Mr Porter | Amsterdam

Mr Porter W Hotel
Let’s just begin with the quote they put on their website which is spot on: “About Mr Porter; A companion by day, a hunter by night. A gentleman, a merciless lover. A jetsetter and a local. It is this duality, this constant battle of extremes that is MR PORTER. Cosmopolitan yet familiar. Extravagant yet modest. MR PORTER fearlessly explores the borders between dinner and sinner.”
This restaurant on the 5th floor of the W Hotel is very cool. Trying to get even with all trendy hotel bars and restaurants in other metropolitan cities around the world. Amsterdam needs more of these so I am happy! The view from this restaurant is absolutely amazing, the food is great, the lounge looks stunning with the coolest sleek interior decor and is just breathtaking at sunset. The whole place turns an orangy yellow, it’s like setting foot in the Garden of Eden (in my imagination…). I will update the current photograph with the one that captures this as soon as I’ve been able to shoot it and you’ll see. Spuistraat 175, Amsterdam | +31208113399 | €€€| Tram; Dam (1, 2, 5, 13, 14, 17) | Website

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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.
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 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

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

Restaurants:
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.

Hotels:
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