Kupu Kupu Phangan Beach Villas and Spa by L’Occitane

 

Coming back to our trip to Thailand, from Koh Samui we took the fast ferry to the island of Ko Pha Ngan. There we stayed at Kupu Kupu Phangan Beach Villas and Spa by L’Occitane. The resort is located on the west side of the island. It is about a 10 minute ride from Thong Sala, which is great because you can just rent a scooter and go visit the night market. The big street market is only open on Saturdays. But throughout the week, there is a smaller market which still has plenty of food stands to choose from.

We stayed at one of their Sea view pool villas. The picture below was the view from ours. The resort is small and cozy, so no need to walk a lot to use the facilities.

The beach is surrounded by a few rocks which are easier to climb on low tide (nice for pictures 😉 ).

The resort has one restaurant called the Plage. We had lunch at one of their tables in the pool. Their grilled watermelon salad was so delicious, not to mention also very pretty.
We also had a tuna & scallop tartare which was also very good. We also tried their Thai set dinner. It was already too dark to take proper pictures, but we really enjoyed their 3 course menu. And actually their deep fried pork with garlic and pepper was the best one we had during our trip. We liked it so much that we ordered the same dish at other places later on, and none were as good as the one we had here. We also had a couple’s massage at their Spa. Pieter actually fell asleep during it. So nice to just let go and relax completely. The whole staff was very friendly and attentive. We were very pleased with our stay!

For more foodie inspiration, you can follow me on Instagram and Facebook. For behind the scenes, more of Amsterdam and a peek of press events, you can follow my Instagram stories.

 

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InterContinental Samui Resort

Pieter and I went to Thailand last month and we stayed at the Intercontinental Samui Baan Taling Ngam Resort in Koh Samui. This resort was included in the “1,000 Places to see before you die book”. So we knew we were in for a treat. The resort is situated among different levels of a cliff, so you can choose to move by golf car (you just have to make a call and they will pick you up) or you can be sporty and use the stairs. The stairs are nice because everything around you is green and they also have a hanging bridge.

We stayed at one of their Club beachfront Pool Villas which was incredible. Each villa has private garden and pool with sea view, as the name describes. The bathroom had a Jacuzzi and two showers (one outdoors).

The bed was very comfortable (100% Egyptian cotton sheets). Because of our jetlag, afternoon naps were mandatory. The WiFi was very good throughout the resort. I was quite surprised that I was able to do a Live Instagram story from the pier. I didn’t think I would have internet that far away but I did.

The resort is located on the west coast of the island and their Air Bar is a famous spot to view the sunset. We had some cocktails there, eagerly waiting for the sunset but unfortunately we were unlucky with the weather, as we got rain around that time on both days. But luckily the rain didn’t last very long.

The breakfast at Amber was great. It had a very large variety of dishes to choose from. From classic breakfast items, like pancakes, waffles and cereals.  To a noodle bar where you could choose your kind of noodle plus toppings. And they also served dumplings, curry, fresh fruit and juices. They had me at noodles and dumplings.

We also had dinner in the same restaurant because that night, they had World of Siam. A buffet-styled Thai dinner. We both loved it. We had the coconut soup. There was a make your own green papaya salad bar, so of course I had to make one. If you follow my Instagram stories, you probably saw that I was eating green papaya salad twice a day throughout our whole trip. They also served different kind of stir-fries, seafood and of course, a large selection of Thai desserts. I loved the fried banana and sticky rice with mango.

On our last day we got a couple’s massage at their Baan Thai Spa. Our masseuses were superb. They really went hard on us, on request. We were very hectic prior to this trip, so we were very happy to have someone work on all the stress accumulated in our shoulders.

One of the things that drew me to this hotel was their main infinity pool, located next to their bar.

Because from one side you overlook a coconut plantation and from the other, you overlook the sea. So beautiful and romantic! They also have another infinity pool next to the beach and 5 other ones along the cliff-side. The ones cliff-side have different colors (yellow, orange, blue, red and purple), which represent the different palette of colors of the sky during the day and night.

Overall we had a great experience. The service was outstanding and the location was dreamy.

For more foodie inspiration, you can follow me on Instagram and Facebook. For behind the scenes, more of Amsterdam and a peek of press events, you can follow my Instagram stories.

 

 

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London Baby!

