Other Grandeur Travelers.

Sunday, December 20, 2015

Discovery Primea: The Best Staycation Experience in Manila

(Sponsored Post)

Let's face it. Sometimes, going on an actual vacation (no matter how amazing the place is) can be stressful. Traveling can take its toll, especially when you are doing it for a long period. This is the reason why people prefer doing Staycations. The idea of a Staycation is not new but it is not a common thing in this country. Strictly speaking, a staycation means staying home or somewhere close to home to help you relax and rejuvenate. I prefer to do it in the latter. It has done wonders for my mind and body. It's nice to slow down a bit and tap out while staying in your zip code.

Among all the new properties in the city, Discovery Primea was the one that had always piqued my interest. Having stayed in some of their properties before, I knew Primea had something unique to offer in the city. As a member of the prestigious Preferred Hotel and Resorts LVX Collection, a mark of sophistication and luxury, Primea has brought Filipino hospitality to a different level.


Located in the center of my favorite city, you cannot miss this structure that dominates the Makati skyline. Kenzo Tange, who received the Pritzer Prize (The Highest honor in architect) was the man behind Primea's architecture.

Friday, December 4, 2015

Post-Residency Vacation


Hello, everyone! I have been traveling around Europe now for almost a month. This has been one of my most memorable trips so far since the end of my dermatology residency program. I started in Rome where I actually got to kiss the Pope Francesco's hand. It was an out of the body experience! I could not believe that it happened until today. More cities came after that, of course. Venice. Florence. Naples. Bielefeld. Cologne. Prague. Barcelona. Marrakech.



Currently, I am in Paris - a beautiful city that has been a victim of terrorism twice this year. Due to the recent attacks, I was discouraged to come here but terrorism should not derail us from exploring the word. We can't let them win! Paris is still as beautiful as the last time (with more soldiers roaming the city now!). I cannot wait to share with you all my experience. More details to follow.

See you.

Dr. GT

Friday, November 6, 2015

Amanusa: Bali's Little Piece of Paradise

(A Preview)
As someone who loves hotels and resorts (too much, in fact), the Aman properties will always be legendary. My road to being an amanjunkie has long been postponed but after finishing my dermatology residency training lately,  I think I will have a long and lasting relationship with Aman. 

Aman, which means safe and peaceful, always treats their guests like family. You will never feel that you are far from home. This is the reason why most of its employees never leave since opening day. Of course, the beauty of this group is that it embraces the local culture. From the construction materials to the architecture, Aman properties never fail to show you the traditions and culture of that place. 

Saturday, October 3, 2015

Velassaru Maldives: Paradise on Earth (A Photoblog)




Among all the equally beautiful islands in the Republic of Maldives, I chose Velassaru, a member of the Small Luxury Hotels of the World, for sentimental reasons. It was one of the first few resorts I was checking when I started blogging. I couldn't think of a more perfect first resort.

These are some of the gorgeous photos from that trip -- All UNEDITED.

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Seda Hotels "Best Feelings in the World" Photo Contest




Hello, guys! This is your chance to win something from one of my favorite hotels chains in the Philippines. This contest is called Seda Hotels "Best Feelings in the World" Photo Contest. The Grand Prize includes 3 days and 2 nights stay with airfare for two at any Seda hotel location.

Runners-up Prizes

* Overnight stay for two at Seda BGC, Metro Manila
* Overnight stay for two at Seda Centrio, Cagayan de Oro
* Overnight stay for two at Seda Abreeza, Davao
* Overnight stay for two at Seda Atria, Iloilo
* Overnight stay for two at Seda Nuvali, Laguna

Mechanics:

1. "Like" Seda Hotels on Facebook and follow @sedahotels on Instagram

2.  On your own Instagram account, show a photo of something that gives you a great feeling, with a brief caption to explain. Use the hashtags #BestFeelingsInTheWorld #SedaHotels. Pictures taken in Seda Hotels are encouraged but not required. Repost this photo together with this caption.

