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5 of the most romantic hotels in Bruges


Bruges is out there with Venice, Paris, Florence or Prague to be elected as one of the most romantic cities in the world. With its canals, cobblestone alleyways, quaint medieval townhouses and windmills, Bruges will sweep you away into a fairy tale. For a romantic getaway, choose among these luxurious abodes.

Hotel Pand

A boutique 18th century hotel a few steps from the Vis Markt (the medieval fish market, still operating today), voted repeatedly as one of the most charming hotels in town. Wood-panelled walls, open fireplaces and antiques create a very cosy and intimate environment. In the evening, head to the candle-lit bar for a very romantic pre-dinner tte--tte.

Hotel de Tuilerien

A Small Luxury Hotels of The World boutique hotel situatedin a 15th century patrician house with view over one of the nicest canals in Bruges.

It is one of the few hotels in the city with an indoor swimming pool, great for a morning swim or to relax after a day sightseeing.

The cosy and romantic bar is best enjoyed in winter, when fireplaces are litand you can warm up with a real Belgian hot chocolate.

B&B Cte Canal

It sits in front two of the oldest and most photographed bridges, with a pretty little garden right on the waterfront. Winston Churchill used to sit and paint this corner of Bruges and the house appears depicted in one of his many works.

TheB&B and itstwo bedrooms are decorated with antique furniture found hidden in the attic and retain many of the original features of this 18th century town house, which the owner inherited from her grand-parents.

Hotel Hof Van Cleef

A boutique hotel with a sunny terrace overlooking the Sint Anna canal. A stylish italianate mansion which cleverly mixes contemporary design, Italian furniture and opulent classical ornaments. Two of the most splendid rooms are the Herms and Missoni Suites, decorated with linen from the two world famous Maisons.

De Orangerie

The clue is in the name. Romantik Hotel De Orangerie. Situated in a renovated 15th century convent overlooking on the most portrayed canals in Bruges, the Dijver, the hotel is a sumptuous symphony of antique furniture, wood-panelled walls, floral fabrics and classical wallpapers in a true British countryside manor style. They even serve a proper afternoon-tea, very English like!

Paola Fiocchi Van den Brande is Director ofPassepartout Homes Ltd.

If you would like to be a guest blogger onA Luxury Travel Blog.

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The best restaurants to try in Bali


Despite Bali being a relatively small island, it offers an abundance of fine dining restaurants. From haute cuisine to BBQ style food, all tastes are satisfied. Below is a list of restaurants we love, and we hope that you enjoy them too. Of course, if there is anywhere which we have not mentioned and you felt was exceptional, please comment below!

Local delicacies

Sate: Charcoal-grilled skewers of chicken, beef, pork, prawns or minced seafood.

Gado-Gado: A half-boiled combination of various vegetables with a peanut sauce.

Nasi Goreng: Indonesian fried rice with either meat or shrimps and fresh vegetables.

If you are feeling adventurous and fancy sampling some true street food without the 5-star trimmings, go in search of a Warung a traditional Indonesian food stall. They normally only serve one or two dishes but will be of the highest and freshest quality.

Ubud

Kemiri, Uma Ubud

Kemiri is an open-air space beside a waterfall-fed pond, with alang-alang thatched ceilings. Chris Miller, the acclaimed Australian chef, showcases Balis rich gourmet heritage as well as modern interpretations of Southeast Asian cooking. Dishes might include Chinese roast pigeon, grilled Lombok lobster or banana-wrapped steamed snapper with coconut sambal.

TeraZo, Suweta Street

Located in Ubud on quiet Suweta Street, just a stone's throw from the centre of town, TeraZo restaurant and bar is a must-visit while in town. It features banquette dining, a stylish lounge and mahogany bar downstairs. For a true taste of Asia try their classic Sop Buntut, a Javanese oxtail soup and Red Chilli Chicken.

