Eating London Launches Two New Walking Tours

On the back of its popular tours in the East End and Soho, Eating London is expanding its offerings in the British capital with the launch of two new tours in Brick Lane and the Docklands respectively. Both began operating in early May 2017.

The Brick Lane – Flavors of India & Beyond tour is a 2.5hrs guided walk just after lunchtime which focuses on the British’s favourite cuisine: Indian food. Through nine tastings participants will indulge in the many different flavours of “Banglatown” a unique neighborhood that offers rare insight into the rich South Asian culture. From raw tamarind to traditional fish curries washed down with a refreshing mango lassi the experience will expose you to the region’s best flavors. The tour also includes dynamic street art, visiting an authentic Bangladeshi food shop selling exotic ingredients from South Asia and exploring the link between India, Bangladesh, Pakistan and Britain through stories about this vibrant and colorful community.

Tours run daily 2.30pm – 5pm, £46 adults, £38 adolescent, £28 children.

The London Docks - Historic Pubs and Classic Grub Tour takes guests to old pirates & artists hangouts one historic pub at a time, including the oldest riverside one in London. The 4hr tour covers tales of pirates, thieves and artists, told in the same places they once called home, and serves up some of London’s best craft brews and finest pub grub. Guest will walk through a quieter residential area, lined with cobblestone lanes and old warehouses to see stunning riverside views of London’s skyline.

Tours run Monday – Friday, 12.30pm – 16.30pm, £79 (adults only)

About Eating Europe Tours

The company was founded in Rome in 2011 by American native, Kenny Dunn. His informal culinary strolls with friends and family became the Taste of Testaccio Food Tour focusing on real food, real people and real neighbourhoods. In 2013 another two tours in Rome were added, so was the first London Food Tour in the city’s hip East End. Since then, Eating Europe Tours has also successfully launched in Amsterdam and Prague. 

The company’s mission is to leave travellers with an unparalleled, non-touristy, food-related experience in undiscovered neighbourhoods across Europe.

Travel: Introducing Hung Tong & Red Sugar At Hong Kong's Dynamic Harbour Front

Last month saw the opening of the Kerry Hotel, the newest and most stylish addition to Hong Kong’s hotel scene and the first hotel in 20 years to be built on the Kowloon waterfront.  With interiors designed by the renowned architect Andre Fu, this sixteen storey hotel has been designed as an ‘urban resort’, seeking to evoke an experience of relaxed luxury in one of the world’s most dynamic cities.

Hung Tong

Conceived as a stylish twofold dining experience, overlooking Hong Kong’s dynamic waterfront, Hung Tong and Red Sugar Bar are the latest creations of architect André Fu and his studio AFSO.  Both bar and restaurant are intended to celebrate the heritage of Hung Hom, once home to Hong Kong’s dockyards; a nostalgic tribute to the city's former shipbuilding industry.

Diners entering the restaurant will find themselves in a modernist red brick pavilion, created as a free-standing gem set atop a vintage warehouse. As part of his vision to bring the city’s past alive, Fu has employed a surprising palette of bold patterns and colours – he has juxtaposed a bold checkered carpet against a hexagonal parquet floor, against a backdrop of 60s metallic door frames.

In keeping with the Hong Kong spirit, an array of bespoke hexagonal rippled glass pendants and vintage-inspired leather chairs have also been introduced to create a luxurious yet comfortable atmosphere that is both classic yet contemporary.

Red Sugar Bar

Adjoining Hung Tong, the arrival journey to the Red Sugar bar begins with a whimsical neon installation by local artist Adrian Wong – walking through the enticing passageway, guests encounter a prominent brass feature fireplace.

Decked with an asymmetrical layout of cozy lounge seats and Cadillac inspired couches in a palette of oranges and marine greens, Red Sugar is at once luxurious yet industrial. The room is also adorned with hanging tropical plants to convey an urban oasis atmosphere.

Set against floor-to-ceiling windows that showcases Hong Kong’s unique skyline, the bronze cocktail bar is designed as a scaffolding structure and is highlighted with stunning Lasvit Tac/Tile pendants, designed by Fu, that evoke a strong modernist sensibility.  

The jewel in the crown is the breath-taking outdoor deck and garden terrace that appears to jut out into the city's Victoria Harbour and presents a birds’ eye view of the harbor and city.  The garden uses steel planters, exposed aggregate and wild landscaping to reinforce the idea of an urban and contemporary al fresco experience.

Al Fresco Dining | Summer ‘17 Hot Spots In London

Summer has arrived so it’s time to catch some rays whilst you can. Why not escape the hustle below and head to the rooftops of Oxford Street at Sisu; London’s latest cocktail hotspot? Alternatively, whilst over in Victoria’s new Nova Building, Rail House Café provides the ultimate backdrop for all-day al fresco lounging. Finally, over in East London, 8 Hoxton Square offers a peaceful terrace for lunch, dinner and weekend brunch.

Rail House Café opened in March 2017 as a modern, all-day café with a menu of signature twists to international favourites. Their spacious terrace is perfect for summer dining and aperitifs with room for 80 covers. Bespoke furniture has been designed to create a setting that blends indoor and outdoor seamlessly; with large L-shaped sofas decked out in nautically striped fabric, and more formal dining tables set between large sun shades.

Menus packed with fresh flavours are available al-fresco; from breakfast and brunch, through lunch and dinner – with standout dishes including Green Tea Waffles with Coconut and Berries (£9.50) or Freekeh and Feta Salad with Pomegranate, Cashews, Mint and (optional) Hot-Smoked Salmon (£11/£15. Cocktails such as ‘Saffron Spritz’ (saffron gin, rhubarb liqueur, tonic, Chandon Rose at £10.50) and ‘The Seoul Train’ (watermelon juice, Sangsom Rum, Jinju 24, lime juice, coriander at £8) can be enjoyed from 10am daily.

