• Marrakech Riad
  • Marrakech Top 10

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    If your thinking of going to Marrakech for a short trip , why not take a look my inspirational guide below? it's just a tip of the iceberg of all the things you can do! I will be taking another trip to Marrakech in September to bring you the best of food!

    Visit one of the top hotels in the world

    Marrakech has some top boutique hotels, and La Mamounia certainly set the standards when it was voted Best Hotel in the World by Conde Nast Traveller UK in September 2015. The intricate property is a aficionados dream come true, and with its equable ambience, you will truly appreciate the hard work thats gone into this place. Originally the 3-ha park was given by the Sultan 'Sidi Mohammed Ben Abdellah' to his son, Moulay Mamoun, for his wedding in the 18th century. It was green oasis behind the city’s Kasbah and became quickly known for his lavish garden parties. Later updated to a hotel in 1923 the 'La Mamounia'  a property that proudly exhibits moorish opulence seamlessly. It's a must see.

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    Gardens patio of La Mamounia Marrakesh

     

    The Jardin Majorelle

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    The famous Jardin majorelle also known as the' Yves Saint Laurent gardens' , features a abundance of blue architecture. Its a modern masterpiece created to work in harmony with the hand crafted botanical gardens of exotic and rare species with surroundings, making it a pleasurable experience . Designed by French artist Jacques Majorelle in the 1920s and 1930s, it later belonged to Yves Saint Laurent in the 1980's who described it as 'a unlimited source of inspiration, dreaming many times about the unique colours.

    Try some targine

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    Targine at cafe arabe

    Get traditional by trying some local cuisines. I recommend Cafe arabe or nomad for some delicious home made targine, a dish slow cooked in a targine plate with a choice of lamb, fish or chicken!. If you love targine you may want to get hands sticky, and dive straight into a  Moroccan cooking class at fez such as the one here below:

    If you decide to buy your own targine pots, read the guide on safe targines

    Visit the Ben Youssef Medersa

    Officially the largest quranic school of North Africa , the Medersa (meaning school in Arabic ) once had 900 students in 132 dorms arranged around the courtyard studied religious and legal texts here. It's now open to visitors and boasts a array of colours and intricate wall designs

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    Shopping

    It's hard to travel somewhere like Marrakesh and not want to take a piece of it back with you. The medina is the perfect market to shop in, but you will have to be ready to haggle . The medina will erupt your imagination back to the stories of alibaba. The souks sell a variety of spices, artisans and handmade decorative home pieces. It's easy to get lost here so make sure you have a local sim card which allows you to use internet for £1 a day

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    The red walls of the Medina

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    Carre Eden located near Jemma al Fna

    Or if your looking for somewhere a bit more contemporary hit Gueliz, the newer part of the city, is a more modern vibe featuring extensive European shopping brands, eateries and cafes. Best of all, you don't have to haggle. Their grandest shopping complexes include the Menara mall or Carre Eden

    Menara; Avenue Mohammed VI, Marrakech, Morocco

    Stay in a Riad

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    One of my favourite Riads in Kesbah , the Al Maha

    I love riads, I hope I can own one one day! Read my favourite riad guide here. They really are a true rendition of traditional Moroccan life. Many riads have since been restored under the UNESCO scheme by foreigners, bringing out there original characters and artisans, and each riad has something new to explore. The roads are a architectures dream, based on a central atrium with a fountain surrounded by trees and bedrooms.  They are a architectures dream!

    If you havent accoodated yourself in a riad and simply want to visit one, how about just going to one for dinner. Try the Dar Cherifa, its the oldest riad in Marrakech, and the food is delicous!

