Sunday, 30 May 2010


June 2010 in London

Trooping the Colour (12 June)

London celebrates The Queen's official birthday.

Dates: 12 June 2010
Times: 12 Jun 2010 10:00 AM
Venue: Horse Guards Parade

London celebrates The Queen's official birthday in June each year with Trooping the Colour, a fantastic military parade that has taken place in London since 1820.

About Trooping the Colour in London

Trooping the Colour is an annual event that takes place on Horse Guards Parade in London's St James's Park in June, marking The Queen's official birthday.

The ceremony of Trooping the Colour is full of military pomp and pageantry as The Queen carries out an inspection of the troops from the Household Division.
The Queen then leads the troops down the Mall to Buckingham Palace, one of London's most famous landmarks.

The Queen salutes and guns are fired in Green Park and at the Tower of London. Finally she joins other members of the Royal Family on the balcony to watch the RAF flypast.

For more details, go to:

Royal Ascot (15-19 June)

Fast horses and fancy hats come to London.

Dates: 15 June 2010 to 19 June 2010
Venue: Ascot Racecourse

It's all about fast horses and fancy hats at Royal Ascot, the world's most famous race meeting, and the most glamorous event in London's sporting calendar.

About Royal Ascot
Royal Ascot is Britain's most popular race meeting. It's the place to see and be seen for high society, royal watchers, fun seekers and horse racing enthusiasts alike!

Steeped in tradition, heritage and pageantry, Royal Ascot dates back 300 years and is attended by the Royal Family, including Her Majesty the Queen.

Founded by Queen Anne in 1711, Royal Ascot features a daily horse-drawn procession from Windsor Castle to Ascot Racecourse led by the Royal carriage.

Horse Racing at Royal Ascot
Although the eye-catching fashion steals the show at Royal Ascot, this colourful occasion also features top-quality horse racing.

Racing highlights of Royal Ascot include the Golden Jubilee Stakes and the Gold Cup. Prize money for the week totals millions of pounds!

The Queen has enjoyed considerable success at Royal Ascot, having owned many winners including Free Agent, who won the Chesham Stakes in 2008.

For more details, go to:

Father's Day in London (20 June)

Treat your dad to the perfect Father's Day in London.

Dates: 20 June 2010
Venue: Various venues

Want to give your dad the perfect Father's Day in London?

From cultural attractions, to getting active outdoors, to Sunday lunch, there are loads of ways to spoil your dad in London this Father's Day.

Cultural Father's Day in London
Arty fathers are spoilt for choice by London's many art galleries, history buffs will enjoy the big museums and music-loving dads shouldn't miss the British Music Experience at The O2.

If your dad's into sport, history or both, London's Sports Musuems are well worth a visit. And trainspotting dads will love the London Transport Museum, which is also very family-friendly.

Father's Day: The Great Outdoors

If your dad's more of an outdoors type, you might want to take a walk by the Thames, or make a day of it visiting Kew Gardens and Richmond.

Go to ZSL London Zoo or simply grab a football, frisbee or kite and head to one of London's parks and gardens. Check out the sports calendar for tickets to games and matches.

Father's Day Food in London
The way to a man's heart is definitely through his stomach… and that includes dad! Take him for a Father's Day meal at a cosy gastro pub or one of the many delicious restaurants in London.

For more details, go to:

Open Garden Squares (12-13 June)

Explore some of London's loveliest garden squares.

In a special event visit gardens in London not usually open to the public. Enjoy special activities in gardens and discover gardens you didn't know existed.

For more details, go to: (§ions=o-event§ion=events.event®ions=&category=&category=&

Wimbledon (21 June-4 July)

The world of tennis descends on Wimbledon in London.

Dates: 21 June 2010 to 4 July 2010
Times: 21 Jun 2010 - 04 Jul 2010 10:30 AM - 9:00 PM
Venue: Wimbledon Lawn Tennis Museum

The world of tennis descends on Wimbledon in London every summer for two weeks of tennis, strawberries and cream and good-natured queuing.

The tournament attracts around 500,000 spectators and millions of television viewers worldwide.

Almost unique for a major sports events, Wimbledon offers spectators the chance to buy premium tickets on the day – but be prepared to queue!

Tickets for Wimbledon
You've got until the end of December to enter the ballot for Wimbledon Tickets. Find out more here:

During the tournament Wimbledon sells approximately 500 tickets each day for Centre Court (except for the last four days), Court No.1 and Court No.2. You should expect to queue overnight for a chance to buy one of these tickets.

Around 6,000 ground admission tickets for Wimbledon are also available each day for entry to the grounds. These tickets give you the chance to watch games from the No.2 Court standing enclosure and from unreserved seating and standing on the outside courts, as well as popular areas such as "Henman Hill".

Ground admission tickets are for the whole day's visit to Wimbledon, not for individual matches.
Once ground capacity has been reached, queuers are admitted on a one-out, one-in basis as spectators finally leave Wimbledon.

For more details, go to:

Bon Jovi (7-26 June)

Bon Jovi return to The O2 for the ultimate arena gig.

