You need this: Customer Service, People Business.

Technology plays a huge critical role in the success of any business. The influx of today’s start-ups and innovative tech companies, the hospitality and service industry is no hard target. Rightfully so, in every innovation, the people as guests and employees are the main priority. If it takes time and effort, an idea already serves as an opportunity.

Clients and guests expect hospitality industry to cater to the needs and aid in the delivery of a consistent, personalized and enjoyable experience on every visit. The staff, on the other hand, would like to be assisted resulting in empowerment and much seamless guest services catering to their and every guest needs to fulfill or even exceed guest expectations: Anything that takes time and effort such as the check-in/check-out process; if it can be managed effectively to ensure efficiency and customer satisfaction – within access of the palm of your hand are exceeding guest services maximizing your property’s potential.

However, there is still strength in staying connected – online and offline. Relationships and service are the keys towards guest satisfaction. Often times, without noticing, we’ve become slaves to technology instead of making technology work for us.

Do you remember when service was just you and me? it was just between two people and we always say “it takes a village” to make things happen? As much as technology has been evolving and becoming more involved, we’re still human beings – something that has never changed.

Every business needs to keep customers and clients happy, but in the hospitality industry, it’s so vitally important to keep guests engaged in order for the business to grow and prosper. If you haven’t noticed yet, we’re starting to lose people in their most sincere hospitable form. Everything else now becomes just a job rather than serving with a heart and purpose; customers, on the other hand, aren’t happy with just receiving “please” and “thank you” or getting service with a smile.

As customers and guests are looking for a memorable experience and dynamic service where it counts. Here are few important points to ponder and apply to gain customer satisfaction:

  • Improving “first contact” resolution.

The primary drivers of customer satisfaction. How did you welcome them from arrival to setting.

  • Good listening skills and questioning techniques

As much as we would want to engage more, time is of an essence. Shorten the interaction time with customers – ask them the right questions with the modulated tone. It’s always how you ask, not what you’re asking.

  • Assistance

It should be a fast revert. Don’t keep your customer or guests waiting and hanging. Be clear and give them the response they expect to arrive. It’s always better to check rather than responding an outright no without even trying to know and checking.

Just like in any business, the customer should be the center of the universe and services should be designed around them. We are in the people business, without any of us, there won’t be any business.

Once an hotelier, always an hotelier. What’s your business? 🙂

Gourmet Bar by Novotel: Showcasing only fresh meats and organic produce.

Let’s head somewhere far from the usual hospitality and restaurant location of the metro.

Right smack in the heart of Cubao, Novotel Araneta Center inaugurated in October 2015 located abreast of the Araneta Coliseum boasts as the only hotel built offering the largest number of rooms in Quezon City to date. Strategically located, AccorHotels’ brand known for business and leisure travellers has the vantage point having close proximity to where concerts, professional court games and farmers market; It’ll be a hard-miss not to check on this world-class property.

As you walk in you might hear a welcoming voice in your head, maybe Morgan Freeman. It’s like you’ve gone towards heaven’s staircase where a friendly well-taken cared K9 would give you a homecoming, cheerful concierge opening the doors, the sun’s natural lighting transcending from the high-ceiling and and a modern front desk without a sight of the back office and beautiful receptionists to assist you.

Novotel Manila Araneta Center

Gourmet Bar by Novotel. Perfect for a Family meal or drinks with Friends.

Being true to the brand’s world wide standards, Gourmet Bar, an informal friendly eating and drinking space of Novotel offers trendy beverages, simple to thematic meals, creating a perfect socializing space in the lobby.

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Spear indulgence: Caldareta Sliders and Tomato and Mozzarella Sliders                              Photograph: Raymond Braganza

Giving it a spin, we were orchestrated for a surprise. The hors d’oeuvre got me at Caldareta Sliders (Php 350) and a lush of greens, Tomato and Mozzarella Sliders (Php 450). Each carefully toasted pandesal cut into half, sauce spread evenly on each cheek topped with fresh leaves, tomatoes, capers and soft slightly spiced marinated stewed beef  paired with side-salad to cleanse your palate to prep you up for a pre-meal.

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Gambas Al Jillo  |  Photograph: Raymond Braganza

 

If you haven’t had enough of your starters, go for a taste of Gambas Al Jillo (Php500) and it’ll give you a lasting kick with the fresh Prawns harvested from Roxas, sautéed in generous garlic, olive oil, chili and sweet paprika. It was a battle of sweet, spicy and everything nice.

