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Mihaela Lica Butler

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Mihaela Lica-Butler is travel writer and travel public relations consultant by profession, lover of cultures and cuisine. She has built a fun career while chiming in on many topics, from relating the trials and tribulations of the people of Kosovo, to experiencing, first hand, the heroics of the Romanian soldiers serving for the UN. But she thrives in conveying her love for travel and places in written word, and she is happy to be a constant contributor for some of the world's best travel sites.

Millennium Tandem Team

Budapest is a city of outstanding beauty, with remarkable architecture, and important tourist landmarks, well advertised in travel brochures, and guides of all kinds. Besides its over-mediatized baths and spas, music festivals, cuisine, and cultural events, Budapest offers visitors a wealth of other attractions, not many people know about. Although the city is not seen as a Mecca for adrenaline junkies, Budapest does offer a lot to those who enjoy more “extreme” activities.

Aquaworld

Aquaworld Budapest – Ramada Resort

Already famous with locals and tourists, Budapest’s Aquaworld offers the ultimate family experience, but it is also a must for thrill seekers. Strip down to your swimsuit, and book a lesson at the surf school – yes, you can learn how to ride the waves in one of Europe’s most romantic inland cities. Those in search of treetop thrills will find enough to challenge their skills at the Adventure Park, part of the same Ramada Aquaworld.

Location: Íves út 16.
Phone: +36 1 231 3760

Challengeland Kalandpálya

Challengeland Kalandpálya is closer to nature, in a real Hungarian forest, and offers a richer experience for all ages, including nighttime climbing, individual rope course for all ages; dual rope course, for adults and children to race together; racing rope course; an earthy obstacle course known as the Giant Labyrinth; a log castle, ideal for family fun; and so much more.

Location: Konkoly Thege M. Út 21.
Phone: +36 20 599 8501

Orczy Kalandpark

Similar to Ramada’s Adventure Park, and the Challengeland Kalandpálya, the Orczy Kalandpark is especially recommended for younger thrill seekers. It has several racing courses designed exclusively for children, as well as activities for adults, including camping, laser tag, and even go-karting.

Location: Orczy út 1.(Nagyvárad tér)
Phone: +36 20 236 1214

eXbox

eXbox Adventure Park, is the largest extreme indoor adventure park in Budapest, so you can enjoy adrenaline rush rain or shine. It’s not the same as flying along the wires in nature, but you are still suspended far above the ground, and you have 20 obstacles challenging your completion of the course. If a ropes course is not enough, you can test your climbing technique, conditioning, and technical skills at the climbing wall. Inside the same park, the Lab Skatepark challenges BMX, roller skaters, and skateboarders. You will discover many other adventures for young and old.

Location: Hunyadi János út 4.
Phone: +36 30 232 5108

Millennium Tandem Team

Nothing quite compares with the intense rush provided by a 200 km/h free fall and parachute descent from 3500 metres, and yes, Budapest can accommodate cloud riders too! Tandem Skydiving offers the closest skydiving location to Budapest, at Dunaújváros (Kisapostag) Airport, about an hour drive from the city center. The company offers transfer to customers, plus excellent prices, and even your own tandem skydive video if you want to keep the memory alive.

Location: Dunaújváros Airport Highway no. 6 – at 76th km (close to Kisapostag)
Phone: +36 20 341 2704

One of the newest attractions for active pursuits in Budapest is the G1 Kart Center, a facility designed for experienced drivers, who can test their skills driving GT5 go karts in a sound proof, safe environment. Drivers wear professional racing overalls and helmets for safety, but also for a complete, professional experience.

Location: Róbert Károly körút 54-58.
Phone: +36 30 2390743

Budapest offers many other opportunities for active travelers who enjoy nature. There are several companies that offer canoeing and kayaking tours on the Danube, wakeboarding, bicycle tours of the city, and especially hiking on the Buda side of the Danube River. No matter who you are, no matter what outdoor pursuits you like, there are thousands of different ways to discover this noble city.

