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The Savoy is offering amazing hotel experiences to reward kindness this Christmas

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Do you have a friend or relation that deserves an incredible experience at one of the world’s best hotels? Now’s your chance to make it happen for them.

London’s revered Savoy hotel is asking the public to nominate a friend or family member who’s been particularly kind or helpful in 2020 for a unique Savoy experience. The hotel is encouraging everyone to think about what wonderful Savoy experience their kindest friends might like to receive.

Potential wishes could include enjoying classic Savoy experiences such as afternoon tea in Thames Foyer, or an evening of cocktails at the Beaufort Bar. Alternatively, they could be the chance to learn skills or insight from the Savoy’s talented team.

London’s revered Savoy hotel is asking the public to nominate a friend or family member who’s been particularly kind or helpful in 2020 for a unique Savoy experience. And it could be learning how to pack the perfect suitcase with head butler Sean Davoren (pictured)

London’s revered Savoy hotel is asking the public to nominate a friend or family member who’s been particularly kind or helpful in 2020 for a unique Savoy experience. And it could be learning how to pack the perfect suitcase with head butler Sean Davoren (pictured)

London’s revered Savoy hotel is asking the public to nominate a friend or family member who’s been particularly kind or helpful in 2020 for a unique Savoy experience. And it could be learning how to pack the perfect suitcase with head butler Sean Davoren (pictured)

Any experience or service that the Savoy team offer in their day-to-day line of work within the iconic hotel is a possible wish. Pictured is the hotel's uber-luxury Royal Suite

Any experience or service that the Savoy team offer in their day-to-day line of work within the iconic hotel is a possible wish. Pictured is the hotel's uber-luxury Royal Suite

Any experience or service that the Savoy team offer in their day-to-day line of work within the iconic hotel is a possible wish. Pictured is the hotel’s uber-luxury Royal Suite

The Savoy's Executive Pastry Chef Daniel Pearse. Perhaps you'd like a friend to have a cooking lesson with him?

The Savoy's Executive Pastry Chef Daniel Pearse. Perhaps you'd like a friend to have a cooking lesson with him?

The Savoy’s Executive Pastry Chef Daniel Pearse. Perhaps you’d like a friend to have a cooking lesson with him?

For example, would the recipient love to learn some of the secrets of cooking with chocolate with Executive Pastry Chef Daniel Pearse? Or how to organise their wardrobe and pack a perfect suitcase and other classic butler duties with Sean Davoren, one of the stars of the ITV documentary about the property who leads the hotel’s guest experience team?

Any experience or service that the Savoy team offer in their day-to-day line of work within the iconic hotel is a possible wish.

So, how does it work?

Making a wish requires a minimum donation of £5 with proceeds being shared equally between two charities that The Savoy says are particularly important to it – Hospitality Action, which supports hospitality workers suffering hardship, and The Connection at St Martin in the Fields, which helps the homeless community in and around the Strand.

Nominations can be made online from today or in person once the hotel reopens to leisure guests from December 3.

Details required include what kind of wonderful Savoy experience they would like to recognise their kindest friends or family with – and there is no limit to how many wishes can be made.

Twenty-five Savoy wishes will be randomly selected, one a day from December 1, 2020, through to Christmas Day, and highlighted on the hotel’s social media channels.

They will be granted throughout 2021.

Twenty-five Savoy wishes will be randomly selected, one a day from December 1, 2020, through to Christmas Day

Twenty-five Savoy wishes will be randomly selected, one a day from December 1, 2020, through to Christmas Day

Twenty-five Savoy wishes will be randomly selected, one a day from December 1, 2020, through to Christmas Day

When The Savoy starts welcoming leisure guests from December 3, it will do so bedecked in festive decorations at the centre of which will be a golden Well of Wishes, into which visitors can drop their wishes personally if they would like.

In addition, the hotel ‘will be buzzing with an exciting partnership with English sparkling wine producer, Nyetimber, and at the hotel’s heart in Thames Foyer friends and families will be reuniting for the most joyous festive afternoon tea, while behind the scenes chefs will be preparing delicious seasonal menus for the most indulgent celebrations’.

