The latest news from our collection around the world
Gatsby's cocktails come to New York's '21'
17 May 2013
F. Scott Fitzgerald and Zelda. Tom and Daisy. Even The Great Gatsby himself. There's a cocktail for each of them on the new Prohibition-style drinks menu at Manhattan's '21' restaurant. So put on those pearls and feathers and mosey on down to the bar. Our master mixologist is ready to shake up a scene with Lavender Lime Rickey (a twist on Fitzgerald's favourite tipple), Mint Julep, Beautiful Fool and many more. Welcome to Swing Street, circa 1929!
Best of British at Le Manoir
24 April 2013
Some of the biggest names in British food recently gathered for an extraordinary Farmers’ Market at Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons. Hosted by Raymond Blanc OBE, the event saw top producers display the most succulent meats, freshest fish, heady cheeses and plumpest poultry for sampling by the prestigious guests—who just happened to be 45 top Relais & Châteaux chefs.
Raymond Blanc, his executive head chef Gary Jones and chef patissier Benoit Blin served an array of mouthwatering canapés and desserts, ranging from versions of Cullen Skink, Lancashire hotpot and Cornish pasties to rhubarb crumble, treacle tart and Bakewell pudding.
The food specialists, many of whom supply Le Manoir’s kitchens, included Daylesford Organic, Rhug Estate lamb, Neal’s Yard Dairy and Mr Trotter’s Great British Pork Crackling. Glasses were kept topped up with sparkling wine from Cornwall’s Camel Valley.
In line with the best of British theme, guests were escorted to Le Manoir on Routemaster double decker buses and treated to entertainment from Morris dancers, singers and a bagpiper.
Later in the day, the elite gourmet group proceeded to London to prepare for the Dîner des Grands Chefs at Billingsgate Fish Market, a fitting finale to a celebration of fabulous food.
Behind the scenes at the Museums in St Petersburg and Madrid
17 April 2013
Discover the Prado Museum
Hotel Ritz sits opposite the Prado, making it the perfect base for viewing this great collection of art. The hotel offers a special package, Madrid Masterpieces, that features tours of the displays. Expert guides can be arranged to help guests discover more. For those who prefer to explore independently, the Prado has devised three special routes around its highlights. In addition, this summer there's a special exhibition - Hidden Beauty: Fra Angelico to Fortuny, 250 "cabinet" works.
Exclusive tours of Russian Art in St Petersburg
Grand Hotel Europe has a fantastic location on Arts Square, facing St Petersburg's Russian Museum. Housed in the Mikhailovsky Palace, this gallery is home to the world's largest collection of Russian art. The hotel offers two exclusive, complimentary tours under the banner 'One step to Malevich'. One focuses on Russian Avant-Garde and the other on icons, portraits and mosaics. Grand Hotel Europe guests enjoy the privilege of stepping in through the main entrance, which is usually closed to visitors. Group tours take place on Saturdays at 11:00.
El Encanto, Santa Barbara: Open Now
18 March 2013
The moment we've all been waiting for is here at last! After years of meticulous restoration it's time to pour a glass of Santa Barbara Chardonnay and raise it to El Encanto - now welcoming its first guests. Ever since this celebrated American Riviera retreat was established nearly 100 years ago, it has revelled in a hilltop setting worthy of a movie romance. So take a seat on a terrace or in the lush gardens and enjoy the dramatic ocean views.
You can feast on California Coastal cuisine with a dash of French and Japanese flair courtesy of chef Patrice Martineau. There's a destination spa where you can be massaged with treatments based on products from nearby vineyards. Or simply watch the sun set from your California-style bungalow, knowing that you are among the first to experience this exceptional place.
Smile! You're off to Italy this summer...
21 February 2013
Parents rejoice, for there’s a compelling new reason to take your brood to Florence. Villa San Michele, located in the Fiesole hills just outside the city, is set to become the perfect family destination with the launch of its new Smile Club.
Housed in a former chapel in the grounds, with its own terrace, the club will offer four to 12-year-olds a programme of activities that inject extra fun and fizz into Italian culture—jewellery making classes, pizza and cookie baking, lessons in la lingua italiana, treasure hunts and nature trails. Some of the activities take place on site; others involve trips into Florence to explore its world-famous museums, chocolate shops and ice-cream factories (parents are also welcome!) The club caters for up to 10 children at a time, so little ones can be sure of ample attention from the friendly staff.
Complementing the club is the new Kid’s Concierge service, dedicated to helping families plan fabulous days out, including child-friendly restaurants and top shops for treats or toys. Mini guests also receive their own slippers, bathrobe, puzzles and Rory The Lion soft toy in their room, heralding the start of a fun-filled stay.
The Smile Club will open from May to September, Monday to Saturday, 10.30am-5pm.
