Skyscrapers in China: the Shanghai World Financial Center building

There is something about the city of Shanghai that invariably appeals to tourists and business travellers alike when they decide to visit China: its striking yet beautiful skyline composed of technologically-advanced buildings and skyscrapers that not only catch their eye but also offer exceptional spaces for work, commercial activity and the hosting of world-class events.

The 492 metres-tall World Financial Centre building in Shanghai stands close to other members of such visually attractive scenery, namely the Oriental Pearl tower, the Jin Mao tower and the Shanghai tower, thus contributing to the shaping of one of the most instagrammable skylines around the globe, while affording outstanding views over the Huangpu River and beyond. The observation halls on the upper floors are open from 9:00 to 22:30 every day to anyone with a valid ticket, which can be purchased at the counter on basement 1 right next to the lifts.

Inside the Shanghai World Financial Centre, travellers will also find company offices, working spaces, fancy restaurants, shops, art galleries and a Park Hyatt hotel. As a guest, you will enjoy direct access to the observatory from the hotel floors, but you may also choose stay in a more affordable hotel on the other side of the river. To help you find the perfect place to stay, we will outline some of the main characteristics of our recommended hotels near Shanghai World Trade Centre in China below.

Whether you will be commuting from the other side of the river to visit the tower or you will be staying inside or close to it, there is a variety of public transport options available for you to get to the Shanghai World Financial Centre quickly and effectively: regularly scheduled ferry boats, taxi cabs, buses and metro. Additionally, the expansion of the Shanghai metro line 5 –currently under testing- is expected to be running services across the Huangpu River soon.

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Finding a hotel close to the Shanghai World Financial Center

The Riverview hotel in Shanghai

The Riverview Hotel is located on the known as Bund area by the river, providing guests with stunning views of the skyline of Shanghai and easy commutes to the financial tower, plus a short walk separates it from some of the main metro stations in town and the ferry station. Confirmed guests are entitled to use parking spots and WiFi internet at no charge, as well as to enjoy access to an onsite gym and guest services that include laundry and currency exchange. Business travellers will be glad to know that the facilities house convention and conference rooms and a restaurant specialising in regional Cantonese cuisine, where a buffet-style breakfast is also served every morning. Should you choose this one as the accommodation for your trip, know that this hotel near the Shanghai World Trade Centre offers budget rooms for the thrifty traveller along with twin, double and family rooms that can be upgraded to superior or deluxe to get the best amenities and city views.

Ibis hotel near Shanghai World Financial Center in China

Boasting an excellent location in the centre of Shanghai within walking distance of metro stations, this hotel by the Ibis hospitality chain offers free WiFi all throughout its premises, an onsite restaurant serving a wide array of international dishes and drinks and, as is the case with other properties in the area, complimentary parking spaces for guests. Travellers appreciate that it is only about 30-minute drive from the Disneyland theme park. Rooms, which can be standard individual ones or superior featuring views, are fully-fitted  and have an en suite bathroom with toiletries and everything a business traveller might need while away from home. There is a tourist information office at the reception of this hotel near Shanghai World Financial Centre, and guests may rest assured that their valuables will be safely stored in the safes and lockers provided while they attend business events or explore the city.

Park Hyatt Shanghai hotel inside the World Financial Center skyscraper

Without a doubt, staying at the Park Hyatt during your trip to Shanghai in China has many advantages, but one of its highlights is the fact that you will simply need to take the lift to lower floors to enjoy the finest restaurants, shops or to attend a business event, and one of the most breathtaking observatories in the world will be just above your roof. Therefore, it comes as no surprise that a lot of guests decide to leave their cosy beds and have their morning coffee admiring the privileged views to the Oriental Pearl Tower every day of their stay. Along with these benefits, we must mention the luxurious premises and the excellence of the customer service that travellers get to enjoy. There is free WiFi internet available both in each room and in the communal areas, a wellness & spa centre and eight gourmet restaurants. If the purpose of your trip is doing business, you might be interested in the exhibitions held at the Shanghai New International Expo Center, just a short commute away. The hotel may arrange shuttle services for you and your colleagues to Pudong airport (45 minutes away) or Hongqiao airport (30 minutes away); reaching the central train station from this point takes about half an hour as well. Guest rooms at the Park Hyatt hotel inside Shanghai World Financial Center are more spacious than average, including extra large beds, satellite TV channels, coffee facilities and a private luxury bathroom. For your convenience, room service operates around the clock.

