Rosewood lead

Rosewood Phuket

After my recent relaxing stay at the Rosewood Phuket, I can very clearly state that this property is the perfect epitome of understated luxury.

 

This fantastic resort is located on Phuket's southwest coast, around a 90-minute drive from the airport. Don't be put off by it's proximity to the commercialized area of Patong, the hotel's location is actually discreetly tucked away around the coast on the other side of Emerald Bay and feels a world away from the infamous hustle and bustle of Patong.

 

As you arrive at the property you are greeted with the most beautiful welcome area with huge wooden doors opening into a tropical haven. Once checked in the buggy will take you to your villa which is located down the hill towards the ocean.

 

Rooms

The 71 spacious suites and villas have been covered with eco-friendly roof gardens and embedded into the jungle landscape. Categories range from hillside pavilion suites with plunge pools that can be interconnecting and two-bedroom villas with infinity pools, grassy courtyards and access straight onto the beach.

Entering the villa you are greeted by a very neutral pallet of soft furnishing with a hint of baby blue along with a black wooden floor, providing a very chic interior. The main large room is cleverly divided into a living room and bedroom with a giant mirror giving the illusion of bringing the outside in.

Throughout the entire villa going into the bathroom there’s a touch of brass fixtures, from lights to the bathroom faucets. The bathroom also comes with an outdoor bath and shower. All the villas are smart living and run on a central touch button system for the lights, music and blinds.

The outdoor area has a nice private pool, with a large day bed and a seating area for in-villa dining .

You can enjoy the beautiful beach or the hotel’s large gorgeous swimming pool which is wrapped around palm trees and floating platforms. The pool is split into sections for all ages including an adults only pool. The staff are all well dressed wearing panama hats and a chic uniform. The stunning Mai restaurant & pool deck is very Tulum style with elegant dining areas and a great menu.

 

Kids Club

 

Hidden in the heart of the resort, out of sight but within easy reach of the main swimming pool you will find the Explorer's Club for children aged three to eight. There's a terrific variety of activities, a wooden pirate ship, splash area all with a focus on sustainability and cultural awareness – Thai language classes, umbrella painting, picking herbs, digging for worms and tree planting. Along with cooking classes in the outdoor large kitchen children can easily idle the day away in this thoughtfully designed space.

 

 

Asaya Spa

On the hillside, Asaya, the Rosewood Group's first spa concept, is already one of the best in a country and I would not hesitate to say its truly up there in terms of world-class wellness facilities. More than just a pretty space, it offers life and relationship coaching, holistic bodywork therapies and bespoke retreats designed to help you eat, sleep and generally live a happier and healthier lifestyle.

Dining

Red Sauce is the all day dining area and the location for breakfast. I really loved the breakfast as you can enjoy part buffet part menu. The menu offered such healthy items such as power balls, protein bars, overnight oats, detox drinks, elixir shots and a large selection of gluten free items. In the evening the menu offers Italian cuisine.

The Shack is a laid back dining experience with freshly prepared seafood

 

Ta Khai – designed to look like a rustic Thai village, its situated next to the ocean  and delivers an authentic array of dishes with the daily fisherman’s catch being a crowd favorite. Not much else needs to be said when the following accomplishments adorn the front door:

2019 MICHELIN GUIDE, 2020 MICHELIN GUIDE, 2021 MICHELIN GUIDE, 2022 MICHELIN GUIDE; 2019 TRIP ADVISOR CERTIFICATE OF EXCELLENCE

 

 

 

 Green Credentials

This hidden gem of a property also has impeccable green credentials –

ecologically-sound architecture and sustainable practices such as 100 per cent rainwater harvesting, coral reef restoration to the largest solar energy system in Phuket as well as villas topped with roof gardens to help naturally cool the interiors.

Constructed from indigenous stone and timber, its minimalist lines merge into thick jungle greenery; tin-roofed restaurants sit under hundred-year old banyan trees; and retractable glass panels open onto Andaman Sea views, with hanging ferns and fabulous rattan sculptures.

 

Overview

 

Rosewood Phuket is a very chic family friendly resort, which ticks every box for the modern traveller. I highly recommend the property, from the climate conscious traveller bringing a large family to a travel savvy couple just seeking a little down time. Rosewood Phuket carries that incredible energy of making everyone that walks though the door, immediately feel like they are home.

 

 

To book your stay please contact:

Danielle@uniquefamilytravels.com

www.uniquefamilytravels.com

 

Dani
Family Friendly Couple
Six Senses Lead

Six Senses Yao Noi

I have been a huge admirer of the Six Senses brand for many years. I love their ethos in Sustainability, which is the DNA of the brand and many of their properties around the world are set in such raw locations in order to reflect this core belief.

Six Senses Yao Noi has been on my radar to visit for many years and I finally got the opportunity to experience the incredible island first hand.

 

The property is set on Koh Yao Noi in 72 acres of raw beauty, a still, peaceful island located in the middle of Phang Nga Bay, halfway between Phuket and Krabi. Facing east, the resort sprawls over a jungle-covered hillside overlooking a cluster of dramatic limestone sea-stacks – it's worth setting your alarm for 6am on at least one morning and being awestruck by the magenta sun rising behind them. From Phuket airport it's a 30-minute drive to Ao Por Marina, from where the Six Senses speedboat departs on a 45-minute journey to the resort. When booking the boat, just make sure of your timings as the boat runs on a schedule so timings are fixed.

 

  

The hotel's showpiece is its insanely photogenic “Hilltop” infinity pool, simply let the day pass while enjoying the incredible views directly in front of you. On the same side of the island is a gorgeous white beach with some great snorkeling on its rocky corners. Other activities on the island is a 4 hour bike tour around the island. During my bike tour the rain came and went which added to the fun, 26km of riding up and down hills, through the paddie fields and rubber plantations and stopping at a waterfall.

Hiking trails are around the property, a Muay Thai booking ring on the waters edge and of course yoga classes add to the active, healthy vibe.

You can also enjoy an hour’s kayak through the mangroves, where we saw snakes lying on the tree branches.

You can’t stay on the island and not enjoy a day trip to one of the close by islands. You can book a long boat or private yacht for some island hopping -  Phi Phi Island, James Bond Island and the islands of  Krabi.

 

 

Villas

With an emphasis on space, privacy and nature, each of the thatched-roof villas ramble across different levels, with large decks, outdoor salas, dining areas and a private swimming pool. Every villas comes with it's own GEM (guest experience manager) for all your concierge needs.

The interior is designed with drift wood, a beautiful bed in the centre of the room, a sunken bathtub in the huge bathroom along with an out door shower.

The entry level rooms are beautifully located in the lush jungle but the sea view villas are the ones to book providing the most incredible views of Phang Nga Bay so you can enjoy the sunrise and sunset. I would say for two guests book “The View” an Ocean Panoramic villa and for large families “The Ocean Retreat” or “The Hideaway” as they are real Robinson Crusoe tree houses!

 

 

 

Dining

The Living Room is the International all day alfresco dining restaurant located close to the beach which serves a breakfast buffet with healthy options direct from a menu. For dinner every night the menu changes for wok, grill and buffet options.

 

The Hilltop - when the sun goes down, the sun loungers are replaced with tables and chairs for the dinner set up. It's the exclusive restaurant on the island. Enjoy drinks at the bar and the feast of a sustainably crafted menu all while enjoying the incredible view.

