Follow the Fash Pack this Season with The Luxury Travel Book’s Top Fashion Week Escapes

Guests can stay in style in New York, London and Paris

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(Drayton Gardens, London, Tribeca Loft, New York, Palais Royal 2, Paris)

This season, The Luxury Travel Book is offering in-the-know travellers hitting SS17 fashion shows the opportunity to stay in some of New York, London and Paris’ chicest apartments, set within the hottest postcodes in town. Whether they are in search of Parisian grandeur to rival Marie-Antoinette, an edgy New York loft or a sleek London penthouse, guests will be spoilt for choice by The Luxury Travel Book’s vast collection of exquisite properties.

New York Fashion Week – 8th – 15th September

Tribeca Loft, Tribeca

blog 2This quirky loft apartment boasts light-drenched, airy spaces, original modern artwork and all the mod-cons anyone could wish for. Tribeca, the local neighbourhood – the ‘Triangle Below Canal Street’ – was colonised by artists in the 1960s and 1970s. The area’s buzz and creativity certainly extends to the interior of this unique space, which is filled with incredible artwork from the owner’s personal collection. The expansive, open-plan interior and ‘conversation-starter’ artistic creations make it the perfect after party hangout and the numerous brunch hotspots on its doorstep give guests plenty of options for recharging batteries before hitting the shows again the following day.

Sleeps 4-6, Price from $12,250 (£9,450)* per week

Central Park View 7, Upper West Side

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Every fashionista worth her Manolos knows the Upper West Side is the new Upper East, and this cool and contemporary two-bedroom apartment with its floor-to-ceiling views of Central Park ticks all the right boxes. Edgy décor and urban touches provide an ample dose of cool while delivering all of the luxuries you would expect from The Luxury Travel Book. Whether guests want to hang out with the young and beautiful in a trendy nearby bar, catch some rays on the building’s sun terrace or sample New York’s finest Michelin-starred cuisine, the choices are endless. But with a pad so plush, guests may just wish to spend a night in.

Sleeps 4-6, Price from $4,410 (£3,424)* per week.

London Fashion Week – 16th-20th August 2016

Shepherd’s Market Penthouse, W1

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For guests seeking the ‘wow’ factor, this sprawling penthouse in the heart of Mayfair delivers just that. Located just off of Park Lane and with four bedrooms, it provides guests with an abundance of space that is so very rare in this exclusive part of town. Guests can enjoy stunning views of the city from their very own private terrace, or relax in their Jacuzzi bathtub, following a day of checking out the hottest new fashion trends. Just steps from Hyde Park and theatre land, moments from fashion week hub Brewer Street Car Park and surrounded by chic bars and restaurants, guests couldn’t be better situated to enjoy this beautiful city.

Sleeps 8, Price from £9,000 per week

Drayton Gardens, SW10

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This impressive two-bedroom apartment is situated in a grand building between the sought-after areas of Kensington and Chelsea, home to some of the London social scene’s biggest movers and shakers. The stunning pad is full of luxurious furniture and quirky decor, including four-poster beds, his and hers sinks and original artwork. Ideally-located in South West London, guests are minutes from the Kings Road, Kensington Gardens and Hyde Park and a short tube ride from fashion boutique heaven, Bond Street.

Sleeps 4, price from £1,820 per week

Paris Fashion Week – 27th September – 5th October

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Palais Royal 2, 1st Arrondissement

This opulent two-bedroom property is set directly on the gardens of the historic Palais Royal, former childhood residence of arbiter of style and king of couture Louis XIV. The apartment mirrors the grandeur of its regal neighbour, featuring velvet sofas, gilded mirrors and cushioned headboards fit for royalty. Just a short stroll from two of Paris Fashion Week’s most infamous venues, the Carousel du Louvre and the Grand Palais, guests can host a post-show Apéro in their high-ceilinged, panelled living room – which overlooks the breath-taking Palais gardens – and be the talk of the town…

Sleeps 4-6. Price from €2,870 (£2,214)* per week

Rue de Bretagne, 3rd Arrondissement

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In the heart of the hip, central Marais district, this luxurious three-bedroom, two-bathroom apartment is just a hop, skip and a jump from some of the city’s coolest bars and restaurants. Featuring roll-top baths, designer furniture and interesting works of art, this chic bolthole is proof that trendy certainly needn’t mean scruffy. And with exclusive fashion boutiques featuring up-and-coming designers on their doorstep, guests can be sure that no-one at the shows will be sporting their look.

