Posts Tagged ‘Pool’

The Coolest Pool in Africa? Quite Possibly at the Four Seasons Safari Lodge, Tanzania

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Swim up bar… for elephants

Hotel pools are a huge draw for guests. #PoolPorn is a real thing. There are pools with lazy rivers and water slides for children. There are pools that overlook dramatic scenery. Some have swim-up bars. But the infinity pool at the Four Seasons Safari Lodge Serengeti in Tanzania might be the most amazing hotel pool I’ve ever seen. Because it features swim-up bar for elephants and zebras instead of the human guests.

Time lapse of the watering hole at the Four Seasons Safari Lodge in the Serengeti

The Four Seasons Safari lodge pool overlooks a watering hole which is heavily used by herds of elephants and zebras and other wildlife in the area, much to the delight of guests who can watch the action from their lounge chairs or while in the water.

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The lazy man’s safari– complete with bathrobe at the Four Seasons Safari Lodge

There is separation in elevation so that guests swimming in the pool have a great vantage point but are still at a safe distance from the enormous animals.

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Infinity pool overlooking an elephant at the Four Seasons Safari Lodge

The pool and the surrounding area, including an outdoor restaurant, make for the ultimate lazy person’s safari. Many of the hotel rooms and suites also have views of the watering hole action from their windows or balconies.

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A thirsty herd of elephants headed towards the watering hole

The watering hole action is busiest during the dry season, when water is more scarce in the plains of the Serengeti.

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Zebras and elephants sharing the watering hole

While herds of zebras and elephants would use the watering hole at the same time, they did not mix. The zebras stuck together and so did the elephants.

A fawn non-plussed by the action at the watering hole

Pool porn is a competitive thing in the luxury hotel industry, and the Four Seasons Safari Lodge has gone seriously next level with it’s watering hole next to the pool design.

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A local elephant taking a dip

The watering hole is man made, but is more popular than the natural watering hole on the ground that can only be viewed from a few high end suites.

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Infinity pool + elephants = win

The hotel’s restaurant has seating outside near the pool, so guests can enjoy the view and poolside safari action throughout their stay. The friendly waitstaff has no problem bringing a cocktail to your lounge chair if you’d like to sip on a gin & tonic while watching the wildlife. It’s the ultimate passive safari for a day you need a break from the bumpy roads of Serengeti National Park.

Four Seasons Safari Lodge Serengeti

Central Serengeti, Serengeti National Park,

P.O. Box 14321 Arusha  Tanzania

Lodge Reservations +255 (0) 768 982 101/2

Front Desk +255 768 981 981

Reservations Manager +255 (0) 768 982 100

 

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Australia’s Most Photogenic Pool: Bondi Icebergs

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The famous and often photographed oceanfront pool of Bondi icebergs

If pools were supermodels, the Bondi Icebergs Club oceanfront pool would be either Miranda Kerr or Elle Macpherson. It’s pure Australian, often photographed, and does not have a bad angle.

I shot this fun time lapse using the native camera on my iPhone 6 from the bar at Icebergs

If you’re visiting Sydney, you should know that Bondi Beach  a little out of the way, and a little bit hippy dippy. But Bondi has a fun surf scene, great dining spots, and great people watching. But it’s the incredible pool located at Bondi Icebergs Club that is one of it’s most photographic sights.

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Waves and sand splash into the Bondi Icebergs Club pool regularly

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Pool or ocean, swimmers take their pick

I just had a brief layover in Sydney and decided to make a point to fight my jet lag and go to Bondi Beach in an attempt to get a decent shot of this supermodel swimming pool without going in it. It’s winter in Sydney and this pool is cold. That’s why so many of the swimmers wear full wet suits while doing laps.

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Into the blue at the Bondi Icebergs pool

I have an irrational fear of sharks in swimming pools. As much as my husband likes to tease me about this fear, even he agrees if there were ever going to be a shark in a swimming pool, this would be the one. I am much happier shooting photos.

