ESCAPE THE COLD. EMBRACE THE COLD. WHICHEVER; HERE’S HOW TO DO IT BEST…
Whether you want to turbo-boost your festive season with skidooing under the aurora-lit skies of Lapland, or top up your Vitamin D with sunshine and see-through seas in the Maldives, here are our top 10 destinations for a winter escape…
1. SRI LANKA
A treasure trove of cultural, architectural and natural gems, ideal for both romantic getaways and family holidays, Sri Lanka tops our list of winter escapes. From its palm-fringed golden beaches, to the Cultural Triangle’s ancient sites to Hill Country’s lush plantations and Yala National Park’s wildlife-rich safaris, this island boasts extraordinary diversity. Luxuriate in chic villas and arguably the best boutique hotels in the world, and feast on egg hoppers, kottu roti and the ubiquitous ‘rice and curry’. For those with more time, Sri Lanka combines beautifully with the Maldives…
2. THE MALDIVES
The Maldives is the ultimate paradise archipelago and the perfect destination for those wanting to switch off and escape the cold. Whether you choose an overwater bungalow or beachfront suite, the Maldives offers luxury and tranquillity in equal measure. With unparalleled privacy and direct access to the warm, see-through sea, you can swim, snorkel and scuba dive in this kaleidoscopic underwater world teeming with marine life, or simply bask in the sun on powdery white beaches. Other “activities” here include eating gourmet cuisine and indulging in world-class spa treatments. The Maldives is ideal for romantic getaways, but it also offers a fantastic family escape; with 150 plus resorts to choose from, we can guide you to the best resort for your needs.
Africa never fails to thrill and amaze and Botswana is the jewel in Africa’s crown, offering a truly pristine safari experience. These luscious, hippo-filled deltas are home to some world-class luxury lodges, blending seamlessly into the natural environment. Explore the unspoiled Okavango Delta, alive with bird-filled floodplains, roaming elephants and the echoes of lions at dusk. Glide through the waterways in a traditional mokoro canoe, witness the Great Migration in the Chobe National Park, and sleep under the stars in the Kalahari Desert. Botswana is a haven for those seeking a true connection with nature and an authentic African adventure.
4. NEW ZEALAND
New Zealand beckons thrill-seekers and connoisseurs of luxury with its awe-inspiring terrain. Indulge in opulent lodges and chic hotels while embracing adrenaline-pumping activities like helicopter tours, jet boating, bungee jumping, skiing, surfing and more. Journey through Middle Earth, from the volcanic landscapes of the North Island to the majestic fjords of the South Island. Immerse yourself in Maori culture, hike the awe-inspiring Milford Track and indulge in the vibrant food and wine scene. The genuine warmth of New Zealanders ensures an unforgettable escape.
5. COSTA RICA
Embark on an eco-conscious journey through Costa Rica’s vibrant rainforests and stunning coasts. A paradise for nature enthusiasts and families seeking adventure, this country offers private eco-lodges and bespoke wildlife experiences. Wake to the symphony of wildlife, explore tropical biodiversity, and unwind in secluded, candle-lit lodges. Venture into the wild with jungle treks and volcano tours, or embrace serenity on the beach with sustainable retreats, rejuvenating yoga, and sunset barbecues after a surf.
6. SOUTH AFRICA
Not only are they World Cup winners, South Africa has a dazzling array of winning qualities, from the vibrant art scene and bustling city life in Cape Town to the serene Winelands and sensational cuisine of Stellenbosch. The iconic Table Mountain provides a stunning backdrop for urban explorers, while the Garden Route offers breathtaking coastal drives. Embark on a Big Five safari in the Kruger National Park, unwind on the sun-kissed beaches of the Eastern Cape and choose from an exceptional standard of hotels. With its achingly cool boutique hotels, first-class gastronomy, diverse cultures and spectacular wildlife, let South Africa work its magic on you this winter.
7. SKIING IN THE DOLOMITES
With tourist-free cities and sublime skiing, winter is a great time to visit Italy. For a ski holiday that combines stunning landscapes with world-class slopes, Italy’s Dolomites are unmatched. Offering some of the best skiing in Europe, the Dolomites are known for their sunny days and excellent snow conditions. After a day on the slopes, indulge in the region’s renowned cuisine and unwind in luxurious alpine resorts. Whether you’re carving down the slopes or simply enjoying the mountain air and scenic tranquillity, a ski holiday in the Dolomites is a must-try.
Dreaming of deep desert adventures? Oman offers authentic Arabian charm and combines an off-the-beaten-track feel with uncompromising luxury. Explore Muscat’s bustling souks, discover ancient forts and tombs in Wadi Ghul – Oman’s answer to the Grand Canyon – and venture into the mesmerising Wahabi Sands Desert, speckled with Bedouin camps. The journey isn’t complete without a relaxing stay on Oman’s sun-drenched coast. Here, you can witness baby green turtles and embark on serene dhow cruises at sunset.
Embrace Peru’s rich mosaic in 2024 – a blend of intriguing cultures, communities, living traditions and beliefs, amazing food and pisco, astounding nature, history and archaeology – from the coast to the Andes to the Amazon. Trek the ancient Inca trails to Machu Picchu, delve into Peruvian arts, history and gastronomy, and enjoy relaxing wellness retreats. Whether it’s a multi-generational trip, an activity-packed adventure with friends, or a solo exploration, Peru promises an enriching and spiritual journey.
10. SWEDISH LAPLAND
There are few things more festive and romantic than a luminous display of the Northern Lights on a crisp, clear Scandinavian night. For those eager to fully embrace winter, head to Sweden’s far north between September and late March for a pure winter wonderland experience. Known for its Sami culture, reindeer herding and cosy log cabins, Swedish Lapland promises a refreshingly healthy, heart-warming vacation. Enjoy skiing, skidooing and dog sledding through twinkling white snow, followed by crackling fires and hot tubbing under aurora-lit skies.
Get in touch to start planning your tailor-made winter holiday:
Spoiler alert – it is. However it’s never too late to book an escape or two.
We have compiled a list of where’s HOT this year (both metaphorically and wowzer make sure you pack that factor 50)!
From the sun-kissed beaches of the Turkish Riviera to the bucket list adventures of Tanzania, and the cultural wonders of Malta, these ten destinations offer something for every traveler seeking a perfect summer escape.
TURKISH RIVIERA A Coastal Paradise
The Turkish Riviera, with its stunning Mediterranean coastline, boasts idyllic beaches, crystal-clear turquoise waters, and a rich historical heritage. Indulge in sun-soaked relaxation, explore ancient ruins like Ephesus, and savour the delectable flavours of Turkish cuisine. The Turkish Riviera is a haven for beach lovers and history enthusiasts alike.
PORTUGAL The beauty and the feast
Portugal, a treasure trove of natural wonders and cultural heritage, promises a remarkable vacation. Immerse yourself in the vibrant atmosphere of Lisbon, explore historic sites such as Sintra’s Pena Palace, wine tasting in the Alentejo and enjoy the breathtaking cliffs of Algarve. Portugal’s warm hospitality, mouthwatering cuisine, and breathtaking landscapes will leave you wanting more.
A Tropical Paradise
The Maldives, a dreamy archipelago in the Indian Ocean, offers pristine white-sand beaches, crystal-clear waters, and a world-class underwater paradise has the total WOW factor. Dive into the coral reefs, unwind in luxurious overwater bungalows, and indulge in rejuvenating spa treatments. The Maldives is the epitome of luxury and tranquility, providing the perfect escape from everyday life. Summer isn’t an obvious time to go but we will let you in on a secret – the weather is still good and the prices are cheaper!
