Over my Years at ecruising, the highlight of many of my client’s holidays has been the amazing properties we use. We are one of the only cruise agencies in Australia lucky to have contracted properties with some of the best hotels and resorts in the world and I am lucky enough to have had the opportunity of staying at some which I would love to share with you.
RAFFLES HOTEL, DUBAI
One of my favourite properties, which I have stayed at 3 times now, is the Raffles Hotel in Dubai.
With all the skyscrapers in Dubai, its really refreshing to see a property like Raffles which is in the shape of a Pyramid. Attached to one of the first Western malls in Dubai (Wafi), the unique architectural style across the site follows that of ancient Egypt.
The moment you walk into the reception area you are greeted with a feeling of relaxation. From the beautiful fragrance in the air, the soothing music, the smiles of the staff and the refreshing drink on arrival. The rooms are large and opulent all with a great size balcony to take in the exciting Dubai Skyline. The highlight for me is their incredible, included breakfast. It’s a display like no other and so beautifully presented. You couldn’t want for anything more to eat, they have everything taken care of. The sous chef is warm and friendly and ready to take any request. Just ask for the waffles with summer berries and honey.. delicious! We also love to spend time in the pool, with a swim-up bar, it’s the perfect way to cool off in the dry heat.
The hotel is in a wonderful location - 10 minutes from the airport, 5 minute walk to the metro and 10 minute taxi to the Dubai Mall. Dubai is ever-changing. Experience the Dubai Marina, take the metro down to the Palm for some lunch or experience the gold Souk. There really is something for everyone here.
THE LUXURIOUS SOFITEL ROME VILLA BORGHESE
I was fortunate to stay here last October before boarding the stunning Azamara Pursuit.
A gorgeous boutique hotel residing on the edge of the Borghese Gardens. It was built as a guest house during the early 19th Century for an aristocratic family, the Boncompagni Ludovisi. It was later turned into a hotel in 1890. As it is a historical building, they are permitted to keep it preserved as it was built, however after completing a multimillion-dollar renovation on July 19, they have completely modernised the interior and exterior (with a coat of white paint) which has elevated this property into one stunning hotel.
Each room is so unique and different from the next. Beautiful and simply furnished with lovely French windows. The highlight of this hotel and my favourite feature is the Terrence on level 7. This is a multi-functioning space used for breakfast, lunch or cocktails of an evening. Overlooking the Vatican, St Peters Basilica and the pantheon, the view is breathtaking! Watching the sunset over Rome from here is a memory forever etched in my mind!
I love the location of this hotel. Only a 5 minute walk to the Spanish steps. There are little cafes and local restaurants offering true family-style, authentic Italian food without the massive price tag. Although you are close to the hustle and bustle of Rome, you don’t feel overwhelmed with tourists.
This really is a magical property that is most certainly a perfect start or finish to any cruise in Rome.
THE STUNNING GRAND HOTEL CENTRAL, BARCELONA
This ultra-chic boutique property has only 7 floors, 147 rooms and dates back to the 1920’s. Rich in history with all the original features preserved, like the once upon a time horse and carriage entrance with the original tracks still in place, has been modernised with pavers and a revolving door. The once drawing-room, now a modern concierge office. It’s an incredibly slick hotel that took me by surprise and I truly loved it!
The rooms, for such a boutique property, are a really great size and a first - the minibar was included!
The service was warm, friendly and welcoming. We had a late flight out of Barcelona and they allowed us to relax and use the hotel's amenities until our transfer was ready to pick us up.
The best feature of this hotel is its rooftop pool and bar. You will see from the photos below, its fantastic. Overlooking the city with that infinity pool and a cocktail in hand is the perfect way to end a very busy day walking!
Located smack bang in the heart of Las Rambles and across the road from the famous Gothic Church of Barcelona, you can’t get a better location. We loved the ease of wandering the laneways and soaking up the atmosphere. The abundance of tapas bars and cafes all around. It’s such a vibrant city and I wish I had spent more time there!
I was there just after the riots last November and, to be honest, I was a little concerned. But we didn’t need to be. I felt completely safe. Granted, I didn’t carry a bag or money with me, I only had my phone (thank goodness for tap and go) but we were fine.
I hope I have given you some insight into the wonderful hotels we use, and that you take the opportunity to enjoy these properties pre or post cruise. If you do, I really look forward to hearing your feedback on your return!
For questions or enquiries, please contact Kara at email@example.com or on 1300 369 848