Tag Archives: hotel

Theo Randall at the InterContinental Reopens – Still a Great Place for Italian Cuisine

Taking stock of a decade doing delicious justice to classic Italian dishes, Theo Randall has reopened his restaurant at the InterContinental after an interiors refurb and the addition of a few new menu items. Great news! And the best news about the reopening is that Chef Randall has managed to maintain all the qualities that already had made his eatery one of my favourite places for Italian food. Continue reading

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Happy 150th to The Langham London

One of London’s most lauded luxury destinations, The Langham, celebrated a stately 150 years as a hotel last week. I tagged along for some of the birthday fun and had a peek at what’s new and upcoming for this upscale mainstay of impeccable hospitality. Continue reading

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Dammann Frères Teas at the Sofitel London St James’s Rose Lounge (espressoCrazy)

Man cannot live on coffee alone. And as much as I tried (often succeeded) in doing so, I must admit it’s nice to have a cup of something else every once in a while. Horses for courses and all that … Continue reading

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La Vie en Rose Afternoon Tea at the Sofitel London St James

On now and running throughout May is a new floral-inspired La Vie en Rose afternoon tea at the Rose Lounge at the Sofitel London St James hotel. I got a taste of this limited run luxury a couple of weeks back and very much enjoyed it. Here’s a waft of what made it such a treat for me. Continue reading

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London Daily Photo: A View from Radio Rooftop Bar

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Did Madrid: Más Favor!

A mid August weekend in Madrid did Kemey and I both a world of good and turned out to be a fantastic way to celebrate her birthday in style. Being there for the Fiestas de la Paloma ensured the city was just that much turned on and revved up for fun. But I reckon anytime of year is an excellent time to explore this spirited Spanish city. Continue reading

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Did Madrid: Too Hot? Not!

We were in town for the Fiestas de la Paloma (part of Kemey’s planning – I can take no credit). As one of Europe’s biggest street parties, lots of people reckon it’s the most important festival in Madrid, if not the whole of Spain. We had a blast wriggling our wee hours way through the neighbourhood of La Latin – nexus of the celebrations – and being part of the festivities. Continue reading

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Did Madrid

Kemey and I are both enthusiastic fans of Spain. It’s very much one of our preferred destinations for holidays and city breaks and is a country we both know fairly well. However, Kemey had never been to (but always very much had wanted to visit) its dynamic and dignified capital. So back last month, to celebrate her birthday, we headed to Madrid for a long weekend of food, fun and flamenco. Like me, after my initiation to the charms of this magic place some years ago, Kemey was wowed. To be sure, our magnificently Madrileño weekend won’t be our last! Continue reading

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Win Dinner for Two and an Overnight Stay at The Tommyfield London Pub

Located just five minutes from London’s Waterloo and owned by Renaissance Pubs, The Tommyfield now fully embraces its coaching inn roots by becoming a luxurious city crash pad as well as a cracking London local. Tempted? Keep reading to find out how to win a free night’s stay plus dinner for two at this ace Kennington pub! Continue reading

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Made in Mayfair Insider Experience with Intercontinental and London Luxury Quarter (OneTravel)

The InterContinental London Park Lane hotel has teamed up with London Luxury Quarter to create custom made “Made in Mayfair Insider Experience” tours. From Britain’s oldest family run perfumery to bespoke shoes that take nine months from order to delivery, … Continue reading

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Win a Bijoux Afternoon Tea for Two at The Langham London

London’s historic home of the afternoon tea, The Langham London, is preparing once again to launch its annual Bijoux Afternoon Tea with Champagne Laurent-Perrier. To be served in the refined and elegant setting of the hotel’s Palm Court, the specially themed “Summer Season” tea will be available from 15 May to 6 July and priced at £52 per person (£65 with a glass of Laurent-Perrier Brut). But guess what? Here’s a chance for one lucky reader to win tea for two for the price of a tweet. Continue reading

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Portugal Please: Herdade da Malhadinha Nova

My Portuguese adventure coming to a close, I was left with only one more night to savour before flying back to Blighty. Good thing my last night was in an absolutely fantastic setting! Otherwise, I might have started to doubt for a second the hospitality show to me throughout this lovely little country as well as the foodie expertise that’d gone into the execution of my Festival of Food itinerary. As the trip unfolded though, I never once questioned the restorative benefits of my adeptly planned week-long ramble through Portugal. Indeed, I arrived back home eager to share the stories of my time abroad. The story I’m sharing today is one of a luxury homestead that’s an easily recommendable destination: Herdade da Malhadinha Nova. Continue reading

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Portugal Please: Eggs-cellent Time in Portalegre