TANZANIA The Land of Wildlife and Adventure
For nature enthusiasts and safari seekers, Tanzania is a must-visit destination. Witness the breathtaking Serengeti migration, climb the majestic Mount Kilimanjaro, and explore the stunning Ngorongoro Crater. Tanzania’s vibrant wildlife and awe-inspiring landscapes create an unforgettable adventure that will ignite your wanderlust. Let’s not forget their stunning coastline as well.
THAILAND A Tapestry of Culture and Beauty
Thailand, known for its vibrant street markets, ornate temples, and stunning islands, offers a diverse range of experiences. Immerse yourself in the bustling streets of Bangkok, visit the ancient temples of Chiang Mai, and unwind on the picturesque beaches of Phuket. Thailand’s warm hospitality, tantalising cuisine, and rich cultural heritage will captivate your senses.
MAURITIUS Tropical Bliss in the Indian Ocean
Mauritius, a paradise island nestled in the Indian Ocean, offers pristine beaches, azure waters, and a fusion of cultures. Relax on the palm-fringed beaches, swim with dolphins, and explore the vibrant markets of Port Louis. With its natural beauty and warm hospitality, Mauritius is the perfect destination for a romantic getaway or a family vacation.
MEXICO Where History and Beauty Converge
Mexico, a land of ancient civilizations and vibrant traditions, beckons with its rich history and diverse landscapes. Discover the awe-inspiring Mayan ruins of Chichen Itza, unwind on the stunning beaches of Cancun, and explore the colorful streets of Mexico City. Mexico’s vibrant culture, mouthwatering cuisine, and breathtaking landscapes will leave you spellbound.
INDONESIA A Tropical Wonderland
Indonesia, an archipelago of over 17,000 islands, offers a wealth of natural wonders and cultural treasures. Explore the lush jungles of Bali, dive into the underwater paradise of Raja Ampat, and witness the majestic Borobudur Temple in Java. Indonesia’s diverse landscapes, warm hospitality, and vibrant traditions make it a true tropical paradise.
MALTA A Mediterranean Gem
Malta, a small archipelago in the Mediterranean Sea, is a hidden gem with a rich history and stunning landscapes. Wander through the charming streets of Valletta, explore ancient temples like Ħaġar Qim, and relax on the tranquil beaches of Gozo. Malta’s unique blend of culture, history, and natural beauty will leave you enchanted.
FRANCE Le joie de vivre!
France, synonymous with art, fashion, and exquisite cuisine, is a destination that needs no introduction. For rugby fans France will definitely be on the horizons for September and October. However this summer why not discover the romance of Paris, explore the charming villages of Provence, and bask in the glamour of the French Riviera. From the iconic landmarks to the picturesque countryside, France offers an unparalleled blend of elegance and charm.
These ten destinations, each with its own unique allure, promise an unforgettable summer vacation. Whether you seek coastal paradise, cultural immersion, wildlife adventures, or luxurious relaxation, these destinations have it all.
Especially in the Mediterranean, well Portugal to be more precise. The Portuguese are well and truly geared up to receive the tourism they so heavily rely on.
I’ve always thought of Portugal as that undiscovered restaurant that you are hesitant to share with others incase it balloons in popularity. Personal feelings aside, my Portuguese counterparts are eager to show how impressive their Country truly is.
Lately, it seems there is an air of nervousness about travelling anywhere, which has not been aided by British media and travel regulations. Portugal as always are waiting with (socially distanced) open arms for holiday makers. So to perhaps tempt you, here are some reasons to visit:
My dad always used to make a joke about the Dalai Lama ordering a pizza and it being one with everything. I feel the same about Portugal being a multi faceted holiday destination; you have a jaw dropping coastline as well as plenty of fly and flop beaches, bustling markets, vineyards galore, buzzing cities, UNESCO world heritage sites, culture, national parks, mountains, countryside, variety of cuisine, lakes, rivers and much much more.
PASTEIS DE NATA Portuguese custard tarts
Portuguese happiness in its purest form. Sometimes I will amend a route just so I can head to Pasteis de Belem, where the recipe originated in 1837, brought, some say, through a secret underground corridor by monks in the kitchen of the magnificent, neighbouring Monastery of Jeronimos.
Having travelled a fair bit with my job over the years, I’m hard pushed to find beaches I adore more than in Portugal, from the east of the Algarve where you’ll find gentle seas and remote little islands to the more rugged landscapes of the West. If you travel north up the coast past beaches such as Odeceixe, a turquoise swirl of river running through it, you’ll reach the undisturbed white sands of Comporta and Costa de Caparica, where horse riding is encouraged and great beachside restaurants are plentiful. For surfers however, you’ll be wanting to head north of Lisbon to places like Santa Cruz and Nazare – where an impressive coastline frames local towns.
LUXO BARATO Affordable Luxury
Portugal as well as being authentic and relatively untouristed, has a cheaper price tag than other European countries, and whilst it may not have the finesse of say Italy or Greece, they more than compensate for their shortfalls through culture and charm. You will be hard pressed to find many Starbucks or big chain restaurants. Luxury hotels are sensibly priced with many off the beaten track gems being an absolute steal – even in the summer months! This goes for the food and wine too, and I’m talking about the Michelin star suspects.
~ Find a fado bar order a glass of port or bica pingado (aforementioned strong coffee) and listen, along with locals, to a singer performing traditional songs.
~ Explore the beauty that lies within their many churches and monasteries from the whitewashed churches of the south to Sao Francisco in Porto, where more than 450lb of gold encrusts the interior. Porto
~ Admire picture-perfect tiles or azulejos as the locals call them, which seem to flood many an instagram feed of any visitor to the country. In the south the colours are more warm reds, blue and white throughout the country and yellows, greens and blues in the Alentejo countryside region.
~ ARTisans, they live off the land and use materials such as cork to make anything from furniture to jewellery.
~ Cities; Porto is brimming with soul, old-world charm and gorgeous architecture (JK Rowling spent some time here sponging up some inspiration). Lisbon with its yellow trams, steep hills and buzzing nightlife. As well as lesser known cities such as Coimbra, which is bursting with culture and great eateries!
~ Festivals, Portuguese love a party! They are also a very proud country, and even last year for Dia do Portugal in June, they still lined the streets with bright decorations and feasting stands.
~ Football, their life blood. It’s a slim chance to find a public establishment that does not have a TV on showing football.
The wine is unapologetically fabulous. Anyone who has been to Portugal knows (or will soon learn) about the wonder of the Portuguese grape. With a good year-round climate and the influence of the Atlantic, the country is known to produce some of the best wines on the planet, and with them keeping a lot of its produce to themselves (unlike many others), you can be guaranteed its extensive quality and affordability. Each region of Portugal has its own distinct climate; the cooler temperatures and Atlantic breeze make the far north of Portugal (north of Porto/Braga region) ideal for producing the very popular ‘Vinho Verde’, whereas the daytime heat and cool nighttime temperatures in the middle of the countryside, as you head further south into the Alentejo region, are perfect for ripening the grapes for a beautifully smooth red (otherwise known as ‘Vinho Tinto’).
Much like the wines, Portuguese olive oil is one of the country’s best-kept secrets, but once tasted it is never forgotten. I love some freshly baked pão caseiro with oil, a staple at most restaurants throughout the country, and if it’s on the menu order some Serra da Estrela cheese.
