Author Archives: Lisa
Author Archives: Lisa
Discover a selection of Mexico’s most culturally rich states, including its vibrant capital, and immerse yourself in mariachi, folklore and colonial cities before heading to the beautiful beaches of Punta Mita. Start in Mexico City for a glimpse into this modern, yet history- rich capital before travelling up to the ‘cradle of the Mexican Independence’ movement in Guanajuato.
Making your way towards the Pacific Coast, stop in Guadalajara to discover the folklore and traditions behind Mexican mariachi culture. After travelling the state of Jalisco, journey on to Punta Mita on Mexico’s Pacific Coast, where you can enjoy vistas of Riviera Nayarit.
Feel at one with nature and discover a different way to experience all the UAE has to offer, with an island sojourn that combines Anantara luxury and Emirati culture. Established by the late ruler and founder of the UAE, HH Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan, as a royal nature reserve, Sir Bani Yas lies off the coast of Abu Dhabi’s emerging Western Region and is Arabia’s largest wildlife sanctuary.
The instant you step onto the island with its picture perfect white sand beach, wandering wildlife and scenic landscape, you’ll feel an immediate sense of relaxation. The only difficult choice you need to make is which of the three resorts dotted across the island to stay at.
Live out the ultimate wildlife adventure at Anantara Al Sahel Villa Resort, for an ultra-private African lodge-style experience; enjoy contemporary design and traditional heritage elements at the beachfront Anantara Al Yamm Villa Resort, reminiscent of the pearl fishing villages of the past; or relax with the family from the comfort of Desert Islands Resort & Spa by Anantara where Emirati cultural motifs blend with 21st-century facilities.
Upscale your summer experience and plump for one of the exclusive Al Sahel villas with private plunge pool and the occasional roaming gazelle for company ; spoil yourself with beach and private pool luxury at Al Yamm; or sequester yourself away in a two-bedroom family pool villa at the main Desert Islands resort.
When you manage to tear yourself away from your temperature- controlled swimming pool, the 87-square-kilometre island offers a diverse collection of nature and cultural activities to enjoy.
Get an up close view of the island’s 15,000 protected animals and birds and take the opportunity to learn about Sheikh Zayed’s conservation programme as you spot giraffes, gazelles, Arabian oryx, cheetahs and sea turtles on a guided wildlife drive.
Culture mavens can explore the island’s 42 archaeological sites with an expert guide, complete with a lesson in traditional qahwa (coffee) drinking etiquette and chance to leave your own conservation legacy by planting a mangrove seedling.
Re-energise body and mind after an outdoor excursion with a time- honoured Arabian or Eastern ritual at the Anantara Spa, including couples-only options, for signature top-to-toe relaxation.
Culinary satisfaction is never far away with five restaurants serving world-class cuisine ; but the resort’s Dining by Design experience is the gourmet piece de resistance with your choice of tailor-made menu, prepared by a personal chef and enjoyed on the beach in a Bedouin setting or at a secret African bush-inspired location.
From grandparents who want to put their feet up to your energetic toddler who requires a constant stream of entertainment, finding a destination that’ll keep all your family members occupied while on holiday can be a challenge. The good news is that you don’t have to look far to find a vacation spot that appeals to travellers of all ages. Sharjah is emerging as an increasingly popular escape for those in search of variety and great value. Here, we highlight some of the best of the emirate’s attractions for multi- generational travellers.
Feed your mind by learning more about the rich history of the UAE at Sharjah Heritage Museum. There are six different galleries to explore, each of which focuses on a different aspect of local life. The museum is situated along Sharjah Creek where the city first sprang from the sand and is entirely indoors, so is perfect for the summer months.
The non-profit creative space, Maraya Art Centre at A1 Qasba, is also worth a visit for its innovative exhibitions programme, showcasing the work of leading Middle Eastern and international artists.
In Sharjah you can shop until you drop. For starters, head to Mega Mall which has more than 150 outlets spread across four floors, with five anchor stores: Zara, Mango, Paris Gallery, Mega Mart and Sharaf DG. Those who shop there during the summer will have the chance to win one of two brand new cars. Next, head to Sahara Centre, which boasts a plush extension and key anchor stores including Debenhams, Marina Exotic Home Interiors, Toys ‘R’ Us and Home Centre.
