Sent by Constantine Zarifeh
Orpington , Kent 14/11/2023
Based in Bibury
Hi, I am Heidi and I am your local Travel Counsellor for the Cotswolds, with my office being close to the medieval and historical town of Burford -' Gateway of the Cotswolds’.
I love being a Travel Counsellor and to my customers, I hope it is apparent that I enjoy what I do. I am not bound to any tour operators which is an advantage and neither do I have sales targets. Therefore it's all about taking care of you and making sure I find you the holiday that's suits you.
With over 35 years of travel industry experience i mainly specialise in arranging tailor-made bespoke holidays worldwide, ski groups, rail itineraries and cruises, however if a quick Easyjet flight is all you require I am just as happy to assist!
Over this period, I have built up a strong relationship not only with my clients but also with leading airlines and hotels around the world. I have an extensive knowledge of the aviation industry and I pride myself on simplifying the most complicated itinerary, and will always go the extra mile to exceed my clients’ expectations and requirements.
The most rewarding part of my job has been providing nothing less than the full package; an efficient, prompt, accurate and friendly service, no matter how demanding or urgent the request may be.
I have travelled widely across the continents, and have been lucky enough in my career to have visited many memorable places. Some of the recent highlights have included spending 6 weeks in the South African bush Game Ranger training, hiking the red dunes in Namibia, sailing the Croatian coastline and driving the length and breadth of Italy, however a sunbed, sandy Caribbean beach and a good book still have that allure!
I had lived in Kent all my life, however now my 2 boys James & Max have flown the nest - (literally in Max's case as he has now achieved his childhood dream of being a pilot - formally with Easyjet and now with British Airways) and James running his part of the family farm, I have escaped to the Cotswolds for the next exciting chapter. With my office based at home in the pretty village of Eastleach, I will always be on call and here to assist you with all your travel needs.
I look forward to hearing from you and making your travel arrangements as seamless as possible.
I absolutely live and breathe travel and I love to write about my experiences! Please take a look through my posts - you might find your own holiday inspiration.
01 October 2018
I was thrilled to be invited recently to check out one of our more illustrious country house hotels - Beaverbrook, nestled into the lush, rolling Surrey Hills, yet only 5 mins drive to M25. Once home to Lord Beaverbrook, it was here he would woo the likes of Rudyard Kipling, Elizabeth Taylor and Ian Fleming who all stayed here. In his role of minister to Winston Churchill, Lord Beaverbrook also hosted key wartime cabinet meetings in what is now the re-furbished and snug cinema room in the main house, available for family film nights, complete with popcorn! Although all around the main house are nods to it's past, its country classic interiors are by Susie Atkinson, of Soho House fame; a Japanese restaurant is run by an ex-Nobu chef; and a spa, designed by glass architect Brian Clarke, is due to open late 2018. It boasts just 29 sumptuous bedrooms, divided between the House and the Garden House, including three luxurious suites, named after the Dowager Beaverbrook, Churchill and Ms Taylor! My favourite room was the Superior Turret room in the main house with superb valley views on 2 sides, vaulted ceilings and its own little balcony avec 'Table a Deux'! Guest Garden House rooms away from the main house are cosy, south-facing, with woodland views - boasting roll-top baths and even a whisky decanter on the landing for a quick nightcap. Well-behaved dogs are also welcome at the Coach House Cottages. In addition, a series of family friendly Coach House Cottages will soon open in the Glass House, close to the spa. The spa, once complete, will have six treatment suites, a steam room, sauna, hammam, indoor/outdoor pools, a gym and a nail lounge. Home-branded Coach House oils will use plants, flowers and fruits from the estate and an on-site deli for home-made wood-fired pizzas. Children's outdoor activities are encouraged here - from crazy golf to geocaching, treasure hunts, night safaris and den building, the kids’ club has plenty to keep 4 to 12-year olds busy. Parents can tuck into a great bottle of wine, safe in the knowledge their little ones are being kept busy with minders! The excursions list also extends to horse-riding, cycling and foraging, and there are board games, books and puzzles for rainy days. We were treated to a superb lunch in the Garden House Restaurant, overlooking the kitchen garden area - Italian/English dishes meld beautifully using ingredients sourced from the garden or locally. I loved the School of Cookery attached for budding chefs, with sessions for children and adults. Pick ingredients from the hotel's kitchen-garden, then learn to rustle 'Britalian' dishes with head chef Kaz Suzuki or sushi with ex-Nobu chef Taiji Maruyama. All in all, a superb way to spend a warm, autumnal afternoon - just wished I had booked a room and stayed longer! I would strongly recommend for a family weekend away, snug bolthole for couples and perfect for a business lunch/meeting to woo those foreign investors - its only 30 mins from LGW and LHR!
