Sunday, July 22, 2012

Classy Barcelona, Spain Top Hotels

Classy Barcelona, Spain Top Hotels

In Barcelona the services offered by the hotels do not vary as per the standard of the hotel. Though, you won't get five star services in a one star hotel, but the service in one star hotel is also up to the mark. There are many middle budget hotels which will suit your budget as well as your comfort level. The middle ranger Barcelona Hotel gives excellent services and comfort.
One of the few hotels in Barcelona to suit the middle budget traveler is the hotel "Hostal Olivia". This Barcelona hotel has wonderful wrought iron stairway and captivating reliefs. Another such hotel is the "Hostal Gat Xino" having sparkling interiors and smooth and glossy furniture. 
When you search for middle range Barcelona Spain hotel you will find that "Hostal Goya" has class and elegant interiors together with matchless hospitality. In the same range Hostal Opera provides for all the modern services. Another notable Barcelona Spain hotel in the middle budget range is the Barcelona Center. It is a friendly hotel giving a warm welcome to all it guests. It has the advantage of offering many rooms with an exclusive balcony for you to enjoy the scenery. Peace and comfort are the keywords of the Hostal Orleans that is located in picturesque location.

You won't find only middle range hotels in Barcelona there are a number of classy hotels as well. Though they are a bit expensive, but they are a class above the rest of the hotels. One of such hotel is the Hotel Arts. It is a luxurious hotel having a restaurant with sumptuous cuisine. You can have some spectacular sight of the city and sea and is also offers an imperial spa treatment.

BARCELONA, Spain Picture #1

BARCELONA, Spain Picture #2

BARCELONA, Spain Picture #3; Casa BATOLLO

BARCELONA, Spain Picture #4

BARCELONA, Spain Picture #5; Torre AGBAR


Hilton Barcelona and Ritz Gran Via De Les Corts is essence of luxuriousness also offering comfort of distance between the hotels and Barcelona Spain Hotels. Hotel Omm is a jazzy hotel in Barcelona. There are comfortable balconies, muted lighting, charming lounges and cozy pools. This Barcelona Spain Hotel has simplicity with futuristic design. You will be impressed by the Casa Camper Barcelona hotel. It has a hammock experience with picturesque views, heavenly comforts and delicious meals. There are many other hotels in Barcelona like the Hotel Condes de Barcelona, Grand Marina Hotel, Hotel Majestic, Hotel Le Meriden, The Hotel Rey Juan Carlos I, and the Hotel Palace. There are many self-catering Barcelona apartments and the vacation rentals in Barcelona which offer comfortable stay. With such a wide choice available whatever type of Barcelona Spain hotel you are bound to have comfortable stay.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

The glamour of it all! New York! America!

New YORK known as the Big Apple
New York City,  is one of the most famous cities in the world. It manages to attract millions of visitors (in 2010, New York City received nearly 49 million tourists, subsequently surpassed by a record 50 million tourists in 2011) every year from all over the world. Bustling with activity and overflowing with character, visitors to New York City will discover remarkable and memorable locations sure to leave lasting impressions on them for years to come. Here follow five recommended attractions any first time visitor to New York City must take some time out to see . 
New York is a center for the television, advertising, music, newspaper, and book publishing industries and is also the largest media market in North America (followed by Los Angeles, Chicago, and Toronto). Some of the city's media conglomerates include Time Warner, the Thomson Reuters Corporation, the News Corporation, The New York Times Company, NBCUniversal, the Hearst Corporation, and Viacom. Seven of the world's top eight global advertising agency networks have their headquarters in New York. Two of the "Big Four" record labels' headquarters, are in New York City—Sony Music Entertainment and Warner Music Group. Universal Music Group and EMI also have major offices in New York. One-third of all American independent films are produced in New York.

