By Plimun Web Design
HOTEL DE NELL PARIS
FEW VS MANY REVIEW
The second hotel of our Paris trip is called Hotel Nell and located in the 9th arrondisement. This place is just outside the real city center. Before visiting Nell we don’t really have any experience with this neighborhood, but this will change in a second or two.
Though the hotel is located outside the center, it’s only a 15 minute walk north from Chatelet les halles or 15 minutes west from the famous Printemps/La Fayette area. We just came from this really stuffy hotel so we’re hoping to get some more space at Hotel Nell. But of course we already knew this was taken care of. We do our research before visiting.
At hotels, you’ve got the friendly staff, and the mega friendly (without being annoying) staff. Hotel Nell has the mega friendly ones. We arrive a bit early but we got the feeling all the maids we’re ordered to our room to clean it asap because the front office guy understands that it’s best for a traveler to get to the room once arrived. This is true. We really wouldn’t mind to just leave our stuff and check out the neighborhood, but it was no option. 10 minutes it took them to clean the room.
In those 10 minutes we inspected the lobby, sitting area, game room and restaurant. Yes, you’re reading this correctly. They have a game room. But it’s not your ordinary playstation 4 room. No, this small room which leads to the restaurant has 4 very special tables. Each table represents a game. We saw a Chess table, Backgammon and a Scrabble version. The fourth has slipped our mind, sorry for that.
The guy from the front office now comes to tell us our room is ready. He brings us to the room and explains how everything works. The room is enormous. Not really of course (we’ve seen bigger), but if you come from a room that’s 15 square meters, a 45 square meter version is a very big improvement.
We love everything about the room. The bed is nice and soft, but no too soft (this happens a lot). The bathroom is truly extraordinary. It has a big italian shower (rain shower) and the Japanese bathtub. What’s a Japanese bathtub? A tub that fits just 1 person and it has this small bench inside. It’s really cool and gives the room a nice ‘international’ flavor.
What rests is to see if the mega friendliness at the front office was sincere or just an act. I go down to ask where to get the best crepe Nutella, without having to walk too much. He reacts enthusiastic (letting know you want real Paris treats works like a charm apparently). He asks me if I want him to send someone to get if for us but that sounds a bit too much. I want to pick it up myself. He recommends this place which doesn’t really do take-away but I go there anyway. This creates a fun situatiation because the people inside are all locals and they wonder what I am doing there. Now it's time to act like a tourist so I explain in my best French that I want my crepes to go. He understands and 10 minutes later I am back in the hotel room with 2 hot and delicious Parisian pancakes.
The next day we check out after a good night rest. We don’t do breakfast because it’s not included in our complementary stay. If it was, and it was as good as the rest of the hotel, I would have rated this place a 9.0. And they don’t come that high that often. In other words, got some money to spend? Stay at Hotel de Nell in Paris. It’s almost perfect.
Price: Around EUR 275,- a night
More information: Website Hotel De Nell
HOTEL O PARIS
FEW VS MANY REVIEW
Finally we’re back. It’s been a while since we last visited Paris which is weird because it’s one of the most beautiful cities in Europe and just a one hour flight away. Oh wait, I now remember why we don’t go there really often. The hotels are hard. Hard in a way that they don’t offer complementary stays in exchange for a review on Few vs Many.
Luckily for us we did find two hotels that are willing to collaborate. Hotel O, located in the 1st arrondisement of Paris is one of them. Now, we know hat most of the hotels in The City of Lights aren’t big, or spacious. But Hotel O gives a whole new meaning to the word spacious.
Wen you arrive at the hotels front desk/lobby, the design will immediately grab your attention. It’s futuristic. Neon lights all over the place. And this big wooden figure in the center of it all. It’s possible to sit down on the wooden ‘bench’, but we decide not to. Why? Well, there’s not really a reason, but the guy behind the front office would probably think it’s a bit weird if we don’t check in first.
The check-in process goes flawless. The guy is super friendly. He doesn’t really explain much about the hotel, but after a quick inspection we understand why. There’s not much to tell. Our room is on the fourth floor. We take the elevator and when we get out we notice that the ceiling is really low. My photographer says she feels like walking around on a boat, looking for a cabin. I can understand why she says it, I feel the same way.
