Weekend Vibes: (South Beach MIAMI)

South Beach, Miami is nothing less than the ‘hot spot of hot spots – day or night.’ Alive with ultra-luxe galleries and boutiques, eclectic lifestyle hotels, incredible culinary affairs from the most exquisite to downright casual and where do I begin to talk about the beach.

Warm weather, pristine blue waters, white sandy beaches, culture, and lifestyle to get excited about yet relaxing enough to leave it all at bay and just unwind, relax and rejuvenate. This is exactly what I did on my four days to heaven into South Beach and having a good hotel helps a lot with that.

This eclectic destination have been shown millions of times over hollywood makings and with good reason being called the American Riviera and Art Deco Playground*. It’s hard to not get excited about being here and the people – just as beautiful as expected.

My extravagant four days of South Beach took off the moment I got checked into the luxurious art deco Metropolitan Hotel by COMO Hotels and Resort only footsteps away from South Beach’s sexy nightlife, shopping, and backyard to the legendary stretch of ‘South Beach’ pristine blue waters and white sand. I enjoyed every moment of this incredibly chic yet minimal hotel infused with sharp silhouettes and playful textures from a vintage era designed by Italian, Pablo Navone. The food was nothing less than amazing.

Being the food-lover I am it was particularly pleasing to have such pleasing culinary fusions with service that matched a Broadway show. Bravo COMO Miami!

Complete symmetry of service paired with fantastic wines, jazz band brunches, and award-winning cuisines. Delectable desserts, colourful, eye-pleasing, and oh-so-amazing! Top of my list is the adorably tasteful macarons. I will admit, I did devour eight of these French sweet meringue-based confection in one sitting. Each one with their own little guilty pleasure.

If you think that’s about it with this gem in the trendy Collins Avenue district check out this rooftop hydrotherapy open-air oasis. Meditative ambience before the vastness of the ocean along South Beach – a pure relaxation point from my trip. And if I might add, after I’m decked out of all things ‘South Beach’ I was happy to soak my body away and have a front-row view.

Shopping, Dining and Favorite hot spots

Being the walkers my husband and I are, we trotted everywhere from our 24th Collins Avenue Hotel all the way down to great pedestrian-friendly streets ‘Lincoln Road’ – for chic shopping, artsy fusion, casual and gourmet restaurants, cocktails and great designer must-haves. I was in paradise and I mean ‘a shoppers paradise.’ My two favourite things were colliding right before my eyes in the most beautiful way ‘shopping and great food’

At the end of a fun-filled day, arms heavy with trendy shopping bags finding ‘Española Way’ was just what we needed. It’s a quaint little area ‘ a pedestrian-friendly European style Street ‘ of South Beach that embodies the Spanish colonial architecture with charming overhanging cafe lighting. It’s a popular international and local tourist point. There is a little bit of everything in this lane – Spanish, French, Mexican, Italian, Brazilian and Cuban. It’s also a must-stop place to get your food on, have a drink or just enjoy over coffee or cocktails, for me it was the latter. I found myself having Brazilian food then finishing the night with margaritas at Oh! Mexico.

After completing a fun-filled night checking back into my safe haven in the COMO Metropolitan’s super comfy bed was just a wonderful end to an incredibly amazing day and night in South Beach, Miami.

I hope you enjoyed this little number. A short four days of shopping, roaming around beautiful South Beach, having great food and relaxing in style. My ultimate tip, never plans too much to see and do in South Beach, just grab your sunnies, hat, short shorts and roam into the unexpected. There’s so much to be pleased about and so much to make your own adventures.

 

Top Hotel pick: Metropolitan by COMO Miami

Favourite hot spots: Española Way, W Hotel Miami, Lincoln Road

Special Thanks: Tourism Miami and the Management of Metropolitan Hotel by COMO Miami for your warm welcome.

 

(Living in Urban Luxury) THE GANSEVOORT HOTEL TURKS AND CAICOS ISLANDS

This is a little overdue but when I have been made to feel like family at any luxury hotel I like to share it. My family and I recently stayed at the Gansevoort Hotel overviewing the famous Grace Bay beach of soft white powdery sand amidst the natural turquoise Atlantic ocean that bodied us.

