My constant travels sometimes leave me craving to curl in and enjoy the finer luxuries of travelling. So when an opportunity arose, I decided to grab it and stay at the Club Room of the Taj Palace hotel, in Delhi itself. I first came across the concept of a “Staycation” – indulging in a luxury stay within your own city – while living in Singapore, and to be honest, cringed at the thought of wasting a weekend staying in when the world outside was waiting. Read more
Posts from the ‘Luxury’ Category
I’ve been thinking a lot about Southeast Asia lately. It was on the islands and among the rain forests of Malaysia that I discovered my wanderlust. If Singapore was home for the six years I lived there, Malaysia was my second home, and Vietnam and Indonesia were those indulgent escapes that you needed to fork out money for a flight, to get to. Truth is, there was no lack of indulgence in Malaysia itself, albiet the indulgence of luxury and pampering rather than that of long distance or air travel. Read more
My trip to Spain materialized so quickly and unexpectedly, that I really didn’t have enough time to contain the excitement of flying business class on Turkish Airlines, revisiting Turkey enroute, and losing myself on the cobbled streets of Europe again. The start of the trip felt like I was coming a full circle; my tryst with travel blogging took a serious turn on my first Euro trip a little more than a year ago, and this week-long invitation from Spain Tourism meant everything I had worked so hard for and dreamt of, was finally coming true! Read more
Since I announced the Dreaming of Mauritius Contest on my blog 1.5 weeks back, a lot of you have tweeted and emailed me asking what it’s like to stay at Le Meridien, and why I chose a luxury hotel over my typical preference for boutique hideouts. The answer to the latter is that I didn’t want to miss out on the paradisiacal island experience that has put Mauritius on the world map, and a large part of this experience depends on where you choose to stay. The answer to the former? Brace yourself, this might make you want to jump to their website, pack your bags and head right out that door! Read more
Bonjour! Christmas has come early, and after making you extremely jealous of my recent trip to
paradise Mauritius, and after receiving threats to be blocked from Facebook newsfeeds and un-followed on Twitter for sharing such tempting pictures, I’ll be playing Santa. Thanks to Le Meridien Ile Maurice, who have kindly offered to sponsor a stay for one of my readers at the beachside paradise they’ve created in Mauritius.
What Do You Win?
- A four nights stay for TWO in a deluxe room at Le Meridien Ile Maurice. Read more
I’ve often wondered how explorers must have felt chancing upon seemingly magical islands in their travels. Nikoi Island, off Bintan in Indonesia, is perhaps the closest I’ve come to experiencing that kind of travel ecstasy in Southeast Asia.
The journey to the island is a perfect prelude to the island experience. After the regular ferry ride to Bintan from Singapore, you are fast-forwarded through a special immigration to a one hour drive through the winding road and greens of Tanjung Pinang, to Nikoi’s personal jetty, to a one-hour speed boat ride on rough and breezy seas. If I understate it, arriving at Nikoi Island feels like you’ve entered a whole other world.
Think beauty. Think isolation. Think perfection.
Nature is the recurrent theme on the island. The chalets are purely made of wood, with not an inch of concrete, and some original tree-barks used as pillars & foundation. The openness of the rooms to nature is immediately striking, and in some way, leads to an openness of thoughts too. You can let your doors remain open at night, with the waves soothing your every dream.
For me, the monsoon season meant little sun and lots of wind, and an extremely stormy sea, aka just the way I’d like a beach holiday to be. We sailed and kayaked on high tide, thrilled to feel welcome even by the angst of the waters. That memory fills me with an urge to transform it into poetry.
The jetty on the far end of the island is a piece of heaven, perhaps even a chunk. Each evening, it greets you with a fierce wind and fierce waves. As the sun starts to set, you can witness from this jetty, the entire sky turning a magical blue and blending with the color of the sea. It’s magnificent. It makes you want to close your eyes, feel the wind, and never leave.
I could afford a visit to this sheer beauty, only thanks to a contest I won on Nikoi Island’s Facebook page. Below is a video I created for the contest, purely based on my imagination & the pictures I saw. I can gladly say that Nikoi is all that I imagined and so much more!
If you’ve had a long work week and need to be pampered, look no further than a ferry ride from Singapore into Indonesia. Tempat Senang, at Sekupang, off the island of Batam, is the answer to all your stress and anxieties. I discovered this hidden little gem over New Year, and couldn’t have asked for a more relaxing way to end 2010.
the country-themed rooms.
What first fascinated me while doing my research was that Tempat Senang is not just any other resort with any other rooms. Each room has a country theme, complete with the design, decoration and USP (if I may). With only about 9 suites, you can feel the personalization in each.
The Sultan Room
We stayed in this Middle Eastern room.
With a jacuzzi in the living area and middle-eastern decor.
The Tree Room
I managed to get a sneak-peek at the other rooms, and this one’s my favorite. For next time.
There’s a hanging bed in the room!
And a tree house feel all around, right down to the furniture.
The Japanese room
Despite no outdoor view, I loved the black & white, wooden ambiance of this room, with beds in every nook & corner. A great room to stay if you’re a big bunch.
The Thai room
This one’s a huge room with a back room, a jacuzzi and a fish spa in the backyard.
The Bali Room
It comes with an exclusive entrance and verandah, and a jacuzzi.
The Indian and Indonesian rooms seemed quite commonplace and not picture-worthy!
Our Spa experience was extraordinary. There is probably no better way to pamper your body for 3 hours at a stretch (half day spa) amid a host of friendly masseuses and pure relaxing aromas. The first 3 hours come together with the room and we topped up an additional 3 hours the next day; that’s how good it was!
I tried Lavendar Aroma Therapy, Hawaiian Lomi Lomi, White Lurlur Body Scrub, and a hair treatment. Each was an hour of pure bliss.
The restaurant serves up a variety of cuisines, from Indonesian and Thai to Western. The chef was extremely talented and very receptive of me being a vegetarian; he made to order most of our meals and I would highly recommended the BBQ-baked pizza. The staff was open to us getting our own wine (though the drinks are not too expensive) and maggie, and it was a pleasure rounding up each meal with a few games of pool.
Just like the rooms & the spa, the entire experience at Tempat Senang has a warm, personal touch. The locals were genuinely friendly and helpful, and everyone seemed to know that we were putting up in the Sultan room & going for a second round of Spa!
In the spirit of a relaxing getaway, there aren’t many activities to pursue at the resort or in the vicinity. There is however, a beautiful golf course which runs all the way to the shore of the South China Sea. Riding along the green in a golf buggy, letting your hair down in the breeze and watching the sunset above the sea is a great way to round off the evening.
I would highly recommend Tempat Senang to anyone looking for a relaxing weekend getaway from Singapore. Have you been there yet?
Sometimes I think we can measure our lives by the places we’ve seen. There’s so much beauty in the world, so many undiscovered gems, and yet so many of us will spend our days in a small little box, unable to escape the vicious work-money cycle. Without getting too philosophical, I want to introduce you to a heaven-on-earth-like beauty in Indonesia, called Nikoi Island.
I created the video below, entirely based on my imagination and these Flickr pictures, for a competition in which I won a free trip to this dreamy island. My gut says Nikoi will be all this and so much more.
I’ll write about my personal experience at Nikoi Island after I visit it in December Till then, you can read reviews by other people on Nikoi!