Monday, May 29, 2017

UEFA Champions League Finals

Travelife Magazine is a proud partner of this exciting sports event this Saturday, in cooperation with the Italian Chamber of Commerce (ICCPI) and La Camara, the Spanish Chamber of Commerce.

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Avani Hotels opens the Avenida Liberdade Lisbon Hotel in Portugal

The Avani Avenida Liberdade hotel in Lisbon

The newly launched Avani Avenida Liberdade Lisbon Hotel offers travellers a stylish and reasonably-priced  hotel along Lisbon’s most fashionable street, the Avenida da Liberdade.

The Avenida da Liberdade is the best address in Lisbon and the newly-launched Avani Avenida Liberdade Lisbon Hotel has a perfect location just off fashion-forward Avenida da Liberdade, which attracts an eclectic crowd to its tree-lined esplanades with big-name designer labels and continental sidewalk cafes.


The Avani Avenida Liberdade hotel in Lisbon

The hotel, formerly the Tivoli Jardim Hotel, has undergone an extensive 1.5 million Euro refurbishment. The upgrade includes the redesign of the façade, the guest rooms, lobby, reception, the installation of an AVANIFIT gym and the relaunch of well-known Olivier Restaurant.

The open plan and retro spirit of the lobby merges chill, social and work areas, offering a stylish communal space in which to relax. The 119 AVANI standard, premier, deluxe and family rooms are comfortable and contemporary and the style is inspired by the Avani brand`s nod to a restful sleep.

Each room is decorated in a fresh and simplistic style. Subtle shades of plum, black and white lend the rooms a serene air and modern amenities include a Nespresso coffee-maker, satellite TV, well-stocked mini-bar and high-speed WiFi. All AVANI Premier, Deluxe and Family Rooms have balconies and AVANI Standard rooms have garden views.


The Avani Avenida Liberdade hotel in Lisbon

The Avani hotel brand appeals to modern independent travellers who seek out new and modern experiences, meet locals and taste authentic flavours. AVANI Avenida Liberdade’s advantageous location provides guests with a comfortable and well-priced base from which to explore Lisbon’s modern design and contemporary eateries.

Nearby is Príncipe Real, a charming leafy neighbourhood, known for its architecture, antique shops and galleries. Discover authentic craftsmanship, art galleries, antique shops and shopping galleries before heading west for the pastelerías and literary cafés of Chiado.

Lisbon is now also a design capital of Europe. The city is experiencing an urban renewal as neighbourhoods are reclaimed and reimagined. The dockside LX Factory in Alcántara, the Village Underground on the river (which is a creative co-op constructed out of shipping containers), Fábrica Braco de Parata, an arts centre in an old munitions factory and the new Museum of Art, Architecture and Technology in Belém all herald a new wave of design innovation in Lisbon.

Saturday, May 13, 2017

Godspell, the musical, in Manila

Godspell, the musical, in Manila

Last night, I went to watch the musical production of Godspell at the Carlos P. Romulo auditorium of the RCBC Yuchengco Building in Manila

Travelife Magazine, the leading travel & lifestyle publication, is a proud event partner of this wonderful production which has been adapted from the original to give it a more contemporary vibe.

The acting in this version of Godspell is superb and the singing left the audience speechless.

Furthermore, what might have been a sentimental production with a religious overtone is instead made into a throughly enjoyable musical with a very 21st century feel and a universal theme applicable to any religion.

More people should watch Godspell in Manila

It's a beautiful production. And if you happen to be seated in the front rows, you may even find yourself onstage suddenly as part of the cast, as this musical is very big on improvisation and audience participation.

Friday, May 12, 2017

Business class onboard Turkish Airlines


Good morning from 30,000 feet in the air, onboard Turkish Airlines to Istanbul for a lovely long weekend -- literally 4 days of fun and then it's back to Asia. :) 

Since I practically live in hotels and airplanes, thought I'd share with you my simple litmus test for quality. The best hotels in the world offer real cotton pads in their bathrooms (not the cheap cotton balls) regardless of where they are in the world because they know cotton balls are just so much harder to use with skincare products.


And the best airlines in the world have free WiFi onboard, plants in the bathroom, proper tea cups, and Travelife Magazine in their inflight libraries for business class. Quite surreal but nice to be offered your own magazine onboard -- and to hear other passengers around you asking for it. 

Anyhow, here's the lowdown on my recent experience riding business class on Turkish Airlines to Istanbul and back to Asia. I take this route fairly frequently, and this particular time, I observed a significant improvement in the overall Turkish Airlines business class experience

This airline was already good before, but it has become significantly better.


1) The service onboard Turkish Airlines by the stewardesses and stewards was excellent. Everyone was kind and polite, and I was approached multiple times for refills of tea and drinks.

2) The food is very good, especially onboard flights flying out of Istanbul. On the return flight to Asia from Turkey, the lamb dish with eggplant was among the best dishes I've had on an airplane.

