Category Archives: Lifestyle & Health

A Year Older, a Year Wiser

 

Jiyugaoka Matcha Cake

If only all matcha cakes were made this good.

 

I don’t know the best way to put this but I’m officially 30! What started as something that had never crossed my mind – a future so distant I could only dream it – became a reality that hit me quite hard. To put it simply, I didn’t take it very well the night before the sun was set to rise again. As I lay in bed, tears welled up in my eyes while I pondered upon what this new decade would mean to me, horrified at the prospect of possibly turning into a soccer mum.

 

OK, I might be exaggerating a little. But turning the big three-o did make me reflect upon my life and where it seemed to be headed. I mean, I’ve now ventured irreversibly into the big unknown and that is pretty scary. If I could relive my last 30 years, I’m not sure what I would do differently, or if I would even have the chance to.

 

As the night wore on, a story I once read came to my mind, one about the biggest regrets of the dying elderly. I didn’t know what my biggest regret was that night, because all of those seniors did teach me after all to live my life to the fullest and spend time with loved ones. But it struck me one day later that if I were to have any regrets at this point in my life, it would be that there are only 24 hours in a day and that I can only do so much.

 

30 is still a young age, and the next 10 years are going to be the prime of my life. And a part of me looks forward to finding out how my life is going to change (and be more awesome, obviously). But a part of me knows that having my cake and eating it is going to be a struggle.

 

There are people who don’t believe that you can have it all in your life. But I honestly beg to differ. Life is what you make it out to be but you need to let that sink in and digest it before you can truly understand what that means. There are tons of things I want to do and achieve, and many people I want to hold on to as a facet of my however transient life. But that’s the thing, the crux of it all – that I only have one life. And so, I need to be selective.

 
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Resort Love: Ayodya Resort Bali

 

Ayodya Resort Bali Review

 

Have you ever stayed in a resort so good that you just don’t know where to begin to describe it to people? That’s the fix I’m in right now. Granted, I’ve not stayed in many five star hotels but Ayodya Resort Bali was such a great experience that I wouldn’t hesitate to stay here again the next time I’m in Bali.

 

This resort is currently ranked #14 out of 46 hotels in Nusa Dua on Tripadvisor. It doesn’t currently have a Certificate of Excellence by the travel site but I wouldn’t be surprised if it earns one soon enough. We booked a deluxe room via Booking.com, but the staff there made our stay even better when they gave us a free upgrade to a suite for our entire stay.

 

Location

Ayodya Resort Bali Review

A volcano in the near distance, the gorgeous beach, an overly friendly squirrel and just so much space.

 

The resort is located in south Kuta and faces the east. It’s great for catching the sunrise, though you won’t be the only one doing that. It’s address is Jalan Pantai Mengiat | PO Box 46Nusa Dua, Bali 80363, Indonesia (click on the link to see it on Google Maps). Getting there is pretty convenient – just take a plane to the airport in Denpasar and then hail a cab to take you directly to the resort. 

 

If you ever find yourself wanting a unique experience, I highly recommend the Turtle Conservation and Education Centre (it’s just a short drive away). That’s where we adopted a one-month-old baby turtle, named her Lily and watched as she swam away into the ocean when we released her into her real home.

 

Baby Turtle

This is not Lily, but a barely one-day old baby turtle that had just hatched in the morning before we got to the centre. This little one and I, we definitely had a moment there.

 

{I do know that the survival rate of turtles is pretty low, and that Lily may not still be alive today, but that’s nature. I do not believe that this centre is a scam or anything of the sort because they take very good care of all the turtles they have. The centre actively seeks to protect any wild ones that have strayed onto shore (especially if they’re injured from human trash), keeping them safe and in good hands until they are ready to be released again. The centre is run by volunteers who are passionate about what they do and who make sure to explain anything you want to know about turtles and the exploitation of these beautiful creatures. It’s free entry for everyone and any amount that you spend in the centre goes into the conservation work that they do there.}

 

Room

Ayodya Resort Bali Review

The wonderful suite we got upgraded to.

