In York city staying at #hotelduvin @Hdv_York

In York for a flying visit.

I was there for my lifestyle, style, image, self-confidence, best first impressions ‘Style your life’ consulting business.

I stayed at the Hotel du Vin which was perfectly situated close the York city wall, making it very easy to explore the beautiful city.

Here below are some of my favourite views of the City and of the stylish and comfy Hotel.

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One of the entrance gates at the City walls

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A beautiful flower shop window display in the City

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The river view from one of the bridges

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A beautiful old City building

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A beautiful old City building

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The main entrance and courtyard of the Hotel du Vin with the Hotel’s vintage French van

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The Hotel courtyard bistro

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The entrance hall stairs

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Entrance hall to the inner courtyard Bistro

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Wine bottle Christmas Tree

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The bar

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My bedroom

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The ‘Welcome’ plate of biscuits on the desk in the bedroom

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My Hotel room ensuite bathroom

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My yummy healthy breakfast

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The continental buffet choices

#sun #holiday #egypt ritz-carlton hotel sharm el sheikh

It’s always difficult to decide where to go for a short break to the Winter sun as a single traveller, but I recently found the solution at the Ritz-Carlton Hotel in Sharm el Sheikh, Egypt.

Sharm?ticks all the boxes for short flight, no jet lag and guaranteed sun.

The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Club rooms and suites offer privacy, comfort, fantastic personal service and security which is especially important to myself as a single female traveller.

Be sure to also request the Hotel’s airport meet and greet service when you book (a supplement) but this VIP service whisks you through customs and passport control quicker than you can say “Sharm El Sheikh”!

The Club rooms and suites at the Hotel all have sea view and access to the Club Lounge which is overseen by the Refky, the charming and super-efficient Club Lounge manager of 15 years.

The Club lounge becomes your daily destination for social interaction, free internet access and breakfast, lunch and pre-dinner canapes with unlimited drinks. This exclusive facility enables you to feel not-so-on- your-own, as it is such a friendly small place. By the end of a week you will have made friends (if you choose to do so) with most of the Club guests! or at least to say Hello to them. I can only describe my stay as a Hotel Club guest similar to turning left on a plane instead of right.

I flew EasyJet from Gatwick to Sharm, so there was no turning left on the plane, but I did book Speedy boarding and my reserved seat made the approx 5 hour flights quite painless.

The Club Lounge has 4 sessions a day where delicious canapes/small bites are served. Breakfast is a Continental selection with the addition of eggs cooked to request by the chef on hand.

Lunch is sandwiches and canape-style small bites and salads and a daily soup.

All guests turned up for tea regularly each day as scones, cream and jam, yummy small cakes, sandwiches and savoury canapes in the shade gave us a break from our suntanning routines.

Pre-dinner canapes again were often enough to not have a dinner as well, although I did road test dinners at the Italian restaurant-La Luna, The Arabian restaurant-Fayrouz and Blue Ginger- Japanese.

Apart from lying on my sunbed on the beach each day overlooking the reef…

My daily ritual was a morning length’s swim in the huge pools- heated and non-heated (still warm), breakfast, sun-bathe, lunch with rose wine, nap in shade, tea, then gym and a Spa treatment.

I treated myself to a daily massage with Wael who was the Spa manager who was excellent and a reflexology with Moon, a Thai lady. I also had a 20 minute massage on the beach listening to the waves breaking. Bliss…..

The best thing about this trip was that all the treatments were not so expensive to be unaffordable- the 20 minute beach massage was on special offer at approx ?20 whilst the Spa hour massages were around ?50 for 50 minutes and ?25 for 25 minutes reflexology.
Unaccustomed to holidaying on my own, I was anxious that I could feel awkward, but this trip was so good. Rarely can one say it was a perfect holiday – but it was. There wasn’t even a single cloud in the sky for the whole week. Looking forward to re-visiting next year.

HONG KONG TRIP

HONG KONG

Favourite hotel
THE MIRA in Kowloon
www.themirahotel.com

Loved this hotel which is a member of the Design group of Hotels.

The entrance hall Mira Hotel HK
Photo: www.rorycampbellphotography.com

We were collected from the airport in the Hotel’s Mercedes Limousine and upgraded to a double room on the 8th floor overlooking Kowloon park. It was a fantastic view to wake up to each morning watching the local Chinese practicing their Tai Chi.

