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Paris is yours this summer, and quite literally – with many Parisiens flocking from the centre to other parts of France during the warmer months. We jetted to the City of Light for the perfect weekend and swapped dreary London for shimmery Seine boat rides, brasseries and long lunches in the sun.

We touched down with British Airways Holidays right in beating heart of Paris in Saint-Germain-des-Prés in the 6th Arrondissement. We were transported from the UK and arrived right in the centre of Paris in a few easy hours. With everything from anique stores, museums, boutique shopping, cosy bars and buzzy restaurants on our doorsteps and having been to Paris countless times previously, we decided to keep it local and uncover everything that was on our doorstep.

First things first was to check into our centrally located hotel, K+K Hotel Cayré, just a stone’s throw from the Latin Quarter and then head for coffee. The chic and comfortable hotel was typically Parisien and the Eiffel Tower, Musée d’Orsay, and Louvre Museum were all within walking distance. For an afternoon pick-me-up we chose the historic Les Deux Magots, just a short stroll away. The cafe was first established in 1812 at Rue de Buci and moved to the current address in the 1870s, in the period when the elegant and wide Paris boulevards were being built. Famous amongst the literary set back in the day, we feasted on buttery croissants and steaming black coffee whilst watching the world go by all around us.

Saint-Germain’s major Metro route, Line 4, stops at Saint Michel, Odeon, St-Germain-des-Prés, and Saint-Placide. Line 4 is the link between the north and south of Paris stopping at three of the major Paris train stations — Gare de Nord, Gare de l’Est, and Gare Montparnasse, making it easy to travel just under an hour to the nearby wine regions, the perfect way to spend a Sunday afternoon in the summer. We headed to Reims in the Champagne region (45 minutes from Paris) from Gare de l’Est and then onto three Champagne houses for a taste of the good stuff and an introduction to winemaking by lesser-known vineyards and wineries. After a few tipples of the freshest bubbles we have ever tasted it was straight back to the city to put our new-found knowledge to the test at the bars and restaurants by our hotel.

WHERE TO EAT & DRINK IN SAINT-GERMAIN

  • LATE NIGHT DRINKS & PEOPLE WATCHING: Atlas, Saint Germain
  • FLORAL BRUNCHES: Maison Sauvage, Saint Germain
  • WHITE TABLE CLOTH FAMPOUS BRASSERIE: Les Deux Magots, Saint Germain

HOW TO GET THERE

British Airways Holidays offers two nights, at the 4* K+K Hotel Cayré, from £319pp, travelling on selected dates between 1 August – 31 August 2022 inclusive. Includes economy return flights from London Gatwick Airport, 25kg luggage allowance and accommodation. Book by 30 July 2022 at www.britishairways.com/france. Further information on British Airways Holidays can be found here.

WHY CHOOSE BRITISH AIRWAYS HOLIDAYS

  • Package deal: customers can save time and money when they book their flight + hotel or flight + car together
  • Product range: British Airways Holidays offers customers an extensive flight network and over 10,000 carefully selected hotels and villas. It also supplies straight-forward car hire and a range of experiences, transfers and insurance
  • Flexibility: travellers can create a personalised multi-centre holiday with ease. They can book and combine flights in and out of different airports, choose multiple hotels and select car hire for any part of their holiday
  • Low deposit: travellers can secure their holiday with a low deposit (starting from £60pp) and can pay the balance in as many instalments as they want
  • Booking security: for extra peace of mind British Airways Holidays offer a 24-hour helpline and ATOL protection
  • Earn: travellers can collect Avios on flight, hotel and car bookings

Introducing you to Amare Beach Hotel Marbella: The new masterclass in cool

Stepping out onto my balcony, the heat of the coffee cup cradled in my hands contrasting with the cool, sleek wood of the deck against my feet, my lungs filled with fresh, salted air as I took in the magnificent sunrise over the whitewashed terraces and sapphire sea of Marbella. The late spring sunshine stretched its rays of coral, orange, and amber across the promenade as a pair of joggers shuffled past a lady unrolling yoga mats ready for an early Vinyasa session on the beach. It’s the kind of fleeting moment that may only last a few minutes, but the memory, the feeling, will last a lifetime. And there are plenty of those to be found at Amare Beach Hotel Marbella.

Where is it?

A beach front property a few minutes walk from the charming Marbella Old Town, the adults-only Amare Beach Hotel is situated slap bang in the centre of Marbella itself. Perched upon the promenade alongside the dazzling Mediterranean sea, the hotel is flanked by an abundance of pretty cafes, bars, sun loungers galore, and sits upon the pathway leading to Marbella’s famous “Golden Mile”, their very own 4.6 mile yellow brick road leading towards the party hot spot of Puerto Banus. Guests can take a 5 minute stroll uphill to Marbella Old Town: a quaint, whitewashed treasure trove of boutique stores and independent restaurants, with their geranium lined walkways and air heavy with the scent of churros and chocolate. With average temperatures of a pleasant 20C in spring and a sunbathers dream of 29C in summer, there’s a Marbella month for everyone, from spring golfers to summer sun goddesses.

Costa del Cool

Drawing inspiration from the sea and the traditional crisp white aesthetic of Marbella Old Town, the interiors fuse together the light, airy feel of the Mediterranean with the luxurious modernity synonymous with the Amare brand. Bleached wooden decks and gleaming marble allow the interiors to blend seamlessly with the outdoors regardless of what floor you happen to be on. The vertical wall garden and indoor water features bring the outside in, bolstering the feeling of airiness and wellbeing. Luxe, contemporary features such as rotating art installations and the most Instagrammable of feature walls in the hotel lobby add to the cool, effortless vibe that radiates throughout the property.

