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If anyone knows how to glow up a hotel, it’s Novotel. Their dedication to refurbishments of hotels is about on par with our dedication to staying at them. The fresh faced Novotel London Bridge reveals all.

There’s a real trend of larger hotel chains honing in the surroundings of each particular property to make them feel more unique, but still on par with the standards you’d come to expect. In our book, if the honey at breakfast doesn’t come squeezed from the bees on the roof then to be honest we don’t really wanna know.

There are thirteen hotels in the wider London area including some airport locations. That may be unlucky for some, but definitely not for us. The Novotel London Bridge sits in the shadow of the city skyline. Put it this way, if this was the year 1066, you’d be overlooking some very royal neighbours in the tower next door.

Picky millennials like us have a word we like to use to justify when we want to have exactly everything we want… savvy. And savvy travellers are favouring the ‘chain vibes’ of big hotels less and less. Novotel have done away with all of that and now offer up a cool independent like vibe that we are completely here for.

What hasn’t been lost is the efficiency of the whole operation – check-in is quick and painless, and desk staff speak several languages. Quality and standards have a huge part to play in Novotel’s ethos and it shows, which is a true testament to really good hotel, and makes you sleep that little bit better.

There’s a minimalist style running throughout the rooms, with flashes of personality here and there, like faux zebra rugs or starry night sky murals. A signature red cuts through the crisp white, adding to that overall luxe.

Downstairs, the traditional buffet of yoghurt and tinned peaches has been done away with, and in its place is a quirky café style kitchen and bar. So many of the time hotels slip up with their dining offering and take the corporate road, which is enjoyable to only those in suits who chunter over the morning FT, but here it’s definitely more flat-white and a lot less white-collar.

Prices start from £116 per room per night based on two people sharing. www.all.accor.com

Bath has to be one of the most beautiful cities in the UK. This world-heritage site may be well-known for its Roman history, but what we fell in love with, was how this city has truly embraced dog-friendly travel. In fact, the Visit Bath website even has its own dedicated dog-friendly page.

We checked into the Roseate Villa Bath, a boutique hotel that oozes warmth, style and authenticity. A home away from home, located just a short walk away from all of Bath’s most important cultural sites including Henrietta Park, Pulteney Bridge, the Regency Crescent and or course – the city’s namesake Roman Baths.

We spent two nights in one of the luxury rooms, overlooking the front garden. Aside from the matching dog-bed and dog bowls, Charlie was also greeted with a doggy welcome package that included healthy treats from Lily’s Kitchen, and a tennis ball too.

Outside of the hotel, Bath has several dog-friendly sites to visit. The American Museum and Garden is surrounding by breath-taking natural landscapes and is a truly wonderful spot to take an afternoon stroll. The gardens are filled with every kind of flower imaginable and are absolutely dog-friendly too.

If you’re looking for a bite to eat, The Provenist Café is the perfect little spot for a light brunch. This charming café offers a small menu of healthy snacks and pastries, proving that sometimes the simplest dishes are also the most satisfying. We recommend trying the eggs on sourdough or the mixed grains salad and washing it all down with a Mango, lime and banana smoothie.

Unsurprisingly, our short visit to Bath was characterised by bipolar British weather, and so we quickly discovered that the hotel’s newly opened Henrietta Bar is a great place to enjoy a quiet moment or get lost in a book over a cuppa. We highly recommend trying out the hotel’s afternoon tea offering, which can be enjoyed in the Henrietta Bar or in the garden.

The kitchen even prepared a specially-crafted dairy/egg/wheat free afternoon tea to suit my very specific dietary requirements; a testament to the hotel’s exemplary service. Hotel Manager Caroline made sure every aspect of our stay was perfect and made it a point to speak to all the guests at the hotel. If you’re lucky, you may spot Caroline’s own dog, Muttley, the hotel’s ‘Head of Security,’ wandering the halls.

It’s not an exaggeration to say that the Roseate Villa Bath exceeded every one of our dog-friendly expectations. From the warm welcome, the excellent service, and a genuine desire to create connections with guests – we can confidently say this is Bath’s most dog-friendly hotel, and we will surely be returning.

