The Hotel TerraVina Blog

Hotel TerraVina’s very own Queen of Speed is deflated!

I am a self confessed “speed junky”… although I prefer the term “Queen of Speed”! The faster I can drive, weather, road conditions and of course speed limits permitting, the better. I like to drive fast, but I am always conscious of the speed limits. Not for me the cruise control button or speed limiter on a car- I can’t be doing with all those fancy gadgets as it stops you from thinking and being in control of the car… likewise I hate Sat Navs for the same reason as if you are listening to the Sat Navs dulcet tones and blindly doing as they instruct – well more than likely you may get lost or end up in a field- thus at a push it’s a map for me,  but mostly its follow my nose and my instinct and we will get there eventually- this of course drives Gerard mad, but as I do most of the driving- (I’m sure I am a better driver than him!), he just has to get cross and tut loudly….. and eventually he finds the route on the map where we should be going.

What seems like many years ago I completed an advance driving course and I loved it- the thrill of it all, driving fast, but in control, around bends and commentating as you did so was very exciting and for a birthday present I would love a spin around a race track, but so far no one has ever indulged me… (no hints here of course!) anyhow the reason I am baring my soul, letting me speed secrets slip and writing this is because, the week before last Romané, my mum and I went on our annual Menorcan trip. We set off for an overnight stay at Gatwick and just past Winchester Services we had a puncture and had to pull over and await the RAC- I had just had my nails painted so didn’t want to chip them changing a tyre; I know I am such a girl! The RAC chap was brilliant. He arrived within 30 minutes, was exceptionally friendly and helpful and the whole service was painless and efficient. However the painful part of the story was then getting back on the road with a temporary tyre in place which meant I could only drive at a maximum of 50 mph.

It’s not until you are forced to drive slowly when other people are flashing by doing 70mph or more, that you realize what a menace slow driving on a motorway is and how dangerous it is to drive so slowly. Of course all of the irate and some very rude drivers didn’t realize I was being forced to due to my temp tyre, but really some of the road rage and gestures were really very offensive!

Notwithstanding we eventually arrived at Gatwick and I was very pleased to abandon the car to the joys of Long Term car parking,  and sink into a bottle of wine to calm my frazzled nerves and to forget about the trauma for the next 10 days whilst I lazed by the pool… however, on our return, all suntanned, relaxed and chilled out, I did of course have to drive back to Hampshire once again at a snails pace and the road rage and impatience of other drivers was no less- eventually I could stand it no longer and left the motorway and drove across country on the A roads which meant 50mph was not so sedentary and the cars behind me could cope better.

My thanks to Mark and his team at Haydon Tyres in Cadnam who kindly ordered me a new tyre, (my tyres are never in stock as they are an unusual size), to be delivered the very next day and who put me back on the road with calm nerves and the ability to be the “Queen of Speed” once more- lovely my 1st trip back on the M3 was bliss!

Till next week

Drive safely


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Sun, sun, sun means fun, fun, fun…

When the sun has got its hat on the world comes out to play- how glorious it has been these past few days to be able to enjoy wall to wall sunshine. The hotel pool has been filled with happy guests all soaking up the rays whilst enjoying plenty of R&R and a few G&T’s and cocktails to add into the mix… the children who have stayed have all loved playing out on the lawns, cycling in the forest, splashing in the pool and of course visits to Peppa Pig World… we have had to buy endless supplies of sun cream and the al fresco terrace has come into its own with people partaking of leisurely lunches and long, slow dinners as the evening begins to cool down just a little.

Long may the lovely weather last as it makes such a difference to us all- people generally seem happier and friendlier. Everyone is more relaxed and thus more tolerant and kinder towards one another and the phone rings more often with people wanting to book a visit- all in all we love the sunshine as it gives us all the feel good factor.

As a nation we are enjoying plenty of feel good at present what with Andy Murray winning Wimbledon, very well done to him and then donating his winnings to a very deserved cause- what a generous and selfless gesture which should be applauded. Likewise how inspiring was the win of Marion Bartoli- well done her for winning with such courage and determination and shame on John Inverdale of the BBC for making such a cruel and unkind comment about her Her sporting triumphs should have been applauded by him rather than the unkind comment he did make . The Lions won their game, hopefully the cricket will go our way, (I know nothing about cricket, but good luck England all the same) and then of course there is an imminent Royal arrival for us all to celebrate.

