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Hampshire: The Peat Spade Inn, Stockbridge

  Sometimes you just get lucky. A friend of a friend or a colleague or someone you know from somewhere recommends a place to stay and it looks good online so you book it. We’ve all been on the other end of this. Where you book someplace whose website looks marvelous and it ends up you saw the only flattering picture, or it’s next to a tip or is underwhelming or a bit smelly or just meh. But this past...

The luxury hotels that love bees

Honey makes the world go round. It’s not the usual way that phrase goes, but it was certainly the motto at The Joy of Bees, an immersive art installation that took place this month in Soho with the brilliant guys at Bompas & Parr along with Relais & Chateaux. At the event, you could drift from one room filled with a honeybee garden to another with a beekeeper from Bermondsey Street Bees talking about the...

Cotswolds: Staying at Cowley Manor with teens

Take my advice when you visit Cowley Manor. Even if the Isamu Noguchi table in the sitting room is a little ill-placed, don’t try to move it yourself. Even when you know the freeform glass top merely rests on the swiveling wooden legs and even when you think you’re being careful and it just needs a nudge, you won’t be able to predict how the table will move and inevitably the water tumbler, the potted succulent and...

Bath: A video room review of Bath Mill Lodge Retreat

Recently we did that rare thing for parents, we spent a weekend away just the two us. We went to Bath and stayed in the lovely Bath Mill Lodge Retreat, self-catering accommodation situated in a lovely little landscaped campus, just minutes by car from the city centre. We had breakfast and shopped at a fantastic farm shop nearby, hopped into city centre for sightseeing and dinner, then relaxed on our sofa with a cup...

England: Review of Bath Mill Lodge Retreat

My husband and I dropped our daughter off like a sack of potatoes at Granny and Grandpa’s before we turned up at Bath Mill Lodge. I would have felt a twinge of guilt, but that was the whole idea of our stay here: Have a cosy couple’s getaway with access to the delights of Bath.       We were here to try out the facilities for couples at this self-catering property in Newton St Loe just 3 miles...

Secret delights of Moliets, France, with Madame Vacances

  Moliets et Maa has a problem. The French beach destination is an hour and a half southeast of Bordeaux, and merely an hour north of Biarritz. It has pine forests, beaches, lakes, tennis and golf clubs, and cycle paths. There are enough activities to keep kids happy and exhausted for a week. The problem is that when you tell people you’re going, they invariably say, “Where?” so you have to...

Discovering a warm welcome in Camden Town #YoureWelcome

  As parents of a tween and teen, we’re always on the lookout for a particular kind of family welcome at hotels. It needs to acknowledge the kids as almost-adults and meet their “cool quotient”. At the same time, we need a grown-up, comfortable experience. Holiday Inn’s #YoureWelcome campaign highlights how the hotels encourage families (including “tired parents”,...

Video: Visiting St James’s Club Morgan Bay

We loved our recent trip to St James’s Club Morgan Bay — our first experience with a Caribbean all-inclusive resort. (You can read my written review of the resort here along with some pictures.) I’ll be posting soon about some of the amazing excursions we took around the island, from visiting an old plantation to snorkeling to making our own chocolate at Hotel Chocolat’s Rabot Estate. But I...

Review: St James’s Club Morgan Bay, St Lucia

Thursday we were taking it easy. That meant we woke up “late” — 8:30 — and ate breakfast at the restaurant overlooking the beach. We swam in the ocean, playing on the round tethered floats. We took waterskiing lessons. We idly wondered if 11:30 was too early to celebrate my successful ride around the entire bay without falling by ordering a St James’s Club Special with rum from the adults-only swim-up...

Wales: Review of Cefn Barn, Talgarth Wales

When it comes to booking accommodation, some people just got it. Take my friend Kathryn. She reliably books fantastic accommodation at all budget levels. She does the same things I do — uses Google, browses a few sites. But while my track record is lamentable, hers is stellar. I once arranged a hotel in Madrid that looked perfect online for a girls’ weekend. My friend Tula took one look at it when she...

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