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7 Unique Wellness Spas Around The World

It’s the end of the long week, you’ve worked hard and you’re tired. You’re dreaming of a far-off destination to slip away to and unwind. If this sounds all too familiar, then you are most definitely due for a designated spa vacation.

Here are the 7 best spas around the world you should plan your next relaxing escape to.

Palm Trees and a pool at the spa

Photo: @yaanwellness

Yaan Wellness, Tulum, Mexico

From its luxurious decor to its soothing offerings including yoga, moon Temazcal Ceremonies and more, Yaan Wellness deserves a top spot on this list. For those looking to completely immerse themselves in an energy healing experience, Yaan Wellness has treatments such as herbal and flower baths in copper tubs, purified crystalline water pools and deep muscle relaxation techniques. It was also recently named “Best New Hideaway” in the Condé Nast Traveller Spa Awards 2017.

Gorgeous pool in Bangkok, with server and the spa

Photo: @mo_bangkok

Mandarin Oriental Bangkok, Thailand

Another spa to win in the Condé Nast Traveller Spa Awards 2017 is the Mandarin Oriental Bangkok spa for “Most Outstanding City Spa.” With the spa’s delicate outer architecture and sumptuous treatment offerings, the century-old mansion has become a renowned spot for relaxation. Visitors to the spa can enjoy traditional Thai massages, reflexology, specialist facials, and a healthy food menu to enjoy while on property. Packages offered at the spa range from full on beauty pampering to spiritual wellness and exploration.

Pizza + a Pool in Italy Lake Como

Photo: ghtlakecomo

T Spa, Lake Como, Italy

There may not be anything dreamier than overlooking breathtaking Lake Como in a state of pure bliss directly after an indulgent massage. This otherworldly perfection is available at Grand Hotel Tremezzo’s T Spa. The chic and modern spa boasts luxurious anti-aging and anti-stress treatments to rid of all your wrinkles and worries. End the day with a refreshing dip in the infinity pool and watch the sun go down behind the lush Italian hills.

Photo: @aroharetreats

ARO HĀ Wellness Retreat, Queenstown, New Zealand

Getting back to nature is one of the best things we can do for our bodies, minds and souls. In one of the most nature-centric countries in the world, the ARO HĀ Wellness Retreat allows its visitors to do just that. Set in breathtaking Kiwi landscape, the spa encourages its guests to B.R.E.A.T.H. which stands for “being, relating, eating, activity, toxicity and healing,” creating an all-encompassing, wellness experience.

St Annes Spa Ontario

Photo: @megojmac

Ste. Anne’s Spa, Ontario, Canada

Visitors to Ste. Anne’s Spa can expect an incredibly tranquil experience complete with a chic and rustic atmosphere. This Canadian country spa is dedicated to making its guests feel absolutely at home. They encourage laughter and conversation and dedicate themselves to ensuring the utmost comfort for their guests. Being pampered is not just a treat for the patrons of Ste. Anne’s, its a way of life. With packages such as Day Spa Getaway, Overnight Getaway, Yoga Retreat and more, there is something for everyone here.

Chicago Spas

Photo: @nastasiaspassport

Waldorf Astoria Spa & Health Club, Chicago, Illinois, USA

Modern and chic facilities, top notch services and an iconic location make this spa one of the best the US has to offer. The spa invites busy city dwellers to unwind and destress after a hectic week. From its vast treatment offerings and focus on fitness and health, this urban mecca for relaxation is a must-try for visitors to Chi-town!

Photo: @fscaironp

The Spa, Four Seasons Hotel Cairo at Nile Plaza, Cairo, Egypt

Continuing with breathtaking spas found within iconic hotels, The Spa at the Four Seasons Hotel Cairo at Nile Plaza is the place to visit for those in search of much-needed R&R in bustling Cairo. Enjoy a massage with a view as treatment rooms overlook the famous Nile River.

72 Hours In Real Del Mar, Mexico

This was my first trip to Mexico and for a someone that grew up in the southernmost part of the Southern Hemisphere, it was a long time coming. Especially as I had now relocated to the icy North and settled in Toronto, February seemed like a really good time to visit.