The main courses are substantial platefuls, with more attention to detail with the generosity in showcasing only fresh meats and organic produce. Service is deft.

Standing firm on sourcing ingredients from our local farmers, Gourmet Bar’s are supplied with all the fresh greens (cherry, tomato and lettuce) from San Mateo, Rizal. Produced organically to be served, everything on the menu are all made in-house by the efficient, internationally trained, skilled and talented kitchen staff.

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Fresh from the oven: Pizza Lungag Parma Ham Con Rucola E Grana                                   Photograph: Raymond Braganza

Not to overwhelm carbs eaters and those who may be in a restrictive diet without shortchanging, the Pizza selection are made into perfection. A generous amount of Mozzarella cheese, parma ham, rocket leaves and parmesan flakes gave life to the Pizza Lungga Parma Ham Con Rucola E Grana (Php 380). Best of all, there’s no need to add a dash of salt and pepper to adjust your taste.

Consistent to its presentation, the plates are clean and modern. The food was styled neatly without those ritzy glitz.  Straightforwardly plated yet photo worthy.

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Fresh all the way: Black Linguine with Talangka Paste  | Photograph: Raymond Braganza

Known for everything light and delicious, Gourmet Bar boasts influences from around the world creating dishes from fresh produce and local ingredients. Flavors are evident yet innovative. For the adventurous, Black Linguine with Talangka Pasta (Php 480) bit the curiosity; discernible fresh hand-made pasta and local farmed rocket greens made this dish even special with a dash of crispy Maya-maya cubes.

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Tandoore of The Day (Php 530) |  Photograph: Raymond Braganza

If you haven’t known just yet, Novotel Araneta invested on having their own Indian Chef’s specializing in Punjab cuisine from the Northern region, exceeding on bold textures and hearty ingredients. Bringing in the authentic Tandoori’s (marinated in masalas, oil, chutney and curd); Tandoori for the Day (Php 530), recommended grilled meat great for vegetarians will be presented and served with freshly made roti and generous dips made out of indian spices. Nothing pretentious, it tastes close to its roots.

Albeit the service size may not be as huge for a binge, the taste speaks volumes for the quality of everything else that I’d encourage you to take small bites of everything you would want to try before you indulge all the way.

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Brain Freeze: Le Mont Gourmand (Php 999)

However, the dessert is something else. Le Mont Gourmand (Php 999) owns the throne in the department. 15 portions of homemade artisan ice cream and sherbets served with macaroons, nuts, mixed berries coulis, chocolate and carmale sauce garnished with whipped cream and everything else that you want to top it all would make a family of 4-5 happy as a bee or if you just fancy a cup, you won’t regret the Coffee Espresso Flavor – to die for!

If you think Novotel is too far your enjoyment and enthusiasm, I suggest you bring in the troupe and descend your way to Gourmet Bar for a celebration. You wouldn’t want to miss a possible gastronomic affair.

Novotel Manila Araneta Center
General Aquinaldo Avenue, Araneta Center, Cubao, Quezon City
http://www.novotel.com/gb/hotel-7090-novotel-manila-araneta-center/index.shtml
Follow them on Facebook | Instagram

Why AIRBNB in the City?

My 32nd.

As the urban population grows, finding a fitting abode in an ever-expansive city is getting harder by the day. Sometimes you’d just want to break free and get out of the town to have some space and be away from the usual noise. Every year, I try to at least explore, surprise myself and do something different. This year, as life happened, I signed up for a Yoga Ashtanga workshop by Yoga Tribe Philippines. I figured, waking up at 4AM to drive my way to the workshop which will start at 8am and end at 5pm, only to drive back home to face horrendous traffic wasn’t an option; staying at a hotel nearby was the better fit (or so I thought!)

Hotel? As much as I’m passionate on staying at suites and have gone used to the comfort of the hospitality suite life, staying the entire weekend might be hefty on the budget (2 nights, 3 days). Having to search through promotions, it was still steep for someone who’ll just have her bags kept and sleep comfortably on at night. I thought to finally make use of my Airbnb account. Gleefully, my account albeit it was set-up sometime in 2014 was still existing.

I was up for an experience, why not spice it up a little.

FINDING A PLACE

Airbnb has properties available pretty much in all major cities worldwide. The search function on the website was easy to tinker on; it works basically the same as how you search through hotel budget sites. I googled through the workshop area and found Eastwood City the closest and feasible. The best part is, Eastwood City is central to tons of restaurants, malls and other establishments – it’ll be easy to just choose for some grub or things to do at night to celebrate.