During the day you can order from the lunch menu.

 

The Den offers Asian tapas and is a great place for a cocktail or two.

 

If you’re looking for a more romantic or private dining experience then you can enjoy in villa dining next to your swimming pool on the terrace of your villa or a private ding experience set up around the island.

 

Don't forget to visit the all day ice-cream parlor next to the Living Room and work your way through the yummiest selection of flavors.

 

 

Spa

Unless you have been hiding under a rock, you will know that Six Senses Spas are known to be top-notch when it comes to their spa and holistic offerings, and this resort is no exception.

Designed as a small stilted village at the heart of the resort, treatments here range from energizing Thai massages to multi-day immersive programs including private chakra meditation and detox diets. There's a juice bar, and an alchemy room where guests can blend their own herbal steam balls and massage oils.

 

 

 

Children’s Activities

The island doesn’t have a kids club they have something better… The Junior Eco Warrior Club which offers a daily activity plan encouraging the kids to be out doors in nature and explore the island. They can go to the farm to learn how to milk goats, collect eggs and a cooking class. There’s also a weekly schedule for the beach cinema.

 

 

Sustainability

Sustainability is at the core of everything they do. Its not just a word that they float around, Sustainability is in their DNA.

They offer guests lemongrass drinking straws and reusable glass water bottles. Drinking water is sourced from the deep wells around the resort.

Guests are given a tour of the small farm which is home to goats, chickens, hens, ducks. There’s also a recycling plant where old furniture is made into nesting boxes for the local hornbill population.

Notes are left around the villas to remind you to turn off all the lights, how to reduce laundry and no plastic items will be found in the mini bar.

 

 

Overview

Having experienced this incredible offering before at another Six Senses property, I can definitely state that I’m a person who really loves the rawness of the island while still offering its guests a 5-star luxury escape. If you’re expecting to be in a resort with AC’s and marble floors than this is not the property for you. However, experiencing Six Senses Yao Noi will surely change your mind and encourage you to book more holidays in nature without giving up on any of your luxury needs.

 

 

 

 To book your stay please contact:

Danielle@uniquefamilytravels.com

www.uniquefamilytravels.com

 

Dani
Family Friendly Couple
Four seasons

Four Seasons Koh Samui

 

Four Seasons Koh Samui is located on the secluded northwestern tip of Laem Yai Bay. Designed by the incredible Bill Bensley (I am slowly working my way through all the properties he has designed globally), he made sure there was minimal intervention to the landscape.  When building the stunning cliff side retreat, he didn't cut down a single tree, building around them, which means that now we have an incredible lush green vegetation providing absolute privacy between villas and coconut trees while offering a picturesque landscape where green hues meet the blue of the ocean.

Rooms

The 60 pool villas are all raised on stilts and ocean facing .

The one bedroom villas are extremely spacious with a infinity pool and deck for outside dining.

One is immediately greeted by the grandeur of the king-sized bed which is under a high gabled ceiling. This opens up onto a double vanity bathroom and wardrobes that then lead into a huge bathroom with rain shower and an oval shaped tub. The floor to ceiling windows open up on to the deck bringing the outside in. The villa is complimented by teak furniture, quietly eclectic art and moody lighting. The little touches in your room at turn down service have the quintessential and trademark wonderful FS touch.

If your looking for the higher rooms go with numbers 200/300 as they are close to the spa and the main hilltop restaurant.

 

Residences

There are 10 large residences with 3/4/5 bedrooms which are simply stunning. Huge infinity swimming pools, with separate buildings for the bedrooms and kitchen and dining areas, all located around the heart of the property; and all always overlooking the majestic ocean vistas.

I noticed around the property there were these stunning authentic doors, especially in the residences acting as the double doors opening up into the bedrooms.

For multi generational families traveling together, these are perfect, as you can all be together yet still manage to have your own space. A private chef is on hand at all times, so all you need to do is relax and take in the incredible views.

 

Dining

Koh Thai Kitchen is the restaurant on the hilltop where they serve breakfast and then in the evenings Thai cuisine.

Pla Pla is the beach restaurant offering scrumptious seafood and meat dishes.

In villa dining is a great option as they will set up your villa terrace so you can relax and enjoy your own private views.

Cocorum is the pool bar with great snacks and easy dishes. Once a week there is a bbq dinner on the beach, which is beautifully lit so you can still manage to stargaze.

 

Family Friendly

“Kids for all Seasons” have a tree house located on the beach with a jungle gym inside and arts and crafts. For the older kids the Beach House is a great chill out area with a pool table, table football and table tennis table. 

 

Activities

Like most first class resorts, many water sports are on offer from SUP to Kayaks. The on site marine biologist will assist with snorkeling tours and educate on the surrounding coral and marine life

The pretty Secret Garden Spa has five treatment rooms, there are two tennis courts, the gym is well equipped and there’s a Muay Thai boxing ring and a yoga platform, both with stunning views.

The concierge will book a boat tour so as you can visit the neighboring islands which is a great way to spend the day.

 

The beach is small, untouched with white powder sand. Day beds are scattered around in front of the main swimming pool which is elevated and has a bar area. You will also spot a couple of massage beds on the beach, book a treatment while listening to the sounds of the ocean waves.

 

Service

All over their global portfolio, Four Seasons motto is Luxury is our love language and this is emphatically amplified at Four Seasons Koh Samui. Staff greet you by name, nothing is too much to ask from the friendly staff and if you don't fancy walking down to the beach and back up to your villa, the golf carts are on hand and very quick.

 

Over view

Having stayed at Four Seasons Seychelles the Koh Samui version has a similar look and feel, which ticks every box for me. Breath taking views, incredible villas and impeccable service. There’s nothing quite so beautiful as cliff side properties that merge the lush green hues with the blues of the ocean. That combo is hard to resist.

 

Bonus

A great way to experience, Thailand,  The Land of Smiles is by staying at each of the three Four Seasons sophisticated resorts. Explore the diverse cultures, landscapes and experiences as you journey through a lush valley of rice fields and an incomparable glamping destination in the North, to the white sand beaches of the South.

As different as they are, these three resorts in Thailand will fill your soul, clear your mind and leaving you wanting more.

 

Start at Four Seasons Koh Samui then move to the Chiang Rai staying at the Four Seasons Golden Triangle in a luxury tent in the jungle where you can enjoy nature and get up close and personal with elephants, then move on to experience traditional accommodation set amongst the paddie fields at Four Seasons Chiang Mai.

 

Thailand, through the lens of Four Seasons, is quite clearly the perfect vacation solution.To book your stay please contact:

Danielle@uniquefamilytravels.com

www.uniquefamilytravels.com

 

Dani
Family Friendly Couple
Lead Mara

GCC Top Luxury Travel Agent

Its such an honor to be featured in Conde Nast Traveller as one of the top luxury travel agents in the GCC.

