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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.

What are your thoughts before deciding on your next travel destination? What standards do you use to compile a list of potential locations and refine it? Which is your favorite aspect of modern cities, gastronomy, nature, culture, history, or spiritual significance?

After all, having a reply to these queries guarantees a wonderful trip. Generally speaking, we choose the location based on how well it fits your interests. However, Saudi Arabia always ranks top whether you order your list of travel places according to their historical, cultural, natural, or religious value.

Saudi Arabia embraces tourism while upholding the customs of their forefathers. As a result, the Umrah packages from UK that enable Muslims to do their pilgrimage provide personalized visits to well-known locations of the KSA. Their perspective and relationship with the sacred land are to be expanded.

The top ten reasons to schedule a visit to Saudi Arabia are listed below. Now let’s continue reading.

Why Traveling to Saudi Arabia is Worth Your Next Adventure?

Saudi Arabia welcomes visitors with open arms. However, about coming to Saudi Arabia. Pilgrims who wish to do the Hajj or Umrah ceremonies come first. Travelers who wish to see some of the nation’s most well-known landmarks are the second group.

Umrah packages let travelers organize their entire trip. They offer travelers easy transportation, cosy lodging, help with Umrah visas, and a tranquil pilgrimage experience. The same is true of less expensive choices, such as the 10-night, 4-star Umrah package from the UK.

For passengers, it’s not the same, though. They must arrange for a travel itinerary, apply for a visa for tourism, and handle all of the necessary things for tourism. However, Saudi Arabia’s varied cultural offerings and tourist attractions continue to draw tourists. Here are ten reasons for you to complete your plan and embark on your ideal adventure this year.

1. Distinctive Cultural Experience

Saudi Arabia presents a multiculturalism. Travelers encounter Islamic customs everywhere they go. They visit historic mosques, engage with one another, and connect with the Islamic heritage. The distinctive clothing code, holidays, and ethical behavior demonstrate Islamic culture’s dominance.

It’s not just about religion, though. Arab customs are also reflected in the regional cultures, celebrations, and events. They maintain their ancestral ways of life and believe in walking in their footsteps. Saudi Arabia showcases historical exhibits, handicrafts, artwork, and storytelling through festivals and exhibitions. The intention is to familiarize guests with the distinctive customs of Arabs.

This also holds true for other facets of life, such as entertainment and dining. In the past, folklore and cultural music have drawn tourists. Furthermore, the taste of real Arabic food enchants people. To put it briefly, Saudi Arabia provides a distinctive cultural experience all along the way.

2. Historical Importance

We are all aware of Saudi Arabia’s modernity. It showcases modern architecture, structures, landmarks, and artwork. Saudi Arabia, though, also appreciates the beauty of heritage. Its historical sites and prehistoric artefacts are all still intact.

Even public areas like Al Ula and Madain Saleh are secure. This custom serve to preserve the traces of the past residents. Ultimately, they played a role in creating the land’s safety and beauty. Nowadays, Saudi Arabia offers more historical sites for exploration than any other region on the planet. There are two ways that tourists can take in the beauty of the countryside at these historical sites.

They start by exploring the location, its environs, and the artefacts left by past civilizations. Experienced tour guides assist guests in comprehending the details of particular locations. Second, people can discover more about these locations’ past. Historical museums benefit tourists in this way by assisting them in discovering their areas of interest.

3. Natural charm

Are you trying to find a place with lots of natural beauty? Or are you planning to arrange your target locations according to their natural views? If so, make sure to visit Saudi Arabia this year. Beautiful views and the natural environment further distinguish Saudi Arabia from other tourism spots. This is a result of the land’s varied ecological formation.

There are deserts with sand dunes throughout several areas of the nation. One such location that is well-known for camping, camel riding, and desert safaris is the Empty Quarter Desert. Massive mountains can be found in the other regions of the nation. In this sense, the Asir Mountain range is well-liked. It offers a chilly environment, verdant valleys nearby, and meandering streams. 

The rock formation can also be shot. In the same vein, coastal regions remain crucial today. The terrain is even more beautiful because of immaculate beaches and sources of crystal-clear water. Overall, Saudi Arabia’s distinctive topography—which includes mountains, cliffs, valleys, and deserts—also draws tourists.

4. Warmth and Hospitality Greetings

Arabs are friendly people. The people view tourists and pilgrims as friends and fellow citizens because their nation has been providing services to them for ages. They think that friendships can be made across borders. Furthermore, it is the aspect of their society in which they are most adept at accommodating foreigners.

