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Inside Loftus Hall. The Loftus Hall Tour – Visit Irelands Most Haunted House

Inside Loftus Hall. The Loftus Hall Tour – Visit Irelands Most Haunted House

Do you believe in ghosts? Do you believe that the devil himself visited Loftus Hall? Did you know the Devil exited through the roof of Loftus hall and that hole in the roof cannot be repaired?

Loftus Hall – Ireland’s Most Haunted House

If not, (or even if you do) then a visit to Loftus Hall in Co. Wexford, Ireland just might change your mind. Ireland’s Most Haunted House, Loftus Hall is  open and running very well organised hour long tours which bring you through the history, and horrors of the haunted house. You may even catch a glimpse of the ghostly Lady Anna or one of the other ghostly demons.

I had known of Loftus hall for many years. As a child living in Waterford, you get told the stories of the devil and how he left the building. Loftus Hall is visible from Dunmore East so it was always in the focus of the young inquiring mind. At one point in the mid-90s it reopened as a bar, and I remember visiting it. The place had an un0ease about it, not just an old abandoned building but a sense that it lacked peace.

Even with my previous visit in mind, older and wiser, I was a small bit sceptical. I wasn’t sure how this old house could be the setting for a tour but I was proved very wrong within the first 5 minutes. The tour guides are very well prepared and give you a lot of history and facts to digest. I’m not going to give anything away are there are a few interactive elements to the tour also. For me the highlight (if you can call it that) was the visit to the tapestry room which is the most haunted room in the house, as I felt a real drop in temperature in this room, apparently associated with spirits. One story of what a child on the tour said to her mum, brought chills to my being.

It was a very well run tour and I might even be tempted to return for the more sinister adult only tour which is a lot darker and guided only by candlelight (which often goes out I was informed). Shortly after writing this post, one person took an unexplained photo with a potential ghost. The news story hit national press and went viral online so if you are interested in the paranormal, Loftus Hall is certainly one for you.

Admission to Loftus Hall : Tickets are €5 for children (who must be accompanied by at least 1 adult) and €9 for adults.

A great tour, my only gripe is that if you do the tour, your parking should be validated as it is €2 to exit the car park otherwise. (at the time of my visit, maybe this has changed now)

Website : http://www.loftushall.com/

Location of Loftus Hall

Loftus Hall, Hook Peninsula, Co. Wexford

Top 15 most annoying things about some hotels

Top 15 most annoying things about some hotels

I really enjoy checking into hotels and having a good stay. Finding that everything is as you like it is important. It’s your home away from home for a few days, so you want a relaxing time and some time to enjoy the facilities of your chosen hotel.

However from time to time hotel stays are not 100% perfect and I have listed some areas where hotels have let me down in the past in my Top 15 most annoying things about some hotels or to put it another way the “Things which annoy me about some hotels” list …

Noisy or non-functioning air conditioning

Worse than a window not opening, a hotel which advertises air conditioning and it barely manages to keep the room at 20C or rattles like a coffee grinder when you have it on. Some of the best Air Conditioning was in the US, where you could have the room at 10C if you so wanted.

 

Getting a smelly room

Sometimes you can be very unlucky and end up going into a hotel room and getting an unwanted smell. This could be a cleaning problem or it could be something like the previous occupant being a smoker or taking food back to the room the night before.

 

No provision of parking or local car park which is then validated

This is a real problem for me. If I’m staying at a hotel and there is no hotel parking the least I expect is that the hotel have a deal running with the local NCP or city car park and therefore validate the car parking for you.

Some of the best examples of this recently was at Future Hotel Bristol and The Bristol Hotel, both of which validated our car parking. I would return to these 2 hotels as a result!

 

Badly maintained bathrooms

Please enjoy our bathroom but ignore the rusty tap, the missing shower head and the mould around the tiling… also if the toilet takes 30 mins to refill that’s normal …. NO it’s not ! Having a well maintained bathroom is vital to an enjoyable stay.

 

No free WiFi in rooms / Crappy WiFi

There is nothing worse than checking in and then accessing your smartphone or tablet only to find out that there is a charge for WiFi. You may have paid a lot for your room, yet you are not given free Wireless Internet.

Even worse is when you have chosen the hotel based on the Free Wifi promise, you check in and the WiFi times out or fails to load even the most basic web pages. If I’m paying for an expensive hotel room I don’t want to have to pay $20 or €10 for WiFi.
Free WiFi is something I now look for in a hotel, if it’s not free I won’t stay.

