Macao: Places to Visit

When one thinks of Macao, gambling is the first word that seems to be associated with the province. However, after spending five days in Macao, that was not the case at all. I left Macao feeling like I haven't seen enough, and was already thinking of future plans to return! After the trip, I decided to compile photos and dedicate this post to some of my favorite spots I visited in Macao (in no particular order). 

Screen Shot 2017-11-23 at 10.25.34 PM.png

1. Studio City Macao

Not only do they host the highest ferris wheel in the world, it's also in the shape of an 8. This hotel is based out of, you guessed it, Studio City in Southern California. That's where the big names in entertainment are, and the whole hotel is themed to the Hollywood scene with Celebrity and Star suites (all gold everything, of course). Oh, and let's not forget their 4D Batman Ride, shopping area that is very similar to Hollywood, high tea, and more. 

2. Taipa Village

Taipa Village is filled with Portuguese influence from when the Portuguese came over and started integrating their history in Macau. There are many alleyways to wander through and colorful historic buildings that are gorgeous. Not only that, Cunha Street is filled with snacks and treats- it's basically a night market with everything that is offered! Bonus: Lord Stow's, the famous Portuguese egg tart bakery, has a location here.

3. Parisian Hotel

While Vegas is not family friendly at all,  the Parisian is the perfect spot for families and kids alike. With multiple pools including water slides, spa treatments, a huge shopping area similar to the Venetian in Vegas with numerous restaurants, and a mini Eiffel Tower with an observatory deck, you can spend hours getting lost here. They even have a day care for kids and family rooms with bunk beds... way too cute to handle. Their views from the rooms are amazing as well. 

4. Senado Square

The first time I visited Macao years ago, this was the most memorable to me. Senado Square is perfect for all things sightseeing, shopping, and dining. There are Portuguese influences scattered all in the surrounding area, and the alleyways are full of hidden gems you don't want to miss. Spend a couple hours here exploring, eating, and shopping! This spot is a MUST visit when going to Macao. 

5. Walking Tour Through Historic Centre of Macau, St Paul's Cathedral, Nacha Temple, and more

Macao has history dating back to the 1500s, so of course visiting their historic sites and temples is a must. St Paul's Cathedral is impressive, but be sure to walk around to find other cool spots and areas! There's scenic areas and food stalls everywhere.

6. Giant Panda Pavilion

Pandas? So un-bear-ably cute! We got to visit mama and papa panda with their two kids, and it was the cutest thing ever. They were housed in a huge dome, and there were also ostrichs, birds, and other animals in this park-like area. Great place to stroll and look at nature, or just check out the pandas, who are the stars of the show!

7. Wynn Palace

Who gets to enter a hotel through a gondola that goes through a giant gold dragon while watching a water show at the same time? Only at Wynn Palace can you have such a grand entrance. What's even better is that it's free to go in (pay to leave, best marketing strategy ever)! After entering, you'll be greeted with hundreds of fresh flowers going up the escalator. If flowers are your thing, this is the place for you. 

8. A Ma Temple

There are many stories behind this temple, including a recent one when the temple was burned in some areas. Apparently, the building burned down, but the wooden statue of A Ma herself that was inside the building was untouched.  The temple was built in the 1500s, so there is a ton of history here. There's a small hike that leads to the top, and you can buy incense and other trinkets to offer to the Gods. I would recommend visiting this spot in the morning to start off your day!

Although I had five full days in Macao, I felt like there was so much more to discover. This trip has really changed my perspective on Macao, and I can't wait to return and explore some more!

Other notable places worth mentioning:

Happiness Street (this used to be the Red Light District)

Pacha (Ibiza club that is in Macao)

Macao Tower (great views of Macao and China, and you can run and bungee jump off the tower)

MGM Macao & Mandarin Oriental (connected hotels, great shopping and leisure area)

Spa Time at MGM Macao

At almost every hotel we visited in Macao, there seemed to be a unique spa experience that seemed to cater all services and crowds. On my specific visit at the Tria Spa at MGM Macao, we were greeted with an all white, clean look with a traditional Chinese decor in the lobby. There were rooms upstairs and downstairs, and the spa itself is located downstairs.

The spa was immaculate in terms of design and cleanliness, and I was impressed at the services they offered! With an ambient sauna room, herbal steam room, sound chairs, and more, the spa had so many options to choose from! 

For my services, I decided to go with the 30 minute sound bath and a 30 minute full body massage. A sound bath consists of a vibrating chair that vibrates with the sound of the music, and the masseuse massages your head as the music is playing. This portion was extremely relaxing especially with the lavender aromatherapy, and I felt very in tune with the ambient music that was flowing through the room.

After the bath, I was led to another room for a full body massage. A sound bowl, which helps reduce stress and anxiety, was used to start and finish off the massage, and the whole massage was so relaxing. 

After the massage, we were treated with little bites and ginger tea to sip on while hanging out in the lounge. This spa day was the perfect little escape from the city, and I enjoyed every second of my experience there. Thank you MGM Macao for having me! 

Screen Shot 2017-11-15 at 1.10.24 AM.png

Highlights of Santorini

After two and a half weeks in Europe and numerous destinations, I would have to say that Santorini was my favorite of the trip! With the stunning whites, gorgeous sunsets, and fresh seafood, I could not have asked for a better two days here. Santorini has three major points- Oia which is far up north, Fira which is in the middle, and we stayed in the south side- Megalochori which was near the port. 

