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Wednesday 24 December 2014

Holiday Food Across the World with FlatClub

Enjoying this festive time of the year? So are we - but maybe not in the same way that you will!

The team at FlatClub comes from all over the world, so we've got varied traditions at this time of the year. We asked a few of our team members what they like to eat around this time of the year; after all, food brings us all together, and a big meal shared with friends & family is a universal celebration.

please click to see a larger version of this image
As you can see we all enjoy a special meal at the end of the year with our families & friends. It's something that can unite communities across the world - the love of family & the love of food.

What is your favorite holiday meal? Do you have any special traditions in your region of the world?

Tweet us @flatclubcom, or leave a comment on the blog!

Wednesday 17 December 2014

Make an Offer or Alternative Accommodation for a Guest

We love our hosts on FlatClub - we've created many new features in the past for their benefit. Take a browse through memory lane with our hosting articles, if you like. Our latest change will make receiving a booking all that much easier.
Sarah reviews her options after receiving a message from guest Kenny
Our newest feature for FlatClub hosts is the chance to offer a deal or alternative accommodation to guests. Generally we foresee this feature being used for messages or live requests where a booking has yet to be confirmed. Take a look on your own dashboard at your latest messages & live requests!

Offer a Deal
If you’re keen to get your room booked and you have interest from a guest but they need a little flexibility on price - now you can offer a deal. Give a bit of a discount that isn’t listed on your flat description, and it’s as easy to do as sending a message! That way you can guarantee your room gets booked for a period without having to formally lower your price.
Sarah offers guest Kenny a discount to secure his booking
Offer An Alternative
If you must turn a guest down for a specific property, you won’t necessarily lose their booking - as you may offer an alternative from the rest of your published flats. It can happen to any host, but it’s a great way to safeguard yourself if you’ve already booked a room & forgotten to update your calendar. Guests will appreciate the quick response & the ability to continue the booking process with you, painlessly.
Sarah offers her potential guest a different room when he requests one that is booked
We call these new features Offer a Deal or Alternative. It’s perfect for use when a particular flat isn’t available - hosts will have a drop down with all of their published flats to offer. Also great when you want to offer a deal in order to meet a guest’s budget - wonderful for when you want to fill some space in your calendar.

You’ll be given the option to Offer a Deal or Alternative in your messaging threads on FlatClub, including messages & live booking requests.

Top 5 Parks in Notting Hill

Take some time out in Notting Hill greenery and get back to nature. Looking for a place to stay in Notting Hill? FlatClub can help you find the perfect inexpensive room in Notting Hill. Once you've found it, take a break in one of these parks!

Hyde Park - 350 acres of beautiful park in Central London, Hyde Park is a shining gem in the capital city. You can boat on the Serpentine, enjoy food in the cafe, and do a spot of bird-watching.

Kensington Gardens - All sorts of lovely gardens abound in Kensington Gardens - the Italian gardens specifically are quite spectacular to see. There are some nice memorials & a statue of Peter Pan for good photo ops.

Holland Park - Spread across the grounds of a mansion that was damaged by World War II, Holland Park has an interesting collaborative garden with Kyoto in Japan. Enjoy the beautiful Japanese inspired garden and take a moment to remember.

Porchester Square - A lovely garden in Notting Hill with ornamental bedding displays, this one may be a bit more quiet so a good choice if you want to get away from the crowd.

St James's Gardens - A quiet place of rest for many Londoners, this cemetery is a respectful area with some further reaching grounds. A great spot for photography if you’re into that sort of thing, as well.

Tuesday 16 December 2014

Top 5 Notting Hill Coffee Shops

So you're waking up in your comfortable, well located flat in Notting Hill (care of FlatClub, of course) and you need caffeine. There are 5 coffee shops we know of that do a mean cappuccino. Which one is your favorite?

Books for Cooks - Books for cooks is a unique shop cum cafe, where you can purchase a vast assortment of cookbooks (from many nations) and sample a bite or two from the books themselves, cooked in the back cozy kitchen! Of course there’s also coffee & tea on tap, so if you’re looking for a cool gift for a chef & a nice way to spend an afternoon, Books for Cooks could be the place.

Talkhouse Coffee - Some of the loveliest coffee in all of Notting Hill! Not only that, but they have St Johns amazing doughnuts in stock - get there early, and I recommend a custard doughnut & a latte. The avocado toast & chili is also nice!

