Having fantasised about the meandering streets of Paris whilst reading French literature, and having fallen asleep listening to Peter Sarstedt singing ‘Where do you go to my lovely?’, I had arrived – and this was really arriving.
“Seated a deux along the pretty paved harbourside of the terracotta-coloured UNESCO world heritage city of Porto, an inky Ramos Pinto Duas Quintas 2009 from the Duoro valley glugged into my wine glass.”
“Stoke Place was built as a family residence in 1690, and little did they know that one day an enthusiastic hotelier would fill an entire wall with empty picture frames, paint the staircase a duck egg blue…”
It was my first evening at Banyan Tree Double Pool Villas in Phuket and an excitable looking Thai man was beckoning me away from my bubbly. “Miss Jessie, please follow me, I have something to show you…”
“This round office had a view through three imposing windows, and the whole rummy thing was decorated like a luxury apartment; it wasn’t like an office at all!” Jonesy stays at the Morning Post’s former HQ…
“I found myself at the chic new concrete concourse that is Kings Cross at the hitherto unheard of hour of 8am, to catch a train to the unknown quantity of Middlethorpe Hall in deepest Yorkshire.”
“When it comes to staying in a hotel in your home city, the test for me is how far it takes you out of the daily routine: the softening of the harsh edges of day-to-day life; the dulling of reality.”
“Cyprus beckons; the birthplace of Aphrodite, far enough south for warmth and with a promised 320 days of sunshine per year, moussaka, mezze, aniseed spirits in small clear glasses.”
“I stare into the bevelled edge, floor to ceiling mirrors running around the room. Drifting my fingers over the notched glass handle of the wardrobe, I lose myself in visions of ’20s glamour…”
“Sometimes I still can’t believe there is a place called the Stanglwirt. It has a Narnia quality, and how I wish I could retreat to the back of my cupboard and enter into its reception daily.”
“The Grove, London’s self-proclaimed country estate, has played host to everyone from Kylie Minogue to Johnny Depp.” Jess embarks on a celebrity safari in Hertfordshire.