Smith Travel BlogTravel tales and hotel news from the boutique hotel experts at Mr & Mrs Smith

Travel gallery: our photoshoot in Greece

Posted by Rachel Juarez-Carr on August 13th, 2014

Smith & Family photoshoot at Ekies Resort in Greece

We’re just back from glorious Greece, where we worked on our new Smith & Family photoshoot at Ekies All Senses Resort in Halkidiki! We took along our top model Tillie and her exceptionally good-looking family, as well as a few suitcases packed full of swimsuits and beachwear from London Boutiques (Biondi Couture, Pistol Panties, Varley London, Beach Candy, Spektre, Finlay), gorgeous goodies from Frame Chain and the very soft, very stylish Frescobol Carioca towels.

Massive thanks to Petros at Ekies for hosting us, and Vangelis for taking us out on his boat!

(All photos by Rachel Juarez-Carr)

Smith & Family photoshoot at Ekies Resort in Greece)

Smith & Family photoshoot at Ekies Resort in Greece

Smith & Family photoshoot at Ekies Resort in Greece

Smith & Family photoshoot at Ekies Resort in Greece

Smith & Family photoshoot at Ekies Resort in Greece

Smith & Family photoshoot at Ekies Resort in Greece

Head over to our family-travel blog to see more of the shoot…



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Top 10 bank-holiday hotels in the UK and beyond

Posted by Kate Weir on August 12th, 2014

Top 10 bank-holiday hotels | Saint James ParisHave you booked a bank-holiday break yet? Yes, we know it’s just two weeks away, but there’s no need to resign yourself to three days of rain-threatened back-garden barbecues just yet. We’ve rounded up 10 luxury and boutique hotels with last-minute availability (from 23–25 August) for a short break or staycation, to make the last long weekend before Christmas extra special.

Whether you want to arrive by tube, train or plane, or your budget’s lavish or lacklustre, our carefully chosen range of romantic hideaways, cosy B&Bs and hip city-centre trendsetters will inspire you…

HAM YARD HOTEL
Bank holiday hotels | Ham Yard HotelWhat? Nattily Kit-ted out newcomer
Where? London, England

This Soho hotspot launched to much acclaim earlier this year. Dressed in Kit Kemp’s signature finery – hand-embroidered textiles, chevron-patterned headboards and mod-chintz wallpaper – the hotel’s bowling alley, spa, theatre and cinema cater for rainy days, and Mayfair and Oxford Street are both a short stroll away. Set around a leafy courtyard, with independent shops to explore, it’s tucked away from the bustle of central London.

Get a room! From £360 a night.

BLAKES HOTEL
Top 10 bank-holiday hotels | Blakes HotelWhat? Urban escapism
Where? London, England

Whether you want to bed down in gilded Versailles-style pomp and splendour (the Director’s Double) or lily-white India-inspired lavishness (the Corfu Suite – winner of Sexiest Bedroom 2013 in the Smith Awards), this South Ken hotel’s Anouska Hempel-designed boudoirs offer city-centre flights of fancy like no other. Designer shops, parks and palaces are all within easy reach and highbrow haven Exhibition Road offers bank-holiday distractions.

Get a room! From £180 a night.

THE TIDE HOUSE
Bank-holiday breaks | The Tide House, CornwallWhat? Cool coastal hideaway
Where? Cornwall, England

This 16th-century bed and breakfast – just a cobbled stroll from the quayside – is the prettiest port in a storm we’ve seen. Nautical-chic decor is more haute than high seas, with porthouse windows, Breton-striped fabrics, and driftwood accents, and breakfast in bed made from the finest Cornish fare is perfect for lie-ins bathed in St Ives’ serene light. Blue-flag beaches and cultural kicks (the Tate St Ives and Barbara Hepworth Museum are within walking distance), are close by too.

Get a room! From £185 a night.

HARBOURMASTER HOTEL
Bank holiday hotels UK | Harbourmaster Hotel, WalesWhat? Budget-friendly bayside stay
Where? Cardigan Bay, Wales

This idyllic, Grade II-listed Welsh inn’s heliotrope-hued façade hints at its quirky interiors. Daring paint shades and prints, wood-burning stoves and bath tubs big enough for two make charming yet eccentric couples’ dens, most with bay views from the hotel’s harbour seat. Linger over your long weekend here: amble by the seafront with an ice-cream cone, dine on caught-that-day crab and lobster at restaurants nearby and prop up the bar in the hotel’s sociable local-filled pub.

