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Thursday, February 4, 2016

When in Singapore, Visit Universal Studios in Resort World Sentosa


Are you looking to take a little vacation or holiday? Have you considered Universal Studios in Singapore? If not, you should. They have so much to offer thrill seekers and family vacationers alike. While there are many intriguing reasons why you should place Singapore, in general, on your must-see list, Universal Studios on location is offering some major attractions to sweeten the deal.

We visited Universal Studios in Singapore last holiday and it was one of the best things we could have done. Whenever you’re travelling with family, especially withyoung children, you always face the challenges of overcoming boredom. Finding enough fun activities for all to enjoy is a particularly important thing to do without self-destructing your wallet as well. More on that later. If this sounds like you, then I would highly recommend Universal Studios in Singapore as your next vacation destination. Allow me to explain why.

What does Universal Studios offer visitors?

Universal Studios has a fantastic selection of rides and attractions, but it so much more than that. If you have a special event coming up, perhaps an anniversary, wedding, or birthday party, they can accommodate your event for you and make your special day extra special. They also offer a selection of shows throughout the year, so be sure to check out their event calendar when planning your trip. Whatever the reason for your trip, plan something fun and enjoy yourself and your time here. 

Attractions and Rides

The rides and attractions are always a big hit at Universal Studios. When we were there, we really enjoyed glancing at the Hollywood architecture and even seeing characters from my favorite movies like Vin Diesel of ‘The Fast and the Furious’. The staff assisting tourist like me did a fantastic job in accommodating us. I can’t remember the last place I visited where the hosts were as friendly and truly caring as we experienced at the Universal Studios in Singapore. The level of customer care we received was truly exceptional.

The attractions we visited were all themed, which we really liked. I think the theme gives you a better sense of what to expect. If there is a theme your family is particularly interested in, it also makes finding the attractions for that theme much easier. Allow me to give you an example. My mom and my brother are crazy over the Shrek movies and characters, so we made sure to stop there first and find Shrek and Puss in Boots for photo opps. It was either that or have a full out mutiny on our hands. But seriously, if you have children who love Shrek and the unforgettable characters of Far, Far Away Land, this themed stop is a no-brainer anyway. The attraction was wonderful. They even had a 4D Shrek Adventure show, which was amazing. I honestly can’t say enough about it.

However, even if Shrek isn’t your thing, there are six other themed attraction centers you can choose from, including:
  • Hollywood - Feels like you are walking downtown Hollywood.
  • New York - I love having photos infront of those US designed buildings! Surreal!
  • Ancient Egypt - My favorite attraction. It’s like Egypt in Singapore!
  • Sci-Fi City - My brother had fun checking this cool attraction! He loves science & robots!
  • Lost World - Mom loved the water ride and giant dinosaurs were freaking me out!
  • Madagascar - So tropical and you’ll feel like a kid again!.

With that said, they really do cover a lot of bases here. Actually, because my brother thoroughly enjoyed all the geekery his hands could get on, If you  are like him and you love the world of science fiction, then Sci-Fi City is certain to be a stop for you. He enjoyed the 3D Transformers ride available in this themed area. 

We also visited the Ancient Egypt themed area, which was also really cool. I have always been fascinated with everything about ancient Egypt and The Mummy movies, so it was a real treat to experience this specialty area as well. This is the closest to Egypt that I could experience in Asia. 

Does the park offer any dining venues?

The Egypt themed area has a nice middle Eastern restaurant that we stopped at called the Oasis Spice Cafe. If you get a chance to stop here, I recommend it. The food and service were excellent, with plenty of Egyptian-themed foods on the menu, which only enhanced our experience further. There are others as well, but we didn’t get a chance to visit them during this trip. However, we are planning a return trip in the near future, so perhaps next time.

How do You get to Universal Studios in Singapore?

Getting to Universal Studios was easy, regardless of your location. If you are in Singapore’s central business district, you’re looking at roughly a quick 10-minute ride. Another option that many people take is from the VivoCity shopping mall. In that case, it’s a leisure stroll away. But, if you are coming from another area, simply grab a bus or cab ride there. The ride is fairly short and easy either way. There are also directions on Universal Studios Singapore website in case you are planning on driving or walking yourself.

Where should You stay in Singapore?

There are plenty of wonderful hotels in the area where you can stay. Each one a little different from the next. For a family with many kids, I suggest staying at Resorts World Sentosa. All the features and amenities you need are already there. Rooms are clean, comfortable, and inviting. The prices are reasonable too!