23 September 2017
Staying at one of London's top hotels is always going to be a treat but somehow a night at the iconic Hotel Café Royal with its prestigious address takes being spoiled to another level. Staying or dining here they say is one topic London's famous poets and politicians always agree on - a nod to Sir Winston Churchill who came for their famed steaks and champagne and Oscar Wilde who famously drank Absinthe in the hotels gilded salon rather too regularly - (now open for delightful Café Royal afternoon Tea @ £45 a head). Our room - a Grand Deluxe overlooking Regent Street was spacious and tranquil - not a sound from the street below. Decorated in soft greys and dusky pink furnishings, the walls are Portland Stone blockwork echoing the stonework on the grand facades up and down Regent Street. Separate granite bath and walk-in shower are a delight. Most room types give comp. access to the Akasha Holistic Wellbeing Centre with full use of the stunning lap pool in the basement, well equipped gym, sauna, steam room and Jacuzzi. Likewise, access to the The Club, The Studio, The Gallery, Library Bar and Domino restaurant is all complimentary. My only gripe was the rooms are so full of Hi-Tech equipment, I needed an hour's tuition to turn on the Bang & Olufsen music and lighting, let alone get to grips with opening the drapes! Oh and no mirror in the bedroom area! Something we mentioned so maybe for future stays will be rectified. I did think for such a prestigious hotel the reception area was awfully small and dull, however they will be moving reception to what is presently the breakfast dining area which is presently located in a huge atrium area. Check out is a healthy 12 o'clock so plenty of time for a sumptuous breakfast (blackcurrant croissants were divine), shopping just steps away and a coffee before leaving the big smoke. Top Tips - take your swimwear - the pool is gorgeous - definitely stay for breakfast - book afternoon tea as a treat in the gilded and mirrored salon - ask the porter to show you how to operate the gadgets in the room!
03 August 2012
Croatia had been on my "To Do List" for a while so when the kind Invitation came to join some friends on their 72 ft yacht smiling from Dubrovnik I was delighted! I took the civilised 0845 British Airways flight from Gatwick & headed off at the end of June for a long weekend. the flight takes around 2 1/2 - 3 hrs , landing around 11am local time. jumping in a local cab we were to meet the yacht tender at the pretty harbour in Cavtat just a 5 min journey. No more than 40 mins from landing we were aboard the stunning yacht Infiniti my home for the next 5 days. After spending the first night moored in the sleepy little harbour of Cavtat we set sail for the island of Kolocep where we moored in the clearest of waters for lunch & snorkelling. With temperatures around 28 degrees snorkelling & swimming off the back of the yacht was blissful. The following day we sailed into Dubrovnik Old Town which is arguably one of the most picturesque walled cities. We walked around the top of the city walls, peeking down on the numerous, orange tiled roofs which along with most of Old Dubrovnik have since been re-built following the Croatian War of Independence conflict which began in 1991. The city oozes history & has been sensitively re-constructed using the original stone. Dubrovnik welcomes many cruise ships each day so I would recommend visiting early morning to avoid the crowds. There is a 70 Khuna (£6.50) charge per person for the City Wall walk which takes around 45 mins. Croatian lace, local jewellery, Lavender Oil & orange blossom honey are good buys here. We spent lazy days motoring through the beautiful crystal clear waters , sometimes under sail when stronger winds permitted, mooring up for leisurely sea-food lunches in turquoise bays, occasionally taking to the hammock on board, strung between the masts. We visited many islands, some so long it took several hours to sail along their rugged coastlines - odd sounding names such as Lokrum, Lopud, Mjlet, Sipan and Elafits - The Deer Islands which house some of the most beautiful summerhouses built by the rich Vlastela of Dubrovnik. At one end of the island of Mjlet is a huge National Park where a visit to the remote Benedictine Monastery of St. Mary is a relaxing & peaceful diversion. We island hopped for just 5 days but with the choice of over 800 islands off the Croatian Coast there's plenty to keep avid sailors and deck babes alike happy. BA flight into Gatwick returns at lunchtime so again convenient and relaxed. Top Tips : Visit Dubrovnik in the mornings At least 1 island boat trip is a must Pure lavender oil is great value Flat, comfortable shoes for lots of lovely pine clad hill walks Take time to learn a little of the local history - Croatia has a fascinating past. Take a spare memory card for your camera - the views are endless !!
