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Are you looking to do a whistle stop tour of New York City but have allocated the majority of your budget to be spent on Fifth Avenue or Madison? We got you. Check out insider tips to experience the gems of the city, off the tourist trail without breaking the bank.

ROCKEFELLER CENTER:

Rather than paying and queuing for an expensive and touristy observation deck, book a table at the divine Bar SixtyFive at the Rainbow Room. Bar SixtyFive is New York’s highest terrace bar and is the perfect spot to take in breathtaking views of the city during sunset on the 65th floor of the Rockefeller. The cocktails are pricey but enjoying the city views amongst actual New Yorkers is something money can’t buy – just remember to book a window table! Try the classic Manhattan (naturally), sample the Rosé Royale or the Champagne Cocktail fit with vintage Tattinger, sit back and watch the sun go down on the city that never sleeps. If you do find that you want to spend a little more, the observation deck is a part of the attractions listed on the New York pass, along with many others.

MUSEUMS:

Channel your inner Blair Waldorf or Serena van der Woodsen at the Metropolitan Museum of Art and get that snap on the steps. Head to the American Museum of Natural History directly opposite through Central Park, stopping off at Shakespeare Garden and Turtle Pond en route. You can get into the museum for free in the last hour everyday (normally a $25 suggested donation) and so it is the perfect thrifty option to get the ‘must do’ museums done.

SIGHTS:

St. Patrick’s Cathedral in Manhattan is free to get into and is completely spectacular with tall spires, choral music and thousands of candles that are constantly flickering. St. Patrick’s was built and paid for by thousands of immigrants who fled religious persecution and started a new life in the city. The feeling of perseverance and grit is emphasised when you turn off Fifth Avenue and see the neo-gothic style Cathedral stand in stark contrast to the epic sky scrapers that surround it.

BROOKLYN BRIDGE:

The subway is a great way to get around in the city. Hop on from Manhattan to Clark Street in edgy Brooklyn and walk across the Brooklyn Bridge back to the island, taking in the city in all its glory. Make sure you look left for Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty.

WHERE TO EAT:

The Red Flame Diner in midtown (right by some amazing street art) doesn’t look like much from the outside but if you want unbelievable American fare, think fluffy pancakes with bacon and maple syrup, French Toast and Belgian Waffles, this is the place for you. Even better – the coffee is never ending. Perfect for when you are trying to sightsee, and shop, till you drop.

Along a little cobbled alley in Mayfair lies a unique piece of treasure that is the innovative Indian restaurant, Indian Accent. Renowned chef, Manish Mehotra, already has restaurants in New York and New Delhi, and lucky for us his third opened in London last year. As soon as you step into the restaurant, low lit lighting and minimalist interiors seduce you and you’re instantly spellbound, intrigued by what the menu will bring.

A tiny naan is brought to you as an amuse bouche. It is filled with blue cheese and can only be described as pure deliciousness. It’s served with an equally delightful pumpkin sauce. Immediately, you’re excited for what is to come – usually a difficult impression to create so instantly. The menu is refined and the food is an innovative take on Indian cuisine, yet you don’t leave the restaurant feeling full, you feel alive from the flavours.

Potato sphere chaat with white pea mash and Kolhapuri chicken salad with peanuts and avocado are the must haves for starters. For mains, we’d recommend the seared scallops with rava prawns, on a bed of malvani dried shrimp rice, or the chicken malai tikka decorated with green chilli cream. The show-stopping desserts are not to be missed either. Makhan malai drizzled with saffron milk and rose petal jaggery brittle will send your taste buds into melt down (in a very good way).

Since going, we’ve made sure to tell everyone we know about this piece of treasure. Now we’ve told you, you’d best get booking.

Three courses start from £55.

If you are feeling all loved up after Valentine’s Day and the break in the weather has you dreaming of sunnier climes, then now is a good time to book a romantic trip with your loved one. Team Coco has compiled some of the best sunshine hot tub breaks because there’s nothing that says relax and romance than a hot tub on your balcony. Sink into the bubbles and sip an ice cold glass of champagne and watch the sun go down in style.

Here’s our top five far flung hot tub stays.

The stunning all-inclusive Kuredu Island resort in the Maldives spans across over 3km of white sandy beaches and has an extensive selection of facilities including a spa, a six-hole golf course, and a water sports centre. However, it’s Kuredu’s Jacuzzi Beach Villas that make for a fantastic Maldives holiday. The villas come with a spacious bedroom, a snug sitting area plus a beautifully designed bathroom with a Jacuzzi bath tub – perfectly placed to watch the sunset from.

Prices from £1,289 per person for a 7-night stay, in a Jacuzzi Beach Villa on a full board basis with return flights. Valid for travel on selected dates 1 to 30 June 2019. Based on 2 adults sharing a room. Price based on flights from London Gatwick and London Stansted, supplements may apply for other departure airports.

