Chic Locations https://chiclocations.com CHIC Locations – Tour Operator & Travel Specialist Fri, 21 Feb 2020 11:36:00 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=5.3.2 https://chiclocations.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/04/cropped-ChicLogoMobile-32x32.png Chic Locations https://chiclocations.com 32 32 Coronavirus – Updates – Feb 2020 https://chiclocations.com/coronavirus-updates/ https://chiclocations.com/coronavirus-updates/#respond Wed, 12 Feb 2020 10:22:20 +0000 https://chiclocations.com/?p=73968 The post Coronavirus – Updates – Feb 2020 appeared first on Chic Locations.

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Coronavirus – Updates

The situation regarding the Coronavirus* originating in China is causing concern. It is constantly changing almost by the day.

Whilst Chic Locations does not feature any arrangements to China, we do include many of the countries within South East Asia where there are now confirmed cases, just as there  around the world including Europe and North America.

We are monitoring the situation several times daily taking advice from our local agents and hotels as well as non-travel  friends residing within the region. Plus of course keeping in touch with the UK Foreign Office with their regularly updated travel advice.

Foreign Travel Advice – GOV.UK.

For additional information on the virus you might find the World Health Organisation website of interest – www.who.int

 

We are not changing any arrangements at this stage based on the information received – other than short term itineraries involving Hong Kong. However, should you wish to discuss any specific concerns please call or contact David at Chic. david@chiclocations.com.

Please note we are not medically qualified so we are unable to voice any assurance or opinion on the virus, other than what we have heard or read.

Some of the figures flashing across our screens are alarming. Just to put things into some perspective, the population of China is just over 1.4 billion. The UK by comparison is about 73 million. The epicentre of the virus in China is Wuhan in Hubei Province, and this area alone has a population of 20 million plus. We are talking huge numbers of people here! In the USA  in 2017, over a million people were  hospitalised and almost 80,000 people died of flu related illness during a severe winter. In the UK it is around 7,000 fatalities annually, although in 2008/9 this rose to 13,000, again as a result of extreme winter conditions.  

None of this minimises the present situation, which is truly tragic on so many levels. We are just trying to put some scale into the figures. Although the virus has spread around the world, which is inevitably realistic, over 90% plus of the cases reported are still within China. Of the fatalities outside of China  less than 10 have been reported. In most cases, it has been an elderly person with a prolonged history of respiratory problems. Any death is tragic and should not  be trivialised but all seem to have had pre-existing respiratory issues so would have been at risk with any form of flu virus.

*Please note – As from 13 February the name of the virus is changed and will be known as Covid-19. Also please note this is a totally separate virus to Norovirus which seems to be affecting many of the cruise ships in both the Mediterranean  and Caribbean.  

If you are returning to the UK after travel to one of the virus related areas (and this could be many parts of Europe and North America as well as Far East & South East Asia) please call (NHS) 111 which is the dedicated help number or call your GP if you begin to feel unwell or are concerned. This is a UK Government suggestion.

DK

21/02/20

"There's no such thing as the best hotel, just the right one..."

 

Click for Booking Terms, Price Guides & Flight Information

All price guides are Per Person Sharing Double Room (Entry level), based on travel between May and/or June when prices are generally at their lowest and include promotional offers.

Supplements will probably apply at other times, particularly mid-summer in the Med, and for rooms and/or transfers arranged for single travellers.

For example, the Caribbean and Indian Ocean prices for winter can be approximately double the May - June level and about 50% more in Asia.

For the Mediterranean & Canary IslandsCaribbeanArabia and the Indian Ocean (except Sri Lanka) price guides generally include airfare and transfers.

*For Sri Lanka and Far East we show a per person per night hotel guide, excluding air fare, as arrangements tend to be individually tailored multi-centre itineraries.

Please refer to Travel Advice on our home page or look at www.fco.gov.uk as the Foreign Office may have issued specific destination information on safety and terrorism.

 

Click for our CHIC Locations Booking Terms & Conditions PDF

All of the holidays arranged by Chic Locations are fully bonded for your financial protection, with our
ABTA bond securing accommodation/land only holidays, and our ATOL licence (number 6389) protecting air inclusive holidays.

Contact a Chic Travel Specialist Today!

Call +44 (0)208 944 1973

Chic Locations

The Luxury Boutique

Tour Operator

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Tourist Arrested for Wearing Bikini in the Maldives – The facts behind the headlines https://chiclocations.com/tourist-arrested-for-wearing-bikini-in-the-maldives/ https://chiclocations.com/tourist-arrested-for-wearing-bikini-in-the-maldives/#respond Mon, 10 Feb 2020 10:22:20 +0000 https://chiclocations.com/?p=73939 A western tourist was arrested recently in the Maldives, allegedly for wearing a bikini. It made dramatic headline news around Europe. So let’s look beyond the headline a little.

The post Tourist Arrested for Wearing Bikini in the Maldives – The facts behind the headlines appeared first on Chic Locations.

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Tourist arrested for wearing bikini in the Maldives – The facts behind the headlines

A western tourist was arrested recently in the Maldives, allegedly for wearing a bikini. It made dramatic headline news around Europe. So let’s look beyond the headline a little.

The tourist, who it seems was British and apparently a UK Government advisor (capacity unknown), was staying on the island of Maafushi, which is located about 16 miles south of the capital island Male. Unlike many of the islands in the Maldives, which are exclusively for tourists and tend to be single resort, Maafushi has a local population of around 3,000. It has no international hotels, however, it does have over 50 simple guest houses.

