Chedi Lead

The Chedi Montenegro

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

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

 

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

 

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

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

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

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

 

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

 

Dining

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

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

 

Marina Dining

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

 

Entertainment

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

 

 

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

 

Regions of Montenegro

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

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

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

TOP TIPS:

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

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

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

To book your stay please contact:

Danielle@uniquefamilytravels.com

www.uniquefamilytravels.com

 

Dani
Family Friendly Couple
11

One & Only Montenegro

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

Rooms

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

 

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

 

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

 

Dining

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

 

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

 

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

 

Entertainment

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

 

 

Chenot Espace Medical Spa

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

 

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

 

Regions of Montenegro

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

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

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

TOP TIPS:

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

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

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

To book your stay please contact:

Danielle@uniquefamilytravels.com

www.uniquefamilytravels.com

 

Dani
Family Friendly Couple
Belmond Caruso

Belmond Caruso Ravello

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

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

 

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

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

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

 

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

 

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

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

 

The Property

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

 

 

The pool

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

 

 

Dining

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

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

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

 

Room

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

 

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

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

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

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

 

Service

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

 

Ravello Town

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

 

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

 

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

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

 

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

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

 

 

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

 

To book your stay please contact:

Danielle@uniquefamilytravels.com

www.uniquefamilytravels.com

 

Dani
Family Friendly Couple
LEAD casa

Casa Angelina You Were Magical

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

Rooms

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

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

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

 

Service

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

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

 

Dining

Breakfast and dinner is served on the roof top.

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

 

Location

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

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

 

It’s the little things!

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

 

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

 

A couple of my top tips while visiting Positano.

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

The aperol spritz was amazing!

 

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

 

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

 

To book your stay please contact:

Danielle@uniquefamilytravels.com

www.uniquefamilytravels.com

 

Dani
Family Friendly Couple
LEAD

Masseria Torre Maizza PUGLIA

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

Masseria Torre Maizza

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

Rooms

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

 

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

 

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

 

 

Dining

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

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

For dinner a reservation should be made.

 

Spa

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

 

Service

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

 

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

 

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

 

Day trips while in Puglia

 

Top of your list should be Alberobello.

 

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

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

 

Ostuni

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

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

 

Polignano a Mare

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

 

Monopoli

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

 

Lecce

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

 

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

 

To book your Puglia  experience, please contact:

Danielle@uniquefamilytravels.com

www.uniquefamilytravels.com

 

Dani
Family Friendly Couple
Port Lead

One&Only Portonovi

Resplendent at the entrance of Boka Bay, a fjord-like idyll on Montenegro’s Adriatic Sea, One&Only Portonovi is the jewel of Europe’s most fashionable new riviera, all year round.

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 Susona Bodrum

Susona Bodrum

Susona Bodrum offers travellers a chic new destination along the Aegean Coast which stays true to the natural beauty and spirit of Bodrum. Located six kilometres from downtown Bodrum. https://lxrhotels3.hilton.com/lxr/susona-bodrum/

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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