SENSATORI TENERIFE – Could this be a Paradise on Earth?

The hotel’s actual name is Gran Melia Palacio de Isora (www.granmeliapalaciodeisora.com) and Sensatori is the thomson-owned part of this hotel. In other words, certain bedrooms are sensatori, a certain number of tables in the restaurant are allocated to Sensatori guests etc. Also within the hotel are Club Gran Melia guests (which I think must be the time-share/owner) sections. Club gran melia also have their own reserved areas by the pool etc etc. There are certain pools / sunbathing areas / restaurants / bars allocated to “adults only” and to “red-level” guests only (who presumably have paid more for this exclusivity). In other words, you are not going to a Thomson owned hotel. It is much more segregated in it’s set-up, but to be honest, it’s so big that I really did not feel like I was being excluded from anything particularly special. There was still plenty left for sensatori families like ourselves!

Bali Bed

Bali Bed

Stay at one of the most Luxurious Resorts and a have a perfect vacation with a complete Digital Detox was the mission…and Oh!boy…was the mission accomplished!!! No Doubts…
The staff and service at Sensatori was phenomenal and they ensure that you have the holiday of a lifetime. This hotel has everything going for it, full spa, 260 metres + infinity pool, a la carte restaurants serving the best food you’ll ever eat, full west end-style performances in the evening, childrens’ entertainment throughout the day and evening, adults only rooms and pool, sports facilities.
Tenerife Sensatori 2015-01-05 244

OutDoor Pool

The main pool, there are four other pools, including a splash pool, a family pool, and a quieter, adults-only one surrounded by lawns and Balinese beds. The main pool here measures up at a massive 260 metres. Filled with saltwater and accessorised with in-water sunbeds, whirlpools and jets, it merges into an infinity pool with standout sunset views.
Infinity Pool

Infinity Pool

 

The Little Photographer

The Little Photographer’s Master Piece

It was simply unbelievable… the sun set was the time to indulge in natures unrivalled beauty and enjoy a few moments of retrospection of how beautiful the life is. Every evening the sky was painted in different colours, cast a different hue and made us feel a different emotion. And the nights were truly spectacular.
 This place was just so photogenic…. For once, I’m going to pipe down and let my photos do the talking. Enjoy.
Sunset at Infinity Pool

Sunset at Infinity Pool

RESTAURANTS:

Oasis Pool Grille

Posing in front of Oasis Pool Grille

Musical Fountain in the Background

Musical Fountain in the Background

The Highlight was the Global Buffet at ultra-modern Pangea restaurant. Food was sumptuous and the variety was phenomenal… everything from pasta, seafood, salads and huge variety of deserts.

The Oasis Pool Grille had a  laid-back informal vibe, and speciality here is Mediterranean food. Exclusive list of meat and fish dishes, and in winter they also have a hot stone menu.

Club Ocean, served Italian favourites in formal and elegant setting.

We also wanted to sample sushi and teppanyaki at Nami which was the Talk of the resort. We did have to pay a little extra but was worth every penny.

Sushi and Teppanyaki at Nami

Sushi and Teppanyaki at Nami

P.S.:Please do excuse me for the quality of few photographs because of lack of proper light.

Heaven on Earth – Santorini (Astra Suites)

Ever since I moved to London in August 2005, Santorini has been on my BUCKET LIST. Finally my dream came true in May 2012 .This island is a paradise and everyone should visit once in their Lifetime. The cliff-side homes which are painted blazing white with deep blue roofs are symbolic of Greece and specially Oia. I was fortunate to travel with my Hubby, mom (who was visiting us from India) and my 6 month old princess. We stayed at the most gorgeous hotel on the Island- Astra Suites.

ASTRA SUITES (Imerovigli)

Stunning intimate hotel nestled high above the sea. It had breathtaking views and was perfectly positioned for watching sunsets and sipping cocktails. In one word it was as if we were in a Greek paradise!  Pictures don’t do the hotel or it’s views any justice! Astra Suites complex is in Imerovigli and that’s away from the touristy Oia or Fira hence we enjoyed the most precious and peaceful moments with our 6 month old princess.

 

Santorini

Santorini

We had the most stunning view over the Caldera from our balcony which provided the perfect spot to have breakfast each morning. We stayed in a sumptuous family suite .The food was simple but delicious and service spot on.

Breakfast at an Altitude

And the Sunsets were to die for…

Sunset

Will highly recommend Astra Suites as they are Perfect to relax and truly indulge yourself and soak in the gorgeous views.

LIKES : Staying at Astra Suites was so magical…like a DREAM COME TRUE !! It offers the best in service, food and rooms, the view is simply gorgeous day or night and the sunsets are the best on the island due to the location.

DISLIKES: Though it’s hard to fault anything about Astra Suites but it is located on the side of the cliff and if walking up and down the stairs is an issue then might rethink.

