Dublin's Urban Retreat: The Croke Park Hotel | 都柏林的城市隱居:克羅克公園酒店

For mom and dad's first trip to Dublin, we stayed at The Croke Park Hotel for three nights and used it as our sightseeing base. 

Ranked number 5 out of 171 hotels in Dublin on TripAdvisor, the Croke Park consistently scores highly on cleanliness, food, service and price.

This 4-star modern property is part of The Doyle Collection, an Irish-owned boutique chain with hotels in Ireland, UK and the U.S. I first heard about it from a friend who held her wedding reception at The River Lee in Cork and couldn't praise it highly enough. So that's one vote of confidence in the bag.

The hotel is located north of the river and a 15-minute stroll to the city's main artery - O'Connell Street. There's also a hop-on hop-off bus stop outside the hotel entrance. 


四星級的 The Croke Park Hotel 是我一位愛爾蘭朋友所推薦的,屬於 The Doyle Collection 公司旗下的現代精品酒店之一,在 TripAdvisor 上都柏林 171 家旅館中排名第五,旅客給予很好的評價。

酒店位於河道以北,約 15 分鐘腳程可抵達市中心的 O'Connell 大街,酒店門外也有 hop-on hop-off 觀光公車車站。

The Croke Park Hotel is a modern, inviting property located in north Dublin.


For under 20 euros, a taxi will get you from Dublin airport to The Croke Park Hotel in under 20 minutes, passing through some lush countryside and rows of beautiful homes along the way.

The hotel is situated right opposite Croke Park Stadium - home of the Gaelic games such as Gaelic football and hurling. It is also one of the largest and most popular venues in Europe for sporting and concert events. The next big name on the calendar is Beyonce, who will be performing here in July 2016 as part of her Formation world tour.

Although a railway track runs along one side of the hotel, we did not see or hear any train go by during our entire stay. The area is generally very quiet and only seems to come alive whenever there is an event at the stadium.





Front entrance of The Croke Park Hotel.


Built in 2005, the Croke Park Hotel is well-kept and feels spacious and airy. Contemporary design is featured throughout this four-story establishment, and homely touches such as a library nook and fireplaces lend it a boutiquey, comfortable vibe.

The staff at reception were extremely upbeat and helpful, and we were given our room keys immediately despite arriving hours before the official check-in time. However, we were assigned the wrong type of room and eventually ended up waiting in the executive lounge until the right accommodation was readied. 





The hotel seems to cater mainly to business travellers and families. The rooms come in two categories: Superior and Deluxe, and the configurations include Double, Triple and Family Suite (with 2 bedrooms and a living room). 

There's not much difference between Superior and Deluxe rooms in terms of size, amenities and interior design, but the Deluxe rate does include breakfast as well as access to the Executive Lounge, which I highly recommend. 


這家酒店很適合商務旅客和家庭,有雙人,三人和家庭套房(兩間臥室加起居室)。客房分兩種等級:高級 (Superior) 或豪華 (Deluxe)。


All rooms are equipped with the following:

- 32-inch flatscreen TV (50-inch in family suite)

- Tea-making facilities with teabags and instant coffee 

- Hairdryer, iron and safe

- Working area with desk and plenty of sockets (Ireland uses the same 3-prong/220V plug as Britain)

Wireless internet is free throughout the property and the signal is strong. Phew. 


- 32寸電視(家庭套房的是50寸大電視)

- 熱水壺,茶包和速溶咖啡

- 吹風機,熨斗和保險箱

- 書桌,還有很多插座(愛爾蘭和英國使用同樣的三孔/220V 插頭)


The spacious white bathroom has a separate shower and bathtub with toiletries from The White Company, a British home accessories brand known for its simple, beautifully designed bedlinen and home fragrances.

