ParkRoyal’s Orchid Club

Is Executive Club Level worth it? It depends. The first thing to do if you are considering it is to join the hotel’s customer loyalty
program.  There are certain benefits such as free internet, preferred check-in, late check-out and often “member-only” rates.  One of the very best Executive Club Levels I have had the pleasure to enjoyed have been at the Pan Pacific’s Pacific Club and Park Royal’s Orchid Club. Their Executive Club level is well worth it extra cost to upgrade.

One of my favorite hotels is the The ParkRoyal in Saigon. It is a great place to stay – actually it is a wonderful place to stay. It is close to the airport with a free airport transportation and free shuttle to city center and E-Town. The atrium-style hotel is warm and welcoming. The staff will happily meet any
reasonable demand. The Garden Brasserie restaurant has an extensive array of choices and Lotus Bar is a great place to meet friends and enjoy a libation.  The breakfast buffet at the Garden Brasserie is unsurpassable with selections to please any palate. There is a lovely pool and excellent spa making for an even more relaxing stay. 

Savvy travelers will want to upgrade to the ParkRoyal’s Orchid Club Level. It is well worth it. But first, make sure one should become a member of Discovery Global Hotel Alliance loyalty program for even greater savings when booking a room at ParkRoyal’s Orchid Club.  The benefits are outstanding and extensive.

Included in the Orchid Club package is complimentary airport transfer, welcome fruit, daily newspaper, and Internet. Guests may choose to have breakfast in the Orchid Club Lounge where one can pick from a menu or the Garden Brasserie where the buffet choices are amazing. Need a
midday break? Tea time is from 3:00 to 5:00 pm. In the evening there are cocktails and hors d’oeuvres from 6:00 to 8:00 pm. A great place to unwind.  The Orchid Club package offers benefits seldom found at hotels: significant discounts at the Garden
Brasserie, Business Center, and St. Gregory Spa.  And, four pieces of laundry per day! Amazing.  As one might expect with club level there are upgraded amenities, priority check-in, and late checkout. Without a doubt an amazing value.


ANA Crowne Plaza near Tokyo Airport

No matter how you slice it, getting from New York to Tokyo is a long flight.  My final destination was Ho Chi Minh City but for whatever reason my flight was broken up with 23-hour layover in Tokyo. Sitting in the airport for that extended period was not an option for us so John and I decided to treat ourselves to a stay at the ANA Crowne Plaza; and, we are glad we did. The transition from the airport to the hotel was seamless and free. Everything in Japan seems very well organized. After getting our luggage we went to pickup area 16 to wait for our shuttle bus.  The bus arrived right on time, the driver, wearing white gloves quickly stowed our luggage in the lower luggage compartment of the bus.  That meant we did not have to lug it on board. The ride to the Crowne Plaza was about 15 minutes. 

The lofty lobby of the Crowne Plaza is bright and airy which was wonderful after being cooped up in a metal tube for 14 hours.
 Immediately our spirits were lifted. Our room was great and included free internet so we could get caught up on our work.  We had planned to order room service for dinner but instead John went to the hotel market and bought sandwiches and other goodies for dinner.  We were not very hungry since we had been sitting for hours.  

After a refreshing shower we had a wonderful night’s sleep. The hotel is designed to provide guests with the best sleep possible from luxurious sheets to a pillow menu to their “Sleep Advantage Program.” There were eye warmers, bath powers, and mint green tea for the morning.

In the morning we felt rejuvenated and ready to continue on our
way.  How civilized is that?  We are Priority Club members so we received a paper in the morning, took advantage of late checkout, and garnered points toward future stays. Our only regret is that we did not make time to enjoy their pool and a meal at their restaurant. Next time. 

The InterContinental Lisbon has a central location


Location! Location! When visiting Lisbon it is important to stay at a place that is centrally located and one that provides a place to relax after a busy day of sightseeing. Located between Eduardo VII Park, Marques de Pombal Square, and the luxurious Avenida da Liberdade, InterContinental Lisbon has it all. With warm refinement, contemporary design and expansive views, the hotel was recently rebranded and remodeled. The doorman in a long coat and derby hat welcomes guests into the high-ceilinged lobby with several conversational areas.

It is easy to recognize the hotel’s unique contemporary design which provides all the rooms with a corner window. Featuring contemporary designs and warm hues, accommodations come with marble bathrooms, free Wi-Fi, and flat screen TVs, as well as desks, and tea and coffeemakers. Deluxe rooms add a comfy sitting area. Upgrades are complimentary for Priority Club Members. Make sure to include expansive breakfast served in a large, dedicated dining room. Breakfast is well worth it.

The trendy Uptown Bar with a unique kaleidoscope ceiling is theperfect place to meet friends or relax while enjoying a cocktail or glass of wine. Light fare is available. Lunch and dinner in the Akla Restaurant offer Portuguese and international items with a large selection of wines including the well-respected Portuguese wines. Check out their special healthy, green lunches and their show kitchen area.

The InterContinental is close to tour bus stops and only a short taxi ride to the center and other touristic locations.  For more information check www.ihg.com and if you are not a Priority Member sign up – it is free.


While in Portugal live like a royal at Pousada Queluz


The Pousadas of Portugal offer visitors a chance to stay in a variety of historic locations. The Pousada Queluz was once the guardhouse/clock tower for the Queluz Palace, known as the "Portuguese Versailles." The palace was the permanent residence of the royal family from 1794 until it was designated a National Monument in 1910.  The baroque/rococo style of the pousada reflects that of the Queluz Palace directly across the road. With only 26 rooms personalized attention is assured. 

