A hotel to remember: Baros Maldives

When I ‘announced’ that I was going to Baros Maldives on a recent trip, something quite special happened: I had literally dozens of readers comment and react to the news in a very unique way. Why? Because many of you have discovered this Maldivian secret sailing paradise and have been going back year after year.

Having been there for 5 days on a recent trip – it is easy to understand why. It is a very small island (with only 70 something rooms, both over water and beach villas), service is incredibly attentive and it does feel like home. You all got to know the staff, or better, the staff got to know you over time and you are not interested in anything else except going back. I get it!

We arrived to this little piece of paradise by speedboat from Male airport (takes 25 minutes and transfers are included for all Sovereign customers) and before we knew it, we really were ready to enjoy our gorgeous beach pool villa at Baros Maldives.

Our beach pool villa at Baros Maldives

baros maldives hotel slh sovereign luxury holidays bedroom beach pool villa

Our room was absolutely gorgeous and very very recently updated. The standard was very good and it felt spacious yet very comfortable. These beach pool villas are 130+ sqm and as private as they get.

We had a king size bed with a pop-up TV at the end of it, a seating area and a writing area. The room also had a sizeable storage area which kept our luggage out of sight.

You could also find a Nespresso coffee machine, 2 1.5l bottles of water (replaced every day free of charge), ironing board, iron and new flip-flops.

Being a beach pool villa (which I have to say, is my favourite room category in the Maldives), you have a large outdoor area with your own secluded pool, day bed, 2 sets of sunloungers (one for the pool and one for the beach) and a seating area.

baros maldives hotel slh sovereign luxury holidays outdoor beach pool villa

Getting in the spirit of the island, we also ordered breakfast and lunch almost every day – because it rained sometimes, and also because we just didn’t want to leave. And I am sure you can see why we did it!

baros maldives hotel slh sovereign luxury holidays breakfast beach pool villa

But needless to say, the best part is, without a doubt, your own ‘private’ stretch of beach. You have your own sun loungers and no one else can use them. We had neighbours as the hotel was at full capacity when we were there, but they were all very quiet. The hotel caters to adults mostly (children under 8 are not allowed) and those who choose this island resort do so to get away from it all. Literally.

The bathroom at Baros Maldives

baros maldives hotel slh sovereign luxury holidays beach pool villa bathroom

Our bathroom was mostly indoors and was very spacious. Inside we had a full-sized bath (and don’t you love that bath tray?), separate toilet, shower and double vanity units. The toiletries used were L’Occitane Verbena range which were lovely. My only comment was that we did not have spares for the outdoor shower (but we left a note to housekeeping and they then kept replacing them in both showers).

baros maldives hotel slh sovereign luxury holidays beach pool villa bathroom outdoor shower nespresso

As expected, the room was cleaned each morning and then turned down before dinner. We never had issues with timings and more often than not, they managed to do it whilst we had breakfast. Overall, service was excellent.

The food at Baros Maldives

Being a smaller island, I wasn’t sure what to expect in terms of dining options. But they weren’t as limited as I thought: for breakfast you could go to the excellent buffet breakfast (which also offered many cooked-to-order items like eggs, pancakes, etc) or you could order in-villa (with an extra charge).

My highlight for breakfast was having fruit actually cut and prepared in front of you and also what the hotel called ‘Eye-opening shots’, which changed every day. It was a little detail, but a lovely one.

baros maldives hotel slh sovereign luxury holidays breakfast dinner food restaurants

Lime was also opened for lunch (we did try it once, but then indulged in our room every day) and dinner – and we loved the curry options they had. Lots of international cuisine (something for everyone), but we really did enjoy the various types of curry.

On two of the nights we went to Cayenne, which has more of a grill concept, with a starters buffet, which had really good sushi and sashimi options. We then chose the Maldivian seafood platter (approx $130 for 2) which we paired with Cloudy Bay, of course ($120/bottle).

On our last night, we tried the Lighthouse, which is the hotel’s fine dining restaurant. We started our meal outside but due to the rain, we moved inside. The food was excellent and a meal will cost approximately $100-150 per person, depending on what you choose and excluding drinks.

baros maldives hotel slh sovereign luxury holidays dinner food restaurants

On the photo above you can see Lime from 2 different perspectives (and also the Lighthouse restaurant).

