Ritz Carlton Lead

Ritz Carlton, Fari Islands

The Ritz Carlton Maldives is located on the Fari Islands, a unique archipelago featuring three luxury private resorts and a marina with Ritz’s neighbors being the Patina Maldives and the soon to open Capella Maldives.

The property had only been open 2 weeks when I arrived so there was a fresh, exciting vibe to the island and I am pleased to say the occupancy was high, which was a great sign that people were looking to savor what the Ritz had to offer.

 

Guests are welcomed to the sounds of a horn - blowing into a shell, which is very inviting as it instantly provides a pleasant mix of warmth and adventure.

I was staying in a one bedroom water villa with a pool which looked straight out into the ocean. The 100 villas on the island provide a modern architecture, with two design shapes square and circular which are in turn inspired by the water and circular movements.

The one bedroom villa is very elegant and sleek with a large bathroom and indoor/outdoor shower. The bath tub is in the main bedroom providing wonderful ocean views. Personally I thought this would have been a great opportunity to include a round bath tub instead of a standard tub which I believe would have linked beautifully with the villa, shape of the pool and natural surroundings and picture perfect.

I really loved the pool space and dining area with steps directly into the sea and hammock. Unfortunately the privacy lacked as my neighbor shouted hello from their pool. I didn't mind this but for a lot of my clients privacy is key.

Most islands in the Maldives have their restaurants situated around the island – however at Ritz Carlton all but one are located on Culinary Island, which is a unique concept located in between the spa side of the island and the activity side of the island – yet all a very quick and easy cycle ride away. The other Ritz restaurants can be found at the chic and elegant Marina Fari Islands which is only a 10 minute boat ride and offers all kinds of cool and social vibes.

The restaurants are as follows:

LA LOCANDA –brings together refreshing Southern Italian flavors

SUMMER PAVILION – this Michelin-starred collaboration offers tapas-style authentic Cantonese cuisine in a lantern-inspired dining pavilion perched over the velvety lagoon.

IWAU – showcases Japanese specialties, including a lively teppanyaki dining experience under the stars.

EAU BAR –sunset is celebrated each evening with a captivating ritual. It's a stunning bar, shisha lounge and offers a gastronomical experience.

BEACH SHACK – the communal pulse of the island perfect for long relaxing lunches.

ARABESQUE – located at Fari Marina

TUM TUM – a glam food truck located in Fari Marina offering scrumptious Asian street food.

THE RITZ-CARLTON SPA

I have to say this is the most impressive designed spa I have recently seen. I’m sure you would have seen the aerial shots of the ring shaped sanctuary which is nestled in the lagoon with the water villas providing the outline.

 The Ritz-Carlton Spa offers nine spa treatment rooms including a spa suite with its own relaxation lounge, a salon and a boutique. Cardinal directions of each treatment room exude powerful energy complemented with healing massages and thoughtfully-selected amenities, offering guests an all encompassing luxurious wellness experience.


The Ritz Kids Club boasts futuristic indoor-outdoor space with playgrounds, napping pods, an area for video games and movies, and a pool with slides and jets. When you enter the front door to the club its like walking into the side of a mountain very similar to the TV characters Telly Tubby’s home - it instantly provides a wow factor and I am certain young visitors to the Ritz will spend many hours here. The Kids Club also provides an activity themed program that is designed for ages 4 to 12, and meshes well with the island's four pillars—land, water, environmental responsibility and local culture. 


A beautiful and signature touch to the islands are the sunset ceremonies. Sounds of the drums beat as the sun starts to set and a circular flame is lit which signifies transitioning from a day full of discoveries into an evening of indulgence and reflection, giving the inspiration to do it all over again.

As many travelers know, visiting a Ritz property is an experience, the brand speaks for itself and many loyal customers can attest to the rigorous high standards maintained year in year out. I can safely say that all of this is now available at a beautiful Maldives location so anyone looking for a Maldivian experience that cuts no corners and gives the full luxurious effect under the watchful eye of a global luxury brand, should start making their bookings. 

Watch the island video here:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nZRJUMigHeg

Dani
Family Friendly Couple
Patina Lead

Patina Maldives, Fari Islands

Patina Maldives Fari Islands is a property I spent all of 2020 eagerly waiting for it’s open having spent time understanding about the island and the brand over Zoom calls with the team during the Covid lockdown and simply being blown away by Maldives newest player.

 

Move forward to July 2021, 2 weeks after it opens and I find myself in Patina Paradise.

Patina Fari Islands is the eco friendly flagship resort for Patina Hotels and Resorts a new luxury lifestyle brand by Capella Hotel Group.

 

This fresh yet sophisticated brand philosophy is inspired by a new generation that encompasses a progressive traveller with an independent mind but who has a deep respect and appreciation for local culture, the local community and is committed to utilizing travel as an extension of giving back.

 

Let me introduce you to the beautifully chic – Tulum meets Maldives- Patina Maldives, Fari Islands which is a 40 minute speed boat transfer from Male.

 

There is so much to love and appreciation about this property that I want to break it down into sections as there’s a lot to highlight:

 

Marina Village and Beach Club

This is the communal and beating heart of the island set in a socially vibrant scene. Outside guests will be able to enjoy the buzz of the island at the beach bar or any of the high end dining options, including chic tuk tuks. Mr and Mrs Rake is the exclusive retail section and one has to experience the incredible James Turrell Pavilion.

 

Villas

I was fortune to stay and experience both a two bedroom beach villa and a 2 bedroom water villa. They are both exactly the same layout just the beach villa opens up onto the beach providing a lot more space for children to run freely.

The villa bedrooms are on either side of a central living room both with sliding doors and their own large bathrooms. The terraces blend the indoor and outdoor space with an outdoor bath, dining area and hammock. All villas at Patina come with a private pool. There is a small kitchen which is close to the entrance and hidden behind a wall. What I personally absolutely loved about the villas was the rustic simple feel of nature reflected by an earthy color palette, dark wood furniture and the dark grey bed sheets contrasting beautifully with floor to ceiling windows and that quintessential Madlives view.

 

All the villas are ran by solar panels on the roof thereby helping the island maintain a minimal carbon footprint.

 

The one bedroom villas are also spacious and perfect for a couple with a young child; they have the same look and feel as the two bedroom villas but do not come with a separate living room however they are extremely generous in size.

 

The Three Bedroom Beach House is on another level. The same as a 2 bedroom downstairs and then the floating staircase takes you to the master bedroom which is the size of the entire ground floor with a large outdoor terrace, an incredible bathroom that has to be experienced and a super large dressing room. The garden is huge – my son would be in his element playing football here. There is also an additional out door seating area by the pool.

 

Footprints

 

Footprints is the kids education inspired activity centre set in beautiful grounds with climbing frames and a splash pool. The indoor activities include a 3D printing and laser cutting technology, cooking classes etc. The children can also enjoy interactive island experiences and marine conservation. Parents will be overjoyed to know that their children can spend countless hours staying busy.

