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August 2017

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On my recent trip to ‘The Red Dot’ (Singapore’s nickname, for the uninitiated), I was looking for a stay somewhere close to the city, yet be far from the hustle and bustle of the metropolis. So after doing research online, I found Ramada Singapore at Zhongshan Park as the perfect fit both for a comfortable and an affordable stay for just around 180 Singapore dollars per night or so. I also liked the fact that the hotel is quite new, just about a couple of years old and already won awards from the industry!

Walking into the rooms, I found them to be compact and cozy. They were well aesthetically designed with floral prints on the pillows and bedding. The walls were decorated with paintings reminding us of erstwhile colonial rule in Singapore. The large glass windows provided perfect view to the city and if you are lucky, you could get a view of the amazing greenery all around which makes Singapore a city in a garden rather than the other way round.

I was lucky to be in a corner room on the 15th floor of Ramada Singapore at Zhongshan Park. I had wonderful views of the Sun Yat Sen Nanyang Memorial Hall (many Chinese immigrants used to gather here to discuss Chinese politics) , Goh Chor Tua Pek Kong Temple (Chinese temple) and pre-world-war-2 conservation buildings. The greenery bang in the middle of the city and the suburbs reminds us of the environmental richness that the city has to offer. You are never too far from the city too as Ramada Singapore offers regularly shuttle services to nearest MRT station which is Novena MRT (5 minutes away) and to the most popular shopping district of Orchard Road (15 minutes away). Don’t forget to plan in advance though as shuttles can get booked out early. But don’t worry as Taxis are not very expensive too and the doormen help in getting you a taxi at any time of the day or night.

For the fitness freaks, you don’t need to worry at Ramada Singapore as they have fully equipped Gymnasium where you can’t miss your favorite entertainment programs while working out. There is a very chilled out swimming pool which always has shade thanks to it’s design which ensures that you can have a delightful swim even in the most humid Singapore weather.

I liked the concept that Ramada Singapore has it’s own terrace Herb Garden. These herbs are used in the restaurants and provide a fresh and natural perspective to the food served. The decor of the Herb garden is inspired by the oriental houses and is a testament to the Chinese culture which has contributed a lot to Singapore. Another positive aspect of The Ramada Singapore is that it is directly connected to Zhongshan Mall and surrounded by an array of restaurants in case you don’t feel like eating in the hotel itself.

The Flavors All Day Dining restaurant at Ramada Singapore at Zhongshan park offers authentic Chinese cuisine coupled with a mix of international and western favorites. The decor reminds you of erstwhile Singapore and plays perfect homage to the 50th birth year of Singapore as an independent country way back in 1965.

The breakfast boasts of both Asian delicacies and Western delicacies with lot of healthy food too like Brown and Wheat bread at The Deli, Muesli and fruits, oats and porridge, etc. You also have an array of vegetarian options which change daily and if you are Indian, you will find 1 or 2 Indian varieties of breakfast too!

In a nut-shell, Ramada Singapore at Zhongshan Park offers 384 well-appointed guest rooms with premium Serta mattress for a good night’s rest, Complimentary High Speed Internet Access, Free Local Calls, Complimentary use of the Gymnasium and Swimming Pool and a breakfast worth waking up for.

Hotel Ramada Singapore at Zhongshan park is at 16 Ah Hood Road, Singapore and can be reached on 00 65 6808 6888. You can also find Ramada Singapore at Zhongshan Park on Facebook.

After checking into our hotel in Edinburgh, we were greeted by Julie of Eat Walk Edinburgh tours at reception of Hotel Du Vin. Eat Walk Edinburgh walking tours took us through the historical heart of the city while allowing us the time to sample food and drink from some of Edinburgh’s unique restaurants, shops and bars. Between premises our guide Julie also pointed out interesting sights of the city and gave us advice on other places to visit after our tour is over.

First stop was Greyfriars Bobby’s Bar which has a legendary story of a dog attached to it. The best-known version of the story is that Bobby belonged to John Gray, who worked for the Edinburgh City Police as a night watchman. When John Gray died he was buried in Greyfriars Kirkyard, the graveyard surrounding Greyfriars Kirk in the Old Town of Edinburgh. Bobby then became known locally, spending the rest of his life sitting on his master’s grave. After Bobby the dog died, Lady Burdett-Coutts had a statue and fountain erected at the southern end of the George IV Bridge to commemorate him. This is the location of the bar now and many tourists rub Bobby’s bronze statue’s nose for good luck!

Later we went to a unique liquid deli called Demijohn! Angus and Frances Ferguson founded Demijohn in 2004 in Edinburgh’s Old Town as the World’s first liquid deli. It started as a family business and still is very much that. The idea for Demijohn came originally from a wonderful experience Angus had while living and working in Naples, Southern Italy, in the early 1990’s as a Student. He would buy his wine for parties from a local Cantina, or winery. He was allowed to take along a container of his own, try the wines on offer and have his jerrycan filled up. It was a bit like filling up a car with fuel at a petrol pump, except a lot more fun! Having traveled widely and eaten adventurous food all their lives, Angus and Frances decided it was about time Britain enjoyed the full freedoms of taste experienced on the continent, but with a focus on locally sourced British produce.

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