Rooms at The Roseate Villa Bath start from £150 a night

As the world starts to open up again, for many of us it’s time to explore our options and also how comfortable we are feeling about travelling. Far-flung destinations may well be taking a back seat for the rest of 2020 but we have our sights set on some closer-to-home destinations. Off-season Lech in Austria is just the reset we need, especially if we get to bed down at the stunning, family-run Post Lech.

In fact, my last international trip was to experience the tail end of ski season in Lech and, if that had been my last chance to travel abroad, I’d have done pretty well for myself. A scenic drive from Innsbruck airport will take you into glamorous ski territory, past picturesque wooden-clad chalets and children who have tamed the slopes more than I ever will. It’s a sight that many non-winter-sports types will have never experienced and that’s a real shame as this region has so much to offer those of us who don’t want to hurl ourselves down mountains.

When spring arrives, the blinding white of the slopes subsides and melts away to reveal the verdant rolling landscapes. Ski trails become hiking routes and you can take the ultimate comfort food Käsespätzle out on the patio to build up your energy to inhale all that fresh air. Summer in the Austrian alps will reaffirm your love of travel and with wide open space to explore and incredible service from hotels and restaurants alike, you can relax into the experience.

We stayed at the cosy-but-glorious Post Lech hotel, which re-opened for Summer 2020 at the end of June. Part of the Relais & Châteaux collection, the hotel is run by the Moosbrugger family and the familial atmosphere extends to the hotel staff and returning guests. While clearly an opulent place to stay, the decor and homely touches make you feel like a guest in a very lucky friend’s place. There may be exquisite locavore courses being served in the twinkling dining room by night but, come morning, the revisiting family’s dog will be snoozing under the breakfast table.

The low-key luxury is evident in the stunning rooms and suites. Each one is unique and exquisitely decorated. There’s no bland high-end interior design here. We are told that a local craftsman comes by one week every year to touch up all the hand-painted details across the rooms. Nothing is more charming than a five-star property that leans into the skills of its area.

Talking about skilled local people, the team that head up the spa are second to none. From an early morning swim in the outdoor heated pool, through to yoga classes and then a sauna, steam and indoor/outdoor relaxation spot, you could spend an entire day unwinding any tension before you’ve met the masters. But you’d be missing out. Working with luxuriously efficient products like the Swiss CellCosmet, the specialists will cocoon you in waterbaths that may induce sleep or serenade you with the most relaxing facial that I’ve ever experienced.

Outside the warm embrace of the Post Lech is a delightful town, just waiting to be discovered. Even without the ski, you can après in bars – from charming to rowdy. We enjoyed sampling neighbouring hotel, the Gotthard‘s, local beer, Omes – named after the nearby mountain – and Austrian wine at the quirky Kristiania Hotel. Then we should probably talk about Hotel Aurelio‘s sun filled terrace, modern art collection and mascot llamas.

Up the mountains, in addition to summertime hikes and views that will take your breath away, is the very special James Turrell SkySpace. Best visited at sunrise or sunset, the visual effect of this artwork is surreal and otherworldly and the surrounding landscape just as awe-inspiring. Lech is an unexpected off-season treat, we urge you to check it out for yourself.

To book your stay at the Post Lech visit postlech.com and find out more things to do in Lech at LechZuers.com . To explore more of the Vorarlberg region, follow @visitvorarlberg.

With its azure waters, picturesque water villas, and white sandy beaches — the Maldives is ever-present in our wanderlust-inducing fantasies, and with good reason. If you are planning to tick this dream destination off your bucket-list, we highly recommend checking into the Shangri-La Villingili Resort & Spa. Because if you’re splashing out to visit the Maldives, then it might as well be at this dream destination’s most luxurious resort.

Located amidst the sheltered waters of the southernmost atoll in the at Addu Atoll, Shangri-La’s Villingili Resort & Spa is simply a cut above the rest. So much so, that it operates on its own timezone.(It’s one hour behind Male – which means that you gain an extra hour of sunshine!) Once you dock at the Shangri-La Villingili Resort & Spa, you are immediately transported into an otherworldly landscape of tropical villas, ocean-facing swings, and the soothing sounds of the sea. Soon, it becomes exceedingly clear that you have entered a paradise in a world of its own.

