Wednesday, 19 September 2012

“Return to Herm”

Yes, I finally made it back albeit for only a few precious hours! I had visited Travel Agencies in Guernsey before taking the last ferry over to this very special island – met up with some old and true friends in the Travel Industry. Ken Baker of World Travel, one of the true gentlemen of travel - what he does not know, nobody knows. So all you travellers out there in the Channel Islands, Ken is your man and he is on your doorstep! Travel Counsellors have a huge presence on Guernsey also.

So I arrived at The White House Hotel Herm – exhausted – lovely room, just me, my book (you can guess which one!) and the radio! Sheer bliss - no TV, no phone. I am a real TV Junkie so this was a tiny bit of heaven. I met a fabulous fishing guide, Also met some people from Valencia, they own one of the most fabulous restaurants

I enjoyed my trip mainly because I so love to “sell” “My” Mexico. But how different it is today – trying to talk to people who stare transfixed at their emails so frightened to take their eyes away lest the work disintegrate! I am so ready to talk and to teach – to train a Travel Agent – Long live Trailfinders whole policy “Talk to the client”!! Bless them all for listening to us so that they can then pass the knowledge on!

Attended the Mike Gooley party which was fabulous as usual. Mike Gooley still looks the same with the same ‘Great Feet’!

Tuesday, 4 September 2012


I have spent a lot of time during July and August in Mallorca – a place very close to my heart where I often retreat to. Lots of memories, I first came to live on this island when I was 17! I married there; Joanne is my daughter from this union. Of course Mallorca has changed over the years but I still have my “secret places”!

We always disappear up to Lluc, (, the monastery in the mountains, and always spend time at what is one of my favourite restaurants in the whole world, Es Guix ( I simply adore this place and the food is to die for. The food at the monastery is also very good with very typical Mallorcan cuisine.

Always a pleasure when visiting the island is to catch up with my old friend Gabriel Escarrer, CEO and owner of the Melia Hotel Corporation. We work a lot with Melia throughout Mexico – their lastest “stunner” is the Paradisus in Playa Del Carmen. This houses two separate concepts; adults only La Perla and families Esmeralda.  

Back to Mallorca. Gabriel has great plans to develop Magaluf – currently one of my pet hates, but I guess there has to be a market for everyone and every destination! However the plans are to return these beaches and properties to an up market destination – how wonderful this will be!

I actually almost remember this area when it was just huge stretches of beach with only one very select hotel called The Atlantic.

On the subject of “beaches”, for me nothing ever compares with the always immaculate manicured beaches of Mexico – as dawn breaks, the cleaning tractors are out and the driver never happy until the beach is spotless and perfect.

We had a horrendous day at El Arenal! We went to rekindle some memories but came away almost sick. The beach was filthy and the sea full of pollution. I will continue to stick to the little rocky coves such as Cala Conills (yet another “show stopper” restaurant and my “secret little beach” that I never tell anyone where it is!!) I love the sea but it has to be clean as it is in Mexico and in Mexico there are 6000 miles of beaches!

We introduced Charlie the “Wales” (my grandson) to his first experience of the sea and needless to say he loved it! Can’t wait to take him to Mexico!!

I took two wine tours. These are handled by my sister’s company “Five Continents”. They are an absolutely exquisite experience, you can go to Bianisalem or up towards Lluc. Luncheon at a typical Mallorcan restaurant is included. I stocked up on the very best of local wines. Please see link to the website of Es Guix.

July bought visits to London from the “St Regis Punta Mita”, currently my personal number 1 favourite star property, along with Viceroy of course and Paradisus.

Mexican tours has been busy, we have designed some very special Tailor-made itineraries for a variety of pretty “super” clients! We even put together a tour of the Copper Canyon all by road!!

Anna returned to us from maternity leave. Matt went on holiday to Mexico, which I personally put together for him! We have a new work experience person Helen. Lucy and Yurena plod on with their mountains of work! And Peter continues to drive me mad – Bless him! Joanne remains on maternity leave.

Mike Gooley’s, owner and founder of Trailfinders, summer party is coming up – cant wait!

We have been asked to design a new tour, “The Wild Nature Adventure”, to the existing tours covering the Yucatan – if you take one it will blow your mind!

