Inevitably, this month is dominated by Coronavirus; and our Newsletter was overtaken by events even as it was going out. In the time it took to work through our mailing list, Government advice changed twice and the whole situation became much more serious. Our first section has been totally superseded by the precautions being put in place for the epidemic, so it has been dropped from this version. The remainder looks forward with optimism (or at least, hope) to the time when life becomes more normal again and we can all enjoy a holiday once more.
This time around, we're going to be concentrating mostly on some new hotels we've added in England and Scotland.
Perfectly situated on a pretty square just a short stroll away from Exeter Cathedral, Southernhay House Hotel is a Grade II listed Georgian townhouse with a romantic ambience. The hotel was originally the home of Major-General William Kirkpatrick from 1805-1813, a bohemian character who worked for the East India Company. This heritage has been mixed with modern city chic so the antique paintings of sultans and admirals are neatly contrasted with a glistening swanky cocktail bar.
Not far from Exeter, near the famous Haytor Rocks and just inside the Dartmoor National Park is the rural hamlet of Haytor Vale and the Rock Inn. This traditional English country inn has been offering travellers hospitality, good food and shelter since its foundation as a coaching inn in the mid-eighteenth century. The restaurant has won an AA Rosette Award for Culinary Excellence every year since 1996.
At the other end of the country we found the House of Gods in Edinburgh. This off-the-wall boutique hotel just a ten minute walk from the Royal Mile is an acute clash of styles, broken rules and a balance of opposites. Beige is blasphemy and more is more. From the rooms to the cocktail bar, the hotel immerses its guests in extravagance, sumptuous materials and idiosyncratic features.
Next stop will be Ireland, and we have a short-list of new hotels to list in the next week or two.
Opening Up a New Island for Little Hotels Travellers
This is the point where I have a confession to make. I've always thought of the Dominican Republic as a place filled with big, bland, all-inclusive hotels. How wrong I have been all these years! What I know now is that the mass-tourism is easily avoided and the island is mostly virgin tropical forest and virgin beaches (250 miles of them!) dotted with some extremely attractive small hotels. Our offerings include a secluded adults-only hideaway, a back-to-nature eco hotel and a luxury hilltop hotel looking straight down on the Caribbean Sea.
There are thousands of Victorian houses in England that provide bed and breakfast, but there is only one St Benedict Victorian B&B. Step back in time to experience a house that is as close as it could possibly be to an authentic Victorian gentleman’s seaside villa, without sacrificing modern comforts. This astonishing and intriguing bed and breakfast is filled (and we mean “filled”!) with all the rich furnishings, ornaments, pictures and ephemera that were so beloved by the Victorians.
Helping Our Community
As a small local business we want to be able to give something back to our local community. Our town is fortunate to have a lot of public-access defibrillators available should someone have the misfortune to suffer a cardiac arrest but we realised that it was sometimes difficult to find one with sufficient speed. We worked with our web designer Redcliffe Web and our local Coastguard team to build a database of defibrillators and to create a web app that can be bookmarked on a mobile phone. The page was designed to be fast-loading even with a poor mobile signal and the locations are accurate to within a couple of metres.
The map was successful and well-received so Redcliffe Web decided to make the template available to anyone who wants to create a similar app for their own community. It can be downloaded here. If you have a small local business or are a member of a community organisation, we would love to see this idea grow. Remember that you will need to visit every defibrillator site to photograph it and accurately plot its position.
And finally.... You start life with a bag full of luck and an empty bag of experience. The trick is to fill the bag of experience before the bag of luck runs out.