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

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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.


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travellerczech.com

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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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Warner World Theme Park Abu Dhabi Construction Photos Travellerczech

WB WORLD ABU DHABI : Construction Update Dec17


The highly anticipated WARNER BROS WORLD theme park on Abu Dhabi’s Yas Island is in its finishing stages of construction.

The yellow facade is completed, cartoon characters are being painted on walls and all rides are installed inside.

Also, the characteristic water tower is completed and lit up in the night.

The 1.65 million sq.feet indoor park will have a total of 29 rides, shows, and attractions. Rumors say, the opening will be in late summer 2018.

Warner Bros. World Abu Dhabi will feature six areas : 

  • Metropolis : Based on Batman’s Gotham City
  • Gotham City : Inspired by World of DC heroes
  • Cartoon Junction : Themed with a Bugs Bunny & Scooby-Doo
  • Bedrock : A prehistoric Flintstones world with birds and dinosaurs.
  • Dynamite Gulch : Area themed after animated brands of Looney Tunes, or Hanna-Barbera
  • Warner Bros. Plaza : Boulevard themed after old Hollywood


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Artistic impressions of the park themed areas : 


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Motiongate Theme Park Dubai The Hunger Games Lionsgate Zone

MOTIONGATE : The Hunger Games “land” is now OPEN !


The world of Hunger Games, best selling novels and movie trilogy ( 2008-2010) is now become a reality.

You can experience the post-apocalyptic Panem at Motiongate theme park in Dubai. ” Labeled” as Phase 2 of the theme park expansion is due to be open officially soon, but both major rides are in technical rehearsal and intermittently available to park guests.

Mack manufactured launched roller coaster Capitol Bullet Train and 3D flight simulator Panem Aerial Tour are truly enjoyable, state-of-the-art attractions and will fully immerse you in the world of 12 Districts of Panem.


Let’s have a closer look at both rides :

  • Panem Aerial Tour

The ride queue starts with the infamous poisoned white roses as a direct reference to the evil President Snow. Movie music, together with displayed props, clothing and images work well and there is plenty to look at while waiting for your flight.

A safety video hosted by Effie Trinket is a nice introduction to the quirky world of Capitol city, before  proceeding to the waiting room with 5 doors. They lead to the loading room with ride vehicle consisting 5 rows/6 seats per row.

This vehicle moves forward to another room with a 360 circular shaped projection. Passengers get to go on a 3D flight tour of the Capitol, but of course, things doesn’t go as planned and there is wild chase through the city. The vehicle moves very smoothly and wind effects makes the experience much more realistic. The journey feels very immersive and well designed.

My only comments will be towards the sharpness of the projections, it should be more crisp and vivid. Hopefully this will be fixed as the ride is still in technical rehearsal.


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  • Capitol Bullet Train 

Motiongate’s 4th coaster is from German ride maker Mack. Train has 10 rows with 2 seats in each.

Safety lap bar makes the ride very comfortable and more exciting. After exiting the loading station, the entire train moves to the left when it joints to the actuals track.

At first, it gets slowly launched towards the main loop. It rises only half way up and rolls backwards onto the vertical part of the track, for some awesome air time ( the best seats are in the very last row ).

Right after, the train receives full power push from the lines induction motors and accelerates into the full loop and rest of the track. There is one more loop and air hill, but the ride is quickly over.

The ride could be bit longer and faster, but that’s just me 🙂


Few more photos from around the Lionsgate area


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INDONESIA : 8 AMAZING REASON’S TO VISIT YOGYAKARTA

Yogyakarta region and it’s main city was almost unknown to me until a few months ago, when I came across an amazing photo of Borobudur temple while browsing online.

A little bit of “googling” later, and I’m wondering, why this place isn’t one of the world’s top destination to visit…

Luckily for me ( and you ), it is still mostly unknown to foreign visitors, so I could sample the real Indonesia, far away from the crowds of the more popular locations.

