I adore visiting favourite old haunts, especially when the sun is out and some of my favourite people are gathered about me. So, when the chance to have all three of these things lined up, you know that I lept at it – and once our diaries aligned, lo and behold, we gathered around a marble table top at 108 Brasserie in the Marylebone Hotel for a leisurely repast in the sunshine. Disclaimer: We were guests of 108 Brasserie for lunch, but all the years of enjoyment are very much my own.
I used to work in Marylebone, and the 108 Brasserie was a regular haunt – meetings, lunches, dinners and post-event drinks, as the classic and delicious dishes were perfect for every kind of palette.
Choosing where to stay in Cappadocia was a tough decision. I’m not being hyper dramatic when I say that I probably spent more time choosing this hotel than I did when I was choosing a wedding dress – and in the end, I made a decision via the less than scientific method of asking Mr Kiwi for two favourites, and flipping a coin. (The hotel, not the dress.)
I love staying in quirky hotels – but they have to carefully tiptoe the line between bland and kitsch, and suit our travelling style. I adore the hotels that have a keen sense of place (it’s also a bonus when they come with animal custodians like our stay with Jasper at the Scarlet Hotel in Cornwall or the Pygmy goat neighbours in Austin, Texas) and are lovely to come back to at the end of the day.
Our 100-foot tall hot air balloon floated above the ancient Turkish valleys filled with prehistoric stone edifices – and we just gazed in sheer wonder, 1,000 or so feet up in the sky. What I felt as we silently drifted above the pastel horizon while the sun slowly broke, is actually rather hard to express. Hot Air Balloon Cappadocia.
Part of me thought that those images of hundreds of balloons drifting in the pre-dawn light were photoshop creations but here it was, actually unfolding before us like a magical tableau. (Well, some of those images are definitely photoshopped, but that’s a discussion for another time.)
The honey-stone walls of Oxford city centre conjure all kinds of wishes and whimsy – and each time that I’ve stayed overnight in Oxford, it’s like slipping into an architectural Narnia. Disclaimer: On this visit I was an invited guest of Mercure Hotels and Experience Oxfordshire, but all thoughts and laboured literary metaphors are very much my own.
Oxford is one of those cities that seems unaffected by the passing of time.
One of the main reasons for going up to stay at the lovely Tewkesbury Park (a full review of our hotel stay here) was to try the delicious dishes served in the newly refurbished Mint Restaurant. Disclaimer: We were invited to spend a weekend at Tewkesbury Park but all thoughts, images and fork twirlings are very much my own.
Hotel restaurants can be hit and miss – we stayed in a hotel a fortnight later that didn’t hold a candle to just how delicious Mint Restaurant at Tewkesbury Park was.