Tai chi in Kowloon park
Photo: www.rorycampbellphotography.com

Breakfast was an amazing International buffet consisting of everything from fresh fruit smoothies to full English cooked to order to Chinese, noodles or dim sum to Japanese sushi and French pastries.

Breakfast at the Mira Hotel HK
Photo: www.rorycampbellphotography.com

Our favourite place in the Hotel was the chill-out style terrace on the 5th floor. A unexpected huge open-air terrace in the middle of the Hotel walls. A DJ, comfy sofas, water features, a bar and no tables too close to each other – Think a Nikki-beach style bar.

The hotel also had an amazing award winning design spa where we swam every morning before breakfast.

Kenji was our favourite man on the MIRA Concierge. He was so helpful and gave us the best advice on places to go and created a sightseeing itinerary for us.

FAVOURITE RESTAURANTS, as recommended by Kenji

HARLAN’s
The lastest cool bar and restaurant on the top floor of the brand new shopping centre-THE ONE, 100 Nathan rd, Tsim Sha Tsui
amazing views over the harbour. wonderful open air bar,but very expensive unmemorable food- go for the ambience and a drink- go elsewhere to eat.

The world famous grand-dame of a Hotel, The PENINSULA, has a great bar, The Felix bar on the top floor to have a drink and watch the light show in the harbour.

TIM HO WAN
is a tiny Michelin-star dim sum restaurant in a back street
shop 8, taui Yuen Mansion Phase 2.2. 20 kwong wa st, Mong Kok

Dim sum restaurant HK
Photo: www.rorycampbellphotography.com

The staff speak no English, it is full of Chinese locals. Get there early for lunch at 11 or be prepared to queue for an hour outside. To order you fill in an order page whilst you wait outside for your table. It’s a definite experience…

Dim sum restaurant HK
Photo: www.rorycampbellphotography.com

TOP DECK is the restaurant on the top of the famous Jumbo floating restaurant.
We went to our friends post-wedding buffet lunch there. It’s a great location at Aberdeen Harbour where you can watch the junks sailing past and the world going past.

Top deck restaurant above JUMBO floating restaurant HK

SHOPPING

The markets at Mong Kok are still worth a look. The Ladies market, The Goldfish market, Temple St market at night. The “fakes” market is still very active – but there are fakes and fakes. Very cheap bad ones to very expensive copies. You will find that the best fakes are hidden away in shuttered rooms in apartment buildings down alleyways where you are taken away to discreetly view these illegal goods.

Fish market – Frogs in a net bag and sliced still-alive fish…yuk

The goldfish street market.

Shopping in the HK flea market.
Photo: www.rorycampbellphotography.com

Immaculate presentation of market vegs

BEAUTY SALON
CHARMING BEAUTY AND SLIMMING
rmd 3/f WAHFAI BUILDING 38-40 GRANVILLE RD TSIM SHA TSUI

one of the best facials I have ever had, given to me by a Chinese lady who spoke minimal English. She also did a lifting treatment on my face and a slimming body wrap treatment all for the total sum of around £70. My skin glowed afterwards due to the face mask she concocted.

BEST TOURIST TRIP
the BIG BUS company

is the same company as in London and other Cities. This is a great way to see HK as you can get on and off at various landmarks and rejoin the bus later all in the same price. Pitstops include the Peak Tram, Stanley Market and more. Do be prepared to be sitting with tourists with funny hats, many cameras- the same tourists you see in London following that one umbrella….

The star ferry to cross from Kowloon to HK island

HK STREET FASHION
shorts shorts and more shorts all worn over black tights of all descriptions. Opaque, distressed, stocking illusion style and more seem to be worn by all shapes and sizes.

Many of the younger fashions seem to be Japanese inspired with that prim collared girly sunday school-look. suits the petite Chinese figure too.

More cool young Chinese favour square-statement-style spectacles over contact lenses.

Brand new lifestyle shopping malls with everything from fashion to furniture are the To-go-to destinations where seriously stylish restaurants and bars with views and prices to match are the places to hang out. Prices are easily from £100 for a simple meal for 2.
Most Shops from low to High end are open from midday to 11pm at night. Imagine the same amount of crowds on Oxford Circus on the last Saturday lunchtime before Christmas and you’ve got the picture.

THAILAND trip – best of…..and favourites…..

