The return of the HPL competition – opportunity for 2 people to win £200 Hilton Worldwide UK gift vouchers

To tie in with the last week of the Any Weekend, Anywhere Sale (see below), the lovely people at Hilton Worldwide Hotels are giving 2 of my gorgeous readers the chance to win £200 worth of Hilton Worldwide UK gift vouchers each to spend at any Hilton Worldwide UK hotel*.

I hope you give it a shot as you deserve it (and please feel free to take me as your +1!) but if you don’t manage to win and you’re thinking about a weekend away, then you might want to take advantage of their offer. You can save up to 50% at loads of hotels within the Hilton Worldwide Hotels portfolio for any weekend stay in 2011 if you book before 31 January 2011. You could go to Florence, Barcelona, Dubai or Edinburgh, or just stay in London (sounds strange if you live in London but I’ve done it before – there is something wonderfully hedonistic about going for pre-theatre dinner, watching a wonderful play and then spending the night at a lovely central  hotel – and no tube home).  They’ve told me that rates include breakfast and late checkout until 6pm (subject to availability) plus special offers for kids (under 18s stay for free and under 10s eat for free at many hotels). Book now on

Anyway, to win the vouchers, I want you to tell me about your perfect City break. Where would you go? Who with? What would you do? It could be anything – relaxing break with your mum, romantic weekend with the partner, taking the kids or the best friend. I’ll start – I think I’d like to go back to Brighton, sea front hotel – it’s been ages. I’d get there on Friday, excited, check in, and then wander along the front for some wine and nibbles, followed by dinner at a cute little restaurant. Saturday, we’d get up early, go for a long walk along the beach, play on the pier, have a pint in the Lanes. A snooze, cocktails and early dinner in the hotel, early night… Sunday we’d get up late, get the paper, enjoy a long breakfast – full English, orange juice, coffee. Now you – go!

Please send me your responses – by leaving a comment to this post or on the HPL facebook page by Monday 31 January 2011. I’ll pick my favourite 2 and send you the vouchers! Good luck… 🙂  

* For voucher Terms and Conditions please visit

UPDATE 31 January 2011: Please note this competition is now over and MASSIVE CONGRATULATIONS to Ashleigh Young and Annmucc who won £200 of Hilton Worldwide UK gift vouchers. In the end it was far too hard to decide who had the best comment so I used to get the winner. Sorry to everyone else who took part but the sale is still on now if you’ve got the bug. And I look forward to hearing how Ashleigh and Ann enjoy their hols…

24 responses to “The return of the HPL competition – opportunity for 2 people to win £200 Hilton Worldwide UK gift vouchers

  1. My other half is a born and bred Londoner, and as such has a tendency to be a bit flippant about the rest of the country. I’d love to take him ‘oop North’ and prove that there’s so much more to life than what’s inside the M25! Liverpool would probably be my top pick, I have family up there but to be honest we’d probably ditch them and spend our time exploring the docks, pretending to be able to afford all the handbags in the WAG boutiques, and hunting down the perfect trenchcoat for himself in all the hidden vintage shops. In the evening, it’d be cocktails and people-watching in the centre of town – people in the ‘pool know how to party.
    Sunday would, obviously, be spent doing all the touristy, Beatles-related stuff. Well, when in Scouseland…

  2. I would spend a city break in Bangkok with my boyfriend. He hasn’t been and needs to experience the sights, sounds and smells of the city. The trip starts on arrival at the airport when you pass the ‘Welcome to the land of smiles’ poster. You feel the warmth of the locals right away. I’d stay at The Conrad Hilton or The Banyan Tree and spend the rest of the day by the pool or having a spa treatment. Then I’d head to Vertigo for pre-dinner cocktails overlooking the city lights followed by dinner and dancing at Bed Supper Club. The next morning I’d get up early and take a trip to the floating markets and have lunch at a street stall. That afternoon I’d go to the Royal Palace and hope to catch the changing of the guard. In the evening I’d barter with the locals at Patpong night market before returning to the luxurious hotel with all my bargain purchases. Then, the rest of the stay would be relaxing in the hotel. That would make you smile, wouldn’t it?

