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Each of us wants to enjoy anything but a boring vacation. Some of us like to do relaxing activities while others would like something more exciting and adventurous. Well, the good news is that you can find both of these options if you choose to enjoy a vacation at one of the these dude ranches. The Dude Ranchers’ Association is an organization with a tradition that spans for over half a century already, having as members only the best ranches out there. These ranches provide outstanding hospitality services  in addition to the regular activities that can be found on a ranch. The best part about spending time at one of these ranches is that you will spend time in the gorgeous outdoors, surrounded by horses and other farm animals, experiencing a sense of freedom and calmness at the same time. It is the ideal solution if you want to get away from the busy city and all your daily worries, enjoying a vacation you will never forget.

What kinds of activities are available at  these dude ranches? Well, your options are extremely varied, so it is worth doing some research first, as each ranch has its charm and  personality. So, see what each has to offer and decide how you would like to spend your time at the ranch. Because we wanted to give you a helping hand, we selected a few ranches based on some of the most appreciated activities. But, do remember that these are only a small part of the things you can do at a dude ranch, as there are many others you will discover once you get on the ranch. . So, travel to a dude ranch with an open mind and heart. Will soon find out what the talk is all about.

The ideal Dude Ranches for foodies

Lone Mountain Ranch, Montana

If your ideal vacation includes great food, then you need to visit this Dude Ranch. The ranch is known for its amazing dishes, prepared by one of the most talented chefs in this hospitality niche, a chef that managed to create a great name and reputation due to the dedication he showed toward good. Cooking ? All of his recipes use fresh produces collected from local farms, so the flavor of the food will be unforgettable. The best part about this ranch is that you will be able to enjoy both traditional dishes, specific to Montana, and modern recipes, improved and tweaked by the chef.

Smith Fork Ranch, Colorado

Great food and wine go hand in hand at Smith Fork Ranch in Colorado, so don’t hesitate to book a vacation at this ranch if you want to be spoiled this way. Everything here is done  the good old-fashioned way, as livestock is allowed to feed on the fresh green grass that grows on the pastures that surround the ranch and veggies and fruits are allowed to develop in their own rhythm. This way, the food you will have at this ranch will not just be highly nutritious, but also full of flavor. Not to mention that the ranch has a collection of some of the finest wines in the country, both local and imported from all over the world.

The Red Reflet Ranch, Wyoming

If you choose to visit The Red Reflet Ranch in Wyoming, you will feel more like part of the family, and not necessarily a guest. This is due to the fact that there is a laidback atmosphere at the ranch and all the food is prepared with what is raised and grown at the ranch. Practically, the chef has a greenhouse, garden, and orchard at his disposal and beef produced by the ranch only. So, it will be like dining at grandma’s house. Of course, game meat is part of the menu as well, as the wilderness provides a wide range of options too.

Ranches for passionate fishermen

4UR Ranch, Colorado

Whether you are a passionate fisherman or you just want to relax near a river while waiting for a fish to be attracted  to your lures, the 4UR Ranch in Colorado can provide incredible fishing spots. More precisely, the fresh waters in the area are ideal for fly fishing, as they are not crowded and offer incredible views. Bring along your friends or family and enjoy fishing in a mesmerizing  Location  with complete privacy.

Spotted Horse Ranch, Wyoming

If you want to catch some of the most beautiful trout, then you will love the streams and rivers located in the proximity of this ranch. They are the ideal breeding ground for a wide variety of trout species, so you will have the chance to see some gorgeous specimens in the area. Trout thrive in these waters so success is guaranteed if you choose to go fishing here.

Upper Canyon Outfitters, Montana

Every fisherman knows that there’s nothing better than the sound of the river, lush green background, and the excitement of feeling the tension in the line. The Ruby River, located right next to the Upper Canyon Outfitters Ranch in Montana is capable of offering all of these. The waters of the river are ideal both for experienced fishermen and for those that want to try this activity for the first time. So, this ranch can open doors to a brand-new hobby.

Ranches for the most adventurous

JJJ Wilderness Ranch, Montana

Spending time in the outdoors, away from urban areas, is the best way to relax, unwind, and reconnect with your inner self. So, grab your backpack and come to the Triple J Ranch in Montana, where you will be able to enjoy some of the best camping and pack trips in the area. Explore the wilderness and forget all about technology for a while. Enjoy the simplest things in life and recharge yourself with positive energy.

Absaroka Ranch, Wyoming

The outdoor trips organized by this ranch offer spectacular views, great camping conditions, horseback riding in the great wilderness, and challenging terrain for adventures you will never forget. So, if you dreamt of exploring the mountains as a real cowboy or cowgirl, the Absaroka Ranch in Wyoming gives you the chance to do so. You will get everything you need to camp in comfortable and safe conditions and will have your own horse that will show you the most enjoyable part of outdoor trips.