The rooms with very high ceilings are large, nicely decorated but not overdone. The rooms have LCD TV, telephone, safe, air conditioning, refrigerator, hair dryer, magnifying mirror and other amenities. One of our rules of travel is: Don’t turn on the TV so the TV is not important to us. There was a desk and good WiFi so we could stay connected. We liked the piped in music. The lounge is a comfy place to read or meet with friends.  The breakfast buffet offers a wide variety of choices and is served in a dedicated room with white-tablecloth service. 

The pousada is about 15 minutes by cab from the center of Lisbon and not far from the airport.  It is a good option for those who will rent a car but don’t want to drive in Lisbon or want to be fairly close to the airport.  The Palace is just steps from the front door from the Pousada and has massive French palatial-style gardens.  They don’t do horse presentations
there but at the end of the garden are the stables for those who want to communicate with them.  Check the schedule of events at the palace. They often have concerts but they sell out fast.  There are several restaurants in the area but do not miss have a meal at French-inspired CozinhaVelha restaurant.  It was once the palace kitchen.  The roasting fireplace and massive marble prep table are still there as are many other artifacts. This is the second time we have stayed here and will again – I hope.



Enjoy the view at Sirenetta Hotel in Ostia Lido, Italy

Location, location, location.  The Sirenetta Hotel in Ostia is across the street from the beach and the metro is a short walk from the hotel with easy access to Rome and Ostia Antica. The retro-style hotel is decorated in vintage posters and music-related artifacts from 50 years ago.  Very cool. There is a dining terrace in front of the hotel and a garden one in the back of the hotel.  

The 58 rooms, most of which equipped with ample terraces and furnished balconies, offer a lovely sea view. Guests will enjoy the air-conditioning, flat screen TV, free WiFi, phone, mini fridge, safety box, private bathroom with shower, and hair dryer.  Many rooms have large balconies making it a great place to enjoy a meal and/or a libation.  The sunsets are beautiful. 

The beach is long and wide – great for walking and basking on the
 beach after a dip in the Tyrrhenian Sea. There are cabanas for rent across the street for a more private beach experience.  The hotel has a wonderful restaurant featuring homemade items plus there are some nice cozy restaurants, wood cooked pizzerias, and ice cream shops nearby. For more information log on to www.hotelsirenettaroma.com. Reserve a room with a balcony facing the sea. 




Step into luxury at the Corinthia Palace Hotel in Malta

You will feel like family the minute you enter the stately lobby of the Corinthia Palace Hotel. The Corinthia Palace is a family-owned property and the first in the Corinthia family of hotels. It is located in the upscale San Anton area that is also home to many embassies. The grounds of the hotel are lushly landscaped and across the street are the San Anton Gardens. 

Accommodations are well-appointed with all the amenities one comes to expect from a five-star hotel. Each room has a writing/vanity desk, flat screen TV, robe and slippers, and comfy chairs plus a balcony with café table and chairs.

Dining can be what you want it
to be from white-table-cloth dining in the Villa Corinthia to Asian-fusion in the elegant Rickshaw Restaurant to casual dining at the Orange Grove. The Summer Kitchen is perfect during the summer months for relaxed dining by the pool.  And, of course, room service is available – dine on your private balcony. 

Grab a book and suntan lotion and head to the Mediterranean-style two-tiered swimming pool or for the ultimate in relaxation enjoy their full-service spa. A shuttle service to the beach is also available. Before dining or meeting up with friends the elegant Caprice Lounge it the place. Plus you can take a tour in one of their vintage vehicles. For more information check www.corinthia.com/en/hotels/palace-hotel-and-spa. Check their special packages.

Malta’s Ramla Bay Resort is all about the view


Imagine throwing open your curtains in the morning to reveal unobstructed views of the sparkling Mediterranean Sea or the
striking Maltese countryside. You can do that at Ramla Bay Resort Hotel located in a quiet area on the northern part of the island of Malta with views of Comino and Gozo islands. Ramla Bay is one of the few resorts located away from the busy center and even though the beach is small it is not shoulder to shoulder with people like some of the other beaches. The two swimming pools have sea views. 

The nicely decorated rooms all have a balcony with views of the countryside or of the islands. Each is pleasantly decorated and offers excellent facilities to ensure comfort throughout the stay with us, including central heating and air-conditioning, tea and coffee making facilities, WIFI, satellite TV and a direct-dial telephone.

Dining opportunities are endless and all equally good with
Mediterranean and international specialties. The Horizon offers an endless buffet for all meals including breakfast and their Sunday Lunch Buffet is special. The Alang-Alang Restaurant overlooking the seas is great for fine evening dining. At the Mojitos Beach Terrace Bay enjoy lunch and your favorite libation by the sea. No need to leave the pool during the day. The Seabreeze Casual dining is right on the pool deck.

The hotel has everything one would need for a perfect resort stay: plenty of water sports, pools, beach, water fun activities, several restaurants, and a spa. Families are welcome. There is kid’s center and an animation center.  In the lobby there are several agencies who will gladly arrange tours and other activities. There is also a mini-mart sundries shop and a jewelry store on site. A shuttle bus has scheduled runs, for a small fee, that will take guests to various parts of the island. Stayed tune to learn about their new upscale addition. For more information www.ramlabayresort.com.