The Hotel TerraVina Blog

People, sunshine and keeping the bank manager happy! Hotel TerraVina is in a philosophical mood…

I greatly enjoy people and am fascinated by how we interact with each other, the psychology of what makes us all “tick” and generally I just like people and people watching. However, now and then my interest, faith and kindness towards my fellow man is sorely tested.

I am left wondering in so many instances….Why are people so rude to each other? Why are they so mean to one another and so quick to point the finger of blame, often with no proof or evidence? Why are small businesses and those who own and work within them, giving their all, trying their best and working hard to please their guests and customers so unsupported by laws, regulations and just generally blamed and lambasted for anything people want to throw at them.

Do we all now lead such stressful lives that we have forgotten how to be nice to one another, have some common courtesy, good manners and general bonhomie to the rest of the population? It would seem the case and whilst I am mostly resigned to being in a people business where sometimes people seem to take pleasure in being horrible to all those who cross their path; just occasionally, every now and then it wears me down and makes me despondent for what seems to be old fashioned values which have been lost in the name of progress.

However, I am trying to stay positive and certainly the sunshine helps-what a glorious few days we have all enjoyed and actually the better weather and sunny moments do seem to bring out the better side of people and we all do generally seem to have more patience, tolerance and a few more smiles for those around us.

Thus let’s all wish the sunshine is here to stay and we have bright, warm and sunny days from now until Christmas!! Do remember we are in a lovely part of the world, have a fantastic team, all of whom are bright, smiley and super friendly and we would love to see you visit us again soon- the busier we are the happier we are- as is our bank manager (!) so we hope to welcome you back very soon and here are some TerraVina Temptations to help you chose a month to visit:

http://www.hotelterravina.co.uk/TerraVinaTemptations.asp

Till next time

Nx

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Hotel TerraVina welcomes back Gerard from his travels and Nina comments on the fact he’s home!

Sorry for the long gap between this latest blog and my previous one. Gerard has been away for almost a month travelling through Australia and New Zealand whilst studying for a Master of Science in Wine and I was left “holding the baby” and was busy juggling school runs, dog walking, hotel life, weddings, Mothering Sunday service and just general day to day dramas of life that makes the Basset household so frenetic and chaotic… I sometimes think that if there are two straws to be drawn, I seem to get the shorter one… Gerard is flying all around the world, tasting wine, enjoying the hospitality of some of the nicest people on earth, (wine makers), basking in warm sunshine and I am in wet and windy England, with a damp dog, sleepovers to manage and hotel boilers to repair!

Gerard arrived home on Monday of this week looking tanned, relaxed and surprisingly well considering he had been flying for 35 hours if you count the 6 or 7 hours of stopovers in lovely places such as Sydney and Singapore! I arrived at Heathrow to collect him at 5am in the morning looking harassed, exhausted and bad tempered having got up at 3 am to get there on time…guests love to hear of Gerard’s travelling adventures and often ask me why I don’t get to go with him… why indeed! As much as the idea appeals to me it’s just not feasible or possible, so I will just have to get on with multi tasking and hope the Spring brings some welcome sunshine!

Now Gerard is home and as always happens when he has been away for a time, it takes a few days to get used to each other again and for me to adapt to the fact that I have to share the house again with someone who (bless him) covers the dining table with books, causes me to have many more loads of washing and lots more dry cleaning to take and collect, share the dogs affection and cuddles when usually they are all for me and tells me off for staying up too late working or catching up on my favourite TV dramas on my I-pad in the middle of the night, BUT, there are some bonuses to having him home, apart from the fact that I miss him very much when he is away, and that is he brings me tea in bed each morning, he also opens very nice bottles of wine to have with dinner… so all in all the pros outweigh the cons of having him home and I hope he doesn’t depart again too soon…. Although I do get to have all the bed, the TV remote all for me, the best chocolates in the box with no one to share them and freedom to dance around the kitchen, singing badly with no one laughing at me… so roll on Chile and his next trip!

