Tuesday, September 30, 2014

The beautiful Barai spa pool suites in Hua Hin, Thailand are the perfect honeymoon suites

Lunch by the beach today in Thailand

In Thailand, living a never-ending Travelife, I discovered a seriously impressive place to stay if you're a spa-holic like me.

Not only are these suites good for spa junkies, they are also simply wonderful for couples. These suites are the perfect honeymoon suites with lots of privacy and exclusivity.

WORD OF MOUTH



I'd heard about it from some friends, so just before checking into my usual detox place,

I made time to stay here, just to see whether it was really as wonderful as they said.

I stay in pretty nice suites all the time, and I have to say that these very private and exclusive suites are really well-laid out, well-thought out, and aesthetically beautiful in a contemporary Thai way.

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ALL ABOUT THE BARAI SUITES

The suites are called the Barai Suites & Villas, located on the Hyatt Regency Hua Hin property but entirely separate from it.

Barai suite guests have their own property, as well as their own check-in reception, private butlers, and facilities for everything from yoga sessions to beachfront dining.

The outdoor yoga setting for guests
of the Barai suites

It's an entirely different hotel, basically, albeit with shared security and management.

THE PERFECT PRIVATE EXPERIENCE

There are only a handful of suites so everything is very private and intimate.

I never even bothered to lock my door or to sign a bill because the Barai staff all knew me from the moment of check-in.

A very nice welcome to the Barai suites

These suites are perfect for a honeymoon, as I've already mentioned.

I bumped into Sammy Carolus, the Hyatt Regency Hua Hin general manager as he was making his rounds, and we were having a nice lunch by the beach.

I couldn't stop waxing rhapsodic about the suite. 




EVERYTHING FOR A SPA
IN A SUITE

It has its own outdoor pool, of course, which is pretty standard for luxury suites these days.

But it also has a massive marble bath right in the bedroom with two wonderful lounging beds on each side, a really comfortable California king bed, two dressing rooms so you don't have to share, and an excellent private steam room.

The private spa facilities of the suite were adjacent to the bedroom but could be completely cut off from it. This area alone at the back of the bedroom is pretty massive, reminding me of an airport lounge - but way nicer, of course.

We also had a nice enclosed terrace with a day bed, in case you wanted to surf the Net or read the latest issue of Travelife Magazine on the daybed with a greenery view.



DESIGNED BY A NATIONAL ARTIST

"I could live here," I told Sammy Carolus, the Hyatt Regency Hua Hin general manager. "The Barai suites are designed so well."

Well, apparently, a Thai national artist designed the suites -- thus, the impeccable taste and the harmonious flow of everything.

No wonder.

ONE OF THE MOST IMPRESSIVE SPAS
I'VE SEEN RECENTLY



Don't get me started tonight on the Barai spa, though.

Again, I go to spas all over the world so I've seen the best. 


The entrance to the Barai spa


Wow.

This is one jaw-dropping spa with touches of Mexico's Luis Barragan, and influences from India, Morocco and the Middle East.

I've never seen a spa like this. And this will have to wait for another blog entry in my never-ending, and never-endingly eventful Travelife.




The winners of tickets to the Neverland party this weekend

Congratulations to the following readers of Travelife Magazine. They have just won tickets to the Neverland party happening this weekend.

Please contact Travelife Magazine at the details below to claim your ticket.

THE WINNERS



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Please contact the following to claim your tickets:

Raina Maala or Meg Caligner
TRAVELIFE Magazine
Tel 8138400/ 8922620

Monday, September 29, 2014

From Manila to Bangkok and the coast of Thailand, to a beautiful spapool suite right by the beach



Good morning from a lovely paradise in Thailand, living a never-ending Travelife.

From Bangkok's Suvarnabhumi Airport last night, I took a pre-arranged car especially ordered with WiFi so I could work all the way to my destination, as it's a three-hour drive from Bangkok when I'm lucky.


THE BALANCING ACT

I'm usually good with working on computers in cars and planes.

