Mandarin Oriental Bangkok


Hotelchain: Mandarin Oriental
Location: Bangkok – Thailand
Classification: 5 star hotel


The famous Mandarin Oriental Bangkok is the flagship of the prestigious Mandarin Oriental Group. The Mandarin Oriental Bangkok was the first hotel in Thailand and is more than 140 years old, it was built in 1876. Today it is still one of world’s best hotels. Actually, it has been rated as world’s best hotel for 10 years and I can easily understand why. I was so fortunate to stay here and truly was and still am blown away by the service and comfort they provide.


You can’t beat the location, the Mandarin Oriental Bangkok is located right next to the Chao Phraya River and the most popular tourist sites are nearby. The public boat will take you to the Grand Palace in just about 15 minutes.

This ultra-luxurious five star hotel offers 324 rooms and 44 suites, a world-class spa and several high end restaurants which I will tell you more about later.

As soon as I entered this palace, I noticed the attention to details. The way they combined the elegant Thai style with seductive modern touches is just wonderful. Mandarin Oriental hotels are known for their hospitality and service. Several staff members actually remembered my name. Those are small things, but they make a world difference. Every single staff member I met, greeted me with a smile and took care of every request in a very kind and professional way. Upon arrival, we were greeted with a traditional Thai flower hand garland.



We stayed in a deluxe room and luxurious it definitely was. They decorated the rooms in a very elegant and very classy way. The leather couch was great for watching television. I could have spent here all day long 🙂 The view over the river and Bangkok’s surroundings was great. I watched the long tail boats floating by while enjoying some drinks. This is what a perfect hotel room looks like. Even the marble bathroom was an eye catcher featuring a separate bath tub and walk-in shower. The silk bathrobes were amazing. Another feature I appreciated very much was the in-room interactive entertainment system which allows iPod/MP3 integration. The high quality audio system was of a very good quality. All rooms at the Mandarin Oriental come with Butler Service, always a bonus! Did you know that the Mandarin Oriental has one of the highest staff to guest room ratio in the entire hotel industry (3 staff per guest room)!

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The recently redecorated rooms at the Author’s Wing are very stylish and the Royal Suite which I visited was the best and most luxurious suite I have ever seen, hands down!

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At night we had dinner at Sala Rim Naam offering an authentic Thai cuisine, but first we had some cocktails at the Bamboo bar. It was pretty hard to choose from the extensive cocktail menu but the very knowledgeable bartender gave us some good recommendations.   While we were enjoying the delicious Thai food (I LOVE Thai food!), we were enjoying a classical Thai dance show. We were in Bangkok for just a few days and this was the perfect evening to experience the true Thai tradition and hospitality. I thoroughly likes the Mussamun Nuea, the southern style beef curry with sweet potato and onion. The menu was prepared in an excellent way and service was top notch! Although there’s a smart casual dress code where they kindly request guests to wear elegant attire, the atmosphere was very relaxed and easy going.

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Pool area

The next morning I started my day with a swim in the stunning pool. There are two pools, a wading pool which is perfect for leisure and a 25 metre long pool which is ideal for swimming laps. As soon as I approached the pool area, staff member greeted me and gave me some plush towels and some water. Although the Mandarin Oriental is right in the middle of Bangkok, it felt like a hidden gem here. It was so quiet here… fantastic way to start my day! Beside the pools, a full fitness center is available 24 hrs. They offer complimentary fitness classes… After your work out you can relax in the sauna, steam room or jacuzzi. And if you are into tennis and/or squash, the Mandarin Oriental has two outdoor tennis courts and one squash court.

Spa facilities

If you just want to relax make sure you visit the Spa facilities which are located in a separate building across the river. The spa of the Mandarin Oriental Bangkok is one of Asia’s leading spa center offering several beautifully decorated treatment rooms and steam facilities. They even have a few ‘specialty suites’ for couples with private steam showers and vitality pools.