Singapore offers many ways to entice and entertain their visitors. If you have never considered coming over, give it a try sometime. After all, 17 million visitors each year can’t be wrong. If you frequent Singapore, whether for business or pleasure, consider getting an annual pass to Universal Studios location here. The one thing about annual passes I love is that they give you access to the park 365 days a year, and it generally saves you on the cost as well. Go as often as you like and pay only once per year, and at a discount.


Regardless of the reason for your visit to Singapore, take time to enjoy life a little. There is so much to see and do in this wonderful, happy place.


Wednesday, January 27, 2016

When in Singapore, Visit Gardens by the Bay


Last Christmas, my family decided to visit Gardens by the Bay in Singapore via Philippine Airlines and it was by far the best decision we have made for a holiday vacation. If you have never visited Singapore, or if you or looking for somewhere spectacular and different, I would highly recommend Gardens by the Bay and fly only with Philippines Airlines. This is one place in Singapore that is an absolute must-see attraction. There is so much to see and do. 

A visit to Gardens by the Bay makes for a truly unique experience for everyone.

What is Gardens by the Bay?

Gardens by the Bay was an ecological project started by the government of Singapore to create a sense of a city within a garden. The country has immersed themselves with perfecting the gardens and experience and has become a popular attraction for tourists and locals alike. In fact, November of 2015 saw its 20 millionth visitor to the gardens, an impressive feat, for sure. These are not your typical botanical gardens, though. On the whole, Gardens by the Bay spans a whopping 101 hectares, or roughly 250 acres of beautiful land. So, what, you may wonder, is so unique about the gardens? Let’s find out.

What is special about Gardens by the Bay?

The gardens are broken up into three main sections.
  • Bay East Garden
  • Bay Central Garden
  • Bay South Garden
Bay East Garden has a promenade with a view of the city’s skyline, which I found lovely at sunset. The promenade is a little shorter than the one at Bay Central, ending at about 1.2 miles, but there is also more to see here. In Bay East, there are several themed gardens to enjoy.

Bay Central Garden is primarily a waterfront promenade, but makes for a  wonderful 1.9 mile romantic and scenic walk. The city is making plans for further developments for this area in the future, but for now, the promenade is the main attraction here. I walked it during my trip and found the views to be breathtaking, not to mention a great way to get in a little fitness while on the go.


While we enjoyed our visit to the Bay East and Bay Central gardens, the biggest attractions of all were located within Bay South Gardens. This is where we spent most of our time because of the sheer number of things to see and do in the south gardens. But, to keep my post a reasonable length, I will touch base on the main attractions in this area.

The Supertree Grove

Tropical Singapore has these lush, green gardens that were a pleasure to walk through. One of our favorite parts of the gardens was the Supertree Grove. They were amazing structures and at night were the basis of an equally amazing music and light show that began around 9:00 pm. It was better, in my opinion, than many of the fireworks displays that I’ve seen elsewhere. 

A photo I got from Instagram in perfect lighting!

It also includes the OCBC Skyway which is a walkway between a couple of the larger trees. The skyway provides a phenomenal aerial view. If you get a chance to visit, I highly recommend the skyway for the best views. 

The Flower Dome

If you are more into flowers, Gardens by the Bay has that covered as well. Walking through the dome is comparable to a spectacular Spring day. There is a wide assortment of flowers, which is ever-changing specializing in first one part of the world to another. The dome is serene and immersed in beauty.

The Cloud Forest

The cloud forest also offers a sense of serenity, but instead of being wrapped in floral, visitors are surrounded by lush greenery, rumbling waterfalls. There are several different floors, accessed by an elevator, that you can visit for different views. One of the floors includes several different cavern displays, like crystals, stalactites, and stalagmites among other things, and a treetop walkway to round out the visit.


The Children’s Garden

Do you have children that will join you on your trip to the Gardens by the Bay? If so, there is a children’s garden area, which is wonderful play place for toddlers and older kids alike. There are swings and rocking toys, rope bridges, and treehouses. When we stopped here, my kids couldn’t get enough of the “rainforest treehouses.” I honestly think they would have played for hours if time permitted. There is so much to explore here, your kids will surely love it too. 

Special Events

One more thing, be sure to check out the Gardens by the Bay calendar of events. They are constantly offering something appealing for everyone. 