In fact, lots of people can't believe how I can type out stuff on my computer while flying, riding on bumpy roads and even while walking across Kuala Lumpur airport terminal with a trolley bag and a knapsack.

Yes, I was typing out an email as I walked through Kuala Lumpur airport by balancing my laptop on my trolley handle.

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TOO MUCH WORK?
OR TOO MANY HOLIDAYS?

But last night, I started to feel dizzy after about 90 minutes on my computer in the car.

Maybe it was a combination of fatigue, the stress of the past very busy days, and a pretty bumpy flight down from the skies when landing in Bangkok last night.





NO TRAFFIC ON THE ROAD

The good part is that it took shorter than usual to get here.

I've taken this road many times before and it's always been a three- or four-hour drive in the daytime, with so many other cars on the road.


But last night, we had the road to ourselves, and I was pulling up to my destination just in time to make it to a late dinner by the beach.

DINNER BY THE BEACH

We had Thai salads and some light curries as I thought I'd jumpstart my detox, which officially starts today.

It was really good that the menu was divided into themes and clearly listed the calories for each dish.


WHAT A BEAUTIFUL SPA SUITE
FOR A SPA PERSON

As for the suite. Oh my goodness. I could live in this palatial suite very happily, especially as it's by the beach and right next to an amazing spa.

All my dizziness disappeared when the private butler opened the gate to my spa pool suite and showed me the private steam room and the massive marble bath right in the bedroom.

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The corridor from the bedroom to the private bath facilities alone reminds me of an airport terminal walkway.

And the bathtub is so big a family could sleep in it. And the butler was thoughtful enough to draw a wonderful milk bath before arrival.

It was just what I needed, after a very long day, traveling from Manila to the coast of Thailand, living a never-endingly wonderful Travelife.




An overheard conversation about a first class upgrade from Manila to Bangkok, at Suvarnabhumi Airport




Good evening from a car leaving Bangkok airport for the coast of Thailand, after a pretty bumpy flight from Manila.

And thank goodness for a car with WiFi all the way to my spa destination.

In a previous blog, I'd already recounted a pretty funny conversation I'd overheard between a girl and her significant other, in the airline lounge in Manila today, while waiting for my flight.

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DRESSED TO IMPRESS

Well, just 30 minutes ago, I was waiting for my luggage to go down the carousel at Bangkok's Suvarnabhumi Airport.

I was in Row #1 of the plane so I was the first one out, and I'd positioned myself right by carousel chute as I was really eager to get to my hotel in time to meet up with someone for dinner.

A few minutes later, this very casually dressed guy stands next to me, also waiting for his luggage. I was on my iPad posting photos on Instagram and answering emails, while he whipped out his mobile and called some girl.

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A ROUGH FLIGHT
AND AN UPGRADE TO FIRST CLASS

"It was a pretty rough flight," he'd said to this girl on his phone, after exchanging some pleasantries with her -- all within my hearing range, as he was standing next to me as he talked.

And indeed, it was a rough flight, even for me in my never-ending Travelife. The plane was gyrating madly and someone in the same row was literally cursing the weather and gritting his teeth.

This guy seated across me in the plane even almost shouted: "Are we really all right?"

Fortunately, I was in the middle of thinking about something pretty serious, so the bumpy way down to earth didn't bother me much.

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HOW TO IMPRESS A GIRL

Then the guy standing next to me at Bangkok airport continued, to the girl on his phone: "Fortunately, they bumped me up to First Class since I fly them so much..."

This remark made me stand up straighter than usual.

First Class? We were on the same flight and row # 1 was definitely business class only, so he was obviously trying to impress some girl who didn't know her airplanes.

There's no first class on any airline between Bangkok and Manila, as far as I know.


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This is what I'm listening to
in the car right now

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THE SEAT GRABBER

In fact, I noticed him in Row #3 from the outset because he had actually taken my seat in Row #3.