The effortlessly cool characteristics of the hotel continue into the outdoor area, where you will find dozens of comfortable sun loungers (and even the odd swing chair) around the chequerboard pool and outdoor hot tub. Cross the promenade to find Amare Beach Club, a chic waterside bar serving up cocktails and light bites adjacent to the sandy beach bedecked with loungers and parasols. The perfect spot for sun, sea, and social media snaps.

It’s not all sun and games

If you’re not one for lounging on the beach or sipping cocktails by the pool all day then fear not: the hotel boasts an array of additional features to make your stay a memorable one. SPA by Germaine de Capuccini offers a number of indulgent treatments including soothing facials and muscle-melting massages alongside a hydrotherapy circuit including a hot tub, sauna, and relaxation areas. DJs and musicians regularly perform beside the pool and beachfront, elevating the ambience as the sun goes down. For those who prefer a little more spring to their sojourn, the hotel offers daily bike rental, perfect for a 45-minute spin down the Golden Mile to Puerto Banus. There’s an onsite gym, and golf courses within a reasonable distance, and for the truly insane, personal training is available by prior booking.

What about the rooms?

In keeping with the rest of the hotel, the room interiors follow the same cool, effortless flow from inside to out. The clean white and soft grey palette allows the striking blues of the Mediterranean and burnished Spanish skies to take centre stage, like an ever-changing art installation. Details are muted, yet ever reminiscent of the sea: The headboards resemble the soft white foam of the surf, the curves of the loungers and ceiling lights echoing the waves of the waters beyond. Despite the assumption that Marbella is in party mode 24/7 (a mistake initiated by reality tv shows that are filmed several miles away in Puerto Banus), the rooms are well-insulated and quiet, guaranteeing a peaceful night’s sleep. For rainy days or when you just need a little “me time”, the balconies are spacious and clean, the minibars are well stocked, and the room service menu is abundant with options for an early morning feed or late-night bite. Rooms vary from “I was here”: an intimate, cosy space with views of the Sierra Blanca mountains, or “Oh La La The One”, featuring a rainfall shower, Molten Brown toiletries, and access to the premium lounge space in the hotel lobby filled to the brim with complimentary drinks, wine, and snacks.

Food and drink

One thing’s for sure, you’re not going to go hungry: boasting multiple restaurants including the rooftop Belvue with panoramic views, the contemporary Amare Lounge, and the oceanside Amare Beach, guests are spoilt for choice. Serving up tasty tapas, stone-baked pizzas, fresh salads, sushi, and Iberico ham, you could easily dine around the hotel for a week and not experience the same dish twice. Should you fancy a more sophisticated affair, the Michelin-starred, award-winning restaurant, Messina, is located a few yards from the hotel. Whether you’re indulging in the ten-course tasting menu or freestyling with the a la carte offerings, bookings can be made via the hotel concierge and the bill charged to your room for convenience. Breakfast is served buffet style with freshly squeezed orange juice, omelettes made to order, and a large variety of hot and cold options including chorizo, fresh honeycomb, and a wide selection of bread and pastries. The generous drinks menu offers everything from Aperol to whisky, with many frosted cocktails in between. There’s no danger of you running out of options here.

Insider tips:

  • Rent a bike and take a leisurely ride up to Puerto Banus. There are plenty of safe places to lock up your wheels whilst you take a relaxing stroll around the marina and designer stores of this prolific end of the Golden Mile. Just make sure to book your bike rental with reception as far in advance as possible as they tend to get reserved quickly on sunnier days.
  • Reserve a table at Belvue, the panoramic bar located up on the 9th floor, for sunset cocktails. If you’re in it for the ‘gram, free apps such as Phototime will let you know what time golden hour and sunset will begin. Perfect for those cocktail-sipping selfies.
  • End your trip with a massage at SPA by Germaine de Capuccini. Located on the sub-levels of the building, it’s the perfect sanctuary away from the hustle and bustle of the pool bar.

How to book:

Bookings can be made directly with the hotel here.

Hotel address: Avda. Severo Ochoa 8, 29603, Marbella, Málaga, España

Email: booking@amarehotels.com

The nearest airport is Malaga, approximately 40 minutes drive away.

Can Lluc Hotel, nestled in the heart of Ibiza’s countryside, offers a serene retreat amidst olive groves and pine forests. Known for its luxurious accommodations and panoramic views, Can Lluc Hotel provides a perfect blend of relaxation and luxury for discerning travelers seeking tranquility on the island.

Having successfully shaken off its former identity as a party-only island, Ibiza’s spiritual side is finally getting the credit it deserves. It’s not all about the super clubs and pool parties, and the luxury country hotel Can Lluc offers the perfect base to explore a calmer Ibiza.

A Perfect Blend of Tradition and Modern Luxury

This family-owned boutique hotel combines traditional rustic charm with a more modern aesthetic found in the newer sections of the hotel. Situated just fifteen minutes from Ibiza’s Old Town, and around twenty minutes from the local local’s-favourite spot, Talamanca Beach, Can Lluc is perfectly positioned to discover the very best of Ibiza, that’s if you can tear yourself away from the beautiful natural setting and Balinese poolside beds.

House of Coco writer, Tilly-Jayne Kidman, had the pleasure of stopping by for two luxurious nights…

Embracing Nature and Tradition in Ibiza

Surrounded by fields, forests, fruit trees, and 2000 grapevines, here at Can Lluc you’ll feel truly immersed in nature, it’s an area of high ecological value, and at times it’s easy to forget you’re in the middle of Ibiza. It’s the perfect destination to relax, unwind, and unplug, yet still have the buzz of Ibiza Town and the best beach spots just down the road. The original main house/finca is over 300 years old and belonged to the grandfather of the current hotel owner, Lucas. It has been lovingly restored over a period of three years, whilst maintaining its traditional charm with original features such as the stone walls and exposed wooden beams.