Get a room! From £110 a night.

POOL HOUSE
Hotels for the UK bank holiday | Pool House, ScotlandWhat? Homey Highlands hideaway
Where? Wester Ross, Scotland

Loch Ewe views (trust us, it’s comelier than its name implies), rugged surroundings and a whisky room for post-rambling drams are just some of this Wester Ross stay’s specialities. It may be in a get-away-from-it-all Highlands setting, but interiors are globally inspired and historic, bedecked with artefacts from the owners’ travels. French marquetry tables, hand-carved doors and Edwardian bathing contraptions almost outdo the sweeping views from suites’ bay windows or balconies.

Get a room! From £250 a night.

SAINT JAMES PARIS
France bank-holiday hotels | Saint James Hotel, ParisWhat? Haute high-flier
Where? Paris, France

Hop on the Eurostar to check-in at this personality-packed hotel. The Napoleon III residence’s former guises include a boot-camp for French boffins and the site of the first hot-air balloon launch. There’s Michelin-starred cuisine, a Library Bar with more than 12,000 books and Magritte-inspired suites – quantum-leaping digs where fin de siècle finery rubs elbows with quirky mod accoutrements. The terrace is particularly surreal, with aviation-themed pavilions that look like they might just lift-off.

Get a room! From £341 a night.

HOTEL SEVEN ONE SEVEN
Amsterdam hotels | Hotel Seven One SevenWhat? Revivified residence
Where? Amsterdam, Netherlands

Where better for a bank-holiday break than canal-threaded, louche and laid-back Amsterdam? This boutique hotel sits on picturesque Prisengracht, but if you’re wowed by the setting wait until you cross the threshold. The hotel’s owners bought all of the former residents’ possessions: books on shelves and liqueurs in the drinks cabinet, crafting a carefully curated homage to lived-in Dutch design. However, there’s no velvet-rope mentality here, so make yourself at home in decadent dishevelment.

Get a room! From £235 a night.

STORY HOTEL RIDDARGATAN
Bank-holiday stays | Story Hotel, StockholmWhat? Scandi trendsetter
Where? Stockholm, Sweden

Pack your most obscure labels and head to Stockholm for a lively long weekend. This hotel asserts its cutting-edge cred on arrival; guests check themselves in on the lobby’s Macs, and its Ostermalm setting hosts designer stores aplenty. Interiors showcase artfully jarring styles: industrial-chic flooring, mid-century modern furnishings and Parisian-salon-style velvet seating mingle in the hip restaurant and bar, alongside graffiti scrawls and covetable artwork. Rooms are temptingly affordable, too.

Get a room! From £155 a night.

CASA TALIA
Bank-holiday in Italy | Casa Talia, SicilyWhat? Baroque bolthole
Where? Sicily, Italy

Unesco-protected Modica makes a dashing backdrop for Sicilian B&B Casa Talia – the brainchild of no less than two Milanese designers, who clearly know their stuff. The hotel’s style distills the Greek, Spanish and Arab influence in the surrounding area, with a few modern touches thrown in for good measure. Guests have to brave a steep staircase to reach the hotel, but beyond its wooden doors free beers from the minibar, mercifully cool rooms, home-cooked breakfasts under the garden’s pomegranate trees and a generous slice of Sicilian hospitality await.

Get a room! From £112 a night.

DOMES OF ELOUNDA
Bank-holiday stays | Domes of EloundaWhat? Swimming and sunbathing
Where? Crete, Greece

Suites with a private Jacuzzi or pool, three restaurants to choose from and a patch of private beach make this a seaside stay worth splashing out on. The hotel overlooks the brilliant-blue Mirabello Bay of Elounda and the island of Spinalonga – you can charter a boat to explore the ancient fortress there, but your day-to-day will largely consist of swimming, sunbathing and tucking into Michelin-starred fare, on repeat. If you have little ones in tow, this hotel has ample child-friendly assets, too.

Get a room! From £250 a night.

Take a look at all of our bank-holiday hotels

 



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Style monitor: taking a time out with Slow watches

Posted by Kate Weir on August 8th, 2014

Style monitor | Slow watchesThis month Mr & Mrs Smith are coveting… trendy timepieces from Slow watches.

