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Lihim Resorts – A unique tropical getaway located in El Nido, Palawan

Lihim Resorts is situated within a pristine forest and can be described as a secret hideaway. From the outside you can barely make out that it is a 28-hectare resort, as the villas are tucked away into the natural lush greenery.

Lihim is reached by a short five-minute boat trip from El Nido Port and has breathtaking views of Bacuit Bay.

Upon arrival, I was greeted by the entire Lihim team including my personal butlers, Emman and Jessica. I instantly felt at home and was offered a fruity local welcome drink and a cold towel. My butler assisted me to my villa which had stunning views of Bacuit Bay. Lihim offers a convenient express check in service, allowing guests to proceed straight to their villas instead of having to wait in the reception area. Instead of a room key, I was given a wristband which electronically opens the door. This small innovation removes the stress of having to worry about a room key/card for the duration of your stay.

The room was perfect. The high ceiling made the room feel extremely spacious. There were sliding doors on either side of the king-sized bed leading out onto the terrace. This allowed for a lot of natural light to come into the room as well as spectacular ocean views whilst lying in bed. The bathroom was huge and boasted a view of the ocean. It had a freestanding bathtub in the middle as well as an indoor and outdoor shower.

The rooms at Lihim Resorts are all villas and each villa includes a personal butler. The villas are named after the islands in El Nido. Many of the villas are perched high up in the forest and can be reached by the funicular or the buggy. The funicular is a unique feature that is much like a cable car and makes every villa easily accessible without having to climb numerous flights of stairs.

After a full day of island hopping, I returned to my villa and the staff had run a bubble bath for me with a bottle of wine next to the bath. It was such a special surprise. The butlers really go above and beyond their duties for their guests and help create lasting memories.

What makes the Lihim experience truly special is the butler service they offer, which is a designated staff member who looks after your every need. The butlers are reachable via instant message and are available 24/7. The butler service really makes your stay so relaxing and carefree. They prepare an itinerary for you before arrival and ensure all your allergies and preferences are noted. This itinerary can be changed throughout your stay.

A truly memorable touch was the personalized bamboo water bottle given to me by Lihim which had my name engraved on it. This was such a unique gift, one that I can take with me wherever I go, and it will always remind me of my stay.

Secluded and intimate are two words that best describe this resort. You really feel in touch with nature. The resort has multiple viewing points and nature walks around the property. Wherever you go, there is natural beauty surrounding you, whether it be the sights, sounds, or smells.

The housekeeping was impeccable, as soon as I left the room, a staff member was in to clean. Whenever I entered the room, it was tidy and re-stocked.

Lihim Resorts have the luxury of three secluded and scenic spots on Cadlao island. These spots include private beaches and a private lounge nestled in the Cadlao lagoon. The lounge is reached by a short, picturesque boat ride and is the perfect day activity. Cadlao lagoon has the clearest water and age-old limestone cliffs which makes for a spectacular setting.

Lihim offers day trips to the lagoon which includes a delectable Filipino style lunch and a knowledgeable tour guide who, incidentally, is also a great photographer. There are multiple activities available at the lagoon, such as kayaking, snorkeling, and stand-up paddling.

Gana is Lihim’s main restaurant and offers a culinary adventure with fresh ingredients from Lihim’s very own farm. All meals served at Gana are a la carte, including breakfast. Alternatively, you can have your meal served in the comfort of your own villa. My butler set up the outside table at my villa with a delicious breakfast spread. The view of the ocean and sounds of the birds made the breakfast experience even more extraordinary.

Lihim offers exclusive private dinners in multiple beautiful and secluded spots around the resort. These dinners will be offered to you by your butler in a set menu format which can be tailored to suit your specific wants and needs. I opted for a candlelit dinner next to the pool, affording me uninterrupted views of the ocean. It was the most fairytale-like, romantic evening under the stars.

There are numerous lounges spread throughout the property, each has its own striking view and atmosphere. Each lounge’s ambience is created through the rare ornaments, statues, and art pieces collected by the owner from various trips around the world. One can spend hours exploring the grounds.  

A hidden gem on the Lihim property is ‘The Cellar’. A small room that houses their collection of fine wines and luxury cigars. The Cellar is also a romantic and intimate dinner location. Not to mention the resort has its own exclusive collaboration with Moët & Chandon.

The resort boasts a tennis court as well as a basketball court with a stunning backdrop. The tennis court coincidentally is the only one in El Nido. The resort also has a fully equipped gym, perfect for the traveler wanting to maintain their exercise routine. In the resorts efforts to cater for all your needs, they can bring certain gym equipment to your villa for you to complete a home workout if you wish. These include the ergo (rowing) machine, watt bike, and freestanding weights.

