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A visit to Valverde Hotel in romantic Lisbon…

I think all of us can agree that after a long flight the first thing you want to do is take a shower and a much-needed nap. We arrived in Lisbon at 6 in the morning and knew the chances that the hotel would have a room ready for us this early in the morning was next to nothing. I did however send our flight details to the hotel and arranged that we would drop our luggage at the hotel to then go and explore the city, or rather wait for the time that we could check in.

To my surprise and utter relief, our room was ready. We were welcomed by a quick check in, and a voucher for a complimentary drink at the Sítio Bar. I could take the shower that I wanted to, and we had a long nice nap before we headed out to explore the city, this time ready and happy to do so.

Our room had the most beautiful views of Avenida da Liberdade and was quite modern, very clean and had everything one could need- they even had an umbrella for the cold winter rain.

The hotel is situated at Avenida da Liberdade, most probably one of the best spots a hotel can be in when visiting Lisbon. The avenue is vibrant and was modelled after the boulevards of Paris. The first night we got quite lucky as we took a stroll through the avenue and ended up in what seemed to be a Winter Wonderland Street fare

The next morning, we went for our first breakfast at Sítio, they have a wide variety to choose from and everything was very delicious.

We enjoyed our complimentary drink voucher that evening, my husband had a Portuguese beer and I had a white wine from the Douro Valley. As the weather was quite nice, we decided to have the drink by the hotel swimming pool, I think it would be even better in the summer time when you can take a swim with a refreshing glass of white wine.

We had an amazing two-night stay at Valverde Hotel, Lisbon and would recommend anyone to visit not only the hotel but Lisbon as well.

To book this hotel follow the link to your website www.valverdehotel.com/en/luxury-hotel-lisbon 

reviewed by Jana Stoman – World Luxury Awards Representative

 

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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.

 

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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

 

 

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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 

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A relaxing break in Seminyak…

WLHA Executive Manager Tanique Echardt with one of our amazing hosts

We arrived on a beautiful Sunday afternoon in Seminyak at the wonderful Freedom Villa in Bali. As soon as we stepped out of our transfer vehicle we were welcomed by the lovely smiling staff who assisted us with our luggage and provided us with a fragranced cold towel to refresh us from the drive. We where then escorted into the main area of the stunning lounge and dining area with a young coconut drink, sandwiches and fresh fruit. The whole setting is to die for, all open plan so you can enjoy the views of the pool and perfectly manicured gardens.

Once we had some time to relax we where then taken on a tour to choose our rooms. There are 5 rooms on the property each with its own bathroom and unique views. I chose the room with the Koi pond on its doorstep and the separate open air bathroom. My room featured a king size bed with the fresh towels in the shape of a dog with the local Frangipani flowers also scattered on the bed. Other rooms included a walk in closet, an outdoor bath and shower and the bottom two rooms opened up onto the pool area.

My bedroom outside the koi pond

Freedom Villa also offers a well-equipped air-conditioned gym and is housed on the upper floor with beautiful views. The room has full-wall windows, with equipment including a treadmill, stationary bicycle, cross trainer, free weights and yoga mats.

One of my favourite things about the villa is the amazing blue tiled pool. I spent most of my time relaxing in the pool and on the Swan pool float and of course lounging on the Chaise Longue in the sun.

At the end of each day we were spoilt by a wonderful dinner made by the in house private chef and staff. There is a huge variety to choose from and I ordered the most amazing creamy mushroom pasta that was absolutely divine. The Villa staff are always there to assist you throughout your stay and help you with any local activities you wish to book or give you information on Bali and the local culture.

Each morning we woke up to an amazing breakfast spread. The first day we had fresh fruit, croissants, cake and we ordered a English breakfast which consisted of bacon, eggs, chicken sausage and toast; it was delicious. On the second day when we awoke there was a spread of fruit, flapjacks and toasted cheese. My colleagues and I truly enjoyed the amazing food we were served.

Freedom Villa is the ultimate hideaway paradise, secluded from the busy streets and noise but close enough to walk to the shops, restaurants, bars, clubs and of course the beach. A big thank you to the team and to the owner Mr Robert who really spoilt us all with this amazing break.

