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The ultimate party pad? Swedish DJ Eric Prydz is selling his £1.55m pad with indoor hot tub included in the mix

  • Swedish DJ Eric Prydz is selling his property in London’s Chiswick for £1.55m
  • The DJ is best known for his single Call On Me and won DJ of the Year in 2017
  • The flat has a large living area with a hot tub that can be viewed from the sofa










He is best known for his 2004 single Call on Me and has enjoyed homes around the world, including Los Angeles.

But its Swedish DJ Eric Prydz’s London pad that has caught our eye due to its striking minimalist design and unusual layout.

Listed for £1.55million, it includes an indoor hot tub and double volume ceilings. 

Swedish DJ Eric Prydz is selling his property (pictured) in London's Chiswick for £1.55million

Swedish DJ Eric Prydz is selling his property (pictured) in London’s Chiswick for £1.55million

The flat has a 30ft open plan living area with a dark kitchen partially tucked under a floating staircase

The flat has a 30ft open plan living area with a dark kitchen partially tucked under a floating staircase

The monochrome flat in Chiswick has a 30ft open plan living area with a dark kitchen partially tucked under a floating staircase and a hot tub that can be viewed from the sofa.

The loft-style abode has plenty of light due to the floor to ceiling glass, but total privacy is provided when required with blackout blinds – which also give a nightclub feel.

While you may not need ID to get into the property, you can only access it via the secure gated entrance, and the development has a concierge. 

It also boasts underground parking, a residents gym and a private west-facing garden.

This outdoor area runs the full width of the property, providing extra space for dancing the night away with friends.

The loft-style property has plenty of light due to the vast floor to ceiling glass windows across one wall

The loft-style property has plenty of light due to the vast floor to ceiling glass windows across one wall

The Swedish DJ is best known for his single Call On Me, and won DJ of the Year in 2017

The Swedish DJ is best known for his single Call On Me, and won DJ of the Year in 2017

The living area includes a large hot tub that is perfect to help create a party atmosphere

The living area includes a large hot tub that is perfect to help create a party atmosphere

The property also boasts underground parking, a residents gym and a private west-facing garden

The property also boasts underground parking, a residents gym and a private west-facing garden

James Cox, of Fletchers, the estate agent handling the sale, said: ‘This apartment is truly unique because of the fantastic light coming in from floor-to-ceiling windows.

‘It’s rare to find a property in London that can offer sheer size and height, but it offers double volume ceilings, an abundance of space and a modern open-plan design that’s sure to appeal to buyers.’

The property is leasehold and is part of a luxury development called Chiswick Green Studios

The property is leasehold and is part of a luxury development called Chiswick Green Studios

The celebrity home has a minimalist style and is on the market via Fletchers estate agents

The celebrity home has a minimalist style and is on the market via Fletchers estate agents

On the upper floor, there is also a sauna and a shower suite with luxury fixtures and fittings

On the upper floor, there is also a sauna and a shower suite with luxury fixtures and fittings

The property has two double bedrooms with large walk-in wardrobes on the upper floor

The property has two double bedrooms with large walk-in wardrobes on the upper floor

The property spreads across two levels with two double bedrooms with walk-in wardrobes on the upper floor, where is also a luxury shower suite and sauna.

It is leasehold and is part of a development called Chiswick Green Studios, which is within half a mile of Chiswick Park Station.

The average price of a property sold in Chiswick during the past year is £1,027,569, based on 508 homes sold during this period.

It is contrast to an average sold price of £329,291 for the country as a whole, according to property website Zoopla.

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A train dedicated to all things tequila? Surely it’s worth a shot.

Welcome aboard the amazing Jose Cuervo Express, which runs from and to the city of Guadalajara in Mexico –  and offers tastings with a tequila expert, unlimited tequila cocktails, a visit to the town of Tequila – and for those with a top price ticket – the chance to sample a super-posh tequila served in a champagne-style flute. 

There are four classes onboard the train – express, premium plus, diamond and elite – and all are treated to an ‘educational tequila tasting guided by a tequila expert’, with those in diamond and elite handed champagne flutes containing ultra-premium Reserva de la Familia tequila. 

The Jose Cuervo Express is a train in Mexico dedicated to all things tequila

The Jose Cuervo Express is a train in Mexico dedicated to all things tequila

There are four classes onboard the train - express, premium plus, diamond and elite - and all are treated to an 'educational tequila tasting guided by a tequila expert'

There are four classes onboard the train – express, premium plus, diamond and elite – and all are treated to an ‘educational tequila tasting guided by a tequila expert’

Cocktails, made with Tradicional and Jose Cuervo Especial, are served across all four classes, as are snacks, although those in the elite wagon can also choose from a line of ‘exclusive’ cocktails only available to them.

Passengers in the premium plus, diamond and elite classes also have access to a premium bar that serves rum, vodka and whisky.

For passengers that opt for the sunrise itinerary, they leave Guadalajara on the train, enjoy the tastings and cocktails onboard and head to Tequila, where on a tour of the town they see the La Rojena Distillery – the oldest distillery in Latin America – and can visit the Juan Beckmann Gallardo Cultural Center.

Inside the new elite wagon on the Jose Cuervo Express. Passengers in this class (and in 'diamond') get to sample the ultra-premium Reserva de la Familia tequila, which is served in a champagne-style flute glass

Inside the new elite wagon on the Jose Cuervo Express. Passengers in this class (and in ‘diamond’) get to sample the ultra-premium Reserva de la Familia tequila, which is served in a champagne-style flute glass 

The 'exclusive' line of cocktails that are available to passengers in the elite wagon

The ‘exclusive’ line of cocktails that are available to passengers in the elite wagon 

There’s also the chance to visit the Insta-worthy blue agave fields to see jimadores (farmers who harvest agave to make tequila) in action and enjoy a ‘colourful cultural fiesta’ before returning to Guadalajara by chartered bus.

Those opting for the sunset itinerary begin with travel from Guadalajara to Tequila by chartered bus before enjoying the same experiences and visits in the town, finishing with the tequila-laced train journey back to Guadalajara at sunset.

Both itineraries offer an 11-hour long experience that begins at 9am and ends at 8pm.

Tickets start from Mex$2,140 (£76) for express class, which includes train travel in one of three coaches that are ‘decorated with wood-panel walls’ and have seats that are ‘divided into groups of four, can be reclined and feature a glass-holder’.

Premium plus passengers enjoy the train journey in carriages with ‘large seats and comfortable private tables’ that ’emulate the old Orient Express’, with tickets costing Mex$2,920 (£104).

The elite experience on the Jose Cuerva Express costs Mex$3,530 (£126). Pictured are the fine tequilas that passengers in the elite wagon get to sample

The elite experience on the Jose Cuerva Express costs Mex$3,530 (£126). Pictured are the fine tequilas that passengers in the elite wagon get to sample 

Inside the premium plus wagon, which has 'large seats and comfortable private tables' and 'emulates the old Orient Express'. Tickets cost Mex$2,920 (£104)

Inside the premium plus wagon, which has ‘large seats and comfortable private tables’ and ’emulates the old Orient Express’. Tickets cost Mex$2,920 (£104)

The express carriages, pictured, have seats that are 'divided into groups of four, can be reclined and feature a glass-holder'. Express tickets cost from Mex$2,140 (£76)

The express carriages, pictured, have seats that are ‘divided into groups of four, can be reclined and feature a glass-holder’. Express tickets cost from Mex$2,140 (£76)

Those opting for the diamond experience, which costs Mex$3,260 (£116), travel on the train in a ‘car decorated with a beautiful embossed roof’.

Jose Cuervo Express adds: ‘It features various rooms for passengers, a bar, a bartender and two waiters that make sure that nothing is missing.’

The elite experience costs Mex$3,530 (£126) and allows passengers to relax in the train’s new elite wagon.

Journeys on the Jose Cuervo Express train, pictured, take place every other Saturday

Journeys on the Jose Cuervo Express train, pictured, take place every other Saturday 

According to Jose Cuervo Express, it took eight months to develop the wagon, which has wood panelling, luxurious interiors, floor-to-ceiling views and 37 comfortable seats – although Covid restrictions may alter this.

