SORREL DOWNER

Journalist, film producer, and media consultant, mixing it up for TV, online, newspapers and magazines. I cover travel & tourism, lifestyle, and design. Mainly. This is the HQ for previous work, and an introduction to current projects. I work all over the world and am currently based in Cadiz. I write a travel blog, www.somewheresville.org.

BRITISH BOHEMIA

Thirty years ago a zoroastrian from Zanzibar with eye make-up, buckteeth and unusually stretchy clothes, lost in his music whatever it was about, was a reminder that there were bohemians … Continue reading

Featured · Leave a comment

A REFERENDUM RANT

It’s a small sidebar in the whole Brexit palaver but it says everything about enduring, prevailing, out-of-the-loop, backward looking little Britain attitudes. Shame on The Guardian, The Independent, the BBC … Continue reading

June 22, 2016 · Leave a comment

COSTA RICA: TOP SPOTS IN PICTURES

Here’s some photos of Costa Rica’s beach, bar, rainforest and hotel highlights. To join me for nine months on a jungle beach visit somewheresville.org. Many hotels and destinations feature in … Continue reading

December 1, 2015 · Leave a comment

COSTA RICA: TRACKS LESS TRAVELLED

If you’re planning on visiting Costa Rica, check out the holiday guide in The Guardian. The dreamy republic has been my home off and on over the years, and based … Continue reading

November 28, 2015 · 4 Comments

COSTA RICA: WHAT TO PACK

What to pack for a trip to Costa Rica?  Unless you are a diver, or planning on spending two weeks lolling about in the Four Seasons, my list might work … Continue reading

November 28, 2015 · Leave a comment

ALMERIA

Recently had an action-packed tour of Cabo de Gata and the edges of the Tabernas desert in Almeria, researching an article for The Guardian. Here’s some extra bits.

September 9, 2015 · Leave a comment

THE VUELTA, A TOUR OF SPAIN

The Vuelta Ciclista a España aka The Tour of Spain is taking place for a 70th time. The event starts on August 22 in Puerto Banús and – after some brand new challenging … Continue reading

August 19, 2015 · Leave a comment

WHAT THE VUELTA NEEDS IS DUCKS & FREE STUFF

The Vuelta Ciclista a España aka The Tour of Spain takes place for a 70th time at the end of August. The event starts on August 22 in Puerto Banús and – … Continue reading

August 13, 2015 · Leave a comment

Guardian | Huelva Coast

I wrote a holiday guide to the Huelva coast for The Guardian which I hope will be useful this summer. This is a quintessential, mainly local, family seaside destination with … Continue reading

June 28, 2015 · Leave a comment

Huelva Buenas Noticias

Huelva Buenas Noticias interviewed me to get my thoughts on the Huelva coast following a research trip in preparation for a Guardian travel piece. All is lovelier than you expect … Continue reading

June 19, 2015 · Leave a comment

10 great public transport rides | Travel | The Guardian

Ten reminders that the best travel experience are often the cheapest (luckily), just as long as you’re not in a hurry. I recommended the Sabalito border crossing, Costa Rica to Panama (although the … Continue reading

May 23, 2015 · Leave a comment

Jerez | Travel | The Guardian

Spain’s gastronomic maridaje – the marriage of food and wine – is a definite threesome in Jerez de la Frontera, where all life is fuelled by sherry and tapas, but … Continue reading

March 26, 2015 · Leave a comment

Podemos, Andalucia, Elections

It all looked very possible in Sol, Madrid on January 31: Podemos could just rise and rise and win Spain’s general election. It might be led by geeky, scruffy, and … Continue reading

March 20, 2015 · Leave a comment

Smart Cities | Business Life

All cities struggle to manage water, power, transport, waste and pollution, and urban populations are said to be growing at the rate of 10,000 people an hour. So the future … Continue reading

January 15, 2015 · 1 Comment

Costa de la Luz | Travel | The Guardian

Guide to the moorish jewels and the spaces in between the coastal towns of Cádiz province – craggy mountains, pine forests, fields and endless beaches.  Read it over at  The Guardian

