The Darkest “Hotel” Launches For Valentine’s Day

Kraken Love Lair2
Valentine’s Day beneath the tempestuous waves can be a torrid affair, but buoyed with a seasonal kindness rarely seen from the Ocean’s mightiest Beast, The Kraken Black Spiced Rum has delivered the answer many UK couples have been looking for. Seeking out one of the very darkest spots in the UK, The Kraken Black Spiced Rum has crafted the world’s darkest “hotel” – a unique ‘rumantic’ Love Lair draped in black upon black, furnished with imposing midnight décor…And they’re opening it up to couples seeking a wholly particular experience.

Set deep in the depths of the English countryside where even the brightest light struggles to penetrate, The Kraken Black Spiced Rum is inviting the adventurous to the launch of the world’s darkest hotel experience – a unique romantic sanctuary that’s dedicated to the dark, located under one of Britain’s blackest skies. Perfectly positioned in Northamptonshire, one of the darkest parts of the country, the unique accommodation allows you to be fully immersed in the grandeur of nature from the comfort of your own hotel.

But beneath the inky darkness, make no mistake that the benevolent Beast has pulled out all the stops to give you a devastatingly divine VIP Valentine’s treatment. A private bartender will shake up a selection of The Kraken Black Spiced Rum’s finest cocktails at your own personal bar including the Kraken’s signature serve, The Perfect Storm, as well as the sensational Any Port In A Storm. What’s more, a blazing Squid Bite will be served hot to fire up the cockles of our hotel guests.

The Love Lair is decked out with everything you need for the perfect Valentine’s – complete with a fireplace, mini bar, outside decking and luxury throws, everything from the interior to the exterior is delectably dark, decorated with the Kraken’s tentacled touch, this is Valentines the Kraken way…

The Kraken doesn’t discriminate – from best friends to siblings to spouses – those lucky enough to nab a coveted night of stargazing at the Love Lair can stay courtesy of the sea beast itself. The Lair will be hosting guests during the Valentine’s week between 7th to 14th February. A lucky couple will be able to win a night at the Kraken Love Lair via The Kraken Black Spiced Rum Twitter page by tagging their Valentine along with the hashtag #KrakenLoveLair.

Those who’d like to guarantee their dark and devilishly romantic night in the Kraken Love Lair can apply for tickets via The League of Darkness ( Price for one night is £50 and includes dinner and Kraken cocktails specially made by our mixologist in your very own bar. A luxury Kraken Love Lair welcome pack containing delicious treats and Kraken apparel to keep you warm, Kraken mini bar goodies and a night in the luxurious lair are all included. See website for details:

Valentine’s Day cocktails From Black Cow Vodka



The Black Cow Vodka Gift Box with bespoke gold-plated Black Cow branded
Yukiwa Cocktail Shaker (considered by mixologists as the best in the world)
and a bottle of super premium Black Cow Vodka.

black-cow-vodka-cocktail-shaker-gift-box-low-resAvailable from Harvey Nichols stores and online at, price £99.00.

Black Cow is the world’s first Pure Milk VodkaTM, made in Dorset, England, from the milk of grass grazed cows. It is a super-premium vodka, distilled from the whey of milk and treated to a secret blending process created by dairy farmer Jason Barber. His inspiration came from a desire to diversify the produce from his 250 strong dairy herd and his personal interest in vodka.  Black Cow was launched by Jason and Creative, Paul Archard in 2012.

Black Cow Vodka, from £28.00, is available from Sainsbury’s, Marks & Spencer, Majestic, Fortnum & Mason, Harvey Nichols, Selfridges, Berry Bros. & Rudd and quality independent retailers. Facebook, Twitter and Instagram: @blackcowvodka

A Romantic Cocktail To Warm Up Valentine’s Day

After a romantic meal with your loved one, why not end the evening sipping a delicious Feeney’s Irish Coffee in front of a roaring fire.

Feeney’s Irish Coffee is easy to make too. Heat gently 100 ml Feeney’s Irish Cream Liqueur with 1 cup of freshly brewed coffee and serve in a toddy glass topped with 1 teaspoon of whipped cream and grated chocolate.