Sisu is serving up the best rooftop vibes in town, as the space has been transformed into an urban hideaway where Londoners can escape the bustle of the city in Scandinavian-inspired surrounds. The ReTreat serves an irresistible menu of street-food inspired bites such as Miso Aubergine Tacos, Fried Chicken Waffles and Canadian-style Poutine, and to accompany, there’s a drinks list running from Negronis dispensed from a bespoke, coin-op cocktail tap (£8 each, to cocktails in regular (£8) or large (£13) jars, like the summery Florodora (Bulldog gin, fresh raspberries, ginger) or Moltó Negre cava (£6 per glass), if bubbles fit the occasion.  Sisu, tucked away behind a secret entrance near Marble Arch, is open daily from noon until 10pm.

8 Hoxton Square is the sister restaurant to critics’ favourite 10 Greek Street. Just like its Soho sibling, it serves fresh, seasonal dishes alongside interesting, low mark-up wines, but here reservations are taken. Guests can enjoy the sunshine this summer within the intimate al fresco dining area overlooking Hoxton Square, making for a picturesque brunch, lunch and dinner. Two daily-changing menus – one for lunch and one for dinner – as well as an all-day small plates menu are served, with brunch classics adding to the weekend lineup. There is a strong focus on seasonal British ingredients but executive chef Cameron Emirali (who co-owns the restaurants with business partner Luke Wilson) also draws inspiration from his travels. Small plates, such as charcuterie (£9) and fried baby squid (£8) have proved popular amongst diners, with their stellar selection of rosé proving the drink of choice this summer.

Mercure Bristol Grand Hotel

Ian Haigh and his Central Design Studio have recently completed a stunning refurbishment on the historic Grade II listed building, the Mercure Bristol Grand Hotel. The extensive renovation gave the building a new lease of life, revitalising the 155 guestrooms, reception, lobby and public areas, as well as the restaurant and bar – Keepers.   

Known for his love of artisan producers and telling a story within his design, Ian has used Bristol’s well-known street art scene coupled with the historic Victorian architecture, as his main inspiration and narrative for the design.  Working with the local gallery and the street art festival Upfest to curate artwork displayed throughout, the Bristol Grand hotel features over 500 pieces by local artists.  Collaborating with emerging textile designers Kitty McCall and Midula Dey to develop unique upholstery fabrics, the building also features wallpaper prints by Elli Popp, and printed fabrics by Claire Gaudion and Jon Burgerman.

Furniture and lighting for the project has been bespoke designed by Ian and the Central Design Studio team, including a feature chandelier in reception with handmade glass panels by artisan Jo Downs.

Designer Ian Haigh established Central Design Studio in 2010 after 12 years of working for some of London’s best known design companies, including David Collins, United Designers, and Martin Brudnizki where he was a Director. Over the last five years, Central Design Studio has carved a reputation for designing relaxed and informal interiors. They, very purposefully, do not just have a ‘signature style’, but rather an underlying design philosophy often focussing more on how a space feels, not just how it looks.

Central Design Studio originated from the idea of being a small team at the centre of the design process. Working with artists, artisans, craftsmen, manufacturers and builders, they pride themselves on delivering personal and coherent projects.

Mercure Bristol Grand Hotel, Broad Street, BS1 2EL, Bristol, UK.

Photography by James Balston

Celebrate Mother's Day At Bea's Of Bloomsbury

To celebrate everyones favourite person, their Mum, Bea’s of Bloomsbury have created a special Mother’s Day Afternoon Tea with brand new additions just for the occasion on Sunday 26th March. Included in the afternoon tea will be new delicious treats; mini Lemon Tarts, handmade Chocolate Eclairs and beautiful Blue Berry, Lavender and Rose macaroons. Priced at just £26.50 per person it is available at Marylebone, St Paul’s and Bloomsbury locations. 

However if you can’t make it to Bea’s on the day they have created several special cakes and treats that would make perfect gifts. The Mother’s Day collection includes a stunning Raspberry & Vanilla cake that can be personalised with your own message and a special handmade Cupcake Box. Treats from the collection start from £1.85, making Mothers Day with Bea’s a truly an affordable luxury.

Travel: Introducing The One Hotel In Barcelona

The H10 Hotels group has entrusted the designer Jaime Beriestain to design their first five star hotel, under The One Hotels brand, that has just opened its doors in the heart of Barcelona’s Example district.

Jaime Beriestain has prioritized the use of natural light, fine materials and excellent finishes for this project. The objective is for guests to feel at home, with all the comfort and well-being of a private residence. 

The hotel has 89 spacious room, 25 of which are suites, and each one has a special character thanks to the original artwork of Fernando Prats. 

The presence of works of art in the rooms, and the communal spaces in the hotel are original canvases of established artists such as Antonio Tàpies, Manolo Valdés, Yago Hortal, Manolo Ballesteros and Chilean artist Fernando Prats. They make up one of the pillars of creativity in the foundation for this project. 

The driving force behind Beriestain’s design here, has been to establish a parallel with the artistic effervescence of the City Condal. To this end, it boasts prestigious art galleries such as Miguel Alzueta, Senda and the Gallery Prats. 

The One Barcelona Hotel is designed for both foreign visitors and the locals. Therefore, Jaime Beriestain has broken with the traditional hotel codes and opened large windows in the common areas that invite you to discover this beautiful establishment. The hotel has a Sky Bar with an exceptional location and 360º views to the most emblematic buildings of Barcelona, such as the Casa Milà, the towers of the Sagrada Familia, the Cathedral of Barcelona and the Mediterranean Sea. For the Sky Bar, Beriestain has selected glass rails, which allow for total panoramic views. In addition, he has used dark oak wood to absorb the excess of light and maintain the natural color of the rest of the spaces. 