Naughty Nuris, Jalan Sanggingan

This roadside shack has the best barbecue in town, with ribs so tender the meat falls right off the bone. On Thursdays, a regular shipment of fresh tuna arrives and the place gets extremely busy. The burgers, local curries and satay are also good, as are the lethally delicious martinis!

Seminyak, Kuta & Jimbaran

Breeze, The Samaya Hotel

Chef Dean Keddell's menus are eclectic and focus strongly on local organic produce and flavours. Seafood dominates the menu and they serve good wine by the glass, which is hard to come by in Bali. The al fresco ambiance of dining under the stars with crashing waves in the background is irresistible.

Sarong, Jalan Petitenget

Chef Will Meyrick draws inspiration from the street hawkers of many Southeast Asian countries and brings back some innovative new ideas. Whether you order a curry, stir-fry, something from the Tandoor or coconut chargrill you will not be disappointed.

Meja Kitchen & Bar, Seminyak

Meja rejects the notion that restaurants should hinge on interior design, instead opting for a simple, airy concept. Tucked beneath the industrial arcs of the ultramodern IZE Hotel, this rising star of the Seminyak district employs minimalist elements of wooden beams and light colours throughout. Comfort foods such as Chilli & Lime Chicken Risotto and Roasted Pumpkin & Quinoa Salad grace the menu. Or for a taste of home, try the Macaroni & Cheese served with generous portions of bacon.

Teatro Gastroteque, Seminyak

Elegant and masculine are two words that mark this Seminyak eatery. The name Teatro is derived from the word theatre and is the brainchild of Mandif Warokka, the talented chef named the Best Chef in Bali in 2011. Mandif relies on fresh ingredients and a simple presentation. All the ingredients are processed with techniques fostered from more than 10 years experience in the culinary world. Some of the signature dishes are Smoked Peking Duck, Lambargini Lamb and Valrhona Chocolate Cake. Only ten items are featured on the menu and each are accompanied by a recommended wine to compliment the flavour of the food.

Portabella Bistro, Kuta

Meaning beautiful window in Italian, Portabella Bistro exudes a rustic yet cosy dining atmosphere. The all-wood interior is designed by Nobuyuki Narabayashi, former designer of Super Potato architecture firm hailing from Japan. Akin to a boutique museum, vintage locks, Sicilian wooden dolls, and an old school radio decorate the premises. Authentic Italian cuisine is dreamt up by chef Vittorio Negri with home-style classics such as Arancini. Fusion style Linguini Black Ink with crab meat and a sprinkling of pepper slices also entertains diners palettes. For the full Portabella Bistro experience, pull up one of the 100-year-old chairs and face outside to soak up the Balinese breeze.

Slippery Stone, Seminyak

The Slippery Stone offers open-air breezes juxtaposed with stretches of lush greenery and rice fields. It exudes acosyatmosphere with woodpanelling, comfy sofas and white rock walls throughout the space. Pan-Asian, Italian and French cuisine are all included in the ambitious menu. Start your meal with the Tuna Tartar appetizer accompanied by avocado and Pomelo ice cream, followed by the Steamed Barramundi with prawn and dumplings in coconut sauce for the main course. As for dessert, wrapped Valrhona Chocolate Cake with coffee ice cream is to die for!

Sundara, Four Seasons Resort Bali at Jimbaran Bay

Sundara is the Sanskrit word for beautiful paying tribute to the glowing sun that warms Balis hottest new beachfront restaurant and bar. Stay all day and move with your mood, exploring the range of indoor and outdoor settings, right on the beach with panoramic views of Jimbaran Bay. Enjoy a casual lunch in the shade, exploring the eclectic menu of international cuisine, created by Executive Chef Greg Bunt. While away the afternoon on a sun-splashed daybed by the Infinity Edge, just steps above the sand. For dinner, Sundara transforms into one of Balis most sophisticated dining experiences, showcasing steak and seafood. After dark, the beachside ambience becomes candlelit and sexy with a sizzling collection of cocktails.

James Jayasundera is Founder and Managing Director of Ampersand Travel.

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

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