More than sand: five ways to enjoy Tobago when you’re not sunbathing

More than sand: five ways to enjoy Tobago when you’re not sunbathing


From diving through colourful coral to A-list approved paddle boarding, there’s more to Tobago than lying on a beach…

Tobago for the adventurous

Why Go?

Holidays in the Caribbean are all about slowing down, kicking back and relaxing. But what if you get restless after a few days lying on the beach? Whether you’re under or on it, Tobago’s crystal-clear water has a few surprises up its laid-back sleeve. Visit British Airways for the best fares


Don’t Miss

Kite Surfing in Tobago

Kitesurfing

Ideal wind conditions and the Buccoo Reef-protected waters make laid-back Tobago’s Pigeon Point ideal for kitesurfing. With safety-conscious instructors on hand and clear, shallow waters, it’s the perfect setting for novices to master this island highlight.


Paddle Boarding

Paddle boarding is an A-list favourite and Tobago has one of the world’s most spectacular spots to master it. As soon as the sun sets, head to Bon Accord Lagoon for a sedate paddle through the glowing plankton waters. With millions of tiny organisms reacting with a pinprick of light, each stroke of a paddle sets off a cascade of spiralling, glistening light, making for a truly unforgettable experience.

Snorkelling in Tobago

Snorkelling

Swimming amongst exotic fish and brightly coloured coral in the warm waters of the Caribbean… does it really get any better? Just wait until you set your eyes on Pirates Bay. This undiscovered gem, with unbeatable views of the breathtakingly beautiful coral and sparkling blue waters is the ultimate snorkelling playground and deserves a spot on any traveller’s bucket list.

Sailing in Tobago

Sailing

What better way to explore the island’s stunning coastline and pretty archipelagos than hopping aboard a private boat? Whether you want to hone your skills on the blustery open waters in the south or kick back and experience the wonders of Nylon Pool, a metre-deep swimming pool-like lagoon with the ocean on one side and palm-fringed beaches on the other, this is a sailing destination like no other.

Scuba diving

Home to one of the world’s most spectacular coral reefs, more than 60 dive sites, and world-renowned azure waters that cater for novices and technical divers alike, it’s easy to see why Tobago is one of the best diving destination in the Caribbean.

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Here’s our millennial guide to 72 hours in Spain OD-style

Here’s our millennial guide to 72 hours in Spain OD-style


From Cava sangria in rooftop pools to UNESCO heritage sites and Gaudi Instagram opportunities aplenty…

OD hotels

Amidst the Instagram holiday fads, there’s one european country that has always been a constant on our social media feeds, Spain.

From poolside sangria boomerangs and photos of tanned, sandy manicured feet on the coast to cool cultural city break shots, there’s something for everyone in the Mediterranean hotspot – and with sunshine and quality food, it’s hardly surprising that it’s getting all the Instagram love.

All the influencers have been doing it from the beginning of social media – and reaping the rewards, so I boarded a two hour flight (yes, just two hours) and flew over a thousand miles to the land of Flamenco and tapas to see what the fuss was about.

The verdict? A triple shot of on-trend quality food, Spanish culture and a lot of luxury lounging. We’re talking Cava in rooftop city pools, UNESCO heritage sites and enough Gaudi Instagram opportunities to last a lifetime.

I started my Spanish adventure in Barcelona, home to Catalonian architect Antoni Gaudi, before flying on to the infamous island of Ibiza for a big hit of luxury.

But with 72 hours to fill and two cities to co-ordinate, where should I stay? I went with OD Hotels – Barcelona and Talamanca.

While there are OD hotels in quite a few Spanish cities, each hotel has a different vibe depending on its location, from Barcelona’s cool efficient offering in the hustle and bustle of the Catalonian capital to Ibiza’s luxury marine beachside theme.

The OD DNA? Modern luxury in central iconic locations, mixing contemporary Scandi decor with state of the arts technology and five star gastronomy. Oh, and did I mention the eco-friendly ethos, with vertical gardens, solar panels, and an HVAC system which reduces energy consumption by 35%? All of this for an affordable price – I was sold.

OD Hotels

The OD rooms provide everything you’ll need for a comfortable stay, but the suites are stunning – private pools, panoramic rooftop views and complimentary smart cars to take around the city at your leisure. They’re a bit pricier, but for a city honeymoon or luxury escape, it’s well worth it.

Barcelona was my go-to for a top quality foodie experience – something that I got on my very first morning, tucking into OD’s Pan Con Tomate (Spanish-style tomato on toast). Make the most of it while you’re there – take it from this writer’s experience, no matter how hard you try you won’t be able to recreate it at home.

The city boasts plenty of top quality restaurants, but it’s the street food and markets that are Barcelona’s real gem. Stop by La Boquería Market for some fresh seafood and €1 fruit smoothies in every shade imaginable, or to load up on ingredients to cook your own fresh feast.

But culture-wise, you just need to stroll through Barcelona to get your dose of history – not to mention an album of Insta-worthy city shots, and it’s all thanks to Antoni Gaudi.

