BILBAO IS ANYTHING BUT BORING
BY SARA DARLING
Bilbao might not be the first (second or even third) place you think of when you consider visiting Spain, and because of this, it’s unexploited vibe is part of the appeal for the adventurous.
Situated on the rugged coast of Northern Spain (otherwise known as Basque Country), it neighbours the more popular holiday destinations of San Sebastián and Santander. But even though Bilbao has the reputation of being a gritty industrial town in the seventies, it is now a emerging destination for culture vultures, who flock to see the impressive museums and modern architecture, which rub shoulders with proud Basque country roots.
Mostly known for its mismatched buildings- saturating the old and the new, traditional food and football, it’s soul remains enigmatic and uncommercialised. The locals are cool, erring on the scarily cool. The city’s vibe is young professionals, who like to party at reggae clubs and techno nights which begin around 1am and end when the last person leaves.
The seaside is a drive away but you can catch the futuristic (Sir Norman Foster designed) Metro which whizzes you there in 30 minutes. Miles of sand and clear water caress the bays, making it perfect for swimmers, surfers and suntanners; And although there isn’t the lounger and brolly culture, it's a great place to BYO and chillax. The most popular patch for learning to surf is Sopelana, which neighbours a nudist beach. But venture a little further east, and you will reach the craggy bay of San Juan de Gaztelugatxe, a location from Game of Thrones. Join the tourist trail to ring a bell on the island to bring you luck, and get some very enviable Instagram pics!
With so much on offer, Bilbao is the perfect place to escape to for a beach and culture break. With cutting edge architecture dotting the predominantly green, country landscape- old meets new and country meets urban living.
A visit to Bilbao wouldn't be complete without going to the Guggenheim Museum; Standing proud on the banks of the Nervion River, it houses a treasure trove of contemporary artists including Andy Warhol, Anish Kapoor, Jeff Koons and Eduardo Chillida, along with visiting exhibitions. It is transformed into a club night on one Friday every month, when it opens it doors for Guggenheim Lates. From 10pm to 1am you can wander round and see the greats, and join thousands of other revellers dancing to EDM in the museum’s impressive main hall.
You may want to re-visit in the daylight to enjoy Louise Bourgeois's disturbingly realistic giant metal spider which straddles the sidewalk on the banks of the river; Whereas Jeff Koons’ living flower “Puppy” sculpture is much friendlier welcome to any visitors. It would be easy to spend a whole day admiring the gallery building as well as the art work, and it never gets as busy as it’s New York or Venice counterparts.
The Casco Viejo is Bilbao’s Old Town and one of its most intriguing areas and remains true to its medieval roots. There are seven major streets which are great for exploring (or getting lost in) and you will find local galleries, boutiques and traditional pintxos bars. And if you have never sampled a pintxo before, think Spanish tapas, where you help yourself to what you fancy and pay for what you’ve eaten by totting up your cocktail sticks! Spain isn’t the most veggie friendly country, but there will be plenty of cheese and egg. And bread, with most of these mini delights being layered on chunk of fresh bread.
With so much good food available it’s no wonder the Bilbaínos pride themselves on their local wine too. Dry white is particularly popular, with the blend ‘Txakoli’ the region’s speciality. Sample this straight from the vineyard at Bodegas Ados Basarte, where it is produced by two local sisters who are happy to share their knowledge and passion (understanding Basque helps!)
Hire a bike, or even better join a (bike or walking) tour, for a full rundown on Bilbao’s history. Dedicate a morning to take in the modern street art, which nestles alongside ancient paint-cracked buildings which seemingly have been untouched since they were built, and then explore the impressive art-deco style Mercado de la Ribera; Covering 10,000 metres it sits right on the river. This working market sells all kinds of fresh spices, vegetables, fish, meat and flowers and is a perfect setting for soaking up the local culture or enjoying a coffee or other beverage in one of the restaurants and bars.
