travel

Sheraton Gran Canaria Salobre Golf Resort

I finally visited the Canary Islands after wanting to go there as a college kid studying abroad in Europe and can only recommend it if you’re looking for a truly unique island vacation. Situated close to the coast of Western Sahara, Gran Canaria is the 3rd largest island in the Canaries archipelago but has the largest population. The landscapes are sweeping, dramatic and vary from the north to the south to inland.

I stayed at the Sheraton Gran Canaria Salobre Golf Resort, a 5-star resort located in the south of the island near Maspalomas and beside a two 18-hole golf course. Its standout amenities include:

Multiple pools on different levels with panoramic views
Stunning infinity pool that feels like you’re floating mid-air
Aloe Spa using natural beauty products
Extravagant breakfast & dinner buffets
New Sens Kitchen Patio Garden dining area
Tons of free yoga and fitness classes daily

The spa pool at night

The Aloe Spa is also equipped with a hammam, steam room, ice fountain and air room as well as lounge area with snacks, tea & water.

The various sunbeds scattered throughout the topmost level of the resort

The best buffet breakfast and dinners I had on the islands

The other best part of this resort was the breakfast & dinner buffets.  Everytime I have a superb dining experience at a hotel and think it can’t be topped I’m proven wrong and this time it was the Sheraton’s. The selection, sophisticated presentation, quality of ingredients, gourmet options and attention to detail was outstanding. Pictured above is the fresh juice station where you could order customized juices but they also had pre-prepared detox juice blends in individual bottles.

and smoothies. There were so many different food stations you could easily miss one.

Dinner was equally fabulous with a different theme each night ranging from Asian to seafood and Tierra (meat-focused) to Spanish. Due to lighting I wasn’t able to take pictures, but there was most notably:

Chef’s stations for freshly prepared fish, calamari, sausages and other meats
Wok station for customized wok dishes prepared by a chef
Dessert selection with perhaps 30+ different desserts including a molten chocolate lava cake station and candy section
Gourmet hors d’ouevres
Excellent 5-star service

The room I stayed in was Double Deluxe with a balcony offering views over the golf course. There are no rooms with views of the ocean but the rest of the hotel more than makes up for this. I stayed at other 5-star hotels that did and didn’t offer ocean views and this hotel surpassed them by far in every way.

The room has a modern Asian aesthetic with accents of red, wood and slate and came with ample amenities including a welcome champagne bottle. Air conditioning worked perfectly, the bed was uber comfortable and the size of the room though on the smaller end was perfectly cozy.

Having stayed at a few other reputable 5-star hotels on the island I’m so glad I got to experience the Sheraton Gran Canaria because it truly did stand out. Anyone who comes to this island and chooses not to stay here is without a doubt missing out on an experience that no other hotel can offer.

 

 

Lanzarote & Seaside Hotel Los Jameos Playa

With volcanic landscapes of colored soils, craters, unusual rock formations and gently sloping mountain that evoke complete awe and fascination, Lanzarote may very well be the most interesting island I’ve been to.  I may never step foot on Mars in my lifetime, but I think Lanzarote comes pretty darn close to it.

El Golfo – a green lagoon and the ocean separated by volcanic sand

I stayed at the Seaside Los Jameos Playa, a resort conveniently located 5 minutes from the airport and considered among the best places to stay on the island. With so many different activities on site there’s something to please everyone. When you walk into the lobby you’ll notice the decor is inspired by Spanish and  Hispano-Arabic traditions which integrate Mudejar, Andalusian, Galician and Castilian influences. Step further into the resort and you’ll find the pool and lush garden leading to even more activities like archery, petanque, mini golf and more.

The view from the balcony over Los Pocillos beach

Sunset views with organic skincare by COOLA & Earthwise Beauty’s Farizad’s Veil

The wine here is very special and unlike any I’ve tasted before because it’s grown in volcanic soil. They’re placed in these human-made depressions that are shallow enough to capture sunlight and trapped water from the volcanic soil. The artisan wines are then sold in bodegas run by the vintners themselves. The best one I visited out of 3 was El Grifo which dates back to 1775 and is the oldest one on the island.

Wine tasting at El Grifo is a must even if you’re not a wine lover.

The pool while packed during the day is empty and romantic during the evenings.

The spa has:

Finnish sauna, Steam bath, Biosauna & Unisex Sauna
Relaxation area with sun loungers
Multi-sensory showers
Scottish shower with light therapy
Plunge pool with flower petals
Foot baths with scented salts

The resort also has 3 bars: poolbar, piano bar and Bar Belingo. The lobby and piano bar had live music playing every evening which added immensely to the experience.