The Water Villas of our dreams

After the cursory welcome coconut, and a quick buggy ride through Maldive’s iconic timber walkways, we entered our luxury water villa. Build on stilts on the resort’s breathtaking azure waters, these 166 sqm. villas are the very definition of secluded luxury.. If you’ve ever had an imagined image of the Maldives in your head, it was probably exactly this; but at Shangri-La’s Villingili Resort & Spa, the reality is even better. Think natural wood interiors, a seductively comfortable king-sized bed, and a bathroom that’s bigger than a Victorian semi-detcahed. The Water Villas are exactly what our travel dreams are made of. Glass partitions allow of unobstructed views of the Indian Ocean, where you can jump in for a quick swim straight out from your own private deck. Enjoy some in-room dining on your veranda, and lounge on a hammock-directly suspended from the sea. Have a soak in your oversized oval bath tub, or better yet shower outdoors. Trust us, there is nothing more liberating than showering completely uninhibited, underneath the Maldivian sunshine.

A Culinary Journey of the Maldives and beyond

At Shangri-La’s Villingili Resort & Spa, every experience is tailor made to each guest. The resort has three restaurants, and each one has its own distinct personality. Dr.Ali’s Restaurant and Bar, was named after Maldive’s most legendary doctor. Dr.Ali was a treasure trove of tales taken from his adventures across East Asia and the Middle East, and Dr.Ali’s Restaurant and Bar pays homage to the many authentic flavours and recipes he encountered on his journeys. Javvu Restaurant is the hotel’s main restaurant and is located right beside the pool. This is where we enjoyed plenty of casual sun-soaked lunches during our stay, as well as a fruity cocktail (or five) at M Lounge during sunset. Named after the Dhivehi word meaning “the edge”, Fashala Restaurant and lounge is located at the northern edge of the island, and features breathtaking views of the ocean. The Mediterranean inspired menu is made up of only the freshest local produce both from land-and sea.

A Bespoke gastronomic experience with Dine by Design

If you’re looking for a truly bespoke culinary experience — try the Shangri-La’s Dine by Design. Fancy having lunch on the equator? A barbecue in your villa? Or maybe even a dinner in the Chef’s garden? Then let the Shangri-La’s expert chefs create an unforgettable dining experience just for you. We tried their new farm-to-table dining experience, which began with picking our choice of island grown ingredients from the chef’s garden, followed by a visit to the neighbouring town of Meedhu. After a warm welcome from the villagers, the local farmers took us around to their own farms, and picked some fresh and showed us the many different educational, cultural, and environmental clean up that Nalafehi Meedhu, a local NGO, implemented to transform the life of the villagers.

A Traditional take on Wellness

If you’re looking for some pampering during your stay — explore the resort’s secured spa sanctuary. Hidden amidst large banyan trees and tropical shrubbery, CHI has eleven spacious treatment villas, two meditation pavilions, and a yoga pavilion overlooking the ocean. Waking up before the crack of dawn, we cycled to the Spa for some sunrise yoga followed by a Kandu Boli Ritual massage. This traditional treatment is a soothing body and face massage, where coconut oil is rubbed on you with a hot cowrie shell, which was once considered a treasure during ancient marine trading times.

Discovering the Island’s unique biodiversity

We’re all about travelling consciously, and is with everything else in this excellent resort, Shangri-La’s Villingili Resort & Spa puts in every effort to protect the island’s own unique biodiversity. At the Eco-Centre, marine biologists take guests on nature trails, while dive-masters guide diving enthusiasts across the Addu Attol’s best kept snorkel gardens. After doing our part for the environment and planting some coral in the resort’s coral farm; We went on a snorkelling excursion just a 30 minute boat ride away from the island, and swam amongst incredible aquatic wildlife and coral — even spotting some sea turtles along the way.

An Unforgettable Sailing Expedition

From jungle treks and golf to coral planting and sea-bobbing, here’s plenty to do at Shangri-La’s Villingili Resort & Spa. While it may seem counter-intuitive, we highly recommend venturing away from the resort’s many luxuries — and jumping onboard a Yacht for a sunset cruise like no other. After popping a few bottles of champagne, climb atop the roof and take in the stunning candy coloured skies, as your captain sails you around the wonderfully biodiverse waters of the Addu Atoll. During our brief expedition out to sea — we were greeted by large and friendly groups of flipper dolphins, racing with our boat’s bow, and showing off with some pretty impressive flips. It was absolutely incredible — a once in a lifetime moment that can only be found at Shangri-La’s Villingili Resort & Spa.