It adds: ‘The seats are distributed in two lounge areas reserved for 10 people, two tables for four people and three lounge areas with tables reserved for two people each.’

Journeys on the train take place every other Saturday. 

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‘While some businesses have survived and thrived on the Mother Road, others are rusting ghost-town relics, but both are equally fascinating.’ 

So writes publisher Pavilion of Route 66 Then and Now, which compares vintage photographs of the US highway with modern pictures taken from the same angle.

The book was written by author and photographer Joe Sonderman, who has spent years collecting thousands of postcards and archival images of Route 66.  

It winds the clock back to the opening of Route 66 in 1926, exploring how it connected Chicago with Los Angeles over 2,250 miles (3,621km) away – and breathed life into the small towns and businesses along its path.

The highway was made redundant by the unveiling of the 1-40 in 1984, Sonderman reveals, but state associations soon formed to keep Route 66 alive and kicking. Though many of the landmarks along the way have fallen into disrepair, others have been preserved and restored to their original glory. 

‘Route 66 Then and Now highlights some of the most famous stop-offs along the route, showing them in their prime and how they look today,’ the publisher adds. Scroll down to see a selection of mesmerising old and new pictures from the book…

MICHIGAN AVENUE, CHICAGO, THE START OF AN EPIC ROAD TRIP: This photograph dates back to 1965 and was captured on the steps of the Art Institute of Chicago on Michigan Avenue - which lies right opposite the official signpost marking the start of 'Historic Route 66' on East Adams Street
MICHIGAN AVENUE, CHICAGO, THE START OF AN EPIC ROAD TRIP: The route is carried out of Chicago by Ogden Avenue, which passes through the Cicero district, the former home base of gangster Al Capone

MICHIGAN AVENUE, CHICAGO, THE START OF AN EPIC ROAD TRIP: The photograph on the left dates back to 1965 and was captured on the steps of the Art Institute of Chicago on Michigan Avenue – which lies right opposite the official signpost marking the start of ‘Historic Route 66’ on East Adams Street. The route is carried out of Chicago by Ogden Avenue, which passes through the Cicero district, the former home base of gangster Al Capone 

CHICKEN BASKET, WILLOWBROOK, ILLINOIS: Above is the landmark Chicken Basket Restaurant as it appeared in 1954. Located at Route 66 and 74th street in Hinsdale, the eatery originally operated as a simple gas station lunch counter. However, the book reveals, when two local women gave owner Irv Kolarik a recipe for fried chicken, business began to boom. To attract business in the winter, Sonderman says that Kolarik used to flood the roof to create a temporary ice rink and hire skaters. Then Interstate 55 was constructed and the restaurant was left 'isolated on a service road'
CHICKEN BASKET, WILLOWBROOK, ILLINOIS: After a decline in business, the Chicken Basket Restaurant was bought by Dell Rhea and his wife for a 'bargain price' in 1963. The author says: 'They worked hard to bring back the customers. Offering some of the best fried chicken in the Chicago area, the restaurant is as popular as ever.' The original sign still exists, though it was restored in 2017, we learn

CHICKEN BASKET, WILLOWBROOK, ILLINOIS: Cast your eye to the left and you’ll see the landmark Chicken Basket Restaurant as it appeared in 1954. Located at Route 66 and 74th street in Hinsdale, the eatery originally operated as a simple gas station lunch counter. However, the book reveals, when two local women gave owner Irv Kolarik a recipe for fried chicken, business began to boom. To attract business in the winter, Sonderman says that Kolarik used to flood the roof to create a temporary ice rink and hire skaters. Then Interstate 55 was constructed and the restaurant was left ‘isolated on a service road’. The premises was bought by Dell Rhea and his wife for a ‘bargain price’ in 1963. The author says: ‘They worked hard to bring back the customers. Offering some of the best fried chicken in the Chicago area, the restaurant is as popular as ever.’ The original sign still exists, though it was restored in 2017, we learn

O'CONNELL'S SERVICE STATION, ODELL, ILLINOIS: Pictured to the left is O'Connell's Service station in 1940, eight years after it was opened by Patrick O'Connell. At that time, Sonderman says, the station stocked Phillips 66 gas, a name inspired by Route 66. O'Connell designed the station to look like a house with a canopy, hoping to 'make customers feel at home'
O'CONNELL'S SERVICE STATION, ODELL, ILLINOIS: Sonderman writes: 'It became a body shop in 1967, closed in 1975, and began to deteriorate alongside the old road.' Thankfully, Odell's residents grouped together to save the service station, eventually purchasing it in 1999. After being restored it now serves as a welcome center, the author adds

O’CONNELL’S SERVICE STATION, ODELL, ILLINOIS: Pictured to the left is O’Connell’s Service station in 1940, eight years after it was opened by Patrick O’Connell. At that time, Sonderman says, the station stocked Phillips 66 gas, a name inspired by Route 66. O’Connell designed the station to look like a house with a canopy, hoping to ‘make customers feel at home’. Sonderman writes: ‘It became a body shop in 1967, closed in 1975, and began to deteriorate alongside the old road.’ Thankfully, Odell’s residents grouped together to save the service station, eventually purchasing it in 1999. After being restored it now serves as a welcome center, the author adds

BRICK PAVEMENT, AUBURN, ILLINOIS: Going south from Springfield, heading west, Sonderman explains that the Route 66 traveller can choose between driving along the modern route, or taking the 'more scenic 1926-1930 route that zigs and zags through the cornfields and small towns to Staunton'. This route is pictured here in 1940. Ten years before the photograph was taken, Route 66 was moved further east, occupying different roadways. The author reveals: 'In 1931, after Route 66 was relocated, sections of the road were paved in brick to create jobs - and because a high-ranking politician owned a brick factory'
BRICK PAVEMENT, AUBURN, ILLINOIS: This section of brick pavement south of Chatham can still be driven today on a route that is now known as the IL 4

BRICK PAVEMENT, AUBURN, ILLINOIS: Going south from Springfield, heading west, Sonderman explains that the Route 66 traveller can choose between driving along the modern route, or taking the ‘more scenic 1926-1930 route that zigs and zags through the cornfields and small towns to Staunton’. This route is pictured to the left in 1940. Ten years before the photograph was taken, Route 66 was moved further east, occupying different roadways. The author reveals: ‘In 1931, after Route 66 was relocated, sections of the road were paved in brick to create jobs – and because a high-ranking politician owned a brick factory.’ This section of brick pavement south of Chatham can still be driven today on a route that is now known as the IL 4 

GATEWAY ARCH, ST LOUIS, A MONUMENT TO THOSE HEADING WEST: The image above dates back to 1936, showing the riverfront of the 'Gateway to the West' - St Louis. Though it was originally a busy hub filled with steamboats, Sonderman reveals that the riverfront deteriorated by the mid-1930s and it was subsequently cleared to make way for the Gateway Arch. Construction began in 1959
GATEWAY ARCH, ST LOUIS, A MONUMENT TO THOSE HEADING WEST: The author says: 'The Gateway Arch, completed in October 1965, will always dominate the skyline of St Louis. A local ordinance says no building can be taller than the 630ft-tall, stainless steel landmark'

GATEWAY ARCH, ST LOUIS, A MONUMENT TO THOSE HEADING WEST: The image on the left dates back to 1936, showing the riverfront of the ‘Gateway to the West’ – St Louis. Though it was originally a busy hub filled with steamboats, Sonderman reveals that the riverfront deteriorated by the mid-1930s and it was subsequently cleared to make way for the Gateway Arch. Construction began in 1959. The author says: ‘The Gateway Arch, completed in October 1965, will always dominate the skyline of St Louis. A local ordinance says no building can be taller than the 630ft-tall, stainless steel landmark’

LA FONDA HOTEL, SANTA FE: Sonderman describes Santa Fe as 'the most historic city on the original Route 66'. The photograph above depicts the city's La Fonda hotel back in 1930. According to the author, there has been an inn - or a 'Fonda' in Spanish - on this corner since as early as 1607, but the current Pueblo Revival building was constructed in 1922. At one point, The Fred Harvey Company made the hotel the headquarters for its 'Indian Detours', which opened the southwest to tourism
LA FONDA HOTEL, SANTA FE: Over the years the hotel has been frequented by celebrities including John F Kennedy and Ronald Reagan, and several guests claim to have witnessed ghosts during their stay. The book reveals: 'The completely renovated luxury hotel is now known as La Fonda on the Plaza, and family ownership is committed to carrying on the 400-year tradition of hospitality'

