Sad about the perfect hot summer coming to an end in the UK, I wondered where I can go to experience really, really hot weather. Having been to Doha QatarRitz Carlton(Sharq Village) – Doha, Qatar earlier this year, I thought UAE could be a great place.

Since we decided to stay a few nights in Dubai as well, it made sense to buy a return flight from London to Dubai. We spend 3 nights in St.Regis Abu Dhabi and then 3 nights in Dubai Palm Beach. We stayed at Waldorf Astoria Palm Beach and you can see that review here:

How to get to Abu Dhabi from Dubai(fastest way): Get a taxi from Dubai is the fastest way.  The airport has private (VIP) taxis and they will charge you twice the local taxis. Local taxis will charge around 300AED to 350AED to go from Dubai International airport to St.Regis hotel next to the Nation Tower. Before you hop-in just make sure the taxi is equipped with a meter.

Arriving at St.Regis: As soon as we got out of the car, a welcome host welcomed us. Then we were escorted to the check-in area where we were offered comfortable chairs to sit on whilst they carry out the check-in process. The check-in was quick and easy and the first impression was really good. As you can see from the below picture, St.Regis Abu Dhabi has one of the grandest entrance which adds to the arrival experience.

39934461_10156399905147347_4839674573400047616_n

Arriving at the hotel

After check-in, we took the elevator to the 35th floor. Coming out of the elevator straight away gave us a flavour of what sort of a stay we will have:

39914750_10156399905037347_5435092761592201216_n

Outside Elevator – Amazing marbles

The first look at the room:

The Room: It amazes me the amount of marble in this room. St.Regis has used marble even in smaller areas and opt-in for less wood look which I personally liked. The room was spacious, completed with high-end decor and had a real high-end luxury feel to it. The best part of the room was it lead to amazing views of Abu Dhabi and Ocean.

20180823_122130

Bathroom: Highend marbles cover the whole SQ of the bathroom. I think one of the most luxurious bathrooms I’ve used considering the number of high-end marbles in here

39910926_10156399905247347_311592412671639552_n

Bathtub

39976788_10156399224752347_7096374721431732224_n

Bathroom 

Service: It amazes us how personalised the service was. Throughout our stay, we felt ease at home and every person worked in the hotel provided a constantly excellent service which was amazing. We had a personal butler who was very quick to respond and we also got free coth pressing (4 items) per night.

Breakfast: A good breakfast and I found some exotic fruit which I will usually find in Sri Lanka:

20180824_101114

Rambutan we call it in Sri Lanka. You cut the spiky out layer and get to the juicy fruit inside.

Bar: an Amazing bar area with excellent luxurious decors. One thing I noticed is that each day, each table (throughout the lobby and bar) were decorated with fresh roses. Amazing amount of attention to detail.

40052758_10156402581842347_5343491017658073088_o

40085224_10156402582072347_4739291137469054976_o

St.Regis Abu Dhabi bar

My final verdict is that St.Regis hotel will provide you with elite luxury, amazing personalised services with your own butler who will be quick to answer the phone and respond to whatever your needs are. The decor is luxurious, better than most so-called 5 star hotels. Throughout the hotel, you’ll experience plenty of high-end marbles and you will be treated like kings and queens.

This is by far one of the best hotels we have stayed and we will back again in a few months time. I would give 10/10 for St.Regis.

Lesante Blue Exclusive Resort Zakynthos, Greece

Mid May 2018, I decided to travel to Zakynthos, a small Island in Greece. I stayed at Lesante Blue, a luxury beach resort and they are part of World Leading Hotels Group.

How to get to Zakynthos: If you are living in the UK, I would advise you to book your flights in advance as this route is very popular among tourists. The direct flight route gets booked up very quickly and if you are unable to book a direct flight, you can fly to a nearby island and take the ferry.

Because I booked this trip one week before the date of travel, I was not able to find a direct flight and therefore had to fly to a nearby island called Kefalonia. However, for my return flight, I was able to book a direct flight.

How to travel from Kefalonia to Zakynthos.

20180515_131412

Kefalonia, Port of Poros

Option 1: Fly to Kefalonia and take the direct ferry which leaves Kafelonia around 6 pm and arrives Zakynthos around 7.30 pm.

Option 2: Flight to Kefalonia and then take 2 ferries.

Option one: During the off-season (usually until May 20th) there is only one direct ferry service between Kefalonia and Zakynthos. Once you arrive at Kefalonia airport, you will need to make your journey towards “Pesada” port. You can jump on a taxi from the airport which will cost you around 50 Euros and will take around 1 hour for you to arrive at Pesada.

The ferry will arrive at St. Nicholas port in Zakynthos. St Nicholas port is 1-hour journey from Zakynthos city centre and I was advised that St. Nicholas port is in a remote part of the Zakynthos island. Although you can take this direct Ferry, this will indeed cost you more whilst it will take the same time as the indirect ferry route. So altogether, I would try to avoid this option if it’s possible.

