9003

Visit Vietnam

This summer we visited central Vietnam as a family with our 3 children age 6 years and under. We broke up the trip into three stops in order to see as much of Vietnam as we could and to also give the children different experiences.

 

Our Vietnam adventure went a little like this…

We flew direct on Emirates from Dubai to Ho Chi Minh City and then we took an hour’s domestic flight on Vietnam Airlines to Hue which is a tiny airport (you can also fly into DaNang which is an international airport and a major, booming city in central Vietnam ) then a 40 minute drive to our resort Laguna Lang Co - Angsana and Banyan Tree Resort.


Driving towards the resort it was clear that we were in a remote untouched area, with lush green forests (
Truong Son mountain range) on one side and a stunning coastline with sweeping white beaches on the other. As we entered the resort, there was an 18-hole Nick Faldo golf course, an organic farm, staff cycling around and further up the path was the entrance to the Angsana Hotel and the Banyan Tree.

 

Both resorts are situated on a secluded beach with the Banyan Tree resort expanding up the lush mountain cliff while the Angsana resort extends down the private pristine beach. Both resorts offer villas/rooms with private pools and stunning views. On one side of the resort is a river which runs between both properties where you can kayak or enjoy other fun water sports. While many on site activities are offered on the beach such as surfing, jet skis, boating and TAV (quad biking) you can also enjoy the many mountain trails alone or with the hotel tour guides. Bikes are available to cycle around the resort or on a tour outside of the property. We all went out on bikes, with one of my kids sitting on the back of my mountain bike and the other two had their own bikes.

 

We stayed at the Angsana Resort in a beautifully spacious three floor villa, with stunning floor to ceiling windows which made the beach views even more wonderful. I don’t know what it was about the beds in our rooms, but I can honestly say we all slept amazingly well, with me having to wake the kids up in the morning in order to make breakfast (a few mornings we never made it in time!) Even though we had a private pool, the kids enjoyed the large main hotel pool which wrapped around the resort and opened up into small private peaceful areas and jacuzzi spots.


Between both the properties there is an excellent choice of restaurants, from fine dining to more relaxed alfresco beach dining. I highly recommend Saffron restaurant located on the cliff front at Banyan Tree - try to pre book as it’s a small restaurant and always busy due to the wonderful food and brilliant sun set views.

 

I have to say, even though this was a large property and the occupancy was high, I still felt very secluded and it never felt busy. With so much to do on site and a private beach that went on for miles you never felt like you saw the same person twice.

Watch our video: https://youtu.be/xxImX0iOwp4

As the resort is located between 3 UNESCO Heritage spots, one being the world famous Hoi An, there is not a shortage of excursions to enjoy. Day trips are well priced, and you can either go by the hotel shuttle bus or like we did, rent a hotel car and driver – they are super cheap and much more convenient.

We actually only left the hotel once to visit a place which has become popular literally over night with a picture that went viral on Instagram – since it was only an hour’s drive from our hotel, we had to go. More on that below…

 

DaNa Hills - Sun World

After seeing that famous “Gods Hands” golden bridge picture go viral, it went quickly onto my ‘must see’ places to visit. An hour drive from our hotel, we didn’t know what to expect. I thought we would simply come across a bridge, walk over it, take pictures and then leave. But NO, we were in for an amazing surprise.

 

We drove up to a large parking area where we were informed we had to buy tickets and take the cable car to the top of the mountain. I showed the staff the picture of the bridge I wanted to see, and they said it was on top of the mountain. Still unsure but ready for the adventure we bought tickets which were super cheap and joined the flow of people, of which there were many! We walked through a temple like building and followed the signs to the cable cars, which we entered with a cable pod to ourselves.

 

As the cable car started moving up the mountain, we started seeing spectacular views overlooking the mountains, waterfalls, streams running down the mountain, the ocean in the distance, with DaNang city glimmering in the sunlight. The journey seemed to take forever as we were going higher and higher. As we increased to 1400 feet we saw our first glimpse of the now famous ‘gods hands’ bridge. We got out of the cable car and walked towards the bridge - our first impression was that it was smaller than we thought, but how on earth did they build this on the top of a huge mountain?! Taking in the view we walked from one end to another, coming out to an area which looked like building ruins (for effect) and a vision of a white 27 meters tall white Buddha in the distance, only to realize there was another cable car taking you even higher - 1487 meters above sea level.  Now this we had to see.

 

Once at the top and what felt like we were over looking the world the doors opened to what can only be described as…. wait for it….an adventure park!!!!


