Category: Food & Drink

The Most Romantic Places in the World

What better way to celebrate love than a dreamy getaway to one of the most romantic places in the world. Soak in the sun on a beautiful Portuguese beach, stroll hand in hand through the Alps or get close in a Spanish city we can’t help but fall in love with.

Santa Maria Island, Portugal

Santa Maria Island, Portugal
Photo Courtesy of Travel in Portugal

Located in the Azores archipelago, Santa Maria Island is only 2,000 miles east of New England, making it the perfect romantic getaway. It’s known as the sunshine island because it has the driest and warmest climate. The most famous beach on the island is Praia Formosa, or the “beautiful beach.” At the bottom of the bay, Praia Formosa reaches a mile long with clear, light green water and rich golden sand with streaks of black. Spend your day in the sunshine and eat at O Paquete, a restaurant on the beach serving fresh fish and drinks.

Innsbruck, Austria

Innsbruck, Austria
Photo Courtesy of Telegraph

The city of Innsbruck is located between the Alps in the state of Tyrol, 93 miles south of Munich. You’ll fall instantly in love with this city’s historic old town and the snow-covered mountains as the backdrop. Make a stop at one of the city’s oldest restaurants Kapeller, which first opened in the 16th century. It features authentic Austrian cuisine, like roasted lamb and risotto and dumpling soap. What’s more romantic than a trip to Swarovski Kristallwelten, home to the one and only crystals. Inside you will find creations by artists from around the world using Swarovski crystals, of course.

Barcelona, Spain

La Isabela at The Hotel 1898
Photo Courtesy of Timeout

Barcelona is easy to fall in love with and even easier to fall in love in. Start your evening snuggled up on a rooftop bar with a jug of sangria at La Isabela at The Hotel 1898 in the heart of La Rambla. Then head to Barcelona Pipa Club, a secret jazz club with a dimly lit lounge where you can listen to live music from your own private nook. Spend your day hand in hand strolling through the lovely Park Guell, originally built as a utopian community. Today it’s most famous for it’s mosaic benches and amazing city views.

48 Hours in Cardiff, Wales

Once known as the world’s largest coal port, Cardiff is now Britain’s leading urban center. This vibrant capital is filled with revived shopping arcades, modern architecture and craft beer pubs, yet it remains deeply rooted in its history.

What to See

Cardiff Castle, Wales
Photo Courtesy of Visit Cardiff

Take a look back at the city’s history with a stroll through Cardiff Castle. Originally built in Roman times, Cardiff Castle went through a Gothic transformation in the late 11th century. You could spend all day touring the grounds, including the WWII shelters in the castle’s battlement walls. Then head over to the Pettigrew Tea Rooms in the West Lodge for breakfast or lunch and don’t miss their delicious cakes!

What to Do

Cardiff Bay, Wales
Photo Courtesy of Visit Cardiff

Cardiff is known as one of the UK’s fastest growing cities. Cardiff Bay, which was once a coal-exporting hub, is now filled with shops, restaurants, attractions and modern buildings. You literally can’t miss the Millennium Stadium, which has a 72,500 capacity and is Cardiff’s most visible landmark. The best time to visit is when the stadium is packed with fans during an international rugby game.

Where to Stay

St. David's Hotel, Cardiff
Photo Courtesy of Cardiff Bay

Located in the middle of city center, St. David’s Hotel is a 5-star luxury hotel on Cardiff Bay. The glass fronted façade, private balconies and floor to ceiling windows create the perfect ambiance, whether you are traveling for business or pleasure. Inside you will find Marine Spa, voted one of the best spas in the UK, as well as Admiral St. David, a new restaurant and bar.

Travel Guide: Grenoble

What better time to visit Grenoble than the middle of ski season. Known as the capital of the Alps, Grenoble is located in the southeastern region of France. Aside from being a base for winter sports, this city is known for its museums, public transportation system and excellent dining.