 

Tea and Coffee Facilities

You come back after a day out and fell like a cup of tea for 2 only to find that you have to call reception to get more tiny UHT milk packets delivered to your room. Even worse is when no tea/coffee facilities are provided.

 

Finding things left from last visitor

There is nothing worse than seeing evidence of the last visitor in your room, like a sweet wrapper under a chair etc. Once in Australia there was visible evidence in my hotel that the pillows had not been changed. In that room the evidence pointed to the previous visitor having a bad cold! (we swiftly left that hotel)

 

Housekeeping ignoring ‘Do Not Disturb’ signs

If you are in need of some rest and just don’t want to be disturbed, you hang the little do not disturb sign outside the door… some time later you get a knock or a “Hello, House Keeping” – Why? It’s on the door …. Do Not Disturb!

In one hotel we were disturbed exactly 1 hour after check-in … asking “Do you need more towels?” — what could I have done in 1 hour which would result in requiring more towels?

 

No electrical plug sockets near the bed

This is very annoying for iPhone charging especially if you use your smartphone as an alarm clock or radio… or indeed if you log onto Facebook at 2am which some people do. Having a plug near the bed or bedside locker should be standard.

 

Uncomfortable beds or pillows

One of the things I really hate is a hotel which markets the room as having a double bed which is actually 2 twin beds stuck together and you end up falling down the gap. That bed split drives me mad.

Windows that will not open at all

I understand for health and safety you have to prevent people from opening the windows too much but when they don’t open at all it really feels claustrophobic – it’s nice to let some fresh air into your room!

 

A TV… with 4 channels

So we have a TV, lets have a look BBC1, BBC2, UTV and a Local Channel … that’s all?
You may as not have it at all! I’ll read a book !

In the age of amazing technology you should have more than 4 channels.

 

Keycards not working

There is nothing worse than returning to your room on the 23rd floor to find that your keycard no longer works. You get the red light and you end up having to return to reception. They usually ask “was this near your phone or other bank cards?” … that shouldn’t be the point. In the age of AI and advanced technology, a key card shouldn’t just de-programme !

 

Complicated light switches

There have been some hotels which have had the most unusual lighting systems. There were so many light switches in one hotel, I had to click each one to find out what each one did. If you click the wrong one you end up waking any guest in thee room up with every light in the room suddenly turning on.

 

Do you have anything to add to this list?

What was the worst thing you ever saw in a hotel? (Please don’t mention names)

The Blakemore Hotel, Hyde Park, London – Hotel Review

The Blakemore Hotel, Hyde Park, London – Hotel Review

One of the hardest things to do it get a decent hotel when you don’t know the area. I was searching for a good hotel in London. After looking at the usual hotel chains I found and booked the Blakemore Hotel Hyde Park London. This hotel booking was done purely on the basis of the Booking.com ratings. At the time of going to post with this review it was 8.1/10 which is very good.

We arrived in London in really bad traffic and ended up getting a tube to Lancaster Gate, and walking the 7 or 8 minutes to the Blakemore. The Blakemore hotel is really nice in the great location on a quiet street.

Blackmore Hotel Lobby and Reception Area

Having arrived tired at the hotel, we found the check in to be very efficient and handled well by a very friendly receptionist.

The Blakemore Hotel Rooms

We got rooms 311 and 312 as we were there as a group of 4. The rooms are very nice, bright, airy, clean (I personally preferred 311, street view) and had excellent air conditioning. The rooms are serviced daily and are done so to a great standard. One point to note – one of the main things we noticed was that the beds are so comfortable you will want to stay there.

The rooms have TV, internet points, a room safe, ironing facilities as well as tea and coffee making facilities.

The Bathrooms in the club rooms are very nice with great product in bathrooms.

Blakemore Rooms - Rooms at the Blakemore Hotel Hyde Park - Hotel Review

Another great point about the Blakemore Hotel is the Free WiFi which is accessible in the rooms also – many hotels have Free WiFi but only in the public areas and not in the rooms.The free WiFi allowed us to plan our day without incuring hefty 3G roaming charges.