Sleeps 6. Price from €4,375 (£3,377)* per week

*Prices in pound sterling accurate according to today’s rate.

For more information or to book visit www.theluxurytravelbook.com, call +44 (0)207 586 5342 or email info@theluxurytravelbook.com

For further images, rates and press information on Luxury Travel Book please contact Flora Beaumont flora@grifcopr.com or Laura Critoph laura@grifcopr.com on 020 7385 7090

About The Luxury Travel Book:

The Luxury Travel Book is a carefully curated collection of privately owned, new and historic properties that includes villas, city apartments and chalets, as well as rare properties including castles, windmills and former palazzos. In addition to having many of Europe and beyond’s most stylish homes on its books, The Luxury Travel Book specialises in personal service and local knowledge, helping guests ‘stay like a local’ and immerse themselves in their surroundings. www.theluxurytravelbook.com

 

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.

The Gainsborough Bath Spa’s New Chef, Dan Moon, is Sending Taste Buds to the Stars

The award-winning Gainsborough Bath Spa welcomes Westcountry man, Chef Dan Moon, to its team taking over the helm as Head Chef.

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Chef Dan Moon – Head Chef at The Gainsborough Bath Spa

Dan champions local ingredients and products which he beautifully presents in the new menus that are now being showcased at the Restaurant at The Gainsborough, giving local diners and guests to Bath an dining experience that can’t be found anywhere else in this ancient and charming city. For a gourmet treat mid-week or at the weekend, Dan’s new menu will thrill and delight diners with his surprising combinations.

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Chef Dan Moon’s seven course tasting menu at the Restaurant at The Gainsborough

 

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Thought panna cotta was something sweet to be enjoyed after dinner?! Think again with this light and creamy Goat’s Cheese Panna Cotta, of which the texture is delightfully surprising when expecting a thicker, more traditional style of panna cotta!

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The scrumptious bread basket….our favourite was the sea salt white loaf.

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Too pretty to eat….a glass lid was removed to reveal this Smoked Fillet of Mackerel under a plume of smoke, on a bed of incredibly tasty tomato jelly and sprinkled with locally foraged borage flowers, inspired by the Scandi food movements.

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Taste buds positively tingled when presented with this perfectly al dente risotto, that appeared from under a sparkling silver dome and quickly disappeared leaving an equally shiny plate after being mopped clean. The salty taste combined majestically with the delicate soft egg and crunch of the Parmesan crust. Perfecto (this might have been our favourite)!

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Eastern flavours steal the show in this Sautéed Scallop dish which explode on the tongue when combined with the Yuzu Purée and Pickled Radish.

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The Roast Breast of Creedy Carver Duck is one of Chef Moon’s Signature Dishes, sourcing the duck from the famed Devon farm and partnering with Asian ingredients such as Plum Purée and Sesame, to give an authentic fusion taste.

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Just when you think you couldn’t eat anymore, a chocolate masterpiece appears made up of Dark Chocolate Ganache, Banana ice cream, Salted Caramel Popcorn and Vanilla…..finishing off a truly spectacular meal in style. We challenge you not to finish every last bite.

Make your booking for either lunch or dinner by calling The Gainsborough Bath Spa on  0800 5298 000 or visit the website www.thegainsboroughbathspa.co.uk.

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.

A Shining Beacon on the Bangkok Riverside – the new AVANI

AVANI Bangkok Riverside Hotel

AVANI’s Bangkok Riverside Hotel is the AVANI brand’s first purpose built hotel and the exciting flagship to shine in its growing portfolio.

