Hotel Franq

: Relais & Châteaux
Location: Antwerp – Belgium
Classification: 4 star Boutique Hotel


Hotel Franq is a top notch four star boutique hotel right in the city center of Antwerp. You really can’t beat its location as it is close to the most important and interesting attractions in Antwerp. For example, the gorgeous Cathedral of Antwerp is only a 4 minute walk away from the hotel. The main shopping area is just a few steps away. It is a very classy and luxurious property and soon as I entered the hotel, I felt at home. The hotel used to be a stately bank building. As they are making part of Relais & Châteaux hotels, so my expectations were high and I’m very happy to say all were met!

The cozy and stylish lobby area made a good first impression of Hotel Franq. There are a lot of designer elements noticeable throughout the entire hotel. From cozy sitting areas to gorgeous art work, this hotel has it all.


After an efficient check-in, I went upstairs and explored our amazing deluxe room. Our room had a great size and had all the amenities I expect from a high end hotel. It was one of those rooms you do not want to leave because they are so comfortable. The red couch was excellent to relax and I also appreciated the large desk to do some work.

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The bathroom was to die for. It featured a nice large sink and a great walk-in (rain)shower. Trust me, it is one of the best showers one could wish for. Complimentary high quality toiletries are provided. As said before, I appreciated the overall style of the room. The room had all the amenities I expect of a high quality hotel.


Be sure to check out the fitness facility. As it was a rainy day, I was happy to find out that there’s still a possibility for a work out!

After the shopping, working out and relaxing it was time to check out one of the highlights at Hotel Franq: Restaurant Franq. This contemporary styled restaurant offers a fine dining experience to its guests. The Belgian/French cuisine truly was delicious! I am sure that this is one of the best restaurants in Antwerp. We thoroughly enjoyed their signature The Vault menu. Honestly, each dish not only tasted amazing, the presentation was super beautiful as well. We started with finely chopped scallops that came with Colonnata lard and San Daniele (aged 24 months). The wild rabbit ravioli that followed was heavenly… Incredible how Chef Tim Meuleneire is able to combine flavors and ingredients. The main course – red-legged partridge baked in grape leaves with savoy cabbage, bacon and horn of plenty mushroom was just delicious. And of course, there’s always room for dessert: the parfait of pistachio like a ‘Norvégienne’ was the perfect end of an excellent dinner. Hardly ever have I seen and tasted such an amazingly presented dessert. I must also highlight the excellent and professional service! Make sure you book a table here right when you check in as I can imagine it can get pretty busy here. Can’t say enough good things about this place! Loved loved loved it!

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After a great night in the most wonderful bed, it was time for breakfast. Breakfast at Hotel Franq is served at Restaurant Franq. They serve breakfast right at your table which I like very much. The breakfast itself offers a good variety and the quality of the products is excellent. I especially liked the huge fresh croissants… Also, make sure to check out one of the oldest houses in Antwerp built in 1628. It is making part of the hotel and it can be found right at the end of the hotel’s beautiful terrace.


Hotel Franq is my favorite hotel in Antwerp! It offers stylish accommodations with a top notch service. Together with its prime locations, it is one of my favorite picks in Antwerp! Highly recommended!

Grand Riviera Princess


Hotelchain: Princess Resorts
Location: Playa del Carmen – Mexico
Classification: 5 star hotel


Hotel Grand Riviera Princess is a top five star resort located at the Riviera Maya, Mexico. It is among the best all inclusive resorts of the area and I was truly blown away right from the moment I stepped into this hotel. Let me first tell you something more about the location. The resort is not too far from Cancun and Playa del Carmen. Both places are pretty nearby. The relaxed and holiday atmosphere are perfect for relaxing… This definitely is the place to be to unwind and have a great time with your family. Whether you are looking for a peaceful environment or an energetic atmosphere, you will find it all here.

Entering Grand Riviera Princess is like entering a world full of luxury and attention to details. I just couldn’t believe my eyes when I saw the gorgeous promenade “Avenue of the Gods” with the most beautiful palm trees. This is the main passage through the resort to the beach lined with statues of Mayan gods. Behind every corner, a new surprise is waiting. The surrounding gardens throughout the entire resort are just mind blowing and very well maintained.


Hotel Grand Riviera Princess has 674 rooms … all of them of a very high standard. Rooms are very spacious, trust me they are huge, that’s why they call their rooms ‘junior suites’ instead! All junior suites are decorated in a very elegant way and offer all the five star amenities I could wish for.