October 30, 2014 · Leave a comment

Visualisation | Business Life

Half the human brain is dedicated to the task of attaching meaning to visual signals. As the amount of information we ingest daily increases, could pictures do a better job … Continue reading

July 27, 2014 · Leave a comment

Personalisation | Business Life

As technology advances, marketing techniques become ever more sophisticated and the amount of information that can be mined from our day-to-day lives increases. Advertisers know where we are and they … Continue reading

May 27, 2014 · Leave a comment

The Love Business | Business Life

All you need is love? Not so, 
say British retailers, who’ll be using the increasingly long run-up to Valentine’s Day to provide a comprehensive list of what we can accessorise … Continue reading

February 13, 2014 · Leave a comment

Hotels: 10 Predictions | Business Life

Ten top predictions for hotels was written for Business Life in 2007. It’s interesting now to see which predictions were on the ball, and which . . . well, weren’t. … Continue reading

October 1, 2013 · 1 Comment

The Narky Sea | Somewheresville

Blog post from somewheresville hot (www.somewheresville.org), a series of posts about life in the remote Osa Peninsula, Costa Rica. I hate the sea. I’ve been thinking about it a lot … Continue reading

April 5, 2013 · Leave a comment

Sierpe: A Trip to Town | Somewheresville

Blog post from Somewheresville Hot (www.somewheresville.org), a series of pieces about life in the wilds of the Osa, Southern Costa Rica. The first place you come to when you take … Continue reading

March 5, 2013 · Leave a comment

America: What Was It? | Somewheresville

Blog entry from somewheresville (www.somewheresville.org). It’s vast, a load of different countries tied together with strings of Arbys and Taco Bells. In some, people are very busy accumulating more and … Continue reading

February 5, 2013 · Leave a comment

Motels & Shootings | Somewheresville

Blog entry from somewheresville (www.somewheresville.org). The road trip was initially east to west. That was so nice, I added west to east. The minute the car was turned to face … Continue reading

January 5, 2013 · 2 Comments

The Greatest Show on Earth | FT

Hot ferrets sleep in boxes, low-slung sheep dogs drive ducks over an obstacle course in the sportsfield, and traders do a roaring trade in tripe sticks, candy floss, PVC coated … Continue reading

August 26, 2012 · Leave a comment

Sailing for Boys | FT

Having been a decent parent for a dozen years, my powers are inevitably dwindling. My boy and I were constant companions, initially because he was an infant and couldn’t walk, … Continue reading

August 25, 2012 · Leave a comment

Primate Tourism | BSpirit

Few tourists would see the misty mountains of the Virunga Conservation Area, the dense forest, hanging vines, orchids, giant lobelias, volcanic peaks (two active, six extinct) and crater lakes and … Continue reading

August 25, 2012 · Leave a comment

FARC Hostage Released | The Times

It’s vaguely European, Bogota, with its malls, brick buildings, drizzle and commuters in suits.  The two of us sit about talking romance, London and kids; boys specifically, and their thing … Continue reading

August 25, 2012 · Leave a comment

Child Soldiers

As a 13-year old soldier in Sierra Leone shooting someone was “as easy as drinking a glass of water” says Ishmael Beah. But given a place at a UNICEF rehabilitation … Continue reading

August 25, 2012 · 1 Comment

Town to Call my Own | FT

“You wouldn’t believe how many people want to buy a town” says Rudy Nielson, who has bought and sold a few. “Mainly to say they own one”. With towns, mountain … Continue reading

August 25, 2012 · Leave a comment

Future Hotel | Business Life

“The hotel industry is entering an era of unprecedented change”, says Jérôme Destors, Director of Hotel IT at Amadeus. “Change requires bold actions . . . requires hoteliers to think … Continue reading

May 1, 2011 · Leave a comment

Right Royal Wedding Business | Business Life

Outgoings Moments after Prince Charles twittered engagement congratulations on Nov 16, the nation was busily totting up the potential costs and profits of a Royal Wedding. Charles’ own wedding (the … Continue reading

