Luxury Hotels

Kangaroo Valley – Golf – Bangkok – London – Bill Bensley

While the Northern Hemisphere shivered over New Year and, in so many cases, was not even allowed to ski, those lucky enough to be Down Under revelled in warmth.  Girlahead has just had this photo from Steve Odell, on the right of the image above, at Kangaroo Valley NSW, in the Southern Highlands, two hours’ drive from Sydney (bliss, he said, and, this year, the rain that Australia always so appreciates). Kangaroo Valley, it seems, has a variety of activities, including an 18-hole Jack Newton golf course.  The Kangaroo Valley Golf and Country Retreat has a total of 100 beds in one-to-three bedroom detached villas – which Aussie-style they call ‘cabins’: #s 66 and 76 offer most privacy, and both overlook the golf course’s 14th and 8th tees.

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Girlahead is not a golfer, but it is coincidental that Travel+Leisure, the US one, has just shared its five favourite courses in South-East Asia (or at least they are the ones being promoted by Duncan Forgan, a Bangkok-based Scot who generally writes for Esquire, Time Magazine and the very-left wing UK Guardian newspaper).  His personal golf-course-favourites are Alpine Golf and Sports Club, Bangkok; Sentosa Golf Club, Serapong Course, Singapore; The Bluffs Ho Tram Strip, Vietnam; Kau Sai Chau (Gary Player, North), Hong Kong, and Bali Golf and Country Club.

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Actually, for a golf-lover visiting Bangkok, Girlahead would suggest one of two of the many hotels owned by US-born Thai Bill Heinecke, namely Anantara Siam Bangkok or the neighbouring St Regis Bangkok. Both are on Rajadamri Road, conveniently next to the Sky Train station: both offer rooms with superb views over the road to Bangkok’s Royal Sport Club, with its golf course, busy from daylight on, surrounded by the race track. With that view of course, Girlahead last stayed at Anantara Siam Bangkok (GM Daniel Simon) in the splendid Thompson Suite, #854, with plenty of Jim Thompson fabrics and memorabilia of that enigmatic designer-explorer. At St Regis Bangkok (GM Klaus Christandl), it was corner suite #2224, and many memories include the welcome Thai delicacies made to a recipe devised by a 17th century sweet-lover,  Maria Guyomar de Pinha. Do not, by the way, miss Bill Bensley’s silver-cherub sculptures by the hotel’s pool – and catch Bill on podcast, below.

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Finally, a bit more history. Jane Austen had a brother, Henry, who at one time lived at 24 Upper Berkeley Street in London. That is now a Russell Sage-designed private-let hotel, Henry’s Townhouse, managed by Ann Grimes on behalf of owners Steven and Jane Collins. Take the entire thing, even if you do not need all the seven bedrooms – even with two people, you still receive a welcome bottle of Bollinger from the Collins.

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Let us sign off, today, with a return to the charismatic Bill Bensley and his thoughts: