Category Archives: hotels

September 14

Burgundy, reloaded.

PROLOGUE I have form with Burgundy. I’ve been here before, the last visit almost 14 years ago, at the time of my 40th birthday. That particular trip was with a man who turned out not to be The One. It seems no time at all since that memorable birthday lunch at L’Espérance, back in 2002. […]

August 25

André Garrett at Cliveden House.

Shall we go to Cliveden, I say to C, who is sitting on the chair in the kitchen, playing with his phone.  I am sitting at the kitchen table, preparing a schedule of mortgage requirements for a new client. Unsurprisingly, the tedium is leading me to thoughts of escape. There are only so many times […]

May 20

The Wild Rabbit. Not wild and no rabbit.

“Can I have some of the vegetable curry”, said the man next to me at the Farmers’ Market. The voice sounded familiar. “Oh and some of the rice too, please”. I looked sideways. It was David Cameron. I suppose I was asking for it, hovering round the Farmers’ Market on a Saturday morning in Chipping Norton. […]

November 08

Maison Troigros Part I : The Hotel

I had wanted to stay in one of the  Grand-Design-like futuristic pods at  Les Cadoles, part of the Troigros empire, not half an hour away from the restaurant. But after the Fishermen’s Huts in Whitstable I was pushing my luck. We didn’t notice the large dent on the car door, nor the big scrape,  or rather C […]

October 17

The Colony Grill Room. Ticking every box.

He’s keeping a close eye on it, is Mr King. So far I’ve been during the soft opening, for two breakfasts (not together) and a rather leisurely lunch and he’s been there twice, doing that thing he does, welcoming you at the door in that charming yet slightly intimidating way, as he towers over you, making sure that […]

Champneys Forest Mere. Part 2. The fairytale continues.

Having changed room 5 times, I was not predisposed to love the rest of the resort and as my companion so rightly pointed out, it’s like a bad relationship. Once you’ve decided it’s not for you, you can’t help but find fault. We are in the dead days between Xmas and new year and there […]

December 29

Champneys Forest Mere. A fairy tale. Grim.

Part 1: The accommodation . It sounded like a good idea. I’d tried to persuade my companion to choose Grayshott, my spa of choice, but she was adamant. It’s too old, Grayshott, too staid. This is younger, more dynamic, she said Better, even. She’s very forceful, my companion and I give in. First impressions were […]

Outlaw’s Seafood and Grill at The Capital Hotel

Really, I could sum it up in a sentence. Great food, dull room, small portions. If you’d like to hear me elaborate on that, please do feel free to carry on reading. We fancied this, because we wanted somewhere grown-up and quiet. I’m still recovering from a major life event and I’m not in the […]

Gilpin Lodge. Great hotel, shame about the food.

I was meant to be in India, but things didn’t work out as planned and I still wanted to do something to mark my 50th birthday. The Lake District. Not quite as exotic as I’d hoped but it was unavoidable in the circumstances And we booked L’Enclume for the actual big day but thought we’d […]

For grown-ups. Hélène Darroze, at The Connaught

Really, I didn’t need nine courses.  It was sheer piggery.  I could have had six courses and really, I should have done, but you know how it is and to use the famous quote, I can resist everything except temptation.