    Take a excursion to Ouzoud

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    The picturesque falls

    I done my tour to here with click excursions which can be booked here , after extensive research they were the cheapest company and provide really good service. Ouzoud was only two hours away, and its the largest waterfall in North Africa. It's very impressive, and you can hike all the way round it, where you will end up at restaurants on the other side close to the exit. You can have a Moroccan barbecue right beneath the falls,surrounded by berber monkeys. It will surely be a memorable experience

    contact@clickexcursions.com 00 212 661 165 800

     

    Jemma al Fna

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    Taken from Glacier, overlooking the square

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    The Jemmaa al Fna has some mixed reviews, and its not a place for all of us. But if you like the idea of snake charmers, belly dancers, and monkeys, it will rock your boat. It comes alive at night, and its usually to come with a few people rather then travel alone. If you decide to come alone, jus watch your bag, and keep some change (10-20 dirham just about does it) to give to performers if you decide to photograph them. I find its good to be stern if you don't want something as their quite pushy here, or just stand to the side and watch from a distance. I kept my sunglasses on and earphones in if I didn't want attention- just a tip!

    A note to women; its good to free slightly modest here. Fashion of all types is tolerated in Morocco, but the rule slightly changes here. Why attract unwanted attention if its just going to ruin your night?

    Derb Chtouka, Marrakesh 40008, Morocco

    Have a hammam treatment

    Originating from Turkey, the Islamic variant of the Roman bath, steam bath is a focus on water, as distinct from ambient steam followed by a scrub down. Ham is a popular treatment in Marrakech and you will be spoilt for choice! I recommend heading down to hammam de la Rose

    Address: 130, Dar El Bacha | Medina, Marrakech 40000, Morocco Phone Number: 212524444769

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  • Switzerland
  • A guided travel of Lake Lucerne

    Zurich- B2B Boutique hotels

    There is a number of trips you can do in Switzerland depending on what you are looking for on your trip. I had a time limit of 5 days, and as I wanted to start from scratch,so I decided to do Lucerne as it is connected with excellent transport links, and Lucerne is such a big place it has a lot to do. This made it easier for me to have a diverse itinerary, and see multiple things my trip such as food, views, rural, urban, and the city. Naturally, I started off my trip in Zurich which I only stopped off for the night. I was lucky enough to stay in the B2B boutique hotels, a ex-beer factory which has been renovated to a young hip, modern rejuvenation. Each of the rooms is painted in natural neutral tones, with efficient use of space, mindfully fitting in a wet room and discreet toilet. The decor really has minimalist in mind, where focus has been diverted to the hotels concept of wellbeing.

    The industrial style rooms at the B2B boutique hotel Zurich

    It features a luxury heated rooftop pool where you will have generous views of the whole of Zurich, even in the ice cold winter. The spa serves as a top secret in the hotel, promoting health and well-being, and being on a different platform in the hotel, many people are not aware of its presence. It almost feels like a secret members club, with its private underground Roman bath tubs, where couples can enjoy a romantic ambience in a historically rich setting with a Swiss vibe. It's a must see!

    Lucerne- The Grand National Hotel

    I would say for the first trip to Switzerland, Luzerne is a great choice. Everything is conveniently located around the lake and you could do a week of sightseeing concentrating one entirely on its surroundings. It's less then an hour from Zurich and has great transport links  This pretty little town has a taste of everything from traditional Swiss food, shopping, architecture, and scenery. Most of the large hotels are located across the lake as soon as you exit the station. The thing I loved most about this town was its convenience. It's small do it can be done in a day. The streets are almost reminiscent of Dutch towns, and the lake of Italy. I stayed at the Grand National Hotel in Luzerne, a beautiful Renaissance style architecture hotel b founder of the Ritz hotel group. With beautiful staircases and golden architecture with high ceilings, the hotel makes you feel like royalty.I stayed in the junior suite on the second floor, with panoramic views of the lake.

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    Balconies looking onto lake lucerne

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    The junior suite

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    Grand National staircase

    The hotel has a classy charm, and a peaceful presence after a adventurous day around lucerne town. each of the rooms are equipped with Baylis and harding cosmetics, Bose speakers,I pad for room service, complimentary waters, and Swiss chocolate, all followed by a Germanesque Breakfast by the Lake, with walking distance to all the nearby sights.