The swimming pool is the perfect sunset location. Relax in the pool with a cocktail in hand, watching the picture perfect El Nido sunset. The sunsets are like something you only see on postcards.

The resorts’ Panari Spa, which appropriately means ‘rest’, has one of the most diverse and extensive treatment selections on offer. Not only does the spa offer massage and beauty treatments, but they also offer widespread health and wellness treatments. These include IV drips, hangover cures, immune boosters, and a whole lot more. The spa itself includes a couples treatment room and male and female changing areas, each with their own saunas. The spa is situated in a serene space amongst the resort’s grounds, and leaves you at peace. I opted for their signature massage which is a must-do while at Lihim.

I completely understand why it is called Lihim because it is the ‘secret’ paradise of El Nido. Their slogan is ‘Luxury in Simplicity’, and it is so fitting.

I would like to mention the staff members who took care of me. Firstly, my personal butlers Jessica and Emman; then, in the restaurant, Angel; the general managers Armand and Jen; and lastly, Sed, Toto, and Arnold. Thank you for making my stay so unforgettable.

Excellent hospitality and top-notch service guarantees an extraordinary holiday experience. For a luxurious relaxing getaway surrounded by nature, Lihim Resorts is the perfect destination.

Reviewed by World Luxury Awards representative, Kayla Lourens

To book your stay at Lihim Resorts, visit their website: www.lihim.com

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Cauayan Island Resort – Picturesque “laid back luxury” private island resort in El Nido, Palawan

I had the pleasure of staying at Cauayan Island Resort for two nights and what a magical two nights it was. The resort is breathtaking in every aspect; it is the perfect island holiday destination. You cannot really put my stay into words as it truly was one of the best places I have ever been to.

After a scenic 20-minute boat ride from the El Nido Port, I arrived at the most beautiful setting – a private cove nestled in between towering limestone cliffs with over-water villas, white sand, lush palm trees and the most vibrant blue water that I have laid my eyes on.

What an idyllic setting, it is rare to find so much beauty in one place.

I received one of the warmest greetings from the staff when I arrived at the resort. This continued throughout my stay as every staff member greeted me by name. This was a small gesture but a very touching one, as it made me feel at ease wherever I went on the island.

I checked in to one of their water villas which overlooked the cove. The views of the cove being immersed by the limestone cliffs as you sit on the edge of the bed, could pass as one of the 7 wonders of the world. The villa itself offered me privacy which made me feel as though I was the only person on the island. All rooms on the island are villas that each have their own unique feel and features. These include beach villas, lagoon villas, as well as sunrise and sunset villas with their own private pools.

The water villa offers two loungers on the deck which was without a doubt the highlight of the room; allowing me to relax outside and listen to the sounds of the ocean. Included on the deck floor is a glass panel, so you can admire the sea creatures below. The sliding doors leading out onto the deck, as well as the window beside the bed, are tinted, allowing guests comfort and privacy in their own villa.

There was a large tub in the bathroom, that included a rain shower. It is not your typical shower bath. There is also an outdoor shower which is accessible from the bathroom as well as the main entrance, allowing you to rinse off before entering your villa. The amenities in the bathroom were all from L’Occitane, another small touch that really amplifies the luxury of the resort.  

I had one of the best nights’ sleep in the extra king bed. The sounds of the ocean beneath evoking a sense of calm. The cabinet at the base of the bed has a television that can be brought up through remote control if you want to watch one of your favorite Netflix shows, or you can leave it down and admire the view of the cove.

One of the main features of the resort is the infinity pool. It encapsulates everything a resort pool should be. It has unobstructed views of the ocean and is a stone’s throw away from the beach.

The resort offers complimentary water sports and activities. All motorized water sports are unauthorized due to El Nido islands’ regulations. The activities on offer include, snorkeling, kayaking, and stand-up paddle boarding. I opted to go snorkeling in the cove. This presented me with a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to swim with the numerous baby sharks that are residents of the cove (they are ‘vegetarian’ as the guide put it, and not harmful in any way). All the gear is provided free-of-charge, including swimming shoes to protect you from the sea urchins and coral reefs.

The resort offers numerous activities on the island. These include sunrise and sunset hikes, yoga, volleyball, board games, and many more. I opted to do both hikes. The sunrise hike is a challenging one that includes rock climbing. It is worth it for one of the most breathtaking sunrises over the El Nido mainland, as well as memorable views of the Cauayan Island Resort. The guides are fantastic, you are provided with a helmet with a light as well as gloves for the sharp limestone cliffs you must climb. There are ropes all the way along the path for you to hold onto to make the climb easier, and to feel safe all the way. The sunset hike is on the opposite side of the island and is a lot less strenuous. It is a lot quicker and can be done in open shoes. It also delivered spectacular views and the perfect way to unwind before dinner.

