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Okay, we admit that the British coast may not be your first thought once the temperatures drop for winter but, stay with us, you may feel differently after this article!

Dreamland, Margate’s super instagrammable amusement park, has reopened its doors with the ‘Frosted Fairground’ ; a festive treat spanning their retro designed rides, an undercover icerink, Santa’s Grotto and plenty of edible goodness including vegan candyfloss from Naughty Floss for you to wear as St Nick’s beard. Oh, give over – you’d totally do that for the ‘gram.

Sprinkled like fairydust over the next few weeks are incredible one-off events from Fierce Angel on Saturday 23rd December and a disco-tastic New Year’s Eve extravaganza at the park’s pubs Cinque Ports and The Quarterdeck.

Grab your eskimo coat, mittens for hot chocolate holding and festive party dress for a day out at the seaside this winter.

For more information head to www.dreamland.co.uk // @dreamlandmargate

Dreamland, Marine Terrace, Margate, CT9 1XJ

Itching for a good, old-fashioned, Christmas knees up? Need somewhere to escape to after the compulsory Office Party? May we present Last Days of Shoreditch La La Land

What: Streetfood, dance floor, Ernest Hemingway inspired cocktails, karaoke and DJ takeovers.

Where: Old Street.

When: Every Thursday and Friday

Instagrammable Pick: Smokey Tails’ bottomless brunch. All the yes.

All the info: lastdaysofshoreditch.co.uk

Not enough money left for a ski trip this Christmas? Never fear as the joy of the alps, well the apres-ski anyway, is coming to you and you can get there using your travel card!

One of our favourite spots is #ApresWithAView which opens tonight (1st December), a spectacular alpine cable car on the terrace at Radio Rooftop Bar in London.

What: Views, seasonal cocktails and dishes, faux fur throws, Courchevel vibes.

Where: ME London, Strand

When: From 1st December 2017

Instagrammable Pick: Sharing platters of truffle three-cheese fondue, charcuterie and tartiflette dumplings, followed by speculos biscuits with hazelnut mousse and an indulgent Valrhona chocolate fondue…. All the yes.

All the info: melondonhotel.com/alpine // #ApresWithAView

With the news today that Prince Harry and Meghan Markle are engaged, we couldn’t resist putting together our round up of some of the most enviable wedding destinations truly fit for royalty…

A Tropical Island Wedding at Phi Phi Island Village Beach Resort

Leading the way for a tropical island wedding, Phi Phi Island Village Beach Resort offers couples a range of packages from a flower archway on the beach to a floating stage over the resort’s swimming pool promising to exceed all expectations for your special day.

With 800 metres of untouched white sand, Phi Phi Island Village Beach Resort’s dream like location paints a perfect picture for the greatest island wedding. Dramatic scenery framed with swaying palm trees, traditional long-tail boats and the aquamarine expanse of the Andaman Sea; Phi Phi Island Village Beach Resort reveals itself as an unparalleled setting for romance and couples to wed across the globe.

Views Worthy of ‘I Do’ at Hotel Arts Barcelona

The tallest building in Barcelona and with an enviable beachfront location on one side and the heartbeat of the city on the other, couples can share the most special day of their lives at Hotel Arts Barcelona. With the backdrop of the panoramic seafront location and beautiful terraced gardens, wedding parties can take advantage of the vast array of private event spaces and grand dining halls that can adapt for any occasion.

Believing that nothing should be left to chance, Hotel Arts Barcelona take it upon themselves to ensure each last detail is perfectly arranged. The hotel’s experienced wedding planners are dedicated to work alongside couples, tailoring each requirement for an unforgettable experience for all. Bespoke experiences include utilising the world-class gastronomic kitchens, the truly unique 43 the spa and breath-takingly beautiful penthouses. The Mims House is the ideal location to hold your little wedding ceremony, elopement, or micro wedding in Raleigh! The Mims House, a Raleigh wedding venues, provides all-inclusive and cheap wedding packages.

The Middle East’s Most Iconic Wedding Venue: The Ritz-Carlton, Bahrain

An iconic wedding venue in the Kingdom of Bahrain and a landmark for luxury hospitality, The Ritz-Carlton, Bahrain encompasses an effortlessly glamorous coastal vibe where couples can celebrate their love with the most important people in their lives with the luxury resort’s impeccable wedding services.

