The Eventful Engadine

Autumn may be just around the corner but there are still plenty of events to keep visitors to the Engadine valley entertained right up until the middle of October.

For sporty types, there are numerous competitions in which to either participate or simply spectate.  The Swiss Irontrail takes place over the weekend of 9 to 11 August; the longest and toughest trail starts from Pontresina and incorporates stunning mountain scenery as well as covering 201kms (approx 125 miles) of rocky terrain over three days – definitely not one for the feint-hearted!

ENGADIN St. Moritz: EngadinwindThe following week, from 14 to 18 August, the spectacular windsurfing and kite-surfing regatta called Engadinwind 2013 will be held on Lake Silvaplana, as will the Engadine windsurfing marathon, the largest and most traditional event of its type. The active may wish to take part, but – on account of the brightly coloured sails and the acrobatic nature of this sport – Engadinwind is equally enjoyable for the audience sitting lake-side.

The 12th Nationalpark Bike Marathon, giving mountain bikers a unique perspective of Switzerland’s only national park, as well as that of the Italian Stelvio, is scheduled for 31 August.

For cultural visitors to the Engadine, the ever-popular Festival da Jazz continues till 11 August, with free Round Midnight Concerts taking place in the legendary Sunny Bar of the Kulm Hotel St. Moritz, swiftly followed by the 17th Celerina New Orleans Jazz Festival, which takes place over the weekend of 23 to 25 August.

ENGADIN St. Moritz: St. Moritz Art MastersFor those keen on the visual arts, the St. Moritz Art Masters from 23 August to 1 September is a “Walk of Art” that links various exhibition venues in and around the resort, including the Kulm Hotel St. Moritz, with art by regional, national and international artists, particularly Chinese this year, on display.  Guided tours take place daily and there will be a series of talks co-led by Hans Ulrich Obrist, Co-Director of the Serpentine Gallery in London.

From 10 to 13 October, visitors can enjoy the magnificent colours of the Engadine’s autumn leaves during the day and the dulcet tones of some great singers in the relaxed ambience of Pontresina in the evening during Voices on Top, which includes private concerts at Grand Hotel Kronenhof.  This year, Irish pop star Sinéad O’Connor tops the bill, alongside well-known Swiss act 77 Bombay Street, a family “boy” band and winner of a national talent contest.

Finally, St. Moritz has a treat in store for car enthusiasts, with the second staging of Passione Engadina, a meeting of vintage Italian motors dating to 1983, over the weekend of 23 to 25 August, when many of the cars and their drivers will be in residence at the Kulm Hotel St. Moritz.  The guest of honour at this year’s event is Lamborghini, which is celebrating its 50th birthday in 2013.  Taking part in the races will be a rare Lamborghini Miura Targa, one of the fastest road cars ever created. 

To enjoy the Pontresina-based events, stay at Grand Hotel Kronenhof (www.kronenhof.com); rates start from CHF460 (approx £315) per night for two people sharing a double room including half-board.  Reservations can be made by phone on +41 81 830 3030 or via email reservations@kronenhof.com.

To enjoy the St. Moritz-based events, stay at the Kulm Hotel St. Moritz (www.kulm.com); rates start at CHF525 (approx £360) per night for two people sharing a double room including half-board. Reservations can be made by phone +41 (0) 81 836 80 00 or via email reservations@kulm.com.

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Par & Spa in the Golf Centre Of The Alps

This August, a golfing holiday to the world-famous Kulm Hotel St. Moritz (www.kulm.com) is all the more appealing thanks to the opening of the £8-million Kulm Spa St. Moritz, where golfers can indulge themselves with a personal training session designed specifically for golfers, a signature Alpine herb stamp massage to ease tired muscles after a challenging round of golf or a long soak in the outdoor hot tub with panoramic Alpine views.

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The Engadine, where St. Moritz is located, is known as “the golf centre of the Alps”, a name it acquired over 120 years ago, in 1891, when the first golf course in Switzerland was opened in Samedan. Not long after, the 9-hole Kulm Golf St. Moritz course was built, nestled among trees in the high Alpine landscape with spectacular views of Lake St. Moritz, thereby creating a unique golfing experience.

In 2001, golf course designer Mario Verdieri upgraded the Kulm’s greens, bringing the course up to date with the needs of today’s golfer, so that the redesigned par 3 course is both picturesque and demanding. Set within the hotel’s grounds, Kulm Golf St. Moritz also boasts a driving range (with 16 practice bays) and two practice putting greens. For those who wish to heighten their golf experience, there are two 18-hole golf courses (Samedan and Zuoz) within a 30-minute drive of St. Moritz for which the Kulm Hotel St. Moritz can arrange green fees.