Using a service like Unique Family Travels provides the traveller of today with a certain kind of reassurance, comfort and support that is not readily available in an industry dominated by generic online booking services,” says Wilson Naqvi, who founded a luxury travel agency loved by Emiratis and Saudis in 2018. “This comfort and trust is even more important, because we work with new resorts in new destinations that many travellers may never have even heard of. A huge advantage of booking with UFT is our hotel rates – they’re certainly far cheaper than what will be found on any booking portal. This is achieved by cultivating relationships with hotels so that they understand our client base and want to work with them long-term. Our clients also receive additional benefits like upgrades, complimentary transfers, cuisine tailored to their dietary requirements, complimentary additional nights and – especially important in today’s Covid-related travelling – a practical cancellation policy.

“Despite the pandemic, 2021 has been our most successful year. We booked private islands, large villas and boutique properties in the mountains such as the Dolomites. Multi generation family travel is on the increase, as families want to take holidays together to reconnect after the pandemic. I encourage my clients to experience safari in BotswanaTanzania and Kenya: all ages can enjoy it, and the properties I work with have only five or six villas, which provide safety, space and peace of mind. There’s nothing better than being outdoors, feeling grounded, enjoying wildlife at its best. I also arrange a lot of ladies group travel – over the years we have been to Cape TownThailand and Sri Lanka. My next ladies trip will be to West Hollywood and also Uganda and Rwanda to see the mountain gorillas in Volcanoes National Park.” @uniquefamilytravel

Link - https://www.cntravellerme.com/travel-intel/top-travel-agents-share-their-travel-tips-and-where-theyre-travelling-in-2022

To book your luxury holiday please contact:

Danielle@uniquefamilytravels.com

www.uniquefamilytravels.com

 

Dani
Family Friendly Couple
Chedi Lead

The Chedi Montenegro

I have just returned from a wonderful week in Montenegro, a petite country in the south-east of Europe, next to Croatia, sitting on the Adriatic Sea and having an intoxicating vibrant Mediterranean energy. A destination which I believe is very underrated and a place where I will certainly revisit on multiple occasions for its beauty and adventure.

 

This country on the southern Adriatic coast never ceases to amaze, from its natural beauty of green forest covered mountains, sun-kissed beaches, clear lakes and many island beauties to its cozy towns filled with ancient history and architecture.

 

Ideally I would recommended renting a car so as you can explore all the wonderful regions which I will break down below, but first let me share my experience staying at The Chedi located in the upscale Lustica Bay marina village.

 

The hotel overlooks a man-made marina at the bottom of a series of serpentine bends, in a secluded bay.

The village has taken inspiration from the vernacular architecture of local villages and offers luxury homes and apartments to rent and buy – great for a summer apartment.

 

As you walk into the large lobby of the hotel you are warmly greeted by the friendly staff who are quick to welcome you and share information about the area.

 

There are 111 rooms in 10 different categories. Some provide a forestry mountain backdrop while the sea view rooms have nice balconies to relax and watch the marina in full action.

All the rooms offer a palette of aquamarine, grey and white providing a Mediterranean vibe letting in a lot of light with the floor to ceiling windows.

The hotel has an infinity pool and a private pebbly beach with sun loungers and pontoons for easy access to the water, which is next to the hotel and a 10 minute walk away is their sandy private beach.

You can enjoy water sports such as paddle-boarding, jet skiing and of course boat trips which can take you around Montenegro for tours.

 

In addition to the outdoor infinity pool there’s another one in the spa along with a sauna a fitness centre.

 

Dining

The hotel offers 4 different restaurants, in the lobby is a bar and cake counter along with the all day Mediterranean dining called The Restaurant.  The Spot is another location where hotel guest can also enjoy breakfast and is on the marina walk.

My favourite was ROK Beach Lounge which is 3 mins walk from the hotel on the beach with a rustic “Hamptons” vibe. During the day the menu is light bites and then in the evening it offers an Asian menu.

 

Marina Dining

There is a large selection of restaurants all providing a verity of cuisine at great prices and not forgetting the lovely light house restaurant which is a walk around the Marina promenade.

 

Entertainment

There is a kids club for the younger children and when the older kids need a little time out of the sun they have a gaming centre with a golf simulator. There’s an outdoor cinema for Chedi movie nights!

 

 

What I loved about the Chedi Resort was the beautiful location around the marina which is perfect for families to enjoy everything on its doorstep from hiking, the beach, to the great selection of restaurants and bars to just relax and enjoy long evenings out doors.

 

Regions of Montenegro

 

Tivat known for its state-of-the-art luxury marina Porto Montenegro (owned by The Investment Corporation of Dubai, main investment arm of the Government of Dubai) offers a great marina lifestyle with designer boutiques, great restaurants and the marina club which offers sailing and is also home to Buddha Bar.

 

Bay of Kotor is a UNESCO World Heritage site and the largest natural harbor in the Eastern Mediterranean.  Here you will see lots of cruise liners coming in to the harbor. Book a private boat tour to explore nearby attractions such as Our Lady of the Rocks, St George Island, the Blue Caves (amazing clear ocean perfect for swimming) and explore the submarine tunnels.

 

Old Kotor you can walk around the old piazzas and through the narrow streets you will spot the famous walls which is a trademark of the town. The walk will take you approx. 1 hour and provide stunning views.

 

Perast is located in the Bay of Kotor and for me my favorite region as its so picturesque with lots of lovely eateries on the waters edge. Its just one kilometre end-to-end, but what makes Perast truly unique is that the town has kept its traditional appearance, meaning there’s no modern architecture and all the buildings are built in the traditional stone style with Baroque Palaces and churches. The stone palaces and church belfries are interspersed with palm trees, vivid greenery and bright purple bougainvillea flowers that climb up over terraces and shade courtyards. It’s almost like the town has been frozen in time, its so pretty and a great place to enjoy lunch or dinner.

 

While in Perast, right opposite you will see the two most famous islands - Saint George Island a Benedictine monastery, and the other, Our Lady of the Rocks, which is a Catholic church and museum that attracts thousands of visitors. If you want to do a quick tour of both of the islands you can take a boat across.

Although it’s become a busy tourist destination, Perast’s charm is undeniable and a visit to, or stay in, this historic town is a must when you visit the Bay of Kotor. 

Cetinje is the spiritual capital of Montenegro and home to the Royal Castle, museums and many monasteries including Cetinje Monastery. 35 minutes past Cetinie is Budva Rivera famous for its beautiful beaches, great restaurants and a fun nightlife.

While in Budva Riviera make sure you visit the unique island Sveti Stefan which used to be a hotel – its so beautiful. Sveti Stefan is a signature postcard moment of Montenegro and a must see.

 

Bar is the largest coastal town in Montenegro. Enjoy the area and then make your way to the old town of Bar which preserves the spirit of old Turkish towns, paved with stone.

 

Head south towards Ulcinj down the coastal road and head towards the old town. Here you will hear tales about the pirates and Cervantes, a prisoner of the dungeon. Walk around Ada Bojana the place where the River Bojana meets the sea and stop for lunch at one of the many wonderful restaurants offering gastronomic experiences.

 

Take the old road to Ostros the picturesque route to Podgorica the capital of Montenegro. Drive along the shore of Lake Skadar which is the largest lake in the Balkans and visit the scenic town of Virpazar.

 

There are lots of ways you can experience Skadar Lake’s beauty and culture. From the national park’s gateway town of Virpazar you can take a relaxing boat cruise to see the wildlife and islands, or explore on your own in a kayak or hike up the trails and stumble on ruined fortresses.

