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Hotels, Reviews

WORK, PLAY & STAY: BULLITT, BELFAST

December 14, 2016

On my latest trip to Belfast in Northern Ireland I had the pleasure of staying at the city’s newest hotel edition, BULLITT. This boutique hotel only open it’s doors a month ago and has been the talk of the city ever since. This establishment is owned by the same people as Northern Ireland’s famous luxury hotel, The Merchant so you can expect only the best service here – which is what I definitely received on my stay.

The Hotel Concept

Bullitt is focused on offering its guests an array of facilities to make use of in order to “Stay, Work & Play”. There is free wifi fitted throughout the hotel, three bars to enjoy, an espresso bar and superb restaurant. The hotel attracts a huge crowd at the weekend so if you’re looking for a city break with a place to stay that has an atmosphere Bullitt will not disappoint. The location of the hotel is also perfect for exploring the city center. It is positioned just meters away from Victoria Square where you can go shopping and try out the many restaurants and bars that Belfast has to offer.

The Room

There are 43 super-stylish rooms to settle into. I stayed in a “Comfy” room which is their medium sized room. I was really happy with it! It was spacious enough for two people and had all of the little extras you’d expect from a high end hotel – coffee & tea making area, hair dryer, plasma TV, air-conditioning and plenty of toiletries in the bathroom to add to your comfort. The hotel even offers free breakfast bags for their guests which are made up of a bottle of juice, a banana and a granola bar if you don’t have time to grab a proper breakfast during your stay!

The Restaurant

Dining at Taylor & Clay – Bullitt’s very own restaurant was one of the highlights of the stay. The restaurant prides itself on producing all of their dishes fresh from local produce, and the quality of the food is therefore excellent. Me and my guest enjoyed a selection of starters to share, steak for mains and two delicious desserts to finish off. I highly recommend ordering one of their grilled mains as the restaurant features a huge grill area in the kitchen that is visible to all diners allowing you to view the chef at work as they prepare your dishes.

Conclusion

Overall, Bullitt was my ideal hotel for a city break with friends. Within the heart of the bustling city, stylish rooms to get ready and relax in, and super popular bar and restaurant to start off your night in – what more could you ask for in terms of atmosphere and facilities! The staff are all extremely attentive and more than happy to help you out with anything you might need during your stay. I felt so welcome and at home within this boutique, gem of a hotel. I will definitely be staying again on my next visit!

For more information or reservations please visit their website below:

 www.BullittHotel.com

Hotels, London, Reviews, Travel, UK

AN URBAN ESCAPE: K WEST HOTEL & SPA, LONDON

July 31, 2016

Although I have lived in the UK all of my life I had never ever been to London – except on school trips when I was a child. So I was so excited to head down and see what all the fuss was about. I was invited to stay at K West Hotel & Spa for one night and this urban style hotel with an array of celebrity guests to its name was the perfect way to begin my three day trip.

The Hotel Concept

K West Hotel & Spa in 2014 was completely redesigned internally to reflect its musical ties with many rock ‘n’ roll superstars of the past such as David Bowie, The Kinks and also Bob Marley & the Wailers. Due to its proximity to music venues such as O2 Shepherds Bush Empire and the Apollo it continues to attract its celebrity guests – so make sure you keep your eye out when you stay here as you never know who you could bump into in the lobby or the lifts!

Also it is well worth mentioning that the hotel has an award winning spa located inside – it was awarded ‘Best Spa in London’ at the Good Spa Guide Awards 2015 and winner of a World Luxury Spa Award. There is a wide range of treatments available and the facilities include a hydrotherapy pool, sanarium, sauna, dry flotation tank, aromatic herbal steam room to name only a few!

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Location & Getting About 

The hotel is located in the west of London in a busy area called, Shepards Bush. It is within walking distance to notably popular areas such as Notting Hill, Portobello Road and Kensington. It is also right next to Westfield – one of Europe’s biggest shopping centres with over 240 shops! I arrived from St. Pancreas international train station and found it quite simple to jump straight on the tube from there all the way over to Shepards Bush. You will find the underground station which is closest to the hotel is via the Central line and from there it is a 3 minute walk to the hotel, which is so convenient when you have a heavy suitcase with you or if you want to go exploring the city.

