Sent by Ann P
Los Angeles 14/09/2019
Based in Hove, East Sussex
Looking for help with your business travel? Find out how I can help here
Hi, I am Lesley Anne Baker and run my travel planning business in partnership with the award winning, Travel Counsellors.
I work from Hove in East Sussex however I have customers located in the across the UK, Europe, USA, Australia and the Caribbean.
I am passionate about all things travel related and after more than 30 years working in the travel industry, I still get excited when I am asked to recommend places to visit. I specialise in 3 travel products; responsible travel for independent travellers, leisure travel for families, friends and solo travellers and group travel. I offer wedding planning and honeymoons overseas for clients and love to organise group travel ensuring attention to the finest details are the key to success of making memories.
I gained my travel knowledge working in customer service roles at Gatwick and Heathrow airports, managing the VIP departments for two major international airlines as well as in a travel executive position within a high-end tour operator. I also managed an exclusive business portfolio for a travel and lifestyle membership provider which gave me the opportunity to offer business travel for small and medium business enterprises which I now offer as part of my business services. (See the link to my business travel management page above)
During my travel career I have been fortunate to visit many destinations including Australia, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Japan, Dubai, Bahrain, Mexico, Venezuela, and the USA including Florida, California, Hawaii, Texas, New York, Las Vegas, New Orleans, Boston and Chicago. I love the Caribbean Islands and have spent fabulous holidays in Jamaica, the Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands, Bahamas, Dominican Republic and my beloved Barbados, where I lived for two years.
Closer to home I have visited France and Austria for skiing, Germany for the Christmas Markets, mainland Spain, the Canaries and Balearics for “fun in the sun”, Malta & Greece for their beautiful histories, Italy for the food, Morocco for the eclectic culture, The Netherlands for its cheese and tulips, Switzerland for the chocolate and Eire for the craic! My favourite European destination is Puglia in Italy. I would love to help you find your favourite destination too.
I have also been fortunate to experience cruising, which is becoming more and more popular with all generations nowadays so if you would like to find out more about either ocean or river cruising please give me a call for and insiders viewpoint!
I share the same ethos of Travel Counsellors - With Us It’s Personal - and I hope to add expert value to any booking you make with me as your personal travel advisor. Whatever your reason to travel, leisure or business, family holidays, cruise, adventures, city-breaks, your wedding or honeymoon, group travel or a ski trip, I would love to help you make memories so please contact me to discuss your needs and I’m sure we can plan the perfect trip together. That's me, Lesley Anne Baker, #MakingMemories
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.
16 May 2021
Is anyone as excited as me concerning the prospect of being able to plan holidays again from this month? As we await May 17th and all being well, my mind has turned to where I would go again from all the places I have travelled over the years. I found myself thinking about a road trip I took with my friend when we were just 21 years old. She was living in Amsterdam and I was working at Gatwick Airport. The summer was passing and both of us were yearning for a holiday, so we decided to take ourselves off to California for 3 weeks and have a little adventure. We did not really plan where or how we would travel but we knew we wanted to visit the places we had seen on TV and dreamed about; Los Angeles, San Francisco, Santa Barbara, San Diego, and lots of other towns that we had heard about. At 21 we were a little naïve but had no fear, so we arrived at Los Angeles Airport, hired a Camaro sportscar, and headed towards Anaheim which is where Disneyland California and other theme parks are found. The weather was perfect, blue sky and sunny days and we truly were loving being “California Girls”. We visited the beaches at Huntington hanging out with the surfers, Venice Beach watching the body builders and skateboarders as well as Santa Monica to watch the sunsets. Of course, we spent time in Hollywood and Beverly Hills too. It truly did feel “cool” to be there. Next we headed north up Highway 1, which is a long rugged coastal road, winding through Santa Monica, Malibu, Ventura, Santa Barbara, Carmel by the Sea and more. We stayed in small motels and ate at local restaurants, visiting the famous landmarks along the way ending in San Francisco. It really is easy to leave your heart there! We had fun visiting Fisherman’s Wharf, Alcatraz, The Golden Gate Bridge, meeting locals who in those days were fascinated by us. I cannot remember how many times we heard “Oh, I just love your accent, are you Australian?” It made us laugh out loud every time! Our days were running out, so we took the faster route Interstate 5 back down to LA and on towards San Diego. We visited the famous Zoo, Sea World, Tijuana, La Jolla and then back to LA, to the beaches of Laguna, Newport, and a visit to Orange County. It was a whirlwind trip but one that saw us make memories that truly have lasted all these years and we still laugh about our Californian Summer Adventure. Do get in touch if I can help you plan a road trip in California or any of the other famous destinations in North America.