As the reality of social distancing truly takes hold, our thoughts inevitably turn to wanderlust and to times where we could choose splendid isolation over self-isolation.Jail Hill Inn is an absolute must for a rejuvenating trip with inspirational surroundings, and one of our top picks of where we’d most like to self-isolate in the USA.

The quaint and cosy Jail Hill Inn is an old county jail transformed into an inn in the gorgeous Illinois town of Galena – located just three hours’ drive from Chicago. This multi-award-winning inn was voted the number one bed and breakfast in the United States in 2019 by Tripadvisor and second-best in the world. Delve into your favourite book or learn about the fascinating civil war history in the small-town whilst cosied up by the grand fireplace. Or, if you prefer, indulge in a luxury in-suite massage.

The inn is tucked away from the Main Street to ensure ultimate relaxation for your stay, yet just near enough to walk there and enjoy Galena’s rich history and all-American historic charm. The four-story brick building is 135 years old and served as the county jail for nearly 100 years before innkeeper Matthew Carol lovingly transformed it into the premier bed and breakfast inn it is today.

Be sure to take in the impressive views across Galena before you head out to explore what it has to offer. Step into a bygone era along the banks of the Mississippi River. In this Midwestern town, trolley cars cruise down the six-block Main Street, along which 19th-century buildings house small galleries, antique stores and independent shops. Walk off lunch from local hotspot Fried Green Tomatoes along the Galena River Trail before moseying around historical sites such as the home of Civil War hero and former US President Ulysses S. Grant.

If you work up a thirst exploring these pretty streets and perusing local craft stores, Galena is also home to Blaum Bros Distilling Co. Formed by two brothers with a passion for high-quality spirits, this distillery has grown ever popular for its spirit tours. They source grains from local farmers to make small batches of rye, whiskey and vodka. Make sure to take one home with you, their branding is very pretty, and it makes for an excellent gift.

For more information, please visit: www.enjoyillinois.com

For many dogs and dog-owners, lockdown has brought on a new level of bonding. Countless pups all over the world have been going on 25 walks a day, derailing zoom meetings, and getting about 300% more belly rubs than usual.

While you may be enjoying all the quality time with man’s best friend, it’s equally important to dream of better days ahead. This is why we’ve rounded up some of the cosiest dog-friendly hideaways in the UK, so you and your four-legged friend can dream of #TeamCocopup approved places to roam free.

Ellenborough Park in The Cotswolds

Ellenborough Park is a stunning countryside retreat with 13 dog-friendly rooms and is one of the Cotswolds’ finest hotels. The hotel sits on a stunning 90 acres of beautiful British countryside, including the famous Cotswolds Way, which are perfect for long walks filled with wildflowers, hill forts, and stunning beech woodlands.

If you’re looking to add a bit more culture to your retreat, the hotel is located within close distance to Cheltenham and Bath, where there are plenty of dog-friendly local museums for your pups to explore too.

A stay at Ellenborough Park begin from £189 a night on a bed and breakfast basis. Dog-owners will be required to pay a £25 housekeeping charge. www.ellenboroughpark.com.

The Roseate Villa Bath

The Roseate Villa in Bath offers 21 unique and beautiful rooms and is located just a few minutes stroll away from Bath’s historical Abbey and Pulteney Bridge. This stylish boutique hotel also has its own doggy mascot, a border terrier called Muttley, who has plenty of recommendations for dog-friendly activities nearby.

Some of Muttley’s top tips include Henrietta park, or the Lennet and Avon cancel. To add to the hotel’s pet-friendly credentials, it also offers ‘woof’ boxes filled with treats from Lily’s Kitchen and a tennis ball to play with in Henrietta Park.

A stay at The Roseate Villa Bath begin from £169 per night on a bed and breakfast basis. www.roseatehotel.com.

