Six Senses Yao Noi – amazing resort experience

On our second visit to Thailand, we went back to Phuket first. After 6 days in Phuket we went to Yao Noi and stayed in Six Senses.

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What can I say about this amazing resort? Had I ever seen such a luxury? I guess not!

We arranged with our first hotel, Burasari Resort, that they would take us to the Ao Po Marina in Phuket. We had a little trouble finding the right Marina, as there is another marina which is more touristic. But we did make it in time. We were kindly greeted by a staff member of Six senses and were offered a drink in the marina bar while we waited to go on board.
After a cold drink we could board on our private charter. There was my husband and me and another young couple with their adorable daughter.
A beautiful scenery passed by as we were approaching the Yao Noi Island.

We were, again, warmly greeted at the pier by the manager and our GEM Kate. The buggy, which takes you everywhere in the resort, was personalized with our names. They took our luggages and off we went to our pool villa.

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Number 22, that was our villa number. Kate opened the door to our villa and for a minute I couldn’t talk or move… Where was I?? Is this heaven?? A pool in front of us with the amazing view of the ocean! Kate gave us a short tour of the villa and she would come back later to show us around the resort.

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We stayed only 2 nights in this wonderful resort so we wanted to make the best out of it.
We went to the sports beach and tried out the Stand Up Paddles.
We went to see a movie on the big screen on the beach at night with yummy popcorn.
I got an amazing Thai Massage at the Spa centre (of course I did!) All credits to Oy!

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But the place we’ve spent the best time at in this resort, besides our villa of course, was the infinity pool.
This pool is one of the pools you see in those list of most beautiful pools around the world. We enjoyed a few milkshakes and fresh juices while enjoying the calming view you get here.

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The resort offers so many activities it’s almost impossible to choose!
Because we had only 3 days we chose a few ones and enjoyed them to the fullest.

I would strongly recommand doing the tuktuk tour. We drove around in the resorts tuktuk for about 2 and a half hour with O who guided us around the Island. It was by far the best thing to do when having a limited time here. It was so great I’ll write a seperate post about it!

The Spa experience was also very great. Daughter of a beauty therapist I love discovering Spa centres all over the world and enjoy a massage or any treatment. The location is amazing, the staff is very well trained and you should just enjoy a good massage every now and then.

We wanted to have a private dinner on the beach, but because we didn’t book this in advance, this was not an option during our stay. However, Kate our GEM, could arrange a private dinner in our villa. We had a chef and waitress all to ourselves. We enjoyed a 5 course meal in the romantic setting on our deck which was decorated with candles for this romantic moment.

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The breakfast is also a true experience! Every morning we were greeted by the manager, who remembers our names and country which, for me, makes me feel very welcome!
There is a coffee and egg menu, but even if you want something else you can always ask.
You find some hot dishes and there is also a shop – like place where you can get all kinds of cheeses, meats, breads and fresh juices. To top everything of there is a variety of fruits and yogurts. No need to wait for the chef to bake your fresh waffles or omelette, everything is served at your table.

The day of departure we were moved into a daytime villa, our villa was booked after us, but we had to return only in the early evening. In this villa you can find everything you need to enjoy even your last day in the resort. There is a shower, daybed and tv. So after we’ve spent our last hours by the infinity pool and eating a last ice cream (which is complementary all day, everyday) we could shower and take the plane feeling clean.

When we jumped on the boat who took us back to Phuket a whole lot of staff members waved us out at the pier. So warm, kind it almost made me cry this amazing adventure was over.
A Mercedes with private chauffeur awaited and took us back to the airport..

This resort has the most warm, kind and welcoming staff I have ever seen. You are respected in your privacy and you have your own GEM (‘butler’ if you want) but everyone is there to help. I felt very welcome here. The staff is not fake and really want to help you. This makes it even more of a perfect resort to go to!
They meet your expectations and even go beyond! That’s what makes it really worth it!

Goodbye Thailand! You were, again, amazing!

 

 

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Burasari – perfect location to explore Patong

On our second stay in Phuket we stayed in the Burasari resort at Patong city.

It turned out to be great pick! Here’s why :

It all begins at the airport, where a driver waits for you to take you to the hotel. Cold towels and drinks are given followed by a 45 minute drive to the hotel.

