Residence Nell

Residence Nell

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For our final part of our trip we had the incredible opportunity of staying in our very own penthouse apartment that had the most incredible views out over the grey slate Parisian rooftops. Our residence  was set in one of the most vibrant and fun part of Paris, next to the famous Folies Bergère, a cabaret music hall, established in 1869, which is an iconic place that reached the height of its fame and popularity during la Belle Époque and the roaring twenties.

The Résidence Nell is set in one of the best places to stay in Paris, close to so many great restaurants, bars and a small market street, which I can only describe as more bijou version of Borough Market – with gourmet food stands, florists, butchers and delicatessens all set along a cobbled pedestrianised street that look as if it had always, ever since the creation of the city, had been here. There were colourful straw cafe chairs that lined the streets, sushi places and wonderful smelling bakeries I really loved it here.

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Set in a unique building with a beautiful large entrance decorated with a stunning glass chandelier, our apartment was one of 14 spacious quarters designed by Patrick Jouin. We were welcomed so warmly by the charming hotelier, which immediately made us feel at home. I had loved our exclusive hotels, but after such a long time travelling it felt truly special being in what felt like a private home. We had an open planned living room with our own fully equipped kitchen that had an espresso maker, stove, microwave and oven, so in the evening we were able to walk to the delicatessen and come back to our home and make our own food and drink wine at our own table. It was so relaxing, no bookings needed, no need to get dressed up, we could just chill and it felt great!

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imageimageI loved all the bold colours, it really lit up the room and made it feel clean and spacious. The kitchen was orange and the living room had a purple sofa, which you think wouldn’t be for everyone, but it just looked great! Little recipe books adorned the alcoves, ideas of what to make with Milka chocolate or the other french classic product, La Vache Qui Rit, known in the UK as the Laughing Cow, triangle cheeses made by Fromageries Bel since 1865, which we were always given at school in our pack lunches! I couldn’t get enough of them and had we been there longer I would have definitely tried some of the recipes out. The little book ornaments and the mini bar filled with Haribo sweets added a retro, nostalgic and modern vibe which was just so original.

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We drank champagne whilst looking out over the rooftops, enjoying the sunset. We didn’t watch the big plasma TV but we did take a few selfies with the Eiffel Tower mini statue before scoffing more macaroons that we had brought back from Laduree. Outside it was really bustling, we could see the people, little specs walking down below, but we were high above the street and it was so quiet in the building. After our supper and some more chilling on the comfy sofa and grey floor rug, we ran through the breakfast menu and made our choices for what room service were going to bring us in the morning for breakfast , the plus side of not having a restaurant – you get breakfast in bed! Gustavo was reading the options to me in french through the bathroom door and after a few confused attempts of trying to work out what he was saying I stepped out of the shower and I realised I had found my very own Joey Tribiani from Friends – almost saying the word, but basically just making french sounding sounds. It was so funny, one of those got to be there moments…which is why I have included a video of him reading it out in this post! 😉

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 In the morning we were woken by our room service wake up call which we had organised the night before. With my eyes half closed I managed to tie my fluffy bathrobe on before I had even managed to get my eyes to fully adjust I was presented with the most incredible fest of french fruit, juice, cereal, pastries and coffee! Coffee in bed is probably the best feeling in the world, so I loved this incredible part of the service offered by Résidence Nell, which most self contained apartments don’t offer. I really felt staying here we got the best of both world, the privacy and intimate setting of a family friendly and beautifully decorated apartment that truly felt like our own Parisian home and also the great service of a hotel, room service, daily cleaning, bathrobes robes, slippers and the best beauty products.

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I was really impressed with the Hotel de Nell and now by their Residence. I felt that the service that we received was top rate, their staff were so friendly and both our room and our apartment were exceptional and set in a great location. I have stayed in many places in Paris but I would really recommend NELL for their exceptional service and decor. It was difficult to do justice to such a beautiful modern apartment and to capture it’s lovely atmosphere, but I hope hope you like my photos of our stay here at the Résidence Nell  🙂

Abi xxx

 

Hotel De Nell

Hotel De Nell

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After attending lots of great meetings and having spent some busy days in Paris we decided to stay at the Hotel de Nell for some amazing luxury and relaxation time. The boutique 5* Hotel De Nell, is famous for it’s bistronomie and unparalleled service and I can quite honestly say that it truly deserves it’s incredible reputation with it being one of the best hotels I have ever had the pleasure of staying in – which is saying a lot because I have stayed in quite a few!