I, therefore, went for the 2nd route.

Option 2: Once we arrived at Kefalonia airport, we made our way towards the port called “Poros”. From there we took a ferry to the port of Killini and then from Killini to Zakynthos main port. The overall journey on ferries took around 3 hours but it’s a really enjoyable one. To go to the port of Poros it will cost 50 euros and take 1 hour in a taxi.

From the port of Poros (Kefalonia), there are 3 daily ferries to the port of Killini. We booked the midday ferry. The Ferry from Kilini to Zakynthos will leave soon after the ferry from Poros arrives.

20180515_150412.jpg

Ferry from Poros to Kilini seen in the distance

We were a little bit worried if these ferries going to be small but actually, they can fit multiple buses and large lorries. Both ferries we were on had restaurants and lots of comfy seats.

I used this company to book my Ferry which cost around 9 Euros: http://www.ionionpelagos.com/el/content/90

The Ferry from Killini will arrive directly to Zakynthos city centre which is convenient. After arriving at the city centre(which is a short walk from the port) we found a great spot to have food (unfortunately cannot remember the name of the restaurant, but hope these photos will help you to identify).

20180515_190034

20180515_190030

The decor of the restaurant

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Pictures of Zakynthos town:

_20180515_182939

_20180515_182930

Lesante Blue hotel review: 

Check-in experience: We were greeted by a friendly hostess who invited us to take a seat in the lobby whilst she check us in. Whilst waiting, we were offered a welcome drink and the whole check-in process was quick and easy.

I believe it took around 10 minutes for us to checking and since we did not have to stand up throughout the process it made a lot of difference.

The lobby: The lobby was the not the largest I’ve seen but a good size. The lobby had white tiles throughout which created clean and pure feeling. There are some comfy seats in the Lobby and through the lobby, you can access a small bar area and the restaurant.

Room: I booked a sea view room which offered really good views. The room was spacious but the decor was basic in my opinion. Also, the room did not have a coffee machine and guests were left to drink instant coffee which I think unacceptable in a luxury accommodation.  As I said, due to the decor and the materials they have used within the room, the room did not feel luxurious. I think there was lack of fine carpets and marble present in the room which made it look basic.

The room had a balcony which offered a coffee table and a two-seater sofar.

20180516_065758.jpg

Bed: Queen bed is a good size, although, I would definitely expect this to be much bigger considering the price point of these rooms. The Peninsula, Shanghai is the biggest bed I’ve slept in and compare to that this is a smaller size.

20180515_213608

Bathroom: Bathroom had white marble throughout which was a good touch. The size of the bathroom was okay. I expected it to be much bigger considering the price point.

_20180515_205107
Walking shower and toilet have separate doors

 

_20180515_205121

Bathroom

The walking shower was a disappointing experience and this is because, in few occasions, it was difficult to control the temperature of the water. The water sometimes gets hot and then suddenly gets cold. Very disappointing to experience this in a “luxury” resort.

20180515_205131-1-e1529396156845.jpg

Shower room

20180516_145046

Bathroom

20180516_145051

Shower room

The pool Area: I think the highlight of this hotel is the pool area. The pool area offered some of the best sea views I’ve seen a while. I liked how the sunbeds were laid out as they allowed to get the best views. There are more sunbeds and bar on sea level which is much more quieter.

IMG-20180619-WA0000

Sunbed area

IMG-20180619-WA0005

View from the breakfast bar

Food: The dinner service had a limited choice of food and I found the food to be overpriced. Within 10 minutes walk, you can find few local restaurants which offered very tasty food for the fraction of the cost at the hotel.

Breakfast: There was an American style buffet breakfast. After few days I got fed up eating the same thing but at least you get to some nice views:

_20180516_083112

Service: Overall the service is good but I don’t think some staff are trained up 5-star hotel standard. If you are familiar with the service you get at Ritz Carlton or any other leading luxury hotels, I think the services here is slightly below that. Whilst the staff offered good service, they were lacking in some detailed aspects of customer service which you would expect in a luxury resort.

Final verdict: I found the hotel to be in a perfect location offering some of the best sea views. I also think this is the best resort in Zakynthos if you are looking to enjoy the best views in exclusive settings. The beach in front of the hotel is reserved for hotel guest only. Considering the decor of the room, I think the hotel rooms are overpriced. The restaurants offered a limited choice of food and they were overpriced too.  The room was basic and did not feel luxurious despite the price.

Follow me on Instagram to receive instant pictures and videos of my travel. My username is: thewellalage

Highlights: World class service, space to relax, luxurious rooms and gorgeous views of the Indian ocean.

I checked in to a premier ocean view room for 5 nights stay at the newly opened Shangri-la hotel in Colombo, Sri Lanka (May 2018).

Check-in: As a Golden Circle member (which anyone can enrol) I used their mobile app to book and check-in. I highly recommend check-in using the mobile as this will considerably reduce the time spent at the reception when you arrive.

Up on arrival, I was welcomed by a lot of smiley Sri Lankan faces and I immediately felt comfortable. At the reception, I was taken care by the duty manager who quickly checked me into a high floor, upon my request. Overall, the check-in process was quick and convenient one. As I was walking towards the lift, I felt that all the front house staff were well trained and competent at their jobs.

Luxurious and large Lobby: Shangri-la has spared no expenses in the lobby area. The lobby area is shining with all marble floors and it had a real luxurious feeling which I haven’t experienced any other hotels in Colombo. As you can see from the picture below, the lobby area is huge and beautiful.

20180526_223241.jpg

Lobby Bar (s) and entertainment: Shangri-la Colombo has two lobby bars and I felt engaged throughout my stay as the hotel offered a good level of entertainment throughout the hotel. I really enjoyed sitting at the lobby bar closest to the main entrance and listening to the pianist each night. Also, if you are an in-house guest, you do not necessarily have to buy a drink to sit there. There is another bar called Kaema Sutra on the on the 4th floor and usually, they have a live DJ there.

Capital Bar & Grill, which is the other bar on the ground floor, play live Jazz music every night until midnight and I really enjoyed sitting there. The atmosphere here is completely different to the lobby bar(Sapphyr Lounge).

20180526_223039

Jazz Band

20180526_223054

Bar

You can find more about all the bars and restaurants in this hotel at:http://www.shangri-la.com/colombo/shangrila/dining/

Room:I stayed in a Premier ocean view King on the 19th floor. Deluxe ocean view rooms(slightly cheaper than premier) are on the 5th and 6th floor. So my advice is to spend £10 more and stay in a Premier ocean view to see this fantastic views.

20180519_101848

Premier Ocean View

Good to know: Premier ocean view (twin) rooms only offer partial Seaview.

Shangri-la Colombo rooms have all marble bathroom and entrance which I really liked. This gave the room its luxurious feel. Good to know: because I booked using the app and stayed in a Premier Ocean King, I was offered a welcome fruit basket

The room was nicely decorated and I liked the level of detail which has gone to it. The floor to ceiling class panels enabled me to see the fantastic views of the Indian ocean but it was also interesting being able to see the “port City project” on to my right.

The sitting area became very handy and well thought. The chairs were comfy and a good spot to watch the sunset and the busy roads of Colombo. Also, there were plenty of plugs/charging points (suitable for European AC adaptors) were conveniently allocated throughout the room.

Bed and cleaning: The bed was very comfy and big. The housekeeping staff did a great job each day and they serviced the room twice, once in the noon and once in the night.

20180519_101828.jpg

Shower and bathroom: Many of you who read my blog know that shower and bathroom is one the most important thing for me in a hotel room and I expect high standards. For me the bathroom and the shower at Shangri-la Colombo were great. The shower had a very good water-flow creating a rain shower feeling. This was a walk-in shower and had plenty of space too.

Video of the shower

Overall, the bathroom was a nice size, offering everything I needed.

The highlight for me was the marble of course, but I wished that Shangri-la had put a glass window between the room and the bathroom so whilst having a shower I could have seen the ocean. If that was the case, I would say the bathroom experience would have been wonderful. As far as I know, the only shower room which has direct ocean view is Movenpick in Colombo and you can read that review Here.

Pool area, gym and Spa: Pool area has a bar and you can see the ocean from here. There is no deep end which is great too. The gym is one of the best, and had everthing I need from free weights to machines. In the gym, you can find complimentary towels, water and fruits. Spa cost around 16,000 rupees for 60 minutes which I though overpriced in Sri Lanka. So I went to Ceylon spa which was 8,500 rupees for 90 minutes’ massage. There is a Spa Ceylon around 10 minutes walk or 3 minutes tuk-tuk journey and I got the complimentary tuk-tuk service from Shangri-la

Restaurants and food: The hotel has a number of places you can eat. the 32nd-floor horizon club is only for the club guests.

Most days I ordered room service because I wanted to enjoy my meal whilst watching the ocean. On otherhand, it was convenient for me and per mean it did not cost me more thatn£7. The service was excellent and standard of the food was good too. However, only in one occation the food was not good as it was on a previous day, but I made sure that they know about it.

Tip: Try the chicken fried rice and black port curry. But ask them to make it authentically Sri Lankan.

Food and view pictures

What’s missing: I was surprised to find no coffee machine in the room. I think offering instant coffee is not a sign of luxury and I drinking instant coffee anyways. So I really hope they will include a coffee machine in their room in the future.

