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AMANOI HOTEL – VIETNAM

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We arrive once night has drawn in, so the surprise of our surroundings keeps us guessing until the morning. It’s just our room and the main pavilion, complete with bar, lounge, library and restaurant space, to fuel our imaginations of what else is to come. We settle with the dirtiest of martinis at the long, richly stocked bar: dimly lit, elegant and so enticing that we need prompting to head over to our table for our evening meal. We have the option to dine either inside or out on the terrace that, in daylight, shares generous views of the dramatic mountainous landscape and cliff edges that drop to the East Sea.

The menu predominantly champions local Vietnamese cuisine. The executive chef talks us through the day’s freshly caught specialities and, with little persuasion we take his lead. Clay pots, banana leaf wrapped fish delicately barbecued and marinated in an array of spices, king prawns cooked in crab fat, seafood and seaweed congee, mango and papaya salads, the list goes on. There’s a full vegetarian menu, plus a generous nod to American and Italian cuisine. It’s apparent no request or demand is too large. We of course have none as the staff and teams working around us second guess our every move, not that we’d know it!

There’s an overwhelming sense of refined perfection. Design symmetry, architectural cohesion, neutral interiors are all sympathetic to the lush surroundings of the protected Nui Chua National Park. Everything is subtly pleasing to the eye. The enormously high tented ceiling of the main pavilion is replicated throughout all thirty nine private villas. Space, light and exteriors all point you in the direction of dramatic vistas and landscapes. Our pavilion, palatial and entirely private, gives on to the most beautiful lake view, where the sun sets just beyond. Complete with infinity pool, it’s a hard task to drag ourselves away just to see what else the Amanoi has to offer. When we finally do, it’s a golf buggy that carts us around over 42 hectares that the Amanoi discreetly occupies. From the cliff top infinity pool, that’s empty every time we visit, down to the private stretch of beach, beach infinity pool, to the spa and main restaurant.

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For anyone with a keen eye for design and attention to detail, this is your place. The level of detail is exquisite: not just in the artfully stylised interiors but in every aspect of your experience.

The spa too goes above and beyond. An open pavilion takes centre stage of the lake. You can take a morning class here, or simply indulge in a treatment in one of the numerous treatment rooms dotted in the greenery that surrounds the lake. At every turn there are iced teas, chilled towels and a menu for any extras is on hand. There is a jacuzzi and steam room complemented by an ice-fountain and cold plunge pool. The extensive spa menu includes specialised massage techniques and treatments so whether it’s a one off treatment or a carefully calibrated program, the Aman has it skilfully covered.

After the most incredible five day stay we consider how any other hotel will fare against such service and surroundings. We’ll positively look back on our honeymoon and speak of this vacation as the most indulgent we’ve done, feeling extremely lucky and completely spoilt.

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THE BALMORAL – EDINBURGH

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I recently experienced Edinburgh for the first time and had the pleasure of residing at the incredible centre-point to the city; The Balmoral. We began our food trail in the hotel’s Palm Court. The glass-domed ceiling dominates the central court and is studded with palm trees in all corners. White linen and endless silverware compliment the delicate pastries, scones and teapots arriving at every table. This serene spot is the ideal welcome after a lengthy four and half hour commute.

The Balmoral’s flagship, and Michelin starred, restaurant ‘Number One’ is what ultimately brings us to Edinburgh. A restaurant that has impressively retained its star for the past fifteen years, nonetheless. The dish that we come to sample took a full eighteen months in the making, marking and setting president for everything the hotel and restaurant represents: authentic, Scottish and artisan. ‘Balmoral Whisky Smoked Salmon’ is sourced from the unspoilt waters of the surrounding Shetland coast. The smoking process is a long-term collaboration with the Belhaven smokehouse in Dunbar, which means the head chef, Brian Grigor, has a very hands on approach and close relationship when it comes to concocting the celebrated dish. They’ve also partnered with the team and whisky ambassadors at The Balmoral’s ‘Scotch’ bar, home to over five hundred whisky varieties (meaning that they know a thing or two about Scottish whiskies). The whisky barrel chips, made from single malt whisky casks (previously used to age whisky) work in complimenting the salmon and giving it its distinctive edge.