On our arrival the first thing that struck me was the hotel’s beautiful appearance, a very chic Parisian corner building who’s white painted facade, black ironwork and beautifully kept ornate bushes radiated style and shone in the light. We past through a large modern glass door into an entrance decorated with festive Christmas lights and trees. A lit glass fire glimmered in the glass wall separating the bar from the entrance made the modern white interior feel so warm and cosy. I couldn’t wait to see more of this absolute gem designed by Jean-Michel Wilmotte and I had only taken three steps inside!

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You may have seen some of my Instagram photos and my reactions to our check-in – I think my words were “If only every hotel stay could start like this”… Why is that you may ask? Well, we arrived a bit early and as we waited for our room to be prepared we were greeted with cappuccinos and choux pastries that we enjoyed by the glass fire on the most stylish chairs I have ever seen! In fact all the chairs in the hotel were pretty special which really added some great character and design to the rooms!

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So after we had reclined on our uber design chairs to our hearts content we were shown to our room. We were staying in a Chambre Luxe and the first thing that struck me when we entered was how big our room was ! I loved how light and airy it felt!So many nice rooms are beautiful but this one was truly special as three floor length french windows led onto a Juliet balcony which had the most amazing views of the most spectacular site, the impressive domed Conservatoire de Paris! Being able to see such a majestic building from your bed was a real joy. I can’t describe it as anything other than feeling as if you are starring in a Chanel N5 or a Jean Paul Gautier advert! What was the tag line again? “Je suis Chloe” *

*and then roll and flick your hair like a chic bohemian goddess…

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The joy continued, when I checked out our bathroom! I know it sounds sad but seriously it was so cool! If there were ever “bathroom goals” then this would definitely be it! The room was clad in marble with his and hers sinks, an enormous shower which could fit about ten people and the most amazing marble Japanese bath, which was not only luxurious but also comfortable thanks to the wooden seat that lined the interior. I was so impressed as you can see from my video, I just couldn’t wait to give it a try!

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After a great meal and nice wine at a nearby french restaurant recommended to us by the hotel staff, we made our way back to the Hotel de Nell where we were greeted with soothing classical music and complimentary Champagne. It was the details that really made our stay so special – I ran a big hot bath, which I perfumed with the most incredible Bvlgari teabags that we had been given and which smelt amazing. Chocolates & a pillow menu had been laid out on our bed and we read fashion magazines in our cotton bathrobes and slippers.

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The breakfast in the La Régalade Conservatoire was of such high standard, made with market & local produce. Thick loaves of bread which powdered our plates with flower, rich creamy scrambled eggs and fresh juices. Bruno Doucet’s simple but very tasty bites were traditional and evocative, just like an authentic Proust Madeleine.

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I couldn’t recommend this amazing 5* Hotel enough, it really is a testament Paris and France with great food, top rate service and amazing french design. If you want to see and experience the best of Paris then Hotel De Nell is the best place to start! Here is a short vlog of our stay and of our day site seeing!

Le Cinq Codet

Le Cinq Codet

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After getting my hair done, finishing off some last emails and then heading into town for a quick spot of shopping, I got home so late I was still packing my bags for Paris late into the night. I was so excited I hardly slept at all! We had a really early start but I had so much energy and after arriving at St Pancras to catch the Eurostar, I refuelled on the most delicious apricot pastries and coffee which kept me going through the morning.

Our journey was so easy and the incredible way the train passes under the Channel is simply magical! It is easy to forget which such different identities and personalities how close London and Paris are to one another! It was amazing, one minute we were waving goodbye to the red buses and the Christmas lights of London and the next we were walking down grand boulevards and shopping along Les Champs Elysées. We got so caught up in the beauty of it all that we didn’t check in to our amazing hotel until late in the day, the 5* Hotel Le Cinq Codet, which was in the most incredible location, minutes from Les Invalides where Napoleon Bonaparte is buried and just a stone’s throw from the Eiffel Tower and the famous Champ-de-Mars in the 7th arrondissement, one of the most exclusive neighbourhood’s in Paris.