Dining

There are also several different restaurants and dining venues to choose from within the gardens.
  • McDonalds
  • Pollen (for British-Asian cuisine)
  • Majestic Bay Seafood Restaurant
  • IndoChine (IndoChinese and Western cuisines)
  • Bakerzin (sweet treats to tantalize the tastebuds)
  • Cafe Crema
  • Supertree Dining (Local and International cuisines)
  • Satay by the Bay
  • Children’s Garden Cafe
  • Conservatory Cafe
Regardless of where you are in the Gardens by the Bay, there is always a dining venue close by.

We really enjoyed our visit and will revisit another time. The trip was enjoyable. The people were friendly. The prices were reasonable. The sights were spectacular. What more could you hope for out of a vacation or holiday?




Smart hosts ‘virtual party’ in country’s first Facebook Live Video

Amidst the frenzy of revelers at the much celebrated Dinagyang Festival in Iloilo over the weekend, unrivaled mobile services leader Smart Communications, Inc. (Smart) broke new ground as it became the first brand to pilot Facebook Live in the Philippines.

The latest feature of the world’s biggest social networking site, Facebook Live allows users to broadcast live video content as a new way to engage followers. For a more shared experience, Facebook Live also allows viewers to post their comments and interact with each other in real time. 

The feature was first introduced for use by US celebrities last August, and was then rolled out for verified accounts of public figures, news sites, brands and other users just last month.

Party at your fingertips

For its pilot Facebook Live video, Smart broadcasted a 20-minute segment of the Love Dance, one of the biggest electronic dance music celebrations at the Dinagyang Festival last Jan. 22

The live video came as a regular notification to the followers of Smart’s official account on Facebook. Upon clicking the notification, they were directed to the live video, which featured the rousing beats of Smart ambassadors and party staples DJ Ace Ramos and MC Pao. 

Viewers from all over the county streamed in and posted their reactions – mostly in awe of the new feature and thrilled to be able to join the celebrations virtually on their mobile devices: “Ang sarap pumasok sa screen at maki-party (If only I could enter the screen and join the party)!,” commented user Jaylord Ambe. “This is amazing!,” user Jr Florentino chimed in.

The next day, Smart once again tapped Facebook Live to broadcast the set of Smart Ambassador Inno Naguit at the Dinagyang Invasion, another major electronic dance music celebration, eliciting positive responses from viewers who got to share the festival experience despite being miles away.

Each Facebook Live video was automatically published on Smart’s Facebook page, which was later viewed and shared by the thousands of followers.

Forefront of mobile technology

“Smart has always been at the forefront of mobile innovations in the country, and we are very honored and thrilled to be the first brand to launch Facebook Live in the Philippines, which promises another awesome Smart Life experience for Facebook users,” said Kathy Carag, Smart Brand Head. 

“This new feature not only stretches the capabilities of Facebook, but also opens great possibilities for us to enrich the mobile lifestyle of our subscribers, who can now tune in to witness significant events and share the experience with others in real time – all with just a few taps on their smartphone,” she added.

History of innovations

Smart’s launch of Facebook Live follows a string of mobile innovations and product offers which Smart introduced to keep Filipinos abreast with the latest technologies, enriching their digital lifestyle. 

Smart recently pioneered the ‘Shared Data’ scheme which allowed postpaid and prepaid subscribers to share data volume conveniently with their loved ones so as to keep them connected online, with access to the widest breadth of digital content – from music and videos to games and more – on their mobile devices. 

Last year, Smart led the way for Southeast Asia’s first Smart LTE Multicast of a live event through the use of the evolved Multimedia Broadcast Multicast Services (eMBMS).  After pioneering and launching the use of LTE in the Philippines in 2012, Smart also conducted the country’s first trial of LTE-Advanced in 2013, joining only a handful of carriers around the world with such capability.

Smart offers fast and reliable broadband services via its nation-widest network, which is backed by the country’s most extensive fiber optic footprint that spans over 100,000 kilometers.


Rhombus International Hotel Groups Triumphs at the Hong Kong Business High-Flyers Awards 2015

Mr. Tim Charlton, Publisher of Hong Kong Business presenting the prestigious award 
to Mr. Wayne Mak, Managing Director

(Hong Kong, 26 January 2016) - Rhombus International Hotels Group commences the year of 2016 on a high with winning the ‘Leading Hotel Management Company for Worldwide Investors’ on the fifth year at the High-Flyer Awards. The 12th Hong Kong Business High-Flyers Awards were held on Tuesday 19 January at the award-winning Azure Restaurant Slash Bar at the summit of Hotel LKF by Rhombus. This esteemed award acknowledges elite enterprises in Hong Kong, endorsing their outstanding performance and remarkable breakthroughs made in their industries. Speaking of the recipients of the award, Mr. Tim Charlton, the Publisher of Hong Kong Business, says, “It is not an easy task to remain committed to excellence and customer satisfaction in the midst of a challenging operating environment and weak investor sentiment. This is why it is with great honor that we award these companies for their exceptional effort to stay ahead in the market.”

