On the one hand; when you think about holidays the last thing that springs to mind is being a slave to the stove!
Eating out when you are on holiday is the best way to avoid cooking. Yet this can end up being pretty expensive if it’s done every night. It can sometimes feel rushed and less personal. Plus for many, after consecutive nights out, it can leave you craving a simple home-cooked meal.
So, the question is:
How Do We Add FUN Into Holiday Food?
In order to get some top tips and great advice we seek the help of the Executive Chef who works for the Family portfolio in which Strathmore House Apartments is part of.
Paul Doidge has been cooking up a storm in Plymouth for many years and so knows only too well what a great addition sensational food can play in any experience; especially holidays.
“One of the greatest attributes of a serviced apartment is the kitchen facilities. I’m obviously an advocate for eating out, especially in one of our three restaurants: Steve’s Brasserie,The Dock, Kuku Sushi Bar and Robata and The Mission, but I also know the sensational feeling of feeding friends and family and creating those amazing dining room table moments. These moments then lead on into an evening of laughter and fun. Then they become memories that last a lifetime, creating stories that come out year after year!”
A Full Kitchen Doesn’t Automatically Mean A Fun One!
Our serviced apartments boast a full kitchen; from pots, pans; utensils, fridge, freezer, microwave, oven and everything else you might possibly need to become a holiday chef. Yet although you have everything you need to hand; the real question is: how do you stop getting caught between wanting to create an archive of memories through your food and not wearily churning out meal after meal, day after day like we do at home?
“For me, I enjoy every aspect of cooking. But that doesn’t mean I don’t understand being a ‘slave to the stove’ isn’t on the top of everyone’s holiday itinerary! The thing is; you don’t have to be a Michelin star chef to enjoy making tasty meals that everyone will enjoy, with a delectable array of quick and healthy dishes. If you want to have a truly triumphant summer holiday cooking experience, take my 5 Top Tips to gain haste over effort; to have fun and to perhaps even change the way you feel about cooking as a whole.”
Get The Top Tips Now!
So – it would seem if we can nail holiday cooking, we can perhaps have a new relationship with cooking in our kitchens at home! Who knew we could get so much from our serviced apartment experience!
Click HERE for Paul’s 5 Top Tips in our printable, screenshotable help sheet.
The experiences that you have whilst staying with us really matter. So does your time in our beautiful Ocean City. If we can give you any further news, views or reviews that you think will help; we would love to hear from you.
Booking a holiday apartment offers the chance to save money on costs whilst experience a unique property in a beautiful city.
But with so many to choose from, in a market saturated with opportunity, how do you know which one to choose?
Here are some handy hints and things to look out for when looking for the best apartment in Plymouth…
Keeping Your Costs Down:
With prices starting at just £70 a night in many serviced apartments, they can be great value for money. At Strathmore House Apartments we have 1,2,3 and 4 bedroom apartments; so anything up to 8 adults can share the cost of their stay. Making it a super and cost effective way to holiday.
Look Out For: Apartments with a fully fitted kitchen like ours are a great bonus. You can save on those meals out and drinks bills that soon add up!
Space To Play:
It’s certainly not uncommon to have lots of space in a serviced apartment. All of our apartments are full units – so you get bedrooms, living spaces, dining areas, kitchens and bathrooms. The rooms and layouts offered differ between apartments, but they are all light and airy with plenty of room.
Look Out For: Check what your apartments come with. Inside our apartments we cater handsomely for all of your needs; fully fitted kitchens, linens and towels, TV’s and hairdryers – we offer the perfect home from home service. Check before you leave what you will and won’t need to take. Also be aware that some (not us!) have additional charges for towels and linens.
Serviced apartment buildings as a rule will typically be smaller than hotels. This means that the overall number of people in the building will be far fewer. There obviously then isn’t the same amount of public areas, or additional functions happening, so this also reflects a more home from home experience. This is a great way of feeling like a real local in your new city! Our apartments all have their own entrance, so you really can close yourself away and have your own private piece of Plymouth!
Look Out For: If privacy is important always check if you have shared access to any facilities. If it’s not clear, always contact them before you book – just to double check. It’s also really good to look at the apartments Frequently Asked Questions. You sometimes find questions you haven’t thought of that are really useful to know.