Will you be passing through Pudong airport during your stay in China? In order to ease stress on your layover or on the day of departure, you may consider staying in a hotel close to Shanghai Pudong International airport the night before you fly.

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A trip to the Nha Trang beaches of Vietnam

Where are you going on your next holiday? If you have already been to Vietnam and loved its urban districts and metropolitan areas, it is time to go back and succumb to the charms of its beaches. Although they gradually have turned into tourist resorts, perhaps more popular than you would wish, the Nha Trang beaches located on the southern coast of Vietnam are still a paradise worth finding. In this post, we will give you some tips on how to arrive and how to make the most of your trip.

Life in Nha Trang

In case you are wondering, any time of the year is appropriate to visit Nha Trang, since temperatures stay mild from January to December. The area is perfect for a peaceful retreat, with hotels and resorts close to beach, usually affording spectacular ocean views; however, if you are looking to have fun, it also has water parks, nightlife and a variety of sports and adventure tours you can join. Besides, the capital of the Khanh Hoa province boasts a rich local gastronomy, popular for seafood and grilled dishes, and takes pride in being a main stopover for some important yatch races in Asia as well as a luxury cruise port. To get further info about these and many other things you can do while in Nha Trang, Vietnam, head over to the visitor information centre by Cho Dam Market.

How to get to Nha Trang in Vietnam

Whether you are flying from overseas or you are taking a tour around Asia, you will be able to travel to Nha Trang by train, by bus or by airplane.

Should you choose the railway as your first option, know that there are overnight trains from Ho Chi Minh City to Nha Trang, as well as services from Hanoi, Da Nang and Thap Cham, even though it should be borne in mind that they make a lot of stops and the journey might take an entire day (24 hours).

When opting for a bus commute, the most recommended departure points is Da Lat (taking between three and four hours). Travelling from Ho Chi Minh City to Nha Trang by bus takes nine hours on average.

If you will be arriving via one of the international airports in Vietnam, you may book a domestic flight to Nha Trang from either Tan Son Nhat or Noi Bai and be there in less than two hours. VietJet Air, JetStar, China Southern and Vietnam airlines operate direct flights to Nha Trang several times a day.

Sightseeing in Nha Trang, Vietnam

In spite of the fact that it is known for its sandy beaches of crystal-clear water, you should not forget that Nha Trang is a capital city in Vietnam with plenty more to offer, so make sure you make some time to explore and visit some of its main attractions, namely the Alexandre Yersin Museum, the Pasteur Institute, the Mountain Church, the Gautama Buddha Statue inside the Long Son Pagoda and the Palace of Emperor Bảo Đại. And last but not least, an unforgettable trip should include a ride on the Vinpearl Cable Car.

That being said, if you tend to feel more attracted by activities that imply being in touch with nature, go to the Nha Trang Oceanography Institute, the Trí Nguyên Aquarium and visit the Yangbay Waterfall. And if you simply cannot stay away from the sea, go outdoors and take a boat tour to go island hopping to some of the most beautiful off-the-coast places in Vietnam: Monkey Island, Ebony Island and Bamboo Island -to mention but a few.

The most luxurious hotels in Singapore

Many expert travellers see Singapore as the ideal destination for a luxury escape, since this city in Southeast Asia is home to some of the most sought-after tourist attractions in the world and the most photographed landmarks: the Marina Bay Sands, the Gardens by the Bay and Singapore’s skyline itself, which you can admire from various observation decks or while taking a ride on the magical Singapore Flyer wheel. High-end shopping malls, state-of-the-art convention centres and sophisticated entertainment venues and an eclectic gastronomy offer complement this whole experience.

To top it all off, many hotels in Singapore are considered among the most exclusive ones in the globe, and thanks to the extraordinarily wide array of services provided, future guests are able to tailor or customise their stay according to their preferences and needs: hotel room amenities, views, capacity, onsite dining offer, wellness spaces and treatments, business facilities, front desk services, extras and entertainment. By specifying the type of room and extra amenities they will be using when they make a hotel reservation online, travellers make sure they will be paying a fair nightly rate or even saving money when booking their luxury vacation.

