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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%

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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

Hotel Review of The Grosvenor Hotel, Victoria, London

Hotel Review of The Grosvenor Hotel, Victoria, London

From tie 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 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 though 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 many 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 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

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 crocque madame which is always a favourite of mine. It was perfectly cooked and had a really find quality cheese filling.

The breakfasts are very good and are held in the Brasserie area.  Plenty of choice 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 idea 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 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. 

Bishopstrow House – Hotel Review

Bishopstrow House – Hotel Review

About Bishopstrow House Hotel & Spa

Bishopstrow House Hotel & Spa is a luxury hotel near Warminster in Wiltshire. The hotel is set on 27 acres of beautifully set grounds alongside the River Wyle. Bishopstrow Hotel also boasts a boutique spa with an indoor and an outdoor heated swimming pool. There are 32 rooms available and you can dine at the 2 Rosette restaurant. Bishopstrow House actually dates back to 1736 when George II was the monarch of England.

Apparently the original house was destroyed by a fire in 1817. It was rebuilt and completed in 1821. In 1950, Bishopstrow house was bought by a firearms collector and in 1976 it then converted into a ten-bedroom hotel. In 2011 it was bought by the well known Longleat Hotel Group. The grounds of Bishopstrow House even contain two ancient burial mounds.

As mentioned, Bishopstrow House Hotel is a part of Longleat Hotels and thus is only a short drive from Longleat Safari Park (a great day out). Other areas close by include the historic Stonehenge, Salisbury and Stourhead House and Gardens. You are also within driving distance of the spa town, Bath. The town of Bath is a great destination and I recommend taking to 20 mile trip if you are in this area.

My Stay at Bishopstrow House Hotel

Bishopstrow Hotel and Spa is easy to find with well-marked road signage, as well as being listed on SatNav. You can find the hotel about a mile east of the town of Warminster.

We departed the Glastonbury festival at 9am we arrived at the hotel well ahead of check-in. Our early arrival was not a problem for the staff. Bishopstrow House has great staff and our check-in was processed quickly. We were advised by the staff that the nearby town of Salisbury was good to visit. With that recommendation we set off for the afternoon to explore the area.

When we returned to Bishopstrow our bags had been brought to our room… and what a room it was. A beautifully decorated and plushly appointed room. The room had a  flat screen TV with multichannel cable and tea/coffee facilities. It also included a lovely and spacious bathroom which has Elmsis products which I really like.

Within this wonderful hotel there are 32 bedrooms and suites. Bishopstrow boast a luxury feel with the elegance expected from a country house hotel of this style. The views from the rooms and the guest areas give stunning vistas of the countryside. The rooms are very comfortable rooms and you get a restful night’s sleep.

Bishopstrow House Hotel Wiltshire UK

Dining at Bishopstrow House Hotel

The breakfast is normally included in rate is very good with fruit, cereals, juices and a cooked option. Breakfast is the most important meal of the day and you can get a very hearty breakfast here. The grounds are really nice to walk around and the estate has an old world feel yet being very much classic contemporary in reality. Free WiFi is included and again this is a real plus. I will rarely stay in a hotel if they have paid Wifi.

We ate at the Bishopstrow House restaurant and on arrival we were shown to our table. For a change I tried a beef dish which is something I would rarely try, but it was excellent and very well presented. The dish had a red wine jus which complimented the rest of the dish very well.

Spa & Relaxation

At the hotel there is also a spa. We did not get the time to enjoy the many relaxing treatments which were on offer but it does look tempting. Unfortunately, we did not get a chance either to enjoy the indoor and outdoor heated swimming pools. You might get a chance to take in the relaxation suite, sauna, steam room, whirlpool, monsoon shower, tennis courts, four therapy rooms plus a Life Fitness exercise suite…. so much I didn’t have time to do!

The Bishopstrow Hotel Suites

While staying our 3 nights at Bishopstrow we also had to opportunity to stay in one of the luxurious private suites. These suites are on two levels with a living & TV area downstairs and bedroom with very extensive bathroom upstairs. These suites are true luxury and if I was coming back I would stay here ahead of the main house. These suites would be ideal for either families looking for more room, or as a romantic break – a home away from home. However, I am very happy to have stayed at both accommodation options.

Bishopstrow House - Suite

Bishopstrow House – Suite

If you are looking for a luxurious stay in the heart of Wiltshire then staying at Bishopstrow House Hotel in Warminster is well worth it.
Since we reviewed the hotel I was told that it has been taken over by new management. So it might be time to revisit and see what has changed.

Hotel Address: Bishopstrow House, Boreham Road, Warminster BA12 9HH, England

Hotel Website : www.bishopstrow.co.uk

Hotel Map Location:

Bishopstrow House

Bishopstrow House, Boreham Road, Warminster BA12 9HH, England

Back in 2015, I booked a 3 night stay at Bishopstrow House as a touch of luxury following 4 days at the Pop-Up Hotel at the Glastonbury Festival… This is the resulting review.

This review of Bishopstrow Hotel and spa was originally hosted on my Travel Reviews website but was moved from shanestravelreviews.com to it’s new home here on shanemcdonald.ie.

This is my opinion of my stay at Bishopstrow House and I was not compensated or paid to provide this online hotel review. 

Hotel Review – Hyatt Regency, Birmingham, UK

Hotel Review – Hyatt Regency, Birmingham, UK

Hyatt Regency Birmingham – Hotel Review

In October 2012 Joe Bonamassa played Birmingham, UK and we traveled from Ireland to UK to attend the concert. Having booked the tickets I needed to get some quality accommodation near the NIA venue. I did a quick search and the Hyatt Regency Birmingham came up a few times in the results with good hotel reviews also. I recognized it as I had seen it a few years previous on TV, with some reality TV VIPs exiting limos. Anyway, we were not disappointed … as it turned out we ended up being treated like VIPs.

We were checked in by Mohamed on reception. We were welcomed and he told us he was giving us a nice room and also assisted me in setting me up the Hyatt Loyalty scheme. From the start, this was a very good check-in and we were impressed already.

The hotel room was really nice with a great view of the city looking towards the very funky Birmingham City library. Our room was on the 7th floor and within close proximity to the lifts (but there was no sound from them which was great).

The next morning we availed of breakfast, although this was not included in our rate, we added it on when we arrived as there was an incentive to do so. The breakfast service and layout was excellent and there was a wide selection of hot, cold and if you wish you can have some food prepared to order food. There are also a variety of fruits, breads, juices and cereals.

The Hyatt Regency Birmingham is a very central, well run and very comfortable hotel. It was perfect for us as we were visiting the NIA which is about a five minute walk away.

Many thanks to the Hyatt Regency team for a great stay – we will be back!!

If you are looking for a Hotel in Birmingham check out the Hyatt Regency Birmingham.

 

Hyatt Regency, Birmingham – Hotel Location

Hotel Review – Hyatt Regency, Birmingham, UK

Hotel Review – Hyatt Regency, Birmingham, UK

This post was moved from shanestravelreviews.com and now resides here at shanemcdonald.ie

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