Edinburgh has many fine and illustrious luxury hotels, but none with the heritage and timeless elegance of Fingal. So, when the conversation about a Scotland fly drive was raised by the assistant motoring editor, Aaron Edgeworth, my deck shoes were already packed.
I’ve managed to undertake a whole lot of travelling through the various lockdowns. The problem? Aside from a couple of brief working jaunts to the Baltic states, it’s happened almost entirely within my imagination.
Was it all a dream? Some sort of abstraction from consciousness? Had delirium set in? It seemed so real. The colours so incredibly vivid, the sealife so lustrous. I felt incredibly lucid sojourning under the luminous morning sun, deep in the heart of the Indian Ocean. The heat instantly envelopes you when you’re a mere 380 miles from the equator. It was a stark contrast from the ashen winter morning that now sat before me. I needed to find the red pill and somehow get back – back to the pure shores of Kudadoo.
When I started 2020, I was almost mountain fit. Not rock-climbing fit, you understand, but skiing down. I spent the last six months of 2019 working on a fitness routine to kick start myself into a 2020 season of incredible heli skiing in New Zealand, British Columbia and Japan.
I should start by talking about the provenance of the local area, of the coastal beauty of South Devon, and the steeped history that the Cary Arms and its outlands hold. I should regale you with grand tales of the gaff yawl “escape” and the vision as she rounds Long Quarry Point.
I get by with a little help from my friends. For me, it’s the Joe Cocker version that lands hardest. The immediacy in those opening bars, the strength of Jimmy Page’s guitar solos. It’s indicative of a sound from a different era. That’s what I needed: to escape to a different era. The nights had gotten long and daylight was fast becoming a distant memory to my work-embattled mind.
I was headed for check-in at the Boston Harbour Hotel, a recipient of both the Forbes Five-Star and AAA Five-Diamond awards. The hotel sits on Rowes Wharf, formerly a neighbourhood called South Battery. Created by early settlers during the seventeenth century, one of the city’s most prolific businessmen, John Rowe, purchased the land in 1764 and put up the original Rowes Wharf which was extended into Boston Harbour.
As we emerge from lockdown and get back to normality, our editor, Laith Al-Kaisy, has a lot of travelling to make up for. Here, he puts together his hit-list for the next year or two.
‘Nantucket: Classic American Style 30 Miles Out to Sea’ by authors Liza Gershman and Carrie Nieman Culpepper features natural photographic portraits and environmental stills so captivating, you can almost hear the waves crashing off the North Shore.
Iain Beaumont is the founder and Managing Director of Venues and Ventures. Since ditching the City, Iain has worked on some on England’s grandest country estates and leading luxury venues, refining his eye for spotting new opportunities and helping businesses realise their potential.
500 miles away, our country is at war. You wouldn’t imagine it here though, where despite warnings of terrorist attacks, the only immediate threat is running out of champagne. Antalya’s coastline is a tinny concentration of the photo albums you thumbed through as a child. There’s a sense of nostalgia and familiarity here, one that typifies the great British holiday: that hot-but-not-too-hot, different-but-not-too-different compromise to get on a plane and test our burdening Britishness against cultures that are generally friendlier, happier, less self-loathing, and not half as pretentious. But tourism has changed a lot over the years—as has the world, for that matter—and the simpering irony of sending a luxury-travel writer to this corner of…
The first Shangri-La I stayed at was in China, where the hotel looms on the upper floors of Beijing’s World Trade Centre complex. Not exactly subtle. The one in Paris – my favourite – is set in a Napoleonic family mansion, where you can wake up to an eyeful of the Eiffel.
“Come and enjoy the island for a couple of days,” read the invitation from Isla Sa Ferradura, Ibiza’s only private rock in the ocean, a property so exclusive that it eschews advertising for word-of-mouth and deters any other undesirables with its bum-clenching £200,000-a-week price tag.
It’d been a while since I’d stayed in London. Even longer since I’d travelled anywhere without the family in tow. But this hotel visit was excuse enough to forget about responsibilities and pandemics, hop on a train and head to the Big Smoke for a day of overdue excess. Navigating the post-lockdown hoi polloi is a proper schlep. But thankfully, stepping into the Kimpton Fitzroy is like being welcomed back to 2019, a time before mass hysteria, masks and 2-metre rules. And what a welcome. The Kimpton is a London hotel in the most traditional sense: a landmark building whose grand facade is punctuated by the statues of four British…
The year was 1989. George H. W. Bush had been elected President with 53.4 percent of the popular vote. The Exxon Valdez was spilling 11 million gallons of crude oil into the Prince William Sound. And I was in the back of my mother’s Mini Cooper, none the wiser to any of it. We had been bundled into the old Mini at horrendous o’clock in the morning by my dear mother, who was resolute in her intentions to make it into the stone circle before sunrise. But, even as a precocious six-year-old, I knew nothing of the politics and social battles that had raged for the past decade. Stonehenge has…
From the outset, it commands attention; a behemoth of a complex in a street of otherwise uninspiring architecture.
After two nights spent crisscrossing the urban metropolis of Bangkok trying to catch up with old friends, I was rather glad to be arriving on the tropical island of Koh Samui.
Five percent. Only five percent of the ocean has been topographically imaged. This means that 65% of our planet, where you and I live, is unknown. We’ve mapped Mercury and have an incredibly detailed “Idiot’s Guide to the Moon”, complete with ramblers maps which show you how to trek around the international claims of the US and Soviet governments. But comparatively, we know very little of the abyssal plains and continental shelves.
It’s easy to miss The Academy. Standing elegant yet inconspicuous on Gower Street, Bloomsbury, the only thing hinting that you’ve arrived at a hotel is a sign for The Alchemy Bar outside. Comprised of five Georgian townhouses, The Academy’s semi-recent redesign was overseen by Alexandra Champalimaud, whose clients also include The Dorchester and The Carlyle. Characteristically, then, while there’s still a nostalgic sense of l’originale, the design, themes and palette here are quintessentially modern and boutiquey. I hate to tarnish or expose anyone for having a ‘concept’, but The Academy’s evocation of its literary locale is both befitting and tasteful, with novels by the Bloomsbury Group—Woolf, Forster, Keynes—adorning pockets of…
It was forty-five minutes past the witching hour and all was tranquil. The torrential rain that had marred our otherwise scenic drive had gladly ceased leaving Marylebone Lane awash with the glow from the ornate street lamps. Spirits were high, bolstered by the recent nuptials at the Powell Burke wedding in North London that very evening. By this point in the proceedings, I had imbibed enough to play Summertime by Ella Fitzgerald & Louis Armstrong in some sort of homage to My Fair Lady. Which incidentally was actually shot on neighbouring Wimpole Street. I abhor anyone playing music on their mobile phone in public. Unless it’s the First Lady of…