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Where's the best place you've ever stayed?
I took my teenage daughter on a trip to Costa Rica. We decided to drive to La Fortuna to see the Arenal Volcano. The drive was rather stressful and took hours and hours, so we decided to stay overnight. We walked into the first hotel we came to, and luckily for us it was the Hotel Arenal Springs Resort and Spa. Reception offered us an amazingly cheap rate for one night, and then realised that the only room they had available was the hotel’s best suite; but they honoured their price and we were able to experience the splendours of this fabulous suite: There were three bedrooms, two bathrooms (with a huge Jacuzzi bath), two sitting rooms with wrap around balconies and stunning views of the Volcano. The ultimate highlight was the multitude of freeform landscaped pools fed from the hot springs. You could choose between relaxing in a hot or cold pool; either experiencing a raging waterfall, or a tranquil forest experience. There was even a water flume called The Monkey Slide built into the rocks!
What's your oddest travel moment?
I was in Uganda travelling around Jinja, near the source of the Nile. I couldn’t believe that even in the most remote rural village with no plumbing and very little electricity you could always buy an ice cold Tusker beer or coke. They definitely have their priorities straight
Have you had a perfect travel moment?
A romantic lunchtime picnic at Spier Wine Farm near Cape Town with my partner sticks in my mind as one of my most perfect travel moments. We collected a picnic hamper from the farm kitchen and sat overlooking The Eerste River in the warm, African heat, eating homemade rustic bread and organic cheeses while sipping dry white Sauvignon Blanc.
What are your suitcase essentials?
I always pack too much and worry that I’ve forgotten something, so I repeat the mantra “money, passport, tickets”…everything else can be bought during the trip. However, I never go anywhere without my kindle in order to banish any dull moments during the journey. I also love the fact that you can adjust the brightness in order to read at night on the plane, or in the bright sunshine. I also make sure I have my rechargeable power pack in case there is nowhere else for an emergency re-charge.
Where's next on your wishlist?
I am longing to experience the mystical splendours of the elusive Northern Lights. I haven’t been on an African safari for such a long time, and that is definitely on my list. Now my children are older I would like to upgrade our snorkelling experiences to learning to dive in the Maldives.