Springing into Spring at Somerset House

March 27, 2017

This weekend seriously felt like Spring. Not only because the clocks change, but mainly because the sun finally peeked out to say hello. There was no more need for a coat, definitely not tights and my gloves were taken out of my handbag (finally!)

London is so beautiful in the sun; the blossom seems to be just that little bit brighter, the sun rays warmer and life’s just a little better when you don’t need a coat. It seemed only fitting that on the first day of Spring I’d be finally dining at Spring Restaurant.

On Saturday, I went for lunch at Skye Gyngell’s restaurant, Spring at Somerset House. I’d been looking forward to it for absolutely ages, not just because I can talk to these girls for hours about travel and food, but also because I’ve wanted to eat at Spring forever. Literally I remember putting it on my  restaurant list the day it opened! Skye Gyngell’s success at Petersham Nurseries earned her a Michelin star and her foodie reputation is internationally known as one of Britain’s most respected chefs. 
Lemons Spring Somerset House_ Lifestyle Enthusiast


Ceiling Spring Somerset House_ Lifestyle Enthusiast

I walked through the garden courtyard into the restaurant, and honestly couldn’t think of a more perfect restaurant for such a sunny day. Light streams in through the huge windows and it’s seriously beautiful!

The sun literally poured onto our table and we toasted to the sunshine! Angie and I with Jacque Picard champagne and Eppie and Emma with beautiful blush rhubarb Bellini’s.

Cheers with Champagne and Rhubarb Bellinis Spring Somerset House_ Lifestyle Enthusiast

We started with homemade breads and salty butter – two types of which both were delicious, one nutty and more dense, it reminded me of the delicious dark rye bread we enjoyed in Copenhagen. The other was a perfect sourdough, perfectly soft on the inside, with a really crunchy, chewy crust. So good! If you judge restaurants on bread you’d love it!
Bread Spring Somerset House_ Lifestyle Enthusiast
For starters, Angie had the Spring artichokes with carne salata and sheep’s milk ricotta. Carne salata is an Italian cured beef which is apparently incredibly tender. The tenderness is said to be due to the process by which farmers sing to the cows so they lead more relaxed lives, giving a better texture and flavour to the meat. Now, I’m not sure whether that really has any impact but Angie assured me it was a delicious starter!

Artichokes Spring Somerset House_ Lifestyle Enthusiast

Emma had the most beautiful looking plate of scallops which gave me major food envy. They were served on cauliflower puree with a beurre blanc sauce and chives. I’ve got to try this next time!

Scallops Spring Somerset House_ Lifestyle Enthusiast

Eppie opted for the set menu with a starter of roasted wet garlic with goat’s curd and bruschetta. Another beautiful looking starter that I’d have happily gobbled up!

Wet Garlic Spring Somerset House_ Lifestyle Enthusiast

Simple as it is, I went for the buffalo mozzarella with rainbow chard, broad beans and lemon oil. It was the perfect light starter, rich with the cheese but really fresh. It was simple but so delicious. The cheese just melted and the chard had enough bite to give the dish some texture.

Buffalo mozzarella rainbow chard Spring Somerset House_ Lifestyle Enthusiast

We giggled about our other halves, compared restaurant bucket lists, chatted about the highs and lows of blogging and discussed our recent trips. Emma’s recent long weekend in Cornwall has twisted my arm. I’ve wanted to plan a trip down south for the summer and she seriously sold it to me!

As my other half is allergic to shellfish I tend not to eat so much of it anymore, so when I saw my favourite fish paired with clams on the menu I just knew I was going to have to order it! The monkish with clams, roasted almonds, rosemary and aioli didn’t disappoint! My monkfish was perfectly cooked, soft and succulent, and meaty with just the right amount of flake. It was served in a flavour-packed sauce, with clams and olives and the huge hunk of charred sourdough toast carried it perfectly. The aioli was moreish and I mopped up the sauce with the slightly sour toast – just so damn tasty! It’s one of the best seafood mains I’ve had in London and I honestly couldn’t recommend it enough to any seafood fans!

