The Notebook

At Rocco Forte Hotels

Follow The Notebook to stay up to date with the latest news and happenings in our hotels and destinations across the globe.

The Highest Towers in Florence for an Amazing View
While Florence is beautiful from the ground, it’s even more captivating with a bird’s eye view. From above, historical buildings tower above a sea of red roofs, stretching out towards the Tuscan countryside. Arguably the best views of the city can be found at the top of the many historic towers in Florence, so put on your walking shoes and climb up to the top for a fresh perspective of the city and surrounding region.
Florence
A room with a view at Amigos. Get away in style this weekend and relax overlooking our grand city. https://t.co/kWc0KPy5D9
Celebrating the bride in our timeless Magritte Suite, just a few steps from the City Hall and the Grand Place https://t.co/B1aNt1KJ8X
Join us for the perfect Summer City Break at Hotel Amigo. https://t.co/NuBxvJrqQU #Brussels #luxtravel
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Happiness in St Petersburg by Irada Vovnenko
Deputy Director of the iconic St Isaac’s Cathedral and celebrated Russian writer, Irada Vovnenko, shares her happy St Petersburg.
St Petersburg
Tom Parker Bowles' Top Tables
A food critic and gastronome extraordinaire, what Tom Parker Bowels doesn’t know about London’s dining scene isn’t worth knowing. As Brown’s Hotel’s Expert-in-Residence, he’s on-hand to personally curate our guests’ gastronomic experiences. Here, he reveals his insider knowledge of the latest culinary trends and, of course, London’s finest eateries.
London
Discover an Authentic Taste of Sicily
Verdura Resort brings you an authentic taste of Sicily with delicious home-grown produce from its Società Agricola organic farm. Home to an abundance of olive, orange, lemon and almond trees, the lovingly tended gardens are an agricultural delight. Aromatic herbs like rosemary, sage, and mint grow alongside artichokes, aubergines and tomatoes. Each day, fresh ingredients are carefully hand-picked and served in Verdura Resort’s restaurants and bars. Learn to cook like a true Sicilian with our delicious fish guazzetto recipe below.
Sicily
Wonderful Wedding Gift Packages
Sometimes it’s so difficult to know what to get someone special for their wedding day. Wedding lists are so impersonal, so why not give them an experience they will always remember. From pampering spa treatments for two to delightful afternoon tea, these extremely spoiling gift package ideas will make every happy couple feel truly blessed.
Edinburgh London Brussels Berlin Rome Sicily
Number One Restaurant’s Smoked Salmon, Quail Egg & Caviar Recipe
The Balmoral’s Michelin starred Number One restaurant is one of Edinburgh’s most prestigious. Using the best quality local ingredients to create dishes with contemporary flair, Executive Chef, Jeff Bland and Head Chef, Brian Grigor dazzle diners with their beautifully presented plates.
Edinburgh
Five Unforgettable Experiences in London for Children
At Rocco Forte Hotels, our little guests as just are important as our big ones. We are delighted to present a selection of endlessly entertaining, bespoke experiences in London for children. Expertly curated by our Fun-Makers-in-Residence at Brown’s, these five adventures are magical moments your family will never forget.
London
Passion and luxury by Christina Zeller
Passionate fashionista, Christina Zeller, knows all about fine luxury in her position with iconic Brussels’ leather brand, Delvaux. Enjoy as she dives deep into her own fashionable bag of Belgium’s best.
Brussels
Discover Lydia Forte’s Brown’s Hotel Instagram Diary
Bar and Restaurant Development Manager for Rocco Forte Hotels and daughter of Sir Rocco Forte, Lydia Forte has her hands on Brown’s Hotel’s Instagram account for an exciting three-day takeover. Here, she grants an exclusive peek into her London diary, revealing what she got up to over the course of three captivating days.
London
A Tale of Two Cities: Berlin vs Munich
Two cities. Both equally alluring. Berlin, with its award-winning gastronomy and cutting-edge culture, and Munich, with its wild natural scenery, beer and bratwurst. Really, it seems a shame to choose between the two.
Berlin Munich
Fabulous Florence by Laudomia Pucci
Florentine fashion royalty, Laudomia Pucci, measures up a city of majestic museums, fabulous fashion and floral magic.
How to make: A Berlin Bug
Conceived by the La Banca Bar team at Hotel de Rome in Berlin, this cocktail is a lively, refreshing drink to brighten up spring evenings. All its ingredients are native to Berlin; however, you can substitute for what is available to you.
