Image

Novotel in Switzerland North & South

We have been a member of Accor club for such a long time since we lived in New Zealand that my husband is now a VIP and confident that whenever we book a hotel or resort via their website we know what we are getting and it’s always the comfy and family friendly 4-star hotel we wanted to stay in especially in a new place.  Our family holidays start from here in Switzerland. Home to the famous Swiss army knives, cheeses, chocolates, watches, banks, Tennis player Roger Federer and more!

FYI.  Switzerland has 4 national languages.  French, German, Italian and Romansh.

LUGANO is in South Switzerland under the region/canton of TICINO.  It is more than an hour away from Milan, Italy so yes they speak Italian in this region/canton.  

20160708_190417

Novotel Lugano

Here what it looks like inside and it is very convenient to some restaurants though they have their own inside.  Also, it is a walking distance to the town centre if you are keen on walking just wear comfy shoes as there are some slope streets around.

The room and bathroom.  Modern and comfy.  Yes, the bathroom/shower is see-through but you can always darken the “magic glass” with the touch of a button on the side so you can have your privacy.  Similar to the newest aircraft “Dreamliner” of Etihad.

Kids room to play near the reception and the swimming pool just outside beside the restaurant cum bar.

Outside, just a few meters away in front of the mini store you wait for this train to go around the town.  A convenient way than just walking and getting lost the first time 🙂

 

And of course ZURICH, is in the Northern part of Switzerland and they speak German and their own dialect Swiss-German which is softer sounded in the ear.  Locals usually talk in Swiss German.  Do not worry lots of Swiss people speak English too! especially in some tourist spots around the Country.

Novotel Zurich City West.  Near the airport and the train station is also nearby just a walking distance.  Best to bring some coins to use for the pay machine. You can even see the train coming from their garden and you cannot hear it from your room.  Though the room is a bit smaller than we are used to.

The room.

These 2 Novotel’s was our based hotels prior to getting to our final destinations.  I fully recommend them for all type of travellers.  I find that with their brand we can’t go wrong so we keep coming back… aside from the rewards of course!  🙂  Nope this is not a sponsored site though they are welcome to contact me haha!

Thanks for viewing and next post I will be featuring the South first which is LUGANO AND LOCARNO.  Both beautiful and have their own charms.  Since hubby is a Swiss so we go with the family on his side and travel like a local.  Hope to see you next time!

Tschuss!

Image

Hotels: Medium to Budget in Manila

If you are a first time visitor to the Philippines and you are a bit complicated with things then I say you better book a hotel from 4star to 5star but I have seen so far lots of tourists coming from all walks of life and from all over the World that they are ok from budget to middle range which is 3-4star depends on what the Hotel says their standard and what is the real feeling you have experienced.  For many years since the birth of my son, Hotel is my home every time I come to visit “Pinas” which I fondly called as a short name.  I have my favorite old homey hotel that I love to come back to every time and have experienced new ones as well which I will tell you now.

HOTEL H2OThis is connected to Manila Ocean Park.  I say this is a 3-4star hotel depends on your experience but for me that time… I was fortunate that I have experienced the best service so I say this is a 4 star. Sometimes you cannot please everybody and I always try to keep an open mind and not to expect too much.  So it depends on how much you paid for.  I have upgraded our room to an Aqua Room as it is much quieter than the Park View room which is facing the Ocean Park that has a stage shows for Sea Lion, Symphony Evening show, etc. so yes expect that though you will get free shows it may not be that fun if you want to sleep in as they open the sounds early morning.

Once you are out of the vicinity of the Hotel premises, Ocean Park is just a few steps away on the ground floor.  It is convenient for families and couples and other types of tourist except business unless they mix business and pleasure.  It is crowded on a weekend. Restaurants are plenty so no worries for that and even fast foods.

BAYVIEW HOTEL – This is a 3 star hotel which becomes my home away from home as I have been using them almost every year that I visit and though they are old now I can still feel comfortable and the view is great facing the Manila Bay which is famous for its sunset but I don’t have a photo of it as we are always away in the morning and coming back late at night.  Also the U.S. Embassy is just in front.  Most of the time they incorporate buffet breakfast into their room rate and they have mostly Asian or Filipino foods as well as Continentals but limited.  Here are some of the photos.

CROWN REGENCY HOTEL – Location! location! location!  It is a 3 star hotel and just opposite 3 major malls connected to each other.  Located in the business district of Makati City.  There is also a Musuem nearby (will post activities separately) and Greenbelt Park to have time to relax and unwind especially for business people or office workers. Lots of taxis and places to go around to or if you prefer to walk the better as you can see more by walking but have your comfy shoes as it will be a long walk indeed. 