As I window-shopped on properties, I found a yogini who happens to also be a life coach having her space rented. I thought, it must’ve been fate. There was a good number of results as I set the filters to apartments however I have found hers as the most affordable one yet would deliver more than you pay for.  The photos and amenities were very welcoming.

SECURING THE PLACE

Just like any traveler, decisions had to be laid. My priorities were safety, price and location, in that order. The fun part was the User Experience (UX) of the dashboard was easy, booking was such a breeze. The ‘Instant Book’ function was their reservation system. Just to be sure, I mailed the host and asked if the workshop area is factually near her place. My host was too accommodating and welcoming, she responded pretty quick. What’s even more awesome, we had tons of common friends and interests, it was easy to connect. 

What’s nice about securing the place through Airbnb, there’s a sense of security and legitimacy. You can probably negotiate with the host on the rate if you intend to stay longer (weeks or a month); this way, you’ll have more bargaining power. Take the negotiations offline.

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THE PLACE

Fortunately, the apartment was more than what I expected. My hosts were too generous and kind, they allowed me to make use of the master’s bedroom instead of the room I’ve chosen since it was only me and they knew it was my birthday. Great thing, I was allowed to bring in a guest and treat it like my home. 

My hosts met me at the lobby and personally welcomed me to their apartment. I was given a short tour, a little chit-chat and given a copy of the keys for my own keep. The photos were accurate, I only spent about approximately $20 a night for the following:

• A 2-bedroom, 2-bathroom apartment in Eastwood, central to everything
• Has kitchen, ref, airconditioning, washing machine, laundry area
• Fully furnished and cozy space (you can practice yoga!)
• 24-hour security
• The building has a pool, a gym, and a steam
• The building is right next to a mall, a grocery, and restaurants
• It’s high up so you get a great view of the city every morning, afternoon, and night

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The place was well-equipped, I need not to worry about anything. It had extra amenities which includes new shampoo and conditioners, body wash, stash of tissues and complete kitchen equipments including cleaning tools. How convenient is that! They also filled the place with extra gallon of water for the dispenser just in case.

My friends and I were able to make use of the kitchen and got to have a good feel of the place. It felt like home.

My hospitable host was patient on the check-in and check-out. We met at the lobby just the same and gave her my review of the place. It’s all very fuss-free without any filling of forms or paperwork. Airbnb is very efficient for both host and guests.

Once my stay was over the check-out was just as easy. The host came by the apartment to take the keys and I was on my way. They were like friends I’ve met before.

THE EXPERIENCE

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The room and bed was too cozy, I barely got myself out from the bed and woke up pretty rejuvenated plus having to add the thug of thunder and rain in the scenic window of the room – it was a perfect rejuvenating staycation and rest from a tiring workshop. 

I even got to insert some sun salutations and few other asanas at the spacious living room.

A birthday well spent. Perfectly. 

VERDICT

I will definitely make use of Airbnb again and most probably make use of it on my future trips and skip the posh hotels. Sure, for a hotelier, having to stay at other properties is part of the market research but as a traveller, I do now understand now why Airbnb is a better choice. I gave my first experience on Airbnb 5 stars and my hosts 4 stars but since service trumps cons (there were cracks from the previous earthquake which resulted to the condo having few problem areas on the light switches etc), It levelled up to 5 stars. 

For super budget travellers, dorms and private hostel rooms probably will likely to be cheaper but still, take a good look and reach out to options. Having to speak with the host may also give you negotiating power and flexibility. 

CHECK-OUT TIPS

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Since you were welcomed hospitably with warmth and grace, do the host a favour by asking them if they would want you to fold the sheets you’ve used and have them neatly folded for them to launder and sweep the floors. Don’t leave the place untidy and chaotic. Leave the place as if you never touched a thing.  Be the kind of guest you’d want to be. Pick up strands of hair from the bathroom floor, wash the dishes properly and return them accordingly. Just like how you treat your home.

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Keen to try Airnbnb?

If you’re interested to try Airbnb on your next trip, you can get a free $35 credit for your first booking by signing up through my referral link.

Enjoy!

 

 

Have you tried Airbnb? What did you think? Let me know in the comments below!

Tagaytay Eats: Siglo Modern Restaurant

The best way to have fun and get yourself away from the banality of day-to-day living in the Philippines aside from island hopping and going through one province after another is to enjoyably have a culinary feast of each region’s specialty. Guaranteed, It will be love at first bite.

