Flamingo Suites, Avenida de Espana 6, San Eugenio Bajo, Costa Adeje, Tenerife

My husband and I were enjoying our first visit to Tenerife but while wandering along from our hotel, we were stopped by a persistent woman keen to offer us a chance to win a prize. Now, we have been around the block a couple of times and declined her offer. But she made clear that this was how she made her living, it was not a time-share trick and all we had to do was take a card and see if we had won a prize.

Flamingo outside

Surprise, surprise, we did win! I won a bottle of wine but my husband won 120 euros. All we had to do was stop into the hotel over here, it was very close, there would be someone there to meet us, it would take no more than thirty minutes, we would give a few details, be offered a drink and be given our prize. But that’s not quite how it went.

We decided our wander could be delayed by thirty minutes for 120 euros and followed her to the hotel. A charming man behind the desk offered us a seat and spent a great deal of time taking many details, the only ones he omitted were our inside leg measurements and hat size. Then he introduced us to a young lady who would show us around and get our drinks for us.

Flamingo-Suites outside

She was also charming and told us about being a single Mum, how she worked on commission and re-assured us that this was not a time-share resort. She took us to the onsite bar and offered us drinks – water with or without ice! A pushy man came and butted in, but I said he should leave the young lady, she was doing fine. Things then got progressively worse.

She told us of the improvements intended for the resort. and led us for a walk around it. It was very hot and there were lots of stairs to go up and down before we used the one small elevator that only went two floors. She offered to show us a computer presentation, which we did not want but she would lose her job if we didn’t see it. Just ten minutes. Thirty minutes later, we went on another hot walk up and down, up and down those stairs to see inside an apartment.

Flamingo-Suites-pool

The apartments are large, well appointed and some have lovely views. (Others do not.) We then went for another walk for a drink. By now we were dehydrated, had lost three hours of our lives we would never get back and so even the water tasted better. As we were sitting, the young woman finally revealed the catch: we were to pay £4,000 today and we would get holidays over a four year period at a fixed price and they would arrange the flights and transfers but if we missed two slots in a row we lost the rest of our money.

Then the man came back and repeated all the same things the young woman had told us. My husband said we would have to think about it. The man did not like that idea – this was a today only offer. so we said, then we would have to miss out on the deal but we’d like our prize. The man pushed us, we could put the cost on a credit card, it would cost us half what we normally paid on a holiday. Did we like Tenerife? Yes we do. Will we be back, yes we will, did we like the resort. The apartments are well appointed, I’m not crazy on the stairs and I don’t have my credit card with me, neither of us do. That’s not a problem, he’ll come with us to the  hotel and take the details and get the deal settled.

Flamingo-Suite kitchen

No, you won’t. How dare you try to pressurise me. It’s bad enough that I have been led around this resort for three hours. I’m hungry. I’m dehydrated. I’m going back to our hotel for lunch and I haven’t had my promised drink here, I haven’t been given my wine and my husband hasn’t been given his 120 euros. Far from taking the thirty minutes we were promised, we have been dragged around this resort for three hours and my nice nature has left the building. Luckily, my husband is not a man to be trifled with either. We left. no richer, but no poorer and a little wiser.

Would I visit The Flamingo again? Under no circumstances. There are far better hotels and apartment complexes within a stone’s throw of that one. Costa Adeje is beautiful. The deal pressed on us by those at The Flamingo was not.

Val Penny

The Pelican Inn,10 Pacific Way, Muir Beach, California, USA

 

pelican out1

My husband and I were introduced to The Pelican Inn, Pacific Way, Muir Beach, California, USA by friends who live locally and we were delighted by the appearance of the building and the beautiful grounds.

pelican in1

We had just spent time in the incomparable Muir Woods and were pleased to be lunching in such lovely surroundings.

pelican in2

The Pelican Inn was able to seat our large group of seven people together comfortably at a rustic wooden table. The cool, shaded surroundings were a great place to spend the heat of the day.

pelican food 1

 

Many of those in our party chose the traditional British fish and chips and enjoyed it thoroughly. i chose the ploughman’s lunch, which was not served in the traditional way, but that did not stop it from being delicious.

pelican food 2

We enjoyed a leisurely lunch and time to chat. At no time did we feel rushed or as if we were in the way. it was a lovely afternoon.

pelican out2

The Pelican Inn provides easy access for those with mobility issues and the staff are extremely polite and helpful. I enjoyed the ambiance of the restaurant, the style of decoration and the attitude of the staff. I would highly recommend The Pelican Inn, near Muir Beach, California, USA.

