Tag Archives: #accommodation

Lovely Lucca and the Terrace of Perfumes

Urban Adventure Tours

Since the girls left we have been travelling around Italy with no real plan. I know it sounds a bit unusual, living and organising accommodation on the fly. We always knew we were going to wing it and see where the tide takes us. This way we are not tied down. If we meet someone on the road who says “You have to go to this…. place”, then we could book it the next day and we’re on our way. The beautiful town of Lucca was just one of these places. A good friend said since you’re in Italy, you must visit Lucca. So, we did. In doing so we had to organise a place to stay and luckily for us we stayed at the Terrace of Perfumes.

Terrace of Perfumes
Lucca was the home of Italian composer Giacomo Puccini

The Terrace of Perfumes is an agent run apartment available through Booking.com and AirBNB. Located just outside the old city the Terrace of Perfumes is close to supermarkets and local restaurants.  Being an apartment they do prefer stays 3 days or longer.

Terrace of Perfumes
The tree-lined walking path on top of the old town walls.

We were met at the apartment on check in by the apartments owners Mauricio and Valeria and their apartments agent Alessandro. The apartment is situated on the first floor and upon entry you notice how clean and beautiful the apartment is.

Terrace of Perfumes
The bedroom

This one bedroom apartment consists of a large bedroom which overlooks the street, a lounge area, a fully functional kitchen, bathroom and a balcony area which has that all important washing machine and clothes line. They have thought about everything to make your stay as carefree, relaxing and enjoyable as possible.

Terrace of Perfumes
The fully functional kitchen, is stocked with everything you need for your stay.
Terrace of Perfumes
The long thin bathroom with shower cubicle in the middle of the room. Surprisingly water is well contained between the shower curtains.
Terrace of Perfumes
The private balcony with washing machine and clothes line. It’s a good place to have breakfast.

Mauricio and Valeria are exceptional hosts and ensure we are settled and welcomed with a basket filled with some produce and a bottle of delicious Chianti. They have a compendium about the apartment and helpful information about Lucca and its must see places and things to do.

Terrace of Perfumes
Mauricio and Valeria’s welcome basket.

We really enjoyed our time in Lucca, walking the thin cobbled streets surrounded by hundreds of year old buildings. Visiting the home of Italian composer Giacomo Puccini and indulging in some of that Italian cuisine. International tour hosts, Urban Adventures offers four incredible tours around Lucca for you to try. So, take a trip to Lucca, experience a tour and book the Terrace of Perfumes. Don’t forget to tell them Simon from Ourworldineview sent you!

Looking for accommodation in Lucca? The Terrace of Perfumes is the ideal place to stay.
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Additional Information for the Terrace of Perfumes

Via Borgo Giannotti 389, 55100 Lucca, Italy
Website: Nil Available

Check in: 15:00 hrs
Check out: 10:00 hrs

Book your stay at the Terrace of Perfumes now with Booking.com

Prices of accommodation:

Ranging from AUD$90 – AUD$110 per night

*Post Contains Affiliate links

Staying at the Scandic Berlin Kurfürstendamm

Urban Adventure Tours

After a busy schedule in France the girls were so excited to be heading to Berlin. A city that has had to rebuild most of their buildings due to the devastation of World War II. So, although a city rich in history, good and bad, it is still a new. It is intriguing how Berlin has rebuilt many buildings to match the elegance of their past. For our time, here we are staying at the Scandic Berlin Kurfürstendamm hotel.

Scandic Berlin Kurfürstendamm Hotel
Someone was very happy to be in Berlin.

The Scandic Berlin Kurfürstendamm is a lovely 4-star hotel near the shopping district of Kurfürstendamm, and quite close to many popular attractions.

Scandic Berlin Kurfürstendamm
The reception desk at the Scandic Berlin Kurfürstendamm

Upon arrival to the hotel we enter through the automatic turnstile and are met by a friendly reception desk. To the right of us is a lounge with a business area. And to the left is the stairway down to the Scandic restaurant and an alcove with a Foosball table. Additionally, past the reception desk is a small self-serve shop, stocked with essentials and hotel souvenirs.

Scandic Berlin Kurfürstendamm
The Foosball table to the left of the entrance.

The desk clerk allocates us two rooms and we ride the elevator up to our floor. Bright clean white corridors decorated with well placed commissioned street art, this hotel exudes a modern elegance.

Scandic Berlin Kurfürstendamm
The Scandic Berlin Kurfürstendamm has commissioned artist to produce street art at certain locations within the hotel.

The rooms are a nicely decorated spacious area with a king sized bed, a comfortable lounge seat, a desk, fridge, cupboard, safe and television. Each room also has a separate bathroom.

Scandic Berlin Kurfürstendamm
Our double room at the Scandic Berlin Kurfürstendamm
Scandic Berlin Kurfürstendamm
The desk, fridge and television in the Scandic Berlin Kurfürstendamm

Our bathroom is also a well maintained clean. It is a large room with a large shower cubicle for that well deserved relaxing hot shower.

Scandic Berlin Kurfürstendamm
The bathroom at the Scandic Berlin Kurfürstendamm

Now, if you talk to my family, I have no patience when travelling, I like to keep moving. So, a relaxing evening lounging around a hotel doesn’t really suit me. Luckily, the Scandic Berlin Kurfürstendamm has a gym on the sixth floor. Therefore, I didn’t pace around twiddling my thumbs, because I could always go to the gym for a couple of hours and burn off some excess energy.

Scandic Berlin Kurfürstendamm
Some of the cardio equipment in the Scandic Berlin Kurfürstendamm gym.

With treadmills, bikes, ellipticals and rowing machines, I could burn up that extra energy. Additionally, the gym also has some free weights and a multi-faceted nautilus machine. After the workout, you can take a shower and use the sauna to sweat out those toxins.

Scandic Berlin Kurfürstendamm
The weight area in the Scandic Berlin Kurfürstendamm gym

The hotel is mainly focused on the conference market and has meeting rooms available on the seventh floor. Please ask the reception for more information. Breakfast is also available in the restaurant for €12 per person, per day.

