Archive for the ‘Review’ Category

Apple Apartments Greenwich O2, 1 Providence Place (27 Blackwall Lane) London, England

One of the great joys in my life is my family. I have two beautiful daughters of whom I am unfailingly proud. It is, therefore, a great delight that they agree the three of us should have a ‘girls’ weekend’ once a year.Apple apts livingroom diningroom

This year we spent our special weekend in London, at Apple Apartments Greenwich O2, 1 Providence Place (27 Blackwall Lane) London, England . It was a lovely weekend and the apartment was very spacious.Apple apts livingroom kitchen

We had three double bedrooms an en-suite shower room and a family bathroom upstairs with a large living/dining/kitchen and small wc downstairs. The concierge was helpful, the accommodation was spotlessly clean and the beds were comfortable, so the most important boxes were ticked. Apple apts main bedroom

Little things brought the apartment from excellent to good. The third bedroom had no bedside light, so I moved one from the main bedroom, only to find it had no bulb, so I needed to move a bulb from the sidelight in the living area. There was a dishwasher, but no tablets to allow us to use it. There was washing up liquid but no cloth or brush to give it effect. There were no dish towels to allow us to dry dishes, so we ended up using a hand towel.Apple apts bed 2

Having said all this there were sufficient mugs, glasses, plates and cutlery for the three of us to enjoy meals in the apartment. There was a tea bag and three sachets of sugar. Happily, we came prepared and the predilection of the British to drink tea continued unabated!Apple Apts bed 3

The bathroom facilities were exceptional. I was pleasantly surprised to have a  downstairs wc as well as the two bathrooms upstairs. It was a very useful and welcome addition to the accommodation. There were plenty of hand towels and bath towels.Apple Apts family bathroom

The beds were all comfortable with crisp white sheets, however, the stairs leading upstairs were quite steep and I was surprised that there was only a bannister on one side of them. Nevertheless this did not detract from our comfort during our stay. Apple Apts ensuite

My daughters treated me to a visit to the Duchess Theatre in Catherine Street where we saw the hilarious show, The Play that went Wrong. Public transport to and from the Apple Apartments Greenwich O2 to the theatre district was good. There is only one underground line from the nearest station at North Greenwich, but trains run regularly.Apple Duchess Theatre

All in all, we had a lovely weekend and I can recommend Apple Apartments Greenwich O2. It offered excellent value for money. We enjoyed our stay and with very small tweaks, this would be truly exceptional accommodation.

Valerie Penny

 

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Peebles Hydro,Innerleithen Rd, Peebles, Scotland

Peebles Hydro outsideI have always enjoyed visits to the Peebles Hydro. It is a beautiful building in marvelous rolling countryside, indeed, the Peebles Hydro that is there now was built in the early 20th century as a country house hotel and spa resort in Peebles in the border region of Scotland at the south. The hotel actually opened in 1881, but burnt down and was rebuilt in 1907. It served as a hospital for injured service personnel during  World War I before reverting to hotel use.peebles-hydro-peebles-lounge

Peebles Hydro is a magnificent category B listed building. Peebles Hydro offers a peebles hydro entrancebeautiful setting in gardens, in the border town of Peebles. This charming, historic hotel features an indoor swimming pool, a spa, a gym and restaurant and overlooks the Tweed Valley and is backed by Glentress Forest. It is a 14-minute walk from the Tweeddale Museum and Gallery, and only 1.2 miles from Peebles Golf Club. The Scottish Borders are ideal for cycling, walking, fishing and golfing. The River Tweed is a short walk from the hotel.

peebles hydro poolWhen my children were growing up we made regular visits to Peebles Hydro, there is a lovely pool and special activities for children to be safely entertained. There is also a playground for children and there are lovely walks by the river Tweed nearby. Films are played for the children and there is a special early teatime for them. peebles-hydro-peebles-restaurant

I enjoy lovely views when enjoying breakfast or dinner in the restaurant. There is also a Peebles Hydro outcocktail bar. The evening dinner is always a favourite, the meal choices are tasty, the wines exquisite and the service first class. More recently, my husband and I regularly visit with my mother for a delicious, traditional afternoon tea on her birthday. The fresh sandwiches, scones and cakes washed down with tea poured from elegant pots enjoyed looking over the vibrant views of the Scottish borders is always a treat.

peebles hydro roomMost recently, last week my friend and I ventured to Peebles. It was a dleight to be back at the Peebles Hydro. Our rooms were lovely, each room at Peebles Hydro features classic décor finished in lightly coloured tones. All rooms have free Wi-Fi, a TV, tea and coffee-making facilities, heating and a bathroom with free toiletries. Breakfast was delicious and, as vegetarians, we had plenty of choice. I always enjoy visiting Peebles Hydro and highly recommend it.

Valerie Penny

 

 

Dumfries House, Cumnock, Ayrshire, Scotland

dumfries house annaMy friend Anna and I had a lovely day out to Dumfries House,  Cumnock, Ayrshire, Scotland.