Dates: 7 June 2010 to 13 June 2010
Times: 07 - 08 Jun 2010 6:30 PM; 10 - 11 Jun 2010 6:30 PM; 13 Jun 2010 6:30 PM; 17 - 23 Jun 2010 Tue - Thu, Sat, Sun 6:30 PM; 25 - 26 Jun 2010 Fri, Sat 6:30 PM
Venue: The O2

See legendary rockers Bon Jovi at The O2 in London.

Bon Jovi Live in London
Bon Jovi are moving into The O2 this summer, with 12 stomping live dates.

Dance, sing and scream along to your favourite Bon Jovi classics, such as Living On A Prayer, Wanted Dead or Alive and It's My Life.

Bon Jovi at The O2
This is an extra special gig for The O2, as Bon Jovi were the opening act for the venue back in June 2007.

Now they've come full circle, as they return to The O2 and prepare to release their latest album, oddly enough, entitled The Circle.

Jon Bon Jovi, Richie Sambora, David Bryan and Tico Torres have sold 120 million albums and performed more than 2,600 concerts. Don't miss them in London.

For more details, go to:

Swan Lake (9-19 June)

English National Ballet's spectacular in-the-round show.

Dates: 9 June 2010 to 19 June 2010
Times: 09 - 12 Jun 2010 Wed - Sat 7:30 PM; 12 - 13 Jun 2010 Sat, Sun 2:30 PM; 15 - 19 Jun 2010 Tue - Sat 7:30 PM; 19 Jun 2010 2:30 PM
Venue: Royal Albert Hall

Don't miss English National Ballet's spectacular Swan Lake in-the-round at the Royal Albert Hall.

Swan Lake at the Royal Albert Hall
Derek Dean's popular in-the-round production of Swan Lake returns to the Royal Albert Hall this summer.

The breathtaking show features 120 dancers, plus acrobats, jugglers and an orchestra of more than 80 musicians.

About Swan Lake
Swan Lake tells the story of Prince Siegfried and his love for the Queen of Swans, Odette.
The much-loved ballet is set to a classic score by Tchaikovsky.

English National Ballet Stars
One of the world's most sought-after ballerinas, Polina Semionova, will play the part of Odette on the opening night of Swan Lake. Semionova first performed with English National Ballet when she was 19, in the 2003 production of Swan Lake in-the-round.

Up-and-coming ballet star Vadim Muntagirov will dance as Prince Siegfried. Muntagirov joined English National Ballet in 2009, after graduating from the Royal Ballet School.

The lead roles on other dates will be performed by English National Ballet's principal pairings:
• Daria Klimentová and Vadim Muntagirov
• Erina Takahashi and Dmitri Gruzdyev
• Elena Glurdjidze and Arionel Vargas
• Begoña Cao and Esteban Berlanga

For more details, go to:

The Thai Festival London (12-13 June)

Try a taste of Thai for two days on Ealing Common.
Dates: 12 June 2010 to 13 June 2010
Venue: Ealing Common

Lose yourself among the ambient and aromatic hubbub of food stalls as The Thai Festival comes to Ealing Common, bringing an authentic taste of South East Asian finery in association with the Thai Festival Organisation (TFO).

For more details, go to:

For more June events in London, go to:

Friday, 28 May 2010

Perfect partners- FX design Magazine
6 May, 2010

By Aidan Walker

Whether it’s a five-star eco-hotel in London or a development in Mombasa, LATIS serves up responsible design for clients who understand sustainability

Tracking down LATIS is an interesting experience. I’ve been in touch with the good people at Philips lighting about its contribution to the Grand Designs Live seminar programme, and just by the way am told that the practice has just completed London’s first five-star eco hotel. Oh yes, I say, so why haven’t I heard anything about that then?

Could be that these young men are too busy designing and building to crank up the full-blown publicity they obviously deserve. Could be a number of reasons – one of them being that coverage in architecture and design magazines improves your reputation with your peers, but is unlikely to bring in the big corporate clients. Could be (most likely) that I’m just not looking in the right places. But I do find the practice’s offices, in a little side street just off Marylebone High Street – and having found it, can hardly believe it. Three men, four desks (one of the directors is out), and a meeting room barely big enough to accommodate the A0 printer and a table of the sort you find in cafes that encourage the knocking together of knees. Is this the place? Are these the guys who have just finished a five-star hotel?

Indeed they are. Their Hotel Rafayel is part of the Falcon Wharf development, originally designed by Burland TM Architects for George Wimpey in Battersea (London’s new Left Bank, we’re told, and the home of the new US Embassy). It bristles with state-of-the-art eco-technology, from the construction materials through to harvested rainwater to Philips LED lighting and a ‘no plastic bottles’ policy.

Not a conventional bulb in the place, they boast. It also gives Philips a chance to flex its muscles with seductive innovations such as the ‘Jet lag recovery’ lighting, which stimulates the body’s production of melatonin to help you swerve round that peculiarly debilitating condition (if you can get hold of melatonin tablets and take them at least 24 hours before you get on the plane, you can try it out for yourself).

There are a few moves which may smack a little of greenwash/eco-hype, but you can’t argue with this: typically, claims LATIS managing director Robert Luck and design director Krishan Pattni, the hotel’s energy consumption will be 70 per cent less than an equivalent ‘standard’ 5,100 sq m development.