The Smoked Salmon, quails egg, lemon butter, and caviar relies on this age old process of smoking to set this salmon apart. This delicate dish arrives in a glass cloche of its very own whisky infused smoke.

The family-run smokehouse, which we take a tour of, demonstrates the level of attention to detail needed in order to produce this uniquely ‘Balmoral’ smoked salmon. And how special it is too; delicate and smooth on the palette, with a hint of smoked whisky, we devour every bite. The entire meal, all four courses plus the addition of a cheese board, (the selection looked too good not to) had us chomping at the bit for more. Scallop Cock-a-leekie was followed by fillet of Scotch beef. All complete perfection in appearance and flavour. These refined dishes are testament to the attention to detail and quality produce used. In terms of craftsmanship the pinnacle (after the salmon) has to be the Balmoral Bees’ Pear and Honey. An iridescent perfectly formed pear arrives at the table. Cast from sugar and filled with the most incredible honey, cream and pear, which makes for quite the spectacle. We’re impressed! Post cheese, which is entirely heavenly, we’re offered free rein of the sweets’ trolley; handmade confectionary, pulled sugar sweets galore is presented but, full beyond comfort, we have to turn it away. In hindsight we should have packed our pockets full if the rest of the meal was anything to go by. Service here is exemplary: the sommelier a pleasure to have return to the table between courses, generously imparting all wine knowledge in pairing each course.

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For a more informal experience of this incredible salmon, and in its most simplistic form, we venture to Hadrian’s brasserie, on the ground floor of the hotel. The salmon trolley with an assortment of fresh accompaniments lets this dish speak for itself. Freshly baked bread, shallots, capers and lemon juice fill our plates alongside generous portions of this specialist smoked salmon. We also can’t leave without sampling the haggis: which I already knew would be delicious!

The hospitality of everyone at the hotel and restaurants was truly friendly and welcoming until the moment we departed. What a treat of a weekend!

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RAFFLES HOTEL -SINGAPORE

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Raffles hotel is a vast colonial sugar lump in the centre of Singapore known to the locals as the ‘Grand Old Lady’. Representing a time gone by, she sits central to the rest of Singapore’s landscape, which has grown and changed around her. The juxtaposition between old and new only cements her grandeur. Starting out as a private beach house in the 1830’s means Raffles is steeped in history and many of the original features remain. By 1887, change was afoot when the Sarkies brothers leased the property and turned it into a high-end ten-room boutique hotel naming it after Singapore’s founder Sir Stamford Raffles. It’s these first ten rooms where we stay overlooking the central gardens. Over the last century Raffles has continued to grow and now boasts one hundred and three suites, expanding the hotel tenfold. Part of Raffles’ success as the most prestigious and lavish hotel in Singapore can be attributed to those who frequented it with acclaimed writers, musicians and royalty having all passed through. The renowned Singapore Sling, once created as a way for high society women to consume alcohol, was first served at the Raffles Long Bar which continues to draws visitors from near and far. For the community of Singapore it’s the one place where you can freely litter, Raffles positively encourages you to dispose of the monkey nut shells across the floor (in the bar only) which everyone eagerly partakes in. Droves really do flock to sample one of the worlds most classic drinks from the very bar it was created.

Within the mahogany and whitewash villas that make up the hotel are endless corridors that form the main courtyard. The rooms are luxuriously spacious, all with lounge and private dining areas offering a feeling of home once inside.

