NHOW AMSTERDAM RAI IS OPEN

After a 3 year period of intensive construction, the highly anticipated nhow Amsterdam has finally opened its doors on the 10th of January for guests.

The new hotel is a unique location for meetings and events, with nine different rooms on the 23rd floor that offer an amazing view of Amsterdam. A few important facts about the brand new nhow Amsterdam RAI:

Facts nhow Amsterdam RAI

  • The already iconic building between the RAI and the A10 was designed by the renowned architectural firm OMA. (fun fact, the architect used to be my father in law)
  • The interior contains colours and patterns from all over the world; the design stimulates inspiration and creativity.
  • nhow Amsterdam RAI has 650 hotel rooms and nine multifunctional event spaces on the 23rd floor.
  • Luckily, the hotel is only a ten-minute drive from Schiphol Airport.

bedroom nhow Amsterdam RAI

Food & Drink

Both international guests and locals can work and network in the lounge on the first floor. THE ENTOURAGE GROUP is launching a Kitchen & Bar and Lounge & Bar on the top floor at a height of 91 meters with a panoramic view of the city. The hotel is directly located on the RAI complex. Between the Europa Boulevard, the A10 ring road and RAI Amsterdam. Schiphol Airport is only ten minutes by car or train and the tram will take you to Dam Square within six minutes.

Restaurant nhow Amsterdam

RAI Amsterdam headquarter hotel

Needless to say that hotel is perfect for organizers, exhibitors and visitors to national and international events at RAI Amsterdam. Maurits, COO of RAI Amsterdam, adds: “As a multicultural hotspot, the hotel will be the home base for organizers, exhibitors and visitors to national and international events. With this RAI Amsterdam strengthens its competitive position on the international stock exchange and congress market and adds something special to the city of Amsterdam. “

Pink room nhow hotel

Future plans for nhow lifestyle brand hotels will be opened in the coming three years. Nhow Brussels, nhow Frankfurt, nhow Hamburg and nhow Lima are on the planning.

Book your stay here!

Love,

Elke

Find out which hotels in Amsterdam are the most sustainable!

Most sustainable hotels Amsterdam

These are the best High Tea spots in Amsterdam

When it’s cold outside, it’s no surprise we start to crave more warmth. What better then to enjoy a hot infusion with a bunch of delicious snacks & bites! We’re talking about High Tea.

You can enjoy it all year round but it’s even more satisfying on a rainy Sunday afternoon with your friends surrounded by sweet pastries and sandwiches. Therefore, Wander-Lust has selected the best high tea spots in Amsterdam.

High Tea Amsterdam

Wanna feel like Alice in Wonderland?

The Duchess

Everything is just wow about this place. Sarah and I enjoyed the opening last year and had not been back until my high tea experience. The beautiful elegant room of velvet interior makes it look like a scene from Alice in Wonderland. Sit warm near the fireplace and enjoy the excellent and well informed staff at the Duchess. Now then, the high tea. They offer a selection of the Coco Chanel of tea’s from French tea house Mariage Frères. This tea is only available at an interior store in Amsterdam on appointment (yes, it’s that exclusive!) Make sure you haven’t had lunch because what you will get is enough for the day! Homemade scones, crab croquettes, french cheese mini quiches and freshly bakes cookies. Oh, and I haven’t even mentioned the macaroons! Wanna feel like Alice? Check out the Tea Room in the Duchess this winter. www.the-duchess.com/the-tea-room

Feeling like Alice at tea room of The Duchess
Feeling like Alice..

Afternoon Tea at Okura Hotel

One of Amsterdam’s finest and most luxurious hotels is finally offering an afternoon tea with a Japanese twist! Honestly, you can’t compare this high tea with any other. Firstly, the different tea’s are served by a Japanese lady dressed in a traditional kimono. The tea selection depends on the season but we were served Green, Jasmine and Darjeeling tea.

High tea served in kimono

For starters, you get a small bowl with a fruity amuse to neutralise your taste buds. If you are vegetarian, no problem! We enjoyed a hot falafel, sushi-no-sushi Temari style and a traditional Japanese egg royale “chawanmushi” with Dutch asparagus. After that, it was time for the sweetness, a whole lot of it! At Okura they bring out a big box filled with coffee macarons, yuzu-thyme Madeleine, chocolate and cookies. The details on the cakes are impressive that you almost don’t want to eat them (spoiler; we did and brought home a doggy bag). Okura’s Afternoon Tea is served every Saturday or Sunday between 3 – 5pm in the lobby from €48,- per person.