The Portuguese food scene has often been overlooked, however the country’s young chefs are bringing delicious twists to traditional dishes like cod and grilled sardines infused with locally foraged herbs and spices. A handful of the most successful big names such as Rui Paula and Jose Avillez have set the bar high for the others. Notable spots include Rui Paula’s DOP in Porto and DOC which sits on the River Douro. Belcanto and Cantinho do Avillez, all owned by Jose Avillez should be on your list of places to try in Lisbon.
When in the Algarve many like to flock to notorious beach spots such as Maria’s and 2Passos for their fresh fish and chilled rose, be sure to book however, especially in the summer!
As a bonafide foodie I tend to veer off the tourist path to local places with daily changing menus and opportunities to practice my broken Portuguese. My clients will always be given a full list of my regional favourites to dine at and dishes (for example the Francesinha in Porto – essentially a croque monsieur on steroids).
An activity I’m not entirely convinced the Portuguese do (which may have something to do with their Schwarzenegger strength coffee), yet their country is full of enticing places to lay your head at night. The hotel scene in the 90s was either rustic bed and breakfasts or big hotel chains, now we’ve seen a rise in unique boutiques.
I don’t shy away from bigger hotel groups; in fact there is the gorgeous Six Senses in the Douro Valley that is much like others in the group, spa centric and a real hub of wellbeing. The location lends itself perfectly to the nature of the brand and it’s top of my list for some high end R&R in Portugal.
Most recently I’ve discovered boutique hotel Pálacio Príncipe Real in Lisbon, a city in need of what Gail and Miles (the owners) have brought to it. It has all the bells and whistles of a five star hotel yet without the stuffiness, the ethos here is enjoy the place as if it were your own. The interiors are timeless and classy, no corners have been cut here – your bedroom even comes with a SMEG fridge filled with little treats. Plus any hotel with freestanding bathtubs in their rooms wins my vote.
Outside the cities you have places like their countryside and wine region Alentejo, which is populated with relatively unheard of boutique hotels such as a firm favourite of mine – Herdade Malhadinha Nova. Owned and run by the Soares wine family you essentially feel like one of their amigos when you go to stay. A few of their bottles have labels designed by their grandchildren, which like the rest of the estate gives a real personal experience.
If you were to do a road trip, which I thoroughly recommend you could twin the above mentioned with a visit to Fazenda Nova Country House in the Algarve. Another, best kept secret, type place. The owner’s taste can be seen in the architecture of the former farmhouse, eclectic artwork and vinyl library. Another great find in the area is family friendly Vilamonte Farmhouse. You are also in close proximity to the gorgeous fishing town of Olhão where you wander the cobbled streets in the evening and get speed boats over to deserted islands during the day.
I could wax lyrical all day long about the accommodation in Portugal, or just the country in general, so please do get in touch with me if you want to know more.
Alas there you have it, Portugal, plan your travel now to experience it in all its glory.
We remain in complete support of taking Portugal off the UK’s red travel list. If you would like to read a much more accurate account of the situation over there, please read this article. The was written by top travel journalist Mary Lussiana who lives in the country.
ROMANCE ISN’T DEAD. BOOKING YOUR OWN HONEYMOON IS.
A honeymoon – the trip poised and ready to beat all others. It’s the first jaunt as husband and wife and therefore we agree it should be pretty special…
Let’s fast forward to at least a modicum of normality where travel has returned and quarantining and ‘air bridges’ are a 2020 past time. Your 2021 honeymoon. Now is a better time than ever to start planning as many sought after experiences are booked way in advance, and due to most holidays taking a sabbatical this year availability is looking slimmer than usual.
However the good news is we are here to help and we absolutely love honeymooning planning. So, whether you have an idea of where you’d like to go, or you can’t agree on which destinations suits whom better, we’ll tailor make it to you both.
Take a browse at some suggestions below, a fraction of the endless possibilities of where to go.
We will work with you so that your honeymoon is designed to what you are looking for, we then make sure that you are VIPd along the way…
Type of honeymoon:
~ UNIQUE ~
AWASI, PATAGONIA, CHILE
Solitude and adventure
Awasi Patagonia is a truly unique and personalised experience from the very beginning. Shielded from the harsh Patagonian winds, this collection of twelve individual villas are the height of secluded luxury. Formed from 12 luxury cabins, each having a personal 4×4 and guide, you can customise your adventure down to the last detail; whether it is a hike to the Laguna Azul (Blue Lagoon), glacier walking or admiring the abundance of wildlife on horseback – it really is up to you.
CAVAS WINE LODGE, MENDOZA
Wine infused camping experience
If, like us, you have a penchant for fine wines, then look no further than Argentina’s charming boutique Cavas Wine Lodge.
With only 14 rooms spread through the beautiful, bucolic Mendoza vineyards and fringed by the awe-inspiring Andean mountain range, Cavas Wine Lodge is a true retreat. This classic, authentic lodge is an Argentinian gem, that showcases the quintessential colonial-inspired architecture with white-washed walls that are designed to enhance the views of the vineyards and mountains. Offering a wealth of wine-based activities, this precious hideaway is an ideal place to learn all about the world of Argentine wine, whilst also promising that much-needed holiday relaxation.
MAHU WHENUA, NEW ZEALAND
Home sweet homestead
Nestled within over 55,000 privately owned hectares of New Zealand countryside, Mahu Whenua is an ultra-luxury retreat located on the South Island near Wanaka, just 60 minutes from Queenstown. This unique luxury lodge exudes intimacy, privacy and seclusion, and with only four individual Ridgeline suites and a maximum of 12 guests at a time. Escapism at its finest.
This state-of-the-art home has uninterrupted views of the breath-taking New Zealand scenery that surrounds it from every corner. While the in-suite fire crackles in the corner, you can soak in the bathtub and take in the surrounding greenery and snow-capped mountain views.
TREE HOTEL & AURORA SAFARI CAMP, SWEDEN
In the depths of Swedish Lapland is a hotel with a truly one of a kind concept, the Treehotel. Comprised of seven unique treehouses, this accommodation makes full use of its surroundings and seamlessly blends with its design and eco-friendly practices. Surrounded by pine trees and incredible views of the Lule river, it’s a world away from home.
A stay at the Tree Hotel goes hand in hand with a few nights at the Aurora Safari camp. We know what you are thinking camping and snow are not natural bedfellows but trust us this experience is cosy and nothing short of pure romance.
~ BEACH ~
SIX SENSES ZIL PAYSON, SEYCHELLES
Castaway all cares
The Six Senses group pride themselves on selecting remote yet accessible destinations in areas of outstanding natural beauty, and their bespoke creation Zil Payson certainly lives up to this philosophy.
Coral-fringed beaches and massive granite rocks create an air of drama and beauty in this haven of perpetual summer. Step in tune with nature, swim with turtles and enjoy an intimate destination that is a tropical ode to well-being and absolute comfort.Secluded and spacious, one- and two-bedroom villas are surrounded by tropical vegetation and offer unsurpassed ocean vistas, private infinity pools and GEM (Guest Experience Maker) butler service.
KASIIYA PAPAGAYO, COSTA RICA
Luxury Wilderness Oasis
This exclusive eco retreat is made up of just five luxurious air-conditioned tented suites positioned within 123 acres of protected forest home to monkeys, macaws and thousands of other exotic species.
Situated by two pristine Pacific beaches, you can enjoy watching whales and dolphins pass by the sheltered coves during the season (October-February) and soak up the sun, with a cocktail in hand, at the hotel’s private beach cabin
AMANKILA & NIHI, INDONESIA
Like a fine wine and truffled brie, the Amankila and Nihi are an idyllic couple to marry together.
