Tag Archives: travel

Macau Casa Real Hotel: A “So-So” Hotel

Right after my stay in this hotel, I put a ranting of my bad experience in tripadvisor. But, suddenly, now I understand some of the aspects of what happened… what made me feel bad is that I expected too much for this hotel and it definitely failed my expectations…

As for the objective part (no bias whatsoever):

This hotel has a good location if you wanna visit the places in downtown Macau, such as Fisherman’s wharf or the other major casinos, but this hotel is far from the well-known Venetian and City of Dreams.

The rooms are simple and lighting is poor (the lighting is so deem). Clean Bathrooms and with complete complimentary bathroom stuff (toothpaste, soap, toothbrush).

No noise coming from the outside so you can sleep very well…

In my review below, the italicized sentences/ words are what I added for my current post.

And here starts my ranting:

Summary: Bad experience with the Chinese staff, especially with the front desk staff and the security guard. BAD TREATMENT TO HOTEL GUESTS, room is like of 3 star hotel, no view, so little window. Location is near to some sights but far from the major sights such as Venetian and City of dreams.

EXPERIENCE:
Well, I decided to book my stay (with the help of my travel agent)  because of all of these wonderful reviews from the other tripadvisor members. I decided to get this hotel because of the alleged  nice service, nice and spacious hotel rooms and such— and because of this I got a good impression and great expectation from this hotel however, everything failed.

Before we went to this hotel on December 25, 2010 we came from a 3 day stay in Hong Kong and we are kind of tired and the temperature was beating us to a pulp (we are not used with the temperature of 4 degrees celsius and because of that we haven’t explored the city as soon as we stepped in macau. (Maybe that is one the reason why I got so angry with them… and also we just stayed in L’Hotel Nina in HK so I’m expecting somehow a good room to greet us, anyway, I understand them already… Forgive..Forgive…Forgive)

We stayed in the hotel, and the front desk staff (Chinese) gave us a room in 629 and 534. the other as triple room while the other is with double beds. So, we first went to the other room (534) where my brother and his son (3 years old) and wife will stay; we found that it was quite nice, with a big window and seems to be fully refurbished (though there is nothing to see in the window; there’s no view) so there I was expecting too much that our room will be much better or the same with them.

However…

When I opened the door of 629, it is nothing like the other room downstairs, It is old, with a little window and without a view and the bathroom is eeking dirty and the flush does not work quite well.

So…

I’m disturbed of what I saw therefore I called the front desk staff and asked for change of rooms but I spoke with a Chinese girl employee and she did not grant our request even though I told her that I’m willing to pay for a higher price but she just ignored me coldly and said that we should be contented of what we got (Woahh?! What a thing to say to a paying customer… be contented of what we got???!)  My head seems to be blurry and I’m really angry of what that staff said; (I’ll understand if you just said there is no available rooms! But you said be contented of what you got???! Now, my head is spinning again!)

I had stayed in a 3-star hotel in Macau called the Best western Taipa Hotel and I might say that it’s much better to stay there instead of here since at least the service there is good and is nearer to the main attractions (Venetian and City of dreams),  moreover, they price there is much more cheaper and…Taipa Hotel has big rooms and big windows with a view!

This so-called 4 star hotel room wise— the best western taipa is much better, roomier, cheaper and cleaner than this one

More bad experiences:
After we walked the city the day after we checked-in and we are just waiting for my brother from the comfort room. My mom, who is 58 years old, kind of closed her eyes in one of the couch in the lobby, because she is tired (and the weather seems to be singing a lullaby) but not as enough to be called sleeping, one of the staff (one wearing black and seems to be a security guard) was rudely pointing his index finger to my mother (who is also looking at him, since my father alarmed my mom) and he still continued to go near my mom and he did not say a word but shook his head after seeing that my mom was fully aware of what he is doing.

I asked him what his problem but he did not say a word. I just thought that there should be no sleeping in the lobby. I might say that the policy is okay, but hey, my mom is not really sleeping like a pig in the couch, it seems that she is just tired and unknowingly almost fell asleep of waiting for my brother. Moreover, the action of pointing instead of informing us gently and professionally that there should be no sleeping is such a rude way of stating the policy knowing that we are one paying customer.