Best high tea in Amsterdam. Okura Hotel

Gartine

This tiny but cozy lunchroom is a hidden treasure in Amsterdam. It’s tucked away in between Amsterdam’s busiest shopping districts, the Kalverstraat. If you want to enjoy high tea, you must book in advance because they are always full. (the same applies for lunch!). Everything is homemade and they’ve done it with love. They also support the foundation Adopt a chicken, so all their eggs are organic and they work with products of the Ark van de Smaak/SlowFood. Gartine’s high tea prices vary between €17,50 and €24,74 and is available between 2pm and 5pm.  www.gartine.nl

Café Americain

This café dates back from the 50’s where it used to be a place to meet each other, read newspapers and enjoy the hustle of the Leidsesquare in the center of Amsterdam. Now, many years later, this iconic spot is still used as a meeting place and chitchat, but they have evolved in so much more over the years. For instance, you can enjoy a wonderful High Tea here, complete with veggie soup, sandwiches (try the cheese with truffle mayonaise), and sweets that include mouthwatering macaroons. Their tea is carefully selected Dammann Tea and you can order a warm Tea Cocktail that I can highly recommend! You pay €26,50 per person and you can add bubbles for a €12,50 supplement. Café Americain’s interior will pleasantly surprise you, we love their art deco retro style. (The lights are original Tiffany lamps). www.cafeamericain.nl

Café Americain
Café Americain

Hotel de L’Europe

The So Dutch Afternoon Tea is inspired by the traditional afternoon snacks and Hotel de L’Europe have worked their magic on this 4-course menu. From a beef of almond veggie broth with a simple toasty (that tasted so good!), to croquettes, salmon, eel, and a plateau full of Dutch sweetness. They also include 2 larg gingerbread cookies inspired by the Amsterdam’s traditional architecture. And the view.. priceless! Nice to know; they also accommodate vegetarians, just let them know when you book. I’m vegetarian and I loved it all! This makes Hotel de L’Europe one of the best high tea spots in Amsterdam. You can book this afternoon high tea from Thu – Sun from 1 till 5pm. You can enjoy this high tea from €39,- p.p, or include champagne for €49,- p.p. www.deleurope.com

So Afternoon Tea at Hotel de L'Europe

Conservatorium hotel

Enjoy their Royal Afternoon Tea from 3pm until 5.30pm in the hotel’s brasserie. You can feast on sandwiches, scones and sweets for €42,- per person and if you add a  glass of Veuve Cliquot Brut Champagne you pay €57,-.  If you really want to complete the rest of your day, you can opt for a visit to their amazing Akasha Spa which I enjoyed several times. (they have the best massages evur!) www.conservatoriumhotel.com/brasserielounge

conservatorium-afternoon-high-tea
For royalty

De Bakkerswinkel

Very Dutch and very good! With several locations in Amsterdam and the rest of The Netherlands, De Bakkerswinkel is kind of famous for their high Tea and popular with groups. You have a choice between 4 high tea’s. If you ask me, you should go for the The Late Afternoon Royal with “home made” cakes, pieces of quiche, small sandwiches, fresh fruit a large pot of tea, 3 drinks  (Wine, Orange Juice or soda), cookies and the list goes on. For this one you will only pay €27,50,-! You can also order a tea box that you can enjoy at home. www.debakkerswinkel.nl

De Bakkerswinkel High Tea
Source: facebook

Mozo

Now this is a bit different but worth trying! This Moroccan High Tea is so tasty and brings you to another world. Restaurant Mozo is located in Amsterdam East and serves their high tea in a Moroccan style room where you can enjoy pastries, rgajef kefta pancakes and sweets. This for only €19,50,-!  www.restaurantmozo.nl/hightea

Hight Tea at Mazo Amsterdam
Moroccan high tea

Sofitel Legend Le Grand

This afternoon tea is being served inside the cozy Library ‘Or’ of Sofitel Legend The Grand Amsterdam. The hotel where all the foreign stars sleep, de crème de la crème. This high tea is very traditional and stays true to the English roots where high tea originated from. You can choose between 3 options starting from €37,- that include a glass of champagne. During spring and summer you can enjoy it outside in the courtyard, which is a unique spot in Amsterdam. Check their website for more info. www.bridgesrestaurant.nl/afternoon-tea

Happy Happy Joy Joy

This newcomer is serving a daily Asian High Tea from mid-February. The snacks are served in a bamboo basket, filled with small peking duck bao’s, gyoza, spring rolls, lucky bags and sweets, such as sticky rice, sesame balls, mantao and traditional spekkoek. In addition to the snacks, a pot of  jasmine tea is served for sharing. This Asian High Tea will cost €19,95,- per person and reservations need to be made at least one day in advance. www.happyhappyjoyjoy.asia

Asian High Tea
High Tea at Happy Happy Joy Joy

Love,

Elke

 

THE AMMAN GUIDE 2020 | JORDAN

“Welcome to Jordan”, is a phrase you will hear time and time again in this majestic land from the locals who are delighted to have visitors in their country.

