HANOI : MY STAY AT PULLMAN HOTEL

PULLMAN HOTEL / HANOI / VIETNAM

Travellerczech’s Rating:  8 / 10


Hanoi is colorful, endearing & historic.  It is the noisy capital of Vietnam. Crowded, scooter infested place with over 8 million inhabitants and a fantastic place to experience.

The city has incredible energy. Day or night, the streets are packed with thousands of people ( and scooters ) enjoying their life and street vendors filling the air with the spicy smell of Phô Soup, barbecued pork Bun Cha’s and Vietnamese Cofee. Just sit down, order and watch the world go by

DON’T MISS THESE 3 PLACES IN HANOI

1. WALKING STREETS OF OLD QUARTER ( best in the evening )

2. LOTTE TOWER OBSERVATION DECK ( glass floor box selfie is a must )

3. DINNER IN RED BEAN RESTAURANT ( la siesta hotel )

Most of the visitors choose to stay around the Hoan KiemLake district. I personally prefer quieter locations, but close to places of interest. That’s why I have chosen to stay in the Pullman Hanoi. The perfect combination of comfort and good location.

I am happy to share with you my experience and hope you will enjoy your trip to Hanoi as I did 🙂


OVERVIEW :

Pullman Hanoi is a modern & cosmopolitan hotel offering 240 comfortable rooms and all the amenities you would expect from one of the Pullman’s 117 worldwide hotels and resorts.

It’s located in central Dong Da District, very handy for exploring Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum, or National Musem of Fine Art.

The hotel sits on the site of a former 1920 Brick factory and up until 1980’s, the chimney was Hanoi’s tallest landmark.  It has been preserved as a historic icon. By now, many much taller structures have risen throughout the neighborhood. Visit Lotte Tower observation deck and try to spot the chimney from up there 🙂


LOCATION: 8 /10

The hotel is only 40 minutes taxi drive from Noi Bai Intl. Airport ($19) and 10min by taxi to Hanoi’s Old Quarter and Hoan Kiem Lake. You can also walk, but it may take an hour.

You can also explore lively surrounding areas full of restaurants and shops. I have actually preferred this location as it was less touristy and much quieter but still located in easy reach to all sights, like The Ho Chi Minh mausoleum for example.


ROOMS : /10

I stayed in a Deluxe room. 32sqm in size, with a hallway and bathroom. Frotn facing rooms come with an amazing city view which I really enjoyed, especially from the peace and quiet of my room.

Beds were comfortable and the room is quiet during the night, which I value the most as I am a light sleeper.

Accommodation comes with complimentary bottled water and Wi-Fi.

I would like to see more Vietnamese decor but that’s just me.

TIP:  Ask for a chimney view room 🙂

Deluxe Room includes : 

  • comfortable beds including a matress topper and protector.
  • a cozy sitting area with a great city views
  • fully stocked mini fridge
  • tea/coffee facility
  • iron & ironing board
  • bathrobe, slippers
  • lovely bathroom toiletries
  • rains shower head
  • complete blackout curtains

OTHER ROOM CATEGORIES :

Let’s have a little look at some of the other rooms, the hotel has to offer. There are four main room categories catering to all budgets. You can also upgrade rooms to Executive level with lounge access and additional benefits.

Check these images to see what other rooms can you book…


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SERVICE & FACILITIES: 8 /10

A good first impression on arrival with a warm welcome, easy and fast check-in accompanied by a cold towel and a delicious drink.

I haven’t experienced anything that can be a flaw, but on the other hand, nothing exceptional either. A good and solid standard 🙂

Let’s get to the facilities, I was very excited to try the inviting infinity pool, Hanoi’s biggest hotel gym and relaxing Spa.

Hotels main facilities :

  • Infinity swimming pool
  • La Cheminée Restaurant and Mint Bar
  • Gym
  • Spa
  • Executive Lounge and Business center
  • Ball/Conference Room

POOL AREA

A refreshing escape from the heat of the city with a great view of the ‘famous” chimney. This pool was made for an Instagram photo opportunity, so don’t miss a cooling dip ( and few snaps 🙂 )

Pool deck is a little shabby around the edges and needs a little maintenance to upgrade it to become a true oasis and tranquil luxury retreat…

GYM

No reason to stop your workout routine while “on the road”.  Pullman’s fitness center is well equipped with modern Technogym machines, plenty of cardio machines, and a variety of free weights and space to stretch.

It is extremely clean, with complimentary water and fruit refreshments to sustain a great workout session. A real joy to find such a great hotel gym!

SPA

Rejuvenate your body and soul after a long flight in the hotel Spa. There are many treatments to satisfy even the most distinguished traveler.

EXECUTIVE CLUB


FOOD & DRINKS : 7 /10

There’s a restaurant and bar in Pullman Hanoi,  La Cheminee all-day dining restaurant and Mint Bar at the lobby.

LA CHEMINÉE

Hotel all-day eatery serving everything from buffet breakfast to lunch and dinner, or just a just a cup of lovely Vietnamese coffee.

I was delighted to see an entire section dedicated to healthy eating, with gluten-free and fresh produce.  In general, the morning selection is great and you really will be spoilt for choice.

I also really enjoyed the Asian corner with local specialty Phở soup and steamed Dim Sum dumplings.

For lunchtime, the selection is much smaller and doesn’t appear too fresh. I wasn’t that impressed. It might be better to search for some quirky local eatery outside.

