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Gekko is the Daily Mail’s Website Of The Week

The Daily Mail is currently featuring Gekko as its Website Of The Week.

Their travel journalist Fred Mawer wrote: “I imagined that I was after a hotel in Barcelona. I’ve visited Madrid recently, and came across a great little trendy but affordable hotel called Abalu. Would Gekko be able to come up with somewhere similar in Barcelona? In a word, yes. It picked out hotels such as Chic & Basic Born and the Market in the Catalan capital, which I know are intimate, trendy and affordable, as I’ve visited them.” He described Gekko as “inspiring and easy to use.”

Read the whole article here.


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Below Zero restaurant and bar, by London Appetizer

We’re always on the look out for the best bloggers in the restaurant and hotel industry, and Piers from London Appetizer has to be up there with the very best. Piers was the first restaurant blogger in London, starting out back in 1996, so he’s a true expert in his field.  Below is a restaurant review that he wrote for Below Zero, in Heddon Street in London.  For more restaurant reviews and industry news, have a look a London Appetizer let us know what you think.

Below Zero, Heddon St, London. Written by London Appetizer

A subterranean secret to some, a hidden gem to others, the temperature has been raised at belowzero, London’s favourite restaurant and lounge bar.  Located beneath bustling, vibrant Heddon Street, belowzero has reached new heights with the appointment of Head Chef, Sean Marshall, and the opulent transformation of the interior.

Marshall brings a wealth of experience to the role having worked at Prism, Oxo Tower, Bank and Mint Leaf. His new modern European menu showcases his excellent and varied cooking skills whilst being driven by quality, seasonal ingredients. This, shared with Marshall’s passion for innovative combinations of flavours and textures, positions belowzero as a destination restaurant.

Typical starters include pan-fried red mullet, warm blood orange and red onion salad with saffron orange oil; seared Scottish scallops with Arbroath smoky and parsnip purée; as well as lavender smoked wood pigeon with caramelised black figs, wild mushrooms and blackberry jus.
Main courses feature must-try pistachio and sage crusted lamb rack with spiced sweet potato, spring greens, morels and port and bacon marinated kidneys; line caught seabass with stuffed steamed baby cabbage, girolle and cockle butter; or pan fried fillet of venison with seared foie gras, walnut braised red cabbage, beetroot and cranberry compote and a rioja jus. Whole lemon sole, swordfish, rib-eye steak and maize-fed chicken are also available from the grill, each served with capanota and sauce vierge.

Inventive and decadent desserts include cardamom and star anise mousse with spinach genoise and lime leaf anglaise; white chocolate fondant with szechuan ice cream and crystallised fruits; or banoffee cheesecake with rich butterscotch sauce and home-made banana sorbet.
The menu is complemented with a strong and extensive international wine list, with many bins under £30. Alternatively blow the budget with stars of the show such as Shiraz, Penfolds Grange Hermitage, South Australia, 1995 or Mouton Rothschild, Aile D’Argent, Pauillac First Growth, Bordeaux 1996.
The lounge bar at belowzero takes cocktails to another level with its talented bar team, contemporary concoctions
and its comprehensive premium and super premium spirits list, which includes Absolut 100, only available at 100 bars in the world. Unique creations include ‘Ultimat Mochatini’ – Ultimat Chocolate Vanilla vodka, white cacoa liquer and coffee jelly or ‘Sagini’ -Whitley Neill gin, Pimm’s No. 1, fresh sage leaves and pomegranate juice.

For the rest of the article, please visit London Appetizer

Thanks to Piers for the review.  Visit the superb London Appetizer
and see what else he has to offer.  You can thank us later.

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London 2012: 5 top hotels for the Olympics

The big news in the hotel world this week is that Holiday Inn has signed a deal to become the official hotel sponsor for the 2012 London Olympics. As everyone knows, the Olympics is a huge marketing tool so there’s no doubt that the partnership will benefit both sides.

