This year has been quite the doozy! I think I’ve traveled internationally at least once a month since March, with the exception of May. Not only has it been an exciting year traveling the globe, I got to visit my dream destination twice in the same season! My husband and I visited Santorini during our anniversary trip in March and I was back again in August! Santorini Secret Suites & Spa was generous in hosting me and their property was such a quintessential Oia dream – everything was so white, clean & dreamy. Located right off the pedestrian walkway in Oia, shopping and restaurants were available all around the property. During our first visit at a different property, our room was on the street level so it wasn’t built into the cliffside like the rest of the hotel and like most of the residences in Oia. At Santorini Secret, we had such a Cycladic experience living and sleeping in our cavernous room!
Everything is carved into the cliff so be prepared for a ton of stairs! I get tired easily so I was happy to have a higher room; but the lower you get, the more private the rooms get as well. I had no issues with guests walking by when we were lounging on our terrace though (which was rare anyways!); & from inside the room you can’t hear a thing! So peacefully quiet & private.
Santorini is the most photogenic place I’ve been & any picture taken outside on the terraces or stairs at the hotel will be flawless by default. You can’t take a bad photo with all the light reflecting everywhere and the ever-so-perfect backdrop! You gotta check it out below to believe it!
Last month as I was closing out a long Eurotrip, I found myself with a 2 hour layover in Doha. With my in-laws living a short plane ride away, I suggested that they visit me for some long overdue quality time…. & my 2 hour layover became nearly a week haha! My wheels are always turning and I’m always ready to seize the moment! My father in law is a big foodie so with recommendations from family and friends in tow, we spent most of our time restaurant hopping without a single complaint from me! The food in Doha was so good everywhere we went. We started off at an Iraqi restaurant and over our few days we consumed so much more; fish & chips, Pakistani food (& a halwa puri brunch one day, yum!), Egyptian, traditional Qatari, & I don’t even remember what else! It was a blur of amazing food! We got in a little bit of sight seeing as well but not as much as I would have liked because the days were so hot so we wouldn’t really begin our outings until 4 or 5 pm. Our main outings were Souq Waqif, Museum of Islamic Art, shopping at the mall (duh! The Middle East loves malls!), & dune bashing in the Arabian Desert with Qatar Inbound Tours. I don’t recommend the last with your parents if they’re not the adventurous type lol! Trust me when I say that my mother in law was f r e a k i n g o u t! I’ve dune bashed before in Dubai, so I should have known but my father in law really enjoyed himself – we would have stayed longer if we could have!
Enjoy all the photos, I’ll chat about all the places as we go! Starting with Souq Waqif..
Enhancing and illuminating my cheeks is my favorite makeup-application step so it’s no surprise that my highlighter collection is constantly growing. I just discovered Revlon’s PhotoReady Insta-Fix™ Highlighting Stick and it has become the perfect addition to my makeup bag! I’ve always been constantly on the go; but this year has been a completely different kind of busy with international travels every other month. I’ve gotten packing my to-go makeup bag down to a science. I need items that not only travel well but can also be applied quickly and easily. Revlon’s PhotoReady Insta-Fix™ Highlighting Stick is a mistake-proof highlighting stick for adding precise pops of glow anywhere & anytime. In this case, I’m coming to you from the Greek Islands! Folegandros to be exact. When I’m traveling, I don’t even bother with eye-makeup so I have to make extra sure that my complexion products are on point. Luckily for me (and my photos!), Revlon’s PhotoReady Insta-Fix™ Highlighting Stick’s super-refined pigments reflect light in such a beautiful way that it leaves a soft focus retouched effect. Perfection!
If you keep up with my travels, you know that I was super blessed to visit Greece twice this season — in April for our wedding anniversary and again earlier this month for work! I was especially excited to find Folegandros on my work-itinerary since its not only a place I’ve never visited, but also a place I’ve never even heard of; it seems to be a hidden gem of the Cyclades. Even after being featured in Condé Nast Traveler as Greece’s Most Beautiful Undiscovered Island and seeing a huge increase in tourism afterwards, it remains so quiet, private, and peaceful. The island’s entire population is only 765 but it felt like it’d be a tiny fraction of that! We hardly saw anyone, but we were nearing the end of the Summer season.
Folegandros has three main villages, Karavostasi, Chora, & Ano Meria. We stayed in Karavostasi literally right across from the port, at Anemi Hotel. I liked staying away from the “city center”, Chora, even though the whole island is super quiet. I really enjoyed the additional privacy and seclusion, it felt good to just relax and check out. We did have a rental car so it was very easy for us to visit Chora and explore the whole island. The drive from the hotel to Chora was seriously less than 10 minutes & parking was unbelievably simple. The centre is closed off to motor traffic so after parking we explored on foot and you’ll see from the photos below that the streets are so charming. I wasn’t sure what to expect as my only frame of reference was Santorini; which of course is stunningly beautiful but Santorini comes with hoards of tourists and commercialization. Folegandros maintains its authentic traditional charm and Chora is actually one of the oldest medieval villages in all of the cyclades. Chora sits on the edge of a 200 meter cliff & its said that the views are second to Santorini! Just a 45 minute ferry ride from Santorini, I think adding Folegandros to your itinerary is well worth it! Just take a look at the photos below to believe it!
Thanks again Anemi Hotel for taking care of us & of course Seajets for getting us to Folegandros!
During my first visit to Folegandros, I was blessed to have Anemi Hotel host us & what a beautiful stay it was! Much like the rest of the island, the ambiance of this boutique hotel is calm, quiet, and laid back. Folegandros is unspoiled in that it hasn’t been overrun by tourists or commercialized over-development like some of the other Cycladic Islands (ie Santorini). To maintain the natural beauty of the village of Karavostasis, Anemi hotel is limited to two stories throughout the property to stylishly blend into its surroundings. Anemi is a member of Design Hotels which has 250 hotels all over the world; they’re known for their service, care, and gorgeous aesthetic quality. Traditional architecture meets modern Greek lines at Anemi hotel with its whitewashed Cycladic style walls and rounded corners that we all think of when we imagine the Greek islands. I really loved the way the designers married traditional and contemporary; we enjoyed our breakfast every morning by Anemi’s infinity pool and if you have even an ounce of photography interest in you – you’ll be obsessed with the lines all over the property! Even our room was perfect, I can’t even imagine the bigger suites! Our room was pristine all white. It was so hard to not be in an incredible mood all the time when everything is sparkling and bright.
Anemi is truly self-sufficient if you’re looking to just check-out and relax at the hotel throughout your stay. Their restaurant is known as one of the best on the Island and there is more than enough for children and families to do together: open air cinema for a movie night, tennis courts, playground, yoga, fitness centre, pilates, etc. If you do plan to explore the island a bit and rent a car like we did, there is free on-site parking as well! Anemi is just a minute from the port and the staff was extremely helpful with pickup/dropoff. I was being over-responsible about getting to the port on time on our last day but they assured me that they’d take us when the ferry was near as they kept an eye on its ETA for us!
The staff and service were absolutely fantastic, the hotel manager regularly stopped to chat with us and make sure we were doing well. Any time we needed anything, the front desk was just a phone call away.
Thank you Anemi Hotel for the unbelievably lovely stay & to SeaJets for getting us there! Enjoy the photos (such eye candy!!!), all my outfit details are at the bottom!