Follow:
Browsing Category:

Singapore

    10 of the best cat cafes in the world

    I have a confession to make. I have a full blown cat addiction, and, I’m not even sorry. Those soft little ears, twitching tails and indifferent faces cast a spell that have us dashing around the globe and visiting enough cat cafes to have a shortlist of 10 of the best cat cafes in the world. All the while a sleepy little tabby cat snoozes at home in London…

    The Best Places Long Weekend in Budapest Adventures of a London Kiwi

    Once we’ve booked flights and perused hotels, Google searching for a cat cafe is one of the first things I do – and I’ve been accused of carrying out those 3 tasks in a slightly different order. It’s something I can neither confirm nor deny, but we do have a rather high hit rate of booking accommodation close to cat cafes. I’ll just leave that there, shall I?

    Read more

    Share:

    The Best Hotel Breakfasts In The World (So Far)

    Like the brunch queen I am, I couldn’t help myself and put together a list of the best hotel breakfasts we have enjoyed so far around the world – they say “eat breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince, and dinner like a pauper” and I can’t help but agree. These are all favourites for a myriad of reasons – and every single hotel that we stayed in and listed, has excellent coffee and was part of an adventure.

    Luxury Hotel Cornwall The Scarlet Newquay Adventures of a London Kiwi

    The locations vary from Texas to Cornwall, from Budapest to Gibraltar but all have beautiful food, something special about them, and I would love to revisit every single one of them for retesting purposes.

    Read more

    Share:

    An Iconic Luxury Hotel Review: Raffles, Singapore

    A raffia fan slowly spun as motes fell through the heavy sunshine. Seated in the gorgeous foyer, I was welcomed to the Raffles Hotel first by the immaculately liveried Sikh doorman and then checked in smoothly with a Singapore Sling in hand.

    Raffles Luxury Hotel Review Singapore Adventures of a London Kiwi

    Raffles Luxury Hotel Review Singapore Adventures of a London Kiwi

    Disclaimer: As a guest of Raffles Hotel I paid a press rate for my suite, but my swooning prose is very much original and unaffected.

    After sitting for less than 5 minutes, I was welcomed by Li – my personal butler for the duration of my stay – who ushered me through the marble corridors to my very own suite. She smiled from ear to ear,  welcoming me effusively to her home of Singapore.

    Read more

    Share:

    A luxury stay at the Marina Bay Sands Hotel, Singapore

    When I had planned a few days in Singapore, I knew there were only two hotels that I wanted to stay in. They couldn’t be more different in almost every way, and both of them fascinated me.

    A Luxury stay at the Marina Bay Sands Hotel Infinity Pool Singapore Adventures of a London Kiwi

    A Luxury stay at the Marina Bay Sands Hotel Infinity Pool Singapore Adventures of a London Kiwi

    For my first night, the Marina Bay Sands Hotel called my name. The striking three tower edifice has 2,561 hotel rooms, a 120,000-square-metre (1,300,000 sq ft) convention-exhibition centre, the 74,000 m2 (800,000 sq ft) The Shoppes at Marina Bay Sands mall, a museum, two large theatres, “celebrity chef” restaurants, two floating Crystal Pavilions, a skating rink, and the world’s largest atrium. Crazy, no?

    But honestly, I booked it for the infamous infinity pool on the 57th floor.

    A Luxury stay at the Marina Bay Sands Hotel Infinity Pool Singapore Adventures of a London Kiwi

    I rolled into the enormous lobby at 9am, straight off my red-eye flight from Auckland (I’d enjoyed the spa facilities of Changi airport to freshen up first) and simply gazed up at the sky-high internal atrium. Relieved of my hefty suitcase straight away by the concierge team, I strolled straight up to the check-in desk, knowing full well that my check-in wasn’t until 3pm, and though my room wasn’t ready yet (until 10am she thought) I was given access keys to take me up to the 57th floor for a swim if I’d wanted to – but I decided a taste of breakfast was in order instead.

    I strolled into RISE Restaurant only to be surrounded by a lavish buffet spread. There was an eye-wateringly wide variety of international cuisines (apparently all made from sustainable ingredients sourced from responsible farmers locally and in the region).

    A Luxury stay at the Marina Bay Sands Hotel Infinity Pool Singapore Adventures of a London Kiwi

    A Luxury stay at the Marina Bay Sands Hotel Infinity Pool Singapore Adventures of a London Kiwi

    Around about 10am as promised I received an email (as asked) to let me know that my room was ready and that my suitcase was already waiting for me on the 34th floor.

    My bedroom view doesn’t look real, does it?

