A flight of fantasy to Macau

Hotel, Travel and Food

Macanese moments are well presented in these photos. Now, I learned that even if a place is as small as Macau, one should never underestimate the great treasures that can lie within.

“First birthdays are for the parents’ benefit, to celebrate surviving the first year and remember the day you gave birth. Do whatever you fancy. Your baby won’t hold it against you!” It’s an exciting milestone! So we decided to go on a vacation to a nice place with hills, beach and culture on our baby’s first birthday which was on the December, 29th. Anyone else planning the first birthday vacation?

As we were traveling with our baby girl, we preferred to limit our destination choice to within a 6-hour flight; hence we decided on Macau for the Christmas and Birthday celebration. We booked our reservation at Crowne Plaza, Macau for 6 days.

Got into our hotel room

Breakfast next day with Kathleen, Cafe Azure (Crowne Plaza)

Francis and his team at Crowne Plaza went out of their way to make us feel comfortable ❤

Aarvi’s First Christmas with Team at Crowne Plaza

Christmas Decoration at Crowne Plaza

Apparently spending 5 nights in Hong Kong and 3 in Macau, should be adequately good  to get an OK experience of the place, but we wanted a get-fit, healthy, relaxing and a special birthday vacation. So we decided to visit Hong Kong sometime in the future. I have been traveling the world together with my partner for over seven years now and one of the things we love the most is the freedom that travel and this lifestyle gives us.

Sai Van Bridge connecting Taipa Island and Macau Peninsula.

For people who love the bling and the sin of a casino city

Mesmerizing view from Macau Tower

The Ruins of St. Paul’s, Macau, China – Considered Macau’s most famous landmark

Evening casual

Christmas Carol Parade on Christmas Eve

Beautiful stroll at The Venetian Macao

The islands of Macau, settled off the coast of Hong Kong in the South China Sea, can only be described as an exception. Here, in the middle of Asia, you can spot yourself walking through an old Portuguese village or standing in the thick of colorful lights of a Vegas-style strip of casinos. It’s a place where a long colonial history has brought cultural influences together from all corners of the globe, resulting in a truly one of a kind destination.

Macau has a little bit of culture for everyone. For historical culture there are amazing churches and museums, and for local culture the beaches, attractions and nightlife are like no other city in the world. From Hong Kong you can reach Macau by jetfoil, which makes the area a popular day-trip destination.

The lobby at The Venetian……beautiful & mesmerizing

Parisian Macao

Sofitel Macau at Ponte 16

MGM Macau

Known for its huge casinos and being the world’s top gambling city, it boasts some of the luxury hotels and is a great destination for Michelin-starred fine dining. We visited The Venetian, Sofitel Macau at Ponte 16, The Parisian, Galaxy Macau, Grand Coloane Resort and Four Seasons.

Christmas Eve Lunch Cake at Cafe Azure, Crowne Plaza

Birthday Dessert at Cafe Deco, The Venetian

Birthday Cart at Grand Coloane Beach Resort

We visited their restaurants to celebrate our ‘thank goodness we survived the first tricky 365 days’ with cutting a cake or a dessert in plate each day of the trip.

Honestly we  wanted to explore so much more but it is quite challenging when you travel with baby (howbeit we embraced the new fun and craziness of traveling with our bundle of joy, all the gear and baby-lugging was a great vacation exercise).

Here are some more highlights from our Holiday and Birthday, 2017 trip:

Macau Mornings!!!

Sippin’ & Shoppin’

Evening stroll with so much to see and do!

On our way to The Ruins of St. Paul’s on Christmas Eve

Waiting for our ride ✌

Gondola Ride at the Venetian..I just couldn’t leave without doing it..Never felt more like a tourist in my life, but come on …

Our gondolier Valeria ❤

Night Shuttle Tour

Just Danish at Cafe Azure, Crowne Plaza

Mandatory daily playtime at Crowne Plaza

Got to witness this beautiful beach wedding 👰 — at Hac Sa Beach Coloane.

The Venetian, Macau

The Grand Canal Shoppes — at Venetian Macao

Senado Square

So when I finally found one photo that would make a good picture 😄 — at The Ruins of St. Paul’s, Macau, China.

The Ruins of St. Paul’s, Macau, China.

On our way to Macau Tower

Senado Square

Senado Square – A happy street

We really enjoyed our breakfast moments here!