Val Penny

Be Live Experience La Nina, Av. de Espana, s/n, 38660, Adeje, Tenerife Spain

My husband and I enjoyed our first visit to Tenerife in November. We chose to stay at the Be Live Experience la Nina, in Costa Adeje. It is a beautiful hotel. Eminently suitable for families and couples alike. We chose to have the adult VIP up-grade which gave us access to a peaceful adult only lounge, adult only sun decks and quiet areas of the dining room. We also had access to the fine dining restaurant, MyLos, on the complex two nights during our one week stay. We went as an adult couple and this up-grade was well worth having.

nina outside

Be Live Experience La Nina Hotels is an exclusive 4 star hotel in the southern area of Tenerife. The Be Live Experience La Nina Hotel is located in Adeje Coast, near Los Cristianos Beach and next to Puerto Colon Marina, the hotel offers fun and the best atmosphere surrounded of recreational areas and shopping centers.

nina attrium

It offers luxurious facilities. Enjoy a perfect romantic stay with the Spa. The only thing we did not like about the hotel, was that we only had one visit to the spa pool included in our stay and after that we had to pay. I understand paying for treatments, but we did feel that the indoor pool and gym should be included for VIP patrons. nina mylos

The gym is excellent but very under-used. There is also a  squash court and daily activities like water polo, table tennis, archery. Be Live Experience La Nina Hotel has Wi-Fi area and meeting rooms and a library area for those who enjoy a quieter time or have business to attend to. 

nina pool day

The rooms are large and comfortable and there are lots of cafes and restaurants in the immediate vicinity to visit for meals and coffees. The hotel is within easy walking distance of the beach and the harbour. The resort is relatively quiet and access for those with mobility issues is generally good. We look forward to our next visit to Tenerife, when travel restrictions allow.

Val Penny

 

Hampton by Hilton in Croydon, 30 Dingwall Rd, Croydon, London, England,

I have stayed in Hilton Hotels all over the world. I have used Double Tree by Hilton often too, but when my daughter moved to a different part of London, the closest Hilton Hotel was a Hampton by Hilton, so I chose to stay there.

 

Hampton by Hilton London Croydon Exterior

I do not know this part of London well, but the Hampton by Hilton in Croydon, 30 Dingwall Rd, Croydon, London, England, is easy to find. It is only 335 metres away from East Croydon Station which has regular trains into central London to both Victoria and London Bridge.hampton by hilton out day

We arrived at the hotel late after a day with our family. It was dark and the area around the hotel did not, at first glance, hold much of interest. In fact, as I have said, the transport links are excellent and there are shops and other hotels nearby too.hampton by Hilton in

This hotel has a 24 hour reception, but the front doors to the hotel are locked at 10pm. If you plan to arrive after this time, phone to advise the desk. The young lady at reception when we arrived seemed bored, disinterested and gave us incorrect information about the hotel. It was disappointing. I have never had that problem in any Hilton franchise before and it was very disappointing. hampton by hilton reception

Having said that, the lifts in the hotel were quick and clean, our room was spotlessly clean, and breakfast was included in our rate, which made the hotel on a par with the Premier Inn cost-wise. Access is good for those with mobility issues too.hampton by Hilton breakfast

Breakfast was buffet style with a wide choice of cereals, fresh fruit, french pastries and cooked choices. Teas, coffees and fruit juices were also offered. The dining room is quite small for the size of the hotel, but the staff found us a table for four at a busy time nevertheless. hampton by hilton room

The staff on duty in the morning were all helpful, charming and courteous. Alessio on reception was particularly helpful and took responsibility for his surly colleague of the night before. This is the kind of service I have come to expect from hotels that bear the Hilton name, in any guise.hampton by hilton gym

The gym in this hotel, is small, but it is good to know it is there. I am sure that, although this was a first visit to Hampton by Hilton in Croydon, it will not be my last. I can recommend this hotel to those visiting London.

Val Penny

 

Cecchini’s, Clyde Marina, 5 Dock Rd, Ardrossan, Scotland

cecchini's reastaurantMy husband and I went to Cecchini’s, Clyde Marina, 5 Dock Rd, Ardrossan, Scotland for dinner with friends recently. It was their recommendation because we had never been to the restaurant. We were booked for 7pm and were greeted politely and shown to a table upstairs. It was bright and pleasantly situated.

We chose a table near the stairs and the server brought us a menu and took a drinks order.

cecchini in 1

One of our friends was the designated driver. I chose a gin and slim, my husband had a beer, our other friend had a glass of wine and we ordered water for the table.

