Thursday, September 28, 2017

Hokkaido, Scandinavia, New South Wales and Istanbul in Travelife Magazine

The Travelife Magazine team in Hokkaido


It is with great pleasure that we present this special Travelife Magazine issue on Japan with a focus on Hokkaido, a destination everyone in the Travelife Magazine team has grown to love over the years – and with good reason.

We’ve seen for ourselves the beauty of Hokkaido in every season and experienced its amazing nature and bounties; this issue is a testament to our firm conviction about the rightful place of Hokkaido at the top of anyone’s travel bucket list.


For this special cover feature on Sapporo City, the Travelife Magazine team all enjoyed putting this feature together, and reminiscing over Hokkaido in the office invariably led to memories of that freezing day our model Ayana Haren posed in front of the Shiroi Koibito chocolate factory in a tank dress like a real trooper.

At Moliere restaurant in Hokkaido, Japan

We also remembered the delicious lunch we had afterwards at Moliere, one of a handful of three-star Michelin restaurants in Hokkaido.


The rest of our Travelife team contributed their own Japan stories, including Finance Officer Maricel Diosana who flew to Tokyo to ride the Odakyu Romance Car to Hakone, and then to take a series of trains, trams and buses around Kanagawa Prefecture after that.


We also cover several other dream travel destinations, beginning with the spellbinding sequel of adventurer-at-heart Dondi Joseph to his sailing journey to Svalbard, a raw and pristine place at the very edge of the world that any traveler with wanderlust should see at least once in his or her lifetime.

Meanwhile, Travelife Magazine columnist Michelle Barrera heads back to her childhood home in the heart of picturesque wine and horse country in New South Wales, Australia to revisit favorite haunts and create the ultimate insider list for foodies and wine lovers. These are places she and her family have known for years so it’s a real black book to treasure.


The Aya Sofia in Istanbul

On the other hand, I pitched in with my own dream destination of Istanbul, a city I’ve been to so many times that I’ve lost count; but it still remains one of my favorite places to fly to for any reason and in any season -- and this is now so easy to reach from Asia via flights on Turkish Airlines.

At the Park Hyatt Istanbul

From the responses of our Travelife team on our contributors’ page, it seems many will agree. Istanbul is a close second to Japan in our informal list of favorite destinations.

Recently, I spent all of three days in Istanbul, staying at the Park Hyatt Istanbul, a hotel that’s just perfect for travelers who’ve already been to Istanbul a dozen times.


At the Park Hyatt Istanbul

The Park Hyatt Istanbul was intimate, luxurious and relaxing – perfect for R&R. We took a boat out on the Bosphorus and spent an afternoon sharing a Turkish ice cream (dondurma) sundae at a historic coffee shop in the fashionable seaside neighborhood of Bebek, where we happily passed the time by counting how many Range Rovers drove by (way too many in 45 minutes!).

At a coffee shop in Bebek, Istanbul

As always, we’re giving you an issue full of tempting destinations that will make you daydream about a holiday; or perhaps our stories will inspire you to fly away on an adventure of your own, living a ##Travelife.

Monday, September 25, 2017

Mercure Hotel opens in Sukhumvit Soi 11 in Bangkok

Mercure Bangkok Sukhumvit 11 in Bangkok

Sukhumvit Soi 11 has long been a magnet for tourists, expatriates and locals attracted by the numerous restaurants, bars and clubs that fill the street with life. Few Bangkok neighbourhoods can compete with Sukhumvit Soi 11's renowned reputation as one of Bangkok's most popular dining and nightlife destinations.

Mercure Bangkok Sukhumvit 11 in Bangkok


The central location of Sukhumvit Soi 11 in downtown Bangkok, also contributes to the attractiveness of the street, with the BTS Skytrain Nana Station, the MRT Subway Asoke Station, and the Airport Link Makkasan Station all within walking distance.

The easy access to the expressway also puts both airports within 40 minutes reach.


Mercure Bangkok Sukhumvit 11 in Bangkok

Rooted to its community, Mercure Bangkok Sukhumvit 11 offers a choice of 232 spacious and comfortable rooms and suites with authentic Thai-style décor and furnishings. The signature Thai silk décor of the Mercure Bangkok Sukhumvit 11 can be seen in the lobby and guest rooms to the public areas.

Patrick Basset, Chief Operating Officer of AccorHotels, Upper Southeast and Northeast Asia, says that “the opening of Mercure Bangkok Sukhumvit 11 strengthens our growth network in Thailand and Bangkok, where we currently operate 73 and 29 properties respectively.”


