Monarchy must-visits: London’s essential Royal sites

Monarchy must-visits: London’s essential Royal sites

This post was last updated on March 1st, 2018Of all the UK’s cities, London’s definitely the one most associated with the British Royal family. Why? Because of the plethora of historical sites it contains with Royal ties – but which of them must you visit…? Buckingham Palace (SW1A 1AA/ Open: 9.30am-7.30pm daily, 22nd July-31st August; 9.30am-6.30pm daily, 1st September-1st October) You may not know it, but this glorious, grey-brick masterpiece wasn’t built as a royal residence. It was actually built for the Duke of Buckingham in the early 18th Century, before being acquired by King George III in 1761. Despite its origins, though, it’s the building most identified with the current Royal family, especially the UK’s reigning monarch, Queen Elizabeth II. That said, it’s highly unlikely visitors will actually see Her Majesty on the grounds (unless it’s a special occasion), but there is a big upside. For there’s a roster of reasons to step inside this iconic palace and take a look around when its open to the public each summer (especially if you’ve made your stay’s base the likes of the nearby Park Grand London Hyde Park hotel). Particularly unmissable are the State Rooms, where are held state dinners for The Queen and visiting foreign dignitaries; each of them comprising magnificent English and French furniture, exquisite examples of Sèvres porcelain and fine art masterpieces by Van Dyck, Canaletto and more. The Tower of London (Tower Hill EC3N 4AB/ Open: 9am-6pm Tuesday-Saturday; 10am-6pm Sunday-Monday) Older than any other building in the capital, the Tower dates back all the way to the year William the Conqueror invaded and took control...
Luxury loving: The best spas in the world for Valentine’s Day

Luxury loving: The best spas in the world for Valentine’s Day

This Valentine’s Day, it’s time to forget about the tacky roses and treat you and your partner to a relaxing spa holiday. Here is a collection of five of the best hotels for Valentine’s Day that you can indulge in, explore around and enjoy each other’s company.   Majestic Hotel & Spa, Paris, France Ok, so we know that putting Paris on a list for Valentine’s Day is slightly cliché, but once you’re swooning at your significant other through the picturesque streets, you’ll be completely swept up in the fantasy. This hotel is a tranquil haven secretly hidden away for a relaxing break, yet tourist attractions like the Champs-Élysées and the Eiffel Tower are only a few minutes away. https://www.expedia.co.uk/Paris-Hotels-Majestic-Hotel-Spa.h3399972.Hotel-Information   Four Seasons Resort, Marrakech, Morocco This stunning resort is the perfect place for a 14 February break. Just a few of the services offered here include immersive spa experiences, zen-like yoga facilities and a tranquil adult only pool. If you do manage to leave the romantic hotel, the vibrant hustle and bustle of Marrakech is only a 15-minute stroll away. https://www.expedia.co.uk/Marrakech-Hotels-Four-Seasons-Resort-Marrakech.h4270690.Hotel-Information   One&Only Royal Mirage, Dubai, United Arab Emirates If you’re feeling extra indulgent this year, then Dubai is the perfect option for opulent extravagance. The lower floor of the spa features a traditional Oriental hammam with heated marble massage table, two steam rooms, two Jacuzzis, two private massage rooms, plunge showers, a whirlpool and a resting area. To experience the sandy shores of the Middle East all you have to do is step outside onto the luxurious private beach, or you can cool down in one of...
Getting To Know Venice Like A Local Means Getting To Know It All

Getting To Know Venice Like A Local Means Getting To Know It All

  Venice is the perfect place for couples, groups and solo travelers alike, but to really appreciate it, you have to get out of your comfort zone. Sure, once you’ve ridden in a gondola you’ve ticked off that golden bucket list item, but then what? We all know this is a city on the water. But it is so, so much more than that. It’s all about doing more, seeing more – and of course, since it’s Italy, eating more!   It Starts With Understanding The City The difference between a tourist and a traveler is often said to be the fact that the traveler goes out of their way to truly understand and immerse themselves in a culture. So many of us go somewhere and act exactly the same way as we do at home, learning absolutely nothing. If that’s you feeling guilty as charged, why not change your ways? If you’re planning an upcoming visit to Venice, learn about the history of the city to be able to truly understand it. The city of “Venezia” as we know it today dates all the way back to around 400AD. Men were fleeing the mainland of Italy after the fall of the Roman Empire. Soon, an entire population had settled in this lagoon town. They were largely self-sustainable, as they could trade fish and salt. Fortunately, they were largely unaffected by invaders or the general politics of the day.   The History Behind the Architecture Away from drama, they could focus on building something beautiful. They became a mercantile town, but also one of stunning architecture, unlike anywhere else....
New York vs Las Vegas: Which To Choose For Your Next Vacation