For example, they take on the role of tour guides and inform visitors about their intended destinations. They provide them with special assistance and a homey feeling. For example, Arabs offer guests a complimentary cup of coffee along with dates when they greet them.

The pilgrims are no different. Pilgrims are assisted by locals in finishing their rites. They attempt to make pilgrims’ journeys easier and teach them about Islamic customs along the road, especially for elderly individuals.

5. Real Arabic Foods

Everybody sees the delicious Arabic dishes on social media. Their sweet and savory ND delicacies look intriguing. Besides their looks, they have a great flavor. For this reason, Saudi Arabia is renowned for its genuine flavors and cuisines. Most of the classic recipes are made with rice. While some of these kinds of recipes call for boiling the rice, others prepare it with other seasonings.

The use of organic spices gives Arabic cuisine a distinct and flavorful taste. Arabs carry large-scale spice cultivation and international spice exports out. Consequently, travelling to Saudi Arabia offers the opportunity to sample something special and delectable.

Popular dishes on the savory menu include kebabs, kabsa, falafel, and mandi. They employ distinctive techniques for preparing rice and using fresh meat. Besides, everyone’s favorite sweets are baklava and kunafah.

6. Purchasing and Souks

When we travel to distant nations, shopping is a must. Everybody wants to purchase goods exclusive to the location they are visiting. Of course, it assists in our later memory of the trip. Thus, Saudi Arabia experiences the same thing. The Kingdom works hard to give guests the greatest possible shopping experience. Saudi Arabia provides the best services to tourists through contemporary malls and foreign retailers.

Not only do tourists love shopping in Saudi Arabia, but pilgrims do too. It’s also a significant matter. Pilgrims purchase mementoes for their dear ones. Saudi Arabia offers its pilgrims a conventional shopping experience through its souks.

Spices, dates, jewelry, handicrafts, dry fruits, and plant oils are all found in these markets. As a result, visiting Saudi Arabia to go shopping is another option. Saudi Arabia needs to be your next vacation spot because of this.

7. Outside Activities

There are various ways that Saudi Arabia can amuse guests. It provides historical sites for exploration. It offers spacious areas for spending time together. It is the location of some stunning natural vistas. Generally, outdoor activities are well-known in Saudi Arabia. These pursuits include sandboarding, skydiving, camping, and paragliding, among many others.

For example, you can experience camping, fact-finding, and stargazing beneath the big sky at historical places. Climbing, paragliding, and hiking are all possible on high mountains and valleys. Besides, you are welcome to unwind while taking in the serene surroundings.

Similarly, contemporary locations such as Jeddah and Riyadh invite you to partake in aquatic sports like boating, snorkeling, and fishing. You can also go shopping and sample real food at these locations.

8. Religious Importance

Islamic faith originated in Saudi Arabia. Our revered holy Prophet Hazrat Mohammed was born there. Saudi Arabia is therefore a country of dreams for Muslims. Furthermore, going to Saudi Arabia is a required aspect of Islamic rituals and Ibadah. For example, two components of pilgrimage that help Muslims become closer to Allah are the Hajj and the Umrah.

For religion, Madinah and Makkah are dominant. Each year, these cities draw large numbers of pilgrims, which boosts Saudi Arabia’s economy. Umrah packages, such as the 10-night, 4-star package, help pilgrims every step of the way. So, choose KSA as your next vacation location for this year if you wish to achieve your spiritual objectives.

9. New Architecture and Cities

Do you believe Saudi Arabia only has its past to offer? Arabs, after all, are deeply committed to their culture and values. Well, making a claim is improper. This is because Saudi Arabia preserves the harmony between history and evolution. They think that modernity and history should coexist. Once you have taken in the historical sights and traditional beauty, you are welcome to experience Saudi Arabia’s advancements. Furthermore, it applies to pilgrims and guests alike.

Cities with modern development, such as Jeddah and Riyadh, are well-known. These cities suit the contemporary interests of tourists since they fulfil their duty as tourist destinations. Their thoughtful attractions, modern designs and tall structures set them apart. Furthermore, these locations are nearer to places of pilgrimage. As a result, pilgrims find it simpler to arrange quick trips to different places. For this reason, these tours are included in Umrah packages as part of the strategy to assist pilgrims best. If you live in the United Kingdom, you can get a vacation plan at a lower cost from any reputable Islamic Travel Agency.

10. Simple Travel and Visa Procedure

It is evident that Saudi Arabia greatly facilitates travelers, as you are aware of its promotion of tourism. For example, Saudi Arabia expedites the application and approval process for tourist visas. The idea is to simplify and expedite their preparations.

