Tuesday, 30 November 2010

i think not ...

Packing. My destinations over the next 2 weeks are going to be freeeeeezing so loads of thermals, sweaters and thick socks are in order.

Oli - not content with a broken arm & shoulder - has caught the "mother of all colds" and is still suffering in bed ...

The weather here has been awful but with MINUS 20 degrees in Scotland today I am not complaining too much.

Monday, 29 November 2010

Thunder City - Cape Town - off for a jet-fighter flight ...
Cave art - 1000's of years old - Bushman's Kloof
my Boys ... & Girl

It's just a couple of days away from December ... my "month of rest" ... travel plans for 2011 are in an advanced stage now ... and it looks like next year will be very busy indeed. I am not complaining ... I like to keep my fingers & toes twiddling ...

It's so cold outside that Moo refuses to go out without her coat! Luckily it's luminous so I can see her pottering around the garden in the dark. She's a funny little thing.

Have been reading the Wikileaks stuff ... it's funny, sad and insulting in equal measures ... there's a lot of egg on a lot of faces tonight ... most of it quite & well-deserved.

Sunday, 28 November 2010

Sunday - a day of forced rest. Sadly I did not get to THE Christening. I am MOST miserable about this. Oli - the Editor - has "the worse cold I have ever had" too. I do feel 22% better than yesterday but the last thing I want to do is spread the germs ... Ugh - I HATE, HATE, HATE HATE being sick!

pup in car waiting for me to return from aerobatics ...
at the Casino ... and no, I don't gamble but yes, the girls were pretty!
A photo taken outside Suite 1001 at the Beverly Wilshire in LA ... for 3 points ...
A driving experience at the California Speedway ... no speed-limit if I remember correctly ...

Saturday, 27 November 2010

Just as I thought the dreaded lurgy was making its way back into the bowels of Hell, its tail has whipped me back into bed ... cough, splutter, atishoo and bleugh ... I have young Harry's Christening tomorrow and such a busy travelling week coming up, I really don't have time for these "sick" games (haha! geddit?) ...

Anyway -another one from the archives ... featuring ... greedy Moo ...

from the "Style" section of the UK's Sunday Times newspaper a few years ago ... we looked so young & in love! ha! The photo was taken at The Four Seasons in London ... and yes, that is fresh roast chicken she is snacking on and we had to use a WHOLE chicken to get this one shot! I joke not ... she was a cheeky one - even back then!

Friday, 26 November 2010

20-Michelin stars - Joel Robouchon and Christophe Cussac ... and someone who burns water ...
London Zoo - I am a penguin-keeper - Tim films as I get bitten!
SHREK (or Kermit) ...

I found myself with a couple of hours to spare this afternoon so decided that my office needed a tidy. I found these two old external hard-drives that were covered in dust. I had to then find a really old adaptor to fire them up and I was amazed at what I found! Hundreds of photos from the early series of ILT, newspaper & magazine clippings and loads of music. It was a rather pleasant surprise!

It's still rather chilly outside and we are expecting HUGE snow this weekend! I need sunshine! I NEED SUNSHINE!

Thursday, 25 November 2010

HAPPY THANKSGIVING to all my friends & family Stateside ... how I wish I was in Fort Worth, Texas right now!

In the middle of the night I peeked out of the window and everything was white! It wasn't snow just a deep frost but parts of the UK are under several centimetres of the stuff. And it's soooo cold too!

Next week, I am doing a few days travelling - USA & Europe - both for work sadly. I could so do with a week on a beach with a good book and a large glass of Pimms. I can dream ...

The cold/flu stuff is better but not much. I am set to be a Godfather to one of my best friends' wee ones on Sunday ... here's hoping that I will be fighting fit by then.

I have so much work to do ... when will it ever end?

Wednesday, 24 November 2010

I am only ill at Christmas, New Year, on my Birthday and on the first day of the local village cricket season! I was wondering why I am ill today and then it struck me ... I was meant to be in Austin, Texas this week for Thanksgiving with "Darling Jen" and her family ... so this is a Thanksgiving cold!

Thank you Pilgrims!

In bed - snuffly ... yuk.

Tuesday, 23 November 2010


I am sick ... ill ... bleugh. I blame Oli the Editor. My immune system took one look at his arm (shattered into 32 pieces) and said "if you can't beat them ... join them" and has wreaked havoc on me.

So I will keep this short - cough, cough.

Popped round to see one of my favourite people in the world - Victoria Fuller - also known by her married name - who runs PrCo/Zfl/Columbus/Indigo ... basically a whole bunch of fabulous PR companies. I have known her for years ... and she is one of the dearest people. I did forget to take a photo of us together and when I "Google imaged" her, I got a Playboy model in the US and an equestrian journalist in London! Neither of them MY V ...