MINT BAR

Try for light refreshments, late night cocktail, and live Piano music


VALUE FOR MONEY : /10

In my opinion, Pullman offers excellent value for money in terms of room size, facilities, location and service.

  • at the time of writing this post, Superior Room starts from AED305 ( USD83  )
  • For BEST DEALS book directly on Pullman-Hanoi.com

…tell them, I sent you 😉


THANK YOU FOR VISITING

travellerczech.com

COME BACK SOON & don’t forget to follow us

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BEIRUT : MY STAY AT SAIFI SUITES HOTEL

Saifi Suites Hotel / Beirut / Lebanon

Travellerczech’s Rating: 6 / 10


Beirut is one of my favorite places!  It has a unique vibe and it is a truly fascinating city to experience…

The city is divided into 12 quarters, but the Central district has one of the most interesting places to visit, and because of its religious diversity, the place is a major cultural, intellectual and tourist center for the Middle East.

For many, Beirut is synonymous with violence and political unrest. In my many visits during the last seven years, I have only experienced amazing food, fantastic Mediterranean climate, and a city full of welcoming people enjoying life.

Best time to visit : 

  • Spring April-May
  • Autumn September-November

Did you know, it is also one of the oldest cities in the world? 😉


OVERVIEW :

Saifi Suites is a centrally located 4-star rated hotel with rather boutique feel. Unfortunately, despite the quirky decor, it feels somehow cold, dated and not very exciting. I also blame the staff, which doesn’t do anything to make you feel welcome. They are very busy to chat with each other…

The hotel has a restaurant, gym and it is easily accessible from the airport. There definitely is a potential to be a great base to explore Beirut and beyond. It just needs some tweaking and customer focus.

Read below, if this could be a place for you…


LOCATION : 9/10

Arguably the best feature of this hotel is the location. Forget taxi’s or public transport and just walk. Majority of Beirut’s sights are all in walkable distance.

Hotel is nestled in a wonderful neighborhood and very close to the popular Gouraud/Gemmayzeh Street with many bars, clubs, and restaurant. Despite the area being very busy in the night, the hotel’s location is rather quiet

Rafic Hariri Intl. The airport is a 25min taxi ride ( 20USD).

Beirut by foot : 

  • Beirut’s Downtown / Nejmeh square  – 20min
  • Mohammad Al-Amin Mosque – 5min
  • Zaitunay Bay – 30min
  • Beirut Souk – 20min
  • ABC Achrafieh – 22min
  • Pigeon Rocks – 55min

ROOMS: 6/10

I have stayed in a Deluxe Double Room. It is 35sqm in size, with a decent size balcony overlooking the city.

Rooms are coming in a variety of color themes. Some of them aren’t exactly my taste but for few nights, I can survive 😉

Good size bedroom includes a kitchenette with basic equipment, which provided to be useful. Cleanliness could improve, found few hairs here and there.

Club Room includes : 

  • Free Wi-Fi
  • Balcony
  • Small kitchenette
  • Ironing board+iron
  • Minibar
  • Flat TV
  • Bathroom with basic toiletries

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SERVICE & FACILITIES: 6/10

Service definitely needs more attentiveness and smile.  Most of the time, I have felt like I am disturbing asking questions or having simple requests.

Front desk staff seems the happiest when you are leaving. Food tray after my room service was still on the corridor floor 24 hours after I have left it there…

Hotels facilities :

  • GYM – is situated in the next door building and took asking three different people for the door code. There is no water or towels, bring your own. Otherwise, the gym is a decent size with simple, but modern equipment.

FOOD & DRINKS: 6/10

Society Bistro is a restaurant divided into two different parts of the lobby. It has also an outdoor smoking area which is quite nice.

I have only used the restaurant for breakfast and can only comment on that. Basic selection of the usual food items, accompanied by a few exciting local products.

Decor, again…hit and miss and staff non-communicative and hiding somewhere most of the time.


VALUE FOR MONEY: /10

Beirut isn’t a cheap city and the overall quality of accommodation is rather disappointing. Trust me, I have tried a few…

For that reason, the price is quite fair. Especially because of the location. Just don’t’ expect too much and you won’t be disappointed!

  • at the time of writing this post, Deluxe Room inlc. breakfast from AED579 (USD157 )

THANK YOU FOR VISITING

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DUBAI : Visit World’s Biggest Frame ?

New architectural landmark..the Dubai Frame is a 150m tall observation structure located in Zabeel Park.

It serves to only one purpose …a VIEW, but you can tell this about Eiffel Tower too 🙂

Two towers are connected by a 93m long bridge with partially glass floor to maximize the enjoyment of the height. It was designed by award-winning architect Fernando Donis who also designed the amazing Chinese TV headquarters skyscraper in Beijing.


The Dubai Frame is visible pretty much from everywhere and you will probably get the first glimpse of it on the way from the airport. The main highway to the city passes next to it. So look to the right…

Cost of the project was AED160milion ( USD44mil.) and after lengthy ( 5 years ) construction process, was finally opened in January 2018.

The elevator to the top takes exactly one minute and offers nice views of the surrounding areas.


EXPERIENCE :

The entire experience is designed as a three-part journey: old Dubai, present Dubai and future Dubai.

Old Dubai

Starting from the mezzanine level the visitors experience the old Dubai: projections, mist effect, and motion that creates an immersive mood setting of space. The Past Gallery describes the project and tells the story of city’s evolution and the old city.

