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Hotel Review: Chaaya Tranz Hikkaduwa

Sri Lanka was a total surprise to us. Not only because of the endless beauty, kind people, amazing scenery and delicious food – but because so many people still believe there is some sort of unrest in the country. Nothing could be further from the truth and no one should ever miss out on a trip to this amazing country, whether for a weekend or a month. Having only a short weekend off from work in busy Dubai, the relaxed island nation of Sri Lanka is a short 4 hour flight away, the perfect weekend getaway – and the Chaaya Tranz hotel in Hikkaduwa couldn’t have been a better place to pick.

Outstretched across the sandy beaches in Hikkaduwa, a quiet little beach town just 2 hours from Colombo, the term “island life” take a whole new meaning. Time slows down, the smiles are more obvious and with the smell of the ocean in the air you instantly start to feel more relaxed.

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“You know a hotel has done something right when you can relax in their rooms and still feel as comfortable as if you were home.”

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From the second you walk into the open air lobby, you are greeted by the supremely warm staff, a delicious welcome drink and you want nothing more than to melt into one of their beach chairs and smile as you nod off to sleep in the sun.

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Each of the rooms have fantastic views over the entire grounds, littered with swimming pools, palm trees, lounge chairs and sandy beaches. Whether you want to lounge in the shade, enjoy a cocktail in the pool, feed giant sea turtles just steps from your room or enjoy delicious food with an amazing view, it is all available within a stones throw.

The rooms are simply perfect. Comfortable, bright and practical they leave you wanting nothing. You know a hotel has done something right when you can relax in their rooms and still feel as comfortable as if you were home.

The wonderful thing about a hotel like the Chaaya Tranz is that with views so amazing, you simply don’t want to do anything but get out and explore – exactly what every traveler dreams of.

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One of the best parts of the stay was easily the food. Hotels like this sometimes relax when it comes to food as their stunning setting does so much of the work for them, but not Cinnamon Hotels, whom go well out of their way to not only offer some of the most delicious local offerings, but also give you a taste of home if you need it. (but trust us, go for the local food, it is to die for.)

The breakfast buffet is stunning and the setting could not be more welcoming – you’ll never want to leave.

While you might be tempted to spend the entire stay sitting in the beautiful pool or on the golden sands, don’t miss out on all the hotel offers, including an amazing spa that will relax you like you never thought possible. Imagine having just finished a full body massage and then slipping into a comfortable lounge chair on your balcony as you fall asleep to the sounds of the ocean – amazing huh?

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Like with all hotel stays it really is the little things that make all the difference. Cheap plastic shampoo bottles being replaced with ceramic containers, staff that go out of their way to make you feel well attended to but not overbearing, waiters who keep your drink filled without hovering around and the most important part of a hotel room – a bed which you can absolutely melt into, making sure they take the extra steps to give you the most comfortable sleep possible.

Staying for a weekend is only torture because it goes by so quick, but regardless how long you stay, you will never forget your stay in this amazing little gem on the Sri Lankan coast. Hikkaduwa is a perfect little beach town which, thankfully, is a perfect balance between authentic Sri Lankan life and all the comforts tourists desire. Take a short walk around the town and you can find amazing hand crafted items to take home and take a certain back street and you’ll find beautiful small Bhuddist temple perched on a nearby hill.

Whether flying from close by Dubai or from the other side of the world Sri Lanka needs to be on every travelers list, and if you make it to this perfect little country we’ll gladly point you to Hikkaduwa and one of the best seaside hotels we have ever stayed at.

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jeffjohnsheadshotJeff Johns is the co-founder and editor of Latitude 34 Travel Blog. Through 65 countries on 6 continents he has accumulated a seemingly endless stream of odd information, interesting stories and helpful tips and tricks to better travel. Jeff’s goal is to visit all 204 countries on Earth before he is too senile to remember them all. A graduate of the Visual Journalism program at the Brooks Institute, his true passions lay in honest visual storytelling, documentary filmmaking, Thai food and a good laugh. Together with Marina, they run Latitude 34 Travel Blog as a source of helpful information for those who love to travel or those who simply dream of it. If you have a comment or suggestion, send them an email at hello@latitudethirtyfour.com and they’ll respond super fast!

A Closer Look at The Cosmopolitan in Las Vegas_01

A Closer Look at The Cosmopolitan in Las Vegas

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Marina and I have enjoyed many trips to Vegas as we spent years living in close by Los Angeles. While there is never a shortage of hotels to stay at there are a few hotels on the strip which really stand out, keep reading to find out why.

Any trip to Vegas should include a handful of experiences you can’t get anywhere else. If you stay at the Cosmopolitan, you’re in for a unique, sense-satisfying stay. From its striking art exhibits to unique social scene, everything about the Cosmopolitan screams sophistication and whimsy.

This hotel, with its astounding 2,995 rooms spread across two high rise towers, was completed in 2010 and named Best Hotel in the World in 2013, and it’s pretty clear why.

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A Closer Look at The Cosmopolitan in Las Vegas_01

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Beautiful Guest Rooms and Suites

Every room at the Cosmopolitan is surprisingly warm and inviting, despite the general feel of sleekness and sophistication throughout the hotel. Guest rooms have a genuine residential feel, and many of them come with a private terrace with amazing views of the Strip.

