5 Best Itineraries for Your Next Cruise

If you dream of experiencing an unforgettable trip with your family or your partner, cruising can be the perfect answer to all your needs. Every year, many travelers book both ocean and river cruises and leave for a life-changing adventure.

There are many companies, such as Aqua Expeditions, that offer marvelous river and ocean cruises all around the world. All you have to do is pick your favorite itinerary and leave for your next adventure. If you still haven’t decided which one your next destination is going to be, we have selected five of the best itineraries to take into account before you book your cruise. Continue reading

4 Activities You Shouldn’t Miss Out on for a Luxe Berkshire Holiday

Image by Luxury London

The United Kingdom is full of luxury retreats, and there’s such a strong sense of culture no matter where you go. This rich and varied culture is what makes trips to the UK so irresistible, but also what makes it difficult to plan — with so many avenues and activities to explore, where do you even begin?

If you’re looking for a prime destination to visit while in the UK, look no further than Berkshire. Below are four suggestions for luxe travellers you won’t forget any time soon. Continue reading

Lunch at Murger Hanhan in London

Murger Hanhan is the restaurant everyone should come to when they travel to London. As London’s first authentic Xi’an restaurant, it is home to the irresistibly delicious Chinese Biang Biang Noodles. These super long noodles (12 feet in fact) are just as much fun to eat as they are to photograph and videotape. With so many reasons to visit, from efficient service to top notch cuisine for the whole family, it is no wonder I keep thinking about this spot nearly a month after visiting.

Murger Hanhan specializes in regional Chinese cuisine from Xi’an City in the Shanxi Province. This province is located in North China close to Beijing.

I already know I will be visiting here multiple times when I am back in London in the summer of 2020.

Coming in for lunch? Make sure you are one of the first groups to arrive. Murger Hanhan gets busy (very) quickly. The service is very fast without being pushy or overbearing, so you have plenty of time to enjoy your meal without feeling rushed.

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The Rockwell in London

It would be almost impossible to devise a better meeting place after work or after a day exploring London. After stepping out into the frosty air from the National Art Gallery, walk across Trafalgar Square to The Rockwell. A new destination cocktail bar and lounge at The Trafalgar St. James, it is the ideal destination to escape into your own libation fantasy.

Dapper and demure meets a celestial and botanical hideaway. Easily meet friends, colleagues, and loved ones here for a drink and some innovative bar food after work or pre-theatre. We visited on a Wednesday evening during their Mid-Week Magic that begins at 6pm.

 

Pure Magic

As you settle into one of their plush and sophisticated banquettes, you may be greeted by one of their resident fortune tellers, a caricaturist, or illusionist. They rotate every Wednesday throughout the months. During these magical evenings, their bar team whips up an array of carefully curated apothecary-style magical cocktails. How about trying the Illusion cocktail? Crafted with Kinahan’s Cask Project, White Tea Rinomato, Marshmallow Leaf, and Mancino Bianco Ambrato. (£14).

Cocktails

This is the location to have fun with and experience out-of-the-ordinary libations. The Rockwell in Trafalgar Square is the reason why you go out for creative cocktails. It is also where you go to discover and try new pairings brimming with imaginative elements.

Cocktails to try first are the ones crafted with Gin. Try the Plymouth Navy Strength made with Franklin & Sons Natural Indian Tonic. Garnish with Rosemary & Cranberry Tea (£16). For a magical escape, sip Myrtle’s Escape with Banana Purée, Licorice Water, Eucalyptus Soda (£9).

For Festive Cocktails, my favorite was the Tea for Nicholas. A marvelously festive concoction of Sandalwood Rebel Yell Bourbon, Chestnut Syrup, English Breakfast Tea, and Milk Foam. Served hot. (£14). Additional festive cocktails are crafted with Gin or Whiskey, like the Yuletide Gin & Tonic.

The Food

All plates are perfect for sharing. Recommended is ordering 2-3 per party of two. For nibbles, we suggest Lemon & herb Chicken Skewers (£10); and Skin on Fries with Rosemary and Parmesan (£5). For small plates, chose the Tuna Tartare, Avocado, Ginger; Crispy Prawn Tempura; and Beef Sliders with Cheddar and Mayonnaise (£12/each).