 

Our suite was nothing short of amazing. It had a guest restroom; a living area with a dining table (perfect for in-room dining), a work desk, a TV and sofa; a separate bedroom with another TV and dresser; a gorgeous bathroom with a separate shower and tub; and a balcony that stretches for the entire length of the room.

 

Ayodya Resort Bali Review

The spacious bathroom that’s got more than enough space for two people.

 

Say, I don’t think I’ve ever stayed at a hotel that’s got a bottle opener inbuilt onto the walls of its bathroom – until now. If this isn’t luxury, I don’t know what is anymore. One thing though, the toilet bowls do get flooded or stuck from time to time but it’s a good thing there are two.

 

Service - the Ayodya Palace

The service is pretty decent. The staff is friendly and polite all the time, and nobody starts giving you looks when you, say, go for your third round of free crêpes during cocktail hour. The suites are located in the Ayodya Palace, where Palace guests have our own pool and beach chillout area, complete with beach towels and lounge chairs. Palace guests can check in and out at the Palace lounge, and there are also books and DVDs to rent if you just want to spend time in your room. To make things better, you also get free daily breakfast, free high tea in the afternoon and as I mentioned, there’s free cocktail in the evening too.

 

Overall & Price

The resort isn’t anything too expensive for a five-star accommodation (I wouldn’t otherwise have booked a room there). Although there are reviews by a handful of previous guests that there are better accommodation options out there in Nusa Dua, I find Ayodya Resort Bali to be pretty indulgent in its own way.

 

The beach is peaceful but not completely quiet because you’ll hear the waves crashing some hundred metres away – and they don’t stop. There is a tide that comes and goes, and for the more adventurous, you can try windsurfing in the late afternoon. Although the sand on the beach isn’t white as snow, it’s after all still a private beach, which spans a large area. That’s only because the resort itself is huge. It’s so huge that you need to take some time to explore it. There are several pools, as well as a lagoon with some wildlife living in it. Scattered around are other lounge areas, restaurants, bars, pool tables and more. And did I mention the squirrels that would take food out of your own hand? OK I admit, I couldn’t resist saving a bun at breakfast each day for these furry creatures.

 

Ayodya Resort Bali Review

The resort’s iconic infinity pool.

 

If you’re looking for some water activities, there is also a water sport station at one end of the resort. And if you would like someone to look after your child while you relax for a bit, there’s even a childcare corner with fun stuff for your kid to do or beds for your little one to nap in. In short, there is something for everybody.

 

I definitely recommend this resort for its value for money, the facilities and the endless number of things you can do while you’re there.

 

Spirited away,

Roxanne

Review: Sai Kaew Beach Resort

 

Sai Kaew Beach Resort Review

With a gorgeous view of the beach like this, you’d want to visit more often than you can.

 

I’m a beach babe through and through. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying I’ve got a supermodel-esque body. I just mean I love the beach and everything that’s got to do with it. The fine sand, the water, the breeze – and how it’s the one place where earth, water and sky meet.

 

We travelled recently to Ko Samet, Thailand and stayed at Sai Kaew Beach Resort. This resort currently ranks #8 of 20 hotels in Ko Samet on TripAdvisor and has a Certificate of Excellence. We booked a Double Premier Seaside room for 2 nights via Hotelopia and had no problems with our reservation.

 

Location

 
Sai Kaew Beach Resort Review

Such a gorgeous beach. Ko Samet, everybody.

 

Sai Kaew Beach Resort Review

If you get a room that’s at the front-most of the resort (nearest to the beach), it comes with comfy chairs that let you overlook the beach down below.

 

The resort is located in the north of Ko Samet and faces southeast, in case you were thinking of either catching the sunrise or sunset. It’s right on the beach and has its own private beach for its guests. It’s address is 8/1 Moo 4 | Phe, Mueang RayongKo Samet 21160, Thailand (click on the link to see it on Google maps). If you don’t catch the ferry from Ban Phe pier to get to the island, you can get a speedboat that costs a little more and it will take you right to the beach of the resort. Of course, this means you’ll be getting your legs wet as the boat can only take you so near to the land.

