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Phil Butler

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Phil is a prolific technology, travel, and news journalist and editor. An engineer by trade, he is a partner in one of Europe’s leading PR and digital marketing firms, Pamil Visions PR. He’s also editor of Everything PR News, a Huffington Post contributor on many topics, a travel and tech writer for The Epoch Times in print and online, and for several magazines including Luxurious. Phil also contributes regularly to Travel Daily News, The official Visit Greece Blog, and many others including his own Argophilia Travel News.

Residence Sulekova

If Slovakia’s capital had a front door, it would come with a huge postcard of its most iconic landmark, the Bratislava Castle, a central eye-catcher for residents and tourists alike. By far the most photographed attraction in the city, the castle is a place of romantic inspiration, which has fascinated painters and poets for centuries.
This Slovakian gem dominates the views from your window at Mamaison Residence Sulekova Bratislava. Its colossal structure is mirrored in the art adorning the walls in rooms and lobbies, in contrast with the contemporary interiors designed by Jestico + Whiles. The residence ranks among the most popular in our beautiful city, for both location, and outstanding value.

Beyond the walls of the hotel, the world outside opens with countless possibilities for the curious traveller. A ten minutes walk, and you reach the glorious Bratislava Castle, which dominates the city from a rocky hill of the Little Carpathians. Then, the Danube with its blue waves is just a stone’s throw away.

Residence Sulekova

If you are looking for a more relaxing afternoon, surrounded by nature, walk in the opposite direction from our door, towards Horský park, the green lungs of the Old Town, an oasis of peace for all ages. Or skip the park, and head up to the Slavín memorial, to enjoy some breathtaking panoramic views of the city.

Castle View Business Room

For shopping, the most popular destination is Obchodná, a narrow cobbled street, lined up with small boutiques, budget dining, and several excellent value restaurants. After a daytime whirl around the shops, return at Sulekova, to recharge your batteries in the comfort of your room, with a sip of well-chilled white wine, or a revigorating shower.

Above marketing clichés, Sulekova is a cozy city retreat, with 32 spacious suites, tastefully decorated with contemporary designer furnishings. In family rooms, the vivid colours of the ceiling-to-floor drapes contrast with the calm tones of the furniture, creating a homey atmosphere where young and old will spend unforgettable moments together.

Deluxe terrace Castle view

The same soothing decor follows in business suites, where only several daring accents break the rhythm, inspiring the visitor to explore more of Sulekova’s swish and sexy features. Surely, a 20 minutes soak at the sauna will bring on new energy in weary bodies, while the relax area will subdue all the worry and anxiety of a busy day. On to the more active type, Sulekova’s fitness area is an excellent alternative to costly gyms, and comes equipped with enough modern gear, to satisfy every need.

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    Mamaison art contest

    June 1st is celebrated around the world as the International Children’s Day, an occasion for Mamaison Hotels and Residences to celebrate as well, giving you the opportunity to win a weekend stay in one of its outstanding hotels in Moscow, Bratislava, Ostrava, Prague, Budapest or Warsaw. True to their slogan, Mamaison hotels are “As individual as you!” Each property enjoys outstanding central location, and interior decor that will woo you.

    Beginning tomorrow, till June 30, 2014, you are invited to follow Mamaison on Facebook, and to enter the “Dream Hotel Kids Art Contest.” To participate, submit a picture drawn by your child, either on Facebook, on Twitter, or via email, at sales@mamaison.com. Do not forget to include Dream Hotel Kids Art Contest submission in the subject field. Use #MamaisonKArt hashtag when you share on the above mentioned social networks.

    The contest is open to participants from all over the world. The only condition is that the age of the child who draws the pictures is less than 18 years of age.

    The winners will receive a notification via email, and will be announced on Twitter, Facebook, and on our blog.