Scandic Berlin Kurfürstendamm
The Breakfast buffet area the Scandic Berlin Kurfürstendamm

The restaurant is open for dinner and has a descent sized Scandinavian inspired menu. It has a satisfactory range of quality wines from around Europe. So why not be bold and try something you’ve never experienced before. We had the pleasure of dining in the main dining area for a night. They also have a winter garden and courtyard area for those nice days.

Scandic Berlin Kurfürstendamm
The comfortable dining area at the Scandic Berlin Kurfürstendamm

We ordered their Weiner Schnitzel, a vegetarian Caesar Salad with roasted pumpkin and their aptly named Scandic burger. All the meals were well cooked and quite large servings.

Scandic Berlin Kurfürstendamm
The classic aptly named Scandic burger with a side of fries.
Scandic Berlin Kurfürstendamm
The Weiner Schnitzel with some fries. Not the most eye catching of meals.
Scandic Berlin Kurfürstendamm
The vegetarian Caesar Salad with roasted pumpkin.

Overall the Scandic Berlin Kurfürstendamm Hotel is an excellent choice for your stay in Berlin. Perfectly located with easy access to Berlin’s sensational public transport system, and major shopping outlets. The hotel can look after all your needs, with luggage storage available before your check-in and after check-out. If you decide not to eat breakfast at the hotel we found the Clave Cafe on Augsburger Straße towards Kurfürstendamm an excellent option. So, book your next stay below, and tell them Simon from Ourworldinreview sent you!

Additional Information for the Scandic Berlin Kurfürstendamm

Augsburger Straße 5 Berlin, Germany
Ph: +49 30 212 42 0
Website: www.scandichotel.de

To get there catch the Metro to Augsburger Straße

Book your stay at the Scandic Berlin Kurfürstendamm now with Booking.com

Prices of accommodation:

Ranging from €98 – €164 per night

Breakfast is served daily for €12.00 per person

Scandic Berlin Kurfürstendamm Restaurant opening times

Breakfast: Mon-Sun 06: 30-12: 00
Dinner: Mon-Sun 17: 00-01: 00

*Post Contains Affiliate links

B&B Hotel Paris Porte de la Villette

After a three-day stay in Amsterdam we are back on a plane and travelling to Paris. Ah, Paris, the city of love! We arrive a week before the 2017 Presidential election and tensions are meant to be high. Although we haven’t noticed it as tourists. We even walked into the middle of a peaceful protest one evening, with French Police calmly directing us away from the area. Our accommodation for our time in Paris is the 2-star, B&B Hotel Paris Porte de la Villette.

Located in the 19th arrondissement the B&B Hotel Paris Port de la Villette is a short walk from the Porte de la Villette Metro Station. Now, although we were safe walking the streets, the 19th arrondissement can be a bit intimidating to first time travellers as it is more a poorer working class area. It is a mixture of cultures with small market stalls on some streets.

B&B Hotel Porte de la Villette
The Metro in Paris is a very good public transport system

As we enter the hotel we notice the security guard overseeing the foyer area to ensure guests aren’t harassed. This is also done to stop unwanted visitors into the hotel. The foyer area has some tourist information, four vending machines, a microwave oven, some tables and a computer with internet access.

B&B Hotel Porte de la Villette
The foyer area in the B&B Hotel Porte de la Villette

A lady receives us at the reception desk and we check into a four person room. As none of us are smokers we ask to ensure we are in a non smoking room. The B&B Hotel Paris Porte de la Villette allows smoking in their rooms, so you must stipulate if you need a non smoking room.

B&B Hotel Porte de la Villette
The reception desk of the B&B Hotel Porte de la Villette

We are given the security code for the door and make our way up to our floor. The elevators are small so we made a couple of trips due to my large backpack. The floors are an olive-green colour so they are a little dark.

B&B Hotel Porte de la Villette
The olive-green hallway of the 5th floor are a little dark.

The four person room is quite small. It has a double bed and a bunk to accommodate us. All the beds were comfortable, so no complaints. Being a small room, bag storage is limited, so you will be climbing over your bags daily. The room has a small desk near the door and a television on the wall.

B&B Hotel Porte de la Villette
The double bed in the four person room.

Each room has a separate bathroom which again is small. There is no ventilation and no hairdryer available, but the shower is quite good. No issues with hot water here. Rooms are serviced daily, with towels and bedding changed over.

B&B Hotel Porte de la Villette
The small bathroom in the four person room

Possibly the biggest improvement would be to make the hotel a  non smoking hotel. Because even though we stipulated for a non smoking room it was evident that other rooms on our floor had smokers. Our room even had an ashtray, so I’d say smoking and non smoking rooms depends only on if you actually smoke. It does become a little overpowering for non smokers. We placed a towel on the floor across the door which helped a little.

B&B Hotel Porte de la Villette
This non-smoking room has an ashtray…That’s a bit confusing.

The hotel offers a buffet breakfast for its guests at an extra cost in their dining area in the basement. Its buffet spread is very limited and you may have to wait until their small supply of bacon and eggs is ready. My recommendation would be to try it one day, and if you are happy with the range and quality then eat there. Otherwise go somewhere else.

B&B Hotel Paris Porte de la Villette
The breakfast buffet selection is a little limited.

Overall the B&B Hotel Paris Porte de la Villette, is what it is. This 2-star hotel, is clean and comfortable. It is in a rougher part of Paris and they do allow their guests to smoke in their rooms. I wouldn’t think it is appropriate for young families for this reason. It has potential to be a lot better than it is. The breakfast range and quality could be a bit better. The bacon was under cooked and rubbery, but this is all easily fixed. The staff are friendly and the security guard is a large imposing figure, so we felt safe.

If you are a seasoned traveller and are on a budget than this may be the place for you as the rates are reasonable. The hotel is close to public transport which is easy to use. There aren’t too many restaurants around the hotel area, so you may need to travel into the more frequented areas to find one.

