It’s that time of the year, whether you like it or not – it’s 2 weeks ’til Christmas! I am sure some of you have the whole gifting thing figured out (or maybe decided that you’re not going to gift this festive season at all, which is completely OK as well), but the majority of us just started browsing through online stores and window shopping for what to give to our loved ones.

For those of you, who are still not decided what to give and are looking for some Christmas gift ideas (for him and her), this is a blog post for you, to clear out all of your dilemmas and maybe even help you find a perfect gift for your loved one! I created a small fashion Christmas gift guide together with Tom Tailor, where you can find many high quality pieces, that never go out of style.

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Amansala Eco Chic Resort & Retreat
Boca de Paila Km 5.5, 77766 Tulum, Q.R., Mexico
price: from 130 € per night (depending on the season)
https://www.amansala.com/

They say, if you want to escape the stress, you should come to Tulum, Mexico. Tulum is a perfect vacation spot for couples, solo travellers or even families. It’s relaxing atmosphere, amazing sandy beaches (if you’re lucky, there’s no seaweed), imminent natural cenotes, cool places to eat and sleep made Tulum one of the most popular tourist places on Earth. With tourism blooming, it still hasn’t completely lost its spark, especially thanks to great accommodations with  unique holistic approach, such as Amansala Eco Chic Resort & Retreat.

Amansala is a relaxed eco chic accommodation with recognized yoga classes

What makes Amansala Eco Chic Resort & Retreat special, is the fact that, it not only offers eco chic accomodations, but also world class yoga and fitness classes, spa services, recognized by numerous publications all around the world. It’s lovely setting, right next to the beach, where the Tulum Zona Hotelera starts, makes it perfect to relax at the beach, do some yoga and reconnect with yourself. The Amansala village consists of two properties (Grande and Chica), offering a variety of different rooms and cabanas, as well as 3 yoha shalas, 2 restaurants, a pool and a large beach area with loungers and sunbeds. We stayed in a very spacious room in the garden, which was sadly without a sea view, but still really lovely and cosy. I love how they use natural materials and incorporating pristine Mexican style into a minimalistic, yet chic décor. Eating breakfast at the beach was really lovely, the whole place felt really relaxed.

Aman:peace / Sala:Waters
Amansala is actually a Sanskrit named after the peaceful crystal clear waters of Tulum. It was founded on the belief that a true vacation is one where you come back looking and feeling better than when you arrived.

Amansala is a home of Bikini Bootcamp

Since we were there for 2 nights only, we couldn’t join their camps, but still got a glimpse into what they offer, from daily yoga to all-inclusive retreats. Bikini Bootcamp was definitely the most appealing to me. Bikini Bootcamp is actually a 6 day unique and adventurous fitness and yoga holiday retreat, including yoga and fitness classes, beach walks, pampering, healthy eating and (of course) relaxing on the beach. It’s holistic approach, that tunes up the mind, body and spirit, is well known. But Bikini Bootcamp is not the only retreat hosted at Amansala, they are very famous for their Beach Body Camp, Beach n’ Bliss and The Reboot retreats. You can event host your own retreat or bring a group to Amansala!

Amansala is a great place in Tulum for travellers looking to relax and reconnect with themselves.

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Icaco Island village
SM 002 M 116 L 15, Carratera Aeropuerto, 77400 Isla Mujeres, Q.R., Mexico
prices: from 189€ (depending on the season and room type) – use code AJDA10 for 10% discount
www.icacoislandvillage.com

Isla Mujeres was our second stop on our Mexican adventure after spending the first few days in Soliman Bay, just a few kilometres north of Tulum. A short 20min ferry ride from Cancun, this beautiful island is located in the Gulf of Mexico, approximately 7 kilometres long and about 650m wide. About 6 min drive from the main port, there’s a true boho paradise accommodation – Icaco Island village.

Icaco Island village is a luxury boutique hotel with stunning views of the Caribbean sea

Icaco Island village is a small luxury boutique hotel located in the narrowest part of the island, right next to the main road and an old (mainly unused) airport on the other side (btw, the runway is a great track for a morning or evening run!). Its relatively central location offers a quiet sanctuary and a great starting point for discovering the whole Isla Mujeres. Icaco Island village is relatively close to the northern, the most lively part of the island, we walked there twice, but overall I’d say the best way to discover the island is by renting a golf cart or scooter, as we did. Taxies are an affordable option as well, but I am sure you’ll get lots of useful information about how to move around and what to see by Matthew. He truly is an amazing host, who couldn’t be more welcoming and helpful. We booked a snorkelling trip via him, and we strongly recommend you do the same. The waters of Isla Mujeres are amazing!

»In paradise we trust.« as they say at Icaco Island village. And we most definitely do.

Icaco Island village is a small hotel divided into three buildings, in one there’s a reception, while in the other two you’ll find stunningly decorated rooms. Each of the rooms features a panoramic view of the Caribbean sea, in our King Suite you could see the sea straight from the comfortable bed (or patio with a hammock). Imagine being woken up by the early morning light! Our room was unbelievably beautifully decorated and sparkling clean, all of the pieces were carefully selected, the same goes for the rooftop terrace with a 360 degree view, where you can not only see the most amazing sunrise, but also the sunset. The upper terrace has an amazing infinity pool/jacuzzi, sunbeds and swings for relaxing. There’s also a kitchen and a BBQ, but we also had a small kitchenette in our King Suite. Each morning we were welcomed by fresh croissants and juice, which was such a lovely touch – a small breakfast to start the day exploring Isla Mujeres.

