BoHo Hotel

BoHo Hotel is a stylish and contemporary boutique hotel situated near Prague Old Town which I stumbled across during my holiday search. After reading reviews online I was sold.

I’m used to staying in well-known hotel chains, however, the more I travel I’ve realised that sometimes the lesser-known hotel is actually newer, cleaner and has tailored service. BoHo Hotel exceeded my expectation.

 

MY STAY

We were given a free glass of prosecco on arrival and sat in the comfy chairs whilst we were checked in. The process was swift and easy and the hotel was able to accommodate our early arrival.

After check-in, we were taken on a mini-tour of the hotel and we were informed that the restaurant serves crisps and a glass of free wine between 5 pm – 6 pm daily and the hotel offers a complimentary City Tour.

THE ROOM

We stayed in the Junior Suite; which was very spacious with a living space and sofa. The room was comfortable and warm but had a modern feel with the latest technology including USB chargers.

The bathroom was my favourite and I couldn’t stop raving about it. It was new and clean with brown transparent glass and equipped with a double basin and double vanity mirrors – handy if multiple people need to get ready.

There was also a separate toilet and a walk-in shower as well as a bathtub. As you may know from my past posts I love good amenities, and BoHo’s amenities were so good; Natura Bisse and Roja.

THE FOOD

The hotel restaurant was bright with large glass windows and an outside courtyard.

I’m not usually a fan of hotel food, but the food served at BoHo was delicious. The menu was a small selection which was perfectly tailored.

We tried the burger and chips, the truffle mushroom risotto with parmesan, and the chicken noodle broth – everything cooked to perfection.

THE SPA

The wellness area included a treatment room, hydrotherapy jacuzzi pool, sauna, steam room and a gym. The area was clean and warm and I had an enjoyable and relaxing experience.

The hotel offered guests a 20% discount on spa treatments; I had the Swedish massage which was the perfect end to my stay.

 

BoHo really went above and beyond and left us a special gift (of champagne and chocolate-covered strawberries) in the room. The customer service was top notch and all staff went out of their way to ensure we had a good stay. I highly recommend this hotel and I will definitely stay again in the future.

Comment below with any questions,

Love,

Roberta x

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Prague

BACKGROUND

Prague is the capital and largest city of the Czech Republic which lies at the heart of Europe. Steeped in history, the city is known for its cobbled streets, old town square and towering castles.

Need to Know:

Local currency: Czech Koruna (CZK)

Language: Czech. English was widely spoken, however, remember that Czech is the language of Prague

Transport – Trams, Meter Taxi, Uber. We ended up taking Uber everywhere as a 15-minute journey was around £3, very affordable

Adapter: Two round pin adapter

 

How I booked:

I booked this trip through a British Airways package deal. Flight and hotel were included. The trip was 3 days and 2 nights (Saturday morning to Monday night).

 

WHERE TO STAY

If you frequent my blog you’ll know that my usual advice for short-haul trips is to stay somewhere quite central. This is so that you can spend less time travelling when you’re on a tighter schedule than normal.

In Prague most sights are within a close distance of each other, the longest uber trip time was around 20 minutes.

Where to stay also depends on what you prefer; some may prefer staying in the quieter areas near scenery and historic sites – such as Prague castle.

I stayed in the BoHo Hotel which was very central and a 5-minute walk to the Old Town. Read more about my hotel stay here.

Prague is a very affordable city and you can stay in luxury hotels for less. If you’re likely to spend less time staying indoors then it’s a good opportunity to try out a unique boutique hotel.

Some options are:

  • Four Seasons Hotel Prague
  • Mandarin Oriental Prague
  • Augustine Prague
  • Hotel Cosmopolitan
  • Alchymist Prague
  • Carlo IV, The Dedica Anthology

 

WHAT TO EAT

Okay, where do I start?? I’m not the biggest fan of European food so I always prepare myself in the case of disappointment however I was so impressed with the Czech cuisine. Not only is it cheap and cheerful, there are also so many varieties of national foods to try from street food to restaurants.

Trdelnik

Trdelnik is a Czech pastry and one of the most common pastries sold by street vendors. It is often referred to as a ‘chimney cake’. It is made from dough that is wrapped around on a stick, grilled and top with sugar. The pastry is then filled with ice cream – dreamy.

You can choose from a variety of flavours, such as chocolate, vanilla or red velvet dough. Toppings include; nuts, sauces, sprinkles, fruit or gingerbread biscuits.

I had spotted Trdelnik before I came to Prague and couldn’t wait to try it. I can confirm that it really does look as good as it tastes.

Good Food is popular for its Trdelnik and is in a great location off Charles Bridge for scenery pics.

Manifesto (Faency Fries)

There are plenty of food markets in Prague. After some research, I decided on Manifesto as it has cute heated igloos to sit in and had a particular stall called ‘Faency Fries’.

Faency Fries were the best chips I’ve ever had in my life. The chips were seasoned to perfection and you could choose a selection of toppings. I chose cheese topping, which was melted by a blowtorch, and served with spicy mayo.

The chips were so good that we tried to go back to Manifesto the next day, but it was unfortunately shut (opens Wednesday – Sunday).

I also tried some of my friends beef kebab from another food stall. I’m not a big fan of meat at the moment but the meat was tender and soft.

Visiting a food market in Prague is a great idea, especially Manifesto.

 

Deer Prague

We stumbled on a cute looking restaurant on one of our walks through Old Town called Deer Restaurant and decided to dine there for dinner.

I had the John Dory fish fillet with mussels and roasted potatoes and my friend had the saddle of rabbit. For dessert, we both picked the Strawberry Cheesecake dish.

The food was well presented and tasted delicious. Including our prosecco and elderflower/raspberry drinks the entire meal came to £48 for the both of us – including a 10% tip.

 

Café Savoy

Café Savoy had been highly recommended on google for the best hot chocolate in Prague. The décor was beautiful and the patisserie display looked delectable – however, the food and drinks were a big disappointment.

 

The ham and cheese croissant was dry, cold and just generally not nice and the hot chocolate was bitter. I wouldn’t recommend.

Chloé Café

Chloe Cafe was chic and quirky and reminded me of the new wave of flower walled coffee shops in London.
I love a gimmick and really enjoyed the monogrammed coffee. “Gucci Gang” was on the menu, but I went for the Louis Vuitton.
Chloe’s had the fluffiest pancakes which looked like doughnuts they were a hit. The cafe was cute but it wasn’t a must-do.
Restaurants and food on my list that I didn’t get to try;
  • Pork knuckle (A popular traditional food in Prague)
  • Fried Cheese
  • Beer
  • Pickled Cheese (don’t blame me if it’s not nice!)
  • Mlynec Restaurant
  • Café Kaficko
  • Ice Pub

 

WHAT TO DO

Prague Castle

Prague Castle is a majestic and historic castle complex. The castle is home to the President of the Czech Republic and was once home to the Kings of Bohemia and Roman emperors.

