Seminyak Shopping & Massages in Ubud – 20th August 2022

Today was the day we had a photoshoot organised. We’re not usually a couple to do professional photos however I wanted to display something on our wedding day that wasn’t just a selfie of us at some beach somewhere. I found a guy online and Whatsapp’d messaged him a few weeks prior about doing some early morning photos near a waterfall or in the rice fields of Ubud. Unfortunately though, the dress I ordered for the photos didn’t arrive until THE DAY we left Perth for Bali. I was out with Nathan at the gym when the courier came so they didn’t drop it off and It wasn’t yet at the post office as the courier hadn’t finished her shift so I couldn’t go and collect it. In the end, I literally had nothing nice to wear so I ended up cancelling the photo shoot. 😦 Luckily the guy who was doing the photo’s hadn’t 100% confirmed the booking so he didn’t seem too bothered.
Also meant we got to have a slight sleep in and had a free day to do what we wanted.

First thing on my ‘List’ of things to do in Bali was to go and have Breakfast at a cafe’ called Nude. They do a lot of healthy food, as well as your usual smoothies, coffee’s and vegan milkshakes. Yum!

We each took a Gojek Scooter to Nude which was only a 7 min ride away.
I ordered a Strawberry & Kiwi Smoothie while Nathan got a Bali Berry one.

For our breakfast, I ordered a Halloumi & Avocado Bun with Chilli Relish and Nathan had a Breakfast Burrito with scrambled eggs, bacon, avo and beans. As soon as I saw Nathan’s meal I regretted ordering mine. There was nothing wrong with my meal exactly, I just picked the boringest thing on the menu. They literally had smoothie bowls, sweetcorn fritters, omlettes and pancakes and I had a brioche bun with Avo and Halloumi haha!! I think I just really like halloumi so I ordered the first thing I saw that had halloumi in it. Next time I go, I’ll go for lunch as they have some yummy looking salads and a vegan burger I want to try. (I’m not vegan, however I don’t eat a lot of meat and much prefer vegetarian food)

After we’d finished eating, we paid and then took another Gojek back to our accommodation. I had organised with one of the Gojek drivers that drove us around the day before to take us shopping that Saturday. Her name was Izzi and she was so lovely! I grabbed her Whatsapp number and messaged her asking if she could drive us around Seminyak for the day (and look after our luggage in her car) before driving us 1.5 hours away to Ubud to check into our new accommodation. She happily said yes and we agreed on a price of AUD$50 (IDR500,000) for the day.

We had some time to spare before Izzi came and collected us at 9:30am so Nathan and I took a walk down the road from our hotel so I could find some cat food. I wasn’t quite full from my meal at Nude so I felt like something else to nibble on (haha just kidding). There was this cat at Canggu Suites that was looking a bit scrawny and crying for food. There was a cat bowl in the kitchen so I thought maybe the hotel didn’t have any food. I went to the nearest servo and tried to find something edible for a cat, after nearly buying spicy tuna (lol) I bought a couple of cans of corned beef for the kitty and took it back to the hotel. He seemed very grateful after being fed and proceeded to lay down licking his paws afterwards. I gave the second can of corned beef to one of the workers and said it was for the cat so I hope he didn’t take it home to eat haha.

It was nearing 9:30am so we checked-out of Canggu Suites (6/10 stay for me – the cat being the extra point) and met Izzi outside with our luggage.
First stop was Royalman Tailor in Seminyak to see if they could custom make a suit for Nathan. The experience here was much better than the first place we went to. They measured Nathan and got him to try on a few different suit colours. We did a bit of bartering on the price at the end and ended up getting 20% off the original price we were quoted which was good. We also ordered suit pants for the groomsmen – they’re just going to get measured and made when the Groomsmen get to Bali in October as we didn’t have their measurements at the time.
Nathan and I were talking about it last night and he was saying even with the 20% discount, we still paid more than what he thinks the suit was worth. As in, even though it was custom-made the price was still high for Bali and we should have bartered a bit more. Oh well! Learning experience I suppose.

After the tailor place, Izzi dropped us off at the Beachwalk Shopping Centre in Kuta. We went here last time we were in Bali and not a crazy amount had changed. Still nice shops but with western prices (as you are shopping at places like H&M, Kate Spade etc…) Also a thing to note, you have to wear a mask in the shopping centre. You also need to download an app before you go to Bali called the PEDULILINDUNGI App. It’s like your ‘check-in’ app they have in New Zealand and Australia where you scan a QR code to enter a premises. The Beachwalk Shopping Centre was the only place on our trip that required it so you won’t be needing it all the time – just good to have. (I also think they require it at the airport)

After briefly browsing the shops (we didn’t really find anything we wanted to buy) we went for a walk past the beach and around Kuta to all the classic Balinese haggling markets we’re used to.

