At Town or Country we have guests who stay with us from various backgrounds for various reasons. It is one of the reasons we enjoy what we do. Recently we followed the stay of international DJ and regular guest Ben Glover.
Ben used to live on the south coast of England before moving with his family to work on the island of Malta. With a gig booked just outside Winchester a stay at one of our properties was the obvious choice. Normally he would travel alone and this time around he brought the family. Here is how he got on.
My plane has touched down at Gatwick airport and I am waiting to pick up the hire car. It is exciting to be home but I am tired! Gigging can sometimes take you into the early hours of the morning so I am hoping that everything runs smoothly. Normally when I travel alone I bring one suitcase, my laptop and some back-up CD’s. This time I have the added extras of two more bags, a booster seat for my son and an empty case for my wife – she intends to shop hard!
In just under two hours we arrive at Oxford Street, Southampton and are greeted by Jess from Town or Country. It’s technically past closing time but after being held up in an accident on the M3 she offers to stay a little longer (lock boxes are used for out-of-hours). Our apartment is documented in a welcome pack that includes directions and keys (including a key fob for the garage).
Within ten minutes we arrive at the modern (and newly built) Splash Apartments, Ocean Village. I unload the car and head to the apartment. I am pleased to see there is a lift ready to take our luggage. The master bedroom is well kitted out; double wardrobes, reading lamps, en-suite and storage for the cases. Even a clock radio to charge up my iPhone. Having a six year-old boy on the trip has been an adventure for him but he is tired and needs his own space to relax. We head into bedroom two which has everything apart from the en-suite, compensated with a great view of the marina.
We think about heading out to one of the local restaurants in Ocean Village – a good choice from Mexican, bistro to local pub. The apartment living space is so beautiful we decided to head to the local supermarket and cook at home. I say home, as this is what it feels like! Everything has been supplied from kitchen utensils, washing facilities to tea/coffee etc. After it’s time to put my son too bed, turn down the lights and watch some television on the widescreen LCD. I’ve missed British TV and glad to here its all part of the price of the stay – unlike a hotel.
It is not long until we turn in for the night – this will be a great night sleep, the bed is so cosy.
An early start as my son wakes us up excited about seeing his Nana. It gives us a bit of peace as I have some work to do and the wife is sent off shopping, she has an empty suitcase to fill!
I am pleased to learn that the WIFI is free – downloading tracks for my gig can cost you extra if you use up the broadband in some places I have stayed. I prepare my set and within a few hours of going over my set list, writing e-mails and surfing the net I am ready for lunch. Being centrally located West Quay shopping centre is only a 5 minute drive (or 15 minute walk) and I meet my wife for lunch…and swiftly become bag carrier!
We head out to meet friends in Portsmouth (20 minute drive) and it is not long until we reach the motorway. Some of the places I have had to stay in are miles from any connections – all of the Town or Country properties we looked at were perfectly placed not only for road but public transport.
It’s a late return – thank heavens for the free car park space. Southampton can be a hassle when it comes to parking!
The day of the gig arrives. I am due to play a party just outside Winchester. Again, within ten minutes I am on the motorway and arrive at my destination soon after – I’ve missed driving over 50mph!
Once more the gig takes me into the early hours of the morning and I am glad of the short and easy distance back to the apartment. I opt to have a ‘late-night shower’ as it’s so nice and having forgotten my wash bag the complimentary towels and toiletries are handy! It takes me a good hour to wind down after a gig and so the balcony over looking Southampton water with a glass of wine is the perfect end to a great night.
The wife requires a full English breakfast. Good job we pre-ordered the breakfast pack (around £15) as I had more than one glass of wine the night before and didn’t fancy the 5-minute walk to the local supermarket! Is there anything they haven’t thought of?
We check the Town or Country Facebook page to see what is happening in the area as a family. Paulton’s Theme Park is less than 30 minutes away in the car and a great day out for kids (and bigger kids!).
After a long day of family fun we had back – we leave first thing in the morning.
Budget airlines have been great for my travelling needs; the downside is the flight times. We get up at 330am to catch the first flight from Gatwick. It feels nice (if not a little guilty) that we have not made the beds that well, left the towels on the floor and not done any chores! This is the beauty of self-serviced accommodation – working around your time and not governed like hotels with a knock at the door first thing in the morning. The office is closed and there is a ‘drop-box’ to place keys securely on checkout.
Literally as we touch down back home in Malta we have an e-mail waiting for us from Town or Country asking if we had a pleasant stay and that they hoped to see us again soon. The service was so good that is a definite!
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