Wedding Bliss at Mamaison Pokrovka Moscow

Earlier this month, on a beautiful Sunday, Mamaison All-Suites Spa Hotel Pokrovka Moscow enjoyed the stellar visit of Sati Kazanova, who was the celebrity guest of the “Wedding School,” a special event organized by the Wedding magazine and Wedding Factory agency.

Sati Kazanova in a wedding gown by Vanilla.

Sati Kazanova in a wedding gown by Vanilla.

Hotel Pokrovka proved to be an ideal venue for the event, not only for its central location, but also for its outstanding interiors, fit for the most demanding brides and their parties. Elegant and stylish, eccentric, arty and eclectic, adorned with palatial furnishings, and valuable artworks, the hotel offers everything for brides and grooms, and then some. Within its walls, you will find one of Moscow’s most prestigious pampering temples, Spa by Algotherm; and a culinary sanctuary, Meat&More, which recently reopened for the season, with an exuberantly new, contemporary menu, inspired by local traditions, but also reflecting international trends.

Sati Kazanova.

Sati Kazanova photographed inside Mamaison All-Suites Spa Hotel Pokrovka Moscow

Participants at the Wedding School event had the opportunity to tour the hotel, discovering its palatial rooms, perfect to satisfy any luxury-desiring sensibilities. More than the tour, the Wedding School was an opportunity to taste wedding sweets by confiserie JennieRose (and an amazing wedding cake), and to leave with valuable organic cosmetics from Melvita.

wedding school

The wedding cake was provided by confiserie JennieRose.

The programme included a gorgeous themed show, workshops on how to plan a wedding budget, lectures on the latest wedding trends in Moscow and abroad, photography tips from some of the most prestigious local photographers, recent trends in wedding decor by White Décor, raffles and prizes, and much more.

Sati Kazanova

Sati Kazanova talks about wedding flower arrangements.

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Girl, under a shower of petals.

Prague is a city of diversity, with rich history, a fascinating art scene, and, most importantly for tourists, a vibrant festival calendar, encompassing everything from gastronomy, to fashion, film, music, and religion. During the Spring and Summer of 2014, Prague will celebrate its multicultural diversity with passion and panache. This is the ultimate festival guide for 2014, to inspire you to celebrate with the city, and with Mamaison Hotels & Residencies.

Holešovice Fashion Market

The Holešovice Fashion Market announced its April event to last between Friday 25 and Sunday 27. This is a great occasion for travelers, as well as for local residents, to buy original fashion and accessories directly from local designers and manufacturers. There will be fashion shows, music, and dance, to enhance the atmosphere, and to make the experience complete for everyone.

Location : HOLEŠOVICE MARKET, Bubenské nábřeží 306 Praha 7 – Holešovice

night of the witches

If you happen in Prague on the last day of April you will witness a unique local festival, with pagan roots: Paleni Cardojenic, translated, the “night of the witches.” The festival marks the last night of Winter, and the beginning of the Spring. This is the night when the witches come out to bring misfortune into the world. According to the local tradition, burning witch effigies on a pyre would keep their malefic magic away. Several fires will be lit on Petrin Hill to mark the tradition on April 30. Many restaurants, cafes, and cultural institutions around the city will organize special events to mark the date too. One of the largest gatherings, with contests, food and live music, takes place in the Ladronka Park.

Location: Petrin Hill, Ladronka Park, and others.

Prague Spring Festival

Prague Spring Festival (Photo © Jiří Bělohlávek )

The 69th edition of the Prague Spring Music Festival kicks off May 12, to last till June 2, 2014. Several venues across the city will stage competitions, concerts and other events. A special festival concert by the San Francisco Symphony Orchestra will be held Monday, March 24, in advance of the official opening date in May.