Service: I fund the service to be world class. Considering Shangri-la was open few months ago, the staff were well trained and looked after me very well. Everyone spoke good level of English and went out their way to accommodate me. I did change rooms 2 times and they gladly accomdated my requests.

Photo of leaving gift.

In Summary: I loved my stay and will be back next time when I’m in Sri Lanka. I loved premioer Ocean view rooms and it felt luxurious, offered fantastic view. The shower was faboulus, although it would have been nice to see the ocean from the shower room. One of the main highlight for me was the world class service they offered.

FYI: End of 2018, Ritz-Carlton will be opening their first hotel in Sri Lanka. This will be behind Hilton hotel Colombo, 2. I’m a fan of Ritz- Carlton and I love their service. So it would interesting to see if I’d love Ritz as much I did with Shangri-la.

If you love your high-end Marbles and fine luxury with great views, then look no further.

When visiting Shanghai, you want to stay on both sides of the river (closer to the bund). To see the most iconic view of Shangai Skyline you need to stay at the old side of the bund, facing Pearl Tower(the tallest tower in Shanghai) as you can see in the above picture. To see the best view, I stayed at The Peninsula http://shanghai.peninsula.com/en/ and this and above picture was taken from the rooftop bar at the Peninsula.

We also stayed at the Peace Hotel which is on the same side as Peninsula (£100 cheaper on average than Peninsula and you can find the review here.
Day- bund

After doing some research I decided to stay in The Peninsula because :

  • This is the best place to get the best view of the bund(as you can see from the above picture)
  • The most luxurious hotel that you can stay in Shanghai

Views are absolutely fantastic, both from the room and from the rooftop bar. All rooms come with some sort of a view so you will not be disappointed. Rooms are the biggest in Shanghai and the most luxurious. Even the Pool area looks much more luxurious and the amenities they offer are much greater than any other 5-star hotel in Shanghai.

Perfect location: if you want to walk around the bund. The bund is only 2 minutes walk from the hotel and to the left of the hotel, you can walk through the Waibaidu Bridge which looks amazing in the night. You can also walk to East Nanjing road within 5 minutes where you will find a lot of shops to eat and shop. Nanjing road shopping area is one of the busiest and you will see massive crowds during the weekends.

IMG-20180429-WA0094

Waibaidu Bridge in the night

A river view(average price £350 -£400)with breakfast and these are the reasons why I liked The Peninsula Room:

  • Huge room (52 Square metres) includes a large dressing room (bigger than other hotels in Shanghai).
  • Spa Bath was amazing.
  • TV in front of the bath.
  • Highend, Luxurious, all Marble bathroom.
  • Separate wash basins for two people.
  • Huge bed (probably the biggest I’ve slept in).
  • Remote controlled window blinds and Nespresso coffee machine.
  • Amazing pool and a spa area with bathrobes, slipes, towels at your disposal.

Overall, over the top luxuries that you will not find anywhere else in Shanghai.

IMG_3429[1]

Bathroom

IMG_3426[1]

Sitting area

IMG_3427[1]

Bed

Room entrance: As soon as you open  the door, you come to a large area and to your left is the bathroom and to your left, you will find a large dressing room

IMG-20180429-WA0009

Dressing Room

Things could have been better and some advice:

  • Breakfast – does not include a hot buffet breakfast. You will need to order individual meals off the menu and we waited 30 minutes for food to arrive (wasted 30 minutes of our time).
  • There is a continental (cold food) buffet which was okay.
  • If you think £8 for a portion of chips or £11 for a half a pint of beer is expensive, then this is not for you.

We also dined at Sir Elly’s restaurant and this is what I thought

  • For 1 Michelin Star restaurant, food was way too expensive. We ordered 2 main courses, costing us £130 for two people. The standard of the food was similar to what you would get from a good gastropub in the UK which will cost you max £50 for two main courses. If the restaurant offered great views of the city, then maybe we could have justified £65 per person main course, however, the views were barely okay.
  • Shangri-la and Ritz Carlton offer much better views from their restaurants.You can read those review Ritz- Carlton – Shanghai Pudong – ReviewShangri-La – Shanghai Pudong- Review

 

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

We also used the Rooftop bar and I thought

  • Service is bit salesy. They asked us when we will come back to the bar so they can reserve a table. However, the bar operates a first come first serve basis, so I did not really understand why they were trying me to commit to a specific time.
  • As I mention, half a pint is £11 and is that sounds too expensive, then think about it before you spend money here.
  • Great view of the Skyline which was great

 

Spa and Swimming pool:

  • Well trained, professional massage therapist so I had a wonderful massage.
  • 60 minutes massage will cost you around £130 plus.
  • Overall good experience although, unless you desperately need a massage, I would recommend looking for alternatives as this place expensive.
  • Swimming pool area was amazing and a lot of amenities in the pool area.

