Photo at Anantara Qasr Al Sarab

5 Top places to visit in 2017.  Well, this is based on my recent Travels rather than all time favourites. I would find it impossible to choose five, wouldn’t you?

VENICE

I know, everyone loves Venice but that it is because it is one of the best places to visit in the world!  Venice has everything from beautiful architecture, magical ambiance, excellent shops, interesting museums and so many art galleries you will never see them all!

Iconic Venice, I will never tire of visiting this magical city

Avoid high season, is my biggest tip!  Treat yourself to a water taxi, by far the best way to see everything.  Avoid the touristy Gondoliers and take a fabulous Riva Water taxi.  However you can avoid the crowds by staying off the well worn tourist route, they generally do not stray very far!  Read all about Venice in my Venice blog.

PALAWAN ISLANDS, The Philippines

El Nido Islands, Palawan, The Philippines

If you want to take a long haul trip, I really recommend visiting the islands of The Philippines.  They are not called the most beautiful in the world without good reason.  Yes, it is a bit of a trek to get there but well worth it.  Go now before the world discovers them and they become spoiled.  Avoid the more touristy Boracay and head to Palawan.

Read my blog to find out where I stayed and more information.

ABU DHABI

Regular readers will know how much I love Abu Dhabi and visit every year!  Don’t just use it as a stop over, stay and see the country.  I particularly like the Liwa desert and stayed at the Anantara Qasr Al Sarab Hotel for the second time.  The desert is a very special place and it is nice to enjoy the luxurious surroundings of the hotel.Liwa Desert, Abu Dhabi, UAE

You will enjoy the city of Abu Dhabi too, there is so much to see and do, including the Sheikh Zayed Mosque which is awe inspiring.  I loved staying at the world famous Emirates Palace hotel Read my blog for more information.

Emirates Palace Private Beach

If you stay at Emirates Palace, I promise you will never want to leave!  However, get out and explore the country in a hire car.  It is perfectly safe to drive and you will feel very comfortable and safe driving anywhere in Abu Dhabi.  Almost impossible to get lost too.

MOROCCO

Atlas Mountains of Morocco

My latest discovery!  Indeed, I am already planning a return trip. Explore Marrakesh and the Atlas Mountains.  Read my blogs to discover more details, see the HOME page at the top.  Marrakesh was a delight and so much nicer than I expected, perfect for a few days short trip if you are travelling from europe.

The Medina in Marakesh

Explore the Medina, Majorelle Gardens eat delicious Moroccan meals and so much more.

Cote d’Azur France:

Cap Martin, Roquebrune Cap Martin, France

I know, I live here part of the year and so am a little biased but please come and visit! You will love it.  Monaco is one of the safest places to be and you will enjoy a trip very much.  Again read my blogs on the subject for more information.

MonacoDon’t forget to visit Monaco or stay a while during your trip. There are wonderful hotels, great events throughout the year, terrific restaurants and so much to see or do.  Enjoy the beautiful weather and beaches too!  Avoid high season on the Cote d’azur and Monaco would be my top tip.  High season is during July and August.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Beautiful Atlas Mountains, Morocco

My 5 Top Tips for a Trip to the Atlas Mountains.  Are you taking a trip to Marrakesh?  Make time to get out to the Atlas Mountains.  They are only a two hour drive from the city and so breathtaking,  I would not miss the chance to get out there and see for yourself.

I took a couple of day trips out from Marrakesh, but next visit I will definitely go and stay out in the mountains at Kasbah Tarandot.  More later!

TIP No.1:

Hire a car and driver to show take you into the mountains.  We went with Ali Bouramdane from ATM Journey   and enjoyed a memorable day exploring the mountains.  The morning was spent winding our way up higher and higher,  stopping to take in the view on the way.

Ali from ATM Journey

The road from Marrakesh to the mountains

An easy drive into the mountains, one long road ahead.

Spot Goats, Donkeys and wonderful views en route.

Top Tip No.2:

I ‘borrowed’ this bike for a photo!

If you hire a car and drive yourself watch out for speed traps!  I have never seen so many police catching speeding motorists, they have very strict speeding laws.  Also, make sure you buckle up or prepare for an on the spot fine.

Morocco is perfectly safe with well maintained cars and good roads.  It was a pleasant surprise. Just make sure you stick to the speed limit.

Top Tip No.3:

Ignore all the warnings you have read!  I avoided Morocco for years after being told ‘You will be hassled all the time, and it is not safe!’  and ‘It is so dirty everywhere’, ‘Marie, you will hate it!’.  Well, regular Divalicious readers know just what a pampered Princess I can be and I just loved it!  My advice is ignore all those warnings.  If a street vendor tries to sell you something (remember the poor chap is just trying to earn a crust for goodness sake!)  Do NOT engage in conversation, politely ignore.

I felt perfectly safe at all times, was not hassled in any way.  Morocco is a surprisingly enlightened country compared with others in the region and Marrakesh is a wonderful melting pot of cultures.  The people are a delight and you will love them!  This comes from a tall blond who doesn’t exactly blend in with the locals.