In addition to the island-based activities the resort also offers full and half-day island hopping tours, as well as a sunset cruise. These tours can either be done on their speedboat or on the local group boat. There are numerous different packages on offer, all allowing you to take in the incredible different islands in and around El Nido.

I chose to do the half-day island hopping tour with the resort’s private speedboat, which was a fantastic experience. We visited some of the most picturesque lagoons and snorkeling spots, some of which have been featured in world-renowned films. The tour guide, Alan, was so friendly and gave me all the information regarding the sights and assisted me with all of the equipment.

The resort has one main dining area, which is located right next to the swimming pool, looking out over the cove. The tables are well positioned, allowing you to get the best view of the beach, as well as a real tropical feel from the surrounding palm trees. They offer a full buffet breakfast, with the option to order from the kitchen. My favourite was the eggs benedict, which I ordered every morning together with an orange juice. The orange juice was freshly squeezed, and the staff ensured that your glass was always full.

Lunch and dinner are served à la carte. You will not be short on variety as the menu is extensive. It includes over 100 different dishes bringing together flavours from all over the world. The portion sizes are generous, so you will not leave feeling hungry or short-changed. Lunch around the pool was relaxed. I had a fresh coconut which is the perfect hydrating drink on holiday. The dinner ambience was complimented by the pool lighting and ocean sounds. Fresh seafood is also available every evening, displaying the catch of the day that you can choose from. My favourite was the mango meringue roll for dessert, which was freshly made by their talented pastry chef.

On top of the à la carte menu there is also a bar menu that includes bar snacks as well as sandwiches, burgers, and wraps. Not to mention the numerous cocktails, wines, spirits, and beer on offer that any bar around the world would envy. This menu is also available at lunch and dinner, you can relax on one of the pool loungers, or sit in the bar located across the swimming pool from the main dining area, and order from there. It really is the ideal dining setup: informal and relaxed, the perfect combination for a holidaymaker seeking to unwind.

The spa treatment room was one-of-a-kind. Each treatment room is tranquil and private. Each massage table includes a glass panel beneath it, allowing you to spot your favorite fish or take in the resident baby sharks. If you really want to get into a sense of Zen, there is no better feeling than doing it to the calming sound of the ocean. I opted for the signature massage. It did not disappoint, the pressure from the therapist was perfect and the setting could not have been better. I can honestly say it was one of the best massages I have ever experienced, and 90 minutes that I wish had never ended. To bring me back to reality, I was given a homemade ginger tea whilst sitting out on the deck overlooking the cove and El Nido mainland.

The resort has a romantic ambience and is a place you can call ‘a home away from home’. They offer honeymoon and special occasion packages which makes it the perfect romantic destination. They have private dinner locations and, of course, top-class service and hospitality. I would rate this property as one of the best honeymoon destinations in the world.

There were so many small touches that contributed to making my stay so perfect, many of which I cannot explain as it has to be experienced personally.

Everyone I encountered made me feel so well taken care of, especially Jolery and Kath who looked after me in the restaurant, Jen and the front office team, and Alan the tour guide. I had the pleasure of meeting the owners of Cauayan and what a lovely couple, so down to earth and they look after their staff well.

Cauayan Island Resort really is a paradise of tranquility and a haven of comfort. Their slogan is “the art of laid back luxury” and that is exactly what you will experience.

The photos online do not do this resort justice. There are also small details and personal touches that really elevate your stay that you won’t get from their advertising or website. The staff really focus on giving you a personalized experience and creating lasting memories. I cannot sum up my stay any better than to say the resort is truly out of this world and the most beautiful place I have ever stayed at.

Reviewed by World Luxury Awards representative, Kayla Lourens

To book your stay at Cauayan Island Resort, visit their website: cauayanresort.com

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Perfect oasis in the hustle and bustle of Johannesburg.

We had the pleasure of staying at Hyde Park Guest House on a recent short visit to Johannesburg.

As a family of four, with 2 young children, it was ideal for us since we were able to have adjoining rooms which gave us plenty of privacy and space. 

We were offered the choice of a cooked breakfast, made to order, there was also a full breakfast buffet with a variety of items to choose from.

Thank you, Elfreda, for a lovely stay. The hospitality from the friendly staff was wonderful, the accommodation was very comfortable and the breakfast was delicious.

Reviewed by World Luxury Awards representative, Adele Hamman.

To book your stay at Hyde Park Guest House visit their website: www.hydeparkguesthouse.co.za

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Hilton London Bankside – A luxury modern hotel in London City Centre.

We recently had the privilege of staying at Hilton London Bankside for three nights in a king deluxe room.

The ambience of the hotel is warm and welcoming. We were delighted to enter our room and find a complimentary drink accompanied by delectable macaroons – my sweet tooth is still dreaming of them.