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Hotels for a 5-star luxury trip to Singapore

The Marina Bay Sands hotel in Singapore 

Conveniently located in the Business District of the city, this hotel lies 20 kilometres from Changi International airport, comprises a Casino, features an observation deck on its 57th floor and is connected to the Gardens by the Bay, a shopping mall home to many international luxury brands and a museum. However, what made this 5-star hotel in Singapore truly popular is the fact that it houses the world’s largest rooftop infinity pool affording breathtaking skyline views. Guest rooms, which are fully equipped with every amenity you may wish for, fall into the following categories: lower floor units, city views, sky views, garden views, harbour views, premier suites and family studios. Additionally, it is worth mentioning that the complex includes a spa, a dance club, three lounges and a tour desk; Suntec City lies 1,2 km away, and Universal Studios Singapore can be reached after a short drive by car or shuttle.

Grand Park City Hall hotel in Singapore

This hotel is superbly located within short walking distance of Raffles City, the MRT City Hall station, the National Gallery of Singapore and the Peninsula Plaza shopping mall. It features four onsite restaurants with European dining options as well as Asian specialties, a gym, an outdoor pool and rooms with courtesy high-speed WiFi and stunning harbour views, ensuite bathrooms with toiletries, satellite TV, coffee and tea facilities and mini bar. Room types in this luxury hotel in Singapore are divided into deluxe, premire, family, suites, executive and suites with in-room Jacuzzi. Guests are entitled to enjoy a breakfast buffet daily, and tickets for shows and rides on the Singapore Flyer Wheel can be purchased at the front desk.

The Swissotel the Stamford on the Esplanade

Situated inside the Raffles City complex and metres from the Esplanade – Theatres on the Bay and the MRT City Hall station, the Swissotel is located in one of the tallest buildings in Southeast Asia, thus affording arguably the best views of the city’s skyline, especially from its bar on the 72nd floor. Other allures of this 5-star hotel in Singapore are its popular happy hour (available for a fee but excellent value for money), its 24 hour room service and the extensive menu of concierge and guest services provided by the front desk. The multilingual staff, complimentary WiFi, wide breakfast selection and onsite fitness centre only add up to this first-class experience. The rooms may accommodate solo travellers, couples, groups and families and are categorised into signature, swiss, premier, suites and executive with or without king-size beds and harbour views.

The Fairmont hotel in Singapore

Also in the Raffles city area and located right on top of the MRT City Hall station, this world-class accommodation offers a dining choice of fifteen onsite restaurants, an open-air pool with poolside bar, complimentary WiFi internet all throughout and direct access to a convention centre and a shopping mall situated inside the same complex. Guest rooms are fully equipped and feature private balconies with views of the Marina Bay Sands area and Singapore’s skyline. The reception staff at this 5-star hotel in Singapore can provide top-notch services such as express laundry and arrangements to use the spa facilities, get sophisticated beauty treatments and massages, obtain a private parking spot or attend the hottest events in town. If you would rather spend the evening exploring the vicinity, the area features both local and international cafés and restaurants, and there is even a Costa Coffee outlet close to the hotel.

Are you departing Singapore early in the morning? Check out our tips and recommendations in case you need to spend the night at Changi International airport.

Transport from Budapest airport to the city

Are you planning a trip to Hungary? One of the first things to discern when designing your Europe travel plan is, in this case, the most suitable way to commute from the airport to Budapest city centre, in such a way that it becomes easier to estimate arrival times, routes and expenses as far as transportation is concerned.

The great majority of international travellers who fly to Hungary with Wizz Air, Ryanair, LOT Polish Airlines, Norwegian Air Shuttle, Easyjet, Eurowings or Smartwings land in Budapest airport, located 16 kilometres from the centre. The relatively short distance between its two operational passenger terminals (T2A and T2B) and the city as well as the varied transportation options available make commutes easier for arriving travellers, even when it is their first time in Budapest.