Starting in East Bali on Amankila’s secluded beach sipping a coconut and totally switching off is not a bad way to start your married life! The vibe at this hillside resort is pure hedonism without pretentious stuffiness.
Hopping from the sublime to the surreal on sumba island, where you will be greeted by a Nihi jeep and embark on a scenic journey of stripped back Indonesia before descending in to a beautiful island paradise. Surf the world’s most coveted wave, swim with horses at sunset, meet ancient tribal cultures, go on a ‘spa safari’, drink a G&T in your own private tree house or enjoy a whole beach to yourselves.
Nihi is special there is no doubt about it, might be why it’s won number hotel in the world several years in a row, but somewhere so wow needs to be on a honeymoon itinerary surely?
~ CITY ~
MARIA CRISTINA, SAN SEBASTIAN
Home to one of Spain’s most luxurious properties is the historic city of San Sebastian. Grand and elegant in style, this charming palace provides the perfect base to explore the cultural city and its rich heritage.
Grand décor and exquisite guest rooms aside, the hotel’s charm is enveloped in the incredible gastronomic paradise. With 16 Michelin starred restaurants across this enchanting city, prepare your palette for a mix of the world’s most divine dishes and enjoy a pre-dinner cocktail at the Dry Bar, home to the best Martinis in the Basque region.
HOTEL EDEN, ROME
A Dorchester collection hotel
Hotel Eden is a classically elegant yet refreshingly unstuffy grande dame in a 19th-century villa near the Spanish Steps Borghese Gardens.
You’ll never go hungry here, or in Rome in general, but the Michelin star restaurant would be pretty nice to spoil yourselves with on your city-moon!
After dinner go to the rooftop bar to marvel at the capital of the ancient world…
Waldorf Astoria, Amsterdam
17th Century Palatial charm
No detail is too small for this hotel. Whether you want your partners favourite flowers to be waiting on arrival or your first song to be playing as you enter your room, they really go above and beyond for their clients.
Each comes with a view of either the canal or the beautiful courtyard garden, and are rather spacious (a rarity for city hotels).
After walking or cycling around the the buzzy Dutch city, the hotel will welcome you back with a high tea, massage in the spa, dip in their pool or even a private cookery lesson!
There is just something so romantic about the timeless elegance at Waldorf Astoria Amsterdam on the UNESCO ‘Gentlemen’s Canal’.
~ SAFARI ~
&BEYOND SANDIBE CAMP, OKAVANGO DELTA
Stylish and sophisticated safari life
Situated on the south-eastern Okavango Delta, in pride of place within a private nature reserve of almost 20,000 acres. The location of the Sandibe Camp was carefully chosen for its outstanding natural beauty and close proximity to some of the most wildlife-rich wilderness in this part of Africa, now a Unesco World Heritage Site. After a light aircraft transfer from Maun or Kasane, you can get straight into safari mode with a pleasant 45-minute game drive to camp.
There are twelve suites at Sandibe, all raised on stilts above the ground to make the most of the stunning views, sweeping across the river and the plains. The rooms are intimate and spacious at the same time; nestled amongst the trees, decorated in light natural tones with vast open-plan living areas. Each comes with a private multi-level viewing deck complete with a personal pool and outdoor shower.
JONGOMERO CAMP, RUAHA NATIONAL PARK
Traditional wildlife experience
Under the magnificent shade trees, on the banks of a seasonal river in the remote southern sector of the Ruaha National Park, Jongomero is gloriously isolated. Far from the madding crowds, this secluded idyll offers a chance to discover true unadulterated wilderness.
Ruaha, Tanzania, also holds one of the greatest populations of elephant in any African park. Buffalo gather in large herds, as well as giraffe, zebra, impala, eland, hippo, crocodile, lion and leopard. The rarer, lesser-seen creatures can also be found, including sable and roan antelope, dikdik, greater and lesser kudus, Grants gazelle and honey badgers. It is second only to Selous Game Reserve for the largest population of wild dog. Let their experienced guides show you the wealth of biodiversity Ruaha has to offer, with game drives, game walks and walking safaris.
AZURA QUILALEA PRIVATE ISLAND, MOZAMBIQUE
Marine safari life
The perfect Crusoe fantasy. Just nine thoroughly romantic seafront villas on a baobab-studded island in a remote archipelago, with pathways through shady forests to crescent beaches on which turtles heave up to lay their eggs, and a reef so close you can snorkel back to your room after breakfast.
~ MINI MOON ~
Can’t get away from work? Raising a family? Want to spread a single, major honeymoon across a series of bite-sized escapes? For a variety of reasons, neatly packed romantic getaways have become increasingly popular. This flexibility is the appeal of the mini-moon. But don’t confuse ‘mini’ with ‘minor’ – they’re still packed to the rafters with luxurious lodges, heavenly hotels, and exhilarating experiences. Check out just some of our mini-moon trips below.
BORGO SANTO PIETRO, TUSCANY
Nestled deep in the remote Tuscan countryside, Borgo Pignano is a hidden gem that exudes authentic rural charm with a dose of magic. Set on 750 hectares of pristine rolling hills, this unique retreat was originally a hamlet dating back from the Etruscan times.
With only 14 rooms in the main 18th-century villa and a handful of casas dotted around the hamlet, at this intimate retreat you can’t help but feel instantly revived. A place that doesn’t just look good, but feels good, Borgo Pignano specialises in organic bio-dynamic homegrown produce which makes for the perfect refuel after days exploring the surrounding countryside – or perhaps just hitting the spa.
THE RETREAT AT BLUE LAGOON, ICELAND
Iceland is a remarkable destination famed for one of a kind landscapes of stunning natural beauty. From exploding geysers to thundering waterfalls and steaming hot pools, treat yourself to a luxury holiday in Iceland. Quite possibly the most enviable address in the country, The Retreat at Blue Lagoon is a place where ‘at’ really means ‘at’. With wall to wall glass, you’re at the centre of the geothermal waters, we would happily move in.
KASBAH TAMADOT, ATLAS MOUNTAINS
Traditional Moroccan retreat
Perched high in the Atlas mountains, Kasbah Tamadot is a majestic retreat sumptuously decorated for decadent mountain luxury. The name is berber for ‘soft breeze’, signifying the fresh air and calm environment.
Rich red carpets, intricately carved wooden furniture, pillows and throws that create a warm, traditional Moroccan feel. All suites include a terrace or balcony, and the master suite has its own private pool. The berber tents are one step up, being out on their own decks with huge soft sofas, heavy Moroccan doors, bronze lamps, and canvas walls which can be tied up to reveal panoramic views of the mountains. These are tents fit for a king and we highly recommend them.
The hideaway lodge
Set in neatly manicured grounds on the outskirts of the New Forest, Lime Wood is easily accessible from London. For honeymoon perfect privacy, pick the Pavilion Forest Lodge- a separate lodge away from the house. Complete with a four-poster bed, a private terrace overlooking the countryside and a roll top bath in the bay window.
FOXHILL MANOR, COTSWOLDS
Lord and Lady of the manor
‘Whatever you fancy, wherever you fancy it’ is the moto at Foxhill Manor. It really is like staying with very tasteful, very accommodating friends – who have no rules! Your personal host will be on hand 24 hours a day to make sure you have everything you need, every minute of your stay. With just eight bedrooms, the revitalised Arts and Crafts mansion is a contemporary Cotswolds country home with 400 acres to play in.
What we love about this place is the freedom to roam the Manor as you please. It allows flexibility to shape your experience, so pop into the kitchen, speak to the head chef and create your own bespoke menu. And the of course, you can eat it anywhere you want. Burger in the bath anyone?
