Heathrow Terminal 1 Auction, London 21st April 2018

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22nd April update: It looks like some items have allocated to an online-only auction, with bids accepted until April 29th 2018. The page is here: https://www.cagp.com/events/heathrow-airport-terminal-1-memorabilia-auction/ but if this is anything like yesterday’s live auction, I wouldn’t expect any bargains.

Heathrow Terminal 1 was in operation between 1968 and 2015. When it was officially opened by Queen Elizabeth II in April 1969 it was the largest new airport terminal in western Europe. In May 2017 the entire contents of the terminal was put up for auction and that auction is currently in progress today April 21st.

I’m watching the auction and I thought it might be a chance to pick up some airport memorabilia at a good price – well it doesn’t look like that is going to happen as bidders are going crazy.

For example, Lot 50 -Welcome to Terminal 1 illuminated sign, wall Or pole mounting. curved metal construction, hinged door. H 700 mm W 1250mm D 150mm

Just sold for £1050 plus 16% Buyer’s Premium plus 20% VAT

I’ll update this post with other interesting items as the auction progresses. If you want to bid or view the catalogue then visit the this page: https://uk.cagp.com/m/view-auctions/catalog/id/91

Lot 60 Zone A Ceiling Sign £1150 plus 16% Buyer’s Premium plus 20% VAT

Lot 79 No entry £1000

Lot 87 Exit £375

Lot 92 Flight Connections £1000

Lot 114 Exit £600

Lot 136 Emergency Exit £1050

Lot 142 Departures and Arrivals Sign £3400 – complete madness and I’ve stopped watching!

 

Exhibition of Paintings by Martina Krupičková, Prague, Czech Republic

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Thursday 19th April evening, I attended the opening party for an exhibition of Paintings by renowned Czech artist Martina Krupičková https://martinakrupickova.com/.

The exhibition is integrated into the showroom of ‘Luxury Sleeping’ http://www.postele-ls.cz/ (high-end beds and bedding) and runs until 31st May. There is also a prize draw – anyone who purchases a Kuperus or Pullman bed before the end of April can win a painting by the artist.

The party started quite formally with a glass of Prosecco and delicious canapés. There was plenty of good-quality wine available and this certainly helped to more than relax the formalities as the evening progressed!

There were short speeches, live cello and violin music, bed testing and a little bit of dancing – certainly one of the most enjoyable art openings I’ve attended in a while.

This is how the exhibition looks today:

I’m guessing there may still be some wine left – so don’t be surprised if you’re offered a glass while you visit.

LUXURY SLEEPING
KORUNNÍ 2569/108b
VINOHRADY, PRAHA 10 (budova Rezidence Korunní)

Open:
10:00 to 18:00 weekdays
weekends by appointment 773 503 100 or 775 431 469 or mail: sales@postele-ls.cz

http://postele-ls.cz/cs/predmetem-umeni-neni-jednoducha-pravda-ale-slozita-krasa-264.html

Martina Krupičková https://martinakrupickova.com/

Terasa U Prince (rooftop terrace), Prague, Czech Republic

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The bars and restaurants that line the Old Town Square (Staroměstské nám.) are typically for tourists and usually over-priced. You should be able to find a 0.5l of Czech beer in the centre of Prague for 35Kč – on the square you could easily pay over 100Kč.

As a result, I’ve tended to avoid those places, including the Hotel U Prince. However, on Monday this week, I found myself sitting on their rooftop terrace drinking a ‘one for the road’ 115Kč 0.5l beer. And I do it again.

Hotel U Prince has street-level tables outside, opposite the town hall and astronomical clock. It’s easy to miss the hotel entrance that leads to what looked like a good cocktail bar (https://www.blackangelsbar.com/ but didn’t try yet) and then to a rooftop terrace bar and restaurant.

It was around 22.30 when we wandered into the hotel entrance. Disappointingly the elevator was out of order – or perhaps they just told us that on the basis that if we were too drunk to climb the stairs, we wouldn’t be welcome on the terrace!

The hotel reception desk looked like something out of the movie ‘Grand Budapest Hotel’.

