Thursday, 30 April 2009
In local shop:
Little Girl - maybe 4 years old - pointing towards Me - "Mummy, why is that man brown - is he made of chocolate?"
Mummy to Little Girl - "don't be so rude ... say "sorry" to the man NOW!"
Me to Little Girl - "please don't apologise little girl ... I was born brown ... and no - I'm not made of chocolate ... but I have been told I am sweet though ... heehee."
Little Girl "giggle, giggle"
Mummy at me ... EVIL GLARE!
From the mouths of babes ... but I obviously don't know how to explain things to children properly!
The weather has been awful today ... but I hear that in Vancouver its 20 degrees, sunny and that the Black Bears are running around the Island! Whoo-hoo!!
Song of the Day: Gone 'Til November - Wyclef Jean
Weather: BAD (but not in a Michael Jackson way)
(I hope Little Girl doesn't ask questions about the colour of this bear! He may not have a sense of humour!)
Wednesday, 29 April 2009
I am quite exhausted. SO much to do ... so little time. There's a Bank Holiday this weekend in the UK and next week we are filming an ILT "special" for London City Airport and British Airways featuring London Eastside ... Canary Wharf ... then the week after we are in Canada and then the week after that Ireland ... phew!! It's going to be tough but also great fun ...
I smoked one of the cigars from Tenerife today and it took me back to my terrace, swimming pool, glass of whisky ... and sunset ... heaven! I need more days & nights like that ...
Song of the Day: Nothing Compares to U - Prince
Colour of the Day (by special ruff-quest): Tan
Tuesday, 28 April 2009
Not much to write except I had a fabulous round of golf early this morning ... and left Tenerife ... and am now back in the UK.
I was VERY sad to leave The Royal Garden Villas ... Maria, Fiona and the Team are just ... family!
BORA BORA here I come ... (well, later in the year!)
Song of the Day: You've Got a Friend - Carole King
Weather: actually quite lovely
Monday, 27 April 2009
So - it took a while to get to sleep last night. A few weeks ago in Singapore, the city's only two mosquitoes decided to pay me a visit. Last night, Tenerife's ONLY mosquito thought it would be fun to buzz around my bedroom for an hour or so. I eventually cornered it and passed a "cease & desist" order on it ... the only problem was that every time I heard a scooter in the distance - buzzzing, I thought that there was another little beastie in my room! Thankfully, not so!
A quick work out in the gym before breakfast and later a meeting with Adolfo from the Tourist Board. He is from Peru ... one of my favourite countries ... so we had a lot to chat about.
The plan was to visit a couple of hotels in the area. First up, the Vincci. It was bananas ... literally ... bananas everywhere. Very clean ....
The second deserves a special mention as it is quite possibly the best "large" resort on the Island - the Bahia Del Duque. There are 20 buildings - of different shapes, sizes and colours - that house quite impressive rooms & suites and there is also a collection of villas. Villa 5 is special ... stunning outdoor pool, 2 well-appointed bedrooms ... and a lovely B&O stereo that I could have played with the entire day. There's a huge ESPA spa ... and even a helipad .. (!) ... This resort is certainly "world class" and I would have no problem recommending it to people looking for a luxury break in Tenerife .... Thank You Aggie!
Back to the Royal Garden Villa and bid farewell to Adolfo who has to put up with me and my questions all day!
Got a bit of work done and then down to the Spa for a massage with Lucinda. I have had 100's of massages in my time ... and this one ranks as one of the best ever. It's all about connecting with the therapist ... and I certainly did! Luci wrenched all the tension out of my bones and muscles with great humour AND then contorted my body into positions that I am not sure they have ever been in! It was excellent! Most would say that a highlight to Tenerife would be visiting the volcano ... but for me it would be a visit to Luci! FABULOUS!
Dinner was brilliant! I was a guest of the hotel owners ... the "first family" of Tenerife! We laughed, drank fine wine, ate yummy food, laughed some more, smoked cigars ... and the highlight for me was cooking a chicken stroganoff with the chef ... I still have my eye-brows and didn't poison the family ... I hope.
