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Wondering what this weekend’s forecast will be?  Dark n’ Stormy with a very high chance of torrential downpour! That’s if you head to Covent Garden for Kraken Rum‘s immersive pop-up dining experience where state-of-the-art rainfall technology and special effects will be used to recreate a dark and stormy night indoors.

Now why on earth would you forsake the afternoon sunshine in favour of getting rained upon?  Fear not landlubbers, you’ll be armed with a waterproof raincoat and once the novelty storm has passed you’ll be invited to enter into it’s ‘eye’.  This is where your evening really begins with an inventive jet black menu of dishes using naturally black ingredients and natural black food colouring.

You will be able to choose between the following options for your starter and main:

Starters:

Pickled seafood (baby squid, octopus, cockles) hijiki seaweed salad with black crustacean gel
or
Black nori rolls with kale and green beans (vegan)

Mains:

Squid ink linguini, prawns, squid rings, heritage tomatoes
or
Black garlic gnocchi

Dessert:
Kraken Black Ice Cream

When: Friday 12th July and Saturday 13th July

Where: 5 Great Newport St, Covent Garden, London WC2H 7JB

What Time: 3.30pm, 5.30pm, 7.30pm, 9.30pm

Tickets:  Here me hearties

Your ticket entitles you to entry to the venue, a two-course meal ‘in a Perfect Storm’, four (4) cocktails and a portion of Kraken ice-cream.

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As soon as we’d heaped our Glasto gear into the wash we slipped into something a lil more fitting for another summer festival – mmno, not House Festival; something with even fierier beats, Andalusian flavour and sass – it’s July after all and time to celebrate the dynamism of flamenco.

Sadler’s Wells’ Flamenco Festival returns for its 16th year this fortnight. And to save you time we have cherry picked the best of the fest so all you need to do is grab a friend – or not, solo dates are a vibe right now… and a ticket and ready yourself for some of the world’s finest and fieriest flamenco footwork.

Opening this year’s festival with ‘Sombras’ is Sara Baras – a flamenco legend who summons La Farruca, the dance form that has woven its way through her career. Sara Baras dances alongside six dancers, her feet so precise we hear every single beat as she claims La Farruca as her own. The footwork is fast, ferocious, feverish, impassioned and well-deserved of its standing ovation. Usually performed by men, Sara moves through each act with impeccable grace and wow. This was certified stare-worthy.

Taking things up a notch, on Monday 8th July flamenco singer Miguel Poveda returns to Sadler’s Wells with his latest work Recital de Cante. Resisting the temptation to pour myself a glass of Rioja and book a flight back to Ibiza as I type this and drift to the soothing evening sounds of live Spanish guitar dancing through the courtyards of San Juan – Poveda takes the audience on a tour of  the more traditional flamenco, from the cantinas of Cadiz to the demanding la soleá repertoire.

On Tuesday 9th July, Olivier Award-winning choreographer, Rocio Molina disrupts the traditional guitar, cajón and clapping hands combo with a drum kit and electric guitar in her latest show Fallen From Heaven. Expect male and animalistic movement as an exploration of gender, sex and flamenco itself.

Wednesday 10th July brings together three artists all prominent in breaking barriers in music: pianist Dorantes dubbed ‘the jewel of the flamenco piano’, double bass phenomenon and multi- instrumentalist, Adam Ben Ezra, and master of tenor and soprano saxophones who tours with the Rolling Stones, Tim Ries. Former principal dancer with Nacional de España and pioneer in flamenco’s evolution, Jesus Carmona completes the ensemble and together, they present

Flamenco Meets Jazz.

On Saturday 13th July Sergio de Lope, award-winning flautist and saxophonist, who has collaborated with flamenco stars such as Farruquito, presents Ser de Luz in his London debut.

Patricia Guerrero closes the festival on Sunday 14th July with Critics Choice award-winner Catedral. Joined on stage by three dancers, a guitarist, two percussionists, two opera singers and a flamenco singer, Guerrero steps into a shadowy world of repression and sacrifice to reflect on the binding constraints of religion and society.

This huns, is just a slice of the action. For the full festival line up go to www.sadlerswells.com

For the adventurous who have an inkling to strum on the strings, on Sunday 14th July there is a music workshop focussing on flamenco guitar.

