All posts filed under: travel guide

Travel: A stay at SP34 hotel in Copenhagen

Travel: An (honest) review of SP34 hotel in Copenhagen

The headboards at boutique hotel SP34 in Copenhagen are possibly the most instragrammed ever. I’d seen plenty of this hotel across social media, so it was first on my list of places to stay when I hopped over to the Danish capital for a work trip last month. The beautiful, minimal design lived up to all my expectations, with its pared-back style and relaxing, muted colours. There were a few things that could be improved that I’ll get onto later, but it’s still one of the best places to stay in the city. Part of the Brøchner Hotels chain, SP34 is designed for ‘luxury bohemians’ with 118 simple yet elegant bedrooms, a cosy entrance lobby and bar, a private cinema for 25 people and access to two stylish restaurants. The hotel, right in the heart of the historic city centre, opened in April 2014 and featured on Condé Nast Traveler’s list of the 60 best new hotels in 2015. Located on Sankt Peders Stræde, the name refers to its address at number 34. The bedrooms are the main draw of SP34. Minimal but refined with a …

travel guide: postcards from Helsinki

Travel: postcards from Helsinki

This year Finland is celebrating 100 years of independence and what perfect excuse to visit its beautiful, harbour-side capital, Helsinki. Just before Christmas last year I headed there for a work trip, I’d been once before in the summer, but this time the white skies seemed to bring out the earthy tones of the buildings and the low sunshine cast long shadows across the cobbled streets. It was certainly crisp and cold, but cosy dips into coffee shops and boutiques thawed the toes and warmed the soul. Slightly overshadowed in many ways by its Scandinavian cousins Stockholm and Copenhagen, it’s taken time for the Finnish city to find its own identity. The country was first governed by Sweden, and then by the Russians, so the city’s architecture sits somewhere in-between east and west, Europe and the Baltics – its neoclassical buildings and long boulevards bear influences from Leningrad and Moscow, while the cathedral was modelled on St Petersburg’s. In the 20th century it was Eliel Saarinen and Alvar Aalto that helped put the city on the map, from Saarinen’s art …

Travel guide, a design packed weekend in Antwerp

Travel Guide: a design-packed bloggers tour of Antwerp

When you think of the design capitals of Europe, cities such as London, Paris, Milan and Stockholm might spring to mind. But, there’s another city out there that should be on that list, the slightly more under the radar Belgian city of Antwerp – a Flemish jewel with an emerging design scene that’s giving others a run for their money. With a strong artisanal heritage and cultural legacy, from the 17th century paintings of Rubens and Van Dyck, through the thriving, polished world of the diamond industry, to its cult status in the fashion world with Belgian fashion royalty Dries van Noten, the merchant city Antwerp has developed into a super stylish cosmopolitan centre. Today, young, emerging Belgian designers are putting their stamp on the city, while contemporary concept stores and gastronomical delights are attracting visitors from across the world. There’s certainly more to the city than frites and beer, there’s culture galore, art and architecture, and design by the bucket load, untapped and waiting to be discovered. In October I visited the city as part of a …

Travel Guide: A design-packed weekend in Copenhagen

Travel Guide: A design-packed weekend in Copenhagen

Copenhagen is certainly one of the most stylish of the Scandinavian cities but it’s not bragging about it or singing it’s own praises. It’s a relaxed, down-to-earth place, with effortlessly well-dressed Danes casually cycling past, bustling cafes spilling out onto the tranquil waterfronts and smart design shops waiting to be explored. Copenhagen ranks high in surveys of quality of life, and it’s not hard to see why the Danes have it so good – that magic formula of good city planning, lively culture, tasty cuisine and a strong emphasis on community. It may have been because it was the summer when I visited in August, but people weren’t rushing about like in London; everyone seemed to be in a calm, quietly content mood, slowly going about their business. The sun was shining and Copenhagen was soaking it up. Copenhagen is a city built on decades of design heritage and culture – from mid-century icons such as Finn Juhl and Arne Jacobsen paving the way, to young contemporary designers like Muuto and Ferm Living making their mark on the city, and indeed the design world, today. …