And from here the conversation leads into areas which demonstrate this unusual team’s remarkable grasp of the all-round complexity of architectural design in our modern, troubled world. Because they see –and this is a simple equation – that if you spend a few extra thousands on high-spec, high-tech eco-installations, it’s money convincingly saved from the operating costs, making it overall a much cheaper proposition than that equivalent ‘standard’ hotel.

Point is, many hotel developers don’t operate hotels, they just build them and then hand them on to the operating companies. So the full circle of benefit never comes back to the people who spent the cash building it in the first place. Which, understandably, doesn’t motivate the developer to put money into the initially more expensive eco-options.

Iqbal Latif, LATIS’s client for Hotel Rafayel, thankfully both for himself and his designers, doesn’t work like that. He’s in it for the long haul, which is why he has been able to make a comparatively higher initial investment. It’s also true that in LATIS he has found a practice for which the word ‘holistic’ has real significance, seeing the processes of planning, design, procurement and delivery as equal partners. It understands the developer mindset, and is even comfortable enough with it to be able to contribute to the arcane negotiations and trade-offs that lead to the acquisition of inner-city sites and the permission to build on them.

Luck, Pattni and their co-director James Curtis, despite their youth, can talk the business talk and walk it too. ‘We put as much time and resource into our management strategies as lead consultants as we do in creating successful architecture,’ says Luck.

They’re not the only ones, of course. It’s nothing new for architects and the property industry to work together in imaginative and innovative ways for the sake of getting a project that they believe in built. In fact, it’s fast becoming a general requirement that the creatives buckle down with the suits and apply themselves to complex commercial realities.

But listening to Luck and Pattni do their double act, fast-talking pair that they are, it’s hard not to get caught in their enthusiasm. Barely out of the AA, where the trio met, they had the luck of the devil in acquiring clients that most architects are still dreaming about in their 50s. But they have had to deliver for those clients – people like Latif, however pompous his rhetoric about ‘London’s new Rive Gauche’ may sound, are no fools, and likewise don’t suffer them gladly. What becomes even more interesting as the conversation wheels on – I’ve put down my pen by now, I just can’t keep up – is that they are very serious about their work in the third world as well, with three major residential and leisure developments in Kenya, a masterplanning job for Khartoum, and a pair of towers in Karachi for a mix of hotel, office, retail and residential uses.

Alarm bells begin to ring. Are these persuasive people putting a few smart LEDs into a London hotel and then ravaging cheap African land for the benefit of obscenely rich Western clients, while the hapless natives remain dispossessed? Not a bit of it.

Yes, the Golden Beach hotel in Diani Beach near Mombasa, Kenya’s most sought-after (rich) tourist resort, is unlikely to have many indigent Africans among its clientele, but putting money into the area is putting employment into it, in a culture where 40 per cent of the labour force are without work at all and another unmeasurable percentage are ‘underemployed’ (like many UK architects).

The point is to make sure the building process, the acquisition and use of materials and the demand on the country’s resources are conducted sustainably – which, as you will know if you’ve been to countries like this, or even if you glanced at this column a couple of months ago which introduced the work of my mates Geoff and Erwin – has an entirely different meaning than it does in wealthy northern Europe.

The Ngong Racecourse development, outside Nairobi, ‘will bring innovative design solutions to combine local resources with the most current sustainable technologies’, says the LATIS website. What does it mean? Well, it may not mean solar-powered LED lamps to replace kerosene ones in African villages, but that is the kind of project LATIS is talking about with Philips (nothing fixed yet).

It’s easy to track down charities such as SolarAid or the Global Cool Foundation, awash with statistics about the harmful effects of kerosene (fire as well as fumes) that consumes up to 19 per cent of an average poor African household’s income. What’s not so easy is to connect with global technology giants such as Philips and Siemens, and get working with them on affordable solar-powered lamps, using LEDs and late-model photovoltaic technologies.

It’s the ‘responsible’ developments by designers such as LATIS, for responsible clients who understand sustainability in ways unfamiliar to us Europeans, that give rise to cautious optimism. All power to them.

Wednesday, 26 May 2010

Take heed 'Dear readers' for there is an amazing hidden gem of the SW11 area that I urge you to visit.

One might not at first think of Battersea when looking for a fine restaurant or fine fayre,but take heed Dear readers for there is an amazing hidden gem of the SW11 area that I urge you to visit.

At the recently opened Hotel Rafayel at falcon Wharf stands the delightful Banyan On the Thames. This waterfront restaurant, as part of the Hotel complex is amazing, with delightful views over the Thames, Chelsea Harbour and the general riparian scene.

The venue comprises a fantastic bar for pre-dinner drinks and amazingly every table is a river view table. The service is extremely good, My guest and I were looked after all evening by the wonderful Kristian who amazed us by taking our quite complex order by memory and not a notebook in sight-Impressive or what? The owner explained that he chose the menu based on the most top 10 popular dishes chosen by customers purchasing meals at Harrods to create a popular gastronomy with something for everyone and indeed there is!

