Summer at The Hut, Isle of Wight

28 Jul 2014, by Niamh Barker

Could there be a better way to celebrate the first Sunday of summer with no school in the morning than to take a rib over to Isle of Wight for supper? My family and I were headed for The Hut which opened last year in Colwell Bay, on the island’s northwest coast. Resisting the urge to check out The Haven in Lymington Marina first (Radio 2 presenter Chris Evans has recently become a partner in the restaurant and we spotted his elegantly impressive California Spyder parked in the marina), we set off.

Adam, my stepson, was at the helm (always good to have someone in the family with a Master Yachtsman qualification if, like us, you live on the South Coast) but it was a slow start. You have to snail out of the Lymington  River at 10 knots or below, which is fine for Ben Ainsley in his sailing yacht, not so good for us in our speed machine. But once out of that restriction area, we turned the knots up to 30 and bounced over to Colwell Bay in 15 minutes.

There, at the edge of the beach, is The Hut . It looks like– you’ve guessed it – a very large beach hut, its name emblazoned on its roof. The storms that battered the South Coast last winter flattened all the surrounding beach huts. They have since been resurrected and are now painted in stripes of ice-cream colours. The Hut, meanwhile, is chic in simple taupe, its wooden decks set with white tables and blue chairs, shaded by parasols.

Get our feet wet? Not us. A chap called Charlie came out in his tender to whisk us ashore and swiftly we were settled at our table for 7.

Moules marinère, lobster linguine, fillet steak and even a children’s menu were all a hit with our little tribe; the bottle of Pinot Grigio Rosé also slipped down rather well. There is that theory that food and wine always taste much better outdoors. Add a summer’s evening, looking out over the Solent with impressive Hurst castle in the distance, and I suspect that even cardboard would taste delicious. Nevertheless, I honestly believe that when we creep back to The Hut in the depths of October, that lobster linguine and Pinot Grigio will still be a pretty good match.

We didn’t stay long as even without school in the morning, bedtime loomed. But I can imagine the bliss of pitching up here on a summer afternoon, and spending hours just watching the world sail past. As for us, Charlie kindly dropped us back out to our rib and as the sun set over the Solent, we set off for home. Sometimes luxury is the simple things in life.

The Hut, Cowell Bay, Freshwater, Isle of Wight; 01983 898 637;; 12:00-3:00pm; 6:00-9:30pm; food served all day on Sunday. Booking is advised during peak times. Rib hire from Solent Rib Charter in Lymington,

Bodrum: Turkey’s answer to St Tropez

24 Jul 2014, by Travelwrap Guest

Bodrum is often called Turkey’s St Tropez. Like its French counterpart, this chic seaside town on the Aegean has a marina filled with smart yachts, a quay lined with restaurants and bars, and a warren of narrow streets crammed with jewellery shops, boutiques and artisan outlets. It sits on a coastline of pristine beaches and quiet coves. The main difference is that Bodrum has never had much in the way of luxury hotels. But all that has changed recently. Aman arrived in 2012, Mandarin Oriental opened a luxury resort here just a few weeks ago, and a Four Seasons is on its way. So at last, the Beautiful People have somewhere suitably fabulous to lay their beautiful heads. These are the hotels currently making St Tropez establishments look, frankly, a little lacklustre.

Mandarin Oriental

Mandarin Oriental’s luxurious resort at Cennet Koyu (Paradise Bay), 20 minutes’ drive from the heart of Bodrum, opened earlier this month. Not only is it the newest resort on the Bodrum Peninsula, but it offers the most spacious accommodation, ranging from 77-145 square metres, with most of its 86 rooms and suites boasting terraces with private dining areas and sundecks.

Standout features include two private beaches, a fabulous spa and wellness centre, top-class cuisine including Turkish, Italian and Mediterranean restaurants and a cake shop. If you’re after old-school glamour honed to perfection, this is the place to find it. Further information,

Kempinski Hotel Barbaros Bay

The dazzlingly white Kempinski opened eight years ago, nine miles south of Bodrum. Built into the cliffs at Barbaros Bay, it feels like a liner, with every deck and terrace looking out across the sparkling Aegean. In high summer, tenders from yachts moored out in the bay tie up at the hotel, giving the resort a lively, French Riviera vibe.

The hotel’s vast reception area is a trifle lacking in ambience, but the pool, dotted with minarets and a cupola that rises from the shallow end, is one of the loveliest hotel pools we have ever seen, and the Hammam is amazing. With plenty of space for everyone, this resort works particularly well for families. Further information,


Named after the Sanskrit word for peace ‘aman’ and the Turkish for dream ‘ruya’, Amanruya is set on a hill above Manalay Bay, just north of Bodrum. It’s surrounded by pine forest and olive groves, with a path winding down to a pebble beach below. As at other Aman resorts, every effort has been made to complement the surroundings and the architecture is a beautiful combination of Mediterranean and Ottoman design elements. This is rustic chic with a Turkish twist.

Accommodation here is in 36 cottages, each with its own garden and gorgeous pool. If you hanker after privacy in tranquil surroundings, you’ll love Amanruya. Further information,

Weekend bags with a very British heritage

22 Jul 2014, by Travelwrap Guest

A special weekend away calls for a special bag. We’ve got just the thing…

Classic Holdall by Chapman Bags (pictured above)
Medium-sized holdall, crafted from dyed and bonded canvas, with leather trim and solid brass fittings. All Chapman’s bags are handmade in their Cumbria workshop. £189.50 from

Ecounter Holdall by Tusting
Leather holdall in Honeydon Orange with sky blue trim. Tusting was founded in Buckinghamshire in 1875 and is now run by the fifth generation of the same family. £499 from

Kelim & Leather Weekend Bag by Umpie of Yorkshire
Capacious bag in kelim-style fabric printed in England with leather handles. Handmade in Yorkshire by cousins Ruth, Joanna and Alison Umpleby. £139 from

Morris Print Explorer by Barbour
William Morris print holdall with leather handles. Barbour, famous for its waxed jackets, is based in South Shields where it was founded in 1894 by John Barbour. £229 from

Large Clipper by Mulberry
Black scotchgrain holdall with cognac trim. Mulberry was launched in Somerset in 1971 and though it has become a worldwide luxury brand, bags are still made in the company’s West Country factory. £650 from

Pentland Holdall by Brady Bags
Harris Tweed holdall with bridle leather trim. Walsall-based Brady Bags was founded in Birmingham in 1887 by John and Albert Brady who made leather goods for use in field sports. £296 from


Welcome to Eat, Sleep & Simply Be…our little blog that does what is says on the tin. Alongside myself, our selected guest bloggers from the Luxury Travel Industry will be posting their thoughts as to some of the loveliest places to eat in, sleep in… & sometimes to simply be. Our thoughts will always be our own but at times with a sense of mischief and slight irreverence. Follow us and just see where in the world it leads.
Niamh Barker
Founder & Creative Director
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