Le Meridien Jakarta

A trip to Indonesia is high on my travel wish list. Of course, my first stop would be Jakarta. Should I return to the Middle East for work again soon, it’s very likely that I will visit Jakarta next year or in early 2018. I am not a budget traveller, staying in hostels is not my first choice and I try to always stay at the best hotel I can afford. I like to get the best value for my money.

One of my hotel choices in Jakarta would be the Le Meridien, it is top rated for the best value in the city and the Le Meridien brand is worldwide known for its excellence.

 

Le Meridien Jakarta Lobby

Le Meridien Jakarta

The Le Meridien Jakarta is located just opposite the World Trade Centre Building, in the heart of the Jakarta. The hotel offers large and modern rooms with free Wi-Fi. It features a large outdoor swimming pool, fitness centre and five different dining options where you can choose from French, Lebanese to Japanese cuisines. Guests can enjoy live musicians at the Tiga Puluh Music Bar and restaurant.

 

lemeridien-jakarta-premierroom

Location

The hotel is only one kilometer from the Plaza Semanggi Shopping Mall and just over two kilometers from Plaza Indonesia Shopping Mall and Grand Indonesia Shopping Mall. As you can see, if you love shopping, you won’t be disappointed staying at Le Meridien Jakarta. The airport is only a 50 minute drive from the hotel.

 

Amenities

swimming-pool-night-time

The 396 rooms all have a traditional Javanese charm, a comfortable luxury bed and a spacious bathroom. The contemporary decor is equipped with the latest technology and free High Speed internet access. The Health Club with the newest fitness equipment is open 24 hours and the hotel also features a Le Méridien Club Lounge designed for business travelers.

 

LE SPA

health-club

Don’t you agree that every great hotel has to have a spa? Of course a spa is not missing at the Le Meridien Jakarta. After a stressful day at work or a long journey, you can unwind at Le Spa. Enjoy the variety of body treatments or massages. The adjoining Health Club is split over two levels and while you run on the treadmill you can overlook the swimming pool and beautiful gardens. The spa and health club also hosts a juice bar. It’s the perfect place for the health and beauty conscious. Of course facials and body scrubs don’t miss on the treatment list.

 

Jakarta

Jakarta Skyline Indonesia

Jakarta is the capital of Indonesia and the most populous city of Indonesia with over 10 million inhabitants. Etihad flies from London Heathrow to Jakarta with a stop in Abu Dhabi, the airline’s head office location. Many of the tourists in Jakarta are domestic tourists from all over Indonesia, it also often serves as the stopover for foreign visitors continuing their journey to Bali. There are museums around the Merdeka Square and Jakarta Old Town. Some of the tourist attractions are Taman Mini, Ragunan Zoo, Indonesia Indah and Sunda Kelapa. There is also the Ancol Dreamland complex on Jakarta Bay, including several theme parks. The local currency is Indonesia Rupiah (10000 IDR are roughly £0.63).

A stay at the Le Meridien Jakarta starts at 1666000IDR (£105) and you get great rates booking through Traveloka . You can check the website here.

Have you been to Jakarta? What did you think of the city? Please let me know in the comments below. 

Hotel R de Paris - Executive bedroom Last month  I went to Paris for a day to meet Lix. I needed to have a change of scenery. I was inside most of the two last month with a broken ankle. Was that easy for me and my mood? No! I always have to do something. A rest for a day or two is great, but after that I am bored. It was a good idea to go to Paris and I looked at hotels that were central, not too big and whose interior design pleased my eye. In the end I chose my favourite, the boutique Hotel R de Paris in Rue de Clichy, not too far from the famous Moulin Rouge and the Palais Garnier Opera House.

Hotel R de Paris - Executive bedroom

Hotel R de Paris - Executive bedroom

Hotel R de Paris - Executive bedroom

Hotel R de Paris was completely renovated in 2013 and brings together tradition and modernity ‘in the spirit of a chic Parisian apartment.’ I absolutely fell in love with the interior design and it’s by far my favourite hotel room design. I stayed at a lot of amazing hotels in the past and while their interior design has been great too, this is how I would design my bedroom at home. It comes with a lovely sized bathroom and a separate toilet.  There is a lot of mosaic in the bathroom and I am usually not a fan of mosaic. If it’s done properly, it looks amazing, but the mosaic trend has become so popular it often just looks tacky. However, the interior designer at Hotel R has done it just right. Take a look for yourself!

Hotel R de Paris - Executive bedroom

The bathroom

The bathroom offers an Italian shower with an LED chromotherapy system, dressing gowns, slippers and a range of luxury welcome gifts from Hermès, heated towel rails and of course a hair dryer. The toiletries smell so good, I actually took one set of them home.

Hotel R de Paris - Executive bedroom

Hotel R de Paris - Executive bedroom

Hotel R de Paris - Executive bedroom

I stayed in one of the Executive rooms on the fifth floor. I was lucky to have a room with its own balcony overlooking Rue de Clichy and Rue Moncey. The executive rooms are between 20-25m² and are all equipped with a high-end 180x200cm bed. The bed is so comfortable I really didn’t want to get out of bed. Unfortunately Lix’s coach got into Paris very early and I had to wake up at 6am. Next time in Paris I will not wake up much earlier than check out time. Every room has its own individual remote control heating and air conditioning, that’s a big plus for me as I love to have the AC on full-blast. It’s a non smoking hotel.