Again, not a lot has changed since we last went in 2014. People are still haggling you to buy things but the vibe is slightly different. As in, it’s definitely a lot less busy and you don’t feel as good to haggle as low as you could go like you used to. Covid-19 hit Bali really hard. They rely heavily on tourism for job opportunities and to keep their economy going. With the boarders being closed, so many shops and restaurants shut down with most Balinese people moving back to their homes and villages, planting vegetables to survive and just sleeping or not eating all day. You can tell they are so grateful to have tourists back and it’s definitely picking up again. If you’re looking at going, try not to be an absolute dick when you buy things from the markets by offering them $5 (IDR50,000) for a pair of shoes. They’re all still trying to make a living (but also don’t spend like $60 on a handbag haha)

After buying all the classic Bingtang singlets and knock-off Nike shoes last time, we weren’t overly keen to load up our suitcases with that kind of stuff again so we didn’t buy much! I bought a couple of small handbags (IDR150,000 – IDR200,000 is a good price) but that’s really it!
I think Nathan may have bought a basketball singlet too.
Oh wait, I nearly forgot my FAVOURITE PURCHASE!! My big white wide brimmed hat. I got it for IDR150,000 (About AUD$15) and I absolutely love it and wore it pretty much the whole trip. Nathan kept saying it made me look like a Gucci wearing socialite on holiday in the Hamptons and that’s exactly the look I was going for. I can’t wait to take it back with me in October HAHA!!

Izzi took us to a few more stores including the Surf Brand outlet store – but again. Nothing tickled my fancy.
It was around 3pm and we’d already gone over the 5 hours I had hired Izzi for so I asked if she could take us to our new accommodation in Ubud. The drive was around 1.5 hours so I gave my Mum a quick facetime call on the way to pass the time.

When we arrived at Udaya Resort & Spa, I was in a bit of a rush as I had pre-booked Nathan and I a couples massage for 4:30pm at the Kaveri Spa (The spa at the resort) and we arrived at 4:15pm so we were cutting it a little fine.
After paying Izzi ($70 in the end as we had gone over our time) we tried checking-in to Udaya Resort. Unfortunately the Credit Card I was using wasn’t the same card as the one I had previously paid with so they had to re-charge me for the room and said they would refund me my previous payment. I’m still waiting on the refund and it’s been a week so fingers crossed I receive it!! Good thing to note, make sure the card you used to pay is the one you bring the Bali. Unfortunately my old one was scammed so I had to get a new one.

After being shown to our room – thankfully right next to the spa, we made it to our appointment just in time. We were booked in for a couple’s 90 minute deep tissue massage. We got to choose our oil before the treatment (Orange, Lemongrass or Lavender) then were taken to a room for a foot soak and scrub before the treatment – very relaxing!

Unfortunately, I didn’t rate the massage. Luckily I wasn’t stressed because if I was it would have stressed me out more. The massage definitely wasn’t a deep tissue massage, the pressure was far too weak and the whole massage routine was boring. I know that’s such a weird thing to say, but after being a Beauty Therapist and actually DOING massages, I’m a little bit of a critic when I receive one. This one didn’t flow very well and was quite repetitive. I did say at one point “You can go harder if you like” which is the nice Kiwi way of saying “Can you please go harder” but I actually don’t know if she could because I could feel her arms shaking when she tried going deeper. Disappointing!! Nathan said his one was good though so I really think it’s down to who you get. I really just think she was new and hadn’t been working there for very long.

After our massages, we went to our room and got ready for dinner. Our room was lovely! Albeit a bit dark (I think the resorts try and do a relaxation vibe with less lights but it makes it very hard to do make up)
I had booked us a Pool Suite which was a 100sqm room with private pool next to the tropical jungle which was nice and relaxing.

Similar to these pictures I stole off the website

Again, I had already chosen where to go for dinner before we even got to Bali! (I had a whole list of places to try I’d written down in my phone) and I’m so glad I did because we ate at some really great places.
This particular night, we went to Ely’s Kitchen in Ubud. I saw on their website they do High Tea and Romantic Private Dinners but we just went for a standard sit-down dinner for two 🙂 We didn’t book ahead of time but I probably would if you had a large party of people as I think a few people had reservations. We were seated outside upstairs and thankfully they gave me some mosquito repellent otherwise I would have been one large insect bite by the end of the night.
Nathan ordered the Iga Baba which was Caramelized Pork Ribs with BBQ Sauce, vegetables and rice. I got a Balinese Chicken Curry (to share with Nathan) and Flower Jack Salad which was Spiced Cauliflower, crispy jackfruit, potato and onion.