 

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Originated and evolved from the influences of Spanish, Chinese, Indian, Malay and American cuisine; methods in preparing each dish – sauté, fried, steaming and roasting, each Filipino dish’s succulent and flavorful plate are centered around a combination of sweet, sour and salty taste.

With the slow rise of Filipino Cuisine around the world, and countless boom of restaurants in the metro, ViewPark Hotel’s Siglo Modern Filipino Restaurant decided to go for a straightforward Authentic Filipino approach on its menu. Located at the cold breezy climate holiday town in the south of Manila, Tagaytay, There’s no need to go farther as the concept will take your taste buds to Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao.

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Siglo (century), a word derived from the Spanish language proves to share unforgettable secrets of the Philippines through the country’s best asset- a gestation of gastronomic favorites.

The bountiful menu, a celebration of a Filipino culinary feast from the frontrunners to a generous spread of goodness artfully placed in a Bilao (winnowing basket), Siglo Modern Filipino Restaurant invested on acquiring close to home recipes adopted from featured regions retaining its premier ingredients with no substitutes to ensure the genesis of authenticity.

 

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Crispy Tawilis. Photo by Raymond Braganza

 

 

Fresh from Taal Lake, Crispy Tawilis, a staple in any Filipino household breakfast favorite would make you salivate and finish an entire serving good for two. This quick and easy meal served with Mango-chutney sauce, and two kinds of vinegars (Sukang Ilocos at Sukang Maasim) will make you have another round, paired with your desired garlic or bagoong rice.

 

porkbelly

A dish often served during special occasions, Bagnet and Pork Belly are served astoundingly extra crisp from the inside out with no deep fried oily after-taste; best served with bagoong monamon, a popular condiment made of fermented fish and anchovies.

 

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Laing Pasta. Photo by Raymond Braganza

 

To those who’s looking for a Filipino twist on the cuisine, the menu has an adventurous Laing Pasta, far from the spicy kick but soft and creamy made from Coconut milk based with dried taro leaves – you may request for a generous amount of cheese for more lush.

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Tempura. Photo by Raymond Braganza

As our country is known with seafood, a fusion of Filipino and Japanese was incorporated to those who craves for what may be common the metro to enjoy. Shrimp and Vegetable Tempura can be ordered in the menu, these Shelled shrimps, stripped eggplants and carrots are dipped in batter and deep fried paired with a succulent signature Siglo sauce.

 

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LuzVizMinda Fiesta Bilao.  Photo by Kassy Pajarillo

 

With all the the togetherness and shindigs of the Filipino culture, the LuzViMinda Fiesta Bilao and Siglo Bilao tops as the must-have-all gastronomic Filipino culinary choice. Be delighted with the opulent taste of Kare-Kare, a traditional Filipino stew simmered in a rich peanut butter and turmeric sauce; revel on the generously wrapped and rolled pork and beef filled Lumpiang Shanghai (Spring Rolls) with its succulent sweet and spicy sauce; Binagoongan, pork sautéed in tomato and stewed in shrimp paste garnished with chili and end a heavy indulgence with fresh tropical fruits or Siglo Modern Filipino’s famous Langka Turon – a deconstructed Halo Halo on vanilla Ice Cream.

 

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Deconstructed Langka Turon Halo-Halo. Photo by Kassy Pajarillo

 

If you haven’t traveled enough in different regions of the Philippines, Siglo Modern Filipino Restaurant would be a good pick to sit for a piquant selection of Filipino indulgence spent in a breezy and cold must-go-to site of the metro.

While you’re at it, why not spend a staycation weekend too?

 

Siglo Filipino Modern Restaurant
(View Park Hotel)
3500 Calamba Road, Sungay East
Tagaytay City 4120
Mobile: 09228851, 09175446396

 

ABSCBN Published Article Version: Tagaytay Eats:Siglo offers timeless Pinoy Favorites

Wolfgang Steakhouse: Challenges Steakhouses in the Metro

That slab of meat looks grandiosely familiar; the comfort of slicing each hunk makes it unbelievably different – delicate, succulent, and moving. Some like their meat rare and bloody; some for a balance of raw freshness and cooked to perfection on medium rare, but those who would rather have it well done should skip the thought altogether. Ask the Chef (No, in fact, don’t dare) it’ll be a disgrace and empirically huge wastage for an expensive marbled USDA Prime deplete its tenderness and flavor.

