Who Says That Bro-mance Is Dead?: A Guide To The Best Boys' Weekends In 2017
It's hard to beat a good old-fashioned "bro-mance". From the enduring friendship of Geordie duo, Ant and Dec, to the mega-watt Hollywood power couplings of Matt Damon and Ben Affleck and George Clooney and Brad Pitt, man's best friend, is clearly another man. While most women dream of their other half whisking them away for a romantic break, it seems that men would just as soon take a trip with their mates. While stag dos are the usual (and best) excuse for going on a boys weekend, they do tend to be an extended pub crawl around a city with ruination a necessary by-product. Essentially, if you are not a complete and utter mess, you haven't done it properly. But at the risk of sounding stereotypical (I have heard rumours of "quiet" stag dos), if girls can do a luxurious and stylish weekend away, so can the boys. Here are our three best cities to enjoy the ultimate in no-girls-allowed holidays, and a few swish and flash places to rest your weary head.
Fancy a pint in Prague?
Ok, we said stylish and swish, but let's face it, when you are going away you have to sample the authentic culture; and in the Czech Republic one of their biggest exports is beer. So rather than taking yet another trip down to your local, why not sup a Budvar in the beautiful city of Prague. Pilsner was even invented here and there are plenty of opportunities to learn about the history of brewing, as well as sampling some of the best ales this stunning city has to offer in local pubs and breweries. Perhaps the fact the locals call it "liquid bread" is the reason you can even buy a beer for breakfast, (although remember this is a classy holiday).
Boscolo Autograph collection: This five-star hotel is located right in the city centre, which means you are a walk away from all the great history and sights Prague has to offer, as well as all the bars, pubs, restaurants and maybe shopping (guys have been known to do that right?). If you decide to stay in the hotel you can enjoy their lovely spa and swimming pool or have a drink in the cigar bar which is the only bar I know of which is placed in an old bank vault - giving another meaning to the term "liquid bread". Buddha Bar Prague: Even closer to the centre is this lovely luxurious 5 star hotel with an even cooler name. This really high-tech hotel boasts a huge standalone bathtub with a built-in TV in the mirror, rainshower and fancy toilet with remote control (surely the ultimate dream!). The living room boasts Bang & Olufsen TV, huge minibar and nespresso coffee machine. ICON hotel Prague: Here is your chance to sleep like the Swedish royal family; on a Hastens bed. If you love your sleep, or sleeping it off, these are premium beds and they are in each one of the rooms. The best rooms even have mattresses made from horsehair. It's going to be a real struggle leaving that bed but the good news is that when you do, there is a cool bar waiting for you downstairs as well as wonderful pubs and restaurants in the surrounding streets. This hotel might not be a 5 star, but it is about as nice a 4 star as you are ever likely to stay in, situated in the city centre but advantageously located on one of the quieter side streets.
We've got plenty of Prague flights to get you to the Czech Republic capital in around two hours from London.
Berlin will take your breath away
Apologies for the 1980s rock pun, but with a cutting-edge club scene, bars to die for and restaurants serving up more sausages than you can shake a cocktail stick at; when it comes to a cool boys weekend, Berlin is hard to beat. It's a city like nowhere else, and despite it's size, surprisingly quiet - Berlin is the opposite of pretentious! Along with all the usual sights, the Berlin Wall "death strip" where guards used to patrol, is definitely worth a look, along with the Holocaust memorial, Brandenburg Gate and the Alexanderplatz (or Alex as the locals dub it); a large public square in the central Mitte district of Berlin. A short walk from the Berlin Nordenbahnhof is the Berlin Wall Memorial where there is a viewing deck at the Gedenkstätte Berliner Mauer (museum). Up the road from the viewing deck is the Mauerpark Berlin where there is normally a massive Sunday session going on if the weather is decent.
