The Many Faces of Prague

Prague is one of those cities that seems to completely transform itself from day to night and season to season. The city you explore in the morning will seem entirely foreign to the one you discover after sunset, and the Prague of summertime is dramatically different from Prague in the winter. Each of these different version of Prague has something to offer, and you haven’t really experienced the city until you’ve seen it from all angles.

 

If you’re looking to get the full array of Prague experiences, I’d recommend finding centrally located accommodations. For those looking for a bit of luxury, The Grand Mark Prague offers the perfect combination of five-star elegance and exceptional location. Just a short walk from the city’s Old Town, The Grand Mark is just far enough away from the noise and crowds, but close enough that you can get anywhere relatively quickly. Plus, its beautiful courtyard and garden area is the perfect place to relax and unwind at any time of day.

 

Prague is a city that is best explored through long walks and idyllic strolls. Kick off your journey in the Old Town Square (make sure you stick around for one of the hourly animations of the astronomical clock) before making your way over to the famed Charles Bridge. From there, you can wander up the hill to Prague Castle. While this path may be bustling and well-worn, it’s also well worth the visit. Even further up the hill, you’ll find Petrin Tower, which – along with being a bit less touristy and chaotic – offers an incredible panoramic view of the city below. If all the walking tires you out, you can always access Petrin Tower by cable car.

After dark, all of these sites seem to transform entirely, from cultural and historic landmarks into dreamy nightscapes. The city is lively and vibrant at all hours, and you’ll love revisiting your daytime itinerary with fresh eyes, under the hazy glow of street lamps.

 

Another great way to soak up the sights and vibes of the city – particularly in the summer – is to rent a paddle boat along the river. It’s a peaceful way to escape the throngs of tourists, while still feeling like you’re in the middle of the action.

 

While Prague may often feel crowded, there are plenty of ways to explore the city’s quieter side. The city’s Letna Park, for example, is a peaceful, sprawling refuge located just a short distance from the Prague Castle, and a great place to enjoy a picnic. Grab some smazeny syr (deep-friend cheese), grilovane klobasy (grilled sausage served in a roll), or one of the many other popular street foods from an Old Town vendor and enjoy them amongst the park’s lush greenery.

 

Prague is well-known for its exceptional street food offerings, which continue to become more diverse year after year. Perhaps most famous is tredlnik, a sweet rolled pastry covered in sugar, cinnamon, nuts, or Nutella – it’s an absolute must-try, and a delicious after-dinner indulgence.

 

Of course, if you’re looking for a more upscale dining experience, the city does not disappoint. Kampa Park, located along the riverbank near Charles Bridge, is a delightful culinary experience, and in the summer, its riverside patio is the perfect place to enjoy a picturesque lunch. Meanwhile, on the opposite side of the river, Mlynec Restaurant serves up a trendy, modern twist on traditional Czech cuisine. Its five- and six-course degustation menus change on a monthly basis, and offer up the best of the country’s seasonal food fare.

 

The trick to really enjoying Prague is to explore it from all angles: from Old Town to New Town, from daytime to nighttime, from season to season. It’s a city that never fails to delight and surprise – and it will always keep you coming back for more.

 

 

 

 

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Adventures in a Familiar Destination: Rediscovering Jordan

 

One of the great and unexpected things about traveling to new locales is that it pushes you to look at more familiar destinations with fresh eyes. I have spent a significant amount of time in Jordan, and every time I return back, it’s like I have a new perspective and a new appreciation for the country. The truth is that Jordan is an absolute treasure: rich is culture, history, beauty, and unbelievable hospitality. It’s a country you can visit time and time again, without ever tiring of the tastes, sights, and otherworldly delights! Far removed from the troubles and instabilities that plague its neighbors, Jordan is an oasis of calm, warmth, and beauty.

 

A Land of Warmth and Hospitality

 

As a visitor to Jordan, one of the first things you’ll notice is how often you hear the phrase, “Welcome to Jordan.” People across the Kingdom are friendly and helpful to visitors, so if you’re ever lost or looking for advice, don’t hesitate to ask a stranger! It’s easy to strike up a conversation with just about anyone, and being a bit social and outgoing is a great way to happen upon some truly authentic, local experiences. You’ll be surprised how many Jordanians might just invite you home for coffee, tea, or dinner!

 

Embracing History

 

The major historical sites and destinations across Jordan are well-known and well-tread by tourists. And while no trip to the Kingdom is complete without visits to Petra, Jerash, Wadi Rum, and the Dead Sea, those who crave off-the-beaten path adventures can discover a veritable treasure trove of sights and activities. For those who crave history and beauty, head to the city of Madaba, where you can explore gorgeous old churches, gaze upon stunning mosaics, and soak up rich cultural offerings. Finish off a day in Madaba with dinner at Haret Jdoudna, which offers some of the most delicious Arabic food around.

