From Paris with love…

I hadn’t been to Paris for almost four years before my last trip. In 2014 I took my granny to Paris and before that I think it was in 2009 when I spent two weeks in pretty Paris plus every other weekend for a few months. That was when I had a boyfriend who moved from London to Paris. And before that… it must have been as part of a student trip when the Economics & Econometrics student association that I was part of (yes, I had a fair share of nerdy times) went to Paris to visit the OECD and, I believe, the IMF. This is so long ago I can’t even remember. Well and before that… it was with my parents who took me there a couple of times when I was a teenager :)

Long story short, this time it was a girls trip.

Parc Monceau

I took the Eurostar from London to Paris and arrived a few hours before the rest of the girls. So I decided to spend the day in Parc Monceau, drinking coffee, eating croissants and reading my book.

Let the Girls’ Weekend Begin..

We all stayed at my friend’s place who recently moved to Paris. Once everyone had arrived at night, we went for dinner in a tapas place (don’t remember the name) and then had cocktails at a hidden bar (you had to pass by a cooling room for meat to get to the bar). I have also forgotten that name. Sorry guys. It was probably one of the speakeasy bars.

We started quite early the next day mostly due to the fact that my friend’s cute little daughter decided to ask for entertainment around 9 am. So after playing with little Julia we got ready and left the house by noon. The first stop was shopping.

If you ever wanted to wait on the other side of the shopping street and read your emails while leaning against a building that could potentially be an embassy, don’t.. 

.. because you will be greeted by a lovely guy that carries around a super huge machine gun!

I first didn’t see the guy’s face but only saw the machine gun. So you can imagine what my initial thoughts were…  but then, when he realised that I was just a tourist girl waiting for her friends to finish shopping, he was very nice and explained in broken English that this side of the street is not open to the public. Then I remembered that I did cross a little barrier to get there. Oops.

Shopping can be so exhausting! Duh. So headed over to Place de la Concorde and had cocktails at Hotel de Crillon. I instantly fell in love with the interior of the hotel. Even the bathroom was stunning.

Later that night we had cocktails at Hotel Plaza Athenee before heading over to the club at Matignon.

The Day After

I love to sleep in after a night out. This of course doesn’t work when you are woken up by little angel Julia around 8am. To be fair it the cutest way to wake up. She starts humming and singing and after a while adds a few ‘Maman?’ to the mix. So adorable.

Once we had given up on sleep we headed over to Monmartre and Sacre Coeur. Later that night it was time to go back to London again. Bye, bye pretty Paris.

VIn Pearl Phu Quoc Resort & Golf

Vin Pearl Phu Quoc Resort & Golf

Part of the week in Phu Quoc we stayed in the Vin Pearl Phu Quoc Resort & Golf hotel. The hotel is really beautiful with its own private beach and gorgeous interior. Vin Pearl is a relatively new Vietnamese hotel chain with luxurious properties across the country. I think it’s predominantly frequented by Vietnamese tourists with more and more international travellers adding to the mix in the recent years. That said, one of the best things about this hotel is that you are more than likely to have the beach and also the pool for yourself for most to the day. This is because a lot of Vietnamese people are a bit sun-shy (read this on how to dress like a local) and you will rarely see them sun bathing.

It was quite funny the first day when we arrived in the hotel. There were literally around 10 people out there on the beach and the pool and we had the impression that the hotel was not booked out at all. Suddenly, around 4pm, you’d see a bunch of Vietnamese families coming over from the hotel’s lobby and restaurants to the pool and the beach. And I thought I was special with not staying too long in the sun..

Hotel Lobby, Room & Interior Design

Vin Pearl Phu Quoc
Vin Pearl Phu Quoc
Vin Pearl Phu Quoc
Vin Pearl Phu Quoc Vietnam

The lobby of the hotel looks amazing with a luxurious and elegant finish. Also the staff is very attentive and the minute you enter the lobby to check in they take your luggage and offer you a refreshment. Our room was gorgeous as well and we had the perfect view of the pool area and beach – perfect for watching the sunset on the balcony :)

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Vin Pearl Phu Quoc
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Vin Pearl Phu Quoc

Pool & Beach

As mentioned the hotel has a private beach access so you could still go swimming in the ocean or lie on the beach and watch the stars at night. For me this is always a big plus for a hotel as, depending where in the world the hotel is located, it may not be safe to go to the beach at night. Also a private beach generally means that you don’t have to share the beach with hundreds of other people like sardines in a can. But not only the beach is gorgeous, also the pool area is stunning.

