Category Archives for "Asia"

Must see locations, events and places to travel and enjoy in Asia.

Beachfront Balinese Luxury – Mantra Sakala Resort & Beach Club

Situated on the sparkling sands of Tanjung Benoa on the Nusa Dua peninsula, Mantra Sakala Resort & Beach Club offers a remarkable stay with shopping, dining and Balinese culture on its doorstep.

Once a fishing village, Tanjung Benoa is now famous as Bali’s leading aquatic adventure destination. Discover luxury beachfront accommodation just steps from the sandy shores and warm, turquoise waters of Tanjung Benoa Beach at Mantra Sakala Resort & Beach Club.

Pleasant Stay

The 261 spacious suites and pool villas at this luxury resort feature 5-star amenities, authentic Balinese decor, open, airy living spaces and exquisite bathrooms. Sakala Lagoon Suite features direct access from your private balcony to the lagoon swimming pool, or enjoy the views over the resort’s grounds and pool from your Sakala Deluxe two-bedroom suite; all with living rooms, dining areas, kitchenettes and separate bedrooms behind sliding panel doors. The private, two-level, one- and two-bedroom Pool Villas offer unparalleled comfort and exclusivity, with twin sitting rooms, dining rooms, full kitchens and sun-soaked roof terraces.

Dining & Activities

Enjoy mouth-watering Asian fusion cuisine at Sakala Beach Club overlooking the vast Indian Ocean, or superb selections of international bites and a creative mix of contemporary cocktails and entertainments, with direct access to one of Bali’s most active beachfronts where an exciting variety of water sports including snorkelling, diving, parasailing, kayaking and boating await. The Beach Club also welcomes wedding celebrations with a host of stunning beachfront and poolside venues to choose from. There is a 6,000-square-foot meeting space able to accommodate up to 650 people theatre style, and all spaces feature modern audio-visual equipment, soundproof walls, internet access and all the amenities and services needed for a productive and stress-free event. The Spa at Mantra Sakala Resort & Beach Club offers a uniquely holistic approach with an emphasis on wellness and restoration. There are 8 beautifully appointed treatment suites with an array of popular and signature treatments, including traditional and luxury massages, facial and beauty treatments, waxing, reflexology and a hair salon. Creative fun spa menu for children is also available, ranging from special designed kids mani/pedi to an exclusive mum and me joint mini me package. The resort is the ultimate destination for couples or families who wish to enjoy a healthy and relaxing holiday in a beautiful beachfront location.

True Balinese Experience – Ayodya Resort Bali

Experience pure luxury where the royal past maintains its timeless beauty.

I had heard a lot about Ayodya Resort Bali, but this is the first time I have ever stayed at the resort. Set on an incredible 29 acres, the resort’s architecture is reminiscent of a traditional Balinese water palace. Spectacular water features and majestic gardens flow naturally to the private beachfront. The resort is enormous, guaranteeing that you will never be bored during your stay. Whether you just want to rest and relax on a sunbed beside one of the five swimming pools or soak in the sun by the beach, or watch a traditional dance in the open- air theatre or work on some muscles at the well-equipped gym, the choice is yours. Families with children can rest assured that the kids will be well taken care of with a wide range of activities at the Kids Club.

I stayed at The Ayodya Palace, which is a private retreat within the resort featuring 79 suites set near the beach, in a tranquil corner of the resort. This is a true luxury experience with world-class butler service and private check-in. I love the privacy of the Ayodya Palace rooms. And for animal lovers, there is a chance you will spot some exotic animals on the resort grounds, and maybe even a squirrel or two.

My favourite place to chill out while escaping the sun is the Ayodya Palace Lounge. With touches of Balinese luxury, the lounge offers the relaxing and luxurious ambience of ancient Balinese kingdoms, and features a private pool and beach access. Ayodya Palace Lounge is the centre of the royal Balinese treatment that includes breakfast, evening dining, complimentary afternoon tea and evening cocktails, and complimentary snacks and beverages throughout the day, along with a well-stocked library and Wi-Fi.

