Luxurious Beach Escapes 2018 – TOP5

An Escape doesn’t truly serve its purpose if you’re taken from one overpopulated destination to another overpopulated destination. Picking a great beach vacation has always been a thing where the destination and the beach itself need to have exclusivity.

 

I’ve always found it, a fine line understanding the difference between picking a beach destination that offers exclusivity over inclusivity. Understanding the two can ensure you get exactly what you’re hoping for. Growing up in the Caribbean myself I’ve hopped my fair share of beaches throughout the West Indies before moving onto the scattered islands of the Indian Ocean and Oceanic regions.

One can grow accustomed to the idyllic lifestyle of a sunny beach destination that offers an uncluttered and very tranquil piece of paradise without neon distractions and overcrowded umbrellas. The simple enjoyment of peaking a subtle glow when sipping on a perfectly prepared cocktail overlooking some of the world’s best beach reefs with nothing to see but endless pristine water and a stunning sunset. That sort of freedom might put a special glow on just about anyone needing to escape. Particularly if you’re living in cold country Canada.

 

So, this brings me to a curated selection of five beach destinations, tried and loved with what I’ve come to note as my TOP 5 LUXURIOUS BEACH ESCAPES 2018.

Making this list, are beach destinations that are beautiful by nature, idyllic, pristine water visibility, the softness of sand and without a doubt exclusivity of location.

# 5 Sabah, Malaysia

Sabah is a Malaysian state occupying the northern part of the island of Borneo. It’s famed for its 4,095m-tall Mount Kinabalu, the country’s highest peak, crowned with distinctive granite spires. Sabah is particularly known for its beaches, rainforest, coral reefs and abundant wildlife, much of it within parks and reserves. Offshore, the Sipadan and Mabul islands are noted diving destinations. It’s uncomplicated lifestyle and ecological composition make it excellent for the tranquility seeker that can handle a bit of adventure without a crowd.

# 4 Ora Beach, Maluku, Indonesia

Ora Beach, carefully hidden away on the North Coast of Seram Island. An exotic and extremely remote destination, Ora beach is perfect for Eco-travellers and honeymooners alike. A row of cozy, wooden cottages line the sandy, white beaches, overlooking the crystal clear waters of Sawai Bay, and with a backdrop of limestone cliffs and majestic mountains, covered in lush, tropical greenery.

# 3 Seychelles, Anse Georgette

The astounding natural beauty of this little bay will truly take your breath away. One of the most beautiful beaches in the world, it’s easy to see why Anse Georgette ends up as many people’s favorite Seychelles memory. Anse Georgette is hidden away in the grounds of Constance Lemuria Hotel. The hotel does allow a limited number of outsiders to access daily but you must call ahead to do so. Alternatively, you can take a hike from Mont Plaisir down to the beach. Its lack of coral or rocky formation leaves nothing but soft beach sand giving the water its most stunning color.

#2 Mujdin Harbour, Middle Caicos, Turks and Caicos Islands

 

The islands of the Turks and Caicos have built a reputation of attracting the super elite with its abundance of uninterrupted beach experiences hailed with the worlds best beaches and chic lifestyle. However, captivating my heart hidden is a beach along Mujdin Harbour within Middle Caicos. It takes a bit of planning to get there from the main island of Providenciales but not overly complicated. The waves can get pretty surfer ready but when visited at the right time of day offers a timeless beach experience filled with grand boulders and hidden caves holding rich history and photo points for a photographers dream day.

#1 Maldives

Making my #1 and holding a special place in my heart is the Maldives after calling it home for two years is – a tropical nation in the Indian Ocean composed of 26 ring-shaped atolls, which are made up of more than 1,000 coral islands. This destination is branded with the ultra-luxe in mind, unspoken exclusivity, beautiful beachscapes, blue lagoons and extensive reefs. It is the epitome of exclusivity, crystal clear waters, stunning coral reefs and some of the world’s best dive experiences.

 

Oh Canada. A Banff Experience

Dating back to the era of 1883 when it is said three Canadian Pacific Railway construction workers stumbled upon the caves containing hot springs on the Eastern slopes of the Alberta Rocky Mountains, I have to wonder what went through the minds of those three workers. You see, whenever I’m faced with the beauty of these natural phenomena I am left breathless.  It is from that era Canada would name its first National Park – Banff National Park and the world’s third reaching 6,641 square kilometers of mountains, valleys, forests, rivers, and glaciers home to 53 species of mammals.

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Little souvenir shops line the main streets of downtown Banff with a limited number of Hotels and Inns that will give you a piece of Banff in its woodsy and mountaineer’s architecture. To date, the famous Banff Springs Hotel continues to be the hotel of choice even after 125 years but is rallied by its counterparts of the Rimrock Hotel, the Banff International Hotel, and the Mont-Royal which continue to be hotels that stand the time of the National Park.