Dumfries_House

It was my first visit although Dumfries house is on of Britain’s most beautifuldumfries house prince charles stately homes that was saved for the nation by the personal intervention of Prince Charles the Prince of Wales in 2007. The house and estate is now owned in charitable trust by The Great Steward of Scotland’s Dumfries House Trust, which maintains it as a visitor attraction and hospitality and wedding venue. Both the house and the gardens are listed as significant aspects of Scottish heritage.

Mike Scott
Phone 07968 258392
e-mail mike@mikescottphotographer.comThe 18th century house is set in lovely grounds and combines the neoclassical architecture of Robert Adam with the furniture of Thomas Chippendale. The refurbished blue bed is a stunning work of modern and classical craftsmanship.

dumfries house cafeteria

We sampled coffee and cake at the visitor centre before touring the house and grounds. The baking was fresh and the scones the most enormous I have ever seen! We enjoyed the bright, freshly decorated cafeteria. There were many tables and it was well appointed. We enjoyed exploring the grounds and the playground is delightful. We only wished we had a child with us to enjoy it too.dumfries house woodland walks

On our visit around the house we were entranced by the quality of the restoration and the beautiful, original furniture that has been saved by Prince Charles. He has secured employment for many people in and around Cumnock. This is an area of Scotland that suffers from serious unemployment and a lack of investment. dumfries house blue roomI paticularly liked the yellow room in the house. It was so bright and light and cheerful. The collection of Chippendale chairs in this room is splendid. Anna enjoyed the blue room with its cool colours and original furniture.

After our tour of Dumfries House, we stopped for lunch downstairs in the original kitchen and servants’ working area of the house in the basement. The cutlery and table furnishings were beautiful. We were served vegetriandumfries house yellow room parsnip soup, made from produce grown in the grounds. There was also a selection of sandwiches with various fillings. Biscuits and cakes finished off the meal. Some of the sandwiches and pieces of cake tasted slightly stale. that was disappointing. I suspect they are cut early in the day and uncovered until served, at whatever time of day.

However, after lunch we took another tour of the grounds and visited the walled garden. The beauty of the house, grounds and the stylish walled garden far out-weighed the slightly dry cake.dumfries house walled garden

I would defintely visit Dumfries House again and, be happy to sample the offerings in the cafeteria. Also, if I were there in the middle of the day, I would make my way to the basement for lunch. I highly recommend Dumfries House.

Valerie Penny

 

 

Hilton New York, Midtown, 1335 6th Ave, New York, NY, USA

hilton towersNew York City is one of my favourite cities in the world. The skylines, the night life, the theatres and the shops are beyond compare, as are many of the hotels. Amongst those excellent hotels is the Hilton New York, Midtown, on 6th Avenue.

My advice is to request as high a room as possible so you can enjoy the views. This hotelhilton towers out 2 is centrally situated and is often the base for the major conferences I have attended in NYC. It is by the Rockefeller Centre, the theatres on Times Square and the shops on 5th Avenue.

 Hilton New York, Midtown, has courteous staff and a large reception area that makes checking in a pleasure. There is a bank of elevators so that access to rooms is usually swift. Whether conducting business, keeping up with a fitness routine or looking to spend quality time with your family, the Hilton hotel New York is here to make the most of your stay by offering the services you need, the amenities you expect, and the extras you deserve.

hilton towers in 1

hilton towers in 4The stylish NYC hotel rooms and suites are designed to exceed the modern traveler’s expectations. Business travelers, couples and families appreciate the array of amenities at this Midtown Manhattan hotel. During my last stay my room was on a high floor and I enjoyed the view over the New York skyline. The rooms have always been spotlessly clean and cleaned thoroughly daily. It was useful to have a desk at which I could work and the wifi is readily available.

The Hilton New York, Midtown, has various meeting rooms, a variety of restaurants tohilton towers in 2 choose from and pleasant bars and coffee shops to spend time. It also boasts a well-kitted out fitness room, so you have no excuse to give up on your regular routines and can stay active during your stay in the fully equipped fitness center.

There are lots of dining choices within this large hotel. You can start the day with a breakfast buffet and specialty coffees at Herb N’ Kitchen. Unwind with a few friends and a few drinks at the sophisticated Bridges Bar. Enjoy light fare or a late night snack at the Lobby Lounge. After a long day, enjoy a cool experience at the Minus5 Ice Bar where you explore handcrafted ice sculptures and enjoy even glasses made of ice, or a fresh meal delivered to you through the convenience of room service.hilton towers dining.jpg

I usually started my days with breakfast in Herb N’ Kitchen and as it features seasonal hilton towers in 5salads, artisanal sandwiches and brick oven pizzas, the kids enjoyed it for lunch. The hotel is so large that on days when I was working all day, the kids could find lots to entertain them, without leaving the premises. The barista zone offering specialty coffees to enjoy either in the restaurant or on the go is a particular favourite. Being able to relax in your hotel when you are in a city on business is vital. The Hilton New York, Midtown, is a hotel where I have always found it easy to do that. Partly because the service is so good and partly because there are places that allow for different types of relaxation.

