Santa Barbara

I visited Santa Barbara as part of a road trip, we were on our way to Las Vegas and had just spent 4 nights in Los Angeles.

We got the Pacific Surfliner from Union Station and in just under 3 hours, we had arrived in the charming city of Santa Barbara.

The train takes you to the centre of town, and it was a short walk from our hotel – Hotel Milo. The hotel was right on the beach and walking distance to everything, which makes sense as the city is a small with a population of less than a 100,000. The hotel was perfect for what we were looking for, it was inexpensive and simple. If you’re looking to spend a bit more check out the following hotels: San Ysidro Ranch and the Belmond El Encanto 

There isn’t much to do in Santa Barbara apart from relax on the beach, eat and enjoy the beautiful Spanish Colonial style architecture.

One restaurant you should definitely try whilst you’re in town is Olio e Limone Ristoronte they serve the most delicious Italian food, I still dream about their angel hair pasta..

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MIAMI

I LOVE Miami, this was my fourth trip!

A friend and I took an impromptu 5 night trip to Miami in September for Labour Day weekend. She had never been before, so I felt as a Miami expert it was my job to take her there and show her the magic of Miami!

We checked into the SLS Hotel on the iconic Collins Avenue, which is where all the trendy hotels are based. The hotel was great, it’s got a really fun, young vibe, the pool area was always buzzing, and they have a pool party every Saturday. The food was nothing special, but that’s not really why you go to Miami, so it doesn’t matter!

There are loads of great restaurants to choose from in Miami, Cecconi’s at Soho House, Hakkasan at the Fontainebleau and Nobu at Eden Roc.

There isn’t much to do in terms of sightseeing in Miami, but again, that’s not why you go, you go for the nightlife. My favourites clubs are: LIV on Sunday and Story, but be aware that the music will vary in each club depending on the day of the week.

 

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Labour Day Weekend in Miami

Labour Day Weekend in Miami, yet another one of my fabulous holiday ideas!

A friend and I took an impromptu 5 night trip to Miami in September for Labour Day weekend. She had never been before, so I felt as a Miami expert  (this was my fourth trip) it was my job to take her there and show her the magic!

We stayed at the SLS Hotel  located on the iconic Collins Avenue, where all the trendy hotels are based. The hotel was great, it had a really fun, young vibe, and they have a pool party every Saturday. The food was nothing special, but that’s not really why you go to Miami, and they made up for it in other ways.

There are tonnes of great restaurants to choose from in Miami, Cecconi’s at Soho House, Hakkasan at the Fontainebleau and Nobu at Eden Roc.

There isn’t much to do in terms of sightseeing in Miami, but again, that’s not why you go, you go for the nightlife. My favourites clubs are: LIV on Sunday and Story, but be aware that the music will vary in each club depending on the day of the week.

If the SLS doesn’t appeal to you, here are some alternatives:

  1. Miami Edition – this hotel is so chic, the design is amazing and the rooms overlook the ocean.
  2. Fontainebleau – this is a really fun resort style, party hotel, but it also attracts some families.  it has 3 swimming pools, plenty of restaurants and it’s the home of the nightclub LIV.
  3. The Delano – situated on trendy Collins Avenue this hotel is fresh and contemporary, and it has it’s own private beach

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Maldives

Within moments of landing I had acclimatised to Island life, I was barefoot, relaxed and disconnected from the real world…

There are loads of resorts to choose from, it really just depends on your budget. There is only ever one resort per atoll, so you will always be guaranteed the remote island feel, but make sure you select a resort which can only be reached by sea plane, as opposed to speed boat. Resorts that are reachable by speed boat mean they’re closer to the mainland of Male, and can be noisy with all the planes flying over.

We opted for LUX* South Ari Atoll. Rates at the resort really will depend on what time of year you go for and what board you opt for.

We booked our holiday with British Airways

  • 7 nights in January, including flights, accommodation, transfers and breakfast
  • Staying in a Beach Pavilion
  • £2,300 per person

What we LOVED…

  • Warm friendly staff
  • Beautiful beach front rooms
  • The outdoor bathroom was a dream
  • Our room was kept immaculately clean throughout our stay
  • Movie night on the beach was amazing

What we didn’t love.. 

