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.

Five Incredible Bavarian Castles to visit on a Trip to Munich
Germany’s palaces are like something out of a fairy tale. Whether rising out of the forests or sprawling across luscious meadows, they’re architecturally impressive and breathtakingly beautiful. Drive a short distance out of Munich and you’ll find some of the finest Bavarian castles in the country, like Linderhof Palace and Neuschwanstein Castle, built by King Ludwig II. Take a day trip from the city to explore our pick of the most captivating castles in Bavaria.
Delicious, distinctive and surprisingly healthy.. learn all about one of Frankfurts specialities on The Notebook:
Out thoughts and prayers are with all those affected by yesterday's devastating earthquake in central Italy.
From fairy tale palaces to hilltop forts, #Bavaria is full of castles: @visit_bavaria
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Five Places to Discover Art in Edinburgh
Scotland may not be considered primarily for its arts, preferring to associate itself with things like whisky, haggis and golf, but in the capital there’s plenty of opportunity to indulge your inner artist. As performing arts festival The Edinburgh Festival Fringe takes over the city throughout August, we look at the busy theatres and quiet galleries pioneering the city’s burgeoning art scene. Join us as we explore the best places to find fine and contemporary art in Edinburgh.
Recipe: Glorious Grouse
The Glorious 12th August marks the start of the Scottish grouse season. The Balmoral’s Number One Head Chef, Brian Grigor, has prepared a young grouse dish perfect for the occasion.
Five Beautiful Parks in London for a Picnic
London is at its most beautiful when the sun is shining. The city buzzes as people make the most of the good weather and indulge in one of England’s greatest summer pastimes: a picnic. From deer-watching at Richmond Park to live theatre at Regent’s Park, there’s plenty to entertain while tucking into a feast at one of the many beautiful parks in London. When the sun comes out, follow this guide to the best green spaces to throw down your picnic blanket this summer.
How to Travel Healthy with Madeleine Shaw
Maintaining a healthy diet and lifestyle is one of the biggest challenges when travelling, as with new cuisines and unusual schedules comes the temptation to let good habits slip. Rocco Forte Hotels has joined forces with Madeleine Shaw, world-renowned trained nutritionist and author of Get The Glow, to tackle this issue and provide guests with guilt-free dining options. Using her years of experience and training, Madeleine has created Rocco Forte Hotels Nourish, a health-focused menu which is available at our restaurants and bars or in guests’ suites. As the new concept launches, we sit down with Madeleine to talk cuisine, philosophies and how travel healthy every time.
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Recipe: Crostone with eggs, asparagus and black truffle
Crostone is a perfect example of Tuscan cuisine. Fresh, local and simple ingredients, it is delicious at any time of day especially with a glass of rich Tuscan wine.
A Guide to Frankfurt's Apple Wine and Where to Drink it
For Frankfurt locals, apple wine is as much a tradition as beer is for the Bavarians of Munich. Delicious, distinctive and surprisingly healthy, apfelwein (to use the German word) has been bringing joie de vivre to the city for hundreds of years. Its roots stretch back to the 17th century when the beverage was not only a thirst quencher, but the saviour of the local wine industry. Ahead of the Frankfurt Apple Wine Festival in August, we explore the craft of apple wine making, which is unique to the area.
Five of the Best Art Galleries in Auguststrasse
Auguststrasse may only be half a mile long, but what it lacks in size it makes up for in artistic value. The micro-neighbourhood, nestled within Berlin’s Mitte district, is a burgeoning creative hub that is fast becoming the premier place to go to explore avant-garde contemporary art. Follow us into Auguststrasse and discover a captivating array of art galleries taking residence along the narrow street.
Five Great Places to See Modern Art in Rome
As the former seat of the Roman Empire, Rome is one of the most historic cities in the world. But there’s more to this city than ancient culture and crumbling ruins. As the capital modernises, an air of change blows through the city, influencing everything from architecture and art to dining and leisure. The art scene, in particular, has welcomed a wealth of contemporary offerings, from internationally acclaimed museums like MAXXI to collective art hubs and creative spaces. On your next visit, make time to see these five great places for modern art in Rome.
On the Hunt for Truffles in Tuscany
Truffles are some of the most prized gourmet delicacies in the world. Difficult to find, expensive to purchase and impossible to cultivate, the fungus fruits are favoured by the world’s top chefs for their unique and powerful flavours. As truffle season approaches, take a trip to truffle hunting paradise Tuscany, where white and black truffles grow underground and take centre stage in local cuisine.
An Insider’s Guide to Mayfair Art Galleries
London’s West End is the artistic heart of the city. While Soho is synonymous with theatre, art is the lifeline of Mayfair. From iconic Cork Street to stylish Albermale Street, home to Brown’s Hotel, this prestigious district is filled with art galleries and showrooms displaying traditional and contemporary works. Whether you’re a collector, an artist, a gallery owner, or simply partial to some window shopping, follow this guide to the best Mayfair art galleries, and find out how to join exclusive tours hosted by Brown’s Hotel.