Monkfish Spring Somerset House_ Lifestyle Enthusiast

Angie went for the Roasted river test trout, which was served on a bed of braised fennel, with crème fraiche and fresh chilli sauce.

Trout Spring Somerset House_ Lifestyle Enthusiast

Emma had a light main of ricotta dumplings with wild garlic and ricotta salata. I hadn’t seen ricotta dumplings outside of an Italian restaurant but they seemed to be a good option for mains and Emma had hoped the broth could help fight off a cold!

Ricotta Spring Somerset House_ Lifestyle Enthusiast

Eppie’s pork and veal meatballs with yellow polenta looked hearty and well cooked – like comfort food finessed!

Meatballs Spring Somerset House_ Lifestyle Enthusiast

All of us polished off our mains without a crumb wasted!

I just loved the design of the restaurant – it is seriously the most pretty place I think I’ve ever eaten at in London! Gorgeous blush tones, cream everywhere, an opulent marble bar, fresh lemons as table centrepieces and fabulous oak flooring. It’s light and airy with high ceilings, cloud shaped chandeliers and beautiful textured art in white and pale blue on the walls. The sun draped every corner. It’s breathtakingly pretty, and if I had a restaurant this is exactly how I’d want it to look! It’s pretty, feminine, and ideal for a sunny day.

Marble bar Spring Somerset House_ Lifestyle Enthusiast

 

Dining room Spring Somerset House_ Lifestyle Enthusiast

Wall art Spring Somerset House_ Lifestyle Enthusiast

Mirror Spring Somerset House_ Lifestyle Enthusiast

Plant Spring Somerset House_ Lifestyle Enthusiast
My dessert was an almond tart with sweet, French, gariguette strawberries and a vanilla cream. How could you go wrong with strawberries and cream. So good! It had a really nutty flavour and was a pretty hearty portion for something that looked light! If you love nutty pud’s this is definitely the one for you!
Almond tart Spring Somerset House_ Lifestyle Enthusiast Angie went light with a duo of sorbets and Emma and Eppie both opted for the Hazelnut meringue with damson ice cream. I just loved how these were served – the cute cups for the sorbet were fairground-esque and the colour of that damson ice cream epitomises this season for me! Pretty as a picture!
Sorbet Spring Somerset House_ Lifestyle Enthusiast

Hazelnut meringue Spring Somerset House_ Lifestyle Enthusiast
I just loved our lunch at Spring with my favourite blogger girls! The food is faultless, service was great and it’s seriously the definition of #interiorgoals. Angie, Emma and Eppie are some of the most genuine bloggers I’ve the pleasure to call friends and the conversation flowed so much that we were at Spring for FOUR hours without conversation dying once! Such awesome ladies with incredible blogs. Check them out: here for Angie, here for Eppie and here for Emma.

I’m hoping to go back to Spring as soon as I can – there were so many things on the menu I wanted to try and I’ve noticed a very reasonable pre-theatre menu that is top of my must-try lists!

Of course we weren’t the first to have a lunch here and we certainly won’t be the last but you’ve got try it for a sunny lunch. It’s not cheap but I so highly recommend it, it would be the perfect treat for a late Mother’s day lunch or special meal.

Trust me, sunshine or no sunshine, you’ll love it!

Courtyard Spring Somerset House_ Lifestyle Enthusiast

Spring can be found at the beautiful Somerset House, in Lancaster Place, London WC2R 1LA.

Website link here.

Go soon and let me know what you think! Here’s hoping the sunshine lasts…

What did you get up to this weekend? Did you get any sunshine?!

