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Lunch at The Bay Tree Bistro, Waterford – Restaurant Review

Lunch at The Bay Tree Bistro, Waterford – Restaurant Review

The Bay Tree Bistro

The Bay Tree Bistro opened in Waterford in 2015. Within a few months I was hearing about this amazing restaurant above a pub in Ballybricken. The restaurant later moved to the quays in Waterford and it has established itself as ‘the’ place in Waterford for fantastic food. In fact the Bay Tree Bistro was voted the Best Restaurant in Waterford 2018 by the Restaurant Association of Ireland.

I have eaten in the main restaurant upstairs and I can guarantee that it is a full-on dining experience. The tastes and combinations of ingredients are sublime. I will review this very soon when I return…

Earlier this year the Bay Tree Bistro started doing a lunch menu. The menu is served downstairs and is very different from the usual lunch menus. I spotted a few dishes I wanted to try and on one particular day I found myself being nearby and I just had to try it.

Lunch – Croque Madame

One of my favourite snacks / comfort foods is the croquet madame. You have bread, cheese, ham and a soft fried egg. What’s not to like? To my surprise and delight the croquet madame at the Bay Tree had 2 fried eggs. I was hoping to have the duck eggs, which are a small bit extra, but there were none on the day. The 2 eggs which were there were indeed delicious and perfectly cooked.

The red cabbage slaw which accompanies the dish is a perfect contrast to the croque – I also found that the raisins in the slaw were an unexpected taste sensation. There was also a delicious fresh side salad. The salad had cucumber, tomato, onion, spring onion, and leaves have a dressing which is fresh and contrasts with the heartiness of the egg, cheese and bread.

The relaxed atmosphere and nice music was a relaxing setting to enjoy a lunch at leisure. There was a lot on the menu which I would like to try on a repeat visit.  The specials of the day were very nice also, one was an asian pork noodle dish. I later saw photos on twitter and that might be one for a return lunch.

If you are in Waterford and you don’t want the usual boring ham sandwich for lunch, then try the Bay Tree Bistro.

The Lunch Menu

The Lunch Menu on the day I visited the Bay Tree Bistro was as follows;

SALADS

Warm Thai Chicken
Waldorf Salad 
Tuna or Chicken Nicoise
Mediterranean Vegetable and Feta Cheese
Add Homemade Chips

SANDWICHES

Croque Monsieur
Croque Madame
With Hen Egg or Duck Egg
Tuna Melt           Ploughman’s          Vegetarian Ploughman’s
Chicken, Sundried Tomato and Smoked Cheese
Roasted Vegetable, Tomato and Mozzarella

SAVOURIES

Pork and Caramelized Onion Sausage Roll         Quiche of The Day

Soups, chowders and cheese boards were also available and are very reasonably priced. 

There are a few options on the menu I would love to try, including the sausage roll, the ploughmans, and the warm thai chicken. There is something for everyone on the menu and you won’t be disappointed – portion size is just right!


Bay Tree Bistro – Contact Details

Website : http://www.thebaytreebistro.com
Twitter : https://twitter.com/baytreebistro
Facebook : https://www.facebook.com/thebaytreebistro
Phone : 051 858517

 

Bay Tree Bistro – Map Location

Bay Tree Bistro, Waterford, Ireland

Bay Tree Bistro

16 Merchants Quay, Waterford, Ireland

Website : http://www.thebaytreebistro.com

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.

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

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