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    How To Do A VIP Spa Retreat Like Victoria Beckham

    I’m often asked how I can physically sustain my busy lifestyle with parties every night and little or no time from holidays. My answer is mini breaks. I’m on a quest to find places where I can truly relax and switch off, even if its just for a day, and it was for that reason I visited Hanbury Manor, a Marriott Hotel and Country Club.

    spa-outside

    If I get down-time then I make the most of every moment and I know a lot of celebrities are the same. Actors on film sets can work from 6am to 10pm six days a week, the recording studio never starts until gone midnight and fashion weeks are show after show after show before moving on to a different city. Get out of the game for a week and you become behind on everything. But can you ever switch off from the rat race in just a day? Well, it certainly helps if you have a pool and jacuzzi like this…

    Pool1

    The hotel and country club is located in Ware, Hertfordshire where numerous celebrities have roots. Most notably, Mrs Victoria Beckham herself is from Goffs Oak – just 7 miles away. Alesha Dixon has a mansion in the area and F1 driver Lewis Hamilton is from Tewin Wood. The celebrities pick Hertfordshire because its close to London (you can drive there in around an hour) but it feels like you’re in another, more peaceful world because of the sweeping country views. It’s so beautiful that even Victoria Beckham might almost smile…

    vb

    Leave your house at 9am and you can be in a soft white robe by 10am but If you’ve got a jam packed work diary like me then you need a lot to get you feeling relaxed. Sitting by a pool is nice but if I do this on holiday it takes me three days to switch off and I want to do it in a day. So what then?

    What about a massage? As part of the package I had at Hanbury Manor (more of that package detail later) I tried out a full body 60 minute massage and I went for deep pressure. Massages can be very personal because although I like to feel a therapist getting into every knot and crevice, I know that some people like more of a wholesome all encompassing, rhythmical touch so they can relax and drift off during the treatment. I had a really thorough consultation with my therapist before the massage started and it felt like she really understood my request. Us busy people need this because its really embarrassing if you want to stop your therapist mid massage and ask her to change the pressure but I didn’t need to do this as mine got it straight away. A lot of celebs are like me in asking for deep tissue massages (most of us put our bodies through hell by working 24/7 and actors and musicians are constantly on their feet with physically demanding jobs). If, like us, you like deep tissue then you will be happy to hear the Hanbury Manor health club therapists really apply the pressure so I felt my stress had been eased during my time on the massage table.

    massage

    I booked a 30 minute mini facial straight after the massage because I find that if you truly want to relax then you need to bombard the body at once. Rather than calm the body down with the massage and having it rise back up slightly when you get up and move around and then having a facial later on to bring it down again, I went from relaxed to soooo relaxed by having the facial straight after the massage. If its possible for you to get them back to back then I highly recommend this as it puts you in an even more relaxed state then you get on holiday. Imagine, you’re taking 90 minutes out of your life to think about nothing else than your face and your body and it’s not often you get the chance to do that! I found the therapist was able to diagnose my skin issues by feeling my skin and she clearly got it right as the luxurious Decleor products she used left me feeling more hydrated than I had done in months.

    decleor

    Now my body was taken care of from the outside, it was time to check out the lunch options. The Oakes Grill lunch menu (which was included in my day package) has something to suit all appetites with light bites and salads as well as larger sandwiches or healthy fish dishes. I took my sister along for the spa day and by lunchtime we were quite peckish after all that relaxation so we shared a plate of antipasti – deliciously cured Italian meats like salami and prosciutto with juicy olives and warm bread rolls, washed down with a crisp glass of chilled Champagne. Bliss! This tasted of a summer day in the med and would have been nice to eat inside or outside but it did taste especially good outside, as we were able to enjoy it from a table on the restaurant terrace because of the weather. Cheers!

    spa-champ

    For mains, we both went for a carb-free sea bass dish served with roasted vegetables. If you’re watching your weight this would be a substantial dish in its own right – filling you up and satisfying your tastebuds while  being low in calories.  And honestly it tastes good, as normally I don’t like the low calorie options in restaurants.