You can easily spend hours at the castle visiting the cathedrals and different towers. Try and get to the castle in time to watch the guard changeover at noon.

My recommendation is St.Vitus Cathédrale which is stunning both on the inside and outside. 

Astronomical Clock

The astronomical clock can be found in the Old Town Square. The clock was first installed in 1410 making it the oldest clock still operating.
The clock rings on the hour and the twelve apostles appear. Don’t expect too much from the display as this is a very old clock, but it was fascinating to watch.

St Charles Bridge

There are many bridges that cross the Vltava river, however, the biggest and most popular is the Charles Bridge. You can take a stroll over the bridge and see the swans of the Vltava river and picturesque view.

Vintage car ride

You can hire a vintage car which takes you on a tour around the city. The ride is the quickest and easiest way to see all of the sights, especially if you’re short on time.
They offer rides of either 40 minutes, 1 hour or 2 hours and the prices start from around 1500 CZK which is roughly £50.
I didn’t have time to do everything I had planned but some others that were on my list were:
  • Truffle Tour – Truffle hunt with dogs which is followed by a truffle meal
  • Infant Jesus of Prague
  • Beer Tour – Czech Republic is famous for its beer – a great option if you like beer
  • John Lennon Wall
  • Boat ride – There are many public tours to choose from, the Four Seasons hotel offers a private boat ride
  • Christmas Markets
  • Food tour
 
Prague was a charming city break. Breaks like this that remind me that Europe is filled with unspoiled gems.
The cobbled roads, tall castles and spires of Prague made me feel like I was in an old Disney movie. I highly recommend Prague for a weekend away and I will back to visit one day soon.
Have you been to Prague or are you planning to go? Feel free to drop a suggestion or to ask any questions.
Love Roberta

 

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Redang Island and The Taaras Beach & Spa Resort

After deciding to visit Malaysia, I searched for the best Malaysian island to visit. Langkawi was the popular and obvious choice, however, after research, I stumbled across lesser-known islands; Redang and Tioman. I finally settled on Redang.

Redang Island is one of the largest islands off the east coast of Malaysia, famous for its crystal clear blue water and white sand beaches. Redang is an unspoiled tropical paradise, and it lived up to all expectations.

The Taaras Beach and Spa Resort is the islands number one resort and was the clear choice of where to stay. The Taaras offered a slice of paradise on the island of Redang.

Getting to Redang Island

Getting to Redang from Kuala Lumpur required a short hour flight from KL to Kuala Terengganu. I booked my flight with AirAsia which cost £70 for a return ticket (with 30kg luggage). Then a boat ride from Terengganu airport to Redang Island.

The Taaras have a private airport lounge for all guests in the arrival hall of the airport. The lounge offers complimentary wi-fi, TV, snacks and drinks whilst waiting for the boat ride. The hotel charged £35 per person each way for the boat transfer to the hotel which should be complimentary in my opinion. There is also the option of the public boat if you prefer, however, we took the hotel boat for ease of access.

Picture from The Taaras website

THE ROOM

I stayed in the Cliff Hill Deluxe room which is situated on a cliff overlooking the ocean. The room was light and spacious at 42 square metres, with the bathroom overlooking the bedroom through a clear window. The room was new and modern which is the standard I expect from a 5* hotel.

THE BEACH

The Taaras boasts a private beach for hotel guests. The beach was genuinely one of the best beaches I’ve ever seen in all my years of travelling. The sand was powdery white and so soft it felt almost grainless.

Private Beach at The Taaras

The water was crystal clear yet at the same time deeply turquoise and pleasantly warm. We spent about 90% of our time at Redang Island on this beach – it was so hard to leave that view!

THE VILLA

The Taaras Villa is a private clifftop villa which sits at the highest point of the cliff and overlooks the resort with sweeping views out to the South China Sea.

The villa boasts five bedrooms, five bathrooms, walk-in wardrobes and dressing areas, a private gym, elevator, kitchen and an infinity swimming pool overlooking the ocean.

The villa is complete with a chef, butler and security service.

The price of the Villa ranges from around £2500 – £4000 a night depending on the time of booking. Whilst this is expensive, it’s a good option for birthdays or weddings as it accommodates at least 10 adults.

We spent the afternoon at the Villa and I can tell you that pictures online don’t even do it justice.

THE FOOD

There are four restaurants at the resort, and I tried them all. The food was very good at the Taaras but the menu has quite a small selection. It worked well for me as I stayed at the resort for only 5 days, however, I could see the menu being repetitive if I stayed any longer.

The Bayu Bar

This is the hotel’s beach bar which served lunch and dinner. We frequented this restaurant daily as we couldn’t get enough of the ocean view.

The Bayu bar served a daily ‘Catch of the Day’ which was cooked to perfection.

Breach Brasserie

The Brasserie is a dinner restaurant specialising in seafood and western grill. The food and drinks were top notch.

The Asean

The buffet breakfast was served at the Asean, overlooking the pool and the beach. The breakfast had a wide selection of choices and didn’t disappoint.

THE ACTIVITIES

Redang Island encompassed relaxation. Activities on Redang included, trekking, snorkelling and diving, and turtle watching and the Taaras offered all of the above.

Swimming with Turtles

We fed and swam with wild turtles for 1 hour which cost 70MYR (around £14 per person). I love turtles so this was my favourite experience. At one point we were circled by around 10+ turtles. We fed the turtles squid and fish – a breathtaking experience.

Kayaking 

Kayaking also cost 70MYR hourly per kayak. We shared a clear kayak and went rowing around the island and found more turtles and brightly coloured fish.

SEATRU Turtle Lab

As Redang Island is so enriched with turtles there is a turtle lab at the resort. The lab is managed by the marine biologist and guests are guided through the sea turtle life cycle from nesting to hatching and more.

During the hatching seasons, guests can experience hatchlings being released into the sea. Unfortunately, the lab was closed for renovation during my trip!

Other activities on offer:

  • Island Hopping 
  • Boat Charter
  • Water Zorb Ball
  • Snorkeling/ Diving / Surfboarding / Bodyboarding

 

THE SPA & GYM

The spa offers a range of treatments. I went for the Swedish aromatherapy massage and could make my own choice of massage oils. The spa was clean and relaxing and we were offered ginger tea before and after the treatment for ultimate relaxation.

The gym is situated on the cliff offering a beautiful ocean view. The view from the gym had me awake at 6 am for my gym workout to see the sunrise. Any encouragement to go to the gym is a win-win for me.

Both Redang Island and the Taaras lived up to expectations. Redang Island has truly earned its name as the Malaysian Maldives – and is up there with one of the best beach holidays that I’ve been on.

Have you been to Redang Island? or any other Island in Malaysia – if so drop a comment below. And as always ask me a question.