 

 

Flow Spa

When entering Flow Spa you immediately feel the energy flow. Facilities include a watsu pool for passive aquatic therapy. There is also a salt water floating chamber along with multiple treatment rooms. The entire premise of the Flow Spa intelligently merges with Patina’s brand ethos. It’s not your cookie cutter spa, there is something special about this one.

 

Marina Life.

For the experienced Maldives traveller who wish to immerse themselves in the marine life, then you will need to take a boat for 5/10 minutes to spot the turtles and reef sharks by snorkeling. I have clients who have visited and enjoyed an abundance of marine life while others had to go out a little further for the great diving spots. As this is a new island the sea life will start to flourish over time.

 

Dining

With 12 eclectic dining options to choose from you will be in for an unbelievable culinary treat:

ROOTS – their plant-based restaurant

WOK SOCIETY – A Hong Kong social serving up soulful dishes

HELIOS – A Greek kitchen

VELI Bar – The perfect pool side bar with those classical Maldives sunset vibes

BRASA -  A grill from the Patagonian regions of South American

KOEN – Japanese culinary arts with a Scandinavian approach

Farine – Bakery and Café

Food Trucks – Burgers and Ice cream

 

 

 

 

Service

Every villa has a dedicated “Essentialist” to assist them with their every need. Every client of mine was suitably impressed by the expertise, knowledge and gentle caring nature of the ‘Essentialist’ – another testament to Patina raising the game in this ultra competitive market.

 

Overall

Having experienced 12 properties in the Maldives and having a deep understanding of all the luxury resorts within the Maldives, I am super excited for Patina Fari Islands. I personally loved my time on the island as the service was spot on, the food was incredibly tasteful and the vibe was super chic – even the islands sound track is spot on which was curated by the GM, Marco, himself.

 

Next year Capella Fari Islands will open its doors so you will have the choice of three luxury properties to dine at, whichever resort you decide to stay at – Patina Fari Islands, The Ritz Carlton Fari Islands and Capella Fari Islands. 

 

Patina Fari Islands is a definite game changer to the Maldives scene. I really do encourage my readers and clients to go experience it.

 

To watch my video – click here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g5ECncmC0OI&t=336s

Dani
Family Friendly Couple
Soneva Fushi Lead

Soneva Fushi 2021

I was so honored and suitably thrilled to be part of the first Ladies of Luxury Destination round table for TTN Magazine which was hosted at my favorite property in the world – Soneva Fushi in the Maldives.

 

I left behind in Dubai my husband and three young children who were not happy with me at all as the last time as I was at Soneva Fushi we were all together as a family and they too share my love for this incredible Robinson Crusoe island hideaway.

 

Soneva Fushi is located in the Baa Atoll, a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve, which can be reached by a 40 minute sea plane from Male.

 

2020/21 is a significant year for Discover Soneva and Soneva Fushi as it celebrates its 25th anniversary. The island is so lush it’s a real tropical jungle with bunny rabbits hopping around and a mesmerizing marine life right next to the shore. The lush vegetation also provides total privacy for every beach villa, creating a cocoon of peaceful harmony with nature.

 

There’s so much to talk about at Soneva Fushi with a new Michelin star chef plant based restaurant and 8 brand new water retreats similar to those at their sister property Soneva Jani so with lots to share I will break this down into sections.

 

 

Villa 37

As we were a group of ladies our home was villa 37 which was INCREDIBLE – a 5 bedroom villa complete with an 11m viewing tower – which offers the highest views on the island. A large freshwater swimming pool with slide, a kids pool, multiple sunken seating areas, gym, games room, sauna, steam room, library, TV room, large living room and kitchen. At nearly 20,000 sq feet you can imagine how grand and exquisite it was.

I was in the master bedroom which is on the ground floor with direct access to the pool, comes with an office and the largest indoor/outdoor bathroom you have ever seen with 2 dressings rooms, 2 showers and a bath. For those who know how much I love bathrooms it was certainly bathroom goals achieved!!

On the opposite side to the master bedroom was another bedroom with direct access to the pool. On the next floor were another 3 bedrooms, the games room, gym and TV room and a spiral staircase taking you to the sunken seating area in the viewing tower.

 

As with all villas on the island they offer private access to the beach through the lush greenery. For large families (this villa can sleep 15) this really is a haven with so much to satisfy everyone – you actually never have to leave the villa as everything can be brought to you!

https://soneva.com/villa/5-bedroom-residence-with-pool-villa-37/

 

Having personally experienced a few of the villas at Soneva Fushi, there is so much choice of style, design and size to suit every ones needs. The feel is the same and the larger villas all come with slides.

 

Another favorite which I believe has to be the most luxurious tree house in the world is villa 43 which is centered around an ancient Banyan Tree. At 24,000 square feet this 6 bedroom reserve emerges from the trees with six separate structures rising out of the sand, with the banyan tree in the center. The master bathroom is separate to the master bedroom but only once you see it will you know why – its stunning and a masterpiece. The reserve has two swimming pools – one directly outside the master bedroom and another with slide, a gym, sauna and stream room.

https://soneva.com/villa/sunset-reserve-villa-43/

 

There are also options of 6 and 9 bedrooms – I can’t even begin to describe the size of these!

 

Water Retreats

The newly launched water retreats are one and 2 bedroom and adhere to Soneva’s pioneering sustainability ethos and barefoot luxury.

Accessed by a short curving jetty which is kind of hidden if you didn’t know it was there, these villas are designed to offer total privacy with pool and slide and an upper deck with dining area. I love how the water retreats provide floor to ceiling windows the length of the villa providing the most incredible vistas of the ocean. Again in true Soneva style the attention to detail and design is breath taking leaving you in total awe of how raw sustainable materials can provide such luxury and masterpieces. Soneva are true pioneers of intelligent luxury and it reflects and shines in every aspect of the resort.

Dining:

The newest addition to the island is “Shades of Green”, located in the resort’s organic garden. The concept and menu was created by Danish Chef, Carsten Kyster who really wanted to tap into the global movement that places an emphasis on fresh, organic, and local produce as being important for a healthy lifestyle, while also being a climate conscious choice in keeping with Soneva’s values.

 

The experience at Shades of Green begins with all diners going on a guided tour of the garden to learn about the herbs, vegetables and fruits that are being grown there. Walking around I could smell the aroma of the “lemon basil”. Using all five senses they pick the ingredients to be used in their meal. All diners are encouraged to examine, pick, smell, and taste the herbs, fruits, and vegetables growing in the garden. Along the way they will come across a number of ‘amuse bouche’ hidden amongst the greenery. One of my favorites was a hanging half coconut filled with a mouth watering vegan sauce in a dip.

Once dinner is served you will gather around a fire pit for the first course before being seated at tables beneath the shade of the pergola and fruit trees. The menu features simple yet experimental plant based dishes, blending Maldivian and Southeast Asian cuisines; which are then prepared using Nordic techniques such as smoking, salting, fermenting, and pickling.

This was such a stripped back authentic experience yet extremely tasty and so nice to be dining in an organic garden.

