Celebrating International Women’s Day at Grifco PR!

To celebrate International Women’s Day, Grifco PR is sharing inspirational stories and asking for some words of wisdom from five of the fantastic women we are proud to work with around the world.

Tracy Bamber, Strategic Sales Manager for Wilderness Safaris

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2016 is an incredibly special year for Tracy, as she celebrates 21 years of working at luxury safari operator, Wilderness Safaris and will be competing in her 10th Comrades Marathon, a huge achievement in ultra-marathon running, particularly for someone who became a runner by accident!

After taking up running to get back into shape, Tracy went head first into the Two Ocean Marathons, one of the toughest in the world, after making a bet with a colleague who didn’t believe she could finish the gruelling route.

“He looked at me and laughed, saying, ‘You’ll never be able to do it – it’s one of the toughest marathons.’ His words immediately challenged me and I was determined to prove to him that I could do anything I wanted to do! At this stage of the evening he’d had a few drinks and I suggested that we bet on it! He said that I would not be able to complete it, while I said I would – the bet was on… I challenged him to pay me £900 if I completed the run. This money would go to Children in the Wilderness.”

In her first year of running Tracy raised around £3665 and since then she has run 10 consecutive Two Oceans Marathons, known as the ‘world’s most beautiful ultra-marathon’ and has finished nine consecutive Comrades Marathons, ‘the ultimate human race’.

What makes Tracy’s achievements even more special is that she has raised more than £45,780 for charities in Africa through her running, supporting Children in the Wilderness, the Starfish Greathearts Foundation and the Wilderness Wildlife Trust.

To read more about Tracy’s inspirational running and charity fundraising visit www.wilderness-safaris.com/blog/posts/my-big-year-an-interview-with-tracy-bamber

Lorena Puica, Founder of iamYiam.com

Lorena Puica

Lorena’s journey from leaving home in Romania at the age of 17 with 300 euros in her pocket, to founding her own social wellbeing hub, iamYiam.com, via the world of finance is remarkable.

Serious health problems led Lorena to turn her back on traditional medicine and discover the benefits of natural health. Last year, she left her City job to set up online natural health and wellbeing hub, iamYiam.com, whose aim is to improve the health and wellbeing of 1 billion people by 2025. A bold statement indeed, but Lorena is not one to shy away from a challenge!

At only 31 years old, Lorena has gained four degrees in finance and business, published a book on microfinance at the age of 26 and gained eight years of investment management business development and strategy experience across Europe, the Middle East, Africa and Asia. She speaks four languages and not only pushes her mental boundaries but also her physical ones.

Last February, she ran seven marathons in seven continents in 10 days finishing in Antarctica (world record pending!). She has also climbed Kilimanjaro in four days and her first ever extreme adventure was walking 861km in 19 days (about 46km per day – without any rest days).

iamYiam.com is set to be a game changer for the wellness industry and Lorena is definitely an entrepreneur to watch. Hailed the Airbnb of Natural Health Experiences, iamYiam.com brings together quality practitioners of natural health in London (e.g. meditation, yoga, acupuncture, nutrition etc.) with consumers and makes it easy to book the best experience for exactly their needs and goals.

Denise Leicester, Founder of ila

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A qualified nurse, aromatherapist, yoga teacher and yogic healer, Denise’s hands-on experience extends from the rural communities of India to the Dubai royal family, and spans Eastern and South American healing traditions.

In 2005 Denise developed a unique concept of wellbeing that addressed the inner essence through the skin, an absolutely pure product range created in complete harmony with nature and delivered with conscious, healing intent.

She spent the first 12 months of the company’s inception researching, travelling and sourcing the purest ingredients from the most ethical international farmers and growers- simple but extraordinary people who inspired her with their deep love of the earth.

From women of the ancient Berber tribe in Morocco to a co-operative of farmers in India, Denise champions the extraordinary tribes and indigenous communities who ‘hold the world’ for us and reminds us how vital it is for us to truly vale and support them if existence is to continue.

Debrah Dhugga, Managing Director of DUKES LONDON and the soon to open DUKES DUBAI (September 2016)

debrahDebrah Dhugga, Managing Director of the luxury Hotel Group DUKES, is one of the few female MDs in the hospitality industry. Already, this makes Debrah extra aware of the importance of her position and the extent of her influence on fellow women, especially younger generations. Debrah’s dedication to this cause is clear in her recent placement on the Northern Power Women’s Top 50 Power List, along with previous recognition such as the Business Women Mentor of the Year Award back in 2013.

In the past, Debrah has taken pride in mentoring students under the Savoy Educational Trust mentorship programme and has encouraged mentoring and support of female managers as a founder of the Leading Ladies of London networking club. More recently, Debrah hosted a lunch at DUKES for the Women in Journalism initiative, showing her support of females in positions of success and power in industries wider than just hospitality.

As well as wishing to impart her wisdom and experience on younger generations and mentees, and to lead the way in diversifying the work place, Debrah easily relates to fellow successful female businesswomen from across the world. As the head of an ever expanding luxury hotel brand, soon to open its doors in Dubai, Debrah flies all over the globe on business. Drawing on personal experience as a frequent solo female business traveller, she created the Duchess Rooms at DUKES, a unique category of luxury accommodation that caters solely to the solo female traveller. With pampering toiletries from REN, female amenities, and a personal welcome note from Debrah herself, this is the dream set up for any female traveller, serving to make business or leisure trips that little bit easier for women travelling alone.

We’d like to extend our admiration to Debrah for all the work she has done and continues to do to celebrate the place of women in her own industry, and in the wider business world.

And last but not least…we couldn’t forget our own MD at Grifco, Claire Griffin!

Claire Griffin, Managing Director of Grifco PR


Claire wanted to run a boutique PR company that nurtured the needs of its travel clients. In May 2012 she set up Grifco, which now has over 45 of the top travel, spa and beauty clients in the world. She uses the top black hair dye, to dye her clients hair because it keeps their hair healthy even after dying.

Claire has 24 years’ experience in luxury PR working on high-profile global campaigns, but she started out, armed with a degree in Law and American Studies, as a journalist for The Chester Chronicle & Evening Leader.