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The 5* Hotel Le Cinq Codet, designed by Jean-Philippe Nuel was beautiful. We were greeted in a modern colourful lobby, filled with incredible pieces of furniture and beautiful flowers. The whole hotel was finished to such incredible quality. As we were shown around I couldn’t help but admire the courtyard situated in the middle of the building decorated with Christmas trees and lights. There was so much light and so much glass yet the stylish bar and lounge still felt cosy. I couldn’t wait to see our room!

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We stayed in their Chambre Duplex, which I will refer to for the rest of this post as our “suite” because it was so big! When I showed my friends the photos of our room, they thought that our sofa and seating area was actually the hotel lobby because it was so spacious and nice! The room didn’t have one, but two plasma TV’s and both had my name on them upon arrival “Mrs Royston” – Ok, so I am not Mrs yet…but still, pretty cool right?!

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The room was filled with original works of art which made it feel like a modern day artist’s studio, a futuristic version of the bohemian romantic and creative hubs that fuelled so many creatives that Paris is so famous for! There were curves and angles all in the right places, all complimented by original lighting, large mirrors and an incredible glass window that travelled the length of the two floors. What really added to the luxury and the modernity of the room were all the gadgets and incredible technology that we had at our disposal – from an an Apple-mini which enabled us to check Facebook and let me blog on the plasma TV, to design mobile phones that we could use to call room service. To say that Gustavo had a field day with all these toys is an understatement!

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I on the other hand was far more obsessed with the fact that this place had a gym and a spa and that we not only had a separate washroom and walk in shower that was big enough for 4 people downstairs, our own bathrobes, slippers and the best smelling cosmetics, but that we also had a huge bath in our bedroom, just feet away from our bed! Ou La La! This meant that I could run a bubble bath and watch Bad Grandpa on my customised “Mrs Royston” plasma TV! If this is a time to Hashtag Travel Goals then I don’t know when is…

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I slept like a chubby cat who has found a pile of freshly washed warm towels in the airing cupboard and has decided to go for a nap after polishing off a whole packet of cream. I woke up in a chubby Abi’s paradise – the Breakfast buffet was one of the most extensive I had ever seen…Continental, American, English, I made about three trips over to the counter and only stopped because we had managed to fill the whole table with our treats – bacon, sausages, croissants, pains of chocolats, coffee, juice, fruit salad, yoghurt, pastries, bread, muffins… It was so good I actually managed to eat most of it but only of course after taking a few pics 😉

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Our first two days were so busy and it was great coming back to such a lovely luxurious hotel in the evenings! We had some great meetings lined up for this year’s fashion season but we had a bit of time to Paris – so I can’t wait to share some of the pictures that we took and to reveal some of the exciting things that happened in this magical city soon! But first, here is a quick peak at the 5* Le Cinq Codet  and the first part of my Paris Travel vlog!

 

Fashion Weekend in Canary Wharf

Fashion Weekend in Canary Wharf

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It’s passed midnight here in London and my car hasn’t turned into a pumpkin and my dress hasn’t disappeared into a puff of fairy dust, but… some magic has been happening here these last few hours… in that my very own YouTube Channel is now finally up and running!!!

I am super excited to show you my very first video, one that we shot last weekend when we were staying in the heart of Canary Wharf, one of the most important financial districts in the world, courtesy of Rated Apartments!I am going to try to post more high quality videos of my travels and my outfits on my channel as per today, so make sure you subscribe or check it out, because I really think that that way I will be able to share my trips and adventures with you in a more personal and fun way!  ❤

You can subscribe here: MY GIRLS ON TOUR YOUTUBE

Last weekend was really busy as we were filming a secret fashion project in the capital.  I hope to be able to tell you about soon, but at the moment I can’t, so I thought that it would be nice to share with you some of my outfits for the shoot and a bit about our time in this super luxurious apartment in this amazing district of London!