 

Room

 
Sai Kaew Beach Resort Review

Snaps of our Double Premier Seaside room.

 

Our room was very spacious for the price we paid. There was so much room to move about even after placing our baggage wide open beside the bed. We didn’t even make use of the balcony, which could fit 6 people nicely if some wouldn’t mind sitting on the floor. I love how the floor-to-ceiling sliding doors allow sunlight through, so the room is bright in the day. Everything was clean and tidy when we got there.

 

Sai Kaew Beach Resort Review

So much space. Our large baggage is between the bed and bathroom (you can’t see it here).

 

Sai Kaew Beach Resort Review

The bathroom.

 

Even the bathroom was huge. Right there in the shower area, you can fit 3 people and still have space to move around (not that we tried). You could probably slow dance as a couple in there too (we didn’t try this either). There are also 4 towels provided by the resort – 2 blue ones for the beach and 2 white ones for the bathroom. The only gripe I have with this room is the shower, which alternates on its own between hot and cold water when all you want is something warm.

 

Service

 

The service met our expectations. Room service came in an appropriate amount of time and everyone was very pleasant. We realised that our electrical plugs didn’t match the ones in the wall, and tried our luck by asking the receptionist for an international adapter. Again, they had what we needed, which as great. The staff also understood English well, a feature which I have found to be lacking in some other establishments in Asia. Actually, now that I think about it, this doesn’t happen only in Asia but that will be another review for another day.

 

Overall & Price

 

Sai Kaew Beach Resort Review

Some words to live by.

 

Sai Kaew Beach Resort Review

Like my outfit? See it in detail in my blog post here.

 

Sai Kaew Beach Resort Review

Oooh oooh, throw your hands in the air. Oooh oooh, like you just don’t care.

 

The resort itself is excellent in terms of price, value for money, service and location. The beach can be filled with activities, as many visitors to the other parts of the beach try their hands at water sports, so if you are looking for a quiet time, you might prefer lounging by the pool instead. There’s enough greenery around the resort but what strikes me most are how near it is to the beach and the amount of space you get. Even the restaurant that serves the daily buffet breakfast has such a high ceiling, you just feel like you’re getting the amount of oxygen you rightfully deserve.

 

Sai Kaew Beach Resort Review

The restaurant of the resort, and a part of it that’s closer to the beach.

 

We paid about S$530 for the two nights we were there, which included breakfast and free wifi. Based on our experience at Sai Kaew Resort, I definitely recommend this resort to anyone looking to visit Ko Samet.

 

 

Travel far and wide,

Roxanne

To the Skinny Girl (Who is Actually Healthy)

 

To The Skinny Babe

 

Dear Skinny Babe,

 

Yes, you deserve to also be called a babe. Because, why not?

 

I totally get you. I mean, I’ve always been kind of the same. I’ve been skinny my whole life, just like you. I never seem to be able to put on weight like the others, just like you. And I totally get how you feel cold seemingly all the time. And if you have a high metabolic rate, I also get how you feel hot and bothered all the time – like how you need to take that scarf off even though it’s minus 20 degrees outside.

 

I know how horrible it is for you, when others talk about having gained that extra pound – and how they should go about losing it – while you sit there and try to be inconspicuous. I know how annoying it is deep down for you, that you have to try and be sensitive when the topic about physical appearance comes up, but yet others don’t seem to think about how you’d feel when they comment on how skinny you are.

 

I know how you hurt when people make skinny jokes about you. As if fat jokes were funny too. I know that you feel victimised when you’re called names like Bamboo or Skeleton, or when you’re being told to eat more, as if you don’t already eat. Guess what, your eating pattern and diet are no business of others, so just take their words with a pinch of salt. What do they know?

