09. BALI 2017

It has been awhile since I last posted an entry, but I’m back to write about my latest adventure to Bali!

My loving partner, W and I happened to spend Nyepi Day in Bali and it was such a serene experience.
Nyepi Day

Nyepi is a Balinese ‘Day of Silence’. It is a Hindu celebration mainly celebrated in Bali, and happens to be a public holiday. It is a day of silence, fasting and meditation for the Balinese. The Day is observed for 24-hours, starting at 6am and only ending the following day. During this time, all businesses and roads will be closed. Also, no one is allowed on the streets! Hotel guests are to stay within the premises only. When the sun sets, we are all to stay in the comfort of our rooms and have minimal lights on, or have our curtains drawn so light doesn’t stream out.

It may seem boring and a waste of time, but it really isn’t. During Nyepi Day, there was peace and quiet. There were no sounds of traffic or the hustle and bustle of the busy streets of Bali. Being in this space and time was like pressing pause on a movie. Time literally stood still. I felt a great sense of calm and relief, sitting in the comfort of a deck chair by the pool within the premises of the hotel we stayed, whilst listening to the gush of the wind and the rustling of leaves on the branches of trees – bliss is the sound of nature.

So, if you’re having doubts about spending Nyepi Day in Bali, I would suggest to think again. As lights will be switched off all around Bali, stars will litter the night sky. Every inch of the vast night sky had a colony of stars. It was just amazing.

 

Montigo Resorts Seminyak, Bali


We spent our first two nights at the Montigo Resorts Seminyak. Upon arrival at the resort, we were greeted by the friendly staff who welcomed us with a welcome drink along with a chilled and scented lemon grass face towel! It was so very refreshing! The bell man showed us to and gave us a tour our room thereafter. We had the fine opportunity to stay in the Executive Suite. My favourite part of the Suite had to be the patio as it has an artistically designed stoned walkway leading to a back door that can be used to access the resort’s public grounds. Apart from the patio, the king sized mattress in our room is just amazingly soft and snug. It hugged my body so well, that I slept like a baby for the two nights I was there. So comforting and relaxing!

 

Tiigo @ Montigo Resorts

We indulged in a 3-set Balinese lunch which had Gado Gado (I called it the ‘OCD Gado Gado’, as the ingredients were very nicely lined up), Bebek Goreng (Balinese crispy fried duck with rice) and a platter of assorted Balinese kueh. The food at Tiigo was good and I found the duck in Bebek Goreng crispy on the outside, yet tender on the inside. Although, the duck didn’t have much meat in it. Still, a very satisfying 3-course meal!


Our stay at Montigo was definitely amazing, the staff were friendly and genuine in their service. They really worked to ensure our stay was a comfortable one. Since we had stayed at Montigo through Nyepi Day, the staff at Montigo prepared a whole list of movies for their guest covering the whole 24-hour festival to keep us entertained! The Internet connection did seem a bit choppy and slow on Nyepi Day as well, but sped up once the festival was over.

 

Villa Nol @ Villa Nest

W and I stayed at Villa Nol at Villa Nest for 3 nights after Montigo. We booked Villa Nol via airbnb, as we read really good reviews from the previous guests. While looking for villas, W and I essentially looked for one with a private pool and bath tub, and hence found Villa Nol. The host, Awen, is a “super host” too! So that was an added plus!

The management of Villa Nest had arranged a complimentary pick up from Montigo to Villa Nol. The driver, Made was extremely nice and knowledgeable about the area surrounding our villa, whilst sharing with us on our drive over. We previously had trouble purchasing a local SIM card as stall holders sold them to us at a higher price at around 25,000rp (S$25). We didn’t buy it as we personally felt cheated. When we explained to Made, he offered to make a stop at one of the road side stalls selling local SIM cards and assisted in the purchase. The local SIM card cost 60,000rp (S$6). W and I were very impressed with Made. – The level of service was only just the beginning.

Upon arrival, we were greeted by Awen and our daily cooks for breakfast. Awen took us on a tour around the villa. It is quite a big villa, mind, even more so for two petite individuals. The villa came with a well-stocked kitchen; cooking utilities, etc etc, a study area with a well-stocked book shelf with books and movies, a walk-in wardrobe, outdoor shower area, bath tub and a private pool! Oh, and not forgetting, daily complimentary laundry service. Oh, and it doesn’t just stop there, we were greeted each with a bowl of homemade mango sorbet and freshly squeezed orange juice! Now, that is what I call wow-factor. Worth every cent we paid for the villa.

Each day, the cooks will ask us what time we would prefer to have breakfast the following morning. Before the said time, the cooks will come in and prepare our breakfast. So when we come out from our room, breakfast will be ready on the dining table and ready for our stomachs.

This was breakfast for us on the first morning, they cooked so much food, it covered all our three meals!!

This was breakfast on our second day. I requested for something Balinese and they cooked Balinese chicken porridge for me, which was really good!!

At the end of our stay at Villa Nol, we were extremely reluctantly to leave. The staff made us feel at home and so welcome. I would love to return to stay with them again. Perhaps, grab a couple of friends with me to stay at their other villas.

 

The Spicery Deli & Bistro @ Seminyak Square

We had our first meal in Bali at The Spicery Deli & Bistro. The food was adequate, but the ambience was amazing. I had ordered a cup of soy cappuccino as I felt really tired after waking up early to catch the flight to Bali. The soy cappuccino was an instant perk-me-up and I felt instantly energised. It was also one of the better coffees I’ve had in a while!


