Brighten up Winter with New Street Food Vendors at Trinity Kitchen

Brighten up Winter with New Street Food Vendors at Trinity Kitchen

Brighten up Winter with New Street Food Vendors at Trinity Kitchen Brand new arrivals Big Dub of Love, Bueno Burgers and Feral Food Store are all set to arrive at Trinity Kitchen, along with returning favourites Dapur Malaysia and Eat Like a Greek. Taking residency for the next seven weeks (from February 4th), the street food vendors will be offering delicious, unique dishes, designed to brighten up any winter blues. Big Dub of Love is crossing over the Pennines in their VW camper van to serve up salt and pepper steak and halloumi bites, which have been customer favourites since 2014. Their signature dish – The Big Dub Burger – features a beef patty with chorizo, Mexican cheese, crispy onions and gherkins, all on a squid ink brioche bun. Feral Food Store was voted by Buzzfeed as one of the ‘Top 12 Festival Foods To Try Before You Die’ and will be bringing delicious deep-fried vegan dishes to Trinity Kitchen, such as roast cauliflower steak burgers, buffalo smoked tofu wings and southern fried seitan burgers with tomato and pomegranate salsa. These dishes are designed to make the most ardent meat eater think twice. Meanwhile, Bueno Burgers has united Latin American flavours with Yorkshire beef patties. The Chilean Burger – a beef patty topped with Spanish chorizo, guacamole, beef tomato and traditional Pebre sauce – will definitely tickle people’s taste buds. Dapur Malaysia is returning to brighten up shoppers’ lunch hours with their vibrant Malaysian street food. The team takes inspiration from their mother’s cooking and their time growing up in Malaysia, drawing on Malay, Chinese and Indian cooking techniques and recipes. Try the beef or chicken rendang, which is stewed in 18 different spices and served with coconut rice. Also returning to Trinity Kitchen due to popular demand is Eat Like a Greek, which is bringing its fresh, healthy and unique Mediterranean cuisine back to Leeds. The family business uses locally-sourced meats, and their seasonings and oils come straight from their farm. Dan Wharton, Marketing Manager at Trinity Leeds, said: “What better way to beat the wintry weather and brighten the season up than with our fantastic new street food vendors. “We are thrilled to be welcoming Big Dub of Love, Bueno Burgers and Feral Food Store along with returning vendors Dapur Malaysia and Eat Like a Greek, with an incredibly tempting line-up, bringing a wealth of flavours from all over the world.” With a concept that is completely unique to Trinity Leeds, Trinity Kitchen rotates several new food retailers every few weeks, offering visitors a vibrant mix of restaurants, bars and street food vans. The new arrivals will be at Trinity Kitchen trading alongside permanent outlets Chicago Rib Shack, Pho, Rola Wala, Tortilla, Absurd Bird and Pizzaluxe. About the author

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The Top 100 Honeymoon Destinations for 2019

