I can’t remember when I first learned about Hallstatt, but ever since I saw pictures of it, I knew I had to include it in my bucket list. It’s actually the main reason why I had to stop by Salzburg during my Eurotrip.
There’s no direct way of reaching Hallstatt. You’d have to take a train and/or bus, and ferry. If you have more time or on a tight budget, you can do that. But since I’m too lazy to commute, I just joined Panorama’s Hallstatt Tour for €55.
Our bus departed the Mirabellplatz bus terminal around 1:00pm.
We passed by many picturesque villages in Salzkammergut (Lake Area) like the one pictured above. One of which is St. Gilgen, which is the birthplace of Mozart’s mother.
Our guide also pointed out the Red Bull headquarters in Fuschl am See.
While we enjoyed our time in Atlantis, we needed a vacation from vacation before going back home, and Rixos The Palm fit the bill. It’s probably the most ‘affordable’ of all hotels in Palm Jumeirah, too.
Arriving at Rixos was like stepping in an airport. But seriously, we’re digging the industrial interiors.
With the rising temperature, I’m sure everyone’s itching for a summer getaway. And if you’re like me who loves lounging by the pool, then here’s my personal list of Instagram-worthy swimming pools you should check out.
Luljetta’s Hanging Gardens & Spa
You’ve probably seen it on TV a lot lately, and I totally get why it’s often featured.
Swiss-Belhotel Rainforest Kuta is located along Bali’s Sunset Road. It has a very unassuming facade, and looks small from the outside. But I was pleasantly surprised when I entered the lobby as it has a very tropical vibe – a very stark contrast to its commercial-looking exteriors. They didn’t name it ‘Rainforest’ for nothing.
It has all the components of MY ideal Balinese holiday: a tropical-themed room overlooking paddy fields, frangipani and coconut tree-lined grounds, soothing massage, and warm hospitality.
I was really looking forward to my stay at Alaya ever since I saw pictures of it online, and it did not disappoint.
The minute my cab pulled in front of the open-style lobby, I was immediately greeted by a staff wearing a traditional-style uniform, but with a modern flair.
Check in process was a breeze, and within a few minutes, they handed my room keycard together with a map of Ubud.
As the staff walked me to my room, I couldn’t help but notice the use of natural materials throughout the hotel which gave it a rustic feel. This, combined with modern fittings, will surely please all kinds of travelers.
I was given the spacious and beautifully furnished Alaya Room (Room 311) which had a terrace overlooking the paddies.
The bed was just gorgeous! It’s huge and fluffy with lots of pillows.
The frangipanis on the bed and towels were also a nice touch. 🙂
Kimonos, slippers, an eco bag guests can borrow (can be bought from the front desk), electronic safe, and plenty of fluffy towels are kept inside the spacious cabinets.
The usual coffee and tea making facilities, and mini bar are also available.
Aside from the air conditioning unit, there’s also a ceiling fan both in the room and in the terrace.
The decorative wall was a nice backdrop. It extends from the room onto the terrace.
My favorite part of the room? Easily the ‘open’ bath area with a huge stone bathtub.
There’s a generous supply of top-notch organic toiletries such as Lime Lemongrass shampoo, Cinnamon Frangipani conditioner, Vanilla Rosemary shower gel, Lavender Eucalyptus body lotion, and Spearmint Patchouli hand soap. If not for the big bottles, I would’ve taken them home!
Even if you opt not to have a spa treatment, you can still treat yourself to a decadent bubble bath. The Rose Coconut bath foam smells divine!
Dolce far niente!
When I managed to drag myself out of the room, I walked around the resort to enjoy the landscaped garden and lush surroundings.
Some of the guests were just lounging by the lagoon-shaped pool, and I really can’t blame them. The atmosphere is just very relaxing.
And what’s a Balinese vacation without having a spa treatment, right?
I was so thrilled they gave me a complimentary 2-hour treatment at DaLa Spa.
DaLa Spa’s design is so charming. I’m loving the chic porter’s chairs!
I arrived 15 minutes earlier than the appointment schedule, and while waiting, I was immediately served cold lemon grass and pineapple juice, and a cold towel.
The staff then explained to me the scope of the 2-hour Manis Klepon treatment.
I was then asked to fill out a personal information/preference checklist where I need to indicate if I have any allergies or medical conditions, any specific body parts I want my therapist to focus on etc. I even get to choose the room temperature, pressure, and the kind of music I want to listen to while having the treatment.
After handing the form to the staff, she walked me to a table where my therapist, Putu, was preparing the ‘ingredients’ that will be used for my treatment. She grated some coconuts which she then mixed with palm sugar. This was for my body scrub.
We then went down to one of the luxe treatment rooms.
She handed me a robe to change into. Slippers were provided as well. She also taught me how to assign a PIN code for the electronic safe where I can store my valuables.
After changing, Putu started with the foot bath, which was then followed by the coconut and palm sugar body scrub to exfoliate dead skin cells. Next was the pandanus and suji leaves body mask, which started out warm then gradually gave off a cooling sensation.
She then showed me a basket of flowers, and explained what each one was while gradually dropping them into the tub filled with warm water. This is for the Seven Flowers Bath, which was very relaxing, and washed away the remains of the mask.
She gave me 15 minutes to enjoy the bath while she prepared the new robe and disposable underwear. She also left me a cup of tea by the vanity desk before she left the room.
Finally, it was time for the one-hour Balinese massage.
Putu was very careful with the strokes, and was continuously checking if the pressure and room temperature was just right for me. It was really relaxing that I nearly dozed off.
The treatment ended with a chamomile facial spritz which woke up my senses. haha
After the treatment, she brought me back to the main hall of DaLa Spa where I was then served hot ginger tea with Balinese dumpling stuffed with palm sugar, and served with grated coconut named…Manis Klepon!
I highly, highly recommend their spa treatments! You will definitely feel like royalty.
Pardon the grainy pictures. These were taken using my phone’s camera.
Guests get to choose from Petani Restaurant’s set breakfast menu.
Don’t be disappointed if it’s not buffet style because I assure you, the breakfast set is as good as brunch.
I had the American breakfast set which consists of a bread basket (toast, croissant, Danish pastry) served with butter and jams; fresh fruit platter served with fresh homemade yogurt; omelette, bacon, sausage, grilled tomato, potato, broccoli, and cauliflower; freshly-squeezed orange juice, and latte.
Alaya Resort Ubud is located along Jalan Hanoman so it’s close to a supermarket, a number of ATMs, restaurants, souvenir shops, and is just a 5-minute walk to the Sacred Monkey Forest.
I still regret not staying long enough in Ubud, and in Alaya. The laid back vibe, culture, and the lovely people easily made it one of my favorite destinations to date.
~~ I was hosted by Alaya Resort Ubud for a night, but all opinions in this review are my own. ~~