When The Savoy starts welcoming leisure guests from December 3, it will do so bedecked in festive decorations at the centre of which will be a golden Well of Wishes, into which visitors can drop their wishes personally if they would like. Pictured is The Savoy's head mixologist, Elon Soddu

When The Savoy starts welcoming leisure guests from December 3, it will do so bedecked in festive decorations at the centre of which will be a golden Well of Wishes, into which visitors can drop their wishes personally if they would like. Pictured is The Savoy's head mixologist, Elon Soddu

When The Savoy starts welcoming leisure guests from December 3, it will do so bedecked in festive decorations at the centre of which will be a golden Well of Wishes, into which visitors can drop their wishes personally if they would like. Pictured is The Savoy’s head mixologist, Elon Soddu

Source: Dailymail Travels

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House Of Arras E.J. Carr Late Disgorged 2004 named world’s BEST in Decanter Magazine Top 100 wines

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A bottle of sparkling wine from Australia has been crowned the best in the world, beating drops from all around the globe.

The House Of Arras E.J. Carr Late Disgorged 2004 has won the ‘Top Sparkling Wine in Decanter’s Wine of the Year 2020 Tasting’ – a tasting panel managed by one of the world’s leading and most influential wine publications.

The bottle, made in Tasmania, took out the top spot in the Decanter Magazine Top 100 wines of the year after earning a stellar 96 points.

A bottle of sparkling wine from Australia has been crowned the best in the world, beating drops from all around the globe

A bottle of sparkling wine from Australia has been crowned the best in the world, beating drops from all around the globe

A bottle of sparkling wine from Australia has been crowned the best in the world, beating drops from all around the globe

The House Of Arras E.J. Carr Late Disgorged 2004 has won the 'Top Sparkling Wine in Decanter's Wine of the Year 2020 Tasting' - a tasting panel managed by one of the world's leading wine publications

The House Of Arras E.J. Carr Late Disgorged 2004 has won the 'Top Sparkling Wine in Decanter's Wine of the Year 2020 Tasting' - a tasting panel managed by one of the world's leading wine publications

The House Of Arras E.J. Carr Late Disgorged 2004 has won the ‘Top Sparkling Wine in Decanter’s Wine of the Year 2020 Tasting’ – a tasting panel managed by one of the world’s leading wine publications

The wines that make the prestigious list every year are subject to a rigorous tasting process in order to crown the winners. 

‘It’s an absolute honour to have the E.J. Carr Late Disgorged 2004 judged alongside some of the best sparkling wines from across the globe,’ House of Arras chief winemaker Ed Carr said.

‘House of Arras was born from a vision to create an Australian sparkling wine on parity with the world’s finest champagnes and sparkling wines. 

‘Today’s Decanter Magazine announcement reinforces this vision and is proof that the world’s best sparkling can be found right here in Tasmania.’

The bottle, made in Tasmania, took out the top spot in the Decanter Magazine Top 100 wines of the year after earning a stellar 96 points

The bottle, made in Tasmania, took out the top spot in the Decanter Magazine Top 100 wines of the year after earning a stellar 96 points

The bottle, made in Tasmania, took out the top spot in the Decanter Magazine Top 100 wines of the year after earning a stellar 96 points

Made from the noble grape varieties of prestige sparkling wine, sourced from the cold climate Tasmanian vineyards, the wine offers all the ‘elegance, power and vibrancy’ that are the ‘hallmarks of world class premium sparkling wine’. 

A mix of 69 per cent Chardonnay and 31 per cent Pinot Noir, the drop has spent an incredible 13 years on tirage, taking Australian sparkling to a level of texture and complexity that other producers rarely achieve.

Wine aficionados have shared glowing reviews about the wine online, with many declaring it’s the best sparking on the market.

‘This is a spectacular drop and right up there with the French bottles that cost two to three times more,’ one wrote.

And another added: ‘While above my normal price range… I finally succumbed and bought a couple of bottles for a special occasion. It is without doubt the best Aussie sparkling that we had ever tasted: simply elegant in all respects.’

A bottle of the House of Arras E.J. Carr Late Disgorged 2004 costs $265.95.