It opens late into the evening so you can feel free to browse the boutiques while the children are safety tucked up in bed. Afterwards, treat weary feet with a soothing treatment at Altitude The Spa at Sharjah Golf and Shooting Club.
Speaking of Sharjah Golf and Shooting Club, this popular venue is a must visit for action men. The complex boasts an impressive nine-hole, fully floodlit golf course that is ideal for an evening round. For another way to test your aim, why not try your luck at archery?
There is an indoor target area that’s popular at this time of year. Lastly, you can get to grips with shooting at the 50-metre-long range, which is equipped with a selection of pistols, rifles and revolvers to use under the guidance of a fully trained safety instructor.
Al Qasba is causing quite the buzz among teenagers in Sharjah. Featuring a pleasing mixture of entertainment, leisure and culture, this lively waterfront district is home to attractions including the Eye Of The Emirates Ferris wheel, which stands 60 metres tall and has fully air-conditioned cabins.
As you journey to the top you can enjoy spectacular views of the Arabian Gulf. Watch the Musical Fountain in action before heading to one of the nearby cafes for an indulgent milkshake as a treat.
Those in that awkward in-between stage will enjoy a visit to the Arabian Wildlife Centre. It’s the only place in the emirates where you can find wildlife that’s otherwise extinct in the region, including the incredibly rare Arabian leopard. The centre is located about 26 kilometres from the city centre and can be enjoyed all year round thanks to the temperature controlled viewing platforms.
Or, they can enter into a world of science and natural history by enrolling in the Island Explorer summer programme at the Butterfly House on A1 Noor Island. For ages 13 to 16, the course takes place every Monday and Wednesday from 14 to 23 August.
Make a splash at the 800-square-metre Mini Splash Park at Al Majaz Waterfront. Open from 10am until midnight, you can cool off amid the waterfalls and perch in the shaded seating area with a cooling drink. It’s suitable for those aged 12 months to 12 years, but big kids at heart will love it too.
Fantastic summer holiday deals are being offered in Sharjah until 8 September 2017. Packages include taking in some of the emirate’s key attractions and world-class events, from theatre shows to shopping expeditions. Plus, you could be in with a chance of winning a Mercedes-Benz courtesy of Sahara Centre.
Head to Victory Park in the Kanaker-Zeytun district for fairground rides, boating on the lake and lots of running around in open green spaces.
More child-friendly attractions: Souvenir shopping at the open-air Vernissage flea market (held behind Republic Square metro on Nalbandyan street); tuck into sweets with fresh fruit fillings at homegrown confectionery store Grand Candy Ponchikanoc; and take a dip at Lake Sevan – a popular holiday spot that’s less than an hour’s drive away.
The medieval monastery of Geghard, in the Kotayk province, contains a number of buildings and tombs that are partially cut into the rock and surrounded by towering cliffs at the entrance to Azat Valley. It’s a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Museums to visit: History Museum of Armenia, founded in 1919, and Matenadaran Manuscript Museum, which houses a rich collection of ancient manuscripts and books.
Since its first performance – Swan Lake in 1935 – the Opera House has been the pride of Armenia’s musical culture. Prepare to marvel at the work of architect Alexander Tamanyan, whose building is steeped in classical beauty.
Other cultural picks:
Cafesjian Center for the Arts is the place to go to view contemporary works. Ascend the giant stairs at the Cascade for beautiful views of the city and toward Mount Ararat.
This popular eatery in the heart of Yerevan has been serving up tasty Armenian fare since 1998. There, you can try a unique take on classic dolma – ground meat mixed with rice, herbs, spices and wrapped in grape leaves.
Malkhas Jazz Club
The best place in Yerevan to enjoy jazz music over dinner, this laid-back spot often requires advance booking. The venue is named after its owner Levon Malkhasyan – the best jazz pianist in the country who often performs there at the weekend. The service, food and atmosphere is as excellent as the music.