Love, 

Roberta x

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Malaysia – Kuala Lumpur

Malaysia was my first stop on a three week trip to South-East Asia. I spent 1 week in Malaysia followed by 2 weeks in the Philippines.

My stay in Malaysia began with 3 days in the famous city of Kuala Lumpur. Let’s get into it…

Popularly known as KL, Kuala Lumpur is the federal capital of Malaysia. KL is a buzzing city filled with skyscrapers and mogul-styled domes. It is a culturally diverse country with an ethnic make-up of mainly Malay, Indian and Chinese.

 

How I booked:

I booked my flights with British Airways and booked my hotels separately.

Need to Know:

Local Currency –   MYR Malaysian Ringgit

Language – Malay – English was widely spoken

Adapter – 3 flat pin – The same as the UK

Transport – Grab which is a cheap and accessible app like Uber. The metro (MRT/LRT) and regular meter taxis

WHERE TO STAY

Bukit Bintang and Brickfields are main areas to stay in KL and recommended for a first-timer to the city.

For a western traveller, hotels in KL are very affordable – even luxury hotel brands such as St Regis, Four Seasons and Shangri-La.

I stayed in two different hotels during my time in KL and for my first hotel, I was interested in a city view.

The first hotel I stayed in was ‘The Face Suites’ situated in Kuala Lumpur Federal Territory Region. This hotel was extremely spacious, had a gorgeous rooftop pool terrace which offered stunning views of the Malaysian skyline.

The room was more like an apartment which a huge living room, bathroom and bedroom with a walk-in wardrobe.

The hotel was very central and in the hub of Kuala Lumpur.  I would definitely recommend for first-timers.

I opted for the Doubletree by Hilton Hotel on my layover in KL on my way back to London. I was looking for a cheap and cheerful hotel for a quick stopover and even better the Doubletree provides guests with amazing warm cookies on check-in (check my New York post lol).

This hotel was also clean and central but gave me business vibes. I would recommend this hotel if you want somewhere nice to stay for a very quick stop in KL.

My KL hotel recommendations are:

  • Four Seasons
  • The Banyan Tree
  • W Kuala Lumpur

WHAT TO DO

We were in KL over the Easter Weekend and wanted a chilled trip before our adventure-packed time in The Philippines so we were mainly focused on relaxing, eating and shopping, with a few stops at popular sites.

Batu Caves

Batu Caves is one of KL’s most frequented tourist spots. The Caves are both natural and man-made, situated inside a limestone hill and featuring a gigantic golden statue.

Be warned that you have to climb hundreds of (beautifully coloured) steps to get inside the caves. Whilst you climb the steps make sure you keep your things close as there are loads of little cheeky wild monkeys – one of them stole my friend’s biscuit straight out of her hand.

The caves are free to visit however some sections have a small fee, no more than around £6. If you’re wearing clothes that expose your legs, be prepared to rent a scarf before you can enter, again this was cheap at around £1.

The caves are a must-visit when in Kuala Lumpur.

Petronas Towers

The Petronas Towers are the tallest twin towers in the world; A very popular landmark that always features in pictures of the KL skyline.

During the day you can visit the towers; the KLCC Park sells tickets for a view of the towers. In the night the towers are lit up which is perfect for a photo-op.

The tower lights switch off at midnight, so don’t get caught out like your girl here who wanted to take pictures after dinner and the lights switched off before I had the chance.

Menara Tower

The SkyBox at the Menara Tower was one of my favourite activities in KL. The SkyBox offers an unadulterated view of KL from a completely clear glass box.

The downsides were the waiting time and the time limit inside the box. You only get 2 minutes inside the box, which means rushed pictures and not a lot of time to see the view. And make sure you get to the Sky Deck early, we waited for more than an hour despite having tickets.

Also, note that they close the Skydeck whenever there is a risk of lightening due to safety reasons. KL is a tropical climate country, so be sure to check the weather beforehand.

You can also visit:

  • National Mosque of Malaysia
  • Little India
  • KLCC Park

THE FOOD

Honestly, Kuala Lumpur was not a food haven for me. Admittedly, due to lack of time I wasn’t able to try many food spots.

I made sure to try the local restaurants for my favourite South-East Asian dish, Nasi Goreng. This local rice did not disappoint, definitely try it if in KL.

Atmosphere 360 at the Menara Tower

As we only had one night to dine out it was between Atmosphere and Dinner in the Sky, but I decided on Atmosphere because how can you come to KL but not visit the world’s only revolving restaurant. The restaurant spins 360 degrees and offers views of the whole of KL.

The cuisine was an unlimited buffet with different cuisines on offer. The food was okay but I wouldn’t visit again. And the décor of the restaurant was very dated.

If I had to choose again, I’d pick dinner in the sky.

Some places that I would have tried if I had the time:

  • Dinner in the Sky – A three-course meal dining experience 150 feet up in the sky.
  • Sky Bar at Traders Hotel
  • Marini’s on 57
  • Canopy Lounge – A rooftop shisha lounge under the views of the Petronas towers
  • Night Market for a taste of the local food

THE NIGHTLIFE

I didn’t make it to the club in KL but don’t sleep on the Malaysian nightlife. KL apparently has a very good nightlife. Some suggestions below:

  • Fuze
  • V12
  • Zion

Have you been to Kuala Lumpur? Drop some recommendations in the comments below. And feel free to ask any questions.

 

With Love,

Roberta x

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New York City

It’s called the Big Apple for a reason.

Visiting New York is literally like stepping into a film. There is so much to see and do in this buzzing city that never sleeps.

No two parts of NYC are the same, you can shop ’til you drop in the upscale Manhatten or do it for the culture in Harlem. Whatever you do will be filled with vibrancy.

I’ve been wanting to visit NYC for years, but all of my friends had already been. I was super excited when my bestie Melissa decided to visit for her birthday.

How I booked:

Package deal via British Airways – Flights and hotel were included in the price.

Need To Know:

Local currency – $$$ US Dollars

Language – English

Adapter – 2 flat pin

Transport – Uber, Lyft, Subway, yellow taxis (which are notoriously difficult to flag down), and the Bus if you’re brave.

Where to Stay

This is a tricky one and depends on how you are as a person. Some like the peace and quiet, whereas some might like the hustle and bustle.

If you’re a first timer to NYC, like me, I would recommend staying in Times Square. Yes, staying in Times Square is the equivalent to staying in Trafalgar Square – it is noisy and loud. But it’s the essence of New York – the perfect tourist hub and central to many locations. You can wake up at 3 am and get a slice of pizza or cheesecake – there is never a dull moment.

I stayed at the Doubletree by Hilton Times Square West. The hotel was our stop and go and the only time we were in the hotel was spent sleeping or eating the (on-demand) warm chocolate chip cookies.

