Lux* Maldives – Behind the Scenes at the 2015 Bikini Photoshoot Coco Bay Co-Founder, Belinda Robinson, gives us the low down on the 2015 photoshoot at Lux* Maldives. You would have thought by now that we would be well practiced at the pre-photoshoot drill but each year it seems to start earlier and take longer as the collections get bigger and the task in hand more challenging! The result – we are on our knees before we even start taking the pictures and this year even more so having also just launched a brand new website and back office system. I don’t even remember the 8 hour flight, I think I was out by the opening credits of the first film of my carefully selected line up and the next thing I knew I was being nudged by a rather grumpy air hostess to get ready for landing. In all the preparation we were so pre-occupied by samples turning up on time and schedules that we had not had much time to get excited about the venue and it wasn’t until we stepped off the flight that the wonderful reality hit home – We were in the Maldives and we were heading back to Lux* Maldives.
It’s safe to say that winter still has us firmly in it’s grip! Before we start looking forward to spring, how’s about seeking out some of that all-elusive winter sun. To keep your spirits high, we’ve put together a list of 5 perfect holiday destinations to escape the winter blues. Goa With palm fringed beaches and average temperatures above 32° throughout the Winter months, Goa makes an ideal destination for a winter getaway. A heavy Portuguese influence combines with traditional Indian heritage to create Goa’s exotic, vibrant culture. For years Goa’s sandy beaches have attracted hedonist tourists from across the globe. Head north if you are looking for a more fashionable vibe. We Say: “Pack items from the ever popular mix and match Seafolly ‘Goddess’ Bikini range, with next day delivery and free returns or exchanges at Coco Bay, there’s no reason not to order yourself a mix and match selection!” Shop Seafolly Goddess bikinis at Coco Bay » Marrakech Jet off with the girls for a weekend mini-break to this mystical Moroccan city. Marrakech is steeped in history and has bags of stylish riads and hotels to choose from. Experience Marrakech’s sensational colours, textures, smells and tastes. With an average daytime high of 18°C on the Winter months Marrakech makes a perfect destination at this time of year. Although don’t forget to pack a jacket as the evenings can get chilly. We Say: “You’ll be fully equipped for both intrepid exploration and easy poolside lounging by packing-up this stylish, ‘Arenal Bag’ from Pia Rossini.” Shop designer beach bags at Coco Bay » Fuerteventura A great family destination, with sandy beaches, warm weather and lots of watersports. The oldest of the Canary islands, Fuerteventura is situated off the east coast of Africa. Boasting 3,000 hours of sunshine per year and temperatures of around 20°C from November to February. Expect a dramatic, volcantic landscape where fine white sand has blown in from the Saraha forming spectacular desert like sand dunes. We Say: “This gorgeous Seafolly Girl ‘Tropica Crush Tube Bikini’ is guaranteed to make any tween or teen girl smile. It’s also on sale right now at only £26 (from £37.20) – there’s another reason to be cheerful!” Shop Girl’s swimwear & beachwear at Coco Bay » Cape Town Fancy something bit more long-haul? It’s a pleasant surprise to find you can travel further a field and still escape the dreaded jet-lag by visiting the South African city of Cape Town. Despite being in a different hemisphere, Cape Town is actually in the same time zone as the UK. You’ll find stunning scenery and wildlife, award winning vineyards, not to mention an eclectic melting-pot of some of the world’s finest foods. We Say: “The versatile and easy to wear ‘Seafolly Sun Lounger Hoodie’ by Seafolly won’t fail to give your holiday that all round feel-good factor. Available in two gorgeous colorways; Indigo and Seychelles (pictured), it’s already proving to be one of this years biggest sellers.” Shop Kaftans and Cover-ups at Coco Bay » Maldives For those looking for romance and all out luxury and a particular favourite here at Coco Bay is undoubtedly the the beautiful Maldives. Compromising of over 1000 coral islands, The Maldives are surrounded by the turquoise Indian ocean, teaming with colourful, exotic sealife. With pleasant temperatures all year round the winter months provide a more affordable option to visit this undisputed paradise. We Say: “For beach and poolside glamour we just can’t fault Banana Moon’s ‘Swamis Dreamy Halter Swimsuit’ in Chocolat, new to Coco Bay, we love the detailing and flattering contours of this statement swim-suit.” Shop stylish one-piece swimwear at Coco Bay »
Winter Sun, Discover Cuba …. First hand, from one CB team member in search of winter sun. It’s often said that Cuba is a country trapped in a time-warp, like a prince in a poor man’s coat. But behind the shabby facades and mildewed magnificence lies a Latin paradise. I had been keen to discover this hidden world of cigar-chomping, rum-swilling, salsa-dancing revolutionaries, for many years. So, I pressed pause on the day job (part of Team Coco Bay mainly dealing with marketing) and the family and I jetted off for some half term winter sun adventures. After a less than comfortable 10 hour flight we arrived in Havana late at night. Nothing quite prepared us for what this wildly exuberant city had to offer! Firstly the heat was stiffling, the humidity high, and there’s an overpowering smell of diesel in the air. The pace of life is fast and loud, live Latin music poured out from the doorways of the flaking buildings, dancing seemed to be regulatory and rum a necessary evil. The following day we woke to find crumbling grandeur and elegance. Spanish colonial buildings, broad boulevards, narrow cobbled street and