Friday, December 24, 2010

Ticket to Ryde

Well if I was being pedantic it should be a ticket from Ryde, as the fast cat (catamaran) called Night Ryder (yes I know!) pulled into Ryde Pier Head where in mere moments the wonderful vintage London Underground carriages chugged into the platform. And you can buy your ticket onboard, how civilized! And whilst we're talking civilized, the fast passenger ferry had wifi on it, how perfect for those of us who like to be connected to the interweb at all times!
I had been childishly enthusiastic about the displaced tube carriages as wasn't disappointed, these are the ones you might see in the transport museum not whisking Londoners and visitors hither and thither. They have long bench seats and dark wooden clad walls, have a vague musty smell but clearly have been spruced up recently. The pale paintwork is crisp and the distinctive seat upholstery is bright and very free of graffiti. I travelled the full length of the rail network, a whole 23 minutes worth and loved the spotless stations with their quaint metal destination signage and neat fences, have I stepped back in time? It was a curious experience to see the sea from a tube window, your only chance of that on a London tube is if you've managed to board some runaway train, and I may have left a white world but here in the Isle of Wight it's pretty green. There are little patches of snow but the recent rain has washed all the rest away. The sky was streaked deliciously with salmon and satsuma as we crossed over so I'm hoping tomorrow bodes a fine photogenic day.
As the train stopped going all the way to Ventnor back in the 60's the last leg of the journey was by taxi. My driver gave me a great introduction to the area and as we pulled up to my hotel - Robert Thompson The Hambrough - named as such to remind you it's all about the food (Robert is the Michelin starred head chef), we remarked of the wonderful prominence over the sea. I hoped I may be lucky enough to have a sea view and thus be able to admire that enviable view during my entire stay. And much to my delight I'd been upgraded to a fabulous room with a seating area overlooking the sea from two sides and also a huge bathtub also with a sea view.

I believe the rooms have recently been refurbished and have that sumptuous elegance I love so in boutique hotels. There's velvet cushions, a comfy sofa, a bed piled high with satin sequined and beaded fabrics, a great walk in closet that lights up when you open the doors so all your luggage can be magically out of sight and if I was inclined towards coffee, a shiny illy proper espresso machine of my very own. I opted for Champagne instead!

The bathroom has both a rainfall shower and the bathtub with a view, toasty underfloor heating, striking greeny blue glass mosaics and lots of yummy toiletries.
If I lack inspiration for my own entertainment I've got access to a vast DVD library. But i have my much desired wifi so I intend to while away my time blogging - it's well overdue!
One of my favourite touches is a couple of sophisticated matching with the decor (naturally!) Christmas trees for that festive feel. I'd had a taste of their chic yet rich Christmas decorations as we ascended the staircase to my room and I look forward to seeing the rest of the hotel when I emerge for dinner. I had a good feeling about this place before I'd arrived, the website, the excellent customer service I received (tons of advice of getting here and it was all spot on) and the warmest of welcome. This will be a very, merry, both elegant and delicious Christmas I sense! Cheers!

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