Music, dancers, entertainers, street festival, princesses, men on stilts, jugglers, fire acts, free beer vouchers being handed out from the German Beer Bar, restaurants and believe it or not, two hotels…it was all happening. The place was teeming with tourists. Welcome to Sun World the most surreal place I have ever seen. At the top of this mountain range, they had built miniature versions of global cities and their cultures with the standout being a Paris street replete with a miniature Notre Dame.

This place is well worth a visit just because it truly is a bizarre but exhilarating experience; go early as it can get hot and very busy:

Prices
700,000 adult - VD
550,000 kids – VD
 

After spending a fantastic relaxing week at the glorious and peaceful Lang Co, we were soon enough off to our next destination in Vietnam… Hoi An

 Read the full feature here:

 http://www.uniquefamilytravels.com/2018/09/10/you-must-read-this-before-visiting-hoi-an/

 Relevant Links:

http://www.uniquefamilytravels.com/2018/09/10/tree-house-dinners-on-the-saigon-river/ 

 

Dani

Adventure Money Box Family Friendly Relax

9010

Birthdays In Barcelona

I can’t take any credit for organizing this great trip in Barcelona as my good friend Azee arranged everything for her husband’s 40th Birthday celebrations. Even though I have been to Barcelona a couple of times, this visit ticked every box from partying at “Off Sonar” (a very popular annual dance festival), dining at the best restaurants, a yummy picnic in the park, a history lesson while cycling around the city and to top it all off we were a great group of friends who laughed and danced our way through the trip together.

Accommodation

Passeig de Gràcia is one of the major avenues in Barcelona – its perfect for shopping, dining and also home to one of Gaudi’s masterpieces, Casa Batlló. A stone’s throw away from this major tourist attraction is the minimalistic and elegant Hotel Alma. The beauty of this hotel is that even though it’s in the middle of the city, it has a large stunning manicured garden area for dining and a cozy, roof top garden for drinks. The property is more of a sophisticated adult retreat than a family hotel, but saying that it does cater for kids upon request. All the rooms only have fingerprint locks for instead of room key; shutter blinds for curtains and the interiors are neutral and masculine toned. For the best view I would suggest requesting a Grand Deluxe room as they offer views of Gaudi's iconic wavy-stone La Pedrera building.

Foodie Scene

Like every major city worth its weight in gold, Barcelona is packed with its share of amazing restaurants offering tantalizing tapas, al fresco dining or unique cuisine nooks hidden away in buildings filled with history, stunning designs and wonderful architecture. If you, like me, find it difficult putting together a list of places to go, simply due to being scared of missing out on anything, here’s a few recommendations:

Tickets Bar is number 25 on the ‘Top 50 restaurants in the world” list – a very cool tapas concept and designed like something out of Willy Wonka’s world. Especially the desert room, imagine hanging strawberries and candy canes from the ceiling!! Its not an easy restaurant to book as it has a long waiting list and you can only book a table the same month you plan on visiting

Nino Viejo - one of my favorites – a traditional urban Mexican tapas restaurant by the award-winning group who own Tickets Restaurant (above)

La Dama – redefined French Mediterranean cuisine located in the spectacularly beautiful Casa Sayrach, an architectural masterpiece located in the elusive Zone Alta.

Jaime Beriestain a modern yet sophisticated coffee shop, cocktail bar and concept store designed by Jamie Beriestain himself. It’s a local hangout and a must visit for tourists.

Barcelona Tapas tour by bike organized by Barcelona by Bike is a “Must Do’ as it’s the best way to see Barcelona, from the parks to the port, inside the windy narrow streets and all based around a typical "Ir de tapas" (Tapas bar hopping)

Pintxos (or pinchos) are small snacks/tapas - these finger foods have an array of toppings placed on crunchy bread, spiked with a toothpick and displayed buffet style. You end up paying for the amount of toothpicks left on your plate. From savory to sweet these were simply mouth watering - add in a sangria or a cool beer and this is the perfect pick me up while biking through the city.

The bike tour was also a great way to learn more about Antoni Gaudí i Cornet otherwise known as Gaudi, the famous Spanish architect who designed the most striking buildings throughout the city. Even if you don’t know what a Gaudi building looks like, very quickly you will be able to spot one as his wacky, artistic and progressive architecture stands out from the crowd.

It’s actually a sad story. Even though Gaudi is now an architectural icon however his life was hardly easy. He was so engrossed in his work and a strong follower of god, that he let himself go - not eating, wearing shabby old clothes and never shaving. One day on his way to confession, a tram hit him, because of his shabby appearance and no ID, the 73-year-old genius was thought to be a poor beggar. He never received the medical attention he required. It wasn't until the next day that the chaplain at the ‘Sagrada Família’ recognized the old man as the famed architect, but it was too late—Gaudí died two days later, on June 10, 1926. The residents of Barcelona mourned Gaudí’s death, his funeral procession snaked through the city, ending at his immense, unfinished church. He was laid to rest in the crypt of the Sagrada Família, underneath his final efforts to finish his elaborate, colossal sanctuary. That work is still underway, 90 years later. Current projections expect the Sagrada Família to be finished in 2026, in time for the 100th anniversary of the great architect's death.