 

Kisik Bar & Grill @ Ayana Resort & Spa

Two years ago, W and I spent an evening at the Rock Bar at Ayana Resort & Spa, where we witnessed the most beautiful sunset, ever. Two years on, W reserved a table prior to our arrival in Bali at the Kisik Bar & Grill at Ayana Resort & Spa for proper food, and in hopes that we would witness another beautiful sunset. However, as it was monsoon season, and it rained and drizzled in the day, dark and angry clouds laced the vast grey-tinged sky. We thought we’d never be able to witness a sunset until we were greeted with this spectacular view! Although, the sunset was a little sadder than two years ago, but hey, still really pretty!

The food at Kisik Bar & Grill was adequate and a little pricey, but the ambience and sounds of water crashing against the rocks below was soothing. It was calming to see waves of water fold over one another, and how the sun, sand and sea seem to all come together as one. A perfect combination. Also, what followed after was even better!

Soooo. About the service. – Well, the service was exceptional. We were served by a guy named, Wade, who was very enthusiastic, helpful and friendly. He was quite exceptional, really. I honestly didn’t think too much about it then. But he did keep hopping by our table to check on W and I. He also offered to take many pictures of us against the backdrop of the ocean or the restaurant, or us sitting by our table. The pictures taken were shot from all sorts of angles and I have a whole library of them. I noticed that Wade called us “Mr” & “Mrs” once , and W frowned a bit. I really didn’t think too much of it as well, as I worked in service previously and it is normal for a service staff to address “Mr & Mrs”. Wade sounded a bit sheepish after but he made a good recovery.

Before sunset, W made an excuse to head to the loo, and I didn’t think too much of that either – I mean, what’s wrong with using the loo? He did take a bit longer than usual to come back from the loo, so I got a bit worried and my eyes scouted around the restaurant for him.. & that was one I saw him walking over to me with a bouquet of flowers. He proposed, and I said yes. 🙂

The feeling is still so surreal, but I can’t help but feel extremely blessed to have found such an amazing partner. He isn’t just my partner. But he is also my best friend, my soulmate and my best confidante. I can’t wait to embark on this new adventure with you. 🙂

That said, I guess, I was the restaurant’s VIP that day. Heh. Still, service was exceptional! – Wade was exceptional too! Special thanks to him for running the extra mile for us!

 

Made’s Warung @ Seminyak

The Made’s Warung outlet at Seminyak has a dance floor and live band. It was quite an experience dining amidst dancers spinning around on the dance floor. It made you want to get up to dance. The only problem is, I’m as stiff as a board. So there’s really no way I’d join them on the dance floor.

The ambience was exquisite and the food was good too! We had the thai green curry, Babi guling (roast pig) and pork ribs.

 

Kaiana Salon & Spa

W and I both did the “A Minty Affair” body scrub treatment at Kaiana. The masseuse were really good. They ensured that the pressure of the massage was to our liking. Although pricier than other spa salons, it was well worth it!

LV Spa

Before leaving for the airport, W and I did a final spa treatment. W did a 60 minute full body massage which he felt was really good, as he felt extremely light after. I did a 30 min feet massage and a manicure. Both the feet massage and manicure were done very well!!

 

Double Six Beach

When I was looking for beaches to check out along Seminyak, Double Six Beach was one of them. Reviews were mostly negative about how the sand is “black” and litter littered the sand. In my opinion, the reviews are partially accurate. The sand isn’t black, or dirty. It is probably volcanic sand. I didn’t quite catch the sunset I hoped as it was about to rain, but I did manage to watch the sky turn a nice gradient of orange, blue and grey before trotting off to find shelter.

Although, Awen did recommend La Plancha beach about a 5 minute walk down from Double Six Beach, which we didn’t get to check out, as I was too comfortable at Villa Nol to explore. Hahaha!

Once again, I enjoyed my vacation to Bali, and I’m looking forward to return again!

until my next adventure, xoxo

08. SYDNEY

Hello!

I’m back with another entry on my recent holiday to Sydney, Australia and boy was it cold! I had travelled during Spring with my loving partner, W. On most afternoons, the temperature was about 20 degrees and at night, it can dip all the way down to 13 degrees. I am quite skinny and petite individual, thus making me a poorly insulated human. I did however enjoy the breeze as I stuck my clenched fists deep into the pockets of my Zara  Kids trench coat. (Yes, I’m small enough to shop at the kids section. I get very weird stares from the shop assistants.) It took me about 2 days to adjust to the temperature and weather. Thereafter, I was a little more comfortable. I would recommend packing and wearing layers of clothing, as it can get warmer during certain parts of the day! 🙂

First, some admin items

Our goal this holiday was to travel by public transport (bus and trains) and walk more than taking public transport. Apparently, W had an App on his phone that could calculate the distance we walked per day. According to that App, we walked close to 10km per day. Thank goodness for proper walking shoes! (I’m not complaining, I truly like walking. But. Just don’t make me run. Hehe.) For this holiday, we did not plan on where to dine. We just planned on walking and exploring a certain area and finding food there. As such, a few items were needed for us to achieve that goal.