  3. It would be too lame to say that with my best friend Dani I could go anywhere but it’s I’ll just pick somewhere, shall I?
    I’ve been to Tokyo before and decided to force myself to stay awake for 48 hours straight to try and experience the ‘sensory depravation’ that Japan is famous for. I went clubbing at 10am in a hidden apartment building nightclub, went to a firing range under a train station and ate at one of the best restaurants of my life. Then had uni (sea urchin roe) and cuttlefish for breakfast watching them unload the boats at Tsukiji Fish Market.
    My best friend Dani is sort of the sister I never had, bromance to the max, except we’re technically ‘ho’s’ I suppose… Anyway, she’s never been to Asia. So I think the perfect place to start would be Tokyo, throw her in the deep end and fly by the seat of our proverbials..

    And you can come if you want! 🙂

  4. I’d love to go back to Edinburgh with my husband for the Festival in August. It’s a combination of everything we love – beautiful architecture, great walks, friendly people, and of course, all the over-the-top theatricality that comes with a month full of performances from comedy to music to drama. Often the best shows are the ones that no one’s heard of yet, and the surprise of discovering something great is what is so exciting about travelling!

  5. I would go to Dublin so I could have a pint in a cosy pub with some Irish music and lots of lovely friendly Irish people. Later I would indulge in a meal featuring some fantastic local seafood and, my favourite, Irish smoked salmon.

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  7. My perfect city break would be London – arrive on Friday when the sun is shining and wander through Hyde Park. Saturday morning would be spent at Borough Market, tasting and buying for a decadent picnic lunch. Later, a parting of the ways as I head for Oxford Street and he browses through the record stores. DInner at Le Pont de la Tour overlooking the river would round off a perfect day

  8. I’d go back to Edinburgh, where I used to live. I’d get in late on the Friday (by air, watching the city lights as we circle Leith and the coast), and head straight to Olorosso for cocktails before heading on to Opal Lounge for more drinks and people-watching.

    Saturday morning is brunch with old university friends (there’s a little café by the university that does the BEST eggs royale), then heading over to Murrayfield for the rugby – ideally to see England win the Calcutta Cup, but there seems to be precious little chance of that, given recent history, so I’ll take any decent game I can get. Dinner is at the Outside where the garlicky fries are To Die For (but not massively sociable if your dining companion’s not having ‘em too. As this is the ‘ideal’ weekend, we’ll pretend we have the great table with views of the castle, too). Then a wander over the bridges to get the view over the gardens to the castle, and go into the New Town for post-dinner whisky.

    Sunday morning is a romp over Arthur’s Seat to blow away cobwebs, and then down the other side into Duddingston to the Sheep Heid for bowling and Sunday lunch. Then, a late afternoon train home taking in the views of the east coast into the sunset.


  9. Ooooh – the mind boggles!!

    Rio with my besties, scoffing cheese-doughballs in sidewalk cafes, pootling from beach to beach on wobbly scooters, helicopter ride around Cristo and Sugar Loaf Mountain, bargaining (in non-existent Portugese) for souvenirs in the markets, drinking coconut juice (out of a coconut) with my toes in the sand staring out at the Atlantic, attempting to samba on a rooftop bar whilst sipping on a caipirinha…oh, and steak for dinner. Every. Night. 🙂

    (OMG, I’m tempted to search for a flight now…)


  10. I would grab my better half and jump on a plane to Prague. We’d go for a jazz session in one of the tiny places in Lesser Town and after that for a late night walk to the castle when the streets are empty and full of atmosphere.

    Next day we would start off with a good breakfast in one of the Art Nouveau cafes like Einstein’s favorite Cafe Louvre. The rest of the day we would spend getting lost in the streets of Old Town until we end up at the beer garden on Letna Hill overlooking the city and gulping on some fantastic Czech beer. We’d be grabbing some heavy, Czech pub grub – pork knuckle and gulasch before heading to a quirky club like the nuclear bunker at Parukarka or to Cross Club the steampunk maze of a club in three levels.

    The last day we get out of town by renting a couple of bikes and riding on the path up along the river enjoying the outdoors and maybe stop for a beer or a water at one of the small stalls along the bike path.