Check out this link to see the 10 must-see Gaudi buildings in Barcelona:

https://www.archdaily.com/877599/10-must-see-gaudi-buildings-in-barcelona

Picnic in the park

Picture this…a warm, beautiful clear day with a slight breeze in the air, the sun is slowly going down and while walking through the lush grounds up a hill you stumble across an area with blankets laid out, ice buckets filled with wine and basket hampers complete with tapas. This was the perfect setting to relax, reminisce about the last few days and watch the sunset over a magical city.

Getting around Barcelona is easy and quick. Uber is the best option as local taxis can depend on how lucky you are. I would suggest downloading the Uber App and using it at your convenience.

And few extra cool excursions for you to do with your family:

Football Fans

Barcelona has so much to offer if you or your child are obsessed with football as a pilgrimage to Nou Camp (Barcelona FC Stadium) is a must and a priority. Even though I have never done it, it’s a fantastic experience especially as it’s the 3rd biggest football stadium in the world.

Creativity

Like Dubai’s version of Café Ceremique, Mosaiccos is an art studio that provides workshops on how to create mosaics with the style and techniques of Antonio Gaudi.

Soak up the sun

You can’t beat a swim in the gorgeous Med Sea. Barcelona beaches are fun and free and during the summer season they are busy right up till the sunsets. The beach next to the W hotel is a good one to visit.

Barcelona is the ideal long weekend get-a-way with Emirates flying directly into the city.

Dani

 Money Box Family Friendly Relax

9011

Sri Lanka – Arabella On Boossa

A luxury boutique beachfront hotel evoking the traditional Sri Lankan tropical Bawa style of architecture with a unique yet spacious contemporary and minimalist interior is the perfect family friendly place to stay when visiting Galle.

Arabella on Boossa is a stunning 8-room boutique beachfront property, designed with comfort and understated leisure in mind. We had the pleasure of staying for a week in the largest room in the house located on the third floor, just above the second shared living room. Room 8 is a large bedroom with a white 4-poster bed frame, lounge area and enough space to neatly fit 3 extra beds for the kids. This room also comes with a large balcony with gorgeous views of the hotel pool, garden and the beach.

The true identity of this property is that the Australian owner has taken into consideration their guests every need and maximized the space to reflect that. Some of the family suites offer bunk beds and loft-style makeshift floors with a ladder utilizing the space to its fullest. Young children are specifically catered for with well though out food, (including delicious) ice-cream options and pool and garden entertainment activities, including a daily creative arts table for late afternoon while the parents relax in the garden or pool.

The main eating area is at the side of the hotel – an all-open space where breakfast served with a morning breeze is simply wonderful. The menu offers traditional Sri Lanka cuisine along with the usual western favorites and a kids menu too.

The whole hotel is ordained with white sofas, modern ornaments and groups of glass vases stacked with large green tropical leaves. Most of the day, the common doors are left open so the sea breeze fills the air and you can hear the sounds of the waves crashing. It’s a peaceful and comfortable property, which immediately feels like home.

Arabella on Boossa is located 10 minutes from Galle a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Galle is a truly multi-cultural town, filled with hotels, guesthouses, restaurants, shops and especially in the evening and nights is teeming with tourists. Tuk Tuk’s or private cars are available to take you anywhere you wish to visit and the colonial Galle train station is nearby. Personally we enjoyed taking tuk tuks everywhere even though 5 people was a bit of a squeeze in the back, but the kids found it highly entertaining and occupied themselves by counting all the multi-colored tuk tuks we passed along the way

Here's our list of family things to do while in Galle:

Surf Lessons – We signed the kids up to a surf school, which was close by to the hotel. It’s literally a shack on the beach with local surfer dudes as the teachers. The staff gave the kids a quick run though the moves before taking them into the sea, staying by their side the entire time. My son didn’t last too long in the water as when the sea is choppy its pretty exhausting not to mention you spend a lot of time under the waves, but my eldest got to grips with it straight away and considering she has no fear and a personality where she is determined to do what she puts her mind too, she stayed in for hours. While the kids had their lesson, we enjoyed freshly squeezed juices on the beach.

Galle Lighthouse is a nice spot for a walk along the city walls and a perfect place to enjoy an ice cream. A must, Insta-worthy photo stop too!

