Image by Holly Mandarich on Unsplash

Adventure travel can be an exhilarating way to explore and bask in nature, offering a unique blend of excitement, challenge, and discovery. Whether trekking through dense jungles, scaling mountain peaks, or diving into the deep blue sea, the right gear can make all the difference in your experience.

Packing smart ensures you’re prepared for any situation, helps you stay safe, and enhances your enjoyment. Here are seven essential items to pack for your next adventure travel experience.

1. Durable Backpack

A high-quality, durable backpack is the cornerstone of any adventure travel packing list. It must be sturdy enough to withstand rough conditions, spacious enough to hold all your gear, and comfortable enough to carry for long periods.

Factors you must look into include:

  • Capacity: Choose a backpack that matches your trip’s duration and activities. A 30-40 liter pack may suffice for short trips, while longer expeditions may require 50 liters or more.
  • Comfort: Look for a ventilated back panel, a supportive hip belt, and padded shoulder straps to distribute weight evenly and prevent discomfort.
  • Durability: Choose materials like ripstop nylon or polyester that resist tears and abrasions. Water-resistant or waterproof materials are also beneficial.

2. Quality Footwear

Your feet are your most important asset during an adventure trip. Proper footwear provides the support and protection needed to navigate various terrains, from rocky trails to slippery riverbanks.

There are several types of footwear suitable for various scenarios and terrains; these include:

  • Hiking Boots: Ideal for rugged trails and mountainous terrain. Look for waterproof options with good ankle support.
  • Trail Running Shoes are suitable for lighter hikes and running on varied terrain. They are lighter and more breathable than hiking boots.
  • Sandals are useful for water-based activities and casual wear in camp. Choose sandals with good grip and toe protection.

3. Multi-Tool and Swiss Army Knife

The right tools can make all the difference when traveling on an adventure. Multi-tools and Swiss Army knives are compact and versatile items that handle various tasks.

These tasks can range from cutting rope and opening cans to repairing gear. Here are critical features your multi-tool must have:

  • Blades: Sharp and durable blades for cutting.
  • Pliers: Useful for gripping and twisting.
  • Screwdrivers: Essential for minor repairs.
  • Other Tools: Scissors, can/bottle opener, saw, and file can be extremely handy.

Specific uses and recommendations

Multi-Tool Uses:

  • Camping and Hiking: Use the pliers to set up tents, the saw to cut branches, and the screwdriver to assemble gear.
  • Fishing: The wire cutters and knife are handy for cutting lines and cleaning fish.
  • Repairs: A multi-tool can be invaluable for quick fixes on the go, whether it’s tightening screws, cutting wires, or opening cans.

Swiss Army Knife Uses:

  • Everyday Carry (EDC): Perfect for small daily tasks like opening packages, slicing fruit, or fixing minor issues.
  • Travel: Its compact size makes it less taxing to carry while traveling and is handy for small repairs or food preparation.
  • Outdoor Activities: Light tasks such as cutting ropes, opening bottles, or trimming nails are ideal.

4. First Aid Kit

When embarking on an adventure, the unexpected can happen. From minor scrapes to more serious injuries, being ready with a comprehensive first aid kit is crucial. It ensures you can handle medical emergencies and significantly improve your safety and comfort.

While first aid kits can vary in terms of their contents, the general idea is to include basic supplies like bandages and antiseptic wipes, certain medications, and special items like tweezers and scissors. You can also add emergency items like burn creams and instant cold packs.  

5. Portable Water Filter or Purification System

Access to clear and clean drinking water is crucial, especially in remote locations where water sources may be contaminated. A portable water purifier or filter ensures you can safely hydrate without carrying large amounts of water.

Options you must consider include:

  • Water Filters: These devices remove bacteria and protozoa from water. Examples include pump filters, gravity filters, and straw filters.
  • Purification Tablets: Tablets like iodine or chlorine dioxide are lightweight and effective but can take time to work and may leave a taste.
  • UV Purifiers: These purifiers utilize ultraviolet light to kill bacteria, viruses, and protozoa. They are quick and effective but require batteries.

6. Weather-Appropriate Clothing

Proper clothing is crucial for comfort and safety in varying weather conditions. Layering is critical, allowing you to adjust your outfit to changing temperatures and activities.

Essential clothing items you will need include:

  • Base Layers: Moisture-wicking fabrics like synthetic materials or merino wool to keep you dry and warm.
  • Insulating Layers: Opt for fleece or down jackets for warmth.
  • Shell Layers: Windproof and waterproof jackets and pants to protect against the elements.
  • Footwear: Sturdy, comfortable shoes appropriate for your activities.
  • Accessories: Hats, gloves, and sunglasses for sun protection and warmth

Image by Wojciech Then on Unsplash

7. Nutrition and Snacks

Nutrition is crucial in sustaining energy levels and peak performance during adventure travel. Whether hiking mountain trails, exploring remote forests, or embarking on a cycling expedition, choosing the right snacks can enhance your experience and fuel your journey.

Understanding Energy Needs

Adventure activities like hiking, biking, or kayaking demand higher energy expenditures than sedentary lifestyles. Refilling calories and nutrients is essential to support physical exertion and prevent fatigue.

Factors influencing energy needs include:

  • Activity Level: Intensity and duration of physical activity affect calorie expenditure.
  • Body Size and Composition: Larger individuals generally require more calories to maintain energy balance.
  • Environmental Conditions: Cold or hot climates may increase energy expenditure due to thermoregulation.

Critical Nutrients for Adventure Travel

  • Carbohydrates provide quick energy and replenish glycogen stores. Go for whole grains, fruits, and veggies to keep your energy up.
  • Proteins aid in muscle repair and recovery. Choose lean sources like nuts, seeds, jerky, or protein bars for portable options.
  • Fats provide concentrated energy and essential fatty acids. Include healthy fats from nuts, seeds, avocado, and olive oil for satiety and endurance.
  • Maintain fluid balance with water and electrolytes. Drink regularly to prevent dehydration, even if you don’t feel thirsty.

Ideal Snack Choices

  • Trail Mix combines nuts, seeds, dried fruits, and sometimes chocolate for a balanced mix of carbohydrates, protein, and fats.
  • Energy Bars: Choose bars that balance carbs, protein, and fats. Seek out options with natural ingredients and minimal added sugars.
  • Beef Jerky: High in protein and portable, beef jerky provides essential amino acids for muscle repair and satiety. One of the best suppliers of beef jerky today is People’s Choice Beef Jerky, with its handcrafted products and various flavors.
  • Fresh Fruits: Apples, oranges, bananas, and berries are convenient, hydrating, and rich in vitamins and antioxidants.
  • Nut Butters: Pack nut butter packets or spreads for quick energy and healthy fats. Pair with whole-grain crackers or fruit.
  • Vegetable Sticks: Carrots, celery, and bell peppers offer crunch, hydration, and essential vitamins.
  • Homemade Granola: For a customizable snack, bake your granola with oats, nuts, seeds, and dried fruits.

Tips for Maintaining a Balanced Diet

  • Plan Ahead: Prepare snacks and meals before the trip to ensure you have nutritious options readily available.
  • Pack Wisely: Choose snacks that are portable, non-perishable, and resistant to heat or cold.
  • Eat Regularly: Fuel your body every few hours to maintain energy levels and prevent fatigue.
  • Stay Hydrated: Constantly drink water throughout the day, especially in hot or high-altitude environments.
  • Listen to Your Body: Pay attention to hunger and satiety cues to adjust portion sizes and snack choices accordingly.

Bonus: Navigation Tools

Getting lost in unfamiliar terrain can be dangerous. Reliable navigation tools ensure you can find your way and stay on course. Options you must consider include:

  • GPS Devices: Handheld GPS units provide precise location data and can store maps and waypoints.
  • Maps and Compass: Essential backups in case electronic devices fail.
  • Navigation Apps: Smartphone apps with offline capabilities can be very useful.

It’s Dangerous Out There, Take These

Packing smart for adventure travel is about being prepared and ensuring you have the right gear for any situation. Investing in a durable backpack, quality footwear, multi-tool, first aid kit, portable water filter, weather-appropriate clothing, nutritious snacks, and reliable navigation tools will enable you to tackle whatever challenges your journey presents.

These essentials enhance your safety and comfort and allow you to fully immerse yourself in the adventure, knowing you’re well-equipped for the road ahead. So, before you set out on your next great adventure, take the time to pack smart and enjoy the experience to the fullest.

The scent of freshly cut grass mingled with the crisp Devon air as Laura Bartlett stepped off the train at Exeter St David’s. Her anticipation crackled like the midday sun, promising an adventure unlike any other. This wasn’t your average city break; this was a meticulously curated journey through the heart of the Pob Hotels collection, and this time, it coincided perfectly with the buzz of the upcoming summer Olympics!