IMG-20180429-WA0018

Service and amenities in general:
  • I’m used to a more relaxed and homely service, so the service here for me felt a bit too professional, off the book perhaps. Although The Peninsula offered us everything we wanted, in some places service, could have been much better. Sometimes the service is hit and miss.  For more homely and relaxed service I would recommend  Shangri-La Pudong Or Ritz CarltonRitz Carlton
  • In particular, I did not enjoy the service and the rooftop bar and the breakfast table. It can definitely be better.

So it is worth £370 per night? If you want to experience over the top luxuries in luxurious settings, then is a good price. The views were fantastic and they’ve used high-end marbles and materials throughout the hotel which gives you a luxurious experience. I personally enjoyed staying here and would stay here again next time. However, If you worry how much you spend, this is not your place.

Gallery:

 

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

 

 

Exceptional Service, Luxury rooms with great views

Having stayed at Shangri-La next to Ritz, I was pleasantly surprised with the views and quality of the rooms.  The hotel lobby is located on the 52nd floor of the IFC building and offers great views of Shanghai city.

Location: Perfect location because you can walk to Shanghai Tower and Pearl Tower within minutes. Ritz is next to a luxury shopping mall called IFC which sell all luxury brands and has its own food court. The food court in IFC is a little bit expensive compared to the shopping mall across the road, opposite to Shangri-La so just be mindful of that. Food to try: Try Lady M cake in level B2 of IFC

Room and the view:

img-20180429-wa0085.jpg

Pearl View Room

img-20180429-wa0022.jpg

Sitting Area – Pearl View

(Stay here for at least for 2 nights to really experience Shanghai Skyline)

We loved everything about the Pearl Tower view room. You get a premium view of the peal tower and the river. Rooms were big and I loved the bathtub facing the view.

Here is a picture of that premium view:

IMG_3507[1]

The room had a small area dedicated area for luggage and clothes. Curtains are operated through a remote control button by the bedside which is handy. There is a Nespresso coffee machine and other amenities you can think to expect from Ritz.

Shower and bathroom: The walking shower has a large shower head creating a rain shower feeling. The water pressure was also good and I really enjoyed the experience. The bathroom was big enough for two people and there is separate wash basins for two people.

Restaurant and views:  There are several restaurants in Ritz building which include one Italian, and all offer really good views of Shanghai Skyline (better than the Peninsula Shanghai restaurant views). The bar upstairs and the lobby Jazz bar also offer great views. The bar upstairs tends to play party, upbeat music, whereas the lobby bar plays live Jazz music except on Sundays.

IMG-20180429-WA0040

View from the Lobby Bar

Pool and Gym: Decent pool offering views of Shanghai. The pool is only wide enough for 3 or 4 people at a time. There were 3 people using the pool when I was using it and I felt a bit cramped. The jacuzzi was not deep enough and I had to crouch down to get my whole body into the water.The gym is one of the best I’ve seen. It has everything you need and again, offers great views.

img-20180429-wa0033-e1525254121997.jpg

The pool view

Price for drink and food: If you are careful about what you spent, then you will find the prices for drinks and other nibbles to be very expensive. A half a pint of beer will cost around £11, similar to The Peninsula prices.

Service: Once again Ritz Carlton did not let us down. The service was impeccable and generous. Probably one of the reasons why I like to stay in Ritz is because of the faultless service they offer worldwide.

Is it worth it worth the price? For me, it absolutely worth it. This is one of the best hotels if you want to get top class, faultless services along with unbeatable views of the Shanghai Skyline.

We chose Peace Hotel for its history, luxury, location and Jazz Bar. You could get a bund view room but The Peninsula has bigger windows which would give you a better view. Click Here for that review.

Peace hotel as accommodated countless celebrities including the likes of US presidents Obama and actors and actresses so we were excited to stay here.

Location: Probably the best location closest to the bund and East Nanjing Road Shopping Street. East Nanjing Road is one of the busiest shopping streets in Shanghai and I really enjoyed being among large crowds. The bund is just across the road which would take less than 2 minutes to walk.

After having breakfast,  around 7am I walked towards the bund and at that time, there were not too many people so I really got to enjoy the views.

This is what it was like around 7am(see the video)

 

Lobby: Lobby was nice and big. It looked luxurious because they have used high-end marble throughout. Through the lobby you can walk into the famous jazz bar and toward right you have the guest lifts which is only accessible by room card.

IMG-20180429-WA0053

Lobby, just after the entrance and reception.

A bit more about the Famous Jazz Bar: We were there on a Friday and the place got packed. So I would advise to go there earlier to secure a good table. Here, they usually play upbeat, high tempo Jazz. Most of the band members are retired musicians and many of them have been playing here since they were young.