Teanamu Chaya Teahouse - An interesting experience - a tea house inside of someone’s home in a scenic Notting Hill neighborhood! Enjoy a great cuppa in the Chinese style of tea ceremony, with some delicate bites alongside. This is independent in the truest sense - a business being run from home! Support it, gain the experience & knowledge, and learn more about tea.

Granger & Co. - Great coffee & amazing brunch is available at this Australian cookbook author’s caff. The coffee is Allpress, nice & strong. Get some ricotta pancakes & a hot cappuccino once you’re nearby!

Gail’s Artisan Bakery - A lovely environment with lots of windows to let in light, this bakery also makes a mean cup of coffee. Get yourself one of the espresso-based drinks with regular or soy milk, and then top yourself off with a sandwich or a pastry like the classic brownie.

Monday 15 December 2014

Top 5 Notting Hill Restaurants

Notting Hill is a famous area of London - it's lovely to visit, so it makes sense! At FlatClub we have quite a few flats in Notting Hill. When you're staying in one of our great properties, you'll need to eat - these are our 5 recommendations in the area.

The Ledbury - The Ledbury is an exceptionally classy Modern European restaurant in Notting Hill. With 2 Michelin stars to it’s name, the delicious food won’t come cheap, but it will be amazing. The tasting menu is our suggestion - go on a romantic evening out or to celebrate a big event! A forewarning though, picky eaters might have some trouble with the menu - but why not branch out and experiment?

Otto - Sure, it’s not easy to find gluten free pizza in London. Even harder, perhaps, to find dairy free pizza in London. Otto can help you sort that out with a great, varied menu that can keep even pizza-fans with dietary limitations happy! Perhaps the coolest thing is the option to order by the slice - surprisingly not common in London, it’s a great opportunity to try many pizzas.

The Shed - Neo British cuisine with a lot of unique features, the Shed is well on the way to becoming a destination restaurant in Notting Hill. Ran by some down-home brothers from Sussex, they serve hearty food with some rather interesting twists.

Nama Artisan Raw Foods - Vegan in London? Luckily you have plenty of options, but one that is sure to set your heart a-flutter is Nama. Not only vegan, but plenty of raw options as well - so very healthy! You can even get cheesecakes & tacos - but of course, raw & vegan. Those are our recommendations.

The Electric Diner - Exciting options in Notting Hill for American diner fare - so expect some delicious burgers, sandwiches, and fried sides. Worth noting that there is also a cinema here, and you can bring in food you’ve bought from the diner into the theatre - in case you don’t have time to eat before the show.

Thursday 11 December 2014

FlatClub Wins Standout Success at Elevator Pitch Awards

Last Tuesday evening, FlatClub was proud to take home the Standout Success award for the 2014 Elevator Pitch Awards, hosted by TechCityNews.

The consideration for this award was FlatClub acquiring Google as a client, our $1.5 million investment success, and our over-all improved revenues & user numbers going into 2015.

We're in great company this year as other startups who took home awards included such interesting ventures as NightZookeeper & KarismaKidz, both startups with a focus on children & helping to improve their academic & emotional growth. We're proud to stand next to them as startups accepting kudos from TechCityNews.

The awards that were given out are futuristic & well-designed 3D printed trophies provided by Wonderluk, which also creates 3D printed jewelry. It was an amazing night to spend among other startups with an atmosphere of camaraderie and improving our community & world together.

“While we weren’t expecting to win an award necessarily, when I thought about it I realized it really did follow the trajectory of FlatClub in the last year. We’ve had an amazing 12 months and I think the hard work that the entire team, including our hosts, have put in is why we’re considered a standout success.” said Alex Spencer, our host recruitment manager who attended the ceremony.
If you're interested in hosting on FlatClub and acquiring your own high quality guest from Google, find more info on our hosting portal. Or, if you’re interested in winning a competition of your own - we have the largest list of UK startup competitions, some still going on in this final month of 2014! Check back in 2015 for an updated database.

Wednesday 10 December 2014

2015 Colour of the Year In Your Flat

Have you heard what Pantone's colour trend prediction is for the upcoming year? If not, we're happy to be able to break the news to you: the colour of 2015 is Marsala, a lovely wine brown neutral that can put to great use as a home decor tone!