Burdened by jetlag I wake at three and watch the clock desperate for time to fast forward so we can begin to explore the city and start our day before later boarding the Eastern and Oriental Express. It occurs to me that days don’t get much better than this! At six on the dot I’m in the pool, it’s still dark and we’re surrounded by both gloomy clouds and modern skyscrapers. I make the husband sit poolside on watch, patiently counting my lengths so I’m not alone. The silent leafy oasis rests amongst the city so beautifully it doesn’t quite feel real. As the sun rises and daylight is upon us, the pool seductively reflects its surroundings; this really is an incredible sight. With a busy schedule ahead we head back to our palatial accommodation, pack and head for breakfast. Raffles Tiffin restaurant offers both traditional dishes as well as the European and American style breakfasts. I sample the Nasi Lemak; coconut rice served with fried egg, Ikan Kuning (yellow fish), dried anchovies and peanuts plus deep fried chicken, cucumber and sambal chilli which comes as a chef’s recommendation. The Vegetarian rewards his gym visit with French toast; it arrives an impressive inch and a half thick and is surprising light. He scoffs it before I even get a chance to steal a mouthful. The excitement for all the many more Asian meals I’ll be devouring over the rest of our trip feels like the most brilliant prospect right now!

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Curry on Sunday was an essential aspect of colonial life in the early 20th century and with Raffles Singapore has been serving it since 1899. To recognise this tradition the main dining room was officially named Tiffin Room in 1976 and serves a North Indian Curry buffet which judging by the hustle and bustle is hugely popular amongst locals and tourists alike. The Vegetarian really comes into his own here. The majority of the dishes served are vegetarian and he gets to really indulge in a rich vibrant plethora of flavourful curries. Vibrant green matter paneer, hohlapuri baigan masala, tandoor roasted aubergine with coconut, peanut and sesame seeds, dal makhani, overnight cooked black lentils with tomato, butter and cream. The list goes on. There are endless chutneys, salads, pickles and breads plus many meat curries. There is a charming sense of occasion to the hotel on a Sunday. The hotel itself is strikingly beautiful and is entirely seducing. For anyone with an occasion to celebrate or just for those wanting to indulge, Raffles is the place to stay and is renowned the world over. It’s absolutely one for the bucket list!

Despite our fleeting visit of just two days in Singapore, we venture out to The Gardens by the Bay and wander the Cloud Forest, The Flower Dome and swing by the Maxwell Road Hawker Centre to sample traditional street food. Not knowing where the best food is we copy the locals and join the longest queue we can find ordering what everyone else seems happy to wait for. Haiwanese chicken and rice seems to be the big seller here, with the popular stall catering for a never-ending queue.

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CABOCHON HOTEL – BANGKOK

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Ahead of travelling to the giant metropolis that is Bangkok my initial concern is finding a hotel to retreat back to from the hustle and bustle. Somewhere that once I’m done exploring I’m happy to come back to swim and sip a cocktail or two before heading back out. I’m not the biggest fan of enormous sky-high hotels of which Bangkok has plenty so my search is already beginning to narrow. Planning a multi destination honeymoon also adds extra pressure to make each stopover as special as the one before where you’re in love with your surroundings as much as your newlywed.

The Cabochon is the answer to all of the criteria above and more. This is a beautiful designed and crafted boutique hotel. Every inch has been engineered to be in keeping with the overall rich colonial vibe. Decadent carerra marble sweeps across the floors and halfway up the walls with small interjections from black and white floor tiles. The hotel in places feels almost like a museum with artefacts mounted on walls and displayed in glass cases. This is definitely luxury with a personal touch; from the Louis Vuitton trunk used as part of the breakfast buffet to the gold bamboo cutlery. You can’t help but wish you could take a little or all of it home.

The bedrooms are equally pleasing with a crisp, clean aesthetic and the odd splash of black. Lemongrass oils burn in the dimly lit hallways and also in your bathroom. The pool which sits proudly on the roof of the building has the calm and serenity we’re after. Minimal in it’s design it runs the length of the building with just enough room for a dozen or so sun beds. The dining room is equally as pleasing, combining wood panelling along the walls with muted black wooden tables and chairs. A touch of tradition comes through in the chinaware sharing beautiful blue floral motifs along with the eye catching gold intricately designed cutlery. Every table set up is fit for a magazine shoot, as is every corner of the hotel.

Located in the trendy Thonglor district, The Cabochon is clearly aimed at those with a keen appreciation for design. It may lack the awe inspiring views of some of the city’s mega-hotels but it more than makes up for it by offering a unique and personal design led hotel experience.