I enjoyed a after-jet-lag treatment and absolutely loved it! After selecting my favorite scent I felt so relaxed and almost fell asleep which is a huge compliment. Just take a look at their spa menu as they offer several kind of treatments.

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Then it was time for breakfast! Breakfast is served at the Riverside Terrace and believe me, having breakfast here with such a stunning view is just awesome! Quality of the food was outstanding! The riverside terrace offers stunning views. I enjoyed the long tail boats passing by. Service was great, never was asked for too much. Do try their home made yoghurt and pastries!


No wonder the Mandarin Oriental Bangkok is well known for its service and overall facilities! The high reputation is well deserved and I can easily understand why this hotel is one of world’s leading hotels! From the personal printed writing paper with your name on it to the fresh flowers all over the room… The Thai hospitality is amazing and I can’t say enough good things about this hotel! Six stars all the way!


Kempinski Mall of the Emirates – Dubai

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Hotelchain: Kempinski
Location: Dubai – UAE
Classification: 5 star hotel


Since I am a huge Kempinski fan, I had to explore Kempinski Mall of the Emirates, one of the top rated hotels in Dubai! Sun or snow? Kempinski Mall of the Emirates has it all 🙂


The hotel is located between business bay and Dubai Marina and offers stunning Burj Al Arab views. Although the hotel has been here for a few years, it looks brand new. Dubai Marina and Burj Khalifa are reachable with the metro within just minutes. On top of that, Kempinski Mall of the Emirates is directly connected to the Mall of the Emirates. We went shopping and entering the mall without going outside (it was so hot!) was very convenient for us!

Lobby area is gorgeous, they used a lot of marble and everything has been decorated in a very stylish way. We were welcomed and everything we needed to know about the hotel and its facilities were told in a kind way.


The rooms

Kempinski Mall of the Emirates is a pretty large hotel offering 393 rooms and suites including 15 chalets with views over the indoor Ski Dubai.

We stayed in grand deluxe rooms and luxurious they really are. I actually wouldn’t call it just a room, but a junior suite instead. The way they combined all the furniture is just amazing. There’s a small dining/living area with the most comfortable couches. The separate bedroom is luxurious featuring a king sized bed. Marble bathroom both has bath tub and shower. Loved the room, I could easily spend a week here.


I did visit the three bedroom chalet which blew me away! While it was almost 40 degrees outside, it was so cool to see snow while looking through the windows. Did you know, by the way, that there logo represents the combination of snow and sun? The chalets are designed in mountain style and definitely have the WoW-factor.


Pool area

The pool area at Kempinski Mall of the Emirates is the best place to hang out after a busy day in Dubai. It felt like a small paradise with two large pools and the most comfortable loungers one could wish for. Pool service was great. Complimentary water is offered during the day.


The spa

For total relaxation, the Spa area is the place to be! I experienced the Thai Compress Massage and the therapist did an excellent job. This long lasting treatment began with a 40 minute aromatherapy massage (I had to choose my favorite scent, loved it!) followed by a blissful Thai herbal compress massage. How could one be not relaxed after 75 minutes of pure relaxation? My sister experienced the 75 minutes luminous “C” & “Sea” facial mask treatment and enjoyed every second! Her skin was pampered and protected with high tech medically formulated Vitamin C. This facial hydrates, nourishes and protects the skin with its vitamin enriched, anti-oxidant formulation. It would rate the facilities with five stars!


One of the things l like most of Kempinski Mall of the Emirates is their Tapas restaurant Salero Tapas & Bodega. Honestly, I have eaten at many Dubai restaurants, but this lunch was the best I have ever experienced at any place in Dubai. We ordered several small tapas and each of them were delicious. From the patatas bravas to the Cantabrian anchovies, from the homemade chicken and mushroom croquettes to their signature paella, every bite was divine. Go check out yourself, you will love it! I love the food sharing concept and will be back, that’s for sure!

