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Archive for the ‘Resorts’ Category

On this bank holiday weekend, we went to South Wales for hiking.

The hotel we chose was Celtic Manor Resort Hotel and we had dinner at the award winning restaurant “the Crown” below.

Savory Petit Four at 'the Crown'

Savory Petit Four at 'the Crown'

The Savory Petit-Four gave us a perfect expectations to the main dishes. We actually had fryed bream with assortment as starter and fried salmon dish as main.

As I have heard before that at a manor house in South Wales served fish from breakfast and therefore I wondered we could eat fresh fish as well as other fresh food in Wales.

It seems it is right, except for the hotel breakfast and the breakfast we had in a service restaurant on motorway. The only choise we could made was English traditional breakfast we fancy to eat, the grilled fresh tomatoes had so awful taste as if I only imagine that half rotten light colour tomatoes are cooked.

I only finished the half raw fried egg at the motorway restaurant and somehow I was able to finish a little better bread, sausage, half raw fried egg, grilled tomato and orange juice which was not freshly squeezed one with some flesh in there.

Anyway, I wish the Welsh-born Executive Chef James Sommerin, apparently the principal chef of the restaurant prosperous to popularize Welsh dishes more, ideally to London for the start.

The only service I was disappointed was the traditional English breakfast. Even though the hotel was in the 50% off offer period, I do not think the breakfast menu will be different from high season with standard charges.

 We could have expected such English breakfast served in the motorway restaurant, but at least in the 5-star hotel, they should review the quality of the breakfast, eg. adding continental breakfast if they can not improve the English breakfast, in order to balance with the one of the top rated restaurant located next to the breakfast lounge in the Celtic Manor Resort Hotel.

 All other services in the hotel were good for the price. It may be due to the quiet season or period. I will see the improvement of the service at the hotel as I would like to come back to stay in the near future for beautiful forest trips to Wales.

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Romantic luxury at the Four Seasons

I recommend Four Seasons Resort Koh Samui in Thailand as one of the past guests of the hotel.

The hotel was opened in February 2007. I regret that I did not have spare mind to think about taking videos from the entrance to the room with video camera, where I was taken by electric trolley.

Anyway, someone has filmed one of the villas on Youtube below.

Take their Mercedes taxi from the Samui airport guided by the staff waited for the guests.

After 30-40 minutes driving and then climbing a bit, get off in the car rotary of the hotel site and there is a set of double open doors in the coordinated dark brown wood with the guest rooms.

The welcome dong is roar around and then the doors are opened.

There is a small observation overlook area with specious quiet marine blue sea view on the top of the sea side mountain.

Guests are offered to sit on one of the two luxury sofas viewing the sea and do check-in with welcome peach drink served in so sensitive lotus shaped glasses which are stood on crushed ice in a glass bowl.

Back to the rotary and get on an electric trolley driven by the staff and another set of doors are opened. As soon as the trolley passed the doors guests are surprised by the sudden steep downhill in the narrow road surrounded by green jungle.

Just quickly pass through the beautiful fountain around the base support post of the observation area above, then keep going gentle downhill to the guest room.

All staffs are not just friendly kind, they are also professionally trained. It could be sometimes difficult to see hotel staffs who do not at all show personal emotions in their behavior at work.

Almost everything is sophisticated in the resort. There are thousand of top rated hotels everywhere in the world, however, I have found that Four Seasons tend to offer good value for money for romantic stays.

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Hotel Terme di Saturnia

Terme di Saturnia

Terme di Saturnia

Terme di Saturnia – mineral hot spring in Maremma, Italy

Between Toscana district and Rome, there is an interesting hot spring called ‘Terme di Saturnia’.

I produced the document below based on the leaflet of Hotel Terme di Saturnia.

About 1km away from the hotel, we can enjoy the tiers of limestone with sulfur hot spring streams, which is called ‘Cascata del Mulino’ for free. The video below is for you to see atmosphere of the local hot springs and the day spa of the hotel. 

The golf in Tuscan scenery, spa treatments with medical advice/products and warm enough 37℃ mineral hot springs may help us relieve from everyday routine fetters temporarily and it is ideally a good refreshments.

The hotel is perfect as very elegant and highly rated. However, personally I expect a little more sophistcated spa treatment and dinner.

If esthetitians become a little more enthuthiatic and chefs manage to cook more local natural foods, there will be more people coming back more often to this hot spring heaven.

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Arcana Izu, the Bespoke Resort and Cuisine

Just one hour driving down through one of the most popular weekend resort areas, Izu highland from the main bullet train Shinkansen station, Mishima, there is a modernised hotel with hot spring baths in a decent western cottage style. It contrast with majority of the traditional Ryokan style hotels in the hot spring area, however the scenery of the surrounding forest with the sounds of each seasonal wildlife such as fireflies, cicadas, crickets, birds … and the endless stream in transparent green will perhaps guarantee the full-rated satisfaction by the guests.

With their professionally trained hospitality, the guests may be able to spend their private moment throughout the stay as check in/out are done in the guest rooms and there is no front desk. Not only the private open-air or glass-wall hot spring baths in the rooms impress the guests, there are other dazzling entertaiments – the top rated chefs’ French cuisine in the full screen forest view diner hall as well as the range of massages by the neatly trained staffs and perhaps more on request.

They create French style dishes using abundant local fresh food gathered from the mountains and the sea in and around Izu peninsula. With their sophisticated skills and knowledge of cuisine, dinner time is unfolded with kind of an integrated unforgettable art. The dining hall turns into full ceiling height screen of the bright forest in the morning and sensitively selected continental breakfast in good nutritional balance is served. 

The mineral hot spring – Yugashima Onsen contains sodium, calcium and sulfate and it is said to heal neuralgia, muscular aches, rheumatism, female disorders, gastrointestinal disorders and damaged skin conditions.

It can not be removed from of my indulgence list for a special occasion. As they occasionally offer budget package during off seasons, it might be worth monitoring for their best offer.

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Dining on the Hill and Dining on the Rock are the top rated international cuisine restaurants located in the 5-star Six Senses Hideaway Samui Resort in Thailand. As well as serving for the guests who stay their rooms over nights, they offer Thai food cooking experience classes which can be liberally arranged to the preferences of visitors with advance reservations.

I recommend the most remarkable feature of the Dining on the Hill restaurant, which is around the open air area covered with Thai-taste eaves and is surrounded with lively tropical trees. Even it is so impressively adding another feature that the happy ever tamed birds are welcoming with their cheerful songs here and there all the time. With the specious sea view in front, the guests can enjoy cooking popular Thai food such as Thai green curry and other Thai Curry, spicy soups, coconut deserts, etc, taught by the chefs with their professional demonstrations and super fresh, celebrity-like selected ingredients.

Probably it is better to have cooking experience class in the air like that during the cooler season between November and February, when the temperature is between 26 and 28, otherwise you would better arrange cooking class in the evening if it is expected to be less crowded.

Tasting local fresh food in such resorts would be one of the most memorable moments in life outweighing frequent eat-outs and budget holiday packages over a few years, which could total within the same range of costs.

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