August, Autumn wardrobes & ski lessons...

Just as the shops are starting to think Autumn/Winter, so we’re thinking ski! A few of our clients are booking their Feb & Easter ski breaks now, and, knowing how busy those weeks are, we’re also making sure they have their ski lessons booked.

If you haven’t booked yet, there’s still some superb availability. We’re excited about the opening of Le Coucou in December in Meribel, and we’re marketing some fabulous chalets in Austria. Copperhill in Sweden also remains a firm favourite for young families and beginners looking for quiet slopes.

So, as much as we dislike seeing those Autumn shades in the high street windows in August….we’re actually big fans of forward planning :) What do you prefer….last-minute holiday planning, or booking ahead?



Favourite breakfasts from around the globe...

We’re busy writing departure documents this weekend for clients leaving on their August summer holidays. And surprise, surprise…the ‘What to eat & where to eat it’ section is taking up a lot of our time, love and attention.

Our clients travelling to Costa Rica later this month are in for a real foodie treat. Gallo Pinto, meaning spotted rooster, is one of the most common breakfast dishes in Costa Rica. It is a blend of rice, beans, onions, pepper, coriander, and sweet plaintains. Topped with a fried egg & cheese, add salsa lizano or lime. We’d be washing this down with a Naturales - a local term referring to the fruit & vegetable juice found on sale on most street corners & roadsides across the country, often sold by local farmers. Our faves are mango, pineapple & lychee.

Tell us, where’s your favourite place in the world for their local breakfast?

Gallo Pinto

Gallo Pinto



 

Taking your brood on safari...

Considering taking your children on their first safari? It's important to take them at the right age, book well in advance, carefully choose your reserve and lodge, and travel in the optimum season. So...lots to consider. We'd love to help you get it right. These photos were taken last month by lovely clients of ours; a family of 12 spanning three generations, celebrating a special anniversary in two malaria-free reserves in South Africa and a quick hop up to Vic Falls to boot. In their own words…

“We could not have had a more wonderful holiday! Everything went perfectly. We feel that we were able to expose our children and grandchildren to the magic of Africa that we were lucky enough to experience so many years ago. We think this was an adventure that they will always remember. We cannot give enough praise to our guides who, taught, protected, organized, and cared for all of us. They truly became our friends.”

Shout out to our partners...

Today is International Small Business Day so, as well as giving ourselves a pat on the back for being small, perfectly formed and in business, we also want to give a shout out to all the brilliant companies we partner with around the world for doing what they do to such exacting standards, and with such passion. We're fussy about who we work with and we just love what you do.

Tell us about a micro, small or medium-sized business that you’ve come across and admire…

Petit St Vincent...sailing, scuba, feet-in-the-sand-dining & sublime, low-key service

We've been so busy booking Easter and Summer 2020 breaks (as well as the odd last-minute 2019 holiday), that we’ve forgotten to ‘stay social’ so apologies for the online silence. To make up for it, we thought you might like to know where we’ve been busily booking ...stay tuned for inspo from Vietnam, South Africa, Borneo, the Caribbean, Thailand…

First up...Petit St Vincent in the Grenadines. The journey there is part of the adventure. After arriving into Barbados, you'll hop on a 45-minute flight to Union Island, a golf cart will then whisk you across the island to the dock and a 20-minute speedboat ride will take you to your private island paradise. If you like feet-in-the-sand-dining and high-end but low-key service, PSV will suit you. Even more so if you're partial to a spot of sailing or diving...Their current 7-for-5-night offer makes it brilliant value for the Caribbean...

Zip wires & Tarzan swings...

Booking ahead now for Easter 2020 makes a lot of sense. And we're thrilled that so many of our clients are doing exactly that.

Flights have just been released so fares are very competitively priced and you'll have the best choice of accommodation to choose from.

This family Costa Rica itinerary has given us itchy feet (again)...pristine beaches, waterfall and rainforest hikes, zip wires & Tarzan swings, world-class diving and snorkelling, and wildlife that will blow your mind. These photos are taken at the Four Seasons Costa Rica at Peninsula Papagayo...unquestionably the best place to finish off this Central American adventure.

Exceptional from beginning to end...