The One Hotel in Barcelona: C / Provença, 277, 08037 - Barcelona. elephone (34) 902 100 906

Valentine's Afternoon Tea & Treats At Bea's Of Bloomsbury

Bea’s of Bloomsbury are delighted to announce the return of their famous Valentine’s Afternoon Tea and treats. What makes this year extra special is the addition of brand new homemade treats from Bea’s onsite kitchens. 

Founded in 2008, Bea's of Bloomsbury are a modern bakery, serving inspired treats, afternoon teas, traditional breakfasts and lunches, with a twist, together with a fine array of beverages, using only the finest ingredients, at great locations, around London.

For their many fans, Bea’s famous Valentine’s Afternoon Tea is back for one day only on 14th February.

Included in the afternoon tea will be amazing new Heart Macaroons with raspberry & rose filling and Bea’s brilliant Brownies, made into a heart shapes, just for the occasion. The Marylebone, St Paul’s, and Bloomsbury locations will all be open until 9pm, and priced at just £50 for 2 people, It’s the perfect way to treat your special someone to a really enjoyable experience, complimented by great service.

Bea’s offer a take away service at all locations, and if you would rather enjoy your Valentine treats at home, this year there are boxes of 6 romance inspired cupcakes, and Triple Chocolate Cake, for serious chocolate lovers – perfect for sharing. Starting from £1.85, Valentine’s with Bea’s is truly an affordable luxury.

Valentine’s treats start from just £1.80 and the afternoon tea is £50 for two.

Social Wine & Tapas Launches Spanish-Inspired Saturday Brunch

This January, Social Wine & Tapas has joined London’s burgeoning brunch scene with the introduction of a flavourful, Spanish-inspired brunch menu designed for sharing. Developed by Executive Head Chef, Frankie Van Loo, the menu spans carefully curated plates of modern tapas-style dishes made using the best of British produce. The brunch is available every Saturday from 12:00pm until 15.30pm. 

Offering dishes far more exciting than the usual eggs benedict and avocado on toast, the innovative menu is split into six sections ranging from small ‘para picar’ plates such as jamón and manchego toastie with quail’s egg to larger plates of egg, vegetable, fish and meat options. A re-imagined version of Jason Atherton’s Pollen Street Social signature dish the full English breakfast makes a return, combining tomato fondue, mushroom ketchup, slow cooked egg, potato foam, smoked pancetta, and black pudding. With additional standout dishes including pan fried hens egg, chorizo jam and avocado on brioche, roast suckling pig with morcilla croquette and apple-cider caramel and honey truffle burrata, Brogdale apples, pear and chestnut.

To complete the experience in true Spanish style, delicious cinnamon dusted churros with thick hot chocolate for dipping will be amongst the dessert options.

Guests can order a selection of dishes from the brunch menu or opt for the ‘Feed Me Brunch’ offer for £20 per person. A surprise selection of Frankie’s favourite brunch plates, including off-menu specials, will be served to share. 

Bookings can be made by emailing reservations@socialwineandtapas.com

Introducing Martello Hall

Introducing Martello Hall, London's newest all-day and late-night venue offering bottomless coffee and hot-desking by day, wood-oven pizza, gin-distillery, late night DJs and decandence by night. 

Beautifully created by design studio Red Deer, Martello Hall is set over three floors with warehouse glamour setting the tone. Weathered timber, reclaimed cast iron and coppers bar tops set the scene at Martello Hall, inviting Londoners and visitors alike in, any time of the day. 

Introducing Mendeli Street Hotel In Tel Aviv

Vibrant, cosmopolitan and chic, Mendeli Street Hotel, located in the bustling Mediterranean city of Tel Aviv, encompasses all the cornerstones of sophisticated urban hospitality. Situated just two minutes from the beach, this hotel blends fine cuisine, décor and the latest Israeli art and design trends to provide its guests with a unique Tel Aviv experience.

The hotel is owned by the Steinbach family and originally opened in the 1960s. After it was handed down to the third generation, Mendeli Street Hotel went through a complete rebranding and major renovation, finally re-emerging onto the Tel Aviv tourist scene three years ago.

Since its rebirth, Mendeli Street Hotel has remained loyal to its goal of paying homage to the extraordinary city it’s located in. Upon first entering, visitors are enticed by their surroundings. Tel Aviv’s dynamic art scene is exhibited across the hotel and complemented by the hotel’s contemporary style that utilises clean lines, natural hardwood furnishings and leafy green ferns. The 66 rooms of the hotel mirror the same overall style and are designed to reflect the nearby beach atmosphere. The elegant and sophisticated rooms display different and ever-changing commissioned Israeli artworks, adding to the overall feel of balance and harmony the hotel provides. The Mendeli not only projects Tel Aviv’s signature style through art and design but also keeps up with the city’s up-and-coming culinary scene.

The Mendeli Street Hotel is itself home to one of the city’s best restaurants. Mashya, headed by the renowned Chef Yossi Shitrit, has become a sensation amongst locals and guarantees a fresh and innovative culinary experience. It is the ultimate restaurant adaptation of what the hotel offers. With a dedication to local style and historical authenticity, it is a tribute to Tel Aviv's culture. At Mashya every flavor, smell and sight is deliberate and unique, with Chef Shitrit incorporating local spices and produce with some of the most advanced cooking techniques. With an open kitchen and extensive wine list, this restaurant has become a standout in a city dedicated to sensational dining.

Should visitors wish to venture into the rest of Tel Aviv’s culinary scene, The Mendeli offers proximity to the heart of Tel Aviv. For those wishing to escape the urban life and see more of the country, daily tours can be arranged from the 24 hour concierge desk, providing each guest with a personal and tailor made experience. The Mendeli Street Hotel is a sophisticated tribute to the dynamic character of a remarkable city.