LA FONDA HOTEL, SANTA FE: Sonderman describes Santa Fe as ‘the most historic city on the original Route 66’. The photograph on the left depicts the city’s La Fonda hotel back in 1930. According to the author, there has been an inn – or a ‘Fonda’ in Spanish – on this corner since as early as 1607, but the current Pueblo Revival building was constructed in 1922. At one point, The Fred Harvey Company made the hotel the headquarters for its ‘Indian Detours’, which opened the Southwest to tourism. Over the years, the hotel has been frequented by celebrities including John F Kennedy and Ronald Reagan, and several guests claim to have witnessed ghosts during their stay. The book adds: ‘The completely renovated luxury hotel is now known as La Fonda on the Plaza, and family ownership is committed to carrying on the 400-year tradition of hospitality’ 

WIGWAM MOTEL, HOLBROOK, ARIZONA, ONE OF THREE SURVIVING WIGAM MOTELS: The image above was snapped in 1950 and shows the Wigwam Village Motel in Holbrook in the year it was opened by one Chester Lewis. At the time it was the sixth wigwam motel in America (the country's grand total peaked at seven). The 'iconic' tipi design was the work of Frank Redford, the book explains, who built them out of concrete. Redford gave Lewis the rights to the design 'in exchange for the proceeds from the pay radios located in each of the 15 units', we're told
WIGWAM MOTEL, HOLBROOK, ARIZONA, ONE OF THREE SURVIVING WIGAM MOTELS: The Wigwam Village Motel closed in 1974 and Lewis sold the business, the book says. He died in 1986 and his children reopened the motel in 1988. 'Part of the former office now showcases Route 66, Civil War, and Native American artefacts collected by Chester,' the book explains. Today, it's one of three surviving Wigwam Motels in the US - the other two can be found in Rialto, California, and Cave City, Kentucky

WIGWAM MOTEL, HOLBROOK, ARIZONA, ONE OF THREE SURVIVING WIGAM MOTELS: The image on the left was snapped in 1950 and shows the Wigwam Village Motel in Holbrook in the year it was opened by one Chester Lewis. At the time it was the sixth wigwam motel in America (the country’s grand total peaked at seven). The ‘iconic’ tipi design was the work of Frank Redford, the book explains, who built them out of concrete. Redford gave Lewis the rights to the design ‘in exchange for the proceeds from the pay radios located in each of the 15 units’, we’re told. The Wigwam Village Motel closed in 1974 and Lewis sold the business, the book says. He died in 1986 and his children reopened the motel in 1988. ‘Part of the former office now showcases Route 66, Civil War, and Native American artefacts collected by Chester,’ the book explains. Today, it’s one of three surviving Wigwam Motels in the US – the other two can be found in Rialto, California, and Cave City, Kentucky

COOL SPRINGS, ARIZONA: Cool Springs Camp, seen above in 1940, was opened in 1926 by N R Dunton, who connected the building to a spring using a pipe, the book reveals. The then-gas station, which sits under 'Squaw's Teat' mountain, was taken over in 1936 by a married couple who added the rock exterior. It was later bypassed by the new Route 66 roadway and became a poultry ranch, only to be left abandoned completely in the 60s. It burned down in 1966. Sonderman says: 'Hollywood came calling in 1991 and producers constructed a gas station from the ruins just to blow it all up for a scene in the movie Universal Soldier'
COOL SPRINGS, ARIZONA: Ned Leuchtner bought what remained of Cool Springs Camp in 2002 and has since turned it into a 'nifty gift shop and a mini museum', Sonderman adds

COOL SPRINGS, ARIZONA: Cool Springs Camp, seen on the left in 1940, was opened in 1926 by N R Dunton, who connected the building to a spring using a pipe, the book reveals. The then-gas station, which sits under ‘Squaw’s Teat’ mountain, was taken over in 1936 by a married couple who added the rock exterior. It was later bypassed by the new Route 66 roadway and became a poultry ranch, only to be left abandoned completely in the 60s. It burned down in 1966. Sonderman says: ‘Hollywood came calling in 1991 and producers constructed a gas station from the ruins just to blow it all up for a scene in the movie Universal Soldier.’ Ned Leuchtner bought what remained of the premises in 2002 and has since turned it into a ‘nifty gift shop and a mini museum’, he adds

HORSESHOE CURVE, GOLD ROAD, ARIZONA: Look above and you'll see a postcard dating back to 1928, showing the horseshoe curve near the old mining town of Gold Road. 'It was a white-knuckle drive for drivers who came from back East,' declares Sonderman of the roadway. Motorists travelling along Old Route 66 would ascend the 3,550ft (1,082m) high Sitgreaves Pass and drive down through Gold Road - until it was bypassed in 1952
HORSESHOE CURVE, GOLD ROAD, ARIZONA: The author states: 'The twisting and turning road was so challenging that service stations would charge a hefty fee to tow timid drivers over the pass. In the days of gravity-fed carburettors, it wasn't unusual to meet a local driving up the hill backwards'

HORSESHOE CURVE, GOLD ROAD, ARIZONA: Look to the left and you’ll see a postcard dating back to 1928, showing the horseshoe curve near the old mining town of Gold Road. ‘It was a white-knuckle drive for drivers who came from back East,’ declares Sonderman of the roadway. Motorists travelling along Old Route 66 would ascend the 3,550ft (1,082m) high Sitgreaves Pass and drive down through Gold Road – until it was bypassed in 1952. The author states: ‘The twisting and turning road was so challenging that service stations would charge a hefty fee to tow timid drivers over the pass. In the days of gravity-fed carburettors, it wasn’t unusual to meet a local driving up the hill backwards’ 

PIER, SANTA MONICA: The snapshot above shows the pier in 1941. It opened in 1909 having been built to bring sewage out to the sea. 'Route 66 ends over the Pacific Ocean on Santa Monica Pier, and the last few yards have to be made on foot,' says Sonderman. He reveals that 'the bureaucrats decreed that US highways must end at another US route, so 66 officially ends at Alternate US 101' - a 'nondescript intersection'. However, Santa Monica Pier is the symbolic end of the route, he adds
PIER, SANTA MONICA: On Route 66's 83rd birthday, Dan Rice installed an 'End of the Trail' sign on the pier outside his 66-to-Cali store - 'a more appropriate spot to contemplate the journey'

PIER, SANTA MONICA: The snapshot on the left shows the pier in 1941. It opened in 1909 having been built to bring sewage out to the sea. ‘Route 66 ends over the Pacific Ocean on Santa Monica Pier, and the last few yards have to be made on foot,’ says Sonderman. He reveals that ‘the bureaucrats decreed that US highways must end at another US route, so 66 officially ends at Alternate US 101’ – a ‘nondescript intersection’. However, Santa Monica Pier is the symbolic end of the route, he adds. On Route 66’s 83rd birthday, Dan Rice installed an ‘End of the Trail’ sign on the pier outside his 66-to-Cali store – ‘a more appropriate spot to contemplate the journey’

Route 66 Then and Now by Joe Sonderman is published by Pavilion, priced £14.99

Route 66 Then and Now by Joe Sonderman is published by Pavilion, priced £14.99

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Playa del Ingles glimmers in the afternoon sun, its soft black sands shared by just half a dozen families.

This is not your typical Canary Islands beach, with no sign of the bars usually packed in to cater for those in search of sun, sand and sangria, and it couldn’t be more different from its namesake on Gran Canaria. This beach, backed by iron-red cliffs and a natural salt marsh, is on La Gomera, one of the quietest of the Canary Islands.

Just a 50-minute ferry ride from Tenerife, little La Gomera feels a world away. Its volcanic rocks have eroded to form a dramatic landscape of wide ravines, descending from the centre like the ridges of a giant orange-squeezer.