 

Out Of The Blue

 

For those who have attended my Soneva Fushi dinners in Dubai will know of Chef Sobha who runs the kitchen at Out Of The Blue. For lunch or dinner you can dine on Vietnamese, Japanese and Indonesian cuisine while enjoying the open water views. Plus just incase you fancy a dip in between dishes you can enjoy the slide which goes directly into the blue!

 

Out Of The Blue also includes dining options at

So Hot – a robata grill

So Hands On – Sushi counter

Once Upon A Table -  this is a culinary theatre showcasing some of the biggest names in fine dining. Chefs are brought to the island from all over the world – there  is no menu, which allows the creativity and skills of the chef to take centre stage while you are left to experience something truly unique.

So Guilty – this is the chocolate and ice cream room which is open all day so you can literally help yourself when you have a sweet tooth  or for the savory lovers there’s So Cheesy the cheese and wine room which again is open all day where you can help yourself to the most amazing cheeses from around the world.

Fresh In The Garden is a unique location where you can dine high above the trees accessible by a rope bridge and connected to the astrology room which is home to the biggest telescope in the Indian ocean.

 

Breakfast is served at Mihiree Mithaa which is alfresco on the beach with ala carte and serving options. One of my favorite parts of breakfast are the auyavadic shots which are great for liver tonic cleansing, wellbeing, balance, stress, blood purification etc

 

The DEN

 

As someone whose kids have actually spent a week at the DEN I believe its safe to say this is one of the best kids clubs in the world. If you ask my kids they would simply say AMAZING…….. A Child’s DREAM!

 

There are so many activities to enjoy within the DEN such as arts/crafts/cooking/ music/games to the multiple slides in the pool, climbing frames, pirate ship and more. Outside of the DEN the team arrange a lot of interactive activities be it with marine life, sustainability, organic garden etc. Parents can simply enjoy a little alone time while the kids are entertained for hours.

 

Sonu’s Picnic

 

One of the experiences I enjoyed on this trip was lunch on the private island known as Sonu’s picnic.

Guests are taken by boat for about 20 minutes to a private island – just you, the sea and chef! Chef prepares an amazing lunch while you enjoy being isolated on an uninhabitable island for the next few hours. Take your snorkeling gear with you as the marine life is abundant.

 

Soneva are launching Soneva Soul their new Spa destination which will initially be launched at Soneva Jani and then soon at Soneva Fushi – watch this space as the founders of Soneva are also the original founders and brains behind  Six Senses meaning Soneva Soul offers the next level and forward thinking service that will transform a spa experience making this even more of a not to be missed destination – I would not be surprised if people come to this resort simply because they want to experience Soneva Soul.

 

One of my favorite parts of being on the island is simply just cycling around the island through the invigorating jungle  (25 years of fauna)  What Soneva do so well is offer the most simplest experiences with this understated luxury feeling – its simply another level of hospitality that very few can claim to match. The Soneva brand has proven time and time again that it really is the simplest things in life, strip everything back and you can have everything you want in life - space, nature and simple beauty who says eco friendly and sustainable can’ be luxury – Soneva has been living this for the past 2 decades and continue to keep upping their game. True trailblazers – go experience what the pinnacle of luxury travel should be.

 

You can watch my latest video here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PSVFh5xgNDA&t=55s

 

TNT - Ladies of Luxury travel feature here: http://www.ttnworldwide.com/Article/322841/_Ladies_of_luxury_

Dani
Family Friendly Couple
Susona lead

Beautiful Bodrum

We are all looking for that perfect escapism right now yet so many places are off limit, on some kind of travel restriction or there is daily confusion if you can or cannot enter a country based on vaccines and quarantines. It can get complicated. However let me offer you a simple solution: let me introduce you to Beautiful Bodrum.

 

All visitors only need to show a negative PCR test on arrival and don’t have to be vaccinated or quarantined. Fly Dubai flies directly into Bodrum from the UAE and Turkish Airlines via Istanbul so a holiday on the Aegean Sea is well within your reach and seriously good for the soul.

I visited Bodrum to check out the newly opened Susona Bodrum - LXR Hotels and Resorts, which sits on a private peninsular on the edge of the Aegean.

 

Upon arriving you are instantly struck by the beauty of the white villas, with the blue ocean and green mountains in the back ground. There is something about these three colours that makes me feel grounded. And provides you with that Mediterranean escapism.  The Aegean has the perfect climate during summer. Its mildly hot yet has a breeze and isn’t humid.

 

The boutique resort offers 76 rooms in total comprising of suites and villas which are 4,6 and 7 bedrooms all ocean facing with a private pool set in lush gardens. The suites are very generous in size with a modern sleek finish. The villas have large floor to ceiling windows offering the most stunning views of the mountains and sea and open up to bring the outside in with stunning large dining areas where one can enjoy alfresco dining around the pool.

 

The property has a small private pebble family beach with sunbeds and a beach bar. There’s a large jetty to dive off and to enjoy water sports.

 

On the opposite side of the resort is the trendy chic Frankie Beach Club which is open to the public and is the perfect place to chill to cool DJ vibes be it around the pool or in the cabanas on the dedicated jetty.

 

The large open restaurant serves the freshest of Mediterranean cuisine and an array of wines. I have to be honest I fell in love with the food in Bodrum, it was so fresh and I particularly loved breakfast as it was sharing mezza style which is served at Ezi Restaurant or you can request to have it set up at your villa. Enjoy lunch at Frankie Beach Club and dinner at Malva which offers a boho chic style setting and  serves a world of gastronomy with locally sourced products from around the Aegean region.

 

Spa Soul is a must visit for their Turkish hammam and massage treatments. There is also a fitness centre, tennis court and dedicated children’s swimming pool.

 

Susona Bodrum’s location makes it central for so much to see and do around Bodrum.  Ten minutes away is Bodrum Castle and the marina which offers a wide selection of eateries, sightseeing and shopping.

 

What to do in Bodrum:

 

You must have dinner on the waters edge at Melengec for authentic seafood and Mediterranean cuisine. Not only is the food amazing and there is great ambience but the sunset is incredible as its sets over the mountains directly in front of you. You can book a table in the water were you can dip your feet in or on the waters edge.

 

Bodrum Harbor – Take a boat tour from Bodrum Harbor either via super yacht or a traditional sailing boat. Its worth sailing to Orak Island which is the most uninhabited stretch of the peninsula, shimmering stunningly with its crystal blue waters.

 

Bodrum Castle – located in the harbor -walk through history within the ruins.

 

Bitez Beach – The blue flag Bitez Beach is worth a visit. Shielded to the east by a long headland this beach is a scallop shaped bay with gravel sand and shallow warm, transparent water.

 

Dibeklihan Culture Art Village – This beautiful location is slightly off the beaten path but so worth visiting. The historical building and grounds is complete with little artisan stores selling the most incredible pieces of furniture and collectables. There is a beautiful coffee shop that smells divine from cooking fresh bread and dishes in their open kitchen.  It’s such a tranquil experience and a great opportunity to chat to locals and really support their small businesses.

 

Before I finish I have to thank the team at Susona Bodrum especially Funda and Asil, who were the most incredible hosts with the warmest and biggest hearts. I certainly left a little piece of my heart in Bodrum.   

