The experience was far classier, well executed and the food better than I expected and 'Breakfast at Tiffany's' gained a 7 'teddy' rating.
I have watched the 1961 movie 'Breakfast at Tiffany's' more times than I can count, adore Audrey Hepburn & 'Moon River' and have wanted to have breakfast in The Blue Box Cafe in Tiffany & Co from the moment it opened in November 2017. This was another 'impossible reservation' that Mandarin Oriental, New York managed to secure for me.
The experience was far classier, well executed and the food better than I expected and 'Breakfast at Tiffany's' gained a 7 'teddy' rating.
A Mandarin Oriental Fan Has a MO Celebrity Fan Stay at Mandarin Oriental, New York in a Premier Central Park View Suite - New York - April 2018
This Mandarin Oriental 'Fan' has quite a history with this luxury hotel group. From spending the only Christmas I did not spend with my family at Elbow Beach in Bermuda, when it was managed by Mandarin Oriental, to unforgettable stays at the Oriental in Bangkok, when the legendary Amanda Hyndman was their GM, to stays at Mandarin Oriental San Francisco (when it still existed), to interviewing for my Qatar job at the Mandarin Oriental DC, to stays in Barcelona, Miami, Hyde Park etc and being shown Mandarin Oriental, Hong Kong etc.
I first stayed at Mandarin Oriental, New York when I was living in Bermuda, shortly after it first opened in December 2003.
On my most recent stay Manager Israel made sure I was treated as a 'Celebrity Fan' with a beautiful suite overlooking Central Park, hotel cars and a reserved table in The Aviary, NYC. A 7 'teddies' stay without any doubt and such a contrast with The Ludlow Hotel, New York and Mr & Mrs Smith travel.
An Exquisite, & Fun, Sunday Lunch at Eleven Madison Park: Number One Restaurant in the World - New York - April 2018
I have wanted to eat in Swiss born Daniel Humm's Eleven Madison Park ("EMP") for some time. It is currently No 1 in The World's 50 Best Restaurants and Mandarin Oriental, New York managed to secure me one of their prized reservations.
This three Michelin starred restaurant is an elegant temple to fine dining that was recently 'reinvented' with fewer tables and a smaller number of courses (11 to 7). I have eaten 17 courses at Grant Achatz's 'Alinea' in Chicago, this was mind blowing but I still believe "less is more".
This whole experience blew my mind too. I have no doubt that this restaurant deserves to be called 'No 1 in the World', the service and food were sublime and it was a stylish & elaborate meal I will never forget.
After arriving late in New York because of an expired ESTA visa waiver, & being rerouted via Boston, my stay at The Ludlow Hotel on the Lower East Side was not a huge success.
Their staff were excellent but a neighborhood where emergency vehicle sirens seemed to be almost constant until 4am, and one of the only two elevators being out of service, leading to unacceptably long delays, meant this was not the right hotel for someone who is almost 50 coming from quiet Cayman Islands. However, breakfast in Dirty French the next morning was a different story.
I should also mentioned this was the first time I had made a booking via Mr & Mrs Smith, despite being unimpressed by a review they posted of Song Saa Private Island, it did not sound like the reviewer had actually visited the same place I had been to in Cambodia. However, I did not feel they improved my experience and so will not be using them again. I am sorry about this because my parents know Tamara Lohan's father (Sir Algernon Heber-Percy KCVO) in Shropshire.
Berlin Friends Help Me Celebrate My 2018 Birthday in 'Si Frew Style' - Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands - March 2018
I am so lucky that one of my best friends from Berlin, and her son, were willing to fly 16 hours to Cayman Islands to help me celebrate by 2018 birthday.
The week they were here was a dream with us seeing a baby turtle and stingray from Seven Mile Beach on their first evening; lots of Veuve Clicquot; incredible birthday gifts; champagne from Kimpton Seafire Resort & Spa; a stunning new member of the 'gang' from Ritz-Carlton, Grand Cayman; and my friend making me Eggs Benedict at home.
Hope the photos below do some justice to the awesome week I had with these special people.
🐻🐻🐻🐻🐻🐻🐻(7 out of 5 ‘teddies’) - a '7 teddies' birthday in Cayman Islands, without any doubt.