For a break with surprising twists, try and time a vacation for the After Hours at the Guggenheim, book for a secret supper club dinner at Epelde & Mardaras (an apartment turned art gallery turned restaurant), take a couple of days out for the beach and book in for an intensive course of surf lessons where you will apparently you will be riding the waves in one day! And if you time it right, hit one of the town’s plentiful fiestas or massive monthly Sunday market.
The perfect time to come is the summer and with the super cool BBK Live festival taking place 12-14 July, you can see international DJs alongside the Gorillaz and High Flying Birds in a stunning mountain top location. With the party starting at dusk, you can have a week of music, culture, amazing scenery and a beach break all wrapped into one. And with drinks being ridiculously cheap, I predict Bilbao to be on the up. And up!
BY SARA DARLING
Everyone needs a treat now and again, and this is the perfect place to do it!
We’ve had snow, ice and a really long winter, so when the daffodils are starting to emerge in March, it means spring is on its way; That suggests it is time to get a spring in your step and begin to look at the bright side of life again...
On that note, it’s the perfect time to indulge in some self love (and a realisation that summer is on its way and I will be getting my body out on a beach fairly soon!!) I have just returned from a liberating, relaxing and perfectly packed 36 hours in the Donnington Valley Spa Hotel in Berkshire.
The sister of the Vineyard Hotel which is the place to go for five star dining and fine wines in the area, the Spa Hotel offers a perfectly formed spa, health club and golf course. Book in for a massage, facial, mani, pedi or spray tan, and relax..Even the chillout room is paradise. Even though I was following up on emails thanks to the hotel wide WiFi. No rest for a freelancer!
The pool, unusually for a hotel is large enough for lengths, and the gym is pretty impressive with free weights, mats and machines. Alas I wasn’t prepared to get a sweat on, but definitely took advantage of the relaxing side of the Spa.
Unusually, alcoholic beverages are served poolside, although I am not suggesting this is a substitute for hanging out on the loungers in Ibiza, but having a glass of prosecco at the end of a jacuzzi day is a well deserved treat!
If you are not a fan of prancing around in your waffle robe and hotel slippers, you might want to bring your own, as this hotel is very Spa friendly. Most of the guests seem to visit the Spa at some point, so you won’t look out of place wearing a towel turban on your way back to your room.
All the steaming, sauna-ing and swimming will definitely give you an appetite, and our maître d, Paulo was perfectly equipped to advise on dinner options; Although a late dinner and after dinner drinks next to the fire in the library did mean that I didn’t get up quite as early as I would have liked the following day; My early morning swim and steam was not as long as I would have liked, but it worked wonders for freshening my head!
Breakfast was again served by Paulo, who was equally friendly and helpful. We arrived at 10 by our skinny skin teeth, but the kitchen was happy to create any kind of eggs. I opted for omelette with cheese and mushrooms, with my friend going all out with the full English and eggs Benedict! I did sample her sausage and hollandaise sauce, and even though she couldn’t eat it all, definitely made the right decision. Several freshly squeezed juices later, we were feeling more human, and rolled out of the restaurant to head home.
Perfect for a girlie break. You never know who will meet there too!
Book your spa day at Donnington Valley here
Get a taste of romance at the Nhow Hotel
By Sara Daring
If you are the type of person who starts getting excited about Valentines day mid way through January, you might also be the type of person who expects to get married by the time you are thirty, and have a life plan for children (one of each) by the time you hit 35..
Without dissing romance, there are plenty of amazing places to visit with a loved one which aren’t remotely smultzchy or cheesy, and don’t have a checked table cloth, plastic rose or leering waiting in sight.
Thriving on the unexpected, Rotterdam is one of those cities. The network of cosmopolitan canals, brutalist buildings and impressive street art add to the allure of this modern, forward thinking city, which stands tall and proud with new roots re-built after the war.