How to go from Budapest airport to the city

Airport taxis to Budapest. Taking a taxi to get to the city is one of the fastest and most convenient ways to travel in Hungary, although not the cheapest. You can safely book or find your taxi outside the arrivals area of either terminal building, always paying attention to their distinctive badge as an official Fotaxi vehicle. The journey from Budapest airport to the downtown takes about 25 minutes, the fare to be paid revolves around 26 euros and both cash and credit cards are accepted.

Buses in Budapest airport. There are two main bus lines transporting passengers from Budapest airport to the city centre: 200E and 100E (a special airport shuttle service). Bus route 200E is considered a particularly convenient option since it runs night and day and most bus ticket modalities and travel cards are accepted. On the other hand, bus route 100E is a direct and therefore faster service running between 3:40 and 00:40 every day, which requires a specific ticket that costs roughly 3 euros (one-way) to be accessed. Bus tickets and multi-day passes can be purchased at the different Budapestinfo Points, newsagents outlets, the post office on the mezzanine of terminal 2A and from ticket machines in Budapest airport. If your final destination will be other European city such as Prague or Vienna, you might want to ask for further information at the Flixbus booth.

Trains from Budapest airport to the city. Travellers who wish to travel by train to Budapest from the airport must take bus 200E first and transfer to the nearby Ferihegy railway station in order to catch a train to the city. The journey from the airport to Budapest by train costs approximately the same as the same commute by bus, and those who purchase train tickets in advance may even take advantage of a discount on the shuttle bus price. It takes less than 30 minutes to reach the downtown.

Shuttle buses in Budapest airport. The private company Minibud operates door-to-door services for arriving passengers who want to enjoy the utmost comfort and privacy when commuting from Budapest airport to their hotel or accommodation in the city. Prices vary depending on how many people will travel together.

Renting a car at the airport to drive to Budapest. If you look for a reliable car rental company in Budapest offering a wide range of vehicles and promotions, try Avis, Megadrive, Budget, Enterprise, Europcar, Hertz or Sixt upon landing or else make your booking online in advance through the airport’s website.

At present, there are no Uber services in Budapest airport; however, Bolt –its equivalent in Hungary- does provide services in the area.

Have you got everything sorted out for your trip yet? If you are travelling on a budget, we advise you to check out our recommended hostels in Budapest centre.

TSA PreCheck explained

Many travelers in the United States are already benefitting from the right to a faster security screening when flying from US airports thanks to the TSA PreCheck program. Such an advantage is particularly helpful for business travelers and frequent flyers who will save a considerable amount of time in each trip, but only legal US citizens and residents can apply. Also, since its implementation is relatively recent, you should check whether your airport/terminal and airline has adhered to the program, even though you will be granted priority treatment in the case that Precheck fast lanes are not available. Once you have been given approval, your airport waiting times and the typical hassle of travelling will be drastically reduced; go on reading to find out how to get it.

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How to become a TSA PreCheck approved traveler

All that frequent flyers from the United States must do is search for the nearest TSA Precheck enrolment center and submit their online application first, then scheduling an appointment for a background check face to face and fingerprinting. A fee will be charged to cover administrative costs.

How will I know if I have been given TSA PreCheck approval?

If you are accepted into the program, you will be notified by mail within 3 weeks after your personal interview. It must be said that the majority of travelers receive the notification much earlier than that and can visit the official site in order to see their status online in the meantime.

What does it mean to be approved?

From the moment you are informed of your approval onwards , a TSA PreCheck indicator will be shown on your boarding pass as well as integrated into its barcode whenever it is issued by participating airlines in eligible airports, meaning that you will be granted access to fast security lanes specifically designated for members of the program, who won’t need to take off their shoes and belts or show their laptops and liquids.

How much does TSA Precheck cost?

Applicants pay an 85 USD fee, which corresponds to 5 years of speeding through airport security without any delays.

Is TSA PreCheck valid when flying out of the US?

If you are flying to an international destination, your TSA Precheck will be valid as long as the airline you bought your plane ticket from is a member too. See a couple of examples below:

-When you fly out of Los Angeles International airport in California, for instance, you will be able to enjoy your TSA Precheck benefits with American Airlines, Delta, Southwest, United, Virgin America and Virgin Atlantic, Jet Blue, Air Canada, Alaska Airlines, Aeromexico, Etihad, Lufthansa, Avianca, Emirates, Boutique Airlines, Turkish Airlines, Singapore Airlines, Copa, Korean Air, Cathay Pacific and All Nippon Airways.