Tailoring Luxury to My Inner Athlete

PoB Hotels isn’t just about luxurious stays; it’s about experiences. Their new “Get Set, and Go” campaign, launched in honour of the 2024 summer games, personalises your escape around Britain’s favourite sports. Think indulging your inner Wimbledon champion or conquering the South Downs on a cycling adventure – all while enjoying the comfort and service PoB Hotels are renowned for.

Having already experienced the tranquil bliss of Sopwell House‘s spa, the riverside delights of Talbooth House and the timeless elegance of The Athenaeum in London, I knew a treat awaited with my next PoB Hotels adventure. 

Over the next few days, I traded bustling streets for rolling hills, dramatic coastline  and the unparalleled hospitality Pob Hotels were renowned for. Buckle up, because my adventure was about to begin, seamlessly blending luxurious relaxation perfectly complemented with the active spirit of the “Get Set, and Go” campaign.

Bovey Castle

My journey began with a train journey from Leeds to Exeter St David’s. Now, I’m no stranger to trains, but let me tell you, the anticipation of a luxurious Devon escape made even the clatter of the tracks sound positively thrilling. Stepping off the train, I was met by my knight in shining armour – well, a chauffeur in a very swanky car. He whisked me away to the majestic Bovey Castle, a place that oozed more history and grandeur than a Downton Abbey boxset marathon. Here, amidst the rolling hills, I knew my adventure wouldn’t just be about relaxation, but about discovering new active experiences too.

Check-in was a breeze, and after a spot of lunch that left my taste buds singing, it was time to explore. Dartmoor National Park called, and with a trusty electric bicycle courtesy of Pob Hotels’ partnership with the “Get Set, and Go” initiative beneath me, I was off to conquer its vast expanse. Talk about fresh air! The wind whipped through my hair as I cruised past rolling hills and picture-perfect scenery. Even those steeper inclines were a breeze with my trusty e-bike, adding a whole new level of “conquering” to the experience. By the time I returned to the castle, I was pleasantly buzzed from the adventure (and maybe a touch of smugness for tackling those hills with such ease).

The evening was all about unwinding with drinks and dinner. Let’s just say the company was delightful, the food even more so and the conversation flowed like the finest Devon cream. Now, some might consider a nightcap the perfect ending, but for this sober explorer, a clear head meant one glorious thing: a sunrise rendezvous with Mother Nature. Picture this: me, the crisp Devon air whispering secrets in my ear, the first rays of sunshine painting the landscape in a golden glow and a chorus of birds serenading the dawn. Basically, a real-life Disney movie, minus the overly-animated animals (although, with that much charm around, I wouldn’t be surprised if a few particularly enthusiastic robins belted out a show-stopping solo).

The Nare

The next day, a leisurely breakfast fuelled me up for another adventure. This time, my destination was The Nare, a quintessential English country house perched right on the Cornish coast. Think dramatic cliffs, crashing waves and enough charm to make a mermaid jealous.

Now, I’m no stranger to a good game of tennis, and with the sea breeze whispering sweet nothings in my ear, I was ready to unleash my inner Wimbledon champion. (Spoiler alert: Mother Nature had other plans. Turns out, the ocean breeze had morphed into a full-on wind symphony and battling a rogue tennis ball was a losing proposition. But hey, you win some, you lose some, and you definitely reschedule your tennis match for a less, shall we say, “enthusiastic” day!)

Lunch was a delightful affair at The Nare’s restaurant, where the freshest local produce met breathtaking ocean views. Talk about a feast for the senses! Besides, a delicious meal is the perfect consolation prize for a postponed tennis match, wouldn’t you agree?

The Headland

The afternoon saw me whisked away to The Headland, a grand hotel overlooking the picturesque town of Newquay.  The rest of the day was mine to explore and with a charming town centre calling my name, I couldn’t resist a spot of wandering.  By evening, I was back at The Headland, ready for another round of wining and dining. The ambiance was warm, the service impeccable and let’s just say I left feeling thoroughly spoiled.

But the real surprise came at dinner. When the staff learned about my embrace of a sober lifestyle, they didn’t miss a beat. The incredibly talented chef went rogue (in the best way possible!), crafting a bespoke menu just for me, a symphony of flavours that had my taste buds doing a happy dance. The enthusiasm was contagious – one of the staff, equally passionate about the world of no and low-alcohol beverages, took me on a delightful tour of their ever-expanding collection. We even dabbled in some mixology magic, conjuring up a stunning alcohol-free cocktail so delicious they had to name it after me! Yes, folks, “The Laura” became a temporary fixture on The Headland’s menu – a testament to the hotel’s dedication to exceptional experiences, no matter your beverage preference.

The last day was bittersweet. A leisurely breakfast fuelled by nostalgia (and maybe a touch of sadness that the trip was ending) was followed by packing and goodbyes. With a train ticket from Bodmin Parkway to York clutched in my hand, it was time to depart. But as the train journey unfolded, a wave of contentment washed over me.

This whirlwind tour of PoB Hotels had been nothing short of magical. From the grandeur of Bovey Castle to the seaside charm of The Nare and the dramatic setting of The Headland, each location had its own unique personality. They say variety is the spice of life, and PoB Hotels has that flavour profile down to a decadent art. Believe me, these are just a taste of the incredible experiences waiting to be discovered in their entire collection.

Get set and go on your own adventure

PoB Hotels’ “Get Set, and Go” campaign is the perfect excuse to combine your love of travel with a touch of sporty adventure. Whether you’re a seasoned athlete or a weekend warrior, there’s a PoB Break curated especially for you.

Imagine yourself cycling the South Downs between Bailiffscourt and Ockenden Manor, or following in the wake of Olympic rowers on the River Thames with The Relais Henley.

PoB Hotels has partnered with Olympic legend Victoria Pendleton to create a selection of incredible itineraries inspired by Britain’s favorite sports. Her own “An Inspiring Sporting Odyssey” takes you through the heart of the Cotswolds,letting you try your hand at everything from cycling to kayaking.

For the tennis enthusiast, there’s the “Game, Set, and Match” Break, a journey across the UK that culminates at Andy Murray’s Cromlix Hotel, complete with its very own Wimbledon-coloured tennis court.

Feeling the need for speed? “Discovering Sussex By Bike” will test your cycling abilities with a mix of flat coastal paths and challenging South Downs climbs.

No matter your chosen sport, you’re guaranteed a luxurious stay at some of the finest independent hotels in Britain. Think plush rooms, exquisite dining and decadent spas – the perfect way to unwind after a day of exertion.

So, are you ready to “Get Set, and Go”? Head over to the PoB Hotels website to explore the full range of breaks and start planning your active escape today!

chedi muscat hotel oman
Enjoy a tranquil escape from bustling Muscat at The Chedi hotel

Oman is a destination that definitely should be hit up for your next holiday. While the Middle East can often be overlooked for travellers, those who do explore the region tend to dine lavishly in Dubai or, at a push, opt to visit Petra.

Normally we’d be in the depths of winter, writing about getting those vitamin D levels up – as we all impatiently wait for the warmth to hit our skin once more. But no, no – we are in the middle of summer, friends – a time where the UK can actually be quite pleasant – and we’re all huddled up in coats with an umbrella in our bag, just in case.

But Oman offers it all, in our humble (read, expert) opinion. Stunning mountain ranges, impressive sand dunes, beautiful blue waters and a vast history packed full of culture to go along with it. While we at House of Coco have been lucky enough to wake up to the Jebel Akhdar scape and see only desert for days, this time, we’re taking you along with us to the capital, Muscat.

Where to stay: The Chedi Muscat, Oman

First thing’s first: you’re going to want to check in. Muscat isn’t a huge place and The Chedi is located close by (10-15 minutes’ drive) to both the airport and the city centre.

chedi muscat pool cabana oman beach
The Chedi Muscat boasts three pools, as well as a private beachfront

If architecture and decor are top of your list when it comes to picking a accommodation, this striking hotel is sure to satisfy. The Chedi merges authentic interiors, first evidenced as soon as you walk into the Bedouin tent design of the hotel’s lobby, with modern rooms and suites spread acoss the establishment. With the scent of frankincense a key component of the hotel’s identity, this cherished national fragrance hails from the trees of Wadi Dawkah and remains a prominent part of trading in the country today.

There are only 162 rooms and suites in total across the 21-acre property – and it truly feels idyllic and private. Adorned with beautifully intricate wooden furnishings and stunning hot tub-style baths, one thing’s for certain: your sleep will certainly be comfortable at The Chedi. The candles lit every evening were a nice touch, too.

While we visited during off-peak season, the communal areas of the hotel never once felt crowded, creating a tranquil oasis to escape from the bustling scenes of Muscat. Walk along white stone paths to your sea front villa – or one of the three pools The Chedi boasts, all of which offer a unique experience.

chedi muscat long pool oman
The Long Pool at The Chedi Muscat is te longest in the region

The Chedi Pool offers all guests a view out onto the stunning Gulf of Oman – with sun loungers on the beach itself, too. With both sun-worshipper opportunities and shaded beds and cabanas, there is also a poolside restaurant offering a Mediterranean meets Middle Eastern menu, so you can enjoy crispy falafel bites, juicy chicken shawarma and much more, poolside.

