The Pig Hotel | On the Beach, Studland

The Pig Hotel
I can’t quiet remember how I ended up finding this place but finding it made me and my friend really happy. This English country house style hotel right on the beach in Studland is just perfect for a quick get away from busy London. It’s a rough 3 hour drive from west London.
Imagine a beautiful villa with 23 cozy rooms, a stunning view over sea, a beautifully kept garden where they keep bees and grow vegetables etc that they serve in their AMAZING restaurant that is located in their greenhouse and has this amazing light shining in. I loved the interior style; very UK countryside! Reminded me a bit of the Soho House Group. A lot of wood, comfortable armchairs and sofa’s and little corners to relax and drink tea (or something stronger than that), a beautiful cozy lounge with a big fireplace, boardgames up for grasp, a treatment caravan outside that has been transformed into this wood panelled cozy room etc. The staff is super friendly and really care about making your stay memorable. On top of all of this you can go on beautiful long walks in the area (for example in the fields with beautiful views of the Old Harry Rocks). Manor House, Manor Road, Studland, Dorset, BH19 3AU | +44 01929 450288 | £££ | Website

The Pig Hotel on the Beach

La Cabane du Pêcheur | Galéria – Corsica

La cabane du pecheur
After a beautiful drive from Calvi to Galeria we ended up in this cute unpretentious little place on the coast. Imagine; a nice piece of beach on the west coast of Corsica, a small harbor, cows all over the place strolling along your table (on the beach) and some colorful kayaks waiting to be taken on a trip. The food is served on plastic trays in cartons by three hilarious Corsican ladies that do not take any bullshit. Our tiny table was moved inside (while there was actually no place inside) with two other tables because it started pooring. We had a good laugh with other guests and amazing(!) food. We would definitely have come back for more were it not that we are going to the other side of the island tomorrow! Route de Bord de Mer, 20245 Galéria | +334 95 61 00 32 | Website | €€

la cabane du pecheur

Baros Island | Maldives

Baros Island, Maldives
Should you be in need for a serious break from your fast, busy, loud, crazy but happy little working life or are you looking for a beach / pool side kind of Honeymoon this is probably (most certainly) the place to go.
One island, one resort, 45 beachside and 30 over-water Villas that are all very stylish and comfortable.
3 restaurants, two bars, sand bank dining, in house villa dining, sunset dining on a boat etc.

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We went here 10 months after the birth of our first baby girl (without her) and I would totally recommend doing the same to all new parents. It was so relaxing. If you want to visit towns, go shopping and culture sniffing this is not the place to go. If you want to sleep, eat, sleep, swim, sleep, getting massages, beauty treatments and read books it is.  The diving and snorkelling on the island is absolutely amazing with (harmless) sharks, colourful fish and sea turtles coming really close. The Baros signature massage is heaven so you must go for it for sure! Lastly I loved the teppanyaki grill they have in one restaurant where a very sweet Indonesian chef is giving a show to his guests a few nights a week.
 The water villas are beautiful but I would perhaps just as much recommend staying in beach front villa because you will have direct access to the sea (and they create a sort of private space on the beach before you enter the ‘public’ beach.) You can swim in the water around the over-water villas as well but the water is shallow there so better swimming from the beach. No children under 8 are allowed here and even when fully booked it doesn’t feel crowded… Conclusion; you go.