We immediately felt at home, especially since the bed was extremely comfortable and plush, we had such a good night’s sleep. The bathroom was every inch of modern perfection, with interesting colours and lighting to help one relax after a day of exploring the extensive sights of London.

We were also fortunate to have access to the Executive Lounge which was very organized and had amazing food and drinks available. With their super-fast Wi-Fi this was a great place to catch up on some work.

Hilton London Bankside has a perfect location in London with many cultural and historical sites within walking distance. The Concierge surprised us with his tips on how best to navigate the area, as well as assistance in finding some interesting nearby attractions.

With a fitness centre and beautiful indoor pool, this modern contemporary hotel has everything to offer. Our time at Hilton London Bankside was such perfection, we can only say that we highly recommend you choose this hotel for all round comfort and good memories from start to finish.

Reviewed by World Luxury Awards Representative, Shannon Langeveldt.

Book a stay at Hilton London Bankside: www.hilton.com/en/hotels/lonsbhi-hilton-london-bankside

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Pan Pacific London – a modern urban retreat in the heart of the City of London.

When in London we had the pleasure of spending a night at Pan Pacific London. We arrived to immediately feel embraced by the ambience and were impressed with the décor which was matched by the friendly and attentive staff who welcomed us.

My partner and I enjoyed the comfort of a beautiful en-suite deluxe room with a stunning view of the city. The room was super-modern with all the amenities at hand to make one feel at home. 

We chose to dine at the in-house restaurant, Straits Kitchen, which proved to be an experience we will never forget. The restaurant serves South East Asian food with dishes from Singapore. Our favourite was the variety of small plates, which included spring rolls, prawns and vegetables, to top it all off, we indulged in the Mandarin dessert which was absolutely delicious. 

My partner and I are both very keen on keeping up with our gym routines when travelling and this was undoubtedly the best gym I have ever seen in a hotel. The gym is fully equipped with the latest technologies and is clean and organized. We also took the opportunity to have an afternoon dip in the pool at the spa, it was extremely relaxing and the setting was amazing with an incredible view of the city. 

We will definitely return to Pan Pacific London on our next visit to London.

Reviewed by World Luxury Awards Representative, Shannon Langeveldt

Book a stay at Pan Pacific London: www.panpacific.com/en/booking/search.html?propertyCode=pplon

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Hotel Skt. Annæ – the perfect hotel for a stay in Copenhagen…

Arriving at Hotel Skt. Annæ in Copenhagen I was immediately impressed by the beautiful exterior with large flower pots on either side of the entrance, historic buildings in the surrounding area and the close proximity to the city centre. We were within walking distance to a variety of restaurants and most importantly Strøget; the longest pedestrian shopping street in Europe at 1.1 km. We arrived a little early for check in and the front desk staff were happy to keep our luggage in storage while we went to explore the city.

Hotel Skt. Annæ boasts a beautiful open area which immediately catches your attention. Featuring a large wooden table in the centre, with beautiful chandeliers hanging above and plants all around the room it really is a special space and feels like the heart of the hotel. There is also writing on the wall explaining Hotel Skt. Annæ’s history and other interesting facts about the property.

Once we got back from an afternoon of exploring the charming city of Copenhagen, we were able to go to our rooms. Our room was modern and beautifully decorated with a painting by the famous Danish painter Vilhelm Hammershøi. His artwork can be seen throughout the hotel and really stood out to me.  Besides this the furnishings in Hotel Skt. Annæ are largely from Danish Designers.

Our room also had a beautiful view over the street outside, a sizeable and comfortable bed, desk area and a beautiful bathroom with gold bronze taps and shower heads. The design in the bathroom really stood out to me.

After a great night’s sleep, we headed down for breakfast and wow, Hotel Skt. Annæ seriously shines here. There are 3 parts to the breakfast area, first the Breakfast Restaurant Area, then the kitchen area where the buffet is placed and lastly an indoor courtyard area where more seating is available with a beautiful tree in the centre. This area is also buzzing at night, and a great spot for a glass of wine with friends.

I absolutely loved the fact that the buffet area was basically in the kitchen and while you were dishing up your morning scrambled eggs you could see the chef on the other side preparing meals. Very unique and a great touch. The food selection at breakfast was incredible with everything from Bacon and eggs to Cheesecake and Nutella Croissants.

The lounge area in Hotel Skt. Annæ is also a great area to grab a quick coffee, meet with friends or simply relax with a glass of wine. Keeping in theme with the hotel décor, the space is modern and contemporary with a beautiful fireplace as a centrepiece. There is even a Hotel Skt. Annæ magazine on the table where you can read all about the hotel, get to know each staff member and great tips on what to explore and must see’s  in Copenhagen. I loved this personal touch.