LIME WOOD HOTEL

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Lime Wood sits neatly within the rural ideal that is the New Forest. The quintessential manor house is perched high amongst thick forest, rolling hills and is surrounded by wild horses who are free to wander the roads that lead the way to the hotel.

After a long three hour drive from London we finally arrive. It’s raining and the sky is completely grey to the point of being almost white. The terrible weather seems almost irrelevant as we proceed down the winding track and approach the grand regency era estate with excitement. In turn the incessant rain and howling winds make for the perfect excuse to indulge and bed in for the coming days. We’re relieved to arrive to numerous open fires and a hearty lunch ahead of us. The lengthy drive making it seem all the more deserving.

The hotel doesn’t feel dark nor dowdy as some traditional manor houses can; but feels bright, spacious and fresh. The main bar and lounge area, once an outdoor courtyard is transformed by mosaic black and white floor tiles, plenty of greenery and a high greenhouse like glass ceiling which instantly floods the room with natural light (whatever the weather!) Despite the warm country style feel there’s a refreshing airiness and vibrancy to this space, a welcome approach to country style living. We wander the rooms just to make sure we’re sat in the best spot and note that we’ll come back either to the snug or library (both complete with their own roaring fires) for a game of scramble and glass of red wine post our late lunch.

The rooms here I’ve heard are as pleasant on the eye as the rest of the building. Tastefully upholstered and designed with every consideration their guests may require. We set down our belongings in the room, the bed is up a floor on a mezzanine level and the bathroom is drenched in an envious amount of carrera marble. The roll top bath and enormous shower are complete with the most desirable nickel fixtures and make for my ultimate bathroom.

The restaurant is equally as pleasing. Pink leather pinned back chairs are the first thing that catches my coveting eye. A horseshoe shaped bar dominates the room breaking the dining area in two. A wall of windows at one end of the restaurant completes the picture offering diners a front row seat to the beautiful forest around us.

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As you may have gathered from previous reviews and recipes Italian cuisine is my all time favourite food so it’s with great anticipation that we arrive to the restaurant headed up by Angela Hartnett and Luke Holder where Italian seasonal dishes are the central focus. Choose from a set menu or opt for the a la Carte. We start with antipasti of pear salad, ricotta, preserved lemon and candied walnuts. Delicate and light but completely delicious and an ideal palette cleanse ahead of the forthcoming courses. The Vegetarian indulges until fit to burst with a rich and earthy rigatoni, black cabbage, chilli, garlic and Parmesan followed by the incredible polenta agnolotti, truffle and artichoke ending up so full that he reluctantly had to bypass dessert. I on the other hand try the Seabass, apple and sage, ceviche style, followed by the risotto, red mullet and Castelfranco then loin of Dartmouth red deer, faggot, Jerusalem artichoke and horseradish which was honestly the most rich, delicious and luxurious of main courses. Each plate is perfectly paired with incredible wines should you wish and served alongside a fascinating dialogue of its journey to the table. Every dish arrives demanding attention through its inviting scent and its beautiful construction on the plate. We’re completely seduced by the menu and all that we consume finishing on a double espresso before retiring to the library and collapsing in front of the fire. Here we are free to wile away the rest of the evening with the entire room to ourselves with just the Sunday supplements, a bottle of red and a scrabble board for company.

I couldn’t recommend Lime Wood enough and we thoroughly enjoyed every minute of our stay. This is a beautiful and well-crafted retreat; a welcome break where every element is well considered to bring the maximum comfort and enjoyment. From the outdoor Jacuzzi to the beautiful glass fronted sauna facing out to the woodlands, the hotel cleverly does everything it can to connect you to the surrounding nature. You’ll leave feeling at one with the forest even if you’ve not set foot in it!