Kulm Golf 5 autumn (1024x768)And now the Kulm Hotel St. Moritz has also upgraded its wellness areas, bringing them right into the 21st century by launching the 2,000 sq m, £8-million Kulm Spa St. Moritz.  This innovation is taking St. Moritz back to its roots, for the resort was known – 3,500 years ago – for its healing spas and in the 19th century became popular among the British, who made the long journey over the high mountain passes to spend the summer enjoying a little bit of R&R in the crisp, therapeutic mountain air and glorious sunshine.

The Kulm Hotel St. Moritz has combined these two great traditions of the Engadine into a three-night package that includes a lavish buffet breakfast, gourmet “Dine Around” half-board at three of the hotel’s five restaurants, one night cap, one green fee for either Samedan or Zuoz, one relaxing 50-minute full body massage, unlimited access to the Kulm Spa St Moritz , a wellbeing sports programme that changes daily, unlimited use of the 9-hole Kulm golf course, practice facilities and tennis courts, and unlimited use of all open mountain railways in the Engadine/St. Moritz region and public transportation in the valley (bus and Rhaetian railway).

Rates for the Golf Break start at CHF895 (approx £620) per person and the package is available till 7 September 2013.  Reservations can be made by phone +41 (0) 81 836 80 00 or by e-mail via reservations@kulm.com.

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Watch out… There’s a Gromit (or 80) About…

Gromit, Britain’s favourite animated dog, is currently to be found wandering the streets of Bristol, where he was first created by the Oscar-winning Nick Park of Aardman Studios

Gromit Unleashed (http://www.gromitunleashed.org.uk/) is a public art exhibition of 80 giant fibreglass Gromits, each standing 5ft tall, which have been placed in and around Bristol for 10 weeks until 8th September.  Each Gromit has been decorated by a different artist, creating a trail of unique pieces of art that will be auctioned after the exhibition to raise funds for Wallace & Gromit’s Grand Appeal, the Bristol Children’s Hospital Charity.

P1000686 (506x800)Make the most of a visit to Bristol to see the Gromit Unleashed exhibition and combine it with an overnight stay at The Bristol Hotel, which has created two summer-specific packages to make a stay in the city even more enjoyable.

The Bristol Hotel’s “Bubbles & Berries Package” includes a bottle of bubbly and a bowl of berries on arrival, overnight accommodation and breakfast for two, free parking, free Wifi and free use of the hotel gym.  Prices start from £109 per room per night.

The Bristol Hotel’s “Discover the Dock” package includes overnight accommodation and breakfast for two, two tickets for a 45-minute Bristol Packet City Dock Boat tour, free parking, free Wifi and free use of the hotel gym.  Prices start from £114 per room per night.
The Bristol Hotel - Executive Bedroom
Additional nights at The Bristol Hotel cost from £89 per night, room only, making a weekend in Bristol an affordable luxury.

For more details & to book, visit www.doylecollection.com/bristol.

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Heidi Hi!

Heidi Hi people!  Now you, too, can live life just like the Swiss fictional character Heidi… if only for a day or two!

Alph++tte_10 (640x427)This summer, Grand Hotel Kronenhof, Pontresina is offering families the chance to experience something new that is truly unique: the opportunity to spend quality time together in the hotel’s very Swiss Alpine hut far from the madding crowds, with just a private chef whipping up a traditional feast in front of their eyes.

Grand Hotel Kronenhof’s Alpine typical old hut is located high up in the mountains, just 10kms from the hotel and close to the Bernina Pass, and is surrounded by unspoilt wild pasture, giving families the chance to spend a few hours getting back to nature and experiencing real “Heidi” moments, running up hills, discovering wild flowers, breathing in crisp mountain air and simply appreciating the natural beauty of the Alps.

Alph++tte_14 (640x427)To help families make the most of their day in the mountain, Grand Hotel Kronenhof has put together a package that includes transfers to and from the Alpine hut, as well as a rustic three-course menu prepared by Bernd Schützelhofer, Executive Chef at Grand Hotel Kronenhof and awarded the prize of Chef of the Year 2012 by the Swiss economic magazine Bilanz, which will be prepared for the family by a private chef.

If they wish, families can also go with the Chef to various local markets, prior to departure from the hotel, to learn more about fresh regional produce and how to cook it.  The Alpine hut package is valid for a minimum of two people and costs from CHF220 (approx £150) per person.  For keen adventurers, there is also the chance to spend the night in the Alpine hut – more details are available from the hotel.