New York City - 5 Must See Attractions:

Ground Zero -
The former site of the Famous twin towers, otherwise known as the World Trade Centre is now a busy 16 acre work site following the tragic events of September the 11th. The sheer size of the site gives an indication of the magnitude of the devastation caused on that fateful day. Previously occupied by the tallest towers in New York City, today it is flocked to by people from all over the world to pay their respects and see the site first hand. A memorial is now being built on the site which was chosen from over 5000 different designs. This is scheduled to be completed and opened to the public in the year 2009. A tribute centre is opposite the ground zero site and is a poignant reminder of the suffering caused to innocent civilians on that infamous day.
The Statue Of Liberty -
One of the most recognised monuments in the entire world, this iconic statue was a gift from France to commemorate the collaboration between the the United States and themselves during the American Revolution. It was officially offered on October 28th, 1886. Standing at a majestic height of 305 feet this structure was the first symbol immigrants laid their eyes upon when arriving at the famous Ellis Island. It is possible to take a guided tour within the statue and climb the 354 steps to the top of the crown from where breathtaking views of New York City Harbour can be observed. A ferry leaves to the statue from the harbour once every half an hour and is an interesting experience in itself. Access to the attraction is free however the cost of the ferry will set you back around $12.

The Empire State Building -
Arguably the most iconic skyscraper in the world, this gigantic building stands at an awesome height of 436 feet. Holding the title of being the tallest building in New York, it was constructed in a record time of 410 days, holding that record up to this day. The famous Skyscraper has been made famous in numerous Hollywood movies, most notably in the blockbuster King Kong, in which the giant ape climbs to the top and eventually falls off to his demise. Observation decks are situated on the 86th and 102nd Floors and allow tourist to take in the gigantic metropolis that is New York. Designed in the 1930's, it's fabulous art deco is meticulously preserved to this day.

Central Park -
A welcome sanctuary from the crowded and somewhat hectic pace of life synonymous with New York, this Park is a veritable haven for those looking for some peace and tranquility. Situated in Central Manhattan this area was opened in the year 1873 with great foresight in mind. Spread over a huge area of 840 acres it has numerous little attractions within its grounds including Tennis courts, Themed Gardens, a Zoo and serene lakes. Some parts of the park are bustling with activity, including people skating and jogging to others enjoying a game of baseball or throwing frisbee's. Other areas of the park are relatively quiet and one can take a relaxing stroll enjoying some welcome peace and quiet. In the winter period two ice rinks open up in the park including the famous Wollman Rink. Central park is one of the most beautiful parks in the world situated in one of the most famous cities on the planet.

The Museum of Modern Art -
Opened to the public in the year 1929, this museum holds the largest and most extensive collection of modern art in the whole of the United States of America. Numerous famous artists' work are on display within the building, including pieces by Picasso, Monet, Van Gogh and Matisse. Numerous other collections are available in the museum besides paintings, including photographs, ancient documents, numerous books and various sculptures. The Museum of Modern Art is primarily an educational institute which holds special programmes throughout the year for the general public as well as students. This museum remains a must see for those interested in the world of Modern Art.

"There is more sophistication and less sense in New York than anywhere else on the globe." - Don HEROLD

Colosseum, Rome,the Creator made Italy from designs by Michaelangelo.

"The Creator made Italy from designs by Michaelangelo." - Mark Twain

Colosseum, Rome

The Colosseum, or the Coliseum, originally the Flavian Amphitheatre (Latin: Amphitheatrum Flavium, Italian Anfiteatro Flavio or Colosseo), is an ellipticalamphitheatre in the centre of the city of Rome, Italy, the largest ever built in the Roman Empire. It is considered one of the greatest works of Roman architectureand Roman engineering.
Occupying a site just east of the Roman Forum, its construction started in 72 AD under the emperor Vespasian and was completed in 80 AD under Titus, with further modifications being made during Domitian's reign (81–96). The name "Amphitheatrum Flavium" derives from both Vespasian's and Titus's family name (Flavius, from the gens Flavia).
Capable of seating 50,000 spectators, the Colosseum was used for gladiatorial contests and public spectacles such as mock sea battles, animal hunts, executions, re-enactments of famous battles, and dramas based on Classical mythology. The building ceased to be used for entertainment in the early medievalera. It was later reused for such purposes as housing, workshops, quarters for a religious order, a fortress, a quarry, and a Christian shrine.
Although in the 21st century it stays partially ruined because of damage caused by devastating earthquakes and stone-robbers, the Colosseum is an iconicsymbol of Imperial Rome. It is one of Rome's most popular tourist attractions and still has close connections with the Roman Catholic Church, as each Good Friday the Pope leads a torchlit "Way of the Cross" procession that starts in the area around the Colosseum. The Colosseum is also depicted on the Italian version of the five-cent euro coin.


