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Honeymoons A-Z: Turkey

by | Honeymoons, Honeymoons A-Z, Location Europe


Samantha Chua


Image by Ibrahim Anouti

Away from the political chaos and civil-war ridden borders of Syria and Iraq, Turkey is a magnificent destination for newlyweds. A richly historical land, steeped in a diverse history that spans 10,000 years, Turkey has many sites of archaeological and historical interest. Whether you surround yourself with the magnificent mosaics and ancient Roman cities or unwind in one of Turkey’s infamous spas, there is plenty to see and do in this Mediterranean gem.

5 Places to Stay

1. Casa dell’Arte Residence
A lesson in refined luxury, Casa dell’Arte Residence, with its dripping chandeliers and whiter-than-white linen is located along the coast of Torba Bay. Gaze out into the Mediterranean sea from one of the luxury residence’s zodiac-inspired rooms. Although all rooms are unique on their own, the Libra (a decadent Dome Suite) has plenty to please the eye: a starlight dome hovers above the large custom-made bed wrapped in fine Turkish linen; a marble floor and pastel pottery adds to the vibrancy to the room. There’s something for the boys too: the hotel has three glittering reminders of the hotel owner’s success in the automotive industry – a banana-yellow ’73 Corvette, a sleek white ’67 Mustang Convertible and a liquorice black ’61 Mercedes with bright white tyres – all for guests to hire.


Image by Casa dell’Arte Residence

2. The House Hotel Nisantasi
At the heart of Nisantasi, this elegant hotel has impeccable taste. The building is designed to arouse your senses; bookshelves bulge with coffee-table tome, sofas are plumped with cushions and monochrome prints are from a local photographer. The Superior King Rooms are a design dream with soft brown suede bedroom chairs, mirrors that partially panel the walls and caramel carpet that makes the room extra cozy. The smart grey-and white marble bathroom is the definition of luxury that yields a stash of fragrant L’Occitane treats.


Image by The House Hotel Nisantasi

3. Ajia Hotel
Set on the Asian shore of the Bosphorus, Ajia Hotel is a slick conversion of a 19th century yali – the palatial summer mansions of the Ottoman elite. Although the location is a little off the beaten track, it is the ideal escape from the heat and urban chaos of the old city. Behind an original façade of dazzling white neo-classical pillars and pediments, the interior of Ajia is a geometry of dark wood and creamy marble. The hotel is a blend of stylish modernism with crisp clean lines. The vast lobby is almost bare but for arum lilies, white orchids, off-white chairs and sunlight. Dine in the romantic restaurant right on the waterfront or enjoy the endless procession of fishing boats and ferries from the privacy of your own luxurious room – Ajia will leave you with wonderful memories of luxury Turkey.


Image by Ajia Hotel

4. Macakizi Hotel
Hidden within the enclosed bay to Turkbuku is Macakizi Hotel, a series of cottages spilling down the hillside amidst a rainbow of pink bougainvillea and red hibiscus. A stylish seaside mini-resort in what some have called Turkey’s St. Tropez, Macakizi features a series of double storey-cottages in a white, airy and contemporary style. The larger suites have glorious views over the bay from the balcony. Lounge on the plump ottoman cushions by the sea, take a boat trip in a traditional gullet or charter a boat for a day and visit the Greek islands.


Image by Macakizi Hotel

5. Sumahan on the Water
A derelict alcohol factory restored to its former glory by Turkish-American architects, Sumahan on the Water has found a new lease of life as a glamorous waterfront hotel. Part salvaged original and part modern extension, the hotel features exposed stonework, bare brick and mezzanine floors to celebrate the building’s past. All 24 rooms have warm wood or carpet floors with cool contemporary furniture with views of the glittering Bosphorus and its’ endless procession of gin palaces, container ships and ferries.


Image by Sumahan on the Water

5 Places to Visit

1. Blue Lagoon
One of the most popular beach destinations in Turkey, Blue Lagoon boasts some of the most beautiful sceneries in the world with crystal clear water. Take to the skies and paraglide across the lagoon for an unforgettable and stunning coastal view, or simply spend an afternoon frolicking in the crystal clear water.


