America, Australasia, Countries, UK

Top Trumps Celebrity Hotspots

I’ll see your Lisa Vanderpump and raise you a Marlon Brando in the game of Top Trumps Celebrity Hotspots.

I’ll give the storied Casey Jones, the father-in-law, and his slide show, his due.

While one of the best ways to clear the room is to bring out the holiday pics his slide show did have the odd surprise.

From his round-the-world ship return from Australia to England.

Like Marlon Brando’s island in Tahiti… and my future wife as a child in a hula-hula skirt.

Of course she won’t try one on for me even though I rock my Maldives sarong at any (or none) invitation.

All of which going round the world brings me back to my subject in hand, celebrity hotspots.

And this selection box (and it’s not even Christmas) which our dream providers sent me.

Tahiti treatie

Atoll do nicely: The Brando atoll

The Brando, Tahiti: And it’s what you do when you love the island you’ve visited… or in this case atolls.

Buy them which is what Marlon Brando, a modern-day reincarnation of Fletcher Christian, whom he played on Mutiny On The Bounty.

The Brando, opened in July 2014, in his memory on Tetiaroa in Tahiti.

And it is an all-inclusive resort featuring 35 deluxe villas, each with its own private beach area and plunge pool.

On Santa Monica Boulevard

Cocktail hour: The Pendry

Wolfgang Puck, West Hollywood, California: And West Hollywood is all about checking out all the joints.

So, if you’ve taken in The Real Wife of Hollywood Lisa Vanderpump’s PUMP restaurant you’ll also want to check out…

Pendry West Hollywood is where Puck stops… by with his celebrity pals.

Arnold Lane

Eh, an Arnold Palmer: For Arnold Palmer

No, you won’t be the only one and this has nothing to do with Psychedelic Pink Floyd but indulge me.

This is golfing legend Arnold Palmer’s back yard in Greater Palm Springs, California 

The legacy of the American lives on at this Coachella Valley Arnold Palmer restaurant.

With a country club feel, the restaurant celebrates the golfer with memorabilia, while serving his favourite foods.

Each room in the restaurant is named after a different golf tournament and focuses on a unique part of Palmer’s life. 

And, of course, your thirst will be quenched with an iced tea and lemonade, the famed Arnold Palmer.

Andy’s smasher

You’re welcome: Andy Murray

And when I first started out on this scribbling lark I was given an assignment to a foreign land… I was living in England at the time.

It involved me returning to my Scottish homeland and a country house, Cromlix House in Perthshire, Scotland.

Fast-forward to the current day and Cromlix was obviously a favourite of a young, aspiring tennis player.

Andy Murray only went and bought it and I dare say there will be evidence of the Great Man around the hotel.

Keeeeep dancin’: With Judy Murray in Portugal

And that isn’t a prompt to get an invite (honest!).

Particularly as I’m on dancing terms with his Mum Judy from her tennis course in Quinto da Lago in Portugal.

So tell us what are your Top Trumps Celebrity Hotspots?




Countries, Culture, Europe

Secret Algarve

Do you want to know a secret, do you promise to tell (it’s what Travel professionals do) well here’s a belter… Secret Algarve.

Now you might not be aware of this.

Portuguese secrets: Maria

But give a Portuguese a secret and they’ll keep it close to their hearts… they’re famous for it.

Which I discovered when I tried to get the Last Secret of Fatima out of Maria dos Anjos in Portugal Centro.

A desert island

Man is an island: Deserta

We’ve all got our memories of Algarve beaches and they still remember us in Cabanas…

Where our fellow guests told stories of that resort’s glassy sand.

Best then to go where the locals meet.

And in central Algarve that’s Ria Formosa which are on a series of barrier islands just off the coast.

The remote barrier islands are Barreta, Culatra, Armona and Ilha Tavira.

And they can be easily reached by ferry from Faro, Olhão or Tavira.

Our friends in the Algarve remind us that the Ria Formosa is a fabulous place for bird-watching..

Oh, we know, and have been beak to beak with the Algarve Spoon-bill in Quinta do Lago.

Fits bill: The Algarve Spoon-bill.

And paddeled too (the hybrid squash and tennis game).

Ria Formosa is also an important breeding ground for many coastal birds.

Such as oystercatchers, cranes, and flamingos, whilst also being a hotspot during the migration season.

Head to the deserted island of the aptly named Deserta.

And enjoy the day sunbathing, swimming and enjoying a long lazy lunch at local favourite Estamine.

It serves up fresh fish and seafood, among other genuinely Algarvian specialties from its solar powered kitchen.

And a mountain too

Rocky mountain high: Monchique

The Monchique mountain range is a chain of mountains found in the western part of the Algarve about 20 km inshore.

The highest point is the peak of Fóia which stands tall at 902m.

Picota is another notable peak at 774m high.

These peaks can be reached by foot, mountain bike or by Jeep with many tourism companies provide routes and services.

Reaching the peak of Fóia provides phenomenal panoramic views over the Algarve.

And when the weather is clear, you can see the Atlantic Ocean.  

To explore the mountains take a Jeep Safari Experience by Extremo Ambiente.

It includes sampling the local brandy Medronho, Melosa liqueur, honey and & wine. Mmmm

The tasting is organized by a sommelier with comparatives and tasting notes, with a pairing with cheese and Monchique cured meats.

Village people

Castle walls: Portuguese heritage


Go inland to visit small villages such as Aljezur on the west coast and Querença near Loulé in the surrounding Algarvian mountains.

Aljezur is in a river valley surrounded by hills with a cascade of zigzagging narrow streets. 

On one side of the river stands the old town, which was developed in the tenth century when the Moors first settled there.

The village is dominated by the ruins of a Moorish castlebuilt at that time which sits at the top of a narrow and very steep cobbled hill.

Not only were the Moors responsible for many buildings in the region, but also various legends and myths living among people even now.

More, More, Moor

Water view: Tavira

The village of Querença is one of the most ‘typical’ villages in the Algarve with clear signs of an Arab architectural influence.

The town is renowned for its rich traditional gastronomy, kept alive by local restaurants.

The village also distils the famous arbutus-berry brandy and produces a very popular variety of chorizo sausage, in addition to many other traditional products.

Visitors must try one of their wintry delicious stews (lamb, goat, chicken), finished with a “medronho” to warm up the soul.

Watch the sunset at Cacela Velha and then straight to the small alleys of Tavira old town for a gourmet tapas dinner.

Life’s a beach: With the Scary One

Cacela Velha village is situated on top of a hill with a view of the easternmost lagoon of the Ria Formosa.

The village has a beach known for its dreamy landscape and its fantastic sunset.

With sand that changes shapes according to the winds and tides.

In Tavira you will find a unique mix of traditional architecture.

With Moorish influences incorporated plus 37 churches.


Always a beach near by: In the Algarve

Alcoutim on the south-eastern border of Algarve is known as a hidden treasure in the Algarve.

This interesting river town is set among beautiful green hills.

Here you will find the perfect combination of history, nature, and tranquillity.

And you’ll be only a 30-minute drive from the coastal area of the Algarve.

The town is located on the Guadiana River, a river running the length of Portugal’s south-eastern border with Spain.

After meandering its way through some of the most picturesque landscapes, the river eventually spills out into the Atlantic Ocean.

At the border town of Vila Real de Santo António in the Algarve.

For a thrill do the only cross border zipline in the world that starts in Spain, crosses the Guadiana River on a 720 m line and finishes in Alcoutim.

So that’s it out… Secret Algarve. Enjoy.