Galle Town – inside the Galle town walls are alleyways of shops, restaurants and bars. The architecture and interior is a mix of British colonial and Dutch influence while remarkably, within a few square meters of each other you can find places of worship from all the main religions.

Take a train to Walligama and hang out the open window and doors… don’t worry its pretty safe and a cool way to ride the train

A day at Unawatuna Beach – white sands, surfing and lunch spots on the sand. A literal beach paradise and a magnet for backpackers

Japanese Peace Pagoda – we hired a tuk tuk driver for the morning and visited the famous round Buddhist temple which sits upon a hill with views of the coast. While the temple was nice, the kids enjoyed exploring the secret beach at the bottom of the hill. A downward hike through bushes and many steps opens up onto a secret beach with tree swings and a café. Its fun to do but its not the beach I would go to as I certainly wouldn’t fancy carrying a family of five with beach paraphernalia up and down that hike!

Stilt fisherman – spot the fisherman sitting on the stilts in the water catching fish. An old, antiquated method of fishing that still holds its charm.

Turtle sanctuary – a top tourist spot but worth it as the money they receive goes towards supporting the local wildlife and helping rehabilitate the turtles.

Fruit Market – I enjoyed visiting the many stalls of fresh fruit, all laid out neatly providing an array of bright colors – the naughty side of me wanted to pull out an apple from the bottom of the pile just to watch the entire stack crumble, but instead I picked the ones on the top of the pile just so I didn’t leave a dent in their proud, product display master piece!

Dani

Adventure Money Box Family Friendly Relax

9012

Ten Things To Do In Cape Town

Its all here - the views, the wine, the lifestyle, the outdoors adventures, the people, and the palpable energy – I just love everything about Cape Town.

I’m not one to humblebrag but I am fortunate enough to have been to Cape Town 5 times – a couple of visits due to the hospitality of my South African friends, twice for friends wedding, and once earlier this year for a crazy friend’s 40th birthday (now that’s another story for another blog!).

For this post I’m going to mix all my trips together and share with you my favorite top ten highlights.

1. Wine Country – you cannot visit CT and not take a trip to Stellenbosch or Franschoek (Africa’s Napa Valley). An hour’s drive from CT and you will be transported into another world, a world offering stunning views of mountains and wine valleys that go on for miles with tranquility and luxury all coming together in one magical place. And lets not forget the food and wine. Even a small bed and breakfast will blow you away with their quality of fresh food and homegrown wine. Franschoek Valley is arguably the most historic, beautiful and captivating town in the Cape Winelands. Below are a few of our favorite locations - all offering award-winning cuisine, wines and luxury accommodation:

http://www.beauconstantia.com/gallery

http://www.constantiaglen.com

http://www.buitenverwachting.com

https://www.babylonstoren.com

https://www.lapetiteferme.co.za

If you want to stay a night or two in Franschoek, check out Leeu Collection Properties - they are stunning:

https://leeucollection.com/lqf/

 

2. Whale-Watching - Unless you view it live, the experience of humpback whales giving birth on the shores of Hermanus cannot truly be explained by words. This was the most surreal moment I have ever witnessed, seeing so many whales close to the shore – a sight I will never forget.  As we sat with the crowds of people on the bay walls, we literally witnessed the whales giving birth. The noise echoed while the sea changed to red. Hermanus, particularly Walker Bay, are the mating and breeding grounds during the winter and spring months. Every September you get to witness the birth of this wonderful mammal.

Hermanus has been recognized by the WWF (World Wildlife Fund) as one of the 12 best whale-watching destinations in the world.  Adding to the vibe are a lot of funky places to eat and lots of space for kids to run around.

3. Climbing Table Mountain – 9 out of 10 South Africans love their sport and are obsessed with outdoor activities, so while I was staying with my friend she took me to enjoy the views from the top of Table Mountain. However she made my husband and I walk up – yep that’s right, from the bottom to the top – 2 hours plus. For the fit and crazy people, there are a few great trails that you can follow to the top of the mountain but be careful, as some take a lot longer than others. But don’t worry as once you’re at the top, your head will be in the clouds, literally! If you’re going with kids, take the cable car and enjoy a bite to eat at the top while taking in the breathtaking 360-degree views.

4. Paragliding off the top of Signal Hill - something I have always wanted to do. However, if you’re an adrenaline junkie then this maybe too tame for you. My tandem buddy was very sweet, gliding over the wonderful views pointing my Go-Pro in the best directions. The whole thing lasted about 20 minutes and instead of being edgy, it’s actually very peaceful and relaxing and a wonderful way to capture the essence of Cape Town.