Present Dubai

Visitors are taken to the second experience on the Sky deck level representing the present Dubai. They experience 360-degree views of Dubai, “Old Dubai” to the north, and “New Dubai” to the south. This is supported by augmented reality activated screens, by which the visitors can identify buildings and landmarks and exploring interesting facts or observing buildings and landmarks. Also, a glass floor 48 floors above the ground waits for the brave.

Future Dubai

Finally, the visitors exit the elevator onto the mezzanine floor and pass through a swirling tunnel with special audio and visual effects. The idea is to create an illusion of time travel through a warp swirl and arriving in the city 50 years ahead.


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NOT IMPRESSED by :

  • photography is not allowed in “Old and Future Dubai” areas. I do not understand why, as this is a tourist attraction, but you will come across some weird rules around Dubai from time to time. I was taking pictures anyway, so up to you 🙂
  • the outside cladding has some sort of circles making the view and taking photos difficult…hmmm
  • motion sensor glass floor viewing panels on the bridge are switching on and off themselves, making difficult to take a decent picture…:(

USEFUL INFO

  • OPENING HOURS: 9am-9pm daily
  • TICKETS: AED50 at the Gate ( the website sells tickets through an agency and it’s more expensive )
  • LOCATION: ZABEEL PARK, GATE 4

The overall visit experience was good, but to be honest, you can get similar views from every other Dubai skyscraper. It’s a sort of pointless attraction, but it looks nice from the outside. Only go when visibility is good and perhaps connect with visit of other interesting places near by such as Al Seef, Dubai Creek or Dubai Glow Garden.


THANK YOU FOR VISITING

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DUBAI : Challenge Reality in VR Park Dubai ? Review

A new Virtual Reality ( PVRK ) park is now open in Dubai Mall. You can’t miss the entrance, evoking the Inception movie-themed bending streets of Dubai and surrounded by other popular attractions such as Kidzania, Haunted House or 22-screen Movie Theater.

Unfortunately, the flashy entrance promises more than the actual theming inside delivers. I wasn’t impressed with the dark and non-descriptive space. Sure, the upside down Burj Khalifa definitely has the wow factor,  but that’s about it.

The attraction itself spreads across two levels using space of the recently re-branded Sega Republic “theme park”. Some of the original flat rides were kept in and just re-themed to fit with the new concept.

You can “escape the reality” in more than 15 experiences which majority involves VR Headset.


Here is the main issue…the quality of the graphic used is quite rudimentary, which ruins the sense of reality.  It also smells a bit, some of the headsets are quite heavy, not comfortable to wear and dysfunctional. At least half of the rides were disappointing due to these failings.

Also, some footage isn’t very well coordinated with the actual ride movement, which is most obvious on the Plummet attraction. Try to ride Dubai Drone, or Plummet without the headset!

In my humble opinion, there are only 3 experiences worth a visit :

  • The Walking Dead VR Outbreak
  • The Raft 
  • Burj Drop

Don’t’ miss a review of every each ride & photos below…:)


VR Park Dubai is a full-fledged Virtual Reality park trying to bring family entertainment to another level. But does it deliver enough fun to justify the price tag? Let’s see the comparison of day passes with other entertainment destinations in Dubai and Worldwide:

PRICE COMPARISON

  • VR Park Dubai: AED200 / USD55 ( no resident offer / you opt for pay by ride AED45 )

OTHER DUBAI PARKS…

  • Aquaventure Waterpark: AED195 ( resident rate ) / AED275 ( full price )
  • IMG World’s of Adventure: AED195 ( resident rate ) / AED245 ( full price )
  • Motiongate Dubai : AED165 ( resident rate) / AED235 ( full price )
  • Ferrari World Abu Dhabi: AED195 ( resident ) / AED295 ( full price )

MAJOR WORLDWIDE PARKS…

  • Disney Magic Kingdome CA: USD102 / AED374
  • Alton Towers Park: GBP55 / AED269
  • Universal Studio Singapore: SGD76 / AED 210
  • Sea World FL: USD78 / AED286

Make your own judgment…



LIST of ATTRACTIONS :

1. Arena

  • Terrible photomontage experience with animated animals & objects. You can choose from different themes ( dinosaurs, ocean, safari ) and somehow try to take photos with virtual “things”. The outcome isn’t very exciting…NEXT!


2. Burj Drop 

  • This is quite an enjoyable drop tower ride, which feels much more dramatic thanks to the VR headset. Good fun cleaning Burj Khalifa facade and falling down!

3. Geminose: The VR Carousel

  •  just some slow spinning “thing” for the little ones…including VR headset.

4. Robocom 

  • Space shooting VR game while sitting in a moving seat. Good graphics, a bit long and no scoring system which makes the game pointless.

5. Robocom VR 

  • 3D Floor projection of chosen theme ( shark attack etc. ), which was actually enjoyable. The floor screen is clear and hydraulic movement and effects work well with the film. You will be enclosed with three other people inside a moving box and watch the floor below you through 3D glasses.

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6. The Raft 

  • The Raft requires players to grab their VR guns and work together to defend the swamp against an infestation of supernatural creeps. One of the highlights of my visit. Clear VR experience and fun for four players. Equipment was very responsive and new.

7. The Walking Dead VR Outbreak 

  • Survive a ride through the zombie-infested hospital. A scary zombie shooting action game. Not for the faint-hearted ( like me 🙂 ), You will be shooting the undead from a wheelchair while being pushed through dark, creepy sanatorium. Clear visuals, good sound, and scary fun all the way!