BEST TRAVEL AGENT-

Phil Burdekin at The FLIGHT CENTRE

We travelled with British Airways World Traveller Plus to Bangkok and then Bangkok Airways to Koh Samui. Phillip helped us choose the best seats for each flight and was excellent on advising on hotels as well.
0208 439 5737.

With Rory in Thailand

BEST HOTEL-

ANANTARA BOPHUT

Fantastic choice of hotel situated at end of the beach right next to The Fisherman’s Village so great for evening strolls to browse in the local shops and eat in the local restaurants.

The hotel pool

The Hotel has been designed by the same designer for the Four Seasons Hotel and is one of the most beautifully landscaped Hotels I have ever seen, set in lush tropical gardens and romantically floodlit water features.

Hotel garden views
Photo: www.rorycampbellphotography.com
Hotel gardens at night.
Photo: www.rorycampbellphotography.com

Wonderful suites with four poster beds, huge baths for two scattered with rose petals overlooking the infinity pool/sea.

Bath for 2 with rose petals

The Hotel offers classes for everything from Thai Boxing, yoga and wine tasting to creating animal sculptures from towels.

Thai boxing class
Elephant towel sculpture in our hotel bedroom

It also has a stunningly beautiful and relaxing award-winning Spa which we unfortunately didn’t get time to try out and an air conditioned gym- so necessary as it was a very humid 38 degrees whilst we were there.

Entrance to the award-winning spa
www.rorycampbellphotography.com

Huge breakfasts with all sorts of exotic fruits, and everything else you could possible imagine to start off your day off with from full English, American with waffles and pancakes, Thai noodles and even fresh honey on a honeycomb.

Hotel swim-up bar
www.rorycampbellphotography.com

BEST RESTAURANT

FULL MOON in the Anantara
Australian Executive chef Donald Lawson cooked us a special tasting menu and it was delicious!

Chef Donald Lawson with our pud

Seared US jumbo scallop with shredded fennel confit, Avruga caviar and remoulard
Mediterranean inspired poached prawns with roasted three peepers, eggplant, Kalamatta olives and basil pesto, micro purple basil leaves……….Pepper seared Ahi tuna with mango salsa, miso mayonnaise………..
Wild organic rocket with shaved parmesan……"Capreses" of buffalo mozzarella, vine ripened tomato, aged balsamic d?cor………Grilled snow fish with edamame, tomato pearls and delicate saffron consume, champagne foam………Chocolate in variations-Hot-Cold-Frozen-Dried- Hot chocolate fondant, Swiss chocolate fudge with heavenly mousse, decadent white chocolate ice-cream, chocolate soil.

www.anantara.com

Yum yum yum!

With Chef Donald Lawson

Other restaurant we loved was:

THE SHACK BAR AND GRILL, Fishermans Village

Dinner at The Shack, Fishermans Village

The best proper US style steaks and hamburgers in a great atmosphere

www.theshackgrillsamui.com

Dinner at the Shack.

and also
an amazing Thai local restaurant, KRUA CHAO BAAN on the roadside at Hua Thanon. It overlooked a wonderful bay
This was the best Thai meal we had in Koh Samui.

www.kruachaobaansamui.com

At favourite Thai restaurant of the trip.

The view from the Thai restaurant

BEST EXPERIENCE

Friday night Fisherman Village shopping street with Chef Donald Lawson

A Thai cooking class with an accompanied visit beforehand by the Hotel’s Thai chef to the local market to learn all about herbs and spices.

Shopping in the market

We learnt to cook….
Tom Yum Goong- hot and sour spicy prawn soup with lemongrass and limePad Thai Goong, (stir fried noodle with prawns and tamarind sauce) -Thai Green Curry

Thai cooking

and then we ate everything we cooked for lunch

other BEST EXPERIENCE

NAMUANG SAFARI PARK AT WATERFALL 2 FOR RIDING ON ELEPHANTS

Feeding time before the elephant trek

Such fun but not so great for anyone who doesn’t have a head for heights…. The seat on the elephants is very high up and feels very unstable, especially when the elephant walks downhill to the waterfall.

Elephant ride

BEST SHOPPING
SAMUI LEATHER on the Chaweng Road for the best handbags
tel 088-1679349
bought some great handbags

and

JANTHIP HOUSE
in Suratthani
for teak wood carvings, and decorative arts.
bought Balinese batik fabric and Thai art

photos to follow

you will also be able to see Rory Campbell’s photo blog soon at
www.rorycampbellphotography.com

Me!