  1. Sydney SIM Card (per person): We bought our SIM Card from Optus for AUS 40 per person for 10 days with 1GB free data a day. As far as I know, there are 2 Optus shops at the terminal. After going through customs, you will see an Optus shop with a really long queue. Don’t go to that like W and I did. We waited in line for close to an hour just to get our see cards. Instead, walk down the walkway towards WH Smith, and about 2 minutes walk after WH Smith, you will find another Optus shop with no queue.
  2. Opal Card (per person): You may purchase an Opal Card at WH Smith for AUS 40 per card. The amount paid for the card is the amount deposited in your Opal Card.
  3. 131500: To go around Sydney with public transport, our friendly Uber driver who drove us from the Airport to our hotel told us to refer to 131500 via the web or phone on the best and fastest possible route to our destination. It really did help us a lot. 🙂

I’ve been to quite a number of places, whether to eat/ drink or sight-see. So, I’ve divided this post into three: Hotel, Food & Beverages and Sights & Attractions.

(i) Hotel

Kirketon Hotel Sydney

Accommodation can be a little costly in Sydney and we were lucky to find a promotional rate on Agoda for Kirketon Hotel Sydney, a boutique hotel along Darlinghurst Road. We loved the area as it was about 5 minutes walk away from Kings Cross train station, making it really easily accessible to other parts of Sydney by train. There were also a number of cafes along the stretch of road leading to our hotel, making it easier to find food and drink, as we had booked a room only rate. The area was also closer to the city, hence very walkable.

We had booked the standard room category at Kirketon. Yes, it is a shoe box sized room, but it was functional and clean. The room came with a strong mini refrigerated bar, a queen sized bed, writing desk and an ensuite bathroom fully furnished with a standalone shower, toilet and sink. The bathroom was also well stocked with shampoo, body soap, conditioner and moisturiser, which the housekeeping staff at the hotel topped up on a daily basis. Two thumbs up! Although, a small boutique hotel, service was exceptional. The service staff did seem helpful. We had bought a box full of 6 packets of Grain Waves and we needed tape to secure the box and marker to label it. The staff seemed very willing to help. Quite pleasing. 🙂

(ii) Food & Beverages

Eau de Vie @ Kirketon Hotel Sydney

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The hotel also has an exceptional bar, Eau de Vie on the lobby level. – Don’t be fooled, just walk down the dim lobby and you’ll find it. The bar makes exceptional cocktails that looks just as good as it tastes! I hear the restaurant, Fu Manchu at the hotel is exceptional too. Only W and I didn’t get to try it.

Bang Tang at Llankelly Place

After  checking in, we took a stroll around our neighbourhood and found a small Vietnamese Cafe. It was a quaint little cafe tucked away in a quiet alley and we decided to stop by to have our dinner. W and I each had a savory bowl of ‘Juicy Belly’. I just said savory. But i’ll say it again. It was oh, so savory. So incredibly good. As you can see, the picture on the right shows an extremely contented-me. Haha.

Chapter e Food & Juice Bar, Darlinghurst Road

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A quiet food bar just less than a minute walkaway from our hotel selling sandwiches, salads, cakes and coffee. I really like this place as the service was good and the food was fresh. I’ve tried the soy cappuccino (i’m lactose intolerant), bagel and salad from the bar. It’s not the best, but if I stayed in Sydney long enough, I’d definitely keep coming back as the food was fresh and coffee was good, but the service was even better!

169 Cafe, Bar & Dining at Darlinghurst Road

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An interesting cafe towards the end of Darlinghurst Road. The cafe turns into classy pub at night. Breakfast was good. W had ordered eggs with toast which tasted really good! While I had fresh fruits, yoghurt and chia seeds. I felt a bit adventurous that morning. I personally didn’t like it as it was a bit bland for me. But I’m sure, there are other people who will appreciate this dish more than I did.

Via Napoli Pizzeria at Surry Hills

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We had dinner with a few friends one of the nights and dined here. Still, the food and company was excellent. We had ordered a one meter long pizza to share. Coming from one who is lactose intolerant and not a fan of dairy, I loved that the cheese was actually chewy and kinda addictive. But once my stomach began to churn, I had to push the cheese aside and eat the crust and ingredients only. Sad is I. For some reason, dairy in Sydney is rather potent. So for anyone who is lactose intolerant, please stick to non-dairy products.

Sydney Fish Market

I was really excited to visit the Sydney Fish Market as I love seafood. Over the years, I feel the fish market has become more of a tourist attraction with their extensive display of fresh and cooked seafood. Their live catch was impressive. The fishes, crabs, and other sea creatures were stunning and huge. The images above shows the size of their catch with reference to the size of my hand.

W and I made a mistake of ordering cooked over live seafood. Thus we were extremely disappointed. Not only was it surprisingly expensive but the cooked seafood wasn’t fresh. It tasted like it was kept in a freezer for awhile, defrosted then cooked. It was chewy, and it had lost to sweetness of fresh seafood. We were so disappointed we nearly wanted to leave without trying any of the fresh seafood. But after much contemplation, we decided to get half a dozen plate of fresh oysters.

To conclude, don’t purchase the cooked seafood. The fresh oysters were better in comparison. But, I’m still kinda disappointed. I don’t know if I’ll ever return to the fish market. But if I do, I’m never purchasing cooked seafood.

Cooked (left), Half dozen fresh oysters (right)

Bondi Surf Seafoods

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We were recommended by W’s friend to try the Fried Mars Bars at Bondi Surf Seafood. Yes, seafood. You might think, why on earth would a seafood place sell Mars bars, let alone FRIED Mars Bars. I’m really not quite sure. But apparently not any restaurant can serve Fried Mars Bars, the Bondi Surf Seafoods was actually given permission to fry Mars bars.

