Reviews

Geek stuff, Reviews

Review: Hotel Quickly

Last year, I received a message in LinkedIn. I hardly use that social network, so I was surprised to receive anything. Interestingly, it was from the developer of a new (then) last-minute booking app called Hotel Quickly. I was quite eager to try it out (and use the $50 credit they gave me), but unfortunately, back then, most of their properties were only in selected countries in Southeast Asia.


My Deluxe room at the Exchange Regency, booked and paid through Hotel Quickly

Their hotel inventory started growing eventually, and I was elated when they finally had hotels available in Australia right when I was visiting. However, it wasn’t meant to be, as whenever I am available to book for a hotel stay, there are no hotels available, and there are plenty whenever I am stuck at home.
read more

Manila, Philippines, Reviews

Wondering about Hotel 878

Living in the outskirts of Quezon City, I (now) find a lot of places too far or too inaccessible to me. Nowadays, I often just venture out to places I can easily go to.


Hotel 878 lobby

The same goes when I travel: I pick places that are either centrally located, near a transport hub (preferably a train station), or within easy access to the main purpose of my trip.
read more

China, Destination, Reviews

Finding tranquility in Shangri-La Hotel, Guangzhou

Guangzhou, I find, is just like any booming city — busy, fast-paced, and teeming with people. Though I like the comforts of city living, I do enjoy discovering little pockets of tranquil space where you can relax, recharge, and get ready to delve back into the chaos.

Shangri-La Hotel, Guangzhou
The lobby of Shangri-La Hotel, Guangzhou

Shangri-La Hotel in Guangzhou is one of those places for me. It’s not in the middle of the bustling city — it’s far enough to feel like you’re away from everything, yet accessible via the subway and the hotel shuttle that takes you to key destinations around the city.
read more

Australia, Reviews, Sydney

The wonder of Shangri-La Hotel, Sydney

Things sometimes just fall into place. When I was planning my trips for 2013, I envisioned myself in Melbourne in January, sweating profusely due to the summer heat and swatting flies with wild abandons, just so I can catch Cirque du Soleil’s Ovo. Something came up, and I needed to push it to May, but since my Australian tourist visa application took longer than expected, I ended up coming here mid-June.

Shangri-La Hotel, Sydney
One of the best things about Shangri-la are their personal welcome messages. Aside from this chocolate-y surprise and welcome note, there’s also a personal message on the TV sreen.

It was just as well, since I was able to catch some great exhibits at the National Gallery of Victoria, score some great deals at Kathmandu, and get the full Australian winter experience. Best of all, another e-mail came from Shangri-La while I was here. It was really lucky because they have a few properties in Australia, and since I was headed to Sydney to visit Khursten, they invited me to stay at the Shangri-La Hotel, Sydney.
read more

Manila, Philippines, Reviews

Capsule pods at Kabayan Hotel

Here’s something I never got to do while in Japan: stay in a capsule hotel. I am intrigued by the concept, but was dissuaded to try it when my friend Rotch said that it was geared towards short stays only — you need to check out and check in again if you’re staying multiple nights. So when I got an invite from Kabayan Hotel to try out their new capsule dorms, I jumped at the opportunity.

Kabayan Hotel Capsule Pods
Not as small as it looks!

read more

Preparation, Reviews

What’s in my bag?

After 6 or so What’s in my bag? posts, you’d think I won’t have space anymore in my bags. As the years pass, my travel style continues to change, and so does my packing style. There are new products to try and added to the list, and there are products that are taken out of the list. Here’s some more that made the cut.

iBattz Mojo Removable Power Card Wallet
This small device has enough power to fully charge my HTC Chacha or my iPod touch. Considering that using 3G and wi-fi can drain your gadgets faster, this is great to have around if you’re headed somewhere without electricity.

iBattz
Charging Chacha

read more

Philippines, Reviews

A different Coron experience at Coron Eco Lodge

My trip to Coron, Palawan last September was very different from the trip I made back in June 2008. That, for me, felt more like a backpacking trip, the trip this year feeling more like a holiday.

Coron Eco Lodge
School girls walking past Coron Eco Lodge on the way to school

Well, it was meant to be a holiday. It was a long weekend for me, and I was only too happy to enjoy what little holiday I get from work. It also helped a lot that Coron Eco Lodge arranged everything for me. When I got the invite to head back to Coron, I thanked my lucky stars, because I’d jump on any opportunity to go back to Palawan.
read more

Destination, Reviews, Singapore

Holiday mode at Shangri-La’s Rasa Sentosa

They said that when you want something and keep thinking about it, the universe gives you what you’re asking for. It was the fourth week of May, and I just realized just how big a commitment I signed on when I agreed to do PHL360°. I needed to take a break, at least for a while. Then came an e-mail bearing the best news.

Rasa Sentosa aerial shot
Aerial shot of Rasa Sentosa courtesy of the hotel

“Would you like to spend 4 days and 3 nights at any Shangri-La property around the world?” I’m paraphrasing, but basically, that was the content of the email. I was beside myself with joy, and I had to read the email several times, going through each word with care, to be certain that I did read it right the first time. I did, and I was now faced with a tough decision to make: which Shangri-La property?
read more