 

Modern, Worldly Luxury

 

With so much history throughout Jordan, it can be easy for visitors to forget that Amman is a modern, metropolitan capital, complete with trendy cafes and restaurants, fashionable shops, and luxurious spas. After long excursions hiking and exploring in places like Petra and Wadi Rum, treating yourself to a decadent day in Amman is a must. Start your day off with tea time at the Four Seasons, then head down the street to Gaia’s Cocoon for some relaxing and indulgent spa treatments. If you’re in the mood to shop, grab a taxi and make your way to TAJ Lifestyle Center, where you can find everything from H&M to Louis Vuitton. If you’re craving a fancy cuisine, circle back to the Four Seasons and dine at La Capitale Brasserie, the hotel’s newest restaurant, which offers an unforgettable culinary experience.

 

Traveling anywhere is about embracing a variety of experiences, which is what makes Jordan such a unique and unexpected treasure. I would encourage any aspiring traveler to put this incredible country at the top of their list!

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The French Riviera fashion file

 

I bet you that when I say Côte d’Azur or its English version – the French Riviera, you think of the Cannes Film Festival, magnificent beaches and its love affair with glamor. Even to this day, it feels like you are in a yesteryear film while driving along the azure coast with the wind in your hair.

And of course being at the world’s most glamorous celebrity vacation spot you also need to vacay like a star.

As you know through the decades fashion icons like Brigitte Bardot, Audrey Hepburn and Grace Kelly, have lent their trademark allure to this place and forever stamped these glamorous moments in minds young and old.

So here are some style tips to stand out, in a place where the world’s most luxurious yachts anchor, stunning nature entice and A-listers frolic, without sacrificing comfort.

 

Très chic in the day

The iconic Riviera ensemble:

For the chicest look, choose WHITE.

Other must-haves include one piece swimsuits, Cat-eye sunglasses, Horizontal stripes, Vintage bikinis, cropped pants, a silk scarf for your head, a floppy hat and a straw bag.

You can’t go wrong with these iconic look pieces which will no doubt add elegance to every situation.

Très sophisticated at Night

A night out in Cote d’Azur is all about “see-and-be-seen” in the hottest nightclubs. Dress fashionably and remember no more beach wear, get your finest cocktail dress and heels on, and hit the dance floor.

Let your gold jewelry sparkle like summer night stars against bronzed skin.

This is definitely the place where your best pieces come out and you can indulge in them.

 

Stay chic!

 

Tip:

Luxury hotels have a dress code at dinner time. And they don’t allow people in beachwear into the restaurants.

You won’t be able to resist shopping here, there are many exquisite boutiques around.

 

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Dina Fawakhiri of Jordan

Born and raised in the UAE, Dina Fawakhiri returned to her native Amman to earn a Bachelor’s Degree in Graphic Design in 1997, and began working in advertising soon after. 15 years later, Dina left the industry as Creative Director to one of Jordan’s most prominent agencies, with numerous awards to her name to pursue a freelance career as an Illustrator.

As a young artist, Dina’s favourite medium was pencil on paper, preferring black and white to colour, with smooth rounded lines and perfect forms. But the fast-paced, commercially-driven advertising world eventually influenced her work as an artist. Inspired by the ease and speed of digital illustration, Dina’s lines got simpler, cleaner, bolder and faster. She began experimenting with colour and found herself drawn to digital art as a new medium that lent itself to surrealist conceptual exploration.

One of Dina’s first memorable dalliances with the arts was at age 8, when she painstakingly created miniature cereal boxes for her Barbie. Barbie herself may not have appreciated the great lengths Dina had gone to in order to ensure the boxes’ accuracy, but her incredible patience, appreciation for perfect forms and labour-intensive attention to minute details were all indicative of a budding signature style that would continue to inform Dina’s creative processes to this day.

Check out her amazing work on http://www.deedalart.com and follow her on Instagram: dee.dal.art

 

 

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Opulent Istanbul

It is evening as I sit by the azure pool of the Çırağan Palace and I imagine this is how the Sultans from the past might have enjoyed their evenings. The present day Turks, are similar to their Ottoman forefathers, they live and love luxury. So if you want the crème-de-la-crème of luxury travel in Istanbul, then look no further then these spots I have lined up for you. Rub shoulders with celebrities, politicians, artists and the well heeled who come out to play in this city, which interestingly enough has one of the highest numbers of billionaires in the world.

