Sunday, 31 July 2011

Day 3: Camp Bestival

So - last night was quite interesting. Mark Ronson played for an hour ... it was "swinging" ... he is an awesome showman ... but it was a "tribute to Amy" ... who I believe was a great friend of his. I was never a fan of Winehouse ... I prefer Billie Holiday ... but still, the set was ... interesting ...

Groove Armada were just grooooooovy! Their set was lasers, techno, dance ... and I think it was a bit lost on the audience. Twenty years ago, six pints of ale and a cigar and this would have been right up my street ...

The highlight of yesterday - STILL - "Jump Around" (House of Pain) ... tonight it's Primal Scream ... wasn't a fan first time around ... not sure I will be again ... hmmm ...

Today it was GLORIOUSLY sunny! I danced old skool hip-hop (!) and trotted for miles & miles enjoying the festival atmosphere! 35,000 people having fun ... you just can't go wrong!

Tomorrow I am home ...

Saturday, 30 July 2011

Day 2: Camp Bestival

Awoke to heavy rain but with the promise of better weather later.

Blondie was ... BRILLIANT ... for a 66 year old woman! Her set lasted an hour and every song was a hit. We weren't allowed to photograph her up-close ... Shame

Well, the weather did improve as the day went on. And so did the music ... The Wonderstuff were ... nostalgic ... Ms Dynamite should have stayed at home - she came on late and shoved her new single down our throats and a couple of others and left without Ms Dynamiteeeeee ... Rubbish ... Eliza Doolittle - I am too old to comment on but House of Pain were awesome! So far "Jump it Up" has been the Number 1 song here ... Ahhhh ...the memories ...

Just waiting for Mark Ronson and Groove Armada now ... Then bed ... YES - bed - a proper bed with a duvet - still no camping (or photos online) for me!!

Friday, 29 July 2011

Day 1: Camp Bestival

It's raining! I suppose a music festival is not one without a good splosh of rain. The BBC's weather-gal says that tomorrow and Sunday are awesome ... which is quite pleasing.

Thankfully my "Boutique Camping" area has clean toilets & showers ... which was for me is a pleasant surprise.

So far I have seen a truly awful but highly entertaining folk band from Rajasthan ... a truly entertaining but highly awful Alan Partridge (aka Steve Coogan) walking hand in hand with Miss World 2012 ... And tonight, it is Blondie!

Am I having fun? Oh yes!

I still haven't worked out how to post photos .... grrrrr ... where is James when I need him?

Thursday, 28 July 2011

Greetings from Camp Bestival at Lulworth Cove on the South Coast of England.
I LOVE live music so part of my eight days holiday includes this music festival where Blondie, Primal Scream, Ms Dynamite (heehee), House of Pain, Mark Ronson and Groove Armada will all play.
I am writing this on my Samsung Tab ... And am yet to learn how to upload/download photos.
Before you wonder, I am NOT living under canvas but in a Yurt - "glamping" I believe the term is!
OK - sleep now - have to be up at 5 to get to the showers!!

Wednesday, 27 July 2011

Today marks my 1000th Daily Diary entry!

The Diary has not had a day-off in an "M" days ... even when there has been little to say. I am often ask why I do it ... well ... first & foremost it's for YOU and then there's also a little part of me that likes keeping a log of my travels. In the last 1000 days, we have produced nearly 60 episodes of Inside Luxury Travel ... I have visited & stayed in over 200 luxury hotels ... have had over 150 massages ... and countless "Club Sandwiches" and pizza ... of course!

There have been SO many highlights ... running the London Marathon, swimming with Tiger Sharks, flying a fighter jet (or two) and watching sunrises & sunsets in some of the most wonderful locations in the world ... to name a few. But meeting new people - many who are now friends - across the world has been my greatest achievement ... I never forget a face or a name!

Of course none of this would be possible without the Team (past & present): Tim, James, Helen, Oli, Richard, Matt, Ed, Karen, Julia, David, Steve ... Emma ... and Gemima ... plus the many, many PRs, Tourist Boards, General Managers and hotel staff who have made the last 1000 days such a pleasure ...

Will I still be here writing this in the next 1000 days? Just try and stop me ... !

Tuesday, 26 July 2011

Happy 75th Birthday to the greatest, most wonderful man in the world - my Papa ... my hero ...

Cocktails and sea bass and duck ... and all that before 1 p.m.!

 Douglas, Katharyn, Gemma and Sarah of St Ermin's Hotel
James Warren - mixologist (and he uses JW Blue in his cocktails)
Hus Vedat - master chef and awesome chap!

Monday, 25 July 2011

A few months ago I was invited to try out a "new" Indian restaurant in London ... Moti Mahal ... located in Covent Garden.

It was a superb evening with my dearest friends Julia and Tim (not Tim the cameraman)! We ate until we nearly exploded and laughed until we did.

SO - when I got the chance to film at Moti Mahal, I jumped quickly ... and to a great height.