 

I know the secrets you hold, for I hold them too. I know that your bra size doesn’t change much from high school to university. I know your tummy “deflates” after a trip to the loo and I know you actually do feel emptier after it. I know how having skinny legs makes your feet look long and big. I know you can’t donate blood because you’re too light. I know your tailbone hurts after you’ve sat down for too long on a hard stool. I know you’ve at least thought about trying out protein shakes to bulk up, so that you can be “normal sized.” I know you get cravings, just like everybody else, and you also secretly love it that you can satisfy those cravings whenever you want to. I know you don’t really weigh yourself every other night because either there wouldn’t be much of a change, or it doesn’t really matter to you if there were. And if you are the type that gets hungry every 3 hours, I know how frustrating it is to see all your money fly away on food.

 

I know how silenced you feel. I know that even though you aren’t cover page-perfect, you are confident about the way you look. I know you like sports and exercise but find it hard to talk about it, because people don’t seem to want to hear form you. And I know how bad it is you wish the world knew that you were just being confident about yourself and not showing off to tell others they should look the way you do, nor indirectly telling them that you look better than them. Because for some weird reason, everyone seems to think that way about you.

 

And I know that right now, more than ever, you feel all of those things above.

 

So this letter is written to you, for you. To let you know that the life-loving, free-spirited you are not alone. To let you know that there is at least one person out there who understands you. To let you know that while you gorge on your potato salad, there is at least another skinny babe somewhere out there also chowing down on hers. To let you know that it is perfectly all right for skinny babes to inherently love salads. To let you know that it isn’t you who needs to change, but that people just need to feel more secure of themselves with you around.

 

You are gorgeous the way you are. Now stay true to yourself – your confident, passionate self.

 

Love,

Roxanne

 

Image credit: Pull and Bear

Vietnam Tripping: Cruising in Crochet

 


Vero Moda Crochet Dress
 

Vero Moda Crochet Dress

 

Vero Moda Crochet Dress

 

Vero Moda Crochet Dress

 

Vero Moda Crochet Dress


 

Dress: Vero Moda

Earrings: JL Heart

Photographer: Mr. Ratatouille

 

The best part about being on a cruise is that you’re far away from the crowds. What’s even better is when your ship only has a handful of people on board, so you feel like it’s peace on earth.

 

We had a fun time to ourselves on the deck of our cruise ship that day. Destination: Halong Bay, Vietnam. Time: Shortly after sunrise. Feeling: Relaxed.

 
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Vietnam Tripping: Oriental Central Hotel Review

This was the third hotel we stayed at in Hanoi for our recent trip to northern Vietnam. I previously reviewed the first two hotels we picked. You can read about Hanoi Pearl Hotel here and Golden Sun Suites Hotel here.

 

Oriental Central Hotel Review

 

Oriental Central Hotel is located north of Hoan Kiem Lake in Hanoi, and is ranked on Tripadvisor as #2 of 521 hotels in Hanoi. It is also a recipient of the 2015 Travellers’ Choice Award for its service – and very rightfully so. We booked this hotel via Agoda and had no problems checking in.

 

Location

 

The hotel can be found at No. 39 Hang Bac Str, Old Quarter | Hoan Kiem, Hanoi 10000, Vietnam. It’s right smack in the center of the Old Quarter of Hanoi, is 100m away from the renowned coffee street and also close to the night market, which is open on weekends.

 

Room

 

We’d booked a superior double room, which was located on the 7th floor of the building. The corridors are pretty narrow – which seems to be a common feature of hotels in Hanoi – but definitely wide enough to fit our bulky luggage.

 

Oriental Central Hotel Review

Large comfy bed and pink rose petals.

 

Oriental Central Hotel Review

So intricately placed.

 

Oriental Central Hotel Review

Little lantern we didn’t use, but which added to the atmosphere in the room.

 

Oriental Central Hotel Review

Complimentary fruits, snacks, coffee and tea. It came with some utensils, which were definitely helpful.

 

Oriental Central Hotel Review

Gorgeous, gorgeous bathroom.

 

Oriental Central Hotel Review

It’s quite hard to beat a good brass rain shower.