Allen’s Diamond 4 Ranch, Wyoming

The Wind River Mountains are stunning and mesmerizing, due to the sharp rocky peaks, dark blue waters, and gorgeous flora. So, enjoying a pack trip at Allen’s Diamond 4 Ranch, in Wyoming, is the best thing a nature enthusiast can have. You can go out there to fish or simply enjoy the beauty of nature accompanied by an experienced guide that can share plenty of useful and interesting information along the way. All you need to bring along is a sleeping bag and comfortable clothes and fishing gear if you plan to enjoy this activity, as all the rest is provided by the ranch.

For more information about other great ranches please visit www.duderanch.com

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SIX UNIQUE VILLAS & CHALETS

One Authentic Properties have created six sublime villas and chalets in three of the most exclusive destinations in France. More than just owners, One Authentic Properties have dreamed up, designed and crafted these incredible properties, giving each one a unique personality and perfectly executed finish. Bespoke indulgence. Fully serviced. The ultimate in luxury. World-class architects and interior designers have put passion and skill into every detail so that your experience is nothing short of perfection.

    Photography Mark Berenguer

FULLY SERVICED

One Authentic Properties’ villas and chalets are all fully serviced with exceptionally skilled, experienced and discreet staff including housekeepers, non-resident managers, concierge, butlers and chefs. Your privacy, discretion and enjoyment are of utmost priority. Of course, you may choose the level of service you require, and each stay will be carefully designed and adapted to your needs. You will have a multitude of different options, from luxury car rental, limousine services and helicopter transfer to beauty treatments, massage and personal trainers.

THREE EXCLUSIVE LOCATIONS

From beached out bliss on the French Riviera to the exhilarating hustle of the Parisian streets, One Authentic Properties have all three of France’s top locations covered; the Côte d’Azur, Courchevel 1850 and Paris.

THE VILLAS

Are you hankering after the dazzling waters of the Côte d’Azur? We have three exquisite villas for you to choose from.

Bayview is a stunning piece of modern architecture boasting great expanses of glass, polished terraces and manicured lawns which blend seamlessly with the rough stone of its landscape. Perched high above the breathtaking blue-green waters of Villefranche-sur-Mer in the exclusive Domaine de Castellet area, Villa Bayview is blessed with a panorama of spectacular views.

Mas De La Rube is an elegant mansion located on the sought-after peninsula of Saint-Jean Cap-Ferrat amid verdant gardens tumbling down to the waterfront. Complete with a dazzling infinity pool, beautifully designed indoor-outdoor terraces and the evocative feel of a French chateau, this stunning property will take your breath away.


Water’s Edge is located in St Tropez’s most desired private domain, Les Parcs. This beautiful waterfront villa has direct access to the sea, a shimmering heated infinity pool and dazzling views.

THE CHALETS

If it’s the world-class ski slopes of Les Trois Vallées you are looking for then look no further than our two beautiful alpine chalets, Le Blanchot and Le Coquelicot.

These sumptuous chalets are in the exclusive Nogentil and Bellecôte areas of Courchevel 1850. Both have spacious open-fire places, state-of-the-art gym equipment, tranquil spa areas with swimming pool, Jacuzzi, steam and massage rooms and a decadent home cinema.

THE APARTMENT

And then there’s Paris, where there’s really only one place to stay, the stunning Poincaré Apartment, in the heart of Paris’ most sought-after location, the 16th arrondissement. Refined, luxurious and tastefully finished with modern art, Italian antique furniture and sumptuous furnishings. A perfect balance of classic and contemporary.

Photos credits : Mark Berenguer

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Have you ever found musical inspiration in the places you visited? Most probably you would have liked some instruments around, so you can translate into musical notes the tune playing inside your mind. Well, today I want to share with you the best recipe that mixes music making, music enjoyment, technology, and traveling. Yes, you can have them all at once, without having to carry heavy instruments, tools, and everything else needed to create music. What’s my secret? My traveling experiences improved by having an Irig Keys Pro and an iPad with Sample Tank for iOS and the fabulous synth emulator Syntronik.

You can use these with an iPhone or iPad, although I prefer the iPad as it has a larger screen, which makes the experience even better. I will talk about Irig Keys Pro, which works exactly as a professional electronic piano while having a reduced size and lightweight, making it ideal for travel. I simply love taking it with me, in my traveling ventures, as it allows me to play live music for my friend, for example, regardless of location. This happened in a lodge in Africa, where we ended the day with me playing the piano. I was even happy to bring it in Brussels, attaching a pair of headphones to it and enjoying a creative moment surrounded by the inspiring beauty of the Grand Place, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, or in a vintage bar in a trendy part of the city.