Bizarre, yes. Sinful, definitely. It looks just like Goreng Pisang (fried banana). But it tasted surprisingly good. The crust was crunchy and it complimented the sweetness of the Mars bar really well. What’s more, with every bite, chocolate oozed out. What’s there not to love? Would I go back for the Fried Mars Bar? – Yes, I will. Definitely. Without a doubt.

Hurricane’s Grill & Bar at Bondi Beach

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On one of the nights, we met up with some of my cousins who were also in Sydney for dinner. We dined at Hurricane’s Grill & Bar and had mussels and a meat platter to share. The food and atmosphere was really good. The highlight of the dinner, apart from the company was definitely the meat platter.

Blue Fish at Harbourside Shopping Centre 

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On our last night in Sydney, we decided to celebrate with a good and hearty meal at the Blue Fish. We ordered half a dozen fresh oysters, BBQ Alaskan Crab, and yes we tried Kangaroo meat. The kangaroo meat tastes just like beef, only tougher. Our dinner at Blue Fish costs approximately AUS 100, but it was satisfying and a good close to our holiday at Sydney.

(iii) Sights and Attractions

Hyde Park

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On our first day, we walked through Hyde Park. As you can see in the picture above, the weather was a little gloomy and the grounds were wet from the rain. We were lucky that it only drizzled when we were walking through. Loved the lush greens though. If it weren’t raining, I’m sure W and I would have sat around to enjoy the breeze and scenery! Sadly, as it was drizzling, we had to brisk walk through the park. We didn’t get to explore much of it. I did however spot a couple of furry Kookaburra sitting high on trees! They were really cute!

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The Rocks Market

Also, on our first day, we headed to the Rocks Market in the rain. It was a pretty small market but I loved walking through it as there were so many things to see! I bought myself a handmade ring from Natalie Ness. The maker is amazing and so friendly. I have pretty skinny fingers and finding accessories for them have been tough! There were a lot of other shops that sold quirky items like roo balls, poisonous spiders in key chains and such! I went for the not so quirky items like chocolate. Hehe.

P.S If you’re planning to visit the markets, do note that the markets are only opened on weekends. Our plans to visit the markets failed as it poured heavily and we only had one day to conquer them. 😦 – Paddy’s Market at China Town however is opened on Wednesday to Sunday.

Darling Harbour

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If you take a trip to Sydney, walking by the harbour is a must! The Sydney SEA Aquarium, IMAX Theatre, Madame Tussauds, Sydney Opera House, etc are all along the same stretch! It would probably take you about 2 days to walk through everything. Also, you’ll find a scenic view of the harbour and see boats cruising down the harbour. It is really quite relaxing!

Sydney Sea Life Aquarium

I love visiting aquariums, as I feel it is educational. I learn a fair bit being at the aquarium. The Sydney Sea Life Aquarium was one of the attractions I was really excited to visit! And boy was I pleased with extensive sea life. I learnt a lot that day. Like for instance, did you know dugongs can’t eat food that is floating at the top? It’ll injure their neck as their mouth points downwards.

Sydney Opera House

We walked from Circular Quay to the Sydney Opera House. The weather was really good that day and I captured some of nature’s beauty with my iPhone – fluffy cotton candy clouds amidst crystal blue skies! The sun was also out on full force! So even though it was windy, it warmed up the atmosphere a bit more. I simply love the architecture of the building. Also, the area makes an excellent place to go for a run!

P.S Also makes a really good location for some OOTDs.

The Royal Botanic Gardens

Enroute from Sydney Opera House is The Royal Botanic Gardens. I strongly recommend taking a walk through this park. Lush greens and a picturesque view at every angle. Spent a bit lounging around and walking through the park.

P.S also a good place to catch Kangaskhan on PokemonGo. Haha. Well, this is where W and I caught it.

Bondi Beach

Bondi Beach was breath-taking! A little hyped, but breath-taking. I would recommend going over earlier in the day, as W and I reached Bondi Beach around 5pm, and it turned dark around 5.45pm. It has turned in to a youth hub where skaters, bikers and surfers are seen at every turn. Also, dogs! Many owners walking their dogs by the walkway.

P.S The day turns darker quicker in Spring. Not forgetting, it gets colder as the sun sets. Hence the scarf. I was freezing my toes off. I had to jog to keep insulated. Hehe.

To end of, my holiday at Sydney was amazing. I admit that I did get a bit lazy on researching for this holiday, and I think it can be seen in the way I typed this entry. But I guess, the main objective of the holiday was to explore, be adventurous and impromptu. In my opinion, I think we accomplished our objective, and that is all that matters.

Until my next juicy adventure!

xoxo

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07. BATAM

It has been awhile since my last entry. I’ve been hibernating like a bear in winter and enjoying solitude for nearly three months. Hehe. – I am joking. 🙂

I’m now back with an entry about my recent three-day two-night adventure at Batam with no one else than my partner in crime, W. For this trip, we just wanted to spend time together since we were apart for close to two months.

On a side note, I have to admit, keeping up a long distance relationship isn’t easy. Particularly when the time difference is totally the opposite. For instance, while I was fast asleep, he would be bright awake, and vice versa. The most important lesson learnt is that it takes two hands to clap; it takes two to commit, support, love and to be compromising and understanding of one another. Communication is key. There is no point in keeping silent if one party doesn’t like something. Sharing keeps the sparks alive. It also takes the other to reciprocate.

