Apex Hotels Blogs

TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence Awards

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Apex Hotels Wins Prestigious TripAdvisor Award

Travellers to London, Edinburgh and Dundee have named Apex Hotels as outstanding with each of its hotels being awarded a prestigious Certificate of Excellence from TripAdvisor.

Collecting the awards, with Ollie the TripAdvisor mascot.

The Certificate of Excellence honours an outstanding dedication to customer service in hospitality and only 10% of accommodations listed on TripAdvisor worldwide receive the award.

To qualify for the Certificate of Excellence, businesses must maintain an overall rating of four or higher, out of a possible five, on TripAdvisor. Thanks to consistently high ratings from travellers, Apex Hotels in London, Edinburgh and Dundee continue to number among the best rated hotels in the world.

Simon Davis, General Manager of the Apex London Wall Hotel, said: “I am delighted that all of our hotels have won The Certificate of Excellence award as it gives the teams in London, Edinburgh and Dundee the recognition they deserve for all their hard efforts in delivering an exceptional customer experience.

“I am very proud to see Apex London Wall return to the top ten listing for London Hotels on TripAdvisor - the world’s largest travel site. This high ranking is a reflection of our exceptional service, facilities and customer experience that we provide to guests on a daily basis.”

For further press information, please contact pr@apexhotels.co.uk


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Croc-a-doodle was created for Jungle City, a charitable event of major conservation impact. The event, launched in Edinburgh, celebrated the magnificence of Asia’s endangered wildlife, generating mass awareness of their plight and making everyone smile at the same time. Purchased by Apex Hotels at a charity auction to represent our commitment to building a sustainable future and minimising our impact on the environment, he is now a permanent resident at the Apex International Hotel in Edinburgh.

We spoke to the artist who designed him, Hartwig Braun, to find out more ...

Croc-a-doodle at Apex International Hotel

How did you get involved in the Jungle City Project?
A friend of ours who knows the organisers of the Elephant Family introduced us to them. They loved the artwork and asked me to dress an animal specifically for Edinburgh Jungle City.

What was the inspiration behind Croc-a-doodle?
My signature style is all about bird’s eye views and creating something quite detailed, a bit quirky, but still accurate. Taking place in the Scottish capital I knew that this wonderfully historic city deserved its own design. I chose to dress a crocodile due to the shape of the animal corresponding very well with the topography of Edinburgh: the old town rising gently on the back of the crocodile from Holyrood Palace along the Royal Mile to the majestic Edinburgh castle – which is the summit of the city and the animal's head. (The full illustration is pictured below).

How long did the design take to complete?
I had to work to a tight deadline which meant that I needed to complete the artwork within five to six weeks. This is a relatively short period of time for such a detailed and large scale image that also has to be accurate enough to impress the locals. Prior to all the drawing work it required intensive studies of aerial pictures, maps and my own photographs.

What are your thoughts on where he ended up?
I absolutely love the fact that Croc-a-doodle found a home in the lobby of the Apex Hotel. In this public space he is an ambassador of this beautiful city giving a highly individual and colourful welcome to the guests of the hotel!

What are you working on at the moment?
Currently I am working on two different and very exciting commissions simultaneously: the design for an educational board game all about London; and an illustration for a large scale mural for a railway company.

To find out more about how Croc-a-doodle was created, check out this fascinating blog post on the Arty Globe website.

Croc-a-doodle features a full illustration of Edinburgh

Flower and Food Festival

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Dundee Flower and Food Festival (31 August - 2 September 2012)

The popular Tayside event, Dundee Flower and Food Festival, returns to Camperdown Country Park with a weekend packed full of cookery and gardening demonstrations, floral displays and ideas for your home and garden.

This year's Dundee Flower and Food Festival has a 'chilli' flavour

Top quality food and drink produce is available to try and buy at the many trade stands, along with craft, flowers and children's activities. The Woodlands4Yew marquee hosted by the Forestry Commission will be back this year too, where you can take part in a variety of woodland experiences.

This year the festival will also include the 'Chilli Village' - where Dundee is staging Scotland's first ever Chilli Festival. Introduced by mother and daughter team Patricia and Stacey from 'Chillilicious', this is your chance to try a variety of chilli products and take part in classes including Chilli Growing, Preserves & Chilli Wine.

