Over 28.5 million homes in the UK have a television. That is over 95% of UK households owning a TV set. On average we watch over 22.5 hours of TV every week, not including streaming services such as Netflix or Amazon Prime. It’s no exaggeration to say that the world of TV and film influences our lives it’s likely that this includes our travel plans. Here’s our pick of the day for six TV-inspired trips to Europe.
Inspiration: The Great Pottery Throwdown, Emily in Paris, The Queen’s Gambit, James Bond’s Spectre, The World’s Most Scenic Railway Journeys and Gladiator
THE GREAT POTTERY THROWDOWN: Try your hand at a Ceramic workshop in Puglia
Borgo Egnazia is built in the style of a traditional Apulian village. The property is the perfect destination for authentic, local experiences, just less than one hour from both Bari and Brindisi airports. Puglia is very well known around the world as an important pottery production hub, with the craft being one that has been handed down from one generation to another in the region. Borgo Egnazia offers an exclusive ceramic workshop to guests that is only available to their guests, in collaboration with a nearby lab. The experience first starts with a walk with a local guide through the picturesque streets of the historic centre of nearby Monopoli, where nature meets the Romanesque-Puglian architecture. At the end of the walk, guests arrive at a ceramic lab based in an ex-carpentry. Here, guests are greeted by two Puglian women with the same passion, the manufacture of clay. It’s a project born from fun and enjoyment around two years ago, with the intent of keeping alive the art of ceramics, but revisiting the ancient traditions with a modern design and style. Given the discreet success the ladies reached in a short time, they have opened their first laboratory and shop in the centre of Monopoli, from where they offer workshops to Borgo Egnazia guests. During the workshops, all of the various stages of processing are carried out and demonstrated to the guests. Apart from the post-firing laying / cooling phase (which can take days), the guests participate in the “firing” and “potter’s wheel” stages right up to the final phase of “decoration and cold glazing” a small prickly pear shovel, which the guests can take home as a souvenir of their experience.
Details: the workshop is perfect for a family or group of friends – the maximum capacity is 6 guests. In total, the walking experience and workshop takes four hours and costs €275 for the guided walking experience (for the whole group) and €80 per person for the ceramics workshop.
Where to stay: Borgo Egnazia, Puglia offers double rooms in La Corte from €289 per night in low season, on a B&B basis, based on two people sharing, excluding City Tax. For bookings please call +39 080 225 5850 or visit borgoegnazia.com
BE YOUR OWN “EMILY IN PARIS”
One of the few luxury hotels in the city with the Palace distinction, Mandarin Oriental, Paris is superbly located on rue Saint Honoré close to the chic boutiques and moments from the Tuileries Garden and Louvre – perfect to recreate those Insta posts. Inspired by fashion and artistic creativity and underpinned by the brand’s legendary service, this Art-Deco-inspired luxury hotel celebrates the Paris of today – and tomorrow. The 96 elegant rooms and 39 spacious suites offer guests an exceptionally stylish Parisian experience with an homage to couture and a celebration of unique art. The hotel’s most treasured asset is the lush inner garden providing sanctuary from the bustling city and a peaceful dining haven. A wide range of dining options are overseen by acclaimed Chef Thierry Marx, including the two-Michelin starred, fine-dining Sur Mesure; all-day dining Camélia; Cake Shop by Mandarin Oriental; stylish cocktail bar and L’Honoré serving cuisine in the lobby alcoves. Finally, the Spa at Mandarin Oriental offers exceptional wellness and relaxation experiences, in a uniquely serene environment with signature Oriental-inspired treatments and an indoor pool – the perfect spot to unwind after a day exploring the city.
Where to stay: Mandarin Oriental, Paris offers rates from €695 per room per night with their Travel Again offer, which provides guests with 20% off the Best Available Rate. For more information, or to make a booking, please call +33 (0)1 70 98 78 88 or visit mandarinoriental.com/paris
THE QUEEN’S GAMBIT: Rook no further than Forte Village for the perfect holiday with your (check)mates!
The Queen’s Gambit has been viewed by over 62 million people, making it Netflix’s biggest scripted limited series to date. Not an obvious hit, the series led to a flurry of chessboards being given for Christmas and has ignited a worldwide interest in the game of chess.
This summer, perfect your skills at Forte Village’s Chess Academy, which is run by the Russian Chess Legend Anatoly Karpov. Perfect for adults and children alike to train, the 2021 edition of the academy will run from 1 July until 30 August. Karpov was World Champion at the early age of 23 for 10 years, from 1975 to 1985 and will teach participants moves that defeated his rivals and helped achieve his star status.
After the year that we have all had, the tenacity, mental dexterity and grit that chess teaches couldn’t be more pertinent. However, after being limited to our own homes for so long, learning against the backdrop of Sardinia, land of sunshine, white sandy beaches and azure blue sea, couldn’t be more ideal.
Forte Village is located in 120 acres of spectacular subtropical gardens. The resort, open exclusively for its residents, has 11 pools, its Acquaforte Spa that has long been renowned as a pioneer of thalassotherapy, more than 20 bars and restaurants and a plethora of legend-run academies from fencing to boxing to football. In addition to 13 very private villas and 377 bungalows each in its own garden or patio, there are three hotels; Pineta, Villa del Parco, which has rooms and bungalows and is a member of Leading Hotels of the World, and Il Castello.