The Most Beautiful Art Nouveau Architecture in Brussels
Brussels is commonly considered the capital of Art Nouveau. A walk through the city centre offers a history lesson in architecture as beautifully preserved Art Nouveau buildings from the late 19th to early 20th centuries stand shoulder-to-shoulder with historical Gothic structures. Explore the incredible Art Nouveau buildings in Brussels and discover the works of Victor Horta, the Belgian patron of Art Nouveau, as well as the homes of notable talents such as Paul Cauchie and Paul Saintenoy.
An Insider’s Guide to St Petersburg with Lidia Leontyeva
A trip to St Petersburg is a magical experience, especially during the snowy winter season. With so much history and culture on your doorstep, there’s an amazing amount to see and do, from live Russian ballet to tours of grand imperial palaces. The best way to see the city like a local is to get an insider’s guide to St Petersburg from a lifelong resident. Lidia Leontyeva, Director of Guest Relations at Hotel Astoria, takes us on a journey through her hometown, from the city’s most fascinating secret spots to the best of Russian hospitality.
St Petersburg
Behind the Scenes at Rocco Forte Hotels with Olga Polizzi
Finding a harmonious balance between comfort, character and creativity is an interior designer’s greatest challenge. Aiming to inspire and appease its guests, Rocco Forte Hotels puts a lot of thought into design to ensure that every element of every room is considered. Olga Polizzi, Deputy Chairman and Director of Design, keeps her finger firmly on the pulse of design trends while carefully considering the history and culture of the city where each hotel is based. Enjoy a behind the scenes glimpse of the design process as we speak to Olga about her passion for interiors and the stunning new suites.
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Fulvio Pierangelini's Guide to Italian Cuisine
Simple. Fresh. Local. These are the foundations of traditional Italian cuisine. While emulated across the globe, there are few more qualified to talk about Italian food than Fulvio Pierangelini, Creative Director of Food for Rocco Forte Hotels. The Italian Chef, who’s famous for the success of his Tuscany-based two-Michelin star restaurant Gambero Rosso, was brought on board in 2009 to spearhead Rocco Forte Hotels restaurants and introduce a hearty dose of Italian flair, creativity and harmony to the menus. We sat down with Fulvio to talk about his career in food and the secrets to making excellent, authentic Italian cuisine.
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The Best Places to Try Gelato in Florence
Whatever your age, nothing quite beats strolling through the streets of Florence while enjoying a refreshing and wonderfully indulgent scoop of Italian gelato. Differing from ice cream in density, texture and flavour, gelato is rich and milky with less fat and a more intense taste. With myriad parlours offering hundreds of varieties, follow our guide to the best places to taste authentic Italian gelato in Florence.
Behind the Bar with Cocktail Expert Riccardo Vecchio
Cocktail making is an intricate art and the world’s best bartenders are the mixology equivalent of Michelin star chefs. As connoisseurs become increasingly discerning and cocktail drinking develops into an experience rather than simply refreshment, the whole industry is changing, particularly in cosmopolitan cities like London. The Donovan Bar at Brown’s Hotel is one of the bars at the forefront of the revolution. We sat down with Riccardo Vecchio, Head Bartender of The Donovan Bar, to discuss the latest trends in cocktail making and the bar’s innovative new menu.
Celebrating 10 Years at Villa Kennedy
In its lifetime, Villa Kennedy has worn many hats – family home, research institute and five-star hotel. While much has changed over the decades, the Frankfurt villa has maintained a characteristic charm reminiscent of its stately beginnings. As the modern-day hotel approaches its 10-year anniversary, take a look back at the villa’s storied history and discover how to get involved with the upcoming celebrations.
Six of the Best Beer Gardens in Munich
Munich is famous for its beer and there’s no better way to enjoy a summer afternoon than in one of the city's many beer gardens. From German breweries serving home brews to traditional beer halls and beautiful al fresco terraces, there are plenty of places to sit back, soak up the sun and sip on a refreshing stein – but it wasn’t always this way. In 16th century Germany, beer was only allowed to be sold in cellars, however in 1812, King Maximilian I of Bavaria issued a decree enabling breweries to take beer above ground for the first time. Since then, beer gardens have been a Bavarian institution and many of the originals are still sheltered by chestnut orchards planted to shade the first storage rooms. With summer just around the corner, we’ve put together a list of some of the best beer gardens in Munich.
War and Peace Filming Locations in St Petersburg
Arguably the most iconic Russian novel of all time, War and Peace offers a fascinating insight into life in Russia during a dramatic period in the county’s past. Set in the early 19th century, the story follows the interwoven lives of five aristocratic Russian families during the Napoleonic Wars. The BBC’s recent adaptation takes viewers on a journey through love, loss, passion and power, where St Petersburg provides a magical backdrop. With its grand imperial palaces and striking colourful architecture, the city sets the scene for many of the television show’s most memorable moments. Following the finale, we travel to St Petersburg to explore the most iconic War and Peace filming locations to visit next time you’re in Russia.
