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The best hotels in the world? Sunday Times Travel magazine feature

I was recently asked to contribute to the Sunday Times Travel magazine’s Best hotels in the world feature.

I stay in more than 100 hotels every year. So I’ve seen more than my fair share of the bad ones. But I’m also lucky enough to have stayed in some truly great ones, where staff practically bend over backwards to make things perfect, where the bed is comfy, the food is good and the light switches and sockets are all in the right places!

I selected some of my favourites* for this feature. See which hotels made the cut in the May issue of the magazine, on newsstands now and online soon. And let me know if you agree, or if we’ve missed some!

 

*SPOILER ALERT: You’re in here Blythswood Square, The Dean and Ritz Carlton Rancho Mirage.

3-13 Holdsworth Street, Woollahra

Australian property piece for the Sunday Times

I’ve always been interested in property and especially those dream homes in the sun that Australia has always seemed to offer. So I was delighted to write my first piece for the Sunday Times Home section recently, getting the chance to interview existing contacts and new ones about the Australian property market and the dream homes they had found or were looking for.

It turns out that with the exchange rate the best it has been for five years, this is the perfect time for Brits to buy property Down Under. Tempted? Read my feature about the market and what it might have to offer you here.

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Why I need No 1 Traveller chauffeur service

I’ve missed flights – and nearly missed flights – thanks to everything from a flat tyre to a delayed train. I’ve screeched into the terminal with moments to spare, flushed and breathless. I’ve clawed at my steering wheel and shouted at my husband in frustration at not being able to find the right entrance to the right car park at more than one airport. I’ve even gone most of the way to the wrong airport, only to have to leap into a cab at the last minute, racking up a huge bill.

These are not the experiences travel is made of. At least, they shouldn’t be. So I’m relieved to have found No 1 Traveller who not only have luxury lounges at the airport but will also whisk you there from your very own front door.

My first No 1 Traveller chauffeur experience was at the crack of dawn. I regularly fly on unsociably timed flights and this one was no exception, I needed to be at Gatwick (the other side of London for me) by 5am.

But this time, instead of waking my husband and wasting his time circling the M25 on a Sunday morning, I received a text message from my driver telling me he was outside and slipped silently out of the front door. Dressed in a suit and already reaching for my luggage, my driver ushered me into the car and double checked my flight details.

It takes well over an hour to get to Gatwick from my home but there was plenty of space in the back of the Mercedes and so I got out the laptop. Some of No 1 Traveller’s vehicles have free wifi so you can work on the road, something I always appreciate the opportunity to do. And so I started an article and checked my emails, tweeted and read the news, and before I knew it we were pulling in to Gatwick. No lugging my suitcase up the train station steps, no battling the central London rush hour crowds, no navigating my way into the airport. And best of all, no grumpy husband!

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Big Weekend in Dublin: feature for the Sunday Times

I’ve been to Dublin dozens of times and am a big fan of the Irish capital.

This year is a big one for Dublin, with the city holding Design Hub status for 2015, and firmly looking forward after the boom and bust of the Celtic Tiger. On my most recent visit I found plenty of creative energy, a much-improved dining scene (with plenty of great steak and seafood!) and, of course, the best pint of Guinness anywhere.

Read my feature on Dublin for the Sunday Times to find out more.

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New Zealand campervanning: my piece for TTG

I don’t like camping. But I do like New Zealand, and last Christmas when I had a guidebook to update and numerous features to write, I was offered the chance to take a campervan around the North Island.

I was sceptical, but it turned out to be the best way to get around. I had my house on my back and so always had what I needed to hand, whatever the adventure. And there was plenty of adventure.

Read about my experience with Jucy campervans for TTG.

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Cyprus: Times supplement

I’ve been to Cyprus many times, but every time I return I continue to be surprised by how much this beautiful Mediterranean island has to offer.

And it’s not all about the beach, either. There’s some excellent hiking in the Troodos Mountains and the Akamas Peninsula,  plenty of great food and wine, a fascinating culture that is a unique blend of east and west and a shy retiring creature called a mouflon that once seen is never forgotten.

You can find out more about Cyprus’ beautiful interior in my piece for the Times.

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Travel writer, editor and broadcaster