In the meantime, talking of trips away… if you fancy a quick jaunt to the New Forest and a stay away with us, then here are some TerraVina Temptations to tempt you soon!

http://www.hotelterravina.co.uk/TerraVinaTemptations.asp

‘Till next time

Nx

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To coin a Latin phrase… TerraVina says, “Three horrendus annus es super- Terminus !”

Anyone who knows Gerard and I, or who reads the blog now and then will be aware that the last few years have been a bit of a roller coaster for us, the team and the hotel overall.

A “marriage” not made in heaven, a long separation and an acrimonious divorce have been a few of the challenges we have faced in the last couple of years, BUT we have stayed focused, strong and determined and at last we feel we have reached the end of the tunnel and the light is brighter than it has been for a very long time.

We have been tremendously supported along the way by family, friends, our TerraVina team and a posse of experts and advisors, all of whom have been invaluable in keeping us sane, positive and determined to see through to the bitter end what has been a horrible situation.

However, along the way there have been tears, tantrums, bleak moments and the dismissal of two sets of legal experts. High Court proved to be fascinating, (twice), the legal speak and all those Latin terms became my 2nd language, it was a terrifically interesting learning curve and one that whilst we would have preferred not to have had a lesson in, ultimately it gave us an insight into who we really are, both as individuals, as a couple and a team and we have emerged the other side stronger, even more connected to one another and with a greater understanding of what is really important in life and it’s not money, success or material possessions- all of which can be lost in a blink of an eye. What really matters when your back is against the wall and you cannot see a way out of the “black hole” is love, support and friendship and a bloody brilliant lawyer- thank you so much Dennis for your belief in us, for your strategies, theories and for understanding how important the psychology of the whole sorry affair was to ensure success at the end….. In short you were brilliant and we couldn’t have got the results we have without you!

So in conclusion… besides all of the hard lessons we have learned, the ones that are most enduring is that no problem lasts forever and psychology is a fascinating subject!

Till next time

Nx

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Awards galore and a Huge Bravo to a great hotelier

Much to my surprise… actually I was “gobsmacked”, (such a horrible word, but the most apt to use), I was recently nominated for an Imbibe Magazine award for Hotel Personality of the Year. I was surprised for a number of reasons, no less than the fact that Imbibe is a very cool, trendy magazine specifically targeting the on trade and is very in touch with the exciting London bar scene… TerraVina hardly fits into being trendy, cutting edge or of course on the London scene; we are just a tiny hotel located in the depths of the country and more importantly I am not a “player”, big or small, in the scheme of things and there are many more worthy people to be considered for such an award.

However, someone nominated me for consideration, in fact apparently quite a few for me to have got through to the final list, so whoever they may be, many, many thanks… whilst I was very surprised to be nominated it was lovely to be considered. That said, when I saw the list of fellow nominees, for me one stood out as being a “head and shoulders” above us all… Andrew McKenzie, the ever charming, professional, highly regarded, very respected and just all round lovely chap who is the MD of The Vineyard Hotel in Newbury, Berkshire. He is a past Hotelier of the Year, he is renowned in hospitality circles and is just a super chap who I am thrilled to say did indeed win the award and he made the most worthy of winners- well done Andrew; it was an honour to be on the same nominee list as you and I am thrilled you won- Bravo!

The evening was most enjoyable- we were hosted very well by Imbibe and their numerous sponsors at the Rumpus Room, in the Mondrian Hotel, which enjoys magnificent views across the Thames and it was a lovely opportunity to meet up with friends, colleagues and peers… Gerard and I were also celebrating a hard fought victory and sorry to tease, but I will blog about that another time soon!

Till then, thanks for continuing to read the blog- it’s fun to write and hopefully enjoyable to read

Nx

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Hotel TerraVina muses on how, sometimes being an hotelier is very worthwhile…

The life of an hotelier is like many other professions not always an easy one. There are day to day challenges to overcome, be they due to staff issues, tricky guests, unforeseen operational problems and a wealth of other challenges besides, but on occasion there are days that prove to be inspiring and which make it all worthwhile… we have had a few such days of late and it certainly leaves you with a feel good factor.

