Koh Phi Phi – Thailand

August 22nd, 2008

dscf9513.JPGArguably Thailand’s backpacker’s paradise, Koh Phi Phi is made up of 2 islands, Koh Phi Phi Don and Koh Phi Phi Ley. One you may recognize more than the other and that is because it was the set of the blockbuster movie The Beach, starring Leonardo Di Caprio.

Here is somewhere you can call paradise, crystal clear blue sea, tropical fish and stunning rock formations dotted around; this really is one of the most beautiful places in Thailand. Set on the south west of Thailand off the coast of Phuket, Koh Phi Phi has attracted tourists from all around the world. Koh Phi Phi Don is the main island filled with hedonistic travelers that come here for the small and cozy selection of guest houses and hotels to stay in, the select few bars, restaurants, clubs and shops and then the gorgeous beaches.

Koh Phi Phi Ley is a national park and can only be visited during the day on set excursions. The excursions will take you snorkeling and swimming and then to a little place called Monkey Island with lots of monkeys and a little place called Maya Bay aka ‘The Beach’.

Definitely a must see place in Thailand you can take a ferry or a speed boat over to the islands from Krabi or Phuket.

The Petronas Towers – Kuala Lumpar

August 18th, 2008

dscf9134.JPGArguably the most famous tourist attraction in the city of Kuala Lumpar, the Petronas Towers stand in the centre, towering over the city.

To most visitors the Petronas towers are simply a landmark with a huge shopping centre that boasts great shops, both high end and high street and a great selection of bars and restaurants. But, it’s actually Malaysia’s national petroleum corporation. As the towers provide fantastic views of the city you are welcome to climb up them, but only to the walk way that joins the towers. You must however be prepared to queue at 7am in the morning as tickets are complimentary therefore they sell out fast. They look great during the day but at night the towers light up and are just simply stunning.

Visit the website for more information.

The Raffles Hotel – Singapore

August 17th, 2008

dscf9023.JPGOne of the top attractions in Singapore is the Raffles Hotel which was declared a national monument in 1987 and received its name from Sir Stamford Raffles, the founder of modern Singapore.

The hotel itself stands out in the city to be one of the nicest hotels in Singapore that simply oozes luxury. There are many luxury suites to choose to stay in from the top presidential suites to the personality suites; they provide comfort for all tastes. Facilities include a roof top pool, plenty of restaurants and bars including the famous long bar where you get the best Singapore sling, a spa, a theatre and an arcade full of high end shops such as Louis Vuitton and Tiffany & Co.

Visit the Raffles website for more information. Prices start around £409 per night based on two people sharing but if it’s a little bit too pricey make sure you visit the shopping arcade and the long bar.

Sentosa Island – Singapore

August 15th, 2008

dscf9092.JPGBy far one of the most beautiful, adventure attractions in Singapore, Sentosa Island is a must see!

Located just off the coast of the city enjoy the views from the sky train over to Sentosa Island and with plenty of entertainment for everyone there is plenty to do and it won’t disappoint. Chose from many different attractions such as the tiger sky tower, the butterfly park and insect kingdom museum, the songs of the sea light show or the underwater world and dolphin lagoon to name a few. If you’re perhaps looking for a break from the hustle and bustle of city life and just want to relax visit one of the islands lovely beaches. The Silosa beach is pretty and has a selection of beach bars and cafes on the beach to keep you hydrated from the amazing sunshine.

Visit the Singapore tourist website for more information on Sentosa Island.

Tubing – Vang Vieng Laos

August 13th, 2008

laso20.jpgBefore I went travelling people told me the best thing to do in the whole of South East Asia is tubing in Laos.

So on my way through Laos I figured it was only natural to follow the crowd and see what tubing is. You literally rent a tube (rubber ring) and then are driven up far along the river Nam Song to the point where you are dropped off and start to tube from. The river is quite nice and clean in South East Asia’s summer so it is advised to go around December/January when it isn’t monsoon season. As you float down the river you are offered a hook which a man then pulls so you can get to the river bank and get off to sit back and relax with a beer at a bar. There are many bars dotted down the river with rope swings, straw huts and football/volley ball grounds.