 

Amazing Sunset Views – My personal favourite was retreating before our balcony doors to the grand ocean viewing that left you breathless with the most amazing sea view you can really get lost in. It was just about sunset and the most magnificent sunset I had ever seen since setting foot in the Turks and Caicos Islands.

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Celebratory Bubbly – The horizon from the balcony was anything but modest with a grand family style dining set up and an outdoor Jacuzzi was the perfect way to pop open the champagne and soak into the horizon of sea mist. And that we did.

Like anything else, I couldn’t have enjoyed my weekend away if the people and food weren’t up to par. From the inception of arrival, we were greeted by the Front Office Manager who took us right to our room, left us her personal contact and assured we were meticulously taken care of. I felt like someone famous and to think this was typical of them. Food was wonderful. My favourite meal at any time is breakfast and I was happy to have enjoyed the full-service buffet of fresh fruits in generous cuts, vibrant colours and tropical varieties. An omelette station, signature coffee, fresh juices and healthy options were the perfect way to start another day.

Our trip may have been too short indeed but we had a wonderfully rested and at the same ‘fun’ time. My kids still refer to the chicness of the Penthouse as the ‘White House.’ We all loved our urban experience at the Gansevoort and will surely be extending our love of travel to other Gansevoort properties being newly observing fans.

Parrot Cay: (A hidden treasure in the Turks and Caicos Islands)

At the end of a beautiful Canadian summer in 2014, my partner, our two kids and I made the wonderful decision to move onto one of the most idyllic and beautiful islands within the Caribbean -the Turks and Caicos Islands a British territory that is made up of larger Caicos Islands and smaller Turks Islands holding a resident population of approximately 31,500.

 

 

It is comfortably located within close proximity to Miami and daily direct flights through American Airlines, making for excellent weekend shopping sprees and in general wearing off ‘island fever.’

We moved here during the hot TCI summer month of September and quickly became attached to the warm turquoise sea and beaches stretching of white powdery sand. However, our move wasn’t without its benefits -as we moved on the notion of an exciting business opportunity with one the finest private island resorts. And so, the exclusive private island resort of Parrot Cay would now become our home and playground for our kids initial years.

After years of deliberating from exciting adventures through South America, Asia and the cold caps of North America I was pleased to be moving somewhere not only warm but pleasurable.

Parrot Cay resort has been named time over as one of the most exclusive private islands within the Caribbean region and is quite popular with A-lister celebrities boasting an award winning wellness retreat – the COMO Shambhala Retreat.

The resort itself is approximately 1000acres and generously spread out with intimate garden-ocean view suites, oceanfront beach houses and private estates owned by top business moguls and celebrities alike with prices for ownership starting in the ten million rang up.

The vastness of the island makes it especially charming to have your own designated ‘my’ space without the slightest cluster-phobic presence. Letting go and being free are the essentials of being here and adjacent to a sunken cocktail bar lies a tranquil infinity pool that overlooks the limitlessness of the turquoise ocean that stretches beyond the soft white sand.

The food is anything but ordinary and can only be described as a divine culinary experience that brings your palate alive with exquisite flavors paired with the finest selection of familiar and rare wines. I am particularly fond of the fact when dining in either of the two restaurant options – I am always surprised with a fresh new selection to devour. Being the seafood addict I am, it is nice to know the fish is fresh and of the best, I have had in the Turks and Caicos Islands if I may say so myself.

Staying at the Parrot Cay resort doesn’t come without a hefty tag as prices start from around $US1000 all the way up to $US36,000 a night. Private Estate owners and when available to the guests who would love to spend a week or more will have at their fingertips a Private Chef to bring the magic closer and Private Butler to cater your every need.