At arrival we got welcomed by again cold towels (which we appreciate due to the heat) and a drink. After this we got to our room, on the first floor.
We’ve booked the elite room, this room is a bit bigger than the standard room. We had an outdoor terrace with cosy bed and a pool view.

The hotel has 2 pools, both perfect to enjoy the sun and look for some cooling down when it gets too hot.
The first pool has a bar, so you don’t have to leave the pool to get yourself a drink. Perfect!
Downside of the pool : there aren’t many sunbeds, which makes it almost necessary to get up early in the morning to make sure you have a seat.
On the other hand, the beach is just 1 minute away.. Plenty of place under the sun!

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The lunch we had in Kantok was the best Thai food I had in a while!
The breakfast was also good and there was plenty of choice.

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If ever I would come back to Patong, Phuket I would definitely go back to Burasari resort. Perfect location: near the beach, the shops, Jungcylon, Bangla Road, clean and big rooms, great pools.

Tunisia – family destination

Hammamet

For my birthday my husband decided to give me a getaway-week in Tunisia. After Marrakech and going many times to Algeria it was about time to visit the third maghreb country : Tunisia.

We stayed in a 4* hotel Le sultan, situated in Hammamet. The hotel has 2 pools, one outside, the other one is indoors. The spa area is big, but not comparable to the ones you find in Turkish hotels (which to me are mostly very good). Outside there are 2 tennis courts and a midgetgolf terrain. The best thing about this hotel is the kids corner! The animation is very kids-minded and the mini club is very up to date.
The hotel is located near the beach, though this is a small beach. Walking a bit further allows you to enjoy the beach to its fullest.
We enjoyed the fresh mint tea almost every night in the cosy shishacorner.
A good hotel if happy kids are more important than luxury. gracefullyDebby 3146

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shisha corner

The medina in Hammamet is not so big, but a nice walk in the village can be quiet romantic, especially when you end it on the beach to watch the sun set.

Close to Hammamet, you find the more modern Yasmine Hammamet. There is an amusement park Carthageland with an aquapark in it. This can be found in the medina. It’s a real eye catcher in the medina with lots of tempting animations all over the medina.
We went into the medina to browse trough the shops and score some original gifts.
There is also a harbour where tourist boats (with real pirates) can take you for a fun day at sea. In this harbour there are plenty of restaurants and bars to enjoy.

On friday there is a big market in Nabeul. A city near Hammamet. We took a taxi and went to the village known for its oranges (which is their trademark as you can see on the postcards). After grabbing a fresh juice we discovered the market. Locals as well as tourist browse through all the different stands. On the background there’s the call for prayer, this is the real maghreb life.

After a visit to a tourist agency we booked a day trip. As it was the low season we could negotiate a good price and had a day trip totally adjusted to what we wanted to see.
We chose to visit el djem, sousse and port el kantaoui.
The tourist agency had a driver in tuxedo to pick us up at the hotel. He was our personal driver for the day. He showed us the Atlas mountain, which passes Morocco, Algeria and Tunisia, and told us interesting things about the local life in Tunisia. He was a very warm person.

First stop : El djem. This is the amphitheatre where The gladiator (movie with Russell Crowe) was shot. It’s amazing how big it is, and how well preserved. The sun was shining and the amphitheatre really made a big impression on us. el djem

el djem

el djem

It was worth the long , almost 2 hours, drive. A 10 minute walk further we visited a mosaic museum. I found it amazing to see this old images of ancient tales. The entry to this museum is included in the price you pay for entering el djem, but nobody tells you this.
Next on was the city of Sousse. We only had one hour to spend here. It was very touristic, more than Hammamet. It’s a harbour city. We didn’t see much of it. A quick tour around the city and then we continued our daytrip.

The last stop before heading back to the hotel was Port el kantaoui. This was a very charming village. It has a small fair which is nice for the kids.
This whole village is situated around the harbour. Such a laidback vibe I got from just walking around.
Spending a week here would not be it for me, but a would gladly spend a few days in this harbour village. We ate something in one of the many restaurants. After this we went back to our hotel.

port el kantaoui

We had a good stay, although we wouldn’t go back to Tunisia soon. I guess there’s much more to do in summertime. But in april, we had the impression there was not so much to do other than enjoying the sun around the pool or at the beach.
Though if you have kids, there is enough to do.
There is a zoo nearby and you can go for a swim with dolphins. (We already did this in Dubai swimming with dolphins in Dubai)

Overall I’m glad to have seen a bit of Tunisia, now I’ve been to all 3 countries that are the Maghreb.