Look out for my new brochure “My Private Mallorca” and take a look at our new website for Mexico!

Friday, 4 May 2012


April and Herm Island.

What better way to begin this wonderful month but with a visit to Herm Island.

A very dear friend has for years been telling me about Herm Island.

My day began with a 25 minute flight out of Exeter – Guernsey – then ferry across to the Island.  I was actually there by 10.30a.m., the day was mine!

It was heaven, .with   the sun splitting the blue sky and the sea a shade of aquamarine with glittering diamonds swirling on top.

At sunset I visited the little chapel set on the Cliffside…. - amazingly very reminiscent of the one in CHICHENITZA……………….

Cocktails, then off to dinner at The White House Hotel.  Crisp linen, elegant table setting, excellent dinner, inexpensive …early to bed (unheard of for me!!) Slept like a log. .|(Also unheard of for me)…Off early for a walk around Island….I think I could live here it is just so perfect!!

Met with The Bailey Family...Andrew is a Director on Herm, he, Lesley and their Son travelled with us at Christmas… Katherine their daughter is at University  in… Puebla  Mexico.
Lovely to sit and chat about the trip…. And fabulous to hear that it all went so well..

At Mexican Tours, we like to think that we put together a patchwork quilt in building an itinerary. .It was a joy to do this for The Baileys..

I actually had a tear in my eye as I sailed back to the mainland…..

I cannot wait to return……

Everyone should visit this Magic place. 

Monday, 16 April 2012

Off to Mexico with  KLM!


All the way through from Terminal 4 Heathrow to Amsterdam, there is a feeling of “Cool and calm”.  In these stressful days of Air Travel to feel this is simply amazing.

I have not flown with KLM for 15 years!  Here I am seated, happy and relaxed which is what I have been since the beginning of my journey!!

You do not have to exit from the Amsterdam terminal, so it is basically eyes down and shopping here we come ….. It is such a simple procedure to transit here.  On board again, sinking into heaven with my glass of champagne.
Travel time 10 hours 45 minutes, put that together with 45 mins London to Amsterdam and there you have it……Perfect!  Food superb, wines divine, (loved the pretty designer cutlery!)  and I watched all the Oscar nominated movies- what a fantastic selection of channels.

Now landing 45 mins ahead of schedule – how terrific!  The final touch my little blue “Dutch House” the treasured gift KLM always give which is so appreciated.  To anyone reading this and not knowing what this means then fly this great airline and find out!

Landing in Mexico City always gives me that tingly feeling!! Snow-capped volcanoes
set off by a magnificent sunset and 25 degrees on the ground! What more could you want? 

My wonderful ground people are there to meet me and I am whisked off to stay at  LAS ALCOBAS. 

Las Alcobas…. I know I keep making mention of this gorgeous property but with good reason; it is truly delightful. The bed was so welcoming, the staff friendly and helpful. I have never known the general manager Michael Chichen not to be on duty, needless to say there he was to greet me on arrival.
Next day I visited my faithful Casa Vieja - where the changes to the Presidential Suite are well underway.
Polanco , an area I know so well, I can get around in no time at all to visit  various places I need to  see ; I was able to get everything accomplished before my evening flight to PUERTO VALLARTA. There are departures every hour finishing with the late flight that connects  with every transatlantic arrival.
Stepping off that plane into the perfect evening temperature I thought, “How could I have forgotten how gloriously lovely Puerto Vallarta is?”
I was met by my dear friend Norma who heads up our  DCM  Viajes Tukari. There she was with the beautiful flower which is given to all our clients upon arrival….a true touch of Puerto Vallarta.
Nothing prepared me for DREAMS….I had specifically requested to stay here. So many memories of times gone by when it was the grand Camino Real , and there it stood in all its glory with the great sweeping driveway and  magnificent gates. My bedroom in the preferred tower was a masterpiece with a huge four poster bed a balcony and  jacuzzi.
Looking out to sea under a star sprinkled sky proves just how right it was to choose this location..The famous Mismaloya Beach just a stone’s throw and the “Village “ with its cobbled streets and quaint bars and caf├ęs a short walk away.
Next morning as I went down to breakfast a butterfly landed on my shoulder…that’s when I knew I was back in Puerto Vallarta!
Half an hour later I was on my way down to the centre..I walked there and took the local bus back. (By the time my stay was over I knew everyone on that Bus!)