AVANI Bangkok Riverside night view rendering

It sits in an enviable location on the Bangkok riverside, and looks out on to some of the best views from the city and offers travellers of either business or pleasure, a brilliant new and fresh offering, completely different to anything else in the city. It is hard to miss as it stands like a bright beacon on the riverfront.

Get whisked to the 11th floor for a seamless check in, noticing the high ceilings and open breezy spaces that gives the whole hotel a relaxed, sophisticated feeling in a contemporary setting.

The fabulous lobby

The fabulous lobby

The brand’s tagline is “The Details That Matter” and this resounds with every element – from the straightforward but fun rooms to the social spaces that will appeal equally to those wanting a drink at a cool bar, a business person looking for a quiet corner to work to just wanting to grab a quick and healthy snack from the Pantry @ AVANI.

AVANI Bangkok Riverside Hotel

AVANI Bangkok Riverside Hotel

Head up to the rooftop to a truly breathtaking pool that feels like swimming in the sky and enjoy a drink at the bar, soaking in the buzz and lights of the city.

Pool with a view

Pool with a view

AVANI is an upscale brand offering a truly five star service, offering a seamless guest experience and far surpassing all traditional expectations of a four star hotel.

Riverview Room

Riverview Room

Nightly rates at AVANI Bangkok Riverside start from £95 on a B&B basis.

If you’re staying at the AVANI, make sure to make the 30 second walk to Anantara Bangkok Riverside too….

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…for a spot of Muay Thai boxing with a pro…

Hydroponic Garden being built at Anantara Bangkok Riverside

….or gardening. Hydroponic Garden being built at Anantara Bangkok Riverside.

Anantara Bangkok Riverside Hotel

….or just for a dip. Check out the pool at. Anantara Bangkok Riverside Hotel

There is also another fabulous Bangkok property that has just undergone a huge rebranding, the Anantara Siam Bangkok Hotel, that can be found across the river. This grande dame of Bangkok is also a must.

Hillary Clinton's preferred suite.....

Hillary Clinton’s preferred suite at Anantara Siam…..

A double double bed? We're in!

A double double bed? We’re in!

Enjoying Anantara Siam Bangkok's spa

Enjoying Anantara Siam Bangkok’s spa

 

Golden Triangle – the land of Three Countries

Anantara Golden Triangle Resort

The northern part of Thailand borders with Myanmar and Laos and in this corner of the world lies the Golden Triangle, a magical rural area where Anantara’s Golden Triangle hotel lies, complete with one of the world’s most spearheading Elephant Camps.

Walking with Giants

Walking with Giants

In a world which is becoming thankfully more sensitive to elephant tourism, Anantara’s Elephant Camp is continually applauded for the work that is done there to protect and save elephants that are brought in from the streets, where they are brutally forced to beg or perform.

These gentle giants now live happily in the 1,200 hectare resort, where they live alongside their faithful mahouts, who tend to them daily – tasks of which include feeding them and taking them down to the river for frequent baths to keep the eles hydrated. Elephants are incredible creatures, each with distinct personalities and it is so nice to see their eyes shining cheekily as they happily go about their new lives at Anantara’s  Elephant Camp. The mahout’s wives keep busy by spinning silk and creating fabulous scarves and souvenirs.

Mahout wives at work

Mahout wives at work

The hotel is designed exquisitely with its elephants heritage peppered throughout. Stay in one of the 3 Country View rooms to wake up to views of Myanmar and Laos across the river and walk up to the top of the hill to lay gift to the Spirit House and see a glorious view of the Mekong River. For a really spectacular arrival, guests can even choose to arrive by boat, beginning their journey on the river and then being picked up at Anantara’s dock and taken up to the hotel.

Make sure to pay visit to the Anantara Spa which enjoys natural light flooding through its ceiling to floor windows. The Signature Massage is like a gift from Buddha after a long journey getting there.

Fancy a dip?

Fancy a dip?