An opulent lunch at Bob Bob Ricard

March 23, 2017

On Sunday my other half and I went for an early birthday lunch at Bob Bob Ricard. I hadn’t been in over two years and it was the first time either of us had been for Sunday lunch. I’d never sat in the upstairs (always the club room downstairs) and just loved the surroundings. Royal blue booths with art deco marbling and mosaic, embossed with gold accessories just shouted glitz and glamour to me.

Lifestyle Enthusiast Bob Bob Ricard Gold Detail

Lifestyle Enthusiast Bob Bob Ricard Table

Light drifted in through the big embossed windows and taking our seats in the blue leather booth felt like being transported into a restaurant which could be fit for the aristocracy of the early 1900s. It felt very much a blend of the Trans-Siberian railway meets an oligarch’s yacht party. The gold furnishings perfectly adorn the mosaic details and luxurious stone tables. It’s decadent, it’s over the top and oh boy it’s indulgent but it’s all of these things that contribute to an incredibly fun, special place to celebrate a birthday.

Quickly after seating, we were brought over a welcome drink – a short strong cocktail made of vodka, sloe gin, Creme de Muir, cranberry and fresh lemon juice. It was really juicy and strong and packed with berry flavour. I really enjoyed this and can imagine that if diluted, with sparkling water or bubbles, it would make a great summer long drink too.

Lifestyle Enthusiast blog_ Bob Bob Ricard Welcome Drink

As one does at Bob Bob Ricard (and given that it was for his birthday), we pressed for Champagne! It’s bizarre how childlike it feels and a little naughty whilst you wait to see what happens (even if you have been multiple times before!). You know it’s unnecessary and you know it’s indulgent but you do it anyway!

Like an Air Hostess, the waitress came over swiftly with a beaming smile and took our order for bubbles, before asking us to release the button. This button is probably one of the most Instagrammed and I’ve been reliably informed that Bob Bob Ricard pours the most champagne of any restaurant in London (very clever marketing!)

We went for the classic Brut Imperial champagne by Moët.  The bubbles didn’t disappoint and we clinked to his birthday!

Lifestyle Enthusiast blog_ Bob Bob Ricard Press for Champagne button in Booth

We started with some really good, warm bread and delicious salty Beurre d’Isigny butter.

Lifestyle Enthusiast blog_ Bob Bob Ricard Bread

Lifestyle Enthusiast blog_ Bob Bob Ricard Butter

Our starter was a truffled potato and mushroom vareniki (traditional Russian dumpings). I’ve not eaten much Russian food before and didn’t quite know what to expect. I was really pleasantly surprised! The dumplings were truly an ode to the humble mushroom. The soft potato pillows, delicately spiced with crushed black pepper were delicious and moreish, with a generous truffle flavour. Shimeji mushrooms adorned the pool of mushroom sauce, with just enough bite. That sauce was honestly just so delicious. It was reminiscent of a great mushroom soup with intense concentrated mushroom flavour, deep, earthy and so tasty. The crunchy topping came in the form of a crispy shallot ring which added some texture and a subtle flavour, which nicely complemented the earthy soup. This was one of the classic Russian dishes on the menu and a unanimous favourite! I could have licked the plate clean!

We also opted to share a salmon tartare topped with fennel, cucumber and horseradish. It was fresh and light and garnished with pearls of salmon roe. It was good but truly it lacked the bursts of flavour I like – it was a little too safe and not so memorable.

Lifestyle Enthusiast_ Bob Bob Ricard Varineki

Lifestyle Enthusiast blog_ Bob Bob Ricard Salmon Tartare

Our main meal was sure to be something special. It has to be ordered 45 minutes ahead and ordered for two – making it something that was always going to be exciting.

The Wellington was served perfectly, medium rare inside and enclosed in beautiful, crisp, bronze pastry, which flaked like a dream. The centre of the pastry was soft, tender and buttery. It was served with a generous boat of truffle gravy which married well with the roasted parsnip and carrots. My other half claims these are the best carrots he’s ever eaten. They’re cooked in meat dripping and fresh thyme, and cooked just the right amount leaving just the right amount of bite! The spring greens made a nice accompaniment, as greens always do with meat, but had no distinct flavour and didn’t add anything special.