 

Our room was a good size for two people and the interior of the bathroom was such a gem. A brass rain shower and china-esque basin are all you need to make a tiny space look luxurious. Everything was clean and neat, and the little notice on the vanity counter informed us that if we had wanted our sheets changed, all we needed to do was to place the rose on the bed. Now we know why Vietnamese hotel rooms have single stalks of roses in them!

 

Service

 

The service was excellent, if anything. The moment we arrived, there were the usual greetings and an invitation to take a seat in the lobby’s waiting area. While we waited as one of the receptionists checked us in, we were provided with drinks and cold towels. Then, another receptionist came by to ask us about our remaining time in Hanoi and she gave us a little session on where we could visit, showing us everything on a map. If it weren’t for her, we’d never know there was a coffee street just around the corner, where the French quarter was and where we could go for cheap beer and a good dinner.

 

On the final day of our stay in Hanoi, before we left for the airport, the hotel surprised us with a little bag of Vietnamese coffee as a gift. This was such a surprise, and definitely greatly welcomed because Vietnamese coffee is just so one-of-a-kind.

 

Overall & Price

 

It’s totally justified that Oriental Central Hotel is ranked as the 2nd hotel to stay at in Hanoi. The rooms, breakfast, service and price are very reasonable and the staff does its best to make you feel like everything’s under control, like you’ve got this. I’d recommend this hotel in a flash to anyone who’s travelling to Hanoi.

 

At S$66 a night, including buffet breakfast and free-wifi, it’s not the cheapest hotel in Hanoi but it’s definitely one you won’t want to miss.

 

Travel away,

Roxanne

Vietnam Tripping: 3 Cafes You Must Visit in Hanoi

 

The Hanoi Social Club

 

It wasn’t until my trip to Seoul last December with my BFF Alexis that cafe hopping really became a thing for me. This time, visiting northern Hanoi for the first time, I thought I’d check out a few cafes that many people had recommended online, either for their coffee, food or ambience. I must say that all you internet folks have been really kind – all the 3 cafes I ended up visiting were really cool!

 

To save you time sifting through the net space and looking up reviews separately, I’ve combined my reviews of the 3 best cafes in Hanoi here. I hope you’ll find this useful, and that you’ll check them out like I did.

 

{Click on the tabs below to reveal my reviews for the individual cafes.}

 

The Hanoi Social Club

The Hanoi Social Club.

 

The Hanoi Social Club

 

The Hanoi Social Club was our first stop the moment we reached Hanoi. I had heard nice things about the food and the decor of the place, apart from the fact that the owners were Australian. It’s located at 6 Hoi Vu | Hoan KiemHanoi 84Vietnam and has a certificate of excellence on Tripadvisor.

 

The Hanoi Social Club

A nice, cosy place for individuals or groups of people. You can even set up your laptop and work here in the day.

 

The Hanoi Social Club

Just sit back, relax and enjoy your iced egg coffee.

 

The Hanoi Social Club

I love those fairy lights.

 

The Hanoi Social Club

Little details make all the difference.

 

The Hanoi Social Club

The burgers are huge, so big eaters, you’ll be happy here.

 

The Hanoi Social Club

The waitress recommended us an African cappuccino and we weren’t disappointed with it. In case you were wondering why the table looks different from the one before, we changed seats just for fun.

 

You could head upstairs too, if you like, and that’s what we did. On the top floor is an open air verandah, where you can sit and chat with friends if you guys would like some fresh air. It’s not air conditioned, though, so if you can’t tolerate the heat like me, I’d recommend staying on the first floor.

 

The Hanoi Social Club

A little counter on the top floor.

 

The Hanoi Social Club

Lovely setting for groups.

 

The Hanoi Social Club

Yes, you’re in the right place.

 

I’d say drop by if you have the time. Although it isn’t exactly Vietnamese in terms of the interior and food, go for the coffee and cosy atmosphere if you can, and maybe pick a book or two off the shelves for an afternoon read.

 

The next cafe you should visit is Cafe Pho Co:

 

Caphe Pho Co Hanoi

The view of the cafe from the top floor of Caphe Pho Co.