Watch my video here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YESQgzDYA6I&t=3s 

5. Up close and personal with the penguins at Boulders Beach – there are so many picturesque beaches in Cape Town yet there’s nothing like beautiful Boulders Beach where you can sit on the beach surrounded by a colony of African Penguins. These little penguins are pretty cool and not shy. Watch the little guys waddle around in their own habitat and kids especially will thoroughly enjoy the experience.  There is a cute snack place if you need to get a sandwich, I hear the cheese and tomato is a local favorite!

There’s a conservation fee of around R65 per person

6.  Foodie Scene - the food in CT is not only yummy and healthy but it’s extremely affordable.  My top restaurants would be:

  •  The Test Kitchen – top restaurant in CT – book way in advance as its near impossible to get a booking but luckily we know the owners so drop us a line and we could help you out!
  • The Pot Luck Club – sharing Tapas
  • Black Sheep Restaurant
  • The Bungalow
  • Tashas – V&A Waterfront – same menu as Dubai but a fraction of the price!
  • Kloof Street House
  • Asoka
  • The Silo – located in V&A it’s a modern and exclusive hotel. You must go visit the Silo Rooftop bar for panoramic views of the city and a swanky dinner and drinks, but you need to book a table in advance and the dress code is a must.
  • Tintswalo Atlantic – a dining room which leads out onto an expansive wooden deck, where you can enjoy stunning ocean views

7. Cape of Good Hope Nature Reserve - where the Indian and Atlantic Oceans meet. It’s a scenic ride through the southernmost edge of the Cape Peninsula. Again words would not do this place justice – awe-inspiring! I don’t think this is a trip for little kids.

8. Helicopter Ride– this was my first time in a helicopter and it didn’t disappoint. I had always been fascinated with them so I jumped at the chance. My friend and I chatted in each others head-set as we went from Cape Town to Cape Point, flying over Table Mountain right down the coast with the Atlantic on one side and the Indian ocean on the other.  If you have the time and the budget, then definitely put this on your CT bucket list.

9. Stay in Camps Bay – with so many lovely hotels in the city and on the coast you are literally spoilt for choice. However I have to admit, I prefer to rent a private villa in the beautiful area of Camps Bay, which is situated up the hill on one side of Table Mountain while over-looking the sea and the Twelve Apostles mountains. Earlier this year we rented a stunning house for our friends 40th – with 9 bedrooms, a large balcony and a swimming pool we witnessed the most amazing sunsets and sunrises you could ever imagine:

https://capeportfolios.com/Casa-Silva.html

There is one hidden gem in CT, which I will share with you called Tintswalo Atlantic – an award-winning lodge perched on a pebbled beach at the foot of the Table Mountain National Park, overlooking the Atlantic Ocean. I would however recommend this for couples rather than families.

Tip – If you can't stay here, do go for sunset drinks or dinner – it has the best sunset views you could wish for

http://tintswalo.com/atlantic/

10. Victoria and Alfred (V&A) Waterfront – a buzzing area with lots of cute restaurants and bars. As a little-added extra you can spot the seals come into the waterfront near the boats. Check out The Silo Hotel and museum. You can be sure to catch some local performers raising the roof.

Well, that’s the list so far, but trust me, it's not set in stone as I certainly plan on going back – a couple of great excursions next on my bucket list:

1. A visit to the famous Robben Island. The island was once a prison where Nelson Mandela spent 18 of his 27 years in prison.

2. Swimming with great whites  – even though I will be more scared of the water being so cold than being in a cage with a great white in front of me!

3. Using CT as a base to either go on game reserves and a safari or go up and down the much vaunted Garden Route – a gorgeous drive to Port Elizabeth that the locals swear by.

So, this place has everything: from drinking too much wine to jumping off mountains and everything in between. I can’t recommend enough, especially for the foodies and the outdoor/adventure traveller.

Dani

Lead Big Sur

Big Sur California

Located at the intersection of the Pacific Ocean and the Santa Lucia Mountains, equal parts American legend and natural wonder, Big Sur is one of the most magical places on Earth. As you drive along the highway hugging the edge of the continent, you quickly come to understand the allure of this iconic destination.

Drive the Big Sur LA to Napa Valley. Enjoying a couple of nights in LA staying at Montage Beverly Hills. https://www.montagehotels.com/beverlyhills/

Then start your road trip south along Pacific Coast Highway to Orange County staying at Montage Laguna Beach.

Then head North to San Francisco and Napa Valley.

Vacation Route

Fly into LA airport

LA – Orange Country- Monterey – San Francisco – Napa Valley

Fly out of SF airport.

Day 1 - Fly into Los Angeles and stay at the Montage Beverly Hills. Ideally located in the heart of Los Angeles, Montage Beverly Hills is an elegant retreat set amid the city’s most exciting and sophisticated pleasures.

