Summer is sadly drawing to a close, so let’s talk about our holidays!
I was very lucky to have the opportunity to go away for an entire month from mid-June to mid-July – a great time to go as it’s not yet peak holiday season so there were far fewer people!
In one month I did six destinations: New York, Bora Bora, Los Angeles, Las Vegas, Cancun, and Havana! Holidays are tiring, eh? I’m joking, it was great and it wouldn’t be right to complain!
In this article I will tell you about what I liked, my recommendations, addresses, photos…… Clearly I’m not the Lonely Planet guidebook and there are plenty of “Top 10 Places to Visit” websites around. So, I’m not going to copy them but speak about my experience, which will be quite brief, but if you’re thinking about going to any of these places it should help you!
Follow me, let’s go!
Five days in New York :
The hotel: We stayed at the Ritz Carlton with a view over Central Park, right in the city centre. There are so many things to do in New York that you won’t want to spend much time in your hotel room so the location is a priority!
A Broadway show: No surprises, I ABSOLUTELY recommend you to see a musical on Broadway. An American spectacle! We chose a great Disney classic, « The Lion King« , a show which can be enjoyed by all the family. I can’t put into words how beautiful the show was – everything was perfect! But there are loads of other musicals just as breathtaking like The Phantom of the Opera, Chicago….. the classics but new shows also come out every year, so you’re certain to find something you like!
The Must-Sees: The Statue of Liberty, Times Square, Fifth Avenue and Madison Avenue (for the fashionistas), Empire State Building, Brooklyn Bridge, Rockefeller Center and the museums…. You will find something to do, for sure! But also, Central Park which is overflowing with surprises. To find all these little surprises I recommend you take a Taxi Bike Tour as the park is very big, and they will explain everything there is to know about this mythical place, one example being the fountain from the opening credits of Friends, and plenty others.
A week in Bora bora :
Is there possibly a place more heavenly than Bora Bora? Yes, I’m asking the question! What a dream, I absolutely adored everything. A feeling of ultimate wellbeing, like I had ascended from Earth (yes yes!).
The hotel: We had an incredible week at the Saint Regis Resort in Bora Bora in a bungalow on stilts with a view of “Mount Otemanu” – absolute comfort and an immense bathroom. There were also villas “on the ground” but I think it’s a shame to go to this kind of place and not experience a villa on stilts, as it’s totally unique, but of course this is just my opinion. The hotel had four restaurants (Japanese, Italian, international and gourmet) and a bar. Very good food, but exorbitant prices due to the products all being imported, because production on the island is minimal (essentially fish and coconuts).
Polynesian Culture: I really appreciated all the little things that make Bora Bora a unique destination, such as its traditions like Tahitian dancing, fire dancing and natural pearls. Last year we spent a week in the Seychelles and I didn’t like it as much because the culture change was less obvious and made it a bit boring for me. In Bora Bora, you are immediately submerged into a very different and distinct culture.
Activities: Even if we came mostly to relax and sunbathe, there are also things to do, mostly water sports: visiting an island by jet ski, water skiing, flyboarding, kiteboarding, paddling on the lagoon, jetsurfing (a motorised surfboard, the first time we tried this sport!), visits to the seabed, swimming with the fish, etc…
A Week Between Los Angeles and Las Vegas :
I’ve always dreamed of the United States and more specifically LA, almost certainly because of watching so many American series!
Just arriving at LAX airport I spotted the excessiveness of the place that I was waiting for, and I love it, I’m signed up for it!
The hotel: The Beverley Hills Hotel, affectionately known as “The Pink Palace” because of its colour, is a typically Californian place with a retro-vintage chic feel which I really liked. If there’s a hotel in LA you could call unmissable, it’s this one!
Things to do:
- Do a tour of the emblematic beaches like Malibu, Rodeo Drive for shopping, Venice Beach, of course passing by the Hollywood (Walk of Fame), and also Universal Studios….
- If you’re keen on an adrenaline rush, I recommend the theme park “Six Flags Magic Mountain”. To be honest this was too much for me (but my other half loved it) – it’s nothing like Disneyland!
- I also recommend you try the home-made artisan ice creams from “Salt and Straw”. There is always a long queue outside their shops (a sign that it’s good) but you won’t regret it!
Two nights in Las Vegas :
Crrrraaaaaazzzyyyyy is an adjective which best describes Vegas. Everything is excessive, flamboyant and huge…
We stayed at the Hotel Bellagio. The room itself was very classic, nothing out of the ordinary, but again we didn’t plan to spend a lot of time in the hotel room. You have to go to the ground floor to really appreciate the building’s qualities: the casino with its slot machines and many other betting games, but also boutiques, restaurants and hairdressers, etc…. It’s like you’re in a shopping centre so people stay there all day!
Things to do:
- I strongly recommend you go to see a show. We went to see “O”, an aquatic show by the legendary troop Cirque du Soleil. It was breathtaking. There were many different shows and concerts (Ricky Martin, Celine Dion, JLo, Cher…..), there’s something for all tastes.
- A helicopter tour exploring the Grand Canyon. It was particularly worrying when we flew over the really deep gaps but the view is just spectacular and you finish the tour with a photo on the famous Skywalk. The floor is made of glass and creaks as if it’s going to break (yes yes I swear!). But this is normal and you’re not in danger, it was a very beautiful experience.
- There are also various pawn shops, the most famous being the “Gold and Silver Pawn Shop” from the TV show “Pawn Stars” which has become a tourist attraction.
Two days in Cancun and two days in Havana :
Two days in Cancun: A short stop in Cancun to make the most of the beaches, we stayed in the Nizuc Hotel which was incredible – I highly recommend it. Its architecture uses natural colours and materials which create a soothing and refined ambiance.
I really enjoyed eating at the restaurant “Porfirio’s”, local specialities and mariachis played music while keeping a sophisticated feel.
Chichen Itza: It’s unthinkable to be in Cancun and not to know about and visit one of the Seven Wonders of the World, Chichen Itza (it’s not every day that you see these kind of things!), a Maya site, being to Cancun what the Eiffel Tower is to Paris. It was raining heavily that day which ruined the visit a bit, but I was happy to have gone there.
Two days in Havana, before going back to LA for a few days :
In my eyes, this was one of the least pleasant places: constantly being harassed by people selling drugs, buildings left in ruins, poverty and misery was visible everywhere. Despite all that, Cuba is changing. For example, a Kempinski hotel recently opened, with boutiques in a shopping mall. On top of that it is the only hotel to have an internet network, something which other hotels don’t have.
A series of events have happened in Cuba recently: a visit from Barack Obama in March 2016, a free Rolling Stones concert, the filming of Fast and Furious 8, the Chanel fashion show in Summer 2016 with a collection which recaptured all the symbols of the country (a bag in the shape of a cigarette box, prints with the mythical cars of Cuba, parodies of tourist T-shirts saying “Coco Cuba” and “Coco Libre”, military jackets, etc).
The classic cars in a variety of diverse and cheerful colours give the place a unique and atypical charm. I was obliged to take photos in front of them!
So there you go, I’ve told you about all the places that I visited during my summer holiday! I hope you enjoyed it, and I will speak to you soon to tell you about my other trips!