These were encouraged by the Maldives Government , in an attempt to diversify their tourism and to give opportunities for  more  of the local population  to be involved.

 

It also opens up a different pricing level. Plus there could be clients who deliberately shun the exclusive resort island and want something which is much more simple and authentic. By choosing this style  of holiday any traveller realistically accepts local standards on dress etiquette and traditions. This happens throughout the world and not just in the Maldives.

Yes, the island police could have been heavy handed in dealing with this matter, following complaints from some of the local population. The tourist was seemingly released after a few hours and then moved to another island before flying home.

 Lessons learnt are several. The Maldives Government maybe needs to be more specific when promoting this type of holiday. Also overseas clients travelling to any area need to be respectful to local traditions, and this particularly applies when “homestay“ type accommodation has been selected.

 Just as an aside on this , all of the holidays offered by Chic Locations in the Maldives are to exclusive resort islands where bikini type swimwear is accepted. Although it is expected, this will be suitably modest rather than heart attack inducing!  Day visits to locally inhabited islands can be arranged depending on atoll location.

"There's no such thing as the best hotel, just the right one..."

 

Click for Booking Terms, Price Guides & Flight Information

All price guides are Per Person Sharing Double Room (Entry level), based on travel between May and/or June when prices are generally at their lowest and include promotional offers.

Supplements will probably apply at other times, particularly mid-summer in the Med, and for rooms and/or transfers arranged for single travellers.

For example, the Caribbean and Indian Ocean prices for winter can be approximately double the May - June level and about 50% more in Asia.

For the Mediterranean & Canary IslandsCaribbeanArabia and the Indian Ocean (except Sri Lanka) price guides generally include airfare and transfers.

*For Sri Lanka and Far East we show a per person per night hotel guide, excluding air fare, as arrangements tend to be individually tailored multi-centre itineraries.

Please refer to Travel Advice on our home page or look at www.fco.gov.uk as the Foreign Office may have issued specific destination information on safety and terrorism.

 

Click for our CHIC Locations Booking Terms & Conditions PDF

All of the holidays arranged by Chic Locations are fully bonded for your financial protection, with our
ABTA bond securing accommodation/land only holidays, and our ATOL licence (number 6389) protecting air inclusive holidays.

Contact a Chic Travel Specialist Today!

Call +44 (0)208 944 1973

Chic Locations

The Luxury Boutique

Tour Operator

The post Tourist Arrested for Wearing Bikini in the Maldives – The facts behind the headlines appeared first on Chic Locations.

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The Pros and Cons of Instant Purchase Deals https://chiclocations.com/the-pros-and-cons-of-instant-purchase-deals/ https://chiclocations.com/the-pros-and-cons-of-instant-purchase-deals/#respond Mon, 03 Feb 2020 10:22:20 +0000 https://chiclocations.com/?p=73958 The post The Pros and Cons of Instant Purchase Deals appeared first on Chic Locations.

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The Pros and Cons of Instant Purchase Deals

Something that now frequently comes are Instant purchase offers made by both airlines and hotels. As this is a relatively new concept, David from Chic thought it might be an idea to clarify what the offers mean and the general conditions.

Q . What does instant purchase mean ? 

A . Essentially the price you see has to be booked instantly with generally full payment made. Once the payment has been made no changes, even little ones, are allowed. So no date/ name / stay changes. Conditions might vary slightly depending on the hotel or airlines, but generally these prices are set by faceless yield controllers who take delight in their shield of anonymity. Things we might think make sense like adding extra people / nights or even a change of initial all seem to fall on deaf ears. In many cases the discounted price is actually funded by those who have to change and forfeit their monies paid in full. 

Q. What deposit will Chic expect at time of booking these deals ? 

A. It will be full total payment of the hotel and / or airline cost at the time of booking. 

Q . Are they good value ? 

A. Yes or No. It is usual the saving against a more flexible rate are around 15%, so certainly worth considering. However, you have to be confident your circumstances will not change in any way. Once booked any refund is highly unlikely, and remember your insurance policy will have specific conditions on things you can or cannot claim for. 

Q . Would anyone at Chic consider using these offers?

A . Yes if I were travelling within two / three weeks and could be reasonably confident there will be no changes to my plans. Personally, I would be much less sure about their value if I were travelling 4/5 months plus in advance. So much of life is unpredictable. At the end of the day, the decision is yours, you will know more about your lifestyle than anyone else. Yes the savings are considerable, but there is a risk. 

We hope you find this of assistance, but any queries or additional questions, just contact David at Chic.

"There's no such thing as the best hotel, just the right one..."

 

Click for Booking Terms, Price Guides & Flight Information

All price guides are Per Person Sharing Double Room (Entry level), based on travel between May and/or June when prices are generally at their lowest and include promotional offers.

Supplements will probably apply at other times, particularly mid-summer in the Med, and for rooms and/or transfers arranged for single travellers.

For example, the Caribbean and Indian Ocean prices for winter can be approximately double the May - June level and about 50% more in Asia.

For the Mediterranean & Canary IslandsCaribbeanArabia and the Indian Ocean (except Sri Lanka) price guides generally include airfare and transfers.

*For Sri Lanka and Far East we show a per person per night hotel guide, excluding air fare, as arrangements tend to be individually tailored multi-centre itineraries.