Below, you can see the main bar (which I found incredibly quiet at all times, and honestly quite surprising as people did disappear immediately after dinner), and the ‘Lighthouse’ restaurant.

baros maldives hotel slh sovereign luxury holidays lighthouse restaurant

I know you must be asking.. what about the drinks? Well, there were also options. We loved watching the sun set every day at the Lighthouse Lounge, located on the first floor of the building and enjoyed what I can call, gin & tonics with a view. (A Gin will cost you around $17 plus service and tax, which you can round-up to $22)

baros maldives hotel slh sovereign luxury holidays cocktails

We asked for them to be served in a wine glass and no one batted an eye lid. Even better, each day they remembered ‘our preference’ – which was kind of followed by other guests too!

After dinner, we did go to the main bar, but as I said before, we found it very quiet at around 9pm. Cocktails are $15 (+service + tax) and we ended up going to the room earlier than normal as we did feel a bit lonely at times.

The Spa at Baros Maldives

As the weather wasn’t brilliant at times, the spa was our to-to place when it rained (in the afternoon). We had a massage every day (60 mins for $159 ++) and one day we even tried a private yoga class ($60 ++ per person).

baros maldives hotel slh sovereign luxury holidays spa massage

Most hotel spas in the Maldives are ‘over water’ and I loved that this one was inland – very different and so so so green. It had ‘little houses’ which were self-contained treatment rooms and the therapists really were fantastic.

baros maldives hotel slh sovereign luxury holidays spa massage yoga lessons

What do to at Baros Maldives

I know many readers worry about going to the Maldives ‘as there is nothing to do’. I have said many times that you need to be prepared for something unique: Maldives time. It goes so quickly, it is quite unbelievable.

We had planned to do some SUP and other things (like a sandbank picnic and the unique breakfast in the middle of the ocean), but the weather did not allow it. But when we had sun, which was actually every day for at least half the day, we did something we are very good at: we went to the beach where we swam, sat and read.

baros maldives hotel slh sovereign luxury holidays beach fun beach pool villa

And we did it again and again…

baros maldives hotel slh sovereign luxury holidays beach reading beach pool villa

But the highlight was a private snorkelling session ($100 for 2) – which I highly recommend you do at the beginning. You will then know where to go, etc. And you also get photos!

baros maldives hotel slh sovereign luxury holidays snorkelling

Final thoughts

It was easy to see why most people go to Baros and return time after time. The island is small – but not too small – but everything has a purpose and place. The service was really attentive and friendly (lots of smiles), the rooms were exceptional and the food was really good too.

baros maldives hotel slh sovereign luxury holidays beach sunset

And the sunsets were not bad either 😉

Until the next time!

xo

Mrs. O

Factbox and disclaimer: I was a guest of Sovereign Luxury, who organised this trip. Opinions are, as always, my own (but I loved it, promise).

Sovereign ( Tel: +44 1293 765 003) is offering a seven-night holiday to the Maldives staying at the five-star Baros Maldives in a Pool Villa on B&B basis from £3,895 per person – a saving of up to £1006 per couple. The offer includes airport security fast track and access to UK private airport lounge (where available), airport transfers, and return international flights from London Heathrow with Qatar Airways in economy class. For business class flights, the cost is £5,279 per person. Based on departures 14 May 2017.

 

Review: Castle Hill House Boutique B&B, Herefordshire

A charming, boutique B&B awaits in the rolling hills of Herefordshire; Castle Hill House is perfect for romantic, back to nature breaks away or walking holidays with friends.

Location

The boutique B&B lies in the historic market town of Kington in Herefordshire. On the door step is Kington Golf Course which is known as the highest golf course in England. Walking and golfing are immensely popular in the area; probably because they both allow you to slow the pace and appreciate the breathtaking natural beauty surrounding you. For slightly more active pursuits, the area is also great for mountain biking, kayak and canoeing and horse riding. To reach Kington takes just over a 3-hour drive from London; an hour and 20 minutes north from the M4.

Style & Character

The 1824 period property was renovated recently and the results are simply delightful; antique furnishings and original features are highlighted with elegance and grace. The landscaped gardens that surround the house are another major reason to stay here; 5 acres of lush, green land and there’s even a pretty stream with a weir at the bottom of the garden.

Service & Facilities

The service is wonderful here; your very friendly hosts welcome you with tea and coffee and even better, homemade cake served in the guest lounge around the open fire. A local massage therapist works with the guest house and in-room treatments are the perfect way to kick-start a relaxing break. Their eco-friendly credentials are important and they are largely self-sufficient in their energy requirements.

