SEE LONDON IN THREE DAYS

London is a city that’s ever changing when it comes to restaurants, clubs and other hotspots. Time for an updated city guide!

Because most people visit London for a long weekend, we’ve created a guide that you can use if you only have three days to see London. Don’t worry, the options are endless!

How to get there

Thankfully, you can now easily travel to London by train. As we would have normally flown over, we decided to give the train a go, which is better for the environment and more comfortable. From Amsterdam it only takes 4,5 hours. The best thing is that you arrive in the middle of the city centre! Tip: Buy yourself an Oyster Card at the train station, this way your can easily check in and out, plus you travel with a discount.

London Tube


Where To Stay

ibis Styles Southwark London

During our most recent stay in London we stayed at ibis Styles Southwark. ibis Styles is actually the hip and creative sister hotel of the well known ibus hotels and rooms are available to book for as little as £199,-. Yes, it’s London people, you’re not going to get anything for a better price at a top location like this one. The reception setup is spacious and welcoming with lounge chairs and a bar. 

Reception ibis styles

The whole hotel has a broadway theme which makes it fun and colourful! It was the first time we stayed in Southwark and we can highly recommend it! Around the corner you’ll find many nice eateries and bars like the Iron Flat Square, a hub of food stalls and bars that is open every day of the week. Next to that you have the London Borough Market around the corner which is a must visit! From the hotel, you can also easily walk to the Thames River and see the Tower Bridge. Book your stay here. Curious about our ibis Styles stay in Paris? You can read it in our Paris Guide!

Collage ibis Styles Southwark
Our spacious bedroom, the breakfast room and Flat Iron Square around the corner


Where to Eat in London

Honestly, where do we start! London is full of hotspots, but there are only a few I will mention. We all know Sketch by now, so you won’t find that one on this list. These are our favourites!

» Circolo Popolare
They’ve been open for a few months and it’s almost impossible to make a reservation. Luckily, we managed to get a spot but make sure you reserve on time. Once inside you won’t believe your eyes, what a place! It looks like something out of an Italian fairytale with flowers hanging from the ceiling and the walls covered in drinks. We would have expected hyped places to lack in taste and service but Circolo Popolare completely swept us of our feet. The service for one was amazing and the food..don’t even get us started. We ordered a salad which was big enough for two and a freshly oven baked pizza. Tip: Definitely order one of their inventive cocktails and the tiramisu was the best we have ever tasted.

Circolo Popolare London

» Seabird
Like ibis Styles, Seabird is also located in Southwark. This wonderful rooftop restaurant has an amazing outside terrace overlooking the city of London. They serve a wonderful selection of seafoods with Spanish and Portuguese influences, including 15 different oysters! The inside looks like a decor created in Tulum, which includes a bar where they create amazing cocktails served in tropical animal glasses. seabirdlondon.com

Seabird terrace London
The amazing terrace of Seabird

» GBR London
If you wanna go posh, plus British, you need to visit GBR. Situated in The Dukes hotel, it’s British food at it’s best. The interior is classical British with a James Bond vibe. Furthermore, the staff is lovely and are happy to accommodate you with special requirements. They also offer all day dining and a killer high tea, so if you’re up for some great British flavours, you should check it out. www.gbrrestaurantslondon.com

» Ping Pong
It was there 10 years ago, and it’s still good. Ping Pong is an Asian Fusion restaurant with incredible dimsum dishes. It’s great for lunch and even better for dinner. Don’t forget to order the Jasmine flower tea, because it’s an actual flower opening up in the clear tea glass. 

» Saint Aymes
This place is good for pink latté’s and your instagram account. The outside is such a treat with the pretty (fake) flowers. 

» Elancafe
Again, a wonderful place for your insta feed. The walls are covered in roses and the interior features marble tables where you can perfectly pose against the rose wall. Oh, this place is also famous for it’s cakes and great looking coffees. (almost forgot about that part!) 

» Camden Lock
I used to work in Camden Town and this area is a food Walhalla. There are many international food stands with delicious, homemade foods and vegans can go crazy here. Rumer has it, that you can find the best vegan burgers here.. www.camdenmarket.com

Camden lock, London City Guide
Vegan food at Camden Lock

» Pachamama Bar & Kitchen
They serve a killer Peruvian lunch, brunch, dinner and create wonderful cocktails. 

» Farm Girl Café
They are a holistic Australian farm café with delicious (and healthy!) foods. They are based in Chelsea, Soho and Nothing Hill. Make a reservation to avoid a fully booked café. 

» Boxpark Shoreditch
It’s been around for a few years now, but if you like to try quality streetfood, you should eat at Boxpark. There are options enough to fill your tummy and you can go shopping after that (then again, maybe before is better, otherwise you might not fit those new pants) Check here for the latest food stands.

» Duddell’s London
Located in the historic St. Thomas Church in the heart of London Bridge, minutes from Borough Market, Duddell’s London is offering an authentic and delicious Cantonese cuisine. Just look at the interior, wow! The dim-sum here is hand-crafted and the cocktails are Asian-inspired. 


Duddell’s London


Where to Shop
Shopping in London is something that you can’t get around. Depending what your taste is or how much you want to spend, there are options for everything. We’ve highlighted our personal favourite shopping districts and added a few that you just have to see for yourself.


Shopping in London’s high street

» Oxford Street
It’s the largest and longest shopping street in London. You will find all the commercial brands here like ZARA, Mango, Nike, H&M etc. Also check out the shopping mall Selfridges. It’s amazing!

» Knightsbridge
This is for the Chanel lovers among us. Big brands show off their impressive shopping windows and you can find Harrods here, the topnotch shopping warehouse that is worth checking out, especially the food hall and the toy kingdom.

» Camden Town
One of my favorite shopping area’s in London! It used to be a horse stable market so you will find many alleys and secret corners here. It’s great for bargain shopping and you can find local goods, weird stuff, plus there is even a crazy techno/house store which you need to check out, it’s like walking into a club!

» Carnaby Street
This street is full of amazing shops! Some are boutique, others are more mainstream like Adidas or Superga. Sneaker lovers should check Carnaby Street!

» Boxpark Shoreditch
There we have the boxpark again! Yep, this place is well worth checking out for speciality clothes and unique items. I bought some glitter socks there, I mean, what a catch! Read our full Shorditch Guide!


What To See & Do

Like New York, London is a city where you can’t get bored. There is lot’s to see and do, but to narrow it down, these are my personal tips.

» Visit Some of London’s Parks
London is greener than you might think. There are several parks to choose from besides the famous Hyde Park. Primrose Hill, Regents Park and lesser known Hampstead Heath are my favourites. They are more local and offer stunning views and nature. If you are in Primrose Hill, make sure you walk into the neighbourhood and check out the coloured houses.

Primrose Hill London

» Sky Garden
I didn’t manage to go because I forgot to make a reservation but if you do have the time, visit the Sky Garden. Stunning views over the city with an indoor tropical garden. Entrance is free but you need to book a time slot. They do accept walk-ins after 6pm during the week. skygarden.london

Bonus » If you like gardens, check out Kew Gardens. It’s about 30 minutes travel from Central London and their Victorian glasshouse just opened. See over 10,000 plants in the world’s biggest glasshouse. www.kew.org

» Coal Drops Yard
Currently, it is the place to be. Hip and happening with restaurants, cafés and business all tucked into one. Find out what’s it like.