Image Credit Amit Geron

New Restaurant: Temple & Sons

On 21st November, The Social Company opened the doors to Temple and Sons, a new City grill restaurant and bar. Situated adjacent to the iconic Tower 42, Temple & Sons is a second partnership for Jason Atherton with Restaurant Associates. With a more casual approach, it contrasts the high-rise fine dining at neighbouring sister restaurant, City Social. The venue is set across two floors, each offering a different dining experience: a 66-cover grill restaurant and a 30-cover all-day deli and bar serving snacks and small plates, championing British produce throughout. Executive Chef, Paul Walsh, who also heads up City Social, is overseeing the kitchen, working closely with Jason to create the restaurant’s more relaxed but equally innovative menu.

The name Temple and Sons is a nod to the history of Tower 42; Palmerston House was previously built on the site, named after British statesmen Henry John Temple, Third Viscount Palmerston, who was twice Prime Minister in the mid-nineteenth century.

On the ground floor deli and bar, the menu and interiors are inspired by a traditional British grocery store, complete with artisan snacks and sandwiches including game sausage roll, creamy mash & HP gravy and Old Spot spiced pork belly sandwich on brioche, spicy slaw & butter lettuce, alongside a range of British cured meats from Cannon & Cannon.

At night the deli transforms into a cocktail bar, with carbonated cocktails canned on site, including Strawberry Can Can (Monkey Shoulder whisky, Chamberyzette strawberry wine, Chambord, Campari) and Peach Tea Pop (Monkey Shoulder whisky, Rinquinquin peach liqueur, Earl Grey tea, sweet & sour). Cocktails served in card milk cartons and cans again take inspiration from traditional British provisions, such as Yellow Paint (Sailor Jerry spiced rum, Colmans mustard, elderflower, lemon) and Martinny (Ford’s gin, Lea & Perrins distillate, fino sherry, olive). Also available for the first time at Temple and Sons is The Social Company’s own signature bottled English lager, The Subtle Fox.

Upstairs, the restaurant kitchen operates entirely from a custom-built grill using varying types of wood, charcoal and hay. Continuing the theme of British heritage, many dishes are designed for family-style dining, with grilled fish and meat served whole or in large cuts, with a selection of sides to share. Comforting and nostalgic but with the group’s characteristic focus on innovation and flavour, dishes include wood-fired pork chop, collar & crackling with sage & pine nut crumb and Maldon oysters Rockefeller, baby fennel & confit lemon salad, tartar sauce & crispy potatoes. For dessert, the menu plays on Britain’s great repertoire of puddings with the likes of trifle, gingerbread, poached rhubarb & crystallised ginger and caramelised vanilla rice pudding with pistachio & homemade jams.

Overseen by Russell Sage Studio, the interiors have been designed to evoke a Victorian grocery, with stacked timber shelves brimming with a variety of goods. A palette of rich, caramel tones with flashes of orange and teal create a warm and inviting space, with timber panelling embellished with antique brogue detailing and brass ironmongery. Feature lighting includes Victorian angle-poise lamps and a custom-made feature light suspended over the staircase between the two floors.

James Boyle, Managing Director of Restaurant Associates, comments, “We are delighted to be partnering with Jason and his team again. The work we have done together at City Social has been outstanding and we hope to mirror some of this success at Temple and Sons. There is an appetite for a more casual style of dining in the City of London, and we are thrilled to be part of its growing food scene.”

Commenting on the launch of Temple and Sons, Jason notes, “Temple and Sons is my tribute to our great British produce and dining traditions. Following the success of our partnership with Restaurant Associates on City Social, I’m very happy to be working with them again.”

Reservations for Temple and Sons are now open: Tel: 0207 877 7710 Email: reservations@templeandsons.co.uk

Introducing Jasper Conran's First Hotel - L'Hôtel Marrakech

L’Hôtel Marrakech is a privately owned riad set in the heart of the ‘red city’s’ Medina. L’Hôtel is conveniently close to the vibrant Jemaa El Fna square, the bustling Souk and nearby the 12th Century Koutoubia Mosque. This historic 19th Century riad, originally the central part of a Caidal palace, comprises five spacious suites, not usually found in the riads of Marrakech surrounding a uniquely wide courtyard garden and swimming pool. This charming retreat combines delicious food, great comfort and service whilst capturing the elegance of hotels of the1930s. Owned by Jasper Conran, the riad combines superb Moroccan craftsmanship with pieces of antique furniture, textiles, lighting and art from his collection, making it feel more like a home than a hotel.

The restoration has been executed using local craftsmen and traditional materials. An atmosphere of timeless relaxed grandeur has been created, white voile curtains flow on the terraces giving privacy to the generously proportioned suites. Simple whitewashed walls, high zouak ceilings, warm, soft, restful colours and unfussy decoration give a relaxing feeling of charm and serenity.

The roof terrace offers extraordinary views of the Atlas mountains and the skyline of Marrakech. It is a place to unwind after a day’s foray into the souks, and somewhere to lay out on sun loungers. Breakfast, lunch and afternoon tea can be taken under the pergola. Cocktails can be enjoyed amongst orange blossom and fig trees, a wilderness of honeysuckle, bougainvillaea jasmine and scented roses whilst watching the sun go down over the snowcapped mountains.

In the evening, dinner can be enjoyed in the dining room. On cooler nights the curtains are drawn and a fire is lit whilst traditional Moroccan food is served. On warmer evenings large glass doors open out onto the courtyard garden allowing the gentle sound of the water fountain and the scents of the garden to flow through rooms.