Rooms

There are 4 spacious guestrooms, each named after a local walking trail and each totally unique in décor. All the rooms feel luxurious and have those traditional features and heaps of character. Two of the rooms offer super king beds, one has a king bed and the other, two single beds. Offa’s Dyke would probably be my room recommendation, it just appealed the most to me and the double aspect windows offer exceptional views on to Bradnor Hill and Kington Golf Course beyond. The boutique-style ensuites are beautiful rooms in their own right, most of the vanity units are made from antique finds which makes them extra special. Room facilities include Wi-Fi, hair dryer, towels, toiletries, complimentary water and tea and coffee making facilities, and flat screen HD TV/DVD with Freeview. There is also a beautiful self-catering cottage which can accommodate 3-4 people and was again, recently refurbished.

Food & Drink

A hearty breakfast is served in the conservatory with a view looking over the garden and into the hills, simply choose your eggs and borrow the binoculars to help you with some relaxed, morning bird watching! Packed lunches can also be provided which is very convenient if you’re off for a day walking or exploring the local area, or if you’re an early riser you can even opt for a packed breakfast! Supper sharing platters are also available, great for an evening snack or order one for an afternoon treat. For dining out, there are a range of choices locally, two wonderful, country pubs are within walking distance and just a 5 minute drive away there is a Michelin Star restaurant; ask your host for tips and recommendations, they’ll be more than happy to assist.

Castle Hill House

Deadly Beaches: New Smyrna and Clearwater in Florida

Lightning is a massive danger on beaches. On a beach, humans are the highest point, which means that they attract lightning during storms. In America, beache, such as New Smyrna (pictured above) and Clearwater in Florida, the Lightning Capital of the U.S. according to the National Weather Service, are closed during bad storms because of the threat.

Lighting is a real danger. The chance of being struck by lightening in the US is approximately 94 in a million, this compares to only 0.15 in a million of US citizens that are attacked by sharks.

You may be interested in our 10 best beaches in the United States and you may be interested in my best secret beaches in America, my secret beaches in California and my 5 most remote beaches on earth.

Strange Beaches: Point Woronzof Park, Alaska

Point Woronzof Park is a municipal park in Anchorage, Alaska and a beach runs the length of this popular park. What makes this park weird is the statues which you will find, created by the “100 Stone Project” as a memorial art service held for Point Woronzof homicide victims. The original art instillation, which included 80 statues, was damaged by tides and high winds on the beach in Alaska’s largest city, but in late 2016, 43 of these creepy statues were restored and returned.

The park is also excellent for backcountry skiing or snowshoeing in the winter, and biking or running in the summer.

You may be interested in our 10 best beaches in the United States and you may be interested in my best secret beaches in America, my secret beaches in California and my 5 most remote beaches on earth.

Best Wilderness Lodges In The World: Sal Salis, Western Australia

Near the top of Western Australia sits the Ningaloo Reef. This reef is incredible, largely because you step directly off the beach and straight onto the reef. We think the Ningaloo Reef is one of the best beaches in the world.

It also remains relatively undiscovered due to it’s remote location, making it far less touristy than the Great Barrier reef, and, because the reef is steps from the shore, far more accessible, once you have transported yourself to this coastline.

Stay in the luxury wilderness lodge of the Sal Salis where you can enjoy luxuries such as a bed and en suite bathroom with a natureloo, and running water, set in the dunes which border the beach and the reef.

Each of the luxury safari style tents are surrounded by dunes and enjoy the sights and sounds of the great outdoors; a red kangaroo grazing amongst the dunes, the beautiful song of a butcherbird or a humpback whale breaching just beyond the reef. Before breakfast, pop on your snorkel gear and paddle into a world of reef sharks, turtles clownfish, manta rays and dolphins.

With just sixteen solar powered eco-luxe wilderness tents, this resort offers exclusive wilderness luxury on the shores of the Indian Ocean.

You may be interested in our best wilderness lodges in the world, best wilderness lodges in america our 10 best beaches in the United States and you may be interested in my best secret beaches in America, and my 5 most remote beaches on earth.

Best Beaches In The World: Coogee, Sydney

Coogee beach is neither remote nor crowd free, but it is beautiful nonetheless as you can see from the picture above taken just days ago by one of our roving reporters. Coogee is situated in the suburbs of Sydney, just 8 kilometres south-east of the central business district of the city.

