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Archive - Country & Town House

Spa Guide 2018: ESPA at Castello Del Nero

If you want to zzzz in a 12th-century former nobleman’s castle – set in 740 tranquil acres of rolling hills – then try Castello del Nero’s new Sleep Retreat created with ESPA. Bag a suite with Pompeian-style, 18th-century frescoes and let the butler draw you a steaming, essence-infused bath strewn with rose petals...

Country & Town House, May 2018

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Buy on the island of dreams

Imagine a palm-fringed beachfront retreat. An 8,500 sq/ft tropical villa built in 2005. One boasting a massage temple - with sides open to the jungle foliage - and a colonnaded walkway. An outside sitting room with a chandelier and a 49ft dining room overlooking monkeys swinging in the Khomba tree and the courtyard swimming pool. Add to this six colonial bedrooms with soaring ceilings and inside/outside bathrooms open to the fireflies that sparkle in the inky sky...

Country & Town House, April 2018

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Hotfoot it for half term: The Spyglass

It would be hard to get closer to the sea without being on a boat. Spyglass is a bijou erstwhile fisherman's cottage which was once part of a fort - all whitewashed outside and shabby chic maritime inside. It's reached along the tiniest pedestrian-nly lane, by iPhone torch if you're late (which the kids will love)...

Country & Town House, October 2017

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The Weekender: 48 Hours in Florence

Florence, cradle of the Italian Renaissance and the place where Leonardo and Michelangelo worked, packs more beauty per millimetre than any other city. There’s something gasp-worthy wherever you go, from architecture to 15th-century frescoes, bas-reliefs and al fresco statues. Plus there are cobbled streets with botteghe (artisanal workshops), piazzas for relaxing with a cappuccino or a glass of Brunello di Montalcino, trattorias for ribollita (traditional bread soup) and (thankfully, given the crowds) a pedestrianised central zone. And then there’s all that Gucci and Dolce & Gabbana that just has to be bought…

Country & Town House, July 2017

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The Weekender: 48 Hours in Amsterdam

Amsterdam may conjure visions of wayward stag parties, slow living and windmill peripheries but the city is fast becoming the creative hub of Europe, a marked return to its golden age of merchant prosperity and artistic flair…

The reopening of the Stedelijk, Van Gogh and infamous Rijksmuseum after years of renovations are testament to this, as are a host of new design-led hotels, restaurants and bars.

Country & Town House, May 2017

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Exclusively Ethiopia

High-end luxury has yet to make a big inroad in Ethiopia. Outside of Addis Ababa, you may get patchy Wi-Fi (the government tends to switch the internet off from time to time), bumpy rides and restaurants where many of the choices on the menu are unavailable. But don’t let this deter you. This is perhaps the most intriguing country in Africa. A place of scale, biblical beauty, canyons and chasms. Of historical treasures aplenty. And, above all, of a colourful, gracious and welcoming people. So here are some of the fabulous options for a trip there, many of which are hidden secrets that you won’t find with an internet search, because they don’t have a website.

Country & Town House, March 2017

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Spa Guide 2017: Cugó Gran, The Gut Makeover Retreat, Menorca

No calorie counting, no low fat, no deprivation. Just excellent, abundant gourmet meals. Who knew that losing weight was so much fun? Or who realised that the gut is the control centre of good health? That there are the on-going clinical trials that have used a gut-friendly diet to reverse early onset Alzheimer’s, improve diabetes and treat depression? And that you can sort out digestive issues and improve sleep and skin conditions with food? Welcome to The Gut Makeover Retreat in Menorca. The brainchild of Jeannette Hyde, an erstwhile journalist turned nutritionist. And author of The Gut Makeover – a four-week programme to revolutionise your health. She’s evangelical about the gut – having burnt out ten years ago and, finally, healed herself with ‘real’ food.

Country & Town House, February 2017

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House Party

This is a cool, modern house in which to bring together all generations of your family for a weekend shindig. Party central is near Stawley, Somerset. It's a converted 16th-century dairy farm-turned-cider press that is now glossy-interiors-mag-feature-meets-heaven. There's a 25-metre living/dining/playing space, another barn-turned-games room with a roaring fire in a monumental contemporary fireplace, acres of bleached wood floors and under-floor heating...