Lifestyle Enthusiast blog_ Bob Bob Ricard Beef Wellington Whole

Lifestyle Enthusiast blog_ Bob Bob Ricard Slicing Wellington

Lifestyle Enthusiast blog_ Bob Bob Ricard Sliced Wellington with Gravy

Lifestyle Enthusiast blog_ Bob Bob Ricard Parsnips, Carrots, Greens

Lifestyle Enthusiast blog_ Bob Bob Ricard Moet in Bucket

For dessert, we opted to share a chocolate fondant, hiding under a praline topping and served with hazelnut ice cream. Whilst the fondant is much less Instagrammed than the famous chocolate dome or Eton mess en perle (both of which we had previously tried), we found it to be delicious. The hazelnut ice cream alone is delicious and with the molten chocolate filling it was a dream combination.

Lifestyle Enthusiast blog_ Bob Bob Ricard Chocolate Fondant and Hazelnut ice cream

We took away the glittery birthday cake and headed home.

Bob Bob Ricard is not cheap in the slightest, it’s over the top and therefore on the pricey side. However, the opulence, fun factor and the lovely staff working there (in fabulously kitsch dusky-pink waistcoats) make it somewhere I’d happily return to. The food is beautifully presented and very tasty and the surroundings, with it’s the gold details, incredible flooring to the royal blue booths, make for gorgeous surroundings, making it memorable.

Lifestyle Enthusiast blog_ Bob Bob Ricard Curtain

It’s certainly a unique spot in London and so I’d recommend Bob Bob Ricard. It’s absolutely worth trying for a special occasion in a beautiful, very luxurious restaurant.

Lifestyle Enthusiast blog_ Bob Bob Ricard Window reflection

Bob Bob Ricard can be found at 1 Upper James St, Soho, London, W1F 9DF.

Website here.

Have you been to Bob Bob Ricard? What are your favourite restaurants for special occasions?

A review of EAST Hotel, Hong Kong: A business hotel with a difference

March 17, 2017

“This is your captain speaking. Thanks for waiting so patiently and once again I’m so sorry for the delay. I’m so sorry to have to say this now… after all this time. I’m sorry folks, but this flight is not going anywhere tonight. It’s going to be delayed by around twenty hours and will leave tomorrow afternoon. Oh and you’re going to have to collect your luggage.”

I had two identical flights, two days in a row. I went through a smooth check in the Executive club check at Heathrow, both days. On both days, I wore the same printed trousers and cashmere sweater outfit both days. On both of these days, I had the same people sitting next to me each time and on both of these days I had the same desire to Instagram my bubbly on the flight.

Why? I hear you ask. Why did I fly from Heathrow two days in a row? Because after a Saturday consisting of an hours journey to Heathrow, a 3 hour delay pre-flight, an hour sitting on the flight and a couple of shows on Netflix, my flight which was due to take me to Hong Kong, was cancelled and rescheduled for the next day. It was past midnight and I had arrived at Heathrow at 4pm. To say I was exhausted and frustrated is a bit of an understatement!

So on Sunday, the day of my rescheduled flight I re-lived Saturday all over again – except this time I actually departed. With all the same familiar faces as the night before, I boarded to my flight to Hong Kong, and second time lucky, we left on time.

13 hours of flying, an hours drive, and a full boxset of The Night Of  later, I arrived at the East Hotel, Hong Kong, a luxury hotel in Taikoo Shing, on Hong Kong Island.

East Hotel Hong Kong - Tree in Lobby

Following the smoothest paperless check-in, I was shown to my Harbour Corner room with the most phenomenal views over Hong Kong harbour. The modern design and tall floor to ceiling glass windows let in the maximum amount of light into the room and exuded luxury. It also means that from every part of the room you can see out to the harbour. It’s airy, bright and immediately I found some peace!