We arrived with all our bags full of outfits and accessories, cameras and make-up bags. We were greeted by the concierge in a beautiful lobby, which had such a beautiful Christmas tree and our reception, thanks to Rated Apartments, was just so easy and hassle free. When we entered out flat it was just amazing, we had a beautiful bedroom which was really nicely decorated, a balcony with views and a kitchen/living room with plasma TV and everything we could need…and all for us!!! I couldn’t believe it! There were shops just next to our apartment, so on our first evening we cooked dinner and just relaxed, ready for the busy day which we had ahead of us.

We had a great time walking around Canary Wharf, going shopping in the many boutiques in the mall, eating in Carluccio’s and thinking about the fashion project that we were doing the following day. So here are just a few photos of when we arrived, but I am afraid that the rest of the guided tour and sneak peak into my mini-hotel wardrobe is in the video 😉

I would definitely consider RatedApartments a reliable accommodation provider around the globe and stay with them when I go abroad, to places that I am less familiar with. They bring travelers and accommodation providers together and as they have over 3,000 listings all over the world, including Paris, New York and London, I would definitely love to stay with them again.  Really I can not recommend them enough, they have the perfect apartments for if you are intending on staying in London for either a holiday or a business trip.

I hope you will enjoy our first video and stay tuned…We have more magic to come 😉

Abi xxx

To book the Apartment where we stayed click RatedApartments

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Rental Apartments

Wearing

Cream Coat – ZARA

Over-sized Sweater – H&M

Black Glitter Shoes – LONDON REBEL

Black Ripped Jeans – PRIMARK

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Hollywood Sirens and Chanelling My Inner Marilyn

Hollywood Sirens and Chanelling My Inner Marilyn

Yesterday we went to a beautiful event on the rooftops of one of London’s most stylish hotels the ME Hotel thanks to Deluxe Store Bahrain. If you are looking for the best view in London in one of the most exclusive and elegant atmosphere’s, then this is the place to go in London. Radio Bar is open in the day time and is a great place for cocktails and food and in the evening it fills up with London’s most chic crowd who sip drinks in a blue hue whilst listening to lounge house. It is very hard to get in on a Friday and Saturday night and guest list is an almost must.

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This was going to be a very special occasion and so I decided to draw inspiration for my outfit from some of the most stylish, best dressed women every to grave this Earth, the Hollywood Sirens. These actresses burst onto the scene as drop dead gorgeous women and marked the golden era of American film and Hollywood. Grace Kelly, Joan Crawford, Judy Garland, Elizabeth Talor and Audrey Hepburn, all household names who inspire thought of elegance and beauty. But it was the most famous of all, the tragic Marilyn Monroe who’s looks and dresses really provoked, seduced and shook the nation. A sex symbol,  with a coy attitude and dresses so legendary they would become to be immortalized in stone, I decided to use her famous red sequin dress which she wore in Gentlemen Prefer Blondes as inspiration for my look.

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I opted for a long floor length gown with long sleeves and shoulder pads which is entirely covered in sequins to truly reflect the glizzy glam pre 1960’s era. As accessories I decided to wear my beautiful ALFEX watch which I have just received from Deluxe Store Bahrain which is super glam. The white of the strap really went well with the dress and the gold dial which I could light up for some added bling really enhanced richness of the look. I find it quite difficult to find a watch which is functional but which elegant enough to wear out and so I was so pleased with this beauty! I finished the look off white gold stiletto heels and a gold arrow necklace. Hope you like it! Which Hollywood Siren is your favorite and why? Maybe you could do a Hollywood Siren/Beau look and share the link at the bottom of this thread, I’d love to see you ladies and gents looking all glammed up! 😉

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WEARING

White and Gold Watch – ALFEX from DELUXE STORE BAHRAIN

Long Sleeve Floor Length Sequin Dress with Padded Shoulders – AX PARIS

Metal Twist Stilettos – DUNE LONDON

Arrow Pendant – ACCESSORIZE

5* Riad Palais Calipau

5* Riad Palais Calipau

There is no doubt that on your first trip to Marrakesh, to get a real flavour of the city, you should stay in a traditional bijou boutique hotel in the heart of the Medina. These hotels once traditional houses or Riads look more like the Sultan Palaces than hotels, with their interior courtyards lined with lush orange trees, water features, thick walls and rooms decorated with mozaics, they are a true wonder of Moorish Architecture and design.