After choosing a delightful wine being guided by the splendid helpful Kristian we plumped for a full bodied, rich Australian red "Tintarra Horseshoe Row,Shiraz 2006",at a very reasonable £21.95 per bottle. My guest and I then moved onto choose a starter-there is an amazing choice of tempting and taste-bud tingling delights coming in at about an average of £8.

Choosing from a selection of Caramelized Quail to Smoked Salmon or Seekh Kebab, my guest for Dinner opted for "Banyan Style Chicken Tikka" It was amazing, the chicken was tender, beautifully and delicately marinated in Indian spices and Yoghurt. It arrived hot and fresh from the Tandoori Oven and was served with a delicious colorful salad.

As the sunset broke over Battersea and enjoying our river view,I opted for the "Cromer Crab,Mango and King Prawn served with a Chilli,Mango and Lime Dressing “The entire course complemented each other the Crab was delicate and fresh and contrasted amazingly with the zestiness of the lime and the delicate sweetness and fragrance of the Mango. It was presented beautifully almost like a colorful work of art with the colors and textures on the plate.

For the main course, My guest opted for Mongolian warriors Lamb Hot Pot with Basmati Rice.(£12.50) Luscious, tender pieces of Lamb, just cooked to perfection with a beautifully spicy taste, not overpowering, just right. Served with a huge bowl of Basmati Rice. For our side dishes we chose French Fries at £3.75 which were golden and crisp with a deliciously fluffy light inner, not at all greasy and a joy to eat. we also chose Buttered Asparagus at £3.95 which was delicious, not overcooked, just crisp and enjoyable. I chose for my Main Course,a delicious Rack of Kentish Lamb served with a pistachio crust with sweat Gratin Potatoes,Red Pepper Coulis and a White Onion and Fresh Mint Sauce (£18.95)

The lamb was outstanding, medium rare, tender, beautiful-The texture of the pistachio and the taste of nuttiness and meat was splendid, an unexpected combination that worked amazingly. The coulis,potato and mint sauce all made the dish perfect. My guest and I were both delighted by the meal and indeed the service was second to none.

Posted by Terence Jolley

Tuesday, 25 May 2010

More thumbs-up for Rafayel

“Pure bliss”
taz0387 7 contributions
London, United Kingdom
May 22, 2010 | Trip type: Couples

I wanted to treat me and my boyfriend to a weekend in a hotel after working long hours all week. After looking at all the options i decided to go for Rafayel because of the location, how modern it was and because of the good rates at the time.

The check in was very qwick and i was shown straight to my room after paying. I was offerd if i would like any bags carried, the desk clerk was very freindly and asked how i was (general chit chat). I was actually already very happy with my choice from just stepping out of the lift and already thought the hotel had the wow factor. The corridors were covered in the thickest bounciest carpets, leather sofas, large tvs on da walls and this was all before id even seen my room.

The room was amazing and i didnt expect so much space in the room we had a massive bed which felt much larger then a queen size, a sofa, table, 32in flat screen tv,mini bar, celing to floor windows,a huge bathroom with a double shower with jets and a bath with a tv but didnt work at the time because of the soft opening.

The restaurant served very nice food and would highly reccommend the steak and rafayel special if you like cocktails plus if your staying in the hotel you get 20% off which was handy as prices wernt cheap. It also overlooked the river thames.

The Hotel has loads of other services which are very handy and we used their next day dry cleaning on a shirt and was only somthing silly like £2 but was just nice to get back after work and it was there pressed and hanging in the wardrobe.

They also have a little cupcake store opposite the reception desk. £2 each for a cupake with all different flavour icing and decorated so nicely. lovely !!

Last but not least i just have to say the location is lovely the hotel is rite on the river thames and is perfect to take a long stroll or go for a morning jog. Also outside the hotel theres a bustop which the 170 bus will take you straight to Victoria station.

We loved this hotel sooo much that 2 weeks later we were back again and all the staff remembered us which was nice and upgraded our room for free.

I would recommend this hotel to anyone and definitely will be returnig soon.

“One of the best hotels in London!”
A TripAdvisor Member
May 20, 2010

Rafayels is a beautiful hotel in a great location overlooking the river onto Chelsea.
I loved the shisha lounge and the Japanese garden. Ideal for summer parties or soirees. Rooms are modern, elegant quiet and spotless and the Banyan Tree (the bar and restaurant) is a good place to relax and make new friends or just people watch. It has a good food and drinks menu and friendly Professional bar staff. Definitely 5 star but not stuck up! Friendly, welcoming and suitable for short or long stays, business or pleasure. I will be back here.

“Stay here! It is fabulous!”
LondonCityview 1 contribution
May 19, 2010 | Trip type: Business, Solo travel

I write this review as a somewhat of a hotel (and London) efficienado. I like quality linen, good sevice and peace and quiet. This hotel has it in spadefulls. I almost don't want to let the secret of this hotel out! It is a private discreet classy haven in an otherwise chaotic city. It is on the riverside in Battersea and you can just step out and stroll along to Battersea Park.

If you want to shop carry on over Chelsea Bridge to Sloane Square and on up to Harrods and Harvey Nics. Smaller budget? Turn left down Kings Road to the great British High Street.

