An Autumn Escape at Waldorf Astoria Amsterdam

Waldorf Astoria is a hotel group whose name is synonymous with absolute luxury and elegance. One of its most recent additions, the Waldorf Astoria Amsterdam is the epitome of both of these as it sits so prettily on Herengracht, a long linear road that lies next to the canal.

Given the option of room check-in, the Fragrance Master knocks on the door and offers you the choice of what you would like your room to smell like for turn down service…..a simple, unforgettable gesture that makes you feel incredibly special.

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The beautiful Fragrance Master

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Which fragrance would you like…..perhaps the rum and cigar inspired Ernesto or the light and summery Dada?

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A delightful tray of macaroons welcomes you under a silver cloche alongside an intriguing chocolate key which unlocks the bar…..

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The hotel itself is an historical masterpiece, as it is constructed from six 17th century townhouses, each inhabited by some of the city’s most colourful characters over the years. The Vault Bar coined its name from the fact that it sits in the basement where the old bank vault used to be……with a set of original lockers still in place (whether there was is still any treasure to be found is undisclosed!).

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The cocktail menu at the Vault Bar comes in the form of a wallet. Each note inside denotes a different country and therefore recipe inspiration for a extraordinary concoction.

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Vices and Vault – the Bar, ladies and gentlemen

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One half of the masterminds behind the bar concept. Thiago (pictured) and his brother, Wilson, have developed the bar experience at Waldorf Astoria Amsterdam to be truly unforgettable. Here he is holding the Indian inspired cocktail, that sits under an enormous brass pineapple. The presentation is immaculate.

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Even the bar snacks come under lock and key!

The bar snacks are delicious and if you fancy something more substantial, the hotel also has the Goldfinch Brasserie and the two-Michelin starred Librije’s Zusje Amsterdam.

Your hotel room will either overlook the peaceful canal or beautiful garden – one of the very biggest in Amsterdam. Tough choice to pick which you would prefer!

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Complete with beehives perching on a roof top…..

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….and outbuildings. A perfect spot for a wedding or romantic rendezvous.

The historical aspects of the hotel are fascinating….

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This grand staircase was built by the architect of Louis XIV, Daniel Marot. If feels quite glorious walking up and down it!

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Private dining doesn’t get more spectacular this. In the Maurer room hangs impressive pieces of 18th century work, painted by the man himself.

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The Goldfinch Brasserie that overlooks the garden. Upstairs is Peacock Alley, which is a wonderful spot to take afternoon tea.

The rooms and suites are the height of sophistication, each holding their own charm and personality. Here are two of the most impressive suites – the Van Loon and Bretano.

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The bedroom of the Van Loon Suite

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The sitting room of the Van Loon Suite

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The exquisite sitting room of the Brentano Suite…..

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….and its bedroom.

The hotel is also one of the few hotels to have a Guerlain Spa….its blissful pool looking out to the garden.

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And if you can really truly bear to leave the idyllic settings of Waldorf Astoria Amsterdam, the heart of the city is on your doorstep to explore. A fabulous location that will ensure you to have an unforgettable experience.

Hidden Jewels Unveiled in the Hills of Phuket…..

The Residences at Anantara Phuket Layan

Every once in a while, you walk into a space so brilliantly put together and thought out that it leaves you speechless. The newly unveiled Residences at Anantara Phuket Layan are a true design triumph carved into the quiet Layan hillside – a project sustainably carried out so that no trees were cut down in its creation.
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These fifteen three to seven bedroom Residences are vast – beautiful rooms with high ceilings and sumptuous beds that seem to have no end. The shared social spaces are elegant and perfect for all sorts of occasions – whether it be a formal dinner in the airy dining room, to a laid back barbecue next to the pool. The Residences also come with their own butler and private chef making a stay here the absolute epitome of luxury in the comfort of a totally private space, away from prying eyes.

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The stunning infinity pools are a joy and days can be enjoyed doing laps up and down them or just cooling off and taking in the views out to sea.

All Residences guests have access all facilities at the Anantara Phuket Layan Resort & Spa, a gorgeous property at the bottom of the hill with two brilliant dining options – Dee Plee (keep a few hours free to indulge in the glorious breakfast) and Sala Layan.

A room dedicated to cured meats and cheese

A room dedicated to cured meats and cheese

Yumm

Yumm

Superfood Corner at breakfast

Superfood Corner at breakfast

For something really special, book one of Anantara’s signature design concept, Dining by Design – we had Dining by Design dinner on the beach, lit by the light of the stars above and lanterns leading all the way to our romantic spot in front of the sea.

