Posts Tagged ‘villas’

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 Sugar Beach: A Viceroy Resort, St. Lucia

White Sand and Lounge Chairs at Sugar Beach, a Viceroy Resort

Last month, I visited the Caribbean island of St. Lucia for the first time. I split my time between two different hotels in the Soufriere area, the first of which was Sugar Beach, a Viceroy Resort. Sugar Beach is located about an hour’s drive  from Hewanorra International Airport (UVF).

The chic Lobby of Sugar Beach

While St. Lucia is rather small (27 miles long and 14 miles wide) it’s mountainous and curvy, but the drive wasn’t overly winding. It was nice to not get carsick after flying in from Miami. We were greeted with cool towels as soon as we arrived.

Colonial Chic furnishings at Sugar Beach

Situated on a former 18th century Sugar Cane plantation in the Val de Pitons UNESCO World Heritage Site, Sugar Beach is a favorite destination for couples and honeymooners. The geography is lush, the rum is good and the sunsets spectacular.

Views from around Sugar Beach

Swinging daybed in one of the public spaces at Sugar Beach

After checking in, we were driven to our room in a colorful jitney, which run as shuttles about the hilly property, making it easy for guests to get from their rooms to the beach, restaurant and spa.

We were shown to room 709, a luxury cottage with oodles of plantation chic charm and wonderful welcome amenity– a bottle of Chairman’s Rum, distilled on St. Lucia, which quickly became our favorite sundowner.

No Shocker Couples love Sugar Beach: behold the Hella Sexy Bedroom of room 709

Claw foot bath tub and side by side sinks in the bathroom of room 709

The bathroom was generously sized, with a gorgeous claw foot tub, side-by-side sinks, cool art and separate areas for the toilet and a huge rain shower.

The patio of our cottage provided privacy and a lot of colonial luxury

The bedroom was hella sexy– after sipping the rum, I kept expected to see Mick Jagger in his prime under the white mosquito netting. It’s not surprising the honeymooners love this place.  It was also nice to have a completely separate living room, butler service, and an in-room iPad where I could book my spa appointments at the resort’s incredible Rainforest Spa.

Lunch at the casual Bayside Restaurant

The Cocktail Menu and Cuban cigars on the menu at the Bayside Bar

If the beach isn’t your thing, Sugar Beach has a killer pool as an option too

There’s a super cute Sugar Club for kids if you’re traveling as a family. The property prides itself on it’s family programs. I didn’t see many kids during my stay, but that also means if they were on property they were well entertained.

Cool old ruins from the resort’s days as a working Sugar Cane Plantation now have become a favorite backdrop for brides and grooms getting married on the porperty.

Other than wifi, a well placed hammock is my favorite amenity

I can see why Matt Damon chose to have his vow renewal on the property– there really is no reason to leave the property with multiple restaurants, activities, bars and things to do right on site. The butler service is top notch, the wifi signal was strong.

Boats and beach chairs on Sugar Beach

There’s tons to do at Sugar Beach, but the villas are so comfortable, this is a great place to come to do absolutely nothing at all.

Catamarans and kayaks ready for Sugar Beach Guests

The Sugar Baby

Left: the beach activities hut Right: colorful jitneys are a fun way to cruise around the property

Rum based cocktails are the house favorites

I found the cocktails to be priced fairly for a luxury resort (most around $14) but the $9 price tag for watermelon juice at breakfast was a touch excessive. My advice– just sleep in, skip breakfast, and grab a light bite by the beach.

Casual lunch at the Bayside Bar & Rum based drinks

On the dining front, I preferred the food at the casual Bayside restaurant and bar (the Pomelo Basil Mojito $14 was the standout cocktail of the trip). Cane Bar has a sushi menu and while delicious, it was extremely pricey and the service was a bit slower, but I could have caught it on an off night. It’s definitely worth visiting the Cane Bar to see the sexy space and the art in the back Late Night Bar and snooker rooms– including giant Polaroids of Tim Burton and other notable celebrities. I did not eat in the Great Room (although the room is stunning).

There is some interesting art at Sugar Beach. The property’s owner is a former accountant for the Rolling Stones.

The Late Night Bar at Sugar Beach

Rum Collection in The Cane Bar

The sleek Cane Bar has a killer selection of rum– and a “rummelier” who can help you select one to try– or even a flight of rum.

Pool between the Pitons

Service on the beach was pleasant and leisurely. I didn’t have to wait long to have a drink delivered to my beach bed, and a local known as “coconut man” would come by daily offering fresh young coconuts to drink for $4 and sold out daily.

Signs to Sugar Beach, the Rainforest Walk on property

The resort offers all sorts of water activities from SCUBA to paddle boarding, and has plenty of tour options available if you’re itching to hike Gros Piton.

Pool, palm trees, and Sugar Beach

If you feel you’ve overindulged on the local rum and chocolate, you can work it off in the resorts state of the art fitness center. They have tons of cardio and weight equipment, and also offer cool fitness classes like aerial yoga. The schedule is listed on your trusty in-room iPad.

