Bulgari Hotel London

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I remember hearing about the Bulgari Hotel in Milan Italy when it first opened, nobody thought a Jewelry chain would open its own hotel, it never made sense, but now everyone is opening their own hotel. I was going to London for 48 hours and decided to try a new hotel and this hotel was an interesting one to see. London has a lot of choices, but I called American Express Platinum services to see if they had any deals on hotels on a short notice, and they did for about 40% off the normal price for a junior suite and when I got there I got upgraded to a higher level suite when I checked into the Bulgari Hotel. There are lots of hotels in London and so many boutique hotels but this was worth checking out.

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Basically I got a very large suite for the price of a room in London which rarely happens, but they said during Ramadan it is very quiet in London and that was what you could see out on the streets. I saw a few Saudi & Qatari Supercars parked on some of the more famous roads in London, and they never moved, I asked the doorman what was going on they said that they paid for the parking for up to two months so they won’t lose the spot and its cheaper then shipping the car back home, it seems some people love their spots.

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The hotel has this sleek modern feel to it, very stylish with a lot of interesting amenities. I was told they have a beautiful pool but I didn’t have a chance to check it out. The hotel is located in Knightsbridge, and most women would know this area because its where most of their shopping takes place. Personally I’m not too keen on the area because there is a lot of traffic at that location.

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Going into the room it felt like an apartment, not a room, a large living room with two types closets, a small dining table and beautiful bathroom. The first night of my arrival I had a late night burger because I didn’t have a chance to eat while I was out and I wasn’t too impressed with it, I expected room service to be a lot better, but the staff were fantastic. Very helpful and always going the extra mile to get anything I requested done.

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The room was quite different then what I expected in London, even for a suite it was huge, and it was very spacious. They hid all the power plugs in drawers and the wifi was strong all over the room which was great. And the bathroom was the best part of the room, it was huge and the shower had amazing pressure, even the size of the shower was fantastic.

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This hotel was a surprise for me, I wasn’t expecting the the rooms to be like that, and the lobby is always buzzing with people. It is one of those funky hotels you have to try at least once, I don’t think I will stay there again. One thing that is a problem for me is the high price of the rooms, I got a deal this time around but on normal days this would have been a very expensive 48 hours. I would prefer trying another one of the amazing hotels in London but this is an amazing hotel, and one I don’t mind repeating.

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JUMEIRAH MESSILAH BEACH HOTEL & SPA

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It took so long but it was worth the wait, the only real luxury hotel has opened in Kuwait at last. We have been talking about it, seeing it, and even saw when they first branded it Jumeirah everyone was excited. For once we will have a hotel which is at the level of a Luxury 5 Star Resort from Dubai based on the management and the quality of a hotel that had no expenses spared to build it. Kuwait only has some decent 4 star resorts such as Movenpick & Hilton Manguf, or business Hotels such as Four Points Sheraton, Holiday Inn Downtown, Courtyard Marriott. But none of these hotels are even close to what a five star hotel should be, and the Sheraton & JW Marriot should be demolished and completely rebuilt, they are just too old. Walking into this hotel you know that they really worked on it and are doing everything they can to bring a world class 5 star resort with the management and this amazing property. I was amazed when I walked in, its the soft opening and anyone can go to it, its officially supposed to open in October.

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We went their for breakfast early Friday morning and we were surprised to see so many people at the hotel. It was an impressive entrance and even more impressive when you walk out to the pool area, it is seriously beautiful, you forgot that you are in Kuwait, you really feel like you are transported to a resort with everything you want at your finger tips. The pools looked so good that I really wanted to jump in, especially the pool close the seaside, they even made a beautiful cove for people swimming at the hotel so you don’t get the rough seas, too bad the water is still not clean enough to swim in but thats beside the point. They even have an amazing ramp to take boats and jet skis down but I’m not sure if that is available for guest use but I would hope they would let you.

