We’ve stayed at many five-star hotels and many boutique hotels, but a recent stay at Hazlitt’s  in the heart of London’s Soho has made us want to invent a completely new classification. Combining the service and quality of a five-star with the individuality of a boutique, the hotel occupies three Georgian Houses on Frith Street, an unbeatable location. You are a short stroll from the excellent shopping of Covent Garden, the theatre district and any number of great restaurants and bars. But it is within the cocoon of Hazlitt’s that the most enjoyment is to be had.

Each of the 30 bedrooms is traditionally furnished with panelled walls and beautiful antique furniture. All rooms are air-conditioned and have complimentary Wi-Fi, flat screen television, mini bar, safe, antique desk and REN toiletries. If it’s a special occasion it is definitely worth choosing one of the suites. Every suite is named after a former resident or regular visitor to the house, such as the split-level “Teresa Corneleys,” who spent her time at the house after having an affair with Casanova. Such romantic inclinations extend to the bedroom whose huge bed is decorated with rich fabrics and hand carved gilded cherubs – if you are not in the mood then you can open the antique mirror to reveal a large plasma television or avail of the numerous data points at the desk area. Adjoining is an extra sitting room with yet another flat screen tv, stereo with iPod connection and a diverse book collection. Upstairs is the marble bathroom complete with four angle power shower and a large and luxuriant bath tub.

If you do feel like leaving the bedroom the Library offers a very pleasant setting to relax and browse through the many first editions on the shelves here while sipping a drink from the honesty bar. Business travellers will find this a great spot for entertaining guests or hooking up to the free Wi fi connection (available throughout the hotel). Service at Hazlitt’s is unobtrusive and efficient while still warm and friendly. Breakfast here is served to your room, and the pleasure of tucking into croissants – baked on the premises that morning  – completes the feeling that all is well with the world.


London to Venice, Orient Express

Step back to the golden age of European train travel with this two day trip including one night aboard. The Orient Express spent €16 million restoring 35 sleeping cars to their original art deco sophistication. Passengers are expected to dress elegantly for dinner. At a minimum a suit and tie for men and the equivalent for women but black tie and gowns are encouraged.


Switzerland, The Chocolate Train

Only running in summer months, this train departs from Montreux overlooking Lake Geneva to the medieval town of Gruyères, home to the cheese of the same name. Here you can tour the cheese factory, enjoy lunch and explore the castle before continuing on to Broc to visit the Nestlé chocolate factory before making the return trip. The total travel time is 9 hours, 45 minutes.


The Bernina Express, Chur, Switerland to Tirano, Italy

If you like some excitment and thrills on your train journey, try this one. Over the course of this four hour trip this narrow-gauge train takes on some serious inclines, a 360-degree spiral, 55 tunnels, and 196 bridges reaching an apex of 7,391 feet and then descending 5,905 feet before coming to a stop. Part of the route is a UNESCO World Heritage site.


InterCity-Express (ICE), Munich to Nurenburg

If you want to go fast this high speed wonder zooms you between two historic Bavarian cities at speeds up to 199 miles an hour. The scenery outside changes so fast it’s not a trip recommended for those that want to admire the views but it is an essential European rail experience.


Trans-Siberian Railway, Moscow to Vladivostok, Russia

Over the course of this iconic 19 day trip you will cross eight time zones between the Russian capital and the port city on the Pacific Ocean. The on board experience is unique too with foreigners and locals, rich and poor, young and old all mingling. Lots of side excursions from city tours to scuba diving are also available to book along the way.


Danube Express, London to Istanbul, Turkey

Probably the best train experience to be had in Europe. This luxury private train will take you into the very heart of Transylvania, where you can explore the medieval town that was the birthplace of Vlad the Impaler, before approaching Istanbul along the Bosporus. The total duration of the trip is eight days including an overnight in Budapest and Istanbul.



Broadway in Soho, Manhattan, New York, USA

Tourists already know the entire borough of Manhattan is any shop-aholic’s dream, or nightmare. One can spend an entire week shopping throughout New York City. Any native New Yorker will tell you to head down to Broadway in Soho to find a variety of shopping experiences. You can shop high end at luxury stores, find middle ground with stores like Old Navy or The Gap, or, find a truly unique vintage shop for unique finds to bring back home.


The Ginza: Tokyo, Japan

Worth over ten million yen, being one of the most expensive pieces of real estate in Japan is what The Ginza can claim for fame. Historians say the Ginza district is named after the Japanese word for Silver Mint; giving it its rich nickname. Most shops in the district are open everyday of the week. Massive department stores dominate this area including Mitsukoshi, Matsuya and Matsuzakaya.


The Nine Streets Area, Amsterdam, The Netherlands

Otherwise known to the Dutch as De Negen Straatjes; the heart of the Amsterdam canal district is one of the most delightful shopping experiences. Located near the Royal Palace and Dam Square, you’ll be able to capture picturesque photographs of the infamous canals. Explore the designer boutiques and specialty vintage shops which keep Amsterdam a major shopping competitor in Europe.


Bond Street: London, England

If luxury shopping is for you, the mecca of shopping streets is located in London England. Located in the Mayfair district of London, it has been a reputable shopping street since the 18th century. Technically, Bond Street does not exist. The South part is called Old Bond Street, while the North is called New Bond Street. The stores with lots of shopping to do certainly do exist where one can find great familiar places such as Zara, Victorinox, Armani and Miu Miu.


Avinguda Diagonal Barcelona, Spain

Cutting the city in two, diagonally from East to West, is how Avinguda Diagonal got its name. There is plenty to please everyone here from local designers to big brands in the massive shopping centers along the avenue. Check out the Glories Plaza for a cinema experience and a mini mall.