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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Cape Town

We set off on Christmas Eve and landed in Cape Town on Christmas Day! This is a brilliant time to visit Cape Town, the city is buzzing and the weather is perfect.

We travelled from London Gatwick with Turkish Airlines, with a short stop off in Istanbul, this is a great way of cutting down the cost as direct flights can be very expensive.

During peak time accommodation can be pricey,  so we opted for Airbnb, and we got a great apartment on Beach Road, which was an ideal location as it was close to all the popular beaches: Clifton, Camps Bay, tourist sites and the V&A Waterfront.

My Top Ten Things to do in Cape Town

  1. Robben Island: buy your tickets in advance as they sell out quickly, this trip takes about half a day so give yourself plenty of time
  2. Slave Lodge: I feel its so important for everyone to visit this museum so they can understand the painful and unique history of Africa.
  3. Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens: we spent New Years day in the park, and enjoyed a lovely lunch at the tear rooms, they also have a traditional african restaurant and there’s an even option to have a picnic made.
  4. Clifton 4th / Camps Bay: Both fantastic beaches, but if you’re looking for a quieter beach day pick Clifton.
  5. Lion’s Head: DO THIS HIKE! It’s challenging, but so rewarding, it’s a 3 hour hike up and down, and it’s not for the faint hearted. I’m terrified of heights, and I didn’t realise how scary it would be the higher we climbed, after the first 30 mins of walking you start having to climb over the boulders and climb up ladder. I wouldn’t recommend doing this hike without a guide as the trail isn’t clear. We used a great guide called Nathan, and it was around £50 per person.
  6. Table Mountain: We decided not to hike this as it was around 3 hours up and 3 hours down, and seemed a tad ambitious for us! Instead we got the cable car, again book this in advance so as to avoid waiting around for hours, we pre-booked online and had breakfast at the restaurant at the top. Go on the fist car of the day if you can as it will be nice and quiet, and you can enjoy the scenery in peace.
  7. Zeitz MOCAA  a beautiful collection of african art.
  8. Boulders Beach is around an hour drive from the city and is a lovely way to spend an afternoon, you get to see the African Penguins, and enjoy Simons Town, which is a small coastal town full of lots of little coffee shops and restaurants, and make sure you go for lunch at Harbour House, this was one of my favourite meals of the whole trip.
  9. Stellenbosch, this is a nearby wine region, it’s around an hour drive from the centre, we stayed here for 5 nights at Spier, but if you don’t have time to stay overnight, go for the day.
  10. Bo Kaap this is the former Cape Malay district, it’s full of beautiful colourful houses and great places to eat.
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View from Robben Island
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Clifton 4th
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Bo Kaap
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Kloof Street
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Kirstenbosch national botanical garden
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Boulders Beach

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Zeitz MOCAA
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Clifton 4th
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Camps Bay

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Table Mountain

 

 

 

 

 

 

Christmas & NYE: Cape Town

Cape Town is the perfect holiday destination. Sunshine, cosmopolitan cafés, trendy neighbourhoods and culture, what’s not to love?

We set off from London on Christmas Eve and landed on Christmas Day.  December is a brilliant time to visit Cape Town, the city is buzzing and the weather is perfect.

We spent 9 night in Cape Town and 4 nights in Stellenbosch, but there are lots of ways to split your trip if you want to see more of the Western Cape.  You can drive the popular Garden Route or depending on what time of year you visit, you can go to Hermanus and go whale watching.

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My Top Ten Things to do in Cape Town

  1. Robben Island: buy your tickets in advance as they sell out quickly, this trip takes about half a day, so give yourself plenty of time
  2. Slave Lodge: I feel its so important for everyone to visit this museum so they can understand the painful and unique history of South Africa.
  3. Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens: we spent New Years day in the park, and enjoyed a lovely lunch at the tear rooms. There is also a  traditional african restaurant and an option to have a picnic made.
  4. Clifton 4th / Camps Bay: Both fantastic beaches, but if you’re looking for a quieter beach day pick Clifton.
  5. Lion’s Head: DO THIS HIKE! It’s challenging, but so rewarding.  It’s a 3 hour hike up and down, and it’s not for the faint hearted. I’m terrified of heights, and I didn’t realise how scary it would be! I wouldn’t recommend doing this hike without a guide as the trail isn’t clear. We used a great guide called Nathan, and it was around £50 per person bookings@hikelionshead.co.za
  6. Table Mountain: We decided not to hike this as it was around 3 hours up and 3 hours down, and seemed a tad ambitious for us! Instead we got the cable car, again book this in advance so as to avoid waiting around for hours, we pre-booked online and had breakfast at the restaurant at the top. Go on the fist car of the day if you can as it will be nice and quiet, and you can enjoy the scenery in peace.
  7. Zeitz MOCAA  a beautiful collection of african art.
  8. Boulders Beach is around an hour drive from the city, you get to see the African Penguins, and enjoy Simons Town. A small coastal town full of lots of little coffee shops and restaurants. Make sure you go for lunch at Harbour House.
  9. Stellenbosch, this is a nearby wine region, it’s around an hour drive from the centre. We stayed for 4 nights at Spier, but if you don’t have time to stay overnight, go for the day.
  10. Bo Kaap this is the former Cape Malay district, it’s full of beautiful colourful houses and great places to eat.

For more ideas of what to do in Cape Town check out www.capetown.travel 

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The Costs..

Flights: We travelled from London Gatwick with Turkish Airlines, with a short stop off in Istanbul. This is a great way of cutting down the flight cost as direct flights can be very expensive. We paid £680 per person for economy flights

Airbnb: During peak time hotels can be pricey, so we opted for Airbnb. We booked a great apartment on Beach Road, an ideal location as it was close to all the popular beaches and the V&A Waterfront.

We were a group of 4 adults staying in a 2 bedroom apartment on Beach Road, Mouille Point and paid a total £2,114.78 for 9 nights.

Transfers / Taxis: Uber is an excellent way to travel around the city as they’re really cheap and safe. Go on the Uber website to get an idea of fare estimates.

If you’re looking for a car service for the day I recommend Siskone Tours. They were extremely friendly and efficient, their rates are higher than uber, but the cars are large people carriers, so ideal for groups. The drivers are extremely knowledgeable of the the city and can even give you a tour. Email the team for rates and advice tourism@sisonketours.co.za

We found eating out to be extremely cheap which was amazing, as the exchange rate from pound to rand was preferable, but it all depends on where you’re visiting from.

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Clifton 4th
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Kloof Street
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Kirstenbosch national botanical garden
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Boulders Beach

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Zeitz MOCAA
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Clifton 4th
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Camps Bay

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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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The Datai Langkawi Rainforest Luxury

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

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

This was my first time visiting South East Asia, and it was a great introduction.

This is by far the best resort I’ve ever stayed in, everything about it was perfect. The decor was beautiful, the food was delicious, but it’s the staff at the Datai that make it truly wonderful.

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.

Getting there.. it’s a long journey to Langkawi, but completely worth it!

We flew from London Heathrow to Kuala Lumpur which took a whopping 13 hours! From there it’s just a short 1 hour flight to Langkawi, and a 40 min drive to the resort.

The Costs..

The Datai Langkawi is one the best hotels on the island, if not THE best, yet we managed to get a great price with British Airways Holidays.

We paid £1,300 per person for 10 nights in January including breakfast.

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