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Four Seasons Hotels

Asia Hotels Travel

Four Seasons Hotel Tokyo Marunouchi

This post is part of my 2015 Japan series. For the rest, please see below.

Four Seasons Hotel Tokyo Marunouchi
Exploring Tokyo – Part One
Exploring Tokyo – Part Two
The Ritz Carlton Kyoto
Exploring Kyoto
Hiiragiya Ryokan – Kyoto
Souvenirs from Japan

Earlier in February, we took fairly spur of the moment trip to Japan. I’d been wanting to go for months and months now…I hadn’t been to Asia (not counting Australia) for over a year and was feeling antsy. Plus, Japan is always such an inspiring place…I could probably live there for years and find something new to admire every day.

I’ll be sharing some posts about the trip, starting with a hotel review. I hope you enjoy!

Four Seasons Tokyo Entrance

Our flight was a direct from San Francisco to Narita Airport, and we decided to spend the first half of our trip in Tokyo. Japan has so many nice luxury hotel options, and this time we ended up at the Four Seasons Tokyo Marunouchi. I’m usually a fan of the Four Seasons hotels, and wanted to try the Tokyo one due of its great location, and also because it has only 57 rooms. 57! That’s an incredibly low number for a hotel, especially one in one of the largest metropolitan hotel markets in the world. It was almost like a Four Seasons boutique hotel.

Four Seasons Tokyo Hallway

Our room was a Deluxe Premier, and was more than enough space for two. It could fit even a couple with a small child on a cot comfortably. There was a spacious bedroom, which opened up to an equally spacious living room and seating area.

Four Seasons Tokyo Living Room Bedroom

One of the great aspects of the Four Seasons was its proximity to Tokyo Station. We took the Narita Express in from the airport (super affordable, easy to use, and no risk of being trapped in Tokyo traffic), and hotel staff were waiting to greet us as we disembarked from our exact car, to walk us over to the property. Continue Reading

Europe Food Hotels Travel

Budapest – Four Seasons Gresham Palace

This is part four of my trip to Paris and Budapest. For the remainder of the series, please see below.

Paris – Hotel Esprit Saint Germain
Paris – The Marais, Le Bon Marche, Le Comptoir du Relais
Paris – St. Germain, Hermes, L’Avant Comptoir
Budapest – Four Seasons Gresham Palace
Budapest – Andrassy Avenue, Onyx
Budapest – Taste Hungary
Budapest- Christmas Markets, Bock Bistro

While we were in Budapest, we stayed at a fantastic hotel – the Four Seasons Gresham. We absolutely loved our time here, and I would personally rank the Gresham as one of the best city hotels in the world, and certainly one of the best in Europe. I always love staying at hotels with some character, a history, a beautiful exterior, and the Gresham definitely met this qualification! Can you believe that this was once the headquarters of an insurance company?

FSG - Outside View

One of my favorite areas of the hotel was the lobby. It was huge – apparently horse drawn carriages used to come through regularly!

FSG - Lobby Expanse

FSG - Lobby Seats

Mr. Feather’s favorite detail were the tiled floors…

FSG - Lobby Floor

…while mine was the amazing chandelier.

FSG - Lobby Glass

There were so many details all around the hotel that I admired and appreciated. For example, there were hearts in hidden places all around the building – very sweet!

FSG - Lobby Hearts

At the hotel, we stayed in a “Danube River View” room. If your travel budget allows, I would highly recommend staying in at least this category room at the Gresham – the space was more than ample enough for two. Continue Reading

Hotels North America Travel

Four Seasons Maui

This past Thanksgiving week, my husband and I spent five days with my family at one of my favorite places on earth – Hawaii! We met up with my mom, stepdad and stepbrothers and all spent the week at one of my favorite resorts in Hawaii (and the world) the Four Seasons Maui. Our goal was to have a relaxing week where we could spend time together and apart and never have to leave if we wanted to. We definitely accomplished that and I wanted to share with you some of why I love this resort so much.

Starting with the view when you walk into the resort.

Yes! How can you not love this? A fountain overlooking another fountain in the middle of the main pool, surrounded by cabanas. The pool you’re looking at here was the biggest pool and was filled with happy children playing each day.

Once we checked in, my husband and I quickly went up to our rooms to lie around and grin about being in Maui. We were on the 7th floor (8th is the highest at this property, no mega high rises in Wailea) and were happy to discover that the rest of our group had already checked in and were all next to each other down in a row.

Our room was the standard size with ocean view, plenty of room for what we needed and everything was immaculate and comfortable. If I was traveling with kids though I might recommend the Maile Suite – which was on our floor and looked gorgeous.

The first night when we checked in, we also found some goodies in our room that had been left for us -both were actually really delicious (especially the passionfruit marshmallow!) Continue Reading

Asia Food Hotels Travel

Bangkok and Hong Kong – Siam Paragon and Din Tai Fung

Hello hello and I hope you all enjoy the last installment of my 2011/12 holiday Asia trip – read about Hong Kong, Bangkok (1), Bangkok (2), & Phuket here.

After leaving Phuket, Mr. Feather and I traveled back to Bangkok. This time we stayed at the Four Seasons, where I forgot to take pictures of our room. The most beautiful part of the hotel in my opinion is the lobby – you can see a little snapshot here of the colors from this picture of a floral arrangement I took:

Very pretty pastel colors and I would imagine a nice place to have afternoon tea. They also left this dessert in our room the first night. As you can see, roses were popular here. It looked good but we were both scared to try it for a while as we had never seen anything like it. Finally I bit down and while it was tasty, it was also almost like eating pure sugar. Mr. Feather also ate a bite and then gave up. The hotel left this in our room for our whole stay so it was basically taunting us with two uneaten bites looking a little forlorn.