 

Durmitor National Park is one of the most beautiful National Parks in this part of Europe. Among over 18 glacial lakes called mountain eyes, the Black Lake takes the prime. Whichever option you go with, you will experience Montenegro’s wild beauty. Visit two beautiful areas: Biogradska Gora on the north east or Durmitor on the north of the country. Biogradska Gora is an untouched forest with trees over five-hundred-years old, large mountain slopes and glacier lakes at over 1800 meters, and an easily accessible lake at the very entrance to the Park.

Again this is a great location for kayaking, zip lining, hiking and horse riding.

One of the deepest canyons in Europe is Tara River which snakes between sky- high mountains,. Here you can explore canyons, dive off cliffs into spectacular waterfalls and ride the thrilling rapids. This is where you can enjoy incredible moments  surrounded in nature and then raise your adrenaline even further as you cascade down some ferocious white water rafting.

This area is also called the Tear of Europe because the water is so pure you can literally drink it!

If you want to take it slow, enjoy the more rustic side of Montenegro and visit Lustica peninsular its such a pretty raw area that's recently built a stunning new marina and housing development. There is one hotel in this area, read the review here:

For more information on Montenegro, exclusive hotel rates and a detailed family itinerary contact Unique Family Travels.

TOP TIPS:

* If you are visiting Croatia/Montenegro add a few extra days to your trip and visit Montenegro/Croatia - it's an easy border crossing from Dubrovnik.  International airlines that don't land in Montenegro will land in Croatia.

* If you are renting a car – keep swimwear with you at all times as the coastal road is so inviting to simply pull over, enjoy a beach hut bite to eat and have a dip in the ocean.

*From Dubai - FlyDubai fly direct to Montenegro during late June/July/August and early September. Vaccinated visitors only require showing their vaccination report. UAE Nationals do not require visas to enter.

To book your stay please contact:

Danielle@uniquefamilytravels.com

www.uniquefamilytravels.com

 

Dani
Family Friendly Couple
11

One & Only Montenegro

I have just returned from a wonderful week in Montenegro, a petite country in the south-east of Europe, next to Croatia, sitting on the Adriatic Sea and having an intoxicating vibrant Mediterranean energy. A destination which I believe is very underrated and a place where I will certainly revisit on multiple occasions for its beauty and adventure.

 

This country on the southern Adriatic coast never ceases to amaze, from its natural beauty of green forest covered mountains, sun-kissed beaches, clear lakes and many island beauties to its cozy towns filled with ancient history and architecture.

 

Ideally I would recommended renting a car so as you can explore all the wonderful regions which I will break down below, but first let me share my experience at the beautiful luxury resort One & Only Portonovi located in the Herceg Novi region at the entrance of Boka Bay on Montenegro’s Adriatic Sea.

 

Fifteen minutes drive from Tivat airport and you arrive at the ferry crossing for a 10 minute ocean crossing. Its such a lovely way to be introduced to Montenegro with the stunning fjord like mountain range and the picturesque coast line.

 

The One & Only Portonovi is the first location of this reputable brand in Europe and its located on the waters edge in the glamorous new Portonovi Marina. Surrounded by the ocean and rugged mountains with a large beautiful white sandy beach and pretty grounds lush in lavender and agapanthus flowers, the setting for this resort starts lulling you into that luxury-tinted peaceful feeling.

 

The property provides a modern Venetian architecture with many room categories in different buildings which all offer either beach front or Boka Bay views. We stayed in the Panoramic Bayview Room with sweeping views of Boka Bay and Tapasake Club which is their Japanese restaurant around the adult pool – a daily beehive of activity with a DJ usually playing cool vibes and a selection of beds and amazing cabanas scattered around the pool with easy access into the sea.

 

Rooms

The large open plan rooms are beautifully designed with the signature One & Only finish and come with a large balcony. I have to say the bathroom is simply stunning - a lounge chair is located in the middle of the bathroom, two sinks, his and her wardrobes, separate shower and a bath come day bed under the huge window – a perfect relaxing area overlooking the ocean. If spending time in the bathroom is your thing then this is the prefect location for that!

 

The rooms are a very generous size but the suites take comfort to another level – huge, elegant and available in a 2 bedroom which are perfect for families. If you want to have a private pool then there are two Mediterranean style villas which offer a 2 and 3 bedrooms . With arched hallways and cool stone floors exuding Montenegrin style, while the lush outdoor living area draws you out to enjoy your private pool and inviting garden on the edge of Boka Bay.

 

For larger families I would recommend the Signature Villas which are located slightly away from the main hotel but have buggy access. These villas are all duplex with 3,4 and 5 bedrooms and have a private beach, private jetty, large gardens with a pool and come with butler service. I could see my family settling in quiet nicely to the modern yet elegant villas and spending the entire summer relaxed with easy access to visit all the regions within Montenegro.

 

Dining

The two headline restaurants are beachside Sabia, from Michelin Starred Italian hero Giorgio Locatelli, and Tapasake Club, from ex-Nobu Chef Yannick Bayjoo. This kind of pedigree speaks for itself and delivers exactly based on that kind of level.

 

La Veranda is set within the gardens and serves all day dining and where breakfast is served. If you fancy dinner out of the hotel one evening then a 5 minutes walk to Portonovi Marina you will find many dining spots to chose from.

 

The food in Montenegro was amazing – if you love seafood then you certainly will not be disappointed!

 

Entertainment

There is an excellent all day kids club, a buzzing climbing activity centre along with a long list of indoor activities as well as the requisite water sports such as kayaks, SUPs, water polo and beach volleyball; there is also an expansive infinity pool to lounge around and three fresh water pools located next to the sandy beach. You can also take a One & Only boat from their jetty to explore the hidden gems such as the submarine caves and the blue caves.

 

 

Chenot Espace Medical Spa

This is a destination in its own right and perfect to visit any month of the year. The impressive Chenot Espace spa combines Chinese medicine and Western technology. It runs intensive multi-day detox programs, supervised by doctors and nutritionists, tailored to individual guest's requirements. Treatments include bio-energy, hydrotherapy, cryotherapy, ozone therapy and hydro-colon flushes. There's a modern gym with the best equipment and personal trainers, and the most beautiful indoor pool I’ve ever seen. Combined with the relaxing ambiance and great cuisine I would come again just for the spa.

 

One & Only Portonovi is a stunning property that has everything you need and more. It's an ideal place to simply relax, inhale the fresh sea breeze air and explore the magic of Montenegro.

 

Regions of Montenegro

 

Tivat known for its state-of-the-art luxury marina Porto Montenegro (owned by The Investment Corporation of Dubai, main investment arm of the Government of Dubai) offers a great marina lifestyle with designer boutiques, great restaurants and the marina club which offers sailing and is also home to Buddha Bar.

 

Bay of Kotor is a UNESCO World Heritage site and the largest natural harbor in the Eastern Mediterranean.  Here you will see lots of cruise liners coming in to the harbor. Book a private boat tour to explore nearby attractions such as Our Lady of the Rocks, St George Island, the Blue Caves (amazing clear ocean perfect for swimming) and explore the submarine tunnels.

 

Old Kotor you can walk around the old piazzas and through the narrow streets you will spot the famous walls which is a trademark of the town. The walk will take you approx. 1 hour and provide stunning views.

