Istanbul

 

Beautiful decor, amazing facilities and a fantastic location..

I stayed at Soho House Istanbul, one the groups largest houses, it operates as hotel / spa and a private members club

We opted for a Tiny Room, which at the time was an unbeatable €80  per night.

Non-member rates for a Tiny Room range from €225 to €240

And if you’re going all out, The Playroom will cost you between €1000 to €1200 per night

What I LOVED…

  • Beautiful design
  • The Turkish breakfast was OUT OF THIS WORLD!
  • Convenient location, close to shops, restaurants, metro links
  • Guests staying at the hotel get full access to the club which is located right next door
  • The wonderful Cowshed goodies in the room
  • Hair dryer and straighteners can be found in the bathroom
  • Great TV selection, I know, I know these things shouldn’t matter, you’re on holiday, but we know they do!

What I didn’t love..

  • Although the room was very stylish, it failed on some levels to be practical and at times felt a little cluttered.
  • Lack of wardrobe space
  • No full length mirror
  • Poorly lit bathroom

…And if you have a room that backs onto the street- very noisy!

BUT this could all be remedied by getting a larger room, so I’ll bare that in mind for next time!

Cowshed Spa

We booked various treatments at Cowshed felt and found the staff to be kind, professional and the treatments were just as I would expect from any of the other Cowshed Spas.

Book the Traditional Turkish Hamman Experience; leave feeling pampered and squeaky clean!

Sorry there aren’t any pictures of the hotel and club, I had to follow the Soho House rules – no pictures!

Where to Eat

Cecconis

All my friends laugh at  me, as I’m OBSESSED with Cecconis, whichever city I’m in, I hunt it down: Miami, LA, Berlin, London and now Istanbul.

Everything about this restaurant is delicious, the food, the scenery, the Peach Capirinhas’s…

My love for Italian food has no end, even in what I can only imagine is the epicentre of Turkish Food I managed to eat at Cecconi’s twice throughout my stay!

This beautiful courtyard restaurant attracts the uber glam crowd of Istanbul, I recommend making a reservation in advance and dressing to impress.

Where to Visit

There is so much to see in this bustling city, and I’m probably guilty of spending too many hours on the roof working on my tan, and not as much time as I could of exploring!

But here are a few of the places I did get round to seeing.

  • Sultanahmet (The Blue Mosque)
  • Hagia Sophia
  • Süleymaniye (the Magnificent)
  • The Grand Bazar

Please note, during times of prayer you won’t be allowed to go inside the Mosques, but you can still walk around the outside and take in the magnificent Ottoman architecture which the city is famous for.

 

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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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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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Western Cape Wine Region: Stellenbosch

Stellenbosch was the perfect end to our Cape Town holiday, we spent  4 nights at the idyllic Spier Wine Farm.  An hour and a half drive from the city, and you’ve arrived, surrounded by vineyards and organic farms.

We stayed at the beautiful Spier Farm, which is one of South Africa’s oldest Wine Farms and has been around since 1692. Much of the estate has a historic feel which dutch architecture throughout but with African Art throughout. Spier is focused on sustainability, good farming and bringing it’s guests authentic farm-to-table food. The service was friendly and personal, I look forward to returning!

The costs…

Stellenbosch hotel prices vary, we managed to get an excellent rate with American Express Travel

£1,2471 for 2 superior rooms, 4 nights, inc breakfast via

The hotel can arrange a transfer for you from Cape Town to the hotel for around £60.

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Delaire Graff Estate

Stellenbosch

We spent the last 5 nights of our Cape Town trip in the nearby wine region of Stellenbosch. An hour and a half drive from the city, and you’ve arrived, you’re in the heart of the winelands, surrounded by vineyards and organic farms.

We stayed at the beautiful Spier, which is one of South Africa’s oldest Wine Farms and has been around since 1692. Much of the estate has a historic feel which dutch architecture throughout, but alongside that is african art reminding us of the history of the farm. Spier is focused on sustainability, good farming and bringing it’s guests authentic farm-to-table food.

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Spier

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Spier

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Delaire Graff Estate

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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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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