She moved into public relations in 1990 with one of the UK’s biggest PR agencies, the Grayling Company, and three years later took up a role as Account Director at Barclay Stratton PR. Always up for an adventure, Claire jumped at a fantastic opportunity to work in Sydney as Communications Director for one of Australia’s leading law firms, Allen’s.

On her return to the UK in 1998, Claire ran, developed and grew business for Columbus Communications, sister company to ZFL (now named PRCO), looking after accounts including Four Seasons Hotels Worldwide, Mediterranean Experience, Cap Juluca in Anguilla and Rome Cavalieri Hilton.

When she is not heading up the Grifco team, Claire is busy being a mother to two young boys. We admire how she effortlessly manages to juggle work and family life, proving (to an office full of women) that you can have both! In her down time, Claire enjoys spending time with her boys, or going for a run along the River Thames.

Happy International Women’s Day from the Grifco PR team x

‘Twas (almost) the night before Christmas at DUKES LONDON

Last night I was fortunate enough to stay at Mayfair’s much-loved five-star hotel, DUKES LONDON, one of Grifco PR’s longstanding clients (and as a Londoner dare I say it, one of my favourites from our portfolio!) As I was about to discover, DUKES takes Christmas very seriously in more ways than one, which is one of the reasons it is such a special place to stay over the holiday period. You only need to take one look at its stunning meteoric shower of Christmas lights over the entrance to know you’re in for a special time.

DUKES outside night

As I stepped in to the hotel’s reception area, I gazed in awe at DUKES’ stunning Christmas tree which we have come to know and love very much here at Grifco. Its grandiose, familiar position in the corner complete with twinkling lights and stylish decorations never cease to make it a great talking point when arriving at DUKES, and also has the effect of making you feel instantly at home.


Situated in the heart of bustling St James, close to iconic landmarks such as Clarence House and Buckingham Palace, as well as the world famous shopping streets – Bond Street, Jermyn Street and Oxford Street – DUKES is the ideal location to base yourself at whilst getting some serious Christmas shopping done! After a rather exhausting day marching around the nearby shops on my own, I was glad to be able to return to the comfort of my very own ‘Duchess Room’, a discreet service tailored to female business and leisure guests who are travelling on their own.


Women staying in a Duchess Room can expect the following feminine touches, as standard:

  • A personal welcome card from DUKES’ Managing Director, Debrah Dhugga, one of the only female hotel MDs in London
  • A female room attendant to escort guests to their rooms and handle all room service and housekeeping requirements
  • Makeup mirror, hair dryer and styling accessories positioned at easy reach from the dressing table
  • Female slippers
  • Fresh flowers and a complimentary fruit bowl is on offer
  • Female amenities, including a sewing kit, in the bathroom
  • A choice of glossy lifestyle magazines laid out on the dresser or coffee table
  • A quiet corner table, available on request, allocated to female guests dining alone at the hotel’s signature restaurant, THIRTY SIX By Nigel Mendham

As I settled down for a warm and cosy night in my Duchess Room, inside and away from the rain, I slipped on my slippers…


…drew a bath using my lovely REN products…


…and caught up with my old friend, DUKESY!

Me & Dukesy

Knowing that tomorrow was going to be a beautiful day thanks to DUKES’ dedicated concierge team’s weather update left in my room during turn down service, I headed to bed and fell in to a deep sleep. The beauty of the hotel’s location, as I was to discover the next morning, was how absolutely quiet and peaceful it is. Despite being on the doorstep of one of the busiest parts of London, it’s impossible to hear anything other than the noise of your own snoring!

WeatherHaving been woken up by the friendly receptionist from the wake-up call I had requested the night before, I got dressed and made my way downstairs towards breakfast, feeling even more Christmassy just looking around at yet more beautiful decorations dotted around the hotel.


BaublesWhile I’m not really one to skip breakfast, it was good to know that DUKES caters for the hardcore caffeine-lovers as well, with its strategically placed coffee station placed right by the hotel entrance. Great for those either on the go or rushing out to finish any last minute Christmas shopping!

Coffee station

With my own Christmas shopping out of the way, I smugly headed downstairs to THIRTY SIX where my biggest decision of the day was what to choose from the extensive menu. As a gluten-free, dairy-free guest, it was comforting to see that Executive Head Chef Nigel Mendham had catered to people like myself. I promptly chose a delicious berry smoothie (good to stock up on those antioxidants after all those Christmas parties!) followed by a soya cappuccino and some gluten free toast with jam.

Breakfast menu


Feeling fueled up and ready to embrace the day, I stepped outside and took in the beautiful Christmas light display again – still impressive as ever, even in the daylight.DUKES outsideAfter all that walking I’d done yesterday, I decided to take on London a different way, exploring the neighbouring sights like Green Park on one of DUKES’ bikes, available on a complimentary basis to guests staying at the hotel.




green park

Even as a born and bred Londoner, there really is no other experience quite like staying at the quintessentially British DUKES LONDON to make you appreciate this beautiful city and all it has to offer, especially at Christmas time.

Merry Christmas one and all!

Mojito flavoured Macaroons? It must be Grifco’s Annual Press Day!


We love it when the August Grifco press day comes around as it means a chance for journalists to come and meet with the team and find out all about our clients’ latest news and updates. This year, our press day was held at the beautiful Conrad St. James hotel, which was the perfect venue for journalists to pop in and say hello throughout the day!

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For those that needed a little extra pampering after an early start or long day, we had a ELEMIS spa area where some of the latest ELEMIS treatments and products were showcased.


Our Junior Account Executive Cecile, captured all the action on the day whilst Conrad St.James provided us with fresh pastries and delicious afternoon sweet treats, including mojito-infused macaroons, mini chocolate ice cream cones and tequila sunrise jelly cocktails. Terrible for the diet but that didn’t stop us all loading up our plates!



Grifco team members, Nicole and Nadia having a lovely catch up with writer Rod Gilchrist!
















To top it all off every journalist went home with a gift bag full to the brim with goodies…bottles of wine, olive oil, flip flops and enough beauty treats to fill their whole bathroom cupboard, kindly donated by our lovely clients.
















We always receive great feedback with many leads for clients following press day. Take a look at our twitter and Instagram feeds, which were buzzing with journalists sharing their favourite parts of the press day:



…and after a hugely successful turn out, the Grifco team have gone to rest their weary feet – until next year! Big thanks to everyone who attended on the day.