Hotel R de Paris - Executive bedroom

Hotel R de Paris - Executive bedroom

Hotel R de Paris - Executive bedroom

Hotel R de Paris - Executive bedroom

Hotel R de Paris - Executive bedroom

Hotel R de Paris - Executive bedroom

Hotel R de Paris - Executive bedroom

Hotel R de Paris - Executive bedroom

Hotel R de Paris - Executive bedroom

Hotel R de Paris - Executive bedroom

Hotel R de Paris - Executive bedroom

And last…

If you are planning to visit Paris, I can only recommend you staying at this hotel. Considering hotel prices in Paris, this upmarket boutique hotel is very reasonably priced. I paid 156€ for my night at the hotel. The staff at the hotel have been incredibly helpful, friendly and made my stay a very pleasant one. Would I return to Hotel R de Paris? Bien sûr!

Dubrovnik Croatia

A holiday in Croatia has been on top of my travel wish list for quite a while now and I actually planned to go for a few days in August, but then I had an accident and broke my ankle, meaning I wasn’t able to go anywhere. I never thought about going to Croatia, until a few years ago, when I saw an amazing trailer for a yacht and party holiday. Croatia with all its little islands is beautiful, there is something for everyone, whether they want to enjoy the nightlife, the nature or the Croatian cuisine. My dream holiday would be to stay on a boat and go from island to island, staying in a different place every night. My friend spent the summer doing exactly that and let me tell you, the pictures she took were breathtaking.

Island hopping in Croatia

What I love about Croatia is the beauty of all the different islands along the rocky coastline. Croatia has more than one thousand islands. Every island is different and when I go on holiday in Croatia I would love to island hop. One of the most popular island hopping route is from Split to Dubrovnik, visiting Brač, Hvar and Korčula on the way. It’s quite easy to do in that order and it also lets you see the best of Dalmatia. Several ferries take you from Split to Supetar on Brač, which is known for its white-pebble beach Zlatni Rat (Golden Cape), a known windsurfing site just outside the resort town Bol. However, Zlatni Rat is over-popular and if you prefer it a bit more quiet, Lovrečina Bay is a great alternative.

Hvar Island Croatia

From Brač you can take a daily catamaran from Bol to Jelsa on Hvar, from there you can take a bus to Hvar Town that is known for its compulsive mixture of Renaissance architecture and nightlife. Another catamaran service that runs every day, takes you from Hvar Town to Korčula. Korčula is known for the medieval towers and walls fortifying its harbor. The town’s beaches include Vela Przina, a wide crescent that’s popular with families, and Pupnatska Luka, a beautiful turquoise cove.

Korcula Island Croatia

From Korčula you can choose a catamaran or a bus ride to Dubrovnik. Visiting Dubrovnik will be a spectacular climax after all the other amazing little islands. It certainly is a great way to end your holiday in Croatia.

How to get to Croatia

It’s quite easy to get to Croatia. Daily non-stop flights depart from London to Dubrovnik, Zagreb, Split and Pula with British Airways, Easyjet and Ryanair.  I am sure a holiday in Croatia is an experience nobody will ever forget. I can’t wait to finally go to Croatia. This year it looks rather unlikely as I am also moving to Abu Dhabi next month, but it’s definitely happening next year.

Have you been on a holiday in Croatia? Where did you go and did you like it? Let me know in the comment box below. If you happened to have blogged about it, please leave your links as well. I am looking forward to hear about your experiences. 

Holiday Cruise Ship
 As a blogger who interacts with fellow bloggers on Twitter and Instagram a lot, I see more and more people sharing their holiday cruise adventures and every single picture makes me very jealous. I have travelled a fair bit, but I have never been on a holiday cruise and I would really love to. This year it will become a bit difficult as I am starting a new job soon and I don’t know when I can have time off, but next year would be a good time. One of my dream destinations are the Fjords, Island and the Arctic. I once watched a documentary about it and it was so beautiful, I really hope to do it one day.
Cruising is such an easy and convenient way to travel. You only need to unpack once and you can experience different cities in different countries in one cruise holiday. I also think it’s good value for money. The cost of a holiday cruise often includes not only accommodation, but also dining and entertainment as well as many on board activities. You also don’t have to buy for flights, trains or any other form of transport to get from one city to the next.
I am already researching a little bit for next year and there are so many things to consider. Luckily, holiday cruise lines such as Thomson Cruises offer a lot of advice to first time cruisers like me. Two questions I immediately asked myself, first what I will need to pack and secondly, how will my on-board experience be as a solo traveller?

What do I need to pack for a holiday cruise?

There is no need to pack differently than for any other holiday, but it’s a good idea to take a wind jacket with you. There is often a strong sea breeze and it would be a shame if you would stay inside all day. The dress code on board is smart-casual, and you can pack something a bit for fancier for formal dinners, where black ties and cocktail dresses should be worn. Of course you also need to consider the dress code of the countries to will stop in, for example, if you plan to visit an Islamic country you should wear something that covers your shoulders and knees. Also, if you plan on visiting a mosque or any other holy site, it’s important to cover your hair, arms and legs. So, that’s something you should consider.
Holiday Cruise Ship Deck

Will Solo travellers enjoy a cruise?

