After 10 days in Shrewsbury dealing with family issues, and raising mum's spirits, I decided I needed to do something to treat myself.
I picked a stay at the new Raffles, London at The OWO. I had high expectations but Manager Patrick, & his team, far exceeded these.
The Granville Suite
I was given The Granville Suite. Named after spy Christine Granville and I hope my photos do some justice to its scale & grandeur but I was surprised by how comfortable it was. Those sofas were a dream.
The attention to detail, & craftsmanship, in that suite was unparalleled and Ms Granville was a legend.
Butlers & La Grande Dame Veuve Clicquot
Butlers Romas & Jean-Luca were superb and I could not believe I was given La Grande Dame Veuve Clicquot champagne, which reflects the true class of this new hotel.
The Spy Bar
I not only got to see the Spy Bar, with its Aston Martin DB5, but 'worked' behind the bar with Kiki and there is now a 'Frew 007' cocktail.
Manager Patrick was so kind to join me there and the bar opened on a Sunday evening just for me, it is usually closed on Sundays & Mondays.
My beef tartare with shaved truffles in Paper Moon, with a perfect very dry Grey Goose martini, were flawless but it was meeting Manager Giuseppe again that made a very special evening even better.
Meeting Director of Wine Vincenzo Arnese Again
I first met Vincenzo at Mandarin Oriental, Hyde Park and he worked for Alain Ducasse at The Dorchester. We had so much to discuss over coffee in the suite.
My foot treatment in the 4 floor Guerlain spa with Casey, drinking vintage Veuve Clicquot. was an ideal was to end a stay that could not have been bettered.
A ''7 teddies' (🐻🐻🐻🐻🐻🐻🐻) stay. Unheard of for a hotel only a few weeks old but the friendly warmth from EVERY member of staff I met, including the cleaning staff, just blew me away. GM Philippe was taking a well earned break in Oman but he can be so proud of his staff. Hope you enjoy the photos in the 'Read More' section.
I have completed my contract with Citi and am now on a break. I intend to use the next few months to help mum more and visit friends in Dubai, Doha & Panama.
So excited that I will get to stay on the 70th Floor of the Burj Khalifa.; in a suite at the refurbished Four Seasons, Doha & at the new Mandarin Oriental, Doha. Just as in Madrid, I will be able to compare the Four Seasons & Mandarin offerings.
April 2022 has been quite a month. I have eaten the best Easter Egg of my life at The Ivy, West Street. It was filled with creamy passion fruit & served on a Kataif nest. My Veuve Clicquot breakfast at 'The Sunny Side Up Cafe' pop-up was memorable too. Chef Andi (Andrea) Oliver's Waffles with spiced maple syrup were delicious and hearing Canadian singer Charlotte Cardin's reinterpretation of The Beatles song 'Good Day Sunshine', celebrating #SolaireCulture, was inspiring.
Hope you enjoy the photos below & I am looking forward to some more '7 teddy' experiences over the new few months.
The Mandarin Oriental Ritz in Madrid. Luxury & Opulence on Another Level - Madrid, Spain - October 2021
My stay at the Mandarin Oriental Ritz, Madrid was overshadowed by receiving the news that we had lost Bermuda legend, & close friend, Marcia Woolridge-Allwood. However, think Marcia would have loved to see the photos below and hear about my breathtaking suite with Veuve Clicquot on ice; my Dom Perignon experience with General Manager superstar Greg; a rose head bath prepared by Head Butler Claudia & her consummate professional butler team; Eugenie at the white marble & chanderliered pool; so many varieties of water, after my 'Perrier complaint' at the Mandarin Oriental in Hong Kong; my photo on the water bottles; the bar staff who knew me from Mandarin Oriental, Hyde Park; the butler team's help with my packing of fragile items from Four Seasons, Madrid etc
Last week I was honoured to be invited to a key Mandarin Oriental party in London. At that we talked about the issues over merging the iconic Ritz, Madrid with Mandarin Oriental. My stay illustrated this is still a work in progress but will be worth it. Hope the photos below evidence all that has already been achieved.
Despite London moving to Tier 4, we managed to have another very special family Shropshire Christmas.