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However, while sun, sea, and sand are all nice my heart is with the wellness that breaths at the doorstep of the COMO Shambhala Retreat sitting before two large stony boulders and torches that come alive in fiery flare by night. The COMO Shambhala Retreat is, in my opinion, one of those rare and uplifting experiences you must absolutely give to yourself. The treatments are infused by temperatures, rhythmic movements and healing elements that centers your body, mind, and spirituality. Personal favorites of mine are the Signature COMO Shambhala Massage, a must do, and seeing I embrace botanical aromatherapy treatments over more synthetic solutions the Sundari Supplying Facial was just the skin loving treatment for me.

I am still pretty new to this incredible resort and when I’m not spending my days with my four and three years old roaming through the running pathway – a heavy forested haven tucked away that leads you to the island’s Coconut and Banana plantations, or having afternoon tea through the large cathedral doors of the library or photographing a sunrise you can rest assured I’m doing something that nourishes and puts me at ease on the beautiful island of Parrot Cay.

W Retreat & Spa Maldives: (Is Très Très Chic’)

Being whisked away in the dawn of the morning by Maldivian Air Taxi overlooking the majesty of the great Atolls is one that will widen your eyes and pave a peaceful smile on your face. A promising luxury experience awaited my arrival at the W Retreat and Spa Maldives but not before a young woman part of the W Hotel team requested to take my photo for their guest book. The seaplane ride is about thirty minutes over the spectacular Indian Ocean and resorts views.

 

Arriving at the W pier to greet my arrival was the Director of Operations, General Manager and Welcome Manager carrying a fragrant chilled towel and refreshing welcome beverage. Needless to say, the welcome was warm and wonderful.

I was taken to my secluded piece of tropical luxury in a Bi-Level Beach Oasis featuring a starry by night plunge pool, a gorgeous lazy swing to take in the breathtaking views on the upper suite and dipping my feet into the crystal clear waters of the Indian Ocean footsteps from my villa. The decor was uplifting by signature W beats, luxurious-chic pushing the boundaries of the chic design. As a pleasant surprise the photograph taken earlier was beautifully placed in a frame along with my bedside table and immediately I felt at home but more exquisitely. Thank you, W!

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When it comes to living life ‘well’ no one does it more in style than W Hotels. The W Retreat and Spa Maldives is an exceptional addition to a well-known lifestyle hotel brand with a très très chic approach on a playful side. The music is sexy, the staff is vibrant and energetic. The atmosphere itself is upbeat yet playfully relaxing.

Dining & Lounge

The resort runs three main vibrant concept dining options – Kitchen, an all-day dining with Bistro setting of eclectic cuisine, Fire, a casual foot-in-the-sand under the stars with palate-pleasing barbecues and Fish, a tasteful over-water style seafood experience. Two chill-out lounge bars – Wet, a swim-up pool bar and SIP a sexy cocktail heaven of signature cocktails and chill out beats. The hot scene comes alive by night with the trendy ’15Below’ nightclub – exactly 15 steps underground.

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Snorkelling

The crystal clear waters of the Indian Ocean surround the island boasting some of the best dive spots of any resort and to my delight was right within footsteps of my private beachfront villa. Depths of beautiful reef fishes seemed to create a tranquil whirlpool surrounding me as I drifted afar.

Spa

My senses came alive at the AWAY spa offering treatments that revitalize, rejuvenate and relax. I felt utterly carefree and at peace enjoying a massage after a full day in the sun. The location is pure bliss and crafted to put one’s troubles far at away.

This is definitely a property of choice and one I visited many times simply because I love it. It’s a great place to go with friends and in romance.

Congratulations to the W Retreat & Spa Maldives for an exception journey.

Stayed and Confirmed (MY TOP 6 MALDIVES RESORTS)

Top-Listed

Making the ‘it-list’ in the Sunny Maldives involved – WOWING my taste buds for great food, artful presentations, creative luxury, unbeatable wellness retreats, personal service, entertainment and resort exculisivity.

The Maldives is a destination of ”ultra luxe” appeal and is not your average hop and go. It’s popular for its exclusiveness where the rich go to play and unwind. It is of undisputed beauty and world-class service. The people are charming and superb in their way of service. I count myself lucky to have lived this magical dream for two years and in its splendour, I give you my personal list of stayed and confirmed – most loved Maldives Resorts.