白色的浴室配有獨立淋浴間和浴缸,供應的洗浴用品則是我個人很喜歡的英國家居品牌「The White Company」。


All guests staying in a deluxe room automatically get access to the Executive Lounge on the top floor, where complimentary hot and cold drinks and snacks are served all day. 


豪華客房的客人可使用四樓的貴賓室 (Executive Lounge),享用全天免費供應的冷熱飲品和小點心。

In the morning, guests can choose to have breakfast at the hotel's main restaurant or in the comfort of the Executive Lounge, where a continental buffet is available.

早餐有兩種選擇:一樓餐廳提供的是熱食自助餐,貴賓室裡則是 continental breakfast (歐式早餐)。

For me, the Executive Lounge is the most relaxing space in the hotel. First of all, it has large, comfortable sofas and was almost always deserted during our stay, making it the perfect place to unwind after hours of sightseeing. In the evening, you get a lovely view from the balcony of the sun setting over the stadium and Dublin's urban skyline. 

Feeling peckish? The refreshment section offers cookies, fruits as well as freshly ground coffee and a selection of teabags for a mini afternoon tea. Bottled water and juices are also available.

Another perk for Deluxe room guests is that you get a voucher for a free drink, per person per day, at the hotel bar. There's your nightcap, sorted.





Since the Croke Park Hotel is in a residential area, there are not many choices of restaurants in its immediate vicinity. The hotel does have a couple on-site eateries offering comfort food (burgers, sandwiches and steaks) as well as healthy meals (salads and smoothies) throughout the day.



Breakfast is served buffet style in the main restaurant. I'm not usually a fan of buffets as I don't fancy the idea of eating food that's been sitting on a hot plate for hours on end. But my preconceived notions were pleasantly overturned here, as everything I had tasted fresh and delicious.

One reason could be because the kitchen opens out to the buffet table so not only do the diners get to see the preparation process, they can also see when freshly cooked items are added to the buffet lineup, which is pretty frequently. 

我平常並不喜歡自助式的早餐,因為放在電熱板上好幾個鐘頭的食物總是不太好吃。不過在 Croke Park Hotel 我倒是吃得很愉快,因為菜色豐盛,新鮮可口,咖啡也很不錯。


Besides the hot food, there's a good selection of fresh fruits (all cut into in large pieces) along with Irish bread, croissants, honey straight from the honeycomb, yogurt and cheese, etc. If you're craving for something that's not available from the buffet, just tell the wait staff and they'll effort to make you what you want.

除了熱食外,buffet 還有許多水果,優格以及新鮮蜂蜜,澱粉類則有愛爾蘭麵包,牛角麵包,麥片等。如果你想吃白煮蛋或自助餐裡沒有的項目,廚房若有食材便會為你製作特別餐呢。

For guests whose room rate does not include breakfast, or anyone who wants a casual meal or a drink, the Sideline Bistro & Bar has a simple menu offering traditional pub food, like sandwiches, fish and chips, salads and even organic smoothies. The space also features a giant TV screen, making it the perfect place to hang out on game day.

不想吃 buffet 的客人可以到酒店的另一家餐廳,Sideline Bistro & Bar,單點早餐,或是三明治,炸魚和薯條,沙拉傳統酒吧食物。


MY RATING: 8.5 / 10

Over all we were very happy with our stay at the Croke Park Hotel and felt well looked after. Next time I'd like to give its sister hotel The Westbury a try. The Westbury is a more luxurious and traditional property located right off Grafton Street (the self-proclaimed 'world famous' shopping district) and a short walk from Temple Bar and Trinity College. 

我的評價:8.5 / 10


下次再來都柏林,我將會試試它的姐妹店,The Westbury。The Westbury 是傳統式豪華酒店,位於熱鬧的購物區格拉夫頓街,離 Temple Bar 和三一學院僅幾步之遙。


Beautiful Destination: Mandarin Oriental Hyde Park, London

There are a number of grand buildings dotted along the south side of Hyde Park, and this one - the Mandarin Oriental - along with the Natural History Museum, are what I find the most beautiful. 