Travelling around central Java is adventurous, thrilling and very satisfying. It is safe, easy & also “friendly” to your wallet. It’s almost unbelievable to see, how much this region has to offer. Not forget to mention great food and friendly locals…

Discover my list of 8 BEST places to visit below!

Don’t forget to check 3 Day Yogyakarta Trip itinerary at the end of this post !


  • 1. EXPERIENCE SUNSET at BOROBUDUR  TEMPLE

Borobudur is one of the most unique places on the planet and world’s largest Buddhist monument.

It’s history begins in the 9th century and the complex includes over 70 stupas with hidden Buddha statues inside.

To take a postcard perfect photo isn’t easy. You need to be lucky with the weather, patient with the crowds and skilled with photoshop 😉

But it’s absolutely worth it, the crowds thinning as the sun settles down and you can fully enjoy the majestic surroundings and magical atmosphere.

Definitely one of the highlights of my trip!

INFO :

TRAVEL TIME : 1,5 hrs from Yogyakarta

TICKET : 325.000 IDR ( incl. drink )

TIME TO ENJOY : approx. 2 hours

DRESS CODE :  No open shoulders, shorts below the knee ( you can rent sarong there )


  • 2. DISCOVER PRAMBANAN TEMPLE

Located in central Yogyakarta means, you don’t have to travel too far, to discover this amazing Hindu temple dedicated to Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva gods.

The central 47m high temple is truly impressive and the entire place offers great locations for taking photos and discovering the surrounding grounds.

To find a quieter area, exit the main temple podium through the gate on the left side and find yourself in ruins covered site, offering the perfect views and angles with no other visitors.

INFO :

TRAVEL TIME : 20min from central Yogya

TICKET : 325.000 IDR ( incl. water )

TIME TO ENJOY : 1-2hrs

NO DRESS CODE


  • 3. ZIP LINE IN KALIBIRU NATIONAL PARK

Don’t miss Kalibiru National Park for splendid views and thrilling adventure park.

Zip line, climb and challenge yourself in this hill-top obstacle course. Nothing beats the adrenaline rush while swishing up amongst the tree tops and being stopped in the middle for a quick “hanging in the air” photo opportunity.

If you are a keen Instagrammer, this a place for you ! You can choose from many “stations” and obstacles and the staff will take photos of you, which will be downloaded to your phone afterwards.

If you are Iphone user, better bring USB to download photos!

 

INFO : 

TRAVEL TIME : 1,5hrs from Yogyakarta

TICKET : 10.000 IDR + Pay per activity and extra photos 80.000 for 8pc’s

  • the entire system is a bit confusing as no one speaks english. Be patient and start at the rock climbing station. From there you can do all the activities and also download photos ( 8 snaps) to your phone at the end. Staff lunch break 12-1pm so come before or after. Long queues!

TIME TO ENJOY : 2hrs ( could be more, depends on the waiting lines )

DRESS CODE : Sport clothes, sport shoes


  • 4. GET LOST in TAMAN SARI WATER CASTLE & UNDERGROUND MOSQUE

Ideal place for a leisurely stroll, away from hustle and bustle of Yogyakarta. It is peaceful, quiet and if you come during weekdays, not too busy.

The actual castle isn’t big, but don’t miss the surrounding areas, including picturesque streets with batik shops, restaurants and of course the underground mosque with its dark corridors.

It’s not easy to find it all, so get lost in the tiny colourful streets and explore. But not to worry, there is plenty of friendly locals, that will point you in the right direction.

INFO : 

TRAVEL TIME : 10min from central Yogyakarta

TICKET : 16.000IDR

TIME TO ENJOY : 1-2 hrs

NO DRESS CODE


  • 5. HANG OUT at TIMANG BEACH ROPE BRIDGE & GONDOLA

I was really lucky to arrive to Timang Beach during storm. It really added to the rough spirit of this fantastic location and also, there was absolutely no one else 🙂

Raw nature, deafening waves crashing against razor edged cliffs and sea spray hitting my face.