Overall I enjoyed the Four Seasons and thought the service was fantastic. It might have just been the room we were in, but I felt the accommodations were a little underwhelming and lacking a little bit of that unique “Thai” inspiration. In the future I’d really like to try out Sukhothai.

The one activity I really wanted to do this return trip to Bangkok was try out the food court at Siam Paragon. Siam Paragon is one of the biggest shopping centers in Asia and when we were walking in, I saw Hermes, Chanel, Aston Martin, etc etc etc. I did walk around the retail area a bit doing some window shopping, but the prices were so much higher than in the US that I soon scurried away with my empty wallet to the food level.

The food court in Siam Paragon is amazing and I’d rank it as one of the “must do” activities in Bangkok. There’s a ton of options from Burger King, to fancier Thai restaurants, to Le Notre for some French macarons. What I enjoyed the most though was the actual “real” food court that served a variety of dishes you’d typically find being sold on the street. You basically load up a card at a station with money, and then go around to all the different little “stalls” buying up dishes to try. When you paid, you just swiped your little card. It was amazing and I wish we could have gone again.

image via Wikipedia

Note: Since I regularly eat at shady places of questionable cleanliness both in the US and abroad, my stomach was fine after eating a bunch of street food in Bangkok. I know some of you though have higher standards for your sustenance, and the Siam food court is a great way to try out some of that authentic “street food” but with assurances of cleanliness. The prices were about 20-30% higher but still very reasonable.

So after about 36 hours in Bangkok, we said goodbye and headed back to Hong Kong, again on Emirates. I already posted photos of the plane here, and here are some additional photos of their lounge offerings, which were pretty good. There was a mix of Asian and Middle Eastern food as well as the usual array of alcohol.

A few hours later, we landed in Hong Kong and headed over to our hotel for a final night in Asia. We checked into the Island Shangri-La which was really fantastic. It was my first time at this hotel and I’d definitely return – the room, service, food and overall experience was really great.  They were priced a little less than The Peninsula as well for comparable rooms.

Our room’s view, though you can see it was already quite late and getting foggy:

Shangri-La also provided a pretty little welcome amenity that was the usual fruit and tea (stored in a lined and padded basket that kept it warm), along with a chocolate heart…that inside contained more chocolate hearts. Cute huh? There was also this blue silk hat(?) box that contained more truffles. We definitely gobbled all of these up over the course of the day.

The night we arrived I really wanted to go visit one of my favorite restaurants in the world – Din Tai Fung. I had already gone when we were in Hong Kong earlier but I wanted to get my fix in one more time. I’m sure a lot of you have heard of the restaurant, but if you haven’t, I highly recommend you pay them a visit next time and order at the very least their famous soup dumplings! They have locations all over Asia and some of the US (though none in the Bay Area).

From top to bottom: the classic pork and crab soup dumplings, beef noodle soup, and taro dessert dumplings.

I love the classic pork dumplings the most but Mr. Feather enjoyed the crab ones more. As I stated earlier, one of my favorite dishes is beef noodle soup – however I’m not a huge meat eater, I just really enjoy the soup and flavor. So I took advantage of the option at Din Tai Fung to just get the noodles + delicious broth.

After our meal, we decided to walk around the mall that Din Tai Fung was in and I saw this giant spoon. Inspired after gorging myself, I decided that I wanted to recreate myself as a giant dumpling in this spoon. There was a sign exhorting customers “not to touch” but I have to admit that I gave into temptation. There was a security guard suspiciously eyeing me as I made my rounds around the spoon but when a group of rowdy teenagers came in he was momentarily distracted and I snatched my chance:

I really have to give public props to my husband for putting up with taking all my embarrassing photos in public!

After that we took the MTR back home and had a good night’s rest. The next morning we got up and headed into the elevator to go have breakfast, and I noticed that they changed the rug for each day (I also remember that the W Hong Kong does this). I think it’s a sweet detail:

Breakfast at the hotel was at Petrus, which was delicious. It’s Michelin starred and I wish we had been able to try out a dinner or lunch there. The view was gorgeous.

image via Shangri-La

Unfortunately I forgot to take photos of most of the food but they had a buffet and also allowed you to order a la carte. We ordered a bunch of things a la carte to share and the restaurant staff was kind enough to split everything onto two plates for us without asking:

I love mini food plates, I just can’t help it.

After breakfast we headed out to the airport in Island Shangri-La’s car which amazingly had wifi installed inside of it. I thought that was a cool touch!

I had my final meal in Hong Kong, at the United lounge, where I decided to order beef noodle soup again. I really liked this lounge because they had a lot of delicious items which you could order off the menu instead of just getting items from a big buffet. The noodle soup was actually really good, probably cause there was lots of garlic and fatty bits in the soup. Mr. Feather said it was the best noodle soup he’s ever had (and he’s not particularly a fan). There were pickled vegetables on the side.

I was so engrossed in this soup that we cut it a little close to take off and one of the lounge ladies had to run over to break me out of my eating reverie and remind us to haul butt over to the gate. I scarfed the rest down and then we got on our plane, and headed back home. Our seats were angled towards each other because we were seated in the nose area. And yes, my at home pedicure was still pretty intact after two weeks! Miracle. I watched a few bad movies and conked out.

Okay – that’s it! Thank you all very much for reading along with me while I went to Asia – I included links up top for my other posts for this trip. One of my favorite things in life is travelling and it’s been fantastic to read your feedback, emails and comments about your own experiences going around the globe. I’ve learned a ton, and I hope to have more travel posts soon to share with you all!