Bar Termini, Soho

Coffee and cocktails are my two vices. When I travel a decent cup of caffeine in the morning keeps me happy till nightfall when I like nothing better than a strong, perfectly mixed, old-fashioned cocktail. London has plenty of exemplary establishments to taste the best of both bean and spirits. The new Bar Termini in Soho combines coffee and cocktails in a Italian inspired hazy little café, that evokes memories of summers past.

The bar is named after Rome’s main station in homage to the Italian capital. Its purpose is to provide locals and thirsty visitors with a place to pop in and grab a refreshing or revitalising drink. On weekdays they have particularly long and accommodating hours, opening the doors at 7.30 am and closing up shop at 11.30 pm.

Inside the joint there is a laid-back vintage vibe with an alluring bar with leather stools and circular wooden tables for perching at whilst sipping your drink. Set up by cocktail connoisseur Tony Conigliaro and coffee expert Marco Arrigo, the bar was bound to be a success! We enjoyed a couple of Negronis from the menu, the Rosato (rose-petal infused) was my favourite… the floral flavour softening the harsh bitterness of the spirit. For a more spicy drink, try the Superiore Negroni (pink-peppercorn infused). Alongside our drinks we nibbled on the £1 mini ham and cheese paninis.

Coffee fans can choose to stop by for an authentically Italian espresso at the bar, or can sit with a more leisurely long milky drink.

There’s no shortage of cafes and cocktail bars in Soho, but a place that does both so successfully is a winner in my eyes.

More information here:

Things to do in Frankfurt

When choosing a destination to escape to for a weekend break I consider several factors: flight time, size of city, and cost of trip. And so, though an unusual choice for a leisure holiday, Frankfurt proved to be the ideal place for a 1-night getaway with a friend. 40 pounds for flights, 60 minutes on a plane and a small enough city centre in which almost everything is in walking distance.

To Stay

Roomers Hotel– Seductive and stylish this design hotel is a luxurious place to stay in Frankfurt for the weekend. Located in the centre of town and boasting a chic bar & restaurant, and stunning rooftop spa, it is a brilliant option for both business and leisure visitors.

To Eat

Carmelo Greco– Considering the size of the city Frankfurt has a large number of Michelin star eateries, predominantly to cater for the business customers. Carmelo Greco is a lovely, relaxed restaurant offering delicious refined Italian cuisine. I could not fault the service, quality of food or ambience, it was the perfect way to spend our only evening in the city.

Magarete– This trendy restaurant is must try in the city. Offering modern German cuisine in an arty cool dining space it is always full of fashionable, beautiful people.

Zeit Fur Brot– Translating to ‘Time for Bread’ this inviting café makes all the bread and pastries on site everyday with organic ingredients. At the end of the day they donate the leftovers to the homeless. I don’t normally like cinnamon rolls, but the freshly baked variety here was utterly irresistible, soft, sweet and warm it was very comforting and the perfect snack with a cup of coffee.

To Drink

Plank café bar– This all-black corner café is found in the red-light district. Visit for cake and coffee in the day or at night for a glass of fine German wine. The Plank crew love music and live bands often play, entertaining the evening guests.

The Parlour– Impossible to find and certainly just for in-the-know cocktail aficionados, this tiny bar is setting the mixology trends in Frankfurt. Speak to talented bartender Maxim Kilian who will create you a magical, perfectly mixed drink or order from their inventive list. We tried all kinds of wonderful creations, but I would recommend the Bourbon-based and well balanced Napoleon Dynamite.

Lorsbacher Thal – cider and apple wine is a speciality in Frankfurt and this traditional tavern is the ideal place to try it. Sit at one of the communal wooden tables, admire young charming surroundings and enjoy a refreshing glass of apple wine.

To Do

MMK museum– Frankfurt’s Museum for Modern Art was founded in 1981, it is known as the ‘piece of cake’ because of the unique shape of the building. Exhibiting thrilling and innovative shows, I saw a thought-provoking exhibition inspired by The Divine Comedy in which Heaven, Hell and Purgatory is interpreted by contemporary African artists.

The Dom – With so many high-rise financial buildings it is pleasant to see this historic cathedral and tower, dating back to the 14th century. Climb to the top of the tower for impressive 360 views of the entire city.

Staedel Museum– The main art gallery in Frankfurt has an important collection of paintings, drawings, prints and sculptures from seven centuries. The building goes underground in a fascinating extension with a curved ceiling, on ground level there is an amazing and unique garden accenting with circular skylights on the floor.

Villa Kennedy Spa– Indulge and revitalise at this outstanding spa. Located in the grand Villa Kennedy hotel this spa is a pampering palace. Have a soothing massage then enjoy the indulgent facilities, I particularly loved the Turkish steam room and the granite-lined pool which overlooks the lush garden.