30 October 2011
I last visited Morocco and Marrakech just 18 months ago with a group of travel agents. We were lucky enough then to spend an afternoon in the stunningly beautiful Atlas Mountains and I promised then to return. So given a few days off Mid-October my boyfriend and I found ourselves in one of Morocco’s most beautiful mountain retreats – Kasbah Tamadot. It was bought by Sir Richard Branson approx. 10 years ago when per chance he flew over it on one of his famous Hot Air Balloon record attempts over the High Atlas Mountains. He fell in love with the Kasbah –( then the home of Italian Antique Collector Luciano Tempo) , and bought it for his mother Eve. She actively works with the local Berber people, enriching their lives by encouraging them to produce and sell their rugs, silverware and assisting them to raise goats for their special cashmere wool. The road up to Asni in the foothills is not for the faint-hearted although I think improved on my last visit. The journey takes approx. 1 hour from Marrakech Airport and on arrival at Kasbah Tamadot you are warmly greeted by the smiling doormen and reception staff who whisked us off onto the sun-filled, garden terrace for a welcome glass of champagne. Sitting in the hot sun amongst the fragrant rosemary and jasmine filled gardens was just the most perfect way to chill after our early start that morning. The advantage of the early Gatwick flight means that you arrive in time for an Al Fresco lunch over-looking the magical pool and fragrant gardens with the most idyllic views along the green valley to Mount Toubkal – the highest peak. That afternoon was hot – around 28 degrees so following a delicious seafood lunch we chilled beside the long pool until the sun went down around 4.30pm. We had booked their special offer – Suite Dreams which is a 4nt stay in either one of the Suites on a Full Board basis. Each antique -filled room or Suite is completely unique in design and décor. If budget allows the Tented Berber Suites are to die for, however all rooms are so special you would not be disappointed to have a lead-in Deluxe room which open onto the stunning, courtyard with reflecting pool. This pool is scattered with rose petals each day and is one of the most enchanting courtyards I have seen. Perfect during the day to read a book in the shade or in the evening when pre-dinner drinks are served poolside. Even on cold evenings one can still enjoy drinks as cedar-wood fires are lit in fire-pits around the pool and you are provided with Hooded - Berber capes which caused a lot of laughter but were cosy for an October evening. In truth we came here to chill for a few days, however reading about the activities on offer we found ourselves meeting Mohamed – a local Berber guide. The 2nd morning we set off with a small group to trek through the foothills to a local Berber village. 2 hours later, after walking through cedar and juniper clad hillsides we descended into what I can only describe as a truly biblical scene – a verdant valley spread out in front of us, a small collection of earth-coloured houses clinging to the side of the hillside with a goat-herd heading toward us!! The smell of the cedarwood burning from the Hammam, children laughing and small goat kids calling filled the air. We were invited to take mint tea at Mohamed’s house where we met his whole family and learned that amongst his trekking guests he had previously entertained the likes of Princess Beatrice, Jimmy Carter and Nelson Mandela !! Other activities are on offer such as Mule -Trekking through the walnut forests, Half and Full Day Treks, Quad-biking in the Desert, HotAir Ballooning and Horse-Riding trips through the mountains. A weekly market is a high spot in the local village of Asni on Saturday mornings. The hotel has an amazing Spa, Assounfou which offers a wonderful array of aromatherapy based treatments and in particular a Hammam Spa Experience which we both enjoyed with a traditional Rosemary Oil massage to follow. The food, ambiance, accommodation, service is some of the best I have ever experienced anywhere in the world. I read an entry in the visitors book which describes how we felt perfectly – ' We booked for a week but could have stayed a lifetime' !