I loved it. You can choose to travel on the small rocky island in hand pulled gondola, or cross a 100m long rope bridge on foot.

I would recommend the bridge. It takes much longer to cross, offers unique photo opportunities with waves reaching up to 20m in height and it’s really spine chilling experience.

INFO : 

TRAVEL TIME : 2hrs from Yogyakarta

TICKET : 100.000IDR for Rope bridge / 10.000 for Wooden podium

50.000 bike ride from near by village ( 15min necessary ride )  / Jeep ride optional

TIME TO ENJOY : 1-2hrs 

DRESS CODE : comfortable clothes, no flip flops or sandals


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  • 6. EXPLORE GOA JOMBLANG CAVE

Definitely one of the most thrilling experience’s of my life! Conquer your fear of heights and descent into “Jurassic World”.

To only way to get inside the mysterious Jomblang Cave is via 80m deep descent on a hand pulled rope similar to abseiling.

Only 60 adventurers is lowered all the way down every day. The entire procedure feels very safe and all equipment is quite new. Nonetheless, hanging in the air with 80m of nothingness below me, was terrifying.

The reward comes soon after walking through pitch black muddy cave into a “dome” with waterfall of light.

Nature created breathtaking show which is the best to see between 11.30-12.30 and on sunny day only. Honestly, I haven’t seen anything like this before. It was simply incredible!

INFO :

TRAVEL TIME : 1,5 hrs from Yogyakarta

TICKET : 450.000 IDR 

TIME TO ENJOY : 4hrs

  • only 60 people/day so better pre-book and arrive before 9am.
  • the full experience lasts 4 hours.
  • you will get dirty and very wet ( take extra clothes and towel )

DRESS CODE : comfortable clothes ( you will get rubber shoes and all equipment )


  • 7. DON’T MISS UNDERWATER PHOTOSHOOT AT UMBUL PONGGKOK

In three words…SO MUCH FUN!

Umbul Ponggkok is a natural spring lake in Klaten town. It’s a a bit bizzar place with crystal clear lake, lots of fish and “daily” objects thrown in the water to take a photo with.

Once you figure out how this place works ( a bit complicated due to language barrier ),  dive into the fresh cold waters, put snorkel on and let the underwater world pass by.

You need to pick your desired photo objects at the booth and “photo crew” goes with you to style and take fantastic fun snaps of you. You can download all the photos to your phone afterwards.

INFO :

TRAVEL TIME : 1,5hrs from Yogyakarta

TICKETS : 15.000IDR / Snorkel rental 13.000IDR / Photo shoot : 250.000 IDR

  • you can rent all underwater equipment

TIME TO ENJOY : 1-2hrs

DRESS CODE : Swimwear


  • 8. PLAY GOLF, DINE & enjoy a SHOW at the HYATT REGENCY HOTEL

Do you fancy to show off your best shirt, or lovely dress?

Delicious Indonesian themed dinner buffet with intriquing Ramayana Ballet show is your best bet!

The one & only place to do so, is at the finest hotel in the region…Hyatt Regency Yogyakarta.

It’s spacious grounds hiding 9-hole golf course and also tennis court and Spa.

Why not make it a day? Play golf and enjoy great food with a show after the sunset…

FULL REVIEW OF HYATT REGENCY YOGYAKARTA COMING SOON !

 

INFO : 

TRAVEL TIME : 20min from central Yogyakarta

PRICE : 165.000 IDR

TIME TO ENJOY : dinner 2-3 hours

DRESS CODE : smart casual


  •        3 DAY TRIP ITINERARY SAMPLE :

DAY 1 : Prambanan + Kalibiru + Borobudur

DAY 2 : Roa Gomblang + Timang Beach

DAY 3 : Taman Sari Castle + Umbul Ponggkok

  • To reach all destinations, hire a skilled driver with a comfy, AC car – prices around 500.000IDR/day – try Danar : 0062  813 9282 9086
  • Note, charge for using toilets is 2000IDR ( everywhere ), so have small change!
  • Shopping in Yogyakarta :   Ambarukmo Plaza / Hartono Mall / Jogyakarta City Mall
  • 3 Best Restaurants  : Sasanti / Gojah Wong / Abyagiri
  • I was travelling to Yogyakarta from Dubai with Singapore Airlines and Silk Air.