Don't be put off that you are not next to the tube - rejoice that you are not near the tube!! Walk out the front of the hotel and pick up the 170 bus which for £2.00 will take you up to Sloane Square. If you are around for a while pick up a travel Oyster Card and top up.

But I digress, the Hotel.... huge rooms for London, very high quality bathrooms, some with TVs beside the bath and double showers! The bed linen is top notch as are the towels and the furnishings. The staff are friendly, helpful patient and genuine. I had a lite bite in the Restaurant and again top quality discreet friendly service.

I don't have enough space to mention the Library, beautiful Spa and gym and even the hall ways I find just really well thought out. Housekeeping - what housekeeping? You don't see them, you don't hear them - but your room will be serviced.

I have even taken a few photos for some home decorating tips for myself! Don't expect a mass market reception desk when you arrive - it is tasteful and efficient.

You might comment that you came to London to see the sights - trust me... after a day's sightseeing in London you will be overjoyed that you have the Rafayel to return to.

So stay here - I promise you will be glad you did - you can thank me telepathically ;)
Enjoy London!
(Orla - Room 116)
Things not to do - stay away from Clapham - tired and scruffy - head over the bridge to Chelsea and on up to town.

“Fun, funky, friendly - and outstanding quality”
SarahCarrington 1 contribution
Nr Geneva
May 14, 2010 | Trip type: Friends getaway

Loved it - the staff are charming, the rooms are great, the food is fabulous and the mojito was the best I've had. And there's a cigar lounge where you puff on a very relaxing and wonderful tasting (even though I don't smoke) hubble bubble pipe, meet all sorts of people and talk about all sorts of things. All completely marvellous and I would thoroughly recommend it.

“best hotel ever stayed in”
andy7070 3 contributions
La Linea, Spain
May 12, 2010 | Trip type: Couples

this truly was a great hotel from the minute we got through the front door...receptionist very professional and polite and the bellboy took out bag to our very spacious room...the very airy corriders and room itself smelt fantastic and all the eco things they have including the hand made bed,matress and pillows to die for made it a very comfortable day..
they have big floor to ceiling windows so you get maximum light exposure and the fridge is fully stocked..the shower is fantastic with some sort of hydro jet system (not sure what they are called), but all in all we wished we could have stayed longer to see the restaurant and the cigar bar along with the spa treatment!!! also the roof has amazing views over the thames and we will definately be back after the summer and would recommend this to anyone who appreciates a little bit of luxury at an affordable price!!

Monday, 24 May 2010


Outside the congestion zone and valet parking for a charge of £10 a day!

LONDON is a great world metropolis but the growth in population and work force in the last decade has rendered the city car-“unfriendly”. It also gave birth to the controversial congestion charging scheme. While effective in terms of improving London’s transport system, it is expensive and certainly uneconomical for those who enjoy driving around the city for leisure. Or stop off to sightsee.

ENTER RAFAYEL. If you are driving to London, our hotel is the place to stay! It is your home away from home.

A SURVEY reveals that the maximum traffic is generated from shires and Home Counties. So if you are driving down to London from there, or from Ireland, Scotland or Wales, Rafayel is your perfect resort. Being outside the congestion zone, our guests can enjoy the luxury of having their cars safely valet-parked for a nominal charge of £10 a day! No other hotel in London offers this convenience. You can then avail our free shuttle service to Clapham Junction or Clapham Commons and take the tube or train to major tourist attractions within 10-30 minutes depending on your destination choice. Or walk down the scenic riverbank to King’s Road within 20 minutes.

RAFAYEL promises to be a delight this summer. Other than our perfect river location and luxurious environment, our strong points?

o We are on the sunny side of London, on the southwest of the Thames where the sun always shines! Take advantage of the summer equinox!
o Bathe in the sunlight on our unique rooftop terraces and enjoy the 360-degree view of the City!
o Enjoy our 24-hour valet-parking services in a congestion free zone at £10 a day and rid yourself of worry! Feel free to spend fun days out in the City with your partner or family at your own pace, or relax outdoor at the hotel, or at our River Wellbeing Spa.
o Drive to Rafayel and use our complimentary shuttle service – Be in London by being “out” of the City traffic!

WELCOME TO RAFAYEL! We’ll take care of you.

Sunday, 16 May 2010

Giant frogs and dragonflies covered Battersea Power Station in London last night

Giant frogs and dragonflies covered Battersea Power Station in London last night for the launch of the OPAL Water Survey, a national initiative to get people to explore England’s lakes and ponds, collecting valuable scientific information along the way.

Giant image of frogs projected onto Battersea Power Station in London for the launch of the OPAL Water Survey in May 2010

Opening Live Comedy Night at Hotel Rafayel, 3rd June!

