I had last visited Mamallapuram (Mahabalipuram then) near Chennai as a 8 year old kid and saw all the world famous historic monuments there but most of the memories have been restricted to a couple of grainy east man colored photos which are almost fading away. So it was time to make new memories with my wife and my 4 year old son. So we head out to Chennai in the grueling summer but our solace was in the fact that we would be staying at the most famous resort there which is Radisson Blu resort temple bay, mamallapuram managed by GRT hotels.

Radisson Blu resort Temple Bay is just a 56 km drive from Chennai along the picturesque East Coast Road and is
located in the seaside town of Mamallapuram (as Mahabalipuram is now known) on the Coromandel Coast. What surprised me pleasantly was the sheer size of the resort which is spread over 45 acres with a breath-taking view of Bay of Bengal and the world-famous Shore Temple. The resort’s outstanding feature is its largest meandering swimming pool of 27,000 sq.ft. and an infinity pool that merges into the bay.

On invitation from Radisson Blu resort Temple Bay, we stayed in the Sea View Chalets which are around 495 SQ. FT. These chalets are modern and spacious with panoramic views of the sea. We could just unwind by the open porch and gaze at the sea, with the majestic Shore Temple in the foreground. There was buggy service available for seniors, kids or those with luggage. The wonderful green walkaways were great to walk on too.

We stayed on the 1st floor Sea View chalet which had a nice balcony outside the room which had couple of chairs you could relax on while sipping coffee during Sunrise or cocktails during Sunset! The exquisite decor pleased us all.

Once inside the room, I was pleasantly stunned by the tasteful decor of the room with bright colors and colonial look. The Sea View chalet had a sitting area inside along with a queen size bed and sliding doors for the tasteful bathroom which had a nice bath tub and separate areas for shower and WC so that two people could use it at the same time without disturbing each other.

The decor is inspired by the Sea and I was happy to see paintings of Sea turtle as it reminds us of the ocean and also the initiative by the hotel to conserve sea turtles. The bed is good for a couple and a kid younger than 8 years old.

Radisson Blu Temple Bay resort cares for your health always and that’s why upon welcome, they provide a fruit basket with all types of seasonal fruits. They also take care of your sweet tooth by providing home made chocolates.

This was the wonderful view from our room of the sea and the gardens around the beach. It’s great place to just walk down the beach for an early morning or late evening stroll.

Major UNESCO World Heritage sites like The Shore Temple, Arjuna’s Rathas and more are within walking distance of the hotel. Hotel will also provide car facilities if required. This is us at the Arjuna’s rathas which you can also see below as 5 rathas.

Pancha Rathas is an example of monolithic Indian rock-cut architecture. Dating from the late 7th century, it is attributed to the reign of King Mahendravarman I and his son Narasimhavarman I (630–680 AD; also called Mamalla, or “great warrior”) of the Pallava Kingdom. An innovation of Narasimhavarman, the structures are without any precedent in Indian architecture.

We also visited Arjuna’s penance or Descent of the Ganges, which is a monument at Mahabalipuram. Measuring 96 by 43 feet (29 m × 13 m), it is a giant open-air rock relief carved on two monolithic rock boulders. The legend depicted in the bas-relief is the story of the descent of the sacred river Ganges to earth from the heavens led by Bhagiratha. The waters of the Ganges are believed to possess supernatural powers. The descent of the Ganges and Arjuna’s Penance are portrayed in stone at the Pallava heritage site. It is supposed to be second largest in the world after Angkor Wat in Cambodia.

One of the exciting activities that you can take part in Radisson Blu Temple Bay resort is the catamaran ride which is generally held in the morning.

In the catamaran ride, you will be taken on a ride on to the open seas with expert fishermen. This ride is only for people above 10 years of age and it is conducted only if there is no turbulence in the sea or high tides.

One of the fun activities you can do while on the ride is fishing which the fishermen will teach you by providing the nylon fishing wires, bait in form of prawns and of course the hook. We ended up catching a good haul which is generally then given to some poor people in the village town of Mahabalipuram.

Another fun activity is they will ask you to jump into the sea after taking you out into the open sea. This will help you lose fear of water as you would be wearing life jacket and expert fishermen are by your side. We avoided this activity due to fear of getting stung by jelly fish.

One very exciting thing we saw during the catamaran ride was the top of the submerged temples of Mahabalipuram which were part of the same temple complex as the shore temple. During the fateful Tsunami in India, these temples were visible due to low tide but since then they are only accessible if you scuba dive and that too with permission of the government.

