The Oasis Spa for an experience like no other!!!

Okay then, some of the finest things take time… Hence, this review is coming now- well, I was in Bangkok in February like many of you already know and a ritual of sorts for me is to pamper myself at the top quality and extremely rejuvenating spot- The Oasis Spa.

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Once you enter its surreal setting, you’re sure to leave behind all your worries and stress and trust me on this, I always feel when I am here that I am no longer in a city but truly in heaven.

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It truly is an Oasis of everything pleasant and positive! The tranquility develops as you pass through the gate into an exotic world of beauty, serenity and pleasure. Here you are in company of a place of lush foliage, wooden bridges and walkways, waterfalls, reflective ponds and private treatment villas encompassed in the arms of ancient venerable trees.

The manner in which you are greeted as if they were only waiting for you (even though they keep quite busy), the welcome with fruits, towel and a drink that follows, then the entire process of ensuring you get the most appropriate and effective therapy taking into consideration several factors- everything is dealt with utmost care and professionalism.

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I am not new to this spa at all as have been visiting it for years but this time around I wanted a loved one to try it for she is getting married soon. And with the wedding preparations comes enough anxiety and stress, so I thought this would be the most ideal spa date and gift for her! And while I shall take you through our treatments, I must share upfront itself that my lovely was blown away by the services and the experience and towards the close of our trip, said without a doubt that the visit to The Oasis Spa was the highlight of the entire trip for her!

While she opted for the King of Oasis Signature Massage which is a two hours massage and ensures utmost level of release, relief and contentment using a unique combination of “East meets West” massage techniques. It employs kneading, thumb pressure, stretching and compression combined with a warm aromatherapy oil massage and a Thai Herbal Hot Compress. Tired muscles are soothed to allow stretching that removes energy barriers and re-open all the body’s energy pathways. Eventually you find relief from stiff muscles and muscular discomfort, and gift yourself improved sleep and reduced stress.

King of Oasis Spa Signature Massage

 

And I this time around went in for the Queen of Oasis Signature Massage which is also a two hours massage combining the best of Eastern and Western therapies to promote a woman’s health and sense of well-being. The ancient oriental massage integrated into this therapy concentrates on the Meridian Lines to detoxify, improve organ function and promote self-healing. The Swedish, Hot Stone and Aromatherapy massage further restores and enhances vitality. It realigns a woman’s life-energy, improves digestion and promotes inner harmony. And you know what? This treatment quite rightly has been compared to doing yoga without the effort while receiving acupressure treatments!

And let me make an honest confession here that the hot stone therapy is absolutely blissful. I also believe that a good spa experience always helps you get some relaxed sleep and guess what? We both woke up totally refreshed post our treatment, still wanting more.

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I always say this and shall say this again- when in Thailand, a visit to The Oasis Spa is a must!!! The Oasis Spa has over 10 branches in Thailand’s most popular tourist destinations of Bangkok, Chiangmai, Pattaya, and Phuket. This is a special year for the brand as it completes 15 years of excellence in 2018!

Happy Spa-ing you all!!!

xoxo,

Sonali

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HIGH ON HOTELS: THE DYLAN

Amsterdam… what more do we say that we have not said in admiration of this city? Well, continuing with our public display of affection (P.D.A. you see) for this city, next in our High on Hotel series- we getting chatting with the representatives of another extremely credible and worthwhile hotel- The Dylan, so sit back and enjoy!

Q: Why a stay here would prove to be the most memorable one?
A: The Dylan consist of 40 rooms and suites. All the rooms are individually designed in different styles. The Dylan Amsterdam is located in the heart of the city center and in “de negen straatjes” district. In “de negen straatjes” you can discover different galleries, boutiques, bars and eateries. Personal attention and high-quality service isn’t something we have to explain to our staff –at the Dylan it comes naturally.  Our guests are always our priority. The guests can have a perfectly crafted coffee or one of our signature cocktails at Bar Brasserie OCCO, an exquisite dinner at our Michelin Star restaurant Vinkeles or they can relax in our lounge by the fireplace.