 

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Photo by: Raymond Braganza

 

One of the best steakhouses in New York, Wolfgang Steakhouse by Wolfgang Zwiener opened its first branch in the Philippines, the 14th branch worldwide at Resorts World Manila. Founded by father and son, Wolfgang and Peter Zweiner in partnership with local patrons, restaurateur extraordinaire Raymund Magdaluyo and Marvin Agustin.

Carrying all it’s New York vibe – a classic manly themed laden décor with high ceilings, welcoming reception, mahogany bar, laminated wooden floor, mosaic tiles, and alabaster chandeliers giving a picturesque ambiance; a wine cellar and a whiskey-cigar room with its top notch well-trained service crew; Wolfgang Steakhouse challenges every steakhouse in the metro.

 

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Source: Wolfgang’s Steakhouse

 

 

Imported USDA Prime aged meat at Wolfgang Steakhouse is kept fresh in a walk-in dry-aging chiller adjusted minimally above the freezing level for about a month as it age. The dry-aging naturally lets the enzyme of the beef break down the intermuscular tissue making the beef tender giving each cut its rich flavor – the melt-in-your-mouth kind. With the right humidity and executed with precision presented on a hot plate.

 

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Photo by: Raymond Braganza

 

Consistent with its global standards, Wolfgang Steakhouse remains to have all its best sellers – the dinner menu – from the appetizers to the irresistible desserts.

Getting the best of the feast, devouring Wolfgang’s signature steak will be any steak lover’s dream comes true. Have sirloin and porterhouse, 80% big hunk of meat, 100% melt-in-your-mouth fat with good tenderness in the muscle. Order the beef cooked rare and brace yourself to have that meaty steak experience you’ve never had before.

 

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Photo by: Raymond Braganza

 

A wide selection of 1200 wine options, special concoctions and beverages waits. Guzzle on a glass or bottle of wine or whiskey to pair. Completing the full course, Wolfgang Steakhouse creamed spinach or mashed potatoes are great options to give those taste buds a delicate and light tasting munches.

Vegetarians and vegans shouldn’t miss a Wolfgang Steakhouse encounter. The menu is composed of piquant set of choices of Salads, Soups, Starches and Vegetables, serving good for two to four people to feast. The New York Steak salad mixes different greens; white mushrooms and tomatoes have become to be a favorite. Each is freshly acquired from organic agricultural farms in the country.

 

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Photo by: Raymond Braganza

 

With the steak and your chosen whiskey or cocktail, the German potatoes – sautéed and baked with butter and onions or the perfectly thin sliced crispy fried onion rings are the perfect carb fix to complete your dining experience dipped on the special tomato-based sauce with a hint of horseradish, Wolfgang Steakhouse Old fashioned sauce.

 

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Photo by: Raymond Braganza

 

A banquet should not end without a lavish dessert to end it all on a good note. The cheesecake headlines the dessert in the menu alongside with the pecan pie. If you miss (or haven’t, this is your chance!) New York and have savored the best cheesecake in the world, Wolfgang Steakhouse is carrying the iconic ‘Junior’s’ cheesecake – a silky, creamy base, thin crust perfect in its simplicity wherein the hint of tartness doesn’t overpower the smooth texture of the decadent dessert (Writer’s note: I kid you not, this made my heart melt with happiness!) This has got to be the highlight of the entire celebration of good food, aside from having the best steak in town, anyone would want to keep eating – at least, for more than one bite.

 

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Photo by: Raymond Braganza

 

Whether your preference is to have a good exchange of whiskey, a tall glass of wine, business correspondence over cigar or a special blowout of togetherness, Wolfgang Steakhouse definitely is a palpable unwavering choice to encapsulate what matters.

Now this is the only acceptable way of saying, Well-done.

 

WOLFGANG’S STEAKHOUSE
2F Newport Mall, Resorts World Manila, Pasay City
Operating Hours:
Monday – Friday: 11:00 am – 12:00 am
Saturday – Sunday: 10:00 am – 12:00 am
Email: wolfgangssteakhouseph@gmail.com
Website: www.wolfgangssteakhouse.ph
Facebook: WolfgangsSteakhousePH
Instagram: @WolfgangsSteakhousePH

ABS-CBN Published Version: Stakes are High for Wolfgang Steakhouse in Manila 

#Indiawithluv Series: The Arrival

What is not to love in India? I’ve got so much stories to tell.

I spent incredible 10 days in India in November 2015 after missing my best friend’s wedding in Jaipur in 2014. India has always been on my bucket list yet I couldn’t find the right dates without feeling at guilt taking an off time from work. Traveling solo takes a lot of courage and I had yet to find time to research thoroughly but all the wondering met its end.  I was able to step foot India.

