Islands & Beaches

Kisik Restaurant - Ayana Resort Bali
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Matthew Brace relives romantic moments on this island paradise ...

The magical island of Bali is deeply romantic at all times of the day but there’s a special warm glow at dusk when sandalwood, frangipani and romance are in the air. Villagers kneel in front of stone statues of their gods and lay offerings of flowers, small bits of food and incense sticks on the ground. The statues are often draped in black and white cloth which symbolises the coexistence of good and evil which the Balinese believe is essential for a balanced life.

Snorkelling bliss - iStock
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Enjoy a fine romance on an island made for two; there are literally hundreds to choose from at this fabled Indian Ocean getaway.

If you must get shipwrecked, you might as well do it in style. So discovered Australian surfer Tony Hinde who was washed up on a heavenly North Malé Atoll shore in 1973, enroute to Africa, and never went home. He fell under the spell of both the local breaks and lifestyle, married a Maldivian woman, Zulfa, and set up a surf school.WhileTony was helping visitors master the shallow coral reefs, the buzz started building about the near-mythical appeal of the destination he had ‘discovered’.

Mauritian natural splendour
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Discover the sweetest side of life on the enticing beaches and dramatic mountains of this tropical jewel.

I was sitting at a table on the verandah of the Maison Eureka, an original early nineteenth century home in the hills south of the Mauritian capital of Port Louis, and was about to be served a meal that was quintessentially Mauritian. A traditional Creole dish of chicken entrails seared with garlic butter, lentils and rice came with a refreshing glass of “alouda”, a stimulating mix of basil seeds, milk, vanilla ice-cream and crushed ice mixed with a sort of gelatin made from wild sea vegetables, and all prepared in the same 1840s kitchen that once served breakfast to the Duke and Duchess of York.

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I'm pretty sure the cheeky grey monkey at my front door wasn't a part of the package … but considering the scene laid out around us – jungles behind, sea view before us, and the thick hum of the early morning birdsong vibrating through the air – this little guy wasn't out of place at all. We watched as he and his family rummaged around the fallen leaves, finding their breakfast, playing chase and just doing what monkeys do before they made their way back into the forest, laughing as they went. Time for the humans to come out to play, and as we made our own way down the winding hillside path towards the beach I knew those macaques were still watching, as curious and amused as we were. 

We had arrived at Gaya Island Resort on Pulau Gaya the previous afternoon, travelling by water transfer from the mainland of Kota Kinabalu, whizzing across the harbour past huge cargo ships, colourful houses on stilts and the canoes of fisherman out for the daily catch.

Cuca
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If you're in Bali or planning a trip to Bali soon we hear there's a new restaurant that needs checking out! Opened just a month ago, Cuca serves tapas, cocktails and desserts – our style of eating! – from three distinctive spaces: an interactive and exciting food bar where wooden chairs run along one impressive teak counter; a relaxed and intimate dining room, ideal for guests to enjoy the company of each other in a comfortable and air-conditioned environment, and a chilled out cocktail bar & garden lounge, gently touched by the ocean breeze and surrounded by the undisturbed beauty of nature.

The restaurant is helmed by Chef Kevin Cherkas, who has an enviable career developed in some of the world's best restaurants such as Michelin three-star Arzak Restaurant in San Sebastian, Michelin three-star El Bulli in Roses and Michelin two-star La Broche in Madrid. He also left his mark in New York City during his 2 year tenure with Daniel Boulud at the highly regarded Michelin three-star Daniel.

And where is this new beauty I hear you ask? Cuca is located just in front of Kayumanis Jimbaran Private Estate and Spa.

Reservations may be made by calling +62 361 708066. The restaurant is open seven days a week from 12pm to 12am.

 
 
 
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