Founded in North America, Rhombus has over 29 years of experience in Canada, Europe and Asia. Management expertise and knowledge that is practical, efficient and customised to meet each hotel and region's specific needs and requirements has resulted in a growing demand within the international marketplace. Irrespective of the size or scope of each project, Rhombus’ commitment is to achieving excellence in service while maximising profits and increasing asset values.

Rhombus International Hotels Group is poised for growth on an international scale as it continues to be the pioneer of excellent and versatile hospitality products and services on a worldwide basis. Rhombus currently manages four hotels in Hong Kong; Hotel Panorama by Rhombus in Tsim Sha Tsui, Hotel LKF by Rhombus in Central, Hotel Bonaparte by Rhombus in Wan Chai, and Hotel Pennington by Rhombus in Causeway Bay. The company also manages Rhombus Park Aura Chengdu Hotel in Chengdu, China.


Indulgent Valentine's Day Weekend at BINTAN LAGOON RESORT


Make it an exceptional Valentine’s Day weekend with a stay over at the Bintan Lagoon Resort, a short ferry ride away from Singapore. Perched on 310 hectares of verdant greenery with its own private beach front, the Resort provides intimate moments to connect. From romantic moonlit strolls under starry skies to capturing the sunset over cocktails at Nelayan, the chic beachfront restaurant, cherish the memories of an island in the sun.

Priced at S$160 per Deluxe Room per night, the BLR Valentine’s Day package comprises a hearty buffet breakfast for two. For an extra special weekend, upgrade to the plush Forest Suite at S$120 per room night. The package also provides free access to a host of recreational activities such as an archery session, admission to the new Powerhouse Gym, tennis, billiard/snooker, badminton, volleyball/beach volleyball, board games at Leisure Centre and dart games at The Terrace. Couples can also join the Valentine’s Night party at Silk Night Club on Saturday, 13th February without a cover charge.

Cozy up for a romantic dinner at the Nelayan Beachfront Bar & Seafood Dining at S$98 per person.  For a truly private time away from others, go for a candlelit dinner under the stars on the beach or by the spectacular hole number 12 on the golf course. (Price on request)

Visit:  http://www.bintanlagoon.com/bintan-packages/valentines-day-package/

TERMS & CONDITIONS:

Two nights’ accommodation minimum in a Deluxe Room
Minimum two persons (Twin-sharing) only
For local bookings only
Not applicable with other promotions, offers and discounts.
13-15 February only
Book by 12 February
Subject to availability
No cancellation or changes are allowed once booking is confirmed
Rates are Net prices

Singapore Corporate Office, c/o Mozaic Hotels & Resorts, 
151 Lorong Chuan, New Tech Park #06-07A, Singapore 556741
Tel: (65) 6750 2280  Fax: (65) 6534 5157  www.bintanlagoon.com
HOW TO BOOK: Email reservations@bintanlagoon.com or call +65 6750 2280 and quote the "Valentine's Day" package.

About Bintan Lagoon Resort
Sprawled over 300 hectares of beachfront gardens in the tropical paradise of Bintan, Bintan Lagoon Resort is the premier lifestyle destination for leisure, golf and corporate meetings & incentives with its own ferry terminal. A 75-minute direct ferry ride from Singapore, Bintan Lagoon Resort boasts 470 contemporary rooms, suites and villas complemented by an impressive range of 12 dining options, nine function rooms and a dedicated MICE Centre. For leisure, there are two world- renowned 18-hole golf courses designed by Jack Nicklaus and Ian Baker-Finch comprising the Bintan Lagoon Golf Club and a slew of over 50 sea sports and land activities including spa treatments are available. 

Bintan Lagoon Resort
Tel:  (62) 770 691 388/(65) 62233223
Fax: (62) 770 691 300
E: reservations@bintanlagoon.com
Website: www.bintanlagoon.com
Singapore Corporate Office
Tel: (65) 6750 2280
Fax: (65) 6534 5157