Tuesday, July 23, 2013

WE HAVE JUST BEEN TO VICTORIA FALLS


After an 8-night camping tour through the utter wilds of Botswana, Select senior travel consultant Birgit  reaches the Victoria Falls. Here she talks about two 5-star experiences, a camp and a lodge...but first her wonder over the falls.



The incredible falls....

"The Falls were beyond expectations, huge, fantastic...." says  Birgit. You inevitably get wet she points out, even if you have a raincoat, but it is worth it...

Elephant Camp, Zimbabwe

This is a lovely five star camp situated in a game park, and is not fenced, so you need to be careful of stray animals. It is an all- inclusive product. Even laundry was included.
 
Luxury tents - plenty of space and charm

The spacious luxury tents are nicely decorated. Each has a big bathroom, outdoor shower, a huge terrace with a plunge pool, and lovely views to the forests.

Bath with a view of the bush

All in all there are only 12 tents, very private. The manager was a lively soul, and took good care of his guests.

In the morning Birgit and party took a walk of about 2 hours with Sylvester the cheetah, which was an unforgettable experience.




"At this point they tell you that if you want to donate for his survival, that would be nice, and it is 50USD," says Birgit. "The walk was worth it, we learned a lot about nature, and the morning light was fantastic.".

Who to stay

Our discerning customers.

Royal Livingstone, Zambia


This very Select style property lies on the banks of the mighty Zambezi river, within view of the mists arising from the thundering falls. Its highlight is a lovely sundeck just beside the river, great place to have a sundowner, gaze at the sunset and see the fabled "mists".




About 5 minutes from the Zimbabwe border, the hotel lies in a nature reserve, and zebras and impalas can be seen on the property.

In keeping with its name in honour David Livingstone, the first Westerner to discover the falls, the hotel displays  Colonial style and beautifully decorated public areas. Here you feel the charm of times gone by  - "like your soul was in one piece here" comments Birgit.




There are 17 blocks with either 9 or 12 rooms in each, in 2 storeys, a total 172 rooms.
The rooms are furnished in a pleasantly old fashioned way, all alike. There are 3 suites, and one Presidential. Always ask for a room that has a river view, because there are some without.



For families you can connect suites with a standard room or book interleading rooms. Children under 5 can sleep on the couch (no need for extra beds). 

As everyone does, Birgit and party walked to the falls on this side too.They looked gigantic at this time of the year. During mid October to January the flow is slow, there is a good flow from March to July, but  the best flow is  from April to July.  

Who to stay

Discerning guests, including children.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

HOTEL CHECK MAURITIUS, Angsana Balaclava

Neil Bedford & Lisa Moheim look at a hotel with a difference on a quiet, sheltered beach on the tropical island of Mauritius

Nestled in the secluded area of Turtle Bay on the island's North West coast (1 hour from the airport),  Angsana Balaclava is one of the island’s newest 5 star properties. With just 52 suites (and 1 amazing villa) it is one of the few options on Mauritius that caters for those wishing for a smaller, more boutique, feel to their hotel.

On a sheltered beach

Rooms


Although all rooms are extremely well-appointed, our favourites were the Spa Suites and Beach Front Suites as they can guarantee a sea view. Both of these room types feature a private pool but our top marks go to the first floor Beach Front Suite;  superb ocean views, a private Relaxation Pool and balcony with daybed. The ground floor version of this room offers a larger pool and direct beach access but less privacy.

A guaranteed sea view

Beachfront suite

The Spa Suites have the added bonus of 90 minute spa session every day so if you are planning on treating yourself to a lot of pampering then this is an excellent choice.

The secluded Imperial Villa has a private beachfront setting and is ideal for family getaways. The double-story residence comprises two buildings - the main bungalow features a large master bedroom, twin bedroom, exercise equipment, a self-contained kitchenette, exterior bar on the terrace and interior bar separating the kitchen, living and dining room as well as steam shower in the main villa and dining room, timber verandah and a spacious entertainment deck with a long infinity edge pool and jet pool.

Imperial villa
The annex includes two One-Bedroom suites, each complete with its own private pool and steam shower.

Spa


Stunning architecture and interior d├ęcor which blend modern design with Mauritian heritage. An excellent selection of treatments all carried out by some of the best therapists on the island (Banyan Tree Spa Academy trained).


Sheltered beach


The northwest location means stunning sunsets and (particularly noticeable in the summer moths) less wind than the east coast. As with all of the Mauritian coastline, the beach is protected by a reef and so you have calm safe waters to swim and enjoy. The sandy beach is only shared by the odd fishermen, protected as it is by rocks at either end.
Calm safe waters, and tranquil golden sands

Dining


An excellent offering of 4 signature restaurants highlighting Asian, European, Creole and Indian food.

Other facilities


With so few rooms (and many with their own pools) the 2 hotel pools (one infinity edge and one seawater lagoon) rarely get busy. The small gym is well equipped and the library has a good selection of DVDs for some respite from the sun.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

HOTEL CHECK THAILAND, Trisara

Neil Bedford takes a look at our properties on Phuket and finds lush privacy on this popular island...

Trisara is a rewarding choice for a luxury beach holiday. Sensational views, tropical feel and private pools are offered by all the villas at Trisara, which are well appointed and charming. Arranged down a slope amidst greenery, the villas are built to maximize both sunshine and privacy. 






Trisara has a beautiful main pool located right beside the attractive, sandy stretch of beach.






The hotel is well known for its high levels of service and feeling of exclusivity. While the ambience suits honeymooners, it does cater for families and there is a small kids club located in a Pavilion.

Do note the special Select Collection offer towards the end of this blog.

Rooms 

39 villas.

All with pool (of varying size) and all with sea view. This is a big attraction at Trisara  – you know that every room has pool AND sea view.



There are also 8 residences (2-6 bedrooms).

Must do 

Relax! Soak up the sun by your pool in the villa, on the beautiful beach or by the pool. The spa is also excellent and F&B offers a wide choice. On Sundays don't miss the famed Sunday brunch.

Why go 

This is one of the classiest options in Phuket. We love the sensational views all over the property and the secluded sandy beach. A very safe bet whatever room type you take - you will always have your view and your private pool.

Special Select Collection offer

Make a new booking to stay 2 nights or more between now and October 31st 2013 and receive a US$200 daily resort credit to spend on Trisara’s Food, Beverage and Spa. Additionally take advantage of our “stay 7 nights pay for 6” offer, plus a 90-minute Sukhothai or Oil massage treatment for 2 persons once per stay at Trisara Spa between 10am – 2pm.

How to get to Trisara

15 mins by car from Phuket international airport.

Note: Images 1, 4 and 5 (c) Trisara, the others snaphots by Neil Bedford, Select Collection