Botswana's feathered friends
28 January 2013
Our safari camps in Botswana are offering travellers a rare chance to join renowned South African adventurer, author and conservationist Braam Malherbe on two exclusive, six-night journeys. Malherbe, who has a life-long passion for the endangered wattled crane, will accompany guests on safaris through the Okavango Delta, currently home to the largest population of the elegant, long-legged bird in one wetland - 1290 were counted in the last study by the Wattled Crane Project, which Khwai River Lodge actively supports.
Participants spend three nights at the Lodge and three at either Eagle Island Camp or Savute Elephant Camp in the presence of both Malherbe and an ambassador from the Endangered Wildlife Trust. Dates: 5-11 March and 20-26 April, 2013. Book before 31 January to receive an early-bird special rate.
Tchaikovsky Nights are a Travel Tip
25 January 2013
Grand Hotel Europe's fabulous Tchaikovsky Nights were recently highlighted as an "Insider Tip" in Travel+Leisure Magazine's annual 500 Best Hotels awards. The St Petersburg hotel was given a special commendation for these evenings of fine dining and ballet in its art nouveau L'Europe restaurant. Held every Friday, Tchaikovsky Nights feature compositions by the great maestro, a former Grand Hotel Europe guest, played by leading musicians. As guests dine on a special menu, two dancers from one of St Petersburg's celebrated ballet companies evoke the magic of Swan Lake and other famous works.
Enjoy new wonders close up
18 January 2013
Following a worldwide poll, which attracted over 100 million votes, Cape Town’s Table Mountain and Brazil’s Iguassu Falls have been voted two of the “New 7 Wonders of Nature”. Located at the foot of the South Africa’s iconic landmark, the Mount Nelson Hotel affords glorious views of Table Mountain and offers guests a variety of tailor-made excursions to explore it. You can learn about its abundant flora and fauna on guided hikes, enjoy picnics while soaking up the panoramas, or even abseil off its summit.
Overlooking magnificent Iguassu Falls is Hotel das Cataratas, the only hotel within the Iguassu National Park. Many of the rooms enjoy breathtaking vistas of the falls, while a wide range of exclusive activities includes moonlit jungle treks, water rafting and high-speed boat rides.
Shapes of South Africa
11 January 2013
Guests of the Mount Nelson Hotel have an artistic treat in store this summer. Delightfully displayed in and around the hotel's lush gardens is an exhibition of contemporary South African sculpture, presented by the Everard Read Gallery in Cape Town. Both monumental works and smaller pieces by nearly a dozen artists have been crafted from diverse materials including bronze, steel, wood and even earth.
Enjoy Speelman Mahlangu's striking bull and rider, Angus Taylor's fun "lady on a donkey" series and Dylan Lewis's absorbing half-human, half-animal figures, which explore the significance of the wilderness to the human psyche. The exhibition runs until 1 April 2013 and all the works are for sale. Guests can admire the exhibition in their own time or arrange a guided tour with the gallery - please ask the Concierge for details. (Thank you also to Michael Hall Photography).
Get up some steam
19 December 2012
In 2013, for the first time ever, steam enthusiasts will be able to go behind the scenes to see the British Pullman being prepared for one of its special steam-hauled lunch experiences. On these occasions the carriages are pulled by the gleaming “Clan Line” Merchant Navy Class locomotive, and guests can see it in situ at the depot and watch the crew preparing the loco for duty, before joining the Pullman at London Victoria for their magnificent lunch trip. The experience, for two, can be purchased with any Golden Age of Travel Steam-Hauled lunch in 2013.
Mount Nelson's new Oasis
13 December 2012
Tipped to be Cape Town’s hottest summer spot, Oasis Bistro is the exciting new restaurant at the Mount Nelson. Housed in the hotel’s former Oasis restaurant, the buzzy bistro offers a Mediterranean-inspired, à la carte menu in a relaxed, contemporary ambience. Indulge in local oysters, steamed West Coast mussels, grilled meats such as ostrich fillet and Karoo lamb, and ceviche of the day, and sip enticing wines and cocktails on the terrace overlooking the pool. The brainchild of the Mount Nelson’s award-winning chef, Rudi Liebenberg, the bistro is being managed by “passionate, colourful and sometimes a little bit crazy” sous-chef, Dion Vengatass. Dive in!
Sketches of Bali
23 November 2012
American travel writer, photographer and artist Candace Rose Rardon recently stayed at Jimbaran Puri Bali and completed some beautiful sketches of the resort’s bar, temple and flora, including a particularly striking heliconia plant. Candace also discovered an affinity with an artistic member of staff, who took her photo and then, overnight, produced a wonderful pencil portrait. See the sketches and discover her world of wanderlust at The Great Affair >