 

Da Vienna Boutique Hotel

ANYWAY. TripAdvisor was once again our trusty agent of choice for choosing our accommodation. We chose Da Vienna Boutique Hotel along Nagoya simply because we wanted to check out the city area. W found a promotional rate on Agoda at S$66 before a night for a Junior Suite. The room rate is inclusive daily buffet breakfast for two too! We went ahead with the booking of the suite. Well, it’s not common to find a suite at S$66 a night. The suite is really quite large and comes complete with a separate living area and master bedroom. It has two TVs, but it seems only the TV in the living area has cable broadband. As you can see from the images below, the room has dark wooden and classic tones. The room is a little dark in my opinion – but functional.

I would say the service is good and staff were friendly at Da Vienna. We had bought a bottle of Bintang from the local supermarket at Batam. However, the hotel room did not have a bottle opener and also we had forgotten to bring our personal bottle opener from home. We rang up room service to request if we could borrow one. The staff came up to our suite in less than 5 minutes! He bowed and greeted brightly before leaving, “enjoy your drink!”. I found it rather amusing and it definitely made a positive impact!

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Living area. Complete with a mini bar and a TV with cable broadband. The living area leads to the master bedroom.
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Master bedroom
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This is our grand marbled washroom complete with a bath tub, standalone shower, single vanity counter, hairdryer and toilet bowl. The vanity counter is a little high. I am quite petite so I had some trouble reaching the sink. I had to tip-toe just to be comfortable.

 

Harbour Bay Seafood

We dined at the Harbour Bay Seafood located near the Harbour Bay Ferry Terminal for it’s ambience, service and quality of food. Oh, the restaurant provides complimentary WIFI too! This trip, I was rather greedy for seafood. So I dined here twice. Hehe. The first for lunch on our second day and the next for lunch just before taking the ferry home.

We had a plate of gong gongs on both dates. Gong gong is a type of small edible sea snail. Strongly recommended! It tasted really fresh and sweet!

On our first day, we had a generous plate of seafood fried rice at S$2 and a plate of sambal Kang Kong, which both tasted really good!

Salted egg crab (left) and Chili clams (right). Both dishes were really good too!! The crab however was sadly a little dry.

The Spa Secret

The highlight of our short weekend getaway was our full body spa treatments at The Spa Secret. W chose the Honey Spa (960,000 rp), while I chose the Traditional Herbal Spa (860,000 rp). Both treatments were each 2.5 hours long. We had also booked a couple room which came complete with,  of course two separate massage beds, a couple jacuzzi, a stand alone shower and vanity counter. Our therapists were both really good. They were friendly and attentive. They were also really skilled. W and I both had an extremely good massage. While my therapist could speak fluent English, W’s wasn’t too fluent, the service and massage was good. We would definitely love to return for another treatment! 🙂

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If you decide on the full body treatment, females would be given the V-ratus treatment – a Javanese tradition using dried herbs from Indonesia. It is said to reduce stress, fight infections, regulate menstrual cycles, aid fertility and many other health benefits. (To put it simply, Miss V was very nicely fogged  that day). After the V-ratus treatment, I did feel refreshed and well cleaner. So I guess, it did help!

Our short weekend getaway to Batam was relaxing and I felt instantly recharged. I would love to return again soon. Perhaps to recharge at a resort next? 🙂

Until then!

xoxo

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06. HOTEL JEN TANGLIN

My featured image is not as it seems, I’m currently still a ‘Miss‘. Hotel Jen Tanglin, formerly known as the Traders Hotel, is quirkily designed – modern yet funky. I personally feel that most of the designs within the hotel nicely captured the history of Traders Hotel. There were quirky road signs hung on walls and cute wooden benches in front of the reception. In my opinion, it was a nice mix of the old and new.

W and I had planned for a short weekend together, as we wanted to celebrate our anniversary. W was also going away for two months and we wanted to spend as much time together before he jets off. Having enjoyed our stay at Hotel Jen Puteri Harbour, we decided on our stay at Hotel Jen Tanglin. We’ve read positive reviews of the seafood buffet at J65, Chinese cuisine at Ah Hoi’s Kitchen and the quirkily designed rooms. We were pumped and excited for our short, local weekend getaway.

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On the day of check-in, W had arrived before me as I was at work. He helped snap pictures of the room as well as the pool.

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This was our view from our room. A sofa is placed against the window such that you could sit by it and watch the world go by. It was quite a serene experience. One that I truly enjoyed.
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HELLO! I’ m a clothes rack!
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A sofa by the window.
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A large comfy bed with nicely painted murals on the wall. I simply love the texture of the wall. It’s kinda homely. 
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The washroom room is a bit small. But, the design is lovely.
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The pool is quite large and as far as I know, different from other pools at Hotel Jen. The Hotel Jen Orchard Gateway Singapore and Hotel Jen Puteri Harbour both have infinity pools. This pool however, is larger. You could do laps in them.

Apparently, W had informed them that we were celebrating our anniversary and we found these in our mini bar.

W picked me up after work and we drove down to the hotel. Free parking is valid for in-house guests!! Simply, ask the reception for the parking coupon upon check-out!

We went straight up to our room to drop off my baggage and I was greeted by a large and colourful bouquet of flowers. Lucky is I. 🙂

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Ah Hoi’s Kitchen

After investigating my pretty bouquet of flowers, we walked down hand-in-hand to Ah Hoi’s kitchen for dinner. We usually use the Entertainer App for better value. We have found the app useful in helping us save more while giving us better value. The promotion we had at Ah Hoi’s Kitchen is a 1-for-1 main dish (the second main dish must be of equal or of greater value).