The 130-year-old Casa Vicens is an obligatory stop, the first house designed by the Catalan architect (located on Gracia on Career de les Carolinas), and La Sagrada Familia is just a short walk from the hotel, with the magnificent unfinished Roman Catholic Church being one of Spain’s top attractions.

But even if you don’t have the time to seek it out on purpose, you’ll hardly be able to move around the city without bumping into his eccentric architecture. Look out for Casa Batlló and Casa Milà, and stop by Park Güell (on Carrer Nou de la Rambla) – Instagram opportunities don’t get much better.

Then for a shot of luxury it was onto Ibiza – a 45 minute plane ride away – something I had preconceived ideas about after overdosing on reality shows of drunken teens frequenting the island.

Strangely however, it was Ibiza that gave me the biggest cultural and gastronomic surprise – who knew the other side of the island could be so different?

Pristine Santorini-esque interiors, moonlit beachside restaurants, luxury seafood and a long (and relatively unknown) history – I was sold on Ibiza from the get-go.

My OD room was located on the iconic Talamanca beach, close to the island’s most exclusive marinas, Ibiza old town, and cool on-trend restaurants.

My recommendation? Sa Punta, an alfresco fine-dining experience on the furthest point of Salamanca bay. The setting may be magnificent, especially at sunset – we’re talking fairy lit white canopies and ultra cool Ibiza beats – but nothing eclipses the food.

Focusing on the art of sharing, we teamed our Cava Sangrias with oysters and fresh Burratinas from Puglia, before tucking into Wild sea bass carpaccio, Alaskan black cod (the best I’ve had in my life) and red tuna ceviche.

But despite the high quality grub (I’m still thinking about that black cod), it was the Ibiza old town that I found the most impressive.

Dalt Villa is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, offering the complete polar opposite to what I had expected to find on the Spanish island – panoramic views, ancient stories and a deep history, spanning 2,500 years.

Go via the alternative entrance – Portal Nou (behind the Plaza del Parque) for a more gradual ascent and make sure you stop off at the nunnery to buy a €1 slice of cake from the nuns through a hatch in the wall.

From cool street style shots and chic boho interiors to the impressive buildings, the Instagram opportunities are endless – and just an afternoon at the heritage site will make your Insta feed look like an Anthopologie catalogue.

After just a couple of days in the Spanish hotspots, your Instagram account will be thriving, and you definitely won’t want to go home.

How to book:

You can book a room at any of the OD hotels via the OD website, with the standard room rates at OD Barcelona starting at £215 a night, and rates at Ibiza’s OD Talamanca starting at £328 a night.

OD Barcelona
C/ Aragó, 300 – 08009 Barcelona
Phone  (+34) 93 215 08 99

OD Talamanca
C/ Jesús, 28, Playa Talamanca – 07800 Ibiza
Phone  (+34) 971 31 19 12

And if you’ve caught the OD bug, you’re in luck as these are only two of the Spanish brand’s five hotels, boasting two more properties in Ibiza and another in Mallorca.

I stopped off via the other two Ibizan ODs to see what I was missing and while Ocean Drive served up one hell of a Mexican brunch, if I had my time again I’d stay at the brand’s boutique offering, Can Jaume – an Instagrammable Ibizan Manor house surrounded by orange trees, in the idyllic rural village of Puig d’en Valls, just 2 km from Ibiza town.

So wherever you are in the country, you should be able to find an OD, for great service, on-trend food, Instagrammable interiors and enviable panoramic views.

See you there.

The post Here’s our millennial guide to 72 hours in Spain OD-style appeared first on Marie Claire.



Egypt’s spa hotels are ranking high on our travel hit list right now…

Egypt’s spa hotels are ranking high on our travel hit list right now…


Promotional feature with Egypt Tourist Board

Looking for a sun-drenched pampering holiday? We’ve found Red Sea resorts with irresistibly sumptuous spas

Holidays that restore wellbeing and vitality are top of everyone’s wishlist, and Egypt’s stunning Red Sea resorts boast lavish hotels and resorts that are perfect for anyone who wants to relax, revive and refresh in sublime surroundings.

Where to stay and spa…

The resort of Soma Bay in Egypt is ideal for anyone seeking a little luxury and the spectacular spa and thalasso centre, Les Thermes Marins des Cascades – where the focus is on the health properties of mineral-rich seawater and seaweed – is vying for the top spot on our spa hotel hit list.

Or why not head to the capital of the Red Sea Riviera, Hurghada and stay at the perfectly positioned Steigenberger Al Dau Beach Hotel for a five-star spa stay? Wake up in bright, spacious rooms, chill out on the pristine private beach or by the gigantic swimming pool and plan your meals to fit around your treatments. Take your pick from a steam bath, jacuzzi, sauna or spa bath, before placing yourself in expert hands for a therapeutic massage that’ll leave you feeling totally zen.

Near Hurghada, El Gouna is another popular resort, which is known for its lagoons, coral reefs and sandy beaches. Head to the Mövenpick Resort and Spa, the biggest five-star hotel in the area, which boasts two swimming pools and its own private beach and dedicated spa. Ask therapists for the signature Angsana massage to send you straight into holiday mode.