Our junior suite Deluxe came with a spacious sitting area which was great to unwind and the oversized desk is perfect to do some business. The two double beds were perfect! Since this is an all inclusive resort, the in room minibars are included and are stocked daily with water, soft drinks and beer. Our large balcony had great furniture and overlooked the beautiful gardens.


Bathrooms are very elegant too featuring a separate and very large shower, an amazing jacuzzi bath tub and separate toilet. I love the layout of their junior suites, the rooms are perfect for families! They maintain everything at Grand Princess Riviera in an excellent way. The rooms are cleaned every day and turn down service is provided every night.


It is impossible to get bored here. This is a beach resort and I thoroughly enjoyed the 12 (!) swimming pools in the resort, including several adults only pools and pools for children. The Caribbean beach area is gorgeous and has plenty of lounge chairs. I appreciated the kind staff that was always willing to help and brought us the drinks and snacks we ordered in just minutes. There is a direct access to the private beach area.


Also the pool areas are just beautiful. Although the resort was almost fully booked, because of the size of the resort, it never felt really crowded. The pool staff is great and take care of you in a very kind way. On top of that, you will never forget that you’re in a luxurious resort: they are cleaning this place all day long and will makes sure you have the time of your life with your loved ones.


On top of that I should also mention that there are tons of other things to do, so even if you’re not a beach or pool lover, there’s something for just anyone. A fully equipped fitness facility for example, I love to work out from time to time and the facility has some good equipment for you to enjoy. With all the gorgeous food and drinks thank God they have a fitness centre 😊

Also 6 tennis courts, 2 paddle courts and 1 multi course court which can be used for playing soccer, basketball, etc. are available. Kids won’t get bored at Grand Riviera Princess. They are treated as royalty here! They will love the game room and kids entertainment such as the mini disco club and many other facilities and activities. At night, we thoroughly enjoyed the Grease show! Excellent performance and we loved every second of it!


As mentioned before, Grand Riviera Princess is an all inclusive resort so most facilities are included in the rate. Very convenient not to worry about extra expenses for food and drinks. Guests can choose from 14 restaurants: 2 international Main Buffet restaurants and 12 a la carte restaurants each with a different cuisine: Italian, Mexican, Asian, Gourmet International, seafood, Spanish and Swiss. I will tell you more about the food and service later. Unfortunately I couldn’t try them all since we were there for 2 full days but all looked pretty nice and very clean.


La Fleur was our favorite as the food was delicious and presented in a very nice way. The beef tartare was just delicious! Also, the roasted chicken was a treat. I appreciated the elegant decor of this beautiful à la carte restaurant.

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Also La Vaquería, their à la carte steakhouse, was a treat. Here, they will grill your meat and fish the way you want it.


There are 17 bars within the resort offering great drink menus. The overall quality of the drinks was good! The swim-up bars are excellent for socializing with all the international guests. It’s great to meet people all over the world and having a drink together. It gives you such an amazing feeling not to worry about extra expenses while you are on holiday. Absolutely loved their all inclusive concept!


Grand Riviera Princess is one of kind and we were sad to leave! This all inclusive resort definitely is one of the best hotels in the area and offer their guests a true five star experience. I can’t wait to return to this jewel!

Hotel Xcaret & Park


Location: Playa del Carmen – Mexico
Classification: 5 star hotel


Rated as one of the top Riviera Maya destinations, Hotel Xcaret Mexico in Playa del Carmen truly is a unique place with a fantastic location! I was so excited to visit this resort and it didn’t disappoint at all! Right from the moment we entered the resort, we were in paradise! It is such a quiet and romantic place. Staff made us feel welcome right from the beginning. Actually every staff member I met here was very kind, professional and nothing was asked for too much.


First of all, Xcaret Mexico is a large resort with a hotel and several nature parks. I explored Hotel Xcaret and Park. Both places blew me away… Let me tell you why!

When you book a holiday at Hotel Xcaret, you book an ultra all inclusive holiday. Food, drinks, access to the parks… everything is included, even the airport transportation. How convenient is that? I was surprised that even day tours such as a visit to the legendary Chichen Itza and many others are included in the rate as well. If you needed to pay all those facilities and services separately, you would stay ‘free’ at the hotel. It’s such an interesting and convenient package they offer.

