Sweet Service Award goes to Gran Hotel Manzana Kempinski; Sour Service Award goes to El Corte Ingles Madrid!

The Sweet Service Award goes to the Gran Hotel Manzana Kempinski in Havana, and its PRO Ingrid, for the effortless assistance in booking a room at the five star hotel. I asked to see a room, was shown it by Ingrid, who spoke perfect English, and then advised me to book via the internet as they offer better rates there. She brought her laptop to the front desk, and made the reservation for me, with assistance from the Sales department. By the time I had returned to my BnB, the confirmation of the booking had arrived, without any demand for credit card details or upfront payment.

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Habanos cigars represent the best of Cuba: an introduction!

In my BnB in Havana I saw ‘The Complete Guide for Habanos’ Enthusiasts’, and as I am determined to both smoke and buy cigars during my time in the country, I decided to write a story about this icon of Cuba. My father was an avid cigar smoker, and allowed us a taste of a cigar once a year, on Christmas Eve. 

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Sweet Service Award goes to Havana Tour Guide Osmery; Sour Service Award goes to Iberia!

The Sweet Service Award goes to Osmery tour guide from Havana, who was kindness herself in helping me to trace my suitcase at the Lost & Found department at Havana airport, after it had traveled to Havana without me, due to not having been sold a Visa for Cuba by Iberia. Osmery showed me where the money exchange is, and then called her taxi driver husband to drive me to the BnB I am staying at. 

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Mercado de San Miguel puts beautiful Madrid food on a plate!

I had not heard of the Mercado San Miguel Food Market in Madrid until the Hotel receptionist Davide told me about it, he not knowing of my interest in food. Compared to the TimeOut Market in Lisbon, the Madrid market is smaller, has less seating, but its food is more beautifully presented. Continue reading →

Hotel Review: Parador ‘Hostal dos Reis Católicos’ in Santiago de Compostela oldest hotel in the world

As a final treat to end off my Portuguese Coastal Camino walk last week, I booked the last night of my stay in Santiago de Compostela at the Parador ‘Hostal dos Reis Católicos’, a five-star luxury hotel located adjacent to the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela, and closely linked in history to the pilgrimages made to the city, to pay respect to Saint James, whose remains are in a silver casket in the Cathedral. Continue reading →

Sweet Service Award goes to VP Plaza España and its Gynkgo Sky Bar; Sour Service Award goes to Espahotel Plaza España!

The Sweet Service Award goes to 5-star VP Plaza España in Madrid, and its Guest Experience Manager Samuel Vela, for his kindness to me, despite not staying at the hotel. On my arrival in Madrid, I mistakenly tried to check in at the hotel, having been dropped off outside its door by my Uber driver. Samuel showed me where the hotel that had been booked for me by an airport travel agency was. A day later I needed a beer, due to the heatwave in the city, and as my hotel did not offer this service, I went to the VP Plaza España. Samuel suggested I go up to their Gynkgo SkyBar on the 12th floor, with a lovely view of a lit-up Madrid, and of a thunderstorm, with good service. Continue reading →

Parador Hotel Pilgrim Lunch, a tradition dating back to 1499, a highlight of my Camino, but not for the food or service!

On Saturday I had the amazing fortune to enjoy a Pilgrim Lunch at Restaurante Enxebre, an informal restaurant which is part of the five star Parador Hotel in Santiago de Compostela, with seven other Camino pilgrims. To experience a Pilgrim meal is almost as much of a high as walking the Camino, and making it all the way to Santiago de Compostela, this tradition dating back to 1499. Continue reading →

Pick n Pay goes ‘nude’, trials plastic-free Fruit and Vegetable shopping!

On Facebook I saw an article that attracted my interest and attention, being a proud litter cleaner in Camps Bay, about Pick n Pay trialing the use of paper bags in its fruit and vegetable departments, and selling these items loose and not pre-packaged, in 13 of its stores around the country. 

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