Posted on Leave a comment

Adventures in the wilds of Africa at Pondoro Game Lodge…

After our 6-hour drive from Johannesburg, we finally arrived at Pondoro Game Lodge.
Upon our arrival, one of the staff members, Armand welcomed us and took us to the reception area. We were offered a special welcome drink by the staff members. Armand briefly explained the program for the following days to us.


We were then taken to our room which left my husband and I breathless. The room was really a big spoil – beautifully decorated to suite the name of the room which was called tree suit. The suite that we stayed in had a spectacular view overlooking the Olifant’s river and our own private hot tub on the beautiful deck.

During our three day stay, my husband and I were so overwhelmed with the wonderful staff and the exceptional service. The effort that was made for us was so special and the managers and staff really bent over backwards to accommodate our every need, no matter how small or big. My husband had a special dietary requirement which the staff accommodated without any hesitation. This meant a lot to us.

Dorah, the lady who cleaned our room every day, made the stay extremely special for us. We really want to thank her for making our stay even more memorable. She left us a note on our bed every morning and evening. It was really the little things she did that stole our heart.

The highlight of the trip was definitely the game drives and wildlife. Within the first few hours of arrival we saw 4 out of the Big 5 animals. Our Game Rangers Marius didn’t let anything stop him to get us as close as possible to the animals. Never before have I had such great success spotting wildlife.

It was a stay we won’t easily forget. Just speaking to other guests at the lodge, who return year after year, says so much about the Lodge.

We had a amazing stay and I hope to return again one day soon.

Reviewed by Franca a representative of World Luxury Awards

To book follow the link to the website www.pondoro.co.za

 

Posted on Leave a comment

Beachside bliss at New Star Beach Resort, Koh Samui

Our recent stay at New Star beach resort in Koh Samui was superb.
Upon arrival we were warmly welcomed by the Resorts Sales manager and General manager.
All of the staff members were professional and the welcome drinks were presented very uniquely.

We also received complimentary drinks and snacks while getting comfortable in our room. We had a beautiful room with lots of natural light and a very comfortable bed.

The staff were extremely friendly, and the restaurant manager deserves a special mention for the excellent service throughout our stay. We had two great dinner evenings at the restaurant and enjoyed the breakfast buffet with a big variety of delicious prepared food.

The staff were very helpful and offered to help us arrange all our local tours. The general manager also offered personal assistance to make our stay most relaxing and memorable.The management team offered us a tour through the hotel to learn more about the hotel and what the hotel have to offer.
The scenery was beautiful and it was wonderful to walk in such a quiet and peaceful environment since our room was on the beach front.

The room was comfortable, clean, spacious and nicely decorated. The hotel provides every facility you will need without leaving the comfort of the hotel and is located in the perfect spot in close proximity to local attractions. We really enjoyed the swimming pool with a spectacular view of the ocean.


The atmosphere and scenery is so special that it really felt like home.

Upon checking out the staff offered a wake-up call and arranged a taxi where the general manager accompanied us to the airport.

The check-out procedure was fast and the staff thanked us for our stay.
We will most definitely stay here again and highly recommend New Star Beach Resort.

All respect for the general manager who not only does a great job here but is a true sample of excellent hospitality.

 

Posted on Leave a comment

A wonderful Balinese experience with the gentle giants of Mason Elephant Lodge …

Although I did not stay at the Mason Elephant Lodge in Ubud, I was invited to come and visit this beautiful property for the day.

Arriving at Mason Elephant Lodge we were immediately warmly greeted by the staff who would be showing us around for the day. Just beyond the reception is a beautiful museum filled with rare and beautiful elephant skulls,tusks and even the only complete mammoth skeleton in the world. This was so informative and a great way to learn all that there is to know about elephants!

The Lodge offers 27 rooms, beautifully decorated and situated within the Elephant park. A stay here will give you everything you would expect from a luxury lodge as well as being amongst the herd and able to see them from your room balcony, or even bathtub. Guests can literally hop onto an elephant from their front door and explore the area.

After taking a look at the lovely rooms and the owners stunning Art Gallery we were taken to the Elephant Park area, and oh what an experience we had! We got to wash the elephants, take a ride through the Ubud jungle and even feed them some treats.  It truly is a special experience to get so up close and personal with these gentle giants and spend time with them.  Daisy was our assigned elephant and it was a real treat getting to know her and her quirky, friendly personality.

