Monday, October 30, 2017

Hotel ghost stories in Africa for Halloween

Everyone loves a good ghost story even if they know it’ll give them nightmares later – and I’m no exception, in my never-ending Travelife.

There’s something thrilling about listening to someone else’s tales of eerie moans and white apparitions in the company of friends, knowing these aren’t happening to you.


And since it's Halloween 2017, I thought I'd recall some eerie hotel experiences.



The Kimberley Club in Northern Cape, South Africa
is known for its haunted rooms

SHARING HOTEL ROOMS 
WITH A GHOST

It's fun to read about haunted hotels, but the fear factor certainly takes on an entirely different, more spine-chilling dimension when you’re in a strange and ancient land and the ghost is literally sharing your hotel room.

My most recent encounter with a hotel ghost -- or rather, with a haunted hotel -- was on my first visit to the lovely Northern Cape in South Africa, when I stayes at the Kimberley Club in Northern Cape, South Africa.



A CITY WITH A REPUTATION 
FOR GHOSTS

The city of Kimberley, by the way, is well-known for its haunted buildings, and a ghost tour is actually on offer for the brave.

On my last trip to South Africa, I even offered to take our group of readers and friends on a Travelife to South Africa on a ghost tour after dinner, but there were no takers.



A MINI GHOST TOUR.
AND IT'S STILL SCARY.

So we did a mini-ghost tour instead by driving by some of Kimberley's most haunted buildings.

Boy, even that was scaryOne of Kimberley's most haunted buildings, a lovely sprawling home from the 19th century, really gave us all the creepers as we drove by. It is supposed to be among the most haunted buildings in the world.




THE HAUNTED KIMBERLEY CLUB

But Kimberley's haunted hotel story vis-a-vis the Kimberely Club is well-known, and thank goodness I'd stayed there before I actually heard the full-fledged haunted hotel story.

I'd booked this hotel because it's Kimbereley's most prestigious hotel and also it's most historical institution.


At that time, thankfully, I hadn't heard the definite ghost stories yet.

Although it wasn't hard to imagine that something eerie would be lurking around a dark 200-year-old building so obviously full of history and atmosphere, especially as it was the venue for so much drama during the great diamond rush in a city fraught by trials and tragedies.



THAT STRANGE FEELING


When I checked in, I was shown first to a room at the end of the corridor on the 1st floor. For some reason, this room didn't sit well with me, especially as it was very dark with no windows.

This was an old building that had not at all been renovated, so all the rooms were dark, almost exactly as they were over 100 years ago or more -- but this first room I was shown was the darkest of all.



It was great from a historical and cultural standpoint, though.

Thank goodness I changed my room to one diagonally across it, as this first room turned out to be the most haunted room in the Kimberley Club -- which I only learned much later, of course.


PRETTY CLOSE TO
HAUNTED HOTEL CENTRAL



The room I ended up staying in wasn't Haunted Hotel Central, although I did hear strange noises and experience some things I can't really explain.

But thankfully, I was still literally in the dark then, so I'd chalked up all these things to jet lag. I was able to get a decent night's sleep. In fact, I think I had three nights' sleep here.

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IT'S ANOTHER HOTEL
FOR THE TRAVELIFE GROUP

Of course, I booked our Travelife group in a different hotel, even if we did visit the Kimberley Club for an after-dinner drink. Some of us were even brave enough to walk up the stairs all the way to the front of the hotel's most haunted room, but not without quite a bit of teasing.

By the way, many tourists see ghosts in hotels as novelties, and even go out of their way to stay in a haunted hotel -- which is why the Kimberley Club remains the best and most prestigious accommodations in the Northern Cape.



As for me, I was happy to see the Kimberley Club and my old hotel room again -- and then to return to my way newer hotel at the edge of town.

Yes, there's definitely no room for ghosts of the past in my never-ending, and never-endingly eventful Travelife.  And I mean this in more ways than one....up to you to figure this one out.



Scroll down to read about some of the scariest hotel rooms in the world...







OTHER REPORTEDLY HAUNTED HOTELS
AROUND THE WORLD

These are some other hotels that have reported ghost sightings,
in case you're headed in these directions,
in your never-ending Travelife...



Hotel del Coronado
United States

Fairmont Banff Springs
Canada

The Bull Hotel
England

The White Hart Hotel
England

The Brown Palace Hotel and Spa
United States

Hotel Burchianti

Ghosts in hotels. And about the most haunted hotels in Europe.

Ghost encounters in hotels are especially plentiful in Europe. We give you a rundown of the best places for ghost hunting, in case you're in the mood for haunted hotels and travel experiences this Halloween.



In Europe, every other building is at least 300 years old and countless people have lived, died – and even been murdered - within their walls.