All in one, The Dylan offers a refined, modern decor along with unparalleled, personalized service and a five-star product.
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Q: What all facilities would you find in the room?
A: We have the following comfort in the rooms: Air-conditioning, Bose sound system with Bluetooth iPod connection, safe, minibar, telephone, television, work desk (incl. USA adapter), “Frette” bathrobes, linens and slippers, James Heeley bath amenities and a magnifying mirror. Also, there are tea and coffee facilities, free Wi-Fi and 24 hours room service.

Q: Elaborate on the facilities in the hotel for in-house guests?
A: The Dylan Amsterdam has different facilities. Bar brasserie OCCO, Michelin restaurant Vinkeles, fitness room, a cozy lounge, garden, massages, bicycles, concierge service and free Wi-Fi.

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Q: A must try restaurant in the hotel and why?
A: We have two must try restaurants in The Dylan. One of them is Restaurant Vinkeles. The intimate and historic setting offers the perfect mood to enjoy the cooking of Chef Dennis Kuipers and his team. His modern French cuisine with its international twist, often described as “exciting, modest and refined”, has been awarded a Michelin star in 2009.

Bar Brasserie OCCO is a distinct cosmopolitan eatery with menus highlighting handcrafted cocktails and creative cuisine drawn from local Dutch influences and producers. A perfect, more casual alternative to Restaurant Vinkeles.

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Q: Please throw some light on the USP of the hotel?
A: One of the unique selling points of The Dylan Amsterdam is the location. The rooms have a view over the canals or our garden. The Dylan offers refined and modern décor along with personalized service. Another unique selling point is our the Michelin star restaurant and our beautiful secluded garden.
Luxury Suite Serendipity - Jacob van Campen (3)

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Q: Could you share a little about the connectivity of the hotel?
A: The Dylan Amsterdam is perfectly reachable with public transportation. The tram station at the Keizersgracht or Elandsgracht is within walking distance (5 minutes).

Q: Further to the earlier question, what is the easiest way to get to the hotel from the airport?
A: The easiest way to get to the hotel from the airport is with a taxi but the hotel is easily reachable by public transportation.

Q: For all the prospective guests and shopping lovers, please tell us about the closest shopping hub to the hotel?
A: The Dylan Amsterdam is located in “de negen straatjes” (The nine streets).  These streets are the connection between the four main canals. Vintages stores, alternative fashion and specialized theme stores can be found there. The nine streets is also an excellent location for a good cup of coffee and to escape from the busier streets in Amsterdam.

Q: Lastly, if one got back at 2 am to the hotel, what is it that one would get to eat?
A: There are many things that you can eat when you get back to the hotel at 2 am. For example, for a big appetite-we offer pizza, roasted steak with fries, different kinds of wraps and more. Next to this, we have different options for a late night snack. Think of veal “bitterballen” or Dutch shrimp croquettes.

Pictures Curtesy: The Dylan Amsterdam

High on Hotels:Alila Villas Uluwatu

Hey Everyone!!! The enthusiasm and excitement for the new series is rather overwhelming as we are learning about such fabulous properties one after another which are actually tempting us to book our next holiday each time around!

The latest one too is not going to disappoint you even a bit. Think of a spectacular hotel in a gorgeous destination and the answer in the right order would be Alila Villas Uluwatu in Bali. What’s more is that this place has welcomed a number of high profile international celebrities as well.