Coal Drops Yard

» Covent Garden
What’s not to love about this area. Street theater, live opera singers, musicians, local goods, shops, restaurants and a market. Covent Garden is the place I never skip when I’m in London.

» Museum in London are free!
Oh yes, they should do this anywhere in the world don’t you think? We love the Natural History Museum, Tate Modern and The Victoria & Albert museum.

Neill's Yard London
Neill’s Yard, near Covent Garden

Whale skeleton Natural History Museum

We hope you are able enjoy London in three days! After all, it was Elke’s “home town” for many years. Let me know if you’ve used our tips, we’d love to hear it!

Love,

Wander-Lust

THE BEST OF DOHA, QATAR

Doha is considered the pearl of the middle east that set itself on the map after being elected for the 2022 World Cup. Time to find out why it’s good to travel to Doha now, before it’s becoming the next Dubai.

The city of Doha has many amazing sky scrapers, entertainment, shopping, glitch and glamour, yet it still offers an authentic culture and history. We were invited by Qatar Airways to see the best of Doha.

HOW TO GET THERE

Given that Qatar Airways is officially the best airline in the world, I was happy to fly with them for the first time. Luckily, I was upgraded into their QSuite (O Em Gee), which has been voted as the best business class by the Yearly World Airlines Awards, the oscars of aviation. For someone with a fear of flying, this was the most relaxing flight I had ever experienced. A direct flight to Doha takes about 6 hours, so that’s pretty reasonable. Qatar Airways for that matter, is offering Doha as a stopover, which you can add to your booking. As a matter of fact, if you fly with QR, you can get a discount on hotel prices. 4-star hotels are available for as little as 23USD! Nice to know: Qatar Airways offers all passengers 1 hour free wifi!


Business Class Qatar Airways
Enjoying the QSuite

THE STORY ABOUT QATAR & DOHA

First thing to remember is that Qatar is a reasonably small country which makes it fairly easy to travel around if you want to. You can actually drive from North to South Qatar in approximately 3 hours. As you may have heard, Qatar is one of the richest countries in the world due to their gas & oil, but it wasn’t always like this. For centuries, pearl harvesting used to be the main source of income for Qatari people. But due to the great depression and competition, pearls lost their value and the country needed to find other ways to earn a living. The pearl however, remains an important symbol of Qatar until this day.

Baskets at Souq Waqif

Doha on the other hand, is only 40 years old, which explains the modern vibe and ongoing construction. People often compare it to Dubai, but the people who live here, find Doha to be very different. For one, Dubai is all about entertainment, luxury and shopping. While Doha is certainly up there when it comes to luxury hotels, restaurants and bars, but also offers culture, sports and traditions.

GOOD TO KNOW

The best time to visit Doha is from October until the end of April. It must be remembered that the weather is undoubtedly less hot during those months with temperatures between 25 and 35 degrees. While this still seems quite warm, during summer period it can get up to 50ºC! It also has to be considered that Qatar is a muslim country, so dress accordingly. This means long dresses or trousers and try to cover your upper arms. On the contrary, you can wear pretty much whatever you want in most hotels. Alcohol is not served in public spaces, but only inside some restaurants and bars. That being said, I never heard a police siren while I was there, something I haven’t experienced in a city before.

Skyline

WHERE TO STAY

In general, there is enough choice when it comes to accommodation in Doha. For the most part, there are many big hotels, but the city also offers boutique style hotels and homestays. The best place to stay in Doha is in the West Bay area. Here you are near the airport, museums, and Souq Waqif. During my three-day trip I stayed in the following hotels.

  • Mandarin Oriental

    Brand new in Doha so modern and stylish. The rooms are truly exquisite and spacious. The hotel has an outdoor pool, 3 restaurants and a spa. Their latest gastronomic addition is Mosaic, an international kitchen with an Arabic twist. The location of the hotel is recently build, so taxi drivers may not find it that easily. On the positive side, Mandarin Oriental is located at walking distance of Souq Waqif!

Hotel pool

  • Marsa Malaz Kempinski

    In contrast to the Mandarin Oriental, Kempinski is more classical and larger. The entrance is quite impressive and the hotel offers a large pool area and a beach. They have a very cool must visit rooftop bar named Secret Garden and club that is only accessible via the parking lot. Bare in mind that the dresscode is smart/casual and visitors must bring their passports. Ask the reception for all the details.

Hotel bed

Kempinski Hotel Doha

The above mentioned hotels are both amazing but understandably not for every budget, so you are best to compare the best rated hotels online.

WHERE TO EAT

Luckily, Doha offers a wide range of cuisines and flavours. Even vegetarians have plenty of options! Here is a list of some must try restaurants.

  • Al Mourjan Restaurant offers some of the best Lebanese food in Doha. From the outside terrace you have an amazing view. Try the lemon/mint juice, amazing!
  • Nobu Doha is famous for sushi, but the same goes for their good service. The Japanese chefs welcome every new customer with a traditional greeting while working their magic behind the counter. Upstairs you can enjoy a drink at the bar, which overlooks part of Doha’s skyline. Nobu is part of the Four Seasons Hotel, due to open in early 2020.

Mezza in Doha

  • Apparently, Spicemarket is the best rated Asian restaurant in Doha. The restaurant which is located in the W-hotel, takes you on a journey across South East Asia and brings the authentic flavours to the table.
  • If you are a brunch person, go to Arc Brunch Eatery! Apparently they serve a killer coconut latte.
  • As previously mentioned, Mosaic is the newest restaurant in the Mandarin Oriental hotel. They offer a variety of Arabic food with a twist!
  • Spots like Soul Bowl and Evergreen Organics are made for those that crave something healthy and vegan. Plus both locations look cute!

Mosiac

Nice to know: Little did I know, but coffee is a thing in Doha! You’ll find many trendy coffee bars around the city and our favourites café’s are Flat White, Cue Café, Fleurs at Café, 20 Grams Coffee Bar, MIA Café and Tea Garden.

Coffee bar Doha
Cue café, in the Pearl (source)

CULTURE & TRADITIONS

You may not expect it, but Doha is full of culture and traditions. For example, the falcon, Qatars symbol and bird, is still as important as centuries ago. Some falcons even travel first class with their owners! At Souq Waqif you can find a falcon market where the birds are sold and traded. There is even a falcon hospital to keep them in good shape. The traditional Souq itself is also worth a visit. During the evening it gets more crowded but if you come between 7:30 – 12:00, you can take photo’s without hardly any people. They sell everything from handmade baskets, colourful carpets, spices, sweets and tools. The souq is also the best place for traditionally Arabic food, but you can also find Indian, Lebanese and Iranian food here.

Souq Waqif
Souq Waqif during the day

Doha Falcon

Museums

I never expected to find the best museum I have ever visited in Doha, but I did. The National Museum of Qatar is truly impressive. The design – inspired by a desert rose, is incredible. But once inside, NMOQ is curated beautifully. It takes you through the ancient times, including the amazing displays of  different species that live in Qatar. How pearls came and went, war and traditions. Not to mention that kids will love the interactive and playful set ups, while adults enjoy the beautiful indoor architecture and information.

NMOQ in Doha
The stunning National Museum of Qatar

But this is not the only museum Doha has on offer. MIA (Museum of Islamic Art) is also one of the city’s pride and joy. The building portraits a Qatari woman wearing a bourqa. From here you have a stunning view of Doha’s skyline. If you like modern art, check out Mathaf, Arab Museum of Modern Art. With new exhibitions each month, Doha also has many galleries. Find out more here.