Reviewed by Melissa Hofmann- World Luxury Hotel Awards Representative.

To book this fabulous accommodation please follow the link to their website www.freedomvillabali.com 

 

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Immerse yourself in the magic and culture of Ubud..

Kupu Kupu Barong Villas & Tree Spa by L’Occitane is 20 minitues away from Ubud center, located in the traditional village of Kedewatan which means “Place of the gods”. The name of the Resort Kupu Kupu Barong meaning giant butterfly originally came from all the butterflies that were seen flying within the surrounding nature, however only a few lucky people have spotted the giant butterfly.

Arriving at Kupu Kupu Barong Villas & Tree Spa by L’Occitane we were intrigued at how hidden in the jungle the property is. At the open air Lobby we were taken by golf cart up winding hills to the reception and greeted with traditional flowers and a refreshing juice while our check in was handled. The staff were exceptionally friendly and attentive and we immediately felt at home and relaxed. The reception area was also open air and decorated with traditional wood carvings and flowers. Even though we were inside, we felt very much a part of the jungle and nature.

Once we were checked in we were escorted to our room, and what a room it was! The room was very traditional, with wood being the focal point as well as local carvings and designs. The room had a private balcony overlooking the jungle, which was simply breathtaking. We were treated to a special welcome on our bed and even a beautiful butterfly bag to use and take home. This extra touch definitely made us feel incredibly special and welcome. The bathroom was simple and elegant with a large bath and shower head above and separate toilet.  The roof pool and Japanese restaurant was just above our room so we spent a lot of time, ordering cocktails, lounging at the pool overlooking the jungle canopy and snacking from the bar menu. The traditional red umbrella’s used at the pool and throughout the resort really added to the charm and cultural feel of the resort.

The buffet breakfast, which is always a favourite of mine at any property definitely did not disappoint! With everything from a full English breakfast spread, waffles and flapjacks with Nutella to Indonesian dishes and a large variety of fruit. This was really a great way to start each day in the jungle! Dinner is just as fantastic and it is truly special with all the lighting and background music to enjoy your meal and hear all the night time jungle sounds.  The food and service were absolutely spectacular.The gym was also fantastic with all the necessary equipment needed for a training session while on vacation. Again I loved the open air layout and the feeling you are one with the jungle.

The staff were also exceptionally great in helping us arrange our day to day activities and even have a pest control department to remove any unwanted visitors from your room, This was very impressive as we did have a few unwanted guests.

Mango Tree Spa by L’Occitane was a wonderful and relaxing experience. Hidden in the jungle canopy, with the sounds of the jungle as music you feel truly relaxed after a massage and treatment.

My entire experience at Kupu Kupu Barong Villas & Tree Spa by L’Occitane was truly magical. I have never felt so relaxed and immersed in the local culture as I did here. You really get a feel for the jungle, the local community and an overall sense of peace. It is the perfect place to unwind, gain some knowledge and explore the surrounding area. Thank you Kupu Kupu Barong Villas & Tree Spa by L’Occitane for a truly enlightening stay, I hope to return in the near future.

Reviewed By Tanique Echardt- World Luxury Hotel Awards Executive Manager

To book this amazing property or look for more information go to www.kupubarongubud.com 

 

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Mid-week relaxation in Copenhagens Absalon Hotel

After a highly successful yet demanding working weekend, I was blessed to be whisked off for some mid-week relaxation and exploration in Copenhagen, staying at the Absalon Hotel.

The hotel is very stylish and modern yet still holds the charm of yesteryear; we had a warm welcome that helped us to easily find our way to the hidden elevator which is cleverly disguised as bookshelves! We found ourselves on the top floor in the most gorgeous, colourful, spacious and comfortable room, with fabulous views of the surrounding city.

Absalon Hotel is perfectly located for taking a short walk to the fabulous Tivoli Gardens which is a hub of activity including an amusement park, entertainment, beautiful gardens and more, in the heart of the city. In fact we could even see the heart-stopping “Golden Tower” ride of Tivoli from our hotel window! For areas a bit further afield there are plenty of bicycles available for hire from the hotel as cycling is a popular and fun way to experience this intriguing city.