You have to truly absorb what follows and we are quite sure that this post is going to leave you feeling like you just experienced heaven on Earth.  Let’s get started and share with you all that we found out from the hotel representatives.
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Q: Why a stay here would prove to be the most memorable one?
A: Alila Villas Uluwatu and the Alila Hotels Group live by our motto “Surprisingly Different”. All aspects of our operations are designed to be tailored to specific and individual guest needs and desires. It all starts off with our “Personal Preference Menu” that is sent to guests once they have made their booking. This allows them to personalize their stay prior to their arrival so it is all ready for them upon check-in. In this “Personal Preference Menu”, guests can personalize aspects ranging from pillow size, dietary preferences, room facilities to experiences they would like our Leisure Concierge to take them on. Speaking of experiences, Alila Villas Uluwatu believes the local culture plays a huge part in delivering a complete destination experience and therefore has created “Journeys by Alila”. These journeys are designed to take guests on an authentic experience through various cultural and environmental aspects of Southern Bali and we strive to keep these as original and “off the beaten track” as possible, so guests can enjoy something unique during their stay. In addition to these, we also organize special events at the resort ranging from Spa experiences to romantic dinners as well as regular complimentary yoga classes.
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Q: What all facilities would you find in the room?
A: Here is the list of all that is available:
– Private pool
– Outdoor dining
– Private cabana
– Host (Butler) service
– 24 hours room service
– Complimentary Wi-Fi Internet access throughout the resort
– Gourmet bar
– In-room safe
– Espresso coffee and tea-making facilities with range of luxury whole leaf TWG teas
– Oversized LED TV in every room
– Docking station with iPod
– Double His and Her vanity with complete range of bath amenities
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Q: Elaborate on the facilities in the hotel for in-house guests?
A: Alila Villas Uluwatu has two restaurants; The Warung, which provides authentic Indonesian cuisine and The CIRE, which provides International cuisine. All villas have private pools and we also have an infinity pool shared by all guests situated on the edge of a cliff with views over the Indian Ocean. In addition to this, we have a Yoga pavilion, fitness centre, spa, library, 24-hour clinic and complimentary Wi-Fi throughout the resort.
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Q: A must try restaurant in the hotel and why?
A: The Warung is our must try restaurant as it provides a true taste of Indonesia for anyone looking to discover the destination’s culinary side. The restaurant serves organic and wholesome Indonesian cuisine in a setting that promotes communal sharing and provides fantastic views over our famous “Sunset Cabana” and the Indian Ocean beyond that.

Q: Please throw some light on the USP of the hotel?
A: Apart from all the points shared above, Alila Villas Uluwatu is unique in the sense that it is the first resort in Indonesia to have been built and operated at the highest level of certification by EarthCheck standards. This is because we utilize many ESD measures including local materials, water conservation with soaks and rain gardens and a waste water management system, using local plants from the special Bali savannah ecosystem, the deliberate use of sustainable/recycled materials, protection of the natural environment, and measured work practices throughout construction. In addition to this, Alila Villas Uluwatu’s attention to detail, our world famous “Sunset Cabana” and our distinct architecture makes the resort a unique experience in Bali and beyond.

Q: Could you share a little about the connectivity of the hotel?
A: Alila Villas Uluwatu provides luxurious transport for our guests that includes light refreshments, Alila hospitalities, in-car Wi-Fi and possibility of ordering from our food menu during the ride and have the meal ready upon arrival. The resort is located just 30 minutes away from the International Airport and airport pickup can be arranged by Alila. Bali is not famous for its public transport and for good reason, people usually drive or take taxis on the island as there are no trains and just one bus line.

We are truly falling short of words to define this beauty by the name of Alila Villas Uluwatu!

Pictures Courtesy: Alila Villas Uluwatu

 

It’s all about…Travel!

Let’s confess it straight up, we are damn excited about this blog post as today, we both will share about something that always gets us kicked… Yes, it is all about our travel-an exercise that surely gives us a high. Let us be humble enough to admit that we explore our own areas of residence with as much excitement and that is why you would find their mention here as well. Without any further delay, we share with you few of our memories which are rather special to us…

Q. One place which I toured recently and want to go back to in no time…
Shagun-Tuscany because it has green hills, brown paddy fields, mid-century small towns, over fried pizzas, Chianti wine and amazing gelato.
Sonali- Japan as I loved just everything about it.

Q. One Airport which left me amazed in the near past…
Shagun- Mmmm all the airports amaze me with their lack of simple good food. I love Delhi airport so much in that sense!
Sonali- Honestly, until recently I had not seen the Chatrapati Shivaji International Airport in Mumbai and have to admit it is really impressive. Some of its sections are truly splendid.

Q. Things I usually shop before I leave a place?
Shagun-
Definitely travel toiletries and travel sickness pills.
Sonali- I love checking out the Duty-free shops and as a habit, I have to pick up magnets as souvenirs. The magnets on my refrigerator have mostly been picked up from various airports I have been to recently.

