Hilton Manila hotel review

Hilton Manila

Manila’s traffic is so bad a whole city of airport hotels has sprung up to service airline passengers coming into the city on their way to and from the Philippines’ fabulous islands. Newport City includes a Marriott and a Savoy, convenience stores and coffee shops, casinos and shopping malls, and now the city’s only Hilton, which opened in October 2018.
It’s the end of a tropical holiday, so of the five dining venues, it must be the swim-up bar for a lunch of mango mai tais, hot fresh pizza with buffalo mozzarella and fresh fish fingers for the small fry. Service is super-chatty and super-friendly, though not speedy, as the hotel is still polishing its act. Madison Bar & Lounge near the entrance is easy to overlook but chocophiles note: its patisserie serves excellent chocolate croissants. There’s also a well-stocked gin bar with knowledgeable staff and a jazz singer who croons into the wee hours.

Click here to read the full review, which was first published in the Traveller section of the Sydney Morning Herald and The Age newspapers.

Smoking hot: Volcano tourism

Fascinated by nature’s spectacular fireworks, a breed of adventurers chase volcanic eruptions around the world.

 

Peering into a chasm into the earth’s crust is the chance to peer into creation – pits of bubbling, boiling lava, deep rumbling voices from our planet’s core, plumes of sulphurous gases and the spectacular, powerful arcs of red-hot, molten lava shooting into a darkened sky.

For some, it’s a glimpse into hell. For others, it’s the perfect holiday.

“I guess we’re like storm chasers and people who want to see solar eclipses – we’re in the same family,” says Belgian geologist Dr Ingrid Smet, a guide for Volcano Adventures (VA).

My piece on volcano tourism was published in Paradise, the inflight magazine of Papua New Guinea’s national airline, Air Nuigini. If you’re not on an Air Nuigini flight any time soon, you can read the full article here.

The most amazing man-made structures in Asia

Faster, higher, longer and older: there’s no doubt Asia plays the one-upmanship game when it comes to architectural statements.

It’s a tough call, making a list of the top 10 architectural statements in Asia. You could go crazy on weird shopping malls or kooky skyscrapers, or totally old-school with a list of heroic monuments and temples.

I’ve earmarked some of the newest, such as Shanghai Tower and Singapore’s Gardens by the Bay, and sought balance with some of the oldest and (in my eyes) most beautiful, such as Indonesia’s Borobodur and the Bibi-Khanym Mosque in Uzbekistan.

Would love to hear your thoughts on my list, which was first published in the Sydney Morning Herald/The Age newspapers’ Traveller section.

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Sunrise at Borobudur temple on Java. Photo: iStock

Hotel review: Swissotel Resort Phuket, Thailand

With Muay Thai in the gym, a broad sweep of beautiful white-sand beach, poolside kid manicures and Phuket’s cha long liquor at the poolside bar, what’s not to love about this family-friendly hotel?

Set on the broad sweep of Kamala Bay, on Phuket’s west coast, Swissotel Resort Phuket is two minutes’ walk to the beach, within driving distance of most of the island’s attractions, but away from the sin bins of Patong. Ideal for families, it’s the great beach holiday, Thai style.

You can read more about my review of this Phuket family hotel here on the Traveller website. The feature appeared in Sydney’s Sun-Herald and Melbourne’s Sunday Age newspapers.
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Poolside at the Swissotel Resort Phuket, Thailand. photo: supplied.

 

Where to eat in Shanghai: Chef Jan Van Dyk

Recently, I was in Shanghai for a three-day eat fest. While there, I caught up with chef Jan Van Dyk of the Waldorf Astoria Shanghai on the Bund. The South African born chef calls Australia’s Sunshine Coast home, so we swapped favourite cafes… and settled on a shared fave, Hand of Fatima at the upmarket little cluster of shops at Peregian Beach.

Anyway, Jan was participating in the Waldorf Astoria’s annual hunt for new iconic dishes – this is the hotel group that gave us the Waldorf Salad, Red Velvet cakes and Eggs Benedict.

We caught up over Shanghai suckling pig and ziao long bao (Shanghai dumplings) to talk about best eats in that happening town.

Click here to read the full story, which appeared in the Sydney Morning Herald, The Age and traveller.com.au

Lloyd’s Inn review, Singapore

Photo by Lloyd’s Inn, Singapore

It’s woefully easy to drop a bomb on your hotel room in Singapore:
Lloyd’s provides a more budget-friendly alternative that meets the
approval of design-hungry Singaporeans.

If you’re on the lookout for a hotel room in Singapore that doesn’t bust the budget, check out Lloyd’s Inn.

Old hands will know it for a shabby backpackers, but design-hungry Singaporeans know it’s been revamped by so-hot-right-now design studio FARM.

The hard-core white minimalist inn is close to Orchard Road, and breakfast is at the nearby kaya toast institution, Killiney Kopitiam cafe.   

To find out more, check out my review in the Traveller section of the Sydney Morning Herald.

Lloyd’s Inn review, Singapore

It’s woefully easy to drop a bomb on your hotel room in Singapore: Lloyd’s provides a more budget-friendly alternative that meets the approval of design-hungry Singaporeans.

If you’re on the lookout for a hotel room in Singapore that doesn’t bust the budget, check out Lloyd’s Inn.

Old hands will know it for a shabby backpackers, but design-hungry Singaporeans know it’s been revamped by so-hot-right-now design studio FARM.

The hard-core white minimalist inn is close to Orchard Road, and breakfast is at the nearby kaya toast institution, Killiney Kopitiam cafe. 

To find out more, check out my review in the Traveller section of the Sydney Morning Herald.