That’s one important point to me. I often travel on my own and while it’s easy to meet fellow travellers abroad, I wondered how it will be on a cruise. Should I choose to travel next year, it’s most likely that I will go on the trip by myself. I would have never thought that the cruises have a social hostess on board who arranges get-togethers for solo travellers, for example dinner and coffee mornings. This completely changed my view on cruises, as I thought it’s mainly for couples and families.
Of course, there are many more things to consider, and if you have any cruise travel tips please let me know. If you are thinking about going on a cruise soon, why don’t you check out Summer 2016 cruises to awesome locations like Dubrovnik, Barcelona and Venice?

Venice Italy

Venice is one of the most romantic cities in the world, I actually find it more romantic than Paris even though I have never been to Venice. I guess it just appeals more to me as a very unromantic person. At the moment I am a lot in Milan for work and on my days off, I would like to explore a bit more of Italy. Venice is on top of my list and I hope I can go soon after the trips I have currently booked.

HOW TO GET TO VENICE

Venice-Grand-Canal-Italy-TravelThe easiest way to get from the UK to Venice is to fly. There are several non-stop flights from London Gatwick, Heathrow and Luton airport. British Airways also flies from London City Airport. It takes around two hours. From the airport you can take an Alilaguna water bus. Once you exit the arrival halls, look for the covered walkway on the left and follow the walkway for around seven minutes until you reach the dock. The water bus stops at San Marco (1 hour and 12 minutes), Rialto (57 minutes), Fondamenta Nuove (38 minutes) and Le Guglie (42 minutes).
THINGS TO DO IN VENICE

Piazza-San-Marco-Venice-Italy-Daytime

If you are an early riser and like to start exploring earlier than the average tourist, head to St Mark’s Square early before it gets too crowded. You will be able to see the square in all its glory. At 9am the sung mass at the Basilica starts and the spiritual singing will start your day in a very romantic way.

Gallerie_dell'accademia-Venice-Italy

Afterwards you can cross the Grand Canal and stroll through the streets of Dorsoduro. You can find a hidden café to avoid the rising crowds of San Marco or San Paolo and enjoy your breakfast in peace. Recommended places are Tea Room Beatrice on Calle Lunga San Barnaba 2727A and Pasticceria Tonolo on Dorsoduro 3764.

While you are in the area, you can stop at the Gallerie dell’Accademia to look at some Renaissance classics. Tickets cost 10€, the gallery is open Mondays from 8.15am to 2pm and Tuesdays to Sundays from 8.15am to 7.15pm.

Canale di Cannaregio Venice Italy

If you fancy a walk, you should discover Venice’s less popular areas: Venice’s beauty is prominent on every street and every corner. You can head to Cannaregio, north from San Polo, drink a glass of Prosecco by the canal and eat delicious crostini.

Venice-Italy-Gondola

Of course no trip to Venice would be complete without taking a ride in on of the city’s famous gondolas to admire the Venice’s waterways. Of course there are many more great things to do in Venice. Don’t forget to eat gelato.

WHERE TO STAY IN VENICE

Hotel-Danieli-Venice-Entrance

If you have money to splurge, you can stay at Hotel Danieli, a Luxury Collection Hotel, close to Piazza San Marco with a view over the Venice lagoon. The hotel is set in a lavish Venetian building with it’s own private water entrance leading into the Palazzo Dandolo.

Hotel-Danieli-Venice-Room

The opulent rooms featuring high ceilings and plush drapes f offer free Wi-Fi and flat-screen TVs. Of course this hotel wouldn’t be the same without it’s room service and the inhouse restaurants serves gourmet Venetian cuisine. Further, the hotel has a cocktail bar, a wine suite and offers amazing views from the terrace. Rooms start from £350 per night.

LaGare-Hotel-Venice-Murano

A good mid range hotel is the LaGare Hotel Venizia MGallery by Sofitel on the waterfront of Murano Island. It’s a contemporary redbrick hotel adjacent to the ferry docks offering boats to Venice and it’s only a four minute walk from the seventh century church Chiesa dei Santi Maria e Donato.

The hotel feature sedate, modern decor and wood floors, the rooms have flat-screen TVs, free Wi-Fi and a minibar. Breakfast is complimentary and the hotel has a restaurant as well as a bar with terrace. Rooms start from £115.

Venice is beautiful all year around and if you fancy a city trip to Venice, it’s best to book early. Venice’s tourist population outnumbers its residents on any given day in the summer, it gets especially busy during the Venice carnival.

Have you been to Venice? What did you think? 

Cannes-La-Croisette-Hotel-CarltonI returned from my weekend trip to Cannes over a week ago and I had a great time there. I always loved the city and I am quite happy every time I am there. I had not been to Cannes for almost five years and I was really looking forward to going. Cannes has changed so much in the last five years, there are many new restaurants and shops, but it’s still the Cannes I remember. The beautiful port, the Palais des Festivals et des Congrès and of course the famous La Croisette. It has reminded me why I should go more often in the future.

Cannes-Walk-to-Hotel-Ville

How to get to from Lugano to Cannes?

