Friday, 30 November 2012

Yuk. Today was just ... yuk.

It's so cold, dark and miserable outside ... suiting my mood in every way.

I think I have am having bouts of SAD ... I need to see sunshine and feel warmth ... Cannes is looking quite attractive at the moment ... roll on Monday.

Tonight - John Hughes movies, sofa and a large whisky. Ferris Bueller or Pretty in Pink -anyone, anyone ... anyone?

Song of the Day: Goodbye Girl - Go West

Film of the Day: see above

Yes - 35 degrees, cigar, fishing boat, Indian Ocean ... oh ... please ... 

Thursday, 29 November 2012

Back home -- finally -- but for how long (actually just 3 days)?!

Flight home: four hours & 20 minutes from Mauritius to Johannesburg ... and then a further eleven hours back to London ... long but comfortable ...

Our last morning in lovely Mauritius was spent with Marc (General Manager of The Oberoi) ... sharing his passion of classic cars.

He owns a classic Healey Sprite (Frogeye in the UK, Bugeye in the US) in British racing green ... and we went for a cigar-smoking drive from the resort to a nearby restaurant Chez Tante Athelie to meet its owner Robert Gordon-Gentil ... who has a superb collection of classics - old Mercedes, Jaguars, Alfa Romeos and a superb Triumph. I am not a classic car man but I appreciated these ones.

Marc drove me about ... it was fun!

All good things come to an end ... and this is how I finished 2012 ... 

"Well, I have come to the end of my time in Mauritius. I have been astounded by the superb levels of luxury and service at my two resorts - the Four Seasons at Anahita and of course The Oberoi. I had a wonderful diving experience, played golf, enjoyed some tasty Mauritian cuisine and rum and landed that HUGE yellow fin tuna. But the highlight for me was cuddling Coco the lion cub. In 1896, the American writer Mark Twain wrote - God created Mauritius and from it, he created paradise. Indeed Mauritius IS one of the most beautiful places on earth. Until next time from Inside Luxury Travel ... from me, Varun Sharma ... Goodbye ... "

Wednesday, 28 November 2012

It's a wrap!

End of this series of Inside Luxury Travel ... wow!

What a year's it's been ...

More on that over the next few days.

Packing ... then we leave for Johannesburg ... then London ... and then ... editing, planning for 2013 and much, MUCH more travelling!



I think I may be a wee teary!

Song of the Day: Thank You - Alanis Morisette

Film of the Day: The Beaver - Dir: Jody Foster

It's not the big things in life that keep me happy ... it's the small (furry) things!

Tuesday, 27 November 2012

Today I caught a 143 pound (65 kg) yellow-fin tuna ... all by myself!
With the owner of Sportfisher - Jean-Paul d'Unienville ... helping me hold up MY catch ... a rather large Thunnus Albacarescus ... JP & crew ... FABULOUS!
Up at 5 am - met the boys, the Executive Chef of the resort - Igor Maurizio and Marc (GM)
We went out onto the Ocean and admired the dolphins, drank tea and zzzzz'd!
Suddenly - boom - a line snagged and I was in the "fighting chair"!
For 15 minutes I was fighting, sweating, heaving and reeling ...
I was doused in cold water to cool me down ... the sun was HOT!
After a full 25 minutes, I finally landed the beast!
And then collapsed in exhaustion! It was not fun!
Then we returned to the resort where Igor showed me how to prepare a delicious fish (tuna) rougaille ... a kind of arriabata with ginger! Very nice! We celebrated the day with champagne ... of course!

Brilliant, brilliant - BRILLIANT day!

Song of the Day: Fisherman's Blues - The Waterboys

Film of the Day: The Big Blue (one of my Top 5)

Monday, 26 November 2012

It's been resort filming day here at The Oberoi, Mauritius ... and thankfully the weather has been GLORIOUS! The resort is on the north-west of the island and in the distance I can see the capital Port Louis.

The resort opened in April 2001 ... and has just 71 villas & pavilions ... including two Royal Villas ... one of which is MINE! The resort is set in 20 acres of lush garden.

There's a no tipping policy ... fab.