Thankfully getting there is very easy. The direct flight from Pearson into Puerto Vallarta airport combined with a quick transfer to the Real del Mar resort, meant that I was on chaise lounge, armed with a cocktail by 3PM. Our hosts, Exclusive Resorts, a members-only vacation club that provides access to some of the world’s most sought after vacation property, had taken out all the stops to make sure we arrived on time and in style. In Real del Mar, they operate a range of tastefully built, private villas, each with four or five bedrooms, a large reception area, a full kitchen and a lavish infinity pool overlooking the inimitable Bahia de Banderas. The villas are perfectly designed for families and groups travelling together. Beyond the villas, Real del Mar offers a range of amenities that include tennis, yoga, in-residence massages and spa treatments and of course access to a wide range of watersport based activities.

Our first day took us to the quaint surf village, Sayulita. Just 30 minutes north of Real del Mar, the positive vibe of this quirky little town, is palpable from the moment you emerge into the busy main street. Restaurants, peddlers, street vendors and an impressive retail selection, are all clustered together under the trademark colourful banting, strung between coconut trees. We wasted no time and stopped at the Sayulita Café on Revolution Avenue, for their famous grilled fish tacos, washed down with an ice-cold, Pacifico. The availability of fresh seafood, as you might imagine is plentiful. It’s not uncommon to have five to six different types of fish and a host of other crustaceans on the menu. All at exceptionally reasonable prices.

Post gastronomic satisfaction, we wandered down to the beach to book our surf lesson. Sayulita beach has several businesses offering surf lessons, each that seem well equipped and properly run. Our choice, Lunazul Surf School, was no different. The lessons cost about $50 USD for two hours and include your board and a rash vest. Fortunately, the beach has formed in such a way that the surf is quite tame on the eastern side, but the swell gets bigger on the western side. Depending on your skill level, you have your pick of the surf. Naturally well stayed on the eastern section, though! The surf coaches were patient and very professional, I think you would have to be, considering our skill level. Our lesson ended as the sun was going down, after drying off at Lunazul HQ, we headed up to the main street to catch cab back to the resort.

Day two offered a smorgasbord of activities. Feeling somewhat energetic, we headed to the resort beach and joined a sunrise yoga session. The discomfort I found with contorting my body into seemingly unnatural positions was instantly remedied by the sheer beauty of the sunrise over the bay. This was a genuine Sun Salutation! We took our (recovering) post yoga bodies down to the water and met with the resort manager. We were greeted by a wide selection of freshly caught (almost alive in fact) seafood that we could choose for dinner that night.  After much deliberation, we opted for six lobster and large bag of shrimp, to be cooked and delivered to our villa that evening. Bliss! The balance of our day was spent by the Resort’s beautiful infinity pools, punctuated only briefly by the delivery of food and beverages by the faultless service staff. After a solid dose of vitamin D we were no longer white washed, so we headed up to the villa to devour our beautifully cooked seafood.

The last full day and our hosts at Exclusive Resorts had booked us a real treat; a day trip on a catamaran! Our transfer collected us at 8 AM and took us to the La Cruz Marina, about 15 minutes drive from the resort. We were welcomed by the jovial crew and given breakfast as we boarded the beautiful motorized catamaran. The company, Ally Cat Sailing Adventures, made sure we were kept in supreme comfort throughout the day. The fully serviced experience includes all food and drinks, non-motorized water sports and transfers to the Isla Marietas National Park, an island off the coast of Real del Mar. The trip was further improved by the regular spotting of whales on the way to the islands. Mid-December through March is whale season and sightings are very common. We must have spotted more than five different humpback whales during the day’s excursion. We ate, we drank, we tanned, we SUP’d, we snorkelled and then on the way back, we danced to pop music on the main deck all the way back to the marina. It was a truly action packed day and one that will be remembered for years to come.

Our last night was spent at the Resort’s restaurant, sharing highlights from our trip while feasting on dishes from the extensive menu. We all agreed that the combination of the fun activities, great food, superior service and extensive resort amenities made a trip to Real del Mar, with Exclusive Resorts, unforgettable.

