Rixos The Palm, Dubai

While we enjoyed our time in Atlantis, we needed a vacation from vacation before going back home, and Rixos The Palm fit the bill. It’s probably the most ‘affordable’ of all hotels in Palm Jumeirah, too.

rixos the palm lobby

Arriving at Rixos was like stepping in an airport. But seriously, we’re digging the industrial interiors.

Continue reading “Rixos The Palm, Dubai”

Instagram-Worthy Swimming Pools You Should Check Out

With the rising temperature, I’m sure everyone’s itching for a summer getaway. And if you’re like me who loves lounging by the pool, then here’s my personal list of Instagram-worthy swimming pools you should check out.

Luljetta’s Hanging Gardens & Spa

You’ve probably seen it on TV a lot lately, and I totally get why it’s often featured.

This infinity pool within Loreland Resort boasts of sweeping views of Laguna de Bay and Metro Manila

Bring your girl friends or your partner and avail of their spa services for the ultimate R&R.

Luljetta's Hanging Garden & Spa Infinity Pool Continue reading “Instagram-Worthy Swimming Pools You Should Check Out”

Review: Alaya Resort Ubud

Staying at Alaya Resort Ubud was like stepping into a dream.

It has all the components of MY ideal Balinese holiday: a tropical-themed room overlooking paddy fields, frangipani and coconut tree-lined grounds, soothing massage, and warm hospitality.

I was really looking forward to my stay at Alaya ever since I saw pictures of it online, and it did not disappoint.

 

The minute my cab pulled in front of the open-style lobby, I was immediately greeted by a staff wearing a traditional-style uniform, but with a modern flair.
 
Check in process was a breeze, and within a few minutes, they handed my room keycard together with a map of Ubud.

As the staff walked me to my room, I couldn’t help but notice the use of natural materials throughout the hotel which gave it a rustic feel. This, combined with modern fittings, will surely please all kinds of travelers.

I was given the spacious and beautifully furnished Alaya Room (Room 311) which had a terrace overlooking the paddies.

The bed was just gorgeous! It’s huge and fluffy with lots of pillows.
The frangipanis on the bed and towels were also a nice touch. 🙂

Kimonos, slippers, an eco bag guests can borrow (can be bought from the front desk), electronic safe, and plenty of fluffy towels are kept inside the spacious cabinets.

The usual coffee and tea making facilities, and mini bar are also available.

Aside from the air conditioning unit, there’s also a ceiling fan both in the room and in the terrace.

The decorative wall was a nice backdrop. It extends from the room onto the terrace.
My favorite part of the room? Easily the ‘open’ bath area with a huge stone bathtub.
There’s a generous supply of top-notch organic toiletries such as Lime Lemongrass shampoo, Cinnamon Frangipani conditioner, Vanilla Rosemary shower gel, Lavender Eucalyptus body lotion, and Spearmint Patchouli hand soap. If not for the big bottles, I would’ve taken them home!
Even if you opt not to have a spa treatment, you can still treat yourself to a decadent bubble bath. The Rose Coconut bath foam smells divine!
Dolce far niente!

When I managed to drag myself out of the room, I walked around the resort to enjoy the landscaped garden and lush surroundings.

Some of the guests were just lounging by the lagoon-shaped pool, and I really can’t blame them. The atmosphere is just very relaxing.
***
And what’s a Balinese vacation without having a spa treatment, right?
 
I was so thrilled they gave me a complimentary 2-hour treatment at DaLa Spa.
 
European glamour meets Balinese aesthetics
DaLa Spa’s design is so charming. I’m loving the chic porter’s chairs!

 

I arrived 15 minutes earlier than the appointment schedule, and while waiting, I was immediately served cold lemon grass and pineapple juice, and a cold towel.

The staff then explained to me the scope of the 2-hour Manis Klepon treatment. 

I was then asked to fill out a personal information/preference checklist where I need to indicate if I have any allergies or medical conditions, any specific body parts I want my therapist to focus on etc. I even get to choose the room temperature, pressure, and the kind of music I want to listen to while having the treatment.

After handing the form to the staff, she walked me to a table where my therapist, Putu, was preparing the ‘ingredients’ that will be used for my treatment. She grated some coconuts which she then mixed with palm sugar. This was for my body scrub.

We then went down to one of the luxe treatment rooms.

She handed me a robe to change into. Slippers were provided as well. She also taught me how to assign a PIN code for the electronic safe where I can store my valuables.

After changing, Putu started with the foot bath, which was then followed by the coconut and palm sugar body scrub to exfoliate dead skin cells. Next was the pandanus and suji leaves body mask, which started out warm then gradually gave off a cooling sensation.

She then showed me a basket of flowers, and explained what each one was while gradually dropping them into the tub filled with warm water. This is for the Seven Flowers Bath, which was very relaxing, and washed away the remains of the mask.

She gave me 15 minutes to enjoy the bath while she prepared the new robe and disposable underwear. She also left me a cup of tea by the vanity desk before she left the room.

Finally, it was time for the one-hour Balinese massage.

Putu was very careful with the strokes, and was continuously checking if the pressure and room temperature was just right for me. It was really relaxing that I nearly dozed off.

The treatment ended with a chamomile facial spritz which woke up my senses. haha

After the treatment, she brought me back to the main hall of DaLa Spa where I was then served hot ginger tea with Balinese dumpling stuffed with palm sugar, and served with grated coconut named…Manis Klepon!
 