Although the elevator would have been easier, we were able to see interesting parts of the hotel.

Several exhausting flights of stairs later and we found ourselves on the roof terrace. The terrace has a glass roof and heaters. The views to Prague Castle and the Old Town Square were amazing. We just had beer but the place also operates as a restaurant.

The terrace was almost empty and we wondered if this hidden gem was so hidden that nobody visited. We asked about weekends and our waitress said they were fully booked.

We vainly tried the elevator down button and then set about walking back down the stairs.

I’m sure I’ll be back and it’s also a great place to take friends who are visiting Prague – but only if the elevator is working.

Hotel U Prince
Staroměstské náměstí 29

Open daily:
11:00 – 23:30

management@hoteluprince.com
+420 737 261 842

https://www.terasauprince.com/terrace

Marco Polo Lounge, Venice Marco Polo Airport, Italy

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We flew EasyJet to Venice Marco Polo Airport and took the Alilaguna Blue Line boat (25 EUR return per person) to the Hilton Molino Stucky Venice on Giudecca Island – just across the canal from St. Mark’s Square.

The walk between the airport and quay is short and there are moving walkways.

We had a few hours before our flight and I decided to use the Lounge Pass that comes free with one of my credit cards – you could also use Priority Pass there. I didn’t expect much but was more than pleasantly surprised.

The lounge was spacious and there were plenty of seats.

We found some good seats, with a view to the runway.

The food selection was fantastic and good quality.

Alcoholic drinks weren’t self-serve, but a member of the lounge staff was happy to pour whatever was asked for.

I would have happily stayed another hour. A lot of airlines should take a look at the Marco Polo lounge and see how they could improve their own dedicated lounges.

If you find yourself at Venice Marco Polo airport for more than an hour, I’d recommend a visit.

http://www.veniceairport.it/en/at-the-airport/marco-polo-club-vip-lounge.html

 

Colloredo-Mansfeld Palace, Prague, Czech Republic

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The Colloredo-Mansfeld Palace is probably the most ignored place in Prague – it’s also the least expensive with admission set at just 1Kč.

Walking along Karlova Street (the street that links the Old Town Square (Staroměstské nám.) to Charles Bridge (Karlův most), most will ignore the last entrance on the left before you cross the street and onto Charles Bridge.

If you turn left into that entrance, there is a door on the right – inside is a lady who sells you a ticket. I’m guessing she’d prefer a 1Kč coin but you can always try and see if she can change a 1000Kč note just for the hell of it.

You then exit that room and go across to the door opposite and up some stairs.

At the top of the stairs is an attendant, who takes your ticket and usually tells you that photographs aren’t allowed – I later found that pictures on an iPhone are okay, just not cameras with a flash.

The rooms facing the street are not that impressive, but they are interesting. There’s also a great view from the window.

The dance hall (Piano Nobile) at the back is really impressive and was used in the filming of the 1983 film Amadeus by Milos Forman.

When you exit the dance hall, you follow the corridor back towards the street-facing rooms and back down the stairs – well that is unless the third floor is also open. When I visited there was an exhibition there and my 1Kč wasn’t good for that.

Note that you may be offered concert tickets to the Colloredo-Mansfeld Palace at a much higher price – they won’t mention that you can just visit for 1Kč.

Colloredo-Mansfeld Palace
Karlova 189/2
Prague 1

Summer season:
Tue-Sun 10 am.–6 pm.
Winter season (from 1 November to 30 March)
Tue-Sun 10 am.–4 pm. (except exhibitions on the 3rd floor)
admission 1 CZK

contact
phone +420 222 232 053

en.ghmp.cz/colloredo-mansfeld-palace/

Salabka Restaurant, Prague, Czech Republic

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Salabka has only been open for a few months. The location is in the Troja area of Prague and is best reached by car or taxi. To be honest, we only made the trip from Vinohrady because we’d been given a voucher for 2000Kč – not by the restaurant.

There was some confusion as our taxi driver first found the entrance to the Salabka apartments, run as a hotel. The entrance to the restaurant is around the other side of the building and has a large car park.