The hotel’s twenty rooms include seven doubles, five superiors, eight villas, and two-holiday houses that are ideally suited to families who require additional living space. The newer rooms at Can Lluc have a bright and airy bohemian style where less is more, whilst the more traditional rooms have a cosy, farmhouse feel. Most rooms have a private terrace, and there are also rooms equipped with whirlpool bathtubs if you fancy a little extra luxury for your stay. Spoiler alert: the jacuzzi baths are 100% worth it, and the best bath you’ll ever have. It was just what the doctor ordered after a busy day of exploring the island.

The new one-bedroom villas boast a more minimalist approach to their decor with light, neutral colour tones and plenty of rattan.

Beautiful rooms aren’t all that Can Lluc offers, it’s hard not to notice the impressive swimming pool that overlooks acres of greenery. Sunbeds, cushions, and Balinese daybeds are spaciously dotted around the pool, and it’s all too easy to let time slip away as you sit back and enjoy your peaceful surroundings. The hotel also offers a pool service, so you needn’t even leave your lounger for another G&T. Bliss!

Wellness and Culinary Delights at Can Lluc Hotel

Foodies will relish the hotel’s restaurant which offers a delicious buffet breakfast with pastries, fresh fruit, and eggs and a ‘slow life’ inspired dinner menu that features Mediterranean dishes where chefs work with fresh local produce. Be sure to sample some of the delicious local wines with your evening meal.

Morning workout? Guests can enjoy a small but well-equipped fitness studio, and if your muscles are in need of a little TLC, you’ll be pleased to know that tailor-made massages can also be booked. There’s also the opportunity to take part in your own private yoga lessons, we can’t think of a better location to relax into a child’s pose! After a long day of swimming, eating, lounging, and yoga, end your day by following the signposted walk up a small hill for the best view of the sunset. It’s a magical moment, watching the sun go down in such a tranquil spot.

After two heavenly nights, we found ourselves checking out and hastily checking our diaries to work out whether a return trip was feasible this summer. Can Lluc is truly an Ibiza hidden gem not to be missed.

Prices start at 379,50 € for a Deluxe Terrace room for two people, including breakfast www.canlluc.com

A young country with an old soul, welcome to the best kept secret of the Balkans

The tranquil emerald waters of Boka Bay catch flecks of gold as the sky puts on a show of burnished orange, pinks and violets. The early evening air heavy with the scent of salt from sea and butter from bakery, the only sounds being the clinking of champagne glasses and the slow, low beat of jazz from a yacht being prepared for an evening sail. Serenity. I take a sip of my mimosa and take in the brooding mountains, their rugged silhouette breaking up the dazzling waters below and hypnotic light show above. This is no unpredictable event, no twist of fate or great kismet on my part. This is a regular evening at Regent Porto Montenegro.

A Different Energy

The atmosphere, the energy here, it’s different. You know that feeling when you’re meeting up with friends after a long period of absence? You know, the warmth, the familiarity, sharing in-jokes as you uncork the wine and settle in for an evening of updates and anecdotes? That’s Regent Porto Montenegro. Behind the elegant, Venetian-Renaissance architecture is a tight-knit team of creative, diligent staff, committed to ensuring that your stay is as exceptional as it is relaxing. Sure, the overriding experience is one of luxury, but the approach is that of the warm aunt making cocoa for her guests at the end of a long day. The substance exceeds the style, no mean feat given the style is, well, off the scale.

Where is it?

Regent Porto Montenegro sits proudly on the waterfront of Tivat, its grand Italianate facade looking out onto the 460-berth super yacht marina and snow-tipped mountains beyond. Located 15 minutes from Tivat airport and with a flight time just shy of 3 hours from the UK, Regent Porto Montenegro is an excellent choice for anyone looking for luxuries most often found further afield, but with a substantially shorter flight time. Those looking for something a little more rustic can take a short 4 mile drive to Kotor, the UNESCO World Heritage site boasting narrow streets of charming stone buildings, ancient churches, and many, many cats. Additionally, Perast, and it’s mysterious Lady of the Rock (a little church with a big history), can be reached in under 30 minutes. With an abundance of walking, hiking, and cycling routes available, Montenegro is more than gleaming yachts and designer shopping. With average coastal temperatures of 28C in the summer and a pleasant 17C in the spring, the climate here offers the perfect vacation weather for sailing fanatics and sun-worshippers alike. I’m not sure what else I could ask for, but I’ve no doubt if I could, the staff would have it to me in two shakes of a lambs tail.

A Masterclass in Design

A proud tribute to their Venetian roots, Regent Porto Montenegro pays homage to its Italian history whilst creating a new, contemporary style of it’s own. Designed by Tino Zervudachi of MHZ, the interiors are stylish and uncluttered, allowing the sweeping views to do all the talking. Thoughtful, yet comfortable, the public areas of the hotel boast electrifying Italian style with the comforts and luxuries synonymous with many of the super-yachts moored outside. If Venetians made cruise ships, this is what they would look like.

The crisp, clean craftmanship spills out of the hotel interior and into the perfectly manicured gardens, outdoor seating areas, and many, many infinity pools on site. The beautifully refined Beach Club features cabanas curtained with crisp, white linen, and a multitude of pools directly overlooking the marina and bay beyond. If sundowners and good conversation are more your thing, Onyx Bar, with it’s delicate water features and fragrant shrubbery faces out to the west, meaning you can enjoy your Aperol beneath one of those trademark Montenegrin sunsets.