We did 3 tours with New Rome Free Tour. The first was the free walking tour with Vito. Vito was great, provided lots of interesting information and tips and definitely worth your 2.5 hours. The other two tours were a Food tour and Colosseum tour with Stefano. Stefano was such a fantastic guy, always pointing out facts to our 3 children and keeping them interested. LIke the others have commented, he was always cheerful, very obliging and professional. The highlight of our stay in Rome was definitely going to the Colosseum Underground and highest levels. It's unreal. Well worth the money to do a private tour.The Food tour was also great! Stefano introduced us to food typical to Rome and we enjoyed it. ALL the best to you, Stefano ! We had a great time!

List of tourist attractions in ROME

St Peter's Basilica - Found in the Vatican City, it is near where the Pope resides, and it is one of the most important centres for Christian pilgrimage, and is commonly regarded as the "home of the Roman Catholic Church", since it is where St Peter set up the first Christian Church.
Basilica of St John Lateran - The official ecclesiastical seat of the bishop of Rome (pope), its a major tourist attraction in the city, and Rome's cathedral.
Basilica di Santa Maria Maggiore - Another exceedingly important Roman Catholic church in the city, it is also one of the four basilicas of the city, a Marian church, and a papal church too.
Sant'Andrea della Valle - Located in the Sant'Eustachio rione of Rome, it is known for its ornate Baroque/Renaissance facade, and rich interior.

"You may have the universe if I may have Italy." - Giuseppe Verdi

Mystique PRAGUE, The "Paris" of the ’90s

Mystique PRAGUE
Prague has been a political, cultural, and economic centre of central Europe with waxing and waning fortunes during its 1,100-year existence. Founded during the Romanesque and flourishing by the Gothic and Renaissance eras, Prague was the seat of two Holy Roman Emperors and thus then also the capital of the Holy Roman Empire. It was an important city to the Habsburg Monarchy and its Austro-Hungarian Empire and after World War I became the capital of Czechoslovakia. The city played major roles in the Protestant Reformation, the Thirty Years' War, and in modern history generally as the principal conurbation in Bohemia and Moravia whose second city is Brno.

Mystique PRAGUE

Since the fall of the Iron Curtain, Prague has become one of the world's most popular tourist destinations. It is the sixth-most-visited European city after London, Paris, Rome, Madrid and Berlin. Prague suffered considerably less damage during World War II than some other major cities in the region, allowing most of its historic architecture to stay true to form. It contains one of the world's most pristine and varied collections of architecture, from Art Nouveau to Baroque,Renaissance, Cubist, Gothic, Neo-Classical and ultra-modern. Some popular sights include:
The picturesque Charles Bridge (Karlův Most)
Saint Nicholas Cathedral is the most beautiful Baroque building in Bohemia

Lake ORTA, an Authentic Italian Experience

Lake ORTA (Italian: Lago d’Orta) is a lake in northern Italy west of Lake Maggiore.
It has been so named since the 16th century, but was previously called the Lago di San Giulio, after Saint Julius (4th century), the patron saint of the region;Cusio is a merely poetical name. Its southern end is about 35 km by rail NW of Novara on the main Turin-Milan line, while its north end is about 6 km by rail south of the Gravellona-Toce railway station, half-way between Ornavasso and Omegna.
Its scenery is characteristically Italian, while the San Giulio island has some very picturesque buildings, and takes its name from the local saint, Julius of Novara, who lived in the 4th century.
Located around the lake are Orta San Giulio, built on a peninsula projecting from the east shore of the lake, Omegna at its northern extremity, Pettenasco to the east, and Pella to the west. It is supposed that the lake is the remnant of a much larger sheet of water by which originally the waters of the Toce flowed south towards Novara. As the glaciers retreated the waters flowing from them sank, and were gradually diverted into Lake Maggiore.