This feeling increases the moment we enter our room (43). Again the low ceiling. There are windows, but when you remove the thick curtains you see nothing but a wall of the building next to the hotel. This might look strange, but for travelers that have stayed in cities like Paris, New York or London before, you know that this is completely normal.
Inside the room there’s a bed. A big one. But that’s it. There’s a small corridor with a sink, shower and a bathroom in the back. The bathroom isn’t really for people that enjoy their privacy. Thank god I know my roommate but you can’t share a room like this with someone you barely know. That will make things seriously awkward.
After a good night sleep it’s time to hit the ‘restaurant’ for breakfast. This is one of our favorite parts of checking out a hotel. the quality of breakfast really tells the whole story. A lot of options show that the owner gives a fuck about their customers. Sounds a bit black and white? Sure, but it’s true. Think about it.
The hotel at Breakfast Hotel O surprises us. Everything is there. Pancakes, fresh coffee, cookies, fruit… You name it they got it. Another good thing is the fact that they make you get everything yourself. We don’t necessarily need someone if we want coffee. But that’s maybe something typical Dutch. We like to do things ourselves.
After reading back the previous words I kinda feel a negative vibe in the text. I’d like to clear that because it’s not like we didn’t like the hotel. The bed is soft, rain shower perfect. Breakfast awesome! Staff friendly and location wise the hotel is just perfect. But! People that don’t like boats, or people that are a bit claustrophobic might want to search for a alternative hotel because the low ceiling will get to you.
Price: Around EUR 150,- a night
More information: Website Hotel O
10 DOLLAR FLIGHT
US --> EUROPE AND BACK
Don't know if you guys know about an airline called Ryan Air (they are pretty big in Europe), but it seems their gonna rock the sky in the near future. They just announced they will be offering 10 Dollar flights from Europe to the US.
Ryan Air is an airline that's getting bigger every year. They are famous for offering flights for next to nothing. How they can manage their costs is a big question mark, but their service is pretty ok and a flight from Amsterdam to New York for 10 dollars seems like heaven, right? We would fly there every month if this becomes reality...
More information: Website Ryanair
THE ONE VILLA BALI
FEW VS MANY REVIEW
Our first stop in Bali is the resort called The One Villa. It’s located in the Seminyak area and consists of 6 villas. KLM dropped us of perfectly and the driver from the hotel was waiting for us just liked we talked about. It’s always good to see someone from a strange country holding a sign with your name on it.
You like hitting the slopes? You're tired to see the same old same old styles areas? Did you know you could ski in Hawaii? We didn't, but it's certainly on our bucket list from this day on. How awesome would it be to conquer a sleeping volcano on a snowboard?
Yes. That's right. The biggest 'slope' at Hawaii is right on top of Mauna Kea, a sleeping volcano. The highest point of this friendly monster is 4205 meters and yes, it snows there every now and then. There's a downside to all of this. There are no lifts. You need to use a 4x4 car that will bring you as high as possible.
Working at customs on a big airport can be a really interesting job. People try to ‘smuggle’ the weirdest things back home. Some of them know they’re doing something illegal and decide to cover their tracks with bullshit stories. Some of those stories are definitely worth sharing.
Sleepless in Berlin
In 2010 two English woman tried to check in a dead relative to Berlin. They told the police they thought she was ‘just sleeping’, but customs are pretty sure they were trying to bring the man back to his home country. They tried avoiding the official rules of repatriation by putting him in a wheel chair with sunglasses.
In 2005 a woman tried to smuggle 51 living tropical fish. She hid them in small bags of water beneath her shirt. She was caught upon landing. Estimated value of the fish was EUR 22,000.
In 2002 there was a lot of consternation when a bird-of-paradise took over LAX airport. But that wasn’t all. The guy who was responsible for ‘losing’ the bird was asked if he had ‘anything more to declare’. He responded in a funny way that he was carrying two monkey in his underwear. And he wasn’t kidding.
A 17 year old girl almost managed to take her chameleon from Dubai to Manchester. She was caught when picking up her luggage after fellow traveler where making pictures of her crazy cool hat. But that wasn’t a hat, it was her beloved pet, which remained unseeable because of its ability to camouflage.
BLACK MAMBA SLOPE
For us Europeans skiing and snowboarding in the Alps is the best you can get. Of course the Alps have numerous areas you can go, but one of the best just got a little better.