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Bondi Got Back

If you’re in Sydney and want to see the Bondi Icebergs pool for yourself, take an Uber not a taxi. It’s less expensive and a far more pleasant experience. I’d also suggest skipping dining at Icebergs and instead head to nearby Bondi Hardware. Pop into the bar at Icebergs for a drink only (and a great perspective of the pool).

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Icebergs #jumpstagram

Bondi Icebergs POOL & Swim Club

1 Notts Ave, Bondi Beach NSW 2026

info@icebergs.com.au (02) 9130 3120

Mon – Fri: 6.00am – 6.30pm

Sat & Sun: 6.30am – 6.30pm

Sauna Closes 6.20PM

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A Stay at Maia Luxury Resort on Mahe Island, Seychelles

Panorama of the view from villa 218

I visited the Seychelles for the first time in December, 2014 and stayed at Maia Luxury Resort using free nights my husband earned as member of LHW’s Leaders Club Unlimited program. Maia Luxury resort is small and intimate, with just 10 oceanfront villas and 20 panoramic villas.

A fountain in the private plunge pool of villa 218

We were picked up at the Seychelles International Airport by chauffeured car and driven the 40 minutes to the resort (we arranged the car transfers directly with the hotel for € 100 each way). Upon arrival, we were quickly checked in before being taken to Villa 218 by golf cart.

Left: views of the Indian Ocean from Maia Right: Plantains as an in-room amenity

Villa 218 is a panoramic villa which has incredible 180 degree views of the resort’s stunning peninsula location and the Indian Ocean below.

Maia’s luxurious bungalows and personalized butler service mean there is very little reason to leave your room, although it’s worth doing. I was glad I lured beyond the confines of my villa to check out Maia’s award-winning Balinese style spa and the hotel’s main restaurant, pool, and beach area.

Floating flowers at Maia Luxury Resort

The restaurant serves Asian, Indian, and Creole food with focus on fresh seafood and tropical flavors. The Indonesian dishes were standouts. We also had a memorable dinner in the resort’s Wine Boutique where the hotel’s sommelier showed us some of the resort’s most interesting wine bottles.

Left: chaises in the pool of villa 218 Right: Maia Resort’s main pool area

The resort has a high staff to guest ratio and focuses on personalized service. At first I found the service a bit intrusive, but once we spoke to the management we were able to step it back to a more comfortable level.

Pastel sunsets are the norm at Maia

The food was great from both room service as well as in the hotel’s main restaurant. I was impressed with my massage treatment at the spa and was glad I left to room to get it.

I still can’t get over this outdoor bath & shower at Maia

Maia’s away-from-it-all vibe reminded me a bit of Imanta Punta Mita.

A Balinese style daybed in Villa 218

The in-room amenities are Bulgari and the addition of sunscreen was appreciated.

I loved the tropical, elegant and zen decor in the rooms

The king sized bed was comfy, and wifi worked throughout the villa and in most of the public areas. It was hassle-free.

The fan helped keep things cool and the mosquito netting went mostly unused during our stay

The Sunset Pool Bar

Maia has an impressive collection of Cognac

Room service sushi at Maia

The front door of villa 218

There were other guests at the resort during our stay but we did not see or interact with them much. The resort seems geared towards privacy. This spot is great for couples or honeymooners who enjoy luxury and privacy.

Views of Maia Luxury Resort’s private stretch of beach

Watching a pastel sunset from the beach at Maia

Obligatory toes-in-the-sand selfie

This was the closest I got to other guests at Maia Luxury Resort

Villa rates start at $2,313.53 USD per night (making this property an excellent choice for free nights redemption as part of the LHW Leaders Club program.)

Maia Luxury Resort

Address: 5th June Ave, Anse Boileau, Seychelles

Phone:+248 4 390 000

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A Stay at the Andaz Maui at Wailea

The adults-only pool at the Andaz Maui lit up at night

I recently visited the Andaz Maui at Wailea Resort in Hawaii for the first time. The Andaz definitely caters to a younger/hipper crowd than some of the other high end hotels in the area. If you’re looking for in-your-face Hawaiiana, look elsewhere. The Andaz Maui has warm, zen minimalist vibe.

