“Those Warthogs” said our guide Ayuba pointing at a pig-like creature grazing nearby, “want to destroy my home”. If I had felt sleepy from our long eight-hour drive from the capital, Addis Ababa, the jolt from this astonishing statement put paid to that. I was imagining that they could do a lot of damage and fretted about our safety. Ayuba broke into a smile. “It’s ok, they don’t harm humans”.
The Myst Boutique Hotel wraps its guests in comfort and tranquillity just steps from all the bells-and-whistles glamour and razzle-dazzle that Santorini can offer. Its interpretation of traditional Cycladic style ditches the blazing white for gentle cream, grey and aqua; the cinematic caldera views for long rustic vistas across the plains of Tholos to the sea and the distant island of Ios.
Arriving here at dusk, you’d be forgiven for rubbing your eyes, thinking you’d stumbled across a fairy tale village. A boardwalk winds its way across a lush meadow toward a collection of five luxurious yurts, where wood-burning stoves send delightfully-smelling smoke twirling gently skywards. There is total peace, for the faint sound of laughter which carries on the breeze – and the whole scene is illuminated by the warm glow of candle and fairy lights. We have discovered the exclusive, multi-award-winning Secret Cloud House Holidays, set on the edge of the Peak District: where guests can reconnect with nature without forgoing luxury.
Every Bond story features a masterly villain with ambitions of world domination, but few are so iconic as Ernst Stavro Blofeld. Most recently portrayed by Christoph Waltz in Spectre, Blofeld has appeared in seven other Bond films and is often seen stroking his white Persian cat in evil contemplation.
Sloane Square is dominated by chic bars and luxury hotels, so I was intrigued to learn it is also the home of Tonteria, an underground Mexican tapas lounge inspired by Día de los Muertos (Day of the Dead). Tonteria opened 5 years ago when tequila was becoming all the rage in London.
I love music festivals, but had never heard of Nozstock (20-22 July 2018) until a friend mentioned it in passing to me earlier this year. Nestled deep in the Herefordshire countryside, it is located on a pretty farm near the market town of Bromyard. Nozstock is run by the father and daughter team of Pete and Ella Nosworthy. What started as a humble BBQ with a single stage in 1998 has turned into a full-blown festival extravaganza with 11 stages and a varied programme of music, comedy, cinema, traditional crafts and even burlesque. Impressed with this year’s stellar music line-up (including Chase & Status and Goldfrapp), I decided to check it out for myself.
Direct flights are the way to go. Why add on hours changing planes when you don’t have to. On a recent trip to San Francisco, I changed my mind. Why? Last month Icelandair launched their new flight to San Francisco from London’s Heathrow airport with a stopover in Iceland for few days included in the price. In effect this was a two-country holiday. This is how I spent my time in the land of the midnight sun.
If you think it’s all about the bright and breezy harbour, its world famous bridge and a history based on the gold rush of 1849, then San Francisco still has some secrets for you to explore. Two thousand years ago it was all sand dunes and fog with just 500 native Americans living on this untamed land. But just take a look at this sprawling metropolis now:
The funky Kimpton Shorebreak Huntington Beach Resort with its idyllic seafront location and surfer-style vibe located almost opposite the iconic pier, exudes an appealing sense of casual, stylish yet playful decorum. You will find it at a sensational location on the intersection of Main Street and Pacific Coast Highway. It is a side entrance via a flight of stairs or a lift to the reception and a colourful check-in desk behind which stand a team of highly motivated and intelligent reception staff. It’s efficient, seamless stuff.
Linking Northern and Southern Europe, the Gotthard Bernina Circular Tour is the most spectacular way to cross the Alps by rail. It’s a marvel of engineering, using a combination of 55 tunnels and 196 bridges, blending into the landscape so successfully that it’s been recognised by UNESCO and is celebrating the 10th anniversary of its World Heritage award.