spectacular 16th Century Plazas in Habana Vieja (Old Town). Holidaying with my 2 young sons, I have to mention the cars – oh the cars! Huge gas guzzling, ancient Chevrolets, Buicks and Plymouths really do throb through the streets. Taking a short walk away from the city centre we found some calm in the form of Malecon. Havana’s 8KM stretch of shabby sea front running the breadth of the city. With giant waves crashing against the ancient sea wall, we discovered where the real Habaneros enjoy their winter sun – just chilling. In Cuba you’re never far away from an idyllic beach, so as befitting tourists on a winter sun get away, we opted for Playas del Este, Havana’s pine fringed Riviera east of the city. With my A/W 14 Seafolly beach wardrobe – a Dahlia Kaftan from the Kimono Rose range, Goddess Seychelles Bikini worn with a Coyote Sun Hat and Black and Silver Slim Havaianas I was ready for whatever occasion the day may offer – beach, bar, stay late and party a little! Leaving my much loved Seafolly Havana Sun Hat for city sight seeing we jumped into a bright green 1959 Buick taxi in search of the first beach of our winter sun holiday. Playa del Este is picture postcard perfect, soft white sand, palm trees and clear aquamarine waters. That said it doesn’t have the luxuries (or even facilities) of other Caribbean resorts. Instead we found slightly tatty time worn restaurants and communist style hotels with limited offerings. But this is Cuba, a country of contradictions. We found it both frustrating and inspiring, but most of all were amazed by its beauty, history and warmth of the Cuban people. I’d definitely recommend Cuba as a destination for a winter sun holiday, just keep an open mind!
Packing Tips for a Holiday We love the month of May … spring has already sprung, the sun shines (or threatens to) and summer is just a small hop away. But the best thing about the darling month of May is … 2 bank holidays. This gives us all a perfectly blissful opportunity to grab a small bag and head off to for a long weekend. We all know that traveling light isn’t easy, especially on a beach holiday. We’ve picked up a few top tips from stylists and fashion consultants over the years that we thought we’d share with you! Colour code your clothes and stick to one or two colour palettes and choose items of clothing that are multi-functional. Then when you’re ready to pack just start Rollin, Rollin, Rollin … your clothes. This will negate creasing and give you more room for the stuff you want to take. “Say Yes” to swimwear is another top tip – bikinis, swimsuits, tankini tops and singlets are tiny. They take up very little room and can look as chic off the beach when worn under shorts or trousers. A Kaftan or cover up is another must pack item for your short trip away. The Baku Heatwave has beautiful lace sleeve detail that wouldn’t look out of place in a restaurant or bar. Dresses are hard-working and add a bit of “holiday glamour”! Pack one dress and wear it in the day with flats, flip flops and shades and by night with heels and lipstick. Check out the very versatile Seafolly Bandit Beach Dress (above) with an optional under slip which transforms it from cool beach cover-up by day to sophisticated party dress in the evening Sarongs add very little to your load and aren’t just beach cover ups – double up as a scarf to brighten a plain top or wrap over shoulders for the cooler evenings. So there you have it, a complete capsule beach wardrobe. Now, just throw in a sun hat and flip flops and you’re ready to go – on your long weekend. Coco Bay offer next day delivery and free returns on kaftans, cover ups and all beachwear.
An Island resort which should be very proud of their location, staff and facilities. Having just spent a week at this incredible resort I feel privileged to have seen some of the most beautiful beaches, sea life and views on the planet. The island resort has created a luxurious hotel that is nestled into its environment so sympathetically you’d hardly know it was there. The pure beauty of the location can not be challenged, 4 km of white powdery sand with turquoise waters lapping gently at its edge, beaches so uncrowded that you could be lead to believe the island belonged to you. Forget the feeling of having to place a towel on your sunbed at 7am or queuing for dinner at 7.30pm. This wonderful resort has an abundance of high quality restaurants hidden within the natural beauty of the island, some buffet style others with outstanding table service. All serving an incredibly high standard of food ranging from Italian, Japanese, Curry and other nightly specials. The staff around the hotel could not have been more attentive, from the groundsmen and women who spend everyday making the hotel gardens look absolutely beautiful, to the housekeepers who not only kept our rooms sand free they also left us a little surprise most nights. Each night we would come in from dinner and find an amazing creation on our bed made from a towel, a turtle, an elephant, kissing swans and even a monkey. The waiting staff were tremendous, every mealtime going that extra mile to make our evening special, a warm welcome with a friendly smile just seemed to come naturally. Other perks of the resort were free snorkeling trips, free use of snorkeling equipment, kayaks, pedal boats and bicycles around the island. For the more adventurous guests, activities included deep sea fishing, scuba diving, searching for the infamous Whale Shark, ride the jet skis and trying out the flyboarding, at an extra cost. Again, nothing is too much trouble for the guys at the watersports centre. A welcome change from other resorts I have been to. All in all I would like to congratulate LUX*Maldives for creating a small corner of the world which gives you real rest and relaxation with views to die for and service you can only dream of. Thanks for a great week guys!