There is a mini-Glastonbury vibe about it with some live acts, people having barbecues and drinking. In terms of restaurants, Fleischerei, is pretty decent. It used to be an old abbotoir and butchers and does incredible steak. Not cheap - but worth it for the food. Where clubbing is concerned the rule of thumb is that I wouldn't bother trying to go out until at least 2am and look to go well into the next day. The best clubs are not your average UK superclub; they’re derelict mansions and disused swimming pools that have now been turned into unreal clubbing venues. It’s dirty but incredible, leave your shirt and shoes firmly at home or you won’t get in. KaterHolzig is in a dilapidated mansion by the river and has an incredible outdoor area where you can party well into the following afternoon - this is THE place to be in Berlin. Tresor is also recommended and housed in a disused power station. And of course the famous Berghain; difficult to get into but worth a visit if you can.
All of our swish suggestions are located in the heart of Berlin, surrounded by bars as well as famous sights and shopping streets (should the need arise). Also they place you in the perfect location for clubbing (and getting home afterwards!). Hotel de Rome: This five-star hotel located in a historic building on Berlin's Bebelplatz Square offers gourmet cuisine and a luxury spa with a 20-metre swimming pool. The historic Unter den Linden Boulevard is close by and this elegant hotel also has a fantastic roof top terrace where you have an amazing view over Berlin Mitte. The Mandala Hotel : Located on Berlin's exhilarating Potsdamer Platz, the 5-star hotel is all about purist luxury, elegant style and sleek design. Right in the heart of Berlin, you can kick off your trip in the Qiu bar, or outside on the summer terrace. It also boasts the amazing ONO spa, where you can relax in the sauna or steam bath, or even use the fitness centre if there are any gym-freaks in the group. Eurostars Berlin: A spectacular hotel located right on the historic Friedrichstrasse, which is well know for elegant shopping and amazing sightseeing. I can't think of a better way to start a weekend then relaxing in the roof-top pool after the flight.
We've got plenty of Berlin flights to choose from, and the journey takes just under two hours from London.
Experience a little parklife in Amsterdam
It's got canals, museums and of course it would be rude not to mention the Red Light District; but it also has a host of stunning parks in which to relax, drink and eat. The perfect place to recover from a night on the tiles. Visit the Westerpark, where they have parties at night, along with good food. The Vondelpark is also lively day and night, and throughout the summer there are a host of festivals to dip in and out of. Of course, sipping a beer while watching the canal boats go by is the perfect chilled day, and there are plenty of tours available should you want to take to the water. In terms of sampling a bit of culture, the Dutch city has this in spades, with the world-famous Van Gogh Museum hosting a special retrospective this year. There is also the Rijksmuseum, the national museum and of course the Anne Frank House, which was recently in the headlines thank's to Justin Beiber's "interesting" guest book message. Amsterdam is also famous for its coffee shop culture, and more "relaxed" laws, check out this handy guide to coffeeshop etiquette, should this be on your agenda. The Red Light District, one of the oldest parts of Amsterdam, has long tried to move away from its seedier image, so is definitely worth checking out to see whether some of the stereotypes are true.
Staying there: NH Barbizon Palace: This fabulous five-star is opposite Central Station, meaning you are within walking distance to bars, restaurants and of course the Red Light District. Amsterdam Marriott Hotel: This 5* hotel borders the Leidseplein Entertainment Area, which is full of bars and restaurants. A modern hotel with a great grill restaurant, a gym and a cigar room for those who love the finer things in life. Located next to Central Station, this brand new building has an iMac system in all the rooms which functions both as a TV and computer. This four-star hotel has the brilliant SkyBar on the top floor, with views all over town and great cocktails. SIR Albert: Amsterdam’s newest four-star boutique hotel is located in the Theatre District. There are loads of local bars and restaurants around and the hotel has its own Japanese fusion restaurant which is already the talk of the town! Getting there: Book your flights to Amsterdam and you'll soon be enjoying the sights - the air time is around one hour from London.
Where would you go for a classic boys's weekend?
These are just our top three recommendations. Maybe you want to take the tour further afield and think Las Vegas is the daddy of all weekends (The Hangover film franchise has made it onto the silver screen as a trilogy after all). Or perhaps you might want to step into the footballers' boots for a luxury sun-soaked weekend in Dubai. Check out our weekend city breaks page for more suggestions, and if you have a personal favourite, let us know by leaving a comment below.