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We had dinner at Olea with a Levantine cuisine. Again, the food was amazing and service was top notch. I loved the decoration and set up of this restaurant. There’s an open kitchen so you can actually see the chefs preparing your food. We enjoyed several mezze and the Arabian mixed grill. El Homos and Fatoush which are seasonal fresh vegetables marinated with sumac were so good. The mixed grill with lamb kebabs, lamb kofta, shish tawook and lamb chops were among the best I have experienced. The chef definitely knows how to please the guests. What a wonderful night we had in a unique setting!


After a great night (the beds are among the best I have slept in!) we had breakfast which is served at Olea. Again, I can’t imagine a better breakfast buffet. So many healthy options. They even prepared a fresh smoothie for me with the ingredients I selected myself. Don’t worry, there are less healthy but yummie other choices too such as freshly made pastries etc.


We were sad to leave! Kempinski Mall of the Emirates is a top notch five star property! The fancy rooms and high end restaurants will please anyone! I would return in a heartbeat!

Gstaad Palace

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Location: Gstaad – Switzerland
Classification: 5 star hotel


Gstaad Palace probably is one of the most luxurious hotels in Europe and I can’t say enough good things about this place. First of all, Gstaad is a famous ski resort in Switzerland and definitely one of the most attractive holiday regions in the Swiss Alps for luxurious getaways. It has several ultra luxurious five star properties and the town itself is a very cozy and trendy place with a lot of high end boutiques and shops.

Gstaad Palace is one of the leading hotels of the world and I can easily see why … Right from the moment I stepped in, I felt the grandeur of this place. The lobby are is just stunning and although this hotel has been open for over a hundred years, it is totally up to date and offers the most comfortable rooms and facilities one could wish for. There are pictures all over the hotel which represent the history of the hotel.


I was welcomed with a big smile and the front desk staff told us everything we needed to know about the hotel. Our keys were handed in just seconds and I couldn’t wait any longer to explore our beautiful deluxe room. One of the staff members took us to our room, located on the 3rd floor. Even walking through the hallways is an experience and made me feel like royalty 🙂


We stayed in a deluxe room with a south view and I must say the view was just amazing… The weather was just beautiful and the surrounding mountains are magical. The room itself was just great and was decorated with high quality materials. All of the mountain style rooms are of a true five star (plus!) level featuring a comfortable couch, working desk and a heavenly bed. At 46m², it had a great size and a small balcony with a table and two chairs to enjoy the views. Bathroom featured double sinks, separate (rain)shower and an oversized tub. Once again, everything in the room was very well maintained (the rooms are made up twice a day) and I was in love with the overall interior designs.

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After inspecting the room, I went down to explore the entire palace! Right next to the check-in area is a large bar / lobby with open plan fire place. At night, they play live music and everybody was dressed up. I couldn’t imagine any more magical place to enjoy an aperitif before enjoying the most wonderful dinner.


Gstaad Palace has five restaurants. The first night we had dinner at Gildo’s Ristorante, their Italian restaurant. The food was outstanding! I thoroughly enjoyed the salmon as a starter and the sea bass as a main course. As you would expect, the staff was Italian and I actually had the feeling of being in Italy for a few times. Loved the atmosphere here! There’s always room for desert, and I enjoyed every single bite of my apfelstrudel … A must try!

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After a wonderful night I was ready to explore the slopes of Gstaad. Gstaad Palace offers a complimentary shuttle service to/from the slopes. It even has a ski shop within the hotel which was very practical for us to rent our ski equipment. I love the fact that the hotel arranges everything for you: ski passes, etc. so there’s no need to queue at counters near the slopes, etc. Very convenient! The ski area itself is pretty large and well connected. The weather was beautiful, I couldn’t stop making pictures of the surrounding areas.


After a day of skiing, it was time to relax! Gstaad Palace has a fantastic wellness area. This is the place to be after a day in the mountains. It has a large indoor pool, a large outdoor jacuzzi and several relaxing areas. The comfortable couches around the fireplace were my favorite. I also enjoyed the sauna and steam room which are separated for males/females. In summer, an olympic outdoor pool is available as well as a few tennis courts.