As the days get shorter and autumn sets in, we all start dreaming of white beaches, aqua seas, warmth and sunshine. Where better to find all this and much more than Barbados. I have recently had my first experience of this magical island and it surpassed all expectations. It not only ticks all of the above but also exudes a unique culture, authenticity and personality that you can’t fail to fall in love with. Before going there, I had always wondered what it was about this caribbean island that draws people back year after year but now I can totally understand, there is something very addictive about its beauty, people, culture and vibrant yet cosy atmostphere. Elegant Hotels www.eleganthotels.com specialise in Barbados and as such offer a unique collection of luxury properties and resorts beautifully situated on the West and South Coast of the island. They manage to combine elegance with a twist which gives each of their luxury hotels a distinctive personality and an authentic charm. Whether its romance you seek, adventure or a family vacation, Elegant Hotels would definitely be our top choice. We have just been lucky enough to stay at the recently re-furbished Tamarind Hotel for our Photoshoot (and what a location it turned out to be!). Set on the west coast, this hotel is a little piece of paradise – aqua waters, white sands, serene outdoor spaces and a unique friendly atmostphere that combines the island’s informal relaxed spirit with an understated efficiency and service of a 5* hotel. This is a family hotel but is equally suitable for couples as it manages to retain the peace and romance of an adults only hotel. You could quite easily not move from this hotel for your whole stay as there is plenty to do on site including complementary watersports, kids clubs and of course the obligatory ‘sitting by the aqua waters doing absolutely nothing’ that we all dream of. For the more energetic days, it acts as a perfect base from which to explore the island which I am looking forward to doing when I am not there on ‘work’ duty. One little secret that this hotel seems to keep rather quiet and we discovered by accident, just meters off the hotel beach, you can swim with wild turtles which is truly a magical experience. We were also invited to shoot at the exclusive House Hotel. The House is an intimate boutique hotel which offers informal sophistication and tranquility in a chic minimalist design. The atmostphere there is relaxed yet exclusive, a haven of privacy and calm – definitely on my wish list for a treaty holiday. The acclaimed Daphne’s restaurant there, with its fine italian menu, provides a very special dining experience, people come from all over the island to enjoy its exceptional menu and one-off beach-side location. Sadly, due to a gruelling photoshoot schedule we didn’t find a moment to eat there but we did manage to visit on our last day for a cocktail. It is indeed a magical venue with a warm and welcoming atmostphere and as for the mojitos, I can definitely vouch for them! This time round most of our trip was taken up with the photoshoot so we were unable to explore this beautiful island properly but this just gives us the perfect excuse to go back and back as the island has so much to offer. We all definitely came back as Barbados addicts and what better way to do it than the ‘Elegant’ way. You can find more information about Elegant and their 5 hotels on the island visit www.eleganthotels.com. You can also read our ‘Photoshoot Diary’ to hear more about our trip.
Looking for a gorgeous villa or hotel holiday in the most sought after places in the world? Check out CV Travel who offer a hand picked selection of gorgeous villas and hotels worldwide. They stand apart from their competitors due to choice and their first hand knowledge of all their destinations and accommodation which include the Greek Islands, Italy, France, Spain, Balearics, Portugal, North Africa, Arabia, South Africa and the Caribbean. We can personally vouch for their service and accommodation as we have just come back from a wonderful week in the Villa Filoxenia on the Greek Island Paxos where we went to do our 2011 beachwear photoshoot. Their recommendation was perfect and local knowledge spot on. The london staff and local reps couldn’t have done more to help us and the villa, with its panoramic terrace over looking the sea, was absolutely stunning. To find out more about Paxos, Villa Filoxenia and CV Travel, visit www.cvtravel.co.uk. You can also call on 020 7401 1026 (Greek Islands), 020 7401 1010 (General Enquiries), 020 7401 1054 (to order a brochure).
If backpacking conjures up images of flea infested hostels then think again! Luxury Back Packers offers amazing holidays World Wide and you will be taken care of every remote step of the way! Whether you want to watch polar bears in Canada, polo in Pakistan, or penguines in the Antarctic; whether you would like to learn cooking in Thailand , wine taste in California or scuba diving in the Maldives visit www.luxurybackpackers.com and you will be more than amazed by the fabulous holidays they offer.
. Bush Baby Travel was set up to offer parents wishing to visit South Africa and Mauritius, The Indian Ocean and Arabia a personalised and informed service leading to the creation of an imaginative, tailor-made holiday. Since its launch many couples, including Honeymooners have also been attracted by their high levels of service offered for competitive rates. They have visited every property so that you can be confident that you will be booking into the best hotel or safari lodge to meet your unique needs. For more information visit www.bushbabytravel.com.