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    Mamaison Teszedd

    Mamaison Hotel Andrassy Budapest and Mamaison Residence Izabella Budapest, as well as La Perle Noire Restaurant and Lounge at Hotel Andrassy, are now participating in an important social responsibility initiative, the 4th TeSzedd Mozgalom (YouPick) campaign organized by the National Waste Management Agency of Hungary. This campaign is part of the larger Europe-wide Let’s Clean Up Europe initiative, organized with the financial support of the European Commission.

    TeSzedd Mozgalom

    The TeSzedd Mozgalom is a volunteer event, and it takes place, since Friday, May 9, in the City Park, one of the most popular gathering places for the locals in Budapest, and all around the city. Volunteers from all around Budapest, gather trash from the streets, and collect it in green TeSzedd bags. Organizers provided everything needed, including gloves and bags.

    Mamaison Teszedd 2014

    The three Mamaison properties volunteering for the activity joined forces with other local businesses and institutions, including the Őrség National Park, Magyar Post, MTI the National News Agency, and many more.

    salad

    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.

    A fertile land, blessed by no less than four rivers, Ostrava is the land of the plenty, offering an amazing diversity of produce, which are enjoyed in different ways, every season. The soft, yet fresh flavors of the Spring can be found in gastronomic treats in every local restaurant. Plus, there’s plenty to do to help you work up an appetite, including adrenaline-filled activities, scenic walks in the wild, horseback riding, and more, much more. This May, Mamaison Business & Conference Hotel Imperial Ostrava invites guests to enjoy the best of the Spring in both its restaurants, Restaurant Legend, and Café La Brasserie.

    fig dessert

    The first event of the month takes place this Sunday, and honors Mother’s Day with a gourmet family brunch. For information and reservations call 599 099 706, or email gastro@mamaison.com, with Mother’s Day Brunch Ostrava in the subject line.

    On May 16 to 18, 2014, Mamaison Business & Conference Hotel Imperial Ostrava will participate in a city-wide gastronomic event, “Karneval chutí”, in English “Carnival Taste,” at Výstavišti Černá exhibition grounds. This is the second edition of the culinary event, an occasion for hotel guests, but also other city visitors, to sample specialties prepared by the best chefs from 14 restaurants from around the Moravian-Silesian Region. As one of the best chefs in the country, our Chef Vojtěch Poštulka couldn’t miss the event. He will prepare an outstanding tasting menu, and will offer a live demonstration on Saturday, May 17, at 12:45.

    asparagus

    Last, but not least, between May 21 and May 30, 2014, both our restaurants will celebrate the asparagus season, with outstanding creations. If you visit Ostrava in May, don’t miss these events.

    Hotel Imperial Past

    Six of the best Mamaison Hotels and Residences, have been nominated to receive prizes from the prestigious World Travel Awards this year. Mamaison offers accommodation in some of Central and Eastern Europe’s most prestigious cities – Warsaw, Prague, Ostrava, Moscow, Bratislava, Prague and Budapest.

    The six hotels nominated include Mamaison Suite Hotel Pachtuv Palace Prague, which won WTA’s Czech Republic’s Leading Boutique Hotel award in 2011 and 2013; Mamaison All-Suites Spa Hotel Pokrovka Moscow is nominated for both Russia’s Leading Boutique Hotel 2014 and Russia’s Leading Hotel Residences 2014; Mamaison Residence Sulekova Bratislava is among the finalists for Slovakia’s Leading Hotel Residences 2014; Mamaison Hotel Le Regina Warsaw is a Poland’s Leading Hotel 2014 nominee; and Mamaison Hotel Andrassy Budapest is running for the Hungary’s Leading Hotel 2014 award. Follow the links to vote for our hotels, and help us win.

    All these nominations, and past prizes, reflect the value offered by our chain, in all our properties, all over Europe. Besides the six aforementioned nominations, we also celebrate 10 years in business for Hotel Pachtuv Palace Prague, Hotel Le Regina Warsaw and Residence Sulekova Bratislava, and 110 years since the official opening of Mamaison Business & Conference Hotel Imperial Ostrava.

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    Girl with flower wreath, on a swing.