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They opened up 8 restaurants and varying cuisines which I am very much interested to try. We had breakfast at Garden Cafe, the presentation was nice and the breakfast was good, but the other restaurants like Pepper and Olio seem to be the highend restaurants, Pepper is open now which I hope to try soon and Olio will open in a month and I want to try it. The Tea Lounge is totally for women, that place is so posh and proper with biscuits and teas of every kind, I can see who this place is targeting.

Restaurants:

  • Olio – Italian Cuisine opening in June
  • Salt – Seafood Cuisine opening in June
  • Pepper – Steakhouse open now
  • Arabesque – Arabic food restaurant with shisha, open now
  • Garden Cafe – International cuisine, also open for breakfast
  • Mint – Beachfront all day casual dining
  • Aqua – Healthy lite bites, open in June
  • Tea Lounge – International tea and coffee lounge
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    There are 400+ Rooms and several Chalets for guests, but right now they have only made available 100 Rooms and the Chalets. There 3 Bedroom, 4 Bedroom, and a 5 Bedroom Chalet starting at 500 KD a night which have already been booked for three weeks out. And most of the guests that I saw staying there are Kuwaitis to my surprise. Of course prices aren’t completely set yet and of course it depends what day and when they are in demand, but the Chalets looked very nice, and they have their own private entrances. We didn’t have a chance to check out the rooms but if the quality of the what we saw says anything I’m assuming its going to be just as good, but with varying tastes. I know where I will be sending guests when they come from out of Kuwait, and I might even try the place when I have a chance to stay there, it would be interesting.

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    Now for the part that surprised us was the Ball room, its huge with a separate entrance for the guests. They really thought about the ball room, it can be separated into three different parts or used as a whole. Its seriously huge and the go to location for weddings be it male or female is currently Al Rayah Ball Room in Kuwait City, I know for a fact that women are going to go nuts when they see the size of this place, I would assume that its going to get booked up very soon with a lot of weddings. It also has a lot to do with the catering and I know for sure they are working on it and they currently have a huge line up of cuisines so it will be interesting to see how soon people can book for weddings.

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    If you haven’t been to Jumeirah Messilah Beach Hotel then you really need to check it out, it is above and beyond all expectations. I was surprised by what I saw and very happy, and I think most everyone has. The contact details are below.

    Phone: +965 2226 9600

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Best Hotels in Lebanon 2011

Lebanon is known for its service, restaurants and night life, I probably haven’t seen any people with so full of life and wanting to party and go out 24/7 seriously, I for one can’t keep up with them. There is an after club for every club and then lounging in some beach type club the next morning, and always the best of service in any restaurant, and they love rebranding the same places every year and coming up with new concepts for the same place and keeping it fresh. I had some work and break trips to Lebanon over the past 6 months and had the chance to experience the hotels and their services thoroughly on many different aspects, and levels, from personal service to cost of room service. These are the four five star hotels that I had a lot of experience with and the ranking is from best to worst, from top to bottom in all the categories.

Below is the list of hotels by ranking and which one I prefer to stay in:

  • Le Gray
  • Four Seasons
  • VenDome Hotel Beirut
  • Phoenicia Beirut

Concierge Service: Le Gray out did everyone in every scale for level of concierge service, if you are willing to pay they can get you into any place and any reservation or anything you had in mind even in very short notice and keep following up with you which is fantastic, that is what made Le Gray the best of the list for me, what set it apart from the rest.

  • Le Gray
  • Four Seasons
  • VenDome
  • Phoenicia

Hotel Interior: The Four Seasons Interior is very fresh, very much like the rest of the chain but from a touch of Lebanon

  • Four Seasons
  • Le Gray
  • Phoenicia
  • VenDome

Hotel Rooms Size & Quality: Le Gray has rooms which are about 20 to 30 % bigger then Four Seasons but both have excellent quality

  • Le Gray
  • Four Seasons
  • Phoenicia
  • VenDome

Hotel Room Service: Le Gray and Four Seasons both had amazing food

  • Le Gray
  • Four Seasons
  • VenDome
  • Phoenicia

Hotel Location: I like walking around and Le Gray had the easiest access to shops and restaurants around it without the need for a car.

