Reviews

Cruise ship review: MSC Bellissima

Overall score 9/10

Bellissima, sister ship to Meraviglia, was christened by screen goddess Sophia Loren in Southampton earlier this month. Passengers can meet the world’s first “virtual cruise assistant”, Zoe, enjoy two new exclusive shows by Cirque du Soleil, and the longest interactive LED dome at sea. Bellissima is sailing in the Mediterranean this summer.

https://www.telegraph.co.uk/travel/cruises/cruise-ship-reviews/cruise-ship-review--msc-bellissima/

Jammin' in Jamaica

One Love...

Tune into 'Jammin’n Jamaica' with yours truly at Women’s Radio Station for the low down on the island of all right, where you’re assured of a welcome as warm as the weather:

http://womensradiostation.com/podcast/talking-travel-jamming-in-jamaica/

The finest new ships on 2019's river cruises

We round up the river cruise ships coming to a port near you.

River cruises are on the rise… a record 210,400 Brits took a river cruisein 2017, an increase of 21 percent year-on-year and a much higher rate of growth compared with 2016, according to figures from Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) UK. Little wonder then that river cruise operators can't build ships fast enough. 

https://www.telegraph.co.uk/travel/cruises/news/as-the-demand-for-river-cruises-rises-so-do-the-ship-options/

Little Black Book to London 2018

Londoners don’t know how to stay in - and why should we? In a city where every evening brings another pop up bar or bijoux bakery, there’s simply far too much fun to be wrung out of the city.
Here’s our guide to the capital’s coolest new spots

 

Kettner's
Iconic London venue Kettner's has flung open its doors following a two year refurbishment by The Soho House Group and early reviews are glowingly good.
Kettner's - whose high profile past guests include Agatha Christie, Winston Churchill and Oscar Wilde - now houses a champagne bar (that’s open until 2am) and a restaurant serving French comfort fare. Expect a Vol-au-vent of kidneys, sweetbreads, black truffle and vegetables, Omelette with smoked eek and hollandaise and Poulet de Bresse au foin (chicken cooked in hay) - all washed down with Ruinart.
If you’ve overdone the drinking, wander upstairs to the 33 bedrooms which boast William Morris wallpaper, twenties chandeliers and velvet fringed armchairs.
Kettners Townhouse, 29 Romily Street, London, W1D 5HP (http://kettnerstownhouse.com/)


Dominique Ansel

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Cafes and coffee shops abound all over the capital but the buzz right now is  about Dominique Ansel - the first London branch of the famous New York bakery.
On arrival, chances are you’ll be dazzled by the display of Cronuts ®  - a croissant-doughnut hybrid created and cannily trademarked by Monsieur Ansel. We doubt there’s a single food group in them but even girls who survive on a diet of spirulina and soups, have been known to go loopy over one of the most talked about sweet treats in history.
Once you’ve managed to drag yourself away from the cake counter, sink into plush banquette seating and wait for your goodies to arrive. In addition to the celebrated Cronuts, there’s the ‘DKA’, a caramelised deep-fried croissant and Dosa Mille Feuille - Puff pastry dosa shell, hazelnut coffee, whipped chantilly, lemon curd and candied lemon peel - to get stuck into, as well as a good selection of sandwiches and soups (we can vouch for the Avocado toast and Creamy roasted pumpkin & Yorkshire soup).
Cappuccino (£3) and a Cronut (£4.80) here can be a pricey experience, but it is special and staff are charming.
21 Elizabeth Street, London, SW1W 9RP (http://dominiqueansellondon.com/)


The Blues Post

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The folks behind Barbary London and The Palomar have opened The Blue Posts - a three storey food and drink emporium over on Rupert Street.
The ground floor is given over to a pub boasting a menu of independently brewed cask ales, craft beers & ciders including Mondo Brewing’s flavourful Denis Hopp’r, Sussex SeaCider, and  ‘World’s Best Pale Ale’ winner Sambrook’s Wandle.
More of an oenophile? Head upstairs to The Mulwray - a stylish cocktail lounge (expect a marble-clad bar and comfy velvet seats) where the drink to order is Forget It Jake, aka a Margarita with a twist.
Last but not least there’s Evelyn Table - a teensy, tiny 11-seater restaurant, led by The Barbary’s head chef Nacho Pinilla specialising in Modern European plates that all scream for attention.
Encompassing all things under one roof, this quirky, unconventional place shows what it’s possible to do with an old Boozer. Someone has done their homework here and it definitely shows.
28 Rupert Street, W1D 6DJ (http://theblueposts.co.uk/)