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First Impressions

Upon arrival the door was opened for me and I was lead over to the check-in desk. The lobby area is a sleek white area that is connected to the bar which was full of hotel guests and business people holding meetings. There was definitely a vibrant atmosphere within the hotel and it seemed like there was so much going on. I was quickly checked-in and given a brief run through about the hotel’s facilities, asked if I needed help with my luggage and pointed in the direction of the lifts. The staff on reception were extremely helpful – I was expecting a delivery that afternoon and I also needed to change the time of my dinner reservation in which both tasks that were dealt with efficiently so I didn’t have to worry at all!

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The Executive Room

The room I was booked into was extremely spacious with a lounge area, work desk, huge king sized bed, coffee and tea making section and a small bathroom. The decor was a mixture of dark blues, purples and greys creating a modern, luxurious feel. I felt like I had my own office with the desk area which came complete with a hotel tablet that you could use to order room service, read about the facilities and various other helpful things.

In the lounge area there was artwork of the late David Bowie and a selection of magazines. I was also greeted by a bottle of ice cold champagne which was amazing! The room was well lit with natural light streaming in from the huge windows that spanned the length of the room and the bed was enormous. The bathroom was simple and clean, and the hotel also offers its guests “The White Company” toiletries that smell gorgeous. You don’t have to worry about calling reception for things such as hairdryers and ironing boards as the room comes fully equipped.

In the morning I was delivered my breakfast of scrambled eggs with salmon, a bowl of cereal and literally no end of pastries! Also included was a pot of tea, bottle of fruit juice and condiments. There was so much to eat! You could definitely feed two people with this breakfast – unless of course neither of you like pastries.

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The Restaurant 

As part of my stay I was invited to dine at the hotel’s restaurant – Studio Kitchen. The menu is inspired by New York style food such as burgers, mac’ n’ cheese but also available are European style dishes. The venue is ultra sleek – keeping up with the standards of the rest of the hotel decor, but  at the same time it is very casual. The restaurant is a place to come and relax if you’re on a business trip or have had a long day exploring the bustling city. Across the back of the restaurant is a long, wavy cushioned seating area with floating style lighting hanging from the ceiling creating a very artistic feel to the restaurant. Me and my guest enjoyed a wonderful three course meal with a bottle of red wine. I opted for the pork belly and my friend tried out the steak, and both were fantastic! I’d highly recommend the squid and bread board to start alongside a glass of wine.

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Final Thoughts

Overall, my stay at K West Hotel & Spa was an effortless retreat where I didn’t have to worry about anything at all. I had everything that I needed provided by the room and I felt like I was really looked after by the staff on hand. The modern, rock ‘n’ roll theme was refreshing and staying here makes you feel like you aren’t missing out on anything as there is such a “buzz” all around the hotel. It’s great for both business and leisure, and if it’s good enough for all the musicians it’s good enough for me. For more information or to make a reservation please head to their website.

www.k-west.co.uk

Dubai, Hotels, Reviews, UAE

A POLYNESIAN STAYCATION: SOFITEL THE PALM, DUBAI

July 6, 2016

After spending nearly two weeks back in what feels like my second home in Dubai I was so excited to be spending my last two days with Sofitel Luxury Hotels. After exploring the glittering city, shopping constantly and eating out at some of the most amazing restaurants in the world Sofitel’s incredible resort located on The Palm Jumeirah was the perfect way to end my trip. Here is my review of the hotel:

Location & Getting About

Located on the eastern crescent of The Palm Jumeirah Island it is around a 40 minute drive from the airport, 20 minutes drive from the Dubai Marina and 30 minute drive from Downtown Dubai. Upon check-in we were given a timetable of the hotel shuttle bus that operates to these areas and also to the main malls in the city. This service is great if you want to get out and about without the cost of taxis. However if you prefer to make your own way around the city at the front of the hotel you will find friendly hotel staff who are always on hand to wave over a taxi for you and get you on your way.

First Impressions

As soon as me and my guest stepped out of the taxi we were greeted with a very happy, “Bonjour!” from the staff who made sure our car door was opened and our luggage taken inside. The reception area was impressive with its marble flooring and high ceilings. Overall, the check-in process was smooth and hassle free – we arrived slightly earlier than expected and had a little wait for the room, but we were happy to be pointed to the restaurant by the pool for a quiet coffee whilst we waited.

