All posts filed under: Stay

Adventure then rest

Dorset Days: Lyme Regis (+ River Cottage Canteen), England

A day that starts with the natural wonders of the Jurassic Coast and ends with a pastel sunset on pastel houses by the sea is one to make you see the world through (English) rose-coloured glasses indeed. While navigating the winding country roads of Dorset is a challenge (I hadn’t driven a manual for some time, and this was a pretty rubbish re-introduction I must say – ha!), it is also a delight if you can veer your eyes off the road. Patchwork green farmlands with hedges of stone and tree, foxgloves lining the narrow roads, and the most fairy tale of cobblestone villages you could imagine – moss covered and with roofs made of straw – at times I almost expected Peter Rabbit to dart in front of the car. Hungry (probably from expending all the energy from my last meal by clenching the steering wheel tightly and despairing over two way streets with only one lane), we head direct to the seaside on arriving in town to find some grub. The beachfront footpath …

STAY: Hotel Hotel, Canberra

Staying in a killer hotel can really lift a trip into another realm. An experience in itself, Hotel Hotel in Canberra’s New Acton Nishi precinct did just that. I wanted to move in. On check-in, we were upgraded by an enthusiastically friendly and helpful concierge. I had been quite keen to check out the colourful ‘Creative Room’ style, but who says no to an upgrade (especially when the larger room included a work space and I had to do a phone interview on arrival with the creative director of Enlighten Festival)!? One thing that strikes you as you walk from lobby to hallway to room is the aesthetics of the materials used – such as concrete and reclaimed timber – which point to the eco sensibilities behind the design. The spacious (if somewhat cavernous) room was a mixture of earthy, Australian (love the Indigenous art), and contemporary with pops of colour in the shaggy stool and hanging light. I did my interview peering out the room window on a central garden that the building wraps …

Hotel SP34, Copenhagen, Denmark

How does one readjust after a wild, multi-day jaunt in a muddy campsite at Roskilde Music Festival? By checking in to a stylish design hotel, with beds like fluffy clean clouds, of course! It’s about balance, people, b-a-l-a-n-c-e. I had been daydreaming about shacking up in this hotel, located in Copenhagen’s Latin Quarter, long before we arrived in Europe, after spying it in the (essential) Copenhagen Style Guide by Anna Peuckert & Søren Jepsen (of wonderful blog 12 HRS fame). And boy did I think of it when in the dirtier-than-thou campsite at Roskilde (don’t get me wrong, just the 3 1/2 hour set by Neil Young was worth that experience alone – and don’t get me started on PJ Harvey, At the Drive In, Grimes…more on that at another time). So when we showed up at the hotel, probably not looking exactly like the kind of clientele they are used to (I had a red wine stain down the front of my ripped jeans), we were ready to dump our bags, were dying for …

The Atlantic, Byron Bay

Verandas with cushioned swinging cane chairs, a custom built bocce court of sand and a camp chair-lined fire pit in the yard. There’s an air stream camper you can hire by the wood-lined lap pool. The white walls, stylish minimal furnishings and green spaces make it a genuine place of rest. It is quiet. Oh, and it’s right in the heart of Byron Bay, a mere minute’s walk from the beach. I think this is my favourite hotel in Australia. The Albatross rooms had recently opened at The Atlantic when I first caught an online glimpse of the hotel. With a tropical aquatic seafaring-style theme complete with Moroccan tiled private courtyards and outdoor shower, my heart was aflutter which I think had an immediate reaction down to my keyboard finger because I booked right away. While lazing on our private courtyard in a swing chair (or was it on the daybed?!), reading the perfectly curated little leaflet guide to their recommended places in the area (such as Folk Byron Bay), I knew I had arrived …

Haweswater Hotel, Lake District, England

Filling up our tank on a day driving around the Lake District, the service attendant asks where we are staying. “Haweswater Hotel”, we tell him and he looks surprised. “That’s a great spot”, he says “it’s where us locals hang out on our days off”. Skymie and I exchange a smirk. Originally, I questioned whether staying by a reservoir in a district of lakes was the wrong move, but the website made it look so damn peaceful and pretty that I couldn’t resist.  Once checked in, we discovered it was also in a quiet little hikers paradise, with the start of some spectacular walks just down the road (you can read about our first short wander here). In an English summer the sun stays up until late in the evening, so our first dinner was by the bright windows of the dining room. The interiors were modern country with deep grey blue walls, mounted with a deer head or two. This wasn’t exactly to Skymie’s tastes as he’s vegetarian (I was also for a very long …

Ace Hotel, Shoreditch, London

Early on a Shoreditch morning, the lobby of the Ace Hotel is simmering with creatives and travellers, drinking coffee, setting up laptops, checking in and out. Vinyl lines the front desk, there’s a photobooth, a fixie bike near the lift, and a mini exhibition by Tokyo-based artist Yu Nagaba in a glass cabinet along the wall. I’ve been looking forward to staying at the Ace almost as much as I’ve been anticipating arriving in London, and I’m immediately smitten. So imagine my delight when we are granted an early check in and an upgrade. And just as we are settling in, turning on the vintage radio, reclining on the window seat, the door knocks and we are presented with a bottle of champagne for our recent engagement. And then they bring flowers from the florist next door. Did you hear that? THEY BROUGHT US FLOWERS! It’s often the little touches that make a great hotel. And there were plenty of those – a channel on the in-room radio of stories being read to help you …

Warwick Ibah Luxury Villas & Spa, Ubud

We arrived in Ubud in the early eve, and while the darkness shifted my senses, sounds to the fore, we wandered into the Warwick Ibah to the soft flow of trickling water and the chi chak of local geckos. We were led along a stone path to our room, intermittent lights bringing into focus frangipani trees and foliage that had crept through the cracks of the wall. The humidity was high. Our room was the promised luxury, a four poster bed draped in a thick white mosquito net. Glassed bottles of water and air conditioning were welcomed. The room had a large balcony beside an outdoor dimly lit stairwell and peered into the tropical-sounding blackness in the other direction. We were above a valley of sorts that we couldn’t yet see. We ordered drinks to the room. It wasn’t until the morning, when we walked through the hotel grounds to visit a local fave cafe (Sari Organik) of my travel buddy Kel (who I think I mentioned in a previous post has been to Indonesia …