Let’s hope the sun keeps shining and brings us all some much deserved health, wealth and happiness!
Till the two weeks from now!
There won’t be a blog for a couple of weeks but there will be another one before the end of the month

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Tour de France chez TerraVina

Tour de France chez TerraVina

Here’s a little known fact, when Gerard was very much younger and living in the beautiful region of Provence, he was fanatical about cycling and used to cycle every spare moment that he could find. He has cycled up and down the Mont Ventoux on a few occasions, in all weathers, be it in searing heat, battling against the Mistral wind and the occasional very heavy rain too. Cycling was his first love well before wine came along and took its place and so it was with a real sense of pleasure that Gerard was able to marry his two loves together; he still greatly enjoys cycling, although now it is watching cycle races, rather than participating in them actively, by following their progress in TV coverage or reading about the well known cyclists in their auto and biographies.

In his role as an Ambassador for French wines, working with Sopexa UK, Gerard has made a number of videos which coincide with events that are happening across the Channel, such as one about the Cannes Film festival and now his latest one being all about wines to drink if you were following the route of the Tour de France:

Have a look and enjoy sipping a glass or two whilst watching the race on the TV.

This week has been very sunny and warm in the forest and we have had many guests take to their cycles- the forest is such a great place to cycle through and for those of you who are coming to stay soon and fancy a two wheeled tour then let us know in advance and we can put you in touch with some great cycle hire people who can help you to organise your trip and provide the cycles too.

In the meantime, happy cycling or watching the Tour de France from the comfort of an armchair… Gerard is already in reminiscing mode of his glorious cycling days, but somehow I can’t imagine him in cycling shorts these days!

Till next week


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From small acorns do mighty trees grow…

A number of months ago I was invited to be a judge at the Caterer Magazine, annual Acorn Awards. The Acorns recognize 30 talented hospitality industry individuals, under 30 years of age, who are currently and will continue to influence the industry as they progress through their careers. George Blogg, our very own Executive chef is a past Acorn winner and a number of our past protégés have been winners over the years. Thus it was with pleasure that I was involved in the judging process this year, which culminated in a trip to Darlington, two weeks ago, to the very smart Rockcliffe Hall Hotel, who hosted the awards lunch superbly and where the 30 happy winners received their Acorns.

It is a great event and one which many young, talented and ambitious hospitality individuals aspire to achieve. Well done to this year’s 30 winners, all of whom are impressive in their determination to succeed and their drive to improve standards for those working in the industry and for their guests alike – all of the nominees were strong candidates and the winners are an inspiration to all of us.

On the subject of talent, we hosted an event at TerraVina this week where four young students had a day cooking with George and his team. The youngest was only 10 years old and the eldest 16 years old and we were so impressed by their enthusiasm, their interest and their wholly exemplary behaviour. Well done to William, Daisy, Cornelia and Jack and huge congratulations must go to William for being such a “star” on the day. To read more about their day with us click on this link:

Whilst on the subject of achievement, I must also mention my brilliant, clever and utterly gorgeous son, Romané, who has done fantastically well in all of his end of school year exams and of whom, his Papa and I are so proud, as he has been offered a place to study and perform with the Nuffield Hampshire, Youth Theatre Company in September- well done Romané!

And my final starry mention must go to Lucy, who was our graduate trainee at TerraVina for the past (almost) year. She has taken 3 months off to prepare for her return to uni, but we won’t be letting her go so easily and she is coming back to us in September. Lucy arrived at TerraVina as a 2nd year tourism student from Bournemouth University, full of enthusiasm and smiles, but never having worked in a restaurant or hotel before.

I must admit I did inwardly groan at the prospect of having to spend weeks on end teaching her the basics and instilling in her the ethos of TerraVina, not because I don’t enjoy the training, but generally it is a hard slog and uphill struggle for both the student and us for so many weeks and they often fall by the way side- however Lucy turned out to be the “Star” of the pack, the best of the bunch, in all the 6 years we have been welcoming two graduates per year to TerraVina and so much so that we are keeping her as a part timer when uni re-starts in September and we have offered her a position to rejoin us full time once her course is finished this time next year- Lucy may well be a future Acorn Award winner so watch this space!

Well done again to all those who we have had the pleasure to judge, work with and be parents of this week and who have done so brilliantly in their achievements.