I have had such a lovely evening ... one I won't forget for a long time ....
Song of the Day: Dolphins were Monkeys - Ian Brown
Weather: nice ...
yes - that's me cooking! by the pool
Sunday, 26 April 2009
The weather in the a.m. was superb but it has clouded over somewhat ... which is kind of distressing. Thankfully I will get to see a sunset as the cloud is quite high.
So - farewell Abama. 476 rooms & suites with 148 villas. Views of the Atlantic Ocean to one side and the Teide volcano to the other. The golf course, tennis school, beach .... 7 swimming pools, 2 natural seawater pools ... Spa with an igloo (I kid you not ...) ... loads of restaurants, koi carp pool (65 of the wee beasties) and a kid's club ... something for everyone ...
ANYWAY - I have now moved into a 2-bedroom villa ... which as you can see has a small pool ... which is icy cold! Brrrrr ....
There are just 28 villas - all with private pools and a terrace. It's very comfortable ... and I am tired ... so it's off to sleep early for me tonight ... after another BIG dinner!
Song of the Day: That's Just The Way It Is - Bruce Hornsby
Saturday, 25 April 2009
I got up quite early to play a round of the Abama 18-hole golf course. It’s actually one of the few chances I have had this year to play ... and sadly there too many instances of goofer and very few of golfer. I was playing on my own until the 7th hole when two lovely Belgian ladies invited me to join them. It was like playing with professionals ... they both play 3 times a week ... and hit a golf ball like Tiger Woods and one of them is 65 years old! The main thing was that it was great fun, the sun was shining and I only lost one ball! Yay!
The course by the way is quite tricky – not one green is flat. Lots of water dots around the course ... but the views of the sea and the hotel are quite superb.
I did manage a quick work out in the gym ... and also spent some of the afternoon asleep in the sunshine ... yum.
So – this evening. I was a guest at MB – the fine dining restaurant in the hotel set up by the 3-Michelin starred Basque restaurateur Martin Berasetegui. The meal was simply superb. I started off with Iberian ham that melted in the mouth, followed that with sensational lobster ravioli and ended with a yoghurt dessert. Tenerife’s top sommelier - Alvaro – led me through a oeno-journey ... starting with a 30-year old sherry - Oloroso, then a local red – Crater 1994 – finishing off with a Malvasia. There was no room for coffee! I should also mention there were 5 butters on offer including tomato, mushroom and betroot flavoured!
Last night it was Kabuki ... tonight MB ... both wonderful. I always worry for hotels that have such amazing (well, sometimes) celebrity restaurants, that they overshadow the hotel’s own offerings. That has certainly happened at the Abama. The room-service was excellent ... for the service but awful on the food front ...
I have left the TV on while in my room ... there is very little English offering ... so have been watching a lot of German music TV ... most of it is truly awful ...
Song of the Day: Alles Neu - Peter Fox (check out the excellent video - http://www.youtube.com/watch?gl=DE&v=qdtLCfEcPL4)
p.s. I don’t speak Spanish but I will never forget the “do not disturb” sign on my door – “no molestar” ... molestar ... fabulous!
p.p.s Mexico – flu ... thankfully we are now not filming there ...
p.p.p.s facilities at Abama tomorrow! promise!
Friday, 24 April 2009
For those who don’t know, Tenerife is the largest of the seven Canary Islands and is located just off the coast of Africa. The sun is shining, the sky is blue ... the whisky is flowing and my cigar is polluting the clear spring air ...
We all have heroes in our lives ... and mine is my Papa. One thing he has always said to me is “if you can’t say something good ... say little or nothing at all”. I am going to extrapolate on that and include the word “brands” ...
