Melbourne: Art Hotels, Beer Hall Drinks, and Jazz

Melbourne's Jazz Festival (c) PiecesofVictoria.com

Melbourne’s Jazz Festival (c) PiecesofVictoria.com

Most people don’t know that Melbourne is well voted, time and time again, as one of the world’s most livable cities. With it’s impressive calendar of high profile events throughout the year, including the Melbourne International Jazz Festival (May 30 – June 8, 2014), Melbourne International Film Festival (July 31 – August 17, 2014) Melbourne Spring Racing Carnival (November 4, 2014), and the Australian Open Tennis Championships (January 19 – February 1, 2015), it’s also the gateway to regional Victoria, with her deserts, alpine ski resorts, mighty rivers, great lakes, wildlife, and unparalleled spectacle known as the Great Ocean Road. At the same time, art and design groups are flourishing, alongside Melbourne’s natural beauty.

mark_schaller

For example, luxury boutique hotel group, Art Series Hotels is bringing their well-known art inspired concept to regional and urban cities around Australia in a compact & affordable way. First stop, Bendigo – the regional hub of art and culture – and the perfect location for the first studio inspired hotel.

Artist Mark Schaller, today regarded as one of Australia’s strongest mid career artists with his expressionistic, vigorous style, will join the fold. A founding member of the renowned Roar studios in the early 1980’s, his paintings and prints that have been acquired by major institutions such as the National Gallery of Australia, Canberra and National Gallery of Victoria. He’s the real deal.

And… we love the idea of the art studio hotel. No, we actually live for it. A hotel is the best possible location for an experience filled with art and design. To not simply to stay in a location, but to experience the vision and emotion of each designated artist while also on vacation. That is at least one meaning in life. If not the best one.

PS. The second Art Series Studio, Larwill Studio will open in Parkville, Melbourne in December.

Tonka

Tonka

If that’s not reason enough to check out Melbourne, you also have their unique dining and cocktail scene. We hear Adam D’Sylva’s Tonka is a throwback to his Indian and Italian heritage, featuring cocktails including the Darjeeling Fizz, Tonka Lassi and Miguel’s Milk Punch, while Cookie combines Thai food with its mantra of being a Beer Hall, Eating House and Disco to create the perfect environment to dine, flirt, sip and reminisce. The walls are adorned with murals and artwork from Melbourne artists, and the popular ‘kiss wall’ eventuated of its own accord and is now covered with scores of lipstick kisses amassed over the years.

Cookie

Cookie

Sounds pretty good to me.

For more information on things to do, places to go, and sights to see in Melbourne, click the link to for Travel Victoria’s website.

We also liked the list of Melbourne’s hot Jazz clubs on the blog, PiecesofVictoria.com. According to their blog, they said to check out, among others:

Bennetts Lane Jazz Club, a Melbourne institution known for late night jams and dubbed by Lonely Planet as “the world’s best jazz club”. Located in a back alley off Little Lonsdale Street, the club has been around for more than 20 years.

25 Bennetts Lane, Melbourne

Uptown Jazz Café, hidden up an unassuming set of stairs on Brunswick Street in Fitzroy, there’s live music four nights a week and the stage is graced by a renowned list of local and international acts. There’s also a solid Japanese restaurant downstairs if you want to grab a bite prior.

177 Brunswick St, Fitzroy

 

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Your Own Version of Downton Abbey in the English Countryside

Welcome to the Four Seasons

Welcome to the Four Seasons Hampshire

By Sarah Ivens, Editor-at-Large

It is a truth universally acknowledged that on a pretty summer’s day there is nowhere better to be than in an English country garden. Waves of bluebells dance in a honeysuckle breeze as butterflies glide from glittering stream to ancient oak tree. And, of course, there’s always a chance you’ll spot Peter Rabbit in the vegetable patch, or Winnie the Pooh taking a nap on a bed of nettles.

Many travelers are so drawn to the bright lights and big sights of London that the English countryside is lost for them. As a born and bred Londoner who finds herself able to breathe deeply during a flora and fauna-tactic escape past the suburbs and into the green patchworks of her homeland, I can’t impress on anyone what a mistake this is. It is beautiful, historic, literary and charming – all those things foreigners love about Downton Abbey wrapped up in a village cream tea and a meander down a cobbled street.

Don't you just want to kiss Matthew and talk about Papa?

Don’t you just want to kiss Matthew and talk about Papa while you stroll the green?