We stayed at a  Club Delux City View room. The average price per room with breakfast is between £250 -£300. Here are some of the reasons why I enjoyed staying here:

  • Big rooms(49 square metres) with a small walk-in wardrobe. If you need a bigger walk-in wardrobe stay at The Peninsula
  • Exclusive access to the executive floor where they serve complimentary food and drinks(food served until 7pm)
  • Separate washbasins for two people
  • Comfy, large bed(peninsula beds are bigger)
  • Really good breakfast in the lobby or at executive floor catered for westerns and Chinese.
  • Free fruits and coffee machine
  • Great service
  • Jazz Bar downstairs
IMG-20180429-WA0000

Entrance

IMG-20180429-WA0090

Club City view room

IMG-20180429-WA0032

Club City View Room

However, the view could have been better– This is a historic building, therefore windows are smaller than other hotels. From the bed, I could only see another building facing me so I had to walk to the window in order see the road and crowd below me.

I enjoyed the bathroom and shower: I loved the size of the bathroom and its luxurious feel. There were two separate washbasins and enough space for two people at one time. The bathroom is decorated with high-end marbles which we really liked. I enjoyed the walk-in shower because it had a strong water flow.

IMG-20180429-WA0047

Bathroom

Service and amenities: We really enjoyed the service at Peace Hotel. Everyone there spoke a good level of English and they made us feel at home. The service felt more homely and welcoming. The room had a coffee machine, bathrobes and slippers plus free fruits. The curtains were not operated by a press of a button and it was a bit of hassle considering how heavy the curtains were.

Breakfast: Peace hotel offer buffet breakfast which includes both hot and cold food. I thoroughly enjoyed the fried rice and other western food and my wife really enjoyed all the nice Shangahene cuisines. They have a huge selection of food on offer which would cater to anyone. I also enjoyed the selection of fruits and deserts which they offered.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Final Verdict: The club executive rooms worth this price you pay. The service is excellent and the rooms are luxurious. The views(city view room) was okay.

Other photos:

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

 

We stayed here for great views but room decor and amenities were disappointing.

Shangri-La in Pudong is situated few minutes walk from Shanghai Tower and Pearl Tower. There are two Shangri-La buildings, one is closer to the river and the other just behind it. The building closer to the river is the old building and this was Shanghai’s first 5 start hotel. The newer building is just behind the old one and this is where we stayed.

IMG-20180429-WA0078

Daytime view from the executive city view room

Location: We chose to stay at Shangri-La for its location. Having stayed on the other side of the bund (Peninsula and peace hotel) we wanted to experience the newer side of the city. The hotel is conveniently located next to a shopping mall which has western and Asian food stores. Across the road(next to Ritz) there is another shopping mall more catered towards the high-end consumer, which is called IFC. This Shopping mall also has a food court but the food is a bit more expensive than the one opposite to Shangri-La. The Pearl Tower, and Shanghai Tower within few minutes walk from the Shangri-La.

Lobby: Shangri-la Pudong has a big lobby area.

img_3471-e1524331831197.jpg

Disappointing rooms: Average price for city view executive room is around £200 per night without breakfast and the only thing to like about this room is the view, although I would rather stay at Ritz Carlton opposite to this hotel for £50 more per night. I thought since this is called the “new building” the rooms would be up to date. However, the rooms looked very old and outdated. There was no luxury feel to it.

img_34691-e1525349655313.jpg

Too much wood and it looked bad. Not luxurious at all.

Worst Shower Ever! This was the worst shower I’ve ever had! It is the industry standard that if you are paying £200 per night you would expect to get a room with a really good shower. However, at Shangri-La Pudong, the shower was really bad because the water pressure was low and therefore it gave very little water. I had to call an engineer because I thought this is not right but the engineer said this is the normal water pressure. With that in mind, I do not think I will stay here again.

Is it worth the money? definitely not! Views were good and that the only things. If you happen to book here, make sure to check the water pressure of the shower before settling into your stay.

Tip:  for just £50 more a night you will have a much better experience at Ritz Carlton which is across the road. So I would avoid this hotel unless they upgrade the decor and shower.

 

We enjoyed our stay here because we got to see Mount Fuji from our room. We also enjoyed the Japanese style accommodation in this hotel.

Location: The hotel is located by a small lake in a small town. The lake is a good place to have a relaxing walk and there is a small supermarket next to the hotel. We took a public transport to get here and it was very convenient.

Room: We stayed at a Mount Fuji view room which had traditional Japanese bed and private hot spring overlooking Mount Fuji. On a clear day early in the morning (picture below was taken around 5.30am), you can see the iconic mount fuji just like you’d have seen on a postcard.