The park is the only rescue park in Bali and has been involved for the past 20 years in the upkeep of the elephants who were originally saved from camps in Sumutra. The team at the park are dedicated to giving this heard of endangered elephants a happy and safe existence.

There are 31 elephants in total and each elephant has their own dedicated handler. It was so amazing for us to see the bond each elephant has with there handler. After spending a few hours with the elephants we were treated to a buffet style lunch, with views of the elephant Park.

This is definitely an experience I will never forget and I hope to be back in the near future to stay at the Lodge.

A huge thank you to Jian and the entire team for looking after us and treating us to this once in a lifetime experience!

Some of the wonderful Mason Elephant Lodge team

Reviewed By Tanique Echardt- World Luxury Hotel Awards Executive Manager

To book a experience or accommodation of this piece of paradise click the link below

www.masonelephantlodge.com

 

 

Posted on Leave a comment

Fun for the entire family at Conrad Bali…

On a recent trip to Bali we were very privileged to have the opportunity to spend a night at the luxurious Conrad Bali. On arrival we were met by the charming General Manager Andreas Justkowiak, known as Andi to his friends. After checking in we were escorted to our newly rejuvenated premier rooms, which were beautifully appointed with every room having a sea view.

This luxury beachfront resort can be found only 12.2km from the Ngurah Rai International Airport. The Conrad is a tropical beach resort with seven hectares of lush green gardens and 350 meters of sandy beach. After a quick swim in the sea we rinsed ourselves off in the huge swimming pool which surrounds the hotel. If you are lucky enough to get a ground floor room, you will have direct access to the pool from your balcony. It was now time for lunch, which was served to us at the pool-side by a smiling and friendly waiter. The menu from the Azure Bar and Restaurant is substantial and caterers for all dietary requirements.

Conrad Bali has 358 guest rooms all with panoramic views of the ocean, pools and gardens. The exclusive Conrad Suites are located in a private wing, offering privacy and personalised service. This tropical paradise offers many tempting dining options, plenty of meeting space for all occasions, and offers leisure facilities including the state-of-the-art Jiwa Spa.

We were very lucky to have been shown around the hotel by the Assitant Director of Sales, Harry Purnama, who recommended we try the Suku Japanese Restaurant for dinner. We were very impressed by the atmosphere, service and a delicious menu which includes some very good sushi.

On our tour Harry showed us the unique “Infinity”, a majestic glass structure and one of Bali’s largest modern beachfront wedding venues. There was actually a wedding happening at the time of our visit.

We truly enjoyed our stay at this magnificent hotel even if it was just for one night.

I can definitely recommend the Conrad Bali – one of Bali’s finest hotels.

Reviewed By Michael Hunter Smith – World Luxury Hotel Awards Marketing Director

To book click the link below

www.conradbali.com

Posted on Leave a comment

Dash Hotel Seminyak – Dashingly different!

If you are looking for a unique, hip and fun place to stay whilst in Seminyak – look no further than Dash Hotel. With their hallmark assortment of red, yellow and blue mannequins standing outside on the hotel balcony, it is tough to miss the Hotel.

Upon entering the Hotel we where immediately bewildered, yet drawn in, by their unconventional architectural style that creates a unique atmosphere, the style mostly comprising of designs made from recycled materials. In the lobby we also noticed the Dash Hotel’s World Luxury Hotel Awards Winner trophies and plaques are proudly displayed in the reception area for all to see, confirming the appreciation and global recognition for that unique style and atmosphere.

On our way to our room we were able to observe more of the Hotel’s décor, and we were completely fascinated by the Hotel’s choice of art and other decorative pieces scattered all over on the walls and floor of the hotel. The Hotel’s use of this unique contemporary style surely surpassed our expectations.

The theme that we were now seeing continued into our room, which had a unique artistic style which also managed to incorporate elements of glamour, with the Hotel’s iconic bunny laid upside down on our beds.

Our balcony overlooked a sea of green trees, which is something pleasantly different for a place situated in the epicenter of the busy, yet vibrant Seminiyak.