When I saw him, seated in my assigned seat and with all his things spread out on the seat next to him as if he'd bought both seats for himself, sitting there with a self-satisfied smirk on his face, I'd simply sat in an empty seat next to someone else in row #1.



I'd checked in late for my flight as usual, you see, and this time I'd just purchased a business class ticket without making a seat reservation because I'd been too busy to think about this detail.

And my staff had their hands full with other things as well.

Usually, they know which seats to reserve for me way in advance, but this time, we all forgot and I was at the airport with a business class ticket but without an assigned seat.



This Thai spa trip is the last in a never-ending series of back-to-back trips, you see, so someone had overlooked this detail.

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LAST MINUTE UPGRADE

At the airport, I'd requested row #3 because the check-in staff had told me that I would have an empty seat next to me.

The check-in staff had told me: "The seat next to you is empty unless someone comes in at the last minute and buys an upgrade to business from economy for US$150 one-way".

And when I entered the plane, there was this very guy seated in my assigned seat, and his bag was sprawled all over the other seat.

THE WHITE LIE



And now here we were at Bangkok airport, and he was telling some girl on his mobile that he'd been upgraded to First Class as an airline VIP.

The girl on the other end of the line must've been pretty impressed.

As for me, my luggage was the first one out and I left as quickly as possible, to catch my car and driver, and head out for another adventure in my never-ending Travelife. 

I've certainly had enough of overheard conversations today....



Sunday, September 28, 2014

Racy talk in a business class lounge while waiting for my flight for a spa holiday




So here I am in another airport lounge somewhere in Asia, living a Travelife, and completely focused on answering emails and trying to choose about ten different spa treatments.

I'm headed for one of my favourite destinations in the world, for a little "me" break. Or call it an advanced birthday gift to myself, perhaps.

Either way, I was too busy to look forward to this "mini break" until last night, but by this morning I was positively psyched. Especially when the spa sent me their updated menu.

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SERIOUS BUSINESS

It's serious business to choose spa treatments from a list as long -- or even longer -- as the wine list of a fancy restaurant with a serious wine cellar in Paris.

And since I want to maximise my stay and match the available times to the treatments on my shortlist, I really needed to focus.



RISKY BUSINESS VS. SERIOUS BUSINESS

Then there was this girl seated next to me about 15 minutes ago, in jeans and a rather revealing top, with her bare feet up on the chair.

That alone is not enough to hold my attention, of course, save for the fact that her bare feet where dangling from the chair in a venue where everyone else was seated primly looking at a laptop or a phone.  

But then she started speaking to some guy on her mobile phone.

That's not too bad, but then she put her mobile into speaker phone mode so everyone else was privy to their conversation, and she began talking in a baby voice too loud for me not to hear.

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"DO YOU MISS ME?"
AND WHY DOES THAT REMIND ME OF SOMEONE?

"Are you missing me already?" She asked him.

That alone, at the outset, kind of reminded me of someone I know, who perpetually likes to ask this type of question. But that's beside the point.

"Of course I am, honey cakes," he said. I don't know if he realised he was on speaker phone.

"Are you going to sleep now?" She asked him next, making me think "he" must be in a different time zone.

"Yup," he replied. "Dropping off soon."



Then she asked: "Want me to sing to you?"

And without waiting for a reply, she sang just one phrase of a song I thought I knew, but I can't seem to place: "Everything's going to be all right..."

OFF TO DREAMLAND

No response from the guy. Maybe he was busy on Facebook, for all she knew.

"Are you going to dream of me?" She then asked.

By this time, I almost dropped my iPhone and my Blackberry, as I was trying to post something on Instagram with my iPhone and answer an email on my Blackberry at the same time, while the spa menu was on my laptop in a PDF file.



This is a public lounge after all, although all around us seem to be men in suits who don't seem to be paying attention to conversations in English.

Anyway, this girl seemed very pleased with this response, and she said: "Don't dream of me too much. You know what happens when you do that..."

