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.

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
RT @HotelSpaceMag: Can Faik talks to grande dame within the field of hospitality @olgapolizzi, Deputy Chairman and Director of Design at Ro…
RT @SavoyFirenze: Discover "The very Best of Europe's Christmas Markets" with @RF_Hotels! https://t.co/9GZg2bxHGv #RFHotels https://t.co/uq…
RT @Design_Holidays: It's almost Christmas @Design_Holidays as the lovely @Fortnums #champagne arrived this am. Thanks @Verdura_Resort @RF_…
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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
A Book Lover’s Guide to Edinburgh
Edinburgh has been a muse to many of Britain’s greatest writers. With beautiful vistas, historic buildings and a rich, engrained culture, it’s easy to see why. From celebrated poet Robert Burns to ‘Harry Potter’ author JK Rowling (whose screenwriting debut ‘Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them’ enters cinemas this month), the city has provided writers with the inspiration needed to produce great works of literature for many decades. If you’re a book lover, follow this literary guide to Edinburgh and explore the places that have influenced, or appeared in, many famous novels and poems.
Edinburgh
Six of the Best Food Markets in Brussels
Healthy eating and fresh, local cuisine have become increasingly important to discerning travellers. With this in mind, Maestro Fulvio Pierangelini, Creative Director of Food for Rocco Forte Hotels, has partnered with best-selling Belgian author and ceramist Pascale Naessens to launch a delicious new healthy menu at Bar Amigo as part of the Rocco Forte Nourish programme.
Brussels
Six Festive Christmas Markets in Berlin
Germany’s annual Christmas markets are unrivalled. Nostalgic, entertaining and colourful in every sense of the word, they are excellent places to indulge in some last minute Christmas shopping, or to fill up on traditional German treats. Open from late November through to late December, Berlin has an excellent array of festive markets to explore. If you’re planning a trip this winter, follow this guide to the best Christmas markets in Berlin.
Berlin
An Essential Guide to the Munich Art Scene
For many travellers, Munich is synonymous with beer, Bavarian food and castles, but among its historic buildings and lively beer halls there’s a burgeoning art world to discover. Put down the beer stein and head into the city’s best art institutes to uncover a creative industry that’s sure to intrigue and inspire. From historical collections at leading museums to modern works at the city's best contemporary art galleries, follow this essential guide to the Munich art scene. Located right in the museum quarter, The Charles Hotel is the perfect location to start your tour.
Munich
The Best Places to Shop for Antiques in Brussels
When thinking of Brussels, chocolate often springs to mind, but another local industry garnering worldwide attention is that of antiques dealing. Whether looking to spruce up your home with unique furnishings or surprise a loved one with a thoughtful gift, antiques make wonderful purchases. There’s no shortage of places to shop for ancient treasures and antiques in Brussels. As Christmas approaches, Olga Polizzi, Deputy Chairman and Director of Design at Rocco Forte Hotels, and Hotel Amigo take us on a tour of the best antiques stores, dealers and markets to visit in Brussels.
Brussels
Five of the Most Delicious Trattorias in Florence
Italy is a food connoisseur’s nirvana, and Florence, home of the Tuscan trattoria, is one of its key culinary hubs. From intimate family-run restaurants to cosy local favourites and bustling eateries on historic piazzas, follow this guide to the best trattorias in Florence.
Florence
Where to Find the Best Russian Vodka in St Petersburg
The Germans cherish beer, the French love wine and the Scottish savour whisky, but in Russia, the national drink of choice is, undoubtedly, vodka. St Petersburg has enjoyed a long love affair with spirit, whose name is thought to stem from the Russian word for water ‘voda’. Its origins are debated, with both Poland and Russia claiming to have invented it, however the first solid evidence of its production in Russia was by monks in Moscow in the early 1400s. Nowadays, there are hundreds of vodka producers across the country, creating everything from popular brands like Russian Standard, Beluga and Stoli to craft varieties. Discover where to sample Russia’s favourite spirit with this guide to the best Russian vodka in St Petersburg.
St Petersburg
Where to See Incredible Greek and Roman Ruins in Sicily
The island of Sicily at the toe of Italy’s boot has an incredible history. Over its lifetime, it has been governed by many great civilizations, from the Romans and the Greeks to the Byzantine empire. Each culture has left its mark in some way or another, the Greeks and Romans through striking architecture. Take a tour of these beautiful preserved ruins in Sicily to step back in time and discover the multicultural heritage of the island.
Sicily
The Art of Scottish Tartan Weaving
Tartan is Scotland's most famous fabric. Originally the cloth of Scottish warrior clans, tartan patterns tell tales of heritage and ancestry. The checked fabric is a recognised symbol of Scotland and has a long and storied history that stretches back many centuries. As The Balmoral unveils its new tartan uniform, designed in partnership with Kinloch Anderson, we take a look at the art of Scottish tartan making and discover the meaning behind hotel’s bespoke fabric.
Edinburgh
In the Kitchen with Dario Cammarata
Bringing a taste of Sicily to Frankfurt, Dario Cammarata combines Italian emotion and authenticity with German precision and produce. As Executive Chef at Villa Kennedy, Dario crafts creative menus for Gusto restaurant, where he’s known for his distinctive and flavoursome dishes, such as his Ravioli Green Sauce. We sat down with Dario to talk about his unique cooking style and how to make his famous signature dish.
Frankfurt
Six of the Most Romantic Gardens in Rome
With its crumbling ruins, historic bridges, pretty parks, and dimly lit trattorias, Rome is undoubtedly one of Europe’s most romantic cities. And when the sun is shining, how better to soak up the city’s amorous atmosphere than with a leisurely walk through one of its many beautiful gardens? From havens of tranquillity in the centre of the city to sprawling green spaces, here are six of the most beautiful gardens in Rome to explore on your next romantic break.
Rome
Six of the Best Annual Festivals in Berlin
Berlin is one of the most exciting cities in Europe when it comes to culture, nightlife and the arts, and true to its reputation, everything in the city is celebrated in style. The annual events calendar offers visitors plenty of opportunity to experience Berlin’s cultural diversity through a busy schedule of festivals dedicated to everything from classical music and jazz to film and dance. Plan your next trip around this selection of exciting annual festivals in Berlin, and you might find yourself making repeat visits.
Berlin
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.
Munich

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