Country & Town House, April 2016

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Bribing elephants with pumpkin seeds and spotting monks with iPads in Thailand

The monk in saffron robes clutches a mobile phone and iPad. It’s an incongruous sight. Normally these holy men are holding alms bowls for donations of sticky rice. ‘It’s wrong to use Buddha as decoration or tattoo,’ reads a notice nearby. Across the forecourt I hear the strains of musicians playing instruments with names like Krong, Krap and Pia. Maybe a dignitary has landed. Maybe I’ve got culture shock.

Country & Town House, February 2015

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6 of the best flower arranging classes in London

Looking for the best flower arranging classes in London? Caroline Phillips selects the pick of the bunch from London’s top floristry schools.

Country & Town House, December 2015

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The last days of summer in Sicily

Tell people that you’re going to holiday in Sicily and you can see, on their faces, their imaginations conjuring up pictures of rolling hills, cypresses, red clay roof tiles baking in the sun, plump tomatoes bursting with flavour, cornfields, sheep and exotic, if benign, undercurrents of Godfather-related history. How satisfying, then, to realize that our family trip to SoloSicily‘s Fattoria Corleonese (near that Corleone, but more of that later) was to deliver on all of the above and more.

Country & Town House, September 2015

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The best of head-to-toe preening in London

Did somebody say ‘time for a makeover’? We round up some of London’s best beautifiers

Country & Town House, August 2015

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Monaci delle Terre Nere: an Italian hideaway from heaven

‘I always dreamt of making an earthly paradise,’ reveals erstwhile engineer Guido Coffa. Mission accomplished. Working with his girlfriend Ada Calabrese – a passionate amateur interior decorator and an architect, Guido has created Monaci delle Terre Nere, the sort of boutique hotel that makes heaven look second rate. The property sits in 40 acres of organic farmland in the fertile foothills of Mount Etna, the volcano coughing angrily behind, the Mediterranean Sea beckoning serenely in front. The dusky-pink villa dates from 1800 – a noble family’s private home turned winery, then farm – and there are 19 bedrooms/suites, some in outbuildings on the estate. The refurbishment took five years and the result is the epitome of rural chic – where stylish-rustic meets cool-contemporary. ‘Having fallen in love with it instantly,’ he remembers. ‘I decided to devote my life and every drop of my energy to its resurrection.’

Country & Town House, August 2015

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These are the best therapists for keeping your brain beautiful

Beauty starts from within – our round-up of experts is a good place to start on the road to wellbeing

Country & Town House, August 2015

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El Salvador | The little country that offers such a lot

Almost nobody speaks English and we may be the country’s only tourists, as far as we can work out – which is a delight. Welcome to El Salvador. It is Central America’s least-visited country. Somewhere that has long struggled to gain tourists’ trust. A land perceived as dangerous and with gang killings, violence that has been going on since the 1990s. But if you don’t go into the shanty towns, you’re unlikely to be affected. Instead, we have a holiday in a little country with lots to offer… splendid wildlife and rich forests, colonial towns and beaches, vast mountain ranges and volcanoes. Above all, it’s never more than an hour to reach the city, sea or mountains by car from anywhere in El Salvador.

Country & Town House, March 2015

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Get your rocks off in Nicaragua

I’m suspended above the ground wearing a harness. Dangling over rain forest. I’ve already signed a waiver for death, dismemberment and suchlike. Now like some hybrid of monkey and horizontal parachutist, I’m rocketing past trees, rain forest and over coffee plantations. Jumping off the zip line at ceiba trees around which 60ft. high platforms have been built – there to ready myself to take the next leg of my treetop journey. Then careering off again as howler monkeys howl in the forest.

Country & Town House, March 2015

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Gold star service

Are those chores that need doing nagging away at you? Caroline Phillips picks out eight super services that should be on your speed dial

Country & Town House, October 2014

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Spa Guide 2014 - Uma Punakha, Bhutan

This is the spa with the best and most healing view in the world. No treatment or activity - anywhere - could beat the 'om' effect of just gazing through its floor-to-ceiling windows at the snow-peaked Himalayas and glacial river.

Country & Town House, August 2014

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Spice of Life

The fashion for top-notch food continues apace, so Caroline Phillips learns her goosegrass from her ganache with the help of some culinary superstars on the UK's best cookery courses

Country & Town House, June 2014

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Watermeadow Cottage

This teeny two-bed 18th century Costwold stone hunting lodge, set down a pot-holed farm track on the Blenheim Palace Estate, is as cute as a button. The Duke of Marlborough has leased it to 'DJ' Nichols, American founder of 'lifestyle provider' Unlisted.