Similarly, foreign travel is also made easy within the nation. The country’s well-organized roadways and infrastructure make travel for visitors easier. You can also change between several modes of transportation based on your financial situation.

Thus, there are a lot of reasons to make Saudi Arabia your next trip destination. Why then is it late? Organize your trip in advance and lead a unique life.

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.

Website: sonomacounty.com

Below are five of London’s best dog friendly hotels because while London is home to countless pet friendly hotels, the very best dog friendly hotels in London go the extra mile and make our four-legged best friends feel extra special.

Below, we’ve rounded up our absolute favourite dogfriendly hotels in London Town, which have impressed in terms of dog friendly services, pet menus and pet amenities. So, no matter if you’re looking for a luxury five star hotel in Mayfair, or a quirky hotel in East London – we’ve got you covered.

The Athenaeum: London’s best dog friendly hotel

The Atheneum, which sits in the heart of Mayfair, is a five-star boutique hotel has all the five-star amenities you can expect from any swanky Mayfair property, but with the eclecticism and bespoke personal touch of an independent hotel. We think it is one of the best dog friendly hotels in Mayfair.

The Athenaeum fully understands that dog parents will dote on their four legged friends all year round. Its dog friendly package goes above and beyond, not just offering dog bowls and treats, but even The Athenaeum branded scarves, bow ties, teddies, dog grooming and walking services. They even offer a deep-filled hypoallergenic hollow fibre mattress, and one complimentary dish from the Mink Bar(k) Menu which includes a choice of either Roast Chicken ‘Bones’ or Steak Tartare. We also liked the little touches throughout the room, which included branded trick and treat cards.

TeamCocopup Charlie was welcomed in (almost) all public spaces, except of course, the spa and the main restaurant. However, the hotel lobby offers plenty of ambiance and pet travellers may simply opt to have dinner here instead of the restaurant if they don’t want to leave their pooches in the room. It is undoubtedly one of London’s best dog friendly hotels. Click here for our full review.

Pan Pacific London: London’s best dog friendly hotel

Pan Pacific London brings the unique flavour of Singaporean hospitality to the heart of the City and one of London’s best dog friendly hotels. The hotel towers over One Bishopgate Plaza and is just a hop skip away from Liverpool Street Station and the hipster cool bars and nightclubs of Shoreditch.

The hotel brings together a balanced blend of architecture, contemporary design and cutting-edge technology, alongside boundary-pushing holistic wellbeing. Also offering a varied selection of exciting destination restaurants and bars, Pan Pacific London is the ultimate location for classic yet accessible luxury.

From the moment we set foot in the beautiful lobby – Charlie was treated like a true VIP (Very Important Pooch). The lovely staff at the reception treated him to a banana chewie, AND a French puff pastry.

The 43-storey bronze tower offers 237 rooms which are the picture of elegance and tranquillity. Curved walls and neutral palettes welcome guests into the rooms, whilst custom headboards act as personalised art pieces, adding a layer of calm through the depiction of oak, elder, elm and maple trees.

The Paws and Pan Pacific package gives pampered pooches a true VIP stay as pets can relax and indulge with bespoke massages, reiki healing, puppy yoga and even dog walks and training sessions care of the Concierge. They even have their own breakfast and dinner menu, created by dog behaviourist and nutritionist Anna Webb, which can be served in-room or in Straits Kitchen. Click here for our full review.

Hilton Park Lane: London’s best dog friendly hotel

We recently stayed in one of the newly refurbished rooms at Hilton Park Lane. The hotel started an extensive renovation project in 2020 starting with the executive rooms in the higher floors as well as the lobby, Park Corner Brasserie, Reverie Bar and Grand Ballroom among other public spaces. The style of the refurb is modern and contemporary with playful touches of retro nostalgia.

The service is as you’d expect from any Hilton property. Friendly check-in and even a lovely handwritten note from reception greets you at the room. The rooms are dressed in an elegant, almost coastal chic, colour palette of nudes and blues, with massive windows that maximise the breath-taking views of Hyde Park and the London skyline. The rooms are generously sized and equipped with all the luxury amenities you can think of. Breakfast is served either at the Park Corner Brasserie of the Executive Lounge and we were thoroughly impressed with how the Hilton Park Lane caters to all sorts of dietary requirements too. We especially enjoyed the vegan Danishes on offer at the Executive Lounge.