With fine wines chosen by dad; mum's legendary cooking and my niece there, it could not have gone any better.
I gave a Chanel gift to mum; Tanners Wines & Fortnums gifts to my brother & father; a Steiff gift to my charming niece and my godson loves his Swiss Army Knife, with his name engraved on the blade. I gave some of my best gifts this year.
I received Veuve Clicquot champagne; The Glenlivet whisky; Silent Pool gin; Paul Smith socks; The White Company sleep products; Elton John's new book; a personalised mug from a friend in Qatar that I treasure; an umbrella that is a piece of art from Mandarin Oriental, Hyde Park etc. So happy with all my beautiful/ thoughtful gifts too.
Hope the photos below illustrate how lucky I feel to have such outstanding friends & a one-off family.
Featured in The Sunday Times Wine Club Blog & My Yayoi Kusama La Grande Dame 2012 Veuve Clicquot Arrived - Shrewsbury/ London - October 2020
October 2020 was the month when my friend Will Lyons, The Sunday Times wine critic, featured my photo in The Sunday Times Wine Club blog and my Yayoi Kusama designed La Grande Dame 2012 Veuve Clicquot arrived & it looked even more spectacular than I had hoped for.
However, it was also the month of my niece's 10th birthday & I am even more proud of the job we did making that so special and to ensure her half-term was full of fun, despite her mum having to be in Moscow & her dad in Dublin. A special mention has to go to Kerry Jones at Bloom for Budding Artists in Shrewsbury for her Yayoi Kusama inspired Halloween pumpkin prints workshop. I took it as a fortuitous omen that this was being run!
Despite two trips to Shropshire to support family, ladened down with Hamleys and Fortnum & Mason gifts, I did manage to try the London 'Breakfast at Tiffany's' experience in Harrods. The room is exquisitely decorated and the staff better than in New York but the food disappointing, compared with my scrambled eggs with truffles in Manhattan. It did not help that, as the first booking of the day (10am), I had to wait outside in the cold rain for the doors of The Tiffany Blue Box Cafe at Harrods to open at 10am.
I also bought Lebanese wine again in October and would encourage people do what they can support that beleaguered country. At the same, I did all I could to promote The Market Hall Shrewsbury, with its high quality fresh local produce.
Before 'Lockdown 2' was announced I also managed to squeeze in a delightful afternoon tea at The Wolseley, with one of my most legendary hotel contacts; a sublime Gordon Ramsay Sunday lunch at The Savoy Grill; & collect more superb Dorchester hotel flowers from designer florist Philip Hammond. While collecting the latter, I was able to have long chats with Robert (GM of The Dorchester) and John (GM of 45 Park Lane). All this means I am now 'ready' for the next 4 weeks without visiting a hotel.
With England now in COVID-19 'Lockdown 2', & the results of the US Election still uncertain, hope my photos from last month below help to raise everyone's spirits a little. Good luck to us all!
Celebrating a Birthday in the Midst of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) Crisis - Shrewsbury, Shropshire, UK - March 2020
When I received this personalised Veuve Clicquot signature arrow tin with its iridescent lid, I felt confident about my 2020 birthday. The original plan was to stay at the new Four Seasons in Madrid to celebrate, I know their General Manager from New York & Hong Kong and so it would have been an exceptional trip.
Since then the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has halted travel, closed hotels, restaurants, gyms etc and changed our lives.
I am now in Shrewsbury in Shropshire helping my parents with their self-isolation. My birthday will, therefore, be a small family affair. Today is my 'Birthday Eve' and so I have decided to post some photos to cheer us all up.
Stay safe, healthy & positive all at this difficult time & hope the photos below make you smile too. My awesome mum will ensure I have a '7 teddies' (🐻🐻🐻🐻🐻🐻🐻) birthday tomorrow.
Sorry for my silence but I have been very busy with Banking Consultant related issues.
I have constructive feedback for Virgin Atlantic Upper Class re: the large inflexible dining table that is part of their new A350 configuration and the surrender of Four Seasons control to Wolfgang Puck over the CUT bar at Four Seasons Hotel New York Downtown.