After checking in and been shown to our exciting room, we were spoiled with a 15-minute complimentary arrival-massage at the Rabbit Hole Spa situated on the rooftop of the Hotel alongside the fitness centre.

Thereafter, we enjoyed a much needed cool-down swim session in the red pool with the Hotel’s iconic red bunny mascot lying next to the pool at the centre of the hotel. On the rooftop of the Hotel, there is another pool, this time yellow, where you can enjoy cocktails at ‘The Shack’ lounge bar whilst watching the beautiful sunset over Seminyak Beach.

The Hotel’s Mya Restaurant is situated on the ground floor, where guests have the option to enjoy a variety of reasonably priced meals and drinks throughout the day and night. We ate breakfast at the Restaurant which was absolutely divine. Instead of having a conventional buffet breakfast, the Restaurant brings you a menu from which any dish is available, leaving you unrestricted in your choices of what to eat. The Restaurant further features an entertainment section with a balcony on the street, where you can enjoy live music and DJ events, and play pool and various other games. The Restaurant comes alive in the evening, with the people and the atmosphere making it very difficult to leave.

Dash Hotel is ideally located in the heart of Seminyak’s night life and shopping district, whilst at the same time being close to the beach, which makes it the perfect place from which to experience all that the destination has to offer. Be sure to visit this trendy and unique hotel, we assure you that the red rabbit will not disappoint.

Reviewed By Jana Vos and Lindi Smuts – World Luxury Awards Representatives

To book this vibey hotel follow the link to their website below

dash-hotels.com/seminyak-bali

 

Posted on Leave a comment

An unforgettable wildlife experience at Aquila Game Reserve…

Only two hours away from Cape Town lies the Touws River area where the 10 000-hectare safari experience at Aquila Game Reserve awaits.

I was checked into a Premier Room with an exquisite panoramic view of the nature reserve. In the distance, there were elephants and giraffes frolicking at the watering hole. This room contains a balcony, an en-suite bathroom, coffee and tea making facilities and complimentary water.

View from our room

We did the sunset game drive with our very friendly and knowledgeable guide Trevor. Truly a once in a lifetime experience, we saw 4 of the big five as well as local wildlife that included giraffe, springbok and zebras. The animals can be seen so close that you are able to take selfies! The tour was informative and fun, ending on a high note with a drink and snack in the mountains before visiting the lions.

The infinity poolside restaurant served 3 daily flavourful buffet meals, a typical Klein Karoo culinary experience. After a gorgeous sunset and dinner was eaten, we were invited to stargaze in a fire pit and braai marshmallows.

I also enjoyed a treatment at The Tranquila Spa, which features 2 large heated indoor pools, steam room, sauna, nail bar, 10 treatment rooms, a couples or group treatment room and an outdoor pool. The property also boasts a Conference Centre Cigar Lounge, Curio Shop and Children’s Entertainment Centre.

A big thank you to the entire team for an unforgettable wildlife experience.

Reviewed by Adele Hamman – World Luxury Hotel Awards Representative

to book click the link below

aquilasafari.com

Posted on Leave a comment

Sofitel Bali Nusa Dua Beach Resort – A luxurious Resort for the entire family …

When staying at the Sofitel Bali Nusa Dua Beach Resort, you can be sure that you won’t want to leave the resort for the duration of your entire stay.. This resort offers everything you need and features facilities for the whole family to enjoy as well as being a very romantic experience. We stayed at the resort in November 2018 for unfortunately only 1 night, which was certainly not enough!

Upon arrival at the resort, we already felt at home when being friendly welcomed by the dedicated staff members, who escorted us through the beautiful, modern hotel lobby to the check-in area. While we enjoyed a refreshing welcome drink, we were immediately asked if we would prefer a late check out the next day which was the best decision we made.

Our room offered modern designs and facilities, the best part being the privilege to stay in a room whose balcony walks out straight into the pool that connects to the main pool.

View from room

This pool features their outdoor L’ oh pool bar area in the middle of the pool with the pool on one side and amphitheater style seating on the other, where you can enjoy drinks, pizzas, ice creams etc.

L’ oh pool bar

In addition to this pool bar, you can enjoy drinks and meals at their other restaurants such as Cucina, which boasts an Italian and Mediterranean setting; Kwee Zeen, with more of an Asian style or Toya Beach Bar and Grill, featuring a more relaxed seaside lounge area with a pool.