Stay: The Diplomat Boutique Hotel | Merida, Yucatan, Mexico

 The Diplomat was conceptualized and designed with comfort and guest experience in mind. As a small Boutique Hotel (with just four suites) we are able to focus on the details and provide completely personalized service, starting before the guests even arrive. Email contact is made to assist with planning their stay, the drive, rental cars, private yoga sessions or salsa lessons.

We have forgone the traditional reception desk and formal check-in in exchange for sitting, chatting, sipping (over complimentary cocktails) while discussing restaurant recommendations, hacienda history, advice on Ruins to see, cenotes to dip in and routes to take. Providing local insight makes all the difference when travelling to a new land.

As the Diplomat is just four suites guests enjoy a sense of calm and total relaxation, recharging for their exploration of the Yucatan.

The Diplomat _ View

Breakfast

The morning starts out with complimentary access to our tea & coffee bar where we have unlimited fresh coffee and a selection of loose teas as well as Jamaica (iced hibiscus flower tea) available from 8:00am onward.

Our served breakfast is ever changing, seasonal and often inspired by fresh local ingredients. Some mornings we serve The Diplomatic Huevos Rancheros with fresh corn tortillas topped with refried bean, a nice crispy fried egg layered with Oaxacan cheese, a chipotle tomatillo salsa and topped with lettuce, radishes, avocado & pickled onions. On the side we serve our house-made mango habanero sauce.

Other mornings we create sweet breakfasts with French toast soaked in canela (cinnamon), rum and Mexican vanilla, topped with toasted coconut, pecans and almond and most importantly cajeta (the Mexican version of Dulce de Leche), with a delicious side of coconut yoghurt.

A plate of fresh local fruits allows guests to experience new flavors and is designed with sharing in mind. We make all of our own breads, salsas, sauces and jams and feature them in The Diplomat Shop for our guests to take home with them.

The Diplomat Hotel Mexico Sunny Bar

Botanas

Inspired by vibrant cantina favorites, we serve a variety of snacks to guests when they arrive and also if their chilling poolside in the afternoon. Jicama sticks with chili, salt & lime, fresh house-made tortilla chip or other salty snacks that go perfectly with a cold artisanal beer or a fresh margarita.

The Diplomat Breakfast Credit Marion Vicenta

Cocktails

We’ve become known for our margaritas, always shaken and on the rocks with local sea salt. The perfect ratio has been painstakingly sampled and tested over many years and even more bottles of tequila.

The Diplomat Colonial Suite

Suites

Our spacious suites include photos of the Yucatan taken by both Neil & Sara, accents include antique typewriters, vintage fans and globes. All rooms are outfitted with the same amenities, but each has its own character and individual style. All of our rooms have their own bathrooms and sitting areas, free wifi, smart TVs, Fans and A/C along with bottled water.

We serve a wonderful hot breakfast with plenty of local fresh fruits and guests will have access to our tea & coffee bar with fresh juice each morning, all included with the room. In the evening we have a complimentary tequila and mezcal bar for guests to sip while relaxing poolside.

The Diplomat _ Waterfalls

Shop

Our little Diplomat Shop has a carefully curated selection of Mexican products including hand-woven textiles, artisan works, jewellery and one of a kind handicrafts.

The Diplomat Frontier Lounge

Suites + Rates
Rates are seasonal, it’s best to reference our website as the prices are always up to date. Prices start from $195 USD upwards for the holiday seasons. All four suites are priced equally, we have three spacious King Suites and one poolside Double Suite. As we are just four suites it’s possible to for 4 couples to rent the entire hotel and have the place to themselves.

The Diplomat Hotel Mexico Facade


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The 5 Best Beachfront Restaurants In Mexico

A meal with a view, its what we’re all after and the best place to find it this summer is Mexico!

This Caribbean paradise is chock-full of restaurants that are perfectly situated on white-sand beaches, which all happen to be waiting for you take a seat and savour.

To help you out on your search for the perfect dinner locale, we’ve narrowed it down to the top 5 beach front restaurants in Mexico.