 

I highly recommend a visit to Bodrum as the locals are so warm, the food is incredible, the weather is perfect and you really feel refreshed and grounded – its great for your soul.

 

Watch our video from Susona Bodrum

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-H0iM-GPBjg

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_9XLQDSZqZc

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XoKmzEcyBho

 

 

 

 

 

Dani
Family Friendly Couple
LEAD

Impressive Istanbul

I really do love my job as a luxury travel curator, designing holidays for people and letting them experience unique resorts around the world. I consider myself extremely fortunate for the amazing opportunities that come my way. I am sure from the outside looking in, I have a very cushy number – however it has taken a lot of hard work over the past 3 years since launching Unique Family Travels not to mention this has been my passion since I was young including going to college to learn more about the tourism industry.

 

So when I was chosen to join a trip with LXR Hotels – Hilton’s Luxury brand, I was beyond excited and incredibly honored. Joining the LXR, Hilton and Conrad team along with 4 other amazing agents, we really did have a wonderful time with the most heart warming hospitality, that has left me reassured that my clients will be looked after to the highest level.

Its been a really long time since I've been on a city break. Even though I have visited Istanbul many times, this was going to be a new experience during covid times.

 

Firstly let me start by reassuring you that Turkey was extremely safe and not busy. Masks are compulsory and there are strict timings that restaurants need to close by.

You need to do a PCR test 72 hours pre traveling and present it at check in along with completing an online form to enter Turkey www.register.health.gov.tr - you must screen shot the bar code to show at the airline check in.

 

We flew business class with Turkish Airlines which was my first time and I am pleased to say the experience was extremely comfortable and spacious. All flights now arrive into Istanbul’s brand new airport which was empty and very quick though passport control.

 

Conrad Bosporus

 

We arrived at Conrad Bosporus to a very warm welcome. Previously when in Istanbul I've stayed on the Bosporus but this property is higher up but only 5 mins walk from the Bosporus yet provides  the most incredible views of the city showcasing Asia side and many of the bridges.

 

My suite had an incredibly large window in the living room and bedroom which really showcased the view in its full glory. The suits was very spacious with a separate living room with the coffee table full of welcome edibles – slightly dangerous with my sweet tooth. And a personalized bath robe was laid out on the bed.

 

The hotel is very grand with a large winding staircase in the lobby and has a glorious ballroom with separate entrance– perfect for weddings with a large outdoor terrace for pre functions. Additional to the gym and swimming pool there’s also two tennis courts and a huge spa and hammam.

 

I had the most amazing hammam in the Turkish spa which I can only describe myself as floating on a soap bubble while my hair was being washed and my skin was being rubbed down – total bliss – highly recommend.

 

The hotel offers many dining options, ranging from the Mediterranean-style Manzara Restaurant to the Summit Bar and Terrace, which offers skyline views from its perch on the 14th floor.

 

Excursions

 

Bosporus Cruise

You can either book a private yacht or enjoy the bustling ferry, whichever boat you take a cruise on the Bosporus is a must.  Enjoy a thriving city crossing two continents – Europe and Asia enjoying Istanbul from a different perspective should be top of your list.

 

Ortakoy Mosque located on the edge of the Bosporus in a busy neighborhood, popular with art galleries, nightlife, bars, restaurants.

Hagia Sophia has been standing for more than 1400 years. It served as an Orthodox Cathedral until 1453 until Ottoman Sultan Mehmed 11 (who conquered Istanbul) and now it has been converted into a mosque.

During the conversion, the Sultan covered the religious symbols rather than removing them, so today visitors can witness a unique monument that straddles time and religion.

 

Topkapi Palace Museum (located next to Hagia Sophia)

This Palace served as the main residence and administrative headquarters of the Ottoman Sultans.

 

Topkapi Palace and Harem (Topkapi Saray) are likely to have more colourful stories than most of the world’s museums put together.

Libidinous sultans, ambitious courtiers, beautiful concubines and scheming eunuchs lived and worked between 15th and 19th centuries when it was the court of the Ottoman Empire.

A visit to the palace’s opulent pavilions, jewel-filled treasury and sprawling Harem gives a fascinating glimpse into their lives.

 

If you enjoy being slap bang in the historical area I highly recommend Hagia Sophia Mansions which is located between Hagia Sophia and Topkapi Palace down a cobbled street. These stunning suites which are beautifully designed and perfectly located for tourists to explore the area also offer a private spa and fitness area.

 

Sofia Terrace restaurant has Hagia Sophia as your back drop or you can enjoy a fine dining experience at Sarnic Restaurant which is a couple of steps away. This extraordinary building was built over 1000 years ago and is supported by six stone pillars and high domes in the ceiling.

 

Remember to also visit:

 

The Blue Mosque – One of the most famous and iconic destinations for tourists in Istanbul which is commonly referred to as the Blue Mosque. It was built in 1616 and has over 20,000 handmade ceramic titles.

 

Grand Bazaar - is one of the oldest and largest covered markets in the world built in 1461, stretching over 70 streets and consisting of over 4000 shops!

 

Next stop Bodrum

 

Click this link to find out more:

Dani
Family Friendly Couple
Lead Conrad

Conrad Rangali Island

I have just returned from 5 days at the stunning yet unassuming Conrad Rangali Island, Maldives.

 

I had heard a lot about this property over the years but I went with no expectations at all as every time I visit the Maldives I always go with an open mind. Yes every resort is stunning as its surrounded by crystal blue ocean and white powdery beaches so they are all beautiful, however some resorts can hook you on service, dining options, a unique selling point, great marine life and house reefs, dive sites and of course the rooms. I am going to break my review down into segments as I honestly believe The Conrad Maldives offers all this and more – there’s no surprise that most of its guests are repeaters as they have the instant feeling of being back at home every time they step on the island.

NOT ONE BUT TWO ISLANDS

 

Just a 30 minute sea plane from Male International Airport, you arrive at Conrad Rangali, Maldives jetty which connects to two islands. Rangalifinolhu Island is more for families and is the heart of the resort or you can stay in the adult only hideaway on Rangali Island.

 

Rangalifinolhu is home to a mix of water villas and beach villas, the spa, the shopping boulevard, dive centre and water sports centre plus a mixture of the dining experiences. Plus you will find a large swimming pool next to the beach.

 

Rangali Island is more of a quieter island, home to just water villas, a couple of restaurants and bars plus the infinity pool. This would be a perfect island to host a small wedding with 50 rooms you could even take it privately. This island will now close until the 1st November as all the water villas are being renovated and they are building a new over water spa which is going to add an exciting new element to a fantastic location.

 

To get from one island to another you can take the Dhoni boat, which takes a couple of minutes otherwise simply enjoy the walk. One day I went via paddleboard, which was fun!!

 

 

VILLAS

 

Rangalifinolhu Island offers 1 and 2 bedroom water villas with and without a private swimming pool. The two bedrooms are very spacious with a large bathroom in the centre separating the rooms and a living area. The beach villas are available in 1, 2 and 3 bedrooms.

