Teşekkürler 

Thank you in Turkish. It was a wonderful visit – a good mix of relaxation and culture, the familiar and the new. I stayed for the first four nights at Six Senses Kaplankaya in the Bodrum peninsula. The hotel amenities are extensive and service was professional. There are four food outlets at the hotel serving International (Sage & Sea), Pan-Asian (Wild Thyme), Seafood Grill (Meze by the Sea), and modern Italian (Anhinga – which was the disappointment). There are also four beach areas that form part of the hotel complex. My last two nights were in Istanbul and I stayed…

Balesin Island

The next island escape on this trip is to Balesin Island, situated off the eastern coast of Luzon in the Philippines – only a short 25-minute flight from Manila. Also featuring white sands and clear blue water, Balesin is a 500-hectare island traditionally inhabited by fishermen and has been developed into a private member’s club. There is a wide variety of food outlets in the island serving Filipino, Chinese, Vietnamese, Italian, Thai, Greek and Spanish food. We stayed at a Regency Villa which had a wide array of amenities including a pool table, ping pong table, infinity pool, and direct…

Amanpulo

A brief 70-minute flight (or 360 kilometres south) from a hangar at Manila airport takes me to the Cuyo Archipelago of northern Palawan in the Philippines. My island escape is Pamlican Island, where Amanpulo is located. A private “peaceful island” with white powdery sands, crystal clear waters, and pristine reefs – this island is extremely tranquil and serene. There are three food outlets in the island. The Beach Club offers Mediterranean cuisine. The Lagoon Club offers Japanese food for dinner and outdoor oven-baked pizzas during lunch. The Clubhouse serves Filipino and Asian dishes. I found the Lagoon Club and Clubhouse…

La Dolce Vita

Mangia, Mangia! (Eat, Eat!) In Siena, I had a wonderful meal at Osteria Da Gano. Serving Tuscan dishes in a casual setting with friendly service. At the hotel I stayed at in the Chianti Region, they served outstanding meals for breakfast, lunch and dinner at their two food outlets – Pavilion and La Torre. La Torre is a Michelin-starred restaurant where both food and service was top notch. First stop in Florence was a cappuccino break at Gucci Giardino 25. Osteria Filetto d’Oro served traditional Tuscan dishes with attentive service. I had to return to Trattoria Sostanza for their famous…

Mahalo

“Thank you” (in Hawaiian) for the warm welcome to Hawaii! I had a truly unforgettable stay. In Honolulu, I stayed for two nights at Halepuna Waikiki by Halekulani. The hotel opened only in 2019 and is the sister hotel of Halekulani, which is located right across the street. The boutique style hotel has 288 rooms, which I did not find too overwhelming with lots of guests, as the other hotels in Waikiki. The hotel is a block from Waikiki Beach and also a block away from the main shopping street. I flew to the island of Lana’i to spend the…

Obrigado

Within the first few hours of my arrival, I was reminded of the friendliness and hospitality of the Portugese people. And this would be the case for my whole 10-day visit. Obrigado – Thank you! Upon arrival in Lisbon, I went straight to the Oriente train station to catch the high speed three hour Alfa Pendular train to Porto Campanha station. I only had one night to spend in Porto and I stayed at the Intercontinental Porto – Palacio das Cardosas. The hotel is well located (beside the famous São Bento Station) and service was very friendly and professional. An…

Chillax

Tofino is definitely a great place for a much needed “chill + relax”. From Vancouver Harbour, I took a one hour scenic seaplane flight to Tofino Harbour. Do note that the seaplane flights are very weather dependent (particularly fog), so be prepared to adjust your schedules. From the dock, it is a short 6 minute drive to The Wickannish Inn. Fondly called The Wick by locals, this Relais & Chateux hotel lives up to all the hype and accolades it has been getting. Located on a rocky edge at the northern cape of Chesterman Beach, the hotel is casually rustic…

Maʿal-salāmah مَع السَلامة

“With Peace” in Arabic and a formal expression of goodbye. I say goodbye – it has definitely been one incredible and breathtaking experience to visit Egypt. Manial Palace, a former royal residence. was built for Prince Mohammed Ali Tawfiq, a descendant of Egypt’s famed ruler Mohammed Ali, and the uncle of King Farouk. It was constructed between 1899 and 1929. During this trip, I stayed at the Four Seasons Hotel Cairo at The First Residence. Though the hotel (there are two Four Seasons Hotel in Cairo) may have been built nearly 20 years ago, it maintains a timeless appeal and…

Doviđenja, Montenegro

“Thank you, Montenegro“ Montenegro did not disappoint. It had a very scenic coastline studded with charming villages. More importantly, I was able to get my much needed R&R. The food on the coast of Montenegro is similar to Dalmatian cuisine – lots of grilled seafood, garlic, olive oil and Italian-style dishes. The restaurants below are notable not only for their food – but most also provided great scenery to go with your meals. My first hotel stay was in the town of Perast at the Iberostar Heritage Grand Perast. Originally built in the 18th century as the largest palace in…

Vielen Dank, Wien

“Thank you very much, Vienna“ It was a short visit, but sweet, as they say, to what many refer to as “The City of Dreams” (because it was home to the world’s first psycho-analyst Sigmund Freud). There is no shortage of excellent eateries and coffee houses in Vienna. Cafe Museum is a traditional Viennese cafe that opened in 1899 and designed by the famous Adolf Loos. It is also here that the famous Thonet chairs can be found. Erich was named the best restaurant in Vienna by Time Out Magazine. Located in a subterranean bar-restaurant, they serve breakfast, lunch and…