8. Ape-X 

  • Just NO! Bad graphics, non-responsive gloves, broken sound and very long shooting game while standing on top of a skyscraper. Definitely one of the worst activities. I’ve left after few minutes…

9. VR Sports 

  • I didn’t try, but it does look like a Wii but more immersive with the VR headset. You can choose skating, hockey, soccer etc…


10. Plummet 

  • VR Skydive experience. The footage doesn’t match the movement of the ride, so better enjoy without the headset. You will be spinning upside down on this rotating pendulum ride. Good fun!

11. PAYDAY: The VR Heist

  • A bank robbery goes wrong. Just another shooting activity. You need to play in a team.

12. The Mummy Prodigium Strike & John Wick Chronicles VR Experiences

  • These are two similar experiences involving VR headset to transport you into a movie theme. I have tried the Mummy theme and was shooting zombies ( or something ) from moving helicopter ( it didn’t look very Mummy-ish ). It would be fun if it didn’t make me dizzy.

14. Construct

  • I Didn’t find this attraction ( perhaps I wasn’t looking hard enough ) but it supposes to be scenes exploring game from PresenZ movie format ( whatever that is )

15. Dune Bash

  •  Dune Bash attraction is actually two rides. First one is 3D action journey on a vehicle with “attached to an airplane” story. The car you are sitting in moves, turns, shakes while you are watching the mediocre footage. The other rise is similar but includes VR headset and dune bashing theme. Nothing to rave about…

16. VR Baloon

  • As you can guess, you will be transported in the air to watch the world below. A bit boring activity including VR Headset.


17. VR Bus

  • Another boring and not very enjoyable experience. You will be sitting on a bus watching scenes from chosen city. Do yourself a favor and skip this one

18. Dubai Drone

  • Wild Mouse type of rollercoaster including VR headset with bad, spasmodic footage of Dubai. Much better to enjoy this ride without the VR. Pity about the spinning at the end, it’s too much and will make you dizzy. Still, one of the better rides…

I was happy to experience this attraction but will stick with a “real” theme parks. There is nothing better then adrenalin rush while conquering the speed on Ferrari World’s Formula Rossa, or being “flushed down” on Aquaventure Water Park Poseidon’s Revenge…


PRACTICAL INFO :

  • OPENING TIME: 10AM-11PM ( vary by day )
  • LOCATION: DUBAI DOWNTOWN / DUBAI MALL – LEVEL 2
  • TICKET PRICE: FROM AED45 ( PAY BY RIDE )

YOU FOR VISITING

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ABU DHABI : Inside the New Warner Bros World Theme Park

Travellerczech was one of the lucky few, to preview the world’s newest theme park…Abu Dhabi’s Warner Bros World!

The entire 1.6 million sq ft park and all of its 29 attractions took 7 years to build and promises to deliver immersive experiences and unique rides.

The park itself is located right next to the Yas Island’s famous Ferrari World and Yas Waterworld. The opening of a third theme park makes Yas Island a multi-day destination filled with thrills, shopping, and culture in the nearby Louvre Abu Dhabi museum.

Btw…the opening date was just announced! So, put 25th of July in to your diary 😉


I was hugely impressed with today’s ( 19th April ) sneak peek inside the huge golden structure. Every inch is immaculately themed and it’s not even completed! Love the “real sky” ceilings which makes you feel outdoor and lots of story-telling details.

Few rides were in testing mode and if this is only the first glimpse, we are in for a treat!

Park is divided into 6 Zones 

  • WARNER BROS. PLAZA – Expect Golden Age Hollywood Glamour, immersive environment and a wide offering of dining and shopping.
  • BEDROCK – Home of the Flinstones and one big wet adventure flume ride!
  • DYNAMITE GULCH – Watch for the Roadrunner and board Fast and Furry-ous inverted coaster in this crazy land!
  • CARTOON JUNCTION – Who doesn’t love Tom and Jerry, Bugs Bunny and Scooby Doo! No less than five super fun rides are based on this cartoon themed area.
  • GOTHAM CITY – Batman is my all-time favorite superhero and he will take you for a ride of your life! Expect the unexpected on the signature Robotic arm coaster.
  • METROPOLIS – The city of superheroes, including Wonder Woman, Super Man and Green Lantern is filled with four unique immersive cinematic attractions. I think the xxx? will be my ultimate favorite.

COMPLETE LIST OF ALL ATTRACTIONS BELOW EACH ZONE GALLERY 


  • WARNER BROS. PLAZA

Attractions:
All-Star Spectacular – Theatrical lighting transforms the Plaza from daytime into evening for the All-Star Spectacular, a majestic symphonic celebration that uses projection mapping technology to bring the Warner Bros. film library to life. Hosted by no other than the infamous Bugs Bunny, this show is entertaining for the whole family.

Dining:
Guests in the mood for celebrity character-spotting can dine in style at The Starlight and look forward to a personal visit from all their favorite Warner Bros. and DC characters!
For an authentic taste of Italy, guests can head to Hollywood Trattoria.
Interested in visiting the Golden Age of Hollywood? Pop into Celebrity Scoop for a sweet indulgence.
Guests on-the-go can grab quick treats at Beverly Hills Boulangerie and Plaza Snacks.

Shops:
Guests can shop at Warner Bros. Studio Store and Superstar Souvenirs for an exclusive range of Warner Bros. World Abu Dhabi products including apparel, collectibles, and stationery.
Fans can pick-up t-shirts, accessories, and souvenirs featuring the world’s greatest Super Heroes and Super-Villains at DC Super Heroes Store.
Those in the mood for fine art can visit Treasures of Hollywood – a gallery featuring works from various DC and Looney Tunes artists, as well as prop replicas, jewelry, watches and stationery.