There is also a large vineyard and they produce their own wines. That rang some alarm bells as wasps love vineyards and I can imagine that customers on their summer terrace might suffer from these evil creatures.

The downstairs area was empty, but looked good.

We were invited to climb to the first, mezzanine, floor.

The main area had a section of tables, none were close together. It was clear that a lot of money had been spent on design and fixtures. The waiter was friendly and hung our coats in a nearby open-fronted wardrobe.

There were only two menu options; degustation (1650Kč) or three-course (1250Kč) menu. We chose the three-course menu.

The wine list didn’t contain any familiar favourites and was also pretty expensive. We decided to have the wine pairing (450Kč per person). The three glasses were all good, different from what we’d normally order and poured generously. All wines came from the Salabka winery.

Most dishes were served with some flair, with foams and sauces added after the dish was presented to the table. Everything was very professional.

Breads

Amuse-bouche

Starters

Wild boar tartare
egg yolk cream, plum mayonnaise, shallot confit, cornichons, pickled celery, capers, yuzu juice, leek powder, furikake chips with pumpkin seeds

Ton Coeur, Pinot Noir Rosé, Semidry 2016

Quail
carrot & vanilla purée, Brussel sprouts, physalis, shallots purée, rhubarb gel, marinated radish, coconut & lemongrass foam, jus

L’Ancetre, Gewurztraminer, Semidry 2016

Mains (we both had the same)

Saddle of deer
salsify, black pudding purée, baked & pickled beetroot, meringue,
pickled shimeji mushrooms, aronia jus

Ton Sourire, Pinot Noir, Dry 2012

Puddings

Chocolate textures
macaroon with salted caramel, espresso mousse, coconut espuma, pecan nut praline, yuzu gel, rosemary fizzy powder, spiced chocolate ice cream

Le Précieux, Neronet, fortified wine, Sweet 2015

Semolina Porridge
caramelised banana, rosemary chilli pineapple, chocolate crumble, white chocolate dust, baked plum jam, forest fruit espuma

La Perle, Rosé de Noirs, Sec 2013

I wish I’d had the quail to start as the sample offered to me was delicious – whereas my wild boar tartare was a bit boring. The saddle of deer and puddings were excellent.

To finish: The most over-elaborately presented petit fours that I have ever seen – only the two chocolates were the edible part:

As you can guess, our 2000Kč voucher only covered four sevenths of the bill. We also spent another 500Kč on taxi fares.

The bathrooms were modern and spotless. Only paper towels were available and if Salabka is reaching for a Michelin star I think mini, mini hand towels are required.

Would I make a return visit? Probably not, but mostly because the restaurant is too far away. And while I applaud Salabka for making their own wine, I’d prefer that a reasonably-priced Malbec was available from the wine list.

However, if you are in the area or live in Troja and have at least 3500Kč burning a hole in your pocket, you won’t be disappointed.

Salabka Restaurant
K Bohnicím 2, 171 00 Praha 7

https://www.salabka.cz/?lang=en

Monday – closed
Tuesday – Saturday – lunch 12.00 -15.00 dinner 17:30-22.00
Last order is 21:30 although I saw a couple on a nearby table try to order the degustation menu earlier than 21:30, only to told that it was already too late for that many courses to be prepared.

Sunday – lunch 12.00 -16.00

Václav Havel Airport in Lego, Prague, Czech Republic

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Václav Havel Airport was formerly known as Prague Ruzyně – the airport changed its name on the 5th October 2012 on what would have been former Czech President Havel’s 76th birthday).

There are two Terminals; Terminal One is dedicated to flights outside the Schengen Area (free movement between ten EU countries) and Terminal Two for Schengen Area flights. Terminal Two is much nicer and also has a single security channel. In Terminal One, each gate has security – this leads to increased confiscation of water bottles, poor management of Fast Track access and means that all duty free outlets have to enclose liquids in tamper-proof plastic bags.

