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Thank you for reading and rating my reviews. Please it is not necessary to thank me if I have left an E rate it is because I thought the review is exceptional and for no other reason.

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since 11/09/2004


Princess 07/07/2016

Step aboard the Emerald Princess.

Princess Princess cruises. Emerald Princess. Cruise of the Western Mediterranean from Southampton and return. Booking the cruise. It was fairly straightforward after researching various web sites plus looking at Princess cruise web site. We decided where we wanted to go, When we wanted to go, What type of cabin we wanted and were ready to make our booking. We made a telephone booking rather than booking it up on their website. The person who dealt with our booking was very helpful, courteous & very professional. Once our booking had been completed we were emailed with confirmation of the details and our booking reference which then gave us full access to the web site for additional packages, Port excursions that could be pre-booked up to one week prior to departure Embarkation at Southampton. The nice thing about sailing from the UK there is no need to be at the airport for example 2-3 hours before the flight. You are given a time for embarkation and you just turn up. Boarding was a breeze and very well organised in Southampton. Hardly any queuing and we were on board within half an hour of arrival at the port. All the staff were cheerful and helpful and were on hand to offer any assistance you needed. Check in with passport where they issued the cabin door cards which also acted as your payments on board if you have drinks or are buying things on board. No cash is used on board the ship but everything is billed to your cabin. You give your credit card to them at the port and ... 16/01/2016

What a headache! AO. Com Electrical retailer. I don’t know if you have had to replace an oven recently but it is almost a monumental task that could make you pull your hair out (Fortunately I am already follically challenged so that did not apply to me) or wanting to punch someone’s lights out. Someone recommended we tried AO after the failed delivery not once but twice from another well-known company. Website and ordering I checked out their website and found the website easy to navigate and there are various features you can click on to make it easier to find what you are looking for. I was pleased how easy it was to use the website and place an order. There sell large kitchen appliances and small electrical goods. They have a pretty wide selection of stuff available to order although through this experience what you see is not always what they have in stock. It was easy to register with the website and in theory it should have been easy to place an order and if all was up and working and in stock it should have been plain sailing but it isn’t. We scanned the ovens that we were looking for it had to be a gas oven and we eventually found an oven that was just what we wanted. While I was at it I also decided to buy a microwave at the same time too to replace our less than perfect microwave oven. Placing the order was fairly straightforward and a variety of delivery dates were offered. We chose the most suitable date available and the order went through and we were given a delivery date ...

The Landmark, London 09/01/2016

A former Grand hotel in London.

The Landmark, London THE LANDMARK HOTEL. The first time we stayed in this hotel was around 14 years ago when we attended a wedding. We stayed for the weekend. The service was second to none and our stay there was absolutely brilliant. I have also been to the hotel for their famous Champagne Sunday brunch with friends and have always had plenty to eat and free flowing champagne. It is a super treat especially if you are there to celebrate something special. I have over the years raved about the place to friends and family. We were due to attend a concert in London which would have meant that we would have had a bit of difficulty getting home so it was either go to the after concert party or go straight home. So we booked to stay the night in August and made a weekend of it. The Landmark hotel was built to serve the Mainline Station and was opened as a Grand hotel in the 1800’s. It is a magnificent building with a beautiful glass roofed atrium and massive palm trees inside. There are ball rooms and function rooms inside the hotel and in the lower basement a spa area with a 15 metre swimming pool and Jacuzzis. Booking. The website address is :- We booked directly with the hotel on their web site and got instant confirmation. The web site gives you a variety of deals for example early booking, weekend breaks etc. etc. There are also a variety of rooms you can choose from including standard rooms, double, twin and family rooms up to plush suites. Prices range ...

La Compagnie 13/10/2015

La Compagnie All business class airline!

La Compagnie La Compagnie airline. La Compagnie airline is a relatively new comer to the British skies. Their UK base is at Luton Airport and flies from Luton to Newark Liberty international airport for New York. La Compagnie is a French airline that has been flying out of Charles de Gaulle airport their main base. They started their service from Luton n April 2015. So what is so different about this airline? La Compagnie is an all business class airline selling a business class service for around the same price of premium economy on the major airlines. Although the airline does not provide a comparable service and standard as the major players they are not far off it. Aircraft. The aircraft they use are Boeing 757’s which are configured with just 74 business class lie flat angled pod type seats. They only currently have two planes at the moment. They are kitted out in a pale blue colour scheme throughout the aircraft giving it a feeling of space , calm and a peaceful feel about it. Booking. The airline has their own website where you can book your own flights. I found the web site quite clunky to use but it is very simple and basic to use. At times it is a bit slow. What it does do is gives you all the information you need from the schedules, the on board experience and other interesting information about your upcoming flight. You can book your flights on line through the web site or via a third party company.(Travel agency). There web site is as follows : ...