Glenapp Castle, Scotland

Glenapp Castle is a handsome 17-bedroom castle hotel located in the Ayrshire Coast of Scotland. It also has 36 acres of majestic Scottish countryside, perfect for long walkies with your pooch. This luxury estate has two dog-friendly rooms on the ground floor with easy access to the gardens outside. Dogs can take a swim in the glen, participate in star-gazing activities, and go on plenty of hiking trails too.

Stays in one of Glenapp Castle’s Garden View Suites begins from £415. www.glenappcastle.com.

Marrakech is an aesthetic dream but there is so much more to this magical city than meets the eye. Like with any passionate love affair, our first encounter with the red city undoubtedly impactful.

We spent an enriching few days exploring every corner of the city, from the mosaic walls of the Bahia Palace to the labyrinthine alleys of the souks; and then ventured out to explore the lesser-known landscapes of the Atlas Mountains to see a side of Morocco unknown to most travellers.

We stayed in two stunning hotels, Le Farnatchi and La Sultana Marrakech– each one offering a new kind of safe haven away from organised chaos of the city. Our girl Hannah Tan-Gillies gives you your daily dose of wanderlust with a visual diary of her luxurious #CocoCouples trips to Marrakech, because hey, we all need a little escapism these days.

Arguably one of the most idyllic places on earth, luxury hotels and private island resorts have long capitalised on the natural beauty of the Maldives. But with these islands predicted to be underwater within a matter of decades, what sustainability initiatives are luxury resorts adopting to protect this fragile paradise? Having only opened in 2017, Furaveri may be a somewhat lesser-known Maldivian-owned hotel, but is already making waves for its laid-back boutique feel and five-star accommodation and all underpinned by serious eco-credentials. We sent our girl Beth to report.

Landing in Malé International Airport, a short 45-minute seaplane flight is all that separates us from our destination of Furaveri Island. Located in the remote Raa Atoll, like most of the Maldives 300 inhabited islands, Furaveri is too small to land a traditional aircraft so it’s up to Trans-Maldivian airways to get us there.

It’s my first seaplane flight, and despite the turbulence, as we dip in and out of clouds, the scenery below is more than worth the white knuckles. Island atolls and spits of sand flash by in an ocean that fades from deep to electric blue. Even our seaplane pilots seem to echo the barefoot feel of our destination, in their shorts, sunglasses and flip flops.

Set across just 23 hectares, landing at Furaveri we find ourselves in postcard-perfect scenery, white-sand shores ringed by piercing blue. Unlike many resorts, much effort has been made to leave as much of the island as possible un-reclaimed – not only preserving the natural flora and fauna but helping to give the island that Robinson-Crusoe vibe, with lush palm-lined walkways and flowering orchids.

Hidden away in the centre of this wild greenery, you’ll find the chefs vegetable garden, where as much is grown on island as possible – from the firey chillies for traditional Maldivian curries, to the fruits for their passion fruit margaritas. The neighbouring on-site bottling plant represents a huge investment in the sustainable future of the island, with up to 360 tones of water recycled here into drinking water for the guests. The next step, we’re told will be to use smaller glass bottles for guests to take with them on excursions, replacing plastics.

With just 107 private villas set sparingly across its edges, the whole resort has a low-impact feel, yet the island’s eco-credentials don’t mean skimping on luxury. Our beach pool villa is 155 square metres, with huge double-height beamed ceilings and super-chic interiors. Warming notes of wood contrast with crisp white linens and hanging lanterns to create a cool, beach house feel. Sliding doors open to the front to reveal a private 6-metre long pool with a daybed, curtained cabana and sun loungers for two. The surrounding vegetation helps to keep the pool private, but a path leads directly out onto a stretch of blindingly white sand beach backed by sapphire sea. To the rear of the villa – I find one of the prettiest bathrooms I’ve ever seen, with freestanding tub, twinkling Moroccan hanging lights and billowing white curtains. Doors open onto a private, palm-fringed courtyard with alfresco shower.

This is the perfect place to retire to after sunset on the beach, pushing the doors back as dusk draws in, watching the silhouettes of fruit bats across the sky – an ideal choice for Honeymooners or someone looking for something special.