Book tickets here

£15 – £55

Performances at Sadler’s Wells, Tuesday – Sunday at 7:30pm

Saturday matinee performances at 3:30pm & Sunday matinee performances at 4pm

Ticket Office: 020 7863 8000

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After nearly a decade of trading at some of London’s most sought after street food markets, Baba G’s have begun their journey to life long status with their first permanent restaurant in Camden Market.

Recent winners of TVs Million Pound Menu, Alec Owen and Liz Selway, set up the Indian inspired food stall back in 2008. The name came about when Alec met a holy man – or Baba – up a mountain in Northern India who suggested the name Baba G’s (‘G’ representing ‘sir’ in India).

The 50 seat restaurant is a cavern of exposed brickwork and splashes of neon pink throughout, mirroring their bold logo design. The kitchen is spacious and an open butchery counter takes precedence for all to marvel at their burger creations. The hatch at the front also offers a shorter takeaway menu for those on the go.

The menu, refined to perfection throughout their so far ten year stint, offers their signature Banghra Burgers alongside some quality starters and sharers.

We tried the Naga Delhi Burger which consisted of a DOUBLE lamb patty, onion bahji and naga chilli pickle sauce squashed between a crispy, pillowy, toasted bun.

On the veggie front, they’re right on the money with the Paneer Saag Burger – an absolute wedge of spiced paneer is teamed with spinach saag, mango tamarind and an onion bahji. Again, all served in one heck of a tasty bun.

Sides to note include the Tikka Chicken Nuggets, Raan Lamb Chilli Achaar Croquettes and Okra Fries.

We highly recommend you check out Baba G’s next time you’re in Camden. They’ve just launched on Deliveroo so if you’re in the area, you lucky thing, you can order to your door too.

Baba Gs
Camden Lock Market
West Yard
Unit 215 – 216 Chalk Farm Rd
London
NW1 8AF

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If you’re looking for adventure, remember you don’t have to travel too far to find it.

I ventured down to the wilds of Cornwall courtesy of luxury outdoor brand Filson to test some of their gear and learn more about the Filson philosophy.

The journey south was an adventure in itself. I decided to take a night National Express bus, which left London at 11pm and arrived in the town of Truro the next day around 8am.

I figured at least I wasn’t wasting the daytime journeying as I could nap on the bus. Plus, it was a snip of the price compared to the trains. And I had two seats to myself as the bus was practically empty. Not many are as crazy as me to do the journey, I figured!

After landing into Truro my journey to Camp Filson continued with an hour’s long boat journey down the River Fal to Trelissick Gardens, which is run by the National Trust.

It was absolutely peeing it down with rain – a true English summer – but luckily my belongings were safe in a Filson dry bag backpack. I was also wearing a Filson ultra light down jacket which protected me from the elements and kept me pleasantly warm.

Camp Filson was returning for the third year to 7th Rise. The outdoor pursuits spot is an awesome place.

It was set up by Thom Hunt, who some might recognize from the Channel 4 show Three Hungry Boys.

The Lancashire lad spent three years renovating a tumble down charcoal factory into a liveable space.

While the main house has several cosy bedrooms, there is a quirky tree house, hunting lodge and gypsy caravan where you can rest your head for the night.

Today Thom and his team run outdoor survival courses, which prove popular with corporations looking for team building opportunities.

They also get bachelor / ette and birthday groups down there, in a bid to do something a bit different to the standard drinkathon.

After disembarking the boat, I took the King Harry ferry bridge to get to the other side of the river.

From there I vaguely remembered the directions I should take… uphill, take a right, down a valley, through a field and down a ramshackle track…

Bingo! After my crazy journey, I’d finally made it to 7th Rise and Camp Filson.

Here, the outdoors is at the centre of things.

Everything is stripped back to basics and there is no phone signal.

Getting into the survival spirit of things, we kicked off things with a fire lighting course using carbon steel strikers.

After everyone had conjured up some flames we moved on to learning how to make a spoon from a log.

Thom makes everything look so easy and everyone looked a little daunted by the spoon-carving project, which involved hacking down a stump into something a little more sophisticated.

