Sea Five Boutique Hotel

Beyond being a few steps away from the beach, one of the most important things for me when looking for a hotel in Camps Bay is finding one that is peaceful and relaxing. I live in a big city, which is why being in the middle of so much action during my holiday is really not what I wanted. I found this and much more during my stay at the Sea Five Boutique Hotel.

In fact, it feels much less than a hotel and much more like a huge beach house. While it is only about 300 meters away from the beach and a few blocks away from the sunset strip, you cannot find a better location.

Location

Thanks to being close to the beach, you can expect wonderful views of the sea. If you are looking for a relaxing beach holiday, you cannot be any closer to the water. Plus, you cannot imagine how beautiful the sunsets are from your balcony or from the beach.

The Sea Five Boutique Hotel is located at Camps Bay, which is not just the most accessible beach in the area, but  is also where everyone goes for a night out. But because it is several blocks away from the bay, it is much quieter compared to the other hotels around.

Interior Design

This hotel does not have huge signage but its beautiful architecture, which is more ostentatious than others in the area, is not easy to miss. The design has both South Africa and Mediterranean influences, with the building looking like a huge beach house. Its size is just big enough to give guests ample space to enjoy their holiday, but not too big that people feel lost.

The rooms have been designed by top South African interior designers, with the color palette a neutral mix of sand, blue, and brown. The end result is luxury while not compromising on comfort.

Amenities

The whole boutique hotel has 7 rooms for you to choose from, and I splurged on the one with the view of the sea. The rooms are all beautiful and with all the comforts you can expect from a luxurious hotel, plus extras like Nespresso station and underfloor heating in the bathroom.

The hotel also has open amenities, the favorite of mine being the lounge-bar area where you can chat with fellow guests. It also leads to the deck and the swimming pool. There are lounge chairs where you can work on your tan or go for a dip.

Service

The Sea Five Boutique Hotel is small enough to be able to offer its guests a very personalized service, with guests being able to request for nightly turn-down service. Breakfast is on offer and when guests are hungry, the staff is eager to prepare them a snack anytime.

From the very first time I saw the hotel, I knew that it would be a unique experience. The prices are quite reasonable for a luxurious beach house, especially during low season. Not only is the hotel beautiful and complete with the amenities that will make your stay comfortable, but the location is fantastic.

It is perfect for couples without kids or those looking for a weekend break (kids under 8 are not allowed). After a couple of nights with these views and the attentive service, you can truly destress and have the beach holiday you have been craving for.

Ballyfin Demesne

Ballyfin Demesne has a rich history although the mansion that I stayed in is nothing like the mansion that was here years ago. This 600-acre estate was owned by a few prominent Irish families and it was first converted to a school until it was again transformed into a country house hotel.

On my trip to Ireland, I stayed at the Ballyfin Demesne simply because I wanted to experience what it was like to live in a mansion. It’s been considered as Ireland’s most lavish Regency mansion and it’s also a five-star hotel. Complete with Irish customs, design, and scenery, Ballyfin Demesne invites people to their estate of 600 acres.

Location

Ballyfin Demesne is at the heart of Ireland and right at the foot of the Slieve Bloom Mountains. As a traveler, I am often used to hotels near shores but rarely do I come across a hotel very close to a mountain. I don’t know the safety precautions for that, but I am sure that the hotel has the best location for a peaceful stay.

My intention when I visited Ireland was to have some peace and quiet away from the work I was doing. Ballyfin Demesne offered exactly that because it only had twenty rooms in the hotel. There wasn’t any crowd when I went there and even if I saw a few families, the place was so big it didn’t feel like it was crowded at all.

Interior Design

When it comes to design, nothing is like Ballyfin Demesne. I immediately fell in love with the interiors because it barely reminded you that you were in a hotel. Instead, I felt more like a big celebrity or politician living in a mansion.

The Entrance hall as they call it has mosaic tiles that you wouldn’t think could match the orange of the walls. But the wooden furniture, the deer’s head, and the cream-colored lamps made everything come together perfectly. Moreover, all the other reception rooms each had a character of their own – the Rotunda being the most state-like.

But apart from the actual design, there is one more part of the mansion that I think is underrated. These are the paintings hung on the walls. They were all made by famous Irish painters that portrayed landscapes of Ireland.

Amenities

Ballyfin Demesne has at least six reception rooms, some are facing the lake, the mountain, etc. It also has its own library which I personally enjoyed. It had its own fireplace and at least a thousand books on walls and cases.

Unlike other luxury hotels, Ballyfin Demesne focused on having amenities that will make you feel like you’re at home. Instead of having state-of-the-art fitness centers, business rooms, and recreation rooms, the hotel gives you gardens, walks, and sitting rooms.

My stay at the Ballyfin Demesne was a memorable one. It really does feel like a vacation because it didn’t feel modern at all. The whole place was reconstructed to resemble how the old mansion looked like and I can say they did a great job. The management of the hotel did not bother you and this was a break from all the socializing and the bustling of the people. Staying at the Ballyfin Demesne is definitely the perfect vacation for a retreat to country life.

Bali-Viceroy-Hotel

Viceroy Bali

Arriving in Bali is like arriving in an island paradise. However, being greeted by the warm and genuine hospitality of Indonesian guest relations staff at the Viceroy Bali makes you feel right at home. This is exactly how it felt like when I was given the chance to stay for 3 days, 2 nights at the famed Balinese boutique hotel.

While the hotel is situated a few kilometers from the white, sandy beaches that have made this part of the world almost as iconic as the marbled beaches of Tahiti, I learned that it is actually a favorite among travelers who prefer to be a lot closer to the bosom of Mother Nature and slightly far from the crowd that flood the nightlife streets of Bali. It’s a simple hotel that has all the makings of a 5-star, making you never want to leave its warm embrace.

Set in Bali’s famed Valley of the Kings amidst lush greenery and providing a stunning view of the turquoise sea, Viceroy Bali is perfect for couples, honeymooners, and small families who prefer a more intimate experience. Good thing I was treating my partner to an exotic experience of a lifetime.

It’s a boutique hotel that offers more than what five-star accommodations I know of can with its array of 25 elegantly designed, meticulously adorned, and beautifully curated private pool villas that provide a breathtaking view of a jungle ravine. It’s a view that is worth posting on Instagram.

One of the best things I about the Viceroy Bali is its location. You get this feeling that you are actually being treated to the unique sound of Mother Nature. There’s the chime of a gently rolling river that magnificently rises from the verdant valley floor. It’s something that I vividly recall as the one sound that greeted me in the morning and shushed me back to sleep.

Getting to Viceroy was never a problem since the accommodation gave us a ride. The view along the way is simply marvelous, taking us to a pleasant transport all the way from the airport through fascinating Balinese countryside and greeted by the smell of freshly-made Pisang Goreng or the more sumptuous Babi Guling. It’s not centrally located, yet the heart of the action is right within walking distance. I believe the hotel can arrange a ride just for you, too.

The thing about Viceroy Bali is that we’ve been given the chance to be just like royalty throughout the entire duration of our stay. With the staff always eager to please us, it’s like partaking in the royal traditions of the local kingdom.

The CasCades Restaurant is truly something. The alfresco dining it provides is quite a blessing since I got to renew my passion with my partner over several orders of Sate Babi while looking at the vast expanse of the blue Pacific.

I’ve been fortunate enough to stay at Viceroy Bali. Now I know how the King and His Royal Court felt like when they were served with such dedication and commitment. It may be far from Bali’s center of attraction, yet it lies much closer to my heart.

For information on travel to Bali visit http://www.balitourismboard.org/