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Top 10 Things to Do in Hong Kong

Top 10 Things to Do in Hong Kong

Top 10 Things to Do in Hong Kong

Hong Kong City Guide

I love Hong Kong. I have been there 5 times and every time I have learned something new about the city or tried a new experience there. There is a lot to do and there are many city guides out there but this is my guide to the things I like to experience in this amazing city – Hong Kong.

Getting To Hong Kong

Getting from Ireland/UK to Hong Kong is a bit of a trek. You can expect about 11-12 hours of a flight. This flight time maybe a bit more of you get routed more northerly or if your flight gets placed into a holding pattern while waiting to land.

There are many airlines which fly to Hong Kong direct. The ones I have used include Cathay Pacific, Qantas, Virgin Atlantic and British Airways. Other Airlines include Turkish Airlines, Lufthansa, Emirates, Swiss amongst others.

I very much recommend spending a bit more and enjoying Premium Economy if available. You will be on the flight quite a while so being comfortable is important. I never do long-haul now without Premium Economy!

Staying in Hong Kong

Hotels in Hong Kong are plentiful. Many are 5* luxury hotels which are expensive and plush. However, in the past, I have stayed in Ibis and Travelodge hotels which are basic but have all you need to rest during your visit to the city.

My default hotel in Hong Kong is the Novotel Century Hotel which is located near Wan Chai. This hotel is within walking distance of the ferry pier, has the access to the Tram system (the Ding Ding) where you can travel to Central for all your major transport needs. The key feature of this hotel which I really enjoy is the amazing Asian Buffet Breakfast. There is also an enjoyable roof-top swimming pool which is a real treat as it is outdoor and you can hear the sounds of the city and watch the aircraft fly overhead at night. Rates at the Novotel Century start at around €110/£100 low season and about €170/£155 in High Season per night.  You will sleep very well here and you will be well fed at breakfast!

My Top 10 things to do in Hong Kong are listed below but are not really in any preferred order. Therefore, I have placed a ‘MUST DO‘ beside any ones which you really should do on a visit to Hong Kong.

1) Victoria Peak

This is a Must Do attraction on a visit to Hong Kong. 

Victoria Peak is a hill over looking Hong Kong. It is over 550m high, approx 1,800ft. You may also hear this area referred to as ‘The Peak’. This is one of the major tourist attractions in Hong Kong and you have a number of ways to get up here. You can take the Peak Tram which glides up the steep incline, you can take a taxi or bus, or if you feel very energetic you could walk (not recommended).

The Peak Tram is the best way to get here but be warned, queues could be anything up to 90 minutes in peak season.

It is worth coming here during the day just before sunset to see the view. Then, go get some food in one of the many restaurants. After night falls you have a different nighttime view of Hong Kong. It is a stunning view of an amazing city.

2) Tsim Sha Tsui

Tsim Sha Tsui is mainly known as being a shopping and nightlife district. The reason I include it is because there is so much to see an do along here. Some of the attractions below will require you to come back to this area of Hong Kong. You can get here by ferry if you are on the other side of the bay and it is very cheap, under €1 per trip to do so.

Really this is worthing coming to as an exploration. Visit the Harbour City shopping centre, big enough to suit most shoppers, or take a walk along Nathan Road where you will see major brand names including Canon, Louis Vuitton, Tiffany and more. There are also lots of great local eateries in this area, so a good spot for lunch.

3) Symphony of Lights

This is a Must Do attraction on a visit to Hong Kong.

Normally Victoria Harbour looks wonderful at night, with the many skyscrapers lit up. However, the Symphony of Lights is a multimedia show which sets the harbour ablaze every night. This is one of the world’s most spectacular light shows. The Symphony of Lights has become one of the signature icons for Hong Kong as the buildings and skyscrapers on both sides of the harbour create a visual and sensational multimedia extravaganza.

There are searchlights, lasers, LED screens and lighting working in synchronicity in a nightly showcase which makes the Hong Kong skyline into an experience for the senses. Music is played but in certain areas cannot be heard, but you can get an app which you can use when watching the Symphony of Lights so you can enjoy the music during the light show.

4) The Star Ferry & Ding Ding

Transport in Hong Kong is very good. The MTR is the underground and operates an amazing service which is normally to-the-second. Purchase an MTR Octopus card for the easiest way to get around the underground network.

If you want something more traditional, the Star Ferry runs between points of the harbour. The average cost of a return trip on the ferry is about €0.70c which is amazing value. It is a great way to see the city in a relaxed fashion. If you visit Hong Kong you should really do this at least once. 