    The day package my sister and I had also included use of the gym and fitness classes and there is a packed timetable to choose from. We did pack our trainers and gym kit but because it was such a warm day we decided to switch between the sun loungers and the pool to really get that holiday feeling.

    spa-sun

    We were free to determine our own schedule and it’s little things like that which end up making you feel really relaxed. Other little touches included a constant supply of water and orange and lime squash outside (or herbal tea inside) so you stay hydrated and healthy the whole day, decent sized lockers in the changing rooms and good and powerful hair dryers.

    Overall, I think I may have even come away feeling more relaxed than if I’d had a week’s holiday because there was no long-haul flight home. By 7pm I was in my pyjamas in London feeling blissfully relaxed and by 9pm I was in bed. That night, I slept for a full 8 hours. I need to plan another trip! I think it would be so romantic to go there on a mini-break (it is a hotel after all) but I can see my mum loving it and most of my girlfriends too. I mean, who doesn’t enjoy feeling completely relaxed, looked after and pampered?

    HOW TO BOOK:
    Details of several packages are available on the Hanbury Manor website like a day with afternoon tea, a 25 minute treatment and full use of leisure facilities, which is just £60 per person!

    Follow Hanbury Manor on Twitter for regular updates and news about the venue or check out the Hanbury Manor Facebook page for more special offers.

    Or use the old-fashioned method, pick up the phone and call 01920 885010

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  • Lake District: Lodge Retreats For Lakeside Glamour

    The Lake District is a beautiful place to escape if you are looking for some spectacular scenery and a relaxing break. Staying in a lodge as opposed to a hotel or a caravan is certainly a more luxurious and glamorous way to accommodate your family during your stay and many of the lodges now available on the market are ultra-modern and contemporary.

    lodge

    Many of the lodge retreats are luxuriously finished and are fully equipped to house a large group of family or friends. Hiring a lodge is a great way to gain additional space, giving you the freedom to relax and enjoy the holiday at your own leisure. In comparison, Caravans and hotel rooms can often be small in size which becomes difficult if you have children with you.

    As glamorous lodge retreats cater for all different parties and needs, you can be sure that the lodge you chose will have all the amenities you need. Many lodge locations are in walking distance of local parks and woodland, whilst some are near rivers and lakes which is great if you enjoy water sports!

    lakes

    Another advantage of hiring a lodge in the Lake District is that you get the option to cook your own meals, or you can venture out to local bars, restaurants and cafes as a treat. During the length of your stay, this will save you a considerable amount of money so it’s worth investing in a lodge with others and splitting the cost.

    Usually situated in very scenic areas, a lodge will prove to be the perfect base during your stay and even after a long walk throughout the countryside, you can feel happy that you have a comfortable and luxury lodge where you can relax and unwind.

    To find the perfect lodge retreat for your stay in the Lake District, take a look at www.slholidays.co.uk for plenty of holiday options to suit your needs.

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    New York: Shopping And Sightseeing

    Looking for a perfect VIP weekend? There is no other place to shop ‘til you drop or party all night long than ‘the city that never sleeps’; New York, New York. I’ve had a romantic view of New York for a long time, listening to the lyrics of artists such as Alicia Keys, Jay-Z and Paloma Faith, musing about the city of opportunity, where dreams come true, etc. and it certainly delivered.

    City Scene

    It’s probably not the kind of place to visit on a whim, as unlike the more accessible city breaks in Europe, it is quite a pricey trip, but for anyone with a spot of Carrie envy, it’s incredible. There are plenty of inclusive packages available, but for the savvy shopper, buying each element separately can lead to finding bargains. I believe for me, the entire cost of the 4-day, 3-night, weekend; flights, accommodation and shopping and spending included, was around £800.