Feeney’s Irish Cream is marketed as the world’s most luxurious Irish Cream Liqueur and contains 100% Irish whiskey. Feeney’s is masterfully distilled in the heart of Ireland and matured for at least three years and is available from:

Tesco’s which stocks 1 litre bottles RRP: £15.00 and which stocks 70cl bottles RRP: £12.50 and 1 litre RRP: £15.00 and Amazon. ABV: 17%

Shake Some Classic Darnley’s View Cocktails this Valentine’s Day

French 75 Darnley's View

To celebrate Valentine’s Day, Darnley’s View Gin have taken inspiration from the cocktail masters of the past with a choice of three classic cocktails with a twist. Share some love and shake up a French 75, Raspberry Fizz or Strawberry Ramos Gin Fizz using Darnley’s View Elderflower & Citrus London Dry Gin.

William Wemyss, Managing Director commented: “We looked to New Orleans, New York and master bartenders like Jerry Thomas when creating our Valentine’s Cocktails using Darnley’s View Elderflower and Citrus Gin. These drinks have stood the test of time and we’ve added a few twists as a nod to this romantic date in the calendar.”

French 75

45 ml Darnley’s View Elderflower & Citrus Gin
15ml Lemon juice
7.5ml Sugar syrup
Top up with Champagne

Method: Shake the gin, lemon juice and sugar syrup with cubed ice. Strain into a chilled champagne flute and top with Champagne.

Raspberry Gin Fizz Darnley's View
Raspberry Gin Fizz

Raspberry Gin Fizz

45 ml Darnley’s View Elderflower & Citrus Gin
handful of raspberries
10ml Lime juice
20ml Sugar syrup
Soda water

Method: In a cocktail shaker, add the raspberries and muddle with the back of a wooden spoon, or similar. Add ice, then pour in the gin, sugar syrup and lime juice. Shake. Strain into a glass with ice, and top with soda water.

Strawberry Ramos Gin Fizz

45 ml Darnley’s View Elderflower & Citrus Gin
15ml Lemon juice
15ml Lime juice
handful of strawberries
25ml double cream
1 egg white
soda water

Method: Combine all ingredients except the ice and soda in a cocktail shaker and shake vigorously for 1 minute. Then add ice to shaker and shake a further minute. Strain into a tall chilled glass and top up with soda.

Bombay Brings Valentines Together


This Valentine’s weekend, treat your loved one to an exquisitely different, romantic experience with Star of Bombay and Dry Martini, the new chic venue at the Melia White House Hotel.

Available exclusively at Dry Martini by Javier de las Muelas, the Star of Bombay cocktail and dessert experience ‘Be My Valentine’ will provide a deliciously different date for gin-lovers. The uniquely romantic serve includes notes of dark chocolate, strawberries and rose water and is paired with a decadent chocolate dessert, a truly elegant way to while away the hours with your Valentine.

‘Be My Valentine’ experience is available exclusively at Dry Martini by Javier de las Muelas at The Melia White House London from 12th – 14th February, priced at £28 for two cocktails and a dessert.

Dry Martini Valentine's Star Serve [1]
Be My Valentine
Be My Valentine

A rich decadent serve, perfect for gin-lovers this Valentine’s Day.


40ml Star of Bombay
22ml Strawberry Shrub
20ml Sauterne Wine
10ml Cava
8ml Godiva Dark Chocolate
Rose Petal and grapes to garnish


Pour all ingredients into a shaker except Cava
Add ice and shake vigorously
Double strain into a chilled coupe glass previously decorated with chocolate on the rim
Garnish with a rose petal and grapes

Lovers Twist

Lovers Twist


35 ml Bombay Sapphire
20ml Peter Herring Cherry
10ml Amontillado Sherry
Top with Tonic
Orange Peel to garnish


Pour the Bombay Sapphire, Peter Herring Cherry and Amontillado Sherry into a Balloon glass, Fill with ice. Top with premium tonic and Garnish with orange peel

Forget The Roses This Valentine’s Day


There’s more to Valentine’s Day than champagne and roses and Belsazar Vermouth have released a limited edition 2010 Vintage Rosé vermouth which will please epicureans, trend followers and purveyors of luxury. The First vermouth of it’s kind, only 2,000 of which have been released worldwide, this handsome bottle will make unique and unconventional gift for loved ones to savour on the special day.

Full bodied, with a fruity taste and spicy bitter note, this is the perfect present for discerning drinkers. The vermouth conjures aromas of raspberry, bitter almond, honey and fine marzipan on the palate and nose. It’s delicious drunk on it’s own over ice, or mixed to create a Martinez cocktail, a twist on the classic Martini which provides a sophisticated and sensory sip. A versatile ingredient, it can be a delicious digestif after a home cooked meal or aperitif ahead of a restaurant reservation.

Paving the way for high quality and innovative vermouth, Belsazar ensure only the best wine is used in the production process and work with award winning bio-dynamic producers in the Black Forest, Germany. The Vintage Rosé is made from rosé wine created fromPinot Noir grapes, which is then aged for 5 years, a rarity in the wineworld. The vermouth is expertly blended with a secret selection of botanicals and small-batch Schladerer fruit brandies that work harmoniously together. The vermouth is then further aged for months to enhance the complex flavours.

Continuing to shake up the vermouth category, the Vintage Rosé joins Belsazar’s range of exquisite vermouth which includes four other variants: Rosé, Dry, Red and White.

RRP £36.50- £40 for a 75cl bottle. Available from the Whisky Exchange, Gerry’s and Master of Malt. ABV 19.5%.


Love Boxed Up: Newby Teas Offers The Perfect Scented And Delicious Valentine’s Gifts Online


Newby Teas presents two luxury options for adding romance and a touch of health to your Valentine’s Day this year, both available in Harrods and online at Newby’s e-boutique for busy lovers. The From the Heart selection is an assortment of four fine teas, making a beautiful gift for loved ones.  Alternatively, Newby’s iconic Majestic Himalaya Gourmet Collection caddy is perfect for your significant other with its subtly erotic luxury caddy in rich, sumptuous gold and magenta.

From the Heart is a Valentine collection of four teas perfect for any romantic mood:

  1. Reminisce on summer love with the bright, intricate tisane Strawberry & Mango.
  2. Dreaming of a lover’s adventure trip to an African safari? The Rooibos Orange is native to the heart of South Africa’s mountainous Cederberg region. The rooibos combines with citrus orange to sublime effect.
  3. To feel like royalty, indulge in the Jasmine Princess green tea for a smooth, delicate green tea imbued with pure jasmine blossom.
  4. Finally, the taste of spring lingers in the Hunan Green sachets of renowned green tea from China’s Hunan Province, the spiralled spring leaves create a subtle fragrance and sweet, gentle aftertaste.

Gwenaelle Hustwit, general manager, marketing at Newby Teas said:

“There’s nothing like a gift of indulgent luxury and opulence. The English are fond of saying tea is love in a cup.  Make it the best tea available in the Western world and what could feel more romantic?”

Passionately magenta pink, the Majestic Himalaya quilted tea caddy contains mountain-grown smooth and silken black tea from Nepal. The Majestic Himalaya is accented with muscatel scent and its taste is as memorable as its provenance.

Founder of Newby Teas, Nirmal Sethia, said:

“One of the things that our teas are most known for is their aroma, due to our unique packaging process.  I believe that scent and romance are inextricably linked. That is why I devised the unique Majestic Himalaya tea.”

The Newby Teas of Love

  • Majestic Himalaya 50g (loose black tea) – £30.00
  • From The Heart Silken Pyramids Gift Box– four teas, 20 sachets – £20.00

 Both available at Harrods and online at

Bulleit & Beer at The Stevedores – The Alternative Romantic Combination this Valentine’s Day


For those looking to escape the annual love-fest that is Valentine’s Day, iconic frontier whiskey Bulleit and the team behind the acclaimed London Craft Beer Festival have the perfect solution with The Stevedores, a sensational six-week beer and whiskey pop-up in East London. Perfect as a fun cold weather hideaway for groups of friends, or as an alternative to the candlelit restaurant cliché for couples, the bar will host a roster of the UK’s finest craft breweries with Bulleit serving up innovative bourbon and rye cocktails inspired by and made for the beers on offer.

Alongside the drinks offering will be live music, showcasing the best of London’s blues, country and folk, and to spice things up Cura London will be altering their Pull & Punch concept and creating some amazing pulled meat creations inspired by American BBQ and English slow cooking.

2nd February – 10th March
The Stevedores Beer & Whiskey Bar, The Pickle Factory, The Oval, E2 9DT
Nearest Tube: Bethnal Green
Opening hours: 7 days a week from 6pm – midnight
Price: Free entry

Savour + Share Bowmore’s Limited Edition Black Rock Gift Pack This Valentine’s Day

Black Rock-2-CO[1]Treat the whisky lover in your life to something they’re sure to love this Valentine’s Day. Wrap up warm and enjoy Bowmore Black Rock’s smoky infusion of raisins, pepper, cocoa beans and burnt orange, balanced with delicious peat smoke and treacle toffee – ideal to share and savour with loved ones on cold evenings.

Bowmore Islay Single Malt Whisky launched the limited edition Travel Retail exclusive featuring a set of textured black slate coasters.

The limited edition gift pack is reminiscent of Black Rock; the jagged outcrop that rises majestically from the treacherous water of Loch Idaal, which the classic whisky is named after.

Black Rock Gift Pack includes a set of slate coasters | £44.99
Available exclusively in selected Travel Retail & Duty Free retailers throughout Europe

Enjoy A Tailor-Made Valentine’s Day At The Ampersand Hotel

The Ampersand

Already panicking about pulling off the perfect Valentine’s Day? The Ampersand Hotel, South Kensington, is inviting guests to personalise their pillows for the ultimate romantic stay. Guests can also enjoy Valentine’s Day Afternoon Tea in the beautiful setting of The Drawing Rooms, as well as cocktails and modern Mediterranean sharing plates in the hotel’s atmospheric vaulted restaurant, Apero.


Imagine your loved one’s surprise as they discover our plump pillows decorated with their moniker! Guests simply need to share the names, messages or images they’d like to include, and The Ampersand Hotel will then print these onto two of their crisp white pillowcases. Whether you include a term of endearment, a favourite photograph, or simply ‘My side’ and ‘Your side’, it’s a memorable gift that’s sure to impress. Those feeling brave might even want to include the ultimate romantic dictum; ‘Will you marry me?’ Guests are encouraged to take their pillowcases home with them; a lovely memento of their stay in South Kensington.


Those looking for the wow-factor should book a Deluxe Studio; brimming with botanical references, it comes complete with king size bed, freestanding bath and stunning views of London. It’s the little things that make all the difference, and The Ampersand Hotel ensures you enjoy these special touches throughout your stay; from the complimentary Wi-Fi and soft drinks mini bar to the Miller Harris toiletries in all guest rooms.


Pastry chef Ji Sun Shin’s Valentine’s Day Afternoon Tea is the perfect indulgent treat, with freshly cooked white chocolate heart shaped scones, savoury gourgeres and a selection of sweet pastries inspired by this romantic holiday. Valentine’s Day Afternoon Tea £32.50 per person or £45.00 with a glass of Champagne. Available from 7-15 February 2015.


Neighbourhood brasserie Apero is nestled in the vaulted cellars of The Ampersand Hotel, providing a discreet and intimate dining backdrop. Kick off the evening sipping cocktails at Apero’s slick bar, and then tuck into Head Chef Chris Golding’s sharing menu, with signature dishes including queen scallops baked with seaweed butter and burrata, honey and truffle. Be sure to save space for the decadent hot chocolate fondant, with honey toffee, rosemary ice cream and pine nut crunch. Sharing Menu £32 per person.


The Ampersand Hotel’s unique concept is inspired by the capital’s renowned cultural district, including the world-famous museums of Natural History, Science and Victoria & Albert, as well as the Royal Albert Hall, all devoted to botany, music, geometry, ornithology and astronomy. These 5 themes are intricately incorporated throughout The Ampersand Hotel.