For something sweet, go with the Chocolate Fondant with Salted Caramel (£8).

There is also an all day dining menu. That menu has the addition of main courses and additional appetizer selections. I could easily spend a few hours here. The high-spirited vibe is invigorating yet relaxing. Conversations at The Rockwell should never be rushed through.

Images courtesy of The Rockwell

The Rockwell in Trafalgar Square is open seven days a week beginning at 11am.

On Thursdays from 8pm, The Rockwell hosts an evening of smooth jazz and bespoke cocktails with New Orleans vibe.

Coming up, there will be a special Christmas, and New Year’s Eve menu.

020 7244 2000

Pastaio Soho, London

The merriment in London’s Soho neighborhood is all about. The streets are flowing with shoppers, and plenty of dining options await. Pastaio Soho, a lively restaurant that serves up the freshest pasta, is the place to be to relax and refuel in between shopping, and photographing the Christmas lights.

With two other locations in Westfield and Market Hills, their Soho location is conveniently located just behind Hamley’s, and the Carnaby Christmas Lights. Picadilly Circus, Leicester Square, and Covent Garden are all within a short walking distance. With festivities all about in London, a hearty and housemade pasta dish is just the thing.

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Notable Festive Afternoon Teas in London

We have finally reached the gateway to the holiday season. As the gates to the season open, we are eager to share four notable festive afternoon teas in central London. These celebratory indulgences are a perfect complement to a day at one of London’s Christmas markets, a Broadway play, or shopping along Oxford Street.

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Four Festive Afternoon Tea Experiences To Try in Ireland 2019

Tour around the Emerald Isle this Christmas season while tasting some of their most festive afternoon tea. From Galway and around to Dublin, below are four locations for holiday inspired afternoon tea in Ireland to treat your loved ones and yourself to this December.

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An Elegant Festive Afternoon Tea at London Marriott Park Lane

London at Christmastime is a true treat for all visitors and locals alike. Tour the Christmas Markets, go on shopping adventures, see a holiday performance. There is much to do throughout the month of December into early January. A traditional afternoon tea with the festive trimmings and detailing is a work of art here at London Marriott Park Lane. An experience in London paired with Festive Afternoon Tea is a necessity. London Marriott Park Lane’s experience is as merry as they come.

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Dinner at The Merrion Hotel Dublin

The Merrion Hotel is the epicenter of festive and luxurious dining in Dublin. The Hotel, located in Merrion Square, is steps or minutes away from Grafton Street, Trinity College/The Book of Kells, and Chester Beatty. There are several dining options inside from an intimate cocktail bar to a two star Michelin restaurant. We dined at The Garden Room on this particular evening. The Garden Room, led by Executive Chef Ed Cooney, serves delightfully whimsical artisan dishes. The dishes quite literally pop off the plate. Not only is everything so delicious, the presentation and unique concepts are hard to come by elsewhere.

The Garden Room is family friendly, and lovingly pays great attention to the menu for their youngest guests. Their lunch and dinner menu includes diverse selections like a Grilled Dubliner Cheddar Cheese and Baby Tomato Toastie, and Steamed Filet of Cod.

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The Kings Head in Galway, Ireland

The Kings Head, a medieval pub with 800 years of living history, is located within the heart of the Latin Quarter in Galway, Ireland. You could perhaps not choose a better time to visit Galway than during the festive season. The Christmas Markets are open until late with their dazzling lights and holiday tunes echo into the night through Eyre Square.

Visiting for the day from Dublin or the east? Galway is about a two and a half hour’s bus or train ride from Dublin’s Heuston Station. The Kings Head is a landmark in Galway. Famous for their nightly live music, it is also “steeped” in centuries of history. Owned and operated by the Grealish Family for 30 years, they continue to carry the intriguing history forward. The Pub’s building dates back to the 13th Century. The Pictorial Map of Galway dated in 1651, for example, shows 15 High Street, the address of The Kings Head, as one of the most prominent buildings in Galway. The Pub is adjoined to Stubbers Castle. First thought to be a legendary tale, it was Colonel Peter Stubbers who was linked to the execution of King Charles I with further research.