The Long Pool is the iconic symbol of The Chedi Muscat, with its 103-metre swim spot being the longest in the region. The swimming pool has its fair array of sunbeds, should you not be up for a serious workout on holiday (although we thoroughly do recommend, even leisurely, making your way to the end to look out onto the sea, and the adjacent dining area serves up delicious modern Japanese cuisine. From grilled Omani prawns, soy marinated lamb chops and crab tacos, save some space from the meal before to make this one count.

Those travelling with children should head to the Serai Pool, where guests of all ages are welcome – and the pool tiles are black, so offering warmer temperatures for those who always insist ‘it’s cold!’ Serving up a range of food, we recommend the Snapper fillet, seafood laksa and mezze platter.

chedi muscat beach restaurant seafood oman
Make sure to book The Chedi’s Beach restaurant when visiting the hotel

If you’re looking for a more romantic dining setting, then The Chedi’s beach restaurant is as idyllic as you can get. Indulge in Persian caviar, before moving onto oysters, lobster bisque, cuttlefish and orange salad or pan-seared scallops. There’s so much to choose from, you’d be forgiven for booking this spot more than once (but booking is most definitely required if you don’t want to miss out). With prawn trofie, Omani grilled lobster (or thermidor) and a gorgeous green cauliflower on the menu, while this is most certainly a seafood spot, non-fish eaters can also enjoy a delicious meal.

Get yourself The Chedi Glow when visiting the spa, with this relaxing haven transporting you even further into a world of bliss. Choose from cupping treatments or one of the many wonderful facials and massages on offer – with the steam room and sauna facilities located within the changing rooms of the health club down below.

Venture into Muscat, Oman

Muscat is no boring city, with the colourful buzz of the souqs and stunning architecture that has you peeling away from your camera lens. The concierge at The Chedi are only too willing to organise either a tour for you and your fellow guests, or your own car to take you into the city to explore.

It’s best advised to begin with a visit to the spectacular Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque – free to visit until 11am every day apart from Friday, this spot is popular with tourists so getting there early is a must. Completed in 2001, it’s the largest mosque in Oman and a display of unique and traditional architecture. Covering up here is a must, however if you forget something or aren’t dressed appropriately, there’s an abaya store on-site.

Visi the Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque or take a boat trip to the Daymaniyat Islands

Immediately impressive, everything is lavish – with crystal chandeliers (one being the second largest in the world) and Persian rugs (again, the Carpet of Wonder in the prayer hall the second largest in the world) adorning the space.

If you’re looking to pick up some souvenirs, Fanja Souq is a local market, where you’ll be able to pick up bars of frankincense, as well as woven crafts and printed mugs. Should you be looking for jewellery or colourful kaftans, Mutrah Souq is a buzzier spot, where you’ll find such items. Head further into Old Muscat to visit the Al-Alam Palace, which is one of the Sultan’s official residences, as well as the National Museum and the stunning Royal Opera House, where the marble floors are cleaner than the carpets of our own homes, to be quite frank.

If the hot weather is getting to you a bit and you’re tired of city slicking it, head out to the Daymaniyat Islands. About a forty minute boat ride, you can snorkel with reef and whale sharks and spot turtles splashing about in the sea. Operators such as Silent Sands Oman run tours, which The Chedi can assist booking – and you can even enjoy your own private cabana lunch to seal the deal to a perfect day.

Our Editor in Chief, knows a thing or two about unforgettable getaways. But her recent trip to Crete wasn’t your typical, neon-lit island escape. This time, Laura traded fishbowls for five-star luxury at Asterion Suites & Spa, an adults-only haven designed for those who appreciate the finer things in life. 

Buckle up, because Laura’s about to spill the tea (or should we say, the Cretan wine?) on why Asterion Suites & Spa is the perfect escape for grown-up globetrotters.

Remember back in the day when we all used to go to Malia on the Greek island of Crete when we were like, 19? All those fishbowls and questionable decisions? Yeah, this trip was the exact opposite. Enter: Asterion Suites & Spa.

Two words I need to hear before booking a vacay: Adults Only. And this place? Delivered. Like, in spades. Sparkling pool? Check. Gorgeous beach? Check. Zero chance of running into a group of lads on a lads’ holiday?  Double check.

Speaking of running, (because, adulting involves some form of exercise, apparently), I attempted a morning run outside the hotel. Let’s just say, the scenery wasn’t exactly #InstaGoals. So yeah, maybe stick to the treadmill or the beach for your workouts, ladies.

But back to the good stuff! Asterion Suites & Spa is basically a palace for grown-ups who appreciate the finer things.We’re talking chic rooms with balconies overlooking the Aegean (hello, sunset selfies!), a spa that had me feeling like a new woman (and by woman, I mean pampered goddess) and food that was fresh, delicious and didn’t involve questionable kebabs at 2 am.

Plus, there were these amazing excursions! We’re talking winery tours, cooking classes and even a visit to the freaking oldest olive tree in the world. Basically, it was all about experiencing the real Crete, not just the touristy stuff.

Asterion Suites and Spa provides the perfect base for exploring, here’s a little deeper look in to the things on offer. 

Become One with the Land: Culinary Adventures Await

Indulge your senses on a journey through Cretan flavours. The “Frosini’s Garden” experience lets you pick fresh ingredients from a charming family farm, followed by a hands-on cooking class using traditional methods. Imagine preparing a feast in a colonial-style setting, surrounded by the aroma of simmering dishes and bathed in the warm Cretan sun. Cap off the day with a visit to a local winery and a taste of the island’s acclaimed raki, a potent local spirit.

Wine & History: A Match Made in Crete

For the oenophile in you, a tour of the Karavitakis Family Winery promises an unforgettable experience. This award-winning establishment boasts over 80 years of expertise, crafting exceptional wines from both local and international grape varietals. Nestled amidst rolling vineyards and serene olive groves, the winery offers a variety of tasting experiences paired with delicious “mezedes,” small savoury dishes. Whether you’re a seasoned connoisseur or a curious beginner, this tour is sure to tantalise your taste buds and educate your palate.

Cooking with the Seasons: A Hands-on Experience

Travel to the heart of Crete’s culinary heritage with a cooking experience in the White Mountains. Here, surrounded by breathtaking scenery, you’ll learn traditional recipes passed down through generations. Imagine gathering fresh vegetables from the garden, feeling the texture of aromatic herbs and learning the secrets of Cretan olive oil – a cornerstone of the island’s healthy cuisine. Prepare a classic Cretan dish under the guidance of local experts and savour the fruits (or should we say vegetables?) of your labor.

A Walk Through Time: Exploring the Botanical Park

Escape the hustle and bustle with a visit to the enchanting Botanical Park. Sprawling across nearly 20 hectares, this haven boasts a diverse range of flora – from fruit trees from across the globe to medicinal and ornamental plants. Immerse yourself in a vibrant tapestry of colours and aromas and even marvel at a centuries-old olive tree, a testament to the island’s enduring history. This park is perfect for nature lovers and anyone seeking a peaceful retreat.

Unearthing the Past: A Visit to the Olive Tree Museum

Witness a living piece of history with a visit to the Olive Tree Museum. Here, you’ll encounter the Vouves Olive Tree, estimated to be between 3,000 and 5,000 years old! This ancient wonder is a natural monument and a testament to the island’s long-standing relationship with olive cultivation. Learn about the fascinating story of this resilient tree and gain a deeper appreciation for Crete’s rich agricultural heritage.

Wandering Through History: A Guided Tour of Chania’s Old Town

Step back in time with a guided tour of Chania’s Old Town. Explore the labyrinthine streets and admire the well-preserved Venetian architecture that graces every corner. Imagine the bustling markets and vibrant social life that once thrived within these ancient walls. Marvel at the transformation of historic mansions into charming taverns, shops, and restaurants, offering a glimpse into modern Cretan life. Don’t miss the imposing Firkas Fortress, a symbol of the city’s rich past.

Beyond the Museum Walls: The Archaeological Museum of Chania

For a deeper dive into Cretan history, visit the impressive Archaeological Museum of Chania. This modern structure houses a captivating collection of artefacts, showcasing the island’s remarkable journey from its earliest inhabitants to the powerful Minoan civilisation. Explore exhibits that bring to life social customs, religious practices and the daily lives of Cretans throughout the ages.

These are just a taste of the incredible experiences that await you at Asterion Suites & Spa. So ditch the guidebook and embrace the spirit of discovery. Asterion Suites & Spa is your gateway to a truly unforgettable Cretan adventure.


Throwout the neon wristbands and questionable cocktails (because trust me, your liver will thank you later). Asterion Suites & Spa is where it’s at for grown-up getaways that are equal parts luxurious and unforgettable. 