As fashionable go-getters, and avid wrist-clockers, we love Slow watches‘ laid-back philosophy and clever wrist candy. Created by watch-industry veterans in need of some downtime, its bold minimalist design swaps 12 hours for 24 – so you can see the whole day at a glance – and discards the minute hand for meditative sundial-style timekeeping.

Sported by celebs and high-fliers craving a more languid lifestyle, this easygoing timepieces’ cult following has grown faster than its solo clock hand ticks. It’s an instant design classic too: 18 unisex styles with Italian-calf-leather, stainless-steel and gold straps are impossible to choose between (we’ll just take one of each thanks), it runs on a snazzy Swiss-made mechanism and its visage is refreshingly logo-free. If you’re a signed-up Smith member and you want to ensure your sense of inner calm is running like – well, you can guess – get 20% off with our exclusive offer.



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The Carneros Inn, Napa Valley: hotel of the week

Posted by Kate Thorman on August 8th, 2014

Unwind amid the vineyard-covered hills of gourmet heaven Napa Valley and let the rural charm of the Carneros Inn’s cottages and restaurants lull you into luxurious nostalgia for pastoral California’s olden days.

The Carneros Inn cottages | Mr & Mrs Smith boutique hotels

Style Modernist home on the range
Setting California’s bucolic pastures new

The Carneros Inn vineyards | Mr & Mrs Smith boutique hotelsThe Carneros Inn rooms | Mr & Mrs Smith boutique hotelsThe Carneros Inn outdoor shower | Mr & Mrs Smith boutique hotelsWhy this week? Scratch that same-old, same-old beachfront holiday and escape to Northern California’s wine country during its picturesque harvest season. Experience the outdoors with a day of wine-tasting at a nearby winery, bicycling through the countryside, swimming in the adults-only pool and dining al fresco at the Farm or the Hilltop for sweeping views of the valley. And there’s no better time to enrich your palate and become the ultimate wine connoisseur: with our exclusive offer for stays before September 1, book a week-long getaway to the Carneros Inn and get a $60 daily breakfast credit, along with two VIP tasting passes to the Vintner’s Collective in downtown Napa.

Our favourite bits… The quaint, farm-inspired cottages nestled in gardens of wildflowers are perfect for a romantic stays. Filled with décor paying homage to the early California pioneers, each cottage has a fireplace, heated stone floors in the ensuite and al fresco showers. If you can stand to leave the comforts of your room, your gastronomic sensibilities will be rewarded by the tasting menu at the Farm and the gourmet picnic treats at the market. But, we promise there is more to do than eat and drink. Spend a day getting pampered at the spa, shopping at the boutique on the hilltop for designer duds and partaking in complimentary fitness classes on the weekends.

Mr & Mrs Smith say… ‘If the early settlers ate and drank from the fruits of the land as well as we did at the Carneros Inn then their existence was not as impoverished as I had thought. We were very much taken by life on the range and were delighted to discover that rural dwelling no longer means abandoning modern urban standards. Some might call it California dreamin’.’ Read the full anonymous Mr & Mrs Smith review

Book the Carneros Inn now, browse more Napa Valley hotels or search all Mr & Mrs Smith hotel offers.

*Copy by Jennifer Trattler



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Foto Hotel in Phuket

We begin our global adventuring this month in Thailand, courtesy of two very different Phuket haunts. The first, Foto Hotel (above), is a slick stay high on a west-side hill; the second, Twinpalms (below; two trees, one word) is a beachside hangout with a lagoon-like pool.

Twinpalms hotel in PhuketMatachica Resort & Spa in BelizeHeading west, our next stop is the UAE, where the palm-flanked Park Hyatt Abu Dhabi serves up an understated take on Middle Eastern metropolis glamour.

Next, Belize! We’ve found two tropical-holiday-heaven hotels for you: one in the jungle – eco-mod Gaia Riverlodge perched among the trees – and the other by the beach, Matachica Resort & Spa (right).

Up in Aspen, the Hunter S Thompson-favoured Hotel Jerome has been chicly modernised but still has spectacular mountain views. And finally, we met our new favourite porcine pal, the The Pig – On the Beach in leafy Dorset, in one of England’s most picturesque hamlets…

See the full collection of new arrivals now, and join us again in a month to meet our latest loves!