The Ding Ding is the Hong Kong Tram service. It is a tram so you only get it on the streets where you see the tram lines. It’s a very simple service. Get on at the back and disembark at the front where you also pay your fare which is around €0.30c ($2.70HKD). Again, this is a wonderfully traditional way to see the streets of Hong Kong.

5) Ngong Ping – Tian Tan Buddha

This is a Must Do attraction on a visit to Hong Kong.

The Big Buddha is the common name for the Tian Tan Buddha. This large bronze statue of Buddha Shakyamuni was completed in 1993 and is located at Ngong Ping on Lantau Island. You will find many tour operators who do tours to this location however you will find that your day is very much scheduled to their plans and you really don’t get a chance to explore. You can get to the Ngong Ping 360 terminus from the Central station via the MTR. 

The Ngong Ping 360 experience starts with a cable car ride to the location. You can also get glass-bottomed cable cars if you are brave enough to look downwards. As you come across the hills you can see the buddha in the distance. It is an amazing sight. The statue itself is 34m/112ft and you have to climb 268 steps to reach the Buddha.

Once at the village you can enjoy tea ceremonies, visit Dim Sum houses, take a guided nature trail and visit the big buddha itself. There is a museum inside or you can explore the surrounding area. You should also visit the Po Lin Monastery while you are here.

The Po Lin Monastery and the Tian Tan Buddha are open to the public between 10 am and 5:30 pm. 

6) Kowloon Park

 One of the things Hong Kong has a lot of, is parks. Kowloon Park has to be my favourite. It was formerly a British Army barracks which was redeveloped in the early 70s. These days the park is about 3 times the size it was back then at about 33 acres. Kowloon Park has everything from duck ponds and aviaries to sports centres and a swimming pool complex.

Why include Kowloon Park in a Top things to do in Hong Kong … It seems strange to include a park as a thing to do.
Well, from time to time in a busy city you might just want to get away from it all and take some (relatively) quiet time. The green areas, birds etc. certainly bring an sense of calm in a very busy city. You will also see in early morning, people doing Tai Chi, Fan Dancing and even performing Cantonese Opera. I saw some amazing examples of positive ageing when I was there last, when I saw 3 gentlemen probably in their late 70s / early 80s doing pull-ups in the park and they then went on to demonstrate to their friends some examples of kung-fu moves – amazing stuff. I thought that I had been lucky to see these men doing Kung-Fu, but many others have reported this on TripAdvisor!

7) Temple Street Night Market

This is a famous market in Hong Kong. Once the evening comes traders lay out their wares and await the thousands who visit this area. The Temple Street Night Market has a wonderful atmosphere with everything from teaware, gadgets, electronics and watches to menswear, antiques and leather goods. The surrounding streets are buzzing with the sound of restaurants serving the very best in street food. Many movies have used this area as a backdrop.

If you want to get to Temple Street Night Market take the MTR to Yau Ma Tei Station, Exit C, turn onto Temple Street at Man Ming Lane or you can take the MTR to MTR Jordan Station using Exit A and turn right onto Jordan Road and then take another right onto Temple Street. (You may need Google Maps as I chose MTR Jordan and ended up traveling the wrong direction from the exit).

8) Chi Lin Nunnery

I visited the Chi Lin Nunnery in 2013 and it is a bit of a hidden gem in Hong Kong. The Chi Lin Nunnery is a large Buddhist temple complex located in Diamond Hill, Kowloon, Hong Kong.Founded in 1934 the Chi Lin Nunnery was a retreat for Buddhist nuns. There are statues of gold and wood all around the area of the main halls and the majority of these temple halls as well as the beautiful Chinese garden in front of the nunnery are open to the public daily, all free of charge.

While you are here you should also visit the Nan Lian Garden which is located opposite the Chi Lin Nunnery. 

9) Sik Sik Yuen Wong Tai Sin Temple

The Wong Tai Sin Temple is the first Temple I ever visited in Hong Kong back in 2002. It is a Taoist temple dedicated to Wong Tai Sin, or the Great Immortal Wong, and is a famous shrine for those requesting prayers to be answered.

The temple has it’s roots in the early 1900s and the temple itself was only opened to the public in 1956. At that time there was a 10c admission fee. Today the temple is free to walk around and even in early January the crowds throng this area as from 1 to 15 January, whose who had prayers answers return to thank the immortal. 

It is a wonderful way to observe and take in the spirit of Hong Kong as people use incense and ask Wong to answer their prayers.

10) Avenue of the Stars

This area along the waterfront celebrates Hong Kong’s movie industry.  The Avenue of Stars pays tribute to the many names and actors who helped to make Hong Kong the ‘Hollywood of the East’.

There are many statues along the route with stars like Bruce Lee being a very popular selfie and photo spot. 

This area is very popular during the Symphony of Lights extravaganza. 