Cucina Restaurant

At the turn down night service we received a beautiful tea set with tasty tea to unwind before we went to bed.

The So Spa at Sofitel Bali Nusa Dua comes highly recommended with its wide variety of relaxing treatments, the ornamental pool that overflows to the spa’s sunlit exterior and the beautiful dramatic architecture. Both staying and outside guests are welcome to make use of the spa as well as the So fit gym right next to it. If you are staying at the hotel, you can also benefit from enjoying a treatment in their open Balinese ‘bale’ gazebo on the resort’s beachfront or in the comfort of your own room, with the offer of treatments for children too.

So Spa

We believe the resort is the perfect family destination, because of their exciting kids’ club and pool where your children will be entertained for the duration of the day by professional, well trained staff members, giving mom and dad time to relax and spend some quality time together.

Kids Club Pool

In addition to the beautiful pools at the resort, they also have their own private beach where you can enjoy many beach and water sport activities.

Guests staying at Luxury Room Club Millésime, Suites and Villas receive a wide variety of benefits with the Club Millésime, which includes exclusive access to the Club Millésime lounge and club pool, your own personal butler, late checkout, daily complimentary breakfast, afternoon tea and a wide variety of snacks, complimentary breakfast and much more.

Our Wonderful Butler
Afternoon Tea

Whether you are looking for a romantic getaway, family holiday or even a business destination for your visit to Nusa Dua, look no further than Sofitel Bali Nusa Dua Beach Resort, as this property is perfect to suit all your needs.

World Luxury Hotel  Awards representatives Ms Jana Vos and Ms Lindi Smuts stayed here in November 2018

To book your next holiday here click on the link below

sofitel.accorhotels.com/gb/hotel-9078-sofitel-bali-nusa-dua-beach-resort

Posted on Leave a comment

Hanging Gardens of Bali, Ubud- The Magical Jungle…

We were privileged to visit this unique Resort in the heart of the jungle, North of Ubud, Bali in November 2018. Upon our arrival at the resort, we were welcomed by the friendly staff members in their one of a kind open air reception area with a refreshing welcome drink and cold towel after our long drive.

What immediately caught our eyes was how proudly the property displayed their various Awards including their World Luxury Hotel Awards winner trophy and plaques in the reception area for all to see.

We were then shown around the resort in their “cable car” that goes all the way from the top of reception down to the bottom at the spa with beautiful views of the jungle as well as the Dalem Segara temple on the opposite hill.

We felt like royalty when they surprised us by upgrading our room to a Panoramic Villa with the most amazing view! The room had a comfortable spacious bed with a on suite bathroom and its own private infinity pool. This was such a treat to be able to relax in our own private pool while enjoying the views of this stunning property.

They serve daily afternoon tea that can be enjoyed at the spa area where all you hear is the relaxing sounds of the Ayung River flowing in the background. Here guests can enjoy a selection of coffees, teas and specially prepared snacks.

On our first nights stay we enjoyed incredible supper at the Three Elements Restaurant, and oh what a treat this was! The chef specially prepared a vegan friendly dish for us.

On our first morning waking up at Hanging Gardens, we went for a delightful guided walk with Gusti, a staff member, through the surrounding local villages and rice fields.

Morning walk with Gusti

This was certainly the highlight of our stay! It was so inspirational and interesting to see how the locals live and grow and farm their own fruit, vegetables ,rice and how they make a living of it, whether it be for their daily meals or medicinal reasons.

We also enjoyed locally sourced coffee in the village – certainly the best coffee we ever tasted.

After our walk and morning coffee we enjoyed a wonderful buffet breakfast at the Three Elements Restaurant. I had the waffles with fresh fruit it was delicious.

The resort offers complimentary shuttle service to and from the centre of Ubud town where we did plenty of shopping at the local stores,markets and visited some of the beautiful local temples.

Guests can enjoy soothing yoga classes and also visit the spa where they combine natural, local ingredients and ancient techniques, to create beauty therapies and treatments that soothe the mind, rejuvenate the body and energize the soul. The spa features a royal suite that is located by the Ayung River where you can enjoy an unforgettable experience among the natural sounds of the jungle.