Overall, we had a wonderful time at Radisson Blu Temple Bay resort thanks to it’s great location, wonderful hospitality and exciting activities on offer. For couple of days, we were totally cocooned from the outside world and were pampered in the lap of luxury. Would definitely recommend this resort for at least 2 days and 1 night trip if you are visiting Chennai or Pondicherry. A perfect blend of leisure facilities alongside state-of-the-art conference and wedding venues, Radisson Blu Resort Temple Bay is an ideal getaway for both corporates and families.

You can follow Radisson Blu Resort Temple Bay, Mamallapuram on Facebook here. More information about Bodhi Spa is available on Facebook here.

Sharjah – just the name reminds you of amazing cricket matches between India and Pakistan played since the ’80s! The city in the middle of the desert had the unique distinction of hosting maximum number of Cricket One Day Internationals in the world! Now Sharjah has become the gateway to the Arab world and it’s main tourist attraction too! If you are ever around Sharjah either for transit or for visit, you must absolutely visit Centro Sharjah which is one of the best and affordable hotels in the area.

If you alight in Sharjah International Airport, either to catch a transit flight or to go to Dubai and Abu Dhabi, it would be worth your while to have a layover stay at Rotana’s Centro Sharjah hotel just adjacent to the airport. What I liked as soon as I entered was the huge atrium which was very inviting and spacious. It had lot of elements of the Arab world like palm trees, exquisite paintings and was really cool even in the hot Arab summer.

Perched in close proximity to the Sharjah International airport and the SAIF zone business hub, the hotel is the perfect haven for the next generation traveller offering style, sophistication and value. Centro by Rotana won the Best Budget Hotel in 2012 during the Business Travellers Award Middle East. It’s not too tough to understand why. The rooms are spacious for 1 or 2 travelers who are primarily traveling on business or are going via transit. The rooms were very tastefully done with artistic decor and drapes.

We arrived at Kuala Lumpur for the celebration of our #HalfADecade Marriage Anniversary! We immediately headed to Westin Kuala Lumpur which hosted our stay. The Westin KL is a perfect place for tourists seeking beauty, luxury, comfort, and convenience in the heart of Kuala Lumpur.

Westin KL provided travel from airport to the hotel which was really welcome after a long night of travel via Air Asia flight from Bangalore to Kuala Lumpur! We arrived in style at Westin Kuala Lumpur and check-in was a very smooth process which was done directly in our room.

A Warm Welcome From Westin KL Staff.

The Westin Welcome Drink to Savor the Reception.

Westin KL Kids Club Welcomed Reyansh. With balloons and chocolate creations!

Living areas featured elegant wood floors, a cream-colored sofa covered with colorful pillows, and a glass coffee table.

We could relax with a 46-inch flat screen TV with a DVD/CD player in bedroom. Westin KL arranged a crib for Reyansh so that he could sleep in it comfortably. King-sized Westin Blissful and Comfortable Bed and an oasis of lush sheets, down cushioning, and a patented pillow-top mattress.

Separate bedroom in the Suite! Marble floors and counters as well as windows for overlooking the city.

Westin view from Bathtub! Just Amazing, Reyansh enjoyed bathing in it.

Lunch at Prego! Scallops and Crab were superb and lip-smacking! Scallops were soft and had fleshy texture and delicately mild sweet flavor. The crab was colorful and tasted extremely well. We loved it!

Enjoyed SuperFoodsRx Brunch, Live Cooking Show near Splash Pool!

Met Westin SuperFoodsRx Chef! Very polite and well mannered.

Westin Kids Club! The Westin Family Kids Club is an interactive environment that offers fun, games, and educational activities. Rey enjoyed his time there; we got a little break too!


Bon Appetit Lunch at Westin! We had Eggs Benedict, Museli, milkshake and Grilled Chicken. Tasty and distinct flavored dishes.

Eggs Benedict, poached eggs over bacon and buttered toasted English muffin, topped with Hollandaise sauce.

Muesli is a fiber and protein-rich brunch based on raw, rolled oats. Very healthy brunch milkshake!

Grilled Chicken was marinated with a unique blend of seasonings and grilled for a tender and juicy backyard-grilled taste. My all time favorite, I just love non-veg!

Our #HalfADecade Marriage Anniversary Celebration!

Westin KL surprised us with the anniversary cake, and that gesture touched me! The cake was marvelous and DELICIOUS! Thank you, Westin KL.

Our Anniversary Dinner was special, indeed very special. Our table was decorated with rose petals. We enjoyed the occasion with Salad and Chicken! Fitting dinner, Ambiance was good, the selection was extensive, and overall dining experience was above expectation.

Anniversary Bed Room Decoration! It was fabulous and decorated with balloons and roses.