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Maldives | +960 664-2672 |$$$$$ |Website

Chez Bruno | Lorgues, France

Chez Bruno
This truffle king is already well known by most people but I still really like to write a post about this gem in the provence. Especially, since I now visited this restaurant three times and every time I go I enjoy it even better. So what is this truffle king all about? Visualise a very glamorous, romantic, outdoor setting, exceptional service and beautifully prepared food with fresh ingredients and of course black and white truffles….The truffle is a ridiculously expensive fungus found locally and all dishes are centred around this truffle. It is mouth-wateringly good. Their gardens are beautifully kept and there is a possibility to sit in the garden, in the semi outdoor/indoor ‘hot-house and inside. The indoors also look really chic and cozy so in the winter I would definitely give it a shot as well.
2350 route du Vidauban 83510 Lorgues (this is 100km from Nice airport and about an hour and 15 min drive| +33 4 94 85 93 93 | €€€€ | Website

Mesa de Frades | Lisbon, Portugal

Mesa de Frades Lissabon Lisbon
If you are planning a trip to Lisbon, you have to go for a typical Portugese night at Mesa de Frades. The restaurant is one of Lisbon’s Fado Houses located in Alfama, the old town area. It’s beautiful, intimate and informal and the fado performances that start around 11pm each night make it a truly special experience. You can really feel the emotions from the famous fado songs. It’s very intense. And even some of my friends that weren’t into it initially felt touched by some of them. We arrived at 9pm and had dinner first, but you can also turn up just for the fado show from 11pm onwards. There is a traditional Portugese fixed menu. All reasonably priced and service is good. We also spotted many locals so it didn’t feel touristy. Good food and wine, amazing performances, guitar music… A perfect Portugese experience. Open Wed-Sun. Rua dos Remédios 139a | Alfama, Lisbon | Tel: 917029436 | No website | €€€

Relais de St. Denis | Tourtour, France

st denis While spending some months in the provence I payed various visits to one of my favourite little towns in this part of France; Tourtour. This restaurant is located on the main square in the village and in my opinion the restaurant there that looks the best. Not sure if it IS the best but they at least tried to make it look the best :-). Being on holiday in the provence makes everything taste a little better then if you would be at home and I very much liked the lunch I had here.. The garlicky escargots and mixed platter of varied provence foods made me happy.. In almost all restaurants in Tourtour they serve the wine of Thuerry and I would highly recommend having this wine… It is utterly delicious (especially the Rose L’exception which you can also buy within a 20 minute drive of Tourtour… YOU WON’T REGRET!) Place des Ormeaux, Tourtour, France | +33494705406 | €€€ | Map

Beach Club De Branding | Noordwijk, the Netherlands

De Branding Noordwijk is the beach-town I used to come a lot when I still lived with my parents and when I studied in Leiden. This beach club was already called De Branding in these days but definitely not as cool as it is now. It changed into a very sophisticated, restaurant and lounge bar with a very relaxed atmosphere. The staff is super enthusiastic, young and kind and once you sit down in one of there lounge chairs you never want to leave. The Dutch beaches can get crowded with warm weather but are beautifully wide with no rocks… Just sand. I personally love the Dutch beaches that can be deserted in the winter. De Branding turns into a winter lodge from October 1 and thus I would also highly recommend going for a long walk on the beach and a cozy winter supper here. Anyway my experience: The food is great, the music even better and the view a winner. Koningin Astrid Boulevard 105, Noordwijk, Netherlands (Zuid Boulevard, beach exit 4) |+31 71 511 9494 | €€€ | Website | Map
De Branding

Santorini | Greece

Santorini sunset grace hotel
I’ve just returned from a 10 day Santorini holiday and I’m totally in love with this Greek island. Can’t wait to share it with you! I had only seen a few pictures of its beautiful sunsets, cliffs and clear blue chapels and I was sold. It ended up being even better than we expected. We really loved the sunsets, even though they’re such a cliche, they are super stunning. But there is so much more! We rented a quat bike – which I would totally recommend – so we could get away from the obvious places and discover less crowded restaurants and bars, enjoy amazing Greek (sea) food and meet some of the easy going locals.