Official Description:

Amenities

Highlights:

  • Pool,
  • Room Service,
  • Bar/Lounge,
  • Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ),
  • Restaurant,
  • Free Breakfast

About the property:

  • Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly )

Things to do:

  • Pool,
  • Bar/Lounge,
  • Restaurant,
  • Hot Tub

Room types:

  • Suites,
  • Kitchenette

Internet:

  • Free Internet,
  • Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi )

Services:

  • Room Service,
  • Shuttle Bus Service,
  • Free Breakfast,
  • Dry Cleaning,
  • Meeting Rooms

Address: PO Box 45, Imerovigli 84700, Greece

The Dim-Sum Destination – Yauatcha !!

As far as I remember Dimsums have always been my favourite since childhood. I find them divine. So I decided to visit Yauatcha City (in Broadgate Circle, Liverpool Street) after been a regular at Yauatcha Soho with hubby dear and my little princess. What a fantastic location…just outside the Liverpool station and the restaurant has taken half of the Circle with balcony views. The interiors are very minimalistic but still very asian in a rustic way . Can’t be a better spot for people watching….I tell you!

View from the Window

View from the Window

The innovative collection in the Liquid Sweet Shop caters to everyone’s tastes and hardly ever disappoints. They have an extensive wine list and cocktails to choose from. We ordered their Signature cocktail : HAKKA COCKTAIL  (It has both sake and vodka, it was strong but still fruity with the addition of lychee, lime, coconut and passion fruit).

 

HAKKA Cocktail

HAKKA Cocktail

In addition to including the classics like Chicken Shanghai dumpling and Prawn shui mai, Yauatcha has some interesting twists on traditional dishes like the baked venison puffs (instead of pork). They were so mouthwatering and devilishly perfect.

Venison puff

Venison puff

Their Fried chilli squid with oatmeal and curry leaf was next to arrive on the table and is the best interpretation of this classic dish that I have yet to try.

Fried chilli squid with oatmeal and curry leaf

Fried chilli squid with oatmeal and curry leaf

But the winner on the table was Spicy soft shell crab with almond. It was like nothing I had ever had before. Even my little missy enjoyed digging into sumptuous crabs.

Soft Shell Crab with Almonds

Soft Shell Crab with Almonds

Liked: Innovative Food ; Great Service ; Fantastic venue. Over the top – Patisserie and teas, extensive cocktail, wine and Champagne list.

Address:

Yautacha

Address: Broadgate Cir, London EC2M 2QS

 

Buggy Bench – A Must Have for Parents with Multiple Young Children

Buggy Bench

Any mother with two young children going grocery shopping knows about the anxiety of finding a two seater shopping cart.  Finding these carts are like trying to find the hot toy of the season on Christmas Eve.  What is even harder is trying to find one that has 3 seats.  While you could put your child in the basket of the cart, it is an unsafe alternative.  Not only do have to worry about them getting into your groceries but there is risk where they can easily fall out because they are not strapped down.

The Buggy Bench is a great tool for parents who have 2 or more young children.  No more worries about how you are going to navigate the grocery store with your kids in tow while getting everything off of your grocery list.  This Buggy Bench easily attaches to any size shopping cart helping you create another secure seat.  There is a safety belt in the Buggy Bench that helps protect your little one so that you can shop with ease without the fear of them falling out of the shopping cart.  The outer straps are long enough to fit even those large warehouse carts too.

This item is not only great if you have twins, but children close in age together and if you have twins plus one.  While a two seater car can feel like near impossible to locate, a cart that can hold three children securely is like looking for a unicorn.  Having a Buggy Bench on hand in your car can feel like a lifesaver when you are running errands with your kids.

Not only does the Buggy Bench make grocery shopping a bit easier, it is easy to store.  It folds away perfectly so that you can just store it in your car, available to you whenever you need it.  It also cleans very easily by removing the plastic supports.  Wash with your regular laundry with like colors.  Do not put in the drying machine.  Air drying will help prevent the fabric from shrinking.

You use this Buggy Bench as young as 8 months to 4 years old.  It is best to put the buggy bench in the cart where you can put the groceries behind your child.  This way you don’t have to worry about them trying to open things or throw anything out.  While it does take up some of your cart space to put groceries, there really isn’t any alternative to going shopping and making sure that all your young children are secure unless you are willing to push two carts around.   You can rest easy that your child is safe in this seat (maybe even more so than the actual child seat of the cart).

The Good Life – 10 offbeat experiences in Bali

Discover the best kept secrets of Bali – Secret waterfalls, hidden beaches and the best places to visit on the island
So you’ve lazed around on the beaches of Kuta, shopped until you can’t walk anymore and visited the over touristed Ubud monkey forest. What is left for you to do on your next trip to Bali? There’s plenty and we are going to explore the top 10 offbeat experiences in Bali.
1. Visit Charlies Chocolate Factory
Getting horizontal on the famous swing at Charlies Chocolate factory 
This hidden paradise lies a short 15 minute drive from the beautiful village of Candi Dasa on Bali’s east coast. Settled amongst the tall swaying palm trees, Charlies Chocolate Factory is an escape from the hustle and bustle and you’ll find yourself spending most of the afternoon here relaxing and enjoying the peace and tranquility. There is a small shop to taste the home grown coconut based chocolate which comes in a lot of different varieties. IF chocolate isn’t your thing then you’ll want to visit just to get on the giant swing. It is suspended from 2 bamboo trees and you can swing way out of your comfort zone – it’ll be one of the highlights of your Bali trip.
2. Scuba Dive the USS Liberty Wreck