With plenty of skyscrapers punctuating the edges of the waterways and super organised metro and tram system it is really easy to navigate; And the super edgy Nhow Hotel was next to the Wilhelminaplein station which is a ten minute ride from central station.
Part of a design chain (sister hotels are in Berlin and Milan) the hotel fits the ambience of Rotterdams’ funky young visitors perfectly. No frills, but plenty of treats await guests in the giant-bed filled rooms. The usual suspects of a big bath tub, super hot shower, giant TV which doubles as a mirror, and floor to ceiling windows with the best views of the waterways you are only a hop skip and trot away from the impressive Erasmus Bridge over the River Maas.
In keeping with the modern luxe vibe, the minimalist structure of the hotel gives it an edgy vibe with urban art and photography adorning the walls. Even the food is trendy! With the breakfast buffet consisting of a concoction of test-tubes smoothies, teeny pastries, the freshest of fruits and a choice of continental cuts.
There is choice of rooms depending on budget, as there are different views from either side of the impressive building. Ask for the Premium Skyline room if you are a party animal and plan to enjoy the sunset over the view while you are getting ready with a drink. Watch the nightlights come on as the city below gets into night mode, and know can rest assured you won’t be woken up too early after a big night out.
The other side of the building offers the harbour view. Still a working marina, when you cast your eyes down, Dutch people will be whizzing by to work on their bikes or by foot. Perfect for a birds eye view of watching the hustle and bustle whilst you’re in a different world.
Even though the rooms aren’t huge, they have everything you need for a city break. And the city is on your doorstep. The impressive FotoMuseum is directly opposite with restaurants on the other corner; But this is a city break after all, so head off by foot (or bike) and soak up the rest of the culture; Recomended is a water taxi ride to the the Euromast; The Kunsthal Museum or the Cube house. With plenty of food options, whatever your dietary requirements, Rotterdam definitely ticks all the romance options for an action packed lover.
Book your stay here: Nhow Hotel
BY SARA DARLING
HEAD TO SANTA MONICA FOR A SLICE OF FASHION HISTORY
Versace was shot and killed on 15 July 1997, at the age of 50, on the steps of his Miami Beach mansion as he returned from a morning walk on Ocean Drive. But his legacy is not forgotten.
Lauded as one of the groundbreaking designers of the 80s and 90s, he lived a full life, embracing gossip and speculation, but he was also a regular at Hotel Shangri-La in Santa Monica, where he could escape and relax.
Still owned by the same family, who remain coy as to the habits of the designer, Hotel Shangri-La, is used as the backdrop for the recent TV Series American Crime Story: The Assassination of Gianni Versace.
Versace was recognised, but was always low key, and always stayed in the penthouse suite of this original art deco hotel; With Tamie Adaya, Hotel Shangri-La’s CEO and Creative Director noting “back then parties were a strictly no no. We are a boutique, family owned hotel. But not for Gianni Versace. He was a genius. He was an icon, but to us he was just Gianni and part of the Shangri-La family.”
With major stars taking on roles in the series- it is Edgar Ramirez (The Girl on the Train) who lands the covetable role of Gianni, alongside Penelope Cruz as Donatella, who relive his flamboyant lifestyle. Openly gay, Versace embraced the fast life and was friends with Madonna, Elton John, Cher, Sting and Eric Clapton, who although do no appear in the re-make, are a big part of his memoirs.
With such a fashionable history, the hotel also retains a laid-back atmosphere, with Tamie fondly reflecting “Versace loved architecture, particularly Art Deco, which inspires me to this very day with the hotel’s interior design. It was a privilege being a part of this series which celebrates his flamboyant life and legacy.”
Overlooking the Pacific Ocean and Santa Monica Pier, you can see why it was and still is, so popular. Chances of you rubbing shoulders with real life celebrities and designers is pretty high too!
By Sara Darling
WHO WANTS TO STAY IN SOGGY ENGLAND ANYWAY?!