After a busy day of sight-seeing there was nothing better than returning to our room at the Absalon Hotel, sinking into the comfort of that wonderful bed with such perfect pillows is still fresh in my memory. Breakfast was another pleasure to enjoy – an extensive Continental Breakfast buffet with great coffee, juices and plenty of choices of breads, pastries, cheeses, meats and more.

The staff were all friendly and engaging and truly made our stay all the more memorable, thank you, especially to those who took some time to chat during our visit and really went out of their way make us feel at home.

To book or view more of this fantastic hotel click the link below

Welcome to Absalon Hotel

Reviewed By Linda Cooper- World Luxury Hotel Awards Representative

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A Luxurious wildlife experience at Naledi

After a very long drive to Hoedspruit we arrived bone-tired in the green oasis of Naledi. Upon our late arrival we were whisked away with great delight to join the night game drive in search of rare wild dogs that were spotted in the area.

 

As we were sipping deliciously cold wine against the background of a gloriously setting African sun, our informative tracker and guide entertained us with interesting stories about life in the bush. The game drive continued well into the night and ended on a high note as we not only spotted the elusive wild dog, but also some hyenas. Back in camp we were welcomed by the aromatic smells of an African braai and a bonfire in the Boma. The surprise of the evening was being serenaded by Naledi’s own African choir. Amidst singing, dancing and some vigorous drumming the evening meal was hosted by the delightful T.K. and was the end to a wonderful day.

Our early morning drive the next day started with the prospect of searching for lions. After some relentless tracking and bundu-bashing we spotted them and what a magnificent sight to see. This was the completion of an exceptional visit to a place where guests are made to feel like family and where generosity of spirit, comfort and professionalism reign.

 

Reviewed By Marna Lourens -World Luxury Hotel Awards Representative

To view and book this paradise follow the link below

www.naledigamelodge.com

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13 Hotels you must see in 2018!

Be Grand Resort, Bohol -Philippines

BE Grand Resort in Bohol is strategically tucked away on the exclusive oasis of the blue waters of Panglao Island. Boasting diverse dining options, a blissfully wonderful spa experience, and within minutes from bountiful underwater paradise, step into a luxurious resort hideaway to reset, refocus, and relax.

InterContinental Hua Hin Resort- Thailand

InterContinental® Hua Hin Resort lends to Thailand’s premier seaside community with unrivaled style, sophistication and comfort. Combining Eastern and Western design heritage, the low-rise beach-front destination spans a prime stretch of white sandy beaches alongside sparkling gulf waters – a truly alluring setting.

Jumeirah Messilah Beach Hotel & Spa- Kuwait

Jumeirah Messilah Beach Hotel & Spa, Kuwait, is ideally located in the secluded area of Messilah situated along the shores of the Arabian Gulf, with easy access to Kuwait’s Central Business District, airport and major attractions.

Pondoro Game Lodge- South Africa

At Pondoro situated on the banks of the Olifants River in the exclusive Balule Private Reserve inside Greater Kruger National Park, you will discover the true way to experience the African Bush.

Hotel VIC on the Harbour- Hong Kong

Hotel VIC boasts panoramic views of the harbour. Located in the newly-fashionable district of North Point on Hong Kong Island, Hotel VIC boasts panoramic views of the harbour, and is steps away from an MTR station, ferry pier, and other public transport.

Hotel Le Bonne Entente- Canada

Le Bonne Entente Hotel has redefined the traditional luxury hotel market. In addition to it’s 160 rooms & suites, the hotel encompasses 11 acres of outstanding landscape surrounded by beautiful gardens. The Health and Beauty centre is located right by the beautiful outdoor pool and spa. The hotel also offers a luxury Shuttle service and exclusive access at the renowned Golf La Tempête.

Constance Ephelia Seychelles

Constance Ephélia Seychelles is a family-friendly resort with adapted accommodations. Besides the usual sport facilities, it proposes adventure activities and the Kids Club has themed programs run by the dedicated staff. Foodies will appreciate the wonderful diversity of cuisine at its five restaurants, each with its own culinary concept.