On the first day after settling into our hotel with my gorgeous Calpak marble luggage, we grabbed a quick bite and rented an ATV for the day to ride around the island! Taxis are on the rare side here, so renting a car, bike, or ATV is a better option here. We headed up north to Oia, and made our way down to Fira after! 

Oia is where you can find the prettiest views of the buildings and the water. We strolled around looking at the various shops filled with goodies, and ended up getting lost a couple times as there were a ton of pathways going everywhere! 

After exploring the streets, we headed south to Fira to catch the sunset down by the ocean. We ended up riding donkeys down to the beach, and grabbed dinner at the edge of the cliffs- the view was spectacular. We ordered a whole fresh fish as well as mussels and clams- SO good! 

The next day, we ventured to Perissa Beach where black sand is everywhere! As we were walking down the beach, there were a ton of umbrellas and tables from the restaurants, so we sat at one of them to relax and order some drinks and food. 

Around 2 pm, we went back to the hotel to get picked up for Santorini Sailing! I highly recommend going on this as it is an all inclusive yacht day with food, drinks and a gorgeous sunset. We visited the red beach, the white beach, the Aegean Sea with the hot springs, and swam in the ocean at each spot! Dinner was home made by our chef Maria with super fresh mussels and shrimp, and we also had grilled chicken and pork! The meal was amazing after a long day in the ocean.

After dinner, we sailed back to Santorini while watching the stunning sunset. Everything was so magical- it felt like I was on the most epic romantic date! 

Santorini was almost unreal- I had the best time here! Special thanks to Calpak for my marble luggage, Band of Gypsies for my clothes, Public Desire for my shoes, and Khongboon Swimwear for the bikini! 

Staycation at The Orlando Hotel

Last Thursday, I was lucky enough to be invited to stay at The Orlando Hotel! It is a family owned and operated hotel located in the heart of West Hollywood on W. 3rd Street, and everything was walking distance which was extremely convenient for our one night stay. 

The rooms here were large- tons of space available with a king sized bed and drawers underneath, couch, mini fridge, coffee maker, television (of course), and more! What really stuck out to me were the amenities that were provided in addition to the usual items such as makeup remover wipes and disposable wipes. 

After settling in, I headed over to cocktail hour by the pool hosted by Infuse Vodkas! What's unique about their vodka is that they use hand-picked fruit, spices, and herbal ingredients to flavor their vodka- and it's right in the bottle! Their vodka also has no artificial ingredients- and I loved how it tasted! 

The Churchhill, located right next door in the hotel, was our dinner stop, and we had a specially curated set menu for our table. After ordering drinks, we received our appetizers which consisted of two different salads. We had the Churchhill chopped salad with romaine, soppressata, peppers, peas, ricotta, and avocado as well as the Tuscan kale salad with currants, sunflower seeds, cherry tomato, pumpkin seeds, raisins, cucumbers, and lemon vinaigrette. I loved the contrast of the two salads as both were complete opposites of each other! 

For entrees, we got the hand cut spaghetti, Viscayan California sea bass with fingerling potatoes, salsa verde, and spinach, and the grass fed flat iron steak with arugula, shaved fennel, pomegranate, and lemon vinaigrette. Our favorite was the steak as it was extremely juicy and flavorful, but everything was delicious! For dessert, our favorite was the chocolate budino- a chocolate tart with pretzel crust with a melted chocolate interior. 

After going out to several bars and calling it a night, we woke up early to take a Bar Method class right next to the hotel. Bar Method aims to tone and slim a body by using small movements and interval training. Although the exercises seemed easy at first, I definitely worked up a sweat after a couple of minutes! Loved the pace and intensity of the class- if you haven't already yet, you should definitely check it out! 

Of course, we were starving by the time we finished class, so we headed right next door to Kreation Organic Juicery to have a healthy yet fulfilling breakfast!  Kreation uses iPad interactive menus, and I was surprised at the amount of options offered ranging from tapas and breakfast to smoothies and juice cleanse packs. We ended up getting the lox platter, prosciutto eggs benedict, and acai bowl to share- all which were delectable. 

This was the conclusion to my short yet sweet staycation, and I couldn't have had a better time! Everything from the food to the company was delightful, and I was impressed at how everything was within walking distance from The Orlando! Thank you The Orlando for hosting me, Bedhead Pajamas for the comfy pjs, Carmela Ice Cream for the chocolate toffee, and Verve Coffee for the coffee beans and mug! 

Lake Tahoe

Went up to Lake Tahoe for the first time and it is gorgeous up there! It was a friend's 21st birthday weekend and it by far beat out Vegas. Not only did we get to embrace the beauty of nature in the winter time, we also had a whole cabin in the woods to ourselves- and you know what that means! 

At the beginning of our trip, we stopped by Lake Convict to chill and hang out, and the mountains were beautiful. The reflection on the lake was unreal, and we stayed here for awhile to relax. Loved this little hideout spot! 

After arriving to Tahoe and sleeping, we went snowboarding the next day. We went to Heavenly Resort, and had to ride a gondola to get to the bottom of the mountain. From there, we were able to take a ski lift up to the top where we boarded down. There were so many routes that we got lost from our group and ended up boarding on our own. The snow was nice and powdery, which made it really easy to board. 

We also went to the actual Lake Tahoe, and it was so beautiful and serene. Since it was in the middle of winter, the lake was frozen and we were able to walk on the lake. Super fun to slip and slide around the lake! 

Frozen Lake Tahoe

Frozen Lake Tahoe

Lake Convict

Lake Convict

Going up Heavenly Mountain

Going up Heavenly Mountain