18 June 2011
This was my first trip to Crete and over 15 years since I had travelled to Greece. My partner and I needed a few days to re-charge our batteries and chill in some spring sunshine, so having recently talked to a colleague about the area of Elounda we decided to take the 3hr 45min Easyjet flight from Gatwick to Heraklion, located in the north of the island. On arrival the warm sunshine and scent of local herbs made me wonder why I had left it so long to return to the Greek Islands. Our private transfer was approximately 1 hour into Elounda and our home for the next 5 nights – the 5* Deluxe Elounda Peninsula Suites. I have to say the view of the Bay of Mirabello from our 1 Bedroom Peninsula Collection Suite with Private Pool was stunning. Our suite was a duplex with bedroom and bathroom above and full balcony and a downstairs lounge leading out onto a terrace and private pool. We even had a well-stocked mini-bar and whirlpool bath. All in all an idyllic place to relax in the 27 degree heat for a few days. The hotels private beach with sun shades plus loungers was my favourite spot to head to after a hearty breakfast – with fresh fruit, ham and feta cheeses and scrummy pastries, we certainly were spoiled for choice. The hot breakfast choices were also very tasty my partner reliably informed me each morning! The hotel looks out across the bay to the 2 sister hotels; the Porto Elounda, a more family oriented hotel, which also boasts an attractive but quite technical private 9 hole golf course and the Elounda Mare, an elegant hotel built in the style of a Cretan Village with rooms either in the main building or in stone bungalows and suites in the pretty, terraced gardens. This hotel had an exclusive atmosphere with superb cuisine, which I have to say we sampled on 2 evenings – The Old Mill and the equally good Yacht Club. The owners of these three beautiful hotels also have 2 yachts – one 82ft and the other 58 ft. These can be chartered for the day and we were really spoiled with a fantastic afternoon cruise down to Spinalonga Island approximately 1 hour away just off the coast of Plaka. Spinalonga has a fascinating history, being under Venetian and Ottoman rule in its time then in 1907 it was the Leper Colony for Greece until 1954 when following a remarkable breakthrough in treatment for leprosy, a cure was discovered and the leper colony finally saw its last inhabitants leave the island. Today there are regular boat trips from both Elounda and Plaka to visit the old streets, tunnels, chapel and houses on the island, which still exist today. The well-known book entitled ‘The Island’ is a fictional story based on how a local families life was touched so dramatically by this island, definitely a must read whilst relaxing! Another treat was the award winning Six Senses Spa, which is situated at the Porto Elounda Resort just a 10 minute walk through the olive trees and gardens from the Peninsula Suites. I indulged myself one morning in an Indian head and shoulder massage, which was simply delightful and so relaxing. The spa also has a Hammam, sauna, stunning indoor pool and a relaxation suite which guests can use free of charge. Elounda main town is either a 20 minute walk or 5 minutes and 5 Euros by cab. We ate here one evening in a superb, waterside tavern called The Ferryman, which came well recommended by guests who return each year. On another evening out we took a cab a little further along the coast to Plaka and again had a superb meal of meze plates – deep fried squid, cheese pastries (spanakopita), octopus, excellent Greek salad and a local fish similar to Dorado. I can’t remember the last time I swam in such crystal, clear waters or gazed at a view as blue as far as the eye can see. Just stunning! To sum up our mini-break – it was just too short but all great things have to come to an end and we have vowed to return to Crete and the beautiful Bay of Mirabello and Elounda.