The Four Seasons have done a very clever thing, opening a resort a one hour drive away from their two city hotels, making it the perfect add-on for the culture vulture, theatre lover or weary business traveller. Leaving London behind, on a road that takes you past the old (the 1,000 year old Windsor Castle, the Queen’s favorite palace) and the new (fancy a ride on a space shuttle at Legoland, anyone?), you arrive at The Four Seasons Hampshire.

Your jaw will drop.

Dating back to 1728, the heritage-listed manor house around which the Hotel is built is much documented in historical texts throughout the centuries. With spectacular views over the Hampshire countryside, the Hotel’s resort-like facilities place the countryside’s finest pursuits on its doorstep. On-site facilities include a 14-horse stable, fishing lakes, clay pigeon shooting, narrowboating, nature rambles and tennis.  Add to this, the manor’s ancient association with high society – and in Henry VIII’s case, a royal scandal – and guests can experience a taste of Hampshire’s historical and cultural wealth before they even leave the Hotel grounds. You’ll feel very Lord and Lady Grantham, without the  need for a corset.

England Country Homes

Finish off your lovely trip with a nice soak

If you can tear yourself away from the spa and outdoor vitality pool, the picturesque surroundings will keep you very busy. In fact there’s so much to see you’ll wish you’d doubled the length of your stay. Just 30 minutes away lies Winchester, a traditional cathedral city with impressive boutiques and numerous museums and art galleries. Boasting a 1300 year unbroken succession of bishops, Winchester is home to the legendary ‘Arthurian’ Round Table, situated in the Great Hall of the old castle. The ancient capital of England has been inspiring visitors for centuries, including Keats, who wrote his Ode to Autumn, while staying here.

Hampshire is also littered with a wide range of beautiful historic houses that are open to the public.  Stratfield Saye is the estate purchased by a jubilant Duke of Wellington at the bequest of an adoring nation upon his return from the Battle of Waterloo in 1815. The house is still the home of the present Duke and Duchess of Wellington and exhibitions in the Hall and original stable block document the 1st Duke of Wellington’s life and triumphs.

Compete with Jane Austen history too

Compete with Jane Austen history too

Charles Dickens’ birthplace can be visited in Portsmouth, and having inspired writers for centuries, it is no surprise to discover that Jane Austen penned her literary classics Pride & Prejudice, Emma, Mansfield Park and Sense & Sensibility in the tiny Hampshire village of Chawton, a pretty fifteen minute drive from the hotel.  Now a museum documenting her life and works, many of the rooms in her 17th Century house have been preserved in their original state. You can see the desk and chair where she wrote, taking in the view from the window that inspired her. I mean, come on… How awesome.

And as 2013 is the 200th anniversary of the first publication of Pride and Prejudice, there is no better time to grab your beloved and get your Elizabeth and Darcy on over a romantic feast of English fare (try the divine if pant-bursting Hampshire Farmers’ Market Lunch every Sunday at the Four Seasons – a refined, edible exploration of Hampshire’s famous Farmers’ Markets) before burying yourself into a classic novel by the fire in the hotel ‘s library, and perhaps a sneaky doze, dreaming of Lords, Ladies and clotted cream.

http://www.fourseasons.com/hampshire/

Sarah Ivens, Editor-at-Large

Sarah Ivens, Editor-at-Large

 

Sarah Ivens, Editor-at-Large for Jaunt Magazine, is the founding editor in chief of OK! magazine in the US and a bestselling author in her native UK. Her writing has been seen in Marie Claire, Glamour, In Style and GQ. A born and bred Londoner, she currently resides in Los Angeles.

Reviving in Istanbul

Witt Istanbul Hotels

Witt Istanbul Hotels

In the old quarter of Cihangir, hotelier Tuncel Toprak built Witt Istanbul because it reminded him of how streets looked in his childhood. The hotel takes its cue from this sentimentality in the custom-made furnishings by local artisans that you see above. Add to that, a familiar sandstone façade and homemade breakfast. It also heeds the future with Ross Lovegrove designed bathroom fixtures in the spacious guestrooms. But that’s not all… move from the old and new with traditional hammam rejuvenation in Tuncel’s favorite place, savoring Turkish cheese from local boutique Antre Gourmet and sipping on the best wines selected by the renowned sommelier of La Cave wine shop.
Rooms from @ $200/night

Lake Como’s Grand Hotel Tremezzo

The Grand Hotel Tremezzo - Lake Como

The Grand Hotel Tremezzo – Lake Como

Located on the shores of the famous Lake Como, lies a gem of a property we’re looking to stay.  With 88 molto elegant rooms and 10 exclusive suites, we’re talking about the Grand Hotel Tremezzo.