Image by Graham Currey

2. The Library of Celsus, Ephesus
Spend a morning exploring one of the largest libraries of the ancient world. The Library of Celsus housed between 12,000 and 15,000 scrolls back in its heyday. The ancient Roman ruin was remarkable not only for its size and beauty, but also for its clever and efficient design. Join the Bosphorus Cruise and visit early in the morning and watch the soft glow of morning sun light up the library and its four statues: Sophia (wisdom), Arete (virtue), Ennoia (thought) and Episteme (knowledge).


Image by Bosphorus Cruise

3. Hagia Sophia
Dominating the skyline with its red walls and minarets is the Hagia Sophia, a Christian church originally built in 360AD that was turned into a mosque in 1453 after a violent siege. Today, it is a museum that embodies Turkey’s blend of Eastern and Western influence. Immerse yourself in the enormous dome that is one of the best examples of Byzantine architecture.


Image via Eric Lopez Contini

4. Sultan Ahmet Mosque (The Blue Mosque)
On the other side of Sultan Ahmet Park, the red of the Hagia Sophia is juxtaposed with the blue of the Sultan Ahmet Mosque. Both iconic landmarks look across the crowded square at each other with memories of a violent past. More commonly known as the Blue Mosque because of the colour of its interior tiles, the enormous structure was completed in 1616, long after the Hagia Sophia fell into Islamic hands. Through the ebb and flow of history, visitors of different faith visit to admire the magnificent domes and mosaic tiles that tells of Turkey’s heritage. The Blue Mosque is still an active place of worship and tourists must be respectful of its worshippers.


Image by Dennis Jarvis

5. Pamukkale, Denizli (Cotton Castle)
For a truly magical experience to top off that marital bliss, a trip to the Cotton Castle is a must during your visit to Turkey. The surreal, brilliant white travertine terraces and warm, limpid pools of Pamukkale hang like the petrified cascade of a mighty waterfall. Spectacular in its own right, the geological phenomenon is a set of bizarre but picturesque formation of calcium cliff and bathing pools. Combine your visit with a detour to the nearby site of the remarkably well-preserved ruins of the Greek-Roman city of Hierapolis.


Image by Tour Maker Turkey

5 Things to do

1. Take a Guided Tour at the Topkapi Palace
Surround yourself in Ottoman decadence at the Topkapi Palace, where libidinous sultans, ambitious courtiers, beautiful concubines and scheming eunuchs lived and worked between 15th and 19th centuries. The palace features opulent pavilions, a jewel-filled Treasury and sprawling Harem that gives a fascinating glimpse into their lives.


Image via Topkapi Palace Museum

2. Stroll the Spice Markets of the Grand Bazaar
Built in the 15th century, the Grand Bazaar is the oldest covered market in the world. It’s a maze of 56 interconnecting vaulted passages housing over 4,000 shops. Every street in the bazaar was dedicated to a profession. Today, most of these professions have disappeared but their memories live on through the names of the streets. Although many may refer to the Grand Bazaar as a tourist trap, if you’re up for a bit of fun, try to bargain like a local and see if you can make excellent deals for authentic leather items, carpets, gold and silver. Or simply enjoy the hustle and bustle of an ancient market where import and export businesses flourish.

3. See the stone head statues of Mount Nemrut
Turkey is steeped in rich history and ancient myths, and high on the summit of Mount Nemrut is a huge but little visited necropolis, home to the beheaded gods of the past. Although it sounds macabre, these beheaded statues were once complete statues of Greek and Persian gods. The sheer size and magnitude of the statues were truly magnificent. Take a sunrise or sunset tour to experience the golden sunlight bathing the statues for a truly spectacular experience.

Nemrut Dag

Image by Felipe Alcoceba via UNESCO

4. Take a hot air balloon over Cappadocia
View the natural rocky landscape of Cappadocia from every corner of your eyes from a hot air balloon. Although the hot air balloon rides don’t come cheap, it is sure to be a magical experience. After a safety briefing by the experienced staff of Kapadokya Balloons, take off on your hot air balloon and fly gracefully above beautiful valleys and spectacular fairy chimneys. Enjoy a traditional ceremony after landing, drink a champagne cocktail or simply chat with the pilots. The experience is worth waking up early!