Hong Kong is an amazing destination and I am going to re-edit this post and make it the Top 15 and maybe the Top 20 things to do in Hong Kong. The more I write about Hong Kong the more great places I recall. So please come back and revisit for future edits. I plan on adding a map of all these Hong Kong locations in a future edit also.

If you like this post don’t forget to share it using the social media share buttons provided or even leave a comment…

Dog Friendly Hotels along Englands South Coast

Dog Friendly Hotels along Englands South Coast

If you own a dog then you will understand that traveling with a dog can have its own challenges. The main one being can I find dog friendly hotels in that area which is actually a dog friendly hotel and not just dog tolerant hotel (which we had experience of on the Isle of Wight).

My Experience of Dog Friendly Hotels in the UK

Having recently been together UK with a dog, it seems the UK is far ahead of Ireland in this respect. Bars and Restaurants are very dog friendly, and you can bring your dog inside, unlike Ireland where you have to sit outside in the cold. 

Hotels were just as accommodating. Searching on Booking.com allowed you to select a ‘Pets Welcome’ option. This showed all hotels who allowed pets inside. Next, if you read the reviews you can isolate hotels were past reviews mention excellent dog friendly experiences at that hotel. 

This blog post outlines some of the best dog friendly hotels along the south coast of the UK. 

The Clock House B&B, Marnhull, Dorset

When looking for Dog Friendly Hotels in Dorset via Booking.com I came across a B&B called the Clock House which had one of the highest satisfaction ratings I had seen. Many of which were from dog owners. 

Seeing testimonials and reviews like this is very reassuring – so we booked the Clock House B&B by phone and it was amazing. The B&B is located in Marnhull in Dorset located on the River Stour 3 miles (4.8 km) north of the small town of Sturminster Newton. There are Lovely surroundings in Marnhull with lots of walks, ideal if like me you like photography!

It is the most wonderful B&B I have ever been in. More like a hotel than B&B. 

When we arrived we had an Amazing welcome and we were treated to Tea on the terrace. We were then shown to our beautifully appointed room which had doors to the terrace and garden area. This was ideal for the dog friendly nature, as when nature calls you just have to open the doors of your patio for your pooch and you don’t disturb any other guests. The room also had a Fantastic shower and bathroom with great products and fluffy towels. You are guaranteed the best ever sleep here. The beds are so comfortable!

Breakfast at the clock House is an experience, just continental breakfast but it was more than enough for us. Plenty of fresh fruit, muesli, toast and lovely boiled eggs – the perfect setup for a perfect day exploring Dorset. The service is 10/10.

The Clock House is an amazing property with amazing staff. It is a very dog friendly hotel!
Thanks to Chris, Mella and Julie and of course the canine watchdogs Ben and Tizzy for a Wonderful and memorable stay. 

Oscars Lodge Hotel, Torquay, Devon

Clock House B&B Marnhull – Booking Information

Address: Burton Street, Marnhull, DT10 1PH, United Kingdom

Booking Link- Click Here

The Clock House B&B, Dog Friendly Hotel, Marnhull, UK
The Clock House B&B, Dog Friendly Hotel Room, Marnhull, UK
The Clock House B&B, Dog Friendly Hotel Reception
Tea Coffee Facilities

Oscars Lodge Hotel, Torquay, Devon

When researching Dog Friendly Hotels to stay in Torquay in Devon, we came across one particular hotel which seemed to have a wow factor when it came to dog friendliness. Again, great reviews on Booking.com in regards to dog friendliness so Oscars Lodge B&B was the one we booked. 

It ticked all the boxes we were looking for: a good value, dog friendly hotel in a good location in Torquay with free parking, what more could you want. The location was only 10 minutes walk from the promenade at Torquay.

On arrival we were greeted by Amy and Richard, the young couple who run Oscars Lodge. They were so friendly and also so kind to our 15 year old Springer Frieda. On arrival there was chocolates on the bed for us and a doggie treat for Frieda (which she quickly became accustomed to)…. such a nice touch. 

The room was beautifully decorated with a Chanel / Breakfast at Tiffany’s style. The bed was so comfortable and a good nights sleep was guaranteed. The WiFi was perfect and this is something which some major hotels can’t get right. Tea and coffee facilities were available and in plentiful supply. 

Amy and Richard could not do enough for us. It was the perfect stay.
This is another dog friendly hotel we really look forward to returning as soon as we can. 

Hotel Booking Information

Address: 56 Belgrave Road, Torquay, TQ2 5HY, United Kingdom

Booking Link

Oscars Lodge Room Torquay - Dog Friendly Hotel in the UK

The Royal Hotel, Eastbourne, East Sussex

Dog Friendly Hotels are probably best run by owners who have dogs. The Royal hotel is run by a lovely man called Eddie and a greyhound called Boris is also on reception to welcome guests. The hotel is situated in a quiet area of the town and is on the sea front only minutes from the pier. This location is ideal for walking your dog, however during the summer the beach is not dog friendly.