What about the rooms?

With the palm lined bay to the front and majestic mountains to the back, each of Regent Porto Montengro’s 175 rooms, suites, and penthouses evoke a feeing of quiet luxury. The accommodation is spread across three wings, each with its own distinct flavour: Venezia plays tribute to Montenegro’s nautical past, whilst the Regent Pool Club Residences feel more reminiscent of the Italian Riviera. The dazzlingly diverse views of both land and sea mean you could stay a dozen times and experience a different vista on each occasion. Views aside, the quality of the interiors remain uniform across all classes of room. Irrespective of whether you’re staying in a room or a penthouse, the beds are marshmallow soft, the linens impeccable, the bathrooms unscrupulously clean. For those staying with family, the penthouses offer ample space for excitable children and tumbling tots, whereas couples may prefer the discreet luxury of a suite complete with oversized rainforest shower and deep ceramic tub with an optional bath butler service.

Whilst some rooms include cooking facilities and refrigerators, the comprehensive room service menu means you don’t have to leave the comfort of your bed for breakfast or quit sunbathing on your balcony if you get a bit peckish. Lovely jubbly.

Food & Drink

Not many hotels boast a restaurant that could survive and thrive as a stand alone entity, but Murano at Regent Porto Montenegro is certainly one of them. Headed up by Chef Marko Zivkovic, Murano is quietly creating impeccable dishes with an attention to flavour and flair synonymous with the quality and grandeur of the restaurant interior. With a focus on Adriatic seafood and local, seasonal ingredients, this is the closest you will get to Michelin Star quality dining outside of a Michelin Star restaurant. The dishes pack a punch whilst retaining simplicity, the balance of land and sea harmonised on the plate. The dining room, with its high ceilings, chandeliers, and opulent Murano glass artwork is the perfect setting for a three course feast, whereas the outdoor seating in the Italian Garden provide a more relaxing al-fresco option for the warmer months.

For a more casual affair, Gourmet Corner is the go-to restaurant for a breezy lunch or afternoon treat. The sweeping glass counter filled with all manner of cakes and pasties is impossible to resist (trust me, I ate four in one sitting), the menu offering light bites such as creamy croquettes and peppery steak sandwiches. If it’s a tipple you’re after, the Library Bar, reminiscent of an old London gentleman’s club, can serve you a dram of classic malt or shake up a custom cocktail whilst you sink into one of the many sumptuous wing-backed chairs. Alternatively, the expert mixologists at both The Onyx Bar and Pool Bar offer an array of both alcoholic and non-alcoholic cocktails alongside a variety of light bites. You are in no danger of going hungry here.

A Little R&R

Step out of the second-floor elevator and you’re greeted with the drifting scent of eucalyptus and camomile from the world-class spa facilities. Here, relaxation is serious business: whether you’re indulging in a Finnish sauna, Turkish Hammam, or custom massage treatment, your serenity is their priority. The therapists act with a sense of care and calm, drawing from the gentle, nurturing energy that seems ever present throughout the building. With a selection of treatments available, including Ayurvedic massage, rose infused facials, and revitalising body scrubs, you’ll be floating back to your room for the best night’s sleep you’ve had in recent memory.

If you’re already fully de-stressed, the spa is also home to a 20 metre indoor pool and oversized mosaic-lined hot-tub, each with awe-inspiring views of Boka Bay. If you fancy a bit of fresh air, you can slip outside to the secluded infinity pool on the second floor balcony. The perfect place to quietly drink in that sunrise.

Insider tips

  1. While the bay view rooms are fabulous, don’t dismiss the mountain facing rooms on the opposite side of the building. The mountain views are magnificent, especially during the cooler months when they’re topped with snow. Try both for a unique travel experience.
  2. There are numerous luxury boutiques on site, including Dior, Rolex, and Zimmerman. Bring your chequebooks.
  3. Try the ceviche at Murano. More importantly, book Murano before the rest of the world finds out about it, so you can brag that you got in before the waiting list.
  4. The indoor hot tub at sunset is a special experience indeed. The mosaic glows during the golden hour, and the spa is generally quite empty as most guests are at dinner.
  5. Take a day trip to Perast and visit The Lady of the Rock. You don’t need to be Catholic or indeed religious to enjoy the architecture and story of this unique spot. If you think on, book a table at Conte for lunch afterwards.

How to book

Bookings can be made direct with the hotel here. Accessible and inter-connected rooms are available upon request.

Regent Porto Montenegro is located at Obala BB, Porto Montenegro Village, Tivat, 85320, Montenegro.

Telephone: +382 (0) 32 660 660

The nearest airport is Tivat, less that 5km from the hotel. You can also arrive via Dubrovnik and Podgorica airports, each one located about 90 minutes drive away.

Gallery:

Preferred Hotel Group, one of the world’s biggest hotel groups, has launched Beyond Green, a collection of luxury and boutique hotels that are putting sustainability at the heart of everything they do.

Beyond Green by Preferred Hotel Group is a diverse portfolio of hotels, resorts, and lodges offering a range of guest experiences in unique locations around the world. The project believes that traveling well, and with intention, can be a powerful force for renewing our planet and enhancing the lives of all its people – and we are all for it.

Beyond Green is all about inspiring renewal for planet and people and each member hotel demonstrates their commitment to sustainable leaderships through action and impact. From protecting cultural heritage to environmental and conservation stewardship, these hotels are fully engaged in minimising their carbon footprints. Collectively, the member hotels are helping to rewild more than six million acres of wildlife in both land and sea. This includes the conservation of endangered species too.

Here are ten of our favourite hotels from Beyond Green, because true luxury travel is good for the planet too.