    Tour around the lake

    There are numerous towns and villages to visit around the lake, and a great tour of Luzerne is hopping from one town to the other. They are all unique in character with a abundance of hidden gems. I took the chance to visit the pretty town of Ennetburgen, residing for one night at the beautiful log cabin style boutique hotel which has been categorised as top 10 views of the world. Villa Honegg is a beautiful retreat high up in the hills boasting a infinity pool looking into the magical Lake Lucerne. I advise to wake up early to get a view of the magical sunrise, where you can see life awakening slowly below you, from the peace of your pool

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    Views from the magical infinity pool

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    Serene views of the mountains

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    Sunrise when the mountains become lit

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    Hot tub jacuzzi

    Breakfast is done in a afternoon tea style fashion starting with some local swiss favourites with a selection of cheeses,Veal bacon and sweet treats presented beautifully on a 3 tier stand, followed by a hot food mains selected from the menu by choice. The very unique aspects of this hotel that have bene thought through is what makes it such a special number.

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    Neutral tone suites

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    Cosy bedrooms with balcony views of the mountains

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    Slippers, blankets and binoculars to add to the country retreat feeling

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    Poolside, wearing Superdry snow jacket, New Balance trainers, Tommy Hilfiger leggings, Nixon watch and Noisy May top

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    balcony views

    You will not be disappointed. At £700 a night per couple, it's a big stretch but one worth doing. I've been to many hotels which claim a 5 star and but there are always niggly things to point out. When it came to Villa Honegg, I could not point a single negative point. Coming back down from my hotel to Ennetburgen left me with a sense of being back to reality, and I knew nothing was going to beat this breathtaking hotel

    Weggis

    The pretty town of Weggis was once described by author Mark Twain as "This is the charmingest place we have ever lived in for repose and restfulness, superb scenery whose beauty undergoes a perpetual change from one miracle to another, yet never runs short of fresh surprises and new inventions. We shall always come here for the summers if we can"

    Its a pretty little town made up of chalets and beautiful valleys. I can almost imagine christmas here.  With small boutiques and shops, it consists of a  small close knit community which harbours at the south of Lake Lucerne opposite Ennetburgen. This quaint town is very picturesque and you could spend hours on end sitting on the edge of the boat docks feeling what Mark Twain did.

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    Travel tips

    Switzerland requires much planning, or as I found, things go wrong!

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  • Dubai
  • Dubai travel and food guide

    Dubai is the largest city amongst the 7 of the UAE.The beautiful state of the Emirates, a tranquil desert Oasis on the Persian Gulf, is a dream city built on ideas and concepts never explored before. Everytime you visit Dubai, you will find something new from your previous visits. It's a relatively new blue print drafted up and built over 45 years, and its hard to believe what once was a empty desert, is evolving at such a fast pace as it is. It has attracted expats from all over the globe to join the large financial hub and hospitality industry. Along with the establishment of Dubai, it has also become a attractive holiday destination with a bustling party life , clubs, tranquil residences, beaches , and shopping experiences to remember! Dubai travel has to be ticked off your bucket list

    My regulars will know all about my love affair with Dubai. I love the emirates and their limitless . They can take any idea , and make it into something bigger and better. Just take the Burj Khalifa for example, officially the tallest building in the world, and getting taller! It has 148 floors in total boasting 360 panoramic views of Dubai. Don't underestimate what Dubai has to offer!

    Where did I Stay?

    I was invited along to SPG hotels, The Sheraton Dubai mall of Emirates situated inside of Dubai Mall, the premium, glamourous end of the SPG brand, with all amenities built within, where you can simply walk out of your hotel directly into the world famous 'Mall of Emirates'.

    They boast some breathtaking views of the Burj Khalifa Skyline,the burj Al Arab from the southside, twin rooftop pools, 433 rooms, and 3 restaurants with a beautiful shish terrace. You won't be short of things to do here. Visiting Dubai previously, I always chose to stay Downtown, or Jumeirah, however I always felt exahausted by the traffic and hustle and bustle of Downtown. Mall of Emirates is a considerably more feasible option, located on the 4th interchange of Sheikh Zayed road, and Downtown is only 10 minutes drive from here!