The rooms at the Royal are really well appointed and very comfortable. The bathrooms are clean with excellent showers. Breakfast at the Royal is simple but so good. Eddie has homemade muesli, yogurt and a coffee which will get you started for the day. The only thing to be aware of is that the parking in Eastbourne is ticketed. The Royal Hotel provides you with a ticket for the day / duration of your stay… All you need to do is find a car park space.

It is an extremely dog friendly hotel. We were told that there are many regulars who always book the same rooms because their dogs really like that hotel room.

If you want to enjoy this area of East Sussex with your dog, then a stay at the Royal is highly recommended!

Note, If you are booking, book on the hotels official website for the best rates. Probably best to give Eddie a call and check the availability. 

Hotel Booking Information

Address: The Royal Hotel, 8-9 Marine Parade, Eastbourne BN21 3DX, UK

Booking Link

The Royal Hotel Eastbourne, Dog Friendly Hotel Room
The Royal Hotel Eastbourne, Dog Friendly Hotel

Locations of these 3 Dog Friendly Hotels along the south coast of the UK

Oscars Lodge Torquay

Oscars Lodge Torquay

Clock House B&B Marnhull, UK

Clock House B&B Marnhull, UK

The Royal Hotel, Eastbourne, UK

The Royal Hotel, Eastbourne, UK

 

 

This website is not responsible for 3rd party websites linked from this page. Information was correct at time of publication of this blog post “Dog Friendly Hotels along Englands South Coast”.

My Top 3 Pub Hotels in England

My Top 3 Pub Hotels in England

My Top 3 Pub Hotels in England

England is one of my favourite destinations for a relaxing holiday and it’s only a ferry ride from Ireland. The first time I visited the UK for a long road trip style holiday was for Glastonbury 2013. On that occasion visiting southern Wales, Somerset, Wiltshire, Devon and Cornwall. Since 2013 I have been back 3 times; again with music festivals as the main reason Glastonbury 2015, Glastonbury 2016 and Ramblin’ Man Fair 2017. Normally accommodation is in hotels, mainly 4 star or hotels like Premier Inn. From time to time you get a surprise – a small hotel which surpasses all expectations… I speak of the many Pub Hotels in England which many travellers may overlook.

This blog post outlines my Top 3 Pub Hotels in England … (basically hotels which are situated above pubs)

These are listed my top Pub Hotels in England in no particular order as it depends on your location if you will avail of them. These are my opinions of my stays in these 3 establishments. 

The George at Nunney

The George at Nunney is a beautiful 17th century coaching Inn. It is located in the picturesque village of Nunney, near Frome in Somerset. Nunney is a village voted “the prettiest village in England” located near Frome, Somerset. The village has the ruins of Nunney Castle and one of the main establishments in Nunney is The George.

The George was one we found in 2013 and we have been back a few times since. The food is excellent and combined with the cosy rooms and friendly service it is certainly a great place to stay. The lounge, restaurant and 10 bedrooms have all been recently renovated so it has a really contemporary feel. There is also an outdoor area, ideal to enjoy some alfresco eating or drinking should we get a summer. There are plenty of walks around the area so there is always something to do. The breakfasts here are really good and you will leave full, rested and happy.

Website : http://www.thegeorgeatnunney.co.uk

Twitter : @GeorgeNunney

Instagram : @george_nunney

The George at Nunney - Room Photo of one of the many Pub Hotels in England

The White Hart, Somerton

The White Hart in Somerton was a real find. Located in a beautiful village called Somerton it seems like going back in time to a simpler age. Somerton is a small town in the English county of Somerset. It has held a weekly market since the Middle Ages, and the main square with its market cross is one of the main attractions in the town. Located near this square is the White Hart Pub and Hotel.

The White Hart has been trading as a pub since the 16th Century. It was recently renovated in 2013 so it has all the features you would need. The meal we got here at the White Hart was amazing and it remains one of my favourite spots in Somerset. We enjoyed a quinoa chicken dish and a very signature style pasta dish.

The White Hart offers a spacious bar, fantastic food, relaxing dining area and of course eight en-suite rooms. The rooms have really well appointed bathrooms, and you will be guaranteed a great nights sleep. On sunny days there’s also the opportunity to enjoy your food and drink outside in the courtyard and garden.

Another great plus with the White Hart is that it is pet friendly. Dogs are welcome in all rooms at the White Hart, just at an extra charge of £10 per dog.