Vin Pearl Phu Quoc
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Vin Pearl Phu Quoc
Vin Pearl Phu Quoc
Vin Pearl Phu Quoc
Vin Pearl Phu Quoc

There is a pool bar where you  can sip your cocktail while swimming in the pool. As I’m a huge beach addict we generally stayed on the beach but occasionally would come over to the pool to have a cocktail or fruit juice in the pool. Walking from the beach to the pool bar takes less than 2 minutes :)

Vin Pearl Phu Quoc
Vin Pearl Phu Quoc
Vin Pearl Phu Quoc

Restaurants & Bars

The restaurant and bar facilities are beautiful and so is the food. Yet it’s still quite Vietnamese so if you are not a fan of it, your choices are still fine but less than in a more international chain. I personally LOVE Vietnamese food, so for it was perfect. After dinner you can have a digestif at one of the bars either outside next to the pool or inside in the lobby. They usually had peaceful live music in the evening which created a great ambience.

Vin Pearl Phu Quoc
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Vin Pearl Phu Quoc
Vin Pearl Phu Quoc

Location

The hotel is located a bit away from the main attractions of the island. We actually stayed in three different parts of Phu Quoc and rented a scooter for most of the time on the island. So my tip would be to stay in a more central hotel first, rent a scooter and explore Phu Quoc on your own, join a snorkelling tour, check out the nightlife and then book yourself into the Vin Pearl Phu Quoc Resort and Golf for a few days of doing nothing but relaxing on the beach.

Verdict

The Vin Pearl Phu Quoc Resort & Golf is a really gorgeous hotel and we had an amazing time. I would definitely stay there again especially because of the beauty of the hotel and its private beach. I do think that the hotel could be run a more efficiently for a 5 star hotel and should cater more for international guests. That said, it’s also a cheaper than the usual 5 star candidates. So overall it’s a lovely choice for your stay in Phu Quoc and we had a wonderful time.

 

For more ideas for travelling in Vietnam, read this :)

If you are looking for a quiet and peaceful retreat in Mallorca, the boutique hotel Sa Franquesa Nova might be exactly what you are searching for. We stayed in this charming hotel for a weekend and absolutely fell in love with it.

Peace and luxury surrounded by Mallorca’s countryside

Sa Franquesa Nova is a luxurious finca boutique hotel located near Vilafranca de Bonany in the countryside of Mallorca. It takes around 25 mins by car to get to Palma de Mallorca and around 30 to 45 mins to get to the beautiful beaches in the east and south of Mallorca.

The benefit that comes with the hotel’s remote location is the approximately 4,000 sqm large outdoor space which ensures a peaceful and quiet stay. The finca hotel itself is surrounded by a large garden with plenty of majestic palm trees, a beautiful pond and lots of remote little spots to enjoy the tranquility of the hotel.

The pool is located near the alfresco dining area and has comfy sun loungers with a stunning view of the pretty landscape around the hotel.

Wonderful welcome and lovely staff

We arrived very late on Friday night and had such a lovely welcome. The check-in was super quick and within 10 mins we found ourselves relaxing on our balcony with a glass of cava in our hand. Overall the staff was great and very eager to help and make the stay perfect for the hotel’s guests.

Cava and night sky sparkle

… and that’s what sold me on this hotel. I live in London which means that having a sky full of stars is just something I never experience at home. When I read about the magical night sky in some of the hotel’s reviews, I couldn’t wait for our weekend trip to start! So it didn’t take long for us to move over from the chairs on our balcony to the sun loungers for a session of star gazing. And what did we hear while enjoying our cava and the beautiful night sky? Ha! Nada! Sweet nothingness except the tranquil and calming nocturnal sounds that come with a night in the countryside. Exactly what I wanted :)

The perfect spot for yoga during sunrise

In the morning, just after sunrise, I went for a little walk to explore the hotel’s garden. I was greeted by a few chickens and then continued my walk along the breakfast and pool area further towards the immense countryside that surrounds the finca. Soon I arrived at a gorgeous spot with an amazing view. At that moment I wished I had my yoga mat with me! It would have been such a peaceful and calm place for yoga or meditation.

Making new friends

Near my new perfect yoga spot I came across this little striped fellow below. In fact, except my new friend here and the few chickens earlier I didn’t come across anyone. So much for overcrowded Mallorca… it turns out you just need to know where to go :)

Breakfast by the pool

When I came back from my morning walk I went to our room and picked up Michael for breakfast. We had a really relaxing breakfast and then hopped into the pool before heading out to explore some beaches.

Dinner during the most beautiful sunset

We arrived back in the hotel around 7 pm and then got ready for dinner. I hadn’t had paella for such a long time so I was excited to find it on the dinner menu. We started with an amuse-bouche and then had a large fresh salad before we were served very yummy paella. After a panna cotta dessert and another glass of cava we enjoyed the picture-perfect sunset right from our dinner table.

Sa Franquesa Nova Mallorca

Jacuzzi time

After dinner we decided to finish our bottle of cava in the jacuzzi. As you can see we managed to get the perfect bubble bath :) After the little SPA session I slipped into my bath robe and curled up in bed with a book :)

How to book your stay at Sa Franquesa Nova

Convinced yet? :) Sa Franquesa Nova can be booked via all major hotel booking websites and via the hotel’s website directly. Click here to get to the website.

I have partnered with Sa Franquesa Nova for this post. All opinions are my own.