HOTEL FORT CANNING SINGAPORE
FEW VS MANY REVIEW
Before we head home from Bali we have a 2 night stopover at Singapore. We’ve heard lots of stories about the place being perfect and all, so we thought we were heading to the perfect place to stay in this metropolis. Everything looked very promising, and it wouldn’t come as a surprise to you that it truly was, does it?
THE BEST AIRLINES
FOR FIRST CLASS TRAVELLING
Most of us will never be traveling first class anytime soon. Hopefully we do, but probably not. But, if we do it’s nice to know what airline to pick. To give you an idea, we’ve selected the five best first class airlines at this moment. Are you coming?
BAGLIONI HOTEL LONDON
FEW VS MANY REVIEW
Our first stop in London is the Baglioni hotel in Kensington. The Baglioni is different from other hotels you’ll find around Hyde Park. Why? Because it's Italian.
The moment we set foot on English soil (St. Pancras train station), we immediately know where to go. We’ve been here before, so we take the underground to Knightsbridge and walk alongside Hide Park to the hotel. The weather isn’t good. It’s English, but we don’t care. We’re in the city we love. That’s enough, for now.
We’ve been looking forward to visit the Baglioni for quite some time now. The hotel is situated in one of the more expensive neighborhoods in London and it’s famous fot it’s Italian style. We're about to find out what that’s all about…
After spending a few hours in the hotel we can say it felt a tiny bit as if we were in Italy. Everytink looks and feels Italian. Most of the staff speak Italian, there are Italian newspapers/magazines all over the place and the interior of the lobby is modern dark. Don’t know if that’s typically Italian, but it aint Brittish, that’s for sure.
We are received very well. A kind lady at the reception tells us that our room has been upgraded to a junior suite. This is always the best news you can get when arriving at your hotel.
The junior suite is fantastic. It's not really that big but the space is carefully designed and decorated which gives it a nice look and feel. Even with the same dark walls we saw in the lobby. The room has everything you need or look for. It even has 2 televisions. Too bad these don't work as well as we would like them too. The entertainment installed on the tv is pretty expensive. A few music videos - to set the mood before we dance the night away in Soho - costs us £5, which is way to much if you ask us.
In the morning, before we set out for a stroll through Hide Park, we sit down for our Breakfast in the restaurant area of the hotel. There is English bacon and eggs, French croissants and ‘pain au chocolat’ and, of course, all sorts of Italian meat. This way. every guest gets a share of their favorite food.
One thing spoils our visit to Baglioni a bit. The front entrance of the building is blocked by scaffold. It's that time of year: a new paint job. It's not really a bad thing and we understand that the hotel can't do anything about it. But it’ s a bit disappointing because we wanted to shoot some photos for the article.
All in all we would highly recommend this hotel to anyone who wants to go to London and experience their trip a bit different. A bit Italian. We loved it and we know for curtain that you would to!
Price: from EUR 350,- a night
More information: Website Baglioni London
Zonder Eurostar waren we nooit in Londen terecht gekomen. Tenminste, niet op zo’n fijne manier. Treinen vanuit Utrecht/Amsterdam duurt in totaal net iets langer dan 4 uur. Heerlijk relaxed en geen gestress waar je op het vliegveld last van hebt. Perfect! Eurostar biedt 3 reisklassen aan om in alle comfort naar het centrum van Londen te reizen. Tickets zijn beschikbaar vanaf € 50 enkel en € 99 retour in Standard Class en vanaf € 112 enkel en € 199 retour in Standard Premier
AROUND THE WORLD
Dear fellow travelers all around the wold. There are a few things you should know before you head for your next adventure. One of them is about tipping. What to tip where?
The great minds at Mint.com have put together a very nice infogram with all the information you need about tipping all over the world. Some of them are pretty obvious, like giving the bellhop one dollar per bag in America. Others are less obvious... For instance: It's not normal to tip in Japan and China.
More information: Mint.com
THE 10 BEST HOTELS
IN NEW YORK CITY
A while ago we posted this Top Ten list of hotel pools and we noticed that you guys really liked it (lots of visits). Well, maybe we should stuff like that more often, right? so today we proudly present to you: our 10 most favorite hotels in New York City. There are quite a few of them so choosing one isn’t that easy.
To be honest with you guys. We haven’t actually slept in one of these hotels, which is course is too bad. But maybe in the near future? Maybe one of the hotels feels the need to invite us after reading our top 10. If so, let’s get in touch.
