CHRISTOPHER STEVENS reviews last night’s TV: A peek into the world’s best hotel room… what a pity we can’t stay
Amazing Hotels: Life Beyond The Lobby
Adrian Dunbar’s Coastal Ireland
All anyone can think about right now is holidays. The schedules are packed with travel shows, and the infuriating comments by ministers that no one should be planning getaways just make us more desperate to book our flights.
Even when I’m watching dramas and documentaries, I only have eyes for the locations.
Who cares if Miranda and Max catch the killer on The Mallorca Files . . . just look at that sun terrace.
So the sight of Giles Coren and Monica Galetti unwinding in what must be the most palatial destination on earth, on Amazing Hotels: Life Beyond The Lobby (BBC2), was almost too much to bear
And never mind if Bendor Grosvenor finds another Lost Masterpiece — I’m so envious to see him strolling through that Italian museum.
So the sight of Giles Coren and Monica Galetti unwinding in what must be the most palatial destination on earth, on Amazing Hotels: Life Beyond The Lobby (BBC2), was almost too much to bear.
The terraced layers of cliff-face rooms at the Jade Mountain Resort in St Lucia, gazing out over the sea and the world heritage site of the Piton mountains, were jaw-dropping. Instead of an outer wall or picture window, each one had an infinity swimming pool.
Birds and butterflies fluttered from the surrounding rainforest into the apartments. Guests, paying up to £2,700 a night, were given water pistols, to discourage the wildlife when it became too cheeky. What happens during hurricane season, we were not told. Those open rooms must get rather draughty.
When this episode was filmed, before the pandemic, every day was a blissful 30c (86c) . . . indoors and out. Breakfast was a brimming glass of tropical juice, sipped in the pool that seemed to flow right into the sky.
‘The most spectacular hotel room I’ve ever had,’ decided Giles. ‘The nicest I’ve ever stayed in,’ agreed Monica. All that perfection is beyond the pale now.
I felt slightly guilty just to be watching, as if Giles and Monica were urging us to go shoplifting or fiddle our taxes.
As usual, the duo tried their hand at working for the hotel. Even this looked blissful. While Giles raked the beach, in readiness for a wedding at the surf’s edge, Monica cut bougainvillea blossoms for the bride.
Then they went scuba-diving for lion fish, an invasive species on the coral reef that just happens to make a delicious fish supper. By now, the show was tantamount to an incitement to mass disobedience. Rise up and go on holiday, brothers and sisters. You have nothing to lose but your air miles.
Line Of Duty star Adrian Dunbar was in less rarified surroundings, in the second part of his adventures in Coastal Ireland (C5), but he still found plenty of beautiful landscapes that made me ache to visit.
I might give the rope bridge at Carrick-a-Rede a miss, though. Crossing a perilous chasm 100ft above the churning sea, it led to a fisherman’s cottage so high on a rock that a crane was needed to haul the boat out of the water.
No open-fronted bedrooms on that cliff. More tranquil were the gorgeous gardens designed in the 1920s at Mount Stewart house by Lady Edith — not the one with the miserable love life in Downton Abbey, but the Marchioness of Londonderry.
The house is now maintained by the National Trust, and its head gardener Oliver took the actor for a stroll through the magnificent grounds.
They found Mexican marigolds, whose leaves have a pungent lemon-and-lime scent. ‘Might be nice with a drop of vodka,’ murmured Adrian.
Oliver suggested gin. ‘Now you’re sucking diesel,’ said the big man approvingly.
Line Of Duty star Adrian Dunbar was in less rarified surroundings, in the second part of his adventures in Coastal Ireland (C5), but he still found plenty of beautiful landscapes that made me ache to visit
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