The Festive Folly by FranklinTill – What’s in The Box?

On Wednesday Evening, the Grifco team and I headed down to East London’s Andaz Liverpool Street to witness and celebrate the official unveiling of their incredible Festive Folly, created by creative consultancy FranklinTill.

Derived from the old French word folie, meaning delight or madness, the Folly itself – which stood proudly in the middle of the hotel’s lobby –  is composed of birch ply with specially created stencils inspired by wrapping paper patterns and traditional Christmas icons.

Kate Franklin and Caroline Till, of FranklinTill, are the creative forces behind the The Festive Folly. When discussing the collaboration with Andaz Liverpool Street, the duo said:

“We are as passionate about our East London surroundings as the hotel, so to be able to combine our expertise in exhibition curation & design, immersive workshops and experiential workshops with Christmas AND an East London local landscape was a dream criteria to work towards and we can’t wait to unveil the Festive Folly to Andaz guests and the general public.”


Design Duo: Kate Franklin and Caroline Till of FranklinTill

Design Duo: Kate Franklin and Caroline Till of FranklinTill

Met by overtones of the new Malachite candle by Fornasetti Profumi the foyer was filled with nostalgic Christmas scents as it successfully got us in the festive spirit.


As the exposed bulbs, hanging from crimson cords shone through the seasonal stencil cut outs, the folly turned into an oversized lantern scattering patterns of light across the lobby floor.

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During the evening, the Folly played host to the East London Chorus whose harmonious seasonal rendition brought the event to life.

Joined by journalists and folly enthusiasts alike, we sipped on cockle warming mulled wine and white Russians as delicious canapés of goats cheese with cranberry coulis and miniature minced pies (amongst others) circulated the hotel’s lobby.

The best view was from the balcony on the first floor, which offered a bird’s-eye view of the spectacle. With Andaz Liverpool Street running a competition (winning a weekend night’s stay at the hotel, along with a brunch at the vibrant Eastway Brasserie) I took the opportunity to snap my #FesiveFolly entry on Instagram!

For this festive period only, the Festive Folly at Andaz will be host to a number of a jolly seasonal events with some of London’s most cutting – edge collaborators,  Odette Toilette, Petalon and the East London Chorus in a programme that includes wreath making, perfume smelling, an East London choir and gift wrapping with Odette Toilette themselves.

Their programme is as follows…

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The festive period is officially here, Merry Christmas!


Just in time for Halloween, Andaz Liverpool Street’s 1901 Restaurant and Wine Bar is offering their signature cocktail – Jack’s Martini. Bound to create a few goose bumps, Jack’s Martini is aptly named after London’s infamous murderer Jack the Ripper, who reputedly haunted the East End in 1888. Rumour has it Jack was part of the Freemasons who frequently visited the hotel’s original Masonic Temple back in the day.

Jack's Martini

Head Bartender, Giovanni Castorina, mixes fresh cu cumber with tangy lime, elderflower cordial, ice and Hendricks Gin to create a refreshing, autumnal and altogether delicious martini we just can’t get enough of!

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Treat yourself to something truly delicious this Halloween and try Jack’s Martini, available for £12 at Andaz Liverpool Street’s 1901 Restaurant & Wine Bar. liverpoolstreet.andaz.hyatt.com

Grifco Chats with Dukes St James’s Head Chef Nigel Mendham

Grifco recently sat down to speak with culinary whiz Nigel Mendham, Executive Head Chef at DUKES ST JAMES LONDON’s Thirty Six restaurant. We asked Nigel to tell us about what inspires him in and out of the kitchen, the latest food trends we should be keeping an eye out for, and what every novice cook should be serving this season.

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Grifco: How would you impress at a dinner party on a budget and if budget was not an issue?

NM: If I was cooking a dinner party on a tight budget, I would start with creating a maple glazed pork belly garnished with some English onions for an appetizer. For a main course, you cannot go wrong with serving a delicious whole chicken. I would use all of the bird to make different dishes like a pie with the leg, turn the breasts into mini Kiev’s, crispy winglets and make a sauce from the carcass. I would serve something like Eton Mess for dessert, it’s one of my top puddings for spring and summer, when English berries are in season.

And for a dinner party with no budget? Hmm, well there is no option but to go all out and use foie gras, truffles, fillet of beef, amedei chocolate and belle époque champagne!

Grifco: Who have you recently been inspired by?

NM: Roald Dahl’s Charlie and the Chocolate Factory is one book I have loved every since I was a boy, which inspired me to create my new children’s Chocolate Afternoon Tea.

dukes_hotel_050413_0303-40_lowI worked with my talented team at Thirty Six to come up with a new afternoon kids tea based on my favourite childhood book. Think everything and anything out of Willy Wonka’s factory – from specialty fudges, chocolate bon bons, mini chocolate milkshakes to melt in the mouth chocolate filled cookies and brownies with a twist. I don’t want to give too much away, but this tea promises to win anyone with a sweet tooth’s heart.

dukes_hotel_050413_0109-18 low resGrifco: Wow, we cannot wait to try your afternoon Chocolate tea! Special themed afternoon teas in London are really popular at the moment. What other food trends are you seeing in the industry?

NM: Food trends in today’s gourmet industry are forever changing, but I very much believe that simple food done well will stand the test of time. This is one of my core values behind the excellent locally sourced British food we prepare and serve at Thirty Six.DUKES AUG 12 11043_low

Grifco: What is one ingredient you think everyone should be using in their kitchens?

NM: Again I would have to recommend sticking with simple food, which you can use for a variety of dishes to please every pallet in your household. At Thirty Six we swear by Caroll’s Heritage potatoes, which are sourced from up North in Northumberland, where I am originally from. Potatoes are the key ingredient behind so many dishes, whether you are creating a quick treat or a comforting feast. Every cook should have potatoes in their kitchen!

Grifco: When you aren’t cooking for guests at Thirty Six, what’s your favourite dish to make yourself?

NM: I like to make myself a good dry aged rib eye with béarnaise sauce and French fries. That dish is hard to beat after working a long day!

Stop by Nigel Mendham’s Thirty Six at Dukes St James London to taste Nigel’s delicious dishes for yourself.