A Refreshing Swim in Splash Pool! Enjoyed swimming after a long time, it was incredible. I loved this salt water swimming pool.

Send off from Westin KL!

Dhempe’s ratings:
Value: 9/10
Location: 10/10
Cleanliness and Sleep Quality: 9.5/10
Service: 9/10
Wifi: Yes. Incredibly fast

For more information, please visit The Westin KL’s official site.

The Westin Kuala Lumpur
199 Jalan Bukit Bintang
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Ph. (60)(3) 27318333

The rooms at the Westin KL are relatively large luxurious and very comfortable. It is great value for money. Service staff at front desk and breakfast eatery are very courteous and attentive. Breakfast is delicious and has a huge variety. Very conveniently located near restaurants, malls, busy streets. 10/10 had a fantastic stay, and I will be back soon!

Aseania Resort & Spa Langkawi is one of Langkawi’s premier business and holiday resort. Situated to the south of the island, providing sanctuary with easy access to just about everything Langkawi has to offer, for business or pleasure.

Enjoyed a great escapade to one of the glamorous resorts with welcoming warmth from the friendly Hotel staffs of Aseania Resort & Spa Langkawi. Sitting elegantly at the core of Pantai Tengah, resort branded a 4-star resort that has plenty to offer. Situated just 2 minutes walking distance away from the Underwater World and Pantai Cenang, our resort is one of the most visited ones around the area.

Aseania Resort & Spa Langkawi – Facilities!

A place where you can find fancy restaurants, sizzling night entertainment, first class spa treatments and one of the largest swimming pool in Malaysia along with its mini theme parks is all in the heart of Aseania Resort & Spa Langkawi, the coolest and hottest resort spa around the island. For business or leisure, they have something to offer by helping us to achieve the best of both worlds.

Water Splashing Fun – Mini Water Theme Park!

Myself and Rey Enjoying!

Aseania Laguna Resort doesn’t have just one pool; it has FIVE! MWTP located at the core of the resort, this magical wonderland is perfect for both adults and younglings. We can enjoy the adrenalin rush while starting on a journey of the water slides. They also feature both indoor and outdoors pool, which makes this a plus point for many.

If you love the warmth of the sun that highlighted with a hint of greens along with human-made stone sculpture, then dive into the outdoor pools; whereas if you fancy a quiet and calmly swimming experience, the indoor pool is a better selection. But the pool was more colorful in Night. I loved it!

Mahsuri Kitchen – Culinary Delights!

A heart-warming restaurant is a great hideout whenever you are looking to fill your stomach with yummy delicacies. Culinary Haven is perfect for food lovers. Mahsuri’s Kitchen as well as the Pool Bar both have excellent selections of different local and western cuisine, and it’s delicious!

Had Crab Curry for Lunch!


Grilled Chicken with Salad for lunch!

Aseania Seafood Restaurant!

It had an expansive menu and guaranteed to satisfy even the most discerning palate. This place was super good! It’s very well-priced compared to other restaurants in the area.

Showtime at Aseania Laguna!

Malay’s Cultural Show!

Fire Eater’s Show!

Fantastic entertainment and the live was just brilliant. An Exhibition of Malaysian traditional singing adjacent with some fairly exciting fire dancing. It’s a not-to-be-missed by any visitant to Langkawi.

Perfect Deluxe Room!

Our Bed Room!

Our Living Room!

The deluxe room was spacious and efficient in decor. The comfortable queen size bed, sufficient working space including a desk with well placed electrical outlets, wifi, a mini fridge and even a small divan and table, provided all the facilities I needed at my fingertips. And despite the Aseania being very family oriented and kid friendly, it was surprisingly quiet and relaxing.

Marrakesh Musicteque Club – Rey with Camel!

Speed Boat Parasailing – 5 Star Quality!

A holiday in Langkawi is never complete without a proper tour of the island. The speed boat parasailing went incredibly smooth, and the refreshing thing is that they launch you from a special boat directly from the water. The scene was breathtaking, as Langkawi itself and its surroundings are phenomenal. You can fly so high that you are at the same level with the Eagles which roam around the island. One of the highlights of our trip to Langkawi. #HalfADecade Marriage Anniversary.


Hotel ambiance and the environment were excellent. The swimming pool was fantastic, and the best is the location walkable from the beach and the main shopping area. Rooms were spacious, and staffs were friendly.

Dubai is the hub of tourism right now in Asia. Considering that it has one of the busiest transit airports in the world, many are taking time out for a couple of days in between their transit from West to East by enjoying a couple of days in Dubai. With some wonderful things to do like Ski in a snow world inside a mall and dune bashing in deserts, Dubai is definitely the hottest tourist attraction in the world right now!