    A Luxury stay at the Marina Bay Sands Hotel Infinity Pool Singapore Adventures of a London Kiwi

    The decor was a bit fusty, which I know is not a proper piece of design jargon, but the look they went for definitely doesn’t go with the rest of the building or even the general vibe of the city.

    That said, everything was immaculate; everything you could possibly need was in the generously sized room (bloggers business desk for posing working, widescreen TV, plush robes, terrace for breakfasting), my bed was divinely comfortable (especially after that flight)

    A Luxury stay at the Marina Bay Sands Hotel Infinity Pool Singapore Adventures of a London Kiwi

    A Luxury stay at the Marina Bay Sands Hotel Infinity Pool Singapore Adventures of a London Kiwi

    One of my favourite holiday moments was seeing Sarah (The Wanderblogger’s) enormous smile float up the escalator and our running start to an enormous and very overdue hug. We spent much of my 48 hours in Singapore seeing the highlights of her new home city and trying to fit in a whole year of news and gossip.

    A Luxury stay at the Marina Bay Sands Hotel Infinity Pool Singapore Adventures of a London Kiwi

    After a day of exploration and excitedly watching the sky for signs of sunset, we skipped back to the hotel and made our way to the 57th floor. The infinity pool, observation deck and a few restaurants/bars make up the top deck of the hotel, and spans across all three of the towers.

     

    A Luxury stay at the Marina Bay Sands Hotel Infinity Pool Singapore Adventures of a London Kiwi

    We paddled around the adults-only pool (there are 3 that stretch along the building’s length) and whilst it was busy, it wasn’t uncomfortably so which I suspect is pure luck. As the night wore on, the pool cleared out even more as normal people went to dinner – but we just floated and tried to get our fill of the view.

    And a couple of selfies without dropping our phones into the pool…

    A Luxury stay at the Marina Bay Sands Hotel Infinity Pool Singapore Adventures of a London Kiwi

    A Luxury stay at the Marina Bay Sands Hotel Infinity Pool Singapore Adventures of a London Kiwi

    Check out my sunburn ^^.

    A Luxury stay at the Marina Bay Sands Hotel Infinity Pool Singapore Adventures of a London Kiwi

    A Luxury stay at the Marina Bay Sands Hotel Infinity Pool Singapore Adventures of a London Kiwi

    And the view as the sun set and we ordered a cocktail from the pool side bartenders was ok I guess…

    A Luxury stay at the Marina Bay Sands Hotel Infinity Pool Singapore Adventures of a London Kiwi

    Wrapping ourselves in freshly warmed towels we wandered back down to my terrace, from which we could see the nightly light show set to a pulsing soundtrack, the Supertree Grove alight with vibrant hues. Alas after nearly 15 hours of walking through the tropical heat of Singapore, our eyelids were drooping. Sarah made her way home, and I was practically asleep before the door closed behind her.

    A Luxury stay at the Marina Bay Sands Hotel Infinity Pool Singapore Adventures of a London Kiwi

    Setting my alarm for early the next morning (the BEST thing about jet lag) I threw my swimsuit and robe on and made my way back up to the 57th floor. Watching the sun break over the horizon from a hot tub was pure bliss. There was a soft warm breeze before the day really heated up, so I made my way over to the pool for a few lazy laps – to be greeted with this pastel perfect city skyline.

    An utterly priceless moment.

    A Luxury stay at the Marina Bay Sands Hotel Infinity Pool Singapore Adventures of a London Kiwi

    Cannily, I had pre-ordered room service breakfast to arrive as I finished up my swim, and spent a leisurely hour warming up on my terrace in the morning sunshine.

    Leaving this vista of my Marina Bay Sands hotel room (and the tempting button that opened the curtains) was hard, but I did have another little mini-adventure planned before I boarded my flight back to the UK…

    A Luxury stay at the Marina Bay Sands Hotel Infinity Pool Singapore Adventures of a London Kiwi

    A Luxury stay at the Marina Bay Sands Hotel Infinity Pool Singapore Adventures of a London Kiwi

    Have you ever booked a hotel simply based on one of the facilities?

    << Pin for later >>

    Hotel in Singapore Marina Bay Sands Adventures of a London Kiwi

    Share:

    How To Move To The Other Side Of The World: A Retrospective

    I honestly can’t pinpoint exactly when I actually decided to move 18,764 km away from the only home I’d ever known, all on my own.

    I was the ripe old age of 19, and not really enjoying my architecture degree. My grades were pretty good, but I remember being frustrated at only learning from books and idealistically thinking ‘how on earth am I supposed to create these amazing spaces if I’ve never actually experienced them?’ 