Hilton Park Lane which celebrated its 60th anniversary in 2023, was once the highest hotel in Europe and now offers 454 bedrooms hosting around 20,000 guests per year. The next phase of the renovation will include Galvin at Windows and the 10 Degrees Bar, which will add to the already stellar offer in this historic hotel which is still (in our very humble opinion) reaching new heights and breaking boundaries to this day. Plus, it’s pet-friendly too. Click here for our full review.

Kimpton Fitzroy: London’s best dog friendly hotel

Undoubtedly one of London’s most luxurious addresses, everyone certainly knows about the Kimpton Fitzroy. But did you know that the hotel offers a whole menu of luxury pet pampering services too?

Kimpton Fitzroy teamed up with luxury dog-walking and day-care company The Hound Hut to offer VIP guests (very important pooches) a truly elevated hotel experience. With this, hotel guests can book royal pampering and dog walks around Bloomsbury straight with the hotel’s concierge team. The services include two to three hour walks and even day care services.

We love that there are no size, weight or breed restrictions for pets at the Kimpton Fitzroy – which goes to show how deep their pet-friendly policies go. Plus, TeamCocopup Charlie is allowed in many common areas including the lobby and Burr & Co. These incredible pet-friendly policies can be attributed to the hotel’s adorable Director of Pet Relations Winston, who (if you’re lucky) may be there to welcome you with a paw and tail wag.

We stayed in one of the elegant one bedroom suites, which boasted some incredible park views of Russell Square. The spacious suites feature a separate sitting area, a gorgeous four poster king-sized bed, a beautiful balcony and Nespresso machine and tea facilities. There is also a dog bed, dog bowls and treats for Charlie – which he absolutely adored. Click here for our full review.

Hart Shoreditch: London’s best dog friendly hotel

Part of Hilton’s Curio Collection, Hart Shoreditch London is quite literally in the beating heart of everything and anything in Shoreditch. During London Fashion Week, it was a stone’s throw away from all the major East London venues, it’s also just a quick stroll away from the bars and nightclubs of Shoreditch High Street, Old Street and Great Eastern Street.

Every room in Hart Shoreditch is dog-friendly – which is a bonus for us. We were originally booked into one of the Deluxe suites, but for an easy £40 for our two-night stay. The King Junior Suites are chic, cosy and come with an array of luxury amenities. Comfy bedding, stylish interiors, Norwegian toiletries and of course tea and coffee amenities too. Charlie was greeted with a doggy bowl and doggy bed, and a bag of treats – which he of course, appreciated.

In terms of dog-friendliness, TeamCocopup Charlie is allowed absolutely everywhere. He accompanied us during our meetings at the Mostrador Bar, treated himself to some steak offcuts during our dinner at the restaurant, enjoyed the fresh morning sunlight at breakfast and of course – made plenty of new friends all over the hotel lobby too. In fact, we were so impressed with our stay at Hart Shoreditch, that we did come back, just a week later, turning it into our base for London Fashion Week. For the price, quality, service and location – it is certainly East London’s best dog friendly hotel. Click here for our full review.

Want more dog friendly content? Check out our TeamCocopup approved guide here.

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!

From the latest new restaurant openings, Instagramable events, cult buys and limited edition ranges, Anji McGrandles shares her edit of what’s hot right now.

This Summer’s Hottest Alfresco Dining Ticket

Feast on Cloud 9 returns to The Grove this summer and is set to be as popular as it was last year. Landing within the picturesque grounds of the luxury Hertfordshire hotel from 25th May until 1st September, the immersive dining pop-up will take guests on a culinary journey from the comfort of a custom-made hot air balloon. 

Guests can choose between afternoon tea or a nine-course tasting menu with optional wine pairings.  There’s a children’s tasting menu available for those aged 12 and under, delivering a gastronomic adventure to the tiniest of tastebuds.  Book your balloon now before it sells out.

Thailand’s Top Retreat

Aleenta Resorts in Thailand renowned for wellbeing has launched a series of retreats designed to help guests discover the benefits of positive solitude. 

Guiding guests to harness the positive effects of this vital ‘me time’ Aleenta Resorts offers a selection of wellness retreats across its three locations in Chiang Mai,  Phuket-Phang Nga and Hua Hin-Pranburi that provide a safe space and the tools to help people find head space.

The experiences have been created by the brand’s Ayurah Wellness Centre and each offers their own take on positive solitude with experiences that mirror local traditions and their location. 

All retreats start from THB 17,000 per night based on single occupancy and include accommodation, daily classes, wellness cuisine or cleansing program, health diagnostics, and a complimentary daily spa treatment. Book your spot here.

