Checking In: The Kerry Hotel Hong Kong

It has been a while since I’ve checked in to a new hotel in Hong Kong, having gotten so comfortable with my home-away-from-home favourites! But on this trip I wanted to make sure I had the chance to explore somewhere new, and what better time to do so than a few weeks after the official opening of the Kerry Hotel Hong Kong, the more youthful range of hotels from Shangri-La. True to the style of big name brand hotels in Hong Kong, the Kerry Hotel resembles a royal residence as you enter the lobby, opening up in to incredibly high ceilings and a maze of gardens out in the courtyard. The first thing I noticed was in fact all the greenery, from living plants at the reception check-in to the impressive outdoor terrace with a complete view of Kowloon Harbour to one side and Hong Kong Harbour to the other (absolutely magical at night – don’t miss it!) I checked in in the late afternoon after a 10 hour flight from Finland, so was eager to unwind before making any drastic moves to venture out and more than likely fall asleep on the MTR en route to my destination. After […]

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Checking In: The Nolinski Hotel Paris

  New to Paris: The Nolinski Hotel As one of the newest hotels in the city of Paris, The Nolinski is a rarity in Parisian design & decor. The hotel is super swanky with a hint of New York glam circa 1929, with an effortlessly chic approach to modern luxe accommodations. For those looking to combine sightseeing with a staycation, there is a large indoor swimming pool, spa, and a total of 3 restaurants at the hotel. The in-room breakfast was top class, though it is next to impossible to find a bad breakfast in Paris when you consider it the capital of croissants and my (new favourite) pain au chocolat! Checking In: The Gustave Suite Named after Gustave Eiffel, an engineer who designed and oversaw the construction of the Eiffel Tower, this is the only room in the hotel that captures a glimpse of the eiffel tower (albeit a small one, it is still there!) The suite is incredibly spacious for Parisian standards, with a separate bedroom, large bathroom, separate toilet, and sitting area with a full size mini bar and large couch (so large that I wished I had company to make use of the room!) Location & […]

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The Paris Pass Review: The Easiest Way to See Paris in a Rush

A walk through the Louvre, an elevator up the Eiffel Tower and a gruelling climb up the stairs to the Arc De Triomphe. Is this the Paris you have planned to visit? For my umpteenth visit to Paris I decided it was time to check off all the “hot spots” I was yet to visit and finally be able to say I had seen the Mona Lisa up close and to walk the hallowed halls of the world’s most renowned museum. Years ago I was standing in a 2 hour line to climb the Notre Dame Cathedral with my partner when I noticed a family of four flash a fancy card and gain immediate, complimentary access. Magic! I have since researched the Paris Pass and decided it was my golden ticket to fast track my way about town, finally ticking off all the attractions I was yet to visit. So, what’s the verdict? Is the Paris Pass worth the money? The Paris Pass Price & What’s Included Lets talk money matters first, because what’s the point in buying a Paris Pass if you’re not going to make use of it? The cost of the Paris Pass is: 2 Days: €110 […]

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Versailles Photo Diary (with Photography tips!)

When I first visited Versailles some five years ago on my first (ever) solo trip overseas, I arrived in mid-January to a chilling -3 degrees, lifeless and almost gloomy Palace of Versailles. Though I still fell in love with Versailles (who could not!?), I was disappointed not to be able to walk in the grounds and experience the gardens, which are as much an attraction as the interior of the palace itself. But alas, rewards come to those who wait! Five years later and I recently found myself on a trip to Versailles with fellow Australian Lisa (The Wandering Lens), on a photographic journey with our sponsor Olympus Australia. For years I have been using Olympus cameras and for years I have been fumbling around the camera’s settings like a kid in a candy store, discovering new ways to photograph better as I keep travelling the world. But when I was offered the chance to meet Lisa, a trained photographer with decades of experience, I couldn’t say no! Shooting Indoors vs Shooting Ourdoors As someone who once shot on “auto mode” (alas, not for the last few years) I feel it is my duty to share some super duper basics […]

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My Country Kitchen Renovation: Before and After!