The Blakemore Hotel Food

We tried the food in the restaurant and it proved to be very good, from curries to burgers and Caesar salads. The service was excellent and done so with a smile. We then enjoyed the Euro 2012 playoffs in the lounge which is very nice and relaxing.

The Blakemore Hotel, Hyde Park, London : Review Conclusion

I was very impressed by the Blakemore Hotel, the rooms are a perfect size for those looking for a great city break

The location is very good, just opposite Hyde Park and within a 10 minute walk of Bayswater, Queensway and Lancaster Gate tube stations.

I will certainly consider it on my next trip to London and it will be a hotel I will revisit again in the future.

 

Blakemore Hyde Park Hotel Location

Address: 30 Leinster Gardens, London W2 3AN, UK

Blakemore Hotel Hyde Park, London Hotel, UK

The Oxfordshire Golf Hotel and Spa – Hotel Review

The Oxfordshire Golf Hotel and Spa – Hotel Review

A while back I went to the UK and stayed at the The Oxfordshire Hotel and Spa, which as you guessed is situated in the heart of Oxfordshire (so it’s not just a clever name)

The Oxfordshire Hotel, Golf Hotel and Spa

The Oxfordshire Golf Hotel and Spa is situated in the heart of the Chilterns. It is located about a 1 hour drive from Luton airport. The Oxfordshire Hotel is a luxury 50 bedroom Hotel and Spa. It also boasts a Championship Golf Course if you are so inclined. This course has hosted some high profile golf tournaments; including the Benson & Hedges International, Andersen Consulting World Championship and Ladies English Open.

The Oxfordshire Hotel : Review

Approaching the Oxfordshire Hotel you drive along a well maintained entrance with the golf course on either side. There is plenty of free car parking and a handy drop off area which should suit everyone. Checking in at the hotel is very quick and done with a smile. We were offered spa and pool times as well as an option to book a time at the restaurant.

The food in the restaurant is superb, very well cooked and plenty to choose from. Whether you are a steak lover or a lover of fruits-de-mer the menu will suit your needs. The restaurant offers fantastic views over the golf course and is lovely at sunset. Service was friendly and efficient. I was very impressed with the depth of flavours in the food.

The rooms were comfortable, spacious and had very good air conditioning. The rooms also had a nice terrace / veranda which was accessed via sliding doors. In room hair dryer and safe for your valuables was good to have also.

Oxfordshire Hotel, Golf and Spa, Oxfordshire, UK - Hotel Review

Room photo at The Oxfordshire Hotel

The Breakfast next morning was varied, hot food was tasty and was actually hot (which some hotels can learn from). I also availed of the delicious fresh fruit, yoghurt, cereals and muesli which were also on offer.

The hotel is an ideal base for visiting places like the university town of Oxford and the Oxfordshire countryside. You could also enjoy punting on the Thames in Oxford or a visit to the Harry Potter Studios in Watford. If you are interested the village where the Vicar of Dibley was filmed (a small town called Turville) is located near by. There are many other great places, gardens and country houses to visit nearby also.

The Oxfordshire Hotel : Accolades

The Oxfordshire has had some recent accolades including the top 50 places to Stay & Play voted by Golf Monthly magazine, Top Golf Course in the county voted by the Top 100 Golf Courses in England and awarded 4 Bubbles by The Good Spa Guide.

The Oxfordshire Hotel : Conclusion

I did not know what to expect on booking (via booking.com) but was more than happy in the first minute inside the doors. The Oxfordshire is a well serviced, clean and friendly hotel which I have bookmarked and will certainly return to in the future. I had a very enjoyable stay and look forward to returning to the The Oxfordshire Hotel and Spa at some point in the future.

The Oxfordshire Hotel : Contact Details & Map

The Oxfordshire Hotel, Rycote Lane  Milton Common, Oxfordshire OX9 2PU, United Kingdom

The Oxfordshire Golf Hotel and Spa

Travel Packing Checklist | What To Pack for Holiday & Vacation – Pack like a Pro

Travel Packing Checklist | What To Pack for Holiday & Vacation – Pack like a Pro

Packing for vacation? Take a look at this travel packing list so you pack the important items for your vacation or holiday. The holiday and vacation packing checklist is all you need, whether this is your first vacation or you’re a seasoned globetrotter. This is a helpful packing checklist.

One of the most stressful things you have to do before you even get into the car to head to the airport, is packing for your holiday or vacation. This handy holiday packing checklist might help you before you actually start packing and it might help you ensure that you don’t leave home missing essential items to pack into your suitcase for your holiday.