Clifftop eyrie: The view from the verdant Hotel Jardin Tecina, where the rooms are arranged up the slope like a Canarian village

Clifftop eyrie: The view from the verdant Hotel Jardin Tecina, where the rooms are arranged up the slope like a Canarian village

It’s an island of two halves – stark and arid in the south, while in the north it’s all verdant valleys and banana plantations, its upper slopes draped with laurel forests that could have come straight out of Jurassic Park.

Everywhere there are mesmerising views. Sheer volcanic plugs rise like giant obelisks, impossibly steep slopes that have been stepped by farmers in times gone by, clusters of pastel-coloured houses cling to the hillsides, and beyond, the sweep of the sea.

It wasn’t so much the beauty of the land but of the governor’s widow, Beatriz de Bobadilla, which detained Christopher Columbus for nearly a month in 1492 when he stopped at the island’s capital of San Sebastian before crossing the Atlantic. History tells us little of this time, but La Gomera has woven its own story over romantic trysts between the pair in one of the region’s oldest forts, the Torre del Conde. In the nearby charismatic Calle Real is the church where the explorer supposedly made his last confession before his voyage, and the Customs House, where a sign relates that he took water from the well to bless the New World.

Jane says that Playa del Ingles (pictured), with its soft black sands, is 'not your typical Canary Islands beach'

Jane says that Playa del Ingles (pictured), with its soft black sands, is ‘not your typical Canary Islands beach’ 

Local legend claims that Christopher Columbus and Beatriz de Bobadilla enjoyed 'romantic trysts' in the Torre del Conde (pictured)

Local legend claims that Christopher Columbus and Beatriz de Bobadilla enjoyed ‘romantic trysts’ in the Torre del Conde (pictured) 

The sights, along with a somewhat uninspiring museum in the 18th Century Casa de Colon, aren’t nearly as interesting as the stories, so rather than linger in San Sebastian, it’s better to head for the hills.

And what hills. Roads snake helter-skelter around them, then climb vertiginously before dropping headlong into the valleys, but they are wide, well maintained and easy to drive on.

And so we make it to the Garajonay National Park, where La Gomera’s highest pinnacle, the 5,000ft Alto de Garajonay, peeks through the laurel forest. From the car park, it’s a two-mile climb to the top.

Far better views are to be had, though, from the Mirador Morro de Agando, a short stroll through a forest that time forgot, thick with giant tree heathers and enormous dandelions. It’s almost as if we’re at the island’s mystical centre as we cross a wooden footbridge, all sunshine on the southern side and a white landscape of clouds to the north. Then, from the viewing platform, we gaze entranced at the Roque del Agando, which pierces the sky at 4,087ft.

Another spectacular viewpoint awaits at the Mirador Cesar Manrique, this time over the magnificent canyon that is the Valle Gran Rey, its lush narrow terraces at the bottom of the slopes dotted with palm trees and red-roofed houses.

Mystical: Garajonay National Park, pictured, is home to La Gomera’s highest pinnacle, the 5,000ft Alto de Garajonay

Mystical: Garajonay National Park, pictured, is home to La Gomera’s highest pinnacle, the 5,000ft Alto de Garajonay

Jane writes: 'We gaze entranced at the Roque del Agando (pictured), which pierces the sky at 4,087ft'

Jane writes: ‘We gaze entranced at the Roque del Agando (pictured), which pierces the sky at 4,087ft’

Gazing at its depths, it’s easy to understand why La Gomera’s inhabitants, rather than hike up and down slopes to speak to neighbours, once communicated using shrill whistles, known as silbo, that can carry over miles.

‘It’s not a Morse code or another language,’ says Francisco Correa from the silbo association, putting the tip of his finger to his lips to demonstrate the sing-song version of his name. ‘It’s a simple substitution of whistles for words.’

While silbo was at risk of dying out when the telephone came to La Gomera, it is now part of the school syllabus. It’s not easy, though, as my son and I discover during an impromptu lesson. It involves pressing the tongue against the back of the knuckles, and we were unable to emit a single sound.

Mirador de Abrante’s stunning walkway, pictured, juts out 2,000ft above the town of Agulo

Mirador de Abrante’s stunning walkway, pictured, juts out 2,000ft above the town of Agulo

Pictured is the chocolate-box town of Agulo, where Jane samples 'some of the island’s delicacies'

Pictured is the chocolate-box town of Agulo, where Jane samples ‘some of the island’s delicacies’

TRAVEL FACTS 

Five nights at Hotel Jardin Tecina on La Gomera, with two nights at the Bahia del Duque on Tenerife, both on a B&B basis, costs from £1,099pp with flights and ferry (sovereign.com).

Toursbylocals.com offers four-hour private tours of the island from £488. Holidayextras.com has parking at Gatwick Airport from £58 a week.

Francisco relates how when someone fell ill at the Mirador de Abrante viewpoint, an impressive glass-bottomed walkway that juts out 2,000ft above the town of Agulo, the doctor was alerted using silbo and arrived before the telephone-summoned emergency services.

It takes us a bit longer after admiring the view from Abrante to reach the chocolate-box town of Agulo, where we refuel on some of the island’s delicacies in what was once a schoolhouse – La Vieja Escuela. Here they serve palm syrup made from the trees’ sap mixed with cornflour in a heavy traditional dough called gofio, which tastes a bit like burnt popcorn. I prefer it poured over the local pudding of leche asada (roasted milk custard).

Better still is the almogrote – goat’s cheese mixed with red pepper, garlic, oil and salt.

Unsurprisingly, seafood is big on this island, and in the port of Playa de Santiago, where we are staying, we pile into plates of the freshest fish and prawns at La Cuevita, a small restaurant set into a cave.

It tastes even better with a glass of local white wine, made from the forastera grape.

Later, we return to our clifftop eyrie, the Hotel Jardin Tecina, via the lift in the mountain wall. The rooms, arranged up the slope like a Canarian village, are simple but come with superb sea views.

That night we open the balcony doors to look out at the sky – the stars burn bright in this part of the world. Suddenly, the most extraordinary noise greets us, almost like an army of frogs being strangled. It turns out the cries are from flocks of seabirds: shearwaters, returning with great fanfare to their nests in the cliffs.

Sometimes La Gomera isn’t the quiet Canary after all.

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Renderings have been released that show the stunning interiors of the new Italian ‘Orient Express’ that will transport passengers in total luxury when it begins running in 2023.

Images have also been unveiled for the exterior, which looks pretty eye-catching, too.

Passengers aboard the ‘Orient Express La Dolce Vita’ will enjoy ‘five-star service’ surrounded by ‘sumptuous decor’ on journeys through Italy and further afield to Paris and Istanbul.

The new ‘Orient Express’, shown in the rendering above, will transport passengers in total luxury through Italy when it begins running in 2023

The new ‘Orient Express’, shown in the rendering above, will transport passengers in total luxury through Italy when it begins running in 2023

Passengers aboard the ‘Orient Express La Dolce Vita’ will enjoy ‘five-star service’ and ‘sumptuous decor’

Passengers aboard the ‘Orient Express La Dolce Vita’ will enjoy ‘five-star service’ and ‘sumptuous decor’ 

The train, created by the hotel group Accor and construction company Arsenale Spa, will rival the Venice Simplon-Orient-Express, which is operated by Belmond and travels through Europe from London and Venice. 

There will be six ‘Orient Express La Dolce Vita’ trains, each carrying 62 passengers and featuring 12 ‘deluxe cabins’, 18 suites, and one ‘Honour Suite’.

Designed by architectural firm Dimorestudio, the carriage interiors aim to reflect the ‘craftsmanship, design and creativity of the 1960s and 1970s’.

Dimorestudio designers Britt Moran and Emiliano Salci say: ‘The spaces are thoughtfully designed and well-curated without being ostentatious.’

In the restaurant carriage, passengers will feast on ‘exclusive recipes prepared by starred master chefs’. There will be entertainment on board, and a lounge bar, where guests can sample some ‘award-winning Italian wines’.

A rendering of the restaurant. The carriage interiors aim to reflect the ‘craftsmanship, design and creativity of the 1960s and 1970s’

A rendering of the restaurant. The carriage interiors aim to reflect the ‘craftsmanship, design and creativity of the 1960s and 1970s’

The main hub for the train will be Roma Termini, Rome’s main railway station. The Orient Express Executive Lounge there will be ‘completely refurbished’ to coincide with the launch of the new service.