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DUBLIN : My stay at Clayton Hotel Burlington Road

CLAYTON HOTEL BURLINGTON ROAD

Travellerczech’s Rating : 5/10


Did you know, the word Dublin is an old Gaelic phrase ( Dubh Linn ) which translates as “Black Pool ?

Dublin is vibrant capitol of Ireland and with more than 600 pubs…a pint of Guinness and a good laugh is never too far. But its not just all about pubs…

Christ Church Cathedral, 12th century Dublin Castle, or the famous Trinity College are amongst many places you shouldn’t miss.

My last trip to Ireland was 6 years ago and I have returned to see, what changed since. It was great to see the city buzzing with visitors, so many new exciting places to shop, eat and drink and for the culture hungry crowd, the newly renovated Irish National Gallery is THE place to see.

You can easily spend few days discovering just the capitol itself and you will need somewhere to stay. Check my latest hotel review of the Clayton Burlington Road Hotel to find out if this place could be for you…


Location : 7/10

Burlington road, where the hotel is located,  is in walkable distance to the city centre, but the walk may take you up to 30min. If you are looking for central accommodation, this isn’t a place for you.

The area isn’t too exciting and except few pubs and great Canal Bank Cafe on the corner, there isn’t much to do/see around. In exchange, you get peaceful location, which is close to all points of interest.

I have enjoyed long walks towards the Grand Canal Theatre Square and St. Stephens’s park.

Airpot transfer takes around 30min by car and cost 50Euro.


Style : 4/10

Beige, bland and very forgettable. The exterior is nothing to talk about. Interior has some exciting “moments” but overall impression isn’t for someone with high aesthetic appreciations.

On the other hand, it is clean, modern and spacious.


Rooms : 5/10

Standard “business traveller”, or “package tour” style rooms. Small-ish in size, practical and simple.

Beds are very comfortable and I liked the sliding socket stand on the desk. Wi-Fi is fast and complimentary, such as a two bottles of local water each day.

Bathrooms are very small, with some basic toiletries and small bathtub with shower.

It does the job…


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Service & facilities : 6/10

Lukewarm welcome, but check-in quick and efficient. Requests were dealt with in timely manner.

There is a very decent gym with a nice view. It’s not too busy, so you can continue with your daily workout routine.

ATM and grocery “corner” also available at the lobby.

Bus stop and taxi stand are right in front of the hotel.


Food & drinks : 9/10

Hotel has a huge Sport bar, to cater for all the bus tours crowds, cute Lobby bar/snack shop and two spacious breakfast rooms.

Buffet breakfast was excellent. I have really enjoyed the local products, such as amazing yogurts. Big selection of food to satisfy everyone’s taste.

The sandwiches from Lobby bar were also very tasty.


Value for money : 6/10

At the time of writing this post, room rates starts on AED450 ( USD125)/night without breakfast.

Dublin is expensive city for hotels due to high demand and it is difficult to find a good standard of accommodation for a lower price.

I personally wouldn’t stay at Clayton again as I prefer smaller and more centrally located hotels.


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La Perle Show Franco Dragone Dubai Al Habtoor City

DUBAI : Le Perle Show – First Impressions & VIDEO

65 performers, 1300 seats within 10 floors high, custom build theatre, 2.7mil litres dive pool, mapping projections on all surfaces and 135 speakers to create the most immersive experience.

All those impressive numbers should make up for one big unforgettable spectacle, but unfortunately, last weekend opening shows were far from that.

Speaking for myself, the expectations were running high. Previously experiencing over 10 Dragone’s and Cirque du Soleil shows, I really feel cheated and immensely dissapointed by seeing La Perle at Al Habtoor City theatre.