On entering the hotel you will find yourself in the courtyard garden, planted with banana, orange and lemon trees, welcomed by the soothing sound of water from the central fountain surrounded by zelige tilework. Birds sing, perfumed roses and jasmine abound whilst bougainvillea and honeysuckle cascade down the whitewashed walls.

The garden is also home to one of the few swimming pools of the Medina. Enjoy a calm relaxing swim in the ten metre pool (heated in the cooler months). A pleasure that can be enjoyed from early morning to the approach of nightfall as glowing lanterns and candles are lit, enveloping the riad in a magical atmosphere.

Planted with orange, fig and olive trees, jasmine, bougainvillea, honeysuckle and geranium the roof terrace is the perfect place to unwind and relax. Here breakfast and lunch is served under a curtained pergola. Elsewhere on the terrace, tables are set out, one can enjoy afternoon tea, coffee and cocktails. Sun loungers are arranged on a tiled raised terrace so that guests can enjoy the warmth of the Moroccan sun.

L’Hôtel Marrakech prides itself on its approach to serving delicious traditional Moroccan cooking. Food can be served on your private balcony, the dining room or on the roof terrace. Seasonal local produce is brought to the kitchen daily. Dishes prepared celebrate the subtle aromas and colourful enchantment of Marrakech. Guests can enjoy a vibrant array of salads, fresh vegetables, slow cooked tagines, grilled meat and fish as well as the perfect steak and chips. To complete the meal, there are refreshing sorbets, ice creams and fruits to choose from.

The hotel is available for private hire. The riad is the perfect retreat for a group of friends, family or a honeymooning couple. Intimate dinners and parties can also be catered for. The riad is the ideal place to go if you wish to enjoy a large private home without the responsibilities of ownership. Whether reading in the shade by the pool, soaking up the sun on the roof terrace enjoying the array of fine food and drink on offer or venturing out into the city and its souks, everyone is able to enjoy something a little different.

The Dorset Cereals B&B Awards 2016 - The Winner!

Last month we visited three amazing B&B's as judges for the Dorset Cereals Awards 2016. All unique in their own right, we decided that the winner for 'best quirkiest' B&B goes to Camomile Cottage in Suffolk. You can see our review here.

What really stood out for us about Camomile Cottage was just how personal it felt. It was so homely and we felt we were at a friends house rather than a regular B&B. Aly the owner just really made us feel totally comfortable and throughly spoiled us..

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It really was about the small details that made the stay at Camomile Cottage that extra special. The guest kitchen was stocked with every tea and coffee we could want, there were chocolates in the bedroom and bowls of sweets, toffees and chocolates in the sitting room and so on. It was the perfect and most comfortable stay we could have wished for. 

Congratulations Camomile Cottage!

Dorset Cereals has a brilliant relationship with B&B's across the UK, with many owners serving their cereals as part of the all-important breakfast. As a result, Dorset Cereals set up their annual B&B Awards in 2015 to celebrate wonderful and unique places to stay in the UK. The awards honour Britain's breadth and variety of B&B's - from beautiful and quirky, to rustically charming or magically modern.

City Guide: Santiago de Compostela

There's something grandiose about the convoluted name of this Galician city, flung out in the far north west of Spain's peninsula. In fact, it refers to St James (‘Sant Iago’) and ‘the field of a star’ so there is a poetic element which reflects both the literature and the magic that Galicians specialise in.

  PrazaDaInmaculada

PrazaDaInmaculada

Remote in place and in spirit, the character of this regional capital with its strong Celtic and Portuguese links is quite distinct from the rest of Spain. Not so long ago it took a week to get here from Madrid. Yet, for more than 1,000 years the city has opened its arms to a steady flow of pilgrims, on foot or on horseback, coming from all over Europe.

After a long lull in popularity, the tradition resumed a couple of decades ago, bringing dozens of nationalities kitted out in walking boots, clutching staffs and with symbolic scallop shells dangling from backpacks. Some Lycra-clad followers of the Camino now arrive on bicycles. It is this foreign cultural input that has helped make Santiago unique.

  Street scene in Santiago

Street scene in Santiago

Beside the cathedral stands the world’s oldest hotel, opened in 1500 as a hospital for pilgrims and now top of Spain’s chain of national paradors. There are glorious patios, halls, galleries and grand staircases, making it all too easy to be bewitched by the time-travel atmosphere of this city. There are sober granite houses, narrow winding streets, leafy squares, stone arcades, glassed-in balconies (typical of windy Galicia) and magnificent religious buildings.   

  Cathedral night view

Cathedral night view

Galicians are also increasingly fine-tuned to sharp design. In the arcaded rua do Vilar, upmarket designer Katuxa Plateros (http://katuxaplatero.com) transforms gold, silver and semi-precious stones into dreamy shapes and, a few doors away, tiny Baraka (www.barakajoyas.com) stocks imaginative pieces by an array of local designers.

  Garlic and onion wreaths

Garlic and onion wreaths

Food is of course a priority in this land of verdant pastures, cattle, smallholdings and two coastlines whipped by the waves of the Atlantic. A dazzling range of products are now wrapped in chic packaging for specialist delicatessens. In the streets behind the cathedral there is Mestre Mateo, rua Nova 3, a delicatessen which stocks unusual black Galician pottery beside conserves, chocolates, rare Galician olive oil and wine.

  Quiet evening in the monastery garden

Quiet evening in the monastery garden

Even the wine is looking up, as dusty old labels are replaced by clean modern fonts. Galicia's white Albariño wine from the Rias Baixas has shot up the oenological hit parade, and sprightly red Mencía from the Ribeira Sacra is following fast behind – even if production dates from the Roman era.