My travel bucketlist

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This quote has been posted many, many times before me.
But who does this not apply to? Who wouldn’t want to travel the world?
Just imagine you could go anywhere without having to save money for a few months or even years.. Where would you go??

Here’s my top 5 of countries I really want to see one day :

  • Australia : not one place in particularly but a round trip would be amazing. I’m a big fan of Home and Away and the renovation tv show House rules, also Masterchef Australia has been a big inspiration to go visit Down Under. Must see : The Opera House in Sydney, The Salamanca market in Hobart, Summer Bay (the hometown of the people in Home and away, I was once told this town really exists), the great barrier reef and plenty more to discover.
  • Bali : A round trip to see all the beauty the nature of bali has to offer. Ubud must be one of the stops. And with this maybe an extra few days to go to Java.
  • Brazil : After seeing some tv shows where Brazil was the hosting country, it makes us want to go there someday.
  • Japan : again a round trip would make me very happy. I’ve heard you have the 4 seasons in Japan, which makes me curious to experience it. There is snow, sun, spring and middle temperatures. Tokyo, Kyoto, Fuji Mountain. And just the way of life, the stress, the tea, the geishas, everything.
  • Mexico : this would be a relaxing holiday. Probably Cancùn, for all the beaches.

And of course the world has much more to offer and to see. A citytrip to New York or Rome would be on my bucketlist and going to Croatia or seeing some more of Africa would also be very tempting. The world is big enough for all of us to see and enjoy it. I’ll try to see as many countries as possible. One country at a time.

I am very curious about your travel bucket list! Let me know what countries or places you would love to explore. And if you have any tips for me to add to my list or must see’s please let me know!

Magical Marrakech

Have you ever been to Marrakech? We did and it was the best citytrip we’ve made. After seeing and hearing a lot, positive as well as negative, we wanted to see for our selves what’s the fuzz about Marrakech. What is that place called Jemaa al Fna? Or the souks, the old town, the new town, … ?

Jemaa al Fna

We’ve stayed in Dellarosa Suite and Spa, a 4* hotel in Marrakech. The hotel has the perfect location for a short stay in Marrakech. We were able to go to the old city center (where the souks are) as well as to the new center (Guéliz) without having to take a taxi or shuttle bus. Everything was nearby! Another plus is the more than friendly staff. They really had that mediterranean character where a good morning, good afternoon and good evening come from the heart.
The hotel has a rooftop bar which gives you a view on the city center. There’s also a refreshing pool (too bad it has little sunlight because of the buildings surrounding the hotel) and a big spa area (same prices as in western europe).

rooftop view dellarosa

We started off by going to the Jemaa al Fna market square. This is what we came for. First impression : how big, how vivid, it only makes me curious  to go explore some more! All day long there are plenty of things to see.
By day you have the juice stands (yummy freshly pressed juices!!), the people selling ‘real’ argan oil, women who do henna tattoos, musicians and of course all the special attractions like the snakes, the birds, the monkeys, and traditional clothed men who want you to take a picture with them.
Don’t be fooled, they all do it for the money, even when they say it is a gift or free for you. Keep this in mind and you won’t feel bothered by all of this. Make sure you have some coins in your pocket to give after taking a picture.
At night the place transforms into a big open air restaurant. Many food stands offer you delicious food for little money. You have to experience this and try some of the local dishes.

jemaa al fna

jemaa al fna

jemaa al fna

I really wanted to go visit the Jardins Majorelle. Yves Saint Laurent bought the villa in this beautiful botanical garden to prevent it from being transformed into a hotel complex and found lots of inspiration here.
The gardens are amazing and very colorful! The main color is blue, which is called the majorelle blue. There are many plants to see, you can sit there and enjoy the beauty and silence in this vivid city.

Majorelle

Majorelle

Majorelle

Majorelle

After this we went to the Palmeraie, a piece of desert just outside the city. We did a camel ride, but you can also walk trough it or go for a beach buggy tour. I found it a bit overpriced but we enjoyed it anyway.gracefullyDebby 410

For shopping we went to Guéliz, the new town. Here you find all kinds of shops and many known brands. Plenty of coffee and juice bars have a sunny terrace where we enjoyed a drink or two.
Another place to shop are the souks , it’s some kind of labyrinth full of small streets where you enjoy getting lost.
I loved walking in the medina every day and discovering new places every time. A visit to the local barber shop, a spa, herbs, anything can be found in the souks!

