Tag Archives: Hotel

Travel Apps

Savvy travelers know these days that in addition to reviewing cheap travel options, such as cheap airplane tickets, discount hotel rooms, discount travel deals, and cheap vacation packages, you also should identify and download travel apps prior to your departure that can improve the quality of your trip.

The following are the favorite travel apps of 10Best and USA readers ranked in order of preference (from 1 on down):

1. Waze links users to a large group of drivers who share real time traffic information so that they can adjust their travel routes to avoid traffic jams and accidents.

2. TravelSafe makes emergency information readily available to travelers, including local police and fire department phone numbers, as well as contact information for the nearest embassy.

3. TripAdvisor provides current hotel, restaurant, and attraction reviews to help prevent visitors from be unpleasantly surprised.

4. Skyscanner saves times and money when purchasing airline tickets by pulling together prices from a number of airlines and travel sites to find the cheapest available fares.

5. Tripit pulls together various confirmations and travel itineraries. Users forward their hotel, restaurant, rental car, flight and other confirmation emails to Tripit which then compiles them in a single place.

6. FlightTrack notifies users on delays, cancellations, and gate changes. Terminal maps are provided to help find dining spots and make shopping a breeze.

7. Hipmunk helps pull together information from multiple sources on the web making it easy to compare rates and deals from a variety of travel providers.

8. Foursquare enables travelers to look up tips, comments, and reviews on restaurants and attractions from users who have previously visited these establishments.

9. Foodspotting helps users find the best eateries close by.

10. Viber enables users to make free calls and messages to other Viber users anywhere on the planet.

11. WeatherPro provides weather information on over 2 million destinations across the planet.

12. Duolingo provides free, fun, and effective language lessons in several languages. When traveling abroad knowing a little of the local language can enhance your experience.

13. Wi-Fi Finder helps users find free Wi-Fi signals in an unfamiliar city.

14. Uber connects travelers with drivers in 50 cities throughout 26 countries, making trips to and from the airport a snap.

15. XE Currency provides live currency quotes to enable users to easily convert prices quoted in foreign currencies into US dollars.

16. GateGuru makes airport layovers more agreeable by providing information regarding airport restaurants, shops, delays, and gate changes.

17. WorldMate is a favorite of business travelers because it compiles flight and connection information, weather forecasts, a currency converter, tip calculator, and the user’s calendar into a single app.

18. Time Out city guides shares the latest information on a city’s hottest places to eat, party, or visit.

19. HopStop tells users how to save time and money by using public transportation in some of the world’s largest cities. It tells you the best way to get from point A to point B and projects your transit time.

20. Onavo reduces the amount of data it takes to browse the web, send photos, and check emails. This comes in handy for travelers concerned about generating large roaming charges when abroad.

Best Family Friendly Hotels in Phuket

As a Thailand travel guide and online hotel booking agent, we are often asked where the best places are for families to stay in Phuket.

The fact is, Phuket offers a myriad of family friendly hotels with professionally managed kids clubs where younger guests are entertained with age appropriate, fun activities. This gives mom and dad some free time to explore the riches of the island while knowing their little ones are not only safe and taken care of, but are also enjoying their own holiday to the fullest.

Hotels also offer family orientated accommodation in the form of two, three and up to five bedroom units to accommodate larger families. We will discuss a few recommended family friendly hotels in Phuket below to take some of the guess work out of choosing one.

Holiday Inn Resort Phuket

Holiday Inn Phuket is a four star hotel located toward the southern tip of Patong Bay, with only a street between the hotel and the beach. These guys really go out of their way to make the kids feel at home and to create a family friendly environment and atmosphere. The kids club with a railway theme depicting a ride from the mountain to the sea offers TV, playstation, arts & crafts, games karaoke corner and much more.
Outside are two dedicated kids’ pools, complete with slider, water cave, water guns and whale and turtle statuary.

The Kid’s Club designed for the under 12’s, offers daily activities like play dough and clay making, while young guests from 12-19 can make new friends at the parent-free Club 12 Plus. All activities are supervised by professional staff.

Accommodation options include the “Kids Suite” a room within your room furnished with their own toy box, playstation, TV and video. Family suites consist of a superior king size room connected to pirate themed kids room.

Centara Kata Resort

Centara Kata Resort Phuket is part of the well known and trusted Centara Group of hotels & resorts and, as the name suggests, located in Kata Beach. Centara Kata believes that if the kids are enjoying their holiday, then so are their parents. Centara Kata Resort offers a professionally run kids club and camp safari for kids aged 4 to 9 where children have to opportunity to participate in as many activities as possible and actually get rewarded for their participation.

The E-Zone offers the latest in entertainment in a separate area for teen’s aged 10 to 17, so they are not mixed with the young kids. E-Zone is equipped with a selection of Video Games Stations such as PlayStation, Nintendo Wii, computer games, etc.

Accommodation options at Centara Kata include the family suite which accommodate up to 5 persons and a two bedroom family suite accommodating up to 7 persons. The price for the room is based on the number of persons occupying the room.

Centara Karon Resort

Another hotel in the Centara group located in Karon Beach, offers a deluxe family studio which can accommodation up to two adults and three children, as well as a two bedroom suite. Once again Camp Savari and E-Zone is ready to entertain the kids.