But what’s this about the Lego? Terminal Two’s landside concourse has a large Lego model of the airport – that means its accessible to anyone, even non-flyers who might like to visit. The model is interactive, in that you can press various buttons and see vehicles and aircraft move around.

Below some pictures of Václav Havel Airport – in Lego:

Giudecca Island, Venice, Italy

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Giudecca Island is only a ten minute boat ride from the main sights of Venice. The island is attractive, peaceful and mostly residential. The largest hotel on the island is the Hilton Molino Stucky Venice. There are numerous restaurants along the canal waterfront. We only visited Majer Restaurant during our visit and loved it there.

Even if you aren’t staying on the island, it’s worth taking a trip to Giudecca to take a walk around and visit a restaurant.

Below a series of photos of Giudecca Island:

Majer Restraurant, Giudecca, Venice, Italy

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We were staying two nights at the Hilton Molino Stucky Venice on Giudecca Island. Giudecca is a lovely quiet island and is mostly residential. There are several restaurants along the canal front – we intended to try at least two, but liked Majer so much that we dined there on both nights.

Majer run a chain of Italian delicatessen and pasticceria (cake shops) throughout Venice. The Giudecca location is their only restaurant.

The first half of Majer is delicatessen and pasticceria plus a bar area that is also used for diners.

There is a small restaurant room at the rear. It’s a cosy place.

If you want a table for two, they’ll most likely just (slightly) separate two tables designed for four – so you’re really close to your neighbouring diners.

On our first visit we ordered:

  • Two different pasta dishes 13 and 15 EUR
  • Bottle of Water 3 EUR
  • Good bottle of Chianti Classico 27 EUR
  • Crème brûlée (to share) 7 EUR

We were also given an amuse-bouche.

Everything was delicious.

For the second visit (the menu had changed):

  • Scallops 12 EUR each
  • Two different pasta dishes 15 EUR each
  • Bottle of Water 3 EUR
  • Another good bottle of Chianti Classico 27 EUR
  • A chocolate pudding 7 EUR

Another amuse-bouche.

Again, everything delicious.

Here are some pictures of scallops, pasta and pudding.

 

As you would guess, I’d recommend this restaurant. Even if you aren’t staying on Giudecca Island, it would be worth a trip over the canal to walk around the island and have dinner at Majer.

Majer Giudecca
Giudecca – La Palanca Fondamenta Sant’Eufemia 461 – 30135
Venezia Isola della Giudecca –

Tel. +39 041 5211162

Mail: giudecca@majer.it

http://www.majer.it/venice/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=48&Itemid=232&lang=it

Link to the Majer chain: http://www.majer.it/index.php?lang=en

Hilton Molino Stucky Hotel, Venice, Italy

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For our two-night trip to Venice we chose the Hilton on Giudecca Island – just across the canal from the main city of Venice. The reasons for our choice:

  • Giudecca Island looked like a peaceful haven, away from the busy tourist area and with some good restaurants.
  • The additional benefits offered to HHonors Platinum card holders; upgraded room, lounge access, breakfast.

We landed at Venice Marco Polo airport and had pre-paid for return boat tickets (25 EUR per person) to Giudecca as part of the Venice Unica City Pass: https://www.veneziaunica.it/en/e-commerce/services

The walk from the airport to the quay is short and there are moving walkways.

There was a queue waiting to board our (Alilaguna Blue Line) boat. Boarding completed leaving several people still in front of us. So we had to wait maybe 20 minutes for the next boat. When you board the boat, you need to go down steps into the front or rear compartment – it would be difficult for anyone infirm or disabled to board. The boat left, still with many seats free, but with people left behind on the quayside.

The trip to Giudecca takes 1 hour and 40 minutes, stopping at several places along the way. We started to think about a private taxi for our return.

We were the only passengers left when the boat arrived at Giudecca – as close to the Hilton entrance as you can get.

There was a queue for check in and no priority line for HHonors members. The receptionist was really friendly, spoke to us in English and advised that we’d been upgraded to an Executive Room with view.

Our room was nicely appointed and had a great view.