-The advantages of TSA PreCheck will be granted to those travelling from John F. Kennedy International airport in New York with American Airlines, Delta, United, Virgin America, Air Canada, Hawaiian Airlines, Jet Blue and most of the aforementioned foreign companies, to which we must add the Helsinki-based Finnair.

UPDATE: From February 1, 2018 onwards, Air France, Brussels Airlines, KLM Royal Dutch Airlines, Philippine Airlines, and World Atlantic will also adhere to the TSA Precheck program in flights departing from US airports.

For further information about TSA PreCheck, visit the following link where the most frequently asked questions are solved.

Flying to and from Aberdeen airport in Scotland

Aberdeen International airport (IATA code: ABZ) is roughly ten kilometres away from the city of the same name in Scotland. If you are planning a trip from an overseas airport, you may be wondering which airlines operate flights to Aberdeen and how frequently. First and foremost, know that this terminal serves as primary hub for Eastern Airways and Loganair, but is also a base from which other carriers handle both scheduled and chartered international routes that have their origin and arrival airports in Ireland, Northern Ireland, Spain, the Netherlands, UK, Denmark, Portugal, Norway and Latvia –to mention but a few countries.

Upon landing, arriving passengers can easily commute to their hotel in Aberdeen by means of public transportation (buses, coaches and trains), by using the 24-hour airport shuttle called Jet 727, by taxi or by rental car. This journey should not take longer than thirty minutes under normal traffic conditions.

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Flights from and to Aberdeen in Scotland

Below, you will find the airlines operating regularly scheduled flights from Aberdeen airport sorted out by country/city. This means that the airline operates this route all year round and so you can buy a plane ticket to fly to this airport in Scotland whenever suits you best.

Flights from Aberdeen to Spain: Alicante and Málaga (operated by Ryanair).

From ABZ to the Netherlands: Amsterdam (KLM – Royal Dutch Airlines).

Flights from Aberdeen to Norway: Bergen (Wideroe), Stavenger (Eastern Airways, SAS), Oslo (Loganair and Scandinavian Airlines).

From Aberdeen in Scotland to cities in the UK: Kirkwall, Newcastle, Bristol and Norwich (operated by Loganair), Birmingham and Manchester, Cardiff (Eastern Airways), Wick (Eastern Airways) and various London airports (British Airways, Easyjet and Loganair).

From ABZ to Denmark: Copenhagen (Scandinavian Airlines – SAS), Esbjerg (Loganair).

Flights from Aberdeen to Dublin in Ireland (operated by Aer Lingus).

From Aberdeen to Portugal (Faro by Ryanair), Poland (Gdansk by Wizz Air), France (Paris Charles de Gaulle operated by Air France) and Latvia (Riga with Air Baltic).

The following flights are seasonal and chartered direct flights from Aberdeen towards holiday destinations in Europe. In this case, you will need to check with the airline whether they have flights available for your desired dates or not.

From Aberdeen to Spain: Ibiza, Palma de Mallorca, Reus and Tenerife (operated by TUI).

Flights to Greece from ABZ: Corfu and Rhodes (TUI).

From Aberdeen to Verona in Italy operated by Newmarket Holidays.

Transport to and from Aberdeen airport

The only terminal building in Aberdeen International airport is well connected to the city centre as well as to surrounding regions and destinations across the UK thanks to an effective network of public buses, coaches, trains and its well-organised taxi fleet.

Public bus lines depart from a dedicated shelter on the curb side, which can be found by following the wayfinding system of the terminal from the arrivals hall. Should you prefer to use the direct Jet Bus 727 service from the airport to central Aberdeen, which operates around the clock every day of the year, look for its signposted shelter, get your ticket from the driver and enjoy its extra space for luggage, the complimentary WiFi and its USB ports.

Alternatively, direct trains linking Aberdeen airport and the central railway station in the city depart from Dyce, a short taxi ride away (no longer than ten minutes). Once travellers get to Aberdeen train station, they may equally transfer to trains heading towards other destinations in Scotland, London, Birmingham or Manchester.