Cavello Point, United States

Bushman’s Kloof, South Africa

Miavana by Time + Tide, Madagascar

Islas Secas, Panama

Three Camel Lodge, Mongolia

Blancaneaux Lodge, Belize

andBeyond Sossusvlei Desert Lodge, Namibia

Xigera Safari Lodge, Botswana

The Brando, French Polynesia

andBeyond Vira Vira, Chile

Paris knows that you are going to fall in love with her no matter how hard you try to resist and I’ve always thought this rather presumptuous …

The city of light was calling to me after I had been miserable in dark and gloomy England for too long and so I booked myself a hotel, agreed to a date, and set off to see if I could be a Paris convert once and for all. With the pandemic finally over, I was willing to put my penchant for cynicism to one side for one weekend and willingly allow the city to seduce me. I needed to see if it was truly worth the hype.

To up the ante, I stayed right on the Champs-Élysées with the dramatic Arc de Triomphe in full view. The beautiful hotel was called Fraser Suites Le Claridge Champs-Elysées and was the perfect base in the city and within walking distance of the romantic Tuileries Garden and Place de la Concorde. I was greeted with sensational views of the Champs-Elysées from my private apartment as well as rose petals and chocolates – tick, tick! I took a moment to calm my nerves before my date in the typically French patio right in the centre of the aparthotel which felt like a complete oasis as the sun was going down, just moments from one of the busiest and most famous streets in the world.

With my chicest outfit I could bundle together on, I was ready to go. First up on the date was coffee (the key to my heart) and sharing a chocolate mousse (amen) at Les Deux Magots, truly an exceptional start. Watching rather aloof Parisians ping straight back to life at five o’clock after rushes of caffeine and chocolate was something I didn’t know I needed.

I know now that what I had been missing in previous trips to France was being shown around by a local. I received no eye rolls from waiters as a result of my terrible pronunciation, no sniff for obviously wearing a beret facetiously. I kept uncharacteristically quiet as my French language skills are très awful and was elated by how differently everyone at the restaurants and bars treated us when they thought I was Parisien. Maybe my outfit was chic?

First glass of wine down and people think I am French? Suddenly the standoffish demeanour of fellow diners, taxi drivers and Seine walkers was incredibly endearing and sincere. These are my people. Next up was Le Relais de l’Entrecôte for delicious steak and bottomless frites where we sat cheek by jowl with hungry chattering Parisiens. So far the date was going well but I couldn’t help but think how much my girlfriends would laugh at now hard I was trying to blend in and I had to physically restrain myself from calling them in fits of laughter from the bathroom, looking in the mirror and sternly saying ‘no mademoiselle’ to myself in a French accent. The dessert course consisted of me pretending to be purely focused on the profiteroles but in fact I was mapping out my next trip to the city with my flatmate back home in a month’s time, little did she or indeed he (my date) know. I had fallen in love with suddenly possessing this insider knowledge and having at least two good spots to take people, all thanks to the handsome Parisien man sitting opposite me and generously leaving me all the chocolate sauce.

After dinner, I wasn’t head over heels with Paris just yet and slightly craved the buzziness and eclectic vibe of London on a Saturday night but after we walked off our feast the stars were twinkling and I knew that the lights of the Eiffel Tower would definitely break me. My date told me to wait until it was right on the hour for the lights to beginng to sparkle (another great insider tip). I grabbed my phone, ready for the insta moment and a notification from my best friend transferring me £20 popped up with the message ‘I love your plan this weekend, you go girl, get yourself some pink Champagne’. I was sold, I ran to the nearest shop, bought some bubbles and popped them underneath the Eiffel Tower like the embarrassing tourist I am. Have you ever been kissed thinking you were in a movie with flashing lights all around wearing a beret at midnight? I would highly recommend it. Cheesey? Yes. But maybe we all need a little fromage after the last two years, the stronger the better.

Fraser Suites Le Claridge Champs-Elysées, Paris

Fraser Suites Le Claridge Champs-Elysées, Paris features fully-furnished luxury serviced residences, complimentary Wi-Fi access, with rooms ranging from deluxe and premier suites to one and two-bedroom apartments. Rates start from €320 per night for a Deluxe Suite with a patio view. Facilities include a fitness room, lounge with TV, café, 24/7 business corner with multimedia, printer and Wi-Fi facilities and meeting facilities. There is room and laundry services available as well as airport transfers and it’s pet friendly. In addition to a fully-furnished living space with separate dining, kitchen and bedroom areas, the serviced apartments offer a welcome kit and amenities for children.

www.frasershospitality.com/en/france/paris/fraser-suites-le-claridge-champs-elysees-paris/

With international travel still a game of PCR tests and green light whack-a-mole, we’re hedging our late summer staycation plans resolutely in the UK.

With an endless array of wonderful country houses, inns and hotels to explore in the British Isles, we’ve rounded up some of our favourite staycations so you can make the most of what’s left of the summer months in true #TeamCoco style.

Mallory Court

A stunning Relais & Châteaux property, Mallory Court has been coined as the epitome of a quintessential English country house hotel and spa and it’s easy to see why. Known for its exceptional hospitality, Mallory Court boasts the same impeccable standards as its fellow properties in the Relais & Châteaux portfolio from design, service to amenities. Nestled in the heart of Leamington Spa, Mallory Court has been awarded the coveted four Red Stars from the AA and offers a 3 AA Rosette restaurant.

The beautiful, ivy-covered country house hotel features 43 individually-designed luxury bedrooms that exude classic English charm. It also has its own Elan Spa which offers a variety of relaxing treatments that set a new standard for wellness in Warwickshire. Oh, and did we mention that the Mallory Court was dog friendly too?