Terrible picture I know but I didn’t take any others – woops!

All of the food was really good! The service was great too and the whole ambience of the place was lovely. They had an acoustic singer singing some songs and Nathan and I commented a few times on how nice his voice sounded. When we left, we ended up asking the staff for his name so we could add him on Instagram to see if he could play at our wedding 😀 haha!! He did actually respond to my request and said he would so that worked out well 🙂 I thought it would be a nice touch at the wedding for when guests arrive and we’re having dinner etc.

After getting a Gojek back to Udaya Resort, it was off to bed!

Next Post: Tour of Ubud – we finally got some nice photos!

Cancun – Tuesday 23rd July 2019

Tuesday

Believe it or not I actually woke up to my alarm this morning and got out of bed. I had the most wonderful sleep last night! Whenever I sleep at hotels I fall in love with the pillows 😍 I wish I could take them home with me!! Or at least know where to buy them from for my own bed at home 💛

It was a quick shower & dress before Nathan and I headed downstairs at Panama Jack Cancun for the buffet breakfast. We were heading to the gym afterwards so I stuck with some light fruit and yogurt (I know – who even am I) while Nathan of course had eggs, bacon, hashbrowns, sausages etc..

The gym at the resort was pretty good. It had the usual treadmills, weights, machines etc – way better than some hotels I’ve been to, however it was so hot! It was definitely cooler than outside as it was like 30° outside, but way too warm for a gym. I had to keep using the paper towels to wipe my face as I was sweating so much. Nathan and I lasted about 40 minutes before we quickly went back to our room so we could shower.

Check-out wasn’t until 12pm but we packed up our bags around 10am so we could check-out and head to Hyatt Ziva for the rest of our stay in Cancun.

The hotel kindly organized us a taxi to take us for the 5 minute drive down the road however we were completely ripped off. When it came to pay, we asked the driver how much we owe and he said “10”. I was like “Pesos?” And he saw we had USD as Nathan had opened up his wallet and was like “oh, no dollars”

Before I could even say anything Nathan gave him USD$10 🤦‍♀️. Oh well 🙄

Our check-in with Hyatt Ziva was smooth and breezy. We were treated with champagne on arrival and taken to the Adults Only tower for a private check-in. Our room wasn’t quite ready as we were there pretty early so we headed downstairs to the buffet for (you guessed it) our second breakfast of the day. I ate an omlette and some toast but I didn’t go overboard as i didn’t feel like sinking in the pool today 😂

As we had walked around the whole resort before breakfast, we were super hot and sweaty so I smashed back our food pretty fast. Luckily I was already dressed in my togs so we headed to the pool pretty quick. Unfortunately every man and their friend had reserved a cabana or sun lounger with a towel so we couldn’t find anywhere to relax and put our stuff. People must get there pretty early in the morning because there definitely weren’t as many people in the pool then there were reserved sun loungers.

Anyways, it didn’t matter too much. I found a place for my handbag and chucked some towels over it and hoped it wouldn’t get stolen as I had my wallet and phones in it 😥

The water was refreshing and the drinks were great! I’m currently in the process of working my way through the cocktail menu. I think I’m about 6 or 7 cocktails through out of about 20. 🤤

Half way through our swim, I saw they were doing aqua aerobics so I decided to join in! It may have been the alcohol talking but i had a great time splashing around the pool and running through the water. Nathan of course did not join in and instead decided to film me and drink from the sidelines. I don’t think you can really see me in the video below but I’m bopping around there somewhere.

We relaxed in the pool until about 3pm and our hands had turned wrinkly. I was worried I was going to get sunburnt because our sunscreen was in our suitcase which we’d given to the bell boy so I was trying to alternate between shade and sun for the afternoon. However I was right in being worried because now as I type this I’m lying in bed with very red shoulders and a burnt nose. I hateeee getting sunburnt on my face. I use Retinol & stuff on my face too so it gets sunburnt really quick 😖

Anyways, we thought our room must be ready by now so we headed to the adults only tower and met with our Butler who showed us to our room. He took us to our room and it’s so nice! We’re on the 8th floor so we have really nice views of the ocean, plus we have a jacuzzi hot tub on the balcony!