The show is obviously under-rehearsed, many of the performers just keep running around to fill the space and except for a couple of “finished” sequences, the entire piece is rather underwhelming.

Many tricks and technical elements are not operational and some of the artists don’t even get to do their stunts.

In my opinion, it felt like a preview rehearsal show and therefore the guests shouldn’t be asked to pay full price tickets!

The biggest flop was the ending part with a huge empty structure coming up and down. This piece was meant to be full of performers ( I guess ).



The story of La Perle supposed to be inspired by Dubai and its rich cultural past, vibrant present and aspirational future. There isn’t any obvious connection of that in the show and why is one of the main characters Chinese dragon ?


La Perle commencement somehow reminds me rushed opening of Dubai Parks and Resorts on December 2016. Nothing was finished, tickets were full price…”word of mouth” spreads quick and now, the parks are barely surviving.

I maybe sound too critical, but as a big fan of Cirque du Soleil and Dragone’s shows, this was not good!

But it’s not all bad, the theatre is amazing, seats slightly narrow, but otherwise comfortable and the staff helpful and welcoming.  You can bring purchased food and drinks inside the theatre and take as many photos and videos as you like.

…just wait few more months before purchasing the tickets…


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  • Tickets starts from Aed 400 ( USD 110 )
  • Al Habtoor City – W Hotel
  • Show times : 7pm / 9.30pm ( days vary )

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CESKY KRUMLOV : Stay at Wellness Pension Ametyst / REVIEW

WELLNESS PENSION AMETYST / CESKY KRUMLOV / CZECH REPUBLIC

TRAVELLERCZECH’s RATING : 8 / 10


Cesky Krumlov is a unique, UNESCO listed town in the South Bohemian region of the Czech Republic.

This enchanting little town is easily accessible from Prague, by a three hour bus journey or drive!

The town’s 13th century Castle, meandering river around the historical centre and breath-taking views create an unforgettably “fairy tale” setting.

Combine this with the great food, chilled vibes and historical surroundings, you definitely don’t want to miss this, during your visit to the Czech Republic.

Here is my review of suitable accommodation, which would make an ideal base for discovering this stunning part of the country.


Location :

Pension Ametyst is conveniently located inside the historical area, only two minutes’ walk to the Castle and short beautiful walk to the town’s Main Square.

Bus Stop to/from Prague is also few minutes’ walk, so no need for any additional transport. That makes it a very convenient place to stay in.

There is a grocery shop, post office and restaurants in short distance. No pub, or restaurant is directly next to the Pension, so you can enjoy peaceful night of sleep.

Cesky Krumlov is a small town, so all places of interests are within minutes of walk.


Style :

Accommodation is in a town house from 18th century ( renovated ) and the owners keep the décor old fashioned and appropriate to the history of the building.

I really liked the creaky wooden stairs to the first floor, it adds to the charm.

Note, this is not a luxury hotel but family run Guest House on B&B basis.


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Rooms :

Every room is individually styled and you can pick from four different types. I have chosen the Family Room with one king size and two single beds accommodating up to 4 guests in two bedrooms.

Note, there isn’t any safe in the room. Sockets for charging your devices are easily accessible and Wi-Fi is free & fast.

Rooms are spacious, clean and breathing old fashioned charm. There is dining table, electric kettle and basic supply of tea and coffee. The pillows could be more firm though.

Bathrooms are small, but clean and newly renovated with a nice shower corner. Bring your own toiletries.


Service & facilities :

Very warm and welcoming. I have even received an email prior my stay, asking for arrival details so everything is ready.

Also, handy sightseeing map and all information’s were given upon check-in. You can also book your breakfast.

There are lovely wellness facilities in the basement of the building, including jacuzzi, sauna and relaxing lounges which are available for an additional fee.


Food & drinks :

Breakfast is made to order and have to be pre-booked night before. You can choose from extensive breakfast menu.

All food is home cooked and served in your room or outdoor patio.