The Kings Head got its name with the tale of Colonel Stubbers seizing his grand house on High Street in Galway. This house is now home to The Kings Head Pub.

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Five Favorite Christmas Markets in England

Image Credit: Chris Cooper

Surround yourself with the wonders and festivities of the season in Great Britain. The Christmas season is one of the most magical times to visit. Tour their many Christmas markets, including celebrations and merriment in Bath, Manchester, and London. Below we have highlighted five of our favorites that are encompass plenty of shopping and twinkles of destination discovery.

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Luxury Hotel Airelles Château de Versailles, Le Grand Contrôle launching Spring 2020

Do you adore the luxurious lifestyle of Marie Antoinette as much as I do? (Sofia Coppola’s 2006 is one of my favorites)! Have you ever dreamed of staying at Versailles? Well, you soon can stay on the palace grounds! Airelles is delighted to announce the much anticipated Airelles Château de Versailles, Le Grand Contrôle. The new hotel property will welcome its first guests in the spring of 2020.

This is the latest opening for the luxury hotel collection which already includes Les Airelles in Courchevel, France; La Bastide in Gordes, France; and, opening in December of 2019, Mademoiselle in the ski resort region of the French Alps, Val d’Isere, France.

Exclusive Access to Versailles

Set within the perimeter of the Palace grounds, Le Grand Contrôle will be the only hotel of its kind in the world; offering exclusive access and experiences at Château de Versailles to staying guests. The 14-bedroom luxury hotel will favour an 18th century style, with architect and interior designer Christophe Tollemer in charge of its design. As well as a private spa, guests will also be able to indulge in a sublime restaurant led by Alain Ducasse who has been a partner in the exciting project from the very beginning.

Images courtesy of Airelles Château de Versailles

Airelles, the luxury hotel brand of the LOV Group, is a collection of unique hotels in exceptional locations offering an authentic French sense of hospitality. For families, activities and specially adapted areas including a Kingdom of Children will be at each property. Les Airelles and La Bastide de Gordes are defined by their Palace classifications and Leading Hotels of The World status.

Airelles hopes to create a remarkable and exclusive collection of five star luxury hotels in France and abroad. Projects in the pipeline include The opening of Mademoiselle in Val d’Isere. Val d’Isere is a five star hotel and the only one of its kind to offer ski in ski out access.

Whistler Foodies Guide

Whistler’s reputation as a leading winter ski resort and summer playground often leads the fall season to get overlooked. The months of September through November provide a respite from extreme temperatures, a more laid-back pace and plenty of opportunity to enjoy the great outdoors ahead of the busy winter season. There are plenty of travel deals to be had too.

Whistler has become a culinary cornerstone and foodie paradise in recent years, helped by an endless supply of organic produce grown locally in Pemberton Valley. Armed with a bounty of delicious ingredients, Whistler’s finest chefs are able to serve up an array of dishes from the numerous restaurants and eateries. With the autumn harvest in full swing, the months of fall are best if you’re looking to truly enjoy a taste of British Columbia.

Here’s our foodies guide to fall in Whistler.

Araxi Restaurant

Five-Star Food

Aura restaurant is located in one of Whistler’s most beautiful spots. Nestled next to Nita Lake and part of the stunning Nita Lake Lodge hotel, the restaurant also has an open concept kitchen so you’ll be able to watch on as busy chefs prepare a variety of dishes. Led by Executive Chef James Olberg, the restaurant combines traditional French cooking techniques with a love of west coast ingredients. Free parking is available at Aura for those who wish to drive, or a free shuttle bus operates from Whistler Village to Nita Lake Lodge.