I highly, highly recommend their spa treatments! You will definitely feel like royalty.
 
Pardon the grainy pictures. These were taken using my phone’s camera.
 
***
Guests get to choose from Petani Restaurant’s set breakfast menu.
Don’t be disappointed if it’s not buffet style because I assure you, the breakfast set is as good as brunch.
I had the American breakfast set which consists of a bread basket (toast, croissant, Danish pastry) served with butter and jams; fresh fruit platter served with fresh homemade yogurt; omelette, bacon, sausage, grilled tomato, potato, broccoli, and cauliflower; freshly-squeezed orange juice, and latte.
Petani Restaurant
 

Alaya Resort Ubud is located along Jalan Hanoman so it’s close to a supermarket, a number of ATMs, restaurants, souvenir shops, and is just a 5-minute walk to the Sacred Monkey Forest.

***
 

I still regret not staying long enough in Ubud, and in Alaya. The laid back vibe, culture, and the lovely people easily made it one of my favorite destinations to date.


K

~~ I was hosted by Alaya Resort Ubud for a night, but all opinions in this review are my own. ~~
 
 
Jalan Hanoman, Ubud
Bali 80571 Indonesia
Tel: +62 (361) 972200
Email: info@alayaubud.com
Twitter: @AlayaUbud
Instagram: @AlayaUbud

Review: The Kana Kuta, Bali

The Kana Kuta is a newcomer in the hotel chain-penetrated hospitality industry of Bali (specifically in Kuta), but is already making a name, and it’s easy to see why.
photo from The Kana Kuta’s website

The entrance is quite a bit tricky to locate because the main building is behind the Star Anise Restaurant along Jalan Setiabudi.

The open layout and spacious lobby will welcome guests upon arrival. You’ll get more of a resort feel than a hotel.
The cheerful staff immediately greeted me, and served a refreshing drink, mini samosas, and cold towels while I was being checked in.
Once the check in process was done, another staff took care of my luggage and assisted me to my room. She was very nice and speaks English well (as with most of the staff), and was very much willing to attend to my needs. She even brought the adaptor to my room when I called the front desk to ask if there’s one that I can borrow.

 
I was given the Executive Room, which was very spacious and spotless. I liked the contemporary design. The deep red and black accents were balanced by the white sheets, cream walls, and light wood furnishings.
 
The cabinets were huge, and there’s plenty of space to stow the bags and/or luggage.
Other amenities include an electronic safe, coffee and tea making facility, writing desk, and a couch that can be turned into a day bed.
I also love that they provided rubber slippers instead of the fluffy ones.

The bathroom was not that spacious, but it doesn’t feel cramped.

They don’t have a tub, but it’s okay as I prefer a shower stall just because it’s easier to take a bath. The water pressure’s a bit too strong, though.

The hotel facilities include a modest swimming pool, gym, meeting rooms, and a play area for the kids.

The Kana Kuta is not in the beach area, but they have free scheduled shuttle services daily to Kuta Beach.

Seleriana Restaurant
Buffet breakfast is served at Seleriana Restaurant which faces the pool. 
There’s a good selection including live congee, noodle, and egg/omelet stations; breads and pastries; fresh fruits; cereals; and some Japanese, and Western fare.


I would also recommend that you try out the Grand Rijsttafel at the Star Anise Restaurant. It consists of 20 Indonesian dishes, and is perfect for families and/or group of friends. 

Grand Rijsttafel
Soto Ayam (chicken broth, egg, cabbage, glass noodles, fried shallot);
Ikan Asam Manis (grilled fish with sweet & sour sauce), Udang Sambal Goreng (fried prawn with chili sauce), Telur Bumbu Bali (boiled egg with spicy sauce), Ikan Bakar Bumbu (marinated grilled fish with raw Balinese spices), Opor Ayam (chicken with curry sauce), Sate Ikan Bali (minced fish skewers), Ayam Taliwang (Taliwang style grilled chicken), Sate Ayam (traditional chicken skewers in peanut sauce), Otak-Otak (grilled minced fish cake in banana leaf), Gado-Gado (rolled Indonesian vegetables with peanut sauce), Kacang Panjang Bumbu Kalas (long bean with coconut sauce), Terong Kecap (fried crispy eggplant in soy sauce), Tempe Manis (fried bean cake with sweet soy sauce), Perkedel Jagung (sweet corn fritter), Tuhu Telur (omelet with tofu), Rempeyek (Indonesian peanut crackers), Acar Kuning (vegetables with yellow pickle sauce);
Cake Tape (sweet cassava muffin), Es Campur (Indonesian mixed shaved ice dessert);
served with yellow rice and Teh Botol (bottled tea)
Make sure you schedule your dinner at Star Anise on either Tuesday, Thursday or Saturday at 6:30-7:00 pm so you also get to watch the Balinese Dance Performance.
As I was out most of the time visiting Bali’s attractions, I didn’t get to spend much time at the hotel. But I was always welcomed back with a smile, and the staff are genuinely interested to know how my day was. 
When I checked out, I asked the front desk where I can get a Blue Bird Taxi to Ubud, and before I know it, the taxi was already pulling up at the parking lot.
When in Kuta, stay at The Kana and you won’t be disappointed.
K
 
Jln Setiabudi No 8, Kuta
Bali 80361 Indonesia
Tel: +62 (361) 8496100
Twitter: @TheKanaKuta