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The walls of our Riad were red and from its protective shell little could be known of the beauty that awaited us inside. Indeed, passing the dark heavy door and stepping into Riad Palais Calipau for the first time was like walking into paradise. It was cool inside, whereas outside it had been really hot and the sounds of bikes and street banter were replaced with the sound of running water. The turquoise the pool was still. It was calm here and so lovely. Big lanterns hung from vaulted ceilings, lush velvet sofas lay hidden thin net curtains. It was here that we received our complimentary mint tea served on a gold tray and yum scrum biscuits on our arrival.

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Our room was extremely large and was on the first floor. It wasn’t the best one, but wasn’t the smallest one either. The air con made our stay even more bearable as at night without it, it would have become quite hot. I loved the ceiling and the blue of the bathroom. Everything was new, from the fluffy feather pillows to the TV and the safe in the walk in wardrobe. The water was always hot and it felt really safe. In fact I wish my room at home was that nice and I came to refer to our Riad not as “our hotel” but “home”, which was quite awkward as it kept requiring clarification every time I made the error. The only slight criticism, if any, would be say that there was no mini-bar in the room and no dressing gown/slippers provided. There was however shampoo and soap stocked up daily and both the room and the bathroom were very clean.

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The hotel staff were really kind. They booked for us a Hamman & Massage spa treatment at the famous Les Bains de Marrakech, our taxi to the Majorelle Gardens, Agadir Gardens  and airport – with our taxi driver being so friendly and honest that he would charge us “only what we wanted to pay” even though he gave us some great info about the city as he drove us round. We didn’t have time for tours, but other guests we spoke to really enjoyed their day trips organized by the hotel to the Atlas Mountains, Essaouira and the desert. In fact I can’t wait to go back to do them!

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The breakfast was plentiful, with pancakes, jam, honey, omelet, yoghurt, fruit salad, as much fresh orange juice as you could drink and great coffee. We saw Moroccan families eat similar foods for their Ramadan breakfast in the evening and every time we walked passed seller’s of our morning feast, we noted with excitement “that’s what we had for breakfast”! In this respect the Riad really felt as if I was staying with a friend or a wealthy Moroccan family which really added a great experience to our fantastic holiday.

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I loved sitting down at night by the edge of the pool and gazing upwards at the open sky surrounded by candles and orange trees. After a long day bartering in the souks there was nothing better than to take a refreshing plunge after and a spot of relaxation on the roof terrace in the waning afternoon sun.  Hotel Calipau was the perfect location – close enough to the action but far enough removed to feel like an oasis of calm and a great place to relax and recharge. I really can not recommend it enough and as I had such a great time, my sixty year old parents have also decided to go and stay at Hotel Calipau for their visit Marrakesh next year!

I booked this gem through Expedia (flights included) for a great price, so make sure you check out Riad Palais Calipau’s website but also Expedia for some great last minute deals!

5* Hotel De L’Europe – Amsterdam

5* Hotel De L’Europe – Amsterdam

On our tour we stayed at a number of places: Zeewolde, Den Hague, Rotterdam. After having played and lost quite a few tournaments around Holland, our group decided it was time to go for a few days to Amsterdam. We took a train and arrived at Central Station. The plan was that the girls would wait with all the bags, whilst the guys went off in search of a cheap hotel or hostel close to the center. After more than hour my friends returned. The bad news was that all the hotels were fully booked. The good news was that a 5* Hotel a short taxi ride away still had some rooms available.

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Hotel De L’Europe loomed up ahead. This is the one place where sneaking an extra guest for free into your room will be impossible. We were going to have to book two rooms and it was going to be expensive.The porter opened the door for us in a green tail coat, top hat and white gloves. It was really grand and the reception desk spanned the whole crescent of the beautiful entrance hall.