12439455_10153954776927347_7692440313035444035_n1.jpg

View from the private hot spring

 

Hot Spring: The hotel has its own hot spring and the swimming pool was heated by the volcanic water coming from Mount Fuji. There are separate hot Spring swimming pools for both male and female. You will also be able to see Mount Fuji from the male swimming pool. The hot spring was a great experience.

Breakfast: The hotel offers traditional Japanese breakfast.

Final verdict: This is a great hotel if you want to see Mount Fuji from your room. Also, the hot spring pool was one of the best we’ve tried.

We were blown away by the magnificent service.

We loved Qatari people and the people working in Qatar. They were very accommodating and friendly. To our surprise, Doha has a very open culture and it has become one of our favourite places to go for short holiday/ long weekends. We took Qatar airway which flew directly to Doha in 6 hours.

Great Location: One of the reasons why we picked this hotel because its location allowed us to see uninterrupted views of Doha Skyline. We took a taxi from the airport to arrive here and it only took less than 20 minutes. Although we were close to the airport, we never heard any aircraft noises which was surprising. The hotel is only 7 minutes drive away from Doha city centre and historic market. We took a taxi to the city centre which only cost us £3.

27067669_10155881995657347_4807286622140732935_n

View from the hotel’s private beach

Travel tip: Make sure to check out the historic market on a Friday or Saturday night. Great place to experience Doha’s way of life.  Below video is one of many things I saw during my visit:

 

The room and amenities (Jan 2018): The room was big and had a balcony which was a great place to get some morning sun. The room is equipped with a coffee machine, bathrobes and the bed was comfy. January is the off-season here but the weather was great. The avarage room price is between £140 and £170 for a resort view room.

IMG_3080

Bathroom and shower room: Bathroom was big enough for two of us and it had a walking shower. Fitted to the ceiling water comes out of a large showerhead to create a rainshower feeling but the water pressure could have been better.

Service: Service was one of the best. From the time we entered to the property and until we left the service could not have been any better. We felt at ease because everyone worked there took initiative to accommodate us. I felt that everyone there wanted to be there and I felt they realyy enjoyed attending guests.

Swimming pools and other activities: There are two swimming pools in the property. I think 3 days is more than enough here if you want to relax and enjoy the nice weather.

IMG_3107

swimming pool closer to the main property.

Food: On Thursdays, they have a seafood buffet. I think it was around £60 per person which was not bad. They offer, unlimited lobster, tiger prawns but the taste was a bit bland.

What else we loved: We loved the Arabic architecture throughout this hotel. The resort had a village-like feel because all the buildings were no more than two-story high. Each block of accommodation had a courtyard and sitting area which was a nice way to welcome to your accommodation.

IMG_3085

How courtyard was seeing from outside of our room

Gym and Spa: I did not try the spa but the property has a fully equipped gym. There are several running machines, bottled water and fruits were also offered..

Overall verdict: Ritz Carlton (Sharq Village) is one of the best places we’ve stated so far in our journeys. The service is out of this world and the property was amazing. Worth another visit for sure.

 

 

Ultimate privacy in Colombo, but 1 night is more than enough for me

I liked Tintagel Hotel for offering privacy at the heart of Colombo. I was pleased to stay at a residence designed by Geoffrey Bawa’s who also designed parliament building and other famous buildings in Sri Lanka.

The hotel is quiet and does not offer much entertainment but feels like you are living in your own home.

Location: Paradise Road Tintagel hotel is based in Colombo 7 in an elite neighbourhood. If you fancy going outside to eat, the nearest shop is about 7-10 minutes walk. Around 7.30pm, we (me and wife) took a walk to the nearest shop as we wanted to experience authentic Sri Lankan food. It was a nice walk through the residential neighbourhood and was safe. The location for me was okay, as I felt staying around Colombo 2 (Galle Face Green) area let me explore Colombo more conveniently.

Lobby: Nicely arranged lobby area and loved the decor

IMG-20180429-WA0017

Sitting area in the lobby

IMG-20180429-WA0021

Terrance bar

IMG-20180429-WA0070

Sitting area

 

Room amenities and bed:  We particularly liked the colonial style decor throughout our room and the room was a really good size. Rooms are generally darker than other hotel rooms I’ve stayed in (I guess it’s the style). They have used dark painting and dark wood to create a more relaxing atmosphere. However, this for me was too dark, especially in the night.

IMG-20180429-WA0028

Sitting area(daytime picture)

IMG-20180429-WA0031

Sitting area

IMG-20180429-WA0083

Bed

IMG-20180429-WA0086

Bed

bathroom and shower: Bathroom was nice and big. Loved the walk-in shower

IMG-20180429-WA0041

Shower room

IMG-20180429-WA0050

Bathtub

Swimming pool and entertainment: This is a boutique hotel and offers 10 rooms. The swimming pool was just next to our room which was great. When we used the pool, there was no one else was using it, otherwise, it could have been a little bit crowded.