All you need is a soft bag to pack it, and it will snugly fit even in smaller baggage. While on the go, I use it with my iPad, but back at home, I don’t hesitate to use it with my home studio link to my PC. It comes equipped with all the cables you need, regardless what device you’re pairing it with, starting with the classic USB and going up to Midi. To be honest, for such a small item, I am impressed by the sounds it produces, such as the ones made by the Grand Piano option. There are over 20 brands and styles of pianos to choose from, so it gives you so much freedom for releasing your creativity. By getting Irig Keys Pro, you actually get a true Symphonic orchestra, embedded in one, small, and easy-to-travel-with item.

Both SampleTank and Syntronik offer incredible sounds and beats, giving you the chance to perform just like in a large live music event. While SampleTank is a mobile sound and groove workstation, Syntronik is a professional-level synthesizers emulator with pro effects racks. So, they should not be underestimated as this technology has what it takes to answer to the requirements of pro musicians. I am just an amateur, of course, so I am certain that I haven’t yet explored all their potential. I simply enjoy creating music, and I love to my Kurzweil I have at home, but I cannot carry it when I travel because of its size and weight. So, I am thankful for the creativity of the team behind IK Multimedia, the Italian company in Modena that made these incredible technology breakthroughs available for a luxury traveler’s music on the road.

More infos about the Irig Keyx  Pro and Ik Multimedia here

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The Essence of Luxury , annual Traveller Made conference takes place at Deauville in April 2018, in France
But, the 2018 edition of the show was special out of an additional reason as well, as Traveller Made CEO, Quentin Desurmont announced the new concept “Haute Villegiature”. Practically, this new concept is going to be the haute couture of the luxury travel segment, offering people outstanding services and experiences, something that cannot be found at regular travel agencies. The word “villégiature” was chosen because it makes references to the habits of rich Venetians during their vacations, back in the days of the Renaissance, something that was always connected to the wealthy classes. So, during a forum that lasted for 4 days, Traveller Made did its best to make this concept understood, opening the door toward bespoke travel experiences at the most luxurious levels.

It is not a secret that Traveller Made members,always cater for the needs of UHNW or ultra-high-net-worth people, so this concept stays within the same frame. As Traveller Made CEO Quentin Desurmont underlined during the conference, high-end customers are continuing to want to travel to places that are more private and offer exceptional services at the same time. When it comes to top destinations for 2018, it appears that both exotic destinations, as Sri Lanka, South Africa, Tahiti, Maldives, and colder regions, like the polar circles, are most popular. Of course, Japan, New Zealand, and Cuba can also be mentioned among the most preferred destinations of the year, according to the Yearly Barometer 2018, compiled by Traveller Made travel designers.

http://www.travellermade.com/

Photos credit : ChemChem Safaris

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As a woman, you know the value of quality time spent with your best girlfriends in an idyllic environment. Have you ever considered relaxing and having fun at a ranch before? Well, if you haven’t, then you should, especially when it comes to dude ranches. While these ranches preserve the appearance and atmosphere of an authentic ranch, they offer modern facilities and services at the highest standards. So, you will get luxury, comfort, intimacy, spa and wellness services, and the chance to enjoy outdoor adventures. In the following lines, you will find my selection of the finest dude ranches that can be your dream-like destination, as some offer luxurious accommodations and facilities while others exciting adventures and ranch activities to help you step out of your urban routine.

Cowgirl relaxing getaways

If you are looking for the kind of vacation that allows you to sit back and relax, then dude ranches offers you several great options. So, you can choose to chase stress away at one of the ranch’s spa centers, go for relaxing horseback riding in the outdoors, and enjoy a glass of wine by the fire if you choose to visit a ranch.

Bonanza Creek, Montana

There is nothing more fascinating than a cowgirl doing her thing. So, even if you are a city girl, this is the kind of experience you need to try. Take your girlfriends and leave all that concrete behind, choosing to come to Bonanza Creek, in the beautiful mountains of Montana. Here, you can forget all about makeup and fancy clothes, being free, exactly how you feel, enjoying the time you spend with yourself and the people who have stood by your side for so many years. It is also a place where you can reconnect with who you are and with nature while relaxing in a cozy and chic mountain cabin. Give yourself the chance to learn how to ride a horse and explore the mountain like a true cowgirl, with a free and untamed spirit.

White Stallion, Arizona

What can be better than the warm sun of Arizona and the surroundings of a beautiful ranch? The White Stallion ranch in Arizona gives you the chance to relax and bask under the sun, meet friendly people, and enjoy new things, like riding a horse. Of course, horseback riding or taking care of a horse is not the only activity you can enjoy at this ranch. You can participate at margarita parties, go on a wine and cheese ride, take a hike in the outdoors to see the local flora, and much more. And when you feel the need to relax, spend time at the ranch’s pool and hot tub, or recreational room and Movie Theater, choosing the option that will make your day perfect.