While in Bali, a spa visit is always highly recommended, especially to the resort’s Mandara Spa. I experienced the Mandara Sampler, which consists of a massage and mini facial. Spa lovers cannot go wrong with a treatment at Mandara Spa. My massage was so exquisite and relaxing that I fell asleep during the treatment, and after my facial, my skin was glowing and radiant.

A stay at Ayodya Palace at Ayodya Resort Bali is a memorable experience, as you immerse yourself in the tranquil environment and soak in the beauty of the Indian Ocean and the serenity of the surroundings.Ayodya-Resort-Bali

A Taste Of China

Eat shoots & leaves – Shanghainese cuisine is a cocktail of influences from the Jiangnan region, pepped up with a shot of European flavours. The city is best known for its dumplings and red-braised dishes; less widely recognised are its refreshing soups and healthy vegetable dishes. Local chefs draw on seasonal ingredients — including bamboo, leafy greens and shrimps — and add flavour with cured Jinhua ham, dried seafood and other preserves.

Shanghai red-braised pork

Shanghai red-braised pork

Shanghai souvenirs – Bring back a bottle of aged Shaoxing wine (for both drinking and cooking) and look out for jars of pickled vegetables such as xue cai, a salted mustard green that’s one of the staple ingredients of local fare. Browse the food shops on Nanjing Lu or Huaihai Lu for all manner of ingredient sand, if you’re interested in knives, checkout the cleavers at ZhangXiao Quart in Nanjing Lu.

Dumplings & delicacies – Don’t miss steamed soup dumplings with their tidy pleats and juicy stuffings: head to the tiny Jia Jia Tang Baoforan authentic local experience or bag a table at Din Tai Fung if you’d rather take your time. Alternatively, book a private room at Fu 1088 and order steamed river shad or braised Shanghai cabbage with tofu and salted pork.

Vietnam Caves: Exploring The Beauty Of Nature Underground

You can tell a cave is pretty spacious when it accommodates a jungle and a river within its walls — as is the case for Vietnam’s Son Doong. However, despite its jaw-dropping proportions, the world’s largest cave has seen fewer visitors than the summit of Mount Everest. Just 640 people are permitted to visit Son Doong in 2017 and, understandably, these limited spaces are highly sought after — 300 spots were snapped up within 20 hours during the first round of sales in August.

Son Doong

Son Doong

The second lot of tickets will be available for purchase on 15 November, each costing a hefty 67,500,000VND (£2,330). Oxalis Adventure Tours is the only operator permitted to run tours to the cave. Each five-day tour requires more than 25 porters and cooks, a tour guide, two cave experts and two park rangers. The expedition includes camping, caving, knee-deep river crossings and 31 miles of trekking.

Stay Independent – Hotel Vagabond Singapore

Tribute Portfolio has expanded its presence in the Asia-Pacific region with the addition of Hotel Vagabond Singapore. This is the 10th Marriott International property in Singapore and invites guests to stay independent in the Merlion City while still enjoying all the benefits of the world’s most global loyalty programmes.

Hotel Vagabond Singapore is part of Marriott International, Inc., a Tribute Portfolio. Owned by Harpreet Bedi and Satinder Garcha, the hotel attracted me from the moment I stepped inside. Located just outside Singapore’s central business district, in the Jalan Besar area, the hotel represents the history and energy of Singapore, with its colonial-era Art Deco building dominated by the colour red.

Parisian Chic Style

Designed by award-winning French designer Jacques Garcia, Hotel Vagabond Singapore offers 41 guest rooms and excellent service, all near the central business district in the ultra-hip Jalan Besar. Each room oozes Parisian chic style, with tasteful and thoughtful interiors and furniture. Each room has a king-sized bed with 400thread count Egyptian cotton sheets and goose down pillows and duvets. Bathrooms feature elegant Italian marble and glass mosaics, with toiletries from Etro Milan.