Image by Kapadokya Balloons

5. Experience the Whirling Dervishes
A trip to Turkey will not be complete without experiencing the spectacle of colour and spirituality that is the Whirling Dervishes. Although it may be hard to grasp the purpose behind sema – a Sufi ceremony aiming at a mystical union with God and religious purification – you will certainly be hypnotised with the whirling fabric, communal recitation, controlled ecstasy and spiritual fervor that is part of the rite.

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Ms Chinoiserie Says: With its air of mystique and mystery, Turkey is a country rich in appeal; the mosaics and architecture alone are inspiring!

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Visiting The Regal Palace Of Versailles

by | Honeymoons, Location Europe, My Favourite Place


Nicola Goring


The Palace of Versailles is one of the most opulent and luxurious places you will ever lay your eyes on, and it is well worth the visit! We made the last-minute decision to jump on a train from Paris on our last day in the city, and were overwhelmed by what we found.

The history of the Palace and gardens alone could keep you there for days, listening to story after story about the French Revolution and how the kings and queens lived. It will be busy, and you may have to wait in line for a wee while, but with so much to discover it is a day well spent in one of France’s most affluent and famous towns.



Getting there is easy as there are several stations in Paris that have trains running to Versailles. Once you arrive at Gare de Versailles Chateau Rive Gauche, it is a 15 minute walk to the right and then to the left (you can likely follow the crowds), where you will be greeted by a lined street leading up to the breathtaking gates of gold.

We bought our tickets at a booth at the base of Place d’Arms (this saved time once in the grounds), and then joined in the crowds heading towards The Palace. As we arrived around midday, we decided to head first into the gardens to skip the long queues heading inside. If you wander over to the right hand side of the Chateau and duck through the archway there, you’ll find yourself walking out into the glorious oasis that is the gardens of Versailles.


Even if you are not a quintessential garden lover, walking the same paths as royalty once walked and relaxing amongst the quiet of the intricately designed layout will be enjoyable for all.

Bring a picnic and recline on the steps as you listen to the classical music broadcast throughout the gardens, find the water display and stumble across garden after garden that was designed with the approval of King Louis XIV. You will find the map given with your tickets very useful here as the gardens are mind bogglingly large.



If you have the time and your legs are happy to continue adventuring, wander down to Marie-Antoinette’s Estate. If you’re feeling weary there is a mini-train which can take you here (for a small fee), the treasures to be found here far outweigh the reasonable stroll through the grounds.

Once you find yourself at the Queen’s Hamlet (you will need a ticket that covers entry to the Estate), you will discover how Marie-Antoinette liked to live once away from the Court. Pretty gardens, a functioning farm and luxurious interiors make this a romantic and beautiful spot to explore. The colour, design and detail of the furniture are absolutely exquisite! Find the Temple of Love, wander through Le Petite Trianon and spend some time in the gardens; it’s a beautiful spot to leave the busyness of The Palace behind.



Once you have enjoyed the gardens and decide to head into The Palace, be prepared for crowds! The queue out the front may seem large but moves reasonably quickly, and you should be inside before too long. We picked up an audio headset each which was undoubtably helpful, giving us information on a huge range of topics including the architecture and the people who lived there.

Take your time and enjoy the majestic artwork, the opulence and sheer excessiveness in design and decor. There are not many places to stop inside the Chateau for a rest, so be prepared before entering the building.

Your feet will be crying out for a break once you’ve thoroughly explored the beauty and extravagance of The Palace of Versailles, but there is no doubt this day out can be enjoyed by all. We recommend it to everyone who tells us they’re heading to France! The history, the beauty and the tragedy all combine to make it a memory that will not fade quickly.



All images by Nicola Goring

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Ms Chinoiserie Says: The splendour and luxury of Versailles is simply breathtaking – a definite “must visit” when in Paris!

 About Nicola Goring – I’m Nicola, the florist and crafter behind rubyandjoy. I’m a gardening, fabric loving, mint tea drinking, brownie baking, book obsessed maker! I love a good adventure having just moved back from five years in Scotland (with my lovely Scottish husband).

Julia and Julian’s Fun Tassie Honeymoon

by | Honeymoons, Location Australia, Real Honeymoons


Julia of Julia's Celebrant Agency
Find me on Ms Polka Dot's Directory


Our honeymoon! Oh what fond memories!! My idea of countless romantic champagnes and cheeky cocktails were pretty much non-existent as we just found out we were expecting! Although we did indulge in some delicious food, some wonderful sleep ins and some spectacular Tassie sights!