Best Beachfront Restaurants in Mexico

Los Cabos: COMAL

Located in Los Cabos’ beautiful, contemporary Chileno Bay Resort and Residences, a part of the Auberge Resorts Collection, COMAL presents its patrons with authentic and mouthwatering flavours from the region including duck carnitas and market crudité. The three-level restaurant offers both indoor and outdoor seating with panoramic views of the water. The chic atmosphere paired with the masterfully crafted dishes make for an über-romantic evening with your loved one.

Sun umbrella and beach beds on tropical beach

Cancun: La Habichuela

For 38 years, La Habichuela has been serving up incredible Caribbean-Mexican cuisine with spectacular sunset views on the side. This incredibly designed restaurant with floor to ceiling glass windows is situated in the hotel zone and overlooks the Niputche Lagoon. Whether you’re seated inside or in the lush garden area, you cannot miss the breathtaking sunset over the water. Pink, orange and yellow hues in the sky enhance an already delicious meal.

Best Beach Front Mexican Restaurants

 

Tulum: Be Tulum

The rustic-chic decor is just the start of the beauty that Be Tulum brings to every dish they serve. Each meal is plated to perfection and all taste as incredible as they look. Hidden from the road, visitors to Be Tulum are treated to the awe-inspiring reveal of the restaurant’s fabulous atmosphere and tranquil beachfront views. To feel like a VIP and dine like one too, this is absolutely the place to Be.

Mayan Riviera: Coral Grill and Bar

Mayan Riviera: Coral Grill and Bar

The Viceroy Hotel in Mayan Riviera boasts some of the best beachfront dining in the region. The Coral Grill is the perfect dining option for those in search of a fresh meal as they serve up locally caught seafood and organic produce – truly the definition of “from farm to table.” The Viceroy also offers Dining Experiences – to step up the romance, request a private dinner on the beach, complete with candlelight and exotic flower arrangements.

Best Beachfront Restaurants Mexico

Acapulco: Zibu

For a unique twist on Mexican cuisine, try Zibu who offers a fusion of Mexican and Asian ingredients dubbed MexTai. The combination of the two makes for an incredible menu with items such as marinated fish with julienned mango and Indian nut to sweet coconut soup. Overlooking vast blue waters and vibrant green hills, the restaurant’s terrace defines dinner with a view.

Icing & Glitter Spends 72 Hours On The Shores Of Tulum

Tulum has been on my travel bucket list for the past year, so when the trip was finalized, I was practically jumping out of my skin with excitement. I visited Cancun about three years back, and as much as I enjoyed it, I had no plans of making a trip back there, primarily because I found that all it really had to offer was the all-inclusive experience. Tulum, however, is a completely different ball game. There is no shortage of things to do and there’s truly something for everyone. From the Mayan ruins to the Cenotes, to every single Instagrammable restaurant I visited, Tulum truly holds a special place in my heart. I put together a travel diary for those of you who decide to visit, which I highly recommend you do!

How to get there: Tulum is about an hour and a half away from Cancun. You can get there using either a private car or shuttle service, but be sure to book in advance to avoid any confusion once you get there. My hotel organized a car for me, which cost about $190 for a round trip.

Where to stay: Tulum isn’t the place for you if you’re looking for an all-inclusive experience. Most hotels are small, secluded and have an eco-feel to them. I stayed at Mi Amor Hotel which I cannot recommend enough. It’s located about five-minutes away from the main hotel strip, with a stunning view of the ocean. Although you can’t go into the ocean on account of the hotel being located on top of rocks, the beach is a two-minute walk away. The staff are extremely warm and helpful, arranging everything from transportation to snorkelling equipment for me to borrow.

Where to go: There are an endless amount of places to explore in Tulum. Since I was only around for three three nights, I barely touched the tip of the ice berg and would happily go back in a heart beat.