For my money, this beach is much prettier than Bondi up the coast, being less urban and offering a nice grassy park to the north and the rear of the beach. If you fancy a really incredible coastal walk, the one from Coogee to Bondi, which winds its way along 6 km of picturesque coastal paths, is well worth doing.

Interestingly, the name Coogee is said to be taken from a local Aboriginal word koojah which means “smelly place” which is an unfair description of this delightful bay on the edge of the incredible city of Sydney.

You may be interested in our 10 best beaches in the United States and you may be interested in my best secret beaches in America, my secret beaches in California and my 5 most remote beaches on earth.

Best Beaches In The World: Mindil Beach, Darwin, Australia

Darwin is closer to Indonesia’s Capital than it is to its own. This remote city is on the north coast of the Northern Territory in Australia.

Mindil beach is famous for it’s iconic Sunset Markets. Lined with by palm trees and perfectly positioned to enjoy beautiful sunsets, this is a great place to spend the evening. The market stalls are set up twice a week during April to October (their dry season). Stalls sell everything from didgeridoos to street food (although no alcohol).

There is a carnival atmosphere on these warm evenings with plenty of live musicians and entertainers, but do not come to this beach to sunbathe and swim. There are numerous crocodiles basking in and around the shoreline (you can usually spot them from the bridges that cross the rivers about town), sea snakes, and the lethal box jellyfish is partialled to the waters in this region so even a paddle is out of the question on this pretty beach.

You may be interested in our 10 best beaches in the United States and you may be interested in my best secret beaches in America, my secret beaches in California and my 5 most remote beaches on earth.

Create A Five Star Hotel Bathroom At Home

We have all been guilty of yearning for the flawlessness of a hotel bathroom that the bathrooms of our own homes will never quite live up to. With this daunting ambition in mind, adding a range of luxury baths and accessories to your own home can often be an intimidating prospect. Creating a bathroom befitting of a five-star hotel does not however demand an effort of Herculean proportions. Here are a few simple steps you can take to compose a bathroom you will cherish forever.

Don’t mirror the rest

When it comes to your own bathroom, homeowners tend to avoid putting any significant effort into choosing a mirror, and end up settling for something that is a pale imitation of true luxury. Selecting a mirror with a unique shape, texture or feature will differentiate your bathroom from the rest and engender your bathroom with the sense of spectacle that is so synonymous with a lavish hotel.

Oh, The Vanity

A vanity with flair is indicative of finesse and refinement. Walnut vanity units, for example, are a refreshingly different option from their obtuse, white counterparts. Again, rebelling against orthodoxy is the key in generating a bathroom that feels exclusive and high-class.

Panels Can Generate Space As Well As Electricity

Balancing an air of intimacy and privacy with visual sophistication, elegant shower panels are a sure-fire way to create a luxurious bathroom. Coupled with a sleek shower tray, a suave shower panel will banish any claustrophobic bulky fittings to yesteryear, cleverly creating the illusion of space that is undeniably a fixture of any high-end hotel bathroom.

Wallpaper Over Tiles

Tiling your bathroom is an unnecessary expenditure that merely serves to reinforce a dull, dated look. Renouncing tiles in favour of more expressive wallpaper is an audacious move, but one that if pulled off correctly, is a real signifier of opulence.

Brass And Copper Over Chrome

Chrome is woefully overrepresented in modern bathrooms everywhere. It adds little in the way of character, and is best missed in favour of brass and copper if you truly crave a look of authenticity. You don’t need to replace all your fittings though, a tastefully positioned soap dish or small mirror can speak just as loudly.

Contain yourself

Although it sounds like a small step, storing all your bathroom utensils in a stylish manner reeks of effortless sophistication. Enclosing your bathroom belongings in a small hurricane jar or wooden box can be indicative of the refinement so irrevocably intertwined with our Victorian ancestors.

If there is one definitive quality of every truly high-end hotel, it is to create a sense of exclusivity. As though no other place in the world could offer you a superior experience. Creating this kind of exclusive environment in your own home demands an aura of individuality that typical interior decoration simply fails to offer. So strive to be bold!

Black tote bags – 5 options for the ultimate travel handbag

A black tote bag is one that no luxury traveller can do without. Large, spacious and easy to open and access all your items – it is one of the staples of my ‘travel outfit’.