My journey here was crazy. I departed from one of the “London” airports ... late ... two hours in the end ... which really screwed up my day. Thankfully I was at the front of the plane but this had problems of its own ... the television screen was right over my head. This would not have been so bad if it weren’t for the fact that the airline was showing “Australia”. Now, I walked out of the movie for real after 30 minutes after finding it ... well ... crap ... but at 35,000 feet I did not have that option. I have to say that Nicole Kidman panting did occasionally distract me from my book ... but to be honest I have some MUCH prettier Australian friends!
The flight from London to Tenerife was just over 4 hours ... tough head-winds were to blame ...
ANYWAY – I finally arrived at Tenerife’s southern airport (Reina Sofia) and was ferried to the Abama hotel – around 30 minutes away.
You can’t miss the Abama ... it’s HUGE and it’s pink (well, terracotta) ... and Moor-ish . There are 476 rooms & suites ... and it was built in 2007. It’s now managed by Ritz-Carlton. Now, I have had issues with RC in the past but some of their European offerings are fabulous. The RC Berlin, The Arts in Barcelona, Penha Longa in Portugal and Villa Padierna in Marbella are all in my favourite European hotel list. I have high hopes for Abama.
First a guided tour of the property with Jessica from the PR Department. The resort is HUGE ... and there’s an 18-hole golf course! More on the facilities tomorrow.
Later ... just back from a Japanese meal at Kabuki. The last time I had a Japanese meal so good was in Tokyo! I am so full – I am about to explode! Not that I want you to feel sorry for me BUT I often end up eating alone but this evening the Kabuki team ... Stefanie, Katherine et al ... looked after me as if I was the only guest there. Lovely! A great end to a rather rubbish day ...
Song of the Day: Thinking of You – Katy Perry
Thursday, 23 April 2009
Today has been busy - Cape Town is in the planning - do I want to swim with a gang of hungry crocodiles or a bunch of greedy Great White Sharks (some choice) OR do I want to fly a jet-fighter! Duh ... all three of course! Haha!
Into the Med tomorrow ... here's hoping for a stunning weekend!
Song of the Day: Careless Whisper - George Michael
Wednesday, 22 April 2009
When you’re smiling
The whole world smiles with you
When you’re laughing
When you’re laughing
The sun comes shining thru
But when you’re crying
You bring on the rain"
So sang Billie Holiday, Judy Garland and Rufus Wainwright ...
Yesterday everything was perfect ... today less so ... little annoying things & people that crop up to drag everything & everyone down! Grrrrr ... The sun maybe shining outside but in Inside Luxury Travel-land, there's some Spring showers ...
Anyway - 2 days until my next adventure! Yay!
Song of the Day: Why Does It Always Rain On Me? - Travis
(hopeful) Weather Forecast for Tomorrow:
"So stop your sighing be happy again
Keep on smiling’
cause when you’re smiling
The whole world smiles with you"
Tuesday, 21 April 2009
Getting all my stuff sorted for Friday ... and for the 4 weeks solid of filming when I get back ... an easy life? I think not ...
Last year I ran (staggered, crawled, limped and occasionally cried) The London Marathon ...! I have opted out of it this year but I have a dear friend doing it ... this Sunday! I am so proud of him - Go Del Go! For those who have not run a marathon, do so - just once - it really is the experience of a lifetime! While Del trots round London for 3,4 or 5 hours, I will be on a beach supping mojitos! Ha!
I am thinking of the NYC Marathon next year - any takers???!!!
Song of The Day: Keep on Running - The Spencer David Band
Monday, 20 April 2009
I can't believe it's nearly May! Where has the year gone? I am sure yesterday was January ...
It's not often that I am in awe of a fellow traveller but there is a chap called Mr P Bear (on Facebook) who has in the past few weeks visited Dubai, Australia, Hong Kong, Singapore, Japan, Bulgaria and Germany! He comes from The Peninsula Hotel in Hong Kong and is certainly an international bear of mystery! Very impressive ...
Canada and Ireland is coming on nicely. Very exciting!