Fancy a cruise?

Cruise ships and restored ornate steamers  have become as much a part of the Egypt scene as the Pyramids. And if you want to combine a cruise with a spa holiday, you’re in luck because you can do both with a cruise and spa package.

The best thing about a cruise? Everything is sorted for you – so there’s no need to work out transport or accommodation because your accommodation is your transport. It’s an unforgettable way to travel and explore the captivating country of Egypt. All you need to do is get on board and relax…

What else is there to do?

The Red Sea coast  is teeming with things to do if you’re in the mood for a more active holiday. Venture south of bustling Hurghada and you’ll find world-class diving spots where, if you’re lucky, you’ll spot sea turtles and dolphins as you explore some of the most colourful coral reefs.

If you prefer to stay on land, visits to its unmissable ancient sites and famous desert monasteries can easily be arranged as excursions from your hotel.

Things you need to know…

Tourists need a visa to visit Egypt which are granted on arrival and valid for a maximum of 30 days. You can also apply for an e-visa before your departure.

The currency in Egypt is the Egyptian pound. You will find that places also accept dollars and sterling.

Egypt is a warm country for most of the year and temperatures can reach up to 30°C in high summer.

Always check Foreign Office advice before travelling.

The post Egypt’s spa hotels are ranking high on our travel hit list right now… appeared first on Marie Claire.

The two cities you need to explore for the ultimate authentic American experience

The two cities you need to explore for the ultimate authentic American experience


Chicago and Detroit – it’s time discover the cities which have shaped popular culture like no other…

Kingston Mines proving to be the ultimate live music destination

Chicago. Birthplace of deep pan pizza and a plethora of great Americans from Karlie Kloss to Walt Disney, did not disappoint.

Firstly, the shopping in the city is a must. Much like many of the great retail destinations of the world from Oxford Street to Madison Avenue, Chicago’s ‘Magnificent Mile’ has every brand you could ever wish for. However, when we visited, unlike more well-known shopping meccas there aren’t the hoards of people or dreadful queues, creating a shopaholic’s paradise.

However if Chicago teaches you one thing it is not that highstreet shopping can still be a joyous experience but it is the simple notion of looking up. A number one recommendation during your stay there is to take a river tour of Chicago’s architecture, Shoreline Sightseeing offers one of the best. Imposing modern glass skyscrapers merge with art deco masterpieces to create one of the most iconic  skylines in the world.

Skylines aside the US is also known for its big portions and Chicago does not disappoint on that front either. Lunch at the aptly named River Roast serves an award-winning menu of contemporary American tavern fare in bountiful boards and plates all made with top quality produce. Their rustic sharing charcuterie boards and slice-as-big-as-your-head desserts (see above) are all delicious.

However, if the large portions get slightly overwhelming make sure you pay a visit to the Michelin star Dusek’s Board & Beer. Part of the new wave of relaxed fine dining Dusek’s light food and range of limited edition beers feels east-London hipster without trying too hard.

A visit to the Chicago History Museum will also help to explain the geography, economy and even personality of the city. Named ‘The Second City’ not due to its relation to New York City but because of a literal phoenix-from-the-flame moment after the Great Chicago Fire in 1871. An industrious rebuild to produce an easy to navigate grid system and epic steel structures has installed a longstanding sense of pride for everyone that lives there.

Kingston Mines proving to be the ultimate music destination

Of course, Chicago is also synonymous with music and particular the blues. And the city offers ample opportunity to explore a thriving live music scene. Trips to Chess Records as well as Kingston Mines and the Green Mill Cocktail lounge transport you into a scene from a timeless movie, where talented musicians entertain attentive audiences huddled around half moon tables. Magic.

And if you enjoy the music, culture and food in Chicago then a short trip to Detroit is a must…

Home of Motown music and therefore inspiration to essentially every chart song since the 60’s, Detroit is like Chicago’s cooler cousin. With a slightly undiscovered vibe and an overwhelming feeling of positivity; the people are welcoming and want to share their city with you.

The Fox Theatre is also a spectacular must-see. From Frank Sinarata to One Direction practically every music legend has graced the hallowed grounds (there’s even a door with all their signatures side-by-side). The hallowed grounds of the Motown Museum are also a must, you can almost feel the presence of the modern day icons (Michael Jackson, Stevie Wonder, Diana Ross…) who started their careers and recorded their most infamous tracks there.

Rusted Crow

Lunch at the Rusted Crow

Again, the food in Detroit surpassed expectation. Lunch at the Rusted Crow was downtown dinning at it’s best. With plenty of locals grabbing and going and a relaxed atmosphere, we could not recommend their salmon brussel sprout salad more. And if you fancy dressing up? At the other end of the gastronomic spectrum is the sophisticated Grey Ghost. With a cocktail menu including the ‘Repeat Offender’ a concoction of gin, cocchi Americano, aloe, lime and orange blossom the menu is elegant and delicious. Definitely the type of place where you literally need to order one of everything.