This is the most important cultural event of the Spring, and a must for music lovers. Among the highlights of the festival:

  • Lithuanian soprano Violeta Urmana will appear at Prague Spring on May 24 in a programme featuring the music of Mahler and Strauss. Venue: Municipal House – Smetana Hall.
  • The Hilliard Ensemble will be ending its professional career in 2014, and Prague Spring may be your last chance to see them together in concert: May 30, at Rudolfinum – Dvořák Hall.
  • The Konvergence chamber ensemble will be performing at St Agnes’ convent, on May 19. In the programme: five world premieres, including Quartet No. 3 by Pavel Zemek-Novák and Viola Walk by Peter Graham, among others.

Other stellar participants include the Vienna Philharmonic, the Bamberg Symphony Orchestra, the Polish National Radio Symphony Orchestra, and the Prague Symphony Orchestra.

The Czech Beer Festival is at its 7th edition in 2014. It will take place between May 14 and May 31, at the Areál Výstaviště exhibition grounds. The festival will bring together some of the best local breweries, showcasing over 70 brands of top quality Czech beer. But there’s more to the festival than good libations. Beers will be paired with equally rewarding cuisine, and the atmosphere will be enhanced by local bands, performing live, every day.

13th Prague Fringe Festival

Dubbed “the most beautiful fringe festival in the world” by Tony Lankester, CEO of the National Arts Festival in South Africa, the Prague Fringe Festival offers a diverse programme, of theatre, comedy, music and entertainment. This is an international event, with plenty to see for English-speaking guests. Participating venues: Divadlo Kampa, Divadlo Inspirace, A Studio Rubín, Divadlo Na Prádle, and other small Prague theaters. The Fringe Festival takes place from May 23, to May 31, 2014.

The Prague International Music Festival United Islands celebrates its 11th edition in 2014, and it already ranks as the city’s largest open-air music festival. The festival opens with the traditional Club Night on June 11, and it will last till June 24, 2014. Participants include Nylon Jail, Vložte kočku, Voila!, Lanugo, Kieslowski, Palermo, Love Earth and many others. The complete programme is available online at http://unitedislands.cz/

Location: Kampa, Střelecký ostrov and Kinsky Garden.

Metallica By Request: Aerodrome Festival only lasts one day in July, but it is set to attract thousands of fans at the Incheba open air arena. Fans of heavy metal will see Alice In Chains, Children Of Bodom, Kvelertak in concert, before the stage will be taken by Metallica, whose performance will be the peak of the event on July 8, 2014.

Location : Incheba Open Air Areál Výstaviště 69, Praha 7

One of the top festivals in Prague, the Summer Festivities of Early Music are celebrating their 15th edition this year, between July 14 and August 6. The festival is focused on Medieval music, and takes place at several historic locations, including the Convent of St. Agnes of Bohemia, the Troja Chateau, the Břevnov Monastery and the Prague Castle.

Contemporary Circus and Theatre Letní Letná

The International Festival of Contemporary Circus and Theatre Letní Letná gathers together new circus companies from around the world in a unique celebration, which embraces a wide variety of cultural and artistic manifestations, including street art, photography, concerts, open air shows, and much more. The festival has something in store for everyone: there will be at least five shows per day for children. If you are in Prague between August 17 and September 2, 2014, don’t miss it.

Location: Letná Park

Hotel Imperial Ostrava

UPDATE: Now a Private Label Hotels group property, Mamaison Business & Conference Hotel Ostrava changed its name back to Imperial Hotel Ostrava in 2015, to reflect the long history and tradition of the hotel. While it no longer operates under the Mamaison brand, the hotel remains in the CPI Hotels family, which includes Mamaison Hotels & Residences hotels, four-star Clarion congress hotels, Spa & Kur Hotels, Buddha-Bar Hotel Prague, three-star Fortuna hotels, and the Private Label Hotels group.

Built by the renowned Moravian-Ostrava company Mihatsch & Ulrich, Hotel Imperial Ostrava opened officially on January 1, 1904. This was the dream of Josef Petzak, who thus developed one of the first-class hotels in this part of the world, a legacy we treasure today greatly, and our passion shows in the dedication we have for our guests, the unsurpassed customer service, that makes each and every one of you feel like home within the walls of our hotel, and the luxurious facilities at your disposal.