From the moment you step off your flight and arrive in Jordan’s capital Amman, you’ll be impressed with the best of the Middle East this 2020.

Where to stay in Amman

There’s only one place to head to as soon as you arrive in frantic Amman and that’s the city’s 4th tallest building, otherwise known as the W Hotel. At a striking 150m high, it is a towering spectacle within Amman’s skyline. When you enter you are immediately blown away at the interior. It features a canyon – designed in homage to the country’s most famous archaeological site, Petra. The W Hotel is somewhere you want to wake up again and again. The 240 rooms are contemporary in look and feel, yet bring local characteristics through colours and textures.

W Hotel Entrance, Amman
Entrance of W Hotel Amman

Hotel bedroom Amman

Take time to explore the hotel in full: you’ll have a luxury spa to visit (we recommend the reflexology and full body massages). Aswell as a gym and not to mention the picturesque roof top poor which delivers quite a luxe experience. The rest of the hotel offers a Living Room area for guests to chill and read many of their impressive coffee table books while enjoying a cocktail. After dark the area becomes one of the best bars in the city with a who’s who of Amman flocking to be seen alongside an international array of guests. Book your stay here.

W Hotel Rooftop Pool

Jordan is one of the most progressive and modern countries in the Middle East and it’s also one of the safest. Woman have equal rights to men and the royal family have a huge influence on their people by championing education.

What to do in Amman

If you can tear yourself away from the W Hotel to marvel at the sights of Amman there’s plenty to do! (Though don’t get us wrong – the best of Jordan lies outside of the capital). Amman was built on seven hills so be sure to wear your most comfortable walking shoes as they’ll be putting in the hard work. The hustle and bustle of the capital city is sure to inspire and delight..

City of Amman, Jordan

Plan a morning exploring the Citadel which sits on the highest mountain in the city so provides the best point for getting your bearings. Built during the Bronze Age, the site was destroyed by an earthquake in 749AD and never rebuilt yet it’ll leave you with a sense of a time gone by. The scale of the columns still standing provide insight into how magnificent the site once was. From here you’ll be able to see the Roman Theatre which provides a 7,000 seater stadium. You can buy tickets to music and theatre performances.

Amman Citadel
The city’s Citadel

Theatre Amman, Jordan

Rainbow Street acts as a central hub of restaurants, bars and coffee shops which cater for tourists and locals alike. If you want to eat like a king you’re best to set off for Hashems which has hosted royalty here since it opened in 1953. This legendary eatery is famed for its falafel and hummus! You can order a classic lunch meal for around 3JD and be sure to sip their mint tea too. 

Amman City, Jordan

Culture

After you’ve refuelled with falafel, the Jordan Museum is not to be missed. Built in 2014, this is a modern building in the centre of the city. Its home to some of the most incredible ancient treasure in the land. The experience here is entertaining, informative and like no other. You’ll first be guided around the Jordan exhibition which tells the rich history of this nation. Illustrating the countries impact and evolution within the surrounding Middle East. The space also holds the oldest-known human statues. But it’s what lies at the very end which is why this stop is firmly on our must-do list: the Dead Sea Scrolls are housed here. These biblical manuscripts are one of the most important discoveries of the 20th century! When in 1946 a Shepard stubbed across them in a cave near to the Dead Sea. They give great historical, religious significance from the era when they were written from around 300BC.

Roman Theatre, Amman

The last cultural stop on your Amman to-see list should be the vast King Abdullah Mosque. This blue-domed landmark is open to worshipers as well as non-Muslin visitors. (But only during certain hours and if you’re a female you’ll be asked to wear a abayas. Standing as a some-what timeless looking building, over 7,000 people come on a daily basis to pay their respects. It’s a peaceful and reflective experience – while the outside is covered in decorative mosaic tiles.

King Abdullah Mosque, Amman

Where to Eat in Amman:

  • Wild Jordan Cafe (good for a a healthy lunch)
  • Shams el Balad (an outdoor hipster hangout with the most delicious beetroot hummus)
  • Levant (great for dinner – order everything on the menu, nothing will disappoint)
  • Primal (for anyone following a Paleo diet)
  • Sufra (a Rainbow Street must-visit)

Good to know ahead of visiting Jordan:

  • Buy the Jordan Pass for £75. This includes your tourist visa as well as entry fees for the likes of the Citadel in Amman as well as Petra and the Dead Sea.
  • There are 9 million people who live in the country, while only 8 years ago there were 6 million. The sudden rise of inhabitants is due to the influx of refugees coming in from their neighbouring countries. 4.5 million people live in the capital city Amman.
  • Weekends in Jordan fall on a Friday and Saturday, so it’s likely that shops, some attractions and restaurants may be shut on a Saturday.
  • Smoking is allowed indoors, so don’t be surprised when people light up in hotels, restaurants and shops.
  • All hotels have their own airport-like security in the entrance meaning that your suitcase and day bag will need to go through the x-ray scanners every time you enter the building.
  • Uber is currently available in Jordan, however they can’t pick up from the airport. If you’ve not arranged airport transfers via your hotel, you’re best to use a licensed cab when you land and be sure to tip the porter.

