TGI Fridays Karen Forrester on how she turned the company around

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karen forrester interview TGI Fridays

Under Karen Forrester, the TGI Friday’s restaurant chain has undergone a big recovery – and it all began with a fire that gutted one of its flagship sites.

While most bosses would consider this an unmitigated disaster, Forrester saw the destruction of TGI Friday’s restaurant in Birmingham as a chance to start again. Continue reading TGI Fridays Karen Forrester on how she turned the company around

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New hotel for The Arts Club

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It was off to the rather fabulous private members’ club The Arts Club  on Wednesday evening and the launch party for its new hotel. Sadly the hotel itself, with its 16 rooms and suites, will not be open for guests until 2015, but pictures and an explanatory talk by its designers, Sagrada, certainly whetted the appetite.

The opulently-appointed rooms, which will be on the second, third and fourth floors of the Georgian building, will be designed in a early 1900s-Europe style, with lashings of marble, stretched fabrics, hand-tufted rugs and ‘eglomise’ mirror panels (where the glass is gilded on the back with gold or metal leaf).

arts-club-mayfair-hotel

However the main draw is likely to be the superb location just off Piccadilly within a cocktail olive’s throw of the Ritz, Langans and the Wolseley, not to mention a free run of all that The Arts Club has to offer, including three restaurants of its own, a garden and a stunning bar and nightclub.

While launch party guests might have to wait a while for their chance to stay in what The Arts Club’s Alice Chadwyck-Healey  described as ‘high-quality, glamorous and discreet’ suites, the goodie bags of champagne, chocolates and a scented candle at least gave them the chance to enjoy a little bit of luxury at home. Possibly without the eglomise mirrors.

arts-club-mayfair-hotel

The Arts Club, 40 Dover Street, Mayfair, London W1S 4NP
020 7499 8581
www.theartsclub.co.uk

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Why you’re never too old to visit Las Vegas

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Las Vegas holiday
The Bellagio hotel and casino – our home for the next seven days

Just a few days in Sin City brought about a miraculous transformation in my mother. For several weeks before our Las Vegas holiday, her main activity had been fretting about what to bring.

“Shall I take an umbrella?” she’d asked. I explained the temperature in May should be a balmy 40 degrees. She wasn’t convinced. “How about a mac then?”

Now, after just 48 hours in Vegas, she seemed an entirely different person. She got up from her sun lounger and said: ‘Right, I’m off to gamble and to have a gin and tonic. Can I borrow a hundred dollars?’

It was 10.30am. My 68-year old mother rarely drank and her total gambling experience had been the penny-in-the-slots at the seaside as a child. What had I started? Continue reading Why you’re never too old to visit Las Vegas

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True grit: A first-time skier braves a British Military Fitness ski trip in Courchevel

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A bunch of rather nervous newbie skiers try to stay upright, at least for the photograph…

Being escorted off the mountain-side by a French hunk on a snowmobile was not the way I had imagined the end of my first ever day of skiing, but it was certainly exhilarating.

I clung to him for dear life as we plunged and soared across the slopes checking for other waifs and strays as the sky darkened. When he deposited me back to level ground my knees were trembling like a Mills and Boon heroine.

bmf holiday
My mountain rescuer, John-Paul

Why had I not realised before that skiing would be so exciting?A combination of cost, inclination and complete ignorance about anything to do with skiing meant that I’d reached my late 30s without ever been bitten by the ski bug.

Various friends and colleagues would emerge from trips to France, Italy and further afield with tales of black runs and the mysterious ‘après’ but it was a completely alien world to me. Continue reading True grit: A first-time skier braves a British Military Fitness ski trip in Courchevel

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So it’s a bar – which doesn’t sell alcohol. Can this be a good thing?

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redemption bar notting hill

Visitors to Redemption, tucked away in the unfashionable corner of London between Westbourne Park and Ladbroke Grove, first have to walk past an array of Notting Hill’s pubs and wine bars, packed with Bright Young Things knocking back the very latest in alcohol trends, from finely-crafted cocktails to locally-distilled artisan gin.

Those who ignore such delights and cross the bridge over the railway tracks, find themselves in a different world altogether – low rise seventies-style flats overlooking a row of extremely untrendy shops; a bookmakers, a kebab shop and in the middle, Redemption.

It is almost empty when I arrive at 6.30 on a Saturday evening, but within the hour every one of its five or so tables is occupied, by couples and groups of friends, and the two-strong waiting staff are cheerfully rushing around with orders. Continue reading So it’s a bar – which doesn’t sell alcohol. Can this be a good thing?

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News, reviews and opinions on everything to do with leisure, from hotels and holidays to food and fitness, by national newspaper journalist and author Sarah Bridge

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