Vegas on a Budget, or what to do there if you don’t Gamble?

Vegas on a Budget, or what to do there if you don’t Gamble?

I’m not a gambler, so when I had to go to Las Vegas for CES this January, I had to do some serious research on how to spend my free time out there. Turns out, there’s plenty to do! Here are my findings and tips I gathered from locals on what to do in Vegas if you don’t gamble. Or if you lost all your money.

1 / Explore The Hotels

Las Vegas Hotels are unlike anything I have ever seen. They are not just a place where you lodge during your stay. Nor are they  a place where simply you dine, party, gamble, shop, or go to the spa. Las Vegas Hotels are a Production. There’s no other word for it. They are massive, impressive, and are done with so much attention to detail, they fill you with wonder at what man can do with enough money and creative liberty.

Each hotel has it’s own character and feel, so exploring them is an experience in itself. You never know what discoveries you will make…

Price: Free

2/ Watch the Bellagio Fountain Show

No, this is not a sponsored post. I just think it’s one of those iconic and really impressive things that you absolutely must do when you’re in Las Vegas. They run every 20 minutes and every time it’s to a different tune. Stand on the side of the Bellagio Hotel to get the stunning views of the strip and the local Eiffel Tower.

Price: Free

3 / Ride a Gondola

Always wanted to take a romantic trip down a canal in Venice while the gondolier serenades you and your lover? Well you can do that right at the Venetian in Las Vegas for just $29! Step back in time and surrender to the romance of a serenade being a total tourist as you float along the Grand Canal that runs through one of Las Vegas’ most renowned resorts. Float beneath bridges, beside cafes, under balconies, and through the vibrant Venetian streetscape. You can choose between the outdoor or indoor ride, and if you’re really into it, you can even get pro tips on how to become a Gondolier. The daily program, limited to nine participants, shares the “ins and outs” of piloting a gondola. Upon completion, you will receive a gondola hat and t-shirt, a souvenir photo and a degree certificate from Gondola University. It’s like a parody of itself. So bad that it’s good.


Shared Gondola (Seats Four): $29.00 per person
Private Gondola (For Two):$116.00

4/ See at least one Show

As you probably already know Vegas is one huge, elaborate and extraordinary expensive production. So when in Vegas, seeing an actual show is a must! With so many to chose from, all you have to do is decide which one.

I am a huge fan of Cirque du Soleil, so of course, I went to see “O” (from the french eau ) –  the aquatic show inspired by the “infinity and elegance of water’s pure form”. A group of 150 stage technicians assist in the production of the show, the cast of which consists of 85 performers: international acrobats, synchronized swimmers, and divers. I sat in the 3rd row (splash zone) and spent most of the show catching my breath and emitting pathetic squeals as the performers launched themselves into the 1.5-million gallon pool that transforms into to a stage at the drop of a hat. Worth every penny.

Tip: Check this website for special offers and discounts. Also, some theaters will do discounts if you book at least 7 days in advance, so check their websites if you’re booking ahead of your trip.

Price: from $60


4 / Visit the Art Galleries

There is art everywhere you look in Las Vegas. For example there’s a casual $28 million statue of Popeye by Jeff Koons standing in one of the hallways at the Wynn. Check out the famous Bellagio Gallery Fine Art, where you can gain new knowledge of different techniques. There is also the Peter Lik Fine Art Gallery, which has locations around the city (including a new one at Caesars). The gallery carries photographs by Peter Lik himself and works from artists all over the world, like Dale Chihuly, Richard MacDonald and Brett Wesley.

If you’re feeling adventurous and have wheels, why not venture off the Strip and into the desert to check out Ugo Rondinone’s Seven Magic Mountains? These neon rock installations measure 30- to 35-feet high and are particularly beautiful at dusk (or dawn). A little longer drive is the ghost town of Rhyolite, which has a unique collection of outdoor sculptures.

Price: Free

5 / Eat in one of the Food Courts

Like everything else in Vegas, even a food court is not your average dining experience. While it may not seem very glamorous at first, it’s a fun and ironically, authentic way to dine in Vegas without blowing the bank.

While exploring the Venetian, I stumbled upon a place called Lobster Me and couldn’t resist the temptation. Their menu has everything lobster – from rolls, to sandwiches, bisques and lobster mac & cheese.

Quick, cheap and cheerful.

Oh and also much tastier than the $40 pasta I had in one of the “real” hotel restaurants.

Bon apps!

6 / Head Downtown!

Sadly, most people never make it off the Strip when they come to Vegas, which is understandable, given all that’s on offer.  But Downtown is the original Vegas and while it underwent a significant renovation, it still retains that old charm. It is also where all the locals go out. I was actually lucky to befriend one local who took me out and gave me a tour of the place. But that’s a story for another day…


Have you been to Vegas? What’s your favourite thing to do out there outside of the casinos? Let me know in the comments!

