Boro Hotel, New York

Boro Hotel, New York

  • July 1, 2020

Boro Hotel

Words, Photos & Filming by Abi
Editing by Nicolee Tsin

On recent trips to New York, exploring outside of the main manhattan island has been a focus of mine; One of the first hotels I discovered when doing this was Boro. This Long Island City (though some people argue it’s Queens..) spot, is clean, open, moody & perfect if you’re looking for something a bit more affordable, well by New York City standards at least.

Alright guys, I present to you Boro Hotel..

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Price
For the most part, it’s very affordable, especially when compared to boutique hotels in New York. We paid around £130 per night & the security deposit is $100 per night.

Food
Their menu is very limited, so I’d definitely suggest eating out. This being said, I tried a few of their dishes including their chocolate chip pancakes & a sandwich of some kind..anyway, both were pretty incredible and I don’t usually like sandwiches, so that’s saying something..

Staff
Friendly and always ready to help with amenities like clothes rails, fridges, microwaves and such. I will say the general hotel feels slightly more like a serviced apartment, in that the staff can’t help you with too many things outside of sourcing amenities. There is no doorman or person to help with luggage and it seems like the team is quite small, so requests such as room service can take quite a while. So if you’re quite low maintenance and don’t require too many services, then you’ll be happy with Boro.

Location
Not quite as gentrified as near by areas like Williamsburg, Long Island City/Queens nonetheless has a good crop of nice restaurants and parks to keep you busy, so it’s a great place to stay in. In other words, don’t worry that it’s not Manhattan or Brooklyn, you’ll be fine but should you get bored, you’re only a 20 minute subway ride away from Times Square.

Transport to Manhattan
39th Avenue (5 minute walk) — N or W train to Manhattan (20 minutes)

21St – Queensboro Plaza (10 minute walk) — 7 train to Manhattan (10 minutes)
..so transport wise, you’re all good.

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Tips

• Their twin rooms are pretty big, which is great but none have the awesome brooklyn view, so just keep that in mind.

• On a few of the top floors, you’ll find shared seated balcony’s where you can enjoy the view and hang out, so even if you’re on a lower floor or don’t have a great view these are fully accessible 24/7 for all guests, just ask member of staff which floors you can find them on.

• Their roof top is an amazing place to hang out and work especially during the day before it becomes a bar. Oh & just to be clear, when it becomes a bar the vibe is pretty great too, serving $10 cocktails & $5 beers.

Boro Hotel
Address:
38-28 27th Street 

Long Island City, NY 11101
Phone: +1 718 433 1375

Listening..

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and that's Boro.

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Grimaldi’s At 11 Howard Hotel

Grimaldi’s at 11 Howard Hotel

  • June 30, 2020
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Grimaldi's
at 11
Howard Hotel

Words & Photos by Abi

Comfortably sitting a top an open double decker tour bus zooming through Brooklyn at around 8pm on a November evening, our tour guide casually mentions that if we wanted the best pizza in New York, we’re going to simply have to head to Grimaldi’s on Front St; sure there’s always a long line but it’s totally worth it.

I jot this tip down in my notes.

As our tour bus does a U-turn and heads back to Times Square, our guide randomly adds, “Oh remember, that Pizza place I told you guys to head to in Brooklyn”, we all nod; “Well there’s actually a small & basically unknown branch here on 6th avenue; the pizza is just as great and theres never a line”

The next evening, i’m about to order room service from the 11 Howard, a chic Soho based hotel I was staying in, but then I think, hey, 6th Avenue isn’t too far.

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Could tonight be the night, for Grimaldi’s I wondered..

Two uber rides & $18 (ex tax) later; I’m back at the hotel, greeted by the hotel’s front desk staff, who remarked “Ahh Grimaldi’s, great choice Ms Omole, enjoy!”

Was it worth the mini shlep? Heck yes it was.

– Abi

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Grimaldi’s

656 6th Ave, 10011

11 Howard Hotel

11 Howard Street, 10013

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Here’s One I Made Earlier..

Here’s one I made earlier..

  • June 30, 2020
Grants Whisky-7

Here's one I made earlier..

Words & Photos by Abi

What comes to mind when you think of a whiskey cocktail?

I have a feeling the words light, refreshing and subtly sweet, are not what you had in mind.