You may have noticed I’ve been a little quietly lately on the life updating front, but that comes with good reason in the form of an ongoing house renovation, new business venture, and keeping up with my bakery business all the while adventuring around the world at a current rate of one trip every month! Last month my partner and I finally made our kitchen renovation a reality, after talking about it and planning for nearly 12 months. Before I go any further, let me tell you now, you MUST SCROLL DOWN TO SEE THE BEFORE PHOTOS because boy did we come a long way in just a few weeks!!! To make our renovation worth while, we knocked out a wall in the kitchen to open up the room and create an open living space. The end goal was to create a more welcoming entertaining space so that we could enjoy the kitchen/living area when entertaining our friends and family. For the colour scheme we wanted to keep our kitchen light, bright, simple and neutral. I’m not one for colours at the best of times, so we stuck to whites, creams, black hardware and created a bit of warmth with […]

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Checking In to a Dutch Chateau! My stay at St Gerlach Chateau

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When my Dutch book tour concluded (shout out to all who came to the signings!) I made my way to the countryside for a little R&R, checking myself in to the gorgeous St Gerlach Hotel and Chateau. The following three days would be spent walking the gardens, reading my book (currently Paris for One) and checking in to check out for a few days. If you’re looking for a little luxury and to escape city life, here’s a little insight in to my countryside escape!

St Gerlach Chateau | World of Wanderlust

Checking In: St Gerlach Chateau

St Gerlach is located just 20 minutes drive from Maastricht, deep in the South of the Netherlands and near to the border to Belgium (as well as France and Germany). Although not too far from the city, the hotel feels a world away from reality: focusing on luxurious spa retreats, gastronomic restaurants and beautiful gardens to explore. The good news for me was that you could do as much or as little as you like during your stay. As tempting as it was to rent a bicycle or take a vespa for a spin (sadly I lost my licence recently so couldn’t do so), I decided just to kick back, enjoy the countryside and eat my way through the hotel’s offerings.

St Gerlach Chateau | World of Wanderlust St Gerlach Chateau | World of Wanderlust

Around the Hotel

As the hotel promotes a city escape, it was little wonder they had an incredible indoor pool with a full spa menu to enjoy. There are gardens surrounding the hotel and chateau (which houses the hotel’s restaurant and bistro), so I made it my mission to explore these at great length and enjoy switching off after a week of city living. As I live on a farm back at home in Tasmania, I have a constant desire to switch off and enjoy the outdoors – something I had missed since boarding the plane over a week ago!

St Gerlach Chateau | World of Wanderlust

The Room

The rooms are simple and elegant, decorated in true countryside style. My room was located above reception on level two, giving me a nice view of the winter garden and allowing me the convenience to walk down to breakfast in my sweater before taking a walk around the grounds each morning.

City Guide to Maastricht | World of Wanderlust St Gerlach Chateau | World of Wanderlust St Gerlach Chateau | World of Wanderlust

Gastronomic Eats & Drinks

The food was one of the highlights of my time at St Gerlach and believe me when I say the chefs here are world class! Both nights I enjoyed a casual dinner in the bistro, which was much more my style over the fancy fine dining option. The food was exceptional both nights, reasonably priced and with great service.

Because of the hotel’s location in the countryside, there aren’t any other dining options nearby. Thus if you would prefer more options it would be wise to rent a car and make the trip in to Maastricht, located just 20 minutes away. The hotel also offers a free shuttle service to and from the city between the hours of 10:00am and 18:00pm.

City Guide to Maastricht | World of Wanderlust

Nearby: Maastricht and three country borders

If you decide to stay at St Gerlach I would highly recommend taking the time to explore nearby Maastricht. As I arrived by train from Utrecht, I left my luggage in the station lockers whilst spending my first day here exploring the city (besides, check-in time is 3pm, so it made sense!) You can also rent bicycles and vespas directly from the hotel, giving you a great excuse to explore the villages nearby or venture over the border into Belgium, France or Germany.

A very large thank you to St Gerlach for welcoming me on this two night retreat! It was a lovely little end to my book tour in the Netherlands. All photos and opinions are my own!

Brooke Saward

Brooke founded World of Wanderlust as a place to share inspiration from her travels and to inspire others to see our world. She now divides her time between adventures abroad and adventures in the kitchen!