The Top 100 Honeymoon Destinations for 2019 Posted on 06 Feb Here is The Top 100 Honeymoon Destinations for 2019, from Brides , For most newlyweds, your honeymoon is the trip of a lifetime. Sure, you may end up taking bigger or wilder trips down the road, probably with your growing family, but the first post-wedding getaway is epic. It allows you time to enjoy each other with all the planning and stress behind you. It sets the tone for the adventures you’ll have in your future, and it provides memories that will last your lifetime.
Whether you’re lie-on-a-beach-with-a-coconut people, daring foodies, adventure junkies, snow bunnies or city folk, there are incredible places near and far that will indulge your personal idea of romance. We’ve collected a definitive list: Here, the top 100 honeymoon destinations around the world.
Getty Images Alentejo, Portugal Known as Portugal’s grape-growing region, Alentejo (“beyond” in Portuguese) has the cool calm of a wine valley with the added surprise of picturesque, un-touristy beaches. There are also medieval castles and ruins of Roman architecture dotted around the agriculture-rich area. Stay at the bucolic Herdade da Malhadinha Nova or charmingly rural Imani Country House and plan to drive, along one of three wine routes and up and down the coast, where fresh seafood, quaint B&Bs, waves dotted with surfers and tiny villages are par for the course.
Getty Images Amalfi Coast, Italy There are many reasons the Amalfi Coast continues to be at the top of honeymooners’ bucket list. It’s hard to picture more classically romantic a scene than Positano’s steep village streets, Moorish architecture, azure water and colorful loungers and umbrellas lining the dark sandy beaches. Glamour comes easy, especially at the five-star Le Sirenuse , where the formula for a sexy, sophisticated getaway is tried and true.
Getty Images Amsterdam, Netherlands Beyond the liberal coffee shop culture and Red Light District, Amsterdam is a blissful capital city known for its rich artistic heritage — Van Gogh, Rembrandt, Vermeer — and elaborate system of canals and bridges. Cycle or walk past the charming facades, stopping at open-air restaurants or cafes for intimate meals and chats with friendly locals. The waterfront InterContinental Amstel Amsterdam , with its Michelin-starred restaurant, is a good bet for foodies, while the new The Hoxton, Amsterdam , provides some of the city’s most alluringly designed rooms—not to mention energizing public spaces and excellent cuisine—at attractive rates.
Courtesy of Cap Juluca Anguilla Anguilla is the definition of Caribbean paradise: electric turquoise water, bright white sand, palm trees that sway in the gentle breeze around calm bays. Book a private pool suite at the serene Cap Juluca , where plantation-style shutters can block out the beach so you can sleep in and enjoy lazy breakfasts in bed.
Artie Photography (Artie Ng) Antarctica With global warming, the time is now to experience the otherworldly wonders of Antarctica, a once-in-a-lifetime trip if there ever was one, and an experience suited to adventurous couples who can find romance in the most unexpected places. The ice-covered landmass of snowcapped volcanos, reflective crystalline waters and wildlife like whales, seals and penguins is reachable on cruises that start in Argentina or Chile, by luxury operators like Seabourn (whose trips include zodiac landings and photography workshops) and Silversea .
Getty Images Antigua & Barbuda Pastel facades, bustling markets, tropical fruits, limestone formations and, of course, plenty fo pristine beaches: Antigua and Barbuda are essentially Eden. Between the two islands you can find yourselves alone on powdery white sand, or on a catamaran sailing between the Atlantic Ocean and Caribbean Sea at sunset. Both Delta and American have added new flights, making it easier than ever to access all-inclusive resorts such as the opulent and just-renovated Curtain Bluff (where tennis, sailing, water-skiing, scuba diving, snorkeling, kayaking and bocce are included), along with once-in-a-lifetime private-island (literally) getaways like Jumby Bay A Rosewood Resort.
Courtesy of Tschuggen Grand Hotel Arosa, Switzerland Whether you ski, aprés or hike, Switzerland’s mountainous terrain is a thrilling, wellness-oriented, not to mention romantic, venue. When the snow is falling over Arosa, a town in the district of Plessur, it’s particularly butterfly-inducing. Snow sports are popular, as are the miles and miles of walking and mountain bike trails. Experience them all from the elegant Tschuggen Grand Hotel , with its own private railway. Crystal-clear mountain lakes, alpine pastures and cozy mountain cabins—it’s the definition of high-altitude paradise.
Getty Images Austin, Texas Are you a little bit of a hipster? Do you love music? Is your mouth watering thinking about barbecue? Get yourselves to the coolest city in the Lone Star State, which may not be known for romance but does have its spots, like Mount Bonnell and Lake Travis at sunset. Otherwise, stay at the trendy bungalow-style Hotel San Jose (or for a bucolic stay outside the city, the luxury spa resort Travaasa Austin ) and spend time trying food trucks, seeing shows and window-shopping on South Congress.
Copyright Ken Seet Bali, Indonesia A honeymoon in Bali is pure magic. The Indonesian island—the only one in the huge country that’s Hindu—is a perfect place for passion. With a bit more of an exotic feel than the tropical islands closer to the US, Bali doesn’t only offer unspoiled beaches, surfing, snorkeling and massages, it’s full of culture, art, music, rice terraces and temples, many, many temples. Nature is celebrated here, and it’s easy to get into the spirit at lush, authentic properties such as Four Seasons Bali at Sayan and Uluwatu Surf Villas .
Pablo Campos / EyeEm Belize Belize has a lot going for it, boasting the world’s second largest barrier reef as well as beautiful beaches and private islands, plus jungles, farms, rum distilleries and chocolate making. There’s no shortage of activities for fun-loving couples, such as spear fishing lessons at Copal Tree Lodge , or a stargazing cruise around Thatch Caye , both idyllic properties for anyone who loves a barefoot life to snuggle up with their honey. To round it out, hike to ancient Maya archaeological sites, snorkel on the reef, meditate in the jungle and picnic at a waterfall.
Edson Inniss Bequia For those who feel the best thing about an island is getting away from it all there’s Bequia, a sunny, tiny island in St. Vincent and the Grenadines that is the recipient of new direct flights from Miami, marking its emerging nature. Super lush and super natural, the isle has pristine beaches, verdant hillsides and a turquoise harbor from which private yachts leave for sunset cruises or days of snorkeling. Relax over a rum punch at Bequia Beach Hotel, a laid-back resort with luxurious amenities where it’s all about truly disconnecting from the world and engaging with your lover.
I just try to tell my emotions and take you around the world Berlin, Germany With the 30th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall in 2019 there’s no better time to celebrate the previously divided city that’s now a vibrant ode to art, history, design and creative cuisine. At the heart of its modern reinvigoration is the Orania.Berlin hotel, a boutique property in a landmarked art nouveau building with a famed chef behind its restaurant, a concert stage hosting daily performances from Bach to jazz, and a penthouse literary salon, not to mention 41 rooms and suites decked out in post-modern furnishings and sumptuous fabrics.
Getty Images Bhutan If off-the-beaten-path is your couple style, this Southeast Asian gem is the way to go. Sandwiched between Thailand and Vietnam, it’s a magical country with its own identity and topography, although anyone who’s been to one of those spots knows natural beauty is a sure thing. There’s French colonial influence alongside Buddhist monasteries, hill tribes and the Mekong River, which trickles into thousands of others as well as thousands of islands. The height of luxury this is generally not, but it’s certainly adventurous and jaw-droopingly gorgeous.
Getty Images Big Sur, California California may not sound like the most exotic destination for a trip as big as your honeymoon, but Big Sur isn’t any old West Coast beach. The rugged central coast should be high on the list of those who appreciate the great outdoors. Splurge on one of the top hotels in the world, Post Ranch Inn , or go rustic in a treehouse at Treebones . Either way, you’ll be in a prime position to soak up all nature’s beauty.
Getty Images Sydney, Australia The debate between Sydney and Melbourne is like the one between New Yorkers and Angelenos. Regardless of claims it has no culture, the capital of New South Wales has great dining, lots of activity and natural beauty to spare, which makes for about a hundred stunning romantic settings. Stay at the new Old Clare Hotel for a more urban adventure (think Opera House, Harbour Bridge, botanical gardens) or opt for the QT Bondi if you’d like your souvenir to be a golden tan and a six-pack.
Getty Images/iStockphoto Bordeaux, France The coastal city of Bordeaux, in southwestern France, has gothic cathedrals, art museums and manicured public gardens lining its picturesque river, but those attractions are not the true reason people make pilgrimages to the region. Wine, of course, is the big draw. And if you’re a couple of oenophiles it’s a must-go. There are more than 100,000—yes, you read that right—vineyards, so you won’t even make a dent, but with a plush room at the 19th-century mansion-cum-hotel Yndo in downtown or vineyard-view Le Relais de Franc Mayne to keep you well-rested, you can make a strong effort.
Getty Images Buenos Aires, Argentina If you venture to Argentina for your honeymoon, prepare to do the super sensual tango. The nightlife in the capital city is famously fabulous, and people come from all around the world to dance. Enjoy all the vibrant culture, local grill-focused cuisine and vivid, photogenic surroundings from a bicycle—bike lanes cover most of the city—or your temporary home in a sexy, well-designed place like Faena Hotel Buenos Aires .
Getty Images Cape Town, South Africa With the US dollar strong against the South African rand, your dollars stretch a bit farther in the picturesque city at the southernmost point of Africa. Beautiful hotels and intimate guesthouses ( Cape Grace , Cape View Clifton ) provide impeccable service and serve as home base for exploring Cape Town’s gorgeous peaks and mountains, coastline and wildlife, from penguins to baboons. If you’re into history, there’s plenty to be had, along with fantastic wine and adrenaline-pumping adventure (cage diving with great whites!), to name just a few draws.
Getty Images Cartagena, Colombia This magical colonial town is the jewel of Colombia’s Caribbean coast, with charming cobblestone streets, brilliantly colored buildings, exotic fruits and foods, and infectious live music at every turn. There’s romance all around, especially by night when it’s salsa time. Stay in one of the gentrifying port city’s best boutique hotels—lush Casa Lola or the beautifully restored Hotel Casa San Agustin —and make it a point to visit the surrounding islands. Casa San Agustin’s new ACASĪ Experience takes lovers on a private boat charter to paradisiacal Isla Barú for lunch on a private white sand beach fringed by turquoise water and palms.
Getty Images Chengdu, China If Chinese food and/or pandas are your favorite things, Chengdu could be your dream destination. Situated in the Sichuan province—think hot pot dishes and hot pepper–laden meals—it is a mecca for foodies, and famous for its teahouses. Its other defining feature: the Giant Panda Breeding Research Base. Visit between March and May (you can stay at the luxe traditional-meets-modern The Temple House ) to, appropriately enough, witness the adorable animals’ “falling in love period.”
Getty Images Chiang Mai, Thailand Known as the “Rose of the North,” Chiang Mai is mountainous city in northern Thailand that delivers stunning cultural attractions—vestiges of ancient infrastructure, elaborately carved temples, charming hill tribes, monasteries—alongside delicious food, adventure camps and elephant sanctuaries. One of the most incredible accommodations is the Four Seasons Chiang Mai , which is plush, lush and surrounded by terraced rice fields and a mystical valley.
Courtesy of Viña Vik Millahue Chile The incredibly skinny, long country in South America is a bit elusive to most, but has quite a few incredible attractions that make it like nowhere else. For one, there’s Southern Patagonia, a rugged, untouched land of mountains, fjords and glaciers. Also, wine (think lots of reds), best enjoyed from Viña Vik Millahue , a retreat and wine spa. Chile’s also home to Easter Island, dormant and active volcanos, hot springs, stark deserts and sand dunes, colonies of penguins and vibrant, bohemian seaside towns like Valparaiso. In short, it’s a destination of a lifetime.
Getty Images Copenhagen It may be a struggle to pronounce most of the words in Denmark’s capital, but that’s half the fun. The gorgeous Scandinavian home of the Little Mermaid sculpture, grand castles and tons of hyper-influential design is easily navigable and intimate. Beyond the city take day trips to hike in wooded Edens, and by night cuddle up at a top hotel like the iconic Hotel d’Angleterre with your one true love in hygge style, with an excess of candles, wine, sweets and a fire roaring in the background.
Getty Images Croatia Whether you want to explore magical crystalline terraced lakes and waterfalls, check out historical sites and ruins, sail around on a yacht, tour cathedrals or even go wild partying, Croatia is the place to do it. The country that stretches down the Mediterranean offers a Greek Isle-like flavor but with its own unique culture and look. Superbly designed sea-view spots like Villa Dubrovnik are what this authentic, unspoiled destination is all about.
Courtesy of Grace Hotel Santorini Cyclades, Greece This group of islands in the Aegean Sea includes favorites like Santorini (where Grace Santorini is fresh off a gorgeous renovation) and Mykonos, home to the new swoon-worthy, entirely farm-to-table Nesaea restaurant. There are also important archaeological ruins, stunning sunset vistas and up-and-coming islands like Paros and Folegrandos, where you can experience the beauty of your surroundings with fewer faces around.
Courtesy of Playa Grande Beach Club via Instagram Dominican Republic Habitual hikers can blend their favorite pastime with an otherwise beach-centric vacay in the Dominican Republic, since the nation boasts the tallest mountain in the Caribbean. At more than 10,000 feet, climbers usually summit Pico Duarte over a three-day journey, after which you can snuggle up in a vibrant suite at Eden Roc at Cap Cana, the adults-only all-inclusive Sanctuary Cap Cana , or in the modernist Zen villas of the hyperluxurious Amanera , on the quiet north coast beside Playa Grande’s surf-, whale-watching and golf-centric paradise.
WWW.Paulgracephotography.co.uk Falkland Islands Teeming with wildlife yet sparsely populated by humans, the Falkland Islands off the coast of Argentina—accessible via new flights for 2019—are like Antarctica light, a dream for adventurous couples who love the idea of seeing sea birds alongside war memorials, beaches covered with penguins, and nature reserves beside outpost towns. Intrepid Travel’s dedicated eight-day tour opens up this incredible, unknown world and unique culture.
Courtesy of Laucala Fiji Is there a more classic exotic island honeymoon than Fiji? It’s hard to imagine something better than hopping between five-star resorts on the South Pacific’s 300-plus islands, filled with white sand, palm trees, mountains and blue lagoons. For a dose of heaven on earth, visit Laucala , a private-island destination blending tropical rainforests and volcanos with deserted beaches, sustainable locally grown cuisine and activities ranging from diving and golf to horseback riding and game fishing.
Getty Images Florence, Italy If art and architecture get you hot, think about an Italian excursion. The same can be said for foodies who appreciate fresh, local and authentic cuisine. Florence is a city filled with iconic art and historic sites, as well as intimate little restaurants where you can recreate the romantic scene from Lady and the Tramp . Stay at the glamorous Portrait Firenze and go foraging for truffles, take a cooking class or just wander with your arms around each other and cones of gelato.
Getty Images The Florida Keys Beach lovers will find much to love if they drive as far south as possible in the continental United States. The Florida Keys, a coral cay archipelago, have the look of a Caribbean paradise but are readily accessible if you have a car. The most known is Key West, but all the keys have a decidedly more laid-back vibe than the mainland. Settle in at a tropical wonderland like Casa Morada and enjoy the area’s mangroves, hammocks, sandbars, turquoise waters, calypso tunes and rum runners.
guenterguni Galapagos There’s something to be said for the simplicity of a beach resort honeymoon, but if you’re a duo who seeks something more, there may be nothing more epic than a Galapagos adventure. The favorite destination of Charles Darwin’s offers outdoorsy types the ultimate opportunity to soak up an exotic dose of nature. There are several options for an island experience off the coast of Ecuador, one being a cruise, ideally on a small ship or mega yacht like Ecoventura’s brand-new luxury-meets-eco-friendly MV Theory, which sails around the northern or southern islands for a week at a time, with snorkeling, standup paddlebaord and kayaking gear, and naturalists on board. There’s also Pikaia Lodge , a bucket-list luxury destination with a sustainable culinary program, coffee they grow themselves, an infinity pool, spa and carbon-neutral hotel rooms.
Emad Aljumah Georgia Where Europe and Asia meet there you’ll find Georgia, the country seriously amping up its global profile of late. Don’t be embarrassed if you didn’t know it had both the Alps-rivaling Caucasus Mountains and semitropical Black Sea beaches, plus a 12th-century cave monastery and mouth-watering wine-growing region that dates back to 8,000 B.C.. The natural beauty is undeniable, and opportunities for exploration through travel operators such as Ker & Downey include sulphur baths in Tbilisi, tours of the ancient capital, lunch at a local family home with a bread-baking lesson, visits to fortresses, castles and ancient churches.
Getty Images Goa, India The rich history of Goa somehow makes the western Indian state that much more beautiful. While you enjoy its golden-sand Arabian Sea beaches and relaxed fishing villages, you can fantasize about what it must have been like as a Portuguese colony hundreds of years ago. Studded by tropical spice plantations and stunning architecture, the destination also offers spiritual activities (reiki, t’ai chi, meditation, yoga), verdant countryside (book the Fire Room at Nilaya Hermitage ) and, if you want to let loose, wild, all-night parties.
Getty Images Grenada The hurricanes that devastated much of the Caribbean left this under-the-radar little paradise known as Spice Island totally untouched. The timing was good, as there are quite a few luxe resorts in the works, with the first major resort opening on Grand Asne Beach for decades this spring. The Silversands Hotel has the longest pool in the Caribbean, but don’t expect to spend all your days there—the isle is packed with promise in the form of picturesque beaches on which to lounge, colorful culture and cuisine to try, and rainforests to explore.
© Gundolf Pfotenhauer, Courtesy of Coppola Resorts Guatemala It’s next to Mexico, but Guatemala is its own distinctive place. The Central American nation is colorful and charming, with parts like Antigua with Spanish colonial buildings and cobblestone streets, and other areas that are thick with rainforests and steep volcanos. There’s culture to be had in the form of ancient Mayan ruins, as well as several museums in Guatemala City, where buzzing nightlife balances out the history. Get away from civilization in casitas on stilts at Francis Ford Coppola’s lakeside La Lancha , where friendly howler monkeys will lull you to sleep—or wake you up for a beautiful day in the rainforest.
Getty Images Harbour Island, Bahamas There’s something special about the sand on Harbour Island. On some beaches, it’s the whitest you’ve likely ever seen, and on the Atlantic side it’s famously pink, light blush in the day and vibrant rose during the sunset. (For the best access to those pink beaches, try the adjacent Dunmore Hotel .) The historic Caribbean island paradise is a getaway where you can do nothing but enjoy the simple pleasures of life or, if you’re a little more ambitious, swim, fish, play tennis and scuba dive.
Getty Images Hong Kong, China Real city slickers with a love for luxury will swoon over Hong Kong, the former British colony in southeastern China. Not only will epic hotels such as The Upper House —overlooking Victoria Harbour, it’s incredibly chic and well-appointed without being stuffy—create indelible memories, so will an in-depth tour of the celebrated cuisine scene (from fine to simple street food), which is like the holy grail for foodies.
Getty Images Reykjavik, Iceland Iceland is for adventurers. It’s lengthy list of attractions includes the spectacular Northern Lights in the wintertime (stay at Ion for an impeccable viewpoint), seemingly endless opportunities for trekking, riding the country’s famously tiny but strong horses, exploration of caves, volcanos, ice fields and glaciers; and steamy hot springs and lagoons—the new Retreat at Blue Lagoon is the place to sleep and play at the most iconic of them all, with a spa built into the volcanic earth and a five-star restaurant. The land of fire and ice may be cold, but there’s enough adrenaline and romance to keep you hot.
Getty Images Ireland An island doesn’t have to be tropical to be stunning, as Ireland proves with its lush green rolling hills and dramatic sea cliffs. It may not allow many opportunities to don a bikini, but the country more than makes up for that slight setback in sheer quantity of fairytale-worthy castles, natural wonders and ancient sites. Plan to spend a bit of time in the city, like at Dublin’s boudoir-style Dylan hotel, as well as a bit of bucolic R&R in a luxurious country house or castle.
Getty Images Japan Natural beauty, sake, sushi, history, culture—Japan balances rich ancient heritage with the modern in its awe-inspiring cities and maintains a vast network of hikes and walks for those more inclined to nature. There’s skiing and shrines, cat cafes and stunning coastline. Tokyo is a city that lights up all the senses (consider the cool boutique hotel Claska ), while Kyoto boasts more than a dozen UNESCO World Heritage Sites and the country boasts chains of coral islands, too.
Getty Images Jordan One of the best places to explore the Middle East in all its glory is this highly historical honeymoon destination, where archaeology buffs will find joy alongside anyone who takes pleasure in natural beauty. Petra’s iconic cut-rock facades are of course worth a trip, and there are also Roman ruins and rock carvings that show the development of the alphabet. The Dead Sea, with its famous mineral-packed black mud, is a must go, and the Hilton’s Dead Sea Resort & Spa is the place to stay, with a beach and the best food imaginable.
Courtesy of Playa Vik Jose Ignacio, Uruguay Uruguay isn’t on everyone’s radar, yet, which is one of the reasons it’s such a fabulous honeymoon spot. Situated above Argentina, Jose Ignacio—and the nearby Punta del Este—is a sometimes sleepy, sometimes incredibly popular resort town marked by immaculate Atlantic beaches, verdant hills and quaint villages, and a casual, communal vibe. At the remote and contemporary-styled Estancia Vik Jose Ignacio in the plains you can bike, canoe and ride horses, while the The Grand Hotel offers a prime beach setting.
Getty Images Kauai, Hawaii You might think Hawaii is all beaches, but you’d be wrong about Kauai, an island that is almost all covered in tropical rainforest. This lush setting is as beautiful as it is romantic. Spend your time venturing from giant cliffs to canyons on canopied roads with mountain hikes and lazy beach days between. Romance is alive and well at the bespoke clifftop St. Regis Princeville Resort and opulent Grand Hyatt Kauai , where you can dine in a hut suspended over a koi pond.
Getty Images Vietnam Vietnam has it all: beaches, colorful culture, Buddhist pagodas, rivers, French colonial landmarks and sophisticated cities. And the food. Ho Chi Minh City (formerly Saigon) and Hanoi are major metropolises, while Hoi An, Mui Ne and Hue offer more rural charm along with art and sandy coastline that’s as pristine as any island. Try the Six Senses Ninh Van Bay for a secluded coastal hideaway. The Southeast Asian country is fairly large, so you might want to consider a road trips to experience the most varied markets, treks, cuisine and temples.
Courtesy of Grand Hotel Tremezzo Lake Como, Italy You shouldn’t pick Lake Como just because George Clooney might be there—you’re both married now after all!—but you should choose it if you appreciate rugged natural beauty. Set in Northern Italy, the deep blue lake is ensconced in the forested Alps foothills and surrounded by Mediterranean-style villas and exceedingly luxurious hotels, some with their pools actually floating in the lake ( Grand Hotel Tremezzo , Villa d’Este ). What more could you want?
M Swiet Productions Lanai It’s part of Hawaii, of course, but the landscape on Lanai is so otherworldly in parts it’ll make you feel like you traveled to another planet. Options abound: Ride horses up to the pines, or spend the day tooling around the rugged roads in a 4×4 Jeep, snorkeling around spinner dolphins, picnicking with super fresh poke, swimming in the cerulean sea and posing amid the lunar-like rocks of Garden of the Gods. Beyond the famous poke, there’s plenty of goodness to eat and imbibe at the Four Seasons Resort Lanai (and R&R thanks to opulent Kypris spa treatments).
Image by Nonac_Digi for the Green Man Laos If off-the-beaten-path is your couple style, this Southeast Asian gem is the way to go. Sandwiched between Thailand and Vietnam, it’s a magical country with its own identity and natural beauty to spare. There is a strong French colonial influence alongside Buddhist monasteries, hill tribes and the Mekong River, which trickles around thousands of islands. It’s possible to travel backpacker style, or in the super serene Luang Prabang the luxe options include Amantaka and Rosewood Luang Prabang , both of which offer beautiful immersion in cultural activities.
Getty Images London London can be just as alluring as Bora Bora if you’re a couple who’s enchanted by strolls in Hyde Park, world-class museums, celebrated restaurants and plenty of culture, not to mention the idea of royalty. The posh destination has some of the finest accommodations in the world—consider The Connaught or The Savoy —which, of course, sets the tone for romance. When it’s time to leave your lavish crash pad, the city is your oyster: cheesy tourist activities like a double-decker bus can be just as fun as a fancy high tea or tour of the Tower of London.
Courtesy of The Cape Los Cabos Los Cabos For West Coasters especially, there’s no simpler honeymoon destination than Los Cabos, the pair of towns at the very tip of the Baja California Peninsula. There you’ll find all the hallmarks of an authentic Mexican village in San Jose del Cabo, paired with dozens of pristine beaches for above- and underwater activities, and divine resorts with some of the most personalized service in the world. For your own plunge pool and rooftop telescope for stargazing, stay at the elegantly minimalist favorite Las Ventanas al Paraíso , feel like a celebrity in [One&Only Palmilla’s]https://www.oneandonlyresorts.com/one-and-only-palmilla-los-cabos/){: rel=nofollow} gorgeous suites, or try The Cape , a beautiful young hotel with a rooftop bar and Enrique Olvera restaurant. New-on-the-scene instant stars in the luxury realm include Solaz, a Luxury Collection Resort, Los Cabos , and Viceroy Los Cabos . Also worth a look is the less-traveled East Cape, where a Four Seasons and Ritz-Carlton Reserve debut soon.