Pieter and I went to London for a weekend at the beginning of the month. I was super excited as it was my first time, plus I had heard so many good things about the food scene over there. And sure did we eat well. I wish we could have stayed longer. I had so many places on my excel sheet (yes, I like to be organized when I travel) but 3 days was just too short.

We stayed at a very nice Apart hotel called Leman Locke which was walking distance from the Aldgate metro station in East London.

We started off with bubble waffles at a stand called Nosteagia. The first night we walked through Leicester Square and went to Shake Shack. I’ve seen pictures of their burgers on Instagram and really wanted to try them. They were really good! The next morning we woke up very early to go to Notting Hill. I really wanted to see all the beautiful and colorful houses there. 

The most popular being on St. Luke’s Mews, where Love Actually was shot. So we walked a bit through this neighborhood and ended up having breakfast at Farm Girl. A very cozy and healthy café on Portobello Road. We had the Rose Latte, avocado roast with a poached egg and the buckwheat berry pancakes with amber maple syrup, cranberries and hibiscus. We were surprised on how fast our order came out. It was very busy on a Saturday morning and they still got our order out in no time plus our waiter was very friendly.

After that we went to Maître Choux. The shop is eye candy with all the eclairs on display. They were also delicious by the way. And the eating tour didn’t stop there. Next on the list was Dominique Ansel’s bakery. We shared one Cronut and one of their frozen S’mores. The Cronut was great but if it wasn’t because I was stuffed, I would have ordered another S’more. That chewy marshmallow with Tahitian Vanilla ice cream was heavenly!

And then it was time for lunch. We headed to Breddos tacos.

A nice taqueria in Clerkenwell. We had the Kung Pao pork belly, the sweet potato and cochinita pibil tacos. Plus an octopus tostada, queso fundido and agua frescas. Those chili sauces they give you with tortillas at the beginning were exactly my cup of tea. If you want to go, try to arrive early. By the time we were done eating there was a line outside.

After all the eating we headed towards Westminster Bridge to get a glimpse of Big Ben. After getting up so early and doing quite a lot of walking and eating, we decided to go back to the hotel to chill a bit before meeting some friends for dinner.

We met them at Rosa’s Thai Café. Both Pieter and I love Thai food. Both our friends highly recommended this place and since Punky is Thai and her husband Jeroen lived in Thailand for a while, we trusted them. And it was good! We had the calamari, salmon red curry, papaya salad, grilled spicy sausages, stir-fried aubergine and rice. Thinking about it makes me salivate. It was too dark to take pictures but we enjoyed every single dish. They have 7 locations in London so it is worth a visit. Walking back to our hotel, we stumbled across St. John. A restaurant I have been wanting to visit ever since I saw it on one of Anthony Bourdain’s show years ago. So we decided to go in for just a quick bite. I must say that I am very lucky to have a husband who enjoys eating as much as I do, and who said: “We are here now, so let’s just go in”, when I saw it. We sat at the bar, shared the pudding and the very famous roasted bone marrow with parsley salad. Well worth stretching our stomachs a bit more.

On our last day, we decided to visit Neal’s yard. The place is exploding with colors. Since we were there quite early, the shops were not open yet. But we got some nice pictures without other people which was also nice.

For breakfast we went to Caravan Restaurants (the one on Bankside).We had the kimchi pancake with pork belly, gochujang ketchup & sunny duck egg. And the salt beef brisket hash, pickled cucumber & poached eggs with hollandaise. The food and service was great.

Afterwards, we met our friend Jeroen again at Liberty London. It was great to get a little tour of the city from a local.

 

After the tour we headed to Chinatown for some ice cream. I was looking forward to trying the Taiyaki ice cream from Chinatown Bakery.

 

Afterwards we walked to Milk Train café for some more ice cream. Their soft serve ice cream comes with a cloud of cotton candy, so of course I had to try it (Thank you to Frank for the recommendation).

I had the black sesame one and it was divine! We then headed to a pub to finally sit down and have some lunch before catching our plane back to Amsterdam. A few metro stations were close and since we were worried about time, we decided to just take a cab back to the airport. Like usual I feel asleep during the ride but woke up to a pink sky close to the airport. We left with our feet hurting but with happy bellies and new memories. With a flight of under an hour from Amsterdam, I hope we can go back soon. London, you were awesome!