As most of you know, I love spa treatments and experienced one of their signature treatments, Jardin des Monts Energising massage . The 50 minutes that followed were pure relaxation. I must say it was one the best massages I ever experienced! It’s not a traditional massage, beside the most wonderful hands of the therapist, she also used smooth wooden rollers which made me feel so relaxed… I never experienced such a treatment and loved every second!

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After all the relaxation, it was time to explore another restaurant at Gstaad Palace. Since we were in Switzerland, we had to try La Fromagerie. There’s an interesting story about this place. During World War II, the hotel housed treasures: owing to its isolated location on the upper mountainside, the Swiss government hid a large portion of the country’s gold reserves in a two-storey bunker. Today it is a restaurant with Swiss specialties. The cheese champagne fondue and raclette were amazing… Definitely worth a visit while you’re staying at Gstaad Palace, you won’t regret 🙂

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The next morning we had breakfast again at the Le Grand Restaurant where we enjoyed another gourmet breakfast. There’s a large buffet with fresh ingredients and lots of fruit. There are also several à la carte options. I should highlight the Laurent Perrier champagne… is there a better way to start your day?


I was sad to leave, but was smiling all the way back to Belgium … Gstaad Palace is a top notch hotel and is one of the better five star properties I have experienced. From the service, friendliness of the staff to the delicious food and gorgeous interiors … Gstaad Palace has it all and is one of a kind. I recommend everyone to stay here at least once in your life!

Banks Mansion Amsterdam


Hotelchain: Carlton
Location: Amsterdam – The Netherlands
Classification: 4 star hotel


Banks Mansion is rated as one of the best four star hotels in Amsterdam and I can easily see why! This small boutique hotel has everything for a comfortable stay in the middle of the city!


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You really can’t beat the location. Banks Mansion is located near the Herengracht. This is the area where all the shops and restaurants are. All major sights are within walking distance. Very convenient! For example, the flower market is just a few steps away and the Anne Frank House is only one mile away. Of all the hotels I stayed at in Amsterdam, Banks Mansion has one of the best locations I have experienced!

Banks Mansion isn’t one of the large hotels, I talked with several guests of different nationalities and they all appreciated the fact that this hotel feels like a ‘local’ hotel and not like a ‘large chain’ hotel. Pretty interesting and very true, the hotel feels pretty easy going and there’s this cool vibe around the place which you feel as soon as you enter. Banks Mansion is an all inclusive hotel which I will tell you more about later!

Front desk staff was very accommodating and welcomed us with a smile! They gave us some brief information about their living room and facilities.

The rooms

The room we stayed in was comfortable and although it was not large, it had all the amenities I would expect from a four star hotel. Some things I liked: Nespresso coffee machine, comfy couch to hang out and play with your Ipad and the comfortable queen sized bed. Every room offers a complimentary mini bar with soft drinks, water and beer. Also gin, whisky and cognac are provided for every guest at no additional charge. Loved it! Bathroom was spotlessly clean and featured walk-in shower.

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The living room

The lobby area at Banks Mansion is called the living room. Part of their all inclusive formula are the complimentary drinks and light bites 24 hrs. That is right, there’s a free bar downstairs where guests can enjoy their favorite drinks. I was pretty surprised that they offer a lot of alcoholic drinks as well. Do not miss their wine & cheese buffet from 5pm – 7pm. This is why I love Banks Mansion so much… Guests come downstairs and enjoy meeting and chatting with their fellow travelers. We met several guests and it was interesting to talk to them while enjoying several drinks and snacks!



Do note that there’s no on site restaurant at Banks Mansion. However, there’s a full American breakfast buffet included in the rate. The overall quality of the food and service was outstanding! I also appreciated the omelet and pancake station where the chef prepares your egg the way you want it.