A statement says of the lounge: ‘There, guests will enjoy a warm welcome and refreshments while awaiting their journeys in a convivial and elegant space, complete with dedicated services and staff to assist them.’

Where to next? Passengers will be able to choose from several itineraries aboard the Orient Express La Dolce Vita.

There will be six ‘Orient Express La Dolce Vita’ trains, with each carriage designed by the architectural firm Dimorestudio. The above rendering shows a deluxe suite

There will be six ‘Orient Express La Dolce Vita’ trains, with each carriage designed by the architectural firm Dimorestudio. The above rendering shows a deluxe suite 

Many are focused on exploring Italy alone. One route travels through the Italian Lake District to the Veneto region, via the Dolomites. Along the way, guests can ‘experience the first truffles and wine of the season’ and admire the ‘peaks of the Alps in Cortina’.

A second itinerary – described as an ‘ode to slow travel and Italian lifestyle’ – takes guests to the hills of Umbria, while a third traverses through Tuscany and Florence. Another takes passengers to Campania to ‘see the picturesque Naples and Pompei’.

Travelling to the island of Sicily is also being touted as an option (presumably using the amazing ‘train ferry’), with the train snaking past Mount Etna and stopping off for passengers to ‘discover Sicilian wineries and beaches.’

‘The spaces are thoughtfully designed and well-curated without being ostentatious,' the designers say. Above is a rendering of the lounge bar

‘The spaces are thoughtfully designed and well-curated without being ostentatious,’ the designers say. Above is a rendering of the lounge bar 

The 'Orient Express La Dolce Vita' will cover 16,000km (9,942miles) of railway lines on its various routes

The ‘Orient Express La Dolce Vita’ will cover 16,000km (9,942miles) of railway lines on its various routes 

One service will trundle from Rome to Paris via the French Riviera, while a second heads for the Croatian city of Split along the Dalmatian coast. Another ‘dreamy voyage’ travels on the ‘historic route of the Orient-Express’ to Istanbul.

In total, these varied routes will cover 16,000km (9,942miles) of railway lines and will pass through 131 different cities. 

The service is billed as a green approach to luxury travel, designed to appeal to passengers ‘as a safe and eco-sustainable way of moving that protects the environment’.

Stephen Alden, CEO of Raffles and Orient Express, Accor, says of the concept: ‘It is thrilling to be bringing the refined nomadic spirit of Orient Express back to life for a new generation of travellers. 

‘As artisans of travel, we wish to revive this old-world, awe-inspiring “journey to elsewhere”. 

‘Against the backdrop of breathtaking panoramas and a unique blend of cultures, we are convinced that travellers will have unforgettable experiences in Italy with Orient Express La Dolce Vita.’

Paolo Barletta, CEO of Arsenale Spa, adds: ‘We will take travellers to discover new itineraries, to unique places where they will be able to live a “Made In Italy” experience with a warmth entirely our own. The journey itself becomes the destination and Italy has never been so close and sensational.’

For more information visit group.accor.com.  

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A British family were detained and then deported from Tahiti after a mix-up over France’s Omicron travel ban while on their £15,000 dream Pacific holiday.

Steve Goode, 31, and his partner Charlotte, 29, said their holiday with their six-month old daughter turned into a nightmare when they landed on December 20 and were informed they were to be deported immediately from the island in French Polynesia.

Officials told them British travellers were not welcome in French colonies under France’s travel ban announced on December 16.

But Mr Goode has said he was not informed by the airline or French authorities, despite his family being issued with travel visas and allowed to board a flight to Tahiti from Los Angeles, where they stopped off on the way from London.

Steve Goode, 31 (right), and his partner Charlotte, 29 (left), said their holiday with their six-month old daughter transformed into a nightmare when they landed in Tahiti on December 20 and were informed they were to be deported immediately from the island in French Polynesia

Steve Goode, 31 (right), and his partner Charlotte, 29 (left), said their holiday with their six-month old daughter transformed into a nightmare when they landed in Tahiti on December 20 and were informed they were to be deported immediately from the island in French Polynesia

Speaking to the MailOnline after their ordeal, Mr Goode said he believes his family was caught up in a political row between Britain and France, with relations between the two nations deteriorating in recent months.

‘It was a complete and utter surprise when we landed,’ he said. ‘We made all reasonable steps. We got an ETIS (Visa) from the French, we got a negative PCR Covid-19 test, we got all of the necessary documents, we were approved to travel, the airline boarded us.

‘It’s the French-English situation – the French and British argument. We got stuck in the middle of this whole political (travel) ban that they’ve done,’ he said.

Mr Goode said after going through passport control, they were held in a small room for almost six hours with no air conditioning, and were allegedly refused food.

Despite having their six-month-old daughter Penelope with them, Mr Goode said there were no concessions given by the border guards that held them.

‘They were just horrendous,’ he said. ‘Awful. Especially as we’ve got a child as well, we thought there would be some form of concession.

‘We asked for food, they said no. A couple of other British nationals were with us and they asked as well – “no”. Then we asked for water and we got given this tiny cup with dirt at the bottom of it. It was tragic.’

The family had undergone a long journey to get to Tahiti – a Pacific island in French Polynesia that is one of France’s overseas territories, and 9,500 miles from London.

They flew 11 hours from London to Los Angeles on December 17, where they stayed for three days. A few days later, they then flew a further nine hours from Los Angeles to Tahiti, where they landed on December 20.

Pictured: An image taken by Mr Goode as he, his partner and baby daughter were escorted through the airport by police officers

Pictured: An image taken by Mr Goode as he, his partner and baby daughter were escorted through the airport by police officers

Pictured: Images taken by Mr Goode as he, his partner and baby daughter were escorted through the airport by police officers

They were meant to stay in French Polynesia until January 12, on a dream holiday that had already been postponed twice before and cost £15,000.

But upon their arrival in Tahiti, they were detained in the airport’s holding area and told that they would be deported immediately, Mr Goode said.

‘It wasn’t a case of:“We’ve detained you because you’re considered a public health risk,”‘ Mr Goode said.

‘It was this constant line that British travellers are not welcome in France. “You’re not welcome, you’re not welcome.” I don’t know whether that was the language barrier, but it was just constant. “You’re not welcome.”‘  

While being held, their daughter – who has health issues – began suffering from sickness and diarrhoea after the long wait in customs.

Mr Goode said the UK Foreign Office arranged for a doctor to speak to the family, who then told the French officials that Penelope should not fly again under any circumstances.

If the officials in Tahiti had not been swayed, Mr Goode said he and his family would have had to fly back at 8pm on December 21, despite having landed on December 20 at around 11pm local time, being held for six hours and having no sleep.

Instead of being deported straight away, the family of three were taken to a hotel under police guard. Video taken by Mr Goode shows his partner and daughter in a golf-cart type police vehicle with caged windows, driving through a resort on the island.

The family had undergone a long journey to get to Tahiti. They flew 11 hours from London to Los Angeles on December 17, where they stayed for three days. A few days later, they then flew a further nine hours from Los Angeles to Tahiti, where they landed on December 20

The family had undergone a long journey to get to Tahiti. They flew 11 hours from London to Los Angeles on December 17, where they stayed for three days. A few days later, they then flew a further nine hours from Los Angeles to Tahiti, where they landed on December 20

Their luggage can be seen in the vehicle, while a police guard is shown holding onto the rear of the cart.

They were then held in a hotel quarantine by police and told they could not leave their room. If they did, Mr Goode said, they could have been jailed.

‘They took us to a quarantine hotel with the others – in a police car, with police guard – to a room. They asked us to sign a 10 page document all in French that they refused to translate into English. It was all very dictatorial,’ he told MailOnline.

‘What we were most surprised at were the conditions that we were held. We weren’t allowed to leave the room, there were police guards walking up and down the street.

‘Police were banging on the door a 1am to check we were there. You really had to keep your cool – there were some quite near-the-mark moments when I felt really angry about it,’ he recalled.

Mr Goode said there were other British nationals in the same position as them. One family, he said, had travelled from Los Angeles with an American family who had to wait outside the airport while their friends were held inside.

‘All their family were crying outside because they were so upset, they didn’t want to stay,’ he said.