Cenotes are arguably the best part of Tulum. I visited two while I was there, the first being Cenote Dos Ojos which was an otherworldly experience. It’s a natural freshwater body located within a cave where you’ll find bats and fish, and the water is quite literally clearer than that in a swimming pool. This was a particularly memorable experience for me as I faced my fear of water in order to explore it. The Cenote is actually quite deep, so you can even dive there if you’d like to, although I was pretty sure my heart would stop beating if I even tried. Next to Cenote Dos Ojos is Cenote Nicte-Ha which is an open waterbody. Nicte-Ha has a bit of a whimsical feeling to it on account of the leaves and lily pads floating about.

You cannot leave Tulum without exploring the Mayan Ruins of Tulum. They are located on the beach and take about an hour and a half to walk through. I personally didn’t get a tour guide, choosing instead to read through while I walked around. Be sure to arrive early as it becomes jam-packed with tourists as the day progresses. The ruins open at 9, and although I arrived at 10 it was still a tad too crowded for me.

Where to eat: The food was quite possibly my favourite aspect of Tulum. On my first night, I dined at Unico, which had excellent ratings and was conveniently located within my hotel. The food was absolutely delicious, I highly recommend the Wild Snook.

On my second afternoon, I ate at Posada Margherita, a shabby-chic Italian joint located right on the beach. With the food, you can hardly go wrong with everything – it’s all prepared fresh and bursting with flavour. I tried two of the pasta dishes, both of which were delicious. Afterwards, I visited the beach right outside, and out of all the beaches I visited, this was the cleanest one in Tulum.

The most memorable dining experience I had, however, was at Gitano, a Mezcal Bar and restaurant. The interior has a rustic feel to it, with wooden tables and boho-chic tapestry. Gitano is located in the jungle side of Tulum, and at night, the whole restaurant is lit up with fairy lights and chandeliers within the trees, giving it a dreamlike quality. I went on a Friday night, which I think is the best night to go. There was a live band unlike anything I’ve ever heard – the manager, Seth (who is truly wonderful) described it as Indian Jazz on account of the sitar player. At 10pm, there was a DJ who played the most incredible music which was sort of a transition between the soothing live band and a harder DJ who comes on later at night. Now regarding the food, I ordered the ceviche, and three types of tacos (beef brisket, fish, and shrimp), all of which blew me away. The beef brisket one in particular was unforgettable. The drinks here are also to die for – it will put anything you’ve had in the past to shame. I ended my meal with guava cheesecake, something I never thought I would enjoy but could have happily gone to eat seconds of.

On my last night, I visited Safari for dinner, which was recommended to me by the manager of Gitano. Now if you’re after a super luxe experience, Safari isn’t for you. It’s a very basic restaurant, completely bare bones – the operations are conducted out of a food truck, but my goodness the food is to die for. The Shrimp A Mole Verde tacos were the best I’ve had in my life, and the rice and beans gave a new meaning to the dish. The owner, Luis, has been in the food industry forever, having worked everywhere from New York to Australia, so he really knows what he’s doing.

Tulum Travel Diary
Tulum Travel DiaryTulum Travel DiaryTulum Travel DiaryTulum Travel DiaryTulum Travel DiaryTulum Travel Diary

Julia Mateian’s Guide To Tulum: The 6 Best Places To Eat

Mexico is a serious foodie paradise – tacos, guacamole, nachos, burritos, do I really need to say more?

Although the all-inclusive formula is still very popular among tourists, the industry of boutique hotels and trendy restaurants is growing up. Located in Riviera Maya, the region of Tulum is now one of the hottest spots in Mexico.

Jetsetters from all over the world are visiting this bohemian paradise. Not only are the beaches incredible but you will also find some of the coolest restaurants in the country.

Here are some of my top foodie spots that you can simply not miss:

Tulum Food Scene

1/ Nômade Tulum: Everything about the Nômade Tulum is exceptional – bohemian luxury at its best! You can either eat in the gorgeous dining room (so much interior inspo!) or pick a day bed with views of the ocean. The plates are very well presented (Instagram material) with fresh and local ingredients. The zucchini noodles and the Green Envy Bowl are recommended. While you’re there, make sure to check out the rooms too, you might want to book a night – or two!

Tulum Food Scene

2/ Coco Tulum: Long tanning sessions call for some well-deserved margaritas right? Head over to Coco Tulum for happy hour and enjoy some electro music while sipping on some refreshing drinks. Order a pizza and make new friends in this groovy atmosphere.