3. Tag Seda Hotels in the picture(s) (Privacy Setting should be public).

4. One photo is equivalent to one entry. Multiple entries are allowed.

5. Winners will be chosen by Seda Management based on originality, composition, relevance, technique, and emotion elicited.

6. Entrants will allow Seda management to use the photos for collaterals and any other promotional purposes.

Note: Seda Hotels and their employees are disqualified from joining. Submit entries until Sept 30, 2015. Announcement on or before October 15, 2015.

Goodluck!

Click this LINK to learn more about Seda Nuvali.

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Ladurée Finally Opens in Manila



(Photos taken with Iphone 6)

I can't believe Ladurée has finally opened in Manila! This is their first takeaway boutique in the city (Although I wish it they made it a full tea house. That would have added more to the charm of Ladurée since macarons are perfect with tea!). For those of you who do not know, Ladurée is one of the best makers of the famous double-decker macaron. My love for French Macarons started a long time ago before they became cool! My favorites are the raspberry and pistachio macarons.


Each macaron is flown in from France and costs P150 per piece. The price is almost the same in other countries but it may be a bit too expensive for Manila. We'll see how it goes but hopefully it stays. Pierre Hermé, next? Fingers crossed.

Laduree is located at 8 Rockwell, Makati (In front of the Poweplant Mall).

Saturday, August 8, 2015

Grandeur Traveler X Thunderbird Resort Poro Point Winner






Congratulations @yassiezzle on IG for winning my3d/2n Thunderbird Poro Point contest! I will contact you for the details! The winner was picked randomly from IG and Facebook. I wish I could have everyone as winners!

Thank you again for joining. I'll make sure I have more contests in the coming weeks. 

Love,

Dr. GT

Sunday, August 2, 2015

Experiencing the World's Best in Oberoi Amarvilas India



When you have a hotel with a level of excellence and service fit for a Maharaja, plus a view of one of the most iconic monuments in the world, you can't help but expect the best. The Oberoi group certainly knows how to build hotels that may change the way you travel forever.  Trust me when I say that you will never see hotels the same way again after experiencing Oberoi in India. 

This photoblog will show you why Oberoi Amarvilas in Agra recently ranked number 3 on Travel + Leisure World's Best Awards 2015 list of Top Resorts in Asia ( Of course, it is the number 1 in Agra!). After 18 hours of travel from Manila, we reached Oberoi Amarvilas - a place where every minute seemed like a dream. 

As soon as we arrived, we were greeted by these two gentlemen - the guard and our butler.  

Before entering the lobby, this opulent quadrant with dozens of fountains came out of nowhere. Suddenly, I was not in Manila any more. 

My jaw dropped when I saw how grand this place was. 

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Rekindling My Boracay Love Affair with Discovery Shores





With my life straddling between long hours in the hospital and fleeting weekend travels, unique hotel experiences are a must. Luxury is not yet that ubiquitous for obvious reasons but the real danger is when it becomes generic. Hotels are now upping the ante in order to provide something exceptional for their guests. People certainly want  more value for their hard-earned money. 

After my trips to India and Maldives, both my dream destinations, the ridiculous first-world dilemma that presented itself was how to top those exceptional properties. Boracay was next on my list. Considering the recently concluded Laboracay event (Labor Day Weekend on the Island – a weekend of pandemonium that turns Boracay into an extension of Manila’s party scene. Que Horror!), was it still possible for our tropical paradise in the Philippines, one of the best islands in the world, to wow me? The island's inevitable tourism boom has become some sort of double-edged sword. I must admit that the idea of seeing a crowded Boracay with algae in its once pristine waters was a bit frightening. I have developed a slight aversion for anything that becomes too commercial. I value my quiet time and privacy these days. One special weekend, I found all my answers when I was lucky enough to have a staycation with Discovery Shores Boracay.

