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Ventana - An Enchanting Resort in BIg Sur

Summary: I love Ventana. I highly recommend visiting  and exploring the landscape at Lime Kiln and Andrew Molera State Park which I've blogged about here. Please note this is #notsponsored . Yes, that means we paid our own bill! Lots of details in the following review. including a Post Ranch vs Ventana comparison.  Can you tell there's something exciting beyond this beautiful gate? There's something special about Big Sur, a magic in the light, the presence of the Pacific, the cliffs, beaches, redwood forests and the murmur of the surf. It's one of my favorite places in California. I couldn't think of anywhere else I wanted to be to celebrate turning fifty, because it's a place where there's a sense of nature, space and light and a wide horizon. We've been to Big Sur many times and for a celebration there are two fantastic hotels vying for your attention. The exclusive, modern and very private, cliff top Post Ranch Inn and on the other side of the road the …

The Banyan Tree - A Bangkok Hotel Review

Because Sri Lanka was an unexpected trip we had to rearrange our flight into Bangkok. Consequently I spent a lot of time on the phone with American Airlines but eventually found availability arriving  the night before our stay at the Chatrium began. I needed to find a hotel for, "One Night in Bangkok" as the song goes. As you can see from the photos we didn't do too badly with a quick stay at the Banyan Tree. I loved the city view from the bath!
Because of the political problems there were lots of great deals around  and they are still available, for example as I saw the Peninsula for $135 on Jetsetter.com last week. I had been meaning to try the Private Sales over at KiwiCollection.com and despite the last minute notice they were able to book a room at the Banyan Tree for only $100 - an astonishing rate. I highly recommend Kiwi Collection and will certainly be using them again. In fact I've just been looking at some great rates they have at Casa Que Canta in Mexico. 

When we arrived at the hotelI asked if they were offering any paid upgrades to their Club rooms and with all taxes and fees we paid less than $160 for our night in a fabulous club room including a very early check in and a late afternoon check out. We took shameless advantage of everything, "Did we have clothes that needed pressing or laundry?" Yes we did! "As we'd arrived so early, would we like to have breakfast in the Club Lounge?" Yes we would, and another one tomorrow, all on a one night stay! below you can see the  Club Lounge where I drank lots of tea and we enjoyed a few glasses of wine.
We had a great time. The Banyan Tree is a luxury property making up the ground floor and a number of higher floors in a larger high-rise. There is a splendid spa, a small pool which unfortunately spends most of the day in the shade, a number of well reviewed restaurants and a famous rooftop bar. We were exhausted from our overnight flight and didn't explore the facilities thoroughly though we made great use of the Club Lounge which offered a variety of generous snacks and drinks throughout the day.
We have stayed at a few Banyan Tree Resorts and have always enjoyed  both their style and their customer focus. It was a great one night stop but as we are not shoppers the city location has little appeal and the small pool would be very unappealing for a longer stay. I would however revisit if we we had a connecting  flight in Bangkok or were making a short visit. If only the Banyan Tree were on the river and had a larger pool, I might never have left!
The hotel was close to Lumpini Park and some of the protester's encampments. When we arrived at the airport taxi stand they had posted this list of the major junctions that had been shut down. However, despite dire warnings from the tourist counter at the airport, the taxi flew into town on a  deserted tool road and had no problem getting to the hotel despite the shutdown. In fact it was the quietest day for traffic we'd ever seen in Bangkok because so many people had stayed at home expecting  the worst.

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