Berlin
Prestige Weddings
From the dress to the floral arrangements, there’s nothing like a royal wedding to inspire trends. This May, Pippa Middleton wed James Matthew and all eyes were on the happy couple’s stylish ceremony. Here, Scotland’s leading wedding planner, Katie Balmer imparts her expert advice on how to help you turn your wedding in to a rather regal affair.
Edinburgh
Inside the World of Tintin in Brussels
The Belgians take their tradition of comic strip writing seriously, even giving it its own name, the ‘ninth art’. Their greatest artist is Hergé, creator of ‘The Adventures of Tintin’ and country’s most famous fictional detective. The unforgettable character of Tintin has left an indelible mark on Brussels and everywhere you turn, glimpses of him and his comrades light up the capital, from murals on walls and train stations, to museums, shops and even in the suites of Hotel Amigo. Delve into the story of Tintin in Brussels with this comic lover’s guide to the city.
Brussels
An interview with Thomas Bjørn
European Tour golf returns to Verdura Resort, a Rocco Forte Hotel, tomorrow with the 2017 Rocco Forte Open. As announced in April, European Ryder Cup captain Thomas Bjørn has confirmed his place in the line-up for the Rocco Forte Open. The 46-year-old Dane, who will lead Europe’s bid to regain the Ryder Cup in Paris next September, spoke to us about Ryder Cup, challenges in playing the Verdura golf course this week, and something about Italy and staying at the resort.
Sicily
Let’s go cookie by Heinz Gindullis
In the past there used to be a lot of illegal parties, music, alcohol and drugs today it is about secret pop up restaurants, green smoothies and vegan burgers. From Cookies to Crackers, let legendary club owner turned iconic restaurateur Heinz Gindullis, aka Cookie, take you on a whirlwind culinary tour of Berlin.
Berlin
Insider: The right kind of look by David Gandy
Insiders by Rocco Forte Hotels gives guests the unique opportunity to discover some of our cities’ best-kept secrets, as told by locals. Our guest editors range from world-famous actors and respected authors to the masterminds of a city’s cultural scene.
London
How to Make: Spaghetti Pomodoro
Rustic, fragrant and bursting with flavour, no dish conjures up memories of Italy quite like Spaghetti Pomodoro. A classic example of Italian cuisine, the dish proves that quick and simple is often best, and what it lacks in complexity it more than makes up for in taste. Chef Extraordinaire Fulvio Pierangelini, Creative Director of Food for Rocco Forte Hotels, unveils his secret method for creating the perfect Spaghetti Pomodoro. A great recipe to try at home, use the finest ingredients you can find, follow his instructions carefully, and you’ll be cooking like an Italian in no time.
Rome
A Trip to Jeddah: Inside the Middle East’s Most Surprising Tourist Destination
Jeddah, the Gateway to Makkah (Mecca), is an ancient city that has been awarded UNESCO World Heritage status. With a long corniche cooled by the breeze of the Red Sea and myriad sites and attractions to explore, the city has long been popular with regional and religious tourists, but the opening of the Assila Hotel is creating a new destination for Western visitors in Saudi Arabia. Combining Middle Eastern hospitality, opulent facilities and spectacular views, this landmark hotel in the heart of Jeddah is a new world of luxury and comfort. Ahead of your trip to Jeddah, we lift the lid on life in the Arabian city and unveil the top things for visitors to see and do.
Jeddah
An Essential Guide to Caviar in St Petersburg
An acquired taste that’s synonymous with luxury, caviar is one of Russia’s signature delicacies. Just as you wouldn’t leave Italy without sipping a glass of top-class Italian wine, caviar is an essential try when in St Petersburg. From where to buy premium Beluga, to how to eat it and which vodkas make a perfect pairing, this guide to caviar has all the essentials covered.
St Petersburg
Choosing the Right Savile Row Tailors
A bespoke suit is a wardrobe essential and in London there’s no better place to commission one than Savile Row. The heart of men’s tailoring in the capital, the street has long been an enviable postcode, with many of the best Savile Row tailors sitting side by side, offering bespoke, made-to-measure and ready-to-wear suits and clothing. Faced with so many excellent options, it’s best to approach a shopping trip with a style in mind. Whether you prefer traditional, country, contemporary or classic designs, follow this guide to find the tailor that best suits you.
