Wednesday, 31 October 2012

One day soon I am going to retire as "host" of Inside Luxury Travel. Inevitably, I will be too old to hit golf balls, drink champagne, eat lobster and pace around enormous hotel suites! So what do? How about cleaning fish tanks?

This morning we drove to the Palma Aquarium (20 minutes from the Mardavall) to dive in The Big Blue ... (ahh - Le Grand Bleu) ... the deepest shark tank in Europe. Sharks, rays, sea bass ... and many other species live in this huge tank. My dive master was Chris Keller - the curator of the aquarium. It was just so much fun! I wasn't nibbled on my anything ... but the sea bass were a bit boisterous ...

From there it was over to the Golf Son Muntaner course - part of Arabella Golf - that also owns Son Vida ... Here I played a round with one of the PGA pros - Nico Loprete ... and I didn't do too badly!

All in all ... a tiring day ... but am now over in Port Soller ... and a new resort ... more on that tomorrow!

Song of the Day: Hooverville - The Christians

Yes - ME (with Chris watching to make sure I am not eaten by a shark)

Lion Fish - YUM!

Spot the Ball!

Tuesday, 30 October 2012

A great day of filming!

We drove 10 minutes to the Wave House Hotel ... the home of "Flow Riding" on the island.

I have tried (& just passed) surfing ... Waikiki Beach in Hawaii ... ahhhh ... and Flow Riding is a sport from San Diego that pumps 50 kph water up a ramp and you "surf" it! It's NOT easy ... but I managed to stand for all of about ... 10 seconds! I got very wet and my surf-master-sensei-teacher Charlie Goodwin was very kind at my relative failure! It's NOT easy ... even for the professionals!

Then we drove to Porrores to meet with Barbara Mesquida Mora - one of the finest winemakers in Majorca. Wine has been produced here for over 2000 years ... but only in the last 10 years has "good" wine been made. Barbara's wine is quite nice indeed!

A good day!

Song of the Day: The Final Countdown - Europe

Monday, 29 October 2012

Hotel filming day is finally over ... and it's been a long day!

The Mardavall opened in 2002 ... and became a Starwood/St. Regis in 2008. It has 130 rooms - including 70 junior suites, 2 presidential suites and 8 grand suites ... of which, one is mine. The reason for that is ... 
 My own pool ... complete with water jets ... and a nice place to smoke a cigar!
 The house car is rather zippy!
 The sun is shining and the views are fabulous!

The Mardavall has a wonderful spa - filled with Ligne St Barth products ... yum ... I had a great massage this afternoon ... and there's a 1-Michelin starred restaurant - which I hope I have time to try ...

We start filming features tomorrow!

Song of the Day: Pour Some Sugar on Me - Def Leppard

Sunday, 28 October 2012

Greetings from Majorca ... more specifically ... the Mardavall (St Regis) ... on the Costa d'en Blanes ... 15 minutes from the capital of the island, Palma.

We arrived just an hour ago and we start filming in the morning.

Took a very painless British Airways flight from London City Airport - SURELY the most civilised airport in the world!

We used to do loads of filming at airport so was nice to see it "finished" ... all clean & tidy ... in 2007, it was a public lavatory ... now ... sleek, smart and so gorgeous!

Song of the Day: Take On Me - a-ha

please watch this:

Excess Baggage?

Saturday, 27 October 2012

 From the sublime ... (the Masai Mara in "panorama") ...

Song of the Day: Out of Africa - John Williams

To the absolute, bloody ridiculous ... (nothing to do with me, I hasten to add) ... in this day & age, REALLY? (p.s. Euros not Zimbabwe dollars!)

Friday, 26 October 2012

It's "international drink champagne day" ... which is marginally more fun than "international speak like a pirate day" or "international walk like a duck day".

I listened to an excellent radio show today which featured the American army chap who had his finger on the button during the Cuba missile crisis - which took place exactly 50 years ago. He was scared witless that his finger would trigger the end of the world.

Just think, the world could have been "over" 50 years ago ... completely, utterly ... and I suppose the "champagne" region in France would have been wiped out.

SO if there was one thing to toast to, it would be that the Americans/Russians saw sense ... phew.

Have a great weekend my friends and have a flute of champagne on me (Billecart-Salmon Rose is my favourite by the way ... )

Have a GREAT weekend. 

Song of the Day: Enola Gay - OMD

Tonight in the UK ONLY - premier - Inside Luxury Travel on Travel Channel is in Marrakech. 2000 & 2100 hrs - Sky 251 & 252 ... featuring La Mamounia, the Four Seasons Marrakech, golf, abseiling, Jardin Majorelle ... and much, much more ...

Thursday, 25 October 2012

Today was "Varun Sharma's Day Off" ... a very poor version of "Ferris Bueller's Day Off" ... yes, while he drove a Ferrari speedster, I drive a Volvo 4 x 4 ... while he wandered around the streets of Chicago in Summer, I wandered the streets of England in cold & dark Autumn BUT we both happened to karaoke Danke Shoen and Twist & Shout ... him to a crowd and me to a traffic jam! I had fun anyway ... the cars around me didn't.

I am hoping the weather in Majorca is much better than here ... or I will be a miserable so & so. Two filming trips left after Majorca for 2012 ... Dubai and Mauritius ... sunshine GUARANTEED!