Nigel’s Spring sample menus include:

din mainRestaurant Reservations:
T: +44 (0) 207 491 4840

Opening hours:
Daily Breakfast
Monday to Saturday – open from 7am and last food order at 10:30am
Sunday – open from 8am and last food order at 10:30am

Tuesday to Sunday – open at 12 noon, last food order at 2:30pm

Monday to Saturday – open at 6pm, last food order at 9:30pm

Address: 35-36 Saint James Place, London, Greater London SW1A 1NY


An Andaz Liverpool Street Birthday Party By Bompas and Parr

Grifco recently had the pleasure of celebrating Andaz Liverpool Street’s 5th birthday in serious style.

flyer_front_1_resizedAndaz Liverpool Street teamed up with Bompas and Parr to create an unforgettable evening celebrating the past, present, and future of food in honour of Andaz’s 5th birthday. The evening started in Andaz’s 1901 restaurant, where the birthday party guests mingled…

IMG_6199_1901… and sampled the dangerously delicious elderflower liqueur cocktail, which was served out of a silver cauldron.

IMG_6198_1901Guests were then treated to specially designed scallop, salmon, tomato jelly, and cucumber sauce appetizer – Bompas and Parr’s take on a modern day culinary treat.

IMG_6205_1901The birthday party then went back in time to the year of 1913 in Andaz’s secret Masonic Temple, which was illuminated with candles – the perfect setting for an extraordinary event.

IMG_3735Guests feasted on aged sirloin, Yorkshire pudding, roast potatoes, various side dishes, and a delicious 2005 Rioja Reserve from Luis Cañas, Spain.

IMG_3793For the final course, guests headed to the future in Andaz’s studio, where the Galaxy of Puddings were served on an eye-catching liquid table.

IMG_6235Apparently liquid tables will be a popular dinner party staple in the future – it certainly was an out of this world dinner setting and a great conversation starter!

IMG_6223Instead of a traditional birthday cake, guests sampled Nebular Jellies, Binary Macaroon, Passion Fruit and Sour Candy, Minted Absinthe, Rubix Fruit Salad with Pipette Syrups and much more.

IMG_6215We cannot wait to try further exciting and yummy futuristic edibles – especially more of these highly addictive Petit Fours Pills.


By the end of the evening, we were full, merry, and exhausted from laughing so much. Happy birthday Andaz Liverpool Street – we loved every minute of your outstanding culinary adventure of past, present, and future, curated by Bompas and Parr!

menuTo book dinner at Andaz, visit andazdining.com or visit the Andaz website.

Grifco PR 2013 Hot List

Happy New Year! And welcome to 2013. Where’s on your travel wish list for the year ahead? The deserted plains of Namibia’s Skeleton Coast… a stunning infinity pool with views over the Mediterranean Sea in a never rented before villa… the hottest new luxury hotel in New York? Read on for a snap shot of the newest locations and experiences we’re most excited about for 2013.

New Openings – 2013’s hottest new places to stay

Wilderness Collection To Open Segera Retreat, Kenya – March 2013

Segera is a tangible example of successful multiple land-use efforts. With the support of the Zeitz Foundation, it is at the forefront of change in Kenya; its mission is to achieve a healthy, holistic balance of the 4Cs central to the Wilderness Collection ethos (conservation, community, culture and commerce), leading to the creation of a sustainable Long Run Destination (Global Ecosphere Retreat® certified) that contributes to the vision of an ecosphere in the healthiest possible state.

Expect exceptional service in the five private two-storey villas of wood and thatch that gaze out over the Laikipia plateau towards the spectacular Mount Kenya and which play host to guests seeking to reconnect with nature and embrace a new way of viewing man’s relationship with the natural world. Segera is accepting reservations from 23rd March 2013 onwards.

Holidays Please (www.holidaysplease.co.uk/safari) has a seven-night stay at Segera from £5,513 pp, including return BA flights from LHR, private transfers and full board with most drinks and all activities.

Wilderness Safaris Open Hoanib Skeleton Coast Camp, Namibia – June 2013

Wilderness Safaris is opening Hoanib Skeleton Coast in June, located on the Hoanib River within a private concession straddling the Palmwag area and Skeleton Coast National Park, in one of the most remote areas of the Kaokoveld. This exclusive camp, comprising eight units (including one family unit), will be a Classic Camp with all the attendant luxuries and amenities Wilderness Safaris are known for. For the first time, forays into the Hoanib floodplains (previously restricted inside the Skeleton Coast National Park) can be undertaken. www.wilderness-safaris.com

Park Hyatt New York To Open – 2013

Park Hyatt New York will be located at 157 West 57th Street between Avenue of the Americas and Seventh Avenue, across from Carnegie Hall. The 210-room hotel will be part of a 90-story mixed-use tower that will also feature 135 Thomas Juul-Hansen-designed luxury condominiums with breathtaking views of Central Park and the New York skyline.  In addition to a distinctive bar and restaurant and 5,000 square feet of retail space, the property will include a premier meeting facility with a grand ballroom and distinctive event space, as well as a lavish spa, fitness centre, and indoor swimming pool in a three-story aerie at the top of the hotel. The world-class hotel will reflect Park Hyatt’s intimate and understated elegance with interiors designed by the design firm Yabu Pushelberg. www.parkhyatt.com

Park Hyatt Siem Reap, Cambodia To Open – 2013

Park Hyatt Siem Reap will be situated nearby the renowned 12th century ruins of Angkor, a UNESCO World Heritage site that researchers believe was one of the largest preindustrial cities in the world. The hotel will be a re-branded and totally renovated Hotel De La Paix Siem Reap, currently one of the country’s top-rated hotels. www.parkhyatt.com

Andaz Tokyo To Open – 2014

Andaz Tokyo will be the fourth Hyatt-branded hotel to open in Tokyo and the ninth to be established in Japan. With the Japanese launch of the Andaz brand in Toranomon, the birthplace of Mori Building, the two companies affirm their shared commitment to bringing gracious, unscripted service to an urban revitalization project that is focused on providing inventive programs and venues for inspired interactions between residents and visitors alike. www.andaz.com

Scott Williams Introduces New Portfolio Of Extraordinary Houses In Turkey

New for 2013, luxury villa specialist Scott Williams has introduced an exclusive collection of holiday homes on the Bodrum Peninsula in Turkey to its growing portfolio of dazzling handpicked hideaways.