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Another way to see the city is by horse carriage, which is also very romantic and if you’re lucky you get some extra information by your driver.
– As we passed by the royal palace the flags were out meaning king Mohammed was in the house.

We would love to go back soon! This is the perfect getaway to relax.
When going to Marrakech I would recommend a hotel or riadh close to the old city center and not to take an all inclusive formula. Jemaa al Fna has so many great food to offer for so little money it would be a pity to miss out on all of this!

Not so far from Marrakech you have the Ourika valley with the Atlas mountains, great for an adventurous walk.
And I was told the red beach is a great place to enjoy a sunny day. Sitting by the pool, chilling with friends, listening to lounge music, sipping cocktails is what the red beach is all about.

Please let me know what are your hotspots in Marrakech? Did you love it there?

Discovering Atlantis the Palm, Dubai

Atlantis the palmThe second stop we made on our UAE trip was Atlantis the Palm in Dubai! This is the ultimate luxury experience!

From our hotel in Abu Dhabi we took a taxi to Atlantis the Palm in Dubai. It took us about one hour drive to get there. The hotels we’ve passed were already amazing, but once arrived I was amazed with the grandeur and luxury the Atlantis emits!

Plenty of cars, taxis and limousines stop all the time at Atlantis. Many bellboys are ready and help you and your luggages out of the car.
Once we’ve entered I was overwhelmed! This must be a dream I’m in.. Could this be real?? A big sculpture of colorful hand blown glass pieces (more than 3000!) is the first thing you see. Then, i had no idea where to check in. Many counters are to be seen, but a concierge saw my hesitation and came right up to us and guided us to the check in counter we needed.
There are many nationalities working in Atlantis the palm so the language you speak is probably one they speak as well.

glass sculpture atlantis

glass sculpture atlantis

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Atlantis the palm entry

The deluxe guest room is a classic standerd hotel room with all you need on a holiday. There is a balcony, a desk, flatscreen, fresh fruits, a safe,… But how the bathroom was my favorite place in this room! A spatious walk-in shower and a bath from where you can open a door to have an open view in the room.
The products of ESPA are amazing to use!
The fruit in the room is daily fresh and even the water bottles have the Atlantis brand on them. Like how cool is that!

We had only two days in Dubai, so we wanted to make the best out of it. Atlantis provided a free shuttle bus taking you to any shopping mall you want. We wanted to start with the outlet shopping mall and then go to the Dubai Mall. The trip to the outlet shopping mall was very long and so not worth it. We didn’t find our luck and decided to take a taxi to the Dubai Mall. My gosh! What a difference! This mall is so big! You can go skiing, ice skating, shop, eat, drink, there is even a rainforest cafe (one of my favorite stops in London) and much more.
Outside the shopping mall you can visit the Burj Khalifa. As for us, time was not on our side and we had to make a choice : shopping or visiting the Burj..
Yes, I know, we should be ashamed but we preferred the shopping. However we took some pictures of the building, at least we saw it from the ground up.

Dubai Mall

Dubai Mall

Dubai Mall

Dubai Mall

Burj Khalifa

Burj Khalifa

I bought some traditional caftans, to wear at wedding parties. Every time I wear them it’s a great success, especially when I tell them I bought these in Dubai. The caftans of Dubai have a great quality and are known to be very glittery.

Back in the hotel we had our dinner at Kaleidoscope, same restaurant where we took breakfast. There is a wide variety of foods. Every cuisine has its place and as it is a buffet you can try many things!

The next morning after breakfast we went for a special date! My childhood dream coming true! A swim with the dolphins! Oh my god, I can’t believe this is really happening!
A small shuttle took us to Dolphin Bay, within Atlantis the palm. We were checked in, and had to wait until it was our turn. Once inside we had to put on some surf gear and had to remove everything that could come loose. After this we had instructions on what was about to happen and what we need to be careful about.
And then, le moment suprême!! My dolphin encounter! He was so soft and sweet and cute! There was one dolphin per 6 people to meet. We had a few moments to touch the dolphin and to dance with it! Also he took us swimming. After a hug and a kiss the time had already come to say goodbye.. This was amazing! Like really! One of the best moments in my life!

dolphin bay

dolphin bay

In the afternoon we went for some fun in Aquaventure. The water park also located within Atlantis the palm. As we already went for a waterpark in Abu Dhabi (Yas waterworld, Discovering abu dhabi) we decided to spend only one afternoon instead of a full day. The park was great! Plenty to see and do! Of course we had to do the leap of faith. The most vertical waterslide in the park. We felt like kids again, having so much fun in one day!  aquaventure

This hotel has so many to offer you could spend 2 (or more) days in Dubai without even leaving the hotel.
It offers 20 restaurants, plenty of bars, a lot of activities. The hotel is also very child friendly!