Courtesy of Miavana Madagascar This underrated African island makes for a spectacular honeymoon destination, and it’s practically a given that you’ll be the first of your friends to journey there. The call of the wild is strong here, and there is everything from whale watching to white sand beaches, lemurs to luxury lodges. The terrain is hugely varied and includes rainforest, open savannah, highlands and desert. The penultimate stay is at Miavana , an ultra-luxe retreat on an island off the island, where you can explore the depths of the Indian Ocean while diving, and get high above it in helicopters.
Courtesy of Kaya Mawa Lodge Malawi Though it’s landlocked, the up-and-coming destination of Malawi is a place where you can get wet and wild. Its Lake Malawi National Park has everything from baboons and elephants to waterfalls and Technicolor fish (it’s a hot spot for diving and boating). Honeymoon beach fantasies are fulfilled at the eco-friendly and luxe Kaya Mawa Lodge , where crystal clear water and mango trees set the scene for pampering and intrigue.
Getty Images Maldives Hear Maldives and you instantly think honeymoon. The tropical South Asian nation is made up of 26 coral atolls in the Indian Ocean, which means unlimited beaches, turquoise waters for miles, extensive reefs and plenty of fresh fish and seafood. You’re pretty secluded at whichever of the luxurious resorts you choose—such as the Four Seasons and several Anantara locations—so expect a vacation filled with intimate meals, spa treatments, underwater adventures and just plain relaxation.
Courtesy of Do You Travel via Instagram Marrakech, Morocco Do you and your partner share an intense curiosity about the world? If so, a simple beach holiday won’t do. Think about exploring somewhere exotic like Morocco. In Marrakech, a Berber-era medieval walled city, you’ll dine on mouthwatering dishes, navigate the mazelike souks holding hands, watch storytellers and musicians perform and feast your eyes on spectacular architecture and design. You can stay like kings at the palatial La Mamounia or the chic TM Nights Riad 38 . It’s a whole new side of romance.
Oberoi Hotels & Resorts Mauritius As Mark Twain wrote, “Mauritius was made first and then heaven, heaven being copied after Mauritius.” The French-speaking African island in the Indian Ocean blends adventure and relaxation, thanks to rainforests, waterfalls, exotic animals and colonial plantations encircled by white-sand beaches and elaborate coral reefs. The Oberoi is one of the premiere properties, where you can have romantic beach dinners, local spa therapies, cooking classes and go stargazing.
Getty Images Melbourne, Australia If you let your tastebuds be your honeymoon guide, they might just lead you to Melbourne. As the second-largest city in Australia and capital of Victoria, it’s famous for its international food scene, especially its Asian cuisine. Beyond top-notch restaurants, it’s known for beautiful suburbs, a significant art and culture scene—don’t miss a stroll through the laneways—and magical beaches just outside the city. Also worth a drive from your hotel (consider Crown Metropol ) Yarra Valley, a top destination for wine and bucolic landscapes.
Courtesy of Coqui Coqui Resort Merida, Mexico The sandy shores of Mexico are unquestionably gorgeous, but some of the most visually exciting spots are inland. Merida, the capital of Yucatan, is one example. With strong colonial heritage it features stunning architectural displays—limestone churches, cathedrals, pyramids—by previous cultures including the Mayans. Nightly happenings downtown, vibrant markets, fascinating museums—if that’s your idea of a good time, book it to the sexy, Belle Epoque-era Coqui Coqui Merida Residence & Spa for a memorable and unique trip.
Maria Swärd Mexico City The World Design Capital of 2018 speaks to aesthetes, art lovers and couples for whom food is a big deal. Mexico’s capital city has only increased exponentially in appeal over the last few years as its foodie, nightlife and gallery and museum scenes have all exploded. Strategizing (and scoring ressies) in advance is key to enjoying world-renowned restaurants like Pujol, Sud 777, Merkavá and Mia Domenicca. Top luxury hotel brands like St. Regis and Four Seasons have outposts that are glamorous and grand, and the beautifully boutiquey Las Alcobas also provides the perfect place to snuggle up after long days of indulgence.
Courtesy of The Resort at Paws Up Southwestern Montana Thanks to truly five-star destinations like The Ranch at Rock Creek and The Resort at Paws Up , Montana, an unlikely place perhaps, comes out as a leader for domestic honeymoons. Appealing to newlyweds who want to be as active as they are pampered, these all-inclusive working ranches don’t come cheap, but deliver big when it comes to authentic Western adventure and outdoor activities alongside fine cuisine and unmatched service in a breathtaking environment.
Getty Images Montreal, Canada As the cultural capital of Canada, traveling to French-speaking Montreal is a little bit like jetting off to Europe. With a distinctive combination of old and new, the city is undeniably romantic year-round. It’s a place to indulge a bit, since it has a reputation for fine food. Get a taste of its old-world charm at Auberge du Vieux-Port , or opt for an artistic modern experience at St Paul Hotel.
Courtesy of andBeyond Benguerra Island Resort Bazaruto Archipelago, Mozambique If you haven’t experienced the Indian Ocean, your honeymoon is a perfect opportunity. Mozambique’s protected Bazaruto Archipelago is a stunning introduction, with bright fish, dolphins and turtles swimming in its clear waters, and pink flamingos flying overhead. You’ll be in the lap of luxury at the new andBeyond Benguerra Island resort, which is the perfect unspoiled place for intimate adventures outdoors.
Ph. Francesco Ciccotti Namibia Crazy-tall sand dunes, a ridiculously expansive desert, and the world’s largest free-roaming black rhino population: Namibia represents a world of both drama and serenity. The southern African nation isn’t your typical safari stop, it’s so much more. New next-level lodges and camps like the hyper-luxe and relaxing Omaanda , remote beachfront Shipwreck Lodge and authentic in-the-bush Hoanib Valley Camp provide experiences you literally won’t be able to forget—rhino tracking on foot, anyone? Not that you’d want to.
Courtesy of Las Alcobas Napa Valley, California Sonoma’s buzz overtook its Northern Cali neighbor for a while, but Napa is at the start of a new moment, with a slew of beautiful new boltholes—the intimate, experiential Ink House and stunning Las Alcobas —and even a beer-tasting trail now. The most known American wine country is full of charm, not to mention game-changing vino and iconic restaurants (anywhere by Thomas Keller). Four Seasons Napa Valley opens this summer, following up Vista Collina , a new resort with its own Food & Wine Center, bringing couples who love the culinary arts options beyond imagination. Beyond the wine you can relax at plentiful spas, or if you’re feeling frisky there are hikes through redwoods and by lakes.
Courtesy of Montpelier Plantation & Beach Nevis Island If you have a soft spot for sea turtles, exotic birds or simply want to escape on a palm-fringed beach, jet away to Nevis, a tiny Caribbean island in the West Indies beside St. Kitts that celebrates the good life. Dive at Booby High Shoals, hike Mt. Nevis, bike along bougainvillea and spy on hummingbirds—it’s all doable from the romantic grounds of Montpelier Plantation & Beach , an ultra-relaxing five-star hotel on a former sugar plantation.
Courtesy of the Henry Howard Hotel New Orleans What better place to fete your newlywed status than a city that’s essentially one big nonstop party? New Orleans, or the Big Easy, has enough influences from other cultures—French, African, European—that it almost feels like being in another country. With an excess of electrifying live music, distinctive cuisine and charming architecture and style, the city is ideal for social butterflies who don’t require too much alone time. Book a vintage-infused room at the Garden District’s boutique hot spot, the Henry Howard Hotel .
Getty Images New York New Yorkers know the Big Apple is ripe for romance. Boating in Central Park, Sleepless in Seattle–style rendezvous on the Empire State Building, strolls through the Brooklyn Botanic Garden. There are literally endless ways to wile away your days in the metropolis if you just use your imagination. And set the tone with a plush place to sleep like The Chatwal , a prohibition era–style spot hidden away in the middle of all the action, or the age-old five-star favorite, The St. Regis New York .
Courtesy of El Rio y Mar Palawan, Philippines If you believe the buzz, Palawan might just be the most beautiful island on the entire globe, which means it’s an obvious choice for your most romantic getaway ever. The water around the province of the Philippines is as clear and turquoise as can be, and it boasts two aquatic UNESCO World Heritage sites, a subterranean river and marine park. Swim, eat, hike, repeat, and sleep, as close to the stunning sea as possible, like at El Rio y Mar resort.
Getty Images Paris, France Talk about a no-brainer. Paris is the City of Lights, but it might as well be called the City of Love. If you appreciate a great romantic walk hand-in-hand, you’ll love the French capital, which offers culture, architecture and art alongside, of course, incredible food and wine. From iconic luxury stalwarts like the Four Seasons George V to impeccably designed new boutique hotels such as Hotel Providence Paris , you can tailor a honeymoon to your style, whether it’s classic and fancy or more boho and artsy.
Getty Images Portland, Oregon Domestic getaways can run the risk of feeling less exciting than international, but in and around Portland there’s so much going on that’s not a problem. There’s the natural beauty of the snowy Mount Hood, countless parks and bike paths, gardens, a hip music and art scene and trendy microbreweries and restaurants. Outside the city, take your time on the gorgeous drives to other mountains, up the coast or to Willamette Valley (stay at The Allison Inn & Spa ) for pours of Pinot Noir.
Getty Images Prague, Czech Republic Throughout every season, romance is in the air in Prague. The Czech Republic capital with hundreds of spires, fairytale cobblestone streets, statue-lined bridges, gothic architecture and countless jaw-dropping views seems made for strolling hand-in-hand with one’s lover. Bask in the beauty of the magical city from the chic BoHo hotel , a renovated Art Deco post office that’s adjacent to Old Town.
Megan Vazquez / EyeEm Puerto Rico Post-hurricane it looks as though Puerto Rico is coming back even better than ever. The spirit of Puerto Ricans and their refusal to be taken down by tragedy shines bright in the island paradise, known as the island of enchantment, which is making an epic comeback. Resorts are reopening at a rapid pace, with the birthplace of the piña colada, Caribe Hilton , coming back online on an exclusive, lush peninsula with views of San Juan’s shore. After a $60 million renovation, St. Regis Bahia Beach Resort bows again, the first ultra-luxury resort on the island, and one surrounded by sea, sand and foliage with private bird sanctuaries, an on-site marine biologist, ocean-front Robert Trent Jones Jr. golf course, plenty of activities (think kayaking, wind-surfing, fishing, hiking and SUP) and several dining outlets.
Getty Images Queenstown, New Zealand Year-round, Queenstown is a perfect honeymoon choice for outdoors enthusiasts. In the wintertime it offers incredible skiing, snowboarding and all sorts of activities in the fresh powder of the Southern Alps; in the summer it’s all about lake-centric adventures, bungee jumping, mountain biking and paragliding. But despite the countless opportunities to get a little crazy, luxury hotels like Matakauri Lodge provide ample opportunity for romance, which will likely be fueled by renowned wines from the Central Otago region nearby.
Getty Images Raja Ampat, Indonesia Indonesia comprises more than 17,000 islands, making Bali just the tip of the iceberg. The barely populated Raja Ampat Islands includes more than 1,500, and while little known to most of the world, it’s a mecca for divers. The jungle covered islands are stunning for land-lovers (where there are also ancient rock paintings, caves and rare birds to spot), but the true magic happens on the beaches and underwater, exploring vividly colored, wild coral reefs that are teeming with spectacles the likes of which are unseen elsewhere. Try Misool Eco Resort for a secluded tropical adventure with few other people.
Getty Images Rio de Janeiro, Brazil Pack a lot of bikinis for leisurely days on the iconic Copacabana and Ipanema beaches made more dramatic by jagged mountains in the background. If you love dressing up, time your honeymoon to the always raucous Carnaval festival around February. Or take a more intimate approach. At the glamorous Belmond Copacabana Palace , concierge can arrange a private sunrise picnic at the famous Christ the Redeemer statue.
Courtesy of Bisate Lodge Rwanda If the adventure of a lifetime is your honeymoon goal, gorilla trekking in Rwanda—with overnights at a completely heavenly lodge—should be at the top of the list. Wilderness safaris are almost always life-changing, but seeing gorillas up close in their habitat is a whole different proposition—and it may not be possible much longer. New in 2017, Bisate Lodge is right next to Volcanoes National Park’s ancient rainforest and actually in an eroded volcanic cone, with the highest-end accommodations and more active experiences available than a newlywed duo could possibly take in.
Courtesy of Inkaterra Hacienda Urubamba Sacred Valley, Peru Nestled in Peru’s Andean highlands, the Sacred Valley comprises gorgeous valley towns like Urubamba and Aguas Calientes, where one travels to ascend Machu Picchu. Understandably, a honeymoon in this unique destination is for those who live to enjoy nature in all its glory. Both Inkaterra Hacienda Urubamba and Tambo del Inka are flawless resorts that marry an eco-aware spirit with thrilling activities, cultural traditions and pure luxury. Make sure not to have too many pisco sours—alcohol doesn’t exactly help altitude sickness.
Getty Images San Sebastian, Spain The ideal combination of city and beach can be found in San Sebastian, Spain. The Basque Country resort destination also happens to have one of the best food scenes in the world—think Michelin stars and tapas (called pinxto) bars around every turn. You don’t have to surf to enjoy the beautiful beaches, and it’s impossible not to be lured out by the happening nightlife. Even better, urban-chic accommodations like Astoria7 Hotel are affordable and in the center of everything.
Getty Images San Blas Islands, Panama You’ll need a boat to reach the San Blas Islands, an insanely stunning archipelago that’s part of Panama but has political autonomy and is also accessible from Cartagena, Colombia. They’re hard to get to but that’s part of the appeal, and the reward is a Robinson Crusoe–style private paradise. There’s not a whole lot to do, which is again kind of the point. Swim or laze at the snow-white beaches, sip coconuts, snorkel at a shipwreck, shop for molas and cuddle up in your bed early after a starlit beach walk.
Getty Images San Miguel de Allende, Mexico With its narrow cobblestone streets and sparkling spirit San Miguel de Allende proves that a body of water isn’t a prerequisite for a starry-eyed adventure. The high-altitude colonial-era city seems to have magical golden-hour light at all times. With culture oozing out of every crack, it has winning art, music, food and design—all of these come together in a stunning way at Hotel Matilda . And don’t forget tequila: There is plenty of the Mexican spirit to enjoy as you explore.
Peter Artemenko, Courtesy of Florblanca Santa Teresa, Costa Rica On the Pacific side of Costa Rica, Santa Teresa is a tiny beach town that’s a quaint alternative to the bigger chain resorts to the north. Surfing is one of the main pastimes here, which makes for a mellow, zen kind of vibe. There’s wildlife everywhere, the ocean is warm, the waves are perfect and the rainforest above the beach is home to creative kitchens and boutique-y hotels such as Florblanca Resort and Milarepa .
Silas Fallstich / EyeEm Santa Barbara, California The American Riviera, so it’s called, is not the far-off destination some seek for their honeymoon, but it’s undoubtedly paradise. Santa Barbara, Montecito and the Santa Ynez Valley make up a central coast idyll that is marked by not only excellent food, world-class wine, fun surf, breathtaking hiking and innovative design, it’s home to some of the best hotels to open in recent memory. In the Funk Zone, Hotel Californian , designed by Martyn Lawrence Bullard, is a destination in and of itself, walkable, vibrant and slightly cosmopolitan, while the Rosewood Miramar Beach is the newest sand-side resort to open (this spring) honoring Montecito’s history and glamour. For more wine immersion and charming small town vibes there’s Skyview Los Alamos, a quirky-chic motel-turned–boutique hotel with fire pits and bikes to ride to the local bakery to pick up treats.
Courtesy of Ponta dos Ganchos Santa Catarina, Brazil In the southern Brazilian state of Santa Catarina, you’re guaranteed the most beach for your buck—almost 350 miles of coastline, to be exact. There are also sandy islands, dazzling surf villages (south of Florianópolis) and, somewhat randomly, a strong German influence (evident mostly in the architecture, beer and blond, blue-eyed population). The super private, kid-free Ponta dos Ganchos —with rainforest, oyster farms, reiki and whale-watching—is a prime perch for enjoying the sunny state.
Getty Images Scotland You don’t have to be obsessed with Outlander or The Crown to think that a Highlands honeymoon is a good idea. Between cities Edinburgh and Glasgow, and farther-flung wooded wonderlands like Cairngorms, with lakes (lochs) and verdant alleys (glens) between, there’s something for every taste. Activities even range from golf—world-class, of course—to surfing, with a thick wetsuit, of course. As home bases go, the luxurious hotel The Balmoral , with its Michelin-starred Number One restaurant, is pretty epic.
Getty Images Sedona, Arizona If you pride yourselves on being in touch with nature, Sedona could be a natural way to fill the first few days after you wed. There are a plethora of ways you can enjoy and experience the desert’s radiant red rocks and dramatic formations, steep canyons and forests, and they can be as simple as a picnic or watching a dreamy sunset. With a slight New Age-y vibe, wellness is top of mind here and that translates to lots of renowned spas (like at the exceptional L’Auberge de Sedona —that means you can say adios to any lingering wedding stress pronto.
Getty Images Seychelles If the Caribbean or Hawaiian islands are old hat for you beach bums, think about a trip to the island nation of the Seychelles, which comprises 115 islands off the coast of East Africa. There, alongside the requisite coral reefs, extraordinary beaches and nature reserves, lives rare wildlife like giant tortoises. The electric landscape is dotted with such first-class resorts as the Four Seasons and Banyan Tree , which should be on everyone’s honeymoon wish list.
Getty Images Sicily, Italy In Sicily, you can experience island vibes and Italian vibes—the best of two worlds. Hanging right off the toe of Italy’s boot, it straddles the divide between Europe and Africa and is the largest isle in the Mediterranean. Appropriately, the out-of-this-world food isn’t the only thing that’s diverse—there’s architecture, art and ruins from many different influences. Likewise, accommodations from which to soak it all in run the gamut, from colorful farmhouses ( Hotel Signum ) to sea-facing suites ( Monaci delle Terre Nere ) to Baroque residences ( Seven Rooms Villadorata )
Getty Images Siem Reap, Cambodia You don’t need to be a believer to be humbled and wowed by Angkor Wat, the largest religious monument in the world. The incredible architectural feat that was built some thousand years ago by the Khmers is without a doubt the most famous attraction in Siem Reap, but it’s not the only one. Floating villages, rare-bird sanctuaries, luxurious spas—like the one at Phum Baitang , an intimate, impressive, lush property—and fine dining are a few other reasons for you and your partner in crime to explore the enchanting region.
(C) Jonathan Chiang/Scintt Singapore Give credit to Crazy Rich Asians , or don’t, but Singapore’s steady rise does seem tied to everybody’s favorite romantic comedy of 2018. Still, what’s crazy about the land of insanely good eats is the hospitality boom, the number of amazing new hotels that have opened recently. A pair of Six Senses— Maxwell and Duxton —offer an opulent take on cultural immersion since they’re in a very local neighborhood near Chinatown. Then there’s the JW Marriott Singapore South Beach , designed by Philippe Starck, a Hotel Indigo , a Sofitel on the beachy island of Sentosa, an Andaz near Chinatown, and M Social , also conceived by Starck. Four Seasons just renovated their rooms, and increased flights mean ever easier access from America.
Courtesy of Tri Lanka Sri Lanka Rainforests, beaches, Buddhist ruins, wildlife, cities and citadels—for such a tiny country, Sri Lanka offers an incredible amount of diversity to visitors. The exotic island in the middle of the Indian Ocean is rugged but also polished, with cuisine that represents a melting pot of cultures. Honeymooners can visit temples, go backpacking or on safari in national parks and surf. Settle into the lush, LEED-certified solar farm-slash-boutique hotel Ulagalla or stay at the newest chic spot on the coast, the wellness-minded Tri Lanka , in Galle.
Courtesy of Le Sereno St. Barts Known as St. Barts, this Caribbean island is an obvious choice for a vacation when romance is the goal. With 22 breathtaking beaches—many often deserted since you have to hike in—all the rosé you could drink and the charms of a French village, it’s an ideal place to unwind from the wedding. For an intimate, breezy beachfront stay, opt for the popular Le Sereno .
Getty Images Stockholm, Sweden The capital of Sweden is quite a special and distinctive place, worthy of a couple who have an eye for design and a love of natural beauty. Romantic backdrops are scattered all over the city’s walkable islands—it’s part of an archipelago in the Baltic Sea—along with colorful architecture, innovative cuisine and storybook neighborhoods. For a city stay, book the minimalist Miss Clara or leafy hideaway Ett Hem , and make sure to venture outside Stockholm too, into the picture-perfect forests that surround it.
Courtesy of Le Taha’a Island Resort & Spa Taha’a Bora Bora, just in the distance, tends to get all the attention, but there’s something special about Taha’a, too. The French Polynesian isle is known for not only vanilla—that seductive spice that also scents the air in the most amazing way—but also produces rum and black pearls, all of which are attractive propositions. Le Taha’a Island Resort & Spa , a Relais & Chateaux property, is the top choice for either a dreamy and expansive overwater bungalow or beach perch, and has the best access to the ultimate drift snorkeling destination of Coral Garden.
Kilindi Zanzibar Tanzania A honeymoon in Tanzania could very well comprise two incredibly different parts: the Serengeti and Zanzibar. The former is the massive and iconic national park that is known for the migration of wildebeast, zebra and other creatures, the latter is the semiautonomous island nation off the country’s coast. From a top resort there, like the opulent Baraza Resort & Spa or intimate Kilindi Zanzibar, you’ll experience completely opposite terrain: turquoise National Geographic–worthy dive sites, fishing villages, extensive beaches and reefs.
Courtesy of Carlton Tel Aviv Tel Aviv, Israel With its sun-drenched Mediterranean coastline and cosmopolitan status, Tel Aviv is perhaps more unexpected than it should be as a honeymoon locale. It boasts beaches, incredible nightlife, mouthwatering food—often served at open-air cafes—and a lively waterfront promenade and the striking White City, the neighborhood filled with eye-catching 1930s Bauhaus-style architecture. From the Carlton Tel Aviv’s rooftop cabana, you can watch the sun drop below the horizon.
Courtesy of Zamas Tulum Tulum, Mexico The former hippie haven of Tulum, in the southern Yucatan Peninsula below the Riviera Maya, is the destination for couples with an appreciation for slightly rustic luxury. Jungle meets pristine beaches in the slightly wild town, which boasts natural attractions in the form of crystal-clear cenotes (underwater limestone caves filled with stalactites and stalagmites) as well as ancient Mayan ruins. Try Be Tulum for a luxurious, exotic stay, or the boho chic Zamas Hotel , known for its margaritas.
Courtesy of Turks and Caicos Tourism via Instagram Turks and Caicos Southeast of the Bahamas, in the Atlantic Ocean, lie the Turks and Caicos, not two islands as might be assumed, but 40. The coral islands are a bit exotic and totally luxurious, with few people to fill up the countless stark-white beaches. Book into the uber-private Ambergris Cay , a 10-suite resort with private plunge pools, impeccable views and all-inclusive rates. There’s also The Palms Turks and Caicos , on iconic Grace Bay Beach, where a massive spa and slew of dining options makes for a rich retreat, or across the island there’s The Shore Club , which boasts luxury villas and opportunities for yacht excursions.
Getty Images Colorado The appeal of Colorado is simple: It’s stunning in the winter, blanketed in super-romantic snow, and it’s stunning in the summer, when the white stuff has melted and left behind verdant, bucolic scenes. Active types have no shortage of fun to get into, especially if basing themselves at Vail’s Hotel Talisa , a ski-in/ski-out property where the service is so great they’ll actually bring the chapstick you left in the room to the top of the mountain for you. Meanwhile, Beaver Creek boasts the five-star mountaintop getaway Trappers Cabin , where honeymooners can hike, bike and hot tub in style.
Getty Images Valle de Guadalupe, Mexico Just a short drive over the border into Baja is a wondrous world of Mexican wine and gourmet food, yet at a non-gourmet price tag. This gorgeous bougainvillea-laden valley close to the wide beaches of Ensenada is becoming ever-more renowned, yet it still feels faraway and exotic. Some of the best meals of your lifetime are here—Finca Altozano, Deckman’s, Corazon de Tierra and Laja are favorites—and accommodations at wineries and small boutique properties, like La Villa del Valle , are blossoming, too. Twenty minutes away is Cabañas CuatroCuatros , which appeals to glamping fans with its romantic yurt-like luxury cabanas in the mountains overlooking the Pacific.
Getty Images Vancouver For an active honeymoon, Canada’s cool seaport of Vancouver has a lot to offer. Its unique setting, surrounded by mountains and also water, makes it popular for a number of outdoor adventures, but it’s also known for its lively art and music scenes. Whatever you choose to spend your days doing—from the confines of the chic city-centric Shangri-La Hotel Vancouver or romantic, forested Wickaninnish Inn —the natural beauty can’t be topped.
Getty Images Vietnam Vietnam has it all: beaches, colorful culture, Buddhist pagodas, rivers, French colonial landmarks and sophisticated cities. And the food—oh, the food. Ho Chi Minh City (formerly Saigon) and Hanoi are major metropolises, while Hoi An, Mui Ne and Hue offer rural charm along with art and sandy coastlines. Try the Six Senses Ninh Van Bay for a secluded coastal hideway, Banyan Tree Lang Co for sumptuous pool-bedecked villas far from civilization, and Four Seasons Resort The Nam Hai for pure luxury mixed with impeccable food and cultural experiences. The country is as long as the distance from New York to Miami, so you might want to consider a few stops to experience all the different cuisines, temples and activities.
Getty Images Western Australia The largest state in Australia—it makes up one third of the entire country—is perhaps its most beautiful, and undiscovered. Of course there are sizable cities like up-and-coming Perth (where COMO The Treasury is a new gem of a hotel, spa and dining destination), but much of Western Australia is simply wild outback terrain, iconic beaches, vineyards and fertile plains. There’s also a phenomenon called Horizontal Falls in the Kimberley region, which is exactly what it sounds like, and some of the best surfing and diving (especially Rottnest Island) anywhere. Share this:

