Smith Travel BlogTravel tales and hotel news from the boutique hotel experts at Mr & Mrs Smith

Go Brazil! Feed that football fever

Posted by Laura House on June 25th, 2014

Fasano Rio / Mr & Mrs Smith

Maybe it has something to do with the enticing Brazilian setting – those sugary sand beaches, jungle-clad hills (oh, and the equally easy-on-the-eyes players) – but our fever for ‘the beautiful game’ is at an all-time high for these World Cup games. Despite the fact that some of our most beloved teams have been knocked out already, you’ll still find us not-so-secretly watching on the job and shouting at the telly until the final game.

To satisfy our appetite for all things football, we’re keeping up with our reading, too. With that, here are a few of our favourite finds from around the web….

  • Commentators around the globe bring their own flair to calling a goal. The New York Times compiled audio bits of some of the most colourful announcers and their signature battle cries.
  • ‘Beautiful, Terrible, Funny’ – this segment of the BBC’s Match of the Day round-up brings together daily highlights of the best, most dramatic and silliest footie moments.
  • Even if you don’t care much about football, we know that you, like us, have an appreciation for good style. Hazlitt‘s satirical rundown of uniforms is your definitive guide. 
  • Need a soundtrack to keep your energy up for the remainder of the games?  Here are two playlists to pump you up, one from Conde Nast Traveler and one by DJ Monk-One.
  • Spoiler alert: for those who wait to watch, we can relate to this Hyundai commercial.

If that’s not enough to keep you entertained you between matches, you can find more links here. And, if all those beauty shots of steamy Rio, the remote beaches and tropical terrain beyond have sparked your wanderlust, now is a brilliant time to start planning your South American escape to a Mr & Mrs Smith Brazilian boutique hotel, of course.



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The Legian & The Club, Bali: hotel of the week

Posted by Sarah Jappy on June 20th, 2014

The Legian & The Club, Bali

A tropical haven in Seminyak, The Legian & The Club in Bali delivers sun, surf and sand aplenty. There’s also some gourmet Asian-fusion cuisine on offer, thanks to a brand new chef and an unlimited supply of fresh seafood – we’re licking our lips already… 

Style Oceanside opulence
Setting Beach central

Chef Luke MacLeod, The Legian & The Club, Bali

Why this week? New executive chef Luke MacLeod and his team have prepared a ‘Seafood Indulgence’ experience every Friday, served on the sun-deck by the Ocean Bar. Guests can feast on tuna tartare, sashimi, red prawn curry and the like, before ending the evening on a (sugar) high with coconut pannacotta or Balinese chocolate cake. Lucky Smith members also get 10 per cent off meals in the resort throughout their stay. Chef MacLeod can be booked for a personal chef service.

Our favourite bits… Each room at the Legian is blessed with sea views and glimpses of Seminyak’s sandy shores. Make the most of the Italian-made Acqua di Parma toiletries and the big canopied beds in rooms envisioned by interior designer Jaya Ibrahim: his use of natural materials and artwork by local artists achieves a relaxed, contemporary feel. Nab a seat at the Ocean Bar, where mojitos, daiquiris and margaritas accompany the spectacular sunsets. The Club, a private compound opposite the Legian, is the ultimate hideaway for those who like seclusion and personal butlers straight from The Guild of Professional English Butlers.

The Beach House bathroom, The Legian & The Club, BaliMr & Mrs Smith say… ‘Each villa has a dedicated butler, and ours is Vina, who is not even slightly Lurchesque or Jeeves-like, but a smiling Balinese lady who combines serenity with the efficiency of an elite military unit. She unlocks a wooden door and we step into our secret garden. There’s a 10-metre swimming pool fringed by hibiscus and frangipani, an outdoor dining balé, manicured lawns, day-beds and, in the middle, a Balinese palace that, thanks to further ponds, appears from certain angles to be floating on water. Vina’s introductory tour has more highlights than we can immediately absorb.’
Read the full Mr & Mrs Smith review by Amy Cooper

Browse more of Mr & Mrs Smith’s hotels in Indonesia or call the expert Travel Team. Smith members enjoy exclusive extras at all stays.