Till next week


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University days and the fun of being a student all over again

It is many, many years since I was a student, but at the beginning of this year I went back to school, well university actually and signed up for a Digital Destinations programmed, in conjunction with Bournemouth University School of Tourism. This was a pioneering project in conjunction with the university and the Economic and Social Research Council. The aim was that a group of dynamic and varied businesses, all hospitality or tourism biased, from across Hampshire and Dorset, would work alongside a 3rd year, Tourism graduate student. A student was be allocated to each business and looked at how digital media can influence, help and strengthen businesses and we were then tasked with making and embracing the changes and suggestions the students made and to monitor the effects of such improvements and factors over the course of a number of months.

The programmed started in November and we have just handed in our projects in June and I have to say that it has been a wholly enjoyable, fun and most rewarding project to be involved with. My team, we called ourselves “AppsFab” were fantastic. We all got on so well and have pledged to ensure we stay in touch as we were extremely supportive and positive towards each other and spurred one another on when it all got a little bit daunting.

We were offered tremendous support from the project influencers, Dr Philip Alford, Head of Tourism at the university and Maureen McAlister of McAlister and Co.  They were both very different in their approach but both ensured that we all learnt much about digital marketing and social media and how to use it more effectively in our businesses.

It seemed odd going back to studying, but actually whilst I wouldn’t want to become a full time student again it was great fun- it makes you realize and appreciate the camaraderie that we probably all took for granted when we were proper students all those years ago and just how nice it is to have that feeling of so little responsibility that you have as a student as opposed to a business owner… it was one day a month of sheer, selfish learning pleasure and I loved it! Albeit we were set homework and that’s never the fun bit although the presentations at the end by al of our “AppsFab” members were brilliant and the star of the show was undoubtedly my friend Mel from Acorns B&B in Lyndhurst who had arrived at the start of the course knowing little more than how to send an e mail (she won’t mind me telling you that) and ended up producing her very own, amazingly professional and hugely entertaining video of her digital journey- she was a revelation and an inspiration to us all… and I must of course mention Nigel, who is now a freelance PR and marketing consultant with special attachment to Exbury Gardens. Nigel is a super chap who we have worked with at TerraVina for many years in our happy association with Exbury, but who knew he could rap like Puff Daddy??

All in all it was a brilliant few months and a pleasure to have been involved- many thanks to all my fellow “AppsFabbers”- I mentioned two of them, but all were brilliant and of course to Philip, Maureen, Jane, Lisa and all the team- a great project and I do hope it is repeated next year for other lucky business owners to enjoy.

Till next week


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From: Nina's Blog

“Top 5 New Forest Real Ales and Where to Try Them”

Guest blog from Roy Duffield

This post is brought to you by Roy Duffield, AKA the Drinking Traveller. Roy has travelled to over 60 countries, drunk more than his fair share of real ale, and also writes for Brighton-based travel company, Holiday & Adventure. He hopes you enjoyed reading this post, and that you enjoy visiting the New Forest and tasting its beer even more.

Ringwood Brewery

When one thinks of real ales in the New Forest, the Ringwood Brewery springs immediately to mind. For those who know their Hampshire beers, Ringwood is the undisputed king. All of the beers here at the Hotel TerraVina are Ringwood born and brewed.

We also recommend that visitors to the New Forest visit the Royal Oak in Fritham, because there is nothing quite like sampling a pint of Ringwood real ale, fresh out of the barrel. The Royal Oak, nestled at a crossroads in the heart of the New Forest and less than an hour’s cycle from TerraVina, is one of the oldest pubs in Hampshire, dating back to the 1600s and complete with thatched roof and red brick stylings. Lovely hosts, Neil and Pauline, will make you feel more than welcome and can advise you on the best of their ale selection.

Ringwood’s classic is their “Best Bitter”, but they have also made their name with Old Thumper – 1988’s “Champion Beer of Britain”, Boondoggle – a blonde – and this writer’s personal favourite: Fortyniner. If you’re visiting the New Forest this summer, be sure to also look out for Lovey Warne (June), Shipyard IPA (July) and Bold Forester (August).

The Ringwood Brewery is located in the historic town of…you guessed it, Ringwood. The store is open from 9:30am until 5pm and you can visit the Ringwood website for more information on day tours and group tours of the brewery.

Downton Brewery

Now Ringwood might be king, but that doesn’t mean it is the only great brewery in Hampshire, or even in the New Forest. Oh no, there are many, and they are all competing for the crown.

Second on our list is the Downton Brewery, located in Downton, Wiltshire, just outside the New Forest – though the beers it produces are readily available throughout the Forest itself. A relative “newbie” on the Hampshire brewing scene, Downton was only established in 2003. However, in that short space of time it has amassed a selection of six core, award-winning beers that include the famous Chimera IPA, Honey Blonde, and the aptly named “New Forest Ale”. They are also celebrating their 10 year anniversary with the release of Downton X, a spicy amber ale that is only one of almost 20 additional, speciality beers. Yes, this is no small operation!