As a ‘Superhost’ on Airbnb it has become a great tool for us to connect with our guests. Airbnb’s impact on the way we travel has been huge over the last few years, so much so that some city authorities are starting to clamp down on private rentals.
What we love about Airbnb is that it now features great local experiences too.
Look Out For: On Airbnb, when you are ready to book, you are sending a request to the host to book a reservation – you are not making a booking at this time. Make sure you are fully aligned with where you are with your reservation and booking.
Booking online has never been easier, with great access to the very best deals available and reviews at your fingertips. Don’t forget, when booking your apartments, like any bookings, you will always get the best value when you book direct.
The start of a new year can often bring with it big, bold, brave new decisions…like relocating!
They say that moving is one of the most stressful things; but fuse that with moving to an entirely new city and things can feel terribly overwhelming.
Here at Strathmore House Apartments we have worked with individuals, businesses and families who are thinking about Plymouth being their new home.
Over the last 10 years, we have grown to understand all too well that it’s a big step to relocate for work or pleasure. Whether you already have a job offer or are just taking the plunge and moving to look for work in another town or city – it can be really tough.
Yet still, even if you’re relocating for pleasure, to be with family or friends, it still can be hard; to lose the things you are familiar with. Not just friends but also the sense of routine, that scalextric track we all get far too used to driving or walking, the vista, the short cuts, the where to get your hair cut!
Yes, it can be tough, terrifying and totally daunting, but it’s also an extremely exciting time: a time we love to be part of.
Be it that you are striking out on your own, with your family or to start a new career; exploring a new city brings so much opportunity to explore you – as well as a new city!
Meeting new people, experiencing a different place, stumbling on hidden gems; there is so much to look forward to.
How Do We Help..?
A place to call home
In the past, we have had people stay for a month or two; to make sure that before any final decisions are made they are certain that Britain’s Ocean City, is the city for them.
As serviced apartments, we have a flexibility that really works for people relocating. We all know that moving house, be you buying or renting is never straightforward. A date can change three or four times easily. With our 2 nights to 2 year or more attitude we are open, willing and able to offer you a home no matter how many times the dates change. So although still annoying, we will be your safe place, where you can close the door and lock yourself away from the frustrations!
We arrived at the Strathmore in November, as the property we were purchasing was still not completed for us to move into! We were met by Ali, who from the first meeting was very welcoming and made our stresses much more bearable! Ali continued to support us even with the uncertainty of when we would actually leave, nothing was too much trouble at all. The housekeeping staff were extremely efficient, so lovely to come home to a beautifully cleaned apartment with an abundance of towels for our needs. The apartment we had was amazing, four good bedrooms with amazing views of the Sound and our new property! Would recommend for this accommodation for any use, business, holidays or simply temporary home, which was our situation. Thank you to all and especially Ali! Julie, Rik and Family
With our friendly, local knowledge you will always be guaranteed a warm family welcome and a happy information centre for all your local knowledge needs! Doctors & Dentists but also places to eat, explore and learn about our beautiful city and its rich history.
Incredible location on the Hoe, very close to the Barbican, it has an express Tesco market next to it. Apartment is spacious and very clean with all necessary equipment. Very good and reasonable prices, spent almost 2 months there. I would recommend it to anyone as a family, friend or business trip stay, short or long. Excellent services and help provided from Ally is a wonderful host, manager and apartment operator. I came from Saudi with my 2 year-old. Ally made sure everything was available and needed and pops by to see how your doing. She basically makes you feel home away from home (two thumbs up).
For you to be reading this, Plymouth has probably already captured your heart. We know how easily our city can do that! Still haven’t made your mind up? Do you need a little taster of what living and working in Plymouth might be like? We can help. Here are some links and clips that may just help make your mind up.
Plus, if we can help in any other way, we would love to be one of the first to help welcome you to our spectacular city.
Great videos with ‘real’ people telling their ‘real’ stories about Plymouth.
For many of us though, the thought of doing Christmas away from home feels somewhat underwhelming. After all, for many of us the best part of Christmas is not leaving the house, just being altogether in your family home.
But for others, Christmas away from home makes perfect sense. Whether it’s spending the festive season cosying up in a cottage in the country, or staying with us in our seaside apartments; jetting off to spend Christmas away from the ‘normal routines’ is what can make.