Just before Christmas, we hosted a charity dinner, with the ever lovely Raymond Blanc as our guest speaker. He charmed the audience and a great evening was had by all. The charities we chose to benefit from the event were the hotels’ adopted charity, Rose Road and The Pelican Cancer Foundation, both of which are charities that have a special significance to us- we raised a good sum for them both. Whilst that is a great reward in itself, what is even more fantastic is when we visit Rose Road and see just where the much needed funds make a difference; the children and families such donations help are very special and to see them enjoying life in such a simple, uncomplicated way puts all the irritations and challenges life throws at us all clearly into perspective and stops you short.

On Sunday 18th January we hosted another very special event… we are blessed at TerraVina with a huge number of regularly returning guests, all of whom are a pleasure to look after. We have some guests who visit us every Sunday and have done so for many, many years. One such pair are the Messrs Tattersall. A father and son who come for Sunday lunch every week, almost without fail. Mr Tattersall, Snr turned 100 years old on Sunday 18th January. We of course could not leave such a special occasion un celebrated and so with his son’s blessing, we hosted a small lunchtime party for him, complete with birthday balloons, delicious lemon drizzle birthday cake and his favourite roast leg of lamb and gooseberry crumble as menu choices. There was delicious Champagne, kindly offered by other regular guests, a fantastic bottle of Pichon Longueville Baron, offered by yet another very special and regularly returning guest, presents galore and a very memorable and enjoyable afternoon was had by all.

However, more importantly, Mr Tattersall himself proved to be an inspiration to us all. He was sprightly, immaculately dressed, bright and sharp. He made a speech as the team clapped him into the restaurant and guided him to the table. He gave another speech when his cake was presented to him and then the whole restaurant erupted into song and applause for a thoroughly charming, decent and lovely chap on his very, very special day… and Gerard and I realised that being hoteliers on such special occasions such as those and having the ability to make someones’ day a little bit more special is very powerful and emotive and it is a privilege to be able to give such joy and happy memories to very special people who touch our lives but for a moment, but who leave such a lasting impression

Happy 100th Birthday Alfred- you are an inspiration to us all!

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Until next time

Nx

Ps: We would love to welcome even more guests regularly to TerraVina  and to tempt you back sooner than you may have anticipated here are some great Winter offers:

http://www.hotelterravina.co.uk/JanuaryFebruarySpecialoffer.asp

Always check the website, Face book and Twitter too for our late rates and offers.

http://www.hotelterravina.co.uk/Last_Minute_Hotel_Rates_New_Forest.asp

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Happy New Year from us all at Hotel TerraVina

Phew! I can’t say that we are not pleased to see the end of 2014 which turned out to be a bit of a rollercoaster year- certainly full of a few highs and many lows! However, we are looking forward with renewed vigour to the New Year and are hopeful that 2015 will be a much better year than 2014 turned out to be.

As some of you know we bade a fond farewell to some of our long standing team in the past year and it is with great pleasure that we announce that Charlotte and Lucy are now officially “at the helm” in  charge of the hotel and they are both doing brilliantly in their new roles of General Manager and Assistant General Manager respectively- they have both been with us a couple of years and we are very proud of them both and how they have adapted to their new responsibilities so readily and with great aplomb.

I thought it apt to start the year with a funny and positive blog… goodness knows there will be many ranting ones to follow in coming months (!) and so to that end, here are a few observations from guests (not TerraVina guests I hasten to add!) that amused and amazed us recently when we read them via TravelMail as published here….and with a link to full article: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/travel/article-2627129/Worlds-strangest-hotel-complaints-Unhappy-dogs-overly-handsome-waiters-goat-bells.html

Survey of hotel staff in 49 countries reveals hotel guests’ bizarre behaviour

  • Requests have included baths full of honey and crocodile soup for dinner
  • Guest wanted discount when he was kept awake by his girlfriend’s snoring

By TRAVELMAIL REPORTER

PUBLISHED: 14:31, 13 May 2014 | UPDATED: 15:04, 13 May 2014

The article goes on to say….

In these days of movie megastars and overly precious pop stars, we have all heard stories of celebrity guests who make outrageous demands of the hotels they frequent.

But it seems that many members of the general public can be just as diva-like – and delusional – when it comes to what they expect of the places in which they stay.