Why are we recently obsessed, you ask?

Well, it’s unique lakeside positioning offers unparalleled views of Bellagio, the Riviera delle Azalee and the stunning Grigne mountains.

The View of Lake Como from the Hotel Grand Tremezzo

The View of Lago di Como (Lake Como) from the Hotel Grand Tremezzo

The hotel’s true Art Nouveau style and décor also hosts five upscale dining venues by renowned chef Maestro Gualtiero Marchesi. What a great name, eh? And now, the historic Grand Hotel Tremezzo celebrates the grand opening of their newly renovated ultra luxe Rooftop Floor, comprised of eight lavishly-appointed suites.  A mix between contemporary and old-world charm, these are just a few latest additions to this swanky centenary palace. The iconic hotel dates back to 1910 and also showcases a rejuvenating spa, flower gardens, and an age-old park. Glitteratti and guests flock to the hotel’s upscale restaurants and wine bars for culinary guest master-chef Gualtiero Marchesi’s authentic Italian fare.

Allooorrrraaaa... Now That's a Room with a View

Allooorrrraaaa… Now That’s a Room with a View

Spearheaded by Italian designer Venelli Kramer in collaboration with the De Santis family, who manage the hotel today, the delicate renovation of the Rooftop Floor is evocative of the picturesque lakeside estate. Taking inspiration from Italian classics and Lake Como itself, did we mention that each of the suites also comes with their own private terrace, outdoor heated Jacuzzi, butler, and panoramic views of the lake? Luxury bathrooms throughout also include Cedarstone and Imperial marble with double basins, bathtubs overlooking the room’s views, and a separate shower.

George Clooney, who?

Suite rates start @480 EUR (approximately USD $627*)/night

www.grandhoteltremezzo.com

Design Hotels Summer Specials

Memmo Baleeira Hotel - Portugal

Memmo Baleeira Hotel - Portugal

I don’t know about you, but I’d sure like to experience a surf ‘n’ sail season Memmo Baleeira style in Portugal’s southernmost tip. You too? Following in the wake of hotelier Rodrigo Machaz, himself a surfer who knows the best spots in the shimmering Algarve waters, Design Hotels™™ is offering some Summer Specials not to be missed.

The Mira Spa - Hong Kong

The Mira Spa - Hong Kong

Or, if you feel like taking in the shimmering nightscape of Hong Kong from your room at the The Mira Hong Kong, you can do that too. For an eclectically British feel, try the Firmdale hotels in London. Choose the funky neighbourhood of Soho with Charlotte Street Hotel or the exclusive upmarket locale of West End with Haymarket Hotel.

Apparently, Summer is just a click away…

The three different options include:

– 3 for 2: one complimentary overnight stay (minimum length of stay 3 nights)

– Upgrade: free upgrade to the next available room category (minimum length of stay 2 nights)

– Value: save a minimum of 10% off the best available rate (minimum length of stay 2 nights)

For travel: April 30 – September 18, 2012

www.designhotels.com/summerspecials

Berlin Like a Local

We just caught wind of a cool little service from our peeps in Berlin. Plus One Berlin is a new hospitality model that gives travellers a local insider look at a city.  Launched in Berlin, Germany, from around €120 per night travelers can stay in an innovatively-designed space in ‘Kreuzkölln’, one of the most interesting and up-and-coming areas of Berlin, and have an experience with a well-connected and knowledgeable local of their choice. As their ‘plus one’ guests gain access to the most hidden and interesting restaurants, cafes, parties, and galleries, thus giving them a novel look at one of the world’s most changing and exciting cities.

A Local Look at Berlin Life

After booking the space via the booking enquiry form guests are given log in details to access the guest part of the website. Here they can read profiles of 28 locals and choose the date and time they want the experience. The locals have been chosen for their passion and knowledge of the city and have different nationalities, interests and professions. The guest can then choose to meet their local for a drink to get advice and quick tips (1/2 hr) or experience Berlin as their plus one (3-5 hrs). The guest is given the local’s email address so they can make contact with them prior to arrival to arrange a place to meet and discuss what they’d like to do. The rate includes accommodation and one experience with a local for every two to three night stay. Pretty cool.