  • Le Gray
  • Four Seasons
  • Phoenicia
  • VenDome

Hotel Cost: From Most to Least Expensive

  • Le Gray
  • Four Seasons
  • VenDome
  • Phoenicia


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Yas Island Yacht Club

Everything about Yas Island has been planned perfectly from the hotels to the track, and all the other possible venues around it. Now they are building others services and infrastructure outside Yas Island with so much to do. I have yet to visit there and I honestly can’t wait. But nobody has really mentioned the Marina which has the view of the F1 circuit when your parked in your boat. They sell the yacht parking spots for the F1 just like they sell normal ticket seats but with a closer and better view. They have really thought everything out with this setup, I just can’t imagine how much the yearly fees are to park a boat there.

The Yacht club has sparkling white exterior shells integrated with LED façade lights which transform the giant structure into a pixilated viewing screen against the night sky. The 5 star club houses restaurants, bars, lounges, function rooms, outdoor decks and 45-metre observation tower.

Link: TheDesignBlog


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Le Gray – Beirut

I had a quick to Beirut, I was recommend to stay at the new hotel Le Gray, and I’m very happy I did. This is probably of the most unique hotels that I have stayed in, and excellent service. I do enjoy boutique hotels, and try them whenever I have a chance, and in this case its an amazing hotel. Its an 87 room hotel with a restaurant, cigar lounge, pool and bar up top. I really liked how quite the hotel was when you are on the room floors, and the rooms are huge.

I booked an executive suite since it was the only room available, everything else was booked. The location of the hotel is fantastic as well, you are in the Solidaire area,
able to walk to so many restaurants and places to shop. If you are up for the swim the pool has an amazing view and slightly on the scary side.

The staff are very friendly and helpful, you feel like you are in some European country when your inside the hotel. When I love about Beirut is that they have really improved the areas around the buildings, its a gradual improvement but it keeps getting better, and its always an active city.

The room is very wide and open with lots of amenities, and I really like the modern style of the hotel. There is free wireless internet all over the hotel, and in your room you have a very good A/V system that I hooked up my iPod to listen to the music in my room. there is also a free fresh coffee machine for those who like coffee, and the bathroom is fantastic. Then the room service is just something else, morning breakfast was exquisite and so was midnight sandwich, there food just tastes so good, and probably one of the best breakfasts I have ever had. If I have a chance to go back to Beirut I would like to stay in that hotel for a longer period, its a bit more on the expensive side but its worth it for an amazing experience.

Link: LeGray


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Hotel Pools

Trip adviser has made a list of hotels ranked by their pools and some of them look amazing. Makes me want to get on a plane and go anywhere that isn’t dusty. The pools are ranked by its features, a major one being infinity pools and secondly what it overlooks. At the top of the rank is Hotel Caruso Ravello in Ravello, Italy shown in the first picture.

The ones I like from the list are:

  • Hotel Caruso Ravello in Ravello in Italy
  • Six Senses Hideaway Zighy Bay in Oman
  • Perivolas, Santorini, Greece

Link: Luxist

Marina Bay Sands Hotel – Singapore

The hotel features 2,560 rooms that would cost you $520 a night. Designed by Moshe Safdie, the structure is said to be based on the design resembling a deck of cards. The hotel décor includes an indoor canal that has Sampan boats to ride in, a casino, an outdoor plaza, a convention centre, a theatre, a crystal pavilion and a lotus flower shaped museum. The resort will open employment to over 10,000 locals, enough to generate $72m each year.

During my visit to Singapore I passed by the Marina Bay project and at the time they just opened the Marina Bay Sands Hotel. It looks amazing, three curved buildings and it looks like a big boat is set on top of it which is the infinity pool above. It now surpasses the hotel in Abu Dhabi, UAE, as being the most expensive hotel in the world. Its a very nice hotel and very much worth visiting but its a little off on its own, about 20 minutes from the downtown area, but the view is fantastic. The rooms have a modern feel to them and I’m assuming the service is going to be good since they have been working on this project for a while.