The staff at Hotel Skt. Annæ are incredibly friendly and helpful and you immediately feel comfortable and at home. On our last day we had a late flight back home and at the last minute requested a late check-out. The staff were quick to accommodate us at such short notice and this really made our last day in Copenhagen enjoyable. Just before leaving for the airport we were able to freshen up for the long journey ahead.

All in all, our stay at Hotel Skt. Annæ was an all-round wonderful experience from start to finish. The Hotel is the perfect blend of luxury and comfort with modern design. Add in amazing staff, great food with a warm atmosphere and you have yourself a winner!  Hotel Skt. Annæ is definitely the hotel to stay at when visiting Copenhagen.

Reviewed by Executive Manager of The World Luxury Awards: Ms. Tanique Echardt

To book a stay at this remarkable hotel follow the link: www.hotelsktannae.dk

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The Mulia – Nusa Dua, Bali – A blissful island escape …

My Husband and i recently had the privilege to visit The Mulia Resort in Bail. It was one of the most luxurious experiences we have ever had and we were thoroughly impressed with the attention to detail – the resort itself was immaculately kept, the staff always friendly, helpful and available, the food was exquisite and we will forever treasure the memories of our stay.

We arrived at the Mulia after a long wait and treacherous journey from the Gili Islands followed by a long drive from Padang Bay – typical traffic jams along the way. My husband kept in contact with the hotel to notify the delay in arrival and they were understanding and helpful in on the telephone. We arrived after dark and were immediately welcomed by a staff member who collected our luggage and provided us with a receipt which immediately came as a wonderful relief. Upon check in, due to multiple staff members being available to help us, we did not have to wait and were welcomed with a hot towel and cool water which helped to further remove the sweat and stress of the day. We were greeted and accompanied to our room by another staff member – which helped greatly, as the scale of the resort can be quite alarming initially – but she explained to us quickly which floors we would be wanting to use for whatever activity we wished to pursue, for example eating out or outdoor activities. She also explained vouchers that were issued to us which entitled us to discount on lunch or a few welcome drinks. Even with the sun down already, the aesthetic of the architectural design –with its clean and linear lines, juxtapositioned with the delicate floral lighting and glass fixtures and mosaic work in the water features were breath taking, and we were looking forward to a chance to review and appreciate the details of the interior design in the day time.

Refreshing Welcome Drink.

We stayed in a room with a king-sized bed, facing the courtyard, number 2857 to be specific. The room was extremely spacious, with small details that made it both comfortable and practical, for example the recliner in the corner, the presence of a desk and chair as well as a discreet blind that could either open the bathroom up to be visible from the bedroom or have the extra privacy if needed. There was ample cupboard space to unpack everything if needed to get rid of that “living out of the suitcase” feeling and the balcony had two upmarket but comfortable single seaters with a small coffee table, ideal for early morning coffees or evening sunset gazing.

The bed was absolutely perfect – the size, the mattress, the bedding, the linen – it was one of the most lavish spoils we have ever experienced. The fact that the bathroom consisted of both a shower and a bath – both spacious and elegant, made for a room truly catering for whatever preference guests could have. The high-end technology accompanying the toilet was also a first for us to experience and made for a more pleasant bathroom experience. Lastly small touches were made for guests, such as issuing of soft and lush dressing gowns, flip flops, bathroom accessories, lotions, soaps and shampoos as well as two beautiful carrier bags that could be used while staying at the resort. With my recent birthday just having passed, a piece of beautiful confectionary and a birthday card made me feel really special and spoiled on top of all the luxury and extravagance.

We had complimentary breakfast at The Café every morning and was astounded with the vast selection that was on offer – all cultures, tastes and preferences were accounted for, with ample quantities provided – and due to the layout of multiple stations, one rarely had to queue for food – and if needed, never lasting longer than a minute or two. The quality of the food was fantastic and the staff were courteous and friendly, eager to help with whatever request or inquiry we had. We also had dinner at The Café, where we were given the opportunity to order off the a la carte menu or from the buffet.

We also took the opportunity to order some room service while staying at the Mulia, and was impressed with the selection, efficiency of service and taste and presentation of the food. The fact that the option was there to set up a table for you in the room also made it a more comfortable experience.

We were thoroughly impressed with all of the staff that we came into contact with. We were impressed with the effort that they went through to ensure our every need was met in an unobtrusive but kind way. All of the staff members were fluent in English, which is not a small thing, considering our experiences in other areas of Bali. The housekeeping services were quick to notice when extra items in the room were needed and on one occasion even ensured that my valuables were locked away safely when I had forgotten to do so upon leaving for breakfast. Daily fresh fruit and complimentary water were given which was definitely a plus and there were clear notes left re: communication of washing of towels and bedding – we appreciated that an effort was made to not wash bedding every day to save some water and try to decrease our carbon footprint, but that you could also request to do so if there was a specific reason you might need this daily service.

