Hotel Opera Cadet, 24, rue Cadet, 75009 Paris, France : Hotel Review
Hotels in Paris are usually small and basic but the Hotel Opera Cadet is one notch above that. The hotel is ideal for the traveler who is looking for a friendly hotel, with good breakfasts and nice clean rooms. The customer service was excellent and the staff do speak English (although we always try to speak French when in France).
The Opera Cadet is located about 5 mins Metro ride from the Galleries Lafyette near the Opera district and the hotel is 1 minute from Cadet Metro stop down a quiet side street. Check-in is very efficient with the English speaking staff. The rooms are a good size (not huge, but adequate), with features such as TV, Air Conditioning (which can be very useful in July and August), a nice bathroom and some rooms have a small terrace which overlooks Rue Cadet. Rue Cadet is a small street with local traders, fruit shops and some very nice bistros at the end of the street which are enjoyable and cheap to eat in.
Hotel Opera Cadet runs a buffet breakfast service and breakfast is available from 7:30am to 10:30am with a wide variety of food to cater for all tastes. Friendly waiting staff are on hand to provide teas and coffees. A courtyard area at the back of the breakfast area allows for Al-fresco breakfasts – very Parisienne.
WiFi is available but WiFi costs €5 per hour and reception is limited to the main areas of the hotels, and was not available on 2nd floor.
The Opera Cadet Hotel in Paris is one I will be returning to again, not only for the location, good breakfasts and nice staff, but also due to the fact that it is quiet, comfortable and great to come back to after a long day walking the streets of Paris.
Timaru is a great stopping off point between Christchurch and Dunedin. We ate in a nice cafe on Stafford Street – the only place open on a bank holiday. One of the points mentioned in the Rough Guide was Timaru Gardens. These botanical gardens are splendidly maintained, with a good few walks around a lake and tree lined hillocks. There are also some roses to be seen during the summer months and Timaru also has an annual rose festival. It is certainly worth stopping in Timaru for these gardens – great for stretching the legs en-route to Dunedin.
The Moeraki Boulders are located about 76km north of Dunedin. These huge spherical stones are located on a stretch of Koekohe Beach near Moeraki on New Zealand’s Otago coast. These large boulders are what are known as septarian concretions exposed through shore-line erosion. They originally formed as ancient sea-floor sediments during the early Paleocene, over 60 million years ago. They are amazing to see and worth visiting – best though if the tide is out!
Accommodation in Dunedin: 315 Euro Hotel, Dunedin
Once you arrive in Dunedin, you may need accommodation. The 315 Euro Hotel is a nice hotel located up an alley, so might be hard to find. The checkin was handled very well and we checked into a studio room which was nice, bright and airy. It included facilities such as hairdryer, tea coffee facilities, and a small kitchen area. There was lots of space in room and it had Sky TV which was nice. Other facilites in the complex included a sitting area just inside the main doors and a laundry (handy when travelling). The only negative is that the curtains in the room could be a bit thicker!
One of the best ways to see of the Otago Peninsula and it’s wildlife is by taking a cruise on the Otago Harbour. We went with Monarch Cruises – located on the wharf just behind the chinese Gardens in Dunedin. This Wildlife Cruise includes the spectacular Taiaroa Head and a scenic Otago Peninsula bus tour. You should also pay the extra few dollars for the guided tour of the award-winning Yellow Eyed Penguin Reserve, Penguin Place. Worth Doing !
The Chinese Gardens in Dunedin are of an authentic Chinese design and was built by the Dunedin Chinese Garden Trust has built the Garden and upon its completion, handed over to Dunedin City Council. The Garden is an example of a late Ming, early Ching Dynasty Scholar’s Garden, surrounded by a four metre perimeter wall and features a lake with traditional walkways and stonework. The design of the Chinese Garden was laid out to use authentic Chinese materials and was built by a team of craftsmen from Shanghai. Hand-made wooden buildings, hand-made tiles, lattice-work and hand-finished granite paving stones adorn these authentic exquisite gardens. The Chinese Gardens are open from 10 am to 5 pm, 7 days per week and 7pm to 9pm on Wednesdays.
Copthorne Hotel Commodore Christchurch Airport, New Zealand – Hotel Review
We had originally planned on staying at the Copthorne Central in Christchurch, but following the Christchurch earthquake in February, we had to move our accommodation but still wanted to stay with the Copthorne group hotels – as we had great experiences when staying with Copthorne and Millennium Hotels in the North Island last year.
On arrival at the hotel, the Duty manager, Jaimie, sorted out our reservation and walked us to our room, as well as showing us the facilities in the room. I have stayed in many hotels and even in 5 star hotels I have rarely seen such a level of service and friendliness on check-in. We were well impressed with everything and were blown away by the welcome and the level of comfort at this hotel. Airport hotels are normally just a place to rest your head after a long flight but this hotel is actually comfortable and a delight to stay in.
The room was excellent, very comfortable bed, the room was large, bright, clean and airy. Air conditioning was very good with tea coffee facilities and a great bathroom. There was even a little welcome note on your bed welcoming you to the hotel – which was nicely done.
The breakfasts are served in Pattersons restaurant in the hotel and are very well presented with a lot to choose from. There is also a hot tub and covered pool (which we did not try on this occasion … but it looked nice). There is also a nice garden area with a fire where you can enjoy a drink in the open air if you so wish.
The complex is very secure and safe with key cards required after a certain time to access the main accommodation building and then again at your floor.
We actually stayed twice at this hotel, once on arriving into Christchurch from Singapore and again the night before leaving en-route to Cork via Bangkok/London.
The Copthorne Hotel Commodore Christchurch Airport, New Zealand is a great hotel within 5 minutes of Christchurch International Airport, ideally situated for you to start or end any trip to New Zealand. I would certainly stay here again and hope to visit Christchurch and the South Island of New Zealand again very soon.