NEW Houses for 2013 include:

The Loft House, Bodrum Peninsula, Sleeps 4

The Loft House on the Bodrum Peninsula is straight off the pages of a luxury interiors magazine, situated in one of the most exclusive areas on the Peninsula with Turbuku, the San Tropez of Turkey, just a short drive away.  The villa commands stunning sea views from its idyllic hill top position, with whitewashed walls and the chicest contemporary design features including concrete floors, double height ceilings and huge glass and steel windows.

Prices start at €3,500 per week (approx. £2,850) excluding flights and transfers. www.scottwilliams.co.uk

John O’Groats Hotel To Re-open – Summer 2013

Following a huge £6 million regeneration project of the area in 2012, Natural Retreats has opened of 23 standalone Residences, plus a brand new Outfitters activity and retail centre and co-operative Storehouse, selling produce and goods from local businesses including Old Pulteney Malt Scotch Whisky, freshly baked bread and speciality cheese.

Not forgetting its historic roots, Natural Retreats will also be renovating the classic John O’Groats hotel – opening in late summer 2013 – which this year will be celebrating its 125th anniversary.

Natural Retreats (www.naturalretreats.com; 0844 384 3166) offers four-nights in a 3 Bedroom Residence in John O’Groats from £420.

Waldorf Astoria Berlin – Opened December 2012

Setting a new standard in luxury for Berlin and the wider German market, the new Waldorf Astoria Berlin marries the timeless elegance of the legendary flagship, Waldorf=Astoria New York, with a unique design inspired by the City‘s vibrant and contemporary personality. Featuring 232 luxury guestrooms and suites, the hotel sits within the spectacular new Zoofenster skyscraper, designed by renowned German architect, Professor Christoph Mäckler. www.waldorfastoriaberlin.com

Majestic Kuala Lumpur – Opened December 2012

The Majestic Hotel Kuala Lumpur opened its doors on the 1st December 2012 and includes the iconic Hotel Majestic building, documented as a national heritage site under the Antiquities Act.  Built in the 1930s, the original hotel became one of the great landmarks of Kuala Lumpur in its time. The hotel was the place for glamorous social events, government receptions and the residence for prominent international visitors. The Majestic Hotel Kuala Lumpur is positioned to share the glamour, heritage and success of its predecessor. www.majestickl.com

Andaz Amsterdam – Opened October 2012

2013 marks many historic anniversaries for Amsterdam such as 400 years of Amsterdam’s canals or 125 years of the Concertgebouw, Amsterdam’s famous concert hall, making Amsterdam a top destination for 2013 – and where else to stay other than the new cooler than cool Andaz Amsterdam? Based on the premise that the hotel should beat with the same heart as the city, the unique flavors of Amsterdam are embedded in the property’s adventurous design concept brought to life through the vision of local and legendary interior and product designer, Marcel Wanders. Andaz Amsterdam Prinsengracht is the first Hyatt hotel in the Netherlands and the ninth addition to the Andaz brand.

Rooms are available from EUR325 per night. Reservations for Andaz Amsterdam Prinsengracht may be made by calling +31 20 – 523 1234 or by visiting amsterdam.prinsengracht.andaz.com.

New Experiences – Must. Try. Now.

Tom Aikens’ Michelin Master Class at Royal Palm, Mauritius – 25 – 27 March 2013

Headlining act of the London restaurant scene and the youngest chef ever to be awarded two Michelin stars, Tom Aikens will be cooking up a storm at the prestigious Royal Palm in Mauritius from 25th  – 27th  March 2013. For three days only, Tom will be presenting his innovative and creative style of modern French cookery that has been made famous at his Michelin starred Tom Aikens Restaurant in Chelsea. Guests will be able to partake in a series of one-off Master Classes and sit down to private four-course dinners cooked by the celebrity chef, over the three nights.

The Tom Aikens Master Class Week is available to book exclusively through Beachcomber Tours (www.beachcombertours.co.uk; 01483 445 685) from £3,950 per person. Price includes 7 nights at Royal Palm based on two sharing on a half-board basis including Economy flights from London Heathrow, private transfers and Tom Aikens Master Class participation as detailed above.

Martini Master Classes at DUKES ST JAMES LONDON

Learn to make the perfect Martini in the famous DUKES bar; the location where Ian Fleming was inspired to write the James Bond line ‘shaken not stirred’, with the new Martini Master Classes at DUKES ST. JAMES LONDON.

Master Class students will learn to recreate the legendary DUKES Martini and other classic recipes with head barman and martini guru, Alessandro Palazzi, who will share his in-depth knowledge of each drink and its ingredients’ origins. After perfecting their martini making skills guests can relax, unwind and enjoy the taste of their hard work accompanied by some delicious canapés.

Master classes are held Monday to Friday from 3pm-5pm and can be booked for private events and cost just £95 per person. Groups of 4-8 people can attend each class. Nightly rates in a Dukes room at DUKES ST JAMES LONDON start from £270 inclusive of VAT. For more information please call 020 7491 4840 or visit www.dukeshotel.com

New Guerlain Spa Now Open at The Caledonian, A Waldorf Astoria Hotel, Edinburgh

With three bespoke treatment rooms and a team of highly trained Beauty Coaches, a visit to the UK’s first Guerlain spa will be a unique and personal experience to local residents and hotel guests. Open as of January 2013, the spa is a sanctuary of luxury and relaxation where guests will experience sensorial, indulgent and cutting edge treatments from Guerlain, one of the world’s most luxurious Spa brands.

Nightly rates start at £209 per night inc VAT, room only at The Caledonian, A Waldorf Astoria Hotel. For further information or to make a reservation, please call +44 (0) 131 222 888; www.thecaledonian.waldorfastoria.com

Green Leaf Niseko Village, Japan – Snow Lounge Installation

The Niseko Village ski resort is celebrating Japan’s top ski resort’s 30th anniversary with great fanfare this year by revealing its all-new outdoor art installation Snow Lounge, created by renowned artist Hirohiko Takenaka. Named ‘Snow Lounge @ Flame’s”, the venue is the talk of the town, both as an architectural point of interest and as an après-ski watering hole. Sculpted from pure powder snow with a cavern like feel, the snow and ice installation will be illuminated from within, casting a magical glow inside and around, as the play of escaping lights entice patrons to enter. The Niseko season runs until April 2013.