Personally, I wouldn’t stay here again, only because of the smoking issue. If they are going to continue to allow smoking in their hotel than they need to work out a better way to accommodate this. By allowing their guests to smoke in their rooms increases the risk of a potential fire occurring within the building. My advice would be to stop smoking in the hotel, as you will then increase your customer market. If they don’t want to cease smoking in the hotel then a designated smoking area away from the rooms would be beneficial.

Additional Information for the B&B Hotel Paris Porte de la Villette

4 Rue Emile Reynaud, 75019 Paris, France
Ph: +33 892 70 75 50
Website: www.hotel-bb.com

To get there catch the Metro to Porte de la Villette station.

Book your stay at the B&B Hotel Paris Porte de la Villette now with Booking.com

Prices of accommodation:

Ranging from €50 – €89 per night

Breakfast is served daily for €6.50

*Post Contains Affiliate links

King’s Day and the Ibis Budget Amsterdam City South

After our time spent in Norway we are on a plane heading for a whirl wind tour of Amsterdam. We are only here for a few days to celebrate King’s Day and to meet up with two other travel bloggers. For our accommodation stay we are at the Ibis Budget Amsterdam City South Hotel. From the airport, we catch a train to Amsterdam Zuid, then take the Metro to Kronenburg. It’s then a short walk to the hotel which you can see from the Kronenburg Metro Station.

IBIS Budget Amsterdam City South Hotel
The reception desk of the IBIS Budget Amsterdam City South Hotel

The Ibis Budget Amsterdam City South hotel is rated as a 2.5-star hotel, but is a new, modern and at a reasonable price. The newness of the hotel is evident as soon as you walk into the foyer. On entry, you have an internet station and storage lockers to the right and a refreshment area to the left. We are warmly greeted at the reception desk and promptly checked in.

IBIS Budget Amsterdam City South Hotel
The Cool Service refreshment area. Items are available for purchase from the front desk

We are given a family room for four and take the elevator to our room. The room is approximately 15 square metres and contains three single beds and a single cupboard bed. Our two large windows present a pleasant view of the surrounding area, which is mainly residential. A television with a range of local and international channels is also located on the wall.

IBIS Budget Amsterdam City South Hotel
Our family room, contains three single beds and the cupboard contains the fourth.
IBIS Budget Amsterdam City South Hotel
View from our room in the IBIS Budget Amsterdam City South Hotel

Each room has a small clean bathroom, with sufficient space to store your toiletries. The hotel supplies linen and towels for their guests use and rooms are serviced daily. Additionally, a hairdryer is available from the reception desk for a €20 deposit.

IBIS Budget Amsterdam City South Hotel
The small clean and serviced bathroom

The hotel is a 100% non-smoking hotel and has available parking facilities for its guests. It also boasts a games room with table tennis tables and various electronic games. It’s a great safe place for the children to hang out when you have finished exploring for the day.

IBIS Budget Amsterdam City South Hotel
The games room contains table tennis tables and various electronic games

Free Wi-Fi is available throughout the whole hotel and they offer their guests an all you get eat breakfast buffet for €7.50 per person. This fee is payable at the front desk, when required. Unfortunately, the breakfast range is a little limited for choice, but we were able to find something suitable.

Ibis Budget Amsterdam City South Hotel
A section of the breakfast area. There’s plenty of tables available.

Overall the Ibis Budget Amsterdam City South Hotel is a cool modern hotel. It’s clean and has enough activities available to entertain the average family. Rooms accommodate 1-4 persons so if you have a larger family two rooms may be needed. We found it handy for public transport and was easily able to purchase tickets from the automated machines at the stations. The hotel does have some tickets available at the front desk so be sure to ask them if they can help. They have an arrangement with a local Pizza shop for room deliveries for those days you just want to stay in. Just make sure you notify them if you are going to be paying by credit card when ordering. Pizzas can be ordered using the hotel receptions phone if required.

We enjoyed our time at the Ibis Budget Amsterdam City South Hotel. So, book your stay today and tell them Simon from Ourworldinreview sent you!

Additional Information for the Ibis Budget Amsterdam City South Hotel

Prof J H Bavincklaan 1, 1183 AT Amstelveen, Netherlands
Ph:  (+31) 207154333
Website: www.accorhotels.com

To get there catch the Metro or Tram to the Kronenburg station.

Book your stay at the Ibis Budget Amsterdam City South Hotel now with Booking.com

Prices of accommodation:

Ranging from €67 – €149 per night

Breakfast is served from 7:30 – 10:30 am

*Post Contains Affiliate links

Away at the Anker Hotel – Oslo, Norway

Once again, the love of books has prompted us to tack on a stay in Oslo to meet up with our international book club. Every year a city around the world hosts the annual Bookcrossing convention and this year happens to be our friends in Norway. I know it may sound unusual to some of you, to fly halfway around the world to talk and exchange books. However, it’s become more than that. The lifelong friendships you make, the catch up conversations, and the shared meals together are at the heart of these overseas journeys. Yet we do it in the name of books.

This year’s convention was being held at the Markus Menighetshus building in the St Hanshaugen district. Therefore, our accommodation needed to be in walking distance of the venue. After some close examination of the area we opted to stay at the Anker Hotel in nearby Storgata street. The Anker Hotel is a part of the Foundation Anker that supports students in Norway and all profits go back to those students.

Anker Hotel
A bridge over the Akerselva River, near the Anker Hotel

Located right alongside the Akerselva River the 3-star Anker Hotel has no fancy facade to make it stand out. It’s just a plain-looking building with a quick automatic turnstile entry. It’s funny how people try to time their entry into these turnstiles. Too fast and you hit the revolving door, yet go too slow and it hits you.

The Anker Hotel Oslo
The front foyer lounge area in the Anker Hotel. A coffee machine and hotel computers are located in this area.