The Adaptogenic Smart Skin-Care Range

Perricone MD’s Hypoallergenic Clean Correction Collection is a new revolutionary regime formulated with powerful, plant-derived adaptogens for age-defying, sensitive skincare without compromise. 

With Holy Basil, Peptides, Ceramide, and a ton of other smart ingredients the range soothes and alleviates irritated skin, and protects against environmental aggressors while firming and smoothing skin. Shop the range here.

Limited Edition Curuba Elderflower Red Bull

Red Bull Summer Edition, Curuba – Elderflower, Peach Tea Ball cocktail still life, UK on February 8, 2024

New for summer is Red Bull Curuba Elderflower, with hints of passion fruit and peaches, this is a lighter, refreshing alternative to the original. 

The carefully crafted combination is rounded off with the floral notes of fresh elderflower, resulting in a zesty explosion of flavours, available only for the summer from leading supermarkets. RRP £1.55

Travel in Style

Luxury luggage brand Antler has launched its new Icon collection. Featuring three distinct silhouettes: the Icon Stripe suitcase, the Soft Stripe suitcase, and Discovery backpack, the Icon collection is a must-have accessory for a stylish getaway.

From £245, the collection spans across large, medium and cabin suitcase styles, as well as offering luggage tags, straps and packing cubes to complete your perfect travel companion. 

The Summer’s Most coveted SPF

If you are a fan of their yummy-smelling sprays and body creams you are going to love the newly launched Sol de Janeiro suncream range. The Rio Radiance collection combines Brazilian botanicals and active ingredients such as niacinamide.  

The SPF 50 mineral body lotion is lightweight yet moisturising.  As you would imagine it smells delicious, we are big fans because it doesn’t leave a greasy film, or a white residue unlike most mineral sunscreens.  Stock up for summer as this is going to fly off the shelves.  RRP £40.

The Shroom Boom Continues

DIRTEA brought us their functional mushroom teas and we loved them.  Now the brand has created a collection of gummies that pack a punch.  Each serving contains up to ten times the amount of functional mushrooms in comparison to the industry average.

Choose from, Lion’s Mane, Chaga, Cordyceps and Tremella, and level up your energy, skin, focus and sleep.  Don’t just take our word for it, DIRTEA has amassed a legion of high-profile brand fans, including Idris Elba, Charlotte Tilbury, Benedict Cumberbatch, and Rita Ora.  RRP £29.99 for 30 servings or £99.99 as a boxset available from DIRTEA.

Whether you are looking for the latest wellness product, heading off to a retreat to reset or want to try the newest fitness studio, we’ve got you covered. Our Wellness Editor, Anji McGrandles shares the skinny on all the hottest wellbeing news.

Connect at The Yards

Connect at The Yards is the perfect event for those passionate about wellness, fitness, and enhancing their overall wellbeing.  

Taking place in the heart of Covent Garden on Sunday 7th July, attendees can enjoy unlimited access to a carefully curated program of wellness and fitness classes, talks and workshops, art exhibits, live music, and a wellness marketplace, spread across multiple venues within The Yards, from 9am until 6pm.    

Brands and partners bringing the event to life include; Lululemon, WeGLOW by Stef Williams, The Glow Space by Madeleine Shaw, Heartcore, Allbirds, Digme Fitness, JAB and Yogarise. Pineapple Dance Studios have curated a fantastic fitness program including Pilates, Yoga, Barre, HIIT, Boxing, Dance and Meditation.

Ticket holders can also enjoy exclusive discounts on lunch and dinner at select restaurants within The Yards, such as rooftop restaurant Ruccola at The Conduit, Gura Gura, Oriole, Le Bab, Fairshot Café, Lahpet and many more, and attendees will have the opportunity to take home a bumper wellbeing goodie bag. Tickets are on sale now and can be purchased here. House of Coco readers can get 20% off using the code HOUSEOFCOCO20 at the checkout.

Four Seasons Age-Old Wisdom for a Modern World

Four Seasons is dialling up its wellbeing offer with the launch of lots of fabulous retreats and programmes across 2024.  Here at House of Coco, we love the sound of their Mexican offer where you can learn the secrets of the traditional Temazcal or “house of heat” – at Four Seasons Resort Tamarindo, and Naviva, A Four Seasons Resort, Punta Mita

Led by a shaman, guests are guided through this ancient ritual that has been used for centuries since pre-Hispanic times in Mexico to cleanse the body of impurities and toxins and enhance one’s spiritual being through transformation.

