Macau Masters Hotel - A Nice Budget Hotel in Macau

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Some time back I wrote an article in this blog on finding a budget hotel in Macau. My conclusion at that time was that it was not easy to find a good hotel in Macau at a budget price. Hotel tariffs in Macau just keep increasing because of the expensive real estate and the fact that almost all the new hotel accommodation is getting added in the 4 or 5 star categories as part of the new casino resorts coming up in Taipa. During my several visits to Macau I have stayed in many of the budget hotels. Unfortunately, for every new visit the previous hotels I stayed in became more expensive. Yet there was one hotel that knew was cheap but did not look so promising to me. That was 'Macau Masters Hotel'. Its average guest ratings were below seven and that worried me. During my September 2016 trip, I had to take another look at Macau Masters Hotel out of a sheer necessity, a price that I could afford. I booked it for seven nights, stayed there and now I feel bad for having avoided the hotel earlier. In my Macau hotel experience so far, Macau Masters Hotel offered me the best value for its price. I paid roughly 50 USD per day by doing an advance booking on Agoda with "pay later and free cancellation" options. Keep reading...

The Spa at Deltin Suites Goa

Friday, October 7, 2016

Hotel Deltin Suites is a good property on Nerul-Candolim Road Goa which is a popular Beach destination. There are two other attractions on Deltin Suites premises - a casino, and a spa. I was not too impressed with the casino at Deltin Suites but "The Spa" there was really impressive. It seemed very popular too because advance reservation was an absolute must to be able to get a massage there. One reason for the popularity could be the 20% discount on the spa prices for the hotel guests. But after visiting the Spa and getting their 'Signature Massage', I knew that even their prices without discount were very reasonable. The quality of service & facilities and the skill of the masseuse were all top notch, very comparable with or even better than Snip Salon & Spa Goa. The Spa at Deltin Suites opens daily from 8.00am to 9.00pm and is open to both hotel guests and outsiders. Keep reading for more...

Red Planet Hotel Pattaya Review

Monday, October 3, 2016

Several times in the past I came across Red Planet Hotels (previously Tune Hotels) in my hotel meta search engine while searching for a hotel in Thailand, but I never booked one of them. Tune hotels just had too many bad reviews about them. There were complaints, or maybe just rumours, of limited hours during which A.C. can be used in the room, no towels provided for guests, no free water, no free Wi-Fi, tiny rooms, and rude staff, etc. Why get into such a mess? So, I avoided Red Planet hotels completely. Then, in March 2016 I got into a much bigger mess when I accidentally booked a "Tailor Master" hotel in Bangkok. Let me first explain what a "Tailor Master" hotel in Thailand is. Till a few years ago, bespoke tailoring was huge business in Thailand. Western tourists used to consider buying a tailored suit an essential part of their Thai holiday. Tailors in Thailand, mostly immigrants, fully exploited the trend and became very rich. An erstwhile tailor in Bangkok told me that sometimes they used to sell a suit for 10-15,000 THB that was made using a fabric that cost them just 150 THB per metre. Such was the extent of the profitability and a lot of that money got invested into real estate. Then competition came from tailors from some other nationalities, and at the same time the Western customers became smarter. Buying 'ready made' was the new trend which resulted in a general decline of the tailoring business in Thailand. However, the money previously made was still with the tailors along with the real estate that they had invested in. Looking for new avenues to make money, tailors started opening hotels. I stayed in one such hotel in Bangkok - Smart Suites on Soi 11. It was a horrifying experience. I had been taken in by fraudulent Tripadvisor reviews and so I decided never to stay in a "Tailor Master" hotel again. Now the problem is, how do I know the hotel that I am looking at is a "Tailor Master" hotel or not? Red Planet is my quick solution to the problem because there are Red Planet hotels in both Bangkok and Pattaya and I know for sure that these are not owned by any tailor masters. Keep reading...

Travel Club Priority Pass Lounge Mumbai Domestic Airport Terminal 2

Monday, September 19, 2016

Some time back I wrote an article about the worst Priority Pass lounge in India which happens to be at the Dabolim Airport in Goa. Not much has changed there since I wrote that article, not that I expected an article in a blog to mean anything to the vast empire that Priority Pass is. But even my direct complaint to Priority Pass people had failed to move them. They merely pointed me to the bank that had issued me my Priority Pass card. I still have the card and it is paid for as part of the annual fee that I pay on my credit card. I keep using Priority Pass and sometimes do feel very good whenever I come across a well managed lounge. I have been to Priority Pass lounges in several airports in the major cities in India and have seen both bad and good lounges. Dabolim Airport's Priority Pass Lounge is no doubt the worst that I have seen but till recently I never thought of declaring one that is the best at least in my experience. Now after having been to the Travel Club Priority Pass Lounge at the Mumbai Domestic Airport Terminal 2, I am ready to make that commitment. Keep reading...

Are Indian Tourists Really Welcome in Thailand?