The bathroom was very nice and the standard room was absolutely tiny, which is the norm in NYC. The Hotel was clean, cosy and in a very central location.

The Food

Oh, the foodddd! NYC is foodie paradise. Whether it’s fine dining in upscale restaurants, fast food or roadside eats, NYC has it all.

When planning my trip I booked a restaurant for every night but only ended up visiting three of them. Instead, we would get stuffed on all sorts of delicious roadside food from Pizza to Popeyes and end up being too full to go out for dinner.

Some of the places we tried were:

Tao Downtown

Tao had buzzing reviews and I can see why. The restaurant itself had sultry vibes and the food was amazing.

It was restaurant week when we were in NYC and TAO offered a 3-course dinner for $46. To start, I had the crispy rice with spicy tuna (to die for!) and my main was the prawn pad thai which was sadly disappointing, the dish had way too many nuts and was not flavoursome enough.

Dessert was sorbet with fresh fruit which was delicious and freshened the palate.

We ordered different dishes so that we could share everything. The other main was the sushi platter and dessert was melt-in-the-middle chocolate molten cake with ice cream.

I am very hard to please with sushi but it was delicious and the chocolate cake was a dream.

Cafeteria

I had seen pictures of the mac & cheese spring rolls before visiting and they didn’t disappoint. Unfortunately, the rest of the food didn’t live up to expectations. We had chicken and waffles and it was basic. I wouldn’t order again.

If you do go to Cafeteria, try the mac and cheese spring rolls – they were the bomb. They also serve really good biscuits with your meal.

Sylvia’s Queen of Soulfood

Wow. Sylvia’s was my favourite restaurant in NYC by far. I’ll be honest and say that soul food has never really interested me, but almost every recommendation that I got for NYC included Sylvia’s and I was curious to try it.

The food was incredible. We wanted to try everything and so ordered oxtail, garlic mashed potatoes, mac & cheese, collard greens and candied yams.

My favourite was the oxtail, potatoes and mac & cheese. The food may not look classy and cute, but trust me when I say the taste was everything. I totally understand why people travel far and wide to dine here. I’m annoyed that I went on my last day so I couldn’t visit twice.

FYI the fruit punch is soo good!

Hot n Juicy Crawfish

Anything seafood is good with me and crab is one of my favourite dishes. Hot n Juicy serve seafood in a bag drenched in their signature seasoning. I ordered 1/2 a pound of crab which was delicious. Side dishes were fries, hawaiian rolls and corn fritters – the side dishes left a lot to be desired.

Some places that I had on my list and I didn’t get to try were:

  • Milk and Cream
  • Sugar factory
  • SoCo
  • Buddakan
  • Catch
  • Junior’s Cafe

What to do

There’s so much to do in NYC, I don’t even know where to start. All you need to do is take a walk around and I guarantee you will find things to do. Some of the things I did were:

Tour Bus

We took the Grayline Bus Tour which has two routes; Downtown and Uptown. The tour also included a ferry around the Statue of Liberty.

Big tip – try to avoid paying for activities at your hotel. Our hotel was charging $59 but we negotiated with street salespeople to $49. And if we pushed we probably could have gotten it for cheaper.

Ice Skating

I had wanted to ice-skate in central park, but we spontaneously ended up at the Rockefeller rink. It was super cute and we had the best time. It was definitely one of my favourite activities even if it made me realise that I don’t know how to skate anymore.

Horse and Carriage ride in Central Park

Super touristy but so worth it. Riding around Central Park with a guide to tell you all the fun facts and point out where all your favourite movies were filmed. Central Park is huge so we preferred the carriage ride over walking, but if you visit in summer then walking might be your preference!

Watch a sporting event

You can get in the New Yorker spirit by watching a game of football, basketball or ice hockey. We watched the New York Knicks at Madison Square Garden which was such an experience. I bought our tickets at stubhub.com and they were reasonably priced.

Brooklyn Bridge:

The bridge connects Manhatten and Brooklyn. Take in the amazing architecture and get some cute pics. If you start in Manhatten you can explore Brooklyn afterwards.

There are so many other things to do in NYC, some suggestions are:

  • Fifth Avenue for the glitz and glam
  • Top of the Rock to see views of New York
  • Empire State Building
  • Woodbury for discounted shopping
  • Ground Zero

Nights Out

Dumbo House / SoHo House

Sorry but you gotta be a member or know a member to get into Dumbo House. The views are amazing, both inside and outside on the rooftop, and they have really good drinks.

We didn’t go out much as we had dinner late every day and were exhausted from full days of sightseeing and shopping. I’d love to return to NYC in the summertime and I would definitely be going out more, especially to the rooftops which are world renowned. Some recommendations I got were:

  • Catch
  • Restoration Hardware Rooftop
  • PhD
  • 1OAK
  • 230 Fifth Rooftop Bar

Whatever you do in this buzzing city, you’re bound to have a great time!

If you’ve been to New York, drop a suggestion in the comments! And as always, feel free to ask any questions.

With Love,

Roberta x

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New York Palace

New York Palace promises grand luxury and that is exactly what you get.

I toyed between staying at New York Palace and Corinthia. I had seen pictures of both of these hotels. Whilst Corinthia had a slight edge with their spa, the grand lobby in New York Palace won by a mile.

The hotel was very central which was important to us. Everything was either a short walk away or easy to access by transport.

My Stay

Upon seeing the hotel I knew instantly that I’d made the right choice. The building itself was a landmark and towered over the other buildings in the street, it screamed luxury.

Walking into the hotel made me even more confident in my decision. There were doormen in top hats and shiny shoes to welcome us in. The foyer smelt of roses and was lavished in gold with frescoed ceilings.

First impressions were everything and I was truly impressed. Not only was the architecture beautiful, but they had also added little touches like flowers and Diptyque candles. On Sunday there was a live pianist playing the grand piano, I felt like I was being serenaded and if I was, it worked!

The building itself was massive, several floors with multiples lifts and grand staircases.

Hotel Lift (one of many)

The Room

I did my due diligence when researching the hotel and I knew in advance that the rooms were quite average. This saved a lot of disappointment.

We stayed in the Superior Twin Room. Though the room was average it wasn’t bad at all. It was clean, modern and very spacious, all it lacked was décor.

What you have to bear in mind is that with some hotels, you pay for the atmosphere rather than the room itself. What the room lacked, the lobby and café certainly made up for.

The bathroom was also nice and spacious with a grey marble finish and delivered on the two main things I look for in a bathroom – cleanliness and a good shower! Both are very important to me.

 

The toiletries were Aqua Di Parma which was another plus. I love toiletries which double up as good handbag additions.

The Food

The hotel restaurant is the famous New York Café which is known as ‘the most beautiful cade in the world’. Like the hotel, the décor of the Café was absolutely spectacular.