Crosby Street Hotel
Every room in this hotel is different from another and that makes the Crosby Street Hotel for some a must sleep when in New York. One of the best hotels in Soho.
Probably the least expensive in the list. You like art and hipster stuff? Then Ace Hotel is the one for you. Make sure you pick something up from there store before you leave!
Sweet interior design in this big hotel in Soho. Make sure you spend some time on the rooftop bar if you stay at the Mondrian Soho hotel.
Gramercy Park Hotel
Very cool boutique hotel located in Grammercy Park. The hotels has all kind of highlights but the one most notable is probably the fact that it has one of the best Italian restaurants in New York: Maialino
The Bowery Hotel
This one is located in the Lower East Side of Manhatten which is not really common for famous hotels. But the Bowery Hotel can be an advantage for some (us) who want to escape the hectic city by night.
Soho House New York
We move back to Soho for the Soho House. Since Sex and the City the Meatpacking Districs has been buzzing with hip and trendy people (and hotels). The Soho hotel is all that.
W New York
The W stands for W so we don’t really need to explain why this hotel is on our list right? Nothing is impossible for W hotels and that’s exactly the way you feel when entering W New York.
The Chatwal New York
You didn’t expect this one in our list right? We like ourselves a bit of Art Deco every now an then, and the Chatwal is full of it.
The Standard High Line
If you haven’t heard of New York’s High Line then there’s something seriously wrong with you. This amazing green walkway runs literally through the The Standard High Line hotel which makes it an extremely good place to stay.
The newest hotel in the list. Hôtel Americano is located in Chelsea and just minutes away from the High Line. The boutique design hotel has a French fare with a Latin flavor (kitchen also).
FEW VS MANY REVIEW
We often visit Antwerp. Each time we do we come to the conclusion that it’s probably the most cool city around (next to Utrecht and Amsterdam). And, it isn’t that far . A few hours by car and you’re in shopping heaven.
But, having said we love Antwerp. We don’t visit it enough. And that feels a bit weird. What’s even more weird is the fact that we’ve never slept there. It usually is a one day trip. But not this time. This time we got invited by Hotel Julien. They offered us a one night stay to check out the property and it didn’t take long to accept their offer.
Hotel Julien is located in the heart of the city. Ideal for a city or businesstrip. The famous Tripadvisor indicates that Hotel Julien is the best hotel in Antwerp. They’ve been on top of that list for over 6 months. We were giving the opportunity to see what the fuzz is all about. With our own eyes.
When you walk in the Korte Nieuwstraat, you wouldn’t expect entering this extremely cool boutique hotel. Once you enter the hotel you walk right into the reception. The hotel is small and accessible, which we liked.
Director Marc Albert received us and gave us a tour through the hotel. According to him the hotel has been open for over 9 months now (since the conversion). The doubled their rooms in numbers (22) without spoiling the atmosphere.
During the tour we see many things we like. But, the hotel isn’t that different from others. We ask Marc Albert what makes Hotel Julien different from others. Why is this hotel on top of the Tripadvisor list? What’s the secret? “Service”, Marc Albert says. “Everything is about service. People need to feel they’re at home. The need to feel as if everything is possible and are allowed to do or ask anything. That’s the secret of getting people back to your hotel”.
That doesn’t really sound like such a big of a secret. Our second question is how do you maintain a high service level? “We already have an established name. That helps. People love to come work for us. My responsibility is the team. I must ensure that the service level remains high. I pick the team carefully. Hire them young so I can teach them a thing or two. They must be eager. Otherwise things will not work out.”
Right. So the staff is excellent. That is something we can confirm. Why? Because we havn’t seen any of them. And we are told that is a good thing. But what more has the hotel to offer? Not that much actually. Which isn’t a bad thing if you ask us. Hotel Julien doesn’t pretend to be more then they are. They don’t have the ambition to become a leading 5 star hotel. There’s simply no room for such an hotel. There’s room for breakfast, but not for dinner. There’s room for a spa, but not for a swimming pool.
The room we got was fine. The design was nice and the bed nearly perfect. The rainshower with Malin and Goetz shampoo worked very well for us. We didn’t had a bath, but that wasn’t a problem. There are rooms with bathtubs Albert told us.