Think poolside lounging that wouldn’t look out of place on your #blessed feed, food so good it’ll make you forget those questionable 2 am kebabs, and excursions that are way more “ancient olive tree” and way less “interpretative dance contest with strangers.” 

Pack your swimsuit, your sense of adventure and maybe a cheeky smile for the poolside staff (they’re cute, don’t worry, we checked). 

Asterion Suites & Spa: Adulting done right, without sacrificing the fun.

Ever heard of Aruba, the aptly named “One Happy Island”? Our very own Editor-in-Chief, Laura Bartlett, is no stranger to the Caribbean. Family roots in St. Kitts and Nevis nurtured a love for the region and countless trips to Barbados solidified her island-loving spirit. Yet, Aruba remained a captivating mystery, a jewel in the Caribbean crown she hadn’t yet explored. Intrigued by its vibrant reputation and undeniable beauty, Laura embarked on a journey to unveil Aruba’s secrets.

Nestled just 15 miles north of South America, Aruba basks in year-round sunshine with average temperatures of 82°F (32°C) and cooling trade winds. This blissful island boasts a nine-mile stretch of pristine, award-winning beaches, where turquoise waters lap against the shore. Charming Dutch architecture adds a unique touch, while the island’s infectious Latin vibe keeps your toes tapping.

From world-class resorts to intimate boutique hotels, exciting nightlife to a plethora of water sports and activities, there’s something for everyone. The island even boasts a vibrant calendar filled with cultural and sporting events throughout the year.

Now, back from her sun-kissed adventure, Laura is here to share an insider’s guide crafted specifically for first-time Aruba explorers. From discovering hidden culinary gems to uncovering the island’s best-kept secrets, this guide will equip you to navigate Aruba with confidence and create memories that will last a lifetime.

Where to Stay in Aruba

Boardwalk Boutique Hotel Aruba

Okay, Aruba newbies, gather ’round! Let’s talk about the hidden gem that stole my entire heart (and maybe a few hours of work time, but hey, #balance, right?): Boardwalk Boutique Hotel Aruba.

This place wasn’t just a hotel, it was an experience. Imagine stepping into a lush, tropical oasis – a former coconut plantation, no less – dotted with charming casitas that felt more like your own private island bungalow than a hotel room. Seriously, mine was gorgeous. Think comfy king-sized bed, a breezy patio perfect for morning coffee (or sneaky afternoon cocktails, no judgment!), and all surrounded by swaying palm trees.

But the real star of the show (besides the resident iguanas, those guys were chill) was Coco Cafe. This open-air restaurant was basically an extension of the whole island vibes. Think colourful seating under a stunning seashell chandelier (seriously Instagrammable), friendly bartenders ready to whip up your favourite tropical drink and a menu that was, well, a total vibe. The protein smoothies became my go-to and the tacos were a no brainer. 

We’re talking local Aruban flavours mixed with Belgian goodness (the owners have some heritage there!), plus a sprinkle of Mediterranean inspiration they picked up on their travels. Basically, it was a party in your mouth, and everyone was invited (except maybe the iguanas, they seemed more into sunbathing).

Here’s the best part: Coco Cafe wasn’t just about amazing food (though the Breakfast Tower – delivered straight to your casita, hello lazy mornings! – was a true champion). It was the perfect spot to catch up on emails (free Wi-Fi, obvs) with the sound of the breeze rustling the palm trees as your soundtrack. Plus, happy hour from 3-5 pm? Sign. Me. Up.

So, if you’re looking for a place to unwind, recharge and maybe sneak in a little work without feeling like you’re in a boring old office, Boardwalk Boutique Hotel is your jam. It’s the kind of place that makes you want to unplug, sip a cocktail and just send “One Happy Email” to the world.

Coco Casita starts from $425 US dollars per night (low season), excluding the taxes. 

Where to eat 

Aruba isn’t just about stunning beaches and turquoise waters (although, let’s be honest, those are pretty darn amazing). To my surprise, it’s also a haven for foodies, with a vibrant culinary scene that reflects the island’s rich cultural heritage. From fresh seafood to international flavours and healthy options, there’s something to tantalise every taste bud. 

During our exploration of Aruba, we discovered a delightful mix of restaurants that perfectly complemented our island adventures. Whether you’re craving a casual lunch by the beach, a romantic beachfront dinner, or a delicious breakfast to fuel your day, we’ve got you covered. 

Honestly, the food on the island surpassed all of my expectations and whilst I was in Aruba, I was able to explore the world through my tastebuds. This list could have been endless so I’ve whittled it down to the top three must visit restaurants when you visit. 

Ever Restaurant 

Forget saving the best for last, Aruba’s culinary scene throws a knockout punch right from the start with Ever Restaurant. This isn’t your ordinary fine dining experience; it’s a freestyle symphony conducted by the maestro himself, Chef Ever de Peña. Picture this: you’re nestled in an intimate dining room with only 13 other lucky souls, the Oranjestad marina twinkling outside the window. Chef Ever and his team, visible through the open kitchen, orchestrating a culinary masterpiece – an eight-course journey through his artistic vision.

Let me tell you, the look of pure artistry and passion on Chef Ever’s face while he crafts each dish nearly rivalled the final presentation. It was enough to make this hopeless romantic sigh and declare, “Until I find a man who looks at me the way I’m looking at his food, I’m staying single!”

But seriously, the food at Ever Restaurant is a revelation. The focus is on fresh, seasonal ingredients, with a menu that changes every eight weeks or so. Expect a delightful dance of flavours, featuring the bounty of the sea, succulent meats and of course, a decadent finale. While dietary restrictions aren’t currently accommodated, trust me, this is an eight-course adventure your taste buds won’t soon forget (and neither will your Instagram followers – the plating is seriously photogenic!).

Just be sure to book well in advance, because with only 14 seats available, this hidden gem gets snatched up fast!


Forget your standard restaurant fare; Caya is an electrifying adventure for your taste buds, a passport to a world of international flavours where palm trees whisper secrets in the breeze as you settle into a charming table, anticipation building with every rustle.

The name itself, “Caya” (Papiamento for “street”), hints at the restaurant’s inspiration. Founded by two friends united by a passion for globetrotting and good food, Caya pays homage to their summers spent savouring the hidden gems of Latin America and Europe.

Caya’s menu isn’t a static list of dishes; it’s a dynamic tapestry woven by the visionary Chef Jhon Gomez. Think bold Asian spices mingling with Latin American rhythms, all harmonised with fresh, seasonal Aruban ingredients. One minute you might be savouring a Japanese empanada with a kick, the next you’re diving into a succulent duck dish infused with the smoky magic of a Peruvian mole. Don’t be surprised if a taste of Europe peeks through in a reimagined pasta dish, or the vibrant flavours of the Caribbean take centre stage in a seafood creation. This is the beauty of Caya – a symphony of international influences where every bite is an exciting discovery.

Caya’s Pastry Chef William Herrera is the genius of sweet finales. Using a foundation of homemade bases and fermented sourdough, he crafts desserts that are as delightful as they are guilt-free. Imagine textures that melt in your mouth and flavour combinations that leave you wanting more. 

This, my friends, is Caya.

Olivia Restaurant 

Olivia Restaurant isn’t your typical Aruban dining spot. Launched in 2022 by the celebrated Chef Dennis van Daatselaar (famous for his restaurants Carte Blanche and Wilhelmina), Olivia whisks you away to the heart of the Mediterranean, all under the twinkling Aruban sky.

Imagine a romantic, trendy, yet undeniably cosy open-air setting. Picture yourself escaping the crowds and settling into a comfortable chair, the gentle murmur of conversation and the rustle of palm leaves creating a calming ambiance. This is the prelude to a food adventure that will tantalise your taste buds and transport you to sun-drenched piazzas and bustling souks.

While Olivia’s lighting might be a touch more intimate (perfect for a romantic date!), the true star of the show is the food. You might even be lucky enough to have Chef Dennis himself grace your table, just like we did! During our visit, Chef Dennis personally curated a feast featuring his all-time favourite dishes from the menu.

The result? A whirlwind tour of the Mediterranean, with each bite bursting with fresh, healthy flavours inspired by Greece, Italy, Morocco, Lebanon, Spain and southern France. Think mouthwatering meats, vibrant vegetables and an explosion of spices guaranteed to tantalise your taste buds. And don’t forget to save room for dessert! Olivia’s homemade creations are the perfect ending to this unforgettable food journey.

What to do 

Kayaking and Snorkelling with Aruba Outdoor Adventures


One of the most unforgettable experiences on our Aruba trip was venturing out on the turquoise waters with Aruba Outdoor Adventures. Forget battling waves with traditional paddles – these guys do things in style with Hobie pedal kayaks! Let me tell you, after a few minutes of cruising along the stunning southern coast, my arms were thanking me (and secretly judging all those tourists struggling with paddles).