    Times Square

    I arrived at night time, to find myself taking an infamous yellow taxi cab through the bright lights of the city. Times Square is the place to start any evening, with its poster-like scenery, gift shops galore and of course the Broadway theatre district.

    Broadway

    Broadway is a great place to go celeb spotting, especially as so many big names grace the stages, such as Tom Hanks in Lucky Guy (until 3rd July 2013), Jane Lynch in Annie (until 14th July 2013) and soon Orlando Bloom will be taking to the stage in Romeo and Juliet (from 24th August to 24th November 2013). I decided to go for Mary Poppins for my first Broadway experience, to ease my way in light-heatedly, but I also ended up seeing theatre classic Phantom of The Opera too, and managed to get signatures from all of the cast. Often signed merchandise can be purchased in aid of a charity event – I paid $40 for mine for World Aids Day.

    Cast Signing

    I decided to stay downtown, near the former the site of the World Trade Center, now home to the One World Trade Center tower. I actually stayed in the Marriott Hotel, which received considerable damage during 9/11, with the building split in half by the collapsing South Tower and flattened by the fall of the North Tower. For this reason there is a real atmosphere of respect and patriotic pride in the re-built hotel. Visiting during off-peak season, room prices can be as low as $151 (£98 GBP) a night.

    NYC Taxis

    If your stay is only a weekend, I recommend saving money on taxis (which run by the meter and on the busy roads can clock up high fairs quickly) by booking on a tour bus, such as the City Sightseeing bus which offer 3 day hop-on, hop-off routes and of course point out all the places associated with celebrities and movies. Seeing the hotel Beyoncé often stays at, much of Donald Trumps’ empire, and the location where John Lennon was shot outside his apartment were things I may have missed if I hadn’t used the tour service, as well as some of the locations that popular TV shows such as Sex and the City and Seinfeld were filmed.
    The City Sightseeing Tour takes you to the city’s big attractions, such as the Empire State Building, Central Park, Broadway, Macy’s Department Store and The Ellis Island (State of Liberty) ferry point, but some of the fun also lies in discovering the unexpected! Along my tour we came across the famous busker ‘The Naked Cowboy’.

    Naked Cowboy

    Also, don’t be afraid to ask for more, I was able to get a guided tour of a city fire station (by a group of hot fireman) and listen to first hand stories of the tragic events of 9/11 just by knocking on the fire house door and asking. It was pretty cool to see this, often missed, side of New York City.

    Fire house

    Walking round central New York in the day time feels like you’ve stepped straight onto a movie set. Not least because there are so many recognisable movie locations! I felt caught up in a strange mix of King Kong, I Am Legend and Home Alone 2! If you a film enthusiast, don’t forget to stop by the Natural History Museum to reminisce scenes of Ben Stiller playing fetch with the T-Rex skeleton. You can even have your photo taken with Dum-Dum.
    Night at the Museum

    Embracing your inner Carrie Bradshaw is easy on 5th Avenue, with all the designer stores just a stone’s throw from one another, it’s a shopaholic’s heaven. The fancier stores are often protected by armed guards, reminding you just how expensive and luxurious these shops are.
    Shopping

    If you’re shopping more on a budget, I found some good department stores with high street prices, such as Century 21. There are also plenty of candy stores around, including M&M World and the Reese’s store and many more to indulge in a sweet treat. I also found that Saturday’s Central Market sells souvenirs, food, and confectionary treats at a reasonable.

    Street Market

    In terms of food, the US is pretty similar to the UK. There are some great diners around Times Square, as well as your standard fast food joints. For something a little different, why not stop by the beautiful decorated al fresco dining area at the Rockefeller Centre (an ice rink in winter) and watch the world go by? Or be a true tourist and grab breakfast at Grand Central Station!

    Rockefeller

    With so much to see and do, you’ll leave with thoughts of a return visit for sure. Is easy to understand the appeal the city has to its rich and famous, but also there are a lot of fun stories and quirky characters to be found. I also love the sheer number of pampered pooches around the city!