All in all we had a blast at Hotel Julien. We understand why it’s number 1 on Tripadvisor. We know for a fact that there are not many hotels like this in Antwerp. Hotel Julien creates a perfect vibe for those who have a little bit more to spend and want to have a good night sleep in the middle of Antwerp.
Price: around € 200,- a night
Meer informatie: Website Hotel Julien
Google maps link
HOTEL DES TROIS COURONNES
FEW VS MANY REVIEW
You guys (and girls) know we've been to Switserland during the summer. And we've only posted 1 review, which can never be enough as you all know. Our apologies. We'll publish 2 more Swiss reviews as soon as possible. Today we'll post the second one.
THE 10 MOST AMAZING
HOTEL POOLS IN THE WORLD
Blue Lagoon Geothermal Resort in Iceland
This Blue Lagoon Hotel/Spa is one of the main attractions on Iceland. The ‘swimming pool’ of this hotel is more like a warm water spring though it’s man made. The water comes from the nearby geothermal power plant called Svartsengi and is renewed every 2 days. Visiting this pool is not only a feast for the eyes, the lagoon is reputed to help people suffering from skin diseases.
The St. Regis Lhasa in Tibet
We would probably not be visiting Tibet any time soon, but if we ever do, we would certainly pay a visit to the St. Regis hotel in Lhassa. They have a golden swimming pool (not really golden of course, but golden tiles on the floor of the pool) which results in some serious bling bling.
Joule Hotel in The United States
A swimming pool located on one of the top floors of a hotel isn’t extraordinary. However, the pool on the 10th floor at the Joule Hotel in Dallas is. Why? Because it sticks out eigth feet over the sidewalk and was designed by the famous architect Adam D. Tihany.
Amangiri Resort in The United States
Swimming in the pool at the Amangiri resort in Utah will definitely be different then all other pools. This one is located in the desert and is surrounded by rock formations. It gives a very cool but unreal feeling to the place and if that’s what you’re looking for, you came to right place.
Viceroy Miami in The United States
This amazing pool at the Viceroy in Miami is located at the 15th floor and is open for all visitors. Non guest pay USD 30 and for this you get acces to the locker room, pool, spa, and steamed sauna. Oh and of course an amazing view of The Magic City.
Ubud Haning Gardens in Indonesia
Did you know we actually payed a visit to Ubud’s Hanging Gardens in Bali? It was pretty awesome and really a once in a lifetime opportunity. The view is absolutely stunning (special temple which is build on the side of a mountain). Read more about here.
The Cambrian Hotel in Switzerland
Another very special pool we’ve been in. Last summer we decided to take on Switzerland and of course we stayed a few nights at the famous Cambrian hotel. Though the beneath picture isn’t ours, we had a similar scenery so no Photoshop for this one. Read all about our Cambrian adventure here.
The Library Hotel in Thailand
The famous red swimming pool at The Library Hotel in Koh Samui, Thailand. Are we surprising you when we tell we’ve seen this one up close and personal? You don’t believe it? Read about it here and maybe you’ll think again. This pool has an incredible infinity feel to it and the red tiles on the swimming pool floor create something really extraordinary. Worth a visit!
San Alfonso del Mar Resort in Chile
Every time we see pictures of San Alfsonso’s swimming pool in Chile we get goosebumps. This pool is is larger than 20 Olympic-size pools and holds 66 million gallons of water. Maintain the world’s biggest (and deepest) pool costs almost 3 million dollar a year.
Marina Bay Sands in Singapore
Probably the most jaw dropping swimming pool at this moment is the one on top of the Marina Bay Sands in Singapore. What a view. What a pool. Currently we’re setting up a trip to Bali and Singapore and we’re trying to makes sure we visit this very special swimming pool. You’d better be on the lookout for some rare pictures.
FEW VS MANY REVIEW
Before you visit a resort or hotel, you need to get there. Our trip to the Tugu Hotel in Bali was, even for Few standards, quite special. As agreed we were picked up by a car plus driver from the resort. The cool towel and bottle of water didn’t blew our minds, but the fresh fruit and all kind of different treats did. We were having a mini picnic in the back of the car. Something we haven’t experienced before.
The stories we heard up front did promise lot’s of good stuff. Especially the authentic Balinese influences and ancient treasures inside the resort made us very curious. But, to be completely honest we were also looking forward to our own private pool, the 5 different Spa’s, and the location right next to the sea.