Are you going to India? You’ve heard about the crime rate and rape issues, right?!

You’re ridiculously flying alone! Why India?! Travel alone elsewhere!

Do you really trust your Indian friends? They spell (might be) trouble!

 

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Solo flight begins! Wore my well-travelled hoodie.

These are few reactions of those people whom I’ve shared excitedly that I’m going to India. It’s fair to say a lot of people did not understand my fondness but the right timing came along; a friend of ours whom I met in Myanmar was getting married; No one should ever miss an Indian wedding.  No, it’s not those usual walk on the aisle kind but an entire week long celebration where family and friends come together from different cities and countries, joining the union of a couple filled with dancing and colorful ensembles (and, sumptuous Indian vegan/vegetarian food!).

 

And rightly so, There were a lot of bad publicity about India, confusion, misinformation and stereotypes. If you haven’t read much of the good, you’ll be trapped in the realm of nothing but horrid stories missing out the rich culture of the country, preserved architecture and how much they value compassion towards others.

My itinerary: New Delhi, Agra, Lucknow and Jaipur.

 

Cheap Air Tickets

Ever since I discovered cheapoair during my flight to and back from Manila to Yangon, to Bangkok in 2014,  I have been a loyalist in finding possible airline tickets to different destinations. I had my supposed India trip in 2014 booked through their site and app. The customer service team are easy to talk to, my refund was taken cared off immediately without additional costs or penalties.

Their comparison rates are competitive, they’ve got the cheapest amongst my attempts whether it was a flight going to Viet Nam, New York,  Europe or India. They make sure you get to apply as much as $20 off additional discounts on your travels too.

From the usual trip ticket of +/- $1200,  My round trip ticket only cost me $400 (more or less Php 18,000) through China Southern Airlines. Best part, It’s refundable.

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Visa for India

For convenience, you will need to apply for your visa online . India’s visa-on-arrival has been replaced with the electronic application.  The validity is for 30-days.

A tourist visa depends on where you’re coming from, length of stay and how many entries you will need. As I was only going to be in India for a few days, I applied through e-visa for $48, it should be paid via credit or debit card.  Have an electronic 2×2 photo for your digital application.

You must, at least, apply for the e-visa 4 days prior to your trip.

Where to Stay?

 

 

First in agenda will always have to be a long comfortable sleep before I charge all my energy in full speed. I had to make sure I’m well hydrated, ate right and squeeze in some quiet time to reflect on what the days ahead are going to be, and to just enjoy the trip like a local without missing out the idea of being a tourist.

Ah, I’m sleeping within India’s timezone. 

In order for me not to miss a day in my travels, I always book the earliest flight, and choose whichever arrives before sunrise. That way, I get to wake up at around 9AM, just in time for breakfast or brunch.

At 3AM,  Luvkesh , one of my good friends in Delhi picked me up from  New Delhi International Airport and dropped me off at  ITC  WelcomHotel Dwarka, New Delhi booked through the ever-reliable booking.com app. Thanks for the recommendation, Bud!

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ITC WelcomHotel Dwarka, an upscale hotel, in a contemporary concrete and glass building is conveniently located 15-20 minutes away from the airport, 3-minutes walk from the nearest metro station and 8km from the Indian Air Force Museum.

It seems as if they’re cost-cutting, the lobby was shut down to pitch dark. The front office personnel spoke good English and was able to assist me in checking in but took way longer than usual standards of a hotel. For someone who’s dead tired and wanting to sleep, patience was not much of my friend but the Front Office staff did well with his courteous voice.

Being the hotelier that I am, somehow, I was expecting for the bellman to offer his services on accompanying me towards my room and transport my luggage.

Once I entered my room, all that welcoming was forgotten.  The room was squeaky clean, as welcoming as it pleases. The room temperature was just right, the scent of the room was balmy. The color combination of the interiors had a modern touch of both masculine and feminine with a hint of its culture.

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A Deluxe room cost me $76 (approximately around Php 3,425 ) with Breakfast in a comfortable King sized bed within a 33 sqm space with amenities you could lounge around: flat-screen TV with cable channels, laptop safe box, coffee/tea making facilities, work desk with business kit for your notes and the best part other than being situated in a comfortable bed was the toilet inclusive of a Bathtub and Shower to spoil you throughout your stay.

