For the next few weeks I am going to post images of some of the destinations I have been privileged to experience. We are all dreaming of getting back on the road.
US has lifted international flight restrictions. We have the latest information on where US Citizens can travel and the entry requirements needed.
Lanesborough London- Glamorous Grande Dame
If you want to feel like a movie star, stay at the Lanesborough.
All rooms and suite guests have their own personal Butler, and the ultimate service.
I found the hotel elegant-decor beautifully and lovingly restored, with a warm residential feel.
For all that glamour, the hotel did not feel stuffy
Staff, from the GM on down were sincerely welcoming. That seems to be a theme with Oetker Collection hotels. They genuinely care about your well being
The most pleasant surprise is the humor of the British. We had a really delightful demonstration on the selection of teas at the Lanesborough, and importance of their butlers.
Originally built as the Gresham Life Assurance Company in 1906, the Art Noveau beauty was acclaimed by the world even then. It was built with the skill provided by the most acclaimed craftsmen of the time.
Nearly destroyed by World War II, it was restored over a 5 year period matching every single piece of existing historical part of decor to bring it back to its original glory, even returning to the original manufacturers when possible. Bought by Four Season Hotels in 1997, and with the support of the Hungarian government, the doors reopened on June 18, 2004. Host to celebrities and royalty, the Four Seasons Budapest is the top choice for Budapest.
An interesting tidbit: the chandelier is not by Chihuly, it is by Presciosa Lighting from the Czech Republic. Chihuly uses glass, the chandelier is crystal.
Ritz Carlton Vienna – superb location and love the club lounge.
With restaurants, shops, parks and important sights all around it, the Ritz Carlton is in a prime location. We found drinks to average 17E a pop, which made the Ritz Club lounge pretty appealing. Loved the rooms and again, service was warm and spot on.
Rocco Forte Balmoral Hotel is a no brainer for one’s hotel choice in Edinburgh
The stately five star Grand Dame opened in 1903 and has been greeting Queens, Kings, statesmen and celebrities ever since.
Situated by Waverly Station, hotel porters meet guests at the train station, and whisk them from the station hall to the reception desk in the hotel in no time. The award winning hotel is brilliantly managed by Richard Cooke. Mr. Cooke has the hotel spinning like a top. Staff is happy, enthusiastic and completely engaged in providing each guest with a top notch experience. No wish is too difficult to accomplish. The tireless Mr. Cooke seems to be everywhere. The standard starts at the top and it is quite evident this hotel is run beautifully.
Interesting aside- JK Rowlings wrote her last Harry Potter book on premises, and her suite is marked by a purple door. She was a regular guest.
With artifacts found as early as the 1st Century. Edinburgh was established under Scottish rule in 960. To JK Rowling fans, Edinburgh has many structures that draw inspiration in Harry Potter movies. She has a home in Edinburgh, and wrote most of her Harry Potter books in Edinburgh.Edinburgh is a beautiful ancient city filled with clever shops, pubs, churches, charming gothic spires, castles, monuments and loads of amazing restaurants – from Michigan starred to simply good food. We were never disappointed.
Both Relais & Chateaux and Virtuoso, Ol Donyo Was is an amazing Lodge in the Chyulu Hills of Kenya. One of the few Lodges with it’s own blind, Ol Donyo affords spectacular safe viewing of wildlife, up close and personal. Suites have huge glass doors open up to the plains and unforgettable views. The staff is highly trained and delightful. Our guide Elijah taught the children how to make bows and arrows out of tree branches. He was amazingly good with the kids. They hated to say goodbye. Perfect place for children on Safari, activities include horseback riding. The day of riding was a huge highlight.
What an adventure! The utter silence! The serenity of the sand. Luxurious tented camps that had all possible comforts. I can check camel riding off the list. We hiked up to the highest dune on our vicinity. We watched a sunset and then the next morning rode to watch the sunrise. We had dinner in the main tent, entertained by a group of local musicians. Fun to listen to indigenous music. The fabulous food that comes from an isolated kitchen always amazes me. Wine was flowing- couldn’t have asked for more.
London is happening!!
Always an exciting city, lately London seems to be the number one requested destination for travel.
Be it the stepped up restaurants or the hot new hotels, prime shopping, fashion, the people viewing – to say nothing of the plenthora of sightseeing. It has absolutely jumped into first place. I have never seen so many fancy cars in my life. Financially it is a force.
I am in London checking out interesting restaurants, and seeing some of the top hotels – London has many to offer
We have flown to the Serengeti to see a different terrain, and to follow the migration. Serengeti Under Canvas is a true mobile camp- everything is folded up, packed and moved when needed and one would never know it had been there. No fooprint!
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We had the pleasure of staying at Lake Manyara Tree House, an And Beyond property. Rooms were spacious, luxurious, 5 star in every way. The exceptional staff made us feel so welcome. A complete pleasure and I hope to return.
9 pears, peeled, cored and quartered
1 cup sugar syrup
1/2 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
Pulp and pod of 1 vanilla bean
6 medjool dates, julienned, plus 3 chopped
1/3 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
¼ cup water
Cook the pears with the sugar syrup, lemon juice and vanilla pulp and pod over medium heat for 10 minutes or until tender.
