Travel To | Ubud, Bali

Having planned this trip for the past 3 months it seems pretty surreal now that I’ve actually arrived. Having stumbled off the plane in Singapore, I had time to stroll to the gate and board the next plane to Bali, 3 hours later and I’d arrived at my first pit stop, Ubud.

Remember Eat, Pray, Love? – Yep, that’s Ubud. Think luscious green rice paddies, yogis galore and the most unreal food I’ve ever had. Needless to say, this place did not disappoint.

COFFEE


1. Seniman Coffee Studio
2. Freak Coffee
3. Monkey Cave Espresso

BRUNCH


1. Folk Pool & Gardens
2. Copper Kitchen
3. Habitat Cafe

HEALTHY SNACKS


1. Alchemy
2. Gluten Free Kitchen
3. Seeds of Life

DINNER


1. Locavore – for a cosy vibe & epic cuisine
2. Bridges – for riverside views
3. Kubu at Mandapa – for top notch Balinese

STAY


1. Bisma Eight – for Jungle luxury
2. COMO Shambhala – for a real retreat, at a real treat price!
3. Cloud Nine – for a hilltop escape

Looking for somewhere more reasonable in Bali?  (without sacrificing style)

DO


1. Climb Mount Batur
2. Campuhan Ridge Trail
3. Indulge in smoothie bowls
4. Take a trip to Tegenungan Waterfalls
5. Ogle at the beauty of Tegallalang Rice Terrace
6. Swing from the treetops at Bali Swing

The Habit Hunter x

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Hotel Review | Envoy Hotel, Boston

Overview:


When I headed out to Boston last month for the marathon, there was little debate over where I wanted to stay. ‘Innovation District’ – check, ‘Igloos on the roof’ – check, ‘Views over the Seaport’ – check, ‘Chic Interior Design’ – check – yep, The Envoy ticked all the boxes and it certainly didn’t disappoint.

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The Location:


Once a barren waterfront packed with parking lots, a few businesses and an old school restaurant or two, The Seaport District is now the hottest section of the city! This seaside section of “Southie”, has finally been enhanced by developers who have brought, and continue to bring, some of the Boston’s best to the area.

Beyond the confines of the hotel and a couple of pretty waterfront parks, you’re unlikely to spend much time in the Seaport District, but you’re just a five-minute walk across the Fort Point Channel from downtown.

The Rooms:


The 136 rooms come in various categories: at the lower end are Classics, which offer city or “partial water” views; while at top end are Coveted Corner Rooms and Suites.

My Corner King Room was spacious enough to have a free-standing bed right in the centre, complete with a headboard that had inbuilt electrical sockets – ideal for business guests who want to use the desk behind, or for anyone else, like me, who (tragically) hates to be too far from their phone while it charges overnight.

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The Food:


The Outlook restaurant, adjoining the lobby is well worth a visit, serving great wine and a menu centred around the three ‘S’s – seafood, salads and steaks – but in a much more modern way than that might suggest. The breakfast options were tip top – and I’d totally recommend the bacon glazed cinnamon danish (don’t pre-judge it)!

Whilst I only ate dinner once in the restaurant, post-marathon my legs wouldn’t carry me much further than the lobby, it certainly didn’t disappoint. In what’s become a post-marathon ritual I delved for the burger and it totally hit the spot.

The Drinks:


The Envoy’s modern building, radiating light and glass is crowned by the Rooftop Bar. The panoramic views of the Boston skyline and Boston Harbor are unmatched.  The uniquely-shaped bar is complemented by intimate seating groups and glowing fire pits. The covered seating areas have built-in ceiling mounted heaters for cool evenings. The beverage-only bar features unique house made craft cocktails, micro brews and wine by the glass collections.

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The Facilities:


As with many typical city break hotels, there’s not a huge amount of added extra facilities. The rooftop bar certainly steals the show, but the fitness centre is a decent size with modern equipment, and there’s plenty of space to chill and catch up on the latest news/instagrams around the lobby.

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The Service:


Quite honestly had very little interaction with the staff – neither a good nor bad thing. They were pleasant and helpful when called upon, but no ‘above end beyond’ service to note.

The Habit Hunter x

Travel To | New York

“When I First Moved to New York I Bought Vogue Instead Of Dinner, I Just Felt It Fed Me More”
Carrie Bradshaw

I’ve been lucky enough to make a few trips to New York, with the most recent being for the New York Marathon, and there’s just something about the buzz of the city that makes me fall in love with it a little bit more each time I visit. The feeling of being a little doll surrounded by huge skyscrapers, the hustle and bustle on every corner, and the unequivocally chic hangouts dotted throughout the city. It’s unsurprising that the holiday blues kick in before even getting to the departures lounge to go home. Needless to say – It’s never a case of ‘Goodbye’ when New York is involved, but always ‘I’ll See You Later’.