Our trip started with a cruise on the Spirit of Tasmania. Quite a long haul, but we did enjoy a couple of movies in the cinema and lots of chocolate snacks to pass the time. Upon arriving in Devonport, we were all excited to start the first leg of our journey and drive up to Cradle Mountain for a couple of nights. The higher we got up the mountain, the darker and gloomier the weather became. By the time we reached Peppers Cradle Mountain Lodge, it was raining, there was a biting wind and we were absolutely freezing!! Peppers was toasty warm though and we were greeted with a warm fire burning away at reception and super friendly staff.



Our log cabin was beautiful and spacious and the bed was comfy as! The buffet breakfast was awesome, the Highlands restaurant was so so lovely, and when we weren’t up for fine dining, the adjacent tavern was nice too.

I highly recommend Peppers for a romantic wintry setting (even though we were there during Summer!) Because of the lack of wifi, we had no choice but to switch off and enjoy the food, the cosy fires and most importantly… each other’s company!

Oh and of course nature!! Haha. We had every intention of doing one of the big day walks around Dove Lake in the Cradle Mountain National Park however upon arriving  at the start of the trail, we realised we were poorly equipped for a hike! The wind was freezing and Julian had shorts on and didn’t even bring a proper pair of pants on our trip!

After thinking long and hard about the hike for a couple of minutes, we jumped back in the car and drove back to our cabin! We’ll hike Cradle Mountain during another trip…. maybe when Julian acquires a good pair of pants and I’m not three months pregnant and tired!

Mind you though we did go on some beautiful walks all around the lodge. The maps of all the trails were super easy to follow and the scenery was just spectacular. The fresh Tassie air was like nothing else.


After three nights on the mountain, off we went all the way down through the centre of Tassie to jump on a little ferry to Bruny Island! And Bruny Island was just gorgeous!!! We stayed at a little BnB for another three nights and enjoyed even more walks and delicious food!!

The coastal walks were lovely (especially the Luggaboine circuit near the Cape Bruny Lightstation), a tasting at the Bruny Island Cheese Company is a must, along with a stop at ‘The Neck’ to check out the views.


My only suggestion is to bring lots of food and snacks with you onto the island because after hours, every little eaterie closes (except for Hotel Bruny) so you can easily be accidentally left hungry if you don’t plan ahead and there’s not much in the way of convenience stores there.

Next stop, Hobart!! Oh how we loved Hobart!!

We stayed at the newly refurbished Nant Hotel and the Rydges Hotel and enjoyed dining out every night in Salamenca. During the days we visited the Tahune Air Walk, Salamenca Market, ate the BEST fish and chips ever from a little fishing shack about an hour’s drive from town. We loved Richmond and also indulged in a gorgeous picnic at the Botanic Gardens by cashing in on the gift cards and vouchers we got from the wedding. (It’s a bit ridiculous how quickly a $100 Woolworth’s giftcard can be spent when you’ve got free rein at the deli!)

You also simply must try a PANOOKI from the Honey Badger Dessert Cafe in Hobart!! It’s a cookie baked in a little pan, topped with icecream, chocolate fudge sauce, marshmallows etc. AAAhhhhmazing.


Our last day of our 11 night stay in Tassie was spent driving through Coles Bay; we had lunch by the water then slowly made our way back to the ferry for our cruise home.

I highly recommend a Tassie Honeymoon. The fresh air does something to you that lingers for weeks afterwards and we can’t wait to see more of the beautiful island!

All images by Julia

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Ms Chinoiserie Says: Cradle Mountain is one of my favourites too – the scenery is so beautiful!

About Julia’s Celebrant Agency: Julia’s Celebrant Agency is a website that showcases the best Melbourne Celebrants who are available on your wedding day! With just a click of a button you can see straight away who is available and who would LOVE to perform your wedding! Each profile displays the Celebrant’s fees and inclusions which will make your search easy, informative and with no hidden surprises. With over 20 video interviews on the site you can see the Celebrant’s fun personalities come to life, making your important decision all the more easy and enjoyable!

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