1 W Retreat and Spa Maldives

This très très chic lifestyle resort makes my personal #1. Great resort – vibrant and upbeat, exceptional and original dining options, sexy music, energetic people and an undoubted playful yet relaxing ambience is reflected in everything. Great diving and snorkelling around the island and in the Maldives making it a bonus spot for dipping your feet right off the foot of your beach villa. It’s your go-to resort for friends and couples. Everything is catered to make you feel like a superstar.

2 Four Seasons Resorts Maldives at Kuda Huraa

This resort has a special place in my heart. It is a gem and within close proximity to the capital island Male – a smooth 30 minutes speedboat ride and other magnificent resorts making it excellent for island hopping. Offers superb recreational facilities with a strong initiative on marine biology conserving the biodiversity of the precious Ocean life. Four Seasons Resorts Maldives at Kuda Huraa is my favourite ‘save the Indian Ocean’ resort and best in personal service for luxury. It’s also my personal pick for best family resort and has the absolute best for all ages ‘kiddos and tweens. The spa is to die for. Beautifully located on its own private island with a little Dhoni – a traditional Maldivian boat to transport guests between the Spa and back to the main resort island. The resort itself is on the smaller side, but I love that about it. Kayaking around the island, taking in every amazing view, sunsets and sunrise are truly amazing. The swim up infinity pool bar is a personal favourite of mine and one that is easily accessed to the tantalizing seafood, Indian and international flare cuisines.

3 Huvafen Fushi Resort and Spa by Per Aquum

I love this resort for its natural easy-going feel. Yet luxurious enough to take your breath away. This is one of my top pics of creative luxury. The villas are amazing, spacious with gorgeous open-air bath retreats, generous with personal plunge pools. There’s an easy ‘my spot’ anywhere on this resort to just get lost in its beauty. Cocktails are sexy and entertained with exceptional music and on occasion signature DJ affairs to liven this very exclusive destination. If you love to Spa, you’ll certainly do it in style with the ever talked about ‘under the sea’ LIME Spa. It’s surreal. My personal favourite is their legendary underground wine cellar. It’s great, oaky and a grandeur of the best wines to please any wine connoisseur.

4 Anantara Dhigu Resort and Spa

This is the most unwinding resort. Quieter and with a strong presence on wellbeing. It’s my personal pick to find your balance and be taken on a Spa Journey with signature Thai influences. It’s complemented with excellent healthy choices and great leisure spots to have as your own. Excellent wines and cocktails, signature beach service and flare of dining. The views are amazing from every angle.

5 Kandooma Resort and Spa Maldives

This is my ultimate chill out resort coupled with great cocktails, a rooftop lounge to envy, exciting dining and breathtaking sunsets. I found myself returning time and time again. Subtle luxury speaks within an unconventional design. Chic ambience and contemporary layout. A lounge style, foot-in-the-sand escape that is popular with the dive scene and with good reason. Some of Maldives best diving can be found here. Hanging hammocks dipping into the warm ocean are attached to breezy oceanfront villas.

6 One and Only Reethi Rah Resort and Spa

This is one of the ultra-luxe resorts from entry to exit. It’s an unspoken luxury that is very visible and serene. From grand entryways, a top-of-the-line spa, award-winning culinary affairs, personal butler service and the list goes on. Superb for family vacations and for me, it was the view from my private infinity pool overlooking the beach and vastness of the Indian Ocean.

This resort is an exclusive and luxurious a resort in the sunny Maldives as expected to be. You won’t find skimming here, serving the guests’ every need above and beyond expectations are paramount.

Naturally, the list can go on and on, but I found a special place in each of these resorts. The dining, wellness, and ease of service were paramount to my personal likes and these were the key features I loved about all six. The Maldives is a magical destination for me, two years weren’t enough and its one that must be enjoyed by making your own dreams come alive. I hope you enjoyed this piece and look forward to your comments.