What to See

Grenoble, France
Photo Courtesy of Fodors

Grenoble sits at the confluence of the Isere and Drac Rivers and lies within three mountain ranges: La Chartreuse, Vercors and Belledonne. The natural beauty that surrounds the city makes it easy to explore, from skiing in the winter, to hiking in the summer. For some killer views, take the spherical cable cars called Les Bulles from town to the summit of La Bastille Hill.

Museum of Grenoble, France
Photo Courtesy of Okko Hotels

Grenoble was established in Roman times and has a vast history. There are a variety of museums dedicated to the history of the city, but the Museum of Grenoble has one of Europe’s most impressive art collections. Even though the pieces range from the 13th to the 19th century, the museum is filled with mostly modern paintings and sculptures, like Matisse, Picasso and Gauguin.

Where to Stay

Park Hotel Grenoble
Photo Courtesy of Sofitel

For all you snow lovers, the best way to experience Grenoble is by renting a ski chalet in the city’s foothills. This is a great option for larger groups wanting a ski holiday experience. For a couple’s getaway, opt for the four-star Park Hotel Grenoble, which sits on 52 acres of lush greenery. Located on the outskirts of the city center, this hotel features 40 rooms with balconies and views of Paul Mistral Park.

Where to Eat

Auberge Napoleon, Grenoble
Photo Courtesy of Auberge Napoleon

For an après-ski delight, opt for one of the many delightful cafes in Old Town. One of the best dining spots is Auberge Napoleon, named after one of its guests Napoleon Bonaparte. This restaurant features a theatrical Empire décor with fresh, local and mostly organic ingredients, like pan-fried foie gras atop roasted oysters.

48 Hours in Catania, Sicily

Due to centuries of volcanic eruptions and earthquakes, little has survived from this city’s early days. Still, Catania remains an ancient port city filled with Baroque architecture, some of the best seafood and lots of energy. Winter is one of the best times to visit, there are less tourists and temperatures are mild.

What to See

Catania Cathedral, Sicily
Photo Courtesy of Typical Sicily

Start your exploration of Catania in the city center, Piazza Duomo. Designed in Baroque style in the 18th century, this area features the whimsical Fontana dell’Elefante statue and the stunning Catania Cathedral. The city’s showpiece church, Catania Cathedral, is dedicated to Saint Agatha and features a tiered Baroque façade fashioned out of volcanic rock.

Mount Etna, Catania
Photo Courtesy of The Guardian

One of Catania’s biggest attractions is that it sits at the foot of Europe’s largest active volcano, Mount Etna which dominates the landscape of north-eastern Sicily. Take one of the buses from the Piazza to the base of the mountain or further up to several of the main cauldrons.

Where to Stay

Una Hotel Palace, Catania
Photo Courtesy of Una Hotels

Located in the artistic and commercial part of Catania, Una Hotel Palace is in the middle of it all. It’s housed in an early 20th century palazzo and features 94 elegant, yet understated rooms with roof top views of Mt. Etna. After a long day exploring the city, indulge in a Turkish bath and relax on the rooftop garden.

What to Eat

La Pescheria, Catania
Photo Courtesy of Dissapore

Catania is home to Sicily’s iconic pasta alla Norma, made with tomatoes, aubergine, ricotta and basil. It’s also known for its amazing and abundant fish market, La Pescheria, which is open daily and surrounded by seafood restaurants. Make a reservation at Osteria Antica Marina, which serves superb seafood with a trattoria vibe. Finish off your evening with gelato at Pasticceria Savia, a local institution in the middle of Via Etnea.

Travel Guide: Guernsey

This channel island might not be part of the UK, but it definitely has all the British feels. Guernsey sits near the French coast and consists of 27 different bays with long stretches of sand, hidden coves and coastal cliffs. Guernsey is the perfect long weekend getaway, with its five star accommodations, fresh seafood and breathtaking views.