    I guess looking back that it was just something in my soul that felt right, so right that I announced to all and sundry that I’d be packing my bags, letting my tenancy agreement expire, moving back in with my family and working as hard as I could for year, or until I’d saved up enough to book my flights (and qualify for the visa) – which ever came first. That way, I’d be able to see more of the world, experience some of the most amazing buildings in the world and perhaps get experience working with ancient buildings. 

    Perfecting the blogger pose a decade before it was a thing…

    Visas

    Running a gamut of research, I soon realised that as I missed out on an ancestry visa by a generation (my parents Grandparents were British) and I didn’t have the right qualifications to apply for a sponsored visa, I had to select a Working Holidaymakers visa – although at that time you were only allowed to work for one year of the two years you were allowed in the country*.

    Saving Up

    I interviewed for a pretty basic job in a sleepy town where everyone knew my family, somewhat surprising the interviewer by replying to her query of ‘what are your career aspirations within the company’ with “oh, I just want as many hours as you can give me for about a year – I’m disappearing off to England.” She was surprised, but luckily for me simply nodded and said ‘Huh, fair play to you. When can you start?’

    Getting Inspiration

    Somehow managing to get a 45+ hour roster, and then working a day and a half a week in a second job in a nearby restaurant, with my first pay check I bought a beautiful map of the world, hung it on my wall and measured the distance from New Zealand to London on a long piece of wood. I calculated how much I’d need to save, how long I thought it would take to me to save that up, and marked out the same number of sections on my piece of wood, keeping a marker nearby to colour in every time I caught up to a goal. The name of the game was keep an eye on the prize from the moment I woke up in the morning, to falling asleep at the end of the day.

    Researching

    I can’t tell you how many lunchtime hours I poured over travel guides, devoured tales and daydreamed about balmy evenings on European balconies, a glass of wine in hand. If anyone even mentioned travelling, I would stop them in their tracks, insisting that they tell me every single detail, right down to the sunburns they would end up with and what tacky souvenirs they would bring home. The best advice I was given was to stop in Singapore – as a first time solo female it’s a nice taster of Asia without being too ‘authentic’ whilst on my own.

    Booking Flights & A Hostel

    Eventually I hit my savings target – almost – and began painstakingly researching flights. I plunked myself down in a travel agent’s chair, and we nutted out the best return fare I could get, and I slid out my debit card with an excited shake of the hand. We booked a popular antipodean hostel for the first week I was in London, assuming (wrongly) that I’d be able to find a flat pretty quickly.

    Telling Your Family

    This is quite an important step. They obviously all knew what my end goal was, but somehow I managed to forget to tell my nearest and dearest the date that I’d be flying the nest, or even that I’d booked the flights. I remember standing one late afternoon in my Dad’s kitchen, right next to his calendar, when the subject of travelling came up. ‘Um, Em, are you saving enough to go to England then?’ I turned to him in surprise, and exclaim ‘erm, I’ve actually booked the flights. Did I not tell you?’



    Celebrating

    Planning to fly out just after my 20th birthday, we threw a triple party – a joint birthday for my sister and I (the first in over a decade) and a going away shebang that left us with high spirits and surprisingly mild hangovers. Many of my nearest and dearest attended, new friends, old friends and those self same people that I had been terrorising for travel tales for nearly a year.

    Packing

    This was almost the hardest step. How on earth do you condense your life into 76cm (30 inches) by 48cm (19 inches), and a soft carry-on bag? Having never done it before, I must have repacked a thousand times, got rid of a fair amount to charity, second guessed every remaining item and then sat on it to finally do the zip up.

    Backing Up

    Not changing my mind – that was never going to happen – but literally leaving copies of all my important documents offline with family, and online in secure email accounts, as well as a paper copy that folded into my carry on bag.

    Checking In

    This was it. The moment I’d been waiting for – and I managed to mix up the take off time. Somehow I misread the (copied in triplicate) airplane tickets that said my flight left at 23:00, not 11:00, and we rocked up at Auckland airport, only to be laughed at (fairly) by the airline staff. We wandered off, had lunch, saw friends who worked nearby and then re-queued for the most exciting journey of my life.

    10 days exploring Singapore was a revelation – and hilariously turned out to be the home of one of my many cousins, settling into life in England definitely had highs and lows, but a decade on I still love it as much as I ever did. I might do another post at some point, with a few musings on settling into life in London. Perhaps. What it did teach me was that anything is possible with a little hard work, and a lot of luck (I landed a job within a week of landing, and sub-let a flat within a couple of months.)

    And that is my tale, of how I decided to change my life. And what not to do when moving to the other side of the world…

    * So most people just worked cash in hand for a year, entirely bypassing HMRC and a host of laws in favour of having enough money to survive the full two years allowed in the UK.

    Share: