Apex Hotels Blogs

Jutta Koether at DCA

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Jutta Koether exhibition (9 February - 21 April 2013)

DCA's opening exhibition of 2013 is an intriguing prospect: an exhibition of work by performance artist, painter, poet, musician, critic and theroetician Jutta Koether.

Born in Cologne but subsequently based in New York and Berlin, Koether has been influenced along the way by elements of underground culture. Street art, cartoon art and punk have all manifested in her work. Occasionally this spills over into collaborative work: Koether has worked with seminal New York post-punk band Television and Kim Gordon of art-rock legends Sonic Youth.

Koether's paintings are vibrant and textured, often featuring media suggestive of alternative culture. However, some works in the exhibition draw inspiration from a very different source, Nicolas Poussin's prized Seven Sacraments series of paintings.

 “The Seasons III”, 2012 acrylic and oil on canvas 170 x 220 cm, courtesy the artist and Daniel Buchholz Gallery

It's the sign of another great year of art in Dundee, with more to come at DCA and the inaugural Print Festival Scotland in the autumn. Given Koether's recent exhibitions, including the Whitney and Sao Paulo Biennials, this is a strong start.

There's more to experience here, so make the most of it with a weekend away in Dundee with dinner, bed and breakfast packages from £119 per room per night.


Manipulate Festival 2013

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Manipulate Festival (2 - 16 February 2013)

One of the great things about Edinburgh is that as well as the big, bold, attention-grabbing mega-festivals, there are some truly innovative smaller scale festivals that focus on one particular theme. Manipulate Festival, held mainly at Traverse Theatre, is defiantly one of the latter and all the better for it.

Manipulate Festival concentrates on the more physical and visual aspects of theatre and film. There's no restriction to a particular form - animation, puppetry, theatre and even spoken word often feature - but they're all linked by the idea of telling a story through imagery.

Puppet Animation Scotland, who organize the festival, have put together another programme packed with enticing prospects. VoxModus' Slick returns after success at the 2009 festival, telling the story of a nine year old skateboarder coping with parents who strike oil in their toilet and then become arms dealers. Another highlight will be Yael Rasooly's Papercut, featuring an overworked and neglected Hollywood secretary who escapes loneliness into a fantasy life assembled frlom the photos in golden-era film magazines. Or how about The Paper Cinema's papercut retelling of Homer's Odyssey?

The festival's film strand also holds promise: Big Man Japan is a quirky mockumentary parody of Japanese city-trashing monster movies, following the eponymous giant as his popularity wanes. Czech feature film Alois Nebel, an adaptation of a popular graphic novel trilogy, is visually stunning and has attracted praise for its evocative and stylish rotoscoped animation.

There's also an opening cabaret evening at Summerhall, Edinburgh's breakthrough new arts venue, on 3 February.

While Traverse Theatre will be celebrating their Golden Jubilee all year, Manipulate only runs for two weeks. Make the most of this brief visit with a weekend away in Edinburgh with dinner, bed and breakfast packages from £109 per room per night.


Valentine's Day in London

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Valentine's Day (14 February 2013)

Whether you want to surprise a loved one or are single and ready to mingle, London is the place to be for Valentine's Day. Blow away your date with panoramic views, enjoy a romantic walk, soak up some history and culture or snuggle up with an intimate theatre performance.

The city provides the ideal blend of cool, hip, luxurious, quirky and spectacular, ensuring you avoid the normal Valentine's Day stereotype.

Tower Bridge: impossibly romantic and with amazing views over the city.

Romantic Stroll across Tower Bridge

Enjoy one of London's most historic, iconic landmarks and immerse yourself in the romantic setting with stunning views. Situated just two minutes away from the Apex City of London Hotel, Tower Bridge's walkways will be set up for the event, with flowers and subtle lighting – a landscape perfect for all love birds.

Brief Encounter at National Theatre

Just a short walk across the river from the Apex Temple Court Hotel, you can head down to the National Theatre and experience a free outdoor screening of Brief Encounter. It's outdoors so make sure to take a blanket and grab takeaway tea/ coffee and snacks from the hotel before you leave. What a great excuse to snuggle up to that loved one!

Make the most of London this Valentine's Day and take pleasure in a special weekend away to London with our dinner, bed and breakfast packages from £149.

Whatever your preference, you're bound to find something romantic to do in London this February.

Dundee February 2013

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What's on in Dundee in February 2013?

Event of the month

“The Seasons II”, Jutta Koether

Jutta Koether at DCA (9 February - 21 April 2013)

Jutta Koether is a talented painter, musician, critic, performance artist and theoretician and her exhibition will be the DCA's first exhibition in 2013. Forming Koether's biggest exhibition in the UK to date, the collection will include thought-provoking pieces that represent underground cultures. - Find out more in our Jutta Koether at DCA blog post.

Dundee Chamber Music - Gina McCormack and Nigel Clayton (7 February 2013) - The first violin of the celebrated Sorrel Quartet (Gina McCormack) and the professor of piano at the Royal College of Music (Nigel Clayton) will perform at the Caird Hall this February. After playing together all over Europe, the duo come to Dundee to perform a diverse programme packed with music from the 18th to the 20th century, including Mozart and Sonata. - Marryat Hall. Crichton Street, Dundee, DD1 - www.cairdhall.co.uk

A Poem and a Piece (Selected dates in February 2013) - Looking for an evening of poetry fine enough to ignite your soul, or curious to experience poetry for the first time? Stewart Conn is renowned as one of Scotland's most skilled and wide-ranging poets. Hear him reading from his award-winning collection, The Breakfast Room, characterised by compassion and humanity. - Bonar Hall, Park Place, Dundee, DD1 4HN - www.dundee.ac.uk/literarydundee

Live from the Met: Rigoletto (16 February 2013) - Watch the premiere of Verdi's opera Rigoletto, lead by the rising Italian conductor Michele Mariotti and directed by the successful director Michael Mayer, broadcast live from the New York Metropolitan Opera. See the director's unique approach to conveying the story from 16th century Italy to Las Vagas in 1960, featuring an all star cast. - Dundee Contemporary Arts, 152 Nethergate, Dundee DD1 4DY- www.dca.org.uk

The Scottish National Jazz Orchestra presents Miles Ahead & Birth of the Cool (21 February 2013) - Get those feet tapping to the award-winning, internationally acclaimed Scottish National Jazz Orchestra, featuring one of the god fathers of Jazz, Miles Davis. The brains behind Birth of the Cool and Miles Ahead, Miles Davis shaped the new jazz movements in the 1940s and 1950s. For one night only this astonishing jazz performance will give you the chance to witness some of the best trumpet masters of all time. - Caird Hall, City Square, Dundee, DD1 3BB - www.cairdhall.co.uk

Edinburgh February 2013

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What's on in Edinburgh in February 2013?

Event of the month

Manipulate Festival

Manipulate Festival (2 - 16 February 2013)

Scotland's festival of visual theatre, puppetry and animation is now in its sixth year, with a programme that looks just as eclectic as ever. From a mockumentary spoof of Japanese monster movies (Big Man Japan) to an absurd comedy about a skateboarder's family striking oil, there is plenty of innovation and entertainment here. - Find out more in our Manipulate Festival blog post.

Banff Mountain Film Festival 2013 (1 February 2013) - The world famous festival of skiing, climbing and every kind of adventure fimmaking comes to Edinburgh on its UK tour. Even though the programme isn't announced until just before Christmas, the 2012 shows sold out, so book ahead. - Queens Hall, 85-89 Clerk St, Edinburgh, EH8 9JG - www.thequeenshall.net

RBS Six Nations: Scotland v Italy (9 February 2013) - Scotland will hope for a good result against Italy in their second Six Nations match of 2013. It's Scotland's first match of the year at Murrayfield, so expect a great atmosphere. - Murrayfield Stadium, Roseburn Street, Edinburgh, EH12 5PJ - www.scottishrugby.org