Website : http://whitehartsomerton.com

Twitter :  @WhiteHartSom  

The White Hart, Somerton, Room Photo of one of the many Pub Hotels in England
The White Hart, Somerton, Food Photo - Chicken Quinoa at one of the Pub Hotels in England which I love

The Dog and Bear, Lenham

The Dog and Bear is located in a small village in Kent called Lenham. It overlooks the picturesque village square and has a wonderful warmth both in the bar and in the staff who work here. We visited here in 2017 and it was a very special spot. We enjoyed the room with the four-poster and it was very comfortable – check out the website for room images. The bathrooms were very big with a very nice bath, ideal for soaking sore bones if you have just walked the nearby Pilgrims Way.

Rooms are furnished to the highest standards but you do get the feeling that it is a historic building. Apparently the Dog and Bear was originally built in 1602 and the hotel was visited by Queen Anne in 1704. If you look closely you can see that a coat of arms to Queen Anne is displayed above the door.

The food here was superb. I recall a fish dish with hints of star anise and also a key-lime pie which was amazing. I could have eaten the meal twice it was so good. Afterwards visit the bar, we enjoyed some pool, darts and meeting the locals including Laura and her lovely dog Rocky.

If is a very special spot at the Dog and Bear and one we hope to visit again.

Website : https://www.dogandbearlenham.co.uk

The Dog and Bear, Lenham - Room Photo - Rooms of Pub Hotels in England

In all three pub hotels mentioned above the room, the food, the staff, the location and the ambience have all combined really well. This results in a stay which is both enjoyable and indeed memorable. Infact, we are re-visiting the George at Nunney again in the coming weeks and who knows this list might be added to in time.

I hope you have enjoyed this list of my Top 3 Pub Hotels in England. If you have any comments about Pub Hotels in England or the ones I have mentioned, please feel free to leave them below. If you like this post, please share it via social media.

 

Map of the 3 Pub Hotels mentioned in this post

The George at Nunney

The George at Nunney

The White Hart, Somerton

The White Hart, Somerton

The Dog and Bear, Lenham

The Dog and Bear, Lenham

 

 

Disclaimer : I have not been compensated in any way for the comments, links or inclusion of any properties mentioned in this post. I visited all 3 hotel pubs in the past 3 years and I felt it was important to share such great hotels with others. The information in this blog post on shanemcdonald.ie is correct at time of publication and I advise researching your stay on other channels such as booking.com and Tripadvisor before making a booking. What suited me, may not suit others. I can guarantee that I was very very happy with all 3 pub hotels mentioned above. If you have any comments regarding Pub Hotels in England please leave them below.

The Hampton’s – Review, Luxury B&B accommodation, Kaikoura, New Zealand

The Hampton’s – Review, Luxury B&B accommodation, Kaikoura, New Zealand

The Hampton’s Kaikoura – Review

This is a B&B review of the Hampton’s Kaikoura – A luxury B&B in Kaikoura, New Zealand
Kaikoura was the first stop after visiting the very friendly city of Christchurch. We spotted The Hampton’s Kaikoura on the Booking.com app which is one of my first-calls when booking accommodation online. The pictures looked amazing and the reviews were very positive. It’s quite a drive from Christchurch to Kaikoura but it is worth it when you have good accommodation.

On arriving we met Patrick the owner and he showed us to our room. Wow…. When I saw the room and view on checking in I was blown away. Patrick brought us through the features of the room plus advised us on the route for the local peninsula walk (see below).

The Hampton’s Kaikoura overlooks the coastal front of Kaikoura village, and you have amazing sea views.

The Hampton's Kaikoura, Review, The Room
The Hampton’s Kaikoura – The Room

The room was amazingly comfortable with cable TV, free WiFi, tea and coffee making facilities plus fresh home-made cookies. The view as mentioned was amazing and there was a small terrace / veranda outside if you wanted to enjoy the sun. We were there in New Zealand’s winter, so that was not always an option.

The bathroom included a very nice power shower and was well appointed. There was also underfloor heating in the shower which was a very nice feature.

Kaikoura has so much to offer, and with the Hampton’s Kaikoura being so central, you are spoiled for choice. I recommend doing the Kaikoura peninsula walkway, where you can see a huge seal colony. There is also a very good tourist information centre in the middle of the town which has information on the many whale watching excursions you can enjoy from Kaikoiura.

If you are looking for somewhere to eat in Kaikoura I would certainly recommend The Whaler which is at 49 The West End and only a few minutes walk from the Hamptons. The fish and chips was excellent and we enjoyed watching the live Rugby League.

The breakfast at the Hamilton’s was delicious and more than enough for me. Overall a wonderful place to stay and worthy of such praise. Thank you again to our hosts Patrick and Marie Claire.