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BELMOND HOTEL CIPRIANI

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This was the final residence of our honeymoon. We’d covered serene farmhouse, modernist settings within a 16th century style palace and even a 17th Century villa, but had saved old school Italian charm for last. You don’t truly feel like you’re in Italy until you’ve experienced all that the Belmond has to offer. A five minute boat ride away from the bustle of St Mark’s Square on the very tip of Giudecca island lies The Belmond Hotel Cipriani. Waiters in ivory overcoats, impeccable service that crucially stretches to poolside, incredible views overlooking the lagoon with a constant stream of wooden clad boats swinging by, the grand piano playing away…The Belmond Hotel Cipriani doesn’t fall short of a scene from a movie, albeit an old school one. Think pretty women, 80’s Hollywood. Ladies (of the older, more glamorous generation) poolside, dripping in jewels, some (one) in a gold lame bikini, but mainly flying the Dolce & Gabbana flag with plenty of Chanel thrown in there too. Despite my efforts I wasn’t a patch on these ladies regardless of at least three decades between us. I found myself in heels and an old Missoni dress, trotting round my sun bed, trying to keep up but definitely not in the same league.

On arriving they had availability to upgrade us so we did, and were welcomed with proscecco on our balcony (with a view over the lagoon) to celebrate our recent nuptials. The picturesque pastels that dominate The Belmond Hotel Cipriani ease you into the slower pace of life, and it offers a retreat from the bustle of the main drag of Venice. What’s even more of a surprise for anyone that knows Venice is the huge open space occupied by an Olympic sized pool. This instantly transforms a city break into a much more laidback holiday, especially in the scorching August heat.

A word of warning – travelling in Venice past the first week of August will undoubtedly mean you’ll encounter reservation issues at some of the cities best eateries. Most Venetians migrate to southern Italy for the month of August so despite the constant stream of tourists that relentlessly pile into the city, restaurants do in fact close. We got there just in the nick of time, but it’s worth bearing in mind should you be on the same foodie quest we were.

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Something else to bear in mind is that this hotel is like a maze, there’s several restaurants, ‘Oro’ the recently transformed Michelin-starred restaurant, serves an a la Carte menu and also a tasting menu at both breakfast and dinner. Make sure you book your spot well in advance to avoid being disappointed. Oro came highly recommended by our local foodie guide who we devoted a generous amount of time to discussing where our next meal should take place, whilst eating the current one. We were easily persuaded to try the seven course tasting menu at Oro, especially as there was an entire vegetarian menu for The Vegetarian husband which absolutely didn’t disappoint. We sat overlooking the water while the sun set, eating the most incredible food. Plate after plate of pure heaven, I can’t go any further without giving the entire freshly baked brown loaf a mention – this was perfection, the dream in fact. It took a lot of control to not devour the lot in one go (the entire loaf). Another dish that stood out for me throughout the incredible seven was the hand made tagliatelle, the most al dente I’ve tried with incredible marinated kagoshima (the highest quality wagyu beef) served very rare. An incredible match with such distinct flavour. My genuine concern when sampling tasting menus is having to be rolled out of the restaurant – that said, the balance of light flavour combinations with touches of richness made for the most incredible and extravagant meal. It really did feel like an exceptionally special experience. The herbs, flowers and vegetables from the on-site garden, cooked and displayed in every which way, also made for an enticing start. The cuttlefish, clams, marinated daikon and mussel gelato was one of the more interesting and challenging dishes, it was visually striking and tasted completely unique.

Having feasted so generously and to such high standards, we couldn’t resist trying one last pasta dish from Cips, the Belmond’s floating restaurant out on the lagoon which overlooks St Marks. It wasn’t a bad choice at all. One last spaghetti Vongole prior to boarding our flight home via a final taxi boat has to be the most heavenly and indulgent end to a magical month away.

The Belmond group is reminiscent of a previous era of grandeur, where formality and heritage are at the forefront of the experience they offer. This has to be one of the most enticing elements of The Belmond group as a whole. This is a world you want to be part of. Any chance we have to return we will.

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THE AMAN - VENICE

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The Aman Venice

We had an inkling that this may in fact be the most dreamiest, swoon worthy stay of our lives but until you actually arrive and are taken on a tour of the 16th Century Venetian palazzo there is no comprehending quite how taken back you’ll be.