It opened in 2005/6 and the Chef Ani Arora is a delightful chap. He doesn't do "fusion" ... instead fabulous authentic Indian cuisine that is derived from the "Great Trunk Road" (from Calcutta ... to the north-west of India).

Today we cooked a prawn/crab dish and a butterfly king prawn dish - BOTH superb ...

The boys are there for dinner tonight while I sit in my suite at St Ermin's and contemplate a 3-mile run in the morning!


With Ani ... who actually smiles a lot!

The finest cameraman in the world - with a new gadget ... that means he can work harder!
Ani feeds me more!

Sunday, 24 July 2011

Not much to report today as I am preparing for two days of filming in London ...

I have had one eye on the cricket ... one eye on the weather ... one eye on my "Marathon" playlist ... one eye on my training schedule ... one eye on my work ... I feel like one of the mutant radioactive fish from The Simpsons ...

Today is Day 996 of the Daily Diary! My very own millennium is a-comin'!

Saturday, 23 July 2011

I am exhausted! I got home quite late yesterday and slept like a dead chicken. But today I have been beetling around ... tidying and doing stuff.

I am back filming on Monday but this time for just TWO days, THEN I do really do get 8 whole, precious days off ...

Today I went to cuddle some guinea pigs in an animal farm by the seaside ... and the weather was delightful ...

Friday, 22 July 2011

I am running the New York Marathon 2012! I am part of a team - Paul (who ran with me in London in 2008), Doug (General Manager at St Ermin's Hotel) and Tony - a (m)Ad Man. We are all so exited ... 16 months of training is underway!

I am home! Sadly for just two days as we have filming next week.

The last couple of days have been a haze of ... wine, cigars, walking, art, shopping, proposals, friends and not very much sleep!

I was sent these photos today from St Moritz ...
The morning of the Samedan "Classic" four-ball
The evening prize-giving! THE winners - Gary, Mark and Rafael ...

Thursday, 21 July 2011

OK - yes - I am late with the diary.

Something to do with a bottle of Tokaji and a bottle of Burgundy.

More tomorrow, I promise.

with Douglas McHugh - St Ermin's General Manager
Interesting :)

Wednesday, 20 July 2011

max the pooch - meet and greet at my midday meeting
dinner at bincho - washed out ...
holland park memorial
staying at the lovely st ermin's - near scotland yard ... centre of the news!

Tuesday, 19 July 2011

I am so tired but it's entirely my own fault.

After prize-giving last night, we had a lavish supper and after headed to the cigar & whisky bar where we – erm – talked Proust and supped orange juice! Ha!

I went to sleep at around 2 a.m. and was up with the sparrows at 6 a.m.!

I was treated to a rather lovely massage this morning. I am floating …

On my way back to the UK now … next up … editing and a couple of days filming in London. Could really do with a FULL night of sleep!

I really do like Switzerland - how everything is so clean, how everything runs like clockwork ... but it is HUGELY expensive here ... even the basics are painful ... if you are Swiss, you get used to it ... for a tourist travelling in luxury or otherwise, its sometimes quite outrageous!

The lovely Barbara and Dominique Godat of the Kulm ...
OK - no orange juice - just celebratory whisky ... & cigars!

Monday, 18 July 2011

Erm - I won ... well, WE won ... a golf competition! Really ...!

So - awoke to awful, awful rain and headed down early to the Samedan Golf Course - ten minutes drive from the hotel and in the heart of the Engadin Valley. It was founded in 1853 or something crazy like that ... it's OLD!

The course was waterlogged ... but nine holes were playable ... so one hour late, we teed off. I was part of a team of 4 ... one professional, one ex-professional and one semi-professional-dude and ... me ... (handicap 28).

We had GREAT fun ... and thoroughly enjoyed the morning ... and the weather even improved to the extent that I could take off my waterproofs and show-off my Skibo Castle tartan trousers to the world!

I didn't do well ... but I didn't do too badly and unbelievably, of the 15 teams, we WON! Ha!

Whisky ... yum! And I get to come back next year to try it all again!

Last night here at the Hotel Kulm and St Moritz ... it's been relaxing and fabulous ...
Mark Stevenson (pro) from the UK, Rafael Canomanuel (ex-pro) from Spain, Gary "dude" Scott et moi before the results! 
At the prize giving! I have made three new and wonderful friends!
Mr Rocca says "farewell" to St Moritz

Sunday, 17 July 2011

Golf! Golf! Golf!

If I haven't been playing it, I have been watching it!

So first up, I played the VERY sweet Kulm Golf St Moritz - a gorgeous 9-hole course - maximum 130 yards ... minimum 82 yards. I haven't a clue how I did, except I only lost one ball and I didn't hit anyone or kill any squirrels.

The course is right next to the hotel ... and thankfully it only rained a wee bit! Phew ... tomorrow it's a full 18-holes at a club close by ...

Ah - Darren Clarke - legend!

I played golf with Italian legend Constantino Rocca ... He plays the British Senior Open next week
What a lovely clubhouse!

Saturday, 16 July 2011

Greetings from the legendary Kulm Hotel in St Moritz, Switzerland.