Portions are great, tasty and very satisfying.

  • Best food in Cesky Krumlov  – Papa’s Restaurant !

Value for money :

Excellent value comparing location, space and quality of the accommodation. I would recommend Ametyst Pension and stay here again!

Prices starts from 350Aed ( 95USD) / 4 persons/room


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DUBAI : 10 BEST NEW THINGS TO DO

Long gone are the times, when shopping was the only fun thing to do in Dubai!

New attractions are popping up in every corner of the city and there has never been a better selection of activities to make your vacation, weekend or evening unforgettable.

To make your choices a little bit more easier, I have put together list of TOP 10 NEW attractions you can enjoy in Dubai or close proximity.

IN NO PARTICULAR ORDER :

1. Ride Velociraptor at IMG World’s of Adventure !

World’s largest indoor theme park is a home to over 16 attractions within 5 zones, including Cartoon Network, Marvel, Lost Valley & IMG Boulevard.

Velociraptor, Predator, Thor & Spiderman rides are amongst the most thrilling ones, so don’t eat before you ride…eat after, the food in the park is very good 🙂

IMG WOA is located outside the city, near Global Village.

“CLICK HERE FOR 147 IMG WOA IMAGES & REVIEW HERE”

INFO : Tickets from Aed245 / daily 11am-9&10pm / Sheik Mohammed Bin Zayed Road


2. Climb Tree Tops inside the Green Planet

Learning about the Earth, Eco systems and Nature it’s so much fun inside the big white building at City Walk Dubai. The Green Planet bio dome is accommodating more than 3000 plants and animals.

Walk under tropical rivers, lift-off on top of rain forest and discover animals you never knew they existed.

CLICK HERE FOR FULL POST ABOUT THE GREEN PLANET” 

INFO : Ticket from Aed95 ( buy 1 get 1 free with Entrainer voucher ) / daily 10am-10&12pm / City Walk Dubai


3. Walk around Dubai Canal 

New 3,2km “river” is now connecting Dubai Creek with Jumeirah Beach. Enjoy exciting views at the city, waterfall daily from 8-10pm and if your phone runs out of battery after all the selfies, easily re-charge from many stations along the Canal Boardwalk.

Don’t forget to cross all three interesting bridges to take the best photos.

INFO : Admission Free / open 24/7  / bring your own food & drinks


4. Experience amazing at Dubai Parks & Resorts

Three theme parks and waterpark complex linked by dining & entertainment village called Riverland is now to be discovered at the outskirts of Dubai South towards Abu Dhabi.

Legoland, Bollywood and Motiongate parks presenting dozens of attractions and my favourite area is Dreamwork’s Zone inside Motiongate park. Don’t miss the magical Dragon Gliders coaster!

World’s first Hunger Games themed “land” is opening very soon ! Stay tuned.

CLICK HERE FOR ALL MY REVIEWS AND HUNDREDS OF PHOTOS” 

INFO : Tickets from 85Aed / daily from 10am-12pm  (openings vary/check online) / Sheik Zayed Road towards Abu Dhabi


5. Be amazed at Imagine show

Enjoy brand new Guinness World Records breaking show, full of light, water and fire effects in Dubai’s Festival City Mall.

Watch one, or all three 3 different shows, daily from 7.30pm to 11pm. Expect huge water screen projections, mapping videos on surrounding buildings and plenty of other tricks designed by Australian company Laservision.

INFO :  Admission Free / shows from 7.30pm / Festival City Mall Dubai


6. Take selfies with all the funky Street Art at City Walk 

One of my favourite areas of the city. Picturesque City Walk is only few minutes drive from Dubai Mall, but feels like another “planet”.

Restaurants, Art, Shopping, Exhibitions, Hub Zero Game Park and also the Green Planet are all located in here.

“LOOK INSIDE THE AMAZING HUB ZERO VIDEO GAME PARK”

Beautifully designed “streetscapes”, walkable distances with all the fantastic coffee shops makes this place the perfect weekend destination. Uh, did I mentioned the cool street art ?