Individually tailored by the experienced in-house wedding team, the exceptional wedding venue perfectly encapsulates the lush gardens, enviable 600 metres of a white sandy beach, private island that is able to cater up to a reception of 600 as well as catering to the exclusive 450 square metre villas. For the most exclusive experience, located at the furthest end of the property is The Ritz-Carlton, Bahrain’s private island that boasts views with turquoise waters on one side and lush gardens on the other.

The Aegean’s Most Charming Wedding Venue: D-Resort Göcek

Situated in a quiet fishing village, D-Resort Göcek is a charming paradise within an archipelago of islands amidst picturesque mountains, its own private beach, a setting framed with lush gardens, urban lines and superyachts the hotel is a hidden gem ideal for couples looking to mark their love for each other in an unforgettable setting.

Abreast from the sophisticated glamour of the superyacht marina, just 100 metres from the hotel and the laissez faire and effortlessly cool beach club Breeze, couples can mark their vows for one another framed by the Aegean setting beyond before being whisked off James Bond style on the hotel’s seriously swish motor yacht. With undeniable glamour across eight design-led buildings, the bride, groom and their guests can retreat within some of the 103 spectacular white washed rooms, all of which have been designed with luxury and comfort in mind.

Wed in the Presence of the Goddess of Love: Aphrodite Hills Resort, Cyprus

Set in the mythical birthplace of Aphrodite, the goddess of love and beauty – Aphrodite Hills Resort naturally embodies the essence of love and romance. Aphrodite Hills Resort welcomes couples to create and celebrate their picture-perfect wedding day in Cyprus.

Nestled amidst an ancient protected forest, surrounded by luxuriant landscaping and remarkable views of the Mediterranean Sea, Aphrodite Hills is the ideal destination in which to say, ‘I do’. Couples are invited to make their own love story a part of the legend by planting an olive tree to mark their commitment in this ancient land of romantic storytelling.

Getting Married in Moroccan Splendour: Es Saadi Marrakech Resort

If you’ve been dreaming of a colourful, bohemian wedding or your style is more simple and charming, Es Saadi Marrakech Resort can ensure a dream wedding in paradise.

An opulent resort set in 20 acres of palms, banana trees, roses, bougainvillea and bird-song, Es Saadi Marrakech Resort is an oasis of Moroccan splendour in the heart of Marrakech’s Golden Triangle. Couples looking for an exceptional and beautiful backdrop for their wedding need look no further, Es Saadi’s setting looking out onto the snow-capped Atlas Mountains, near the bustling souks and Jemaa El Fnaa square, is the ideal location for a destination wedding.

An Unbelievable Underwater Wedding: Hurawalhi Island Resort

Since its highly anticipated opening last year, the stunning Hurawalhi Island Resort, with its world-class snorkelling, breath-taking island setting, and organic spa have set it apart as one of the world’s hottest new hotels and ideal wedding venues. And more than simply a Maldivian island paradise, Hurawalhi is also home to the world’s largest all-glass undersea restaurant – the perfect place in which to create an extraordinary once in a lifetime wedding memory.

‘5.8’ is the world’s largest, all-glass undersea restaurant, which sends senses soaring in this unparalleled setting, located 5.8 metres beneath the sea. Each dish blends the best ingredients with innovation and style, resulting in a showcase of imaginative modern cuisine, combined with an incredible location, wine and service. Surrounded by out of this world marine views, the minimalist-designed restaurant keeps the focus outside; with thousands of tropical fish, brightly coloured coral and deep marine blue sea as a backdrop.

Holidaying in Bali sounds like something on the bucket list you need to get around to at one point in life. And #TeamCoco have been ticking destinations off our list as rapidly as ever in 2018, our travel writer, Helena, recently spent two weeks soaking up the culture and the sun, not to mention, exploring the sights and sounds Bali had to offer.

Planning a holiday to Bali can be quite overwhelming as there’s so much to see and an abundance of fabulous villas and hotels scattered all over. Spending two nights in Sanur, the quieter part of Bali, we found the fabulous Maya Sanur. Attracting discerning travellers since the 1930s, Sanur embodies Bali’s relaxed chic lifestyle – and is in someway similar to Seminyak with a more laid back atmosphere.