Please refer to Travel Advice on our home page or look at www.fco.gov.uk as the Foreign Office may have issued specific destination information on safety and terrorism.

 

Click for our CHIC Locations Booking Terms & Conditions PDF

All of the holidays arranged by Chic Locations are fully bonded for your financial protection, with our
ABTA bond securing accommodation/land only holidays, and our ATOL licence (number 6389) protecting air inclusive holidays.

Contact a Chic Travel Specialist Today!

Call +44 (0)208 944 1973

Chic Locations

The Luxury Boutique

Tour Operator

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+ About Bagan, Burma https://chiclocations.com/about-bagan-burma/ https://chiclocations.com/about-bagan-burma/#respond Sat, 18 Jan 2020 01:19:34 +0000 https://revodevo.wpengine.com/?p=72704 The post + About Bagan, Burma appeared first on Chic Locations.

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Bagan is a totally captivating and truly magical destination, with spiritual architecture and arid, natural landscapes…

 

Beautiful, in a jaw-dropping kind of way. A must on any tour to Burma.

Bagan is home to one of the richest archaeological sites in Asia – probably the world – covering 42 sq kilometres of ruins. It is claimed that at one stage there were over 10,000 temples, pagodas, and stupas, of which now just close to 3000 remain intact.  That covers 911 temples, 834 stupas or pagodas, 431 brick monasteries, 54 ordination halls and 892 still be excavated!

And just for your information, a stupa is solid and small, usually white. A pagoda is larger, hollow and you can climb up on the outside. Temples you can explore, both interior and exterior.

Bagan is also the start, or end, of many cruise journeys on the Irrawaddy River (also spelt Ayeyarwaddy) to Mandalay.

The most popular time to travel tends to be November to March when the days are bright and sunny. Ideal for sightseeing. It is also the busiest time, so the sites can be crowded. April to June sees the temperatures soar, frequently moving into the mid ’40s. Less crowds, but it’s a very hot dry period. July to October sees the rainy months with heavy showers, although less dramatic than in other parts of Burma.

As with all religious sites in Burma, socks and shoes should be removed when visiting. This might make climbing the numerous steps to the temple tops difficult, but there is a viewing tower for those less agile.

There are obviously so many temples or pagodas to visit, but Ananda is probably the most beautiful inside and out . It is like a museum, with intricate stone carvings as well as a golden temple).

The views from the top of Shwesandaw and Pyathada temples are just incredible. Also worth visiting are That Byinnya, the highest and beautiful from far away, and Dhamayangyi which is the biggest and has the most detailed brickwork. Amazing when you think it was constructed in 1165 AD.

 

Hot Air Balloon Rides over Bagan would be an exceptional, never forgotten experience!

 

Also, make time to visit some of the adjacent rural villages. Hot Air Balloon rides would be an exceptional, never forgotten experience. They are usually available November to mid-March only, although some operate to mid-April depending on weather conditions. Prices start at around US$350 pp for a 45-minute ride. Expensive, yes, but a once in a lifetime experience.

If you are not taking a 3 or 4 day cruise, we also suggest a one-hour sunset trip on the river which offers a different perspective.

Also worth considering would be a tour of the temples and stupas by horse-drawn cart, maybe not for the whole day but an hour or two will give you some idea of the vast area.

 

 

Our Suggested Hotels in Bagan (see footnote)

 

The Hotel@Thrabar Gate

83 rooms and suites. Set within old Bagan, just 5 minutes’ walk to the Ananda temple. You are literally surrounded by hundreds of temples and pagodas. Traditional low rise accommodation, with teak floors and Burmese furniture. Attractive gardens, restaurant and swimming pool. Charming and rather stylish, in a deliberately understated manner. The airport is 25 minutes. (see footnote on Bagan Hotels)

Nightly rate per person £88 May to October

£108 November to March

Auream Palace Resort

 

114 deluxe rooms and free-standing villas, some with their own plunge pool. One of the most luxurious and opulent in Burma. ( see footnote )  Incredible location in the heart of the archaeological area, a 27-acre tropical estate with lush gardens. Facilities include a huge main pool plus additional pool close to the deluxe rooms, several restaurants, impressive spa. Viewing tower adjacent. The airport is 15 minutes away.

Nightly rates per person £118 May to October

£148 November to March

Bagan Hotels Overview

 

Our two suggested hotels are rated amongst the best in rural Burma. In terms of design and overall standards, we think you will be pleased.  In common with all hotels, once outside the larger cities, prices can be high, simply because demand outstrips supply, and this can be reflected in incidentals. Wi-fi is not a Bagan speciality, no matter what level hotel you book.

Command of English is also limited. We think that is rather charming, although, at times, it can be aggravating. Also,  Burmese beds are built for straight, hardbacks, so not for everyone.

Don’t let any of this put you off. Bagan is one of the wonders of the world, in our opinion, and has to be seen.

Other hotels we frequently use are The Bagan, Thande, Ayeyar and Bagan Lodge

Other Hotels & Tours in Bagan, Burma

"There's no such thing as the best hotel, just the right one..."

 

Click for Booking Terms, Price Guides & Flight Information

All price guides are Per Person Sharing Double Room (Entry level), based on travel between May and/or June when prices are generally at their lowest and include promotional offers.

Supplements will probably apply at other times, particularly mid-summer in the Med, and for rooms and/or transfers arranged for single travellers.

