With everyone asking me about my first foreign trip since my father's death last year, I must post something. On Social Media I have been accused of operating 'fake accounts' since I got back and, at times on this trip, I found it difficult to believe what was happening myself.
The trip started in the BA Concorde Lounge, before a 10 hour British Airways First Class flight to Houston. My friends in Houston managed to hold a beautiful cocktail party in my honour, despite 113°f temperatures.
I started my time in Nashville with a 'Boy George & Culture Club' concert. 'Berlin' were the support band & 65-year-old Terri Nunn stood of a chair very close to me to sing their last song.
At Four Seasons, Nashville I found out we had lost my relative Ann Clwyd, who loved the Kurds & mineworkers, when no one else did. Tony Blair put out a beautiful statement about her.
At that Four Seasons I was given a Veuve Clicquot experience where I drank La Grande Dame with Eliza. Her dad (Norbert Putnam) played bass guitar on 120 of Elvis' tracks and was in the support band for the Beatles when they first played in the US.
The food scene in Nasville is insane. I had one of the best meals of my life at 'Locust' and the gourmet fast food at 'Joyland' blew my mind too.
At that Four Seasons I also learnt Simon Casson had stepped down as a President of Four Seasons (he, kindly, emailed me). With Christian Clerc having left too, the phrase "to lose one President may be regarded as a misfortune; to lose two looks like carelessness" sprang to my mind. However, exceptional young staff like Brian on the bar, & Meagan by the pool, give me hope for the future of Four Seasons Hotels & Resorts.
At The Guest House at Graceland Greg & TC gave me a Vernon & Gladys' suite, based on Elvis' Palm Springs home and Elvis whisky & wine. Sitting at Bonnie and Robert's bar there was engrossing listening, & talking to, such a fascinating range of Elvis fans.
My Ultimate VIP Tour of Graceland was another dream come true.
At The Peabody Hotel in Memphis I was given their Presidential Suite, where Presidents Reagan, two Bushes & Clinton have stayed, as well as Michael Jackson. They also made me an Honorary Duckmaster, during the ceremony for this I dedicated this Memphis honour to my legendary Veterinary Surgeon dad.
I ended this extraordinary trip with 5 nights at the Mandarin Oriental, Miami. It is interesting that Mandarin Oriental are far kinder than Four Seasons over my rates at present. My Peruvian dinner with GM Flavia was remarkable, as much for her company, as the sublime food.
At that hotel comments to Victor on the bar about the ice at breakfast meant I found large cubes of ice at breakfast the next day, as well as when I used their attractive infinity pool. Must also sincerely thank Stephen Head of F&B and Julian Head of Housekeeping.
Will be sad when that Mandarin Oriental closes at the end of 2024. The new Mandarin Oriental hopes to open in 2030.
You will find more photos of gifts & comments about noteworthy members of staff on Instagram, Twitter, Threads & Facebook. A '7 teddies' (🐻🐻🐻🐻🐻🐻🐻) trip. When you meet me I can show even more photos and prove I am no 'fake'!