While I was looking for a hotel in Budapest I started with Accor Hotels. I have stayed with them in the past, both as a guest and as a hosted blogger. I quite like them, I know what to expect and they have never disappointed me. Also, they have a great range, right from Ibis Budget to Raffles and Fairmont. My quest ended up with booking Novotel Budapest Danube.
Accor has many properties in Budapest. Sofitel was out of my budget so it was quickly ruled out. I had to choose between two Novotels, Ibis Styles and Mercure. In the end I went with Novotel Budapest Danube because I loved the pictures I saw on the website. I said to myself, “I may not get the view of the parliament from the room but I will surely get it from somewhere.” My only doubt was what if the view was not representative? But I got what I saw in the pictures and more. My sister and I thoroughly enjoyed our stay at Novotel Budapest Danube.
To get my relationship with the hotel clear, I paid for my stay and other major expanses. I did get in touch with the good folks at the hotel before I went. I was given a nice room with a view. Other than a late check out and the nice view, I paid for everything else. In return I did an Instagram takeover for stories on their handle during my stay.
I signed up with Le Club Accor. I got a few emails about my stay before I arrived. One of it was about online check-in. It is a great thing, do make use of it. I entered all the relevant information online. So, when I arrived at the hotel, they just needed a signature or two and my credit card to hold some amount on it! My check-in was a breeze and we needed it. We were really tired after our long journey from Delhi to Budapest with a halt in Rome.
We asked for twin beds and we got it without any mistake. We had a great view of the parliament building from our room. We stayed in 338, it has a great view. On the first day, my sister and I could not take our eyes off it! When we would do Whatsapp calls home, she would show the view to everyone, I did the same. The room with the view made our stay truly memorable!
We had good sleep throughout our stay. The room was made up without fail! The bathroom was clean and the accessories fair trade.
There was tea in the room. But my sister and I are big on tea. So, we carried a bit of milk powder and Indian style ginger tea sachets. It was a great idea. On our next trip together, we will carry more, as we ran out of ginger tea!
I did not book the breakfast with the room. On the first day my sister and I in our great enthusiasm went out for breakfast. From the second day, till our last, we took every breakfast in the hotel. They have a large spread and plenty for vegetarians.
My sister used to like their peaches a lot. I enjoyed the yogurt, eggs, nuts and an occasional waffle! We also liked the baked beans, mushrooms and the choice of breads!
All Accor Hotels to the best of knowledge subscribe to the sustainability program Planet 21. Using Fair Trade products is one part of it. Fare Trade as an organization works with farmers and workers to get them a fair deal!
The usual appeal to the guests to reuse towels is there. I have participated, in a small way, with their Soap for Hope project but in Singapore. I like it a lot that they care for the environment and make a big deal of it!
Proximity to Public Transport
Novotel Budapest Danube is at an easy walking distance from Bethany Tere, a public transport hub. You can catch M2 metro line from here. There are many buses and trams available as well. I used the metro and trams frequently to get around the city.
The Blue Line of Red Bus Hop On Hop Off also stops at Bethany Tere. We bought a travel card which was valid for all public transport with a few exceptions.
Proximity to Restaurant and Shops
Right behind Bethany Tere there are many restaurants and shops. There is a Spar, a general store, from where I used to buy beers. We also did some shopping from there. We tried Edeni Vegan, Coyote Coffee and one Italian Restaurant in the square. You have more options if you hop two stops on M1 and go to Derek Ferm Tere. That takes you straight to the city center right next to the Budapest Eye.
We stayed at Novotel Budapest Danube for seven nights. My sister and I would walk all around the city. It was cold in November. When we would walk through the doors of the hotel into the warmth of the lobby, we knew we were going to be comfortable and well rested! I would happily stay with them again!
Our excitement knew no bounds as Chhavi and I were invited to stay at Novotel Goa Resorts and Spa for 2 nights. Luckily it was a long weekend so she was not missing school. But on weekends she plays tennis both in the mornings and the evenings but I could do nothing about that. Both of us have been to Goa before and yet her excitement knew no bounds.
— Mridula Dwivedi (@mridulablog) August 5, 2017
Chhavi was bouncing in the plane itself. Our Air Asia flight was mostly uneventful otherwise. We were promptly picked up at the airport. The kid fell asleep in the moving vehicle and I had to wake her up when we arrived.
She loved the room, it was after all the Prestige Suite. There was something on the table all gift wrapped. She asked me if she could open it? It was a Minion! She jumped around the room for half an hour with it.
However, her favorite part of the room is the bathroom where she likes to be in the shower for a long time! This time was no different.
The Swimming Pool
After playing with her Minion for a while she started chanting, “lets go to the pool.” So pool it was. Even though Chhavi knows how to swim, she likes to fool around much more than anything else! There was ice-cream for kids by the pool! It is a daily event and happens at 5.30 pm.
Then she discovered the sunken bar by the pool! Of course she was thirsty and only a lemonade by the pool would do! I also took it as an opportunity to order a beer! It was the same story the next day too. At the end of the vacation I asked her what was her favorite bit about the trip, she replied without any hesitation “the drinks by the pool!”
I too love swimming pools but my favorite bit was the kids room and I will tell you in a minute why!
The Kids Room
There is a dedicated kids room at Novotel Goa Resorts and Spa and at the Novotel Goa Shrem too! Initially both of us would go there, then she got comfortable. That meant I could go to the room and pack in peace on the last day. I could also make a cup of tea and sip it without being distracted a thousand times with “mamma …” If you are a mom you know what a luxury it is!
Activities for Kids at the Novotel Goa Resorts and Spa
There were many other activities for kids at the resort. There was a Table Tennis table, a basketball hoop, Fustball, Carom and much more. We tried out everything.
