Thai Hammam Spa at Amatara Phuket

Thai Hammam Spa at Amatara Phuket

What do a luxury wellness resort and Anthony Bourdain splayed out on a marble slab being pounded by a Uzbekistani man have in common? Not much other than it explains my (unfounded) expectations from a Thai hammam spa treatment. What is a Hammam Spa Treatment My knowledge of traditional hammam treatments is pretty slim. I’ve seen some of the very traditional treatments on travel TV shows, like that scene with Anthony Bourdain that is etched in my brain. Bourdain was, well, near tortured, on a hot, wet slab, in Uzbekistan. His therapist twisted him into pretzel, while his friend watched.   When traveling in Istanbul several years ago, I passed on exploring the hammam scene because I was a little intimidated by the notion. A hammam is a Turkish bath. It is inspired by the traditional Roman baths. Whereas Roman baths focused on the use of steam, Turkish baths focus on the use of water. And, a hammam spa gets wet. Very wet. The only hammam I’ve experienced was one at a luxury hotel in Dubai. At the Palace Downtown Dubai a few years ago, I was placed on a warm stone table, and was hosed and scrubbed until I was ready to pass out. I was alone in the hammam, just me an the therapist. It was a unique experience, and I have always wanted to try it again. It was pleasant, and wet, and relaxing. Once I heard there was a Thai hammam spa at Amatara Phuket, I was indeed intrigued. What is a Luxury Thai Hammam Spa The Thai hammam spa at Amatara took things one step further...
Hurawalhi – A Luxury Overwater Villa In The Maldives

Hurawalhi – A Luxury Overwater Villa In The Maldives

I’ve dreamed about an overwater villa in the Maldives every since I first hear about the island nation over a decade ago. Sometimes, dreams do come true. Friends of ours honeymooned in The Maldives about 15 years ago. Before their wedding, I had never even heard of the country. They told us all about it, showed us photos, and since then, I have been wanting to travel to the Maldives. The Maldives is famous for being an island nation. There are over 1,100 islands of varying sizes, spread across the Indian Ocean. Every single island, including the capital in Malé, is tiny. Very tiny. To make the most of space, resorts began building platforms and jetties with overwater bungalows that jut out into the sea. The same went for Hurawalhi Maldives. Everything at Hurawalhi was fresh and new. We arrived on their fourth day of operation. And, yes, there was a new resort smell to the place. After registering at the sand-filled reception area, staff whisked us on a golf cart to our Ocean Pool Villa. We rode past the soon to be finished football pitch and tennis courts, and along the back side of the spa and the restaurants. Then, the buggy turned around a bend, and all I could see were stunning, wooden overwater villas. At the end of the beach path, and at the island’s edge, the buggy bumped onto a narrow wooden jetty, with clear blue water on either side. We jetted past more that a dozen overwater villas before arriving at ours, almost at the end of the path. Our driver deposited us at Villa...
What To Do In The Maldives

What To Do In The Maldives

As even The Planet D, a notable adventure travel blog couple, has stated, the Maldives is one of the top destinations to visit in 2017. Now, Dave and Deb, I am sure look for something a bit different than we do when traveling. They look for adventure. I am sure a trip to the Maldives for them includes snorkeling, diving, kite surfing, and more. But, we are not adventure travel bloggers. We are luxury travel bloggers. In that vane, we were looking to put together a slightly different list of what to do in the Maldives. Top Things To Do in the Maldives Set The Alarm for Sunrise This was all Eric. I slept in. Sunrise occurs around 6:30 am, and is around a similar time throughout the year because the Maldives is so close to the equator. Many resorts categorize their rooms as either sunset or sunrise. We had a sunrise room at Hurawalhi, but the sunrise was a bit too far to the right for us (meaning Eric) to enjoy it from our deck. At Outrigger Resorts, though, the sunrise was directly in front of our beach villa. Eric was up most morning, with our GoPro, taking some lovely photos and videos of the sunrise. I slept in. Happily. After all, at the top of my list of things to do in the Maldives, was relax. Enjoy Fresh Fish and Seafood Only two food items are naturally found in the Maldives: fish and coconuts. One of the main staples of Maldivian cuisine is a tuna coconut curry. In addition to the curry, fish and seafood is plentiful...
Maldives Travel Guide – How to Travel to the Maldives