After a swim in the royal pool, which has an amazing view over the seaside (beach, burj al arab,..) we prepared to visit the lost chambers. These are the aquariums with all kinds of fish! Kids adore this place, it has something magical about it. All this colors and different kinds of fish!

lost chambers

lost chambers

I must say I regret not having had more time to enjoy this hotel any longer. We saw the highlights but ran short out of time to see more of Dubai itself. But surely we feel blessed to have been here. We enjoyed every moment we had here.

Discovering Abu Dhabi

Let me tell you about my highlights of Abu Dhabi.

In Abu Dhabi we stayed on Yas Island. Our hotel provided a complimentary shuttle bus which makes many stops on the island, so you can visit all the hotspots!

Our favorite fun spot on Yas Island : Yas Waterworld without a doubt! 20140529_142016
42°C, ideal temperature for some water fun! There are water slides, a rollercoaster, a pool with waves and so much more! We had the best day!
We’ve been on all the slides, there was no waiting time! Amazing!
If you don’t want to carry around a bag with  money, you can charge some money on a bracelet which makes payments easier!


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Another visit on Yas Island was Yas beach. This is a private beach, with seats and cabanas. The beach is very peaceful and gives you a great view over some of the hotspots in Abu Dhabi. The waiters serving you is a big plus! For me Abu Dhabi was all about luxury and this is a very welcome service on the beach. 20140528_161428
When you go a bit further, leaving Yas Island, a must see for everyone visiting Abu Dhabi is the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque. We went around 4pm because at this time you visit the mosque in daylight, but when you leave it starts shimmering and they turn on all the lights which creates a magical atmosphere! A very impressing mosque!
Watch out : no pictures where you touch your partner (not even a hand)! Security comes right up and watches you delete your pictures! I’m still amazed by the beauty of this big, rich mosque!

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As my husband is a big fan of jet-skiing we asked our hotel concierge if this was possible anywhere nearby. He made a few phone calls and one hour later we sat in a taxi which took us to the Shangri La hotel where they would pick us up to go jet skiing. Yeah!! We had fun! Our playground was a calm river from which we could see the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque.

Then, of course, shopping in Abu Dhabi. Our favorite mall was the Marina mall in Abu Dhabi center. You can shop the big brands, there are plenty of coffee shops (Hello Starbucks!) and even an ice skating rink!
Al Wahda Mall was also big. Although for me, once you’ve been to one mall in Abu Dhabi they all look alike.
Since this trip was a year ago already, there is now a shopping mall on Yas Island, named Yas Mall.

As for eating we had 3 excellent dinners!
First : Amici in our hotel Yas Viceroy. A great italian restaurant.
Second : we enjoyed the buffet in Corniche hotel. Plenty of choice, freshly made food and a superb dessert buffet! (Yes, I’m a sweet tooth).
But this one really needs to be seen because words cannot describe the experience : Rosewater. This restaurant is located in the very luxury Etihad Towers. Before this holiday I wasn’t used to this kind of luxury! Waw! The entry is full of big, poshy cars (Lamborghini, Porsche, Rolls Royce, limousines,…). Every door comes with a concierge.
The restaurant itself has a beautiful location in the Towers. You can sit inside (plenty of space) or outside (hello poolview). We sat outside to enjoy the view and the more quiet setting. What can I say, the buffet had a big range of foods. Everything tasted perfect! And again the dessert buffet!! OMG! The chocolate fountain, the cakes, the sweets, the fruit,… Just Oh My God!

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Well, this was my Abu Dhabi. I feel blessed to have visited all this amazing places.
If I could ever go back, I would like to visit Ferrari World, Yas Mall, The emirates palace (they serve golden coffee!!) and the beaches in Abu Dhabi center.

Keep on travelling!