Outrageous orders and crazy complaints regularly stretch the patience of even the best-trained staff, according to a research conducted by flight comparison website Skyscanner.

The survey – which questioned 400 hotel staff in 49 countries – reveals a world of ridiculous and very funny comments.

Skyscanner compiled a list of the ten most unusual requests made by hotel guests – as well as the top ten most outlandish complaints, but as I am on a positive theme, I haven’t included the complaints in this particular blog!

The most unusual requests to hotel staff…

1. One glass of water on the hour every hour, through the night
2. 15 cucumbers a day
3. Toilet to be filled with mineral water
4. Bath filled with honey
5. Sound of goat bells to aid sleep
6. Only the right legs of a chicken to be served
7. A dead mouse
8. Bath full of chocolate milk
9. 16 pillows (for a single guest)
10. Crocodile soup

Skyscanner’s report states that other fantastical flashpoints included a guest stating that the bath in their suite was too big, and an animal lover who wanted a discount because his dog had not enjoyed its stay.

One guest was moved to raise a concern about the waiter who served them at dinner – saying he was too handsome for their liking.

The list of unlikely requests features a range of demands that would surely make the most riotous rock star or highly-strung actress blush.

One guest wanted a glass of water to be delivered to their room – on the hour, every hour, throughout the night. Another insisted that they could not drop off into the land of nod without the sounds of the mountains – and could a range of goat bells be provided?

Another wanted a dinner of chicken.

Not too outrageous, you might think – except for the fact that, the guest stipulated, only legs from the right side of the chicken should be served as part of the meal.

Other food-themed blasts from the barely believable included a customer who wanted a bowl of crocodile soup, and a weight-watcher who asked for 15 cucumbers per day.

Incredible en-suite-related wishes included baths filled with honey or chocolate milk.

And spare a thought for staff at the hotel where a guest demanded a further bathroom-linked change to the room: they wanted their toilet to be filled with mineral water.

Personally, I have to say some of these made me laugh out loud and others did not surprise me! For sure guests make an hoteliers life a challenge, fun filled, vibrant medley of who knows what might happen next moments and that’s why we continue to love what we do.

We do hope to welcome many of you back over the next year and please do keep reading the hotel’s blog ( I have fun writing it and it’s great to receive comments and to hear that guests enjoy reading it too) and please do keep an eye on our website and social media for all the special offers we have through 2015 to tempt you to continue to visit us… in fact if you fancy some rest and relaxation during January or February, have a peek at our special offers for both months:

http://www.hotelterravina.co.uk/JanuaryFebruarySpecialoffer.asp

 

Till next time

Nx

 

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Happy Christmas from the New Forest!

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Hotel TerraVina wishes you all a very happy Christmas, best wishes for the New Year and a request to come and visit us soon…

This is probably the last blog of 2014. I may have time to write a few lines before the end of the year, but just in case I don’t, may I take this opportunity, on behalf of me, Gerard, Charlotte and all the TerraVina Team to thank you for reading the blog regularly, liking TerraVina and continuing to visit as often as you do.

2. Front door wreath

Christmas Wreath on our very recognisable front door…

We hope to continue to welcome you back time after time to TerraVina and continue to design special breaks and offers to tempt you. The months of January and February are especially tempting…. take a peek!

http://www.hotelterravina.co.uk/JanuaryFebruarySpecialoffer.asp

christmashall

Some Christmas cheer in the hallway…

On a festive note, we are dressed and ready for Christmas

and the decorations are sparkling and twinkling brightly- we too are on sparkling form and are determined that 2015 will be a better, more successful year for so many reasons and so it is with much happiness and hope that we wish you all a very…

Merry Christmas and Best Wishes for a Happy, Healthy and Prosperous New Year

We hope to welcome you back to TerraVina often in 2015!