    May 1st is an occasion for Hungarian people to welcome spring in style. They party in the streets, in parks, they gather together for a barbeque or for a picnic, they sing and celebrate for days. For our guests staying at Mamaison Hotel Andrassy Budapest and Mamaison Residence Izabella Budapest, we have several suggestions of venues and events that will allow them to experience May Day like and with the locals.

    Peter Besenyei

    Peter Besenyei of Hungary flies during a demo flight to announce the return of the Red Bull Air Race World Championship 2014 in Putrajaya, Malaysia on October 7, 2013.

    Most of the events and festivals on May Day are free to attend. If you walk on the Danube bank in Pest, head towards the Chain Bridge in front of the Hungarian National Academy around 13:30. The folks gathering there are waiting for the Air & Race Car Show, the “live” part of the programme, which begins at 08:00 in the morning with a race car exhibition in front of the Hungarian National Academy. The acrobatics show, featuring the famous Hungarian aerobatics pilot and world champion air racer, begins at 13:45 at the Danube embankment in front of the Parliament. The performance will be followed by the Flying Bulls old timer aeroplanes at 14:30.

    Formula 1 & WTCC Touring Cars can be seen on the route Erzsébet tér – Chain Bridge – Clark Adam tér from 14:00 to 17:00.

    Don’t miss the Danube regatta, a spectacular event, with rowing and dragon boat racing, open air cinema on the lower quay, DJ programmes in the evening, live music, as well as contests and surprises for young and old.

    As usual, Budapest’s largest park, the City Park (Városliget), will host a large open air festival, with music, crafts, competitions, fair and children’s programs. Outdoors events will take place on the superb Margaret Island as well. The third outdoor area to celebrate Labor Day is in the 1st district of Budapest, in Tabán, between Buda Castle and the Gellért Hill. The festival here is filled with live concerts from early afternoon till late night.

    In fact, Budapest celebrates the entire month, with its Urbitális Majális festival, which kicks off tomorrow, and lasts till May 31st. This year’s theme is “Budapest as a Creative City.” Numerous venues around Budapest, including the Holnemvolt Park (the former Amusement Park), will participate, an occasion for visitors to admire, and buy, local arts and crafts. Don’t miss the concerts at Secessio Cafe in the Szecessziós Múzeum (Art Nouveau Museum).

    Dagály Strandfürdő

    Dagály Strandfürdő

    Gellért Fürdő and Dagály Strandfürdő are open on May 1st too, although some of their services may not be available. Both sites are very popular with the locals.

    La Rotisserie interior

    La Rotisserie is the Warsaw playground of Chef Paweł Oszczyk, who has been recently designated as Chef de l’Avenir 2014, a prestigious award by the International Academy of Gastronomy, which recognizes culinary excellence. This is also where you will meet Andrew Strzelczyk, the Polish Champion Sommelier in both 2012 and 2013. With such a stellar team, no wonder that La Rotisserie ranks among the best restaurants in town, but more importantly for our guests, it does so without an intimidating price tag.

    La Rotisserie

    La Rotisserie is an elegant space that attracts in equal measure the prosperous local couples, tourists from other hotels, and the most sophisticated foodies from Warsaw and beyond. The Chef meets their expectations by creating seasonal menus that woo and please the most demanding palate. A blend of French, Italian, and Polish cuisine, the menu is inspired by Mamaison’s own guests, by their diversity, and demands, as well as it is inspired by their needs. The finest selections of local products are then transformed into a mouth-watering, conversation-stopping main that makes guests go “Mmmm…”

    If you think that our cuisine is wonderful, wait until you see our wine list. Fine vintages, hand selected by our multiple champion sommelier, Andrzej Strzelczyk, heighten every palatable menu item to perfection. Imagine sitting across from that someone special, perfect chalice of in your hand, sipping the nectar of Dionysus. If romance needed a definition, this is it.

    We dare you to be adventurous, and to try our gourmet menu, instead of picking your favourite from the a la carte selections. We offer the perfect combination of aphrodisiac ingredients, daring flavours, and worry-taming colours and flavours that can easily turn the darkest mood to light-hearted effervescence. This is our chef’s pride and joy, the thing that makes La Rotisserie the perfect romantic destination. Surprisingly, this is the same element that attracts most of our business clients.