If you consider going, there are definitely a few things you should know:
– It’s a couples/honeymoon island. I was with my boyfriend and it even made me feel a little funny. Couples are everywhere! At least there is lots of love in the air 😉
– The landscape is quite dry, there is not a lot of green around (we went late May) and I didn’t expect the look of it at all – Try to avoid Fira & Oia when cruise ships dump thousands of day trip tourists at once
– Don’t go if you’re after a beach holiday – all the beaches have black sand and are rocky. Good thing almost every hotel has a swimming pool, and there are lots of cool hangout places

Kartharos Beach – Ammoudi The best place to hang out if you’re after an easy going place with good music, super friendly staff and great food and drinks. We came across it by accident and just kept going back. Best to go around 3-4pm, have a glass of rose and chill. This place has a perfect view on the sunset too so you’ll end up staying for dinner, and a few more drinks. If you become friendly with barman Kostas you won’t be leaving anytime soon. Katharos Beach, 84702 Oía, Kikladhes | Website

Tranquillo – Perissa Beach spot on Perissa Beach. This beach is known for being the most popular one. This unfortunately means a long strip of beach places and a beach packed with beds and umbrella’s. Not at Tranquillo. The owner Alex only has around 15 umbrellas on the beach because ‘he wants to be able to see the sea from his restaurant’. Such a good call! I think this immediately says a lot about this place. It’s all about taking it easy, with amazing food and juices. Salads are massive!

Anogi – Imerovigli Super sweet little restaurant in Imerovigli. Not overlooking the Caldera (the gorgeous cliff side) so you won’t have a sunset view but one of the nicest and homely type of restaurants we have seen on the island. It’s a family style restaurant with really good local food, always busy, super friendly staff and good prices. We did drinks at Grace Santorini Hotel first to see the sunset and walked to Anogi afterwards.

There are thousands of hotels on this little island and I was quite overwhelmed when I started browsing: do you want to stay in a town and which one, prefer to be on the caldera cliffside, or maybe a little more quiet more inlands? One of the top hotels is Grace Santorini. It’s in Imerovigli which I think is one of the most beautiful towns. I would say that there are many other places next to Grace equally as beautiful in this town – as well as very pricy. Another hotel in the same town called Casa Bianca is super cute with a beautiful white courtyard and flowers (ready to go on someones pinterest board!). If you’re after a more easy boutique budget spot I would recommend Rena’s Suites. It’s on a 5 mins walking distance from the main town Fira which is really handy for lunch and shopping etc. Clean simple rooms, a swimming pool, good breakfast (lots of greek yoghurt!) and Christina will make sure to look after you.

santorini holiday greek salad

Welgelegen Hotel | Capetown, South Africa

hotel welgelegen

I stayed in this hotel twice now and would probably stay here again when going to Capetown. I love the fact that the hotel has a very homely, personal atmosphere. The 13 rooms are all different and all incredibly charming. It is small and has a little courtyard with a tiny pool that is more for dipping than swimming but it enables you to at least cool of and have a glass of wine while siting on one of their deck chairs. If you do not necessarily wish to stay right on the coast when in Capetown than I would definitely recommend staying here. If you have access to a car you’ll be at the beach in 10 minutes anyway, so why not? 6 Stephen St, Cape Town 8001 | $$$ | +27 21 426 2373/4 | Website | Map

Delaire Graff Estate | Stellenbosch, South Africa

Delaire Graff
Wowzers this restaurant is good… I booked a table here well in advance (probably about 9 months or so ) and was given a superb VIP table with the best view for me and my family. It is unbelievable how amazing you can eat in this country for relatively little money.. I would go to this place if you have something to celebrate and want to have a delicate lunch with a spectacular view. The gardens on the estate are beautifully kept (with an impressive art collection/sculptures) and a treat on itself and you can also do wine tasting. Unfortunately for me I could not taste the wine because I was pregnant (actually could taste but could’t drink / swallow haha) but it is apparently really good…The estate also has lodges where you can stay but we (unfortunately) stayed somewhere else. The location is absolutely gorgeous though so I bet the lodges will be as well.
Delaire Graff Estate, Stellenbosch 7602, South Africa | +27 21 885 8160 | $$$$ | Website