Confirmed guests for the 2012 Festival include The Red Hot Chilli Pipers, food writer Mary Berry, chefs Tom and Henry Herbert, popularly known as The Fabulous Baker Brothers, and Gardener Alys Fowler.

Tickets for the event are now on sale, with early bird tickets available until Wednesday 22 August. Full price tickets can also be purchased in person at Camperdown Park during the event. Please see Dundee Flower and Food Festival Tickets for full details.

I Dreamed a Dream

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I Dreamed a Dream (21 - 29 September 2012)

How do you tell the rags to riches story of Susan Boyle ("SuBo"), her dream to become a singer, her meteoric rise to fame and the challenges she faced along the way? You make it into a musical, of course. I Dreamed a Dream comes to Edinburgh this September.

Elaine C Smith as Susan Boyle, waiting for her moment in the limelight

Susan Boyle shot to stardom when she sang I Dreamed a Dream from Les Miserables on Britain's Got Talent in 2009. Her modest appearance gave no hint at the quality of her voice, surprising the judges and the audience. Both took Susan to their hearts and the rest, as they say, is history.

Despite eventually coming second to street dance troupe Diversity, Susan's subsequent success eclipsed everything else from the show. Her album went on to become the fastest selling debut album ever in the UK and she was catapulted to global stardom. This was no fairy tale, though: living out the highs and lows of her adventure under media scrutiny has not been easy for Susan.

Adapting the life story of such a well known, distinctive character as a musical is no simple task. Casting for the lead role would have been daunting if it wasn't for the show's co-writer Elaine C. Smith. The Glaswegian actress and comedian may be better known from her role in BBC Scotland comedy Rab C Nesbitt, but she has a strong singing voice and a successful career in film and TV drama as well as musical theatre.

Since its premiere in March this year, I Dreamed a Dream has been glowingly reviewed with few dissenting opinions. Smith's performance has been applauded and reviews describe the show as funny, tragic, moving and compelling. Catch it while you can on the second leg of its tour at Edinburgh Festival Theatre from 21 - 29 September 2012.

London Fashion Week

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London Fashion Week (14 – 18 September 2012)

This September is all about fashion, as London once again opens its arms to the fashion world. London Fashion Week is one of the highest profile fashion events in the world and luckily for us, it is less than a 2 minute walk from our brand new Apex Temple Court Hotel.

Here come the hot steppers: London Fashion Week

Organised by the British Fashion Council, London Fashion Week truly puts London on the global stage for fashion, attracting over 5,000 visitors. This February saw 120 designers showcase their autumn/winter 2012 collection, whilst the September event will be showcasing the hottest trends for spring/summer 2013.

There is no question that the world looks to London for its style, sense of fashion and radical design. With the whole world’s attention on London this year thanks to the Diamond Jubilee and the 2012 London Games, our fashion is also set to grab headlines, giving us the unbeatable glow of regal glamour.

London Fashion Week is located across two levels of Somerset house - the catwalks are hosted in The Edmond J. Safra Fountain Court, whilst various exhibitions and presentations from the world’s best designers can be seen all around Somerset House grounds.

This electric week is renowned for showcasing some of the world’s best fashion designers including Burberry Prorsum, Paul Smith and of course the queen of British fashion - Vivienne Westwood. If you consider yourself to be a little fashionista, then London Fashion Week is an event you do not want miss. Book your stay at Apex Temple Court Hotel and you be just a stone’s throw away from the world’s most glamorous crowds!

London Fashion Weekend (20 - 23 September 2012)

Following on from the iconic London Fashion Week is the Vodafone London Fashion Weekend, London’s largest designer shopping event that is open to the public. This exclusive event covers items from top brands and designers including Jaeger, American Retro, Rigby & Pellar, Pringle of Scotland, Twenty8Twelve and Antipodium – all selling their collections with up to 70% off normal price! At least you won’t have far to walk with all those shopping bags!

Dundee September 2012

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What's on in Dundee in September 2012?

Event of the month

Dundee Flower and Food Festival

Dundee Flower and Food Festival (31 August - 2 September 2012)

Camperdown Country Park is the venue for this weekend of food, fun and flora. As well as food and drink from the best Scottish producers, there are entertainments and more gardening tips than you can shake a trowel at - Find out more in our Dundee Flower and Food Festival blog post.