Red Shoot Brewery

The Red Shoot is another great pub in the New Forest area. But what makes it special is that it also has its own brewery – not to be confused with the Ringwood brewery, with which it shares the town of Ringwood.

The pub serves Wadworth ales, as well as its own selection, which includes New Forest Gold, Tom Tipple – probably their most popular beer – and “Red White & Brew” – a hoppy, zesty golden ale brewed specially for the Royal Wedding and kept on by popular demand. This one is perfect for those long, hot, summer afternoons in a New Forest beer garden.

The Red Shoot can be found on Toms Lane, Linwod, Ringwood, BH24 3QT and even has its own campsite. Don’t miss the annual beer festivals in July and October, as well as a weekly pub quiz every Thursday, and frequent live music.

Vibrant Forest Brewery

The little known Vibrant Forest Brewery is actually located in the town of Totton, directly on the borders of the New Forest, so we’ll let that one slide. Despite being relatively small, Vibrant Forest are fast making a name for themselves on the beer festival circuit, with their flagship ale, Ginger Ninja, and others, doing the rounds of the UK. Expect to hear more from these guys!

For their full selection, visit:

New Forest Cider

“What’s that?” I hear you ask. “Cider? On a list of New Forest real ales?”

Well, while there are few beers in the Hampshire region that could compete with the four listed above, I felt it would be unfair not to mention the New Forest Cider brewery in Burley. I am working on the premise that a lover of real ale will also be able to appreciate a good cider. Correct me if I’m wrong.

Anyway, their delicious ciders are second to none for miles around and are brewed using traditional West Country processes. They also make a Perry, which this writer is, again, very fond of. Plus their ciders can be purchased in a traditional two-and-a-half litre “flagon”. The farm shop and stable gallery can be found on Pound Lane in Burley – only 20 minutes drive from the Hotel.

More real ales and pubs in the New Forest

Though brewed outside the New Forest in nearby Winchester, Batch Brew is a new range of exceptional craft beers which are distributed throughout the pubs in the area. If you get a chance to try one, do it!

In addition to those mentioned above, see this full list of real ale pubs in the New Forest:

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Hotel TerraVina has been smudging!

A dear friend who is keen on Feng Shui, mentioned smudging to me recently… does anyone now what it is? I didn’t have a clue what smudging was and was intrigued to find out more. Put simply, when a place is filled with people, be it a workplace or home, over time negative energy accumulates and eventually the building becomes heavy with negativity which can have an adverse effect on those that are “living” within it. This fascinated me and bearing in mind that Hotel TerraVina’s signature colour of orange was specifically chosen for its happy thought provoking and feeling of well being properties, I was keen to smudge!

I ordered smudge bundles- white sage, although a variety of dried herbs can be used, from California, but they are available in the UK from Herbalists and other such places I’m sure. I just fancied feeling even more like a hippy having herbs from California. My bundles arrived last week and I have been itching to smudge…. I got my chance on Tuesday, when the hotel was quiet and peaceful. I lit the bundles, took a deep breath and smudged through the hotel, smudging any staff who I encountered en route…. People can be smudged just as effectively and in fact an hour later, when I had finished, I had such a sense of calm and peace- my aura was feeling very positive! I’m going to look out my psychedelic trousers (Suzi and Laura hate them!) with the big flowers all over them and the bell bottoms and go back to my 60’s roots. I know I don’t look old enough to be a 60’s child, but happily I am.

Suzi was bemused, as were the rest of the team and of course they all think I have finally gone mad (they have suspected it for a while I’m sure!). Suzi warned me not to set the fire alarms off and I am relieved to report that I didn’t.  The smell is a little pungent… actually not unlike mood enhancing drugs – albeit, I hasten to add that I don’t have first hand experience of taking such drugs, but as a Hotel Inspector I did visit a restaurant in a trendy part of London, where all the other diners were smoking something which smelt very pungent and made me feel like I was floating away with the fairies… but that’s another story!

Thus as well as the hotel, I have since smudged the house, my parents house, our cars, the puppy, my parents, myself and Gerard and Romané are on the list when I can catch them! I am confident that all negative auras have been banished and the hotel and everywhere else are once more in a balanced, calm and happy state- if I have gone mad, a least I feel peaceful, calm and at one with the fairies!

