How did people travel before the Internet? This question I guess would be too much to ponder about. Imagine trying to simply pick out a restaurant where you want to dine simply in random. Or booking for an airplane ticket without the assurance that you will be seated along the aisle. What about packing for your travel? Without the internet, how would you know what sets of clothes to pack when you would have no idea on the upcoming weather forecast in your travel destination? Pinoy travelers in the past (being from the tropics) I suppose suffered from hypothermia when they do travel at the northern and southern temperate zones of the planet.
Imagine going to a place that has long been written in your bucket list without a hotel accommodation reservation? How can a traveler budget a travel expense without the internet? Planning for a trip before the advent of an Internet would I guess been so difficult that you would rather stay home. It must have been some sort of a nightmare then.
Thanks to internet, travelling to a different country nowadays has been so easy. And thanks to internet, I found Ibis Styles Mexico Zona Rosa, the hotel where I stayed while I was in Mexico.
I initially found Ibis Styles Mexico Zona Rosa through AccorHotels.com since I am an Accor card holder. My membership gives me the privilege of being offered a discounted member’s rate. But I did not booked my stay in Ibis Style via this website because surprisingly Booking.com (which I am a member also) offers a much reasonable price inclusive of breakfast. I opted of course to the website that offers cheaper pricing. Who would not want a bargain?!
Ibis group of hotels has always been a reliable group of hotel brand that I have stayed at. Though it’s not grand nor luxurious, this hotel simply provides what I need in terms of facilities, services and security. Ibis Styles Mexico Zona Rosa is no different because I enjoyed my stay in this hip hotel. It is clean, quiet and comfortable.
Aside from being in such an excellent location in Zona Rosa area of the city, I particularly love the aesthetics of this hotel. It is young, it is vibrant, it is happy!
Without the internet, how in the world would I know and enjoyed staying this hotel? Thanks internet!
Nengkoy (my mother) is used to check-in a 5-star hotel or resort every time she goes on a domestic vacation. Because of budget constraints and weak Philippine peso, it is the downgraded to 4 or 3-star hotels during international travels. However, in Nengkoy’s recent international trip her accommodation experience was further downgraded from a hotel to a hostel!
I am the culprit. It is because I am the one who booked and reserved a tiny room for three at A Dot Homestay via Booking.com.
Upon clearance from the immigration and retrieval of our luggage at Taoyuan International Airport, I Nengkoy and my sister proceeded to the nearest airport transport service. We booked a return exclusive luxury car service that will drive us to our hostel and pick us up to bring us back to the airport on our last day’s stay. The driver was quite surprised upon finding out that we have to be dropped not to a luxurious hotel but instead to an ordinary building where our hostel was located.
Actually, upon alighting the luxurious car, I never noticed where A Dot Homestay was located for there was no signage. Upon noticing that I seem to look confused, the driver was kind enough to point to us the building and entrance gate were the address of our hostel was. Shockingly, there was no reception desk where to transact our check-in. Instead, we proceeded to the 5th floor of the building, were asked to take off our shoes and was led to a dining table where we settled our payment and where the crew issued us our electronic keys to our room.
Nengkoy and my sister then told me after we have settled inside our room that both of them were already contemplating of pushing me to transfer to a legit hotel. It was obviously their first time to be in such a type of a lodging. They were not used to a guesthouse without a front desk, a concierge and an elegant chandelier in a lobby.
I have no intention of under estimating this hostel. It is because I, my sister and Nengkoy were quite impressed by the facilities, cleanliness and offerings of A Dot Homestay. After our first night, we easily adjusted and came to appreciate this cozy and comfortable establishment.
A Dot Homestay basically grew in us. Maybe it is because it offers remarkable facilities (comfy bed with fresh and spotless linens, clean and big common/shared toilet & shower rooms, a free-to-use washer and dryer, very fast internet connection, hot, warm and cold drinking water, a fridge that all guests can use and even a kitchenette if guests wish to cook their food). They even offer us to eat and try the free snacks placed and made available at the main table.
But aside from all these pleasant and amazing features, there are two things that I like most about A Dot Homestay. First is the warm, gracious and well-mannered staffs. All their staffs whom I encountered can speak English (Sarah, one of the staffs, according to her actually studied English here in the Philippines for 3 months) and everybody were so genial and are so willing to assist so as to make sure that we enjoy our visit to Taipei. They can even give you tips on where to dine and where to go to.
Second is the location. A Dot Homestay is literally just a couple of steps away from Exit 3 of Daan Station. The nearness of the train station is one of my main considerations why I chose and booked A Dot Homestay. I know that Taipei weather is like Manila weather. It is hot, boiling and very humid. Thus, it would be too difficult to walk on the streets so as to reach the station if the hotel would be too far a distance. I was also glad to have chosen this lodging establishment because I am with Nengkoy and my often-complaining sister who hates to walk under a blistering climate. Thus, the location of A Dot Homestay is just perfection!
Thanks to A Dot Homestay! It is because this establishment made Nengkoy’s first hostel experience a very pleasant and remarkable one.
Oh and by the way, on our last day, it was a different driver who picked us up and drove us to the airport for us to catch our flight back to Manila. He was driving a Mercedes Benz. It was so noticeable that the driver was puzzled and bamboozled why we were not picked from a luxurious hotel but instead by the bustling Xinyi Road in front of an ordinary-looking building.