London
Roman Kern's Essential Guide to Extraordinary Mixology in Munich
With local bartenders pushing the boundaries of creative mixology, Munich is fast becoming the most exciting ‘bar capital’ in Germany. Roman Kern, manager of Sophia's Restaurant and Bar, is one of the top mixologists in the city. Passionate about reinventing the ‘cocktail’ as we know it, he dries his own fruits and vegetables, creates powders from liqueurs, pickles spices, infuses herbs into spirits – and that’s just the ingredients prep. We sat down with Roman to talk trends, cocktails and bartenders to watch in 2017.
Munich
The Most Romantic Places to Propose in Europe
A proposal is an unforgettable moment in a couple’s life together, so make it count by heading to your favourite city for an experience to remember. Whether you prefer historic sights, charming settings or dramatic views, Europe is full of locations providing an incredible backdrop for an engagement. Follow this guide to the most romantic places to propose in Europe and celebrate with Rocco Forte Hotels.
Edinburgh London Brussels Berlin Frankfurt Munich Florence Rome Sicily St Petersburg
Five Ways to Get Active this New Year in Sicily
“New year, new me” – it’s a sentiment followed by millions of people each January. However, in most cases, resolutions to start afresh are easier said than done. This new year, kick-start your fitness regime in Sicily, where beautiful natural landscapes, fresh Mediterranean air and exciting outdoor sports, such as rock climbing, hiking, golf and skiing, make it easy to keep promises. If you’re planning a trip, get active while sightseeing with this fitness guide to Sicily, with no gym in sight.
Sicily
Where to Buy Artisan Leather in Florence
True Italian leather is to fashion what a Michelin star is to a restaurant, a sign of unbeatable quality and excellence. While produced around the world, nowhere makes leather quite like Italy. The historic city of Florence has long been associated with this highly prized export, but there’s more to the city than shops and markets peddling handmade goods. From the tanneries of Tuscany to the fascinating workshops in city’s back streets, discover the age-old art of Italian craftsmanship with this guide to the best places to buy leather in Florence.
Florence
The Most Stylish Places to go Shopping in Frankfurt
High-end brands, independent designers, trendy concept stores – Frankfurt has all this and more. While the city may not necessarily be known as the sleekest of style capitals, in recent years its fashion offering has grown more dramatically than Alexander McQueen’s heels. From the city’s premium Fifth Avenue-style retail street to its vogueish boutique district, Brückenstraße, discover trend-setting shopping in Frankfurt with this guide to the malls, shops and labels upping Germany’s style stakes.
Frankfurt
A Festive Gift Guide to Artisan Shopping in Rome
At Christmas time, Rome’s shopping streets are filled with Italian fashion brands tempting passers-by with beautiful displays and opulently dressed windows. However, while fresh-off-the-runway items from designer labels make excellent gifts, they’re rarely unique. This festive season, why not treat your loved ones to a more personal, bespoke creation with a one-off piece of jewellery, clothing or an accessory that’s been handmade by Rome’s best artisans. Discover a world of Italian craftsmanship with this guide to shopping in Rome.
Rome
5 Reasons why St Petersburg is the Ballet Capital of the World
Ever since St Petersburg set the stage for the original Nutcracker, ballet has found a warm welcome in Russia.Considered by many to be the ballet capital of the world, the city is home to many of the greatest ballet companies, academies, dancers and theatres on Earth. Here, we explore the city’s relationship with ballet, from its first dance company in the 1740s to contemporary stars of Russian ballet and where to see them perform.
St Petersburg
An Alternative Guide to Christmas in London
The festive period is one of the best times of the year to visit London. Colourful decorations light up the streets, the city explodes with exciting events and an infectious festive buzz fills the air right up until the New Year. With so many people heading to the capital to enjoy a holiday break or do some Christmas shopping, London can get extremely busy. Avoid the crowds and discover a different side to the capital with this alternative guide to Christmas in London.
London
Discover Rome with Pablo Picasso and Hotel de Russie
Brilliant, original, and revolutionary, Pablo Picasso is widely considered one of the most influential artists of all time. Revered for his boundary-pushing and often surrealist artworks, the Spanish artist left an impression everywhere he visited. During a sabbatical in Rome in 1917, however, the tables turned as career and love became intertwined and his life was changed forever. As Hotel de Russie commemorates 100 years since Picasso’s visit with special anniversary celebrations, we look back at his time in the Eternal City and discover how art enthusiasts can experience Rome through his eyes.
Rome

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