Lake ORTA, Piemont,Italy

Authentic Italian Experience
We spent the majority of our stay in Orta San Julio. The square is as you imagine a rustic Italian village to be. The square is at tourist prices but you can really soak up the atmoshere as you enjoy a beer at the Piccolo Bar. The island (on the lake) is well worth a visit via water taxi. But if you are a man in shorts or a woman with your legs exposed you won't be able to see inside the church, which is the main attraction. On the negative side, the Italian drivers leave a little to be desired but it is a small quibble in an otherwise brilliant experience

Club MED KANI Maldives

A place everyone must go once in a lifetime:

MALDIVES, Indian Ocean

Everyone would have read about the rave reviews of the beaches and the turquoise water. The beaches were decent, did not live up to the expectations. However, the water was clear and there were fish and sharks swimming near the restaurants at Club Med. Imagine eating your dinner with stingrays, small sharks and fish swimming near you. I stayed at the Beach Villa, paid a thousand Singapore dollars more for an upgrade. While the room was near the beach and slightly bigger than a superior room, I wouldn't recommend it. Either you take a superior room or take the lagoon suites. For a thousand dollars more, the size of the room and the proximity to the beach aren't worth paying for. The lagoon suites are two thousand dollars more (as compared to the superior rooms)but at least there is exclusivity and freeflow of champagne every evening. One thing you should note is that there isn't any conditioner in the bathroom. So if you are going there, please bring your own conditioner otherwise you'll pay through your nose at the Boutique. Despite this, my wife and myself enjoyed the trip because of the friendly GOs, namely Terence who works at the restaurant. At the second day morning he greeted us at the restaurant, chated with us and helped us to book the dinner at the other restaurant. In addition, he recommended we take the Blue Lagoon trip out. Thankfully we did, the Blue Lagoon trip included a visit to a village nearby. We saw village life and also bought some souvenirs there. Fridge magnets are US$3 at the village while it costs about US$10 at the Club. The trip included a vist to a small sand island in the middle of the ocean. Interesting thing was that there was an European couple, with a very nice setup for their romantic breakfast, then we came. You should be there to see the look on the European couple when we disembarked from the boat and went around them. While we sympathise with them, we had no choice as the GO said that any later, the water will cover the sand island. Went snorkeling around that area and also another area where we saw sea turtle and beautiful corals. When we were heading back to the resort, we spotted dolphins and the boatman was kind enough to go slow and allow the dolpins to swim alongside the boat. 
Back at the resort, we were impressed by the effort the GOs put in to beautify the place for dinner and even snacks. Credits to them. We tried sailing, kayaking, aqua-aerobics and went for a cooking lesson. We wanted to go for a massage lesson (1/2 hr) but was postponed on that day we wanted to go. Overall, we enjoyed the trip as lounging beside the beach and sipping cocktails and having fingerfood were something we don't really do back in Singapore. We were at Clubmed Bintan last year, the sun at Bintan was scorching but the sun at Maldives was warm. There were enough activities to keep us entertained, GOs who were friendly and good weather to keep us company. Once again, thanks to Terence (from Malaysia) who made the difference to our trip.

Club Med Kani was a STUNNING experience:
Paradise on earth! Every minute of our stay was special and unforgettable. We have never met such amazing staff. Kiki, Akram and all the snorkeling guides are excelent and professionals and gave us a great experience in this amazing island.I can truly recommend this club to everyone looking for special place on earth.