21 July 2011
When I had the chance this April to join a friend in Florence for the weekend I jumped at the chance. When he mentioned the Four Sesons Hotel, my bags were packed !! We flew from London City Airport directly into Florence on the early morning service with Cityjet - just 1hr 50 mins and a 15 min. taxi ride and we were warmly greeted at the discreet entrance to the Four Seasons and shown to our palatial Deluxe rooms overlooking 5 hectares of private,walled gardens. In the heart of historic Florence, just 10 mins walk from Brunelleschi's iconic Duomo and the main shopping areas and Piazzas, the Four Seasons is a peaceful haven. The 15th and 16th century palazzos with just 116 rooms and suites have been lovingly restored using the most sumptuous fabrics, hand-painted frescoes and friezes, mixed with modern comforts. The hotel also boasts fine dining with an imaginative Tuscan cuisine. During our 48 hrs in this stunningly beautiful renaissance city we managed to visit the Accademia Museum of Fine Arts where the Michelangelos David is now housed, having been moved from its previous outdoor location on the Piazza della Signoria. Today the gallery also houses the artist's 4 unfinished Prisoners. We dined at Cibreo, arguably Florence's most famous restaurant offering traditional Tuscan cuisine from one of Italy's best chef's Fabio Picchi. My Guinea-fowl cooked in chocolate and sultanas was to die for !! Our 2nd morning we decided to take a trip up to the village of Greve in Chianti well known for its many hectares of vines producing the delicious Chianti wines. It is also well respected locally for its Wild Boar Salumis and hams which we snacked on in the village square with the odd glass of the red stuff !!! Lunch at the neighbouring Castello Verrazzano where much of the wine is produced along with olive oil and balsalmic vinegar, was a delightfully long affair ! Our 2 days sped by just too quickly, however I did manage to do a little shopping and arrived home with a new handbag - Well you just can't go to Florence and return without one can you ?!!!!
20 August 2010
Exotic & mystical, Marrakech sits on the plain at the foothills of the breathtakingly beautiful Atlas Mountains. Fashionable in the 1950's/1960's it is once again attracting the discerning traveller keen to explore its boutique riads, colourful souks and sophisticated restaurants serving some of the finest food in the world. On my recent visit in June I was thrilled to be staying in the newly re-furbished and iconic La Mamounia - known fondly as 'The Grande Dame' of Marrakech. The hotel was famously once the home of Sir Winston Churchill for a while and General de Gaulle who took it over for his party's headquarters. Since the 1920's La Mamounia has hosted dignitaries and royalty alike and enjoyed a reputation as one of the worlds most exquisite hotels. The refurbishment took over 3yrs to complete and having witnessed the sheer opulence of the finest mosaics and rich furnishings it was easy to see why. During my stay I visited many of the tiny Riads which offer an authentic and more intimate stay within the Medina walls, often with just a handful of eclectic rooms in each. Some are small and offer simply furnished rooms whereas others have small swimming-pools and perfumed gardens within the central courtyards, Hammam Spas and restaurants offering authentic Morrocan cuisine. One of the larger Riads Les Jardins de la Koutoubia has the most amazing large pool surrounded by pretty gardens and large comfortable sun loungers and secluded seating areas where you my take refreshing Mint Tea. The highlight of my trip was a 1 and half hour drive up to the High Atlas Mountains to visit Kasbah de Toukbal which is accessible by either foot from the village of Asni or by mule for the last 30 mins. The view of the snow-capped Mount Toubkal from the Kasbah was breathtaking. It is in this mountain valley that Sir Richard Branson bought and opened his mountain hotel retreat that is Kasbah Tamadot, The Kasbah is set amongst spectacular scenery and scented gardens and offers a selection of superior accommodation including rooms with private pools and Berber Tented Suites with private deck and plunge pool. The meals here are a gastronomic delight. There is much to do in the Atlas Mountains from hiking, trekking and mule rides to hot air ballooning.