Papagayo beach on the right side

Papagayo beach on the left side

Playa Famara

Caleton blanco beach with clean white sand, volcanic rocks and shallow water

Algarve Portugal Travel Diary

 

I’ll be honest, I had never heard of Algarve before even during my 4 years working in Europe and I wasn’t CRAZY excited to go knowing nothing about it. But I wanted a quick getaway and I love discovering new places so I went ahead and got the ticket. I wish I had known of it sooner because Algarve is truly breathtaking with its limestone cliffs, sculpted rock formations, clear emerald seas & pastel-colored sunsets. *Also, I decided NOT to edit these shots like I normally do because I’d rather you see Portugal’s beauty in its natural state.*

The first night I stayed in Albufeira which is a cute little coastal village about an hour from Faro airport. I couldn’t do much sightseeing because i needed to work remotely but the beach is only a few blocks away and I was able to enjoy the sun, sea, and sand in the afternoon. I also highly recommend going to The Beach Basket – I went there twice because it was that good and the panoramic views of the sea are an added plus. The beaches in this region have orange golden sand and sea green waters that I haven’t seen anywhere else in Europe. Utterly unique and a welcome change if you’re used to seeing the crystal clear waters every summer.

The next day I headed to Ria Park Hotel located in Algarve where I was invited to stay. A 5-star hotel located between Vale do Lobo & Quinta do Lago and just a 9-minute walk to the beach, Ria Park has a stunning lagoon-style pool, spa, golf course, FIFA soccer pitch, restaurants and rooms with views over the gardens, pool & sea. I also met up with the Marketing Director of the hotel group (Ria Park actually has 3 hotels – Quinta do Lago which is a classic 5-star, Ria Park Hotel a more modern 5-star hotels and Ria Park Garden which has 4 stars for the budget traveler) and was able to share with her my journey as well as learn more about the hotel. It’s actually frequented by all 3 Portuguese soccer teams and even Cristiano Ronaldo himself because they train at the hotel’s FIFA pitch & chill together as a team at the hotel. There were 2 teams staying at the hotel while I was there but I think they were division 3 or 4.

The lagoon-style pool

I was so touched by  the Pasteis de Belem that had toothpicks with my “name” on them. Pasteis de Belem is to die for- I can’t even explain it – it’s orgasmic. There were also some tapas, Portuguese wine & fruits waiting in the room.

I stayed in a suite on the top floor that had a King size bed, Minibar, marble bathroom and spacious balcony

I did need to work remotely from the hotel so I didn’t do any sightseeing that day except kayaking to the Bengali Caves in the evening. These pictures don’t do it justice at all.

So the next morning I had a buffet breakfast on the restaurant’s veranda and laid out by the pool before heading to a few nearby beaches.

As always I brought several SPF products to stay protected under the sun and I didn’t get sunburned despite the strong sun raysl

Falesia Beach which is considered one of the most beautiful beaches in Europe

Praia da Marinha, the most famous beach of all in Algarve and the one I’ll never forget

After lying out and soaking in the beauty, I went back to the hotel to lie out by the pool and visit the spa, which has an indoor pool, Turkish bath, sauna, relaxation room and gym.

I had an amazing time in Algarve thanks to the breathtaking beauty of the region and Ria Park Hotel. I was there for about 4 days and it felt like I had been on a relaxing vacation for weeks. The beaches are close to the hotel that it was easy to get from place to place and the Portuguese hospitality combined with 5-star service was excellent. Everything is so affordable including high-end restaurants that you can really live it up and I appreciated that coming from Switzerland. I sincerely hope that I get to visit Algarve again and be able to spend more time exploring the region and enjoying everything it has to offer.

The last few hours before taking my flight back home were spent exploring a bit of Faro.

 

 

 

Falkensteiner Resort Capo Boi in Sardinia

 

After driving 4 hours from the northern tip of Sardinia to the southern tip, we arrived at Falkensteiner Resort Capo Boi, a family hotel set on a conservation area with its own private sandy bay, a spectacular  double-tiered infinity pool with breathtaking Capo Carbonara Bay views and five-star amenities. They also offer a decadent dinner buffet complimentary each night, activities such as snorkelling, stand-up paddle boarding and tennis on site, kids play areas & much more. You basically never feel the need to venture out of the resort while on holiday.

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Cannes Travel Diary Part 1: Hotel Majestic Barriere

The Hotel Majestic Barriere is an iconic 5-star hotel located right on Croisette Avenue and just steps from where the star-studded Cannes Film Festival takes place in May. The hotel has 365 rooms, 2 penthouse suites and spectacular panoramic views of the Mediterranean Sea. With 4 bars & restaurants including a beautifully redecorated Fouqet’s restaurant, the NEW Spa Diane Barriere, private beach, pool, projection room & fitness center, the Barriere world has everything you could ever want.

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