Robot - the Fantasy & the Reality (2 June - 30 September) - Sensation's summer robot extravaganza, with cutting edge technology in the Reality section featuring Scotland's only life-size interactive humanoid robot, while the Fantasy side features famous robots from film and television - Sensation, Greenmarket, Dundee, DD1 4QB - www.sensation.org.uk

The Mill Lavvies (30 August - 29 September 2012) - A critically acclaimed comedy drama peeking into the lives of a group of men dodging work in the toilets of a 1960s jute mill in Dundee - Dundee Rep Theatre, Tay Square, Dundee, DD1 1PB - www.dundeereptheatre.co.uk - Special theatre packages available at Apex City Quay Hotel & Spa

She Town (12 - 29 September 2012) - Set in pre-war Dundee, this play tells the story of women working in Dundee's jute mills while their men tend the home. Tensions rise as some women audition for a choir recital with singing theatre star Harry Belafonte while others campaign for workers rights - Dundee Rep Theatre, Tay Square, Dundee, DD1 1PB - www.dundeereptheatre.co.uk - Special theatre packages available at Apex City Quay Hotel & Spa

Barbara Dickson (16 September 2012) - A special concert with the much loved singer, best known for her role in Andrew Lloyd Webber's Chess and the hit song "I Know Him So Well" - Dundee Rep Theatre, Tay Square, Dundee, DD1 1PB - www.dundeereptheatre.co.uk

Doors Open Days 2012 (22 - 23 September 2012) - This extremely popular annual event sees many of Dundee's buildings and institutions open their doors for free, allowing the public into normally restricted areas or whole sites - various venues in Dundee - www.doorsopendays.org.uk

Ten Drawings by Leonardo da Vinci: A Diamond Jubilee Celebration (31 August - 4 November 2012) - An exciting chance to see a selection of drawings by the hand of one of the world's true geniuses, Leonardo da Vinci. This is the only Scottish exhibition of these drawigs, which represent some of his greatest and most intruiging drawings across a broad range of subjects - The McManus: Dundee's Art Gallery and Museum, Albert Square, Meadowside, Dundee, DD1 1DA - www.mcmanus.co.uk

Edinburgh September 2012

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What's on in Edinburgh in September 2012?

Event of the month

Elaine C Smith as Susan Boyle

I Dreamed a Dream (21 - 29 September 2012)

A musical retelling of Susan Boyle's rise to fame, with all the hit songs and a star turn from Elaine C. Smith - Find out more in our I Dreamed a Dream blog post.

Edinburgh Art Festival (2 August - 2 September 2012) - Scotland's largest annual visual arts festival, with over 45 major exhibitions at a diverse array of venues, including specially commissioned work scattered around the city - various venues around Edinburgh - www.edinburghartfestival.com

Edinburgh International Festival (9 August - 2 September) - The original and arguably most prestigious of Edinburgh's summer festivals. Drawing the best in classical music, opera, theatre, dance and visual art from around the world - various venues in Edinburgh - www.eif.co.uk.uk

Kevin Bridges (13 - 15 September) - This Glaswegian comedy star has shot to fame in the past few years, with his own BBC One show "Kevin Bridges: What's the Story?" following countless appearances on TV comedy shows - Edinburgh Playhouse, 18 – 22 Greenside Place, Edinburgh, EH1 3AA - http://www.atgtickets.com/venue/Edinburgh-Playhouse/243/

Phantom of the Opera (20 September - 20 October 2012) - Andrew Lloyd Webber's musical has been entertaining audiences since 1986, although the original story dates back to Gaston Leroux's 1909 novel. This spectacular new Cameron Mackintosh production breathes new life into the musical - Edinburgh Playhouse, 18 – 22 Greenside Place, Edinburgh, EH1 3AA - http://www.atgtickets.com/venue/Edinburgh-Playhouse/243/

I Dreamed a Dream (21 - 29 September 2012) - Susan Boyle's unlikely rise to stardom almost seems like a fairy tale, so this musical version of the story seems appropriate. Starring Elaine C. Smith, it follows the story frlom her humble roots to dizzy heights. It's had rave reviews: moving, funny, tragic, touching and compelling seems to sum it up, so see it here in case London's West End snags it for itself - Festival Theatre, 13/29 Nicolson St, Edinburgh EH8 9FT - www.fctt.org.uk

BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra - Wagner's Tristan und Isolde: Act 1 (30 September 2012) - One of the world's foremost conductors of Wagner, Donald Runnicles, begins this series of concerts presenting the composer's famous love story - Usher Hall, Lothian Road, Edinburgh, EH1 2EA - www.usherhall.co.uk