Of the 16 properties AccorHotels plans to open in Thailand over the next three years, eight Accor hotels are in Bangkok. The 34 square meter Deluxe Rooms of the Mercure Bangkok Sukhumvit 11 feature a 43-inch widescreen TV, coffee/tea making facilities and mini bar while the 43 square meter Privilege Rooms features an espresso machine, a Bluetooth smart T.V.

The suites of the Mercure Bangkok Sukhumvit 11 on the uppermost floors offers a separate living room that can accommodate families on long and short term stays.

Sunday, September 24, 2017

Luxury hotel Adere Manor opens in Ireland

Adare Manor in Ireland

Adare Manor, Ireland's most anticipated new luxury hotel, will reopen its doors on November 2, 2017, following a multi-phase restoration, renovation and expansion. The groundbreaking transformation will honor the history of the 19th century Irish castle, while providing an enriched guest experience.


Adare Manor in Ireland

Adare Manor in Ireland will have a new 42-bedroom wing, expansive ballroom for 350 guests, a La Mer spa, a Tom Fazio designed championship golf course, and an exceptional gastronomy program.

Spearheaded by acclaimed the architectural company RSA, the transformation of Adare Manor will preserve the building's architectural heritage as a Neo-Gothic masterpiece, while incorporating the contemporary luxuries and technological conveniences to meet the needs of today's luxury traveler.


Adare Manor in Ireland

“November 2nd will mark the celebratory beginning of Adare Manor's new legacy, as we unveil a monumental refurbishment of this historic estate,” said Adare Manor General Manager Paul Heery. “Our team has worked to create a vision that not only celebrates the property's charm and long-standing heritage, but also promises a memorable guest experience.”

Steeped in history and hidden secrets, each bedroom in the Manor House of Adare Manor is individually designed with its own personal touches, paying tribute to the creative force behind the original Manor – Lady Caroline Dunraven. The final transformation will bring the total guestroom count to 104.

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Cruising on a private yacht along the Bosphorus. And about the most beautiful vintage cars in Istanbul.

Vintage cars in Istanbul

One lovely autumn day in Istanbul, living a #Travelife, we walked down the narrow streets of the old neighborhoods of Sultanahmet, from our hotel, the Four Seasons Sultanahmet, to the seaside to board a yacht we had chartered from Denden Yachts via


At the Four Seasons Sultanahmet in Istanbul

The Four Seasons Sultanahmet, by the way, is one of the best hotels in Istanbul and certainly among my great favorites. It's small and intimate, and decorated so tastefully. We stayed at the Four Seasons Sultanahmet for one week and we felt like we had our own little palace in Istanbul.

I loved having breakfast in the indoor garden and waking up every morning to the thought of having the Blue Mosque and the Hagia Sofia, as well as the Topkapi Palace, only a few minutes away.


Denden Yachts from

Anyhow, we chartered a nice-sized yacht under 40 meters, which was perfect for two. The yacht came with two very professional crew who laid out a wonderful spread of Turkish tea and snacks on a table on the yacht terrace.

Denden Yachts from

For me, the size of the yacht is immaterial. I really liked this small one. Later on, we decided to try the larger yacht, which was a 65-meter yacht, and it felt just too big for two.


It was while we were cruising lazily around the Bosphorus that we literally stumbled upon an interesting structure that caught my attention from the water.

"What's that?" I asked the captain, for I could see lovely art, a colorful boat and all kinds of structures from the water.

Vintage cars in Istanbul

"We can dock and see, if you wish," the captain said. Perhaps because we were in a lovely private yacht, we were actually allowed to anchor and enter the property.

On this property we found a most amazing collection of vintage cars in an air-conditioned garage in Istanbul -- the private collection of one of the wealthiest families in Turkey, all kept in pristine gleaming condition.

Vintage cars in Istanbul

I walked around in amazement, with a new appreciation for vintage cars. And then it was back onboard our private yacht to head to Sumahan on the Water, a very nice luxury hideaway of a hotel on the Asian side of Istanbul, for a delicious al fresco lunch on the terrace, living a #Travelife.