    Pampered pets

     

    ESSENTIAL INFO
    Nearest Airport: John F. Kennedy International Airport (7.5 hours approx from London)
    Currency: US dollar. £1 = $1.54
    Time Difference: -5 hours
    Guestlist Tips: Instead of paying to go to Ellis Island to see the Statue of Liberty, take the free ferry to Staten Island, birth place of Christian Aguilera, which offers brilliant views as you pass the statue. With celeb properties on Staten Island, you never know who you may bump in to.

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    Ibis Hotels Make The Cutest Advert Ever

    I normally use this travel area to write about destinations I love, but today I want to write about an advert that I absolutely love. As soon as I saw this video of all these cute rabbits I just had to share it:

     

    What do you think? Does it make you want to stay in an Ibis? I wish hotel rooms came with bunnies included!

    SPONSORED POST

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    South Africa: Shamwari Game Reserve Safari

    addo - par 7

    A South African safari may not be the first thing that springs to mind when you think of a luxury holiday, but with the South African rand at a four year low (over 15 Rand to the GB Pound), and unique experiences aplenty, there’s a lot that makes South Africa appealing.

    South Africa hasn’t really been in the tourism spotlight since the world cup was hosted there in 2010, but despite its now lack of gorgeous footballers from around the world, all the tourism attractions and improvements still remain. There’s Guinness World Record breaking bungee jumps for the adrenaline seekers

    bungee jump - 1st par

    And beachside horse-trekking for those looking for a touch of natural beauty; it is certainly a varied place.

    horse trekking - 1st par

    I wanted to stay somewhere central to these attractions, so the Eastern Cape was an easy choice. Port Elizabeth (P.E) is the main city in this area, and is a great place for shopping and nights out; albeit very Westernised. I wanted to venture a little further from city life, but still be within reasonable reach of a weekend stay in P.E, and so decided on Shamwari Game Reserve for accommodation.

    Shamwari Game reserve  - par 3

    Shamwari Game Reserve, with its vast landscapes, impressive wildlife and beautiful Bushman’s River, has its celebrity appeal; its most prestigious lodge, ‘Eagles Crag’, is famed for its swimming pool, where Tiger Woods proposed to his ex-wife Elin Nordegren. During my stay I was told to look out for John Travolta’s private plane, which he sometimes lands in the area when he visits.

    The reserve is also home to  two Born Free Foundation sanctuaries for rescued big cats, which were designed in partnership with actress and Born Free Foundation founder Virginia Mckenna CBE.

    Born free lion - par 5

    The Born Free sanctuaries have recently been featured in OK Magazine after being visited by Queen guitarist Brian May and singer Kerry Ellis for the launch of their charity single, and TV DIY favourite Nick Knowles proposed to his, now wife, Jessica Rose Moor there.

    Prices for accommodation vary greatly, as there are five different lodges, but I was able to stay on a much cheaper budget via a student volunteer program called World Wide Experience. Even so, volunteers are given the chance to stay in a luxury lodge for a night – which is super swanky!

    lodge -par 6 (2)

    So much of the lodge can be folded or rolled up (the walls are made up of thick canvas material) that you really get to enjoy the (predator-free) section of the reserve.

    lodge -par 6 (1)

     

    The bath tub was incredible!

    lodge -par 6 (4)

    Activities in the area include Addo Elephant Park, which offers elephant rides followed by outdoor candlelit suppers, Tenikwa Wildlife Awareness and Rehabilitation Centre, where visitors can pay to talk an adult cheetah for a forest walk on a lead, and adrenaline activities such as sand boarding and  zip wiring.