The rude way on how they treat their guest is a big no-no! (No sleeping signs in the lobby anyway! if they doesn’t want a guest falling asleep accidentally then they should put a big damn sign of NO SLEEPING! (Okay, Now I understand that Sleeping in the lobby is really a no-no to hotels…. and MAYBE the reason the security guard just pointed his index finger is because MAYBE just MAYBE he doesn’t understand English… okay.. I’ll understand.. I’ll understand.. Forgive.. Forgive…)

The same guy who showed that bad attitude with my mom, also showed a bad thing with my 3 year old nephew. This happened earlier than the incident with my mom but I never put it into heart (but amplified because of the incident which he did to my mom).

My 3 year old nephew, so excited of the next hotel we are staying at was so energetic that he is quite running to me and to my brother, however, that guy stopped my nephew by saying loudly “Hey! Hey! Hey!” then holding him to the arms  and with a louder voice said  “stop running”. Such a rude way of stopping a little boy knowing nothing in such kind of a thing. furthermore, if they don’t want running then put a no-running sign! (Oohhh!!! This is making me crazy! I remembered this again! That guy is really rude, he should be fired! This is not making any good for the hotel… I know that running in the hotel lobby is bad but he is just a kid… he doesn’t know anything about these “rules” Tsk! So Bad!)

The way that the employees of this hotel treats their guests are very RUDE! however, this being compensated with some Filipino staff who were very helpful to us such as Alex and Aileen. They helped us for the places we should go. As well as for the bell boys who always helped us for our luggage (they are very helpful) and I commend that.

This is the only hotel that I experienced such BAD TREATMENT to hotel guests. Alright, this hotel have such good service in terms of some of your employees but some of them TREATS YOUR GUESTS RUDELY! and we experienced such.

LOCATION:

One good thing about this hotel is the location, near the macau ferry terminal (but it won’t help you if you’ll ride the Cotai Strip ferry from Hong Kong since it uses the Taipa ferry terminal; you can use Turbo Jet if you like but make sure that the arrival terminal will be in Macau ferry terminal since it uses both of the terminal/ports.

The hotel is also near to Sands and the Fisherman Wharf, as well as the Grand Prix museum and Wine Museum—It’s just walking distance (Good right?!) However, nothing much to see there—(I realize, how angry I am when I was writing this post..haha). Better to spend your day in Venetian (you will enjoy taking pictures there and it is such a good place to spend your day shopping or taking pictures)– Venetian is far from here, it crosses a long bridge before getting there so taking a cab is expensive (as for filipino standards) take the bus instead if you are on a cheaper budget.

DINING:
the breakfast buffet doesn’t have much to offer. They also served some spoiled food, my father said that one of the sausages he got does not taste the same as the others. And I tasted it and indeed it is spoiled (the smell says everything–Or maybe it just smells that way???)

The staff in the buffet takes time before getting the used plates. Kind of annoying since the plates are crowding the table already– though not a big deal

The taste is not that excellent– just okay– however the carbonara pasta they served had caught our attention since the taste is great but far from excellent (But in fairness to them, the taste is really good! Thumbs up!!)

there are also stores or dining stalls near the area and they offer in good price and they have english menus and the taste was excellent. (we dined near the overpass going to fisherman’s wharf, quite behind the hotel and it was great!)

Okay, so if you wanna stay here then you can… this post is just mainly my experience with them maybe yours will not be like this 🙂

Lessons Learned:

  1.  Don’t be too picky (You might be irritated by the front desk staff)
  2.  Don’t close your eyes in the lounge area
  3. Don’t run in the lobby
  4. If expecting too much.. Stay in a 5 star hotel

To see their rates click here

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Macau Best Western Taipa Hotel: One good hotel for the budget minded

Actually we stayed here on Aug 23, 2009. The rooms are really big, but there’s few furniture inside. It is like a big empty room with two double beds and a coffee table (note: we are only two-I’m with my mom)

The carpet is rough, seems to be very tired, but seems clean…

The breakfast is good, not so many choices but it was okay. I don’t know about the wifi since I haven’t used it.