Marsala wall art & rug displayed in Ann's FlatClub flat
The earthy & grounding aspects of the shade means that it can easily integrate into any room in your flat. The calming & homey nature of the colour will also put your guests at ease.

An easy way to bring the 2015 colour of the year into your rental is through kitchenware - things such as display fruit bowls, dinner plates, and mugs. Look out for branded Pantone marsala mugs soon!

 If you're in the market to purchase a small appliance for your kitchen, many do come in a marsala shade. Look for 'wine red' coffee makers, hand blenders, and food processors. A small tea-towel will also do the trick in a clean, modern kitchen.

In the bathroom, a soap dish or a large bath towel is a chic way to tie marsala into the furnishings.

Burgundy red marsala highlights throughout Margarida's living room
In the living room a lovely display would be flowers with tones of wine, red, and brown - the main hues that make up marsala. Dark roses, brown chrysanthemums, and wine colored orchids make for a lovely autumnal bouquet that will bring to mind marsala. You could also use a marsala vase with contrasting light-colored flowers, or a marsala rug underneath your table.

Wine & brown marsala shades complement Imran's Private Room on FlatClub
Another interesting way to include marsala in your flat is through a welcome mat - set it outside & you'll be tying together your entire home, inside & out.

Want help getting your beautiful, on-trend flat listed on our site? Visit our hosting portal for more information & our personal assistance on offer!

Saturday 6 December 2014

5 Things to Do in Canary Wharf

Canary Wharf sometimes gets a bad reputation as being a bit dull. Sure, there are lots of offices in Canary Wharf, some chain restaurants, and on the surface it might appear to be a bit boring - however, look a bit closer and you'll find plenty to do! It's also an excellent place to stay while you explore the rest of London due to the convenience of transport here, and the modern fixtures that are common in this area of the city that may be harder to find elsewhere in London. We've got lots of places to stay in Canary Wharf.

Read on for interesting things to do in Canary Wharf that you may have missed.

Museum of London Docklands - Free entry, this museum goes over the growth of the Docklands area and the revitalization of the River Thames. It wasn’t always a banker’s paradise, and in fact the area has a rich & interesting history. You can walk through a reproduction of a historical dock area, with costumed actors telling stories about life in that era!

Public Art Collection - There is lots of art publicly on display in Canary Wharf, so just having a wander around will net some interesting photography shots and perhaps even give you something to think about. The website linked will give you a bit of an overview of what to look for.

Surrey Docks Farm - A farm so near Canary Wharf? Well, it’s true! Children especially enjoy the opportunity to hang out with some donkeys, cows, and pigs. Another very cool feature on this working farm is the blacksmith - it’s the only farm in the city where a blacksmith will put on live demonstrations. It’s certainly an interesting craft that few of us have ever seen done in person!

Balfron Tower - Balfron Tower was an intriguingly designed social housing project that has many unique architectural features. While the former residents have been moved out now to make way for a more upmarket tenant (Canary Wharf’s property values have, of course, skyrocketed since the 1960s) for now it has been converted into a temporary museum of sorts. You can explore the inside of the building, and see the way the architect would’ve lived upon the time of it’s construction.

Pumphouse Educational Museum - Originally in use to pump water from the River Thames, this building has been converted into a museum - perhaps the only one in the world housed in a former pumphouse? Outside of the museum there is also a lovely green park to visit - it’s all just about 15 minutes out of Canary Wharf walking.

Thursday 4 December 2014

Top 5 Nightlife Spots in Canary Wharf

There's plenty to do in Canary Wharf after the work day ends - with so many professionals working here, there must be something to entertain them! Wine fans will have a field day, as will cocktail & steak aficionados. Take a look at your options and choose one that suits you to party all night. Or, at least, at happy hour.

Boisdale - Boisdale in Canary Wharf has some of your classic seafood like lobsters & oysters to celebrate with, and there is plenty of seating for large crowds. You can also indulge in a ‘whiskey flight’, take in some cigar tasting, and eat a steak. Sort of a classy Mad Men night out.

First Edition - If you’re a wine fan, and who isn’t, this is the place for you in Canary Wharf. Not only is there a great wine selection, the food isn’t half bad either! The cheese platter is particularly excellent - especially when paired with the right wine.

