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Reviews

Enrique Tomas en Barcelona: Cool Concept, Great Pork! April 16, 2017 23:26

I was walking endlessly, looking at all of the options for where to eat supper in the Rambla area one night. Trust me, you can walk for hours with indecision since there are so many places and they all look so good! In the meantime I needed a carb load and was drawn to the lights and setup of the restaurant front. Pork everywhere. I ended up with a small sandwich which I thought would be dry but ended up being the perfect walking sandwich.

PS:  No that is not the picture of the restaurant but another similar concept where they sell pork!


Circus Circus was more like a zoo! September 27, 2016 17:00

With one of my best friends coming into Las Vegas to renew his wedding vows after ten years of marriage, I was much obliged to go visit him and celebrate in the festivities!  Picture a pink Cadillac, an Elvis impersonator as chauffeur, and a chapel, what else could you ask for?

First problem was finding a hotel.  Everything in Vegas for that weekend (first weekend of August) was out of control in terms of pricing.  Hotels that would normally would cost $50 US were now $150.  Fortunately, Circus Circus had a great promotion, and we were able to secure a room in the Casino Tower with a king bed for $150/night.  Normally, this price would be a rip-off, but considering how expensive everything suddenly was that weekend, it was actually a steal.  We may have been able to stay at the Trump Hotel for a little bit more, but I'll be damned if a penny of my money finds its way into that loser's pockets!

Parking

We arrived at around 2am and believe it or not could almost not find a parking spot.  The entire Garage #1 was completely full.  Garage #2 was also full but we were able to find one spot.  One good thing about parking is that it's free!  You may be wondering why I would be mention that, but as I found out more and more hotel / casinos are starting to charge for parking.  Not a big deal if you're a guest, but ridiculous if you're going to just visit to play the slots.

Check-In

It was a zoo.   Fortunately the registration desk is relatively close to the parking structure.  For those of you that have visited Vegas, you'll notice that the newer hotels are structured in such a way that they force you to walk through the entire casino to get to the guest check-in desk.  

Check-in was smooth however they issued us free dinner tickets instead of breakfast and the check-in host did not seem to really care about fixing it for us.  

Room

 The room was clean and modern.  Something felt a bit weathered about it, and I think as this is a family hotel, the carpet probably gets beaten up a bit quicker than other hotels.  For the price though, I'm not complaining too much.

The bathroom was fairly updated, although nothing to write home about.  What was more crazy was the toilet.  It sounded as though it had a jet engine in it.  When you would touch the handle, it would sound like a jet engine fired up and suck everything down as it does in an airplane.  On one hand I was afraid of flushing it, on the other, I wanted one for my house!

And yes, the TV was a flat-screen and got your main channels.

Restaurants

Unlike the main strip which forces you to eat at expensive places due to lack of cheap options, or pay $3 for a bottle of water since there are no convenience stores except for the Casino shops, there are a ton of great options from McDonald's within the hotel, Krispy Kreme, and a bunch of pharmacies including Walgreens and CVS close by for cheap snacks.

We ate at the buffet and the food was good with a huge variety.  In fact, they even changed the food options while we were eating so we had an event better selection.  There was an omelet station as well as a carving station, a great variety of Mexican food, normal American, and even Asian - sorry, no sushi.

Final Thoughts...

 

One thing I like about Circus Circus is that the walk from the parking structure to the guest registration is fairly short. If you know Vegas you know that they lay things out in such a way that you're forced to walk through the entire casino before you get to the registration desk. Fortunately, Circus doesn't do that.

Our room was decent for the price. Even though it had been renovated, I thought the carpet was already starting to get a bit tired looking but there was a flag screen TV and the bathroom was clean. Nothing fancy but nothing too bad either.

The breakfast buffet was very good in my opinion with a huge selection that they kept changing.

Just one note - there are a lot of kids here (obviously) so if you're looking for something a bit quieter and more high end, then this isn't the place for you. If on the other hand you're looking for something economical and quick, this is it. It also helps that there is a 7-11, Krispy Kreme, McDonalds, and CVS either inside the hotel or just outside!

