All posts by Tina


Fantastic Stay (Humbled, Really) at Mandarin Oriental Pudong (Shanghai, China)

Street view of Mandarin Oriental Pudong before heading up the driveway The hotel I’ve stayed in Shanghai is the Mandarin Oriental Pudong. If you ever talked to anyone who lives and/or works in Shanghai and you mention that you’re staying at the mentioned hotel, its reputation preceded it, whether or not he or she stayed there. So when I rolled in my bags and arrived at the door, we were treated like VIPs. My reservation was an Executive King room so we were escorted to the second floor (you need a special key swipe to access that floor) and checked..

Cafe Gray Deluxe at The Middle House – Fine French Cuisine Meets Luxurious Chinese Ingredients (Shanghai, China)

Usually I don’t seek another cuisine outside of where I’m traveling. For example, when I’m in Shanghai, I would typically eat Chinese food or eat the local region’s cuisine. However, I made an exception with Cafe Gray Deluxe at The Middle House. Chef Gray Kunz, who is named after this restaurant and owns, is one of the most revered chefs in the world. He made his name at the New York City restaurant called Lespinasse in the 1990s and started his own restaurant Cafe Gray at the Time Warner Center in 2004-2008. I remembered eating at the latter back in..

Hairy Crab Feast at Si Ji Xuan at the Four Seasons Shanghai (Shanghai, China)

Lobby The Four Seasons Shanghai is one of the first luxury hotels in the city. (Let’s be clear about this and don’t confuse the other Four Seasons location in Pudong that’s opened in recent years.) This location in Puxi is centrally located in the downtown business district where there’s many commercial banks and company headquarters and see lots of white collared workers come out for a catered lunch as you’d pass by, and of course, luxury shopping malls to peruse or shop to your heart’s content.  The Four Seasons is bright and beautiful. The high-backed velvet chairs and contemporary chandeliers..

Midtown Shangri-La Hangzhou and Cheng Zhong Restaurant (Hangzhou, China)

Lobby Lobby centerpiece The other hotel I’ve stayed in Hangzhou was Midtown Shangri-La, Hangzhou. This Shangri-La hotel is the newest of the two in Hangzhou and interestingly this hotel is connected to the luxurious Kerry Centre Mall and about ten minutes to West Lake. This stately and centrally located hotel is great. Check-in was speedy and for the most part the receptionists spoke English fairly well. I stayed at the Executive Club King room so my room is on the floor of that lounge. (more…)

JW Marriott Hangzhou (Hangzhou, China)

Canopies of willow trees at West Lake Boats floating on West Lake West Lake, Hangzhou Next off to Hangzhou! My flight from Chengdu took me to Shanghai. Learning that Hangzhou is less than an hour away from Shanghai by way of the bullet train, I planned to head to this city for a few nights. The bullet train system in China is very efficient. It’s like any other train station I’ve been to in Europe: it’s lots of people waiting on lines and waiting around the central information area waiting for their gate information; chaotic to swim through the masses..

Li Xuan at The Ritz-Carlton, Chengdu

Wide and Narrow Alleys (宽窄巷) during early morning If you have been following my Instagram feed recently, I meandered through four cities in China: Chengdu, Hangzhou, Shanghai and Chongqing. It’s a whirlwind of a trip that at times feel exhausting yet but it was all exhilarating and worth the hours on the plane and train. My first destination was Chengdu. This capital city of the Sichuan province is obviously famous for pandas (alas, I didn’t have time to see) and for most people, the city of mala (麻辣) spicy food. I admit I explored this city in a very limited..

International House Hotel and Loa Bar (New Orleans, LA)

Exterior As with many buildings in the Central Business District, exteriors and interiors tell very different stories. In this case, both are intriguing: The facade is an ornate twelve floors of early 20th-century Beaux Arts finesse, while the lobby is a low-lit haven for guests enjoying some tranquility and the various contemporary artworks that decorate the space (a Banksy mural is on display), all high ceilings, huge portraits, and oversized ottomans. The arty interior touches of designer L.M.Pagano create an evocative public space. (more…)

Fantastic Seafood Dinner at GW Fins (New Orleans, LA)

Entrance of GW Fins Spacious dining room One of my favorite meals in New Orleans was dinner at GW Fins. It is a high-end seafood restaurant but runs like a high-end steakhouse. Tables draped in white tablecloth, dark wood accents, dim lighting and waiters in neat uniforms with professional yet no nonsense approach to get my order. The star ingredient – fish in this case, instead of steak – has to have the best quality and presentation, and service and ambiance should follow suit as well. Along the way, they have tapped the wealth of seafood from the Gulf and..