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The seafood lover in me just had to order Chili crab with fried mantou.
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Sliced beef with peas and onions
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Lamb chops

Dinner at Ah Hoi’s kitchen was savory. I enjoyed the chili crab. It tasted sweet and fresh. I really wouldn’t mind coming back to dine at Ah Hoi’s kitchen to try the other dishes!

Buffet Breakfast at J65

A vacation at any hotel wouldn’t be complete without trying their buffet breakfast. After all, it is said one should eat like a King for breakfast. As usual, we booked a room rate with breakfast for two.

So, we awoke early the next day to have breakfast. We were greeted by a large spread of food. The selection was so large, our stomachs were not big enough to try a bit of everything. Mostly, we feasted with our eyes not with our mouth. Haha. Even though the spread was large, I found the food to be delectable. It was quite good!

We wanted to hit the pool after an hour of post-breakfast, but it had begun to pour heavily. So we stayed in our room watching movies and later took a walk around Tanglin Mall. There is a sheltered walkway from the hotel to the mall. The mall is complete with a supermarket, a number of eateries, and a fine variety of beauty and boutique shops.

J65 Seafood Buffet

The seafood buffet is only available on Friday and Saturday from 6pm to 9.30pm. I wasn’t exactly blown by the spread of food. W had also personally called to make a reservation about a month before check-in, but somehow our reservation was misplaced. We managed to get a table outdoors instead. I’m perfectly alright with sitting outdoors. It just wasn’t very nice that our reservation was misplaced.

The cold seafood counter looked a bit sad. The oysters weren’t the freshest and also not the fattest. It was probably because the oysters are not in season. W read an article stating that oysters are the fattest and most juicy during winter. They have to keep well insulated, so they eat more before winter. Nevertheless, I did enjoy the lobster pincers! The lobster pincers were the fastest counter to clear. Of all the counters I’ve tried, I enjoyed the salad counter the most!

Having said that, J65’s buffet spread is adequate. I just hope the seafood at the cold seafood counter could be a little fresher, juicier and sweeter the next time I return.

I truly enjoyed my stay at Hotel Jen Tanglin. There were some hiccups during our stay, but I still thoroughly enjoyed it! I think, from now on, I’m gonna be a big fan of the Hotel Jen chain!

 

Until then!

xoxo

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05. HOTEL JEN PUTERI HARBOUR

I was looking for a quick, relaxing and affordable getaway and found Hotel Jen Puteri Harbour located at Nusajaya, Johor, Malaysia. We travelled by WTS Travels & Tours bus booked from easybook online. The bus picked W and I from Big Box at Jurong East and dropped us off at Hello Kitty Town. The bus ride was not more than an hour as we had travelled during non-peak hour. From the drop-off point at Hello Kitty Town was not more than a 3-minutes walk to the hotel.

Upon arrival at Hello Kitty Town, we noticed it was pretty quiet except for the The Monsoon Cup that took place at the Harbour. Nevertheless, we enjoyed the breath-taking view and breeze of the Harbour. Walking through Hello Kitty Town was great, however, I am not one with Hello Kitty or Sanrio characters. I wasn’t too psyched about the stores leading to Hotel Jen. On the flipside, there were many food & beverage eateries leading to the hotel! We were excited to dine at any of the many eateries!

We had booked a 3-day stay in the standard Deluxe Room under the We Are One package where you pay an addition of $1 for a room upgrade to the next category (subject to availability) and complimentary breakfasts! I was ecstatic when we were granted the room upgrade to the Deluxe Harbour View room as I have read reviews of patrons seeing sunrises from their rooms. Sadly, as we had travelled during Monsoon season, it rained on all two of the mornings we were there.

The Deluxe Harbour View room was beautifully decorated with earthy tones. Really relaxing. It had a large and comfortable sofa seated against a large window with a breath-taking view of the Harbour. There were quite a few yachts parked at the docks. I just loved the lush greens and the view of the sea from my room. Captivating and relaxing – just what we need! The spacious bathroom came with a standalone shower and a single vanity counter.

INFINITY POOL

The facilities in the hotel were just as good! My favourite facility was the infinity pool on highest level of the hotel. There were a number of deck chairs by the pool where patrons can sun tan and enjoy a panoramic view of the Harbour. Simply delightful! The SkyBar, Bar & Restaurant is also located on the same floor as the pool. Patrons can order finger food and drinks by the pool (just as long as you don’t take it down the pool with you. Hehe).

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On the first day, I was enjoying on a cup of Classic Mojito while reading a book and getting lightly toasted. Just as I was enjoying the sun, the dark clouds floated by and it poured heavily throughout the day! However, for the remainder of our stay, the sun was out on full force. Yay to slightly tanned me! I spent most of my stay at Hotel Jen at the infinity pool as it was just soooo relaxing.

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HARBOUR CAFE

The Harbour Cafe is located at the lobby of Hotel Jen and on Fridays and Saturdays (from 6.30pm to 10pm) of every week, and serving the seafood buffet! The seafood was absolutely delish! The seafood tasted really fresh and sweet. It was oh, so good!

Apart  from the seafood, the buffet served a wide spread of other dishes as well, such as roasted beef, dim sum, sushi, fish ball noodle with soup and other cooked dishes. There was also an interesting array of desserts that any sweet-tooth will love! There was even a chocolate fondue fountain! I sincerely recommend the seafood buffet dinner! A must-have!

