Mr & Mrs Smith adopts two marble Ls

Luxuria Awards 2009Bolly corks are flying around Smith HQ like Wimbledon tennis balls today, and the level of group-hugging going on is almost sinister. Why such festivity? No, it’s not just Prince William’s right royal name-thievery earlier this week, we’re as pleased as Punch, as happy as Larry and as, er, delighted as Delia because the Smith Travel Blog can now add the prefix ‘award-winning’ to its name.

Because we won an award.

In the diary: Spanish highs



Date 1-5 July

Place Tarifa, Spain

Style Elemental acrobatics

Setting Andalucian surf

On the southern tip of Spain, Tarifa has rising kudos as a sun-kissed weekend party town and is now a hot spot for windsurfers and kitesurfers – the Strait of Gibraltar channels perfect, warm winds right onto the sandy beaches here. Since 2005, it has hosted a leg of the Professional Kiteboard Riders Association World Tour on its Valdevaqueros beach.

Social mixing: St James’s Hotel cocktail class


A recent straw poll among my female friends on the topic of ‘what’s most attractive in a man’ (taken for professional not personal reasons, honest) yielded some surprising results. A GSOH and a way with shelving may not be as essential as I had been led to believe – the three most desirable male characteristics are, according to my impromptu focus group, ‘thick wrists’, ‘punctuality’ and ‘the ability to mix a decent cocktail’.

The first I am already blessed with, and the second is already a lost cause, so if I could master the third then I could become at least 66.6 per cent The Perfect Man.

Eco-speak with Trevenna’s Jonathan Rowe

Any eco-warrior worth their salt would rather eat their beach towel than stay in an environmentally unfriendly bolthole. After all, how can you kick back and relax if you’re worrying about whether the light bulbs are energy-efficient, if there’s a recycling program or whether your dazzlingly clean bath has been scrubbed with hostile cleaning products? Luckily, with jet-setters increasingly aware of whether their footprint is that of sinner or saint and with so-green-they-glimmer UK properties such as Brecon Beacon’s Fronlas and Devon’s Barn Cottage to choose from, you don’t have to compromise your morals to get away from it all.

One such property to make your green halo glow is Cornwall’s Trevenna. This rural retreat’s luxury self-catering barns are situated in a lemon-and-lime sweep of rural Cornwall, 40 minutes’ drive from the coast and with the dramatic Bodmin Moor and rippling River Fowey a mere stroll away. Trevenna’s owner, Jonathan Rowe, tells us why green is the new black…

Dipping in: the best hotel pools in Europe

If there’s one thing Team Smith love (after a fabulous boutique hotel, a good rare steak, and a darn fine cup of coffee), it’s a gorgeous swimming pool. A shimmering stretch of water to sun-bask next to, sup sundowners beside, or just to admire the reflections of a starlit sky in. Occasionally, we’ve even been know to swim in one.  With summer gradually making its presence felt through the London clouds, our thoughts have turned longingly to the poolside scene, so we did an office-wide round-up of our favourite Smith-style swimming holes. From glass-walled aquaria where you leave your modesty at the steps to isolated infinity-edged affairs stretching into Tuscany and beyond, here’s our guide to the 14 coolest pools on the Continent…

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