Travel Video: 2017 is the International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development!

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The United Nations (UN) General Assembly has approved the adoption of 2017 as the International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development. The resolution, adopted on 4 December, recognizes “the importance of international tourism, and particularly of the designation of an international year of sustainable tourism for development, in fostering better understanding among peoples everywhere, in leading to a greater awareness of the rich heritage of various civilizations and in bringing about a better appreciation of the inherent values of different cultures, thereby contributing to the strengthening of peace in the world.”

Check-In: Hotel de l’Opera Hanoi, Vietnam

Hotel de l'Opera Hanoi, Vietnam1

Hanoi should be on every South East Asia traveller’s itinerary. Not only is it the populous capital of Vietnam, but it is also a metropolitan city like no other. For one, it is the hardest city to cross the street in – not because of traffic, but because of the number of whizzing motorcycles around, way outnumbering the number of cars. Some of them tend to borrow traffic laws and others pretend act as pedestrians.

Other than that, the city is bustling with amazing restaurants, many nightlife options and has a plethora of nearby essential destinations. Not only is it a great city, but it’s also a good way to start your Vietnamese experience.

But for the city, if you are wishing to stay in luxury and get fully pampered there are a few options. The one that suited us the most is Hotel de l’Opera Hanoi. It is the epitome of boutique in this busy capital. Being near all the high-end shopping areas, the hotel is a member of Accor’s exclusive MGallery Collection. With a staff of 150, almost everything is taken care of in the duration of your stay.

The hotel has a special ambiance – that of Vietnamese cool coupled with French decor – the modern and the traditional. The lobby is spacious with a full bar and trained mixologists – a rarity in Hanoi. It is perfect for pre-drinks before going out to events around the city, including the beautiful Opera House which is a couple of steps away and the namesake of the hotel.

The hotel is noted as the first boutique hotel in the heart of the capital. It boasts accents of architecture from many eras of the city’s rich 1,000 year old history. Featuring 107 rooms and suites with windows overlooking downtown Hanoi. The rooms are pretty spacious and are filled with all amenities one needs, including free WiFi.

The culinary options are varied. The downstairs bar is a buzzing social room called La Fée Verte. There you can have an array of traditional teas or imbibe some premium liquors, which include a drink of Absinthe that locals flock to the place for. The venue often has entertainment and scheduled happy hours throughout the week.

On the ground floor, there is a popular venue by the names of Café Lautrec frequented by hotel guests and locals. The place serves Mediterranean-style dishes and an extensive wine list. Another option is a restaurant called Satine located in the heart of the hotel’s 8-story atrium – an architectural nook that gives the hotel a unique feel. Moreover, the place serves some of the best Vietnamese cuisine from different regions of the country.

Another thing not to miss is Splash, a pool and fitness area overlooking the city. Although the gym is on one side, the pool turns into a social gathering, especially with the tropical pool parties the hotel is trying to promote nowadays – with specialty drinks, eclectic DJs and food stands. Sip while you watch the city.

Hotel de l’Opera Hanoi is unlike any other in the capital of Vietnam. It errs of the side of luxury, but it is so laid-back and central. For most of the important sight-seeing locations, you you can get there by walking. Otherwise, the hotel concierge has a list of arranged excursions that will make your Hanoi trip memorable. The staff were very friendly and the service was impeccable.


Visit Dar Darma in Marrakech, Morocco!

Detail of the Red suite at Riad Dar Darma in Marrakech

Detail of the Red suite at Riad Dar Darma in Marrakech

Dar Darma, the exclusive riad in the heart of Marrakech, invites all newlyweds to be pampered in a precious and cozy a-thousand and one-nights abode, to live pleasant adventures in the charming red city and its surroundings for a honeymoon full of unique and unforgettable experience.

For those looking for a real love nest, Dar Darma offers the Honeymoon package* (valid all year for a minimum stay of three nights) that includes accommodation in one of the six beautiful suites of your choice: you will experience finely furnished rooms, a romantic Moroccan candle-lit dinner, and colourful, traditional babouches.

The bride and groom can spend moments of pure relaxation in the traditional indoor hammam to regenerate body and mind, or even spend time in the riad’s poolside terraces. For the gourmands, there will be a tasting of delicious Moroccan dishes with fresh ingredients carefully selected by the chef. They can also have the chance to participate in Moroccan cooking classes.

Vibrant and mysterious, Marrakech is worth a visit at least once in lifetime. A stay at the Dar Darma is an opportunity to experience it to the fullest in the company of one of the riad’s guides, who accompany guests on exclusive excursions in and around town. The first stop is the city center: the crowded souk shops are the perfect place to hunt for the best deals, while the big Jamaa el Fna square is full of storytellers, acrobats and henna tattoo artists. For history lovers, the mosque and the minaret of the Koutoubia are the perfect place to enjoy some culture. The most exciting natural spectacles can be enjoyed by strolling through the Berber villages on horseback or on a quad and penetrating the heart of the mountain. From here, there is the possibility to go on a romantic ride in a hot air balloon in the skies of Marrakech while sipping a good glass of champagne.

The city can be a perfect destination for bachelor and bachelorette parties due to the wide range of attractions and cut-edge fashion for its nightlife. The riad can be rented exclusively for these occasions to celebrate with friends.
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