Tel: 0845 459 56 56 The Comedy Club Ltd – Press Release

The Comedy Club Battersea at Hotel Rafayel - Thursday 3rd June

WARNING! This show contains seriously funny content! Confirmed side effects of enjoying 3 top comedians at this brand new Comedy Club London Battersea venue include uncontrollable laughter, rib tickling tears and the desire to come back on the first Thursday of each month for another laughter fix! As the opening show night, Thursday 3rd June at Hotel Rafayel brings laughter to life in a superb setting, fit for audiences to enjoy the great comedians in plush surroundings. Find all show information online at, plus win free tickets, and get all the comedy gossip free each month with free Comedy Club Membership. (next show: 1st July)

BBC New Comedy Awards Semi Finals (BBC Choice), Take the Mike (ITV Carlton), BBC Showcase finals (BBC3), The Last Word (ITV1), Sex on the job (Sky1)
Karen began her comedy career back in 2001 and since then she has gone from strength to strength. As resident compere at her own club in Sutton Coldfield Karen honed her comedic talents and is now a well respected comic travelling the country entertaining the masses. In 2004 she took a show to the Edinburgh Festival with Susan Murray where she gained glowing reviews.


Abnormally Funny People (Sky), The Sound Barrier (BBC), Natural Born Talent (Ch4)
Steve Day is a truly unique comedian - warm, witty and engaging whilst dealing with the dilemmas of being a deaf man in a hearing world. His stories of multiple children, wearing a suit and the problems caused by not knowing how words are pronounced will have audiences in raptures, and his uplifting tales of overcoming the obstacles in his path will leave crowds feeling inspired.

"He mesmerized the audience; they only took their eyes off him to laugh" The Melbourne Age
A familiar face to fans of good and bad (and there’s a lot of that) Australian TV, versatile comic/actor’s TV credits read like a "'guide to Australian Television" including Hey Hey, the Max Gillies Show and Bingles. Already popular in the US, Canada and Hawaii, with his mix of sharp one-liners and cuddly, almost Koala-like persona, he now hopes to conquer Britain. Described by the New York Times as "One of the most exciting performers to come out of Australia since Skippy!" Enough said!

• 3 Top Comedians • Joke Competition with Prizes • Waitress Service to your Table

Tickets: Pre-Booked £13 | On the Door £15 | Comedy Club Members £11
2 Course Meal Prior to Show £19.95 | Over 18's
Doors Open: Restaurant 6pm | Bar 8pm | Show Time 9:00pm
Ticket Hotline: 0207 801 3600 | Enquires:
All Info at

Battersea Hotel Rafayel, Falcon Wharf, Battersea, London, SW11 3RF
Acts Subject to Change

Ends: For further press information please call Andrew on 0845 459 56 56 ext. 227 or email

Today : Battersea Contemporary Arts Fair

Opening today at 6pm the Battersea Contemporary Arts Fair will play host to a brilliant bundle of contemporary artists and aims to cut out the middle man and allow artists to sell direct to the public.

Amongst the artists exhibiting is Will Rochfort, an official artist for the London Olympic Games, what an official artist does for the games exactly I am not too sue but his work is worth a look and no doubt will be a good investment come the games when his work would have no doubt gone up in value from all the exposure.

Prices start from £40 and range up to £4,000 meaning there is something for everyone. Don’t say we never talk about nuffink the other side of the river…


Battersea Arts Centre, Lavender Hill, London, SW11 5TN

Friday 14th 6-9pm – 15th,16th 11am-5pm

Adults £7, Concession £4, Under 16s free

London's Hotel Rafayel hosts a traditional Cretan lunch - Cretan Diet is the Recipe for a Long Life

London's Hotel Rafayel hosts a traditional Cretan lunch from the Balcony restaurant in Sitia, to demonstrate that Greek food can be both tasty and healthy.


At 160 miles long and 40 miles wide, Crete is the largest and most populous of the Greek islands. A research study begun in 1960 indicates that its inhabitants have exceptionally low rates of heart disease and cancer. They also seem to live longer. In 1991, thirty one years after the beginning of the study, the University of Crete returned to the group, and found about 50% were still alive as opposed to a similar group in Finland where there wasn't a single survivor.

Read more at Suite101: Cretan Diet is the Recipe for a Long Life

Friday, 14 May 2010

A not-so-hidden London landmark you can't visit

Powering down the station
London’s Battersea Power Station is one of the capital’s most famous landmarks. Strange then, that very few Londoners have ever been allowed access to the building; stranger still, that on Sunday 2nd May, Battersea’s residents awoke to see 300 figures performing Spiderman impressions down one of the station’s wings.

This was the first charity abseil down this iconic ruin, organised by the Mines Advisory Group (MAG), and for those of us brave / foolish enough to take part, it was an amazing opportunity to get a first-hand look at one of London’s most famous no-go zones.

Built between 1929 and 1933, the Power Station was one of the last major pieces of infrastructure to be built within city limits; the Clean Air Acts of the 1950s and 1960s saw them banished to the countryside. Even in the late 20s, the building of the station was controversial. Local residents protested strongly against the ‘eyesore’ and to placate them Sir George Gilbert Scott, a starchitect of the day, was brought in to handle the design.

The human cost of the building was high, with 6 fatalities on site and numerous accidents. Add to this the relatively short lifetime of the building and a run of ill luck with developers since its closure; it is surprising that the ‘curse of Battersea Power Station’ rumours haven’t started yet!

The oddest thing about the power station though is the high esteem in which it is held by most Londoners, despite being an overpowering, functionless wreck. Regardless, it has become a cultural icon, with bands such as the Beatles and Pink Floyd featuring it in films and cover art.