MIA Museum in Doha
MIA Museum

THINGS TO DO IN DOHA

Equally important are the activities Doha has on offer. A unique selling point has to be the desert with one of the world’s natural wonders; the inland sea. Next to Namibia, Qatar is the only place on earth where the sea reaches the desert. You can book several tours that will take you dune bashing. If you come in the beginning or end of the month, the sea will reach the sand dunes completely, otherwise the sight of it may be a bit disappointing.

Desert Qatar
Me, in the desert. Photo by Roel van der Krabben

Desert and sea
Camels standing at the inland sea

Visit Banana Island

Besides the thrilling desert of Qatar, you can also spend an afternoon at the luxurious Banana Island Resort. From Doha City you can take a ferry in just 35 minutes that will take you to the man-build island. There are a few restaurants, pools and beach area for visitors to enjoy the day. If you want to stay the night, you need to bring your credit card, because it ain’t cheap! Even so, it’s perfect for honeymooners or to escape the city.

Banana Island entrace
The entrance of Banana Island Resort

Katara Cultural Village

What’s more, a whole village was build to bring different cultures together through art and creativity. There are shops, restaurants, theatre, exhibition area’s and festive events. Doha is full of expats and they love to come here to listen to familiar sounds and meet friends. There is also a stunning mosque which was designed by a woman, which is quite special.

Mosque
The Mosque at Cultural Village

MY VERDICT

Having experienced Doha for a few days, and can say that it’s the perfect city for a stopover before heading home or continuing your trip. With this intention you can truly enjoy the best of Doha. In short, the capital of Qatar can be quite expensive indeed, but if you if you want, you can go all out here and treat yourself to great food, sunshine, glitch and glamour. Hop from hotel bar to beautiful restaurants or experience rich culture the sand dunes and meet some of the nicest people as a bonus, both expats and locals.

And remember that Dubai once started out as Doha. Quietly and full ambition. I think it’s time to visit this relatively unknown destination and enjoy it before it becomes a place where you’ll become just another tourist.

Love,

Elke

 

 

 

 

The Paris City Guide

With Paris so easy to reach via train and car, it is no surprise that the French metropole is one of the most visited cities in Europe. 

We created a brand new guide that you can use for your next trip to Paris, France.

WHERE TO EAT

First thing to remember is that you may come back from Paris with a few pounds extra. But who cares! When you are in the city of love, you will have many amazing places to choose from. These are by far our favourites!

  • Terrasse de l’Alcazar

    This is by far one of the best locations in Paris. Tucked away in a side street of the 6th arrondissement, is this trendy restaurant has an indoor garden and international cuisine. They do Sunday brunch and cocktails.

Terrasse de l'Alcazar Paris
The amazing Terrasse de l’Alcazar

  • CoCo Paris

    Undoubtedly, CoCo is one of the most impressive spots located in Paris. Relatively new, they opened in the summer of 2019, next to the Opera. Inside you’ll find palmtrees and a luxurious setting. 

  • Daroco

    Located in Jean Paul Gaultier’s former flagship store, right next to Galerie Vivienne, a beautiful arcade built in 1923. The decor is aaa-mazing, and they serve traditional Italian food.

Restaurant Daroco Paris
Daroco

restaurant CoCo Paris
CoCo

  • Dalmata

    On the other hand, if you like to keep it low key and casual, check out this pink pizza heaven. These Italians are doing it right.Their concept? 202 pizzas maximum are served daily (101 at lunchtime and 101 at dinnertime) to enjoy on the spot or to take away. To get an idea of how many pizzas are left, a counter has been put at the entrance of the restaurant. Brilljant and we are loving the no waste policy!

Dalmata Paris
Dalmata

  • Maison Sauvage

    Regardless if you like hotspots or not, this place looks damn cute. With two floors and an outside terrace, this restaurant makes it work in busy Saint-Germain-des-Prés. They serve healthy comfort food, juices and coffee.

  • Peonies

    Unquestionably, Peonies is our happy place and belongs in this Paris City Guide. They are a café and florist combined and serve a killer Matcha Pink latte including beautifully made pastry, whilst surrounded by fresh flowers. 

Maison Sauvage Paris
Maison Sauvage

  • Café Berry

    Besides being a café, this self-entitled wellness café, has an in-store beauty and nail bar. Needless to say that they are located in the trendy neighbourhood of Le Marais.

Colourful lattes Cafe Berry
Source: Café Berry

  • LouLou

    This Australian lunch spot is always buzzing and serves delish bowls, salads and sandwiches. Furthermore, the service was good and friendly while I was there.

  • Le Pavillon au Canaux

    When you enter the spacious terrace, it is hard not to fall in love with this place. Calmly situated next to the canal, the restaurant has a unique design. If you like, you can dine in a bathtub not to mention the bedroom next door where you can drink your coffee. 

Cafe Paris
Le Pavillon au Canaux

  • Kozy Paris

    If you like pretty food to pimp up your Instagram account, the 3 locations of Kozy Berry will do it for you. 

  • Le Potager de Charlotte

    Vegan or not vegan, you will appreciate this amazing dishes at Le Pontager de Charlotte. Our guest editor Chantelle reviewed them and other vegan restaurants in Paris when they recently opened their second location. Therefore we highly recommend this place to anyone that loves belly friendly foods.

Vegan food in Paris


WHERE TO DRINK

Paris is full of amazing cocktail bars and places where you can drink wine alongside a delicious French cheese platter. These are the best places to do it!

  • Candelaria, 52 rue de Saintonge
    On first sight, you think this is just a tiny taco bar with nothing more than a few tables and a bar. But behind the white door is a secret cocktail bar that takes you down into a Mexican allure with candle lights and an amazing vibe.
  • Comptoir Général, 80, quai de Jemmapes
    This bar has been features in almost all best-bars lists, that being said, it totally deserves to be in those lists. It can be busy during the weekends!

Secret cocktail bar
Just a taco bar?


WHERE TO STAY

Because Paris isn’t the most affordable city, we decided to stay just outside the centre to see what it was like. Surprisingly, the centre of Paris was only a 20 minute metro ride, plus I got to see a more local side of Paris.

  • ibis Styles
    Located at Mairie de Montreuil, the place where the art of cinema started in the early twenties. At first, you may feel that  you are miles away from the heart of Paris, but as shown above, the metro that is located almost next to the hotel, takes you to the city pretty fast. Hotel ibis Styles is the more playful & creative sister of the Ibis you may know. In particular, this hotel has recently been renovated and like all other ibis styles hotels, it took on the theme of the neighbourhood, in this case cinema.

ibis Styles Marie de Montreuil

Given that ibis styles is for every budget, don’t expect anything too fancy. However, the beds are really comfortable and the shutters in the rooms make you sleep like a baby. All rooms are equipped with a flatscreen and designed to match the film theme of the hotel. The breakfast buffet is filled with French pastries, fresh orange juice, cheeses and baguettes. If you want, there is also a fresh authentic bakery across from the metro station that is wonderful. 