3) The flatbeds are among the widest and most comfortable, especially as a proper bedpan and duvet, along with a new pillow, are provided. The legroom is huge even on the 777 aircrafts.

4) The business class lavatories were always clean. Currently, they have real plants as decor and Molton Brown toiletries.

5) Free WiFi onboard for business class is just great. They also provide wonderful Denon headphones for inflight entertainment and, on the last flight, a black Furla inflight kit

Interestingly, they request these expensive headphones back from passengers about 20 minutes before landing. But for those who wish to continue watching a movie or television show right up to landing, they provide a very good alternate set of headphones. None of these cheap stuff onboard Turkish Airlines. 

Cicek Pasaji and the Pera District of Istanbul

Cicek Pasaji in Istanbul

The Cicek Pasaji in Istanbul is very touristy but I love going here anyway whenever possible and then having tea at the Pera Palas. 

Then I go on a long walk through the Pera district towards the Istanbul Modern, down a hill that ends at my favorite Iznik tile store at the bottom of the university designed by the great architect of the Ottoman Empire, Mimar Sinan


I walked the twisted lanes of old Istanbul, lined with beautiful old buildings, antique shops and art galleries with confidence and experience, happy over how the forces of the Universe truly conspired to make this long weekend in Istanbul -- four wonderful days and back again to Asia -- happen. 

Everything from the weather to the wines has so far been perfect. I haven't even gotten jetlag. #lucky


Yesterday, I gave my friend the best personalized tour of a local's Istanbul. Amazed, my friend asked: "How many times have you been to Istanbul?" 

I turned and said "Probably 25. And each time I go, I revisit my favorites of the old and find more new discoveries." 


And, oh yes, I also buy a luggage fulll of artisan-quality Iznik tiles for my home, so that my beloved Istanbul is always with me. ;) On this trip, I bought four works of art to remind me of those four wonderful days -- and I plan to hang them in my bedroom this weekend,

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Shopping for food in Istanbul. And about the best room service breakfast.

Business Class breakfast on Turkish Airlines

Good afternoon from onboard Turkish Airlines in real-time, flying 30,000 feet in the air somewhere over Pakistan, on my way home from a wonderful #Travelife sort of long weekend in Istanbul.

Driving to Ataturk Airport in Turkey in the Park Hyatt Istanbul limousine

The flight was past midnight so we checked out of the Park Hyatt Istanbul - Maçka Palas, Istanbul's most private luxury hotel, at 1030 PM, conveniently avoiding rush hour traffic in Istanbul so that our hotel car was driving up the Ataturk Airport ramp in just 30 minutes.

The Park Hyatt Istanbul

This was a simple R&R weekend, just for a change of scenery from Asia. I admit it's a pretty long way to go for this, but I am so glad we did it. 

Everyday we simply did what we wished to do, and usually this meant breakfast at noon, a few hours of sightseeing in Istanbul, in just one chosen neighborhood, and then back to the hotel for a good dinner there or in one of the great restaurants around Nisantasi, the most fashionable area for locals.

Baklava for dessert via room service
at the Park Hyatt Istanbul

We did lots of room service at the Park Hyatt Istanbul for lunch and dinner, just because they have a great Angus rib-eye, very fresh seabass straight from the market, and an excellent assortment of baklava


But we also ate at a casual but very well regarded restaurant called Basekosi in Nisantasi twice. 

This has always been a great favorite of mine and it has the best kebabs in Istanbul, being the sister restaurant of the Kosebasi chain, where I once took over 70 Travelife Magazine readers and friends for a kebab dinner I'm sure they still remember. :)


Breakfast via room service at the Park Hyatt Istanbul

Yesterday, our last day in Istanbul, was spent pretty much the same way. Breakfast at noon -- IMHO the Park Hyatt Istanbul has the best room service breakfast in Istanbul so we always ordered the same breakfast everyday and room service already had our orders on file -- and then a short walk around Nisantasi. 

Breakfast consisted of eggs royale, plates of fresh fruit and plates of fresh vegetables, plus a wonderful bakery basket, yoghurt, olives, honey and clotted cream. Plus my daily round of raw juices. Nothing unusual as far as luxury hotels are concerned, but this room service at the Park Hyatt Istanbul was absolutely delicious.

Then we walked across the hotel for the famous minced lamb kebabs of Basekosi, just 1 minute from the Park Hyatt, for dinner.

It was a beautiful day at 21 degrees. 

I took this selfie sitting on the steps of a 12th century mosque in Nisantasi while my companion went inside for a look as it was prayer time. This is a wash & wear hairstyle, by the way, straight from the hammam in my Park Hyatt Istanbul spa suite, simply because I forgot to bring my hairbrush to Istanbul. :)


And then we went to the food hall to stock up on white asparagus, leafy herbs and greens, pistachio and the sweetest blackberries I've ever tasted -- all to bring back home and keep the feeling of this wonderful long weekend in Istanbul a little longer with me, living a #Travelife. :)