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Are they sure it wasn’t the Swedish cuisine?
My Norwegian grandmother was a beast at making Norwegian meals.
Thank God I always sat at the farm table with the little drawer in front of me to secret the odious morsels of God knows what, that she served us “Skraelings” as she called my sisters and I.
She was fonder of my aunt’s children since she hadn’t realized that their other grandmother was a fullblood Yakama Indian. *Boom!* Lol!
Grandma Hilma’s food had the same effect as Ebola on us kids. V

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Ethiopian food: The 15 best dishes

By James Jeffrey, CNN
Ethiopian food is both distinctive and delicious, befitting a remarkable country with a cultural heritage that stands out from the rest of Africa.
While the cuisine of Ethiopia is gradually becoming better known, it’s no overstatement to say it remains one of the world’s best-kept secrets.
Eating Ethiopian-style means rethinking many assumptions you might have about dinnertime — for most of us this means starting with eschewing cutlery and being ready to get messy fingers.
That’s because the foundation of the vast majority of Ethiopian meals is injera, a giant grey spongey pancake-like bread, upon whose strangely rubbery surface are served a vast array of foods, ranging from multi-colored mounds of spicy stews to vegetable curries to cubes of raw meat.
This mode of eating is highly communal, with everyone gathering around a large circular metal tray of injera heavily laden with food as hands go back and forth scooping up from the various piles of foodstuffs with strips of injera torn from the edges.
All this can take some getting used to; tourists have been known to mistake injera for the tablecloth or for kitchen flannel. Also, the bread’s bitter, slightly sour taste can put some off. But injera’s subtle taste-enhancing power lies in how it contrasts beautifully with, as well as tempers, the fiery sauces it accompanies.
Ethiopians, like Indians, aren’t shy of adding spices. One of the most common accompaniments is berbere, an Ethiopian spice mix containing up to 16 constituent elements, including chili powder, fenugreek, ginger, garlic, cardamom and cinnamon.
Another bonus of eating Ethiopian is that injera is made from tef — the world’s smallest grain — which Ethiopians have grown and obsessed about for millennia. In America and Europe it is increasingly viewed as a “super grain,” up there with quinoa and spelt, being high in protein and calcium, and gluten-free.
The result of all of the above will have your taste buds doing somersaults, while also being good for you. Most Ethiopian dishes are nutrient-dense and low in fat.
Beyond the endless dishes on offer, it’s essential to try Ethiopian coffee after a meal. Ethiopia is reportedly the birthplace of quality Arabica coffee, and its coffees are widely praised as some of the best in the world.
Here are 15 essential dishes to try:
Tibs
Sliced beef or lamb, pan-fried in butter, garlic and onion, tibs is one of the most popular dishes among Ethiopians.
It comes in a variety of forms, varying in type, size or shape of the cuts of meat used, and can range from hot to mild or contain little to no vegetables. A particularly recommended variation is shekla tibs, in which the strips of meat arrive at your table roasting atop a clay pot stoked with hot coals — dramatic and delicious.
Historically, tibs was served to pay a compliment or show respect to someone. Today it’s still viewed as a special dish, hence its popularity for commemorating special events and holidays. At the same time, though, if you walk into a rowdy bar on a Friday afternoon in Ethiopia’s rambunctious capital, Addis Ababa, it’s likely that most of the revelers will be enthusiastically ordering and eating tibs.
Typically, the meat of the tibs that arrives at your table has just been cleaved from carcasses hanging outside beside the restaurant’s entrance. Don’t be put off; meat rarely comes fresher or tastier.
Kitfo
Made from the leanest meat, kitfo is viewed as a big treat by ordinary Ethiopians, while its nutritional powers are also praised.
Similar to French steak tartare, the meat is minced and warmed in a pan with a little butter, mitmita (a stronger version of berbere) and sometimes thyme. Kitfo is typically served leb leb (warmed, not cooked), though you can ask for it to be betam leb leb (“very warmed,” which basically means cooked).
Kitfo can be served with aib (like dry cottage cheese) and gomen (minced spinach), a recommended pairing making the meal even more delicious, as well as especially filling — highly recommended after a hard day’s traveling or if one is confronted with a hangover after a long night.
Beyainatu
The name of Ethiopia’s most popular vegetarian dish translates as “a bit of every type,” hence your injera arrives blanketed in piles of tasty and colorful vegetables, potatoes, curries, lentil stews and more, creating a riot of colors and tastes.
Due to Ethiopia’s strong tradition of religious fasting and abstaining from meat on Wednesdays and Fridays, beyainatu is widely available around the country, and served just about everywhere from fancy hotels to tiny food shacks beside the road. Hence when traveling or faced with a menu only printed in Amharic, beyainatu is a safe and simple go-to.
Many visitors to Ethiopia return proclaiming — regardless of whether they are vegetarian or not — beyainatu their favorite meal.
Fuul
Popular across East Africa and the Middle East, Ethiopian fuul is a mix of stewed and spiced fava beans eaten by many Ethiopians for breakfast.
Regular fuul is usually served as a modest portion for one — while still filling you up — supplemented with an endless supply of fresh bread. So-called special fuul is usually large enough to share, and served with yogurt, tomato, green chili, onion, egg and occasionally avocado. Locals mash this together and season further with salt, additional spices and fresh chilies.
You can tell you are in the right sort of fuul-serving diner if it’s brought to you in small metal bowls that are too hot to touch, with eaters using a piece of torn-off bread to grip the bowl’s side.
Fuul serves as a healthy fast food, especially in Addis Ababa, where it is often cooked and dispensed out of vast pots, with most customers well fed in under ten minutes before they head off into the teeming city for their day’s work.
Tere siga
Not for the faint-hearted, one of Ethiopia’s most popular delicacies is cubes of raw red meat. Two people typically order half a kilo of tere siga to share, which is eaten with injera or bread to clasp the meat you carve off the raw slab, and dipped in copious amounts of mitmita.
One of the stories about how Ethiopians developed a love of raw meat is that it was developed as a military tactic during the 16th century so fighters could avoid detection by not having to start fires to cook their meat.
While most Ethiopians seem to suffer no adverse effects from eating tere siga — the majority avow it makes them feel on top of the world — eating raw meat does carry a relative health risk. This ranges from tapeworm to salmonella, though this author hasn’t experienced any problems post-tere siga (though if one is concerned after a trip to Ethiopia, a simple tablet available from pharmacies can be taken to neutralize any tapeworm risk).
Doro wot
Wot is Ethiopia’s version of curry, and the ubiquitous companion of injera. While beef and goat are often used with wot, chicken — doro in Amharic — reigns as the wot champion.
Doro wot is made with chicken drumsticks or wings cooked and served in a hot sauce of butter, onion, chilli, cardamom and berbere. In the midst of this stew incongruously bobs a hard-boiled egg. It proves a delicious accompaniment — typically offered to a guest as a sign of respect.
For Ethiopians, doro wot is the go-to meal of celebration during national and religious festivals (the day before, women can be seen everywhere carrying upside-down clucking chickens by their feet).
Enkulal firfir
While basically just scrambled eggs, which might not sound that exciting, Ethiopia’s enkulal firfir is not to be missed at breakfast. Cooked with nitre kibe — Ethiopian spiced butter — it is further enhanced with a combination of green and red peppers, chilli, tomatoes and onions, all of which is scooped up with fresh tasty bread rolls, often still warm from the bakery.
A notable feature of enkulal firfir is how fantastically yellow it is, which translates into a far superior taste compared to the results of pallid egg yolks in the west. The omelet version is known as enkulal tibs. Be warned: your appreciation of scrambled eggs back home will never be quite the same after savoring enkulal firfir.
Dulet
For the uninitiated, this dish of mixed meats might be more enjoyable if not translated and explained. It’s made with minced tripe (an animal’s stomach lining), along with liver and lean beef fried in butter, onions, chilli, cardamom and pepper.
Like kitfo, much of its popularity stems from it being very filling and hitting the spot after a hard-going day or night. Offal has never tasted so good — give it a go.
Shiro
A lightly spiced chickpea or bean pure, shiro is particularly favored by Ethiopians on fasting days. One of the most unassuming dishes you’ll encounter, it can appear as not much more than slop. Don’t be deceived, it’s very tasty.
Shiro is often prepared with the addition of minced onions, garlic and, depending upon regional variation, ground ginger or chopped tomatoes and chili peppers, further boosting the flavor.
Tegabino shiro is a type of shiro made with heavily spiced legumes, chickpeas, field peas or fava beans, flour, oil or butter, and water brought to the boil, and then brought bubbling all the way to the table in a miniature clay pot.
Ti’hilo
A specialty in Tigray, Ethiopia’s most northern region, Ti’hilo is Ethiopia’s answer to Swiss fondue, consisting of barley balls pierced by carved sticks with two prongs at the end and dipped in a fiery-looking sauce made from pulses, flour and spices.
As with much eating in Ethiopia, a touch of ceremony attends this dish: A person comes and sits by your table while scooping from a triangular wedge of barley and rolling the barley between hands into little balls to be placed on the tray of injera for you to pierce, dip and eat.
Having long been associated with just a small part of Tigray, around the city of Adigrat especially, the tasty and nutritious benefits of ti’hilo mean it’s now catching on and spreading around Ethiopia. If you don’t make it up to Tigray, you can track ti’hilo down in Addis Ababa, though you may have to ask around a bit.
Dabbo firfir
Comprising torn-up bits of unleavened bread mixed with clarified butter and berbere, and often accompanied by yoghurt, dabbo firfir is a good example of Ethiopian cooking’s ability to take something simple and do much more with it.
Like shiro, it might not look much but dabbo firfir is surprisingly tasty. And as another incentive, in this rare instance Ethiopians are willing to resort to a spoon or fork.
Fatira
A breakfast dish popular around the Horn of Africa, fatira usually comprises a thin pastry top and bottom with scrambled eggs and honey wedged in the middle. Typically served as a large portion, this perfect combination of savory and sweet can happily feed two.
Fatira also comes in a street food version comprising small square pieces cooked in the open on a giant frying pan in the likes of Ethiopia’s beguiling eastern city of Harar.
Accompanied by freshly brewed Ethiopian coffee, there aren’t many better ways to start a day of exploring Ethiopia.
Asa
Eating fish — asa — in Ethiopia is quite an experience. Typically, a fish such as Nile perch is fried and served entirely whole, the gaping mouth of jagged little teeth looking like you have a Piranha on your plate.
As ever, it’s eaten by hand with either bread or injera, accompanied by a fiery sauce to dip into. Bar a few bones, Ethiopians eat every bit, and justifiably so — the grilled fins are particularly tasty.
Asa tibs are chunks of fish marinated in berbere spice and lime juice and then fried in sesame oil, olive oil and paprika, with grated garlic and ginger added. It’s a good option if you don’t want the hassle of picking out bones or having to contemplate the fish’s angry-looking face.
Spriss
Dotted all over Addis Ababa are juice houses — often not much more than a shack — serving spriss, delicious juice mixes made from the likes of avocado, guava, papaya, mango, pineapple and orange.
Spriss is mixed by pouring layers of juice — typically from three fruits — on top of each other. There’s no water added, no sugar and no ice, just unadulterated pureed juice topped with a lime squeezed over the top. Some Ethiopians choose to add a squirt of a purple cordial that the author has never quite identified, though it adds a satisfyingly sweet touch.
A juice is often served with a triangular wedge of sweetened bread, the combination of which serves as an effectively filling snack, especially if you opt for your glass to just be filled with pureed avocado. Spriss is extremely refreshing and a nice sweet break from all the other spicy foods.
Pasta beu injera
Italy’s historical involvement in Ethiopia means that if you need a break from endless injera — or if your stomach is feeling tender and you need to play it safe — help is at hand in the form of pasta beu atkilt, pasta with vegetables, being readily available all over the country.
Ordering pasta beu siga — pasta with meat — will get you something resembling a tasty spaghetti Bolognese.
Alternatively, if you haven’t been overwhelmed by injera and you want a quirky mix that would be sure to raise eyebrows in Italy, you could try pasta beu injera: a great dollop of pasta incongruously lumped in the center of injera.
Even in this challenging instance, Ethiopians stay true to tradition: a fork is only used to cut the pasta into manageable bits, after which it is all scooped up with injera clasped between fingers, as usual.
Particularly tricky for first-timers, but one of the most filling meals you can get. Carbs galore.

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8 Tips for a Stress-Free Multicultural Wedding

There’s a Lovefest going on at Elephant for our Mindful Intimacy Month. Win an Awaken your Senses Intimacy Package from Foria (think, CBD). Click here to enter. Rana Tarakji 1 hour ago 8 Tips for a Stress-Free Multicultural Wedding 0.2
Two families from different cultures coming together for a celebration of love is truly a beautiful thing. A friend of mine recently got married to the man of her dreams, she’s American and he’s Indian. I was so grateful that I got to witness not only one but two wonderful weddings. Being a part of it, I get to experience not only a union of two love birds but a fete of cultures. Although the planning stage will surely involve a lot of stress and pressure, not to mention a great deal of compromises, the weddings are surely worth it.
Multicultural weddings involve more than just choosing the perfect bridesmaid dresses that all your bridesmaids will love or creating the guest list. Take out the stress in planning the multicultural wedding(s) of your dreams with these helpful tips! Take time to choose the traditions to include in the wedding.
The first thing the couple did was to research on each of their religious and cultural wedding traditions and choose the important ones they want to include. Half of the couple is an American Christian, most of their traditions are fairly varied and flexible. However, the blessing and exchange of wedding bands and wedding vows are considered as their most important traditions and thus, my friend and her fiance chose to have it included in their wedding.
For the other half who is Hindu with a lot of colorful wedding traditions , their most important wedding ritual is the seven steps and vows in the presence of fire which is called the ‘ Saptapadi ’ wherein the bride and groom will exchange their seven oaths to each other and after which will walk towards a fire with their garments tied together. Hire a highly experienced multicultural wedding planner.
After agreeing on the important wedding traditions to include in each wedding, they decided to have two wedding celebrations. They hired a highly experienced multicultural wedding planner who made sure that every plan and every detail of their weddings will be executed perfectly. Personalize the wedding ceremony.
As it is a union of love and different cultures, each wedding ceremony was personalized to honor both of their traditions. The wedding not only featured the couple’s religion and background but also their personalities. Inform the guests of the special wedding rituals.
Prior to the weddings, the couple took time to create an educational video that served as the invitation to the wedding. The video features the couple’s wedding traditions that will be honored in the weddings. It’s a great idea because we knew what to expect and what to prepare to avoid unwanted confusion. Choose the perfect wedding venue.
Having one wedding is expensive, how much more if you are having two? To minimize expenses, the bride and groom opted to have a back-to-back wedding in one venue. Having an experienced wedding planner, the room was easily transformed from a classical Christian wedding to a colorful Indian one overnight! Feature the music and dances that will highlight both cultures.
The weddings were held back to back and both parties were able to feature music and dances from the couple’s background. As guests, we were able to have fun and learn about Indian music and dances. An Indian wedding is really a vibrant one, the celebration involved a lot of singing especially from the groom’s side. We especially enjoyed the Bollywood dances wearing traditional saris. Select traditional wedding costumes.
On the first wedding day, the bride wore a simple yet elegant ivory white wedding gown while the groom wore a smart tuxedo. Guests were asked to wear cocktail dresses and suits in the color of our choice to fit the occasion. Traditional dances such as the heart-warming first dance of the bride with her father really moved some guests into tears which was followed by the newlywed’s first dance.
On the second day, everyone is kindly asked to wear traditional Indian costumes for the Hindu wedding celebration, bright saris for the ladies and embroidered sherwanis and silk kurtas for guys. The couple provided a henna tattoo booth for the guests which brought together the Indian wedding fashion look. The bride, of course, wore a bright and colorful Indian wedding dress. Design a fusion menu.
The wedding celebrations will not be complete without the delicious food. As guests, we were lucky to try a fusion of different cuisines for two days! The caterer was able to deliver a buffet, cocktail menu, dessert menu, and of course two gorgeous wedding cakes! Find a caterer that can provide and serve everything, from the appetizers to desserts as it will save you a lot of time and of course, money!
A multicultural wedding union need not be two separate occasions. Blending cultural and religious traditions on one occasion is possible as long as there is compromise not only between the bride and groom but also with their families. What I’ve learned from witnessing a union of two persons with entirely different backgrounds is the power of communication. 0.2

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Special menus you cant miss in Macau this season – Style Magazine

More To Macau Special menus you can’t miss in Macau this season
The city is pulling out all stops to ensure its recognition as Creative City of Gastronomy by Unesco is well deserved. Here’s a selection of some of the best food choices now available around town 0 Comments One of the tastiest dishes now being served at Festiva and The Noodle Kitchen at Galaxy Macau is steamed Dalian wild abalones.
Since Macau was chosen as a Creative City of Gastronomy by Unesco late last year, the city has been cooking up a variety of gastronomic delights and introducing special menus to celebrate this honour, turning itself into a culinary destination for connoisseurs of all kinds of cuisine.
From all the newly-launched dining options available in Macau this season, we have selected four menus that really stand out – these include specialities from Southeastern France, delicacies from Northeastern China, Texas-style barbecue dishes, and healthy organic dishes.
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1. Joie De Vivre Festival
Part of the Le French GourMay programme to celebrate the annual art festival Le French May, a French-inspired dining festival, Joie De Vivre is now running at the Eiffel Tower at The Parisian Macao, from Wednesday to Sunday, until the end of June.
Accompanied by live jazz music, guests can savour Picnic in Provence-themed afternoon tea, as well as other French gourmet dishes such as freshly shucked French oysters, seafood brochettes with rouille Provençal sauce, and Parisian waffles with lavender ice cream and candied chestnuts, on the observation deck of the Eiffel Tower.
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A Provence-Alpes Côte d’Azur-inspired four-course set menu is also served at Brasserie this May. Created by executive chef Daniel Brolese, the menu features foie gras and fig terrine or seared tuna loin as appetiser, followed by the light and vegetable-laden pistou soup, lobster barigoule or braised veal shank as the main dish, ending with refreshing vanilla sable tart or cheeses from Provence. The menu can be paired with wines from Côtes-de-Provence, Baux de Provence and Bandol.
2. Northeastern Chinese cuisine by 10 famed chefs
When it comes to Chinese cuisines, different regions have their own culinary traditions. Here in the south, dishes are mild-flavoured with little grease; while dishes from the north are prepared in a completely different style.
Some of the most traditional and authentic Northeastern Chinese specialties, curated by 10 guest chefs from three northeastern provinces and prepared with premium ingredients from the region, are now served at Festiva and The Noodle Kitchen at Galaxy Macau until June 30.
12 spots to try in October: Hong Kong and Macau’s new menus
Master chefs such as Ren Jiachang from Heilongjiang, Tang Wen from Jilin and Day Shujing from Liaoning are the masterminds behind dishes at Festiva. Some of the best dishes include Dalian wild abalones, braised sea cucumber with spring onion and millet rice, dumplings, grilled deer meat skewer and lamb skewer with onion and Harbin sausage platter.
At The Noodle Kitchen, chef Yu Tao, founder of famous restaurant Pin Wei Ju in Dalian, has created dishes such as braised sea cucumber and diced eggplant, poached dumplings filled with Dalian sea urchin, and sautéed shredded preserved radish with sliced sea whelk.
3. Texas barbecue treats
Meat lovers will relish the juicy and flavoursome Texas barbecue meats and delicacies by pitmaster Mathew Andes at Urban Kitchen, JW Marriott Hotel Macau. The guest chef from Gaylord Texan Resort in Grapevine, Texas, presents his signature dishes prepared with prime ingredients, secret rubs and selected woods from hickory, to mesquite, to oak and apple.
“In my opinion, the woods do not have different flavours, but they have different intensity of smoke,” says Andes. “Depending on what I’m smoking and for how long, I’ll choose what kind of woods I use.”
Savour the tastes of China at Dynasty 8 in Macau
Served until June 30, the Texas barbecue menu features many sumptuous meaty dishes such as sticky molasses spare ribs, peach smoked pork belly and hot smoked maple mustard salmon. Also, try Southern fried chicken with sour cream waffles and bourbon maple syrup, and Carolina pulled pork mini burger.
4. Organic delicacies
For foodies looking for healthier options, the organic menus served at 12 different restaurants in Sands Resorts Macao and Sands Macao are a perfect choice. Each of these 12 restaurants has designed its own organic dishes prepared with vegetables from a certified organic farm in Conghua in Guangzhou as well as sustainable ingredients from around the world.
For instance, at Cantonese restaurant Golden Court in Sands Macao, six organic dishes are on offer. Ice-chilled organic kale with wasabi sauce is a refreshing cold dish for a hot day; shredded organic potatoes with chilli and char siu (barbecued pork), prepared using free range pork from Rhug Estate organic farm in England, has an appetising sourness and spiciness; scrambled organic eggs and tomatoes with sustainable tiger prawns from Australia is savoury with a delightful sweetness.
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Other highlights are makai tikili kebab and shahad nimbu bavaroise at Michelin-starred Indian restaurant The Golden Peacock; braised organic baby choi sum with crispy dried shrimp and black garlic, and braised milky pak choi with quinoa in fish broth at Dynasty 8; organic broccolette brûlée gratinated with hazelnut crust, and 12 hours slow braised organic Rhug Estate Aberdeen Angus beef cheek at Copa.
Until the end of June, organic menus are also served at Rice Empire, North, Brasserie, Lotus Palace, Market Bistro, Café Express, Portofino and Canton.
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CON Air (Zanzibar, Tanzania)