Inspired by the playful interiors of the Le Pigalle Hotel, I wanted to make a modern cocktail for my night in Paris…and for future nights to come.

Scroll down for the details…

Ingredients:

 

Pink grapefruit juice – about half of the glass 

Sweet with a vibrant colour.

Elderflower pressé – however much you like really..

Adds a light dreamy touch.

Sugar syrup – a healthy dose

For a punch of sweetness.

Grant’s Whiskey – max 2 shots per glass

The Scots know how to make a good whiskey!

 

You’ll notice my measurements are pretty relaxed, so just have fun with it & add more of the elements you like & make sure all of your ingredients are chilled, otherwise it’ll taste a little funny.

Well, let us know if you give this recipe a try!

– Abi

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Dining At Nobu Hotel, Shoreditch

Dining at Nobu Hotel, Shoreditch

  • June 30, 2020
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Dining at Nobu Hotel, Shoreditch

Words & Photos by Abi

So was it worth it? Is it ever worth it with Nobu? Look, on a basic level, to me, no, it wasn’t worth it, but on an ingredient and technique level, i’m sure the price is somewhat justified. Whether I can or can’t afford, I will always feel like expensive places will have to work so damn hard for me to understand why what they’re about to serve me is costing me 10 times the amount I could pay at a local spot. To be fair, the food was quite nice but I think it was the £19 for two beef skewers that killed it for me. When you’re going to charge that much for so little, that better be the best damn beef i’ve ever had.

It was not.

The service was essentially perfect and the general hotel staff were really helpful, so my overall experience was not only nice but left a good enough impression on me, to add it to my list of “go-to” places in East London.

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The desserts were quite impressive and perhaps even the highlight of the meal. I would easily go back or stop by if I was in the area to have the Vanilla Miso Tart with a scoop of their matcha ice-cream.

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NOBU

Address: 10-50 WILLOW STREET,
LONDON EC2A 4BH, UK

Site: Nobuhotelshoreditch.com

Phone: +44 207 683 1200

 

 

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The Gardener’s House

The Gardener’s House

  • June 28, 2020

Sliding ungraciously out of a white minivan that was filled with props & a production crew, I found myself standing at the top of a promising garden in somewhere in Tahannaout ~ I say promising because you could tell that so much had been planted over the recent years and in time, once nature had done her thing, it would become a floral paradise.

Walking across the stony path and into the main house, through the curved doors, the extraordinary combination of mid century furniture alongside bold fabrics & colours, quite literally blew my mind. We so carelessly throw around the term “instagramable”, essentially insinuating that a photo MUST be taken of the space but here, I was so torn between getting the perfect shot and just enjoying the moment – I ended up spending the first 20 minutes just walking around, taking it all in, with my hands firmly sitting in my pockets.

Every corner, every set-up, was different & exciting. It’s not often that I truly fall in love with a place, especially when I haven’t even had the chance to develop memories or attach sentiment to the surroundings.

Because of the circumstances, a photoshoot, it meant we had full access to the house & could explore all it had to offer. Each of the 5 bedrooms were calm & inspiring. They all had this welcoming nature to them and I found myself laughing at the idea of trying to decide which as my favourite. Though my visit only lasted around 4 hours, it’s safe to say The Gardener’s House left an impression on me. Here’s a little more about the  house, should you want to stay there:

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Price
You’ll find that prices in Marrakech are very reasonable, especially if you are used to the big city prices of London & NYC. One night here is €140 & includes breakfast. There is a minimum 3 night stay requirement but honestly, I’m not sure if that’ll be enough. Other costs include lunch which is €15 & dinner, €30.

Activities
They offer guided hikes & cooking classes, so though you’ll probably be visiting to relax, there are a couple nice potential additions to your schedule.

Location
Located in Tahannaout, the house is around an hour long drive away from the city centre of Marrakech. What this means is that you’re a little further from all of the action but very close to the Atlas mountains & Berber Villages, both being some of my favourite places to visit in Morocco.

Extras
Bookings also include:
A daily shuttle to and from the Jemaa el-Fna city center
Complimentary tea, coffee, water and milk for your arrival at the house.
Free WIFI
Regular cleaning by our housekeeper.