Next on my Portugal Please road trip itinerary was the southern and sunny region of Alentejo where the appetising promise to “road test” the new Festival of Food offering from British tour operator, Sunvil, lay ahead. First stop in this gorgeous land of cork farms and vineyards … of ancient Moorish ramparts and prim churches hiding grandiose interiors … was the hilltop border town of Portalgre where I arrived just in time to attend the annual and eggy Feira de Doçaria Conventual for a taste of traditional sweets from the region and more. Continue reading

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Portugal Please: Coimbra

Capital of Portugal during the Middle Ages with a historic UNESCO World Heritage Site university established in 1290 (making it the fifth oldest in the world), Coimbra is a city steeped in age old tradition yet imbued with a youthful spirit. Continue reading

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Portugal Please: Suckling Pig Paradise, Bairrada

From Aveiro, I drove south to the town of Mealhada for a meal that had me squealing with piggy delight. Mealhada and its region of Bairrada (still within the greater region of Centro) seem to be the suckling pig capital of the world, where the main drag through town is lined with restaurant after restaurant boasting leitão à Bairrada (as suckling pig is called there). For my feast, I paid a visit to one of the most popular and best established eateries, the rather prosaically named Restaurante Típico da Bairrada. Continue reading

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Portugal Please: Charming and Cheeky Aveiro

Know as the “Venice of Portugal,” Aveiro is an attractive little coastal canal-crossed town in the Centro region of Portugal. I spent a couple of days in this part of the country, marvelling at how awesome the region was yet how largely undiscovered by tourists it seemed to be. Pretty, walkable and full of lovely shops, bars and restaurants, Aveiro was a particularly fine place for my introduction to the area. Continue reading

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Portugal Please: Morgadio da Calçada

Situated atop a plateau yielding (yet more) beautiful panoramic views of the Douro River and its undulant valley, the tiny ancient village of Provesende was my final stop in the area. Here I took a quick wander round the village and a proper snoop inside 17th century mansion (with contemporary accommodations) Morgadio da Calçada. Continue reading

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Portugal Please: Even More Douro Valley Quintas

No, I didn’t just lounge around at a couple of scenically situated hotels while in the Douro (although, that would be a terrifically recuperative way to spend one’s time). When I wasn’t enjoying my stay in the luxury laps of Quinta do Vallado and Quinta Nova, I was bopping all over the rest of the valley trying to visit as many different vineyards as possible – and loving every minute of it. Here are a few brief notes about the rest of the Douro Valley quintas I visited, including Quinta do Crasto, Quinta da Pacheca, Quinta do Panascal and Quinta do Seixo. Continue reading

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Portugal Please:  Quinta Novo de Nossa Senhora do Carmo

A lovingly restored 18th century manor cum 21st century four star hotel and the centrepiece of a lofty patchwork of vineyards rolling down to the Douro River: Quinta Novo de Nossa Senhora do Carmo was my home for a night. Leaving Vallado for a full-on day of winery visits around the Douro, my second evening in this idyllic valley wound down in equal parts elegance and comfort. Continue reading

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Portugal Please:  Sniffing Around Quinta do Vallado

After a quick sightseeing jaunt and overnight stay in Porto, I was off to the Douro Valley for a few days of scenic sipping. My first night there, I had the ultra-luxe pleasure of spending some time – and a very restful night – at Quinta do Vallado. To put it plainly, I loved everything about this place. It hurt a little to have to leave and I’m aching to return for another chance to admire in situ this wine hotel’s blend of tradition with modern design; savour more of its homey food; and, of course, enjoy its fabulous wines. Continue reading

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Portugal Please: Porto

My Portugal Please tour commenced in the compact and cosy city of Porto, which proved to be an excellent gateway to the Douro Valley and a fine place to visit in and of itself. If you’re looking for somewhere to visit for a city break, Porto is only a two hour flight away from London with plenty to see and do and eat and drink and browse and buy. Here are some highlight from my all too brief time there. Continue reading

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New Regional Wine & Cheese Menu at Theo Randall at the Intercontinental

Allow me to commence this rave by saying that Theo Randall’s Head Sommelier, Yuri Gualeni, is a frickin’ genius and Chef Randall is a very wise man indeed to let Gualeni do his thing. Case in point: the young sommelier’s new wine and cheese pairing that’s been “designed to be a journey through Italy’s terroir and traditions.” I tried it last night and loved every moment. Priced from £24 per person – and tailored to guest preferences – the menu includes four Italian wines paired with four regional cheeses. Continue reading

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Dixie Detours: Sweet Shoals Music

Before our visit to the Muscle Shoals area of Alabama, I never would have imagined the music of Aretha Franklin could resonate even more with me than it already did. Goosebumps on top of goosebumps – how’s that gonna happen? But there I was standing in Studio A of Fame Studios in humble little Florence, Alabama where the mighty diva recorded such classics as Do Right Woman, Do Right Man, and something clicked in a deep and soulful sort of way. In the few days since Kemey and I checked out the Shoals, listening to Aretha’s songs has been coupled with an even deeper and more satisfying feeling than before. Continue reading

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Dixie Detours: A Cajun Good Time in Lafayette

It’s a down home kind of place, Lafayette, where a koozie for your cold one is handy asset indeed. Continue reading

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Dixie Detours: NOLA!