First, there are no convenient flights to Nice. One option is to travel up to Zurich and take a plane from there to Nice. Another option is to take a direct train from Milan Central to Cannes and as it seemed easier for me and allowed more flexibility, it’s what I did. Around noon on Thursday I took the train from Lugano to Milan Central and bought a train ticket from there to Cannes. Last minute ticket cost 50€ in second class and 65€ in first class. It takes 5:28h in total. Once you get to Genoa, it’s a very pleasant ride along the coastline.

Arrival in Cannes

I arrived just before 9pm at the train station in Cannes, went quickly to my flat to drop off my bags and do my make up again. It was almost ten when I left the house and I felt it was too late to sit down in a restaurant.

Steak’n’Shake Cannes

Steak-N-Shake-Restaurant-Cannes-Milkshake
Steak-N-Shake-Restaurant-Cannes-Drink
Steak-N-Shake-Restaurant-Cannes-Burger
Just at the end of the road where I stayed opened Steak’n’Shake and I decided to have dinner there. It’s very similar to Shake Shack and I wanted to try it out. I’ve never heard about the chain before,
Is Steak’n’Shake better than Shake Shack? While Shake Shack burgers are much better than the Steak’n’Shake ones, the fries are better at Steak’n’Shake. I also prefer the branding of Shake Shack.
I went home, fell asleep quite quickly and had a good lie in on Friday morning. The previous two weeks had been quite stressful, travelling home from Aegina to Lugano on Wednesday and then taking the train from Lugano to Cannes. I left the house just in time for lunch. The last time I was in Cannes, I went to a great Italian restaurant for my birthday dinner. The restaurant is overlooking the Port of Cannes and it’s a lovely place to eat lunch and dinner. I ordered a simple Pizza Pepperoni and a double espresso. La Pizza Cresci is located at 3 Quai Saint-Pierre, 06400 Cannes, France and worth a visit.
La-Pizza-Cresci-Restaurant-Cannes
La-Pizza-Cresci-Restaurant-Cannes-Luncg
Port-of-Cannes-Boats
Port-of-Cannes-Boat
After my lunch at La Pizza Cresci, I went for a walk along the Port of Cannes and the La Croisette. Once you pass the Palais you are on Square Reynaldo Hahn. It’s a lovely walk and if you are in Cannes for the first time, I recommend walking from the Port of Cannes to the Pointe Croisette.
Cannes-La-Croisette-Hotel-Carlton
Carousel-de-Cannes-Square-Reynaldo-Hahn
View-Of-Cannes-Beach

La Californie Cannes

La-Californie-Restaurant-Cannes-Menu
Maurice Guillouet opened a new restaurant at the end of April in Cannes: La Californie. I spotted this restaurant already on Thursday night, but it was busy and no table was available. I returned on Friday night a little bit earlier and I was lucky. It’s a small but well picked menu and I choose the salmon with salad. What sounds like a very simple menu and looked rather plain, was probably the best salmon I have ever eaten in my entire life. It was perfect. The restaurant is, like Cannes, a bit more expensive, but it’s so worth it. I paid 70€ (£54) including a tip for my meal, my desert and a gin and tonic. The service was outstanding and I will return next time I am in Cannes.
La-Californie-Restaurant-Cannes-Salmon-Food
La-Californie-Restaurant-Cannes-Salmon-CloseUp
La-Californie-Restaurant-Cannes-Drink-Gin-Tonic
La-Californie-Restaurant-Cannes-Chocolate-Ice-Cream
After dinner, I walked home and went to sleep early as I wanted to wake up early the next morning. On Saturday I had an appointment to get my eyebrows sorted. I am embarrassed to say that I never had it done by a professional and I was always worried I would get the looks when they saw my eyebrows. I booked an appointment with the Benefit Brow Bar and I am so glad I did. My eyebrows looked amazing afterwards. Not only did the Benefit beautician dye them darker, but she also plucked and waxed them into a great shape. I wish I had gone earlier.
Benefit-Brow-Bar-Cannes-Sephora
The Benefit Brow Bar is inside the Sephora in Cannes, located at 53 Rue d’Antibes, 06400 Cannes, France.

Royale Plage Beach Club Cannes

Royale-Plage-Beach-Club-ViewOn Saturday it was quite warm in Cannes and I wanted to go to the beach, but I prefer to go to a place where I could order drinks and cocktails. Royale Plage Beach Club looked very inviting and not too busy. The beach club provides sunbeds and towels for 20€ a day, which is a bargain in Cannes. At the beginning, it was rather windy and the water was quite cold, but once you got used to it, it was okay. 15€ for one Gin and Tonic and 21€ for a Club sandwich are normal Cannes prices. A week earlier, I was at the beach in Aegina where Gin&Tonics cost 6€ and 8€ for a Club sandwich. Take me back to Greece anytime.

Royale-Plage-Beach-Club-View-La-Croisette
Royale-Plage-Cannes-Beach-ClubIt was my last day in Cannes and for dinner I went to Steak’n’Shake again. I went home early to pack my suitcase and prepare for my departure on Sunday morning. Unfortunately, there was no direct train from Cannes until Milan before the afternoon and I had to change trains twice. I had a great time and I can’t wait to return soon.