Bar W Ranch, Montana

The Bar W Ranch, in Montana, is one of those ranches that offer special packages for women and girls. Particularly, you and your girls, whether they are friends, co-workers, mother, sisters, daughters, and so on, will experience the best the ranch has to offer while being pampered at the same time. Whether you will want to opt for the Cowgirl Up! Package or simply enjoy a vacation at this ranch, you will certainly have a memorable time here. Learn how to ride a horse and drive cattle like a real cowgirl, enjoy trail riding and get engaged in fun activities, like a barrel racing. At the end of the day, don’t forget to relax at the ranch’s spa, where you will be revived with a long and special massage. You will definitely feel brand new the next day.

Horses N Courage, Montana

There’s nothing more amazing than to spend time in the outdoors with your girlfriends and in the company of horses and nature. The Horses N Courage Ranch, in Montana, promotes a program specially designed for women, so they can find relief from  everyday stress and simply enjoy a relaxing time while healing themselves with the help of horses and pure nature. During this experience you will enjoy luxury tenting conditions, a hot shower any time you need it, horse riding and nature exploring all day long, and ranch-style food prepared outdoors, in the company of the friendliest people you will ever meet. This will be a vacation that will change you and make you the best person you can be.
Cowgirls working and adventurous ranches

If you and your girlfriends are active people or you would simply like to enjoy something different than just basking in the sun during your vacation, then the ideal solution for you is the working ranches. These ranches give guests the chance to be part of their daily tasks and activities, so you will definitely feel like a genuine cowgirl during your stay on the farm.

Badger Creek Ranch, Colorado

You will love the perfect balance between man and nature at the Badger Creek Ranch, Colorado. Here, every person on the ranch and the ranch itself respects nature and horses. Nothing is done to harm to nature, as the adopted agriculture is a sustainable one while everything that can be recycled and reused is not disposed. So, if you choose this ranch, you will live “green” and gain unforgettable experiences. While you are at this ranch, you will learn to develop a beautiful connection and relationship with a horse, helped by people with countless years of experience in this domain. Practically, your horse will become your partner during your vacation, as you’ll get to do a lot of things together. This ranch is ideal to see what it means to respect the environment and the resources provided by nature and how great it is to connect with yourself.

Klondike Ranch, Wyoming

You will never have the chance to get bored on this ranch, so grab your girlfriends and embark on a new adventure as cowgirls. The Klondike Ranch will allow you to experience the feeling of the Old West in a charming manner, allowing you to be part of numerous activities and ranch adventures. Whether you are in the mood to camp outside, herd cattle while horseback riding, go hiking, take photos, and more, time spent here will pass fast as you are going to have tons of fun. It is worth mentioning that the ranch is just 25 minutes away from the town of Buffalo, where you can visit museums and enjoy an outdoor pool, which is available for free. So, why don’t you saddle up with your girlfriends and start generating memories you will cherish for the rest of your life?

Focus Ranch, Wyoming

If you are not afraid to get your hands-on things and be as involved as possible in every experience life throws your way, then you need to visit Focus Ranch. At this ranch, guests are welcome to be part of the ranch’s daily activities. So, this is the ideal opportunity to ride horses and see what cowboys do all day long, as you and your girlfriends are in the role of adventurous cowgirls. Of course, you can choose to relax, hike and taking photos, or choose brand new activities, like fishing, and have a truly memorable vacation. Among the workshops you will find available at this ranch I can mention yoga sessions, photography workshops, and spring roundup, just to give a few examples of what you can enjoy here.

Red Horse Mountain Ranch, Idaho

How about forget all about household choruses, husbands or boyfriends, daily tasks and worries, and enjoy an amazing getaway with your girlfriends? The Red Horse Mountain Ranch has special getaway packages for girls only, so it is the ideal opportunity to strengthen your bonds with your girlfriends and have a fun time as well. So, are you ready to enjoy luxurious accommodations, fresh mountain air, fine wine and food, and the opportunity to lay back and relax? At this ranch, you will be the one that will be served, not the other way around, so you can unwind with your best friend. Enjoy cocktail evenings, horse riding during the day, various entertainment options, and the chance to have a great company at all times. We all need a break now and then, so why don’t you make yours at a ranch?

CLazy U, Colorado

Can you believe that wellness and ranches can merge together? Due to the amazing Women in the Rockies program, launched by the C Lazy U Ranch, women of all ages are welcome to relax and spend an unforgettable time in the company of their best friends and a coach that will show them how to release stress and tension. This vacation will be all about mindfulness, reconnecting with yourself and the nature, healing therapy with horses, and relaxation. You don’t need to have any horse riding experience because you will acquire all the needed skills at the ranch, in a fun and supporting environment. Most certainly you will go back home a brand new person.