There were also two Finnish nationals, Mr Goode said. The pair had flown through London on their way to Los Angeles, and then on to Tahiti. As a result of their London stop-over, they were also held.

But the Finnish nationals were treated better by the officials than the British, according to Mr Goode.

‘There was a marked difference in the way we were treated to the people from Finland. It felt that they were just so anti-us. It was 100 percent to do with the fact that we were Brits,’ he said.

Mr Goode said after going through passport control, they were held in a small room for almost six hours with no air conditioning, and were allegedly refused food

Despite having their six-month-old daughter Penelope with them, Mr Goode said there were no concessions given by the border guards that held them

Mr Goode said after going through passport control, they were held in a small room for almost six hours with no air conditioning, and were allegedly refused food. Despite having their six-month-old daughter Penelope with them, Mr Goode said there were no concessions given by the border guards that held them

‘If there were other nationals there that had travelled through the UK and there were no British nationals, I wouldn’t have been surprised if they had juts said to them – do 10 days [in quarantine] and then stay.’

However, that was not an option afforded to Mr Goode’s family. He said while Tahitian officials offered to let them stay on hotel grounds in isolation for 10 days, this offer was rescinded.

The order, he said, came from Paris and France’s high commissioner, who told officials in Tahiti that they must be deported right away.

‘We spoke to a couple of nice immigration officers – and they said, being honest with you, it’s because Britain and France’s relationship is not good,’ Mr Goode said. ‘The high commissioner kept saying – no – send them home.’

The family’s ordeal came after Emmanuel Macron’s government banned Britons from travelling to France, a measure taken to limit the spread of the Omicron Covid-19 variant.

But Mr Goode said he was assured by the airline – Air Tahiti – that the trip could still go ahead.

In a press release dated December 15, Tahiti released a statement saying in-line with France’s measure, Britons would not be permitted to enter the island without a compelling reason, ruling out tourism.

The press release was not prominently placed on French travel guidance, requiring users to follow a number of links to find the correct guidance.

An apparently outdated guidance document, cited by Mr Goode, which said travellers from the United Kingdom were permitted, was also still available online.

Furthermore, in a screen-recording taken on Mr Goode’s mobile phone of the same page on December 20 after he had landed in Tahiti, the press release can not be seen. This suggests, Mr Goode said, that the press release could have been added later and back-dated.

‘They pre-dated it, and it was never there,’ he said. ‘And we even showed immigration and we said to them: “we appreciate that you don’t want us here, but we would never have come here.”

Pictured: A police van shown in an image taken by Mr Goode that was used to escort them on the island

Pictured: A police officer escorts Mr Goode and his family in Tahiti

Pictured left: A police van shown in an image taken by Mr Goode that was used to escort them on the island. Right: A police officer escorts Mr Goode and his family in Tahiti

‘The fact that the airline boarded us, US border control let us go, the hotel were there waiting for us, that gives you an indication that it wasn’t just us. Everybody was surprised by this sudden rule.’

Mr Goode hit out at the airline, saying they should never have let them fly to Tahiti after the rules were updated. Instead, he said, they boarded the family despite them being British.

‘They boarded us, that’s why I know that we followed the rules. As an airline, they have a duty to ensure passengers have the correct paperwork and are able to travel.

‘The next day – the same thing happened. More people arrived. It was a couple with two young children from the UK. They arrived, and they weren’t even allowed to leave the airport – they weren’t even allowed to brush their teeth or go and wash,’ he said.

Mr Goode told MailOnline that he has been in contact with the airline after the ordeal, and after they initially refused to pay the bill for the quarantine hotel.

The hotel happened to be the same hotel Mr Goode had booked for his family, and as they were leaving he was lumped with a bill for over £5,000 for the three-day quarantine stay – despite not being allowed to leave the room.

Furious, he refused to pay. ‘Eventually after about 45 minutes the police had phoned the airline and told the airline to pay the hotel bill,’ he said.

On the response he’s received from Air Tahiti about why they were allowed to fly, Mr Goode said: ‘They’ve given me a preliminary response saying that it’s not down to them to approve passengers for flights,’ adding that the airline said it was his responsibility to know the rules.

‘I’m going to fight to get my money back from them. I’m confident the travel insurance will help, but failing that, we will take a lawsuit out against Air Tahiti because they have a responsibility over people in their care,’ he said.

But in particular, Mr Goode criticised the border officials in Tahiti.

While being held at the airport, he said not only were they refused food, but they were told to sign documentation that officials refused to offer in English.

He asked if he could have some time with the document to translate it using his phone, but he was refused.

‘They said we had two choices –either we signed the document, or – and they showed us the inside of the holding cells inside the immigration facility. “Or you’re going in here,”’ he claims he was told.

Taking to Twitter on Friday – on Christmas Eve (pictured) - Mr Goode said that the family had arrived safely back in the United States after being turned around

Taking to Twitter on Friday – on Christmas Eve (pictured) – Mr Goode said that the family had arrived safely back in the United States after being turned around

‘Considering that France is a European Country and an apparent upholder of democracy, it really was a questionable human rights incident.’

Taking to Twitter on Friday – on Christmas Eve – Mr Goode said that the family had arrived safely back in the United States after being turned around.

‘We are safely back in the US and settling down for Christmas,’ he said, sharing the story of his family’s nightmare in Tahiti.

‘We will not tolerate being treated in this manner as human beings and hope [our] story kicks the French Authorities up the back side in the hope no other families are treated in the same way.’

Mr Goode told the MailOnline that his family are currently in the United States deciding whether they can fly on to somewhere else to continue their holiday, or return home to the UK.

The Foreign Office confirmed to The Sun Online that they were ‘assisting a British family in French Polynesia and are in contact with the Polynesian authorities.’

According to the statement put out on December 15 by Tahitian authorities, from ‘December 17, 2021 at noon (Tahiti time), a compelling reason is required for travel between the United Kingdom and France (including overseas territories) regardless of the traveler’s vaccination status.

Pictured: A screenshot of a breaking news statement put out by Tahitian authorities announcing that French Polynesia would not allow Brits into the territory without a compelling reason. However, Mr Goode has said the statement was not on the page when he and his family landed in Tahiti on December 20, and has suggested it could have been back-dated

Pictured: A screenshot of a breaking news statement put out by Tahitian authorities announcing that French Polynesia would not allow Brits into the territory without a compelling reason. However, Mr Goode has said the statement was not on the page when he and his family landed in Tahiti on December 20, and has suggested it could have been back-dated

‘The measures applied to adults extend under the same conditions to accompanying minors. These reasons do not allow travel for tourist or professional reasons.

‘All visitors from the United Kingdom who have planned a trip to Tahiti And Her Islands as of today are asked to postpone their trip to a later date.’

The UK government has warned holidaymakers that Covid travel restrictions in other countries can change at short notice.

Meanwhile, Anglo-French relations have deteriorated over a number of sticking points, including the on-going row over fishing licenses, and France’s decision to ban British travellers from entry despite reporting similar, if not higher cases of Covid-19.

The two countries have also clashed over migrants crossing the English channel, post-Brexit trade agreements and submarine sales to Australia. 

Air Tahiti has been approached for comment by MailOnline.

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The fire alarm is going off in the Mitato al la carte restaurant at The Royal Senses Resort & Spa in Crete, but no one is worried.

It’s been set off by a slightly larger than usual puff of smoke that’s just been released from the traditional Cretan antikristo grill at the heart of the eatery and it’s a sign that the salted lamb that’s cooking over open flames there is especially juicy tonight.

The sound quickly stops, the musician playing the Cretan lyra in the corner plucks a few chords to mimic the noise, the diners laugh, and everyone returns to eating in the golden glow of the restaurant’s lighting.

The 178-room Royal Senses Resort & Spa Curio Collection by Hilton trickles down a hillside in a sheep-strewn swathe of countryside in the centre of Crete’s north coast

The 178-room Royal Senses Resort & Spa Curio Collection by Hilton trickles down a hillside in a sheep-strewn swathe of countryside in the centre of Crete’s north coast

Pictured is the entrance to The Royal Senses, which opened its doors in June 2021

Pictured is the entrance to The Royal Senses, which opened its doors in June 2021

This photograph showcases one of the two landing-strip-long infinity pools that feature in the Royal Senses’ sea-view pool area and some of the sun loungers, with their crash-mat-thick mattresses

This photograph showcases one of the two landing-strip-long infinity pools that feature in the Royal Senses’ sea-view pool area and some of the sun loungers, with their crash-mat-thick mattresses

I discover during my stay that the antikristo restaurant is just one of several USPs at this brand-new Hilton.