An experience for a traveler looking for a wild and fun time.

The Burj Al Arab – Dubai

August 12th, 2008

dscf8835.JPGYou must have all heard of it, arguably one of the most expensive and nicest hotels in the world. The Burj Al Arab, it’s as beautiful in life as it looks in magazines and not to mention how lavish it is.

The billowing sail shaped hotel reaches the height of 321 meters and stands out like a diamond on the gulf of Arabia. At night the hotel lights up in different colours making it a sight to see in Dubai. Catering for the highest maintenance of clients the hotel offers you anything you need. The hotel does not offer rooms it offers suites, 202 to be exact and they are pure luxury with a state of the art entertainment system and a floor to ceiling view of the sea and city. The sky view bar is well known for its celebrity clientele as is the restaurant a tourist attraction in itself with a huge fish tank that looks like the sea. The location is perfect for those who want a relaxing holiday by the beautiful beach with views of the ocean and yachts and it suits those who want to visit the city as everything is just a short taxi ride away.

As you can imagine the hotel is pricey starting from £601 per night based on 2 adults sharing in September, visit the website for more information.

Mauritius – A dream honeymoon!

August 11th, 2008

MauritiusA map of Mauritius quickly reveals why the island nation is one of the world’s most inviting and popular honeymoon destinations, with more than 90 kilometres of white sandy beaches and safe, crystal clear lagoons. It is a haven, a retreat and a place to explore and be happy in all rolled into one.

As the map indicates, Mauritius is situated some 2,400 km off Africa’s south-west coast and protected from the open sea – the Indian Ocean – by the world’s third largest coral reef which surrounds the island, apart from the south.

Volcanic in origin, Mauritius is a country of fascinating contrasts: mountains are scattered throughout the island, along with tropical forests and its amazing coastal scenery. Although the island’s most famous bird – the dodo – was last seen in the late 17th Century, Mauritius boasts a profusion of flora and fauna, with tropical gardens, lakes, bird parks and even and extinct volcano or two to visit.

The capital, Port Louis, is a thriving mix of old colonial, with Portuguese, Dutch, French and British architectural and cultural influences and striking modernity, with high-rise offices, vying with the mountain range that surrounds the city. Among its many features are its busiest thoroughfare – the wonderful Sir Seewoosagur Ramgoolam Street – named after a former prime minister – and the Champ de Mars racecourse, founded in 1812.

As the US writer Mark Twain noted in his book Following the Equator: “You gather the idea that Mauritius was made first and then heaven, and that heaven was copied after Mauritius.” If you would like to book an ideal honeymoon like this visit Mauritius Honeymoons at Holidays Please.

Italian style, Italian wedding

July 17th, 2008

Italian WeddingFlorence, Venice, Lake Garda, rural Tuscany….the very names conjure up sunshine, food, wine, romance and a way of life that is immediately distinctive and unmistakably Italian.
The city state of Florence, for example, offers a cornucopia – almost an over-abundance – of art, scholarship and architecture. The old city, which is compact enough to be walked around, is a treasure trove of culture and has an intimate atmosphere all of its own.

Rome is the bustling yet highly fashionable heart of the country, amid the ruins of an Empire of a people who “speak with their fingers, sing with their lips, make love with their eyes and rejoice with glasses and forks.” You and your wedding guests will have choices galore for sightseeing, then you can disappear to any number of archetypal small Italian restaurants for evenings of relaxed conversation and catching up on news and gossip.

A lesser-known feature of the coast just a train ride from Rome’s centre is the quality of its beaches – some of Europe’s finest – including Lazio, Argentario and Cilento. Alternatively, the city is surrounded by beautiful countryside, including ancient hilltop towns replete with regional culinary delights.