We boarded the plane at Paris, Charles De Gaulle, ready for our 8 hour flight to Zanzibar via Nairobi, Kenya. It was to be my first time in East Africa, and Josh’s first time in Africa so naturally we were both excited and a little apprehensive too as we didn’t know quite what to expect.
Getting to this exotic destination off the beaten tourist track was a bit of an ordeal: our commute was over 15 hours in total, and required changing planes 3 times, then it would be another hour and a half journey by road once we arrived in Zanzibar.
Once we had settled into our seats, we immediately commenced our usual routine of choosing the film/s we wanted to watch for the duration of the flight. We settled on Logan as my brothers had assured me it was a really good film and then I decided that should I feel awake enough afterwards then I would watch Wonder Woman. Again.
Despite the dauntingly long journey ahead now we were ready, or as ready as we were gonna be!
No sooner had I put my travel socks on, spritzed my face with Liz Earle facial toner and applied my moisturiser in preparation of the journey ahead, did we suddenly hear the back door of the plane fly open and then a woman towards the back of the plane, about 4 rows behind us, began screeching at the top of her lungs:
“N , N !”
“Leave me alone, I do not want to go, I don’t want to goooo!”
“Je ne veux pas y retourner! Je ne veux pas y retourner!”
“No, I will not go, leave me alone, LEAVE. ME. ALONE!!”
I whipped my head around to see what on earth the commotion was all about and with growing horror I saw this large African woman being physically restrained by two men at the back of the plane. At first Josh and I just assumed that they were perhaps friends of hers and an argument had broken out between them, but as it became more physical and she became more vocal, it soon became clear that she was infact fighting them!
The 2 slight Kenyan men who were accompanying her were trying to force her into a seat at the back of the plane. She was resisting them with all her might and her protestations were getting increasingly louder. I could only look on in shock. By now the entire back of the plane had turned around in their seats to see what was going on.
Why was this woman being restrained? What had she done? Why were the staff just standing there doing and saying nothing? Why is the woman being so hysterical? I wondered to myself.
And most importantly, What ON EARTH is she doing on my flight?!
All of these questions were whirring round and round in my head as I tried to process what it was I was seeing.
The woman’s cries became increasingly more urgent and she began to beg for help from passengers nearby who looked confused and uncomfortable: Nobody knew what to do.
She begged passengers to help her in French and English:
“Please help me” she screamed.
“Help me please. PLEASE” she pleaded.
I really wanted to help her but I didn’t know how I could. Or even if I should. The men started to get rougher with her as she fought them with an intensity and ferocity that left me speechless: This woman was FIGHTING FOR HER LIFE.
I didn’t know whether she was being illegally deported (meaning, these men were not police officers and were infact taking her against her will), if she was a criminal or whether she was being deported from Paris back to her country of origin. I had absolutely no idea what was going on because whilst this commotion was in full sway and the plane remained grounded delaying our take-off as a result, the staff made NO ATTEMPT WHATSOEVER to explain what was going on to anyone. They never tried to intervene nor to acknowledge the commotion in any way.
Josh and I looked at each other with growing disbelief as we saw these men trying to handcuff this woman to the middle aisle seat at the back of the plane and she wasn’t having a bar of it! Her screams went up an octave.
The sound of this woman’s wails, screams and laments reverberated in my heart as I recognised the unmistakable sounds of genuine human anguish, pain and acute terror.
As I looked around me I could see some people staring blankly forward as if if they merely glimpsed this woman being manhandled they wouldn’t be able to remain calm. They simply REFUSED to look at her. Tears prickled at the corner of my eyes as I saw that this woman was fighting with everything that she had. Whatever the reason that she was being detained was, it was humiliating and painful to see another human being being treated in this way. And I did not see why I should have to be subjected to it!
Multiple times passengers, angry because no information had been given as to what was going on or how long it would be before we took off, demanded that the woman be removed from the aircraft. But this fell on deaf ears: The air crew simply ignored them.
“They will kill me!” she screeched out to anyone who would listen to her plight.
“No, I don’t want to die. PLEASE, I don’t want to die! Je ne veux pas y retourner! Je ne veux pas y retourner!”
My eyes widened in horror upon hearing these words. Die? I thought. Did I just hear DIE?? Just what the bloody hell is going on here? Who IS this woman? I wanted to know. I didn’t sign up to be party to these kinds of shenanigans!
The plane had now been grounded for well over 30 minutes with no announcement from the pilot as to why we were being delayed and no apology from the staff about the noise. I was horrified. I really couldn’t believe what it was I was seeing and hearing. I had NEVER been on a delayed flight where the pilot didn’t give frequent information as to the reason for the delay and an approximate estimation as to how long the delay would be for. This, in my experience, was unheard of.
“N ” she wailed. “N !”
I looked over at the staff in disbelief that they could continue pretending as if they couldn’t see or hear the commotion that was happening in front of their very eyes.
My sense of unease increased rapidly as I saw this woman struggling with all her might to resist the chains that they were trying to bind her hands with. My anxiety and sense of helplessness was becoming more and more acute as the time went on. It had become clear by now that these were plain clothed policemen so it seemed this woman was going to be handcuffed to her seat and brought along for the ride whether I liked it or not. Well I DID NOT LIKE . I was utterly furious and felt powerless to do anything to stop it.
When the woman began to flail her arms around wildly, making it dangerous not just to her immediate passengers, but also to herself, things really began to take a serious turn. All the while she was screaming at them to leave her alone and that she was going to be killed in her country. Babies on the plane started crying in unison.
An hour later and we were STILL stationery, waiting for this woman to be removed from the aircraft. As far as I was concerned, she was a liability. And quite frankly, I was starting to feel traumatised watching this woman being manhandled by these men. I didn’t want her on my flight, end of story. I didn’t pay for this shit. Neither did I agree to share my flight to Zanzibar with a deportee.
The airlines arrangements with the authority’s to deport someone on their commercial flight had nothing to do with me as a paying customer as far as I was concerned and I would never willingly agree to be a participant in the removal of someone, particularly when said person was unwilling to be removed and was being extremely vocal about it!
It’s not as if she was like a normal paying customer, she was essentially being REMOVED from the country, and that is something very different.
After an hour or so of this things really began to escalate when I heard the back door open and saw 2 French policemen enter. I knew that they were police immediately because they were hench, wearing police uniform and had a ruggedness about them that looked as if they were used to dealing with VERY SERIOUS situations (such as terrorists and the like)
I looked on in shock and horror as these militant looking policemen along with the by contrast very gentle looking Kenyan policemen proceeded to try to get this woman under control but she was stronger than any of them could ever have anticipated and she wasn’t going down without a FIGHT!
After another 10 minutes of struggle, which not only had them heavily perspiring but the woman too, FINALLY they got her strapped to her chair. Soon thereafter we heard her panting heavily and we could SMELL her body odour from where we were sitting: She smelt of defeat, pain and broken dreams.
The woman now brought her screaming up to blood curdling loud levels and I was really struggling to hold in my tears. The sound of her deep sorrowful sobs were hurting my heart. I found the whole thing utterly inhumane and deeply disturbing. I couldn’t believe that THIS was the start of my holidays. Was this to be the sign of things to come??
Now handcuffed to the seat, she promptly began smashing her head with full force against the seat in front of her. The woman in front of her whose seat she was banging her head against and who was visibly getting more distressed, immediately burst into tears, as did children halfway down the plane. It was absolute mayhem.
How they could allow this delay to occur when it was completely within their control was beyond my comprehension. How they could sit there pretending that nothing was going on when a woman was literally begging for her life really was beyond my understanding. Why they felt it was acceptable to allow this woman to continue this level of disruption that was causing passengers including children to cry and people to demand that they remove her immediately when we know that they divert planes for MUCH less was beyond belief. And why they never went around apologising profusely to every passenger who was being affected by this horrendous episode and tried to put them at ease for what already is for some people quite a disturbing thing (flying) whilst this unacceptable drama played out was to my mind, UTTERLY UNACCEPTABLE.
Eventually, after they had moved the crying passenger sitting in front of her, I summoned one of the air hostesses who had been trying in earnest to pretend that she didn’t see what going on wasn’t going on, and I asked her directly “ What IS going on?!”
And she told me (though I noted that she never bothered to apologise), that the woman was being deported. Simple as that. No further details. No apologies. And STILL no announcement by the pilot!
My nerves were frayed and I didn’t know whether this woman would start an even bigger commotion whilst we were in the air so I couldn’t relax. And fundamentally, I did not agree with them bringing their “prisoner” onto MY flight that I paid my hard-earned money to be on!
Now they brought out the big guns and the woman’s wails became repeated daggers to my heart. I turned around to see them produce a head strap – yes, you heard me correctly a HEAD STRAP , which they then proceeded to attempt to put onto her head to stop her from harming herself!
WFT is going on here??
These delusional people were so insistent that she was going to travel with us that they were actually prepared to put a head strap on the poor woman!
Well, she really began screaming now and it was unbearable. Again, people asked repeatedly for her to be removed from the plane, but they were patently ignored. I decided that I just couldn’t look anymore. Realising that they were determined to keep her on the plane Josh and I asked to be moved to another seat but were ignored. It was agonising to hear her let alone see her.
Concerned passengers began filming it on their phones but the French policemen (who for the first time seemed to suddenly realise that passengers were indeed present and watching everything that was going on!) went around DELETING footage from people’s phones telling them that they couldn’t film it.
Deleting footage you know! BUT WHY? You ask.
Why couldn’t they film it if what they was doing was perfectly okay and above-board? Who knows?
After almost an hour and a half of this I decided to be smart and at least try and get some audio of the commotion for future evidence. Because if this airline thought that I was just going to let them get away with this with no recompense then they were SADLY mistaken. As far as I was concerned allowing this woman to remain on the plane was putting EVERYONE on the flight at risk.
Eventually I managed to record audio of when she was much calmer then the hour or so before, but it is still damning evidence that proves how much disruption this woman was causing to passengers and I knew without a doubt that grounded or not, anyone else causing a disruption like this would have been removed without a moment’s hesitation.
Suddenly I felt the engine starting up (I couldn’t hear it of course because the woman was still screaming at the top of her lungs), but I could feel it beneath me. But to my absolute horror the safety announcement started playing DESPITE the fact that this woman was still wildin’ out.
I couldn’t hear a bloody thing! She was so loud that I couldn’t hear it and neither would I have been able to concentrate on it even if miraculously she had stopped screaming because I was still traumatised by the whole experience.
Once the engine had started up and the French policemen had helped to strap her head and hands to the seat they promptly left via the back of the aircraft. I recorded the audio of our ascent and the safety announcement whilst the woman was making her presence felt. It all felt quite surreal, like a nightmare. And STILL I was yet to hear the pilot make any kind of announcement regarding the commotion.
Whilst we were still in the air I could hear the woman crying, though it was gradually getting lesser and lesser, but then all of a sudden I heard nothing and I looked behind me to see the woman with a blanket thrown over her head, and I suddenly knew that she had been sedated.
It didn’t make me feel any less uneasy or anxious to know that she had been sedated for I knew that she could wake up any moment during the 8 hour flight and kick off again. But more importantly, everything in my body told me that this was wrong. This woman was being treated like an animal – she had essentially been tranquilized like one!
Perhaps they thought that she was? After all, they used to display African bodies as animals in their Parisian zoos in the not so distant past. That would have explained the lack of a need for them to apologise to people as to why they thought it was appropriate to bring her along. VILE. In the woman’s exertions she was sweating profusely, the stale, pungent, sweaty smell of her body odour wafted down to us every so often to remind us that here was a body being disguised as if it wasn’t even there. My heart hurt with the inhumanity and injustice of it all. And still I could do nothing.
Despite my concerns, the woman never woke up for the remainder of the flight: She remained heavily sedated and hidden from view.
During the flight my fury reached PEAK LEVEL when after had experienced a little bit of turbulence (a natural phenomenon that is to be expected), the pilot had the audacity to suddenly CROP UP on the microphone to APOLOGISE for the 20 minute turbulence that we would have to endure. Yet he made absolutely no mention whatsoever of the utter chaos caused by the passenger/prisoner that had delayed our flight for over an hour.
He didn’t attempt to explain or better yet to apologise about putting a plane load of passengers through something that was 100% percent within their control to diffuse! Unbelievable.
I was even more knackered than I would have usually have been after such a long flight. I was now MENTALLY exhausted too. I couldn’t erase the visions playing over in my mind of a woman being wrestled into submission .
We arrived in Nairobi to be greeted with intense humidity and extreme disorganisation. Though our bags went directly on to Zanzibar (and I was praying that they would arrive in one piece), we still had to check in at Nairobi Airport for the onward flight to our final destination and the staff at Air Kenya were pretty shambolic I have to say. Such a basic thing such as checking in 2 passengers really should not have caused such confusion.
I mean, it wasn’t like I was asking for them to provide something that hadn’t already been booked and paid for, or asked them for a product that they didn’t sell: They sold flights and I had paid for one. Surely not rocket science.
So, not a great start. What also wasn’t a great start was the level of professionalism which was severely lacking. BUT, they got us there in one piece, so I was thankful of that at least.
Zanzibar Airport
If I thought that Kenya Airways staff was bad, then I was soon to be left in utter awe of the Zanzibar Airports systems, which were utterly non-existent.
Travel from the UK to Zanzibar required a visa. This hadn’t even occurred to us when we decided we were going to travel there so to find that we needed a visa to enter the country last minute came as a bit of a shock. Luckily, there were 2 ways to obtain one: Either apply for one in advance by getting it from the embassy or get one upon arrival (for a fee of course). When we were travelling to Indonesia and Thailand we had to get visa’s for both countries and it was a reasonably complicated (or at the very least time-consuming) enterprise. But that was kind of understandable since we were intending on being in both places for longer than a month, but in Zanzibar we were only going to be there for 10 days, alas it didn’t matter to them how long we intended on staying in their country for they wanted their visa money ($50 to be precise), and they wanted it now!
Zanzibar airport was small and in disrepair. The staff weren’t very impressed to see all of these (mostly European) tourists trundling through their airport and they didn’t pretend to be. In short: They weren’t very friendly. But such is the case working in an airport where you see thousands of faces on their way to begin their holidays and you are stuck stamping passports in the heat with no chance of escape. I get it. But at the same time, if you are a third world country, and people are making the effort to come to visit it, experience your culture and as a result prop up your tourist economy, it would be nice to at least acknowledge that with a smile. Or maybe just not a scowl. Alas maybe that’s not very realistic *sigh*.
We’d read online that we would be required to queue up once we got to the airport in order to get our visa forms processed but there was no signage to make it clear where we should go to get one. Thankfully it seemed that we were travelling with people who had been there before and knew where they were going so we followed them to a hall with tables that looked like they had lots of white forms on them. But upon closer inspection we could see that this table with its abundance of papers which were literally spilling over everywhere had lots of different forms.
The heat was oppressive and it was literally impossible to know which one of these forms we needed to fill out as there were about 7 different ones there and they all said “visa” on them. And to make matters worse there were no pens and no staff to help with any questions. We were hot and bothered and absolutely knackered after travelling for 15 hours plus the hour and a half of drama we had to endure at the start and I simply did not have the brain matter nor the energy to work out which badly written form I needed to fill out.
After eventually choosing 2 forms and starting to fill both of them out with pens that Josh had in his bag, a French lady suddenly took pity on us and shoved 2 completely different forms in our hands for us to fill out instead!
The forms were a joke, wanting to know everything there was possible to know about us and our stay. I couldn’t remember the Indonesian and Thai visa’s being this complicated and some parts of the form was written in Swahili and there was nobody there to translate. Ridiculous.
Finally, after wasting unnecessary time filling out the wrong forms we went to go and queue at security as we assumed we’d need to hand our completed forms in to them but no, we were told by a security guard (only after we asked, because of course there was no signage or offer of assistance), that we needed to go into another queue first and hand them in there.
Once we got to the front of that queue all the sour looking woman did was put her hand out for the forms (which she didn’t bother to check), and put her hand out again for the collateral. We then took ourselves back into the security queue where we waited for an outrageous amount of time (as these security guards didn’t seem as though they knew what they were doing), before we FINALLY got through. By this time we were the VERY LAST people on our flight to go through.
We had arranged our transfers through our hotel and as a result of the CON Air situation plus the farcical of Zanzibar airport we were delayed coming out but thankfully our driver was there waiting. We tried to explain to him the diabolical visa form situation but his English wasn’t very good so he didn’t really understand us. I decided that I would shut up for now as my body was rapidly starting to shut down.
It was now around 3:00 am in the morning and almost pitch black outside.
Instinctively I worried about the cockroaches and mosquitoes that would undoubtedly be lurking with dastardly intentions to crawl, flutter, creep, slither, sting and bite me. It was NOT a very nice prospect. Unfortunately though, I couldn’t spray any insect repellent to deter them because it was locked away in my suitcase and it was far too late to be fiddling about with locks. So I just hoped that these creatures of the night would leave me be, at least for a couple of hours.
The air was heavy with humidity giving me a sense of how warm it would be the following day and I began to get excited with the prospect of waking up the next day in Zanzibar, ready to explore.
The journey started off well enough with a relatively smooth ride and from what I could see, quite an uneventful landscape, but I knew that we were at least an hour and a half away from the coast so I wasn’t really expecting to see anything spectacular until we got closer to our hotel. A couple of times on the journey due to my extreme mental and physical exhaustion I began to nod off but I soon woke up with a start gasping in shock when the car careened straight into a ditch!
My intention wasn’t to have survived the last 15 plus hours of travelling from London to Paris to Kenya to Zanzibar only to die in a ditch in the middle of nowhere, alas almost as soon as we went down on the ditch we jolted back up again only to go back down again in a spectacularly violent fashion. The roads were full of HUGE ditches, potholes and mounds of rubble, so many infact that it was impossible for the driver to avoid them so he didn’t bother trying.
The roads were in a state of disrepair that would have been laughable if they weren’t so awful. I almost went flying forward, cracked my head against the side of the car and lurched onto Josh’s lap such was the force of the jolts. And this guy had a 4 wheel drive! The roads were shockingly bad.
Alas, we survived the journey, but by now I was so exhausted that I could barely walk. All I wanted to do was sleep. Like forever. I couldn’t care less what the hotel looked like at this point. I just wanted it to have a big, clean, mosquito free bed. That was at my top priority. Thankfully, the hotel (from what I could see at this late hour), looked pretty nice.
Though our commute had been indescribably bad, and I was still traumatised from the episode on the plane, I started to feel my body slowing down and switching to a lower gear and by the time we walked through the beautiful tended gardens, felt the heat caressing our skin, listening to the bewitching sounds of the crashing waves just steps away I sensed that perhaps we were going to be okay here afterall.
From the little that I could see of the place it was tropical with lots of green foliage, huge coconut and palm trees and beautifully designed with authentic African interiors and also, scrupulously clean. And for a woman like me who isn’t afraid to say that I simply CANNOT DEAL with creatures that was a huge relief.
We chose to come to Zanzibar because it was a little off the beaten track, wasn’t an obvious holiday destination therefore was unlikely to be overrun with children or beer louts, it had the weather, it had the culture, and being situated in East Africa on the Indian Ocean, had some of the most beautiful beaches in the world.
I was intrigued with this place they called the “spice island”, and after researching its history I learned more about its unfortunate participation in the slave trade by Arabs of Africans, about its world renowned spices which it used to trade with the rest of the world, the abundant nature and endangered species like green turtles and red colobus monkeys, not to mention its spectacular sunsets, beautiful unspoilt beaches, it’s unique Arabic, Indian, European and African influences and being the place where Freddie Mercury was born.
I also learnt that Zanzibar was 98% Muslim (which probably meant that the other 2% was Christian, since it was highly unlikely that any atheist would dare to attempt to survive here), and as an atheist myself, and a reasonably outspoken one at that, I was a little worried that my views on religion and god would be exposed thus putting my very life at risk!
I suddenly had visions of me languishing in misery in a cramped Zanzibari jail, a tiny window providing a small slither of light, measly food rations and scrawny rodents scurrying across my bony mosquito bitten feet. No, I did not wish to be arrested in Zanzibar thank you very much. I realised that I’d just have to keep my views on the mental slavery of the masses to myself!
It being a Muslim country also meant another important thing: I would have to dress conservatively. That meant that in 30 degree heat I would need to walk around in full length clothing in public spaces – making sure my shoulders and knees were covered. This was a little bit of a problem for me as this was supposed to be a beach holiday, I didn’t actually HAVE any clothing that was suitable to such a climate that was that modest (as I rather liked getting a tan!).
Which basically meant that I now had to go out and buy some new clothes, and I did not relish the thought of purchasing clothing that I wasn’t likely to wear again. Thankfully after some research I managed to find a few suitable and reasonably priced things on EBay and Amazon.
The Z Hotel
The Z Hotel, where we would be staying for the next 10 days, was an award-winning boutique hotel located on Nungwi beach, one of the most beautiful beaches in Zanzibar. With only around 50 rooms, the hotel was English owned and English run, and had been designed by world-renowned French interior designer Philippe Starke, who incidentally also designed the eye droppingly beautiful Delano Hotel in Miami that Josh and I love so much. He is a most accomplished and brilliant designer.
I was initially a little surprised to discover that he had designed the Z as I didn’t think that it would be his style afterall it was in Africa not Europe, but the flow, attention to detail, feel and cultural sensitivity of place was distinctive.
It was colourful, with lots of wood, traditional African prints and playful references to the safari throughout, such as quirky monkey light features and animal sculptures hidden throughout the grounds. The infinity pool was in the perfect location for people watching and watching the sunset was the amazing from the rooftop cocktail bar. The hotel was situated in a prime location on the beach as it was a little set back and received much less of the “attention” from the locals trying to sell their wares then many of the other hotels in the area.
Our room when we got to it, was small but beautifully designed with African print wallpaper, decorative wooden furniture and a luxurious wooden four poster bed with an ingenious mosquito net that covered the top and pooled onto the floor to provide extra protection. I’d never seen one like it before and I could easily see how it could work to provide protection from mosquitos and other crawling and flying insects. Since I have recently found out that I have skeeter syndrome (an allergy to mosquito saliva), I REALLY didn’t want to take any risks!
Thankfully, the room was spotlessly clean and I could see no indication whatsoever of any creatures lurking about with intentions of crawling on, flying to, or sucking me which was a relief.
And then there was the view…
Room with a view
Our balcony which was very spacious with 2 beautiful (and super comfortable) wicker chairs perfectly placed to gaze out to sea, had a prime position overlooking the beach where we could people watch, listen to the sound of the waves and see whether our favourite beach beds were free. I could only imagine how wonderful it would be the following day when the sun was out.
Naturally, I do like a well-designed and well-appointed room but the most important thing overall for me will always be cleanliness and a lack of creepy crawlies and this room had top marks for both. It was a little on the small side but it was perfectly positioned to hear, smell and see the sea and watch the beautiful sunsets so I was very happy!
The bed however, left alot to be desired. That very first night we slept on it we realised that after the bed in our apartment in Chiang Mai, Thailand, this was the second hardest bed that Josh and I had ever slept in. It was ROCK SOLID. I woke up the next day aching from head to toe.
The Z Hotel Library
Tropical Gardens at the Z
Breakfast at the Z was a slightly disappointing affair. Not being a fan of buffet (for breakfast or otherwise) I just hoped that the quality of the food would make up for it, but the selection of food available to eat didn’t leave me with any enthusiasm as it was pretty unimaginative: fresh omelettes (which was generally pretty good though it would have been nice having a little more of a variety with the fillings), cereals, croissants, toast, waffles, pancakes, and fruit. There was also a traditional Swahili option which required eating with your hands, and I really wanted to try it as everything else was western, as were the guests that were frequenting the hotel, but the eating with my hands business I decided would have to wait until I had the courage to embark on such an adventure. Perhaps at the end of my stay!
The staff were all locals and they seemed very friendly and well trained. I liked the baby faced boy who made the omelettes in particular because he reminded me a little of my brother. However his omelettes weren’t as good as the older woman who done them on Thursdays and Fridays and she seasoned them properly and added a generous amount of cheese!
Nungwi Belly
After a day or two of languishing on this paradise of an island, we both started to feel a little bit out of sorts. For me, it wasn’t an intense need to go to the toilet or anything but occasionally when I did have the urge to go I had diarrhoea. For Josh, it was a little more sudden and he not only had the diarrhoea but a sensitive stomach too and as a result felt pretty drained. As a result of it not being that serious (I had really bad food poisoning in Ghana and Ian had it in Egypt so we both knew how bad it could be), we weren’t holed up in our room or anything but it did mean that we needed to make sometimes frequent and sudden trips to the toilet!
The Z Hotel had a beautiful layout with the garden rooms situated around the pool which was hidden by trees and foliage that felt very private, with 2 restaurants, a rooftop bar, a library and a computer room (which it seemed nobody really knew was there apart from us), a spa, an excursion booking office and a boutique shop. We even saw a few cheeky monkeys roaming about! So cool.
There was a variety of beds around the pool from which you could lounge, sleep, relax, read, laze, people watch, you name it, there was a bed for it, and of course, should you want to people watch in complete privacy, then there was always our lovely sea view balcony from which to do it from.
We met the manager Julie who was an English woman originally from Swansea (such a peculiar contrast!), and she recommended a few restaurants to us to visit whilst we were there, aswell as told us about how it was she came to be in Zanzibar. She was very friendly and told us that she had been there for 8 years. Put it this way: she didn’t look like she was in any rush to go home!
When we looked at the programme in our room we found out about all of the activities we could do in Zanzibar aswell as about the ridiculous pot holed road situation that was so bad that it probably meant that drivers were having to change their tires every 2 months!
Never a dull day
Beach Bliss
Let’s be perfectly honest: we came to Zanzibar for the beach.
The last time I had been to a really great beach was a year ago when we were in Koh Phangan, Thailand. We don’t do many beach holidays as on their own they can be a little boring and European beaches don’t count because though they can be quite nice, they are usually rocky, the water is cold and they do not have soft white sands and turquoise blue water. However they also don’t have deadly box jelly fish like south-east Asia does so perhaps there is a trade-off there, lol.
Alas, there were no box jelly fish here, no fish at all really from what I could see but I knew that Zanzibar had a lot of coral reefs. The beach was picture postcard perfect and unbelievably clean, the sand was soft and white with a powdery texture, with no seaweed or nastiness in general, shallow until very far out (so perfect for children though thankfully there weren’t any there!), and the water was as warm as a bath with an aqua blue hue that simply didn’t look real. Coupled with the fact that the beach was devoid of “Brits Abroad” it was almost perfect.
There wasn’t many Brits but there sure was a large influx of German nationals, aswell as Italians and Russians. Infact everywhere I went apart from the locals who spoke Swahili, all I could hear was Italian, German and Russian (which seemed to be a VERY peculiar combination). But Italians were by far in the majority, and apparently they even had their own hotel! I didn’t know what the obsession with Zanzibar was for Italians but aside from Italy, I’d never seen as many of them anywhere else in the world until I arrived there.
African Paradise
Nungwi Beach
After breakfast our daily routine was pretty much to go back to our room to get changed into our beachwear, then traipse down to the beach at a leisurely pace where we would look for some nice sun beds (ideally 2 in the sun and 1 4 poster bed in the shade), we would then spend the rest of the afternoon alternating between the pool, the bed, the shade and the sea. It was a glorious routine that never got boring, and for a bonus we would go back to our room for an afternoon nap, before waking up and going in search of food: Simple pleasures.
We went to dinner at a local Indian restaurant which was accessible via the back of our hotel via some walkways. You could also get there via the beach but the tide was forever changing and sometimes it would be all the way in so you couldn’t walk on the beach at all. The restaurant was big and overlooked the beach, and along with serving food also had entertainment: African singers with a band and dancers. Initially we didn’t want to sit too close to the band because we didn’t know whether they would be any good and we were starving hungry, but when they performed their traditional African music, with the drums, beautiful harmonies and catchy beat, we really enjoyed it. Occasionally (and I assume for the benefit of the mostly European tourists), they attempted to perform popular western songs too like R Kelly and Beyoncé which I did not like at all.