Upon entry, the reception desk which is manned 24 hours is to the right. Check-in time is from 3 pm and all passports are required to be shown so the hotel can register the names of the guests staying in the room. The reception also has safety deposit boxes available for your valuables and some tour guide information about Oslo. Check out the Visit Oslo website because they run, tourist in your own city (Turist I EGEN BY) on selected Sunday’s. These passes give the holder free access to the major tourist attractions in Oslo.

the Anker Hotel Oslo
The reception desk at the Anker Hotel

We are greeted by the friendly hotel staff and quickly checked in for the night. We are given a family room overlooking the Akerselva river on the 7th floor and head on up. The floor corridors aren’t richly decorated so there are pretty plain-looking which reflects the same styling within the room.

The Anker Hotel Oslo
Plain corridors along every floor

The room is quite large and has four comfortable single beds lined up along the wall in that dorm room style. There are a couple of chairs and a side table next to the window and a desk and chair closer to the door. A small flat screen television is mounted above the desk which plays local Norwegian channels. However, we could find some English-speaking shows when we had it on. Each bed has its own bedside lamp if you’d like to read at night. The entry foyer has an inbuilt cupboard to hang jackets on, and the door to the right is a bathroom.

The Anker Hotel Olso
The Anker Hotel’s family room can accommodate a family of five.
The Anker Hotel Oslo
Small desk and chair with the rooms television mounted on wall.

Now, the bathroom is quite small, and contains a toilet, wash basin with a small amount of space for your toiletry bags, and a shower cubicle. It is fully tiled from floor to ceiling and is your basic white colour. Although small I must say the shower is fantastic. Instant hot water, wonderful water pressure and the temperature control is excellent. There’s nothing worse than having to adjust a shower because it switches from going hot to cold. Furthermore, as an added bonus the tiled floor is perfectly heated. So, no freezing tiles and cold feet. Another pleasing aspect is that they have a hairdryer mounted to the wall and a good supply of toilet paper if you’re staying for a while.

The Anker Hotel Oslo
The family room’s small bathroom, but that heated floor and water pressure were marvellous

Unfortunately, the room does not have coffee and tea making facilities in them. But they are available to be borrowed from the front desk if required. Wi-Fi is available in every room on a public network, so no password is required. Internet is a bit static and drops in and out often.

The Anker Hotel Oslo
One of the two eating areas for guests at breakfast

The Anker Hotel stay comes with a complimentary breakfast in their large dining area. The buffet style service has a broad range of quality food available and as it is all you can eat, you shouldn’t leave hungry.

The Anker Hotel Oslo
Buffet style breakfast. The perfect start before a long day of discovery.

Other facilities available at the Anker Hotel are a fully licensed bar, luggage storage, laundry service and four different meeting rooms. Wake up calls are also available as your room does not have a clock in it.

The Anker Hotel Oslo
The licensed bar within the Anker Hotel. Stay up for a nightcap and mingle with other guests

In conclusion, the Anker Hotel is a clean, no frills hotel. The rooms are warm and comfortable and in my opinion the shower was perfect. At a reasonable price with breakfast included, the Anker Hotel is a good option for active families on a budget who would use the hotel as a base for their daily activities. So, book now and tell them Simon from Ourworldinreview sent you!

Additional Information for Anker Hotel

Storgata 55, 0182 Oslo, Norway
Ph: (+47) 2299 7510
Website: www.anker-hotel.no

To get there from the OSLO Central station catch the 11 or 17 tram to Hausmanns Gate stop, then walk 200m towards Akerselva river.

Book your stay at the Anker Hotel now with Booking.com

Types of accommodation:

Single room: 1 persons AUD $170 -$232

Twin room: 1 -2 persons AUD $216 -$278

Double room: 1 – 2 persons AUD $216 – $278

Triple room: 1 -3 persons AUD $262 – $309

Family room: 1 – 5 persons AUD $309 – $386

Breakfast is served from 6 – 10 am Mon-Fri & 7 – 11 am Sat – Sun

*Post Contains Affiliate links

Marina Bay Sands – A touch of luxury

Singapore has always been one of our favourite layover destinations. We have been coming here on and off for the last ten years and each time we come we say, “one day we’ll stay at the Marina Bay Sands”. From the exterior, this memorable hotel looks like a boat sitting on three towers. The three towers contain the available rooms and the boat structure features the hotels romantic infinity pool with a few restaurants and bars.

Marina Bay Sands Hotel
Marina Bay Sands Hotel at night

As we have just commenced our extended twelve-month travel expedition, we decided to grasp the opportunity and indulge ourselves in a stay at the Marina Bay Sands. On arrival into Singapore, we didn’t head straight to the hotel because we had already organised a stay at the Betel Box Backpackers and Hostel. After our night and an 11 am checkout from Betel Box we headed back to the Paya Lebar MRT station and catch the circle line train to the Bayfront MRT station.

On our arrival to Bayfront we alight inside The Shoppes. This luxury shopping complex it situated alongside the Marina Bay Sands, and has a skating rink, gondola ride, theatre and casino.  Gamble responsibly.

Marina Bay Sands
The Shoppes at the Marina Bay Sands has an indoor gondola ride.

It’s then a short stroll through the mall before you turn into the hotel complex. Just up the escalator and to the left is the hotel porter collecting your bags to take up to your room once you have checked in. Normal check-in is at 3 pm but we headed to the check-in desk at tower 1 and was immediately greeted by Marina Bay Sands staff member Kateline. We were presented with some satisfying complimentary refreshments whilst the check-in process occurred. Kateline was extremely helpful and had us checked in straight away so we didn’t have to spend a couple of hours shopping. She was also able to organise a late checkout for us on our last day at the hotel.

Marina Bay Sands Hotel
Check in counter at the bottom of tower 1

Our King Deluxe room was in tower 3 on the 47th floor. Each guest is given a room key to provide access to the elevators, rooms, and swimming pool area. So don’t make the mistake of accidentally leaving one of your keys behind. Because there are no exceptions. Children must be accompanied by an adult in the pool area.

