Sunday, October 6, 2013

Atlantis The Palm

Atlantis, The Palm
Crescent Road, The PalmDubaiUnited Arab Emirates

Atlantis The Palm is is the opulent 5 star Dubai hotel situated on the Palm, a man-made island that has captured the world’s imagination with its magnificent scale and ingenuity. From the very spacious rooms to the multi-national breakfast and award winning restaurants to must-visit aquatic attractions – The Atlantis is all about total luxury, pampering and adventure for couples and families alike

The resort is approximately 35 minutes away from Dubai International Airport (DXB), and 1 hour 30 minutes away from Abu Dhabi International Airport (AUH) and is easily accessible by car (AED 100 by taxi).

Most of the 1539 rooms and suites are spacious and designed aesthetically with subtle aqua and Arabic influences to provide comfort and unparalleled luxury. Ask for a room with a Dubai skyline view. Atlantis also has underwater suites providing a direct view of aquarium in the surrounding. The staff at the hotel is friendly, courteous and eager to help

Each room comes with a balcony, walk-in wardrobes, beautiful bathrooms and 24hr in-room dining

-    -Complimentary access to Aquaventure waterpark and preferential rates to swim along with dolphins. The Lost Chambers Aquarium is home to 65,000 marine animals
-    -Accredited 5 star PADI dive centre to explore the rich marine life
-    -ShuiQi Spa and Fitness for variety of treatments, bathing options, traditional and water therapies
-    -Range of beaches and pools – 700 met Aquaventure beach, 1.5 km Royal beach and Nasimi Beach club
-    -Luxury shopping boutiques, tennis courts and play area for kids
-    -Helicopter tours to discover Dubai and it’s magnificent skyline

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Overpriced and Expensive however luxury doesn’t come cheap. This is one of those out-of-world resorts and be prepared to splash the cash for once in a lifetime adventure at this iconic hotel

Overall Rating: 5/5

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Caesars Palace Las Vegas

Caesars Palace Las Vegas
3570 Las Vegas Blvd SLas VegasNV 89109 (The Strip)

Why Caesars?
Caesars Palace Las Vegas claims “From the moment you walk through the doors of Caesars Palace, you’ll understand why this iconic Las Vegas luxury hotel sets the standard for opulent details, impeccable service and lavish Las Vegas accommodations. Special touches make the difference between an ordinary visit to Vegas and a spectacular experience – and it’s all yours at Caesars Palace.”  And every bit of is true when you experience it in real - from fountains, statuary, casino, deluxe rooms with marble and brass bathrooms and whirlpool tubs.

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Spa: Qua Baths and Spa includes over 50 treatment rooms for massages, including wet rooms with Vichy showers and herbal steam room. Also, they’ve Arctic ice rooms-a cold sauna at 55 degrees Fahrenheit

Pet Stay Program: Dogs that weigh less than 50 pounds are allowed in certain rooms and amenities for these guests include food dishes, disposable waste bags and dog treats

Garden of Gods Pool Oasis: It includes Roman-style gardens, baths and fitness areas
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-     Food and Entertainment: There are quality restaurants however the buffet may be slightly overpriced. There are endless options on the strip though. There are some of the finest shows at Colosseum. Shopping is one key point of this resort with more than 170 stores at the Forum and Appian Way shops.

Caesars Palace Las Vegas is definitely one of the most sought after casino resorts in Vegas. Overpriced but that’s the differentiator in a just another Vegas trip and a trip of a lifetime. Conveniently located on the strip with easy access, it’s not only grandeur but also good on service from quick check-in to a game of roulette at the casino
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Overall Rating: 4.5/5

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Sandy Lane Barbados

Sandy Lane Barbados
St James, BB24024, Barbados

Sandy Lane Barbados is located on the west coast, south of Holetown, backing on to a gorgeous arc of golden sand. Although all the Barbados beaches are public, Sandy Lane’s is relatively very private. The hotel provides free airport transfers in a limousine and valet parking

Why to stay?
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Sandy Lane Barbados is arguably one of Caribbean’s most famous hotels renowned for its outstanding service and uniquely high-end amenities. The facilities, which include a lovely beach front with reserved seating and Evian misting, beautiful outdoor pool with waterfall, highly acclaimed Romanesque spa with hydrotherapy rooms, four restaurants including romantic L’Acajou for sunset views, nine tennis courts, a modern fitness centre and three of the region’s finest golf courses, are astonishing.