The food was not to my personal taste as the menu was dated; perhaps to keep up with the antiquated vibes. But I did really enjoy the Hungarian wine and the hot chocolate.

There was a live string band that played every half hour. The staff would ask if we had any requests and the band would play it.

It was perfect having the café as part of the hotel as it was nice to come downstairs from your room to such beautiful visuals.

Being guests of the hotel meant we were given preferential seating. Prior to visiting, I saw reviews advising people to ensure booking before visiting the café. Although it was busy we didn’t have to wait for seating on our weekend trip. But I would advise booking in advance if you’re not a hotel guest.

The Spa

The spa/pool was very dark and modern which was a contrast to the old-fashioned vibes that the hotel gave.

We went to the spa area once and opted not to spend much time there or get any spa treatments because we wanted to experience the Hungarian thermal baths.

The pool was definitely not one of my favourite hotel pools but I didn’t mind as lounging by the pool wasn’t on my agenda for my weekend in Budapest.

Overall the grand lobby and the central location were the hotels main selling points.

Sometimes it is not only the hotel which makes your stay complete it’s the people around you who make it special. The staff were lovely and helpful. I’m so happy I went with the New York Palace, it truly was sensational.

With Love,

Roberta x

 

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Budapest

Budapest exceeded all of my expectations. I’m not sure what I was expecting as I’ve never ventured into Eastern Europe. Maybe something old-fashioned and historic?

The city is gorgeous and although it does have a historic feel to it in some parts, it’s also modern and cosmopolitan. The quaint cobbled streets and the whole look and feel of Budapest reminded me of Paris. I completely understand why Budapest is dubbed the Paris of Eastern Europe.

I’ve been wanting to visit Budapest for years after seeing the scenic castles and enticing thermal baths, but I had a hard time persuading some of my friends. I can see why they weren’t drawn to it at first glance – it looked pretty but boring.

After scanning online I found cheap flights and I told my bestie Melissa to pack her bags because this was an offer we couldn’t refuse.

Background:

Budapest is the Capital and most populous city of Hungary; it comprises of two districts ‘Buda’ and ‘Pest’ which are split by the Danube River.

Pest is busy, buzzing and boujie and is home to most 5* hotels and gourmet restaurants. Whilst Buda is on the hills and is the quiet and historic side.

Need to Know:

Local currency: Hungarian Forints (HUF)

Language: Hungarian, although everyone we encountered spoke very good English.

Transport: The transport was cheap and very easy to navigate. You have a choice of yellow metered taxis, underground metro, overground tram or buses. It’s also really easy to get around by walking and that way you can see a lot of the sights.

Where to Stay

New York Palace, The Dedica Anthology

I stayed at the New York Palace Hotel, formerly known as the Boscolo Budapest. It was between this hotel and the Corinthia Budapest.

Picking this hotel was the best choice, it was elegant and classy and the staff were so lovely. The hotel was also very central so it was easy to get to everywhere. Read my review of the New York Palace Hotel here.

Grand Lobby, New York Palace Robbienroute travel blog budapest

Grand Lobby, New York Palace

As Budapest is a short haul destination you are likely to have a short stay. I would opt for a hotel that is central, as it makes getting around a lot quicker, much cheaper and some of your destinations will even be walkable.

Budapest is a lot much cheaper than other European destinations so you can stay in a luxury hotel for less.

Below are some other luxury options:

  • Corinthia
  • Kempinski
  • The Ritz

The Food

The food in Budapest is amazing! Excuse me if I sound shocked but I wasn’t expecting it at all. Even better, food is very affordable. For example, one evening we dined at Nobu and it was around two-thirds of the price it would be London.

Nobu

We ordered drinks and 5 dishes (two of which were wagyu beef dishes) and the bill was around £120 for two people. If you’ve been to Nobu then you’ll know that this is a bargain.

The service was amazing, just like most places we visited in Budapest.

The vibe in Nobu was strange for a Saturday night. It wasn’t buzzing like its sister restaurants in London. It was more chilled and you wouldn’t get looked at strangely for coming dressed casually.

I highly recommend Nobu if you are in Budapest.

New York Café

I must admit that I was let down by the food at New York Café. This café is definitely on the pricey side. But as it has been named the most beautiful café in the world, you are definitely paying for the atmosphere rather than the food.

One thing I loved was that the food was so well presented. The little things make up the whole experience.

I ordered the beef Goulash – which is a Hungarian soup mixed with meat, veg and pulses. And my friend ordered the duck with cherry sauce and potato dumplings. The food was okay, but nothing I would rave about or order again.

The hot chocolate was hands down the best I’ve ever tasted. Melted Hungarian chocolate with cream. Now that I would have again 10 times over.

New york cafe budapest hot chocolate review blog robbienroute travel luxury

Hot Chocolate

The café itself was a sight to behold, ancient and glamorous and like nothing I’ve seen before. I would definitely recommend visiting this café even if it’s only for drinks.

Deak St. Kitchen

We stumbled across Deak St Kitchen whilst exploring the city. My friends know that travelling with me means I have a jam-packed itinerary, which usually includes restaurants. I had a whole list of restaurants to visit in Budapest but we saw this pretty bistro and decided to go with the flow.

The food was amazing and again, the staff were so friendly and attentive. We ordered the lamb chops.

After spotting Lemonade on every menu, we soon realised that Budapest has a thing for fresh Lemonade. If you like lemonade (and even if you don’t) you have to try it when in Budapest – their lemonade is in a league of its own.

Fresh, tangy and made to order. I became quite obsessed with the elderflower and strawberry combination. Can’t decide if my favourite lemonade was at Nobu or Deak St. Kitchen.

(left) Cucumber & Mint (right) Elderflower & Strawberry

What to do

Thermal baths

The thermal baths are what initially drew me to Budapest. Bathing in the thermal baths is part of the Hungarian culture.

The water is sourced from hot spring wells thousands of feet below the city, there are over 100 hot springs which pump water to Budapest’s 11 public thermal baths.

After deliberating between the Széchenyi Baths and St. Gellért Thermal Baths, we decided to visit Gellért.

Gellért Spa swimming pool budapest review robbienroute travel luxury blog

Gellért Spa swimming pool

Gellért bath was quite underwhelming. For a start, the staff were rude and nonchalant. I’d seen comments about the rude staff on reviews prior to visiting.

I understand that there are hundreds of people that visit the baths per week, but it’s not an excuse for being rude and unhelpful. This was the only place in Budapest that I received bad service, everywhere else was perfect.

What drew me to pick Gellért spa was the pictures of the huge bath with pillars. When got there, we found out that this was actually a swimming pool and not one of the thermal baths. The hot baths were a lot less attractive. I guess this is why you have to do your research.

The experience itself was strange, like being in a very hot bathtub with loads of people. But I enjoyed it. Sometimes you just have to try something new. It’s definitely an experience, so I urge you to give it a go, even if it’s not your thing.