East Hotel Hong Kong - Harbour Corner Room view

Given that I was visiting Hong Kong for business and had lost a day due to the flight issues, I had quite a lot of work to get stuck into. The desk was sleek and well-designed, with hidden draws, leather furnishings, and practical international plug sockets. The staff at East Hotel had left me a beautiful notebook, fresh fruit and incredibly addictive chocolates – I thought this was a really nice touch to welcome guests after a long journey! It made the perfect base for me to work from.

East Hotel Hong Kong - Harbour Corner Desk

East Hotel Hong Kong - Desk TV

There’s a large flat screen TV which usually hides behind a photograph of the harbour, plenty of lamps and lighting options, electric blackout blinds, a Nespresso machine and plenty of other handy gadgets. Best of all is the free smartphone which you can take whilst you’re out and about in Hong Kong. Use it to tether from or to make phone calls including free international calls, which was a big bonus!

East Hotel Hong Kong - Handy Smartphone - Free WIFI and calls

So with all the above in place I was ready to get stuck into my work.

But first… time for a quick shower!

East Hotel Hong Kong - reflection from bathroom

Check out the reflection of the view – it’s so beautiful.

The bathroom is kitted with Elemis products, a powerful shower and a huge vanity mirror. There’s a huge wardrobe, big fluffy robes, a powerful hairdryer and plenty of room for dressing. What more do you need?! In theory you can shower with a full view of the Harbour… in reality that means you could probably be seen too (so you may want to use the blinds!)

East Hotel Hong Kong - Elemis products

East Hotel Hong Kong - Sink and Shower Area

I spent the remainder on the day catching up with emails, finishing some work and preparing for client meetings. After a dinner at the local Thai spot I was ready to crash.

Whilst the high ceilings and smart lighting in the room give a really modern look to the room it’s the furnishings that make it a home from home. This huge bed turned out to be the best I’ve ever stayed in on a business trip. It was incredibly comfortable, soft and felt like sleeping in a cloud. I usually struggle to get fully rested with a new bed but a combination of the snug bedding, jet lag, peace, quiet and blackout blinds provided me with a super comfortable night’s sleep. And boy it was sleep I so desperately needed after losing my weekend to the airport!

East Hotel Hong Kong - Bed in Harbour Corner Room

Until next time, when I’ll take you around the rest of East Hotel and what more it has to offer! In the meantime, you can follow me on Instagram and let me know what you think! Which hotel would you recommend for it’s views?

East Hotel Hong Kong can be found at 29 Tai Koo Shing Rd, Quarry Bay, Hong Kong. It’s a stones throw from Taikoo Shing station – I loved it and can’t wait to share more with you.

Website link here.

A review of Honey & Smoke: The best place in London for Middle Eastern food

March 7, 2017

Honey & Smoke serves excellent food. Truly lip-smackingly excellent food!

It is built on the Middle Eastern food that the chefs (a husband and wife duo) grew up on. You may well be familiar with the sister restaurant – Honey and Co. I’ve been there twice for brunch, and it’s never failed to impress me. A sumptuous spread is served in a tiny bistro filled with warmth, foodies and the most delicious Shakshuka. It’s one of my favourite spots for brunch and so when Honey & Smoke opened in 2016, I was pretty keen to get it booked in ASAP!

Honey & Smoke is a much larger restaurant, set over two floors, therefore it’s able to sit significantly more covers than the little hub on Warren Street, which whilst delicious, is guilty of the kind of place where you can’t help but have your elbows nipping into someone else!

I was excited from the get-go. I arrived and immediately perused the menu – it is amazing, and everything sounds delicious. We opted for the set menu, allowing us to try all nine of the mezze items, as well as a main dish each from the grill, a side and a dessert.