Situated on stilts and extending over the turquoise waters of the lagoon, the Jacuzzi Water Villas at Olhuveli Beach and Spa resort in Mauritius offers waves of luxury and privacy. Lavish furnishing within the Jacuzzi Water Villa provides cool contentment while a Jacuzzi bath on the spacious, private sun deck lends a unique feature with views across the picturesque Indian Ocean. Meanwhile, the luxurious bathroom comes with a rain shower and roll-top bathtub that also offers uninterrupted views of the lagoon beyond.
Prices from £1,999 per person for a 7-night stay, in a Sunset Jacuzzi Water Villa on a full board basis with return flights. Valid for travel on selected dates 1 to 30 June 2019. Based on 2 adults sharing a room. Price based on flights from London Gatwick and London Stansted, supplements may apply for other departure airports.

Sitting on the bronzed sand of Negombo Beach, 5-star Jetwing Blue Resort in Sri Lanka boasts 2 spectacular outdoor pools, a spa and 2 dining restaurants. The Suite offers unmatched views of the Indian Ocean from a large timber-floored balcony that acts as an outdoor lounge, with the lavish inclusion of a Jacuzzi in the skies. The opulent beachfront rooms have also been stylishly designed to complement the stunning seascape with a modern aesthetic, along with the addition of a personalised butler service for the ultimate luxury experience.
Prices from £1,615 per person for a 7-night stay, in a Suite with breakfast and return flights. Valid for travel on selected dates 1 to 30 June 2019. Book by 28 February 2019. Based on 2 adults.

Banish the winter blues in Bali at Puri Santrian. Nestled along the golden shores of Sanur Beach in Bali, only a 15-minute drive from Denpasar Town, Puri Santrian boasts 2 spectacular outdoor pools, free Wi-Fi and a spa. The Santrian Club Room is set in stunning landscaped gardens with private pool & jacuzzi (for Santrian Club guests only). The interior of Santrian Club rooms reflects the influence of traditional Balinese style, culture and comfort.
Prices from £999 per person for a 7-night stay, in a Santrian Club Room with breakfast and return flights. Valid for travel on selected dates 1 May to 30 June 2019. Book by 28 February 2019. Based on 2 adults sharing a room. Price based on flights from London Gatwick and London Stansted, supplements may apply for other departure airports.

The Sarojin, Thailand offers a lush tropical garden setting with direct access to a secluded beach area. The Jacuzzi Pool Suite is privately tucked away on the upper floor of each building. Truly luxurious and spacious, offering a home away from home, the suite is complete with a stunning outdoor jacuzzi pool pavilion (for 4 people) on an outdoor sun terrace overlooking the lush tropical gardens
Prices from £1,279 per person for a 7-night stay, in a Jacuzzi Pool Suite with breakfast and return flights. Valid for travel on selected dates 5 to 15 May 2019. Book by 28 February 2019. Based on 2 adults sharing a room. Price based on flights from London Gatwick and London Stansted, supplements may apply for other departure airports.

All holiday packages are subject to availability, to book visit www.emiratesholidays.com or call 0208 972 8949

It seems that Galentine’s Day is most definitely a thing now and as a predominantly female team, at #TeamCoco, we are so on board! If there are national days celebrating ‘National Feet Day’, ‘If Pets had thumbs day’ or even ‘National Waffle Day’ (potato, sweet or endless chatter – who knows!) then an international day celebrating our wonderful friends is definitely worthy!

What better way to celebrate the big G than to get the girls together for a city break adventure? Here is our round up of three of the best UK city breaks to take this Galentine’s Day.

Leeds

Named as one of the Top 10 European Travel Destinations of 2017, Leeds continues to impress visitors with its thriving cultural scene, beautiful architecture and superb restaurants and bars. Hit up one of the 16 free museums or the Leeds Gallery for your dose of culture, or why not take a road trip out of the city and visit the amazing Yorkshire Sculpture Park?

If you love to shop until you drop, Leeds won’t disappoint. The prettiest place to shop has to be the Victoria Quarter with its high ceilings, marble floors and iron railings. Here you will find the likes of Vivienne Westwood, Ted Baker and more.

Foodies will rejoice in Leeds, there really is something for everyone. One of our favourites is Matt Healy X The Foundry. The former MasterChef: The Professionals finalist serves up a sensational seasonal menu utilising local produce. For fantastic Indian cuisine, Hansa‘s in the city centre is the place to be – locals rave over the superb vegetarian dishes too.

Edinburgh

Steeped in history and chock-full of charm, Edinburgh is not only a dream destination for foodies, but it’s also a festival powerhouse too. Go Scotland!

Packed with medieval buildings, the iconic castle, and of course an unrivalled selection of great bars and restaurants, Edinburgh is a fantastic destination for a fab city break and it’s just over an hour’s flight from London.