Aside from thinkers and planners we are also a Prezola ambassador and our clients are entitled to the platinum wedding gift list service.
Wine lovers rejoice! First in the series of Grape Escapes we will be exploring Portugal, aka the motherland of delightfully tasteful and inexpensive vinho.
Have you ever wondered what makes the difference between a ‘Dao’ and a ‘Douro’? Or perhaps what exactly it is that gives ‘Vinho Verde’ it’s sparkle? There’s always time to find out and we’ll help. As self-confessed wine experts and having ‘tried and tested’ top Portuguese vineyards, we are here to point you in the ‘wine’ direction of exploring a country that has so much to offer.
With a good year-round climate and the influence of the Atlantic, Portugal is known to produce some of the best wines on the planet, and with the country keeping a lot of its produce to itself (unlike many others), you can be guaranteed its extensive quality and affordability.
You won’t find a ‘screw-top’ in sight; not only is wine one of Portugal’s biggest commodities, but their bottles are stoppered with authentic and locally grown cork, which is one of their biggest exports; the corks naturally let in a small amount of air, which fuller red wines can benefit from. It oxidizes the tannins, which helps create a smoother finish, nutty aroma and an overall more drinkable wine.
Each region of Portugal has its own distinct climate; the cooler temperatures and Atlantic breeze make the far north of Portugal (north of Porto/Braga region) ideal for producing the very popular ‘Vinho Verde’, whereas the daytime heat and cool nighttime temperatures in the middle of the countryside, as you head further south into the Alentejo region, are perfect for ripening the grapes for a beautifully smooth red (otherwise known as ‘Vinho Tinto’).
The landscape and nature changes so much across the country, that to experience it and quite literally get a flavour for the country as a whole, travel from top to bottom or vice versa is a must!
Accommodation throughout the country can range from a renovated monastery or convent to a minimalist and eco-friendly beach house or a traditional farmhouse with a modern finish. While much of your time is spent enjoying the surroundings and sampling local flavours and delicacies, the opportunities for activities such as golf & horse-riding are endless.
The ideal time of year to visit is in the September/October months, when temperatures are pleasantly warm, evenings are still long, the ‘summer crowds’ have thinned, and most importantly it is the Harvest season across the vineyards.
Of course no wines should be tasted without the accompaniment of a freshly baked sourdough loaf, or a variety of local artisan cheeses and smoked hams from surrounding farms.
With the perfect mix of beautiful historic architecture, beams of countryside and stunning coastlines & beaches, Portugal truly ‘has it all’.
Journey down the long and ‘wine’ding roads and discover the very best of what this beautiful country has to offer. Get in touch with us for more information; [email protected]
*As ever with any our trips we take the stress out of planning, cost the same as going direct and we will give you our insider knowledge as well as making sure you are VIPd where ever you stay.
Braga – Porto – Douro Valley – Coimbra – Areias do Seixo – Lisbon – Comporta – Evora – Alentejo – Algarve
Suggested wineries by region:
Vinho Verde (north of Braga) – Palácio da Brejoeira + Solar de Merufe
Bairrada (near Coimbra) – Quinta Mata Fidalaga
Dão (near Coimbra) – Parador Casa da Insua
Porto – Taylor’s
Douro Valley – Esporão + Quinta do Vesuvio + Quinta de La Rosa + CARM
Lisbon/Tejo (Lisbon & Comporta) – Quinta do Monte d’Orio + Herdade de Comporta + Casal Sta. Maria
Alentejo (Alentejo) – Herdade de Malhadinha / Herdade dos Grous / Herdade de Freixo
Algarve (north of Portimão) – Morgado do Quintão + Quinta Barranco Longo
Suggested places to Stay:
Braga – Torre de Gomariz Wine & Spa Hotel
Porto – The Yeatman + Rosa et al townhouse + Mo House
Douro Region – Six senses Douro Valley + Douro41
Coimbra – Quinta das Lágrimas
Lisbon/Terras Novas – Areias do Seixo
Lisbon city centre – Palácio Príncipe Real
Comporta – Sublime Comporta + Casa Palmela + Casas Na Areia
Évora – Convento Espinheiro + São Lourenço do Barrocal + Da Licença
South Alentejo – Herdade Malhadinha Nova
Algarve – Fazenda Nova Country House + Vilamonte Farmhouse
East Algarve – Grand House (This is a great stop off at if you want to twin your Portugal road trip with a Spanish extension)
This week as we explore the wanderlust continent of Africa and with bank holiday weekend looming we thought we’d suggest another batch of virtual travel material…
Whether you’re seeking inspiration for a trip to Africa or want to venture there for an afternoon or two then download/order one of these books:
1. AFRICA: Altered States, Ordinary Miracles
by Richard Dowden
“I write chiefly for outsiders, those who have not been to Africa but would like to know more about it.” – For the past three decades or so Dowden has travelled this vast and varied continent, listening, learning, and constantly re-evaluating all he thinks he knows. His readers journey with him country by country, as he has sought out the local and the personal, the incidents, actions, and characters to tell a story of modern sub-Saharan Africa – an area affected by poverty, disease and war, but also a place of breathtaking beauty, generosity and possibility. The result is a compelling, illuminating, and always surprising Africa insight.
2. Dark Star Safari
By Paul Theroux
Theroux earned his reputation as one of the all-time great travelogue writers because he lives every word that he writes. Dark Star Safari takes readers on his voyage from Cairo to Cape Town. He endures danger, delay, and dismaying circumstances which make for quite the page turner. It’s an honest account of his epic and enlightening journey and a refreshing take on overland travel in Africa.
3. Ivory, Apes and Peacocks: Animals, Adventure and Discovery
By Alan Root
Root’s personal account of childhood and professional life is a fine African memoir, taking his readers from the adventurous innocence of wildlife-filming in colonial Kenya to the complexities of recent years, in particular the murder of his wife Joan in 2006, which we are lead to believe is because of her anti-poaching campaign.
4. Savannah Diaries
By Brian Jackman
This book collects Jackman’s accounts of game parks, including meetings with legendary safari guide Robin Pope. The first is when Pope is a rookie, apprenticed to Norman Carr, the grand old man of the Luangwa Valley; the second takes place 30 years later, when Jackman joins Pope for a walking safari.
Having written about the animals and landscapes of Africa for 40 years or so you can really explore with Jackman and his attention to detail.
5. The Elephant Whisperer: My Life with the Herd in the African Wild
by Lawrence Anthony with Graham Spence
Conservationist Lawrence Anthony devoted his life to protecting the world’s most endangered species. The Elephant Whisperer depicts his time bonding with a herd of ‘rogue’ elephants, which he saved from being killed by taking them in as his ‘family’ on his Thula Thula game reserve in Zululand. This really is an energetic firsthand reportage from the heart of the African wild.
This book may make you cry, laugh and have you completely absorbed, but it will also have you planning your next safari trip straight away…
Virtual travel, travelling virtually, whatever you want to call it, the bottom line is we aren’t going anywhere at the moment. Sobs aside, we can certainly still plan for freer times and daydream about far flung destinations…
Let’s travel virtually with our top pick of films and TV programs that transport you somewhere further than Costa del backyard.
1. The Beach
It might reaffirm your desire for a nice hotel over a hostel, but Leo’s journey to a hard-to-reach island, described as the ultimate paradise with white sands and clear water should makes for a nice couple of hours in Thailand.