A FAMOUS PERSON DIED HERE

Lots of buildings in France and England even have plaques on their walls saying something like "XXX died here in XXX," when a famous person is known to have died in that house.

It's very interesting from a historical viewpoint, but certainly not quite ideal, if you're wary of ghosts.


SOME OF EUROPE'S
MOST HAUNTED HOTELS




Here are some of the most haunted hotels in Europe, by the way, just in case you're headed over there and in the mood for a couple of paranormal sightings.

Dalhousie Castle
Scotland

Chateau de Brissac
France

Hotel Burg Reichentstein
Germany

Decebel Hotel
Romania


GHOSTS IN THE CORRIDORS
IN BORDEAUX, FRANCE 



My cousin, who claims to have a third eye that enables her to see spirits, recently recalled checking into a chateau-hotel in BordeauxFrance.

She said she saw images of people from the past all along the hotel corridor, as she was walking to her room.

“They all looked pale and were lined up against the wall expressionless,” she told me. And this is what I said to her after she told me this: "If we ever travel together somewhere, and you see a ghost in one of our hotels, please don't tell me about it."


Scroll down to read about some of the scariest hotel rooms in the world...



PRETTY NORMAL IN EUROPE



However, ghost sightings are quite normal in Europe. Most Europeans I’ve spoken to don’t seem to care much about having to live with spirits long gone.


They even put up patiently with the idiosyncrasies of the ghosts - taking everything in with an amused air.

Perhaps banging doors and footsteps on the second floor are as much a part of their lives as cable television and the internet.




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RADIO BLARING AT MIDNIGHT
IN INNSBRUCK, AUSTRIA

Many years ago, I checked into a small hotel in InnsbruckAustria which had all its walls painted black.

The somber atmosphere should have foretold of eerie occurrences.


However,  I naively chalked this up to a taste for the avant-garde and a penchant for dark colors.

In the middle of the night, however, the radio began blaring at full blast. Startled out of my sleep, I immediately shut it off.

Later, amidst the fog of a waking dream, it came on again. The skeptical might attribute this to faulty wiring but who really knows? And why did the radio only turn on at midnight?


SUFFOCATING AT MIDNIGHT  
IN VENICE



Another summer, I was staying alone at one of Venice’s top hotels and very much enjoying a room filled with antiques and facing the Grand Canal.

However, again, in the middle of the night, I awoke with a jolt, feeling incredibly hot and suffocated.



I automatically assumed it was the air conditioning and so I called the front desk to complain.

The night clerk arrived within minutes, white as a sheet. Without explanation, he moved me to another room where I promptly resumed a comfortable rest.


A GHOST IN MY ROOM IN VENICE

I thought it odd that he hadn’t even bothered to check the room’s cooling system, but soon forgot about this.

I stayed on for a few more days, walking around Venice and making the rounds of my favorite shops. I even spent a day at the Lido, hanging around a beach.



Later, I found out from one of the young men at the concierge desk - who I bumped into at a pizzeria one evening - that my first hotel room was known to be haunted, and that guests often complained feeling suffocated while sleeping there.

That's why the night clerk looked like he'd literally seen a ghost...


BRITAIN IS FULL OF GHOSTS

Interestingly, the United Kingdom (UK) seems to have more ghostly encounters compared to the rest of Europe.

Major tourist destinations like LondonEdinburgh, and St. Andrews all feature very popular ghost tours.


And, while many of these tours are purely for fun. I did the St. Andrews ghost tour one evening, for instance, and there was absolutely nothing scary about it.

In fact, it was so un-scary (even if St. Andrews can be a rather somber town, especially on a dark and overcast day) that the organisers had to rustle up a fake ghost to appear before its clients. A man in a ghost costume surprised us at the end of the tour

Nevertheless, some tours are just not for the faint-hearted.

THE EDINBURGH GHOST TOUR



I once joined an Edinburgh ghost tour that took in many locations with gory and violent pasts. It took us to Mary's Close, an underground attraction that is reportedly among Edinburgh's most haunted places.

Then it terminated in a local cemetery well-known for apparitions. I had to leave midway because of a terribly uneasy feeling. Apparently, not a few participants experience this, and some even start shaking all over.

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THE MOST HAUNTED HOTEL IN ENGLAND

While many hotels worldwide might consider a ghostly resident as a public relations nightmare, quite a number of UK hotels seem to revel in, if not enjoy, the notoriety.

Some even employ their ghosts as an effective marketing tool.


The 12th century luxury Ettington Park Hotel near Stratford-upon-Avon, for example, is often called England’s most haunted hotel.


THE LADY IN WHITE

This isn't just because it’s neo-gothic architecture fits the popular imagery of a haunted house.

Both guests and hotel staff frequently report seeing a lady in white roaming the corridors and hearing banging doors and footsteps from empty rooms.