For more information visit www.relaischateaux.com

The Pheasant Inn

On an exceedingly scenic corner of Berkshire, sits the Pheasant Inn Lambourn, a wonderfully charming pub/inn that will outdo every one of your staycation expectations.

A well-loved local landmark, the Pheasant Inn has 14, individually-designed en-suite bedrooms which are as cosy as they are stylish; and an excellent pub that ‘simply and deliciously’ bring together only the best ingredients, and this certainly reflects in the quality of the food on offer. Want to know more? Our intrepid doggy reporter TeamCocopup Charlie recently reviewed The Pheasant Inn here.

For more information visit www.thepheasant-inn.co.uk

The Duncombe Arms

The Duncombe Arms, sister property to the wonderful Pheasant Inn, offers award-winning pub food and 10 exceedingly charming rooms in its main Walnut House. This beautiful inn offers a warm and cosy home away from home in the idyllic Staffordshire countryside. Not to mention, The Duncombe Arms also offers quirky self-catering accommodation for five to six people with its newly refurbished Old Barn and Garden Cottage.

For more information visit https://www.duncombearms.co.uk/

The Bradley Hare

The Bradley Hare is one of the UK’s newest country inns. Situated in the beautiful village of Maiden Bradley in the Duke of Somerset’s Estate, The Bradley Hare offers twelve distinctive bedrooms designed by James ex-Soho House Design Director Thurstan Waterworth. You can expect the same cool yet effortless Soho House vibe with all the pastoral beauty of Southwest Wiltshire. Not to mention, there is an excellent restaurant too.

For more information, visit www.thebradleyhare.co.uk

M Gallery City & Country Escape

M Gallery Hotels, which has a collection of three distinguished properties in Cheltenham, Bath and Windsor, is offering a ‘City & Country’ getaway package which offers a wealth of experiences all in one short break. The package includes a self-guided tour of must-see historic sites and tickets to local attractions too. Hotel guests are also treated to a special gift from a local artisan and a book providing more information about each of the local areas.

The City & Country Getaway is available at all three UK hotels and is based on two guests sharing, for bookings until 30 September 2021.

For or more information visit Francis Hotel Bath / Castle Hotel Windsor / Queens Hotel Cheltenham

The Grove

Located amidst 300 acres of lush Hertfordshire countryside, The Grove is a retreat in a world of its own. The interiors, designed by Martin Hulbert, are the embodiment of sophistication and panache; perfectly blending into the rich pastoral landscapes that surround it. Hannah Tan-Gillies and our intrepid doggy reporter #TeamCocopup visited The Grove for a five star staycation like no other – get inspired with their review here.

For more information or to book please visit www.thegrove.co.uk or call 01923 296010.

April Cottage

April Cottage is coastal cosiness at its finest, and part of the Winterton Cottages portfolio. Winterton Cottages offers an incredibly wide range of self-catering accommodation in Winterton-on-Sea which boasts easy access to the breathtaking Norfolk Coast. All the cottages are also just a short drive away from all the tourist attractions of Great Yarmouth.

What April Cottage may lack in size; it certainly makes up for in comfort. This beautifully furnished home sits right in the heart of the town and is overflowing with character. Inside, the decor is shabby chic with a contemporary twist. Downstairs, there is a cosy living room with a TV and woodburning stove. A separate dining room leads to a small kitchen, equipped with everything you need to serve up a hearty meal. We were greeted with a delightful welcome package that comprised of posh dog-treats, snacks and of course, a bottle of pink fizz. Check out TeamCocopup’s five-paw review of April Cottage here.

A week’s stay for four guests at April Cottage starts from £601 (wintertoncottages.co.uk, 01493 800645). For more information please visit www.great-yarmouth.co.uk.

Hannah Tan-Gillies and our intrepid doggy reporter #TeamCocopup Charlie checked into the Lexham Gardens by Cheval Maison, just two weeks after its official opening to experience everything that this all-apartment boutique property has to offer.

Tucked away in a quiet cul de sac in South Kensington, Lexham Gardens is the newest boutique property by the prestigious Cheval Collection and undoubtedly one of London’s most luxurious homes away from home.

We were only the second-ever humans (and first-ever dog) to stay at our Burgundy-themed luxury two-bedroom apartment. From the outside looking in, Lexham Gardens by Cheval Maison and its white-columned façade, blend into the other pristine buildings on the crescent. Inside, however, the property is the picture of contemporary, understated luxury.

Lexham Gardens by Cheval Maison

Experience Modern Luxury at Lexham Gardens by Cheval Maison

The striking lobby, which is more akin to the stylish lounge of your most fashionable friend, is simultaneously warm and grandiose. Here, we were greeted by the lovely Milena, who made sure we had everything we needed for our stay. The check-in process was easy, and smooth and also included a temperature check – making our stay safe, comfortable and free of COVID woes.

Lexham Gardens by Cheval Maison offers 30, individually designed one or two-bedroom boutique apartments, with each one offering its distinctive take on modern-day luxury.

We stayed in the Burgundy-themed apartment on the second floor. The dazzling space is characterised by deep burgundy walls, chevron-patterned wood flooring, white marble, and plenty of rich textures in neutral tones. The muted colour palette of the soft furnishings, balances the bold hues of the wall, while deep gold and bronze accents add panache to an already stand-out space.

We were greeted with a delightful welcome hamper, complete with Champagne, canapés, freshly-baked bread, and everything you need to enjoy a glorious summer picnic at the nearby Kensington Gardens. Lexham Gardens by Cheval Maison doesn’t offer breakfast, and while the British summer weather didn’t allow for an outdoor picnic – our hamper certainly offered plenty of breakfast fare to feast on during our stay.