For example, the Caribbean and Indian Ocean prices for winter can be approximately double the May - June level and about 50% more in Asia.

For the Mediterranean & Canary IslandsCaribbeanArabia and the Indian Ocean (except Sri Lanka) price guides generally include airfare and transfers.

*For Sri Lanka and Far East we show a per person per night hotel guide, excluding air fare, as arrangements tend to be individually tailored multi-centre itineraries.

Please refer to Travel Advice on our home page or look at www.fco.gov.uk as the Foreign Office may have issued specific destination information on safety and terrorism.

 

Click for our CHIC Locations Booking Terms & Conditions PDF

All of the holidays arranged by Chic Locations are fully bonded for your financial protection, with our
ABTA bond securing accommodation/land only holidays, and our ATOL licence (number 6389) protecting air inclusive holidays.

Contact a Chic Travel Specialist Today!

Call +44 (0)208 944 1973

Chic Locations

The Luxury Boutique

Tour Operator

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+ About The Gulf of Siam Resorts https://chiclocations.com/about-the-gulf-of-siam-resorts/ https://chiclocations.com/about-the-gulf-of-siam-resorts/#respond Wed, 15 Jan 2020 04:00:07 +0000 https://revodevo.wpengine.com/?p=72632 Located on the west coast of the Gulf of Siam, just over 2 hours drive south of Bangkok. For years they have been the aspirational centre for affluent Thai families who have holiday homes in the area. The two resorts run into each other along the coast, with Hua Hin the more developed with many hotels and in particular high rise condominiums.

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Hua Hin | Koh Samui | Koh Phangan | Koh Tao | Koh Kood

Quick Facts

Hua Hin – Located on the west coast of the Gulf of Siam, just over 2 hours drive south of Bangkok. For years it has been the aspirational centre for affluent Thai families who have holiday homes in the area. Hua Hin is developed with many hotels, villas and in particular high rise condominiums. In many ways, it looks more Gold Coast or Miami Beach than Thailand. Clients like the easy road access from Bangkok, the improved restaurant scene and the golfing options. It would not be our version of tropical paradise, but the hotel quality is good and very well priced, especially if you avoid weekends.

Koh Samed is located on the opposite east coast of the Gulf of Siam, 90 minutes south of Bangkok Airport and then a 30-minute speedboat ride. Much less developed than Hua Hin, Samed celebrated its first tarmac road in 2015! But the beaches are glorious  (see image above), almost Indian Ocean style. It only has 7 hotels, owned by the same family, with 5 geared to the regional market or low cost and the other two, Le Vimarn and particularly Paradee, catering for a more upscale worldwide clientele. The island is lush, wonderfully tropical, with just one area, Sai Kao where you have restaurant options and quite a few tacky bars.

Koh Kood is the furthest south of the Thai islands, almost located on the border with Cambodia. The 5th largest island, but with one of the smallest populations. Stunning beaches, dense forests, waterfalls, little villages and just a few international hotels. As of 2018, it had a police population of three, one hospital with two doctors, one ATM, no 7-Elevens. The most famous is Soneva Kiri, one of the most luxurious resorts in the entire region. With Soneva you usually arrive by charter straight from Bangkok, 90 minutes flight. For other hotels, you fly to Trat, one hour and then 45 minutes to ferry point and then 50 minutes ferry to resort. Totally magical, providing shopping and nightlife are not high on your priority.

Weatherwise

Generally at their best December to May, although you do not get the seasonal extremes of the islands like Samui and Phuket. In the summer you might have some increased rainfall and humidity, but days without sun are rare. Jellyfish can occasionally be seen in midsummer.

 

Pleasures

We might not have said this a few years back, but Hua Hin, in particular, has improved with tourism development. There are now many more restaurant and shopping options, as well as hotel choice. The beaches are good, albeit without the sense of the tropics found in Phuket or Samui. This area has the most Golf Courses in Thailand, so if you want to play around you have so many options. An interesting tour can be to visit the Hua Hin Winery, just 45 minutes drive inland and you can actually tour the vines on elephants! – and the setting is really quite unique and the red wine surprisingly good.

Koh Samed is tropical, essentially it is beaches and relaxation, with the Sai Keow area having some nightlife and restaurant options. Our two hotels are rated as the best on the island, but there is not a lot of competition.

 

Realities

They can be busy at weekends/public holidays when transfers can take longer.

Hotels & Resorts in The Gulf of Siam Resort

“There’s no such thing as the best hotel, just the right one…”

 

Click for Booking Terms, Price Guides & Flight Information

All price guides are Per Person Sharing Double Room (Entry level), based on travel between May and/or June when prices are generally at their lowest and include promotional offers.

Supplements will probably apply at other times, particularly mid-summer in the Med, and for rooms and/or transfers arranged for single travellers.

For example, the Caribbean and Indian Ocean prices for winter can be approximately double the May – June level and about 50% more in Asia.

For the Mediterranean & Canary IslandsCaribbeanArabia and the Indian Ocean (except Sri Lanka) price guides generally include airfare and transfers.

*For Sri Lanka and Far East we show a per person per night hotel guide, excluding air fare, as arrangements tend to be individually tailored multi-centre itineraries.

Please refer to Travel Advice on our home page or look at www.fco.gov.uk as the Foreign Office may have issued specific destination information on safety and terrorism.