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    The beautifully decorated reception at Sheraton

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    SPG Hospitality at its finest

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    Beautiful views of the Burj Khalifa skyline from the terrace

    IMG_4848 Shisha Terrace lounge @ Sheraton MOE

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    Bedroom views of Burj Al Arab

    Pricier Luxury residence options? 

    If your after something luxury, head over to The Palm or Jumeirah. The man made island has some beautiful properties such as the Atlantis, Four Seasons, The One and Only and the Fairmont. if you don;t have a budget to cover these hotels, you can always use their bar or attend one of their restaurants, and have a leisure around the hotel this way!

    Shopping

     Dubai is a shoppers dream. The mall of emirates multi-level shopping mall currently features more than 630 retail outlets, 7900 parking spaces, over 100 restaurants & Cafes, 80 luxury stores and 250 flagship stores. They also have themiddleeasts first indoor skiing resort- Ski Dubai. Best of all, everything is available tax free! Dubai 2008

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    My mall of emirates shopping experience

     

    Excursions

    Take a excursion to Ras Al Khaimah : Yes there is lots to do and see outside of the city centre. As the UAE is not so large, you can easily hire a car, and drive to local cities. in fact the drive to Ras Al Khamiah took us the best part of 2-2.5 hours, and its a huge change of scenery! You will be close to the border of Oman, which has a stunning insta worthy mountainous range, and a jaw dropping sunset to watch. we saw the fortress, and  wall of Ras al Khaimah, and visited the reserves. If your looking for something less strenuous, there is tonnes of companies offering desert duning or camel riding tours

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    Looking into Oman from Ras

    Visit the Burj Khalifa

    It's the worlds tallest building, and you can visit the 128th floor observation deck for a price of £30.00. If you have a bigger budget pay and additional £15.00 for the sunset, or £80 to of to the 148th floor. I much like the night views, Dubai just comes alive at night

     

    Get the best of the city with a view from a rooftop bar

    Yes there is a extrenuous amount of bars and choices here. On Every corner, and every hotel, there is a competition of which bar will have the best views, best coctails. If i had a choice, I would visit very bar possible in Dubai. If your a first timer, stick to bars in Jumeirah or the Palm- I love the Royal mirage One and Onlys' 101 bar for its ambience, or the Four Seasons Jumeirah where their perfectly formed arches resemble the city.

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    Views from Four Seasons Bar

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    For rooftop city bars try out 'Shades' at the address in Dubai Marina, they have a gorgeous rooftop pool and breathtaking views of the Dubai Marina, or somewhere closer to downtown I recommend the level 43 @ four Points sheraton.One of my favourite bars is Four Points sheraton on Sheikh Zayed Road. It's the perfect place to enjoy the heart of the city, and glance over the skyscrapers and phenomenal views of the Burj Khalifa, whilst sipping on state of the art cocktail.

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    Try some Indian food

    The UAE is obviously a arabic country, however historically, it has tied in a lot of trade from nearby areas such s India, Pakistan and iran. In fact in the 1940's many people flooded into dubai for work and business and it has had a large influence from Asia, culturally, in terms of language and food. You cannot come to dubai without trying some Indian food, because its much part of their culture now, and alongside this its attracted some top ranked Indian chefs!

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    Just a 'taste' of the House of curry dishes

    I was invited along to the House of Curry on Jumeirah Beach, an exotic array of indian dishes which takes you through a incredible journey taste journey from the South to the North. I particularly loved the Kerala fish, lamb Bhoti and the drinks. Being Indian, this took me back to my childhood, and it was as good as home made. This place does not cease to disappoint! The beautiful Indian garden setting is amazing too with colours and themes dating back to the Mughal Empire. They have a beautiful tree growing through the centre with traditional Rajasthani and Jaipur paintings and architecture.

