I am embarrassed to realise just how long it is since I last blogged! I have a new year's resolution to post at least one blog per month for 2011 - so far so good.
January is traditionally the time to both look forward to the new year and reflect on the old one. Here at Loire Valley Breaks we have been doing a bit of both.
For the looking forward, we are already filling our rooms with reservations for 2011 and are busy getting the place ready for you - this year as well as the usual annual maintenance jobs we are planning upgrades inside and out. Outside there will be an improved sun terrace - including some much-needed shade and new garden furniture to relax in. Inside all our double bedrooms will have (at least) 160cm - 5 foot - beds and we are freshening the interiors with new bed linens, towels and soft furnishings.
Even our evening meal menus are having a makeover - a new 'bistro' theme with plenty of traditionally based dishes.
We are often asked by guests where the majority of our guests come from - and so as part of our reflection over the last year we thought it would be fun to look at this accurately (rather than our usual guesstimates!) So - with apologies to those who don't like statistics as much as I do - here are the findings from our 2010 guests:
Overall, one third of our guests were from the UK and one third from Australia. Of the rest, in descending order, our guests came from the USA, Canada and New Zealand, Ireland, and South Africa.
The mixture of type of breaks was fairly even - a little over a third were adult cyclists, and the rest of our guests were an even mix of family cyclists and those on a discovery or wine tour.
Adult cyclists stayed in the main for 4 or 5 nights and the majority of guests cycled up to 50km (30 miles) daily, although one quarter went further than this. Half our families stayed for 7 nights or longer and most cycled up to 32km (20 miles) each day.
Half the guests on an escorted tour last year were from Australia - so Mark has bought an Australian dictionary ready for this year! The high number of Australian guests overall is due in no small measure to the great review by past guest Nicola Walker, which was printed in the Sydney Morning Herald and Melbourne Age - we are still receiving enquiries and bookings due to this now, even though it was printed in May 2010!
So that was 2010 - we are looking forward to meeting all our 2011 visitors - both new and returning guests - and sharing with all of them our love for this beautiful corner of France.