Oman has been voted 8th in the Lonely Planet’s best in Travel for 2017 – It’s a destination not to missed!
When telling people I was travelling to Oman, I generally had the response of ‘where is that?’ It is a fairly unique destination which made me love it even more! My biggest regret, would be that I only spent 2 days here over the weekend, which really wasn’t enough to experience everything Oman has to offer.
To answer the question, Oman is right on the edge of the Arabian Peninsula. I don’t like to compare countries, but Oman really reminded me of Dubai and Marrakesh mixed together! The design of the buildings, patterns & colours really reminded me of Marrakesh. The beaches, people & food offerings really reminded me of Dubai.
The people are really what makes Oman special. Everyone I know who has visited says the same thing, I felt so welcome and safe from the second we arrived. Another thing to note, is how clean and neat it is there, It is the cleanest country I have ever been too! Everywhere we went there was a cleaner or a gardener, trimming the trees or washing the floor. Even the roads were spotless! It is the little things like that, which adds to the countries beauty.
The Luxury Resort: We stayed in the Shang-ri-la Barr Al Jissah, which is absolutely stunning. There are 3 hotels making up the resort which are the Al Bandar, Al Husn & Al Waha. We stayed in a pool view room with a balcony in the Al Bandar. The Al Husn was definitely my favourite, I felt like an Arabian Princess strolling through a palace!
Shangrila Barr Al Jissah: http://bit.ly/2kkSSwA
The Endless Beaches: You will have direct access to the most beautiful views from the minute you arrive. The Mountains rise all around the resort, making for the perfect backdrop!
The Turtles: Each night we would head to Turtle Beach to try and catch a glimpse of the Turtles hatching, we sadly didn’t get to see any but we spoke to lots of guests who were lucky enough to see them. They have a Turtle Care Project at the resort too, they even have their very own Turtle Ranger (What a great job!)
Omani Food: There is so much choice! I opted for Asian Tapas on the terrace for the first night. I had Crab & Potato Samosas with Peanut Oil & Mixed seafood paella. The second night I decided to dine in Bait Al Bar along the beach. I opted for fish again, I had the Seafood Platter (Lobster, Sea Bream, Kingfish, Squid, Vegetables & Lemon Butter!) Try and book these when you arrive, as we struggled for a reservation on the first night. The menu’s are all loaded online on this link > http://bit.ly/2jj9R54 Have a good look at the menu’s before you arrive so you can pre-budget & pick your favourites!
The Tea: I must admit, I didn’t like the taste of Arabic Tea but I LOVED the Arabic Tea Pots!
The Grand Mosque: The Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque is Islamic architecture at its best! I obsessed over the Islamic Geometric Patterns and Mosaic Tiles.
Oh these tiles!
Who gets excited to fly home? Not me, that is for sure! Unless these are the views….Keep your eyes peeled around 2 hours into your flight home, you will fly over these snowy mountains in Iran. Breathtaking!
There is so much more to do, I just didn’t have the time. Camping in the dessert is still top of my list. I guess it gives me another reason to go back! 😉
I am pleased to say I have experienced the Arabian magic in 2017!
Post in collaboration with Barr Al Jissah & Luxuria Lifestyle…Love for Arabian patterns all my own 😉
Enjoy, any questions get in touch!
Hilton Sa Torre, Majorca is little piece of heaven in the Mediterranean, you won’t ever want to leave! It is located just 15 minutes away from Palma Airport, making it a perfect weekend escape to relax and unwind in the luxury of the Majorcan countryside.
5 Reasons to visit Hilton Sa Torre Majorca:
1. Experience the Luxury location: This Hilton is like no other Hilton in the world! It’s located in a beautifully restored Finca, it’s truly unique in every way, with a 14th century chapel on site and an iconic Majorcan windmill, everywhere you look is picture perfect. This is our second visit to this stunning hotel, it certainly won’t be the last!
2. Romance: This hotel oozes romance! It is quiet, peaceful and perfect for couples to spend quality time together. Ditch your phones/tablets and laptops and enjoy the stunning surroundings. Take a stroll around the magical hotel grounds, or wander towards the town of Llucmajor. You can also hop in a cab to Palma, the capital city for around 20 Euros.
3. Treat yourself in the Spa: The use of the spa is included in your stay, take advantage of the facilities and treat yourself! They offer lots of different treatment options, or you can just enjoy the sauna, steam room, indoor pool and gym.
4. 5* Food: They have 3 restaurants, The Pool Bar (They have the BEST pizza!) Sa Clastra & the Arxiduc restuarant. The Arxiduc is a firm favourite, as you can dine outside on the patio and enjoy fresh, local tapas. The menu is carefully created and updated every season by the on-site chefs to ensure the best food is on offer.
5. The Service Button: I’ll save the best until last! This button is the best invention EVER! If you are feeling super relaxed (or just being lazy) you can press a button for service at your sunbed…It doesn’t get much better than that right?!
Enjoy this little hidden gem!
To Book: http://bit.ly/2ex56nC
Experience the city life in Venice & Verona along with the tranquillity of Lake Garda. How we squeezed Venice, Verona & Desenzano into one unforgettable weekend break!
Day I: We flew from London Stansted into Milan Bergamo airport. The flight only cost £32pp: http://bit.ly/2jbQZWj.