This coming weekend I am off to Mediterranean to visit an island that I always thought was at the heel of the world luxury scene BUT I have been convinced that Tenerife is actually up there (on at least the vamp)... I am positively curious.
Gemima the Dog has taken up eating onions & potatoes! I am not sure why ... answers on a postcard please.
Song of The Day: Wicked Game - Chris Isaak (another fabulous video - lucky dude)
Sunday, 19 April 2009
Song of the Day: Easy Lover: Philip Bailey & Phil Collins
p.s. Ladies, I heard this lyric on the radio today - if a man ever utters it to you ... run like the wind ... he is very probably wierd ... the lyric "scoot over here, so i can nibble on your ear" .... YUK!
Saturday, 18 April 2009
Friday, 17 April 2009
Today I received a gift ... when we were in Singapore, I was fitted up for a shirt at one of the city's top tailors - Rossi. Well - unexpectedly - a package arrived ... the shirt we "designed" ... I will wear this weekend. There is something about bespoke clothing ...
The next few weeks are going to be crazy. I need to play some golf in there somewhere as I am sure I will remember all my bad habits ... like ... forgetting to hit the ball, missing 1 foot putts, thinking that every water hazard is a green and eating too much at the half-way hut. Hmmm ...
OK - the weekend is here and I have planned fun. I am off, off and awayyyyyyyyyyyy ...
Song of the Day: The Chicken Payback - The Bees
Thursday, 16 April 2009
All good stuff and looking forward to a very, VERY busy few days & week! Yay!
Song of the Day: Hyperactive - Thomas Dolby
Wednesday, 15 April 2009
There is a scheduled outage of blogger.com in 5, 4, 3, 2 ...
Song of the Day: Come Dancing - The Kinks
Weather: Not bad, not bad at all
... 1 ....
Tuesday, 14 April 2009
Anyway - it was a long weekend and today I am paying for it. The paperwork has been mounting up and today it has blown up in my face. Visas, I-visas, work permits, filming permits ... phew ...
I did find a HUGE box of my beloved 80's music though which has meant one trip down memory land after another.
We have just done the 3rd cut on the Singapore show .... brilliant! We have done this gag with Tintin and Snowy that works amazingly (guest star - Gemima the Dog) ... in fact, the only that spoils the show is ...
Song of the Day: Sweet Harmony - The Beloved (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fflbSnB9sE4 ... NOW that is a great concept for my Sydney show ... )
even better than Snowy ...
Monday, 13 April 2009
Sunday, 12 April 2009
Saturday, 11 April 2009
Friday, 10 April 2009
I have several "homes" in London but the one of choice when I am working is The Athenaeum on Piccadilly. The hotel itself holds fantastic memories for me. It was once run by a wonderful lady called Sally Bulloch. If it was not for her - opening doors (& windows!) and encouraging me - I would not have started luxury travel television all those years ago. She actually starred as an unruly pupil in the first St Trinian's movie AND her brother played Boba-Fett in Star Wars. Sadly she died a short while ago - she is missed terribly by all who knew her.
She once introduced me to God ... hmm ... it's no secret that Sally liked the odd drink ... and once when I was there for 4, 5 and 6 o'clock glasses of champagne she took me over to meet God! It turned out to be Charlon Heston who pointed out that he played Moses, the Son of God ... and only the VOICE of God ... never the one ... it was an experience indeed! Sally attracted the A-list to the hotel - many of whom still return year after year.
So - The Athenauem. It's General Manager Jonathan Critchard is a lovely fellow and the PR Alison Wheatley is wonderful! They always make me feel totally at home and understand that sadly my life is a journey from one hotel bed to another. I always get a lovely room or suite with buckwheat pillows - some whisky - fruit - water and total privacy. Heaven!
A hotel is judged by service .. and staff ... and The Athenaeum does not disappoint in either. Sadly today - Alexis - from the Front Desk leaves ... but I have a feelng that I will meet her again in her homeland of South Africa later in the year.
Next time I stay at The Athenaeum, I promise photos!