Source: Dailymail Travels

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One in three UK restaurants say they won’t survive until Christmas

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Over a third of UK restaurants (34 per cent) fear that they won’t survive until Christmas.

That’s according to a new survey of 200 restaurant and decision-makers that also found that a similar number (32 per cent) believe that government support for the industry is inadequate.

Tanisha Broady, owner of the Rock of Virtue Café in Cambridge, told MailOnline Travel that for her business to stay afloat for the next three months, she needs £10,000 from the government to cover rent.

Over a third of UK restaurants (34 per cent) fear that they won't survive until Christmas

Over a third of UK restaurants (34 per cent) fear that they won't survive until Christmas

Over a third of UK restaurants (34 per cent) fear that they won’t survive until Christmas

Rahul Sharma, Director at The Regency Club in London, also voiced concern about government support for the sector.

He told MailOnline Travel that he received £3,000 for each lockdown in the form of government grants and ‘the Furlough scheme helped a lot’.

But he added: ‘The biggest expense for us is our rent – our business model is designed to operate as a restaurant, but now we are operating as a takeaway. So, we are still paying the overheads of a restaurant. There needs to be something done for people who pay high rent. There has not been any agreement done on a wider commercial basis.’

Chris Jones, owner of the Naked Deli in Newcastle, said: ‘This year has been all about survival. We’ve been looking from week to week hoping we can keep the lights on and staff employed.’

Kate Nicholls, CEO of UKHospitality, wants to see a recovery fund established.

She said: ‘The sector’s preference is to trade itself back to recovery but, with restrictions denying us the chance, many venues will fail unless the government provides much more substantial support.

‘The restrictions of the new tiers mean that 94 per cent of our members are nonviable or trading at a loss. That’s a £7.8billion hit which will see businesses go under and jobs lost.

‘For any chance of survival, we need replacement of the Job Retention Bonus, extension of the rent debt moratoria and compensation for business losses. Tesco has just refunded nearly £600million in support to the government, with other supermarkets rumoured to be following suit. That can be used to establish a Hospitality and Tourism Recovery Fund to keep the sector alive.’

Tanisha Broady, pictured, owner of the Rock of Virtue Café in Cambridge, told MailOnline Travel that for her business to stay afloat for the next three months, she needs £10,000 from the government to cover rent

Tanisha Broady, pictured, owner of the Rock of Virtue Café in Cambridge, told MailOnline Travel that for her business to stay afloat for the next three months, she needs £10,000 from the government to cover rent

Tanisha Broady, pictured, owner of the Rock of Virtue Café in Cambridge, told MailOnline Travel that for her business to stay afloat for the next three months, she needs £10,000 from the government to cover rent

Peter Backman, a UK-based independent restaurant analyst, also issued a warning: ‘Restaurant owners have not faced any years tougher than this. Sadly, just making it to 2021 will be an achievement for many. We’re not out of the woods yet. The pandemic is still not over and the economic conditions in January and February could be even harsher for restaurants, not least if we remain in restrictive tiers.’

During the pandemic, many restaurants were quick to pivot to online delivery, with the average restaurant taking just two and a half weeks to implement a takeaway service once lockdown was announced, according to online food delivery platform Flipdish, which commissioned the survey, by Censuswide.

With restrictions in place, it says, these restaurants lost an average of 40 per cent of their revenue during lockdown, but were able to make up the remaining 60 per cent of their average revenue through online ordering.

In fact, over half (56 per cent) say they would have closed down permanently without online ordering and takeaway. According to restaurant owners and managers, the pivot saved an average of 15 jobs.

Rahul Sharma, pictured, Director at The Regency Club in London, said 'there needs to be something done for people who pay high rent'

Rahul Sharma, pictured, Director at The Regency Club in London, said 'there needs to be something done for people who pay high rent'

Rahul Sharma, pictured, Director at The Regency Club in London, said ‘there needs to be something done for people who pay high rent’

As lockdown restrictions ease, 79 per cent of restaurants plan to continue with online delivery, but the long-term picture is fragile.