There are two dining options – Sala Mae Nam, serving up delicious, authentic Thai food and also Baan Dhalia, a fine dining Italian restaurant, where signatures dished are whipped up at the table….this includes a Caesar salad spun in an ice bowl and spaghetti prepared in a Gran Padano wheel!

Baan Dhalia Table Cooking

Baan Dhalia Table Cooking

Baan Dhalia Caesar Salad

Baan Dhalia Caesar Salad

Cooking in a cheese wheel

Cooking in a cheese wheel

An aspect of the Golden Triangle’s turbulent history is its part in the Opium Years, when it was one of the world’s main producers. This troubling time is carefully and thoughtfully curated in the Hall of Opium, funded by the Thai Royal Family and located across the road from the Anantara. All Anantara guests are given a ticket as part of their stay and are very much recommended.

Nightly rates at Anantara Golden Triangle Resort start from £700 on an all-inclusive basis.

Exploring the Bush in Botswana with Wilderness Safaris

Kings Pool, Wilderness Safaris“Mind Branches!” Khan, our zealous Botswanan guide, shouts from the front of our safari jeep. As we whip along the rugged foliage of the Linyanti Region with Wilderness Safaris, in search of the elusive Big 5, I realise we are a long, long way from

Lunch at Kings Pool, Wilderness SafarisDappled sunlight in Okavango Deltahome. The blistering African sun warms our bones as we turn a corner and stumble upon a tranquil watering hole, adorned with a mother and baby elephant refuelling for the day. The baby elephant trots peacefully along the long grass, chasing a bird without a care in the world. The mother protectively guides her baby with a defiant nudge of her trunk, giving us a deadpan stare as she passes by for good measure.

Elephants grazingSuddenly, a radio signal interrupts our transfixed gazes and we are fast on the move again. A lioness and her cub have been spotted nearby and the light is beginning to fade, as a burnt orange, purplish hue announces the arrival of dusk along the African plains. We arrive just in time, the lioness and her cub casually stroll out of the bush, unperturbed by our vehicle near inches away from their territory. Rolling around in the Mother & Baby Elephantsbushland and playfully batting his mother with an oversized fluffy paw, we forget for a second that these creatures are predators that could pounce any minute. ‘Try not to stand up or make any sudden movements’, Khan’s warning words jolt us back to reality. His wide toothy grin quickly puts my mind at ease as I realise that we are in no danger in the hands of our expert guide who knows the bush, and its inhabitants, like the back of his hand. After the light dissipates he seamlessly guides us back to camp, navigating twisting and turning overgrown pathways with ease.

Returning to our tented haven, Kings Pool – a resplendent safari camp bordering Chobe National Park and famed for its basking hippo residents – we let the day soak in. Aptly greeted with a feast fit for kings, accompanied by a display of traditional African dancing and singing, we gorge ourselves beyond civility before crawling into bed.

Hippos bathingSunset in Botswana

Rising the next morning to the melodious sound of bellowing hippos, wallowing in the muddy lagoon in front of our luxurious tent, we leave the camp in search of our next adventure. Following a 20-minute flight with Wilderness Air we are at our next destination – Vumbura Plains – a luxurious barefoot safari setting wrapped around a warming camp fire, opening out to the sprawling floodplains of the Okavango Delta.

Awaking at 5am the next day, having mastered our early wake-up calls thanks to Kings Pool residents, we spring into action with our guide, Emang, eagerly at the helm. Rife with activity, the Delta lives up to our expectations; within hours of our first game drive, we witness grazing zebras, giraffes, buffalo, hyenas and a group of gaggling ostriches.  Just Early rising at Vumbura Plains, Wilderness Safariswhen we think we have seen it all, we receive an all too familiar radio signal. Zipping along through the lush vegetation at full speed, we reach a towering tree. Lithely sprawled across its highest branches, masterfully camouflaged from all predators, lies a solitary leopard basking in the early evening sunlight. Captivated by the incredible beauty of this mysterious animal, we spend the remainder of our drive watching her lazing in the treetops before gracefully slipping off into the distance.