22 September 2019
This is my little story about coming to terms with growing old gracefully! Last November, a dear friend asked me if I would like to join her in the Spanish resort of Mojacar where she had recently purchased a holiday home. Now, I had a big (I mean, huge) birthday looming in February and despite plans of parties, silent discos, champagne and celebrating with friends and family, secretly, I just wanted to run away and hide from another milestone so how could I decline the invite? I have visited Spain many times however I had not been to Costa Almeria so after a little research on the area I decided I would drop the party planning and book my ticket! There were 5 of us that spent ten days in Mojacar although 2 of us decided to stay for 3 nights at the wonderful 4* Parador de Mojacar which is located right opposite the sea in the midst of Mojacar Playa. If you are looking for peace, tranquillity and great service, I recommend this property as a good starting point to explore the area. The gardens and pool areas are well kept and bougainvillea, oleander and hibiscus plants are in abundance. Spain has a rich cultural history and Paradores can be found all over the land. These historic converted buildings range from castles, monasteries, palaces, convents and fortresses and many of them have been converted to luxury hotels, located in beautiful scenic areas giving guests the opportunity to experience the history pertaining to each individual property. Mojacar itself is split into two distinct areas - Mojacar Playa and Mojacar Pueblo. Both are built in the traditional white washed Moorish Spanish style with the Pueblo being built on hills, just ten minutes from the Playa. These traditional Andalucian buildings are stunning to see as they glimmer in the sunshine. The Pueblo dates back to the 1400's when the Moors ruled this part of Southern Spain and for those visitors that love history, it is a "must see". The winding streets are mostly cobbled so it is important to wear suitable shoes when exploring the village area. Every Wednesday, there is a local market held in at the foot of the village with locals selling their wares including fruit, vegetables, fresh produce, traditional crafts and clothes. Bargains galore! Hidden amongst the historic buildings, the centre piece is the Church of Santa Maria which dates back to the 16th century. It is surrounded by terraces, restaurants, artisan shops and a few homes. We spent quite a few lunch times in the plaza, sipping on sangria and tapas whilst admiring the views! Back down at the contrasting Mojacar Playa there are many shops, restaurants, bars and all the other facilities needed in a working tourist town. In the summer months, the beach itself is opened up to the many "chiringuitos" - pop up bars and restaurants selling tapas and other traditional Spanish food. A foodie's heaven! What more could a birthday girl want other than a sandy beach, orange sunrises, good food and a few glasses of bubbles. I certainly will be going back and have already booked for next February. The temperature was just perfect if like me you love blue skies and sunny days, a pleasant 22 degrees is hard to find in Europe in February but find it we did, in fact on one of the days the thermometer reached 31C. So if like me, you are dreading the thought of a big birthday looming, I can highly recommend this delightful town for a short break which is far away from the madding crowds. I have recommended the area to like minded customers and already booked 3 separate family bookings to Mojacar so if you want to know more, just get in touch any time to book here or any other destination in Spain.
25 June 2021
Have you been to Malta? Were you as surprised as me to find out how delightful this small country is? I visited Malta in September 2017 visiting both the main island of Malta as well as its sister islands of Gozo and Comino, which are a short ferry ride away. September is a lovely time to visit the country as it is sunny, warm, and dry at this time of year, the average temperature starts off at 25.5°C at the beginning of the month and gradually drops to 23°C during the final few days. Flying time from London is just over 3 hours and when we visited, the arrival airport was appeared organised, immigration was easy. Our transfer company was waiting for us just outside of customs, took care of our luggage and took us to the lovely Corinthia Palace Hotel & Spa which is situated in San Anton, just by the botanical gardens and Presidential Palace. A good location for exploring the islands but also to relax and wind down. Our first day took us to St John’s Co-Cathedral. The fabulous interior is one of the best examples of baroque style in Europe which for those of us with a love of history and art was a double delight! After a delicious lunch, in the afternoon we visited the Upper Barrakka Gardens, a stunning public garden in Valletta. The gardens offer an amazing panoramic view of the Grand Harbour which date back to 1661. Afterwards, we took a water taxi to view the “Three Cities” which consist of Birgu, Senglea and Cospicua which form part of the old quarter of Malta. The winding streets, small shops, cafes, and artisan stores are a definite “must see” and being right next to the waterfront, we were able to admire the collection of millionaire’s yachts docked harbourside whilst sipping our refreshments. Another attraction we visited during our stay were the Catacombs of St Paul, which I must admit I found a little scary. The tunnels leading down to the crypts are extremely small and although the tour is escorted, it is certainly not for the faint hearted; I turned around and waited outside for my group but if you like things spooky, you will love this attraction! My favourite event of the 5-day trip was a visit around Mdina on a Segway which I had never ridden on before. Eight of us following each other around narrow streets trying not to fall off or break the speed limit was hilarious. Mdina is one of Europe’s finest examples of an ancient walled city and unusual in its mix of medieval and Baroque architecture and at night it is lit up with lights and nicknamed “The Silent City”. Malta is not all history and culture. There are some lovely beaches albeit mostly pebbled however there are some which are sand at Mellieha and St Pauls which can get busy in the summer months. No trip to Malta should miss a visit to the famous Blue Grotto which is a complex of caves reached by water boat. Once inside, the water is clear bright blue when the sand from below is reflected up to the caves. It is a camera moment but be careful not to drop it as the water is deep. It is a great place for divers and many of the visitors were adorning their masks and flippers. On day 4 we took the ferry across to Gozo where there are more shops, cafes, hotels, apartments, villas, and history. It really was a bustling little place, and I could easily have stayed longer as it was very peaceful and relaxed despite some crowds getting off the ferry. We did lots of things I had never done before such as the Segway tour, Quad Biking and driving a golf cart around the Old Quarter! Malta offers so many activities and accommodation options in all price ranges and I would love to return to make some more memories. If you like the idea of a Malta short break do get in touch to see how I can help you plan a visit.
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