According to the survey, 78 per cent of restaurants signed up to ‘aggregators’ like Just Eat, Uber Eats or Deliveroo, so-called because they collate restaurants on the same platform.

This year has been all about survival. We’ve been looking from week to week hoping we can keep the lights on and staff employed
Chris Jones, owner of the Naked Deli

Over 12,000 new restaurants have joined Deliveroo in recent months and many would have benefitted from Just Eat’s 30-day support package in March when more than £11million of support was funnelled into independent restaurants.

However, while signing up to aggregators works for many businesses, for some, it’s not a long-term solution.

The commission charged – up to 35 per cent – can be one of the issues, though individual deals can be hammered out, as the aggregators explain.

Criticism of the cut taken by the likes of Just Eat, Deliveroo and UberEats was first reported by the Mail in June – and it’s still bubbling away. 

In the survey – which it should be pointed out was commissioned by a rival to aggregators – only one in three (33 per cent) restaurants felt aggregators set fair commissions and offered a financially sustainable option.

Tanisha pointed out, for example, that for a £41 order she took recently, £17 went to Deliveroo.

Rahul, meanwhile, revealed what his restaurant would end up with after using Uber.

For the end consumer who orders a £20 meal, £3.50 goes on delivery and £2.00 on Uber service charge, leaving a bill for the customer of £25.50.

Uber collects £11.50 from the customer and the restaurant gets £14 revenue from Uber.

On top of this are costs – £.3.40 VAT for the whole order, and £8 operating and fixed costs (ingredients, labour, restaurant rent and utilities and so on), leaving £2.60 gross profit.

Chris Jones, who runs The Naked Deli, said that 2020 has been all about survival for his outlet

Chris Jones, who runs The Naked Deli, said that 2020 has been all about survival for his outlet

Chris Jones, who runs The Naked Deli, said that 2020 has been all about survival for his outlet

Ryan Lynch, who runs Dough restaurant in Liverpool said that with Just Eat the commission is 14 per cent, plus VAT, without using their delivery service, and 33 per cent plus VAT if you use their drivers.

These case studies were put forward by Flipdish. But MailOnline spoke separately to one buyer, who wished to remain anonymous, working for a London restaurant who echoed the anguish regarding fees expressed above.

He said that his business does use Deliveroo and admitted it had been a lifeline during the lockdown – ‘we relied on its customer base’ – but added that the 32 per cent commission his business is charged is ‘pretty crippling’.

Flipdish points out that it has a much lower commission rate – typically around seven to nine per cent – and is also involved in the ‘Go Direct Coalition’, a group that’s encouraging the nation to order directly from restaurants, cafes, pubs and takeaways, so they can keep as much of their revenue as possible.

Members include royal chef Damien Wawrzyniak, Manicomio executive chef Tom Salt and Tanisha.

Another example of a restaurant business that’s ploughing its own online furrow is London’s Shop Cuvee.

Co-owner Max Venning told MailOnline: ‘We handle our own deliveries. With our own couriers we can ensure a better service. We’re employing people from restaurants and bars who are out of work, which was important to us.’ 

Flipdish is involved in the 'Go Direct Coalition', a group that's encouraging the nation to order directly from restaurants

Flipdish is involved in the 'Go Direct Coalition', a group that's encouraging the nation to order directly from restaurants

Flipdish is involved in the ‘Go Direct Coalition’, a group that’s encouraging the nation to order directly from restaurants

Fionn Hart, UK Country Manager at Flipdish, said: ‘Nearly half of restaurants that pivoted created their own apps and websites. By doing so, they have created a sustainable business model that will enable UK restaurants to recover, then revitalise.’

Deliveroo said in a statement: ‘Deliveroo is a company founded on a love for small, independent restaurants and our absolute priority is supporting their businesses, especially during Covid-19. We are proud that we help them reach new customers and boost their sales through delivery. Over 12,000 new restaurants have joined Deliveroo in recent months, 9,000 of which are small restaurants and since March our smaller restaurant partners have recorded record growth.

Deliveroo charges different levels of commission depending on each individual arrangement with a restaurant partner. This is then reinvested back into our business
Deliveroo 

‘Throughout the Covid crisis we have invested millions in our restaurant partners, helping them increase their sales and creating new products and campaigns to support both their dine-in and delivery businesses.