When we arrived we immediately noticed a warm and very friendly surrounding. The personnel was well-informed about our stay. Not only the woman at the front desk knew our names from the start (without introducing ourselves), but also the rest of the 95 staff members knew exactly who we were. One of them was Hotel Manager Stephanie Jaton. She has been working for over 10 years in Indonesia and knows exactly how to combine the Balinese hospitality with western luxury which results in very well trained staff (and a very good resort).
After a ‘short’ tour (almost 1,5 hours) someone took us to our villa. Well, not really. The management let us choose between two different villas. One had the ocean view and the other a private pool. The rest of the hotel was fully booked so they freed 2 rooms just so we could choose... Another thing we haven’t experienced before. After a brief inspection we choose the villa with the private pool. This time no ocean view for us.
In the middle of our room was this huge bed. We literally took the time to measure the bed because it looked gigantic. It was over 2,5 meters long and it felt like we could get lost in there. Which probably is a good thing. Another thing that made us frown was the bathroom. That room was part inside, part outside. If we wanted, we could shower outside, right next to our private pond with different Koi fishes. Pretty amazing. Again.
What we remember best from our visit is the fact that you could have breakfast, dinner or a snack anywhere you wanted. Dinner at the beach? No problem? Breakfast at the villa? No problem? Snack in the swimming pool? No problem. We had a blast during our visit and we recommend this place highly. It doesn’t happen very much that we come across things that our new to us. Tugu did it multiple times in just 48 hours.
Price: USD 325 a night - Dedari Suite
More information: Website Tugu Bali
PACKING LIKE A PRO
TRAVEL FACTS & SOLUTIONS
Traveling is all about discovering unknown places and meeting people you never saw before. And packing. Packing is of great importance before you even step inside a plane, train or automobile.
Travel website latedeals.co.uk came up with some pretty cool facts about packing we would like to share with you. Keep this information in the back of your head and you’ll never ever forget anything to take with you. Kinda.
Before we get to the tips. First some ‘insight’ information.
- 65% of holidayers are last minute packers and pack their suitcases the night before they travel
- 68% fold clothes, 22% both fold and roll, 10% just roll clothes
- 12% of people write a packing list
- HALF of us cram extra items into our suitcase just before we leave for the airport
- The majority of women admit they over pack
- 53% went over personal baggage allowances last year (2011)
- Men use 98% of what they’ve packed while away on holiday while women only wear 62% of what they’ve packed
- 90% of men pack the night before
- 50% of woman start to pack 3+ days ahead
- 7% of men purchased new clothes whilst on holiday
- 47% of women purchased new clothes whilst on holiday
- Men pack ‘items’ of clothing while women pack ‘outfits’
- Men take a “make do” approach while women are perfectionists & tend to pack for every eventuality and say “better to be safe than sorry”
- Men mostly carry the bags? Women tend to pack the bags!
And now how to pack like a pro. Let’s go!
- Don’t fold, roll! – you’ll fit in more clothes if you roll them up very tightly and then tightly pack into your case.
- Create a list – before you even contemplate reaching for suitcase, plan what you will wear by day and what can go with what and stick to it!
- Don’t be last minute – the optimum time is at least two days before your holiday.
- Heavy items at the bottom – and keep lighter items that tend to get creased at the top.
- Use your shoes – stuff footwear with rolled up underwear, socks, jewellery, and even toiletries. Place footwear around the outside of the case.
- Wear heavy items – if you’re really struggling to pack everything wear it! Layer up.
GET A GOLDEN IPAD
AT BURJ AL ARAB
We don't really like Twitter. Seriously, we don't. But we need it to receive news. And last week we read the following tweet from @BurjAlArab. “Today we launched exclusive 24 carat gold iPads, designed specifically for Burj Al Arab, for our in-house guests.”
Since that tweet, we like Twitter a bit more then before. No, really, we already knew that the owners of the 7 star Burj Al Arab hotel were a little crazy (in a good way) but this we didn't see coming.
The iPad is pre-installed with software that acts as a virtual concierge. So it function's like a big remote control for room service and other luxuries we probably never can afford. Too bad you can't keep the little gadget. But still, it's good to see hotels trying to innovate. Right?
SHOP VISIT: VICO MOVEMENT
ROTTERDAM, THE NETHERLANDS
Shop visits will be a new functionality at Few vs Many. Though, we need to check first if you guys are willing to read it, but thats’ something we’ll deal with later. The first place we want you to check out when you’re in the neighborhood is the official store of Vico Movement in Rotterdam.
