Subscribers Forum | Page Two
AMANPULO – PHILIPPINES, FOUR SEASONS HONG KONG.
Very sadly I am back from Amanpulo – oh my goodness WHAT a beautiful island, sea, sand, resort, staff … unbelievably perfect. It did not let me down (so many of our friends where wondering if I had built it up too much and would be disappointed – not at all.)
Luckily weather was good although windy at times. Our Beach Casita was No. 28 just one before end so it was quiet and lovely.
Staff were 100% charming; not many people there.
Funnily enough I thought there would be more fish on the menu but only Grouper. Food was good. (we did take a calculator!! … didn’t want too many surprises as we didn’t have a man to pay the bill!)
Casita was good although I can see where a refurbishment would be good. Apparently new bathrooms soon.
Spa was spectacular in position and in everything. A little journey to it at one end of island but that was fun to do.
Absolutely loved it and was just settling into island life when we had to leave – very sad and shed a tear as I think I come alive on an island like that … mind you, we did have a glass of wine just before we departed, on empty stomach so maybe the tear was helped along!!
The Peninsula was good although we just loved the Four Seasons – what a fabulous hotel – everywhere you looked there was something exciting to see. William was delightful and very kind to us; we met on last day.
Thank-you so much for all your kindness in making our trip so enjoyable.
RB – UK
VIETNAM & CAMBODIA.
Just a short note on Vietnam.
We started off at the Park Hyatt in Saigon, which has been build in 2005 but it feels older than that. The rooms are somewhat outdated and for regional standards small, The restaurants (italian and vietnamese) are good but very expensive compared to first class restaurants in Saigon. Prices are double or sometimes triple.
We are now for 3 days in the Nam Hai resort, which is member of the small leading hotels of the world. Well nothing is small here. We have a lovely one bedroom front ocean view pool villa with butler. But neither is the resort small, actually it is a bit oversized and through that it loses the heart and the soul.
For all you do you need a buggy. Same for the food as in Saigon.
Tomorrow off to Hanoi were we stay 2 days before leaving to the Amans in Cambodia, Laos, Delhi and 6 days Amanbagh.
I keep you posted.
The Amansara is maybe not as nice and maybe less Aman than many other Amans as an hotel, but absolutely well run.
The Indian GM is an enthusiastic hands on manager who organises many
For ex. First night dancing around the pool by locals of an orphanage home.
Second night visit of a childrens hospital and during dinner a very
kind blind lady who sang during dinner. A small attention on the bed
Today breakfast in a beautiful spot for sunrise around Angor Wat.
He is charming, hands on and descreet and trained his staff very well
the last 4 years.
The food is delicious and the service as kind as it can be.
Tomorrow off to Robyn and Manav at Aman Delhi and than on for 5 days
back to Amanbagh.
EV - Spain
Hi Lyn – congrats on your Sydney issue…nice to have you come all this way! Very accurate report too. Can’t wait to try Wolgan Valley – in our own backyard but not ventured there yet….
Some feedback on our recent visit to Southern Africa:
· Royal Melawane Private Game Lodge – one of the most special places ever stayed at. Service/food/staff/game drives exceeded even highest expectations. And the spa – nothing comes close to it in southern hemisphere. GM John Jackson up there with world’s best; the most remarkable, caring and attentive host. We had the Royal Melawane Suite – if this is not the most comfortable accom in whole African continent don’t know what is. They have a new multi-room compound (I think called the African Suite) away from the lodge which the owners built for their family – it’s sprawling and private but we preferred the Royal and Melawane suites that bookend the lodge.
· Singita Ebony and Boulders – a great stay with excellent food and service, but Ebony looking a bit tired (and I believe closing in Feb or March for major refurb – which it needs). Boulders also great but both lacked the exquisite attention to detail of Royal Melawane. If we hadn’t been spoiled by RM would probably be raving about Singita.
· La Residence in Franshhoek (wine district out of Cape Town, near Stellenbosch). Sister hotel to Royal Melawane but much newer. Has to be seen to be believed. The most gorgeous location and stunning rooms. Public rooms so utterly comfortable you never want to leave. Tranquil too, like being in heaven. Food rates up there as best in South Africa, even with some of SA’s best restaurants nearby, one is hardly tempted. Brilliant GM Edward Morton, his staff just faultless. He provided a little info pack that I will mail you….