 

Click for our CHIC Locations Booking Terms & Conditions PDF

All of the holidays arranged by Chic Locations are fully bonded for your financial protection, with our
ABTA bond securing accommodation/land only holidays, and our ATOL licence (number 6389) protecting air inclusive holidays.

Contact a Chic Travel Specialist Today!

Call +44 (0)208 944 1973

Click Here to Email Us

Chic Locations

The Luxury Boutique

Tour Operator

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+ About Samui & Neighbouring Resorts https://chiclocations.com/about-samui-neighbouring-resorts/ https://chiclocations.com/about-samui-neighbouring-resorts/#respond Wed, 15 Jan 2020 00:16:33 +0000 https://revodevo.wpengine.com/?p=72575 Samui – Good, highly innovative hotels and some excellent dining options. The majority of the development has occurred in the north-west area of the island and the more expansive beaches.

Phangan, Koh Tao and Khanom are much less developed, it is like going back 30 years in time, with just a handful of hotels, and offers a true sense of adventure.

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Koh Samui is probably the best known and developed. A totally tropical island with three spectacular beaches and many other small coves. Flying time from Bangkok is 65 minutes or from KL 95 minutes.

Koh Phangan is a 30-minute speedboat ride from Samui, much quieter options with some great beach options, real hide and chic retreats.

Koh Tao is wonderfully tropical, 2 hours by ferry from Samui – even less developed with a rather hippy vibe and just a couple of rather funky chilled out hotels.

Khanom is located on the mainland, facing Samui, and you fly into Surat Thani (75 minutes from Bangkok) and then a one-hour road transfer.

Weatherwise

All are generally at their best March to September, although being lush and very tropical rain can fall throughout the year. December to February can see also some beach erosion and higher sea swells.

Pleasures

Samui – Good, highly innovative hotels and some excellent dining options. The majority of the development has occurred in the north-west area of the island, closest to the airport and the more expansive beaches. Chaweng is the most popular and crowded beach, with many restaurant and bar options. Mae Nam and BoPhut are equally good beaches but with fewer crowds and a more family/romance focus. On the west and south coasts, it is still wonderfully real and authentic although the beaches are less attractive. It is easy to explore, plus you can easily visit some of the offshore islands.

Phangan, Koh Tao and Khanom are much less developed, it is like going back 30 years in time, with just a handful of hotels, and offers a true sense of adventure. The beaches at Khanom are incredible, some of the very best in the region and totally unspoilt, and the scenic contrasts amazing. Koh Tao rejoices in its laid back almost bohemian style, its a bit Thai wild west in places with local versions of Lemmy from Motorhead in abundance. Koh Phangan, despite being one of the largest islands is still wonderfully tropical and lush with some superb beaches and just a handful of international styled hotels. It is known for its rather wild and hedonistic monthly Full Moon parties but that is just on one beach and can be easily avoided.

Realities

Samui seems to have focused on building hotels without a lot of thought on the island infrastructure, it can show at times. Lively Chaweng is an acquired taste but it has restaurants and bars galore. It is a small island so hotels on the popular north coast, within 15 minutes of the airport, might see/hear aircraft.

Phangan, Koh Tao and Khanom will appeal to the curious travellers looking to experience something new and fresh. They appeal particularly to those who have visited Thailand as backpackers in their student days, loved it but can now afford something rather more luxurious. Or those who really enjoy Thailand but feel the resorts of Phuket and Samui are now just a little too busy.

Koh Samui, Koh Phangan, Koh Tao & Khanom, Southern Thailand

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Secret Bay Dominica – High-Quality Boutique Escapism! https://chiclocations.com/secret-bay-dominica-high-quality-boutique-escapism/ https://chiclocations.com/secret-bay-dominica-high-quality-boutique-escapism/#respond Tue, 14 Jan 2020 19:02:26 +0000 https://revodevo.wpengine.com/?p=72531 The post Secret Bay Dominica – High-Quality Boutique Escapism! appeared first on Chic Locations.

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Secret Bay Dominica – High-Quality Boutique Escapism!

Dramatic location, perched high above the Caribbean sea. Wonderfully boutique with just six immaculate villas, all with pool.

 

The emphasis is on simple uncluttered luxury and romance, in harmony with the surroundings, with fantastic highly personalised attention to your every desire. Eco influenced in its design and concept, perfectly at one with the natural beauty of Dominica.

Secret Bay is award-winning, internationally & regionally. It is known for its total innovation and uncompromising desire to provide something that is naturally luxurious – in the truest sense.

 

This is Caribbean escapism at its very best.

Discover Secret Bay with Chic Locations. 

"There's no such thing as the best hotel, just the right one..."

 

Click for Booking Terms, Price Guides & Flight Information

All price guides are Per Person Sharing Double Room (Entry level), based on travel between May and/or June when prices are generally at their lowest and include promotional offers.

Supplements will probably apply at other times, particularly mid-summer in the Med, and for rooms and/or transfers arranged for single travellers.

For example, the Caribbean and Indian Ocean prices for winter can be approximately double the May - June level and about 50% more in Asia.

For the Mediterranean & Canary IslandsCaribbeanArabia and the Indian Ocean (except Sri Lanka) price guides generally include airfare and transfers.

*For Sri Lanka and Far East we show a per person per night hotel guide, excluding air fare, as arrangements tend to be individually tailored multi-centre itineraries.

Please refer to Travel Advice on our home page or look at www.fco.gov.uk as the Foreign Office may have issued specific destination information on safety and terrorism.