  • BEDROCK

Rides & Attractions:
The Flintstones Bedrock River Adventure – tucked away in the natural beauty of Bedrock’s Stonetrail Park, this star attraction invites passengers to embark on a scenic boat ride through stone-age wetlands, prehistoric neighborhoods and the city’s picturesque downtown area taking in the awesome sights and sounds of a day in the life of The Flintstones and The Rubbles. Guests should know that this isn’t just any day in Bedrock – it’s the town’s Centennial Parade! Rumor has it there’s Snorkasaurus-sized trouble in store when Dino is set loose to run amuck during the big celebration.

Dining:
Ravenous park-goers can satisfy their caveman cravings at Bronto Burgers and Ribs, where slabs of ribs and giant-sized Bronto Burgers will be served. Guests can dine in one of a row of prehistoric cars, or just stop for a photo opportunity and eat inside the diner.
When hunger strikes in downtown Bedrock, guests can choose from a variety of prehistoric pickings. For a quick stone-age snack, guests are invited to grab and go at Mammoth Munchies.


  • DYNAMITE GULCH

Rides & Attractions:
Fast & Furry-ous – this premier attraction invites passengers to climb onto Wile E. Coyote latest gadget – the ACME Road Rocket 9000 – for an exciting journey through the desert cactus and chasms joining Wile E. Coyote on yet another pursuit to catch the Road Runner. Beep! Beep!
Jetson’s Cosmic Orbiter – The Jetsons Cosmic allows guests to fly their own futuristic spaceship as they circle a space-age landing pad on a high-energy joyride.
Marvin The Martian Crater Crashers – Marvin the Martian: Crater Crashers – Marvin’s new recruits will smash the hovering space‐pods together to generate enough kinetic energy to power his broken rocket ship back into orbit —giving a whole new meaning to “kaboom!”

Shopping:
Guests can fill up on fun, and pick out their favorite cartoon merchandise at Yosemite Sam Rootin’ Tootin’ Gas; a kitschy, Route 66-themed shop filled with plush toys, drinkware, and ride souvenirs.


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  • CARTOON JUNCTION 

Rides & Attractions:
Ani-Mayhem – a visually immersive and interactive dark ride that takes guests on a rollicking mission to deliver their own cartoon chaos. Aim your “barcode scanners” to deliver ACME packages and accumulate the most points to become ACME Employee of the Month.
ACME Factory – features three kid-friendly rides like Daffy Jet-Propelled Pogo Stick, Ricochet Racin’ With Taz, and Tweety Wild Wockets.
Meet Bugs! (And Daffy) – Guests can immerse themselves in a one-of-a-kind walkthrough attraction and join Bugs Bunny on stage.
Tom and Jerry Swiss Cheese Spin – a family‐friendly spinning coaster that careens guests throughout their house on a fast-moving chase full of twists and turns (and cheese)!
Scooby-Doo The Museum of Mysteries– a family-friendly dark ride that follows Scooby-Doo and the gang in search for clues through a spooky museum filled with laughs and frights.
Cartoon Junction Carousel – a colorful twist on a classic carousel that allows guests to ride along with their favorite Looney Tunes and Hanna-Barbera characters.
Daffy Jet-Propelled Pogo Stick – a vertical “jump” tower that bounces guests up and down with Daffy Duck as he tests ACME’s latest invention.
Tweety Wild Wockets – Tweety Wild Wockets lets kids spin “awound and awound” as they try to avoid Sylvester, that “bad ol’ puddy tat”.
Ricochet Racin’ with Taz – a giggle-inducing children’s car ride that whips racers around the track at Tasmanian Devil-like speeds.

Dining:
Guests can dig in at a variety of places in Cartoon Junction like the ACME Commissary where quick service food is served with ACME flair. Those in the mood for a sweet treat can frequent Huckleberry Hound Pies and Penelope Pitstop Cotton Candy, or cool off with a cone at Yogi Bear and Boo Boo Ice Cream.

Shopping:
Fans of beloved animated characters such as Bugs Bunny and Daffy Duck will want to visit ACME Company Store, while C.J. Mercantile, located in the town’s emporium, provides souvenirs from the wacky to the classic for all of Cartoon Junction’s colorful characters. Guests can shop at the Hare Salon for variety of hats, and fashion accessories, and Fudd Hardware for Looney Tunes toys, accessories and stationery. Guests can also enjoy sweet treats create their own jelly candy at a using the ACME Candy Creator at Daffy Snacks.