Christmas Eve Lunch with the gorgeous team (Courtesy) Cafe Azure & Chew Kee Wei

I love learning about (and tasting) all of the amazing foods in the world. Each shoot I experience new things to add to my food memory bank. (Blog Post coming soon)

Important things that you should be informed if you are planning a day trip to Macau from Hong Kong:

Allow 1 hour to get from hotel to ferry+tickets+boarding.

Allow 1 hour to get from HK to Macau.

Allow 30mins to disembark, immigration then taxi.

Similar the other way round…so travelling will cost you 5 hours.

Longer ferry waiting times during weekends and public holidays.

If you leave at 9am, you will reach Macau at 1130. To get back to HK by 6pm, you will have to leave Macau by 430. That gives you 5 hours. I think you should stay for dinner. Try Macanese or Portugese food, or visit the Casinos. Take a later ferry and be back by about 11pm.

P.S. Will update the blog with more photos of the trip and also working on a separate blog about my dining experience at Cafe Azure and about my stay at Crowne Plaza, The Venetian, The Sofitel Macau at Ponte 16, and Grand Coloane Beach Resort.

Till we meet again

xoxo

~Sanchali

 

Manuka Bahrain – Making life a little leafier and a little sweeter

Events & Experiences, Travel and Food

My 7th visit to a bakery store, (and a Botanical Salad Bar this time around) at Manuka Bahrain and it is better than ever. In fact, I ate one of my best sweet treats in 2017 so far. Manuka’s head chef Dilli and his merry band have put the bakery and salad bar in a great spot and I think this team are flying right now. The execution is 100% on-point, fully realising the wholesome, hearty, belly-thumping treats of Manuka.

The Entrance to the Botanical Salad Bar & Bakery

I was in there for Friday evening coffee with my friends Pieter and Sandra and were greeted by Hassan, one of the owners of  Manuka. I was welcomed with their signature and all time favorite ”The Pistasha” (Pistachio and rose cookie). Things I absolutely loved (at first sight) about the place was it’s engraved rose wall interior that adds a unique character and elegance to the place and the meld of plants, wood, jute and bamboo that connects a natural aesthetic appeal to the place.

Gorgeous Manuka designed Coffee takeaway cups will perk you up immediately

As for eats, they had some amazing bakes in their menu, some of the must try items in their menu are the pistachio and rose cookie, nutella donut, chocolate cornflake crunch, honeycomb chocolate crunchy bars, and calling all coffee lovers..you’ve got to try their Cappuccino and Americano. (Loved the gorgeous Manuka designed coffee takeaway cups, adds some fun!)

Just look, and try to take in the beauty of this hypnotising river of smooth, lustrously luscious pink creamy frosting..sorry it’s half eaten!

Moist, chocolaty perfection. This is the chocolate cake you’ve been dreaming of!

Great selection of Cookie Jars sweeten their countertop

Move over cupcakes, there’s a new trend in town! Mini cakes are making a big statement on today’s dessert tables

Some more treats – Chocolate covered Honeycomb crunchie bars

Espresso Cookies – Looks like all you coffee lovers out there might want to give this one a try

Hello donut lovers!! Nutella Donuts with Nutella Glaze

Chocolate Cornflake Crunch – Our childhood favourite, with a grown-up, healthier twist. Surprising things you can do with cereal

My companion this week..this classic red velvet beauty

The engraved rose wall interior adds a unique character and elegance to the place

Just look at these lovely little take away boxes

Get to know your options!!

Amazing salad joint! Fresh, healthy, friendly, bright

A fundamental offering on the salad bar is the black rice aka the forbidden rice, a rarity in the food world. You might be wondering what black rice is and where you can find it. Here is your place!

What makes this place even more special is the Botanical Salad Bar where you can build your own salad. The salad bar looked ample and appetizing, but we definitely had no room for anything beyond the sweet snacks and coffee. So I decided to take a quick look at the options (for my review). Some of the exciting choices which make Manuka’s salad bar unique are the forbidden rice (aka black rice), wrapped vine leaves, green papaya and water-chestnuts. Next time I Visit Manuka, I will make sure to leave some space in my tummy to stuff in those greens.

So if you are looking for a fresh, healthy, friendly, bright location then this could be the place for you! For this much quality and beauty on the plate, it will be worth every penny.

Pure Baking, Pure Class. Take me back to Manuka!

Details

Manuka Bahrain, Botanical Salad Bar & Bakery

Open everyday

Jamal Al Deen Afghani Ave, Muharraq, Bahrain

(+973) 32111191-17003232

Timings: Sunday-Thursday : 4 pm – 10 pm Friday- Saturday: 12 pm – 10 pm

Instagram @manuka.bh

Some more pictures and notes from my review below.