Cannes-Intercarlton-HotelI am still in Aegina, Greece, but will fly back to Milan on Wednesday. I just found out yesterday that I can have off Thursday to Monday including and I would like to go away for a few days again. My initial idea was to go to Monaco for one or two nights and then go to Cannes, but I found out that my friends might not be in Monaco anymore as they probably leave early. I will make exact travel plans upon my return on Wednesday night, but will probably go one night to Monaco and then another 2-3 nights in Cannes.

 

Cannes – Synonymous with Glamour

I would really like to go to Cannes as I haven’t been since my 21st birthday and I really miss the resort town on the French Riviera. I spent so much time there as a child and some of my best childhood memories have been made in Cannes. The town is known for its world-famous film festival, that will actually start on the 11th of May and I prefer to go either pre-film festival or after August. During the high season, I try to avoid Cannes. As a child, I was there for six weeks most summers and I remember how busy it was. My parents, my sister and I would often go to the beach closer to the Mandelieu-La Napoule as it was less crowded and we could enjoy it more.

Where to Stay in Cannes

 InterContinental Carlton Cannes
My parents have a flat in Cannes, where I can usually stay there unless it’s rented out which has actually happened to me the last two times I went to Cannes and I ended up staying in hotels. If you can spend a bit more, I can recommend the Hôtel Barrière Le Gray d’Albion and the InterContinental Carlton Cannes. I have previously stayed at both hotels and they are fantastic. If you want to go to Cannes and you are on a budget, I really recommend Résidence ExcelSuites in Cannes. I have stayed there twice and Eric, the hotel manager, is very friendly and helpful. The suites are clean, spacious and ideal for travelers who would like to self cater. If you want to be right at the beach, then the place isn’t the right one for you as it’s a 10-15 minutes walk away.

Great restaurants in Cannes

Probably one of my favourite restaurants in Cannes is Le Repère in Mandelieu-La Napoule. The restaurant has a large outside terrace with a lovely view across the bay towards Cannes. The food is fantastic and has reasonable prices. It’s around a 9km distance from the Port de Cannes, but I can’t recommend visiting this place enough. Remember when Made in Chelsea’s Spencer took Caggie to Cannes and they had a double date dinner at a restaurant with Hugo and Millie? Yep, it’s that restaurant. Alongside the shoreline you can find lots of restaurants that serve fantastic seafood for every budget.

Activities in Cannes

I have to admit, I am rather lazy when I am in Cannes when it comes to activities apart from shopping, dining out and drinking too many cocktails. I also don’t drive, so I rely on public transport. However, I recommend the next six activities if you are in Cannes for a few days.

1. Visit the Island Île Sainte-Marguerite

Île Sainte-Marguerite

Just a fifteen minute ferry ride from the Port of Cannes, is the biggest of the Lérins Islands: Île Sainte-Marguerite. It’s only half a mile off shore from Cannes and famous for its fortress prison Fort Royal. The Man in the Iron Mask was held there in the 17th century and you can actually enter the cell he stayed in. It’s a nice contrast from the glamorous city of Cannes with its La Croisette, yachts and high end designer stores.

2. La Croisette

Walk up and down the world famous Boulevard de la Croisette along the shoreline of Cannes and admire the shopping windows of Chanel&Co. The famous hotels Carlton, Majestic and Martinez are on La Croisette. If your budget is similar to mine, you will much prefer the next activity.

3. Shopping on Rue d’Antibes

On Rue d’Antibes is the ‘normal’ high street in Cannes with chain stores such as Zara, Kiko Milano, Sephora and so on but also a few independent stores that have some fantastic items.

4. Take the train to Nice, Antibes or Monaco

It is very easy to catch the train from Cannes to Nice, Antibes or Monaco and to see more of the Côte d’Azur. Train tickets are reasonable priced and the train lines run frequently. It only takes 44 minutes to get to Monaco, so it’s quite manageable to go even if you only have half a day.

5. Walk along the beach to Mandelieu-La Napoule

It’s a very nice walk to Mandelieu-La Napoule alongside the beach. The first time I was in Cannes, we actually stayed a few nights in Mandelieu-La Napoule and my parents made me and my sister walk to Cannes. Even though we were quite young we didn’t mind because it was so wonderful. I remember that we took a taxi back to the hotel though.

6. Palais des Festivals et des Congrès

Palais des Festivals et des Congrès

The Palais des Festivals et des Congrès was built in 1949 to host the Cannes Film Festival. You can walk along Cannes’ Walk of Fame or visit the Cannes Tourist Office. The Film Festival will actually start two days after I’ll leave Cannes, so I guess lots is happening when I am there.

Of course, there are many more things to do in the Cannes area. If you rent a car, your options are endless. I haven’t been for almost five years, so I will probably not recognise the place when I go. I certainly have changed a lot as you can see from the pictures of my trip to Cannes at Easter in 2010.

Me on a holiday in Cannes in Easter 2010
Me on a holiday in Cannes in Easter 2010


Have you been to Cannes? What did you think? Have you been recently and can you recommend something? Let me know in the comment box below. Merci!

