With a couple of nights to explore, every time that I investigated where to stay in Rotterdam the newly opened luxury hotel, The James, kept popping up at the top of all of my searches.
Whether it was fate or clever Google remarketing, I’ll never know, but it was such a lovely stay that I’ll chalk it up to fate. (Ps. that’s what I’ll blame all my future booking choices on I think – fates that have excellent taste in luxurious hotels.)
It isn’t often that you visit an incredibly popular tourist attraction and find an afternoon of peace. The Kinderdijk Windmills were designated a UNESCO world heritage site and I was visiting for the heritage – but what I hadn’t counted on was glorious sunshine and a quiet fishermans nook to spend an afternoon in.
Kinderdijk is situated in the Alblasserwaard polder at the coming together of the Lek and Noord rivers. To drain the polder, a system of 19 windmills was built around 1740. This group of mills is the largest concentration of old windmills in the Netherlands.
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.
I’ve always dreamed of exploring Turkey. My fascination began in High School when I learned about the Byzantine capital of Constantinople (now called Istanbul) through the ancient empire building of Alexander the Great. (I was struggling to find the words to share our trip to Turkey, so I thought I’d begin with my impressions of Cappadocia and Istanbul.)
We began our trip in Goreme (after landing in Istanbul for the night and then catching an internal flight – I’ll write a full itinerary in a subsequent post) the tourist capital of Cappadocia.
The beautiful Vintry and Mercer hotel has a beautiful sense of place that is obvious from the moment you step over the threshold. With foundations laid on (the fantastically named) Garlick Hill, this newly opened Small Luxury Hotel is full of moments where the local London history permeates. Disclaimer: We were guests of Vintry and Mercer, but all wistful story scraps, allusions to local history and words are very much mine and mine alone.
Located in the historic Vintry Ward, the hotel is inspired by the rich cultural influences of the historic area – where the Vintry Guild traded wines and the Mercer Guild traded in fine fabrics. I adored the references scattered through the hotel to these historic trades, from an evolving menu of wines to bespoke fabrics and old trading maps throughout the 92 individually decorated rooms, hallways and dining spaces. Often hotels struggle with the dance between being a beige box that you sleep in and tourist overload, but here it’s perfectly balanced.