A Weekend At Andaz Amsterdam, Prinsengracht

Known for its laid-back vibe and uber-cool chilled out residents, Amsterdam isn’t the place for stuffy, formal hotels – they need to be just as relaxed and accommodating as the locals are. Andaz Amsterdam manages to achieve this whilst maintaining its five-star status, and is a veritable tardis in the narrow city streets – unimposing and camouflaged on the outside, spacious and aesthetically exciting on the inside.

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Unsuspecting on the outside, mighty on the inside…

FullSizeRenderThe warm and welcoming lobby

On arrival, the concierge whisked me to a quiet table, where a strong but silky coffee appeared out of nowhere, and proceeded to point out all of her favourite spots in the city on a handy map – including a brewery in a windmill that her and her friends frequent. This was personal service at its best!

Armed with my Amsterdam bucket list, I wandered through the gardens, small but perfectly formed, towards my room. Marcel Wanders really has worked miracles on this previous library building right in the centre of the city, giving it an Alice in Wonderland theme and focusing on pops of colour and clashing patterns. The imposing garden statues, huge spoon on the wall of the aptly named ‘Bluespoon’ restaurant, and giant red chairs all succeeded in making me feel like Alice having drunk a shrinking potion.

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A fish on the wall? Obviously!

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What every toilet needs: Some beautifully intricate artwork

A contrast from the rich colours of the corridors and lift, my suite was bright and airy, with a view of the observatory – an innovative solution to non-outward-looking rooms, revealing a stunning labyrinth of glass ceilings, and bird cages. I explored my surprisingly large room (the tardis strikes again!), whilst enjoying a complimentary apple crumble that was very much appreciated after a long train journey.

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An alternative room with a view

It was hard to pinpoint my highlight of the room, from the huge yellow chair injecting some sunshine, the walk in rainforest shower/wet room, or the bed on which I could easily lie horizontally, I could well have spent the whole weekend happily in the confines of these four walls, and not venture out into the city at all. But if you do need some inspiration for excursions, just take a look at the intricate maps and illustrations of Amsterdam on the toilet walls, perfect for planning your sightseeing to-do list!

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Enjoying daily wine hour with a view of the lobby

After a glorious night’s sleep, probably helped along the way by the complimentary Wine Hour that takes place each evening in the lobby, it  would have been impossible to rouse myself if it wasn’t for my paper at the door and in-room coffee machine. Fully revived, I padded down to Bluespoon for the Andaz breakfast, where I of course opted for the cold breakfast buffet and a cooked element. I couldn’t leave without wolfing down a full plate of fluffy pancakes, plus a creamy bowl of bircher muesli. Feeling sufficiently stuffed, I grabbed one of the hotel’s strategically placed umbrellas and headed out into a rainy Amsterdam, already on the doorstep of the beautiful canals and famous cafes thanks to Andaz’s unbeatable location.

From the big things like five-star service and impeccable rooms, to unexpected personal touches such as a complimentary mini bar and a weekly run with the GM, from now on Andaz really will be my only choice when visiting the city.

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Pancakes for one!

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Amsterdam by night, complete with bicycles of course

Doubles at Andaz Amsterdam start from £210* per night, excluding breakfast and VAT. (00 31 20 523 1234; www.amsterdam.prinsengracht.andaz.hyatt.com)

*Prices in Pound Sterling are according to today’s exchange rate

Dorsett Shepherds Bush – A Hidden Gem

A hot summers afternoon calls for just two things: a cool, calm space and a seriously chilled cocktail! And to my delight, that’s exactly what I found on arrival at the super stylish Dorsett Shepherds Bush Hotel, West London.

Sitting pretty alongside Shepherds Bush Green, Dorsett Shepherds Bush is a chic, upscale hotel, complete with simple yet elegant 1920’s decor and is located just a stone’s throw from fabulous shopping emporium, Westfield, as well as a number of buzzy bars, restaurants and other exciting finds.

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Having just won the prestigious International Architecture Award for 2016, this design wonderment celebrates and combines both traditional Asian warmth and British charm throughout – from it’s beautiful gold and white lobby to its sumptuous rooms and suites, uniquely decorated and with added pepperings of 1930s Shanghai. A naturally very photogenic hotel, I found myself snapping away from the moment I set foot inside.

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Eager to dive into a delicious (and highly recommended) cocktail, I checked into the loveliest suite to cool off and regroup before heading down in search of the bar.

And with that, the hotel just seemed to become more and more charming around every corner – its minimalist style is spot on and offers the perfect amount of understated decadence. The soft gold fabrics and wallpaper throughout the suite gave off a warm glow, whilst the enticing bathrooms are sleek and sharp down to the smallest details – White Company amenities make for the perfect finishing touches.