20 February 2009
KRUGER PARK - (Sabi Sand area) After a very early start with an 0810 flight from Port Elizabeth to Johannesburg we transferred to a Federal Air flight by light aircraft to Kruger. The flight is about 1hr and touchdown brought us to a small landing strip in the bush to commence our safari experience at Sir Richard Branson’s private reserve ULUSABA. This is regarded as one of the top 5 game reserves in South Africa and is split between Rock Lodge and Safari Lodge. Rooms can be rented out individually or the lodge taken as a whole rental for weddings and celebrations. Rock Lodge is set high up on a koppie with panoramic views of the bushveld below. Makwela Suites feature private plunge pools and decorated in African tribal style. Safari Lodge is set on the banks of a dry river bed has private decks and bath tubs overlooking the bush. Access is by swinging rope bridges between the tree house rooms so maybe not for the faint-hearted. Wildlife passes by close to your elevated rooms..... A female leopard strolled through apparently the morning we arrived. Dinner at both lodges is by starlight, firelight or candlelight on your private deck. Regular Braii (BBQ) evenings around the fireside Boma at Safari Lodge and Moon-lit bush dinners can be arranged. Children are welcome at Rock Lodge and 12 yrs and over at Safari Lodge. The highlight of our game viewing was the family of Hyena and cubs who allowed us to film them right outside their den and later that morning finding 4 male lions snoozing under the acacia trees. LEOPARD HILLS - KRUGER The drive from Ulusaba to Leopard Hills is just 15 mins through the bush and what a welcome. The whole Leopard Hills team came out to meet us complete with welcome drinks. Leopard Hills is built on a hill overlooking a watering hole close to the Sand River. An exclusive Lodge with 8 beautifully appointed suites with private decks and plunge pools. Glass fronted suites ensure fantastic game viewing opportunities all through the day. Lodges 1, 2, 3 and 4 have the best views of the water hole. Suites are decorated with typical contemporary African style and elegance. Bathrooms feature twin stone showers inside and out and Victorian roll top baths. Two daily game drives are taken by professional game rangers who go out of their way to find you the best game viewing. Our morning game drive was spent tracking a female leopard and cub which was very exciting plus seeing a male Hyena take his Impala breakfast!! I particularly loved this reserve and the sundowners by the hippo waterhole were a fantastic memory. Would recommend packing just a small squashy bag if flying up to Kruger by light aircraft and leave any suitcases at Jo’burg. Shrink wrapping service available if required. DAY 8 Back to Johannesburg by light aircraft after our morning game drive and the evening flight home back to Heathrow on British Airways. I hope you have enjoyed my account of my trip to South Africa in a nutshell. This was my fourth visit in 15 years and certainly not my last. I hope to do a wine tour in the future amongst the Cape Winelands.
20 February 2009
With distant memories of a less than balmy summer and the thoughts of a frosty winter ahead I was very excited to learn in October I had been invited by Elegant Resorts to join 3 other Travel Counsellors for a week in South Africa visiting some of the best hotels and games reserves on offer. With SA being almost on the same time zone to the UK you arrive early morning feeling refreshed after a good night’s sleep on board. CAPE TOWN Day 1 - Our first stop was the elegant Cape Grace Hotel on the Victoria and Alfred Waterfont which is perfectly situated for many bars, restaurants and shopping malls within 2 mins walk. Afternoon tea at the Mount Nelson is almost an institution and not to be missed. CAMPS BAY Day 2 took us just 20 mins around the bay to Camps Bay with its long stretch of white sandy beach and stunning coastline. Our hotel The Bay was located next to the beach and had a contemporary yet homely feel and conveniently located close to trendy bars and restaurants. Sundowners from the Sandy B Br or Traders Cigar Bar are a must. CAPE WINELANDS Day 3 and on to Franschhoek in the Cape Winelands which is embraced by majestic mountain views. We visited Le Quartier Francais an exclusive auberge in the heart of Franschhoek with just 15 luxury bedrooms and 2 Suites set around a courtyard with central pool and beautifully scented gardens. The Tasting Room is one of South Africa’s top restaurants. Our hotel for this evening was the Mont Rochelle Hotel and Vineyards set up on the slopes of the Franschhoek Mountains overlooking the vineyards and village of Franschhoek. Their restaurant MangeTout offers the fine dining experience dining in or out on the terrace on warm evenings. Outdoor activities offered include wine tastings, horse-riding (including a ‘Wine Tasting on