We booked a two night break at Down Hall Hotel near Bishop’s Stortford in Essex to have a short break in the country to celebrate my birthday. We booked through Hotels.com with the average nightly room rate working out around £120 per night.
I came across the Flitch of Bacon, in Little Dunmow, Essex when looking for a gastropub in the country where I could celebrate my birthday. The Flitch of Bacon is owned by Daniel Clifford, who is most well known for owning Midsummer House, the 2 Michelin Star Restaurant in Cambridge. While the Flitch of Bacon doesn’t have any major awards as yet, its clear from the outset that this is certainly where it is heading (although, you’ll see from this review there is still some work to do!).
We visited Lyle’s to celebrate our wedding anniversary. We had decided to visit for lunch on a Saturday, as during lunch service you can choose your dishes (at dinner you can only order from a set menu). Lyle’s has been receiving some big recommendations over the last few years, and this year rose from 65 to 54 in The Worlds 50 Best. This is often seen as a good yardstick as it’s voted for by chefs and people in the trade (compared to Michelin stars which are awarded by a separate organisation). Lyle’s also holds 1 Michelin star at the time of our booking.
The hotel Remm, Shin-Osaka was the second hotel on our Japan trip, after our stay in Hiroshima. We booked the hotel through Agoda before our trip and paid approximately £110 per night for 4 nights over a weekend.
On a recent visit to Japan we found ourselves visiting the Floating Tori tourist attraction on Miyajima Island, which is a 40 minute journey from Hiroshima station. When doing some research on the area we found that seafood was a particular speciality of the area and specifically local oysters or eel (anago) rice. When I looked for restaurants on the island I came across Fujitaya in the Michelin guide, which has been awarded one Michelin star. Given Fujitaya had been rated top on the island we decided to give it a try!
On a recent trip to Japan we stayed in two locations, Hiroshima and Osaka. Our first stay on the trip was at the Hotel Granvia in Hiroshima, where we spent 3 nights.
We booked the hotel directly with Cathay Pacific as part of a flights and hotel package, so it’s pretty difficult to say what we paid for the hotel (although it was probably around £100-150 per night). The booking was easy and at check in we were allocated a room on the Premium (19th) floor. We think this was an upgrade, but it’s difficult to tell exactly what we booked.
It was my wife’s birthday last week and every year I look around to see where I can take her. The first week in January is always a more difficult place to find somewhere to eat as many places are still closed after Christmas. This year I decided on somewhere that combines a traditional British hotel with high-end French cuisine, the two-Michelin starred Hélène Darroze at The Connaught.
Two years ago, on holiday in the Lake District we visited my favourite restaurant so far, L’Enclume in Cartmel. Two Michelin stars and owned by one of the lesser known celebrity chef’s Simon Rogan. Since opening in 2003, the restaurant not only gained its stars, but a ‘perfect’, 10 out of 10 in the 2014 Good Food Guide and appeared on BBC comedy series ‘The Trip’ in 2010. One of the stand-out features of L’Enclume was a passion to deliver all food for the restaurant from Rogan’s local farm.
It took a while for Rogan to look outside Cartmel, and after a short pop-up ‘Roganic’ ran in London in 2011, he opened The French at the Midland Hotel in Manchester in 2013, followed closely by Fera at Claridge’s in 2014. Previously home to Gordon Ramsey at Claridge’s, which closed in 2013 after losing its Michelin star in 2010.
It’s getting to that time of year again where I get another year older. This year myself and Clara have taken a break in the Cotswolds (cottage review to appear soon) and Clara treated me to lunch at The Wild Rabbit in Kingham, recently awarded it’s first Michelin star in the 2017 awards. Kingham reminds me a little of Bray (in terms of quality of food per person who lives there!), as the tiny village has two very high quality pubs, including The Kingham Plough (no stars at yet!), which we’ve already added to our list for a future visit.
The Wild Rabbit is part of the Dayleford Organic Farms empire, owned by Lady Bamford. This is a traditional, English pub with restaurant and rooms – although one of the poshest pubs you are likely to visit!
I’ve just returned from an 11 night trip to the Dominican Republic with my wife, staying at The Royal Suites Turquesa by Palladium. We booked this hotel mainly due to the fact it was adults only, but like most hotels in Punta Cana, it also offers all-inclusive board by default. We were really looking for a restful break spent on the beach or by the pool in late April / early May and we took a chance with booking in the Dominican Republic, despite this being the end of the high season. In the end our gamble paid off, with only a couple of days of rain throughout out stay.