Additional information on booking and the cost of the Temazcal experience can be found here.

Smart supplements

Get your essential vitamins and supplements in a quick, convenient way with Diso strips.  Simply pop a dissolvable strip on your tongue and all the essential nutrients go directly into the bloodstream rather than through the gut for faster more efficient absorption.

Packed into compact tins, Diso dissolvable range includes Collagen, Probiotics and Multi-vitamins.   can be popped out on the go whether you’re in the office or on a morning walk.

Delicious and nutritious, the full range can be purchased here.

Harness the Essence of Nordic Wellbeing

Those looking for some Scandi wellness will love BÄR, a haven for organic luxury skincare, body products, and home fragrances inspired by the breathtaking Nordic landscapes.

BÄR brings the magic of Scandinavia directly to your home through its online store. Carefully selecting and curating a range of like-minded female-founded brands, including MANASI7, RAAW ALCHEMY, DJUSIE, SEES COMPANY, AIVA, BODYOLOGIST and L:A BRUKET – BÄR takes you on a journey of wellness, as you discover the Nordic touch, and reconnect with the simple beauty of nature.

Shop the range here.  

Reset and Reconnect with your Soul in Santorini

Designed in partnership with mindful movement community, Sanctum and renowned wellbeing experts such as the world-leading acupuncturist Ross J. Barr, this retreat is a 3-day holistic transformative experience to push physical, mental and spiritual boundaries to release, heal and self-celebrate.   

Located in the stunning Andronis Concept Wellness Resort, expect activities that supercharge Western modern fitness methods with Eastern wellbeing practices such as breath work, Pilates, fire ceremonies, Kundalini yoga, primal fitness, acupuncture, astrology-themed somatic groundings and soundscapes.

From £4,765 (this includes 4 nights in a Finesse Suite, all activities, complimentary acupuncture, a Kosmos Box & all F&B meals). Full schedule is here. Book Here.

Unwind and Relax with Da Lapa

Da Lapa candles not only smell amazing, but they are made using only organic, vegan ingredients, ensuring that they not only exquisitely scented but are also kind to the planet.

From the natural coconut wax to the glass packaging, every component is carefully selected to minimise environmental impact while maximising the sensory delivery.  Our favourite is the Lemongrass range.

Shop the range here, prices start at £8.

There aren’t often moments where my breath is taken away. The rooftop of Mona in the centre of ever-evolving & exciting Athens, was one of them.

We entered the intimate and unassuming space and went straight up, noting the marvellous mid-century industrial features (the space used to be a working factory in the centre of the city), billowing linens, cool flooring and artworks. From the rooftop, we took in the Athenian urban scenery, the Acropolis and other sites that had remained in place for centuries, and washed down the sunset with hand-selected natural wines that were on offer at the bar. The rooftop is accessible for hotel guests and members and it features an inviting, communal long table of glass and metal, comfortable sofas, outdoor showers, a bar, and lush plants.

Neighbourhood

Mona is located in the vibrant neighbourhood of Psirri, full of charming contradictions. The delicious smells of mezze and the melodious sounds of live music fill the myriad of streets that surround the oasis which is Mona. The district is moments away from the Acropolis and ancient Agora, while contemporary art galleries, designer shops, gourmet restaurants and hip bars rub elbows with traditional artisan workshops and the buzzing Varvakios food market.

Delicious and dynamic food can however be found within the hotel; talented chefs from across the globe often pop up in the space for supper clubs, adding to the always-evolving nature of the hotel and concept. Mona also offers dynamic event spaces with a raw luxury vibe that fuels social gatherings, pop-ups, collaborations, film and video productions, pop-up supper clubs, private events, wedding celebrations and other milestones.

Rooms

Designed to make you feel at home and yet in a dream-like trance state, the rooms range from cosy to open-plan and urban (some with patios and balconies), to more loft apartment style with floating day-beds. All rooms are lit by vintage custom-made lighting and the natural, high-octane Athenian sunshine. Each of the twenty rooms reveals decades of history, each with its own personality and tone of voice. Many of the bespoke fixtures and objects found throughout the hotel are sustainably created or upcycled with materials that the Mona team first found upon starting the project.

When it was time to leave after a blissful night’s sleep, we looked back at our room and knew this would be the last time we would see it in this state. We knew that it’s personality would change – a new piece of local artwork would hang, a new perfect spot to drape the linens to separate the bathroom, a new chic fixture that caught the morning light just right. All of our senses had been activated, and we revelled in it.