Our butler very kindly showed us where everything was and told us all the amenities included in our stay (private access to rooftop infinity pool, private elevator to the spa, complimentary hydrotherapy circuit etc) he also showed us these cool tablets in our room where we can order 24 hour room service, choose our pillows, choose our essence for the room (I chose a lime scent) etc…I did also order some aromatic pillows but they didn’t deliever them. I’m not 100% sure it went through correctly on the tablet though so maybe I did something wrong 🤷‍♀️

He also offered us a bottle of spirits to have during our stay or take home as a gift. We chose Vodka but I have no idea if we’ll even drink it or not Haha 😂 there’s so much alcohol here that we’ll probably just take it home.

We were all chlorinated from the pool so we both had showers and I tidied myself up a bit so we could go and eat. (And by this I mean putting make up on and doing my hair so Nathan didn’t feel like he took a homeless person on holiday haha) By this stage it was around 4pm so we went to Chevy’s diner downstairs and had some appetizers to tide Nathan over until Dinner time.

We thought we’d check out the rooftop infinity pool and grab a drink from there too. Looking back, I don’t think we actually even went in the pool, we just lounged on a Bali bed and talked for about an hour.

The sun was beginning to set so we headed down to the beach and took a few photos. It was so beautiful! There was a couple having a dinner on the little pier too which looked really romantic.

Dinner was calling after the beach so we walked around a few of the restaurants until we decided on eating at the buffet. (I promised myself that we wouldn’t eat here for dinner but they were having a Brazilian steakhouse night and Nathan insisted)

We were pretty full after the Buffet so we only had 1 dinner tonight (not the 2 that was expected of us) however I did manage to squeeze in a couple of treats from the desert parlour after playing a couple rounds of pool with Nathan 😋

Now I’m In bed, Nathan is kicking me to turn my light off and go to sleep because he’s trying to sleep 🙄 you’d think he has work or something tomorrow from the way he’d acting.

Tomorrow we may check out the Sister resort Hyatt Zilara or do the hydrotherapy circuit at the Spa who knows!🤷‍♀️ I will update tomorrow 🤗

Ciao xo

Hotel Review – Atelier Hotel – Playa Mujeres (All Inclusive)

This is a first-impression review of Atelier Hotel Playa Mujeres.
I personally have not stayed as a guest at this resort (as I visited in April 19′ and it was opening in May 19′) but I did attend a site visit and had the opportunity check out the whole resort.

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Lobby Area

Let me just say, from what i’ve seen, I know this all-inclusive Cancun resort is going to be a hit!

Let me tell you why….
The Atelier Hotel in Playa Mujeres focuses on Mexican contemporary art. When you walk around the resort, you’ll find everything is made by Mexican Artists. They even have a gallery with paintings up to $1,000,000!
The suites have beautiful designs, luxurious amenities and ample space. I found the look of the rooms very ‘in’ right now – kind of what you’d find in an Interior Design magazine with marble/wood accents and avant-garde style furniture.

Rooms

20190411_1146036380072939876741190.jpgAt the Atelier there are 421 Suites, however they are currently building another hotel next door called ‘EStudio’ which will bring the combined total of rooms at both resorts to 600.

The Atelier is focused on guests ages 16+ whereas Estudio is all ages. Anyone staying at  EStudio can visit The Atelier as long as they’re over 16 years of age.

Room categories are as below

  • JUNIOR SUITE – KING

  • JUNIOR SUITE – 2 DOUBLE
  • HANDICAP JUNIOR SUITE
  • JUNIOR SUITE OCEAN VIEW – KING

  • JUNIOR SUITE OCEAN VIEW – 2 DOUBLE
  • HANDICAP JUNIOR SUITE OCEAN VIEW

  • JUNIOR SUITE SWIM OUT – KING

  • JUNIOR SUITE SWIM OUT – 2 DOUBLE

  • ROOFTOP SUITE

The first room I got to view was one of the Junior Suites. All Junior Suites come with either a King Bed or Two Queen beds. Either room also has a Golf course view or an Ocean view. If you really want an Ocean View though, you’re best booking a guaranteed ‘Ocean View’ room so you’re not disappointed.
Another good thing about the Junior Suites (or any of the rooms for that matter) is that the hotel can guarantee you two Queen Beds or one King Bed. This is great if you’re traveling with friends and want separate beds or you’re traveling as a couple and you want a guaranteed King Bed to share.20190411_1148509171055764258835914.jpg

I feel my pictures don’t really do the room justice so I’ve shown a picture below of the Junior Suites off the Atelier Website.

As soon as I walked into the room, I could smell the woodsy scent mixed with a beautiful blend of aromatherapy – it really makes you feel like you’re on holiday as you’re instantly relaxed!
The rooms also come with a cute little beach bag to carry your towels in which is a nice touch.

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If you’re traveling as a family, the sofa in the Junior Suites can be converted into a bed. Or, if you’d prefer; you can always select a room with two queen beds. I actually prefer that option as I find it nice to have your couch available to sit on.

