Thursday, April 30, 2015

Starbeauty Resort Hotel, Taipei TW

Taiwan, a mere two-hour plane ride from Manila, is one of the countries that's probably on the bottom part of my list of the places I want to visit in Asia. Friends who have been there would tell me that there's nothing much to do and would rather book a vacation in Hongkong or Singapore for the nth time. I've lost track of time on the day Cebu Pacific Air offered its much-awaited Piso Fare that all that's left with promo fares are the unpopular destinations like Taipei. I can't exactly remember if it was due to disappointment, exasperation or a trick of fortune that I went ahead and purchased tickets to Taipei, capital of Taiwan. A couple of months later, off we flew.

The bus ride from the airport to the MRT that links to the nearest station to our hotel took about an hour and 30 minutes. From Jiantan Station, we walked about 10 minutes, with luggage in tow, to our hotel choice in Taipei -- Starbeauty Resort Hotel.

A member of the Taiwan hotel chain Beauty Hotels, we chose Starbeauty for its close proximity to the popular Shilin Night Market. As we didn't really planned our itinerary in Taipei, its safe and wise to book a hotel that is near the bus stops and a short walking distance to major transportation links of Taipei's efficient train system. But above it all, we wanted to be close to Shilin so we can spend as much time scouring over Taiwan's famous street food.

Check in was a breeze and after settling the charges, we rode the elevator to our room on the 6th floor. Honestly speaking, I wasn't expecting the room to be this nice as I knew from the moment that I booked that the hotel was outdated and in dire need of a lift, as an online review mentioned. Verdict: The furniture and design may look old and out of style but it was comfortable and clean, not even a sniff of musty odor. Each room is designed with an air-condition unit, LCD TV with cable channels, refrigerator and free mini-bar, coffee and tea making facilities and hot and cold shower. Wifi internet access is also readily available, just ask the staff at the lobby for the password.

Guests can proceed to the basement level for the complimentary breakfast, which is served from 0700H to 1000H only. Beauty Hotels take pride in serving delicious and a wide variety of breakfast buffet so I was really looking forward to what they will serve the following day. For this trip, Starbeauty surely lived up to its promise because the selection was great and well thought of, and they changed the menu on the two times we were there. I also commend the staff for replenishing the food quickly as the restaurant was already full of guests when we arrived.

Just around the corner is a fruit shop selling humongous watermelons! Actually, all fruits that I saw in Taipei were larger in size than what we see here in Manila. If only we can bring it back home!


Starbeauty Resort Hotel
No.38-1, Qiangang St., Shilin District
Taipei City 111, Taiwan (R.O.C.)
Tel.: (8862) 288-28080

Monday, April 27, 2015

Treasures from Persia Grill

Something different is what we both agreed on. So one cozy night, instead of our usual Japanese food fix, we went to Persia Grill to refrain from going to the usual dinner suspects. Upon entering, the wait staff courteously ushered us to this lovely and aptly designed nook with curtains and beautiful little details that will take you back to the the region of the world's earliest civilizations.

Persia Grill's menu are actual recipes from the owner's grandmother who's family is apparently is from Iran. So if you're looking for authentic Middle Eastern cuisine, you've come to the right place. 

What wo ordered

Creamy Yogurt Shake - Php85.00

Gormeh Sabzi - Php255.00

Out of curiosity, CS ordered Gormeh Sabzi, said to be Iran's National Dish, which consists of beef, herbs and vegetables with pickled gherkins, a veggie related to cucumber. I had a spoonful of it and the taste was too much for me, the herb taste was overwhelming.

Chelo Kebab Kubideh - Php275.00

I was too hungry and was not up for surprises that night to I ordered my staple order in Mister Kebab -- Beef Chelo Kebab. Boring I know since Persia Grill offers a wide variety of Middle Eastern food off the menu. But if you've come for delicious and food that tastes familiar, you'll never go wrong with skewers of grilled ground beef with Basmati rice. Just pour the hot and/or yogurt garlic sauce, I like mine more on the spicy side, and you're in for a treat!

This never fails!


Persia Grill
Bluebaywalk, EDSA cor. Macapagal Avenue
Pasay City, Metro Manila, Philippines
Tel.: (632) 843-4771

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Marco Polo Ortigas

My friends and I were supposed to go to a paradise beach in Sorsogon for the Holy Week but due to the threat of Typhoon Maysak, we decided to cancel last minute and just stay in the Metro. I guess everyone else thought of the same thing because almost all our hotel choices were already full! It was a good friend of mine who suggested for us to try Marco Polo Ortigas, one of the newer hotels in the city, which fortunately had a few more unoccupied rooms.

A five-star hotel towering at 45 floors in the centre of the Ortigas business district, Marco Polo is the epitome of the ultimate indulgence. With a total of 316 well-designed and spacious rooms, any guest will feel at home whether it be a business or leisure stay having very accommodating and hospitable staff always ready to be of service anywhere you see one. Hotel facilities include a fitness centre, an indoor swimming pool and a play area for the kids.

Since it was a holiday and the hotel is almost full, we decided to skip the pool and just stayed in our room to sleep, catch up on my favorite TV series and soak in the bathtub to relax some more. Our superior room, the most basic in Marco Polo, is equipped with a luxurious bed, an awesome view of Ortigas, complimentary wifi internet, LCD TV with cable channels, mini bar and refrigerator, a marble bath tub and Nespresso coffee machine and tea making facilities. 

Complimentary breakfast is served at Cucina, an all-day restaurant with an open kitchen located in the 24F of the hotel by the lobby. We arrived a bit early so I was able to scout and snap a few photos before other guests started to come in. The selection was quite extensive having Japanese, Chinese, Continental and Filipino cuisine to cater guests' varied tastes and preference.

With its world-class facilities, hospitable staff, delicious food offerings and excellent location, it came no surprise that Marco Polo Ortigas is awarded as one of the Best Luxury Hotels in the Philippines by popular site Trip Advisor. And yes, we had a fantastic and memorable stay!


Marco Polo Ortigas
Meralco Avenue and Sapphire Street
Ortigas Center, Pasig City
Metro Manila, Philippines
Tel.: (632) 720-7777

Monday, April 20, 2015

Savor Japan at Nihonbashi Tei

If there's a cuisine that CS and I can eat everyday, it would definitely be Japanese food. Our top choices include Haru (Kapitolyo), Asunaro (Pan Pacific Manila) and Tanabe (Malate). But if we wanted to venture outside of those three, Nihonbashi Tei would always come to mind. With a wide assortment of authentic Japanese food at value for money prices, it is not a surprise that a lot of people frequent the restaurant whether it be lunch, dinner or in our case, a late dinner at 10pm.

We always say that we would try something else off the menu but we always end up saying the same things. So yes, its almost the same orders no matter where we go.

What we ordered

Spicy Tuna - Php220.00

Uni Don - Php350.00

Special Chirashi - Php500.00

Nihonbashi Tei never fails to deliver, serving only the freshest of ingredients at generous portions. A restaurant worth your time, money and calories for those late night cravings!


Nihonbashi Tei
1766 M Adriatico St, Malate
Manila, Metro Manila, Philippines
Tel.: (632) 353-8626
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