House of Shila

Mona represents a new era for the concept-led city boutique hotel and is the second House of Shila site. The House of Shila philosophy is as follows:

The House of Shila creates boutique spaces and creative eco-systems with boundless imagination. We excel at uncovering unique properties and converting them into aesthetically gratifying vessels for transportive, sensory experiences that inspire intimacy.

We excel at uncovering unique properties and converting them into aesthetically gratifying vessels for transportive, sensory experiences that inspire intimacy.

The opening of Mona marks the continued commitment to the art of living. House of Shila believes simplicity is the ultimate sophistication and this is reflected in everything throughout. Every guest (including myself) wants to take a piece of the hotel’s essence back home. With that in mind, all items are available for purchase – from the furniture and organic cotton sheets, to the exotic plants and custom-knit carpets.

The House of Shila Members Club

In 2021, Shila introduced its first Social Club, via the hotel’s legendary Thursday night gatherings on the rooftop. Shila’s Social Club attracted a following of renowned artists, architects, entrepreneurs, fashion icons and passionate individuals in their own field. An interesting melange of locals, international newcomers, and curious hotel guests that became fanatics of the residence’s understated luxury, entertainment and privacy.

The House of Shila membership has now expanded to Mona, offering the opportunity for both discretion and mingling within both the 1920s townhouse and its urban downtown sister venue. Aesthetic sociability, deep seated passion, real interpersonal connections and creative communality are at the core of Mona, and members there have exclusive access to all its spaces, including the rooftop restaurant & bar.

Members can also enjoy discounts for stays, as well as for any purchases of the art and design objects in the space. Memberships are currently granted by invitation only and applications are accepted here.

How to book

mona-athens.com I Mona, Kakourgodikiou 4, Psirri

One city that will amaze you with its beauty is Toronto, located along the shores of Lake Ontario. It boasts stunning skyline views and a cityscape ideal for photography sessions. The combination of miracles of modern construction, picturesque nature, and active social life makes for diverse photographic material. A yacht boat is one of the most novel and enchanting methods used to document Toronto’s richness.

For the full-scale photographer or a simple lover of photography, shooting photos from a yacht is always a challenge and an opportunity. This guide will offer simple and helpful tips on taking amazing pictures on a Toronto yacht to make your nautical trip unforgettable. These tips will also come in handy to anyone on the hunt for Romantic yacht escapes in Toronto to create memorable moments on the water.

The Magic of Light

Lighting is one of the essential aspects of photography, and when working on a yacht, you can experiment with natural light together with water and sky. To capture the best photos, consider the following lighting tips:

Golden Hour Magic: It must be noted that the best time for taking photos is during the golden hour, which is in the early morning just before the sun rises and in the evening when the sun sets. The light during this time is relatively soft and warm, making it even more suitable for great shots that look magical. This is good news for those planning a yacht trip, as they can view Toronto at its best during these times.

Avoid Harsh Midday Sun: It is usually hot, and the sun shines at midday, making some shades seem rather undesirable. If you have to shoot during this time, you are advised to use diffusers or reflectors to increase the softness of the light. Instead, try to aim at a backlighting shot, such as where the light is behind the object of interest, to give it a black contour against a lighter background.

Composing Your Shots

This is in line with the fact that composition is pivotal to developing aesthetic images. One thing you get from a yacht is angles that can be applied when the occasion arises.

Rule of Thirds: Use an imaginary line that divides the picture area into nine equal squares to accomplish balanced and exciting pictures. For instance, consider that your complete frame is divided into nine equal segments by two lines on the horizontal and the vertical plane, respectively. Position your subject in this regard or at these cross-over points for a more progressive picture. This technique can be handy when shooting the Toronto skyline, where the horizon should be positioned in the lower third of the image.

Leading Lines: When it comes to the yacht, use the lines on the object and in the image, such as the railing, ropes, or the outer edge of the deck, to guide the viewer’s eyes throughout the image. These lines must run towards a certain part of the picture so that they give an illusion of perspective and guide the eye to focus on a particular part of the picture.

Framing: These are frames found within the scene and are effective in contributing to the depth of the photograph. Try to find elements of the yacht to frame the subject, such as the windows or doors or even the branches or structure of the yacht.

Capturing Movement

An essential aspect of shooting on a boat is movement, which is difficult to avoid when sailing on the ocean. Here are some tips to handle movement and still capture sharp images:

Stabilize Your Camera: To minimize image movement, use a tripod or a monopod for the camera. If you do not have one, lean your body against a firm part of the yacht, for instance, the bar or the mast, to reduce camera blurriness caused by body movements.