Bedroom ibis styles Montreuil

Around the area

The area has a few shops, florists, bakeries and an amazing organic supermarket with options to go plastic-free. You can refill almost anything from oils, coffee, tea, nuts, seeds and even washing detergents! There is also a nice sushi restaurant on the corner from the hotel. Rooms at ibis Styles Paris Marie de Montreuil are available from 120 euro per night.


WHERE TO HANG OUT

As you may know, Paris is huge! That being said, there are a few places we have lined up where you can relax and chill after walking around the city of love all day.

  • The parks in Paris
    There are many parks in Paris but check this overview that we made for you last spring to find the most pretty ones!
  • Anywhere along the Seine! 
    There are many benches around the seine for you to enjoy passing boats, or seeing oil painters creating art in front of you. Crab a baguette and enjoy Paris.
  • Le Marais
    In our opinion, one of the best area’s in Paris. In either case, you will find many café’s, shops and restaurants where you can hang.

Parks in Paris

Paris in a nutshell

In summary, Paris can never be summed up into one city guide as it constantly evolves. However, these places in the French Metropole makes us happy, and we hope they do the same for you.

Bisou,

Elke

12 x Tips for a Midweekend Citytrip to Maastricht

Last midweek we traveled to Maastricht and its surroundings. Let see what the city that almost hosted the 2020 Eurovision is all about.

We Dutchies are globe-trotters with a capital ‘G’ and an exclamation mark. Our travel-around-the-world-craving seems to become bigger and bigger, year after year. But besides all the international magic, did you know our own country has just as much to offer as the most distant destinations? A nice side note: you save yourself a pricey ticket and killer jetlag (here’s how to avoid one). Hello Maastricht!

Midweekend Citytrip to Maastricht in a nutshell

Would you like to experience life like the Maastricht citizens do? Drop by on a Sunday afternoon till Thursday and you’ll get that slow living, enjoyable feeling! No hustle and bustle, just everything at ease. The authentic atmosphere of Maastricht made me feel like I was on a laid back mini vacation abroad – and that wasn’t just because of the lovely spring sunshine, cold beer with Italian nibbles and a hospitable community. There is so much to explore, let’s zoom in on a few highlights and to do’s I’ve tried & tested.

Where to Stay

In my opinion the best district to stay is without doubt the hip and lively district ‘Wyck’. Extra plus: it’s near the train station, which is super convenient. Let me give you three really cool hotel tips for your citytrip in Maastricht:

» The Student Hotel: The Student Hotel has become a household name in this city. Besides housing students with a home away from home, the building also provides guests with a playful decor and spacious rooms. The monumental building is the perfect match for that TSH vibe, which stands for playful, creative and community. Next door you can find The Commons, a nice restaurant that guest and outsiders can use for breakfast, lunch or dinner. Keep an eye out for more Student Hotel locations, they plan to have 41 properties in European cities by 2021! Book your stay here.

TSH Maastricht
The Student Hotel

» The Dutch: The colourful, trendy design with international allure would certainly not be missed in Amsterdam, London or Barcelona. I’m in love with their breakfast bag, which they hang on your door in the early morning, so cute. Food allergy, vegan or other wishes? No problem for the genuinely friendly staff! www.hotelthedutch.com

Midweekend Citytrip to Maastricht The Dutch

Midweekend Citytrip to Maastricht The Dutch
The Dutch, one of my stays during my midweekend citytrip in Maastricht

» Kaboom Hotel, are you smart, worldly-wise and a tad of a rebel? Did you hear yourself saying three times ‘yes’ than you definitely have to stay here. Rewarded as the best hotel concept in 2015 according to Entree Magazine, good job! Oh and they’re nice for your wallet: budget-friendly without feeling cheap. Book your stay here.
» Townhouse Hotel. They want to give you the feelin’ like home-away-from-home experience: rent a goldfish for one night – how funny is that! – and enjoy their homemade soup or a little alcoholic drink in one of the comfortable, retro sofas. If you prefer a pure and ‘down to earth’ hotel, this is your match! Book here!

Townhouse Hotel
The Townhouse Hotel

Where to Eat

Oh Yes, we have arrived (figuratively  speaking) at my favorite chapter: Food! During my citytrip in Maastricht I spotted many pretty new hotspots.
» Mr. Smith, Say hi to this new kid in town. A stylish cocktailbar of two hipsters. This cocktailicious hotspot is one you need to know, otherwise you will spontaneously go along. Press the bell and a small-scale, hidden cocktail heaven will open in front of you. Go for their fresh GT’s or ask the staff for a tasty advice. In advance #sorrynotsorry for your hangover. mrsmithmaastricht
» De Poshoorn, on Sunday evening I went to the well-known De Poshoorn. In the past a brown, tiny unobtrusive pub, nowadays a vibrant beer café with a fresh, contemporary atmosphere. Sixteen beers on tap and hundred on bottle. Go local and try the ‘Mestreechs Zoervleis’, a local food specialty. In spite of the fact the Maastrichtians see this dish as something unique, for this girl from above the rivers it’s a look-alike of the meaty hachee, so delicious! www.poshoorn.nl
» De Tapijn, is a very cool 4-year catering project in a former barrack. Relaxed location near the park, welcoming staff, a huge terrace and yummy food. I love the fact they know the origin of the fresh, local ingredients. This alone makes the food even better. Lunch, dinner or a Friday drink with friends, this hotspot in Maastricht has it all! www.tapijn.nl

Midweekend Citytrip to Maastricht
Jack White’s, one of the hotspots I’ve tried during my citytrip in Maastricht

Midweekend Citytrip to Maastricht
Never mind the beer! 😉

What To Do

Boy o boy where to start, there’s so much to do during a (mid)weekend Maastricht and other parts of South Limburg! Here are my favorite highlights:
Let’s start with the city walk through the urban part of Maastricht. Honestly, the excitement of the guide is essential for making or failing it, but luckily I had an amazing time with Lianne Schuuring, credits for her. She showed all the interesting ins and outs of Maastricht from the history till today. Bucketlist proof!

Midweekend Citytrip to Maastricht
Sightseeing Maastricht, a must do during your citytrip!

Midweekend citytrip to Maastricht

Get Active

If you’d rather ride a bike than walk, rent a mountainbike and work on your condition in this hilly area. There’re so many bike routes. I cycled to the newly opened ENCI-quarry, a wonderful spot for a swim in summertime. Just a guess, I think you’ve never thought about a kickbike tour in the caves of Zonnebergust. In the Maastricht underground nothing is too crazy. Although I do not have much with visiting caves, the whole new experience ánd power chick Niké Hermans made it really enjoyable. See the Southern part of South Limburg from a fascinating, different angle. Are you claustrophobic? Let shake hands…but I can tell you this wasn’t too claustrophobic for me, so don’t worry.

dsc_0918
Entering the cave

Herbal walk?

A herbal walk in Maastricht or other parts in South Limburg, have you ever done it? Come one, once has to be the very first time. Definitely book it via the enthusiastic master herborist Anne van der Linden. She’s is a running encyclopedia, she really knows everything about herbs and their special function: tea of nettle for blood purification, the juice from the dandelion for drying out annoying pimples and so on, and so on. If you’re very interested in the history of historical buildings go to Abdij Rolduc in Kerkrade and book a tour. To be honest, it wasn’t my favorite, but I can imagine you don’t want to miss it during your midweekend in Maastricht and surroundings. Afterwards you can have some food in the Brasserie or have a quick look in the microbrewery, a hidden gem!

dsc_0939

Maastricht

An information overload summarised in a city guide for you, you’re welcome 😉 I’ll definitely go back to the south if I need a mini-break!