Dusit Thani Laguna Phuket

This well known five star hotel located in Bang Tao Bay, a slightly quieter area than Patong or even Karon, Dusit Thani Laguna has a delightful kids club which include a games room, library, and playground. Kids having their birthdays while staying at Dusit Thani have a party organized for them especially with birthday cake and party snacks, compliments of the hotel.

Accommodation options include the Laguna Pool Villa which offers a master and a twin-queen bedroom with adjoining spacious bathrooms, styled for seclusion and luxury on the ground floor. On 2nd floor, a fully equipped kitchen, dining area, a patio and on rooftop deck, outdoor shower and infinity pool makes this a fantastic family option.

Sheraton Grande Laguna Phuket

Another five star option in Bang Tao Beach where dad has a golf course on his doorstep. The VIK Club (Very Important Kids Club) provides daily children’s entertainment, games and crafts and playground to contribute to an exiting kids holiday. Lucky and Lilly, the resort’s baby elephants, pay their daily visits and play with the little ones and the young at heart. VIK Club is complimentary for in-house guests aged 4-12 years.

Accommodation options include the Island Villa Two Bedroom and three bedroom Private Pool Villa which can accommodate a family of 6 persons.

Anantara Phuket Villas

Anantara Phuket is a five star oasis located in quieter and tranquil Mai Khao Beach. Anantara Phuket introduces the Turtle Club where experienced coordinator plans entertainment and educational projects to introduce children to arts and crafts, nature and games. Room options include the 180 square meter Lagoon Pool Villa and 186 square meter Sala Pool Villa.

The Bel Air Resort & Spa

This 4 star bordering 5 star resort is located in Cape Panwa, to the south eastern corner of Phuket and close to Phuket City. Kids World provides separate play rooms for kids of different ages offering a host of facilities such as a play house & slide, making your own T-shirt, costume parties and much more. With no minimum age requirement, this is an enclosed sanctuary where the small kids can occupy themselves in a fun & safe environment.

For the teens, there is the Chill Zone. Here playstations with a wide selection of games, 3-D interactive entertainment, a fuss ball table and juice bar with funky seating all in a self contained environment, offers the coolest environment.

At the private theatre room with 48″ HD flat screen TV, top notch surround and bean bags for comfortable seating, teens and anyone else who wishes to show up can watch the latest movie hits.

Unique Features of Boutique Hotels

When people go on vacation or business trips, they use brand name hotels like the Comfort Inn or the Holiday Inn. While these hotels are good for getting a decent nights sleep, they do not offer much more than that comfortable bed. Yet, there is an alternative if you’re looking for something a little more than a bed. A boutique hotel.

If you are looking for a place that offers a bed with friendly hospitality with a feeling of home, then what you are looking for is a boutique hotel. What is a boutique hotel? It is a hotel that is designed in a certain way, designed to a certain theme to give its hotel guests a welcoming feeling.

Boutique hotels can be found anywhere in the world including the United States of America. Although this is the case, many people are not as aware of them. Why? When you turn on your television, you see commercials about families staying at a particular hotel as they travel the US.

If you want to stay in a place that is unique, you’ll need to do some searching using the Internet. You may not realize it but many of the antique homes that are fixed up in New Orleans are actually boutique hotels. There are several of them to choose from and many use the 19th century as their theme. These older homes in New Orleans can be used for something more than museums when accented right.

Besides providing all of these amenities, how can a boutique hotel stand out among the high competition of the Holiday Inn, Ramada Limited and even Super 8 Motel? These hotels usually have the same kind of motif but the boutique hotels strive to do something more. Owners have boutique hotels use catchy themes to grab the attention of its guests. Some hotel owners will use the theme of where their hotel is located at, others will use an era or time period to create a unique experience.

In the French Quarter of New Orleans, many owners of the boutique hotels use the 19th century to design their rooms, lobbies and hallways. The Hotel Union Square of San Francisco designs its rooms in a Prohibition era design. The rooms and hallways have a black granite and cream travertine tile. The Whitehall Hotel in Chicago uses a 1920s theme to grab the attention of its guests.

That isn’t to say all boutiques base their theme on the local area. The Inn of Five Graces in Santa Fe bases it’s theme on the southwest culture and mixes it with Asian culture. There are plenty of boutiques outside of the US, in cities as far away as Moscow and Singapore.

If you find a boutique hotel you are interested in staying in, you should realize that a short notice reservation is likely not going to work. Most boutique hotels have a limited amount of rooms. They average out around 25 to 50 rooms. There are some boutique hotels which have over 100 rooms and others that have only three or four rooms to stay in. These small number of rooms allow employees to get to know their guests. Be sure to put your reservation in as soon as you know when you will be leaving on your vacation/business trip.

While mainstream hotels offer plenty of extras, boutique hotels provide more. Even though most buildings are old, they are retrofitted for modern conveniences such as high speed Internet access, spas, swimming pools and even a fitness center. Boutique hotels, larger ones especially, will offer guests a bar and restaurant inside to enjoy.

While the commercial hotels are media branded and make you think about their particular image, sometimes a little research finds you staying somewhere you never even thought about. You should realize that you pay for what you get. A boutique hotel is not cheap but well worth the cash you spend. With all the amenities you get, theres no need to stay anywhere else.