Renting a Koh Samui Luxury Villa

Renting a Koh Samui Luxury Villa

Imagine waking in a plush bed, in a white walled room, surrounded by contemporary finishes. Beyond the whir of the air conditioning, it’s possible to hear the crash of the gentle waves on the beach. After stepping out through the sliding glass doors, is the reflection of the palm trees over a private infinity pool. Beyond that, the beach and the sea. To the right, a beautiful breakfast is laid out, prepared by a private chef. Yes, this is what it’s like to wake up in a private Koh Samui luxury villa. Before this trip to Koh Samui, my experience with private luxury villas was limited to what I saw in various in-flight magazines, or perhaps living vicariously through James Bond on some sort of luxury escapade. But, those never end well for the girl. We’ve certainly stayed in some luxury hotel properties, but a private villa? I always thought it was out of reach. An unattainable goal. And, yes, we received our Koh Samui luxury villa stays because of our status as travel bloggers. But, after learning more about the experiences, and the pricing, I realized it is, in fact, more attainable than I initially thought. We arrived in Koh Samui to meet up with some blogger and social media friends. We’ve always wanted to spend more time traveling with friends, rather than always being on our own. We enjoy spending time together, don’t get me wrong. But, it’s fun to spend time with other people too. And, with so many of our friends and family so far away, it’s the travel bloggers in our network who are...
Experiencing a Luxury Spa in India

Experiencing a Luxury Spa in India

After 5 months in Europe, I was craving someone else’s hands on my body. You see, while living in Bali and while traveling in Southeast Asia, I became accustomed to regular massages. Once in Europe, though, massages became a little out of our weekly price range. I was counting down the days until our arrival in Bangkok, and new exactly where to find our perfect Thai massage. But, even before that date came, we had a welcome surprise – the chance to experience a luxury spa in India. Twice. Becoming Accustomed to Massages In Bali, we had our regular spa in Ubud, Cantika Zest. It was a little out of town, requiring a motorbike to reach. Because it was hard to reach, though, these massage beds were generally filled by people in the know. Cantika offered the best, and most reliable massages in Ubud. We were there so often that we had our preferred massage girls, Juni and Sang Ayu. The best part about Cantika: the price. Massages ran about $15 an hour. It was a little more expensive than many of the tourist focused massage shops in town, but we paid for the quality, and the reliability. There were some downsides to getting a massage at Cantika. The grounds were lovely, with beds set inside open air, Balinese style huts. They were surrounded by the tropical forests. But, that meant, noise from the outdoors and neighboring rooms. It also meant occasional mosquito bites. But, for Ubud, it was pretty luxurious. When in Europe, I missed Cantika. I missed the cheap, but reliable massages. I thought I would have...
Jaipur Marriott – Luxury Travel in India

Jaipur Marriott – Luxury Travel in India

The drive from the Courtyard Marriott Agra to the Jaipur Marriott was, if nothing else, an adventurous one. We booked the car service through our Taj Mahal guide. Our driver arrived at the appointed time, and we wound our way through Agra, on the scenic route, to the highway that connects Agra and Jaipur. Escaping Agra took almost an hour on its own. I am not sure if the driver was based in New Delhi, and drove the 3 hours to Agra before our 10am departure, or if he was just plain old tired. But, about an hour into our trip, Eric found him falling asleep at the wheel. Eric repeatedly asked if we was okay, and encouraged him to have a coffee when we took a break at the half way point. We took a longer break than normal ourselves at the rest stop in hopes that the driver would take his own rest. He seemed to be more alert during the second half of the journey, and we arrived safely at the Jaipur Marriott around lunch time. Even traveling India in comfort has its own set of excitement and uncertainty. Dining at the Jaipur Marriott It seemed that moments after arriving at the Jaipur Marriott, and once we fully realized we arrived safely, we were off meeting Chef Sunil and his staff. Chef Sunil provided us a quick tour of Okra, their buffet restaurant. Similar to the JW Marriott Mumbai and JW Marriott New Delhi, Okra was a mix of International cuisine and Indian. Of course, I wanted to focus on the Indian. Even within the Indian...
Courtyard Marriott Agra – Exploring Regional Indian Food in Agra