The Blackstone, Chicago

You can fly directly to Chicago with Norwegian airlines and we recommend staying at The Blackstone. Boasting views of Lake Michigan and Grant Park everything is within walking distance, which is a city break must.

And in Detroit? The MGM Grand Hotel offers total indulgence and is only a stones throw from all the best bars, restaurants and sports venues.

So if Chicago and Detroit are not at the top of your US bucket list already, then they should be. If you like good food, good music and good people (and let’s face it, who doesn’t?!) then definitely pay them a visit – the authentic America awaits!

Booking your trip…

Norwegian operates a daily flight direct from London Gatwick to Chicago and all flights are operated by a fleet of brand new Boeing 787 Dreamliner aircraft with two cabins, premium and economy.

Fares start from £150 one-way and £280 return in LowFare economy and £499 one-way and £909 return in Premium including all taxes and charges and subject to availability, click here to book

The Blackstone, Autograph Collection (Chicago) rooms from £142/night in low season and from £435/night in high season, click here to book.

MGM Grand Hotel (Detroit) rooms from £120 in low seasons and up to £187 in high season.

The post The two cities you need to explore for the ultimate authentic American experience appeared first on Marie Claire.



Surfing, mariachi and tequila – Laura Jackson has a much needed break in Los Cabos

Surfing, mariachi and tequila – Laura Jackson has a much needed break in Los Cabos


Marie Claire columnist Laura Jackson first fell in love with Mexico and its food four years ago. Here’s what happened when she returned for some surf and sunshine in the beautiful region of Los Cabos.

It’s late afternoon and I’m out on the waves in the Pacific Ocean, on a secluded beach just off the Baja California Peninsular, Los Cabos.

I’m just about to catch my first wave of the day. ‘Paddle, paddle, faster, faster’ shouts Mike, my surf instructor. I’m paddling as if my life depends on it, and as the water lifts and pushes me forward, I try to remember the moves we practiced on the beach moments earlier.

‘It’s all about the pop up’ Mike has drilled into me. So I push myself up with my arms, moving my left leg beneath my chest. But just as I’m about to ‘pop’, I face plant, swallowing what feels like the whole Pacific… which then decides its only exit route is out through my nose.

I can hear Mike clapping in the distance. This isn’t the Blue Crush moment I was hoping for.

This is the second day of a short but sweet three-day break at One&Only Palmilla. It’s my first time in Los Cabos, although it’s not my first visit to Mexico. I fell in love with this country after a short holiday in Mexico City in 2014 and have been returning year on year ever since – I blame the tacos.

After a 2014 Hurricane devastated the area, Los Cabos has had a major facelift. Following the storm most of the existing hotels were refurbished, while plenty of new ones were also established. But it’s One&Only Palmilla that still reigns supreme in Los Cabos. It sits in a prime spot of the Baja peninsular, where the rugged desert meets the deep blue sea. Looking out at uninterrupted ocean makes you feel like you’re sitting on the edge of the world.

The white-washed hacienda-style walls and Spanish colonial architecture are the first things you notice when you pull up to Palmilla. There are perfectly rounded archways adorned with cobalt blue and sorbet-coloured flowers. After your nose is hit with pleasant wafts from the well-pruned gardens, your breath is taken away by the view. Framed by an archway leading off the reception is the Sea of Cortez, where white yachts bob on the horizon.

One&Only has 173 rooms, 2 villas, 4 restaurants, 2 pools, a private beach, a spa/wellness centre and a church, yet it still feels relatively intimate. It’s nothing like being in a resort. I take a golf buggy to my suite, room 1412. I have my own 24-hour butler and an evening cocktail and hors d’oeuvre await me. The room also boasts Tequila, a coffee machine, turn down aromatherapy scents and a telescope for stargazing and whale watching from my private terrace with unobstructed views of the pacific. The bathroom has a rainforest shower and a jacuzzi bathtub with beautiful marbled floors and yellow and green patterned Mexican tiles. My walk in closet has enough hanging space for a month. I’m a little overwhelmed.

The onsite Spa feels like it wouldn’t be out of place on Rodeo drive. Beverly Hills celebrity hair stylist Amanda George has a studio using only organic hair products, Barber and Blade (for the boys), invites you for optional tequila tasting pre haircut. Nestled within the beachside palms is an outdoor yoga studio and secluded private pool – the attention to detail on every level is second to none.

I’m only here for a few days and have a packed schedule – which is perfect for me as I’m not a big sunbather. Stephanie, our lovely guide, has organised a tequila tasting. Tequila and mezcal have taken the liquor world by storm in recent years, with George Clooney even producing his own brand.

It’s now become the grown up drink of choice, and no, it’s not served in a shot glass with a lime wedge and salt. We sip four different kinds of tequila with a food pairing. After a lesson from the bar manager I leave vowing to only drink 100% agave tequila for the rest of my life.

After a boozy start to the afternoon I head into town. Just ten minutes away is neighbouring San Jose, which has a villagey feel with colourful streets of boutique shops, art galleries and restaurants. Every Thursday evening the town comes to life with live music, street vendors and dancing. La Lupita is the place to be, where the simple taco and Mezcal menus are delicious – if you’re feeling adventurous try the Oaxacan grasshoppers!