Sunday, April 19, 2015

How to Apply for A Tourist Visa on Arrival (TVoA) in India: Four Easy Steps

View from our balcony. Oberoi Amarvilas




Basking in the splendor of the Taj Mahal.


India has always been one of my dream destinations because of the most beautiful monument of love in the world - the Taj Mahal. Before I write about my trip here though, I would like to share my experience regarding the Tourist Visa on Arrival (TVoA) process. Last year, we all heard that India made it hassle-free for Filipinos to visit their country. I would like to clarify that the literal Tourist on Visa on arrival no longer applies (meaning you can land in India and simply fill out the Tourist Visa on Arrival form when you arrive). Earlier this year, the government modified this. You now have to apply online but don't let that discourage you from going. The Four steps are quite simple. Here they are:

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Huma Island Resort and Spa: Your New Island Getaway in Palawan



There’s no short supply of island getaways in this country. We have endless choices of breathtaking islands where you can spend your precious holidays. A few years ago, there was a buzz about the opening of a Maldivian-inspired resort in Palawan called Huma Island Resort and Spa. Everyone seemed to have been excited about this new resort from the luxury market segment.

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Steak Perfection at 22 Prime, Discovery Suites



In  Manila, there are only a few steakhouses that could rival the best ones in the world. When I received an invitation from the Discovery group to have dinner at their flagship steakhouse, 22 Prime, my immediate answer was a yes. This multi-awarded restaurant is a favorite of bona fide carnivores in the metro that consider steak as their virtual kryptonite.

Our welcome from the Discovery team that night was one fit for VIPs. The Corporate Chef, Marketing team and even the General Manager were all there to greet us. It was a pleasant surprise that they were joining us for dinner. I do love meeting and talking to people when I get the chance. As soon as we sat down, I immediately got caught in our engaging conversations that I almost forgot that we were there to eat steak. 

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Anantara Resort and Spa: An Oasis in the Center of Siem Reap




Anantara, which means without end or without limits, has a philosophy that would attract any traveler. It is group of resorts that has always strived and maintained to bring the rich local culture of a certain place to all their properties. It is no surprise that they have been successful in their expansion around the world. When I saw that they had a property in Siem Reap, I could not help myself. I had to book it.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Pinto Art Museum: 7 Reasons Why You Should Visit

Art has a transformative power. Without it, reality would easily eat us alive. It helps us express ourselves in ways unimaginable. Art can make us cope, adapt and even survive. This is the reason why I love going to Museums whenever I travel. It gives me a sense of the of past, present and future of a place.  

A few years ago, I thought museums had no chance of surviving in this country. The National Museum seems to be deserted most of the time. This sad fate has made me realize that there is an immediate need to change the way we do museums. After my recent visit to the popular Pinto Art Museum, I saw a glimpse of hope. It is possible to re-introduce art in our culture.
   
Here are a few reasons why you should visit:

Friday, February 27, 2015

Siama Hotel: An Eco Resort in the Heart of Sorsogon




It was a trip that should have taken less than two hours. With another twist of fate, our trip turned out to be 12 long hours from Manila to Sorsogon. On the day of our fight, the skies were clear and our spirits were high. I suddenly remembered telling my sister the day before our short vacation that I had that "bad" feeling about our flight. I hated the idea that my gut was right. Shortly before landing, the captain of our plane said that due to poor visibility, he could not land the aircraft. He was going to give it one more go but somehow, we felt that something extreme could happen if we kept on trying. The weather in Legazpi could get pretty erratic on occasions.  We tried to fly in twice but to no avail. The plane descended and within a few minutes, the pilot pulled the plane back up again. There was panic in our eyes but we were all composed nonetheless. With much relief, we were diverted back to Manila. This must be normal for pilots but I had never experienced this in my history of travel. Without hesitation, we eventually did a never ending roadtrip to a hidden retreat in Sorsogon called "Siama Hotel". Our butts were sore and unhappy but the whole journey was worth it. It was invigorating to see this side of the Philippines.
.