Day 2 - Take the day to relax and to experience LA at its finest – a shopping and foodie heaven 

Day 3 - Enjoy a day at Universal Studios

Day 4 - Your car will be waiting at the hotel all you have to do is put the roof down and enjoy the drive down the coastal road known as the BIG SUR heading South to Orange County staying at The Montage Laguna Beach https://www.montagehotels.com/lagunabeach/

This resort offers great excursions the entire family can enjoy such as whale watching and dolphin safari; you can also enjoy the educational marine life school or if you fancy something a little cooler enroll in the surf school

Day 5 to Day 7 - Spend the day at Disneyland / Sea world / Lego Land which are approx. 20 mins away or a shopping excursion to South Coast Plaza

Day 8 - The Big Sur drive continues but now you head north towards San Francisco along the coast road and end up in Napa Valley for a culinary experience.

Route:  Laguna Beach – LA – Malibu – Santa Monica – San Francisco

Check into the Ventana Big Sur – An Alila Hotel which is an exclusive luxury resort amid 160-forested acres on the Pacific Coast. https://www.ventanabigsur.com/

Day 9 and Day 10 - Experience the great outdoors at Ventana and all its outdoor sporting activities

Day 11 - Drive through to Monterey 

No California coastal itinerary is complete without a visit to the Monterey Bay Aquarium! Considered one of the world’s great aquariums and a global leader in ocean research and conservation, this is the place that inspired the setting for Pixar’s Finding Dory and the BBC’s “Big Blue Live” – and was featured in HBO’s “Big Little Lies”. The Aquarium’s 322,000 square feet showcase Pacific Ocean habitats with acclaimed marine exhibits such as the three-story living Kelp Forest, million-gallon Open Sea exhibit, and a two-story home for its cutest inhabitants, charismatic sea otters that are the unofficial mascot of the central coast. Dramatic oceanfront decks offer views of passing whales, dolphins, sea lions and sea otters.

If there is a single most popular image of Big Sur, it is probably of the 80 foot falls seen from this trail as McWay Creek cascades onto the sandy shore. The trail is located in Julia Pfeiffer Burns state park and provides both southern and northern coastal views.

Drive to Napa Valley and stay at one of the below luxury resorts to enjoy the culineray experince and the wonderful outdoor activities on offer:

Auberge du Soleil https://aubergeresorts.com/aubergedusoleil/

This is a little piece of Provence overlooking the sun-drenched vineyards of California’s foremost wine region. An understated French influence shines through in everything from the Mediterranean inspired Michelin starred restaurant to the light flooded rooms and their natural colored interiors.

Calistoga Ranch, An Auberge Resort https://aubergeresorts.com/calistogaranch/

It’s all about outdoor living at Calistoga Ranch, which is set among the trees next to a private lake. The lodges’ fit in perfectly with the surrounding but carry an understated luxurious feel.

Drive to San Francisco for a few days before flying out.

Total 14 days 

 

More Itineraries

Cambodia:

http://www.uniquefamilytravels.com/2018/05/10/a-week-in-siem-reap/

Vietnam:

http://www.uniquefamilytravels.com/2018/09/10/visit-vietnam/

Croatia Sailing:

http://www.uniquefamilytravels.com/2018/05/10/sailing-croatia/

Montenegro:

http://www.uniquefamilytravels.com/2018/05/10/72-hours-in-montenegro/ 

North of Thailand:

http://www.uniquefamilytravels.com/2019/10/02/touring-thailand/

Rwanda Safari and Gorilla Trekking

http://www.uniquefamilytravels.com/2020/01/14/visit-rwanda/

 

Dani

 Family Friendly Relax

Lead sailing

Sailing Croatia

Spend your time in Croatia discovering hidden natural beauties while sailing the stunning Adriatic coast. The below 7 day itinerary is just one version of what we can arrange for you. This itinerary isn't too demanding and allows you to perfectly balance days of lazing on the deck and swimming in crystal clear sea with active days exploring medieval towns, indulging in local specialties in luxury restaurants along the coast, and hiking Dalmatian rugged mountains.

DAY  1 - SPLIT

 

You’ve spent the day before exploring Solit old town and the SUNESCO World Heritage sites. Today you start your sailing adventure. Settle into the boat as we head for the picturesque island of Solta. Here you can enjoy watersports and paddleboard on the crystal-clear Adriatic Sea. Enjoy sunset on the boat and then visit the island to sample Croatian cuisine.

 

DAY 2 - VIS TOWN 

After breakfast and a morning swim, we head to the island of Vis. Vis Town is an explorer’s dream and its where they filmed Mama Mia 2. It takes about 20 minutes to walk around the harbour to Kut, the oldest and prettiest part, where most people stay.