 

For more foodie inspiration, you can follow me on Instagram and Facebook. For behind the scenes, more of Amsterdam and a peek of press events, you can follow my Instagram stories and my Snapchat: cravingsinams.

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Barcelona

Pieter and I went to Barcelona for a weekend in August. The weather couldn’t have been more perfect! Even though we were in the city, we wanted to also chill a bit. So we spent a whole day just soaking up the sun and swimming in the pool of our hotel. We stayed at the gorgeous Fairmont Rey Juan Carlos I. You can see my review of the hotel here.

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Because of the heat, we had no choice but to have as many ice creams as we could to cool down. We started by paying Amorino a visit. It had been ages since I last had one of their ice creams. It didn’t hurt that besides being delicious, they are gorgeous (very Instagramable) and they have a few locations in the city.

We also made a mandatory stop at the Boqueria market. We indulged in juices, fresh fruit and of course Jamón ibérico. Another reason why I love this market is because in their large variety of products that they offer, there is a little stand that has Peruvian products. So of course, it was heaven for me.

El Nacional is a nice place to have some bites or a full meal. A friend of mine recommended it to me. If you are ever in Barcelona it’s worth a visit. The restaurant has 4 different areas where you can enjoy different kinds of food. From tapas to meats, to a large bar in the middle.

We went there a couple of hours before closing time so it was already too dark for taking pictures, but we really enjoyed everything we ordered. The lady serving us was very kind and attentive. And if you go, don’t forget to check out their bathroom.

Peruvian food still needs to become a thing here in the Netherlands but when I found out that Barcelona had a Tanta restaurant, I was eager to go try it out. Tanta is a Peruvian restaurant that we always visit when we are in Lima. It was a mini trip to Peru in one sitting. The chicha morada, ceviche and leche de tigre were on point.

Besides a couple of trips to Amorino, we also tried the ice creams at Rocambolesc. An artisanal ice cream shop by the Roca brothers (El Celler de Can Roca). They serve innovative flavors of soft serve with many toppings to choose from and fun looking popsicles.

While strolling through the gorgeous Passatge Sert in El Born, we made a little stop to get our caffeine kick at Nømad Coffee. We had a really good cappuccino there. Got some cold brew for on the go and brought some coffee beans back home with us.

For more foodie inspiration, you can follow me on Instagram and Facebook. For behind the scenes, more of Amsterdam and a peek of press events, you can follow my Instagram stories and my Snapchat: cravingsinams.

 

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Fairmont Rey Juan Carlos I (Barcelona)

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Pieter and I went to Barcelona for a long weekend and stayed at the Fairmont Rey Juan Carlos I. City trips can be very exhausting. At least for us, they always are. We always pack our schedule with lots to do and see, and by the time we come back home we feel like we need a week to recover. This time we wanted to chill a bit more. And that’s why we chose this hotel. It’s like a resort in the city. We spent a whole day just lounging and swimming in the pool, enjoying the Spanish heat.

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The hotel is located at the Av. Diagonal. It is just a few blocks from public transportation, and the metro has a direct connection to the airport. There are two shopping centers (with supermarkets) just a few tram stops away.

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The architectural design of the hotel is stunning. The marble tables at the lobby give it a chic feel. They are still refurbishing the rooms (will be finished by July 2017). We booked a refurbished deluxe room. A nice size room, spacious enough for 2 people and with a beautiful view of the city.

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We had dinner at the Terrace on our first night there.

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It is located in the hotel gardens next to one of the swimming pools. Their menu consists of local tapas and dishes cooked on a wood-fired grill. It was the first time we ever tried salmorejo, a cold puree made from tomatoes and bread. Super simple but so delicious!

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After some tapas, we ordered some meats on the grill while drinking some beers. Our mini holiday had begun!

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The main pool has a bar and restaurant. They also have a Veuve Clicquot Lounge, so you can enjoy some bubbly poolside.

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Overall we had a lovely experience at the Fairmont Rey Juan Carlos I. The facilities were great and service was amazing, especially from the people at the Terrace who were super attentive and quick to bring our order.

For more foodie inspiration, you can follow me on Instagram and Facebook. For behind the scenes, more of Amsterdam and a peek of press events, you can follow my Instagram stories and my Snapchat: cravingsinams.

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