It was truly inspirational to see what effort the staff put in to maintain the pristine premises of the Mulia. Staff members were seen raking loose sea grass from the ocean, sifting coarser pebbles from the beach sand and washing some gravel like stones in a decorative landscaped area. It is clear that only with the level of dedication and detail orientated focus, one is able to ensure the perfection and elegance that we found at the Mulia.

My husband and I spent some time at both the courtyard and seaside pools on the two days we spent at the Mulia. It was a lovely touch that fresh swimming towels were provided at the different swimming areas, meaning that we would not have to carry towels to and from the rooms and that towels that were used would be washed and or cleaned without you having to take responsibility for any of this. The deck chairs were fantastic – as comfortable as a day bed and long enough for my husband who usually ends up being too tall for these kinds of chairs.

I greatly appreciated that there was a traditional Balinese temple on the premises of the Mulia. I was so happy to have a look at the beauty one finds in the immensely detailed stone carving, rich history and fascinating stories one finds in such temples.

Temple on the Mulia grounds.

Our stay at the Mulia was an absolutely unforgettable experience and one that we are bound to remember for a long time.  It is not surprising to see how well The Mulia is performing in international awards arena, and the excellence in service, presentation and luxurious details from beginning to end will definitely ensure that we will be recommending The Mulia as a place to stay when visiting Nusa Dua, Bali.

Reviewed by World Luxury Hotel Awards Representatives.

To book a stay at this beautiful Resort follow the link: www.themulia.com/mulia-bal

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Mandarin Oriental Bodrum – home away from home!

Mandarin Oriental Bodrum was home away from home! This massive 60-hectare resort with 2 kilometres of private coastline is located in Cennet Koyu, appropriately translated as Paradise Bay. The sheer size of this resort is a proclamation that space itself is a luxury. Arrival was unlike any other – a ceremonial and warm greeting awaited us at the beautiful entrance courts which invite one inside to discover for yourself what lies beyond – and what a sight it was! The magnificent terrace with iconic tub chairs had a view that was breath-taking and it almost felt like one could observe the whole of the Aegean – ‘land of the eternal blue’.

There are over 130 accommodation options in 33 different categories to choose from, including hotel rooms, suites, villas and apartments. Of note is the resort’s 5 new green marble family villas at the secluded Olive Garden Beach. These villas range in size from 3-bedroom to an enormous 7-bedroom option and include a dining room, lounge, kitchen and private terrace with pool to make for the perfect family luxury experience.

Our dedicated butler, the lovely Ksenia who was both professional and very friendly, escorted us to our Sea View Suite complete with private pool. We were delighted with the lavish welcome gifts that awaited us – an abundance of handmade confectionary, fresh fruits, champagne and edible platter with golden fan beautifully fashioned entirely out of chocolate! The suite was very spacious with a reception area, large walk-in closet, lounge, shower (convertible to steam room), two toilets and huge open bathroom area with sunroof which could be opened and closed at the push of a button. The modern wooden interior had several moving walls that allowed us to create and compartmentalise the space as we wished. The bedroom was conveniently situated in the centre of the suite with access to the patio, bathroom and reception area. The lounge and bedroom each had a Bang & Olufsen Beovision TV, automated blinds, and an array of lighting features. Our private outdoor area was spacious as well, with a beautiful swimming pool clad in green marble, sun loungers and outdoor set. The cleverly designed valet box, which is simultaneously accessible from within and outside the suite, optimises privacy by allowing for the daily newspaper and other services to continue uninterrupted without the interaction of staff. The grand turndown service surprised us with something special every night, from a gold eye mask to an invigorating salt scrub. All of the above made for an experience of ultimate luxury!

An incredible welcome.

Being the Group’s first resort in Europe, this stylishly designed haven certainly set the bar very high. The architecture and interior design are masterfully done by Antonio Citterio Patricia Viel and Co. who in partnership with landscape architects Scape Design have more than succeeded in creating a resort that has been seamlessly merged with the natural habitat. The stepped layout of the resort perfectly complements the natural terraces and combined with the several eco-friendly planted roofs create the illusion of isolation amidst the thick, lush forest. MO Bodrum is very much concerned with the environmental impact and sustainability and boasts using desalinated and recycled water for irrigation and solar-panels in some parts of the resort. They have furthermore maintained much of the natural indigenous flora, including many very old olive trees that create a sense of time as if the resort has been imbedded in the ancient bedrock.

The modern design of the buildings incorporate local materials with natural elements of stone, marble and wood and the interiors are reminiscent of the oriental. The superb suspended staircase in the main building is a stunning feature and grand match of design and engineering. The descent to the spa-level reveals even greater interior beauty, with opulent floral wall pieces and a unique light feature that reminds of poppyseed pods bursting open.