RED PLANET HOTELFormerly known as Tune Hotel which is a hotel chain from Malaysia but the receptionist told me that it is now under a new ownership and so they have renamed it.  It is a good budget hotel and I am happy with this hotel chain, hence booked 2 of them in 2 different locations in Shaw Boulevard and Aseana City near Roxas Boulevard.  Both locations has an influx of foreign tourists as well as the locals.  Also they had a tie up with Grabataxi which is a good solution for people who really want some options not to flag any available taxi or haggle with the driver as some are trying to do so when they see a foreign tourists.  Grabataxi has 2 prices – fixed rate by a private car similar to Uber taxi or taxi rate + service charge.  I opted for the former and was satisfied about the service.  Worry free as they booked you in “real time” when you checked out.

Red Planet Aseana photo credit as per their website

This is the type of room we had.. Twin bed

Manila Bay photo credit from Red Planet Hotel

So to sum it all up… these 4 hotels are all good and I do recommend them but if you are on a budget then try to book as early as you can so you save more as it is cheaper to do just that OR book the Red Planet Hotel you can’t go wrong.  Just pay attention to Tripadvisor reviews and other customer’s review from the hotel website if any then you be the judge if it’s worth it.

Thanks for your time reading this.  Happy Trip!

 

 

 

Hotel: Old vs. New in Jeddah

Credit: Pinterest

As usual we traveled as a family on business on this side of the World.  The Company pays for the hotel, foods and even for my driver.  Yes as some of you don’t know yet… in KSA no woman is allowed to drive and that is the rule whether you like or not.  If you put it nicely… you can be pampered here being a woman but depends on the host, who you are with and what is your purpose of coming to the Kingdom.

Now let me get on telling you about the type of hotels that we’ve been in for the sole purpose of being near hubby’s “Other Office” so yes we choose the hotels based on that alone as the traffic jam can be terrible.  The good thing of having a driver is… it is good for your health 🙂  PERIOD.

RED SEA PALACE(Old) established 1959

credit to Booking.com, RedSeaPalaceHotelJeddah

I copied the image from Booking.com website as per above link and yes this is how it looks like in the early years perhaps.  Their frontage is now full of parked cars that someone told us that it belongs to a rental company so getting your car parked is like praying for rain!.  There are just a few car spaces inside the gate.  So this is where having a driver are great : he drops you off to wherever you go and he parked the car somewhere and wait for your call when ready.  It is a shame that they neglect this side of things as it can be nice really especially at night.  The reception can be busy depends on the month and what events do they have which is mostly every month as lots of people pays their respect and go to Mecca for their once in a lifetime “hajj” pilgrimage and Jeddah is one of the stopover City to go to.  Ok without any further ado as I can go on and on and I bet some of you will be interested how it is like over there 🙂 maybe on my next post. Here are the photos and you can judge by yourself.

20150805_104550The Lobby is very spacious and clean though old traditional furniture’s and furnishings are on display.

  IMG_0866 IMG_0869Foods are so many to choose from either for breakfast or dinner.  Above sweets are just to show they can make this with a lot of variations plus their Arabic sweets are also good though it may not show on this, sorry. FYI… I cannot really do a lot of picture taking as people will openly stare if I do it too much since there is really no “tourist” there.  ALL people come with a purpose either on business, pilgrimage or locals/residents who play tourist while off from work.  The other thing that they taken for granted is the tablecloth.  It was probably luxurious on those days but not anymore since there are a lot of stains that doesn’t come off.

We are lucky that we got the renovated room so it is always good to pay more in this side of the World so you can be comfortable.

RADISSON BLU PLAZA HOTEL (New) just opened in October

There are 2 Radisson Blu in Jeddah, but this one is located in King Abdullah Rd. and newly opened much modern hotel compare to their other location in Medina Rd.  You have to tell the taxi some landmarks or nearby location so they can locate this new hotel.  Good thing we have a driver on standby but we did go out one night for dinner and stroll in the mall nearby (Andalus mall) and we are considerate enough that we will be late and the driver needs to sleep for an early work (he has tons of other work aside from being a driver) so we ended up taking a taxi (no meter in KSA) and with a good quote on how much it will cost just to cross to the other side of the road then we’re off. It turned out the local driver lived in the UK for a long time so he is well versed in English and very chatty.

The entrance to the room is quite narrow but inside it was very spacious. We had a Suite I believe but on their website it named Apartment so perhaps the style is, as there is a separate mini room for dining which is actually a waste of space as you can see the cathedral window showing the lounge.  Also 2 toilet one just near the entrance and the main bathroom near the bedroom.  Unfortunately, some quality fittings are obviously worked in haste as shown on the photo perhaps to open in time for people going on their hajj.  Anyway… as long as we are comfortable it was okay.