Link: LuxuryLaunches


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St. Martin’s Lane

When I have short trips in London I usually like staying somewhere I’m familiar with, and St. Martin’s Lane is always at the top of my list of choices. Good service, attentive staff, good food, everything within walking distance, and the best part is that its always active with people coming and going. For the few days I was there I noticed paparazzi sitting on the opposite street waiting for someone to come out, but I was so busy I forgot to ask.

I booked a Loft King with a package deal of 20% discount so I got a very nice room with a nice view for the price of standard room. Whats good is that they do have a lot of different packages available if you book early enough with decent pricing for London. The best part is walking out and heading in any direction from that hotel, lots of interesting places to go to, and you can easily find a black cab in that area. I didn’t realize how much I missed London after getting there and it was sunny and cool, and so many bookstores to visit but I didn’t have too much time on my hands.

Link: SML


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The Chedi – Oman

For my second trip to Oman I wanted to pamper myself a little but like any company there are certain budgets that I had to work within. I decide to choose a nicer hotel this time but the one I wanted didn’t exactly fit into the budget, so I took what they gave me and choose the one I wanted paying the rest off on my own. The company paid for a 1/3 and I paid for 2/3 out of pocket and it was really really worth it. First off Oman is one of the cleanest and most vegetated country in the Gulf, and some of the nicest people there. The hotel is a resort about 20 minutes from the airport and probably one of the nicest I have seen. I was one of the few Arabs staying there, I mostly saw Italians and Germans for some reason, and they said that only 10% of the hotel is ever filled by people from the GCC.

Walking in you really feel like your swept away, it has the lushest green laws I have seen. Took a 5 minute walk to my room and it was amazing, a scene out of a movie. Put my things down, changed and headed to spa to book a massage and I wanted to have a late dinner. I booked a one hour reflexology session an hour later, went back to my room finished a few reports up before heading back to the spa. As soon the session started I knew that it was going to be good, I brought a magazine to read but I passed out within the first 10 minutes. I wasn’t expecting it to be this relaxing. After being woken I was all loose and dazed from only a foot massage. Then I head over to restaurant to have dinner, and it was an amazing meal, a very good salad and lobster.

Next morning off to meetings, I think I was the only person there he was staying there while heading to meetings, most everyone were couples or families on vacation at The Chedi. This hotel is more oriented to younger adults and couples then it is to families with kids. The service is very good, everyone is very helpful, and the rooms are amazing and comfortable, full Bose sound system with two different iPod docks, not including free internet and minibar. I’m not much of a Spa person but their massages were so good I made an appointment every day in the evening for three days, luckily they were open until 10pm. I just couldn’t get enough of the amazing range of food during breakfast or dinner, didn’t have a chance for lunch during my stay but I am planning a visit their for vacation. I didn’t manage to take advantage of the two pools while I was there, next time I hope to. Anyone who is looking for a nice relaxing place for vacation then I highly recommend the Chedi, it really surpassed my expectations.

(A lot of pictures below!)


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The Address – Burj Dubai

We got a normal room with twin beds for our one night in Dubai, I knew the hotel was nice but I didn’t think it would be this nice. First off there are two Addresses, one is inside Dubai Mall and one is next to Burj Dubai, we stayed at the one next to Burj Dubai because the one inside Dubai Mall is horrible in comparison, same furniture but horrible service. But this hotel was something unexpected, the rooms are big, big bathrooms with an amazing view.

The staff were very nice and efficient, what surprised me was the room service. We ordered a variety of food for breakfast at 10:00 am before heading out and it was up in 20 minutes, everything tasted very good. There is free Wifi available but its extremely slow, I would expect something better from a hotel of this caliber. The lobby area is very nice, but going up to the rooms is a bit confusing and you need a card to get up to the room, and a card to keep the lights up in the room, I tend to get extra cards to put in that slot to keep the lights on. Overall the hotel is very nice, extremely convenient being right next to Dubai Mall, and its only 20 minutes from the airport, we left before our flight in an hour and twenty minutes, when we go there we had 50 minutes before take off and we made it easily to the plane.


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