The menu is interesting and varied. Italian cuisine forms the basis of the menu, but there are also a variety of fish dishes that reflect the position of the building at Ardrossan harbour.

We chose a garlic bread foccachia between us to start and that was fun to share and our chat started flowing easily. We all chose different things for our mains.

cecchini-s-ardrossan food 1I had mushroom risotto, which was delicious. My husband had a meat feast pizza and really enjoyed enjoyed that. Our friends chose the lasagne and fish respectively. The lasagne was homemade and the fish very fresh so they both enjoyed their meals.

cecchini-s-ardrossan food 2I was unable to finish my main, the portion was so generous, so I didn’t make it to desert. My husband chose a sticky toffee pudding which was, apparently, delicious. He certainly made any effort to share!

We all had teas and coffees. The restaurant offers a good variety of both, including decafe. We were not rushed to leave but just as we were leaving a singer arrived to offer live music. Had we known, we might have tried to book our table for a little later so that we could hear her.

Cecchini’s, Clyde Marina, 5 Dock Rd, Ardrossan, Scotland, offers seating for those with mobility issues on its ground floor and, although this was our first visit, I hope it will not be our last.

Val Penny

 

The Birchwood, Marchmont Rd, Edinburgh, Scotland,

birchwood outsideI arrived late for lunch at The Birchwood, but could not have been made to feel more welcome. The decor is bright and clean and the service friendly without being obtrusive. Access is easy for those with mobility issues.

 

I am vegetarian but found there was choice on the menu for me, meat eaters and vegans, had that been necessary. I chose a brie and chili jam roll. This was served with a delicious, fresh salad tossed in a tasty dressing. Birchwood inside

From my seat, I could see the meals being made. I always like that. It gives me confidence that the restaurant is clean. The Birchwood was certainly spotlessly clean.

Whenever I am back in the Marchmont area of Edinburgh, I would choose to eat at The Birchwood again.

Val Penny

Zavi Restaurant 747-753 Sidcup Rd, London

zavi out 1My husband and I were visiting family in London, but were lucky enough to be able to sneak away for some alone time one evening. Zavi Restaurant was recommended to us by our hotel, and what an excellent recommendation that was! zavi bar

 

This is a Turkish restaurant in the SE London suburb of New Eltham. We were glad we had made a reservation as the restaurant was quite busy. The service was polite and not obtrusive. Access is good for those with mobility issues.

zavi val

We did not order a starter but were served a complimentary dish of hummus and pitta bread. The hummus was clearly home-made and was delicious. For our mains my husband had the combination meat platter and I had the vegetarian moussaka. We each enjoyed our meals very much.

zavi coffee

As we were travelling the next day neither of us wanted alcohol but the restaurant offers a selection of tasty ‘mocktails’ and we each had one of these. They were delicious. We did not have desert but my husband had an Americano coffee and I had a Turkish coffee. This was a fine way to round off an excellent meal. I highly recommend the Zavi restaurant next time you are in London.

Val Penny

Cadillac Bar and Grill, Market Square, 44 9th St, San Francisco, California, USA

I had not long arrived in San Francisco with friends when we realised we did not know of a good local restaurant to go to for dinner. So, did we google it? No, we are old school, so we asked for a recommendation from our hotel reception. It was a good one. We were recommended to the Mexican restaurant, the Cadillac Bar and Grill, Market Square, 44 9th St, San Francisco, California, USA.

cadillac outside

We arrived a bit early for dinner so atarted the evening with margaritas for the ladies and beers for the guys. We had taco chips and salsa and ordered guacamole too. Lovely!

cadillac inside

Access to the restaurant is easy for those with disabilities, although some of the tables may be too close together to get a wheelchair past. The restrooms were clean and the service was good, although the waiter did pressure us to order dinner earlier than we wanted to. We resisted the pressure.

cadillac waiter in

 

The restaurant filled up quickly so we decided to eat there and were pleased that we did. I had a vegetarian burrito. My husband had a combination platter while our friends shared a sea food sharing platter.

cadillac musicians in

The meal was delicious and very filling. Only my husband made it to desert for a chocolate brownie. We thoroughly enjoyed our meal and the atmosphere of the Cadillac Bar and Grill which included music  minstrels. I recommend it and will certainly be back.