As light descended, we tucked into a rabbit chilli-style dish and dined outside.

From there we gathered around the fire to keep warm with the fresh night air.

7th Rise boasts a sublime location and the sunsets are pretty special, with cocktail colours gently descending behind the tree-covered hills and dancing on the rippling river.

The next day, we ventured out for a spot of canoeing and raft building with Cornwall Canoes.

This was a real highlight – and again, our Filson dry bags were put to the test!

To warm us up for when we returned chef maestro Simon Stallard, who is famed in the area for his epic beach cookouts, had some hot rum punch rolling.

He also had lobsters and hunks of pork ready to be cooked.

Luckily, Stallard stuck around for the entire day and we feasted on more of his delicious fodder for dinner.

The evening feast consisted of lamb that was wrapped in banana leaves, placed in a hot pit and buried with soil for most of the day.

Things got a little hazy as the evening rolled on, thanks to some punchy brews from a local mixologist Stuart Woodman.

All in all, another year at Camp Filson had been completely epic.

It was great to see more technical gear in the range, that’s perfect for hiking and outdoor pursuits.

The NeoShell jacket is a great product, with a waterproof and breathable fabric.

For chillier climates, the featherweight down jacket proves to be the perfect pick.

And one item on my wishlist is the Filson Mackinaw wool blanket, which guarantees to keep you warm and snuggly.

And what’s more, the women’s range in the UK is slowly expanding with a wider selection to come very soon…

To book a course at 7th Rise visit or to learn more visit www.7thrise.co.uk.

Tickets for direct travel between London and Truro in Cornwall are available via www.nationalexpress.com

Browse the latest collections from Filson via www.filson.com.

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Heading to Taste of London this week? Check out our guide of the must eats, hottest restaurants and ultimate drinks to sip at the five day foodie festival.

Centred around a ‘Wild in the City’ theme, all about sustainability and foodie craftsmanship it’s one not to be missed.

Visitors will be able to check out some of the UK’s ultimate chefs and restaurants in action and eat at winners from the inaugural World Restaurant Awards, which took place in Paris earlier this year.

Some of our favourites are back again, such as Club Gascon, Hoppers and Kricket and 50 percent of the top notch restaurants are making their debut including; Brigadiers, Kutir, Berenjak, Kym’s, Indian Accent, Lina Stores and a bespoke BBQ from Flesh & Buns

The ‘Restaurant of the Year’ is here:

Exclusive to Taste of London ‘The Residence, the Restaurant of the Year’ from The World Restaurant Awards 2019, have partnered with Zacapa Rum with a tasting menu and drinks pairing experience.

Those who book a place will be able to have a chance to get close to Kobus van der Merwe, one of the world’s finest chefs whilst he plates up and ask all their culinary questions, without taking the 12-hour trip to the remote fishing village Paternoster in South Africa or having to brave the restaurant’s three-month waiting list (Priced at £95)

It’s getting WILD:

Taking inspiration from this year’s theme, River Cottage’s Steven Lamb will be on site in a transformed shepherd’s hut The Wild Kitchen, hosting masterclasses alongside the River Cottage team. The award-winning author, TV presenter and curing & smoking expert will be running a series of workshops for guests wanting to get a little WILD in their kitchen.

It’s going to get HOT:

Hosted once again by the inimitable DJ BBQ, The Fire Pit will have chefs at the helm from the capital’s most legendary meaty restaurants, such as resident chefs from Roth Bar and Grill, Berber & Q and Rovi. Guests can have the chance to refine their cooking skills and sample unique dishes exclusive to Taste of London.

Champagne lovers REJOICE:

Laurent-Perrier, the MUST champers, will be running a series of masterclasses, partnering with hip eats such as Bob’s Lobster, Pizza Pilgrims, Hotbox, Santo Remedio and Yum Bun offering irresistible food pairings all paired with the chic and delish Laurent-Perrier Cuvée Rosé.

Beer drinkers Thai PARADISE:

For those partial to a Chang beer, the favourite Thai beer has partnered with well-loved Thai restaurants Wild Rice, Greyhound Café, Nipa and 101 Thai Kitchen – to serve free samples of their fabulous Asian signature dishes, exclusively at the Chang Sensory Trail.