Boats for hire at Sugar Beach

The deck of room 709 at sunset

Left: Room 709’s plunge pool Right: Chairman’s Rum: the perfect local sundowner

The Gorgeous Great Room

Sugar Beach After Dark

Sunset Sail at Sugar Beach

Sugar Beach, A Viceroy Resort (formerly The Jalousie Plantation)

Val des Pitons

P.O. Box 251

Soufriere, Saint Lucia

Tel +1 758 456 8000

Guestroom Reservations: 800 235 4300 (From US and Canada)

Guestroom Reservations: +925 298 6438 (International callers)

Room rates start at $485.00 per night

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Almost a Private Island: A Stay at Tiamo Resort South Andros, Bahamas

The view from the dock when you arrive at Tiamo Resort on South Andros Island

My recent stay at Tiamo Resort felt like I was on a private island, without the crazy price tag. Located on South Andros, one of the Out Islands in the Bahamas, Tiamo is remote. I got there via a flight to Nassau, and then a 20 minute hop on a puddle jumper, a short drive in a taxi, and finally a 10 boat ride before pulling up to Tiamo’s private dock and catching a glimpse of the uncrowded beach, floating loungers, and crystal clear Caribbean water. It was worth the multiple forms of transportation.

Eco chic and simple Bahamian cottages at Tiamo

Tiamo is a perfect example of the difference between nice and fancy. It’s hella nice, but not overdone to the point where the facilities are competing the gorgeous environment. I stayed in a Pool Villa (room #2) which was a very nice version of a typical Bahamian cottage. It was super comfortable with a king sized bed, writing desk, large walk in closet and screened in sitting area and small plunge pool. But it wasn’t over the top– the bathroom was located at the back of the villa under a thatched roof. This made it feel authentic rather than an architect’s showplace.

The island chic bar at Tiamo is a nice place to relax before sunset

Tiamo also has a 3 bedroom house called the Bird’s Nest that I will cover in a separate post. The point of Tiamo is to enjoy the unspoiled beaches and chillax. There are lots of water activities to keep you busy– snorkeling, scuba, paddle boarding among others, and South Andros is a major spot for bone fishing (which is a fly fishing technique where you are propelled on a boat with a tower). 

Dining tables set around the pool also have a view of the beach

After less than 24 hours here, my traveling companion, Zan, dubbed Tiamo “Chill Island.” This is truly a place to get away from the stresses of everyday life. You’re not going to have to get up at dawn to claim two lounge chairs because your villa already has them waiting for you. With only ten villas, and one private house, crowds are never a problem.

Waffles in paradise

Meals are included in the room rates and activities are scheduled around them. There is a cooked to order breakfast in addition to a buffet, lunch is served between 12-2pm. At around 5 pm Happy Hour begins in the bar and the friendly staff will get you some snacks if you’d like to nibble on something (or feed the on-property iguanas) while taking in the spectacular sunset.

Caprese salad on the deck for lunch at Tiamo

Portion size isn’t huge (which I appreciated) and the staff could make alterations for allergies and dislikes, etc.

Chic, simple and not overdone interiors at Tiamo

The other guests on the island were all friendly, but you rarely see them at other than meal times because they might be off bone fishing while you’re paddle boarding. The staff is super friendly. Both the Marine Master, Lee, and Nick, who worked with him, made sure that our snorkel times and activities worked with both tides and meal times.

Left: The thached roof shower and glass tile in the bathroom Right: side by side sinks in my pool villa

The resort has free wifi throughout, and the mini-fridge in our villa was filled with Bahamian sands beer. There is some incredible snorkeling in the area and scuba diving as well. Or you can rent a boat by the hour and go waterskiing or sailing or deep sea fishing. Or just laze in a hammock and read.

Algotherm amenities in bathroom at Tiamo

Paddle boarding quickly became my favorite because you could glide effortlessly over graceful stingrays and lemon sharks in the shallow water just off Tiamo’s dock.

A friendly Andros iguana (Cyclura cychlura cychlura) basking in the sun at Tiamo

The entire resort can be rented out for events like reunions or weddings, but there really doesn’t seem to be a need to do it. With only 11 rooms, it’s far from crowded. At one point, Zan looked down at the deserted stretch of white sand beach and yelled “Wilson!” a la Tom Hanks in Castaway.

Welcome drinks at Tiamo

Since the resort is remote, staff (and supplies) are all brought in by boat. So meal times are fixed and there isn’t 24 hour room service. But it wasn’t a problem. Julien, who runs the front office, made sure we had coffee delivered to our villa before dawn on the morning we had to depart.

A Caribbean blue cocktail at Tiamo

At Tiamo the food is good, but not haute cuisine. If you need a celebrity chef, you’d be better off staying in Nassau.

Sands Bahamian beer and a killer South Andros sunset at Tiamo

I also appreciated that cocktail prices were reasonable ($12 for a margarita– or 2 during Happy Hour) since there aren’t a lot of options other than those in-house.

Tiamo’s private dock

Tiamo is chic and relaxed luxurious Caribbean getaway and a great option for honeymooners or those who don’t need a night life scene while they are on vacation. Due to the remote and relaxed authentic style of the resort, children under 12 are not allowed unless they stay in the Bird’s Nest.

Uncrowded beaches had Zan yelling “Wilson!” a la Tom Hanks in Castaway

There is a spa and small gift shop as well, but I was so relaxed and enjoying the natural beauty of South Andros, spa treatments seemed unnecessary.

Waterskiing is just one of the water activities to choose from at Tiamo

Unforgettable Sunsets on a chilled out island

Tiamo Resort & Spa

Driggs Hill – South Andros Island, The Bahamas

Phone: (1) 786 374-2442 (from USA)

Fax: (1) 242 369-2335

reservations@tiamoresorts.com

Rates start at $903.60 (per villa for two people, including food, transportation to/from the airport and most activities) note* alcoholic beverages and some activities are additional

Tiamo Resort is a member of Small Luxury Hotels of the World

 

Disclosure* This post would not be possible without SLH Hotels and Tiamo Resorts, who arranged for the resort to hosting me for two nights

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