As for the location, you can always ride on their shuttle buses that runs every 15 min (however sometimes it is late). It goes to venetian, city of dreams and to macau ferry terminal. If you will be taking a cab, well, it is better if you ask the front desk staff to write in Chinese character the name of the hotel since when we said Best Western Taipa, the cab driver only said No, no! and left us! so rude! well I guess it is because of the language barrier

Check in and Check out was a breeze, no problem with that! There is also a convenience/grocery store nearby, but it is scary to walk at night, we noticed some men looking at us (we are only 2 and we are both women) so we just went back to the hotel after buying some food—or were just being paranoid 🙂

There is a swimming pool but I never tried it, though it looks clean. Regarding the CR, well the hotel provides complete basic toiletries in packs and it was clean… no problem with the CR.

The lobby looks nice but it needs more couch!

Overall our stay was great… it is just an ordinary hotel which is good for its price. A simple 3 star hotel– so don’t expect much. if you want a good luxury hotel then go somewhere else! This hotel is good for sleeping after a day of touring the city. If you want to spend your day in casinos then stay in VENETIAN or somewhere near there, although this hotel has one small casino it’s nothing compared to that of the Venetian.

This is a good place if you wanna be near the Venetian and City of Dreams since it is located in Taipa, where those attractions are located, but is quite far from the Macau city center; you need to cross a long bridge before getting there.

Sorry. No photos, since my stay was too long ago and I can’t find any photos in my FB or any other account. This review is from my Tripadvisor.

How to Get here upon disembarking from the Macau Ferry Terminal?

  • There’s a shuttle bus that goes every 15 minutes to the Macau Ferry Terminal which can bring you to this hotel
  • You can always ride the taxi, prices are lower than the one in HongKong

To know more about their rates, click here

HAPPY WANDERING!!

My Macau Expedition: An Introduction

I’ve posted a lot regarding China’s Beijing, Xian and Hong Kong during this past few days, but I should not forget to give some credit to the Amazing Macau.

Macau is a Special Administrative Region (SAR) just like Hong Kong; So, what makes this small place Amazing? It is because of its rapid development… from an unknown city to be widely known as the Las Vegas of Asia.

Ironically, in Macau’s neighbor, Hong Kong, which is only an hour away from this thriving city; Gambling is prohibited (except of course their favorite horse-racing)…

Casinos etc. are not allowed in Hong Kong that is why a lot of Hong Kong people visit Macau to gamble and splurge

I have no image of Macau before my visit here in 2009, I just thought of it as a city, just a small city with no further development…However, this place is part of our itinerary during my 1st trip to Hong Kong, so I have no choice but to visit this place… and as a matter of fact, I’m not interested at all with this place, I just don’t care about it, I just care about Hong Kong… since I always hear Hong Kong from my friends, relatives etc. and for me (during that time) Hong Kong is a much popular place than Macau.

I didn’t expect anything wonderful to see in Macau, I didn’t even research what this place has to offer…. I just researched about Hong Kong and Hong Kong alone… But, what I didn’t know.. this place has also a different side of it, which makes it a Very Interesting Place to Visit.

Tune in for my Macau series 🙂 Happy New Year everyone!

HAPPY WANDERING!

Royal View Hotel Hong Kong: A Laid Back Hotel in a Laid Back environment

For my first time in Hong Kong, my mom and I stayed in this hotel. It is a beautiful,comfy and quiet hotel. Far from the busy and bustling streets of Hong Kong.

Bedroom of Royal view Hotel

Here is my review from my Tripadvisor account:

Well, we stayed here on August 21-23, 2009, it was booked by our travel agent.

The room were we stayed in was amazing, the bathroom is nice and clean and its pretty. As a matter of fact, It’s like a studio type apartment except for the dining area. There is a sink and a lot of cabinet; i really loved the design and it was really cozy.