The resort sits in the ideal location, right on the beachfront, and just a stone’s throw away from a buzzing street filled with restaurants and massage parlours. Everything you may need from a staycation is already on the resort waiting for you – a beautiful spa, a gym and yoga room, a rooftop garden, a beach-view pool, private beach access, two restaurants, a modern beach bar, even an urban deli with a fantastic freshly baked cake selection (and a cake happy hour!)

Maya Sanur is covered in greenery, giving it a feel of a private, secluded resort, the vast lobby has the most epic view of the bedroom balconies, lagoon pool and you can even catch a glimpse of the beach in the distance. The rooms at Maya Sanur are extremely spacious, the Deluxe Lagoon View rooms are thoughtfully positioned on the floors above the Lagoon Pool, all rooms come with lovely bathtubs, bath salts, romantic lamps and a basket of Balinese flowers, upon request. The rooms are complimented with an oversized balcony and unique (and extremely cosy) bed pod which is absolute perfection for those days you just want to relax in the comforts of your room staring out to a beautiful view – the TV inside even turns to face the pods! Little touches like the comfortable, traditional dressing gowns and woven beach bag to use for your stay, are a welcome addition and create a home away from home feeling.

You can alternatively revel in the exclusivity of staying in a Deluxe Beachfront Pool Suite, which is the epitome of modern sophistication. Unwind in the privacy of your own outdoor environment that comes complete with a pool, free-standing bath tub and uplifting ocean view to lull you into a state of total euphoria.

Mornings at Maya are never boring, you can try a complimentary session of yoga or wake up super early to catch the stunning sunrise on Sanur beach (I recommend not missing this.) Take a plunge into the refreshing water at the lagoon pool, and spend the day catching some rays on the super stylish sun-beds – a comfortable pod like bed complete with a call button to order your pool-side snacks and drinks. Breakfasts at Maya feel like a special occasion which you can take outdoors on the lagoon pool, with views of the beach. The selection is extremely varied, from traditional Balinese breakfast to a continental offering, complete with fresh fruit, freshly made waffles and outstanding service.

You cannot miss a visit to the Spa at Maya, the atmosphere is blissful, ensconced within the tranquillity of a garden sanctuary and complimented by soothing reflecting pools. The spa offers a comprehensive menu of holistic treatments supported by the healing benefits of Bali’s natural environment, it is customised to your needs and before your treatment you are given a choice of holistic oils – the Balinese massage will leave your body invigorated and mind relaxed.

In the evening, reserve a table for dinner in a floating gazebo at Reef as you watch the graceful movements of a traditional Balinese dance, you can also request for a romantic dinner under the stars in the private ambience of the rooftop garden.

If you are looking for five-star luxury, outstanding personal service or a romantic staycation in a less packed part of Bali we can assure you Maya Sanur is the best possible place for an unforgettable break. Be sure to add this one to the bucket list!

Maya Sanur www.mayaresorts.com/sanur

If you are the one in your friend group who obsesses over finding the obscure, the unusual and the undiscovered – come here close, closer, as we let you in on our hot travel tip for 2018; South TyrolNow, take that secret to your grave.

Just kidding, there’s more than enough of this bewitching region, where Austrian meets Italy, to go around. That said, with 300 days of sun a year, 17,000km of walking trails, 400 manor house and an eco friendly approach to being (South Tyrol produces twice the amount of electricity it needs, mostly through hydroelectrics), they may find an invasion on their hands soon enough.

You may have read about our adventures in the South Tyrol region back in Volume 5 where we explored the land with a collective of thinkers, artists and creatives but, for our most recent experience of the land, we didn’t even go there. It transcended miles and miles to reach our ears, eyes, mouths and noses over a lively evening fuelled by local sparkling wine.

Our hosts for the evening were Michelin starred chef, Egon Heiss and ‘Chevalier of Cheese’ Gregor Wenter from ‘South Tyrol’s hidden jewel’ restaurant Bad Schoergau. Cured meats brought mediterranean Italian flavours which were then bolstered by earthy beetroot appetisers and tart horseradish that danced us over the Austrian border. The meal was beautifully exciting, with particular highlights in a luminescent green ‘Pine Risotto’ and a delicate dessert to celebrate one of the region’s prized product; apples.