So - early morning drive up to meet the General Manager - Marc Denton ... a thoroughly lovely Swiss chap ... who is very tasteful in his dress sense!

After interviewing him about the property ... by the Ocean ... we headed to my Villa. 650 m2, infinity swimming pool, living room pavilion with sofas & armchairs - fertility symbols on the wall (!), kitchen, whisky, cigars and rather fine champagne, hammock, large bedroom with TWO showers, free standing bath ... and LOADS of personalised stuff - stationery, bath robes ... LOVELY!

The boys are VERY impressed.

Up early tomorrow as we head ONTO the Ocean!

Song of the Day: Love Me Tender/Witchcraft - Elvis and Sinatra (amazing!)

Film of the Day: Out of Africa ... a classic!


Note: photo of two of my babies!
Our lovely assistant for the day - Darshini

Sunday, 25 November 2012

Greetings from The Oberoi, Mauritius - where I am currently watching one of the most beautiful sunsets - over the Indian Ocean - that I have EVER seen ... photograph tomorrow.

Sadly checked-out of the Four Seasons this morning and was driven the 75 minutes from the West to the East of the island to my new home. 

No rest for the wicked as I jumped into the Ocean for a wee scuba. I did a wreck dive in clear water at 26 degrees ... to 27 metres ... where I saw lionfish (grr), mackerel, kingfish and sweet lips! Lots to see and it was a rather satisfying dive ... Mauritius is a GREAT place to learn to dive ... and for more experienced divers, to do more!

Tonight a small dinner, cigar and whisky in my suite ... then early for filming tomorrow!

Song of the Day: Lovecats - The Cure 

Film of the Day: Jaws - Dir: Steven Spielberg

With Stephane de Senneville from DiveSail Diving
Where's that shirt from?
Satisfaction ...

Saturday, 24 November 2012

Another fine day ...

I was back on the golf course first thing in the morning with the Director of Golf - Blyth Reid ... to play the last three holes of the course ... in glorious, glorious sunshine. The par-4 16th was bogeyed, followed by a par on the par-3 17th and a bogey on the excellent par-5 18th hole which Ernie Els says is his favourite finishing hole on any course he has designed. It was a LOVELY way to start the day.

If money was no object, EVERY day I would wake up with a morning swim, then tennis, lunch and a round of golf ... with a massage in there somewhere! Dear Father Xmas ... haha!

In the afternoon we headed to south-west of the island to visit the Chamarel rum factory ... the finest on the island. Here I met with the lovely Wenda Rose Bheeka who showed me round the factory. 85% of the arable crop in Mauritius is dedicated to sugar-cane. 530,000 tons is exported every year but 40,000 remains here to produce rum. Most distilleries here produce "rough" rum but only three produce rum from pure cane juice ... and Chamarel does it brilliantly. All its 75 hectares produce the best cane on the island, it is all hand cut and crunched up ... distilled once (for mixers) and distilled twice (for sipping). Also a blend of the once and twice is put into oak barrels from France where it sits for 4 years to produce ... it all tasted SO good ... 

Rum and golf ... not bad at all ...

Last night here at the Four Seasons ... boohoo ... have had SO much fun ...

Song of the Day: Perfect Day - Lady Antebellum

Film of the Day: City of God ... awesome!

With Blyth

With Wenda
Couldn't help myself!

Friday, 23 November 2012

Today I was bitten by a lion ...

Actually, to tell the truth, it was by a lion cub called Coco.

Today was just ... well ... almost perfect ...

Morning: Drove an hour to the Casela Nature and Leisure Park to meet with Graeme Bristow and his family - from Safari Adventures - who look after lions ... and offer people the chance to walk with lions and certain people to play with lion cubs ... as I did today!

These lions are bred in captivity BUT are still as strong ... and wild ... as you would expect.

The cubs well ... are just ... adorable! I have yet to meet anything in this world as cute as Coco (apart from beloved Moo, of course). I didn't mind her nipping at my arm, licking my hand and clawing at my shirt! Just GORGEOUS!

Afternoon: Golf with the General Manager - Todd Cilano. I had some great holes ... some good holes ... and some awful ones ...