Until next time

Nx

rest

Festive spirit in the dining room…

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TerraVina enjoys some festive cheer and some amusing moments…

We have been busily preparing for Christmas and have dusted off the decorations, brought the trees out of storage and planned our Christmas themes. However, whilst I usually love decorating the hotel and the trees and watching everywhere transform into a winter wonderland, full of magic and twinkling lights, this year I have felt more like a Bah Humbug and have not truly got into the Christmas spirt yet. I think it is due to the disastrous Christmas that the hotel endured last year, albeit that the only positive to come out of the whole sorry saga was us realising how blessed we are to have such truly lovely and kind guests. Last year’s Christmas was tainted by the storms and the power cuts they caused and we like so many others were badly affected and the business has struggled to catch up with itself the whole year through subsequently. Thus I suppose it is with some apprehension that we approach this year’s festivities and we are all hoping and praying (and crossing fingers and toes!) that we don’t have a re-run of the 2014 disasters.

However, my humour was restored when a lovely friend forwarded me a link to 20 of the Best ever Holiday Makers complaints and I laughed until my sides hurt at some of the complaints people make… The 20 (best) or most ridiculous comments were first reported in the Telegraph, but here is the link in case you missed them… it really is worth a read- very, very funny!

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/travel/picturegalleries/5005019/20-ridiculous-complaints-made-by-holidaymakers.html

So with my sense of humour restored I will now tackle decorating at home and wrestling with a very over excitable Boxer dog who loves anything in a box, anything that rolls and pretty much any ornament or object that she knows aren’t hers’ to play with! I feel a fun but manic afternoon of decorating awaits me!

Whilst I don’t want to wish Christmas away, thinking ahead, we have a post Xmas treat to tempt you to come and visit us in January and we do hope to see many of you and welcome you back to TerraVina.

http://www.hotelterravina.co.uk/JanuaryOffer.asp

Till next time

Nx

 

 

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Hotel TerraVina and the Lyon trip part 2…

For those of you who read last week’s blog, this part 2 bit will make perfect sense, if you didn’t catch last week’s blog, ie: part 1 of the story, then please do so before reading this continuation as otherwise it won’t make much sense!

On my return to the UK, I switched my phone back on only to read a text from Gerard…. URGENT! Call me as soon as you have landed. My heart sank, my pulse raced and I thought… what now??? I called him and tried to be as sweet and friendly as possible, but it’s tricky to sound nice when speaking through gritted teeth. He explained that he had lost his USB key and could I locate it…. Where had he lost it? He didn’t know, (helpful!), but probably in, or near to Lyon airport or the airport hotel – he was too busy (and exhausted from the stress of the past 24 hours!) to locate it himself so he was delegating it to me- don’t you just love husbands!

Well, I am pleased to say I did locate it through canny detective work, (I deserve a wifely medal!) and it has been safely returned via air mail and a very efficient reception/housekeeping team at the NH Hotel in Lyon airport- many thanks for putting my faith back in customer service and for delivering efficiently on a promise to return it urgently.

So calm prevailed at home, albeit there was all sorts going on at the hotel and with the legal battle, but home was my oasis and my sanctuary to re-charge my worn out batteries and fraught nerves, (without Gerard there, (bless him!) to upset the peace and quiet for 10 days), only to have him back on Wednesday in his usual whirl of forgetfulness, quirkiness and eccentricity… even the dog sighs when he starts uplifting everything looking for what he has lost (again!). Of course no trip home would be usual without some mishap and this time it was that between leaving the airplane and getting in the car, Gerard’s watch somehow “flew off” his wrist and is now lost, but he was sure he lost it on the plane… I  e mailed the airline, who responded stating they were not the point of contact (why have that e mail address on their website then?) but that they had forwarded it to the right contact… a week on and still no response and of course now there is NO likelihood of ever having the watch safely returned to Gerard… it was a present and had much sentimental value, so is irreplaceable from that point of view which is a shame….. it is also shameful that FlyBe customer services are so shoddy and impolite that they cannot even respond to an e mail regarding lost property… I’ll stop now as I feel another rant coming on regarding shockingly poor customer services!

So at present Gerard is home, albeit he is in London every other day and we are all counting the days until his next trip and the next instalment of stress and adventures he shares with us… I’m hoping he forgets something very vital again on a future trip, but next time I have to fly to somewhere further away, like Australia or New Zealand maybe, I can stay there and have a holiday! We all love him dearly but he is very tiring to live with.

