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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 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.

 

About KaiKoura

 

Kaikoura is a few hours from Christchurch and is a small scenic town right on the coast. 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. The looped walk along the peninsula is about 13-14km and will take you about 3 hours to complete taking it at a steady pace. 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 Kaikoura. Unfortunately we visited Kaikoura in the Winter so the trips to watch whales were not really an option.

 

It seems to be a town with a real homely feel, and if I was thinking of moving anywhere in the world it would be either to Kaikoura or Te Anau on the other coast. Both towns just captivated me when I visited them.

 

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 were​​ 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.

 

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 complete​ 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.

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 : https://tairawhitigisborne.co.nz

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 was 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 this is only a short drive from Longleat Safari Park (a great day out). Other areas close by including 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 9 am 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 boasts 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.

Dining at Bishopstrow House Hotel 

The breakfast is normally included in the rate and 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 travelled from Ireland to the 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 Hotel 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 actually saw a few Celebs when we were there – one was quite a famous comedian)

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 to 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, bread, 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 Hotel team for a great stay – we will be back!!

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

 

Hyatt Regency Hotel, 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
PopUp Hotel Glastonbury – Luxury Glamping at Glastonbury Festival

PopUp Hotel Glastonbury – Luxury Glamping at Glastonbury Festival

Glastonbury Festival Glamping Accommodation

The Pop-Up Hotel, Glastonbury Festival

We went to the Glastonbury Festival 2013 but went with one thing in mind … we were not slumming it, we had luxury glamping in mind.

We found the Pop-up Hotel online and saw that this would be the ideal Glastonbury Glamping Accommodation. Having visited the website, we decided on our accommodation; So on the morning Glastonbury tickets went on sale we were hopeful of getting tickets…. and so we did. Immediately we called the Pop-Up Hotel and secure our glamping accommodation with a deposit. Once booked we waited for June 2013 to come, paying the remaining amount in the previous months.

Even before we arrived we had lots of contact from Jessica and Graham from the Pop-Up hotel. We had been given directions to the designated Pop-up Hotel Car Park near to the Glastonbury festival site. When we arrived we were helped with our bags and driven to the Popup Hotel site by a very plush Land Rover (which I was very well impressed with).

On arrival, our check-in was processed very quickly and we were shown to our pre-erected tent, which would be our home away from home for the next four nights while at the Glastonbury Festival. I had been very impressed by how well our booking had been dealt with, nothing was too much trouble for the staff.

It is a family-friendly hotel ideal for festivals. I have gone past the stage of slumming it and trying to do Glastonbury without this sort of quality accommodation would be tough (I would probably have gone home as it was raining on the evening we arrived and some poor guys, first-timers, were struggling trying to erect a tent …. for me, no thanks).

There is a strict no drug, no noise, no trouble policy at the Popup Hotel and the public area is bright, secure, lively and has free WiFi (always useful and a nice touch).

Top Notch-Glamping at Glastonbury

This glamping is top notch. The deluxe rooms had charging points ideal for me so that I could charge my phone and DSLR camera battery etc. The inside of the tent was very homely with lots of very nice finishing touches such as fairy lights, a bottle of lavender pillow mist, storage box, full-length mirror, deck-chair, mats and complimentary toiletries. The tent is warm and the beds are very comfortable and you are guaranteed a good night’s sleep.
There was even a spa and hairdressers available at extra charge.

The Pop-up Hotel is only 10-15 minutes from Glastonbury entrance and it is an easy walk to and from the hotel.

There were hot power showers in luxury blocks with clean toilets serviced regularly which was a real treat after a long day at the festival.

If you are looking for something to eat before heading to the festival, great hot breakfasts were available from about £9 per person.

The areas are well-lit areas at night with a security presence, therefore, only those staying get into the hotel property. There is also some nice music (normally acoustic sessions) in the evenings if you didn’t have enough music during the day and food is served almost all day.

The staff at the Pop-up hotel are very friendly and we would like to thank especially Nevin, Joe, Graham, and Jennifer who were all very helpful to us during our stay and couldn’t have done enough.

We loved our stay and we will certainly return to the Pop-Up Hotel at Glastonbury. If you are looking for a luxury accommodation option during the Glastonbury Festival then check out the Pop-Up Hotel Glastonbury!

2015 Updated

For Glastonbury 2015 we stayed once again with The Popup Hotel. There were a few new items such as more lounge areas near reception, there was even a swimming pool at one point. Wifi Continued to be a feature which was widely appreciated.
Overall this is a wonderful glamping experience and if you are going to Glastonbury, or indeed any of the other festivals which to Pop-up Hotel are in attendance, then certainly book it.

Contact Details for The Popup Hotel

Website: http://www.thepopuphotel.com/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/thepopuphotel
Address: Rubbery Farm | Rubbery Lane, TA11 7HE, England

Pop-up Hotel Glastonbury

This review of Popup hotel glamping is my opinion of the service and I was not paid or in any way compensated for this post. This post is on my site as I feel it is important to spread the awareness of products or services which I myself and tried and which I feel are good quality, good value or worth trying. I have no personal or financial association with the Pop-up Hotel.
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 unease about it, not just an old abandoned building but a sense that it lacked peace. It could very well be Ireland’s most haunted house even from across the bay.

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. However, 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: https://www.loftushall.ie

Location of Loftus Hall – Ireland’s Most Haunted House

Loftus Hall, Hook Peninsula, Co. Wexford