To Shop

Tia Emma– This multi-coloured little shop is a delight for kids and adult. Crowded shelves display trinkets, stickers, toys, stationery and other useless but wonderful artefacts. You’ll need to sit down after all the excitement, and grab a coffee and slice of cake from the shop’s café.

Designe Kleine– This miniature design store is definitely worth visiting. Owner Susanne Stahl rents out the display boxes to showcase and sell the work of other designers. There is always an eclectic mix to discover inside, and even when the shop is shut you can use the 24 hour vending machine outside to the shop which dispenses surprise design creations, different every time for 3 Euros a pop.

Apfelweinhandlung: This site was previously home to the beloved concept store Colekt which recently shut. Owner JB’s minimalist shop serves and sells his own brewed apple wine, a Frankfurt specialty. Just 8 Euros a bottle, this delicious brew uses eight types of apples including rare varieties from old German apple trees. Chat to JB about the fascinating process and buy a bottle to take home.

Bitter & Zart– A chocolate shop to inspire and excite. The beautiful interiors wow, with wall art designs by Renata Kos and Oriana Fenwick complementing the cabinets of rainbow hued chocolates. Sit nextdoor in the seductive velvet clad café for Parisian tea or coffee from locally based roaster Jorges.

Many thanks to the Frankfurt Tourist board for their help with this trip, more information here.

The Library Hotel, Koh Samui

After four busy, boiling hot days in Bangkok we flew to the popular southern island of Samui. The airport is tiny and it only takes a few minutes to find your luggage and wander out onto the streets. A suave, smartly dressed driver was waiting patiently, within seconds we were out of the heat and into the shiny, air-conditioned car.

The only design hotel on the island of Samui, The Library is a special place to stay with a focus on intelligent and thoughtful luxury. Located on the stiflingly touristy strip of Chaweng Beach on the east coast, it is the main reason to visit this area of Samui. It is certainly out of place, a refuge of calm and stylish luxury amongst the neon clothes stands and massage parlours.

The minimalist white structure is a stark contrast to the grubby smelly streets in the town. Everything inside is book themed… you enter the breezy ‘contents’ reception area and enjoy a refreshing clementine sorbet and cold flannel, while admiring the giant Design Hotels bible which sits open in the sunlight. The rooms/suites are known as ‘pages’ and are found neatly lining the central path. The bright turquoise sea at the end looks so idyllic it seems to be a mirage as you walk towards it, mesmerised. The property is home to 12 white figure sculptures, each is reading in a languorous position, they look like giant Plasticine creatures from a kids art programme and encourage guests to relax.

There are 13 suites (downstairs) and 13 studios (upstairs), we were in Page 22, a stark white studio with high ceiling, and low bed. Kitted out with slick Mac computer, coffee maker, minibar and enviable minimalist furniture, it is the ultimate pad. Soon the pristine white room was ruined as our bags of flip flops and summer clothes were strewn over every surface. There is a simple elegance to the features on offer, a large square lightbox can be switched on to illuminate the room in different hued glows. The bathroom is spacious and airy with a giant bath and power shower. Brightly coloured toiletries are found in generous containers on the wall.

The hotel is famous for its crimson pool, a startling contrast to the nearby shimmering blue sea. The rich blood-red Italian tiles are unusual and alluring, a genius choice to brighten the surroundings even more. Within the petite property guests can find a small gym and library holding numerous films and books to enjoy whilst staying. There is no spa but if requested treatments can be arranged.

Desperate for some time on the beach, we utilised every moment… snacks from the Page Restaurant can be ordered and eaten from your sandy spot. Gazing into the distance, chewing at a fragrant satay stick and gulping down a zingy lychee juice, I couldn’t think of a more heavenly setting. We spoke at length to the lovely Francis from the hotel about the history of the island, the Thai culture and how the Library Hotel’s unique personality works on the island of Samui.

Those who are happy to leave the seclusion of the hotel grounds can wander out to the touristy streets where the Library’s second, newer restaurant is to be found. Drink Gallery is a trendy, modern eatery and bar with a range of Asian and continental dishes and an exemplary cocktail list. I was extremely impressed by the high standard of service and masterful mixology. Of the food, the starters were particularly delicious – scrumptious little fried crab dumplings and sweet sticky duck strips with crunchy greenery. For dessert, the sweet, fluffy toast is unmissable. If you enjoy a cocktail try the Bourbon based fruity Vintage and the smooth and zingy Suave and Singular.

Breakfast can be served on the beach, a lovely wake up meal. Choose from a menu of eggs, waffles, fruit and pastries and sip your morning coffee while admiring the spectacular expanse of sea ahead of you.

The hotel is expanding to a new ‘chapter’ building on the neighbouring land; I feel there is scintillating sequel to come from this innovative and creative property very soon. The Library is the hippest hotel on the island of Samui, offering divine design, fun facilities and a pool you will remember forever.

More information and book here: