Lime Wood, New Forest

Quintessential 'boutique hotel' in the heart of the New Forest
by Tracey Pollard

The first boutique hotel was believed to have been invented in the early 80s with The Blake Hotel in South Kensington and The Bedford in Union Square, San Francisco which both opened for trade in 1981. Classic design qualities for the Boutique Hotel require it to be small and intimate, yet offer 5 star service and luxury. However, it’s the image and branding of the boutique hotel which sets it apart. Guests initially visit because it’s fashionable to do so, yet return time and time again because of the exceptional level of service and un-pretentious environment.

Lime Wood in the New Forest has many of the characteristics of an outstanding boutique hotel. Reassuringly expensive; you definitely feel you are mixing with the ‘in crowd’, but not flashy or pretentious. The Regency County House is set in stunning grounds and the design combines classic elegant style with modern touches such as a retractable sliding roof over the courtyard bar.  The interior is comfortable, welcoming and charming.  Each room or suite is different, featuring hand picked art and furniture and bespoke pieces made for the hotel. This ensures you feel special and appreciated from the minute you enter, the collection of wellies, children’s bicycles and the dog friendly environment enhances the relaxed ambiance.

The world class spa “ The Herb Garden”, personal training, a chefs table and exceptional service from the front of house team ensures the 5 star feel but the individual attention. The thought and love behind each decision is what sets this hotel and other great boutique hotels apart and why we aspire to stay in them. This ‘experience’  is fundamental to the success of a boutique hotel, an element we are seeing reflected more and more within shopping centres.

My Cup of Tea, Rome

A former cave, turned secret studio packed full with design wonders

by Rupert Bentley-Smith

Cagliari, Sardinia

Traditional, yet captivating retail experience in Sardinia

by Rupert Bentley-Smith

Abbot Kinney Boulevard, Los Angeles

Recently dubbed, by GQ as ‘The Coolest Street in America’

by Nigel Gillingham

This is an absolute ‘must see’ for the wannabe retail expert going to LA!  This relatively long and standard, narrow two-sided street is home to some very cool independent brands. My favourite is Junk Food which has just opened and is a fabulous store fit-out selling urban unisex fashion. Recently…

Hudson Yards, New York

Hudson Yards opens in phases from 2017 and includes 14 acres of public realm

by Nigel Gillingham

Sitting between Chelsea Market (Meat Packing district) and Clinton (Hell’s Kitchen), Hudson Yards is a 17 million sq ft development. This mixed use scheme will include commercial, residential, state-of-the-art office towers, more than 100 shops and 20 restaurants. Further to this, there will be approx. 500 houses, 750 seat school…

South Milton Sands, Devon

A slap board shack on the edge of the National Trust beach

by Tracey Pollard

From a distance, this slap board shack on the edge of the National Trust beach looks like the perfect ice cream stop, but The Beach House at South Milton Sands on the stunning South Hams coast serves far more than ice creams. This unique venue seats 30 internally and more…

Badeschiff, Berlin

A slice of Ibiza in the heart of Berlin
by Tracey Pollard

Set behind a rundown warehouse on the Eastern banks of the Spree in Berlin is an area which could still be referred to as “up and coming”; Badeschiff – a floating swimming pool and sauna, with a cool bar, deck area and DJ. Badeschiff, first opened in 2004 and was conceived by local artist Susanne Lorenze, Berlin City Art Project and Architects AMP and Gil Wilk, to act as a catalyst to enliven this area of the riverbank.

As the Spree is far too polluted to swim in, this floating pool gives Berliners, the chance to feel like they are swimming in the river throughout the year. Converted from 3 boats it provides a 32 x 8m pool, which opens at 8am and runs through to midnight. During the summer it’s a hot spot for the young and trendy of Berlin who are attracted by the party atmosphere and a chance to cool off during the hot summer months. However, in the winter the whole site is covered by a translucent shell and becomes a wellness centre.

I love the fact that this relatively cost effective development appeals to such a wide catchment throughout the year. It has become a destination in its own right, listed in many a guide book or as a site to visit in Berlin. Despite the effort required to find it, its well worth the trek and maybe a London developer could follow suit – how cool would it be to swim in or near the Thames.

