This time last month P and I were in paradise. We have had quite a challenging year, so needed an indulgent and relaxing escape from it all. After lots of reading and research online we plumped for the beautiful Constance Le Prince Maurice in Mauritius; reading the Mr & Mrs Smith review we were sold and I’m pleased to say that it really didn’t disappoint. The hotel is small enough to be intimate and private, but also has a lovely atmosphere which can often be lacking in hotels of this size and bigger. 

The staff were so attentive and the selection of food and wine at the hotel second to none – the wine list was huge – a selection made my the hotel’s sommelier form all around the world, but with particular attention to South Africa. We really enjoyed trying various South African tipples in advance of our trip there next February! 

There were so many highlights at the hotel; the japanese and sushi restaurant was to die for, our romantic lunch for two on the beach (see picture above) and the floating bar and restaurant in the mangroves with resident Bull shark!

The rooms were beautifully designed with lots of natural wood finished which gave a classy, colonial feel. The spa was to die for and I also loved my early morning yoga classes in the beautiful gardens. I can’t recommend this place enough, if you are looking for somewhere to relax and be pampered then it is the place to go – I look forward to trying out  the other Constance properties in future!

LBM
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{Photography by Patrick Butler-Madden}

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Sri Lanka is one of the most beautiful countries I have ever visited – I have been a number of times and the scenery, food and gorgeous people that live there, never fail to impress me. The first time I visited was just after the Tsunami and I have been about five or six times over the years since and am so pleased to see that now the country is at peace again, tourism is really taking off and after years of unrest things are slowly returning to normal on this magical island. 

The first hotel I want to share with you is a must visit in the capital of Colombo. It’s a haven away from the bustling streets – the monochrome elegance hits you as you drive up to the entrance and this theme is continued throughout the public areas of the hotel. Our room (we were upgraded to a beautiful suite) was a palette of soft pastels; a stunning serene space to unwind after a day exploring the sites. I’m not sure I need to say any more – these beautiful pictures by my talented husband really do speak for themselves!


We booked through Mr & Mrs Smith, which as always was a pleasure, and there was a lovely welcome gift waiting for us in the room.


I’ve got lots more gorgeous Sri Lankan properties to share with you in coming weeks, it really is such a special place, if you haven’t been I would definitely move it to the top of your bucket list!


LBM

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{Images by Patrick Butler-Madden}


Happy New Year!

I’m very excited about 2013 and hope it is a wonderful year for all. I have to admit that after the excitement of the wedding and then our lovely honeymoon, followed by the Christmas break and a house move, I have struggled a bit to get back to work this January, but I’m here now!

Although I have to admit that I am still daydreaming about Mexican beaches and margharitas  and so thought that my first post of the year should reflect this! Welcome to Rosas y Xocolate, one of our favourite hotels that we visited on our honeymoon, in the beautiful colonial City of Merida. 

We were both in love with the design of the place – the pink colour pallete and the eclectic tiles and furnishings worked brilliantly to create an uber stylish retreat from the hussle and bussle of the streets outside. The roof top bar made some of the best margaritas that we had on our trip and the prawn and provolone salad as out of this world!

LBM
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{Images by my super talented husband, Patrick Butler-Madden}

For this week’s Home Away From Home I was utterly spoilt for choice by the latest guidebook from the world’s leading boutique hotel experts Mr & Mrs Smith. Dedicated to one of my favourite places, Italy, where fantastic food, a wealth of history and culture, stunning landscapes and inspiring interiors all combine to create a destination that really does have something that appeals to everyone. From Südtirol to Sicily, the book contains 32 hand-picked hotels – Italians take pride in their sense of romance, their history and their expertise, from all things cultural to the culinary and this book book celebrates that.

I’ve selected Follonico hotel set in the rolling hills of Tuscany to highlight as this week’s Home Away From Home. I just adore the simple and rustic styling throughout; an ancient typewriter perched on a dressing table, a vintage dress hanging on the wall, playfully mismatched crockery, it’s very much a hotel after my own heart.

Double rooms start at €145 a night. For more information or to book head to Mr & Mrs Smith where you can also buy the new Italy book – highly recommended if like me you love to spend time dreaming of Romantic Tuscan escapes!