Trudi and Mike and their two children do just that, and we ask them what it is that they love about…
‘Being away For Christmas’
“It’s a well earned break away after a long year. We both have jobs that mean throughout the year we get very little time off altogether. Throughout the year we have to take alternate holidays to cover child care, so Christmas really is the only ‘real’ time all four of us have as one.
We never go to the ends of the earth, it’s always an hour or two away in the car, but for us it makes all the difference. We aim to be away for a day or two before Christmas Eve and then return home a day or two after Boxing Day.
Once there, we still have a tree, great food, songs and Christmas films; we FaceTime or Skype family scattered around the world on Christmas Day and we explore wherever we are on Christmas Eve. We wander around and look at the Christmas Lights and try and find Carol Services and a Panto.
When you are away from Christmas you are more focused on the people you are with, rather than things. For us it’s just how we like it and our very own, unique tradition.”
Our Tips For Having A Magical Christmas Away From Home…
When staying away from home, make sure you remember your chargers!! It may sound basic, but packing for a Christmas Road Trip can make you forget the most basic of things, write a list and check it twice!
Check that wherever you are staying has reliable Wi-Fi. It may be freezing outside; but you want to avoid screen freeze inside on Christmas Day when you are trying to Skype Aunt Mable!
Dec The Halls:
Check that the accommodation are happy with you putting up a tree and decorations. We are, but we have heard that some places prefer you not to decorate. They may suggest that you sign a waiver or give a larger deposit. That would be in case you caused any tinsel damage!
Local charity shops are great for decoration bargains, that you can then donate back – this saves lots of room in the car, perhaps just take a few items that are sentimental to take. Choosing them, filling up the basket together is great fun, what’s more, you can kit you home away from home up for less than £10!
You can find a lot out about the city/town you are visiting by following your accommodation provider on social media. Like us, many will share news and events. But also things like where and when local chemists are open over Christmas. Useful, local information.
If you have young children, a really nice idea is to send ahead a letter from Santa. The staff can have waiting on the pillow of their bed. It’s a magical way of them knowing straight away that he has the right address. We love getting involved and helping to make memories and often do these kinds of touches.
You could go one step further and wrap everyone matching pyjamas! It could be a welcome present or Christmas Eve gift. Why not post that ahead too. It could be there waiting for you when you arrive!
From Us To YOU:
Whatever you do, be you at home or away, we all wish you the most magical of Christmases. And a VERY Happy New Year.
We were so interested in the Business Travel Show’s news this week. They revealed that almost a third of corporate travel buyers increased their use of serviced apartments in 2018. In 2017 just over 20% of business travellers chose serviced apartments as their preferred accommodation provider; compared to 35% this year.
When these ‘road warriors’ were asked why they chose apartments, they had many reasons why. The number one reason though was “better value for money”. This was then followed by the convenience of self-catering as an option, more space, flexibility and better working conditions.
Strathmore House Apartments | Plymouth
Here at Strathmore House Apartments, we have found that many stay again and again with us as they love our location and feel our relationship, openness to accommodate bespoke requests and flexibility allow them the real ‘home from home’ experience.
The report also shared that a number of buyers allocated 51-100 per cent of their budget to serviced apartments, with 1 per cent claiming to spend their entire accommodation budget on this option.
The number of buyers who didn’t use serviced apartments dropped from 42 per cent in 2017 to 32 per cent in 2018, whereas the proportion not using sharing economy accommodation options such as Airbnb rose from 38 per cent to 45 per cent. Furthermore, the number that haven’t used five-star hotels also went up slightly from 28 per cent to 31 per cent.
David Chapple, event director of the Business Travel Show, said: “These are pretty extraordinary statistics that prove the industry is making considerable headway in raising awareness of serviced apartments as valid and valuable alternative accommodation for business travellers. Not only are more buyers aware of serviced apartments as an option, they also appreciate the pros they offer to their travellers and are much more open to including them in their travel programmes.”
James Foice, CEO of the ASAP, added: “I am delighted to see a 29 per cent increase in corporate buyers booking serviced apartments this year compared to 2017. The landscape is rapidly evolving for the serviced apartment sector and we’re seeing a significant increase in supply year on year.