Leopard lazing in the treetops

Leopard on the move

A massive thanks to Wilderness Safaris for a fantastic and truly unforgettable experience. For more information on the camps plus their other camps in Africa, visit Wilderness Safaris.com

 

 

Amare Marbella Beach Hotel is on Our Mind

The sun has come out in the UK, which is lovely, but now what we’re really craving is some HEAT.

Did you know that Marbella, only two hours hop away on a flight is currently enjoying English summertime weather of 20C? After a weekend away there last weekend, we are already penning in our next trip.

View from the Ooh La La Room

View from the Ooh La La Room

Instagram friendly we love it - also, so very true

Instagram friendly we love it – also, so very true

Amare Marbella Beach Club is the newest and coolest kid on the block – perfectly placed in its own beach oasis and only a five minute walk from the charming Marbella Old Town.

Amare is a sleek, contemporary, new lifestyle hotel, that has named its rooms playfully from the Sea Lovers room to La Dolce Vita and the ultimate Ooh La La room.

Ooh La La

Ooh La La

The dining options take you to Mare Nostrum Restaurant for the glorious breakfast buffet….(also open for dinner during the summer months)…

Breakfast on Mare Nostrum's beautiful terrace

Breakfast on Mare Nostrum’s beautiful terrace

The Amare Lounge for delicious contemporary Spanish cuisine for lunch and dinner….

Iberico ham and piles of cheese - perfect

Iberico ham and piles of cheese – perfect

Amare Lounge also plays host to a schedule of contemporary Spanish events, including Fusion Flamenco. Olé!

During a sunny day, you must also make sure to sit back and enjoy the Amare Beach with a chilled glass of wine….feel the sea breeze in your hair and try the catch of the day.

Freshly caught hake dripping in chorizo

Freshly caught hake dripping in chorizo

Amare Beach

Amare Beach

In the evening, there is only one place to go….Belvue Rooftop Bar – the only rooftop bar in Marbella, that looks over some of the best beach views on the coast.

The prettiest cocktail you ever did see...

The prettiest cocktail you ever did see…

....it even matched the sunset!

….it even matched the sunset!

And when you just want to soak up the sunshine and not move from the pool, we have the Amare Club Call Button. Once pressed, within seconds one of the smiley Amare team is by your side to take your order – that will be a sangria, please!

The Amare Call Button = dial to heaven

The Amare Call Button = dial to heaven

Bird's Eye View of the Pool

Bird’s Eye View of the Pool

Amare is fast becoming a hub of contemporary art, with some superb art installations…

Video installation in the lobby

Video installation in the lobby – a delightful combination of moving lights and colour

Disco Elephant in front of water feature

Disco Elephant in front of water feature outside the Amare Lounge

Bringing the outside in....the living green wall

Bringing the outside in….the living green wall

Make sure to also check out the Germaine de Capucini Spa which houses a hydrotherapy circuit to enjoy an hour before treatments. The Aromas of Andalusia massage comes highly recommended.

If you can bear to tear yourself away from the hotel, hire one of their easy-to-use bikes and ramble along the beach promenade to neighbouring Puerto Banus. Top tip – get there early when you have the promenade and Puerto Banus. Opportune moment for some serious superyacht ogling!

7km to Puerto Banus

7km to Puerto Banus

Or take a trip to Old Town Marbella…..only a 5 min walk away…

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One of our favourite aspects of Amare Marbella Beach Club is the music that seamlessly flows from one area of the hotel to the next….the highlight being a saxophone serenade on the beach.

For the highest category rooms, there is also the exclusive Amare The One, which is an open space, situated off the lobby to enjoy a little bite to eat and a beer, if you fancy, while flicking through the papers.

For a Spanish sejourn to remember, make sure to check out www.amarehotels.com for your next trip to Marbella. The closest airport is Malaga – a 30 min drive away from the hotel.

Massage bed on the beach.....for our next visit.

Massage bed on the beach…..for our next visit….