If you are looking for accomodation in Dubai, look no further than Holiday Inn Dubai – Al Barsha. Set in the heart of New Dubai, Holiday Inn Dubai Al Barsha is a perfect blend of contemporary design and classic elegance. The hotel has 309 rooms including 54 suites. Each room is equipped with the latest facilities, tastefully decorated to meet every guest’s needs and comfort. It is just 2 minutes walk from Saraf DG metro station which connects you to Dubai International Airport Terminal 1 and Terminal 3.

Holiday Inn Dubai Al Barsha is just 1 metro stop/ 5 minutes walk away from the Mall of Emirates which has got some amazing entertainment and dining options. You could enjoy Ski there in an artificial snow world or catch latest movies too. If you don’t want to move away from your hotel, you can experience the award winning restaurants The Royal Budha (Fine Dining -Thai), Gharana (Casual Dining – Indian) and Xennya Terrace (Rooftop Terrace) as well as bars, banquet facilities and impeccable service.

Whenever you hear of Pushkar, your mind automatically thinks about the famous Pushkar Camel Fair which happens in the months of October or November every year. Few people inclined towards mythology may also know that Pushkar has the only Brahma temple in the world. Other than that, Pushkar doesn’t seem to entice much interest in people. But did you know that it’s a wonderful hideaway from Jaipur and even Delhi?

Pushkar Resorts in Pushkar is just about 150 kms from Jaipur which is a short 2.5 hours drive on the 6 lane highway connecting Jaipur and Ajmer. This is National Highway 8 upon which you can cruise easily at over 120 KMPH and there are plethora of culinary options on the Highway where you can stop to try out some amazing Rajasthani & North Indian Cuisine. Kuber Resorts and Hotel Highway King are some of the more popular names.

When you plan to come to Pushkar Resorts, get a taxi from Jaipur which can take you on a sight-seeing trip of Ajmer specially the world famous Ajmer Sharif Dargah and the brahma temple/ sarovar in Pushkar. After a hectic half day trip of sight-seeing, you can retire at Pushkar Resorts just 5 kms off Pushkar as we did. What we instantly liked as we walked in was the massive swimming pool and the sprawling lawns in the property.

Recently on my trip to Jaipur, I was looking for nearby visits which are not more than 150-200kms around that area so that we don’t get stressed with the travel and still enjoy the vacation. I realized that Ajmer and Pushkar can be done within a day’s time where you visit the World famous Ajmer Sharif dargah which is flocked by people from all faiths and also the Brahma temple and Pushkar Sarovar in Pushkar. But then I was thinking it would be too stressful a journey so was looking forward to some good accommodation around Pushkar when I found out about Pushkar Resorts on social media!

The beautiful cottages at Pushkar Resorts which are adorned with flowering plants and creepers definitely interested me as I’m a nature lover. The serenity of the location along with wonderful weather during the winter months made me choose Pushkar Resorts as Sewara Hospitality is known for it’s world class service. The rooms were tastefully anointed with colorful paints and Rajasthani embroidery.

All the latest amenities are available in these cottages like air conditioning and even heater which is very much required in the winter months. Room service is quite efficient but as it is quite far away from civilization, it’s better to have emergency medicines available with you in case you require any. The mood of the lighting in the room is quite subdued and it is quite warm too.

If you feel hungry from your jaunts across the property, swim in the vast swimming pool or from playing outdoor/indoor games, you can head to the restaurant which is in a villa of it’s own. There is the best of North Indian food available to suit your taste buds and in case you request for it, you would even get some Rajasthani specialty dishes like Dal Bhati Choorma!

Dreams do come true! I have been a fan of the Harry Potter Universe since I was introduced to the 4th book “Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire” way back in early 2003 in Stylus; and then started reading all the old books to get up to speed before the next book released in June 2003! I was such an addict to the Harry Potter series that I actually came to my office during a weekend to read the pirated PDF version of “Harry Potter and the Order of Phoenix” as I didn’t have access to any other computer then! I was elated when I won the last book “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows” in 2007 in Accenture and I again finished the humongous book in just a weekend! So imagine how I would have felt when I reached “The Making of Harry Potter” Warner Bros Studio Tour in London finally!!

As part of the “Food is Great Britain” long haul food bloggers trip, I landed in London and after checking in at the stunningly located Cheval Three Quays right next to the Tower Bridge, started on the trip of a lifetime to one of the most popular new tourist attractions in London – Warner Bros. Studio Tour of “The Making of Harry Potter”. Golden Tours, one of the leading tour operators in UK, runs regular trips all over Britain not just for the WB Studio Tour. The hangars which used to produce fighter planes in World War II in 2000 became home to sets where the highest-grossing film series ever was shot!