Between courses we were whisked away to a real South Tyrollean forest – not physically of course but through a guided meditation from Martin Kiem, a psychologist from the area, aided with a brand of a pine tree we took in a ‘Forest Bathing’ session. While this is traditionally a Japanese wellness activity named Shinrin Yoku, Martin is looking to bring the practice over to Europe and believes South Tyrol to be a perfect place with its 93% coverage of forest. In Japan, Shirin Yoku, is an activity that is even prescribed by doctors to alleviate stress and, after listening to the forest, inhaling the pine goodness of our branch and taking the time to unwind after a busy day in London, we can completely relate.

We closed our evening adventure to South Tyrol sampling the trees of the region, one last time, through the beauty brand Trehs which harnesses the original mountain pine of the Sarn valley. The use of this pine tree goes back centuries and its a staple in every medicine cabinet in the area, which is now available as cleansing and exhilarating body products. If our meditation was forest bathing, showering with these products is a kin to forest streaking?!

(Photo: mid-afternoon is time for the Marende in South Tyrol, with cured meats and local wines. Set your phone alarm clock right now)

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So, South Tyrol is definitely on our list for an adventure next year as a lesser known region that celebrates wellness in all its forms; mentally, physically and gastronomically. Not sure that’s a word but, a bit like Forest Bathing, its evocative enough that you just have to give it a try.

To find out more about South Tyrol and Forest Bathing head to suedtirol.info . The Trehs brand can be found at trehs.com and last, but certainly not least, book in for amazing cultural cuisine at bad-schoergau.com

Now, if we find you booking some 2 week package holiday on Teletext after we’ve spilled all our travel secrets – well, more of South Tyrol for us.

You know by now that we love a bit of luxury and we’re always so thankful to those front of house and behind the scenes who make our travelling experiences so incredible. To gain an insight into the, often crazy, world of delivering high end experiences, we were delighted to sit down with Priya Malhotra, the Head of VIP at Heathrow Airport.

HOC: So great to meet you, Priya, can you tell us about your role?

Priya: Heathrow is Europe’s biggest international airport. We fly to 190 destinations across the world and my role is to ensure that we give a world class service that exceeds our VIP customers’ expectations. The VIP service gives passengers a level of privacy they won’t receive anywhere else in an airport.

Our VIP team take care of everything; from security procedures to fine dining, we ensure the journey is effortlessly smooth. Customers are at the heart of everything we do and it’s my job to make sure we to deliver a luxurious and seamless airport experience. As well as making sure everything runs smoothly, my role also includes working behind the scenes to direct the vision of Heathrow VIP, strategic planning to enhance the service and building and nurturing internal and external partnerships.

HOC: What attracted you to this role and what steps have you taken in your career to get to this place?

Priya: I’ve worked in the luxury sector for over fifteen years and it’s an industry I’m extremely passionate about. Throughout my career I’ve always strived to have a good understanding of competitors and of clients’ needs to ensure I am always delivering the best possible service and quality in whatever I deliver.

Previously I worked in financial services, dealing with HNW (High Net Worth) stakeholders so I know high standards and what it takes to meet them. This helped me in my career change to Heathrow VIP and in my day to day role ensuring my team deliver bespoke experiences for each customer.

HOC: You must look around somedays and think ‘how on earth did I get into this?!’ Can you share any of your most surreal and amazing experiences?

Priya: I must admit I’ve had some memorable experiences however one of my most surreal (and proudest) moments was securing a partnership with Michelin-starred chef JasonAtherton. I’d only been in the job one month and Heathrow VIP didn’t even have a kitchen at that point. Within eighteen months we were serving seasonal dishes from the menu of his restaurant, Pollen Street Social.

HOC: Providing such an exceptional experience for your clients must be hard work and exhausting! What top tips do you have for unwinding in the evenings and self-care?

Priya: I am definitely a fan of luxury living and for me that doesn’t come in the form of things! Some days can be more exhausting than others however I always take a minute for myself in the evenings to think and breath. For me it’s about finding balance in life so I try to switch off from technology as much as possible, eat well and spend quality time with my family. As I have such an early start in the mornings (yep, 4am!) at weekends I make sure I’m refreshed and well rested for the week ahead.