Icaco Island village is a boho-chic boutique hotel, a great choice for couples looking for an accommodation perfect for exploring Isla Mujeres. You will be impressed by the stunning décor and relaxed atmosphere. Down to the very last detail.

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Villa La Semilla
Lote 8 Fraccion VI, Bahia Soliman, Q.R., 77780 Tulum, Q.R., Mexico
price: from 1000eur up, depending on the season (up to 16 guests)
http://villalasemilla.com/

Our Mexican adventure couldn’t start any better – in the hidden gem of Riviera Maya, called Soliman Bay. Even though I’ve been to this part of Yucatan before, I knew nothing about Soliman Bay. The opportunity arose this November, when I returned to the north-eastern coast of Mexico with my fiancé Jan and explored it a bit more. So, we started a few kilometres north of Tulum, in Soliman Bay, which I can call it a more peaceful, tranquil, even more beautiful and definitely less touristy “version” of Tulum. If you follow my Instagram @ajdasitar, you’ve already seen some insights into our serious Mexican pampering at Villa La Semilla, owned by Alexis Schärer and Angie Rodriguez, the same couple who owns the stunning Hotel La Semilla in Playa del Carmen I stayed at 2 years ago. Hidden on the edge of the jungle and located right on a pristine sandy beach, Villa La Semilla is a true modern, yet rustic home-away-from-home.

Why should you book your stay in Soliman Bay over highly popular Tulum?

Tulum is considered an inspiring haven for many travellers, finding there their purpose, zen or just tropical vacations, with eco-resorts, Instagramable cafes, it is a place with a relaxed atmosphere, full of bohemian, even hippy-chic vibes. In the surrounding area you’ll find a number of historical Maya ruins, fishing villages like Punta Allen, kilometres of sandy beaches, lush jungle and mangroves. You’ll find paradise there. Well, at least you could found it years ago. I am afraid Tulum is losing its charm. It is wonderful, don’t get me wrong, but the mass tourism and piles and piles of seaweed leave a relatively bitter aftertaste. The seaweed invasion was a huge problem from April til October, and whether it’s a result of global warming, pollution or natural occurrence, it still can ruin the trip. The situation when we arrived in November was ok, there was some seaweed, but not a lot and mainly washed ashore and left on the beach (some of my followers were there during the summer and they sent me some photos, oh boy, the situation was serious months ago). Tulum I remembered from 2 years ago was a heavenly boho paradise, this year it was pretty, but left a bitter aftertaste, as I mentioned. Soliman Bay, on the other hand, is located just a few kilometres north of Tulum, between an idyllic tropical jungle on one side and a sandy beach on the other, because it’s a bay, the coral reef (and waves crushing at it) prevent the majority of the seaweed hitting the coast. It’s hotel/villa zone is shorter, which means less hotels, villas and less people, the beach and the road to the area (which is not even paved) is less crowded. The coral reef and the fact that the water is so shallow, allows you to see a wonderful underwater world (I saw a big turtle swimming here for the first time ever). Soliman Bay has, such as Tulum, beautiful sandy beaches with palm trees, idyllic tropical jungle environment and the close proximity of Mayan ruins and water caves known as “cenote”.

Villa La Semilla accommodates up to 16 people and offers gourmet Mexican pampering by a private chef

Villa La Semilla is a larger villa with 5 bedrooms, which can accommodate up to 16 people. Booking a full villa hidden in the tropical jungle will allow you direct access to the paradise sandy beach, where you can swim, snorkel and even kayak. All rooms in the villa (the same goes for Hotel La Semilla) are furnished and decorated in a minimalistic style with rough-luxe touch, that mixes different materials and elements. Villa is full of unique pieces, each of them carries its own story. All 5 bedrooms are air-conditioned, extremely spacious and have their own balcony with a swing, and a bathroom with shower and bathtub. On the top floor there’s the Master Suite with a larger terrace and a pool overlooking the palm trees and the turquoise sea. The rooftop terrace above is a perfect place to observe tsunrise and sunset, enjoy a glass of wine and chat with your family or friends.

There’s a swimming pool at the tropical garden right next to the porch, where you can enjoy your breakfast, lunch and dinner prepared by a private chef. A few steps ahead there’s a private sandy beach with loungers, the view early in the mornings during sunrise is magnificent. This part of the villa was definitely my favorite, it’s where everything’s happens – from food to water enjoyment. The whole villa is beyond stunning, when you enter the villa from the road, there’s a small tropical garden with a small fountain, after you enter the living area, there’s an open kitchen with a huge dining table on your right and sofas, books and “retro” table football on your left. In the middle of the living space, the greenest part of the interior of the house is a house to a hermite crab (living under the same roof as you, you’ve read it right). But the most impressive part, by our opinion, is still the outside of the villa – an alfresco lounge, veranda, outdoor wood-fire oven and grill, and of course, the pool that unfolds onto a sandy beach. Trees offer shadow, where you can relax after enjoying the sun on the beach. At Villa La Semilla all of your senses will be pampered. Your taste buds especially, if your breakfast, lunch and dinner will be prepared by their chef. We ate (without exaggeration) the best Mexican food there. The food was truly divine, all ingredients are local and carefully selected and prepared by the chef, nothing but superlatives from me. Oh my, the flavors, the smells and taste! And since you discover new places and cultures though food as well, this was a perfect place to start our Mexican adventure.

Villa La Semilla is an excellent choice for all groups of travelers looking for a private luxury accommodation in nature with direct access to the sea and close proximity to the Tulum area. I totally see this place as a perfect boho elopment location – maybe in our next lives, since our wedding venue is already booked. Or for some other occasion. We will definitely be back.

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