Listen: if people are going to travel all the way to Africa and expect not to experience Africa then that’s up to them, don’t cater is what I say.
I don’t mean don’t cater at all, as it’s nice to have a bit of variety (particularly when it comes to cuisine), but most people can’t sing like Beyoncé so what makes them think that someone from the bush in Africa will be able to complete the task satisfactorily? I don’t think so somehow.
There is absolutely nothing wrong with African music and culture and I for one went there to experience it. Eating Indian food in Africa you may think is weird, but this island shares a history with Indians as it does Europeans and Arabs too, but it is also important to showcase the uniquely African food and music too.
Despite this, both the food and the entertainment was really good, both Josh and I thoroughly enjoyed it. A particular song came on and I couldn’t help but to get up and film. I felt the urge to dance too but it wasn’t that kind of place. The tune was so catchy and they had Zanzibari dancers showcasing their unique wining skills. Such fun!
Thus far I hadn’t been bitten once by a mosquito. This I really couldn’t believe. Of all the things that had concerned me about travelling to Africa, the presence of creepy crawlies and ones of giganticus maximus proportions no less, was freaking me out and in my mind was just a guarantee. It did not occur to me that I wouldn’t have to overcome my fears on a regular basis to deal with the abundance of spiders, giant ants, cockroaches, gecko’s and other unidentified crawling beasts for the duration of my stay here. But as the time went on, I was AMAZED to find that not only didn’t I not even see one cockroach, spider or mosquito, I never got bitten either. Not even once!
Considering I have been eaten alive in almost every hot country I’ve been to (Thailand and Croatia being the worst), I was very surprised that here in Mother Africa, the Mother Ship, the Motherland and beginning of life of our species I didn’t encounter the very biggest, the very ugliest and the very deadliest that Mother Nature had to offer.
Rather than staying in our hotel which we don’t really like to do and have really only ever done that once at Swept Away in Jamaica (which we loved far too much to leave), we decided to go to a different place every day for lunch.
Our “Nungwi bellies” were still in full sway causing us not to stray too far from base control, but it wasn’t enough to stop us from enjoying swimming in the glorious sea which was doing wonders for my skin with it’s high salt content. Along with the warmth of the sun which was consistently in the early to mid-30’s and an ice cold cocktail, I really couldn’t complain.
Josh and I walked down the beach to find a restaurant serving better (and cheaper) food then our own. It was needless to say packed to the rafters with Russians and Italians which was starting to become a bit predictable, but we had a lovely Greek Salad and Spaghetti Bolognese there.
Beach Boys
The “beach boys” as we liked to call them, were a little bit annoying. They would make a beeline for anyone who was clearly not from Zanzibar or who was coming out of one of the hotels, and they would keep on trying to persuade you to purchase one of their water sports packages or cheaply made wares.
What made it feel quite intense at times was the fact that there was so many of them, and once they had learned which hotel you were staying in they would have you marked and would basically hound you until you relented. But to be fair to them, at least they weren’t just guys begging people on the beach, they genuinely had something to sell. Problem was: the things they had to sell I didn’t wish to buy!
Josh, getting tired of being harassed to purchase their brick-a-brac, had resorted to just telling them straight up that he didn’t like what they were selling, lol.
We did want to do some excursions, such as maybe going on a traditional Dhow boat sunset cruise, to Stone Island or snorkelling, but we weren’t all that keen on purchasing these excursions from random boys on the beach. Each time we left the comfort of our hotel to venture down to the sea for an afternoon of sea frolicking, we could see these beach boys out of the corner of our eyes making a beeline for us. Unfortunately for us, we were at probably the most noticeable guests due to our respective hues and insistence on venturing beyond the confines of our hotel, so we were definitely a target. They also seemed to think that we had been there for ages, they kept saying to us:
“Wow, you’re still here!”
Well yes, we are. We’re on our holidays!
By this time we had learnt to say a few greetings in Swahili. Karibu meant “Welcome” and Hakuna Matata (which before arriving here I honestly assumed was just a part of The Lion King and not an actual phrase, lol), meant “No worries”. And we could also say “Thank you very much”: Asante Sana and slowly: Pole Pole (though we didn’t have much need of that word as we were already moving as slowly as we physically could!)
All of these phrases helped us a little to get to know the locals (who could speak very good English aswell as some German, Italian and Russian too for obvious reasons), and it meant that we would accidentally find ourselves getting into long, detailed conversations with the beach boys about a boat cruise that we never had any intention of booking whilst we were trying to make our way to the sea. Nevertheless, the Zanzibari beach boys were never aggressive (unlike in Turkey, and from what I’ve heard, Morocco, India and Egypt too).
The beach was long and wide, with huge rock formations framing the beach, with tall coconut and palm trees swaying gently in the breeze. What I loved about the beach aside from seeing flawless black skinned Maasai warriors strolling on it casually with their long sticks by their sides in their beaded handmade body adornments and distinctive red clothing, was the fact that it was forever changing. The tide was forever changing. Sometimes it was all the way in, and you could just about walk through without getting completely drenched, and other days it was all the way out and you could seemingly walk right out to sea but the water would only be knee-deep. I loved the unpredictability. And I don’t know what it was about the sound of the sea, but it was so hypnotic and calming, that despite the excruciatingly hard bed we were sleeping on, I felt more relaxed then I remembered being in a long time. I was really starting to understand why this place was known as mysterious. It definitely had a magical allure.
The Maasai Market
We walked down to the furthest ends of the beach and along the way a tall Maasai warrior with short twisted hair and beaded jewellery approached us. He had the slim, elegant looking physique that all of the Maasai had, with skin as dark and silky as the darkest cocoa. He made casual conversation with us asking us how we were finding Zanzibar, where we were from, whether we had done any excursions yet (we hadn’t), and whether we supported any football teams (they are football MAD in Zanzibar, and English football in particular). He was unlike the beach boys in that his approach was more conversational than anything else. He wasn’t simply trying to sell his wares, but of course he did have to make a living. Baring in mind the Maasai are from a long and proud tradition of being African nomads and fearless hunters it was a real privilege to get the opportunity to speak to him and even more so to see them in this very unique and beautiful environment.
Alot of the Maasai now work as security guards for the hotels around the island, which in some respects was a far cry from their ancient history and customs but it provided them with a way to make a living and also retain their culture. The Maasai told me about the beautiful beaded jewellery he was wearing, a bracelet of which said the name “Alex” (which I doubted very much was his actual name), and he said that he was a seller in the Maasai Market, a few minutes’ walk away a turning off of the beach.
Josh and I told him that we weren’t really in the market for shopping that day mostly due to the intense heat which was beating down on us relentlessly, but then I figured that this opportunity, offered to us by this very friendly Maasai warrior, was perhaps the only chance that we might have to do something like this and we had planned on getting a few gifts towards the end of our holiday anyway. So we followed him down a rocky dirt track road. I didn’t see many other tourists there. By this time my skin was so hot you could fry an egg on it and both Josh and I were sweating profusely. This man on the other hand didn’t seem to sweat at all!
The heat was extremely oppressive, turning what was supposed to be a nice trip to meet the local Maasai people into quite a bit of an ordeal. It was obvious that he was keen on us coming to his stall so that we could buy from it, but in a way I couldn’t blame him. Around us were lots of stall sellers, both men and women in traditional dress selling everything from handmade bracelets and earrings to bowls, ornaments and bags and in order to get people to visit it they had to bring them to it.
When we got to his stall I asked him if he had made the things that were on display and he pointed to the colourful beaded jewellery, such as the ones he was wearing, saying that he had made it all himself. The women at the stalls, who were busy sitting cross legged on the dusty floor making a variety of different things, also had children with them, and I couldn’t help but to wonder whether they were making enough money to sustain their families, but despite the fact that alot of the stall sellers were pretty much selling the same things I knew that if I had the money I would have given it to them gladly, because even though these people were clearly making a modest living, relying mainly on tourism to pay their bills, and feed and clothe their families, they retained a distinctive pride and sense of self that I really admired.
These weren’t people with their hands out waiting on charity or begging on the street, these were a people trying to adjust to their new modern reality, trying to make an honest living, yet holding fast to their customs and traditions. I bought a few things from “Adam’s” stall, namely some beaded bracelets for my Mum, sister and I and I told him that we may come back again another time, but it was becoming far too hot to concentrate so after 15 minutes or so we said our goodbyes and left the Maasai market.
A Touch of Magic
Sleeping on the bed of rock was not a very pleasant experience. Everyday I woke up with aching bones and a bad back. I didn’t suffer from back problems so it was acutely obvious to me that this definitely wasn’t something that my body could get used to long term but despite this, I still felt amazingly relaxed and chilled since arriving here. It might perhaps have been the appearance of the sun, perhaps it was the comforting, lulling, hypnotic sound of the sea, the birds, the musical and gentle sounding Swahili language, perhaps it was the feeling of safety and extreme comfort that this place evoked, who knew, all I knew was that my body had moved into a very low gear of almost sloth like proportions, and I wasn’t sure that it had ever reached this level of deep relaxation before.
On the horizon we could see Mnemba Island, a small and incredibly beautiful island accessible by boat from Zanzibar, with deep, soft white sands and shallow crystal clear waters with coral reefs that was perfect for snorkelling which we planned to do at some point during our stay. The beach was big enough to never feel overcrowded or busy, and people tended to keep themselves to themselves, so we were able to easily find places to sunbathe where we felt as though we had the beach all to ourselves.
I had personally never experienced sand this warm, white, soft and luscious before and Josh agreed that the beach here was very similar to the more popular Seychelles (another of the Indian Ocean islands) that he had been to, but since this one was a part of Tanzania, and therefore Africa it had a little more authenticity, was bigger and offered a little more then just sunbathing to it’s visiting tourists. Though I must admit we did do ALOT of sunbathing, lol.
Blue & White
Me strolling along the idyllic and picturesque Nungwi Beach
The sun was having it’s effect on my skin and I was loving it, as was Josh who had been complaining about the level of pastiness he was exuding back in the UK (it had been back in September when we last saw the sun in Provence afterall).
The sea was absolutely glorious. There was hardly any seaweed at all, the sand underneath my feet was silky soft, I couldn’t see any questionable things in the water, it was clean, clear and very salty (the perfect remedy for bad skin). Josh and I were blissfully happy when we were frolicking about in the sea, and from where I was laying, I couldn’t see how it could possibly get much better then this.
One day I saw 2 sharks swimming near the shoreline, just as a girl was doing a hand stand in the sea. I wondered briefly whether they would bite her to smithereens but they didn’t seem particularly bothered about her at all. They were quite small and I doubted very much that they were dangerous so after seeing them that day I forgot about them.
Profiling and extreme vanity was taking place at an ever-increasing level by the Italian and Russian tourists, in particular the women, who were prancing about trying to get the perfect Kodak moment of them in the surf to show to their social media contacts. It looked pretty pathetic to me.
One woman in particular was on the beach whilst we were having dinner at a restaurant having picture after picture after picture after picture of herself taken by her boyfriend and she didn’t seem to care in the slightest that the entire restaurant was looking down at her on the beach flicking and tossing her hair about in the wind, rolling about in the surf and raising up on her tip toes desperately to try to make her legs look longer and more shapely.
But it was when I saw grannies posing for pictures with their visible cellulite, protruding belly’s and varicose veins when I was REALLY shocked. What on earth is this profiling nonsense all about??
Sunset Rooftop
Everyday our hotel had half priced cocktails on their rooftop bar, and everyday I would get my favourite drink, a rum based cocktail with lemon and pineapple aptly named “Reef”
The rooftop was mine and Josh’s favourite part of the hotel. It was so relaxing sitting there after a hard day of sunbathing. The only thing that I could fault them with was the music they played. Sometimes there would be chilled house beats but other times they would play pop music (no thanks) and one evening we went there and there was an acoustic musician, a young local boy who was performing popular music.
Listen, I didn’t travel all the way to Zanzibar to listen to pop music, and cheesy pop music nonetheless, sung by a boy with a voice as soft as snow (NOT a good thing). It was dull beyond belief . What they should have had in keeping with the style of the hotel was to have a local performer performing local music, which to me surely was superior to hearing all of this cheesetastic nonsense.
“Ashante Shana”
One of the pool boy waiters at our hotel insisted on trying to confuse us.
One of the very first words we learnt when arriving in Zanzibar was how to say thank you: Asante and thank you very much: Asante Sana, and we had been saying them both religiously for a good couple of days now.
However this pool boy in particular INSISTED on trying to correct us everytime that we said thank you by highlighting the word ASHANTE (as in Ashanti the singer? Josh cheekily asked me) SHANA. So basically he was putting 2 h’s in there that did not exist. Even if you were to write the word down his pronunciation of thank you very much in Swahili doesn’t exist so I had no idea what this guy was playing at and I wasn’t going to allow him to trick me by saying the wrong words when I knew that we had it right the first time!
In the end I asked one of his colleagues and they confirmed that I was indeed saying it correctly. However when he came over later to serve drinks the couple lying on the bed next to us I overheard him correct them again telling them that thank you very much was pronounced ASHANTE SHANA. All I could do was shake my head in dismay. How can it be that the man can’t even speak his own language?? Goodness gracious!
Sunset was the most popular time of day because it was the time when the locals came down to the beach: children came straight after finishing school and adults after work, to socialise, play sports and relax. The beach boys were much more relaxed too, preferring to mingle with the locals instead of hustling them to purchase their wares. Sundown was the perfect time to go to the beach because it was much less hot, the sea was still calm, the sky was lit up in beautiful shades of red, pink and amber, people were in a good mood, after having a thoroughly relaxing day lounging on the beach, drinks in hand, experiencing life in all of it’s beauty and simplicity on Zanzibar island. What’s not to like?
From our perfect viewing post on the rooftop, Josh and I were able to see the beach gradually coming to life – local children playing football on the beach, adults building bonfires and talking with the tourists, banging on bongo drums, swimming in the sea, people exercising on the beach, walking, running and children practising their somersaults, their laughter ringing out with purity and joy.
The Maasai, with their elegant red robes fluttering in the breeze, strode forward with purpose, looking magnificent against the stunning natural backdrop: the kings of this land.
I wished I had taken a picture of them but my picture taking skills are limited (I have to make a concerted effort to remember to take them when I’m travelling), and I knew that it was considered rude to take pictures of the locals without asking first.
Still, these beautiful sights wasn’t something that I was likely to be forgetting anytime soon.
Sunset on the beach
CON Air
I knew that this airline had probably hoped that they wouldn’t be hearing from anyone on that fateful flight, but they were sadly mistaken. There was no way in hell that I was going to allow them to get away with treating us in the way that they did, especially considering the extreme unprofessionalism of the staff on that flight. The day after we arrived in Zanzibar we went to the computer room to write a lengthy complaint first to Expedia, who we had booked it with (who promptly offered us a £50 voucher), and then a 5,000 letter of complaint to the airline directly. I tried to upload my audio too, but we could only upload video files (which smartly, the police officers on board had made sure that nobody could do by deleting their files!)
I was relieved that since arriving, apart from having occasional spouts of Nungwi belly, we hadn’t had any other dramas in Zanzibar, and after that despicable experience on the plane I really don’t think that I could have taken much more. I was super relaxed, but I still hadn’t forgotten what had happened, and I was determined that it would get dealt with, or else I had said to myself that I would be prepared to release the audio, on social media, to the media, to the ombudsman, whatever was necessary to call out such an atrocity. I had also done some research on other deportations on a commercial line, which wasn’t very common but apparently did happen and I found something quite horrific.
Due to the level of stress that was involved with detaining a passenger in this very public and humiliating way, there were reports that deportees had actually DIED on these flights. I felt awful knowing that there was a possibility that this woman could have possibly be one of them. Afterall, I never saw her again.
I never intended on being one of those tourists who “stayed on the complex” but after our transfer from the airport, Josh wasn’t keen on the idea of doing any journey on those roads again apart from when it was time to go home. Stone Town was Zanzibar’s UNESCO heritage site, a place of historical and artistic importance due to it being the centre of Zanzibar’s spice (and slave) trade and as such I felt it was important to visit there.
With Arabic and European influences from their history of colonisation by the Portuguese, Omani’s and British, the architecture reflected this unique melting pot of cultural influences. But Stone Town was back near the airport, at least an hour and a half’s drive away, so I did understand the reasons why Josh wasn’t keen to go back there again. The whole journey from England to Zanzibar had been traumatic for us, and neither of us were keen to experience those horrendous roads again anytime soon.
Considering this part of Zanzibar was a popular tourist location, it did seem very hard to believe that the authority’s would have been happy to leave it in such a terrible state, alas, perhaps it was just one of those places where people would be prepared to travel to because of it’s difficulties rather then in spite of them.
Tasty Tasty!
The manager had recommended a French restaurant to us that was nearby. She said that it done incredible food and on her days off she would always dine there. So far we had found no reason not to trust her word so we booked a table at Le Macis for later on that evening. I had checked the reviews on TripAdvisor for this restaurant and had been reliably informed that this was the best restaurant on the island.
When we arrived we were eventually shown to a secluded table beside a tree in a garden. The restaurant had a very rustic feel to it but I was left comforted with the knowledge that everyone that was dining there seemed to look very happy with themselves.
The menu, despite us assuming that it would be French, was infact not French at all but a mixed menu, with some local sounding dishes and some European, but it was definitely not French, the restaurant merely had a French chef. But I was still encouraged with the knowledge that it had received many glowing reviews. Josh and I soon realised however, that we were more then a little overdressed.
I was finding it a little difficult balancing this modesty wear lark, along with beachwear and appropriate going out clothes, and even though this was considered to be a fancy restaurant, it was fancy Zanzibar style not fine dining restaurant style.
Alas, I thoroughly enjoyed the food – I had a fish main course with potato dauphinoise and for dessert I had a cinnamon crème brulee which was delicious (if a little on the small side).
We infact very much enjoyed the food and wine so much that we booked to go back again!
The Spa
The spa in our hotel was very small being just a room that offered beauty treatments, so we decided to go to the spa at the hotel we’d had lunch at a few times instead. When we walked in there the women at the reception desk greeted us as if they were surprised to have guests: not a good start.
Alas, they were offering a couples spa experience for $100 which seemed pretty reasonable to us. The spa could have been better, for instance they had someone still cleaning out the pool when we arrived there for our private pampering session, the steam room had seen better days, it hadn’t been heated up in anticipation of our arrival and the spa therapist didn’t come to collect us from the steam room when our time was up (we were only supposed to be in there for 20 minutes), but we thought we’d give them a bly.
The important thing for me was the deep tissue massage, which hasn’t really been up to par for me anywhere else other then Thailand and Jamaica, but thankfully, the masseuse really put some welly into it and I felt suitably floaty and sleepy once she had finished.
The place was certainly in desperate need of a renovation but it did still have African charm, and the oil that they used on my skin was DIVINE. I was kicking myself afterwards that I didn’t purchase one to take home with me.
The aptly named Kilimanjaro Water
Nungwi Town
I was determined to experience as much of the Zanzibari people and their culture that I could. Due to mine and Josh’s Nungwi belly, which was mostly okay but was definitely still lurking in my system, we were being very careful with what we ate and the thought of trying the traditional Swahili breakfast didn’t fill me with much excitement but I did want to go and see the local area so the following day we took a stroll down to the village to see who we could meet and what we could perhaps buy as presents.
The first thing that struck me was the ditches in the road which I knew would be there (as we had travelled through), but even seeing the cars on the road going down into a ditch was scary business, as the car would jolt and wobble about precariously looking like it might completely topple over! They were dirt roads, and plumes of dust would swirl about and whoosh into our faces as we walked making it hard to see where we were going. Instantly, my carefully cultivated tan was being threatened with fumes and dust.
Knowing that we were going to be venturing into the local area where the locals would undoubtedly not take kindly to seeing westerners traipsing about in inappropriate wares (which for them meant someone having their shoulders and knees out on display), both Josh and I made sure to dress accordingly as we did not wish to offend. However even though we saw signs requesting that people respect the local customs and dress modestly, we still saw that the few westerners that had made it away from the alluring beach, were brazenly wearing immodest clothing with seemingly no awareness.
We were not very impressed. I mean how difficult is it for people to respect the laws of the land? They really are not asking for much.
I looked around to see a very stark contrast from the white sands and blue seas of the beach. Here was a very real poverty, a dusty land with hardly any greenery, with ditches in the roads, dilapidated buildings and lots of hump back cows roaming freely. Also there were children following each other obediently in groups, with their entire heads and bodies covered. I was dismayed to see that religion had yet again had taken a strangle hold of young children. Child indoctrination was alive and well here. How many more must be brainwashed into submission? I wondered.
We heard the unmistakable sounds of a school as we passed by. I wondered what these children were being taught. And if they had any potential at all here? Were the little girls being taught to be submissive and go home to their husbands and be a good wife? Was that the supposed pinnacle of their self-worth? – The thought that these beautiful little girls, with a world full of possibilities was being denied to them socially and financially was upsetting.
I daydreamed about setting up my own school here, in this beautiful, mysterious part of the world, where I would teach children critical thinking skills, understanding and appreciating nature and science and the values of empathy, justice, equality and kindness: Humanism, in a nut shell . No need for magical masters. Surely THAT is what those children should be learning, but somehow I didn’t think that’s what they were.
There were shack like stalls with metal roofs on either side of the dusty road and inside them were people selling almost identical things to what we saw in the Maasai market but out of politeness we went into their shops to look at what they had for sale. The people seemed very happy when we went into their shop, even if we didn’t buy anything, and were it not so dusty and hot we would have went into every shop there, but we did get to go in the majority of them, talked to the people, greeting them in their own language and we even bought a few things so it was definitely a trip worth making.
Beautiful African Artwork
Raw Fish
Now I do like raw fish (well, sushi), but I do NOT like being tricked into eating raw fish, particularly when my belly is feeling a little sensitive, and when I ordered the cooked variety.
We decided to go to one of the seafood restaurants that the hotel manager had recommended. Since she’d done such a stellar job of recommending the (French) restaurant to us, we thought that it was a good idea. Zanzibar had lots of fisherman so I was really looking forward to sampling some fresh seafood.
The restaurant was located on the beach and had a very romantic setting with small tables with white tablecloths spaced wide enough a part so that you could have a private conversation. I was feeling really hungry but not as hungry as Josh who had had Nungwi belly pretty badly early on in the day so had opted to not eat any lunch in order to prepare his belly for dinner.
There was a couple sitting next to us. Clearly a young looking local girl with a much older foreigner who was trying in earnest to impress her. I shouldn’t have been able to hear their conversation but due to his high level of desire to get his leg over that night I could hear every bloody word. By the end of it I knew where he lived, that he had a daughter, how old she was, where she lived, what happened to his relationship with her mother, that he wanted (more children), what he did for work, what he did last week, and so on and so fourth. And despite my very best efforts in drowning him out (even though Josh and I were having our own private conversation), I could not. He just would not stop yapping on!
There were lanterns on each table which looked really pretty but in practice they weren’t giving out much light at all. When our food arrived (we had both chosen bbq’d fish dishes), we were a dismayed to find that the bbq part (which we had assumed would be the marinade for the fish), came in a separate container which we were then expected to pour onto our fish to give it flavour. What on earth is that all about?
And to make matters even worse, the sauce just tasted of tomato ketchup and chilli, there was no indication that it was bbq flavour. Rubbish.
Neither of us could actually see what it was we were eating but I could taste it, and from what I could taste it so I knew that the fish wasn’t fresh. Ironically enough our waiter had said to us once he seated us that this was the best restaurant, which we thought was an odd thing to say at the time, but we figured that perhaps we were going to experience something so amazing that it was worth mentioning.
And afterall, it was supposed to be a seafood restaurant, which is their speciality.
But no, my fish was most certainly one that had been languishing in the depths of the freezer only to be bunged on the grill for 2 seconds before being served and Josh, as it soon turned out, had been eating raw fish . Yes, his fish had not been cooked properly and after commenting on the texture to me which he said was “weird” he then used his phone to look at it in more detail (because we couldn’t see a thing) only to find that the fish was completely raw in places. We were horrified and sent dishes promptly back to the kitchen. Talk about “best restaurant” how about “food poisoning?!
Josh was rightly worried that his Nungwi belly as a result of eating fish that hadn’t been cooked properly would get worse, so we both ordered a simple pasta dish of spaghetti with pesto, garlic, and sundried tomatoes as a replacement.
Our favourite lunch spot
Salty Seadog
The second dish was even worse then the first. I didn’t think that was even possible but it was. The pasta was bloody AWFUL. Salty, with a very strong, almost briny flavour that really turned my stomach. It tasted like they had put about 10 tablespoons of salt in it, plus the juice of a ton of mussels, garlic and garlic butter. After just 1 mouthful I couldn’t continue.
Josh didn’t like his either but he hadn’t eaten since breakfast and so was starving.
When the waiter came back to ask us if we were enjoying the food I told him flatly no, I was not. Josh managed to take a few more mouthfuls and again we sent the food back to the kitchen. We left soon after.
Josh was still hungry so we stopped by at a local Italian restaurant to get some pizza. My appetite was gone but I decided that I did have space for Tiramisu. The pizza was decidedly average.
I still had not been bitten by a mosquito. As we were dining out every night, and spending the majority of our time outside during the day even when the mozzies were due to be out in full force I assumed that we would but neither Josh nor I got bitten. Neither did I even see any creatures. Sure, we had the occasional wandering ant in our bathroom, but they were normal sized ones not the super-sized jungle ones that I had envisaged.
But other than this, no creatures, no crickets, no spiders (aside from the gigantic ones we saw who had made a web home in a tree), no cockroaches, no spiders, no bats and certainly no tokays. All of which we had seen IN ABUNDANCE when we were travelling in Asia. This came as a big surprise to me because I was expecting to see all sorts of creatures, alas I saw none and our hotel was always scrupulously clean.
It felt safe.
We met no person during the 10 days who we felt threatened by in any way and even the beach boys, who were trying their best to get us to purchase one of their water activities were increasingly annoying, but completely harmless. You could walk the entire length of the beach at night and not be worried about anybody threatening you. Nobody was rude, sure some people were a little on the miserable side (though not as miserable as the staff in the airport), and people seemed to really appreciate the fact that we tried to speak the language. Also, we still hadn’t encountered many Brits there, it didn’t seem as though Zanzibar was a popular destination for them and that was pretty cool though it was a little hard going having to listen to stern sounding German conversations so frequently.
The food needed improvement. The hotel had a lovely feel and design, was well run, clean and in a good location but they need to sort out their food offerings. I do not know where I got my Nungwi belly from but clearly it wasn’t from eating fruit. It could possibly have been something as simple as food preparation since you can’t drink water from the tap there and they may have been preparing the food in unfiltered water.
Also, pizza is not African cuisine, and though it’s good to still offer it in a tourist destination such as this, I do not think that it should be the only type of food on offer. They need to serve the local cuisine or better yet serve fresh (with an emphasis on fresh and cooked ) seafood. They have tons of it right on their doorstep afterall!
Beautiful sunsets, stunning wide beaches, calm, blue seas perfect for swimming (and taking pictures in judging by the Russians), lots of activities, and of course the opportunity to do safari in the mainland Tanzania.
We booked a snorkelling trip for the day before we left but that morning there was a horrendous storm and it remained windy and stormy allday so we cancelled it. Later on that morning I actually had a bout of Nungwi belly and I decided that tumultuous seas would have done me in so we were quite relieved that we couldn’t go in the end.
The airline did try to call us whilst we were still in Zanzibar and we told them to call us back when we had returned to the UK. We compiled a list of things that we wanted to highlight to try to prevent them from attempting to scam us by trying to assuage us with a measly apology and now we await their call.
After the atrocity of CON Air, an apology wasn’t going to wash with us, sorry.
Josh and I before we were poisoned with raw fish!