A central abode
In the heart of the famed Republic Square, Armenia Marriott Hotel Yerevan is housed in a Soviet-era institution where rooms are truly sprawling. Indulge in Italian cuisine at Cucina and treat the children to homemade delights at the cute ice-cream parlour.
Only 200 metres from the National Art Gallery, Grand Hotel Yerevan is the place to stay for a glimpse of old- world glamour. The handsome ochre building is framed by towering white columns and boasts modern rooms with balconies, fantastic city views and a rooftop pool.
Cebu is a splendid place. Home to over three million people, the island offers something for everyone, from centuries- old buildings to white sandy beaches, majestic corals and breathtaking marine life – not to mention the perks of being in a modern city coupled with island-vibe living. Centrally located in the heart of the Philippine archipelago, Cebu is a cultural melting pot shaped by centuries of tradition. I’m proud to call it my home.
Whenever I visit, I make a point to enjoy some downtime with my friends and family in Compostella, a municipality just north of the city. In my opinion, this is where you can find the best Filipino hospitality in the country. Make sure you schedule time to check out one of the local markets where you can sample the freshest seafood you’ll ever taste. Cebuano cuisine is also famous for its Spanish- influenced dishes. Menus are packed with everything from adobo to paella and kare- kare – try it all.
Next, drop by Carbon Market to pick up the freshest Carabao mangoes and get a taste of Cebuano street-food – the tasty chicken barbecue and puso is a must.
Cebu is also blessed with a wealth of diverse natural resources, which keep tourists flocking to the island. From the gorgeous corals off Moalboal to the thresher sharks of Malapascua and the amazing whale sharks of Oslob, there is plenty to admire.
Adventure seekers can try a spot of canyoning in Alegria and Badian, or be brave and take a wild plunge into the majestic Kawasan Falls. Alternatively, take it to the extreme with a skydive on Bantayan island.
Nature lovers will delight in the mountains of Osemena Peak or by taking a trek around Mount Manunggal, the highest peak, in Balamban.
Head to King’s Cross St. Pancras between Muggle platforms 9 and 10 and onto platform 9 3/4 where you can test your trolley-pushing skills. Walkthrough the doors of St. Pancras Renaissance Hotel London and you’ll step straight into a scene from the film, as the entrance to the station was shot in this very spot.
The first trip any budding wizard must make is to the cobbled streets of Diagon Alley, aka London’s Leaden hall market. Head straight to Ollivanders to collect your essential wizarding accessory – a wand. Don’t miss the secret entrance through The Leaky Cauldron, which is actually an opticians in Bull’s Head Passage.
Each year, Harry and his chums make their way to Hogwarts and the Glenfinnan Viaduct in Scotland is the famous bridge and train line that the Hogwarts Express travels along. The surrounding countryside makes for some wonderful hiking, take a ride on the Jacobite – the real steam train that Potter travelled on.
Andy Warhol’s original selfie was sold in London last month. Fans of the pop artist may want to schedule a visit to Pittsburgh, home of The Andy Warhol Museum – the largest museum in the US dedicated to a single artist. While there, check out the famed dinosaurs at the Carnegie Museum of Natural History, see two-wheeled mania at Bicycle Heaven and enjoy Cartoon inspiration at ToonSeum, this city is a museum treasure trove.
ADMIRE THE VIEW
Fan of spectacular sunsets? Then Ras Al Khaimah should be on your visit list. Quickly becoming the adventure capital of the UAE, plans for a brand new observation deck close to the summit of Jebel Jais have just been announced. Clocking in at almost 2,000 metres above sea level, in addition to having several viewing platforms, the deck will also serve as a base camp for hikers .and bikers looking to test themselves on the rugged Al Hajar Mountain range.
ART AND MUSIC
If you haven’t hit a summer festival yet, make a beeline for Cyprus where the inaugural Living Colour Music & Arts Festival kicks off on a August. Taking place in Ayia Napa, expect two days of music by some of the world’s top DJs (the likes of Dimitri Vegas & Like Mike, and Nicky Romero) coupled With fantastic live art installations, interactive games, gorgeous Culinary offerings and sweeping Mediterranean views.