    My beautiful picture

    Slightly further afield, perhaps for a weekend excursion, are the beautiful shores and beaches of Mossel Bay.

    mossel bay (3)

    Mossel Bay has beautiful blue waters and is littered with attractive beach side houses. It is popular for its Shark diving – but if being in a cage surrounded by Great Whites doesn’t sound like your idea of fun (it is terrifying) sit back on the white sands, well away from the shark territories, and catch some rays.

    mossel bay (2)

    ESSENTIAL INFO

    Nearest Airport: Port Elizabeth (13.5 hours approx from London

    Currency: SA Rand  (ZAR) £1 = R15.68

    Time Difference: + 1 hour

    Guestlist tips:  check out www.shamwari.com/ Remember the seasons are opposite in South Africa, so dress warm from June – October. Take a scarf for game drives and some lip balm to protect you from the wind.

    by Kate Snowdon

     

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  • St Lucia: Scuba Diving And Jazz


    How would you fancy fresh mango delivered to you on the beach as you lie under the warm Caribbean sun catching up on books you never get a chance to read back home? The boat above will do this for you and the fruit costs just 1 ECD (about 25p). In St Lucia, you can enjoy all the wealth of nature and it doesn’t have to break the bank.

    It’s a celebrity destination alright – Matthew McConaughey recently renewed his vows at a five star hotel in St Lucia. The jazz festival each year welcomes world famous stars and British pop star Amy Winehouse lived here for months before her tragic death. With all these stars choosing St Lucia as a destination when they could go anywhere in the world made me think it had to be pretty special so I grabbed my best friend and our passports and we set off to investigate!

    We stayed in the North of the island at the Bay Guesthouse in a cool, clean, modern double room with en suite that cost just $ 40 USD a night (dollars are also acceptable currency on St Lucia). You can upgrade to a beachfront studio with a kitchenette for $50 a night. And no matter where you stay you have access to the communal patio where there are two hammocks and lots of books and games. People from all three of the guesthouse rooms tend to meet on the patio in the evening and have a drink as the sun goes down.

    If you like scuba diving or snorkelling then we can guarantee you will be spoiled for choice with the variety of sites to explore. For something really special, consider booking a dive tour. Scuba Steve’s Dive Centre is a 5-star PADI resort (so it’s really safe) and they take you out on comfy boats like the one below.

    It’s a great way of getting out of Gros Islet as it’s a 50 minute boat ride to Soufriere, a national marine park, where you can see turtles close-up.Our dive instructor Al took this photo on the dive, showing  how close they come to you. They’re magnificent! Prices start at $50 USD for snorkelling and an excellent value $75 for a two-tank dive.

    The islanders are super friendly everyhwere you go. From the owners of the guesthouse to the dive instructors (who tend to be quite good looking), there is no shortage of people offering to show you around. Make sure you visit the volcano and sulphur springs, the yacht harbour and beaches of Marigot bay and the Pigeon Island national park, where you’ll find a stunning bohemian-style restaurant called Jambe de Bois (below). On Sundays, they serve up jazz alongside their traditional island dishes (grilled fish marinated chicken, salads, vegetables and homemade cakes).If you want more of a party there’s the Rodney Bay Marina and the Friday night jump-up in the town of Gros Islet.

    St Lucia has something to satisfy all tastes – sun, scuba diving, sensational beaches and places to sip rum (or the local piton beer) and dance until the early hours. We’d happily pay double what we spent and think we’d got value for money. With the money we saved, we’replanning our next trip back…

    Essential Info

    Nearest Airport: St Lucia Airport (8.5 hours from London Gatwick). British Airways fly daily, Virgin Atlantic fly three times a week.

    Currency: Eastern Caribbean Dollar. £1 = 4 ECD

    Guestlist Tips: There are lots of affordable guest houses, which give you more of an experience of island life than staying in a resort. Google ‘Guest House St Lucia’ and book in advance.

    Try the local food at the Friday night jump up in Gros Islet town but beware of pickpockets and remember that the rum is strong!