The festivities for the annual Mexican Travel Market “Tianguis” burst into full swing.  Magical is the only word I can use.  I cannot remember seeing Fireworks like these!

The opening lunch with President Felipe Calderon (well, me and a 100 other guests) saw us start with the working part of the market.
Visits to and from, hotels, resorts, DCM’s, airlines, et al! A quite exhausting process but very necessary and mainly worthwhile.

Page 2 April Blog.

Made the 45 min journey out to PUNTA MITA.  Again I was completely unprepared for the  ST.REGIS and cannot find the words to describe the sheer stunning beauty of this resort. The reception area with its tier upon tier of flowers and cascading water is like a Monet painting. I was greeted by the general manager who personally prepared my Margarita! Lunch was a masterpiece of assorted sea foods, fish, salads and fruit.
The individual Bungalows are simply gorgeous, and the beach goes on forever with two accessible islands just offshore.  No client should ever spend less then 3 weeks  here ..Believe me -    PARADISE!!  ( with magnificent golf courses also available)
Plus a really top class Spa.
Sadly tearing myself away, a quick farewell to downtown Puerto Vallarta, a visit to the little  Hacienda san Angel… with the twin homes of Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton close b; .I wonder how many people still  remember “Night of the Iguana” the movie…not many I bet !

Farewell to friends; some old, some new found. My Dear Norma, Esmeralda and Jan (Dreams), plus everyone I met at St.Regis.
A very special thank you to Juan of Viajes Tukari who drove me everywhere.

Back to Mexico City, not so much a new Hotel for us but an old friend..La Casona…small boutique and soooooooo  Mexican Tours…Quick visit to the Royal, staying  in the little Suite by the pool, no one would believe how inexpensive this is!!
A chance to visit my very good friend Ramon, the best Silversmith I know, how pleased was I to discuss with him the replacement of  precious silver items lost in our fire. We recommend this Silver workshop to all our clients. Everyone should visit, not only for the beautiful craftsmanship but for the prices as well; they cannot be beaten. You will find all details on our Mexico City itineraries.

KLM was full to the gunnels on the return flight, but I  can only repeat  how great the crew were and what care they display to all their customers.
A  wonderful seamless transfer in Amsterdam and back to U.K.  oh and yes: we  are still homeless and having to stay at the GRIMSDYKE Hotel, very warm and welcoming it was too … I hope I return to Puerto Vallarta soon and I hope you do too!

Thursday, 23 February 2012


Words cannot describe the joy and anticipation of spending our first Christmas with “Charlie”,
who, by the beginning of December had reached  the grand age of 1 month..!
However…! At 3.15a.m. on the 16th December our little cottage in London burst into flame.
With us in it!!  A very harrowing experience, not to mention frightening… The good old London
Fire Brigade were fabulous, we were whisked off to hospital where most of the staff at this time in the morning were still enjoying a pre Christmas party…There we were, covered in smoke and in borrowed clothes, not hurt but very unhappy, the Nurses and doctors did their best to cheer us up whilst checking us out for carbon monoxide poisoning.
We were determined to put it all behind us somehow and enjoy all the festivities that Christmas brings: vowing to “revisit “the situation later; and Oh what chaos “Later “brought; not to mention despair at the realisation as to what we had lost.
In particular I who over the years have gathered a mass of Mexican mementos, from paintings to precious objects, to clothes and one of the most important things in my life. .My Cookery Books!!
 I have a great friend adored friend in Acapulco, Susanna palazuelos, her book “The Beautiful Cookbook” has sat by my sofa for many years for me to turn the pages whenever I felt in need of comfort and some Mexican solace!  The book is exquisitely written with gorgeous pictures of food and places.  Now it is no more!!. I will have to go thru to Amazon to re purchase!!
 The situation has been helped by the efficient, smooth and still very encouraging services offered by CHURCHILL insurance, and CRAWFORDS their loss adjusters. I have nothing but praise for these Companies and their caring staff.
We are currently residing in a Hotel with no immediate signs of returning home… (More on this later)…!