 

Perast is located in the Bay of Kotor and for me my favorite region as its so picturesque with lots of lovely eateries on the waters edge. Its just one kilometre end-to-end, but what makes Perast truly unique is that the town has kept its traditional appearance, meaning there’s no modern architecture and all the buildings are built in the traditional stone style with Baroque Palaces and churches. The stone palaces and church belfries are interspersed with palm trees, vivid greenery and bright purple bougainvillea flowers that climb up over terraces and shade courtyards. It’s almost like the town has been frozen in time, its so pretty and a great place to enjoy lunch or dinner.

 

While in Perast, right opposite you will see the two most famous islands - Saint George Island a Benedictine monastery, and the other, Our Lady of the Rocks, which is a Catholic church and museum that attracts thousands of visitors. If you want to do a quick tour of both of the islands you can take a boat across.

Although it’s become a busy tourist destination, Perast’s charm is undeniable and a visit to, or stay in, this historic town is a must when you visit the Bay of Kotor. 

Cetinje is the spiritual capital of Montenegro and home to the Royal Castle, museums and many monasteries including Cetinje Monastery. 35 minutes past Cetinie is Budva Rivera famous for its beautiful beaches, great restaurants and a fun nightlife.

While in Budva Riviera make sure you visit the unique island Sveti Stefan which used to be a hotel – its so beautiful. Sveti Stefan is a signature postcard moment of Montenegro and a must see.

 

Bar is the largest coastal town in Montenegro. Enjoy the area and then make your way to the old town of Bar which preserves the spirit of old Turkish towns, paved with stone.

 

Head south towards Ulcinj down the coastal road and head towards the old town. Here you will hear tales about the pirates and Cervantes, a prisoner of the dungeon. Walk around Ada Bojana the place where the River Bojana meets the sea and stop for lunch at one of the many wonderful restaurants offering gastronomic experiences.

 

Take the old road to Ostros the picturesque route to Podgorica the capital of Montenegro. Drive along the shore of Lake Skadar which is the largest lake in the Balkans and visit the scenic town of Virpazar.

 

There are lots of ways you can experience Skadar Lake’s beauty and culture. From the national park’s gateway town of Virpazar you can take a relaxing boat cruise to see the wildlife and islands, or explore on your own in a kayak or hike up the trails and stumble on ruined fortresses.

 

Durmitor National Park is one of the most beautiful National Parks in this part of Europe. Among over 18 glacial lakes called mountain eyes, the Black Lake takes the prime. Whichever option you go with, you will experience Montenegro’s wild beauty. Visit two beautiful areas: Biogradska Gora on the north east or Durmitor on the north of the country. Biogradska Gora is an untouched forest with trees over five-hundred-years old, large mountain slopes and glacier lakes at over 1800 meters, and an easily accessible lake at the very entrance to the Park.

Again this is a great location for kayaking, zip lining, hiking and horse riding.

One of the deepest canyons in Europe is Tara River which snakes between sky- high mountains,. Here you can explore canyons, dive off cliffs into spectacular waterfalls and ride the thrilling rapids. This is where you can enjoy incredible moments  surrounded in nature and then raise your adrenaline even further as you cascade down some ferocious white water rafting.

This area is also called the Tear of Europe because the water is so pure you can literally drink it!

If you want to take it slow, enjoy the more rustic side of Montenegro and visit Lustica peninsular its such a pretty raw area that's recently built a stunning new marina and housing development. There is one hotel in this area, read the review here:

For more information on Montenegro, exclusive hotel rates and a detailed family itinerary contact Unique Family Travels.

TOP TIPS:

* If you are visiting Croatia/Montenegro add a few extra days to your trip and visit Montenegro/Croatia - it's an easy border crossing from Dubrovnik.  International airlines that don't land in Montenegro will land in Croatia.

* If you are renting a car – keep swimwear with you at all times as the coastal road is so inviting to simply pull over, enjoy a beach hut bite to eat and have a dip in the ocean.

*From Dubai - FlyDubai fly direct to Montenegro during late June/July/August and early September. Vaccinated visitors only require showing their vaccination report. UAE Nationals do not require visas to enter.

To book your stay please contact:

Danielle@uniquefamilytravels.com

www.uniquefamilytravels.com

 

Dani
Family Friendly Couple
Belmond Caruso

Belmond Caruso Ravello

Luxury comes in all sorts of forms but to me luxury defines the meaning of space/freedom and time, living and connecting in the moment wanting for nothing, yet having that feeling of escapism and being in an environment that you don't have everyday.

A short drive from Positano on the coast yet up the mountain face on a very windy mountain road takes you to the historical region of Ravello. I have to be honest I didn't know what to expect from Ravello apart from it being a slowly pace of life – there was only one reason I wanted to go and that was to experience the famous Belmond Caruso.

 

If your not aware of the brand Belmond, let me give you a little insight;

In 1976 Belmond opened the doors to the legendary Cipriani, a Belmond Hotel in Venice. In 1982 the brand started taking people on the famous Venice Simplon – Orient Express. In 2019 Belmond joined the LVMH Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton – reinforcing their place among the leaders in luxury.

For over 40 years Belmond has followed its pioneering spirit and passion for authenticity to uncover and create some of the world greats travel adventures in stunning destinations across the globe.

 

I personally have a list as long as my arm of Belmond experiences I want to do, yet having stayed in the Belmond Splendido in Portofino in 2018 my love for this exquisite brand grows with love and respect.

 

 

Perched high above the hilltop town of Ravello, over 1000 feet above sea level, overlooking the Bay of Salerno, it is one of Amalfi’s most romantic boltholes. It began life as an 11th-century palazzo, and its location is matched by the traditional Italianate charm of the décor.

 

The Belmond Hotel Caruso offers guests exceptional views over the Amalfi Coast and the Mediterranean. A masterpiece in its design is the hotel’s infinity pool, where guests will feel as if they are floating above the azure ocean, almost as if they were closer to the sky than the sea.

 

Reflecting the splendour of ages past, throughout the property there is evidence of its ancient charm, from the tiny-baroque style chapel, the hanging gardens, the vaulted terrace, its plush furnishings to its fresco-covered ceilings.

 

Once you arrive in the square right outside the door of the hotel you get out of your car and instantly feel like you’re in a classic movie - sans the vintage car and more realistically my Fiat Panda!

With the door man dressed impeccably as he rushes to assist you, my mums jaw drops to the ground as enters the building as she loves history and is crazy about antiques. Greeted by the team and handed a refreshing drink the breeze from the patio doors gets our attention and there right in front of us in the beautiful view…

 

The Property

We start with a tour of the property, with the chic designer boutique in the lobby with the celling as the masterpiece to the vintage lift which took us to the first floor. Here you will find the dining area with a large private dining room and a bar which offers the wonderful views. Theres also a glass cabinet which has all the original papers and artifacts from back in the day when the palace was owned by a sailor.

 

 

The pool

Hands down the most beautiful infinity pool in all of the Amalfi! The pool offers so many different back drops from the Ravello mountain range to the Mediterranean. You will not stop taking pictures – or should I say – I didn't stop taking pictures! The gardens are lovely, you can enjoy a quiet corner of the gardens to relax and admire the view.

 

 

Dining

You must try the pizza at the pool restaurant it’s something else.

Dinner is strictly reservation only and offers a fine dining service.