Sustainable and Innovative Design

The 29-square-metre-space is innovatively designed by two Berlin-based architects, Paola Bagna (Spamroom) and JP Coss (CossA) using a combination of new and salvaged materials. The space sleeps 1-3 people and features a kitchenette (with fridge, kettle and toaster) and storage area constructed using reclaimed wood. A balcony provides an outdoor seating area and is connected to the interior through an indoor desk space and large glass windows. The space acts as an exhibition area for local artists where work changes every few months. In-room facilities include a 40-inch flat screen Cable TV, WiFi and an iPod dock. Located in the popular ‘Reuterkiez’ area of Neukölln, a vibrant and multicultural area in South East Berlin, the space is close to friendly cafes, intimate bars and popular restaurants.

Your Artsy Little Home Away from Home

Luxurious and Ecological Amenities

Each guest receives: a P1B illustrated map of the local area; a P1B key ring that gives them a 10% discount at nearby businesses; a surprise food or beverage welcome treat and luxurious ethically-sourced ILA-Spa toiletries. Handmade slippers made from organic cotton with reclaimed soles are also provided, of course.

www.plusoneberlin.com

10 Reasons to Visit Nantucket in the Spring

Nantucket Nantucket!

Grey skies, slushy streets, and a lack of Vitamin D can leave even the most cold-tolerant of us feeling the winter blues. Luckily, thoughts of a spring visit to Nantucket can brighten the dreariest of days. Spring on Nantucket means perfect temperatures, festive events, and amazing rates. If that’s not reason enough, here are 10 Reasons to visit Nantucket in the Spring and some of the best places to stay. We can’t wait as we plan on visiting the Wine Festival and reporting back all the high notes. The thought of a breezy, New England seaside holiday sounds enchanting. The cobblestone streets, grey shingled houses, and plethora of blooming hydrangeas almost provide a trip back in time. Nantucket Island Resorts’ also offer a perfect fit.

The White Elephant

1.       Great Rates

A spring trip to Nantucket doesn’t have to break the bank – Nantucket Island Resorts offers fantastic spring rates. For instance, rates at The Wauwinet after it opens for the season on May 9 start at just $225 per night. Want to stay closer to Main Street? Not a problem! Stay at the White Elephant, opening on April 19, for just $195 per night.

2.       Easy Access

Jet Blue begins direct service from New York City to Nantucket on May 17, meaning Nantucket is just a hop, skip, and a jump away. The only hard part will be finding room to pack all of those spring clothes you’ve been dying to pull out of hibernation!

Daffodils

3.       Daffodil Festival (April 27-29)

Every year, Nantucket kicks off spring by honoring the trumpeted flower with the Nantucket Daffodil Festival Weekend. Over three million daffodils bloom on Nantucket from early-April to mid-May, and the yellow, orange, white, and pale pink blooms bring new life to the island. It’s a full-scale celebration of winter’s thaw and includes fun and festive activities such as the Antique Car Parade, featuring over 100 vintage cars decked out in bright yellow daffodils.

4.       Wine Festival (May 2012)

For over 12 years, 100 wineries visit Nantucket for a weekend and host special events including hosted dinners, celebrity chef cooking demonstrations, seminars, and auctions.  Make sure to pop by and sample TOPPER’S at The Wauwinet’s extensive wine list. With over 1450 selections, wine connoisseurs won’t be disappointed!

5.       Expansion of the White Elephant Hotel Residences

Just a few steps away from the White Elephant, Nantucket Harbor, Jetties Beach, and Brant Point Lighthouse, the White Elephant Hotel Residences has always been one of the chicest spots to stay on island. This spring, the Residences are getting even better with the addition of 14 new suites and six new guest rooms.

Some of the delicacies during Nantucket Restaurant Week

6.       Nantucket Spring Restaurant Week

Dine on prix fixe menus at participating Nantucket fine dining establishments, including the Brant Point Grill at the White Elephant and TOPPER’S at The Wauwinet.

7.       Outdoor Activities

Being cooped up inside all winter isn’t good for your mind or body, and Nantucket has the cure! Rent a bike and roll down the 6.4 miles of bike paths. Bike rentals typically cost around $30/day; complimentary bikes are available for guests of White Elephant Hotel ResidencesThe Cottages & Lofts at the Boat Basin, and The Wauwinet. Or tee off at one of Nantucket’s top-notch golf courses –  Miacomet Golf Course or Sankatay Head Golf Club.

8.       Nantucket Film Festival (June 20-24)

The annual film festival draws celebrities and movie buffs alike to the island. Instead of velvet ropes and Hollywood glamour, the festival honors the art of substantive screenwriting, offering celebrity panels and readings.