Also had a fabulous meeting with our PR - KP aka Karen Luard ... she is planning BIG stuff for 2011!

Anyway - did stagger into town to see Oli ... grrrr ... the last few shows are looking good/great/fabulous! Carnaby Street - where he is based is looking Xmas bonkers - as usual ...

Monday, 22 November 2010

the 2,222 shards of glass - the HUGE chandelier at the "new" four seasons, london!

It's been a long, long day ... a long, long, long day. But it's been one about people ... friends ... oh ... & some work!

OK - so I have been in the editing suite today with the One-Armed Bandit aka Oli. The Mexico, Hawaii and Tahiti & Her Islands episodes look ... awesome.

Still a few more days work on them though.

In the meantime ... I have been playing catch-up with my dear friends namely Gary, Julia, Oli (grr), Gerrie and Kristien. The first two popped round for dinner and were NOT poisoned ... and as a VERY special treat, I was given a sneak preview of the new Four Seasons in London (Park Lane). It is going to be a HUGE, HUGE success and looks ... well ... VERY different from what it used to look like. Loads of dark wood, deep & light reds, chrome ... it's sexy, sexy ... SEXY! December 15th ... !

Oh - by the way - Leica - Viva Varun: Where is He Now? http://bit.ly/a0x9cB

gary .... dj .. 13th december - put the date in your diary!
julia - so love her!
oli - a broken man -again!
gerrie (pr) ... kristien (sales & marketing) - the four seasons, london
the living wall - tonight at the athenaeum!

Sunday, 21 November 2010

It's Sunday and I am sitting high above Down Street in Mayfair looking at the world go by on Piccadilly.

I am staying at my "London hotel home" - The Athenaeum ... I find it always helps staying in this property when I am finalising scripts for the show ... I feel very calm, comfortable and relaxed here ...

It's going to be a loooonnnggggg week and it's supposedly quite chilly too! Great!

I may need more than a couple of nips of whisky and the odd cigar to keep me warm! Ha!

Saturday, 20 November 2010

The weekend is finally here! I am writing this VERY early as I am out with friends this afternoon/evening and don't intend to rush back to write my diary! I feel a cider & whisky & cigar day coming on!

I HAVE been up since 0600 finishing my scripts ... so I am raring to go for Monday.

Could not find an original photo for the diary today so instead I am going to repeat my favourite of the year. Summer Lodge - last week - with - the MOO!
She has just had a bath and looks & smells delightful ...

Friday, 19 November 2010

Not much to report today as I have been locked in my office writing scripts for the Mexico, Hawaii and French Polynesia episodes ...

I have just a couple scheduled trips left for the year - one Stateside and one to the South of France. Hopefully one more will crop up ...

Xmas is going to be great fun ... I have friends coming over from Texas and Los Angeles ... I hope they bring over some warmth - I am freeeeeeeeeeezing! Brrrrrr ....

OK - back to work ...

Thursday, 18 November 2010

chef charlie trotter
chef jason mcleod

I am not a fan of awards. In the food & travel industry there are some pretty awful and very misleading award ceremonies. I once hosted one in Shanghai and it was the worst night of my professional career ... I had to shower at least three times - with bleach - to get the stench of mediocrity off my body. Many magazine and newspaper awards recipients are rewarded for their advertising spend ... and some for buying tables at gala events! I joke not ...

Michelin is well-known around the world for its star-rewards for great chefs. I have cooked with 56-Michelin stars ... well actually 60 (I will come on to that) ... who are incredible chefs - but I have also cooked with some totally incredible chefs who don't have stars ... as ever, it's subjective ... never an exact science.

Last year we filmed in Chicago. I am pleased to announce that Charlie Trotter is now a 2-Michelin-starred chef and Chef Jason McLeod at RIA at The Elysian Hotel is also a 2-star man as well!

Their food is fabulous and they both thoroughly deserve it. Both were STILL amazing without the stars though ... and I know this from first-hand experience. By the way, Jason made a pizza for me ... it was yum!

I think a trip to Chicago is on the cards!

Wednesday, 17 November 2010

Hi - I am back.

I have spent the past few days with my family overseas ... in a location where the sun was only occasionally visible, it was quite hot & humid, smog thick, dust aplenty and the tap water DEFINITELY undrinkable! More on that next Monday ...

I can see that James has done a stirling job on the Diary while I have been away but tonight he's off to watch Harry Potter (& The Bog of Eternal Stench) so therefore my return.

Oli (the editor) sent me a "first cut" of the Mexico show ... it looks AWESOME! Sadly, we have had to cut several features because the show is SO packed. I can't wait for you to watch it ...