The Hampton's Kaikoura, Review, View
The Hampton’s Kaikoura – The View from the room

Address:
The Hampton’s
138 Esplanade
KAIKOURA
New Zealand

The Hampton’s, Kaikoura – Location Map:

The Hampton’s, 138 Esplanade, KAIKOURA, New Zealand

The Hampton’s Kaikoura, 138 Esplanade, KAIKOURA, New Zealand

The Kaikoura Peninsula Walk

The Kaikoura Peninsula Walk

Things to do in Kaikoura

We were only in Kaikoura for one day but there is a lot to enjoy. If you are here during the summer you can enjoy a lot more, including whale watching. In the winter, the nicest thing to do is the Kaikoura Peninsula Walk (see the more southerly marker on the map below).

The walking trail crosses the peninsula south of Kaikoura. You can walk along the clifftop, with excellent views of the Seaward Kaikoura Range. You also get stunning views of the ocean and coastline, towards South Bay. The Peninsula walkway then returns to the township via South Bay and a section called ‘Toms Track’.

Near Point Kean car park, there are signs warning that seals may be in the area. Most of the seals which are in the car park are males. These seals may appear to be harmless but may become aggressive if disturbed. These are wild animals and should be left alone, A male seal, especially an irritated one, can inflict a nasty, infectious bite. Observe from a distance and respect their territory.

Be advised that the Marine Mammals Protection Act states that you MUST NOT disturb the seals. Stay at least 20m away!

There are many more seals on the rocks and these are normally the females and their pups. As you know, female animals will defend their young so again, remain a distance back.

Photography on the Kaikoura Peninsula Walk

As you get further into the talk you will come to a section which gives you a vista of the sea from the cliff top. I recommend that you look down onto the rocks. The major seal colony is here – there are hundreds of seals on those rocks. If you are a photographer, a 300mm lens will get you some great shots of the seal activity.

There are also some great birds in the area. Again, photographers, get the camera ready! You can enjoy a very large shearwater colony which is protected. There are also albatross, shags and gulls.

I got a photo of what I think is a rare ‘Cirl Bunting’. Apparently this is one of the rarest of New Zealand’s introduced species. They can be elusive on the peninsula walk but it might have been a Yellowhammer which I saw!

The Kaikoura peninsula walkways is denoted by distinctive marker posts and interpretation signs. This walk is a decent walk and you should really set aside a few hours, perhaps 3 hours, to fully enjoy the complete walk.

The Hampton’s Kaikoura, Overall Review

Based on the shanemcdonald.ie rating scale which reviews 10 categories and scoring 10 points per category.

Overall Score : 95%

%

Overall Score for The Hampton's, Kaikoura

Getting to Kaikoura

Kaikoura lies around midway between the towns of Picton (154 km) and Christchurch (183 km). This is off SH1 on the east coast of the South Island. Regular bus and train services pass through Kaikoura.

Kaikoura Tourist Information

For more information on Kaikoura and the activities you can enjoy in the area, please see the tourist information details below.

Kaikoura i-SITE Visitor Information Centre
Phone: +64 3 319 5641
Email: info@kaikoura.co.nz
Address: West End, Kaikoura

La Frontiere, Luxury Accommodation in Gisborne, New Zealand

La Frontiere, Luxury Accommodation in Gisborne, New Zealand

Staying at La Frontiere Gisborne

If you intend visiting Gisborne when in New Zealand then I highly recommend La Frontiere Gisborne, a luxurious modern self-contained studio, set on an avocado orchard and farmland, and is about 5 mins drive to Gisborne city centre. This was one accommodation which we were very lucky to get at the last minute.

The accommodation was booked and secured via the AirBnB mobile app, our last resort as all hotels and motels in the area were booked up on the day of our visit, due to a Maori event. I’m not one for overstating the mark, but La Frontiere was indeed luxury accommodation…. read on!

Jennifer was the most wonderful host. On arrival at La Frontiere we got a tour of the villa which was decorated superbly and had wonderful colours and quality furnishings make this villa compete with 5 star hotels when it comes to comfort and making you feel at home.

The villa has an excellently fitted and provisioned kitchen which ideal for whipping up some dinner of your own. The bathroom is very nice with a power-shower. The villa also comes with a private spa hot tub and swimming pool. There is fast and free Wifi, radio and a wonderful smart TV also available.La Frontiere, Gisborne, New Zealand - Luxury Accommodation

The bed is very comfortable and it’s very easy to oversleep and miss your check-out time. La Frontiere is like a home away from home. I felt it was better than any hotel as you were in a private and relaxed environment.