Besides the stunning use of red brick on its facade, this place also holds an interesting history.

Take a moment to admire this picturesque setting at the hotel's loggia, then scroll down for eight facts about the hotel that you may find fascinating.

The park-facing loggia at Mandarin Oriental Hyde Park is the perfect location for special events. © Mandarin Oriental Hotels

The front facade of Mandarin Oriental Hyde Park, facing Knightsbridge. © EIleen Hsieh/Follow That Bug // Cover photo  © Mandarin Oriental Hotels

🍁 The original building was built in 1889 as an exclusive "gentleman's club", with the main entrance facing Hyde Park.

🍁 At the time it was also the tallest building in London at 100 feet high (about 9 story by today's standard).

🍁 The Franco-Flemish style architecture uses plenty of red brick and Portland stone and has loggias (exterior corridors) to provide lounging space that overlooks the park.

🍁 A fire struck the property in 1899, and in 1902 it reopened as "Hyde Park Hotel", the newest and the most luxurious hotel in London.

🍁 But the hotel opened with a new entrance facing Knightsbridge instead of Hyde Park -- due to royal request that the side facing the park would only be reserved for royal use or very special occasions.

🍁 The new main entrance of the building now faces Knighsbridge, opposite Harvey Nichols and a short walk from Harrods.

🍁 In 2000, the property reopened as "Mandarin Oriental Hyde Park" after extensive restoration.

🍁 In September 2016 it began another 18-month restoration to keep up its 5-star standard. The first phase on the front-facing rooms completed last month, and now the work has moved to the back of the building, which is expected to finish in Spring 2018.

Beautiful Destination: Churchill Arms Pub in Kensington, London

This is probably the most photographed pub in all of London, if not the most beautiful -- and it's easy to see why. 

Located near the midpoint on Kensington Church Street connecting Kensington and Notting Hill, the Churchill Arms pub is a beloved historic landmark built in 1750. It's most famous for its flower-covered facade, and it also serves very nice Thai curry dishes.

Before your next visit, take a look at these wonderful facts about Churchill Arms and deepen your appreciation for this true London gem!

🍺It was the first London pub to serve Thai food. Yum!

🍺The pub has a flower bill of around £25,000. Every. Year.

🍺 The pub has some 100 flower tubs, 42 baskets and 48 window boxes.

🍺 The pub also goes all out for Christmas. Last year it was adorned with 21,000 lights and 90 Christmas trees. 🎄

🍺Winston Churchill's grandparents were regulars at the pub in the 1800's. The pub was given its current name after World War Two.

🍺 The pub's true legend is its landlord, Gerry O'Brien, who came to London from Ireland as at age 17. He joined the pub in 1985 and retired in July 2017 after 32 years of service, during which he had pulled about 2 million pints of London Pride!

Genteel England: Middlethorpe Hall & Spa in York | 溫雅英格蘭:約克的「米多托爾普」歷史酒店

For my very first visit to York, England, I was adamant to stay at a historic hotel to fully absorb the quaintness of this ancient city. I went through the National Trust property list and was immediately drawn to one place - Middlethorpe Hall & Spa, just outside the city center.

首次拜訪英格蘭的約克之前,我只有一個篤定的要求: 住的旅館必須要古色古香,而且最好是古蹟。英國保護名勝古蹟的國家信託提供了許多建議,其中一家最吸引著我,就是位於老城郊區的米多托爾普酒店

Middlethorpe Hall's magnificient back garden with the delightfully named "ha-ha". © EIleen Hsieh/Follow That Bug

Front facade of Middlethorpe Hall as seen from the street. © Eileen Hsieh / Follow That Bug

Can you ever go wrong with w National Trust property? © Eileen Hsieh / Follow That Bug

Constructed in 1699, Middlethorpe Hall is a classic William and Mary country house built for a prosperous master cutler named Thomas Barlow, who bought the Middlethorpe estate as a bid to establish himself as a country gentleman.