The MO Bodrum Spa & Wellness offers an array of massage treatments from only the best of masseuses, Hamam, Fitness centre, Yoga, Pilates and indoor and outdoor pools. The spa overlooks a green valley and has a tranquil Spa garden. The indoor pool looks out into the woods, creating a sense of being at one with nature.

MO Bodrum also hosts a number of exclusive luxury retail stores, from the one-of-a-kind jewellery pieces by Cevan Biçakçi to one of only three Chanel stores in the world exclusively located in a resort. For those interested in something a bit more physically engaging, the resort offers a range of sports and watersports, from tennis and jogging trails to flyboard and scuba diving. Yacht excursions can also be arranged.

The resort has stunning sandy beaches as well as a wonderful pool area with three-tiered swimming pools where guests can soak up the sun. For some privacy, guests can rent a cabana on the seaside. They cater splendidly for the younger generation as well, with everything from arts, crafts and movies at the kid’s club to supervised kids sports and a selection of other in-room amenities.

For dining, the resort offers eight fabulous options. The Mandarin Cake Shop presents a selection of handmade gourmet treats, pastries and other delicacies including their delicious Turkish Baklava which can be enjoyed with a splendid view of the vast blue! The glamorous Mandarin Bar is situated near the reception area and is the perfect place to enjoy a unique cocktail or savour the some of the premium liqueurs in style. For a party, there is Kai Beach Club – the only part of the resort that is open to the public on occasion. It has become notorious for hosting famous musicians and DJ’s for events and parties with a chic Mediterranean setting. The Pool Bar & Restaurant serves an array of healthy, bite-size meals – we particularly enjoyed the Beef Tataki and Shrimp Caesar Salad and the fact that waiters brought around freshly squeezed juices to the poolside guests.

Blue Beach Club & Bar has a very relaxed atmosphere and is there to welcome you when you are sandy and salty having just come out of the ocean. They serve delicious lunches, specialising in Turkish mezzes including a variety of kebabs, pide and Lahmacun. Assagio is the resort’s Italian restaurant, and probably has the best location of all dining options. It is magically situated on a pier extended over the water, where the ocean is beautifully lit up at night. They serve wonderful Italian specialities such as handmade pastas and pizzas, accompanied by some excellent wines. For traditional Turkish seafood, there is Balikçisi. We loved this relaxed, market-style restaurant with fish laid out on ice, nets strung up along the ceilings and peppers being dried on the walls. We were treated to an assortment of mezze starters, such as zucchini leaf Dolma with carrot puree to imitate the yellow flowers, stunningly presented on an urchin server. The Lobster main was also done splendidly and was evidently fresh. To top it off, we had the signature ‘White chocolate soup’ consisting of 70% high quality white chocolate presented in a mousse-like texture with raspberry sorbet that was divine! Kurochan offers a unique take on Japanese cuisine with some creative sushi and seafood dishes. They serve a noteworthy Black Cod that is marinated in Miso and tastes like sweet melted butter – an absolute must try!

Mornings at MO Bodrum are a magical time. The skies turn the most beautiful soft pink, setting the tone for a beautiful day which begins with breakfast at Sofra. Here, the open buffet style breakfast caters for everything that the heart desires, made fresh and on site. So fresh, that a selection of the breads and traditional Gösleme are made as you watch. A wide selection of Turkish cheeses and olives are served, thoughtfully identified by region and type – so much to discover and experience!

They say that your arrival at MO Bodrum is a gateway to paradise and so it was for us. Our stay MO Bodrum was one of discovery and new experiences; hospitality of an unparalleled kind; and luxury redefined. So, whether you come by plane (the airport being only 35 kilometres away) or rest your yacht in one of the resort’s moorings, every moment here is time well spent. And perhaps, you might consider staying permanently by purchasing one of the resort’s 125 private residences with private entrance and beach.

When our time came to an end, we left feeling like family and it was like waking up from a dream, wishing only that we could go back to sleep. All that remains is to say that “I am a fan!”

Reviewed by World Luxury Hotel Awards Representative, Mrs. Signe Da Silva

To book a stay at this magnificent property follow the link: www.mandarinoriental.com/bodrum/paradise-bay/luxury-hotel

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The Bodrum EDITION – the place to see and be seen…

Friendly staff awaited us in the light and airy reception area adorned with palm trees and cloaked with white linen adrift in the ocean breeze. The abundant green olive groves along the walkways offset by the dry-stone walls made for a sense of antiquity. Gracefully balancing ancient Mediterranean design elements with a modern minimalist style created a gateway from the past to the present – a snapshot in time; a space where hours of lounging pass by freely and at the same time a place of eager expectancy.