Vintage cars in Istanbul
Vintage cars in Istanbul
Vintage cars in Istanbul

Vintage cars in Istanbul
Vintage cars in Istanbul

Vintage cars in Istanbul

Vintage cars in Istanbul

Vintage cars in Istanbul

Vintage cars in Istanbul

Vintage cars in Istanbul

Vintage cars in Istanbul

Vintage cars in Istanbul

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

The Travelife Magazine team building weekend at Pradera Verde

Some of the Travelife Magazine team at Pradera Verde in Pampanga

The TRAVELIFE team took a break from producing great travel magazines by spending the weekend at Pradera Verde, a leisure park in Lubao, Pampanga that features exhilarating recreational facilities.

Since most of the Travelife Magazine team is made up of creative and adventurous go-getters, their idea of a relaxing weekend is to make the most of the 48 hours in a weekend by trying out Pradera Verde’s facilities.

Some of the Travelife Magazine team at Pradera Verde in Pampanga

Thus, the Travelife team eagerly took up the challenge of learning how to work a wake board from expert and approachable instructors, including Pradera Verde’s affable and dynamic general manager, Paulo Nasol.


Some of the Travelife Magazine team at Pradera Verde in Pampanga

The Pradera Verde Wake Park has three beginner practice wake boarding lakes and one pro wake boarding lake, which features ramps for wicked wake boarding tricks and turns.

It’s mesmerizing to watch seasoned riders glide along the water and jump across the ramps like it’s nothing. But it’s even more fun when you learn how to wake board together as a big group.


Some of the Travelife Magazine team at Pradera Verde in Pampanga

Though the TRAVELIFE team experienced some face plants on the practice lake, the falls and the embarrassment were nothing compared to the triumph they felt when some of the staff started riding along the water seamlessly.

They celebrated by taking a splash at the Pradera Verde Wave Pool, where they swam and floated along with the waves from the pool. After a jam-packed day of water sports, the team was understandably hungry.

Some of the Travelife Magazine team at Pradera Verde in Pampanga

Thankfully, the Viewdeck restaurant consistently served delicious and varied local Kapampangan dishes that lived up to Pampanga’s reputation as the top province that cooks and serves the best dishes in the Philippines.


Some of the Travelife Magazine team at Pradera Verde Golf and Country Club in Pampanga

In fact, the food was so inspiring that the Travelife team found renewed energy to test out the Pradera Verde Golf and Country Club.

It only took a couple of swings for most of the staff to get the hang of hitting the golf ball high and far. After such an invigorating day, any person would rightly want to just lie down or lounge on the sofa with friends while laughing about their Pradera Verde adventures.

Some of the Travelife Magazine team at Pradera Verde in Pampanga

And the villas of Pradera Verde were so spacious and comfortable that the TRAVELIFE team had no trouble feeling relaxed and open as they talked about their wakeboard successes (and flops) and the many other ways they can keep living a #Travelife.

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

The Rubens at the Palace in London Introduces The English Grill

The Rubens at the Palace in London

The English Grill, a luxurious new fine dining restaurant at The Rubens at the Palace in London, has officially opened its doors.

Boasting a glass-walled kitchen, a signature 20-ounce steak, luxurious décor, and regal views over the Royal Mews at Buckingham PalaceThe English Grill is the new jewel in the crown of the recently revitalized central London neighborhood of Victoria

The Rubens at the Palace in London

Embracing the best of English tradition, design and flavors, the elegant brasserie-style restaurant serves a menu designed around premium seasonal produce. The highest quality ingredients are locally sourced from top English food suppliers, including meats from Aubrey Allen, Royal Warrant holder to Her Majesty The Queen.


The Rubens at the Palace in London

In homage to The Rubens' rich royal history and links with traditional English high society, The English Grill delivers warm and impeccable service from tail-coated waiters, including the daily roast, which is carved tableside on a bespoke silver trolley.

These traditional English roasts include delicacies such as beef Wellington served with creamed onions and Madeira jus; belly of slow-roasted pork with crackling and apple sauce; and salmon en croute, locally sourced from Billingsgate Fish Market and served with creamed spinach and Champagne butter sauce.

The Rubens at the Palace in London


Also on daily rotation are The English Grill's signature gourmet pies, which offer modern twists on retro classics, and include English favorites such as pork and apple, Shepherd's and chicken pot pies – the latter made from a famed recipe that was perfected by Mrs. Beatrice Tollman, founder and president of The Red Carnation Hotel Collection.

The English Grill's menu also features a selection of vegetarian and seafood dishes, as well as the  20-ounce Aubrey Allen Tomahawk Steak, which is perfect for sharing.