The style of the building was indirectly influenced by Christopher Wren's Hampton Court Palace, as reflected in its pattern of red brick, white sash windows and stone corners. In the 1980s Middlethorpe Hall was restored to its former glory and reopened as a luxury hotel. Now it's under the protection of the National Trust.

Middlethorpe Hall建於1699年,屋主是位富有的刀匠,想藉由這棟威廉與瑪莉型式的豪宅來打入上流社會,晉身為鄉紳。

這棟鄉村豪宅的風格靈感來自漢普頓皇宮與名建築師溫恩,處處可見紅磚,白邊大窗戶和開闊的花園。Middlethorpe Hall 在1980年代轉型改成為豪華酒店,今日由國家信託管理。

The airy grand reception room with happy, yellow walls. © Eileen Hsieh / Follow That Bug

Pretty trimmings around the chandelier. © Eileen Hsieh / Follow That Bug

Plenty of Instagram-worthy features around the house, including this sweet kitty. © Eileen Hsieh / Follow That Bug

The main house is decorated in the manner of the 18th century and furnished with antiques and fine paintings. It also features a grand staircase with intricate carvings. There are 10 bedrooms in the main house, including a royal suite. 


Royal bedroom Middlethorpe Hall Spa eileen hsieh followthatbug York England UK


Named after the stay of HRH Prince Andrew, this is Middlethorpe Hall's flagship suite.

Historically grand mansions across Britain would always have a room designated for potential visits from the royal family, befitted with the best of the best that the households could afford, even though most of them probably never got used for the intended purpose.

Another pretty bedroom in the main house, with an uninterrupted view of the back garden.  © Eileen Hsieh / Follow That Bug

One proud feature of Middlethorpe Hall is its 20 acres of gardens, and the park land that surrounds the house. 

We visited the property in the winter when the grounds were at their dullest, but we were impressed by the numerous quaint little gardens that produce vegetables, fruits as well as a variety of fragrant flowers.

We also saw a ha-ha for the very first time. It's literally just a ditch in the house's back garden, with benches facing out to the countryside for an uninterrupted view of the surrounding greenery. What a perfect setting for watching the sun rise and set!

Middlethorpe Hall特別驕傲的一點就是它佔地20英畝的花園與周邊綠地。我們拜訪的季節是冬天,所以花園的顏色黯淡,不過這裡有許多可愛的小花園,果園和菜園,種滿了蔬菜,水果以及各種芬芳的花朵,讓我們印象深刻。

我們也是第一次看到“哈哈”­。什麼東西有如此好玩的名稱呢? 其實它是指後花園的一個溝,防止農場動物誤入莊園,溝內還設有面向鄉村草原的長凳,是欣賞日出日落的最佳地點。

Garden Ha-ha Middlethorpe Hall Spa eileen hsieh followthatbug York England UK

What is a 


It's a ditch, in the garden.

The name reflects the reaction of unsuspecting visitors when they see the wide trench for the first time. (Haha!)

The ha-ha is designed to keep grazing animals out of the more formal parts of a garden, replacing the need for a fence. 

It also allows an unrestricted view from the house and the garden to the vast countryside beyond. 

A stroll around the back garden awarded us with this view. © Eileen Hsieh / Follow That Bug

A walk through the kitchen garden. © Eileen Hsieh / Follow That Bug

Another view of the kitchen garden. © Eileen Hsieh / Follow That Bug

A sunset view of the surrounding countryside from the back garden. © Eileen Hsieh / Follow That Bug

Morning mist Middlethorpe Hall Spa eileen hsieh followthatbug York England UK

The Cottage

Our home away from home.

Travelling as a party of three, the 2-bedroom cottage suite was the ideal choice. Just a short walk away from the main house, our apartment occupied the top floor of the cottage with a master bedroom, a single bedroom, and so much charm!