  • GOTHAM CITY 

Rides & Attractions:
Batman: Knight Flight – a highly exhilarating dark ride where guests help Batman patrol the skies of Gotham City in a one-of-a-kind robotically controlled flying Batwing vehicle capable of sudden maneuvers including drops, climbs, spins, and rolls. This ride combines a high-tech flight simulator with immersive scenery and state-of-the-art special effects for a thrillingly unforgettable experience.
The Riddler Revolution – a thrillingly roundabout ride where supervillain Edward Nigma lures guests into a run-down shipping warehouse for a thrilling nightmare. This rocking, spinning rollercoaster features dizzying movements as guests are caught at this fiendish contraption designed by The Riddler.
Scarecrow Scare Raid – a rousing flight experience with dramatic aerobatics and whirlwind barrel rolls that will rattle the cage of any bat or man. This ride blends wild interactive adventures with dizzying maneuvers from Scarecrow’s latest psychological experiments.
The Joker’s Funhouse –a villainous twist on the classic carnival walk-through experience featuring a series of physical and mental challenges conjured up by Batman’s biggest foes. The Joker’s Funhouse includes
a hall of mirrors, a shrinking corridor, a labyrinth, a hallucination hallway and moving carpets— among many other memorable encounters.
Rogues Gallery Games – A host of delightfully puzzling games also await park guests at Rogues Gallery Games. Ranging from the Hi-Striker, the Whac-A-Bat, and the Get-Away Car, to the Toxic Blast and the Bazooka Blast, guests will have a chance to use their skills to reclaim Gotham Pier— a once peaceful landmark now held hostage by The Joker and his henchmen.
Dining:
Hungry, law-abiding citizens can make their way to Gotham City’s Finest – Gotham City’s Police Department’s local watering hole. Those choosing to dine with the ‘who’s who’ of the underworld can do so at the Hall of Doom, and finally, guests can satisfy their sweet tooth with an ice-cold dessert at Mr. Freeze Ice Scream Truck.

Shopping:
Guests can commemorate their visit to Gotham City from souvenir shops filled to the brim with mementos and memorabilia from Park Row Pawn Shop and Monarch Theater Gifts. At Harlequin Confections by Harley Quinn, guests can indulge in upscale chocolate and confectionery. Cat’s Eye Jewelry offers ladies accessories and a purrrfect selection of shiny bobbles! The men of Gotham City can shop the finest in haberdashery at Cobblepott Formal Wear.


  • METROPOLIS

Rides & Attractions:
Superman 360: Battle for Metropolis – 360-degree action spectacular that pits the greatest comic book hero of all time against an alien menace threatening the city. Featuring the Man of Steel, this battle of good versus evil will decide the fate of Metropolis.
Justice League: Warworld Attacks – a thrilling dark ride featuring immersive theatre experience and special effects which will rapidly dart, swoop, and spin guests amid a colossal clash that teams them with the Justice League in an all-out battle to save the planet.
Green Lantern: Galactic Odyssey – an awe-inspiring “flying theatre” experience that transports guests across the cosmos to extraordinary worlds, enriched with special and visual effects.
Teen Titans Training Academy – a multi-level play area featuring a zipline and other physical activities that invites up-and-coming heroes to showcase their skills alongside the legendary Teen Titans. Requires climbing, crawling, and navigating uneven walkways.
Dining:
Guests can dine at Bibbo Bibbowski’s quick service restaurant, Ace O’ Clubs, as well as Park Ridge Market.
Shops:
Guests can shop a wide range of souvenirs from Zatanna Books & Magical Curiosities and Justice League Hero Supply Co., feast on savory snacks from the Daily Planet Newsstand and visit Front Page Photos to appear on the front-page of the famed publication.


  • Tickets are on sale already on park’s website: wbworld.com from AED230

THANK YOU FOR VISITING

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DUBAI SAFARI : My Review of Dubai’s Latest Attraction!

It has been three months since the opening of Dubai’s newest attraction…the Dubai Safari Park.

I decided to delay my first visit to the park until the dust settled and it was worth the wait!  Even though the 120-hectare wildlife park in Al Warqa area is not fully finished, there is plenty to keep you entertained.

Once fully complete, 2500 animals will call this place their home. I was happy to see spacious and nicely designed enclosures with the well-being of the animals kept in mind. They even have Air Conditioning to keep them cool ( if you travel to Dubai in summer you know what I mean 🙂 )

TIP: ARRIVE EARLY TO AVOID QUEUES AND MID-DAY HEAT!


The entire park is divided into five zones.  One of them is the actual Safari tour and for this, you need to purchase a separate ticket or purchase combo ticket at the entrance ( see details at the end of this post ).

Transport between the different zones is serviced by buses and open trams.

ZONES :

  1. Arabian Village: Take a 15min ride on the open train through sand dunes and watch animals native to the Middle East region, such as Oryx, Gazelles, and Antelopes.
  2. Asian Village: Spot a Moon Bears, Gibbons or Komodo Dragons. The Sea Lion theatre is not open yet.
  3. African Village: Walk between massive Baobab trees, visit UAE largest Aviary and Reptile house in this self-walking zone filled with fun things to do and see. If you love Meerkats same as I do, this is the place for you 🙂
  4. Wadi Area: Beautifully landscaped valley with a river, walking paths and lush greenery. Perfect for a picnic or a nap under the trees.
  5. Safari Village: Exciting 40min Safari drive-through water and land. Watch carefully for White Rhinos, Tigers, Girrafes, and Crocodiles. Easily the highlight of the day!

ARABIAN VILLAGE 


ASIAN VILLAGE


AFRICAN VILLAGE 


WADI AREA


SAFARI VILLAGE 


The Good :

  • Beautifully landscaped park with a huge amount of greenery
  • Affordable entrance fee
  • Friendly staff
  • Large and very enjoyable Safari with a lot of animals
  • Two huge play areas for Kids

Not So Good :

  • It was dirty during my visit, buses full of rubbish, chewing gums etc. Hmmm
  • No restaurants are open yet, but they have food trucks.
  • Food trucks only accept cash ( except one )
  • The glass viewing panels into the animals enclosures were scratched and dirty, it was difficult to take a decent shot

Currently, the Spanish global park operator Parques Reunidos is taking over the Dubai Safari’s day-to-day operations, so we should see some improvements soon !