La Frontiere, Gisborne, New Zealand - Luxury Accommodation Pool

Features of La Frontiere Gisborne

The Space

“Indulge in a truly relaxing stay at this luxurious sunny self-contained Villa. Set in picturesque gardens on the boundary of the city (4 mins drive to the city centre and beaches).
Enjoy your very own private spa during the cooler months and in the warmer months enjoy the pool next to your Villa.
If you are looking for a restful holiday this is the place to be, set on an Avocado orchard.”

Linen provided
No disabled access
Children not allowed
No smoking / No pets
Air Conditioning
BBQ
Cleaning supplies
Clothes line

Dryer
DVD
Electric blankets
Ensuite Bathroom
Extra Bedding
Food processor
Fridge/Freezer
iPod Docking station

Iron
Microwave
Off Street Parking
Outdoor furniture
Oven
Phone
Shower
Swimming Pool

Tea, coffee, sugar etc
Tennis court
Toaster
TV
Washing Machine
Wifi
Studio Kitchen

Things to do in and around Gisborne

La Frontiere Gisborne is only 5 minutes from the centre of Gisborne. The town of Gisbourne is also known as ‘Gizzy’ to some locals.  Gisborne is pronounced Gis-born not Gis-bun. The town itself is a very nice place to visit and lies on the east coast of the north island, north of Napier and 480km south east of Auckland (around a 6 hour drive). Gisbourne claims to be the first city on earth to see the sun each morning. It has a very relaxed vibe and is ideal if you are looking for somewhere to enjoy some beach time.

Gisborne is well known for wineries and amazing beaches such as Makorori. I’m not much of a beach person but museums and historical/cultural attractions would be more my style. The Tairawhiti Museum has exhibits on indigenous and colonial history, with Wyllie Cottage, an early European house, and Maori artefacts.

While we were staying at La Frontiere in Gisborne we had many drives around the area. It is very picturesque and you could easily spend a few hours each day finding nice spots to walk.

Some of the things we did in Gisborne included;

Titirangi Reserve

This is a park in Gisborne and you can find it on your SatNav at “Titirangi Dr”. It is located just off Queens Drive.

It is a high on a hill overlooking Gisborne. It gives fantastic views of the area. Titirangi was once a pā or a Maori fortified village. You can also reach Titirangi Reserve on the track from the Cook Monument. As you approach the lookout at the top, there is yet another Cook edifice, at Cook’s Plaza. Adjacent is a pohutukawa tree, with its crimson flower has become an established part of the New Zealand Christmas tradition – this one was planted by Princess Diana in 1983. The statue at Cooks Plaza apparently bears no resemblance to Captain Cook. But the views here and on Queen’s Drive are spectacular.

Visiting the historic Gisborne Town Centre

Gisborne is a very vibrant town. It has unique buildings and there is a sense in certain areas of stepping back in time a little. I found it was a very authentic taste of the New Zealand lifestyle. The architecture in certain areas is spectacular and one of the highlights is Gisborne Clock Tower. The Art Deco style Gisborne Clock Tower was erected in 1934 and was built after the severe earthquakes that hit the region in the early 1930s. At night, the clock tower is illuminated.

Image - Gisborne Town Clock Tower, New Zealand

We had a wonderful time in Gisborne and staying at La Frontiere and would certainly return. It was great to also make the acquaintance of the dogs and cats on site – it is such a relaxing place to stay. Thanks again to Jennifer for her wonderful hospitality. We look forward to returning if we are lucky enough to get back to New Zealand again.

Overall Review : 10/10 all round

La Frontiere Gisborne – Location & Information:

La Frontiere Gisborne, 1 Main Road , Makaraka, Gisborne, New Zealand
+64 6 8684931. +64 274412876

Facebook : https://www.facebook.com/LaFrontiereBoutiqueAccommodation

Information on Gisborne : http://www.gisbornenz.com/

La Frontiere Gisborne, 1 Main Road , Makaraka, Gisborne, New Zealand

La Frontiere Gisborne, 1 Main Road , Makaraka, Gisborne, New Zealand

Hotel Review of The Grosvenor Hotel, Victoria, London

Hotel Review of The Grosvenor Hotel, Victoria, London

Hotel Review of The Grosvenor Hotel, Victoria, London

From time to time when travelling, you will want to splash out and go for a bit of luxury. In 2013 when planning a trip to London I was looking for a nice hotel. I knew of 2 very good hotels, the Blakemore Hotel and the Park Plaza Hotel, however, these were not what I was looking for. I found some excellent TripAdvisor reports for the Grosvenor Hotel Victoria London and noticed it had a Chinese Restaurant, the Grand Imperial, attached which clinched the deal.
The Grosvenor Hotel was booked and prior to arrival, I had a very nice pre-arrival courtesy call which I thought was a nice touch.