Inside Japan Tours offer a 7 night package including 5 nights at Green Leaf and 2 in Tokyo from £1,993pp based on two sharing. www.insidejapantours.com

Andaz Liverpool Street London Re-Invents Afternoon Tea With The Winter Club Sandwich

Following the success and rave reviews of the ‘Eggcentric’ installation during London Design Festival and September’s ‘Scrap Lab’ sustainable dinners, created by food designer Linda Monique, Andaz Liverpool Street hotel is delighted to announce the new seasonal Winter Club Sandwich, designed exclusively for the hotel by Monique. Monique’s latest seasonal creation is a mind bending sweet take on a savoury hotel classic, which will be available for a limited time only at the hotel’s glorious 1901 restaurant from 1st January – 31st March 2013.

The Winter Club Sandwich is priced at £10 per sandwich. www.andaz.com

New 2013 Chocolate Tasting Menu at Jade Mountain, St Lucia

Famed for its outstanding natural beauty and wealth of organic, tropical flavours, St Lucia is home to some of the Caribbean’s most bountiful cacao plantations – brought to life by Jade Mountain’s annual Chocolate Festival. Held at the award-winning resort every December, the last event led by Chef Allen Susse has spawned a daring new menu, launched in January 2013 to excite the senses. 

Nightly rates at Jade Mountain start at US$ 1,275 per Sanctuary.  Price is based on two persons sharing a Sky, Star, Moon, Sun or Galaxy Jacuzzi Suite. All rates are subject to 8% tax and 10% service charges www.jademountain.com

Twitching At Sani Resort, Halkidiki, Greece

If you’re looking for an alternative to Hostelbay hostel booking in Greece, Sani Resort has its own Wetland Sanctuary and is now offering guided bird watching tours for the brilliant price of £13pp which includes a donation to the sanctuary. Guests can now view species such as Osprey, Wood Sandpiper, Little Ringed Plover, Avocet, Montagu’s Harrier, Short-toed Snake Eagle, Willow Warbler, Northern Wheatear, the Pipit, the Sombre Tit, the Robin and the Woodchat Shrike, guided by a professional. www.saniresort.com

Purchase Your Very Own Natural Retreats Property

Award winning luxury self-catering company Natural Retreats has released a portfolio of exclusive holiday homes to buy for the first time. Spurred by the overwhelming interest about ownership from guests holidaying at its various UK locations, Natural Retreats has released 20 fully-furnished, panoramic sea view properties available to purchase off-plan on the breath-taking Llŷn Peninsula in Wales, and another 12 key-ready luxury apartments at Fistral Beach, Cornwall – all with a 999 year lease for generations to enjoy. More properties will be coming on sale in 2013.


The Oracle Retreat Returns to Spa Village Tembok Bali – 16th – 26th March 2013 and October 2013

Spa Village Tembok Bali is a sanctuary of peace and tranquillity. In March, Spa Village Resort Tembok, Bali will hold its Oracle Retreat, teaching self-care practices which restore the body, mind and soul, leaving one feeling renewed and replenished. Two options are available: the Full Retreat, commencing March 16 to 26, 2013 and the Mini Retreats from March 16 to 21 or March 20 to 26, 2013.

The Oracle Retreat invites guests to learn life-changing skills and techniques through a variety of activities and excursions such as life workshops, ‘5-element form’, yoga, meditation and holistic aromatherapy. Internationally renowned wellness practitioners will guide participants on the path to achieve true inner happiness through transformation; this year’s Oracle Facilitators include Diana Manilova –psychic healer and author, Marc Cofer –guiding in brain training, Dewi Hopley –aroma and holistic massage therapist and Sharron Hopley – host for the programme and movement specialist.

  • Mini Retreat (16th – 21st March or 20th – 26th March 2013) is priced at US$1,400 (*£870) per person based on two sharing.
  • Full Retreat (16th – 26th March 2013) is priced at US$2,750 (*£1,760) per person based on two sharing.
  • October 2013 TBC


Gent’s Grooming At Grand Resort Bad Ragaz, Switzerland

To mark the start of 2013, 36.5° Wellbeing & Thermal Spa at Grand Resort Bad Ragaz is pleased to introduce a brand new Beauty and Care for HIM treatment. All elements of the treatment have been adapted for men. The facial – a Niance Men Power Facial – is crafted to provide resilience and firmness to the weary man, including facial and neck massage, breathing exercises for deep relaxation as well as cleansing, peeling, mask and serum; even extending to hands and arms to deliver a fully refreshed appearance and feeling. Each massage, manicure and pedicure is tailored to the needs of every individual – following a full consultation beforehand.

Experience the indulgent Beauty and Care for HIM at 36.5° Wellbeing & Thermal Spa at Grand Resort Bad Ragaz, Switzerland for £297 per person. www.resortragaz.com

Champneys Launch 2013 Boot-Camp Series to Champion UK Sporting Legacy

Champneys has announced a brand new Boot Camp menu to include a new focus on sports such as hockey, swimming, tennis, cycling and the triathlon, accompanying more traditional weight loss and fitness Boot Camps stretching across all levels.

Champneys is partnering with 80s elite athlete, four-time world record breaker and fitness extraordinaire Daley Thompson, CBE to bring an intensive fitness weekender to the table. With 2-3 classes every hour, Daley’s course includes everything from Circuits and Spinning to Aerobics and Zumba to whip guests back into shape throughout an intensive, but fun, fitness weekend.

Where? Champneys Tring Dates: 1st February and 5th April 2013 Available from: £649 pp (2 days)

Other Boot Camps include Triathalon, Tennis, Cycling and Swimming. Contact www.champneys.com for bookings and further details.

New BA Flight Route to Lanzarote

Travellers can enjoy greater flexibility when planning their luxury holiday to Lanzarote with the launch of a new BA flight route to the sun kissed Canary Island. From 31 March 2013, there will be two new BA flights per week departing from London Gatwick to Lanzarote.

The fabulous five-star Princesa Yaiza Suite Hotel Resort is situated in Playa Blanca, a pretty and tranquil spot on the Canary Island of Lanzarote. The luxurious suites, impeccable service, Kikoland kids club, Thalasso-therapy spa and gourmet dining options make the Princesa Yaiza the ideal getaway for young, old, honeymooners and families alike.

