Archive for the ‘Europe’ Category
Thursday, July 17th, 2008
Florence, Venice, Lake Garda, rural Tuscany….the very names conjure up sunshine, food, wine, romance and a way of life that is immediately distinctive and unmistakably Italian.
The city state of Florence, for example, offers a cornucopia – almost an over-abundance – of art, scholarship and architecture. The old city, which is compact enough to be walked around, is a treasure trove of culture and has an intimate atmosphere all of its own.
Rome is the bustling yet highly fashionable heart of the country, amid the ruins of an Empire of a people who “speak with their fingers, sing with their lips, make love with their eyes and rejoice with glasses and forks.” You and your wedding guests will have choices galore for sightseeing, then you can disappear to any number of archetypal small Italian restaurants for evenings of relaxed conversation and catching up on news and gossip.
A lesser-known feature of the coast just a train ride from Rome’s centre is the quality of its beaches – some of Europe’s finest – including Lazio, Argentario and Cilento. Alternatively, the city is surrounded by beautiful countryside, including ancient hilltop towns replete with regional culinary delights.
Then there are the delights of Tuscany – the Chianti wine region, olive groves, cypresses, terracotta-roofed villages and generally relaxed outdoor lifestyle. Add the warmth of the sun, music, wine and romance – you can face the music and dance! No wonder the region is a much-favoured region for European destination weddings (not to mention a politicians’ playground), where the more guests, the merrier and still have ample opportunity for intimate seclusion.
Online luxury travel agent Holidaysplease.co.uk will help you organise your dream wedding in Italy starting with the wedding venue to travel arrangements for family and friends. For more information or to book your wedding in Italy visit Italy Holidays at Holidays Please or to speak to a Holidaysplease wedding abroad specialist call 0845 3 65 65 65.
Monday, June 9th, 2008
Our third stop-off on this two week mission to find a wedding venue is the Estepona Palace along the beach front in the heart of Estepona. The hotel is really beautiful with a stunning grand reception, large spacious bedrooms (some in need of an uplift) and large grounds with a huge pool right next to the beach. The beach itself isn’t the best beach in the Costa Del Sol but just a five minute walk around the corner is a great swimming beach with drinks and snack bars.
My only reservation with this hotel is the popularity of it! The two previous hotels we’ve stayed in were very quiet and peaceful but at the H10 you have to fight for a sunbed and get down early in the morning to reserve a good spot. Breakfast time is also a bit manic and again getting there early pays off. Other than that it is quite lovely and bearing in mind it is peak time I guess it’s to be expected.
We did find a really lovely spot here where we could potentially have our wedding ceremony but its not quite exclusive enough for a quiet doo and the function/disco room was OK but not great.
The best thing about this hotel is the location, everything is either a short walk or short drive and its quite easy to get around and find your way back!
I haven’t been to the spa yet but it looks really lovely and quite reasonably priced as well. I may opt for a quick treatment in there before I am whisked off the our next hotel in Ronda, maybe a massage to recover from all the wedding planning!
Visit the H10 Website for prices and more information.
Photographs from The H10 Estepona Palace
Monday, June 9th, 2008
After checking out of the Rock Hotel Gibraltar, we headed for the Selenza hotel just outside Estepona. We got a bit lost because the hotel is not situated right on the beach, in fact its a little out of the way but we got there in the end.
The 4* hotel appears brand new and super modern with simplistic but effective decoration throughout. The snack bar, restaurant and pool area are also well looked after and beautifully styled. Our room was on the 3rd floor and was nice, the only downside was that a road ran directly passed the hotel so instead of listening to the soothing sound of the sea as I read my novel on the balcony, I could hear sounds of building trucks wizzing past and noisy pedestrians.
The Room itself was very nice; plasma TV, large bed, good wardrobe space, dressing gowns, good shower, very comfortable. If you decide to stay here, request a room on a lower floor overlooking the swimming pool – a much better view and more peaceful surroundings.