There are several different room options, including four suites and the West End Penthouses, which range in size from 2,400 to 3,700 square feet. The most attractive offering, however, would have to be the poolside bungalows. They have three levels, with a third floor terrace and first level media lounge. On the terrace, you’ll find an outdoor kitchenette and bar next to a private heated plunge pool.

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Unbelievable Dining

The hotel has fourteen dining options, so there’s no need to leave the hotel for a bite to eat. The cuisine choices at the Cosmopolitan can satisfy any kind of food craving, but one restaurant stands out from the rest. Scarpetta is the place to go for authentic, delicious Italian fare. It’s a quiet space with exceptional service and food you won’t soon forget.

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A Closer Look at The Cosmopolitan in Las Vegas_01

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Unique Nightlife and Entertainment

The Cosmopolitan houses six bars and lounges, including the Marquee nightclub and dayclub, the Chelsea performance space, and Rose. Rabbit. Lie., a space that has been dubbed a social experiment rather than a nightclub. Of particular interest is the Chandelier. Have cocktails on one of the bar’s three tiers, which are all shrouded in two million dangling crystals. It’s truly exquisite to behold, and the drinks aren’t bad either.

The hotel also houses multiple art exhibits by some of the world’s most talented artists. The Cosmopolitan has put a lot of effort into turning Vegas into a premier destination for great art, and it’s doing a fantastic job. No matter where you go in the hotel, you can feast your eyes on one medium or another.

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A Closer Look at The Cosmopolitan in Las Vegas_01

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Upscale Amenities

Of course, it’s the little things that make or break a hotel. In the Cosmopolitan’s case, however, there are no little things. Every detail is important, and so it’s amplified by a thousand.

The Sahra Spa is a slice of heaven on Earth, inspired by desert landscapes, with walls made of canyon rock and ceilings that appear to be lit by moonlight.

It wouldn’t be a Vegas hotel without a casino. The Cosmopolitan spared no expense when building its 110,000 square foot gaming space, which has virtually every game you can think of. After you’re done, head out to one of the hotel’s inviting pools for a quick dip.

Simply put, the Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas is unlike anything you’ve ever seen. What are some of your favorite Vegas hotels?

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Images provided from Flickr via Jim GJustin Brownbrandon shigeta and Sarah_Ackerman

Travel Wish List 2014: Finally Visiting Dubai!
Travel Wish List 2014: Finally Visiting Dubai!
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For the first time in either of our lives, Marina and I have a wide open year just for travel, and no strings tying us down anywhere. We have no cars payments, no rent, no cell phone plans. We have worked very hard to get to this point and hope to check many things off our travel wish list in 2014, including finally visiting Dubai!
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Travel Wish List 2014: Finally Visiting Dubai!
Photo by Svetlana Grechkina via Flickr

For some reason Dubai has always held a certain mystique in my mind, and I have always wanted to visit the country to experience the vastly unique lifestyle. One of the best things travel can give you is an utterly different perspective to your life and a brilliant insight into the lives of other cultures around the world.

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Dubai is one of 7 emirates (a principality), which combine to form the United Arab Emirates (UAE). One of the most popular and interesting, Dubai is filled with groundbreaking tourist attractions like Palm Island and the first indoor skiing available in the Middle East.
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Dubai also has some of the best food in the Middle East, and while laws prohibit the sale of alcohol to restaurants located outside of hotels, the food is usually extremely delicious and cheap, or so we hear! We cannot wait to explore it all for ourselves.
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While we will be traveling through most of Western Europe during the middle of the winter, by the time we arrive to Dubai in March it should be nice and warm and in the middle of their tourist season. We’ve heard brilliant things about the malls, the zoo and some of the roof top hotel bars!
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Neither Marina or me have ever been anywhere in the Middle East, and while Dubai will not give us a complete picture of the region, it is going to be a great place to start our journey into that part of the world!
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Emirates offers the easiest flights to Dubai and within the region, so hopefully once we make it to Istanbul, we’ll be able to easily hop on over to Dubai before we make our way to India and up to Nepal.
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Have you been to Dubai? What did you think? Where would you recommend we go? Anything not to miss, anything we should pass on? We’d love to read your comments, so feel free to leave advice below or comment with a link to one of your own articles.
Cheers and we’ll see you on the road!
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Travel Wish List 2014: Finally Visiting Dubai!
Photo by MJ Photography via Flickr

 

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.H . jeffjohnsheadshotJeff Johns is the co-founder and editor of Latitude 34 Travel Blog. Through 65 countries on 6 continents he has accumulated a seemingly endless stream of odd information, interesting stories and helpful tips and tricks to better travel. Jeff’s goal is to visit all 204 countries on Earth before he is too senile to remember them all. A graduate of the Visual Journalism program at the Brooks Institute, his true passions lay in honest visual storytelling, documentary filmmaking, Thai food and a good laugh. Together with his girlfriend Marina, they run Latitude 34 Travel Blog as a source of helpful information for those who love to travel or those who simply dream of it. If you have a comment or suggestion, send them an email at hello@latitudethirtyfour.com and they’ll respond super fast!

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