 

Restaurants meeting almost every culinary palette along with trails of pubs and nightlife meets a young hip lifestyle ubiquitous to this town. I find it all rather exciting and moved here myself in the Summer of 2012 with my family and if I haven’t mentioned it before its an excellent destination to raise a family. The pureness of fresh air and simpleness in lifestyle adds for a humbling but very enlightening beginning.

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A few of my most loved attractions have got to be the ever beautiful Cascade Gardens, Lake Louise, Lake Morrain, Lake Minnawanka and the Columbia Icefields.

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For my many die-hard slope loving friends this surely is one of the best places to enjoy the thrill of it all. I took to the lighter cross country trails and got all wrapped up in the unimaginable raw beauty of the hills.Attractions are everyday specials with many operators and getting a bird’s eye view of the Banff National Park is none other than a lift aboard the Brewster gondola.

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I remember my two-year-old son being whisked away the gondola; he was so excited and didn’t seem to mind one bit being so high up in the air. The experience and view of surrounding mountains were worth the trip added to the wooden stairs that offered an exciting trail to the mountain peak. If you’re also a fan of the great western carriages, a sweet ride around Banff in an old-fashioned carriage with your very own horse and the big old wheels will be something to tickle your fancy.

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These are quite popular with couples and families. Thousands come to witness these natural gifts that have stood the era of time and continue to amaze us. Winter brings with it a special and particular joy to the winter lovers. Ski slopes are filled with people from all over the world, tongue kissed snowflakes, ice rock climbing, lake skating, Husky sled riding and Holiday street festivals.

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Not to mention a Christmas in Banff – is a Christmas indeed! The year-round Christmas store is evidence of that. Check it out the next time you stroll around Banff Avenue.

Best Indian Food in Playa del Carmen

After a day full of at-home-fun with my kids, at about 5 o’clock in the late afternoon laying in bed with the two little ones I decided it would be nice for us to have a ‘’mommy date night.’’ I hadn’t booked any reservations and since my mood was so impromptu we all got dressed and decided to stroll down the street of our Playacar neighborhood to a lovely little Indian restaurant I had passed dozens of times during the day with much curiosity.

It wasn’t without some curiosity that got me to venture at the unsuspecting little Indian restaurant on the corner of Playacar.

 

So, off we went into the easygoing sunset hours of the cool evening sky in beautiful Playa del Carmen. A place I now call home and proudly so. As we approached the little restaurant with a few white chairs nesting seats outside over Indian style umbrellas, I decided to head on inside the doors with a Ganesh deity before the name ‘’Curry Omm’’ the name of the restaurant.  I browsed through the menu and with a look of satisfaction turned to my four and six-year-old – ‘so how about’ it?’ ‘Can we eat here, mommy really wants to try the food and there’s good food for us all here.’ As I waited for their approval, my tough little critics they smiled broadly and nodded, ‘yes mommy.’ So we were set. A beautiful tall lady greeted us with a brilliant smile as we sat down. We sat indoors within the air-conditioned space as the tunes from Bollywood hits played very discreetly in the background. It’s not a big space by any means and I was lucky we were able to have a table considering we strolled on in without a reservation but I suppose that’s the perk of dining out early. Most of Playa del Carmen dinner crowd increases well after the sunset when the city speaks a most beautiful culture that is very contrasting to that of the day.

 I went on to place our orders and picked out a little bit of everything that caught my eye. We started with an order of Papadums -thin Indian crispy cracker or flatbread paired with a delightful yogurt and herb garnish and a set of the best ever lamb samosas. For my children, this was a first and a thorough favorite of the evening.

 

We sipped on freshly made mango lassies – great for cooling the tongue over spicy meals and I enjoyed a delightful masala chai in between our family fun. Everything was freshly made at an enjoyable dining rhythm that left you completely satisfied.

Our second phase arrived in fragrant Biryani, traditional curried chicken and a side of chapati – Indian whole wheat bread with a cracked center over which melted butter is drizzled.

 

The food was marvelous. The manager of the restaurant came several times to ensure we were comfortable and was most polite. We felt at home in their service. The ambiance was simple and not over-done. It was really all about the food and how it made you appreciate it afterward. This was evident. At the end of our meal, we ordered desserts of vanilla ice creams and sweet Gulab jamun – this is a traditional Indian dessert of spongy milky ball-rounded texture soaked in rose scented syrup.

And so, after our taste buds completely spoiled like children on Christmas morning I requested the check which was if converted to US$ just about $55. The evening ended on a delightfully sweet note. Every moment spent in this unsuspecting little restaurant with the dark glassed exteriors open to dinners only was well worth the visit. Will I be having seconds? Yes, most definitely. It’s my pick for most authentic (Indian) across-borders food experience in Playa del Carmen, Mexico.