Where to stay: Forte Village offers stays for a family of four from €810 per night on a half-board basis, one children stays free. Forte Village offers group chess lessons from Monday to Friday for one hour each day and participation in their tournament for €450. One-hour individual lessons for children and adults for €150. Parent and child special package (one-hour individual lesson) for €225. To book visit fortevillageresort.com
JAMES BOND’S SPECTRE: Licence to thrill in Sölden
If you’re a fan of the charismatic super spy James Bond, get yourself to Sölden in Austria which is home to 007 ELEMENTS, a mountaintop James Bond interactive installation in partnership with EON Productions and Miramax Films at over 3,000m! The last Bond film, Spectre was filmed in Sölden and Das Central’s mountaintop restaurant, ice Q, starred as the Hoffler Klinik in the film. James Bond fans can enjoy an unforgettable dining experience at the mountaintop ice Q (the highest gourmet restaurant in the Alps at 3,048m), and feel like 007 sipping martinis on their panoramic terrace with views across Germany, Italy and Austria. Whilst up there, also visit 007 ELEMENTS, the cinematic James Bond installation and only one of its kind. Tickets to 007 ELEMENTS are €22 for adults.
Where to stay: Das Central Hotel is a modern Alpine escape in the heart of Sölden, high in the Austrian Alps. The hotel has a stunning spa with over ten different saunas for relaxing in whilst others take to the slopes. Just one hour from Innsbruck airport, it is possible to get from the UK to the snow in 3 hours. Das Central Hotel has double rooms available from €200 per person per night, based on two people sharing on a half board basis. central-soelden.com
THE WORLD’S MOST SCENIC RAILWAY JOURNEYS: All aboard… Zermatt to St. Moritz
A railway journey through the Swiss Alps has never been so luxurious. The world-famous Glacier Express is a panoramic train ride through the Alpine heartland of Switzerland with spectacular views travelling across 291 bridges and masterly built viaducts, through 91 tunnels and breath-taking gorges between Zermatt and St. Moritz.
Often ranked among the greatest, and slowest, train journeys in the world, end to end, the route takes you through the three cantons of Valais, Uri and Graubünden and runs for eight hours, with gourmet meals served on board, and huge panoramic carriages offering endless views and outstanding comfort.
Just in time for the 90th anniversary of the Glacier Express, all panoramic cars are being renovated to ensure passengers have a more comfortable and pleasant journey. Following the relaunch of the Excellence Class cars in 2019, the newly renovated 1st and 2nd class panoramic cars also leave nothing to be desired.
In addition to a completely new and retrofitted interior, each seat now comes with a power socket and free Wi-Fi. Besides the traditional audio guide, you can now access the newly built-in infotainment system via your smartphone or tablet. This gives you interesting information about the route and allows you to track your location on the map. With a choice of seven different languages, you can be sure to catch all of the many highlights.
In summer there are several Glacier Express trains daily while in winter there is one. Until 1981 the Swiss Glacier Express could only circulate in summer due to the amount of snow and possibilities of avalanches.
Where to stay: Carlton Hotel St. Moritz Surrounded by the peaks of the Upper Engadine and views overlooking the famous St Moritz lake, the Carlton St. Moritz is an exhilarating winter playground. The three level 1200 sqm spa includes six treatment rooms, a steam bath, caldarium, Finnish sauna, hydro-massage showers and ice-fountain is the perfect retreat from an active day learning the Nordic art of cross-country skiing, winter hiking, downhill skiing or attempting the Preda-Bergun toboggan run.
Carlton Hotel St. Moritz has suites from CHF 900 (approx. £729) per night, based on two adults sharing a Junior Suite on a B&B basis, at today’s exchange rate. For further information and reservations, please visit carlton-stmoritz.ch or Tel: +41 81 836 70 00.
Part of the Tschuggen Hotel Group, Carlton Hotel St. Moritz encourages their guests to consider their carbon footprint when travelling and works with MyClimate to offset carbon emissions. In 2020, Tschuggen Hotel Group also received their Green Globe certification. More information available here.
CALLING ALL GLADIATORS
With unparalleled views of the Colosseum, the Imperial Forum and the Ludus Magnus, the ruins of the most important school of gladiators in the Empire, guests fight their way to the best spot at The Court Cocktail Bar at Palazzo Manfredi, Rome to enjoy creations by renowned mixologist Matteo Zed whilst drinking in the sights.
Matteo joined The Court with a wealth of experience from all over the world, including Japan and New York. His passion for amaro – bitter liquor – will be recognisable in his creations and the daring menu includes innovative drinks as well as a section dedicated to the Forgotten Classics & Unforgettable, including Old Cuban, Penicillin and Piña Colada. Among his signature cocktails, ‘The Rising Sun’ includes gin, yuzu juice, powdered matcha green tea and honey, served in a traditional matcha teacup and prepared using the traditional chashaku and chasen to blend.
Where to stay: Palazzo Manfredi This rare and timeless gem is a luxurious 17th century palazzo offering rooms from €400 per room per night, based on two adults sharing a Prestige room on a B&B basis. The Grand View Colosseum Suite is available from €1,500 per night, on a B&B basis. For further details, please call +39 06 77591380 or visit palazzomanfredi.com