At the same time I must highlight the Grant Achatz truffle cocktail sent to my Central Park view 49th floor suite at Mandarin Oriental New York; the truffle cheeses, with grated fresh black & white truffles and Bresaola air-dried, salted beef from Uruguay to welcome me at my Hudson suite at Four Seasons Hotel New York Downtown Town and chilled bottles of Veuve Clicquot champagne at both hotels.
Also need to thank Mandarin Oriental Hyde Park for the roast duck congee breakfast, being added to their menu the following week, to celebrate Chinese New Year in London.
Will upload photos re: all this when I have more time but feel free to ask me about all this, when you see me.
The sheer joy on my sweet niece's face, when she opened my LO.L. Surprise gift from Hamleys, summed up Christmas in Shropshire for me. A relaxed, happy & perfect family gathering.
We were so luck my niece travelled from Moscow to spend Christmas with us, before heading to Finland for the Russian Orthodox Christmas with her Russian family.
Mum loved my Chanel and Fortnum & Mason gifts and cooked her usual legendary fish pie on Christmas Eve and sublime roast goose Christmas lunch. My brother prepared a feast for lunch on Boxing Day, I treasured my thoughtful gifts and things could not have gone any better.
Hope the photos below evidence why Christmas was such an outstanding '7 teddies' (🐻🐻🐻🐻🐻🐻🐻) family event.
Chic Paris at Christmas. The Four Seasons George V with Legendary Jackie; Veuve Clicquot at the Mandarin Oriental, Paris with Charismatic GM Philippe & Delightful Emilie; & Hotel Plaza Athenee, Paris with Charming Louise - Paris, France - December 2019
The French strikes did not prevent www.sifrew.com having a spectacular time experiencing Paris at Christmas.
At the Four Seasons George V Jeff Leatham's Christmas decorations were even more dazzling/ opulent than I expected. I was sad to hear Jackie will be retiring next year but this will present another good excuse to visit Paris.
At the Mandarin Oriental, Paris I drank Veuve Clicquot champagne with charismatic GM Philippe and then delightful Emilie showed me the spectacular four bedroom The Parisian Apartment. It was interesting to see a piece of Zhuang Hong Yi art in the lobby of this hotel. His work is currently featured at 45 Park Lane.
At the Hotel Plaza Athenee, Paris Dorchester Collection's charming Louise treated me like a VVVIP. It was interesting that my very dry Grey Goose martini there was better than at the Four Seasons George V. I also drank Perrier Fine Bulles for the first time and was fascinated to see a Lego model of the hotel in their exquisite lobby, Lego is the Christmas theme for The Savoy in London.
Hope the photos below give you a taste of how stylish Christmas in Paris is & why it was a '7 teddies' (🐻🐻🐻🐻🐻🐻🐻) experience.
Nobu; Four Seasons; a 'Free' Magnum of Veuve Clicquot & Friends from my Qatar Days: An Easter in London Like No Other - London, UK - April 2019
Thanks, in the main, to Four Seasons Hotel London at Park Lane for an unbelievable Easter 2019 in London.
From the Four Seasons doormen wishing me happy birthday, to the 'free' magnum of Veuve Clicquot, to the Easter Bunny knowning my name and the Easter Egg desserts being to die for, an Easter Sunday that could not have been better. However, I must also mention a drink with John at 45 Park Lane/the 45 Park Lane candle he gave me with a sumptuously luxuriant smell and my chats with Andre & Alex at Four Seasons Hotel London at Ten Trinity Square on Easter Monday.
Hope the photos below help you to understand why it was such a special weekend.
A '7 teddies' (🐻🐻🐻🐻🐻🐻🐻) 50th birthday continued a little longer with a sublime Easter weekend.
Sorry for the silence but the last few weeks have left me speechless (in the best way).