Every morning we had breakfast on our terrace as the view was so beautiful. The perfect arch was covered in pretty wisteria flowers and directly in front of us was the village on the cliff face and the med coast line - Utterly picture perfect.

 

Room

We had a junior suite with a balcony that offers picture postcard views of the ocean and coast line. You can also have the same room type with a garden. The interiors are elegant and refined and to match with the style of the hotel - TVs are fitted within mirrors and the safety box is hidden behind art – so regal like! The natural rock protrudes through the walls and celling offering a natural feeling.

 

The signature Margarita Villa is set back on the grounds of the hotel yet offers private access and comes with butler service. Entering via the beautiful garden (which soon will have a private pool)

This is the perfect villa for a family with 2 bedrooms spread across two floors with both bedrooms having two bathrooms and the downstairs bedroom is attached to a large living room.

The villa has an over sized roof top area which offers utter relaxation and views for miles.

Villa Margarita has been a celebrity favorite over the years offering utter privacy yet all the bells and whistles of the incredible Belmond Experience.

 

Service

Well what would you expect from a Belmond property – nothing less than exquisite manners served from every member of staff.

 

Ravello Town

From the entrance of the hotel you walk through the allyway into the narrow paths, where beautiful stores can be found and entrances to public gardens. Keep walking down wide steps and your greeted by the beautiful picturesque square with people eating and walking around. Coming from Positano the square was more calm and relaxed and gave a feel of tranquility.

 

While in Ravello you must have Pannis for lunch at Ii Panino in Piazza duomo - the yummiest panini sandwiches with every filling you could imagine. You know the bread is perfect when there is no bloating!

 

Design your custom made leather Sandals in 10 minutes for 60 Euro in any color from a tiny boutique in Piazza Duomo.

You will find lots of ceramic stores in Ravello - Pascal Ceramiche d’Arte is considered one of the top ceramics producers in Ravello, with so many beautiful pieces that can easily be shipped home for you.

 

Wander through the Villa Rufolo and beautiful gardens - Built in the 13th century, in its heyday the Villa Rufulo was one of the largest villas on the Amalfi Coast. Over time the villa fell into ruin. In the 19th century, it was bought by Sir Francis Neville Reid, a botanist from Scotland, who renovated what was left of the villa and brought its gardens back to life.

Ravello’s cathedral was built in the 11th century, but it has been renovated many times since. It has a simple white facade, and faces out onto Ravello’s main square, the Piazza Duomo or the Piazza Vescovado.

 

 

Room Tour - https://www.instagram.com/reel/Cda6y86ofJH/?utm_source=ig_web_copy_link

 

To book your stay please contact:

Danielle@uniquefamilytravels.com

www.uniquefamilytravels.com

 

Dani
Family Friendly Couple
LEAD casa

Wonderful Casa Angelina

 On our Italian road trip we were also staying on the world famous Amalfi coast - this was actually going to be my first time in this picturesque area and I had so much to see but I was equally excited about where I was going to be staying as the hotels I had been invited to see had always been on my ‘must visit’ list.

 

Only an hour from Naples airport and 3.5 hours from PUGLIA we arrived at the popular coastal road.

Driving into the Amalfi Coast everyone told me to be careful on the narrow windy roads and they were right!

The coast line is so pretty but the roads are so narrow and some of the drivers go so fast that your heart misses a beat multiple times - plus those scooter drivers have no fear darting in and out of traffic - makes the driving in Dubai seem super safe and rather slow!

I was following google maps and it tells me the hotel is coming up on my right but all I see is a small road with a stunning bronze sculpture of two people at the entrance. I take a sharp right, drive down the steep path towards the ocean and there in front of me we are greeted by the hotel staff… welcome to Casa Angelina!

Casa Angelina is a Leading Hotels of the World property, which to be honest is all one needs to know because it certainly lives up to that lofty billing. Tucked away in Praiano on the Amalfi coast this is a little hidden gem that is simply hard to describe. Not only does it provide awe-inspiring views of Positano right in front of you and only 10 mins drive from the hotel but also views of the island of Capri, it makes you think you’ve found paradise on earth.

 

The hotel has modern aesthetics with white washed contemporary design, clean lines and oozes elegance and breathtaking boldness as it cascades down many levels of a rock face while having as a canvas the brilliant, shimmering blue of the Mediterranean.

 

In the lobby area is a grand piano, a cocktail bar and white sofas with lots of cushions of thick bouncy cushions that are complete with large coffee table books on Italy which simply invites you to relax with an aperitif and enjoy the incredible view right in front of you gazing the large windows.

 

All around the property including outdoors you will find part of the hotel owners private collection of stunning glass sculptures made from Murano glass which provides that pop of color against the vivid beauty of the surrounding area.

 

Each level of the hotel offers something so unique from the roof top dining, beautiful well manicured gardens, a swimming pool and deck area complete with lemon trees, the well-being floor which has the spa, gym and indoor swimming pool and then the basement of the property provides direct beach access … well 250 steps down to the beach called One Fire Beach.

 

All the guest rooms and the fine dining restaurant can be found on the higher floors in order to provide you with front row seats of the most spectacular views of Positano and Capri.

 

Rooms

The property has a selection of rooms types all with wonderful ocean views and the stunning all white ascetic is extremely comfortable and fresh. With crisp white sheets and array of pillows the bed is surely inviting!

We had a terrace room which offers just that - a 30’square meter terrace with sun loungers and a dining area - perfect for people who enjoy sun bathing and taking in the incredible views.

The room comes with all modern amenities - Bang & Olfson TV, iPad, docking station and touch screen lighting. I can always tell a great room by the hair dryer brand each room has and on this Italian road trip I have been pleasantly surprised by the excellent choices. Casa Angelina had a Dyson hair dryer!

 

Service

I am a sucker for excellent service and being in the hospitality industry I don’t believe there’s any excuse for any type of divergence.

The staff at Casa Angelina went above and beyond to provide a high level of service to every guest. From their warm hospitality, great knowledge, nothing was too much; their approach was world class and their genuine happiness to assist right filtered through the entire team.

 

Dining

Breakfast and dinner is served on the roof top.

Table reservations are mandatory - in fact most of The Amalfi Coast is table reservation so book in advance to avoid disappointment

 

Location

The world famous Positano is located only 10 minutes away from Praiano and the hotel offers a complimentary shuttle service via their fleet of Mercedes cars.

Personally I preferred not staying in Positano as it’s so busy and Casa Angelina offers a more chic experience away from tourists and set in such beautiful grounds. You get the best of both worlds, the bustle of beautiful Positano and the elegant luxury of Casa Angelina.

 

It’s the little things!

Once we checked out of the hotel we got into our hire car and noticed that it had be cleaned inside and out with fresh water for our drive - a beautiful touch!

 

Prior to arrival at Casa Angeline you will receive an email for your preferences in order to make your stay more comfortable. You can chose from a range of pillows along with your choice of skin care range - Jo Malone, L’ Occitane.  

 

A couple of my top tips while visiting Positano.

 

Away from the crowds yet over looking Positano as you sit on the roadside is Bruno’s – perfect for a yummy pasta – very reasonably priced and very authentic.