St Petersburg
Belgian Chocolate Artistry: The Best Chocolatiers in Brussels
People go to Italy for pizza, Germany for sausages, and Scotland for Haggis, but in Belgium, it’s all about the chocolate. Brussels is the spiritual home of cocoa enthusiasts the world over, and is estimated to house around 2,000 chocolatiers. While this may seem excessive, simply sample it and you’ll understand why. Next time you visit Hotel Amigo, explore the art of Belgian chocolate making with this guide to the best chocolatiers in Brussels.
A Guide to Sicily For Families
With its pristine, beaches, stunning coastline and rocky mountain ranges, Sicily is an enchanting place to enjoy a family holiday. Whether you want to relax, get active or explore, there’s plenty to entertain all age groups. Making it even easier for families to enjoy a seamless, unforgettable journey, Verdura Resort introduces a new kids’ club, Verdùland. Launching in May 2016, the complimentary club will feature exciting programmes and facilities tailored to younger guests. If you’re planning a holiday, follow our guide to Sicily for families to get the most out of your Italian escape with Rocco Forte Hotels.
A Tour of Frankfurt Architecture
Frankfurt’s skyline is a beautiful contradiction. Striking gothic and medieval buildings sit alongside contemporary skyscrapers as the past and present jostle for the limelight in the city centre. While the modern constructions are beautiful, it’s the ancient buildings that fascinate and inspire the most. From the gothic charm of Old Nikolai Church to the medieval Eschenheimer Turm watchtower, there’s plenty to discover on a tour of Frankfurt architecture. Join us as we journey through the ages by virtue of the city’s most striking buildings.
An Insider's Guide to Secret Rome
Rome is one of the most historically and culturally rich cities in the world, but try to get close to its major attractions and you’ll meet hundreds of others who share the same belief. Avoid the crowds at the Colosseum, St Peter’s Basilica and the Spanish Steps and discover the city’s lesser known, but equally charming, sights. From covert art collections to ancient underground tombs, here’s our guide to secret Rome.
Inside the Florence Food Scene with Restaurant Manager Paul Feakes
If Venice is the city of romance and Rome is the city of history, then Florence is the city of food. From fragrant markets to authentic trattorias, there are many delicious places to explore the Florence food scene. With so many options, knowing where the locals go is a great advantage. We sat down with Paul Feakes, Restaurant Manager of Tuscan bistro Irene at Hotel Savoy, to find out where to experience the best local food in the city.
Five of the Best Cocktail Bars in Mitte
Mitte is the beating heart of Berlin. As well as being home to leading landmarks such as the Brandenburg Gate and attractions like Museum Island, the neighbourhood has a thriving nightlife scene. In recent years, the district has become a hive of chic bars and opulent watering holes serving some of the city’s best craft cocktails. Follow us into hidden speakeasies and classic cocktail lounges as we tour five of the best bars in Mitte.
The Rocco Forte Suite Experience
The finest way to fully indulge in the Rocco Forte Hotels fantasy is by staying in one of our palatial suites. Dreamt up by Director of Design, Olga Polizzi to reflect the history and culture of the hotel and destination, each suite is classic, contemporary and, above all, exclusive. Fresh for the New Year, Rocco Forte Hotels has updated its Suite Experience with three tiers – Suites, Special Suites and Forte Suites. Devised to take the stress out of staying away from home, every element has been considered, from arrival in the country to check-out, and everything in between.
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Hidden London: 10 Things to do in the Capital
As one of the most historic and innovative cities in the world, London is overflowing with magnificent sites and attractions. However, there’s more to the city than the average guidebook will divulge. When other visitors are crowding around Buckingham Palace, queuing to ride the London Eye or jostling for the perfect shot of Big Ben, discover the city’s lesser-known attractions and experience a whole new world within the capital. From Victorian toys and tea to townhouse museums, here’s our guide to uncovering hidden London.
A Gentleman’s Guide to Golf at Verdura Resort
When playing the gentleman’s sport of golf, it’s vital to look the part, act like a pro and follow the rules, especially when frequenting world-class courses like the East and West courses at Verdura Resort. Whether you’re a beginner or expert, the first step to playing a successful game of golf is to master the etiquette. Follow this quintessential gentleman’s guide to golf and you’ll never put a foot out of place.
The Craft of Strong Beer Brewing
In Bavaria, the passing seasons are reflected not only in the weather but also by the types of beer on offer. In the cold winter months, when a light lager just doesn’t hit the spot, local breweries start preparing the region’s signature starkbier, or ‘strong beer.’ Brewed to be sipped rather than guzzled, these warming beers are deliciously malty and, at up to 13% alcohol, are considerably stronger than most other German styles. With the Munich Starkbier Festival commencing on 19th February, join us as we discover the craft of strong beer brewing.


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