Monthly Archives

July 2016

Hotels, London, Reviews, Travel, UK

AN URBAN ESCAPE: K WEST HOTEL & SPA, LONDON

July 31, 2016

Although I have lived in the UK all of my life I had never ever been to London – except on school trips when I was a child. So I was so excited to head down and see what all the fuss was about. I was invited to stay at K West Hotel & Spa for one night and this urban style hotel with an array of celebrity guests to its name was the perfect way to begin my three day trip.

The Hotel Concept

K West Hotel & Spa in 2014 was completely redesigned internally to reflect its musical ties with many rock ‘n’ roll superstars of the past such as David Bowie, The Kinks and also Bob Marley & the Wailers. Due to its proximity to music venues such as O2 Shepherds Bush Empire and the Apollo it continues to attract its celebrity guests – so make sure you keep your eye out when you stay here as you never know who you could bump into in the lobby or the lifts!

Also it is well worth mentioning that the hotel has an award winning spa located inside – it was awarded ‘Best Spa in London’ at the Good Spa Guide Awards 2015 and winner of a World Luxury Spa Award. There is a wide range of treatments available and the facilities include a hydrotherapy pool, sanarium, sauna, dry flotation tank, aromatic herbal steam room to name only a few!

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Location & Getting About 

The hotel is located in the west of London in a busy area called, Shepards Bush. It is within walking distance to notably popular areas such as Notting Hill, Portobello Road and Kensington. It is also right next to Westfield – one of Europe’s biggest shopping centres with over 240 shops! I arrived from St. Pancreas international train station and found it quite simple to jump straight on the tube from there all the way over to Shepards Bush. You will find the underground station which is closest to the hotel is via the Central line and from there it is a 3 minute walk to the hotel, which is so convenient when you have a heavy suitcase with you or if you want to go exploring the city.

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First Impressions

Upon arrival the door was opened for me and I was lead over to the check-in desk. The lobby area is a sleek white area that is connected to the bar which was full of hotel guests and business people holding meetings. There was definitely a vibrant atmosphere within the hotel and it seemed like there was so much going on. I was quickly checked-in and given a brief run through about the hotel’s facilities, asked if I needed help with my luggage and pointed in the direction of the lifts. The staff on reception were extremely helpful – I was expecting a delivery that afternoon and I also needed to change the time of my dinner reservation in which both tasks that were dealt with efficiently so I didn’t have to worry at all!

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The Executive Room

The room I was booked into was extremely spacious with a lounge area, work desk, huge king sized bed, coffee and tea making section and a small bathroom. The decor was a mixture of dark blues, purples and greys creating a modern, luxurious feel. I felt like I had my own office with the desk area which came complete with a hotel tablet that you could use to order room service, read about the facilities and various other helpful things.

In the lounge area there was artwork of the late David Bowie and a selection of magazines. I was also greeted by a bottle of ice cold champagne which was amazing! The room was well lit with natural light streaming in from the huge windows that spanned the length of the room and the bed was enormous. The bathroom was simple and clean, and the hotel also offers its guests “The White Company” toiletries that smell gorgeous. You don’t have to worry about calling reception for things such as hairdryers and ironing boards as the room comes fully equipped.

In the morning I was delivered my breakfast of scrambled eggs with salmon, a bowl of cereal and literally no end of pastries! Also included was a pot of tea, bottle of fruit juice and condiments. There was so much to eat! You could definitely feed two people with this breakfast – unless of course neither of you like pastries.

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The Restaurant 

As part of my stay I was invited to dine at the hotel’s restaurant – Studio Kitchen. The menu is inspired by New York style food such as burgers, mac’ n’ cheese but also available are European style dishes. The venue is ultra sleek – keeping up with the standards of the rest of the hotel decor, but  at the same time it is very casual. The restaurant is a place to come and relax if you’re on a business trip or have had a long day exploring the bustling city. Across the back of the restaurant is a long, wavy cushioned seating area with floating style lighting hanging from the ceiling creating a very artistic feel to the restaurant. Me and my guest enjoyed a wonderful three course meal with a bottle of red wine. I opted for the pork belly and my friend tried out the steak, and both were fantastic! I’d highly recommend the squid and bread board to start alongside a glass of wine.

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Final Thoughts

Overall, my stay at K West Hotel & Spa was an effortless retreat where I didn’t have to worry about anything at all. I had everything that I needed provided by the room and I felt like I was really looked after by the staff on hand. The modern, rock ‘n’ roll theme was refreshing and staying here makes you feel like you aren’t missing out on anything as there is such a “buzz” all around the hotel. It’s great for both business and leisure, and if it’s good enough for all the musicians it’s good enough for me. For more information or to make a reservation please head to their website.

www.k-west.co.uk

Manchester, Restaurants, Reviews

A TASTE OF THE PACIFIC: AUSTRALASIA, MANCHESTER

July 22, 2016

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Manchester has always been one of my favorite cities to visit. During the summer when I was visiting the area I never wanted to leave and especially whilst working as an air hostess getting rostered in for a Manchester flight was exciting for me – everyone else wanted to swap it for somewhere more exotic. But I loved jumping on the train into this vibrant city with the crew and trying out all the little cocktail bars and endless restaurants that fill its streets. Australasia is regarded as one of the best restaurants in this city and has prime place within the area of Spinningfields – “the place to be” in Manchester, or so I’ve been told.