Nosing around my neighbour’s villa, I find the new Dhoni Beach Pool Villas just as romantic as the Beach Pool Villas. The only difference being an L shaped pool and a completely open bathtub in the larger courtyard garden. The Garden villas, located a short walk from the beach are the most cost-effective option here, while the over-water villas further down the beach offer direct lagoon access from a decked verandah. The two-bedroom overwater suite with pool is the top room category, with private lap pool suspended over turquoise waters, outdoor Jacuzzi, double day beds and glass floor to watch for passing marine life.

It’s not just the rooms here that scream romance – the whole island seems to have been designed with honeymooners it in mind. Wicker cocoon chairs hang from palms and swings out in the sea provide just the spot for loved-up couples to linger.

Furaveri may be a low-key island, but one thing they don’t do by halves is the food. Mexican may be as far from the Maldives as you could imagine – but their overwater Mexican restaurant Amigos somehow manages to feel like Tulum. At Asian fusion restaurant Raiyvilla, a specialist Teppanyaki chef cooks in front of you in a theatre of knife tricks and flames – a special dinner that could rival that of top London Teppanyaki restaurants. Four different meal plans offer the opportunity to tailor your dining experience – but everyday dining is at the Jaafaeiy restaurant – a hearty buffet selection of local classics as well as themed nights to avoid any boredom.

As you’d expect of such a honeymoon hot-spot, the resort vibe is relaxed – but it doesn’t stop the after-dinner entertainment, where – fuelled by a few cocktails you can try your hand at some island karaoke (although I am sure a few guests that week had really rather we hadn’t!)

Of all the accolades that this resort can lay claim to, few can match the marine life. Located in the Raa Atoll near the UNESCO biosphere reserve of Hanifaru Bay, this is a haven for snorkelers and divers, with two house reefs encircling the island. Here, led by Furaveri’s PADI team, you can dive or snorkel with turtles, sharks, barracuda and a multitude of multicoloured reef life at one of 30 nearby dive sites. Heading out on a boat trip one day, we snorkel with two manta rays, dancing around us in the deep, and swim with a pod of wild dolphins – an experience that has even the seasoned divers among us grinning from ear to ear.

A Maldivian owned resort, Furavei champions the employment of local people. One afternoon we have the opportunity to visit the neighbouring local island R Fainu, having tea with one of the hotel employees and an amazing spread of home-cooked Maldivian food by his lovely wife, an experience most might miss but an interesting insight into a different side of these islands.

The dive team at Furaveri in particular, have an acute familiarity, as well as an awareness of the challenges facing their island paradise. Keen to safeguard the ocean for future generations to enjoy, they run programs for guests with daily presentations by an in-house marine biologist and offer daily guided snorkelling trips for anyone who would like to join their effort to protect the environment. The team also offer a full range of PADI programs from complete beginners to more experienced divers.

Actively involved in projects like the AWARE week, Furaveri’s dive professionals lead and take part in activities and courses focused on tackling ocean pollution, raising awareness about plastic pollution, and empowering local communities to take positive actions for a return to a clean and healthy ocean. As well as equipping resort staff and guests divers, with the skills needed to conduct Dive Against Debris surveys, the last AWARE Week at Furaveri saw a local island clean up and Project AWARE presentations – all in an effort to be a voice for the ocean and act for change.

Furaveri may be less well known than other international five-star resort brands, but with an eco-conscious outlook and barefoot luxe feel, this under-the-radar gem not only celebrates these islands for their pared-back natural beauty but are doing their part to conserve it.

For further details and to book visit www.furaveri.com and www.visitmaldives.com

The luxury travel market is increasingly focused on tailor-made experiences rather than just the fact if you pay more, you can hope for a more enhanced experience. Hence, it is no surprise the luxury villa market has been booming in southern Europe in recent years, as travellers look for more space and a home-from-home escape. We visited The LUX MARE villas recently in a prime location in the city of Lagos in southern Portugal with jaw-dropping views of the Atlantic Ocean.

When their Norwegian owners, Egil & Birgitte Greve were looking to build their 2 state-of-the-art villas that embraced the minimalist Nordic design philosophy with the warmth of the Portuguese lifestyle, they went to the most famous local architect in town, Mário Martins. His exploration of shapes and the use of natural light has led to countless masterpieces created in The Algarve, but The LUX MARE Villas (Casa L and Casa M) is arguably his best work so far. The harmonious balance of green and blue is a soothing experience from the well-landscaped gardens of Casa M to their showpiece 22.5 metres heated infinity pool that kisses the Algarvan skyline.