Let’s party at the KITCHEN:

The Ketel One Kitchen will return with their popular cocktail masterclasses and slick tunes. Decadent Espresso Martinis, sublime Bloody Marys and Botanical Spritzs will be on the menu…irresistible!

Taste of London is not only THE chance to munch over 100 dishes of innovative culinary musts from some of the world’s finest chefs, but it’s also the chance to learn from some of the ultimate chefs and drinks connoisseurs in the world….get your ticket NOW!

Taste of London, Regent’s Park

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Weekends are going to get a whole lot better thanks to Yauatcha City. They announced recently that they will open for the first time every Saturday and Sunday with a brand-new Weekend Yum Cha brunch menu, naturally we were one of the first to sigh up for what sounds like the perfect way to while away a few hours as well as celebrate a friends belated birthday.

Yum Cha is the act of drinking tea and is inextricably linked with dim sum – so much so that the two phrases are used interchangeably. As a Chinese tea house, Yauatcha City offers the chatter filled tea house atmosphere, from its interiors and design, to the menu intended for sharing between friends and family. The new Yum Cha Weekend menu provides a variety of dishes that are suitable for brunch or lunch and designed to be shared between the group.

The Yum Cha menu is immediately a hit with us as it offers champagne as one of the options, there are three options for the menu; the champagne one offers half a bottle each and is set at £58pp, the one below is £49pp for wine (red or white) and for the tee total it’s £47pp, which allows guests to sip premium tea instead. To note, whilst one of us is a meat eater, my guest is a pescatarian they were able to swap out a few meaty dishes for more suitable options. Plus, there’s a vegan/veggie option for those who prefer their dim sum without meat or fish and the veggie option includes dishes such as crystal dumplings wrapped with pumpkin and pine nut, mushroom bao buns, spicy aubergine, and crispy spicy tofu, among others.

We settle in and Luis our helpful waiter guides us towards the welcome cocktails which include the Sencha negroni and Lychee ginger Collins, we both opt for the latter and sit back and wait for our feast to begin. The menu is extensive and we know we won’t be leaving hungry or thirsty for that matter.

First course is dim sum and my what a selection which includes, seafood black truffle dumpling and a scallop shui mai amongst two others which we inhaled so fast we cannot remember what they were (only that they were delish). We are left yearning for more and excited for what arrives next – which for me is a three style Peking duck and for my friend (off the veggie menu), is the three style mushroom cheung fun. The food and drink flow dreamily and we find ourselves chatting away in-between delicious mouthfuls of bar buns which are next, I’m given the pork belly and steamed chicken bao buns and my friend again has to sub this one for the mushroom and napa cabbage version but other than those two swaps the rest of the menu is pretty accomadating for us both.

For the main I go for a classic, it’s been forever since I had a sweet and sour pork so that’s what I went for, whilst my friend went for the steamed prawns. Considering we both often find Chinese food a little bit stodgy we’re reminded again why we love it here so much – everything is light yet filling nonetheless. We’re not at all surprised that Yauatcha (Soho) opened to critical acclaim and won a Michelin star, the food really is divine.

The menu is available every weekend from midday to 4pm exclusively at . Menus start at £47 per person and have options to include a half bottle of wine or Champagne.

Yauatcha City, 1 Broadgate Cir, London EC2M 2QS

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The 110-year-old Strand Palace as undergone a multi-million pound transformation and the results are pretty incredible.

The 786-room hotel has been brought up to the 21st century, with some art deco touches adding to the charm.

I checked in on a Friday night, with a friendly man greeting us on the door.

The lobby had a cool contemporary feel with polished floors and wood-pannelled walls.

There was also modern art dotted around the place, keeping my eyes distracted.

Check in was swift and we were directed to a newly-refurbished superior king on the 8th floor. Despite it being a king, the room was fairly cosy, especially the bathroom with sloping ceilings.

But with my boyfriend being just under 6ft 2ft, even the most spacious rooms can suddenly look smaller given his stature.

Perks I immediately noticed in the room included the enormous bed, a hefty Bose speaker, USB plugs by the bed and robes in the wardrobe.