Unparalleled Comfort and Convenience

The fully stocked kitchen has everything you need for an extended stay too. It is complete with all cutleries, plates, and glasses, and comes with a toaster, coffee machine, fridge freezer, hob, and oven. The TVs are also Chromecast-enabled, perfect for a Saturday night.

The two generously-sized bedrooms were undoubtedly luxurious, but equally inviting. The master bedroom has an en-suite of course, which was also equipped with heated floors and an electric toilet. An indulgence, I thought was only ever available in Japan.

Our apartment, like all other apartments in Lexham Gardens by Cheval Maison, was dog-friendly. Charlie was greeted with a dog bowl, doggy treats, and a (if ever just slightly too small) dog bed and felt very welcomed by the staff.

Exploring South Kensington

While it may seem counter-intuitive to leave the comforts of your apartment, there’s plenty to explore in South Kensington that’s walking distance from Lexham Gardens. Kensington Gardens is just a 15-minute stroll away, and the ideal spot to exercise overly energetic pooches like Charlie.

In front of the park, there is Publiq which is more than just your stylish neighbourhood local. Envisioned as a modern public house, Publiq offers sensational British sharing plates, natural wines, and fabulous alcoholic slushies in a casual yet cool atmosphere. Publiq was built on a People, Produce, Positive mantra and this ethos certainly reflects on the quality of the food on offer.

One thing that sets Lexham Gardens by Cheval Maison apart from other boutique properties, is its ability to make you feel absolutely and authentically at home. After our two-night stay, leaving felt like saying goodbye to a place that we have cherished for years. It is a feeling of warmth and conviviality that not a lot of luxury properties can boast, and one of the many, many reasons we shall be returning.

One-bedroom apartments start from £260 per night. For further information about Cheval, visit www.chevalcollection.com

Hilton London Metropole, is launching a new collection of overnight packages that deliver the ultimate staycation experience in central London. Located in the heart of the city, the hotel is just moments from iconic destinations, including Oxford Street, Marble Arch and Hyde Park.

Kids Take Charge

This family-friendly package allows children to unleash their inner explorer and take charge of planning the family’s great London adventure. On arrival, kids will check everyone in and then, using their very own planner, they will be guided by the hotels’ Kid Concierge team on the best child friendly sights and attractions to visit and the best food to be devoured.

The team will help future historians, scientists or zoologists plan their trip and discover all there is to know about their favourite subjects.

The package includes an overnight stay, breakfast and an on-site chocolate treasure hunt. Little guests will be given a child-friendly map of the capital, a memory maker photo, along with a journal and crayons so memories of the trip can be kept forever.

Prices start at £110.00, londonmet.hilton.com

Fitness Traveller

The Fitness Traveller package is the perfect staycation experience for gym enthusiasts that want to keep their fitness goals on track whilst they travel.

The package includes breakfast and an overnight stay in a specially allocated fitness guestroom, with a complimentary in-room health focussed mini bar, stocked with nutritious snacks.

The fitness focussed room is only a few steps from the hotel’s brand new state-of-the-art 200sqm fitness studio. The space is equipped with the latest, premium equipment, a refillable drinks station and high-tech add-ons, that allow guests to connect equipment with their Apple watch, for the ultimate gym workout.

Prices start from £125.00, londonmet.hilton.com

The Mitre Hotel Hampton Court

The Mitre Hampton Court pulls you in with its charm and sophistication before you’ve even walked through the door. Sitting snug on the banks of the River Thames, you can almost taste the crisp glass of Whispering Angel rosé on the sun-drenched terrace before you’ve parked your car. Experience the allure of The Mitre Hotel Hampton Court. The delightful Grade II listed property is grand and boasts a great deal of character, both on the outside and inside.

Steeped in history, The Mitre pays homage to King Henry VIII through its design and the rooms are aptly named with playful nods to the late ruler – including the Catherine Parr suite. For a stay away from the bustle of the city, or something luxurious and relaxing post-lockdown, The Mitre is, undeniably, the idyllic bolthole you’ve been searching for, positioned a stroll away from boutique and antique shops, pretty cafes and independent restaurants. There’s also the ability to rent a boat and meander up the river, or explore the nearby Hampton Court Palace.

Experience Timeless Elegance and Modern Comfort

The hotel, part of the luxurious Signet Collection, opened in 2020 but it was built in 1665, and you can feel the grandeur and history perfectly mixed with the modern. You’re immediately at ease due to the friendliness of the staff, who were quick to hydrate us with summery drinks, and you can sink into a plush sofa as you get checked in while taking in the design skills of Nicola Harding who has opted for an environment “rich in soulness and atmosphere.” The walls of the airy and beautiful hotel are lined with historic nods to the surrounding area, or quirky pieces of artwork including a lion splashed against a yellow background with ‘I won’t eat you’ playfully scrawled above – a delightful piece by Kate Boxer.

No two rooms are alike, with standout spots including the ethereal lounge with floral-patterned wallpaper and the Baz Luhrmann-esque Minstrel library, which bursts with books and boasts an honesty bar and jukebox – two post-dinner must-haves. I had the pleasure of visiting the striking hotel in early summer and even took my dog along to this incredibly pooch-friendly hotel. Following a stroll around the area on a delightfully sunny day, I checked into my beautiful room for the night, named the Music Room. Swinging from a little drawstring bag were freshly baked cookies, and a ginger liqueur with two glasses beneath it was the tipple that whet my palate before dinner. It’s little intricacies such as these which really show attention to detail. For my dog, Luna, who, might I add, was just as elated about our stay as I was, there was a snug bed, a lion toy, treats and even poo bags, the latter of which are always handy when you’re a dog owner.