In short, before you head into the rest of Jordan, Amman is a worthy stop for a few days!

Love,

Stephanie

WINTERLICHT AT PAMPUS ISLAND | UNUSUAL DINING

A gem with a capital ‘G.’ An UNESCO World Heritage place with a lovely scenery and a surprising pop-up restaurant. Get ready for an incomparable culinary experience. 

Ever heard of the annually recurring dining experience Winterlicht on fort island Pampus? (you can also exclusively camp on the island during summer) It’s one of the most special hidden gems of Amsterdam.

Winterlicht, a super exclusive concept

With the festive season full of fabulous foods, blinking lights, a dose of youthful memories and lots of snow (fun) – OK we wish we had that last Christmassy one – behind us, it’s high time for some New Year’s good-for-you goals. What about enjoying life more? Having more special and, above all, unforgettable moments together with your loved ones, for example. 

Fort Eiland Pampus

Restaurant Winterlicht deserves a spot on your bucket list for 2020.

For those who’ve never heard of Winterlicht. It’s a full evening’s culinary adventure on Pampus Island. An experience that deserves the claim ‘one size fits all.’ Firstly, it’s a perfect getaway for a social gathering with friends or family or for a heartwarming date night for two. However, we didn’t know what to expect, so with expectations on mode zero we jumped on the cosy clipper Sailboat. And so the 5-hour Winterlicht adventure begun!

An unforgettable culinary experience

Together with all the other guests you sail from IJburg, Muiden or Almere (depends per date) to Pampus around 18:00 p.m. You’ll set foot on the island in approximately 30 minutes. Expect a warm welcome from the Winterlicht crew, some ins and outs about the night and a short tour through the half-hidden historic fortress. After the historical walk and talk through the enlightened fort corridors, it’s time to find two of your not so ‘cheesy’ starters in this charming atmosphere: a hot steamy Dutch cheese fondue and mini pancakes overloaded with…well see it yourself. On the other hand; don’t overeat yourself with this heavy kickstarter. Just sayin’!

Oilcan with fire

Sneak peek of what to expect at Pampus’ Winterlicht

Around 20:00 you’ll be warmly greeted by the crew of the islands’ pavilion. A surprising seasonal 3-course dinner – fixed menu – is waiting for you. It’s lovely to hear they cook exactly the same as they did years and years ago: as sustainable as possible, eye for superb quality, and they make use of local products. For the vegetarians, vegans or the ones with a food allergy, don’t you worry. Although they serve a fixed menu, suitable alternatives without juicy meat, lactose or whatever you prefer aren’t a problem at all. Share your preferences in time, and you’ll be pampered. Mark my words.

Winterlicht menu

And what about the ambiance? Well, it’s exactly what you want during the wonderful winter time: a cosy, warm, laidback and welcoming vibe. Everything but pretentious. Looking sharp or comfy, come as you’re. Sounds inviting, doesn’t it?

Winterlicht knows how to pamper their guests after short river crossings

toetje Winterlicht

Winterlicht versus Zomerlicht

Although Winterlicht is hibernating for now, they’ll be up and running again every Friday and Saturday between the 21st of February till the 28th of March. Can’t make it this winter? No worries! During summery days there’s also ‘Zomerlicht’, Winterlicht’s little sister. Instead of fire baskets, lovely red wines and X-mas carols, you can have a cosy outdoor escape with a picture perfect picknick, summer breeze and tropical drink on the side. All things considered, for the exact information, please check out the up-to-date information on the website, or keep an eye on their socials. Claim your spot before it’s go go and get enchanted by the overload of charm.

In essence, we thank Winterlicht for having us, it was an amazing experience. Let’s forget the humdrum of daily life, make beautiful new memories and jump on the Sailboat soon!

Winterlicht
Pampus Island, Amsterdam
Website 

Package price €67,50 (crossing, culinary tour through the fort, a 3-course dinner and contribution to preserve the historical heritage.)

*Photo’s by Tony Perez

Cheers,

Sharmaine

*Sharmaine is one of our guest editors from Amsterdam with a sweet tooth. The sweeter, the better! She no kitchen princess so she’s always in search for the best hotspots in Amsterdam! You can expect an article from her once a month! Check her out on Instagram!