HOC: We know there’s probably no such thing as a typical day but can you give us an insight into what a day would entail for you?

Priya: A typical day for me starts with a 6.30am with a briefing on the clients will be joining us that day and making sure we have everything prepared for their journey. After that I’ll usually spend about an hour catching up on emails before heading into a variety of meetings with partners, stakeholders and potential guests.

I also attend internal meetings on our long term strategy and direction of Heathrow VIP to make sure we’re all aligned and working towards the same goals. I usually finish the working day at around 4pm and start the commute home if I am not out networking with stakeholders or tasting delicious food.

HOC: What’s the most rewarding element of your job?

Priya: My favourite part of the job getting to choose what luxury items are available through the service. Recently I was lucky enough to get to taste test 10 different cheesecakes and decide which one was best. I get the final say on everything from the flowers in the lounges to the interiors of our cars. I love to see our guests savouring their time with us in their comfortable and quiet haven before they embark on their onward journey – many see this as an incredibly important part of their lifestyle.

HOC: Are there any quirky trends you are seeing in what your clients ask for – food, treatments etc? Any predictions for the future of VIP?

Priya: The world of luxury travel is ever changing and will continue to evolve as we transform the way we interact and engage with our clients. As part of this, we’ve seen our clients really respond to the growth of personalised experiences tailored to each travellers’ needs. We ensure we provide customers with whatever they need – from offering them a chance to choose whether to board first or last on their flight or making sure their magazines of choice are ready for them as they arrive, to giving them the opportunity to select a meal of their choice from a seasonal menu from world renowned chef Jason Atherton – it’s about making sure every individual experience is unique and enjoyable.

HOC: If you weren’t in this field, what else would you be doing?

Priya: I’d still be in the financial services!

HOC: Any tips for anyone looking to get into this field?

Priya: The luxury travel industry is a complex one however it’s absolutely worth it! I love my job and would encourage anyone who is interested in pursuing a career in this industry to keep on working to achieve their goals.

HOC: What’s the most common false assumption about the work you do?

Priya: That the term luxury only refers to how expensive something is. Luxury is the time, peace, quiet and space our customers receive, helping them to relax and unwind during their journey. It’s all about delivering a high-quality experience for our customers which is much more important than a price tag.

Here at House of Coco we have always been about innovation and have always loved those that are forward thinking! we appreciate the girl that does it for herself but we also have so much respect for the guys who kill it! and when I met Mike from Wilde Connect that is exactly what I thought – his idea was innovative and he was so forward thinking! We love travel at House of Coco and his business definitely would appeal to those fast savvy fashion types who are always country hopping taking our office with us. Majority of us can’t live without our phones – our lives are practically on them – so when someone comes along with an idea that would make life easier – we welcome it with open arms! I caught up with Michael Wilde…

Tell us about you and what your brand is

Michael Wilde, entrepreneur & founder of Wilde Connect. A phone network which lets you take your work phone with you around the world. And of course, an aspiring Digital Nomad.

What is your average day like?

Exciting, I don’t know where I’m going to be working that day which is why I love my job so much. All my job requires is an internet connection and me, so I can be working from an office in Oxford or a beach in Bali. My business helps with others to become digital nomads. Download an app & connect your local work number and make and receive calls from that number from wherever you are in the world. From my experience, people do business with people they feel comfortable with. What makes people uncomfortable is getting a call from a Russian number when you’re in an office in London. You immediately think ‘Who is this?!’ We supply local numbers to any device so you can call and receive calls from your local UK number, wherever you are.

Favourite travel destination

It has to be Iceland! What a place, everything about it took my breath away. The scenery, the food, the people, the nightlife, everything was just amazing. 100% will go back.

Who inspires you and who do you aspire to be like?

My family. They’re always pushing me to better myself – Continuous Improvement – If you’re not improving you’re going backwards. I’ve just started acting classes with this in mind.

3 things you cant live without

My laptop, my family, and my snowboard.

Who is the key person Wilde Connect is aimed for?

Someone who doesn’t want to be behind a desk for the rest of their working life. My ideal customer is anyone who wants to travel the globe and make money while they’re at it. We give you the means to communicate with companies back home like you’re sat across the road, making it easier to do business and secure deals.