Love,

Sharmaine

Read more of Sharmaine’s foodie tips here!

Ostrava | Czech charm meets industrial chique

The Czech Republic is certainly no stranger to foreign tourism. However, most tourists who take a visit to this country limit themselves to Prague. The vibrant city Ostrava often gets overlooked by travellers but has a lot to offer.

From skating down the Pustevny mountain to exploring underground coal mines and even partying at one of the best music festivals in Europe.. Bringing a visit to Ostrava will be a pleasant surprise for anyone looking to get off the beaten track..

Where is Ostrava?

The city isn’t too famous so there’s a big chance that most people don’t know about this place. That given, Ostrava is the third largest city in the Czech Republic and it’s located in the very Northeast of the country. The city was for a long time known (among Czechs) for being unattractively industrial because it was historically associated with the production of pig-iron and coal. Its reputation as an industrial workaday city has prevented it from seeing the tourism it deserves. Although it is not as classically beautiful as some other Czech cities, its history as the epicentre of the country’s mining industry makes it a very fascinating place to visit. Let’s delve into some of the awesome things to do in Ostrava and unique features of the city.

What to do

Masaryk Square:

It is safe to say that Masaryk Square is the central point of the city. It is surrounded by pretty pastel coloured houses with decorated facades. There are quite a few cafés on Masaryk Square, where you can relax after strolling around. The central square is a gorgeous setting and therefore a must-see in Ostrava.

City Hall Tower:

is the Czech Republic’s highest city hall tower! It offers a wonderful panorama view of the surprisingly green city of Ostrava and its surroundings from a height of 73 metres above ground level. On a clear day you can see many of the coal mines and blast furnaces in the area and you can even get a glimpse of the Poland borders.

Ostrava Center

Landek Mining Museum

If you want to learn about the history of Ostrava, the Landek Mining Museum is your calling. This mining museum is the biggest one in the Czech Republic and you get a unique peek behind the curtains of the harsh circumstances the miners worked in. The guides are former mine workers themselves and have a lot of knowledge about the mine. The absolute highlight is going down with an elevator shaft into a restored section of the underground mine. Hungry after the tour? Next to the Museum is a good traditional restaurant with national dishes.

Landek mine Ostrava

The Ostravice river

Is a beautiful river that flows through the city. Great for walking, running, cycling or hanging out in the adjacent park. Looking for more adventurous activities? Rent a raft or canoe and head down the river. It’s a really beautiful trip on the water where you can spot many wild animals. We spotted a baby deer, drinking water at the shore!

Dolní Vítkovice

is a former industrial site used for mining and iron processing. It’s an atmospheric and almost otherworldly industrial area (it looks like something out of a Mad Max movie set) which is being turned into a cultural centre. You can go up in the Bolt tower with a lift and have a view over the whole city. It’s really cool (and a bit scary) when you get to the top, and a great place for photography because of all the surrounding old buildings. The international multi-genre music festival Colours of Ostrava is organized on this venue every year.

Dolci Ostrava

Pustevny mountains

Equally worth visiting are the Pustevny mountains, about half an hour’s drive from Ostrava. A ski lift will take you 1 km above sea level. Once there, you can hike another 100 meter up a wonderful Himalayan inspired walking trail. On the top of the trail you can find a short skywalk with a glass floor where you will enjoy a beautiful view. To get back down the mountain, you can take the ski lift again or rent scooters on which you can drive down (adrenaline-kick assured!).

Bridge Ostrava

Where to stay

Harmony hotel Ostrava:

This hotel is a treat. The beds are very comfortable, the room gets cleaned every day, and the view of the city is amazing. The biggest surprise however is its breakfast. They offer a large selection of fruit, eggs, bacon, vegetables, bread and various types of cheese and salami as well as pancakes and brownies.

Airbnb:

In and around Ostrava there are quite a lot people who offer their room, apartment or house for rent. The advantage of renting an Airbnb is that you can cook for yourself (which saves costs), and you normally have more space than in a hotel room. It is also nice to be among locals if you rent a room in someone’s house! Renting an Airbnb in Ostrava is very affordable. For a small apartment you pay around 25 euros per night.

How to get there

A distance of 1.300 km needs to be covered if you travel from Amsterdam to Ostrava. Taking the airplane is the fastest option. From Amsterdam you can fly to Ostrava via Prague. Another option is flying to Prague and then take the train (3,5 hour) to Ostrava. If you prefer to travel on your own, a car is recommended for transportation. For this you invest half a day on a direct ride, but you can make your holiday a lot more interesting if you dive into the cities that you pass along the way. Berlin and Prague are perfect stopovers to hop through for example. Not in possession of a car and driver’s license? Take the train and go interrailing!

Train to Ostrava

Conclusion

In conclusion, I must say that the entire city has a certain atmosphere, there is something very interesting about Ostrava. The old buildings, abandoned factories, green parks and the nice architecture of the old town all add up to this. In short: there is plenty to do and see in Ostrava! Combining the festival and sightseeing in the city makes up for a perfect Czech trip, and is wholeheartedly recommended!

Are you planning to visit Ostrava one day? Let us know in the comments!

Love,

Iris

*Iris is one of our guest editors from The Netherlands. She’s got a big interest in photography, fashion, spirituality and traveling. She was 3 months old when she was on the plane for the first time and has been to every continent in the meantime. You can follow iris on Instagram.

The Manchester Weekend Guide

Manchester is one of the, if not the most, fastest-growing cities in England. Below, we have handpicked and tested some of the newest restaurants and stayed in the snazziest new boutique hotel to make sure your next city break is nothing but top-notch.

Whether you are travelling from within the United Kingdom or further out, Manchester is pretty easy to get to by both train and flights – no excuse not to visit it. If you are not yet convinced about visiting this North-Western city, see here for five reasons why it’s better than London

All the up and coming places in Manchester for your next city break

Where to stay in Manchester

The chic hotel chain Dakota has recently opened its fifth hotel in the country right in the centre of Manchester. It is a maximum five-minute walk from Piccadilly train station. Whilst there are plenty of hotels in Manchester, Dakota is probably the most elegant one you’ll find. I felt like an A-list staying there and that is no exaggeration. Before you even step foot into its front doors, you are greeted by the brightest of smiles and throughout your stay, the staffs are attentive without being intruding, which I find can sometimes be the case with other hotels. Book your stay here.

Dakota Manchester

Breakfast Manchester Guide
Breakfast at Dakota

Where to eat in Manchester

Generally speaking, the food scene here in Manchester is pretty impressive. I’d say its variety of restaurants is almost as competitive as London. Many chains had their first restaurants in London have now made their way up to the North, starting right here in Manchester, and Dishoom is no exception. The menu at this Bombay restaurant works just the same as the ones they have in London, with a few dishes that are exclusively available in Manchester. This includes the delicious and generously portioned Chef’s special and the spicy chilli chicken. Go there for a meal or even just for drinks at night before you hit the clubs next door!

Manchester

But first..

For a nice cup of coffee, head over to Over Under for your caffeine fix. This chic new place in town is a coffee shop by day and a cocktail bar by night. You know who’ll be staying there all day!

Enjoy the creative spin on the modest English dish, fish and chips.