Wander historic castles, stroll the mountainous landscape, or simply laze on deck before heading out for cocktails.

DAY 3  - KOMIZA 

We set sail for the picture-perfect town of Komiza on the opposite side of Vis Island. Enjoy lunch at one of their many stunning restaurants then back to the boat to spend the afternoon swimming in the crystal-clear turquoise water or you can also take this chance to see the Blue Grotto and Green Caves.

 

DAY 4 – PAKLENI ISLANDS

We arrive at the stunning Pakleni Islands, The Pakleni Islands are located just off the southeast coast of Hvar island, and if you’ve ever stood on Hvar’s famous Riva promenade or climbed to the top of the fortress in Hvar Town, then you’ve undoubtedly made eyes with this chain of isles. Pakleni is home to 17 beautiful islands fringed by pebble beaches and lush pine forests. Head to dinner on Palmižana Island.

 

DAY 5 - STARIGRAD, HVAR

Spend the afternoon on one of the oldest towns in Europe, meander its cobbled pathways and try mouth-watering Dalmatian cuisine! If you’re in the mood for a party, you’re just a short ride over the island to Hvar Town for a night to remember.– and fantastic nightlife!

DAY 6 – SUPETAR, BRAC

Start the day gently with a wake-up swim in the turquoise waters before a full day on the water. Expect lots of sailing, and enjoy watersports –Into Brac for dinner.

DAY 7 –SPLIT 

Enjoy a lazy morning topping on the boat with a lovely lunch as we return to the marina.

How about sailing from Split to Dubrovnik - contact us for more information.

Dani

 Family Friendly Relax

NEW LEAD

Uganda Gorilla Trekking Jan 2022

LAUNCHING IN JAN 2022

Our luxury Gorilla Trek experiences in Uganda and Rwanda

The ultimate primate experience, trek through local villages and lush rainforests with the breathtaking reward of finding yourself in the company of a family of gorillas. One of Africa's major highlights, Bwindi Impenetrable National Park is home to approximately half of the world’s population of mountain gorillas, the world's most endangered ape. A close encounter with these amazing animals is not soon forgotten.

Staying with the USP of Unique Family Travels our gorilla trekking experience will be targeted at the luxury traveller - staying at the most exclsuisve properties across both Uganda and Rwanda.

We are kicking off the new year 22 with a trip to see the mountain gorillas in Uganda.

 

 

 

Watch one of our clients in Uganda with the gorillas:  https://youtu.be/hy6lp3Mm-Kk

 

Dani

 Family Friendly Relax

Lead Cambodia

Explore Siem Reap In A Week

Siem Reap province is located in northwest Cambodia. It is the major tourist hub in Cambodia, as it is the closest city to the world famous temples of Angkor (the Angkor temple complex is north of the city). The provincial capital is also called Siem Reap and is located in the South of the province on the shores of the Tonle Sap Lake, the greatest sweet water reserve in whole Southeast Asia. 

With a reputation for excellence among Siem Reap hotels, Belmond La Résidence d’Angkor beautifully captures the region’s rich history while offering every modern luxury. Traditional Khmer architecture is complemented by elegant teak and basalt accents, echoing the ancient temples nearby.
Located close to Angkor Wat, Angkor Thom and Tonlé Sap Lake, it’s an ideal base to explore the wonders of the region. Siem Reap’s lively markets, galleries and thriving restaurant and nightlife scene are also just streets away.

https://www.belmond.com/hotels/asia/cambodia/siem-reap/belmond-la-residence-dangkor/

Day 1 – Enjoy the stunning grounds of the property after check in and venture to the Angkor Night Market

Day 2 - Take a Temple tour with a private guide
Set out early and explore Angkor Wat at sunrise and Ta Prohm. Then travel to Victory Gate of Angkor Thom, through the parkland behind the terrace of the ElephantsWalk past Phimeanakas and the Baphuon temple before ending at Bayon.

Day 3 – A horse trail offering countryside trail rides from sunrise to sunset. You will go on a journey to places that are otherwise unreachable, through local countryside villages, scenic rice fields and tourist free temple ruins. An authentic taste of the real Khmer lifestyle viewed from horseback.

Day 4 – Monastery Experience in Siem Reap
Tour includes:
· Get a peek into the life of a monk in this monastery
· Visit the temple where the monks pray
· Learn about the daily activities and practices of the monks
· Participate in meditation
· Experience a traditional good luck water blessing

Half-day sunset tour in Siem Reap, Cambodia
Bike the Angkor temples and country roads of Siem Reap its most beautiful time of day, in the afternoon leading up to sunset. This cycle tour allows you to experience a different side of Siem Reap and Angkor, finishing up with a sunset dragon boat ride, local treats and refreshments.