Edinburgh seamlessly blends old and new, which is evident as you wander from the Old Town to the New. If you love architecture, Edinburgh won’t disappoint. One fantastic example of this is at the foot of The Mound, where you will find the National Galleries of Scotland complex. This includes both the Royal Scottish Academy building and the National Gallery of Scotland which were designed by the acclaimed architect William Henry Playfair.

The restaurant scene in Edinburgh is pretty spectacular, Fhior on Broughton Street serves up a stunning menu full of locally-sourced produce. The Ox (also on Broughton Street) is a vibrant restaurant that offers local and seasonal produce that specialises in Ox-related items. If you are looking for a great Sunday Roast, head to Kyloe where you can enjoy an award-winning roast dinner (this eatery won the Best Roast Dinner in Scotland award in 2016)

Bath

History lovers will have a ball in beautiful Bath which is one of the UK’s most-visited cities thanks to its pretty Georgian architecture and its fantastic selection of bars and restaurants. A visit to the Roman Baths is an absolute must and why not check out the luxurious Thermae Spa where you can enjoy a treatment or two and take a soak in the rooftop pool.

You can’t visit Bath without trying an Afternoon Tea, there are plenty of restaurants and eateries that serve up this English classic. The only question is – will you have a cup of tea or a glass of champagne with it?

When it comes to lively entertainment and a buzzing nightlife, Bath has it all – from nightclubs and bars to comedy nights and live music. Why not take in some live jazz at the Green Park Brasserie, or watch a burlesque cabaret performance at Komedia with the girls?

Depending on where you are in the world the following sentence may prompt a few different responses.

Haggling is an art form.

For some, haggling might be uncouth, for some it might be a way of life, and for some it might seem like a great idea but scary in practice. I fall squarely into the last group, so this is an my love letter to haggling, and some useful advice from someone who learned about it in a trial by fire.

My lessons were learned in the Muscat souk, gifted with a guide who helped us find the most beautiful silver bangles and lanterns that glisten in the light. Now sat under the grey skies of northern England it just takes one glance to be transported back to the heat and passion of endless Omani skies and the covered market that juxtaposed it all perfectly.

It often feels like pantomime

Wandering through the souks of Muscat it’s impossible not to be drawn into the show of shopping. There are good guys and bad guys, prices that seem to be offensive enough to wake the dead, great groans of sadness followed by pleas for people to return. It’s an awful lot like pantomime, and if you want to succeed you’ll need to accept your role as the villain, because ultimately, you have to be if you want the best deal. You want the best deal.

The thing is, you’re the hero in your story and when you recount your epic victory the villain role switches and it’s all a matter a perspective.

You can walk away and then change your mind

It’s too easy to get sucked into what you think is a deal, only to have that flutter of uncertainty right before money exchanges hand. You have the right to walk away, you really do. You also have the option to come back. Most sellers will be happy with a sale at any time, there’s no shame in coming back once you’ve compared the wares available from other shops. You are the buyer after all.

But, with all this said, you should know that the price you get upon returning might not be as fantastic as the one you first negotiated. Pro tip, if you buy two rather than one of an item (gifting opportunity) you might be able to get your painstakingly negotiated price back.

You need this skill for your daily life

When you’re kicking ass out in the real world (if you’re not blessed enough to be exploring the world all day every day) haggling is a vital skill. It could be with your new boss over that raise you have earned or with your phone provider (there’s always a better deal to be found). Haggling is more or less negotiating with the passion turned up, and you have room in your life for that. When you need that boost in life, falling back to your haggling character is a great temporary fix.

Just know that you’re not going to be perfect the first time around, and haggling is like any skill, you improve with practice. In the mean time it’s important to celebrate every step of your haggling journey,

Be the hero, your hero and keep your hands still as you negotiate — it makes you look more confident.

As the wealthiest country in the world, Doha is fast emerging as the next go-to destination in the Middle East. In anticipation of the 2022 FIFA World Cup the city is burgeoning into a dynamic powerhouse with a tourist economy set to hit new economic heights. Yet, hidden behind the shopping malls and an ever-changing skyline is a myriad of iconic cultural gems that entrench Qatari culture into the very fabric of the city. In a refreshing and authentic alternative to the glitz of Dubai, learn about the ancient sport of falconry, watch a sunset over the desert and rub shoulders with the oldest peal diver in the region; whether you’re staying for one night or five, glimpse a city at the height of a truly fascinating transformation.

What to do

The Museum of Islamic Art

MIA is an architectural marvel in itself and an iconic landmark which can be easily spotted across the city. Its stark white exterior is confronting yet satisfying, with geometrical shapes piled neatly together in an impressive structure which is both modern and traditional. Situated on the water’s edge, the interior is equally striking; its vast floor-length windows expand across 5-stories, offering an impressive glimpse of Doha’s sprawling skyline ahead.

guide to Doha with Tivoli hotels

A light, cylindrical centre gives way to a myriad of darkened interconnecting rooms displaying Islamic artefacts spanning fourteen centuries, offering an insight into religious teachings scrawled across delicate pages of the ancient Quran. Well-positioned on an artificial island which faces the peninsular, the museum makes for a perfect photo op, so make sure to stroll the courtyard for panoramic views of the West Bay area before you go.

