A New Year On The River – Part One 


Church services.

Deafening fireworks.

Gorgeous sparklers waved that bit too close to ones face for comfort.

Ending the countdown in a massive group hug with the closest warm bodies (human or animal) to you.

I love the climatic element in the run up to New Year’s Day. The air is almost heavy-ladened with feverish anticipation; tingling with the hopes and dreams of 7 billion persons united in their thanks for reaching a new year. Yes, the cynics will say that it just another day. That January 1st isn’t the ‘real’ new year based on certain ancient calendars… yadda yadda. I’m nonplussed. Not to use hyperbole, but there is something thoroughly enchanting about that cross-over from old to new.

And this year I decided to try something new. Sitting in my pyjamas watching the neighbours fireworks cosing up with family after a poignant church service is the type of low-key celebration I usually prefer. But on a whim, I decided to treat myself to a no-expenses spared stay on London’s only super-yacht turned hotel. And by no-expenses spared, I mean booked via Groupon.

So on January 1st 2017, accompanied by a long-time friend and trusted adventure buddy, a shared Uber ride through the heart of London towards the London Docklands lead us to where our accommodation, moored near the ExCel Exhibition centre, rose demurely from the early afternoon fog to greet us.

First impressions were interesting. Maybe I don’t have much experience with the #yachtlife but though statuesque,  the Sunborn Yacht Hotel seemed a little… small. Cue flashbacks to the first ever cruise I took to the Caribbean and the  miniature port-side cabin that my travel companion and I shared. Weaving bodies to get from one side to the other. Tumbling over each other in the drowsy morning rush to get to breakfast for 6am…


Anyway, we rode an inconspicuous lift down to the reception at the stated check-in time of 3pm and as the lift doors drew open, all  previous misconceptions were surrendered.

The foyer was dazzling and opulent. My eyes were immediately drawn to the centre of the room where an incredible gold-plated chandelier hung, casting a romantic soft lighting unto the tastefully decorated holiday wreaths and signs welcoming us in the new year. The reception staff were truly lovely and professional, promptly processing our check-in and confirming our dinner   reservations at the Land’s End – the yacht hotel’s signature restaurant.

Within minutes, we were free to explore our ‘home’ for the evening…

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