Dining by Design at Anantara Phuket Layan

Dining by Design at Anantara Phuket Layan

A Pool with Diamonds

A Pool with Diamonds at The Residences

Nightly rates at Anantara Phuket Layan Resort and Spa start from £670 on a B&B basis. For information on rates at The Residences, please get in touch with the Grifco team.

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

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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.

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

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

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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.

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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!

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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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.

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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:

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…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.

 

Waldorf Drive: Get In Gear For An Unforgettable Weekend Of Speed

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Road testing the new McLaren 650S

Ferrari 458s, Lamborghini Gallardos and Porsche GT3s – all the preserve of hedge fund managers, rock gods and hedge fund managers, right? Well, only up to a point, thanks to a supercar package recently re-launched by luxury hotel group Waldorf Astoria.

Under their ‘Driving Experiences’ programme, car enthusiasts – along with lovers of great service, fine dining and luxury – are being invited to part with £899 and drive not one, not two, but three supercars on real roads, in stunning hand-picked locations across North America, Europe and the United Arab Emirates.

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Left to right: Ferrari 458 Italia, Lamborghini Huracan, Ferrari 458 Italia and the McLaren 650S

As I sample the adventure in Dubai, the build-up is almost unbearable; can the actual experience meet the hype? To start with, there’s the sumptuous Waldorf Astoria Dubai Palm Jumeirah – from where our 250km driving route commences – to get to grips with, and it’s impressive. Complete with 300-metre private, sandy beach overlooking the stunning Dubai skyline, a sinuously seductive swimming pool (or two) in shady green gardens, a sumptuous spa, a solicitous personal concierge for each guest, tennis courts, meticulously attentive service, helipad, gracious restaurants and bars and plush, oversized bedroom suites, what’s not to like?

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Waldorf Astoria Dubai Palm Jumeirah

And then there’s the nerve-jangling pre-drive briefing from race legend Didier Theys, tasked with devising and managing the two-and-a-half-hour driving routes, worldwide. “I will put a smile on your face today,” he promises, before running through the rules of the day: don’t scuff the alloy wheels, watch out for speed cameras and “I have a big ego; don’t overtake me!”

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Getting to grips with the various supercars as we snake our way through the jagged Jabel Al Jais mountain range

Finally we rattle the hotel windows as we push the starter buttons and the highly-tuned engines thunder into life… and we’re off. It’s two and a half hours of petrolhead nirvana as – on a route snaking high into the dramatic Jabel Al Jais mountains north west of Dubai, we throw the cars into sweeping left and right-handers, tight hairpins, and roar down the straights.

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The beautiful wheels of the Lamborghini Huracan

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You won’t miss me!

We have the best section virtually to ourselves and no wonder; it’s a little-known route blasted from the mountains by a wealthy sheikh in order to reach his summer palace hideaway. He must have played a few computer games first because the twists and turns are better than any racetrack I’ve enjoyed – and with far reaching views over the desert too.

It’s proving addictive but two and a half hours whizz by in a flash as we explore the mountain roads, swapping keys – and stories – in laybys, jumping into the seats of ‘our’ supercars like children in a sweetshop. Then, all too soon, we find ourselves comparing notes on the cars in the cool of the palatial Waldorf Astoria Ras al Khaimah, somehow even grander, somehow more intimate, more relaxed, than the hotel we left earlier on.

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Winding down a gear as we arrive in style at the palatial Waldorf Astoria Ras al Khaimah

“It’s what our customers tell us they want,” says John T.A. Vanderslice, global head, Waldorf Astoria Hotels and Resorts as we sit in the 16th-floor Marjan restaurant, overlooking the Ras’s own long, sandy private beach. “Car lovers want the opportunity to drive these supercars the way they were meant to be driven – on the open road and in the most stunning settings around the world.”

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Waldorf Astoria Ras al Khaimah

Didier and team are, even now, preparing similarly-challenging driving routes across Europe and North America, with Waldorf Astoria Driving Experiences in Phoenix, Arizona, Florida, California, New Orleans, Chicago and Utah in the US. In Europe supercar thrills can be booked in Rome, Versailles, Berlin and Edinburgh.

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In Europe – guests can book Waldorf Astoria Driving Weekends in Versailles (pictured), Rome, Berlin and Edinburgh

Their biggest worry must be finding routes that live up to the stunning mountains roads they discovered in the UAE. Will they achieve it? Maybe; I’ll have to go see for myself. I did say it was addictive…

More information at: www.waldorfastoria.com/drivingexperiences