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The Opposite House, Beijing: hotel of the week

Posted by Sarah Jappy on August 1st, 2014

The Opposite House, Beijing, Jing Yaa Tang roast duck dinner

Designed by Japanese architect Kengo Kuma, The Opposite House features innovative architecture and interiors that embrace natural light and reclaimed materials, leaving visitors wide-eyed with appreciation. Just six kilometres from the Forbidden City and nestled in Beijing’s retail and lifestyle hub, Taikoo Li Sanlitun, this hotel calls for guests to bring an empty stomach and suitcase in order to embrace the food, shopping and nightlife on offer at this gourmet Mr & Mrs Smith getaway.

Style Gleaming glass glamour
Setting Sanlitun leisure locale

The Opposite House hotel, Beijing, Jing Yaa Tang RestaurantWhy this week? Take advantage of Smith’s exclusive gourmet offer that will see you sampling restaurateur Alan Yau’s vision of China at Jing Yaa Tang restaurant. To tempt taste buds, the menu offers innovative cuisines from across China that warrant perusal, but for the most delicious of evenings, order the signature Beijing roast duck dinner for two. Crispy-skinned bliss.

The Opposite House hotel, BeijingOur favourite bits… The smooth oak bath tubs will have you disrobing and, with rain showers to boot, you’ll relish your cleansing rituals in each room’s spa-inspired bathroom. Clean, minimalist rooms are accentuated by two-toned timber interiors and effortless white walls, linens and furnishings. Every little luxurious detail has been realised at The Opposite House, from the floor-to-ceiling windows inviting natural light and openness to the underfloor heating, BaYanKaLa toiletries and mood lighting. Your proximity to nearby retail complex Taikoo Li Sanlitun means you’ll never have to look far for something to do. It’s an exciting contemporary hub spread over 19 buildings, with more than 200 shops and 30 restaurants and bars.

The Opposite House hotel, Beijing, ChinaMr & Mrs Smith say… ‘Beyond the lobby, coolness pervades a bright atrium, where billowing steel drapes skillfully diffuse the light as it seeps into the 22-metre stainless-steel pool below… If architecture is the masterful, correct and magnificent play of volumes brought together in light, then Kengo Kuma, the Japanese architect of the Opposite House, has hit the nail on the head. We like. A lot.’ Read the full anonymous Opposite House hotel review…

You say… ‘I liked the stunning wood-decked rooms; it’s a real escape from the normal giant chain hotels in China and a wonderful location for restaurants in Beijing.’ (Harriet, Blacksmith, stayed on 19 October 2013.)

Browse our website for more gourmet holiday experiences, Beijing hotels and Mr & Mrs Smith offers. Smith guests enjoy exclusive extras with all stays.

Copy compiled by Katherine Williams

 



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Castiglion del Bosco, Tuscany: hotel of the week

Posted by Kate Weir on July 25th, 2014

This week we’re gripped with oenological longing and dreaming about a break in Tuscany. Luxury hotel Castiglion del Bosco has rolling sun-drenched pastures in which to sample full-bodied wines or forage for truffles nearby. Indulgence and adventure – we want it all…

Hotel of the week | Castiglion del Bosco

Style The grape escape
Setting Verdant Val d’Orcia

Luxury hotels in Tuscany | Castiglion del Bosco Country break in Tuscany | Tuscany luxury hotels |Castiglion del BoscoWhy this week? The Tuscan grape harvest is just a few months away, so now is the ideal time to book a late-summer break. The hotel’s harvest package includes vineyard tours and tastings of Castiglion del Bosco’s speciality Brunello di Montalcino wine, and guests can help pick sangiovese grapes. Foodie types may prefer to spend their stay truffle hunting in the surrounding woodland with an expert guide, followed by a five-course meal. Or if you simply fancy a long weekend in the sun, book their three nights for the price of two offer.

Our favourite bits… We love exploring Castiglion del Bosco’s medieaeval ruins – a castle and 12th-century church, with frescoes by Pietro Lorenzetti, set in the hotel’s 4,500-acre grounds. The heated infinity pool is set on the crest of a lavender- and bluebell-dotted hill overlooking swathes of Tuscan countryside, and the pretty restaurant terraces are ideal for an alfresco glass of Brunello and a spot of stargazing. The hotel has as much modern luxury as it does Tuscan tradition, with a superlative spa and a small gym.