The only thing I was disappointed in was that we had brought food to the room and when I asked room service for a fork, they said "they don't do that". I've stayed at Motel 6s and hotels all around the world including low-end hotels that do "do that". So Circus loses a point for not doing that small thing!

Otherwise, this is a cheap but decent option.

 

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Green Tiger Vegetarian House in Chiang Mai, Thailand January 17, 2016 11:11

Wow.  Where do I begin?  As a world traveller and reviewer, I have many opportunities to criticize, compare, and give anything less than five stars.  For Green Tiger, I’d like to give a star ranking of “Wow”, if possible.  If you are ever going to Chiang Mai, do yourself a favor and stay here!  It was one of the most comfortable stays I’ve ever had in my life.

After finding myself cracking at the seams thanks to my profession of being a lawyer, it was time for a vacation…a long one!  After winding my way through Indonesia, I found myself in Chiang Mai, Thailand. As I had decided to stay there for two weeks to decompress, I booked myself in two parts of the city – one week at the North Gate, the second week towards the touristy Thapae Gate.  With an entire week to kick back and relax at Green Tiger, I got to enjoy this hotel in all of its glory.  And it was amazing.

Upon arriving, I was greeted by the incredible staff who were super friendly.  Imagine, I didn’t even have to sign any papers or give my credit card.  My room was on the top floor at the corner, with a stunning view of the mountain.  Let me comment on everything in detail.

Room:  Exceptional.  I opted for the deluxe room which I had fortunately booked months before.  This place, thanks to its great reputation, is getting booked solid all of the time.  The room had floor to ceiling windows with a beautiful balcony and waking up every day to that perfectly positioned view was relaxing to say the least.  The room was extraordinarily clean and modern.  The bed was large and so comfortable I felt like I was sleeping in a cloud!  Even the comforter was ultra soft.

Although I did my share of touring and walking around Chiang  Mai, I found myself just relaxing in my room during some of the nights just because it was so comfortable.  The bathroom was spacious and clean and they always filled up the soap bottles with what I can only assume were some sort of organic soaps.  The pictures you see speak for themselves.  Zero complaints about the room.  Even the internet was super fast despite me being on the top floor at the far corner.

 

Lobby:  One of my favorite parts of this hotel!  The owner of the hotel actually designed this hotel down to the chairs and positioning of the rooms.  The owner isn’t some average investor who bought a hotel – he built this from scratch starting designing it using Illustrator!  Since part of the hotel is a hostel on the ground floor, it is a great place to meet other travelers.  The lobby is so inviting, relaxing, and beautifully laid out, you could just as easily enjoy your stay if you just hung ot at the hotel doing your travel blogging, working from your laptop – which many people were doing.  All day they keep coffee, tea, and cold water to fill you up.  There is such a relaxing, positive vibe to this place.  I met two people in the lobby that will now be my lifelong friends.  We ended up travelling and exploring together.  The lobby even has a little library with Lonely Planet guides and other books.

Honestly, if I sat there all day hanging out with people, my trip would have still been fulfilling.  I loved that the hotel owner would talk to everyone, even for an hour at a time, giving great advice and offering whatever help he could. 

Food:  You have read other people’s reviews about the food.  Believe all of the reviews!  My room came with free breakfast.  Since I didn’t see a standard buffet, my first morning I thought the free breakfast meant the toast and jam…then they handed me a menu and I thought I had to pay extra.  Little did I know, that I actually got to choose whatever I wanted from the menu (as in multiple things if I desired), as part of the breakfast.  Way better than a buffet!  I don’t know what they do with the food here but it is amazing.  Super healthy and fresh – from omelets, to yoghurt and granola bowls. 

When I first checked into the hotel it was mid-afternoon and I was starving.  Not wanting to spend time walking around I opted to eat at the hotel.  Although I was craving something hardy, like a big, fat juicy hamburger (which of course they don’t serve), I ordered a vegetable sandwich.  Probably the most boring sounding thing on the menu, right?  It ended up being the most delicious sandwich I may have ever eaten.  I don’t know what they did!  It felt like they had baked the bun specifically on the spot.  Maybe it was the pesto?  If you wonder why this place which is a hotel is named as though it is a restaurant, one bite of their food will quickly silence that question.