As mentioned before Xcaret Resort has several parks which are all located near the hotel. When you are staying at the hotel, there’s complimentary transportation to/from the parks. Xcaret Park is their largest and most famous park, which I will write more about later. Other wonderful parks are Xel-Há Park, Xplor Park, Xavage Park, Xplor Fuego Park, Xoximilico Cancun and Xenses Park.


I visited Xcaret Park and thoroughly enjoyed it! What a wonderful tropical dream world… There are so many adventures waiting for you! With more than 50 attractions, it is impossible to get bored here and there’s something to do for anyone! Let me share my favorite attractions: the underground rivers are amazing! Mexico has a lot of cenotes and many can be found here at Xcaret Park. It is so much fun to swim around the park in caves and just enjoy the beautiful nature on our planet. Xcaret Park has 3 underground rivers: the Blue River, the Mayan River and the Manatee River. All of them flow into the Caribbean sea. Is it safe? Absolutely! We needed to wear life jackets even though the water isn’t that deep, but it’s just comfortable to be able to float around. Floating next to coral formations fossilized on the rocks truly is spectacular!


If you don’t want to get wet, you can enjoy the Paradise River: a river boat trip that takes you through the jungle and the underground rivers. We also saw some wildlife during this wonderful relaxing boat trip such as flamingos and other tropical birds. So nice!


There are several shows included in your ticket. During the day, you have different chances to see the spectacular ritual ceremony of the Papnatla Flyers. This typical Mexican ceremony is a must see when you are in Mexico! Do not miss it! At night, Xcaret México Espectacular and the Pre-Hispanic Performances are not to be missed! Each show was professionally done and very enjoyable. The live music and dancing were amazing. The national costumes were nice to see. Thumbs up, Xcaret Park!


Everything at Xcaret Park is maintained very well. The whole place looked impeccably clean. Just walking around this park is an adventure on itself. Walking at Xcaret Park is walking in paradise. The crystal clear water, the trees, the animals… it’s all there and it is so beautiful. There are even architectural wonders in the park as well: Hacienda Henequenera for example, a typical 19th-century Mexican mansion is worth a visit.

There’s so much to do here! Unfortunately I only spent a few hours at this park, but I’ll be back for sure to discover other attractions at this wonderful park. No wonder Xcaret Park is rated as the best park in the area and even maybe of the whole country! We had an unforgettable day here!

After a visit to the park, we explored the recently opened (December 2017) Hotel Xcaret. This luxury hotel only offers the best to its guests and as mentioned before, this is an all inclusive resort. Even access to all the parks and tours are included. That’s why they call it ‘All-fun Inclusive’, you don’t have to worry about anything during your vacation!


There are no regular rooms at Hotel Xcaret, just suites. Each suite is spacious and very well maintained. The balconies offer the best views over the resort. The couch in the suite is perfect for reading a book while enjoying the wonderful scenic views. Bathrooms are great featuring separate shower and jacuzzi bathtub.

The pools are one of the nicest (if not, the nicest) pools I have ever seen! They are surrounded by hundreds of palm trees. There’s also a variety of spectacular infinity pools. It literally took my breath away and I could have spent hours there. Plenty of sun loungers too, by the way. Hotel Xcaret offers 11 (!) pools… I must also highlight the soft white sandy beaches nestled amidst rivers and coves. Kayaking and paddle boarding are included. Just go and explore it yourself! You will love it too!


Hotel Xcaret has several dining options. There are many restaurants and bars at the resort, each night you have the chance to explore another wonderful restaurant. We had lunch at Le Trajinera. Trajunera offers the best land and sea fare in the Caribbean. This buffet style restaurant near the sea is a must visit when staying at Hotel Xcaret. The sea food is fresh and tasted amazing.


At night we had dinner at the restaurant. Every Friday night they organize this traditional Balinese evening with traditional dancers and music. It was a great night and the dancing was fun. Also, very romantic… There were candles all over the place making it even more special. We could hear the sounds of animals in the jungle while enjoying our drinks at the bar. Breakfast is served here too. They offer several types of breakfast all at the same rate. No buffet here, they will serve you at your table. The food was delicious and healthy.

No wonder that Hotel Xcaret is rated as one of the most beautiful resorts in the Riviera Maya. Hotel Xcaret isn’t just a hotel, it is a destination.