The deluxe 1 bedroom villa is stunning and extremely spacious for a family with young children. They include a large outdoor relaxing area with day bed and rattan swing plus an outdoor shower which is accessible from the bathroom..

The bathroom includes all modern amenities such as a powerful rain shower and an intelligent toilet!!!  From the bedroom you can access the pool and private beach.

 

You can watch the room tour here: https://youtu.be/_oJgAt2PgVM

 

The 2 bedroom beach villa is the same layout except in place of the relaxing area by the out door shower, this has been designed into another bedroom– again great for families but not ideal for 2 couples. They also have interconnecting beach villas too.

 

As I mentioned before, Rangali Island will actually be closed until  1st November as all the water villas are being renovated. I have seen the mock up rooms and they are lovely and will offer 1 and 2 bedroom villas with and without pool. There will also be 2 three bedroom water villas with pools that are very spacious and private as they sit on the edge of a private jetty.

 

 

THE MURAKA – The world’s first undersea residence

 

This has to be the most modern and unique 3 bedroom, two level luxury residence in the world, let alone the Maldives! One of the bedrooms is submerged under the sea offering the best seat to watch your own underwater theater and a truly unique visual experience.

 

As you walk down the jetty towards The Muraka which is located out into the sea away from the island this incredible modern white building starts to take form.

 

As you enter its open plan with floor to ceiling windows around the entire back of the residence. The living space with a large dining area and kitchen bar brings the out doors in with sliding doors which open up onto a large deck with a huge comfortable seating area, infinity swimming pool and lots of space to jump directly into the ocean.

On the first floor is a king bedroom with an incredibly large bathroom with a stunning bath perfectly placed to offer the most delightful views of the ocean. There’s a twin bedroom perfect for kids, a gym and for large families traveling with staff there’s a separate wing for them to relax and feel comfortable.

 

To get to the master bedroom you can take the spiral staircase or the elevator which takes you below sea level. Once the lift doors open you walk directly into the master bedroom which provides 180 degree curved acrylic dome from floor to ceiling windows offering the most incredible front row seat to an under water theatre.

As I lay on the bed I was in awe of what was in front of me. The small sharks and schools of fish would swim past along with the odd large fish who looked like he was staring right at you.

At the far end of the roof there are two comfortable chairs facing outwards and the opposite end of the room is a walk in wardrobe and a wash room with double sinks, complete with Aesop products. Being in this room there’s wasn’t one moment that you don’t have a view of the marine life, it’s truly an incredible experience.  The hardest decision to make while staying in The Muraka is which seat to sit on and what view to admire.

 

You can watch my room tour here: https://youtu.be/jG-eglLPus0

 

 

DINING DELIGHTS

 

For the size of this island there is so much choice for dining along with unique experiences. There are 12 world class restaurants all serving totally different cuisines, from an authentic Chinese restaurant by acclaimed chef Jeremy Leung, an underground wine cellar, an underwater restaurant, Teppanyaki table on the beach and more.  I’m not one for dining at the same restaurant every night , so this really is a foodies paradise.  You also have a choice of two breakfast restaurants to also shake things up!

 

ITHAA underwater restaurant. A fine dining experience 5 meters under the sea with 180 degree panoramic views. Relax with a glass in hand as you watch the marine life swimming past you as the sunlight reflects on the coral.

 

Lunch is a 4 course fine dining delight and dinner is 6 courses all being specially designed to leave you feeling light and satisfied.  It’s a small restaurant approx. 14 people at a time and you can book it exclusively for breakfast/lunch and dinner.

Chef cooked us a wonderful array of dishes for lunch – mine were all served without fish and shell fish:

 

Dill infused salmon

Beet, caper mayo, pistachio

 

Foie gras touchon

Pecan granola, poached rhubarb, fried shallots

 

Miso & truffle marinated black cod OR Wagyu beef

Green pea, edamame bean, snow pea, crisp noodles, onion sauce

 

Yuzu set mousse

Passion fruit, pineapple and butter milk

 

 

UFAA BY JEREMY LEUNG

Ufaa is an innovative Chinese culinary concept by celebrity chef Jeremy Leung that showcases authentic experiences which highlight the iconic flavours from the distinctive cultures and provinces across China. The restaurant presents various dining options including fresh hand- made noodles and dim sum, premium hotpot with Chef Leung’s signature broth and top quality produce.

MANDHOO SPA RESTAURANT

This was one of my favorites as it sits on stilts in the lagoon, this open-air over-water restaurant is the best kept dining secret on the island. The menu has been specially prepared to energize, nourish, detoxify, relax and fortify the body utilizing organic produce, some grown on the island grounds and imported from around the world. The chefs cooking techniques pay special attention to specific tastes, temperature, level of moisture and density as they all affect the mind and body in different ways.

THE WINE CELLAR

Located two meters underground and featuring up to 20,000 bottles of wine and up to1,400 labels – the most in the Maldives, The Wine Cellar is the setting for degustation dinners hosted by the island’s head chef and chief sommelier, who skillfully match a five-course menu with up to eight hand-picked wines. 12 guests sit at the purposely-designed table with the chief sommelier and are guided on an interactive journey through the old and new world wine regions, presented on personal video screens. The menu changes each time, allowing chef to show- case the best seasonal ingredients available.

THE CHEESE & WINE BAR

Home to over 100 of the world’s best cheeses which have been carefully selected by the Cheese Master, The Cheese and Wine Bar, is the Maldives’ one and only purposely designed cheese and wine bar. The Cheese and Wine Bar plays host to informal wine and cheese tastings as well as regular fondue and tapas evenings. Guests will feel the subtle texture of black volcanic sand imported from New Zealand between their toes as they are welcomed, whether for a cheese platter for dinner or simply a glass of wine, before or after dinner.

VILU Restaurant and Bar

Vilu Restaurant is dedicated to the art of food and wine pairing. Located on the edge of the lagoon, Vilu is an open air restaurant that showcases the resort’s extensive wine selection that has been expertly matched to the contemporary Mediterranean inspired cuisine on offer.

KOKO GRILL  

Located on the beach, Koko Grill Restaurant is an intimate and lively dining experience. Watch flames dance on the open teppenkayi grill as chef prepares up to 10 courses of Japanese cuisine under the stars.

RANGALI BAR

              Sits on the edge of the main pool, the sand-floored bar provides extensive lunch and dinner menus alongside contemporary cocktails, regular live music and events. Open for lunch and dinner from 10 am until late.

THE QUIET ZONE

An open-air tented lounge on the beach, located on Rangali Island. For adults only, The Quiet Zone features comfy daybeds, a fully stocked bar and a lunch and dinner men

ATOLL MARKET

             The resort’s only buffet restaurant with eight show kitchens featuring Asian, Italian, Japanese, Indian, a Grill, the Deli, a bakery and desserts, Atoll market provides a culinary tour of the world under one roof. Open for breakfast and dinner.

LOBSTERS AND CHAMPAGNE ON THE BEACH

Enjoy an unforgettable occasion with a bountiful seafood feast featuring lobsters and shell fish caught off the resort’s shores, accompanied by Champagne and served in an idyllic beach setting. Advance reservations are essential.