On a different note, but still with a Japanese theme (I think Feng Shui is a Japanese tradition?),  Gerard helped to host a fascinating dinner last week. It was part of the Discover the Origin programme where different foods are married with each other and wines paired to the foods… his topic was Japanese food, paired with Parma ham, Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese and Burgundian and Douro wines. The Japanese restaurant, Tsukiji Sushi, at The Westbury was the venue for the dinner, where a number of journalists were invited, including food and wine and also travel writers, all of whom enjoyed the experience. Gerard thought it was most interesting and greatly enjoyed discovering that actually the foods and wines married well with each other in many instances and some of the dishes were delicious

Here’s the menu and the wines to give you a flavour of how different it was:


-          Perle de Vigne Crémant de Bourgogne NV Louis Bouillot


-          Tuna Tartar with Parma Ham (22months), red onion, myoga (ginger bud) and shiso leaf with truffle oil, tomato, yuzu miso and Parmigiano-Reggiano Cheese (30months) curl.

-          Santenay, « les Charmes », Domaine Roger Belland, 2010

-          Grilled Oyster with Parmigiano-Reggiano Cheese (22months), Sweet miso, Moromi miso and sesame seed.

-          Bourgogne Aligoté, Domaine Jean-Phillipe Fichet, 2010

-          Salmon Tataki (seared) with Yuzu Ponzu Jelly and Parmigiano-Reggiano Cheese (22months) crisp

-          Quinta do Crasto Reserva Vinhas Velhas, 2010

-          Filo King Prawn with a wasabi Parmigiano-Reggiano Cheese (22months) yoghurt, Parma Ham (22months), roasted pine nuts

-          Quinta de la Rosa, 2010

-          Black Cod with sake rice bran, Parma Ham (22months), Parmigiano-Reggiano Cheese (22months) and sweet miso ume (plum) vinaigrette

-          Rully, “Les Cloux”, Domaine H&P Jacquesson, 2011


Fig and Parma Ham (22months) Tempura

with ume (plum) syrup and sesame seed

-          20 Year old Tawny, Graham’s

All in all, a bit of a different or even bizarre week (if you count the smudging), but fun all the same!

Till next week… Peace Man!


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From: Nina's Blog

UK Sommelier of the Year Competition

Knowing what a competition “junkie” Gerard is, even though he himself has retired from competing, he remains very involved in competitions, be it through mentoring his protégées, organizing and planning the competitions, writing the questions and devising the scenarios and judging and performing as Master of Ceremonies…. in short he loves the buzz that a competition gives him. I try to understand the pull and the excitement but as I don’t have a competitive bone to my name, I have to admit I don’t really share his enthusiasm, although I enjoy watching the competitions, especially he is now no longer a competitor… far too stressful when he was!

Thus on Tuesday, Gerard was on stage as Head Judge at the UK Sommelier of the Year and Romané and I were in the audience with friends, enjoying the “show”. Our newly promoted Head Sommelier, Tanguy Martin did very well. He got through to the quarter final, in a starting race with over 100 other candidates and came 7th overall, which was a great achievement when you consider it that he is a competition novice and was up against some much more experienced candidates.

Clement Robert was the well deserved winner and a great event was had by all. Gerard was very happy to be involved and the audience all pronounced the day to have been most informative, enjoyable and fun.

The rest of half term has been a whirl of camping (only for Romané, with friends)… can you imagine Gerard in a tent!! A Race Centre birthday party which was brilliant fun and trying to chase the sunshine when it peeked (rarely) out from behind the clouds. Now it’s almost the weekend again and then we will have arrived in June… where is the year going to? Time seems to pass by so quickly, but at least the Summer should be arriving soon and with it happy guests, Pimms by the poolside and al fresco dinners.

Till next week


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A star is born… London last week for Decanter Man of the Year and Cannes this week (sort of!) for the Film Festival.

For the many who know Gerard well, you will be aware that he spends much of his time travelling to far flung places to taste wine, visit vineyards and generally have a lovely time surrounded by anything wine related… oops! Read that as him working very hard in a wine related industry. Actually I jest, as he does work extremely hard and his trips are not “jollys” as he is often travelling on his own, living out of a suitcase and working hard giving lectures, presentations, conducting wine tastings and judging… have I sounded sympathetic enough do you think?