The Room

I was booked into a Junior Suite at the resort and once I stepped inside it felt like I was inside an apartment. The entrance was mirrored and led straight into a lounge room complete with a working area, sofa and flat screen television. In here I also found a selection of fruit and a gift box of lovely decorated dates laid out on the table which I thought was extremely thoughtful of the hotel.

Through some sliding doors came the bedroom featuring a king-sized bed and another television. Both the bedroom and the lounge room had access via French doors to the huge balcony that overlooked the Arabian Gulf with seating areas where you could watch the sunset after a long day. However, what caught my eye the most was the gorgeous bath tub situated beside the bedroom!

The bathroom was extremely spacious and complimentary Elemis toiletries were provided which created that extra added touch of luxury to the suite. Other amenities included in the room was a wardrobe area, iron and ironing board, hairdryer and a coffee/tea making area.DSC_2675_1

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The Pool & Beach

After breakfast you could head down to either the main pool area or the Sofitel’s private beach. The beach area is a long stretch of white sand with hundreds of chairs lining the shore. The beach has amazing views of the Dubai Marina skyscrapers – a backdrop which you’ll want to photograph over and over again! The main pool area has a variety of seating options from right beside the pool in your own little exotic hut, to beds within the lush greenery or simply along the poolside. The pool is temperature controlled which is perfect for the intensely hot summer days and there is also a Jacuzzi area.

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Porterhouse Restaurant

During my short stay I was invited to dine at Porterhouse, the hotel’s steak house restaurant. The staff were extremely efficient and accommodating, and more so, the food was exceptional. Myself and my guest tried the Waygu rib-eye steak with several extras to compliment it and we were both very impressed. The manager even brought out special steak knives for us to eat our steaks with! The atmosphere is relaxed and the dim lighting makes it ideal for a couple’s romantic dinner.

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Final Thoughts

The Sofitel The Palm was a mini getaway that did not let me down. It is in every aspect a fantastic luxury resort that offers some of the best service in the city – all the way from the meet and greet staff, to the waiters/waitresses in the restaurants. The plush green surroundings make it seem like you are on a tropical island and the location is amazing for seeing Dubai from a different perspective which is away from the hustle and bustle, but still offers that “wow” factor that you come to this city for.

Sofitel delivered beyond my expectations and I would definitely stay here if I was to return to Dubai for a holiday. For more information and reservations please head to their website.

Hotels, Reviews, Singapore, Travel

MY WEEKEND STAY AT HOTEL YAN: SINGAPORE

April 20, 2016

Spending the weekend in one of my absolute favourite destinations in the world – Singapore – whilst making my way back over to Bali for the last leg of my year-long Southeast Asia adventure has been one of the highlights of my trip. My time was spent wining and dining at roof top bars, shopping on the gorgeous Orchard Road, taking panoramic pictures of the city’s skyline and relaxing after a long day (or should I say, long night) in what felt like a home away from home.

Hotel YAN was everything I needed and more. Here is my review of the hotel:

The Hotel Concept

The director was kind enough to give me a run-down of the hotel’s concept. The word YAN is translated from the Chinese language and means Swallow, the bird. The exterior design of the hotel mimics that of a birds nest and you will see all around the premises the hotel’s logo which is the feather. The decor can be described as industrial-chic, reminiscent of the steel industry that used to dominate the area in which the hotel is located called, Kampong Glam.

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Location & Getting About

After landing at Changi airport me and my boyfriend managed to catch a shuttle bus to the hotel which was a really convenient and cheap alternative to jumping in a taxi. We paid 9 SGD each and reached our hotel within around 30 minutes (after dropping off two passengers before us). The hotel is located in the “hipster” area of Kampong Glam which is a 15 minute drive into the city centre or if you prefer public transport you will find, just around the corner, Lavender MRT station which connects you to Singapore’s version of the subway.  The area itself has a variety of boutique cafes, restaurants and a shopping centre. It is alive with culture being home to Singapore’s old Malay royalty and neighbour to Little India.

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First Impressions 

As soon as we stepped out of the taxi two of the hotel’s friendly porters were there to take our luggage which met us at our room. When we walked into the reception area the decor captivated me and I also have to mention that it smelled so good! In fact each floor of the hotel has its own unique smell selected personally by the director.  Check-in was speedy and the receptionist was very attentive – anticipating my needs before I even needed to ask for anything.