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The Gardener’s House

Tahannaout, Morocco

For more details & to enquire about a stay, head to their site thegardenershouse.com

Listening to..

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The Charlie, West Hollywood

The Charlie, West Hollywood

  • June 25, 2020

The sky had just cleared from a light spring shower and as I walked into this West Hollywood hideaway, the glistening leaves, the wet iron door handles & the LA sun shining through the trees, all created a strong sense of romanticism. I don’t think my introduction to The Charlie, could have been any more perfect.

In true LA style, I arrived late as I got stuck on the freeway but in that moment I didn’t really care, sure I missed valuable time in what I could tell would soon be one of my favourite hotels but I was here, so I focused on that.

The lady at the reception helped me with my silver suitcase & walked me to my room, The Dylan. Now you should know that each room & bungalow here, has the name of a celebrity that once resided in them.

I’m not too sure which famous Dylan my room is named after but some of the other rooms have slightly more obvious names ~ including the likes of Marilyn, Valentino, Gregory & of course, Charlie.

Now Charlie Chaplin didn’t just reside in his namesake bungalow, he actually owned the whole property around the 1930s. I felt a hum of excitement thinking about of all of the crazy & incredible things that must have happened on these grounds. The parties, the meetings, the sordid romances ~ this perfectly hidden but so central place had some of the greatest stars that ever lived, stay there & it’s definitely one of the reasons The Charlie is so special ~ well, at least to me.

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Price
Naturally different room levels have different associated costs ~ when I stayed in the Dylan (which is categorised as one of the smaller rooms) it was around £200 per night but what I’ve come to know is that prices hugely differ depending on when you go & their capacity, sure this is a basic statement but what I’m trying to say is you could get a really great deal. I recently went to book The Charlie Bungalow (one of their bigger rooms) and I saw it for £280 on Tablet Hotels when it’s usually £450..

Staff
To be honest my only encounters with the staff was when I checked in & checked out and on both occasions, they were lovely. 

Food
They fully stock the fridge with drinks & there is a basket filled with cookies, crisps etc. The prices weren’t the usual “scary hotel” prices, so I actually went through quite a few things & discovered/fell in love with Martinelli’s Apple Juice during my first visit a few years back. Besides this, there’s no on-site catering, but you’re in the heart of West Hollywood, so you have options, plus theres a fully functioning kitchen, so there was a lot of pasta making whilst I was there.

Location
If you know LA, you’ll know walking around is a rarity but with West Hollywood there are a lot more pavements and cool places near by, so its actually one of the best places to stay if you want to explore a little on foot, with the likes of Melrose Place just being a 10 minute walk away.

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Tips

 Though I love booking with Tablet, The Charlie is one of those hotels that actually has some great deals & advantages when you book with them directly, like late check-out’s & free parking, so I’d check their rates directly when booking – this is something I rarely suggest with hotels.

 Either before or during your trip, do some grocery shopping & have home-cooking filled night. The kitchen has all of the essentials you need and it’s quite nice staying in a old Hollywood bungalow enjoying a home cooked meal.

 The roof deck, though directly outside of the Valentino room, is actually communal, so make use of the usually sun filled, open space!

The Charlie
Address:
819 N Sweetzer Ave,
Los Angeles, 90069

Phone: +1 (323)-988-9000

Listening to..

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Frenchie

Frenchie

  • June 25, 2020

Frenchie

16 Henrietta St, Covent Garden, London, WC2E 8QH

A favourite of ours, located in Covent Garden, Frenchie has a relaxed elegance to it, making it perfect for a business meeting or first date.

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The Dewberry, Charleston

The Dewberry, Charleston

  • June 20, 2020

The Dewberry

Never have I come across a hotel that has been able to capture the magic of a sunset so well. The rich colours and materials that fill The Dewberry make this Meeting Street spot perfect for those seeking some modern southern charm.

The founder, John Dewberry’s clear eye for detail is evident through every aspect from the furniture to the contents of the minibar, and showcases Charleston from a uniquely personal perspective.

Beyond its general perfection, there is a sense of joy as you wander the hallways and bump into staff. It feels like a different era, a time when everyone was family, whether you knew each other or not. For a hotel to embody and evoke such emotion is pretty special.