This list is not complete nor will it suit everyone or every type of holiday since a checklist for a city break will be different to a packing checklist for a 3 stop long haul trip.

Simply cross out items you don’t need then tick off the items from the list by your suitcase as you pack for your holiday.

The packing checklist below does NOT include clothes as everyone is different. Hopefully this packing checklist will help with the other items which you may wish to bring. If you spot any omissions please make a comment and we can add it to the list.

Packing Essentials

Passports (ensure they are at least 6 months in date)
Drivers License (should you wish to hire a car)
Airline Tickets
Visas if required by your destination
Wallet – Debit and Credit Cards
Cash / Travelers checks
Emergency phone numbers
Hotel, rental car, confirmation details
Copies of your travel insurance
contacts

Guidebooks & Maps
Contact numbers to report lost credit
cards

Electric Plug adapter
Cell Phone adapter
iPod / iPhone Charger
Books and magazines
iPod Earphones (ideal for the flight)
PowerBar

Personal Items / Toiletries

Travel alarm clock and batteries
Glasses, sunglasses and contacts
Tampons
Birth control
Anti-bacterial hand gel or wipes
Hand lotion
Small first-aid kit
Travel pillow
Toothbrush
Toothpaste
Shampoo and conditioner
Hair Brush
Comb
Cosmetics & Soap
Razor and shaving cream
Sunblock & After Sun
Deodorant
Insect Repellant

Extra Items

Locks for your Luggage (and keys!)
Luggage name tags (include phone and email)
Sewing kit
Hiking Boots (make sure they are very clean prior to packing if traveling to Australia or new Zealand)
Camera, Flash & Lenses
Camera Mini-Tripod (for the photo enthusiast)
Batteries
Camera Battery Charger (e.g. Canon DSLR type)
Extra film or memory card
Memory Card Holders (to keep them safe)
Journal and pen (if you like keeping notes on where you were)
Sweets for the Journey
Finally is the house locked and is the heating off and everything plugged out?

I hope this holiday checklist helps you on your vacation

Remember to put all liquids and gels into your checked luggage.
Remember to check there are no sharp items in your hand luggage.
Remember to ask a neighbour to check in on your house when you are away.
Remember to have a good time on your trip.
Updated March 2018

Enjoy Your Holiday!

Hotel Review of Elysees Mermoz Hotel, 30 Rue Jean Mermoz, Paris

Hotel Review of Elysees Mermoz Hotel, 30 Rue Jean Mermoz, Paris

There seems to be a Joe Bonamassa theme about some of our hotel visits and this one is another. This time we were going to the Paris concert in April 2012 and booked the Hôtel Élysées-Mermoz or Elysees Mermoz Hotel based on good Booking.com scores and hotel reviews. It was also just a 15-20 minutes to the music venue, The Rex.

The Elysees Mermoz Hotel is about a 5 minute walk from the Champs Elysee and nearest Metro stop. There are plenty of shops and restaurants nearby so you are really at the heart of Paris here. The Elysees Mermoz is a very nice, bright and modern hotel with very friendly staff who speak good English, even though I did my very best in French but to a point. (It always takes me a few days to get my French into gear, but the effort is worth it)

The rooms at the Elysees Mermoz Hotel are spacious for Paris (as I have stayed in some Paris hotels which were tiny) and with a very nice compact bathroom. The bathroom featured excellent products and a great power shower.  One of the nice touches was Free WiFi – I feel that in this day and age any hotel these days not offering Free WiFi normally won’t get my business!!

The beds are very comfortable and you will get an excellent sleep here, which is important if you are out all day walking the streets of Paris. We chose not to avail of breakfast on this occasion as we prefer to find local restaurants for a more authentic Parisenne morning experience.

The Hôtel Élysées-Mermoz is certainly a hotel which I will come back to for my next stay in Paris, not only for it’s great central location and friendly staff but also for the comfort and luxury of the accommodation in the heart of Paris.

Elysees Mermoz Hotel – Hotel Information

www.hotel-elyseesmermoz.com/en/
Elysees Mermoz Hotel, 30, rue Jean Mermoz | 75008 Paris | +33 (0)1 42 25 75 30

Elysees Mermoz Hotel

Elysees Mermoz Hotel