SPA

Upon check-in, we were given 100 RM rebate for a spa treatment each and arranged for two 90-minute deep tissue massages. Each treatment originally costs 180 RM each. We requested for a couple room. Our treatment room was nicely decorated and inviting. Our treatment room was connected to our own bathroom. As you can see in the image below, there are two shower heads in the shower area. Kinda quirky. W and I like going for spa treatments, but we usually never had much luck with them. The spa treatment we had weren’t soothing. However, the spa at Hotel Jen was amazing! I usually don’t ever fall asleep during treatment. This time, however, was different. I slept like a baby throughout. The treatment was soothing, I really didn’t want it stop! After the treatment, my body felt light and relieved. Incredibly good! W felt the same way. He was really pleased with his treatment.

DINE RESTAURANT & THE SINGLE CASK BAR

There are many pubs located by the Harbour. There are several staircases leading down from the Hello Kitty stores. W and I walked through the whole stretch of bars before deciding to dine at the Dine Restaurant & The Single Cask Bar. It’s a neat bar located somewhere in the middle of the long stretch of bars. The drinks served were beautifully and passionately decorated, and the food was exquisite. Moreover, the ambience of the pub was comforting. The music played complemented the experience even more!

I enjoyed my stay at Hotel Jen Puteri Harbour. Impeccable service. Beautiful rooms and facilities. I feel that Jen has an edge now. It’s quirkily pleasing. I look forward to more stays with Hotel Jen!

Cheers to more stays with Hotel Jen!

& until then!

xoxo

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04. BIRTHDAY TREAT

My birthday is significant to me. Perhaps, due to it being near the start of every new year and I like to start a new year with a bang. My birthday must be equally exciting. Yes, it does mean I’m growing older, but I like to think of it as becoming wiser and more knowledgeable. I believe that gaining new knowledge or improving a skill is a never-ending process, and I’m truly excited to do so! Growing up, also means having more responsibilities to undertake and more hurdles to overcome – but really, in my opinion, it’s a part and parcel; I can’t run or hide from it, I may as well embrace it with open arms. Birthdays are also an occasion for bonding time with the people who hold dearly to my heart.

This year, my birthday celebration was mostly planned by W. He refused to share our plans for the day exclaiming, “it’s a surprise! If I tell you, it won’t be a surprise!”. My bum was itching to find out the surprise(s) he had in store for me, but I just left it as it is, eagerly awaiting for the day. The only thing I had planned was lunch with my loving family and W at..

JAMIE’S ITALIAN @ FORUM

Tucked neatly away at a corner on the first level of the mall, closer to the Hilton Hotel, stood Jamie’s Italian. I had booked Jamie’s Italian as my mother was really keen to dine, and hey, a birthday isn’t always about me. It’s mostly about the people who unconditionally loves and tirelessly raised me, so I was very happy to submit to her request. The restaurant was nicely decorated. It felt like I was watching Jamie Oliver’s kitchen on television. The ambience was cool and inviting. The staff were welcoming and eager to help and the food, adequate. The thing I really liked about this place was the quirky types of tea. That would be a must-have! Sadly, I didn’t take any pictures of the tea, but here are some images of the food.

After we had stomachs filled with food, several of the staff surprised me with a birthday cake secretly bought by my family from the Hilton Hotel bakery. They sang ‘Happy Birthday‘ loudly with a twist. I nearly jumped out of my seat! I was so touched yet a little shocked!IMG_7165

LLOYD’S INN

After lunch, W and I trotted and fought our way through the crowd in town. He disclosed he was bringing me for a stay at Lloyd’s Inn. I was excited as I have always wanted a stay at Lloyd’s Inn having seen images of the sophisticated and modern architecture.

Upon arrival, we were greeted with lush greens and a small yet inviting pool. There were a couple of sun beds by the pool. It looked like an ideal location to simply relax and unwind. W had booked the Big Skyroom complete with an outdoor shower with a bath tub, semi-outdoor toilet and an odd looking study area (just up the flight steps shown in the image below). I loved the design of the toiletries. There was just so much detail at every corner of the room. It was functional and definitely an ideal getaway for anyone whether on a leisurely or business-like trip. It’s about a 10-minute walk from Somerset MRT, and just off the hustle and bustle of town. Even though, there is no restaurant within the hotel, food and drinks are quite conveniently located about 3-minutes away on foot! I thoroughly enjoyed my stay at Lloyd’s Inn and I would recommend a stay here. I wouldn’t mind coming back to stay too! 😀

THE APPLE WATCH

I am a die-hard Apple-fan. Most of my appliances I own are products of Apple. If Apple released a camera, I’m sure I would have saved up for it. Hehe. Same goes, when Apple released the watch locally, I went down to the stores to check it out and made up my mind to save up for one. W knew I was saving up for the watch, surprised me with one for my birthday. Yes, I broke into tears of joy. I also felt a little guilty as the watch is costly.

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In any case, here is a run-through of the watch.