Club MED KANI, Maldives

This was my first Clubmed Holiday and all I can say is STUNNING!!!! From the moment we arrived at the island it was special. We stayed in the 5 Trident Luxury over water villas which a bit dated but still was great! Even though the 5 star does not equate to 5 star in South Africa - it was still amazing! You can never equate any price to the experience of sitting in your villa balcony sipping champagne and watching baby sharks and manta rays swim below you!!! The stunning turquoise waters and a sense of total bliss! It was paradise!!!
The service we received was exceptional all round! The GOs were fantastic! We made lots of friends! People were friendly! We had amazing weather even though we were told it was the monsoon season! Extremely hot and humid but no Rain! Yay for that!!
The food was divine! I especially loved the indian cuisine. There is never a shortage of food on the island! You have an early buffet breakfast, and if you miss that - there is a late alfresco breakfast at the second restaurant then snacks at various spots until lunch. Early lunch, then late lunch then snacks again until dinner. We ordered breakfast in most mornings. You can also order snacks to your room but you get billed for that.
We spent around $655 at the boutique. We bought quite a few T shirts for hubby and myself! (Okay mostly myself ;) and I got two stunning 100% silk handmade pareo wraps. Two bottles of Mosquito repellent (you definitely going to need this!!) and a few fridge magnets, under water camera, two fedoras, post cards, memorabilia gifts for family and friends! It is quite pricy!! And yes we did go a bit overboard!
Spa: $241 (MVR 3448)
The spa was total relaxation! We spent $215 for Head and Shoulder massage for hubby and a full body massage, reflexology pedicure and spa facial for myself! I thought it was money well spent considering I would spend an average of R1500 ($176) at a local spa! Hubby enjoyed the head massage so much that he dosed off! You cannot go to Kani and not have a balinese massage! You should definitely try that at least! I went back for a mini manicure and paint which was $26. The spa ladies are friendly especially Dani would do my treatments! 
Line Fishing: $175 (MVR 2500)
The line fishing was not too exciting! We basically paid $175 to watch the captain and his son fish for us! He also said that line fishing is only good at night! They managed to catch a few baby fish but I did not enjoy that much! Not worth the money spent!
Blue Lagoon: $255 (MVR 3600)
We did the Blue Lagoon excursion which was amazing! We did some snorkeling in the reef at a sand dune. I did not join the snorkeling in the ocean but they saw turtles and lots of amazing fish and coral! On our way back we saw Dolphins - so many of them - it was amazing! We also stopped by a local village for a quick tour! Did more shopping! Prices were MUCH cheaper than the boutique (obviously) and you could bargain! Loved it! Spent $15 for a hand crafted vase, two fridge magnets, 2 rolls of locally made coconut chocolate (they call it), an ankle bracelet made of coral, and a handmade manta ring! 
Jet Ski: $205 (MVR 2910)
Hubby did the jet ski trip into the ocean and around the reef! He loved it! I chickened out!! He said that it was the highlight of his trip! Totally amazing!!!
Romantic Dinner for two: $220 (MVR 3146)
On our last night we booked a romantic dinner for two in a secluded spot along the beach! We had two waiters wait on us the entire evening! It included a three course meal with lobster as the main course and a bottle of champagne! I really enjoyed the champagne - very similar to pongracz! The lobster was a bit disappointing but the experience was amazing! Service was excellent!! 
Entertainment on the island is excellent! They Go's put on great shows and join the party every night! They have great theme nights! (which we are not advised prior) So best to enquire before you go! Clubmed is a non stop party! Angie at the Iru bar made the most divine cocktails and made sure we always had a glass in hand! Mahid at the Manta lounge was very helpful as well! Showed us around and made us feel very comfortable! Excellent service from him and yes he kept the cocktails flowing!!! Beach Bar was also great! Sipping cocktails under the coconut tress - amazing! There are a few wifi spots available on the island! I did a bit of instagram now and then!! So you can still keep in touch with the outside world :)
We had so much of fun! Met the most amazing people! Totally worth the money spent!! Will definitely be back! If you are thinking of going to Kani - you will not be disappointed!!

Monday, July 16, 2012

Capri,an island in the Tyrrhenian Sea


Capri (/kəˈpr/; Italian pronunciation: [ˈkaːpri]) is an island in the Tyrrhenian Sea off the Sorrentine Peninsula, on the south side of the Gulf of Naples in the Campania region of Italy. The main town on the island shares the name. It has been a resort since the time of the Roman Republic.
Features of the island are the Marina Piccola (the little harbour), the Belvedere of Tragara (a high panoramic promenade lined with villas), the limestone crags called sea stacks that project above the sea (the Faraglioni), the town of Anacapri, the Blue Grotto (Grotta Azzurra), and the ruins of the Imperial Roman villas.
Capri is part of the region of Campania, Province of Naples. The town of Capri is the island's main population centre. The island has two harbours, Marina Piccola and Marina Grande (the main port of the island). The separate comune of Anacapri is located high on the hills to the west.
Capri is a tourist destination for both Italians and foreigners. In the 1950s Capri became a popular destination. In summer, the island is heavily visited by tourists, especially by day trippers from Naples and Sorrento.

Main Sights

Capri is served by ferry or hydrofoil from Naples, Sorrento, Positano or Amalfi as well as by boat services from the ports of the Bay of Naples and the Sorrentine Peninsula. Naples is served by two ports, Mergellina and Molo Beverello. Molo Beverello has a higher frequency of departures and a larger selection of boats than Mergellina.
From Naples, the ferry takes 80 minutes, and the hydrofoil 40 minutes. From Sorrento, the ferry takes about 40 minutes while the hydrofoil takes about 20 minutes.
Boats call at Marina Grande, from where a funicular goes up to Capri town. From Anacapri, a chair lift takes passengers to the top of the island.