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Oh my goodness. I almost spoke up after that, but I decided to move seats instead and leave her alone to coo on her phone.

I needed to finish my spa treatment orders before I boarded my flight as I'm positively anal about getting everything I want on a spa holiday at this particular place.

THE VERDICT ON RACY CONVERSATION
ON SPEAKER PHONE IN THE LOUNGE

Is this sensible conversation in a business class lounge?

Or am I just being sour grapes because I'm not talking to anyone in that way on a speaker phone before my flight?

Sigh. Just another day in my never-ending, and never-endingly eventful Travelife. 







Win tickets to the Neverland party on October 3 via Instagram and Facebook



Share your own Travelife online with us and win tickets to the Neverland party on October 3.

Neverland is the biggest EDM gathering in Manila, bringing the biggest DJ names in one event. Participants include Afrojack, Axwell Ingrosso, Knife Party, Ferry Corsten, Bassjackers, Shermanology, Apster B2B D-Wayne, and StadiumX.



It will be a twelve-hour non-stop party for dream chasers, and one spectacular night you certainly won't forget. 

Travelife Magazine is a proud media partner for this event.

HOW TO WIN A FREE TICKET

1)  LIKE our Facebook page & Instagram (@travelifemagazine) to join the contest. 



2) Take a photo of yourself with a current copy of the August-September 2014 issue of Travelife Magazine. 




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4) Deadline of entries will be on October 1 at 8PM. 

5) Ticket winners will be announced on our Facebook Page

6) Winners SHOULD claim their tickets by 6 PM on October 2 at the Travelife Magazine office.

For more information, contact

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travelife@travelife.biz


Don't miss Hong Kong's PMQ Market on October 17 and 18


Foodies, art lovers and creatives shouldn't miss the PMQ Night Market in Hong Kong this October 17 and 18.

The PMQ Night Market will bring together Hong Kong's creative food vendors, designers, musicians, artists & craftspeople for a series of weekend evenings at a heritage building called PMQ at 35 Aberdeen Street, Central.

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LOVELY CAKES AT PMQ MARKET

Bonnae Gokson of Ms B's Cakery is an enthusiastic supporter and participant in the upcoming PMQ Night Market.

She said: “The gathering of ‘small is beautiful’ traders is proving increasingly popular and we are delighted to become part of it.”



BONNAE GOKSON'S SIGNATURE CREATIONS

Ms B’s CAKERY is showcasing a range of signature creations from its Gough Street cakeshop – including taster-size versions of its ten most popular cakes.

 Also presented are sweet cups, including sugar-free versions, and sugar-free cookies – both forgoing regular sugar for a healthy sugar substitute from Germany made from natural beets with low glycemic and insulin levels, especially recommended for weight-watchers and diabetics.



Ms B’s irresistible treats extend to handmade chocolate sweets, from raspberry jelly bon bons and dark or chilli chocolate coffee beans to white chocolate cranberry coffee beans and milk / dark chocolate hearts and ‘pizzas’ with jelly gummies.


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Ms B’s booth will be decorated in Bonnae Gokson's charming trademark style “with love and care”. 

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ABOUT THE PMQ NIGHT MARKET

The next PMQ Night Market is organised by the Hong Kong Markets Organisation, an independent social enterprise “committed to promoting the best of Hong Kong” – from fresh produce grown by organic farmers and handcrafts made by local artisans to best local brands and bands.

“We seek to educate and inspire with quality products, and allow people to rediscover the joy in market-going,” says the HKMO.



Bonnae Gokson also said: “I love visiting Borough Market in London and we can't wait to join PMQ Night Market for this fun project. I hope HK could have just a bustling energy like it!”

Bonnae Gokson was recently crowned ‘Asia’s Queen of Confectionery’ by America’s wedding planner to the stars, Colin Cowie.

35 Aberdeen Street, Central, Hong Kong 
Opening hours: 
Friday 17th October 18:00 - 23:00 
Saturday 18th October 17:00 - 23:00