I didn’t get the chance to take a photo in their restaurant but I can tell you it was very modern and the foods cater to Western and Arabian customers. Just probably what you should expect on this hotel chain wherever they are in the part of the World.  They have a mini pool and a mini gym, but it will not do good for me anyway since both can only be mostly for MEN.  Yes they have a time for Women to enjoy the pool and that is strictly for the scheduled time and strictly NO MEN ALLOWED even my 7yr old son!

Finally, it is time to say “Wada’an” (Goodbye till next time) Oh yes I cannot say this is the end.  So it is appropriate to say that type of goodbye. I hope next time I will be more enthusiastic to take some photo IF I may be allowed to as there are some restrictions you see.  The surroundings can vary depends on where you are and since hubby have a business to attend to in the “Older” part of City and they are still developing if I may say so.

Overall… if you happen to read this post by chance and you are thinking of going or having a business meeting in the Kingdom particularly in Jeddah you can bring your missus or the whole family if you want, that is IF they are not a fussy lot and can understand the difference of other culture. Jeddah is a bit softer side of the Kingdom though older and not as modern like in Riyadh, Women will appreciate this side better when you are over there IF you know what I mean. 🙂  I hope you learn something from this post and thanks for your time reading this. Until next time, Shukraan!

 

The HOTEL : Marriott (Dubai & Doha)

I always wish the hotels were like they are in movies and TV shows, where if you’re in Paris, right outside your window is the Eiffel Tower.  In Egypt, the pyramids are like there.  In the movies every hotel has a monument outside your window.  My hotel rooms overlook the garbage dumpster in the back alley!.  By – GILBERT GOTTFRIED

***************************************************

Every time I travel I always make sure the accommodation I will be in should have a good rating from the guests.  I used Google and Tripadvisor and trusted those people telling their raves and rants about the hotel.  It pays to do some research before you book otherwise it’s a waste of money and you will end up with a sore back or worst no sleep at all.

JW MARRIOTT MARQUIS DUBAI – World’s Tallest Hotel

20150710_135216
JW Marriot Marquis Dubai, vinneve

I must say the room is not cheap, but you get the service and all frills that you expect from the price that you paid for.  It’s a special occasion my son’s 7th B-Day on the day of our arrival.  So hubby informed them and voila!

20150709_064613

My husband arrived in late afternoon straight from the office in Abu Dhabi and here’s another surprise.

And here is the Junior Suite.

20150709_064659
20150709_065005
20150709_064751

With all the gadgets, you need at the touch of a button (but we didn’t use all of it as they have some on the wall as well just like any hi-tech homes).

20150709_064819

The bathroom is so big it can fit a family of four at the same time, though of course if you need some privacy you don’t do that.

The lobby on every floor looks like this…

20150709_070053
lobbyMarriottMarquisDubai, vinneve
View from the elevator..vinneve
View from inside the elevator.

It was wonderful staying there.  ALL the staffs are attentive and try to accommodate your request. They made it special for my son and make him feel like a celebrity.  Everybody greeted him a happy birthday with another surprise cake with candles this time from the Bakery cum coffee shop on the ground floor and they even sang  for him. Really lovely!  Unfortunately, I didn’t bring my camera as I thought we would only buying him a pastry to take away. After staying for a week in Dubai we are on our way to our next adventure… Abu Dhabi.

My verdict… We will be back for sure!

************************************************************************

Marriott Marquis City Center DOHA, Qatar

My son & I have been lucky to go away with hubby on a business and leisure trip 3 weeks ago.  Will post next time about the Beauty of QATAR. For now here are the photos of this hotel with the same brand that we always love to sleep in and the service is excellent.

Marriott Marquis DOHA, vinneve photos
Entrance MarriottMarquisDOHA, vinneve
The Lobby
The Lobby so clean and very spacious, gorgeous design
The bed and the views
The bed and the views below…
20150907_125647
20150907_131450
20150907_125154

The amenities…

20150907_130702
20150907_130445
20150907_132340
20150907_133320

Other perks…

20150908_162016
20150908_161946
20150908_161932
20150908_160229

If you have access to the Executive Lounge you get all free foods & beverages (breakfast, snacks, cocktails pre-dinner) so it is worth the money

20150907_134938
20150907_135437
@TheLounge
@TheLounge

And finally the pool and the gym is on the other side.  Spa is inside.

20150908_165906
20150908_165946
20150908_175059
20150908_170030

And oftentimes this applies… (image from pinterest).

Please have time to breathe and relax, your body will thank you for it. 🙂

Do you have a special hotel or accommodation that you love and worth to rave for?  Please share it here thank you.

BS: (But seriously… 🙂 please feel free to read my older post by clicking the link (in bold red) here.  Thank you for your time, until next time!