Mr & Mrs Smith say… ‘‘So, who’s the owner?’ I ask. I’m answered in a hushed voice, their way of respecting someone who doesn’t want to show off: ‘Il Signor Ferragamo.’ They’re referring to Massimo – the son of Salvatore Ferragamo. Soon I see how obvious this is, from the injection of luxurious leather throughout: on the furniture, finely moulded onto edges of plasma screens, on the phone in reception, inserted into the wardrobe’s panels – precise, sophisticated, tailor-made by the same hands that had created bespoke shoes for stars from all over the world. Every detail, such as the impossibly soft bedlinen, or the beautiful stone in the bathrooms, is an expression of respect of traditional crafts and lifestyles, but also a refinement of modern luxury – as the Italians do best.’ Read the full anonymous Castiglion del Bosco hotel review

You say… ‘I liked the formal Tuscan high-ceilinged spacious rooms dotted around a pristine village setting in pretty countryside.’ Francesca, SilverSmith, stayed on 6 May 2014

For more wining and dining in Italy check out our boutique hotels in Tuscany, and take a peek at our collection of gourmet stays

Copy compiled by Emma Douty.



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Little Good Harbour, Barbados: hotel of the week

Posted by Kate Thorman on July 18th, 2014

We’ve been daydreaming of slowing things down and taking that quiet Caribbean getaway. The haven of Little Good Harbour in Barbados will instantly put you on ‘island time’ – chill out with a day at the beach, in the spa, or trolling through the local markets.

Little Good Harbour, Barbados | Mr & Mrs Smith boutique hotels

Style Old-style Bajan beach houses
Setting Palm-fringed fishing village

Why this week? Basking in the sun is closer than ever on Barbados, a surprisingly accessible Caribbean island with direct flights from most major UK and US cities. It’s even simpler once you arrive; Little Good Harbour is home to one of the island’s most celebrated restaurants. The highly acclaimed Fish Pot takes its name seriously, filling its menu with the freshest seafood from the sea just outside your front door; it’s no wonder that the restaurant draws a buzzy crowd of locals and guests alike, night after night.

Little Good Harbour, Restaurant | Mr & Mrs Smith Boutique HotelsLittle Good Harbour, Room | Mr & Mrs Smith Boutique HotelsLest you need any further encouragement, the hotel is offering an impressive 50 per cent off stay of seven nights or more before August 31 in one-bedroom suites, just for Mr & Mrs Smith members. Even if you can’t escape before the end of August, book before September 1, and get 25 per cent off your stay of seven nights or more in a one-bedroom suite from October 9 to December 15.

Our favourite bits… After awakening to the sounds of the waves crashing outside your whitewashed cottage, step out onto the beach, relax and dig your toes into the sand. Learn to catch a wave with the help of the hotel’s in-house surfing instructor, or, if you’re already an expert, let the concierge point you towards the best local sports for snorkelling, scuba diving, paddle boarding and sailing. After a day in the sun, pamper yourself at the Little Spa, where your toughest choice will be selecting a treatment from a menu full of massages, facials, body wraps and more. The restaurant is a must, but embrace the island’s fishing culture and pick up the daily catch from local fishermen to prepare in your fully outfitted kitchen for a night in.

Mr & Mrs Smith say… ‘As the equatorial sun bursts through the plantation shutters and sends shafts of light across our four-poster bed into our pitched-roofed, white beamed, wooden-floored bedroom, the ambience is nothing less than charming. When we step out onto our balcony, we realise that all that separates us from the glittering Atlantic Ocean is an equally enticing swimming pool and the coastal road we came in on. Perfect.’ Read the full anonymous Mr & Mrs Smith review…

Book Little Good Harbour now, browse more Caribbean hotels or search all Mr & Mrs Smith hotel offers.

*Copy by Jennifer Trattler



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In the diary: Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials

Posted by Lucy Fennings on July 14th, 2014

Burghley Horse Trials 2014 event guideSTYLE Riders and Rovers
SETTING Lush Lincolnshire landscape

When? 4–7 September 2014
Where? Burghley House, Stamford, Lincolnshire 

Tell me more… As much social gathering as sporting event – attracting equine enthusiasts, passionate spectators, and plenty more who come along for a grand day out with family and friends – the award-winning annual Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials is a highlight of the international equestrian calendar. This prestigious and popular leg of the global Grand Slam of Eventing brings the world’s top riders and horses together to test their skill, stamina and speed across three pulse-quickening equestrian disciplines at the highest competition level: CCI 4*. Away from the thundering hooves and gleaming tack, there’s a weekend’s worth of eating, drinking, shopping and people-watching to enjoy, with doggie displays and other fun distractions spread out in sight of magnificent Elizabethan manor, Burghley House.