 

 

A WINTER CITY TRIP TO ZURICH

Do you know a heavenly feeling? I had that sensation when I got the sympathetic invitation from airline SWISS to discover Zurich.

OK to be honest, I’ve seen a lot of our beautiful world, but I ‘used’ Switzerland only as a handy transit country. Why did I never go there for a holiday? Maybe because of my prejudices: ‘Oh boy, it’s far too expensive, too quiet for me and perhaps more fun for the elderly.’ I grabbed the opportunity to uncover if those ideas were real and flew to Switzerland for a city trip to Zurich (and if the chocolate is that yummy!)

Zurich in a nutshell

Where Amsterdam is full of hipsters, clumsy tourists on bikes and busy city sounds, Zurich is a bit of the opposite. It’s as big as our intimate Utrecht. When I arrived in the afternoon I was surprised by the calmness in the picturesque downtown streets. But when it became dusky and when the festive Christmas lights went on, Zurich seemed to awaken. One moment I thought I stepped into a scene, loved it! Not even to mention the cute Christmas stalls with the mulled wine and raclette smells throughout the city. Add the majestic buildings to that and you’ll get a very nice winter holiday feeling.

The town of Zurich
The cutest streets

Where to sleep?

After an active day full of impressions there’s nothing as good as ‘coming home’ in a nice boutique hotel room. My amazing, stylish room in the Marktgasse hotel did it for a 100 procent. I don’t know what it is, but I’m in love with boutique hotels and this great, tad upscale place from the 15th century has captured my heart. Nice to know: try the handsome cocktail bar on the ground floor. Tell the cocktail shaker what you prefer and he’ll blow you away with a custom made mix, just do it! www.marktgassehotel.ch/en

eten-drinken-en-slapen-in-zurich-6

What to do

So just so you know, I had less then 24 hours discovery time, but I can tell you that Zurich is very suitable for short city trips. Recommended is to do the traditional culinary Gourmet Tour or learn more about the interesting stories of the old city with the Old Town Tour, like I did. For sure they also have a lot of cool shops, like grocery shop Schwarzenback or taste the best sausages of Zurich at Sternen Grill.

Where to eat

I know it’s not my best kept secret that I’m a food lover, sweet tooth and gourmet to the max. Not so surprisingly I was so excited to discover if the Swiss had a good flavor…no doubt they have! I had my lunch break at Baltho Restaurant & Bar – it’s part of the Marktgasse hotel. My gosh, it was a food walhalla to share that opened in front of me: falafel with homemade baba ganoush, juicy Boeuf Bourguinon, bang-bang chicken and so on. You name it, we had it. Mouth watering, right?

Food at the Marktgasse Hotel
Typical Swiss food at the Marktgasse Hotel

Another food tip:

HILTL. According to the Guinness Book of World Records they are the first registered vegetarian restaurant in the world and nowadays they’re even the supplier of the vegetarian meals on SWISS flights, how cool. HILTL started more than one century ago with this very trendy and successful concept. In addition to their à la carte, they also have a buffet. Although ‘buffets’ often haven’t the best associations for Dutchies, I gave it a try. Wow, I’ve never seen something like that before – fresh, veggie food all over. Funny fact: they let you weight your food on a large scale as you know it from the supermarket. You pay a certain amount per 100 grams, as they want to avoid food waste. Good thinking!

Breakfast tip

Delish is the other restaurant of Marktgasse Hotel. The crew is so enormously hospitable – Amsterdam can learn a lot of this welcoming, pure people – plus my poached eggs with avocado where very tasty. Give it definitely a spot on your food bucket list!

delish-salad-selection_print
Salads at Delish

My Verdict

So this was exploring a city trip to Zurich through the eyes of a 26-year-old ‘wanderlust’ enthusiast. It’s a city that I would visit once in about five years again. For this it’s perfect. Big pluses were the fresh food and the hospitality in every shop, restaurant and bar. But one side note for your wallet: please be aware of the enormously high prices. I paid almost 11 euros for a healthy, takeaway shake at Juicery21 << hotspot alert >> So my prejudice about it’s far too expensive became a harsh reality, but the yummy Swiss chocolate made me forget it for a sec.

Juicery 21 Zurich
Juicery 21

wander-lust-friends-in-zurich
The blogger crew in Zurich (Sharmaine 3rd from left)

Love,

Sharmaine

*Sharmaine is one of our guest bloggers from the Netherlands with a sweet tooth. The sweeter, the better! She’s no kitchen princess but always in search for the best hotspots in Amsterdam! You can expect an article from her once a month! Check her out on @sharriefromsandmountains!

