1. The Royal Harbour Hotel was just perfect. James, the owner, bought it on a whim and when we first stayed, it was in the early stages of renovation. It has charm, it’s quirky, but it feels like home from the moment you step through the door. Five minutes later you are tucked up in front of a roaring fire, listening to Songs for Gay Dogs on the record player and sipping a little something from the honesty bar. The breakfasts are fantastic. There are books tucked in every corner, the walls drip with original artwork, James, Richard and the rest of the staff cannot do enough for you. We had Steve’s 30th birthday party there. We got engaged there (Gossip, 14/02/05.) I have their number on speed dial.
2. Surin: the best Thai food anywhere. To the point where you have to eat there every time you visit for fear that if you eat elsewhere, and it’s not as good, you’ll feel cheated.
Three years after our first visit, we bought the Money Pit. And now we can’t stay with James in the Royal Harbour or eat in Surin because we are broke! We got a call out of the blue on Sunday afternoon- the Foxes (who attended DH’s thirtieth and have come back to the Royal Harbour many times since) were in town. Did we want to go to Surin for supper (see what I mean)? They came round to see the Money Pit- I blu-tacked the computer-generated mock-ups of the bathroom to the walls so they could see what it would look like- and when nature called, we headed off at great speed in le Fox’s Porsche to Surin. I kid you not, I could just eat their dumplings all night. I didn’t of course, but had the Lao prawns with asparagus and ginger and ruminated on Y-fronts. Back to the Royal Harbour for a drink to discover a new development- the late night nibble bar. Plates piled high, we tested out James private cinema, installed in the basement after the dining room moved upstairs. The moment Keira Knightley came on screen we bolted though. But plan an event later this year to commandeer cinema and local casino and cause chaos and mayhem.