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Q. We love our Wine and Italian Food…my recent favourite experience…
Shagun-
In a small town in Sardinia called Oresei, there is a Pizzeria called Villa Fumosa. They have the best Ravioli and the best pizzas in the world- try Marianara!

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Sonali-
My bestie sure knows my answer. The best Ravioli I have had is at this Italian place in New Delhi called 28 Capri Italy and the icing on cake being that they serve some good wines as well. And not to miss the amazing Risotto I recently had at the Coffee shop in Park Hyatt,Chennai.

Q.The yummiest meal of recent times…
Shagun-
Ah that one is so difficult… But like I said earlier I loved Pizza Marinara in Orosei.
Sonali- I am big on Spaghetti and I still remember the yummiest one I had was at JW Marriott Marquis Hotel, Dubai and believe it or not but it was an in-room dining experience.
I also really enjoyed the South East Asian food at The Spice Route at The Imperial Hotel in New Delhi.

Q.The most interesting cafe/restaurant I have been to…
Shagun-
The Artist was pretty interesting in Bucharest, Romania. The food, the presentation and the staff are all brilliant and for much lesser price than what you would pay in any other European city.
Sonali- Indian Accent in New Delhi…

Q.The hotel I loved the most?
Shagun- 
Ritz Carlton, Berlin only because I stayed at the Presidential Suit and it’s amazing. The sound system was enough to impress me. Also, the Curtain Bar makes some of the best cocktails.

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Sonali-
Cinnamon Bey, Bentota for two major reasons- their buffet spread was outstanding and love it when you get done with sitting by the pool, you have the option of walking by the beach in no time.
And one hotel which I really love is Amari Orchid in Pattaya.

Q. A good budget hotel that I would recommend…
Shagun- Villa Gemella in Baja Sardinia. It’s amazing and the staff is so helpful and sweet that you could hug them and kiss their cheeks.
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Sonali-
Queenswood Cottage in Nuwara Eliya, it is cozy and clean.

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Q.The most romantic place I have lately been to?
Shagun-
Again Tuscany because all we could hear was buzzing of bees, all we could see were vineyards and flower beds, there was sun and wine. It’s perfect for romancing.
Sonali- Can I share three please? Hahaha… Well I actually want to because all three places quite well sum-up the my-kind-of-place concept. So in no particular order, one of them has to be Joe’s Downstairs in Phuket, I think I went there on my last night of the trip and I am glad I did for the view and food were amazing!

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I absolutely love Sirocco in Bangkok, the ambience is so overwhelming. Surprisingly, the third place too is in Thailand but in Pattaya and it is the Hilton Hotel, sipping a tasteful drink in its open area is truly divine.

Q.The most adventurous thing I just loved doing?
Shagun-
I can’t say adventurous but definitely a lot of fun was doing a small excursion in the Mediterranean Sea and seeing some of the most beautiful untouched beaches and coves.

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Sonali-
Lately, have tried some rather fun stuff whether it was snorkeling or tubing- I really loved it.

Q. The spa I loved the most recently?
Shagun-
Spas are the best in Asia and the last I really enjoyed was Alaya in New Delhi, in Europe I don’t really go to spas.
Sonali- One of my best spa experiences to date has been at The Oasis Spa in Bangkok.

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Q. That one buy from my travel which is dear to me?
Shagun- I indulge in exotic perfumes while travelling and I bought a Lorenzo Villoresi fragrance recently from Florence. I really treasure that.

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Sonali-
One of the hottest pair of heels I picked up were from a night market in Pattaya, though inexpensive but they were so chic. Sadly, had to part ways with them sometime back…

Q. The most impressive car journey of recent times…
Shagun-
  The road journey through Mount Teidein Tenerife, Spain was really fascinating because the landscape is completely different and something that one has to experience.
Sonali- The drive around Nuwara Eliya is rather fascinating as you are exposed to one tea garden after another.