INFO :

  • Tickets: AED 50 / Kids 20 & Combo with Safari AED 85 / Kids AED 30
  • Open daily from 9am till 7pm
  • Accessible by car only – from Dubai Marina 40min / Dubai Downtown 20min
  • Area – Al Warqa / opposite Dragon Mart

VERDICT : 

Despite few “glitches”, I have really enjoyed my time in the park and spent more than four hours discovering all the different areas, exhibits and interactive experiences. It is a perfect place to escape the city, relax and have a fun day out for a very fair price!


THANK YOU FOR VISITING

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PATTAYA : My stay at Avani Resort

AVANI / PATTAYA / THAILAND

Travellerczech’s Rating7/10


Pattaya has a reputation of the “party” capital of Thailand, but did you know, you can actually discover an amazing islands and perfect beaches without taking another flight out of Bangkok?

If you are having some free time in the Thai capital ,don’t forget to visit the “Angkor Wat of Thailand”,mystical ancient ruins of Ayutthaya.

CLICK HERE TO READ ALL ABOUT MY TRIP TO AYUTTHAYA

Less than two hours taxi drive ( THB 1700 ) will bring you to the “resort” town of Pattaya. That makes it an ideal destination, if you have only few days and flying to Phuket, or Koh Samui it’s not an option.

I don’t like to waste my time in a traffic and prefer to walk and discover new places on foot. This means, to stay in central location. I also enjoy a quiet, peaceful and green surroundings, that’s why Avani Pattaya was my first choice. Read all about my experience below…


OVERVIEW :

Right in the middle of Pattaya, but neatly hidden within a sprawling lush gardens. The hotel is connected to a shopping mall with restaurants, supermarket and variety of stores.

Avani welcomes you with open air lobby, pleasant decor with touch of Thai heritage, smiley staff and plenty of greenery, which for me, is one of the main reasons I have picked this hotel.

Rooms are newly renovated and entire property feels fresh and pleasant. Just the lifts could be changed…


LOCATION : 9/10

Simply perfect…few minutes walk to the nearest beach, shopping malls, club streets etc.

Taxi journey from central Bangkok takes just under two hours and journey from/to Suvarnabhumi airport only 1hour and 30minutes. The ride will cost anything between 1500-2000THB ( 47USD+ )

Note, Pattaya’s beaches aren’t very nice, but there is a plenty of boat trips and island to visit and enjoy turquoise clean waters.

I have hired a private yacht for a day to discover amazing hidden beaches and coral reefs with pattayboathire.com which is the best way to explore nearby islands. You can book with them directly by email info@pattayaboathire.com 


ROOMS : 6/10

I have stayed in a Garden View Room on the top floor overlooking pool and the beach. These rooms are newly renovated with a light, fresh colours and decor, but nothing feels like you are in Thailand. Just a bit generic.

Bedding is very comfortable and mini fridge fully stocked to help to enjoy balmy evenings on your private balcony.

Bathroom is very small and it is hard to fit your toiletries around the sink area ( maybe I have too many 🙂 ) All areas were spotless at all times.

WiFi is complimentary with decent speed.

Room also includes : 

  • AC
  • safe, mini-fridge, TV, coffee/tea making facility
  • private furnished balcony
  • complimentary bottled water
  • complimentary WiFi
  • bathrobe/slippers
  • basic toiletries

TIP : always opt for garden/sea facing rooms


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SERVICE & FACILITIES : 7/10

Pleasant and helpful service. Refreshing drink is offered during check-in and all staff is friendly. Especially breakfast staff is very welcoming.

I have chosen this hotel especially because of the tropical gardens and pool. It didn’t disappoint. It really is a true oasis and the pool is very deep which I enjoyed. It also has a kids area, slide and whirlpool.

Hotel’s gym is a professionally equipped facility with huge variety of machines and free weights. Spa was just ok and the facial treatment I have tried wasn’t any special and was very costly.

Hotels main facilities :

  • free-form pools with water slides, surrounded by tropical gardens.
  • professionally equipped gym
  • spa including outdoor massage hut
  • cooking lesson area outside
  • cute coffee/bakery shop Pantry at the lobby
  • variety of restaurants and bars

POOL : big, deep, clean and surrounded by lush gardens with plenty of sun loungers.

SPA : ok facilities with nothing special to offer…

GYM : huge, fully equipped and perfect for a “hardocore” work out.

HOTEL GROUNDS : peaceful, lush and simply amazing!


FOOD & DRINKS : 8/10

  • Garden Cafe is the epicentre of the hotel’s F&B offering, with all day dining and delicious buffet breakfast. I loved the fresh fruit juices and asian food selection directly from Benihana restaurant.
  • Dicey Reilly’s is an Irish sport bar/pub and you must try their Beef Stew accompanied by pint of Guinness
  • Elephant Bar is at the lobby and offers wide selection of cocktails
  • Benihana restaurant is a famous japanese food chain offering high quality fresh sea food and specialities.
  • Pantry at Avani is a super cute little food shop in the lobby with healthy snacks selection of freshly made coffee.
  • Manao Bar is at the pool and serves pretty much anything and directly to your sun loungers or swim up bar.
  • Sala Rim Nam is traditional Thai cuisine destination hidden in the middle of beautiful garden.

TIP : also try the nearby Casa Pascal restaurant for a great fine dining experience!


VALUE FOR MONEY : 7/10

If you do compare the location, quality, facilities and service, you are getting very fair nightly rate. I also went to check some competition around and non of them can offer such a spacious gardens and pool.