Upon entry into our room and insertion of our room key, the blinds automatically open to provide one of the most spectacular views I’ve had the privilege of seeing. Our room overlooks Gardens by the bay horticultural area, this engineered masterpiece is an incredible must see attraction.

Marina Bay Sands Hotel
What an amazing view from our room of the Gardens by the bay

The room is very nice. There is of course a King-sized bed, a day sofa, desk, chest of drawers and large flat screen television containing 50+ channels. Wi-Fi is available to guests which needs to be reactivated every 24 hours, which can get painful. Fortunately, the Wi-Fi is available throughout the whole complex including the shopping mall. The room is very clean and as mentioned the view is extraordinary. Each room has an automated climate controlled air conditioner which can be adjusted to your desired temperature from the wall control. As an Eco-saver when the balcony doors are opened the air conditioner will automatically turn off, then return once doors are closed again. Additionally, each room also has a pressure sensor mini bar fridge which will automatically charges your room when an item is removed.

Marina Bay Sands Hotel
King Deluxe room, spacious, clean with an incredible view!

The bathroom is pristine. With a large shower cubicle at one end of the room, a central basin with plenty of bench space and a toilet at the other end. There is no lock on the siding door, so hopefully if you are staying with another person, they know you well. Otherwise it could get a little awkward.

Marina Bay Sands Hotel
The King Deluxe room’s pristine bathroom nicely matches the rest of the room.

We tried to fit as much as we could in our brief stay at the hotel. Taking the elevator to the 57th floor to visit the world-famous infinity pool, the sky-deck and bar and restaurant. The pool stretches for a generous section of the roof area, consisting of three pools. Each pool has an incredible view of the Singaporean skyline. We swam and lounged around the pool for a few hours, making sure we ticked it off our bucket list.

Marina Bay Sands Hotel
Swimming in the infinity pool at Marina Bay Sands. Ticked off Josie’s bucket list.

The sky-deck also produced some magnificent views of Singapore. Such views included the city skyline, the Singapore Flyer and the Gardens by the Bay.

Marina Bay Sands Hotel
The Singapore Flyer, from the sky-deck of the Marina Bay Sands

Food options at the Marina Bay Sands Hotel are exceptional. From multiple celebrity chef restaurants like Gordon Ramsay’s Bread Street Kitchen to your shopping centre food court. So no pressure, the choice is yours, depending on your budget.

Marina Bay Sands Hotel
Gordon Ramsay’s Bread Street Kitchen in The Shoppes complex

For the fitness conscious, the Banyan Tree Fitness Club is located on the 55th floor of tower two. They have a good variety of equipment to be used. So, if you want to burn off a few calories then head on up. If training isn’t your scene but you would like a spa treatment then the Banyan Tree Spa could be the place for you!

Overall the Marina Bay Sands is one of those hotels where you must stay, just to say you’ve stayed there. It is expensive, so depending on your travel budget it may not be an excellent choice. The facilities are world class and the infinity pool and spectacular views alone make it worth it. If you are into luxury and glamour then this is the hotel for you. If you are like us and want to tick it off your bucket list then book you stay today. Also, tell them Simon form Ourworldinreview sent you!

Additional Information for Marina Bay Sands Hotel

10 Bayfront Avenue, Singapore 018956
Ph: (65) 6688 8868
Website: www.marinabaysands.com

Book your stay at Marina Bay Sands Hotel now with Booking.com

Accommodation ranges from AUD $559.00 – AUD $6153.00 per night.

*Post Contains Affiliate links

Betel Box – Backpacking Accommodation in Singapore

Backpacking can be a relatively cheap way to travel the world. Over the years we have been able to travel though Malaysia, Vietnam, some parts of Europe and New Zealand with our children and our trusty backpacks. The main idea of doing this type of travelling was so that as a family of four, we could keep our expenses down and in doing so teaching our girls how to travel. Hopefully, these experiences would then help them in the future if they decided to venture out by themselves or with friends.

Singapore has been our stopover or transit city for a while now, and although we dearly love the country it will once again be a three-day stopover on our first leg to Europe. During our first stay in Singapore we found a cheap, friendly and clean backpacker in the Joo Chiat district called Betel Box Backpackers Hostel. We selected this hostel because it had some great reviews and had a family room which we could stay in.

View of street outside Betel Box
Looking down Joo Chiat Road towards the MRT station

It’s pretty easy to find so, hop onto Singapore’s easy and efficient Mass Rapid Transit (MRT). If you’re travelling from the airport you will need to change trains at Tanah Merah by crossing the platform to the green line train. Take the green line train to Paya Lebar, then type the address into google maps and you will see it’s about a 10-minute walk.  Take that quick walk down Joo Chiat road and look for the green door that leads into the Betel Box backpackers hostel.

Betel Box Singapore
The green door of the Betel Box Backpackers Hostel

Make your way up the stairs to the first level which encompasses the reception area, kitchen and recreation room. There is always a friendly face in this room. You never know who you may meet, and which country they are from. The communal kitchen is fitted with all the essentials; toasters, kettles, cutlery and coffee supplies. Help yourself once you’ve settled in and introduce yourself to some of the residents.

Betel Box Hostel
The front reception counter of Betel Box
Betel Box
The kitchen. Help yourself to coffee, bread, condiments and fresh fruit.
Betel Box Hostel
The gaming area. Play some pool, watch some television or surf the net.

The Betel Box Backpackers Hostel offers a range of different 1 star accommodations for its visitors. They have four shared room options from a 6, 8 or 20-person mixed gender rooms to an 8 female only shared room. We usually stay in their family room which can accommodate a family of four. To be honest the rooms aren’t fabulous, but they are comfortable and clean. No bed bugs here!

Betel Box Hostel
The family room is comfortable and clean, and can accommodate a family of five.

