Hip Hotels ~ The Gourmet Stay, Wellington, New Zealand…

So…where to stay in wonderful Wellington? Well I’ve found you the perfect hotel.

The Gourmet Stay is a hip hotel in Te Aro, right in the centre of Wellington city. It is just a short stroll to Cuba Street, Te Papa Museum and all the interesting sights of central Wellington.

The Gourmet stay is located above a gorgeous little café in Frederick Street. You can have your breakfast in the café in the morning which is heavenly. The café also leaves little muffins and cakes out after it closes for hotel patrons to have with a complimentary cup of tea or coffee.

The Gourmet Stay has 10 rooms of varying type. The rooms are simple yet fresh and comfortable. The heating and heated towel rails make it lovely and cosy in winter. The rooms range from $120 NZD which is very good value for the centre of Wellington.

Delightful Holly helped us with all our questions and needs and made us feel right at home.

The Gourmet Stay

25 Frederick Street


Phone : 0064 04 8016800

The Gourmet stay is perfectly located to give you a base to explore and enjoy Wellington. I do hope you enjoy it as much as we did.

Life on the farm…

“Well life on the farm is kinda laid back. There ain’t much an old country boy like me can’t hack. It’s early to rise and early in the sack…thank God I’m a country boy. Well the simple kinda life never did me no harm. Raising me a family and working on the farm. My days are all filled with an easy country charm…thank God I’m a country boy.” Excerpt from a John Denver song.

Well life certainly has had a magical charm for us the last few days here at Mangaweka. The boys are powering through the sheep yard building and us girls have been helping too. We have loved feeding cattle, moving sheep and oiling the front deck of the house.
Ruth and Jim’s farm is a wonderful place to spend a few days. We have had lots of laughs and special moments together. I thought I would share a few photos of their country property.







New Zealand…you are chilly but fantastic…

Had a chilly but perfect trip yesterday from Wellington up to Mangaweka in the north island of New Zealand.

So what are we loving about New Zealand so far? Here we go…
– Gorgeous green countryside.
– The wonderful friendly people we meet at every stop.
– Yummy fresh produce from the roadside vege shops.
– Even old derelict weatherboard houses look like they are from a movie set.
– White sheep on rolling hills.
– Vintage shops…yippee.


Magical Mysore memories…

A roadside view on the way to Mysore…

Today Padma and I travelled with our wonderful driver and friend Rusi from Bangalore to Mysore. Something handy to remember when travelling in India is that although distances between towns may not seem far on the map it will take longer than you expect. This is due to the large mass of cars, buses, trucks, cows, goats etc…on the roads that slow you down. I never mind how long it takes as there are amazing sights whichever way you look out of the car and the time seems to fly.

Wooden toys at a roadside stall…

We arrived in Mysore early in the afternoon at our gorgeous hotel ~ The Green Hotel. After a short rest we headed to the massive Mysore Palace. Being a Saturday it was very crowded with bus loads of Indians travelling to Mysore for the day to visit the famous palace.

The Mysore Palace…

Padma and I love the crowds. It’s great people watching and actually despite the huge numbers moving through the palace everyone was very orderly and friendly. The palace houses a large collection of old antiques belonging to the Maharaja’s family. There are huge carved doors, ornate chandeliers and beautiful mosaic floors. The room containing the carved sandalwood boxes definitely captured the crowds attention.

A camel ride for you Madam?

After walking through the vast palace you exit through the back onto a large courtyard. Here you can have an elephant ride or a brisk trot on a camel.

The very popular elephant…

This my second trip to Mysore and it is a great place to visit. It has huge, old trees which shade the roadways. There is lots of original old architecture to marvel at and long, winding, narrow streets offer lots of interesting finds. More on Mysore tomorrow.

A happy group outside the palace…

Bedding down Bangalore style…

Our luxurious room…

Booking your hotel online is a great way to smooth your trip to India – however it can have its ups and downs.
Let me explain…All hotel photos online seem to look like something out of a glossy magazine. But sometimes when you arrive you find that it’s more jaded and faded than your Great Aunt’s spare bedroom!
Luckily for us this trip our hotel is just as great as the photos showed and more! We are staying at the St. Mark’s Hotel in St. Mark’s Road, Bangalore. This is my 8th trip to Bangalore and I have stayed in quite a few hotels. St. Mark’s is definitely the best I have stayed in and we strongly recommend it to you.

The hotel foyer…

So why is St. Mark’s so great?
~ IT’S LOCATION…it is located right in the heart of Bangalore. It is a short walk from MG road and walking distance to many great shops such as Ffolio, Ritu Kumar, Cinnamon and UB City Mall.
~ THE ROOMS…great standard of room for the price. Lovely bathroom with a separate shower…this is a bonus…as many bathrooms in India have the shower head in the middle of the bathroom and when you shower the whole room gets wet! Tea/coffee making with a cute little jar of biscuits. Free wi fi, bottled water and breakfast are included.

The proud chef and waitress…

~ THE WONDERFUL FOOD…wow I don’t think I’ll ever top the breakfast here! Divine mint and lime Ayurvedic starter juice, delicious South Indian coffee, yummy puri Marsala, idlis, fresh fruit, pastries…the list goes on and on.

Padma and my lovely breakfast of puri Marsala and dosa…

We also ate last night at their restaurant Curry with a K. Don’t let the name put you off as the paneer mukhani, coconut rice, butter naan and fresh sweet lime sodas were a taste sensation.

~ THE STAFF…definitely St. Mark’s strong suit is their wonderful staff. Everything is done with a smile here! Everyone is so friendly and it has a great vibe. The hotel booked our driver for yesterday and it was very reasonably priced. Our driver, Rama Krishna, was a darling. We had a great day chatting to him and he had a giggling sense of humour which we loved.

Hotel lobby…

So Padma and I are very perky and happy about our new favourite Bangalore hotel…perfect in every possible way…

Karaikudi’s best kept secrets…

In my previous post I told you all about the fantastic Hotel Bangala in Karaikudi. The Bangala is a great base for exploring the Chettinad region and Karaikudi has some surprises of its own too… Some of the best sights to see are: The … Continue reading

The Beautiful Bangala ~ the jewel of South India…

While travelling in Tamil Nadu this year we discovered the divine Hotel Bangala in the Chettinad town of Karaikudi. If you are looking for a mid-range, character filled hotel with exemplary service look no further than the Bangala. From the moment we … Continue reading