Alph++tte_8 (640x427)The Engadine valley, where the Grand Hotel Kronenhof, Pontresina is located, is positively bursting with outdoor activities that suit families with children of all ages.  There are mountains to be climbed, mountain bike trails to be discovered (of varying difficulty and with different themes, such as fairy and flower), lakes in which to swim or on which to sail, excursions by train, horse-drawn carriage, boat or helicopter, and child-friendly centres such as a petting zoo and rope park.

Meanwhile, Grand Hotel Kronenhof, Pontresina (www.kronenhof.com) has perfected the art of hosting families and has a coveted Family Hotel Seal of Approval from the Swiss Hotel Association to prove it.

To book, call the Grand Hotel Kronenhof on +41 81 830 3030 or email reservations@kronenhof.com.

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Discover the Dock – The Bristol Hotel launches a summer city package

Bristol is on a high: two of its best-known residents, Wallace & Gromit, have been chosen as Visit England ambassadors and the city was recently named among the top ten most popular destinations to visit in the UK by TripAdvisor.
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TripAdvisor described Bristol as “a quirky British city with beautiful hilly vistas and plenty of historic sites to explore. Anyone interested in ships will have a blast aboard Brunel’s ss Great Britain, the world’s first great ocean liner, and the Matthew, a replica of the ship upon which John Cabot sailed to America in the 15th century, while the graceful Clifton Suspension Bridge is another must-see”.

Fittingly, then, The Bristol Hotel (www.doylecollection.com/bristol), an award winner itself having been named the city’s Large Hotel of the Year 2012, has launched a “Discover the Dock” package costing from just £114.  The package includes a 45-minute tour of the harbour on The Bristol Packet, which will help visitors to see the historic sites mentioned by TripAdvisor, as well as to get their bearings and learn all about Bristol, while sitting back and relaxing on the water.

The Bristol Hotel - Executive BedroomBack on land, The Bristol Hotel’s location right on the city’s Harbourside provides the perfect base for exploring this vibrant city and its many upcoming events, with something to suit everyone.  Just a couple of minutes’ walk from The Bristol Hotel stands the contemporary arts centre known as the Arnolfini, with M Shed, the museum for all things Bristol, just over the bridge.  Walk a little further into Spike Island to visit ss Great Britain, built in Bristol by Brunel, and Spike Island Artspace, another contemporary art venue.

Walk the other way, north from the hotel, if your main interest is shopping.  Broadmead and Cabot Circus, much of which are pedestrianised, are home to over 100 shops, including well-known brands such as Reiss, Harvey Nichols, Topshop and House of Fraser.  Quirky individual shops can be found on Park Street, which is more of a traditional “High Street”.

In the evenings, various venues offer a wide range of entertainment.  The Bristol Old Vic presents plays old and new, while the Bristol Hippodrome specialises in hosting many West End shows; Colston Hall and St George’s put on music from classical to contemporary, as well as  talks and comedy.  For art house cinema, head for The Watershed.

Events over the coming months vary from the ancient (Bristol Museum & Art Gallery’s Pharoah: King of Egypt, a touring exhibition from the British Museum in situ till 21st July) to the modern (Bristol International Balloon Fiesta, recently named one of the top three tourism events in the UK, 8th to 11th August), not forgetting the Harbour Festival from 26th to 28th July, one of the UK’s largest public festivals  and a smorgasbord of musical and artistic performances that take place, appropriately given our watery theme, along the harbour front!

Bristol-Ferry-Boat_CREDIT-Destination-Bristol (640x360)There’s also a little of everything else in between.  For example, there are food festivals (such as Foodies Festival on 12th to 14th July), cultural events (like St Paul’s Afrikan Caribbean Carnival on 6th July and the Bristol Festival of Puppetry 2013 from 30th August to 8th September) and family-friendly things to see (Festival of Nature on 15th & 16th June and Gromit Unleashed: a trail of 70 Gromit works of art, from 1st July to 7th September). And all of them within walking distance of The Bristol Hotel.

The Bristol Hotel’s “Discover the Dock” package includes overnight accommodation and breakfast for two, two tickets for a 45-minute Bristol Packet tour, free parking, free Wifi and free use of the hotel gym.  Prices start from £114 per room per night.  Additional nights at The Bristol Hotel cost from £89 per night, room only, making a weekend in Bristol an affordable luxury.

For more details & to book, visit www.doylecollection.com/bristol.

