Seeking the Sun – Lanzarote

By Shereen Shabnam

Lanzaroteis the perfect weather destination for holiday seekers almost all year round with diverse landscapesthat range fromvolcanic caves, lava lakes and craters, sandy beaches and transparent waters.

The natural heritage areas, dramatic landscapes, bustling tourist towns, parks and long sandy beaches makes Lanzarote an island of exceptional beauty and an ideal place to visit. If you are a nature lover, drop in at the Parque Nacional de Timanfaya, (Timanfaya National Park) which is one of the island’s greatest tourist attractions.

With excellent year-round climate and unique landscape, Lanzarote allows sun and the beach lovers to enjoy a series of activities likediving,surfing, windsurfing, swimming and kite surfing. It is a paradise for surferswith powerful waves and on calm days, visitors can dive anywhere in Lanzarote.

If you really enjoy surfing, head to Famara Beachwhere both beginners and advanced surfers gather and head to the sea to get practice. Sailingin Lanzarote is also perfect in the summer when the island receivesTrade Winds, ensuring you can sail without risk and enjoy the full experience of being out on the water.

The weather in Lanzarote is perfect for hiking, running, golfing, trekking, bikingand much more when exploring the local outskirts. The cycle network routes to suit all levels of bikers who can enjoy the view the island offers of volcanoes and unique landscapes. Runners can enjoy trails through mountains as they come across wild coasts, cliffs and nature trails as well as shops and cafes to enjoy local food.

If you enjoy golfing, Lanzaroteis known for enjoying each hole against an unbelievable backdrop formed by sea and volcanoes.  Golf can be played year-round in favourable climatic conditions, thanks to the island’s average temperature of 22°C. The two golf courses in Lanzarote are built in perfect harmony with the landscape and close to beaches, restaurants and other leisure activities.

Families can enjoy spectacular crystal-clear waters and superb stretches of white, golden and black sand. Popular beaches are Papagayo, Puerto del Carmen and Matagorda, Famara, Arrieta, Caleton Blanco, Orzola and the island of La Graciosa.

Because of the lush vegetation and natural resources, food in Lanzarote is fresh and mostly organic and visitors can try local traditional cuisine contemporary gastronomic dishes featuring fresh seafood, vegetables and meat.

If you are my type of a holidaymaker who makes spas a reason to go on holiday, you will not be disappointed in Lanzarote which has serene and sophisticated wellness centres, spas and thalassotherapy with massages and treatments that help your mind and body reach unwind and relax.

If you like celebrations, the traditional festivals and the famous Carnival should be perfect for you and on a smaller scale, the popular markets held every Sunday morning are fun with food and music.

Another place to go with children is The Atlantic Museum, the first underwater art museum in Europe that has a large artificial reef formed by 300 sculptures made with the neutral pH concrete that will in time increase marine biomass.

For nature lovers, Cueva de los Verdes is a fascinating cave to visit, created by the eruptions of the La Corona Volcano and The Cactus Garden is perfect for walks. Then there is the Mirador del Río, whichhas a balcony from where spectacular views over the Chinijo Archipelago can be enjoyed.

If you have time, the island of La Graciosa is a must visit as it is the most distinctive island in the Canaries, with only 600 inhabitants and is an idyllic destination full of peace, nature and serenity both in the popular areas and by its many beaches. Lanzarote is indeed a destination that has all one needs in one place for visitors of all ages.

 

 

 

Authentic Italian Experiences Rome Cavalieri, A Waldorf Astoria Resort

By Shereen Shabnam

 

Set in the Eternal City on the grounds of a 15 acre park, Rome, the spectacular Rome Cavalieri, A Waldorf Astoria Resort offers guests a home overlooking the best parts of the Vatican City. I spent a few days exploring the majestic hotel and its spa recently and left rested and relaxed for my next adventure.

Being a lover of art, I have been sponsoring the art perspective event every two months held in a five star hotel in Dubai over the year and hence, very familiar with the trend of merging the art world with the hospitality world but seeing the seeing the scale of art at Rome Cavalieri left me mesmerised. The hotel is home to over 1,200 beautiful artworks from well-known artists like Andy Warhol, Giovanni Battista and period pieces of artefacts, tapestries and furniture.

 Recently, the hotel introduced a series of complimentary luxury experiences for guests who book to stay a number of days in one of the hotel’s suites this year. They can take part in a series of inimitable local activities focusing on art, culture and cuisine, with each experience offered to vary depending on the suite chosen and time of year.

Whether it’s learning to make authentic Italian sandals with an authentic, family-run Italian shoemaker, private tours of the Vatican Gardens, the Pope’s summer Residence or the gardens of Castel Gandolfo or culinary journeys in the city, Rome Cavalieri’s Suite Experiences promise a memorable stay.

Food lovers will enjoy a private culinary tour and two-way transfer to Mercato Trionfale in the Prati neighbourhood, a market frequented by locals. The tour features six venues with over 20 different food and wine tastings. Here, guests can sample local culinary delights including truffles and 30 year aged balsamic vinegar, artisanal gelateria from Fatamorgana, homemade pasta with D.O.C.G. Vermentino wine at an award-winning restaurant, caviar and foie gras topped pizzas at Pizzarium, Rome’s number one pizzeria. It also includes a visit to Paciotti, the number one gourmet food shop in Rome, offering over 200 types of cheeses and 100 types of meats.

 Guests staying in the top suites can enjoy the private use of a professional photographer to accompany them on their day around the Eternal City. Guests will receive a professional photoshoot in both Rome and the hotel, with a Mercedes at their disposal throughout the day. To cherish those memories, guests will receive an elegantly presented box with a USB drive and photo print outs, which will be directly delivered to them after their stay.

My favourite experience naturally would be staying in the Vista and Corner Suites and enjoy a luxury picnic in the hotel’s verdant parkland, accompanied with a butler as well as a private yoga session in the park and an 80-minute massage.

The spa experience in Rome Cavalieri was an amazing escape to a tranquil oasis with Roman baths, fitness centre and reputed products to indulge in. I opted for massage and once I saw the La Prairie products, I wished I had booked a facial too but had to catch my flight back to Dubai.

Overall, the Rome Cavalieri was a surreal experience. The building was designed by one of the most important architects of the period, Ugo Luccichenti, assisted by E. Pifferi and A. Ressa, with contribution from two superstar architects of the ‘60’s, Franco Albini and Pierluigi Nervi.

Ever since its opening in 1963, the hotel is known for the highest level of comfort attracting famous personalities and fifty years on, the Rome Cavalieri continues to move with the times, exceeding the expectations of the most demanding international travelers and living up to its name as an icon in the world of luxury hospitality. I certainly felt extremely special throughout my stay and would love to return with family one day to relive the experience and of course to make their spa my second home for at least a week.

 

 

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