It opened in June in a sheep-strewn swathe of countryside in the centre of Crete’s north coast and its designers have gone to extra lengths to impress.

The hotel’s funicular is another talking point. This 178-room resort trickles down a hillside and the main way to get from the top to the bottom is on a 100-metre- (328ft) long cable railway.

The sea-view pool area is also something to write home about. Its two infinity pools are landing-strip long and surrounded by a dizzying selection of Bali beds and loungers with crash-mat-thick mattresses. 

The spa at The Royal Senses pools out for 1,000 square metres (10,763sqft). Pictured is the pool terrace, with its own infinity pool, in-water whirlpools and Bali beds

The spa at The Royal Senses pools out for 1,000 square metres (10,763sqft). Pictured is the pool terrace, with its own infinity pool, in-water whirlpools and Bali beds

The pool area at The Royal Senses features two infinity pools and a dizzying selection of Bali beds, loungers, deck chairs, cuddle seats and sofas

The pool area at The Royal Senses features two infinity pools and a dizzying selection of Bali beds, loungers, deck chairs, cuddle seats and sofas

Then there’s the spa. Pooling out for 1,000 square metres (10,763 sq ft), it consists of an outdoor pool terrace and an indoor hydrotherapy centre. 

I have a Cretan raki and olive oil massage here with an accomplished masseuse called Jenny that leave my muscles soft as a chamois cloth.

The local-twist present in my spa treatment can be found all over the hotel. All terracottas, stone, wood, rattan and rope, the décor of both my Deluxe Room and the shared areas reflects the earthiness of the hotel’s hillside setting.

The lobby at The Royal Senses (pictured) is a grand place decorated with lots of wood, stone and earthy coloured textiles to reflect the hotel’s hillside setting

The lobby at The Royal Senses (pictured) is a grand place decorated with lots of wood, stone and earthy coloured textiles to reflect the hotel’s hillside setting

Pictured is a relaxation space in between the check-in desks and the lobby bar at The Royal Senses. Many of the ceramics on the shelves are the work of local artists

Pictured is a relaxation space in between the check-in desks and the lobby bar at The Royal Senses. Many of the ceramics on the shelves are the work of local artists

The rooms at The Royal Senses are decorated with earthy bark and beige colour schemes like the rest of the hotel

The rooms at The Royal Senses are decorated with earthy bark and beige colour schemes like the rest of the hotel

This shot shows the outside area of one of The Royal Senses' private pool rooms. There are nine categories of rooms at the hotel and five types come with their own pools

This shot shows the outside area of one of The Royal Senses’ private pool rooms. There are nine categories of rooms at the hotel and five types come with their own pools

I discover that much of the furniture, light fixtures, ceramics and artwork have been sourced from Cretan artisans, too.

The food in the buffet restaurant and lunchtime village square-style eatery, Platia, is also allegiantly Cretan. Think dishes like dakos – Crete’s answer to bruschetta – and Cretan-themed pizza with feta.

Nowhere is the Cretan influence more present than in the hotel’s second a la carte restaurant, Cretamos, though.

Pictured is one of the tables at the Cretamos a la carte eatery at The Royal Senses where some of the dishes on the menu have historical roots. The stone booth seating here looks out over the sea (file image)

Pictured is one of the tables at the Cretamos a la carte eatery at The Royal Senses where some of the dishes on the menu have historical roots. The stone booth seating here looks out over the sea (file image)

This image shows a dish from the Cretamos al la carte at The Royal Senses. Dishes here include petimezi-glazed pork – a dish with origins that can be traced back to Byzantine times

This image shows a dish from the Cretamos al la carte at The Royal Senses. Dishes here include petimezi-glazed pork – a dish with origins that can be traced back to Byzantine times

This photograph showcases Platia, the lunch restaurant at The Royal Senses that’s been designed to resemble a Greek village square. The menu features dishes like dakos – Cretan bruschetta – and Cretan pizza with feta

This photograph showcases Platia, the lunch restaurant at The Royal Senses that’s been designed to resemble a Greek village square. The menu features dishes like dakos – Cretan bruschetta – and Cretan pizza with feta

The swanky bar at The Royal Senses. Sarah recommends the Cretan Moschato Spinas white wine

The swanky bar at The Royal Senses. Sarah recommends the Cretan Moschato Spinas white wine

Pictured is the antikristo grill in the centre of the Mitato a la carte restaurant at The Royal Senses. Antikristo cooking involves slow-cooking salted lamb over open flames

Pictured is the antikristo grill in the centre of the Mitato a la carte restaurant at The Royal Senses. Antikristo cooking involves slow-cooking salted lamb over open flames

Some of the dishes on the menu, like petimezi-glazed pork, date back to Byzantine times. However, the talented chefs Stelios and Moses give them a 21st-century rebirth, with elements like infused oils, savoury popcorns and flavoured crumbs.

I personally can’t resist the slightly more modern beef fillet with activated carbon, pickled apple and parsnip puree that is served in a portion as pleasing as the presentation.

If the thought of being stuck on a hillside puts you off this place, don’t worry. The hotel has a wow-worthy newly renovated sister resort called The Royal Blue that’s less than 300 metres (984ft) away and right on the water’s edge. 

Free shuttle buses run between the two hotels every half hour.

Royal Senses guests can make full use of the facilities at Royal Blue, and they should – I certainly do.

The hotel’s statement saltwater pool is worth a visit in itself. It’s lake sized, deep enough to sink a double-decker bus, and you can hear the waves crashing a few feet away as you swim. I swim in here until my fingertips crimp.

The adults-only sea-view bar, with its whitewashed terrace and little garden with wooden swing seats, is another excuse to stop by. I sit here one evening with a cold glass of Cretan Moschato Spinas white wine and watch as the sunset makes the sky blush then blacken.

Pictured is The Royal Blue – sister hotel to The Royal Senses. The hotels have been designed to complement each other but be completely different in terms of looks and style

Pictured is The Royal Blue – sister hotel to The Royal Senses. The hotels have been designed to complement each other but be completely different in terms of looks and style

This shot shows the entrance to the huge saltwater pool at The Royal Senses’ stunning sister hotel Royal Blue. The moment you step off the steps, you can’t touch the floor of this pool

This shot shows the entrance to the huge saltwater pool at The Royal Senses’ stunning sister hotel Royal Blue. The moment you step off the steps, you can’t touch the floor of this pool 

Guests at The Royal Senses can catch the shuttle bus or walk down to The Royal Blue to use the hotel’s private beach (pictured), which is sheltered by an arm of rocks

Guests at The Royal Senses can catch the shuttle bus or walk down to The Royal Blue to use the hotel’s private beach (pictured), which is sheltered by an arm of rocks 

Just like The Royal Senses, the Royal Blue has a selection of stunning private pool rooms (pictured). Some of them look out over the sea

Just like The Royal Senses, the Royal Blue has a selection of stunning private pool rooms (pictured). Some of them look out over the sea

Then there’s the hotel’s beach. 

A protective manmade arm of rocks wraps itself around the sand here to make swimming safe and the Bali beds and loungers come with buttons to press for waiter service.

I’m always a bit ginger about pushing buttons like this, worried about looking lazy. There’s no judgement from the staff at Royal Blue, though.

Every member of the team at this hotel has a genuine smile. They are Cretan hospitality personified.

The rooms, with their lullaby-soothing white and pebble colour schemes, are special, too, and I’d recommend booking a twin-centre trip that includes both hotels so you can experience the very intentional yin and yang of the two.

It’s also worth coming down here for an additional spa treatment. 

As with The Royal Senses treatment menu, the therapies reflect the hotel’s setting. The hot seashell massage leaves me as floppy as an unmanned marionette. 