“This year, in particular, we have found that more and more companies are booking two-bedroom or two-bathroom apartments, as colleagues will often share the apartment, making it a more cost-effective choice as well as giving employees working away from home some companionship. A two-bedroom option also provides privacy and collaboration space under one roof.”
Here at Strathmore House Apartments we are lucky to be part of a family portfolio of businesses. As well as our apartments, we also have restaurants and a city centre hotel.
This connection opens the door to so much knowledge, as we can tap in to the expertise across all settings. So, we asked the groups Executive Chef for some insider knowledge, and he was only too happy to help.
We have seen an increase of guests staying with us making good use of our fully equipped kitchens. Looking for a place that they can cater for all their family and friends differing diets and requirements. One guest told us that when staying away for a week:
As a family they only eat out twice; and the other times they enjoy cooking and eating together. Hence why the apartments are the perfect choice.
In the past decade or so, Vegansim has been transformed from a niche diet, to a lifestyle choice. Endorsed not only by many celebrities but also health and well-being practitioners too.
But our question is:
Have Chefs made peace with Veganism and how do they really feel about putting to one side their fine cuts of meat and decadent dishes fussed and flavoured with eggs, butter and cheese?
We find out!
In a world where freedom and choice is abundant; and with January almost upon us; we talk Veganism and Veganuary with Paul Doidge.
Why do you think there is so much talk of Veganism this time of year – isn’t meat normally the main talking point at Christmas?
“I think it’s because January is fast approaching; for many it is the month of new beginnings, blank diaries and New Year resolutions. But also, for many…diets!
Last year as a group, we saw a substantial increase in Veganuary, not just on plates but in their wine glasses too. It’s a time to reevaluate our choices and in some cases, make better ones.”
Did you notice an increase in Vegan orders last January?
“Yes, we did but I think the overall numbers speak for themselves. The BBC reported that between 2006 and 2016 the number of Vegans jumped from 150,000 to 542,000. This is a substantial increase and one that no doubt Veganuary has factored in.
In 2018, 78,000 people in Britain took part in Veganuary; with a high proportion making that a continued lifestyle choice thereafter.”
How do Chefs REALLY feel about this shift?
“I think that if you were to ask chefs this question even five years ago, you would get a very different response. Today, I would say that most chefs are more than open to Veganism. In fact, I would go as far as to predict that the majority are not only open, but thrive on creating meals that people can enjoy. Meals that hit all of their guests requirement as well as leave them fully sated. What’s more; we also understand that it can sometimes be healthier than other lifestyle choices AND at times better for the environment.”
Is it harder for Chefs to have various individual requirements?
“Like anything you have to adapt to, and adopt new ways of working. Through time and experimental development, it’s not about being willing, it’s about enjoying the process of writing new menus, menus that cut out animal products. As Chefs, it’s always about the guests’ experiences. Making sure everyone is happy is why we do what we do. Many of us are now working closely with our food and beverage managers too, ensuring that vegan wines are right for pairing with our menu options.”
Is it just Vegans that choose the (V) option?
No. Not in the least. We see more and more people choosing vegan. Our Vegan and Vegetarian menu options are interestingly now choices made by people who do eat meat and who are simply tempted by the menu.
The full flavours and delights that our menus has to offer as a whole gives everyone great options.”
Would you be tempted to become a Vegan?
“Personally, I have a huge amount of love for all food groups, so it wouldn’t be my choice to cut any one thing out of my diet completely. Fish, meat and diary do play a big role in my diet, although there are days when I will choose Vegan or Vegetarian options because that’s what stands out to me on the menu. I love sampling what other chefs do and that includes all menu options.”
Do you think being Vegan is easy?
“I think like anything, when choices are fuelled by passion you will make it work. Looking back, I don’t think it’s ever been easier to be Vegan than it is today, but that is not to say it’s easy. What has changed is towns and cities becoming more accommodating, I think now almost all restaurants no matter how big or small, chain or independent offer options – not all of them stuffed peppers either!
Although like anything, certain places could do better it’s true. But I truly believe it is no longer seen as a ‘fussy’ choice or a ‘hippy’ urge; it is respected and in many cases admired.”
Is it having an impact on ‘bums on seats’?
“That’s a tough one because you can never truly know. Although when it’s busy, there are times we can put it down to some great PR, strong social media activity or a good marketing campaign; but when it’s quiet, other than the obvious, it’s really hard to say exactly why.
