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Our little black book of enchanting places


Learn from the five-star masters

Posted in HOTELS + VILLAS By Maggie O' Sullivan

PER AQUUM Huvafen Fushi, MaldivesWe love this image. It was taken at PER AQUUM Huvafen Fushi in the Maldives during the resort’s open-air ballet performances last year. But what really piqued our imagination were the spin-off masterclasses on offer, including the world’s first underwater ballet lesson. Always looking for something new to offer guests and non-residents, five-star hotels can be great places to learn a new skill. Here are some of the classes we’ll be signing up for this winter.Chewton Glen wine appreciationWine appreciation at Chewton Glen, Hampshire

One of Niamh’s favourite Hampshire country house hotels has a programme of monthly wine tastings hosted Head Sommelier, Francesco Gabriele. The informal classes are held on the first Wednesday of each month and timed to suit both guests who are having dinner in the hotel and local residents who can drop in on their way home from work. 6pm-7pm, 2 November-1 March 2017; £30 per person. Christmas wreath-making at Barnsley House, Gloucestershire

Open to guests and non-residents, this seasonal package includes afternoon tea, a Christmas wreath masterclass with Bath-based florist Flowers by Passion, followed by dinner at the hotel’s sister property, The Village Pub. 5.30pm, 19 December; £65 per person. Bread, Lucknam Park Cookery SchoolCookery lesson at Lucknam Park, Wiltshire

There are more cooking masterclasses out there than you can shake a breadstick at, but at Lucknam Park there’s a whole cookery school, open to residents and non-residents. Since we’re currently obsessed with Bake Off, we’ll be checking out the bread course, though we’re also tempted by the 'mini masterclass' in which participants can sit back with a glass of wine and a canapé while Sous Chef Ben Taylor talks about life in the kitchens at Lucknam Park and demonstrates a few popular dishes. See calendar for full details of courses available; £175 per person. ‘First dance’ tuition at Claridge’s, London

Okay, this one is somewhat recherché as you have to be getting married at Claridge's to benefit. But if you happen to fit the criteria, it's a wonderful chance to get expert tuition for your first dance from award-winning professional ballroom and Latin dancer Marius Caluser. And should the bride and groom discover they're not quite the next Fred and Ginger, additional classes can be arranged. The first lesson is complimentary.Cesar de Silva, The CapitalCocktail masterclass at The Capital, London

Apparently, you don’t just slosh the ingredients into a glass, pop a cherry on top and hope for the best: The Capital hotel's Bar Manager, Cesar da Silva, teaches how to do it properly, mixing five classic cocktails, from martinis to mojitos. £75 per person.


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