Here are 55's tips for the best feet-tapping, new friend making, sun loving festivals from all round the globe. See you at at least one of them!
SEA STAR FESTIVAL IN CROATIA
Croatia has an admirable reputation for music festivals; Whether it be the weather, the exchange rate or the stunning location. The second edition of the Sea Star festival will return to Stella Maris laguna in Umag on May 25th and 26th, with an exclusive opening party on May 24th and after party on Sunday, May 27th.
Sea Star takes place from 24 - 27 May 2018. More info available at seastarfestival.com
SECRET SOLSTICE FESTIVAL IN ICELAND
Imagine partying all night and not having to worry about how you will look come dawn. If you're one of the thousands who head to the Secret Solstice in Iceland, that will be the last thing on your ming.
Taking place in Reykjavik from 21-24 June during the surreal summer solstice-where the sun never sets, that experience in itself is pretty magical. Add to that the eclectic lineup, breathtaking countryside, glacier raves, midnight sun boat parties and secret lagoon blowouts and it's a pretty memorable weekend!
Secret Solstice takes place from 21-24 June 2018. More info available at secretsolstice.is
EXIT FESTIVAL IN SERBIA
Ever fancied raving in a castle? Then EXIT Festival is the one for you. Close to the Serbian capital Belgrade, the magical Petrovaradin Fortress is set high on the banks of the river Danube and is all about spreading positive vibes, promoting change and supporting community and humanitarian missions which is close to 55's heart.
There is something for music lovers of all genres with a diverse mix of artists performing on stages connected by cobbled streets, ramparts and tunnels, so be prepared to get lost before you find yourself.
Exit takes place from 12-15 July 2018. More info available at exitfest.org
POSITIVUS FESTIVAL IN LATVIA
The largest music and arts festival in the Baltic States, takes place on the coast in sleepy Salacgriva, where there is much more to do than boogie! As well as being a stunning, picturesque coastal town, festival goers can enjoy chart-topping headliners along with emerging talent and workshops, dance stages and market stalls. The festival lasts three days, but if you're anything like me, you will want to stay for a week!
Positivus takes place from 20 - 22 July 2018. More info available at positivusfestival.com
OFF FESTIVAL IN KATOWICE
If you have been searching for a boutique music festival, OFF should be on your radar; Taking place in ‘Three Lake Valley’, Katowice, Poland it was founded by a music fan to promote emerging talent. With a reputation of knowing a thing or two, the roster of local and international artists is inspiring;
As well as discovering new music festival goers can also discover the city of Katowice with plenty of art and culture. And a huge choice of bars!
OFF Festival takes place from 3-5 August 2018. More info available at off-festival.pl
LOWLANDS FESTIVAL IN THE NETHERLANDS
Lowlands has a reputation with the Dutch, for good reason! It is only about an hours drive from Amsterdam, so the locals can dip in and out, and visitors can add an extra day or two's recovery in the city...
Providing all the fun of a city festival, new for this year is the armadillo food and drink area, and specially adapted covers for every stage so you can enjoy all the music rain or shine. Don't forget to book a hot tub- one of the most amazing festival experiences ever!
Lowlands takes place from 17 - 19 August 2018. More info available at lowlands.nl
SEA DANCE FESTIVAL IN MONTENEGRO
Hands up who has been to Montenegro? Hands up who like to dance on the beach to over 100 varied acts, in Skyscanner's cheapest holiday destination? Good, two hands in the air! Get booking for the third festival in this stunning country. Dates to be announced, but it's going to be a goodie!
Sea Dance dates will be announced soon. More info available at seadancefestival.me
Ani and Esther welcomes guests to enjoy a life-empowering infusion of feminine energy and spirituality in Slovenia’s vibrational landscape.