Country & Town House, February 2014

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Monteverdi

He's being dubbed the Mini Medici. That's Michael Cioffi, everyone's favourite American lawyer. He's bought part of a medieval Tuscan hilltop village - it boasts just 30 houses and a year-round population of 10 - and he's turning it into an upmarket holiday spot cum cultural hub.

Country & Town House, September 2013

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Escape - Sukotai, Bangkok

Although Sukotai is aurrounded by the high-rise buildings of Bangkok, on of the noisiest and most traffic-choked cities in the world, the 210-room hotel is an exercise in Zen. It's also that rare thing - a resort hotel in the centre of the city. It boasts a stonking six-acre landscaped garden full of Eastern promise, water features, bougainvillaea and even an Olympic-sized pool.

Country & Town House, October 2012

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Cupboard Love

'Think organised. Think organised squared... and that's Susanna Hammond. In the space of a day she can change your life for the better. Susanna should be available on the National Health.' These are the words of Emma Burns, the talented director of interior design company Colefax and Fowler.

Country & Town House, October 2012

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Country & Town House Spa Guide

If you're looking to lose weight, get fit, reboot or just get away from it all, let our spa guide lead you to a life of wellbeing and serenity.

Country & Town House, August 2012

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Reinventing the heel

The sandstone building shimmers like a mirage. Perhaps a huge creamy Moroccan fort. Actually it's a resort in Puglia - in the heel of Italy - and a feat of vision and design. It's a place that has opened to oohs and ahhs. And to which photographers from Architectural Digest Italia to Vogue France have been hotfooting it.

Country & Town House 12/2011

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Piste and goodwill

I ski with my mouth open like a crevice, bottom out and legs akimbo. I suffer from acrophobia, loathe the cold and find the idea of sliding down a mountain with bits of plastic strapped to my feet nothing more than a quick route to A&E.

Country & Town House, February 2010

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A break from the norm

Northern Kerala is only now opening up to tourism, and you may be the only white face the locals have ever seen. It's a place of untouched beaches, fabulous nature and a sophisticated, varied cuisine. It's much hillier, more authentic and less populated than the south - where the tourists have been going for years.

Country & Town House

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Making his mark

French interior designer Jacques Grange is an industry legend whose latest project saw him completely revamp New York's Mark Hotel. Caroline Phillips hops stateside to pay a visit and recommends how to get the look back home.

Country & Town House 10/2010

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Stellar Spas

Country & Town House 05/2010

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Serengeti Style

If you thought that African interior design was a by-word for primitive, think again. Caroline Phillips checks out some Kenyan safari lodges and Lamu lodgings that are simply swinging with style.

Country & Town House 03/2010

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Hot in the kitchen

Looking to improve your culinary skills? Why not take a course to impress your family and friends? Caroline Phillips tries her hand at bread-making Shepherd's Bush, antipasti in Mayfair and dinner party fare in Oxfordshire.

Country & Town House 03/2010

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The urban ruralist

I’m not the type who finds it pleasurable to relieve myself behind trees or have calamitous journeys just to get lost in country lanes littered with reeking mounds of bovine excrement. (Personally, I’d poop-scoop cow pats.) Others may enjoy the experience of losing their mobile signal and collecting blackberries with not a BlackBerry in sight. Not me.

Country House Magazine, 04.2007

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The rural urbanite

My husband, BJ, suffers from what American psychiatrists term Rural Deficit Disorder – RDD – which makes him talk about pot-bellied pigs and jam-making. But I know the Rustic Idyll turns out to be mostly about couples entertaining themselves by swapping keys, or getting inadvertently sprayed with organophosphates.

House Magazine, 08.2007

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The rural urbanite

The countryside, so my spies in Cath Kidston wellies tell me, has changed beyond recognition. The values of London, a global financial centre, have spread into the mud. Nowadays country life, apparently, is very much about urbe in rus. Global warming has made Gloucestershire an outpost of Marrakech. The countryside no longer does bleak weather. Nor chintz.

Country House Magazine, 09.2007

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critics

“Caroline Phillips is a tenacious and skilful writer with a flair for high quality interviewing and a knack for making things work.”

Paul Dacre, Chairman Associated Newspapers

 

public relations

“Caroline's abilities, press releases and pitches to editors are excellent, and her contacts are exceptional.”

Niall MacArthur, MD & Founder of EAT

 
 
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