Taxi cabs are parked in front of the airport terminal. In order to take a taxi to Aberdeen, simply wait to be assigned a vehicle by the dispatcher or head over to the pre-book taxi office if you have already made a reservation online.

Car rental offices in Aberdeen airport include renowned companies such as Avis, Hertz, Europcar, Enterprise, Sixt, Alamo and National.

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Getting your tourist visa to travel to China

So you have finally decided to fulfil your lifelong dream and take a trip to China. After a first rush of excitement during which you have pictured yourself among locals at the Dragon Boat Festival and tasting genuine Chinese street food, fear takes over at the thought of all the mandatory procedures and requirements to get a visa for international travel. Surprisingly enough, and regardless of your country of origin, obtaining a tourist visa for China in a matter of days is easy for the great majority of travellers.

There are some exceptions, as is the case with passengers in transit who will spend less than 72 hours in China and will not be required to hold a visa; you may check if the nationality of your passport is included in this agreement here. Also, if you are travelling for business purposes and will, for instance, attend an event at the SNIEC (Shanghai New International Expo Centre), it is highly likely that you will need a business visa (the F-type). Those enrolling in educational courses in China will have to apply for a student visa (X) in collaboration with their school.

But if all you want to do is roam new places and get lost in beautiful Shenzhen bordering the Pearl River, say hello to the Giant Panda in Chengdu, be amazed by the Terracota Warriors in Xi’an, stay in a luxury hotel in Guangzhou or visit the Forbidden City and take tours to the Great Wall while in the capital city, Beijing, a China tourist visa is just perfect for you.

China visa for beginners

The first thing you should know is that the visa to travel to China as a tourist is the L-visa type. In order for it to be processed, you must appear in person at the Chinese Consulate or Embassy in your hometown, fill out the requested forms and submit the mandatory documentation (detailed later on in this post), make the payment and collect it when it is ready.

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How long does it take for my China tourist visa to be processed?

Those applying for a tourist visa to visit China normally obtain it within 4 working days, a time period that can be reduced if we pay for an express service or an emergency one (subject to the approval of an officer in charge at the Chinese embassy).

How much does a tourist visa for China cost?

By way of example, travellers from Schengen countries currently pay 126,55 euros for a regular visa, to which we must add shipping fees if they choose to receive their visa by post or have it delivered by a courier instead of picking it up at the consulate. US nationals pay 140 US dollars. At some embassies and consulates only debit and credit cards may be accepted, so we strongly advise that you confirm in advance whether you can use cash to pay for your tourist visa for China at your local office.

For how long can I stay in China as a tourist?

The duration of your permit and the number of entries allowed will be clearly indicated on your issued tourist visa. The validity of the visa starts at the time of issuance and its expiration date is the last day you can spend in the country legally. Some China visas are multiple entry-ones allowing you to visit several times over the course of longer periods. Take into account that tourist visas to travel in China are rarely extended.

Which is the required documentation to apply for a tourist visa for China?

Among other additional documents that may be requested, travellers intending to visit China as tourists need to submit an original passport with blank visa pages that will be valid for at least six months more after the trip (it will be returned upon collecting your visa), a filled out application form along with a photo ID that complies with their regulations, proof of legal residence in your country, a photocopy of previously obtained China tourist visas if that is the case, and supporting documents such as airplane tickets, hotel reservations and booked tours or, alternatively, travel planning details and dates.

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Eco vacations: the best eco lodges in Costa Rica

What is an eco resort or eco lodge? An eco lodge is a hospitality establishment that has been conceived and is run with the aim of providing guests with a stay that is strongly oriented to nature-based experiences while educating them about the immediate natural environment and how to preserve it. Unlike green hotels –with which they share energy and resource-saving features-, the eco resorts are normally integrated in secluded areas that may be forests, beaches, jungles or mountains, away from the noise and pollution inherent to urban zones. This way, travellers get the unique chance to immerse themselves in the local culture, stay in close touch with nature and even learn and help to preserve the indigenous ecosystem.