Horseback Tour’), mountain biking, fly-fishing, and hiking. Spa treatments were also available. HERMANUS Day 4 - Off to Hermanus which was about a 1 and half hour drive down to the coastal road. Hermanus is famous for its whale-watching from June - Dec when Southern Right Whales gather in Walker Bay to give birth and nurture before setting of on their journey around Nov/Dec. Our hotel was the Relaix & Chateaux The Marine located on the cliff top overlooking the bay. Land-based whale-watching at its best !! The hotel is best described as understated luxury and sophistication. Suites and rooms are decorated in the highest standard of comfort and style. Guests can take the coastal path with stunning views across Walker Bay. Boat trips from nearby Gannsbaii (30 mins) take you out to Dyer Island where viewings of whales, dolphins, great white sharks, penguins and seals are common. Shark cage diving is also offered here. GARDEN ROUTE - PLETTENBERG BAY Day 5 - On the way to Plettenberg Bay we visited Grootbos Nature Reserve just 20 mins from Hermanus overlooking Walker Bay. This is a Private Nature Reserve closely linked to The Eden Project in Cornwall. A nature lover’s paradise, specialising in bird safaris, wild flower walks, beach safaris, horse-riding, whale-watching and diving with great white sharks. THE PLETTENBERG HOTEL Another Relaix & Chateaux hotel built on a rocky headland overlooking the bay, it has wonderful views of the sea, mountains and golden sandy beach. Please go to my South African Safari Experience for my trip to Kruger National Park. I hope you have enjoyed my account of my trip to South Africa in a nutshell and I look forward to being able to advise and recommend with this fabulous country in mind.
23 January 2012
Oman had been a destination I had longed to visit for a while so was thrilled when finally I had the chance to visit in May 2006 for a quick weeks chillout. We travelled with Gulf Air from Heathrow on their then direct service to Muscat - however since taking this trip the only direct service now from the UK is with Oman Air from Gatwick. BA also have a very good option from Heathrow with a short touch-down in Abu Dhabi. Landing around 7am our private transfer soon whisked us away through Muscat to our hotel around 45 mins. away. The journey through Muscat was very interesting with wide streets, very clean and tidy with lots of green areas, not the dusty place I had imagined. We had chosen to stay at the newly opened Shangri-La Barr al Jissah, located on a stunningly beautiful, rugged coastline, set in 124 acres of landscaped gardens and pristine sandy bays. This hotel has 3 unique concept areas, Al Waha - family friendly, Al Bandar - more corporate feel and the 6* Al Husn with its sheer luxury and panoramic views across the resort. The driveway to the Al Husn entrance is impressive as you approach and concierge meet you with welcoming chilled juices while you check-in. Our room was a Deluxe Sea-View with balcony which was huge with a large walk-in marble bathroom and furnished balcony overlooking the main beach. You have butler service here also which is great to get extra ice etc.... During our weeks stay we ate in most of the many restaurants on offer, my favourites being Sheherazade - an authentic Morrocan restaurant with an award winning chef, Sultanah - an amazing glass fronted restaurant overlooking the resort and Beit al Bahar which is built to look like an Omani fishing Dhow and serves the most wonderful choice of seafood, beachside. Pre-booking for these restaurants is recommended. One of the highlights of our trip was watching Turtles coming up to the beaches at night to watch them lay their eggs in the deep sand. There is an in-house Turtle Ranger on hand who will call your mobile no; to let you know of either turtles laying eggs or baby hatchlings making their way back to the ocean. This invariably happens at night and is monitored closely by the ranger. We took 2 local boat trips out from resort, the first to watch local Spinner Dolphins which was a lovely experience and the 2nd with local fishermen who dived down for lobster and then cooked them for us on a beach BBQ about an hour away from resort. The local Omanis are the most friendly of people and have the widest smiles. We also took a taxi down to another hotel The Chedi, close to Muscat. This hotel is more contemporary in its feel and look and mainly for couples. It has the most amazing show kitchens and is a dining experience. Top tips Observe and respect the Omani customs when visiting Mosques and walking around outside your resort, covering arms and legs as this is a Muslim country. Definately get out and about and see all that Oman has to offer - it is an intriguingly beautiful country with so much to see. A trip into the Hajar mountains by 4 Wheel Drive would be a must, sadly we didn't do this as time ran out - hopefully next time.