Nobody could prepare us for the table-crowding mountain of food that followed!

We kicked off with perfectly soft Moroccan focaccia served with fresh olive oil, pickles and kalamata olives. It had a slightly salty, slightly spiced topping, which was sensational and had us ordering extra focaccia throughout the meal. Ironically, I had been trying to avoid filling up on too much bread, but it was so delicious that it was hard to resist.

Mezze
Honey & Smoke Bread

Honey & Smoke Pickles

My favourite dish of the day, Baba Ghanoush had the most perfect smokiness – it was bold, delicious and moreish and a world away from the bland, wet imitation sold in supermarkets! Bejewelled with pomegranate, swirled through with olive oil and garnished with fresh parsley – it packed a punch. It was served with a Lavash cracker, topped with crunchy poppy and sesame seeds and perfectly delicious in its own right! Needless to say we ordered seconds. You so need to try this!

Honey & Smoke Baba Ghanoush

A winter tomato salad complemented both of the above dishes perfectly, with ripe, juicy tomatoes in a citrus dressing.

Honey & Smoke Winter Tomato Salad

Msahaba consisted of soft chickpeas, with a garlic sauce and some spice to it. It was served cool. Whilst it was ok as part of the mezze I probably wouldn’t order it again – that said the boys mopped it up so maybe it’s one that divides the table (or maybe just me!)

Honey & Smoke Msahaba Chickpeas

Another favourite was the burnt celeriac, served with delicious urfa chilli butter with chive infused sour cream. It was smoky, soft, nutty and perfectly charred.

Honey & Smoke Celeriac

The cauliflower florets were served with homemade amba, a tangy mango pickle used frequently in Iraqi cuisine. I just adore cauliflower like this, it’s a world away from boiled cauliflower that I used to (and still) avoid like the plague!

Honey & Smoke Cauliflower

The falafel and tahini were okay – whilst they weren’t dry (that’s the worst) they didn’t pack a punch in the way I had liked, or stand out to me like most of Honey & Smoke’s delicious food did. Given that we had tried so many different dishes I ended up leaving most of my portion aside to keep space for the other dishes.

Honey & Smoke Falafel Mezze

Charred pears came served with almond tahini and raw honey – I absolutely loved this. I adore how the flavour of the pears was intensified and the sweetness was just right. It had just enough bite to it but still was juicy and soft.

Honey & Smoke Charred PearsThe pears went incredibly with the warm goats cheese, red onion, walnut and fresh pomegranate salad.

Honey & Smoke Goats Cheese

The mezze dishes just married together perfectly and I really enjoyed it – whilst separately they were all beautifully light, paired together it had become pretty heavy. By this point we were completely full and I had started to worry about what we’d do with so much food. The same happens for brunch at Honey and Co every time… they certainly know how to do generous portions!

Mains

The grills arrived next with sides. I immediately regretted filling up on the bread (or do I? It was delicious!)

First up was Hamama, grilled pigeon with sweet onion, pine nuts and sultanas. Despite the description it wasn’t too sweet at all. It was cooked beautifully rare, nice and pink and perfectly paired with the sweet, soft onions and pine nuts.

Honey & Smoke Hamama Pidgeon

Chicken shawarma, burnt pitta and green tahini. It was beautifully cooked but for me it lacked the wow factor that some of the other dishes had. My other half loved it though!

Honey & Smoke Chicken Shawarma

…and the Short rib with spiced quince glaze and pickled quince. This just melted off the bone. Super succulent and delicious.

Honey & Smoke Short Rib

Sides

The sides were fantastic and actually some of my favourite parts of the meal! Honey & Smoke absolutely nailed these!

The crispy burnt potatoes were fantastic – super crispy but still that soft, fluffy centre within. The crunch was super loud, adding to the theatre! As much as I try not to carb-load these potatoes were so delicious that I couldn’t resist them!