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Breakfast at the Pavilion75 located on the ground floor wasn’t how I envisioned it knowing I’ve had this thought about Indian breakfast where there is an abundant flow of different flavors of lassi, Indian pancakes, and desserts but the breakfast didn’t disappoint either. At least, they made me a glass of cold lassi to start my day right.

Service was good, the staff was attentive on who would need water and cleared out the empty plates politely.

Wish they were able to serve the published breakfast buffet: Chinese, Japanese, and International Cuisines fit for every traveler. They, however, had options for both vegan and vegetarian.

I was joined by my best friend, Vijay Dhayal, Vice President of a Business Development and International Trade in Yangon, Myanmar for Breakfast on a non-work mode, just be our silly selves for a trip away from the hustle and bustle of our usual grind.

The stay overall wasn’t so bad. The room was spacious, clean and has the amenities a traveler would need. The staff spoke good English and were helpful when I needed housekeeping’s help on stitching a patch on my bag. They even gave me a pocket sewing kit just in case.

For someone who wants to stay in-between luxury, comfort and budget, I will definitely give the hotel another chance and recommend to friends who has the same preference. The hotel also has a mall attached to its compound. It would’ve been nice to know what they have and get to enjoy the outdoor pool area.

Get to know more about the hotel through this FACT SHEET

The real trip commence. I will post more of the entire trip on my next article.

NOTE:

If you’re wondering if it’s safe in India. Yes, however, just like in any countries (including your home country) you should always take precautions and act appropriately without flashing off. Best if you can travel with a friend, not just to save money in your budget but also to get to hype the trip even more fun!

 

 

ITC WelcomHotel Dwarka

Plot, Janakpuri District Center, Dwarka,

New Delhi, Delhi 110075, India

Phone:+91 11 4222 9222

 

 

New Delhi Airport: Sleeping Pods

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New Delhi Airport

 

Dated on November 2015. 

During a recent trip I took in India (what a dream come true!), I was amused discovering a charming sleeping pod at the New Delhi Airport.

For someone who prefers to travel solo, enduring a long layover or a delayed flight contained within the airport could be daunting, annoying, boring and exhausting. Typically, you’ll see passengers loose their poise with their feet up on another seat or their trolly luggage with their headphones on either tinkering their mobile phones, on kindle or simply trying to relax for a few hours for a nap. 

Screen Shot 2016-03-05 at 4.27.12 AMTrying their best not to look too exhausted being comforted by steel chairs, passengerswould tag their entire hand-carry, wash up at the nearest restroom for a few minutes and hop back to where they sat – lucky, if no one took their space.

But this Sleeping Pod was a game-changer. It has transformed an entire haggardness enjoyably bearable.

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It looked like a white tunnel, a small container yet it serves like a hotel with a receptionist. The concept is pretty on-point: the rooms has the entire shebang of what a suite needs – a bed, lamp, desk, flatscreen cable TV  and of course, FREE Wi-Fi. It also had amenities included should you want to be served with beverages, food choices on the menu and a place for you to take a shower.

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For $12/hr for single occupancy and $22/hr for double occupancy, it certainly is more than reasonable. The price justifies the comfort and pampering.  A worry-free restful sleep. You may also opt for an overnight stay, the receptionist would even give you a wake-up call.

No need to present any hefty cumulative expensive VIP travelers card for the services, the bed would certainly let sandman in for you to instantly snooze and the welcoming ambiance of the room is as inviting.

Talk about sheer brilliance in maximizing space, and convenience!

India, you made it hard for me not to love you.

 

You may find this Sleeping pod opposite the boarding gate number 17 at the International Departure Piers of New Delhi Airport. For Charges, Location and Reservation, you may contact +91 8800230013 or email info@snoozeatmyspace.com.

Staycation at Waterfront Pavilion Hotel Manila

With the growing rate of newly conceptualized and built hotels in the Philippines (and in Asia), hotels ever-changing hospitality space has been nothing short but a competitive world of renovations and upgrades. Hotels incessantly worry about staying updated with their look, feel, ambiance and training their staff on service upgrades. What used to WOW couples and honeymooners with a bed roses has gone passe and have replaced with personalized robes to spa treatments. From what used to be just a pair of comfortable pillows and a remote control to access a cabled TV, docks has replaced its amusement in terms of amenities to strong broadband and WiFi connections.

Waterfront Manila

Waterfront Manila

Top-to-bottom makeovers aren’t strange to the hospitality, retaining and debuting the new-old still has its charm.