What I do understand is that our choices go beyond just one simple decision, they can impact a whole heap of things. Like holidaying being a prime example. Where they stay, what they do, where they eat will all be factors in that one choice. I can totally understand why people choose Strathmore House Apartments, not only for their location and quality but also amazing facilities too.”
Last questions! Inside the Kitchen, how tolerant are Chefs really when it comes to Veganism?
“I think ‘tolerant’ is the wrong word. It isn’t our place to judge or have opinions, it is simply our job to delight!”
From mindful meditation to keeping a journal; through to healthy eating and fitness tips. Two of our staff share their habits on how they best deal with ‘life’ stresses during Christmas time…
Here at Strathmore House Apartments, we care about people. Not just their experiences whilst in our beautiful and charming city; but how they actually feel and how they look after themselves, even when they aren’t staying here with us.
We talk to our Development Manager, Elinor Eaton and Club Continental Manager, Adam Domyslawski about the magic of Christmas, but also the strain and stresses we can feel too.
Although a magical time, the energy that is needed can sometimes leave us feel a little out of sorts. Elinor tells us how she stays positive at Christmas Time.
“Trying to clear your inbox and finish projects ready for the New Year; planning the perfect Christmas and buying the right gifts; worrying you won’t fit into your Christmas jumper after all the office mince pies..! The list can feel endless! But you’re not alone! These are stresses felt by many of us in the weeks leading up to Christmas.
It can sometimes feel like a bit of a taboo subject! People expect a positive response to ‘how are you?’; the majority don’t really want to know if you are having a little wobble, let alone real life issues. We live in a social climate whereby we are used to seeing happy filters on photos and positive quotes on Facebook; and we have almost conditioned ourselves to feel envious of that ‘pretend’ life – yet unable to deal with the real one of others and our own!
The festive period is meant to be a time for getting together, enjoying each other’s company, exchanging presents and having a good time. But sadly it can be a time where life becomes really overwhelming. End of year targets have only weeks to be reached. You haven’t got that gift which is ‘ALL’ they wanted. You can’t remember the name of Bryan’s wife next door for the Christmas Card; and you have over committed to festive events and family gatherings!
It may sound like I am trivialising things slightly, but this time of year can honestly be the most stressful – for all manner of reasons – both big and small.
The first thing to say is, it really isn’t just you that might be feeling this way. Be it work, money, home or simply life, we all have our wobbles … and it really is OK.
I make sure I do certain things to keep my mental well-being in check and keep on top of the nagging voices and moments of sadness or worry. I know Adam is an advocate for exercise, being outdoors and a good diet, but I have always been a huge fan of meditation, keeping a journal and trying to keep a good work/life balance.
Strathmore House Apartments is perfect for this. It’s quiet and private for amazing meditation, and so light and airy. It also encourages you to put your life first, when you step out of the doors and almost straight onto the sea-front, you realise what is – and what isn’t important!
My biggest lesson, and one I will always keep pushing to learn, is to love myself. Even with the scars, the ones that people can see, but also the ones that people can’t see too. Because eventually those scars will heal and things will get better.
Secondly, I always make more time for being me during the festive period. Choosing getaways like Strathmore House Apartments gives you the perfect platform to reconnect with what matters.
If you haven’t planned a New Year break yet, then grab some amazing deals now and make time for you.
It really is so important that you grab happiness and realise that these wobbles are just part of the journey and Christmas, well Christmas is the perfect time to give yourself the most important gift; happiness above all else.”
It’s clearly important to feed your soul and although our favourite time of year Christmas, in addition to all the usual everyday related stresses, Christmas can bring with it a whole heap of additional challenges and obstacles that we have to smile through and make time for.
Adam Domyslawski from Club Continental shares his tips on how to stay ‘strong’, both physically and mentally this Christmas.
“An unhealthy diet and a lack of regular exercise and sleep can have really adverse consequences on your well-being; both physically and mentally at any time of the year; but at Christmas we indulge that little bit more, sleep that little bit less and find it hard to find the time for our usual routines. The ingredients to a disaster! ”
Stress isn’t just a state of mind; it really impacts your physical being too. It can exacerbate nearly every pre-existing condition and can lead to the development or worsening of anxiety, depression and much more, stress really isn’t something to joke about.