TC Europe: Wednesday, 8th December 20.00

TC NZ: Sunday, 12th December 18.30

TC UK: Friday, 17th December 21.00

TC Asia: Tuesday, 21st December 21.00

TC Germany: Wednesday 22nd December 20.15


Tuesday, 16 November 2010

Just a quick diary today with some important Inside Luxury Travel links and some photos of animals that we have met over the past year!

Firstly the November 2010 Newsletter.
(Don't forget to put the dates of the shows in your diary!)

Secondly the Inside Luxury Travel Facebook.
(Don't forget to invite your friends!)

Thirdly the Inside Luxury Travel Website
(Don't forget to set this as your homepage!)

Puppy in Abu Dhabi
Varun swimming with Jenny
A one winged Pelican


Monday, 15 November 2010

"My first tattoo!" - Varun

"The Polynesian people (& Tahitians) are covered in tattoos which all have meanings. No "love, hate" tattoos, stories of wind, earth, sea creatures etc ... some of them are so artistic ..."
Our friends/keepers/extra crew at Four Seasons Bora Bora- mathilde and brad

"A helmet dive! It was so much fun ... and it is a very stress-free way of exploring the ocean floor." - Varun

Torrential rain!

We headed straight to "Perliculteur a Tahaa" - a pearl farm – the main one on the island.

I met with Aymeric Champon who showed the process of “culturing” a pearl … and then the final product. So the pearl must be a perfect colour (grayish), as round as round can be … and as FAT as possible to be the best … they had one pearl there that was worth thousands of dollars …

"I am living on ROA – a 72 feet yacht – which has 4 bedrooms (?) of which mine is the largest at just 20 square metres! The yacht (boat, cruiser) has 3 crew – Captain Teiva Tapare, Chef – Christophe and Steward(ess) – Vaihere… there’s a lovely lounge (the square?), kitchen (galley), bridge … and a plank (to walk off into the ocean). Set over 3 storeys, the ROA is 250 square metres in area …
The food on ROA was stunning, the staff superb … I am NOT a sea person … but I did enjoy my 3 day cruise" - Varun

The view from Varun's room on the ROA Yacht

Captain Teiva
"The sun was now setting over Bora Bora - I met up with Didier Fimeyer - a fire dancer. Fire dancing is part of Polynesian culture ... it was a way of welcoming vistors from island to island. So, I had a lesson without fire ... and then - erm - played with fire. It was strangely ... incendiary ..." - Varun

Sunday, 14 November 2010


Oliver Chong - tequila expert and Varun trying a 150 year old drop that costs $1000 a shot!
Diego, Varun's pooch provided by Las Ventanas.
Varun on the beach with Francisco Barr outside Las Ventanas. Instructor Francisco Barr. Varun and Francisco took a horse-back excursion which ran along the coast finishing at Las Ventanas where there was a gourmet beach picnic awaiting Varun.

Pamela and Varun watch the world go by ...

"I was very impressed to find that the factory recycles glass from all the local hotels & restaurants and turns them into wonderful & colourful creations. The glass artist trains for 3 years and he has an apprentice that helps him take glass bowls, vases, glasses etc from one oven to another. Beer, wine and champagne bottles are melted at 1500 degrees and then blown into shapes. I watched in awe and even had a go myself. We were lucky as we had a guide from Baja Outback - the number one ground handler in Cabo - to hand for translations and transport." - Varun

" I have the largest suite - nearly 10,000 square feet - the Coral Suite. It has: 5 bedrooms, 11 bathrooms, 8 showers, 5 baths, 3 swimming pools, a kitchen, 10- seater cinema, spa, gym, butler & chef, 800 square feet living room, Las Manzanillas beach front with hammocks and recliners, telescope ... is that not enough? It sells for $17,500USD a night ... I am here for 4 nights ..." - Varun

Cilau Valadez who creates some amazing art with yarn ... a true genius.

"We headed to La Cruz (30 minutes drive) where we picked up the Four Seasons yacht and headed onto the Sea of Cortez." - Varun

"This eveniing we drove down to Neuvo Vallarta - just 25 minutes from the resort but still in Nayarit. I met with local vet Antonio Razo Perez and around 300 baby Olive Ridley turtles. Adult turtles stumble onto the shores and lay their eggs between January to September. These eggs take 45 days to hatch and the vet teams take the eggs and protect them from predators (racoons, birds etc) and then when they are born, release them into the wild - the SAME day they hatch." - Varun

"The last day in Punta Mita was quite exciting ... as I went swimming with Jenny, a 90 kilogram sea-lion. Before you get stressed, Jenny comes from Uruguay. She comes from an island where sea-lions breed naturally ... however, if there are too many of these beautiful creatures, they are culled by local fishermen." - Varun

The two Mexican properties were fantastic and we will never forget the people and the animals that we met!

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