*Copy compiled by Katherine Williams



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GoldSmith summer fun at Heidi Klein

Posted by Rachel Juarez-Carr on June 18th, 2014

Mr & Mrs Smith GoldSmith member event at Heidi Klein

Last week we welcomed some of our GoldSmith members to beach-perfect swimwear store Heidi Klein on Westbourne Grove – it was brilliant to meet so many Smith fans, and magnificent to see so many guests arrived ready to talk travel with our expert concierges Carole, Caroline, Fiona, Kate and Marianna.

Thanks a million to Heidi Klein for hosting, and for the ultra glamourous co-founder Penny Klein being there in person – myriad chic kaftans and armfuls of seductive swimwear were purchased. Thanks also to Dino and the team at Crème de la Mer for providing personalised hand and arm massages, and Beth and the talented artists from Bobbi Brown, giving our guests the inside scoop on beachy beauty.

And, congratulations to the lucky winner who won a weekend at Coworth Park and a beach wardrobe from Heidi Klein!

Here are a few snaps from our marvellous night…

(All photos by Rachel Juarez-Carr)

Mr & Mrs Smith GoldSmith member event at Heidi Klein

Mr & Mrs Smith GoldSmith member event at Heidi Klein

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Nantucket island stays: the best boutique hotels for summer

Posted by Kate Thorman on June 17th, 2014

What makes Nantucket such an ideal summer holiday spot isn’t its expansive beaches, abundance of rental bicycles, harbour full of yachts or even the top-notch lobster rolls. No, this iconic New England whaling island perfect is because it looks and feels like nowhere else you’ve ever been, from the colonial-era clapboard houses to the popularity of clothing covered in tiny embroidered whales. Oh, and its postcard-perfect boutique hotels.

Nantucket | Mr & Mrs Smith boutique hotels

To kick summer off, your New York editors road-tripped around New England’s most iconic warm-weather destinations, but it’s no exaggeration to say we left our hearts in Nantucket. We packed sandwiches from Provisions and cycled our way out to the cottages and mansions on the beaches of ‘Sconset. We lingered on the wharves and sipped brews with the locals at Cisco Brewery. We meandered through the cobbled lanes and ate an absurd amount of fresh seafood at restaurants like Corazon del Mar, home to some of the best Mexican food we’ve tasted on the East Coast of the United States.

And, naturally, we stayed at one of the most stylish boutique hotels in Nantucket. We’ll leave it to you to take your pick for your own adventure…

Veranda House, Nantucket | Mr & Mrs Smith boutique hotelsVERANDA HOUSE
Style Colourful coastal cool
Setting Preppy port
Survey tidy Nantucket harbour from this 1864 landmark island perch, iced with three dramatic tiers of white gingerbread-trimmed porches, all of which offer premier views of the historic clapboard neighbourhood and the charming town. Rooms are classically cool, as befits a modern New England inn, and you can’t beat the prime location just two picturesque blocks from the sophisticated shops, galleries and world-class restaurants of the nautical town.

76 Main, Nantucket | Mr & Mrs Smith boutique hotels76 MAIN
Style Nautical whites
Setting Main Street Nantucket
From the outside, the only hotel on Nantucket’s Main Street looks like it’s entirely old-world, with its 1800s white Federalist façade, but, inside, it’s all contemporary New England, outfitted in crisp and classic nautical patterns by Vineyard Vines. Rooms are bright and airy, the breakfast café serves house-made baked goods and the BYOB courtyard practically beckons you and your book after a day exploring the island.

Chapman House, Nantucket | Mr & Mrs Smith boutique hotelsCHAPMAN HOUSE
Style Chic beach boutique
Setting Harbour-side hamlet
This refreshingly revived 19th-century inn is a design disciple’s dream. Cleverly concealed behind the subdued salt-box exterior are 11 intimate rooms bursting with the colourful corals, exotic ikat fabrics and elegant custom furnishings of a mod beach retreat. And, naturally, it’s just a few stone lanes from both the happening town and brilliant beaches.