Entrance fee was 5800 HUF (£16.12). And you can pay to rent a towel for 3000 HUF (£8), you get about £5 back when you return the towel. Beware that rented towels need to be returned an hour before closing time.

There are spa treatments available. When we went to the baths last minute on a Saturday night the treatments were fully booked so it’s best to book in advance!

Fisherman’s Bastion

Fisherman’s Bastion is a neo-Gothic terrace situated on the hills of Buda. The terrace gets its name from being the home of the fishermen who protected Budapest from invasion.

The views from the terrace are spectacular, you can see the whole of Budapest and the river Danube. It honestly feels like you’re in a magical city, with castles, stairways and cobbled roads.

It’s free to enter the terrace and it’s really accessible. We rode two stops on the metro and a short bus ride to get there, and we decided to walk on the way back to see the chain bridge up close.

 

Széchenyi Chain Bridge

This bridge was the first to connect Buda to Pest and has become a well-known landmark of Budapest.

Széchenyi Chain Bridge

It was lovely to take a stroll across the bridge and take in the city. Driving past the bridge, especially at night, was equally delightful.

Although it would be hard to miss the bridge, I would recommend getting close up and personal.

Other things to do:

  • Visit Buda Castle
  • Visit Matthias Church
  • Take the Big Bus Budapest Tour
  • Take a boat ride on river Danube
  • Dinner on a boat on river Danube
  • Visit the Hungarian Parliament Building

Budapest was the perfect surprise; I wasn’t expecting much but it gave me everything. This city has fast become one of my favourites in Europe and I’m already counting down the days until my next trip.

Comment with any questions or tell me about your Budapest experience.

With Love,

Roberta x

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Marina Bay Sands

Marina Bay Sands

The Hotel

Marina Bays Sands Hotel is Singapore’s most iconic hotel and dons the world’s largest infinity pool.

One thing you’ll come to learn about me is that I’m not always fussy when it comes to hotel stays. As long as the hotel is in the 4* or 5* range, I’m happy to try new places.

However in some countries there are certain hotels that I must stay at and for me, Marina Bay Sands (MBS) is one of those hotels.

The architecture of the hotel is breathtaking, even from afar the infrastructure stands tall. When seeing pictures of Singapore you’re sure to see this magnificent building crop up.

View of the hotel from the Gardens by the Bay

The Room

We stayed in the Deluxe King City View Room located on the 24th floor. I would highly recommend a city/sky view room. Although the room comes at an extra cost you can see the whole of the Singapore skyline in all its glory – definitely worth the money!

The room was very spacious with two king sized beds and a large bathroom. The view was absolutely insane. I could see the whole of the Marina from the window, it was mesmerising.

Decor inside the room was more like a 4* hotel than a 5* – it was basic and outdated. If this was any other 5* establishment I would definitely be unimpressed. I guess with MBS you pay for the experience and you have to decide whether it’s worth it or not.

Bathroom

I must say the hotel went above and beyond. The staff were extremely friendly! For instance when the Bell boy first took us up to the room, he gave us facts about the hotel and Singapore and left his name and extension if we needed to contact him.

We were surprised with new animal shaped towels every day and bottles of own brand Marina Bay Sands water. It’s the little things like this that make your experience so much more enjoyable.

The Pool

The largest infinity pool in the world and the best pool I’ve experienced visually. This pool is found on the 57th top floor of the hotel and spans across the whole rooftop.

The pool is packed and booming as soon as it opens at 7am full of swimmers and guests trying to get a photograph. It can be quite overwhelming and not relaxing.

I genuinely can’t think of a pool that can rival MBS infinity pool aesthetically. However I wouldn’t rate it as a favourite purely because it’s too busy, from when it opens to closing time, but it’s a must visit pool.

I’m not sure if the view is better by day or night but it’s stunning either way.

The 57th floor also boasts a Jacuzzi which overlooks the grand harbour. The Jacuzzi itself was spacious, warm, and the currents were strong. Just like the pool, the Jacuzzi was always crowded and reminded me of a cesspool with people just sitting in there for hours. Again, stunning view but not my favourite due to the busyness.

Jacuzzi on 57th Floor MBS

FYI you really can’t access the pool unless you have an active room key card. They are very strict on this and there is security at all times.

The Food

Yay, my favourite part. If you read my Singapore blog post you’d see that I didn’t get the chance to eat outside of the hotel much. My meals were mainly in the hotel or in the shopping mall.

We ordered room service several times and managed to sample breakfast, lunch and dinner. The food was sublime, no complaints. It was on the pricey side but well worth it. The breakfast had every option imaginable – take a look at my birthday breakfast.

MBS has over 80 restaurants. The hotel is connected to its own shopping mall which has a wide variety of eateries.

I chose to dine at ‘Cut by Wolfgang Puck’ for my birthday. All I can say is; compliments to the chef. The food was so good that we went back on our layover from Bali back to London. The starters, steak and bread were all amazing. And on that note I’m gonna stop there because I’m reminiscing too much.

Cut by Wolfgang Puck, Singapore 

‘Ce La Vie’ is a rooftop bar on the 57th floor of the hotel. Whether you stay in the hotel or not you should visit whilst in Singapore. The drinks were delicious and pretty (I really appreciate a well-dressed cocktail).

Being on the 57th floor the view at ‘Ce La Vie” was fab – the Singapore skyline. And my favourite of all was the music, old school and new school afrobeats, hip hop and R&B, the vibe was perfect.

Cocktails at Ce La Vie

The Grounds

MBS is a huge hotel, and it can feel like there are thousands of people around. This is one of the reasons why the personal touch in the bedrooms are in important.

The hotel is very central to Singapore and is walking distance from many of the main attractions. There is direct access to the Marina Bay Sands shopping centre and Singapore’s MRT train.

As a guest of the hotel you get discount in some stores. Such as 10% off in Sephora which came in handy for my beauty shopping. All you need to do is show your room key card.

The shopping mall is a visual representation of the chicness of Singapore. Filled with designer boutiques such as Chanel, Saint Laurent, Louis Vuitton and more.

Would I stay at MBS again? Absolutely! The hotel is chic and a one of a kind experience and I had a great time.

Please feel free to comment with any feedback or questions.

With love,

Roberta x

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Top 10 Things to do in Bali

Thinking of what to do and where to go in Bali can be overwhelming as you’re simply spoilt for choice. If I’m being honest it’s really difficult, maybe even impossible, to see all that Bali has to offer on a short trip.

I wasn’t able to do everything I wanted to do in Bali but I’m happy because it’s given me an excuse to return.

Here are 10 of the best things to do in Bali:

 1. Tegallalang Rice Terrace

Bali is known for its gloriously green and luxurious rice paddies. You can find lush greenery all over the rural parts of Bali, but Ubud is a popular destination for rice fields.

