I have stayed at Royalton NYC, Morgans NYC, and the Hudson in New York, St Martins Lane and Mondrian London, had afternoon tea at Sanderson London and dinner in Madonna's 'The Blue Door' at Delano South Beach in Miami and so have quite a history with Morgans Hotel Group. In fact I used to exchange letters with Ian Schrager when I was living in Bermuda and staying in his Philippe Starck designed Royalton hotel.
I am constantly thrilled by the worldwide readership of #travelblog www.sifrew.com. It amazes me how long readers in Russia spend reading it and is fascinating to think of people in Iran & Iraq reading about Shropshire.
I love that people I worked with in the UK, Bermuda, Qatar and Cyprus support the blog and friends I have made on my travels in the US, Asia, S America, Middle East & Australia still follow my travels, as well as Four Seasons staff at their Head Office in Toronto; Mandarin Oriental staff in Hong Kong & Bangkok; Raffles staff in Singapore; and Dorchester Collection & Belmond staff in London.
I just wanted to take this opportunity to thank everyone who reads my blog and stress how much I value the comments you post.
Lunch at C Sons: 'Locally Sourced & Globally Inspired' Food - Shrewsbury, Shropshire - November 2016
I have eaten in C Sons on a number of occasions and have never been disappointed by their flavoursome food and being able to try unusual products.
On this occasions I had a very emotional funeral to attend the next day and one of my best friends in Shrewsbury agreed to have lunch with me to try to take my mind off this.
Sorry for the silence on this blog but I had a diabetic scare while working in Cyprus and have been resting, & undertaking medical tests, in London for the last week. However, today learning that a very special person in my life had died meant I decided to go to The Goring for lunch to remember this incredible lady in a sublime way.
I have stayed at this hotel and Jeremy Goring got Lucinda Buxton at Mango PR to help me with my blog when I was in Bangkok last year. This is another London hotel I feel a special affinity to and I have had perfect meals there on my birthdays for the last two years.
I decided to make my first weekend in London, after moving to Hilton, Cyprus, perfect and achieved this goal thanks to 45 Park Lane, The Dorchester, The Ivy Chelsea Gardens, Four Seasons Park Lane and Threadneedles Hotel and, most important, seeing my godson again.
On 21 August 2016 I moved into the Hilton, Cyprus, as part of my new job working in Cyprus as a Bank Consultant, and I have quickly come to love this hotel & its brilliant staff.
First Class Train Travel, The Balmoral Hotel, Lunch at Harvey Nichols & The Edinburgh Fringe - Edinburgh, Scotland - August 2016
I decided to visit some of my best friends from my Bermuda days, before I move abroad again, and it was during the Edinburgh Festival.
I did the same thing last year and had not intended to post anything about this trip but Lauren (who works in PR at The Balmoral) was so sweet, my friends such fun to see and Edinburgh so vibrant that I have decided I must write something.
The Prêt-à-Portea (Fashion Themed) Afternoon Tea at The Berkeley Hotel in Knightsbridge - London, UK - August 2016
I stayed in The Berkeley hotel some years ago, when it was part of The Savoy Group and badly in need of refurbishment, and have since eaten in their Pierre Koffman & Marcus Wareing restaurants.
Having been taken to its Blue Bar recently, by friends from my Qatar days, and seen the hotel's radical stylish makeover, I decided the mother of my godson and I must try their famous Prêt-à-Portea (fashion themed) afternoon tea.
I first visited The Connaught for drinks before a 1980s backpacking trip to India, with friends from Shrewsbury School. We picked this venue because a friend's brother worked there, despite our lack of funds, and I will always remember the way we were treated like kings, despite our shabby appearance. This beautiful hotel will always have a very special place in my heart.
I have since stayed in a Carlos Suite at The Connaught and Nathalie Seiler-Hayez (the former General Manager) sent me champagne, after a problem with my brother's family in their Coburg Bar. I have quite a history with this legendary London hotel.
When I think about Sunday lunch in London, Roast is the first place that comes to my mind. It is by London Bridge, in Borough Market - this market is closed on Sundays.
The walk there, from my Barbican place, that Sunday was incredible in the sunshine and I was amazed, & pleased, to see a Pride flag flying over the Bank of England on the way.
Having loved Aberdeen Street Social in Hong Kong, I had to try Jason Atherton's Michelin-starred London flagship Pollen Street Social.
I also ate at Gordon Ramsay's Verre in Dubai when Mr Atherton was their Executive Chef, the London EDITION and Mr Atherton was the first British person to complete a stage at El Bulli, & so is regarded as an industry star. At Pollen Street Social he promises "fine dining with a twist".
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.
45 Park Lane is The Dorchester hotel's 45 room/suite, more expensive, chic contemporary sister hotel housed in a exceptional Art Deco building with a striking façade, with eco-friendly cooling fins, minutes walk from its stately 'older sister'. All rooms & suites in 45 Park Lane have large windows with views of Hyde Park.
45 Park Lane is famous for being the site of Hugh Hefner's first Playboy Club in Europe, which had the world's most profitable casino in the 1980s.
With all my stays at The Dorchester, and knowing John (the General Manager of 45 Park Lane) from his time at The Dorchester, I had to stay at this hotel and John made this possible.
When I said I was travelling through London after my GCC Tour, John (GM of Four Seasons Park Lane) generously offered use of their 'Early Morning Arrivals Suites', so I could have a shower.
In the end I had a shower; got a delicious light breakfast; rested for a few hours while admiring the views of London from the spa at the top of the Park Lane Four Seasons; got my iPhone6 recharged; and gained a new member of the 'gang'.
I cannot thank John, & his brilliant staff, enough for all they did for me that morning.