*Disclaimer: This blog post includes hotel affiliate links. However, all hotels mentioned were personally visited by me and my opinion was not influenced by a third party. Picture sources: Church and Monastery of the Lerins AbbeyPalais des Festivals et des Congrès

AeginaSince Saturday I am on the Greek Island Aegina, located in the Argo-Saronic gulf. It was a long trip getting here, but it was so worth it. I had never been to Greece before, so I was very excited to go for the first time. Next weekend we will celebrate the Orthodox Easter again and while I am not religious, I am looking forward to the celebrations as I am interested in the tradition. I am here another six days and while the weather in Lugano is great, it’s just not as fantastic as here.

How to get to Aegina

The closest airport to Aegina is Athens International Airport, called Eleftherios Venizelos, located 25km outside the centre of Athens. Easyjet offers non-stop flights from London Gatwick to Athens, so does British Airways and Ryanair.  It is very important to make sure you arrive not much later than 3pm or to leave before noon on your way back. If you arrive after 3pm you will not be able to make it to the island on the same day or on the way home to reach the airport in time. You can only get to the island by boat and the boat timetables can change according to the season.

When to visit Aegina

It’s best to visit Aegina outside of the high holiday season. Spring and autumn are great times to visit the island. It’s not even May and I went swimming in the sea today. It’s sunny, warm and energising. Aegina is actually known to have the mildest climate in Greece.

Aegina’s History

A myth says that the island was named after the most beautiful of Asopos twenty daughters. Asopos is the river good in the Greek mythology who eloped with Zeus to the then deserted island. There is evidence that the island was inhabited from as early as 3500 B.C. The island had a strong economic and social growth between around 900 B.C. and 480 B.C. and minted the first coins anywhere in Greece during the 7th century before Christi. Aegina was also actually the first capital of modern Greece, but only for two years from 1827 to 1829. If you are interested in (Greek) history, you will not be disappointed here. I have yet to visit the temple in Aegina, but will probably do so on Friday.

Perfect for the independent traveller

Aegina is a real living and working island, making the island very attractive for travelers who would like to have a real travel experience rather than being surrounded by lots of other tourists. Aegina is not as ‘perfect’ as some of the other Greek islands aimed at tourists. Don’t get me wrong: While the beaches are lovely, they are not as ‘pretty’ as the beaches in Santorini or Mykonos.  Aegina mainly hosts Greek weekend visitors, especially people from Athens of whom many have a second home here. So, if you are looking for perfect white sand beaches, then Aegina is not for you, but if you want to get the real Greek experience, book your Aegina holiday.

Aegina Beaches

Aegina Island Greece Sea Beach

There are several good sandy beaches on the island and the water is crystal clear. I was in Marathonas today and it was great. The water was clean, warm enough for a swim and La Palma offers free sunbeds and umbrellas to their customers. La Palma is a cafe, bar and restaurant offering a pleasant service located at the beginning of Marathonas beach on the west side of the island. The prices are very reasonable, I paid 20,80€ (£16.35) for a Pina Colada, one Gin&Tonic, two large scoops of ice cream and two coke zeros. From Marathonas beach you can see the islands Moni, Agistri and Methana as well as the Peloponnese mainland.

Aegina Island Greece Beach Water

Where to Stay on Aegina

I am staying in a private holiday home in Aegina, in a small village called Pachia Rachi. However, there are some amazing hotels and apartments on the island that have been recommended to me.

My personal favourite is Marini Luxury Apartments and Suites. Not only does it have an outdoor pool, but also a fitness centre and is set amidst a beautiful landscaped garden. Every room is equipped with a hairdryer, a private bathroom including free toiletries, a satellite TV, laptop safe and even a refrigerator. A restaurant serves Greek cuisine and you can order cocktails as well as snacks at the pool. Activities for all guests include yoga lessons, traditional dances and aqua aerobic. There are many other great hotels and apartments on Aegina.

What to Wear on Aegina

Overall, I think Aegina is a great destination to travel to as you get a lot for not much money. Accommodation, restaurants and the activities are all very reasonable priced.



Have you been to Aegina or to another island in Greece? What did you think? Would you travel to Aegina?

welcome-to-las-vegas-signI can’t believe I am going to Las Vegas in less than nine weeks and I am super excited. I am flying out on the 25th of June from London with Virgin Atlantic and come back on the 11th of July. It will be my 4th time in Las Vegas and yet, there are so many things I want to do. I still haven’t been to the Grand Canyon, but I might not do it until next year. My friend Lisa, that also lives in Lugano, will be in Las Vegas for a few days, but she leaves one day after I arrive. Luckily she comes back for one more night on the 1st of July, before heading home to Switzerland.

Las Vegas Budget

When I planned my finances for this year in January, I knew that I couldn’t splash out as much money in Las Vegas as I have done in the past. I usually stayed at 5* Hotels and spent a lot of money on fine dining and shopping. Moving to Switzerland was more expensive than I thought and I had to use some money from my planned travel allowance for 2016, hence I am trying to stay at a few different hotels with different price levels. It’s a win win situation as I get to experience more hotels and I can save some money too.

On the 3rd of July I will to Los Angeles for two nights, staying one night and flying back to Vegas on the 4th of July in time for the big Independence Day party. I hope the party isn’t going to get too crazy, as I am trying to eat as healthy as possible in Las Vegas. LA will be halfway through my holiday, so it’s a good idea to try out all the healthy food shops in town.

