Tables We Love, part V

Recently we booked some of our favourite travellers a week-long stay at the beautiful Birkenhead House in Hermanus. While the annual accolades from Condé Nast and other tastemakers are well-deserved, it's the clifftop location of this beach house that we adore. Whether for breakfast, dinner or even a massage, this perch provides all the reasons we need to add it to "Tables We Love".

El Nido & Origen at Mar Adentro

The newly opened, futuristic-looking Mar Adentro (Spanish for 'The Sea Inside') 5-star hotel, located in Baja California Sur, has not one but two incredible tables we love.

The first, their romantic sushi restaurant El Nido ('The Nest'), makes the biggest design statement. Sheltered under an eye-catching upside-down nest (made of actual twigs!) it appears to drift on a pool of water.

As for the hotel's main restaurant, Origen, its setting is no less impressive to El Nido's. Guests can enjoy alfresco dining within the hyper-modern all-white aesthetic of the hotel, while looking out at the contrasting blue of the Pacific Ocean.

Table for two please!

Tables We Love, part IV

In a country full of fantastic lodges, Otahuna is one of New Zealand's best. The grand house built in 1895 is lovely, but we all know it is the people that make the difference, in this case it is chef Jimmy McIntyre. In our series of Tables We Love, we present two very different experiences Otahuna can provide. A fabulous lunch with a view and a divine dinner fit for royalty both wonderfully prepared by Jimmy. Two Impresarios have been to Otahuna and we agree it offers some of the best eating in New Zealand.

In Love with Costa Rica

File this one under Hotel Villas We Love!

If you ever wanted to stay in the heart of a jungle, yet near the ocean in a luxurious villa, this villa in Costa Rica has got you covered.

5 bedrooms, 5.5 bathrooms, in the jungle, close to the ocean and only 15mn from the closest airport. Seems pretty perfect to us!


Just Got Back ... Fogo Island

Trip type: Outdoor adventure, cultural exploration & gastronomic delight

Destination: Fogo Island, Newfoundland, Canada

Number of Days: 5

Meet the locals: Everyone is friendly on Fogo Island.  You'll notice lots of the same family names--Foley, Decker, Forster, Poole.  They've been there for centuries, and you'll meet them all.

Most other-worldly experience: Being surrounded by thousands of puffins and razorbills, furiously flapping their wings to stay airborne in the north Atlantic.  Take the boat out to Little Fogo Island to meet them.

Favourite hotel: Fogo Island Inn, an architectural wonder on the shore near Joe Batt's Arm.

Best meal: Cod au Gratin, which is Chef Murray MacDonald's modern take on a traditional Newfoundland dish.

Architectural fantasy: The Shorefast Foundation's artist studios--Squish, Long, Tower and Bridge--all designed by the Inn's architect Todd Saunders.  The studios host artists in residence year round on the island.

Recommended hike: The Lion's Den is a 6km ramble along the coast.  It takes you through abandoned communities and is a lovely way to spend the morning.  Have the Inn pack you picnic.

What to pack: More warm clothes than you'd think--mittens and hats came in handy for an afternoon at sea.  Don't worry if you forget something--the Inn has plenty of gear you can borrow, from rain gear to locally made wool wear.