Hoppers
 

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If you have ever visited Sri Lanka and want to recapture that feeling, head here.
The Sethis, who are basically Midases of the restaurant world having brought us Gymkhana, Bubbledogs and Bao to name but a few, have opened a second branch of Hoppers - their acclaimed Sri Lankan restaurant.  Happily however for those who are averse to queing for hours on end, the new outpost is bookable.
Hoppers 2.0 is spread over two floors, with an extra 16 seats outside and a private dining area split into four private dining ‘vaults’.
The menu features signature Hoppers dishes from the original site in Soho - read String hoppers ( a bowl shaped breakfast dish made from fermented rice and coconut batter and filled with curry) and hearty mix of rice and curries, as well as new dishes such as Jaffna beef rib fry and Tuna and tapioca cutlets with avocado sambol.
Finish with a sensational watalapam - spiced ‘set’ coconut custard that’s addiction on a plate. If you’re in St Christopher’s Place this is a culinary must.
77 Wigmore Street, W1U 1 QE (ww.hopperslondon.com)


Jack Solomons
There’s a new speakeasy bar in town: take a bow Jack Solomans which opened at the end of 2017, on Soho’s Great Windmill Street.
Inspired by the legacy of Jack Solomons, an iconic Soho character whose boxing gym was located here throughout the 1940s and 50s, Jack Solomons Club epitomise a bygone era of London clubs: look out for the pewter-metal bar counters, shaded velvet furnishings and red leather walls.
Entry is via a hidden door accessed via an after-hours street-side deli, that brings you to the bar area where a live band play. Descending the stairs you’ll pass a glass wall peering into the neighbouring kitchen’s butchery chamber before reaching the basement - home to a subterranean speakeasy cocktail club to one side, and dance floor to the other.
Even better? Entrance to this pleasure pit is absolutely free, all of which means that a night out in Soho doesn’t necessarily equal financial destitution.
41 Great Windmill Street, W1D 7NB (www.jacksolomons.com)

View the post at: http://www.justabouttravel.net/2018/01/25/little-black-book-to-london-2018/

RAK fireworks clinch Guinness world record

Ras Al Khaimah (RAK) - one of the seven emirates that makes up the United Arab Emirates - now holds the record for the world's largest fireworks aerial shell, according to Guinness.

Powered by 1,089.545kg of fireworks, the New Year’s Eve extravaganza lasted over 10 minutes and was witnessed by hundreds of thousands of revellers.

The record trumps the 2014 title set by the Kounosu fireworks festival in Sitama, Japan, which saw 464.826kg of firecrackers launched on 11 October  2014.

RAK’s shell reached a whopping 1,100 metres from the ground to the top-end of the display, measured 1km in diameter and took 15 seconds to reach its apex - before bursting into a kaleidoscope of colour.

But it’s not just record setting fireworks that have thrust Ras Al Khaimah firmly onto the world stage. The Middle Eastern emirate has also hit the headlines, having been selected as the host of World World Travel Awards Middle East Gala Ceremony 2018 (https://www.worldtravelawards.com/event/middle-east-2018).

Graham Cooke, Founder and President of World Travel Awards – widely dubbed the Oscars of the travel industry – said: “It will be an honour for World Travel Awards to visit Ras Al Khaimah for the first time in April 2018.

“Described as ‘the rising emirate’, RAK offers an enticing combination of luxury, outdoor activities, sandy beaches along the Persian Gulf, stunning scenery and a history stretching back 7,000 years.

“Make no mistake: this little know emirate will soon rival Dubai and Abu Dhabi as a hot UAE holiday destination.”

https://plus.google.com/+worldtravelawards/posts/GhKEEhXroZ3