Honey & Smoke Crispy Potato Side Dish

Sweet potato were roasted in embers and topped with almonds, date honey and fresh spring onions.

Honey & Smoke Sweet Potato and Almond Tahini Side

The chopped salad rounded the mains off nicely, fresh and crunchy, as it should be!

Honey & Smoke Chopped Salad Side

Desserts

Finally, let me tell you about the sweet stuff.

When I had visited Honey & Smoke’s sister restaurant, Honey & Co, I loved the famous Feta and Honey cheese cake on a kadaif base. Kadaif is a bit like shredded filo and it makes a wonderful base to the creamy, rich topping. The cheesecake that results is crispy, soft, sweet and savoury all in one – and just thinking about it makes me hungry. But here’s the thing… I get FOMO, and I’d tried that before. My fear of missing out led to me convincing the guys to let us order the three items I hadn’t tried.

Warm chestnut cake with salted caramel and a soured cream. Deeeee-lish!

Honey & Smoke Chestnut Cake with Salted Caramel

Chocolate pecan mud pie with a chocolate orange ice cream. This mud pie was delicious but we unanimously agreed that it was dangerously close to being too chocolatey… if that’s even a thing! I couldn’t help but think that a good vanilla ice cream or some crème fraiche would have been perfect with it, to take away a little bit of the richness.

Honey & Smoke Chocolate Mud Pie with Chocolate Orange Ice cream

And finally, the resounding favourite…

Turkish coffee ice cream with homemade marshmallow, toasted hazelnut crumble and an umptuous warm chocolate sauce to pour over. This epitomises everything a good pudding should be and is a must-try for all coffee-lovers. It’s the perfect pud to round off a heavy meal and we managed to find space for it!

Honey & Smoke Turkish Coffee Ice cream

All in all, Honey & Smoke was brilliant, and the food makes up for the plain decor. I left with a big smile and full belly… the boys left with the same, plus a big doggy bag of leftovers for the next day’s packed lunches!

In summary, I loved the delicious meal we ate and have Honey & Smoke on my list of wonderful restaurants to return to! It’s also excellent value for money, which is always nice!

You can find more details on the Honey & Smoke website – link here. If you’d like to read more about the chefs Sarit Packer and Itamar Srulovich, then do check out Savla Faire where there’s a great article on them in Seetal’s ‘Spotlight on chefs’ series – link here.

So which restaurants have you tried lately? Where should I be prioritising?

Where to go when there’s bad weather in Melbourne: The Peninsula Hot Springs

March 1, 2017

In October, I visited Australia for the first time However, whilst I had managed to navigate three airports, multiple time zones and spent countless hours in duty-free, when I reached the baggage carousel at my final destination, Melbourne, my bag hadn’t arrived at all!

After over 24 hours of flying, with no sleep, puffy eye bags and a bit of dehydration, I was exhausted and I wasn’t too happy about the prospect of having just the clothes on my back with me for my three days in Melbourne! I spoke with the airline and left, accepting the bag had not boarded the plane with me in Perth and there was nothing I could do at that point. I was staying with my uncle and aunt in Melbourne, so we agreed to call the airline the next day to follow up and so that night I crawled into my bed drifted to sleep, ready for some much needed sleep.

Well, turns out the universe had other plans and my jetlag disagreed with me. 2 hours later my jet lag kicked in and I was wide awake.

I just needed to sleep!

I was wide awake but absolutely exhausted, after an hour of squeezing my eyes shut hoping I’d fall asleep I gave up and gave in to scrolling through Instagram and Bloglovin to kill time.

By the time I finally fell asleep properly, it was 9am and I managed to sleep until midday! It was safe to say any plans for an active first day were put aside. I had missed the morning sunshine and the weather was windy and grey.