 

Cafe Pho Co

 

Cafe Pho Co is a very tiny cafe that goes upwards instead of sideways. To find it can be a bit tricky, especially if you aren’t used to the way buildings are constructed in Hanoi. It’s located at 11 Hang Gai, Hang Trong, Hoan Kiem, Hanoi, Vietnam and also has a certificate of excellence on Tripadvisor. If you’re just walking around shopping along the streets of Hang Gai, you might unknowingly pass it by. Just remember, 11 Hang Gai.

 

Caphe Pho Co Hanoi

First, you need to pass through this tiny, unlit passageway.

 

Caphe Pho Co Hanoi

And after that, you’ll see something that looks like someone’s backyard. Maybe it is, maybe it’s not but it sure looks rustic enough.

 

Once you get here, place your order at the counter on the left, and then head upstairs via the steep steps on the right. If you need the restroom, it’s located under this flight of steps but you might need to bring your own toilet paper. Climbing up the stairs, plus a spiral staircase (which can only take one person at a time), and then another flight of steps will take you to the very top.

 

Caphe Pho Co Hanoi

Heading up the steps with such pretty lanterns.

 

Caphe Pho Co Hanoi

On the way up.

 

It’s really something, this cafe. There’s nothing luxurious about it but the quirky decor more than makes up for the lack of fancy mugs or five-star comfort. I could spend an entire hour or so just admiring the knick knacks propped up everywhere. You have to climb all the way up to the fourth floor if you want a nice view of the lake in the city centre, but there is an air conditioned room one floor below that if you can’t take the heat (and if there is space).

 

Caphe Pho Co Hanoi

An iced egg coffee and pineapple juice.

 

We spent some time at the top floor that afternoon. Although my makeup was melting from all the heat, it was nice to just be able to sit down under the shade with some iced beverage. The iced egg coffee was good, just the way we expected it to be and I recommend it to everyone heading here.

 

The final cafe you need to check out the next time you’re in Hanoi is Cong Caphe:

 

Cong Caphe Hanoi

Cong Caphe sells their own coffee too, and it might be worth a buy as a souvenir.

 

Cong Caphe

 

Cong Caphe is definitely a cafe with character. It has several outlets throughout Hanoi, including one just opposite the cathedral in the French Quarter, but the one you should visit is the one at the start of the famed coffee street (35B Nguyen Huu Huan, Ly Thai To, Hoan Kiem, Hanoi, Vietnam).

 

Like the other good cafes in Hanoi – and the rest of Vietnam, I would suppose – the coffee here is thick and full of flavour. We ordered a normal cup of iced coffee with milk and a juice and had a good time chilling out on the second floor.

 

Cong Caphe Hanoi

The moment you enter, you’ll step into a tiny counter with staff wearing uniforms that look very military.

 

Cong Caphe Hanoi

Random bottles for sale.

 

Cong Caphe Hanoi

Old photos of Vietnam from eons ago decorate the cafe.

 

Cong Caphe Hanoi

Such narrow steps! Only one person can walk through this space at a time.

 

Cong Caphe Hanoi

A little corner near the stairs that really takes you back to history – without the air conditioning remote controls.

 

Cong Caphe Hanoi

The interior of the cafe that I fell in love with. You can choose to sit on chairs or just cross your legs on the platform.

 

Cong Caphe Hanoi

On the second level where it was more crowded.

 

Cong Caphe Hanoi

On the top floor, which wasn’t open yet as the lower floors still had space. The staff was kind enough to let us poke around in here for a bit.

 

The inspiration for Cong Caphe is undoubtedly the Viet Cong, as seen by the communist themed decorations (and the name of the café). The walls are made pock-marked and rugged-looking, as if there was no time to place tiles over the cement as it dried. The seats are wooden and simple, matched with bright red cushions. It’s air conditioned but with the doors and windows open, all you feel is just a little respite from the heat outside. If you aren’t a fan of chairs, you can also plop yourself on one of the cushions on the floor around a table and have your cuppa like how they used to do it in the good old days.

 

If you do drop by this branch, it would be nice to spend some time checking out the bits and pieces of props all over the place, such as the old-school green metal boxes that act as makeshift tables and pictures that show the history of Vietnam. They also sell their own coffee beans, which you can buy as a souvenir for loved ones back home. Just don’t be surprised when someone in military wear approaches you for your order when you enter the cafe or when you pay before you leave.

 

Drink up,

Roxanne

Vietnam Tripping: Of Hot Shorts and Sequins

 

Rebecca Minkoff Mini Mac Cross Body Bag

 

Rebecca Minkoff Mini Mac Cross Body Bag

 

Rebecca Minkoff Mini Mac Cross Body Bag

 

Mondo Sandals

 

Sequinned Peplum Top: Zalora

Tailored Shorts: ASOS (similar here)

Mini MAC Cross Body Bag: Rebecca Minkoff

Shades: Tory Burch (similar here)

Sandals: Mondo

Ear Studs: Mimco

Photographer: Mr. Ratatouille

 

The thing about Hanoi is that it’s way too hot! It’s a pretty crowded city with crazy traffic that knows no direction. If you do a lot of walking in the city, you’ll have to watch where you’re going.

 
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Vietnam Tripping: Golden Sun Suites Hotel Review

In our recent trip to Vietnam, we stayed a night at Golden Sun Suites Hotel in Hanoi. I previously reviewed Hanoi Pearl Hotel on the blog, and if you missed it, you can read it here.

 

As this was our second time in Hanoi, we were more familiar with the area and had a good time just chilling out and cafehopping. Currently, it is ranked on Tripadvisor as #8 of 521 hotels in Hanoi and has won the 2015 Travellers’ Choice Award for its service. We booked this hotel via Agoda and had no problems with our reservation.

 

Golden Sun Suites Hotel Review

We got upgraded to a suite on the top floor.

 

Location

 

The hotel is located in the Old Quarter of Hanoi, at 35 Hang Quat, Hanoi 1000, Vietnam. It’s extremely affordable for a decent hotel with great service and the location is super convenient if you’re into walking around the area to explore it. It’s located pretty near the night market, which is open on weekends. Walking around will take you through street vendors and stores selling souvenirs and shoes.

 

Room

 

We’d booked a deluxe room but were pleasantly surprised when the hotel gave us a free upgrade to their suite on the top floor. The top floor can only be accessed by taking the elevator to the 7th floor and then walking up the stairs to the 8th floor. So, if you can’t carry your luggage up, you’ll need a drone to do it for you.

 

I’m kidding. I’m sure this hotel didn’t win a service award for nothing.

 

Our suite was lovely. It was larger than what we needed, though no complains here at all. I love how they have little white stones and the wooden panel in the shower, which make showering quite a relaxing activity. The bed was definitely comfortable, as was the soft chaise at the side. After 2 days of trekking in the countryside, this was such a welcome.

 

Golden Sun Suites Hotel Review

Watching National Geographic (not the channel shown here) is our final activity before bedtime – always.

 

Golden Sun Suites Hotel Review

Pretty bathroom.

 

Golden Sun Suites Hotel Review

A pink rose for you?

 

Golden Sun Suites Hotel Review

Some necessities provided as well.

 

Golden Sun Suites Hotel Review

Rain shower included.

 

Golden Sun Suites Hotel Review

The wooden planks and pretty white stones to zen you out during shower time.

 

Service

 

The service was great. As we had reached the hotel before the check-in time, we were allowed to place our baggage with the reception before leaving for our day trip to Hoa Lu. Upon returning that evening, we were informed by the reception that there was a problem with our cruise booking for the next day (the cruise company had called the hotel up to check on our reservation). The receptionist was so kind as to act as a translator between the cruise guy and me when I couldn’t understand a word he was saying on the other end of the line. When everything was settled, and we’d gone up to our suite, our baggage was already placed in it as promised.

 

Now, what is trekking and moving luggages if you don’t break a nail or two? As expected, the nail on my index finger was the first to go – but it didn’t go quite entirely. I needed a nail clipper or a pair of tiny scissors and simply wouldn’t head to bed without first tidying it up. The exasperated boyfriend headed back to the reception and returned with a pair of scissors. Although I don’t expect hotels to stock up on nail clippers – though they would definitely make money out of selling them – having a spare pair of scissors is definitely handy. I’ve stayed in hotels in the past that wouldn’t lend their guests scissors unless they brought whatever it was that needed cutting to the lobby. This was such an improvement in comparison and it saved my knitted cardigan from any potential tugging accidents.

 

Overall & Price

 

Most hotels in Hanoi have roses placed in them (you’ll find out why in my next post), and I liked how the ones here are pink. At S$53 a night for a deluxe room, which includes a buffet breakfast and free wifi, I’d recommend it to anyone looking for a comfortable and affordable stay in Hanoi.

 

Live young,

Roxanne

Vietnam Tripping: Hanoi Pearl Hotel Review

Hello from sunny Singapore! I’m finally back home and feeling pretty recharged from our recent trip to Vietnam. After all the hotel stays, long bus rides, day trips to nearby cities, trekking with Hmong tribes in Sapa and a wonderful cruise in Halong Bay, it’s time to write about the places we’ve stayed in.

 

In this first edition of my travel tales in Vietnam, I’ll be reviewing the first hotel we stayed in the city – Hanoi Pearl Hotel.

 

Hanoi Pearl Hotel Review

Cute colonial-looking sleeping area, I’d say!

 

At the moment, this hotel is ranked by Tripadvisor as #124 of 521 hotels in Hanoi and has a certificate of excellence under its belt. We booked this hotel via Expedia and had no problems with checking in.

 

Location

 

The hotel can be found at Number 6, Bao Khanh Lane | Hoan Kiem District, Hanoi 844, Vietnam. It’s located in the charming Old Quarter of Hanoi, not far from Hoan Kiem Lake. Price-wise, it’s pretty affordable and location-wise, it’s very convenient for exploring the area.

 

Room

 

Our room was a superior room, and its size suited two people just nice. The room was clean and neat, and had everything that I needed as a guest. However, one thing struck me as odd: We didn’t have any windows!

 

Hanoi Pearl Hotel Review

Lovely little work desk.

 

Hanoi Pearl Hotel Review

Tidy bathroom. You can see the little window that opens at the bottom.

 

Hanoi Pearl Hotel Review

Basin area, which fits one person nicely and two people a bit snugly.

 

Hanoi Pearl Hotel Review

Some necessities provided by the hotel. So thankful for the cotton buds!

 

Hanoi Pearl Hotel Review

The sleeping area once again.

 

The only window we had was a small one in the bathroom, which opened up to the wall of the neighbouring building, which was about 50cm away. So although you don’t see much from there, at least you’ll know if it’s raining or not.

 

Service

 

The service in general was good. The receptionists and manager on duty were always smiling, seemed relaxed and happy, and were up for a little chat when they weren’t too busy. They have umbrellas in the lobby that you can borrow, and how awesome that was, for on our second day in Hanoi, it rained. That same evening, as we waited (again, in the lobby) for our pick-up to arrive to send us to the train station, I requested for the receptionist to call our tour company to confirm that they were on their way to get us. It all went ahead without a glitch.

 

Overall & Price

 

The first thing you’ll notice about the hotel is the musky scent the moment you enter. While it might not suit some people, I didn’t really have a problem with it. Breakfast was decent as well, though nothing absolutely fancy. There’s the traditional Asian porridge if you’re craving for some hot food in the morning but you’ll have to add some garnishing to it (these are also provided and placed beside the porridge).

 

The overall ambience of this hotel is relaxing, welcoming and pretty chill. I’ll let you decide if you’d like to reserve a room at this hotel, but if you’re not fussy and are just staying in town for the night, this hotel serves its purpose. At S$80 a night for a superior room, which includes free wifi and a buffet breakfast, I’d say it is generally all right if you’re not picky about the view.

 

Never lose sight of the explorer within you,

Roxanne