In spite of this great contribution to art, it nearly scuppered one of our greatest institutions - the BBC. On the night of 20th April 1964, the station caught fire, causing a power outage as the broadcaster launched BBC2. The launch was therefore delayed and the channel started life at 11am the next morning. Consequently, its first broadcast was Playschool!

Although in recent years, the site has occasionally been opened for various events, and the Conservative party manifesto launch, it remains one of the most restricted, yet high-visibility sites in London, therefore it was no surprise that when MAG announced their event, it was full almost instantly. I’m lucky enough to have a slightly mad boyfriend who had signed me up before I even knew it was happening, so my place was secure.

On the day, the first thing that struck me was the size of the place. It really is an absolute behemoth of a building. You’d think this would be obvious given it can be seen for miles around; but the scaled-down, far-away version doesn’t really do justice to its awe-inspiring dimensions.

Nowhere is this sense of size more felt than in the abandoned turbine hall. It’s also the space that brings home the decay which has set into Battersea Power Station, some feel almost irrevocably. Tiles are missing from the interior roof, the walls are dripping and structural beams exposed where plaster has ripped away. Entire areas are roped off with dramatic warning signs. In one of these areas are relics of the station’s brief period as an art gallery in the 2000s. It is these relics that give the feel of something lost. Metal life-size statues of various people, including one little girl with her arms outstretched, are eerily reminiscent of the Pompeii bodies and a stark reminder that once, this hall was at the centre of life in London – indeed, the city couldn’t function without it.

Comparing this desolate space to what has been achieved at the Tate Modern (another Sir Giles Gilbert Scott Power Station) with its vibrant, ever-changing turbine hall is to realise what an opportunity has been missed at Battersea. Developers have come and gone, with ideas including retail, housing, a theme park and an urban circus. For various reasons, none have ever come to fruition.

Oddly, inside the signs of age are very few. Some superficial damage to the wall here and there, plus a missing step or two but otherwise, it could have been closed just 16 months, not years. As I went over the edge, I was surprised. I’d expected to feel terrified – even had nightmares about it, but in the event, I loved it and felt safe almost instantly – not just because of the ropes designed to hold an elephant that ensnared my waist, but also because the building itself feels so solid.

There is a popular story in London that when Battersea Power Station was decommissioned, developers swarmed over it, until they realised that its status as a listed building meant they couldn’t do anything. Since no-one wanted responsibility for the building and it couldn’t be pulled down, it was decided to let it fall down instead. They’re still waiting – and on my experience, they’ll be waiting a long time yet!

How Gastronauts and Gourmets on ‘top table’ are rating Banyan on Thames?

How Gastronauts and Gourmets on ‘top table’ are rating Banyan on Thames- Out of nearly 250 ratings as a top diner rated restaurant we have picked all the ratings of the top reviewers of ‘top- table’:

Gastronauts and Gourmet are top reviewer status level that indicates how much of a food lover the reviewer is based on their toptable booking history. A Gastronauts reaches its seniority by at least 26 reviews and Gourmet between 15-25. This is the best barometer of a restaurants ability to satisfy its most demanding customers.

Banyan on Thames

Reviewer : CB - gastronaut
Banyan on the Thames has a fabulous location overlooking the Thames. Service was warm, friendly and professional. Food was an interesting mix of cultures. Lovely Thai fish cakes, beautiful crispy prawns with a mango and vanilla dressing. A main of tuna was meltingly tender. A very relaxed happy evening. With the top table offer, extremely good value for money.

Reviewer : JA - gastronaut
Banyan on Thames provides an elegant setting right on the bank of the Thames with lovely views. It is unpretentious and the staff were very friendly and helpful. The posh fish and chips was brilliant and the offer made it very reasonable. To top the night off they provided a free shuttle to the tube station - brilliant!

Reviewer : Darren Reilly - gastronaut
Great venue. A hidden gem! The view was great at sunset, the service was top notch, food amazing and the Espresso Martini's were to die for! Great cigar terrace and fab cocktails. Even if your not eating it is definately worth a visit!

Reviewer : A - gourmet
Lovely setting, imaginative food and attentive service. 50% offer provided great value for money - 2 starters, two mains a desert and two glasses of wine came up to £36, without the deal this place would be overpriced in my opinion, but then i@m a student!portion sizes were good also, i@d definately recommend.

Reviewer : Jason O'Connor - gourmet
Great food, great view watching the sunset beside the riverside and excellent value for money.

Reviewer : SC - gastronaut
3rd visit and as usual good venue and atmosphere, good food (but smaller portions than expected) and of course good value with the toptable 50%-off offer. Standard wine price just like in any other good restaurants.

Reviewer : IS - gourmet
Banyan on Thames, good value with an offer, nice ambience.

Reviewer : AL - gourmet
Banyan on Thames is a lovely modern building which just sparkles. Unfortunately the Restaurant was empty on a sunday evening and it is hoped that this new establishment will gradually attract a regular clientele. The food was excellent and the service very attentive. Will definitely return. A.L.