The ‘Farm to Fork’ movement is taking Los Cabos by storm. Two biodynamic farms tucked into the foothills of San Jose are becoming increasingly popular with both tourists and locals. Acre is an organic farm with treehouse accommodation and an award wining bar and restaurant. I order a spicy mezcal margarita and watch the chefs cook our lunch in the open kitchens – the highlight is fried tomatoes with honey syrup and grilled fish tacos.

Acre is very sophisticated and more architecturally led than its neighbour, Flora farms. Flora is rustic, its restaurant sits in the centre of the self-sustaining farm and meals are served on communal tables so there’s more of a family feel.

Back to Palmilla and the highlight of my trip: Catch, Cook, Cocktail. As the name suggests, you catch your own lunch and cook it with the chef back at ‘the ranch’ – cocktail in hand. But rather than sending you on your way with a fishing rod and sandwich wrapped in cling film, there’s a glamorous white speed boat at the ready with a stash of tequila and your own personal fisherman.

I spend the day sea watching black dolphins play around the boat while keeping an eye on my fishing rod for a telltale tug from a Cabrilla. Apparently, fishing isn’t my forte and we come back empty handed, but I’m still able to rustle up some local Cabrilla and guacamole for lunch in the kitchen with Chef Larbi.

One&Only Palmilla is like no other luxury hotel I have ever experienced. It’s not in your face, it’s not brash or crass, blingy or stuffy. It’s comfortable, chic and elegant. Your name is remembered, you’re always welcomed, and your every need and wish is tastefully looked after. It’s no wonder that Hollywood A-listers flock here – James Corden is a regular at Villa one and Rhianna had just left as we arrived (I know, gutted).

It’s not cheap, so it’s more of a once in a lifetime trip, a treat of all treats. But if you want to celebrate something, or just really push the boat out, this is the perfect place.

To book visit www.oneandonlyresorts.com

Rates at One&Only Palmilla start from £477 between June – September 2018 and £608 between October – December 18th2018, per night, subject to availability. 

Words by Laura Jackson 

The post Surfing, mariachi and tequila – Laura Jackson has a much needed break in Los Cabos appeared first on Marie Claire.



The ultimate couples retreat in Nassau

The ultimate couples retreat in Nassau


Booking tickets ASAP.

couples activities in nassau

Still looking for the perfect honeymoon spot? Well, if you love sun, sand and romance then Nassau should definitely be top of the list. Forget about your regular old date night back in the damp UK, you’ll be spoiled for choice with an endless choice of couples activities in Nassau no matter your vibe. From proposal-worthy five star restaurants to blissful couples spa treatments, here’s a bit of inspiration for your trip below. (Tell your partner to thank us later.)

Treat yo’self

couples activities in nassau

Doug Scaletta

Book in for a couple’s massage at one of the island’s many luxury spas for a much-needed pick me up. Those looking for an intimate, romantic experience can head to the Atlantis’ Mandara Spa and unwind in one of their private couples’ villas with their Couple’s Retreat Ritual, which includes side by side massages and a shared floral filled bath. If you’re feeling run down, the Baha Mar’s Riviera Romance experience includes a bespoke facial or body treatment catered to your individual needs – all over cocktails and chocolate strawberries, of course.

Dinner for two

couples activities in nassau

Clear out an evening for an ultra romantic dinner at one of Nassau’s fine dining restaurants. For a taste of old world glamour, follow fairy light strewn paths through lush jungle to discover Graycliff – an iconic pink mansion turned 5 star restaurant. For the quintessential candlelit dinner on a beach, Dune at The Ocean Club is about as good as it gets with unparalleled views over a stretch of pristine white sand. Grab a seat on the cosy patio outside – it’s a strong contender for most romantic restaurant in Nassau.

Sail away

couples activities in nassau

Leave solid ground behind and watch the sun spill across the horizon from your own private yacht. The team over at Barefoot Sailing Cruises offer a Sunset Champagne Cruise, where you’ll drift away from shore with a glass of bubbly in hand. For something truly special, you can arrange a private dinner charter where you’ll have an entire yacht and crew to yourself for a glorious few hours. With a three course surf and turf menu, it also comes with wine – ideal for those thinking of popping the question.

The post The ultimate couples retreat in Nassau appeared first on Marie Claire.

The ultimate couples retreat in Nassau

The ultimate couples retreat in Nassau


Booking tickets ASAP.

couples activities in nassau

Still looking for the perfect honeymoon spot? Well, if you love sun, sand and romance then Nassau should definitely be top of the list. Forget about your regular old date night back in the damp UK, you’ll be spoiled for choice with an endless choice of couples activities in Nassau no matter your vibe. From proposal-worthy five star restaurants to blissful couples spa treatments, here’s a bit of inspiration for your trip below. (Tell your partner to thank us later.)