Find out how, on this link: https://travelthroughlifehannah.wordpress.com/2016/09/10/weekend-escape/
Milan Airport (BGY) is around 80km away from Lake Garda, the train is by far the cheapest option to arrive into the Lakes, costing us 7 Euros each. Generally there is one change either in Breschia or Treviglio if you are heading towards Desenzano Del Garda. We chose to stay in Desenzano due to the transport links, making it really easy to use the trains to travel around Italy.
I booked our train tickets on my mobile using Go Euro (link: http://bit.ly/2en6xl2) The site is so easy to use, really mobile friendly, meaning as soon as you make a booking online you can download your tickets save them to your iBooks which allows the ticket inspector to scan your ticket straight from your phone using the QR code – It is as simple as that! It is much easier and cheaper than paying for your tickets from the kiosk, I can’t recommend it enough! Some of the tickets we booked minutes before the train was due to arrive using the app.
We arrived at the Hotel Bonotto, which is located in Desenzano Del Garda. We booked a lake view room and the view from the balcony was worth every penny. We didnt think we could get a better view, we were in for a big suprise, the real show stopper is when you go for breakfast as there is a panoramic view over the lake, it is such a beautiful peaceful setting!
The hotel was in a perfect location, it’s a 1 minute walk to the lake, 2 minute walk to the town, 2 minute walk to the harbour and 10 minute walk to the train station. (approx. 8.50 Euros in a taxi to the train station if you have heavy bags!)
Hotel Bonotto: http://bit.ly/2elpXFU
We had a little wander into the town and we found the cutest little pizza place called Al Fattore, located in the main town of Desenzano. It was super cheap too, only 28 Euros for 2 pizza’s and a bottle of wine, which was a surprise for a popular tourist town.
Day II: Verona & Venice.
We did some research over dinner & decided to head to Verona in the morning, it is only 20 minutes away on the train also it only cost 3.60 Euros per ticket – Result! We caught the 09:00am train, meaning we arrived into Verona by 09:20. Verona Purto Nouva is the main station in the City, only a 15 – 20 minute walk straight down Corso Porta Nuova into Verona. We walked directly to the Piazza, which is absolutely beautiful, even on a rainy day!
Then we headed into Castelvecchio Castle, which has beauty around every corner. Then we wandered around the Piazza’s including Piazza Bra & Piazza Dei Signori. Then we headed to Torre dei Lamberti, The Basilica, Santa Maria Antica & Arco Dei Gavi – Lovely morning spent wandering around the city!
Day II Afternoon
We walked back to Verona station to head for Venice, again we booked on the Go Euro app for 8 Euros each & is approx. a 1.5 hour train journey and we arrived into Venice for 3pm.
WOW what a STUNNING train journey, Venice station is right on the Grand Canal, pulling into the station was pretty impressive…….
This is our second time visiting Venice, the first time was back in 2014 when my Fiancée proposed in a restaurant called Riviera which is towards the end of the Grand Canal, it is a beautiful peaceful spot, which is sometimes hard to come across in such a busy city. The food in Riviera is unbelievable, the views are even better! More pics and menus can be found here: http://bit.ly/2dFGJC2
Gondola Rides: There is always time for a Gondola Ride! They are around 80 Euros for 40 minutes – Which is completely worth it in my eyes, as you get views like this! You can either prebook them beforehand, or flag down a Gondola man when you are in the City (They are round most corners, in their amazing stripy t-shirts and matching hats!)
Piazza St. Mark’s square is beautiful, BUT super busy. We tend to sprint through to get to the beautiful views over the Grand Canal at the water’s edge! There are plenty of bars and restaurants in the square, but they are really busy and the most expensive in Venice. You are much better walking through the square, towards the canal and take a stroll across the water front to find a much quieter, cheaper and much prettier spot to enjoy a refreshment break!
We love to slowly wander around, finding quiet little spots to admire the view with less people. With that in mind, we started a mission to find another favourite restaurant of ours, which is Luna Sentada. Luna Sentada is pretty hard to locate, as it is in a lovely quiet location, down a narrow side path. Both of our phones had lost signal meaning we couldn’t use google maps we had no choice but to get lost! The exact way how we found it last time!! We very nearly gave up as it was getting later and later, however at 6pm, we turned a corner which we both really recognised…..We both laughed and couldnt believe our eyes, we had been searching for ages, but sure enough when we turned that corner, there it was! Luna Sentada & 5000 wine bar. Two wines please!
If I give you one tip for Venice, it is to purposely get yourself lost, walk off the main streets & down the many side streets, where hidden gems await! ‘Take it all in, explore, adventure, turn corners and appreciate the most beautiful city in the world.’
Day II Evening:We caught the train from Venice back to our hotel in Desenzano del Garda. We caught the last train at 7:30pm from Venice (be sure to check Go Euro’s train timetable for the last train during your trip)
Desenzano: Lake Garda
Day III Morning: We went for breakfast in the Hotel Bonotto at 7:00am to catch the sunrise. (WOW) I would really recommend an early morning rise to catch these stunning views. We took a stroll around the lake as a final goodbye before we needed to leave for our flight at 10am. It didnt take long to find cute little spots along the way!
Have you explored Italy by train? Let me know below! What are your top tips?