    It’s worth paying 13 ECD to enter the beaches on Pigeon Island as they tend to be quieter and there are no beach vendors offering to sell you bracelets / bamboo / handbags

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  • Dubai: Grosvenor House Hotel And Embassy Nightclub

    Dubai is a place where it’s possible to do whatever your heart desires – sunbathe / ski / shop / spa or PARTY! We took the photo above in the Champagne bar of the new Embassy nightclub. If you’re partial to a bit of Champagne then there is no better place to go than the glamorous new Embassy venue. But don’t worry if you prefer vodka, there is a separate vodka lounge as well. And not to mention two restaurants! There’s a posh sushi and oysters bar (immediately below) and a Mediterranean inspired fine dining restaurant (far below).

    WOW! The amazement at how much fun this club is does not stop here. You can eat and drink while looking out over the whole city as the club is on the 43rd-45th floor of the hotel’s tower two.

    And the light-up dancefloor means that everyone gets tempted to get up and move. At the opening night in November, Abby Clancey, Kevin Pietersen, TOWIE stars Sam Faiers and Jessica Wright and singer Katie Waissel were all dancing, rather than just sitting around sipping Champagne as tends to happen at a lot of stiff London celebrity parties. No, Embassy Dubai is where you can really let your hair down. Even I joined in…

    During the day, you can sleep off the previous night’s excesses on a sunbed at the hotel or by the beach. In Dubai you can get a great suntan, party like it’s the end of the world, indulge in tax-free shopping and meet people from around the world – if you haven’t been yet then go NOW!

    ESSENTIAL INFO

    Nearest Airport: Dubai. (6.5 hours approx from London)

    Currency: UAE Dirham (AED). £1 = 5.75 AED (approx.)

    Time Difference: + 4 hours

    Guestlist Tips: Visit the Embassy Dubai website here or call +97143176000. Check out The Grosvenor House Dubai website here

    Dress to Impress!

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  • Croatia: Zrce Beach


     

    What do Armin Van Van Buuren, Tiesto, Paul Van Dyk, Swedish House Mafia, The Chemical Brothers, Sven Vath, Ferry Corsten and Calvin Harris have in common (apart from being superstar DJs)? The answer is they all played Club Papaya in Summer 2012.

    Club Papaya is located in Pag – a secret island stop-off for celebrities on summer yacht trips around the Med. Famous faces that have visited recently include Eva Longoria and Tony Parker (the week before me), Gwyneth Paltrow and Chris Martin (in 2009) and Beyonce and Jay-Z (also in 2009). But it’s easily accessible for the rest of us as it’s a 90 minute transfer from Zadar airport, which is served by budget airlines like Ryanair.

    Pag is famous for lace, cheese and beaches and it’s the third of those that is the most memorable about the island. There are private beaches everywhere, each one more stunning and more remote and romantic than the last. But if you need to meet someone to take on that intimate coastal picnic then you can find all the beautiful people on the party beach, Zrce.

    Club Papaya is the biggest and best club on Zrce and it’s a 20 hour a day non-stop party as I witnessed first-hand (that’s me in the photo at the top of this blog post). The day’s entertainment begins with a beach party from 12noon- 4pm, then an after-beach party until 8pm! These are slightly like the world famous Nikki Beach chain but more fun. Papaya beach is not about posing ‚Äì although there is plenty of that ‚Äì it’s about claiming somewhere you can dance, whether that be a space in the pool or a VIP sofa and shaking your booty.

    Drinks are great value with 1 litre of yummy cocktail for 100 KN ( £12). That’s what you’d pay for a single drink on Nikki Beach and you get about five servings from one jug. Alternatively pay 600kn ( £85) for the VIP area and you get to look down over the whole club and have half a bottle of spirits and a selection of mixers to start the party in style.

    After a break for a power nap and shower, the night-time starts again at midight and does not stop until 6am.

    ESSENTIAL INFO

    Nearest Airport: Zadar (2.5 hours from London Stansted)

    Currency: Kuna. £1 = 8.6 KN

    Time Difference: +1 Hour

    Guestlist Tips: Check out the Papaya website and Papaya Facebook to see this season’s party dates and buy tickets. The season starts in June.