From a fragrant bath full of orchids, looking out at the Petronas Twin Towers, in my suite at Mandarin Oriental Kuala Lumpur; to seeing a spectacular Kabuki performance in Tokyo with the astonishing friend who produced the English translation you were reading; to staying at Four Seasons Hotel Tokyo at Marunouchi, the smallest city Four Seasons in the world & my 'final promise' to Mr Sharp, where an exquisite specially created kimono wearing teddy bear was presented to me; to travelling on the 200 mile per hour Shinkansen ('Bullet Train'), a dream since my 'Blue Peter days'; to drinking rare Four Seasons sake & being given a bottle of sake from Kyoto's oldest sake maker personally labelled for my 50th birthday; to playing 'Tea House games' with a Maiko (an apprentice Geiko/Geisha) at Four Seasons Hotel Kyoto, now have Ichihiro's 'calling card sticker' stuck to the back of my iPhone Xs; to eating Peking Duck sushi & drinking 40 year old Glenfraclas Scotch whisky exclusive to Ritz-Carlton Osaka; and drink Veuve Clicquot champagne on the Imperial Floors of the indomitable Imperial Hotel Tokyo.
This blog, my hotel contacts and my unparalleled friends have made March 2019 one of the best months of my life. To think I, once, did not want to live past 30! So many photos & video clips to show people and stories to tell.
Must focus on the logistics of my move back to The Barbican in London next and 'restarting' my life there.
A '7 teddies' (🐻🐻🐻🐻🐻🐻🐻) 50th birthday year culminates on 29/30 March 2019 at my phenomenal parents' historic home in Shrewsbury and then at Four Seasons Hotel London at Ten Trinity Square & Le Pont del la Tour overlooking the river Thames. Cannot wait to welcome guests based in Sweden, Uruguay etc
Spending Chinese New Year in Hong Kong, Another Dream Comes True - 'Year of the Earth Pig' - February 2019
This LVMH Brand Ambassador will be spending Chinese New Year 2019 in Hong Kong, finally staying at the legendary Mandarin Oriental, Hong Kong.
I will also have breakfast in the Blue Bar at Four Seasons, Hong Kong. That Four Seasons has a very special place in my heart.
I will be flying Business Class with Cathy Pacific and so am looking forward to eating at the Noodle Bar in The Wing again.
Toasting the 'Year of the Earth Pig' with Veuve Clicquot in Hong Kong will be another '7 teddy' experience & dream come true!
Hilton Pattaya: A Dream Second Stay and a Wedding that was the Highlight of my Far East Trip & a Day I will Never Forget - Pattaya, Thailand - November 2018
A Mandarin Oriental 'Celebrity Fan' has a Stay at Mandarin Oriental Taipei that Blew My Mind - Taipei, Taiwan - November 2018
A Michelin Star Chef from Mandarin Oriental Milan cooked for me; I was served vintage Veuve Clicquot wherever I wanted it; the hotel is an architectural masterpiece & this Brand Ambassador has never been treated better.
Issy's new Taiwanese outfit is a masterstroke, my 'I'm a FAN' business cards with a QR code taking you straight to the #travelblog www.sifrew.com site are winners and Manager Frances & her team are all exceptional.
🐻🐻🐻🐻🐻🐻🐻(7 out of 5 ‘teddies’) - a '7 teddy' experience without any doubt that has left me speechless. People must stay at Mandarin Oriental Taipei!
'Last' Night in London in an Exquisite Westminster Suite at Four Seasons at Park Lane - London, UK - April 2018
I was nervous about staying at Four Seasons at Park Lane so soon after legendary GM John had left. However, Manager Mali ensured it was another memorable stay in opulent surroundings with exemplary Four Seasons staff.
It was just a pity I did not get to meet new GM Lynn, as she was not yet in place. However, I did leave a #travelblog www.sifrew.com. baseball cap for her.
Four Seasons at Park Lane remains one of the best Four Seasons in the group and a hotel Mr Sharp can still be justly proud of.
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
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.
The big news is that we will be meeting one of the bosses of LVMH while he is in Cayman Islands.
Our relationship with Veuve Clicquot continues to bear fruit.
At www.sfrew.com we love the UK Queen. HM the Queen Mother was Veuve Clicquot's largest private client & the UK Queen loves Dubonnet & gin and her Official June Birthday was on World Gin Day this year.
God Save the Queen & Long May She Reign . An incredible lady.
🐻🐻🐻🐻🐻🐻🐻 (7 out of 5 ‘teddies’) - a '7 teddies' Monarch, without any doubt.
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.