Rum & Sugar - Great cocktails with a particular focus on rum, so expect fruity & curiously strong tropical flavors as you go - but there are other styles, too. This is also a venue for some live music & good food - we recommend the pork belly.

Davy’s - Lovely food, and of course a strong wine collection are the hallmarks of this wine bar. Full of well-decorated & ornate objects, it’s got a nice atmosphere and would be a great place to celebrate a special occasion.

All Bar One - A chain throughout the UK, this branch of All Bar One is often quite busy with wharf workers. There are cocktails on the menu to suit every taste, and the food is of good standard. Plenty of seating and counter top space makes this, while crowded, an easy one to enjoy a night out in. The drinks are nice & inexpensive, as well.

Wednesday 3 December 2014

Top 5 Coffee Shops in Canary Wharf

The working masses of Canary Wharf need to stay caffeinated - whether you're working hard or using Canary Wharf as a base of exploration for London, coffee is the way to go. Canary Wharf has options, all the ones you'd expect and some special cafes to look out for - here is a list of great coffee shops in Canary Wharf.

Taylor St Baristas - Part of the small UK chain that is gaining momentum against the omni-present international chains, Taylor St Baristas has some great cakes in addition to delicious, bold espresso. The food has a Antipodean tint to it, so expect Anzac biscuits & Lamingtons. Go with either and enjoy that dark, rich cappacinno all the more.

Paul - Paul is also a chain, but one that definitely puts quality highest on it’s priority list! The coffees are always well done, and the pastries are done in a classic (and delicious) French style. Almond croissant & a latte is certain to make you feel awake in the morning!

Café Brera - This one is well known for being a spot where business gets done - your fellow coffee-drinkers are closing deals left & right as you sip your latte. There are also some nice little lunch options like pizza, and your more standard coffeehouse fare. Juices & smoothies are also available for the more health conscious!

Crussh - Want a break from just straight up coffee? Crussh can give you a much healthier boost in the morning with their fresh juices & smoothies! There are also plenty of food options including lovely salads & porridge pots.

Apostrophe - The founders of Apostrophe wanted to find a cafe that had both coffee and food that had great taste and quality, so they decided to start their own. With a friendly staff and fresh items on the menu, you could possibly spend all day here! And don’t forget the great music as well.

Ready to get out there and see Canary Wharf? Find a place to stay at FlatClub!

Tuesday 2 December 2014

Top 5 Restaurants in Canary Wharf

Canary Wharf is full of restaurants - lots of options, and while things can be a bit expensive in this financial centre of London, there are also deals to be had! Whether you're looking for cheese, sandwiches, or Japanese cuisine - Canary Wharf has something for you.

Birley’s Salt Beef Bar - Want big, full-size American style sandwiches? You can make due with this place in Canary Wharf and their piled-high lunch options. The roast pork belly is as good of a choice as the namesake salt beef. Don’t forget your gherkin on the side!

Obika Mozzarella Bar, Canary Wharf - Mozzarella is their specialty, but don’t be fooled into thinking this is just a cheese-shop in disguise! Full service with wine as well, this restaurant has a few options - with a heart of creamy mozzarella. Pasta & salads, as well as pizza that all can circle back around to the freshly-shipped in mozzarella in some form. Great stuff & a fun location!

Roka - Amazing sushi & other modern Japanese dishes, Roka has been a top choice for a long time - and for good reason. The miso black cod is a classic dish that you’d be remiss not to try if you’re heading to Roka, and the desserts are unique & all very good. We also suggest trying to get in for the all-you-can eat Sunday brunch - don’t be scared off by the buffet style dining, it’s extremely well-regarded and your main course is still made to order in the kitchen!

Amerigo Vespucci - Great Italian with a lovely view of Canary Wharf - get a patio seat in nice weather! An independent restaurant here, which isn’t necessarily common, that’s been going since 17 years ago. Short rib risotto is of particular note for us, and so is the scallops & calamari picante dish.

Plateau - Great cocktails & an excellent view - isn’t that what Canary Wharf is all about? Of course the food is nothing to sneeze at either, with modern French cuisine taking the front. Great beef & exciting desserts make this place a good choice for a celebration.

Found something you like? Book a place to stay in Canary Wharf!

Monday 1 December 2014