Centerboard Inn, Nantucket | Mr & Mrs Smith boutique hotelsCENTERBOARD INN
Style Mod beach house
Setting Nantucket cobblestones
Perched on a pretty corner a few minutes from Nantucket’s main drag, this stylish, unpretentious inn has been breezily restored from its early days as a Victorian whaling captain’s house. One of the only hotels on the island open year-round, it’s a charming, beachy home-from-home no matter when you come.

Regatta Inn, Nantucket | Mr & Mrs Smith boutique hotelsREGATTA INN
Style Nattily nautical
Setting Cobbled captain’s way
Nestled in a row of historic homes on a quiet brick-and-stone lane, this cosy little inn recently underwent a bow-to-stern refurb that has it looking ship-shape – and super chic, too. The interiors reveal a mod makeover of bold colours and chic furnishings of this former captain’s home, add to that home-made breakfasts, an attentive innkeeper and a prime location to get you fully on board.

US Smiths: put on your best boat shoes and nautical stripes and enter for your chance to win a three-night stay at 76 Main and a new summer wardrobe.



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Get the look: Occa-Home’s boutique-hotel style tips

Posted by Lucy Fennings on June 16th, 2014

Beautiful boutique hotels are a great source of inspiration for your home interiors, but we don’t all have Bill Benson, Kit Kemp or Ilse Crawford on speed dial; nor can we spare the time to travel the world sourcing one-off objects or cutting-edge furniture. We’re a handy bunch here, so as well as helping you out with our Mr & Mrs Smith – At Home paint range and getting you up to speed on 2014′s interior trends, we’ve invited online design store Occa-Home to provide the ultimate style crib sheet.

Here’s how to raid their exclusive collection of designer furnishings and home accessories to bring the these travel-flavoured decor trends to your home…

Boutique hotel style | Occa-Home interiors tips

FRESH, NAUTICAL, CHIC
One glance at this simple, chic interior style at Hotel Tresanton and you can smell the sea: jaunty blues and stone hues, bold stripes, gently weathered wood, wicker and natural textures – best served shoreside in Cornwall (see also: Trevose Harbour House, Headland House, Nearwater and Tide House).
St Barth table lamp, £550, Eichholtz. Striped sham cushion, £39; striped cotton flag throw, £135, both Lexington Company at Occa-Home.

Grace Mykonos hotel | Occa-Home  style tipsMINIMAL, MODERN, MEDITERRANEAN
Channel the all-white aesthetic of hip Greek getaway Grace Mykonos with pure cotton bedlinen and clean-lined furniture: a cosy Eames rocker keeps things lighthearted and modern; chrome or brushed-steel hardware adds a little edge.
Charles & Ray Eames RAR rocker, £435.60, Vitra; ladderstitch bedlinen, from £22; Anglepoise wall light, £85; all at Occa-Home.

Villa de l'O, Essaouira | Occa-Home boutique hotel styleEXOTIC WORLD TRAVELLER
Villa de l’O in Essaouira, Morocco, conjures up a collector’s cornucopia with pieces evoking the trappings of colonial-era safari camps. Use retro industrial-style metal desk lamps, distressed leather campaign furniture and travellers’ trunks to emulate the look.
Bamboo folding chair, £168; leather flight case, £748.50, both Eichholtz. Musquatch faux-fur throw, £240, Moore & Moore at Occa-Home.

The Boatshed, Auckland | Occa-Home hotel style tips

CLASSIC COASTAL COOL
Ahoy there, shipmate! The Boatshed in Auckland plunders the history of seafaring to bring a little character to its clapboard. Storm lanterns, model ships, sail canvas and antique-style globes are all you need. Got a telescope? So much the better…
Americas Cup model ship, £123; Navigator’s terrestrial desk globe, £118, both Authentic Models. Glass candle holder, from £14, Brucs. Andromeda telescope, £2,640, Eichholtz. 