The retreat will open guest’s soul to a deeper connection within themselves, uncovering their life’s calling, harnessing their power and embracing what it is to be a woman. Guests will be taught practices and techniques that will offer a sustainable approach to happiness and health. Ani and Esther will be the transformational guides, mentoring guests through a combination of meditation, spiritual talks, intuitive mentoring and visionary workshops, enabling them to find their feminine essence and empowerment.
The retreat will help guests to transform on a deep level. Ani and Esther will help guests to connect with their own power again, become more creative, heal and help to enter a new dimension of their consciousness.
The intention is to help guests connect deeper within themselves, enabling guests to receive the answers from themselves, and return from the retreat as a new being, with a new perspective and insights that will empower all areas of their life.,
Led by Ani and Esther, each of whom holds their own individual magic, the retreat will help women across the world meet like-minded souls and embrace their sensitivity, emotions, and inner truth.
Feature by Sara Darling
NEW YOU BOOTCAMP
After the excesses of December you might have misplaced some pounds but gained some lbs on your tum! After all it is the season to be jolly, and eat drink and get merry at every opportunity!But, when the time comes to start thinking about wearing normal clothes (as opposed to Christmas loungewear), it could just be that they are feeling mighty tight! Hence the ever so popular new year’s resolution to get trim.
I am always one of the latter, and admittedly had a pretty sociable festive time. So my body has been crying out for some TLC, And what better way to jump start your good intentions than by enrolling in a boot camp somewhere hot and luxurious?
So, I actually bit the bullet and joined 19 other gym bunnies (that is a slight exaggeration- some hadn’t seen the inside of a gym since high school!!) way back in September, but the camps run all year, and who wouldn’t want to have some physical fun in the sun when the rest of the UK is feeling pretty blue? So off to Malaga I went, with my dream beach body goals at the forefront of my mind!
Naturally, I came laden down with luggage. I had visions of long evening drinks by the pool wearing a selection of my favourite floaty dresses. On the other hand, some of my camp-buddies came ready to run a marathon with just hand luggage and their toiletries in the polystyrene bag for airport control! It turns out that these were the types that had done the camp before, and wouldn’t have been out of place at a wrestling competition- my inner glamour puss wilted somewhat quickly! However there were solo travellers, so I made sure I sat next to someone who looked equally as petrified on the minibus to the hotel.
Our home for the next week was a beautiful converted Monastery in deepest darkest Malaga; Quite a way from the airport and the beach, it’s courtyard setting, roaring log fire, and stunning swimming pool and remote location gave it an air of peacefulness. We were the only guests, which also made it feel a little bit like the Big Brother house!
Day one went by in a blur. We got our weigh-in and were measured. (I was remarkably ok with my weight- I’ve not been on a scales for years!) Then, we were introduced to the coaches- an ex Army and ex Air Force Training Instructor- one seeming much scarier than the other, given a run down of the weekly goals, provided a snack treat of apple slices with tahini, and then were sent packing to bed! However, the first class started at 7am the next day…
With five full days of intense exercise, I thought the challenge would be good for me- I could cope as I had lots of energy! My target was to tone rather than dropping pounds- but that would be a bonus. New You Bootcamp is based on military training, and even though both trainers had a different approach, we covered HiiT, boxing, swimming, circuits and hiking classes each day, and I quickly learned that I liked some exercises better than others!
But I didn’t realise how hardcore, doing repeated classes would be! I threw everything into the first class on the first day- in retrospect, I should have built up to that! My calves hurt from jogging, my stomach ached from sit ups, and for the first two days I was ravenous! I wasn’t the only one as we compared notes during breaks and at meal times. The coaches, friendly and encouraging, reassured us that it was our bodies were adjusting, and the first two days would be the toughest.
Staring at 7am each day meant that the classes were interspersed with regular snack breaks, but without coffee, sugar, dairy, wheat or alcohol, it was an intense withdrawal from all my vices! I’m not sure what I missed the most- but herbal teas and hot water were readily available!