The shop is located at the Mini-Mall in Rotterdam. Yeah, that’s the name of the building. We know that might be confusing, but hey, we’re not in the United States right now. The Mini-Mall can be found 5 minutes (walking distance) from the town hall at the famous Coolsingel. You’ll need some kind of map (Google maps) to show you the way, but according to us it worth your precious time.
When you finally found the store, you’ll discover it’s not that big of a store. That’s true, because it isn’t actually is a real store. Its a concept store which means its not always open. To be precise, its doors are pretty much closed all of the time. Except for Saturdays and some Friday nights.
The store itself looks pretty cool. You’ll find all the different models they ever made and of course can buy your favorite pair. They also sell a few sweaters, tees and pants, but that’s not their main objective of course. It’s more a cause to show the complete picture. But, to be honest, its not the store really makes this a must visit. It’s the shoes they sell. We’ve posted about them before but not too long ago we didn’t have any. When we left the store we picked op two pair and now, a few weeks later, we tested them intensely. We knew they looked great, but would they fit nice? We’ve got some pretty picky feet and they don’t like everything we burden them with. At first, they didn’t really enjoy the Vico Movement shoes. They were pretty rigid. But because the friendly owners told us to hold on and we really liked the design of the shoes we kept wearing them. A few weeks/blisters later they now feel extremely comfortable and we wear them all the time.
So, if you plan on visiting Rotterdam and you like yourself some exclusive shoes that are handmade in Portugal, swing by and say hi from us.
VICO International B.V.
3032 AE Rotterdam
THE CAMBRIAN HOTEL
FEW VS MANY REVIEW
Could our Swiss trip get any better after staying at L'hôtel des Trois Couronnes (Vevey) and Schweizerhof (Bern)? A legit question because these hotels showed us how wonderful a holiday in Switzerland can be. But we're not done yet. There's one more hotel left before returning home.
FEW VS MANY REVIEW
You guys know we appreciate a little privacy every now and then. Of course this can not be at the expense of a little comfort. That’s why we visited the Viceroy hotel in Bali for a review because they told us we could stay at a private villa with infinity pool.
When we arrived at the hotel we are a bit surprised by the fact they have a helipad. Why did we arrive by car again? No really, without any further prejudices we walked to the reception...
Our first impression of the premises is very good. We receive a very friendly welcome (including garland) and all the smiling people, it’s very contagious. In a good way of course. After a quick chat with the lady behind the front office in ‘Chinglish’ some guy leads us to a golf cart that brings us to our accommodation.
But before we go there we get to see the hotel property. The luxury terrace looks extraordinary. The spacious resort is build in 2006 and is well maintained. The Viceroy is a mix between traditional and modern and as far as we can see business is good for the Viceroy. Lots of people are working on expanding the property (more villas). For a moment we thought this might hinder our stay but in the end we didn’t notice a thing about the construction (big compliment). These new villas will bring the total to 25. We’re staying in villa number 19.
When we arrive our ‘driver’ makes sure our suitcases are brought in while we stumble in awe. It looks fantastic. Very traditional but also lots of modern comfort. We especially like the black and white photography in our ‘tipi hut’ of indigenous people. Of course we immediately walk to our own private pool to see and find out if it’s just as beautiful as in the pictures on the internet. It is! The swimming pool is surrounded by a terrace of 30 square meters which is about half of the complete outside area. But, the main attraction of this terrace is the Bale Bengong (Balinese Gazebo) which is floating above the pool. Maximum relaxation!
The villa itself is about 150 square meters. It has a kingsize bed which will help getting rid of your jet lag. Also the big ass TV with Bowers & Wilkes iPod docking station grab our attention. It all just looks very nice.
In the morning it’s time for breakfast and again we’re surprised by all the friendly staff (and the great food). Water melon and all other kinds of fresh fruit are a feast for the mind/tummy. Also the traditional omelet is recommended.
The rest of the day we decide to explore Ubud and it’s surroundings. Het hotel is situated about 10 minutes from the city centre and can be reached by a free shuttle service of the hotel (every 10 minutes from 07:00 to 23:00). This of course is a good way to get some tips from the driver. He recommends us visiting a small restaurant which we do and we had a blast. A simple phone call from the restaurant and 10 minutes later the driver takes us back to the hotel. What a service.