April 1, 2011 · Leave a comment

Macau Fusion | High Life

Perched on a volcano at night, I’m watching helicopters crisscross the Pearl River Delta and reflecting on a day which involved haggling in Chinese street markets, studying the work of … Continue reading

October 1, 2010 · Leave a comment

Michael Morpurgo | FT

As children’s laureate, the author Michael Morpurgo travelled far and wide like a literary missionary for two years, persuading children of the importance of books, the power of great literature to … Continue reading

August 27, 2010 · Leave a comment

Simple | FT

Minimalism: It’s the haute couture of housing: striking, radical, beautifully clever, not designed primarily for comfort and generally expensive. But where do you sit your filthy kids? Where do you … Continue reading

October 15, 2009 · Leave a comment

45 Minutes from Panama City | The Times

Flanked by 60-storey glass towers in Panama City you’d be forgiven for thinking you were in Miami, Singapore or the year 2020. But just 45 minutes gets you to other … Continue reading

October 1, 2009 · Leave a comment

Panama Island Hopping | High Life

I’m wading through shoals of fish in a straw hat, herding coconuts to a fishing boat. Behind me is a tropical island, temporary population: three – me, Ruben the boat … Continue reading

October 1, 2009 · Leave a comment

Online Self-Prescription | FT

It took me three minutes to drop 180 Xanax, 180 Ambien, 90 Zocor and 160 Soma into my shopping basket and proceed to checkout. Like most of the online pharmacies … Continue reading

October 1, 2009 · Leave a comment

Panama: Designer Communities | FT

The steamy glamour of Panama, and that air of infinite possibility that lures people here in search of a new life is not exclusive to the capital, Panama City. High … Continue reading

October 1, 2009 · Leave a comment

Panama’s Pacific Coast Communities | FT

The steamy glamour of Panama, and that air of infinite possibility that lures people here in search of a new life is not exclusive to the capital, Panama City. High … Continue reading

October 1, 2008 · Leave a comment

Toronto Hotels: 6 of the Best | The Times

The Drake Hotel: This place has glam rock and lush style. It’s nonchalant, sophisticated, artfully retro and an air of cheeky naughtiness. It is, in short, where the party’s at. A … Continue reading

October 1, 2008 · Leave a comment

Costa Rica Villas | CN Traveller

Xandari Resort & Spa, Central Valley: Although there is a second international airport siphoning off visitors in Liberia to the north, Costa Rica’s nerve centre is still the Central Valley, dominated … Continue reading

August 1, 2008 · Leave a comment

Great Green British Breaks | Homes & Interiors

Sea Kayaking In Scotland: There can be no better way to explore remote stretches of Scotland’s beautiful, mountainous coastline than to glide along it silently in a kayak. Further rewards of … Continue reading

April 1, 2008 · Leave a comment

The Real Costa Rica | The Times

Costa Rica has its Marriotts, Four Seasons, beach resorts and casinos but to experience it at its best you need to grab your rubber boots, slap on the Deet and … Continue reading

October 1, 2007 · Leave a comment

Costa Rica Property Investment | FT

Ask any foreigner who has lived in Costa Rica over ten years why they bought property here, and they’ll say they came on holiday and fell in love with the … Continue reading

October 1, 2007 · Leave a comment

Watching the Workers | Business Life

Fifty years ago a manager knew when his team clocked on and off. Now employers are using hidden cameras, GPS and RFID tags, keystroke logging and emergent technology to monitor … Continue reading

October 1, 2007 · Leave a comment

Secret Life of Desks | Business Life

The position of a person’s desk whether on a podium, down a dust-blown corridor, facing the corner is tacitly understood to signify the difference between success and failure but office … Continue reading

October 1, 2007 · Leave a comment

Trans-Siberian with George | High Life

A veteran of the London to Yorkshire rail commute, George was blasé at the prospect of the 19-day journey through Russia, Mongolia and China on the Trans-Siberian Express. The assurance … Continue reading

June 1, 2005 · Leave a comment

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