Travel Design Tips & Inspiration

Chiang Mai Dreaming

Asia, Travel Tips

Apr
15
2011

April 9th 2011

Chiang Mai, Thailand

The Four Seasons Chiang Mai - Wowzas

The Four Seasons Chiang Mai - Wowzas

I have been dreaming of visiting the Four Seasons Chiang Mai ever since I first came upon it doing hotel research for a story ages ago. Its signature landscape, treetop-style bungalow-meets-pagoda design and just overall exoticness has stayed with me over many subsequent years of hotel research.  Thus, when the opportunity to actually visit presented itself, I leapt, literally, off the ground, in sheer glee.

The restaurant's deck, the gym below and one of the property's residential villas in the far background all overlooking the center rice paddies

The restaurant's deck, the gym below and one of the property's residential villas in the far background all overlooking the center rice paddies

I have had many friends and family visit the property since my interest had been peaked and I peppered them with Viagra Online questions upon their return. One might dare call it an obsession. Each person I asked said the same thing, “It’s incredible”. Of course, they often had varying elements that stood out based on their individual interests, but everyone, EVERYONE, commented on the beauty of the scenery.  A pronounce aesthete, I was smitten and even staring at the photos above, having taken them myself, I’m still, just as smitten.

The afternoon I arrived

The evening torches

I arrived late afternoon and was greeted with a soft, darkening dusk light that made the property even more alluring upon first sight. Then, as I was changing and readying myself for the evening, the staff had lit torches throughout the property’s marshy land, ensuring my obsession was justified all along.

MORE TO COME

Posted in: Asia, Travel Tips

Published by Meg, Friday, April 15, 2011 No Comments

Singapore Sling

Asia, Travel Tips

Apr
10
2011

April 9, 2011

Singapore

One of the few ships in the harbor that isn't a massive tanker
The skyline view from the Marina Bay Sands Hotel in Singapore

The skyline view from the Marina Bay Sands Hotel in Singapore

I just spent 24 hours in Singapore visiting my brother Bud. Although it was a blink of a visit, I was still able to draw a positive impression of the city. (A rarity, since most of my snap judgements lean toward the less-than-impressed). With Singapore, I liked the city right off the bat.  However, this may have a lot to do with the drive from the airport, which showcases some of the loveliest highway gardening I have ever seen.

View from my taxi ride to the airport. Those are massive hedges of bougainveilia

View from my taxi ride to the airport. Those are massive hedges of Bouganveilia in the center median

As my brother continuously remarked throughout his tour, “Can you believe we’re actually on the equator and they’ve built this city in the middle of the jungle?”   Indeed, it is rather amazing that the city lies amidst natural jungle,  yet, somehow, with all its building, soaring towers and insistent demeanor, it reminded me of Dubai. Albeit, greener.  Seriously, they have plants growing OUT of trees. It’s wild!

Photo credit Tenacious Phenmonkey

Photo credit Tenacious Phenmonkey

The purposeful vibe to the city is evident. Whether it be the  Singaporeans’ concerted effort of keeping their jungle landscape at bay (highway signs caution drivers of ‘pruning work’ just as other country highway signs warn of approaching road work) or  plus the widespread construction of new luxury apartment buildings, offices and casinos, the impression of a booming metropolis is hard to miss.

The first skyline glimpses as you cross the bridge into downtown - A ferris wheel (requisite of any major metropolis these days) and the newly iconic Marina Bay Sands Hotel

The first skyline glimpses as you cross the bridge into downtown - A ferris wheel (requisite of any major city these days) and the newly iconic Marina Bay Sands Hotel

Our first stop that evening was to the highly lauded Marina Bay Sands Hotel’s Rooftop Bar. I had seen the pictures, the covers of magazines, depicting the mile-high infinity pool and its epic view of the city. Alas, our night was dampened (bah-dum-dum) by a severe thunderstorm, but luckily clearing in time for us to still enjoy a drink on the deck provided we dodged the waterfalls pouring off the bar roof.

