Tag-Archive for » Hotels/Resorts «

Arriving at the Belvedere Beach Resort Club in Virginia Beach

With the summer slowly coming to a close, the ladies and I finally made our near annual trip to the beach. This year we chose Virginia Beach and decided to make it more than just a day trip. Initially we were going to pick a cheap(er) hotel further inland, perhaps a Holiday Inn or something. But the thought of having to trek it back and forth from the beach, pay for parking, riding back to the hotel with sand in our butts — we picked a place on the beach.

We left early in the day, before the afternoon rush hour, thinking we would make good time. Somehow, thousands of people thought the same thing and after crawling with traffic our of the extended DC area, we finally made it to Virginia Beach after the sun set.

Najwa, thinking the beach was around the corner, was harassing us, tripping about the sun going down, not leaving us enough time to play on the beach. As the the sky started to darken at dusk, she even told us to turn around because we were taking too long.


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Bosphorus Boat Tour

Bosphorus Boat Tour Meetup

After waiting a little longer than I would’ve preferred, we were finally on our way to the boat for the Bosphorus Boat Tour. As a mob, we started walking. And walking. And kept walking. And walking so much that Najwa insisted on being carried. So I picked her up [somehow lost sight of Nduku in the mob], but kept walking. And walking.

Apparently Hagia Sophia isn’t quite right on the water.

Eventually we made it [and found Nduku]. And how thankful I was that most of it was downhill. Then it become a mosh pit on the little dock we were standing on waiting for the boat to pull up. Surely there were people eager for the tour, but it was getting later in the day, meaning the temperature was falling, so I’m sure many people just wanted to defrost. Nduku being one of them.

Bosphorus Boat Tour

Fortunately, as the boat was pulling up, obviously not big enough for all of us, there was a call for English speakers since the boat was giving the tour in English.

 

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We finally got underway, but many others were still waiting for the next boat.

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Elanaz Hotel Makes Turkey Visit Perfect

Elanaz Hotel Istanbul Turkey

I don’t know what it is about Turkey, but I already love it. Maybe it’s because I read the entire history of the Ottomans. Or because this tiny waterway was so sought after, empires went to war for it. Over and over. It has such a rich history, every time you read a new book, you learn something new.

The first thing that caught me off guard, just leaving the blazing hot sun near the equator of Kenya, was how cold Turkey was. For whatever reason, I thought it would be more mild, but it was freezing cold! First thing we bought in Turkey? Ear muffs! more…

Day Trip to Lake Naivasha

If it were up to me, I would’ve stayed in Kitui for several days. Though one of the more remote places we visited, not much to to other than Nzambani Stone which I’ll probably not want to climb again, I like Kitui. It’s about as authentic as you can get when visiting Kenya where most people saunter out into the game reserves or lounge on the beaches of the coast.

But, Nduku’s family was intent on heading out to the Great Rift Valley, a quick day trip on the other side of the country. I was hoping to see the great migration, but maybe another time.

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Wandering Around Kitui On My Own, Learning New Survival Skills on Accident to Prevent an Accident

 

While the rest of the family went back to Nairobi, I wanted to spend another night in Kitui. Since it was Christmas and there wasn’t any room at the grandparent’s house, I spent the night in Kitui Town at a hotel called Talents Guesthouse.

At first I was apprehensive. Downtown Kitui is not like downtown Washington, DC. Or Nairobi for that matter. But to my surprise, the hotel was actually quite clean, mosquito free and really quiet. Just a block away it was one huge party, people, mostly teens and young adults, all over the place, music blasting, people everywhere. One street over and it was quiet. I would’ve ventured out there, but I was worn out from being stared at all day already.

Though the hotel was nice, it had it’s peculiarities. When I noticed the complimentary flip flops, looking like a hundred people had already worn them, I passed on them. The bathroom was interesting too. It was a shower, with the standard wires wrapped around the shower head and running down the wall. The wires connect to something that heats the water, which requires a wall switch to turn on. All I kept thinking about was how electricity and water usually don’t mix. more…

Low Tide at Temple Point Resort’s Private Beach

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Pili explained to us that the Mida Creek is at low tide around 11:00 am, so first thing in the morning, after breakfast at least, we headed out to the beach. In the evening during high tide, the water comes all the way up the beach, creating a little private area with crystal clear waters and white sands. At 11:00 am with the tide receded, you can walk out pretty far where the water was, all the way around the rocks, through the sea grass and plants, looking for wildlife.

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Amazing Welcome to Our Stay at Temple Point Resort in Watamu, Kenya

After spending a night in Bamburi, the ladies and I headed north to Watamu for Temple Point Resort. The resort is essentially located in the Watamu Marine National Park, between the calm waters of Mida Creek and the Indian Ocean.

Temple Point Resort in Watamu Kenya

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Kenyan Destination Number One: Temple Point Resort in Watamu

As soon as we land in Kenya, we’ll have a day to adjust from jet lag before heading out to our first destination. Tucked away between the more famous Mombasa and also well-known Malindi is a small town called Watamu.

Though I was down for any lodgings in walking distance to the beach, the lady selected Temple Point Resort, a paradise on the Indian Ocean.

Temple Point, Watamu Kenya

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Elanaz Hotel Will Be Home for the Day We’re in Istanbul

Elanaz HotelThe ladies and I are headed back to Kenya for the holidays, but on the way back, Nduku worked it out so that we have a 24-hour layover in Istanbul, Turkey. Of course, the best part about it is breaking up how long Najwa has to be on her best behavior, which hopefully lasts until we hit cruising altitude.

But, of course, we’ve always wanted to do Istanbul. Nduku is looking forward to the Grand Bazaar; I’m all about the Hagia Sofia. And then my co-worker mentioned a program that Turkish Airlines has for travelers with a layover for more than 6 hours but no more than 24 hours. It’s a free guided tour of the city with a clever name — Touristanbul.

First step, though, is finding a place to lay our heads, though I’m tempted to wing it until we get back on the plane. After reviewing many hotels and many options and many photos, Nduku chose the Elanaz Hotel. It wasn’t her first choice, but if we weren’t in walking distance to everything, she knows she wouldn’t have heard the end of it.

Elanaz Hotel is a family hotel in the heart of the old town İstanbul. It offers a very warm atmosphere with a boutique touch. You can enjoy your stay with a beautiful view of the old city and Bosphorus. You may drink your coffee with homemade pastries. Elanaz is different because it is built and designed with elegant taste for your precious time spent in Istanbul. It is different because its only concern is to make you to look forward to your next visit. With our tourquise hospitality, we are here to welcome you in our hotel. We are family.

We want you to be a part of it.

Why Elanaz?
You may wonder about the name of our hotel. It is the combination of the names of our two princesses, our daughters.

 

It’s in walking distance to all the important tourist attractions, in the heart of Old Town, 10 minutes walking distance to Sultanahmet. It’s right around the corner from the water. There’s free wifi and their website says free product, whatever that means. And a free breakfast bar that reviewers seem to give high ratings.

And just in case we got caught up in the hype of going to Istanbul, Elanaz Hotel was TripAdvisor’s Traveler’s Choice 2013 and 2014 Winner, ranking #4 out of 825 B&B and Inns in Istanbul.

So now the trick is to wear Najwa out during our day stay in Istanbul so she’ll sleep the entire last leg of our flight back home.

Where to Stay in Istanbul for a 24-hour Layover

For the one day we’re staying in Istanbul, a 24-hour layover on the way back home from Kenya, location is going to be everything. So I reached out to the Twitterverse to figure out where to stay.

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