Activities in Las Vegas

I still have not been to the Grand Canyon, but I doubt I will be able to go this year. I don’t want to go on my own and all my friends who will be in Las Vegas have already been to the Grand Canyon. I also haven’t been inside a few hotels yet and that’s one thing I want to do this year.

The LINQ Highroller

The LINQ Highroller Las Vegas
I still haven’t been on the LINQ Highroller observation wheel. It’s the focal point of The LINQ promenade, an open-air shopping, dining and entertainment district that was still under construction last time I was in Las Vegas. It’s 550 feet high and was not only voted ‘Best Attraction’ but also the ‘Best Amusement Ride’ and ‘Best Place to View the City’ by the readers and editors of the Las Vegas Review Journal. It’s the tallest observation wheel in the world, 110 feet taller than the London Eye.

The new nightclubs in Las Vegas

There are two new night clubs in Las Vegas I haven’t been to and this year I want to change that: Hakkasan and Omnia. Both belong to the Hakkasan Group and my friends who have visited it, only told me great things about it.

Hotels in Las Vegas

I still haven’t decided where I will stay in Las Vegas yet. In the past I stayed at the Aria, the Vdara, the Cosmopolitan and a couple of others. This year I am going to cover a few articles for Ideal Travel and I would like to stay at a few different hotels, probably one budget, one midrange and one for luxury travellers. I am currently on holiday in Aegina and once I have a little bit of time, I’ll sit down and work out my budget for my trip.

Have you been to Las Vegas recently? Can you recommend things to do and did you like where you stayed?

I really thought that I didn’t travel much this year, but I am going through my iPhone photos and I realise I actually travelled a lot.

1. Istanbul 

Just before Christmas 2014 I moved to Istanbul to start a new position. Things did not work out and while I started the year in Istanbul, I fly back to my family in Cologne on the 2nd of January.

2. London

I went to London for the day to meet with recruitment consultants and to have lunch with my old employer. Everything went wrong that day. From having to pay 70€ for not checking in online and wishing I had never booked Ryanair in the first place, I missed my flight thanks to somebody else and had to book a new ticket.

3. Abu Dhabi

At the beginning of February I flew to Abu Dhabi for an interview with the Royal Family. It was a wonderful experience and I won’t forget the lunch I had at the palace. It was a short trip, I only stayed in Abu Dhabi for two days before heading back to Cologne.

4. Doha

I flew to Doha for another interview and I spend a week there, even though I was only meant to fly over for two nights. I had another interview with the Royal Family there and got to ‘live’ with them for a week in their palace.

5. Milan

I came back from Doha, washed my clothes, packed my suitcase and headed to Milano the next day for yet another interview. I did have a lot of interviews at the beginning of the year when I was job hunting and it was quite stressful to travel so much.

6.Munich

Shortly after I came back from Milan, I went to Munich for a temporary job. I was four days in Munich, it was the first time ever and I think Munich is a beautiful city, but the people there seemed very harsh.

7. Salzburg



While I was in Munich, I made a day trip to Salzburg. It was stressful, but Salzburg is such a beautiful city and I wished I could have stayed longer. I definitely have to visit Salzburg again.

8. London

The week after I was in Munich and Salzburg, I went to London for four days. It was less painful than the first time I went to London after I moved and I did a lot of touristy things, so I was distracted and I could actually see the outer beauty of London.

9. London (again)



Shortly after I went to London in March, I went back to London in May to review the Tune Hotel in Liverpool Street. It was a very pleasant stay and I will probably stay there again when I travel to London and need to stay in a hotel.

10. Sylt

Shortly after I went to London, I went to Sylt for a week to visit my aunt. Sylt is like the German Ibiza, a playground for the rich and famous. While I was there the weather was cold and it was raining a lot, so I spent a lot of time inside and it didn’t feel like a holiday at all.

11. Barcelona

I went to Barcelona for the weekend and I had a wonderful time with the guy I was seeing at the time. Just coming back was very unpleasant as the flight was delayed and I got home very late.


12.Berlin

For my birthday, I went to Berlin. ‘I’, who I was seeing at the time played tournaments at the World Series of Poker Europe and on my actual birthday, he treated me to  a lovely day at the spa at our hotel. 

13. Lugano

My last trip this year was to Lugano, to visit friends and to look at a potential job. I really loved Lugano and decided to move.

Those were my travels in 2015, I am planning my travels for next year soon and we share my travel wishlist with you soon.

Where have you travelled to this year? Where do you want to go to next year?

Kardamena

As you probably know, I love to travel. I have been to many places around the globe, but I have never been to Greece. The country is high on my ‘To Visit’ list, and I am planning to go next year. My grandmother has been to Kos twice and she recommended it to me. I would like to stay in a place, that isn’t as touristy as Kos, though, and so I looked at places close by. One of the options is Kardamena. While offering great hotels to stay at and activities to do, it is still faithful to its roots and you can enjoy the Greek weather sunning on Paradise Beach.