Discover the world’s most exclusive designer stores, including those exclusive Mayfair boutiques, or head to the East End markets on Brick Lane for a one-of-a-kind find. London is home to some of the best shopping on the planet. Base yourself in Mayfair at Grosvenor House Apartments by Jumeirah Living or in Belgravia at Jumeirah Carlton Tower or Jumeirah Lowndes Hotel.
Unplug from the digital world and head to the picturesque fishing village of Soller. Admire breathtaking views of the rugged Tramuntana mountain range, a UNESCO World Heritage site, and take a private boat tour to Cabrera National Park. Stay at Jumeirah Port Soller Hotel & Spa and relax on a lounger by the infinity pool while soaking up panoramic views of the Mediterranean.
Home to a number of highly rated museums, Frankfurt is a dream destination for culture fans and art enthusiasts. Book the arts and culture package to receive a Museumsufer Ticket, which offers access to 34 museums over two consecutive days. You’ll be ideally placed at Jumeirah Frankfurt, which is within walking distance of all the major attractions.
Vibrant, varied and tasty, Turkish cuisine provides a rich insight into the culture and history of the destination. Sample the local pizza (pide), tuck into an expertly prepared pilav and enjoy a cup of traditional coffee with baklava. Stay at Pera Palace Hotel Jumeirah, which celebrates its 125th anniversary this year, and head to Patisserie de Pera for a decadent afternoon tea.
Check into Jumeirah Vittaveli, located just 20 minutes by boat from Male. The resort comprises 89 villas and suites each with its own swimming pool and direct access to the beach or lagoon. For families, the Royal Residence offers five bedrooms, a private beach, two pools and a private arrival jetty.
What to expect:
Channelling art deco vibes, this place is as elegant as it is imposing. Opened in 1930, it was Iceland’s very first luxury hotel. Guest rooms are classy, with parquet flooring, leather armchairs and turn of the Century artwork.
The property overlooks Austurvollur square, across from Althingi, the Icelandic parliament and Reykjavik cathedral. You’re within walking distance of a host of restaurants and attractions including The Fish Market.
Don’t miss Borg Spa, where you can indulge in a host of treatments. Borg Restaurant is another great pick; drawing in locals with its constantly changing menu.
What to expect:
Embodying cool Nordic design, this sleek outpost shows respect for Icelandic aesthetics fused with contemporary elements. Rooms are loaded with cool greysand whites-and have huge windows showcasing city and mountain views.
On Laugarvegur, wander through this hypercool thoroughfare, popping into Mal og Meaning to explore the country’s rich literary heritage, buy vintage finds in Spuutnik or escape the city’s strong winds with a warm bowl at: Noodle Station.
Tuck into delicious farm-fresh cuisine then enjoy an Icelandic beverage with friendly natives in the funky on-site lounge.
Move over Maldives – there’s a new over-water paradise on the scene. Opened just last month, Bawah island in Indonesia’s untouched Anambas archipelago is a quintessential Castaway island that’s just waiting to be discovered.
A two-hour journey from Singapore; the resort is accessed by private seaplane, following a ferry ride from Singapore to Batam. While it may sound like a trek to get there, you’ll need to trust US When we say it’s worth the effort.
Offering barefoot luxury surrounded by a mammoth 300-acres of unspoiled nature, guests are invited to check into, one of 35 eco-designed bamboo villas.
Simply take your pick from over-water of beachfront abodes. Once you’re settled, you can enjoy views across three crystal clear lagoons and explore no less than 13 picture perfect powder-white beaches.
Head to the treetop Club House for some gentle exercise in the yoga pavilion, or to takes dip in the beach-fronted infinity pool. There’s also a viewing platform that’s the perfect spot for watching the sun set. Adventure seekers can spend their days. snorkelling in pristine waters, home to a host of protected marine life, or hiking through untouched forests. With a maximum capacity of 70 guests at any one time, those seeking a sense of exclusivity can relish being one of a privileged few at this intimate island.