 

Click for our CHIC Locations Booking Terms & Conditions PDF

All of the holidays arranged by Chic Locations are fully bonded for your financial protection, with our
ABTA bond securing accommodation/land only holidays, and our ATOL licence (number 6389) protecting air inclusive holidays.

Contact a Chic Travel Specialist Today!

Call +44 (0)208 944 1973

Chic Locations

The Luxury Boutique

Tour Operator

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+ About Cambodia https://chiclocations.com/about-cambodia/ https://chiclocations.com/about-cambodia/#respond Mon, 13 Jan 2020 04:12:53 +0000 https://revodevo.wpengine.com/?p=72494 Cambodia, The Kingdom of Wonder! One the three counties that make up the collective Indochina, the territories once controlled by colonial France (the other two are Laos and Vietnam). Cambodia is probably best known for the magnificent temples of Angkor, located just outside Siem Reap. Easy access from Bangkok, 60 minutes flight away. Or combine your […]

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Cambodia, The Kingdom of Wonder!

One the three counties that make up the collective Indochina, the territories once controlled by colonial France (the other two are Laos and Vietnam).

Cambodia is probably best known for the magnificent temples of Angkor, located just outside Siem Reap. Easy access from Bangkok, 60 minutes flight away. Or combine your stay with a  visit the capital Phnom Penh, an intriguing combination of French colonial buildings and busy Asian street life.

Visa on arrival, approx. cost US$35. Please ensure you have a full page for the rather impressive entry stamp/visa and that your passport has a minimum validity of 6 months. 

Weather Wise

The dry season runs from November to April with hot sunny days. The Wet season, usually with heavy showers and humidity rather than constant rain, is May to October.

Pleasures

The temples of Angkor are amazing, an absolute must on any tour of this region. If time allows, after exploration of the main sites (it will take you a full day as there are numerous sites), travel further outside the city to visit one of the lesser known temples, equally impressive, fewer crowds. Maybe combine this with Ton Le lake, one of the largest in Asia. Also, Siem Reap is an attractive little city with some excellent restaurants. For this reason, we would suggest a stay of 4 days (3 nights).

Phnom Penh is the capital city, fascinating – think Havana meets Chiang Mai – busy Asian markets, crumbling colonial buildings, huge  Soviet type squares and of course high rise which is seen as progress in this region. It is also the home to the genocide museum, gruesome and graphic – it is hardly a pleasure but a reminder on how far Cambodia has come in a few short years.

Realities

Angkor is busy, especially with regional tourism. Queues can be long, but it is still a must-see attraction. See note above regarding the suggested length of stay in Siem Reap.

The Magnificent Temples of Angkor & Surrounding Area

The very name conjures up images of jungle temples, Asian mysticism and exotic Hindu influence architecture. Built over 1000 years ago, it was then deserted for reasons never answered, and remained undiscovered until 1860 when a Belgian explorer, Henri Mouhot, was hacking his way through the jungle and suddenly came across this fantastic feat of building and design. It is now one of the region’s most desirable destination for the curious traveller.

Even if you are not a fan of temples, the sheer scale of Angkor will amaze all but the most blasé. It is not just one temple but several, spread over 70 square kilometres, with the iconic Angkor Wat the largest. But also visit Ta Prohm with the temple structure buried within the roots of the trees, and the intricate stone faces of Bayon equally impressive.

The conventional entrance to Angkor is from the East gate, now known as the Chinese Gate as it where the large follow the flag tour groups seem to gather. Huge numbers. But there are much more pleasurable quieter alternatives, you still see the same things but with fewer people. Ask us about the Vespa tours for an incredible lifetime experience.

The town of Siem Reap is nearest to the temples, just a short 15-minute drive. It has seen considerable hotel development in recent years, and without doubt, it is much more commercial than a few years ago. But it still has great charm, as long as you avoid the rather tacky Pub Street, and the whole experience with the temples remains one of the highlights on any tour to the region. Spare time to walk around the town, it is easy to explore and has some very pleasant restaurants, Boutiques, and museums, with the Siem Reap river – from which the town takes its name – adding to the attraction. Actually the name Siem Reap means Siam Defeated, a reference to the time the Cambodians drive the Thais from their city.

And if you tire of temples, visit the huge Tonle Lake, one of the largest in Asia and explore the floating Kampong villages of the fisherman. A fantastic authentic heart-rendering experience as we travel to the villages slightly further out of town so untouched by commercial tourism. See also top tip below, a unique day of adventure and discovery as Tonle Lake can be combined with Beng Mealea temple.

Leven Temples Cambodia - Kingdom of Wonder - Chic Locations

TOP TIP

There is so much to see and do in Siem Reap and we now particularly suggest at least 3 nights. In addition to visiting the main temples at Angkor Wat, we suggest travelling further out for a generally quieter experience and we particularly suggest the incredibly hidden temple of Beng Mealea – it is an extra hour of travel but a fantastic unique experience.

Phnom Pehn and Song Saa Resort

Cambodia is now rapidly shaking off its brutal, relatively recent past – although there are still pockets of evidence of the horrors, both in Siem Reap and particularly the capital Phnom Penh with the genocide museum. Most of our clients will just visit Siem Reap as a 4 day (3 night) extension from Bangkok. However, we can also arrange itineraries to include Phnom Penh – a surprisingly interesting rather edgy city with crumbling French colonial buildings and huge Soviet-style parks and squares and more recent high-rise.