‘Deliveroo charges different levels of commission depending on each individual arrangement with a restaurant partner. This is then reinvested back into our business, paying for riders’ fees, customer services and upgrading our services for restaurants.’

Just Eat said: ‘Just Eat is only successful if our restaurant partners are successful. We believe our commission rates are aligned with the value we provide to our partners and we have a track record of helping restaurants prosper.

‘Since the start of the pandemic, we have given well over £11million worth of support to the many thousands of independent restaurants we work with through a number of support measures including commission rebates on delivery and removal of commission on collection orders. We continue to look at measures to support our restaurant partners through further periods of closures and restrictions.

‘We’re committed to adding value to our partners’ businesses on a daily basis, and many grow and flourish through working with Just Eat.’

Uber Eats said: ‘We are committed to supporting restaurants and the thousands of people who rely on them for work and as an essential service during this difficult time. At the beginning of the crisis, we put in place a range of initiatives to help restaurant partners, particularly small business owners, as they keep their kitchens firing to feed people across the country.’

MailOnline approached the Treasury for a comment, but none was forthcoming. 

Source: Dailymail Travels

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Christmas gifts for a taste of hotel heaven at home from Connaught martini glasses to dinner hampers

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Every week our Holiday Hero Neil Simpson takes an in-depth look at a brilliant holiday topic, doing all the legwork so you don’t have to. This week: Christmas gifts from hotels we’ve missed in 2020.

Country house hotels don’t come much prettier than celebrity favourite The Newt In Somerset. The honey-coloured stone walls of the Georgian mansion sit in the heart of a revived country estate and there are delicious, edible gifts galore in its online Christmas Pantry.

As well as Christmas puddings and cakes, there’s a new windfall chutney (made of fruit collected from beneath local trees) and Christmas gingerbread biscuits. Or give a hamper with a difference: the Christmas Breakfast with fruit juices, smoked trout, streaky bacon, country eggs, natural yogurts, a sourdough loaf and more. Biscuits from £3, hampers from £60 at thenewtinsomerset.com.

Celebrity haunt: The Newt in Somerset has an online Christmas pantry with delicious, edible gifts galore

Celebrity haunt: The Newt in Somerset has an online Christmas pantry with delicious, edible gifts galore

Celebrity haunt: The Newt in Somerset has an online Christmas pantry with delicious, edible gifts galore

The Christmas Breakfast hamper, available to buy from The Newt for £60, which includes fruit juices, smoked trout, streaky bacon, country eggs, natural yogurts and a sourdough loaf

The Christmas Breakfast hamper, available to buy from The Newt for £60, which includes fruit juices, smoked trout, streaky bacon, country eggs, natural yogurts and a sourdough loaf

The Christmas Breakfast hamper, available to buy from The Newt for £60, which includes fruit juices, smoked trout, streaky bacon, country eggs, natural yogurts and a sourdough loaf

Adare Manor's Dreaming Of Adare Manor hamper, which contains fluffy bathrobes, hotel slippers and scented candles. It costs £225

Adare Manor's Dreaming Of Adare Manor hamper, which contains fluffy bathrobes, hotel slippers and scented candles. It costs £225

Adare Manor’s Dreaming Of Adare Manor hamper, which contains fluffy bathrobes, hotel slippers and scented candles. It costs £225

The architecture is even more grand at Adare Manor in County Limerick, a five-star hotel and golf resort rebuilt 150 years ago as a calendar house (with 365 windows, 52 chimneys and 12 staircases). Christmas gifts for hotel-lovers include the Dreaming Of Adare Manor hamper containing fluffy bathrobes, hotel slippers and scented candles.

Or order an Until We Meet Again cream tea box with a blend of hotel tea, a jar of strawberry and champagne jam, a recipe for the hotel’s scones and a gift card for tea for two that’s valid for five years. From £175 at adaremanor.com.

