Finding gear to keep up with me is difficult. After all, what durable walking trousers are also decent enough to wear to a party or to dinner?
As it cools off here, it’s heating up Down Under, so now is the time to plan a trip to Australia. But what if you only have a couple of weeks to spare? Can you really see Australia in just two weeks?
I think you can – and you can read my article, outlining four different itineraries for the best way to tackle this mammoth country, in the Sunday Times today.
I normally hate chain hotels. The homogenous décor, the basic rooms, the textbook service – it can all just feel a bit, well, uncaring.
But then there is Hotel du Vin, the hotel chain that somehow manages not to feel like a chain at all. Individual décor, opulent rooms, five-star service, everything about this brand screams luxury – and the newest addition to the family, in St Andrews, is no exception.
As soon as I checked in I was instantly at home, my luggage spirited away, the front desk staff like old friends asking about the journey. And then came the room – where I discovered one of the best views in Scotland. Four separate windows, each with a view of the world-famous golf course, each one looking out to sea. I could have gazed out at it for hours, watching the tide fill and empty the saltwater swimming pool, assessing the swing of every golfer on the 18th hole, but there was dinner to be had – and that turned out to be even more special.
We sat in a bay window, looking out over the water, watching the sun set, and ordering cote de boeuf from the josper grill and Anstruther lobster, baked in garlic butter. We washed it down with Marlborough sauvignon blanc and a bottle of Malbec, tough choices made from the slimmed down but tightly edited wine shortlist. We could have stayed for hours, but our bedroom was calling, with its huge bathtub and vast bed. We slept like golfers having played a full 36 and woke to find the sun rising over the water and into our room.
From the hotel it is a short walk to the castle, the cathedral and the university – a trio of historic sights that are not to be missed – and a worthwhile stroll to Janetta’s ice cream parlour where the 20-plus flavours almost flummoxed me and the 2014 Golden Cone Award was proven well deserved.
Every time we returned to the hotel we were glad to be back, sinking into the sofas and plunging into the bath, and each time I had to remind myself that there are more of these – a chain of hotels that doesn’t feel like one, and to which I am always happy to arrive.
Think the Canaries are no more than just another fly and flop
destination? Let me convince you otherwise with my article for Active Traveller on hiking in Gran Canaria. Mountains, volcanoes and tropical valleys await.
I am currently working as an editor on the Guardian’s Fixology project, in association with Direct Line.
This one-stop website aims to provide the answers to all life’s little questions. How can you avoid food waste? What should you feed your dog? How can you save money on your next holiday?
I am commissioning all travel and pets content for the site, as well as articles for Guardian Weekend magazine. Read my introduction to the project here.
As part of the Guardian Fixology project, in association with Direct Line, I recently reviewed a whole host of travel technology.
My seven must-haves for travellers are listed on the Guardian website here and include the fantastic chargers from MiPOW, whichhave integral cables, and the stylish House of Marley headphones, which have Bluetooth to avoid tangled wires.