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Banks Mansion is a top notch hotel in the center of Amsterdam. Staff is excellent and nothing is asked for too much. I love their concept and am sure that it will please anyone! Highly recommended for a comfortable stay in Amsterdam!

Accents at InterContinental Dubai Marina

Restaurant: Accents
Hotel: InterContinental Dubai Marina…ls/nl/nl/dubai/dxbpl/hoteldetail


My sister and I were shopping in the mall and after all the shopping we were hungry and decided to try out Accents at the InterContinental Dubai Marina… And we were not disappointed! I would rate Accents as one of the best restaurants in the area. Location is excellent as the hotel is located in the middle of Dubai Marina. At arrival, the friendly staff asked us if we wanted to dine in- or outside. It was dark already and opted to enjoy the stunning outdoor views. I immediately noticed how well maintained this place is. It all looked brand new and smelled amazing.


The most accommodating waiter asked us what we wanted to drink and I asked if they have any non-alcoholic cocktails and boy – they definitely have them! Honestly, one of the best Virgin Mojito I have ever tried. It was just delicious and so refreshing! My sister is a pinacolada fan and thoroughly enjoyed hers. We don’t drink alcohol frequently and it is always nice to see that a place offers a good selection of non-alcoholic versions of the usual cocktails. What a great start of our evening 🙂


The food itself was just delicious. As a starter I tried their raw mango salad and absolutely loved it! The salad came with grilled chicken, peanuts, a lovely tapenade and balsamic caviar. It was not too large so excellent as a starter! For the main course I thoroughly enjoyed the corn fed chicken breast. The home made croquets and mushroom puree were to die for! I could eat this every day 🙂 And of course, every great dinner should be finished with a delicious dessert. And since I am a chocolate lover, I enjoyed their chocolate dessert which came with some caramel and peanuts. Loved it!

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Accent at InterContinental Dubai Marina is a top notch restaurant with a great ambiance and excellent service. Highly recommended if you’re looking for a perfect lunch or dinner with one of the best views one could wish for! Loved it!

Airline review: Emirates


Recently i flew from Brussels to Dubai with Emirates. They are currently one of my favorite airlines to fly with. Let me tell you why …

The flight staff are amazing! They are genuinely happy and friendly. They seem to be continually offering you a service, but not obtrusively.
They think of things before you do. Like , offering you a drink, more food, collecting your rubbish, taking away your tray! No sitting with an annoying tray blocking your exit from your seat or restricting your movement for hours! They even remember what you drink. They warned me that my food choice could be spicy and if I was ok with that. Pretty amazing.

The long flight was enjoyable and I caught up on some great movies and slept well. Did you know that they even entertain kids while flying? That is so cool. They take polaroid pictures and girls can even put on the cool hats of the flight attendants.

Economy Class: Great seats with plenty of space. The economy seats were among the best economy seats I have experienced at any airline. Every seat has its own personal screen with on demand movies and music. They even provide sleeping masks, ear plugs and a pillow for each passenger. From the moment you step in, you’ll be pampered with hot towels, welcome drinks and ice cream.

Business Class: Business Class seats are pretty amazing. The oversized seats are among the best you could wish for. Cabin crew was outstanding. Each of them did their upmost best to serve the passengers in an excellent way. They even prepared the bed as we had an early morning flight. Maybe that was the best things about this flight, being able to actually catch a sleep on those flat-bed seats. Food was excellent and of course even more delicious compared to the economy class. Business seats on Emirates flight even have their personal minibar and oversized entertainment screen.

Emirates was so kind to offer a First Class Amenity kit and I was happily surprised to find out that they provide Bulgari products. As most of you know, I truly am a huge fan of Bulgari products… Love the smell and overall quality of the product. The fragrance is packaged in a box, while the lotion and after-shave balms came slotted in the side mesh pockets on the inside wall of the wash bag. It also contains a dental kit that now comes in a reusable case. Finally, they also substituted the deodorant stick with a spray. The small Bulgari leather bag is yours. Love it!


