My 2018 in travels

2018 was definitely a much better year for us than 2017. It was still pretty dominated by the remnants of my breast cancer but from April onwards, after my last operation, I was able to focus on the future and on going back to normal.

Looking back at all the travels I took, alone or with Mr Big and Mademoiselle, I realise how lucky and privileged I am.  I also realise that we dedicate quite a budget to those stays. But as I often say, hotels are my guilty pleasure, rather than designer clothes.

So here is a recap of my travels this year

January – Mauritius for my birthday celebration

I actually booked this trip while in the hospital recovering from my major breast cancer surgery in September 2017. I remember very well thinking: life is too short, this is a trip of a lifetime.

It was also to celebrate my big birthday so double excuse to indulge!

One&Only le Saint Geran review by From the Poolside. Detailed information on the rooms, the food, the activities, the beach and the swimming pools.
A romantic embrace on the beach in Mauritius!

We stayed at One & Only Le Saint Geran and loved it so much that I wrote four posts about it.

Read morea full review of One & Only le Saint Geran

April – Somerset for the Blogger course

After splurging on Mauritius, we didn’t really have any spare budget for another trip in February and March, plus I had yet again another operation to recover from.  But in April, I had a special weekend in Somerset.

I often say that blogging gives me the opportunity to learn and try new things but more importantly, it expands my world and allows me to meet new people.

I had bought Monica’s travel blogging course, the Blogger Course and really found it useful, truthful and interesting.  So when she announced that she was organising a retreat with Twins That Travel, I decided to join it.  It was a great weekend and the house we stayed at was really nice.

Review of La Boheme a rental for groups by Unique Home Stays in Somerset. Group house with heated pool.
La Boheme, a house with heated indoor pool in Somerset

Read more: a house with pool for a group or family holiday in Somerset.

May – Chewton Glen and Hotel National des Arts et métiers in Paris

The first bank holiday weekend of May came and a few days before we decided at the last minute to go to Chewton Glen. We go regularly as Mademoiselle really likes it there.  The weather was hot and perfect but unfortunately the outdoor heated pool was not open. Still a great weekend and you can read my updated Chewton Glen review.

Stephanie Bonnet - From the poolside
Selfie from the poolside at the indoor pool at Chewton Glen

I also went to Paris for work and took this opportunity to stay at the Hotel National des Arts et Métiers. I didn’t write  a review here as the hotel doesn’t have a pool but as for all hotel stays, did a live room tour on Instagram. There are more and more Paris hotels with pools though.

Read more: some Paris hotels with pools

June – Domaine de Murtoli, Corsica

Heaven on earth. That is really the best way to summarise the fabulous, fabulous Domaine de Murtoli in Corsica.   At the time, I was going through some mentally tough times: learning to live post cancer, realising the tsunami that it was and at the same time navigating the choppy waters of restructuring at work and uncertainty about my job.

Domaine de Murtoli review. A dream retreat in Corsica where you play luxury robinsons, eat delicious food on the beach or in your self-catering renovated shepherd's house. Read the full review for more images and details
Admiring the peaceful countryside at Murtoli

It took only 24h in Murtoli to see all my worries lift from my shoulders and for me to really relax and accept my new life.

Read more: Murtoli, my little paradise on earth

July – Soho Farmhouse, Somerset

Another stay in Somerset, this time at the hotly sought after Soho Farmhouse.  This was to celebrate Mademoiselle’s success at exams. We had a great girls weekend there.

A detailed Soho Farmhouse review telling you all about Soho Farmhouse membership, soho farmhouse cabins, soho farm house activities.
On the steps of a Soho Farmhouse cabin

Read more: full review of Soho Farmhouse

August – Villa Mogador, Cap Ferret

We had such a great time in 2017 at Villa Mogador and I so didn’t have the appetite to search for a new place at the beginning of the year, that when Mr Big suggested to make things easy and to return there, I totally went for it.

Stephanie Bonnet boutique hotel blogger at From the Poolside
Hat on!

There is a true pleasure in returning in places you liked, you are right away in the holiday spirit and we had yet again a great family holiday there.

Read more: the most beautiful villa with pool we stayed at

October – Maison Breguet, Paris

With another trip to Paris for work came another occasion to enjoy the city where I lived for so long before moving abroad. Mr Big had the idea of joining me for a spontaneous weekend.  Despite the terrible Eurostar journey on both ways (huge delays), we have a very good memory of our stay at Hotel Maison Breguet and of our wanderings around a very sunny and hot city of lights.

Enjoying shopping in Paris

Read more: my review of Maison Breguet, a five stars Paris hotel with pool

November – Scotland

For half term we finally explored a bit of Scotland and we loved it.  We were extremely lucky with the weather: sunny and dry for the whole week.

We drove around the highlands, had a fantastic tour of the Caingorns national park, dined at Andrew Fairlie and stayed at KillieHuntly, which we adored, and Gleneagles, which we didn’t like as much.

Read this review of this magical Scotland bed and breakfast. KillieHuntly is a guest house with food in the highlands in Scotland. Scandinavian style and decor complement the beautiful scenery and warm welcome.
Mademoiselle and the white horses at KillieHuntly

We’ll definitely go back to Scotland though as the scenery totally captivated us.

Read more: why KillieHuntly is the place to go to in Scotland

December – Heckfield Place, Hampshire

I am writing this post from a desk in the beautiful room at Heckfield Place. Ever since it opened in September, I have been wanting to come, and the various reviews I read really increased my excitement.  It is really really beautiful and there will be a review on the blog in a few days.

Not as warm as in Mauritius!

Happy New Year!

2019 is around the corner but will not see us travelling as much. We are embarking on a renovation project for the house so a lot of our savings are going into that.

But I’ll keep posting on From the Poolside about those places that capture my eye and that I think you’ll like as well. Make sure to come back in a few days to read my usual post about the new boutique hotels that will open in 2019.  And for the rest of the year, if you want to stay updated, do subscribe to my newsletter or follow me on Instagram.

I hope that your 2018 was full of experiences, here or abroad and I wish you a very peaceful, happy and inspiring 2019.

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