Dune Bashing

A trip through the dunes is a rite of passage for any Middle Eastern adventure and though rolling through sand the size of small mountains is as scream-worthy as it sounds, a chance to experience the sheer scale of the desert is a small wonder in itself. Choose an afternoon slot for the addition of a blazing Arabian sunset and take a bumpy camel ride if that floats your boat.

Souq Waqif

This infamous labyrinth of “standing markets” was re-developed on an ancient site to reveal an almost perfect warren of stalls brimming with barrels of chillies, mint leaves, turmeric and dried rose petals. A kaleidoscope of smells and colours melt together in the hubbub, as Qatari and expats rub shoulders along narrow passageways wafting with everything from Arabic coffee to the flowery scent of Arabian oils drifting from the row of resident perfumeries. Unlike the markets of Morocco where tourists are tugged and jostled through the hoards into cramped booths, a wander through Souq Waqif is void of pressure or discomfort. Amidst cashmere and caves of antiques, market owners sit serenely amongst their wares. Spend a late afternoon wandering through spice mountains, garlands of saltwater pearls and rows of falcons for a true Arabian shopping experience.

Torba Market

Located in the heart of the Qatar Foundation (a development project set to foster a hub for education and science), is just one of the initiatives aimed to push both community development and the production of locally grown food and “made in Qatar” products. Selling local, ethical produce – from coffee to homemade cookies to Yemeni honey, this open-air oasis wouldn’t look out of place in the suburbs of north London and is often frequented by expats yearning for a slice of home. Make sure to swing by Education City (also located in the Qatar Foundation) armed with your artisanal goods; a nose at the international university campuses, research facilities and Qatar’s national library will give you a firm insight into the country’s vision of nurturing a ‘knowledge’ economy which can compete on a global scale.

Where to Stay

Souq Al Wakra Hotel Qatar

Souq Al Wakra Hotel by Tivoli is located in the up-an-coming seaside district of Al Wakra, just 20 minutes from central Doha and 10 minutes from Hamad International Airport.

The expansive 101-room complex spans two sites made up of 17th-century heritage buildings, once home to local fishermen and pearl divers who traded in the region. By preserving the original structures and features including traditional thatched roofs and wooden beams, a stay at Al Wakra offers a quiet and leisurely sense of luxury reminiscent of laid-back seaside holidays blended with a nostalgic Arabian ambience. Local restaurants are peppered along a sleek promenade which leads to a sandy stretch of public beach (no bikinis allowed, sun worshipers beware) and an early evening meander is met with the pleasant hustle and bustle of locals and children. The area is part of a large regeneration project and developments aimed to transform the coastal area into a sophisticated coastal resort are still underway, so watch this space! However, a stay here is ideal for anyone hoping to capture the essence of Qatari life.

Al Najada Doha Hotel

Boasting an elegant ballroom, sprawling ceilings and al fresco dining overlooking an Italian-style piazza, it’s easy to see why Najada is most popular with European guests. The largest of the hotels in the Tivoli group features 151 rooms laden with plush interiors and marshmallow beds. Paired with exceptional staff, a stay here is quiet and luxurious with easy access to Doha’s most popular attractions.

Souq Waqif Boutique Hotels by Tivoli

Tivoli’s nine boutique hotels make up the only accommodation in Souq Waqif and a stay in at least one of these opulent Arabic properties is a must for anyone wishing to experience Old Doha, where age-old customs and a rich merchant heritage are preserved amidst a towering skyline.

Such is the design concept, each is within walking distance of another, allowing for easy access to all facilities. Though this set-up differs from a traditional all-inclusive style hotel, it is purposely so; a swimming pool, spa and a number of specialty restaurants are peppered between the nine Souq Waqif properties. By maintaining the layout of traditional structures within the souq, the hotels themselves embody the essence of the sprawling marketplace. Dashing across the cobbled square for breakfast in Al Bidda’s domed stained-glass dining hall, followed by a leisurely swim at Al Mirqab is hardly a hassle! Rather, this unique layout provides a bespoke experience which provides unparalleled access to the city’s vibrant cultural, historic and commercial hub.

For a true Souq Waqif experience, we relocated to Al Jasra, in the heart of Souq Waqif. Offering a slice of serenity amidst the bustle of the market, a modern lobby gives way to an intimate lounge area where Arabic coffee is in plentiful supply. Its 22 suites balance luxury with the complete privacy of a spacious, fully serviced apartment which includes a small kitchen, lounge and office area. With personalised pastries awaiting guests and a shower big enough to cartwheel in (yes, really), our stay was truly impeccable down to the finest of details.