In addition, the staff is pleasant and very well trained. Guests on beach loungers are equipped with an electronic buzzer to call for service, and are regularly plied with refreshing treats such as sorbets and frozen yoghurt.

The two main restaurants both have a great reputation. Pillared L'Ajacou is for fine dining, while the more informal Bajan Blue is known for its indulgent buffets - a recent addition to its menu is pizza with shaved black truffles. Cookery classes are possible in the culinary school.

For all the luxurious amenities and unparalleled services, hands down it is the most expensive resort in Barbados. Everything – from an underwater sound system in the pool to golf carts with GPS system contributes to the stratospheric rates in peak season. The place may be packed with celebrities and thereby the beach area can get crowded during peak season

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Decked out in signature pink, the 112-room Sandy Lane is the creme de la creme of Barbados - indeed, it's one of the most luxurious resorts in the world with endless options for a fun-filled vacation; perhaps the most noteworthy is access to the super exclusive Green Monkey golf course with a separate apparel line that can only be purchased after completion. A Rolls Royce Phantom, top-notch spa, outstanding restaurants, and celebrity sightings are just a few aspects that set the elegant Palladian-style hotel apart from the rest. This is a very special place, it’s expensive but what would you expect from paradise!

Overall Rating: 5/5

Friday, September 20, 2013

Luxor Las Vegas

Luxor Las Vegas
3900 Las Vegas Blvd S, Las Vegas, NV 89119

Luxor Las Vegas is a very good hotel with something for everyone at a good price. It located at south end of the Vegas strip however taxi ride to the strip is cheap and more convenient than the bus. The view of the Strip is cut off by Excaliber

It comes with a tagline “How many times in your life will you be able to say you stayed and played in a pyramid?” Luxor features comfortable and spacious accommodations ranging from standard rooms to extravagant suites. Plus, Luxor offers everything you’d expect from a Las Vegas hotel – from fabulous entertainment and dining, to non-stop Las Vegas casino action.

The rooms are spacious, quiet and clean. It provides the basic necessities however there isn’t fridge or coffee maker. Most importantly, it doesn't come with a Wi-Fi however can be argued the necessity of internet when in Vegas. Luxor is connected by walkway to Excalibur where you can get a tram to Mandalay Bay and it was very handy for shopping and of course there are lots of eating places

Try to stay in one of the two towers rather than the pyramid itself for quietness

The hotel has a good gym and the pool area was pretty good. Luxor offers spas and salons, restaurants, nightclubs and bars and they are top notch. As a frugal traveller, opt for all you can eat all day at a great price if you don’t wish to explore much outside

All in all a decent hotel with reasonable price. Not great in terms of location accessibility.

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Ratings: 3.5/5

Monday, September 16, 2013

The Kantary Bay Phuket, Thailand

The Kantary Bay Phuket
1/1 Mu 8, Sakdidej Road Cape Panwa, Phuket, 83000 Thailand
Kantary Bay Phuket Hotel is a charming seafront property within a short ten to fifteen minutes’ drive from Phuket town.
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This property offers transfers from the airport. Guests must contact the property with arrival details before travel, using the contact information on the booking confirmation. One child 4 years old or younger stays free when occupying the parent
Check-in time starts at 2PM and check-out time is at noon

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This hotel offers a lovely location along with friendly and helpful staff; it includes a small fitness room, two swimming pools, meeting and conference facilities, the Panwa Village shopping center, several restaurants, free Wi-Fi in public areas and a delightful garden.

Each room type has its own living and dining areas, a small but complete fully equipped kitchenette, washing machine and Satellite TV with entertainment system
Try to opt for higher floors with better sea views.  Also, rooftop terrace with pool offers excellent view
It provides decent food options; breakfast is fine with huge range to suit multicultural clientele
Bonus - It provides a free shuttle bus and access to amenities as well as private beach of its partner hotel - Cape Panwa
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This hotel is definitely high on value for money accommodation and service with only shortcoming as some of the facilities are slightly dated so don’t expect five star luxuries. However, ambience and hospitality of this place makes up for minor limitations
Wi-fi, like most of Asian hotels, isn’t free in rooms
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Overall Rating: 4.5/5

Coin de Mire Attitude, Mauritius

Coin de Mire Attitude
Royal Road, Cap Malheureux, Grand Baie, Mauritius

Coin de Mire Attitude (CDM) hotel is one of the best value for money hotel in its category and is situated at the northern tip of Mauritius, between the fishermen’s village of Cap Malheureux and Grand Bay.