The hotel features a modern interpretation of the Parisian salon, Vagabond Salon, giving guests the chance to mingle. Three times a week the Salon is transformed into the city’s hottest music venue, featuring an exciting line-up of talented musicians and DJs. The Vagabond Executive Club Lounge is the most luxurious Starwood Executive Lounge in Singapore. Guests can enjoy the benefits from 7am to 6.30pm daily. You can sit and relax while enjoying a selection of the finest wines and cheeses; a little treat for yourself.

Artsy Interpretation

What makes Hotel Vagabond Singapore so special? It seems every corner of the hotel offers a wonderful surprise, ranging from antiques to contemporary photos and paintings. Each item has been personally sourced or commissioned by Satinder Garcha. There are plenty iconic and fascinating art pieces inside the hotel – a solid brass rhino doubles as the reception desk and banyan trees are used to disguise some of the load-bearing pillars of the Salon, making the room look even more opulent.

Another interesting feature is the video playing in the elevator, featuring snippets from blockbuster and cult movies, including Star Wars, Ben-Hur, Interview with a Vampire and Little Shop of Horrors. Because standing in an elevator with strangers is always awkward, Satinder Garcha decided to install this piece of art in the elevators as a way to grab their attention and perhaps spark conversation. The video was made by Marco Brambilla.

Perhaps the most controversial piece in the hotel is Leon Ferrari’s photo of his seminal work Western Civilization and Christianity, created to protest the Vietnam War. Other pieces include a monkey sculpture at Bar Vagabond by Franck Le Ray, the video-art installation After ‘Three Studies for Portrait of Lucien Freud, 1969’, and photos in all the rooms captured by Satinder Garcha.hotel-vagabond-1

Best Activities in Indonesia

Indonesia is famous for its stunning green landscapes, turquoise waters and white, black and pink beaches, exotic flora and fauna, and rich culture. With so much to do, we list five of the best activities to do in Indonesia.

1. Breathtaking Komodo

Located between East Nusa Tenggara and Wes tNusa Tenggara provinces, Komodo National Park includes the three larger islands of Komodo, Padar and Rinca, along with 26 smaller islands. The giant lizards that inhabit these islands are called Komodo dragons and exist nowhere else in the world, which is why a journey to Komodo National Park is a once-in-a-lifetime experience.komodo-1

Komodo National Park has been selected as one of the New 7 Wonders of Nature. Besides the about 5,700 giant lizards that are the main attraction of the park, the waters surrounding Komodo Island contain some of the richest marine biodiversity on earth, and the rugged hillsides and pockets of thorny green vegetation contrast starkly with the brilliant white beaches and the blue waters surging over coral. These are a few of the many reasons scientists and tourists are attracted to this UNESCO World Heritage Site.

The journey to Komodo National Park usually starts from Denpasar, Bali, where you take a flight to Labuan Bajo on Flores Island. Labuan Bajo offers plenty to do, from experiencing local culture at Melo village, chilling at the Pink Beach, cruising to Kalong Island and much more. And, of course, a trip to Rinca and Komodo islands to see the Komodo dragons is always on everyone’s itinerary.

Early in the morning, the guide will pick you up at the hotel and transfer you to the harbour to depart for Komodo and Rinca. It takes about four hours to get to Komodo Island by boat. You can go ashore and go trekking with a ranger in search of Komodo dragons and other wildlife such as wild boars, deer and birds. After some mind-blowing trekking with these prehistoric creatures, you will be escorted back to the boat and sail to Rinca Island via Pink Beach for some snorkelling. Upon arrival on Rinca, get ready for more trekking in search of Komodo dragons, wild boar, monkeys, water buffalo and birds. Rinca Island, being less known and less visited than Komodo Island, is a good place to see the giant lizards (measuring up to three metres) in their natural environment with fewer people to disturb them. Just make sure to bring along a camera, as the views are simply breathtaking.komodo-2

A Unique and Colourful Stay – Ibis Styles Yogyakarta, Indonesia

Strategically located in the business area, close to shopping centres and tourist attractions, Ibis Styles Yogyakarta offers a unique, colourful and comfortable stay.

