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Walking Over Haddon in The Peak District

I confess I'm a fair weather walker, which means I often want to walk on our holidays, but whether we go is always dependent on the weather. I have a Goretex jacket but it's like a talisman. I own it, but I don't want to wear it and I hope vainly that just by having spent so much on it an schlepping it with me that it's going to ward off the rain! As you can see my travel planning involves a good deal of "magical thinking!" In California our cultural exuberance (paired with low standards) means we shamelessly call anything a "hike"  - as if we've scaled Everest in an afternoon. Here in England I'm not sure I even qualify as a "walker" because that denotes a level of seriousness I've failed at previously. Minimally it means you're wearing boots  and have an Ordnance Survey map (and possibly a compass) in your back pocket. I guess I'm more of stroller to be honest and I've blogged about my strolls all over the world; m…

Solage, Napa



We spent a relaxing three days up in Napa at Solage and I've been meaning to post a review.  I have a few different things to say about the property so I'll probably do two reviews, this one on the hotel  and another one on their fabulous spa. I may even be inspired to tell you all about their restaurant Solbar too.

A relatively new resort in the northern Napa Valley,  Solage is a collection of cottages styled in a modern manner which  they rather pretentiously define as, "Napa Barn meets San Francisco loft". It's a rustic luxe look and at these prices you've paid for a lot of luxe, clearly a Napa Barn is nothing like a working barn! Overall this is a stylish modern  hotel with an excellent restaurant and spa. However for me it lacked warmth, as if they were trying a little too hard, it lacked that comfortable sense of ease that marks the most luxurious destinations.


This is a resort built around the outdoor spaces, in fact there was nowhere, aside from our room, where we could sit indoors with the pooch. No comfortable lobby, library or lounge. The indoor options were the restaurant and bar,  which was one space. It's great that they allow dogs  but this isn't a property where they make a fuss over your dog, if that's what you'd like see my review of  the Carmel Valley Ranch.  Despite the $100 charge there was no treat in the room as advertised though we were very happy that they provided a full sized dog bed. 


Above is an image of the cottages and below are several pictures of the interiors.....









Each of the cottages has a similar outdoor patio with some comfortable seating though the view wasn't particularly compelling as you can see.






Here are some images of the outdoor spaces which are beautifully landscaped....





Tiber enjoying the outdoor patio by the main pool. In the winter you could see a mist rising from the warm water.




Anyone for boule?



Why not sit down and read your book?






Gorgeous landscaping around the spa, this is the best part of the hotel and I really enjoyed it, blog post to follow. 



Recommendations:

This is an expensive property, we booked through Luxury Link for a more reasonable rate that included taxes and breakfast which made the cost more manageable.




 Make sure to ask for a room in the heart of the property. I made the mistake of asking  for a room with a bath. They kindly accommodated us, but unfortunately moved us from a cottage near the spa to one of the edge of the property. There are quite a number of cottages on this side of the resort and in my opinion they are highly undesirable. We should have asked to move but we underestimated how  the constant view of the apartment blocks next door (and the loud music) would take the edge off the "resort" experience. Here was the view...






While other areas of the property had lovely paths through the landscaping the cottages on this side of the resort are reached by walking past the main service area where I saw several trucks unloading on a Monday morning and then down this small road, not very scenic and certainly not resorty. Am I too fussy, perhaps. But when the cost is considerable and the hotel promises to, "Engage. Inspire. Indulge." your expectations are going be high.





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