If you want to stay in a cozy hotel then this one is for you however you will take a lot of time going to the city (but it’s also a good thing to try stuff like riding their MTR and going to the outskirts of Hong Kong). Moreover, the view here is good, it’s serene and it is far from the loud noises from the city. When you stay here, you can really feel that you’re on a vacation.

The staff is not that good, some of them doesn’t speak English, the concierge staff (the old man there) is so much discriminating especially for Filipinos. The front desk staff is good but will make you wait (especially for check-in)  but it’s okay since they’re friendly.

Room View 2

Well, for those who intend to get a set breakfast from the hotel (if you registered in a travel agency and sees that you will have a ‘breakfast outside’ or set breakfast, especially from a Philippine travel agency), beware since your menu will be just be bread, beans and sausages, however for the buffet, its just like buffet breakfast in any other hotel– But with limited choices. Corridors in this hotel is not airconditioned; so dont get irritated if it’s hot in there.

If you went to the city center (Kowloon or HK Island), dont forget to buy water as well as food, since there’s no convenience store nearby and these goods are expensive if you’ll buy it in their mini bar. Food in the restaurant (ala carte) is also expensive, so just hop on the complimentary shuttle bus that goes (I think) every 15 minutes, going to the nearest MTR station, where you can dine without getting your wallet cry.

I haven’t tried calling the front desk for any problems (like lack of towel or supplies inside the room) and I haven’t tried their room service so I cannot really comment about that. But overall our stay here is amazing; since I really loved the room.

Well, I recommend this hotel if you’re “okay” traveling to and from the main city and if you want some serene place out of the noisy streets of Hong Kong…the rooms are nicely decorated and clean

BUT

if you are a tourist with a very limited time and you are planning to go a lot of tourist sights then this in not a good place to stay since traveling to and fro this place is really time consuming.

Nevertheless, this hotel has a nice view of the longest suspension bridge in the world (Tsing Ma Bridge).

To see there rates and more photos visit their website.

Hong Kong L’Hotel Nina: A Luxurious Experience

I’ve been to Hong Kong three times, and for my second visit, my family and I opted to stay in L’Hotel Nina Hong Kong. This hotel is a 5-star hotel located in Tsuen Wan. It is quite far from Hong Kong Island but the surrounding establishments rivals that of Kowloon, so we had no problems in buying food or even shopping.

Facade of L'Hotel Nina

Well, I can say, it’s definitely a 5-star hotel. The rooms are very nicely decorated, well-lighted, very clean, and has bigger rooms than other hotels in HK and the service is good. Though I noticed that there’s no bell-hop who will help you with your luggage but that wasn’t a big deal for us.

Room 1 where my mom, my father and I stayed: this room has 2 double beds
Room2: where my brother and his family stayed... We had a connected room at our disposal 🙂

Did I say that they have nice decorated bathrooms? And very clean too…

Clean Bathroom!

Tsuen Wan is quite far from the city center (HK island and Kowloon) but Tsuen Wan itself is a thriving city, you can find a lot of shops and eateries nearby (just a 5 minute walk) and the hotel itself is linked to a shopping mall.. so coming there and around is easy but be careful, you can easily get lost in this big hotel 🙂

My Mom outside the hotel

The MTR is also 5-10minutes away, so going to HK island is easy. Moreover, it has its own tourist sights nearby which is not very popular among the tourists but quite a good place. Like the imitation of the Temple of Heaven in China, which is only 15 minutes away from the hotel.

We used the free wifi, which is quite good, and used the computer station in the lobby but just used it just for a few minutes, so I really can’t tell if the internet is fast or not (I had a hard time figuring it out since the website is in Chinese) There is a few computers in the lobby which any guest can use.

The lobby is well decorated but there are a lot of tourists who were in a group tour or such. The lobby always has a lot of people even during the night. But once you get to your room, you have the place on your own– quiet and relaxing.

We dine in for breakfast at the hotel, there is an ‘okay’ variety of food— not that much but not that few– the food is quite good.