In regards to entertainment, the hotel has a small size lobby bar and that’s it.

 

 

28060995_10155941754247347_2351637433033603982_o

Swimming pool

Breakfast: If you’d like to try Sri Lankan breakfast, you need to order the night before. There is a leaflet in your room stating this but it’s worthwhile double checking this with the front-house staff to make sure you get your breakfast. It would have been courteous from the front house staff if they had told us that we needed to order Sri Lanka breakfast night before rather than leaving us to our own devices. At the breakfast table, you need to order food from a menu and this not a buffet style.

Finally: This is not my type of hotel. The property was lacking in entertainment and the location was not perfect for me. I wish the rooms could be a little bit more brighten up. I felt isolated and 1 night is more than enough here.

Choose here to see fantastic views of the Indian ocean, and have one of the best shower experience.

img_2941-e1523512011259.jpg

I stayed at Movenpick towards the end of 2017 and it was a great experience (view wise). However, the hotel lacks in entertainment and the lobby was small and disappointing.

Location: Movenpick hotel is in a central location. My reason for staying here is because of the sea view (the beach is about 10 minutes walk from the hotel). Just 5 minutes from the hotel there is a place called Rajabojun, a Sri Lanka buffet at a reasonable price and probably the tastiest buffets in Colombo.  I also dined at Ministry of Crab and I took a taxi which took around 20 mintues.

Room: I stayed in a Sea view room and it offered amazing views of the Indian ocean. If you are brave enough you can see the uninterrupted views of Indian ocean whilst having a shower 😉

IMG_2895

View from the shower(wet room)

I absolutely loved the strong water flow of this shower. Probably one of the best showers I’ve ever had!

The room was big and had everything I wanted. There was no evening turndown service but frankly, I didn’t need it because I spent most of the day in my room looking at this gorgeous view. Average price for a Sea view room is about £160 per night with breakfast.

Rooftop bar and infinity swimming pool: The swimming pool was quiet throughout the day which was nice. As you can see from the picture below, swimming pool area also offers great views which are very similar to what you can see from a sea view room. The swimming pool and the rooftop bar is on the same floor so might not the best place if you are looking for a swimming pool with privacy.

23658768_10155702958767347_6198407750778519201_n

View from the pool

The rooftop bar was not busy three days I stayed here so I felt a bit uninspired. Maybe it’s because I stayed here in November which is considered to be the offseason for tourism. However, given it’s a Friday and a Saturday night you would expect it to be a busy bar which it wasn’t. Places like Kingsbury and Cinnamon grand are always busy on a Friday and Saturday.

Check-in experience and service: The overall check-in experience was excellent. I was served by well trained and friendly front house staff and they accommodated me with my requests. In my experience, everyone at the hotel provided excellent service.

Disappointing Lobby area: Movenpick Colombo has a tiny lobby area which is disappointing.

Breakfast: The selection of food at the breakfast was limited. I think the best Sri Lanka breakfast I’ve ever had was at Mount Lavinia Hotel

Final verdict: Monepick rooms offer some of the best views of the Indian Ocean(I’m yet to stay in Shangri-la Colombo). You cannot beat the views and the quality of the shower.  However, I was disappointed with the compact size of the lobby. Finally, the rooftop bar was quiet and did not inspire me. I will stay here again, only for the views and excellent service but nothing else.

Good size room, good views from the bar upstairs, overpriced and lack in entertainment.

IMG_2198

View from the rooftop bar

Good location: Jetwing Colombo 7 is just in front of a supermarket and the town centre is about 7 minutes walk from the hotel. The town centre is called “Union Street” which is a busy area. We walked in the night to the town and had some fabulous Sri Lankan food for a very cheap price.

Rooms: I really enjoyed the size of the room. They were big, airy and light. However, make sure you ask for a room with bathtub and views of the bay.

We were first given a  room overlooking the “slum-like” area and it was not the best view.  On our request, they gave us a room facing the other way.  The views were okay at best so if you are looking for fantastic views, I would suggest Movenpick Colombo. You can see that review Here

The room we stayed had a walking shower(wet room) and also had a large bathtub. The bathroom was big enough for two people at one time.The water pressure from the shower is good and I enjoyed my shower. Unfortunately, there were no marbles to be seen in the bathroom.

Service: Good service and well-trained staff.

Lack of entertainment: The lobby is fairly small with few seats around the check-in area. I did not see a lobby bar which I would expect from a “5-star” hotel and this was disappointing. The rooftop bar offers great views. However, the nights we stayed here, the bar was so quieter and I’m not sure if I would come back here.

Avarage price is around £110 per night without breakfast:  I personally think this hotel is overpriced. You can get the same views (maybe smaller rooms) at Cinamon Red (near Movenpick) which is half of what you would pay at Jetwing.