Sylvan Dale, Colorado

You probably don’t know that there’s a cowgirl buried deep inside your heart. This is why the Sylvan Dale Ranch invites you to discover your Inner Cowgirl! Bring along your best girlfriends, daughters, sisters, and form a group made entirely out of girls for guaranteed fun. Since this is a ranch vacation option for girls only, no men are allowed, so they will have to wait patiently at home for your return. Why choose this kind of vacation? First of all, you will get the chance to enjoy relaxing and refreshing massages with the most mesmerizing natural oils, get to cook and enjoy healthy homemade food, acquire horseback riding skills or improve the existing skills, and, of course, spend quality time with your favorite girlfriends and girl-members of your family.

Discover more ideas for your next vacation on the Dude Ranchers Assocication official website.

Photo credit for the first photo : Danny Nestor – Trail Ride

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Greece is an amazing vacation destination because there are so many places where you can enjoy excellent services and conditions, in addition to stunning views. This time, me and my wife had the chance to stay at the Elysium Resort & Spa, on the island of Rhodes. Because we had a magical time here during our 10-day stay, I wanted to share our experiences with you, giving you inside tips about where you can have an unforgettable holiday in Greece.

I have to start by mentioning that the Elysium Hotel is ideal for luxury travelers, as it has the best that the island of Rhodes can offer. Offering exceptional accommodation and amazing food, the hotel also features an incredible spa, ideal for unforgettable moments of relaxation. This 5-star hotel, with its own beachfront area, is indeed capable of meeting your expectations. Everything, starting with the hotel’s décor, inspires elegance, fine taste, and distinction. No matter who you are, you will feel like a very important guest from the moment you walk into the hotel. Luxury and high-quality services are the two main missions of this hotel, and you will definitely not get less than this. Also, the hotel’s 400-meters beach, a blue-flag awarded beach, is right next to Kallithea Springs Monument, offering some of the best views of the sea.

Getting back to our experience, upon our arrival at the hotel, we got a wonderful suite to enjoy for our entire stay. It is worth mentioning that the hotel provides transfer services, getting you from the airport to the hotel if you choose to stay for at least 5 nights at Elysium. The suite was quite impressive; it was like having our own apartment in Rhodes. The room in which we stayed was generous when it came to space, also providing an en-suite bathroom, a large dressing room, and a beautiful lounge area with a comfortable sofa and a dining table. I have to mention that there was two separate toilets, very much in the presidential suite style, which is a feature that is not very commonly found in Greece. So, we can consider ourselves rather lucky from this point of view. The bathroom, besides being luxuriously finished and decorated, offered a Jacuzzi and large rain-shower, separated, of course. Also, the bathroom was already equipped with personal care products from Kores, so we had everything we needed in order to be pampered.

After entering our suite, we had a pleasant surprise. The room service prepared for us, in the living room, a small buffet with freshly-prepared snacks. It was the kind of foodie snacking you would expect to find in a gastronomic restaurant. I must say that the hotel’s management was very thoughtful, as we missed dinner due to our late arrival at the hotel, so the buffet was welcome and we could enjoy it in the intimacy of our room. The truth is that everything about this hotel was about luxury. In spite of the fact that, at some point during our stay, the hotel was packed with guests, we didn’t feel like it was. It was like the hotel created a cozy and comfy cocoon where we were able to rest and relax undisturbed. The beach is also nice and classy and the hotel’s pools were always warm, staying at the ideal temperature.

Knowing that the hotel has a spa, my wife booked an express facial treatment at the Serenity Spa by ESPA. She simply enjoyed the experience and it was also a great idea for getting her skin ready to obtain a healthy tan. Besides a variety of treatments, the spa also offers a sauna, hammam, and a nice Claudarium, which is a rather rare feature. All were spacious and cozy, helping you to relax right away. We also had the chance to enjoy high-tech showers, which reminded us of the high standards of this hotel. Furthermore, the outdoor pool area belongs to the spa as well, offering hydro-jets for a great massage and muscle relaxation.

I must mention the Elite breakfast we had at this hotel. The spot where we ate our food mesmerized us right from the start, as we got an incredible sea view. After receiving table service, we also got a menu with a small, but local, food selection of the highest quality. For breakfast, you can order scrambled eggs, “pain perdu”, poached eggs, and an omelet made exactly as you want by the restaurant’s chef. You get the same service you’d expect from a place like Dorchester, in London.