Day 5 – A boat tour to Kompong Khleang floating village. This tour takes guests to Kompong Khleang, the largest floating village in Siem Reap province. Located about 55km outside of the city, the villages are home to over 10,000 people, many of whom have been living here for generations. The tour staffs comes from the village and are part of a non-profit that works in the community and enjoys a particularly close relationship with community members. Rather than coming as tourists you are able to visit the village as friends.

Day 6 –Simple but flavorsome, Cambodian cuisine makes use of fresh fish from the Mekong and an abundance of Asian spices. Immerse yourself in Siem Reap’s culinary heritage as you enjoy a cooking class with a local chef in a typical Cambodian village, and enjoy a delicious 3-course lunch of traditional Khmer cuisine.

Day 7 – Relax at the hotel before you leave for the airport.

 

More Itineraries

 

 

Big Sur California:

http://www.uniquefamilytravels.com/2018/05/10/big-sur-california/

Vietnam:

http://www.uniquefamilytravels.com/2018/09/10/visit-vietnam/

Montenegro:

http://www.uniquefamilytravels.com/2018/05/10/72-hours-in-montenegro/

Iceland:

http://www.uniquefamilytravels.com/2018/05/10/wellness-iceland/

Gorilla Trekking:

http://www.uniquefamilytravels.com/2018/05/10/gorilla-trek-adventure/

Dani

 Family Friendly Relax

montenegro

72 Hours In Montenegro

Montenegro is a petite country in the south-east of Europe, next to Croatia and opposite of Italy. It is sitting on the Adriatic Sea and has a Mediterranean energy.

Porto Montenegro is one of the best tourist investments on the Montenegrin coast in the last 25 years, and  today represents a real example of one of the most beautiful destinations in Montenegro. Luxury packaged in a beautiful Mediterranean style, Porto Montenegro represents one of the most prestigious marinas on the Adriatic Sea.

Day 1 Porto Montenegro

 

Arrive at Tivat airport in Montenegro and head straight to Boka Bay, the largest natural harbor in the eastern Mediterranean and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Its picturesque shoreline of rugged mountains hugged by ancient hamlets and sandy beaches slipping into the Adriatic waters is absolutely breathtaking.

Check into the stunning Regent Porto Montenegro which is positioned perfectly on the marina offering stunning views. Spend your first day enjoying the marina, restaurants and shopping.

 

 

Day 2  Tivat – Kotor – Njegusi - Cetinje 

 

Rent a car and head 10 kilometers towards the old town of Kotor. Walk around the old piazzas and through the narrow streets which is a UNESCO heritage site. Walking around you will spot the famous walls which is a trademark  of the town. You can walk along the walls which will take you approx. 1 hour and provide stunning views.

 

From Kotor head towards Cetinje taking the road less travelled which is the old road with over 25 serpentine bends, offering a breathe taking view of the Bay of Kotor.

Leaving the seaside vibe you will now arrive in the mountains at the village of Njegusi where the sea and mountain climates collide. This is the birth place of the Ruler and Prince Bishop of Montenegro, Patar II Petrovic Njegos (1813 – 1851)

Your first stop must be lunch at a family restaurant with a century long tradition “Kod Pera na Bukovicu” and also try out the prosciutto and cheese.

If your physically fit this is where you can climb Mount Lovcen at an altitude of 1.660 meters which can be reached by climbing 461 steps!

 

Continue on your drive to Cetinje, the spiritual capital of Montenegro and home to the Royal castle, museums and monasteries.

35 minutes past Cetinie is Budva famous for its beautiful beaches, great restaurants and fun nightlife.

 

Day 3  Budva – Bar – Ulcinj – Ostros - Podgorica

 

Enjoy the morning in Budva where the celebrities like to stay and make time to visit the unique island hotel Sveti Stefan.

 

Leaving behind Budva you head towards Bar 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.

 

Continue your journey to the 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, shortly you will reach Podgorica.

 

Hotel - Regent Porto Montenegro 

https://www.regenthotels.com/regent-portomontenegro

 

More Itineraries

 

Big Sur California:

http://www.uniquefamilytravels.com/2018/05/10/big-sur-california/

Vietnam:

http://www.uniquefamilytravels.com/2018/09/10/visit-vietnam/

Cambodia:

http://www.uniquefamilytravels.com/2018/05/10/a-week-in-siem-reap/

Iceland:

http://www.uniquefamilytravels.com/2018/05/10/wellness-iceland/

Gorilla Trekking:

http://www.uniquefamilytravels.com/2018/05/10/gorilla-trek-adventure/

Dani

 Family Friendly Relax

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

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