Costa Pacifica is a high end resort/hotel place in Baler, Aurora Province. If I am to describe this stunningly relaxing resort in one word, the word would be “imperfect”.
Though ranked as the number 1 resort in whole of Aurora province, the soft, fine and sandy beach offering of Costa Pacifica (which is literally few steps away) is not the soft white variety that you would typically find in a high end resort in the Philippines. But you will totally forget about the color of the sand as soon as you would see the awesome color of the sunrise, hear the calming sound of the beach and experience the exhilarating swells of its waves.
Though the very nice facilities and ambience of this resort can already be considered perfect, the reason for its imperfection is their overwhelming customer service flexibility. It’s more than perfect that is why I consider it ridiculously imperfect.
I know that check-in time for any resort or hotel is at 2:00 PM and request for early check-in would usually be granted starting at 10 in the morning depending on room availability. But what is insanely surprising is that we were granted a 6:00 AM early check-in even though we did not actually insisted or demanded for it.
Upon arriving in Baler super early in the morning, we went straight to this beautiful resort just to request on the possibility of our luggage to be kept in their storage area. And that we would just return at 2:00PM in time for our check-in. But surprisingly, we were already offered to check-in in our room right at that very moment!
To prove and push further their incredible customer service flexibility, they allowed us to avail our breakfast – which by the way was a delightful buffet – on the day we arrived. When in fact, the breakfast should only be availed the following day after we have spent overnight in that beautiful resort.
These two rare more-than-perfect experiences made me incredibly so impressed by the customer service orientation of the whole resort! It shut off my usual petulant morning crankiness making my whole throughout stay in Baler very pleasing and relaxing. I have been to lots of expensive hotels and resorts, but never was I granted this amazing level of generosity and flexibility.
“We stayed in an old Spanish-colonial house”. This is my usual response to a lot of friends who asked where did I and a couple of friends stayed when we were in Taal, Batangas. We actually stayed in Paradores Del Castillo, an old Spanish-Filipino house turned into a hotel.
For those who love the old world flavor with the illustrado-Spanish-Filipino touch, you will truly enjoy staying in this hotel. And true enough, as soon as I saw the façade and entered this old house, I immediately wanted take photos of the whole place. Every space, wall and décor seem to have rich characters. It would be one of those places that Ernest Hemmingway or Jose Rizal would approve of. It felt like I was in some old Filipino period movie produced by LVN or the Sampaguita pictures.
Here are a few photos of this beautiful and uniquely Filipino hotel.
With a rented car, I and my friends drove from Los Angeles to Las Vegas. Before we hit the big and lively sin city, we were welcomed by some pretty rainbow gifted to us by the large, dry, barren portion of Mojave Desert. It was a sign that something good is ahead of us.
While we were in Las Vegas, it is inevitable that I and my friends got to do a little casino sports. Though I did not hit the jackpot, what I particularly like about the casinos in Vegas are the free cocktail drinks that you can request from the dog-tired looking waitresses that goes around the casino grounds. It was raining margaritas when we were gaming!
But what I like most about Las Vegas are the cornucopia of architectural landmarks of the Strip. For me traversing the Las Vegas Strip is just but incredibly fantastic. It felt like the Strip was breathing and has a life of its own.
I would not want to go into other details of what I personally experienced in this sin city. I would like to join the bandwagon of people who profess that “what happened in Vegas stays in Vegas”. One thing is for sure this unaccounted event is comparable to hitting the Pai Gow Poker jackpot!
My tour and visit to Las Vegas was indeed a blessing beyond compare.
Aside from the complimentary overnight stay and numerous discounts to various products and services, one distinct advantage of being an Accor member, for me, is that it pressures me to use it. It compels me to book a room in one of their hotel chains located within Asia-Pacific otherwise my entitlement will be forfeited.
My being an Accor member gives me a reason to go on a holiday. This is of course aside from my needing to de-stress from a very demanding job and my passionate craving to see and experience other culture.
This year, I decided to use my Accor entitlement in Bangkok, Thailand. I stayed in Novotel located right at the vibrant city center and known as the laboratory site of modern Thai fashion, Siam Square.
Though Novotel Siam Square is not a new hotel, there is nothing shabby about it. I was surprised myself that I actually loved this place.
It has an excellent location where restaurants, major shopping malls and modes of transportation are all within short walking distance. The room with fast and efficient wifi facility was clean and was in good size. The bathroom was just how I liked it — clean, simple and functioning. The bed was so super comfy!!!
Though I did not dip into the pool it nevertheless looks relaxing and inviting.
The staffs were graciously amazing. I will go back and stay there again in a heartbeat if given the chance. Novotel Siam Square has definitely gives me the reason to renew my Accor membership next year.
It was one unforgettable pre-Christmas dinner as well as post-birthday celebration of my nephew Denden. I and my family were in Spirals, Sofitel Manila last night. Spirals is the country’s biggest and widest array of culinary delights with 21 interactive Ateliers.
For me the best features in the buffet were the mouthwatering Chinese Dimsum; a raw bar of sushi and sashimi; the wide array of artisanal cheeses (inside the much raved about cheese room); the juicy steaks at Churrasco; the paneers and tandoori; and, of course the unlimited Foie Gras.
Though this was not my first time to dine at Spirals I still get so overwhelmed, I failed to take photos of the buffet.
No wonder Spirals at Sofitel this year was chosen as the Best International Buffet by the prestigious Manila’s Best Kept Restaurant Secrets (MBKRS Awards).