As soon as we entered into “Warner Bros. Studio Tour London – The Making of Harry Potter”, we saw one of the most unforgettable locations in the Harry Potter film series – The Great Hall! How many of us have not wanted to be sitting in this great hall with Harry, Hermoine and Ron being a part of Gryffindor! It was wonderful to see the original customes used by the actors kept next to the tables and all the 4 houses of Hogwarts represented in the small hall which appeared to be a Great Hall in the movies! The table has some of the graffiti by the cast too as they thought of it as their own school!

The guides at the Making of Harry Potter tour were very knowledgeable and explained to us many aspects of film-making like how make up was done, what kind of props were used for the filming, some interesting anecdotes during the shooting, etc. It was great to see the guides talking passionately about the movies and they looked like Potter fans too! Did you know that the Greyback makeup effects artists developed a seven-piece silicone prosthetic mask for Greyback’s werewolf face? Each prosthetic was made with real goat hair that was inserted strand-by-strand!

One of the best movies I love in Harry Potter series is “Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban”. It featured some really cool sets like this time piece which was constantly being shown in the background to showcase that time is running out on Harry Potter and his friends! It was wonderful to see this along with the customes worn by the lead cast which were significantly different from the other movies as director Alfonso Cuaron (of controversial movie ‘Y Tu Mama Tambien’ fame) wanted to give the movie an edgy feel!

The art department designed the Potions classroom to appear as though it were located in a dark, underground corner of the castle. The brass-leafed archways are inscribed with the Latin and English names of potion ingredients and rare minerals, all selected from ancient alchemy recipes. Students brewed their potions using old-fashioned, gas-powered Bunsen burners and among the ingredients kept on the classroom shelves were baked animal bones from a local butcher shop and dried leaves and herbs. It was also nice to see potions master Professor Snape’s custome there, who is indeed the half-blood prince!

I liked the fact that film-making was very well explained through many of the display items in the WB Studio Tour of Making of Harry Potter. Showcasing these vehicles including Hagrid’s motorcycle against a green screen with visuals playing at the back about how green screen shooting happens, helped everyone understand the entire film-making process. It was wonderful to see so much effort being put into creating each of these vehicles exactly similar to the ones described in the books, right down to the detail!

I tried my hands at few of the spells which were taught to me by enthusiastic guides and I must say I did manage to master a few, especially “Expecto Patronum” which is the Patronus Charm! I guess my animal was a HippoGriff cause I saw a moving Buckbeak next!!

In the back lot, I took a ride in Hagrid’s motorcyle which reminded me of Sholay movie and also the 22 foot tall Knight Bus! It seems the Knight Bus was created from pieces of three vintage London double-deckers. 2 versions of the bus were built – one that was motorised and able to be driven; and one which was the ‘stunt’ version which spun around on a turntable! Interior shots of the Knight Bus were filmed on a soundstage though! At the back you can see Number four, Privet Drive which was the house of Harry Potter for 11 years and also during most of his summer holidays!

The Creature Effects section was excellent, specially the life size robots which were created for shooting. Aragog, the giant spider, had an 18-foot leg span and was covered by hand with yak hair, sisal (a fibrous plant of the agave family) and hemp from brooms. The animatronic figure was so complex that it required nearly 100 technicians to operate each time! The head of the Basilisk was huge and could be moved by animatronics too!

Finally the jewel in the crown of the art department was the intricately detailed model of the Hogwarts castle. Built for the first film, Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, the model’s every courtyard, tower and turret were filmed and enhanced with digital effects to create unforgettably realistic views of the magical school. It was great to see how you can differentiate between day and night versions of this castle by the lights dimming and lighting up across this model. Most of the special effects scenes were shot with this model and not the real set. The work on the model itself was so extensive that if one was to add all the man hours that have gone into building and reworking the model, it would come to over 74 years!

I would suggest everyone going to the UK to definitely make a trip to “Warner Bros Studio Tour – The Making of Harry Potter” as it is one of the best ways you can spend your 3-4 hours just 1 hour away from central London. Golden Tours operate regular buses but remember that you must book your tickets in advance. No tickets will be available at the venue.

The new Battle of Bannockburn Visitor Centre in Scotland harnesses 3D technology to bring Scottish history to life. You can stand shoulder-to-shoulder with medieval warriors and armored knights while learning about the tactics of two opposing kings in a truly immersive experience. You can also Witness the sights and sounds of medieval battle first-hand including ancient battle strategies, weapons and armor. Each visit takes you through thrilling 3D interpretation of characters and events as you Prepare for Battle and culminates in a visit to the Battle Room.

