Luxury for Less in Hungary

Those looking to enjoy a luxurious break without the price tag should look no further than Hungary, a destination which offers visitors the chance to holiday in the lap of luxury at a fraction of the cost of other European capitals.  With several deluxe properties in and around the vibrant capital Budapest, visitors can choose from trendy design-led hotels, to historic city dwellings as a luxurious base from which to explore the city and its surroundings.


Whether it’s enjoying a deluxe spa break in spring or experiencing the city’s gastronomic highlights in summer, Budapest offers an abundance of unique cultural experiences as well as outstanding value for the luxury market.

Here’s a few of our favourites to consider…

Lánchíd 19 Hotel 4* Design By The Danube
Named after Budapest’s famed “Chain Bridge” which spans the Danube, the Lánchíd 19 is a contemporary highlight in a neighbourhood of predominantly 19th century architecture, highlighting the modern and traditional contrasts which characterise much of Budapest. Situated at the feet of the Buda Royal Castle, the hotel is ideally located for exploring the city on foot. The hotel itself offers stunning vistas from all its rooms, though little can match the majestic views across Margaret Island and the Danube from Panorama Suite, which comes at a fraction of the price of similar suites in other European capitals. Even the standard rooms offer stunning river views from one side of the hotel, or look out on to the UNESCO World Heritage listed Buda Royal Castle on the other.

Rooms at the Lánchíd 19 cost from €89 per night, based on two people sharing and including breakfast. The Panorama Suite costs from €316 per night, including breakfast. For more information visit

Danubius Grand Hotel, Margitsziget 4* Traditional Spa Luxury on Margaret Island
The Danubius Grand Hotel lies literally in the heart of the Danube, on Margaret Island, and is the island’s original spa hotel.  Retaining its turn-of-the-century ambience, style and elegance, the Danubius Grand is the perfect location from which to explore the nearby historical sights and city-centre shops, or just to relax and enjoy the luxurious spa facilities.

Two nights’ bed and breakfast at the Danubius Grand Hotel is available from €182, with three nights from €264.  Prices are based on two people sharing.  For more information visit

Continental Hotel Zara 4* City Centre Luxury in Budapest
This new hotel is located in Budapest’s downtown, with 272 rooms from standard to suites, offering guests a luxurious and relaxed environment away from the hustle and bustle of the city centre. Built on the site of the legendary Hungária Spa, the hotel is near to the city’s Jewish quarter, which will enthrall and excite visitors with its atmospheric streets, and unique blend of fantastic restaurants and retro bars.

A superior room with breakfast at the Continental Hotel Zara costs from €75 per night, based on two people sharing.  For more information visit

For more information on Hungary visit

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Luxury for Less: Caspian Caviar

CaviarCaspian Caviar was set up by Suzanne Shepherd because, following a Cordon Bleu degree and years of sampling find foods, she thought Caviar was too delicious to be left in the hands of only a select few who could afford the prohibitively expensive price tag. Her mission was to make it more affordable and more widely available and she’s certainly enjoyed some considerable success.  Over the last ten years Caspian Caviar has become the number one online supplier in the UK and is believed to supply the lowest priced legal caviar in Europe. It is all caught processed and shipped under strict adherence to the CITES rules and regulations.

The online direct delivery service means you can have wild Royal Beluga, as well as the best farmed caviars sourced from across Europe, delivered to your door.  In fact, farmed Beluga is now Caspian Caviar’s most popular brand because it is both delicious and affordable.

To compliment the caviars, there is a whole range of luxury foods, carefully sourced by Suzanne, which again demonstrate that the biggest foodie treats can be affordable. There are fresh black and white Alba Truffles depending on the season, fresh Duck Foie Gras lobes, wonderful smoked salmon, delicious chocolates and specialist vodkas.

To check out the range of luxury food visit

Tel: 01453 844870

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Highlights from Austria’s Idyllic Ischgl

Idyllic Ischgl, located in the Austrian Tyrol, is renowned for its ski slopes and apres-ski nightlife.  However, it also makes an ideal destination for a luxury summer holiday.  The picturesque mountain backdrop, with valleys and waterfalls, is the perfect place for adrenaline junkies, whether you love mountain biking, hiking, rafting or canyoning.  The best bit?  There are plenty of opportunities to enjoy a little pampering at the numerous spas and luxury hotels.  Check out the highlights below…

Traditional Music in the Mountains

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For more information about Ischgl visit

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20 Years of Moschino in Moscow

Opening Boutique Parigi February 2003
Opening Boutique Parigi February 2003

This April the famous GUM department store in Moscow, whose long façade faces Red Square, will host “Inside Moschino,” a retrospective following the Italian brand through the years, from its foundation to the present day. A declared celebration of Moschino’s evolution from its beginnings until the S/S 2010 collection, told through its clothes and accessories, ad campaigns and boutique window displays.