You’re in your early days of your brand – how do you deal with those bad days when you just want to give up

I work off the mantra; The more you put in, the more you get out. Even on the hard days when I want to stay in bed and watch Netflix, that saying haunts me to put in that extra couple of hours work, even when I don’t want to.

What are you currently listening to?

I’ve recently got into Billy Joel again, I love playing the Piano so his music really resonates with me and I love a good ballad.

What motivates you to strive to be successful

The feeling that unsuccessful people are so because they haven’t put the work in. It’s up to you and you alone to make it, no excuses. It’s a cut-throat way of looking at the world but I believe that the more you put in, the more you get out, in every sense. From relationships with loved ones to clients across the globe.

Thank you Mike we look forward to hearing more about you and watching you grow! want to know more check his website below!

https://www.wildeconnect.com

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@wildeconnect

We’ll forgive you for shuddering at the idea of grabbing dinner around London Victoria. For years, the transport hub has been devoid of a dining option much more sophisticated than Pret and any afterwork catch ups would have been limited to chain pubs with sticky carpets and dead-eyed travellers waiting for the next train….

However, the regeneration of the area is well underway with new spots opening up here, there and everywhere. Nestled next to the futuristic Nova complex is the sumptuous The Rubens at the Palace with their incredible addition to the area, the newly refurbished, The English Grill.

The Rubens, as you’d expect, is a bijou, luxurious looking hotel on Buckingham Palace Road. As all great British secrets, its flowered exterior merely hints at the luxe that lies within. Past doormen and bellhops you’re greeted in the grand red carpeted, dark wood finished reception area and ushered to the perfectly lit drinking den, the Calvary Bar, where a jazz trio are crooning sophisticated covers.

Old Fashioneds come in geometric glasses with stylist bar snacks, but, wait, are those twiglets?! We’re coming to understand The Rubens as a place where comfort and cosy familiarity meet high end finishes and we LOVE it.

As we were seated at our booth in The English Grill we could see right into a brightly lit kitchen, past an opulent display of seasonal vegetables – again reinforcing this marriage of cosiness and high end, classic and cutting edge; a still life scene meets a bustling, modern chef station.

A basket of breads, including seed crisp breads and onion buns, appears with crudités and we snuggle into our seats, excited for the warming feast ahead. We had entered a very special world, just minutes from the evening commuter chaos at London Victoria and we already knew that we were going to struggle to leave.

To interrupt what we’re hoping is a rich depiction of this wonderful place…. can we just talk about the fact that The English Grill has not only a roast but also a pie for every day of the week. Let that sink in. You could treat yourself to a warming high-end roast on a Wednesday night, dressed up with the girls or get your parents to take you for five star pie and mash on a Saturday afternoon. Okay, back to where we were….

Starters range from the most impressive Burrata and Avocado on toast we’ve ever had (yes, we did have brunch for starters!) to smoked salmon sliced at your table from a trolley from a Wes Andersen movie. Feeling very autumnal and in need of real sustenance we plumped for the steaks for mains ; one a melt-in-the mouth Kobe Beef Fillet, the other an incredibly generous and supremely tasty Tomahawk steak with triple cooked chips and market greens. Never have we tasted steaks so succulent and satisfying.

With meat proudly coming from suppliers such as Aubrey Allen, The English Grill is definitely a carnivore’s paradise but with salmon from H. Forman and a classic Grilled Dover Sole also on offer, pescaterians will dine incredibly happy as well.

Alongside our seasonal feast we were treated to a flight of wines from the Red Carnation hotels’ owners’ vineyard; Bouchard Finlayson. Whites accompanied our starters; both oaked and non oaked and with our mains, reds of course! The real treat of the selection was trying the 2015 Hannibal against the 2014 variety which was so new to the restaurant that only the hotel owner had tried the bottle before us. Now is the right time to whisper, very quietly, that this #TeamCoco writer is no wine connoisseur, but the sommelier was so incredibly engaging and friendly that I not only loved the wines we tried but also learnt a little wine intel.

We wrapped our dining experience with two retro childhood delights; an IceCream Sundae and Eton Mess. The desserts were refreshingly simple and a wholesome cap on an incredible dining experience.