Overlooking the reception, the Lobby Lounge is a great spot to rendez-vous with clients or colleagues. Enjoy exceptional wines, cocktails, light fare, as well as terrific people watching. Whether you are meeting for an end of the day debriefing or a late night escape, the Lobby Lounge never disappoints. Another favourite is the Minus5°.  It is an ice bar where you can touch, feel, and explore handcrafted ice sculptures and architecture made from Canadian ice. Everything inside minus5° is made of ice, even the glasses that you enjoy our famous vodka-based cocktails in. No matter what the event, you and your companions will be treated to the coolest experience in town. It is hilton towers out 3definitely worth a visit.

I have enjoyed the Hilton New York Midtown every time I have stayed there. I have no doubt I will stay there again and highly recommend it to you.

Valerie Penny

 

 

 

The Canny Man’s 237 Morningside Rd, Edinburgh, Scotland

canny man's 1 imagesOn a recent visit to Edinburgh, my daughter took me to the Canny Man’s Pub and Restaurant so that we could celebrate the forthcoming publication of my debut novel, Hunter’s Chase, by Crooked Cat Books. The Canny Man’s pub in Morningside is an Edinburgh institution established in 1871 and passed down through generations of the Kerr family. It is a free house therefore it has no connection with any brewery and only sells the best of each brewers produce.

We found a discreet table in a snug so that we could chat. There are lots of little nookscanny man's 2 and crannies in this old building. This small family run bar and restaurant in Edinburgh has catered to many dignitaries and celebrities over the years. With celebrated seafood chef Rick Stein calling the Canny Man’s “the best pub in the world”. We both ordered gin and slims and each of us had our preffered make of gin the snacks served with alcoholic drinks are complimentary and attention to detail here is second to none. There is even a free of charge buffet that runs Mon-Thurs 5-6pm!

canny man's bar-banner-3My daughter and I sat in the main bar it holds an impressive selection of over 250 whiskies and has seen no change in over half a decade. But there is another bar in the back of the premises is referred to as the ‘back bar’ or ‘lounge bar’, this is a great alternative to the main bar to ensure you will always be served. The Canny Man’s has good disabled access.canny man's restaurant-banner

The restaurant seating in the Canny Man’s is quirky, eclectic and deceivingly big. Dining tables can be found throughout the pub and there are certainly some very sought after seats available, including the Winston Churchill Room. The restaurant offers a selection of menus using fresh, local produce including a variety of tasty open sandwiches .

canny man's lounge-img1The Canny Man’s Bar and Restaurant is a little slice of Edinburgh that I highly recommend to you on your next visit to the City.

Valerie Penny

The Booking Office, 17 Waverley Bridge, Edinburgh, Scotland

The Booking Office Waverley BridgeOn a recent visit to Edinburgh, I took the opportunity of meeting up with friends I have known since we counted our age in single figures. That is far longer than any of us need admit to. We needed somewhere central so that everybody could get there easily. As I was getting a train out of the city about 5pm, we chose The Booking Office which is a Wetherspoons bar and bistro near the Waverley Station, the main railway station in Edinburgh, Scotland.The Booking Office out

We met in the mid afternoon, and I thought the place would be relatively quiet. How wrong I was! As The Booking Office is so very near the station, it was extrememly busy. We did manage to get a table, but only because we grabbed it when other people left. However, the bar was well staffed. People ordered hot and cold drinks as well as food at the bar and an army of staff were kept busy serving the drinks at the bar and delivering the food to the tables.

The Booking Office in 2The Booking Office had a lively atmosphere and, as it was so busy, tables would have benefitted from being cleaned more frequently and more thoroughly. This was true of the restrooms too. However, there is good disabled access and service was quick. I was not particularly impressed by The Booking Office, however, as it is so inexpensive and conveniently situated, I may well use it again.

Valerie Penny

Il Caffe,San Lorenzo, Rome, Italy

Every trip aaway from home requires a little down time. On a recent visit to Rome, The Eternal City in Italy, my husband and I set aside one day for nothing more than relaxing, drinking coffee, eating cake and watching the world go by. It was most enjoyable.Il Caffe Rome out

After a lazy start to the day, when we had coffee and wrote postcards (yes, some people still write postcards)! We wandered about San Lorenzo, the area where our hotel was situated. The hotel was bitterly disappointing and is reviewed on this site, here: https://hotelandrestaurantreviews.com/2016/10/25/hotel-vibel-viale-dello-scalo-s-lorenzo-97-rome-italy/. However, we enjoyed our vacation and were happy to find Il Caffe for lunch.Il Caffe Rome in 1

We chose freshly made sandwiches, crisps and a soft drink. The food was very tasty, and the atmosphere at Il Caffe was relaxed and the staff were courteous and helpful. The place was busy over the lunchtime period, but there was no sense of stress or pressure that spilled over to the customers.Il Caffe Rome in 2

Il Caffe offers good value, has good access for disabled patrons and we very much enjoyed our lunch and the experience of visiting this unpretentious, clean, friendly little restaurant.

Valerie Penny