Sharmaine flew to Zurich in style! Check her review here:
Swiss in the sky

MOROCCO OFF THE BEATEN TRACK | TAROUDANT

If you really want to go off beaten path in Morocco, then you should go the authentic town of Taroudant. It will surprise you the minute you arrive.

Expect yourself a warm welcome from the locals here whilst enjoying one of the best riads the region of Taroudant has to offer, Dar al Hossoun.

Taroudant, Morocco Pinterest

Where to Stay

Along the dirt track roads that leads to Taroudant you find your way to this great hidden little gem called Dar la Hossoun. It takes 3.5 hours to get there from Essaouria. The moment you enter this amazing riad you feel an oasis of peace. With more than 900 different species of plants collected from all over the world you can say that these gardens are unique and breathtaking. The owner tells with pride about the beautiful creations that are done by the famous French architects Arnaud Maurières and Eric Ossart.

The narrow swimming pool draws attention together with the amazing rooftop.

Sustainability at Dar la Hossoun

Not only the gardens are stunning, but also the rooms. Each suite or room is individually designed and decorated with local authentic rugs, cushions, tapestries and terracotta earthenware. The breakfast room with natural stone flooring is one of my favorites. Sustainability is key today and they are well aware here. In addition, they produce hot water with solar panels, the water from the sinks and showers is recycled to water all of their gardens. After a spa moment, enjoying the pool and reading a book in their amazing rooms, you will leave feeling refreshed and uplifted! Book your stay here.

Breakfast room Dar la Hossoun, Taroudant


Taroudant

Grab a bicycle at the hotel and find yourself in Taroudant within 15 minutes. A small authentic town which you should definitely visit if you want to experience the real Morocco. Taroudant is one of the oldest and most important cities in Morocco, with a great architectural, cultural and historical heritage. Without hordes of Western visiting tourists the souks here are a great place to explore. Much less hassle here and negotiations on some pricing! On Sundays, there’s also a weekend market just outside the city walls.

Off the beaten track
Morocco off the beaten track, on the way to Taroudant

The souk in Taroudant Morocco

There’s no way to get a glass of wine or beer somewhere on a terrace, locals here drink traditional Moroccan mint tea only. They drink it sweeter than us, but I must say it’s delicious.


Taroudant, Morocco
Sweet tea time in Taroudant

Claudio Bravo Palace

There’s one place you can’t miss when you visit Taroudant, Claudio Bravo Palace. This unique place is a park/museum in the middle of fields and plantations, located 10 km north of Taroudant. Book your tickets for the museum online or call them prior, and take a walk in the endless orange groves. I hadn’t heard of Claudio Bravo before, but after seeing this immense palace filled with arts from all over the world which this artist collected throughout the years I have to say I was impressed. He was a celebrated Chilean painter, noted for his hyperrealist still life and figurative paintings. As a world traveler Claudio collected all kinds of art objects which are exposed in this humongous museum. We recommend you to take a personal tour to learn all about this famous painter. 

Claudio Bravo Palace

View museum Taroundant

How to get to Taroudant

Subsequently, it’s easy to get from Agadir, while it’s further down south from Marrakech. You can take a bus or a private transfer. If you combine Taroudant with a visit in Essaouira, it’s cheaper to get a rental car so you can explore the region. All distances take between 2 to 3 hours.


To sum up Taroudant is pretty straight forward. It’s much less crowded, we didn’t see any other western tourists, and you’ll really experience the local culture. This was a completely different vibe as in Marrakech, where you can sometimes feel the gap between the tourist and a local. Places like Taroudant, will broaden your horizon.

Love,

Sarah

 

 

ESSAOUIRA MOROCCO | The Alternative to Marrakech

Get away from the hustle and bustle of Marrakech and find yourself in the most magnificent hotel in the argan-tree hills of Essaouira.

It’s maybe a 3 hours’ drive away but with only 60-80 kilometers allowed and flat landscapes, the road to Essaouira takes quite long. But wait when you get there! Located on the Atlantic coast of Morocco, we want to tell you about this special region and a magnificat hotel Jardin des Douars. 

Essaouira Pinterest

Jardin des Douars

We stayed in the most amazing hotel secluded from the city. An otherworldly escape with brilliant terra-cotta buildings with rough lush greenery, with more than 100 various types of plants and trees. There are two amazing infinitely pools with pool bars where you can order drinks and finger food during the day. Even more, you can have dinner on the amazing terrace outside where they serve Moroccan dishes with French influences. At winter time when it gets cold in the evening you can have dinner inside right at the fireplace in their very cozy spaces.