However, by day three, I had come round to this new way of eating. All of the food is included and prepared by an on site chef. Nothing is processed and all cooked from scratch. Dishes were mostly pulses, grains, vegetables and fish- the meat eaters had added meat! There was no salt for seasoning, but we could as many chilli flakes as we liked, which I even liberally sprinkled on my scrambled egg and rye toast. I didn’t miss the sweet things, but I was definitely craving cheese and dairy!
The friendly New Boot Camp nutritionist was on site for two evenings and held a couple of very interesting discussions on food, and what our body actually needs, which made the meal-times seem a lot more digestible! Even my salt-cravings could be traced back to me lacking in something, and I was advised to keep a food diary when I got home.
There is something to be said for working out in the sun. It’s inspiring, sweaty but it seems to be much more fun. The classes I enjoyed most were the team exercises where we scored points and played games.
The walks were pretty pleasant too- hiking through the beautiful Andalusian countryside at sunrise can’t be beaten. It’s best at dawn as the walk at the end of the day was pretty damn sweaty!
The week actually flew by in a whirl- the routines was remarkably easy to pick up, and getting back to reality and making decisions took some getting used to for the first few days when I got home! After all, for the duration of the camp, you are told what to do, what to eat and what time to be there. There isn’t the shouting or intimidation as you might expect- the instructors have toned it down from their conventional standards. But there is encouragement, and bit of banter.
The classes are mostly split up into pair work, although you do get the chance to do a triathlon!! I never in my life thought I would be any good at endurance sports.. Swimming, core and jogging, three times round a circuit! But I did it, and that was one of the highlights of the week. Everyone went at their own pace, and we all finished. It wasn’t a competition, although there were the usual suspects who didn’t look back,
As a bonding experience, the camp is ideal. You can come as a single, couple or family (there was a mum and daughter at mine) and I could see the change in some of my camp-mates, and we all speculated on our weight loss. I chose not to look in a full length mirror until the final day- I wanted to surprise myself with my drastic transformation. Surprisingly (for me) I didn’t actually have a radical change. Infact I couldn’t actually see much difference- apart from my tummy which was more defined.
When weigh-out time came, I was curious, and for a good reason. I had only lost a kilo! I was a bit disappointed, but the trainers assured me that muscle weighs more and weight doesn’t matter- but those who did lose stones were very happy campers indeed!
My head did feel healthier, I had a cracking tan, and although I didn’t ditch a dress size- to be honest, there was probably not one to lose.
Book in for 2018 at www.newyoubootcamp.com
START THE YEAR AS YOU MEAN TO GO ON- SPOIL YOURSELF WITH A SPA DAY
BY SARA DARLING
What could be better than de-robing and getting a good rub down, whilst you’re imagining you are in the exotic backdrop of the Polynesia Islands? (Apart from actually being in said islands obviously!)
A little closer to home is the authentic Thalgo experience at the ‘Beauty and Melody Spa’ inside the super luxe M by Montcalm Hotel in Shoreditch.
Step inside, away from the hustle and bustle of the city, and take advantage of the sauna, steam room, swimming pool, jacuzzi and treatments. And the treatments are indeed a treat.
For a total indulgent three hour pampering, book in for the Polynesian Capsule Ritual Collection, and prepare to settle back and relax; Take three hours for yourself and enjoy the authentic treatments from the stunning Pacifics.
Based on the sensations garnered from nature, the Ritual Collection targets the four senses. The massage relaxes and invigorates, whilst the fragrances melt away your stress; the sound of waves transports you to a Hawaiian beach and all the products are derived directly from the islands...
Once you are checked in and robed up, you get a hot foot soak to start the pampering, which sets the scene for the shredding any rough skin. This is followed by the Polynesian Body Scrub. Be prepared for a bit of rough, whilst the masseuse circulates a combination of sea salt, coconut shell and pure white sand from Bora Bora, which is mixed with a delicious vanilla oil, to ensure you shed all your dead skin. You end up a bit sticky, so take some time to get rid of all the sediments in a hot shower in the adjoining bathroom.
