Sheraton Grand Park Lane's Jazz Afternoon Tea In London: Review + Giveaway!

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Park Lane Afternoon Tea In London Review & Giveaway

You may remember that at the end of last year, I headed down to the opening of Sheraton Grand's London Park Lane hotel after a multi million pound renovation. (Read more about that here!)

Well earlier this month saw the arrival of Sheraton Grand Park Lane limited edition Jazz Afternoon Tea in London, launched as part of their 90th birthday celebrations and I stopped by a couple of weeks ago to check it out.

Sheraton Grand Park Lane Hotel London

To tie in with their lavish twenties inspired feel, the Jazz afternoon tea in London, served in the beautiful palm court, serves up a whole host of typically British treats alongside a backdrop of some of London's most loved Jazz musicians who will be performing a mix of classic and modern jazz hits.

Jazz Afternoon Tea In London

For sandwiches, you can choose between either the standard or vegetarian selection. On the standard are some familiar favourites including cajun chicken and egg with a paprika creme fraiche alongside some unique offerings like crayfish and green relish. But despite being a meat lover, it was the veggie options which really impressed me, in particular the muffaletta sandwich with portobello mushroom, provolone cheese and olive salad and the avocado and sun blushed tomatoes teamed with jalapeno mayonnaise. Even if you're a meat lover at heart, these were some of the best sandwiches I've had.

Park Lane Jazz Afternoon Tea In London

When it comes to the sweet stuff, there is a mouth watering selection including a deeee-licous red velvet cake with an orange butter filling, a chocolate tart with basil lime ganache and a coconut dacquoise with pinacolada Crème and a tropical compote.

As for the tea, if you are a bit on the indecisive side you might struggle with over 27 to choose from including white teas, black teas, herbal teas and a number of single rare estate teas. Luckily one of the team at the Sheraton Grand London, Lorenzo, was on hand to talk us through the (slightly overwhelming) menu and helped me decide on the Chakra Silver Tips which was just the right amount of refreshing to counteract all the cake.

Now if all this sounds like it's right up your street you are in luck because I'm giving one of you the chance to win a jazz afternoon tea in London for two at the Sheraton Grand Park Lane. To enter all you need to do is head over to my Instagram page, follow @charlottephilpotts and @sheratongrandlondon and comment on the designated posts tagging in the person you'd most like to take with you - Good Luck!*

The Jazz Afternoon tea in London starts at £39 per person and will be available here until 30th July.

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Jazz Afternoon Tea In London Giveaway

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#PillowTalk: A Review of La Malmaison Hotel, Nice

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La Malmaison Nice Hotel Review

A few weeks ago Steve and I headed down to Monte Carlo to see the semi final day of the tennis masters. After significant googling, I realised that any hotels in Monte Carlo are either a) more expensive than rent per night or b) a bit crap and super far out of the centre.

With neither of those options appealing to me massively, one of my friends suggested staying in nearby Nice and then hopping on the train over to Monte Carlo during the day, which seemed like a great option and hence I stumbled across La Malmaison Hotel, a retro style boutique hotel in the heart of the city.

On the map
Found just a couple of roads behind the famous Promenade des Anglais on boulevard Victor Hugo, La Malmaison Nice is just a 5 minute walk from the Gare de Nice-Ville, ideal if you are exploring more parts of the Côte d'Azur. It is also just a 15 minute walk away from the main sights including Vieux Nice (Old Town) and Port Lympia.

La Malmaison Nice

In February last year, La Malmaison Nice was completely renovated by local interior designer Emmanuelle Boero and given a whole new look and it now boasts a very on trend art deco style throughout (think marble floors and copper accents). Influenced by the 1920s, this gives the hotel a lavish but contemporary feel, which I loved as soon as I stepped through the door.