Mi Amor – Tulum


Hotelchain: Colibri Boutique Hotel Collection
Location: Tulum – Mexico
Classification: 4 star hotel


Situated in the one of the best spots of Tulum, hotel Mi Amor is one of a kind and rated as one of the best hotels in Tulum! This four star boutique hotel blew me away, let me tell you why…

First of all, you can’t beat the location. Mi Amor is located near the archeological site of Tulum. The world famous ruins right at the Caribbean sea are spectacular and a must visit when you are in the Tulum area! Do note that you can rent bikes at the hotel which is the ideal transportation you could use in this area. For only 12 USD you can rent your own bike and explore the gorgeous area. You can also walk to the ruins in about 35 minutes. It is a nice walk as you can walk on the beach to the sites with no problems. Do note that the vibrant restaurants, bars and shops are not in the direct area of Mi Amor. To get to the action, you will need to walk around 20 minutes on the road or take your bike.


The luxurious boutique hotel Mi Amor has been built in 2015 and only has 18 rooms. This actually is the main advantage of Mi Amor. The fact that they ‘only’ have 18 rooms gives them the opportunity to treat each guest as a king or queen and they surely did. Each time you leave or enter the hotel, a friendly front desk member will make you feel at home again offering a great smile and a nice hello.


What I also appreciate about this hotel, is the fact that they combine modern and designer furniture with some traditional elements throughout the hotel.  I read somewhere that hotel Mi Amor is a perfect ‘Instagram hotel’ and I can easily see why… I appreciated the elegant combination of modern/old and the artful play of colors and luxury fabrics. I could take pictures all day long!

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Hotel Mi Amor has a small lobby area where I was welcomed with a biiiiig smile! Loved it! Everything in the hotel is immaculately clean and decorated with style and charm. This is totally different than a big chain hotel, every room at hotel Mi Amor is different and unique.

The hotel offers stunning views over the Caribbean sea. The romantic beach front location does seem like a dream! This is what paradise looks like! Instead of the large hotels in Cancun, Mi Amor is a hidden gem with the most tranquil atmosphere one could wish for. Of course, the hotel has an outdoor infinity pool overlooking the Caribbean sea. The very comfortable (shaded) sunbeds on the rocky coast are the perfect spots to read a book or listen to some music while enjoying and admiring the views. We spent hours here and loved every second. I could spend my time here all day long, but listening to music and admiring the surrounding areas. Again, there’s also a pool with a view over the Caribbean sea. Although the water was pretty cold, I enjoyed the pool for a short swim.


The room we stayed in had a great view over the Caribbean sea and pool. The king sized bed was comfortable but I missed a place to actually sit and relax in the room as well as a desk. It would have been nice to do some work. What I loved about the room was the outdoor space and balcony. It was great to relax and enjoy the gorgeous views over the Caribbean sea.


Colibri Spa at Mi Amor is one of the highlights at the hotel. I can’t imagine a better place to relax. The location is just mind blowing. What a gorgeous retreat! I totally enjoyed a treatment that incorporates the body and face. The therapist was a true professional! She first showed me around the spa facilities. I was pleasantly surprised by the size and facilities. For the small size of the hotel, I was happy to find out they have two treatment rooms. The place is just beautiful and peacefully decorated. This is the perfect place to unwind. She explained what she was going to do and I do appreciate that as some people just start a treatment without any explanation. The 60 minutes that followed were true relaxing. The pressure was perfect as requested. Highly recommend to book a treatment here! You won’t be disappointed at all!


Breakfast at Mi Amor was good, although not all items on the breakfast menu were available at the time we were there, we did order the bircher muesli with orange juice, Greek yoghurt, dried fruits and seeds. It tasted pretty good. Prices were pretty expensive for Mexican standards.


There are several dining options at Mi Amor. At night, they serve several à la carte options for you to enjoy. Leaded by Chef Paul Bentley, the cuisine is both French and Italian. Since we didn’t have dinner here, I can not recommend on the food, but I suppose the food and service would be great.

Also, since this hotel is part of the Colibri hotel collection, I do recommend to enjoy a cocktails in one of their other nearby resorts. We did visit La Zebra – another high class boutique hotel – which is only a 15’ bike ride away. Always nice to explore another hotel too when you have the chance to.