Ibis Styles Yogyakarta is a four-star hotel under the Ibis Family Brand, located just 20 minutes from Adisucipto International Airport and near shopping areas including Malioboro, Keraton Yogyakarta, and the batik and handicraft centre, Tugu railway station and within easy access of transportation such as taxis, TransJogja busses and even traditional rickshaw (becak). This is the preferred choice for guests looking for comfortable and convenient accommodation in Yogyakarta. Ibis Styles is a unique, comfortable, modern, dynamic and all-inclusive brand with the most comprehensive facilities in its class including breakfast and free Wi-Fi.

Ibis Styles Yogyakarta’s modern design and colourful interior promises a cheerful and cosy stay for guests. Ibis Styles Yogyakarta features 112 guest rooms, six meeting rooms, Seasons Spa, Streats Restaurant, Lobby Terrace, D’Sky Bar and rooftop pool. D’Sky Bar, located on the top floor of the hotel, lets guests enjoy the sunset view from the heart of Yogyakarta. Grab some rays in one of the beach chairs around the rooftop pool, catch a performance in the amphitheatre or grab a bite and a drink at the Bar.

D’Sky Bar presents wonderful acoustic music in the evening and special DJ performances on Wednesday and Saturday. Guests looking for some pampering should head to Seasons Spa, located adjacent to D’Sky Bar and ready to spoil you with an extensive Spa and Massage menu. There are also plenty of food and drink specials to satisfy you, including create your own pizza at @Styles Pizzeria in the Lobby Bar and Frozen Beer at D’Sky Bar – the only rooftop bar in Yogyakarta that presents Frozen Beer.

Fun-Filled Experience – Holiday Inn Jakarta Kemayoran

Conveniently located in the Kemayoran area in Central Jakarta, Holiday Inn Jakarta Kemayoran is the leading choice for smart travellers in town for business or pleasure.

Jakarta International Expo (JIEXPO) in Kemayoran, Central Jakarta, has long been known as the ultimate venue for big events, from food and beverage expos, auto show and wedding conventions to music festivals and concerts. JIEXPO is where the most-happening events take place. And only a five-minute drove from the venue is the strategically located Holiday Inn Jakarta Kemayoran.

The hotel is surrounded by tourist attractions such as Dunia Fantasi theme park, Ancol Beach and the Mangga Dua and Kelapa Gading shopping and entertainment areas, which are easy to reach by the hotel shuttle. Holiday Inn Jakarta Kemayoran is also easily accessible by both domestic and international travellers, with Soekarno-Hatta International Airport less than 27 kilometres away and the Kemayoran tollgate less than two kilometres away, providing convenient access to neighbouring cities such as Bandung and Bogor. Undoubtedly, this prime location makes Holiday Inn Jakarta Kemayoran the leading choice for business and leisure travellers alike.

Holiday Inn Jakarta Kemayoran features 257 contemporary guest rooms, all with spacious bathrooms and workstations. Amenities include Blu-Ray DVD player in every guest room, a choice of soft or firm pillows for a better night’s sleep, and electronic plug-in for the convenience of business travellers. Staying in the spacious 72-square-metre suite on the 15th floor, I enjoyed a panoramic view of the city skyline and the serene lake and lush greenery of the 18-hole Kemayoran Golf Course. Free Wi-Fi, 40-inch LCD TV and iPod docking station, and access to the executive lounge with complimentary evening cocktails completed my wonderful weekend staycation experience at the hotel.

