I haven’t talked about men yet have I. All these posts and not a sausage about love. I love love. Well, I love movie love. I love the heroic man, killing loads of bad guys with his bare hands/samurai sword/big gun and then rescuing the damsel, kissing her (despite the fact that it’s quite clear neither have brushed their teeth, let alone flossed, for at least 48 hours) and then sailing into the sunset.
Or I love the slightly brooding and troubled man who we think is mean but actually he’s stoic and lovely. At the end of the film something happens in the rain, perhaps an argument followed by a kiss, and then riding into the sunset go our (usually 17th Century) protagonists.
The trouble is I don’t live in a film. When I go on a date instead of muddy tough guys or britches-wearing gentlemen I get Barry, with his cashmere sweater over his shoulders, telling me his sports car is his life while staring into the middle distance. Or Jeremy, not so subtly telling me how much money he earns while barking orders at a terrified waitress who no doubt skipped the spitting in his food bit and reached straight for the cyanide.
I’ve tried online dating, offline dating, speed dating, silent dating, dating in the dark… I could go on.
But it seems that although I’ve accepted I will never be perfect, I still haven’t managed to give up on the idea that a man could and should be.
Anyway, I’ve come up with a plan to ensure every date I go on from now on is as good as my holidays always are.
My inspiration? Small Luxury Hotels of the World of course.
Replace ‘Hotels’ with ‘Men’. And perhaps scrap the ‘Small’. Bingo. Ooh, hang on. Replace ‘World’ with ‘The Greater London Area’. Long distance never works.
Luxury Men of the Greater London Area will simply re-train the SLH hotel vetting people and have them give members of the hairier sex a once, twice and three times over to ensure high standards, original features and a degree of exclusivity.
So, Mr Paul SLH Kerr, over to you…
For the first time ever I had a terrible massage this weekend. I’m not going to tell you where I was because I don’t want to be mean but I should point out that the massage in question did not take place at an SLH hotel. The first problem arose before I had slipped into the delightful disposable underwear I so enjoy wearing. I was given a man masseuse. I have nothing against men; in fact they are easily my second favourite sex. But I’m not enamoured with the idea of having one rub his hands all over my body unless invited to do so following a lengthy courting process.
I didn’t say anything though, I never do in spas. For a reason I’ve never really considered until now an overwhelming ‘when in Rome’ attitude that takes over my brain whenever I set foot in a spa that essentially means I’ll let them do anything (legal) no matter how ridiculous it sounds.
Boiling hot stones, disco baths, a chocolate coating, being wrapped in Clingfilm… If someone dressed in one of those special pyjama/doctors/kimono outfits staff wear in spas told me to stand on one leg and bark like a dog while they hit me with sticks I’d probably do it as long as they promised I would feel relaxed afterwards.
But on this occasion I left feeling about as relaxed as a poorly-prepared student in an exam hall. I accepted the idea that it was a man pretty quickly but couldn’t get used to this particular man’s agitated massage style. It was as if he was trying to shoehorn a 7 hour treatment into 30 frenzied minutes of hell.
Nobody should ever move quickly in a spa. Surely that must be a rule? But he dashed around me like an angry sprinter, prodding me occasionally, and then flung some boiling hot oil over me before ringing a loud bell and disappearing.
I don’t know if he had finished torturing me but I wasn’t going to miss an opportunity to run away so grabbed my clothes and snuck out like a traumatised ninja.
It hasn’t put me off for life though. Scores of wonderful massages versus one bad one seems fair odds. I’m just going to be a little more discerning about where and when I don the paper pants from now on. Thankfully there’s plenty of luxury spa resorts from SLH to choose…
Cologne’s famous Christmas markets are not to be missed! Even Ebenezer Scrooge would feel festive when wandering the craft stalls that line the streets, sipping heart-warming Glühwein and soaking up the magical atmosphere and twinkling lights. I am sure you will have a ball and come back laden with gifts and a feeling of goodwill Melissa. Don’t forget my present! I believe they kick off on the 26th November this year. I can smell the cinnamon and gingerbread already.
The best place to stay in town is Hotel im Wasserturm, an impressive retreat with superb city views and great location in the centre of the city, close to chi chi boutique shops, Cologne Cathedral and the streets in which the markets are located.
Aside from strolling around the stalls and enjoying the shopping and traditional food and drink, make sure you book in for dinner at the property’s La Vision restaurant. On the 11th floor, it offers amazing views high above the city roofs – often named the best view in Cologne – and fantastic modern German cuisine.
You might have noticed you can now review SLH properties on our website – this is a new facility we’ve launched, and I see that one of the first reviews was for Hotel im Wasserturm. Markus recommends the restaurant and its view as his top tip for the city! Just so you know, the review facility is only open to our Club members who we know have stayed at a minimum of two SLH properties in the past – so reviewers should be well versed in our high standards. A great new resource to use when planning trips in the future don’t you agree?
I knew you’d fall in love with the Pillars Hotel, its private-home-style service is legendary across Florida and I always try and drop in if I’m ever passing! But your love of waterway views (and passing yachtsmen) has got me thinking about my favourite ocean-view haunts and one place immediately sprung to mind that you really should add to that never-ending travel list of yours, Hôtel les Ottomans in Istanbul.
This incredible hotel recently popped up on my radar again when a friend tweeted her picture in front of one of the most spectacular views I’ve ever seen. She was lounged out on their magnificent terrace, Raki in hand watching the most elite yachts of the Bosphorous coast passing by – sound like perfection? Oh and did I mention the vinotherapy spa she had just come from??
But alas, I know you’re heading over to the Big Apple so maybe you’ll have to put thoughts of yachtsmen wining and dining you on a Turkish roof-top terrace to the back of your mind until another time!