What to See

Castle Cornet, Guernsey
Photo Courtesy of Museums.gov

Saint Peter Port is one of the prettiest harbor towns in Europe. The cobblestone streets and Regency architecture sits amid stunning seaside cliffs. For breathtaking views and some island history, check out Castle Cornet. This 800-year-old fortress sits on an island of its own and guards the harbor. Today it consists of five museums, four period gardens and a gift shop.

Hauteville House, Guernsey
Photo Courtesy of Museums.gov

Entirely furnished and decorated by poet Victor Hugo, the Hauteville House is a site to be seen. The house was built on five floors and overlooks Saint Peter Port. Hugo lived in his home for over 14 years during his enforced exile from France and created some of his most famous works, such as Les Misérables.

Where to Stay

The Old Government House Hotel & Spa
Photo Courtesy of The OGH Hotel

The Old Government House Hotel & Spa is a historic property that sits on the hill in the heart of Saint Peter Port. It was the former governor’s house starting in 1976 and consists of 63 elegant rooms and suites. Accommodations include traditional afternoon tea, spa treatments, a heated outdoor pool and beautiful gardens.

What to Do

Candie Gardens, Guernsey
Photo Courtesy of Visit Guernsey

Spend your day at Candie Gardens at the hillside of Saint Peter Port. You can view statues of Queen Victoria and Victor Hugo and visit the Guernsey Museum and Art Gallery. From there take a two-mile hike around Icart Point for some dramatic views. When the weather is nice, have a picnic at Moulin Huet Bay, a spot favored by the painter Renoir.

Top Wellness Retreats in 2018

What better way to kick off the New Year than with some self-care! To truly reset and recharge, try checking into one of the top wellness retreats in the world, from Malaga’s leading yoga center to Abu Dhabi’s desert retreat.

Molino del Rey, Malaga, Spain

Molino del Rey, Malaga
Photo Courtesy of Molino del Rey

Located in the natural reserve of Sierra de las Nieves in Andalusia,  Molino del Rey began as a yoga center in 1994. Built by hand, this center has transformed into the best yoga retreat in Spain. It offers a wide range of activities such as yoga, detox, meditation, mindfulness and well-being courses. There are 22 guest beds with en-suite balconies and tea making facilities. Molino del Rey is set in a Spanish hamlet community surrounded by traditional country life. The retreat atmosphere is perfect for helping you reconnect with your inner self.

Amatara Wellness Resort, Phuket, Thailand

Amatara Wellness Resort, Phuket
Photo Courtesy of Amatara Phuket

Regain your well-being while enjoying the best coastal views in Phuket. At the Amatara Wellness Resort you can indulge in one of six all-inclusive holistic wellness retreat programs. Accommodations include organic nutritional food and personalized wellness and activities. All programs include the Thai Hammam experience, which brings together traditional Turkish and Moroccan bathing practices with Thai spa therapies. The Amatara Wellness Resort is 45 minutes away from the Phuket International Airport, at the beautiful Cape Panwa.

Alma Retreat, Abu Dhabi

Alma Retreat, Abu Dhabi
Photo Courtesy of Hotel and Rest

Designed to inspire your mind, motivate your body and unlock your creativity, the Alma Retreat is located in the beautiful desert of Ras al-Khaimah, inside the Bedouin Oasis Camp. Stay in the sustainable cabins designed for simplicity and comfort with en-suite bathrooms. There is a dedicated outdoor gym and the nearby dunes are used for circuit and high intensity training.  Your stay also includes a sweat lodge, 6-person ice bath and fresh vegan cuisine. The Alma Retreat runs every weekend in January through June and on weekdays there are tailor-made corporate and programs and group events.

 

Top 3 European Holiday Destinations

With the month of December right around the corner, we can’t help but get in the holiday spirit. For those looking to immerse themselves in all things winter wonderland, there are a few European cities that really come to life. From Christmas markets to a holiday circus, you don’t want to miss these top three European holiday destinations!