Hotel Imperial Past

Just like the first owners, Josef and Anna Petzak, offered their guests elegant accommodations at the beginning of the XXth century, today, Hotel Imperial Ostrava offers comfortable rooms, ideal for every vacationer’s dream. Whether you seek for luxury interiors for your business needs, or for relaxed spaces to rekindle romance, the Imperial is ready to welcome you wholeheartedly. The lush, almost decadent interiors of the hotel, are as inviting as the sophisticated boudoir of a blue-blooded countess, albeit with a contemporary twist.

Hotel Imperial interior

Just as it stood back in 1904, “in the best place in the city”, today’s Hotel Imperial enjoys the same ideal location, close to some of the city’s most popular attractions, at heart of Ostrava’s city centre, right at the start of the pedestrian zone. Your days will be filled with new activities, and new discoveries, while the nights will offer pampering rest in queen-sized beds, on soft cushions, under luxury linen covers.

Hotel Imperial Ostrava room

Hotel Imperial Ostrava is more than accommodation, but for now, these images speak for themselves. As this year we celebrate the hotel’s 110th birthday, we will follow up with detailed information about the hotel’s outstanding gourmet restaurants, Legend and La Brasserie, and we will keep you posted about the events organized at the hotel, and everything else in Ostrava that will make your vacation here beyond memorable.

Hotel Imperial Ostrava room red drapes

Moscow Spa by Algotherm

Spa by Algotherm, the gem at Mamaison Hotel Pokrovka, ranks among the top wellness destinations in Moscow. A luxury hotel par excellence, Pokrovka offers some of the most photographed, elegant, suites in the capital, and exclusive amenities, fit for blue-blooded royalty. Along Pokrovka’s industry acclaimed facilities, Spa by Algotherm meets all the requirements, when it comes to luxury, pampering, and style.

The spa is an urban oasis, with excellent natural algotherapy treatments for face and body, thalassotherapy, hammam, Russian sauna, and even a Moroccan Rhassoul steam room, alongside 8 treatment rooms and other facilities. There’s nothing more rewarding after an active day in the city, than to get pampered at Mamaison’s exclusive Spa by Algotherm.

Ultimate Pampering in Moscow: Spa by Algotherm

This sanctuary of elegance and serenity follows all the treatment principles that made Algotherm a preferred world brand for algotherapy and marine cosmetics. As you walk in, you are embraced by discrete aromas that enhance the tranquil atmosphere of the spa, and provide the ideal environment, essential to set the mood that will help you regain harmony between body and soul.

Spa by Algotherm: swimming pool with hydromassage

With focused attention on all-encompassing wellness, Spa by Algotherm brings mind, body and spirit into balance with natural European and Asian spa treatments, luxurious pampering packages, and even natural beauty treatments for your hair. All spa treatments are designed by expert therapists, with a better you in mind. Based on your individual needs and wishes, you will enjoy signature treatments and mini-packages for total relaxation and stress relief, while toning, shaping up, rejuvenating and detoxing in the exclusive tropical Polynesian corner, with original Oriental SPA massages and other programmes, just for you.

Massage parlor - Spa by Algotherm

Spa by Algotherm is the perfect retreat for a summer of beauty and wellness. The comprehensive range of treatments includes body shaping, anti-cellulite wraps, couple’s rituals, classic and exotic massages, and beauty treatments with professional marine cosmetics.

During your visit at the spa, don’t miss the bio bar, which serves herbal teas, fresh fruit juices and smoothies, and even cocktails.

Spa by Algotherm bio bar

For your health fix to be complete, we offer some of the best yoga therapy sessions in the city, to help reach the ultimate physical and spiritual harmony, based on ancient practices. Book a private lesson with a professional master at the spa, to take advantage of the full health benefits of the individual programs and classes, planned according to your level of training, health and physiological features.