I’ve had the pleasure of living in Asia for five years. However, throughout my time living in countries such as Japan, Thailand, Hong Kong and Korea I never took a trip to the motherland! For some reason I had it in my head that I wouldn’t enjoy myself so I held off on visiting.
In 2016 everything changed. I decided to suck it up, get a 10-year visa and check out what China had to offer. I hit two of the biggest cities which are Beijing and Shanghai.
Beijing was my first stop and I was very impressed. Everything was so much more thrilling than I ever imagined. When it was all said and done, I’m super happy I went and can’t wait to go back! The city is very rich in history and culture. This is a big change from Shanghai but we’ll get to that when I release that video next week!
For those of you that know me well, you’ll know that I got my first real taste of international travel when I studied in Bangkok, Thailand back in 2009. I had a real eye-opening experience and grew a lot from simply stepping out of my comfort zone. The process of living abroad and alone erased my shyness and gave me confidence to continue living abroad and to tackle countless challenges in life.
Once I graduated from Michigan State University, I decided to move back to Asia. I continued living in Thailand for a total of 3 years and even became proficient in Thai language. Thailand will always have a special place in my heart.
This year, I was able to return for a month to catch up with my friends and explore new places. This video is a bit abbreviated but will give you an idea of how I spent my time there this time around. Thailand is an absolutely magical place that all need to see. Enjoy and happy travels!
I’ve never visited Japan and had anything short of an absolutely spectacular time! This was the second time I’ve visited Japan as a travel and food writer and fifth time overall!
Upon arrival, I was greeted by the Shangri-La Tokyo hotel staff at the Haneda airport. This airport is much closer to the city center than Narita. I would highly recommend that you stay away from the Narita airport because it is so far.
I love exploring Japanese cuisine. One of my favorite foods is Japanese Ramen. I visited about seven different Ramen shops during my week long stay! Bloated to say the least. When it was all said and done, I much preferred Ramen in Fukuoka but still found some decent bowls while in Tokyo.
Another fantastic food that I really enjoy is Japanese beef. My favorite steak of the trip was from Kobe and probably one of the best steaks of my life. This was inside of the Peninsula hotel at their Peter restaurant.
All and all, Japan is always a magical experience. There are tons of aspects of Japanese culture that I truly admire and I can’t wait to return! Until then, watch the video below to get a glimpse of my adventure!
I must admit that one of my favorite parts of staying at luxury hotels is experiencing the many executive lounges. If you’re not familiar, these are lounges that luxury hotels only offer to exclusive guests that offer a special breakfasts, afternoon tea, evening dining and open alcohol bars. This year, I visited 21 countries and about 75 luxury hotels. Out of all these amazing establishments, there were 10 lounges that really stood out from the crowd! I’ve ranked them considering many criteria such as quality and taste of the food, ambience, feng shui, service, presentation, design and location. We’ll start with 10 and work our way up to the top spot! Lets go!
The Radisson Blu Old Mill Building hotel in Belgrade is the premier design hotel in Belgrade. It’s also the first of its kind for the Radisson Blu brand. They offer new and exciting features including an executive lounge. I had not experienced one in any of the other Radisson Blu prior. The interior looks like it came right out of a design magazine. It wasn’t busy during my stay which made it feel like my personal lounge! There wasn’t always staff present but they did come to refill the hors d’oeuvres and beverages. This lounge made the top 10 list mainly because of the phenomenal design!
The China World Shangri-La hotel impressed me from the moment I walked inside! The lounge was recently renovated and I was impressed with the full dinner offering and a great selection of beverages. There’s a huge selection of food including western, international and local dishes. They even had laksa which is one of my new favorite noodles. The tastes were flawless!
It’s not often that you get to stay in a hotel that is so near the Petronas Towers. While in the Mandarin Oriental executive lounge you feel like you could practically touch them! The view is extraordinary during all parts of the day. Malaysia’s cuisine is so diverse and the Mandarin Oriental really does a great job of giving you a taste of all of the magnificent flavors. Some of the food in the lounge was better than local food I ate on the street. The lounge’s service was always great and not too busy which created a very relaxing and comfortable atmosphere. Definitely fantastic.