In terms of the appearance of the hotel itself I have no complaints. I do however think the location was poor, it is on the end of Estepona on the way to Puerto Banus (visited Trader Vics, Banus while staying here which I highly recommend if you fancy a night out). Not close to any shops therefore eating in the hotel restaurant is the only option if you don’t have a hire car or want to get a taxi. The food and drinks were overpriced and there is a limited selection.
If you get a chance to visit the spa please do, we were given vouchers to use the Thalasso Pool free of charge for the day which we took full advantage of. The spa is beautiful, very up to date, fantastic gym and there are some great treatments on offer. Treatments are expensive but a wide variety are available. I had a citrus body scrub to get rid of dead cells which was very relaxing and helped prepare my skin before my sun bathing sessions.
All in all, a lovely looking hotel in a poor location but well worth a visit if you fancy a few days of pampering and relaxation. Visit www.selenza.com for more pictures and information.
Photographs from The Selenza
Monday, June 9th, 2008
My fiance and I are currently travelling around Spain in search of wedding locations for next year. We decided to have a look around Gibraltar as we need to do the legal bits and pieces over there.
Our first thoughts were lots of building work, birds (and therefore bird poo) and not a lot to do in the area. We booked into the Rock Hotel for four nights but after one night we were board and realised we were paying far too much for our room so we checked out the following day to find somewhere a bit more modern and relaxing.
They were charging £150 per night for a junior suite that was nice but outdated, had large cobwebs in the corner and was not all that great. The bathroom however was really nice.
The pool was also nice but you have to cross a busy road covered in roadworks and cones to get to it. We only went to the pool once and while there a bird decided we would make a nice toilet! We soon upped and left! We were shown a beautiful area by the pool where we could have our wedding reception but the location of the hotel spoiled the mood a little.
On a chirpier note, my fiance had an Argentinian steak in the hotel restaurant one evening and said it was the best steak he had ever tasted. We may even go back there on the way to Gibraltar airport just so he can have another!
So all in all if you are in Gibraltar and fancy a nice meal, the restaurant serves some lovely food (and sangria) but if you are looking for a peaceful getaway in luxurious surroundings, stay clear!
Photographs from The Rock Hotel
Sunday, March 9th, 2008
Just as you think Ibiza cant get better, Ibiza Rocks the seasonal event of live music and wild partying takes over a hotel.
The former Club Paraiso hotel has now been renamed and will be open for the summer season. The 3 star hotel situated in San Antonio will include three swimming pools, a 24 hour bar, 2 pool side bars and gym and a restaurant to name a few. Just 300 meters from the beach and sunset bars the hotel is situated right in the centre of San Antonio. What do you get in your Ibiza Rocks holiday? Plenty of entertainment from pool parties to after parties, rep service and a guaranteed option to buy Ibiza Rocks gig tickets for indie’s freshest and finest bands. There’s also optional airport shuttle transfers and insurance. Studios are available based on 3 or 4 people staying with basic facilities including bath, shower, WC and kitchen.
Book your Ibiza Rocks holiday through the website. Seven nights at the beginning of July costs around £415 based on 2 people sharing.
Sunday, January 13th, 2008
The highly anticipated fourth bridge of the Grand Canal in Venice has caused much controversy and hit many problems along its way of creation, but now it’s due for completion this year.
The work of art, designed by Catalan architect Santiago Calatrava will be the first bridge to be added in decades and it’s said ‘officials believe the bridge is necessary because of the increasing number of activities which will be held in Roma Square’ according to the BBC. The new bridge will connect the Piazzale Roma the city’s bus station to Santa Lucia the city’s train station.
Another architectural masterpiece and great reason to visit the city of Venice, Italy. Visit the BBC for more information.
Friday, January 11th, 2008
Looking for somewhere chic and stylish to sleep when visiting Paris, renowned for being the most romantic capital of the world?