The bathrooms and toilets are all communally shared, so you may have to time your bathroom and shower usage around other residents. The bathrooms are fairly clean and are located on each floor. They are tiled with small signs of wear and tear, but they aren’t disgusting. There’s no clutter or rubbish, but if you were looking for a 5-star bathroom, you probably wouldn’t have chosen a backpacker anyway. Don’t worry there is a decent lock on the door to ensure privacy.

Betel Box Hostel
The second-floor bathroom next to the family room. It’s not fancy but relatively clean for a backpacker.

From our experience, we’ve found out that the Betel Box Backpackers Hostel looks after their visitors. A laundry service is available at a reasonable price and they also provide incredible food tours that given you an excellent feed and plenty of information about Singaporean life.

Real Singapore tours at Betel Box
The tours and equipment available to try. I recommend the food walks.

In conclusion, the 1-star Betel Box Backpackers is a friendly, clean and safe place to stay. For families trying to extend their holidays, i would happily recommend their family room. The air conditioner alone is a lifesaver on those muggy nights. It’s not noisy and children are welcomed and looked after. Definitely do a food walk, they are fantastic. They do last 4-5 hours, and our children found it tiring but worthwhile when we done it. Enjoy your stay at the Betel Box Backpackers Hostel and tell them Simon from Ourworldinreview sent you!

Additional Information for Betel Box Backpackers Hostel

200 Joo Chiat Road, Singapore 427471
Ph: (65) 6274 7340
Website: www.betelbox.com

Book your stay at Betel Box Backpackers now with Booking.com

Accommodation ranges from SGD$20.00 – $80.00 and includes:

  • Continental Breakfast selection of fruits, toasts, jams / spreads and tea / coffee
  • Professionally sanitized thick and firm mattresses
  • Hot and Cold Showers
  • Use of bed linen and blanket
  • Use of a security locker and lock
  • Free usage of our Internet Terminals
  • Free 24 Hours WiFi with our 100mbps cable internet connection
  • Discounted scheduled tours and attraction tickets
  • Free use of Fitness Centre Facilities
  • 50% discount for children age 12 & below
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Travelling to Wilpena Pound Resort

As we get closer to our international departure date, we are trying to fit as much in as we can in our remaining weeks in Australia. Therefore on this trip, we excitedly hop into the car and drive towards the Flinders Ranges. The Flinders Ranges holds a special place in our hearts as Josie’s parents owns a farm in the township of Wilmington. So with this in mind we decide to head to Wilpena Pound for a night book-ended by a couple of nights on the farm.

Snowtown's town sign
Every town has their own town sign to show who they are. This was Snowtown’s town sign.

Once again, time is on our side and we take advantage of it to get to our destination. We stop at various small towns along the way to stretch our legs, have a coffee, a toilet break or just to take a look around. We stop at the country towns of Port Wakefield, the unfortunately infamous Snowtown, Crystal Brook, Laura, Melrose and finally to Wilmington.

Flinders Ranges
Crystal Brooks feature rotunda in a well maintained park.

A catch up with family, a walk around the farm and some time with the dogs all goes past relatively quickly. Then it’s a few drinks, a BBQ, some light conversation and finally a comfortable bed. I know Josie’s got me back in a tent when we reach Wilpena Pound.

A working dogs life
Farm dogs Bob and Tim relaxing after a hard day’s work.

Early next morning we head off towards Wilpena Pound and after a night of discussing our travel plans we heed Josie’s father’s advice and head towards Parachilna Gorge, Blinman and then back around to Wilpena Pound.

Wilpena roadtrip
The road to Quorn

The first thing you notice when heading north towards the townships of Quorn and Hawker is that there is not much traffic. We drove along the straight highway without really seeing anyone except….cyclists. It was unusual seeing a group of around 20 cyclists riding along a highway in the middle of nowhere, but cyclists seem to be everywhere. Since we were the only car for miles we stopped to take some photos of the landscape and surroundings.

Sheep Jump to nowhere
Our young MacKenzie performing a sheep jump.
Handstand on the road
Those ten years of gymnastics has paid off!

It wasn’t too long before we started ticking off the kilometres. We travelled through Quorn, Hawker, and a closed Parachilna. The whole town was shut for the summer… too hot. Then we went through Parachilna gorge where we met some of the local wildlife. Once out of the gorge we immediately came across the small yet beautifully maintained township of Blinman.

Wilpena pound
A friendly kangaroo on the side of the road in Parachilna gorge
Emus crossing the dry river bed at Parachilna Gorge

Blinman has the honour of being near the end of a few walking trails. The Heysen Trail is a massive 1200km trek which ends at Parachilna Gorge and the 900km Mawson trail ends at the Blinman Township. We stopped here to have lunch, a coffee and to stretch our legs. I meet a lovely lady in the town’s cafe who told me the population of this incredible town was only 12 people. There was 14 but the owners of the towns pub shut the doors and left. I have noticed the trend of country pubs shutting down. I recommend visiting them if you are staying overnight in a township and showing your support for country pubs.

Blinman South Australia
Blinman also offers tours of their old mines.

After lunch we travel the remaining distance to Wilpena Pound. Surprisingly we once again come across the cyclists at the turn-off, this time with their support vehicles. As a bit of history, Wilpena Pound is a naturally formed amphitheatre approximately 430km’s from Adelaide’s city centre in Adnyamathanha Country. Wilpena Pound is a part of the Ikara-Flinders National Park and visitors can stay within the Wilpena Pound Resort as a base for their National Park Adventures. With various walking tracks and the Aboriginal culture on show, the Wilpena Pound Resort is a good place to learn and be at one with nature.

Wangara Lookout
The view from the Wangara Lookout hike

Wilpena Pound resort has a variety of accommodation options available for visitors. We stayed within the caravan park this time with non-powered and powered sites starting from AUD$25 and AUD$10 for additional people. The public facilities are quite clean and the water pressure is excellent. If you prefer not to camp then the resort has comfortable rooms starting from AUD$193 per night. Also, if you are looking for a little luxury, their Glamping (or glamorous camping) safari huts are available from AUD$320 per night. And to make your stay memorable the resort offers other activities for its visitors which can be booked through the visitors centre or online. Scenic Flights, 4WD tours, bush walks, mountain biking and Aboriginal Cultural Tours are some of the activities available to visitors.