This effortless exploration allows you to truly focus on the breathtaking scenery, from secluded coves to vibrant coral reefs. But the adventure goes beyond the surface. Snorkelling with Aruba Outdoor Adventures lets you dive into a kaleidoscope of colourful fish, revealing the wonders of Aruba’s underwater world. And the best part? Whether you’re a seasoned kayaker or a complete novice, the stable and user-friendly Hobie kayaks ensure everyone can enjoy this unforgettable adventure.

Aruba Outdoor Adventures is more than just comfy kayaks. They’re all about creating life-enriching experiences that combine adventure with cultural immersion. Our knowledgeable and multilingual guide made us feel safe and secure and this will go down in the memory bank as one of the most enriching experiences of my life. 

Antigravity Aerial Yoga 

Ditch the downward dog and say hello to downward delight! Imagine yourself suspended in mid-air during Maria’s Antigravity Yoga class, held right in her charming backyard garden. The gentle Aruba breeze whispers secrets in your ear as you sway in your hammock, feeling weightless and free like a feather. 

This isn’t just yoga; it’s a full-on sensory experience that will leave you feeling rejuvenated and connected to your inner zen. The best part? Maria’s class is perfect for all levels, from complete beginners to seasoned yogis. Her welcoming personality and expert guidance will have you striking those tricky poses (or simply hanging upside down in blissful relaxation) in no time! 

North Shore Hike 

Ditch the tourist traps and awaken your inner explorer with a trek along Aruba’s dramatic north shore. This adventure is all about immersing yourself in the raw beauty of the island. Imagine rugged limestone cliffs meeting the turquoise embrace of the ocean, the sound of crashing waves filling the air. 

Your journey takes you to hidden coves like Andicuri Beach, a haven for surfers and kitesurfers, and Blackstone Beach, where volcanic pebbles paint a unique black canvas against the crystal-clear water. This north shore adventure is a feast for the senses, a chance to truly connect with Aruba’s wild soul.

Ayo Rock Formations 

Forget souvenir shops and crowded beaches – unleash your inner Indiana Jones with a visit to Ayo Rock Formations. This isn’t your typical tourist attraction; it’s a journey back in time. Scattered amidst the cacti-studded landscape, these giant volcanic boulders stand like ancient sentinels, whispering tales of Aruba’s geological past. 

Clamber through hidden caves, explore mysterious pathways, and imagine the Arawak people who once used these rocks as a lookout point. The Ayo Rock Formations are more than just rocks; they’re a portal to a bygone era, waiting to be explored and best of all, it’s completely free! 

So lace up your walking shoes, grab your sense of adventure, and prepare to be transported back in time – all without putting a dent in your wallet.

Getting there

BA weekly flight route as it is the easiest way to get to Aruba. 

British Airways’ offers weekly return flights on Sundays from London Gatwick to Aruba starting from £475 per person.


Truthfully, when I touched down in Aruba, I wasn’t sure what the allure was. But with every bite at Ever Restaurant, every colourful fish encountered while snorkelling and every delicious surprise at Caya Restaurant, Aruba’s magic unfolded. The friendly faces, the vibrant culture and the sheer beauty of the island seeped into my soul. By the end of my trip, I wasn’t just leaving with a tan and a camera roll full of memories, I was leaving a piece of my heart on this “One Happy Island.”

Aruba isn’t just a place; it’s an experience. It’s a place where your taste buds take flight, where hidden gems unfold around every corner and where the rhythm of island life washes away your worries. So, pack your bags, grab your swimsuit and get ready to discover your own happy ending in Aruba. 

This island paradise awaits!

Sonoma County might be synonymous with indulgence when you consider the region has bountiful wines coupled with an abundance of fresh produce. However, it is the wellness side of Sonoma that has been increasingly attracting visitors to the county. Baldwin Ho delves into this beautiful region

Sonoma Couty is a mere 48 kilometres north of San Francisco and offers one of the most diverse natural destinations in California. Not many people appreciate the region starts from the Pacific Ocean in the west and stretches to the Mayacamas Mountains.

For those who think hiking is monotonous, they clearly haven’t visited Sonoma County. You can embark on cultural, meditative, scenic, or botanical hiking.

Jack London State Historic Park

Jack London is one of the greatest American authors and journalists of the 19th century. His colourful life is akin to a Hollywood movie, akin to Forest Gump.

This park is the home and ranch of the famous author in his final years. There is the perfect mixture of short historic trails for cultural enthusiasts as well as 29 miles of back-country trails for those passionate dendrophiles. The most popular sites include The Wolf House and The Pig Palace.

The former was meant to be the family’s dream home before the interior was completely gutted by fire just before completion. All that remains today is the haunting exterior walls.

The latter highlights Jack’s keen fascination with agriculture. He built a commodious structure to house over 200 hogs and ensure maximum hygiene levels. Many of Jack’s farming practices were laughed at back in his day, but he’s shown that he was ahead of his time, as numerous sustainability initiatives have been adopted by current-day farmers.

Pre-Ukraine war, you would find countless Russians making a pilgrimage to the grave of Jack London on the grounds. His books were commonly translated to Russian and ‘Martin Eden’ is one of the most beloved books by Russian readers.

They run speciality tours throughout the week where you can hear about these quirky facts and you are driven around the estate on a golf buggy. For their back-country trails, the elevation varies from 600 to 2,300 feet where you can go horseback riding or mountain biking.

Armstrong Redwoods State Natural Reserve

Discovering yourself in nature might be a misnomer for some, but a short stroll through the Armstrong Redwoods will certainly bring about a moment of self-reflection. In this park, you’ll find the ancient coast redwoods, which are the tallest living organisms on the planet.

Remarkably, they live between 500-1,000 years and stand roughly 200-250 feet tall, and generally grow to a diameter of between 12-16 feet. There is a remarkable display near the entrance which shows human history relative to the diameter of one of the trees.

You will soon realise these trees have lived through a fascinating period of human history from the Industrial Revolution and before to the present day. They have a visitor centre, picnic facilities, and self-guided trails that cater for all levels of difficulty.

This is a great reserve to experience forest breathing. Insects are not attracted by the redwoods, which in turn means there are fewer larger animals to prey on such bugs. You are more than likely to experience virtual silence, bar the occasional rustling of the trees.

With the occasional golden sun rays bursting through the canopy, you will experience the true meaning of the phrase ‘silence is golden’. Thanks to the foresight of Colonel James Armstrong in the 1870s, these 805 acres of land were protected from the logging industry and can be enjoyed in perpetuity by locals and tourists alike.

Sonoma Coast State Park

There is no better place to admire the breathtaking Sonoma coastline than hiking in the Sonoma Coast State Park. They are the only state park campground situated near the Russian River.

Established in 1934, it includes 19 miles of trails, and you can hike all the way to the coastline. It is a great vantage point to watch whale migration. Swimming is not advisable due to the wild and unpredictable nature of the surf.

Adjacent to Sonoma Coast State Park is Jenner Headlands Preserve. Here you will find the most difficult hike in Sonoma County: The Sea to Sky Trail. It is a 15-mile hike, where there is a 3,600-foot elevation gain.

There are some shaded areas in sections, but it is mostly an exposed trail. The effort you put into the experience will be richly rewarded by the mesmerising views of the coastline, you’ll encounter when you reach the summit.

Sonoma Botanical Garden

If you are looking for a less demanding hike, then take a visit to the Sonoma Botanical Garden. It is a woodland experience where you can enjoy the best of Asian and California native plants. Did you know most rose species are native to Asia, with a small minority being native to North America?

Their rose garden is particularly popular on social media as is their temporary pop-up exhibition, Ribbit. There are 23 whimsical larger-than-life frogs placed throughout the grounds. Each one is different with its backstory and created by Andy Cobb. This has helped to encourage visitors to explore all parts of the ground and to make sure the garden is promoted even more on social media apps.

Their website is extremely helpful in listing which flowers you can expect to see in what season. Hence you might experience an explosion of colour with the flamboyant rhododendrons in early spring, whilst in Autumn you’ll see the warming colours of red, orange, yellow, and crimson from their maple trees.

Need To Know

Direct flights are available on Norse Airways from £354 from London to Los Angeles. During peak season, flights run every day of the week apart from Tuesdays. Norse Atlantic exclusively operates the latest Boeing 787 Dreamliner aircraft, ensuring the smoothest travel experience for passengers.

They also have the most competitive and upscale transatlantic premium economy product on offer. There are convenient direct flights that connect you from Los Angeles to Charles M. Schulz–Sonoma County Airport.


The former established Holyrood Hotel has very recently relaunched as Edinburgh Marriott Hotel Holyrood, marking the completion of an extensive £10m refurbishment. The transformation of the property is exceptional from the moment you walk through the door into the Greatroom Lobby to the newly appointed rooms and suites, spa, gym and meeting areas. Rachel McAlley checks in…

Located in the heart of Edinburgh’s historic old town, the hotel, under new ownership, has been brought up to Marriott Hotel standards with an extensive refurb. Marriott’s signature style is found throughout all facets of the property and guests can now enjoy an enriched experience with modern, inviting spaces.