Once you are refreshed and cosy, settle back for a full body, hour long massage to relax your aching bones. The gentle motion of the holistic strokes, coupled with the heavenly scent is designed to improve circulation, increase metabolism and relieve aches and pains; It also aids detox and general well-being and is oh, so relaxing. I was transported to the Anakena beach on Easter Island, and could almost imagine the sun tickling my skin, and the swaying palm trees. It was a true place of serenity for one hour, where I totally switched off.
The icing on the cake is the facial- and you cannot deny that the women from Honolulu have great skin. Using a beauty treatment that has been around for centuries, the ancient ritual detoxifies, refreshes and relaxes; The 45 minutes flew by, and I fell asleep mid-way through the treatment. Proof indeed that it was good!
If someone says that you can’t buy happiness, I would disagree and send them to the Beauty and Melody Spa for an afternoon in heaven!
Book in here and thank me later!
By Sara Darling
AMSTERDAM AFTER DARK HAS A LOT MORE THAN YOU MIGHT EXPECT!
Most people go to Amsterdam for the broad minded culture or the scenery, but if you go during winter time, there is lots more to see... The annual Amsterdam Light Festival is definitely worth the Eurostar, and the Christmas shopping isn't too bad either!
From 30 November 2017 until 21 January 2018 Amsterdam's city centre transforms again into the largest open-air light museum in the world!
As usual, the city works with national and international artists, architects and designers to create city wide spectacles all produced by neon lights.
This year sees a new location, and the water based exhibition will be at the Marineterrein Amsterdam, which walking distance from Amsterdam’s Central Station.
As well as the canal show, there is an equally impressive land exhibition which takes place from 14 December until 7 January, and has no admission fee, so there is something to get even the most grumpy Santa's in the mood.
To catch a piece of culture, which features world-renowned artist and activist Ai Weiwei, who has created an illusion around the theme of 'borders'. check out the website and ticket options here.
By Sara Darling
55HQ LOVES HOTELS, ESPECIALLY BOUTIQUE ONES...
So every year when the glitzy Boutique Awards Ceremony comes round, we get a bit excited to see the ones we haven't visited yet (alas, this is still quite a few!)
However, we always like to support the indies, and love a good party, so The Boutique Hotel Awards is a godsend to bring the world's leading boutique hotels before the eyes of the travellers, influencers and travel journos who appreciate the finer things in life!
So prepare to get tempted and prepare for the big reveal, which will take place at a glittering dinner party, hosted by The Master Key Society, in November.
Being the only international awards scheme exclusively dedicated to recognising boutique hotels, the ceremony is now in it's seventh year and is going from strength to strength. The hotels in each category face serious competition (a tough gig for the judges. Not!!)
As a springboard to the international acclaim, and a wider audience, past winners have gone on to feature in The New York Times, CNN, Daily Mail, Spear’s Magazine, Elite Traveler and The Sunday Times. We would be delighted to review for 55 too of course!
Last Year's Prestigious Winners included
World’s Best City Hotel 11 Mirrors, Kiev, Ukraine
World’s Best Classic Hotel Hotel Heritage, Bruges, Belgium
World’s Best Culinary Hotel Vila Joya, Algarve, Portugal
World's Best Honeymoon Hideaway Punta Tragara, Capri, Italy
World’s Best New Hotel Hotel Gotham, Manchester, United Kingdom
World's Best Relaxation Retreat The Chedi Club Tanah Gajah, Bali, Indonesia
World's Most Romantic Hotel Aenaon Villas, Santorini, Greece
World's Best Private Villa Over Yonder Cay, The Bahamas
There are still many on my personal hit, list, and in a few weeks time, I will have a lot more to add!
Exposing the roads less trodden around the globe. 55Travels with the notion to encounter a more cultural and creative experience.