The restaurant is located just off Deansgate and identifiable by its stylish glass entrance. Once inside you will see light brick walls with matching trees that sit between the tables along with lots of hanging lights and lanterns. It’s definitely a romantic hot spot given all of the other young couples that were dining there whilst I was, and note that it got really busy around 7pm and this was mid-week!

To begin the meal, myself and my boyfriend had a cocktail each and browsed through the menu. The menu at Australasia is Australian cuisine fused with Asian. There are tapas style dishes, Sushi and also main courses. We opted to have a tapas style experience and ordered six plates which all looked divine when they arrived at our table. For the Sushi they even grind out the Wasabi fresh from the stem which is really interesting to watch. Overall, I enjoyed the food and felt full after about the fourth dish, but I would highly recommend the BBQ Lamb Chops!

For dessert, I opted for the chocolate dome and Chris ordered the chocolate and raspberry souffle. The chocolate dome included the usual spectacle of the pouring of the hot sauce over the dome that reveals the tasty inside – a little trick that never ever gets old and of course, makes the perfect SnapChat video.

I’d definitely return to this ultra-stylish venue for both drinks and food. It’s extremely versatile, being suitable for both lunch and dinner.  Have a catch up with friends or have your date night here – it’s a win-win for everyone and for any occasion.

For more information or reservations please head over their website.

www.Australasia.uk.com

Dubai, Hotels, Reviews, UAE

A POLYNESIAN STAYCATION: SOFITEL THE PALM, DUBAI

July 6, 2016

After spending nearly two weeks back in what feels like my second home in Dubai I was so excited to be spending my last two days with Sofitel Luxury Hotels. After exploring the glittering city, shopping constantly and eating out at some of the most amazing restaurants in the world Sofitel’s incredible resort located on The Palm Jumeirah was the perfect way to end my trip. Here is my review of the hotel:

Location & Getting About

Located on the eastern crescent of The Palm Jumeirah Island it is around a 40 minute drive from the airport, 20 minutes drive from the Dubai Marina and 30 minute drive from Downtown Dubai. Upon check-in we were given a timetable of the hotel shuttle bus that operates to these areas and also to the main malls in the city. This service is great if you want to get out and about without the cost of taxis. However if you prefer to make your own way around the city at the front of the hotel you will find friendly hotel staff who are always on hand to wave over a taxi for you and get you on your way.

First Impressions

As soon as me and my guest stepped out of the taxi we were greeted with a very happy, “Bonjour!” from the staff who made sure our car door was opened and our luggage taken inside. The reception area was impressive with its marble flooring and high ceilings. Overall, the check-in process was smooth and hassle free – we arrived slightly earlier than expected and had a little wait for the room, but we were happy to be pointed to the restaurant by the pool for a quiet coffee whilst we waited.

The Room

I was booked into a Junior Suite at the resort and once I stepped inside it felt like I was inside an apartment. The entrance was mirrored and led straight into a lounge room complete with a working area, sofa and flat screen television. In here I also found a selection of fruit and a gift box of lovely decorated dates laid out on the table which I thought was extremely thoughtful of the hotel.

Through some sliding doors came the bedroom featuring a king-sized bed and another television. Both the bedroom and the lounge room had access via French doors to the huge balcony that overlooked the Arabian Gulf with seating areas where you could watch the sunset after a long day. However, what caught my eye the most was the gorgeous bath tub situated beside the bedroom!

The bathroom was extremely spacious and complimentary Elemis toiletries were provided which created that extra added touch of luxury to the suite. Other amenities included in the room was a wardrobe area, iron and ironing board, hairdryer and a coffee/tea making area.DSC_2675_1

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The Pool & Beach

After breakfast you could head down to either the main pool area or the Sofitel’s private beach. The beach area is a long stretch of white sand with hundreds of chairs lining the shore. The beach has amazing views of the Dubai Marina skyscrapers – a backdrop which you’ll want to photograph over and over again! The main pool area has a variety of seating options from right beside the pool in your own little exotic hut, to beds within the lush greenery or simply along the poolside. The pool is temperature controlled which is perfect for the intensely hot summer days and there is also a Jacuzzi area.

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Porterhouse Restaurant

During my short stay I was invited to dine at Porterhouse, the hotel’s steak house restaurant. The staff were extremely efficient and accommodating, and more so, the food was exceptional. Myself and my guest tried the Waygu rib-eye steak with several extras to compliment it and we were both very impressed. The manager even brought out special steak knives for us to eat our steaks with! The atmosphere is relaxed and the dim lighting makes it ideal for a couple’s romantic dinner.

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Final Thoughts

The Sofitel The Palm was a mini getaway that did not let me down. It is in every aspect a fantastic luxury resort that offers some of the best service in the city – all the way from the meet and greet staff, to the waiters/waitresses in the restaurants. The plush green surroundings make it seem like you are on a tropical island and the location is amazing for seeing Dubai from a different perspective which is away from the hustle and bustle, but still offers that “wow” factor that you come to this city for.

Sofitel delivered beyond my expectations and I would definitely stay here if I was to return to Dubai for a holiday. For more information and reservations please head to their website.