The joys of a family trip to Lapland to meet the REAL Father Christmas

We’re told we are heading to the sorting office to deliver some festive letters. But when Sparkle the elf pushes open the door to the log cabin, surrounded by fir trees and lashings of snow, it’s the man himself who greets us – the real Father Christmas. From a front-of-a-festive-card perspective, he looks very convincing. … Read more

The Inspector calls at The Grand hotel in York and loves the location – but says the decor is ‘dull’

The Inspector calls at a hotel in a ‘magnificent’ building that’s perfectly placed for exploring York’s highlights… but he complains that it feels ‘dull and corporate’ The Inspector checks into The Grand hotel, which lies near York train station  The building it occupies was once home to the North Eastern Railway Company Remember, he pays … Read more

A guide to South Africa’s beautiful Cape winelands from top vineyards to gorgeous places to stay

The Stellenbosch/Franschhoek region of South Africa is ideal for viticulture. It’s where you’ll find the Leeu Estate, where husband-and-wife team Chris and Andrea Mullineux (above, with their children) make wine There’s no contest. Australia’s Barossa Valley, Margaret River, and Mornington Peninsula, Napa Valley in the USA, Marlborough in New Zealand — all spectacular but no match … Read more

From Elvis’s diamond Omega to watchmaking lessons: The timeless joys of Switzerland’s ‘Watch Valley’

The streets in Geneva’s old quarter are busy with tourists enjoying some early-autumn sun. On the Grand Rue, one of the most prestigious of these streets, lies the Initium workshop where Fabiano Pericles is about to introduce me to his craft. The master horologer with an infectious passion for watch-making sets a daunting task. On … Read more

Berisha: Rama cannot escape the confrontation with the people

15:42 11/11/2022 The police should not become mercenaries of Edi Rama Sali Berisha was reserved about the scenario of the protest called by the opposition on Saturday afternoon, but he told Edi Rama that the citizens will demonstrate their anger towards his misgovernance in any form of civil disobedience. “The opposition people will use all … Read more

Inside the England World Cup team’s teetotal Qatar hotel – where rooms cost from £64

The demurely dressed woman at check-in makes herself clear. ‘This is a “dry” hotel, so there’s no alcohol at all.’ Then she hands me a brochure and says: ‘But we do have a spa with all these treatments.’ It’s hard to see how a spa stands in for a bar — and harder still to … Read more

The Inspector is impressed by Parador 44, a new boutique hotel in Cardiff that’s inspired by Spain

A slice of Spain… in the middle of Cardiff: The Inspector is impressed with a new hotel in the Welsh capital that transports him to sunnier climes The Inspector checks into Parador 44, which sits above the acclaimed Asador 44 restaurant in the city centre His top floor room is ‘neat and tidy’ and he’s particularly … Read more

Inside the Aman New York – Manhattan’s most expensive hotel, where rooms start at $3,900 PER NIGHT

The new Aman New York hotel has a gigantic spa covering 2,300 square metres across three storeys – and features a sensational 20-metre swimming pool. With firepits. The ultimate spot in Manhattan for alleviating stress? It turns out the entire hotel is the ultimate Big Apple stress-buster. A temple of tranquillity for generation zen. Even … Read more

Hallowed ground for Americans: Inside the Cotswold hotel that’s hosted kings and the Hollywood elite

Inside the 14th Century Cotswold hotel that’s hosted a glittering array of names from King Charles I to Elizabeth Taylor (no wonder it’s hallowed ground for touring Americans) Sarah Hartley visits The Lygon Arms, a coaching inn in the village of Broadway with ‘easy to devour history’ She finds the 86-room hotel has an unstuffy … Read more