We would suggest 2 nights. Particularly suggested for those familiar with the region rather than first-time travellers, as it is wonderfully authentic but can come as a shock to the system.

With several flights daily from several of the major cities in the region combination holidays with Siem Reap including Kuala Lumpur, Singapore and Hong Kong are easy to arrange. Newly announced are direct flights from Siem Reap to the Vietnam beach resort of Danang (includes Hoi An) – best from March to September.

Combinations with Vietnam are particularly interesting and in addition to the air links with Saigon and Hanoi, you can also travel up or down the mighty Mekong River on a 7-night cruise.

In the south of Cambodia, just off the resort of Sihanonkville, you have the luxurious private island resort of Song Saa. See image below.

27 elegant villas, all with private plunge pool. A fantastic all-inclusive retreat for a few days. One of the most discussed resorts in the region, expensive without doubt, but that just seems to add to the appeal. There are regular flights from Siem Reap to Sihanonkville, followed by speedboat transfer to resort. Or you can stay in Phnom Penh and then travel down by road, a 4-hour drive mainly through rural countryside. The resort is generally at its best weather wise December to April.

Within the Sihanonkville area you have now seen substantial tourism growth in the last two years ( from 2016 ) with many new hotels, almost as many casinos (36 at last count), direct flights from several neighbouring countries, mainly China with 90 direct flights weekly. Some of the slightly more remote beaches and islands remain charming and more exclusive but you have to select your resort and hotel carefully. Several new island resorts such as the Royal on Koh Rong, with Alila and Six Senses due to open soon. It would not be our suggestion you stay in the Sihanonkville main beach area.

Cambodia – Indochina  – A CHIC Location

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+ About The Maldives https://chiclocations.com/about-maldives/ Sat, 16 Nov 2019 18:36:32 +0000 https://revodevo.wpengine.com/chic-destinations/arabia-and-indian-ocean/maldives-2/ Romance, desert island escapism, an aquatic dream with some of the best beaches and clearest waters. Super snorkelling and diving, with most resorts having house reefs. Fantastic and highly innovative top-class resorts.

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Romance, desert island escapism… The Maldives is an aquatic dream!

 

Some of the best beaches and clearest waters. Super snorkelling and diving…

Quick Facts

A group of over 1000 small islands, a few of which are residential and some have been ‘leased’ for international resorts. Some are little more than large sandbanks and can be circumnavigated within 30 minutes at most, and have pathways and cycle tracks rather than roads.

Flying time from the UK to Male, the main island, is approximately 11 hours – BA flies directly in the winter months. Or Emirates via Dubai. Onward travel to the inner atoll islands is usually by speedboat, by seaplane (daylight hours only) or domestic flight to the outer atolls.

Weather

The best months are generally November through to April when the days are usually bright and sunny. June through to early October has higher rainfall, sea swells and humidity.

Best time to Travel

Influenced by the weather, the resort rates are at their highest December to early April, frequently with a demand to escape the harsh northern European winters exceeding the supply of rooms. The spring and summer months are slightly less reliable weather-wise but the resort rates drop and the offers increase.

Why Maldives?

Romance, desert island escapism. The Maldives is an aquatic dream, with some of the best beaches and clearest waters. Super snorkelling and diving, with most resorts having house reefs. Fantastic and highly innovative top-class resorts. Totally elegant, yet relaxed with tailored beachwear and leisure wear. Jimmy Choo’s could be ankle breaking, given that you have wooden boardwalks and sand!

Although most islands are couples focused, a few – like Atmosphere and Niyama – have good all-around family appeal with good kids clubs and some unique adventures such as swimming with sharks and stingrays.

See Important note below .

Holidays for Those Less Mobile

Whilst we are of course delighted to accept bookings for those with some disability, certain areas might be less suitable than others. For example, in the Maldives, many resorts are serviced by speedboats accessed from the jetty and you will require some mobility both getting in and out. Other resorts might be serviced by either speedboat and/or small aircraft or seaplane landing at a floating jetty. Once on land, most footpaths have sandy rather than concrete surface, plus you have wooden boardwalks. In some cases, we might need to ask hotels for their advice on their realistic suitability, their acceptance of the reservation and what qualification they (or their insurance company) might wish to impose. It is therefore vital we are correctly informed at the time of enquiry so we can all make an accurate assessment.

Accommodation Over Water and/or with Private Swimming Pool

For some, this is the ultimate dream, and the romance is undeniable, especially for couples. In our view, this type of accommodation might be less suitable for those with younger children who are unable or learning to swim, or who will need constant supervision. This has to be carefully considered by you. In some cases, resorts do not allow children below a certain age to use this style of accommodation or will ask you to sign a liability disclaimer, either at time of booking or on arrival.

If We Were To Be Critical…Shopping will be confined to (expensive) hotel boutiques, and  the cost of incidentals will be high, especially for alcohol. Main meals will start at around US$60 per person plus 23% service & tax. Several of our hotels now offer an all-inclusive option.

It will be important that you and your travelling companion are compatible, the islands would not be suggested for argumentative couples whose communication is based on huffs, stomps and scowls, it’s far too romantic to be unhappy!

In recent years the dominant nationality of tourist arrivals in the Maldives has switched from the UK and Germany to India, Russia (particularly in the winter months) and now China which is the strongest and has come out of nowhere to be number one in many resorts. It will be noticeable and audible as they can get quite excited, and at times make Italians seem quiet and reserved!