New Orleans is a sultry dream. I can’t imagine anywhere else in America that’s even half as beguiling or idiosyncratic. Probably the most dynamic city in the US, it is without doubt the most spontaneous and freewheeling. When I think about other destinations across the planet that offer experiences comparable to what I’ve happened upon in NOLA, I find myself coming up with a list of my absolute favourites places. Put simply, NOLA rocks (it shucks, jives, slides, saunters, shimmies and rolls too). Continue reading

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Dixie Detours: When in Rome … Georgia

The wedding of my old friend Jack and his lovely fiancée Beth was the main reason prompting my and Kemey’s visit back home and a big factor behind the design of our Dixie Detours itinerary. The wedding was held in Rome, Georgia where Jack had attended university. Yes, that’s right. I went to Athens one day and Rome the next – all without leaving the great state of Georgia! Continue reading

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Daawat Indian Restaurant at the Strand Palace Hotel

Presenting tried and true South Asian comfort food on the Strand and just down the street from Covent Garden, Daawat Indian restaurant at the four star (and recently renovated) Strand Palace Hotel is a smart choice when you’re on the go and seeking a satisfying meal. Continue reading

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Good Stuff

Good Stuff and lots of it! Here’s the low down on some fine things to see, sip or take a bite out of – all of which I’ve recently come across and thought were worth sharing with you. Enjoy. Delfina Foundation … Continue reading

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Best Restaurants (Everywhere Else) – 2013

To say I ate and drank well this year does not begin to describe how delectable 2013 was for me. Both in London and beyond, I had the pleasure of experiencing some of the best meals outside the home I’ve … Continue reading

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Tasty Tales from the Italian Ham Highway: Bounteous Bologna

That I’ve been to Bologna four times (twice just this year) should speak volumes about how much I love this city. It and the region of Emilia-Romagna have as prominent a cuisine and as celebrated a food culture as anywhere in the world. Even among Italians from other parts of the country, the gastronomic sensibilities of the Bolognese are held in the highest esteem. Continue reading

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Tasty Tales from the Italian Ham Highway: Modena: Fast Cars and Slow Food

For a town with a population of fewer than 200,000 people, the list of icons associated with Modena is impressive. Pavarotti, Ferrari, Maserati, Balsamico, tortellini … whatever floats your proverbial boat, odds are you’ve been inspired by someone or something Modenese at some point in your life. Continue reading

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Twelve Days of Christmas Afternoon Tea at the InterContinental London Park Lane

It’s no secret. I’m a big fan of the fine foodie offerings InterContinental London Park Lane. With Executive Chef Paul Bates calling the palate pleasing shots (not to mention chef Theo Randall doing his own tasty thing with onsite upscale Italian restaurant), I’ve never never even come close to having a less than ideal dining experience here. So an invitation to try the hotel’s limited edition Christmas afternoon tea was one I greedily accepting. This was my second time to enjoy an afternoon tea at the InterContinental and it did not disappoint. If anything, my expectations for a high level of quality and service were exceeded. Continue reading

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Tasty Tales from the Italian Ham Highway: Torino Unshrouded

Initially pursuing an opportunity to visit Torino (perhaps better known to some of my readers by its anglicized name, Turin) was what eventually led to me coming up with my the full blown “Ham Highway” itinerary. The city was (and I assume still is) keen to have bloggers visit to write about the city. There was a chocolate festival scheduled for when I knew I would be able to go, and I was pretty sure I could get a commission to write about it. The more I looked into Torino, the more I of a hunch I had that it would be the sort of “content rich” place that I’d enjoy checking out. Continue reading

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Tasty Tales from the Italian Ham Highway: a-MuSe-ing and Bubbly Trento

After an all too short sojourn in Friuli (God, I hope I make it back there before too long), I hit the autostrada heading west to the region of Trentino for an overnight stay to see what sort of wonders its scenic city of Trento had to offer. With a newly opened museum designed by a star architect; a distinctive sparkling wine with a rich tradition behind it; and an exquisite regional gastronomy that’s big on flavour, locally sourced ingredients and seasonality – the answer I soon discovered was A LOT! Continue reading

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Tasty Tales from the Italian Ham Highway: Udine

Udine is the hub and historical capital of the small Friuli Veneza Giulia province of the same name. With a sizeable university, it’s a lively setting with an interesting mix of people and pretty decent nightlife. If you’ve been to your share of checklist-y must-see Italian destinations (such as … oh let’s say … Florence) or you simply get a kick out off veering off the beaten path in an attempt to see what real life in a foreign country is like then Udine is a brilliant town to keep in mind. Continue reading

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