Event highlights There’s the poised elegance of the dressage, and the technical flair of the show-jumping – but you can’t beat the drama of the cross-country course: 31 idiosyncratic fences (including picnic tables, boats, Land Rovers and other oddities) designed to test competitors’ mettle are fiendishly sprinkled around Capability Brown parkland more used to hosting herds of deer than neck-craning crowds. Gatherings in the Members’ Enclosure are lively and sociable; and you’d be forgiven for spending more time browsing the shopping pavilions than admiring mounts.

Burghley Horse Trials 2014 event guideIN THE KNOW

Head count Some 160,000 visitors and 80 competitors gather for the four-day spectacular.

Best view Aficionados book their grandstand tickets as soon as they are available: in the covered East Stand, central blocks F and G provide prime positions for dressage; and also for the show-jumping finale, when the North Stand will garner great views, too. For cracking close-up cross-country action, station yourself at the Trout Hatchery (where there’s also a giant screen), or the Leaf Pit. Check the course map for other options; there are plenty.

Packing tips Any UK native knows how unpredictable the weather can be, so be prepared with sun hats and sou’westers – you can leave the least likely options in the car. Practical footwear is must unless you plan to take root in the Members’ Enclosure, and choose pack-a-macs over parapluies: the atmosphere is very laid-back, but you won’t be popular if you stand at the front with a giant golfing umbrella…

Burghley Horse Trials 2014 event guideCrowd control When you’ve had your fill of the throngs lining the cross-country course on Saturday, or when standing room in the Main Arena on Sunday is in short supply, join the visitors happily mingling and soaking up the atmosphere by the big screen in the Exhibition Village, from where you can dip in and out of the action, or raid the Food Walk stands and find a quiet patch of parkland to escape to – there’s plenty of it.

Bar chat Land Rover Burghley has been named Best Horse Trials Event in the World by L’Année Hyppique an astonishing seven times: will 2014 be the eighth win? Course designer Captain Mark Phillips has changed the cross-country course over the years: hold your breath as horses and riders negotiate what is now considered the most challenging course in the world. Will world number 1 Andrew Nicholson be ‘Mr Stickability’ again, or will Sam Griffiths snaffle a coveted second leg in the Rolex Grand Slam after his recent win at Badminton?

Tickets Available for individual days, or for the whole event, they’re cheaper booked in advance online than at the gate. For ticketing and membership (which you’ll need for access to the Member’s Enclosure), go to www.burghley-horse.co.uk. Check the timetable if you’re only going for one day: dressage kicks off in the Main Arena on Thursday and continues through Friday; Saturday is cross-country day; and the event culminates with the show-jumping on Sunday.

DOs AND DON’Ts

Burghley Horse Trials 2014 event guide• Do behave yourself near fences, unless you want to spook the horses.
• Don’t rush: there’s plenty to see and do, food to eat and shopping to be done, and – unlike blink-and-you-miss-it days at the races – the sporting action continues all day.
• Do keep your pooch on a lead. They’re not allowed in the grandstand or the Member’s Enclosure, but there is a dog crèche (book in advance).
• Don’t expect to visit Burghley House itself: it’s closed for the duration of the event.
• Do revv up for a go on the specially designed ‘tetrapod’ offroad course, where you can test drive a brand-new Land Rover; and keep an eye out for exclusive offers for Land Rover owners.
• Don’t drink and drive!

NEED TO KNOW

Food & drink Anything and everything, from formal champagne lunches at the Winners Enclosure restaurant to world street food from stands sprinkled across the showground, as well as great British produce along the Food Walk: duck-fat roasties, saddleback pork pies and sloe gin, anyone?Burghley Horse Trials 2014 event guide

Shop Even if you eschewed every single display of equine prowess, you still wouldn’t get round all 630+ of the exhibitors in the incredible shopping pavilions and avenues: shy away from the gleaming saddlery and tip-top horsey trappings, and you can pick up something unique at the Country Living or Rural Crafts Association pavilions, where hundreds of artisan producers showcase quirky, hand-made and one-off pieces. Luxury-label lovers will find plenty to please, too, with Hermès, Barbour and Boodles among the offerings.