In the evening, dinner was served at the Emerald Restaurant. In spite of being more of a dinner buffet, the food selection was never the same. The buffet always offered something else, which was a great variety of foods and a high level of creativity, which shows that the restaurant had two of the most famous chefs in Greece working there. The Noble restaurant “A-la-Carte” was just opening, and it was aiming to be a real gastronomic restaurant; this is why we dined at the Emerald. At the Emerald Restaurant, they proposed ordering from a more gastronomic main course menu, offering 3 different dishes, which were: one with meat, one with fish or seafood, and a vegetarian one, as this hotel offers both vegetarian and vegan food. The main dishes are what you would expect from the best gastronomic chefs in London. They have a great presentation, use locally-sourced products, and offer a great taste. From time to time, we had light lunches at the Fresh restaurant, which was great too.

The Noble restaurant, classified among the top 25 best restaurants in Greece, wasn’t fully opened, so we didn’t have the chance to try the talent of the 2 chefs working there who are recognized for their incredible creativity, as they adopted a fusion between traditional and hifh class modern cuisine. But, as guests at the Elite, we enjoyed unique services and rooftop foodie experiences. It was very good, but not what other clients will fully experience if arriving here in June and after. We would have loved to have such an experience, but we went there too early in the season, so we had only a small flavor of what will be the unique culinary experience at the Noble restaurant once it is ready for the opening of the season.

The Elite Club was, unfortunately, also not open when we arrived, as the season did not start just yet. Despite this, we were able to enjoy the Elite Lounge on some days of the week. Both the foods and drinks served there were great; our experience including sparkling wines, available from 11 AM to 7 PM, and the VIP breakfast at Elite’s Sense bar, a quiet and luxurious rooftop bar. Also, before the place opened, we enjoyed a generous, gourmet breakfast buffet at the Emerald restaurant, with a wide variety of nice foods and freshly-squeezed fruit juices.

The housekeeping was of the highest standards as well; the staff of the hotel is ready to please you at any moment of the day or night. They were all very friendly and real professionals on the job. I noticed that each staff member, including the waiters, had a lot of experience, knowing what luxury traveling meant and being more than capable to answer to the requests of this kind of guest. For example, I asked for special dishes for breakfast and they were immediately prepared in the kitchen, even though they were not on the menu. I really felt as though I was being treated like a king in a palace. To sum everything up, we will definitely return to Rhodos, to enjoy once more the experiences offered by this exceptional resort, which is one of the best in Europe.

More infos and direct booking at Elysium Hotel Spa Rhodes

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Greece is one of the most appreciated destinations in Europe, not just for the rich history of the country connected to the oldest civilization in the world, but also for its spectacular islands, culture, healthy food, and sunny weather. But, while some of Greece’s islands are famous around the world, like Santorini and Mykonos, the country has many other gorgeous islands that are yet to be discovered. As I found out Symi, an island located on the shores of the Aegean Sea is one of the jewels that are worth seeing, especially if you are looking for breathtaking views, luxury, and a quieter atmosphere. Because not many tourists know about Symi, it is still a laid-back destination, very much like a large residential community. I loved my experience on Symi and I wanted to share with you what I found there.

Symi is a rather small island, very close to Turkey, the neighboring country, which currently has a small permanent population, of only 2,500 inhabitants. Of course, the island is more populated in the summer, when tourists come into the area. But, the island was once heavily populated, its peak concerning the population is 22,500, in the days when the shipbuilding and sponge producing industries were thriving. Today, the island relies mainly on tourism and if you plan to visit, you will not feel sorry for the choice you made. You will love the background formed out of colorful Greek houses, placed on the hills that surround the harbor. Speaking about the harbor, the area is mesmerizing. If you catch an available spot at one of the terraces set up near the harbor you will enjoy a view you will never forget. Boats floating on the calm and crystal clear water, the sea on one side and the island on the other, with gorgeous houses scattered around and elements specific to the Mediterranean landscape. It is the kind of image you will definitely want to imprint on a postcard.

The truth is that everything about Symi is colorful, inspiring a state of joy and wellbeing all the time. Perhaps the sunshine you get every single day on the island may be one of the factors that influence one’s state of mind, but I am sure that the island’s charm is the one responsible for this. It is said that this island has the best food , the wonderful symian shrimps are a must to taste, you can find on Greek islands, plus it is worth knowing that the island is preferred by wealthy Greek families, who own stunning houses and gorgeous mansions on the island. But, in spite of being populated by rich people, Symi is a very discreet location, in a jet-set style that will stick with you for sure. All you need is one hour spent in a speedboat and you’re at the island, where you can choose to stay in a variety of mansions, all of them painted in lively colors and presenting a beautiful neo-classical style.

Besides enjoying the village itself, you can choose among the island’s taverns, bars, beautiful boutiques, and chic beaches that are scattered all over the island’s shoreline. If you ask me, I am extremely happy that I discovered Symi, as this island can indeed provide an authentic Greek experience, without the hustle and bustle of the most popular islands of Greece.