There were computer related extravaganza too! There was an interactive game table where kids could touch the screen and choose age appropriate games! My girl would play Angry Birds all the time!
There was a TV too where games were loaded. You could play by moving around, the screen would respond to the movement. Chhavi tried bowling on it!
During our stay carnival games were organized too. Chhavi was busy for good two hours, which meant mama was free to enjoy her day too!
She was anyway pampered to the core throughout her stay. I often wonder if she will start expecting it on every trip but so far she has been happy either way, as long as she is traveling!
We had our meals at the Food Exchange. It is a buffet type all day dining with a wide variety of food. They had ice-cream for breakfast! And it is full of kids running around. A father was feeding his toddler who was making him run all around the big dining room! The girl was so cute, she came by our table and we chatted for a while. In the meanwhile the poor father was able to feed her two more spoons!
— Mridula Dwivedi (@mridulablog) August 6, 2017
Chhavi too gives me a lot of trouble for eating food! Recently we watched ‘Dangal‘ together and I told her “मुझमें भी महावीर सिंह फोगाट की आत्मा आ गई है!” (I am also inspired by Mahavir Sing Phogat, so you better eat your food!) She sulks, she avoids and then she starts singing under her breath “ये तो torture है बड़ा, ये तो torture है बड़ा” (It is such a big torture)! If I can get inspired, so can she! But these days I hold firm when it comes to food!
I quite enjoyed my meals. But I enjoyed the coconut ice-cream a bit more than anything else.
We also enjoyed dressing up for the dinner on both the nights, though you can dress as you please at the resort!
Novotel Goa Resorts and Spa organizes free shuttles (every half hour, between 10.00 am to 7.00 pm) to Candolim Beach. We went there on the second evening. The girl loves water! The sea was rough and I had to restrain her!
It was her first, watching a rough sea. But even in the limited way, she had a gala time playing with the sea, I am sure she was talking to it too!
When she plays it is easy to click her pictures! Otherwise she behaves like a diva! I think we fight the most about clicking pictures, after food. So all the credit for the pictures goes to me!
Overall, we had a memorable trip to Goa with Novotel Goa Resorts and Spa! We will remember it for a long time!
After coming back she was telling her brother (my nephew, the one who is known as Brat 2) it is a fancy hotel, a really fancy hotel!
PS. We were invited by Novotel Goa Resorts and Spa on this trip and we had immense fun!
I visited the beautiful Inle Lake in Myanmar as part of #escapers17. It is a super event organized by Scoot and Accor Hotels. It is one trip that I will remember for a long time for all kind of reasons! It was a trip where I caught a flight every day for about five days in a row! It was also a trip where we bonded and had fun, actually you will get a better idea if you watch the video below!
I will focus on the Inle Lake and Novotel Inle Lake in this post, though I explored a bit of Yangon too. Inle Lake is a freshwater lake located in the Shan State of Myanmar. The local people are known as Intha.
The most distinctive feature of the fishermen of the Inle Lake is that they row with their legs standing on the boat! They are the star attractions of the lake! I think before tourism became popular they just went about their business but now the sunset pictures are entirely for the benefit of the tourists! No, I don’t have a single one. It reminds me a little of Stilt Fishing in Sri Lanka.
The best way to get around the lake is by boat! In my experience, not too many boatmen speak English though. The tourist part is Ayaung Shwe where most of the accommodations and restaurants are. Our hotel Novotel Inle Lake Mayat Min is in the same region though in a more secluded part with direct access to water!
After closely observing my behavior, I have come to the conclusion that I like ‘doing nothing’the most on a trip! Sitting in the boat and being in a state of limbo till we reached the next spot was probably my favorite pastime. But I was forced to come out of my happy daze frequently.
One of my first stops was the Jumping Cat Monastery (Nga Hpe Kyaung) on the Inlay Lake. While there are no jumping cats these days, cats are certainly there. They are well fed, prone to lazing around. For me the visit to the monastery was special because of the picture of the cutest lama I have ever seen! In Burma people pledge a certain part of their life to priesthood. It could be as short as 3 weeks.
Even though it was not the racing season we got to witness a mock boat race on the Inle Lake. Later we were allowed on the boats to try our luck at rowing with legs. To our credit no blogger fell off in the lake!
One of the popular things to do at Inle Lake is to visit a cheroot making factory. This is combined with lotus weaving, iron smith and boat making factories. There is hardly any pressure to buy anything though. I rolled a cheroot and tried taking a puff too. But any kind of smoke doesn’t agree with me. However, the cheroot was mild compared to Sheesha! I have concluded long ago that smoking is not my thing.
I came across weaving from lotus stems for the first time at Inle Lake. It is a labor intensive task. They made beautiful shawls from the lotus thread but for me it was too expensive to buy!
Our last stop was the Indein Village. It has an impressive collection of old pagodas which are being restored! It has a beautiful covered market too.
She sat by the road as we walked around the Indein Village. She looked so cool that I asked in sign language if I could click a picture. She agreed, at the end she signaled if I I would give her some money which I happily did.
I stayed at the Novotel Inle Lake Myat Min. It is a beautiful hotel right by the lake. You can go to the jetty and start your excursions right there. The jetty is also a great spot to watch sunsets. The first picture in this post was clicked there and the model is fellow blogger Mar Pages.
I also enjoyed a cultural evening at the hotel. There were fire dancers, elaborate costumes, and even we were invited to join in the dance!
We also got an opportunity to release the lanterns at Novotel Inle Lake. It was a first for me. I totally loved it!
My trip to Inle Lake was short but beautiful. I was amazed that I would get mobile data even in the middle of the lake! I hope I will go back one day and explore more of Inle Lake and Myanmar.
PS. I visited Myanmar as a part of #escapers17 team. The event was organized by Accor Hotels and Scoot along with other sponsors.