Posts tagged anna kooiman lifestyle
Dubai: Atlantis & Arabian Adventures

My first time to Dubai did not disappoint! My husband and I booked in at Atlantis, The Palm. It was magnificent. I wasn't sure what I would think of all the opulence associated with Dubai, but our room was classy and our stay was just right. The accommodations were so stellar! I was 5 months+ pregnant during the trip, so I really enjoyed the 5 star amenities! Atlantis, The Palm is unlike any other resort I've visited. Why? There are so many reasons. What separated it for me initially is the whole place is ocean-themed. There is a HUGE aquarium full of all manner of exotic creatures smack dab in the middle of the hotel! It's called the Lost Chambers and takes you through underwater passageways giving you a peek at the history of ancient Atlantis. It was fun watching the kids mash their faces against the glass to try to kiss big fish, sting rays, sharks, etc. And I have to admit, I was doing the same thing as I always trying to 'Find Nemo!' ;-)

Atlantis offers an array of marine, entertainment, and dining attractions. You have probably seen pictures in magazines of the magnificent waterslides at the world renown Aquaventure Waterpark. The slides and wave pool are invigorating and the lazy river is relaxing. I enjoyed just lounging by the main pools too. You will definitely want to take a dip in the water. Dubai can be very hot!

There are a couple dozen dining destinations housed within the resort. You will definitely not go around hungry!! In fact, pack some pants with elastic waistbands because the buffets are off the charts if that's yo thangggg! Famous restaurants like Nobu and Gordon Ramsay's Bread Street Kitchen will tempt your senses! My favorite dishes at BSK include the chargrilled octopus and cauliflower and parmesan salad. My husband really enjoyed his steak too. The vibe is bustling but not too crazy. It's a good spot for a date or even to bring the kids. You can also pick up one of his cookbooks on your way out the door!

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James Bond's Italy: Lake Como

During my two week Northern Italy adventure, I spent several nights in Lake Como. This was easily one of my favorite places. I had the gist of Como... but wasn't aware I would fall in love with it so much!  Lake Como is known for classy, tasteful, European opulence, and majestic mountains along the Swiss Alps that plunge straight into the water. I was hoping I might spot some James Bond set locations, and if I was extra lucky, thought I might see the handsome, George Clooney gallivanting around. Well... my husband and I DID spot a villa from Casino Royale... and we did eat dinner at a couple restaurants George and Amal Clooney are known to hang out... but unfortunately no Ocean's Eleven sighting! If you're interested in the ins and outs from an American travel writer's perspective, click on this link.

After wandering around Como for a day or two... shopping, eating pasta and gelato, and seeing the sites like the Gothic Como Cathedral, my husband and I took a ferry to Bellagio, which is sometimes called Europe's prettiest town. We had lunch at an elegant outdoor eatery, Bilacus Ristorante, and explored the famous gardens of the Villa Melzi. Bellagio was incredible- but I must say the ferry ride out there was equally as tantalizing! We opted to take the slow ferry out, and the fast ferry back. This was a great way to see all the sites... including Casino Royale's, Villa del Balbianello! 

I would postitively recommend eating dinner, or at least having a cocktail, coffee, or tea at Villa d'Este. Sitting there having my tea (it would have been a dirty martini if I wasn't pregnant) I felt like a princess, merely by being there! Click on this link to see what I mean... and I need not say more! You also ought to consider dining at Il Gato Nero. This is another spot the Clooney's are known to frequent. I had the most delicious onion soup to start, followed by scallops with pine nut cream. The server brings your own personal bread basket with about a half dozen choices (fresh baked bread is my weakness... more than chocolate cake for sure!). Both culinary destinations are in Cernobbio. 

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