Treat yo’self

couples activities in nassau

Doug Scaletta

Book in for a couple’s massage at one of the island’s many luxury spas for a much-needed pick me up. Those looking for an intimate, romantic experience can head to the Atlantis’ Mandara Spa and unwind in one of their private couples’ villas with their Couple’s Retreat Ritual, which includes side by side massages and a shared floral filled bath. If you’re feeling run down, the Baha Mar’s Riviera Romance experience includes a bespoke facial or body treatment catered to your individual needs – all over cocktails and chocolate strawberries, of course.

Dinner for two

couples activities in nassau

Clear out an evening for an ultra romantic dinner at one of Nassau’s fine dining restaurants. For a taste of old world glamour, follow fairy light strewn paths through lush jungle to discover Graycliff – an iconic pink mansion turned 5 star restaurant. For the quintessential candlelit dinner on a beach, Dune at Ocean Club is about as good as it gets with unparalleled views over a stretch of pristine white sand. Grab a seat on the cosy patio outside – it’s a strong contender for most romantic restaurant in Nassau.

Sail away

couples activities in nassau

Leave solid ground behind and watch the sun spill across the horizon from your own private yacht. The team over at Barefoot Sailing Cruises offer a Sunset Champagne Cruise, where you’ll drift away from shore with a glass of bubbly in hand. For something truly special, you can arrange a private dinner charter where you’ll have an entire yacht and crew to yourself for a glorious few hours. With a three course surf and turf menu, it also comes with wine – ideal for those thinking of popping the question.

The post The ultimate couples retreat in Nassau appeared first on Marie Claire.

5 reasons why the Costa Brava is topping our travel bucket list

5 reasons why the Costa Brava is topping our travel bucket list


Promotional feature with Jet2holidays

Michelin-starred cuisine, glittering Mediterranean seas and unending sandy-white beaches? Forget Tulum – the Costa Brava is fast becoming the hottest destination for 2018…

Boasting Blue Flag beaches and gorgeously balmy temperatures throughout the year, Spain’s Costa Brava has long been associated with the great British holiday.

However, what many people don’t know is that this stretch of coastline is starting to shake off its ‘full-English’ tag in favour of Michelin-starred menus, cultural hubs and bespoke activities to suit every type of traveller, including those with little ones.

Think stunning coastal walks, ancient fishing villages and beautiful culinary creations that’ll 100% raise your Insta-game – the Costa Brava really does have it all. Here’ 5 reasons why we’re already booking that dream getaway…

The food

The Costa Brava is part of Catalonia – one of Spain’s most talked-about and exciting gastronomic regions. Situated just 30 miles from the picturesque seaside town of Platja d’Aro, the three Michelin-starred El Celler just outside Girona was voted first in 2013’s ‘World’s 50 Top Restaurants’ and is famous for appearing in the 2011 series of Masterchef. If you are in any way a foodie, bagging a table at El Celler is about to shoot to the top of your wishlist.

Failing that, there are plenty of other fantastic restaurants and tasty adventures to embark upon, all delivering seasonal produce, locally produced wines and some of the finest seafood the Costa Brava has to offer.

The beaches

The Costa Brava is famous for it’s fabulous beaches, with each resort up and down this spectacular stretch of rugged coastline offering up hidden coves, sandy stretches and incredible clifftop walks. Whether you want to fly and flop beach holiday or want to get active, the Costa is going to have a beach that appeals to you.

The family-friendly resort of Lloret de Mar happens to have some of the finest beaches in Spain, with the town’s Lloret Beach stretching over 1km in length – perfect for seaside picnics, sandcastles and swimming.

The architecture

Fans of impressive architecture and medieval history need look no further than the resort of Tossa de Mar. Not only is Tossa a thriving tourist hotspot, but the walled enclaves of the Vila Vella (or ‘Old Town’) cement it’s status as the only entirely surviving fortified medieval town along the coast of Catalonia.

Wind away hours strolling along Tossa’s cobbled streets soaking up the area’s rich cultural heritage, before scaling the heights of Castillo de Tossa de Mar (Tossa de Mar Castle) to watch the sun set over the ocean. Heavenly.

The activities

From golf to hiking, snorkelling to cycling, the Costa Brava has plenty of things to do if you like to keep active.

Lloret de Mar offers up some of the most breathtaking cycle routes in Spain, with challenging mountain passes, wooded trails and cliff climbs to test even the most adventurous bikers. Lloret also has some of the finest walking trails in the Costa Brava, allowing you, friends and family to discover the area’s rich and diverse Mediterranean climate.

And if you are in the mood for something seriously life-changing, the famous Camino de Ronda hiking path spans 125 miles along the Costa Brava coast, passing towns like Tossa de Mar and Calella de Palafrugell along the way.

Rocky inlets and unspoilt aquamarine waters up and down Costa’s coastline also provide rich pickings for diving enthusiasts, and most resorts along the water will provide information on local water sports.

The accessibility

One of the main reasons we love the Costa Brava? It’s less than a two-hour flight away from most UK airports, and whether you’re looking for a dream family getaway or a relaxing break with friends, it’s diverse range of resorts will appeal to every traveller.

Travel experts Jet2holidays have a fantastic range of packages to suit every budget, with a selection of 2-5* hotels in resorts along the Costa coast. And with 22kg baggage and transfers included as standard, you’ll be safe in the knowledge that all bases are covered.

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A millennial guide to Japan in 72 hours Moxy-style

A millennial guide to Japan in 72 hours Moxy-style


From hedgehog cafes and dining with cuddly toys to having a Gwen Stefani Harajuku Girls moment…

While poolside cocktails and tanned, sandy manicured feet used to be all the rage on our Instagram feeds, the social media crowd now seem to be forgoing the beach aesthetic and opting for cool city breaks for their holiday shots.

What’s getting all the likes in 2018? Japan – from the kawaii food (we’re talking teddy bear shaped rice) and cool animal cafe pop-ups, to city skylines and very eccentric fashion parties.

REX

All the influencers are doing it – and reaping the rewards, so I boarded a 12 hour flight and flew 6,000 miles to the Land of the Rising Sun to see what the fuss was about.

The verdict? My favourite country I’ve ever been to – and as a result, my Instagram feed has never looked better.

I started my Japanese adventure in Osaka, home to the humble pot noodle, before riding the bullet train east to the bright lights of Tokyo.

But with 72 hours to fill and two cities to co-ordinate, where should I stay? I went with the Moxy – Osaka Honmachi and Tokyo Kinshicho.

Moxy

While there are Moxy hotels in most capital cities (there are three in London alone), each hotel is a different homage to its location, with Japan’s Moxy hotels offering down to earth but efficient on-trend central accommodation, with traditional Japanese hospitality – at a very manageable price.

Moxy London

The rooms are minimalist in pink and grey tones, with optional fold down furniture hung on hooks on the walls to open up the space and make it customisable. What else would you expect? This is the country that brought us Marie Kondo after all.

From the Pimp My Noodles breakfast bar where you can legit eat emojis and the USB ports built into every furnishing imaginable, to the personalised welcome message graffitied on each visitor’s mirror, it is truly a millennial’s dream – not to mention, an Instagram goldmine.

Known to surprise its visitors, Moxy guests can be unexpectedly met on arrival by anything from a basket of Japanese junk food on their beds (the Taiyaki is the best – it’s essentially a giant fish-shaped custard cream) to having a cocktail created and named after them at the downstairs bar. This writer was even met by some Japanese arcade games and a record player. #hotelgoals.

Moxy London

I quickly found out that Japan can be whatever you make it, but personally wanting the full ‘Kawaii’ Instagram experience I headed straight for Osaka’s Owl Cafe, a cosy room where your hot chocolate comes with a side of 20 owls and half a dozen staff eager to take photos of you with each bird balancing on your head.

People watching is best in downtown Namba, and Shinsaibishi is an essential stop to invest in some sheet masks (everything from snail slime to black sesame).

Then onto the Shinsekai area or ‘new world’ as it is known for a Kushikatsu and some peach rice wine at Yokozuna, sat Japanese style (shoes off) on the floor. For lunch however, head to Bodejyu for some DIY Okonomiyaki (a cabbage and batter seafood pancake that makes a great Instagram video).

My second stop was Tokyo – a short and very speedy bullet train away. Pick up a bento box for the journey – eating sushi rolls wrapped in banana leaves is apparently all the rage onboard, and tucking in as we shot past Kyoto and Nagoya, I wasn’t alone.

My arrival in the capital coincided with the opening of Moxy Tokyo, and if the launch party was anything to go by, I was going to love Japan. Temporary tattoos, giant pastel coloured teddy bears, harajuku girls, cap customisation stations and cocktails in blood bags – one of Japan’s latest party trends. I could have done without the fish marshmallow to be honest, but still, it made a great story.

In Tokyo there were plenty of foodie recommendations from the Monster Cafe to the Robot Restaurant, both offering multicoloured spaghetti and fluoro shakes. But while having one out-there kawaii meal is a must – I went for a fish curry shaped like a pink teddy bear – I would recommend heading off the beaten track once in a while for something a little less touristy.

The DIY bars were for me the best food finds – head to Chanko Kirishima for Chanko broth – the sumo wrestler diet or ‘weight gain diet’ as it has become known. Plus if you’re lucky you can catch a wrestling match afterwards over a cone of matcha ice cream.

Coffee-wise, you’d do well to forgo the commercial chains and go down the side streets where making a coffee is done with scientific precision. Head to Koffee Mameya, a hidden coffee lab off the beaten track, known by locals and coffee addicts alone. It gives Shoreditch coffee houses a run for their money, Instagram-wise.

Or if you want a uniquely Japanese experience (and Instagram opportunity), I would definitely recommend the Moomin cafe. Dubbed the ‘loneliness cafe’, single coffee drinkers are sat opposite giant cuddly moomin toys as they tuck into pancake stacks. Top tip: bring a book so unlike this writer, it doesn’t look like you’re actually on a date with a stuffed toy.

Then for a final dose of Japan’s eccentricities, the hedgehog cafe is an obligatory stop, named ‘Harry’s – a play on the Japanese word for ‘hedgehog’, harinezumi.