Cats (9 February - 2 March 2013) - The famous musical adaptation of TS Eliot's Old Possum's Book of Practical Cats hits Edinburgh. It's a hugely popular musical and Eliot's light verse provides warm and very funny material. - Edinburgh Playhouse, 18 – 22 Greenside Place, Edinburgh, EH1 3AA - http://www.atgtickets.com/venue/Edinburgh-Playhouse

Go Back for Murder (11 - 16 February 2013) - The Agatha Christie Theatre Company present a classic whodunnit from the queen of the genre. A woman dies in prison, convicted of poisoning her husband, but leaves a letter for her daugher professing her innocence. Determined to clear her mother's name and find the truth, the daughter delves into her family's tragic history. Will she uncover the identity of the real killer? Or was her mother really the poisoner? Expect more twists than a bowl of spaghetti in this tale of suspense, murder and intrigue. - King's Theatre, 2 Leven Street, Edinburgh, EH3 9LQ - http://www.edtheatres.com/goback

The Singing Kettle: Fairytale Castle (17 February 2013) - The unstoppable children's entertainment extravagaza comes to Festival Theatre, with their signature mix of fairytales, songs, costumes and audience participation. Festival Theatre, 13/29 Nicolson St, Edinburgh EH8 9FT - www.fctt.org.uk

RBS Six Nations: Scotland v Ireland (24 February 2013) - It's a bumper month in Edinburgh for rugby with the second Six Nations match in three weeks. A Scotland v Ireland clash is always a special occasion, and this one will be the critical third match in the series. - Murrayfield Stadium, Roseburn Street, Edinburgh, EH12 5PJ - www.scottishrugby.org

RSNO - Naked Classics: Stravinsky's Firebird (22 February 2013) - As well as being the work that marked Igor Stravinsky's breakthrough as a composer, The Firebird is a classic Russian fairytale with all the drama that implies: princesses, magic and monsters abound. Presenter Paul Rissmann will guide you through the story, while Christian Kluxen conducts. Usher Hall, Lothian Road, Edinburgh, EH1 2EA - www.usherhall.co.uk

Richard Thompson - The Electric Tour (28 February 2013) - He may not be the most famous musician in the UK, but Richard Thompson is one of the country's bona fide living legends. He first found success with Fairport Convention, but has had a hugely influential solo career with his songs covered by stars like REM, Robert Plant, The Futureheads and Blind Boys of Alabama. He's also famous for his unique guitar style, perfectly complementing his often darkly humorous lyrics. - Usher Hall, Lothian Road, Edinburgh, EH1 2EA - www.usherhall.co.uk

London February 2013

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What's on in London in February 2013?

Event of the month

Valentine's Day rose

Valentine's Day (2 - 16 February 2013)

However you want to celebrate Valentine's Day, whether you want a romantic stroll among its historical cityscape or a romantic culture in the theatre, London can cater to your tastes. - Find out more in our Valentine's Day blog post.

The View from the Shard (1st February 2013 – 1st February 2014) - The Shard has become one of London's most iconic landmarks and now the much anticipated viewing platform is open to the public. Almost twice the height of any other viewing platform in the city, The Shard will provide views of the city and beyond, revealing the past, present and future of London. The Shard, 32 London Bridge Street, London, SE1 - www.theviewfromtheshard.com

Eerie Evening Tours at Kensington Palace (Selected dates in February 2013) - Experience Kensington Palace at night and explore 300 years of secrets and chilling tales. Behind locked gates, walk in the footsteps of kings and queens and hear the tales of unsolved happenings and bizarre stories as you are guided around the unlit rooms and echoing corridors of this infamous Palace. Kensington Palace Gardens, London, W8 4PX - www.hrp.org.uk/KensingtonPalace/WhatsOn/eerieeveningtours

Astronomy Photographer of The Year (Until 17 February 2013) - Attend this free exhibition and be prepared to be blown away by some of the most incredible images of the sky ever seen. The Royal Observatory Greenwich has had another record-breaking year, with even more images entered to the competition. All the winning images are showcased at this exhibition and include a broad range from our solar system to the deep space. - The Royal Observatory, Blackheath Avenue, Greenwich, London, SE10 8XJ - www.rmg.co.uk