🐻🐻🐻🐻🐻🐻🐻 (7 out of 5 ‘teddies’) - John Stauss is definitely another 7 'teddy' Four Seasons GM and his opulent London hotel, with its friendly & helpful staff, fully deserve this top rating too.
Four Seasons Bahrain Bay's 'First Customer' returns for a Third Stay in a State Suite - Manama, Bahrain - May 2016
I first stayed in Four Seasons Bahrain Bay before it was open to the public & officially became their 'first customer'. I have stayed there again since and decided a third stay had to end my GCC Tour.
Greg (the General Manager) & Bob (the Manager) feel like old friends now and the hotel has gone from strength to strength over the 15 months since it opened.
Four Seasons Bahrain Bay now exemplifies the best of Four Seasons in terms of service, F&B & facilities and I am so proud to be known as its 'first customer'.
Having known GM Sam from my stays at Four Seasons New York and Baku, I had to stay at Four Seasons Abu Dhabi, despite it only opening around the time when my GCC Tour started.
I arrived for a one night stay only 10 days after the hotel had opened, with less than 1/2 the rooms/suites ready for occupancy. I have, therefore, decided it is unfair to 'teddy rate' this hotel at this time, despite my memorably brilliant stay.
Sam is a 7 'teddy' GM, with an excellent management team in Abu Dhabi & I know this hotel will reach the 7 'teddy' score in time.
Having adored my stays in the Four Seasons Dubai at Jumeirah Beach, one before it was open to the public, after my coffee at Mr Sharp's Toronto home, I decided I must stay at Four Seasons' second Dubai hotel.
Friends in Qatar had said this boutique-style 106 room/suite hotel was "too small". However, I agree with their GM Carlo that it is a jewel. It reminds me of Four Seasons' Berlin hotel (now a Regent). The DIFC hotel has some of the same smaller Four Seasons magic that this Berlin hotel had.
After my incredible stay at Raffles Le Royal in Phnon Penh in Cambodia, I decided I must try Raffles, Dubai, during my GCC Tour.
This pyramid-shaped hotel, from a Singapore hotel group, sounds bizarre but I ended up finding first class service and a vast tasteful suite that blew my mind.
Veuve Clicquot @ Four Seasons, Dubai, Jumeirah Beach with Mr Casson - what www.sifrew.com's dreams are made of - Dubai, UAE - May 2016
I know Simon Casson from when he was General Manager of the Doha Four Seasons & have stayed at his Jumeirah Beach Four Seasons hotel in Dubai twice already. Once before it was open to the public, after my coffee with Mr Sharp at his home in Toronto.
I was thrilled when Mr Casson said he had time for a drink with me and rushed straight from Dubai airport for this. I was so glad I did. He is one of my favourite Four Seasons GMs and is always so much fun to catch up with.
I lived in Qatar for more than 9 years & was a 'founding' member of the Doha Four Seasons' spa. I, therefore, had to make this hotel, & seeing my incredible Qatar based friends, part of my GCC Tour.
I was so glad I did. It was a perfect way to 'close my relationship with Qatar'.
Emirates (airline) Business Class flight from London, Heathrow to Dubai on a A380 & from Dubai to Doha in Business Class - May 2016
Having flown on the Qatar Airways & Etihad Airways A380s I decided it was time to fly on an Emirates A380 and my Four Seasons GCC 'Tour' was the perfect chance to do this.
However, my A380 plane from London was delayed and so we were late arriving in Dubai. I was told I could only board my 8am flight if I agreed to my luggage going on the 2pm flight. I replied this was OK.
I spent the afternoon at Four Seasons Doha waiting for the luggage only to eventually be told the luggage was coming on the 7pm plane.
I expected to get back to my suite at the Doha Four Seasons to find the luggage that night but it had still not arrived by midnight. I am now dreading my next four Business Class flights with Emirates in the next 10 days.
All this is such a shame as the crews on my planes were excellent. Now writing my complain, and request for compensation, to Emirates.
When I worked in Bermuda the 'great & the good' used to stay in the Mandarin Oriental, Hyde Park. Thanks to Peter in their Digital Marketing Department my dream to stay there came true.
This Edwardian-style hotel opened in 1902 as the Hyde Park hotel. It was originally built as Gentleman's Club but there was a fire there.
It was acquired by Mandarin Oriental in 1996 and reopened in May 2000 after a major (GBP57MN) renovation and redesign of the restaurants & bars. The hotel hosted Margaret Thatcher's 80th birthday party and, in 2011, it also hosted the UK Royal Family's pre-Royal Wedding party for the Crowned Heads of State attending Prince William's wedding the next day. I have eaten in 'Dinner by Heston' (Blumenthal) in the hotel, Foliage (when it was in the same space) and Bar Boulud in the basement.
As part of my stay at Mandarin Oriental, Hyde Park, I invited one of my best friends, the mother of my godson, to afternoon tea there.
I have had coffee in The Rosebery Lounge at the hotel before and always wanted to try afternoon tea in this indulgent room.
I used to stay at The Savoy in London regularly when I worked in Bermuda and before its purchase by Prince Al-Waleed and GBP220MN December 2007 to October 2010 refurbishment.
My parents and I came for a drink, just after it reopened in 2010, and were unimpressed by the haphazard service. Almost all of the staff had been made redundant while the hotel was closed and the new staff recruited were clearly still finding their feet.
On this stay it was a different hotel with cheerful staff who clearly knew exactly what they were doing and a breathtaking One Bedroom River View Suite that blew my mind.
With my plans to move back to my place in The Barbican in EC2, and the fact I formerly worked for the Bank of England, I decided it would be fun to stay in Hotel Threadneedles.
This 74 room/suite boutique hotel was the first luxury hotel in The Square Mile, London's traditional financial district. It is in the building that was the former Head Office of the London City and Midland Bank (now part of HSBC).
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.