  Dancing the traditional muñeira

Dancing the traditional muñeira

Out & about in the rias:

One of Santiago’s great assets is its easy access to the crazily indented coast that harbours Galicia’s famous rias, or inlets. Here you can teeter over the crashing surf beside the lighthouse at Cabo Fisterra, about 90km from Santiago on the Costa da Morte, and observe the rocky source of all those delicious percebes (goose barnacles).

For hedonism, though, head south of here to Galicia’s longest beach at Carnota – seven blissful kilometres of blinding white sand where you might come across cockle-gathers or surfers.

Finally, the beautiful dunes of Corrubedo, which are protected as a natural park, offer an idyllic escape from other sun-bathers, while plenty of wind-surfers dot the waves. Any of these destinations make an easy day outing by rental car from Santiago.

  Square in old Santiago

Square in old Santiago

Where to stay:

  Fishmongers at Mercado de Abastos

Fishmongers at Mercado de Abastos

Where to eat:

  • O Curro da Parra www.ocurrodaparra.com. A charming rustic restaurant near the food market serving exquisite Galician specialities prepared with a light, modern touch. A la carte about 35€.
  • Sexto II, http://www.restaurantesexto.com Near the Cathedral off the Rua da Franco, an old-fashioned temple to seafood, graciously served on white linen tablecloths. A la carte about 40€.
  San Fructuoso Church

San Fructuoso Church

How to get there:

  Santiago, Contemporary Art

Santiago, Contemporary Art

Images and article written by Fiona Dunlop, brought to you by SPN

Travel Spotlight: Saint Martin de Belleville

If you’re looking for a skiing resort like no other then we highly recommend Saint Martin de Belleville. At an altitude of 1,450m, Saint Martin is one of La Vallée des Belleville‘s resorts, with the valleys of Méribel and Courchevel as part of Les 3 Vallées ski area. This internationally famous ski area is known for its amazing pistes (600km of pistes) but it also excels by providing a great variety of activities. Connected to this exceptional ski area, Saint Martin has earned its label « the village of Les 3 Vallées ». A village known to those who have chosen to combine great skiing with the art of living.

Saint Martin remains an authentic Savoyard village, dominated by its church tower, with its winding narrow streets and stone clad farms. The village still maintains its charm and is the perfect spot to welcome its guests. The farms have been transformed into cosy accommodations, the ancient stables into restaurants and the church often hosts concerts.

Situated in the heart of the village, in an old local farm, the Saint Martin Museum retraces one hundred and fifty years of this high Savoyard valley’s history.

There is plenty to do in Saint Martin, not only for those solely interested in skiing. Walks on foot or snowshoes, a dog-sledge getaway, heritage discoveries, also shows and torchlight descents are on offer throughout the winter. Not forgetting the musical après-ski concerts in the church. From concerts, activities, events, exhibition, museum, tournaments, all through the winter, it really is hard not to find something to do. Saint Martin has also an array of excellent restaurants to choose from, so you really are spoilt for choice.

If you’re worried for the young ones, then there is no need. Everything has been thought through with them in mind. They have their own events, activities with the Roc’n Bob toboggan, the new Speed Mountain toboggan run, the walibi gliss, the BK park and, above all, they will appreciate skiing with the Ski schools.

You will find everything that you need: clothes, ski and snowboarding equipment, souvenirs and presents and numerous local and regional food products to please your taste buds.

Different types of accommodation varies for all tastes and price ranges. The aesthetics, style and harmony will be noted by 3 colours: Bronze, Silver and Gold. Have a look and see which package suits your needs.

We are extremely fond of the Chalets on offer especially Les Chalets Cocoon. These 7 Chalets are located in the charming village Saint Marcel. They provide a totally relaxing atmosphere with their unique, personalised, authentic décor. They offer a typical Savoyard feel which makes it so cosy.

If you’re planning a winter fun holiday then look no further, Saint Martin is a winner!



I partnered with the brand to write this article but every word is mine

Michael Caines Launches Luxury Country House Hotel In East Devon

Michael Caines, one of Britain’s most celebrated and best known chefs, is set to open the luxury country retreat Lympstone Manor in Devon in spring 2017. Located on the southern edge of Lympstone village, between Exeter and Exmouth, the Grade II listed Georgian mansion is set in 28 acres with unrivalled views overlooking the Exe Estuary. In the process of being fully restored and renovated by Michael and his team of talented architectural and interior design specialists, the former private home will be transformed into a 21 bedroom hotel featuring contemporary interiors that still retain a sense of place and a 60-seat fine dining restaurant.

“The opening of Lympstone Manor is the realisation of a dream,” says the two-Michelin star chef, who is from nearby Exeter. “Everything that I have achieved in my long career has brought me to this point where I can fully express my vision of contemporary country house hospitality for the 21st century. I can’t wait to welcome old and new friends to my new home!”

Exceptional cuisine and wine

With Michael at the helm of Lympstone Manor, it is no surprise that exceptional cuisine and wine will lie at the heart of the experience. After achieving two-Michelin stars and then holding them for 18 consecutive years, Michael has built his reputation on a visionary style of cuisine that celebrates the seasonal bounty of Devon and the southwest. Having taken a year out to develop Lympstone Manor Michael has had time to work on some new dishes and concepts as well as looking forward to recreating his signature dishes with local and seasonal ingredients. Three beautiful dining rooms overlooking the Exe Estuary, each with their own decor and identity — Haldon, Mamhead, and Powderham — are stunning venues to experience Michael’s exciting cuisine.

With plans to plant a vineyard on the slope leading down to the Exe estuary, the appreciation of wines including local wines from Devon and the UK as well as the finest from around the world — is a central element to the Lympstone Manor experience. Wine is very much a shared passion for both Michael and co-director Steve Edwards who has developed an impressive wine list for the hotel. There are two basement cellars as well as a wine tasting and dispense room opposite Lympstone Manor’s three dining rooms located on the ground floor. The tasting room will be used to house wine storage cabinets alongside a bank of Wine Emotion dispense machines for the service of wines by the glass as well as a sommeliers table where small groups can enjoy a bespoke wine tasting experience.