Three-day weekends always make us smile. But receiving these comments this morning has had us grinning ear-to-ear all day :)

Scroll for a flavour of this family’s Asian Easter adventure… rooftop swims in KL’s finest pool, jungle treks & traditional longboats in Taman Negara (the world’s oldest rainforest), kicking-back in Malaysia’s unspoilt eastern beaches, and snorkelling off Tenggol Island.

We love South-East Asia for so many reasons; sublime service levels, excellent value-for-money, pristine beaches & rainforests, and cuisine that makes the 12-hour flight with kids totally worthwhile. It is important to know when to visit where though so do ask us which parts of the region are best when…we’d love to advise…

Modern interiors in rural Tuscany

Occasionally the interiors of a hotel are so beautifully put together that our spirits soar from the choice and depth of colours, textures & fabrics. And we know that our clients will delight in their surroundings. This is definitely the case at this 18-room Tuscan retreat where old stone walls meet wonderfully-vivid splashes of colour and contemporary furnishings compliment the original features & architecture.

The perfect choice for a minimoon, or time away to recharge the batteries. There is also a 2-bedroom, 3-bedroom and 6-bedroom villa so families need not miss out…

Nowhere better for May half-term...

Southern Europe is our favourite destination at May half-term...and Puglia tops the list. It'll be warm enough to swim but not yet blisteringly hot. Think blue skies framing olive groves, quiet beaches, charming towns and authentic, rustic Med cuisine.

The Masseria Torre Maizza opens May 1st and is offering 30% off its standard rates until 15th June. With Rocco Forte staff ensuring sublime service levels from dawn to dusk and complimentary aperitivo as the sun sets, this is the perfect place to kick-off summer 2019... Get in touch for competitive rates & our top local tips.

Happy Fat Tuesday...

As we throw eggs & flour into a bowl this evening and deliberate on how many pancakes is too many, ‘carnival’ or ‘Mardi Gras’ celebrations are filling cities around the world with colour, music and lavishness. Across Ecuador, as a show of gluttony ahead of 40 days of fasting, the ‘carnaval’ festivities have traditionally involved people throwing eggs, flour and water at each other! What fun! In Colombia, Baranquilla’s colourful folkloric celebrations have been proclaimed by UNESCO to be a ‘Masterpiece of the Intangible Heritage of Humanity’…And the Venetian masked carnival celebrations are still on our bucket-list.

So back to Shrove Tuesday….how many is too many?

Looking for help with your honeymoon wardrobe?

You’ve had multiple dress fittings and spent hours planning the big day itself, but with the endless to-do lists, it’s all too easy to just throw a motley collection of t-shirts and shorts into your suitcase. Make sure you have your holiday essentials covered with London stylist, Claire Lopez’s honeymoon check-list below, guaranteed to set you off on a stylish start to married life.

Jet Setting | Travelling long haul means comfort needs to be top of the list. But this doesn’t have to be at the expense of style. For the perfect airplane attire, Hush’s Jumpsuit £75 is just the ticket. And much more than a one trick pony, this will work perfectly for the evening dressed up with heels, sandals or espadrilles.

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Beach to Bar | If you’re spending most of your days in a tropical paradise you want to look the part and, a lightweight, chiffon kaftan you can just throw on over your bikini is the answer. From long lunches to sundowners, bring some glamour to your sunbed with Aspiga’s Tara Chiffon Maxi Kaftan £75 which comes in several different colour options.

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The Do-it-all Dress | If effortless is what you’re aiming for then you need a dress that hits the right note for the evening and something that is versatile enough to wear with flat sandals or heels alike depending on the vibe. This Satin Frill Sleeve Tea Dress £69 from Warehouse is a show-stopping colour (even better with a tan) and a super style. Another gorgeous bright is this Twist Knot Midi Dress £59 from &Other Stories. For a print try their Floral Printed Dress £79 . Or if it is super nonchalant that you are going for, then this Jamie T Shirt Dress £59 from Hush is for you.