It’s a real chicken and egg situation though I know! The more you are stressed and the busier you are, the less likely you are to look after yourself. But it’s essential to find the time to think about you and your body this time of year.
When you get on an aeroplane and they do their safety procedure in case of an emergency; they tell you to put your mask on before assisting anyone else. Hard to do; as your instinct is to help others first – but what help will you be if you haven’t helped yourself first? It’s the same principle with health and fitness – if you aren’t healthy and fit both physically and mentally – no one will have a good Christmas and your work load for next year will simply increase.
The key is to remember that it is essential that you find enough time in the day for you. Plan your meals so that you don’t panic and hunger buy; but instead you have it with you and ready when you are. Also, take the time to think through a little fitness throughout your week. It can be parking a little further from the office or shops; taking the stairs or simply making the time for you to work-out. It’s really essential that you find a way. Even if during this crazy we weeks it’s less than normal – a little can go a long way!”
Club Continental is free for Strathmore House Apartments guests. It’s an amazing resource just a short stroll from the apartments.
Serviced apartments are an elegant alternative to hotels and perfect for business stays…
Whether you’re visiting Plymouth for work or play, our serviced apartments beside the spectacular Hoe and just a stones throw from the city centre are the perfect place to lay your weary head.
With fully-equipped kitchens, spacious bedrooms, dining areas and comfy sofas, your apartment will feel like home. You’ll be close to Plymouth’s riches and within easy walking distance to all of Plymouth’s Central Conference Centres and the Business District. You are also a £4 taxi journey away from the Train Station or a 15 minute walk.
Bringing a car? We have parking on-site and plenty of alternative arrangements should you require.
Once work has been done; you have the sensational Shopping just moments away and the trendy Royal William Yard nearby. You’ll never be far from a quirky bar and you’ll have your choice of eclectic restaurants. PLUS – we have Plymouth GIN!
If you fancy learning a little about our history; the Mayflower Steps and all the beauty and historic greatness of the Barbican and Plymouth is not far away at all. Plus a quick bus ride on a City Bus will take you anywhere your feet don’t want to walk!
We love nothing more than hearing from our guests about their time at Strathmore House Apartments. Whether they are leisure guests, travelling to Plymouth on business or simply visiting family and friends, we love to hear their thoughts on their stay.
We sat down and took five minutes to hear from John and Wendy about why they had returned to Plymouth and Strathmore House Apartments this August for the 5th year in a row…
It was lovely to welcome you back, how did you find your time in Plymouth this year?
We adore Plymouth; it holds a lot of great memories for us. When our children were young we used to come in our caravan and we had many a happy summer holiday. Then as they got older, we started to do foreign trips and now we have come full cycle and are back making more memories, this year with our grandchildren.
Why do you like Strathmore House Apartments?
It’s convenient and we like the privacy that it offers. John plays golf and so when he is out in the car, I can still be out and about as everything can be done on foot. It’s such a great location. I also like cooking, we don’t really enjoy eating out so having the kitchen with everything I need works for us.
Has it been a different holiday this year with the Grandchildren?
Yes, and we are glad of the comfy bed at the end of the day more than ever! It’s been lovely to see the other apartments too. John and I have only stayed in a one bedroom apartment in the past, so to have a four bedroom apartment with the upstairs and downstairs has been lovely. The one bedroom apartments are really roomy and great for just us, but this has felt like a real treat – and the grandchildren have really appreciated the space and the big TV!
Did you get to see a different side to Plymouth this year?
Yes, it was nice to take them to The Hoe and on the Gus Honeybun train – we have a picture of our daughter on it when she was young and now one of our granddaughter with the same expression and a bag of candy floss! We also went to the Aquarium which John and I haven’t done before.
Will you be back next year?
We have actually booked to come back in December, just John and I. We haven’t been to Plymouth at that time of the year and would like to see the Christmas Market.
Is there anything you and John would change, or improve at Strathmore House Apartments?
No. It’s just perfect for us; we really enjoy everything about it. We are now talking to our friends who want to join us next year. They live in France and so we thought Plymouth would be a good city to meet as they always come back on the ferry, and normally drive up to us in Cambridge.
If you want to find out more about how you can make your holiday memories happy ones in Plymouth – we would love to hear from you.