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Spring into Summer with Bubbles & Berries

The Bristol Hotel (www.doylecollection.com/bristol) has launched a Bubbles & Berries package costing from just £109 to help guests celebrate spring and summer.  While a bottle of bubbly and a bowl of berries are served on arrival to kick off an overnight stay or a weekend break in style, The Bristol Hotel’s location right on the city’s Harbourside provides the perfect base for exploring this vibrant city and its many upcoming events, with something to suit everyone.

The Bristol Hotel - Executive BedroomJust a couple of minutes’ walk from The Bristol Hotel stands the contemporary arts centre known as the Arnolfini, with M Shed, the museum for all things Bristol, just over the bridge.  Walk a little further into Spike Island to visit SS Great Britain, built in Bristol by Brunel, and Spike Island Artspace, another contemporary art venue.

Walk the other way, north from the hotel, if your main interest is shopping.  Broadmead and Cabot Circus, much of which are pedestrianised, are home to over 100 shops, including well-known brands such as Reiss, Harvey Nichols, Topshop and House of Fraser.  Quirky individual shops can be found on Park Street, which is more of a traditional “High Street”.

In the evenings, various venues offer a wide range of entertainment.  The Bristol Old Vic presents plays old and new, while the Bristol Hippodrome specialises in hosting many West End shows; Colstan Hall and St George’s put on music from classical to contemporary, as well as  talks and comedy.  For art house cinema, head for The Watershed.

Events over the coming months vary from the ancient (Bristol Museum & Art Gallery’s Pharoah: King of Egypt, a touring exhibition from the British Museum in situ till 21st July) to the modern (Bristol International Balloon Fiesta, recently named one of the top three tourism events in the UK, 8-11 August), with a little of everything else in between.

For example, there are food festivals (such as Grillstock BBQ & Blues on 11th & 12th May and Bristol Vegfest 2013 from 24th to 26th May), cultural events (like St Paul’s Afrikan Caribbean Carnival on 6th July and the Bristol Festival of Puppetry 2013 from 30th August to 8th September) and family-friendly things to see (Festival of Nature on 15th & 16th June and Gromit Unleashed: a trail of 70 Gromit works of art, from 1st July to 7th September). And all of them within walking distance of The Bristol Hotel.

strawberries & champagneThe Bristol Hotel’s “Bubbles & Berries Package” includes a bottle of bubbly and a bowl of berries on arrival, overnight accommodation and breakfast for two, free parking, free Wifi and free use of the hotel gym.  Prices start from £109 per room per night.  Additional nights at The Bristol Hotel cost from £89 per room per night making a weekend in Bristol an affordable luxury.

For more details & to book, visit www.doylecollection.com/bristol.

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Good value, easy access to Bristol makes The Bristol Hotel a great MICE destination

First Great Western (FGW), which operates trains to Bristol Temple Meads from a large number of mainline stations throughout southern England & Wales, is promoting a reduced rail rate for MICE delegates.  The Bristol Hotel (www.doylecollection.com/bristol) is now the natural venue of choice for those planning meetings in the city as it is within walking distance of Temple Meads and offers multiple function rooms of varying sizes.

First Great Western standard return travel between London Paddington, all FGW main stations, as well as many connecting routes to FGW from the Home Counties, and Bristol Temple Meads is now available at the fixed rate of £44, with First Class return travel costing £89.  Tickets are only valid with proof of attendance at a conference or similar event in Bristol (proof that The Bristol Hotel is happy to provide when clients book an event at the property).

The Bristol Hotel is the obvious venue to take advantage of these great train offers.  Not only does it stand less than a 5-minute taxi ride (10-minute walk) from Bristol Temple Meads station, but it also has nine meetings rooms ranging from a 14 sq m board room seating just six up to the 346 sq m Ballroom accommodating 500 people for a cocktail reception.

Day delegate rates start at £35 per head (for meetings with a minimum of 10 participants).  This includes room hire, a two-course lunch or finger buffet, mineral water (on tap with cordials and sweets), three formal coffee breaks with cake, a flip chart and LCD or plasma screen and on-site complimentary parking for all participants.  24-hour delegate rates start at £165 per head and include room hire, a two-course lunch or finger buffet, mineral water (on tap with cordials and sweets), three formal coffee breaks, a flip chart and LCD or plasma screen, on-site complimentary parking for all participants and dinner, bed & breakfast accommodation, for a minimum of 10 participants.

For more information, contact The Bristol Hotel sales team on bristolevents@doylecollection.com or call 0117 923 0333.  Conference rail bookings can be made online at www.visitbristol.co.uk/conferencefares.

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