Maldives Travel Guide – How to Travel to the Maldives

We were a little, well, lazy, when it came to figuring out how to travel to the Maldives. We obviously where able to figure out how to travel from Bangkok to the Maldives. But, we didn’t really look much beyond that. We trusted the luxury resorts in the Maldives would take care of things. And, for the most part, they did. In the end, though, we needed a little more than that to handle Maldives travel. Here are our Maldives travel tips. What Airlines Travel to the Maldives There are plenty of full service and budget airlines that fly to the Maldives. We flew Air Asia through Kuala Lumpur, which was the cheapest option with the fewest layovers. It did mean, however, an overnight flight back to Kuala Lumpur. The best way, however, to fly to the Maldives is to fly on one of the Middle East airlines, like Emirates Airlines, Qatar Airways, or Etihad. From Europe this means it is possible to arrive in the Maldives after only one stop. That’s even possible from the US from some of the Middle Eastern gateways, like New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, and other major cities. This actually means that if you are in one of these main gateway cities, Maldives travel is a lot closer than you think. That’s a good thing. All international flights arrive and depart from Malé, the capital of the Maldives. It is necessary to  transfer to your resort in one of three ways. Some resorts, like the Four Seasons, are within a quick boat ride from Malé. Other resorts are close enough to Malé that their...
Thai Luxury Wellness Resort – Amatara Phuket

Thai Luxury Wellness Resort – Amatara Phuket

We were drawn in by the award-winning wine cellar. In the end, we were intrigued by the wellness resort. That’s what happens when a couple of gluttons spend a long weekend at a Thai luxury wellness resort. We learned about Amatara Wellness Resort during our recent trip to Singapore. The pictures of the property looked amazing, but most luxury properties in Phuket do. Particularly for folks living in Bangkok. They offer a perfect break from the noise and congestion of the big city. And, with a flight to Phuket costing about $30 and only taking an hour, it is the easiest place for us to grab a beach break. What caught our eye about Amatara Phuket, though, was that they have an award-winning wine list. That is somewhat a rarity in Thailand, as it is hard to find good wine. And, yes, we enjoyed a luxury dining experience at The Grill, with perfect wine pairings off of their award-winning list. But, fine wine and dining were not the focus of this particular visit, even if it is the focus of so many of our trips. In this case, our focus was on relaxation and wellness. Eating Healthy at a Thai Luxury Wellness Resort Amatara Phuket is a top Thai luxury wellness resort, and wellness was indeed our goal. We ate most of our meals at The Retreat, a healthy eating venue that works in conjunction with the spa manager at Amatara to offer alternative dining. I will say, after being assaulted by vegan and raw cuisine during our time living in Bali, I was skeptical. The Retreat is a small and peaceful...
Where To Find the Best Food in Charleston

Where To Find the Best Food in Charleston

The last stop on our culinary road trip across the U.S. south landed us in Charleston, South Carolina. One of the American cities that was always on the top of my list of places I wanted to visit. I never thought that we would be ending such an amazing road trip in Charleston. And, I never thought we would do it by eating some of the best food in Charleston. Best Food in Charleston – Halls Chophouse Gospel Brunch We woke up early in Athens, Georgia and raced to Charleston. We had a deadline: to partake in a Charleston, low country tradition, Sunday Gospel Brunch at historic Halls Chophouse. Halls is a family-run restaurant, with a focus on service and hospitality. We saw it first hand when a member of the Hall family held the door open for us as we entered. Halls was hopping. Every table filled to max capacity. The Gospel choir sat just inside the front door. Just after we stepped in, they broke out into When The Saints Go Marching In. It doesn’t get more Gospel than that. Because we raced to Charleston, and the atmosphere inside Halls was electric, I felt a little on edge. That feeling quickly abated after I started in on one of their famous Bloody Mary’s, complete with pickled okra and a crisp, cool shrimp. Brunch was on. Halls Chophouse is not only known for steaks, and their Bloody Mary’s, but for classic low country cuisine. Low country cuisine is the phrase used for the dishes traditionally served in South Carolina, and along the Georgia coast. It is heavily influenced by...
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