STAY


1. The Ludlow Hotel
2. 11 Howard
3. The Refinery Hotel

EAT


Brunch

1. The Butchers Daughter
2. Bubby’s
3. Two Hands
4. Jack’s Wife Frieda
5. Egg Shop

Coffee

1. Culture Espresso
2. El Rey
3. The Ludlow Coffee Supply
4. Everyman Espresso
5. Happy Bones

Lunch

1. By Chloe
2. Umami Burger
3. Broadway Bites (Food Market)
4. Chelsea Market
5. Sweetgreen

Dinner

1. The Spotted Pig
2. The Little Owl
3. Tiny’s
4. ABC Cocina
5. Le Coucou

DO


1. Chelsea Market
2. The Highline
3. Williamsburg, Brooklyn
4. A Broadway Show
5. Sunrise on Brooklyn Bridge
6. Central Park Strolls

SHOP


1. ABC Carpet & Home – a concept store where you can wander through their interiors, homewares and gifts for hours and hours through the sheer awe of their visual merchandising
2. LF Stores – It’s luck of the draw in this small women’s clothing store, but they have a mix of seriously discounted designer clothing and shoes. If you’ve got the patience to search through, it’s worth it!
3. Pottery Barn – Beautiful home interiors store
4. Chelsea Market

The Habit Hunter x

Travel To | Marrakech

“There are certain places on the surface of the earth that possess more magic than others, and one of those places is Marrakech”
Paul Bowles

My first trip to Marrakech was a surprise for my mums 50th Birthday back in 2014, and has become an annual ritual to return ever since. For me, Marrakech is a city that has it all: weather; culture; food; shopping and beautiful hotels. It’s a city of two halves, one being the hustle and bustle of the city centre (The Medina), and the other being outside the city walls.

The Medina


Anyone who tells you they walked through the medina and didn’t get lost is lying, either that or they never really step foot inside the souks. Maps, GPS, Sat Nav – nothing can prepare you for the hustle and bustle of the souks of Marrakech and the main square (Jemaa el Fna). From snake charmers to leather makers, the souks have it all. However, my top tip would be go prepared, do a little bit of research and decide what you are looking for before entering. With the abundance of stalls (many of which sell the same items), it’s easy to become very overwhelmed. Making a plan of what you are looking for and being willing to barter (you can generally go as low as 10% of their original price offering).

Beyond the City Walls


Whilst I strongly advocate at least one venture into the medina during your trip, sometimes that can be enough, and exploring beyond the city walls can be much more appealing. A trip out to Palmeraie, and the hotels on the outside of the city are well worth it. Nothing compares to a weekend brunch at Palais Namaskar, a beautiful resort approximately 20 minutes from the medina, set in stunning grounds and a buffet brunch fit for a king. Whilst it may seem expensive (about £60 per head), this includes access to the hotel and pool for the whole day, and the opportunity to tuck into the brunch as and when suits throughout the day.

STAY


Traditional:
1. Riad Sapphire
2. Riad Dar One
3. Riad El Fenn

Hotels & Resorts:
1. Sirayane Boutique Hotel
2. Palais Namaskar
3. Four Seasons Marrakech

EAT


1. La Mamounia
2. Bo-Zin
3. Al Fassia
4. Comptoir Darna
5. Terrace Des Epices

SEE


1. Jardin Majorelle – Yves Saint Laurent Gardens
2. Bahia Palace
3. Jemaa El-Fna

The Habit Hunter x

Hotel Review | Sirayane Boutique, Marrakech

Overview:


The first 3 times I visited Marrakech I opted to stay in the hustle and bustle of the Medina, in Riad’s Dar One, White & Sapphire. But heading back for a retreat outside the city walls was on the card for the next visit, as I’m sure anyone would agree as a return visitor. sport_billard_log5zv.jpg

This boutique hotel offers stylish interiors and a chic pool scene, all within easy reach of Marrakech’s souks and squares. It’s an ultra-contemporary hotel, designed by a world-renowned architect, and is made up of cubist-style blocks set in 2 hectares of gardens, where you’ll find palms, olive trees and a smart pool.

The Location:


In terms of location, the hotel’s just outside the city. Jemaa el-Fna square is around 15 minutes’ drive away, and the hotel runs a free shuttle bus throughout the day and evening to whisk you there.f08a2a33_276a_4042_a770_a216c15eb2ab.jpg

The Rooms:


The luxurious Sirayane Boutique Hotel and Spa has 28 rooms and suites. You can choose from rooms with private terraces, a suite with secluded gardens, a junior suite with gardens and heated pool, or a deluxe suite with gardens and private heated pool. Each room is elegantly furnished for maximum comfort, and allows you to relax in style after a day of sightseeing in the bright Moroccan sun (or sleep well after a day of nothing but tanning).

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The Food:


The experienced chefs at the hotel’s restaurant create traditional Moroccan cuisine as well as many international dishes. The lounge bar serves appetisers along with a wide selection of thirst quenching cocktails and fine wines. The bar also provides a stunning view of the Atlas Mountains. Moroccan cooking classes are available as well to those inspired by the dishes eaten in the hotel restaurant.

 

The Facilities:


The Sirayane Hotel and Spa boasts a gorgeous outdoor swimming pool with a view of the Atlas Mountains. I tended to spend my days lounging poolside while gazing at the mountains in the distance, post a trip to the hotel’s fully equipped fitness centre and the hazard-free running track located at the hotel.

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The Spa specialises in Hammam body treatment. The expert staff at the hotel’s spa use nine types of massage therapy. In addition, the spa technicians use skin care treatments with traditional Middle Eastern ingredients such as sesame and saffron. Hair styling, body waxing and other grooming treatments are also available on request. The spa’s total body treatments are perfect for anyone looking for total relaxation during their holiday.

The Service:


The front of house team were always lovely – and happy to help with any requests. But in comparison to the riad’s in the city centre, the staff really didn’t hold up to their expectations.

The Habit Hunter x