If you’re feeling fancy, indulge in a meal like no others at Six by Nico, a fabulously new restaurant open by the Michelin chef Nico Simeone. While fine dining can be intimidating, Six by Nico makes the experience accessible to all, in its concept and price, and super enjoyable. The six-course meal is the chef’s creative spin on the modest English dish, fish and chips. There’s also an option to take it up a notch by adding an expertly paired wine to your six-course meal for only £26. For those who have to be more cautious with their diet, 3Squared is the first Free-From restaurant in town, serving deliciously good food with care and without 9 of the inflammatory ingredients that are known for causing some of the most common allergies.

Six by Nico Manchester

Worth a mention

While this isn’t exactly a new spot, I couldn’t not give Brewski a shout out – they do the best mac and cheese in town and also a selection of brunch food, coffees and alcoholic beverages! Go there and see (and try) it for yourself! Don’t want to limit yourself to just one cuisine? Make sure you check out the biggest and apparently, the best street food fair every Friday and Saturday at Grub. They also do Plant Powered Sundays with a selection of vegan food for grab with live music. Perfect place to spend your sunny weekend!

You can find beautiful handmade crafts and vintage clothes every first Sunday of the month

What to do in Manchester

To begin with, make your weekend a fun one by challenging your friends to a game of minigolf at Junkyard Golf or a few rounds of darts at Flight Club. This isn’t your usual pub game. This is the most innovative and thrilling game of darts you will ever play, trust me! Can’t decide between shuffleboard or beer pong? In this case, go to Roxy Ball Room on Deansgate and do both!

Markets

Since you’re there for the weekend, why not check out the weekend markets in town? The Makers Market happens twice a month in Manchester. You can find beautiful handmade crafts and vintage clothes every first Sunday of the month in the big open space at Great Northern. Secondly, on the second Sunday of the month on the other side of town in the Northern Quarter, you’ll find everything from freshly baked goods to arts and crafts. For all other Sundays, smell your way to the street food market up in the Piccadilly Gardens

Manchester Guide

What are you waiting for? Book your next weekend getaway to Manchester right now and let us know if you try any of the recommendations above!

Love,

Chantelle

*Chantelle is one of our guest editor from Hong Kong. She has lived in three different countries and have travelled across many continents. Having been in England for the past nine years and graduated with a Law degree, she is now taking a break in Paris for the year as she figures out her next step in life. Always passport ready, she is an expert at traveling light and on a budget, although she still enjoys the occasional indulgence in a luxurious holiday. You can follow her on Instagram.

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7 x Hidden Gems in Valencia

The Spanish city Valencia is the perfect weekend (or holiday) get-away and is only a 2.5-hour flight from the Netherlands. City, beach, park, and sailing, it is all there!

However, if you feel like getting off the beaten path and see something different, here are some hidden gems and places in Valencia that are often overlooked. Luckily, you can easily book your Valencia tickets in no time, for a break in the sunshine.

Bluebell Coffee

In the neighbourhood of Ruzafa you will find many trendy restaurants and bars. When you are there, take a visit to Bluebell Coffee for a delicious and healthy lunch. On the menu you will find homemade treats such as vegan tarts and banana bread, salads, avocado toast and fresh smoothies. The lovely inner garden is reminiscent of a tropical mini jungle. Carrer de Buenos Aires, 3

Bluebell Valencia

Petticoat Vintage

In trendy Ruzafa, you will also find many designer studios, art galleries and vintage shops. If you are a real vintage fanatic, you will become a real fan of the vintage store Petticoat. As a result, you will find unique pieces of good quality for a very nice price. Carrer de Sueca, 36

Vintage store Valencia

Almalibre

In the historic centre of Valencia, you will find the Açai bar Almalibre. Super fresh, super tasty and with a small terrace, making it the perfect place for lunch in the city centre. On the menu they have many goodies based on the Açai berry, all ecological and responsible. Carrer de Roteros, 16

Jardines de Monforte

The famous Turia park is one of the main attractions in Valencia. Another (smaller) park that is definitely worth a look is the Jardines de Monforte. These gardens are a stone’s throw away from the Turia park, but are skipped by many people. Because the gardens are somewhat hidden, you have to know of its existence to be able to enter it. Therefore, the park is perfect for when you want to enjoy some tranquillity. Carrer de Montfort, S/N

Valencia

El Saler Beach

In all fairness, this beach is a good option if you want to escape the busier city beach. Thebeach is located about 12 kilometres to the south of the city. The beach is surrounded by nature and has a relaxing dune landscape, with here and there paella restaurants. El Saler

San Tomasso

Stumbling upon this Italian restaurant in the city centre, was like finding a hidden treasure on a pretty lane, with great food and a delightful atmosphere. Secondly, waiters are quite fluent in English and the food was really more than excellent here. Carrer de la Corretgeria, 37

La Fabrica de Hielo

Although there is not much to see on the outside, inside this factory building is a gem that is host to live music, concerts, art workshops and locally sourced food. A wonderful place that is good for the eyes, ears and soul! Almost every day a live band performs in this venue, you can check their daily program here.Calle José Ballester Gozalvo, 37


Extra tips:

  • Ubify is the Uber in Valencia. Download the app and get home easily after a night out!
  • There is a ferry from Valencia to Ibiza, which takes approximately 5 hours. A fun and affordable way to explore Ibiza as well!
  • You can find even more Valencia tips and hotspots in this Guide if you are planning to visit sunny Valencia!

Love,

Iris

 

The Shoreditch Guide | London

Quite possibly home to one of the coolest streets in London, Shoreditch is that rare gem of a neighbourhood that fuses ye-old London Town with a ‘right here, right now’ sensibility. Shoreditch High Street is where the main hustle and bustle is taking place. Spending a day here guarantees top quality breakfast, lunch, dinner and cocktail options. The adjoining side streets will delight and distract you with temptations coming from an eclectic range of boutique shops, hotels and other look-in spots.

Shoreditch Guide

If you’re an early riser then look no further than Albion – a trendy all-day British cafe, bar and grocery shop which sits as part of the Boundary Project Hotel. Famed for its simple yet delicious food the menu delivers seasonal produce and artisan ingredients. The grilled sweet potato plate with English feta, avocado and spinach will keep you well stocked for the day ahead and is quite the pairing with a Mimosa. Take a seat outside and watch the world go by – the locals here have a distinctive dress sense which will surely inspire.

Shoreditch London

Shopping

Looking to lighten your wallet and hit the shops? You have plenty to choose from here. Firstly, the quirky interiors emporium House of Hackney hits the spot for anyone looking for bold prints and exotic patterns. Secondly, Pam Pam is a womenswear clothing and lifestyle store and is a must visit for any millennial looking for a new sneaker. Finally, A.P.C. and Aesop also have outposts here that invite you in to wish up your Christmas list.

Shop Shoreditch, London

For something a bit different Barber & Parlour is a space to shop and relax in while also specialising in grooming for men and women. Owned by the famed Soho House Group (Shoreditch House occupies the building opposite). This casual-cool establishment offers everything from hairdressing to beard grooming, massages and mani/pedis all available on a walk-in basis. Their onsite cafe serves up an all-day breakfast and brunch menu and stellar cocktails. While the Electric Cinema in the basement gives audiences a unique cinema-going experience. Mainstream, independent and world cinema, you can find it here.