After visiting 10 Intercontinental hotels around the world, I’ve discovered that the Intercontinental executive lounges tend to be the most consistent. However, the executive lounge in Bucharest was a step above the others! Not only did they have a lounge full of local cuisine and amazing alcohol but they had a fantastic view of Bucharest. The Intercontinental hotel is one of the tallest buildings in Bucharest so it provided a beautiful bird’s eye view of the surrounding areas. Nearby is a historical area of the city which is very nice to look at from the lounge. The staff there really went above and beyond and always made sure I had everything I wanted. Just glorious all around!
The Sofitel So hotel has a very impressive view of Lumphini Park. Lucky for me the lounge was on the same floor as my room! The lounge offers a different view and has a balcony so you can enjoy the evening breeze with your evening cocktail. Lucky for me, there were blue skies for the duration of my stay. This lounge really caught my attention because of their So Big Brekky This was the full-on Western breakfast and it was amazing. Presentation and service at the executive lounge inside the Sofitel So hotel in Bangkok were just great.
For number five we’re going to Korea. This was my first Courtyard by Marriott experience and I must say I was super impressed! I didn’t expect a lounge, let alone of this caliber. It was absolutely extraordinary. Not only did it have a fantastic view, but they had a full-on dinner service in the evening. There was some decent alcohol to choose from as well. The afternoon tea was not as extensive as some others, but as I said, the dinner was impressive. I especially loved local favorites like Korean barbecue. To this day, I still dream about the lasagna and the lounge!
I must admit that I am a sucker for Middle Eastern food, so being in Jordan already had a leg up on the competition! Throughout my travels, I’ve learned that the Middle Eastern world really enjoys extravagant hotels. They really go out of their way to make the interiors very grand and luxurious. This was definitely noted in the lounge at the Intercontinental Amman. Not only was the food great, but there was an extreme selection. They had so many wonderful things to choose from that my heart simply melted. They even had my favorite salted yogurt and I can’t forget about the Turkish coffee! Also, so many desserts I’m surprised I didn’t blow up like a blimp!
The Four Seasons in Seoul, Korea is my favorite hotel in the city and their executive club lounge helped me come to that conclusion. The hotel is brand-new, so as you’d expect the lounge is absolutely gorgeous. There are three different views depending on which area you’re sitting and one even overlooks Seoul’s Gyeongbokgung which is a palace opened in 1395. The afternoon tea really caught my attention because they have a full spread of absolutely beautiful food. The presentation is flawless and the taste matches perfectly. In the evening, the drink selection is right up there with the others!
This lounge really was extraordinary because of it’s view but also had lots to bring to the table. Wink. The time of year that I visited Bangkok was rainy, therefore this was the perfect spot to watch the weather theater unfold. Sitting high-up along the Chao Phraya river was a great. The service in Bangkok was exceptional and this lounge stood apart with the food selection. One of the evenings they even had a tacos! If this isn’t heaven, I don’t know what is. They can also make almost any drink to your heart’s desire, including a wonderful White Russian.
I spoke about this previously in my Rosewood Beijing hotel review but allow me to elaborate. This lounge really took the cake on all fronts. It’s a huge lounge but it’s separated into three beautifully different parts. The first being the entryway which is where the staff will welcome you into paradise. The second has many windows that bring a lot of natural light which is a great place for tea. Finally, there is a darker area which is more of a nighttime bar and lounge feel. This lounge had some of the most extensive alcohols that I’ve seen. There was also tons of quality food! This is not your typical finger food folks, they offered things like pan-fried scallops and Chinese dumplings! Pure bliss.
Hopefully, now you can see why I spend so much time in hotel club lounges. They have everything that you need to enjoy life! I often worked long hours inside of them and they provide comfortable working and relaxation areas. All of the lounges that I’ve listed I can highly recommend and urge you to try them as soon as possible. Enjoy your travels and take care!
One of the main reasons that I visit many of the places that I do, is simply because I don’t know much about them. I’m intrigued by the unknown and always looking for something new and refreshing that will help me see the world in a different way.