Last night, I had a late-late dinner at Tamarind (Mayfair) - after the editing finally finished - which used to be my favourite Indian restaurant in London. I am sad to report that it was not exciting or tasty ... it was actually rather drab and I won't be going there again. Bombay Brasserie next time ... yum ... any takers???
It's the Easter Holidays now .. so it's time for family & friends ... I am off!
Song of the Day: Never Forget - Take That
Thursday, 9 April 2009
Today is "Choppy-choppy, Squeezy-squeezy Day" ... i.e. when we cut & edit an almost final product. As said, it won't be finished properly for some time but for me to move onto the next location, I need this closure on Singapore.
Last night I stayed with some darling friends - which has put me in a great frame of mind. Five-month old Isabella - the most gorgeous baby-bear in the world - was sadly fast asleep when we took this photo ... or she would be the focus of it!
Timmy & Fifi
So - rather than words - today its pictures ... memories ...
my verandah at The Fullerton
a Singapore Sling at Raffles ... Long Bar
a golf fan
a wonderful afternoon
that's it folks ...
Song of the Day: Perfect - Fairground Attraction
Weather: Looking angry
Wednesday, 8 April 2009
Song of the Day: Fool on the Hill (Beatles)
Weather: There's a stormfront heading my way ...
Tuesday, 7 April 2009
SO - it's been writing script day. Well, trying to. While the filming is huge fun ... writing the script is a much more sobering experience. It brings back memories - good & back - and also fuels me for the next shoot. I love watching movies with sharp scripts ... because you know the effort it takes to write them. I am no script-writer ... and for inspiration ... I watched ... Babe! Hmmm ....
Speaking of babes:
Gemima (for those who don't already know) is just the most perfect creature to have ever stepped on God's Earth ... ok - so I may be slightly biased but hey! As you can see, "Little Moo" is sporting the latest handbag from Chewy-Vui .. that famous canine luxury brand. Gemima has agreed to accompany me on two filmimg locations this year ... payment to include chicken - roasted, poached, grilled ... you get the picture! She is being sponsored by WagTrade (a luxury doggie brand from HK) this year ... so she looks funky and yet adorable!
Singapore is sounding good ... let's hope the pictures match the words! I am actually hoping that the footage looks brilliant ... I always think that the mettle of a good travel show is tested with the sound on mute - i.e. the location is sold on the images ...
It's been a rather long day so I am off for a nice glass of whisky ...
Song of The Day: You Get What You Give - The New Radicals (awesome track)
Monday, 6 April 2009
So - a big week as we start the edit for Singapore. This does not mean it will be finished this week ... but we go through everything we have shot (hours & hours) and then start the process in which some gets chucked and hopefully, most is retained. The filming is exciting but then the editing is too.
I am most looking forward to seeing the Toy Museum feature ... I felt like a pig in mud there ... very happy indeed. The polo piece should look good - we didn't have any rain - so the colours will be vibrant and shirt tailoring ... a small but fun feature.
I can't believe its Easter this week. Working for yourself and travelling means that "Holy" days and public holidays tend to be "just another day".
I watched Wall-E for the first time yesterday. I have bad enough emotional travel issues without getting involved in probably the greatest love story ever told. I cried like a baby.
No news is good news - so the saying goes. Last week in Singapore, I got into my head that I was going to buy & ship a lame polo pony to the UK ... sadly, I think that this idea/dream has bit the dust as I have yet to hear about the "adoption". I am going to have a riding lesson this week instead ... one day ... one day ...
Today has been "purge day" ... I have cleared out most of my wardrobe (shopping! yay!) ... a few people off Facebook ... books I will never read ... whisky I will never drink ... cigars I will never smoke ... and you know, it feels rather cathartic ... I feel content ... now to shed a few unwanted pounds around my waist! haha!