    La Rotisserie seating

    Finally, if you read our menu aloud the inescapable “Oh my!” will surprise you. Do this exercise, repeat after us: “Brillat Savarin cheese with raspberry chutney.” It sounded delicious, now didn’t it? Book a table for lunch, or if you want to rekindle a brilliant romance, trust us with the hardest part, the thing that goes through your stomach – a.k.a. LOVE.

    Tandem skydiving

    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.

    Ostrava is not the usual candidate for “active travels.” In fact, the second largest urban agglomeration after Prague in the Czech Republic is more known as a laid back family retreat, or is known for lively nightlife. But the picturesque countryside surrounding the city opens a world of possibilities for active travelers. Beyond its superb professional golf courses, Ostrava has all the conditions for year-round active holidays.

    Below, you will find a few excellent recommendations for our guests at Mamaison Business & Conference Hotel Imperial Ostrava, but also for any other city visitors, interested in discovering the active side of Ostrava without the traditional travel guides.

    The sports complex Ostrava-Poruba offers excellent conditions for aquazorbing. The complex is also a favorite of the locals for swimming, volleyball, miniature golf, beach volleyball, badminton, netball, football and other leisure sports.

    Location: Rekreační 74/236, 708 00 Ostrava – Poruba
    Phone: +420 736755999

    MOTOranch provides professional gear and accessories for Quad bike fans, as well as fans of all-terrain vehicles. Additionally, the company offers helicopter rides, trips and excursions with various all-terrain vehicles around Ostrava, rentals, and a number of other services for companies and leisure travelers.

    Location: Mariánskohorská 58, 702 00 Moravská Ostrava
    Phone: +420 602 77 44 56

    Albrechtičky kart hire centre is a great choice for karting. It is located at the former parking area of the airport Mošnov, between Albrechtická and Petřvaldík. The track was converted to allow six go-karts to race at once. This is also a great place for team building events, and for private parties.

    Phone: +420 603 517 006

    Check out Xfly.cz for paragliding in Ostrava. The company offers tandem flights above the beautiful Moravian–Silesian Beskids, which are located a short hour drive from the city center. You will fly with some of the most experienced pilots in the country.

    Phone: +420 608 435 430

    Air Hit Morava is one of the most popular choices for tandem skydiving. The company offers jumps every Saturday and Sunday from April to late October. You’ll jump in tandem with Vlastimil Blaha, inspector for tandem jumps, with more than 30 years experience in the field.

    Phone: +420 607 150 150; +420 602 775 235

    Another excellent choice for parachute jumps is Paraklub Ostrava, which offers everything from training, to tandem skydiving, and even physical examination performed by medical doctors.

    Location: Na Břížku 367, 747 66 Dolní Lhota (20 minutes from Ostrava)
    Phone: +420 777 122 233

    If you are looking for the perfect family activity, choose horseback riding, at one of the stables offering lessons and trips around Ostrava. Sk Mušketýr, for example, is quite popular in the Summer, when most of its horses take tourists to explore the countryside. But you can also count on Sk Mušketýr for weddings, and other special events.

    Location: Vlčkova 391/40, 710 00 Ostrava – Slezská Ostrava
    Phone: +420 733 760 300

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    Cherry blossoms in Budapest

    When Nature puts on a coat of green, Budapest shows off her true colors under the blissful sun, while the locals get together, to celebrate a new season, as well as ancient traditions, alongside cheerful new festivals that lift up the spirit, and transform the city into a joyous stage of dance, music, culture and art.

    The local Húsvét traditions, the Hungarian Easter, attract thousands of tourists, especially at the Easter Market on Vörösmarty tér, where you can buy seasonal treats, authentic crafts and souvenirs, all while enjoying traditional Hungarian foods, specific to this holiday.