SUNSET BAR AND GRILL

Set on stilts 50-metres out to sea above a coral reef, the open-air restaurant showcases the country’s fresh seafood and imported meats prepared simply alongside a carefully crafted wine list.

 

 

MARINE LIFE

 

I have been to the Maldives 8 times and never have I seen so many Manta Rays so close by. Every evening they would come swimming close to the jetty as they are attracted by the lights. They would elegantly glide through the water turning upside down with their mouths wide open to feed on plankton. I watched in awe of how majestic and giant these creatures are.

Another amazing creature you can also spot close to the resort is the Whale Shark the largest fish in the ocean. The whale shark which is a shark not a whale is easy to spot not just from its size but also as part of its body is covered in white spots. They are totally harmless hence why snorkelers and divers can swim next to them as they swim slowly opening their large mouth to feed on plankton.  

Boat trips are available every day in order to swim with the whale sharks. We went out one morning and unfortunately for me, we didn’t see any, which I was gutted about as at many other resorts in the Maldives people can wait for hours to see these beautiful creatures and here they are so close to us but that day they must have been swimming too deep for us to find. I will be going back to the resort to try my luck next time. However we did see many spinner dolphins putting on a display spinning next to the boat even the babies were performing.

There are also 42 dive sites close to the resort so dive lovers have enough options to keep them busy for weeks.

Along with the underwater restaurant and The Muraka private residence were you can watch sting rays and black tip sharks darting past the windows this island is the closest I have got to seeing so much marine life without getting wet.

 

The team on the island are very protective of the sea life around the resort and with good reason. They are always on hand to answer any questions and they politely ask people to refrain from trying to feed the Manta Rays and other sea life.

 

 

THE SPA RETREAT

 

Conrad Maldives Rangali Island is home to two unique spa experiences, The Spa Retreat on Rangalifinolhu Island and The Over-Water Spa on Rangali Island.

100 meters off of the tip of Rangalifinolhu Island, The Spa Retreat offers a holistic and locally inspired experience which is aimed at relaxing the mind, body and soul.  

The overwater spa on Rangali Island comprises of four thatched-roof treatment rooms set on stilts over the Indian Ocean. Three of these treatment rooms have glass floors, providing entrancing views of the coral reef below, whilst a secluded serenity deck with open-air Jacuzzi provides the perfect finale to the spa rituals on offer.

 

MAJAA Explorers Hub

 

Majaa Explorers Hub offers children a fun filled entertainment schedule packed with activities and themed daily programs. Little explorer favorites include the Pirate Cruises, Coral Education and Little Chef Workshops.

They are also developing a teenagers clubs for days when you just need to be out of the sun and chill.

Kids aged 10+ can learn how to snorkel and dive with their experienced PADI accredited dive team.

The island offers every water sport you can think of and all non motorized activities like paddle boarding, kayaking and pedalos are complimentary.

SERVICE

I have to be honest I haven’t been to a resort in the Maldives where the service wasn’t excellent and the staff were not polite and friendly. I spent a lot of time with the management team and I was surprised how all staff addressed each other by their names – that’s a lot of peoples names to remember!!

 

ROUND UP

If you’re a diver this is the resort for you!

If you’re a foodie this is the culinary experience you have been waiting for!

 

 

The Conrad Maldives website is currently being updated, so don’t let it put you off as it gives a false reflection of the property, have a look at my photos below and visit their Instagram page @conrad_maldives

 

Before arriving on the island why not download the MARUHABA App which includes all the restaurants menus, island map, activities etc. See the QR code below.

 

Maldives’ regulars who have not tried the Conrad need to put this resort next on their list while for Maldives newbies this resort is literally the best way to experience all the different wonders that make Maldives truly magical! 

Watch our full video on this link: https://youtu.be/uDnpKpGo6G0

Dani
Family Friendly Couple
Blog post

Stunning Sri Lanka

The last year has been a tough year for the world over, with so much sadness and loss and for people who have not been able to see their loved ones.

In Dubai we are fortunate to live in a country that was proactive from the start and one of the first countries to offer the Covid 19 vaccine. I am lucky to be fully vaccinated now which offers that extra layer of protection and reassurance. However on a personal note my business, being in travel has sadly struggled as the travel industry took a massive hit, but the good news is that since August 2020 bookings started to come in when air corridors opened and more people felt comfortable to travel, especially to destinations such as Maldives and Seychelles.

 

Many people are in desperate need of a little escapism so when my partners at Resplendent Ceylon asked me to arrange a ladies trip to Sri Lanka I jumped at the opportunity. I have visited Sri Lanka 5 times before as a couple and with my family and I have a deep respect and admiration for the Sri Lankan people who have over the years shown such resiliency and strength and I for one will always support the country especially as tourism is a significant part of the country’s economy.

It always surprises me why Sri Lanka is under rated as a holiday destination, but I do hope reading this article will encourage many of my readers to visit this magical place, with its diverse experiences from tropical beaches, jungle safari and vast green mountain regions that one can enjoy while staying in luxury properties.

 

Resplendent Ceylon comprises of three unique properties and is a member of luxury hospitality brand Relais & Chateaux and I'm happy to say that I have experienced all three of their Sri Lankan hotels each so diverse in their location yet their unique signature style and service binds them together and stands out.

 

 

Wild Coast Tented Lodge rests on a secluded beach on the edge of Yala National Park offering a raw safari experience while staying in luxury cocoons that blend in with the coastal environment.

 

Cape Weligama sits on a cliff edge 40 meters above the Indian Ocean with large villas set in private clusters set in beautifully manicured gardens.

 

Ceylon Tea Trails is the world’s first tea bungalow resort, perched at an altitude of 1250 meters in Sri Lanka’s panoramic Ceylon tea region.

 

You can find my review of Wild Coast Tented lodge here:

http://www.uniquefamilytravels.com/2019/07/29/luxury-tented-safari-lodge-in-sri-lanka/

 

 

For this ladies trip we visited Cape Weligama and Ceylon Tea Trails for a week's worth of total relaxation and grounding.

 

Arriving in Sri Lanka during a pandemic could make you feel seriously anxious but let me reassure you that the Sri Lankan government have done such an amazing job protecting its people resulting in a death toll of only approx. 400 to date with most of the capital Colombo already vaccinated. In Feb 2021 Sri Lanka finally opened its borders to international guests.

All tourists have to apply for a visit visa (website below) and you must include a hotel reservation number from a Grade 1 government listed resort within the application. A negative PCR test is required 96 hours before entering the country and during a 7 days stay you will requested to take 2 PCR tests on the property and in 14 days you will require to have three.

 

Walking through the airport was rather quiet but one thing that was visible was that all staff where wearing PCP clothing and all suit cases were sanitized.

Our first resort was Cape Weligama which was a three hour drive, however the quicker option is taking the sea plane to any of the three Resplendent properties but sadly they were not operating during our stay due to lack of tourists.