It’s out with the old and in with the new as Waterfront Manila Pavilion Hotel & Casino, a 486-room first class hotel located  at the center of manila’s tourism, commercial and entertainment center features rooms with bright lit colored themed rooms with an in-detailed functional furnishings for any person’s interest creating a modern and elegant feel from what used to be rustic and touch of beige.

Waterfront Manila, United Nations Ave. Ermita, Manila

Redesigned and worked by internationally-renowned interior designer Sonia Santiago-Olivares, the originally built 1968 “the metro’s happening place” has witnessed history, housed iconic personalities and heroes.

As Waterfront Manila remodeled its rustic heritage rooms to something modern and chic, you’d feel the presence of a hotel that you may call as a home. Designed for comfort, the slumber beds and mattresses are perfect to put you on a great night’s fairytale sleep, or have you comfortably situated for a tucked in staycation.

Waterfront Manila Deluxe Rooms

Most of the dining establishments in hotels exist primarily as a convenience for guests, hotel restaurants such as SEASONS, as it launch its new menu under the culinary expertise of New York recognized Chef Giovanni Sias takes you to a new gastronomic journey for both convenience and leisure.

SEASONS restaurant

Lavishly spiced and seasoned, get mesmerized by its newly redecorated interior. A truly up-close-and-personal experience you desire; get to have a choice of both healthy and carnivorous finds. Get to taste best-sellers of Braised Lamb Shanks, Italian Four Cheese Pizza, Eggplant Napoleon to cleansing your palate with a sumptuous dessert of Chocolate Cake with vanilla Chantilly.

Four Cheese Pizza

Four Cheese Pizza

With the sumptuous meals to a well-pampered accommodation, the staycation won’t be complete without mentioning how beautiful the view of the Manila skyline is and how accessible the heritage sites are for your walking pleasure.

Skyline

Glad to have known Waterfront Manila Pavilion Hotel & Casino, it has definitely became an instant favorite for my staycations. I had my name secretly registered as someone else, acquired privacy, comfort and wondrous treat of Manila’s beauty, culture and heritage.

Rooms starts from Php 3,500 nett a night with complimentary breakfast for two.

Waterfront Manila Pavilion Hotel & Casino
United Nations ave. corner Ma. Orosa St.
Tel: 526-1212
http://waterfronthotels.com.ph
@WaterfrontMNL

A Local ‘European’ Trip in Tagaytay

For a burst of sunshine and healthy good finds. Drive out for a trip to hectares of secret gardens, beautiful attractions, fresh air and a touch of leisure, pleasure and discovery in Tagaytay, Cavite.

Plan your field trip close to home.

Nurture Spa

Embracing the nature, guided by Choices (Control Stress, Healthy Eating, Oxygenate, Immune Boost, Cleanse Body, mind and Emotion; Embrace natural healing therapies and Sleep, social, and spiritual connection); you may stay-in at the Nurture Village; inspired and surrounded with the lush tropical garden or forest with a touch of the Filipino culture. Dine in solace, be pampered by their signature spa services and have yourself treated for that detoxification and healing your body needs.

Flower Farm

Appreciate the beauty of nature’s creation: Hectares of gerberas, chrysanthemum, mums, and daisies. The process and science of preserving and keeping these wonderful growing greens and blooms will be discussed on tour and towards the end, one may would want to grow their own beautiful backyard garden and herbs to spice up their platter. Wouldn’t be nice to wake up filled with a bed of roses?

Photo Courtesy: http://www.appetite.ph

Photo Courtesy: http://www.appetite.ph

Marcia Adams’ Restaurant

An escape from the Manila transporting you to a different realm outside the city; Welcoming you into the Rustic walls covered and supported by wooden balustrades and arches which seemed to look like a touch of Tuscany. Dine in al fresco or a full coursed meal. Savor the Mediterranean European delectable menu with the authentic taste closely related to Greek Cypriot cuisine.

Chapel on the Hill

Its unique and cozy ambiance, the circular floor plan of this solemn place would give you the 360-degrees views with a romantic ambiance of the sunset perfect for a celebratory engagement as you walk on the path, which lends itself to prayer and meditation.

Toscana Farms

Known for catering some of the top restaurants and resorts in the Philippines with their organic produce; coming home with fresh, good quality, hydro-farmed and pesticide free vegetables, herbs and fruits would complete a healthy scrumptious meal on the table. The perfect take home after a good drive.

Next time you head out for a cool and cozy trip down south, consider marking the map for a European themed adventure.

Kassy is a freelance contributor in traditional and digital platforms. You may reach her through social media (@kassypajarillo) or through email: mktpajarillo@gmail.com