  • The food is shockingly expensive however this isn’t something exclusive to Lux, food in the Maldives is very expensive due to everything being imported, so just be aware a burger will set you back $42 before tax!
  • The service at times was a little slow and disjointed, but its hard to get annoyed when you’re surrounded by so much beauty

I would definitely go back to LUX* as overall it was a great experience, the hotel did a lot to make guests feel appreciated from the moment you land, all the staff are waiting on the dock waving and ready to get you settled in.

The rooms were lovely, the grounds were pristine, the weather was perfect, we really couldn’t have asked for more…

The weather

We stayed in January which is meant to be one of the best times of year to visit, and it was!

The temperature was about 35 degrees each day, and it didn’t rain once!

Getting there

London – Male direct aprox 12hrs

From Male Airport you will be greeted by representatives from the hotel who will escort you to the Lux Lounge. You will be offered drinks and refreshments whilst you wait for your sea plane to take you to the island. We had to wait for approx. 2 hours as our flight had been delayed, but normally the wait is around 40 mins.

 

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Island Life: Maldives

Within moments of landing I had acclimatised to Island life, I was barefoot, relaxed and disconnected from the real world…

There are loads of resorts to choose from in the Maldives, it really just depends on your budget. There is only ever one resort per atoll, so you will always be guaranteed the remote island feel. Make sure you select a resort which can only be reached by sea plane, as opposed to speed boat. Resorts that are reachable by speed boat mean they’re closer to the mainland of Male, and can be noisy with all the planes flying over.

We opted for LUX* South Ari Atoll. Rates at the resort really will depend on what time of year you go for and what board you opt for.

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The costs…

We booked our holiday with British Airways

  • 7 nights in January, including flights, accommodation, transfers and breakfast
  • Staying in a Beach Pavilion
  • £2,300 per person

What we LOVED…

  • Warm friendly staff
  • Beautiful beach front rooms
  • The outdoor bathroom was a dream
  • Our room was kept immaculately clean throughout our stay
  • Movie night on the beach was amazing

What we didn’t love.. 

  • The food is shockingly expensive however this isn’t something exclusive to Lux, food in the Maldives is very expensive due to everything being imported, so just be aware a burger will set you back $42 before tax!
  • The service at times was a little slow and disjointed, but its hard to get annoyed when you’re surrounded by so much beauty

I would definitely go back to LUX* as overall it was a great experience, the hotel did a lot to make guests feel appreciated from the moment you land, all the staff are waiting on the dock waving and ready to get you settled in.

The rooms were lovely, the grounds were pristine, the weather was perfect, we really couldn’t have asked for more…

The weather

We stayed in January which is meant to be one of the best times of year to visit, and it was. The temperature was about 35 degrees each day, and it didn’t rain once!

Getting there

London – Male direct aprox 12hrs

From Male Airport you will be greeted by representatives from the hotel who will escort you to the Lux Lounge. You will be offered drinks and refreshments whilst you wait for your sea plane to take you to the island. We had to wait for approx. 2 hours as our flight had been delayed, but normally the wait is around 40 mins.

 

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Langkawi

We stayed at the Datai Langkawi for 10 nights in January; this was a great time of year as the weather was around 34 degrees each day.

The Datai resort is a luxury 5 star resort in the middle of the rainforest; its the perfect retreat from London life.

We booked our holiday with British Airways and received a great price, £1,300 per person for 10 nights including breakfast.

This is by far the best resort I’ve ever stayed in, everything about it was perfect. The service was so personal to each guest, every morning they would greet us at breakfast by name, they would remember our drink orders.

There are four restaurants to choose from, offering a variety of delicious, Thai, Malaysian and European food.

There’s plenty to do at the resort, yoga, pilates, cooking classes, sad to say I didn’t get round to doing any of those things; BUT I did manage to get myself to the spa! Make sure you do, it’s set outside, so whilst you’re having your massage you can hear the gentle hum of the rainforest.

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