We were invited to the launch following the rebrand, for an evening of fabulous food, drink and entertainment. The invite was for 24 hours in Edinburgh to experience a hosted lunch with the General Manager, Michael Falla, followed by an exclusive tour of The Scotch Whisky Experience. Also, the visit included tickets for the official Edinburgh Marriott Hotel Holyrood party, overnight stay, and traditional Scottish breakfast. Who could say no to that?

The Low Down

With nearly 600 hotels and resorts in over 65 countries and territories around the world, Marriott Hotels continues to elevate the art of hospitality. The new-look Holyrood property is synonymous with Marriott’s commitment to delivering enriching experiences, modern design, heartfelt service and timeless hospitality.

Rachel’s journey began with a heartfelt welcome into the new Greatroom lobby, the pulse of every Marriott Hotel. It was a hub of activity with the team getting ready for the night’s planned festivities. With space to connect, work, and unwind, this is a key feature of the refurbishment, a relaxed and sophisticated lifestyle space, bar, dining area and lobby.

The city’s vibrant arts scene is reflected in the art on display and carpet designs throughout. The interiors are inspired by the late Scottish artist Edinburgh-born Sir Eduardo Luigi Paolozzi CBE RA, who is known for his sculpture and graphic work and is widely considered to be one of the pioneers of pop art.

The local influence combines with Marriott’s modern design aesthetics, with interiors based on a cool neutral palette featuring intricate multidimensional patterns and layered textures of natural materials. These materials such as marble, sand, onyx and water include rich patterns and an intriguing design tension that provides visual interest and invites reflection.

The General Manager’s lunch was taken in the Greatroom, with views over the entire hotel lobby, it was a great location to enjoy Head Chef Andy McRobert’s specially curated menu. We dined on San Marzano Tomato and East Coast Buffalo Mozzarella salad to start.

This was followed by Slowly Braised Scottish Short Rib of Beef with Haggis, Neep & Tatties, turnip fondant, and Aberfeldy 12-year-old jus. The dessert was Limoncello Cranachan with Scottish Shortbread.

The piece-de-resistance was the mouth-watering short rib, which was cooked to perfection. It fell off the bone, melted in the mouth, and when matched with the haggis was simply divine.

All of these dishes will make an appearance on the hotel’s Market Menu whenever they are in season. Keep your eyes peeled for the regular seasonal menu changes.

The Scotch Whisky Experience

Post lunch we ventured to the top of The Royal Mile to spend an hour at The Scotch Whisky Experience, which certainly was an experience.

We were taken through the history of whisky, how it is distilled, what the casks are made from, and how to correctly taste Scotch Whisky. Furthermore, we even learned that there are five different areas across the whole of Scotland where specific whiskies are produced. These areas include Speyside, Highland, Islay, Lowland, and Campbeltown.

The Scotch Whisky Experience holds over 4,000 unopened bottles of whisky for every visitor to look at. They are housed at the end of the experience in glass-fronted cabinets and showcase the smallest bottles in the world to the most unusual bottles in the world.

We sampled one whisky from one of the five areas of Scotland and were taken through the correct way of drinking. Firstly, you raise the glass and look at the colour, it may be a deep amber colour or a light amber colour. Secondly, you swill the glass around to see how long the whisky line lasts.

Thirdly, you smell the aromas, as you might find it oaky, smoky, or fruity. Fourthly, you taste and smell at the same time. Finally, the long drink, where you taste the whisky and get its full flavour.

The tour was taken by an expert from The Scotch Whisky Experience, he knew every answer to any question put his way. Moreover, we ended the tour by sampling a small bar of rich dark chocolate and then drinking a matching whisky. The taste was perfection, the bitterness of the chocolate worked alongside the harshness of the whisky and they were a match made in heaven!

We strolled down The Royal Mile back to the Edinburgh Marriott Hotel Holyrood for a night of excellent food including freshly shucked oysters, live piping, and fabulous entertainment. After a night of dancing and possibly some singing it was time for bed.

The Edinburgh Marriott Hotel Holyrood

The 160 sophisticated and inviting guest bedrooms include Junior Suites, Deluxe and King Rooms with sleek wooden floors, and drench walk-in showers amongst other facilities. All rooms boast spacious en-suites, comfortable beds, cosy armchairs and 55-inch wall-mounted flat-screen TVs as standard.

Breakfast is served in the Greatroom with a choice of hot or cold buffet. Scottish Potato Cakes, Scottish Sausage Patties and everything else you can think of are included in the breakfast buffet. It’s one not to miss!

It was time to hit the spa, which is still undergoing an expansive transformation. The pool is a calmness in the midst of Edinburgh’s bustling streets. Both locals and hotel guests are able to use the facilities which include a gym, pool, and treatment rooms.

After spending an hour having an unbelievably relaxing Elemis Full Body Massage, which was then followed by half an hour in the relaxation room it was time to check out. We could have stayed in the spa all day and swam for hours, but the train sadly wouldn’t wait! Therefore, we hot-footed to Edinburgh Waverley Station to head back to England. It was a whirlwind 24 hours in the Scottish capital……. until next time!

Standard rooms at the Marriott Edinburgh Hotel Holyrood start from £209. Our writer Rachel stayed in a Deluxe King, the hotel’s leading room category is slightly more expensive. Book a room here.

An Elemis Full Body Massage is priced at £75. There are plenty more treatments to book, view the catalogue here.

For details about booking tickets to The Scotch Whisky Experience, visit here. Prices vary from £10 for a child to £21 concessions, £23 for an adult to £56 for a family of four.

So, when you next look to visit Edinburgh check out the Edinburgh Marriott Hotel Holyrood.

More Travel from House of Coco

Recently, traveling solo has expanded as a major trend, with 59% of travelers preferring to venture on a journey alone. Planning a journey by yourself is exciting and also a bit scary. There’s no match for the freedom you get for exploring new places at your speed, but planning needs to be very careful so that everything goes smoothly and joyfully.

For people who are going out on their own, having a complete guidebook can change everything. This article gives you 5 crucial suggestions for planning your solo travel, making it seem like you are an experienced traveler. If you use these tips, then handling the complexities of exploring alone will become easier and allow a better experience on your adventure.

Booking the Flight

For a trip alone, getting good flights at a low cost is usually the main concern. In 2024, it can make a big difference to your travel budget if you know which day is best for booking flights. Yet, even though there isn’t a formula to reveal the best day to book flights in 2024, there are many ways that may assist you in discovering good deals.

Usually, mid-week days like Tuesday and Wednesday have cheaper fares. When it’s the weekend, rates are usually more expensive because there is greater demand for flights. Additionally, if you book your flights a few months ahead of time, you may get special discounts called “early bird” offers. By keeping your travel dates flexible and booking ahead, you can manage your flight costs well for beginning the solo adventure, carefree.

Choose Your Destination Wisely

Picking the correct destination plays a big part in how your solo trip turns out. Think about things such as safety, language differences, and fitting with different cultures. Look up places that are good for people traveling alone, like cities having easy-to-use public transport or lots of things to do nearby.

It is also a good idea to read reviews and travel blogs, as they provide knowledge from other people who have traveled solo. If this is your first time going on a trip alone, selecting a place where you feel at ease and sure about getting around by yourself can be very helpful. Look for locations that have an active social environment where it’s easy to meet with fellow travelers, along with secure accommodation options.

Plan Your Itinerary but Stay Flexible

For a solo journey, you must have a well-thought-out plan. But also, it is very important to allow some flexibility in your schedule. Make a list of the places or things that you want to see or do, and look into when they open and close, and their prices for tickets too if there’s anything special happening during this time.

However, don’t overcrowd your schedule; make time for rest and spontaneous explorations. Solo travel has the special benefit of adaptability, so relish the liberty to adjust your plans if something fascinating pops up. By combining a planned itinerary with the freedom to explore spontaneously, you can enjoy a more relaxed and satisfying travel experience.

Pack Smart and Light

Efficient packing is a very important part of preparing for solo travel. As you will be managing your baggage by yourself, it becomes crucial to pack smartly and lightly. To begin with, you can start creating a packing list so that all the necessary things are not forgotten. Pick clothes that are flexible and can be matched with each other for various outfits.

Also, focus on selecting items that are comfortable and useful, and maybe invest in a sturdy backpack or suitcase that’s not heavy to carry and has safe places for your things. Think about putting travel-sized toiletries and a simple first-aid set in your baggage, too.

Do not forget: in solo travel, less is more. You will find it easier to move around with a lighter pack. Smart packing can enhance your ability to be mobile and lessen the burden of handling heavy baggage when you are on your own.