For more information on Occa-Home, or to browse and buy designer homeware, go to www.occa-home.co.uk



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Casacau, Rome: hotel of the week

Posted by Rachel Juarez-Carr on June 13th, 2014

This week we want to be whisked away for a Roman Holiday complete with endless scoops of gelato, a spot of sight-seeing, and preferably Gregory Peck as our own personal tour guide. With its great location and achingly stylish decor, Casacau hotel in Rome provides the perfect base for exploring.

 Casacau hotel in Rome

Style Time-capsule pieds-a-terre

Setting Steps from the Trevi fountain

Why this week? Lounging on the Spanish steps, watching the world go by as you polish off a big slice of pizza, it sounds pretty tempting, doesn’t it? Rome is at its best in the summer. That said, they do say only mad dogs and Englishmen go out in the midday sun, so play it cool and wait till the afternoon to pack in your sightseeing. With our exclusive offer, you can grab four nights for the price of three, so you have an even better excuse to linger longer, so you can just spend the mornings in bed…

Casacau hotel in RomeOur favourite bits We love Casacau Hotel for its bohemian nonchalance; with its sprinkling of antique treasures and vintage finds, these peaceful boutique apartments feel like a home from home (albeit your home after a very trendy makeover). Beautiful bedrooms were practically made for long, lazy mornings; Apartment 4’s bed is an art installation you’ll be eager to turn into an interactive exhibit. The hosts have curated the kind of alla moda Sixties crash pad that flamboyant Italian dames Anna Dello Russo and Anna Piaggi would approve of and, coupled with all this, there’s even a mini two-person sauna. You won’t want to leave in a hurry.

Casacau hotel in RomeMr & Mrs Smith say… ‘Infinitely regressing Doric columns and bling-burdened deity sculptures are 10 a penny in the Eternal City, so it’s refreshing that Casacau hotel’s unique brand of fabulously faded glamour caters for those who favour Fellini’s Sixties-chic gamines. Covetable retro statement pieces, begging-to-be-dishevelled beds-cum-art installations and a magpie nest’s worth of antique debris set the scene for Roman romance. Get into the spirit of things by blasting Puccini from the apartment’s record player and hammering out a love letter that would make a nun blush on the vintage Olivetti typewriter. When the ennui sets in from lounging about looking decorous, Rome’s most beloved landmarks are just a Ferragamo-heeled hop away. Acquire some recommendations from your magnifico hosts then source copious quantities of robust red wine, pick up something ludicrously expensive and wholly impractical in a the city’s designer boutiques, or – after a few Dutch courage-boosting glugs of the aforementioned wine – take a ballgown-clad paddle through the Trevi Fountain…well, when in Rome…’

Find other boutique hotels in Rome, or search all the Mr & Mrs Smith hotel offers.

Compiled by Alice Welton



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The Arch London and a stroll from Marble Arch to Marylebone

Posted by Juliet Kinsman on June 12th, 2014

Marylebone Village, just north of Oxford Street, is turning into one of the city’s most desirable neighbourhoods for aesthetes, eaters and amblers. A whirl at a family-owned boutique hotel fashioned from seven Grade II-listed townhouses and two mews homes showed us it has a lot more to it than an impressive address and notable neighbours…

Where we stayed… 

THE ARCH LONDON West Londoners ourselves, who’d have thought a staycation a short cab ride from home at the Arch London hotel would provide such an inspiring Mr & Mrs Smith night away? Service was so gracious and warm, our subterranean Abbey Suite was ridiculously well equipped (Jing tea and Nespresso!) and comfortable (crisp bed linen, cloud-like mattress deluxe!) as can be.

the arch What we loved… caramel latte

  • Devouring the best stone-oven-baked sour-dough pizzas outside of Italy in Hunter 486.
  • Sipping the signature martinis made by first-class mixologists. (The Caramel Latté, pictured, was dessert in itself; vodka, Kahlua, white-chocolate liqueur, caramel syrup.)
  • Admiring British art including Julie Cockburn’s ‘You Are the Key To My Soul 5’, an embroidery-enhanced antique map.
  • Enjoying a black-and-white movie from theimpressive in-house library – I watched from the bath of our suite’s sleek ensuite while my other half caught it from our chintz-free canopy-less four-poster bed. 