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    Beautiful views from the Mint Leaf Dubai

    Based on the original sister restaurant Mint Leaf based in London, there has been much success to Dubais' branch after its initial launch in August 2015. Mint Leaf, located in the emirates financial tower is a whole new take on Indian food. They present their food as a three course menu, with a taster style presentation of several starters, mains or desserts. The food palette is immensely colourful, and tastes amazing. Its a modern take of Indian food, where they play with new tastes and styles which you may not have tried before, giving it a Michelin star feel. Take the gulab jaman , a traditional Indian/ Persian desert. It has been adapted to a cheese cake, or soft shell crab/ wild mushroom and fennel soup with white truffle oil. Their food is cooked in front of you, and monitored by Chef Vivek. It truly is a beautiful experience visually and taste too, as there are beautiful views of the Burj Khalifa in front of you, and looking down on the city! They also have a lovely bar upon entrance, which gets pretty busy on weekends!

    Visit the Burj Al Arab

    If you can't afford a night here like the rest of us, you can always visit one of the restaurants or bar;s. Using the facilities in a hotel is a great way to get access and a wonder around.  This is a 7 star hotel who's architectural design is down to Chinese artist Kuan Chew. It's of great significance to Dubai and a proud achievement. It will probably be the most surreal hotel you have been to! Wether you find it impressive or just plain odd is unto you!

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    Fountains in front of the Burk Khalifa

    Dubai Fountains

    Every half an hour, in front of the Burj Khalifa, you can watch Dubai fountains spring into a beautiful water show, each show is choreographed individually to work in ambience with the music and something new from the show before. I recommend sticking around after a show is complete to get to the front before the next one, as crowds gather up pretty fast here. It can also be seen from the Terrace of the Palace hotel situated behind Souk Al Bahar whilst enjoying some Thai food at 'Thipara'.

    Cultural Villiage

    After getting lost in all the above, its easy to forget what the Emirates are really about. It;s important to leave the sky scrapers behind and develop  a better understanding of Emirate culture and life before the creation of Dubai. Situated in the Shindaga neighbourhood of Bur Dubai, the museum is small but informative exhibits on display. You’ll find bags of spices, incense, rose petals, and traditional medicinal products stacked outside each stall. From here you can walk to the Dubai creek, get a Dhow (boat) across the river and visit the Spice Souk or gold Souks'.

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    Spice markets in the Cultural Village 

     

    Visit a theme Park

    The theme parks are endless in Dubai. Wild Wadi, Aqua adventure, Ferrari world... the list is endless. I love Wild Wadi, and for a extra fee, you can go swimming with dolphins. It's a amazing experience as towards the end, the dolphins will perform a show for you and show you their best tricks. You can visit the theme park at the Atlantis Hotel Dubai

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  • hong kong
  • Inside of Hong Kongs Luxury Intercontinental

    I'm a sucker for rooftop pools, and The Hong Kong Intercontinental really exhilirates my senses. There is something slightly surreal about watching the world go by from a rooftop infinity pool

    The prestige property is located on the edge of the victoria Harbour in the Kowloon district. it has 1600 individually appointed rooms. For a surcharge of   HK450  (£37) you can sit back in comfort with a signature 'nine dragons' cocktail, in the knowledge you've snagged one of the most desirable spots in town with the most epic panoramic views!

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    Views from the rooftop pool

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    246708_10151049917778309_581552155_nRooftop pool Bar

    252500_10151057137138309_2131711423_nNight view from the pool 262858_10151050476073309_2100817074_nSignature cocktails in the lobby

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    If you love cities, Hong Kong is a huge contender against the city out there with the likes of Dubai, Tokyo, London and New York. It's pretty impressive in its lineup, and I love the fact the cultural experience is so vast here! Theres a lot more to Hong Kong then just Hotels and skyscrapers. It boasts a rich cultural and historical heritage,with a dash of western values which has come about from its pre British reign. With more then one island to explore in a city that never sleeps, you will be pretty rapt in Hong Kong. Choose from various things to do in this cosmopolitan city such as panoramic views from the Victoria Harbour and peak, cultural trips to Lantau Island, or excursions to Macau. Make sure you guys head over to my review of 'The venetian hotel- Macau'

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    View from the top

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    Avenue of the Stars

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    monu's lifestyle diaries

    monu's lifestyle diaries