De L’Europe is acknowledged as Amsterdam’s legendary hotel and is a member of The Leading Hotels of the World for over 25 years. With its location on the banks of the Amstel River in the heart of historic Amsterdam, it’s impossible to escape the city’s rich history while staying at this iconic 19th century treasure. Expect timeless design, intimate ambience and genuine service.

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The rooms were very beautiful. I particularly liked the yellow and white striped walls and the beds were extremely comfortable. De L’Europe boasts a distinctive décor, enhancing each room and suite with a replicated Dutch Master painting, handpicked in exclusive partnership with the nearby Rijksmuseum. Choose for gracious and timeless elegance in the historic Rondeel Building or for art and design in the contemporary Dutch Masters Wing.The room service breakfasts were amazing, with lashings of scrambled egg, bacon, juice and fruit served in silver dishes. The pictures below show our group in one of the rooms before heading out.

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De L’Europe is a hub of haute cuisine, boasting a selection of the city’s finest restaurants overseen by Executive Chef Richard van Oostenbrugge. Bord’Eau has redefined Amsterdam’s fine dining scene. Hoofdstad Brasserie is perfect for a sophisticated yet casual riverside bite. With its plush interior, Freddy’s remains the city’s iconic bar, while Hèt Terras offers a contemporary take on café classics, and the city’s most authentic Afternoon Tea is served in the Promenade.

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The location of Europe de l’Europe was wonderful and the staff so friendly. I would highly recommend this to anyone looking for the ultimate luxurious stay in the heart of Holland’s most vibrant city.

5* Islantilla Golf Resort & Mirador del Golf

5* Islantilla Golf Resort & Mirador del Golf

At only a 70km drive from Faro airport,the stylish resort of Islantilla can be found on Spain’s ‘Coast of Light’, often referred to as the ‘Spanish Algarve’ or ‘Spain’s Best Kept Secret’. Its beautiful sandy beaches stretch for miles and its lack of over-development means that it has retained its natural beauty with its backdrop of sand-dunes and pine trees between the sea and the promenade.We found beautiful star fish and walked past a lagoon to a deserted beach.

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I particularly liked the small fisherman’s village with its little white chapel. At night after a hearty meal we would walk about along the promenade and see their little lights bobbing out at sea. In the morning we went and bought fresh fish straight from their nets and saw how they pulled their boats in and mended their nets. Islantilla is the perfect place to relax, enjoy a lovely scenery in a very stylish and beautiful Spanish town. There are many shops and restaurants, some cocktails bars but no night clubs. In the summer half of Madrid and Sevilla escape the hot sun and come down for a couple of weeks to play golf, tennis and eat some of Spain’s best sea food. Make sure you can speak Spanish or don’t mind giving it a go, as there are not many foreign tourists here and lots of people can’t speak English.

Here are my recommendations of where to stay in Islantilla:

www.miradordelgolf.co.uk

A lovely two bedroom house in one of the most exclusive urbanisations of Islantilla, ‘Mirador del Golf’, 5 minutes walk from Islantilla Golf Club- rated Top 100 Best Courses in Europe by Golf Digest, and 8 minutes from the beach. It is a peaceful & securely gated complex with a stunning pool, sea views and own parking. It was really clean and had been newly refurbished to a great standard. The pool was beautiful and the kitchen was really well equipped. We enjoyed using the DVD player and watching the wide screen TV. This is a really cheap but good quality alternative to a hotel as prices start at £350 per week and the house sleeps 6!

Another wonderful place that I have stayed in is the 5* Islantilla Golf Resort, which is 3 minute walk from the house Mirador del Golf. It is very large and its grounds are really impressive. With both indoor and outdoor pool, a beautiful and world famous golf course right in front, this is the place to go for all golf lovers. It is around 10 minutes from the beach, but a little train goes passed every half and hour and it is free for guests. An additional perk of staying here is the ability to use the Beach Club which is a luxurious pool and lounge area right on the sea front reserved for members and guests of the hotel. The golf coaches are great and when we went they offered a free lesson to anyone who came every Saturday morning. The rooms were large and had great views. The only slight downside would be that it was a little empty and thus the services normally on offer at a 5* resort were slightly absent.

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