Sovereign Luxury Travel (0844 415 1936; www.sovereign.com) is offering a 15% early booking discount and an online discount- 7 nights from £2,579 per family of 3 on a bed and breakfast basis, departing on the 4th August 2013. Price includes BA return flights from London Gatwick and private transfers. Saving up to £1,089 per family of 3

The Silent Beach at Kempinski Hotel Barbaros Bay, Bodrum

This blissful property on the Aegean Coast of Turkey is excited to announce the launch of its Silent Beach, a secluded haven where silence really does mean bliss. The Silent Beach will be located next to the blue flag sandy beach that Kempinski Hotel Barbaros Bay prides itself on. Tucked away amongst the trees, this really will be the perfect spot for guests wanting to enjoy the pace and quiet. The beach will not only offer guests a ‘no noise zone’ but also beach bar service straight to their sunbed…what more could you want! www.kempinski.com/bodrum

Hotel de Toiras & Villa Clarisse Launch Own Wine Label

Two beautiful boutique properties on the Ile de Re, France.  Hotel de Toiras is a much loved, 17th century former shop owner’s residence. Its sister property, Villa Clarisse opened in May 2011 and has made the perfect second addition to the delightful port of Saint Martin de Re. New for 2013 is the launch a selection of acclaimed wines from Chateau Clarisse, the owner, Olivia Le Calvez boutique vineyard located in the Saint Emilion region of France. www.hotel-de-toiras.com

New Polo Bar at Desert Palm, by Per AQUUM, Dubai

New Polo Bar offering guests an Al Fresco causal alternative to enjoy a glass of chilled champagne whilst savouring tapas and creative dishes from the food menu. Overlooking Desert Palm’s main polo field guests can enjoy watching the sport of Kings – Polo, twice a week between October to May and live entertainment.  www.peraquum.com

New Marine Biology Classes at NIYAMA, by Per AQUUM, Maldives

Newly opened NIYAMA has added a new experience to the Maldives and 2013 looks set to bring more excitement to the Indian Ocean hot spot. From Tribal, the very cool campfire style dining experience, to Edge and Subsix, the fabulous overwater restaurant and underwater music club, everything at Niyama has a quirky spin. Guests will be able to take part in marine biology lessons in the world’s first underwater music club, Subsix – the perfect way to learn about marine life without get wet! www.peraquum.com

New SpaQuarium Experience at Huvafen Fushi, by Per AQUUM, Maldives

Recently renovated and completed in August 2012, Huvafen Fushi is now offering its “SpaQuarium” to guests. Discover underwater marine life at night as the hotel opens its underwater Spa at night to enable guests to see hunting jackfish, lionfish and coral polyps catching plankton under moonlight. Sip Champagne and nibble on fruit skewers while the Resident Marine Biologist takes you down to the SpaReef to see below the sea in a relaxing way! www.peraquum.com

New Company – The eBay Of Caribbean Holidays! The Caribbean Hotel Company By ITC Classics

ITC Classics has just launched the Caribbean Hotel Company, revolutionising the way price conscious travellers book holidays to the Caribbean. Using ‘make a bid’ technology, customers simply browse a handpicked selection of over 200 four and five star hotels, select their ideal Caribbean holiday and place their bid… then wait to see if they have been successful. This is the eBay of Caribbean holidays! Visit www.thecaribbeanhotelcompany.co.uk and you may snap up a better bargain than you’d hoped. Holidays include hotel accommodation and all are ABTA protected.

New Boat – Xenia & Faye at The Inn at English Harbour, Antigua

The Inn’s Italian owners Enzo and Suzanna Addari have bought Italian style and flair to the property (his flair and her style). For 2013 the owners will be enabling their guests the use of their beautiful Dutch yacht, Xenia & Faye. Built in Holland in 1962 and lovingly restored by the owners, guests can charter this 26 metre yacht for the day or even spend a romantic night on board (three cabins – sleeping up to five guests). Private chartering of Xenia & Faye starts from $1700 USD for a full day. www.theinn.ag

New for January 2013: The Spa at Marti By Spa Soul – Marti Istanbul

Located on the top floor of the Marti Istanbul Hotel, this beautifully designed and spacious facility (850 square metres) comprises five treatment rooms, separate men/women quarters each with private sauna and steam room, two traditional Turkish Hammams and a vast Roman Bath, generous relaxation areas and more. SpaSoul, with its international team of therapists, uses carefully selected products for a large selection of treatments tailored to suit individual needs and preferences.  www.martiistanbul.com

Anne Sémonin Launch Revolutionary New Skin Renewal Treatment

The Parisian beauty experts at Anne Sémonin will be launching a revolutionary new Skin Renewal treatment for 2013. Years in the making, the new treatment erases the signs of time using an exclusive 4-step made-to-measure peeling technique. The treatment will be available at all Anne Sémonin spas world-wide…more details to come soon! www.annesemonin.com

Conrad Algarve – New Spa and Little C Palace Children’s Club Opened November 2012

The innovative new spa at Conrad Algarve is a sanctuary where guests can enjoy a ‘Luxurious Journey to a Better You’. Embracing the Conrad philosophy of ‘The Luxury Of Being Yourself’, the locally-inspired spa is a haven of relaxation. Here guests will enjoy state of the art techniques and effective, indulgent tailor-made treatments from Aromatherapy Associates and Intraceuticals. The spa is also home to the technology friendly Elixir Lounge, a comfortable ‘living space’ that has been created for guests to enjoy the Conrad concept of unrivalled connections. With research showing that many spa visitors find it unsettling to switch off or leave technology behind when enjoying spa time, Conrad Algarve Spa allows guests to stay connected by mobile and internet, whilst keeping phones on silent.

Not just for adults, Conrad Algarve features a specially created children’s activity menu designed by children, for children. The new ‘Little C Palace’ children’s club is suitable for children aged three to 12 and offers a bespoke holiday for younger guests, with a variety of activities to choose from including treasure hunts, baby yoga and mock-tail making. www.conradalgarve.com

Happy Birthday!