Right up my street, it was already starting to feel like home from home.

IMG_0488 Dorsett Shepherds BushDorsett Shepherds BushDorsett Shepherds BushDorsett Shepherds BushIMG_0493Just when I thought the surprises were all over and it couldn’t possibly get any more impressive; enter Jin Bar!

Set in lavish surroundings beneath a striking gold atrium, you’ll want to try and work your way through the entire cocktail menu as each one looks as tantalising as the next. And the best bit? It’s two for one on all cocktails every day from 6-8pm. Settling for an elderflower infused option, it was time to kick back, relax and enjoy the incredible setting!

Just as a little FYI – Jin bar also offers the most delicious sandwiches and sweet treats for those avid Afternoon Tea connoisseurs! And it’s two for one throughout July and August so you’d better get booked in sharpish.

IMG_0504 IMG_0503IMG_0442(1)IMG_0462Dorsett Shepherds BushIMG_0465IMG_0443(1)Dorsett Shepherds BushDorsett Shepherds BushDorsett Shepherds BushDorsett Shepherds BushAfter some further exploration, the promise of dinner at Pictures, the hotels main restaurant, was calling, so opting for the most delicious ravioli, washed down with a bubbling glass of prosecco and I was definitely set to sleep like a happy cat in those gorgeously crisp white sheets!

IMG_0542 Dorsett Shepherds BushDorsett Shepherds BushDorsett Shepherds BushDorsett Shepherds BushDorsett Shepherds BushDorsett Shepherds BushDorsett Shepherds BushDorsett Shepherds BushAfter breakfast the following morning and bidding farewell to the hotels friendly faces, I meandered through through the streets gathering inspiration and adding to my knowledge of the local area (and of course my photo gallery).

Dorsett Shepherds BushIMG_0581IMG_0603Dorsett Shepherds BushThe conclusion? The hotel is truly beautiful, with impeccable service and very friendly, welcoming staff who couldn’t have been more accommodating. It’s a must visit for those in search of somewhere to stay in London with a lovely boutique feel, located in an area teeming with life, colour and excitement!

Room rates start at £140. For further information contact one of the Grifco team on dorsett@grifcopr.com or (0) 207 385 7090.

#GRIFCOPressDay2016

Every summer, the Grifco team descends onto a fabulous London hotel where from breakfast to wine o’clock, we welcome a stream of writers and influencers to come and talk to us about all of our clients latest news.

Writers far and wide come to the GRIFCO Press Day as they know they are going to walk away with a notebook filled with ideas for features and trips for the year ahead. The amount of news that is circulated during the day is quite incredible….whether it be ballet dancing in the Maldives or diamond safaris in Africa…there is a story to fit everyone. It is also a great chance for each of the Grifco teams to listen in to the other teams news too and be fully up to date across the agency.

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The Grifco Gals in the Penthouse Suite at Dukes London last Wednesday.

Our GRIFCO teams… Have you come to say hello to us before? If not, please don’t be shy! Look how smiley and friendly we all are!

 

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From left to right, Charlotte Rous, Lallie Fraser, Cecile Tootell (missing from the pic is the lovely Emily Wilson who was manning the office this year)

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Three’s a party at Grifco – Clare Buchanan, Lara Good, Nadia Walford

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Dynamic duo Laura Critoph and Flora Beaumont

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A beautiful bevy of blondes and brunettes – Kat Panayotopoulos, Emma Howard-Smith, Nicole Lovett, Amanda Fuller

This year, we took over the Penthouse Suite at Dukes (if it’s good enough for Catherine Zeta-Jones and Michael Douglas, we’re not complaining!!), where the wonderful Dukes staff kept a never-ending flow of delicious food and drink coming all day. Very dangerous when you’re standing close to the food table but extra energy is definitely required for all the talking, right?

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A breakfast quail’s egg, anyone?

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Talking through ideas with Zoe Levey from House & Garden

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Taking a breath of fresh air on the Penthouse’s balcony…..is that view really London?!

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Working it!

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Nothing like a good travel chinwag over a cup of tea….

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The sun came out and we were able to host some meetings outside on the balcony. Laura’s talking all things foodie with Sudi Piggot.

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Thank you to Matthew (sat in the middle of this pic), Debrah Dhugga (Dukes’ General Manager) and all of their fantastic team for making this year’s Press Day our best yet!

This year, we saw 75 writers come through the doors (the most we’ve ever had) and all left with a smile on their face, a head full of ideas and their hands full with a delightful goodie bag filled with momentoes from our clients all around the world.

If you are interested in working with GRIFCO or attending one of Press Days, please contact us on info@grifcopr.com or call the office direct on +44(0) 207 385 7090.