Checking In: Hotel Des Indes

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It doesn’t get much fancier than Hotel des Indes in Den Haag (that’s the Hague for all my English speakers out there). For as long as I can remember I have dreamed about visiting The Hague, so when the opportunity arose to promote my book in the Netherlands (I still cannot believe I have a published book in Dutch language), I jumped at the opportunity for a book signing in The Hague. With such a whirlwind trip, I checked in to the centrally located Des Indes, a part of the Leading Hotels Collection and truly a once-in-a-lifetime kinda hotel stay!

The Hague Netherlands | World of Wanderlust

Checking In: Hotel Des Indes

The hotel is located just a few minutes by taxi from the central train station, smack bang in the centre of town. I was able to walk to all of the cities’ major attractions without too much hassle of getting lost, using the hotel as a central point to explore from.

The hotel is a very traditional form of luxury with plenty of gold, mahogony, rich velvet furnishings and all the palatial interior decor one would imagine to be in a royal residence! It was quite fun playing along in the hotel’s lounge area, sipping on a coffee in the morning or watching the ladies who lunch enjoy their afternoon tea later in the day.

The Hague by World of Wanderlust

The Room

My room was located on the third floor and provided enough room to have a slumber party (shame I didn’t know anyone in town!) However as it was so large and dark in a masculine kind of way, I didn’t take any room photos as I was more interested in the view. The bed was however incredibly plush and comfortable, as has become a staple with Starwood hotels (they might be even better than my own bed at home – which is hard to beat!)

The Hague Netherlands | World of Wanderlust The Hague Netherlands | World of Wanderlust

Around the Hague

Throughout my short stay in The Hague I found plenty of attractions, eateries and namely patisseries to keep myself entertained! The hotel’s location near Frederikstraat was one of the highlights, as it is here you will find many great restaurants and cafes that are frequented by locals.

From here you can easily walk to all the attractions The Hague has to offer, as well as being a convenient 10-minute walk from the city centre.

The Hague Netherlands | World of Wanderlust The Hague Netherlands | World of Wanderlust

Sweet treats and eats Nearby

If you’ve got a sweet tooth like me, be sure to take a walk to Patisserie Jarreau, which is where you will find the best macarons in the city. This city is lucky to have a large amount of patisseries headed up by French pastry chefs, so you will be delighted to find macarons to the quality of what can be found in Paris!

For lunches and dinners I would highly recommend making your way to Frederikstraat, an eats street full of endless options (cafes, restaurants, gastro pubs and even a vegan eatery!)

A huge thanks to Starwood Hotels for welcoming me to stay at Hotel Des Indes, y’all know how long this has been on my hotels bucket list! All opinions and too many photos are my own. Thank you!

Brooke Saward

Brooke founded World of Wanderlust as a place to share inspiration from her travels and to inspire others to see our world. She now divides her time between adventures abroad and adventures in the kitchen!

7 Cities & Towns you Must Visit in the Netherlands

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My time in the Netherlands came and went in a flash. But if we’re being particular it lasted 8 days and 7 nights, all of which were jam-packed with adventure, sight-seeing, castles, church towers and way too many deep fried sweets (uh woops!)

Throughout my time here in the land of bicycles and miniature pancakes I was eager to see, do and taste as much as possible. Although I didn’t quite get to every pitstop I had planned, I did manage to see and do everything I wanted in each of the cities I did visit, making up for quality over quantity.

So if you’re heading to the Netherlands and want a complete highlights tour, these are the cities and towns you must visit in the Netherlands!

Amsterdam by World of Wanderlust

Amsterdam

An obvious starting point: Amsterdam is one of Europe’s most visited cities and with one picture or postcard, it isn’t hard to see why. This city, built on canals with wonky houses, would have to be one of the world’s most photographed cities if not the most. Be sure to wander around at leisure and leave yourself three days here (minimum) as there’s a lot to see and do. In terms of museums make sure you don’t miss the Anne Frank House, Rijksmuseum and Van Gogh Museum. Elsewhere be sure to visit Singel Canal, Keizersgracht Canal, Vondelpark and Jordaan neighbourhood.