Check in to the L’Hôtel, the theatrical, ultra chic hotel has been host to many a star including Johnny Depp and is reportedly where the famous Oscar Wilde spent his last days. After a much anticipated makeover from Jacques Garcia, the quirky, quant hotel oozes sophistication. Facilities include a private swimming pool for two and the much publicised restaurant and bar. The boudoirs are beautiful with the choice of staying in the Apartment, the Grande room, the Chic room or the Bijoux and Mignon.
Visit the website, www.l-hotel.com to see it for yourself and enquire into prices.
Tuesday, December 4th, 2007
I’m not a big fan of swimming in the sea. So when I went to Nice this year my only stipulation was that that hotel had a private outdoor pool. I just wanted to chill out in the sun by a pool with a bar close by. Well I quickly discovered that there was lots to see in Nice and the surrounding area so what should have been a few days relaxing turned into a mad rush to see the whole of the cote d azure in four days… I just can’t go to a place and feel like I haven’t seen much of it!
What I did miss out on though was enjoying the facilities of a great hotel. The Radisson SAS Nice is located on Nice’s famous Promenade des Anglais – the road that runs along the sea front. Its a bit further from the town center than many of the other hotels but it offers a bus shuttle service until 6 o’clock (unfortunately after that you have to take a 30 minute walk or get a taxi which can be quite expensive). The hotel makes up for this by being the only residence in the area to offer a rooftop outdoor private pool and restaurant/bar area. The food is great and you can have a lovely evening watching the stars twinkling over the ocean from up high whilst listening to some excellent live music.
The hotel has a gym and some spa facilities – something else which is hard to find in Nice – and bedrooms with balconies overlooking the sea. This is a modern hotel with recently refurbished bedrooms in a vibrant eclectic style…. there was a bright red chili pepper mounted on the wall in our bedroom. You can book a stay at this hotel via lastminute.com
Tuesday, December 4th, 2007
I have just returned from a short stay in the quaint city of Brussels and must say Christmas is a perfect time to go. There were cute little Christmas stalls selling all kinds of unique knick-knacks and everyone was warming up by sipping glue vine (mulled wine) and munching on Belgian waffles.
If you do get the chance to visit the city head over to the Grand Place (pictured) when it gets dark, the light display is not to be missed, beautiful buildings are lit up and opera music blasts into the square, a huge Christmas tree is located in the centre so it will really give you that Christmas time feeling.
We took the Eurostar from St. Pancras International to Brussels and stayed at the Sheraton Brussels for three nights. I was really impressed with the efficiency of the train and amazed at the journey time (now less than 2 hours). The hotel was a short taxi ride away and we were slap bang in the middle of everything.
The Sheraton is rated as 5* but to be honest I thought the rooms and bathrooms were more 4*. Although everything was very clean and tidy the rooms are quite outdated and need a bit of an uplift. The hotel itself, restaurants, bars and spa are lovely and we had a very enjoyable stay. The only nuisance I found was because of the fantastic location we could hear a lot of traffic and police cars late into the night.
If you fancy a late deal and a chance to get some Christmas shopping in, get onto lastminute.com to see what’s available.
Tuesday, December 4th, 2007
I took my fiance to Madrid for his birthday and we stayed at the most amazing hotel just outside the city centre. I new the hotel was going to be nice but wasn’t expecting it to be so luxurious. At the time Last Minute were offering a fantastic deal on a 2 night break away and we were able to upgrade to the Juban Executive floor for hardly anything and add breakfast to our stay.
The Executive floor is situated at the top of the building, you have great views of the area and all the rooms are huge suites. The floor even has a private reception desk and an executive lounge that serves soft or alcoholic drinks, snacks and cake all day free of charge. We therefore spent very little money outside the hotel!
As you can see from the pictures, the rooms are extremely modern, spacious and beautifully decorated. The rooms on the executive floor consist of a kitchen area, lounge with flat screen TV, bedroom and bathroom with separate shower and toilet. If you want a short break away in pure luxury this is definitely a wonderful hotel to visit. Visit the Mirasierra Website for more pictures and information.