27 February 2010

Finally...for females

Just read the news that The Imperial Hotel in Delhi has launched its Eliza programme with rooms designed especially for the “single lady traveller”.

Apparently there are 12 rooms all located off one corridor of the hotel that are equipped with CCTV and room door cameras.

In-room facilities have been tailored as well to include a manicure set, women’s magazines, floral arrangements and some “special linen” (is this a euphemism for sanitary towels?). But, best of all, it promises female staff assistance and a screening process for all telephone calls. While I'm not so struck by the manicure set, mags and flowers, the last two mean I don't have to worry about calling for a late night snack when I finally reach my destination.

The Imperial dates back to 1931 and really is a lovely hotel given its wealth of art and artefacts and its cool, colonial-style interior. More importantly, it's right next to the fab Cottage Industries Emporium, where you can shop to your heart's content for everything Indian. Government-controlled, you don't get ripped off as you pay for what you get through the fair pricing structure and the jewelry is genuine.

My favourites are the juttis (the Indian bejewelled shoes) which are great for wearing on planes as your feet swell up, and beautiful mango boxes (which if filled with mini eggs and tied together with ribbon make v. sophisticated Easter gifts).

Unfortunately I'll never get to try the Eliza rooms as the hotel's not on our corporate list and if I therefore do stay, it'll be with my hubby! Perhaps though this will set the trend and other hotels will realise that there is a real demand for this option and follow suit.

Bon Voyage!

Travel Tip: If the hotel check-in clerk says your room number out loud when handing over your key and you're a "single female traveller", ask for another room and tartly tell the staff not to announce to everyone in the lobby where you'll be on your own overnight.

22 February 2010

Portable Photos

On every trip, the first thing I make sure is in my bag is my travel photo frame, which has a picture of me and my hubby together, and one just of him. They sit by my bed in every hotel room in which I stay and it's the last thing I look at as I turn out the lights on a night.

To buy the frame pictured here, visit the Shanghai Tang online store.

Bon Voyage!

Travel Tip: The next thing in my bag is a little dish which I use to keep safe my earrings and rings as I sleep. Make sure it's an unusual one as otherwise you'll find that an overzealous maid will remove it when cleaning your room!

17 February 2010

Booking a Seat

With the ability to check in online now available, the site SeatGuru has become a valuable tool for me to make sure that I (a) have enough room to stow my hand carry and (b) am not going to be sitting by the toilet and hearing flushing noises every minute throughout the flight.

Using the left-hand-side navigation, simply go to the airline with whom you're traveling, select the plane layout that matches the one on your online check-in site and select the best seat you can, by matching the seat colour with the legend.

The site also tells you if the airplane has in-seat power sockets and when there will be limited seat recline.

Bon Voyage!

Travel Tip: Take an empty water bottle with you through security and fill it up on the other side either by asking nicely at one of the food and beverage outlets or in the lounge to take onboard and to ensure you stay hydrated throughout the flight.

15 February 2010

Travel & Toiletries

Okay so not everyone can get to the States, but if you do then make your way to a Crate & Barrel store and pick up a couple of their travel cases.

Apologies for the picture, but these sturdy, transparent plastic cases will carry all your airline-approved-sized containers in hand carry without them falling out or splitting the pathetic plastic bags now provided at airports.

And they have a cute airplane zipper too. Available in orange, turquoise and yellow.

Bon Voyage!

Travel Tip: In Hong Kong and Singapore, you still have to remove your laptops and put them in a separate tray as you go through the hand luggage screening, but you can leave your plastic toiletry bag in your hand carry.

03 February 2010

Wednesday's Websites

Yep. You've guessed it! In another attempt to retain some rigidity to my ramblings, I'm introducing another column alongside Monday's Must-Haves. I hope these Wednesday offerings will help the tourist/traveller successfully navigate the web for useful information and travel-related tools.

My first site is World Taximeter which helps the cost conscious among us ensure we don't get ripped off! In any case, at least it means we should have roughly enough cash to pay for our taxi fares.

The information can also accessed on the go via their mobile site.

Cities covered as of writing this are Aberdeen, Amsterdam, Barcelona, Berlin, Boston, Chicago, Dublin, London, Los Angeles, Madrid, Manchester, Melbourne, New Delhi, New York, Paris, Prague, Richmond (VA), Rome, San Francisco, Seattle, Singapore, Sydney, Toronto, Vancouver and Zurich.

Bon Voyage!

Travel Tip: If you arrive in either Hong Kong or Kuala Lumpur, take the airport express train into the city instead of a taxi. It's cheaper and much much quicker.

02 February 2010

Mutterings about the M Hotel

Okay, so it's supposed to be a basic business hotel and it's not too far from Singapore's central business district, but if you're asked to stay at the M Hotel for work, say no!

My main bone of contention is the laundry service, but which I feel gives an insight into the way they try to make more than a little extra off their guests and keep their room rates low.

I needed a jacket dry-cleaned and immediately called housekeeping as I checked in. However as you can only check in the afternoon and the deadline for dry-cleaning is 11 a.m. you have to pay express to get your clothes back by 6 p.m. the following day. A 22-hour service in Asia is not express!

Unlike in the pictures, I only got one pillow on my bed, the mirrored front to the sink was chipped and they don't provide hair conditioner.

For a hotel that goes after every award up for grabs, they got a zero star rating in my book.

Not such a bon voyage!

Travel Tip: If you're a neat freak like me, resist the urge to throw away the rubbish after making your tea/coffee in the morning. Nine times out of ten, housekeeping won't spot you've actually used anything and so the next morning you'll be left short for your cuppa.