Empire State Building, New York 20/06/2015

The heady heights of the Empire State Building.

Empire State Building, New York The Empire State Building New York City. Conjure up an image in your mind about New York and what do you get? The statue of Liberty, sky scrapers and possibly one of the most iconic buildings associated with New York is the Empire State Building. Instantly recognisable around the world especially with images of King Kong swinging from the building will probably feature in your mind. The Empire State Building, once ranked as the tallest building in the world, is now ranked at 28 on the tallest buildings around the world and is gradually slipping as newer buildings are built higher and higher. Construction. Work started on this magnificent building on the 17th March 1930 during the time of the Great depression. Four and a half stories were built each week using metal girders as the skeleton. In just over a year the building was complete standing officially at 102 floors. The total height of the building is 1,454 feet (443.2m). You may well recall photos of builders working on girders many floors up welding and bolting beams together. There are iconic photos of men sitting on girders many feet in the air quite happily eating sandwiches from their lunch boxes. There was great unemployment at that time so it was easy to get construction workers and in total there were 4,300 people employed to build this massive iconic building. During construction five workers died. There are in fact 103 floors however this floor being the room allowing access to the great antenna at the top. ...

The Strand Hotel, New York 13/06/2015

The Strand Hotel . A room with a view!

The Strand Hotel, New York The Strand Hotel, New York. On our recent trip to New York we were lucky enough to find The Strand hotel right in the middle of Manhattan. I say lucky because it was three blocks away from the Empire State building with views you would die for. This is nowhere near your average hotel due to its location but more importantly because of the exceptional customer service. Every member of staff we encountered went over and above the norm expected by being courteous, friendly and ensuring you went for nothing during your stay. The hotel is situated in the fashion district of Manhattan and close to all kinds of experiences. It is ideally placed on 37th street West just off Fifth Avenue. The hotel is a boutique hotel and the décor is inspiring and very fashionable. It was a concept of the owner Don Glassie a fashion designer whose heyday was in the 60’s with the miniskirt and t shirt designed dresses. He also set up a hospitality business opening and renovating hotels etc. The walls are covered in very tasteful paintings and photos. Booking. We booked directly with the hotel and requested a high room facing the Empire state building originally for two nights. No problem we got instant confirmation. Two days before we were due to check in we got a frantic phone call from the airline to say our flight had been cancelled and they had rebooked us on a flight the day before. We contacted the hotel and they could not have been more helpful and told us that our room would be ready for ...

TAP Air Portugal 21/02/2015

Give this airline a very wide berth!

TAP Air Portugal Tap Portugal. I recently had the misfortune of flying with TAP airlines to Portugal flying into Lisbon and back from Porto to London Gatwick. TAP Portugal otherwise known as Transportes Aereos Portugueses the National Airline of Portugal. It’s main hub is in Lisbon with connections throughout Europe. It flies to 88 destinations in 38 countries mainly throughout Europe, Africa and South America. It is owned entirely by the Portuguese government which is hoping to find a buyer for part of the airline. There is a two class configuration to the airline Business class and Economy. It is also part of the One World Alliance. Booking process. You can book your flight on line directly or through a travel agent. The web site is quite slow and clunky but it is easy to navigate. Tickets are electronic so there is nothing to take with you to the airport you can just turn up and produce your passport for check in. Check in. On the day of our flight we arrived at the South Terminal. There were two check in assistants at check in. There was a very long queue for check in but no one for check in for the business class lane. We got in the business class lane and someone who had already been called up to the counter was sent back and they beckoned for us to check in. We told them no carry on checking in the other passenger but they insisted we checked in much to our embarrassment. We were checked in within minutes and given fast track pass for security and a ticket for the lounge which ...

Pousada de Palmela, Palmela Portugal 10/07/2014

Spend a night in a convent!

Pousada de Palmela, Palmela Portugal Pousada de Palmela Pousadas are historical buildings dotted around Portugal that have been turned into hotels. They are similar in style and comfort to the Paradors of Spain. IF you are planning to tour Portugal you can plan your route staying in these historical buildings that range from old castles, monasteries, convents and grand hotels. Some range from 3 star to five star places. I recently stayed in the Pousada De Palmela which was a 17th century Convent of Santiago in the grounds of a 12th century Castle. You can find the castle right at the top of a hill overlooking the sea on one side and undulating hills of the local countryside. The hotel has 23 ordinary rooms and 5 suites. The reception area is quite pleasant and the checking in clerks were fairly welcoming and very efficient on check out. There is a small bar next to the reception area which seemed to be empty for the two nights we stayed there. The cloisters are where meals are taken and looks out to a grand square which is a quiet and peaceful haven. The cloisters have been covered with glass so that people can eat in the restaurant there. What is special about the Pousada is that you have free reign to explore the old castle and you can climb the walls to reach the Keep. The views from the top of the Keep are spectacular. I would not advise anyone with young children or those with mobility issues to go clambering around the castle as some of the flooring and steps are uneven and the steps are not ...

