THE RIGHT PLACE AT THE RIGHT TIME

Sunday Herald Sun - Escape - - WELCOME HOTEL HERMITAGE, MONACO -

Un­ex­pect­edly see­ing some­one you know on hol­i­days is al­ways fun, whether it’s a friend or, as hap­pened to me in the early nineties, a celebrity. It was my first day ever in Lon­don and my mum’s birth­day was com­ing up so I popped into Har­vey Nichols only to be com­pletely ig­nored by the shop at­ten­dants. Fi­nally one of them spoke to me and said, “Oh I’m sorry to be so dis­tracted, but the Princess is over there.” “The Princess?” “Diana.”

And, there she was, walk­ing around the ground floor of Lon­don’s sec­ond most fa­mous depart­ment store try­ing on sun­glasses. It was quite the wel­come to the UK.

As time has passed, there have been ac­tors, sport­ing greats, au­thors and mu­si­cians, and the oc­ca­sional politi­cian. I’ve bumped into friends on Fi­jian islands and my aunt and cousin on a cruise ship and, thanks to so­cial me­dia, dis­cov­ered that friends who live far away from me, hap­pened to be in New York at the same time.

A few months ago, I was lucky enough to stay at the Ho­tel Her­mitage in Monaco and saw one of Aus­tralia’s wealth­i­est men at break­fast with his wife. Some stealth sleuthing (OK, it was just a sim­ple Google search) re­vealed he was there look­ing at a new su­pery­acht he was giv­ing him­self as a birth­day present.

This week­end, I’ve read, he’s back there hav­ing a party with his mates.

His pres­ence didn’t dis­tract me for long be­cause the din­ing area we were in had me mes­merised. It was a cir­cu­lar atrium on the first floor of the ho­tel with a cor­ru­gated ban­is­ter look­ing down into the lobby. The glass ceil­ing, in­laid with a pat­tern of coloured flow­ers, bloomed above.

JANA FRAWLEY NA­TIONAL TRAVEL ED­I­TOR

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