Designed by acclaimed designer Milo Naval, Siama Resort has given us another reason to visit Sorsogon (aside from the famous butanding or whale shark). The whole resort was inspired by the traditional "Nipa Hut". The woven rattan pieces, airy lobby and huge slabs of acacia make this beautiful property a design haven in the middle of the forest.

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

The Balesin Royal Villa: A New Level of Luxury in Balesin



With much anticipation, the Balesin Royal Villa, the newest and last village in Balesin officially just opened last November. As one of the most sought after island destinations in the country now, Balesin wanted to offer something special specifically for honeymooners or big groups. With only 14 suites, the Balesin Royal Villa is the only village that offers complete privacy for its guests. That means the other guests staying in other villages (Click here for my first post about Balesin) are not allowed to swim or use the Balesin Royal Villa facilities when it is booked.

When you arrive, you are picked up by one of the staff dressed as if he were actually waiting for royalty.

Forever Summer


Thank You, Balesin Island Club for another wonderful tropical weekend. I will writing about the newest "Royal" Village that will be the perfect alternative for honeymooners out there. 

P.S 

Notice my new favorite duffel bag from Fino Leatherware? 

Sunday, January 11, 2015

The Henry Hotel Manila: Truly a Hotel Like No Other


There is hope for Manila! Who would have thought that a hotel as beautiful as this exists in this metropolis? The property only opened last December 2014 but it already caught the attention of urban dwellers and bloggers alike. Everyone needs an escape from this busy and chaotic Megacity once in a a while. You won't have to go far this time.

Welcome to the newest and most chic in Metro Manila. The Henry Hotel. (Same people behind Henry Hotel Cebu)

The character of this property was all because of the vision of Eric Paras, a renowned interior and furniture designer. He has blended modern amenities with mid-century furniture. 

Let the pictures speak for themselves.

I can now say I have a favorite place in Pasay.


Friday, January 9, 2015

Siem Reap Diaries: Shinta Mani Club - Your Gateway to Angkor Wat


Backpacking across IndoChina and Europe was one of those things that I had to do as young man. I remember doing this with friends from medical school a long time ago.  We stayed in this guest house in Siem Reap which was under $50 per night. It had dreary lighting, sconces reminiscent of a funeral parlor and uncomfortable beds but the promise of the Angkor Wat's grandeur was enough to make me overlook all of those things.

Fast forward to 2014. I am already 30 years old with the stress of residency training in my hands.  At this point in your life, you want the finer things in life. A beautiful hotel can set the mood for the rest of the trip. If you could pick the best accommodation, why wouldn't you, right? After carefully searching and reading all the reviews, I ended up choosing what would be one of my favorite hotels to date- Shinta Mani Club.

Shinta Manila Club is a sophisticated and upscale boutique hotel located in Central Siem Reap. When you have a genius like Bill Bensley in charge of the design, you are sure that you'll have a unique hotel experience.

Beautiful lotus flower arrangements.

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Siem Reap Diaries: Floating Village



In general, going around the temples for an "x" number of days can be exhausting and almost a chore. This is what most people know as temple-fatigue.  Some of you may feel the need to see other sights in order to break the seeming monotony of these spiritual monuments. On our last day in Siem Reap, after having reached the ceiling of our temple visit, we decided to visit Chong Kneas, a floating village on the famous Tonle Sap Lake. It is an interesting day trip that may change your own perspective on what it means to have a simple life. Or Maybe Not. 

I must warn you though that this "tour" may feel like an annoying "tourist trap". No one told us that before you actually enter this village, you will need to pay $20 per person (and that includes the one-hour boat ride). We were expecting this trip to be cheaper but we thought wrong. We left most of our money in the hotel room but it was a good thing we brought enough to pay for the entrance fee. The twenty-dollar fee was pretty high, even in western standards.