The packaging was a solid white box and the watch was delicately packed within it. Unboxing it, I noticed the sturdiness of the refined packaging. There were layers and layers of wrapping to be unwrapped before reaching it. The watch (I’m not saying this because I’m a die-hard Apple-fan) but sat sparkling and shiny in the box. The watch is connected by bluetooth with an Apple product, in my case, an iPhone. There are several functions of the watch, such as notifying the wearer of any messages and calls, road navigation, and the usual check of calories burnt. I can even check emails and Instagram with the watch. Personally, some of the other more interesting functions are the Heart Rate monitor and enabling me to control my camera application on my phone. For instance, starting the camera application on my phone will signal the watch to react the same way. It acts as a selfie stick, allowing me to prop my phone at a distance without the need of the timer, I can press a button on my watch, and a picture will be taken and saved to my camera roll! How efficient is that?

Some of the functions are the same as other smart watches. But I like Apple products as there is care given during the process of designing any of their products. It’s sleek, smart and user-friendly. What’s there not to love about apple? It is also said that an apple a day keeps the doctor away! :p

THE FAT COW

My next surprise was dinner at the Fat Cow at Camden Medical Centre along Orchard Boulevard. We have read countless good reviews of the Japanese inspired steakhouse. The service was excellent and the staff who served us spoke as though he knew his food as well as the restaurant’s signature dishes really well. Steaks go best with red wine, so we ordered a glass each.

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Raw ice-cold slices of Japanese beef with sudachi and sea salt

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The dishes looked appetizing. However, I felt that the taste and texture of the meat was lost in the preparation. I couldn’t really taste the sweetness of beef. It just kind of got drowned in the sauces. A little disappointing, but nevertheless the service and ambience of the restaurant made up for it.

My birthday celebration was indeed a joyful one filled with so much love! I look forward to embark and improve on knowledge and skills!

Until then!

XOXO

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03. WANDERLUST HOTEL

I have always found Wanderlust Hotel to be a pretty little boutique along Dickson Road. Having dined at the restaurant, Cocette snuggly situated at the lobby of the hotel several times with my family, I have found the interior to be excitingly quirky and always wanted to book a stay in one the rooms.

So the occasion came swiftly for W’s birthday, and I decided to book a room at the hotel. Excited as I was, I went straight to the Wanderlust Hotel’s official webpage and began hunting down on the different room categories. There are a whole range ranging from the Pantone, Pantone Deluxe, Mono, Mono Deluxe and Whimsical. The interior of each room are different. After understanding the different room categories, I browsed through the pictures posted by patrons on TripAdvisor. I trust TripAdvisor as it holds a wider range of genuine illustrations of the hotel giving me a better understanding of the sights and sounds.

I chose the Whimsical as it is a studio loft and mostly because I didn’t take liking to the colour tones in the first four categories. Having said that, Whimsical has six different room designs to choose from; ASCII, Bling Room, Blue Spaceship, Red Spaceship, Treehouse and Typewriter. I requested for the Typewriter by calling in to the hotel about a month before check-in. All Whimsical room types comes with a standalone shower area complete with rain shower and hand-held shower head, a large bath tub, safe box, a cute living area, Nespresso coffee machine and a flight of stairs up to the bedroom!

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This stay was to celebrate W’s birthday and I wanted to surprise him even though I am bad at them. I decided to tell him part of the truth that I had arranged a stay and made dinner plans at Cocotte. However, what he didn’t know was I had arranged a large slice chocolate cake for him a month before we checked-in. Further to that, I had arranged a bottle of red (Baron Philippe De Rothschild, Mapu Reserva Cabernet Sauvignon 2012, Maipo Valley Chile) to be placed in my room a day before check-in. Neither of us had tried this brand of red, however upon consumption we found it to be incredibly smooth and light. The smell was evenly fragrant. It was a really good wine!

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In order to arrange a bottle of wine in my room, I called the hotel’s front office to send me a copy of the wine menu a day before we checked-in and also requested for a recommendation. I was supposed to pay for the bottle of wine prior to my arrival but because my schedule could not accommodate, they allowed me to pay upon check-out. I must say, the service was great and the staff were helpful and understanding. 🙂

The interior within the hotel was quirky yet has a touch of beauty to it. After checking in, we decided to check out the jacuzzi located on the second floor of the hotel. The area surrounding the jacuzzi was nicely decorated with comfortable rocking chairs and cute little plastic elephant stools. It was truly a relaxing area. However, the water in the jacuzzi was a bit too cold and when we asked the staff if they could warm it up a bit, we were told the temperature was fixed. It was a bit of a bummer. Nevertheless, a relaxing area to grab a book to read or hang out with good company!

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COCOTTE

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Dinner at Cocotte was extraordinary. I simply love the interior! It was quirky and uniquely modern. I felt at home at Cocotte. It is French dining at its best!

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The Poulet Roti: whole roasted chicken served with potatoes, long beans and pan gravy The chicken is so soft and tender. It melts in your mouth with every bite! Sooo good!! (Note* the whole chicken needs to be pre-ordered at least a day before!)
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Mussels steamed with white wine, swiss chard & fennel cream. The sauce was savory. You’d have to drink it all up to feel complete. :p

After having the whole roasted chicken and mussels, W and I were happily full and contented. Just then, W’s surprise arrived!

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A large slice of chocolate cake personalised with birthday greetings!

BREAKFAST IN THE MORNING

I booked a room rate inclusive of breakfast for two. We trudged down to Cocotte to have our breakfast. It was just as good as our dinner! I decided to go healthy and ordered muesli, whereas W had the bacon with eggs.

Our stay at Wanderlust Hotel was amazing. The interior of my room was great, although I would suggest to be careful with the flight of steps leading up to the bedroom as it was a little steep. Our two meals at Cocotte was savory and I would definitely be back to dine!

XOXO,

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Until then!