Wasn’t there anything to complain about? There is. The swimming pool had, according to our preferences, a little too much chlorine. Also the rain shower inside was a little weak. But besides that we couldn’t find anything we didn’t like. Probably the best thing was the ultimate relaxation in this hotel. It’s not like they force this feeling, something we see very often. According to Otto (the owner of the Viceroy) - our new hero - is this atmosphere exactly what he had in mind 10 years ago. 4 years later he opened this wonderful hotel and it’s truly something to be proud of. Hopefully we can revisit Viceroy some day. If we’re around, we wouldn’t hesitate, that’s one thing that’s for sure.
Price: USD 800 a night
More information: Website Viceroy
UBUD HANGING GARDENS IN BALI
FEW VS MANY REVIEW
Our next stop in Bali is one of the most amazing hotels the Orient Express Hotel group has to offer: Ubud Hanging Gardens, and the name itself is just as mysterious as the setting of the resort.
Lets begin with a little bit of history about this property. The current owner (British) was mountain biking through the mountains of Ubud. When he was standing still to catch some breath he looked around and saw this spectacular temple. Of course Bali is full of temples, but this one was special. It was build against the mountain instead of on top. He fell in love with the view (from where he was standing that moment) and started making plans to built this amazing resort so everyone could enjoy the view.
The idea for the building was ingenious, met complex. The mountainside was around 30 to 50 degrees steep, which didn’t make it an easy build. But, the Brit convinced enough people to get the right people (Orient Express Group) excited so they started building. And not long after, we came to Bali to see what all the fuzz was about.
While entering the premises we noticed that there’s a different vibe then what we’re used too. There was of course the friendly Balinese hospitality, but the location grabbed a hold on us. We don’t know what exactly was responsible for this ‘weird but ok feeling’, but it might has something to do with the James Bond like Funicular which helped avoid hundreds of stairs.
The other thing that was different, was the air. There was this mystical atmosphere in the air that surrounded the hanging gardens. The people at the hotel told us this has something to do with a religious conjunction of the hotel and the temple on the other side of the mountain, but we don’t really believe in these kinda fairytales…
Like we always do, we check the resort by using the shower (always a good thing after traveling), test the bed for softness and stroll around taking pictures of the resort. But this time we do it in a bit of a hurry. We’re staying for just one night and because it’s very humid we can’t wait to start skinny-dipping in our own private pool.
When all this is done we head down to the Béduur restaurant to speak with their Thai Chef and French manager. This combinations is also reflected in the menu which makes it a joy to just look at it. We order the rice table (which is famous) and start waiting for the food to arrive.
We made the right decision. The Thai Chef used local ingredients which are fantastic. We really enjoyed our food. Because there were so many different dishes we can’t really remember what we ate (and because we forget to bring our notebook), but we do recommend you ordering this meal of you like a big rice table. Oh, and before we move on from dinner, we would like to say that the service was impeccable. Without being irritated, our glasses were never empty, our napkins were always folded correctly and most of the crew spoke English fluently.
So, did we like everything at Ubud’s Hanging Gardens? No. there was this drive to sell dressing gowns and sarongs and we don’t like people asking us to buy something. We’ll buy something if we want to and if we feel the need to it, so please stop embarrassing yourselves by being obtrude. The other downside of the resort if the fact that it takes over 40 minutes to get there from Ubud. The hotel does offer a complimentary shuttle service (6 times a day), but it’s still a long way from the civilized world. But, both these negative things didn’t break our stay at Ubud. We loved every bit of it and we highly recommend anyone staying here for a few days. The mystical atmosphere in combination with your own private pool and staying in the middle of the jungle is something we (and you) will never forget.
Price: USD 360 a night
More information: Website Ubud Hanging Gardens
SHANGRI-LA KUALA LUMPUR
FEW VS MANY REVIEW
After some well earned peace in Indonesia we decided to take a short detour before heading home. We thought it might be a good idea to visit the gigantic city of Kuala Lumpur and so we did. We searched a bit on the internet and stumbled upon the Shangri-La Hotel.
SCHWEIZERHOF HOTEL BERN
FEW VS MANY REVIEW
We've been to many major cities the past couple of years. But there's so much more to explore. So, it's time to do things a bit different. That's why we headed to Switzerland. We're going to see the mountains!