The History of the Grosvenor Hotel, London

As with most of the major city railway stations in the UK, back in the day of steam locomotion, hotels were attached to thee stations. The Grosvenor was built by Sir John Kelk’s company. The Grosvenor is very much luxury and lavish and the grandest hotel in London. The Grosvenor opened to the public in 1862 a year after Victoria station opened. The original 1st class railway lounge is now the Reunion cocktail bar. The millionaire and Bellini cocktails here are worth a try.

Grosvenor Hotel Review

On the day of travel, we actually arrived very late thanks to a strategically planned Irish airport strike. However, we arrived at the Grosvenor Hotel just after midnight and had a very pleasant check-in and proceeded to the room. Even with our late arrival, nothing was a problem and the staff was ever courteous. You will be greeted very well and the check-in was very well polished.

Guest rooms are very comfortable and very nicely decorated. The history of the hotel is not very obviously reflected in the rooms. They are more contemporary in nature than the historic facade and foyer. Lush colours such as deep purples and chocolate browns give a real warmth to the guest rooms. There are some reviews which call the entry-level rooms to be small but I feel they are adequate. I have stayed here twice, thus, I have stayed in 2 room types.

In general, the rooms are very well appointed, include a small but nice bathroom and comfortable bed. Many rooms overlook Victoria Station but on our stay, being 5 floors up, there was no noise. You may get an infrequent station announcement or such, which may just catch the wind. Overall, you will be guaranteed a very pleasant sleep.

There are also very high-quality tea and coffee facilities in your beautifully presented room. Once on a return stay, we also got a complimentary upgrade. The touches here at the Grosvenor are high-end. If you are looking for a hotel stay in the heart of London but with a luxury-twist, you will not be disappointed.

The staff at the Grosvenor are excellent. They are all attired in immaculate black suits. The hotel was ideal for me, as a leisure guest, but would be an ideal hotel for corporate guests. You will also find that there is a gym, a 24-hour concierge plus round-the-clock room service should the need or hunger arise.

It is a pleasure to stay in such great accommodation. The hotel is pristine with a very ornate and impressive foyer. You must also go outside and cross to the street to get a vista on this impressive hotel, The architecture outside is amazing. Features with sculpted heads with laurel crowns, many balcony type features and sculpted flowers. It is a sight to behold. Just note that the street outside can be busy and there can often be queues for busses, so you might have to battle through the crowds during rush hour just to get into the hotel.

Photo of Grosvenor Hotel London Victoria, Room Photo
Image - The Grosvenor Hotel room - tea and coffee facilities

Dining & Breakfast at the Grosvenor

I already mentioned the Grand Imperial restaurant but the hotel has a second restaurant. This is called The Brasserie – we tried both restaurants and both are well worth experiencing.  I had a fantastic croque madame which is always a favourite of mine. It was perfectly cooked and had a really fine quality cheese filling.

The breakfasts are very good and are held in the Brasserie area.  Plenty of choices and no rush with great coffee to get you started for the day.

Inside and Outside the Hotel

The entrance of the Grosvenor hotel has a grand foyer, with a stunning chandelier which you can’t miss. You should take to the next level up, so walk around and see the architecture in more details.

The Grosvenor Hotel location is great, only a 60-second walk to Victoria station. There is a private and direct route from the station into the hotel. There are also many bus stops outside the hotel also. If you are flying into Gatwick then the Gatwick Express will get you direct to Victoria Station. As a result, the Grosvenor Hotel would be ideal for you.

This was a wonderful stay at the Grosvenor Hotel and we will certainly be back next time we are in London.

Grosvenor Hotel, London Victoria – Hotel Information

Grosvenor Hotel Website: https://www.guoman.com/en/london/the-grosvenor.html

Hotel Location
Grosvenor Hotel, 101 Buckingham Palace Road, London SW1W 0SJ, England

The Grosvenor Hotel, Victoria, London

The Grosvenor Hotel, Victoria, London

Things to do near the Grosvenor Hotel, London

The Grosvenor Hotel is located in the area known as Victoria. This is close to Buckingham Palace, St. James Park, Westminster Cathedral and is ideal if you want to visit the Apollo Victoria which at the moment has the show, ‘Wicked’. The fact that Victoria station is on your doorstep, means you have a variety of tube lines at your disposal.

You can also refer to my London Guide: Top things to do in London as a reference.

 

Photo Gallery – The Grosvenor Hotel, Victoria, London

This is my Travel Blog review of the Grosvenor Hotel, London. I was not paid or compensated for this hotel review and it is simply my view of two separate stays at the Grosvenor Hotel in 2013 and 2015.