This 3-star hotel is located 35kms from Port-Louis and 80kms from SSR International Airport

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CDM has following room categories

Superior Room (33 m²), Deluxe Room (35 m²) and Deluxe Family Room (40 m²)
Check-in time is 1400hrs and check-out time is 1200hrs noon

Rooms are decent however prefer to have rooms near to reception side area and away from bar/entertainment facilities

Amenities and Activities
The room offers basic amenities however some highlighted features of the hotel are its spa, gym, swimming pool, table tennis, board games, pool table, floodlit tennis court as well an option to sail around the lagoon in hotel’s private yacht, La Lutine
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If you’re of adventure kinds, major portion of your time during the stay is bound to be dedicated towards water activities. The hotel offers complimentary water sport facilities like glass bottom boats, kayaks, pedal boats as well as one can indulge in to Scuba diving, Catamaran and speed boat outings, fishing, kite surfing and more

The overall quality of service is good however the only flipside is the beach is across the road and majority of the rooms get a bit noisy due to roadside traffic

As mentioned earlier, this is one of the best priced hotels as well as one of the better located hotels in Mauritius. It offers all the basic amenities and some value add services. The food is decent and plan for all inclusive package for better deals
However, if you’re looking for unparalleled luxury, scenic leisure and room with a view, this may not be the first choice for you

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Overall Rating: 3.5/5

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Canon Powershot SX30IS - The pre-SLR

I've often been asked 'Which DSLR do I use to capture photos?'. I thank them for the praise even before replying to the specific question as I use Point and Shoot Canon SX30IS which captures equivalent and at times better images compared to SLRs.

Resolution: 14.1 megapixels
Zoom: 35x wide-angle optical zoom (24-840mm)
Stability: Optical Image Stabiliser
Video: 720p HD video with stereo sound and optical zoom
Display: 2.7 inch colour vari-angle LCD
Output: HDMI output
Battery: Lithium-ion rechargeable batteries (have shot 500+ images on high resolution before having to recharge)

Can use: SD/SDHC/SDXC memory cards
Dimensions: 4.2 x 4.8 x 3.7 inches
Weight: 1.3 pounds (Heavier however less bulky as compared to SLRs)

Why SX30IS?
- 35X Optical Zoom: This point-and-shoot digital camera comes with a massive 35x Wide-Angle (24-840mm) Optical Zoom lens. With it, the wildlife, beachside or sports arena images are far better captured. Moreover, above 35X it translates in to 140x Digital Zoom. Also available while shooting videos

- Optical Image Stabilizer Technology: This helps translate high zoom-in pics in to better clarity. OIS automatically detects and corrects camera turbulence preventing blurred images due to shaky hand. Even the pictures captured in motion can get you crisp and neat shots and eliminates the need of tripod.

- Large 2.7 inch Vari-angle LCD: Not only this is superior to viewfinder or other static image displays, it benefits while capturing images by rotating at various angles i.e. Road image captured at ground zero, top view of a group pic, etc. It also serves as a mirror image enabling to click self portraits with precision

- Smart Auto Option: For the beginners, this function intelligently analyzes shooting conditions and automatically selects an appropriate setting from 28 specially defined settings. Moreover, it will automatically switch to macro when you close in an object

In addition, this camera uses a VCM (Voice Coil Motor) for high-speed, quiet, energy-efficient lens movement with precise control.

On the flipside if you are either looking for a sleek one-hand shoot camera or a fully-professional SLR, this one's not for you as it falls in between going towards SLRs. Also, it doesn't take photos in RAW format which are better resolution images easy to work with. While this camera works well under dark conditions with a flash, it may generate a bit of noise or blur under yellow lights at night. Having said that the lens reflex (delay in taking 2nd image) is too slow in the dark

All in all a great buy (available $350+ online) with respect to its peers in the same category!