FIVE PLACES TO EXPLORE WHEN YOU STAY AT THE ROYAL SENSES RESORT & SPA AND THE ROYAL BLUE

Rethymno

Either take a 20-minute taxi ride or catch the bus from in front of the Iberostar Creta Marine, a 10-minute walk from The Royal Senses, and you can visit Crete’s third largest city. Explore the Old Town with its leather, linen and ceramics shops and enjoy a drink or dinner on the harbourside.

Panormo

The snoozy fishing village of Panormo is a short taxi ride or a 40-minute walk downhill and along the coast from The Royal Senses. Amble around the streets, sink your feet into the sun-warmed sand of its two beaches, then pull up a seat in one of the waterside tavernas for a traditional Greek lunch.

Melidoni

The timeline of this traditional inland village can be traced back to the 14th century. Wind your way around its higgledy-piggledy lanes and pop into the olive oil factory. To get here you can catch the ‘Little Train’ from a stop at the bottom of the hill where The Royal Senses is located. Trips run on Mondays, Wednesdays and Saturdays.

Margarites

Margarites is said to be one of the most significant centres of traditional pottery in Greece and its ceramics centres are open to the public. You can catch the Little Train – mentioned above – here, too. Trips run on Sundays, Tuesdays and Fridays.

The Palace of Knossos

The largest Bronze Age archaeological site in Crete is an hour’s drive east from The Royal Senses Resort & Spa. The ruins here are said to have once been home to the monstrous half-man, half-bull Minotaur.

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Getting the essentials in when you’re a time traveller is a hassle, but there’s a one-stop shop in California that has all the basics covered, from dinosaur eggs to ‘time-freezy hyper slush’.

Though for that, a sign explains, you may need to ‘come back yesterday’, because the machine is out of order.

These pictures offer a glimpse inside the amazing store – The Echo Park Time Travel Mart in Los Angeles – which has been running since 2008 and is billed as a ‘convenience store for time travellers’.

Getting the essentials in when you're a time traveller is a hassle, but there's a one-stop shop in California that has all the basics covered - The Echo Park Time Travel Mart (pictured)

Getting the essentials in when you’re a time traveller is a hassle, but there’s a one-stop shop in California that has all the basics covered – The Echo Park Time Travel Mart (pictured) 

Giving a taste of things to come, the shop’s window display features a mannequin of a caveman dressed in furs positioned next to a futuristic silver robot. The slogan stamped across the entrance? ‘Whenever you are, we’re already then.’ 

Worked up an appetite? You can get tins of ‘Mammoth Chunks’ that boast ‘bold mammothy flavour’, as well as ‘fresh n’ delicious’ doughnuts that claim to be straight from 1985.

The aforementioned ‘fresh dinosaur eggs’ can be found in a glass-door fridge that displays a sign warning: ‘They get bigger.’

Customers can buy packets of ‘robot emotions’, travel ‘pastports’, time travel sickness pills, ‘robot milk’ and a tin of ‘primordial soup’ from the beginning of time. 

Other gimmicks spotted on the shelves over the years include a knight’s chainmail and a ‘salvaged romance’ fire log that can wind back the clock to repair a doomed relationship.

A noticeboard on the wall is filled with tongue-in-cheek advertisements – one customer spied a flyer seeking reality TV show contestants for a dating series ‘where Henry VIII is looking for his next wife’. 

The Los Angeles mart has been running since 2008 and is billed as a ‘convenience store for time travellers’

The Los Angeles mart has been running since 2008 and is billed as a ‘convenience store for time travellers’

The out-of-order slushy machine advertises drinks in two flavours, Newton’s Apple and Grapes of Wrath

One freezer in the shop (pictured) is filled with ‘fresh dinosaur eggs’, with a sign warning that they ‘get bigger’

The out-of-order slushy machine (pictured on the left) advertises drinks in two flavours, Newton’s Apple and Grapes of Wrath. One fridge in the shop (pictured on the right) is filled with ‘fresh dinosaur eggs’, with a sign warning that they ‘get bigger’

Where do the shop-owners get their merchandise? A representative from the Time Travel Mart told MailOnline Travel: ‘Most of our branded items are manufactured in the 1970s. If it is made by a caveman, we will tell you.

‘Behind the scenes, all of our branded products are dreamed up and brought to life by volunteer time-travelling writers and designers who work together to source these products from the past and future.’

Store manager Carinne Mangold said her favourite item in the store is ‘Shade’. This is a packaged walnut, with the tree-embellished wrapping hinting that it will one day grow into a shady walnut tree. Its instructions read: ‘Travel back in time. Bury seed. Return to present. Relax.’

Hungry customers can splash out on ‘fresh n’ delicious’ doughnuts (pictured) that claim to be straight from 1985

Hungry customers can splash out on ‘fresh n’ delicious’ doughnuts (pictured) that claim to be straight from 1985

The shop's window display, pictured above, features a caveman dressed in furs and a futuristic silver robot

A noticeboard on the wall (pictured) is filled with tongue-in-cheek advertisements - one customer spied a flyer seeking reality TV show contestants for a dating series 'where Henry VIII is looking for his next wife'. Picture courtesy of Creative Commons

The shop’s window display, pictured on the left, features a caveman dressed in furs and a futuristic silver robot. A noticeboard on the wall (pictured on the right) is filled with tongue-in-cheek advertisements – one customer spied a flyer seeking reality TV show contestants for a dating series ‘where Henry VIII is looking for his next wife’. Picture courtesy of Creative Commons

‘It’s the perfect solution to a sunny Los Angeles day,’ Carinne said.

Do most people who visit believe in time travel? A store representative said: ‘Yes, time travel and everything in the Time Travel Mart is exactly as it appears.’

The shop is an eye-opener – but there’s more to it than meets the eye. At the rear is 826LA, a non-profit that supports students who attend under-resourced schools through tutoring, writing, and college access programs.

A ‘salvaged romance’ fire log that can wind back the clock to repair a doomed romance. Picture courtesy of Creative Commons

A ‘salvaged romance’ fire log that can wind back the clock to repair a doomed romance. Picture courtesy of Creative Commons 

Pictured is a range of Professor Clutterbuck's Elixir stocked on the shelves of the shop. The store was created 'to help time travellers of all temporal origins find convenient products to get them through their day (or year or millennia)'. Picture courtesy of Creative Commons

Worked up an appetite? You can get tins of ‘Mammoth Chunks’ (pictured) that boast ‘bold mammothy flavor’. Picture courtesy of Creative Commons

Pictured on the left is the mart’s range of Professor Clutterbuck’s Elixir. The store was created ‘to help time travellers of all temporal origins find convenient products to get them through their day (or year or millennia)’. Worked up an appetite? You can get tins of ‘Mammoth Chunks’ (pictured on the right) that boast ‘bold mammothy flavor’. Both images are courtesy of Creative Commons 

One customer snapped a photo of chainmail for sale in the quirky Los Angeles store. Picture courtesy of Creative Commons

One customer snapped a photo of chainmail for sale in the quirky Los Angeles store. Picture courtesy of Creative Commons

The rear of the shop houses 826LA, a non-profit that supports students who attend under-resourced schools through tutoring, writing, and college access programs. Picture courtesy of Creative Commons

The rear of the shop houses 826LA, a non-profit that supports students who attend under-resourced schools through tutoring, writing, and college access programs. Picture courtesy of Creative Commons 

The representative added: ‘The Time Travel Mart was created to help time travellers of all temporal origins find convenient products to get them through their day (or year or millennia). 

‘The store also sells books written by 826LA students (and other authors) and gives time travellers a glimpse into the fantastic and fantastical writing programs offered by 826LA.’

The store is a hit with locals and tourists alike, who stop by to pick up merchandise and to peruse the zany aisles.

One Yelp reviewer wrote: ‘It’s much more than just a mini-mart. I would say it’s a kitschy, cheeky, time-travel-themed art installation. The store decor and items for sale have tons of gags, even down to the labels and fine print.’

Another penned: ‘The best part is that the shop funds a writing workshop for kids. I love that if I buy something here it is going towards a good cause. Definitely check this place out.’

There is another Time Travel mart across the city in the Mar Vista neighbourhood of Los Angeles, which opened its doors in 2012.

For more information visit timetravelmart.com.

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