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Experience a Gastronomic Asian Tour All in One Place at the Pacific Lounge! | ClickTheCity Food & Drink

Experience a Gastronomic Asian Tour All in One Place at the Pacific Lounge! posted on Wed, 6 Feb 2019 10:27 AM
As in any country, native delicacies sold by the roadside present a colorful and fascinating sight. They never fail to catch the attention of both residents and tourists curious to get acquainted with a place’s culinary treasures. Asian Street Eats
Knowing that not everyone is inclined to eat along the street, Pan Pacific Manila has come up with tempting dinner buffet selection that offers diners an opportunity to experience firsthand local culture and traditions of different Asian countries right at our panoramic top floor restaurant, Pacific Lounge every Friday starting 7pm .
Now for just Php 1,000 net per person , they can eat as much as they can of a delicious spread of nibblers such as balut and penoy (native duck egg delicacies), chicharon baboy at bulaklak (crispy pork rind and entrails); hot-off-the Indonesian mixed satay; straight-from-the-wok fish and prawn balls, Yakitori Japanese skewers, tokwa’t baboy (tofu and pork), Singaporean Laksa, Arabic grillings and Shawarma; Fried rice specials such as Chinese Yang Chow, Nasi Goreng, Indian Biryani; sweets such as taho (tofu with sweet syrup) , turon saba (fried plantain bananas with jackfruit and sugar roll), kamote-Q (sweet potato on a stick) and ube (purple yam) among others. Chinese Cuisine