One of the aspects of this resort that deserves special mention, is the remarkable swimming pool at its centre. The unique design creates an effect that the pool blends into the jungle and is something to behold in itself, but it is the position overlooking the trees and the Dalem Segara Temple that gives it the rare ability to make you feel completely at one with nature and leave you in awe as you relax over the edge.

We give great thanks to all staff members who went the extra mile to make our stay very pleasant, and especially to Gusti who left a special place in our hearts.

We would highly recommend Hanging Gardens of Bali Resort, especially if you are looking to relax, unwind and connect with nature, and we guarantee your mind, body and soul will feel refreshed after your stay.

Reviewed By Jana Vos and Lindi Smuts- World Luxury Hotel Awards Representatives.

To book this luxurious jungle escape go to https://hanginggardensofbali.com/

Posted on Leave a comment

A spectacular wellness experience at The Laguna, A Luxury Collection Resort & Spa…

Arriving at The Laguna, A Luxury Collection Resort & Spa is like being transported to another world. As our driver stopped at the entrance we were immediately warmly greeted by the staff and a large gong was rung to announce our arrival.

The lobby and reception area is truly beautiful with an open air layout, beautiful chandelier and contemporary décor. We were warmly greeted by Ninta who helped us with our check in. She also gave us a refreshing drink which helps with your metabolism and overall wellbeing.

Since we arrived early for check in we were escorted by our butler Merdita to Sapphire Bar and offered a complimentary cocktail and some snacks, what a surprise and absolute treat especially after a long car journey.

After enjoying our cocktails and relaxing Merdita escorted us to our rooms while also showing us around the Resort and giving us any information we needed. Walking through the resort we were struck by how beautiful the entire property is. The crystal blue lagoon pools, the ocean, lush gardens and swaying palm trees all add to the beauty and magic of the resort.. We stayed in a Deluxe Lagoon View Room with a private balcony and even a view of the ocean in the background. The room was modern and contemporary with beautiful designs and an overall relaxed feeling. The bathroom was stunning and elegant with a huge bath and shower.  We were also welcomed with a personal note, a beautiful Luxury Collection teddy and some delectable snacks. As soon as we had settled in the room we headed to one of the lagoon pools to relax with a signature cocktail and snacks. What a way to start a stay!

Dinner at the Arwana Restaurant was a real treat with the option to sit inside or on the beach watching the waves and sunset. The food was sublime with the freshest seafood and salads available. I must say the Chicken Ceaser Salad here is the best I have ever experienced while travelling.

Being a fitness fanatic the Lagoon Fitness Centre was absolute heaven for me. The layout of the gym, the equipment and the staff were all world class. While running on a treadmill you face one of the Lagoon pools with a fountain. What more does one need to start off a day in paradise! There are also showers, a sauna and steam room available. The Spa is right next to the gym and offers a range of treatments. This is one of the best Fitness Centres I have experienced at a hotel.

We also had the opportunity to take part in the Yoga Class which is held twice a week. This was a new experience for me and very enjoyable. It is so relaxing to start your day off this way.

Breakfast at Banyubiru was an experience in itself. I have never experienced such variety at a buffet with a stunning setup and flow to it. The food was out of this world and every morning we had an absolute feast!

The hotel also offers a complimentary shuttle to Bali Collection, which is an open air mall for guests to go and shop. This was a fantastic experience and the best shopping of my entire trip was done here. After a day of shopping you can return to the hotel and relax at the beach, one of the lagoon pools or pop into the shop for a delicious ice cream to cool off.

With its perfect location, impeccable service, range of activities and everything you need at your fingertips, The Laguna, A Luxury Collection Resort & Spa is truly a magical paradise and world on its own.

Three days here and you leave relaxed, invigorated and enriched! Thank you to everyone at The Laguna, A Luxury Collection Resort & Spa for an unforgettable stay.

Reviewed By Tanique Echardt- World Luxury Hotel Awards Executive Manager

To book this amazing property or look for more information click the website link below

Website

 

Posted on Leave a comment

A piece of heaven in the jungles of Ubud…

Ubud is located a hour and a half’s drive from Denpasar. The magical Ubud consists of green terraced hills, artists, yogi’s, silversmiths, stone carvers, painters, traditional dancers, temples, restaurants, bars and live music, all surrounded by an untouched jungle. Located 4 km outside Ubud is where you can find Tejaprana Resort & Spa, nestled in the lush jungles of the Petanu river valley in Tegallalang.