A Veuve Clicquot Perfect Day for a Brand Ambassador at Ritz-Carlton, Grand Cayman - Cayman Islands - March 2018
My 4th Houseguests Come to Cayman Islands to Help Me Celebrate the Start of My Birthday Month - Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands - March 2018
I am so lucky to be approaching 50 (the day comes in March 2019) and still have both of my parents and they were so kind and agreed to take the 12 hour British Airways flight from the UK to visit me here in Cayman Islands.
We ate at Morgan's, Catch, Royal Palms, the Ritz-Carlton, Kimpton Seafire Resort & Spa and Luca; visited the 51st Agriculture Show in Cayman Islands and drank lots of Veuve Clicquot but it was being able to spend so much time together that was so special.
Hope the photos below give some idea about how memorable this time together in Cayman Islands was.
Heavenly Burgers at Parker New York & Perfect Martinis at Four Seasons New York - New York - January 2018
For my last night in New York I decided to stay at Parker New York again. I last stayed there on the way back to Bermuda from a business trip to Singapore & Hong Kong.
I started with coffee with Marisa (Vice President of Marketing & Development) who explained that Le Parker Meridien was rebranding as Parker New York and they have big refurbishment plans. This sounded great, I have always thought their incredible location was underutilized. I have been to cutting edge Parker Palm Springs and had not even appreciated the two were linked.
The 'burger joint' at Parker New York is as outstanding as ever, and the queues are still as long! A place #travelblog www.sifrew.com highly recommends.
On my last visit there, after very dry Grey Goose martinis chatting to Four Seasons star Olga at Four Seasons New York, people asked for photos with www.sifrew.com. I am now a 'celebrity' in New York!
Think it is unfair to 'teddy rate' the Parker New York at this stage of its development.
A Cold But Awesome Further Stay at Four Seasons New York Downtown, in an Executive Suite, for New Year - New York - December 2017 - January 2018
For my 16th New Year stay with Four Seasons in New York, I booked the Four Seasons New York Downtown again.
This was my third stay at this hotel and I was so pleased I did. They gave me a beautiful suite with train set, Veuve Clicquot champagne on ice, a cashmere Four Seasons hat to keep me warm and even left hot chocolate for Issy.
When I arrived Steven (Director of Rooms) greeted me before I even said my name and I immediately knew this was going to be an epic New Year stay.
My stay at Ritz-Carlton New York, Battery Park was overshadowed by a medical emergency on my plane from Cayman Islands. However, the breakfast the next day more than made up for this.
I was the first person at breakfast on the Saturday (getting there before 7am) and Ricardo was my cheerful & friendly server.
It seemed odd to be given an iPad to view the menu but then not be able to use it to place the order. Guess I am too used to Four Seasons technology.
However, the Eggs Benedict with crushed black truffles in the salsa was remarkable. I ate this reading the Weekend Financial Times and chatting to sweet Flora, a server from China.
In the Financial Times there were details of the first Bitcoin related kidnapping in the Ukraine. This had me thinking about my time working on a bank in Cyprus last year and emailing various regulatory contacts about all this.
🐻🐻🐻🐻🐻🐻(6 out of 5 ‘teddies’) - definitely a '6 teddy' breakfast.
The New First Class Suites on American Airlines, Heathrow to Miami Flight on a 777-300 - Great Seat/Bed & Crew But Shame About The Food - December 2017
Having flown on British Airways and Qatar Airways in First Class numerous times, and in 'The Apartments' on Etihad Airways, I decided I must try the American Airlines new First Class suites. My 15 hour journeys from Cayman Islands, at Christmas, seemed the perfect opportunity to do this.
I was impressed by the seat/bed, and crew, but once again the American Airlines First Class food let them down. Hence my '4 teddy' rating.
Divine Christmas Stay in a Deluxe One Bedroom Suite at Four Seasons at Park Lane, London, UK - December 2017
I have an incredible history with Four Seasons at Park Lane. I first stayed there as part of a Paris, New York and London Four Seasons 'themed' trip from Qatar. It had not been refurbished at that stage and I wrote to Mr Sharp (Founder & Chairman) saying it should not be part of Four Seasons. He wrote back 'agreeing' and it shut down shortly after!
I then stayed there again after the refurbishment, when they left Sichuan pepper and Parmesan popcorn in my suite, relating to an 'incident' three years before.