The Modern Facade of the Andaz Maui

My husband and I arrived before check in time, and our room (we booked a suite) was not yet ready. The Andaz host suggested we head the Bumbye Beach Bar to wait until she came to escort us to the room. The bar had wifi access (no password required), great views of the lagoon pool and Mokapu Beach, and particularly delicious Mai Tais. After two rounds, our host showed us to our suite, room 640.

The resort’s open and airy entry

The staff at the Andaz was friendly and top notch. I was particularly impressed with the concierge. She remembered my food allergies and made sure they were passed on to restaurants, even when we changed restaurant picks or re-scheduled reservations.

The seating area in living room of suite 640

Suite 640 was spacious, well laid out, and technology friendly– great for a modern day couple who both work remotely. 

Left: the work desk in room 640 Right: The dining room table in 640

There were several pools, including an adult/no kids one and several cabanas for hire, which was nice. Loved the wifi access (even at the beach) and I always appreciate the no password required. Every hotel should be this tech friendly.

The welcome amenity and lei

If I had to nitpick, I thought the ukelele player in the Lehua Lounge could have bothered to wear an aloha shirt. I also noticed a few room service trays lingered in the hallways a bit longer than the should have. Minor complaints for an otherwise fabulous stay.

The patio was filled with modern furniture and comfortable

One of the Andaz’s most amazing features is Morimoto Maui restaurant, which is FANTASTIC. My husband and I almost always get tired of every hotel’s restaurants after three days. Not so with Morimoto. We dined there four times during our stay and I’ve been missing it since I got back. Even if you choose to stay somewhere else in Wailea, don’t miss heading to the Andaz Maui for dinner at Morimoto Maui.

Left: the window seat in room 640 Right: a reading nook in the bedroom

The room’s king sized bed has sliding doors that can open to the shower windows

The walk-thru shower and soaker tub in Suite 640

My husband thought the furniture in our suite could have been more comfortable, however I had no issues with it. I LOVED the bathroom’s huge shower and soaker tub. The room was quiet and I slept well in the king bed.

The hanging chair on the patio was a great place to watch the Wailea sunset

The Lagoon Pool at the Andaz Maui

How fun is this indoor sandbox in the reception area of the Andaz Maui?

Yogurt with granola on the breakfast buffet at Ka’ana Kitchen

The breakfast spread served at Ka’ana Kitchen was amazing. Since my husband is a Hyatt Gold Passport Diamond Member member, our breakfast was included. The staff went out of there way to clarify which menu items were not included so there were no surprises on the bill. (Note: The Breakfast Amenity for Diamond Gold Passport members was recently downgraded.) The mimosa made with passionfruit and guava is not to be missed.

Delicious Mai Tai served at Lehua Lounge

The view from Bumbye Beach Bar

Obligatory selfie in sunglasses of the Andaz Beach Crew

The Andaz Beach Crew was very helpful and also has a great instagram account @andazbeachcrew.

Gorgeous sunset as seen from room 640 at Andaz Maui

Andaz Maui at Wailea Resort

3550 Wailea Alanui Drive

Wailea, Hawaii, USA, 96753

Tel: +1 808 573 1234

Rates start at $423.00

Andaz Maui on Twitter

Andaz Maui on Instagram

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A Stay in a Park Suite at the Park Hyatt Vienna, Austria

Bank, the hotel’s restaurant, is a deco beauty

During my recent trip to Europe, I got the chance to spend the night at the Park Hyatt Vienna, which had been open all of 2 1/2 weeks prior to my one-night stay. Housed in a building that was once a bank, the Park Hyatt Vienna is an Art Deco gem with all the usual understated elegance that one expects from a Park Hyatt, but with the added bonus of New Hotel Smell! The modern interpretation of deco design is a refreshing change from the old world Imperial design choices at other top Vienna hotels.

The reception desk  of Bank restaurant

My husband is a Hyatt Gold Passport member with Diamond status, so we were upgraded to room 430, a Park Suite which was huge, stunning, glamorous and vastly exceeded any expectations one can expect for a €300 hotel room in Europe during the summer.