 

Positano is famous for its lemons so you cant visit and not have a lemon ice cream or lemon slush. You will find the stands all through the winding streets down to the beach

 

Buy a pair of leather custom made sandals or handbag – add a cute strap

 

Take a boat to Capri. You can book a private boat at the hotel. Don’t go on the ferry it’s super packed. I didn’t manage to go to Capri this time but I will next time! Casa Angelina also has their own boat which can be booked in advance for day charters. If you charter a boat be sure to experience the famous Blue Grotto or the thermal baths on the island of Ischia

 

If you fancy a day on the beach in amongst the vibrant town of Positano then go to the instagramable  Spiaggia Grand Beach – rent chairs and umbrella’s for Euro 25 per day.

 

If you love hiking then you must try The Path of the Gods!  Its an easy hike around 7km, but will take some time, the views are sure to wow you!

 

Rent a scooter – right next door to Casa Angelina is a church where there is a small scooter rental store. Be careful drivers can be crazy but if off season im sure its pretty amazing to ride right down the coast or up to Ravello.

 

Watch the sunset while having drinks at Franco’s - opens at 4pm daily and only serves drinks; its a cute spot all blue and white interior with a large lemon tree as the centre piece with views of the ocean.

The aperol spritz was amazing!

 

Thank you Casa Angelina for such a beautiful stay along with the surprise birthday cake and champagne to celebrate my mum!! Just another wonderful touch and impeccable service!

 

Room Tour - https://www.instagram.com/reel/CdP_qOoIWVz/?utm_source=ig_web_copy_link

 

To book your stay please contact:

Danielle@uniquefamilytravels.com

www.uniquefamilytravels.com

 

Dani
Family Friendly Couple
LEAD

Masseria Torre Maizza PUGLIA

 

I had heard a lot about PUGLIA which is known as the Tuscany of the south, famous for its olive trees, beautiful villages and stunning sandy beaches.

 

Having never experienced this part of italy before it was hard for me to recommend PUGLIA as a destination to my clients - I was always slightly hesitant on what people can do while there and exactly where to stay. Now that I’ve been I have more of an understanding which I am delighted to share with you.

 

Flying in from the UAE gets you into Naples. From the airport it’s a 3 hour drive down the autoastrada (motorway) across the country to the Apuglia Region, which is where PUGLIA is located. From the UK or Europe you can fly directly into Bari or Brindisi.

 

We rented a car from Naples airport via Sicily By Car hire which was pretty straight forward - booking online, collecting and returning the car back, hassle free.

 

The drive is a little boring as the scenery doesn’t change much but the autoastrada has no speed limit so just bomb your way down.

Masseria Torre Maizza

We were staying at one of Roccofortes properties, Masseria Torre Maizza which is in the Farsano area. This was a hotel I really wanted to experience as its recieved such wonderful reviews and it ticked every box for a luxury stay.

I would suggest while in PUGLIA you find an area to make as your base and take day trips everywhere from your base location. Make sure your hotel has things to do so you can spend lazy days at the hotel and still be close enough to enjoy day trips.

 

Let me introduce you to Masseria Torre Maizza, an authentic Puglian hideaway - a beautiful renovated farm house which has been standing from the 16th century. The white washed Masseria was designed by Olga Polizzi, who included traditional Pugliese arts and crafts with contemporary Italian design.

 

As you enter the main gate into the grounds you are instantly welcomed by so many olive trees which are over 1000 years old and cover the entire property grounds. The fresh breeze in the air makes it difficult not to notice the scent of jasmine from the gardens.

 

It’s a boutique family friendly property with most of the rooms having swimming pools. There’s also a large communal pool. For golf lovers there’s an 9 hole golf course and only 6k drive away is Bambu Beach the hotel’s private sandy beach club with complimentary shuttle service.

 

Rooms

We had a beautifully designed junior suite in a natural colour palate with a lounge area and opens up into a lovely garden with heated pool and views over looking the olive trees.

 

Not every room comes with a private pool but they all have lovely small gardens to relax in and enjoy the views - some over looking the golf course. The two bedroom suites all have their own swimming pools which are lovely and spacious - perfect for families. I would opt for the Torre Suite which is the top floor of the tower, very private.

 

You may laugh but traveling the world, I can always spot the little extras and great hotels win extra points for having a good hair dryer and at Masseria they had a GHD hair dryer!

 

 

Dining

Breakfast and dinner was served in the same restaurant which is indoors/ outdoors and over looks the main swimming pool.

Breakfast is served at your table with a tower of cheese and cold cuts, buratta and salmon, basket of bread and croissants along with fruit. From the menu you can choose any choice of eggs, pancakes etc

For dinner a reservation should be made.

 

Spa

The Roccos Forte signature spa uses products from Irene Fortes luxury skin care brand.

 

Service

You can’t expect anything else from a Roccoforte hotel, their attention to detail is unparalleled and their service is of the highest quality. With the global hospitality industry recovering from Covid and service standards being affected globally, the fact that Masseria did not miss a beat is a testament in itself to the Roccoforte brand.

 

As a luxury travel curator which supports sustainability, Masseria Torre Maizaa keep sustainable practices at the forefront of their services. The water is recycled which keeps the golf course green and most of the food served is grown on the property.

 

This is a hotel which exquisitely blends local heritage and surroundings with contemporary luxury and unparalleled service.

 

Day trips while in Puglia

 

Top of your list should be Alberobello.

 

Alberobello, a UNESCO site is home to the typical trulli houses -  pretty limestone dwellings which are remarkable examples of corbelled dry-stone construction, a prehistoric building technique still in use in this region. These structures, date from as early as the mid-14th century.  You will notice that symbols have been painted on the houses roofs, these are primitive, religious or zodiac symbols in order to protect the property.

There are many cute places for lunch and some great fashion boutiques. Only 25 mins drive from Masseria Torre Maizaa it's a great way to spend the day.

 

Ostuni

Known as the White City, this is a charming example of Mediterranean architecture.

Ostuni boasts a wonderful medieval village, rich with alleys and whitewashed houses, in a maze of streets which recalls an Arab Kasbah. Take a stroll in the old town centre, called “la terra” (the land) to distinguish it from the more recent “marina”: it offers picturesque spots amid the alleys, sloping stairs, courtyards and small squares, where whitewashed houses and the cathedral appear, embellished with shops & restaurants. It will feel like you’ve stepped back in time.

 

Polignano a Mare

A charming becah town set on the cliffs and overlooks the Adriatic Sea. The ocean is clear blue but it does get busy in the summer so go early. Its not a sandy beach so wear shoes and dont forget to watch out for the locals cliff diving! Do wander the streets and check out the cute restaurants and bars!

 

Monopoli

Is a charming fishing town that feels very Italian – a more slower pace more locals than tourists.

 

Lecce

The grand dame of Puglia, is a dazzling city all dolled up in baroque embellishments. The buildings of the city are built in local limestone, lathered with joyous ornate carvings and adornments done with such exuberance that it gives the city a sense of gaiety. Lecce is extravagant, even flamboyant. It is the cultural capital of Puglia, with so many monuments, churches, palaces, and museums that it has been given the nickname, “The Florence of the South.” With its elegant city center and vibrant feel, it’s impossible not to love Lecce.

 

Room Tour - https://www.instagram.com/reel/CdH40MQo_lO/?utm_source=ig_web_copy_link

 

To book your Puglia  experience, please contact:

Danielle@uniquefamilytravels.com

www.uniquefamilytravels.com

 

Dani
Family Friendly Couple
LEAD

Big Five In RWANDA

Our journeys change lives….That’s the brand line for Wilderness Safaris and they are totally right!

 

 

Magashi Camp (Wilderness Safari’s newest Rwanda masterpiece)

Magashi Camp is situated in the productive and phenomenally diverse north-eastern corner of Akagera National Park, overlooking scenic Lake Rwanyakazinga. Akagera comprises some of the most scenic savannah in East Africa – open plains, woodlands, lakes, swamp and grassy low mountains – and is home to one of Africa’s highest hippo densities, large crocodiles, as well as the rare sitatunga and almost 500 species of birds. Teeming with plains game, Akagera also boasts a healthy population of lion which were introduced by African Parks in 2015 after a 20-year absence; black rhino were reintroduced in 2017. Magashi – the only exclusive-use area in Akagera – also harbors a good density of leopard.

Wilderness Safaris’s core purpose in Akagera is to help conserve Rwanda’s last protected savannah ecosystem, and regenerate species like black rhino and the rare and elusive shoebill. 

Due to the sheer acreage of Akagera National Park, game drives can turn into big adventures with the distance being covered in all types of terrains. Like any safari experience it can boil down to luck if you spot the Big 5 but Akagera offers a huge possibility, with elephants strolling by your camp, hippos in the lake in front of your tent, the big cats and buffaloes roaming across the savannah.

During one of our game drives we unexpectedly came across two leopards playing and most likely mating in some of the rockiest terrain possible. The male ran off but the female was not in the least affected, in fact she was very confident and playful and even put on a little show for us, posturing and posing, which is actually very rare for a leopard to act this way. Even Bosco, our game drive guide and ranger of over 20 years of experience was totally flabbergasted by the audacity of the female leopard. Nature will never cease to amaze.

One day after our boat safari we came back to land and spotted two female lions relaxing in the tree. I’ve seen lions on many safaris but never relaxing in a tree. They looked like they were literally balancing on the branches and one wrong move and they would fall down. They chilled on the branches for a while and we also waited patiently as we knew when the sun went down they would be on the move again in the cooler temperature of the night. It was fascinating as we essentially went into “lion time”, animals have a totally different rhythm to life in the wild and it can be very therapeutic for us ‘hurried’ humans.

 

Once our stay at Magashi had ended we were on our drive back to the main gate and the team radio came through with the announcement that approx. 50 elephants had come to visit the camp. Again, Mother Nature does not care about our human schedules!

 

The Camp

What I really loved about Magashi was the fact you could enjoy a boat or land safari. On arrival we were driven from the main gate on an hours drive and then we hopped on the boat with refreshments heading to the camp

Our welcome to the property was by boat with the staff all signing from the jetty.

The jetty leads up to the main dining, a living area, pass the pool and the boma (fire pit)

Magashi has 6 tents either side of their central dining area. They are all one bedrooms and spread along a 1km wooden bridge that snakes through the entire property. All the tents face the lake which provides the most incredible views of the mountain range. Be it lying in bed or sitting on your terrace you have a great view of the hippos basking in the sun or bobbing their heads out of the water.

The rooms are spacious with a large bathroom. As they are tents we left the canvas cover off the zipped doors facing the terrace so we could listen to the sounds of nature in the night. This can be noisy with the sounds of lions or hippos but its totally safe and so incredible to listen to while you drift off to sleep or when you wake up in the morning.

The camp is an all inclusive with private cars so game drives can be done at any time that suits you. After a long morning game drive, we would have lunch then sit by the pool, get ready again for a sunset boat cruise. The cruise is great to enjoy sitting on the top deck of the small motor boat as you get to see wildlife you wouldn't normally get close to by land. I’m not a fan of crocs but you would see them lying on the waters edge with a bloat (group) of hippos close by. You can even crack open a bottle of wine and enjoy the journey before heading back to camp for dinner. Rwanda truly at its most magnificent.

 

Guide

Our guide was called Bosco from Zambia, he was so amazing to chat to with a wealth of knowledge about Africa and wildlife. Having worked with Wilderness Safaris for many years he’s worked all around Africa specially Zambia. I would recommend him to all my clients; he adds that level of originality and authenticity that makes the trip even more special.

 

 

RwandAir

I have to say my experience with Rwandair was pretty amazing.  We flew business class which is really affordable, very comfortable, fully reclinable seats, the latest movies on touch screen and excellent service.

Flights direct to Kigali only 5 hours from Dubai. The absolute best way to start your Rwanda adventure.

 

Rwanda

From the remains and ruins of a brutal civil war and the horrific genocide of over 800,000 human beings, rises a new country. Rwanda is not only a symbol of hope for Africa but a shining example for the world - when peace, tolerance, forgiveness, respect for rule of law and compassion and dignity for your fellow human being become cornerstones for a vibrant, growing and creative new community.

This was all on display as I traversed through the raw, natural beauty of Rwanda. Rwandans are exceptional people. They wear the lesson of the genocide with care and understanding, using the pain and suffering of those frightful days to keep striving towards a better society. It shows in the gentle words they speak and the love they show through their smiles.

The energy is palpable. You can feel that this is a country on the move, they have found the right path and they’re not looking back.

 

 

Rwanda Conclusion

From the jungles in the north, the bush in the east and the lakes in the west, it is easy to see why Rwanda is fast becoming a new tourism favorite. The rawness of the natural beauty combined with the vibrancy of a new community is intoxicating. Whether you are on game drives spotting lions and leopards, making that ‘bucket-list visit to the famous mountain gorillas, or just taking in the incredible natural vistas of mountains, jungles, savannahs and bush, Rwanda has so much to offer. As those American ladies we met at Bisate, who literally make annual pilgrimages to the gorillas, can attest, one visit to Rwanda is simply not enough.

 

 

Watch my Bisate video here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_45bG_gH_sc&t=121s

 

Watch my Gorilla Trekking video here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YPx2D4I1Y58&t=3s

 

Read my experience trekking the Mountain Gorillas:  http://www.uniquefamilytravels.com/2022/04/08/gorilla-trekking-rwanda/

 

 

To book your  bucket list experience, please contact:

Danielle@uniquefamilytravels.com

www.uniquefamilytravels.com

 

Dani
Family Friendly Couple
dani-footer

About Us

As an avid traveler, pre and post my three children, and a lover of boutique hotels, I have been fortunate enough to travel extensively, stay at unique properties and take adventures off the beaten track.

I've been lucky to see and enjoy so much that I think now is the perfect time to share my travel experiences, so I have created Unique Family Travel - a company where my team and I can develop bespoke, wonderful and unique travel experiences for you and your family. I can guarantee our experiences aren't available on the likes of large booking websites as we take you on a tailored journey which caters to your specific needs.

Each destination and journey should be a timeless memory, created for you and your family and captured in fantastic memories to keep forever. We can help with this simply because that's how I would do it for myself, my family and friends!

Do get in touch with us, drop us a line and lets get you going on your next amazing, unique travel experience.

Happy Travels

Love Dani

PS. All photos on this site are taken by me, mostly on my iphone :)

Get in touch and let's start planning your dream holiday

+97150 6882308

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