The History

The San Francisco Cadillac Bar Restaurant is a legendary establishment. Its beginnings can be traced back to the original Mexican Cadillac Bar which opened in Nuevo Laredo, Mexico in 1926. Back in the early 80’s, several partners decided to bring this concept to San Francisco where they went to work and converted a warehouse into a restaurant in the South of Market neighborhood.  When they opened the doors in 1982, the partners made sure the restaurant had an authentic Mexican look including many features from the original Cadillac Bar such as the red painted ceilings, the high back bar, white linens on tables, and waiters and bartenders in white coats and bow ties. All these special touches were meant to make you feel like you were south of the border.  The partners ensured that the menu was authentic and house margaritas were always hand shaken. San Franciscans took notice and voted the Cadillac the best Mexican food restaurant in the city for many years. Unfortunately, in 1999 the restaurant was forced to close due to the expansion of the Moscone Convention Center. However, in 2012, one of the original founding partners decided to revive the Cadillac Bar and Grill in San Francisco with the goal of recreating that authentic Mexican restaurant with the same feel and look of its famous predecessor. 

Val Penny

Seamill House Hotel, 31 Ardrossan Rd, West Kilbride, Ayrshire, Scotland

My husband and I have enjoyed afternoon tea and dinner at the Seamill House Hotel, 31 Ardrossan Rd, West Kilbride, Ayrshire, Scotland and members of our family have stayed at the hotel. This Hotel offers award winning luxury accommodation at its finest. The coastal location of Seamill now boasts one of Ayrshire’s newest boutique hotels. It is certainly a favourite haunt of ours.

Seamill house hotel

The afternoon tea was a social event for our book group. We were accomodated in a large, bright, private room on the ground floor of the hotel which suited our group well. Orders were taken for tea and coffee, but only teapots were left on the table which meant the the coffee drinkers had to ask for additional refreshments. I also noticed that water was only brought to the table upon request and the number of jugs was minimal for a group of 20 people. The jugs had to be refilled several times.

The meal was traditional consisting of a variety of sandwiches, scones with jam and butter or cream and cakes. The sandwiches were fresh and very tasty and the scones were delicious. While the cakes were lovely, I think they were the smallest cakes I have ever seen!

views

The quality of service was mixed. Most of the staff were delightful and attentive but one young waitress seemed to think it was her place to comment diparagingly about the number of vegetarians in our party (3). I did not appreciate that.

All in all, as value for money goes, this was good and, provided the young waitress got the additional training she needed, I would return for afternoon tea to the Seamill House Hotel.

diningroom

When we were hosting friends to dinner, we chose to go to the Seamill House Hotel. There is free parking to the rear of the building and although the restaurant is upstairs, there is a lift for those with mobility issues.

We were seated at a table near the window. Ice water was brought to the table and the service was excellent. I chose the mushroom burger and my husband had the fish and chips. The fish was fresh and flaky and the mushroom burger surprisingly delicious. For desert I chose a chocolate brownie and my husband had the sticky toffee pudding. Both were excellent. I would certainly recommend the Seamill House Hotel as a dinner venue.

.rooms

When our family stayed in the hotel, they were delighted by the quality of the rooms, and the lovely views. The hotel was busy as there was a party in the simulated golf room and the bar was busy but our group slept well. They all enjoyed the breakfast which was included in the price and I would certainly recommend a stay in the Seamill House Hotel.

Val Penny

 

Bei Hotel 50 8th St, San Francisco, California 94103, USA

bei hotel outOn a recent visit to SanFrancisco I booked to stay in the Bei Hotel at 50 8th Street, San Francisco, California, at the time of my visit there was a lot of work going on to the b uilding and I would not have booked it had I known, however, the work did not detract greatly from the enjoyment of my stay as it was carried out during the day when I was not there. The hotel will be immensely smart when the work is finished.bei hotel in

Bei Hotel is at 8th Street between Market and Mission is in a central part of the city (and near the terminal for cable cars) but there are many homeless people and drug addicts who congress around there. Going out and about alone can be unnerving.bei hotel pool

Having said that the hotel is extremely comfortable. The rooms are minimalist but spacious and comfortable. The beds are extremely comfortable. There is a pool on the roof, which I did not use. The restaurant serves breakfast, but compared to the local diners and coffee shops that is an expensive choice. The evening meals offered are varied and interesting but there are many bars and restaurants that provide interesting choices. (If you are eating out on a Saturday evening – book in advance!)bei hotel room.jpg

The staff at Bei Hotel are extremely helpful and courteous. Access for those with mobility issues is easy. I enjoyed my stay at Bei Hotel and would stay there again. It is an excellent base for visitng the fascinating city that is San Francisco.

bei hotel bathroom

Val Penny