Visitors Centre
Entrance to the Wilpena Pound Resort Visitors Centre

All camping and overnight visitors have access to the resorts pool, bar and restaurant. If you forgot something, supplies can be purchased from the resort store. In addition, if your vehicle is low on fuel, don’t worry because the resort also has on-site petrol bowsers.

Wilpena Pound Resort is a perfect base for any stay in the Ikara-Flinders National Park. If you are going to be doing some of the longer hiking trails like the St Mary’s Peak hike. Make sure you are wearing proper enclosed shoes; take plenty of water and food. Log your time of departure in the book provided or at the visitor centre. You know, just in case! Safety First! So enjoy yourself, breathe in the fresh air and tell them Simon from Ourworldinreview sent you!

Additional Information Wilpena Pound Resort

Resort Reservations: 1800 805 802
Email: reservations@wilpenapound.com.au
Resort Reception: 08 8648 0004
Campground Bookings: 08 8648 0048
Website: www.wilpenapound.com.au













Making our way to the Marion Bay Tavern – South Australia

South Australia has a lot of things for visitors or tourists to do. The problem is most of it is a couple of hundred kilometres away. Sure the city of Adelaide has plenty to do around this time of year as the festival season is upon us and the city comes alive. Yet, South Australia offers much, much more. With a few days to spare we pack some gear into the trusty car and just decide to drive and see where the road takes us. We drive out of the city and make our way onto the Yorke Peninsula and head right down to the foot of the peninsula to Marion Bay. Once there we try out the Marion Bay Tavern.

Welcome to Marion Bay
Hello from Marion Bay

Marion Bay is a popular stopover for fisherman and surfers. This is due to some of the beaches providing great surfing conditions and long jetties stretching out into the Great Australian Bight.

The Marion Bay Jetty
The Marion Bay Jetty

As South Australian’s we have been to the Yorke Peninsula before, usually just rushing to the place we need to go. But this time we know, time isn’t an issue and take our time visiting some of the small towns along the way.

Ardrossan's coastline
The small town of Ardrossan’s coastline

We have a quick lunch at a local tuck shop in Ardrossan, and stop for coffee and hot donuts in Port Vincent before arriving at our final destination of Marion Bay.

Port Vincent foreshore
Having coffee and donuts at Port Vincent

As we haven’t booked anywhere to stay we locate the Marion Bay Caravan Park and pay for a non powered site for AUD$25. Now I must admit I’m not the best camper around, preferring 5-star camping in big fancy hotels. My wife is the camper in our family, so in the name of being a good sport we quickly erect our two man tent before heading into the town for a meal.

Marion Bay
I’m not a good camper, but I was able to erect the tent successfully.

The Marion Bay caravan park is a large spacious family park with playground equipment and an impressive kangaroo jumper (jumping pillow) for the children.

Marion Bay’s caravan park has a range of accommodation options with powered and non powered camping sites available. Don’t worry if you haven’t got a tent or caravan, because the park also has a variety of cabins available.

After my impressive display of erecting the tent (see above) and subsequent victory lap, we took a walk around the township to watch the sunset, take a stroll along the foreshore and find a place to have dinner.

Marion Bay Tavern
Welcome to the Marion Bay Tavern.

Making our way past the popular fishing jetty we find the Marion Bay Tavern and head in for a meal. Uniquely, it has a pizza shop at the front for takeaway pizzas with a more casual dining area and front bar if you prefer to dine in.

Marion Bay Tavern dining area
Casual dining area with friendly staff and locals

The tavern has a good sized menu with a variety of dishes available from their popular pizzas to your more traditional pub fare. The wine menu was also impressive with an excellent selection of South Australian and New Zealand wines.

We decided to have a serving of their crusty bread with olive oil, balsamic vinegar and Marion Bay’s local dukkah. The warm crusty bread was fresh and the Marion Bay dukkah was spicy and full of flavour. Unfortunately we ran out of bread and olive oil both before the dukkah was finished.

Marion Bay Dukkah
Beautiful warm crusty bread with Marion Bay Dukkah

Since we were in a fishing town we once again opted for a Seafood Basket. I mean unless you are allergic to shellfish, how can you resist fresh local seafood. The seafood was nicely cooked, but the scallops were tiny.

Seafood Basket Picture
Marion Bay Tavern’s Seafood Basket, unfortunately the scallops were tiny.

Finally our last food selection was a roasted field mushroom stuffed with baby spinach, caramelised onion and sweet potato. This was served with a dressed rocket and citrus salad. The dish was a perfectly constructed success, full of flavour and wonderfully cooked.

Marion Bay Tavern food picture
Roasted Field Mushrooms stuffed with spinach, served with a rocket and citrus salad.

For a country pub, the Marion Bay Tavern is a great place to have a meal. The friendly staff and local atmosphere is inviting, I could see myself spending the evening there and watching a band and getting to know the locals better.

Marion Bay Beach
Marion Bay Beach

Once dinner was over we took a leisurely stroll along the foreshore to the bluff (Penguin Point) to catch the spectacular sunset.

Sunset photo
A spectacular sunset from the bluff lookout at Marion Bay (click the photo for the full effect).

After watching the sun fade away, we headed back to the caravan park to settle in for an early night, ready for our early morning trip into the Innes National Park. Visit Josie Wanders for our experience in Innes National Park.

Additional Information Marion Bay Caravan Park

17 Willyama Drive, Marion Bay SA 5575
Ph: (08) 8854 4094
Website: www.marionbaycp.com.au

For other accommodation options on the Yorke Peninsula click here.

