Sharron Livingston

Retreat to Thailand

By Sharron Livingston, August 26, 2016

As I dangled my feet in the cool, salt water of the L-shaped infinity pool on the roof of Villa 28, the sun warmed my face while a breeze from the Andaman Sea below tickled my hair. On the rocky outcrop of Koh Fann, the 12-metre high Golden Buddha with its palms up in Mara posture was so alive with sunlight that it seemed to wink at me from the mountainous horizon.

It was a glorious scene.


Have a ball in vintage Havana

By Sharron Livingston, May 27, 2016

Last year the United States restored diplomatic relations with Cuba after a 50-year Cold War. Since then this Carribean island which lies a mere 90 miles away from Key West and Florida has flung open its doors beckoning cruise ships to stop by its capital, Havana, and holiday makers to fly into its José Marti Airport.


The White House

By Sharron Livingston, May 20, 2016

Let's face it, anyone visiting Brighton especially during festival season (now to the end of June) is unlikely to be spending time in their hotel room. That's why I ditched the big, anonymous hotels that have spas and restaurants in favour of a cute four-star, 10-room bed and breakfast.


Barcelo Illetas Albatros

By Sharron Livingston, April 22, 2016

Sometimes you just want to holiday somewhere without kids. This means a swimming pool with no bombing, a restaurant with no crying babies and a reception area with no pint-size humans running around. This four-star adult-only hotel, 20 minutes or so from the airport, delivers all this on the sunny island of Mallorca, and offers a welcome glass of cava on arrival too.


What made Maria Callas sing?

By Sharron Livingston, April 11, 2016

The town of Sermione on the southern shores of Lake Garda is probably the most popular seaside resort in northern Italy. It is also a spa with Roman origins - you will find the small town and its thermal springs on the tip of a protruding peninsula that divides the gulfs of Desenzano and Peschiera.


Bye bye concierge, hello Connie

By Sharron Livingston, April 4, 2016

If Hilton has its way, the suited-and-booted concierge with a dapper hairstyle may well become a thing of the past — and sooner than you think.


Zulus and Zemirot

By Sharron Livingston, April 3, 2016

South Africa's Zimbali resort extends over 700 hectares and offers a rare combination of lush forest, soft-sand beaches and an 18-hole golf course on the lovely KwaZulu-Natal's Dolphin Coast, along the Indian Ocean.

"Zimbali" is the Zulu word for "valley of flowers" and this goes some way to describing the blossoming environment.


The living is Portuguesey

By Sharron Livingston, March 24, 2016

The Algarve, on Portugal's south coast, has long been a favourite of Britons chasing the sun. It always delivers those sunny days, even out of season and is particularly lovely in April, when spring flowers are in full bloom, the crowds have thinned and temperatures hover around a pleasant 20° to 25°C. And it's only a four-hour flight from the UK.


Golden Crown Igloo

By Sharron Livingston, February 25, 2016

The night sky in Finnish Lapland can be charcoal black when the clouds disperse making a superb starry canvas for the colourful Northern Lights.

But the snow on the ground is deep and temperatures tend to plummet in the winter months (October to March) to -25 degrees and beyond. This makes standing outside to gaze at the heavens a challenge.


Plan that perfect Valentine's Day getaway

By Sharron Livingston, February 4, 2016

Adults-only in Marbella


Grecotel Cape Sounio

By Sharron Livingston, February 4, 2016

It's quite a thrill to stare at a historic monument that's perched atop a mountain while relaxing on a sunbed on a warm sandy beach, with sand between your toes and the sun on your face.Yet the view from this resort's private beach is of the temple of Poseidon - the god of the sea in Greek mythology.

It's a view that has set the theme for Cape Sounio's ancient Greece styled architecture.


Hotel of the week: Dan Eilat Israel

By Sharron Livingston, January 22, 2016

Israel’s seaside hotspot, Eilat, has been scrubbing up nicely recently with a new gleaming waterfront and wonderful beach promenades. And now that there are direct flights from London this is a good time to consider a seaside jaunt en-famille.


My kind of retreat

By Sharron Livingston, January 1, 2016

Anyone who was sent on an Aish or Habonim holiday by their parents when they were children may have memories of what it was like to holiday with 60 or so others. In childhood it seems the most natural thing in the world to travel, eat, play and learn as a community. And perhaps come back somehow changed.


Eilat: Sea life up close

By Sharron Livingston, December 15, 2015

I was floating in the Red Sea clad in snorkelling gear and then it happened: a dolphin swam up close, looked me straight in the eye for one full pregnant, almost spiritual, moment. In a blink the dolphin had slid away. Before I could smooth out my pleated senses, another swam beneath me turning over, showing off its white, smooth tummy. And so it continued.


Hotel of the week: Capella Marigot Bay

By Sharron Livingston, November 19, 2015

Driving through the lush, mountainous landscape on the South Western coast of St Lucia means navigating twisty hills, passing hillside forests and acres of valleys, banana palms and beaches.

One of those twisty hills on this Windward island leads to the newly reopened Capella Marigot Bay Resort and Marina, where incidentally, Dr Dolittle was filmed.


Grand Velas

By Sharron Livingston, November 12, 2015

Wide, creamy, sandy shores sandwiched between the blue of the sunlit Caribbean Sea and the lush mangroves of Mexico's Riviera Maya makes for a colourful eyeful worth seeing. And you can see it in luxury at the three-in-one Grand Velas resort.


Shakespeare may have slept here but I did it the Hatha-way

By Sharron Livingston, September 10, 2015

I may never have rubbed shoulders with royalty or dined with any literary greats but I can claim to have dined and slept in the same building as Elizabeth 1, Shakespeare and Lord Nelson.

That's because, like them, I stayed at the Spread Eagle Hotel and Spa in Midhurst in the heart of the Sussex countryside.

I spent a restorative 24-hours in this quaint 37-room warren of a hotel.


Don't surf the net: here are six beaches to try in the UK

By Sharron Livingston, August 26, 2015

Botany Bay, Broadstairs, Kent

White cliffs and green-topped chalk stacks define the look. But it's the smugglers deported to Botany Bay in Australia that gave it the name. There's nothing underground here now except rock pools, fossils and the tunnels the smugglers used that are revealed when the tide is out

Covehithe, Suffolk


Grosvenor House Apartments, Mayfair, London

By Sharron Livingston, July 11, 2015

There's Grosvenor Hotel and then there are the Grosvenor House Apartments by Jumeirah Living next door - 130 of them - for those who want a homely experience.

You enter via an easy-to-miss door on the corner of Park Lane and Mount Street. Three men clad in slick grey suits hover around it. They check you in by taking your luggage and escorting you into the lift and onto the second floor.


A Greek tragedy . . . Or just an inconvenience?

By Sharron Livingston, July 10, 2015

As Greece decides what to do about its €323 billion debt and whether to abandon the euro, hotels are facing a drop in last-minute bookings, and holidaymakers who have already booked are wondering whether to go.

Whatever you decide, the most important piece of advice is: don't rely on ATMs - they may not all be topped up regularly - and take enough cash for your stay as well as your cards.