2. The Motorcycle Diaries
Visit Latin America on a road trip with Ernesto “Che” Guevara, and his his pal Alberto Granado. Filmed through major landmarks in South America, as per Che’s memoir, from the Andes mountain range to Machu Picchu and even a leper colony in San Pablo.
3. The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel
Grab and a gin and tonic and hunker down for an evening in Jaipur with a pleasing ensemble cast (including Judi Dench, Celia Imrie, and Bill Nighy), who prove how deeply travel can stir us, at any age.
4. Out of Africa
The film is timeless and should be on everyone’s travel film list. If it doesn’t tempt you to Kenya I don’t know what will…
5. The Bucket List
This is a heart warming film that will inspire you to tick one or two things off your travel wish list. Filmed in various locations in India, China, Egypt, Tanzania, France and the US there’s no shortage of places to virtually travel to.
6. March of the Penguins
Any time is a great time to revisit this cuddly classic filmed in Antarctica – but now seems particularly good. Morgan Freeman narrates the story of a year in the life of the Emperor penguins, who waddle across glorious but perilous icy landscapes on an annual trek for mating season. Plus with solar eclipse next year it’s a good time to think about booking an Antarctic adventure.
7. Street Food
Experiencing street food culture is one of the joys of travel. This inspiring series from the makers of Chef’s Table is as much about the compelling survival stories of these talented street chefs as it is about their signature dishes.
Including countries: Thailand, Japan, India, Indonesia, Taiwan, South Korea, Singapore, the Philippines, and Vietnam
The Oscar-nominated heart-rending true story of the rangers risking their lives to save the Congo and its endangered gorillas.
8. Magical Andes
From Argentina to Colombia, this inspiring documentary follows five characters who share their deep connection to South America’s majestic mountains.
9. Travels with My Father
Jack and Michael Whitehall are bonded by blood and not much else. They take us on comical journeys with them through South East Asia, Europe and the US.
10. Joanna Lumley’s Hidden Caribbean: Havana to Haiti
She’s one of our favourite tour guides, and this time she leads us into a lesser-seen side of the Caribbean in her new two-part documentary, Joanna Lumley’s Hidden Caribbean: Havana to Haiti, which begins in a boxing gym in the lively Cuban capital.
Near the market towns of Bruton and Castle Cary a love affair between this exquisite working estate and Pippa Rose Lifestyle began…
The Newt in Somerset is a quintessential escape to the countryside kind of place. Within acres of gardens and woodland sits Hadspen House which dates back to the 18th century, and was the family seat of the Hobhouse family for two centuries.
There are 23 individually designed rooms which are laid out between Hadspen House and the Stable Yard buildings. There really is no such thing as a bad room (which makes our job a little easier). Rooms in Hadspen House offer a more Georgian fare with sash windows and serene colour palettes, whereas in the stable yard they are a little more playful and wonderfully eclectic in design.
South African owners, Karen Roos and Koos Bekker have put an equal amount of love, care and detail into this new property as they did into their wildly successful southern hemisphere estate – Babylonstorren (which we also adore). This attention to detail can be seen throughout the Newt with an artful mix of freestanding bath tubs, four-poster beds, bespoke shades of Farrow & Ball and quirky art pieces.
There are numerous country pursuits to be enjoyed across the estate – be it a game of croquet, stroll through the ancient woodland, cyder (Newt coined spelling) tour and tastings and a not to be missed garden tour (ask for Arthur he’s wonderful!). And if like myself you don’t come equipped for countryside pursuits, fear not as they have plenty of wellies and rain macs to borrow!
After a cyder or garden tour you can relax in the main house and enjoy an afternoon tea or head to their pretty wow spa. The spa houses a swimming pool, indoor-outdoor hydro pool, sauna, steam room, halotherapy room, authentic Hammam and a mud rasul chamber. There is also a gym which features ground to ceiling glass and overlooks the private kitchen garden
Food lovers will rejoice at their being no shortage of good dining options. The Garden café is another glass façade job and focuses it’s menu on what you see is what you eat. The Botanical Rooms comprises of two spaces – the immersive glass room and an intimate oak room, both of which carefully curate menus to showcase the lifecycle of the Estate and Somerset region.
We can also arrange a private dinner in the original vaulted cellar.
Treat yourself in their excellent farm shop and buy bottles of Newt apple* juice to take home, along with their own ‘cyder’, pressed in the barn next door as well as Babylonstoren wine, homemade chutneys, pates, honey, bread and other foodie goodies.
* FUN FACT – The newt has 267 varieties of apples
Why we love it: The complimentary larder in your room is stocked with the delicious Newt cyder which can be enjoyed in front of a cosy fire.
How to get there: The Newt is just 30 miles from Bath. GWR services arrive from London Paddington, Bristol and Exeter, direct to Castle Cary Station, from which transfers are available.
Rates start from £275 per night
(Guests have access to the gardens, entry for non-guests is £15)
I’m one for leaving the for the obligatory Christmas shop until the 24th December, and before I get scrooge heckled at me – I simply enjoy everything else to do with Christmas aside from gift purchasing. Over the years it has meant friends and family have been treated to an assortment of questionable gift vouchers.
This year, if like me, you fancy doing the same then Pippa Rose Lifestyle are fashioning some lovely gift vouchers.
We don’t believe in plastic so you can either receive a hand written gift card or an electronic one.
You may chose to gift a sum of money or a pre-booked jaunt (be it a city break or luxurious train voyage).
Here are a few of our suggestive festive treats:
Venice Simplon Orient Express
Journey on the Venice Simplon-Orient-Express from London for a luxurious overnight trip to Venice, where you arrive late afternoon the next day just in time for an aperitivo!
Priced from £2,573 per person (for more details of the journey and what is included please get in touch)
The Newt, Somerset
Sister of the infamous Babylonstoren in South Africa, The Newt is one of the most exquisite country house hotels Britain has seen, and nothing says gift of the year like a two night stay at this sought after bolthole.
Priced from £255 per person for a two night stayincluding breakfast, cyder tour, garden tour & spa access (we will even throw in a gorgeous bottle of Babylonstoren wine)
* We can also arrange a two night stay at Babylonstoren priced from £400 per person.
Waldorf Astoria, Amsterdam
Treat someone to the experience of timeless elegance at the Waldorf Astoria Amsterdam on the UNESCO ‘Gentlemen’s Canal’.
Priced from £550 per person for a two night stayincluding breakfast, $100 spa credit & complimentary upgrade subject to availability
Six Senses Douro Valley, Douro Valley
Like any Six Senses property this luxurious eco friendly estate is pure holistic hedonism. Everything one might want after the indulgence of the festive season…
Priced from £270 per person for a two night stayincluding breakfast, $100 spa credit & complimentary upgrade subject availability
Corral Del Rey, Seville
The Queen of foodie city breaks, this Andalusian gem is hidden down cobbled streets within minutes of top tapas restaurants!
Priced from £200 per person for a two night stayincluding breakfast, some delicious olive oil & a Pippa Rose Lifestyle guide to the city
Sun Rocks, Santorini
Christmas is a time for SANT-orini (the destination is far better than my ill use of puns). This great little boutique is ideal for honeymooners, couples, mother daughter trips or friends so it really is a safe bet on the purchasing front.
Priced from £760 per person for a two night stayincluding breakfast and a bottle of crisp white vino
Alexa J, Greece
Go over board the Christmas and give the gift of this thoughtfully designed sailing yacht with the facilities and craftsmanship of a large super yacht, coupled with the highest levels of personal service (including your own spa therapist- fancy!)