Additional Information Marion Bay Tavern

5 Stenhouse Bay Road, Marion Bay SA 5575
Ph: (08) 8854 4141
Website: www.marionbaytavern.com.au

Main Meal Price Range AUD$18.00 – $36.00

Marion Bay Tavern rating: 1-10 (1=very poor, 10 = excellent)

Decor =8
Atmosphere =8
Service =8
Price =8
Food =8

Overall = 8

 *Post contains affiliated links












Heading out for a night at the Hilton Adelaide Hotel

I know I might be biased but the city of Adelaide and the surrounding wine areas are a fantastic place to visit and live. This has been endorsed by travel reporting mega giants the Lonely Planet with Adelaide and South Australia being ranked number 5 in the best regions to visit in the world (woo hoo, home town pride).  This fabulous endorsement means additional visitors to Adelaide and with many good hotels in Adelaide, where should you stay? Our team headed into town to see what the Hilton Adelaide Hotel has to offer.

Hilton Adelaide Hotel
Hilton Adelaide Hotel

When you know where you’re going and are considering booking a hotel, what are the things you look for? Do the hotels need to offer other facilities like, gyms, swimming pools, restaurants, health spas, business centres or bars? Or are you just looking for a clean room to sleep in free of those pesky bed bugs? Are you a hotel shopper, looking for the best price, or are you loyal to a particular hotel brand?

Hotel loyalty may be new to many of you, but like airlines, hotels offer their customers the option of joining their loyalty programs. If you tend to spend a lot of time in hotels, then remaining loyal and amassing your stays or nights within a certain hotel chain is the way to go. The Hilton Adelaide Hotel is such a hotel that offers its customers earned benefits when staying at any Hilton branded hotel. Their Hilton Honors program allows qualified customers chances for room upgrades, complimentary breakfasts, and access to their executive lounges to name a few.

Hilton Hotel Adelaide
Victoria Square Water Fountain

As recent Hilton Honors Gold members, we thought we’d experience the benefits for ourselves. We decided to book a King Hilton Guest Room and made our way into the city. The Hilton Adelaide Hotel overlooks Victoria Square in the heart of the city.

Adelaide Hilton Hotel
Reception Desk – Welcome to the Hilton Hotel Adelaide

Upon entry into the hotel the reception desk is located to the left and the Collins Bars is down a short corridor on the right. On check in the hotel staff were very friendly and we were immediately upgraded to a King Hilton Executive room.

King Executive Room at the Hilton Hotel Adelaide
King Executive Room

We were soon in the elevator and making our way up to our room. The King Hilton Executive Room are quite spacious with plenty of room to swing a cat (no animals were harmed during the review of this hotel). There are complimentary magazines and water available in the room and the Wi-Fi is easy to access and free. The King sized bed is very comfortable with your choice of pillows, based on your preferences.

Adelaide Hilton Hotel
The usual hotel room amenities

Rooms offer the usual features like a television with local and paid channels. There is also a selection of in-house movies available. Coffee and tea is also provided and the extremely old bar fridge is fully stocked. The room also has a safe for the security conscious, an iron and ironing board, and a hair-dryer for the large bathroom.

Adelaide Hilton Hotel
This would be the oldest fridge I’ve seen. Carbon footprint! What carbon footprint!

The bathroom is large and contains a bath tub and a separate shower cubicle. Bathroom amenities and towels are refreshed with the room serviced daily.

Hilton Hotel Adelaide
Nice large clean bathroom with separate bathtub

By booking the King Hilton Executive room or having enough hotel status provides access to the executive lounge on the sixteenth floor. The comfortable lounge is a good place to relax, catch up on some reviews on your laptop or at the desktop computers provided. You can help yourself to the complimentary drinks or snacks like these beautiful macaroons.

Hilton Adelaide Hotel
Executive Lounge located on the 16th floor
Hilton Hotel Adelaide
These Macaroons were sensational.

The Hilton Adelaide Hotel offers many other facilities for their customers. Their small Swimming Pool is located on the first floor balcony. Amazingly, this balcony area is a little stark, one end of the balcony has the pool and the other half is just a large empty space.  This large area could be utilised a lot better to give the hotel added value, something like a balcony bar or outdoor dining area.

Hilton Hotel Adelaide
The hotel swimming pool, a bit cold and rainy today for a dip.

The Gym is also located on the first floor which looks out across the pool. This fully equipped gym with an attached spa and sauna area is immaculate, well presented and everything you want from a gym.

Hilton Adelaide Hotel
Fully equipped gym overlooking the swimming pool.

If you don’t want a full gym workout then the hotel also has a tennis court and small running track.

Hilton Adelaide Hotel
Tennis court and small running track.

If you are getting hungry or thirsty then head to the ground floor and get comfortable in the popular Collins Bar, or feast at Coal Cellar + Grill the Hilton’s on site restaurant. Breakfast, lunch and dinner is served at Coal daily. We decided for breakfast at Coal and with an enormous selection of food options, you will not go hungry eating here.

Hilton Adelaide Hotel
The Breakfast Bar in Coal Cellar + Grill
Hilton Adelaide hotel
Lounge bar area next to Coal

Overall the Hilton Adelaide Hotel provides good service to its customers, with comfortable well maintained rooms. Some of the furnishings and facilities like the tennis court and pool area are out-dated but the hotel is working to rectify this. The hotel has an excellent restaurant in Coal Cellar + Grill and the popular Collins Bar is always good for a relaxing nightcap.

The Hilton Adelaide Hilton experience was definitely worth it, and they have rooms available from the standard guest room to executive room and suites. So book a stay today and tell them Simon from Ourworldinreview sent you!

Additional information

233 Victoria Square, Adelaide SA 5000
Ph: +61-8-8217-2000
Website: www.3.hilton.com

Rooms available from approximately AUD$150 – AUD$400 per night

Restaurant bookings and menu for Coal Cellar + Grill

Book your stay today at the Hilton Adelaide Hotel

Join Hilton Honors Loyalty Program

Hilton Adelaide Hotel Rating: 1-10 (1=very poor, 10 = excellent)

Service = 9
Cleanliness = 9
Price = 8
Facilities =8

Overall = 8.5

*This post contains affiliate links