Malaysian Airlines System - MAS 15/02/2014

Simply a breeze flying with this airline.

Malaysian Airlines System - MAS Malaysian Airlines. Recently we had to attend a wedding in Malaysia and after looking at all the options available chose to fly with Air Malaysia. Air Malaysia is the state run airline of Malaysia which has been operating since 1947 when it was initially called Malayan Airlines. It has had several name changes over the years from Malaysian airline system to its current name. It also runs two subsidiary airlines that are mainly internal operators flying throughout Malaysia and short haul routes, they are called Firefly and MASwings plus their cargo wing called MASkargo. In total they operate 100 aircraft including 6 new A380 double decker airbuses and fly to 61 destinations worldwide. Booking. Malaysian airlines have a fairly good website where you can book your flight and make enquiries. It is quite easy to navigate and is simple to use. All you need to do is type in your departure airport and the dates and class in which you want to travel and it will show you the options available for those dates. There are two flights a day to and from London Heathrow airport to Kuala Lumpa one in the morning and one at night operating out of terminal four and a couple of options from Kuala Lumpa to Penang. We chose a morning flight which was the most convenient for us. Both flights from London are on the Airbus A380 which is the double decked airbus. We were also allocated our seats for all legs of the trip which meant that we did not have to worry about checking in until we got to the ...

Eastern & Oriental Hotel, Georgetown 11/11/2013

A tale of two hotels.

Eastern & Oriental Hotel, Georgetown The Eastern and Oriental hotel Penang. I have already written a piece about the Eastern and Oriental hotel in Penang however what I am about to write about is the Victory wing of the hotel which is a new wing that has been practically rebuilt in a more modern style hotel. This time the stay is in complete contrast even though it is still an extremely luxurious experience. On our previous visit we stayed in the Heritage wing which comprises olde worlde type suites overlooking the bay of Malacca built in the style of Raffles of Singapore. The hotel preceded Raffles by being built the year before and is one of the Great Dames of the Far East. Anyone who was anyone would stay at these beautiful hotels. The rooms are sumptuous and are serviced by a team of butlers where you are greeted by Pith helmeted doormen in Safari style suits. This is in complete contrast to your arrival at the Victory wing of the Eastern and Oriental hotel. Arrival. We were met at Penang International airport by one of the fleet of cars from the Hotel. The lady who met us held a placard with our names on and the name of the Hotel. We were escorted to our waiting car outside the arrivals level of the airport. Inside the car was cool towels and ice cold water. The driver was a very pleasant chap who was very pleasant and chatted to us throughout our journey to the hotel telling us about Penang and what has and will be going on during our ten day stay. We pulled into the driveway of the hotel and approached ...

NH Grand Place Arenberg, Brussels 17/10/2013

Clean hotel right near the Grand Place.

NH Grand Place Arenberg, Brussels NH Grand Place Arenberg Rue D’Assaut, 15 1000 Brussels Belgium. +32 913 984 661 NH Grand Place Arenberg. The NH Grand place Arenberg is part of the NH chain of hotels that are found throughout Europe, North and South America and South Africa. In total they have 381 hotels which can be booked on line through their web site. The NH Grand Place Arenberg has 155 rooms and is ideally situated in the centre of Brussels about a five minute walk from the Grand Place. At one end of the road is the Cathedral and opposite the hotel is the university campus. Booking. We booked the hotel via telephone and confirmation was promptly made via Email. I travelled with a group of friends and on arrival at the hotel upgraded my room to a suite. The original room was 89 Euros per night but for an extra 50 Euros you could upgrade to a suite which I did. It was well worth having the extra space in the room. In total I paid £240 for two nights including breakfast, early check in and check out wasn’t until 5PM which was really quite handy although we did check out of our room during the afternoon so that they could prepare it for the next guests. Check in. We arrived in Brussels quite early in the morning and thought that we would go and drop the luggage off so that we did not waste any of our valuable time we had in Brussels. We did not expect that the rooms would be ready but they certainly were. They asked for a copy of my credit card and photo copied my passport and that was all we needed ...

Cheong Fatt Tze Mansion, Georgetown 23/09/2013

No need to feel blue in this house!