Kilomathon Scotland (30 September 2012) - Billing itself as "The perfect race distance", the Kilomathon takes the classic half marathon distance and replaces "miles" with "kilometers" - so it's only 13.1km. It's become very popular, bridging the gap between 10km and half marathon distances. 6.55km and junior 2.62km races are available too, so there's something for everyone. You'll enjoy an exhilarating grandstand finish in historic Murrayfield Stadium, too! - starts in Leith, Edinburgh - www.kilomathon.com/?scotland

London September 2012

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What's on in London in September 2012?

Event of the month

London Fashion Week

London Fashion Week (14 - 18 September 2012)

Organised by the British Fashion Council, London Fashion Week truly puts London on the global stage for fashion, attracting over 5,000 visitors. This February saw 120 designers showcase their autumn/winter 2012 collection, whilst the September event will be showcasing the hottest trends for spring/summer 2013. - Find out more in our London Fashion Week blog post.

The Thames Festival (8 - 9 September 2012) - The Mayor’s celebration of an amazing year for London, with barge river races, a Rivers of the World exhibition, spectacular music performances, a night carnival and an end-of-festival Fireworks finale like no other - the Thames Festival 2012 is going to be incredible! - Various venues along the Thames riverbank - www.thamesfestival.org

Open House London 2012 (22 - 23 September 2012) - A two day celebration of the capital’s finest buildings, neighbourhoods and places. This annual event gives visitors a rare opportunity to view an array of buildings of architectural interest, which are not normally open to the public ... and the best thing about it is that it's all for free! - Various venues across London - www.londonopenhouse.org

Proms in The Park (8 September) - On the Last Night of the Proms, this outdoor concert is arguably one of 2012’s musical highlights. Headlined by the pint-sized queen of pop, Kylie Minogue, with performances from Alfie Boe and the Opera sensation Il Divo, the majestic concert will be broadcasted live in Hyde Park with a remarkable firework finale. - Hyde Park, London W2 2UH - www.bbc.co.uk/proms-in-the-park

London Design Festival (14 - 23 September) - Spread over ten days the London Design Festival consists of over 300 events, showcasing some of the world’s greatest architects and designers. With work displayed in London’s most loved public spaces, make sure you come along and see why the city has such as a pivotal role in global design. - Various venues across London - www.londondesignfestival.com

The National Home Improvement Show (28 - 30 September 2012) - This exhibition is the UK’s leading event for DIY enthusiasts, covering every aspect of home improvement; including design and layout, updating and renovating, kitchens, bedrooms, bathrooms and gardens, interiors and decorating, home entertainment and leisure and energy saving. - Olympia, Hammersmith Road, London, W14 8UX - www.improveyourhomeshow.co.uk

Liberty Festival 2012 (1 - 2 September 2012) - Head towards London’s Trafalgar Square where you and the family can enjoy two days of dance, music, outdoor arts, comedy and entertainment - all for free! Join the crowds who come together to watch the world’s top deaf and disabled artists perform and showcase their talents. - Trafalgar Square, London, WC2N 5DN - www.london.gov.uk

National Wedding Show (29 - 30 September 2012) - Calling all brides-to-be, this is the event you and your team of bridesmaids cannot afford to miss; the National Wedding Show is back and bigger than ever! This event has everything from stunning dresses, to vintage inspired flowers, to bespoke wedding cakes to intricate wedding invites; literally everything for every bride for every budget! - Earl's Court, London, SW5 9TA - www.nationalweddingshow.co.uk

Cake and Bake Show (22 - 23 September 2012) - This is the first live event dedicated to the world of cakes, breads and the art of baking. The exhibition will feature live demonstrations from celebrity speakers, hundreds of market stalls, hands-on classes and event competitions – it’s a show with all the right ingredients! - Earl's Court, London, SW5 9TA - thecakeandbakeshow.co.uk

The Great Gorilla Run 2012 (4 September 2012) - Over 1,000 people take part in this charity fun run, all dressed as gorillas - going ape for the day! Luckily, the 7km route is near our London hotels, so you can take to the streets and cheer them on – helping to raise awareness of the dwindling number of Mountain Gorillas, one of the most endangered species on earth. - Across London - www.greatgorillarun.org