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Archive for April, 2013

The best rooftop bars in Bangkok Apr 18

I enjoy having a drink with a view and in some cities there are many bars to choose from. I have been to Bangkok a few times and I was blown away by the view from Vertigo on the Banyan tree building (you can read one of my Bangkok trip reports on my homepage). The local paper here in Stavanger had an article the other day about new places in Bangkok that might be worth checking out. Here is the list:

 Up & above: Seems to be both a bar and restaurant and it is located at hotel Okura near Ploen Chit skytrain station. Located on the 24th floor.

L’Appart: French restaurant located in Sofitel hotel near Nana. The restaurant is located on 32nd floor and according to the article it is decorated as a French apartment and there is also a balcony where you can enjoy food and drinks.

Park Society & Hi So: another new place located at a Sofitel hotel. This time it is the hotel located near the Lumpini stop on the subway. Park Society is the restaurant part of this concept and it is located on 29th floor. Hi So is the bar and it is located on the roof.

Zense: this place is located on top of the CentralWorld chopping complex in the middle of Bangkok. It is “only” on the 17th floor but it can offer restaurants, bars, indoor and outdoor seat etc.

Speakeasy: this bar is located on top of the trendy hotel Muse. It seems to be located on level 24 and 25 and the hotel is on Langsuan Road. The bar also seems to have a cigar lounge called Blind pig.

Red Sky and Fifty five: Red sky is the bar part and Fifty five is the restaurant. It is located on top of Centara hotel at the Central World complex and the view is of course great from 55th floor.

Vertigo and Moon bar: I guess the original roof top bar in Bangkok. From 61st floor you get an amazing view of Bangkok. Located on the Banyan tree building on Sathorn Road.

Sirocco, Distil and Breeze: Sirocco sky bar is located on the top of Lebua hotel on Silom road. You get a very nice view of Bangkok from the bar on 63rd floor. Breeze is a restaurant on 52nd floor that offers great view of the river.

So if you are going to Bangkok – now you have a few places to check out if you want a drink with a view Smile

Gard – trip reports and pictures

New Scandinavian AIrlines app Apr 14

SasScandinavian Airlines (or SAS) has released a new app for iPhone (and Android if I’m not mistaken). The app allows you to see your upcoming trips, your Eurobonus points, boarding pass, buy tickets etc. I have downloaded it and I think it looks quite good. I was also impressed that all my upcoming flights were in the list – even the ones with Thai Airways and Singapore Airlines. You can read more about the application on this iTunes page. Which other airlines have a good app?

Gard – trip reports and pictures

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Charming and good location: Hotel Berthod in Courmayeur Apr 10

My wife, Nikki, and I stayed at Hotel Berthod in Courmayeur for 4 nights in March 2013. I made the reservation online on the hotel’s homepage and I chose the hotel as it had a central location with easy access to both restaurants, the gondola to the ski area of Plan Checrouit and it had rooms available ;-)

P1020110We arrived by bus to Courmayeur and the Savda bus stopped at Piazzale Monte Bianco which is only about 100-200 meters from the hotel. We rolled our suitcases to the hotel and luckily there was not much snow on the road as it was uphill. Check in was fast in the tiny lobby of this charming hotel and we got room 212 on the second floor. The lobby, bar and restaurant area are filled with knick knacks  from the region…old skiing equipment, cow bells, maps of the area, photos of Mont Blanc (or Monte Bianco as it is known as in Italy) etc.

P1020103The house and room was fairly similar to the hotel we had in Verbier in Switzerland a couple of years back – not that strange, as it is located in the same region. The room was quite small and most of it was occupied by the king size bed. The bed was pretty old school and when I moved the mattress seemed to bounce for a lot longer than expected. The sleeping quality was pretty good but the pillows were like bricks and were not comfortable at all. There was a wooden floor (or maybe just laminate), the walls were painted light and the furniture was in dark wood. The small flat screen TV was placed on top of the wardrobe and it was not the ideal position for TV watching but I guess you don’t come to Courmayeur to watch TV Winking smile Most of the channels were in Italian but it was possible to change some shows to the original broadcast language.

P1020104The wardrobe had a few hangers and there was a small fridge under the desk next to it. The small fridge only contained two bottles of water and I assumed that this was complimentary as there was nothing else in the fridge but I was charged for these bottles when checking out. I guess we should have read the info or noticed when we did not get water bottle refills every day. There was also a small safe in the room located over the heating radiator – I’m not sure it is the ideal position but things in the safe did not seem to get over heated. There was little space to hang used ski clothing but we did notice a drying room in the basement when we arrived.

P1020106The bathroom was tiled in light tiles on the walls and terracotta color on the floor. The amenities included soap, shampoo and even body scrub (the body scrub is recommended). The bathroom included toilet, bide, sink and a shower corner. The shower corner was small but the water pressure was good and the water temperature was stable when showering. The mechanical fan was started every time the light was turned on and was on the noisy side but I guess it helped a bit. The room got stuffy so it was great to be able to open the windows during the day.
When I tried to connect to the wifi the first time I was prompted for a username and password and I thought I had to pay for it. But it turned out that it was for free and you just have to ask for the login details in the reception. The net was pretty slow compared to what I’m used to but it did the job.

P1020162Breakfast was served in the “lounge” on the ground floor and had an amazing view to the skiing area at Plan Checrouit and the mountains around Courmayeur. I think the hotel was full when we were there but on most days we were alone at breakfast. The breakfast included some cereal, croissants, bread, boil your own egg, some fruit, excellent freshly squeezed orange juice, fresh coffee, yogurt, cakes etc. Remember to read the sign – don’t take too much and end up wasting food.

P1020158The location of the hotel was excellent for us. It only takes like 3 minutes to walk to the main street of Courmayeur – the pedestrian street Via Roma. There were many restaurants around the hotel and it only took a few minutes to walk to them. It was about 600 meters to walk to the main gondola that takes you from Courmayeur to Plan Checrouit. The service at the hotel was excellent. The young woman that was in the lobby most of the time spoke English, French and Italian (maybe more?) and made recommendations as to where to rent skiis, how to get to the thermal baths at Pre’-saint-didier etc. I guess it is a family run hotel and from time to time it felt like we were walking into a home as it seemed like they were waiting up for us to come back to the hotel.

The room was a bit outdated but did the job. The main thing for us was that the hotel had a good location for getting to the gondola and for eating out at night. In addition to that we got a good and friendly service.

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Gard – trip reports and pictures