, experienced instructors and a dedicated reception staff.

 


Marrakech

23Mar12

This exotic North African city is unique, chaotic and just an all-around very interesting place (although it can be tiring!) I wouldn’t recommend visiting the souks and main square more than once. There is much history though can be seen and I highly recommend taking a drive outside the city to get some fresh air and take in the nature that Morocco has to offer.

 Here’s a clip from the beautiful Kate Winslet movie ‘Hideous Kinky’, which takes place in Marrakech – a great movie that gives you a feel for the city:


Places to eat:
Le Tanjia – delicious tagines

Restaurant Le Foundouk – high-end, more tagines, but also European cuisine

Dar Essalam – authentic architecture  and you guessed it, more tagines
Stay: Riad Kaiss – great service, view from the rooftop, traditional.

Get chauffeured:
Rida.Moktafi@gmail.com / +212 670 609 876 – Our driver while we were there. He was very respectful and explained a lot about Marrakech, the people and the culture.

As always, have a great trip!


Prague is filled with beautiful architecture, and is all-around charming and very affordable. There are a few other places to see in this city aside from the tourist sites of Charles Bridge, Prague Castle, Old Town Square, and the National Gallery though. 

Stay at Mamaison Riverside Hotel

Just across the bridge from the city center and without wifi, this simple hotel allows you to get a taste of tranquillity, while providing excellent service. I’d recommend a room on the 6thfloor with views of Prague.
 
Eat at Olympia – 

A ten minute walk from the hotel, this local restaurant serves delicious typical Czech food. Try the American steak or the platter of various meats. They even have a section of the menu entitled something along the lines of – ‘Food that goes with Beer’.
 
For a bit more upscale experience, dine at Bellevue. Try the tasting menu. As a plus, the views really are beautiful, as the name of the restaurant suggests.

Shop at Manufaktura

This store is filled with natural bath products, made of beer, wine, and dead sea minerals among other ingredients. You can find traditional wooden Christmas decorations here as well.

As always, have a great trip!


Here’s a little tribute to my Scandinavian readers…and to those who are thinking of visiting the Nordics.  Oslo is a great city, with a great quality of life, and people here are extraordinarily friendly.

Have a lunch smorgasbord at Theatercafeen at Hotel Continental (a member of The Leading Hotels of the World) – although not a typical smorgasbord with a wide variety of options in a buffet-setting, it is nevertheless delicious. The shrimp on toast is excellent – I recommend pairing this with the fish soup, which you can split between two people.

If you’re looking for a unique souvenir, you can’t go wrong with bringing home a bit of reindeer from Norway.