Priced upon request…
If you’d like to arrange a tailor made gift or voucher please get in touch with the team: [email protected]
Just when you thought you’d freed yourself of the younger family members post summer holidays – the milder evenings begin to draw in and the schools are eager to give the little blighters back to you for another educational interlude. However don’t fret as we have you covered for October half term, be it a staycation or the allure of some Arabian sun.
Here are a handful of our family favourites:
Six Senses Zighy Bay, Oman
An Oman family holiday ticks all the boxes, enjoy dolphin and whale-watching trips, water sports galore or simply make the most of the long stretches of sandy beaches. Zighy Bay in particular should come with a warning – future holidays WILL struggle to compare. Mum and dad can enjoy the Six Senses Spa which offers a full range of relaxing treatments, two Arabian hammams, sauna, steam and ice rooms and a gym. Whilst the little ones can enjoy anything from feeding the onsite goats to sand castle building galore.
Why we love it: They have sustainability at their absolute core.
The Almyra, Cyprus
For a destination that has it all, Cyprus is your family go-to this half term. From child-friendly beaches to ancient historical sites, there’s something for everyone. Short flight times and a warm climate make Cyprus a stress-free option for the younger family.
The Almyra Hotel has exceptional childcare and plenty of activities to keep even the unruly of children occupied, ensuring you too have a relaxing and rejuvenating break. The in-house spa offers an array of holistic treatments alongside a sauna and fully functioning gym overlooking the Med. There are four restaurants on-site providing international as well as local Cypriot cuisine, so no need to worry about the fussy eater either!
Why we love it: Affordable luxury in both sister properties too!
Chewton Glen, New Forest
Channel your inner child and explore their beehive treehouse during your stay, or put the kids to work in hotel’s cookery school. Traditionally British Chewton Glen has to be enjoyed at least once in one’s lifetime, it is One of the first luxurious hotels to combine a sophisticated country house with quality dining and all the spa trimmings.
The staff to guest ratio is one to one, we know – very Downton Abbey! But it is by no means overly pretentious or stuffy and you may actually find you never want to go home!
Why we love it: The stunning seasonal menu has been created to showcase local suppliers and produce grown in Chewton Glen’s own gardens.
La Mamounia, Marrakech
For a cultural experience, escape to northern Africa this half term. Marrakech is a unique holiday destination for the curious looking to dive into the bustling medina and meander the souks of this historical part of Morocco. Not only does this destination have a sunny and warm climate this time of year but you are working in the same time zone making it an easy adjustment for the shorter trip.
A stones throw away from the famous Jemaa el-Fnaa square, La Mamounia is a truly mesmerising five star palace which will impress any Instagram-obsessed teenager. La Mamounia’s artistic private villas are set amongst stunning gardens and a terraced pool area perfect for family holidays. Once home to royalty, the hotel has a unique charm that has invited many a VIP through it’s doors.
Why we love it: Time is irrelevant at La Mamounia.
Borgo Egnazia, Puglia
Immerse yourself in southern Italy this October. Puglia is an authentic Italian destination in the heel of the famous “boot”, offering a slower pace setting, stunning beaches, real Italian food and wonderful year-round sun. If you want to experience all the best bits of Italy without battling the crowds, head to the rugged coastline of Puglia.
Borgo Egnazia comprises of a collection of white-washed villas laid out like a traditional Italian village on the coastline of Puglia. The panoramic setting offers 4 swimming pools and a vast wellness centre overlooking San Domenico golf club. Ever the tradition in old Puglian villages, the picturesque piazza di Borgo is a local hot-spot for festivals, music and entertainment keeping the children endlessly entertained.
Why we love it: You can take bikes and ride all around the vineyards!
Planning and organising a successful family holiday can often take a similar amount of time as the UK leaving the EU, which is why we are here to make sure the holiday not only happens in a timely manner but that you are looked after every step of the way.
If you’d like to book any of these for a half term holiday please get in touch: [email protected]
Being just days away from our next batch of government-anointed time off and the last minute temptation to flee beyond the bank holiday bargains at Sainsburys…
We thought we’d recommend some perfect boutique places for a three night stay.
Domaine des Etangs
Very few hotels in the world quite like this one. It is every wine, art, food and fun loving person’s ideal retreat in the rolling Cognac countryside. The 11th-century chateau sits on an impressive is spread 2,500 acre estate with individual cottages (one with its own wine cellar), lakes (equipped with pontoons and rowing boats), tennis court, cattle, fruit and veg farm, playground, swimming pool, michelin-starred restaurant and spa. Oh and it has its very own art gallery. The chateau itself boasts seven individually decorated suites named after planets and adorned with one of its kind antiques. As well as feeling like you are in Richard Curtis film you can totally escape daily routines and crowds.
For here you would either fly to Limoges or Bordeaux
Vilamonte Farmhouse, Algarve
Debunking myths of the Algarve being a mass market bucket and spade destination, the ever so boho-chic Vilamonte Farmhouse is perfect for a couple of nights away. The simple but elegant whitewashed rooms are lined with orange trees and pink bougainvillea. They make their own olive oil and fresh bread which goes down very nicely with a glass (or two) of Portuguese wine in either of their two local restaurants. To burn off some well enjoyed pastel de natas (portuguse custard tarts) they have a small gym, yoga, tennis court and bicycles to explore nearby beaches or towns. Loungers may enjoy the choice of two swimming pools and pop up cinema nights.
For here you would fly to Faro.
The Fish, Cotswolds
Any hotel that lets you bring a dog and invites said dog to enjoy and afternoon tea gets a yes from me! This gorgeous Cotswolds country estate is set on 400 rolling acres, two hours from London. Think relaxing in the bar by a fire or roaming around the grounds before tucking in to delicious head-turning gastronomy at their restaurant Hook. Sunday lunch with all the trimmings isn’t to be missed either.
For here we suggest driving.
The One Palácio da Anunciada, Lisbon
The latest addition to the Lisbon hotel scene definitely is the ONE (awful pun) but lets go with it. Housed in a 16th-century palace in Lisbon’s most exclusive neighborhood, The One Palacio da Anunciada blends beautiful original architecture with modern amenities and facilities, as well as being walking distance to famed cobbled streets of Bairro Alto and the like. Its outdoor pool (a rarity in the city) is reason alone to book a few nights here, that and its tapas restaurant…
For here you fly to Lisbon
Plaza Athenee, Paris
The wow factor. From the moment you walk in to the lobby you know this hotels oozes glamour and sophistication. I’m slightly sold on the fact that their pastry chef was awarded Meilleur Ouvrier de France (best gastronomic craftsmanship prize), which only one chef in Paris is awarded a year. The wine cellar and an Alain Ducasse restaurant are just an addition! The rooms are nothing short of perfection with splashes of colour and many with views of the Eiffel tower. Being located in high end fashion central it’s only natural they have a Christian Dior spa which hits the spot after a days sight seeing. And if spa-ing isn’t a relaxation of choice, might I suggest a martini in their achingly cool bar.
Eurostar or fly here (maybe even private jet if you fancy)
Katikies Santorini, Greece
Katikies, the grande dame of Santorini hotels, is everything that one is looking for on this Greek island. Hugging the iconic Caldera (a volcanic rim), with instagramable views, the property is ideal for honeymooners, romantics, friends or relatives. The headline act is the view of the Agean Sea, and the white suites with open-air dining area, sun decks and on an occasion a Jacuzzi, perform perfectly to support. The food and wine pairings are works of art and the infinity pools (plural) may lose you a few friends back home.