Luxembourg

Luxembourg City, Luxembourg
Photo Courtesy of Visit Luxembourg

Every year traditional Christmas markets pop up throughout Luxembourg, making this city a great holiday destination. The Place d’Armes, Place de la Constitution and Place de Paris turn into Christmas villages with small wooden huts selling candles, toys, decorations and sweets. You will also find traditional food and drink like hot wine and potato pancakes and sausages. While this city does not celebrate Santa Claus, they do have St. Nicholas Day on December 6th!

London

London, England
Photo Courtesy of Town & Country Magazine

This festive city has an array of holiday activities from Christmas markets to ice-skating and the popular Winter Wonderland. The city’s largest Christmas market, Winter Wonderland, fills Hyde Park with over 200 wooden cabins selling handmade crafts and jewelry. After perusing the market, visit the largest open air ice-skating rink in the country or check out the holiday lights at the Royal Botanical Gardens, where over a million bulbs illuminate trees, gardens and buildings.

Zurich

Circus Conelli, Zurich
Photo Courtesy of Weihnachten Zuerich

The city of Zurich turns into an enchanting holiday wonderland come December. The Christmas markets and Advent events will fill your calendar and boost your holiday spirit. Visit Europe’s largest covered market Christkindlimarkt with a sparking 15-foot tree as its centerpiece or watch the historical Lichterschwimmen, where children in Zurich release hundreds of candles on the Limmat River. And not to be missed is Circus Conelli, Switzerland’s first Christmas circus which has been a permanent fixture of Advent for more than 30 years.

 

Travel Guide: Seville, Spain

The capital of southern Spain’s Andalusia region, Seville entices visitors with its flamenco dancing, historic architecture and warm hospitality. Discover one of the world’s largest cathedrals, nosh on delicious tapas and experience the soul of the city with our travel guide to Seville!

Where to Stay

Hotel Alfonso XIII, Seville, Spain
Photo Courtesy of Hotel Alfonso XIII Seville

Most of the hotels in Seville are housed in former palaces or noblemen’s stately homes. Hotel Alfonso XIII, located in the historic Santa Cruz quarter, once housed dignitaries in 1929. In 2012 it was completely renovated and the Moorish architecture was enriched and beautifully restored. The 151 rooms are some of the most lavish in town, with intricately carved ceilings, frescoes and tile work.

Where to Eat

El Rinconcillo, Seville, Spain
Photo Courtesy of Jet Setting Fools

The region’s infamous tapas originated in Andalusia’s taverns and are traditionally served with sherry or wine. One of the country’s oldest bars and one of Seville’s most beloved tapas spots is El Rinconcillo. This ancient bar dates back to 1670 and the authentic wooden and tile interior remains untouched. Another locally loved spot is Restaurante Eslava, which serves Seville’s most popular tapas, with a twist. Located in the San Lorenzo district, you can order tapas in half or full portions to share.

What to Do

Seville Cathedral, Seville, Spain
Photo Courtesy of Travel for Kids

For a peak inside Seville’s soul visit Barrio Triana on the opposite bank of Guadalquivir. This district is the birthplace of flamenco, beautiful handmade tiles and some world-class bullfighters. Of all the historical buildings in the city, Seville Cathedral is one of the most amazing. Erected in 1502, it’s the world’s largest cathedral and inside you will find the tomb of Christopher Columbus and famous Spanish paintings.

The Best Hotels in Los Cabos, Mexico

As the cold and rainy weather sets in, what better time to take a warm weather getaway! Los Cabos, located on the Baja Peninsula, boasts 350 days of sunshine per year, making it the ultimate seaside escape. With so many accommodations to choose from we’ve narrowed it down to the best, from boutique-style to all-inclusives.