One Day in the Hague | World of Wanderlust

The Hague

My next stop in the Netherlands was to catch the (30 minutes-ish) train ride to The Hague, which is better known to the Dutchies as Den Haag. As the centre for global judiciary decisions, I had been eager to visit since my first two years of law school (of which I dropped out of to complete a political science degree). This city was as grand as I had envisioned, with beautiful architecture and perfectly manicured gardens at every turn.

Flickr_Leiden_Netherlands

image via Flickr

Leiden

You can reach Leiden by train from Amsterdam in less than 30 minutes, or by train from The Hague in just 10. Pronounced “LIE – DEN”, this city is a great pit stop if travelling between one Dutch city and another, dropping your bags at the train station and exploring for a day. With canals and quintessentially Dutch architecture, this is a great alternative to the tourist-heavy streets of Amsterdam.

Day Trip to Delft | World of Wanderlust

Delft

By far the cutest city I came across in all of the Netherlands and even one of the most charming in all of Europe, I cannot believe it has taken me so many years of travel to discover Delft! Just a few minutes by train from The Hague, Delft has the charm of a small town with the benefits of a sizeable city nearby (not to mention some of the world’s best gelato!)

48 Hours in Utrecht | World of Wanderlust

Utrecht

Described to me as Amsterdam’s cooler little sister, Utrecht is a city like no other in the Netherlands and perhaps even in Europe (though it kind of reminded me of the effortless coolness of Antwerp and Ghent in Belgium). Utrecht doesn’t have many sights or attractions, but has plenty of cool cafes, eateries and boutiques to discover. Its the kind of city you can visit and feel like a local within minutes.

Rotterdam Netherlands via Flickr

Image via Flickr

Rotterdam

Perhaps the “coolest” city in the Netherlands, Rotterdam is in a league of its own. Modern and design-focused, Rotterdam was completely wiped out by the Germans in in 1940 as a sign of power to the rest of the country who might similarly meet the Germany army with resistance. For this reason Rotterdam is extremely unique to the Netherlands, as it does not have an old town centre or appear alike any of the other cities in the country, though it does have a widespread reputation for architecture and design.

City Guide to Maastricht | World of Wanderlust

Maastricht

Well and truly in the south of the Netherlands is Maastricht, another interesting city I discovered on my travels through the country and one that I found a great base to explore from. With a unique location near to the Belgium border and not far from France or Germany, this is a great city to base yourself in for day trips to explore nearby Cologne, Liege, and you could even travel down in to Luxembourg! The city itself warrants a couple of days to explore – Maastricht iss a beautiful city with a well-deserved gastronomic reputation.

NETHERLANDS CITIES YOU MUST VISIT

Brooke Saward

Brooke founded World of Wanderlust as a place to share inspiration from her travels and to inspire others to see our world. She now divides her time between adventures abroad and adventures in the kitchen!

Visiting The Hague in 24 Hours: A complete Guide

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As a political science major at University, a trip to The Hague has been on my to-go list for quite some time. Yet standing there in the centre of it all, it was still surreal to me to be standing where the International Court of Justice and the International Criminal Court reside. I had just one night in The Hague for my book signing tour in the Netherlands, so I was determined to hit the ground running and see as much as I could within 24 hours. So with that, here’s what to see and do in The Hague in 24 hours!

The Hague Netherlands | World of Wanderlust

Introducing The Hague

I told many Dutchies I encountered of my plans to visit The Hague but every single one of them looked at me in confusion. “Den Haag” is how to say it in Dutch, so I would suggest you use this term as it warranted a much better reaction!

Although not the capital of The Netherlands (a title that belongs to Amsterdam), The Hague is indeed the seat of Dutch parliament and as previously mentioned, the judicial capital of the world. With such a strong international identity, I wasn’t surprised to see this spill out in to all aspects of life in The Hague – not least the fantastic little Italian restaurant I found near to my hotel! With stunning stately architecture and cute little cafes/boutiques to discover, I had my work cut out to see in the city in such a short space of time.

The Hague Netherlands | World of Wanderlust

Checking In: Hotel Des Indes

For my one night stay I checked in to the ultra-luxe bucket list hotel, Hotel Des Indes. As part of the Leading Hotels of the World, this hotel has a strong clientele of men in suits and ladies dressed without wrinkles (in their clothes – an unattainable luxury for someone living out of a suitcase).