Q. A quick guide on three cool places:
Shagun-
Paris: Go beyond the luxury spark of Champs-Élysées and explore the district of Montmartre but if you spend time at the former then don’t miss Guerlain. I love their classic fragrances. Another secret is Nicolai who also descends from the Guerlain family. She has her stores at few places in Paris and offers really exotic and unadulterated fragrances. Spend time in public parks because that’s the best thing about this city. Just sit and watch the Parisian life, read a book and sip wine or do just about nothing; the symmetrical green beauty will definitely calm you. Besides, don’t go to Louvre because you must. It is huge and there is no way you can see everything in one visit. So, plan your Museum visit well and go to the galleries that you really want to see.

Amsterdam: Don’t miss apple crumble with cream at Winkel Café. It’s the best for sure! Amsterdam has some really cool vintage fashion shops if you are into that kind of stuff. I also really like the fact that you can just walk through the city along the river and through the small pretty streets. Absolutely can’t miss the typical Dutch French Fries with Mayo.

Berlin: It is extremely laid-back and that’s the beauty of it. The more rugged you dress, the more accepted you will feel. Dressy with too much make-up is a big no. I love the fact that I can walk in any restaurant and bar wearing whatever the hell I want from ripped jeans to a high slit dress. Confidence in oneself is the key to cool here. My favourite coffee places are Father Carpenter, Concierge and Bonanza.

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Berlin has some amazing shopping boutiques all though Mitte and lot and lots of vintage shops. I would definitely suggest a trip to Lunettes for some nice vintage glasses and to much more expensive Mykita for their metal optical glasses or sun reflectors. If you are here in summers then go a little on the outskirts of the city and you will hit some really scenic lakes surrounded by woods. It’s amazing to take a dip while the sun is shining or just lay next to your picnic basket. Lastly, this is something I suggest everyone- go to Das Hotel Bar in Kreuzberg for the best vibe and Moscow Mule.

Sonali-
Japan:  There are ample places to get good food so don’t worry so much. I got everything with ease whether it was Italian or Indian food and obviously I did try the local cuisine as well. Do indulge in some desserts for sure since you’ll see such variety; make sure you binge big on them! In case you have not heard of this before, then sharing for your benefit- take the train instead of the taxi as much as possible for it is relatively inexpensive.

Sri Lanka: I absolutely loved Nuwara Eliya and Bentota. Make sure you experience going to a tea factory in Nuwara Eliya and remember to take tea for your loved ones back home. The super markets have a great variety of tea brands on offer. There is a small Strawberry Farm which we visited which had strawberry as a major ingredient in each of its dishes.

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Also, you have to visit The Grand Hotel, not just for the fact that it is steeped in history but you will feel so welcomed that you actually wouldn’t want to leave.  Each meal here was worthwhile. And for the beach lovers like me, Bentota would be fun. Try water sports, indulge in massages and do a lot of nothing just sitting by the beach.  Booking a cab for the entire stay turned out to be a wise decision for us.

Jaipur, India: I had to share this in some blog post or the other as I am amazed with the good food the place offers and it is not just their local cuisine but other cuisines as well. Here are few places I have eaten at lately and all of them were outstanding-  Handi has lip-smacking tandoori and Mughlai food,  Dragon House at Country Inn & Suites for amazing Chinese food and The Forresta Kitchen & Bar offers great ambience and good food.

Q.Travel tips…
Shagun- Never eat in touristy areas. Don’t be an ignorant traveler. Do your research well and be on top of things. I always read up a bit and make notes that I carry along. If there are some really nice restaurants that I want to visit then I make reservations in advance. I would also suggest spending in some good walking shoes as one ends up being on foot a lot of times and uncomfortable shoes can really kill the fun. If you are travelling in Europe then no matter what the weather be, always keep a jacket along.

Sonali- I quite agree with Shagun, I too as a habit always read up on a place before my visit. It is best to keep a stole or a jacket for the flight to ensure you are comfortable with the cool temperature.  Keep a sling bag for sure so that you are not moving around with your big-branded bag all day long. Also, not to miss wet wipes, mints and gloss- you must have easy access to them throughout. Something which helped me a great deal during a recent holiday, I kept my hand carry light so even though I had a connecting flight, it really helped control the fatigue.

So, hope you enjoyed this post as much as we did putting it together for you… And make sure you always make some time to TRAVEL for you only live once 😉