  11. Amazing comp, HPL! I would love to take my boyfriend on a surprise trip to Bath – check in late on the Friday night then head out for some nice wine and nibbles. After a lazy sleep in, we’d have a big cooked breakfast involving lots of crisp bacon, oozy eggs and hot coffee, then explore the town, soaking up some Roman baths action and maybe a spot of shopping. Some afternoon tea with gigantic scones the size of my head would be followed by a long, relaxing bubble bath with some bubbly. Then a fabulous meal out somewhere. Sunday would be spent exploring the countryside in the Cotswolds with a big pub lunch by a roaring fire. Oh dear, I really have to win this now as I’m suddenley desperate for a weekend escape!

  12. I would go for a romantic break with my boyfriend – he deserves the treat! But just one place? That’s tough!
    As it would be a romantic break, I would opt for Venice. My top thing to do there? Get lost! I feel like there is no way to get to know a city better than to roam around it’s streets (or canals in this case) – finding a small cafe here, or stumbling over the most unassuming second-hand shop, which you find to be a treasure throve of a place.
    Of course, we would want to do some of the sights. The Doge’s palace, and the Basilica. And what about a tour on the canals? But from my experience of visiting old cities which have turned touristic, I would maybe sneak out of my hotel at night and try to experience the city then. When the people have gone to sleep and have left the place to me and a few others. It is then that I feel that I get to know the city best. It is then that I can hear the old city speak to me, when I’m not distracted by the crowds.
    Uhh – I’m really getting excited now. Please, please pretty please…may you help me get to Venice?

  13. I would use it towards The Hilton Arc de Triomphe Paris so I could treat my husband as he took me to Paris to propose years ago. Since then we have not managed to get away anywhere like that. We could do the famous stroll along the Champs-Élysées and eat at nearby Le Safran.
    Visit Sacre Couer the place where he bent on one knee to propose and where we lit a candle. Wander around the little antique markets and watch the sellers trading their wares and running into the cathedarl crying “Sanctuary” when the gendarme arrives. (Amazed me when they did this)

    I woul eat crepes, chocolate an frites and we could celebrate our love all over again!

  14. The perfect city break for me would be in Glasgow with my husband Mike. We met there 40 years ago and it would be a great place to spend our anniversary.
    Things have changed in 40 years….so before we go we’d check out @glasgow_weather (don’t want to be rained off). Flight details @GLA_Airport would get our trip off to a flying start and @HiltonOnline would help us choose between three great hotels. @GRAonline’s perfect for searching for a special restaurant to celebrate. We’d have to check out @GlasgowMuseums because we love a bit of culture and as big football fans we’d love to see what’s happening @Rangersnews. I’d make him treat me to something nice @PrincesSquare and finally we’d have a good laugh @GlasgowComedy. Perfect!

  15. My perfect weekend away would be visiting Edinburgh with my Mom! I’ve originally from the US, and I haven’t made it up to Scotland yet – and as my Mom is coming over for a quick visit in March it would be a great time to visit Edinburgh! Perhaps we’d start off by waking up early Saturday morning and visiting Edinburgh Castle -taking in the breathtaking views of the city before we head down to explore the medieval Old Town and warm ourselves up with a bit of whiskey! For dinner, we would love to head to The Kitchin and enjoy some of the best food Scotland has to offer. We both love the outdoors and if the March weather affords us a day of sunshine we’d head out to The Lothians on the Sunday and explore the countryside and idyllic country villages. A weekend away in Edinburgh would be such a memorable time for us both – perfection!

  16. My perfect city break is New York City with the other half.
    Shopping at Macys and Bloomingdales, picnic in Central Park, a trip to the top of the Empire State Building and a wander around the Met. Then its off for an early dinner at some of the best restaurants in the world followed by tickets to a Broadway musical. After that, we’d find an all-night diner for a quiet coffee. And thats just the first day!

  17. I would love to go to Dublin for my 30th birthday in March with my brand new husband whom I have yet to have a honeymoon with. I really want to go to the leprechaun museum! Other than that we will take photographs of extraordinary scenery, go hiking, check out some castles, eat delicious food and pop into a few pubs.