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5 Ways Caprice Lounge Brings You Hygge this Winter

5 Ways Caprice Lounge Brings You Hygge this Winter

Hygge (pronounced hue-guh) is the Scandinavian word for a mood of coziness and comfortable conviviality with feelings of wellness and contentment. As the days get shorter and colder, we all need a cosy place to go and lift our spirits. I found my Hygge at Caprice Lounge at the Londa Hotel in Limassol this winter, and here’s why.

1/ Scandi Interiors


By mixing geometry and natural materials, so popular in Scandinavian interior design, the designers of Londa hotel have created a space that is clean and inviting at the same time. While in summer it gives you a sense of openness and lightness, in winter, the Caprice lounge brings Hygge to life, with plush blankets, cushions and a fireplace creating a super cosy atmosphere, that makes you want to stay all day.


2/ Sharing delicious food and drinks


A key part of Hygge is the act of sharing of food and delicious drinks between family and friends. I often come to Londa to share a cup of coffee with my partner. It’s also one of my favourite places to meet my girlfriends for drinks in the evening; cosying up by the fireplace with a glass of wine or one of their delicious cocktails.

3/ Enjoying the View


One of the major parts of Hygge is the feeling of appreciation and happiness for the simple things. Spending time in and appreciating nature always brings a sense of peace and comfort. The Caprice lounge is set on a terrace overlooking the Mediterranean sea, with unobstructed views onto the lapping waves and distant ships. It’s one of my favourite places to come to relax, enjoy the beautiful view and daydream.

4/ Sounds of live music


Good music is key to creating a relaxing atmosphere. Think lounge, classical pieces and jazz. On weekends and public holidays, the sounds of live piano stream through the lounge. What could be better during the winter months than snuggling up in a big cosy sofa with a hot cuppa, listening to live piano?

4/ A place to Linger


Spending quality time with friends and even yourself, is very Hygge. We are often so wrapped up in our schedules, always on the go, forgetting to linger and enjoy the moment. We finish our meals, get the bill and run off. Lingering is very important as it gives us time to relax and unwind, have deeper conversations and spend quality time with those who matter to us. What I really love about Caprice Lounge is that the staff is friendly, but not intruding. You can easily spend several hours there without anyone pressuring you to order another round or get the bill. Perfect for those long, winter evenings.


Whats your favourite place to linger and cosy up during the winter months?

Let me know in the comments!

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Why You Should Visit Akamas National Park In Cyprus

Why You Should Visit Akamas National Park In Cyprus

Visit Akamas National Park in 360°

Akamas is famed for its breath-taking beauty and precious ecology. A favourite with hikers and nature enthusiasts, this park offers several nature trails amidst the numerous species indigenous to the region. There are three official nature trails: the Adonis Trail, the Aphrodite Trail, and the Smigies Trail. We walked the Aphrodite trail in beginning of November, a time great time to visit. The summer heat has eased and the plants have had the chance to freshen up under the first few rains.


Steps up to the Aphrodite Nature Trail

Akamas National Park


The Akamas National Park lies on the west coast of Cyprus, a truly magnificent part of the island. It has an area coverage of 230 square kilometres containing valleys, gorges and wide sandy bays. The wildlife diversity is crucial for the ecology in the Mediterranean. In this spectacular environment there are 168 varieties of birds, 20 different reptiles, 16 species of butterfly and 12 different mammals not to mention its very rich variety of fauna.

Mountain-side paths

500 year old Oak

Taking in the views of the Polis Bay

Flower plains

Natural Spring


Hiking in Akamas National Park


There are various nature trails that you can explore this beautiful part of Cyprus by, varying in length, duration and difficulty. The Adonis Trail is the toughest. We took the Aphrodite Trail – 7.5 km long, medium difficulty and it took us around 3.5 hours. It starts at the Baths of Aphrodite and climbs into the hills. The scenery varies dramatically at the different sections of the trail. Green flats are replaced with vivid red-earth and intriguing limestone boulders, then switch to cooling pine forests and finally turn into dramatic cliffs overhanging the Blue Lagoon beneath. The nature trails offer stunning views of the valleys and the coastline, as well as the chance to see the iconic mountain goat in its natural element.

Akamas Beaches


Another iconic part of this peninsula is its beaches. You can get some fantastic views of the Blue Lagoon from the Aphrodite nature trail. Here is in fact, the last large unspoiled coastal area remaining in Cyprus. Probably because it is so hard to get to (typically the only way is by sea). It is also one of the very few important sea turtle nesting areas in the Mediterranean.