Evening: Pizza and moscato  

Song of the Day: This Love - Maroon 5

Film of the Day: Rabbit-Proof Fence ... Dir: Philip Noyce

With Graeme

Hello Ginger!

Thursday, 22 November 2012

If you ask a turkey what he is thankful for today ... I reckon he would answer ... "vegetarians"! Haha!


Today has been filming day at The Four Seasons Resort Mauritius at Anahita. We had only one problem - between midday and 1 pm, we had rain. I don't mean rain ... I mean HUGE HUGE thunderstorms (17 mm in 10 minutes)... which put paid to my plan to play a round of golf with the resort General Manager - Todd Cilano.

As it happens, I started the day off interviewing Todd before reviewing my "Presidential Suite".

The resort is 45 minutes from the main international airport.

It was opened in 2008 and features 136 villas - 90 x 1 bedroom, 45 Residences and just ONE two-bedroom Presidential ... my home here!

There's an 18-hole Ernie Els course - that I will play ... I WILL PLAY ... for the show and maybe for myself too ...

Restaurants (3), bars, water sports, kid's club, cultural centre, teen club ... and a huge spa!

Back to me ... and my suite ... (me, me, me!)

375 m2, 2 bedrooms, kitchen, 52" tv, wine fridge (with my favourite - Billecart Salmon Rose on ice), 17 m2 swimming pool, my own beach (complete with pristine white sand), hammock, mangrove, jacuzzi and VIEWS for miles & miles! Yes, I am a lucky boy!

I have the most enormous bathtub ... made of black granite ... I am not a bath person so it wasted on me BUT there's an outdoor shower (actually two of them)! Yay!

Tomorrow is an early start BUT promises some excellent photos!

Song of the Day: Manchild - Neneh Cherry

Film of the Day: Batman - Michael Keaton, Jack Nicholson Dir: Tim Burton

 With Todd

 Robert Graham, Titleist ... and Sun Mountain ...

 In my bath with Debbie Williams - the resort PR ... ha!
Sunshine on a Rainy Day ...

Wednesday, 21 November 2012

Greetings from the dreamy, idyllic, honeymoon & family-friendly Indian Ocean island of ... Mauritius!

I think I left London last night at around 9.00 pm ... and arrived here at just after 3.30 pm ... there was an 11 hour flight to Johannesburg followed by a 4 hour flight to the island!

Am safely ensconced in my enormous suite (with jacuzzi & pool) ... and am off to bed soon.

Filming starts tomorrow in earnest!

Song of the Day: Don't Stop the Dance - Bryan Ferry

Film of the Day: 9 1/2 weeks - Kim Basinger and Mickey Rourke

Tuesday, 20 November 2012

Varun and the guys are currently on a flight to Mauritius to film the last episode of this 6th series of Inside Luxury Travel with Varun Sharma. 

My mind began to wander today (it does so quite often) and whilst looking down at my soapy hands for some reason I began to think about the pleasure that bubbles can bring... 

It can be the bubbles of the washing-up liquid that help to get everything to sparkle again, or blown though a plastic hoop as a child to create enormous bubbles that reflect all the colours of light.  Maybe the relaxing bubbles in a nice foamy bath which could be perfectly complimented by a glass of nice bubbly champagne - now that's very Inside Luxury Travel!   Or you can just leave your troubles behind, switch off your phone and take yourself off to live life in your own little "bubble" for a while - many luxury holiday destinations pride themselves on offering this type bubble perfection.  Whatever your personal preference, I reckon there is a perfect bubble type out there for everyone.

I'm off to my bubble.

Emma - Show Producer

Monday, 19 November 2012

I'm back home in England ... it's 5 p.m. ... it's cold ... it's dark and it's raining quite heavily outside! It's miserable outside and I am miserable inside!

Tomorrow we fly off to Mauritius and while I will be happy to be out there but the flight is painfully long and the thought of coming back to this is ... ugh!

ANYWAY -  do you like the photo? It's the world's tallest building - the Burj Khalifa - shimmering in the morning sun ... I think I REALLY miss the heat of Dubai ...

Song of the Day: Blue Hat for a Blue Day - Nick Heyward

Film of the Day: One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest - Jack Nicholson ... 

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