Tegallalang rice terrace is an iconic rice terrace situated in Tegallalang Village north of Ubud Bali.

This rice terrace was absolutely breath-taking. The views were unreal, just like you see in pictures. There are plenty of cafes for you to relax and basque in the glorious views.

You can also take a trek, swing on one of the many swings, or take a quad bike tour.

Tegallalang, Ubud

It’s best to get to the Tegallalang as early as possible as it gets really crowded with tourists by midday. We got there at opening time 7am and it was quiet and easy to trek around.

Wear walking shoes!!! Don’t be like me and wear flip flops. There are loads of puddles, stairs and insects. We came across a newt but were lucky enough not to encounter rice paddy snakes.

We paid nothing to enter Tegallalang but had to give donations to enter some parts of the terrace. The donation you give is up to you, but I wouldn’t give more than 50,000 IDR which I felt was a sufficient amount.

Tegallalang, Ubud

2. Bali Swing

Can you really visit Bali without visiting the famous Bali swing? Bali Swing is not only a great photo opportunity but is actually a really fun adrenaline rush.

Situated just outside of Ubud, Bali Swing has a series of jungle swings ranging from 10m to 78m above the ground – really high. The view is gorgeous and overlooks a river, waterfall and lush greenery.

The thrill of this swing is unforgettable and you should definitely give it a try if you’re not too afraid of heights! It was one of my best experiences in Bali.

Bali Swing, Ubud

There are also numerous hanging nests at the location if you really can’t face the swing.

Bali Swing, Ubud

Entrance to the swing is 35 dollars or the equivalence in Indonesian Rupiah. This includes access to all swings and nests, drinks and a Balinese buffet. For a few dollars more you can pay for professional pictures which they can send straight to your phone.

A word of advice, get there at 8, as soon as it opens! If you get caught at midday the queues are super long and the afternoon sun is very hot! You’ve been warned.

Nest @ Bali Swing, Ubud

3. Sunset Watching

The sunset in Bali are incredible. A beautiful mix of yellows, pinks and purples, they light up the skies.

I might be cheating with this being on the list as you’ll inevitably experience a sunset. However it makes such a difference finding a good sunset watching spot. Don’t sleep on the Balinese sunset.

Photography by me – Ayana Resort and Spa, Jimbaran

My personal recommendations for a sunset viewing would be:

  • Rock Bar at Ayana Resort and Spa, Jimbaran
  • Woo Bar, The W Hotel, Seminyak
  • Potato Head – Seminyak
  • Bonfire on the Beach, Sundays Beach Club, Uluwatu
  • Double-Six Sunset Rooftop Bar, Seminyak

There are so many sunset watching beach clubs and bars so do your research, but the above are famous for their views.

Rock Bar, Ayana Resort & Spa, Jimbaran

4. Cooking Class

Might sound boring to some but the cooking class I attended was some of the most fun I had. It was a real insight to Balinese culture and we made some damn good food. And if you know me, you know that I love food.

After researching, I decided to go with Paon Cooking Class Ubud and it was a great decision. The cooking school offers two classes; a morning class which you go to the market with them and select the produce, or an evening class without the market trip.

As our time in Ubud was short we went with the evening class. This was a perfect decision as we cooked in an open air kitchen overlooking the jungle. We finished cooking our meal just in time to eat under the purple sunset.

Paon Cooking Class, Ubud

Under the guidance of Paon’s Indonesian gourmet chef, we prepared an 8 course menu. This included chicken satay on bamboo sticks, mushroom broth soup, steamed tuna wrapped in banana leaves. Desert was boiled banana with palm sugar syrup.

We learnt Balinese techniques such as using a Bali Blender (pestle and mortar), grilling the satay on an open fire grill, and steaming the tuna wrapped in banana leaf.

Paon Cooking Class, Ubud

The food was incredible! So fresh and delicious. Definitely do your research but if in Ubud I highly recommend Paon.

The class cost 350,000 IDR (£18.50) and included pick up and drop off to your hotel in Ubud and a recipe booklet.

Paon Cooking Class, Ubud

5. Massages

You can’t come to Bali and not get a cheap massage! You can get 60 – 90 minute long massages for under $10.

Or, you can indulge in a luxury spa day – so worth it!

Fivelements, Ubud

You can find cheap massage parlours all over Bali and even on the beaches in some areas. I have listed some luxury spas that are worth visiting if you want to splash the cash:

  • So Spa, Nusa Dua
  • Lembah Spa, Viceroy Hotel Ubud
  • Fivelements, Ubud
  • Four Seasons, Ubud
  • Butter & Scrub Spa, Jimbaran
  • The Spa at the Edge, Uluwatu

There are too many beautiful spas to name. As my best friend would say ‘do your googles’ and you will find a spa that is perfect for you.

The Spa at The Edge, Uluwatu

6. Monkey Forest

I feel like a hypocrite telling you to go to the Monkey Forest when I was too chicken to do it.

I really enjoy encountering wild animals, however monkeys are not always my favourite. They can be very naughty and pesky and the monkeys in monkey forest are known to try and steal your bits and bobs and bite you!

I really wanted a calm and relaxing holiday for my first trip to Bali so monkey forest was well and truly crossed off my list! I will however visit on a future trip to Bali.

Monkey Forest is located in Ubud and is the sanctuary or natural habitat of Balinese long tailed Monkey a home to around 750 monkeys.

It’s a highly recommended experience by many.

Monkey Forest, Ubud

7. Snorkelling/Diving

The seas surrounding Bali are full of vibrant coral reef and buzzing sea life.

You can swim with Manta Rays in Nusa Dua at Manta Point. This is the only snorkelling point in Bali where Manta Rays are sighted frequently.

Shark Point in Serangan offers swimming with sharks. And Mangrove Point in Nusa Lembongan is great for snorkelling with a wide variety of fish.

Although it’s not Bali, I snorkelled in Gili Trawangan, Lombok. Turtle Point in Gili T was absolutely unreal. At one point I was swimming with 7 huge turtles. It was an experience of a lifetime.

Utilise the clear and brimming coral reefs of Bali.

Turtle Point, Gili Trawangan

 8. Floating Breakfast

Floating breakfast is just one of those things I associate with Bali. Once niche, floating breakfast is now very popular and is offered in a lot of resorts.

Ayana Spa and Resort, Jimbaran

A really relaxing and fun was to enjoy breakfast. You can enjoy this in the privacy of your own villa or in a hotel pool resort.

I enjoyed a floating breakfast during my stay at Ayana Resort and Spa, it was only available to guests of the Villa.

Kamandalu Resort in Ubud offers a floating breakfast for non-guests. See details on their website here.

Ayana Spa and Resort, Jimbaran

9. Chase Waterfalls

DO go chasing waterfalls! Bali is home to many gorgeous waterfalls. You can find them all over the island, so the good news is that you don’t have to travel far to find a waterfall in Bali.