La Malmaison Nice - Bedroom

La Malmaison Nice - Bathroom

La Malmaison Nice hotel rooms are kitted out in a similar Great Gatsby inspired style with all the essentials including a great added extra of an on demand service with over 100 movies to choose from free of charge - a nice little luxury if you want to chill out after a day's sightseeing. One slight negative was that there was no shower in our room, other than a bath shower. From looking on the website that doesn't seem to be the case in all the rooms, but if you are a shower lover like me you might want to request a room with a separate shower too!

Wine and Dine
They only serve breakfast at the hotel and on offer is the continental spread you would expect along with hot options of bacon and scrambled egg. There’s nothing ground-breaking on the menu but for a fuss free start to the day it does the job.

View from La Malmaison Nice Room

Top Tips 
If you upgrade to an executive room or higher you will also get your own super cute terrace outside which overlooks the very french looking streets below. We took full advantage of ours by ordering room service breakfast and eating it al fresco!

Last Word
Service wise, I was really impressed with the team at the La Malmaison Nice - we had an early flight and so arrived at the hotel by about 11am. Check in time wasn't until 3pm and so the room we had been allocated wasn't ready but noticing our slightly knackered and definitely not hungover (whoops) faces the lady who was organising our check-in moved some rooms around so we could get in our room for a midday nap within half an hour. If you are looking for a stylish and modern base to explore the French Riveria that doesn’t break the bank, you should certainly give this one a look.

£££: Double rooms from £135 per night
Address: 48 Boulevard Victor Hugo, 06000 Nice, France
Book Now

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Getting Gospel in NYC: Where to see the best gospel choirs in New York

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Where to see the best gospel choirs in New York

New York is the home of some incredible gospel choirs and if you are planning a visit to the big apple there are plenty of places for you to hear gospel music live around the city. Although there are some guided tours created specifically for tourists - these can often be expensive and feel a little inauthentic so I've rounded up the top three places for you to get the best experience of gospel choirs in New York, without the price tag.

Time Square Church Gospel Choir in New York
Image source: TSC Music Facebook
Times Square Church
Address: 237 West 51st St. New York, NY 10019
Nearest Metro Stop: 50 St

The most centrally located of the bunch is Times Square Church, which is actually a renovated Broadway theatre right in the heart of Manhattan. The 180 strong Adult Praise Choir is made up of people from over 30 different nationalities and all walks of life including students, business professionals and single mums who meet to perform and worship. This one is ideal for anyone who's time in New York doesn't fall over a weekend as they minister a mid week service on Tuesdays at 7pm along with the two Sunday services at 10am and 6pm.

First Corinthian Baptist Church Gospel Choir New York
Image Source: FCBCNYC Facebook
First Corinthian Baptist Church
Address: 1912 Adam Clayton Powell Jr Blvd, New York, NY 10026
Nearest Metro Stop: 116 St

Perhaps the most social media savvy gospel choir in New York on the list, the choir from the First Corinthian Baptist Church not only have their own Facebook, Twitter and Instagram page - they also stream their performances live online! Tourists will always get a warm welcome here and they have three Sunday morning services to choose from. If you want to beat the crowds, go for the 7.30am service but if early rising isn't your thing there are also two later services at 9.30am and 11.30am. Located just on the borders of Manhattan and Harlem, the First Corinthian Baptist Church is also just a five minute stroll from the northern side of Central Park, so why not team your New York gospel choir experience with a brisk Sunday morning walk around the greenest part of the city.

Brooklyn Tabernacle Church Gospel Choir in New York
Image Source: The Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir Facebook
Brooklyn Tabernacle Church
Address: The Brooklyn Tabernacle, 17 Smith Street, Brooklyn, NY 11201
Nearest Metro Stop: Jay St

The Brooklyn Tabernacle is often given the title of the best gospel choir in New York and it's not hard to see why as the 270 voice choir has already scooped up five Dove awards and six Grammys. The choir was first formed in the 1970's with just 9 people before it went on to enjoy the global success that it does today including performing at the 2012 Presidential Inauguration in front of an estimated viewing audience of one million people. The church can be found in downtown Brooklyn, just a short walk away from the Brooklyn Bridge, and this choir too only ministers in Sunday services at either 9am, 12pm or 3pm. The choir will sometimes be replaced with a core group of Brooklyn Tabernacle singers but to check if the choir is singing for a specific date and service, you can call the church office before you visit.