Stylish Sandals | Nothing says holidays like an espadrille and Castaner is your go-to brand. Their classic Carina style £80-£100 comes in black, navy, white, yellow and metallic and will work perfectly with shorts, kaftans, sundresses and smarter evening-wear alike. But for lazy days you want to be able to feel the sand between your toes, so a pair of slip-on sandals is an absolute essential. You want to go for something that is versatile and will work with everything you’ve packed so a metallic is always a good bet. Accessorize has lots of options to choose from including its Athens Embellished Sandals £35. Or for something you can just slide your feet into then go for the Boston £35

Hats Off | Apart from being a super sensible part of your sun protection, a hat is often a very stylish topper to your holiday attire. Go classic with a Panama like this one £79 from Hush. Or make a statement with this C’est La Vie Hat £60 from Betsy & Floss.

Finishing Touches | The natural, handcrafted look is still big so make sure you’ve got yourself a straw bag to finish off your honeymoon outfits. Betsy & Floss have the classic round Palermo Basket Bag £55. Or for something large enough to fit in all your beach/poolside paraphernalia, go for their Large Ischia Basket £65.

The Ears have it | Statement earrings are set to continue, and Blessed London has a whole array of styles to choose from. From colourful silk tassels £10 to gorgeous fan shapes £22, these earrings will dial up your day and evening looks.

For daily fashion tips & inspiration, follow Claire on Instagram @stylebyclairelopez, and if you feel you would like more specific help with your honeymoon packing, or for any other wardrobe needs, contact Claire on info@stylebyclairelopez.co.uk.

Calling all Scallywags...

Of the 100+ kids clubs I’ve inspected over the fifteen years I’ve worked in travel, Nikoi’s Scallywag club is, hands down, my absolute favourite.

Why? Well, the staff on Nikoi genuinely adore getting to know each child, bringing the quiet ones out of their shells and sharing a cheeky joke with the gregarious ones. And the creative activities on offer each day inspire kids of all ages to try something new…whether it be jetty jumping, snorkelling, catch-the-flag, flying dragon (code name for their zip wire), treasure hunts, or woodcraft. Paddle-boarding, kayaking and diving are popular past-times amongst the teenagers and as the sun sets over the South China Sea, a beach bonfire is lit, BFG-proportioned marshmallow sticks appear and a movie under the stars ensues. Add to this peanut-butter cookies & bananas on the bar for that essential morning snack on-the-go, a kids menu which brings local dishes to their radar without shocking young taste buds, and giant monitor lizards lazily sloping around the resort & you've got a pretty spectacular family holiday. 

April to July are our favourite months to be there so consider it for your Easter or Summer holiday. With prices starting from £2,850 for 7 nights in a 2-bedroom family beach villa in July, it offers great value for money and a brilliantly-authentic Asian escape.

Come & chat to us at Most Curious...

We love a good chat…and there’s nothing we love more than chatting about travel. From Friday 1st to Sunday 3rd March, we’ll be exhibiting at the Most Curious Wedding Show at the Truman Brewery on Brick Lane, London E1, so why not come & see us there to talk through your honeymoon ideas ? We’d love to share our expertise, competitive pricing and local knowledge with you so book tickets to the show here, and secure a time slot with us so that we don’t miss you.

Tickets to the Saturday show are already sold out so we’d recommend grabbing your tickets now for Friday evening or Sunday after brunch. We have a complimentary pair of tickets to the show to the first couple that books an appointment with us…

Let the Spring Festival begin...

We love the fact that February brings with it the Chinese ‘Spring Festival’, known more commonly as their New Year. Culminating with the 'Lantern festival’ on the 15th day, the festivities this February are injecting much-needed colour, vibrancy, and joy to our cities.

Where will you be celebrating the Year of the Pig? Whether you're born under the Pig or just want to eat like one, let the Spring Festivities begin…

Vineyards & vespas in Puglia

This boutique B&B in Puglia is one of our favourite mini-moon boltholes…With just six suites, it’s bijou but bursting with character & style. Perfectly positioned to explore the heel of Italy, we recommend hiring a vespa to visit the region’s vineyards and quiet beaches. May, June and September are our favourite months to visit.

Keen to chat with us about your honeymoon? We’ll be at the Most Curious Bridal Show 1st-3rd March at the Truman Brewery and have a pair of complimentary tickets for one lucky couple…

One month countdown to Most Curious...