Promoted by Bosco dei Ciliegi, Moschino’s exclusive partner in Russia with two boutiques in Moscow and one in St. Petersburg, the exhibition is housed in the central arcade of GUM with an installation that recreates the entire Moschino world. It starts from the Moschino studio spaces in Milan continuing on to the boutiques, in a faithful reproduction of all the rooms and even including a literal recreation of the doors and windows. The installation is open; in fact, there is no barrier separating the Moschino world from its visitors. They are free to observe how Moschino creativity comes to life and can participate in what takes place behind the scenes of the studio. Furthermore, each visitor will be able to be in direct contact with the collections, the ad campaign images and the window displays.

The window display scenes on exhibit will include two of Moschino’s unforgettable installations: “Assi e Ferri da Stiro” [Ironing Boards and Irons], displayed for the first time at the Moschino boutique on Via Durini in Milan in February 1999; and the recent “Lace,” featured in the window of the boutique on Via Sant’Andrea in Milan in February 2010. Also, the “Ape Piaggio” display, created for the opening of the Paris boutique in February 2003, and “Pigeons,” from the windows of Milan’s La Rinascente department store in Piazza Duomo in February 2009.

Assi e ferro da stiro via Durini February 1999
Assi e ferro da stiro via Durini February 1999

At the centre of the exhibition is a selection of clothes and accessories starting from the historical archives to the more recent collections of Moschino, Moschino CheapAndChic and Love Moschino. In fact, the collections and accessories start with “Borsa-casa” (Autumn/Winter 1998-99) and end with two pieces from “Archivio Moschino,” a label offering historical archival pieces re-interpreted with contemporary silhouettes and proportions, making an appearance on the Spring/Summer 2010 runway. All set against a backdrop of ad campaigns for a truly artistic background.

Russia, 109012
г. Москва, Красная площадь, 3
8 (495) 621-57-63

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The Merchant’s Yard: New Russian Deli, Knightsbridge, London

When I received an email a few weeks ago regarding the opening of a new and luxurious Russian deli in Knightsbridge I was literally thrilled.  Russians are renowned for feasting, from the medieval banquets of Ivan the Terrible to the elaborate political dinners of the communist era.  The Merchant’s Yard deli certainly celebrates this grand Russian tradition.

Owner, Julia Flit, has created a venue for opulent feasts and celebrations, providing shoppers with key Russian ingredients, in addition to an intimate space, ideal for small parties to be introduced to traditional fayre.  The shop contains everything from caviar to beetroot, staples in every Russian kitchen.

The Merchant's Yard, Russian Deli

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The Merchant's Yard, Russian Deli Facade, Knightsbridge, London

The Merchant’s Yard beings the opportunity to try authentic Russian homemade food that the capital has long lacked.  Finally, there is a venue doing real justice to the recipes of established customs, as well as more contemporary interpretations.  While every member of staff is on hand, ready to assist shoppers with every possible question.  Their own enthusiasm for the food is quickly very clear.

What you can expect:

The Deli Counter: Food prepared daily for eat-in or take-out including organic salads, freshly baked breads, cakes, pastries, coffees and teas.

The Grocery: For produce to enhance any table setting including cheeses, organic olives, homemade vegetable dishes, spirits, beers and Russian vodka, Moldavian and Georgian wine.

To Order: Recommendations from the Merchant’s Yard chef, for your own personal needs, when there is no time to cook for guests at home.

Dinners: Every third week of the month, for ten to 12 people, a seasonal menu will be prepared based on the traditions and customs of Russia; enhancing your appreciation and understanding of a style of cooking rooted in history.

The Merchant’s Yard

Purveyors of Russian Foods

41 Beauchamp Place

London SW3 1NX

Tel: 020 3144 0072

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Akvinta Sensory Set

Akvinta Sensory Set
Akvinta Sensory Set

After an exclusive promotion with Virgin Atlantic, Akvinta will be introducing their sensory set to Harrods. The Akvinta Sensory set provides the consumer with a unique experience to bring the senses together and set the scene to enjoy this luxurious and distinctive tasting drink.