During our visit, we stayed at Casa M which can host up to 12 guests with two king-sized rooms and four twin rooms. There are six bathrooms and one separate toilet, so there should never be any need for queuing. Almost all the rooms have floor-to-ceiling glass and looking onto the pool and garden area. They offer complimentary Molton Brown toiletries and luxury bathrobe and slippers.
Apart from picking a local architect and using local wood and other materials to construct the villas, the owners have sought to use local designers where possible from the cutlery and crockery that are from Vista Alegre and all branded linens are also from Portugal.
In the basement area, is a high-tech cinema room with a reclinable sofa, a pool table and selected Technogym equipment. And if that isn’t enough, guests have access to the AXN Gym situated within the renowned 5- star Cascade Wellness & Lifestyle Resort nearby.

The kitchen is decked out with high-end Gaggenau home appliances including a coffee machine that wouldn’t look out-of-place in a posh coffee house. Of course, you can cook yourself with numerous well-stocked supermarkets nearby and a fish market in town that is the envy of the region or you can treat yourself to a private chef who works regularly with the villa, The Chef Affairs who can prepare dishes like local favourites such as grilled giant king prawns and beef fillet tournedos with mushrooms and Porto wine sauce. There is also a whole range of options in town from Japanese ramen bars to Tasca Jota which champions local Portuguese ingredients from the region, with some of the team having trained with the likes of Gordon Ramsay in London.

If you are wondering what activities you might be able to partake in, they have an in-house concierge service that can cater to all your needs from yoga on the pool terrace to a sunset massage gazing into the Atlantic Ocean. For the more adventurous, there are hot-air balloon rides, go-karting, horse riding or kayaking that can be arranged. You can hire a sunseeker yacht to admire the stunning coastline or to go fishing. And you are also only minutes away from the world-famous Ponta da Piedade, stunning rock formations that give The Twelve Apostles a run for their money. The Algarvan wine scene has been picking up in recent years and about a half an hour drive away is the popular, Quinta dos Vales winery with some very accessible wines to taste as well as stunning art installations to admire. You can even buy your plot of land to grow your grapes and bottle your wine.

Next time, you are visiting Europe and looking for some Iberian sunshine, make sure you check out The LUX MARE villas.
https://luxemare.pt

Marrakech is an aesthetic dream but there is so much more to this magical city than meets the eye. We spent an enriching few days exploring every corner of the city, from the mosaic walls of the Bahia Palace to the labyrinthine alleys of the souks; and stayed in one of the city’s best-kept luxury hideaways. If you didn’t know where to look, Le Farnatchi would almost be impossible to find. Hidden in a quiet alleyway and just a short walk away from the medina, Le Farnatchi is a restful haven amidst the joyful chaos of Marrakech.

This stylish Riad has ten generously sized suites designed with a careful balance of European luxury and Moroccan flair. The architecture is breath-taking to say the least, and every room boasts handmade beds, Egyptian cotton sheets, and all the colourful touches that make it feel like a home.
Outside of your suite, the hotel has plenty of beautiful public areas to explore. It has two stunning dining rooms, a beautiful courtyard pool, and a roof garden complete with sun loungers. It is the perfect place to have a drink, watch the sunset, and maybe capture some golden hour magic too.

We recommend booking a treatment at the Farnatchi Spa, which features luxe marble hammam interiors. Here, you can gawk at the mouldings on the incredible vaulted ceilings, or better yet, indulge in a pampering session that will wash your troubles away.

For dinner, we ventured next door to the Le Trou Au Mur Restaurant, which serves up traditional Moroccan cuisine in true contemporary style. Art-deco meets local craftsmanship inside the restaurant, but the piece de resistance has to be the rooftop dining area. Atmospheric and undeniably romantic, there’s no better place in the city for a candlelit dinner than Le Trou au Mur. The restaurant has its own clay ‘mechoi’ or furnace, where our classic ‘Tangia’ was cooked. The Tangia has been described as a quintesential Marrakchia dish. Paired with a nice medium-bodied glass of red wine, and you’d be hard done to find a more delicious meal in this colourful city.