Top Tips
It is important to remember that the choirs are performing as part of a religious service, so be respectful and look up any specific visitor information before you go - they will usually have helpful advice pages for tourists on their website.

Always double-check the service times online a few days before you are due to go as they may change, particularly if there are other events in the church calendar

The services will normally be over two hours long, so try and leave yourself enough time to stay for the duration, as it may be considered disrespectful to leave halfway through.

Have you ever heard a gospel choir perform? Have you ever heard a gospel choir in New York perform? Where are your favourite spots in the world to see them?

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#PillowTalk: A Review of Nautilus Hotel, Miami

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Nautilus Hotel Miami Pool

If you are a fan of boutique hotels, then you won’t find yourself more spoilt for choice than when planning a visit to Miami Beach. When we were researching places to stay, my “shortlist” was about 30 hotels long with every one offering a trendy art deco inspired base from which to explore the party capital of the sunshine state.

After much deliberation, we decided to go for the Nautilus Hotel, which is part of the Sixty Hotels collection. Found on Collins Avenue, right on the Ocean Front, the Nautilus combines the breezy nautical feel of a coastal beach house with all the chic glamour you would expect from a Miami Beach residence.

Nautilus Hotel Miami

It features 250 rooms, all of which have a crisp yet comfortable feel that encapsulates the casual but elegant vibe of Miami. The whitewash décor is slick and modern and each room is decked out with all the essentials and more including Bluetooth docking stations, Nespresso machines and the most pimped up mini bar I’ve ever seen, in the shape of a vintage travel chest - which we took full advantage of! After 16 hours travelling from London (and a lost case along the way) the huge white pillows on a seriously comfy king size bed felt like heaven and the feel of the room struck a great balance between feeling modern and swish but still cosy.

Nautilus Hotel Miami Room

Nautilus Hotel Room

Unfortunately the weekend we were there, Miami had a freak weekend of downpour after downpour – but when sunnier skies are to be found, the Nautilus Hotel also has a packed schedule of events for guests to enjoy including weekly yoga sessions, boozy brunches and pool parties and BBQs at their poolside bar, the Cabana Club. It also has a super cute bohemian style chill area overlooking South Beach, all set up with hammocks and private service, which you can also take advantage of if you head to the hotel’s private area on the beach itself. We were really gutted we didn't get to go to any of the events, but from talking to people in the area, the Nautilus Hotel shindigs are frequented by the Miami cool crowd - in particular those looking for an alternative to the bigger more well known hotspots like the Fontainebleau.

Although we didn’t get the weather to try these luxuries out ourselves, one thing I can personally vouch for is the Cabana Club cocktails (Cecchini-Tini was my favourite!), which we carried out extensive research into to escape the rain. The Cabana club also serves up a range of Mediterranean inspired dishes, which combines French cuisine with Floridian ingredients in their breakfast, lunch and dinner menus.

Miami Nautilus Hotel

Miami Beach

When it comes to cost, the Nautilus Hotel is certainly not the cheapest option but it's far from being the most expensive Miami hotel. As it was only opened in late 2015, the Nautilus is still fairly good value compared to other Miami hotels of the same caliber, which is why we choose it above some of the others. Scroll down the Telegraph travel’s best picks and you would struggle to find less than £300 a night but while the Nautilus is still the new kid on the block when it comes to Miami hotels, you can snap yourself a double room from just £140.

If you are looking for the most budget way to stay in Miami then perhaps this one isn’t for you, but if you want a slice of the Miami lifestyle – the Nautilus Hotel is a great way to get the VIP feel without the price tag.

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Nautilus Hotel Review

*All images are copyright of Nautilus Hotel

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