Akvinta has a light lemon nose, appealing sweetness, luxurious round mouth-feel and a gloriously smooth finish. Delightfully moreish when drunk neat or over ice, its round, luxurious structure adds quality to cocktails and makes a first class Vodka Martini. It has organic certification from both Europe and the United States, and is also under Kosher supervision.

The beautifully presented coffret, produced in partnership with Arran Aromatics, contains specially developed fig scented candles, a massage soap, and a grapefruit room spray.

Customers will receive a complimentary coffret with the purchase of a 70cl bottle. Additional kits may also be purchased for £18.00.

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A Free Spa Break In Hungary

Balaton-logoRelax, unwind and enjoy the beautiful Lotus Therme Spa in Hungary, for a long weekend before or after Christmas, courtesy of Balaton Spa.

balatonYou will be thoroughly spoilt, as Hungarian hospitality is legendary. You will swim in healing thermal waters that millions of people experience every year from all over the world, to ease their aches and pains, and destress the whole body. You will be pampered with facials and body treatments which have been part of spa culture for centuries, to firm, tone and give you beautifully smooth and youthful skin. How many people can visit the source of their beauty and spa regimes which has taken nature 20,000 years to prepare? And at the end of each day, you will be wined and dined by candlelight, sitting beside the tranquil shores of Lake Balaton, a perfect ending to a perfect day!

Then just before you return home, you will be given complimentary Balaton Spa products to continue using and enjoying in the comfort of your own home, a wonderful ending to an unforgettable spa break.

Balaton Spa customers who purchase any two products between now and the end of November 2009, will automatically be entered into a draw to win this fabulous spa break for two valued at just over £1000. The draw will be held at Balaton Spa offices on the 31st of November at 5pm, and the two winners will be notified by phone and/or email, so that they and their partners can experience a genuine spa break.

To find out all about Balaton Spa products go to the website or email for the Spa break itinerary and terms and conditions.

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Spend September in Slovakia: Bargains from Mountain Paradise & Kempinski


Mountain Paradise is offering four nights accommodation for the price of three, saving £150 per person, plus a buy one spa treatment and get another free offer worth an additional £50 at the newly opened five star Grand Hotel Kempinski in Slovakia’s picturesque High Tatra Mountains.

The deal is valid for travel on the following departure dates: 3, 10, 17, 24 September with a four night break costing just £699 per person, including the discount, return flights to Slovakia from Bristol, London Luton, London Gatwick, Stansted, Glasgow, Edinburgh, Newcastle or Manchester, airport transfers and accommodation in a deluxe double room with breakfast. Mountain Paradise can also organise cultural, walking and activity day trips for those wanting to explore the region.


The Grand Hotel Kempinski, boasts 98 luxurious rooms and overlooks a stunning alpine lake in the mountain resort of Strbske Pleso, providing the perfect location for a relaxing break. Facilities include a superb all day dining restaurant featuring mouth-watering international cuisine and local specialities, two bars and a 1,300 sqm Wellness Centre & Spa offering an indoor pools, steam bath, various saunas, beauty and facial treatments and fully equipped fitness centre.


Despite being in the Euro zone, Slovakia represents excellent value for money with a pint of beer, a vodka, soft drink or large sandwich costing only €1, a main course in a restaurant around €3 and an ice cream just  €0.50.

To find out more visit or telephone 01614 088988

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Lešić Dimitri Palace Redefines Croatian Luxury

Exterior Tower
Exterior Tower

Following four years of meticulous restoration, Lešić Dimitri Palace welcomed its first guests in June 2009.  The five-star boutique retreat is the only elite accommodation between Dubrovnik and Hvar, revolutionising the Croatian luxury market with its unique blend of beautifully preserved medieval history and unparalleled contemporary luxury.

Lešić Dimitri occupies an 18th Century bishop’s palace and five medieval cottages.  The Palace’s history and architecture have been fastidiously maintained and enhanced by world-class luxuries including specialist spa facilities, innovative Dalmatian cuisine and panoramic views over the crystal clear Adriatic waters.  With only six residences, the personalised and intimate service offered by Lešić Dimitri Palace is unmatched.


Read more…

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