 

Arriving at Cape Weligama brought back memories of when I was there with my family in 2019. The perfectly manicured grounds welcome you the moment you walk towards your room. 39 villas are set in small clusters within 12 stunning manicured grounds all with their own swimming pool. For one bedrooms the villas are extremely generous in size with huge bathrooms including free standing oval shaped baths. The suites come with a living room which can be made into additional beds for families.  You will notice throughout all Resplendent properties the bathrooms are beautiful providing baths that are uniquely positioned in order to provide you with stunning views.

 

The adults only crescent shaped infinity pool is what dreams are literally made off.  The views go on for miles where the blue pool water meets the ocean which meets the sky. To get to the beach 40 meters below you have to walk through the trees and down the side of the cliff where you will find a couple of hidden look out spots which offer beautiful views and little pieces of serenity.

Wherever in the property that you decide to take the weight of your feet to relax, the resort offers so many great viewing spots, remember if you visit the spa their viewing deck is awesome!

 

On our first evening the hotel had laid out a cliff top dining experience as the sun was setting, sitting with a glass in my hand, the cool air breeze, the sky changing in colour and views that went on for miles, simply reminded me just how the little things in life can be the most magical to which we have to be grateful for.

 

 

The next morning we woke early to go whale watching on a private yacht that was arranged by the hotel which had been government approved. This was a new experience for me which I was excited for, however it just wasn’t our day as a few hours at sea and not one whale had graced us with his presence. And believe me my head was close to the water more than I cared to have liked – catch my drift!!!

 

That night we ate in the main restaurant enjoying a wonderful spread of Sri Lankan cuisine.  Even though there is a menu on hand, nothing is too much to ask for – in fact the chief chef loved requests and was more than happy to show off his wonderful culinary skills. Being a member of Relais & Chateaux, food is a huge part of the hospitality experience and I find that Sri Lankan food is so clean and fresh, not leaving you bloated and uncomfortable.

 

The next day we were heading to Ceylon Tea Trails which is a 5 hour drive or again this is where you can enjoy the sea plane. I would highly recommend booking this, not just to cut down the transit time but to see Sri Lanka from a birds eye view.

 

To break up the journey we visited Udawalawe Elephant Transfer Home located within Udawalawe National park. The Elephant Transit Home is associated with the Born Free Foundation. This is home to over 100 orphaned or sick elephants who are fed and cared for until they are strong enough to be returned to the wild. The centre allows you to visit at the feeding times of 06:00, 09:00, 12:00, 15:00 and 18:00. From behind a barrier you can watch the elephants ambling along behind a keeper, where they will be fed milk through plastic hoses. It was so sweet watching the babies run as fast as they can while trumpeting to get their milk.  The first three baby elephants that came running out reminded me of my three kids at home running to be first in the kitchen – it was so sweet to watch. (And No I still wasn’t missing them!)

 

The remainder of the journey up to Ceylon Tea region is through narrow roads winding up the mountain, with views that just kept getting better and better. On one side you could spot the hard working female tea pickers plucking away in the tea plantations which are contoured along the slopes. The ladies are wearing brightly coloured sacks on their backs in order to store the ‘two leaves and a bud” which are later taken to the factories to be dried. (I will explain the meaning of two leaves and a bud in a minute!)

 

We finally see the sign for ‘Tientsin Bungalow’  which was going to be our home over the next 5 days. We drive up the narrow path and as we eagerly jump out the car we are instantly entered into an English country garden. It’s so beautiful and reminded me of the UK countryside with the most stunning colonial bungalow in the middle of the lawn. The sun was starting to set and within minutes the sky had changed to a beautiful pink and purple colour. Before arriving I thought I knew what to expect but I can honestly say it wasn’t what was right in front of me – what I was seeing was no less than utter, exuisite natural beauty.

 

We are welcomed by a team of staff (again all wearing pcp clothing) standing on the terrace next to a table which was laid out with late afternoon tea and drinks. We are invited to explore our home, which was exclusively ours with 6 bedrooms, and shared large living room, dining room and a snooker table room.

 

With jazz music softly playing in the living room and drinks on ice you automatically felt at home, but where was I exactly, this wasn’t what I had pictured, yet from the moment I walked into the property, I knew I was going to enjoy my stay.

The interior is designed with a colonial charm with each bedroom having a four poster bed, a fire place with logs ready to light and two grand chairs in front of it. The Resplendent signature style was so prevalent in the bathrooms with the free standing sleigh baths perfectly positioned next to glass doors or large windows which would open up into your own private garden showcasing the tea plantations and mountain region beautifully.

 

Back outside within the grounds is a large swimming pool and Jacuzzi, tennis courts and even a private garden for croquet.

 

Your days at Ceylon Tea Trails are simply designed for relaxation, socializing and dining. The Chief Chef takes great pride in providing a culinary experience as he will make anything your heart desires with three courses for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Booking at the Ceylon Tea Trails is an all inclusive experience which includes alcoholic drinks, afternoon teas etc. Even though I didn’t seem to stop eating I never felt bloated or uncomfortable which I put down to the food being so clean, organic and fresh.

Dining can be set up anywhere within the grounds so we enjoyed a picnic in the garden, breakfast at the pool and dinner on the terrace.

 

Ceylon Tea Trails comprises of 5 bungalows which are spread out across the valley:

Castleragh Bungalow – Built in the 1925 at an altitude of 1,120 meters- 5 bedrooms

 

Dunkeld Bungalow – Built in 1925 at an altitude of 1,230 meters – 5 bedrooms

 

Norwood Bungalow – Built in 1950 at an altitude of 1270 meters – 6 bedrooms

 

Summerville Bungalow- Built in 1923 at an altitude of 1118 meters – 5 bedrooms

 

Tientsin Bungalow - Built in 1988 at an altitude of 1320 meters – 6 bedrooms

 

You can enjoy mountain biking, kayaking and wonderful hikes and trails which you can start from any of the properties' front doors. 

 

We enjoyed an early morning hike in the tea plantations with our guide who explained more about the tea pickers and collecting “two leaves and a bud”.

Sri Lanka is one of only a few countries where tea is still plucked by hand, from bushes planted along the contours of the slopes. A highly skilled workforce, predominantly women, moves along rows of bushes, stripping two leaves and a bud from each plant and often covering over 10k a day. The leaves are immediately carried to the nearby factories where they are dried, processed and packed into crates ready for transportation.

 

Due to the current restrictions we couldn’t visit the tea factory so Bernard who I believe has 53 years experience in tea gave us a tea demonstration at the bungalow.

Dilamh Tea is sold all over the world and was founded in 1988 by Mr Merrill J Fernando which he named the brand after his two sons, with one of the sons, Malik Fernando owning the Resplendent Brand – so tea really does run through the family's veins.

 

We wanted to visit Dunkeld Bungalow as the view was very different over looking the reservoir with an infinity pool. It was great to see another option of bungalow even though they all differ in size and the grounds/views all have the same feel and signature Resplendent touch.

 

This is a property I would highly recommend to families or a group of friends. It’s a place where you can take life at your own pace, enjoy each others company, be at one with nature adding as much activities as you like and even more so with the current pandemic, it’s the perfect venue to social distance offering total privacy.