Orpington , Kent 14/11/2023
Orpington , Kent 05/08/2023
Gillingham, Kent 02/07/2023
Tenterden, Kent 02/07/2023
Wombourne, Staffordshire 21/02/2023
Banbury , Oxfordshire 27/01/2023
Orpington, Kent 27/01/2023
Rainham , Kent 18/01/2023
Herne Bay, Kent 23/12/2022
Isle of Sheppey, Kent 10/11/2022
Northwich, Cheshire 02/10/2022
Rainham, Kent 14/07/2022
Clifton Hampden, Oxfordshire 06/06/2022
Sheerness, Kent 26/04/2022
Eastleach, Gloucestershire 17/04/2022
Wombourne, WOLVERHAMPTON 29/03/2022
HERNE BAY 24/03/2022
Eastleach, Gloucestershire 21/01/2022
Banbury, Oxon 21/01/2022
Brenchley, Kent 21/01/2022
Greater London 08/11/2019
Clifton Hampden, Oxford 05/11/2019
Orpington, Kent 04/11/2019
Blackburn, LANCASHIRE 04/11/2019
Eastchurch, Sheerness 04/11/2019
Eastchurch, Isle of Sheppey 04/11/2019
Harrietsham, Kent 18/09/2019
Bourneville, Birmingham 08/08/2019
Battle, East Sussex 21/06/2019
Beckley, Rye, East Sussex 12/06/2019
Herne Bay, Kent 06/06/2019
Barnton, Cheshire 30/05/2019
Eastleach, Gloucestershire 08/04/2019
Ribchester, Lancashire 01/03/2019
Llanelli, South Wales 25/01/2019
Banbury, Oxon 25/01/2019
Whetsted, Kent 23/11/2018
Orpington, Kent 29/10/2018
Carmarthen , Carmarthenshire 08/10/2018
Whitchurch On Thames, Berkshire 24/09/2018
Northwich, Cheshire 06/08/2018
Newington, Kent 08/06/2018
Rainham, Kent 28/04/2018
Chestfield, Kent 12/03/2018
Broomfield, Kent 06/03/2018
Carmarthen, Carmarthenshire, 24/02/2018
Five Oak Green, Kent 21/02/2018
Gillingham, Kent 02/02/2018
Oxford, Oxon 22/01/2018
Llanelli, South Wales 28/11/2017
Llanelli, South Wales 28/11/2017
Chislehampton, Oxfordshire 28/11/2017
Burford, Oxfordshire 28/11/2017
Banbury, Oxfordshire 28/11/2017
East Peckham, Kent 10/08/2017
Broomfield, Kent 10/08/2017
Headington, Oxfordshire 07/08/2017
Huddersfield, West Yorkshire 01/08/2017
High Halstow, Kent 05/05/2017
Rochester, Kent 13/04/2017
Beckenham, Kent 20/03/2017
St. Albans, Herts. 16/02/2017
Borden, Sittingbourne Kent 02/02/2017
Wateringbury, Kent 16/01/2017
Llanelli, South Wales 10/01/2017
Brenchley, Kent 16/12/2016
Llanfynedd, Carmarthen 16/12/2016
Golden Green, Kent 13/12/2016
Harrietsham, Kent 05/12/2016
Saltburn-by-the-Sea, North Yorkshire 26/10/2016