My bags eventually were dropped off that afternoon by the airline, leaving not much time for sightseeing. We had a much needed coffee (Melbourne’s coffee is truly excellent!) and my uncle and aunt mentioned that they’d managed to secure a late afternoon booking at some hot springs near Melbourne. In my tired state I left it to them – as I hadn’t a clue on where else to go in Melbourne when the weather is bad.

Those hot springs just so happen to be the Peninsula Hot Springs, an absolute hidden gem that I just have to share with you!

It was just what I needed! Some much needed R&R to melt away the stress of travel.

The One place you must visit if in Melbourne

The world and Google, in particular, has no shortage of suggestions for sightseeing in Melbourne. There’s absolutely loads you can do – it’s a place full of beautiful scenery, relaxing beaches, amazing vineyards, super friendly people and fabulous wine-bars.

What I hadn’t come across in my research was the fact that Melbourne is nearby to the Peninsula Hot Springs in Rye. I was about to discover an absolute hidden gem!

Melbourne is known to be a place where you can experience four seasons in a day – regardless of the weather, or whether you are jet lagged, or whether you’ve a busy itinerary already… the Peninsula Hot Springs are an absolute must-do! We had a cooler largely grey day, with bursts of sunshine and also warm rain. Despite all of this, it couldn’t have been more perfect.

The Pools

The Peninsula Hot Springs consist of completely natural thermal hot springs, outdoors, just over an hour from Melbourne. There are more than twenty bathing experiences, from warm paddling pools, massaging thermal baths, a traditional hammam style steam room, cold plunge pools, and deliciously hot natural pools, which feel just like a Jacuzzi.

As if these incredible thermal baths aren’t enough, they also offer activities such as yoga and aqua aerobics there during the week – unfortunately none were on whilst we visited – I can imagine if I moved to Melbourne I’d plan my week around those!

 

The pools raise in temperature as you walk from the lower pools and head further up. The hottest pool has a temperature rising up to 42 degrees Celsius. The varying heats are meant to assist with relaxation and the elimination of any toxins in the body. What I loved is that each one feels different, no two are the same in temperature, views or style and I honestly think you could spend hours exploring and not get bored. It is incredibly relaxing to ease in the first day of a holiday in such a breathtakingly beautiful place.

 

The steps lead up to my absolute favourite of the hot springs, a hilltop thermal bath with 360 degree views of Victoria. It’s green and lush, you can see vegetation and animals and birds in the distance. So incredibly relaxing and beautiful, and so peaceful, for any time of the day. They reminded me of a slightly more built up version of the hot springs I visited in Thailand a few years ago, but the scenery was completely different.

Top Tips

  1. Book ahead – the Peninsula Hot Springs have to control the numbers to ensure it’s a relaxing experience so do phone before you go and book in!
  2. Take two towels – one to dry off between the thermal springs and one for post showering (on the showering note it’s fairly simple so you may want to take along some nice toiletries!)
  3. Don’t forget flip flops – it can be slippery on the wet stones
  4. You can hire a robe when there but I’d recommend taking a cover-up, as walking between pools is quite scenic and the cold shouldn’t be stopping you from stopping to take it all in!

What I Didn’t Expect

We spent a good 3-4 weeks planning that trip, even though it was a last minute one.

But here’s what I didn’t plan for.

I didn’t expect my bag not to arrive with me.

I didn’t expect to be so jet lagged that I’d “lose” half a day to snoozing in Melbourne.

I didn’t expect that my first day wouldn’t be spent sightseeing in the city.

I certainly didn’t expect that I’d start my trip with somewhere completely off the radar!

But all of that meant that I went somewhere we never planned to, that turned out to be the best start to the trip I could have ever asked for.

So if you find yourself in Melbourne, with or without bad weather and you need to relax but don’t know where to go in Melbourne – head straight to this hidden gem, the Peninsula Hot Springs. Trust me, you couldn’t possibly regret it!

The Peninsula Hot Springs can be found at:
Springs Lane, Fingal, 3939
Mornington Peninsula, Victoria, Australia

Website here.