Street Art

Shoreditch also delights visitors and locals alike with its vibrant graffiti and street art scene. If you’re looking to discover more behind this once taboo art form, The Alternative Walking Tour of East London will help you discover the past and present of this cultural and creative hub through an illustrated and fascinating adventure.

Shoreditch, London

Kick start your night at Pizza East with rustic hand-made pizzas served in an atmospheric hall-like environment. This popular joint is situated in a former tea warehouse. With daily-changing specials and wood-wood-oven pizzas, this is a must visit. The veal meetball pizza on their a la carte menu ticks many a box.

Pizza East, Shoreditch
Pizza East

Other recommendations

To cram into a day out in Shoreditch include: Box Park – a pop-up mall for independent and global lifestyle store and street-food options with a difference. Each vendor is housed in a shipping container. Dishoom – is always worth a visit – is a beautifully decorated Indian brasserie with a bohemian feel and incredible menu. If you’re there for breakfast try the Bacon Naan Roll, you won’t be disappointed. The Ace Hotel has an outpost further up on Shoreditch High Street and delivers a premier hipster hotspot with working spaces, stylish rooms and the ever-popular Hot Polloi restaurant. East London also offers some very nice rooftops, so when the weather is nice, go up!

cafe in Shoreditch

In conclusion, Shoreditch embraces an ever-changing culture. Step in and experience life as if there wasn’t a care in the world. If you’ve got anywhere from an hour to a full day to spare in this city, head along as soon as possible.

Love from London,

Stephanie

*Stephanie is our guest editor from London. She works for a large fashion brand and loves to explore new eateries and pretty corners whenever she has the chance. Follow her on Instagram

The 3-day London Guide is here!

3 days London City Guide

The Marrakech Guide 2019

Stunning gardens, rooftop bars, cozy riads, narrow streets, famous souks and the rich smells of the Moroccan kitchen. Today, Marrakech is one of the most popular city destinations for travellers and we totally understand why.

We fell in love immediately. Where do you need to go to and which rumours are true? Here is an up to date Marrakech Guide for 2019!

Good to know:

Is it safe to walk around in Marrakech?
Yes it is! People in Marrakech are super friendly. Usually, google maps is your best friend, but not everywhere in Marrakech unfortunately. So try to remember how to walk back to your riad. Tip: Drop a pin in google maps.

Is Marrakech full of tourist traps?
Unfortunately, scams in the city do happen. Kids offer to help you to find the way for free. Once you have arrived you need to pay. They try to mislead you into the wrong direction too. This can be super annoying at first, but after one day you know what to do. Just say no, merci. Make sure you keep your personal belongings close to you, but this applies to all cities in the world.

Walking around in Marrakech

Houses and buildings are made out of red sandstone, therefore Marrakech is known as ‘The Red City’

Tip! Taxis are not always able to drop you at the doorstep of your riad, you always need to walk the last part.

What should you wear?
There’s no dresscode, but I would stick with long skirts and dresses to avoid stares from locals. Remember that you are in a different country with another culture which we should respect. Bring something that will cover the shoulders.

Marrakech guide 2019

Sarah in Marrakech 2019

Is Marrakech expensive? 
Marrakech is not cheap compared to Greece for example, especially when you visit pools in Hotels and eat in famous hotspots like El Fenn, Nomads etc. However, if you visit the more local restaurants and markets, prices drop. A taxi from the airport will cost you around 15 euro and from Medina to the new city around 10 euro. Always negotiate a price upfront!

The streets of Marrakech 2019

Where to stay?

Don’t waste your money on the bigger hotels in Marrakech but stay at a traditional riad! Most of them are in the Medina, so you’re nearly always walking distance from the main square.

We stayed in Riad Dar Vima for only 40 euro per night! A beautiful and serene riad, run by couple Leonie (Dutch) and Soufian (Moroccan). This is the place where you should stay. You will stay in comfy beds, surrounded by beautiful furniture, a great rooftop with nice sunbeds and local Moroccan breakfast, which is prepared by the mother of the riad Aziza which is included. They helped us with everything! From Riad Dar Vima you walk to the souks in about 7 minutes. A big plus: you are not woken up by early prayers, it’s quiet and peaceful!

Riad Marrakech guide 2019

Riad
Riad Da Vima


Where to Eat

Nomad is a popular modern Moroccan eatery with an amazing view. Also, vegetarians and pescatarians will be happy to eat here because the restaurant serves simple and delicious “Modern Moroccan” dishes. From chickpea salads with tzatziki, avocado and barley with celery and sesame seeds to roasted cauliflower in ras-el-hanout, harissa and turmeric butter, served over a bed of herb infused couscous, for 9 euro. They open every day from noon till 23h.

Naraj restaurant is the place for you if you love Lebanese food. The restaurant is located in the middle of the Medina. A great restaurant with a beautiful rooftop, friendly service and delicious food!! Unfortunately, the menu is not large, but everything on there is worth trying!


Naraj restaurant

Le jardin Tucked away in a small street in the medina you’ll find this green oasis in a beautifully renovated 16th Century building. When entering it looks small, but eventually you will walk into a lush garden dotted with tables and lights surrounded by the majestic building and the terraces! We passed it so many times and on our last day we decided to have lunch here. Glad we did! Our fave dish, the Kofta tagine with egg and tomato sauce is only 10 euro.

Le jardin Marrakech
Le Jardin

Le jardin food

Café Arabe has a lounge-bar-restaurant on the terrace with a great view. Good to know: They sell alcohol during Ramadan if you really want it.

El Fenn is a lovely setting for lunch. Here they serve traditional Moroccan dishes but also offer a European menu. Try the fresh mint juice, divine! You can also book a hotel room here, but it will come at a price.

El Fenn
El Fenn

Limoni restaurant with Moroccan and Italian cuisine is a hidden gem close to our Riad. With a shaded patio and terrace.

+61 This is a super modern restaurant in ‘new town’, owned and run by Australian Cassandra Karinsky. Marrakech is home to some top-notch eateries and this place is definitely one you should check out. I took the homemade ricotta red peppers capers piadina for 6.40 euro and salmon with pickles and bread for 11 euro.

+61 Marrakech

61+ Marrakech
Stylish +61

Comptoir Darna Someone tipped this legendary and traditional restaurant, located in the Rue Ahmed Chaqui in the heart of the buzzing Hivernage district. With dinner and a belly dancing show at the same time. An experience you won’t forget that easy. It’s a popular destination where people start with a drink on their terrace, have dinner during the event and end the night dancing with a tasteful cocktail.

Le foundouk Eat on the stunning rooftop terrace by candle light for a very romantic setting. I chose the Gyozas with chicken (Japanese ravioli) – ginger and coriander for 10 euro, the Moroccan pastilla with chicken and almonds (sweet and salty) and the Chicken tagine with preserved lemons.

Rooftop bar Marrakech
Rooftops with stunning views! (we forgot the name of this place unfortunately)

Where to Shop

Loose yourself in the souks! It’s a must see and a wonderful experience. You can get lost for hours. Warning, you immediately want to buy everything you see, but wait for your last day! Prices usually start quite high, so be prepared to negotiate. Tip! Try to buy carpet, lamps etc. just outside the souks. 

Shopping in Medina, Marrakech

Djemaa el Fna is the biggest Souk but also the most touristic one. For a more traditional experience we would recommend Marché el Mellah. But be warned if you’re an animal lover, you’re going to see a lot of animals (especially chickens)., and unfortunately, they’re not there for the cosiness.