Each morning a beautiful peacock welcomes you around the property


The stunning Jardin des Douars terrace, in Essaouira

Total relaxation

Very special for this region is the argan oil. The Berber women use argan oil for culinary and cosmetic purposes. At Jardin des Douars they use it in the treatments in their spa. Likewise, the rooms in the hotel are just perfect! With the most comfortable king-size beds, white soft linen, and a private outside terrace with a stunning pool view.  All rooms have private sun beds, a bathroom with separate shower and bath with a mini hammam kit. Nothing makes a room feel cozier than a fireplace. Our room had two! Don’t forget to treat yourself to discover the night skies which are some of the clearest in the world up here. Would you like to explore this amazing hotel yourself, book here.

Essaouira

Only 15 min away from the hotel you reach Essaouira, a great alternative to Marrakech. The pearl of the Atlantic Ocean is very famous for its windsurfing, surfing and Kitesurfing thanks to the strong winds. It is a Mediterranean style fishing port.

Women in Essaouira
Women walking in Essaouira

There was a time when Essaouira was a popular destination for Orson Welles, Jimi Hendrix and Cat Stevens. Locals tell you with proud that Jimi has spent part of his time at a beachside hotel next to Essaouira’s old medina. Take a stroll in the city and visit the bustling medina where you can buy lots of local treasures, like colourful blankets and rugs. Would you like to have some fun in the sand dunes and small desert, ride a camel, quad bike or horse. 


Horse riding in Essaouira


Squad ride in Essaouira

Essaouira is easy accessible from Marrakech, Casablanca and Agadir

Eat & Drink in Essaouira

First of all, Medina isn’t as difficult to navigate as Marrakech for example. It’s less busy, less streets, so it’s easier to find your way around. Similarly, is the amazing cuisine you’ll find here. Maybe some places are less “trendy” than you’ll find in Marrakech, but you will find some amazing local spots. Places like Tara CafeTaros and Triskala Cafe, Ocean Vagebond, La Table de Madada are favourites.

Taros Cafe Essaouira
Lively cafe & bar Taros


Delicious fish platter at La Table de Madada

How to get from Marrakech to Essaouira

Although it takes a little longer, it’s quite easy to get around by bus that departs to and from Marrakech. It takes around 3 hours including a 20 minute stop. Check the bus times and fares. Additionally, you can also rent a car and drive around the region yourself. This gives you the freedom to explore and enjoy the magical landscapes and stop wherever you want. It’s also a bit faster, plus you can listen to the Moroccan radio, which adds to the experience of a road trip.

In short, there’s just something so special about visiting Morocco. It’s unlike so many places you can visit which offer so much diversity. If you are in the neighbourhood, go visit Essaouira and explore it yourself.

Love,

Sarah

3 magical cities to visit during your Christmas holiday

Are you also looking forward to the upcoming holidays, like Christmas and New Year’s Eve?

If you want something different this year, we can recommend the following cities as the perfect get-away during the Christmas period.

1. Paris

The city of love; even more with all the Christmas decorations. Paris is the perfect city if you’re looking for a romantic weekend. Highlights are of course the Eiffel Tower, the Louvre Museum (free admission for people under 25), the Arc de Triomphe, the Champs-Élysées, Place de la Concorde, Centre Pompidou, Panthéon and Sainte-Chapelle. The most romantic part of town is the Montmartre district, with its cozy, little, cobbled streets with lots of art studios and its beautiful Sacré-Coeur. If you have enough time to go outside the city center, the Palace of Versailles is definitely worth a visit. You can spend all day wandering around the palace of Louis XIV, the house of Marie-Antoinette and the amazing gardens. And, if you want to get back to your childhood, you should go visit Disneyland! A Paris Visite Travel Card for 1 day is € 12,85 for the city center or € 26,95 to include destinations like Versailles and Disneyland.

montmartre-in-christmas-ambiance
Montmartre in Christmas ambience

2. London

Looking for a good place to do all your Christmas shopping? London (check our 3-day city guide) is the place to be! By plane you can get there in 1 hour, but there are also a lot of bus companies that offer a 1-day trip. For an easy tour around town, you can catch a hop-on hop-off bus and see all the highlights like Big Ben, Buckingham Palace, Piccadilly Circus, Tower Bridge, London Eye, Trafalgar Square and Westminster Abbey. If you want to explore the city by yourself, you can best take the Tube (Metro). You can buy a Day Travelcard (£12,10 for travelling in the city center) or a so-called Oyster card; this card costs £3 and you can put as much credit on it as you want/need. Don’t forget to pass by Harrods which is amazing during the Christmas period.

harrods London
Harrods London (source)

3. Berlin

Berlin is a city with a lot of history and is therefore a city you should definitely see. Basically, you can go there all-year-round, but in the winter it has an even more special vibe because of all the Christmas markets. You can find most of them around Alexanderplatz. Definitely go for a Glühwein or Currywurst here. If you’re interested in the history of this city, there are some places to visit next to the well-known highlights like The Wall and CheckPoint Charlie. Quite interesting are for example the museum The Story of Berlin, the Berlin-Hohenschönhausen Memorial, and the ‘Berliner Unterwelten. Needless to say, that the best way to travel around town is by S-bahn and U-bahn (a one-day ticket for the city center costs €7,-).

brandenburger-tor-in-christmas-ambiance
Brandenburger Tor during Christmas 

There you have it, 3 magical cities to visit during your Christmas holiday. Where will you go this year?