Till next time

Nx

ps. It’s girl power at TerraVina from  now on as we have Charlotte, Lucy, Ana and I in charge, (well I pretend to be in charge but really it’s Charlotte and her girls) with Suzi providing the backing (admin) support… I feel like I have created a girl band… move over Spice Girls, it’s the TerraVina Sisters taking over!

 

 

 

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Hotel TerraVina has a surreal weekend of highlights and low points – there’s never a dull moment…

I know it seems that I rant often (usually about Trip Advisor and bad service) and that often my life seems so full, complicated and busy, that even I think that some of the days I “live in” you couldn’t even make up and this past weekend is no exception. I found myself in Lyon, France, instead of at home organising a sleepover for Romy and a friend.

The weekend had started very well. Gerard and I had a very rare Saturday night off together to attend a friend’s daughter’s Bahmitzvah, which was a fantastic event with the most amazing after party- I have never seen such a stunning and stylishly decorated venue- truly magnificent and a great time was had by all. The next day I was due to take Gerard to Heathrow airport early in  the morning, thus avoiding the Remembrance Sunday gatherings and time for me to be back for lunch service.

However, the plans went awry when I had only 10 minutes more driving before I reached home. (2 hours from Heathrow).  I had a call from Gerard telling me he was about to board his flight, but that he had forgotten his driving license and needed it for his 10 days driving in France (he’s on a tasting trip in  Burgundy)

I was sure it wasn’t a problem and confidently assured him so and said not to worry I’d scan it to him-after all we live in an electronic age,  so I turned around and headed back towards the hotel (without going home) as there is a scanner there and not at home.  Annoyingly I had his license in my handbag, but had forgotten to remind him to take it from me. (thus it is of course my fault!)

Before scanning the document to him ready for his touch down in Lyon, I had a thought… I called the hire company in the UK, to check that they would accept scanned documents in lieu of a forgotten original. The customer service chap was very unhelpful, unsympathetic and declared it was not their policy to accept scanned documents, so it was the original or no car. What about if I drove back to Heathrow with the original, show them in the UK and then scan the documents to France, I hear you wonder? No that didn’t work for them either- had to be in his hand, in person and apparently all hire companies have the same policy, so basically tough… and then he put the phone down on me… I had been very calm, polite and hadn’t shouted once at him or his unhelpful manner, so really I didn’t think that was very nice!

Thus, as I currently don’t fancy a messy divorce, I felt I had no option except to book a flight to Lyon and an overnight hotel, as no return flights that day, as well as organising car parking at the airport and fly to my darling husband, with the license. In the meantime my dad had to bring my passport to the hotel whilst I was busy making arrangements on line and I was conscious I had to drive back to Heathrow in time to check in and not miss the flight. Thank goodness for parents who drop everything to come to your aid and make no fuss at doing so….. thanks very much Mum and dad for coping with all the dramas/crisis we throw at you on a fairly regular basis.

Of course there were more dramas on the way- I was supposed to be at a 1940′s swing band concert with Romy and his friend in the evening, so had to re- arrange all of that, (thank goodness again for my parents!) and the M3 was congested and then the M25 at a standstill, so I had to re- route to avoid traffic jams- luckily I know my way around the motorways and so with only minutes to spare, I arrived in time only to realise the only case I had with me for an overnight stay had a party dress, spare knickers, Gerard’s suit and a pair of curlers in it from our London stay!! Terminal 1 is soon to close, so no shopping options to buy some clothes, so I ended up with a “I Love a London” t shirt to wear home for Monday morning.

Anyway, I arrived in Lyon at 10.30pm, met Gerard, found the rental place and you know what, to add insult to injury, the receptionist at the hire car company, didn’t even once glance at the driving license and when I wearily pointed out that I had flown from the UK just for her to be able to have it in her hand, she shrugged arrogantly as only the French can do so well!!  I felt like climbing over the counter and shaking her by this time!

So now it’s Monday morning and I’m in Lyon in an airport hotel at 4.30am waiting to take the first flight home again ready for the next exciting instalment……that is a day in the life of Nina and Gerard Basset and Hotel TerraVina

Watch this space…. Till next week

Nx

 

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