The service & attention to detail in this uber luxurious Four Seasons is legendary and I knew I must stay there on this Christmas trip to wish Four Seasons star GM John congratulations on his 35 years with Four Seasons.
I was so glad I did. My suite, with a working fireplace, took my breath away and everything about the stay was beyond perfection. An incredible way to end Christmas before flying back to Cayman Islands for a night before Four Seasons New York Downtown again for New Year.
Once again, despite Russian visa issues, my whole family was together for Christmas. I met friends from my Prestfelde and Shrewsbury School days; my mum cooked divine roast goose; my brother a roast turkey feast on Boxing Day; and I adored my cards & present from friends and family around the world.
It was truly a '7 teddy Christmas' and I was so lucky to spend it was my brilliant mum & dad and friends. It just went by too quickly.
Hope the few photos below give some flavour of the fun we had.
I visited Four Seasons, Ten Trinity Square in London on the first day it opened, and have been shown their private members' club and residencies, and they had been storing Veuve Clicquot I did not want to take to Cayman Islands for 8 months. This was, therefore, the natural choice for my first hotel of Christmas 2017.
I wanted it to be a special start to Christmas and Four Seasons, Ten Trinity Square exceeded my expectations by far. It truly is a 'seven teddy' hotel now.
The Sensational New American Airlines Flagship First Dining, Terminal 3 @ Miami International Airport, Florida, USA - December 2017
After delays with my American Airlines plane from Cayman Islands, which culminated with an email warning me that I may miss my connection flight taking me to Christmas in the UK, the American Airlines Flagship First Dining experience was a much needed oasis of pampered luxury.
This First Class dining experience was superior to British Airways' Concorde Room dining and would be difficult to improve on. A 'seven teddy' experience, without doubt.
Divine Steak, Tango & a Third Stay at Four Seasons Buenos Aires in a Mansion View Junior Suite - Buenos Aires, Argentina - November 2017
I have been visiting Uruguay, Brazil and Argentina for almost 20 years now and my association with Four Seasons Buenos Aires has been for just as long.
I had intended to stay with a special friend in his elegant Buenos Aires apartment but Tulio (the hotel General Manager) inviting me to stay for a night at the hotel meant I was too tempted and I was so glad I did.
Four Seasons Buenos Aires, like the whole of Argentina, has had to deal with so many adversities but does so with true 'Buenos Aires flair' and the staff exhibit all that is best about Four Seasons service.
My first 'proper' holiday, after 6 months living & working in Cayman Islands, had to be a visit to my unbelievable friend in Uruguay and his adorable dog Otto.
He now has a second dog, Otto's daughter Greta, and it was another stay I will never forget. Punta del Este really is home for me.
An Indulgent La Prairie Manicure & Pedicure at the 'Silver Rain' Spa at Ritz-Carlton, Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands - November 2017
I am now in full 'preparation mode' for my trip to Punta del Este and Buenos Aires next week.
I needed a manicure & pedicure and learning the Ritz-Carlton on Grand Cayman has a 20,000 square foot La Prairie spa made it the obvious choice.
The spa is called 'Silver Rain' and is themed around the "healing waters of Switzerland". I associate La Prairie products with sophisticated luxury and that is exactly how I would sum up this 'sanctuary spa' with excellent staff.
It was the perfect experience for me to relax after a busy day at work in Cayman Islands, with Annie's gentle technique and Martin talking about Ritz-Carlton Doha.
The mother of my godson was going to be in New York and so I had to meet her there.
She ended up flying in on a private jet from London and we had a Wolfgang Puck dinner in Four Seasons New York Downtown with my incredible New York real estate friend. During that dinner infectiously cheerful Sommelier Sally made us laugh and General Manager Louis and his staff could not have treated us better.
I also found time to visit the original Four Seasons in New York where Olga on the bar welcomed me by name and looked after me so well. I made some fantastic new friends from LA there.
We finally managed to visit the 9/11 Memorial, an experience I will never forget; the North Cove Marina; Thomas the Manager at Four Seasons New York Downtown made sure I had an incredible stay again; and I bought an iPhone 8.
All done with only ONE FULL DAY in New York! I hope the photos below give a flavour of the fun I packed in there. New York is a '7 teddy city' (🐻🐻🐻🐻🐻🐻🐻) and my friends are the best.