 

A slice of opulence – eating out

International Cuisine

 

Sunset Grill and Bar

If you’ve ever wondered how it is to dine on an expensive piece of art, you have come to the right place. For those lucky enough, once you finish your sumptuous meal you’ll see the art of acclaimed Turkish contemporary artist Burhan Doğançay right there on your plate! And vying for your attention will also be the stunning views of the Bosphorus.

Click HERE and enjoy my previous post about this place.

 

Mikla

Mikla is chic; it’s the old and the contemporary all rolled into one. It’s an idea, born forth from rethinking the Anatolian kitchen. So think of rare ingredients from villages far flung, of old cooking techniques – all given its place in the modern times. Speaking of going back to the roots Mikla’s delightful Turkish-Scandinavian menu nods to the owner’s heritage.

 

Spago by Wolfgang Puck at St. Regis

Share a meal with Leonardo DiCaprio or well, the chef who caters to Hollywood’s royalty at the Academy Awards – it’s none other than Wolfgang Puck, chef extraordinaire who has brought his signature brand to Istanbul. And here you’ll find tasteful luxury that exudes from its interiors, the cuisine and all perfectly complemented against the stunning backdrop of the city.

 

Aqua Four Seasons

Enjoy views of the blue waters of the Bosphorus with some blues playing in the background at Aqua. And top up that with exquisite food from chef Sebastiano Spriveri’s twist on Mediterranean and Turkish classics, alfresco style.

 

Ioki Sushi

Ioki is a meeting of the occident and the orient in a rather rare manner. As connoisseurs of sushi will find out and relish – this most innovative fusion of Japanese, Turkish, and Peruvian culinary arts.

 

Turkish delights

 Turkish Cuisine

 

Tuğra Restaurant

The word Tuğraa describes the Ottoman’s Sultans’ elegant calligraphic signature and it’s incorporated in the fine dinnerware of the restaurant. Not only that, the menu borrows from historic recipe archives of places like the Topkapi palace. And when you dine here you feel every inch a royal.

 

Borsa Restaurant

Istanbul’s iconic Borsa restaurant is where the who’s who have been coming for the authentic Turkish dining experience since 1927. What’s more, the menu has never stayed the same since then, with the regular addition of new innovative dishes.

 

Yeniköy Kaşıbeyaz Bosphorus

Yeniköy is arguably one of the top spots for the best meat in town. It holds sway over the city with its choice location along the seaside, organic food and classical meat dishes.

 

Park Fora (seafood)

Surround yourself with the blues of the Bosphorus and the greens of the Kuruçeşme Park when you dine here. Seafood aficionados will appreciate this elegantly designed restaurant that offer the freshest catch of the day with an ever-innovative menu.

 

Suda Kebab

Island dining between 2 continents is where it’s at – Suda Kebab is a great place for meat lovers, has unbeatable views and is also easy on your pocket. Highly recommended for summer visits.

 

Laps of luxury – poolside

 

For the ultimate splurge – Çırağan Palace Kempinski

Plunge into luxury in the sparkling pool of this former Ottoman Palace all year round. Why should summer have all the fun right? Enjoy the heated infinity pool in the wintertime where it has been said that you feel like you are floating on the Bosphorus.

 

Man-made island in the Bosporus: Suada Club

A boat ride. An island. 360 degree views of two continents. Chic cabanas. Seawater filled pools. You can go to t by the Sea Taxi , and it is very easy on your pocket.  There is such a thing as having it all after all.

 

The bohemian high life: Soho House Istanbul

This is as exclusive as it gets. It’s a membership only place for artistic minds to mingle and invigorate with 87 unique rooms, a cowshed spa and two rooftop pools.

 

The Marmara Taksim Hotel

Unparalleled location in the heart of the business district, the fashionable Marmara Taksim hotel has an outdoor pool deck and spa with a Turkish hammam.

 

Sun and fun with the glitterati: Les Ottomans

One of the poshest hotels in the city, it is popular with international stars and boasts the only Vinotherapie spa in the country.

 

Clink flutes – drinking

 

Petit “O” Bar St. Regis

Experience art from the internationally acclaimed Turkish artist Bedri Baykam and take a swig of a Misty Mary, a twist on the Bloody Mary with the flavours of Anatolia and Istanbul in a glass.

 

Mandoline Terrace at Soho house Istanbul

If you fancy a drink at this former US consulate, it’s a really hip spot where the traditional meets the modern and easily one of the most charming places for a sundowner.

 

Mikla (Rooftop bar)

Mikla will always leave a lasting impression – its chic minimalism, great music, bountiful scented greens will make you crave for more. Not to forget magnificent 360 degree views that make you feel on top of the world.