    Hand painted Easter eggs from Budapest

    Hand painted Easter eggs from Budapest (Image © mirtya – Fotolia.com)

    Some of the most popular attractions continue to be the Buda Castle, where you can enjoy the finest of Hungarian traditions, art, culture and gastronomy; as well as the Budapest Zoo and the Museum of Hungarian Agriculture, both very close to Mamaison Hotel Andrassy and Mamaison Residence Izabella.

    After Easter, Budapest continues a sun seeking quest with the Cherry Blossom Festival (Sakura) at the Füvészkert Botanical Gardens (officially ELTE Botanical Garden). The festival takes place the second, and the third weekends in April. Pick your date, and enjoy the sun, the blossoms, and the early Spring breeze.

    May Day is a public holiday in Hungary, as well as most Eastern and Central European countries. In Budapest, this is an occasion to gather and celebrate together at the Városliget city park, where you will enjoy traditional foods, local beers and refreshments, music, contests and many other fun, entertaining activities.

    After May Day, don’t miss the Budapest International Wine Festival, Rosalia (May 9-11 at Gesztenyés kert); the sun safeguards the boatmen on the Danube as they race in the European Dragon Boat Championship on May 11-12, and their fans gathered on the Rákóczi Bridge to watch the race.

    Rosalia

    Rosalia – Rosé Festival (Image credit: Budavári Borfesztivál)

    Floralia, is a must for sun seekers in May too. A celebration of Flora, the goddess of flowers and Spring, the festival is an opportunity for you to feel and party like a Hungarian. Add the Museum of Aquincum to your itinerary if you happen to be in Budapest on May 24-25.

    FLORALIA 2012 - Római tavaszünnep Aquincumban

    Floralia is one of the most interesting Spring festivals in Budapest.

    It’s easy to find the sunniest spots to enjoy the Spring in Budapest, but don’t forget that the best way to celebrate is by meeting the locals, and getting to know them. Just like the brightest stars in the skies, Bulgarians are kind-spirited, welcoming, and warm, with beaming sunshiny smiles during this season. Welcome to Budapest!

    Mamaison Pachtuv Palace courtyard

    Prague is known for her royal beauty, reflected in stylish architecture, majestic boulevards and squares, romantic alleys, and charming promenades. Equally royal is our own Pachtuv Palace, which delivers on its promise from the first glance, but even more so once you enter its palatial suites.

    Mamaison Pachtuv Palace exterior

    The Pachtuv Palace is named so to honour its former residents, the Pachta family. The building was erected in the 1770s by architect Janem Josefem Wirchem, for Hubert Karel Pachta of Rájov, and his wife. Many travel reviews also note that the palace was once visited by Mozart, who, according to Georg Nikolaus von Nissen, composed here a set of contredanses on the spot, while he was visiting count Johann Pachta as a guest in 1787.

    The history of Pachtuv Palace is very closely related to music and culture. This was once a meeting place for artists and musicians, and even home to the Žofín Academy for a while. After serving as a private residence for many years, the palace was restored, and converted into the outstanding hotel you see today, one of the finest you will find in Prague.

    This is the perfect place to celebrate some of the most important events in your life: many couples choose it to tie the knot, others enjoy the sumptuous suites to have their special day immortalized in breathtaking pictures. Actresses and models are seen on lavish sofas, lovers enjoy the romantic luxury of the courtyard garden. There’s magic in the air at dusk, and you truly feel blue blood running through your veins, as you are surrounded by opulent interiors replete with frescoes and antique furniture, that truly make your stay at this hotel a “once upon a time” fairy-tale experience.

    Mamaison Pachtuv Palace

    Stepping inside your room at Pachtuv Palace, you will notice the palatial furniture: king size beds, graced with luxe drapery and comfy cushions; gilt-framed paintings; vintage mirrors, chests and wardrobes; all reminding of the louche decadence of the past.

    When the city’s towers and turrets are finally enveloped in crepuscular light, welcome the magic of the night with a glass of champagne, and prepare for another day of sheer luxury and indulgence in the magnificent Czech capital.