Showing posts with label hotel. Show all posts
Showing posts with label hotel. Show all posts

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Sunny Singapore and the Gardens at the Bay!

Hi everyone! Last weekend hubby and I took a short break to Singapore - one of my favourite weekend getaways for shopping, eating, and catching up with good friends. I used to work in Singapore ( a long long time ago!) and ever since, I have always felt a strong connection and find every excuse to go back for a visit when possible. Also, a few of my nearest and dearest friends live there so its always great to meet them for a delicious meal and fun times whenever I am in town!

This time we stayed at the Grand Park Orchard and I have to say, this hotel gets my vote hands down for location. It's right on Orchard road, opposite from The Mandarin Gallery and Paragon shopping mall - perfect for popping in and out to drop off the masses of shopping bags accumulated after a long day of intense shopping in Orchard's numerous shopping malls! The hotel itself is trendy and modern but still quiet enough that it feels like a respite from the ultra urban Orchard road.

Our Premiere room at Grand Park Orchard - hubby is enjoying it!

On this visit we decided to visit the newly opened Gardens on the Bay which is located right by Marina Bay Sands. Its kind of a indoor/outdoor botanical gardens with lots of flora and fauna attractions. I wasn't sure what to expect and although I'm not a big fan or expert of trees and fauna, I admit I was impressed and enjoyed it alot! We visited one of the many attractions, The Cloud Forest, which is a huge dome spanning about 7 floors with a central "mountain" of trees, plants, flowers and all kinds of beautiful fauna. At the entrance of the Cloud Forest there was a huge waterfall that flowed from the top of the dome. Stunning!

The entrance to the Cloud Forest with a massive waterfall that spanned about 7 stories! love it!

Once you are inside the dome, you can take a lift right up to the top and slowly walk down the various levels, which they have designed as a kind of "skywalk" where you get the feeling that you are walking in the midst of the sky and clouds. I was impressed with how well designed the walkways were - but I am super scared of heights so I had to hold on tight to the handrails while we were walking along the skyways up high! Here are some shots of the walkways taken from the ground upwards. 

Looking up towards the sky walkways high up above within the Cloud Forest.

Being afraid of heights, I wondered if I would be able to brave the walkways!

Another view of the sky walkways high high above.

Some sights along the way....

Curious looking plants...

Hubby was interested in this specimen!

We made it to the top by lift! Now we start the long descent down via walk ways!! 

Even though the walkways were sturdy and strong, I was nervous to be so far out from solid ground!

Carefully and slowly making my way down...while clutching onto the handrails...

Notice how everyone stayed away from the netted middle section!

Finally we reached the indoor Crystal cave ! From this level you can take escalators down to ground level. Thank goodness!

There were numerous other fun and educational attractions at the Gardens at the Bay, but we didn't have a chance to enjoy them all as we had to get back into town for lunch. This calls for another visit back, and soon!

Monday, July 23, 2012

Bahama Mama!

While we were planning our trip to USA, hubby and I wanted to go somewhere new and fun. I have never been to the Bahamas before, and although hubby had been before during his college spring break years, we have never been there together - so, essentially, it was a new place to try. We decided that after visiting Atlanta, we would take a short flight down there for a few days. 

Because it was my first time going to the Bahamas, I wanted to stay at a place that  had alot to see, do, enjoy and eat, and somewhere where we could chill out and relax (chillax?) as well. After reading numerous reviews on Expedia and Tripadvisor ( my gurus for all my trip planning!! ), I decided that the Atlantis was the place to try! The Atlantis is great because besides being having a huge water park and a really amazing aquarium, it also has a choice of 5 hotels within the resort so you can really choose which one suits what you want most.

We finally made it to The Atlantis! This is the Royal Wing which is the main part of the hotel  - Stunning and enormous!

Out of all the hotels within Atlantis, I chose The Reef which is a service apartment/hotel and is located on the far end of the resort with a private beach. It was peaceful, quiet and private and yet a mere 5 minutes away from the hustle and bustle of the main Royal wing that houses the casino, aquarium and shopping. Perfect for people like me who don't want to be too far from the action, yet like a little peace and quiet time as well.

The Reef's private beach  - beautiful and truly exclusive!

I have to admit, although I love the beach and the sea, I have a love/hate relationship with the sun. When I am at the beach I always have my massive sunglasses and sunhat on, and am sure to always reapply my 80 SPF sunblock - just about every 10 minutes! Having said that, it's a testament to how great the Atlantis waterpark is that I actually spent hours upon hours every day playing in the water park,  actually enjoying it! They have this ride called the River Rapids where you float along in a huge water wheel and cruise down huge waves and rapids - I went on the River Rapids everyday, at least 3 times a day! They also had their famed slides - you can see the picture below - which were like amusement parks rides! Although I didn't have the guts to try any of the big slides, I had fun watching as people sped down at breakneck speed!

I think this one was called the Drop of Doom or the Tower of Terror - either way, the closest I got to it was enjoying the screams of people as they spend downwards! Too terrifying for me for sure!

Another one of the Atlantis' most popular slides! Although this was a little tamer than the "drop", it still was too much for me - yes, I am a chicken, totally!

Aside from all the fun and games, hubby and I enjoyed all the good food at the Atlantis as well. There were a great number of really good restaurants within the hotel and in Marina Village, an outdoor shopping village, which also had a great lively atmosphere and live music in the evenings. 

