Top 6 Travel Experiences of 2017
This year we have had the opportunity to experience all kinds of adventures. With the new year approaching we thought we'd share some of our favourite experiences, including those that haven't been referred to previously.
Our stay at a traditional Maltese House (Indulgence Divine)
From the moment we booked our stay at Indulgence Divine, we could tell we were about to experience something special. Owner Gattaldo was extremely responsive and informative from start to finish and shared with us a wonderful selection of things to do and places to eat whilst in Malta. We saw photos of the apartment prior to our stay but it didn't quite do the building justice. Located on an unassuming street is where you'll see the red door which is opposite the marvellous Venetian restaurant Osteria.Ve. Upon entering you have the lower level of the house and have to go up the stairs to get to the main floor. The stone used is beautiful and the glass ceiling allows lots of light. Staying at Indulgence Divine is staying in a piece of history beautifully juxtaposed with mod-cons without compromising too much of the original build. A showstopper moment in 2017.
Best Greek welcome experience (Minois Hotel)
Sometimes when we travel it means getting up at the crack of dawn, so that we can optimise the most time possible during our stay. This was the case at Minois Village Hotel. Of course, as we arrived quite early our room wasn't ready and although it was sunny outside we were too tired to venture or head to the beach. The team advised that we could leave our luggage behind, which is standard for a hotel but when they said we could unwind, have breakfast and chill poolside - we were beyond happy. So our first few hours consisted of us divulging in an incredible assortment of food for breakfast on the terrace with the beach behind us. This was followed by us reading a few magazines in the lounge with a coffee and then freshening up to then rest on the beds by the pool. We even slept a little. By the time it came to check-in, we had already eaten, slept, had a swim, were familiar with the team and had somewhat of a tan. The best start to any holiday.
Mallorquín cuisine in a fabulous setting with impeccable hospitality (Hotel Sant Jaume)
We have had the pleasure of dining at some incredible places and Tomeu restaurant located in Hotel Sant Jaume is high up on our list. During our visit to Palma de Mallorca in November, we were quick to reserve a table at the latest restaurant to be opened in that part of town. The restaurant doubles up as the breakfast room for the hotel in the morning and then a restaurant open to the public from lunch onwards. Tomeu restaurant superbly creates nice twists on Mallorquín dishes. Just like the Port Soller egg, which is served in Maltese sauce on a bed of thinly sliced red prawns. Even the starter of olive oil bread and sobrassada (raw cured sausage) was delicious and well presented. One of their show moments is the sorbet of “ginet” from Menorca. A wooden barrel is brought to the table to churn the sorbet using a touch of nitrogen. This doesn't just clean your palette but creates a brilliant balance with new and contemporary methods, whilst creating a talking point at the table. Pure sophistication.
Revisiting the tanneries in Fez
When boutique hotel and spa Palais Amani invited us to Fez we jumped at the chance. We've been several times and always enjoy ourselves. The people are hospitable, the food is out of this world and there is something incredibly enchanting about the medina. One of our favourite spots when visiting Fez is the tannery, so as the hotel was closely located we took advantage to revisit. There is something about the different shades of leather, the ducts and the men hard at work on such a traditional way of dying leather. In such a fast consumer market, it's amazing to see such a slow method in place and this is why we respect the work. The view makes up for the smell. it was great to see this again in 2017.
Stumbling across the ever pretty and quaint Villefranche-sur-Mer (Nice)
There is something remarkably quaint, intimate and simple about Villefranche-sur-Mer. We visited just before summer and after exploring neighbouring towns and Nice, we loved the sense of ease that this little gem oozes. The pretty colourful buildings, the aqua blue sea and leafy background, was more than postcard perfection. It was idyllic and just what we expected from the Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur region on the French Riviera. There are wonderful cafés and restaurants - some with bounteous views. We loved every minute at Belle Etoile and thoroughly recommend dining there should you visit Villefranche-sur-Mer.
When heading to the Athenian Riviera, several people said "You must go to Lake Vouliagmeni" whilst there. It just so happens that we were staying at Vouliagmeni Suites, so we took full advantage and went to see what all the fuss was about. To be honest, we were more excited about the beaches so although the lake was on our "must-see" list we were more focused on beach hopping. Having arrived early we were surprised by the military operation of the lake. There is a very reasonable fare of 11 euros which permits a full day entrance - allowing people to exit and return later in the day. There are plenty of showers, lockers for items, sun-beds around the lake and a bar and restaurant. You have sun-bed service as well, giving you every excuse to really lounge. The natural rugged rock formation looking down on the lake is stunning, and this complemented by the green and blue hues of the lake and the gleaming sun is perfect for disconnecting. There is, of course, the healing nature of the lake, due to the fact the assortment of minerals such as potassium, natrium, lithium, ammonium, calcium, ferrum, chloride and iodine - all of which aid in a variety of conditions. It takes some time to get used to lots of little fish nibble at your feet and halfway up your calf. You soon discover you had dry skin in places you weren't aware of, but all in all, it was an unusual and great experience that we have to add to our 2017 list of experiences. Have you been?