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Booking your stay in an eco lodge

In their mission to limit waste and reduce all kinds of negative impacts that tourism may exert on the environment, eco lodges use eco-friendly, recyclable, biodegradable and organic supplies, and strive to ensure that most amenities and utensils made available are non-disposable. In the same manner and in order to offer guests a completely innovative experience that will feel nothing like a hotel stay, these small lodges are normally run by locals who are experts in the local flora and fauna rather than business people, and also make an effort to contribute back to the community by employing insiders who will be better tour guides than many trained professionals, using local produce to elaborate their dishes and devoting themselves to the preservation of natural resources.

Eco resorts and eco lodges typically specialise in a vast range of activities so that travellers have plenty to do during their eco vacation: from visits to natural spas to hiking and kayaking tours, yoga lessons, outdoor and water sports, harvesting and cooking classes, and trips to archaeological sites and natural reserves.

Eco lodges in Costa Rica

This sort of accommodation is frequently found in islands and tropical regions, among which Costa Rica –with both its Pacific and its Caribbean coast- stands out as home to some of the best eco resorts in the world. Such a denomination does not come as a surprise when talking about a land boasting tropical forests and paradisiacal views that is extremely rich in biologically-diverse ecosystems never discovered anywhere else on earth. Below you will find a selection of our recommended eco lodges in Costa Rica.

The Catarata eco lodge in Costa Rica

Location: this accommodation is superbly located in La Fortuna, Costa Rica, and provides confirmed guests with private shuttle services to and from Juan Santamaría International airport, approximately two hours and a half away. It also offers free parking spaces if you decide to hire a car. A short drive separates the lodge from nearby hot springs and waterfalls, while the non-smoking and accessible facilities afford stunning views of the Arenal Volcano, and feature blooming gardens where indigenous birds live, an onsite restaurant specialising in traditional food, a swimming pool and a Jacuzzi aside from other amenities.

Activities: while staying here, travellers may take day-trips to many natural sites of interest in La Fortuna such as geothermal spas, waterfalls, the Arenal Eco Zoo and adventure parks ideally located within easy reach from the accommodation.

Characteristics: this eco lodge in Costa Rica features complimentary WiFi internet in their premises, free parking spaces, laundry services, daily housekeeping and breakfast. Guests may choose to stay in family rooms with capacity of 4 adults and 2 children, double units or triple units.

Lookout Inn Beach Rain-Forest / Eco Lodge in Costa Rica

Location: the Lookout Inn is actually an eco resort on the beach that offers rooms and bungalows with ocean views in Puntarenas, Costa Rica. Airport transfers are available to and from the nearest airports: Puerto Jimenez International (20 kilometres from the accommodation) and the domestic terminal Carate (1 kilometre from the lodge). It is ideally located to take short trips to the Corcovado National Park.

Activities: guests may enjoy the swimming pool with views, request massage services on site or go horse-riding, kayaking, hiking or bird-watching. The nearby Corcovado National Park is a mandatory visit.

Characteristics. All units of this eco resort in Costa Rica have private bathrooms with amenities and fall into the following categories: beach bungalow, family room, double room, quadruple room and deluxe room. The restaurant inside the premises specialises in international cuisine and serves meals all throughout the day.

Eco lodge in a natural reserve in Costa Rica

Location: the Cedrela eco lodge is situated in the heart of a natural reserve known as Cedrela in Copey, 46 kilometres away  from Playa Hermosa and some 40 kilometres from the nearest air passenger terminal (Tobias Bolaños International); airport transfers are provided for a small surcharge.

Activities: as a guest, join the organised daily tours and excursions to explore the reserve and its vicinity, or stay and try the scrumptious local dishes in its onsite restaurant.

Characteristics: the Cedrela eco lodge complex in Costa Rica has a diverse range of accommodation options featuring free WiFi and garden views that include cottages, bungalows, villas and double or twin rooms.

The Maquenque eco lodge in Costa Rica

Location: this environmentally-friendly accommodation is nestled in the tropical jungle in Boca Tapada, surrounded by local fauna and wildlife, with gardens where they grow their own fruits and vegetables. It takes about three hours to reach this point from San Jose International airport in Costa Rica, but so much to see awaits here that the journey is well worth it; airport transfers are offered at an extra cost.

