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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 …

Drinks with a View and Without the Crowds - Bangkok

I love a drink with a view, but I won't wait in line and I  have little tolerance for shouting over the  D.J.. I want a hip environment without the crowds and I'd rather bring the attitude rather than to encounter it at the door. 

So, where to go in a city like Bangkok where rooftop bars  have been made famous by movies like The Hangover? Aside - I may have taken travel advice from a placemat in France (long story) but I'm not taking bar advice from a juvenile buddy flick! We hooked up with several expat friends-of-friends and here are a couple of their recommendations, tried and tested by us! 
First up is  Above Eleven at the Fraiser Suites Sukhumvit. On the  thirty third floor, high above Soi 11, this is a fun place with a gorgeous city view which you can see above and blow. There is mirrored lift, lots of cool outdoor seating including sofas, a bar thats lit up from behind and incredible views from the loo! 
Part of the fun of going to Above Eleven is the walk from the Skytrain which takes you right down Soi 11. This is a street that pulsates after dark. It's filled with popular bars and street food vendors. Who could resist this rocking' VW van?
Another great place for a drink is the rooftop bar at Sala Rattanakosin. This is the perfect place to see the sun set over Wat Arun and they serve great cocktails, lemongrass mojitos for everyone? 
The beauty of this location is that you have Wat Arun on one side (above) and Wat Po on the other (below). As you can see it's hip but not crowded. We returned to Sala Rattanakosin more than once and had an excellent dinner at their  ground floor riverfront restaurant which has the same beautiful view of Wat Arun.
To get to the bar at the Rattanakosin you walk into the hotel, through the restaurant and up  two different staircases, ask for directions!
Tip: I recommend sunset drinks overlooking Wat Arun followed by a walk through Wat Po  .  Wat Po is magical  at night when it's empty and silent. The stupas are floodlit and the tile work glows but there's no one around. Thanks to Simon from Expique for suggesting this.
From here it's a quick walk to the nighttime flower market which is also worth a visit. 
Next-door  to Sala Rattanakosin is a bar called ESS Deck (Eat, Sight, Story)  which has a nice location along the river. It's open earlier but I far preferred the ambiance, service, the view and the drinks at the Rattanakosin.
I can't resist one last sunset view.