Fly to Santorini or twin it with Mykonos
Posada Terra Santa, Mallorca
Luxury without the big price tag. Think manor house-turned boutique hotel. Posada Terra Santa is well hidden amid a maze of alleys and sandy coloured buildings in Palma’s Old Town. Whilst this 16th-century home is a little hard to find, the reward is a wonderfully serene leafy courtyard leading to an intimate stay. It’s modern with curios art work and trendy rooftop pool, yet retains plenty of weathered stone and wooden beams for history aficionados to admire.
Fly to Palma for this option.
Les Deux Tours, Marrakech
A long admired destination for those who want heat, culture and exotic places to stay. Situated in the city’s lush Palmeraie, Les Deux Tours in Marrakech is a stylish boutique resort of traditional-style, tartari-ceilinged villas, sitting in some of the loveliest gardens in Morocco. When you tire of the souqs and the looky looky man, you can retreat back to your hotel and enjoy a hammam, some incredibly chic bars and two top-class restaurants, it’s the sort of place you could lose days in.
Another luxury option without the big price tag. This former family home has all the expected grandeur: chandeliers dangling from frescoed ceilings, glossy wooden floors and freestanding claw-foot bath tubs in every bedroom. Overlooking one of the biggest private gardens in Europe, the building adds to its heritage charms Italian design flourishes from the Fifties, Sixties and Seventies, and each room has its own quirks (framed scarves on the walls, faded football photographs, Lego constructions).
Fly to Bologna, Pisa or Florence.
Think ultra hip spa hotel that is part 19th-century landmark and part 21st-century architectural showcase. Amsterdam’s luxurious but laid-back Conservatorium hotel houses a top-tier restaurant and ever so cool holistic wellness set up. Austerely seductive suites make for indulgent city breaks, and its location is perfect for exploring.
For here it’s a quick flight to Schiphol
Not only will we ensure you are VIPd along the way but we also don’t cost anymore than going direct – it’s a win win really! If you’d like to book any of these for a last minute Bank holiday getaway please get in touch: [email protected]
If like me you’ve had a rather hectic summer or aren’t quite ready for knit wear, then a dose of September sunshine is just what you need. Having based myself in Portugal for well over a year now, and yes call me biased, but the glorious home of custard tarts and silly Ronaldo haircuts is just the place to go; beaches and towns are quieter in September, the temperatures in the south are in their late 20s, restaurants and bars are still in full swing and the Country’s notable wine producers go in to harvest for September and October (very key decision maker).
I could wax lyrical all day long about how much I adore Portugal but I’ll spare you the laborious read and suggest a few of my favourite September getaways.
Areias do Seixo, Santa Cruz
This hotel is total tranquility. Only an hour north from Lisbon this eco friendly foodie haven is just about one of the best hotels I’ve ever stayed at. In terms of style of the property think suspended fireplaces, large sea-facing terraces, herb gardens and eclectic art pieces. You feel slightly like an extra in a Boden catalogue as you board the hotel’s VW campervan down to Noah – its ever so cool and trendy surf shack, that’s if you fancy leaving the hotel for a jaunt. If you don’t, and who can blame you, there is so much to do within eco mecca – a notable experience being the Garden and Cookery experience where you are taken by the gardener to learn alongside picking your fruit, veg and herbs for lunch. Then it’s back to the kitchen for a cookery class with the chef. I’m hesitant to say too much as much of the allure of this place is the ambiguity.
Villa Monte Farm House, The Algarve
Long affiliated with cheap booze and football shirt wearing hooligans, the Algarve is perfect for any break, and with some gorgeous boutique hotels there isn’t a shadow of doubt that it has sophistication as a destination. Villa Monte is no exception to this – think boho chic farm house. The white washed walls aligned by orange trees and rich pink bougainvillea host a handful of lovely simply decorated rooms and suites. Food is local with fish being caught in nearby Olhao and bread freshly baked. Classic films are played each night which goes down very well with a glass of Portuguese red. Here’s one place that is cosy and fire lit in the winter and sun soaked in the summer, where you can opt to cycle to the beach or lounge by either of the two swimming pools.
Malhadinha Nova, Alentejo
Here’s one place I have enjoyed watching its success from being slightly unknown to featuring in every in the know travel publication, and for good reason. Rooms are bright and elegant in the quintessential Portuguese homestead and with just 10 rooms the place is never crowded. As its harvest season in September and Malhadinha boasts quite the wine collection this option comes highly recommended. Plus who doesn’t want to stomp around on grapes? Fine wine needs to be accompanied by fine food and Malhadinha Nova rear cattle and grow their own produce so the quality is quite something.
For a spot of R&R you can enjoy the spa, their gorgeous free flowing infinity pool, horse riding, leisurely walks around the estate and yoga classes. I feel totally at home here and that’s down to the superb hospitality of Bruno and his team.
Six Senses Douro Valley, Douro Valley
Like any Six Senses property this luxurious eco friendly estate is pure hedonism. Everything from the spa to the in-room bathroom products are totally pure and organic and whilst it’s a shame you can’t take home such lovely bathroom goodies, I applaud their efforts to avoid single use plastic and keep green. I’m bound to love a hotel that has it’s own charcuterie and cheese room at breakfast, a long side everything you’d expect from a hotel that promotes a healthy lifestyle- fresh juices, herbal teas, homemade granola and so the list goes on. Their farm to table food concept is not a foreign concept at boutique hotels nowadays but here they make full use of the produce from their gardens and their olive oil is out of this world. The Douro Valley is on many a tourist trail because of its famed wine producing, and the Six Sense bar really is the place to do wine tasting with world class sommeliers and breath taking river views.
Sublime Comporta, Alentejo
Comporta is the sort of place you feel you need a guest pass to access, having had Portugal’s elite frequent it’s beautiful shores each summer, you soon learn why it might just be Portugal’s best kept secret. By no means do I mean this is a flashy area of the Alentejo coast, yet it’s the un-spoilt beaches, vineyards and hard to beat local restaurants that make it so alluring. With little to no hotels in the area Sublime Comporta is everything the name suggests. The design is simple, a handful of minimalist cabanas, which I assure you are nothing short of luxury and with an instagramable pool and social firepit for the cooler cosy evenings, what more could you want?
São Lourenço do Barrocal, Alentejo
A relative new comer to the Portuguese boutique hotel scene – São Lourenço do Barrocal estate has been in the same family for some 200 years, and Jose Antonio Uva has loving restored the place to be the next place on all travel aficionados wish list. As a foodie I LOVE their farm to fork restaurant Hortelao, which sits within their vegetable garden and what better way to enjoy a late summer evenings then delicious food accompanied by jazz music. If that doesn’t appeal perhaps a picnic in the countryside would? Or a holistic yoga retreat? Also being the Alentejo, another top Portuguese wine producing hub – September and October are perfect time to be here.
The Conrad, The Algarve
Whilst this particular choice doesn’t fall in to the boutique hotel category it makes the cut because the hotel is simply first class. There is a reason the spa has won several awards; the experienced therapists will go above and beyond to look after you and they use aromatherapy associates, which say no more and book me in! And it’s not just the Spa that has won awards – Gusto by Heinz Beck has it’s own accolades where award winning Nelson de Matos will mix up quite the cocktail. Yoga with Lulu, perhaps not the night after Nelson’s concoctions, is a must for anyone visiting, followed by a dip in any of the eye popping swimming pools. September again is ideal in the Algarve weather wise and the Conrad also have a shuttle to the beach. General manager Katharina and her team really look after you and that is something that I often find is somewhat lost in larger hotels.
If you’d like to book any of these for a last minute September getaway please get in touch: [email protected]