Activities: although the Maquenque reserve features nearby markets and even an area with local dining outlets and bars few kilometres apart, it is known and valued for being a tranquil place ideal for nature lovers to admire the indigenous wildlife. Aside from that, visitors may enrol in a wide range of tours that imply activities like hiking trails, bird-watching, canoeing, boat trips to River San Carlos and even night safaris. Should they feel like staying at the lodge, there is a sports bar and a local restaurant inside the facilities.

Characteristics: the spacious rooms at this accommodation for your eco vacation in Costa Rica can be of double or triple occupancy or bungalows, and they feature private terrace and en suite bathroom with amenities. Complimentary breakfast is available.

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Hotel rooms for day use inside airports (booked by the hour)

Have you ever landed in your destination airport way too early for an appointment and with too much free time to spare? Have you had a long layover between flights and you knew you would find yourself stuck in a boarding area where there was nothing new to see or do? International travellers who need to spend part of their journey in an airport terminal yet would like to refresh themselves, catch up with work, sleep or relax away from the hustle and bustle of the airside may choose to book a transit hotel room by the hour without leaving the facilities, even when their plane will depart before dinner time. As a matter of fact, most of these hotel rooms are offered between 8:00 am and 7:00 pm, in such a way that it is up to you to decide for how many hours of the daytime you want to stay and so only pay for that time period.

While airport hotel rooms for day use are not available worldwide, many hospitality chains managing transit hotels in major aviation hubs have started to offer this booking modality, with both business travellers and passengers making connections in mind. To anyone who catches flights frequently, the advantages of day-use hotel rooms in airports are undeniable: travelling professionals can save money by paying a considerable lower stay rate, which corresponds to the time frame during which they occupy the unit only; moreover, they are able to relax in the privacy and comfort of a spacious room all to themselves as opposed to the experience of trying to do so in a crowded passenger lounge or in a small sleeping pod. Even hoteliers can make a profit with rooms that would otherwise be empty until the next guest checks in, so everybody wins.

In this post, we will detail the main features of transit hotels in airports across the world which offer rooms for day use that can be booked by the hour: the Novotel Bangkok Suvarnabhumi (Thailand), the Tampa Marriott in Florida (United States), and the Holiday Inn Melbourne airport hotel (Australia).

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Staying in a hotel room during daytime in Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi airport

As highlighted above, some of the main perks of booking a hotel room for day use inside an airport include enjoying the privacy and comfort of a soundproofed unit with amenities, private bathroom with tub and shower, espresso coffee machine, high speed wireless internet, mini bar, bathrobe and slippers, as is the case with the Novotel BKK in Thailand’s Suvarnabhumi airport, but oftentimes this comes with the added benefit of getting access to other hotel facilities such as room service, onsite restaurants, swimming pools and fitness centres. The day rooms in Bangkok airport are available for reservation from 8:00 am to 6:00 pm, and the hotel is accessible through an underground walkway or a short shuttle ride from Arrivals.

Daytime hotel rooms booked by the hour in Tampa International airport

The Tampa Marriott airport hotel inside the facilities of the Tampa International air passenger terminal in Florida has rooms available for day use between 10:00 am and 7:00 pm. Travellers who stay here during the daytime are entitled to non-smoking, air-conditioned and soundproofed units with extra large beds, private bathroom, work desk, ironing amenities and tea/coffee maker. Likewise, they can enjoy free WiFi throughout the premises, an outdoor pool, an onsite gy and the Skyye Bar and Grille restaurant. The establishment has implemented enhanced hygiene and disinfection protocols after the coronavirus outbreak as well as social distancing preventive measures.

Day airport rooms available up to six hours in Melbourne, Australia

Conveniently located 400 metres away from the terminals, the Holiday Inn Melbourne airport hotel puts day rooms at the travellers’ disposal for a maximum of 6 hours between 9:00 am and 5:00 pm. If you are travelling with colleagues, friends or family, you may book a room with an extra rollaway bed or a suite featuring an equipped kitchenette and a connecting bathroom, and take into account that children stay and eat at no cost. The hourly rate that you pay grants you access to free WiFi and cable TV channels, while you can also use the coin laundry, the gym, the restaurant and the bar. There are live flight information panels inside the hotel and round-the-clock airport shuttle services are provided.