The continuous views of the Aegean starting from the reception area all the way down to the beach is the crown feature of this 5-star property. The 108 rooms, lofts and villas cascade down the slopes with cobbled staircases running in between them.

The resort is ideally situated close to the Yalikavak Marina at the western point of the Bodrum peninsula with its vibrant night life and boutique retail stores. Perfect summer days consisted of lazing at the golden, sandy beach with a cocktail in hand or taking a dip in the turquoise water. The stunning high-rise infinity pool seemed to flow directly into the ocean, enabling one to quite literally lean over the blue horizon. The pool-side hammocks made for hours of blissful daydreaming.

Our room was elegant and modern, furnished in light and neutral colours. The finishes were neat and uncomplicated. We had a lovely patio with ocean view that included our own olive tree. The light bathroom had a luxurious tub. The room service staff were particularly attentive and friendly, ensuring our every need was taken care of.

Breakfast at EDITION’s Kitchen Restaurant is somewhat of a ritual – an experience that should be savoured and not rushed, to be enjoyed any time at leisure between 7 am until 4 pm complemented a the splendid setting with views of the Turkish Riviera. It is a full house demonstration of what an authentic, Turkish breakfast experience is all about – an assortment of around 16 elegantly curated small plates and portions of all things traditionally Turkish, including olives, cheeses, fruits, vegetables, honey, homemade butter, homemade cream, traditional baked goods and much more to share and enjoy. Added to this then is your choice of choice of eggs, or healthy muesli, yogurt and fruits. Not to be missed are the ‘elements breakfast shots’ and very creative cold pressed juices which are very healthy and nutritious. Keeping up with the trends is the Ministry of Coffee which presents a wide selection for the discerning coffee connoisseur, boasting even a its very own Kyoto-style slow drip cold coffee brew. This method extracts the essential mineral components from the coffee beans through a process lasting several hours, resulting in a rich full-bodied coffee that is exquisite. It goes without saying that there is no rush this side of the Aegean.

No day would be complete without a visit to the spa area. The beautifully tranquil all-white spa has water flowing along the walkways and is as enchanting as it is relaxing. The spa is divided into a men’s and women’s section, each with hammam, dry sauna, steam room and salt room where one can unwind and rejuvenate. At the end of it all is a powerful jet pool for a relaxing aqua jet massage. The massage treatment areas are open-air and cater for couples massages as well.

Dinner at BRAVA was a refreshing experience! Chef Diego Muñoz showcases a daring yet perfectly balanced menu which combines innovate flavour combinations with nostalgic Peruvian tradition. Be sure to save room for dessert: surprising offerings such as the Caramelized Eggplant, Passionfruit & Coconut Cachanga dessert are sure to shift your culinary boundaries.

Life is truly beautiful at The Bodrum EDITION.

Reviewed by World Luxury Hotel Awards Representative: Mrs. Signe Da Silva

To book a stay at this beautiful property follow the link www.editionhotels.com/bodrum

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Sintra Marmoris Palace – a truly royal experience…

The Marmoris Palace Hotel is located in Sintra, 38 kilometres from Lisbon city centre and a quick 30 minutes from the international airport.

The charming building – previously a private residence and converted into a boutique hotel two years ago – is surrounded by lavish trees and a huge private garden.  Situated on top of a hill, it is overlooking the historical town centre with beautiful views of the castle.

Being a small hotel, it offers guests a truly personalised experience. All from the reception and welcoming drinks to the check-out was a great experience. Our host also gladly assisted us with recommendations for dinner, where to shop for a few necessities that we needed and ideas to explore the town.

The hotel has nine individually decorated rooms – four in the main building – all of which have breathtaking scenic views of Sintra –  and five in an outbuilding a few metres away, all offering privacy and direct access to the garden. The massive en-suite rooms which are beautifully furnished speak of royalty and have all the amenities that you can think of.  

The buffet breakfast has a huge selection of fruit, cereals, pastries and hot food. Taking into account that Marmoris is a small hotel with a limited number of guests each day; this was hugely impressive. 

Beautiful shaded gardens create a calm and relaxed atmosphere and because of the huge premisise it is situated on and surrounding gardens, the hotel offers a totally quiet and noise-free environment to relax in. An indoor swimming pool is also available to guests with a retractable roof overlooking castle hill.

Although my stay at Sintra Marmoris Palace was short, it is truly one of the most exquisite properties I have ever visited. From the perfect location to friendly staff, scrumptious food and attention to the finer details, Sintra Marmoris does not dissapoint and I highly reccomend a stay here if you are visiting Sintra.

Reviewed by World Luxury Hotel Awards Representative

To book a stay at this exquisite property follow the link: www.sintramarmoris.com