Our dinner (mum, dad and six-year-old daughter) in a banquette in the open-kitchen brasserie would have been worth the trip here alone. Hunter 486 (its name refers to the telephone code of yore for Marylebone) is that rare breed of West End restaurant which is chic yet relaxed and great value.

Where we ambled… Still WaterTurn left out the hotel, and you can’t miss John Nash’s 1827-built white-Carrara-marble arch which was originally created as the official gate to Buckingham Palace: Marble Arch is right at the end of the roadat the edge of Hyde Park. Next to it is Nic Fiddian-Green’s arresting huge bronze sculpture of a horse’s head, entitled ‘Still Water’ (pictured, right; Mr Smith almost pushed me under a bus for deadpanning, ‘Why the long face?’). cakes

Strolling back down Great Cumberland Place here in the Portman Estate and we enjoyed a parade of Victorian, Edwardian and Georgian architecture – it’s astonishing how quiet these distinguished London streets can be set back from the hurly burly where Park Lane and Oxford Street meet.Turning right onto George Street we soon had lots of charming shops to gaze into the windows of – from extravagant cakes (pictured, right) to a seemingly art-directed eco dry cleaners.

We poked our noses into St James, Spanish Place (pictured, below) and were blown away by the sweeping naves inside this early Gothic Roman Catholic Church (impressive arches were clearly the theme of our W1 jaunt). church Swerve north here and you’ll find street du jour, Chiltern Street where Monocle Café now is, and where cocktail obsessives make their pilgrimage to Purl on Blandford Street. Or detour south towards Manchester Square and visit the Wallace Collection; the café is a delight and you can also have a nose around the rococo room and try and figure out the use of some of the bonkers antiques.

CabbagesIt’s no secret that Marylebone High Street has more upmarket stores you can throw a black AmEx at from interiors to sharp tailoring. What was most exciting fmacaroonsor us was discovering Cabbages & Frocks Market opposite the esteemed Conran Shop is now every Saturday 11am–5pm in the front grounds of Saint Marylebone Parish Church. More crafts and artisanal fare than couture, here we enjoyed a perfect flat white (pictured, right) from and cooed over the eccentric English flavours of macaroons (pictured, right) and from here it was only a few minutes walk to Regent’s Park. I could tell you that here we strolled through Queen Mary’s Gardens, admiring the roses, arm in arm, reciting Dickens (Marylebone’s most famous ex-resident) but the truth is we just pigged out on a picnic of cheese from La Fromagerie on Moxon Street and revelled in the fact the nearest Tube is on the Bakerloo line and only a few stops from home. The perfect staycation.

Perfect for… Couples, families of all ages and also dog owners – the Arch London hotel will happily lay on beds, bowls, chef-made meals, and arrange walking and dogsitting for your pooches too. 721481-the-arch-hotel-london-united-kingdom To book a room at the Arch London, check rates and availability online or by ringing our Travel Team. Photos:  © http://instagram.com/julietkinsman



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Capella Washington DC: hotel of the week

Posted by Laura House on June 6th, 2014

European-inspired luxury, fine dining and larger-than-life guestrooms, Georgetown’s Capella Washington DC is right at home in its well-heeled neighborhood.

Capella Washington DC| Mr & Mrs Smith hotels

Style Marble and mahogany
Setting Canal-side Georgetown

Capella Washington DC living roomWhy this week? It finally feels like summer in the States – so get thee to a rooftop. Only a select few have access to Capella’s guest-only rooftop bar. This enviable perch offers panoramic views of the US Capitol building and monuments down the Potomac River, and would be a spectacular spot for the upcoming Fourth of July fireworks show. Should you need your own fire lit, the hotel is also offering three nights for the price of two when you book an Executive or Capella Suite from now until September 11, 2014 – just for Mr & Mrs Smith members.

Capella Washington DC suiteOur favourite bits Not only is the rooftop bar and heated rooftop pool just for guests (and their friends), but the ground floor Living Room gives you yet another cosy spot to lounge about without having to worry about the public nabbing your fireside armchair.