To fully enjoy the experience, it is strongly recommended to take part in an interactive BATTLE GAME led by the Battlemaster, which includes a demonstration of how Scotland triumphed in 1314. Alternatively, you can just hear how events panned out in 1314 with a short Battle Show, narrated by academics Dr Fiona Watson & Dr Tony Pollard.

As most of you know, I have been blogging on and off for more than 12 years now both in a personal capacity and for brands and events. Recently I got an amazing opportunity to be part of a 30 member blogger team from all over the world who were invited by Visit Britain to tour their amazing country by experiencing it first hand! This 30 member team was from all over the world but I was the only Indian in it! I was a part of the 5 member long haul food bloggers team which spent 2 days in London and 4 days in Scotland to experience amazing food and travel experiences!

Our first stop was the fabulous Cheval Three Quays serviced apartments in the heart of London, right next to Tower Bridge and Tower of London! Serviced Apartments are becoming a credible alternative to world’s finest hotels in London, attested by the arrival of a striking new collection of 97 serviced and 62 extended stay luxurious apartments at Cheval Three Quays, which opened on 10th March 2014 next to the Tower of London alongside the River Thames. Bed rooms and bath rooms were spacious and included every amenity required!

Cheval Three Quays is the latest desirable address from luxury apartment specialists Cheval Residences which already offer seven beautiful residences in some of London’s most sought after locations. The spacious and elegant one, two and three-bedroom apartments at Cheval Three Quays have dramatic floor to ceiling windows allowing guests un-obscured views of the River Thames with most featuring private glass and steel balconies with spectacular views including the Tower of London, City Hall and the Shard.

Each of us were staying in a 2 bedroom/2 bathroom apartments which was shared with a fellow blogger. My apartment mate was Lee Abbamonte who claims to be the youngest American to visit EVERY country! Unfortunately I couldn’t talk to him much as we both were tired from long journeys to London and he left early the next day to Scotland for adventure blogging, I’m following him on Twitter and hopefully will take tips from him sometime soon!

My room had wonderful view of the legendary Tower Bridge which is an iconic landmark of London along with Tower of London. I was surprised to know that this is NOT London Bridge as we hear in nursery rhymes. I saw a documentary about Tower of London being an execution place for high profile criminals and a heavy security jail many centuries back so I was a bit scared hoping that it’s not haunted as I was just staying opposite to it!

This is the video I made from the pent house at Cheval Three Quays, London where we had our breakfast with brilliant views all around. I have mentioned how we could see the world famous Shard and Tower Bridge very clearly from our rooms itself! I would definitely recommend this place over any other hotel as you have the flexibility to make your own meal and have easy accessibility to all the touristy places.

We were blessed with wonderful weather while in London so we had some brilliant views of the Shard, London Eye, Tower Bridge and Tower of London in the evenings too! It was calm and peaceful in the evening to just have a cocktail or tea and see the cruises on River Thames with the entire London skyline lit up before you. It was a bit chilly though so it was important to always wear a jacket or pull over as Spring was just ending and Summer was around the corner.

During breakfast at Cheval Three Quays London, I loved these pancakes with dollops of honey and topped up with fried eggs. I’m a big fan of pancakes but loved to see this version of it. I asked for seconds and from the likes of it, world’s top travel and food bloggers liked it too!

Another dish was brownies with sausages on top of them. I didn’t find this dish very interesting as I didn’t feel they mixed well. But it seemed to be a hit with Europeans. I guess it caters to their taste buds.

Stay of 2 nights at Cheval Three Quays London was excellent as they were like home away from home in the heart of one of the biggest and historically important cities in the World! I’m looking forward to my next stay there with my family for a longer duration when we could cook inside itself and save up money to do more travelling! Here is a 360 degrees vine video I made from the pent house showcasing brilliant views around!

2 of the best unwinding options in Whitefield area of Bengaluru are the Best Brews lounge and The Eatery restaurant at Four Points by Sheraton Whitefield Bengaluru. Best brews reminded me of Old Bangalore due to it’s decor which has been inspired by The Bangalore Club in the 1960s and 1970s. The recreation of how socialite parties used to happen then including a variety of section of people was well depicted on the walls of Best Brews lounge.

Each wall is dedicated to a special memory of Bengaluru like Transport in Bangalore in the 1970s or People in Bangalore in the 1970s. The team has painstakingly collected some wonderful memories of Bangalore or got them recreated them via talented artists to give feel of Bangalore of 1960s and 70s to visitors to the city or people who grew up here as well!