The pool view at Marina Bay Sands

The pool view at Marina Bay Sands

I was amazed to see that the pool was heavily used, no matter the hour. At 80+ people Cialis Online were swimming during our cocktails, enjoying the magnificent vista and then climbing back on top of their day beds to take another sip of their very pricey cocktail.
Dylan, Me and Bud Documenting the Visit

The night continued onto a Japanese spot for dinner where the appetizers were quite tasty, we grilled our own food hibachi style and made our way through the most massive bottle of Sake I’ve ever spied. It was fun and the company was great, but, the bathrooms left much to be desired. So, it shall remain nameless.From there we moved onto another rooftop bar on Club Street called The Screening Room where we made it to Last Call. Impressive for the lady-on-no-sleep. Again, I chalk it up to great company. Thanks Bud!

The next day I made sure to tick off another must-do-when-in-Singapore, we brunched at the historic, Raffles Hotel.

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The exterior of the Raffles Hotel

Ever since I decided to book my ticket to Thailand via Singapore I was set on visiting this lauded property. Even from my very limited perspective and sighting of Singapore, I am confident in calling it the most attractive example of colonialist presence in the city.

Everything from the vaulted interior ceilings, the portico arches with the plantation style wicker furnishings and the polished mahogany interiors suggest a colonial presence.

I will say, however, that because I wasn’t a guest (resident) at the property and they no doubt receive their fair share of daily gawkers, they were a bit off-standish to my questions about the property. And then, they were downright difficult about helping me find a spot to stow my bags while we dined.

Nevertheless, the property was alluring in its colonial design, shaded porch areas and evident timelessness. I was happy to have visited, and particularly pleased to have sampled the epicurean delights found during brunch. I was told that it was a must-do, and I have to agree. I do believe I gorged myself beyond comprehension. Yet, I still came away without a stomach ache. Now, that’s the mark of a quality dining experience.

The area of the massive buffet I spent the most time in

The Bread selection alone was five feet long.

My brother and I at Brunch before the crowds swelled in

Bud and I at Brunch before the rest of the guests. The place was packed by the time we left with a line outside the door. (Yes, take note of my heaping plate.)

Posted in: Asia, Travel Tips

Published by Meg, Sunday, April 10, 2011 No Comments

MUAY THAI BOXING

Asia

Sep
21
2009

BANGKOK

September 19th, 2009

Another stellar suggestion from Maria, the MUAY THAI BOXING is a must-do when visiting Bangkok. Be sure to go to the fights at Lumpini Stadium and sit up front (VIP) for all the action – including the splatters of blood and sweat.  Be sure to check the listings for which nights have fights but I recommend going to the late night ones that begin at 8:30pm after dinner and indulging in a raucous, beer-fest entertainment of high-level kickboxing.

The ring where it all goes down

The ring where it all goes down

The bleachers in the back are reserved for betting and would be fun to engage but a commanding knowledge of Thai seems to be necessary. Another fascinating facet is watching the fans or family of the fighters – especially the younger ones – shouting their encouragement in shrill tones after each and every move. Oh and be sure to hit the shop outside and pick up your very own pair of Muay Thai shorts – they make great casual ware, if not a colorful statement to the everyday gym short.

DSCN4713

Round House in motion

Round House in motion. Also - please note the sign on the ring. So much for the halftime show

The fighters seemed to get older with each round but I doubt they ever exceeded 145 lbs

The fighters seemed to get older with each round but I doubt they ever exceeded 145 lbs

This girl was screaming her head off - no, seriously. I have video and will figure out how to post it to this image asap

This girl was screaming her head off - no, seriously. I have video and will figure out how to post it to this image asap

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Posted in: Asia

Published by Meg, Monday, September 21, 2009 No Comments

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About Meg

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Meg is the founder of luxury travel consulting company, Friend of a Friend Consulting. Her three books, Italian Hideaways, Caribbean Hideaways and England's Hideaways are published by Rizzoli. Passionate about travel, hotels and wine, she continues to write freelance travel pieces and is currently pursuing a Masters in Wine through the WSET.

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The opinions expressed on this blog are solely my own and do not reflect separate business relationships with the subject. Whenever posts are supported financially, they are designated as such.