New York vs Las Vegas: Which To Choose For Your Next Vacation

If you’re looking for a popular city destination for your vacation within the United States, then chances are New York and Las Vegas are on your list. Though both are wildly fun and overflowing with great food, entertainment and attractions, New York and Las Vegas are also very different from one another. If you’re not sure which one is the right spot for you, this quick summary is bound to do the trick. We’ve been to Las Vegas and New York multiple times, and love them both for different reasons. Here’s where to start: First, this great infographic from Netflights will give you an introduction to the cities:   Now, our thoughts on New York City vs Las Vegas: New York City: New York stars as the backdrop for countless rom-coms for a reason. A trip to New York is as magical and romantic as it gets, especially when it includes Broadway, fine dining and walking through the boroughs. New York is great because while there are certainly tourist attractions, it’s easy to get off the beaten path and live like a New Yorker. Plus, with Central Park, you don’t have to go out of your way to escape the city noise and soak in some natural beauty. Expect to walk a ton, as well as spend time on the metro (or waiting in traffic in taxis.) There’s a ton to do throughout the city, so you’re likely going to be exhausted if you try to see it all! For more on how to plan the perfect trip to New York City, don’t miss our guide: 50 Cool Things...
Keep everyone happy on holiday

Keep everyone happy on holiday

If you’ve ever travelled with friends or family, you’ll know it’s always full of laughs, adventures, and inevitably, the odd argument. It’s hard to please everyone at all times so at some point, you will have to choose between doing what you want, or going along with the crowd. Unless… you consider simply splitting off from the group. Any location you choose should offer plenty of options of things to do, see and eat. So the key to keeping everyone happy is to list alternative activities. Consider this: one day you all drive to the beach but two people don’t like the sun, and one is desperate to get some exercise in. The two that aren’t interested in sunbathing may enjoy visiting a spa with a beach view or a bar with hammocks in the shade, while the sportaholic can switch their flip flops for flippers and go snorkeling; swimming is an excellent all-body workout. Another scenario might involve several people visiting a waterpark on the outskirts of a city: maybe not everyone wants to get their hair wet so if you plan a stop at a nearby shopping outlet, with a bowling alley or cinema, you can offer two alternative plans for people to choose from. Planning in this way gives every traveler in your group the possibility of choosing what they prefer to do, so the complaints will be minimal if nill. It’s also hard to displease people with luxury and comfort, so choosing a quality hotel or resort will at least ensure every has a great night’s sleep and enjoy a delicious breakfast. Those that know...
The Vintage House Review: A Luxury Escape In The Heart of the Douro Valley, Portugal

The Vintage House Review: A Luxury Escape In The Heart of the Douro Valley, Portugal

This post was last updated on September 26th, 2017The Douro Valley immediately shot to the top of our travel bucket list the moment we decided to celebrate our six-year anniversary in Portugal. Luckily, this spectacular wine region did not disappoint.     From the rolling green hills to the rushing Douro River to the lush vineyards and olive groves, the Douro Valley is easily one of the most romantic places we’ve visited. Top it all off with spectacular wines from family-run wineries and mouthwatering local cuisine, and it’s hardly any wonder why we’re already dreaming of a return visit. For such a magical destination, it only makes sense to splurge on a memorable and luxurious hotel to match. And in the Douro Valley, there is simply no comparison to The Vintage House.   The Vintage House: A Luxury Hotel In The Douro Valley, Portugal     The Vintage House is a five-star boutique hotel just steps from the famed Pinhao Train Station. Located in what was once an 18th-century wine estate, The Vintage House is all elegance and style. From luxury bedding to sophisticated furnishings, you’ll find all the amenities you would expect from a five-star hotel. The true highlights of the rooms are the private terraces, each with unparalleled views of the Douro River. There’s nothing quite like sipping a cup of coffee in between wine tastings on your personal terrace while soaking in the outstanding views of the Douro Valley all around.     The Vintage House also boasts a lovely pool with panoramic river views, which looks particularly scenic when lit up at night. We didn’t...