Botany, the hotel’s all-day dining restaurant, offers a contemporary mix of international and local flavours, and features an all-you-can-eat buffet menu, a shabu-shabu menu and a premium menu consisting of wagyu beef, scallops, lobster and much more. Wind down with a coffee or bespoke cocktails at the lobby’s Habitat Lounge or unwind at the Infinity Pool and Bar, which is the first infinity pool in Kemayoran. Keep up with your fitness regime at the in-house gym, which is equipped with the latest fitness equipment and has a comfortable atmosphere.

All the elements at Holiday Inn Jakarta Kemayoran are thoughtfully designed for your comfort. There is so much to do and experience, from enjoying a good night’s sleep to exploring the neighbourhood, experiencing the eateries and hosting events or meetings at the function halls. Holiday Inn Jakarta Kemayoran is the ultimate choice for smart travellers searching for a fun-filled stay experience.


Delightful Stay – Four Points by Sheraton Bali, Kuta

Set to delight the island of Bali with honest and uncomplicated comfort, Four Points by Sheraton Bali, Kuta offers a resort-style holiday experience complete with the full range of signature urban comforts for which the brand is renowned.

Conveniently located in the heart of the island’s thriving Legian-Kuta neighbourhood, Four Points by Sheraton Bali, Kuta, features 185 contemporary guestrooms, all of which overlook the turquoise waters of the central Lagoon Pool or Junior Pool. Room categories range from a compact 28-square-metre Deluxe Room through to spacious 55-square-metre Suites, with interconnecting options that are perfect for families.

The striking interiors of the resort are the result of a collaboration with award-winning Moroccan interior designer and decorator Zohra Boukhari. Drawing inspiration from her native country and her experience throughout Asia, she has created a timeless ambience that pays homage to her roots as well as Balinese culture.

The signature all-day dining restaurant, The Eatery, boasts a wood-fired pizza oven for an authentic dining experience, while the lobby bar, Wrapped, is where you can find gelato, good coffee and wines. Enjoy cocktails and the poolside menu while catching the sunset at Vertigo rooftop pool and swim-up bar. The Best Brew highlights the brand’s signature Best Brews™ programme, showcasing the best regional craft beers on the island and BBQ programs.

Four Points by Sheraton Bali, Kuta features a large, well-equipped Kids Club and the supervised Junior Pool to complete the family-friendly experience. True to the Four Points brand’s promise of providing the essentials that matter most, the hotel features complimentary wireless internet access in all public spaces, daily bottled water, USB power port plugs and a signature breakfast with freshly brewed coffee.

New Urban Legian – Bali, Indonesia

Looking for a place to stay in Bali, look no other than The ONE Legian. We give you three reasons you should stay at The ONE Legian.

The ONE Legian, which previously operated under the name The 101 Bali Legian, is a four-star hotel and one- stop Kuta-Legian lifestyle experience in the island’s most dynamic district. The name ONE Legian represents a modern Bali village in the heart of Legian, where a dynamic modern lifestyle meets the Balinese Hindu philosophy Tri Hita Karana, or the “three causes of well-being,” which refers to harmonization with nature, people and god.

The ONE Legian is ideally located and offers supreme convenience for guests. The hotel is ideally situated in the midst of tourist attractions, restaurants, bars, shopping mall and souvenir shops, all of which are within easy walking distance. The ONE Legian is just 15 minutes from the world-famous Kuta Beach, and you can reach some of the island’s most popular shopping spots and nightlife destinations by foot.

For smart travellers, The ONE Legian is absolutely competitive in terms of rates, facilities and services. In total the hotel has 177 Superior Rooms and 124 Deluxe Rooms. All guest rooms provide standard facilities and amenities. The ONE Legian offers some of Bali’s best dining experiences at the al fresco De Basilico Kitchen and Bar, and The Deck.

Staff members always serve guests with the best of Balinese hospitality, greeting guests with warm and welcoming smiles from the moment they enter The ONE Legian. Every guest will feel at home and will want to extend their stay at this truly remarkable hotel.

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