  18. My ideal City Break would be anywhere with my darling husband. Perhaps a return to our favourite holiday in Dublin. A lovely relaxing long weekend, with lots of walking, luxurious meals, exploring the sites, and just enjoying each other’s company.

    We were hoping to do that for our 5th wedding anniversary this year, but due to other financial pressures we might have to delay it 😦

  19. I’d take the Friday off work and we’d get the train from Bristol (no coach this time? – what a treat!) and head for London on the Friday morning. I’d make and take a packed breakfast full of all the things we love. This weekend is *not* starting with Upper Crust.

    We’d arrive at Paddington and jump in a cab to Aldwych and the Waldorf Hilton. Having only popped in there once before to, ahem, make use of the facilities, I’d love to walk through those amazing doors as a bona fide guest.

    We’d dump our stuff and head off, walking down to The Embankment, across the river and stopping for coffee on The South Bank, before ending up at St Pauls. We’re not going there to praise anything, however, apart from the food. Lunch at The Restaurant at St Pauls can never come too soon. A long, drawn out lunch leads to an afternoon nap back at The Waldorf. Early evening drinks and grazing at Terroirs then dinner and cocktails at Hawksmoor in Seven Dials.

    Saturday would be all about hotel breakfast, Brick Lane, bagels, great coffee and charity shop hunting, then meeting friends for dinner at Great Queen Street. We’d get up late on Sunday and after breakfast go for a walk in St James’s park, with lunch on the roof at Inn The Park before heading for the train and back to Bristol. We’d be tired and stuffed and happy. Just how I like it.

    It’s my birthday soon and I want to DO ALL OF THIS please.

  20. Given I’ve just become reacquainted with my gorgeous paramour, I’m in a romantic frame of mind, and I can’t think of a better place for romance than the twinkling city lights of Marrakech. I’d hop on a plane hand-in-hand with The Gribbler, and head there to tilt my face at the sun for a weekend and bask a bit in its warm glow. We’d arrive on a Friday evening as the sun was setting deep orange, and head to an old-school Moroccan rhiad – colourful tiles, musical waterfalls and rose-scented water, as well as a gloriously cool, Arabian Nights room. After ‘settling in’ (ahem), we’d head out into the clamouring night market in the square, and potter around the foodstalls. We’d toy briefly with the idea of sitting at one of them to eat, and then wimp out after spotting whole sheep’s head bubbling away in a pot. So, instead, we’d head to the safer option of an amazing restaurant I know in the dark depths of the souk. There we’d feast on sugar/cinnamon dusted pigeon pie, its crust cracking as its served, lounging around as the musicians murmur songs and strum guitars, whirling the tassels on their hats in time with the music. The warmth of the air, and the sugary sweet fresh mint tea would calm body and soul, as a blissfully languid feel settles in on the weekend.

    Saturday we’d wake up to a breakfast of fresh dates, yoghurt and fruits and, high on more of the obligatory sugary mint tea, we’d go and get competitive with our haggling abilities in the old souk/market. Sweating slightly, and laden with bags of spices, embellished leather shoes, and some bits and bobs which will look lovely in my little flat, we’d tuck ourselves away in one of the old tea rooms, and chat about the day and the place, admiring the incredible minute tiling all around the room, and the way the waiter manages to pour scalding hot tea from such a great height, the tea foaming in the crystal glasses and so much sugar the teaspoon practically stands up. Naughty Lex.
    For dinner, we head to a restaurant amongst the rooftops, the dark shadow of the mosque, with its eerie call to prayer, a dark shadow against the skyline. We eat heavenly hummus, before tucking into spiced lamb and prune or lemony sharp chicken tagines, on steaming piles of feather-light cous cous. We’ll be drinking dark ruby red pomegranate juice and finish dinner with black coffee.
    Sunday will be a more active adventure (and a bit of a cheat, as heading away from the city) as we wake early and head to the coast in a beat up old jeep, to find some surf, to keep the Gribbler happy. So he can beat himself up chasing waves, happy as a clam paddling around on his board, whilst I don my bikini, and splash around in the shallows. We’ll spend the day there eating spankingly fresh fried fish, served in beautifully painted clay bowls, and do a little sun-kissed yoga before heading back through the dust to Marrakech.