 

I would like to thank the entire team at Resplendent for their wonderful hospitality and excellent service. Until next time!!

 

Watch the video of our stay: https://youtu.be/Te0guZInGng

 

Sri Lankan Airlines currently flies twice a week – Saturdays and Tuesdays from Dubai Terminal 3

To apply for your visa visit click here: https://www.eta.gov.lk/slvisa/visainfo/center.jsp?locale=en_US

 

You must include in the visa application a reservation number provided by your hotel booking

A negative PCR test required 96 hours before travel


For the respective protocols, You can also visit 

https://www.srilanka.travel/helloagain/

 

Dani
Family Friendly Couple
LEAD Map

Personalized Pin Board Maps

Newly Launched!

 

At Unique Family Travels, we are strong believers in the visual aspect of travel, where your sense of touch, smell and sight are enhanced by the places you visit. We wanted to recreate that travel magic and have it present in your every day life.

We have created a personalized world map which the entire family can enjoy, allowing you a visual aspect to your memories, an educational point of view for the children and also enlightening the traveller within for destinations in the future.

 

Whether you’re an avid traveller or a curious soul, these maps are the perfect way to ignite the travel bug and start planning where to visit around the world. It’s also a fun way to keep track of who’s winning the ‘most traveled’ gold medal!

 

Available in sizes A1 or A0 these personalized uniquely designed maps are framed and set against a board so you can use the coloured pins that come with it to pin yours and your families’ travels:

 

•Where You’ve Travelled too

•Where You’ve Travelled as a family

•Where to Next!

•Bucketlist Adventures!

 

You can find out more by visiting our Instagram page @uniquefamilymaps

Order it, give it a prominent place on the walls of your home and let the family travel discussions begin!...

 

Dani
Family Friendly Couple
TRAVEL LEAD PIC

Countries Without Quarantine

Itching to travel but not sure where you can go without having to quarantine? See our list of countries below which have opened their international boarders to tourists without having to quarantine as long as you present a negative Covid certificate on arrival.

London – currently on lockdown

 

The new laws which were put into place in Jan 2021 states that all entries to the UK must show a negative PCR test taken 72 hours before. This also applies for Scotland.

 

Hotel Recommendation: http://www.uniquefamilytravels.com/2019/09/12/langham-london/

 

Portugal

 

There are no entry restrictions, but many regions (including Lisbon and Porto) have strict regulations.

 

Maldives

 

All arrivals into Maldives must be able to present a Covid-19 PCR negative certificate, taken no more than 72 hours prior to departure. Island hopping, or visiting more than one resort, which was previously banned, has also been permitted again. There are rules in place though for island hopping: tourists must apply for permission from the Ministry of Tourism at least 48 hours prior to their date of travel, and can only travel from a resort that has not recorded a single case of coronavirus in the last 28 days. The resort must also carry out exit screenings and temperature checks for travellers for contact trace purposes. Installing the contact tracing app “TraceEkee” is encouraged for all tourists.

 

Resort Recommendation by yacht: http://www.uniquefamilytravels.com/2021/01/07/velassaru-maldives/

 

Resort Recommendation by sea plane: http://www.uniquefamilytravels.com/2021/01/11/the-nautilus-maldives/

 

 

Rwanda

 

A negative COVID-19 certificate is required for all travelers arriving, transiting or departing from Rwanda.

 

Lodge Recommendation: http://www.uniquefamilytravels.com/2019/07/12/bisate-lodge/

 

Botswana

 

Botswana is opened its boarders for International tourists. You must present a valid negative COVID-19 PCR test result, conducted within 72 hours of departure.

 

Safari Lodge Recommendation:  http://www.uniquefamilytravels.com/2020/01/06/jao-botswana/

 

Uganda

 

Uganda has resumed international flights permitting arrivals from across the globe under new guidelines. The air and land borders in Uganda are now open for visitors, provided that they can provide a negative Covid-19 PCR test taken within 72 hours of departure, and arrivals can expect temperature screenings on arrival, but no mandatory quarantine. Uganda requires all outbound passengers to present a negative Covid-19 PCR test, taken within 120 hours of departure. 

 

Luxury lodge recommendation: http://www.uniquefamilytravels.com/2021/01/20/luxury-lodge-in-uganda/

 

 

Zimbabwe

 

Travellers must get tested for Covid-19 before arrival, and must be able to present a PCR test certificate by a recognised facility. The test must be taken within 48 hours from the date of departure. Safari adventures have resumed.

 

Safari Lodge Recommendation: http://www.uniquefamilytravels.com/2021/01/11/safari-zimbabwe/

 

Kenya

 

The UAE, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Lebanon and Jordan are exempt from quarantining on arrival. Arrivals must present a Covid negative certificate, taken within 96 hours and fill out a travel health form for contact tracing purposes. Those travelling to Kenya can also expect health screenings at the airport. 

Safari Lodge Recommendation: http://www.uniquefamilytravels.com/2021/01/11/ol-donyo-lodge-kenya/

Tanzania/Zanzibar

Zanzibar has resumed business as normal after the reopening of airports for international travellers across Tanzania. All travelers to Zanzibar should hold medical health insurance, adhere to guidelines outlined by the Zanzibar health authorities and undergo screening when entering the country.

Resort Recommendation: http://www.uniquefamilytravels.com/2021/01/11/zanzibar-white-sands/

Seychelles

Travellers from the UAE are permitted to enter Seychelles and present a negative Covid-19 PCR test taken within 72 hours but will have to stay within the hotel property for the first 5 days of their stay.

Resort Recommendation: http://www.uniquefamilytravels.com/2019/08/06/six-senses-zil-pasyon/

Croatia

 

Croatia is one of the few European countries permitting entry for non-EU residents. Tourists from all destinations are permitted to travel to Croatia, but those that do from outside of EU/EEA/UK must present a Covid-19 negative certificate taken no more than 48 hours prior to departure.

 

 

Montenegro

 

Like its Croatian neighbour, Montenegro is one of a small number of countries in Europe that's opened its borders for international arrivals. Aside from countries within the EU/Schengen Area, the country has compiled a list of green countries, from which arrivals don't need to self quarantine. This list includes Jordan and the UAE. 

 

Hotel Recommendation: http://www.uniquefamilytravels.com/2019/04/01/the-chedi-montenegro/

 

Brazil

 

Despite having recorded one of the highest tallies of coronavirus cases globally, Brazil resumed international flights in 2020, permitting tourists from all countries provided that they carry international health insurance. 

 

Greece

 

UAE residents are permitted to travel to Greece quarantine-free. Arrivals from some countries - including Spain and the UAE - must produce a negative Covid-19 PCR test taken within 72 hours of their flight. Twenty four hours before entering Greece, visitors must complete a passenger locator form (PLF) where they will provide their contact details in the country. Random testing will take place at the airport.

 

Hotel Recommendation: http://www.uniquefamilytravels.com/2021/01/11/iconic-santorini/

 

 

The below countries have a quarantine period on arrival:

Mauritius

Thailand

Peru

Singapore

Cambodia

Sri Lanka

 

 

 

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 :)

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