Getting there Stamford in Lincolnshire is less than two hours’ drive from London up the A1, and the event is well signposted, but allow extra time for driving, especially on Saturday, when the last 10 miles can eat up an hour. Stamford station is served by trains from Birmingham, Leicester, Nuneaton or Peterborough; from there, it’s a 20–30 minutes to walk into the event.

Parking Plentiful, though you’ll need to purchase car park passes – it’s best to do this when booking tickets.

Children Accompanied under-13s are admitted free of charge (though over-3s will need their own Grandstand tickets). There’s plenty for families to enjoy at Land Rover Burghley, with dog-agility displays, Pony Club competitions and more, but little ones’ attention may wander if ponies, pooches or 4WD vehicles aren’t their thing. No crèche, but baby-changing facilities are available.

Sleep Local accommodation gets booked up very quickly, but there’s plenty available elsewhere in the area; just a 25-minute drive away is the charming restaurant with rooms, Oundle Mill in Northamptonshire. Alternatively, consider making a long weekend of it by basing yourself in nearby Cambridge, less than a hour away.

Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials 2014The Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials 2014 takes place 4–7 September. For more information, or to book tickets, go to www.burghley-horse.co.uk



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North Bundaleer, Clare Valley: hotel of the week

Posted by Sarah Jappy on July 11th, 2014

North Bundaleer, Clare Valley, Australia

Ancient outcrops of the Flinders Ranges, ordered rows of ripening grapes on vines and rolling pastoral hills are what you’ll find in the surrounds of opulently restored homestead, North Bundaleer. Just 30 minutes from the Clare Valley in South Australia, this property will have you resting on the verandah, sipping on riesling and fondly watching the resident Jack Russells, Archie and Tilly, scamper around the rose bushes.

Style Vintage Victorian North Bundaleer, Clare Valley, Blue Room bedroom
Setting
Outback plains and pastures

Why this week? The next couple of months are jam-packed: the Sevenhill Producer’s Market on 26 July promises to exhibit the best of Clare Valley cuisine, arts and crafts. From 1 August, the South Australian Living Arts Festival (SALA) will open its doors in North Bundaleer, Clare Valley, Australia, sceneryvarious locations throughout the Clare Valley, too. Trips to local galleries, wineries, cafes and bars will allow you to experience unique works and collaborations from thousands of artists. Many of the region’s wineries, restaurants and cellar doors support the Eat Local initiative and are supplied by growers, farmers and gourmet providores from the region – so it’s literally a feast for the senses, all year round.

Our favourite bits North Bundaleer, Clare Valley, Red Room Suite bathroomBreakfast, dinner and drinks are provided in this all-inclusive homestead, so you’ll be living like a lord or lady, but treated like one of the family at North Bundaleer. Every night’s a dinner party at the 18-seater Irish Georgian table, so be prepared to eat some delectable in-season meals such as baked Archie the jack russell with sticklocal peaches with prosciutto and Gorgonzola, or pork belly confit with scallops. The private Clare Valley wine tour organised by the hotel shouldn’t be missed. You’ll get the opportunity to taste local favourites, riesling and shiraz, learn the different varietals and see the process from vine to wine. The Riesling Trail is spectacular, too. It’s a 35-kilometre section of the Mawson Trail that runs through historic townships Auburn, Sevenhill, Clare and White Hut, which are surrounded by some of the Australia’s most jaw-dropping rural landscapes.

Mr & Mrs Smith say…‘From the hill that crowns 160-hectare grounds – the perfect sundowner spot – the sandstone chimneys of North Bundaleer peek through the blue gums. The house, built in 1901 in the Victorian Queen Anne style, is one of the grandest in the district and has shades of wild folly about it. Above the front door sits a fabulous tower that serves no purpose. At the property’s core, there’s a ballroom where I could imagine the ladies of Longbourn coquettishly munching ices while waiting for Darcy to ask them to dance.’ Read the full anonymous review of North Bundaleer by Margie Seale…

Browse more of Mr & Mrs Smith’s stylish boutique hotels and offers now or call the expert Travel Team. Smith guests enjoy exclusive extras at all stays.

*Copy compiled by Katherine Williams



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