Located in San Polo in amongst local markets and of course numerous churches is the sprawling 24 bedroom Aman Venice. Every element of this palatial property takes you right out of the twentieth century and into an era of utter opulence. The Coccina family of Bergamo originally commissioned architect Giacomo Di Grigi to build the palace back in the 16th Century. It was then later bought by the Papadopoli family who went on to acquire the adjoining buildings which also means the hotel has an incredible central garden facing out onto the Grand canal which is one of the city’s rarest and most vast private gardens.

We happily also learnt that the previous owners still reside on the top floor of the palace, two generations of them in fact. The once a privately owned enormous residence now lends itself to boutique, luxurious living where you’re encouraged to treat the palace as if it were your own. I for one wasn’t going to pass on the opportunity to do this! Whilst staying you’ll be greeted by every staff member by name. The hospitality, generosity and care taken by all staff amounted in what we can only describe as an utterly incredible experience and I haven’t even got to the food yet! I should also note that despite so many original features this really only extends to the building itself. The furnishings offer ultimate luxury via modern textiles and fittings. Minimalist and sleek in design with the focus very much on comfort and modernity. It makes for the ideal visual juxtaposition.

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When it comes to dining at the Aman, there’s a genuine possibility that you could find yourself private dining in one of the many places on offer to eat. We were ushered to the best seats in the house, a central spot that overlooks the Grand Canal via wall to ceiling windows whilst behind you sits the symmetry and grandeur of the original ballroom. The detailed landscapes of golds, blues and yellows are intercepted with large Merino glass chandeliers. This room is a sight to behold. Service here I should note is absolutely on point. Not too fussy, not overbearing, friendly, genuine and just kind in essence.

Our excitement to dine here was compounded on flicking through the Michelin-Star chef Davide Oldani’s recipe book (strategically placed in our room), famous for his saffron risotto amongst a zillion other enticing dishes. He now mentors the Aman kitchen which Executive chef Akio Fujita now runs. As expected an assortment of freshly baked breads arrives alongside some the richest Balsamic straight out of Modena and olive oil that left unwatched you’d glug straight from the bottle.

The waitress kindly pushed me towards ordering the Venetian cod; fish stuffed pumpkin flowers of which I had to order a second portion. The Vegetarian got stuck into an Antipasti of raw veg with whipped horseradish (which I got stuck into also). Next up we shared Grilled vegetables & Stracciatella which also came with a rocket sauce, simplistic but entirely delicious and we scraped the plate clean. Next up after a long enough break The Vegetarian opted for the infamous Zafferano e riso, the saffron risotto I’d previously spotted and true to form this was an elegantly constructed dish, combining savoury with a touch of sweet. Not ordinarily the hugest fan of risotto The Vegetarian finished off our bread basket mopping up every last bit. For me the decision was harder, torn between Spaghetti con vongole veraci e bottarga and the Gnocchi di patate, porcini e mazzancolle, I settled on the later, acknowledging my recent pasta overload. As expected the gnocchi was of course the smoothest, lightest I’d ever tasted. The prawns and mushrooms were the icing on the cake for this delicate, rich dish along with the fresh, floral oregano.

We weren’t going to order dessert, (see details on bread basket), but after much persuasion (a small nudge) again from the staff we had no choice. Their renowned white tiramisu dish was as promised the ultimate option to finish on. Of course there was still espresso and petit fours but they don’t count!

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In short intervals we ventured out. One morning rising early to beat the crowds at the local fish market and another just to have an early breakfast in the garden ahead of meandering over to the Peggy Guggenheim museum. The Aman was the perfect retreat away from the hustle a bustle of Venice. I will say that if staying here is beyond your budget then splurge on afternoon tea, lunch, dinner or even just a glass of local prosecco so not to miss out on wandering through the maze like museum steeped in endless gilded architectural craftsmanship. The ceilings alone will leave you in awe. There is no room unworthy of exploring.

Overall I’d move in tomorrow as would The Vegetarian. We learn only after leaving that George Clooney got married here…and then it all made sense. Here’s to holidaying like Clooney.