Authenticity is maintained across all of Tivoli’s hotels; from preserving architecture, and celebrating local cuisine to enshrining Qatari hospitality in every hotel lobby. No room, or suite is decorated the same and with 183 to choose from, you really are spoiled for choice. Tivoli’s boutique hotels are also just a 15-minute drive from Hamad International Airport – perfect for those wishing to make a short stopover as part of a longer trip and still absorb the essence of this refreshing and culturally rich city.

Where to Eat

With the opening of Tivoli hotels in the Souq Waqif area came 12 new restaurants offering a variety of cuisines, hugely expanding Doha’s fine dining options.

Al Matbakh

An evening spent feasting in the famed Indian restaurant at Arumaila hotel was particularly memorable. Heaped plates of tandoori, butter chicken and garlic prawns washed down with cups of chai was melt-in-your-mouth delicious.

Al Shurfa

Al Jomrok Hotel provides the perfect spot for a lunchtime banquet with a view – where hordes of traditional wooden fishing boats give way to West Bay’s infamous skyline. Enjoy a mixed grill featuring garlicky lamb kofka, succulent chicken kebabs, Arabic bread and all the babaganoush you can dream of while sat on the wrap-around veranda. Save space for some Om Ali, a delicious Arabic dessert which tastes somewhere in between a flower bouquet, a bread pudding and a Crème Brule – all deliciously topped with dried fruit, pistachios and warm sweet milk.

Canela Cafe

For a lighter bite in a more casual setting, Canela café at Al Najada is the perfect spot for an afternoon Turkish coffee and the most scrumptious tabouleh and garlic hummus.

Culture

Home to just over 300,000 Qatari citizens, expats contribute a huge 2.3 million of the total population, making Qatar a melting pot of friendly, open-minded and forward-facing individuals. That being said, its traditional roots remain solidly in place. Islam is the official religion and the state is governed primarily by sharia law.

Drinking

As an officially ‘dry’ country, drinking is limited to a selected number of bars, restaurants and hotels, mainly in the West Bay area. Though not overly difficult to come by if you’re really in need a bev, the prices might put you right off a cocktail with a 100 per cent tax increase recently imposed on all imported liquor (weep!). Amidst the buzz of the World Cup and the large-scale construction underway to accommodate the expected influx of tourism, murmurs of designated fan zones suggest that Qatar is aware that rules must be loosened in order to accommodate the drinking culture associated with the tournament. It might cost you an arm and a leg though!

What to wear

Both men and women alike are required to be respectful of Islamic beliefs by covering the knees and shoulders in public. For women, long floaty dresses are perfect but if you’re going sleeveless, sweep a shawl around your shoulders and you’re good to go.

How to get there

Qatar Airways Q-suite

As the national airline, we opted for a flight with Qatar Airways from London Heathrow to Hamad International Airport and gave the aircraft’s Q-suite business class pods a whirl. As the industry’s most luxurious business class, we were indulged with cotton pyjamas courtesy of The White Company and best of all, a plentiful supply of champagne which featured in several poorly shot and completely shameless Instagram boomerangs. An a la carte menu featuring Middle Eastern mezze and a selection of succulent mains is served at your leisure and the massage chair(yes, massage!) is transformed into a wondrous bed by the hostesses upon request – a total game changer for night-time flying. Of all the ways to travel to the world’s wealthiest country, the Q-suite will have you feeling like royalty from take-off to touch-down.

Qatar Airways flies to Doha 6 times a day from London Heathrow. Return economy fares from London to Doha are available from £619 for more information or to book, visit qatarairways.com

January is through and spring not quite just around the corner, but the evenings are definitely getting just that little bit lighter. If you aren’t quite ready to jump on a plane to an exotic location to escape the cold, why not treat yourself with a little pampering closer to home. Here at #TeamCoco we believe you can never have too many spa days, so take inspiration from the following best in class spa offerings right here in the UK. From chocolate meditations to healing rain, these spas stand out from the crowd.

Floating Spa

Opening this month, you can try the first of its kind ‘floating spa’ in the UK from Monkey Island, a private island in the River Thames. This bespoke barge will offer voyages rather than treatments on the river, based on the power and healing qualities of water. A total of three treatment rooms will be on offer at the bespoke custom-made barge spa. Try the floating massage, mirroring the movement of water or even a chocolate meditation! Many of the treatments are inspired by ancient recipes brewed by the monks who were Monkey Island’s first recorded inhabitants in the 12th century. Monkeyislandestate.co.uk