Note – You cannot import alcohol into the Maldives for personal use, although it is available in every resort and upon departure.

Pros and Cons of Inner or Outer Atoll

A group of over 1000 small islands, a few of which are residential and some have

Inner usually have 24 hour access, short speedboat from Male so connections are easy and you do not waste time in transit. Negatives is that the sea and the area  can be busier and the true feeling of total escapism more difficult. The outer Atoll are more remote and wonderfully escapist, some linked by seaplane or domestic flights followed by speedboat – lengthy transits in Male may be necessary.

The Maldives – A CHIC Location

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+ About Abu Dhabi https://chiclocations.com/about-abu-dhabi/ Sun, 27 Oct 2019 13:42:35 +0000 https://revodevo.wpengine.com/?page_id=18943 The richest and most influential of the six states that comprise the United Arab Emirates (the others being Dubai, Ajman, Fujairah, Sharjah and Ras Al Khaimah). Abu Dhabi is the capital city and the financial powerhouse of the region. One of the world’s richest cities, it is proudly modern with towering iconic skyscrapers dwarfing atmospheric market streets. Ultra luxurious shopping malls where you will find all of the top designer brands from around the globe. It is also traditional and conservative, maybe less openly hedonistic than Dubai, with a more considered pace of life and planning.

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The main appeal of Abu Dhabi will be the superb beaches, the highly organised city, sports, and culture.

Did we forget to mention the impressive hotels?

Abu Dhabi Quick Facts

The richest and most influential of the six states that comprise the United Arab Emirates (the others being Dubai, Ajman, Fujairah, Sharjah and Ras Al Khaimah). Abu Dhabi is the capital city and the financial powerhouse of the region. One of the world’s richest cities, it is proudly modern with towering iconic skyscrapers dwarfing atmospheric market streets. Ultra-luxurious shopping malls where you will find all of the top designer brands from around the globe. It is also traditional and conservative, maybe less openly hedonistic than Dubai, with a more considered pace of life and planning.

Accomodation

Two of our featured hotels are on Saadiyat Island, a resort area linked by a causeway bridge, 15 minutes drive from downtown. The third is the highly imaginative Yas Viceroy on Yas island – home to the Grand Prix circuit, Ferrari World and Water Park. The fourth is located in the desert dunes, 2 hours drive from the city. In addition, we can offer hotels in the city centre, and we rather like the glamour of the high rise St Regis Abu Dhabi from which this image was taken.

The main appeal of Abu Dhabi will be the superb beaches, the highly organised city, and the impressive hotels. The two resort properties we feature are regarded as amongst the very best in the region. Plus just inland you have the opportunity for desert tours with probably the highest dunes in the region.

Abu Dhabi is now developing fast, but in a much more controlled and orderly fashion than experienced in Dubai in the past few years. However, you should expect to see evidence of construction throughout the city and resort area.

The pace is much less frantic than Dubai, possibly less obvious. If night-life and extreme retail therapy are important, then Dubai is probably a better choice. Where Abu Dhabi scores are the beaches and the thrill of discovering something new for British visitors, plus of course high quality and well-priced hotels. It is quieter generally than its noisy neighbour and promotes itself less flamboyantly, but that rather seems to add to its appeal. It does have luxurious shopping malls, just not as many as Dubai.

We would choose the two hotels on the resort Saadiyat Island for stays of 5 nights plus, Yas Viceroy for 2/3 nights maybe en route to the Indian Ocean, and the luxurious desert resort for at least 2 nights.

Getting There

Both British Airways and Etihad Airlines fly daily to Abu Dhabi – flying time approximately 7 hours. From there Etihad offers excellent connections on to most of the Indian Ocean resorts and Far East cities.

We particularly like the idea of Thailand and Abu Dhabi, or maybe a combination with the Maldives.

Weather

Generally hot and sunny year-round, with minimum rainfall. The most pleasant times tend to be October through to May, June to September tends to see soaring temperatures with humidity to match. Occasionally in December/January, you might get a cold snap of a few days when winds blow in from the desert but this is unlikely to last more than a couple of days at most.

Abu Dhabi – A Chic Location

"There's no such thing as the best hotel, just the right one..."

 

Click for Booking Terms, Price Guides & Flight Information

All price guides are Per Person Sharing Double Room (Entry level), based on travel between May and/or June when prices are generally at their lowest and include promotional offers.

Supplements will probably apply at other times, particularly mid-summer in the Med, and for rooms and/or transfers arranged for single travellers.

For example, the Caribbean and Indian Ocean prices for winter can be approximately double the May - June level and about 50% more in Asia.

For the Mediterranean & Canary IslandsCaribbeanArabia and the Indian Ocean (except Sri Lanka) price guides generally include airfare and transfers.

*For Sri Lanka and Far East we show a per person per night hotel guide, excluding air fare, as arrangements tend to be individually tailored multi-centre itineraries.

Please refer to Travel Advice on our home page or look at www.fco.gov.uk as the Foreign Office may have issued specific destination information on safety and terrorism.

 

Click for our CHIC Locations Booking Terms & Conditions PDF

All of the holidays arranged by Chic Locations are fully bonded for your financial protection, with our
ABTA bond securing accommodation/land only holidays, and our ATOL licence (number 6389) protecting air inclusive holidays.

Contact a Chic Travel Specialist Today!

Call +44 (0)208 944 1973

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