I peered out the window but there wasn’t much of view, just into other windows, so I swiftly closed the curtain.

We’d booked in for dinner at the downstairs restaurant at 7pm so we ventured down to check it out.

The lifts were fairly slow – there appeared to be queues the majority of the time – but we weren’t too late to our sitting.

HAXELLS

The hotel’s main restaurant, Haxells, opens out to the main lobby area.

Despite it being open to the elements it has a somewhat cosy feel, with low lighting and booth seating.

Jazz music was playing and there was an eclectic mix of people in to dine, from older couples to solo diners to groups of friends.

We settled into a booth and a friendly waiter came over to serve up the menus.

There’s a nice concise selection of food on offer at Haxells, with a reasonable price point and British fare at the centre of things.

We plumped on the potted duck and hummus plate to share for starters, followed by the grass-fed sirloin and superfood salad for mains.

To wash it down, we kicked things off with two glasses of sparkling Chapel Down English wine.

To follow, my boyfriend went for a glass of Montepulciano (the waiter brought over a Malbec instead) while I went for a vodka martini off the classic cocktails list. With no olives, I went for a lemon twist.

Returning to the food, the potted duck was beautifully textured and the portion was generous in size.

The medium rare sirloin also melted in the mouth and didn’t last long on the plate.

From the dining room, we drifted upstairs to bed. Despite its central location, the hotel room was peaceful and cosy at night, keeping us safe from the elements.

I slept like a log in the comfortable bed and it was hard prizing myself out of it for a 6:30am rise the next day.

Before heading back to Haxells for breakfast, I took a shower.

I loved the bathroom mirror which had a de-steaming function and The White Company bathroom products, but the shower itself was a little tricky to use and it took a while for it to warm up, with low pressure.

There was a fine buffet spread down in Haxells, with everything from smoked salmon to fresh fruit on offer.

The bakery display was pretty seductive, with dozens of pastries and croissants stacked and ready for the taking.

We both commented on how good the coffee was too and the polite waiter came and delivered a whole jug of the good stuff to us.

I duly left the place and was greeted by the same doorman who showed me in.

The Strand Palace isn’t a palace but thanks to its makeover, it certainly makes for a pretty princely night’s stay.

The Strand Palace is located at 372 Strand, London WC2R 0JJ

To book a room or meal in Haxells or its other restaurant Joe Allen, call 020 7379 4737 or visit www.strandpalacehotel.co.uk

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London is where the first Hard Rock Cafe was born in 1971.

Now the capital has landed its own hotel to match.

Hard Rock Hotel London is located within the former Cumberland Hotel, once a haunt of Diana Ross and Jimi Hendrix.

The transformation from what it was to what is now is quite astounding.

On walking into the 1,000-room venue you’re transported to a kind of Las Vegas-la-la-land of colour, sound and playfulness.

The 370-seat restaurant opens out on to the lobby area and the circular central bar looks a bit like a fairground carousel, with rainbow-coloured lights pulsating across the structure.

I checked in on a Friday night, just over a month since it first opened its doors, and the hotel was buzzing. There was a mix of group parties, couples and families.

The lobby was dazzling, with polished surfaces and colourful fabrics.

This hotel is like the Hard Rock Cafe’s 21st century big brother, with a more sophisticated and futuristic edge, with some hints of Art Deco also shining through.

Of course, there is still memorabilia scattered around the place, reminding guests of its storied history, from coats worn by Elvis Presley to records from The Beatles.

But the interiors are fresh and funky. I remember the last Hard Rock Cafe I went to in Orlando, Florida, had brown painted walls and dark wood panelling everywhere, which seemed a bit tired.

I checked in to test one of the new hotel’s Rock Royalty rooms.

All of these rooms and suites are on the same floor – number three – and they come with a number of perks, one being an exclusive check-in area. 

They also give guests access to a lounge area, which has snacks and drinks available throughout the day, with alcohol also on offer in the evening.

We checked into 3007, a king deluxe room.

It was fairly spacious with a very large bed, a desk area, mini bar cabinet, wardrobe and bathroom, complete with a tub.

In terms of amenities, there was a Nespresso coffee machine, kettle, refrigerator, robes, slippers, ironing kit and USB sockets by the bed.