The last 24 hours have been crazy. I was in Wolfsburg, Germany and was driven (thank you Daniela) to Hanover ... delayed flight (grrr) ... arrived in London quite late and then I drove to my Pops' home ... slept for 5 hours and got back to the airport to fly to Zurich!

Then from Zurich Airport, I caught a train to the city ... changed to one that took me to Chur ... where I changed again to get to St Moritz. The train journey was 3 & 3/4 hours. I HATE trains ... I REALLY HATE trains ... well, I loved the train journeys that I have taken in Russia, India and Australia ... but a recent trip from New York City to Philadelphia made me SO mad, that I vowed never to "let the train take the strain". HOWEVER, my Swiss train experience was delightful! Everyone train was on time, every carriage was clean, all the staff were polite & helpful ... and the scenery was just STUNNING! Travelling around Switzerland? ALWAYS take the train ... driving and flying is a waste of adrenaline ...

SO - Kulm Hotel - over 150 years old! I will explore more tomorrow ... I am playing golf in a mini-tournament ... the roll sheet has me down as an 8-handicap ... I am actually 28!! I wish I was 8!! Hopefully it will be changed before I tee-off or else I will look rather silly ...

We all stand together!

View from my balcony

Friday, 15 July 2011

I am on my way home ... this time for six hours as tomorrow I am off to St Moritz.

Saying that I am quite sad to be leaving the Ritz-Carlton Wolfsburg ... it's certainly my favourite RC in the world (sorry Michelle) ... the weather has been disappointing today so we didn't get the BIG exteriors we wanted ... but we have more than enough!

The staff & service here are outstanding ... Wolfsburg offers something for everyone: cars, art, music, cuisine, photography, science ... and sports! If I lived in Germany, I would live here! I would!
The thoroughly lovely, wonderful and colourful General Manager (& golfer) - Edith Gerhardt
The Dream PR Team - Julius and lovely Daniela ...
We are so miserable at leaving that we didn't want you to see our sad faces!

Thursday, 14 July 2011

I never thought I would say this but James is a bad influence on me! He has a way of getting me to do things that really are not necessary! This evening, he "persuaded" me that I should swim in the dock here at the RC Wolfsburg. On a warm, sunny day it would be a pleasure but on a dark, cold ... almost November day ... it is pure madness - especially as there is a perfectly fabulous and warm outdoor swimming pool to swim in.

Anyway - stupid me - I did jump in to the dock and I am still quite cold even though I have had a hot bath! Reminds me of an incident in Queenstown, New Zealand ... hmm ...


Today has been fun! First up we tottered up to Autostadt and I drove some kind of 4 x 4 around an assault course. My instructor Detlef Nowak spoke no English ... he just chucked as I scraped and scratched around the course.

Then we headed to the kitchen at Aqua - the THREE Michelin starred restaurant in the hotel.

The delightful chef Sven Everfeld showed me how to create three dishes ... including one that contained foie gras! Usually I am quite "ill" after eating this ingredient but I am OK ... and I think the cherry and chocolate and sherry helped enormously!

Tonight ... pizza! How the mighty have fallen!
In the dock ... cold ... pool in foreground ... warm!
One of the greatest chefs in the world ...
and certainly one of the nicest ...
Tim films ... while James plays with liquid nitrogen! Don't ask ...

A shiny car
Let me in!

Wednesday, 13 July 2011

Greetings from The Ritz-Carlton, Wolfsburg, Germany!

I am back! I loved it so much I had to come and film here ...

It was a rather early (4 a.m.) start ... but we arrived at eleven and were driven the hour from Hanover to Wolfsburg.

After being met by the delightful PR - Daniela Heykes and GM - Edith Gerhardt we checked-in and started filming.

The boys are having great fun ... if it is motoring-related then they are VERY happy!

We did pop into Autostadt itself to cook with the Exec Chef Daniel Kluger at Chardonnay the fine dining restaurant there ... a lobster salad! Yum!

OK - Wolfsburg is the international home to Volkswagen. It measures 8 kms x 8 kms in area. It boasts the largest factory in the world - with the longest brick wall! There's the hotel ... and Autostadt which is filled with restaurants and pavilions dedicated to the VW brands (Bentley, Porsche etc) -- it's a playground for car fans ...

So much to do!

In front of the hotel
The Boys!

Tuesday, 12 July 2011

This time tomorrow I will be BACK in Wolfsburg, Germany.

I have been asked why I am visiting the same place twice in one year - WELL - it's because, Autostadt & The Ritz-Carlton Wolfsburg as truly awesome and I wanted so MUCH to film there ... and now I am!

Farewell Geneva and Switzerland! We LOVE you! Taken on Lac Leman ...

Monday, 11 July 2011

I am home for just a day!

Some Swiss memories...

 If I were a pooch - I would really be a Cocker Spaniel ... Tim really is a St Bernard ...
 Le Jet d'Eau at 09:00:01 hours on Sunday morning!
 Le Jet d'Eau at 09:00:10 hours on Sunday morning! 2 tons of water per second
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