INFO : Admission Free ( pay per attraction )  / Al Wasl Road


7. Catch a world class performance at Dubai Opera

Finally, Dubai has it’s own Opera House! 1901-seat, multi-format, performing arts centre is designed after the traditional Arabic vessel ..Dhow.

Expect the most flashy musicals, concerts and shows. This place is full every night and proved to be a big hit with locals and visitors alike.

Check the website for full program/tickets and PLEASE turn off your phones during the show!

INFO : Admission per show ( book online ) / you cannot enter without ticket / Sh.Mohammed Bin Rashid Boulevard – Dubai Downtown 


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8. Watch Ain Dubai Wheel growing bigger and bigger by the day!

The Beach at JBR Walk is the place to go, if you want to feel like being on vacation! Crowds of tourists, turquoise sea, busy promenade and 40+ dining places to choose from…

It doesn’t stop here, just opposite The Beach is growing Dubai’s biggest attraction…215m tall Ain Dubai Mega Wheel. It’s not finished just yet, but its hard not get impressed by its size already.

This place is perfect to visit at any time, any day.

INFO : Admission Free / Dubai Marina – JBR Walk / Paid Parking 


9. Take a day trip to Yas Island’s Ferrari World !

Want to escape the heat and make a little trip outside the city ? Yas Island is only 50min drive from Dubai Marina and is famous for its Ferrari World theme park, Yas F1 circuit, Yas Water World and Warner Brother Movie World ( opening 2018 )

The massive red roof of Ferrari World is hiding one of the best thrill rides in this part of the world.

Feel the speed on record breaking 240km/h Formula Rossa coaster, fly 52m high on twisted loops of Flying Aces or get “shot” through the park’s roof on newest Turbo Track ride…

CLICK HERE TO SEE TURBO TRACK’s OPENING NIGHT” 

INFO : Tickets from Aed275 / Daily 11am-8pm / Yas Island Abu Dhabi 


10. Have lunch stop at Last Exit ( on the way back from Yas Island )

Retro themed “food stop” on Sheikh Zayed highway on the way from Abu Dhabi is full of funky cars, food trucks and photo opportunities.

Pick some freshly cooked food from one of the 18 food trucks and enjoy it in a setting reminding me Disney movie Cars.

Second Last Exit on the opposite side of the road is opening soon !

INFO : Admission Free / open 24/7 / Sheikh Zayed Road from Abu Dhabi 


If all of this is not enough, just wait few more months for two more major openings – Dubai Safari and Al Habtoor La Perle show…stay tuned 🙂


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Art Nouveau Palace Hotel Prague Review

PRAGUE : Stay at Art Nouveau Palace Hotel / REVIEW

Art Nouveau Palace Hotel Prague

Travellerczech Rating : 7/10


Prague is one of the most beautiful cities in the world. Cobblestone streets, churches, palaces and hidden renaissance gardens. Great food and beer, magnificent sights, together with affordable prices and safe environment.

It’s not easy to find the right location for your stay, so let me help to make your decisions a little bit easier. Czech my Art Nouveau Palace Hotel review based on my personal experience and selection.


Location : 10/10

Location is arguably one of the best features of this 1909 historical hotel, which is only minutes away from the main Wenceslas Sq, Mustek Metro Station, shopping streets and the historical areas of the city.

Also, easily reachable from the Airport by Bus ( 119 ) + Metro or by taxi in less than 40min.

CLICK FOR PRAGUE AIRPORT GUIDE HERE 

Beautiful Viennese Art Nouveau style building is on the corner of Panska and Jindrisska street, so you can hardly miss it.


Style : 7/10

I was hoping for much more Art Nouveau ornamentation, but the interior appeals more of a mixture of styles with some rather revolting elements such as the lobby multi-level chandelier.

I am not an expert for 1900 century interiors, but I have had a slightly different expectations.

Anyway, its not bad, just not great either.