Top Tip No.4:

Kasbah Tamadot:

Visit Kasbah Tamadot.  This is a very special place, above and beyond Diva expectations.  Friends of mine stayed there and recommended a visit.  I was not disappointed and I will be back to stay.  The location is magical and the hotel is a perfect mountain retreat in every way.  The staff are a delight.  The hotel, with its Berber tent suite accommodation is just a heavenly, with exquisitely tasteful design and spectacular mountain views.  I almost cried  and clung to the gatepost when it was time to leave! (I didn’t really, but you know what I mean?)

Lunch with a view anyone?

Start saving now, it is worth every penny!  The suites, designed in the style of traditional berber tents, are the epitome of understated chic.

Kasbah Tarandot

Suite with a view of the mountains

Everywhere at Kasbah Tamadot is super chic, it is impossible to take a bad photo.  Lunch was simple but delicious.

Kasbah Tamadot, Atlas Mountains, Morocco

I enjoyed meeting the resident pets, including Camels, Goats, Donkeys, Mules and even Peacocks.

Even the Camels are friendly at Kasbah Tamadot!

TIP No.5:

Hike in the Atlas Mountains!  Whether you make time for a post prandial stroll or a two day trek, just walk and breathe in the pure mountain air and enjoy the views!

After lunch, we asked the hotel for advice on a suitable short hike.  They were amazing and provided us with water, a map and even a guide to set us off along the right track.  We were invited to shower on our return.  Such wonderful hospitality considering we only stopped for lunch!

Hike with a view at Kasbah Tamadot

I look forward to returning to http://www.kasbahtamadot.com

After lunch we clambered back into the 4 x 4 and Ali drove on to a Lake about another 20 minutes further into the mountains.

We were really tired by this time, the fresh mountain air, a good lunch and hike completely finished us off. Ali drove us serenely back down the mountain to Marrakesh and a nap before dinner!

Ali Bouramdane from ATM Journey:

It is not easy taking pot luck and finding a guide in a new destination.  Ali was a delight.  A  good and safe drive, comfortable 4 x 4 and informative too!  I recommend a trip with ATM journey whether it be for a day trip or for a longer excursion around Morocco.

Book A Trip:

I am already planning my return trip to see more of Morocco and will travel around the country with ATM journey.

http://www.atmjourney.com

Tigmiza Hotel, Palmeraie, Marrakesh

Where to stay in Marrakesh?  You have so many places to choose!  There is something for every budget from the super luxe to basic.  I chose Tigmiza Hotel, Palmeraie.  I wanted to escape the busy city of Marrakesh and relax and unwind in a tranquil haven.  Tigmiza certainly lived up to my expectations.

The hotel is a 20 minute bus ride from the city of Marrakesh and the hotel provides a minibus twice a day to take you into town. I loved going back to the tranquility of Palmeraie, a very safe and quiet area. I went for a morning run early every morning and felt perfectly safe and at home in Palmeraie.

Marrakesh, the city was a lovely surprise though and much nicer than I imagined!

Rooftop Lounge and Bar at Tigmiza

The staff are very friendly and everyone was helpful.  We were welcomed with a delicious pot of mint tea on arrival at our villa, Number 7.

Welcome Tea on arrival at Villa No7

The fruit bowl was also a nice welcome.  The villas are lovely, comfortable and quiet with only the sound of the birds tweeting in the trees. The beds exceptionally comfy which is a Diva essential!  You have plenty to choose from at Tigmiza from a suite to a villa, villas are varying in size and I would choose a villa if your budget allows because they are good value and very nice places for a stay.

 Single beds as requested, travelling with a friend

The bathroom and shower were well stocked with an array of products and the shower and bath were both absolutely enormous and could not be faulted!  The bedroom enjoyed a terrace with lovely views of Palmeraie.

Living Room at Villa No.7

Downstairs we enjoyed a large living area with an alcove containing another double day bed,  a big TV and patio doors leading out into our own private garden.  What a treat! and our own small pool too.  Sadly, the weather in early February was cold.  I want to return in the Spring time and enjoy warmer weather!

The hotel has a very pretty pool area with two pools.

Pool at Tigmiza Hotel, Marrakesh

One is heated to 30 degrees and the other, above not heated.

I’m admiring the heated pool!

The reception area is very chic as you can see with the Dining room adjacent.  The breakfast was very good indeed, with a wide array of choice including an outdoor barbecue area for delicious omelettes and so many other good things!

Reception area at Tigmiza Hotel

I looked around the Royal Suite, which was magnificent!  Boasting its own Spa, magnificent lounge area and of course large garden with a pool.  This is really exceptional and an enormous space.  Treat yourself!

Lounge area in the Royal Suite

A bedroom in the Royal Suite, Tigmiza, Marrakesh

If you have any questions about a stay at Tigmiza Suites and Pavillons, please contact me.  I will be happy to answer your questions.  The hotel is set in large, spacious gardens.  I visited during low season but everything is well designed, so it will never feel crowded.  A perfect spot for a restful and tranquil stay. And make time to enjoy the Spa and Gym.

Roof top sunset enjoyed at Tigmiza Hotel, Palmeraie, Marrakesh

Useful information: Prices are on my Booking.com link on the right hand side of this page

Tigmiza Hotel, Route de Bab Atlas, Palmeraie, Marrakesh, Morocco

Telephone:212 524393700  website: http:www.hotel-tigmiza-marrakesh.com