Courtyard Marriott Agra – Exploring Regional Indian Food in Agra

I knew to be impressed by the food at the JW Marriott hotels, in Mumbai and New Delhi. After all, the JW Marriott is one of Marriott’s top brands, and is five star all the way, particularly in India. From our experience at other Courtyard hotels, I expected an entirely different experience from the JW. But, the Courtyard Marriott Agra blew me away again. This was our fourth Courtyard property overseas, and at each one I continue to marvel at how well Marriott has rebranded the hotel. I repeatedly opine that “this is not your grandfather’s Courtyard.” Ever since our first Courtyard stay in Seminyak, Bali, I’ve been impressed at the contemporary feel, and the fun ambience at each of the hotels. Arriving and Settling in at the Courtyard Marriott Agra The Courtyard Marriott Agra was no exception. We popped our head into the hotel on our way from Delhi to the Taj Mahal on our private Taj Mahal tour. Once we heard that the hotel was only 2 kilometers away from the Taj, we knew it would be safer to drop our bags at the hotel rather than leave them in the back of the hot car during our tour. We dropped our bags and fled to the Taj. When we arrived back to the hotel, wet and sweaty, having been caught in some rains at the Taj, I felt particularly gross. I always hate walking into a nice hotel when I am as dirty as I was after our Taj tour. We finally made it up to our room, which was a nice sized suite, so big that it...
JW Marriott Delhi – Hotel Dining At Its Best

JW Marriott Delhi – Hotel Dining At Its Best

I was not sure why we traveled to Delhi as part of our India tour. It just seemed like a city we needed to add into our itinerary, despite not knowing why. Delhi is part of the Golden Triangle, along with Agra and Jaipur, and a launching point for most Taj Mahal tours. Other than that, it just seemed like a stopping off point and the JW Marriott Delhi was the perfect place to stay. Once again, the JW Marriott Delhi staff picked us up at the airport, and quickly whisked us away to the hotel. Once again, we were escorted to our room to complete the registration process.  The hotel itself was as you would expect from a JW Marriott – impressive, grand lobby, friendly staff, luxurious room appointments. What I did not expect, though, was how well we would eat at the JW Marriott Delhi. Introduction to K3 at the JW Marriott Delhi Once settled in, we made our way down to the hotel restaurant K3 for a late lunch. K3 refers to the 3 kitchens of the restaurant, including India, China, and Italy. Three of our favorite cuisines. If it were K4, and they had Mexican, I would be in heaven. Chef Girish, large and imposing in his chef whites, greeted us with a grin from ear to ear. We assumed this was just a handshake and a hello before we started to explore the buffet selection, which was immense. Instead, we immediately bonded over our collective passion for food. But, I was a bit distracted during the conversation. We sat sandwiched between the Italian and...
Luxury Hotel in Mumbai – JW Marriott Mumbai Sahar

Luxury Hotel in Mumbai – JW Marriott Mumbai Sahar

When arriving in a new country at 3am, particularly a country with a reputation like India, I crave the familiar. I look for those touch points that can provide some sort of comfort in the uncomfortable. For us, the comfort we sought in India, came in the form of a luxury hotel in Mumbai. We stayed 4 nights in Mumbai, with the first one being a half night after our 3 am arrival at the nearby airport. The staff of the JW Marriott Mumbai Sahar, quickly escorted us to our room. In the room, we completed the registration process and received an explanation of how the room worked. The room itself was as expected from a brand new luxury hotel in Mumbai, with a comfortable bed and huge soaking tub. For Eric, there was a view of the airport. After a quick shower, and an even quicker check of email, I was fast sleep. So fast asleep that we slept through breakfast. Mumbai would be waiting for us in the morning. Dining at a Luxury Hotel in Mumbai – JW Cafe We finally emerged for lunch at JW Cafe, the JW Marriott’s hotel buffet. I ate that first lunch at JW Cafe because I did not want to explore Mumbai on an empty, jet lagged stomach. I did not want to worry about trying to find something to eat once we were downtown. The JW Cafe would provide me a little familiar comfort in India, which was what I needed. I figured we would test out the food at the hotel and make a decision about where to eat...
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