Electro music was playing, as when we checked in the receptionist asked for our preference in music.

One of the other musical touches I noticed was the mirror in the bedroom, which had the heights of singers marked on it, with everyone from Geri Halliwell to Marvin Gaye.

Before heading out for pre-dinner drinks, I hopped in the shower. The bathroom was a little on the small side for two people but the shower had good pressure and I liked the sweet smelling Gilchrist & Soames-designed wash products.

The GMT Lobby Bar is at the heart of the Hard Rock Hotel London’s ground floor space, with the cafe and cocktail bar skirting around it.

We grabbed a high seat at the bar. It had a good atmosphere with low lighting and some classic pop tunes playing.

The GMT menu is geared towards the more sophisticated drinker, with no colourful cocktails topped with cherries and umbrellas. (Hard Rock classic Hurricane cocktails can be requested from the other bar).

There is a musical theme running throughout the drinks list and I opted for the punchy 3 X 007. This vodka martini drink was apparently inspired by Dame Shirley Bassey and her James Bond soundtracks.

You only need one of these drinks to get a bit merry, as the serving is very generous!

We left the bar and journeyed on into the night. With the hotel being practically one minute around the corner from Marble Arch tube station, it’s a great location to use as a base.

As we were ‘Rock Royalty’ we requested a later check out at midday, which seemed to be no problem.

Rocking the morning out in style, we went for breakfast in bed. The eggs with the full English were a little on the small side but the baked beans were delicious as was the fresh croissant.

While indulging in our morning treats, we watched a bit of TV. The system was easy to use with a good mix of channels available.

All in all, this new London hotel hits the right note when it comes to location, service and a spot of musical-inspired fun (there are even electric guitars that you can use and play for free in your room).

It certainly already appears to be hit, with the place buzzing throughout our stay.

Only time will tell if this place will maintain its place in the charts…

Hard Rock Hotel London is located at Great Cumberland Place, London, W1H 7DL

To book a stay or make a restaurant reservation visit www.hardrockhotels.com/london or call 0800 330 8089

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It’s come a long way since Field Day’s beginnings almost a decade ago in Victoria Park.  I remember it well, a friend of mine, just starting out her career as a music photographer had got her first big booking. It rained hard but we didn’t care, classic British Summer afterall. I mean, what could be better than nipping backstage to watch Florence and the Machine, Four Tet, Foals, Bat for Lashes and so many more. The lineup then was just as strong as it is today. What’s different is the seismic change of venue as well as the capacity.  Field Day’s bemoath new location is now the site of a former gasworks in Meridian Water near Tottenham, with ten acres and four inter-connecting warehouse spaces to explore.

So what does this mean for you?  Better sound (no-one wants the low level noise police again!) and late-night raving. Yes that’s right.  Field Day is officially London’s latest festival with the last act billed for 01.30am and lights out at 3am on both Friday AND Saturday! Club veterans Bugged Out! have teamed up with Bulldog Gin to curate a stellar lineup at the Bulldog Gin Stage featuring the mighty Erol Alkan, Todd Terje, DJ Seinfeld, Haii amongst others. What’s more, to celebrate World Gin Day on Saturday 8th June, the BULLDOG Gin Yard will feature chill-out areas, a BULLDOG Gin bar and an immersive BULLDOG Gin Flavour Accelerator designed by the legendary Bompas & Parr.

First, choose your cocktail – Classic G&T,  Blackberry G & T, Matcha G & Tea, or Ginspresso Martini – then prepare to blasted with chilled CO2 that forms a turbocharged cloud,  leading to precipitation and goosebumps taking your chosen cocktail to supersonic levels.  Sounds like a typical British Summer weekend…Don’t forget to take your umbrellas!

When:  Saturday 8th June (World Gin Day)

Where: The Drumsheds, Meridian Water, N18 3BW.  Head to the Bulldog Gin Yard.

Tickets: https://fielddayfestivals.com/tickets/

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You always know when you’ve found a good place when you’re reluctant to write about it, in fear of giving the secret away.

But letting you in on a hidden gem… add the Aman to your Venice must-see list.