KaDeWe, Berlin

The largest department store in continental Europe

by Tracey Pollard

The Rum Kitchen, London

A great example of a restaurant working well on a first floor inward facing scheme

by Victoria Broadhead

Bounce, London

A hip table tennis club and social entertainment experience

by Victoria Broadhead

Always keen for a different night out, I ventured down to Bounce one Thursday night, convinced it was a good idea to add some form of exercise with a few beers and a pizza! A new craze on the scene is a beer and a game of Ping Pong. Leaders in…

Bikini Building, Berlin

West Berlin re-establishes itself as a shopping destination

by Tracey Pollard

Built in 1957 the Bikini Haus was seen as a symbol of Berlin’s post war reconstruction, of new beginnings and freedoms. Its design included a second floor which has an open sided floor giving it the bikini shape and name.Much has been made in recent years of the emergence of…

Zorlu Center, Istanbul

Superb public realm and an enviable tenant mix in this Turkish shopping centre.

by Nigel Gillingham

Who said that the best retail is only found in the “recognised” retail cities of the world!  The Zorlu Center in Istanbul is home to Crate and Barrel, Eataly and one of the coolest Apple stores I have seen outside of Fifth Avenue. It is a fantastic example of Istanbul’s…

Torvehallernekbh, Copenhagen

A great example of a modern food market
by Tracey Pollard

As a complete foodie I was keen to visit Torvehallernekbh, which is Copenhagen’s answer to London’s Borough Market or Madrid’s Mercado de San Miguel. Covering some 70,000 sq ft, the market is split into two glass structures, with over 80 stalls inside the building and within a central piazza between the two buildings.  By dividing the market into 2 buildings, the market provides a welcoming feel, despite the clean lines and high ceilings.

The market appeals to local and tourist alike, with a breadth of everyday services from green grocers to butchers.  The tenant mix has evolved beyond the basic food stores and provides a range of homewear operators such as a knife shop for the amateur chef or the wine merchant who sells by the glass or the bottle, for your to take home.

Whether a new structure of this style could be constructed in London, would seem doubtful, due to the conflicts between land prices and lack of operators covenant. The high numbers of existing London markets may also conflict with the creation of a new market, especially one that trades 7 days a week.

Mud Dock, Bristol

Cycle shop meets restaurant - a Bristol institution

by Victoria Broadhead

Marunouchi, Tokyo

First class public realm creates a calm, relaxed, atmosphere so contrasted to the rest of Tokyo

by Tracey Pollard

Eliseyev Emporium, St Petersburg

A luxury food emporium in the heart of St Petersburg

by Emily Dumbell

Nevsky Prospect is the famous street that cuts through the centre of St Petersburg and bustles with life as it is lined with restaurants, bars and shops.  At the crossroads with the Kazan Cathedral is the beautiful Art Nouveau building of the Eliseyev Emporium. With its prominent corner position, beautiful…

Bristol Lido

The oldest surviving Lido in the UK

Rupert Bentley-Smith

Dating back to 1849 this is the oldest surviving lido in the UK which allows all year round swimming.  Tucked away in the heart of Clifton, the posh residential area of Bristol, the Bristol Lido was rescued by a group of local campaigners after being derelict for 20 years. The…

The Chiltern Firehouse

Our Ruby Wedding Anniversary at Chiltern Firehouse

by Maureen Buckley

In March, we were lucky to celebrate our Ruby Wedding anniversary. Forty years, where has it gone? As a truly memorable treat, our daughters [not forgetting our son-in-laws] planned and organised a stay at the Chiltern Firehouse in Marylebone. This was particularly special as the building holds wonderful memories for…

Six d.o.g.s Garden, Athens

An amazing subterranean urban hang out
by Mike Ingall

The great thing about economic disruption is that the creatives get to have a say and none more so than in Athens where the green shoots in the F&B world have reached this once great City. The area around Monastiraki on the way to Psirri is starting to resemble the all too familiar city hipster zones. However, in this city it seems the gay community could be leading it to better things, and several of the cooler spots and the newly trading independents leading the show appear to be that way inclined.

We didn’t dwell at the door of Six d.o.g.s to find out, it is simply too good, we dived straight in to this amazing subterranean urban hang-out. You enter through a garage, and end up in a world of Babylon gardens, tiered against historic buildings and historic walls, where indoor outdoor event spaces buzz around a garden of surprise.

Six d.o.g.s and the Garden started  in 2010, and has evolved ever since. It is a charismatic 600 m2 outdoor café and bar and event venue in Athens. Located within a 5 minute walk from Onastiraki metro,  n the edge of the Psirri district, the garden is accessible via a dirty side road leading you into what you think will be Stelios’s lock up, but then a neon sign directs you down the stairs to a place that genuinely is a secret hideout and is surrounded by charmingly dilapidated old buildings.

The intervention in the garden of the six d.o.g.s. cultural centre in Athens, returns the site to its natural state. The garden’s focus is on space and merging a popular all day café bar , but a night time place to be, within a natural setting. The wooden bar and furniture plus simple lights hanging from the trees makes for a tranquil space, an oasis amongst the cement filled city of Athens –it is a sophisticated version of a ‘ruin bar’. The space is home to a number of great events including live music, theatre, parties, club nights, and much more. As a local it is a place for taking time out, as a tourist you feel like you are part of something secret and exciting – it is well worth a visit.

1 3 4 5