Sleep Ritual

Located on the idyllic seashores of the Irish Sea on Newcastle Bay, the Slieve Donard Resort & Spa looks out onto spectacular views of the Mountains of Mourne. Set in six acres of beautifully kept private grounds, the property is famous for its expansive and luxurious spa. Guests can escape to a cocoon of calm and melt away their stresses with over two floors of tranquillity including an amethyst steam room. The sleep ritual available at the spa is the ultimate unwind, allowing the body to relax and renew. Performed in calming, candlelit surroundings, breathing and visualisation techniques release physical and emotional anxiety and restore energies. Deep-seated muscular tension is relieved using a combination of hot stones and warmed fragrant ESPA oil. Drift off in one of their famous cloud beds for sweet dreams guaranteed. Hastingshotels.com

Bathing Rituals

Kohler Waters Spa at the Old Course Hotel, St Andrews offers a range of bathing experiences designed to increase mood and boost energy levels during the colder months. The only Kohler Waters Spa outside the USA, this luxury spa retreat in the heart of Scotland has a focus on hydrotherapy and organic treatments. #TeamCoco loves the bathing treatments include a relaxing, 90-minute Soak Overflowing Bath, which involves floating in a continually over-flowing bath tub filled with seaweed. Alternatively try the Lavender Rain treatment where warm rain pours down from the Kohler Custom Vichy shower. Oldcoursehotel.co.uk

Natural Healing

The new Falls Spa at Lodore Falls Hotel is nestled in the heart of the Lake District’s beautiful Borrowdale valley. With panoramic views of Derwentwater and the spectacular Catbells Mountain Range, The Falls Spa offers guests a cosy, Scandi-inspired retreat from which to enjoy and harness the healing powers of nature. Fancy trying something different? The Falls Spa is the only spa in the north to offer the La Sultane De Saba Akwaterra Massage, a full-body experience using ceramic ergonomic Akwaterra tools filled with hot water. If it’s a luxurious winter spa break you need, the spacious Spa Suites with floor to ceiling windows, walk in wardrobes and lake views should do the trick! Lakedistrictspa.co.uk

Meditation Caves

If a meditation cave sounds like your idea of a blissful retreat, the five-star Gainsborough Bath Spa is the spa break for you. Crystal Sound Baths have become incredibly popular due to the mental and physical health benefits and now you can experience a private Crystal Sound Bath session in the tranquil setting of a meditation cave. Pure quartz crystal bowls are played at different vibrational frequencies. The combination of sound and vibration releases tension, and lowers the heart rate, balancing the energy centres of the body on a cellular level and inducing a sense of deep peace. Get prepared for some serious relaxation. Thegainsboroughbathspa.co.uk

You must know by now that #TeamCoco love a bit of luxury. Let’s be real, though, not many of us can be lounging on velvet sofas in 5-star hotels every night of the week. While that elevated state of being is firmly on our Vision Boards, we can still live the lives we want to lead (and explore the capital’s instagrammable sights) thanks to a few of our favourite London hotel hacks. Check them out below and let us know of any other spots you just can’t keep to yourself…

.Kip Hotel, getsomekip.com

The .Kip hotel is a stone’s throw from Hackney Central Station. You could honestly stick your head out of the window to see how long you’ve got until your next ‘Gingerline’ train, grab your complimentary coffee from the front desk and be on the platform in 7 minutes.

With that in mind, some of the more luxe rooms can get a little noisy with their windows facing the street and train line. However, with minimal, monochrome interiors and rooms starting from around £40 a night (dependant on room type, day of the week, peak times of year etc), we dare you to complain.

I work regularly in London and staying here works out cheaper than a commuter train home – big fan.

Qbic, qbichotels.com/london

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Amsterdam-based hotel chain Qbic came to London in 2013 but if you haven’t discovered them – now’s the time. They’ll soon be opening in Brussels and Manchester with their innovative cube living approach. When you enter a Qbic bedroom you’ll be met with a super comfy bed with all the mod-cons you’d expect and a cleverly designed bathroom right behind it. Far from feeling cold and too much like #Ikea, the hotel is full of quirky, arty touches ranging from neon questioning ‘Alright, treacle?’ to a giant pupper in sunglasses as your head board.

We particularly love their Aldgate East hotel for its late opening bar (an Old Fashioned nightcap at the end of a long day is the ONE!), its sustainable credentials and the fact that rooms start from only £60 – be sure to sign up for their newsletter for an extra 12% off.

hub by Premier Inn, premierinn.com

We all know the classic brands like Premier Inn but, if you’re like me your idea of staying in one will be marred by that nasty one you booked for your friends’ wedding which was next to a petrol station as you were too cheap to splash out on the country manor. hub by Premier Inn is a tech focused sub-brand offering cosy, compact rooms in the centre of London and Edinburgh. They promise Hypnos beds and ‘monsoon showers’ and I’m booking myself in next time I can’t drag myself away from the cocktail bar to get my train home. Rooms start at £69/night in London, £49/night in Edinburgh.