To prepare the dates: cook the julienned dates in orange juice until just warm. Remove the dates and reserve the juice. Dice 2 tablespoons of the dates for garnish.
To make the date puree, place 3 chopped dates in a blender with the water and the reserved orange juice. Puree for three minutes or until smooth.
¼ cup sugar
½ cup cream
½ ripe pear, peeled, cored and diced
2 tablespoons brandy
Dissolve the sugar in the cream over medium heat. Add the pear and simmer for 4-5 minutes, or until the pear is softened. Puree the mixture and strain through a fine mesh sieve. Stir in the brandy. Re-blend just before serving.
Crisp cinnamon, ginger wafers
1 cup caster sugar
4½ oz golden syrup
1 stick plus 1 tbsp unsalted butter
1 tablespoon orange juice
1 teaspoon finely grated orange zest
4½ oz plain flour
½ teaspoon ground ginger
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
Preheat oven to 350°. Line 2 baking trays with greaseproof paper. Combine sugar, golden syrup, butter, orange juice and zest in a sauce pan over low heat until the butter has melted. Stir thoroughly, and then remove from the heat. Sift the flour and spices into a bowl and make a well in the center. Pour in the golden syrup mixture and stir until well combined and smooth. Drop small teaspoons of the batter onto the prepared baking trays, leaving 2 inches between each one to allow for spreading. Bake for 8 minutes, until an even golden brown. Remove from the oven and transfer to a wire rack to cool.
A fairly new luxury hotel on the scene is the One and Only Capetown . I love the location, down by the waterfront. They have a particularily good children’s program and it lives up to the One and Only reputation for ultra Luxe accomodations. I especially like the villas that are separate from the main building. The restaurants are fabulous: Nobu- yes that one, and the wildly popular Reubens.
From One and Only’s bio page:
REUBEN RIFFEL, EXECUTIVE CHEF, ONE&ONLY CAPE TOWN
Internationally recognized for his award-winning restaurants in the Franschoek wine valley, Reuben Riffel opened the eponymous Reuben’s at One&Only Cape Town in October 2010, serving up wholesome bistro fare made from locally-sourced produce.
Having defied tremendous odds in apartheid South Africa to become one of Africa’s top chefs at 35, Reuben has come a long way from his home in Groendal where he grew up with 12 siblings. Required to live in an area allocated to Cape Coloreds, a mixed-race ethnic group, Reuben first mastered Cape Colored cuisine through his family, a style of cooking that continues to inspire him today.
Beginning as a kitchen hand, Reuben worked his way up the restaurant ranks in nearby Franschhoek, opening his first eatery there in 2004 that was promptly named South Africa’s Restaurant of the Year. Six months later he was named the country’s Chef of the Year. In 2008 he opened a second restaurant in Robertson, which led to the opening of his third restaurant in at One&Only Cape Town alongside the legendary Nobu.
The author of two celebrated cookbooks, Riffel’s most recent debut, Reuben Cooks Local, takes readers on a journey through one of South Africa’s most well-loved culinary repertoires showcasing local produce from the sea, earth, orchard and vine highlighting the sheer abundance of fresh local produce in South Africa and the Cape.
In November 2011, Riffel partnered with South African Airways to prepare some of his signature dishes for the airline’s Premium Class customers.
One and only also has a spectauclar wine cellar headed by Luvo Ntezo,
internationally recognized as one of the Best Young Sommeliers in South Africa.
From time to time I come across a particularly special food item and I ask for the recipe. We were In Southern India at Spice Village Resort. We were amazed at the quality of the food there, of course all organically grown,fresh from the garden, and totally wholesome. The menus were inventive and presentation was beautiful. This is a small out of the way resort, so we had not expected great dining and we were pleasantly surprised!!we were up for an early morning hike and these cookies were piled on a large platter for fortification. Divine! Thanks to chef PJ Aneesh
WHOLE MEAL CHOCOLATE & COFFEE COOKIES
BUTTER 175 GRAMS
BROWN SUGAR 200 GRAMS
EGG (OPTIONAL) 1 NUMBER
PLAIN FLOUR 70 GRAMS
BAKING SODA 1 TEASPOON
WHOLEMEAL FLOUR 70 GRAMS
BRAN 1 TEASPOON
CHOCO CHIP 200 GRAMS
ROLLED OATS 85 GRAMS
COFFEE POWDER 1 TEASPOON
MULTIGRAIN MIXES 100 GRAM
CREAM THE BUTTER & SUGAR .FOLD IN THE EGG TO IT.
MIX TOGETHER REMAINING ALL INGREDIENTS AND GENTLY MIX IT WITH THE BUTTER-SUGAR CREAM TO MAKE SMOOTH DOUGH.
TAKE AROUND 10 GRAMS OF MIX & PRESS IT BETWEEN THE PALMS TO GET A MEDALLION SHAPE.
PLACE IT ON A GREASED TRAY. REPEAT FOR THE ENTIRE DOUGH.
BAKE IT ON 160 C FOR 20-22 MINUTES.
REMOVE FROM OVEN & COOL IT ON WIRE RACK.