Outdoor Dining at Brant Point Grill

9.       Dining Al Fresco

Spring means finally being able to enjoy a dinner al fresco again. Brant Point Grill at the White Elephant’s Harborside Terrace is the perfect place to do just that. Dine on fresh seafood and sip on one of the bar’s new specialty beer cocktails while admiring the stunning views of Nantucket harbor.

10.   Movie Time

We all know that April showers bring May flowers, and the perfect place to wait out a spring rain shower is at the only year round movie theater, Starlight Theater. Be sure to warm up with some New England Clam Chowder before the show at the Starlight’s café.

*Insider tip: Come during the island’s “secret season” and get amazing rates in the spring and fall with Nantucket Island Resorts’ Hot Dates, Cool Rates program.

Places to Stay in Nantucket

White Elephant

If you want to be within arm’s reach of the action of town and still by the sea, this is the perfect spot. The White Elephant is just steps from Main Street and overlooks the beautiful Nantucket Harbor. It’s right next to the calm Children’s Beach and a short walk to Brant Point Beach and iconic Brant Point Lighthouse. This intimately-scaled hotel dates back to the 1920s and blends traditional materials and forms of Nantucket’s Quaker past with the modern comforts of a luxury property, including the famous Brant Point Grill and the White Elephant spa.

White Elephant Hotel Residences

The White Elephant Hotel Residences serve as a natural extension of the White Elephant’s service and hospitality; guests have the convenience of a hotel along with the privacy of renting a house. Located on the edge of town, the Residences are close to the White Elephant, Nantucket Harbor, Jetties Beach, and Brant Point Lighthouse. Guests also have access to a pool with access to wonderful food and non-alcoholic beverage service (think ice cream for the kiddies).

The Cottages at Boat Basin

Cottages and Lofts at the Boat Basin

If the waterside cottage aesthetic is the thing for you, the Cottages and Lofts at the Boat Basin will make you feel right at home, evoking the mood of a quaint New England fishing village. The views are of Nantucket’s beautiful harbor and the design fits with the settings with a modern maritime theme. Many of the cottages have decks and patios where guests can enjoy al fresco clambakes and picnics. Those with pets can stay in the pet-friendlyWOOF Cottages – a great way to share a vacation with man’s best friend! There are 11 WOOF Cottages and each comes with an array of pet provisions such as Draper Canine beds, a welcome basket of treats and toys, and a list of pet-friendly attractions on Nantucket. 

Nantucket Boat Basin

If you’d like a place to park your yacht, sail into the Nantucket Boat Basin. For seafaring guests, this marina is the place to be and was voted Marina Life’s Best Marina in 2010. Able to accommodate vessels 35’ to 316’ vessels in length, the Boat Basin brings luxury to the boating experience. While docked here, the concierge service can arrange for many things, such as restaurant reservations, bike and scoot rentals, and golf and tennis times. One can even arrange on-board spa services and massages. 

The Wauwinet - A Top Family Hotel

The Wauwinet

For a beautiful spot outside of the hustle and bustle of town, try the quiet Wauwinet, flanked by Nantucket Bay and the Atlantic Ocean. The windswept moors of the island’s far eastern end provide a peaceful and soothing atmosphere and an ideal vantage point for pink and orange sunsets over the ocean. In-house restaurant, TOPPER’S, is the island’s most glamorous with creative dishes such as local cod with roasted cockles or lobster and crab cakes. The hotel’s boat, The Wauwinet Lady, makes several trips from the property’s 254-foot dock to the harbor in town, and The Wauwinet’s Spa by the Sea features locally-inspired treatments much as the Nantucket Cobblestone Massage and Atlantic Seaweed Wraps.

The Classic Interior of the Jared Coffin House

Jared Coffin House

If you want to be right in the action, the historic Jared Coffin House’s center-of-town location is the place for you. Built by and named for one of Nantucket’s original whaling captains, it’s the only Nantucket Island Resorts property that stays open year-round. The period antiques and reproductions help create that feeling of a bygone era. The building dates from the mid-19th century and has always been a lively part of the island. Set on a prime corner of Nantucket’s cobblestoned downtown, guests quickly get to know their way around as well as the locals do. While those with gourmet tastes will delight in the fact that the hotel is surrounded by top restaurants, they will be equally as pleased to note that one of these is right in their own back pocket. The recently opened Brick Bistro, located on the main floor of Jared Coffin House, has a sophisticated yet relaxed atmosphere and comfortably blends contemporary style with the quaint and classic nature of the House.