With just a month to go until our favourite bridal show, Most Curious, and given that we’re now officially into the month of love…stay tuned in February for our daily fix of honeymoon hotels & villas-just-for-two.

Today, we’re heading to a little-known private island resort in Indonesia, Cempedak. With just 20 hillside and beach villas - all with private pools - and no children under 16 on the island, you’ll be hard-pushed not to relax here. For wildlife enthusiasts, bottle-nose dolphins, sea otters and green sea turtles are a common sight. Within the 17 hectares of golden sands, rocky coves and emerald-green jungle, you’ll also find lawn tennis courts and croquet, and kayaking, paddle-boarding and sailing and popular past-times.

Foodies definitely won’t be disappointed either….whilst Cempedak works hard to source locally and reduce waste, the variety on offer is astounding. Breakfast includes a tropical fruit platter, pastry baskets and a choice of eggs or muesli. Lunch and dinner are a delicious mix of local and contemporary Asian flavours . And if you just want a sandwich, they can do that too.

No air-con here but the fans and the sea breeze will keep you cool enough. And you’ll sleep well at night knowing that simply by staying at the hotel, you’re contributing to the Island Foundation, an education programme for villagers across the archipelago focusing on nutrition, hygiene, crafts, English language, IT skills.

Interested? Contact us for our advice on the best months to stay…







Holiday with friends this year?

Considering sharing a holiday with friends? A large villa for a few families makes good financial sense and, assuming you choose those families carefully, kids and adults alike will be entertained from dawn to dusk! Hosting up to 12 people, this villa is one of the oldest fincas (farms) on the island and has been beautifully restored, while remaining in the same Ibizan family for 200 years.  Showcasing gorgeous Sabina (native wood) beams, traditional whitewashed walls and an earthy colour palette, the open-plan living spaces flow seamlessly out to the beautifully manicured lawns, infinity pool and shady summer kitchen and dining area. This villa is also near to some of the best beaches on the West coast, such as Cala Gracio, Punta Galera and Cala Tarida. 

Follow us on Instagram or Facebook to make sure you don't miss out on more 2019 holiday and honeymoon ideas. And if you'd like to receive our monthly newsletter or My Native Kids brochure, go to my-native.com/contact-us.



Enticing Ibizan villas...

Tiled in a piercing Yves Klein blue, the pool at this six-bedroom Ibizan villa is insanely enticing, isn't it? We're particularly fond of the outdoor cinema and summer kitchen. The interiors are pretty special too...

Follow us on Instagram or Facebook to make sure you don't miss out on the villa portfolio we’re sharing with you this week. And if you'd like to receive our monthly newsletter or My Native Kids brochure, go to my-native.com/contact-us.

Ibiza..toddlers & teens too

It still takes us by surprise that Ibiza, the ultimate Spanish party island, works just as well for toddlers and teens as it does raging ravers. If you're not there to make shapes and wear glow sticks, Ibiza offers relaxed dining by the beach, coastal cycling paths, caves to explore, zip lines, paddle-boarding and pristine countryside for horse treks. We think most families would have a blast and we’re thrilled to be marketing a new portfolio of villas on the island - for couples, families and large groups - which we’ll be sharing with you this week. Follow us on Instagram or Facebook to make sure you don’t miss out. If you’d like to receive our monthly newsletter or My Native Kids brochure, sign up here

Tourist License: ETV-1368-E

Sun, star-gazing and sustainability…

Are you thinking of sun or snow for your Easter holidays? We're going with snow but one of our clients is considering Jordan for some early spring sun and we think it's a brilliant choice. April is the ideal month to visit and it's a fantastic location for families with older children who are ready to explore. Float on the Dead Sea, walk along the streets of the Roman Decapolis in Jerash, star-gaze from a Bedouin camp in Wadi Rum, even learn how to make baba ghanoush in Amman's finest cookery school. All this before you've even arrived in Petra! As this is the third most water-scarce country in the world, our superb guides will be sure to drop the topic of sustainability into the conversation...

Jordan features in our Native Kids brochure out later this month, sign up here for a copy, or if you're ready to chat now, call us on 0203 371 7203.