Why is it so important? It goes with everything. It can fit all your electronics (namely a laptop, very easily), phones, cables, magazines, wallets and the lot. And your passport. And some token airport purchases.

I have been ‘expanding’ my black tote bag collection, so here are some options which I love:

T Tote by Tom Ford

From £695 from MyTheresa.com 

I have been on a Tom Ford (make up and fragrance) binge – so I decided to add this beauty to my collection. It is beautifully made and I promise, keeps everything in its place.

tom ford t tote leather shopper copy

Tumble Lady Bag by Mansur Gabriel

USA & Canada: $1195 

For Europe, from £975 – see Matches Fashion and Net-a-Porter for colour options

mansur gavriel lady tumbler leather handbag copy

My latest handbag brand crush – I have gone to great lengths to secure my first one. This brand is relatively new and US based (but in Europe it is stocked by Matches Fashion and Net-a-Porter). The issue, is that you cannot get every colour and model, so with the help of a lovely lady, I got mine exactly how I wanted it from NYC: in tumble, so it can be kicked around a little bit on planes and everywhere.

Tote bag by Mansur Gavriel

USA & Canada: $585 

For Europe and rest of the world, from £475 – see Matches Fashion and Net-a-Porter for colour options

mansur gavriel black tote bag copy

Louis Vuitton Neverfull in Epi Leather

From £1390 (but not available to purchase online)

louis-vuitton-neverfull-mm-epi-leather-icons

This was the designer tote bag that started this trend… almost 10 years ago. Mine isn’t that old and really really has clocked a lot of airmiles. And shall continue.

Panama Large Tote by Smythson

From £795

I am really impressed with Smythson‘s leather good collections – namely handbags, as they really have become so modern over the last couple of years. I have actually purchased a few bags and items from them over the past 2 months, including wallets and cannot recommend them enough.

https://click.linksynergy.com/fs-bin/click?id=taMDEJyo1cU&subid=&offerid=271821.1&type=10&tmpid=11093&RD_PARM1=http%253A%252F%252Fwww.smythson.com%252Fblack-panama-large-tote-1012174.html%253F___SID%253DU

Best Beaches In The World: Ningaloo Reef, Australia

Near the top of Western Australia sits the Ningaloo Reef. This reef is incredible, largely because you step directly off the beach and straight onto the reef. This reef is home to turtles, reef sharks and millions of colourful fish. It remains relatively undiscovered due to it’s remote location, making it far less touristy than the Great Barrier reef, and, because the reef is steps from the shore, far more accessible, once you have transported yourself to this coastline.

I spent 3 nights sleeping in a swag bag next to the UNESCO World Heritage listed Ningaloo reef. Sadly sleep eluded me for much of my stay because I spent the entire night imagining that one of the many deadly snakes in the outback was about to enter my swag and cuddle up to me. Nowadays you can stay in more salubrious surroundings of the Sal Salis where you can enjoy luxuries such as a bed and en suite bathroom with a natureloo, and running water, set in the dunes which border the beach and the reef.

Expose yourself to the sights and sounds of the great outdoors; a red kangaroo grazing amongst the dunes, the beautiful song of a butcherbird or a humpback whale breaching just beyond the reef. Then pop on your snorkel gear and paddle into a world of reef sharks, turtles and of course, the millions of fish. With just sixteen solar powered eco-luxe wilderness tents, this resort offers exclusive wilderness luxury on the shores of the Indian Ocean.

You may be interested in our 10 best beaches in the United States and you may be interested in my best secret beaches in America, my secret beaches in California and my 5 most remote beaches on earth.

Best Beaches In The World: Koh Thmei Beach, Ream National Park

Well for something totally different, this beach is made entirely of seashells! A totally captivating sight and really unusual, great for photographs. And it’s not just seashells, the Ream National Park houses several of Cambodia’s top beaches and the ones are Koh Thmei (a mangrove forest covered island) are extra special. The island itself is currently virtually uninhabited, with stunningly clear waters. At the end by the boat dock you’ll find the seashell beach but to the east of the dock is a beautiful, pristine stretch of yellow sand – rather more comfortable for lazing around! This is also a great place to bird watch as the island is home to dozens of species.

You may be interested in our 10 best beaches in the United States and you may be interested in my best secret beaches in America, my secret beaches in California and my 5 most remote beaches on earth.