Glancing at our watches we realised we’d been happily dining away and chatting with the team for almost 4 hours and it was sadly time to leave. Sweeping up our winter coats and stepping out into bustling Victoria we felt as if we had experienced the ultimate luxury; of escaping the busy world outside even if just for the night. We had an incredible evening at The English Grill at The Rubens at the Palace and can’t wait for another occasion to escape there once again!

The English Grill is open daily for breakfast, lunch and dinner at The Rubens at the Palace at 39 Buckingham Palace Rd, Westminster, London SW1W 0PS

At just a quick 30-minute flight or a leisurely 3-hour ferry ride, the picturesque island of Guernsey is just a short journey from the UK.

We stayed at the only five-star hotel on the island, at The Old Government House Hotel & Spa, a glorious and historic building that is situated in the heart of St Peter Port, just a short stroll from the quayside and the bustling shops.

Straight away, we were greeted by friendly and warm staff who made every effort to make our stay as wonderful as possible. What really struck me was that every detail is catered for when booking a room, you are asked about your favourite colours and music, and in turn, the staff look to match you with a suitable room that has your favourite music playing as you check in.

Quite often in 5-star hotels, you can feel that whilst the staff are well-meaning and polite, that it can feel rather impersonal, but at The Old Government House this is not the case and you truly do feel like a friend. The staff go above and beyond to help you and make a real difference to your stay which was evident from the valet and waitresses, all the way up to management which was very refreshing.

Our room was beautifully designed and had wonderful sea views which were stunning and you could easily while away the hours gazing out to sea on the comfortable window seat. The complimentary toiletries were L’Occitane which smelt so nice, I am now a L’Occitane convert for sure!

As well as being a luxury hotel, it is also pet friendly, so feel free to bring your BDF (Best Dog Friend) over for a mini break too! The hotel itself is steeped in history and as the name suggests, it used to be the residence for the Governor of Guernsey up until 1858 when it became a hotel.

I had the opportunity to have a quick chat with Front of House Manager Andi who was delightful and gave me lots of tips for wonderful places to visit on the island. Andi also explained about the hotels renowned ‘Gin Passport’ where you can get to sample 35 diverse types of gin including Guernsey’s own Blue Bottle gin which is one of the nicest that I have ever tasted!

They also carry out gin tastings (for those that don’t want to commit to trying 35 different types of gin, tempting as it is!) whiskey tastings, as well as running cocktail masterclasses.

The hotel has two restaurants, both of which are widely popular with both guests and residents. The Curry House which as you would expect provides Indian cuisine, but this has a slight South African twist with the chef being from South Africa. One of the most popular dishes are the Prawn Curry and the Bunny Chow.

The Brasserie Restaurant is set in a sunny conservatory environment, overlooking the tranquil, manicured gardens and the outdoor swimming pool. When in Guernsey, you must try the local seafood, which is in abundance. The hotel also offers a charming afternoon tea, where you can enjoy it with a cup of tea or even a glass of champagne – the choice is yours!

As you would expect, the hotel has its own spa which includes a beautiful mosaic jacuzzi, sauna and relaxation room. You can opt from a range of different spa treatments, but the deep tissue massage is always a winner!

The town of St Peter Port is busy but doesn’t feel commercial or touristy at all, there are many lovely restaurants to visit. We recommend Le Nautique (for delicious seafood) La Fregate, China Red, Octopus and The Slaughterhouse (which sounds scary, but it is not!)

The history of the Island, with regards to the German occupation is both interesting and moving in equal measure. There are several museums that provide a fascinating insight into what life was like under occupation during World War 2.

Keeping in with the historical theme, Castle Cornet, Guernsey’s ancient fortress is certainly worth a visit, if you can visit close to midday, you can witness the firing of the castles’ cannon. We also took the opportunity to visit the house of author Victor Hugo which offered a truly remarkable insight into his exceptional imagination which is demonstrated in abundance in Hauteville House.

For some serious R and R time, head over to any of the Island’s stunning beaches such as Cobo Beach, Fermain, Pembroke, Petit and Vazon to take some time out to sit on the beach and relax.

Guernsey is an ideal place for a short break and we returned back to our busy lives feeling recharged and raring to go.

Additional Image Credits: Old Government House Hotel.