However, he did stop in England long enough to be presented with his Decanter Man of the Year title recently and a great time was had by all. On the evening of the presentation Gerard’s acceptance speech was even longer than Gwyneth Paltrow’s infamous Oscar acceptance and he managed to thank everyone in the room, all 70 odd people! However, I would also like to add most heartfelt and grateful thanks to not only those who were with us to share such a fabulous and memorable evening, but also to our hosts, Sara Kemp and her brilliant Decanter Magazine team, who hosted the 1st part of the evening and Arnaud Christiaens  and Frederic Zantman and their team, who so kindly surprised us with limousines and a superb dinner at Blakes, with fabulous wines, to ensure the evening was rounded off so brilliantly and spectacularly.  Thank you doesn’t seem to cover it, but Gerard, Romané and I were so genuinely bowled over by the warmth of friendship, the high regard and respect that Gerard was given and the generosity of those who know and love GB- huge thanks to you all.

There are photos galore and videos of the whole event and each one captures perfectly the spirit, the fun and the warmth of the evening- it was a most memorable time and we are so fortunate to have been blessed with so many lovely people to call our friends and colleagues. Here are some links for those who want to see more and read all about it

Gerard Basset Honoured at Decanter Man of the Year Dinner

Gerard Basset Decanter Man of the Year, 2013

Following on from that success, Gerard then became a temporary film buff extraordinaire and in his role as Ambassador for French Wines, was asked to comment on the Cannes Film festival and marry some of the films to be screened and judged in Cannes with wines…sadly he wasn’t actually in Cannes, or I would have had to have travelled with him for once just to organise his suitcase! Romané and I were amazed at his knowledge of the films and film stars and were very impressed by his choices and comments; see what you think………

Thus all in all a busy couple of weeks and I have run out of time to continue planting lavender bushes, (a propos my gardening leave) which is just as well as even the bumble bees are dizzily overwhelmed with the scent of the lavender in our garden!

Till next week


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A big thank you to TerraVina!

This week we have a lovely guest blog that someone wrote after a stay at the hotel.  They have asked for anonymity but many thanks for letting us post this on the blog! HT

It’s not very often one can say a stay at any hotel has gone without hiccups.  In fact, of all the places I’ve travelled to, even the nicest hotels have had a; “could do better”. That’s not because I am overly fussy of course but because I personally believe that we can all improve upon what we do, whatever that may be.

However, I was fortunate enough to stay at Hotel TerraVina a little while ago – which was a kind of ‘congratulations’ on passing my Masters Degree.  I wanted to have a night away from the previous months of stress studying and inevitably needed some ‘me’ time and it was the best night I’d had in a long, long time.

Now I have travelled to many places over the years and if I’m honest have probably never really slummed it anywhere, but I’ve always tried to find hotels that offer good service – something that I think is the most important aspect of any break away.  You can put up with a lot if you get a smile and responsive staff who actually care about what they are doing for you.

So when I went to TerraVina I was pleasantly surprised not only by the level of service but just how friendly a place it is.  Nina arranged for me to have a beautiful room with a bed that was gloriously sized and the veranda with views of the forest was a welcome sight after a long week.  However, that was only the tip of the iceberg on a night that will be remembered for a very long time.

I went down to dinner at around 7.30pm and was promptly offered an aperitif before sitting down to a wonderful meal.  One thing I love about TerraVina is that you are not forced to listen to music while you eat. The restaurant therefore is definitely a place you go to with friends to talk and enjoy conversation with, something that anyone who wants to celebrate an evening appreciates!

I was offered different wines with each course of my meal (The very talented Laura providing her expert guidance) and as you would expect each wine complimented my food perfectly, which is a testament to how skilled the team are at TerraVina.

During dinner I felt Susie went above and beyond to make my meal a memorable one and along with the other team members in the restaurant that night, was attentive, smiled and most of all, made me feel extremely welcome. And it wasn’t a forced attentiveness either. One gets the sense that every member of the TerraVina team enjoys what they do immensely.

The trouble now of course is that every new hotel I venture to will always have to compare to TerraVina and I suspect that is going to be impossible to live up to. There are five star hotels that provide a certain type of service but it is a shallow one.  Yes the silver cutlery looks nice and the staff, perfectly turned out, but the pretentiousness is all but evident and to me that is not a place I enjoy staying in.

TerraVina offers a top class service but from a team who are genuinely passionate about what they do and it really shows in everything that they do.

So I would like to thank Nina, Gerard and of course the many people that make up the TerraVina experience for a wonderful stay, a beautiful meal and an atmosphere that is most welcoming for anyone celebrating (or not).  I will be back!

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