The Ritz-Carlton, Astana – Kazakhstan 

With a prime perch in the city’s gleaming Talan Towers, The Ritz-Carlton, Astana is one of the first luxury hotels in the capital of Kazakhstan. A welcoming retreat of exotic marble and elegant wood, the hotel features accommodations with spectacular views of the city’s modern skyline.

Royal Hideaway Sancti Petri -Spain

A leader in wellness, Royal Hideaway Sancti Petri Spa & Resort is located in Cadiz’s coastal paradise, along the spectacular La Barrosa. Its original and modern design with more than 35,000 m2 of gardens will make you feel like you are in a tropical destination without ever having to leave Spain.

Tulia Zanzibar Unique Beach Resort- Tanzania

Step into a world of luxury with unprecedented accommodations and service, a la carte all inclusive fine dining concept with respect to individual wishes, oceanfront swimming pool and our exclusive Inaya Spa.

Sofitel Essaouira Mogador Golf & SPA -Morocco

This luxury 5-star resort and hotel in Essaouira, Morocco, evokes peace and calm in an oasis of French hospitality.
The sleek new Essaouira hotel in the heart of the Mogador resort overlooks the Atlantic ocean and Mogador golf course designed by Gary Player.Elegant décor by Didier Gomez blends contemporary French design with authentic Moroccan details like mashrabiya windows.

Steigenberger Al Dau Beach Hotel-Egypt

Located in the centre of Hurghada`s touristic complex on the Red Sea in Egypt. Peace and privacy pervade this exclusive, 5-star deluxe beach hotel, located directly on the azure blue Red Sea shore. Let your mind rest in the green of landscaped gardens, the aqua-marine of the Red Sea, and the reds of the dramatic mountain ranges in the background.

Nermo Hotell- Norway

The Nermo Hotel, part of the Historic Hotels of Norway, is a family owned hotel situated 1,5km above the valley river with beautiful views, and 10 minutes north of the Olympic city of Lillehammer.

 

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Kolbe Hotel Rome; an enchanting experience from the city of Rome.

The city of Rome, Italy is an enchanting experience. Rome is a vibrant and decadent destination. It is filled with passionate Italian locals and rich history. Rome has played an important role as a political and religious capital during centuries of human civilization and should be on everyone’s bucket list.

Walking amongst the historic ruins of the Roman Forum is an experience that will leave you with goosebumps, not to mention a tour of the Colosseum where one can imagine gladiators having a brutal battle.

What made my Roman tourist experience truly special was the fact that our hotel was located right in the middle of all the important historic sites. Just a brief walk from Kolbe Hotel Rome brings you to the centre of it all.

“Surrounded by the magnificence of ancient Rome, only a few steps from the Circus Maximus and the Imperial Roman Forum, the building is located in an evocative and prestigious area right in the heart of the city.”

Kolbe Hotel Rome is a blend of modern and ancient décor; the furniture and finishing are modern and comfortable, yet the hallways are decorated with examples of ancient Roman clothing which is fascinating and really gives you an idea of what was worn back in the day

       

Upon entering the lobby guests are met with extremely friendly staff welcoming you to the hotel. The lobby leads into a contemporary bar lounge as well as the Garden Restaurant – Al Palatino. Guests can choose to sit inside or outside to enjoy a delicious gourmet meal. The garden outside is breathtaking.

“Keeping Mediterranean traditions alive, the courtyard reflects calmness, tranquility and peace. Guests can drink, dine or simply relax in this private sanctuary that is unique in all of Rome.”

The Kolbe Hotel Rome offers a variety of rooms. This includes double rooms, deluxe suites as well as family rooms. Rooms are generally decorated with maroon and light pastel colors and guests can enjoy bathroom amenities from Roberto Cavalli. One of the great features of the rooms are the big windows which open with a view of the surrounding area.

The hotel also offers great meeting and function facilities. During my stay at the Kolbe Hotel Rome, the hotel hosted a large corporate group with ease and professionalism.

Breakfast is served as an informal affair and leaves guests to help themselves to coffee and snacks from the buffet. This provides a relaxed environment for families or businessmen that want to grab a quick snack before heading to the next meeting.

Overall it was a wonderful stay that provided me quick access to the best that Rome has to offer.

Reviewed By Michelle Snyman

Brand Manager World Luxury Awards

To see more of this hotel click here