Sekumpul Waterfall

A list of some of the best waterfalls in Bali:

  • Tegenungan, Ubud
  • Tibumana, Ubud
  • Tukad Cepung, Ubud
  • NungNung, NungNung Village
  • GitGit Waterfall, Singaraja
  • Sekumpul Waterfall, Buleleng

Tegenungan Waterfall

10. Volcanos

Bali is home to more than 139 Volcanos, most are active and can erupt at any time. Two volcanos that offer a guided trek are Mount Batur and Mount Agung.

Mount Batur is an easy trek and takes around two hours to reach the summit. You can then basque in the views of the Lake Batur and explore the rim of the crater.

Mount Agung is slightly more difficult and you’ll need to be in some kind of shape to climb. The Agung trek starts at 2.30am and takes between two and four hours to reach the summit.

The surrounding villages have hot volcanic springs that you can visit and and are said to be medicinal.

Mount Agung

I hope you find this useful. There are so many more activities that Bali has to offer.

Please feel free to comment with feedback or questions.

Roberta x

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Ayana Resort & Spa Bali

Ayana Resort & Spa Bali

Many years ago I saw a picture of the Ayana Resort which gave me my first urge to visit Bali. The resort looked idyllic and picturesque I just knew that I had to stay there.

The Villa

We decided to stay at the Villas and get the full experience of this resort. Our Villa was the One Bedroom Ocean View Pool Villa. It was practically a small house at 289 sqm. We had buggy service and a butler on call 24/7 we were given a “handy” mobile to contact him whenever we needed to be picked up on the resort in our buggy.

We had a garden terrace and private plunge pool with sunbeds and a Balinese bed, with access to the garden through the bedroom, or living room.

A spacious living room with sofa, premium bluetooth speaker system and 55-inch TV.

Picture from Ayana Website

In the bedroom, a walk in wardrobe and two poster beds and another 55-inch TV.

An enormous marble bathroom with double vanity sinks, a large bathtub with a flower petal bath. Indoor and outdoor showers and separate toilet.

It was amazing to wake up in the morning and hop straight into the sunbed for a quick 30 minutes of morning sun.

As amazing as the resort was it was soooo difficult to even leave villa. It had everything you needed and more.

Floating Breakfast

When I think of Bali I think of floating breakfasts. Being able to relax in the pool and eat snacks at the same time… a match made in heaven.

The Ayana Resort offers floating breakfast (for a price) exclusively to guests in the villa because of the private plunge pool. The breakfast has a lot of popularity and is another selling point of the hotel.

My friend and I enjoyed the floating breakfast, which was more of a brunch. Veuve Clicquot champagne and a variety of eggs Benedict, Florentine and eggs Royale.

Pools

Ayana Resort boasts of 12 pools! And they are all amazing in their own right. I didn’t get a chance to visit all 12 pools as the resort was so big and I had my favourite pools to chill by.

The staff would bring round free snacks to your sun loungers, my favourites were the frozen strawberry daiquiri shots, mini sliders, chicken satay and fruit kebabs. I love free things and I love snacks! It was so cute and thoughtful of the resort; always going the extra mile.

The pools that deserve a mention in my opinion are:

River Pool

This is the iconic Ayana pool, and the pool that most people, including myself, associate with the resort. It is made up of 3 pools, 1 is an overhanging infinity pool, a Jacuzzi. This pool really did live up to the expectations. The architecture is so well thought out, and the whole pool area looks like a slice of paradise.

The pool was generally quiet. There would be people taking pictures at different times and then it would become quiet again.

Ocean Beach Pool

Though a popular pool in the resort, it was very secluded and mostly quiet. This was by far my favourite pool. The view was insane and the Bali Beds around the pool were spacious and had sheer curtains for privacy.

I want to meet the designer of this pool and give them a personal handshake.

 

I’m not sure that I’ll be able to top watching the sunset from this pool. An uninterrupted view of an unadulterated pink sunset – it really couldn’t get any better.

Ariel view from Ayana website

Ayana Main Pool/Lower pool

The main pool is another beautiful infinity pool. I liked this pool as it had constant live music in the form of traditional Balinese Gamelan (gongs) and drums. The music was relaxing and therapeutic whilst in the pool or taking a dip in the Jacuzzi.

Restaurants

The resort has 19 restaurants and bars so it’s safe to say that you are spoilt for choice with dining options. Again, we weren’t able to dine at all 19 restaurants – and I’m not sure this would have been possible in 5 days. My faves are below:

Dava

Steak and Seafood restaurant. We had dinner here on the first night and they went the extra mile to celebrate my birthday. The staff came out singing with dessert and also gave me a birthday card signed by all.

The food was exceptional I literally have no complaints. I’m a big foodie, and I will let it be known if I didn’t enjoy my food.

Rock Bar

Rock bar is one of the most famous bars in Bali, known for It’s sunset view. The food speciality is Mediterranean and tapas.

As Villa guests we had access to the VIP Round Deck. Yet again the views were unparalleled with Rock Bar being 18 metres up on a cliff edge.

The food was nice but not spectacular, what it lacked was made up for in views. The drinks were fun and delicious.

The sunset view was magical, especially from the VIP round deck as it had a platform to take pictures with no obstructions.

I had no complaints about any of the food at the resort. It was all made to perfection whether room service or in a restaurant or bar. We sampled the al a carte breakfast and the buffet breakfast – both brilliant with great choice. The poolside bars served restaurant quality food which was perfect for poolside hunger.

Ice Cream at the Main Pool

Room service in the Villa

Breakfast Buffet

‘ICE & All Things Nice’ Dessert Shop

‘ICE & All Things Nice’ Dessert Shop

Spa

As a villa guest we received a complimentary massage in the spa. The spa itself was lovely and relaxing. The spa has full facilities, and an aqua-tonic massaging hydrotherapy pool.

Hydrotherapy Pool

Ayana Resort & Spa, Spa Room

Resort Grounds

The resort grounds were huge and consisted of 3 resorts in one; The Villas, Ayana and Jimbaran. You need to be transported by buggy/shuttle in order to get around the resort.

Every corner of the resort is beautiful, with mini rivers and pools filled with Koi Carp and Balinese beds in every corner.

Whilst walking around the resort I would stop just to take pictures every few seconds.

Activities

There are loads of activities on offer: Shopping, private cabanas, golf course, gym, spa, numerous bars, private beach (Kubu Beach) and tennis.

I’m sure you can tell that my experience at Ayana was a great one and well worth the money. The resort left me wanting nothing more, and every hotel I’ve visited since has not lived up to it yet. Really happy with my decision to stay in the villas and I would do it again!

Thank you for reading,

Please feel free to comment with feedback or any questions.

Roberta x

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