Flying with Emirates was fun! We took off and landed on time, every time. Staff was very professional, efficient and nothing was asked for too much! Their planes are of a very good standard, even the economy seats are excellent and the business seats do add extra comfort and luxury. Do check their website on frequently to book the best deals at

Westin Al Habtoor City – Dubai


Hotelchain: Westin
Location: Dubai – UAE
Classification: 5 star hotel

wes3818ex-212133-The Westin Dubai Al Habtoor City exterior - Dubai Water

The Westin Dubai Al Habtoor City is one of the newest five star properties of Dubai and I was really excited to explore this beautiful property. Al Habtoor City is a huge project in Dubai with three world-class five star hotels. World-famous designers did an excellent job working together with architects on the three hotels (St. Regis Dubai, W Dubai and Westin Al Habtoor City) in a totally new neighbourhood representing famous hospitality brands.

The location

Westin Al Habtoor City is the perfect hotel for both leisure and business travelers. You really can’t beat the location, Burj Khalifa is only a 10 minute taxi drive away. Dubai Marina can be reached in 15 minutes. Love the location of the hotel! As said before, there are three hotels within the same building, Westin Al Habtoor City is the largest of the three and is located in a huge 41-storey tower. This actually is the second Westin hotel in Dubai, the other Westin is a beach resort near Dubai Marina.

Entering Westin Al Habtoor City is entering a world full of luxury and eye for details. I was pretty impressed when I entered the hotel, all the marble and friendliness of the staff made a good first impression. A big smile and asking how we are doing made us feel welcome. The hotel is extremely well kept, the staff is courteous – even when they’re dealing with other guests.



The hotel is huge and has 1004 rooms and suites. I stayed in a room on one of the top floors and loved every inch! As usual, the Westin Heavenly Bed was outstanding and really comfortable! The view was breathtaking, we had a full Business Bay view and could see Burj Khalifa – it was such a treat to wake up with such a stunning view!

Bathroom is luxurious featuring an amazing free standing bath tub, separate walk-in shower and toilet.

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Pool area

The pool area at Westin Al Habtoor City is not finished yet, they will be opening their pools in the coming months. I did saw some pictures and it will be beautiful. For now, guests can use the pools at W and St. Regis. Once again, so convenient that all three hotels are connected so you don’t have to leave the hotel to make use of the pools.

The Spa

Westin’s Heavenly Spa is a haven of tranquility inspired by traditional practices used in Asian cultures. The place is huge and luxuriously appointed. This is definitely the place to unwind after a busy day or stressful moments. I experienced their signature massage and I can honestly say that it was one of the best treatments I had in Dubai. The therapist was an expert and did such an excellent job that I felt reborn after the treatment. He applied the right amount of pressure for my liking. Loved it! Highly recommend to book a treatment here, you won’t be sorry!

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Currently, there are five operating restaurants at Westin Al Habtoor City. I had lunch at Seasonal Tastes and both my sister and I were blown away when we saw the buffet! Westin promotes a healthy life style and we can tell … the buffet consisted of a varied spread of healthy food and a lot of vegetables. I loved their soups! The restaurant itself is just stunning. Very spacious and marble everywhere.

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At night we had dinner at Cook Hall, an American themed restaurant. First of all, I was pleasantly surprised when I entered the restaurant. You wouldn’t tell that you’re still within the same building as Cook Hall is totally different when it comes to design. I was (and still am!) in love with the overall décor and atmosphere. We had such an amazing night here! We started with one of their signature cocktails and then tried the “Dribbler”, a mega Wagyu burger with a molten cheese bap, maple-glazed onion, veal bacon, mashed toms and a friend hen’s egg. On the side I tried their cheesy fries! Trust me, I enjoyed every single bite… Dinner or lunch at Cook Hall is a must! Food is delicious and service is top notch!

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Westin Al Habtoor City is a top notch five star hotel with all the facilities one could wish for. I had high expectations but still was blown away. Loved my stay and hope to return soon…