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Bawarchi Restaurant Offers Traditional Rajasthani Food in Udaipur Rajasthan

Bawarchi Restaurant is Basically Casual Dining Multi-Cuisine Restaurant Which is situated in Udaipur. It has got Family Dining Area. It is Basically Casual Dining Restaurant Which Serves North Indian, Chinese, Continental, Gujarati and Rajasthani Thali.
The quality of food at Bawarchi restaurant is fresh and delicious whatever the condition is. The Bawarchi family restaurant provides all types of food varieties and traditional food or dishes at only one place.
Bawarchi Restaurant comes with an overly informal set-up creating the stage for casual dining. The environment is quintessentially rustic and the décor typical of a Family Resturants.The whole place is adorned with hurricane lighting arrangements and beautiful cane lights that offer a lot of brightness to the eatery.
At Bawarchi Restaurant one feel comfortable while having food and there is a silent atmosphere and soothing ambience. The restaurant is designed in such manner that all age group people either child or old age people, all people enjoy their delicious food and feeling comfortable. The food items serve by the Bawarchi restaurant are fresh, delicious and good in taste.
The Bawarchi restaurant has solution to that problem. It provides packed lunch box facility which is the same taste of quality and food as one get in restaurant. So pack the food from Bawarchi restaurant and go wherever one wants to go and enjoy the restaurant food anywhere and anytime. The Bawarchi restaurant offers some soup and delicious starters end up with the mouth watering delighted sweets.
The Rajasthani Thali having Dal, Bati and churma (sweet) is good in taste. The Guajarati Thali includes Guajarati khichdi, kadai paneer and butter-fried jeera rice. This Guajarati, Rajasthani and Jain Thali are served with a variety of food items like malai kofta, rotis and fried daal etc.
The services offered by the Bawarchi restaurant are awesome. The Paneer dishes, Pannier Starters and Chinese cuisine were great in taste at Bawarchi restaurant and price is medium. The taste and content of Thali is more than enough to satisfy hunger of single person. The taste, hotness and freshness of each vegetables or sabji are awesome. If someone is fond of spicy food than Bawarchi restaurant is best option for them.
The people of Udaipur have accepted the Bawarchi restaurant is the best family restaurant in Udaipur for Udaipur people. In several surveys that conduct in Udaipur young people have instructed for Bawarchi restaurant is the best family restaurant in Udaipur.
The Bawarchi restaurant is pure veg and fully air conditioned. It has classic ambience and aqua guard water. The lunch box facility at Bawarchi is at most reasonable rates. The food is fresh, hot and delicious at Bawarchi restaurant. At Bawarchi restaurant one can find ample parking space and comfortable sitting for children to old age people. At Bawarchi restaurant Thali, starters, vegetables and fast food available.
Name- Mr. Kailash Sahu
Company Name- Bawarchi restaurant
Contact Details- +91-0294-2414955 +91 – 9252900500
Email Id _ bawarchi0294@gmail.com
Website- http://bawarchirestaurant.in

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12 Romantic Weekend Getaways in the Western Cape

Email Longing for a weekend away with the love of your life? Take a look at our list of romantic spots for the Western Cape.
Feeling the need to reignite the passion in your relationship? Treat your partner (and yourself) to some time away at one of these romantic weekend getaways in the Western Cape. 1. Le Quartier Français , Franschhoek
Franschhoek may be old hat to many Cape Town day-trippers, but Le Quartier Français, to my mind the grand dame of the high street, is looking as beautiful as the first day I stayed there some 15 years ago. Stepping off the busy street on a typical Franschhoek weekend, I felt the invitation to relax into romance immediately beckon. The garden around the pool is alive with summer colours, bees and the scent of jasmine. Beautifully decorated rooms, framed by Victorian gables and surrounding the pool, have large bathrooms with open showers. And large beds.
The exquisite landscaped sculpture garden will hold your attention for only so long, so take a bicycle and ride to Sir Richard Branson’s manor house for a wine tasting. And finish the day with the exquisite Indian flavours and fragrances of the Marigold restaurant which is part of the same group and comes highly recommended by Le Quartier Français, for meals prepared by the rising culinary star that is Vani Padayachee .
Breakfast was incredible and was served at The Dining Room. There is also The Bar at LQF and the Garden Room for tapas and scenic views.
You won’t ever need your car.
+27 (0) 21 492 2222; [email protected]
Words Angus Begg 2. Embizweni Cottage , Karoo National Park
Find that perfect spot for a romantic break at the Embizweni Cottage in the Karoo National Park. This secluded, unfenced cottage is situated nearly 50 kilometres from the reception and main rest camp on the Nuweveld 4×4 Trail. It is remote and offers the perfect opportunity to enjoy the sheer magnitude of the park without the intrusion of other tourists. This is a fully equipped self-catering cottage and there is a gas-powered stove, but we opted for a braai while watching the Karoo sky change to pastel pinks and blue hues.
There is also a fridge and solar-powered lights, but luckily no chance to watch television or even charge your cellphone, so it’s perfect for switching off completely and reconnecting with your beloved. The unit has a private water hole, so you might even spot some game during your compulsory two-night stay.
You need a 4×4 to access the unit. Basic 4×4 skills will get you there as there are only some steep sections and a dry riverbed to cross if it does not rain.
+27 (0) 23 415 2828/9; +27 (0) 23 414 7080; [email protected]
Words René de Klerk 3. The Last Word , Franschhoek
My first choice for a romantic getaway is here in the heart of Franschhoek , where you’ll be enchanted by understated elegance and attention to detail. From the charming wisteria, rose and bougainvillea-lined path to the picturesque setting, this five-star, intimate hotel really resonated.
There are 10 en-suite bedrooms, and we booked into one of two with a private pool. A stylish living room opens onto it and we soaked up the sun in our sheltered spot. Positioned away from the crowd, we enjoyed French Provençal living and personalised attention.
Apart from a sumptuous breakfast included in the rate, we chose to experience the many restaurants in this, the country’s food-and-wine heartland. Activities include anything from boutique shopping, hiking and mountain biking, to a historic tour of the town with its beautiful architecture, chocolate and cheese tasting, championship golf courses, and wine tasting on horseback. It’s a place where memories are made.
+27 (0) 21 876 4723; [email protected]
Words Olivia Schaffer 4. Just Rest , Paternoster
The name evokes a feeling of calm, and the house encourages serious quiet time. On a hillside overlooking a boulder-strewn point with the Atlantic Ocean just below, this classic West Coast cottage is breathtaking. It’s spacious, gorgeously appointed, and fitted with a queen-size bed.
Arriving in the early evening on a still summer’s day made the experience idyllic. We sipped iced tea on the private veranda and felt cosseted from the world. The view of boulders and brightly painted fishing boats heading out to sea felt strangely European, but then much of Paternoster village is reminiscent of a romantic Greek island with postcard-pretty houses.
Later in the evening, we curled up on the spacious couch and played games as the sun set crimson over the sea. A soak in the oversized stone bath was thoroughly relaxing but waking up and looking out to sea with gulls circling overhead really felt like we’d used our passports to be here.
Most of the village restaurants are a short walk away, but we dined in on fresh seafood along with sea views. The kitchen is well equipped to make cooking easy and the countertop dishwasher kept it all really simple. Kicking back, chilling, stretching out in the sun with a thick book and watching the tides and the fishermen, made a weekend away feel like a full summer holiday in a romantic and comfortable setting.
+27 (0) 22 752 2048; [email protected]
Words Keri Harvey 5. Dune Ridge Cottage , Paternoster
A beach view for treasured memories, moonlight on water, going to sleep to the sigh of the surf… what could be more romantic?
Perched above a secluded beach, Dune Ridge Cottage is a honeymoon hideaway with a 180-degree sea view. It’s the last beachfront dwelling at the south end of the traditional, whitewashed fishing village of Paternoster. The chic interior of this fisherman-style cottage with all modern conveniences has a blue and white theme and a veranda overlooking the beach.
We were spoilt by the enticing treats nearby – delicious breakfasts in the four-star Dunes Boutique Guest House, pampering at the Dunes Beauty Clinic, or a fish feast for two at Gaaitjie’s restaurant on the shore.
+27 (0) 22 752 2215; [email protected]
Words Marianne Heron 6. South Hill Vineyards , Elgin
Taking in an open-air concert at the magnificent amphitheatre at the Paul Cluver estate in Elgin Valley is one of my favourite summer treats, but after an evening of festivities I’m always loathe to drive back to Cape Town. So for my most recent visit, I checked in to the lovely guest house on South Hill wine farm just down the road.
What a find. The six en-suite rooms in the spacious main villa can be booked on a B&B basis. Groups who want to party can book the whole place, which comes with an open-plan living area, spacious well-equipped kitchen, pizza oven and braai area, all on a self-catering basis.
All the rooms open onto private patios with gorgeous views over the vineyards and surrounding mountains, and there’s a big pool and lovely garden. This seclusion means that it’s a great spot to chill but, if you’re feeling active, there are easy hiking and mountain-biking trails on the farm, as well as access to the scenic Lebanon, Paul Cluver, Oak Valley and Cape Pine trails.
I’m almost reluctant to pass on the best-kept secret of South Hill lest I never get a booking there again, but if you’re looking for a romantic getaway, check out the Pumphouse Honeymoon Cottage on the side of the dam. Just perfect.
+27 (0) 21 844 0888; [email protected]
For concert details, visit Cluver.com
Words Fiona McIntosh 7. Kendall Cottage , Franschhoek
Driving down the tree-lined avenue of Allée Bleue always lifts my soul. I feel the shackles of everyday life falling away as I slow down and take in the grand buildings, the orderly vineyards and orchards and the majestic backdrop of the Franschhoek mountains.
The estate’s Kendall Cottage, a 30-minute drive from Cape Town, makes for an easy romantic escape. The quaint, self-catering cottage, which dates back nearly a hundred years, retains its historic charm but has been stylishly renovated with all the mod cons, chic furniture and artworks and, of course, all the necessary ingredients for those seeking a romantic retreat.
Soak in the big freestanding bath, enjoy a lazy breakfast on the terrace as you gaze over the vineyards, tour the famous herb garden, sample award-winning wines from the house bar or take a short drive into Franschhoek.
+27 (0) 21 874 1021; [email protected]
Words Fiona McIntosh 8. Overseers Mountain Cottage , Cape Town
Let’s get one thing straight. If your idea of romance is returning to your luxury suite after a gourmet dinner to find Champagne on ice, steam rising from the clawfoot bathtub and rose petals scattered on the turned-down bed, read no further. But if romance means spending time with your loved one in a really special place, then the Overseers Cottage on Table Mountain is hard to beat.
The old stone cottage on the ‘Back Table’ (the lower, southern section of the main plateau) is in a spectacular location right on the mountain edge. It’s nothing fancy but the beds have crisp white linen; paraffin lamps and candles create romantic lighting and there’s a fireplace to snuggle in front of on a chilly night. But your best is to take a bottle of bubbles to the nearby koppie and gaze down at the lights of Cape Town or at the twinkling stars, as you toast the fact that you have the whole mountain to yourselves.
The cottage is for exclusive occupancy but I should mention that there are no double beds and no en-suite bathrooms. And since you can’t drive up Table Mountain you’ll either have to hike up (the shortest route from Constantia Nek takes about 90 minutes) or walk from the Upper Cable Station. Fortunately your bags and cooler box will be waiting for you on arrival.
+27 (0) 12 428 9111; [email protected]
Words Fiona McIntosh 9. Fraaigelegen Farm Cottages , Between Tulbagh and Wolseley
The sunsets at Fraaigelegen Farm are the kind that stay with you forever. And what’s more romantic than watching a sunset together from the stoep of your cottage, sundowner in hand? First the furrowed walls of the Witzenberg mountains behind the idyllically situated self-catering cottages blush deep pink. Then, as the sun sets behind the distant Waterval Mountains, the waters of the dam turn vermillion.
The three guest cottages on this wine and olive farm have two double bedrooms, double showers, fireplaces and braai areas. Two of the cottages overlook the dam, while the other one has mountain views. For fishermen, there are trout in the dam, and bird life is plentiful. The farm is an ideal base for exploring local attractions like the wine estates, and for enjoying activities such as horse riding. Just 130km from Cape Town, it’s a perfect romantic weekend getaway and all you need bring are your provisions.
+27 (0) 83 288 4685, [email protected]
Words Marianne Heron 10. Bartholomeus Klip Farmhouse , Wellington
The magnificent Victorian homestead on the working sheep and wheat farm of Bartholomeus Klip is set under ancient oak trees, with the towering Elandsberg as backdrop and wild gardens of roses and agapanthus surrounding it. Sitting in the tangled gardens, good book in hand and drinking fine coffee as the sun set was our choice on the first day.
There are just a handful of en-suite rooms – all private and beautifully appointed. Bunches of fresh roses and home-baked biscuits await in the suites, which have cotton linen, a Victorian bathroom and Bartholomeus Klip toiletries.
Meals in the conservatory, overlooking the colourful gardens, are sensational. Fine South African-inspired menus are created by chef Louise while her sister Lesley is the host. The following day we headed out on game drive in the 10 000 hectare nature reserve to see buffalo, eland, bontebok, black wildebeest and zebra. Quagga and the endangered geometric tortoise are bred and conserved on the farm.
Activities include swimming, hiking, fishing or cycling along farm roads if you’re feeling energetic.
+27 (0) 22 448 1087; +27 (0)82 829 4131, [email protected]
Words Keri Harvey 11. Devon Valley Hotel , Stellenbosch
Champagne and romance go together, so it was quite convenient to find this charming country hotel just down the road from the House of JC Le Roux outside Stellenbosch, where we’d been to taste South Africa’s most popular bubbly. Of course, the sparkling wine and Méthode Cap Classic had gone to our heads and the lovely view of vineyards and the Helderberg mountains from the terrace at Devon Valley Hotel compounded things, so we gaily booked in.
The spacious en-suite room in the new section boasted plenty of luxurious touches. The fine cotton bed linen, king-size bed and a large flat-screen TV with multiple satellite channels made it feel like the kind of place where staying in bed could be an occupation in itself.
Dinner at Flavours restaurant presented difficult choices: the buffet comprised traditional South African dishes such as bobotie and lamb curry, plus all the trimmings, while the à la carte menu had its own temptations with wine pairings of the estate’s own SylvanVale wines. In the interests of over the-top-romance, we went for the buffet.
The good news is that they do two-night romantic escape packages at special prices for couples for much of the year, not just in February.
+27 (0) 21 865 2012, [email protected]
Words Marion Whitehead 12. Strandloper Ocean Boutique Hotel , Paternoster
Perfectly private with the sound of the sea as background music, Strandloper Ocean Boutique Hotel is situated in the quaint fishing village of Paternoster.
Any closer to the ocean and you’d get wet, while the 4km deserted beach before you inspires long sunset walks, hand-in-hand. En route we encountered traditional fishermen launching their brightly coloured wooden boats and heading out to sea, while at other times we were the only souls there taking a stroll. Strandloper’s 14 suites with folding doors opening onto either an ocean view and private terrace, or a private garden courtyard, all blend seamlessly into the natural environment of fynbos and seashells. Inside, the rooms are spacious, featuring handmade stone baths, outdoor showers and luxury linen.
The hotel is known for excellent cuisine, showcasing local delicacies – we had oysters, pan-fried cob and lemon cheesecake. You can also book their romantic getaway package that includes dinner under the stars and a special turndown service with a petal-strewn bath, candles and champagne.
+27 (0) 21 794 5858, [email protected]
Words Keri Harvey Leigh Hermon
A journalist by trade, features writer on occasion and now the digital editor of SA Country Life . The first chance she gets, Leigh will tell you about a podcast she was recently listening to and how you simply have to make the move from radio. In a previous life, she once taught English on Jeju which left her with an insatiable craving for kimchi. ← 5 Romantic Weekend Getaways in Gauteng Leigh Hermon A journalist by trade, features writer on occasion and now the digital editor of SA Country Life . The first chance she gets, Leigh will tell you about a podcast she was recently listening to and how you simply have to make the move from radio. In a previous life, she once taught English on Jeju which left her with an insatiable craving for kimchi. You May Also Like

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