The hotel is in a great location for exploring, especially if you’re anything like me and plan to find all the great eats around town. A short walk away you will stumble upon Frederikstraat, home to many cute cafes, restaurants and tiny boutiques as you continue to wander along it.

One Day in the Hague | World of Wanderlust One Day in the Hague | World of Wanderlust The Hague | World of Wanderlust The Hague | World of Wanderlust

Sights & Attractions Not to be Missed

The Hague is deceptively large and there’s much to see, so be ready to hit the ground running!

Binnenhof – Surrounded by moats, Binnenhof was once a castle and now the seat of Dutch parliament. It is probably the most impressive building in all of The Hague, centrally located and with great restaurants nearby.

Plein – The most elegant square in the city centre and a great central point to begin your explorations.

Peace Palace – Home of the International Court of Justice.

Paleis Noordeinde – The royal palace, used as the office of King Willem-Alexander since he became king in 2013.

The Hague Netherlands | World of Wanderlust The Hague Netherlands | World of Wanderlust The Hague Netherlands | World of Wanderlust The Hague Netherlands | World of Wanderlust One Day in the Hague | World of Wanderlust

Eats & Drinks

How I managed to fit so much in to my two half days in The Hague one will never know, but believe me when I say I found some great eateries!

De Bakkerswinkel – Got a huge portion of yogurt + granola here for breakfast one morning. They also have a house cat!

FOAM – Great little vegan find on Frederikstraat. They do superb smoothies!

Barista Cafe – Probably the best coffee in town (even if its the only one I tried). But yeah, it was good!

Delicious Sweetness – Cute little patisserie I picked up a couple of macarons from. The macarons were nice enough, but I knew I could find better!

Patisserie Jarreau – Hands down the best macarons in The Hague – unsurprisingly by a French pastry chef!

Day Trip to Delft | World of Wanderlust

Day Trips from The Hague

If you have more time or are planning a larger trip of the Netherlands, I would highly recommend taking a day trip to Delft (the cutest little town to ever exist) and Leiden (ten minutes by train and another pretty city in the Netherlands).

The_Hague_Netherlands

Brooke Saward

Brooke founded World of Wanderlust as a place to share inspiration from her travels and to inspire others to see our world. She now divides her time between adventures abroad and adventures in the kitchen!

WOW Book Club: Paris For One

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I know I know, I’ve been super slack on book club lately, which has every part to do with being super slack on reading lately (which in turn is of course a lack of time for extracurriculars). But ask and you shall receive! The past few weeks I’ve been back on planes and in airports, giving me plenty of time to catch up reading given the amount of time I spend waiting (in lines, in airports, for my hotel room to be ready, the list goes on…)

SO I came across this little pocket of happiness on my way to Paris. The whole reason I picked it up was because the irony was too much to ignore, given I was about to board a plane bound for the city of light and would be visiting on my own. Thus we have arrived at another WOW BOOK CLUB!

Paris for one by Jojo Moyes

Paris for One by Jojo Moyes

Buy the book here.

I’ve picked a lot of Paris-centric reads for this book club but that’s the beauty of having a personal travel blog – you get to pick the topics you love and well, it really is no secret that I luuuuurve Paris!

This book is a mix of stories, though focuses mostly on a girl’s trip to Paris with her boyfriend who never shows. Before even opening the pages I knew I was gonna love this one.

A few years ago I travelled to Europe with an ex boyfriend for 4 weeks and our final stop of the trip was to visit Paris. By the time we reached the city of love we were so not in love that a break up could be clearly viewed beyond the horizon (or more accurately, the minute we arrived home). This book really resonated with me because although I wasn’t alone on that trip, it felt like I was because I knew the end of the relationship was so near and it was difficult to enjoy such a romantic city with that in the back of my mind.

Years later I returned to Paris with my now boyfriend and was able to fall back in love with the city and share it with him – reigniting my love for the city and reminding me that we’ve gotta go through the bad ones to reach the good ones!

I loved this book and I know you will too. I can’t wait to chat about it in a few weeks!

Buy the book here:

Paris for One and Other Stories

Brooke Saward

Brooke founded World of Wanderlust as a place to share inspiration from her travels and to inspire others to see our world. She now divides her time between adventures abroad and adventures in the kitchen!