At the start of the Beer Master Class at the Signature Best Brews bar, Anjali Mehra, Assistant Director – Marketing & Communications, South Asia for Starwood Hotels and Resorts introduced us to the team behind the successful creation of Four Points by Sheraton Whitefield Bengaluru and of course Chef Michael Swamy and Karl the bartender.

I have traveled to many countries in the world like United States for official conferences, Hong Kong for video blogging, South Africa for Travel blogging/Cricket blogging and Sri Lanka for photo blogging. Each of them have been interesting in their own ways and one of the main differentiating factors have been the food destinations in each of these countries. Being a foodie, I love to explore amazing food that each destination has to offer and try out however unpleasant it may look like or smell like!

I would love to visit the wonderful country of Malaysia, which embodies the soul of entire Asia in just 1 country! Following are the 5 amazing food destinations I would like to try out in Malaysia:

Jalan Alor market, Kuala Lumpur

Jalan Alor market in the heart of Kuala Lumpur has got a bustling nightlife scene with regards to hundreds of food trucks dishing out yummy fare to thousands of hungry locals and tourists who want to enjoy a slice of fusion of cuisines available in Malaysia. You can also get into the many “Kedai Mamak” (Curry Houses) or “Kedai Kopi” (Coffee Shops) to mingle with the locals who mostly know English and chat with them and ask them for suggestions before trying out some local fare. The food cost is very easy on the pocket too and thus you can do a food trail with very less investment from your side!

Cameron Highlands, Pahang

Cameron Highlands in Pahang is Malaysia’s largest hill resort. There is a British culture here of having scones with your afternoon tea while you enjoy the cool weather and taste some fine produce of strawberries and vegetables. I would love to see the picturesque view of flourishing tea plantations while I enjoy a refreshing cup of tea.

Petronas Twin Towers, Kuala Lumpur

I would like to enjoy amazing views of World’s tallest twin towers – Petronas Twin Towers while enjoying a meal at a restaurant in Bukit Nanas tower. Having a glass of wine while eating a salmon while looking over the amazing skyline gives an exhilarating feeling of power and success!

Hawker food at George Town, Penang

George Town, the lively capital of Penang, has over 200 years of history and cultural heritage under its belt. It is renowned for its mouth-watering food, attracting steady streams of foodies from around the world to its warm shores. I would love to try out some amazing food from all over the world here with special emphasis on British and Malay food!

Tunku Abdul Rahman Marine Park, Sabah

Popular among divers and ecotourists, Tunk Abdul Rahman park’s relatively shallow waters are filled with an abundance of corals and aquatic species perfect for snorkelling and diving for beginners. It’s also an amazing place to have BBQ lunch or dinner overlooking the ocean where you can relax with family and friends.

So the above 5 are my most favorite food destinations in Malaysia which I would like to explore this year! Hope my dream comes true and I can make all these dream experiences true!


Being in corporate world for over 15 years in India and having traveled to US and Europe for client meetings, I have always felt that face to face meetings are much better than virtual meetings because they add that human touch and seriousness to the meetings. Of course it may not be possible to do it every month but at least having a meeting once every year or every two years makes sense because you work day in and day out with a client so it’s wonderful to meet them and interact with them on a personal level. Looks like my feelings were right as I recently read a case study by Crowne Plaza Hotels & Resorts which said that companies could be losing up to a staggering 24% of additional revenue by replacing face to face meetings with virtual meetings. That is a shocking statistic considering that they surveyed more than 2,000 business men and women across five major countries like UK, USA, UAE, China and of course India!

To drive home the point about how virtual meetings are taken too casually, Crowne Plaza Hotels & Resorts was surprised to find that 12% of people who attend virtual meetings take it in their pajamas and around 6% of people went a step too far and took their business calls from the beach! How unprofessional!

Global survey conducted by IHG group of which Crowne Plaza Hotels & Resorts is a part, also found out some perceptions of business people on what constitutes a good business meeting. It seems business meetings work the best when you meet on Monday or Tuesday of a week during the morning hours. That seems to be the timing for a successful meeting.

Some of the physical aspects of having a successful business meeting are the need for a comfortable temperature – not too hot, neither too cold; comfortable chairs so that there is no back pain during long meetings, natural sunlight seeping into the room so that it makes the room feel bright and fresh and of course a capable meetings facilitator who keeps the meeting on track. It is interesting that most of these requirements are already taken care very effectively by Crowne Plaza hotels & resorts.