Mirrors in Marrakech

Most people buy their treasures inside the souks, but we bought most items next to our Riad Dar Vima. You will find many small local shops here. Are looking for a handmade carpet or rug? Buy it with Mohamed, he has the best there is! He sells carpets with beautiful patterns, shapes and colours and pretty blankets. Each one has a unique style and every rug is handmade on a loom, which you can see with your own eyes. Next door there is also a shop that sells traditional Moroccan lamps.

Carpets in Marrakech
Beautiful carpets. Prices vary per size

Spices

Souk Marrakech
Visit the local markets

Where to Relax

Temperatures can rise up to 40 degrees in Marrakech so you need some options to cool off. Besides that, all that shopping and eating can make you tired so if you want to put your feet up, you have some wonderful options.

Selman. If you would like to escape the city for a moment then you should definitely check out Selman! It will blow your mind the minute you enter. It’s not very cheap though. A full day at the pool including a massage, hammam and lunch will cost you 1500 dirham (140 euro). However, the pool boys serve free water and juice throughout the day! 

Swimming pool Marrakech guide
The stunning pool at Selman

Spa Marrakech

The Beldi Country Club
Like many people I choose to go to the Beldi Country Club, where you can spend some time by the pool with a beautiful garden. You can book a package deal of 36 euro where lunch (2 course meal) and pool access are included. If you go for the pool only, it will cost you 19 euro. On top we booked the hammam and spa treatment of 73 euro. Unfortunately, the steam didn’t really work and the body scrub- and wash was not what we expected. Nevertheless, it was still enjoyable and relaxing! Your skin will feel like a newborn!

Beldin Country Club Marrakech
At the Beldi Country Club

There is more

Jumping back in history at the ruins of El Badi Palace
There is not much left of El Badi Palace but the peace and space it gives you is unique in the centre of Marrakech. The palace took twenty-five year to build and was an excessive display of the best craftsmanship of the Saadian period. You can still see some of the expensive materials they used. Next to the beauty of the ruins, it’s a good place to catch your breath in the middle of the overly crowded city.

Feeling like a princess at the Bahia Palace
Looking for that perfect Instagram spot? Think of mosaic floors, enchanting lighting and fairy-tale gardens. Bahia Palace is probably one of the most charming places in Marrakech. You’ll have to get up early if you don’t want hundred of tourists taking photos of your own selfie.

Tip » Don’t have enough time to travel to the Sahara? Dry your tears because I got a solution. Within a 20-minute car ride and with a spark of imagination it will feel like you’re in the Sahara while being just outside the city centre of Marrakech. Oke, you’re going to need a lot of imagination and a camel as well. But, when it’s all there you will feel like a true nomad. Note: a camel ride is a lot of fun and great holiday activity but please be aware that you book your trip at certified tour operations. We don’t want the camels to suffer for someone else’s enjoyment.

Fresh air in Essaouira
If you’re looking for some fresh (sea) air, Essaouira is one of the nearby beaches. It only takes 3 hours by bus, which will cost you about 8 euros. Don’t expect a luxurious, seaside resort. They call it the hippy city of Morocco and that reflects in the low-key way of living in this city. Surfing all day and listening to live reggae music all night is the normal routine.

Marrakech streets

Tip » You can make some great horse riding trips in Essaouria if you rather wouldn’t jump in the sea. Enjoy the sea, dunes and weather while getting your adrenaline pumped up by the speed of the horse.  Book your trip at Equi Evasion, they treat the horses very well. Howdy ho, cowboy!

Le Jardin Majorelle
Don’t think you will escape the chaos of the medina when you visit le Jardin Majorelle. Come in as early as possible to avoid the crowds. If you are a botanical lover you must visit this colourful and beautiful garden with plants from all over the world, like cactus, jasmines, bougainvillea, palm trees, coconut trees, banana trees, bamboo and more. The creator of the garden was Jacques Majorelle, a French painter, that opened the garden to the public in 1947 to help offset their costly maintenance. Entrance is just 6,5 euro.

Le Jardin Majorelle
Le Jardin Majorelle

Le jardin Marrakech

We heard many mix opinions about Marrakech but we would go back in a heartbeat! In conclusion, it was as stunning as you see on the photo’s and the people were very friendly. Just remember that you are stepping into a different culture and as a woman you may need to adjust a little. Nevertheless, we tip Marrakech as a must visit!

Love,

Sarah

Artist Residence | The perfect getaway in Brighton

Brighton is somewhere you can plan an idyllic weekend escape, especially during the warmer summer months. This coastal city is only 30 minutes on the train from London Gatwick Airport, or 1 hour from London city itself. Known for its pier, thriving creative industries and nightlife, it’s little wonder that stylish boutique hotel Artist Residence is seen as such a destination and as a celebration of this quaint and quirky city.

Artist Residence

Located on a quiet street at the top of historic Regency Square and spanning two 19th-century townhouses, this quintessentially English set up is within a 10-minute walk from all the buzz of the city. But with everything you’d need on site, due to its well-rounded atmosphere you may not want to venture far at all. Upon arrival, it’s quite clear that almost every guest has made the happy decision to tuck themselves away in this hotel and not move far. In essence, this is an ideal place for couples looking for a weekend getaway to switch off and unwind.

Brighton
Brighton beach

Interiors

Artist Residence was so named due to its characterful interiors. When the founder Justin Sailsbury inherited the hotel from his parents in his early twenties, he enlisted local artists to decorate each room in return for boarding at the hotel. Brighton’s art scene draws in the crowds, so this perfect plan resulted in sophisticatedly playful rooms which feel individual yet part of a collective red thread.

Pop-art and posters and retro furniture makes for an eclectic vibe in each room, this is comfortable luxury at its finest.

Artist Residence Brighton

Artist Residence Brighton lamp

Bedrooms

With 25 bedrooms to cater for, staff are attentive, friendly and effortlessly helpful. When you walk into each room, Jazz FM oozes an invitation to simply chill out and relax. For where else would you rather be but sinking into their divinely comfortable beds or lounging back in an armchair overlooking Brighton’s coast? (And thinking how to incorporate similar design elements into your own home!) Soft furnishings – from the pristine white bedding to the textured cushions – perfectly compliment the neutrally painted walls and bedside angle-poise lamps bring a retro-filled nostalgia to each room. Finishing touches are mirrors and the rather fabulous artwork. If you’re lucky enough to bag the grandest suite in the hotel, you’ll find it hard to check out: a four-poster bed competes with a copper slip bath as the focal point for the room.

bathtub at Artist Residence Brighton
Bathtub goals!

Facilities

Should you decide to leave your elegant bohemia bedroom, you can head to cocktail bar The Set for a pre-dinner toast, and then sit down in their cosy, quirky restaurant The Fix. Here you’ll find hotel residents and locals alike sampling a delightful menu featuring creative yet tasty ingredients. After your meal, guests can play ping-pong in the basement before enjoying a nightcap. Each room comes with an inviting wall-mounted bar with red wine, miniature local spirits and nibbles to make your stay even more pleasing. Three course tasting menus start at £31 per person.

In short, this stylish boutique hotel is one of five (the other locations include London, Oxford, Cornwall and Bristol) and quite the unique, on-trend, fun and friendly place to eat, drink and sleep. Small rooms are available from £95 per night. Book now.

Love,

Stephanie