我們一行三人,爸媽與我,所以兩房的cottage suite是理想的選擇。小屋離主樓只有幾分鐘的步行路程,整個二樓都屬於我們的套房,有一間主臥室與一間單人房,寬敞又安靜。

Our little cottage just meters away from the main house. © Eileen Hsieh / Follow That Bug

A sun-drenched, cozy living room. © Eileen Hsieh / Follow That Bug

Living room of our cottage. © Eileen Hsieh / Follow That Bug

Another view of the living room. © Eileen Hsieh / Follow That Bug

Beautiful gas fireplace, a much welcomed feature on cold winter nights. © Eileen Hsieh / Follow That Bug

I loved our cottage suite. It was an easy climb up the stairs to the first floor (second floor for the rest of the world), and the interior is what I would call English-prettiness -- lots of floral patterns, antique furniture, sketches and paintings depicting bygone times, all in an inviting and comfortable manner. 

The weather was bitingly cold when we visited, and I spent a lot of time by the gas fireplace. Not only because it was cozy and beautiful, but that despite cranking the heat to the maximum, the cottage still felt a bit chilly and never warmed up like a modern-day flat. I guess that was part of the cottage-living experience. :) 



Main bedroom in the cottage. © Eileen Hsieh / Follow That Bug

Haven't seen this type of radio in a long time. © Eileen Hsieh / Follow That Bug

Beautiful colors in the main bedroom. © Eileen Hsieh / Follow That Bug

Single bedroom in the cottage. © Eileen Hsieh / Follow That Bug

Monogrammed towels, of course. © Eileen Hsieh / Follow That Bug

Another view of the single bedroom. © Eileen Hsieh / Follow That Bug

Kitchenette with a Nespresso machine. © Eileen Hsieh / Follow That Bug

The cottage has a small, enclosed kitchenette where you'll find a tin of biscuits, English teas and Nespresso coffee. And if you reserve with the front desk the night before, in the morning the butler will bring you fresh coffee on a silver plate, at the break of dawn, so you can properly wake up before going to breakfast. 


Morning Coffee Middlethorpe Hall Spa Eileen Hsieh follow that bug York England UK

Morning Coffee/Tea

Delivered to your cottage at the break of dawn by the butler.

So in love with the green tiles in the bathroom. © Eileen Hsieh / Follow That Bug

Main House mist Middlethorpe Hall Spa eileen hsieh followthatbug York England UK

Country House Dining

From sunrise to sundown.

For me, the major incentive of getting up in the morning is food, and nothing beats a freshly cooked Yorkshire breakfast! 

Breakfast and dinner are served in the 2 AA Rosettes restaurant in the main house, with two dining rooms overlooking the serene back garden. The dishes are nice and comforting, and the wait staff delightful. The all look like they've just come out of hospitality school, very professional and eager to ensure that the guests are well-looked after. 


早晚餐是由主樓內的2 AA Rosettes級餐廳提供,菜餚美味,環境舒適,俯瞰著寧靜的後花園。這裡的服務生超級可愛,每個都像剛從餐飲學校剛畢業似的,每個動作都非常專業,認真的照顧客人。

Breakfast menu. © Eileen Hsieh / Follow That Bug

Freshly cooked breakfast with a view. © Eileen Hsieh / Follow That Bug

Beautiful hors d'oeuvre that came with our drinks. © Eileen Hsieh / Follow That bug

Dinner is ready! © Eileen Hsieh / Follow That Bug

What better way to walk off the hearty meal than to trek down the country lanes or explore the famous York Racecourse, located just right across from Middlethorpe Hall. 

I'd also recommend the spa on site to anyone in need of relaxation. It's small and perfectly formed, with a swimming pool, whirlpool and really nice treatments.