 

Sunset grill and bar (Cocktail area)

A hotspot for business people closing deals and to unwind thereafter, the Sunset bar ticks all the right boxes. The ambience is stellar and you can enjoy a drink inside or outside the cocktail area.

 

La Mancha (Lounge)

Soak up the view and a cocktail at this popular bar in the Kuruçeşme district. Plus the bartenders mixing the cocktails are a treat to watch.

 

Meet the glitterati – nightlife

Ulus 29

Celebrity DJs are a regular fixture at Ulus29, from U2’s official DJ Matteo to DJ Sam Young. And not only the sound but you’ll also find one of the best views of Istanbul and of the jet set here.


After Sunset @ Sunset Grill & Bar

Best spot to mingle with upscale singles and for some terrific live music. The beautiful view of the skyline adds to the magical night ambience, especially on full moon nights.

 

Sortie

Open 12 months of the year, Sortie hosts 7 restaurants that will satisfy every craving. It’s also the perfect place to let your hair down and dance the night away.

 

Anjelique

A favourite with the jet set and model crowd, Anjelique is simplicity and pure class combined. The angled mirror designs of Mahmut Anlar seem to offer a different view of the Bosphorus from the inside.

 

Reina (closed since the attack in January 2017)

By now everyone has heard of the attack and sadlythe place is closed , however, it was my best night spot in the city. You would probably bump into Paris Hilton, Uma Thurman or Kevin Costner in this celebrity hotspot while dancing the night away and sipping on your cocktail. The queues are long but oh-so-worth-it.

 

The Morning after – Breakfast and Coffee

Lokma

Jumpstart your day with the best of Turkish and world-cuisine at this gorgeous spot in the Rumelian Fortress area.

 

The House Cafe

The House Cafe restaurants have been designed by the award-winning Autoban Design Office and are a favourite haunt of Istanbulites. Blending contemporary, traditional and industrial elements, these trendy spots never go out of style.

 

Kale Rumeli Hisari

The iconic Anthony Bourdain featured this cozy little spot in his show ‘No Reservations’. And the show did it justice, it might be mid-range but their breakfast is anything but and is one of the absolute best.

Click HERE and enjoy my previous post about this place.

Lucca

Famed for its 10.00 AM to 02.00 AM meals and music (their Brunch is special), dining in Lucca feels like hanging out at your cool friend’s stylish place. Fill up on the stunning view of Bebek and great lively bar scene.


Hudson

Start being in many Istanbulites books, Hudson attracts the high society in droves. It has a lively beat in the night but becomes a quieter spot for that perfect brunch in the day. It’s located in the posh district of Bebek.

Click HERE and enjoy my previous post about this place.

 

The hotels listed below offer a great breakfast spread but I also love to try different restaurants and cafes in the city.

 

Luxe abodes – Hotels

 

These hotels offer not only the best night’s sleep but also its luxurious facilities, restaurants and gardens will refresh your senses. Head there for a quick cocktail or hookah, or a pampering massage and I guarantee you that it will be an unforgettable experience.

 

Four Seasons Sultan Ahmet (Ottoman design)

This neoclassical building was once a Turkish prison but it’s been so beautifully converted that you never want to leave. It is the perfect mix of old world charm and modern amenities. Plus its location is just perfect; it’s at the heart of the city and offers views of the Hagia Sophia and the Blue Mosque.

 

Four Seasons Bosphorus

 

Çırağan Palace Kempinski

This converted Ottoman palace is the only Luxury Imperial Palace Hotel in Turkey and also the only one accessible by car, yacht and helicopter. How is that for exclusivity?

 

St. Regis (modern design)

Every niche of this world-class hotel has been carefully thought out – it’s inspired living, taken form. There are many features to rave about, however I would like to highlight the exquisitely designed Bentley suite of which only 2 exists in the world.

 

Shangri-La

Converted form a former 1930s tobacco warehouse, Shangri-La is luxurious to a T and has an enviable location next to the famous Dolmabahçe Palace right by the water.

 

The Raffles

This modern beauty sits right at the hub of all major districts in Istanbul. It hosts the famed restaurant Arola where the Michelin starred chef Sergi Arola spins out amazing fare. Not to be missed.

 

Les Ottomans

Very few seaside mansions or Yali’s, remain in Istanbul and one of them has been converted into the very chic boutique hotel – Les Ottomans. It features only 10 suites and is a favourite with celebrities. Head here when you want to get away from the bustle of the city.

 

 

#Travelwithjam if you visited any of these places 🙂

 

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