No list of Whistler restaurants would be complete without mentioning Araxi. As one of the earliest pioneers of authentic farm-to-table dining, it’s hardly surprising that harvest time is one of the best times to visit. The restaurant also champions west coast fishermen and is a great choice for seafood lovers. Freshly shucked oysters are available each day between 3 and 5pm in Araxi’s oyster bar. Executive Chef James Walt has even written a book, Araxi: Roots to Shoots, Farm Fresh Recipes, showcasing how Araxi’s famous Longtable Dinner events and dining room classics can be adapted for home cooked favourites.

Bearfoot Bistro is another leading Whistler restaurant worth adding to your list. Try your hand at sabering a bottle of Champagne or visit the Ketel One Ice room, the coldest vodka tasting room in the world. From a dedicated oyster-shucker to sommeliers, a friendly and experienced bar team to an extensive live music program, Bearfoot Bistro is perfect for apres-ski, dinner, drinks or late-night dancing. The iles de la Madeleine lobster is a hot addition to the menu comprising a seared scallop, Thai green curry, charred gai Ian, crispy ginger and chilli. 

Purebread

Ideal for breakfast

With so much to do in Whistler during the fall months, you’ll need a good breakfast to set you up for the day ahead. 

Purebread has three locations, Whistler Village, Function Junction, and Gastown in Vancouver, and all are notable thanks to their delectable selection of baked goods. Not only are Purebread’s sweet and savoury creations delicious, but they’re also affordable. Over 20 different loaves are baked here too, from the classic baguette to lavender rosemary bread, and you can grab a coffee too.

Street food selection

For a taste of Mexico in the heart of Canada, head to La Cantina. Mexican street cuisine includes delicious tacos starting at just $2.50, and their burritos are among the best in Canada. Beers are served here too, perfect for washing down tacos or burritos and a great latino vibe exudes from this Whistler hotspot.

Best for dessert

For that afternoon pick-me-up head to COWS. Located in the village, this much loved establishment serves homemade ice cream made to an old family recipe from Prince Edward Island. 32 varieties are out at all times and their waffle cones are made in-house. An ice cream is the perfect way to pass a warm and sunny fall afternoon.

Italian indulgence

Head to Il Caminetto to enjoy the best of Italian cuisine. The expert team of chefs blend local flavours with traditional Italian style and a host of hearty pasta dishes adorn their fall menu. Check out the extensive wine list too, designed to complement the seasonal menu.

Perfect pizza

On the journey from Squamish to Whistler, you’ll be treated to some of the best views Canada has to offer. You’ll also find Functional Pie in the heart of trendy Function Junction. Functional Pie serves up delicious New York inspired pan pizzas and the “Train Wreck” pizza comes highly recommended. The pizza is named after a local hike and popular tourist  site – the Whistler Train Wreck. The site is home to an abandoned rail cars now colourfully painted by local artists. The pizza version is equally as colourful, loaded with capocollo, pepperoni, mushroom, and pecorino.

Forged Axe Throwing

Work it off…

After all that great food, check out the many fall activities on offer in Whistler. While in Function Junction, pay a visit to Forged Axe Throwing and try your hand at this exciting party pastime. Yes, axe throwing is Canada’s exciting alternative to darts. The team at Forged have all you need to get started and will provide a full safety and training briefing to get you started. Expect things to get competitive as you test your aim hurling axes at a wooden target in true lumberjack fashion.

No visit to Whistler would be complete without a little sightseeing. Ziplining in Whistler is one of the best ways to view the changing autumnal landscape and the reds and oranges of the old growth forests. You’ll be strapped to a zipline and sent soaring above the trees and valleys. The unique harness setup means you can also ride side-by-side, perfect for sharing the opportunity with a friend or loved one.

The fall months are your final opportunity to access the miles of winding trails before the first snow of winter arrives. Guided hikes in Whistler are one of the best ways to enjoy the wilderness safely as well as enjoying some of the most breathtaking vantage points with the help of a local. While mountain biking in Whistler is largely seen as a summer activity,  the fall months still provide plenty of opportunity to enjoy fun on two wheels whether taking to the trails or enjoying the bike park.

Getting to Whistler: Fly to Vancouver International Airport from where Whistler is a two hour drive. Frequent daily shuttles depart daily from the terminal building.