Stay Connected and Safe

For those traveling alone, safety is a top concern. Make sure to have a local SIM card or an international phone plan for reliable communication. Give your travel plan and contact details to someone trustworthy back home. Look up the emergency numbers in your area and know where the embassy or consulate of your country is.

Also, it’s smart to keep a copy of crucial papers like passport and travel insurance – have them both on digital devices as well as physical printouts. Be alert about everything happening around you, and trust yourself always.

The Final Say

If you want to plan your solo trip with ease, you must prepare and have an adventurous spirit. Ensure to find the flight that best suits your needs and preferences, pick your destination carefully, make a flexible itinerary, pack cleverly, and stay connected and safe. These suggestions will assist in making wise choices while also improving the overall experience of traveling alone. Enjoy your trip and feel the joy of solo travel freedom. Safe (solo) travels!

The hospitality industry offers a wide range of job opportunities for those who love to travel. From exotic resorts to bustling cities, hospitality jobs allow you to explore new places, meet diverse people, and experience different cultures while earning a living. If you’re a travel enthusiast looking to combine your passion with your career, here are some of the best hospitality jobs to consider.

1. Flight Attendant

Flight attendants are the ultimate travel professionals. They get to fly to various destinations worldwide, often with layovers that allow them to explore new cities and countries. The job involves ensuring passenger safety, providing in-flight service, and delivering exceptional customer care. Airlines typically offer benefits such as discounted or free flights, allowing flight attendants to travel even more during their time off.

2. Cruise Ship Staff

Working on a cruise ship is an excellent way to travel while working in hospitality. Cruise ships hire for a variety of positions, including entertainment, food and beverage service, housekeeping, and guest relations. Crew members live on the ship and have the opportunity to visit numerous ports of call, from tropical islands to historic cities. The job can be demanding, but the experience of seeing the world from the deck of a ship is unparalleled.

3. Tour Guide

Tour guides lead groups of tourists through various attractions, providing information, answering questions, and ensuring a memorable experience. This job is perfect for those who love sharing their knowledge about a place and its history. Tour guides can work locally or internationally, and they often have the flexibility to choose seasonal work in different locations, allowing them to travel extensively.

4. Hotel Manager

Hotel managers oversee the daily operations of hotels, resorts, and other lodging establishments. While this job is typically stationary, it can offer travel opportunities, especially if you work for a large hotel chain with properties around the world. Hotel managers may be transferred to different locations or asked to assist with opening new hotels, providing a chance to experience different cultures and destinations. In these situations understanding the financial aspect of these roles can be crucial, and tools like a Texas paycheck calculator can help manage and plan salaries efficiently.

5. Event Planner

Event planners organize and coordinate events such as weddings, conferences, and corporate meetings. Many events take place in various locations, requiring planners to travel to oversee preparations and ensure everything runs smoothly. This job combines creativity, organization, and a love for travel, as planners often work with venues and vendors in different cities or even countries.

6. Resort Staff

Working at a resort, especially in popular tourist destinations, can be a dream job for travel enthusiasts. Resorts hire for various roles, including front desk staff, activities coordinators, spa therapists, and food and beverage servers. Employees often get to live on-site and enjoy the amenities of the resort during their free time. Some resorts also offer exchange programs with sister properties, allowing staff to work in different locations.

7. Travel Concierge

A travel concierge provides personalized services to guests, such as arranging tours, making reservations, and offering local recommendations. This role requires extensive knowledge of the destination and excellent customer service skills. Travel concierges often work in high-end hotels or travel agencies and may have opportunities to visit different locations to stay updated on the latest attractions and experiences.

8. Adventure Travel Guide

For those who love outdoor activities and adventure, becoming an adventure travel guide can be the perfect job. These guides lead groups on activities such as hiking, kayaking, scuba diving, and wildlife safaris. This job not only allows you to explore stunning natural landscapes but also to share your passion for adventure with others. It often involves seasonal work in different locations, providing ample travel opportunities.

9. Chef or Culinary Staff

Chefs and culinary staff are in high demand in the hospitality industry, from restaurants and hotels to cruise ships and resorts. Culinary professionals have the opportunity to work in various locations and even participate in culinary exchanges or competitions. For those who love both food and travel, this career can lead to exploring new cuisines and culinary traditions worldwide.

10. Travel Photographer/Videographer

While not a traditional hospitality job, travel photographers and videographers often work closely with hotels, resorts, and travel agencies to create captivating visual content. They travel to different destinations to capture stunning images and videos that showcase the beauty and attractions of a place. This job requires creativity, technical skills, and a keen eye for detail, along with a love for travel and exploration.


The hospitality industry offers a wealth of opportunities for travel enthusiasts to combine their passion for exploring new places with their career aspirations. Whether you prefer the skies, the seas, or the land, there’s a hospitality job that can take you on exciting journeys around the world. By pursuing one of these roles, you can embark on a rewarding career that fulfills your wanderlust and allows you to experience the world in unique and meaningful ways.

A name synonymous with luxury, sunshine and glamour. It has long been a magnet for the rich and famous, and now, it’s experiencing a renaissance.

3SA Estate, a leading lifestyle and property consultancy, is at the forefront of this revival. Their latest offering, The Penthouse, embodies the new spirit of Marbella – limitless luxury that combines unparalleled service, breathtaking design and a seamless blend of indoor and outdoor living.

This haven for discerning travellers isn’t just a place to stay, it’s a home away from home, meticulously crafted to fulfill every desire and exceed every expectation.

We’ve nabbed a moment with Jimmy Widen, the CEO, so that we can delve deeper into The Penthouse, exploring its unique features, exceptional amenities and the inspiration behind its design. We’ll also discover how it caters to the needs of today’s luxury travellers, from digital nomads seeking a perfect work-life balance to the jet-set who crave discretion and sophistication.

Get ready to be transported to a world of unparalleled luxury on the stunning Marbella coast…

1. What inspired the creation of The Penthouse, and how does it reflect the vision of 3SA Estate?

The Penthouse was created by its visionary owners by combining two apartments into one extraordinary duplex space that optimises on its unique and exquisite beachfront location, arugably the best and rarest in Marbella, Spain and Europe. 

The project took nearly five years to complete, with its architects and designers briefed to develop a penthouse that incorporated the highest and most exacting standards of internal and external living space to surprise and delight the most discerning of guests.  

As the leading lifestyle and property consultancy in Marbella, 3SA Estate reflect all of these qualities to innovate and inspire which is reflected in our vision to be 3 steps ahead in every aspect of what we do. In this way I am delighted to say we have become a trusted partner to our clients to deliver the very best in terms of standard of properties, whether to rent and buy, matched only by the level of services we offer to manage every aspect of the guests experience be it a short or longer term stay.

2. Can you describe a typical day for a guest staying at The Penthouse?

For us there is no such thing as a typical day as we aim to reflect and serve the individual needs of our guests. For some, it may be waking up gently with the sound of the lapping ocean as guests step out onto the expansive terraces, then enjoying a delicious breakfast served by our butler, a dip in the private pool before heading out to explore glorious Marbella, perhaps a visit to one of the very exclusive beach clubs on the Golden Mile before returning for a sundowner on the terrace and a beautiful crafted meal created by our private chef to our guests personal wishes and desires.

Alternatively for those in search of a more active day, our concierge team can arrange anything and everything; hiring a supercar to cruise down to Puerto Banus or up into the hills behind Marbella, horseriding on a local beach, 18 holes on a world famous golf course, wine tasting in one of the vineyards in Serranía de Ronda a few hours out on the ocean in a super yacht, tennis at Puerto Romano’s famous tennis club, or for the ultimate birds eye view of this area there are also helicopter tours to take in the stunning sights and sounds of Andalusia.

3. What unique features of The Penthouse do you think guests will be most excited about?

That’s a tough question as there are so many extraordinary features that stand out in The Penthouse. However, one of the main sweetspots has to be the uninterrupted views out to the ocean from the expansive 211m2 terraces, views which are second to none in Marbella and arguably Spain and Southern Europe.

Another feature would be our dedicated penthouse team including our maid, butler and the highly respected private chef all passionate about ensuring every last wish is met. Finally I think a unique feature is the 3SA Concierge Team who are on hand to book the very best spots at the best places in town, ensuring the VIP treatment never stops.

4. How does The Penthouse blend indoor and outdoor living to enhance the guest experience?

The spectacular 452m2 penthouse space offers guests a unique and imposing elevated oceanfront position and mesmerising 180-degree views of the Mediterranean, which fuses indoor and outdoor living with terraces that stretch to a breathtaking  211m2.  The design of the apartment has been meticulously planned, enabling it to seem as though the ocean blends effortlessly with the penthouse, its presence felt throughout the entire expanse on both floors. The light bounces off every surface and highlights the thoughtful interiors, all of which have been carefully considered to amplify the sea’s connection to the penthouse.