The former bank’s vault has been converted into an indoor pool

The architectural highlight of the property was the spa and pool. What was the former bank vault has been converted into the Park Hyatt’s indoor pool. You enter through the vault doors. The fitness center is well equipped, open 24 hours, has great air conditioning and overlooks this inspired space.

The living room of Park Suite 430

The hotel’s vibe is Deco glam, but not too flashy. Park Suite 430 featured a large living room with a desk, a lighted vanity, a huge television (perfect for watching the World Cup), a seating area with a sofa and two chairs, and a packed mini-bar. The bedroom seemed a bit cramped for the king-size bed, but the crazy beautiful bathroom was huge and more than made up for the bedroom. The closet space exceeded what I have at home.

Left: a peak inside the Mini-bar Right: A bowl of fresh fruit welcome amenity

When you book a stay at a just-opened hotel, you except there will be some kinks. But when you stay at a just-open luxury business hotel in Austria, you do not expect that the wifi will not work in your room.

Problems are to be expected, and the staff at the Park Hyatt all seemed aware of the problem. Red flag #1: there was no IT person on property who could come to our room  to help us troubleshoot the issue, instead, the IT person recommended I call the service provider. After spending several frustrating minutes on the phone with a service center in the Philippines– who seemed entirely unaware of the hotel’s existence– help came in the form of Park Hyatt Vienna employee Philipp F., whose title I believe was Director of Rooms.

The king-sized bed in the bedroom of Suite 430

Philipp handled the situation well. He both acknowledging the hotel’s ongoing wifi issue, and looked for a temporary solution. He offered to upgrade us again to a Park Executive suite which might have better connectivity, but we declined. We were on a tight FedEx deadline, and we needed send off some time-senstive documents and enjoy the soccer game. Philipp made  the situation far more tolerable by sending up a round of Aperol Spritz (which sounds extra fun when said with German accent).

Left: the vanity in room 430 Right: the desk had ample plus and glam lighting

While the wifi workaround didn’t last long in room 430, connectivity wasn’t an issue in the lobby and common areas of the hotel. I had speedy connections in in Bank restaurant, as well as the cigar and whiskey lounge, The Living Room.

Philipp went above and beyond the call of duty by making sure that our FedEx got to it’s destination that night, delivered via taxi.  The staff at the Park Hyatt is excellent, and as attractive as the hotel itself. They handled the situation superbly.

The gleaming white bathroom

The bathroom was spacious and sublime. In addition to the deep tub, there was a huge shower with both a rain shower and powerful second hand shower, and water stayed where it should. The Park Hyatt Vienna also was my first experience with a Black Mambo hairdryer– which puts all other hotel hairdryers to shame.

Serene marble bathroom in suite 430 at the Park Hyatt Vienna

Breakfast was included (a Diamond status perk) and served in Bank restaurant. The spread was as impressive as the former bank space itself. Food selections ranged from muesli and cheese to all the usually cold and hot dishes as well as a chef making eggs to order. Next time I’m in Vienna I hope to check out Bank for dinner– the space is beautiful and had a few chef’s tables tucked in and around the open kitchen.

Blaise Mautin toiletries at the Park Hyatt Vienna

One thing about the hotel’s design struck me as odd. There seems to be only one elevator for all 143 guest rooms. It wasn’t an issue during the weekend when the hotel wasn’t fully occupied, but it seemed like it might be one during the morning business meeting rush.

A table at Bank restaurant

Left: a table tucked in the open kitchen Right: eggs made to order at breakfast

Cereals and fruit galore at the Park Hyatt Vienna’s breakfast buffet

I wish I was more of a breakfast person when I saw the buffet. The service was good and my English Breakfast tea was quick to arrive and quickly refreshed, my eggs perfectly poached.

Left: juice and dairy Right: dried fruit for breakfast

With a glorious building and great staff, I expect the Park Hyatt Vienna will figure out it’s wifi issues quickly and become one of Vienna’s top business hotels… it’s certainly the prettiest.

Park Hyatt Vienna

Am Hof 2

Vienna,  Austria, 1010

Tel: +43 1 22740 1234

Fax: +43 1 22740 1235

Email: vienna.park@hyatt.com

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