Both the Loggerhead Turtle and the rarer Green Turtle nest here. Sadly, the latter depends on the Akamas beaches for its very survival in this region. The IUCN (International Union for the Conservation of Nature) lists Loggerheads as “vulnerable” and Green Turtles as an “endangered species”.  That’s why it’s so important that if you are lucky to see them out on the beach or in the water, do not touch or disturb them, and definitely don’t try to catch them!

Views of the coastline from the hills

 The Blue Lagoon


The European Council has included it in its Mediterranean Protection Programme. The Cyprus Government has yet to fully declare it as a National Park, although Friends of the Earth and Green Peace are lobbying hard for it.

Aphrodite’s Bath


Aphrodite’s Baths are a natural cavern with a shallow pool hidden among ferns and large trees. A natural spring supplies the water to the pool. According to legend, after swimming in the crystal-clear waters of the bay, Aphrodite used to bathe in this pond, hidden in the cooling shade of the foliage and fig trees.

Way to Aphrodite’s Bath

It is here that she met her beloved Adonis for the first time. Adonis was hunting in the Akamas forest when he took a break by the spring to quench his thirst. He was struck by the sight of the naked goddess bathing in the pool. Aphrodite and Adonis fell in love, bewitched by each other’s extraordinary beauty. The waters here are said to hold special rejuvenating powers. Probably because of how cold they are!

Getting there


By car about 50 mins to 1 hour drive from Paphos, or 20 mins form Polis. There is a car park near the site of the Aphrodite Baths as well as amenities such as food drink and bathroom. I recommend staying overnight in Polis or one of the mountain villages such as Droushia if you’re coming in the spring or summer.


Book your stay in Cyprus

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10 Reasons Why You should Volunteer Abroad

10 Reasons Why You should Volunteer Abroad

Travel has become a commodity. We often travel to visit places just because they are fashionable. Other times we go on trips because it is a “must see” (for whom?). Finally, we have impromptu trips just to get away from it all. All these are valid reasons to travel, and I personally have traveled for all of them. But earlier this year, I discovered a much deeper reason to board a plane – volunteering. This experience has left me a changed person and here are 10 reasons why.

1/ You connect to a cause you’re passionate about

How many of us go through their lives in an unfulfilling routine? We hate getting out of bed in the morning and dread going to the office. This state of being is so ubiquitous in big cities that it has become the norm. But why should this be? Every one of us has something they are passionate about, a cause larger us, than money, cars, material things and expensive nights out. Finding what that is and living your life in service of that cause will make you jump out of bed at dawn and skip to work, happy for the chance to do something you are passionate about.

2/ You meet incredible people

I spent 5 years living in London, and during that time, I have not met as many inspiring people and had as many mind-expanding conversations as I had during my 3 months volunteering in Mozambique. I met people who are fearless, adventurous, out of the ordinary and formed bonds that will last way beyond that trip.

3/ You travel cheaply

Instead of spending hundred and thousands on fancy hotels and restaurants in popular resorts, why not find an exotic location that has not yet been turned into a global holiday destination? There are plenty of beautiful places where NGOs have set up camp to protect the environment, work with the vulnerable, teach, help build. During 3 months in Mozambique, constantly eating out, having the freshest fish and lobsters on a regular basis, going on trips and even shopping has cost me around 1200 Euros. Coincidentally, that’s also how much you’d typically spend on a weekend in Verbier. There are also foundations that will provide you with accommodation, and even board in some cases, in exchange for your work. Look out for those if you’re on a budget.

4/ You immerse yourself in the country

When you volunteer abroad, you end up meeting more locals and having more local experiences than simply going on a holiday. You will have the benefit of local knowledge form your team mates who have already spent time out there, so they can give you tips on where to go and what to avoid. However, remember to explore and immerse yourself in the place to create your own experience of the country you’re visiting.


5/ You experience the extraordinary

We all know that saying that goes something like “magic happens outside of your comfort zone”. This couldn’t be more true of volunteering abroad. Going to volunteer with Marine Megafauna Foundation, I never appreciated what an extraordinary experience it would be. Living by the Indian ocean, swimming alongside manta rays and even bumping into a pod of dolphins during a morning swim.  These experiences were nothing short of magical, and I really wish that every person out there can experience something so profound and moving.

6/ You feel useful

To develop a high self-esteem a person needs a purpose. A key component to high self-esteem relies on how you view yourself regarding contribution. While positive contribution should be part of all of our daily lives, it can be tough when you’re living in a modern city environment. Going to volunteer abroad gives you the opportunity to focus on giving, which in turn improves your relationship with yourself.