A weekend in Venice off the beaten track

Travel: a weekend in Venice off the beaten track

Last weekend I was in beautiful Venice for the opening of the architecture biennale. It’s one of my favourite cities in the world – I’ve been a number of times and stayed for five weeks back in 2012, also for the biennale – so returning to the city of water was like coming home. I found myself fitting back in like a local, dusting off some rusty Italian and knocking back the spritz like I had never left… I wanted to share some tips and places to visit off the beaten track and away from the streams of tourists. There’s so much more than San Marco square and the Grand Canal – there’s old palazzos filled with contemporary art; little cicchetti and bacaro bars hidden down alleyways; sunny squares with shuttered windows; ornate medieval churches tucked away behind doors and narrow streets filled with washing lines and buzzing with local life. So put down the map. I really think Venice is best seen by following your feet, and noses for the food of course, wherever they will take you. …

catesthill - Lisbon travel guide

Travel Guide: a cultural weekend in Lisbon

Set over seven rolling hills with vast picturesque vistas, Lisbon is a truly beautiful city. Yellow trams chug up cobbled streets to lofty viewpoints or miradouros, ramshackle orange-roofed houses are painted in perfect pastel shades and clad in ornate patterned azulejo tiles, while sun-drenched terraces provide a welcome resting point along the way. Meandering through back alleys you’ll come across tiny wine bars playing local fado music, historic patisseries and boutiques with wood-panelled cabinets that have remained unchanged for a 100 years, next to shabby-chic shops and bold, colourful graffitied walls. Lisbon’s a bit rough around the edges, but it is charmingly so. I had never been to Portugal but Lisbon had long been on my wishlist to visit. So, when my boyfriend turned the big 3-0 and I wanted to whisk him off for his birthday weekend to somewhere sunny and warm, but not too far away, it seemed like the perfect place to explore, enjoy and indulge ourselves. We’d had quite a stressful few weeks so a couple of days email-free in a pretty city with nothing to do but let …

Paris Je t'aime

Paris Je t’aime

I’ve lost count of the times I’ve been to Paris, the city of Love – with a French other half, it feels like a home away from home. I always love coming back and there’s always new places to discover. Wandering along the Seine, sipping coffee outside a quaint cafe, gazing up at the shuttered windows and coming across pretty quiet corners – Paris is just perfect for a weekend, whether you’re exploring it by yourself or have someone’s hand to hold along the way. Last weekend we hopped on the Eurostar (literally hopped, we live in King’s Cross…) and explored the city like locals. Avoiding the tourist trail and bustling museums, we instead wandered from coffee shop to coffee shop, meeting friends and family en route. The whole weekend revolved around food and drink, from hot chocolate and crepes to a glass of vin (or several…) and oysters – we returned full to the brim and with huge smiles on our faces. Here are some picture postcards from the weekend, along with a couple …

A staycation in London

A staycation in London

Have you ever had a staycation in your own city? It’s always nice to get away, but sometimes just switching off from work mode and exploring a neighbourhood you don’t often venture to can give you a new perspective of the city you live in and leave you feeling refreshed, ready to face the daily grind once again. It was the end of January and we did just that, finishing off the month on a high for a night at citizenM Bankside in south London. Living north of the river, we don’t often go south and I can go for weeks without actually seeing the Thames. Just escaping for the night, not having to put the dishwasher on, tidy up or answer any emails, was a lovely, much-needed break. Going on a Friday night to celebrate the end of the week also made the weekend feel that bit longer. Even just leaving our phones in the room while we went out for dinner made us feel like we had escaped elsewhere and no one could contact us! CitizenM …

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Travel Guide: two days in Nice

Nice is, well, very nice. I headed there for work a couple of weeks back and couldn’t resist extending the trip over the weekend for that last little bit of sunshine before the darker evenings and misty mornings kicked in. With its long, sweeping pebbly beach, stretching along the Promenade des Anglais to the picturesque Old Town (known locally as Le Vieux Nice), it’s the perfect getaway for a mixture of culture and relaxation. I often get a little restless on beach holidays, keen to get up and go explore, wander around art galleries, sample the local cuisine or simply walk around aimlessly soaking up the atmosphere. Nice is definitely a place for art and design lovers, not only does it have some of the best contemporary art galleries and collections outside Paris, there’s a host of cultural gems outside the city centre just waiting to be discovered. You can see Matisse’s chapel in Vence, Jean Cocteau’s murals at Villa Santo Sospir in Saint Jean Cap Ferrat, or Eileen Gray’s modernist masterpiece E-1027 and Le Corbusier’s Le Cabanon Retreat around the coast …

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Travel: St Ives

‘It still makes me feel warm; as if everything were ripe; humming; sunny… The gardens gave off a murmur of bees… The buzz, the croon, the smell… it was rapture.’ Virginia Woolf I’ve been sharing a couple of my stops from my recent trip to Cornwall and the South West in the past few weeks, and this is the final one, the beautiful town of St Ives. The seaside town, just north of Penzance, arcs around a sweeping harbour – fishing boats bob up and down as the tide drifts in and out, children build sandcastles on its strip of golden sand, while cobbled streets lead to picture postcard cottages behind. The stretch of sea is remarkably crystal clear and bright blue, while the smell of sea salt and fish and chips, freshly wrapped in newspaper, lingers in the air. St Ives is a town steeped in art and culture; it attracted artists Ben Nicholson and Barbara Hepworth in the Thirties, while writer Virginia Woolf holidayed in the town as a child, until her mother died when she was …