Hotel El Ganzo

Hotel El Ganzo, Los Cabos, Mexico
Photo Courtesy of El Ganzo

This unique boutique hotel celebrates diversity, creativity, artistry and sustainability. The 70 guest rooms at Hotel El Ganzo are a much-needed departure from what you would see at a cookie-cutter resort. They are filled with custom furnishings, original artwork and the finest amenities. Spend your days at the hotel spa, rooftop sushi bar and listen to live music at the hotel’s Underground Studio.

One & Only Palmilla

One & Only Palmilla, Los Cabos, Mexico
Photo Courtesy of One and Only Resorts

Somewhere between boutique hotel and all-inclusive resort is the One & Only Palmilla. This resort features beach front access to one of the few swimmable beaches in the entire region. There are four onsite restaurants serving everything from steak and seafood to light fare and specialty drinks. For the utmost privacy, book the new private villa, which features four bedrooms, a butler suite and dramatic views of Sea of Cortez.

Pueblo Bonito Pacifica Golf & Spa Resort

Pueblo Bonito Pacifica Golf & Spa Resort, Los Cabos, Mexico
Photo Courtesy of Jet Setter

This all-inclusive resort is nestled on a secluded beach and caters to adults seeking a tranquil ocean front hideaway. Pueblo Bonito Pacifica Golf & Spa Resort features 201 rooms with superb dining, a wellness inspired spa and private beach privileges. Stay in the recently debuted Towers at Pacifica, which includes 47 rooms and suites with private terraces. Venture to the third tower by sky bridge to discover an ocean front VIP lounge and state of the art fitness center.

Top 5 Places to Visit in Barcelona

This bustling capital has been breaking ground in art and architecture since the 19th century. Barcelona continues to impress visitors today with its iconic Gaudi structures, the Gothic Quarter and the Picasso Museum, among others. If you find yourself in this lively city, don’t miss visiting these incredible spots.

Park Guell

Park Guell, Barcelona
Photo Courtesy of Lonely Planet

This whimsical public park was originally supposed to be a housing community. Today Parc Guell covers 42 acres of land with a quintessential Antoni Gaudi twist. The park is built around the natural elements of the land and was modeled after gardens Gaudi had seen in England. The colorful mosaics and Dr. Suess-style architecture draws thousands of visitors daily.

Gothic Quarter

Gothic Quarter, Barcelona
Photo Courtesy of Barcelonando

The Gothic Quarter is the oldest part of Barcelona and also one of the liveliest. Lose the map and let yourself wander through the streets where you will spot Roman and Medieval architecture as well as cafes, bars, clubs and shops. Walk down Placa de la Catedral to see the stunning Barcelona Cathedral.

La Sagrada Familia

La Sagrada Familia, Barcelona
Photo Courtesy of Architectural Digest

For over 40 years Catalan art nouveau master Antoni Gaudi devoted himself to the construction of La Sagrada Familia or Church of Sacred Family. He was not able to finish the structure, but it remains his most recognized work. Gaudi worked off of the neo-Gothic style but went for something more innovative. Through his architecture he aimed to teach people about Catholicism. The four towers represent the 12 apostles and the carved facades show the life of Christ.

Museu Picasso

Museu Picasso, Barcelona
Photo Courtesy of Ajuntament de Barcelona

Discover the many sides of Pablo Picasso at the Museu Picasso. On display are several thousand pieces featured on a timeline that allows you to follow Picasso’s progression from more controlled works to the whimsical paintings and sculptures at the end of his career, including several works from his famous blue period. In addition, you can explore his lifelong relationship with the city of Barcelona.

Palau de la Musica Catalana

Palau de la Musica Catalana, Barcelona
Photo Courtesy of Palau Musica

The Palau de la Musica Catalana is one of the most beautiful modernist buildings in the city. The polychromatic exterior draws visitors in and the flamboyant interior keeps them coming back.  Lluis Domenech I Montaner depicted the Catalan modernista style through the ornate sculptures and inverted stained glass dome. Join a guided tour or better yet, watch a concert!