Song of the Day (well, two film themes): Death Theme - The Untouchables - Ennio Morricone and Farewell & End Title - Dances with Wolves - John Barry
Sunday, 5 April 2009
"no cherry with that please bar-keep ... keep them coming though ... "
Song of the Day: Hey Manhattan - Prefab Sprout
Saturday, 4 April 2009
"walking down Madison"
"New York, New York"
In search of Catwoman in this sprawling Metropolis!
I NEED SLEEP!
Songs of the Day: All of the above
Weather: A wee chilly ... brrrrr ...
Friday, 3 April 2009
The biggest issue after spending a week with a butler is that when "one" gets home, "one" cannot drop a towel on the floor and expect it to vanish by the time "one" needs the bathroom again! There's something to be said about living in a hotel permanently ...
I have had over 80 applications for a "Tv Wife" ... the winner is ...
James has set up a Facebook page for "Inside Luxury Travel". He's a star that one.
I have booked a couple of riding lessons for next week. Yay!
Song of the Day: Papua New Guinea - Future Sound of London
Weather: Bright ... but a wee nippy
Thursday, 2 April 2009
13 hours (++) on a plane ... which then has problems in the last 10 metres with it's sat nav. Scary.
Am home, am tired ... am very sad about the loss of my favourite time-zone but excited about the next one.
From 28 degrees - warmth - t-shirt and shorts to 8 degrees - cold - with scarf, coat and jeans. Yuk.
More when my brain & body starts functioning properly. I have "jet-sag "...
Song of The Day: Miss you Much - Janet Jackson
Wednesday, 1 April 2009
I actually got some sleep last night ... which was fabulous.
First up, a trip to the Amrita Spa on the 3rd floor of the hotel where I had a lavender massage. I think I was "pressed" with lavender infused bundles and then massaged. Anyway, I feel totally relaxed now. I was lucky ... we filmed first ... which always stresses me out ... and after the boys went to film my suite I was treated to a full hour. Yay! THANK YOU BRIDGET & JANICE!
OK - to the Sarkies Suite - which has been my home for the past few nights. There's a lounge with a wet bar, a kitchenette, dining room (with a 12-seater table that can be transformed from a rectangular Western style table to a Chinese round table in 5 minutes), a huge four-poster bedroom suite (for me) and another enormous bedroom with a jacuzzi bath (for a TV wife?). It's named The Sarkies Suite after the four Sarkies brothers who created Raffles along with other legendary hotels in Asia like the Eastern & Oriental in Penang.
The list of guests who have stayed in the hotel is a roll-call of ALL the rich & famous who have ever lived. From the likes of Ava Gardner and Elizabeth Taylor to the A-listers of today. I am hoping that maybe Audrey Hepburn slept on my side of the bed!
The final feature of the day & show - MINT - Museum of Toys. MINT (moment of imagination and nostalgia with toys) houses some of the greatest toys ever made ... and some of the most valuable. A Mickey Mouse Hurdy-Gurdy - US$35,000 ... a Robot - US$15,000 ... a poster of Robby the Robot - US$18,000!!!!! It has to be said that this is one of the most wonderful features I have ever done ... we were all kids once ... some of us still are ... and some of you will bend to my will and become one! Haha! Original Star Wars dolls ... amazing! This is a fabulous place and a DEFINITE must-see in the city.
Off to The Fullerton now to catch a sunset.
SO Singapore!! It's been a quite brilliant week filming here. We have got just about everything we need. Singapore offers a wide range of activities and hotels ... to suit just about every pocket. The service is hit & miss .... as is eveywhere I have visited lately.
I am hoping to be back very soon ... to play some polo maybe.
The people .... gorgeous!
Big, huge, enormous thanks this week to - The Singapore Tourist Board, Mohd at Singapore Airlines, Toon Hee (the guide), Louis, Pierre, Carolyn, Iori ... and the cast of lovely people that made this week superb!
I think this is my favourite time-zone!
Song of the Day: Lucky Man (The Verve)
Song of the Week: You're Gorgeous (Babybird - acoustic version)
Weather: Sad & Moody