Tag Archives: pearlshare

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How to survive WTM: escape from it!

Do the very letters W, T and M have you burying your head in your laptop? Do you always feel like you haven’t really achieved anything, despite wearing out your soul and your soles pounding the floors of the Excel centre? Or perhaps you’ve never quite worked up the energy to get there at all, assuring yourself that you aren’t really missing anything?

Yes, WTM can be exhausting. It can suck up the whole first week of November and spit you out with nothing but a bagful of business cards to show for the ride.

But it can also be lucrative. It can bring you new clients, help you in setting up press trips and give you ideas and inspiration for the future. It covers 182 countries, attracts some 5,000 exhibitors and generates £2.2billion in industry deals. Sounds exhausting right? Well, attack the event in the right way and you will find it useful. Promise!

Here are my top tips for getting the best out of it:

Register in advance

You can do this online here and print your entry badge out before you get there. Then just pick up a lanyard and sale through at the entrance without queueing.

Slow start

It can take a while to get to the Excel centre during the show so don’t plan any appointments too early in the day – why not have a leisurely early morning coffee instead? The show opens each day at 10am but I’d recommend scheduling your appointments from 11am onwards to allow time to get there – and for a decent breakfast!

Travel light

Avoid the cloakroom queue (at both ends of the day) by not bringing any extra bags with you and wearing a light jacket that you can carry around with you. Bring a small bottle of water too.

Plan plan plan

The stands are spread over an area the size of more than nine football pitches but mercifully they are arranged by geographical area. So plan to visit all European destinations or all your Asian contacts one immediately after the other. Once you have your appointments confirmed print off a schedule including all stand numbers and contact phone numbers – you’re bound to be running later at least once.

Stay in the city

It may seem like a good idea to stay close to the Excel centre but once the show closes each day at 7pm there’s no reason to be in this part of town. Get a hotel somewhere central instead and you’ll be able to escape into the city each evening for some well-deserved time off (or to attend the various evening events).

Make your escape

Had a productive day making new contacts and deals? Then it’s time to stop, step away from the Excel centre and give yourself time to recuperate. London has plenty of restaurants where the letters WTM mean absolutely nothing – time to head out into the city and forget all about it, at least until tomorrow.

Check out my guide to the best escapes from WTM on Pearlshare here.

 

PEARLSHARE

Pearlshare is a fantastic new travel recommendations app, which not only lets you save your own favourite locations in the places you visit but also share these with friends – and grab recommendations from trusted sources easily.

I’ve written several guides for Pearlshare. Download the app on the iTunes store here and start exploring. Perhaps with my Best escapes from WTM guide, or my London restaurants with a view guide.

panoramic-view

The best hotels in Mallorca: guide for Pearlshare

Let’s play a word association game. Hear Mallorca, think…? Package holidays, perhaps, or Magaluf?

Sunshine probably also comes to mind, along with thoughts of sultry Spanish nights, white sand beaches and plates of fresh tapas. But luxury? Maybe not.

Mallorca’s reputation may be more clubbing than fine dining, more kids clubs than boutique hotels, but that doesn’t mean the largest Balearic island doesn’t have plenty of luxurious places to stay. In fact, it has one of my favourite hotels in the world, as well as the most unique place I’ve stayed this year.

Check out my Pearlshare guide to Mallorca’s best places to stay for all my top tips and read on to hear about my two favourite Balearic hotels.

 

The very best: Belmond La Residencia

This superluxe hotel has long attracted the great and good to its classically chic confines on the slopes above the village of Deia. On my recent stay there was a certain well known newsreader enjoying breakfast beneath the bougainvillea at breakfast, in fact. Nobody batted an eye though, this is a hotel that is all about discreet service and elegant lounging.

I spent my time during the day by the main pool, shaded at one end by cypress trees, the sun warming it at the other. I swam lengths towards the Tramuntana mountains and flopped onto my back to squint at the cloudless sky – it was bliss.

My time in the spa was even better, with a dreamy Citrus Siesta treatment that more or less knocked me out with an all-over scrub followed by a soft massage. Dinner is worth staying in for here and I feasted on local red Sóller prawns and roast suckling pig from the island at El Olivo at dinner before settling into the bar with its live piano music and dozens of Miró originals for an aperol spritz. The Miró Café also serves tapas by day, an excuse to have more of those prawns!

And I haven’t even mentioned the room… I had multiple windows overlooking the pool, some of which turned out to also be Juliet balconies, a terrace with mountain views and loungers, and a bathroom with a huge shower. The bathtub could have been more opulent and I didn’t need a TV that pops up at the end of the bed but there was enough space that I could have moved in for at least a couple of weeks – and I really, really wanted to.

 

The most unique: Cap Rocat

I’d read about Cap Rocat long before I went there so I was apprehensive on arrival – nothing ruins a stay more than too-high expectations after all. But this ex military fortress turned five-star hotel didn’t disappoint, even in the rain!

It’s all about the setting here, from the drawbridge you cross to enter the hotel to the terrace atop my Cap Rocat suite which had exactly the sort of uninterrupted view you would expect from something that started life as a defensive position. The rain meant staying indoors to begin with (hooray for the spa and its fabulous Ayurvedic treatments!) but the sun soon came out – as it always does in Mallorca – and I could snooze on my Balinese bed on the roof and order breakfast to the private terrace.

I loved my room – it had a vast bathroom with lovely freestanding bathtub and spacious dressing area as well as a four-poster bed – but the hotel’s crowning glory is surely its swimming pool. It’s an infinity pool (a proper one, not the nonsensical “infinity-edged” type) with gorgeous views over the Bay of Palma,. But that’s not even the real winner. That would be the box hedges, which divide each pair of sun loungers from the next, giving you privacy as well as room to spread out. Spread out I did, and again it was very difficult to tear myself away!