7/ You discover Yourself

Do you know your limits? Physical? Mental? Emotional? Would you be able to live in – ahem – rustic conditions? I have to admit, coming to Mozambique, the 3rd poorest country in the world, from Chelsea, London was a shocker. I remember thinking on our first evening there: How are we going to last here for 3 months? A few weeks later, as my barriers started crumbling and my OCD fading, I stopped minding the absence of supermarkets, the sand that was EVERYWHERE, and even that we were sleeping under a thatched roof that would leak when it rained.

8/ You improve your CV

If you want to make a shift in your career, volunteering is a great way to do this. You can use your existing skills to find a role that is more fulfilling as a volunteer and then use this experience to transition into paid work. I used to work in Finance where I did a lot of research in my role. I applied to MMF as a researcher for the Fundraising team. A great website where you can find volunteering positions for professionals is

9/ You create unforgettable memories

What are you going to remember when you turn 30? 40? All those days you spent at your desk? Or all those holidays you spent by the pool in homogeneous resorts that looks like every other resort built by a multi-national conglomerate? The three months I spent in Mozambique were by far the best and most unforgettable months of my life.

I dare you to follow your passion on an adventure of a lifetime.


10/ You Live!

A great woman, Amelia Mary Earhart, who was the first female aviator to fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean, once said: There is more to life than being a passenger. Sadly, so many of us are just that – passengers on a train that takes us down the well-trodden route of school, work, mortgages and family. Not that these are not valuable experiences in themselves. But if you have a hunch, that there must be more to life that this, volunteering may just prove you right.

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5 Ways this Hotel is the Perfect Romantic Getaway

5 Ways this Hotel is the Perfect Romantic Getaway

Romantic getaways come in all shapes and sizes. If you’re looking for a truly unique experience, I recommend checking out the Kyrenia Palace Boutique Hotel in the Northern Cyprus. It’s within easy reach across the border in Nicosia, or with a flight to Ercan International Airport which connects to most European cities. The hotel is in a great location to explore Kyrenia and beyond, and provides great value for a boutique stay.

1/ The design


What happens when an antiques collector decides he wants to open a boutique hotel? Magic. Kyrenia Palace Boutique Hotel is a whimsical collection of antique furniture, paintings and artifacts from around the world. There are wooden chairs, or rather thrones, from India. A huge L-shaped Dorchester couch sits in one corner of the reception, and a Baroque sitting area from France gleams in another. Each room is unique by design and name. We stayed in Jasmine – a suite on the upper floor, overlooking the stunning hotel courtyard. It has a very sultry and regal feel to it, with all the beautifully carved furniture, large windows and heavy drapery to block out the bright sunshine. It’s the perfect place to find yourself if you’re looking for inspiration or privacy.

2/ The Service


Kyrenia Palace Boutique Hotel is run by a small team, hand-picked by the owner. This allows the hotel to maintain a sense of familiarity and ease. The team is very friendly and helpful around the clock. Even when they are busy, they find the time to chat to guests, making sure you’re not wanting anything and provide you with recommendations on where to visit, eat and relax. It almost feels like you are staying at a friend’s house, instead of a hotel, adding to the feel of intimacy and comfort of the stay.


3/ The Location


The location of Kyrenia Palace Hotel couldn’t be more perfect. It’s right by the Kyrenia Harbour, about a 2 minute walk, but secluded enough to be quiet and peaceful at night. It’s perfect if you want to explore the town by foot. All the bars and restaurants around the harbour are within 5 minutes reach and in the opposite direction, you have the town centre with its bustling shops and markets. The Kyrenia Castle is within walking distance, as is the oldest mosque in Cyprus that neighbours with the hotel. Note the mosque still operates, so you will be getting a free wake-up call with the morning call to prayer just before dawn.

4/ The Food


The Kyrenia Palace restaurant is set in the stunning stone courtyard and serves breakfast, lunch and dinner. Breakfast is included and goes on until 11 in the morning. The spread comprises of local and imported cheeses and meats, fresh fruits and vegetables and daily specials of eggs and freshly baked pastries. It’s all super fresh and delicious. For lunch and dinner, you can order à la carte and there is a good choice of local delicacies, fresh seafood and grilled meats. The restaurant is very popular in the evening, with hotel guests and visitors from outside, so it’s worth asking the front desk to save you a spot.

5/ The Value


Kyrenia Palace Hotel provides excellent value for the location, service and the overall experience of the stay. There are many big hotels in Kyrenia, around the same price point, but in my humble opinion, they are too big to offer the intimate and indulging experience of Kyrenia Palace Boutique. I always preferred the quirky and unique over the standard global chain. If you’re looking for a memorable getaway in the North of Cyprus, this is a gem!

Kyrenia Palace Boutique Hotel room with breakfast starting at 100 EUR per night.

For reservations, contact Murad on +90 533 875 7000 or visit their website.

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