Indulge in Luxury and Culinary Delights

The Mitre has 36 rooms in total, of which no two are the same. Some have delightful internal courtyards, while others boast views of the Thames and Hampton Court Palace and have fire pits and jacuzzis. For special occasions, why not opt to stay in one of their two signature suites, including King Henry VIII and Catherine Parr rooms, with a VIP car valet service, personalised turndown and gin decanter being just a smattering of the inclusions? Our stunning room was booming with character and it ticked the box of being both spacious and snug at the same time. In one section of the room sat a grand, pink sofa perfect for sprawling across with magazine and G&T in hand. The large beds are soft to the touch with only the finest Egyptian cotton used, and the warm and smart bathroom with classic styling housed a sensational shower which set me up for my day. As the doting dog mum that I am, one of the aspects of the room I found charming was the dog bed which sat in its area. We sank into our beds after dinner and found them very comfy indeed – so much so that even the summer heat didn’t disturb the slumber. In the morning, should you wish, you can ring and one of the staff members will bring you fresh milk for your coffee or tea. It’s the little things.

Dining at The Mitre was such a delight. It was a warm evening, life felt back to normal after the hardships of lockdown, and you could feel the building buzzing with laughter and excitement. We dined al-fresco on the 1665 terrace, which I’d highly recommend. The restaurant is named after the year The Mitre was built, and you can take in beautiful views of the river while feasting at the all-day brasserie. We were wined and dined by the wonderful waiting staff, who never failed to wear smiles on their faces and each course delivered was accompanied by fun conversations and laughter, courtesy of the person placing it on our table. It’s an idyllic spot for a romantic meal, or to house a birthday party with pals, at which a good dose of Whispering Angel rose wine is a must. The Mitre has the world’s first stand-alone Whispering Angel hut, and this crisp and moreish rose is the perfect sundowner on the terrace tipple. As well as the enticing wine hut, there’s also a centrepiece bar inside the stunning restaurant and an open kitchen.

The food was simply scrumptious, much to the dismay of my dog Luna who sat patiently at the table while we dined. It is wonderful to be able to bring your pooch along to the restaurant, again playing into just how dog-friendly the venue is. We began with crispy cauliflower popcorn with teriyaki and soy, which burst with flavour and set the tone for the rest of the meal. The English asparagus was a standout starter, as was Devon squid with rocket and chilli salad. It’s a real treat for the taste buds to be able to savour food from different parts of the UK and to find an appreciation for where we live through fare, especially in a time when people, unable to go abroad, are finding the beauty in our home soil. Every dish was so flavourful, and each was presented beautifully. We went from turf to surf for our main courses and opted for fish dishes. I delved into the pan-roasted sea bass, which was utterly delicious, and the broccoli, petit pois and lemongrass lent perfectly to the feast.

Culinary Delights and Exceptional Service

Did we do dessert? Silly question. Seeing strawberry Eton mess cruise past us to be positioned on different tables in the surrounding area was envy-inducing enough for me to order one. It billowed out of the glass, with strawberries, chantilly cream, elderflower and mint swirling around in the glass to create the perfect palette ender. I chased it with an espresso martini and my guest enjoyed a decaf coffee and, with bellies full, we headed to bed. The exquisite, quintessentially British food and drink at The Mitre is helmed by Culinary and Operations Director, Ronnie Kimbugwe, whose infectious personality makes your stay even more memorable. Ronnie’s background includes over six years with the Gordon Ramsey group at Claridge’s and the Bel and Dragon Country Inns, so we were in good hands with his knowledge and choices during our stay. Like food, drink and a cosy room are musts during a hotel stay, so too are front-facing personalities as wonderful as Ronnie’s and his staff. As well as the 1665 terrace, you also have the option of the vibrant and stylish CopperNose restaurant, which takes its name from Henry VIII who was nicknamed “CopperNose” after he issued cheap currency. At this all-day dining spot, you’ll take in views of the Thames and some delicious food to boot, with sample dishes including Atlantic lobster and flamed English asparagus. Breakfast is just as brilliant as dinner, with friendly waiting staff quick to get you seated so that you can get your tea and coffee fix. Offerings include hearty full English breakfasts, mango smoothie bowls, sweet corn fritters, pastries and more, to get you set for your day.

The Mitre does its part in being environmentally friendly and grows food onsite, including herbs on the orangery roof. It houses beehives on the main roof and they even smoke their salmon. The Mitre also brews its draft beer called ‘The Six Wives,’ – apt! We were informed that they hope to eliminate all single-use plastic products and I am sure they will be passionate to do so. We were invited to learn about The Mitre’s near plans for its Pamper Spa Suite, which launched in June 2021. The Pamper Spa Suite comes in collaboration with Lola’s Apothecary, and it allows guests to sink into the hands of therapists for massages and facials, in luxurious trappings created by Nicola Harding. Guests can sip on Lola’s Apothercary’s wellness tea range supercharged with adaptogenic herbs most-treatment, before retiring to their rooms to get ready for a sumptuous dining experience.

Van Gogh was a tourist at Hampton Court and sang its praises when he wrote letters to his brother Theo after his visit, and he was right to do so. The beautiful setting of The Mitre is unrivalled and the hotel captivates you with its history and luxury as soon as you walk through the doors. Whether you’re after a relaxing staycation, a trip with your pooch or perhaps you’d like to hit up the Orangery for an idyllic Thameside wedding, this hotel ticks all the boxes and it’s a British bolthole you won’t want to miss off your list. Thank you to The Mitre for a memorable and beautiful stay.

Fancy staying? Visit mitrehamptoncourt.com