While researching about the choice of place where business people would like to have their business meetings, 68% of the respondents mentioned meeting rooms in the office and another 54% said office board room. A healthy 48% did mention that hotel conference rooms are their favorite choices. It’s not hard to see why, as the environment in a hotel conference room is professional with great service and is totally devoid of distraction! Crowne Plaza properties offer comprehensive meetings and event facilities, ensuring guests can work productively, connect with colleagues, and re-energize in order to perform at the top of their game. Crowne Plaza hotels & resorts has an established signature meetings program and three initiatives across the brand: the Crowne Plaza Meetings Director; a two-hour response guarantee to all requests-for-proposal; and a daily meeting debrief on expenses.

For a successful business meeting, it is important to build a rapport with the client or customer by doing ‘small talk’ which also helps in building trust. Some of the popular topics during ‘small talk’ are News and Current Affairs, Weather, Industry News and Social Media. Doing small talk doesn’t work very well with online or virtual meetings the way they work with face to face meetings. In that sense, this is a very significant finding!

There is a flip side to “face to face” meetings too. Users tend to fiddle with their smart phones, which has been voted as the top meeting nuisance of all time! No wonder then that over 69% of users leave their smart phone behind before they think of serious work during a business meeting.

To be well prepared for any meeting, you need to know a lot about your business associates. Facebook and LinkedIn lead with over 42% share of the market right now if you see the aspect of researching, but surprisingly new entrant to the research club is WeChat App where 40% of the respondents try to know more about their business associates.

In the wake of this survey commissioned by Crowne Plaza hotels of IHG group, the inference is that a face to face meeting in a hotel conference room is one of the most preferred options for everyone. With nearly 400 hotels in more than 65 countries which are located in major urban centres, gateway cities and resort destinations worldwide; Crowne Plaza Hotels & Resorts is one of the first choices of business people for arranging face to face meetings. It also provides services and features that enable guests to enhance their productivity giving them a performance edge to drive their career success. Crowne Plaza Hotels & Resorts understands the needs of meeting planners and attendees and delivers the right tools and services to ensure that each meeting is a success.

The research was carried out by TNS Global in August 2013. 2,170 respondents were questioned across UK, USA, India, China and the UAE.

Having traveled to many countries like USA, England, Scotland, South Africa, Hong Kong, Sri Lanka and Thailand for travel and food blogging; I was looking forward to visiting the city-country Singapore. What better time to do it than during the 50th anniversary celebrations of “The Red Dot”! Thanks to Singapore Tourism Board & Tigerair, my dream of experiencing Singapore like a tourist and a local, is going to be true from 17th June to 21st June 2015!

The entire city-country is celebrating the Golden Jubilee this year, specifically this June. There are some very exciting deals on flights, hotels, restaurants and more. But it can get overwhelming sometimes to gather all the information. How do we go about getting the most accurate and verified information very quickly and at one place? is the site which comes to your rescue! It is one of the best tourism sites I have ever seen which gathers all the information required in one place. You have information on what to “See & Do”, “Festivals & Events” which might be happening when you are there, where to “Eat & Drink”, where to “Shop” & “Stay” and of course an entire section on “Know Singapore” before you arrive so you can familiarize yourself!

Singapore has always been on top of my mind for a wonderful vacation as it is a boiling pot of all Asian cultures like Chinese, Malaysian, Indian and Japanese and yet retains a very cosmopolitan approach. But I used to be always under the impression that flight tickets to Singapore are very expensive especially when you don’t plan well in advance. But boy was I going to be proven wrong, and how!

I had been hearing about Tigerair which has been offering very competitive pricing from India to Singapore and beyond. But I had also heard that they had stopped services temporarily from Bangalore around 2010. But luckily they restarted the services from the ever efficient Bengaluru International Kempegowda airport couple of years back. I checked out Tigerair website and was pleasantly surprised to know that they fly to more than 80 destinations worldwide via connecting flights from almost all the major metros in India!

The Tigerair website is very easy to use and cuts down the flak which is seen in many airways websites. You can put the origin and destination airports, select round trip or one way and of course the dates, and you will be presented with all the available options with their prices. There are no hidden charges as everything is inclusive of taxes and fees. I liked the way they had 2 prices – “Light” pricing which has no frills like meals but still gives access to 10KG of baggage and “Combo” pricing which is more effective as it includes meals and preferred seating apart from 10KG baggage of course.

Tigerair cuts all the frills related to Air travel which generally increases the cost of your tickets. Lot of times many people are traveling just for tourism or business purposes. They wouldn’t be carrying a lot of luggage but still we end up paying premium for the tickets because of lot of surcharges like baggage and meals. Tigerair does away with these frills but still allows you to buy extra baggage allowance online itself in case you have done more shopping on your way back. If you are a person who has not been able to have a bite before boarding the flight, you can always pre-order a specific meal in both vegetarian and non-vegetarian options. I liked the simplicity in which all these can be chosen with no hidden charges.

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