Staff:  Stellar.  The owner is incredible.  When I asked him where to do my laundry, he recommended a place around the corner because he said it was cheaper than his own hotel charged (and his own hotel wasn’t even expensive!)  Talk about honesty.  When one of the other travelers had a problem at the airport after they had checked out, the owner’s wife got in a car, drove to the airport, and yelled at the airline employees for their screw-up, and took great care of their former guest.  The girls that work the desk are also super friendly, attentive, and patient.  I wanted to find a gym, so they proceeded to make phone calls to various gyms, asking how much they were, until they found a good one for me.  Awesome.

After my week there was over, I actually felt sad.  Sad to leave a place where I felt such hospitality, comfort, and camaraderie.  In fact, when I changed to the second hotel, I was desperately trying to figure out how to cancel and go back to the Green Tiger!  Unfortunately it didn’t work out, but I did end up going back to Green Tiger a few more times just to hang out and spend time with my new friends.

I am so happy with the Green Tiger Vegetarian House.  It is a beautiful hotel filled with love and positive energy.  If you’re going to Chiang Mai, do yourself a favor and stay here!  Especially if you’re going to be travelling solo, it is a great place to make friends and feel right at home.   

 - AB3

"Life is short. Always do what you want to do."


C & R Thai Massage - So Relaxing I Almost Fell Asleep December 02, 2015 03:28

So I was in the mood for a facial.  Hey, can't I guy get one as well?  With so many massage places and spas every two, picking the right place can be hit or miss and really, how much research can you do?  I was originally going to go to Lila Massage Spa since they seem to get the most publicity, however I thought I'd try something else and I'm glad I did!

The ladies that worked there were super friendly and helpful.  I had a lot of questions but instead of getting annoyed, they took the time to explain.  I opted for a 7 step seaweed facial for what seems to be the market rate in the area, 550bht.

To my surprise, even though I only paid for the facial, they first bathed and scrubbed my feet.  Then we went upstairs  where  the lady attended to my face.  The room was spacious and the bed comfortable.  The lady who did the facial was so good I felt like I was somewhere between awake and dreaming.  Amazing experience and you could tell she knew what she was doing.  On top of that, she ended up giving me a massage as well!  

Overall I was very satisfied and highly recommend this place.

145/8 Rajadamnern Rd | Phrasing Subdistrict, Chiang Mai 50200, Thailand

 


The Elephant Crossing Hotel - Vang Vieng, Laos October 10, 2015 15:25

Address:  Ban Viengkeo | (PO Box 5512, Vientiane), Vang Vieng, Laos

Web:  secure.theelephantcrossinghotel.com

I stayed at The Elephant Crossing Hotel during a Contiki tour of Asia and what a beautiful surprise! This hotel is in such a gorgeous and picturesque town known as Vang Vieng so you know you're going to have a peaceful and serene setting. The Elephant Crossing hotel takes the cake since it is away from the main street by a block (it's a tiny town), and right against the river! The majority of rooms are also facing the river where you'll get to see people tubing, kayaking, etc., while you sip on a nice drink and enjoy the view against a mountain backdrop.



It's so nice to stay somewhere where the only sound you hear is nature, even though you have access to dining, really cool Bohemian style bars, and a few small shops. 

Everything is within a very short walking distance. 

Check-in was very easy. We stayed on the ground-floor although there were several levels. The rooms and bathrooms were modernized and super-clean which was a pleasant treat compared to other hotels in Laos. In fact the lotions and soaps even seemed kind of high end which was nice. The hotel grounds are beautiful, rich with fauna around and a peaceful outdoor lobby to read, surf the internet, or just relax. Walk down a short path and you're on the water, along a boardwalk / patio made by the hotel where you get to eat breakfast in the morning!


What better way to start your day than a great breakfast right on the river? They had a great selection of cereals, toast, eggs, and the best part were the drinks. The juices and fresh coffee they would make were superb. I remember trying to pour coffee only to have one of the servers come along and brew something unique for me.

I left Vang Vieng with more than a hangover - I left with great memories from a very peaceful stay at a hotel that gave you the best view in town.

 Check out the full review on TripAdvisor.  Just CLICK HERE!

Author:  AB3