 

Find out which other Mallorcan hotels I really rate by downloading the Pearlshare app for iPhone here and checking out my guide to the island’s top places to stay.

 

Level 39 - Gherkin dinner at night

Pearlshare guide: the best London restaurants with a view

Eating out is not just about the food, is it? It’s about so much more, the service, the decor, the atmosphere and, for me, the view.

I love dining overlooking my favourite city in the world, London. And for me this is one of the best things about eating out, that it gives you the chance to sit and look out over a view you would otherwise never be able to enjoy. The perfect steak or a tasty lobster is always made better by a view of an iconic building such as St Paul’s Cathedral or Tower Bridge I find and there are restaurants around the city that offer diners just that.

Whenever I’m celebrating a special occasion I head to one of the city’s rooftops. I’ve toasted my wedding anniversary with a view over the Square Mile and celebrated my birthday in a Kensington rooftop garden. My husband even proposed on a rooftop – though where exactly remains a secret!

I love London’s rooftop restaurants and I’ve written a guide to my favourite London restaurants with a view for the fabulous Pearlshare app. For a taste of this guide check out my top three below – special occasion excuse optional!

Duck and Waffle:

This upscale City of London restaurant never closes – so if you fancy sushi at 3am this is the spot! The menu features the eponymous dish, a sweet and sour creation that I highly recommend, as well as numerous small plates focused on fresh seafood and high quality sushi. Come with a group and sit at one of the round tables in the dining room’s centre or visit a deux and ask for one of the small corner tables for views in two directions.

Oxo Tower Restaurant:

Everybody knows this building on the River Thames, and at its top is a brasserie, cocktail bar and formal restaurant. The restaurant is worth splashing out on, though be sure to ask for a table in the row next to the windows for the best view north over the city. The all day dining menu includes dishes such as seared scallops and Welsh lamb rump and there are great steaks too.

Aqua Shard:

Ok, so it’s not at the top of Europe’s tallest building (you’ll have to pay for View from the Shard for that view) but you’re still on the 39th floor here and the views back over London are epic. Watch the latest City of London skyscrapers taking shape and wonder at the majesty of St Paul’s Cathedral as you dine on high quality mains such as roasted monkfish with Morecambe Bay shrimps and slow-cooked Blythburgh pork belly.

Pearlshare is a travel resource for travellers who want independent information on where to go and what to do on their travels. With guides written by locals and by experienced travel writers, you can trust Pearlshare to offer you a guide for your next adventure. Download the Pearlshare app here and see my full guide to London’s best restaurants with a view here.

 

The Parthenon at the Acropolis in Athens

Introducing Pearlshare: a new app for personal travel recommendations

There is no substitute for personal recommendation. Whether I’m planning a city break, a beach holiday or one of my many research trips for work, I always ask my friends and colleagues for their tips.

In Seville a colleague’s tip led me to the tapas bar that remains my favourite to this day and in the Winelands of South Africa a friend’s advice took me to the most beautiful vineyard I visitedimage1 in my three days touring there.

But keeping this information to hand was tricky. I had notes scrawled in the margins of my guidebook, disparate recommendations from emails I’d been sent in the notes on my iPhone and vague memories of conversations in the pub that I tapped hopefully into my Google Maps app to see what came up.

Then I discovered Pearlshare. This travel recommendations app not only lets you save your own favourite locations in the places you visit but also lets you share these with friends. So you could create a guide to the best places to eat in Seville and send it, with just a couple of clicks, by email to the friend who’s heading out there next weekend. Or you could group together your recommendations for the very best things to do in Krakow into one collection and share it on twitter (again with just a tap or two) with the whole world.

Since I’ve started creating guides for Pearlshare I’ve also started using the guides others have created. Because Pearlshare uses professional travel writers and other experts, the information is reliable – and consistently well-written. Other travel apps I’ve used (I’m looking at you Spotted by Locals) are very up and down when it comes to quality, with one guide proving invaluable but the next being filled with obvious and very much on the beaten track places reviewed in poor language.

And then of course there’s the trust factor. With TripAdvisor failing to clamp down on those fake ever-glowing reviews written by hotel owners, it’s getting harder and harder to sort the good reviews from the downright dishonest.

It’s also much easier than with other apps I’ve used to create your reviews. Each place you save (called a “pearl”) can be plotted on the map and adding a comment (of a tweet length 140 characters) takes a matter of minutes. My main issue was with the maps, which are currently Apple Maps. I find these constantly unreliable and much prefer Google Maps, but Pearlshare assure me that they will be switching soon.

One of Pearlshare’s other plans is to roll image1-2out the app to AirBnB hosts. I’ve stayed in AirBnBs around the world, from Paris to New York, and I certainly find the experience more like living in the city than I do when I stay in a hotel. This is often down to the personal recommendations of the hosts, but these are generally provided in a folder, on paper. I’ve taken pictures of these notes with my phone, added places to Google maps and scribbled notes on city maps, but with Pearlshare it will now be possible for my host to simply send me their collection (of best places to eat in Brooklyn, say) straight to my phone. How much easier is that?

The app is free to download from Apple’s App Store (here) and it’s free to create your own guides too.

Want to know more? Check out the short video introduction. And you can check out my guides on the app now too:

Cosy Dublin: a guide for winter in the Irish capital

Top things to do in Lanzarote

Top things to do in Krakow

Top things to do in Athens

Gourmet guide to Seville

The best places in San Diego for fish tacos