  • at the time of writing this post, Garden View Rooms start from AED 590 ( USD 162 ) including breakfast.

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BANGKOK : My stay in Shangri-La Hotel

SHANGRI-LA / BANGKOK / THAILAND

Travellerczech’s Rating: 8/10

I often visit Bangkok as it keeps fascinating me by its chaotic nature, delicious street food, and creative shopping opportunities. It’s such a captivating place with something for everyone.

You have to plan strategically while choosing where to stay in Bangkok, otherwise, you will waste a lot of time in traffic. The location should always be within a walking distance to the Skytrain, so you can easily travel around.

Also, don’t forget to visit the amazing ancient Siam capital Ayutthaya and be mesmerized by historical temples and sights…it is only one hour drive from city center.

CLICK HERE FOR AYUTTHAYA TRIP VIDEO & ITINERARY 

I have chosen Shangri-La hotel as my base during my recent trip to the Thai capital and I wasn’t disappointed. Let me share with you my experience


OVERVIEW :

Officially the largest 5-star resort in Bangkok is offering more than 800 guest rooms in two hotel wings, 9 bars and restaurants, Spa, meeting facilities, its own dinner cruise boat and much more.

It really is a luxury oasis in the heart of the city. Did I mention the fantastic tropical swimming pool? 🙂

Shangri-La does deliver a serenity and elegance for discerning travelers, no matter if business or pleasure brings you to the city.



LOCATION : 8/10

…very convenient. I was pleasantly surprised by the quick 35 minutes journey from the Airport.

Saphan Taksin Skytrain station is a just 2minutes walk from the Krungthep wing of the hotel and the frequent trains take you directly to Bangkok’s central shopping areas within minutes of travel time.

You can also use the hotel complimentary boats to visit Asiatique entertainment village, or simply cross the river.

  • TIP: Day Skytrain pas cost only TBH 140 and save you a lot of travel time.

ROOMS: 8/10

In my opinion, all the rooms look much better in reality than on the online booking sites. I did have a sneaky look into all different rooms and suites and they all are very well maintained, spotless, with a touch of Thai decor and most of them have fantastic views over Chao Phraya river.

The hotel has two wings, original Shangri-La wing and newer Krungthep wing with balconies.

I was staying in Shangri-La wing Deluxe river view room. The quite rooms are 36sqm big, with panoramic views from a window seating area. For me, it was easily the best part of the room.

Deluxe river view room also includes :

  • panoramic river views 🙂
  • plush bathrobes, slippers &  toiletries
  • safe
  • minibar and coffee/tea facility
  • pillow menu
  • TV, DVD
  • complimentary high-speed Wi-Fi
  • desk, chair & window sofa

KRUNGTHEP Wing feels almost like another hotel. It has its own reception, lobby, gardens, and pool. It supposed to be more private.  Rooms are spacious, elegant and have a river facing balcony, but I have found the noise from the bridge quite bothersome.


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SERVICE & FACILITIES: 7/10

SERVICE :

As you would expect, all the staff is very professional. What makes my stay is the people who enjoy their job and treat every guest as an individual and with a smile.  I didn’t get this in Shangri-La. From the reception, to pool deck staff, everyone was distant, not very helpful and sometimes, almost with an “attitude”. It simply felt like everyone is tired of the guests. The only person who stood out was the manager at Volti restaurant.

FACILITIES :

The main attraction of this hotel must be the tropical swimming pool. Forget you are in restless Bangkok, lush greenery and turquoise waters create idyllic “island escape feel” so relax and enjoy a bit of tranquility.

Hotels main facilities :

  • Tropical swimming pool deck + additional pool in Krungthep wing
  • Horizon Club Lounge
  • Conference center
  • Health Club & Spa
  • Hair salon
  • Souvenir store / Chocolate shop
  • Shuttle Boat
  • 6 restaurants & 3 bars

POOL DECK :

HORIZON CLUB LOUNGE : 

HEALTH CLUB : 

 SPA :

MORE: PRIVATE BOAT DINNER CRUISE, MEETING ROOMS, ATM, SHOPS …


FOOD & DRINKS: 9/10

Shangri-La has fantastic food across all their 9 F&B outlets. Better than any other hotel I have visited. From endless breakfast selection to dedicated restaurants to sample international delicacies…it’s just sooo yummy!

Of course, breakfast is a MUST and the NEXT2 all-day dining restaurant has something for everyone. They also have a healthy corner and you can kick-start your day on the beautiful outdoor terrace overlooking the river.

VOLTI :

My taste buds were the happiest at the Italian bistro Volti. The Italian born manager makes sure, the food is the best quality and I could eat their fish dishes any time of the day. Perfection!

MORE: SALATHIP, SHANG PALACE, LOBBY LOUNGE …

For an authentic Thai dining experience, head to Salathip restaurant, set in a picturesque wooden house overlooking the river.

There are other places to enjoy a sumptuous meal, or just a cocktail, such as Chinese Shang Palace, Lobby Lounge or try dinner on board of Shangri-La’s own dinner cruise boat Horizon.


 VALUE FOR MONEY: 7/10

Of course…five-star luxury and waterfront property doesn’t come cheap but comparing to another top class hotels in global cities, it’s actually much more affordable than you think.

  • Advance purchase can get you a room from THB 5.950 ( USD 187 )
  • For BEST DEALS book directly on SHANGRI-LA.COM

…tell them, I sent you 😉


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