BANGING DOORS IN THE COTSWOLDS 


I had a similar experience at a 16th century hotel in the Cotswolds, an area of ancient origins that almost certainly has a ghost story haunting every neighborhood.

My suite – which was fashioned out of several rooms in the attic -- was large, bright and decorated in pastel colored chintz.


SPIRITS AT MIDNIGHT

I was very pleased with it until midnight came (what is it with ghosts and the midnight hour anyway?) when I was again woken up by the incessant banging of my bathroom door. 

This was in spite of closed windows and no wind at all.

I closed the door, but it simply started again after half an hour – as if someone was teasing me and preventing me from sleeping.



EARLY MORNING ESCAPE

I feigned sleep for the rest of the night, not wanting to come face to face with the unexpected by turning on the lights.

Of course, at daybreak, we checked out. I’m from Asia after all, and if I were to encounter the supernatural, I’d much prefer them to be from where I hail.


Sunday, October 29, 2017

Travelife shows some of the world’s most picturesque breakfasts

Discovering cuisine from all over the world is one of the most delightful aspects of traveling. 

For those who zealously like exploring every new destination with each new sunrise, breakfast literally becomes the most important meal of the day, as well as a marker of a destination’s culture, agriculture, and even geography. Savor these photographs of memorable morning meals around the world with us.

Mornings and breakfasts at the Hyatt Regency 
in Thessaloniki, Greece

Al fresco breakfast and croissants 
at The Selman in Marrakech 

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A morning spread prepared by Palais Amani, Morocco

Fruits and olives for breakfast in Chateau Les Crayeres in Champagne, France

Oysters, green tea, seeds, fruits and champagne for breakfast
at the One & Only Cape Town in South Africa


Continental breakfast at the Rachmaninoff Hotel
in Veliky Novgorod, Russia

The Eggs Benedict at the 
Oceana Beach and Wildlife Reserve, South Africa 
makes early mornings worth it

The Japanese breakfast at Amanemu in Ise,
via room service, came in a beautiful lacquer trio of boxes


Spicy eggs in Tel Aviv, Israel 

Breakfast in Otaru, Japan, 
a port city known for known for glasswork and sake distilleries

Santorini, Greece breakfasts are a feast for all senses

An energizing morning meal in Crete, Greece's largest island

A French morning spread courtesy of Les Crayères

Crystal Cruises breakfasts are both eye-catching and delicious! 

A really delicious made-to-order omelette
at the Grand Hotel in Tver, Russia

The Club Experience at the Ritz Carlton Bali

The Ritz Carlton Bali 


Read about the benefits and perks included in the Club Experience at the Ritz Carlton Bali.

ABOUT THE RITZ CARLTON BALI

Stretching from dramatic limestone cliffs to lush tropical gardens and dazzling white sand beach, The Ritz-Carlton Bali has luxury suites and villas, sublime dining venues and state-of-the-art facilities

Access to The Ritz-Carlton Club® offers a whole new level of luxury at this beautiful Bali resort. Exclusive benefits include unlimited access to the stylish Club Lounge of the Ritz Carlton Bali – a secluded sanctuary nestled into the heart of the resort. 


The Ritz Carlton Bali 



THE RITZ CARLTON BALI CLUB CONCIERGE

A dedicated Ritz Carlton Bali Club Concierge is on hand to take care of your individual needs -- whether its reserving the best table at your favorite restaurant, booking a signature spa treatment or confirming your onward travel arrangements


The Ritz Carlton Bali 
Fringed by frangipani trees, the private swimming pool of the The Ritz-Carlton Bali creates an idyllic respite for those looking to relax and unwind in serene surroundings. While those in need of a calm place to take care of work commitments can take advantage of personalized business services and Wifi. 

Complimentary garment pressing and laundry are also included for your convenience. 


THE RITZ CARLTON CLUB EXPERIENCE

The breakfast buffet at the Ritz Carlton Bali 
“At the Ritz-Carlton, our motto is Ladies and Gentlemen serving Ladies and Gentlemen, and our club guests are ensured the warmest of welcomes and the most attentive, highly personalized service,” says General Manager Karim Tayach

The Ritz-Carlton Club® Experience includes complimentary coffee served in the suite at wake up call, followed by a gourmet buffet breakfast and Chef's a la carte suggestions at the The Ritz-Carlton Bali Club Lounge


AFTERNOON TEA AT THE RITZ CARLTON BALI




Light lunches and afternoon tea with all the trimmings are served during the day, while balmy Bali evenings are ushered in with hors d'oeuvres and poolside sundowners, with a choice of house spirits, wine and beer. An exquisite dessert buffet – including a chocolate dip – will end your evening on the sweetest of notes. 

The Ritz-Carlton Bali Club guests can also experience Balinese culture on Sunday afternoons, with the opportunity to make canang, which are traditional Balinese flower offerings.