Hanging out at Ben&Jerry's at Marina Village - a must for staying cool in the heat!

At the Marina Village there was a dock for many private luxury yachts  - hubby had fun just walking around peering into them! In the evening the owners of the yachts would sit on their decks sipping wine - lifestyles of the rich and famous indeed!
 I can't write a post about food without posting this picture of Veal Saltimbocca at Carmines in the Marina Village - this is one dish! Can you believe the size? We ordered one between the two of us and even so,  delicious as it was, were not able to finish it! 

Am I starting to sound like an advertorial for the Atlantis? I really hope not. I enjoyed the resort and anyone who knows me knows that when I really like something I become its biggest advocate. Aside from a half day snorkelling trip out to the reefs and an hour walking along Bay Street doing some local shopping, we didn't leave the hotel at all in the 3 days we were at the Bahamas. We had such a great time and alot of it had to do with actually being at the Atlantis. Two thumbs up for sure!

One last glimpse before leaving - truly a sight to remember. 

Thanks for reading and I hope you are enjoying my vacation posts!

Friday, June 15, 2012

A few days in Hong Kong and Macau ( Part deux )

Onto the Macau part of our trip!! Once in a while on our HK trips we like to cross the hydrofoil to Macau and its always great fun. We normally stay at the Venetian Macau, which is a whirlwind of people, shopping, eating, gambling - it's like an amusement park unto itself! But this time we decided to try something a little different and I booked a room at the Four Seasons instead. The reviews on Expedia and Tripadvisor were so complimentary and the hotel is connected to the Venetian through an indoor walkway so the bustling activity was still close by.

When we got to the Four Seasons, I was blown away and couldn't believe it was situated in the center of Macau! The hotel is so discreet and peaceful and has none of that touristy gambling vibe at all. It is luxurious, elegant and quiet which I really liked. 

                                                       The Four Seasons Macau entrance

All the reception staff were so nice and even though it was only our first time there they were kind enough to upgrade us to a Deluxe Room which was so big and had a nice dining/pantry area. The Guest Relations Manager brought us up to the room and explained everything so carefully and in detail - the service standards are really superb there.

Isn't the room lovely? It was so spacious and the view was wonderful - we saw all the new hotels on the Cotai Strip. I highly reccommend this hotel if you like a little peace and quiet but still want to be close to the casino action - its just a 1 minute stroll to the Venetian, yet the atmosphere here is totally diffferent. 

While in Macau of course I had to visit one of my all time favourite eating spots - Lei Garden! There are various branches of Lei Garden in Hong Kong and Kowloon but this time we were so busy we didn't have time to visit any of them. Luckily for me, there is a Lei Garden in the Venetian and I was determined to have my favourite dishes while we were there! They didn't disappoint!

There are many truly delicious dishes at Lei Garden, but two of my can't misses ( and two of the most fattening dishes there too, I'm sure - sigh.... ) are the Honey BBQ Pork and the Crispy Pork. I am embarrassed to admit that I am able to finish one dish of the crispy pork all by myself! It's cut into such convenient little bite size squares and is accompanied by a mustard dipping sauce which gives it a little zing - completely addictive!

Lei Garden's famed Honey BBQ Pork

My favourite Crispy Pork - I couldn't resist eating 2 pieces before taking this shot!
After eating so much, we had to burn off all the calories by walking walking walking along the Cotai Strip where the new mall is opening up - so new that many of the shops weren't even open yet. They look like they would be great for shopping once everything opens and there is a vast selection of restaurants - more good food to choose from!

Love the fauna inside the Cotai Strip Mall!
We had such a good time in Macau and being at the Four Seasons was so relaxing - I am looking forward to returning again soon! The new hotels opening up on the Cotai Strip bring new flavour and a new atmosphere to the entire area - its really becoming the Las Vegas of the East. 'Til our next visit!

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

A few days in Hong Kong and Macau (Part one)

I just came back from a few exciting and fun days in Hong Kong and Macau and as usual, all I did there was shop and eat. I love Hong Kong for a quick weekend getaway because its a mere two and half hour flight from Bangkok and its so convenient with so much good food! This time, we stayed at the W Hotel in Kowloon (our first time there) and I have to say I loved it. First off, the location is perfect. It's in Elements Mall so there is plenty of  easy access to shopping and good food, and the airport express stops right at Kowloon Station which is right below the mall - soo convenient! Secondly, the hotel itself is so nice - it manages to be both modern and trendy yet the rooms are super comfy and cozy at the same time. For the most part, I just wanted to laze around in the hotel room and didn't even want to leave to go shopping - and that's a first for me!

This is the lift hallway which was designed to look like a library with bookshelves and lamps, with the lift doors in between. It was unique and charming, I couldn't resist taking pictures! Do u see me in the mirror?

Can you spot the lift?
As I said, the room was modern and yet cozy at the same time and our room had stunning views of the harbour. Oh and another very important factor that won my heart - the amenities were from BLISS and were exceptional! I loved the lemony moisturizer and got addicted to the conditioning rinse - totally another bonus. Two thumbs up totally.

You can't see the view from the picture but the window looks out onto the harbour, giving us wonderful views both during the day and at night! Loved it all and can't wait to go back again soon!