Bloc Hotel Gatwick, blochotels.com

We all want to max out our holidays, especially when sneaking off for a weekend away. Our new discovery has been the comfy bedrooms at Bloc Hotel Gatwick, 5 minutes from the South Terminal security gates.

Rock up to the airport the night before your flight, drop your bags in your room and then pop out to the airport restaurants (pre-security) to enjoy Bloc Hotel’s deals. No stress crossing London in the wee hours and you’ll be out of bed, through security and leafing through House of Coco with a flat white before you know it. From £75/night.

When you think of Amsterdam and the word sensual, your mind is instantly drawn to the infamous Red Light district or the many Peep Shows and erotic entertainment that you find up and down the canals. However, we sent our girl Jenna to experience a residence in Amsterdam that is far more seductive, and far higher end, Hotel TwentySeven a sensual hotel in Amsterdam.

Sensual hotel in Amsterdam

Immersive Luxury at Hotel TwentySeven

“Situated in the heart of the city on Dam Square, it truly is an iconic hotel, in an iconic location. Dam Square is known as the heart of Amsterdam, being home to the Royal Palace and some of the most significant buildings in the region. If you want a luxury sanctuary, within the busyness of a city centre location, I’m pretty sure I’ve found it. Situated on the busiest square in Amsterdam, inside guests are in a silent cocoon, complete sound insulation from the bustling city. No cost was spared to create perfect sound insulation for guests, via the walls, floors, ceilings, windows and doors, never done before at this level. I can vouch that the two layers of double-glazed windows ensure that the only sounds you can hear, are the ones you choose to make in your Suite. Said sounds are conversational and musical, obviously.

To call TwentySeven a hotel feels like a crime, as it really is so much more than that. Defying logic and redefining luxury in Amsterdam, no detail has gone unnoticed. All 6 senses have been dreamed out in extraordinary detail, and its gothic opulence takes you to a completely different world. The hotel is comprised of only Suites, 16 in total, which gives it a real VIP ambience. To know that you are only one of a maximum 30 guests staying in this hotel makes you feel incredibly special, and that’s just the start. TwentySeven will offer endless service possibilities at the highest level with a personal approach only a boutique hotel can offer. As the owner, Eric Toren’s passion is truly creating a perfect hotel experience, the guests come first, no request is too large or small, butlers and city connectors will be on-staff and eager to assist with any request.

A Stylish Sojourn at Hotel TwentySeven’s Sensual Suite

Our Butler, Jos, was almost like a character from a 1940s movie. With an impressive moustache and the shiniest shoes we’d ever seen, he presented our Suite to us in extraordinary detail. From showing us how to call his direct line for an early morning Cappuccino and how to work the Steam Shower, the room tour was an experience in itself. Situated on the fourth floor, with expansive views over Dam Square, we were blown away by the luxurious interiors, with a cheeky modern twist. It’s safe to say, that this hotel is not for those of you with a boring or weak disposition, it would be totally wasted. The interiors scream sex and romance, without even an ounce of tack or smuttiness. It’s lavish yet comfortable, with every little home comfort taken care of. One press of a button can transform the lighting of your suite into 5 different atmospheres from a moonlit, sultry indigo to a sunny fresh golden glow. Going for a darker red and ‘Alternative R&B’ playing from the sound bar, it was the ideal setting for filling the double Jacuzzi bath full of Lalique bubbles.

Unparalleled Indulgence

Browsing the room, we found not a mini-bar but a fabulous wine cabinet with a beautifully curated collection of wines and champagnes ready to be enjoyed. From Dom Perignon to a range of New and Old World wines, we soon realised there is no need to leave this hotel if you want to have a seriously good night. After a Jacuzzi bath and a subsequent Steam Shower (who needs a Spa when you have these elements in the privacy of your own suite?!) we began browsing dining options. Restaurant Bougainville, led by Executive Chef Tim Golsteijn, received its first Michelin Star in December 2018 and it’s really no surprise. From room service to dining within the restaurant’s opulent interiors, Bougainville offers the finest gastronomic experience for guests and the public. If you’re really feeling fancy, you can even hire out their exclusive Chefs Table which sits right in the main Kitchen, with expansive views over the city, so you soak in Amsterdam whilst seeing all of the Michelin magic come to life.

Elevated Excellence

Opting for some cocktails in their small but perfectly formed bar, it reminded me of a Mayfair members club. There was a DJ, some of the most beautiful people in the city, and a welcome glass of Champagne as standard. Settling in, we thought it would be rude not to try one of the most popular and renowned creations in th city – the Carino. Created by the head bartender and best cocktail shaker in the world, 2018 Bacardi Legacy Global Cocktail award winner: Eric van Beek, it incorporates Bacardi Rum with Greek Yoghurt. It was absolutely delicious and totally unique.

