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Archive for September, 2007

As loyal as I am to the Starwood group of hotels, I have to admit that I’m pretty impressed with the Mandarin Oriental here in Singapore. The rooms are really well thought out, with lots of little design touches that make a big difference. As I type this, for example, my iPod is being broadcast throughout the room — all the hook-ups are just beside the desk. I’ve got a beautiful view over the harbour, and as hotels go, I’m a pretty happy camper.

Just a shame I don’t get any points for this…

Mandarin Oriental room

Mandarin Oriental room

Mandarin Oriental room

Mandarin Oriental room

Welcome to the Mandarin Oriental, Singapore!

Welcome to the Mandarin Oriental, Singapore!

Greeted with fresh fruit, laid out with a sense of aesthetic that you rarely see outside Asia

Greeted with fresh fruit, laid out with a sense of aesthetic that you rarely see outside Asia

More nice details, like the lacquered tea box

More nice details, like the lacquered tea box

Orchids in the bathroom

Orchids in the bathroom. Not quite like Thailand in terms of the sheer numbers, but there are plenty of orchids here…

Just a short entry to let everyone know that I’m still alive. Arrived in Singapore after a pain-free 13 hour flight from Heathrow. I managed to sleep for most of the flight, so arrived feeling fairly refreshed. I flew in one of the new BA seats and faced backwards for the entire journey, which was a little weird.

It’s warm and very humid, just what I expected. It feels a little bit like Disneyland – all the characteristics of the rest of Asia are here, but everything is spotlessly clean and orderly. It’s almost a shame – the lack of grit and grime takes some of the character out of the city.

Nevermind. One of my colleagues grew up in Singapore, and took us out for our first night to a Steamboat place – the Singaporean equivalent of shabu shabu. So I got to cook my own food in a place that looks like a one-way street to food poisoning. We’ll discover by tomorrow morning how wise it was to follow her advice.

The view from the hotel room over the Singapore harbour

The view from the hotel room over the Singapore harbour

The view from the hotel room over the Singapore harbour at nightfall

The view from the hotel room over the Singapore harbour at nightfall

Self-portrait

A self-portrait in the hotel room of Singapore harbour at nightfall. Didn’t have much lighting equipment or a tripod with me, so had to make due with what was available in the room!

The Singapore Merlion

The Singapore Merlion

Do-it-yourself dinner

Do-it-yourself dinner. This was the locals’ choice, but we’ll see if my stomach is up to it!

Adding value

A consultant’s life is always about adding value to his clients. It turns out that in Singapore, they’ve automated it. When this machine finally makes it’s way to England, I’m screwed.
32 years young!

32 years young!

Blowing out the candles

Blowing out the candles

Singapore Sling in hand!

Singapore Sling in hand!

Aude in a festive mood!

Aude in a festive mood!

Neil wishes me a happy birthday!

Neil wishes me a happy birthday!

Jean Michel wishes me a happy birthday!

Jean Michel wishes me a happy birthday!

Even Anne-Laure wishes me a happy birthday!

Even Anne-Laure wishes me a happy birthday!

I do not know this man

I do not know this man

Matthew gets ready for his trip abroad with a dodgy umbrella and a Singapore Sling...

Matthew gets ready for his trip abroad with a dodgy umbrella and a Singapore Sling…


Clearly, the Turkish diet can be a little rough on the system if you’re not used to it. Accustomed to dealing with such troubles, our five-star hotel sprung for the finest toilet paper they could find…

Really?

Is it really Extra Krep?

We’re back from Turkey, relaxed and tanned. More pictures later, but here’s a matching set to start…

Aude at the old harbour in Antalya

Aude at the old harbour in Antalya

Matthew at the old harbour in Antalya

Matthew at the old harbour in Antalya

Aude by the light of a lantern's glow...

Aude by the light of a lantern’s glow…

Our waiter, hard at work filleting the fish we'd ordered...

Our waiter, hard at work filleting the fish we’d ordered…

Matt relaxes over his dinner...

Matt relaxes over his dinner…

Matt isn't the only one who thinks the fish looks good...

Matt isn’t the only one who thinks the fish looks good…

Another beautiful day, most of which we spent at the beach. The beaches here are pebble, the waves are strong, and the water gets deep very quickly, so not great for swimming. It was probably our first and last visit to the beach until we get to Cesme, where the beaches are sand and the water is more shallow.

My animal magnetism seems to be working overtime. I’d barely sat down for lunch before one of the ‘hotel’ cats was sitting in my lap. We’ve dubbed him ‘President Cataturk’. And the cats here have obviously worked out that I’m a soft touch as they’re constantly begging at my table (and seemingly not others!)

We had another good dinner overlooking the harbour, Aude managing to charm the waiter so much that we left with flowers. I’m considering buying her a burka.