Love,

Dionne

SILENT DISCO ICE-SKATING AT MUSEUMPLEIN AMSTERDAM

This winter the first silent disco ice skating club will open on the Museumplein in Amsterdam.

At ICE ICE CLUB, founded by TV presenter Sol Wortelboer and his wife, you can go to silent disco ice-skating this winter. Besides that, Bootcamp on Ice and ice hockey lessons will be held at the famous museumplein in the centre of Amsterdam.

Burning Calories

It is said that you burn around 550 kilocalories per hour with skates and around 353 kcal per hour with dancing. “We combine the best of both worlds with Silent Disco Ice-Skating”, Says founder Sol Wortelboer. You can enjoy the silent disco ice-skating from early mornings till late. It is advised you come before 3pm, because after that, it will be quite busy on the ice-skating ring in Amsterdam.In the morning – before regular ice rink opening times – you can also visit Bootcamp on Ice and ice hockey.

Woman ice-skating at night Amsterdam

This brings the old-skool 80’s disco vibe to life!

ICE ICE CLUB

Last summer Sol Wortelboer opened the successful SUP SUP CLUB in Amsterdam and the Betuwe. With the winter version, he wants to make just as many people happy with the same elements in different conditions. And thanks to a great collaboration with Ice* Amsterdam, this dream is now coming true.

ice ring

Nice to know: ICE ICE CLUB is for everyone and accessible with Onefit and Classpass.

ICE ICE CLUB can be found from November 21 on the iconic ice rink of Ice * Amsterdam. For all info you can visit www.iceiceclub.com and www.iceamsterdam.nl.

Find out when and what Christmas Markets are on in Amsterdam this month!

Wander-Lust

 

WILLEM DE BRUIN OPENT RESTAURANT ANNA DU PIRE

Gevierd solo artiest en de andere helft van de populaire hiphop groep De Opposites, slaat even helemaal een andere weg in en opent deze maand zijn allereerste bar/restaurant.

Willem de Bruin, bekend van zijn geprezen solo album Man in Nood staat voor uitverkochte zalen, speelde al eerder de sterren van de hemel in de film Catacombe, maar laat zich nu van een andere kant zien; als ondernemer. Hij opent namelijk een gloednieuwe bar/restaurant Anna du Pire, in het hart van de Pijp in Amsterdam.

Willem de Bruin

Bar Anna du Pire
Photo: Willem de Bruin

Wie is Anna du Pire?

De naam komt van de eerste vrouw van Bartholomeus van der Helst en leidde een leven vol kunst en rijkdom. Anna was een graag geziene gast in de kunst schilders wereld en was bevriend met vrouwelijk kunstschilders van die tijd. Vandaag omschrijft Willem haar als een zelfstandige vrouw. Een echte bohemian. Ze reist de wereld rond en haar ervaringen en de verhalen die ze opdoet tijdens haar leven vertalen zich in het menu en interieur. Hij heeft er voor gekozen om deze keer niet op de voorgrond te staan, maar het concept van Anna du Pire te laten spreken. Zo wordt er dus ook niet over de “eigenaren” gesproken, maar verwijst men naar Anna.

Bar
Binnen Anna du Pire is het smal en cozy. Foto Willem de Bruin

Omdat Anna du Pire als persoon ongrijpbaar is speelt ze met de rijke fantasie van haar gasten. De suggestie van haar aanwezigheid laat ruimte over voor interpretatie. – Willem

Food and Wine

Het brede spectrum van Anna’s wereld vind je terug in het menu.

Het Menu

De menukaart bij Anna du Pire zal velen invloeden kennen. Anna houdt van reizen en raakt geïnspireerd door verschillende culturen. Je vindt er dus niet één cuisine. Op dit moment kun je tot 7 december de eerste try-out kaart komen proeven en zal er daarna gewerkt worden aan vaste kaart. Een ding wat zeker is; er zal goede wijn en eten worden geserveerd. Daarnaast zullen er wine tastings plaatsvinden, gezellige Sunday Brunches en natuurlijk mogen de muziekanten en DJ’s ook niet ontbreken. En dat is dan toch het linkje met Willem.

Anna du Pire
Eerste van der Helststraat 72, Amsterdam
Website / Instagram

x Elke

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