We stayed at the Singapore Fairmont Hotel during a 3 day trip to Singapore. The Fairmont Singapore hotel is ideally located in a central part of town, only 15 minutes walk from Clarke Quay. It is situated very close to all major entertainment and shopping districts and there is even a multistorey shopping mall within the hotel complex. The Fairmont Hotel offers 769 luxurious guestrooms and suites, a collection of 16 distinctive restaurants and bars.
On check in we got a complimentary mango juice, which was very welcome after the 11 hour flight from London. The bags were brought to the room for us, 5 minutes after we had checked in and got to the room. The heat and humidity in Singapore can make you feel quite uncomfortable, but the hotel is very well air conditioned and you don’t feel like you are in a hot country.
The rooms are luxurious with a comfortable bed, luxury bathroom and aromatherapy bath products. Our room came with a balcony and the views are stunning from the tower we were in, the 22nd floor looked over the Singapore Bay, where we could see the Singapore Flyer, the amazing Marina Sands Hotel and towards the city centre.
Breakfasts are served in 3 different restaurants but the Asian Market Cafe was the best, with a large selection of foods from typical continental breakfast fare to Chinese steamed dumplings (which I had a good few of as they were very tasty).
In addition, guests of Fairmont Singapore have access to the Willow Stream Spa, one of the largest spa facilities in Asia, offering the best in spa and fitness services. Treatments are very reasonable and the facilities and therapists are excellent.
The concierge staff were also excellent and most friendly – they helped us book a city tour of Singapore as well as organising for our luggage to be held while we awaited out trip back to the airport.
It is an amazing hotel and would certainly return here.
Singapore is an amazing place and having recently visited the city I have outlined some of the Top 5 things to do when visiting Singapore.
Flight Simulator Experience
Take command of a Boeing 737-800 in this 100% realistic flight simulator. The cockpit is exactly as per the 737-800, with overhead panel, auto-pilot etc. You get full instruction from your co-pilot who is fully trained and can help you get the most from the flight sim experience. This simulator is exactly the same as pilots use for flight training and you can choose from over than 20,000 worldwide airports and use the same operating procedures as the real airlines. No experience necessary as full instruction will be provided.You can get 30 minute to 2 hour flights, and if you do this, you should really get the DVD which is only S$20 extra.
I did the 30 minute flight from Hong Kong international to Kai Tak (now decomissioned as an airport but was one of the most iconic landings in recent flight history). I then had time to do a touch and go at Dublin Airport followed by a Full Stop Landing. (However the Traffic Collision system onboard, TCAS, told me that I came with 1km of an inbound flight which wuld have been frowned upon in real life). Thanksfully, all my landings were completed successfully and I was told to perhaps consider taking some lessons as my insructor said flight skills were very good. I hope to upload some of the flight video very soon… Visit http://www.flightexperience.com.sg/ for details of this excellent attraction.
Take a City Tour – Tour East
When in Singapore you should do a guided tour of the city. The reasons are two fold, (a) its a very busy city and it would be hard to cover everything if you were only in the city for a short time and (b) it can get quite hot and getting from one sight to the next via an airc-onditioned bus is most welcome. The tour company we used was Tour East and the sights covered the Mer Lion (which is an icon of Singapore and was stupidly converted into an eyesore of a hotel while we were there), you also got to see the Thian Hock Keng Temple and Chinatown. we then visited a Local Handicraft Centre (which we didn’t like, its a bit commercial but some might like it). One of the highlights is visiting the National Orchid Garden located within Singapore Botanic Gardens – you get 45 mins here but if you didn’t stop at the handicraft centre you could easily have over an hour here. The final stop is at Little India, a bustling Indian hub within Singapore. If you want you can pay a little extra to take in the Singapore Flyer (a giant wheel similar to the London Eye … see below) Visit http://www.toureast.net/singapore/sight_sin1.html for details of the Tour East Singapore Tours
Eat in a local restaurant and a walk around Clarke Quay
Tne of the best things about Singapore is the excellent local food. There are many restaurants around Clarke Quay, and this becomes a buzzing nightlife area after 6pm. Its nice to walk the circuit before you make your decision on food as all tastes are catered for, from Indian, Japanese, Italian and Chinese food, Look for the restaurants with the most locals. We found the Jumbo seafood restaurant. Excellent food, try the fish in ginger and spring onion. . Check out http://www.jumboseafood.com.sg for details
Ride the Singapore Flyer
The Singapore Flyer is the world’s largest observation wheel and is a stunning 165m high. (30 metres taller than the London Eye). As the wheel turns, you get visual 360 degree view of Singapores landscape and historical landmarks. With views of the Singapore River, Raffles Place, Merlion Park, Empress Place and the Padang. It is good in the day but best around Sunset – the ride takes 30 minutes and if you time it right you can get day and dusk views of the city from the Singapore Flyer. Visit http://www.singaporeflyer.com/ for details
Get a fish pedicure while you have a Back massage
On Level 2 of the Singapore Flyer comples you can get your feet sorted by tiny fish and get a back massage as this is happening. The fish foot spa is where Doctor Fishes or “Garra Rufa”, give you a pedicure you won’t forget. The back massage is excellent and reflexology is also provided in this area … don’t forget to try out the chinese tea if you are there for a while. Details : Kenko Reflexology and Fish Spa, Located at: Level 2 of Singapore Flyer Complex, #02-08 : Tel: (65) 6565 0303 :: Open Daily from 10am – 11pm
Singapore by Night from the Fairmont Hotel
Singapore is a fantastic place to visit and if you are planning to go there and you are looking for a good hotel, then the Fairmont Singapore is worth looking at…. I will post a review of this hotel soon !