5. What was the most challenging part of designing and building The Penthouse?

The entire project took nearly five years to craft from start to finish to the exacting standards required to create the most exclusive penthouse in Marbella, perhaps the most challenging aspect being the required licences to develop the property. But the entire team were amazing throughout the journey and it has been worth the wait to launch this exclusive Penthouse to the luxury rental market.

6. How does The Penthouse cater to the needs of digital nomads seeking luxury accommodations?

The Penthouse has everything a digital nomad needs to create the perfect work-life balance especially for those seeking a more luxurious way of life. And when we talk of luxury we mean luxury in its broadest sense, be it property, services, climate, location and therefore across the entire lifestyle offering. 

The expansive penthouse itself is discreet, quiet and self-contained in every way it has its own full equipped gym, plunge pool with resistance tidal mechanism, its own self contained kitchen, six stunning bedrooms including the breathtaking master suite on the top floor. 

In addition, the property sits in one of the most exclusive destination resorts in the Meditterrean in the Puerto Romano Resort which offers guests everything they could wish for from private beach club, a selection of some of the finest restuarants from around the globe but also relaxed cafes and eateries for simple dining, an award winning tennis club.

Beyond the resort, Marbella itself offers digital nomads a thriving community of likeminded travellers who have found this idyllic location and who are thriving by immersing themselves in a place that enjoys one of the best climates in the world with over 300 days of sunshine and prides itself on an exceptionally healthy and outdoor focussed way of life. A short drive away takes guests to Tarifa one of the kite surfing hotspots, or up into the mountains guests can ski in the Sierra Nevada mountain area or short train journey takes travellers to Saville or Madrid for a cultural and gastronmic immersion.

The final gift is that Malaga airport now serves the digital nomad community to many locations worldwide, making Marbella the perfect pinpoint destination that combines logistical and lifestyle benefits in abundance.

7. Can you share a memorable moment from the development process of The Penthouse?

We were not the developers of The Penthouse, it was created by a fantastic development company that we work with from England.

8. What do you think makes Marbella the best European Destination for 2024?

Marbella has always been a magnet for the rich and famous; an iconic destination for an international and intellectual jet-set, and the Hollywood glitterati, who frequented it back in the 1950s and originally put the Andalusian gem on the map. Of course, Marbella has evolved over the years and we are delighted to now be experiencing an exciting renaissance, which reflects its former glory days but dials up a contemporary new vibrancy. Its incre

dible climate, easy accessible location and the relaxed laid back beach and sporty lifestyle have always been the core pillars of its appeal yet the high standards and choice of accommodation, gastronomy and overall experiences have been further amplified to reflect this new interest making Marbella one of the most highly desirable holiday and living choice for the discerning traveller. Forbes has just named Marbella Best European Destination for 2024 by saying “This is a sunny, five-star, natural, sporty, gastronomic destination with everything to please the most demanding travelers.”

9. How does The Penthouse contribute to the renaissance of Marbella?

The Penthouse represents the extraordinary and inspiring innovation that is happening in Marbella at this time and reflects a ‘ limitless luxury ‘ philosphy that we at 3SA are championing. We are seeing an exciting new wave of thoughtful International investment in and around Marbella that seeks to compliment Marbella’s history and protect its natural gifts yet elevate and attract a new type of traveller and resident who really appreciates the finest things in life. Dolce & Gabbana and Fendi are both investing in branded developments in and around Marbella.

10. What local experiences and activities would you recommend to guests staying at The Penthouse?

At property level we would recommend our full butler service package and daily cleaning. In this way you live with all the benefits of a 5 star hotel but you are totally private with the most stunning front line beach view and effectively your own private restaurant in the Penthouse. As far as local experiences are concerned the 3SA Concierge team can arrange the perfect day as Marbella is full of activities.

We can arrange beach clubs, every kind of sport, hiking tours, horse riding, excursions to some of the best beaches in Europe at Tarifa and Chiclana, wine tasting in Rhonda by helicopter, a yacht charter with dolphin spotting. There really are no limits to the luxury lifestyle in Marbella with 3SA Estate.

11. How does the design of The Penthouse incorporate the surrounding natural beauty of Marbella?

I think the fact that The Penthouse has been designed specifically to blend its stunning external surroundings and ocean position into its living space, both compliments and amplifies the local natural beauty of Marbella whilst having a low impact footprint on nature.

12. What role does sustainability play in the design and operation of The Penthouse?

At 3SA Estate we work tirelessly to raise the standards of sustainability, but it is fair to say we are not where we want to be yet in Marbella. We are totally committed to responsible tourism and our goal is that within 3 years we will have properties and a service that are all 100% sustainable.

13. How do you ensure that the service provided at The Penthouse is unparalleled?

We are super proud of the entire 3SA Estate team who are handpicked for their personalities and skills. Each and every one is committed to delivering the very highest standards of service be it with the domestic and housekeeping support through to concierge and estate staff. We invest heavily in training to ensure the team are fully equipped and briefed to support all guests, but perhaps most importantly we all love what we do, so we know that are team deliver a very personal and heart-felt service that we feel is second to none.

14. What are some of your favourite features in the master suite of The Penthouse?

The size of the master suite is both unique and breathtaking, as it spans the entire upper floor and is bigger than some villas. 

The floor to ceiling glass doors peel back to open up to the expansive terrace with your own private plunge pool and a view to the ocean that is second to none.

The master suite also has its own private lift from the main entrance.

15. How does the location within the Puente Romano Resort enhance the luxury experience for guests?

The Penthouse is discreetly tucked away in a gated complex within the world famous Puente Romano resort, which offers the highest levels of amentities yet also reassuring personal privacy and security. Guests of The Penthouse are granted full access to the entire award-winning Puente Romano resort which has raised the benchmark for what a world-class resort can deliver.

Repeatedly acclaimed in magazines and newspapers worldwide for setting a standard that few live up to, since it opened it has been awarded the International Hotel Awards as Best Golf Resort, the World Spa Awards as Spain’s Best Spa Resort, and Europe’s Leading Lifestyle Hotel in the World Travel Awards. The Penthouse is nestled in the heart of this exclusive resort yet offers its guests their own perfect escape and sanctuary.

16. Can you tell us about the dining experiences available both within The Penthouse and at the Puente Romano Resort?

Within The Penthouse itself we can offer a fully catered private chef service to prepare and cook all our guests meals from locally sourced ingredients, allowing for personal preferences and dietary requirements. We are also able to fully stock the fridge and bar if our guests would prefer to cook their own meals. 

Alteratively, Puente Romano Resort itself is home to more than 20 restaurants and bars that offer our guests a truly gastronomic experience. From finding their inner Inca at COYA to enjoying the beachside favourite Chiringuito; from Cipriani to Nobu to the legendary Sea Grill. Puente Romano Resort are also proud of the quality and sustainability approach to sourcing ingredients with their our own local market garden, supplying farm fresh, seasonal, and organic vegetables & herbs directly to their kitchens. Locally sourced, naturally reared meat is also prioritised, as is locally caught fish and seafood.

17. What upcoming trends in luxury real estate do you see reflected in The Penthouse?

The Penthouse reflects a new trend where discerning travellers require all the standard services of a luxury hotel but also want total privacy and discretion – this is exactly what we can offer at 3SA Estate and at The Penthouse.

At property level we think The Penthouse reflects the continuing demand from travellers to deliver a hyper personalised experience that is tailored to their specific needs.  And finally and at a granular level I think the fully serviced bar in The Penthouse is a feature that will be seen more and more in luxury real estate.

18. How does The Penthouse appeal to the jet-set and Hollywood glitterati who have historically frequented Marbella?

The Penthouse by 3SA blends the perfect mix of discretion with sophistication, a shot of hyper personalisation, a small dash of opulance and a twist of modernity. The perfect cocktail for the discerning traveller.

19. What personal touches have been added to The Penthouse to make it feel like a home away from home?

We are delighted to tailor the entire Penthouse experience to every guests personal wishes making it a very special home away from home. For example The Penthouse can be filled with the guests favourite flowers to greet them as they arrive, a bar fully stocked with their preferred drinks, and a fridge brimming with the guests favourite treats. Then there is their own personal gym and private pool – The Penthouse truly is a home away from home.

20. How do you envision the future of luxury real estate in Marbella, and what role does The Penthouse play in that vision?

The Penthouse celebrates a new generation of exquisite ultra luxury real estate in Marbella and we are super proud to be launching it at a time when the market has a real appetite for this innovative type of property. 3SA Estate are also involved with another amazing project very close to The Penthouse that will be complete in two years which will also raise the bar and compliment this entire segment. It is a very exciting time here in Marbella and we are very much at the core of this new wave of innovation and inspirational in luxury design and hospitality.

So, if you’re dreaming of sun-soaked days, opulent surroundings and a seamless blend of indoor and outdoor living, The Penthouse by 3SA Estate awaits you.

Discover a new pinnacle of luxury on the stunning Marbella coast and make your next vacation an experience of a lifetime.