Holiday Inn will hopefully be able to provide an affordable option for the spectators travelling to London to watch the games. We’ve also selected five other top hotels that will be perfect for witnessing the world’s biggest sporting spectacle.

1: Athenaeum Hotel and apartments

Athenaeum Hotel and Apartments

If you’re truly into the spirit of the Olympics (yet want to be able to escape the bustle occasionally), there’s no more appropriately named venue to stay then the Atheneum. If you want to spend your time during the Olympics in a luxurious and stylish hotel, look no further. Sure, you’re in the city for the Olympics, but at some point you’ll want to get away, and the Atheneum does not disappoint in this department. The historic, privately owned hotel is located opposite Green Park on bustling Piccadilly. Hyde Park is 500 metres away and Piccadilly Circus is half-a-mile away. Buckingham Palace, Harrods and Oxford Street, the country’s biggest shopping street, are within a mile, as is Westminster Abbey.

2: Knightsbridge hotel

Knightsbridge Hotel

Do you want to see the games, but stay in a quiet neighbourhood? Have a look at the Knightsbridge Hotel.  Situated in a quiet cul-de-sac with incredibly stylish and modern decor, the Knightsbridge Hotel is the perfect modestly-priced entree into one of the most expensive neighborhoods in the world. In fact the Knightsbridge is the ideal shopper’s hotel, a sort of junior version of its sisters, Covent Garden and Charlotte Street, with a correspondingly lower nightly rate, leaving plenty of room on the credit cards for expeditions to Harrods and Harvey Nichols, as well as the shops of Sloane Street and Brompton Cross.

3: Sanderson Hotel
Sanderson Hotel

If you’re looking for a lively atmosphere in the evenings, look no further than the chic Sanderson Hotel in Soho. With a happening bar in the evening, a great Malaysian-European restaurant and a Dali inspired lobby, the hotel certainly is different. For those of you wanting to escape the norm, this is a definite must-see.

4:  K West Spa and Hotel
K West Spa and Hotel

Looking for an ultra-modern hotel close to some top london attractions? Then the K West Spa is for you.  With great transport links to get you too and from the Olympic venues, yet far enough removed to get you away from the crowds, the K West is a superb (and affordable) place to stay for the Games. The glass-fronted  hotel was opened in 2001 and features tiny televisions in the walls of the lobby and corridors. The minimalist lobby is flooded with natural light. The Kanteen restaurant on the mezzanine floor serves modern international dishes like seared fillet of tuna Nicoise and buffalo mozzarella with figs. Glass bricks enhance the feeling of light and space. Guests can sip cocktails while relaxing on brown leather sofas by the open fireplace in the K Lounge. Light meals including Thai curries are also served here throughout the day.The K West hotel has a business centre and wireless Internet access in public areas.The K Spa offers holistic treatments like Reiki, reflexology and hot stone treatment. It also has a dry floatation tank and double therapy room. Finally, there are three large exercise rooms offering weight machines and free weights, cardiovascular machines and daily classes, including yoga. Perfect to unwind after a long hot day in the stadium.

5:  Hempel Hotel
Hempel Hotel

Watching the Olympics over a number of days is one of the most exciting things to do, but with long days in a hot stadium, swarming crowds and busy transport systems, it can be tiring ans stressful. Therefore, why not stay at the Hempel Hotel near Kensington Gardens? The Hempel Hotel is home to its well-known Zen Garden, a large ornamental garden in front of the hotel. This beautifully sculpted garden is for the exclusive use of guests and has played host to various celebrity weddings and photo shoots. The Hempel Hotel’s interior boasts an original conceptual design. The sparse, dreamlike lobby features a Portland stone floor, sunken seating areas with Indonesian ox-cart tables and two wide fireplaces. Simple, natural colors and a lack of signs and door handles adds to the sense of tranquility. An atrium provides natural light to the interior, and suspended walls increase the feeling of space. Finally, you can enjoy Italian-influenced Thai cuisine in the polished, monochrome I-Thai restaurant, and can also relax amid the Zen Garden’s herb-filled borders.

Ryan Visser

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