Paradise Beach Kardamena

Located on the southeast coast of Kos, it is a modern tourist resort located less than ten kilometres away from Kos airport. It’s known for its ‘party-hard or go home’ attitude, but Kardamena is so much more than a place to enjoy the night life. 
Kardamena used to be a simple fishing village, but the place has changed a lot over the years. Today it is one of the busiest spots outside of Kos Town. Kos is only half an hour away from Kardamena, so great for a day trip. 
Kardamena Aegean Village
My hotel of choice would be the Aegean Village, a four star hotel resort located on the golden sandy shores of the south coast of Kos. The hotel is built on a slope and offers guests a magical view of the sea. The facilities and entertainment are at the bottom of the slope. Don’t worry, there is a 24 hour complimentary minibus service that will take you to and from the hotel room at any time. Half board prices start at £399 per person with a sea view room in August. Of course, Kardamena is known for it’s Bar Street and you probably have the picture of young adults falling intoxicated out of clubs and bars. However, it is so much more than that. It’s a great place for couples, friends and families with children of all ages.

1. There are many activities in Kardamena, but if you have to do one thing, it is definitely visiting the volcanic island of Nisyros. A boat takes you to Mandraki, the capital of the island. You will visit Nikia, an old village that offers you great views over the volcanic crater, formed by a massive eruption in the 15th century. You can drink coffee or soumada, the local liqueur made of almonds. If you like you can walk around the crater and if you can climb up the top.

2. Spend the day on Paradise Beach and enjoy the sandy beach with the bright blue sea. If that doesn’t get you packing your suitcase, I don’t know what else will.

3. If you want a bit more action than the peacefulness on Paradise Beach, head to the Water Park in Kardamena. Fancy a bit of speed? Try the Kamikaze and if you are particularly brave, head down the Black Hole.

4. Try Scuba Diving. Loads of fish and good visibility make the sea around Kardamena perfect for Scuba Diving.

5. Take a day trip to Kos Town, the capital of the island. Full of history and culture, it offers also great stores to satisfy every Shopaholic. There are of course plenty of shopping opportunities in Kardamena too.

6. Try out Greek food. Many cosy little restaurants by the sea front offer fresh seafood and Greek specialities like Saganaki, prawns cooked in Ouzo and feta. Go easy on the Ouzo!

7. Visit Antimachia. It’s only a ten minute drive from Kardamena and you can visit the Greek House. There is also a windmill and if you are up to a bit of walking, you can explore the ruins of a Medieval castle.

8. Go fishing! There are daily fishing trips at 10am. There is a rumour that seafront restaurants will happily cook anything you catch for free.

9. Visit Avli, a traditional Greek restaurant located in a pretty courtyard. Try out Greek meatballs and stuffed vine leaves. It’s a family run restaurant and upon sunset they will light oil lamps. Pretty romantic, eh?

10. Read a book by the beach or by the pool, soak up the sun and relax. You are on holiday.

Good weather is guaranteed in Greece during the summer. Not only can you expect 12 hours of sunshine a day, but temperatures are usually in the 30s too. It is very uncommon to see a drop of rain in July and August. Sounds great? British citizen need a valid passport, but not  a visa to enter Greece. A flight from Gatwick Airport to Kos takes three hours and 45 minutes.
Kardamena is the perfect destination for a great vacation in Greece. Travel agencies like Holiday Gems are well established in the Kos area and can help you with everything from booking flights to finding the right hotel to stay. 

Remember the unusual afternoon tea I had in London last year with iDBUS and the BB Bakery? If not, you can read about my experience here.

iDBUS offer coach travel to a a wide-range of cities across Europe. Choosing from all those destinations isn’t easy. To make it easier for you decide which city to visit next, iDBUS has created a destination generator. It is very simple, all you have to do is to answer seven multiple choice questions and it provides you with the perfect place to visit based on your answers.

The app will be launched today and iDBUS has created a competition with three return tickets for two people to win. All you have to do is fill in a form after finding out your perfect city with your name, email address and postcode to be part of the prize draw. You can then share your result on Facebook and Twitter to earn more points if your friends take the quiz and participate in the competition as well. It will also give them more chances to win. The quiz is available in French, English, Dutch and of course German.

*PR Collaboration

I am not flying to Las Vegas this year. As much as I wanted to as much do I feel, that it is better for me to stay here this year and not travel to Sin City. Many of my friends are not going this year and even though my best friend is going this year for five weeks, last year was just that little bit too long. I take a break this year and next year I am heading to Vegas again.

Instead of partying in what is probably the best city to party in, I headed to Sylt, a small, quiet island in Northern Germany. It’s part of the Nordfriesland district and it’s known for the distinctive shape of its shoreline. It’s a resort for the German jet set, and it’s very common to spot celebrities here during the summer season.

Let me tell you, I am not the biggest fan of Sylt. First, it hardly ever gets very warm here and the sea is too cold for me to swim in. However, the air is fantastic and I am planning to take some longer walks around the island and the dunes. I also want to visit the Restaurant Sansibar while I am here.

My aunt lives here at the moment and I haven’t seen her since last year when I was in Istanbul with her for a week, so I am really looking forward to spend some time with her here. I am trying to relax as much as possible after the last few weeks have been so stressful. I want to try and blog a little while I am here. Graham&Brown have asked me to become one of their new brand ambassadors and if you know me, you know how passionate I am about interior design. So, tonight, it’s Latino Party here in Hörnum and my aunt has asked me to take pictures of the party guests. There will also be two be two professional dancers. We are hoping to have a full house tonight.

Have you been to Sylt? Can you recommend a few places?