Garden

Once a private home, the grounds of the hotel, which skirt the edge of the estuary, are being developed into a landscape that puts the house at the heart of the estate with terraces and planting that matches the splendour of the setting, allowing guests to enjoy the magnificent view of the Exe Estuary.

Interiors and Design

Interiors at Lympstone Manor have been created by Meraki, a dynamic design duo whose sophisticated interiors bring warmth and character to the property. The brief for Meraki was to create a sense of escapism while reflecting the poetic beauty of the Devon countryside and keeping the aesthetic contemporary.

Guestrooms and Living Areas

The stylish guestrooms at Lympstone Manor are all named after birds that live in and around the estuary, making each room individual with a true sense of place. Every room reflects its namesake, from the blue jewel tones used in The Kingfisher room to elegant soft grey textures found in The Heron suite. The Heron is one of two luxurious Superior Estuary Suites complete with two side by side bath tubs and a spacious lounge allowing the guest to take full advantage of the views out over the estuary. Many of the guestrooms at Lympstone Manor come with their own terraces or balconies to maximize on the hotel’s superb vistas. Three Grand Estuary Suites and three ground floor Master Estuary Suites have the added luxury touch of an outdoor fire table and soak tub, perfect to luxuriate in all year round.

The polished interiors of the guestrooms are mirrored in the public areas on the ground floor. The lounge has a light and airy feel with soft beige and cream details and floor to ceiling French windows opening onto the garden and that spectacular view. The walls are adorned with nautical maps which reference the areas strategic vantage point for trade and exploration during the medieval times. Complementing the cream tones of the lounge is the hotel’s uniquely designed copper bar, found at the end of the room. Here, guests can enjoy the hotel’s signature cocktails or one of the hotel’s many wines by the glass.

Local Area and Things to Do

In addition to enjoying the exquisite fine dining at Lympstone Manor, the property is able to arrange wine tasting and vineyard visits for guests wanting to know more about local wine. For those looking for a leisurely stroll, the ‘Lady’s Walk’, created in 1760 when the property was in its main development as a private home, is a 30 minute circular route along the boundary of the hotel, taking in the shingle of the estuary. The Exe Estuary is an SSSI – a designated Site of Special Scientific Interest – due to being a haven for birds with nearly 20,000 wading birds and wildfowl found in the area. For guests wanting to discover the area, bicycles are available from the hotel free of charge to discover The Exe Estuary Trail that runs past the bottom of the hotel grounds, connecting Exmouth with Lympstone, Topsham and Exeter. Also nearby is the Jurassic Coast, a 95 mile long World Heritage site that celebrates 185 million years of earth’s pre-history and history. Exeter is a great choice for a day out with the Cathedral, Woollen Trail and Underground Passages to explore or nearby Powderham Castle, built in 1391 and now in its 28th generation.

Where

Lympstone Manor is only a short distance from Exeter, easily reachable by train, car or air, making it the perfect rural escape. Located between the small farming and maritime village of Lympstone, complete with over 70 listed buildings, and the neighbouring town of Exmouth, Lympstone Manor is surrounded by un-spoilt countryside and an abundance of wildlife.

 Nightly rates at Lympstone Manor will start from £245 per night including breakfast.

www.lympstonemanor.co.uk

The Dorset Cereals B&B Awards 2016 - Camomile Cottage

The third (and last) B&B Heart Home visited as judges for the Dorset Cereals Awards 2016 was Camomile Cottage, a 16th Century timber framed farmhouse on the outskirts of Eye in Suffolk.

Camomile Cottage

Camomile Cottage is situated down a single track private lane and is surrounded by a wonderfully mature garden. Inside the two double ensuite bedrooms are decorated in a style to suit the history of the house. It's beams, sloping floors and low door frames are charming reminders of its age, but it has been renovated and furnished with comfort in mind. Something we were thankful for as we sank into the duck down pillows after a hearty meal at the local pub.

Camomile Cottage Inside

But with this B&B you don't just get a room. You also get free run of the downstairs sitting room (with a roaring log-burner) a guest kitchen (fully stocked with every tea or coffee you have ever heard of) and a sun-room/breakfast room from where you can watch the wildlife in the garden. And you also get Aly the owner, who could not have made us more comfortable with a pot of tea and home-made cake on arrival, tea or coffee in bed if we so desired, and a beautifully cooked breakfast.

Eye, Suffolk

If you can tear yourself away, Camomile Cottage is within easy reach of the historic city of Norwich and the Norfolk Broads, Bury St Edmunds with it’s traditional market and Abbey ruins, Ipswich quay, Woodbridge with it’s sailing and Framlingham’s impressive castle, Debenham’s antique shops and the artistic coastal havens of Southwold, Dunwich, Aldeburgh and peaceful Walberswick. We didn't have time to explore but we did visit nearby Eye with its castle relics and impressive church and guildhall.

The winner will be announced next month.

Dorset Cereals has a brilliant relationship with B&B's across the UK, with many owners serving their cereals as part of the all-important breakfast. As a result, Dorset Cereals set up their annual B&B Awards in 2015 to celebrate wonderful and unique places to stay in the UK. The awards honour Britain's breadth and variety of B&B's - from beautiful and quirky, to rustically charming or magically modern.

The Dorset Cereals B&B Awards 2016 - The Old Stocks Inn

Following on from our previous post on the Dorset Cereals  B&B awards, the second one up for judging was The Old Stocks Inn. Situated in the heart of Stow, Cotswold, this b&b brings together a mix of 17th-century charm with modern day luxury. We were completely smitten.