Fashionistas flock to Paris and to Le Bristol hotel, flanked by the boutiques of the Rue du Faubourg Saint-Honore. Give the gift of glamour (and the joy of a good night’s sleep) with the hotel’s pillow mist. The heady mix of lavender, freesia, sandalwood and white musk fills suites that can cost up to £22,000 a night. Buy a bottle from £17 at oetkercollection.com.

Pictured is the pillow mist used at Le Bristol Hotel in Paris, which is a heady mix of lavender, freesia, sandalwood and white musk, and available to buy for £17

Pictured is the pillow mist used at Le Bristol Hotel in Paris, which is a heady mix of lavender, freesia, sandalwood and white musk, and available to buy for £17

The gin created by the 108 Bar at the Marylebone Hotel in London, which you can buy for £35

The gin created by the 108 Bar at the Marylebone Hotel in London, which you can buy for £35

On the left is the pillow mist used at Le Bristol Hotel in Paris, which is a heady mix of lavender, freesia, sandalwood and white musk, and available to buy for £17. Pictured right is the gin created by the 108 Bar at the Marylebone Hotel, which you can buy for £35

Connaught-designed cocktail shakers and champagne and martini glasses (£84 for a set of two, pictured) can be sent as gifts

Connaught-designed cocktail shakers and champagne and martini glasses (£84 for a set of two, pictured) can be sent as gifts

Connaught-designed cocktail shakers and champagne and martini glasses (£84 for a set of two, pictured) can be sent as gifts

London’s hotels are as famous for their bars as for their rooms. Cross cobbled streets in the heart of Marylebone to the 108 Bar at the Marylebone Hotel, where a traditional copper still (nicknamed Isabella by staff) creates the hotel’s signature gin. Treat someone to a bottle from £35 at 108brasserie.com.

A short stroll away in Mayfair, champagne and martinis take centre stage at perhaps the capital’s most star-studded hotel bar.

The Connaught Hotel once hosted Cary Grant and Princess Grace of Monaco. Today it’s said to be Jack Nicholson’s favourite place to stay in the capital. This year its bar was declared the best in the world and the bar staff mix award-winning concoctions while the hotel-designed cocktail shakers and champagne and martini glasses can be sent as gifts. From £84 at the-connaught.co.uk.

Pictured is one of the London Edition hotel's crisp white bone china teapots that are used during afternoon tea. They are available to buy for £118

Pictured is one of the London Edition hotel's crisp white bone china teapots that are used during afternoon tea. They are available to buy for £118

Pictured is one of the London Edition hotel’s crisp white bone china teapots that are used during afternoon tea. They are available to buy for £118

The chateaubriand takeaway dinner (£45 for two people) from the Hand Picked Hotels Group. Over a dozen of its hotels offer new 'takeaway experiences' from a Sunday roast to a full English breakfast, which make perfect gifts

The chateaubriand takeaway dinner (£45 for two people) from the Hand Picked Hotels Group. Over a dozen of its hotels offer new 'takeaway experiences' from a Sunday roast to a full English breakfast, which make perfect gifts

The chateaubriand takeaway dinner (£45 for two people) from the Hand Picked Hotels Group. Over a dozen of its hotels offer new ‘takeaway experiences’ from a Sunday roast to a full English breakfast, which make perfect gifts

Afternoon tea is always a big draw at hotels, and it can be particularly memorable when Studio 54 co-founder Ian Schrager is in charge. At his London Edition hotel on the edge of Soho, tea is served in crisp white bone china pots – proudly made in England. On the side is a design based on the plasterwork of the hotel lobby’s 18ft-high ceiling. Send one to a fan for £118 via shopedition.com.

If it’s fine dining or hotel breakfasts you’ve missed tucking into in 2020, then Hand Picked Hotels Group has found a brilliant way to get the ‘just cooked’ experience at home. More than a dozen of its hotels offer new ‘takeaway experiences’ that make perfect gifts.

Order chateaubriand, Sunday roast or a full English breakfast and everything you need to enjoy the perfect meal at home will be waiting to be collected from chefs at hotels such as elegant Audleys Wood in rural Hampshire, Norton House in Edinburgh and more (handpickedhotels.co.uk).

Source: Dailymail Travels

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