Rome Cavalieri Celebrates 50th Anniversary

50 years ago, Rome Cavalieri opened its doors and became one of the Eternal City’s leading properties. To celebrate the big 5-0 in 2013, the hotel will be launching an exciting series of packages and special events including a Roman Shopping Holiday package, a chance to whizz around Rome in electric cars, and a new children’s experience including a visit to an artisan ice cream maker and mind-boggling Museo Explora. www.romecavalieri.com

Two Seychelles Resorts Celebrate 10th Birthday

North Island, the ultimate barefoot island turns 10 years old in 2013 and will be celebrating in style. Watch this space for more details from the tropical paradise!


Part of Beachcomber Hotels, Sainte Anne Resort & Spa also celebrates its 10th year in 2013 and will be marking the occasion with a new package, details to be announced shortly.


New Clients – Welcome To…


GVI runs over 100 volunteer projects in 25 countries, in the fields of environmental research, conservation, education and community development. The organisation sends over 3,000 volunteers away every year, and is one of the most well respected and prominent international volunteering organisations in the world. From wildlife conservation in South Africa to community development programmes in Costa Rica, GVI welcomes volunteers from 18-70 years of age from all corners of the globe. www.gvi.co.uk


Please contact the Grifco PR team for more information on 0207 385 7090 or email: Claire Griffin Claire@grifcopr.com; Emma Powell Emma@grifcopr.com; Hannah Summers Hannah@grifcopr.com; Charlotte Hill Charlotte@grifcopr.com; Nadia Walford Nadia@grifcopr.com; Charlie Fox Charlie@grifcopr.com.

Who knew that Beetroot could be so delicious?

Every job has its perks and as a foodie, being invited to an exclusive dinner hosted by Tom Aikens (headlining act of the London restaurant scene and the youngest chef ever to be awarded two Michelin stars don’t you know), was not only the highlight of my week…but my month! 

Tom Aikens

On behalf of Beachcomber Hotels and Tom Aikens, I was fortunate enough to experience some of Tom’s innovative, creative dishes at one of his stunning restaurants in Chelsea, London. The event was to launch the series of one-off Master Classes Tom will be presenting at the prestigious Beachcomber Royal Palm in Mauritius. For three days only, in March 2013 guests will be able to partake in these classes but also enjoy sit down, private four-course dinners cooked by the celebrity chef over these three nights. 

Tom Aikens Restaurant

To Start: The night began with Jasmine cured salmon with viola flowers, pickled apple & jasmine oil. The combination of the salmon and viola flowers was something completely new to me. It was light, fresh and the salmon… simply ‘melt in your mouth’ delicious. The other guests and I agreed this dish presented to you in Mauritius, on a warm tropical evening with the waves gently crashing ashore would be magical. However, as it was drizzling outside we had to come back to reality. Our main course sounded perfect for the cold British weather. 

Main: After reading the main on the menu, Piglet belly, braised & then roasted with squid & pineapple, I was slightly dubious. I have had both pork belly and squid however never together. As I now know, the two complement each other hugely and it was absolutely delicious, the best piglet belly I had experienced. The small cubes of pork meant it wasn’t too overwhelming and I took my time to enjoy the flavours.

 I wasn’t prepared though for the pudding…

Pudding: The diners at the table quietly told their neighbour that beetroot ‘wasn’t really their thing’. I agreed…to me it tastes a little too earthy… but Tom created something that can only be described as utterly unusual and utterly….flamboyant, ‘Candied Beetroot, yoghurt parfait, sweetened beets and port syrup’.

From beetroot meringue to beetroot sorbet each little beetroot delight was so different from the next… how can you make one vegetable into a desert and create quite so many things from it? (Read this fantastic analysis on Tom’s well known beetroot dessert…http://www.foodrepublic.com/2012/09/27/plate-deconstruction-tom-aikens-restaurants-candie

The Tom Aikens Master Classes will take place at Royal Palm, Mauritius between 25th-27th March 2013 and will include:

•           Two morning master classes with Tom Aikens

•           Champagne on the beach with a joint demonstration of Mauritian cuisine hosted by Tom Aikens and Michel de Matteis

•           Three Four-Course Dinners cooked by Tom Aikens each evening

Dedicated to serving ethically sourced, seasonal ingredients of the highest quality, Tom will be working with the Royal Palm and the island’s local suppliers to re-craft his acclaimed signature dishes and give them a Mauritian-inspired twist.

All for just £150 per participant.  Non-cooking partners are welcome at the evening dinners for no additional charge.

For more information on Beachcomber Hotels visit www.beachcombertours.co.uk visit and for Royal Palm see www.royalpalm-hotel.com.

A Private View: Prism Cabinet at Andaz Liverpool Street

“A preview of Prism Cabinet in the Masonic Temple at Andaz Liverpool Street”…the beautifully designed invitation sounded mysterious…intriguing…unmissable!

After practising our secret handshakes, and joined by press including Dezeen, Sunday Times Style, Wallpaper, Shortlist and InStyle, the Grifco team headed along to an exclusive preview of Prism Cabinet, a satellite installation of Veuve Clicquot Prism at the V&A, a must-see highlight of the 2012 London Design Festival programme. Held in the Masonic Temple at Andaz Liverpool Street, which was dramatically candlelit for the occasion, the event kicked off LDF 2012 perfectly last week. We mingled with a hip design and media crowd over chilled Veuve Cliquot and admired the striking piece in the inspiring surroundings until late.

On show in the Temple last Thursday evening before being moved to its LDF location in the Andaz Lounge, Prism Cabinet for Veuve Clicquot and Andaz Liverpool Street has been developed and constructed by designers Studio Swine and Keiichi Matsuda, who held an enlightening Q&A with journalist Marie Le Fort at the event on the 13th.

A beautifully designed wooden cabinet opens its doors to reveal its “augmented contents” – a glowing hologram, linked to Veuve Clicquot Prism at the V&A. Appearing as a giant suspended iceberg set into the V&A’s uppermost cupola, the sculpture is lit up like a lantern, displaying live data flows on different aspects of the installation via internal projectors. Data such as the number of Boris bikes in use from a certain docking point, to the amount of electricity used by Number 10, has an effect on the visual appearance of the Prism.

After checking out Prism Cabinet at Andaz Liverpool Street, we are definitely hot-footing it down to the V&A to see the Prism in the flesh! Be warned though – tickets are selling out fast.

Intrigued, but missed out on tickets to the V&A installation? You can still admire the Prism, through Prism Cabinet at Andaz Liverpool Street, which is open to all.