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  • Marbella: Nikki Beach

    There aren’t many places where you can purchase a 15 litre bottle of Champagne, but with a price tag of 2,956 EUROS not many people could afford one either.

    Yet, nestled in the south of Spain lies a world where champagne is sprayed like tap water, where magnums and jeroboams are ordered instead of singles or doubles and where one Arab Sheik ordered a bottle of champagne for every guest to the tune of 800,000 EUROS. Then he probably sprayed it over everyone..drinking it doesn’t create as much attention.

    Welcome to the world of Nikki Beach Marbella – one of the most exclusive venues on the Costa Del Sol. Every week, you will see at least one premiership football star and several faces you’ll recognise from Hollyoaks / Eastenders / Coronation Street. Every so often a true A’lister like Cheryl Cole or Kate Moss will pop by and join the party.

    If you’re deemed beautiful /rich enough to gain entry then you are automatically part of that party. We couldn’t help but feel special lounging on the luxurious and rather comfy huge beds being pampered by the attentive and attractive staff. After enjoying a cocktail or two by the beach, we sampled the sushi, with a wide and delicious food menu. On Sundays and Thursdays the venue hosts a beach party as the sun sets with a seafood BBQ and jaw dropping entertainment. (Think gorgeous girls in skimpy clothing, eight foot dancers and some seriously sexy music that makes you want to stay all night)

    If it’s an escape from the grime, sludge and stressful attitude of daily life that you’re after, Nikki Beach is the perfect bright, sandy and hedonistic solution.

    ESSENTIAL INFO

    Nearest Airport: Malaga (2.5 hours from London)

    Currency: EUROS. £1 = 1.15 Euros (almost the same!)

    Time Difference: +1 hour

    Guestlist Tips: Visit the Nikki beach club website for details on their special parties and follow the event’s dress code or go beach chic (this is no place for baggy / saggy cozzies).

    Get there early and hire a double sunbed for the day . At 125 EUROS per day, it’s pricey but they’re big enough for three and you never know who’ll be on the bed next to you. Consider it an investment :)

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  • The Arch London

    Why? This artfully designed luxurious hotel is in the heart of Marble Arch, with direct views of Madonna’s house. You will not only adore the big leather chairs and chandelier lighting, but the melt in the mouth dishes are nothing short of spectacular. Why not enjoy a tasty pea, courgette and mint risotto for that lunch time fix and the spiced beef tartar for dinner – the french fries which accompany this dish are fresh and crisp. Celebrities who have enjoyed The Arch London experience have included Madonna and Wiz Khalifa.

    Where? 50 Great Cumberland Place, London. Nearest Tube: Marble Arch

    What to eat? The hotel have introduced a new all day express menu, which has the option of two courses for £16 or three courses for £18.5 – you will not find those prices anywhere in town. We tucked into the stone baked grey mullet, samphire and sweet corn emulsion and tomato fondue for mains. Then we devoured the pear and hazelnut sponge pudding with praline custard for dessert – it was truly scrumdiddlyumptious.

    If you wish to order from the brasserie a la carte menu then we highly recommend the stoned baked baby chicken for mains – the balsamic roasted red onions are a welcome addition to the succulent chicken. For dessert we locked our lips around the heart stopping chocolate fondant with passion fruit and ice-cream – yum!

    What to drink? The Arch London’s bar has an extensive wine list, but we have to say our favourite tipple has got to be the gin and elderflower collins cocktail – light and refreshing, the perfect partner to any meal. Cocktails start at £8.5 are can rival any of the fancy cocktails found in many of London’s swanky bars.

    What to pay? The express menu is priced £16 for two courses and £18.5 for three courses. If you wish to choose from the a la carte menu then you are looking to pay around £30 per head.

    Contact: 50 Great Cumberland Place, London, W1H 7FD 0207 724 4700

    Click here to visit The Arch London

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