    Hm…I think I might well have got a bit carried away whilst daydreaming of a warmer place that’s only a short hopskipjump away. But there you have it – a magical Moroccan bit of merriment for you. Happy Weekend HPL 🙂 xx

  21. Oh Rome. Sneak a day off work and fly in in time for lunch with a glass of wine and a caffe at the end to get us started off on the right foot. And then to wander. Because I can think of no greater city to wander than Rome. We’d go visit the Coliseum this time because my partner still hasn’t seen it. We’d explore. We’d stop for gelato and caffe. And then we’d stop for wine. More then a another gelato on our home back to the hotel. Tired feet and cozy up in our hotel.

    Then up early because seeing the light change in Rome is one of those indescribable pleasures of being alive. A quick breakfast at the bar and then off again. Wander. Explore. Caffe. Gelato. Repeat.

    Dinner would be epic, but not a fancy Michelin starred type. No, instead we’d get lost in a neighbourhood off our map and eat in a family trattoria and we’d have multiple courses and drink too much wine and finish the night singing with the owners before we stumble out into the night to find our beds.

    The next day we’d sleep in a bit. Late night and all. Repeat the breakfast bit but head to the Borghese museum and slowly meander through the rooms gasping at each new Bernini.

    One last lunch and off to the airport, laden with the contents of a supermarket in my carry on and a case of wine in my checked bag. For memories.

  22. I’ve recently moved to London, from New Zealand, and have found the upheaval scary and strange. It’s my first time out of Australasia, and I’ve been amazed at the abandon with which British people travel – my god, you can take a train to Paris! In New Zealand, we talk about ‘overseas’ as this huge, otherworldly place that will swallow you up, and for my whole life I hadn’t wanted to leave my small, comfortable town for fear of being, well, killed. But now that I’ve seen a little bit of the world, and have realised that I can live in it and that people are just going about their business like at home, I think it might be safe to get out more. So, what the hell – I’d like to go to Shanghai. Because it sounds like one of the fastest, craziest, most technicolour cities of the world. I would go with Morgan, my best friend since primary school, who is a much better traveller than me (navigationally as well as mentally, socially, etc) and I would somehow osmotically absorb her calmness. We would go fashion-watching in People’s Square. Morgan would make us go to the Shanghai Museum. I am briefly considering the Jinjiang Action Park in Xuhui District, just for the spectacle of it, but actually Morgan would say that sounds like hell , so we will probably go and sit in St. Ignatius Cathedral. It looks beautiful. Maybe we’ll go to the City God Temple, and try to find some food somewhere nearby (what do vegetarians eat in Shanghai? I will need to do some research). The thought of sitting in a tiny, tranquil teahouse in Shanghai drinking my favourite thing in the world, tea, with my best friend in the world, appeals to me greatly. OK, so this isn’t the most finely honed weekend plan ever. But I think I’d like to let the city reveal itself to me rather than trying to extract an “experience” from it. Shanghai seems like a place where you wouldn’t need to go far to be transported.

  23. My perfect city break would be to go to Whanganui in New Zealand, a small, slightly shabby city that bestrides the deep and muddy Whanganui River. It has a rabid redneck mayor, but loads of redeeming qualities, if you look hard enough, such as a world-beating fashion design course and an uncompromising art and music scene nourished by incredibly cheap rent. I would take my two kids, K and N, and my partner, J. None of whom has been to Whanganui before. We’d stay on the main street in an old, splendidly dilapidated pre-19thC townhouse with high, light-filled rooms. We’d have breakfast at one of the idiosyncratic local cafes — strong, locally roasted coffee; eggs benedict with sourdough toast and jam — then we’d pack a picnic and go scampering on the black, windswept sands of Kai Iwi beach. Evening would be fish and chips overlooking the river, parked beside the monumental War Memorial Tower, perhaps listening to eletronic music pioneer and former Whanginuian Douglas Lilburn on the radio. The next day we might visit Bushy Park to explore its stately Edwardian mansion and acres of cool, dark native forest. Then off to Whanganui’s Sarjeant Art Gallery to be perplexed, startled and impressed by the local design students’creative efforts. The day would be rounded off by a jaunt with ice cream on PS Waimarie, a faintly preposterous paddle steamer.

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