There wasn’t the usual two complimentary bottles of water – although these were left the next morning. I would have preferred a dedicated shower rather than a bath with shower.

The Executive Lounge ‘Happy Hour’ was 5-7pm – quite an early start and finish compared to other Hiltons. The lounge is on the ground floor of the hotel and is a effectively a narrow corridor, separated from the bar area, with tables squeezed either side.

The food and drink selection was the worst I’ve ever experienced in a Hilton lounge; no strong alcohol like Whisky, Cognac, Vodka, a really poor food selection, the single hot choice was inedible fried mozzarella balls. The red wine was poor quality. The only positive thing was a small table with prosecco, soda water and Aperol where you could make yourself an Aperol Spritz cocktail.

Later, we decided to take a walk along the promenade (turn right as you leave the hotel entrance). The hotel looked majestic and beautifully illuminated.

Giudecca is a lovely peaceful island and we found an excellent restaurant called Majer.

The following day we headed to the Il Molino Restaurant for breakfast. The receptionist advised that breakfast wasn’t included until I explained that I was a Diamond member. We were seated, ordered coffee and went to the buffet. On our return, another couple had taken our table – our coffee was just arriving and there was some confusion until the couple decided to move.

The buffet was very good, although there wasn’t an omelette station.

In a corridor, just outside of the buffet room, I found two lonely mini-buffets; Arabic and Chinese. It was clear that nobody knew these existed.

I was initially excited until I found that there wasn’t anything of interest – the Chinese wasn’t dim sum, just fried rice.

We took the hotel shuttle boat to the main island – the hotel adds 7.50 EUR per person, per stay, for unlimited use of the shuttle. We were lucky to make it on board as there were more passengers waiting than could be accommodated (max. 39). I would have been pretty cross had we not been able to board, with a 40 minute wait for the next boat. The trip to San Marco took 15 minutes.

We had a wonderful day in Venice (review shortly) and returned on the 5pm shuttle – which we lucky to board as it was almost full.

One additional HHonors Diamond benefit was 2 hours access to the Spa. The hotel is huge and it was quite a walk through a labyrinth of corridors and stairs (in hotel slippers and bathrobes!) before we found the Spa. We really shouldn’t have bothered. There was a small Jacuzzi, a mixed wet steam sauna plus men- and women-only saunas. There was also a relaxation room with a few beds with water and tea available. I didn’t check on the gym.

We visited the Skyline Rooftop Bar. The rooftop pool was closed for maintenance work. The bar had two open-air terraces with good views.

On our second breakfast visit, the waitress asked if I would like an omelette or poached eggs – I asked if I could have Eggs Benedict and was delighted to find that I could. What arrived wasn’t a bad attempt, but couldn’t really be described as Eggs Benedict.

Checkout time was 11am – I hadn’t even realised and checked out just before noon. There was a queue for checkout.

We had decided to use our return Alilaguna tickets, rather than pay the 130 EUR private taxi quoted by the hotel concierge. The return trip was still 1 hour and 40 minutes, but the time went quicker than on the outbound.

The airport security was fast and we were soon in the excellent Marco Polo lounge – open to Lounge/Priority Pass holders.

Pros:
I love the Giudecca Island location and the views from the room.
The breakfast was pretty good.
The hotel is spotless and looks great illuminated at night.

Cons:
The Executive Lounge: The biggest improvement the hotel could make would be relocate the executive lounge to a larger area on a higher floor and provide a better selection of food and drinks over a longer ‘Happy Hour’. I’m sure that all Hilton hotels hate to provide free food and drinks, but that is part of the deal – a deal that this hotel is not honouring.
Check-in: Needs more staff and a dedicated HHonors desk.
Spa: Needs at least a hydrotherapy pool, otherwise it’s just a Jacuzzi and a sauna.

I would be happy to stay at this hotel again if the price was right.

HILTON MOLINO STUCKY VENICE
GIUDECCA 810, VENICE, 30133, ITALY

TEL: +39-041-2723311

http://www3.hilton.com/en/hotels/italy/hilton-molino-stucky-venice-VCEHIHI/index.html