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

I guess not! My previous trip to Thailand, I landed at Don Mueang Airport Bangkok in the last week of August 2016. Something had changed. The old document check & Visa on Arrival (VOA) counters were deserted and there was a signboard pointing incoming visa seekers to a new area. This new area seemed like an improvement because I immediately noticed a new queue system complete with token numbers appearing on LCD screens. I felt good about that but only for a brief while. I was in a long queue. The only flight that had landed there at that time was the AirAsia flight from Bengaluru and apparently almost everyone in the VOA area at that time was Indian. It must have been a good crowd because the wait time to the first preliminary document check counter itself was 45 minutes. It was hard to wait standing in an almost stationary line after having spent a sleepless night in a flight. If you don't already know, AirAsia's airplanes have seats without any lower back support. AirAsia could have used curved seats without adding anything to the cost but perhaps that would keep them from selling some pillows onboard. Anyway, everyone waiting there along with me appeared tired and wondering what was going on. For the first time visitors to Thailand, it must have been a rather unpleasant experience. For the rest of us, it was just routine. That's what I was thinking but when I finally reached the document check counter, I was in for a new shock. There was a notice on display telling everyone that the Thailand Visa on Arrival fee would be increased to 2000 THB per person from September 27, 2016. Keep reading...

Country Wise Information of Visa Availability to Enter Thailand

Sunday, September 4, 2016

The official policy on the availability of visa to enter Thailand is broadly divided into two categories: (1) Diplomatic / Official Passport and (2) Ordinary Passport. I will cover Ordinary Passport first and then Diplomatic / Official passports later in this article. Please note that this information was ascertained from the official Thai government websites in August 2016 and is subject to changes depending on Thai government's policies and/or their treaties/agreements with other countries at any given point of time. The information is provided here on a best effort basis for the benefit of tourists who wish to visit Thailand. Please double check on your own before making any plans...

Strike Casino at Grand Hyatt Goa

Sunday, August 14, 2016

Strike Casino is good news. With the opening of this casino in July 2016, the casino industry in Goa has finally come of age, well almost. And the most interesting aspect of this development is the fact that Goa's best gaming experience will now be provided by an overland casino as opposed to the so-called "off-shore" casinos that promise "live gaming". Gambling in Strike is as live as it can get in an overland casino in Goa, without inviting some legal objection from the authorities. The people who operate Strike have used both their expertise and imagination in creating a casino that is far better than any other casino in Goa whether floating or overland. Deltin Royale has got itself a first real competitor and casino goers have got their first real alternative to Deltin Royale. The list of positives in Strike is very long and I will cover everything in detail in this article, but first of all I want to get the only negative out of the way - the location. Keep reading...

Deltin Suites Casino and Hotel Goa

Thursday, August 4, 2016

Deltin Suites is a "casino five star" hotel. This is actually a sort of a technical term. A land-based casino in Goa can only be housed inside an officially classified 'five star' hotel. There are quite a few such hotels in Goa, some genuine five stars and some others that are 'five star' only so that they could have a casino on their grounds. One can see the difference by staying in a five star hotel in Goa where there is no casino, and then in a 'casino five star' like La Calypso in Baga or Crown Hotel in Panjim. The differences in the quality will be huge. But to be fair, an exception to this general rule is already there. A genuine five star hotel - Grand Hyatt Goa has got a casino in its premises - Strike Casino. Coming back to Deltin Suites, it is a pure 'casino five star'. Even before it got its own little in-house casino operational, the hotel has existed mainly as a residence for the patrons of the group's main casino - Deltin Royale. Even today it is true. Deltin Group sells "Stay & Play" packages that entitle guests to accommodation in this hotel and some 'One Time Play' casino chips and/or free entry to Deltin Royale. Some airlines flying from Mumbai to Goa also offer "Fly & Stay" packages that include a subsidised stay in Deltin Suites. I think this is how Deltin Suites gets a majority of its guests. Keep reading...

Family Fun In Macau

Saturday, July 30, 2016

The Venetian Macau is old, it has been there since the year 2007. But even today it is the best known family destination where tourists go to take gondola rides, stroll along and window-shop at hundreds of designer shops by the artificial canal on the top floor. Even today, the artificial sky above the canal succeeds in fooling the first timers. The Venetian is an icon and will continue to be so in the foreseeable future. The reclaimed land in the Taipa Island of Macau on which The Venetian was built later saw more development. The City of Dreams, a casino resort with a cluster of hotels came up in front of The Venetian on its east side, with a road in the middle separating the two. The Las Vegas Sands group, the owner of The Venetian, named this road as "Cotai Strip" dreaming of building a strip here that would be similar to 'The Strip' in Las Vegas. Today, in 2016, their dream is very close to reality. Keep reading...

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I left my day job in October 2013 and became a full time blogger. I love travel and hence a travel blog was the obvious place to start from. The result is I currently live in Bengaluru, India. - Narinder Singh. (Email:


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