Drink your coffee in protective gloves as you play with the miniature spiked animals and feed them dried worms with tweezers. As far as Tokyo’s Instagram opportunities go, this is your goldmine, but top tip: don’t go late in the day – the hedgehogs get very bored of human contact as the day goes on, so make it a morning stop.

After just a couple of days in Japan, your Instagram account will be thriving, and you definitely won’t want to go home.

How to book:

You can book a room at the Moxy via the Marriott website, with the standard room rates starting at 12,000 Japanese Yen (£82) a night.

Moxy Osaka Honmachi:
2-2-9 Kawaramachi, Osaka, Japan
Phone +81-6-6204-5200

Moxy Tokyo Kinshicho:
3-4-2 Kotobashi, Tokyo, Japan
Phone +81-3-5423-4090

And if you’ve caught the Moxy bug, you’re in luck as you don’t just have to travel all the way to Japan for it. First launching in Milan in 2014, there are currently 20 Moxy hotels across Europe, Asia and North America, with nearly 90 more in the works.

So wherever you are, you should be able to find a Moxy, for great service, on-trend food, Instagrammable interiors and an endless supply of USB ports to ensure you can upload to social media from wherever you are in the world.

See you there.

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Tips on boosting your Uber rating from the person actually scoring you

Tips on boosting your Uber rating from the person actually scoring you


We’re on that five star track, baby.

Mint Images/REX/Shutterstock

Rejoice late night revellers and tube haters, Uber London is officially back in business after having their licence renewed. (Well, at least for the next fifteen months as they’re on probation.) All that time we poured into cultivating our Uber rating trying not to throw up in the back of a car at our lowest points now won’t go to waste, though we know some of you might not have been as lucky.

If your rating leaves something to be desired, we chatted with a female Uber driver to figure out how to achieve that mythical five star rating. She shared ten of her top tips below and to be honest, most of it boils down to common courtesy. When in an Uber and in doubt: just don’t be a dick.

1. Kick off your heels… but not your trainers

If you’re wearing vertiginous heels, kicking them off your feet is something that brings some much-needed respite. And that’s fine. But if you’ve got trainers on and you’ve been engaged in some intense exercise…probably best not.

2. Avoid smelly fast foods

There’s nothing more satisfying after a night out than some great takeaway stodge. But while you might savour the smell of a massive pepperoni pizza or a big greasy burger, your driver or your fellow Pool passengers might be less keen.

3. Feeling rubbish is fine, but don’t leave any rubbish

There’s nothing better when you’re feeling ill and sniffly than ordering an Uber to get you from door to door. But when you’re chasing a five rating, it’s best not to leave big snotty tissues on the seats, and the same goes for any rubbish you might generate on your trip.

4. Tell your driver if you’re planning on a backseat beauty routine

It’s understandable if you’re in a hurry and plan to do your grooming and makeup in the car, but if you’re planning on getting through a full beauty routine – say so. That way extra care can be taken to avoid potholes and lane changes.

uber london

Getty Images

5. Save the row for somewhere else

It’s the end of the night and your friends or your partner have enraged you for the whole evening and now you’re fuming. Now that you’re in the privacy of the car, it’s your time to unleash a verbal tirade… but not if you want a five-star rating. Little tiffs can be funny, but blazing rows are best saved for somewhere else. And avoid the potty-mouth. If you wouldn’t say it in front of your Nan, best not say it at all.

6. Nobody likes a Whatsapp Warrior

Everyone’s glued to their phones 24/7, and while that’s great for ordering your Uber, put it down once you’re in the car and be friendly! Those group chat memes aren’t going anywhere, so take a valuable break from the screen, look out of the window and enjoy the views on your journey… or even – GULP! – chat to your driver and ask them about their day.

7. This isn’t the time to rehearse your DJ set

Look, you might think your playlist is amazing, but how would you like it playing so loudly your eyeballs actually shake? Didn’t think so. Please ask if it’s alright to plug your music in and save the singing for the shower. That way, everyone’s happy.

uber rating

Valentin Wolf/imageBROKER/REX/Shutterstock

8. Gently close the door

You’re not a teenager and you’ve not just had a fight with your Mum, so there’s really no need to slam the door. It’s one of the most common ways to get your rating docked. Practice those good manners and keep things cheerful when you’re getting in and out of the car. Even if you’ve had the day from hell there’s nothing a few classic car tunes can’t solve.

9. Stick to the number of people that’ll fit in the car

Squeezing too many people in the car is illegal. If you have a large party, order an UberXL and split the fare so it’s cost effective. For Pool, you can select one or two people, so don’t claim it’s just you if you’ve got a mate coming along. You’ll potentially match with another rider travelling in the same direction, so choosing the right number of people will ensure everyone has a comfortable ride.

10. Avoid being a backseat driver

Drivers have satnav to get you where you need to be, and of course we can take into account your preferred route if you mention it at the start of the trip. Don’t forget you can follow your journey on a live map in the app – and you’ll also get a map of your route in your receipt – so you can see the exact route you took.

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