Small travel guide

5 London cocktail bars for the luxury traveller

World-famous hotel bars,chic cocktail bars and quirky pop-ups: London boasts every type of bar imaginable. Naturally then, knowing where to start can be tricky. So we've whittled tens of thousands down to five must-visit venues. Sure the drinks are great, the service exemplary and the decor tasteful but then, that's not unusual. These five venues boast something intangible that propels them into the upper echelons. They have history, they have stories. They're the best of the best.

The American Bar, The Savoy

The American Bar at the Savoy is not only the most famous hotel bar in London, its the most famous hotel bar in the world. From late-night shenanigans with Richard Burton and Oliver Reed to morning gin with the Queen Mother (she came every day, apparently) this London institution is teeming with interesting history.

Even the name has a great story as it was opened by an American cocktail waiter escaping Prohibition in his homeland. His cocktails soon became recognised as Londons best: Wanna find the best cocktail in London? Go to the American Bar.

Gong at Shangri-La Hotel, the Shard

The fact is, no bar in London can compete with the views from the mighty Shard. When it comes to great vantage points and this is a shrewd tip to remember wherever you are - then aim for sunrise or sunset as its when the skyline (and of course, the sky) are at their most spectacular.

Obviously as we are talking cocktails, sunset might be a better option here! Drinks-wise, the Gong staff mix up a beautiful, complex range of Asian-influenced cocktails. And despite all the talk of sun theres no tequila sunrise on this menu.

Mr. Fogg's

Ahhh, Mayfair - the most charming, opulent and quintessentially English area of London Town. Inspired by Jules Vernes eccentric Around the World in 80 Days protagonist Phileas J Fogg, this cavernous delight is packed with interesting artifacts, thick rugs, clocks of all shapes and sizes and beautiful oak furniture.

Like the dcor, the cocktail list is a quirky hotchpotch too. And no, youre not going mad, that is an audiobook of Around the World in 80 Days playing in the bathroom.

The Connaught Bar, The Connaught

You couldnt make a list of Londons best cocktails and leave off the Connaught. Another London institution, another bar in Mayfair but really unlike anything else on the list in that this is possibly the swankiest and most expensive hotel in all of England.

Make your first drink a martini: A trolley is wheeled out (in a classy way) and the drinks are made right there, at your table. If youre not staying at the Connaught and if you can get in, you really should then you still get to walk through the impressive hotel lobby equipped with a huge formal staircase and old-world front desk.

Punch Room, the London Edition

It could be the dcor which perfectly captures private members clubs of the 19th century, or it could be the fact that you need a reservation to get in, but one word encapsulates the Punch Room at the Edition perfectly: exclusive. As you may well have guessed, the drinks-focus is punch: There are 10 bowls on the menu coming in different sizes for one or more people.

A curated soundtrack of vintage soul, blues, ragtime, and doo-wop is complemented by impromptu live performances too. If you've watched hit US drama Mad Men, you'll have longed to visit bars just like this.

Rob Stross is Chief Marketing Officer at WeSwap.

If you would like to be a guest blogger onA Luxury Travel Blogin order to raise your profile, pleasecontact us.

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Wedding worthy villas around the Med

Destination weddings are wonderful both for the bride and groom to be and for their guests, who get to travel to an interesting and beautiful place. As the summer wedding season approaches, here are some ideas to discover some of the most beautiful estates to choose for a wedding in Europe.

Louiza Estate, mainland Greece

Getting married in Greece is a dream many share: Louiza Estate, a beautiful property with breathtaking views, adds some more magic to this already magical land. Ideally located and surrounded by olive groves, the mansion offers every luxury and comfort and, with its 9 rooms, it can host your wedding party. The estate also has a private access to a beautiful beach and a garden that overlooks the sea both locations are perfect to say I do! And if you want to relax before or after the wedding, Louiza Estate features a pool, gym and hammam: everything the groom and bride-to-be could ask for.

Alegria, Mykonos

Mykonos: both romantic and fun, the trendiest of Cyclades, is the ideal spot to get married for those who want to organize a chic, fun-filled wedding. Beautiful villa Alegria is a wonderful estate with breathtaking sea views and a garden that is perfect for ceremonies: who wouldnt want to get married with the dramatic backdrop of the blue Aegean Sea? Thirty guests can be accommodated in the 13 en-suite bedrooms, inclusive of a Honeymoon suite, a Junior Suite and four Executive suites, so you and your wedding party can stay on the premises to add even more fun and memories to your special day.

Villa Centinale, Tuscany

The gently rolling hills around Siena are popular with many couples who want to get married in a naturally beautiful region that is also world-famous for its great food and wine. Villa Centinale, a stunning 17thcentury building in the Ancaiano district, has plenty of charm, both indoors and in its gardens: the rooms and furnishings call for a retro wedding party, so put on your best vintage dress and dancing shoes and get ready to throw the party of the century!

Villa Passalacqua, Lake Como

Theres a certain romantic aura that surrounds lakes, and Lake Como, when it comes to atmosphere, is one of the most romantic of them all. Villa Passalacqua, a 5 star property in Moltrasio, is a great option for those who want to get married surrounded by the lush mountains of Lombardy. Elegant and refined, this 18thcentury property is beautiful inside and out, so no matter what the weather is like outside, your wedding will be memorable and amazing.

Lou Casteou, Cote dAzur

A chateau in the beautiful Esterel mountains, only minutes away from the sandy beaches of the Cote dAzur sounds like the ideal place to get married if you are looking for a place that has a relaxed yet refined atmosphere, surrounded by stunning nature with unforgettable views. Those who want to stay active will be delighted to know that the estate features a large heated swimming pool, and a terrace to play boules. The explorers have many excursions to choose from to fully enjoy the area and keep entertained.

La Verrire, Provence

An ancient priory in the heart of Provence, La Verrire has been beautifully restored and is the perfect place to get married for those who are seeking timeless charm and romance. The outdoor spaces include a cascading swimming pool with stunning views of the gently rolling hills and vineyards the ideal backdrop for the ceremony. The estate produces delicious local wines, which of course can be served at the wedding party.

Cugo Gran, Menorca

If a wedding in the sunshine of Spain is what you have in mind, villa Cugo Gran in Menorca could be the perfect spot to tie the knot: the countryside outside Sant Climent makes for a beautiful setting for a rustic wedding and the concierge team of the estate will make sure that everything runs smoothly. The villa, with its understated elegance, is ready to welcome a large party of up to 300 guests so is ideal for those who have many friends and family members attending their special day!

Son Doblons, Mallorca

This exclusive Mediterranean pearl is a wonderfully manicured estate with seven gardens, a large swimming pool and different corners where different atmospheres can be created: from cozy and intimate, to extravagant and grand, any wedding can be organized at this unique property in Mallorca. The villa, of course is also large enough to sleep up to 16 people and offers a simple and elegant dcor that perfectly blends with most wedding themes.

Paolo Macchiaroli is CEO of My Private Villas..

If you would like to be a guest blogger onA Luxury Travel Blogin order to raise your profile, pleasecontact us.

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