 When I arrived at Tejaprana Resort & Spa after making my journey through the vibrant street market, I was left speechless by the sheer beauty and serenity of this luxurious jungle sanctuary. If heaven is a place on earth, I believe Tejaprana Resort & Spa might be it. I was welcomed at the beautiful reception area with a refreshing wet towel as well as a vibrant yellow welcome drink. The reception consists of wood carved furniture as well as beautiful orchid plants. Once I was checked in the friendly staff showed me to my villa. Upon entering my villa, I was blown away by the sheer size, the beautiful décor, the view of the jungle as well as the special features. In all my years travelling I have never seen a more lavish yet cozy villa.

Tejaprana Resort & Spa is an architecture marvel, blending effortlessly with the organic growth of the jungle. The entire concept reminds me of a modern organic palace. The design elements are beautiful, modern and luxurious but also embodies the concept of being one with nature. The resort introduces travellers to Balinese culture and teaches a respect and admiration for their rituals and beliefs.

Whether you are taking a break, seeking a place to rejuvenate your soul, explore Balinese culture or enjoying a honeymoon, Tejaprana Resort & Spa is the perfect destination. The resort offers a variety of interesting activities for energetic travellers, but also offers privacy and serenity for travellers wanting to rest and soak in the splendour of the natural surroundings.

Tejaprana Resort & Spa comprises 28 cozily furnished villas, all facing east allowing you to take full advantage of the warmth of the morning sun. Each villa is complemented with a gazebo, an infinity plunge pool and an outdoor natural stone bathtub bringing you yet closer to the Balinese landscape embracing the resort. Tejaprana Resort and Spa was designed by Arte Architect and Associates.

One of my favourite activities was taking a refreshing swim in my infinity pool, followed by a relaxing bubble bath in the outdoors stone bathtub. All of this was enjoyed with a spectacular view of the jungle. I truly felt free and in touch with nature.

The resort features the spectacular Chatraka spa where guests can enjoy a view of the jungle while having their treatments. The extensive treatment list offers all pamper options as well as wellness rituals that will improve health. The resort also offers a special yoga space, Maitra Bale, where yoga is practiced twice a week. Private yoga sessions are also available.

The design of the Aruna restaurant incorporates a 180’ jungle view, high above ground level. Enjoying a meal at Aruna is a special experience in itself. The cuisine ranges from local and traditional to international dishes all cooked with fresh and organic ingredients. I often ordered room service in order to maximize my time spent in my private villa. The dining service is very quick and attentive, and I enjoyed sampling different Balinese dishes and desserts. My favourite was a banana and chocolate dessert. In addition, I was also impressed with their wine selection as they even had a beautiful Sauvignon Blanc from South Africa.

A delightful corner of comfort and art is the Oja Lounge & Gift Shop. It is a lovely boutique filled with radiant handmade jewellery, scarfs, hand bags and souvenirs to take home, it is also a good place to curl up with a book or enjoy afternoon tea or a cocktail.

Other amazing activities include, Kedisan village cycling, cooking classes, Kepitu village trekking, Yoga classes, and Canang making. The resort also offers a very unique activity where you can go with a guide on a special journey to participate in a traditional Balinese cleansing ritual. A guide takes you to a Hindu Balinese water temple that has a sacred stream. One is then cleansed underneath a waterfall.

Regardless of religion, beliefs or nationality, visitors often rave about this powerful and beautiful experience.

 Tejaprana Resort & Spa holds a special place in my heart and I would recommend any travellers to visit. Do be warned that once you have arrived at Tejaprana Resort & Spa, it is difficult to leave such a majestic place.

Just before I got into the car to depart for the airport, I was surprised to be handed a Polaroid image of myself and the Tejaprana staff that we had taken the day earlier. What a special departure gift and a way to remember my visit.

Reviewed By Michelle Snyman -Brand Manager and Events Coordinator World Luxury Hotel Awards

To book this amazing jungle experience go to  www.tejaprana.com