Midnight Tango (Until 2nd March 2013) - Enjoy Midnight Tango created by the talented Vincent Simone and Flavia Cacace, the masterminds behind the glittering tango routines seen on TV's Strictly Come Dancing. Located closely to the Apex Temple Court Hotel, why not enjoy a pre-theatre set menu meal at the Chambers Restaurant before heading out to enjoy the invigorating storyline all about life in downtown Buenos Aires. - Phoenix Theatre, 110 Charing Cross Road, London, WC2H 0JP - www.midnighttango.co.uk/tickets/ticket-information

Wildlife Photographer of the Year (Until 3 March 2013) - This is your last chance to visit this Natural History Museum exhibition, providing a spotlight on the unique wonders of the natural world. Now in its 48th year, the Wildlife Photographer of the Year competition will showcase some of the world's finest nature photography. - Natural History Museum, Cromwell Road, London, SW7 5BD - www.nhm.ac.uk

Random International: Rain Room (Until 3 March 2013) - This you last chance to experience what it's like to control rain, courtesy of Random International. Located close to all three Apex London hotels you can witness this digital take on contemporary art. Observe as the space is transformed by the immense proportions of the vigilantly choreographed downpour, whilst the soothing sound of water relaxes you. - Barbican, Silk Street London, EC2Y 8DS - www.barbican.org.uk

Broadgate Ice Skating (until 24th February 2013) - Luckily for our Apex guests staying in London there are a number of ice rinks just a stone's throw away from the hotels. Take in the surroundings of London and enjoy the open air ice rink based at Broadgate Circle open right the way until 24 February. After a day on the ice why not retreat to the hotel bar lounges and try one of our delicious Koka collection hot chocolates to warm you up. - Broadgate Circle, London, EC2M 2BL - www.broadgate.co.uk/News/Detail/123

Rugby 6 Nations: England v Scotland (2 February 2013) - England's Rugby 6 Nations campaign kicks off again with a game against Scotland. Last year's match witnessed England win the game, beating the Scots 13-6. Keep your eye out for the game being displayed at our hotels or watch the game in the comfort of your room and order in room service. This will be an interesting game for the Apex English/Scottish co-workers! - Twickenham Stadium, Whitton Road, London, TW2 7BA - www.rfu.com/TwickenhamStadium

One Direction (22 - 24 February 2013) - Calling all One Direction fans: the wait is finally over! Watch one of the biggest boy bands perform at the O2 and enjoy the close proximity of the Apex London Wall Hotel, the perfect place to rest your head after a night of fan crazed screams! - The O2, Peninsula Square, SE10 0BB - www.theo2.co.uk

Valentino: Master of Couture (29 November 2012 - 3 March 2013) - This is your last chance to view over 130 showcases of red carpet and catwalk creations – an exhibition fashionistas can't afford to miss. Less than a five minute walk from the Apex Temple Court Hotel this exhibition at Somerset House also includes a room featuring unseen personal photographs of Valentino. - Somerset House, South Building, Strand, London, WC2R 1LA - www.somersethouse.org.uk

Free Entry Temple Church

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Free entry to Temple Church

Situated just a stone's throw from Apex Temple Court Hotel the Temple Church is a little known treasure trove of beauty, history and serenity in central London.

Built by the Knights Templar, the legendary soldier-monks who protected pilgrims to the Holy Land during the Crusades, the church sits within the conservation area of the Inner Temple.

Temple Church, London

Arguably one of the most attractive and historic areas in the City of London, the area boasts a history forged by the dutiful knights, honourable barristers and Fleet Street journalists.

In our modern times The Inner Temple Church offers a peaceful haven to sit quietly or pray for loved ones. For those in search of adventure the church also lets you discover a history rich in myth.

Having been built by the Knights Templar, the Inner Temple's Round Church was consecrated in 1185 and is modelled on the circular church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem, the site of Christ's death, burial and resurrection.