Tip: email them if you what type of room you would like to have. I emailed them and requested a connecting room which they gave us, and a smoking room too. Always insist in your email, that you want this kind of room. This hotel gave us what we wanted.

this is a good hotel if you don’t mind if it is out to the usual tourist sights in HK. But it is definitely a must if you want luxury in an affordable price. Moreover, it is near Disneyland!

To check the rates of this hotel Visit their website: click here: .lhotelhk.

Some Tips and Advice when you travel to China

China is indeed a big, beautiful and historic city. Going to this wonderful place might be part of your bucket lists.. So, here are some of my travel tips for you.

Some Tips for Surviving China

  1.  If you have limited time for your trip, make sure to go to the tourist trails before going to any other places 
  •       I have a list of Recommended places to visit in Beijing: Click here
  •       I also have a list of recommended places to visit in Xian: Click here

2.When you visit China, make sure to wear comfortable clothing

  • unlike South Korea or Paris, people here doesn’t mind about what you wear… Chinese seems to believe in Simplicity… and they choose comfort than glamour.. so don’t mind wearing any glamorous clothing while you are in China. T-shirt, pants, or short-pants will do
  • But make sure to wear according to the season. If it’s winter then bring some winter clothing. If summer, then wear summer clothing

3. Make sure you wear comfortable shoes

  • In a big country, such as China, it isn’t a shocker, when parks, palaces and other tourist attractions is 4 times bigger than a soccer field. So better yet get ready and wear comfortable shoes
  • I wore my trusted fitflops when traveling here in China, and it wasn’t a problem. Which is unlike Bangkok, where you can’t go inside if you’re wearing slippers.

4. When you go to tourist attractions... DON’T ever try to talk to vendors!

  • There are a lot of vendors selling you stuff in tourists attractions, and they will just pester you and ruin your day if you try to talk to them.
  • Our tour guide told us some horror stories when you try to buy to these vendors:
  • According to our tour guide, Selena of Sinohotelguide, she said that one of the tourists bought something from a vendor in the great wall of Badaling, and the tourist got a fake note (money RMB)  as a change.
  • Another client of hers, also asked the vendor how much the price of the souvenir was, but the client just wanted to ask (since a buyer has the right to ask questions right?) unfortunately, she was forced to buy the thing because the vendor followed her and keep pestering her to buy the item

>> Moreover, we saw the real deal when we came to Ming Tombs, a foreign woman asked the fruit vendors (just outside the Ming Tombs) how much was the apples…and she touched it, and then she went away, and then the vendor tried to follow the foreigner and as the vendor moved, the apples that she was selling fell to the ground (the basket “bilao” of apples seemed to be accidentally attached to the apron of the vendor, that was why the apples suddenly fell), then suddenly she was throwing the apples to the foreign woman.. —this time we are just about to buy some fruits because my dad was so hungry! and we are like her next customer (we are at least 1 meter when it happened) and after seeing that kind of disaster, my father said “Halika na!” which means “Let’s go”…. harhar.. such a scary encounter!!!

5. If you travel DIY, you should put the attractions, places you wanna visit and your hotel in their local language

  • Traveling to China is difficult because of the language barrier… even in train stations or ticketing counters and even the policeman doesn’t know how to speak English… so foreign visitors… it will be really hard for us!
  • However, If you are well-versed with their local language (Mandarin) then you will have no problem at all, but for a lot of people who doesn’t understand this language then you should get ready.
  • Start by putting the name of the attractions and hotels in Chinese.
  • You can let the front desk staff of your hotel to write the places you wanna visit in their local language
  • Or before coming here, learn some basic Chinese! 🙂

6. Exchange your money in their currency before its too late!

  • There are no Money Exchange shops in China, you can only find one in the airport and some reputable hotels (Hilton, Novotel) and of course the trusted Bank
  •  I tried exchanging my money in the reputable hotels (My family and I are really worried) but they didn’t allow because only hotel guests can avail of the service)
  • For those who are budget-travelers, and your hotel doesn’t have a money exchange counter, then your only option is the BANK. But take note that the opening hours is by 9am to 5 pm  and they are closed during Chinese Holidays, Saturday and Sunday.
  • But, no worries for ATM card holders, if your bank is loaded with cash 🙂 then you can just withdraw from ATMs in China. However, they have limit of 2,000 to 3,000 CNY per day. We tried withdrawing in the ATMs of different banks in China, but it doesn’t work, the maximum (to all banks in China) is the limit I mentioned before.
  • Moreover most of the establishment does not accept USD! So be careful people! 🙂

7. When you go to China, especially DIY or even if you have a tour guide, you should read some basic history of the places you wanna visit, so that you can understand thoroughly the underlying mystery that covers the place. This will make it more interesting! 🙂

8. Bring water with you

  • walking…walking…walking.. is the only thing you will do when you visit an attraction in China, and you will need a lot of water to re-energize and to refresh you…and also this is to avoid the pesky vendors in the attractions… Instead of buying to them.. just bring your own. It will make you safe and refreshed throughout the trip.

9. If you are going to ride the long-distance train, I suggest you buy the ticket earlier or reserve it online (Now, they have online reservation facility) or if not, go early to the train station and buy the tickets) especially if your train is Xian to Beijing, since sometimes they have only 1 train leaving the place. So, watch out people!

TIPS FROM FELLOW BLOGGERS:

1. When you come to China, as much as possible, avoid street foods-especially those cooked in oil. One of my fellow blogger stated that Chinese tend to cook their food in recycled oil.

> Food cooked in oil is very unhealthy—not only because it was cooked in oil— but because the oil is recycled by those vendors.. And we all know recycling oil and eating the food cooked in it is carcinogenic…

FOR THE READERS: If you already traveled to China, please put your other “tips and suggestions when traveling to China” on the comment box below.. I can add it here in this list..

If you have more tips, list it down in the comment box below and I will add it here 🙂

Thank You! Hope this helps! 🙂

HAPPY WANDERING! 🙂

The Great Mosque of Xian: A Mixture of Muslim and Chinese Architecture

The Great Mosque in Xian is a mixture of Chinese and Muslim Architecture. This was created in 742, in the middle of the reign of the Tang Dynasty (618-907). It was the immediate consequence of the introduction of Islam to the Chinese.

Courtyard of the Great Mosque: Where you can see the stone tablets

This is one of the biggest place of worship for the Muslim in China… it contains a big prayer hall and a courtyard (where I took a lot of pictures).

This place was really old and when you see it in person, you will realize that it is untouched by modern hands—It wasn’t renovated and seems pretty old and seems dangerous. But, the oldness of this place is what makes it much stunning. The place makes you go back in time and really see what it looks like centuries ago.

The Courtyard

The untouched architecture is astonishing. It is old.. yes… but it is beautiful… Maybe, I can say, that all the things that I have seen in China, this is the place I really liked, due to the gracefulness and beauty of this historical place

Behind us is the praying room

I don’t have words to compensate how beautiful the place is. I might just understate whatever this place can offer you. This might be small (unlike various palaces in Beijing) but the art and the old architecture will compensate for such deficiency.

Moreover, upon going to this place, you will be passing a market usually run by Muslims. You can buy souvenirs there, but be careful, they might just pester you like other Chinese do. When I say pester, they might follow you until you buy their product…

Nonetheless, If you know Chinese and how much the real thing cost, then buying in the market is a good catch.. You can visit the market and the Great Mosque in one sitting 🙂

How to go here DIY?

Admission Fee:

  • 25CNY, 175PHP, 4USD (March-November);
  • 15CNY, 105PHP, 3USD (December-February)

Transportation:

  1. You can go ride a taxi (it is just near the city center
  2. Take bus Take bus 4, 7, 32, 201, 215, 222, 251, 252 or Tourism Bus No. 8 (610) and get off at Zhonglou (Bell Tower) Station. Walk to the Drum Tower and find entrance to the mosque in the Huajue Lane to the northwest of the Drum Tower.