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Deluxe King Bedroom

The room was cozy and featured a king sized bed with bright white bed sheets. To contrast, the room also boasted dark wood furniture and an interesting wall piece that could be used to store your small belongings on and also hang up your clothes. Just behind the bed was a long desk where you found the kettle along with tea and coffee, and the mini bar which was in fact free – another small thoughtful gesture.

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20160417_160924The bathroom was connected to the room, interestingly, by floor to ceiling glass panels which were fully exposed to the bedroom. However, you could cover the bathroom unit over with a curtain if you wanted more privacy. All toiletries such as shampoo, body lotion and hand soap were all organic.

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Everything in the room is branded with the feather logo and this attention to detail was very impressive, even the towel labels embodied this small logo. Overall, the room is fully equipped to tend to all of your needs – free bottled water, fast wifi, international TV and comfy slippers.

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Final Thoughts

Overall, Hotel YAN was perfect for a weekend away in the cosmopolitan city of Singapore.

20160416_181312The hotel, being only 4 and half months old, was already accommodating plenty of guests and the success of this boutique establishment, in my opinion, will only continue to grow over time. The director informed me that the restaurant called Nido (which translates to “Nest” to follow the hotel’s theme) would be open in just a few weeks and would offer the only service that was truly missing on my stay – food and beverage.

I would definitely recommend this hotel to my friends and family and would without a doubt return on my next visit. It is a hidden gem within a city that has so much to offer.

For more information: www.Hotel-Yan.com

 

Bars, Hotels, Nha Trang, Vietnam

A DAY OF LUXURY: SHERATON NHA TRANG HOTEL & SPA

April 13, 2016

The Start Of The Day

I was invited to experience the outstanding hospitality of the Sheraton whilst I was in Nha Trang, Vietnam and it did not disappoint. As soon as me and my boyfriend arrived at around 8am the staff were ready to escort us to the lift and whiz us straight up to their 28th floor restaurant and bar called Altitude. As soon as you walk out of the lift we were greeted by incredible views of the city and the ocean, and of course the staff, who were making us feel so welcome.

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Rise & Shine Breakfast

We enjoyed the launch of their breakfast menu, Rise & Shine at their super-cool rooftop venue. The theme was white and blue and huge cushy sofas were spread out along the entire room facing out towards the floor to ceiling windows where you could enjoy a coffee whilst watching the city come alive for the day. The venue then opened out onto an outdoor terrace fitted with high, comfortable table and chairs shaded by big blue umbrellas. However, we chose to sit slightly inside as it was far too hot to brave the sunshine so early in the day.

Breakfast offered free-flow coffee and tea and the food menu offered several options including Vietnamese noodle soup, Banh Mi (which is a Vietnamese style baguette), fruit platter or pastry basket. They also extend their menu to wide selection of fresh fruit juices, smoothies and a number of different types of coffees. I recommend trying the Vietnamese coffee, it’s kind of like an espresso but tastes almost like chocolate!

The price for one person is set at 150,000VND (£4.70) or for two people it is 200,000VND (£6.30). The staff members were so attentive throughout our breakfast and the food was wonderful. All in all it was a phenomenal way to begin the day.

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The Pool

With access to the hotel pool, I then spent the rest of the morning at their luxurious fresh water infinity pool which was, again, set against the backdrop of the stunning views of the ocean. It was such a relaxing place to be and we didn’t want to leave at all. Here in this part of the hotel you will find a complete wellness complex that includes facilities such as a luxury spa, huge gym, steam room and sauna rooms, and also Jacuzzis. They even have a beauty salon and cooking school, so it’s safe to say that there is enough going on at the Sheraton to keep you busy should you stay there!

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Sunset At Altitude

Later that evening we then returned to enjoy the sunset at happy hour at the same venue that we enjoyed our breakfast, Altitude. We ordered Pina Coladas and Strawberry Daiquiris which were superb! Sometimes in Vietnam you order a cocktail and it can be completely undrinkable, however the cocktails at the Sheraton were delicious and really generous in size which is always a great sign. At happy hour, between 4pm-7pm you can order a cocktail, beer or cider and you’ll get one for free. They also provide you with a little snack of homemade potato chips on the side which is a really lovely touch, again it is these little things that really reflect the quality of the venue.

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Conclusion

Overall, my experience of the Sheraton Nha Trang was simply wonderful. The staff are a credit to the hotel and the facilities are excellent. The combination of the views, the quality of the food and drink, and the luxurious environment set out by the Sheraton made for an unforgettable day.