Reviewer : N - gourmet
Good mains and deserts, chocolate brownie disappointing - Trendy atmosphere but a bit soulless - Good value with 50% off

Reviewer : CL - gastronaut
Lovely location, great view, tasty food and good service but would be expensive without the toptable 50% offer though.

Reviewer : C - gourmet
banyan on thames is a classy restaurant in a beautiful location. myself and my husband caught the end of the sun setting whilst watching a helicopter land looking across the thames sipping on cocktails- what more could you ask for! food was simply delicious- steak was divine as was the beef curry banyan style. staff were professional and attentive, without being annoying. 50% off made a big difference- i will definately be returning!

Reviewer : TO - gastronaut
Went to Banyan on thames as a nice end to the bank holiday weekend. The ambience was very nice and relaxed with the piano playong in the background although the restaurant was pretty empty. Food was good, the seekh kebabs and monkfish and chips were both very tasty as was the rack of lamb my wife had. Portions were on the small side but overall a good night out and TT offert made the bill reasonable. Worth the visit

Reviewer : JP - gourmet
Had lunch on Good Friday at Banyan on Thames. Beautiful views outside despite rainy day. The starter of Cromer crab was refreshing. Mains were monkfish and chips and tuna seared shashimi with veg. Both fusion and done wonderfully. Would come here again for dinner . Need 50% for whole bill including drinks to make it worthwhile. Hotel also offering 50% till May but only for food.

Reviewer : LS - gastronaut
Banyan, went for a birthday surprise with a friend, service great, food tasty and filling, and the dessert of Kheer was amazing. The Biryani was well cooked and the starters of prawns were tasty. Service was attentive but not overpowering. Will return again, Banyan is a great find!!
Reviewer : IS - gastronaut
The Baynan menu is a little eclectic, having a mix of Italian, Indian/Asian and South-east Asian dishes on offer, making it seem slightly disjointed. Would recommend ordering sides with the main courses unless you have the curries which are more substantial. The location is lovely and the service very good. Overall, good value for money with the T.T offer.

Monday, 10 May 2010

Star Gala at the 'Battersea'

Saturday, 8 May 2010

Cigar bar and Hookah lounge on the Thames at The Rafayel'

Explorer Christopher Columbus is generally credited with the introduction of tobacco to Europe. Two of Columbus's crewmen during his 1492 journey, Rodrigo de Jerez and Luis de Torres, are said to have encountered tobacco for the first time on the island of San Salvador in the Bahamas, when natives presented them with dry leaves that spread a peculiar fragrance. Tobacco was widely diffused among all of the islands of the Caribbean and therefore they again encountered it in Cuba, where Columbus and his men had settled. His sailors reported that the Cuban Indians smoked a primitive form of cigar, with twisted, dried tobacco leaves rolled in other leaves such as palm or plantain.

In due course, Spanish and other European sailors caught the habit, as did the Conquistadors, and smoking spread to Spain and Portugal and eventually France, most probably through Jean Nicot, the French ambassador to Portugal, who gave his name to nicotine. Later, the habit spread to Italy and, after Sir Walter Raleigh's voyages to America, to Britain.

A hookah (Hindustani: हुक़्क़ा (Devanagari), حقّہ (Nastaleeq) huqqā)or waterpipe is a single or multi-stemmed (often glass-based)instrument for smoking tobacco in which the smoke is cooled and filtered by passing through water. Social smoking is done with a single or double hose, and sometimes even more numerous such as a triple or quadruple hose in the forms of parties or small get-togethers. When the smoker is finished, either the hose is placed back on the table signifying that it is available, or it is handed from one user to the next, folded back on itself so that the mouthpiece is not pointing at the recipient. It has been recorded that the Arabs are the biggest shisha smokers in the World and have the most shisha Cafes.

Originally from India,hookah has gained popularity, especially in the Middle East and is gaining popularity in North America , Europe, Australia and Brazil.In the Arab world, people smoke it as part of their culture and traditions.

Most cafés (Arabic: مقهىً, transliteration: maqhah, translation: coffee shop) in the Middle East offer shishas. Cafés are widespread and are amongst the chief social gathering places in the Arab world (akin to public houses in Britain). Some expatriate Britons arriving in the Middle East adopt shisha cafés to make up for the lack of pubs in the region, especially where prohibition is in place.

It is said that the Hookah was invented in India in the court of the Mughal emperor Akbar (1542 - 1605 AD). Following the European introduction of tobacco to India, Hakim Abul Fateh Gilani a descendant of Abdul Qadir Al-Gilani came from Baghdad to India who was later a physician in the court of Mughal raised concerns after smoking tobacco became popular among Indian noblemen, and subsequently envisaged a system which allowed smoke to be passed through water in order to be 'purified'. Gilani introduced the hookah after Asad Beg, then ambassador of Bijapur, encouraged Akbar to take up smoking. Following popularity among noblemen, this new device for smoking soon became a status symbol for the Indian aristocracy and gentry. In North India, it is a great tradition followed among Jats, Bishnois, Rajputs etc. However, the Hookah used there is not for enjoyment all the times but also for the purposes of status symbol and more precisely, for regular smoking as tobacco is used in it.

Scenes and Sounds of The Rafayel