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BABINGTON HOUSE

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Full disclosure that this shot is stolen from @fashionfoiegras who took the most gorgeous snap of yesterday’s lunch after the cookery class I taught at the stunning @babingtonhouse 
Set in the abundant walled gardens we cooked up a feast over hot coals as the sun shone down on us as we celebrated Babington turning 20!! I snuck down early to pick these incredible ghost pumpkins, wild fennel and fresh sage which we scattered along the table. I gathered a huge pile of nasturtium plus those vibrant edible blooms that grow with them as well as an enormous bunch of wild rocket. It was perfectly peppery and was just what our menu of pork schnitzel in lemon and Parmesan crust and all the herbs (plus cornichon, eggs and capers) potato salad called for. Dessert was charred flat peaches with blistered grapes that we coated in a rosemary sugar and served with clotted cream! Thank you to all the staff and @chefneilsmith for completely spoiling us and to this inspiring and super creative bunch for making it so fun.

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Cornwall

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We were lucky enough to explore Cornwall with Weekend Journals; a stunning Cornwall guide http://www.weekendjournals.co.uk and Massey travel https://www.massey.co.uk/travel

With sustainability at the forefront of this hotel you can expect to enjoy the most relaxing and restorative stay with your conscience intact. The Scarlet boasts unrivalled ocean views which the entire hotel builds itself around. Sunsets are incredible from wherever you may be in the hotel. Staff couldn’t be more attentive and a walk to the ocean once the tide is out come an afternoon is otherworldly. I’d head back in a heartbeat to explore that coastline further. Ocean view hot tubs are a must as is the outdoor spa just a short walk away.

Click here to book your stay at the scarlet hotel

We completely bypassed the vineyards on this trip (we’re already planning our next trip back) and got straight to the eating part. Housed in a vast modern building in amongst the British wine producing vines is the most incredible restaurant. With a focus on Italian fare with a modern twist we gorged on food that was both immaculately and inventively presented but most of all was completely delicious.

This is the type of place you dream of returning to with all your friends to show off. With local produce used where possible this is all about supporting artisan and local businesses. It’s a treat to feast here and it would be a mistake to bypass this place.

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Another spot to feast at while in this stunning part of the world is the Gurnards Head which also offers rooms to stay in. We head there mid-week to find the restaurant fully packed where they serve a hearty offering of local produce. They have an interesting mix of traditional British dishes reinvented with more exotic flavours and the desserts are kept simple and classic.

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For anyone with a keen eye for design then this is the place for you! Chapel house is a beautifully curated Georgian guesthouse a stone throw from the ocean and the jubilee pool. Combining a whole host of antique furniture with modern architecture, the rooms within the main guesthouse are generously proportioned. Most offer free standing baths to soak up the early morning sunrise or to watch the evening light disappear. They’re luxurious and beautifully presented; you want wont to leave! By breakfast time incredible local produce is whipped up into hearty, traditional dishes. They also offer the option of dinner and will be having a range of great local chefs grace the enviable kitchen. Its worth keeping an eye on their website and social media as you wouldn’t want to miss out!

click to book your stay at chapel house

If visiting Penzance then you can’t leave without taking a peek at the incredible art deco lido that’s recently been restored on Penzance’s famous promenade. You should also give one of their delicious crab rolls a try while there too!

Check it out

For anyone who likes to do a little stylish shopping. No 56 has a beautiful collection of artisan homewares, hand thrown pottery, Japanese linens and an array of candles, flowers, pots and plants. I could have lost and in fact might have actually lost many hours here.

for an interior shopping spree

If the weather is on your side, this is a must visit. 22 acres of incredible exotic and tropical gardens with views to boot! There’s also a plethora of art installations worth exploring.

for the culture trip

Flybe operates flights from Gatwick to Newquay up to three times a day, with fares available from £29.00 each way including taxes and charges. Book now via www.flybe.com   

For more inspiring places to see, visit and eat at in Cornwall; pick up a copy of the second Cornwall edition from Weekend Journals.