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Price
Entry level rooms average out at around £230 per night. During our visit over Thanksgiving, it was £320 but then I was upgraded, to the Charleston Flat from a Signature King, which was a welcome surprise. The Charleston Flat is their best room & probably one of the best hotel rooms I’ve ever stayed in – full stop.

Food
It’s not often we find a hotel that serves food that is equally, if not better than the exciting local go-to restaurants. Whether it’s breakfast or dinner, I was impressed with the dining options, which was a great bonus because the rooms are so perfect you don’t want to leave & with a sweet range of meals, you never have to. (ok, just kidding, you should explore, because Charleston is awesome but you know what I mean).

Staff
In a sharp contrast to most of these new “modern luxury” hotels like PUBLIC and Ace Hotels, the Dewberry is all about incredible service and so from the moment you arrive on their door step, everything, and I mean everything is handled. It’s a great feeling when you really feel like you’re being taken care of and all this money you’re spending on something so disposable is actually worth it. I am rarely impressed by staff in hotels anymore, as I find they strive to ensure the basics are met, but with the Dewberry team, there is a real sense of going above and beyond to ensure everything is not just great, but perfect.

Location
Situated in what I would deem as a pretty central location, I found myself walking along King Street (the main fashion road) within minutes of leaving the hotel. From here, it’s an easy 30 minute walk to White Point Garden which is the tip of the city. Along the way you pass all of the historical attractions, buildings & churches and see what I would refer to as “typical Charleston”. Now don’t misinterpret my words; it may be typical but it’s all still quite incredible.

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Tips

• They have a great spa filled with a cool edit of beauty products; amongst the brands, you’ll find a personal favourite of mine, VOYA. When it comes to treatments, outside of the signature massages, I’d suggest the Calming Lavender Sugar Scrub, but i’m a major sucker for all things lavender so..

• If you have time, ask one of the many members of staff for a tour. They know so much about the hotel and the city, that it’s a great way to really appreciate the work it took, to create a hotel of this magnitude.

• Getting around Charleston in my opinion is pretty easy. If the weather is good & you’re wearing sensible shoes, you’ll be fine to walk around the whole city in a few hours. This being said, The Dewberry does have a house car, so check in with the Concierge should you want a complimentary ride to a local restaurant, museum or general attraction.

The Dewberry
Address:
334 Meeting St,
Charleston, SC 29403, USA

Phone: +1 843 558 8000

Listening to..

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Saw You In A Dream

Saw you in a dream

  • May 15, 2020
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Ghost


Any fragrance that is designed to “encapsulate the pink clouds of a hazy sunset and the light rippling of water” sounds pretty good to me. GHOST Dream is my newest daily go to. It’s a lightweight fragrance – hitting just the right notes of floral yet fresh. As you guys know, finding fragrances that are timeless is a hobby I hold dear, so this is kind of a big deal.

– Abi

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Grants, The Modern Way.

Grants, The Modern Way.

  • May 10, 2020

~ in paid partnership with Grant’s Whisky~

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Grants, The Modern Way

Let me take you on a little trip..

Picture this, you’re in a vast but cosy little town, in the middle of Scotland called Dufftown. You’re there to learn, encourage, take part & generally douse yourself in some strong whisky heritage. Why?

Well, because Grant’s is searching for a new Global Brand Ambassador and this extraordinary role has a pretty cool interview.  There are no CVs or cover letters, Grant’s are testing the candidates in a range of areas from their creativity to improvisation to how they handle near on impossible communication dilemmas, and you’re here to help them find the ultimate candidate for the job.

As a creative, naturally you’ll be focusing on the candidates’ ability to produce something out of nothing. You’ll be looking at how they improvise whilst clearly communicate their ideas & of course, have fun.

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To celebrate the 110th anniversary of Charles Gordon introducing Grant’s Whisky to the world, the new Global Brand Ambassador will recreate his original year-long journey. With this in mind, the challenges that have been set really focus on communication, team work and aspects that are important to being a global citizen, ergo a global ambassador.

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You spend a few days getting to know the candidates, learn from them, grow fond of them, all whilst actually developing your own knowledge of Whisky & the Grant’s family.

Alas, once the challenges finish and the fun times become distant memories, it’s time for you to go home but for the final 3 contestants the journey has truly just begun.

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