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 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.
Berlin
RT @HIXRestaurants: Manx queen scallops with champonzu at HIX Mayfair @Browns_Hotel #foodgoals https://t.co/4Nh9x8zcXM
The all important things... a Guide to Scotch Whisky: https://t.co/tiNlWkHOzX
RT @girlinflorence: Five Great Places to See Modern Art in #Rome by #TheNotebook https://t.co/qY8tPAGDWY via @RF_Hotels https://t.co/uGGnS6…
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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.
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.
Florence
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.
London
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.
Brussels
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.
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.
Edinburgh London Brussels Berlin Frankfurt Munich Florence Rome Sicily St Petersburg
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.
Edinburgh London Brussels Berlin Frankfurt Munich Florence Rome Sicily St Petersburg
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.
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.
London
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.
Frankfurt
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.
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.
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.
Sicily
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.
Frankfurt
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.
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.
Florence
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.
Berlin
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.
Edinburgh London Brussels Berlin Frankfurt Munich Florence Rome Sicily St Petersburg
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.
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.
Sicily
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.
Munich
A Family Guide to Florence
With its striking historical architecture and fascinating cultural museums, Florence is not only beautiful; it has abundance of family-friendly activities to enjoy as well. From interactive exhibits to antique carousel rides, this Renaissance city has plenty to offer both young explorers and their more mature companions. If you’re planning a family holiday, follow our insider’s guide to the most exciting child-friendly attractions in Florence.
Florence
Valentine’s Day at Rocco Forte Hotels
Valentine’s Day is touted as the most romantic day of the year, and it can be, if planned correctly. This year, instead of buying a thoughtful but predictable gift, go one step further and surprise your loved one with a romantic minibreak for two. As 14th February falls on a Sunday in 2016, it’s the perfect excuse to jet off and celebrate your relationship in style. With so many options available, we’ve put together a list of leading Valentine’s getaways to some of the world’s most romantic cities. Read on to see how Rocco Forte Hotels can make your trip extra special.
London Brussels Frankfurt Florence St Petersburg
Top Things to Do in Brussels
With its cobbled streets, grandiose architecture and picturesque squares, it’s easy to see why Brussels has played the part of muse for many esteemed artists. But far from being just a visual beauty, Brussels is a thriving arts hub in itself. Dubbed ‘the new Berlin’ by critics, the city’s historical and political context has given birth to a fascinating contemporary creative scene, which visitors can see throughout the Belgian capital. With so much to experience in this exciting multicultural city, we’ve selected our top things to do in Brussels, from exploring the medieval Grand Place to shopping for local designers, and discovering the works of Belgium’s greatest artists.
Brussels
What to see at St Petersburg’s State Hermitage Museum
With over three million artefacts on display, The State Hermitage Museum is not only the largest museum in St Petersburg, it’s also one of the biggest and most prestigious in the world. The Winter Palace is famous in Russia, and while it no longer houses royal Tsars, it does host some the greatest works of art ever created, as well as an extensive assortment of historical relics. Estimates suggest that if you were to admire one exhibit every minute, it would take 11 years to cover the entire museum’s collection. As most visitors only have a few days to spend in St Petersburg, we’ve done the legwork for you and selected the 10 best things to see at the State Hermitage Museum.
St Petersburg
Made in Italy: Where to Shop in Rome
When ‘Made in Italy’ appears on a label it automatically signals a sense of exclusivity and quality. Italy is known around the world for its authentic handmade craftsmanship and, in particular, its burgeoning textile, leather and perfume industries. While Milan is famed for its high fashion Rome is one of the country’s greatest artisanal centres, with countless boutiques offering a range of quality Italian wares. Follow in the footsteps of the city’s well-heeled citizens with this insider’s guide to where to shop in Rome.
Rome
Inside the Verdura Spa
Set in a beautiful coastal location amid fragrant olive, orange and lemon groves, Verdura Spa is an oasis of relaxation and rejuvenation in the heart of Sicily. The flagship of the new Rocco Forte Hotels spa concept – developed by Irene Forte – our Mediterranean sanctuary offers the full range of unforgettable new initiatives, including Rocco Forte Rituals using Forte Organics, Rocco Forte Fitness, Rocco Forte Nourish and Rocco Forte Health.
Sicily
Five of the Best Bars in Frankfurt
The home of German apple wine, or Apfelwein, Frankfurt is famous for its traditional cider taverns. However, those seeking something a little more sophisticated will be rewarded here, too. From experimental bars serving premium spirits to underground speakeasies specialising in craft cocktails, there’s something to suit every mood, if you know where to look. Follow us into the city’s drinking dens, cocktail lounges and German taverns as we tour five of our favourite bars in Frankfurt.
Frankfurt

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