In 1608 King James I granted the whole area of "The Temple" to the two societies of lawyers, Inner and Middle Temple, who have maintained the Church beautifully to the present day. Today, the Temple Church is flourishing and has provided a unique venue for production houses filming period dramas including the iconic Da Vinci Code. The Church is now an active Anglican Church with one of the finest choirs in England.

We strongly recommend you visit the church during one of their renowned services or concerts and use the Apex discount. As a guests at our hotels you are entitled to free entry to the church on presenting your Apex key card, giving you an exclusive saving of £4.00 per person.


Sleepsmart comes to Apex Hotels

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The beauty of SleepSmart is, like many of the best ideas, its simplicity. Add a voluntary £1 to a guests' room bill and the proceeds go to help the homeless; a welcome gesture at a particularly poignant time of the year.

Since its beginning in 1998, StreetSmart has raised over £5.5 million for the homeless and the campaign continues to grow each year. Building on the success of their innovative £1 per table fundraising concept, the team behind StreetSmart has launched a new hotel campaign this winter called SleepSmart and Apex Hotels in London have enthusiastically thrown their support behind it.

The new campaign aims to provide comfort and hope to people who live on the streets near hotels where guests stay in style.  SleepSmart is a great idea to help those less fortunate

The three Apex London Hotels are proud to have joined forces with SleepSmart in order to give something back to the local community.  Throughout November and December the Apex City of London Hotel, Apex London Wall Hotel and Apex Temple Court Hotel will all be adding a voluntary £1 to guests’ room bill at the end of their stay, which will all go to SleepSmart. We are pleased to announce that throughout December SleepSmart and StreetSmart will be match funded by the Cabinet Office. So every £1 donated by our customers over December will be worth £2 for the charity.

SleepSmart then use all of those £1s to support reputable charities in the city and the scheme is striking cords beyond hotels. Deutsche Bank will cover both StreetSmart and SleepSmart’s administration costs, ensuring that every penny of every £1 donated is given to projects to help the homeless.

SleepSmart is a great idea to help those less fortunate, so if you’re looking to book a stay during December we hope you are able to get involved.

Off The Wall Chef's Favourites

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Head Chef Giovanni De Rosa from the Off The Wall Restaurant unveils his latest menu, combining hearty classics with fine dining. To mark the launch of his new winter menu, we chatted with the head chef to find out his favourite dish and gather some insider tips including recipe of the month.


Giovanni's favourite dish from the Off The Wall winter menu is the braised lamb shank served with parsnip purée, winter vegetables and a delectable thyme jus. The head chef has chosen the lamb shank as his number one dish to cook, prepare and of course consume!

This warming, delicious dish has a long cooking process which results in rich flavours, giving your mouth a wonderful sensation of pure heaven. The thyme jus alone takes 2½ days to make - with this much love and effort going in to the sauce you know the whole dish is going to be a winner.

Giovanni's inspiration behind the mouth-watering dish originates from his Italian roots. His inspiration comes from the famous Italian dish Osso Buco which uses the ossi buchi (veal shin), a dish he frequently makes back home.

The braised lamb shank has meat so tender it falls off the bone and melts in your mouth and has quickly become his wife's favourite dish too!


The winter Waldorf salad is the perfect winter salad and includes celery, apples and walnuts – all of which are in season from October, giving you a lovely sweet crunch with each delicious bite.

Follow Head Chef Giovanni De Rosa's recipe for this perfect winter Waldorf Salad


  • 1 x red skinned apple (such as Braeburn)
  • 1 x green apple (Granny Smith)
  • 1 x pomegranate
  • ½ x lemon juice
  • 1 x cos lettuce
  • 1 x handful of seedless white grapes
  • 1 x celery stalk cut into chunks
  • 1 x handful of fresh watercress
  • 1 x handful of walnuts
  • 1 x table spoon of truffle honey
  • 1 x pinch of salt
  • 1 x pinch of pepper

Prepare to serve:

  • One leaf of cos lettuce on the bottom of the plate
  • Mix all ingredients together using all different cut shapes
  • Add ingredients into the cos lettuce
  • Drizzle the truffle honey over the top of the salad
  • Add a touch of salt and pepper
  • Ready to eat - enjoy!