Reservations, special itineraries and general enquiries for Mexico have surged during January, almost like the “old” days…..Long before the “Internet” which I personally loath!!  Clients would call to ask questions and then plan their holiday, honeymoon, business trip or whatever... We have always fitted the programme around the Clients’ specification, rather then recommend a Hotel because we “had a good price”
 Or/because it was an easy booking situation, or “  it was in the computer” and all of that stuff!  It has always been like putting a patchwork quilt together piece by tiny piece and I am so very pleased to say that these situations seem to be coming back.

Trailfinders, Travel Counsellors, and fellow Tour Operators plus  specialised travel Agents are all hungry for knowledge .
There is nothing I like better than to talk about “My” Mexico!  Although I am somewhat computer illiterate , I am a fan of
“Trip Advisor” and do spend time comparing  notes ,which normally  tally with our findings.

Belize, Guatemala and Cuba are getting a lot of attention… Cuba for the obvious reason that Havana still remains virtually the same, but perhaps not for long… at the moment they are full until April!! Everyone should visit this fabulous place at least once in their life!. The Gorgeous MELIA Beach properties are hard to beat…if not the best!!

Belize and Guatemala are quite often now combined with Mexico. Clients can be collected from Tulum and driven to Chetumal for entry into these two fabulous destinations…..

Back to MELIA we  had  Clients staying at the new Playa del Carmen resort  over Christmas..
We had people at AMARTE []another of my personal favourites  with my good friends Jose Luis and Sally the original creators of Maroma (Now owned by Orient Express)  Amarte is situated  next door to Maroma……PLEASE VISIT IT IS TRULY BEAUTIFUL…

Maroma is actually a stretch famous Beach so the other “Maromas” ( AM resorts or Orient Express)  along this piece of coast line make life difficult sometimes in identifying things.  

We had yet more reservations for my adored PUELBLA……    I hope to visit during my next trip..

This planned trip is to Puerto Vallarta ! The famous Travel Market TIANGUIS has been held in Acapulco for many years but this year, first time ever
Destination is changed… I love my Acapulco and LAS BRISAS…. I will miss staying here…..

I will however be spending some days at LAS ALCOBAS in Mexico City…..I did promise in my last Blog ..More information so here it is…..

The Art of Hospitality, defined…… How true this is ..!!
So apply this to Las Alcobas in every way.!!
I spend a lot of time always in the  fashionable Polanco district of Mexico City. This beautifully designed hotel is simply sumptuous.

35 spacious guest rooms with custom-designed furnishings and the finest bedroom linens

A two-bedroom suite and three penthouses featuring  terraces overlooking the city.

Total mini spa bathroom environment with rain showers, whirlpool and steam jets in each guest room; suites and penthouses include the above plus steam room in shower area.

Personalised Alocabas “experiences”.

State-of-the-art technology available in every room.

Marble and glass lobby with ambiance of a cascading water fountain.

Exclusive location near designer boutiques, restaurants and nightclubs along Polanco’s chic Presidente Masaryk Avenue
Shopping, shopping,  and more shopping!! And I should know!! From Zara to Valentino!!
Award-winning chef Martha Ortiz specialising in festive and traditional Mexican food in two venues, Dulce Patria and Barroco.   

Personalised host service for every guest. (To me this is personal concierge….   . 

Office news….
Yurena is back from maternity leave… Anna has left on maternity leave (one in, one out!!)….Anthony our “Star” intern just gets better and better under our tutelage!!!  
 What would I do without our stalwart colleagues at Steamond …….. Marcio (Bless him) Rowland (adored!!) Darryl (a genius!!)………  I must also give a very special mention to MR. RAY BLOCK.!!  IBERIA/BRITISH AIRWAYS !! Thank you Ray for all your help…. Always…

We are currently staying at the GRIMSDYKE HOTEL. []. Peter works here also one day a week… This lovely countryside property  set in acres of woodland is just a joy… The original home of W.S. Gilbert of Gilbert & Sullivan Opera fame.  The rooms are beautifully decorated, the gardens and birdsong just make it a privilege to be a guest here. As one who never eats in the mornings... I have voted this the best breakfast in the World (Excluding Mexico of course!!)

More to Follow…..