REVIEW: Es Saadi Gardens and Resort, Marrakech, Morocco

Time to check out Es Saadi Gardens and Resort in Marrakech.

After an adventurous week stargazing in the Sahara, riding camels and exploring kasbahs (check out the videos), I was ready for a few days of relaxation in Marrakech. I checked into a plush suite at Es Saadi Gardens & Resort in the upmarket Hivernage neighbourhood, and enjoyed a taste of the five star lifestyle.

With huge gates, flags blowing in the wind and elaborate fountains at the entrance, this resort certainly had something to shout about! Every December, stars of the big screen descend on Marrakech for the city’s prestigious film festival, and this is one of the resorts they return to time and time again.

 Over the next 48 hours I wandered the pristine gardens, basked in the Moroccan sunshine by the pool, perused the impressive art collection and was thoroughly pampered in the spa.

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REVIEW: House of Agnes, Canterbury, Kent

House of Agnes Canterbury

A beautiful, ancient building, central location and a Charles Dickens connection make House of Agnes a perfect spot for a short break in Canterbury.

House of Agnes Canterbury
House of Agnes Canterbury

The 15th Century B&B sits on one of the main roads into Canterbury, moments from Canterbury West, the historic Westgate and foodie hotspot The Goods Shed. It was referenced by Charles Dickens in David Copperfield and has stayed true to its original features, with plenty of wonky beams and old–fashioned windows. If you switched the electric lights for candles, it would be like returning to the 1400s.

Yet, some of the building’s history is hidden… During a building project, a Roman skeleton was discovered in the garden (and was consequently reburied!). Even more exciting – an extremely rare Astrolabe Quadrant dating from 1388 was unearthed a few years ago. Described as ‘one of the greatest discoveries of its kind in the world’ it went on to become a feature in the British Museum.

On check in, staff were helpful and full of knowledge – eager to make my stay as comfortable as possible. Downstairs were several communal rooms – something I really like at hotels. They created the feeling of a home-from-home rather than a stiff hotel.

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REVIEW: Grand Okan Hotel, Alanya, Turkey

Checking out the Grand Okan Hotel in Alanya.

During my recent trip to Alanya, I checked into one of the region’s most popular hotels – the Grand Okan.

I’m a firm believer that a luxury is nothing without good service. The most expensive meal can taste quite bland when there is no passion from the people serving it. Some of the best hotels in the world suffer from their stiff, impersonal ways. It makes me wonder: how difficult is it to provide warm customer service (are you listening Barcelo Solymar?)?

Grand Okan Hotel, Alanya
Grand Okan Hotel, Alanya

I checked into the Grand Okan Hotel in Alanya well after midnight. I was tired from travelling and suffering from a bit of a cold. Thankfully, I was welcomed by Amanda – the hotel’s incredibly friendly general manager. From Britain originally, she moved to Turkey over 15 years ago and lives and breathes the culture. Full of stories, charm and infectious warmth, she oversees a happy workforce who go out of their way to meet customers’ needs. It’s no wonder loyal holidaymakers return year after year.

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REVIEW: Hotel St. Petersbourg, Tallinn, Estonia

Hotel St Petersbourg Tallinn Review Billiards Art

Time to check out Hotel St. Petersbourg in Tallinn, Estonia!

“At what time would you like to visit our private sauna suite?”

When it comes to unique proposals at luxury hotels around the world, this is one of the best offers I’ve had. I checked into the very grand St Petersbourg Hotel in Tallinn (part of the Schlössle Hotel Group) after a whistle-stop tour of The Baltics and Scandinavia. Tallinn marked the end of my trip, and by this point I was exhausted and in need of good dose of relaxation and comfort.Wanderlust Chloe Hotel St Petersbourg Tallinn Review 23Wanderlust Chloe Hotel St Petersbourg Tallinn Review 01

It was the history of the hotel that first caught my attention. Opened in 1850, it is the oldest continuously functioning hotel in Tallinn, and one of the oldest in the whole of Estonia. After just a few hours in Tallinn, I was won over by the city’s medieval charm. It was like a fairytale – full of secret passages, romantic views and castle-like spires. Hotel St. Petersbourg is conveniently located in the heart of all of this – 30 seconds from the central square and the 13th Century Town Hall. Close by are several top restaurants, bars and museums. Thankfully it wasn’t bang in the heart of Tallinn’s famous nightlife (stag dos and all…!) so there was no need to worry about noise.Wanderlust Chloe Hotel St Petersbourg Tallinn Review 03

I stayed in a double room on the third floor. The colour scheme oozed luxury – with grey walls, a furry silver throw, maroon curtains and some quirky design features including a large monochrome photograph of a woman, and a cream armchair with funky pattern. I loved the parquet floor and antique mirror, and was pleased that while some of the décor was heavy, the room was flooded with Estonian sunshine!

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REVIEW: Divota Apartment Hotel, Split, Croatia

Divota Apartment Hotel Split

Time to check out Divota Apartment Hotel in Split.

As I got off the bus in Split, I was met by a handful of people flashing signs and pictures, trying to entice new tourists to their budget accommodations. There was something charming about seeing this old fashioned marketing technique still working. I, however, had somewhere to be…

On my first night in the city, I checked into Divota Apartment Hotel. I wandered through the characterful Veli Varoš neighbourhood – a labyrinth of tiny cobble stone streets once home to farm labourers. Just 5 minutes from Diocletian’s Palace and the promenade, but out of the tourist hustle and bustle, it seemed like the perfect location.

Wanderlust Chloe Split2 Wanderlust Chloe Divota Apartment Hotel Split 19

After checking in, I was shown to my apartment. The area felt very ‘local’ – people were going about their daily business walking dogs, going to and from work, carrying shopping and hanging out their washing. Traditional green wooden shutters hung off the old stone houses. I couldn’t stop taking photos!

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