Our stay at Mi Amor is unforgettable! With only 18 rooms, they are able to provide a very personal approach and service. Every staff member I met was very friendly and accommodating. Nothing is asked for too much. That makes Mi Amor so unique and unforgettable. The staff members at Mi Amor are incredible. Can’t say enough good things about the staff. Every time I met someone, I was greeted with a smile, they all seem to be happy working here which is noticeable and very appreciated as a hotel guest. Highly recommended for a comfortable getaway to the beautiful Riviera Maya in Mexico!

Grand Hyatt Playa del Carmen


Hotelchain: Grand Hyatt
Location: Playa del Carmen – Mexico
Classification: 5 star hotel


Situated on the beautiful beaches of Playa del Carmen, the Grand Hyatt Playa is one of the top beach resorts in Playa del Carmen. This luxurious five star resort has only opened 3 years ago and everything still looks brand new. You really can’t beat the location of this resort! It is located right at the gorgeous beach and downtown Playa del Carmen only is a few steps away! Within 2 minutes you are on the famous fifth avenue.

The gorgeous entrance truly is spectacular. You enter the semi open lobby area and immediately notice the fantastic view all over the resort. I couldn’t believe my eyes, it is so beautiful… so peaceful and oh so romantic. When I think of exotic Mexico, this is exactly what I would expect. Check-in was very efficient and personal.


This wasn’t my first experience at a Grand Hyatt property so I had high expectations. The brand is well known for its service and overall quality. When I entered the hotel, everything felt right here. After check-in we were escorted to our beautiful room. The room we stayed in was very spacious and I loved the contemporary and modern design. The beds truly were among the best I have experienced! I also appreciated the large balcony with the perfect lounge chairs to relax. Bathroom was also super nice with a great walk-in shower and double sinks. Separate toilet was a bonus!


There is so much to do here and even just walking around the resort is so much fun. It is almost unbelievable how well maintained this place is. I saw staff working and maintaining the gardens every time of the day. Some of them even have access to their private pools. There are several main pools located right at the beach. The infinity pools are large and very clean. There’s a great laid back ambiance around the pool and beach area with a lot of comfortable loungers. No need to put your towels here to ‘reserve’ your spot in the sun. Pool service was great too, they greet you as soon as you approach the pool area and make sure you’ll have everything you need. They even provide complimentary sun cream if you have forgotten yours.


There are several secrets spots to be discovered at Grand Hyatt Playa del Carmen. Let me share some secrets: there’s a super nice lap pool which is located within the spa area of the hotel. It never felt crowded here and most of the time I was here just by myself. It truly is great to relax. Do note that the lap pool can be used by spa guests only. Another great feature is the Grand Hyatt’s club lounge. This private lounge offers a lot of privacy. Drinks and snacks can be consumed here all day long. I had breakfast here and the small buffet was excellent! It’s definitely worth to upgrade your reservation with access to the Club Lounge!


The awarded Cenote Spa at Grand Hyatt Playa del Carmen is enormous and one of the best spa facilities I have ever seen. I thoroughly enjoyed my amazing treatment here. This treatment took about 1 hour and made me feel like reborn! It starts with a refreshing body scrub to gently exfoliate the skin. After that it was time to relax with a detoxifying and nutrient-rich mineralizing body wrap that replenishes the skin. At last, the treatment ends with a complete body massage using inspiring oil that totally left me with a calm and tranquil feeling.


Breakfast at Grand Hyatt Playa del Carmen is something to look forward to each morning. At La Cocina, a gourmet breakfast buffet was waiting for us each morning. The freshly prepared taco’s are a must try! They are sooooo yummie! I also appreciated the fresh and unique contemporary design of this restaurant. The food was amazing, each item we tried was fresh and tasted excellent.


At night, we had dinner at The Grill at 1-26, their signature grill restaurant. This unique restaurant is located at the pool and beach and offers spectacular views. The food and service were outstanding. We enjoyed the rib eye which was served exactly the way we requested! Honestly, one of the best steaks we ever had, it was just delicious. Even the side dishes such as the sweet potatoes and asparagus were divine. Service was so friendly… They will make sure you are enjoying your time here and every single request has been taken care of with a smile! It truly is all about service here!


Another great dining option would be Sushi ‘n’ Raw Bar for delicious sushi. I love the location of this place. In the large semi open area of Grand Hyatt Playa del Carmen, this place offers panoramic views of the pool and beach area.


The Grand Hyatt Playa del Carmen Resort experience was amazing! From the beginning to the end, everything felt right here! Highly recommended for a romantic getaway in paradise!