About a year ago I came up with the idea to visit Jordan. I flew there with Royal Jordanian Airways Business Class. Once I arrived in Amman, I quickly headed to the Dead Sea and stayed at the Movenpick Dead Sea Resort. After this, I returned to Amman where I stayed at the Intercontinental Amman. From there it was time to visit Petra. Petra is the oldest and most well preserved ruins in the world. It dates back over 2000 years and is just mind blowing! The pictures are great but being there really makes it so much more incredible.
The good thing about Jordan is that it is quite secluded from the volatility in the region. Sure they have crime like anywhere else. However overall, it’s quite a safe country. In conclusion, I really enjoyed my time in Jordan. I got to try so many new foods, meet so many great people and experience so many things I would highly recommend you to check it out for yourself! Until then, watch this video to get a glimpse of my experience and hopefully it inspires you to explore! Don’t forget to like, comment and subscribe to my YouTube channel.
Every year I visit Chicago to see my family. Normally, I stick to the local favorites that are hard to get around the world like deep dish pizza, Chicago dogs and of course Italian beefs. However, on my most recent trip, I decided to give the Shanghai Terrace restaurant a try which is located inside the Peninsula hotel. We made a reservation for 7pm on a Sunday night. I assumed that the restaurant would be empty but was actually shocked because when we walked in, there was a full house. This will give you a hint about the quality of the food.
The restaurant design is fairly straightforward and offers a darker and more intimate dining experience.
I was just in Shanghai so I had a good baseline to judge the food. To get the evening started, we had hot and sour soup. This was something unique because it had lobster! The second round of food that came was the dim sum 3 way sampler. This was a mix of various items and I was really impressed, especially with the spring roll. It was perfectly flaky and the taste was incredible!
I was really appreciating the warm-up but it was time to get down to business with the main event. To accompany our main courses, we went with a drink called the Cucumber Haze which is one of their signature cocktails. Brilliant!
Favorites of the evening were the beef tenderloin, the spicy sweet chili prawns and the fried noodles with shrimp, pork and chicken. The meat was cooked perfectly and just melted in my mouth. The sauce of the prawns was just the right amount of all of the spices to create a perfect harmony of flavors!
Soon it was then time for dessert. For dessert we went with the Strawberry and Chrysanthemum Pavlova and the Chilled Mango Sago Cream with Seasonal Fruits. The first was so refreshing and light but quite sweet as well. I also really enjoyed the fruit and cream. A cup of coffee and a few small sweets later and the night ended with success!
The Shanghai Terrace in Chicago is absolutely breathtaking. The staff was very attentive throughout our entire meal and very enjoyable to interact with. The food rivaled many dishes I’ve had in China and made me want to do a little dance because they were so tasty! I would highly recommend you to try the Shanghai Terrace which is my new favorite Chinese restaurant in Chicago!
Every year I visit Chicago to see my family. Normally, I stick to the local favorites that are hard to get around the world like deep dish pizza, Chicago dogs and of course Italian beefs. However, on my most recent trip, I decided to give the Shanghai Terrace restaurant a…
Best Chinese Food in Chicago
Best Chinese Food in Chicago
The Nitty Gritty
Taste - 9.4
Value - 7.7
Feng Shui - 8
Convenience - 9
Service - 9.5
The Peninsula Chicago, 108 E Superior St, Chicago, IL 60611
For those of you that know me well, you know that I have a history in film production. Since I have become a travel blogger, I have for the most part, let go of that part of my life. It’s sad when you consider film production was my first love. However, throughout all of my recent experiences, I’ve always thought how great it would be to capture video to share with you all. In the beginning of this year, I decided I had gone along enough without video and it was time to start shooting again!
I’ve taken five destinations and made them into five travel videos that I’m proud of that give a real glimpse into my adventures and what I actually do. I will release these on a weekly basis starting with my Jordan trip in the next few days. It would mean a lot to me if you would take a look and give me your feedback! Please support me by sharing them and subscribing to my YouTube channel right now!
I hope these videos can inspire you to follow your passions and make your dreams come! Enjoy and happy travels!