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If outstanding quality is what drives your direction in life, then you will certainly appreciate what the Margot Restaurant has to offer. This exquisite place was founded by Paulo de Tarso and Nicolas Jaouën ; people with an incredible sense of detail and appreciation for the finest things in life. Right from the start, the concept of this restaurant was to offer customers what they cannot find anywhere else in London, that is, besides amazing food, an incredible atmosphere, and top-notch interior space. After all, enjoying a meal should be a complex experience that stimulates all senses, not just your taste. Thus, the Margot Restaurant is the result of the team’s extensive experience in this domain, so you will certainly not be disappointed.

An aspect that is worth mentioning is the fact that the founders of this restaurant, Paulo and Nicolas,  worked for several famous and appreciated chefs in the past, like Daniel Boulud and Alain Ducasse. So, they had the chance to learn from the best, which explains why this restaurant respects the highest standards. But again, excellent food and services are not the only reasons to visit this restaurant. Because most people would like to enjoy a calm atmosphere when enjoying their lunch or dinner, the restaurant was built with a perfect acoustic. You have the feeling that around each table a protective bubble forms, reducing the surrounding noise, with felt under each table, even when the restaurant is filled with guests, so you can enjoy the ordered dishes in the best way possible.

Also, if you want to organize a small party or wish to have dinner with a group of people but in a more private environment, the restaurant can offer a gorgeous private dining room. If you ask me, this is one of the most elegant and stunning rooms of its kind throughout London.

The deco of the Margot Restaurant is also surprising. It is beautiful and intriguing, and it is easy to tell, right from the start, that they don’t follow the general trends in the industry when it comes to decoration. The truth is that the team was inspired by the 1920′s when they decided on the decorative style of the restaurant. So, the Art Deco spirit of the 1920′s  in the interior space of Margot, as the management team focuses more on customer experience and delivering unforgettable food apart from anything else.

From the moment I sat at our table at Margot, I knew that this restaurant is all about excellence. There was not one small detail to appear out of place. Everything was perfect, and the services, food, and wine pairing were all going to confirm this opinion. You may expect to pay a rather high price for the exceptional quality and refinement you will find here, but you will be surprised to know that the prices are more than acceptable considering that you are actually dining at a highly-awarded restaurant.

Probably you are, by now, excited to find out about the food here, so here are my opinions about the lunch I enjoyed here, together with my wife. I started with a marvelous dish of Tagliolini con gamberi rossi Siciliani Tagliolini, which means Sicilian red prawns, accompanied by Sardinian artichokes and cherry tomatoes. Everything about this dish was in perfect balance; the taste and the flavors, they entwined in a beautiful story that unrolled in my mouth at each bite. For a moment, I was back on the islands of Vulcano and Lipari, in Sicily, which are places that I love so much. My wife had a wonderful Scialatielli con polpa di granchio, which means Scialatielli with crab meat and grilled courgettes.

The sommelier of the restaurant selected a wine for our food, a Zibibbo IGP Curatolo Arini 2017 that was the ideal pairing for our dishes.

For the main course, I selected the Filetti di Triglia alla piastra, or Seared fillets of red mullet, with Neapolitan style escarole and anchovies dressing. I have to mention that I am not such a big fan of red mullet, as I went for the recommendation of the smiling waitress this time. To my surprise, I had a wonderful dish, which I enjoyed from start to finish. My wife chose the Filetto di Tonno alla griglia, or Grilled fillet of tuna, with asparagus, acacia honey, lemon, ginger and red sweet chili. While she was enjoying her dish, she told me that it was the best tuna she’d ever had in her life. The fish was served in a thick portion and cooked in a way that managed to preserve all those gorgeous flavors, most certainly with the help of a twist known and mastered by an experienced chef.

For these dishes, we had, once again, an outstanding wine from Toscana; a top choice in the form of Chardonnay Collezione Privata 2016 Isole Olena that left such a beautiful and complex flavor in our mouths.

The moment of dessert is always exciting, as I try to keep myself from making any assumptions. This is due to the fact that, in my numerous previous experiences with several top restaurants, even if the food was outstanding, the desserts were not that great, as many chefs focus more on the preparation of savory dishes, rather than desserts. But, this time, the dessert was as great as the rest of the dishes we enjoyed. I had a classical Pavlova con Frutti di Bosco, or Pavlova with strawberry compote, berries, bergamot sorbet, strawberry and mint sorbet. This dessert took me to Russia and the Pavlova Palace, back in the XIX century on the Champs Elysées, so it was an incredible culinary journey. I really think that Escoffier and Brillat Savarin should still be alive so they can enjoy such a dessert. My wife chose a Sfera di cioccolato al latte or Milk chocolate sphere filled with Frangelico mousse and caramelized hazelnuts. It is a real show to see the waiter pour hot chocolate over the perfectly-shaped sphere, triggering that amazing mix of flavors, which turns the dessert into the ultimate treat.

And, of course, we had the dessert with an incredible wine, a Bissoni Albana di Romagna Passito. It is so different from other common sweet wines, as it presents complex and long-lasting flavors that merge perfectly with fruits and chocolate.

We ended this perfect lunch with an exceptional cup of coffee, roasted with art by Julius Meinl, the famous Austrian coffee roaster, and served with precious silver items. Also, the mignardises that served together with the coffee are a trip to heaven; a dream-like way to finish the exceptional time spent at the Margot. Something that every foodie would remember for the rest of his or her life. Having lunch at this restaurant provided one of the best experiences we had in London so far. Most certainly I will soon fly back to this city, just to have another lunch or dinner at the exceptional Margot.

Discover the menus at Magot covent garden

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Celebrate the marriage of HRH Prince Harry to Meghan Markle (19 May 2018) like royalty this May 2018 with The Arch London’s perfectly patriotic Royal Wedding Afternoon Tea.

The five-star hotel has devised an exclusive luxurious afternoon tea fit for a Duke or Duchess. The Royal Wedding Afternoon Tea features an array of beautifully decorated and visually appealing wedding themed sweet treats, including:

  • Bride-To-Be Wedding Dress ginger flavoured biscuits
  • The Groom – a suited and booted bavarois panacotta and crumble complete with a top hat
  • A Royal Crown made with a lemon tart base and elderflower and rose mousse with golden meringue embellishment
  • His & Hers peanut butter chocolate delices
  • Decorated with an American flag as a nod to the Two Nations, are the profiterole croustillants filled with a soft centre of raspberry crèmeux

Book your Royal weding afternnoon tea at the Arch

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I discovered Hunter 486 Restaurant as I was staying at The Arch Hotel, in London, with my wife. The hotel itself is a great place to try for finding a comfortable, luxurious, and intimate place to stay in London. In comparison with other hotels in London, The Arch hotel is a private business, owned by a family, so you will enjoy feeling at home while staying here. So, since we stayed at The Arch, we diced to try the hotel’s restaurant. Designed and decorated with style, Hunter 486 is among the best restaurant in London where you can serve dinner in a private and calm atmosphere. If you want to end the day quietly and pleasantly while enjoying exceptional food, this is the restaurant you must try.

From the moment I stepped into the restaurant, it was clear to see that it was made by following the same high standards as the hotel. The deco was exquisite and elegant, plus the restaurant can provide an alcove where you can enjoy your dinner without being bothered by anyone. The Arch is used to having famous guests, so the alcove is their way of making sure that their VIP guests have the best experience. What kind of food is served at Hunter 486 ?

The focus of the restaurant’s chef is the authentic British food, made with locally-sourced British products of the highest quality. The wine selection of the restaurant is also impressive. So, to open our evening properly, we chose a fine South African white wine, the Kleine Zalze Chardonnay 2017. The aroma and pleasant flavor of this wine can be easily paired with seafood and lamb, complimenting and underlining the flavors of this type of food.

As an appetizer, I went for the pan-fried chicken livers on sourdough toast, peas, smoked bacon, and mint. The food was perfectly cooked, tasty, and very light, a real pleasure to enjoy. My wife tried the seasonal Dressed Dorset crab, with avocado and pink grapefruit, which was very refreshing and tasty as well. The appetizers were flavorful and enough just to open our appetite.

We then proceeded to the main course, which, for me, was Roast Rack of English lamb, crushed Jersey Royals, baby vegetables, and herb broth. The idea was very interesting, even though the broth lacked more spices, as it could have been posher when it comes to flavor. Still, the lamb was cooked perfect, medium-rare, just as I like it. My wife enjoyed a dish of Roast Norfolk Black chicken, potato gnocchi, spring vegetables, girolles, and tarragon velouté, which had a pleasant flavor and was made with a nice twist. In these dishes, I could see that the chef had great respect for the seasonal produces in the UK, which is great when it comes to food that is full of flavor.

For dessert, I had Buttermilk pannacotta, poached Yorkshire rhubarb, and brandy snaps. If you ask me, rhubarb is a great product, which is often disregarded by many chefs. Believe me, it was delicious and managed to bring back fragments of my childhood. I simply loved it, so the chef also proposed to try the exquisite Lemon posset, berry compote, sesame and poppy seed biscuit as well. This was another dessert that can make you die of pleasure. My wife chose Chocolate fondant and salted caramel ice cream. This is a very pleasant dessert, but too classical if you ask me. Still, it was a great choice to end such an amazing dinner. I do not regret choosing to dine at Hunter 486, as the restaurant is capable of providing outstanding food, flawless services, and an ideal atmosphere for dinner.

Dicover Hunter 486 menus and book a table

Photos credits : The Arch and Luxury Travelers Guide

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