Songs of the Day: Danke Schoen and Twist & Shout - Mr Ferris Bueller

 How close?
Hmm - the weight-loss treatment didn't work!

Wednesday, 24 October 2012

Vietnam editing today ...

All looking rather nice.

Song of the Day: Hurt - Johnny Cash

Avec Claude Balland - GM of Victoria Hoi An ... 

My Son
Xuan Thu - GM in Can Tho

Oli ... 

Tuesday, 23 October 2012


Not for long though as we head to Mallorca/Majorca on Sunday ...

Have a bag-load of emails and correspondence that needs "urgent" attention.

The photo below was taken in the small hours at Elsa's Kopje in the Meru National Park ... see, while we sleep, the leopards go swimming ... (in the hotel pool) ...

Song of the Day: Bang Bang - B A Robertson

Monday, 22 October 2012

Greetings from Abu Dhabi ... I am here for just one night ... for some meetings and then I am home tomorrow.

Awoke dreaming of the African Bush ... instead of seeing buffalo munching grass, I saw the F1 track below me! My suite at the Yas Hotel is superb ... in 10 days time, it will be ONE of the places to watch the F1 car race from.

Happy Birthday to Tim the Cameraman ...

Oops - flying home soon.

Song of the Day: The Man with the Child In his Eyes - Hue & Cry

The BMW Speedboat

Runabout Berlin“ III is a unique piece of art that is showcased in the Yas Viceroy main entrance fountain during the Formula OneTM week-end. Runabout, originated in the early 20th Century, developed to a very fascinating lifestyle product in the well-off society. It is one of a kind collector’s item ...
So - THAT'S how they do it!
Dear Father Xmas ... 

Sunday, 21 October 2012

Farewell Africa.

I am on a brief stopover on my way home after just a wonderful week in Kenya. I am going to spend the next 24 hours catching up on emails and scripts before flying home to England for Tuesday.

Had a lie-in this morning and watched the sun rise over the Mara ... after spending much of the night on my terrace looking up at the stars. I could hear some buffalo in the bushes honking away and the zebras scruffing ... it was just ... perfect. I didn't feel scared one iota.

So many people to thank ... I will leave that for next week!

Song of the Day: Africa - Toto (WHAT ELSE?)

With our lovely Yellow Wings pilot for the week - Martin Ng'ang'a and dear Riccardo!

Saturday, 20 October 2012

I drove my first safari today ... read carefully ... I DROVE! Yes - after 20 years of safari, I was finally trusted to take control and for 90 minutes of pure heaven, I drove through the Mara! AWESOME!

The Mara is 35,000 km2 ... Mara means "spot" ... i.e. the trees dotted on the landscape. Masai - are the people and they are "human" ... if you are not Masai, you are not really all there!

We saw - lions, zebra, giraffe, hippos, buffalo, hyena, jackals, eagles ... and so much more.

I also witnessed The Migration ... wildebeest, zebra ... some of the 2 MILLION mammals that take the annual 500 km journey from the Serengeti in Tanzania to the Mara in Kenya ... and return ...

What a day ...

Song of the Day: Walkin' on the Sun - Smash Mouth
At last!

Yes - I awoke a male lion and I was just 6 feet away from him!
Dear Riccardo - my guide

The largest pod of hippos I have ever seen ...
Moo's Mara Buddy - Hilly the Happy (& Lazy) Hyena
William - my Masai guide

Friday, 19 October 2012

Greetings from the Masai Mara ... and more specifically Saruni Camp ... which is owned by my very dear friend Riccardo Orizio. 

So - over a decade ago, Riccardo and I occasionally worked the night-shift at an evil American broadcaster in London. We used to plan our futures ... he would open a luxury safari lodge in Kenya and I would film a luxury travel television show! Guess what - dreams DO come true!

Anyway - flew from Loisaba - after a sad farewell to Kirsty and Fupi - to the Mara - one hour away.

It was then an hour drive to Saruni. On the way - we did not film - but we did see EVERYTHING ... from cheetah and wildebeest to zebra and dinosaurs (!) ...

The Camp opened in 2003 ... it has 7 one-bed cottages and MY 2-bed Family House! There's a spa, shop, dining room and fabulous views. Tomorrow is all about Mara!

Song of the Day: Sunny Tales - Sunlounger

 Sarikoki -- The friendly Eland
 With dear Riccardo
Riccardo and Camp Manager - Henrietta

Thursday, 18 October 2012

Today I milked a camel!

Awoke at 0530 with the sun starting to rise over the lip of the crater. The Starbed ... awesome ... truly awesome ...

There have been camels in Kenya for over 1000 years - they were brought down here from Egypt. The males are STILL used for transportation and the females for breeding and milk ... a lactose-free alternative to cow's milk.

So - I needed milk for my tea today so I went a milked one of these dromedaries. There are 51 camels here and you can go on a camel safari. Last time I rode a camel, I - um - was in pain for weeks ... and no amount of massages helped!

SO - the camel enclosure was rather stinky ... and there were babies, mummies and daddies all bellowing at us (Tim and the camera were of great interest to them) ... but I managed to squeeze some milk out! It was ... different! Not one camel kicked me! Phew!

Today we have a strange day so it's an early Diary!

Song of the Day: Wandering Star - Lee Marvin

Good Morning Kenya!
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