Mr & Mrs Smith say… ‘Strolling in with my dog, I was welcomed with wide smiles and addressed by name. Sure, I had a reservation, and perhaps I was recognized because I have a career in the public eye and once lived and worked down the street. But this was not the fake ‘it’s soooo nice to see you let’s have drinks’ thing that happens in an industry town. Something else was happening here. I felt like a regular.’ Read the full Mr & Mrs Smith review…

Book the Capella Washington DC now, browse more Washington DC hotels or search all Mr & Mrs Smith hotel offers.



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The Tsitouras Collection hotel in Greece

This month we’ve been gallivanting all over to globe to bring you our latest batch of boutique beauties. We began in Santorini, where The Tsitouras Collection (above) exudes both Iconic hotel in SantoriniAce Hotel Downtown Los AngelesFranklin Boutique Hotelcharacter and luxury in spades and Iconic (right) has cave-sheltered rooms, pergola patios and sun-drenched terraces.

Next, we island-hopped our way to Mallorca, home to serene 17th-century Son Mas. Then, we set sail for the Cornish coast, where The Beach at Bude is just a few steps from surfer-beloved sands.

We crossed the Atlantic next, stopping at The Dunmore in the Bahamas on the way for some understated glamour at the one-time private beach-club hotel, and then making landfall in the United States in nautical Nantucket, where we added both the Centerboard Inn and the Regatta Inn to our curated collection.

Our next Stateside stop was Connecticut, for spa delights at The Mayflower Grace. And then, we went cross-country to California and explored the long-awaited Ace Hotel Downtown Los Angeles (right), housed in one of the historic district’s magnificent Art Deco buildings.

We ended our trip in Australia, in Victoria (at prime skiing spot QT Falls Creek) and Adelaide, at the striking and sexy Franklin Boutique Hotel (right). Join us again next month to see where we’ve been…



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Matakauri Lodge, Queenstown: hotel of the week

Posted by Sarah Jappy on May 30th, 2014

Matakauri Lodge, Queenstown, New Zealand

Alpine vistas, warm fires and ski slopes have been captivating us this week – time to plan a holiday to a winter wonderland packed with outdoor adventures, where the chef champions local New Zealand produce. Step forward, Matakauri Lodge.

Style Alpine elegance
Setting Wild serenity

Matakauri Lodge, Queenstown, New ZealandWhy this week? The lodge has teamed up with French champagne house Moët & Chandon to host a night of culinary delights paired with current and rare vintages of the famous bubbly. This five-course evening, starring head chef Jonathon Rogers, takes place on 14 June, so don’t dilly dally. You’ll also get a free upgrade to a Deluxe Suite on arrival, thanks to Matakauri’s Mr & Mrs Smith offer. Each decadent suite at Matakauri Lodge sports a private porch, open fireplace and oversized bath tub with practically unavoidable jaw-dropping scenery. Interiors are light and airy, with sandy, ochre accents and plenty of space to settle down with a good book.

Matakauri Lodge, Queenstown, New ZealandOur favourite bits… Just a short drive from the South Island’s adventure hotspot, Queenstown, Matakauri Lodge is ideally located to suit both intrepid adventurers and relaxed home-bodies. The menu at the lodge’s restaurant changes daily and focuses only on the freshest seasonal produce, all sourced locally. If you’re planning a hike, or simply want to sit by the flawless surface of Lake Wakatipu, choose one of the lodge’s picnic lunches to sustain you. After a strenuous day of skiing, relax with a signature Snowflake Massage at the secluded spa on the edge of a pine forest with uninterrupted views of looming Cecil Peak.

Mr & Mrs Smith say… ‘Our eyes can barely comprehend the brain-bending view: dense pines cuddle the sides of glassy Lake Wakatipu, the sun (yes, sun – southern New Zealand in January has a penchant for very late nightfall) illuminates the formidable Cecil and Walter Peaks, and shadows of soft, cartoon-shaped clouds glide across the Remarkables range.’ Read the full Mr & Mrs Smith review…

Plan your perfect New Zealand getaway with Mr & Mrs Smith, or browse all our exclusive hotel offers.

*Copy compiled by Katherine Williams



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