Wanting to move away from the dark and rustic feel of so many Cotswold hotels, The Old Stocks Inn underwent major refurbishment in the last year. Keeping the best of their 17th century heritage – the beams, the Cotswold stone walls and the oddly-shaped rooms sprinkled with modern colours and fabrics that feel fresh and inviting.

From restful rooms and hearty food, to artisan coffees and hand-crafted ales, The Old Stocks Inn has something special to offer and gives the warmest welcome in Gloucestershire. We thoroughly enjoyed our stay, with a super friendly staff we immediately felt at home. This b&b is full of quirky corners that we were busy off exploring and taking pictures.

Theres a delightful coffee shop where we indulged in cakes and coffee upon our arrival. We also highly recommend the restaurant, as the food was delicious and they offer a really interesting menu. To finish the evening we sipped cocktails by the bar which we were very impressed by! The following morning we had a mighty breakfast to kick start the day! Again we were spoilt for choice.

Stow-on-the-Wold

The Cotswolds is located in South Central England and spans across Gloucestershire, Oxfordshire, Wiltshire, Somerset, Worcestershire and Warwickshire. The region’s most iconic landmark is of course the rolling Cotswolds Hills, but it’s also famed for its picturesque villages, river valleys, beech woods and lush green meadows.

Stow is a welcoming, cosmopolitan town and a captivating place to visit. Brimming with history, it’s also home to contemporary coffee houses, traditional tea rooms, antique shops, pubs and boutique hotels. A farmers’ market takes place on the second Thursday of every month and is packed with fresh local produce.

Dorset Cereals has a brilliant relationship with B&B's across the UK, with many owners serving their cereals as part of the all-important breakfast. As a result, Dorset Cereals set up their annual B&B Awards in 2015 to celebrate wonderful and unique places to stay in the UK. The awards honour Britain's breadth and variety of B&B's - from beautiful and quirky, to rustically charming or magically modern.

The Dorset Cereals B&B Awards 2016 - Escape B&B

Heart Home are very excited to be working with Dorset Cereals on this years' B&B awards and we've been selected as the judges for the 'Quirkiest' category. It's a tough job but someone has to do it. 

Escape B&B

So first on our list of the three short-listed venues, was The Escape B&B in Llandudno, North Wales. On a quiet residential street, in the shadow of the Great Orme and only few minutes walk from shops, restaurants, and the beach, this imposing Victorian building certainly piqued our interest.

The front garden and the view from our room.

Escape was launched in October 2004 by Sam and Gaenor, who decided to “escape” their hectic lifestyles after the birth of their daughter Grace, to open Llandudno’s first Boutique B&B. This grand Victorian villa was duly transformed from 5 flats into nine double bedrooms which have been individually designed (by Gaenor, an Interior Designer) with a different contemporary theme.

Just four of the nine individually designed bedrooms.

We had a lovely stay. We were warmly welcomed by the manager with a drink and a chat about breakfast times and where to eat locally (there are plenty of places to eat and drink near by, and to suit all tastes) and he also showed us the list of DVD's we could borrow from (huge!). Our room was very comfortable, with a great view and a few quirky touches (different coloured lights depending on your mood for instance) and a very luxurious shower room.

Llandudno

Llandudno is also a great place to visit with a sweeping beach, Victorian architecture, lots of shops and plenty of activities. It's also a perfect base from which to explore North Wales, although we sadly weren't there long enough to do that.

To be recommended.

Dorset Cereals has a brilliant relationship with B&B's across the UK, with many owners serving their cereals as part of the all-important breakfast. As a result, Dorset Cereals set up their annual B&B Awards in 2015 to celebrate wonderful and unique places to stay in the UK. The awards honour Britain's breadth and variety of B&B's - from beautiful and quirky, to rustically charming or magically modern.

Bourne & Hollingsworth Bar Re­‐Launches With A New Look

Bourne & Hollingsworth Bar is a quirky cocktail bar in the heart of Fitzrovia, originally opened in 2007 and now relaunching with a new design concept. From the people behind Reverend JW Simpson, The Blitz Party and Bourne & Hollingsworth Buildings, the new look B&H Bar will still offer the late night partying and original cocktails with which the bar made its name, but with a more luxurious and grown-up feel.

Situated in a discreet basement at the bottom of Charlotte Street , Bourne & Hollingsworth Bar has long been known as the go-to hangout for in-the-know Londoners and was originally celebrated for its chintzyinteriors reminiscent of a stylised 1920s living room. The new look is no-less flamboyant, this time bringing a more modern and luxurious feel to the space and featuring an eclectic mix of painstakingly sourced materials and contrasting periods. 

Bourne & Hollingsworth Bar may well have been leaders in the field of cocktails in teacups, but with this new refurb they are clearly moving away from their vintage roots . The new B&H Bar menu playfully crosses little known homemade ingredients such as Thai basil syrup; culinary techniques such as moss and pine 'Highland' spray or the CO2 charged aged rum; and intelligent twists on party classics such as the Popstar Martini with its passionfruit champagne jelly or the 'Blue Wray' falernum-laced Heisenberg Daiquiri.

The New design is a firm departure from the former retro aesthetic, whilst retaining much of the original layout. The leather banquettes that lined the walls have been rebuilt and upholstered in delicate coral silk and finely woven cream wool, buttoned in bright florals. The marbled bar is expertly echoed on a smattering of table tops, interspersed amongst live edged oak, black glass and piano finish gloss. The chairs are all individually sourced antiques, brought up to date with bold primary colours and exotic prints from as far afield as Asia and South America. Uniting the elaborate aesthetic is the rich pink and warm white, hand painted fabric wallpaper, and the original parquet flooring, restored to its former simple beauty.