Fast Shutter Speed: Use a fast shutter speed to capture moments in time. This is especially true in a scenario that requires you to shoot another boat, waves, or any moving wildlife in the area. For better results, use a shutter speed of 1/500 and above to ensure the images are sharp and clear.

Burst Mode: Originally, burst mode was implemented to capture as many pictures as possible in a short amount of time. This enhances the likelihood of getting exactly the right moment, particularly when it comes to movement on water, which is at times erratic.

Highlighting Toronto’s Iconic Sights

The city has many famous sites that provide stunning views of the water bodies of Toronto. Make sure to include these landmarks in your yacht photography:

CN Tower: If there is one structure that stands out in this city, that is the CN Tower, and it would be a great shot to have this as the subject in your photos. Take images from different views and positions, aiming to showcase the grand architecture of the tower from close up and far.

Toronto Islands: The Toronto Islands are a great sightseeing opportunity for a quiet escape from the concrete jungle as they are located near the city center. Have the islands be captured for the perfect backdrop of the city’s skyline in contrast to the natural environment.

Harbourfront: The lively postindustrial Harbourfront district, with its unusual architecture, parks, and art spaces, offers many photographic opportunities. It is an exciting prospect to feel the pulse of this area while on your yacht.

Conclusion

Shooting Toronto from a yacht means feeling like a real photographer and having a unique city view. When you are aware of the features of lighting, arrangements, and motion, it is possible to capture impressive images that reveal the beauty of Toronto. Suppose you want your photographs to depict the gentleness of a sunset on the boat or the energetic pulse of a seaport. In that case, these tips will undoubtedly assist you in making the most of your nautical photo-shooting session. Thus, grab your camera and take a boat ride to capture amazing city shots from the water.

Italy has long been a favorite destination for travelers, with cities like Rome, Florence, and Venice drawing huge numbers of visitors every year. However, there’s a wealth of hidden gems waiting to be discovered elsewhere in the country.

Exploring these lesser-known destinations can offer unique experiences and a more immersive experience. But where can you find the country’s best-kept secrets? Well, we’ve pulled together a few of them to help you!

Matera: The city of caves

Located in the southern region of Basilicata, Matera is renowned for its ancient cave dwellings known as “Sassi”. These unique structures are carved into limestone and offer a glimpse into a bygone era. The Sassi di Matera is a UNESCO World Heritage site featuring an intricate network of caves, churches, and monasteries. You can also stay in a cave hotel for a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

Once you’re done exploring underground, you’ll still be able to enjoy the amenities of a modern town. It’s the perfect blend of past and present.

Sardinia: Unspoiled beaches and rugged landscapes

Sardinia is the second-largest island in the Mediterranean and is home to glorious beaches and imposing mountains. The crystal-clear waters and secluded coves of the Costa Smeralda are a major attraction. Additionally, the ancient nuraghe (stone towers) and impressive archaeological sites provide fascinating insights into the past.

You can enjoy water sports like snorkeling and diving, sample some traditional Sardinian food, or tackle the trails of Gennargentu National Park for an unforgettable and secluded hiking holiday in Italy.

Bologna: A culinary haven

Bologna is a lively city in the Emilia-Romagna region known for its rich culinary heritage and well-preserved medieval architecture. Stroll through the historic Piazza Maggiore, visit the Due Torri, and explore the University of Bologna ­– one of the oldest education institutions in the world.

The city’s food scene is legendary and includes delicacies such as tortellini, mortadella, and ragù alla bolognese. This means that a food tour is a must, and traditional markets like Mercato di Mezzo offer an authentic taste of the region’s cuisine.

Puglia: The heel of Italy

Enjoy a delightful mix of picturesque coastal towns, whitewashed villages, and ancient olive groves on a trip to Puglia.

The Gargano National Park’s dramatic cliffs and forested landscapes make it a must-visit, while the trulli of Alberobello is an incredible example of ancient building practices. You can even stay in a traditional trullo house as you indulge in the area’s famous olive oil and wine. If that’s not enough, the pristine beaches provide a perfect escape.

Umbria: The Green Heart of Italy

The landlocked region of Umbria is home to the charming town of Assisi, which was the birthplace of St. Francis. Meander through the medieval streets of Perugia before relaxing on the shores of Lake Trasimeno or head further afield and connect with nature at the breathtaking waterfalls of Marmore. You can even go hunting for truffles between tours of the phenomenal local vineyards.