Tulum Food Scene

3) Restaurare: What about lunch in the jungle? Restaurare is one of Tulum’s best vegan spots, hands down! They support local products and farmers and their flavours are unique! Try the guacamole and the curry dish – you’ll see, healthy never tasted that good!

Tulum Food Scene

4) Posada Margherita: I always end up craving Italian food when I travel. If you love fresh pasta a stop at Posada Margherita is mandatory. The decor is absolutely adorable with lots of vintage finds and wood furniture – the attention to details is remarkable. Obviously order a pasta dish but give the shrimps a try too!

Tulum Food Scene

5) Gitano: If you’re looking for a cool place to eat out with your friends, Gitano is the answer! Start with a mezcal cocktail (their speciality) and share all plates with the amigos. My personal favourites are the shrimp tacos & the summer ceviche. Make sure to head to the Jungle Lounge after dinner and dance the night away.

Tulum Food Scene

6) Hartwood: So here’s the thing about Hartwood. Being the busiest restaurant in Tulum implies that reservations are necessary – but they can be very tricky. I highly suggest showing up in front of the restaurant at 2pm to make sure you get a table for the same night. Hartwood is the perfect date night spot with its cozy wood-fire grill and decor surrounded by lots of candles. Menu changes daily so it gives you the perfect reason to go back!

5 Questions With Stephanie Sterjovski

Bloggers and influencers have an uncanny ability to make an unfamiliar place feel like home. They somehow assure us that roaming down the road less travelled will prove to be fruitful in more ways than one.

Their curated adventures are nothing short of spectacular and act as a city guide for our travels. From style flat lays, to foodie snaps and cultural landmarks that are not to be missed, bloggers have them checked off and filtered to perfection. We can’t think of a time we didn’t reference one of our favourite feeds before boarding a flight.

These modern day muses welcome us into their lives, and for that, we’re spotlighting some top talent you absolutely need to start following. One influencer that has been bookmarked since the beginning is Stephanie Sterjovski Jolly. Her love of all things lifestyle fills our hearts with necessary pops of positivity. With nods to decor, hints of Canadiana and a whole lot of love, this is one blog you absolutely need to frequent.

Here are 5 questions (and answers) with Stephanie Sterjovki Jolly.

1. Can you tell us a little bit about yourself and your blog? 

“I am a lover of life. I am grateful for experiences, travels, the beauty of the earth, the details of garments or a great accessory, so much so that I share the things I love as a Husband + Wife Team running my life, style and travel blog together for the world to be apart of. Everything from home decor, beauty, marriage, life, faith, travel and fashion is what I bring to the blog. The blog follows our life and our lives are very much the blog. We love what we do, which I think is the highest blessing on earth.”

2. What Instagram filter or photo editing app do you swear by?

“Depending on the photo and when/where/time the snap was taken, I like to use different apps. VSCO, PicTapGo, Snapseed and good old Instagram editing are some of my go-to apps.”

3. What are your five favourite places you visited, and what trips do you have lined up this year?

“Iceland, Santorini, Banff, Mexico and Paris. All of them are quite different, but I love them all for different reasons and memories made. This year, you will definitely see a lot more Eastern and Western Europe from our travels.”

4. What city or country served you the best meal you ever had, and what was it? 

“We loved our food at Encanto, Acapulco – which is where we honeymooned. Everything from the morning smoothies, to the amazing pico de gallo. Mexico is one of our favourite places on earth, so naturally, we love their food!”

5. What pieces do you always pack in your carry on?

“I always pack a pair of fuzzy, warm socks because I tend to get cold on the plane. Another thing I can never forget is moisturizer and a huge water bottle because I get so dehydrated flying! Lastly, a notebook. You have a lot of time to sit and think on a plane, so I like to put all of my ideas down on paper so I don’t forget (whether it’s a blog post idea or something I want to capture when we land at our destination).”

5 Questions With Stephanie Sterjovski Jolly

Photo: http://www.stephaniesterjovski.com/