· Ellerman House in Cape Town has a new GM, Nick Dreyer. Nick is protégé of Timothy Cumming the former GM of eight or so years and is doing a brilliant job. We actually bumped into Timothy at Singita – he’s doing a bit of consulting in his ‘retirement’. You might recall Tim was the GM who opened Villa Feltrinelli and helped Bob Burns during its development phase. We had the Ellerman Suite in the loft which was wonderfully comfortable with amazing views. The Kardashian sisters were in the new Villa so paparazzi and fans were thronging outside. Peace reigned supreme inside, however, and attention to all guests never faulted. Had the best dessert of my entire life for lunch one day. Could have moved in forever. A true home-away-from-home. We inspected the Villa beforehand and although stunningly appointed, we preferred the suites in the main residence. Perfect for big family or group though.
· We also tried the Twelve Apostles in Cape Town, just to be out of town for a few days. It’s only 15 mins along the coast from Ellerman so not so far out. Service here was truly outstanding, literally above and beyond. Great F&B too. Sea View room exceedingly comfortable. Only downside is it’s on the busy coastal road and there’s no beach – such a pity. It’s also a bit ramshackle as extensions have been added to the original building. Spa was very well run with quirky cave-like interior, unfortunately you won’t like chemically infused products. Great massage though. You may have heard the former long-term (8 years?) GM of 12A went to One and Only in Cape Town to ‘fix it’. I’m sure he’ll get it back on track if his legacy at 12A is anything to go by – big challenge though, by all accounts.
· We visited Victoria Falls and stayed at Tongabezi Lodge. Way too rustic in hindsight and should have stayed at Royal Livingstone which, on inspection, looked superb.
· You’ll never visit Kampala in Uganda but Serena Hotel in the only 5-star option. A great resort as it happens and we really enjoyed two stays there.
The Chedi Chiang Mai:
Had second thoughts about booking this place after staying at the Four Seasons a few years ago but the Chedi is an exceptionally well-run hotel. Can't think of anything negative to say about this place. Great food, wonderful buffet breakfast which is something you will not often hear me say. Loved the mix of design & colonial architecture. I was traveling solo & booked a regular room (50 sqm) which was just perfect & the views of the river from the upper floors are really peaceful. Simple spa but great massages & they even use some organic products. Service was perfect. I really loved this place, stayed 4 nights & did not leave the property at all. Would go back tomorrow.
Anantara Si Kao:
I checked in at the same time as a tropical depression. Forecast did not look promising & I checked out the next morning. Good decision since the whole region quickly became a sinister zone. First impressions were really good though. It is a traditional resort but it is nicely done & the views to the islands are quite stunning. Front desk staff were fantastic & nothing was too much trouble when asked for some help in re-booking my flights, etc... Same could be said for their staff at the restaurant. Really wonderful people. Did not feel like leaving especially since I had signed in for one of their 360° wellness experience.
Recommended by a friend. BIG mistake. This resort has no soul, no sense of place, no colours, not a single flower to play down the minimalist architecture. Just polished concrete, bare walls & straight lines. I could have been in Miami Beach & my room despite its size & equipment looked like a Manhattan loft.
Beach is non existent due to coastal erosion. Food was hit & miss, sometimes great sometimes not. The Spa looked like an Egyptian tumb & I never managed to relax completely despite a couple of good treatments. Some of the therapists looked positively depressed. They even managed to publish a 300 page coffee table book about this place if you are still interested -:). Could not wait to leave.
Four Seasons Bangkok:
What a relief to check in at the Four Seasons & its good old fashioned luxury. Yes this place is in need of a big makeover but it is very well maintained & the prefect antitode to the Alila. Spent my days by the pool where the service was really second to none ( fresh mango, iced tea, iced water, facial, spray, etc...). Dinner at Shintaro was excellent, Biscottti was not as good but very nice too. A couple of negative things: my club sandwich in the Lobby was really tiny & was served without any garnish looking positively lost in the middle of my plate & my complimentary Thai set-lunch was completely forgettable.
Can't wait to see what's in the pipeline for the Four Seasons. Are they going to close it down & refurbish just like the Four Seasons London?
The St Regis next door looks like another boring tower & does not look too promising imho.