As part of the ATELIER Artist Service® Experience guests can enjoy the below in their rooms:

  • Total-Rest Beds®, to ensure a revitalizing and invigorating rest, complemented with pillow menu and top-quality bed sheets.
  • Chill-out Bath®, luxurious bathroom with two sinks and tub, rain shower with marble accents, Molton Brown® bath amenities, vanity mirrors and bath robes.
  • Bar with water and refreshing drinks, beers, tea and coffee, daily restocked.
  • 24-Hour Room Service Menu available during all stay.
  • Pool Concierge with towel assistance.
  • High-Speed Wi-fi throughout the resort.

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The next room I viewed was one of the Swim-Out suites.
(Again, you can choose if you want one King bed or two Queen beds)
The swim-out Suites feature a cozy working space like the normal Junior Suites however the rooms are slightly bigger at 1,097 sq ft and have a view of the Garden or the pool. You’ve also got your own semi-private swimming lane. A perfect option for guests seeking ultimate comfort.
Another thing to note is that all Ground-Level rooms are swim-out suites. If you have a disability and would prefer a lower level floor, the hotel unfortunately doesn’t have any standard junior suites but they do have elevators and handicap Junior Suites available which you can book.

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The third room I had a chance to view was definitely the best room at the hotel – The Rooftop Master Suite!
From here, you have the best views of the Ocean, Golf course and the Swimming Pool. This luxurious room has a spacious working station (if you like to do work on holiday 😉 ), a stunning Mexican decor, an indulgent signature bed, indoors stairs with access to a private rooftop terrace which also features a hot tub, shower, half bath and a pergola bed.

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Watch my short video below to see the views from the Rooftop Suite.

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Another point of difference that the Atelier has that I’ve never come across before is their Hotel App options. On the day of your arrival, you can check-in to your room and just pick up a resort bracelet from reception which has your room key attached OR you can open your room with your smart phone – no key card needed!
If you’re booked in a junior suite you can also choose the room that you want through the app. It basically gives you a list of the rooms available and their location and you can choose where you want to be the day of check-in, great if you like to be close to the pool or the restaurants.

Food

As I visited The Atelier before it had officially opened, not all the restaurants were completed. I also didn’t get to try the food 😦 but I’m absolutely dying to go back because if it’s anything like the rest of the property I’m sure it’ll be fantastic!
There’s 8 Restaurants and 8 Bars available. All food and drinks are included apart from the Mexican Specialty Restaurant which is an extra cost.

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EL SUSPIRO
Restaurant featuring a mesmerizing ocean view. During breakfast time serves a great assortment of international dishes, and seafood with a Peruvian touch is part of the main course for lunch.

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International buffet during breakfast.
 Seafood a la carte during the afternoon.
 Breakfast 6:30 am to 11:00 pm | Lunch 11:30 am to 5:00 pm.
 Dress code: Casual
 Reservation not required

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TAKESHI
Contemporary Asian cuisine.
 A la Carte.
 6:00 pm to 11:30 pm.
 Dress code: Relaxed chic.
 Reservation is required.

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Authentic Italian cuisine.
 A la Carte.
 Lunch 11:30 am to 5:00 pm | Dinner 6:00 pm to 11:30 pm.
 Dress code: Relaxed chic.
 Reservation not required.

Golf

The golf course is approximately three minutes away from the hotel lobby and if you’ve reserved an INSPIRA Suite category you get extra amenities such as eight complimentary green fees and unlimited use of practice holes on game day. (The number of complimentary rounds of golf vary depending on the room category reserved and apply for stays of 5 nights or more)

Pool/Beach

The pool here is really spacious, plus I loved how the Pool was super close to the beach!
I’m more of a pool person whereas my boyfriend loves the beach so I could totally see us staying here in the future and switching it up between each area without having to walk miles.
And of course, no good resort isn’t complete without a swim-up bar!

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Yay! Pool food. I hate being at the pool and then having to pack up all my stuff just to go and get food.

Conclusion

Rooms, Staff & Layout I really couldn’t fault. Restaurants were not up and running when I visited but the reviews I’ve read online since it’s opened are outstanding.
If you enjoy a massive resort where you travel everywhere by golf cart or want a crazy party time in Cancun than this resort probably isn’t for you. I would defintaly say the vibe is more intimate, focused mainly on Couples, Friends, Honeymooners, Wedding Groups and families with older children.

If you have stayed here since I wrote this post, let me know what you thought of it in the comments. As I’m a travel agent I’m always looking for feedback on the properties I sell.  I’ll try and update this with reviews when I can!