This hotel, restaurant and spa is opulent and discreet. A slice of heaven on earth.

The complex is housed within a grand 16th century palazzo, which is still owned by the family and leased to the Aman.

The original features are intact, with dreamlike frescos, playful plasterwork and magical murano glass chandeliers.

Careful care has been taken to blend the old with the new and the Aman’s signature contemporary aesthetic complements the grandeur of times gone by. Clean lines let complex tapestries sing and muted colours give golds, rich greens and deeps reds centre stage.

I was recently speaking to the general manager of one of the world’s biggest luxury hotel chains and he admitted to me that the Aman Venice is in a league of its own.

George Clooney got married here in 2014 and it’s the spot of choice for other high profile figures and dignitaries given its tucked away location on the glistening Grand Canal.

For me, a trip to Venice isn’t complete without a stop at this jewel box of a place.

This time around, I checked out the spa on the 3rd floor.

There are three treatment rooms in total.

Immediately on walking into the spa space I felt a sense of calm, with soft light and a soothing scent of rich fragrance wafting around.

I had a ‘grounding’ signature massage, which was one of the top treatments I’ve had to date and (not meaning to sound too hippy) it was a kind of spiritual experience.

It incorporated the use of rose quartz crystals, with the masseuse instructing me to hold the smooth stones at certain points. Hot stones were also incorporated into the massage and the whole treatment began with a mineral rich foot soak, which apparently ‘invites the surrender of personal will in trust and safety to fully benefit from the treatment to follow’.

I certainly surrendered myself everything that followed, with the heavy rain outside adding to the cosiness of the spa space.

Feeling pretty much like a new person after the fully body treatment, I left the glowing confines of the spa to find my boyfriend in the bar.

We ventured out for a walk – the rain had stopped at this point – before returning to the Aman for dinner at the Arva restaurant.

Part of the magic of this place, is seeing its gradual transformation as night falls.

As darkness descends and the candlelight flickers, the mirrors, chandeliers and gilded wallpapers come alive.

Everything seems to have a magical glow.

Dinner and drinks at the Aman Venice aren’t cheap, but if you’re marking a special occasion or in need of a pick-me-up, this is the place to be.

Every time I’ve been here, the dining space has been practically empty.

It is almost like private dining, with the attentive waiters attending to your every need.

The table settings are simple but flawless, from the pepper shaker to the little flower posy on display.

We sat down to a corner table with the Grand Canal visible from the windows on either side.

The menu features a selection of delicious Italian-inspired dishes from executive chef Dario Ossola, with a number of signature recipes by creative consultant Davide Oldani.

Even the bread is baked to perfection, with a big round loaf cut into wedges and served up with a buttery olive oil.  The humble breadstick gets a luxury twist, with squid ink turning them a shade of the night sky.

We ordered a medley off the menu, with the burrata, fresh crab, steak and side order of cauliflower catching our eyes.

If you fancy changing up the menu slightly, don’t be scared to ask, as the staff are top of the game when it comes to hospitality and happy to oblige.

The creamy burrata kept us quiet, with the bread used to mop the oozing cheese up.

To wash it down, the waiter suggested a mellow red wine for my boyfriend, while I went for my traditional martini, which was perfectly chilled and dry as requested.

On to mains, the crab (which was listed as a starter but the kitchen made it up as a main) was exquisite, with the flesh fresh and dressed with a delicate seasoning. The steak was medium rare, as requested, and didn’t last long on my boyfriend’s plate.

The evening seemed to get a little hazy, as the Aman Venice has a tendency to whisk you away to another realm.

A visit to the bar after dinner certainly added to this delightful daze.

The bartenders here are more than happy to rustle you up a cocktail based on the ingredients you enjoy.

It really is top notch service.

As the clock struck 11pm I felt a bit like Cinderella as I left the luxury confines of the Aman Venice and ventured into the soft evening drizzle outside.

This place is like a lover who you crave on seeing until the next time.

Ciao for now Aman Venice…

The Aman Venice is located at Calle Tiepolo Baiamonte, 1364, Palazzo Papadopoli, 30125 Sestiere San Polo, Venezia

To book a room or to make a restaurant reservation call +39 041 270 7333

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