It’s not just the bartenders and chefs who are taking home prestigious awards either, TwentySeven is making waves in the boutique hotel industry. Last November, Hospitality ON, the organization behind the World Wide Hospitality Awards, awarded the ‘Best WoW Effect’ of Luxury Hotels to Hotel TwentySeven. Hotel TwentySeven also won ‘Worlds Most Inspiring Design Hotel’, presented by the World Boutique Hotel Awards alongside Visionnaire, owner and General Manager Eric Toren, receiving the award for the best General Manager of Western Europe at the World Luxury Hotel Awards. This is all whilst achieving Best Small Luxury Hotel of Europe. Pretty impressive, huh?

A Luxurious Farewell

One of my favourite ‘taste’ experiences of my 6 sense journey at TwentySeven was breakfast served directly in our suite, in the comfort of our robes. With scrambled eggs and smoked salmon and an array of meats, cheeses and sweet treats – it was the most chilled out way to start the day. Treating ourselves to another steam shower and a quick tour of the awesome suites (The Terrace Suite is a total joy to behold!) we sadly had to say our goodbyes and check out. The feeling when we left was almost like saying goodbye to family, as the service throughout the whole experience was above and beyond welcoming, and more attentive anything we’d ever experienced before. From the genuine passion for the industry you sense when speaking to the owner Eric Toren, to the warm and friendly hospitality from all members of staff, this is 5* luxury without the stuffiness you sometimes experience. Whether you’re an amorous couple, or away for a girls trip, Hotel TwentySeven is the ideal location for a weekend rendezvous. Your budget and their availability permitting of course…”

Hotel TwentySeven, Dam 27, Amsterdam, The Netherlands | www.twentysevenhotel.com

Junior Suites from 40 up to 47 square meters range from €500- €1,000 per night. Stunning Signature Suites, each with special features (including a terrace in some cases) range from €1,200 and up per night.

Whether it’s your inaugural trip or it’s your millionth time around but you’re eager to impress someone you’ve brought along, the first thing to do on any trip to the Big Apple is take in the incredible view of the city.

What better way to get acquainted with it than to head straight for one of the New York observation decks?

There are a few to choose from in Manhattan, each one great for a different reason. But for the sake of not rattling your brain figuring out which one is most impressive, we’ve done the hard work for you.

Here’s your guide to the New York observation decks, ranked best to worst.

1. Top of the Rock Observation Deck

New York observation decks

Situated at the famous 30 Rockefeller Plaza (30 Rock) building, it soars above the Rockefeller Center’s famous gardens, Rockefeller Tree and ice rink in the wintertime. The Art Deco skyscraper allows visitors to see New York from floors 67 to 70 and although it’s surrounded by glass, it doesn’t obstruct views when trying to snap a selfie.

It’s a great choice for seeing the vastness of Central Park as it’s the closest of the observation decks to it. Binoculars are available at an extra cost or bring your own Bushnells but there’s no need with such iconic structures as the Chrysler Building and Empire State Building clearly in sight.

Of course, there’s also an opportunity for a cheesy green screen tourist photo where you can pretend you’re sitting on a high beam like the men who built the skyscraper.

It’s open 8am to midnight daily and tickets cost $39.20.

www.topoftherocknyc.com

2. One World Observatory

At the site where the Twin Towers once were, One World Trade Center, the tallest building in the Western Hemisphere now stands in Lower Manhattan’s Financial District. The elevator zooms guests up in less than minute to enjoy the top three floors of the building known as the One World Observatory.

This Hudson River-side tower takes you up to the 102nd floor where it’s possible to gaze at the Brooklyn Bridge and across the water to New Jersey. But it’s all indoors so avoid this for a clear picture moment and truly take in the magic of the city by night. The experience is equally as much about some Big Apple learning with various presentations available.

Plus there’s a restaurant and bar for lunch and dinner to round off the experience in a more relaxed setting.

Depending on the time of year it’s open from 8 am or 9 am to 8 pm or 9 pm (but can be enjoyed up until 10 pm). Prices start from $34 for adults.

www.oneworldobservatory.com

3. Empire State Building Observatory

Located in Midtown, this building reaches 1,454 feet making it unmissable for anyone wandering around town. But from atop the two observation decks on the 80th and 86th floors, one inside and one outside, it’s possible to see far beyond.

Add the 102nd-floor viewing deck and on a clear day view stretch not only to neighbouring states like New Jersey, Philadelphia and Connecticut but beyond that to Massachusetts too.

However as far as New York goes, it offers a stunning look at the Financial District, including One World Observatory, but you’ll have to move your camera lens through the gaps in fencing to get good shots. If your eyesight isn’t great, don’t worry because binoculars to help you enjoy the 360-degree look around the city are completely free.

Complimentary WiFi will also help you figure out what you’re looking at in case you need to consult Google Maps!

It’s open 8 am-2 am daily and prices start from $38 for an adult.

www.esbnyc.com