Camana Bay Flavour Tour: New Friends & Sensational Food Made with Fresh Local Produce in a Beautiful Location - Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands - August 2017
Hearing one of my best friends, who lives in River Oaks, Houston, was safe after Hurricane Harvey put me in such a good mood and so I booked the Camana Bay Flavour Tour. I was so glad I did, despite it being on a Wednesday night, when I have work the next day.
The tour involved a friendly eclectic group of Caymanians & tourists, enthusiastic Sam led us, Camana Bay looks stunning at night and we got to try some sensational food.
Another truly memorable evening in Cayman Islands.
The 'New' Extra Brut Extra Old Veuve Clicquot Champagne Really Has Arrived in Cayman Islands - Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands - August 2017
I always think of crisp green apples when drinking regular 'Yellow Label' Veuve Clicquot champagne but one of my friends finds it too acidic. Veuve Clicquot have found a solution to this by launching Extra Brut Extra Old.
This champagne will be available in Cayman Islands next month but my incredible friends meant I got to try some bottles this month.
Veuve Clicquot Extra Brut Extra Old is an 'assemblage' made only from reserve wines from years 1988, 1996, 2006, 2008, 2009 and 2010 vintages. It is 47% Pinot Noir, 27% Chardonnay and 26% Pinot Meunier, rather than the 2/3rds black grapes and 1/3 Chardonnay usual in 'Yellow Label'.
Extra Old is also 'double aged' with a minimum of three years in vats on lees and then three years in the bottle before release.
This slow maturing allows the wine to become soft & mellow and it met with my friend's approval with superfine bubbles and flavours of greengage plum, peach & spiced lemon with a hint of oak. It is far from a cheap champagne but you can certainly taste the quality.
🐻🐻🐻🐻🐻🐻🐻 - a '7 teddy' Veuve Clicquot.
A Heavenly Sunday in Cayman Islands at The Westin, Grand Cayman being Pampered in their Hibiscus Spa and then Enjoying their Excellent Brunch - Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands - August 2017
After various people had praised The Westin, Grand Cayman on Seven Mile Beach I knew I had to spend a Sunday at that exceptional property.
I booked a Paradise manicure & pedicure in their Hibiscus spa and it was one of the best treatments I have had. I followed this by trying the hotel's brunch and F&B Manager Norbert and his team could not have treated me better.
This a hotel anyone visiting Cayman Islands must try.
My Second Houseguest in Cayman Islands Meant I Met Stingrays, Starfish & Turtles and Drank the New Veuve Clicquot Champagne - Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands - August 2017
My second houseguest in Cayman Islands used to work for Tony Blair in 10 Downing Street. I first met him when we were both living in Qatar.
His visit was an excuse to do so many things I have wanted to do (eg visit Stingray City & the Turtle Farm) and the long weekend went by too quickly.
It was a weekend that could not have gone better and I hope the photos below give you some flavour of it.
I am so lucky to have friends like this and live in Cayman Islands.
Yara, The Global Steakhouse, Seven Mile Beach, Grand Cayman - The Perfect Very Dry Grey Goose Martini in Cayman Islands - July 2017
Yara, The Global Steakhouse is a short walk from my condo on Seven Mile Beach on Grand Cayman.
My perfect very dry Grey Goose martini is stirred with a twist of lime and almost no vermouth. I do not agree with Four Seasons New York or the Four Seasons George V in Paris that there should be no vermouth in a very dry martini.
The barmen at Yara consistently execute these cocktails perfectly while keeping you entertained with their charming company.
🐻🐻🐻🐻🐻🐻🐻 (7 out of 5 ‘teddies’) - a '7 teddy' martini experience. My tip:- have a drink at the bar before dinner and engage with the barmen, you will not regret it.
Si Frew has lived in the UK, Bermuda, Qatar, Cyprus & the Cayman Islands. During this time he met Whoopi Goldberg (in Claridge's), Mike Tyson (in the Concorde Lounge at JFK) , Gordon Ramsay (in the Doha Four Seasons), Chris Eubanks (in The Dorchester), Cherie Blair (in Bermuda & again in the Doha Four Seasons) etc. There are funny stories attached to all these interactions, feel free to ask Si about them when you meet him.