Then there are the delights of Tuscany – the Chianti wine region, olive groves, cypresses, terracotta-roofed villages and generally relaxed outdoor lifestyle. Add the warmth of the sun, music, wine and romance – you can face the music and dance! No wonder the region is a much-favoured region for European destination weddings (not to mention a politicians’ playground), where the more guests, the merrier and still have ample opportunity for intimate seclusion.

Online luxury travel agent Holidaysplease.co.uk will help you organise your dream wedding in Italy starting with the wedding venue to travel arrangements for family and friends. For more information or to book your wedding in Italy visit Italy Holidays at Holidays Please or to speak to a Holidaysplease wedding abroad specialist call 0845 3 65 65 65.

H10 Estepona Palace

June 9th, 2008

H10 Estepona Palace Swimming PoolOur third stop-off on this two week mission to find a wedding venue is the Estepona Palace along the beach front in the heart of Estepona. The hotel is really beautiful with a stunning grand reception, large spacious bedrooms (some in need of an uplift) and large grounds with a huge pool right next to the beach. The beach itself isn’t the best beach in the Costa Del Sol but just a five minute walk around the corner is a great swimming beach with drinks and snack bars.

My only reservation with this hotel is the popularity of it! The two previous hotels we’ve stayed in were very quiet and peaceful but at the H10 you have to fight for a sunbed and get down early in the morning to reserve a good spot. Breakfast time is also a bit manic and again getting there early pays off. Other than that it is quite lovely and bearing in mind it is peak time I guess it’s to be expected.

We did find a really lovely spot here where we could potentially have our wedding ceremony but its not quite exclusive enough for a quiet doo and the function/disco room was OK but not great.

The best thing about this hotel is the location, everything is either a short walk or short drive and its quite easy to get around and find your way back!

I haven’t been to the spa yet but it looks really lovely and quite reasonably priced as well. I may opt for a quick treatment in there before I am whisked off the our next hotel in Ronda, maybe a massage to recover from all the wedding planning!

Visit the H10 Website for prices and more information.

Photographs from The H10 Estepona Palace

H10 BedroomH10 Pool AreaH10 Estepona PalaceH10 barH10 Bar on Terrace

Selenza Hotel Estepona: Sleek and Stylish but Isolated

June 9th, 2008

Selenza Snack BarAfter checking out of the Rock Hotel Gibraltar, we headed for the Selenza hotel just outside Estepona. We got a bit lost because the hotel is not situated right on the beach, in fact its a little out of the way but we got there in the end.

The 4* hotel appears brand new and super modern with simplistic but effective decoration throughout. The snack bar, restaurant and pool area are also well looked after and beautifully styled. Our room was on the 3rd floor and was nice, the only downside was that a road ran directly passed the hotel so instead of listening to the soothing sound of the sea as I read my novel on the balcony, I could hear sounds of building trucks wizzing past and noisy pedestrians.

The Room itself was very nice; plasma TV, large bed, good wardrobe space, dressing gowns, good shower, very comfortable. If you decide to stay here, request a room on a lower floor overlooking the swimming pool – a much better view and more peaceful surroundings.

In terms of the appearance of the hotel itself I have no complaints. I do however think the location was poor, it is on the end of Estepona on the way to Puerto Banus (visited Trader Vics, Banus while staying here which I highly recommend if you fancy a night out). Not close to any shops therefore eating in the hotel restaurant is the only option if you don’t have a hire car or want to get a taxi. The food and drinks were overpriced and there is a limited selection.

If you get a chance to visit the spa please do, we were given vouchers to use the Thalasso Pool free of charge for the day which we took full advantage of. The spa is beautiful, very up to date, fantastic gym and there are some great treatments on offer. Treatments are expensive but a wide variety are available. I had a citrus body scrub to get rid of dead cells which was very relaxing and helped prepare my skin before my sun bathing sessions.

All in all, a lovely looking hotel in a poor location but well worth a visit if you fancy a few days of pampering and relaxation. Visit www.selenza.com for more pictures and information.

Photographs from The Selenza

Selenza BedroomSelenza BedroomSelenza PoolSelenza StairsSelenza SpaSelenza Decor