Scuba Diving the USAT Liberty in northern Bali – Photo – Scott Plume

 Not many people can say that they’ve scuba dived inside a WW2 war ship but thats exactly what you’ll find on the north shore of Bali. Once beached in the small village of Tulamben, the 1963 eruption of Mount Agung sent the ship sliding down the beach and into around 30m of water, making it one of the most accessible wreck dives in Indonesia. There is also a relaxed vibe to the village of Tulamben and even if you don’t want to dive then there are bars and restaurants looking after your every need.
3. Volunteer with Work Away or Helpx
  
                                   Hanging out with the locals 
If you want a true and authentic Balinese experience then staying with a local family is a must. Helpx and workaway are websites designed to link people looking for help around the house, with people who would like to live with a local family. The helper gets free lodging and food and the family gets an extra pair of hands around the house. You will learn things you never normally would and the Balinese are some of the friendliest people in the world. The satisfaction you’ll get from helping someone learn English or build a small chicken pen will stay with you forever and you’ll make life long friends in the process. It’s not all work though –  your host will usually plan events for you and you’ll be the talk of the village 🙂
4. Discover the island’s vibrant capital

                                The Badra Sandhi Monument – Photo via wikimedia

Denpasar is the often forgotten city with the major tourist hubs of Kuta, Ubud and Canggu getting all the attention. Denpasar is a vibrant city and deserves to be explored in its own right. You’ll find ancient temples, friendly locals and some of the best cafes on the entire island – at half the cost of the tourist areas. With green park space and friendly locals you’ll feel more like you’re in Indonesia here and chances are you won’t see another foreigner all day. There are plenty of great cafes serving some of the best coffee on the island. If you really want to treat yourself check out Alleyway cafe in the heart of Denpasar. They serve the best wedges and chicken burgers and you’ll definitely be coming back for round 2.
5. Go Kayaking/SUP and snorkelling off one of Bali‘s most beautiful beaches

             The crystal clear waters off the south coast of Bali

Everybody loves to spend time at the beach but what about kayaking or stand up paddle boarding around some of the most beautiful reef that Bali has to offer. Pandawa beach is a favorite for Indonesian locals but few foreigners venture here. From the crystal clear turquoise waters to the flying sting rays, there is something for everybody. The beach is lined with shacks offering fresh coconuts and Indonesia specialities. If that wasnt enough try a tandem flight from the hill above and soar like a bird over the ocean.
6. Explore waterfalls at Aling Aling and Sekumpul
                                           Sekumpul waterfall Bali is well known for its beaches but there is something hiding in the jungles that not so many people know about. With almost one metre of rain per year,Bali‘s rivers swell cascading over drops along the way. The best waterfalls on the whole island are located in the north and are a welcomed escape from the hustle and bustle of the south. Take a driver or explore yourself. The only prerequisite is to be able to climb up around 100 stairs at the end. The refreshing dip in the pools at the bottom will be worth the journey.

7. Learn to surf in Canggu
  Learning to ride the waves in Canggu – Photo via Premebaliadventure
Sure Canggu is a little bit touristic but it is the latest place to be seen in Bali. With some of the best surf on the island it’s a great place to pick up a board and hit the waves. Make your way to “old man’s bar” right by the waterfront and you’ll find surfboards for rent and you can enlist the help of a school or get private lessons. After a few hours riding the waves you would have built up quite an appetite, and this is where Canggu excels. The restaurants are cheap and affordable and will help you recover from that first session in the water.
8. Spend a night camping under the stars

                         Secret camping spot – Uluwatu 

The best experiences are the ones that usually are free and camping in Bali is both accessible and completely free! You’ll relive a part of your childhood and get to cook some marshmallows over the campfire. When the island goes to sleep you’ll be completely alone with just the sounds of nature and a billion stars shining brightly overhead. The main camping spots are in the north but there are some great beach and cliff side camp spots close to Uluwatu and Nyang Nyang beach.
9. Watch a movie at dusk on Karma Beach
 

Night time movie at Karma beach – Photo via Karma beach clubs

Karma beach is a private beach located along the very southern coast of Bali. Spend the day snorkelling along the reef and the night watching a movie under the stars. The beach can only be accessed by a funicular which will bring you from the top of the cliff all the way to the bottom some 80 metres below. You will fall in love with Karma beach the moment you step on the sand and you won’t want to leave. There is a full bar on the beach and you can also rent snorkels and kayaks for a competitive rate.
10. Visit Nusa Lembongan and Nusa Ceningan 

                             Swimming at Blue Lagoon 

Located just a short hours boat ride away are the beautiful islands of Lembongan and Ceningan. You’ll feel like you’ve gone back in time and back to whatBali once was before the tourists started to flock there. The highlight of the island is the beautiful beaches that surround the west coast. Uncrowded and unspoilt you really will feel like you are in a different place. If you have the time a trip over to the Blue Lagoon on Ceningan is a must and you’ll see thrill seekers jumping off the 13 metre high cliffs.