Cheong Fatt Tze Mansion, Georgetown CHEONG FATT TZE MANSION. GEORGETOWN. The Blue mansion. This mansion is known as the Blue mansion due to the indigo paint that covers the house. It was built in 1880 by a rich Chinese entrepreneur whose origins were of a much humbler background. Who was Cheong Fatt Tze? Cheong Fatt Tze was born in 1840 in Taipu, Guangdong province, China. He was born into a family of teachers and farmers and when he was 16 emigrated first to Java where he started working as a water carrier fetching and selling water to people.He eventually saved up enough money to move on to Penang where he started buying and selling spices and then moved onto selling opium. He gained his fortune through shrewd investments in banks and other businesses and by diversifying he became richer and richer. He even started off a vineyard by importing vines from Europe which is still a successful business in China today producing 25% of Chinese wine. He had good contacts and became quite a respectable businessman trading with all kinds of countries around Asia, Europe and America. He was held in such high esteem and was made vice consul of Penang and consul general of Singapore and made a Mandarin by the Chinese Dowager Empress. On one occasion he sent a servant to the ferry company to buy four tickets for himself, his German Doctor and three servants. The servant returned with the four tickets. One first class ticket and three second class tickets. When he found out that the first class ticket was not for him ...

Apsley House The Wellington Museum, West End, London 13/08/2013

Number 1 London,

Apsley House The Wellington Museum, West End, London Apsley House. London. Who could not be impressed with what was once the most prestigious address in London after Buckingham Palace of course. Number 1 London as it was once known because it was the first house you would come across after the toll gate to enter the city of London at Knightsbridge. Nowadays its official address is unglamorously 149, Piccadilly, Hyde Park Corner, London. W1J 7NT. Originally the great Georgian looking house was built for Lord Apsley in 1771 taking six years to build. The house was built and designed by the great architect and interior designer Robert Adams who was instrumental in building many grand houses in London and around the country including Keddlestone Hall in Derbyshire, Glasgow Royal Infirmary, Poulteney Bridge in Bath just to name a few of his works. The original house was built of red brick but it was remodelled and covered in Bath Stone giving the appearance of a grand Georgian house with a pseudo portico façade. The house appears to be three floors high but in fact there are five floors inside the building only two floors and the basement are open to the public. The house is the official residence in London of the Duke of Wellington and when the 6th Duke was killed in battle the 7th Duke discussed with his heir that that they would never be able to afford to maintain the building and approached the government to donate the house to the Nation. An act of parliament was passed which ensured the maintenance and ownership of the ...

Gidleigh Park Hotel, Dartmoor National Park 08/08/2013

Beautiful secluded country hotel in Dartmoor.

Gidleigh Park Hotel, Dartmoor National Park Gidleigh Park Hotel. Gidleigh Park Hotel is a luxurious country hotel in the Teignmouth valley of Dartmoor just outside the village of Chagford. To reach the isolated hotel you have to drive for miles up a country lane some of which is only single tracked road. Its isolation means that it is in a very peaceful setting in the middle of 107 acres of parkland and gardens surrounded by trees and gorgeous countryside. The tiny river Teign runs through the grounds right past the house and you can hear the water trickling past throughout the night. History. The original house was called Park House and was a small two storied thatched country house built just above the river Teign before the 16th century. IT was bought by a chap called Gidlierh in 1660 and his family lived in the house right up to 1819. It was sold and fell into disrepair as the new owners eventually did not live in it. By 1918 it was again put on the market and bought ny a rick Australian shipping magnate Charles Mcllwriath who bought the house and 607 acres of land and decided he wanted to live in the house. In 1925 work started on the house and took four years to build. The guy only lived for a couple of years and died in 1932 at the very early age of 57. It was sold for £15,000. Since then it was converted in 1955 to a hotel. The house has passed ownership from person to person quite a few times although many of the original features of the house have been kept and maintained in fantastic condition. The most ...

Kingston Lacy, Dorset 01/08/2013

National trust treasure.

Kingston Lacy, Dorset Kingston Lacy. Kingston Lacy can be found in Wimborne Minster in the lovely county of Dorset on the South Coast of England. It was the private home of the Bankes family who previously were occupants of Corfe castle prior to it being destroyed by parliamentarians. Once the castle had been destroyed they set about looking for somewhere to build a new house. They chose this place to build the house which was on the Lacy estate. The house was designed by Sir Roger Pratt and building commenced in 1663. It was finally finished two years later in 1665. Inigo Jones designed the interior of the house which was seen to completion by his assistant John Webb. It had been thought that the house had totally been designed by Jones but after finding all the plans from Webb it was realised that he only played a part in the interior design. The house was updated in the 1700’s and many things added to the house from around Europe. One of the Bankes spent a long time travelling around Europe doing the grand tour as it was then known, buying up art works and shipping them back to Kingston Lacy where they can be found furnishing the rooms. William Bankes actually fled England after facing charges of Homosexuality and sodomy after being caught exposing himself in Green Park. In those days had he been convicted he could have received the death penalty. He was advised to flee the country but had he done so the treasury could have taken over all his properties so in order to prevent this happening ...
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