需要放鬆的話,我推薦去一趟酒店小而美的水療中心,這兒有游泳池,whirlpool和很棒的spa treatments。

The street in front of Middlethorpe Hall, with far-reaching view of the racecourse and surrounded countryside. © Eileen Hsieh / Follow That bug

York Racecourse

York Racecourse

York has a steep history in horse racing that can be traced back some 2,000 years to the Roman and Viking times. Today it's one of the most famous racecourses in Europe and the reigning "Northern Racecourse of the Year", attracting 360,000 visitors every year. 


York, England, U.K.

筱晴散文集:再訪華府 | Beautiful Destination: Revisiting Washington D.C.

Cherry Blossoms/Jefferson Memorial / Photo by Jake McGuire /

Mom has been toying with the idea of putting her prose online for a while now. Being the most diligent writer in our family, she's published numerous articles over the years about life as an expat and kept a private journal detailing the memorable moments in her life, which seem to occur every other day. 

I love reading mom's journals, especially the ones written when we're together. It's a luxury to relive our shared experience through her words for a motherly perspective and blatantly honest assessment. 

Therefore I think it's fitting to make room for mom's prose on Follow That Bug. Her unique yet familiar voice is welcomed here any time. 

Revisiting Washington D.C. - 再訪華府D.C.



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Art in Shopping Heaven: London's West End Galleries

"Monkey Queen"- Banksy. © Eileen Hsieh

London's West End is arguably the busiest area in the British capital. It's home to many theatres (Les Miserables, Phantom of the Opera), famous tourist attractions (the British Museum, the National Gallery), retailers catering to all styles and budgets (Liberty, Marks & Spencer, Primark), and countless restaurants serving cuisines from all around the world (Chinatown is here too).

The east-west arterial road Oxford Street boasts more than 300 shops and claims to be the busiest shopping street in the whole of Europe. People may complain about the suffocating congestion in this part of town, but many still return regularly for the largest selection of anything you may possibly want or need - in shopping, entertainment, or gastronomy.

Art, however, is a much lesser known gem of the West End. For example on Bond Street, sandwiched between luxury retailers such as Louis Vuitton, Gucci and Tiffany, are a number of art galleries and auction houses with carefully curated exhibitions showcasing works by contemporary as well as traditional artists.

"Each In Their Own World"

- Lorenzo Quinn. © Eileen Hsieh


- Santiago Montoya. © Eileen Hsieh

"Garden of Earthly Delights" 

- Raqib Shaw. © Eileen Hsieh

Just like most museums in London, these galleries are free and open to the public -- the only difference is that if you happen to fall in love with anything you see, you have the option to take it home (and tighten your belt for a few weeks... or months...or years!)  

So, if you get tired of shopping in the West End or simply want to soak up some culture, why not pay a visit to some of the wonderful galleries listed below? In my experience they are almost never crowded (unless Banksy is the headliner), and I always discover amazing artists whose works are previous unknown to me. You can see some of my new favorites on my Instagram

The West End art gallery scene is really like a box of chocolate, you never know what you're gonna get. :)

Hause & Wirth Gallery © Eileen Hsieh

Opera Gallery © Eileen Hsieh

"Churchill" - Banksy. © Eileen Hsieh

Halcyon Gallery - 144-146 New Bond St, London W1S 1SN

Opera Gallery - 134 New Bond St, London W1S 2TF

Richard Green - 147 New Bond Street, London W1S 2TS

Hauser & Wirth Gallery - 23 Savile Row, London W1S 2ET

Annely Juda Fine Art - 23 Dering Street, London W1S 1AW

Beaux Arts - 48 Maddox Street, London W1S 1AY

Blain|Southern - 21 Dering Street, London W1S 1AL

The Fleming Collection - 13 Berkeley Street, London W1J 8DU

Sotheby's - 34-35 New Bond Street, London W1A 2AA

Bonhams - 101 New Bond Street, London W1S 1SR


* Here's a useful interactive map of art gallery hotspots in London, courtesy of the Guardian. 

Where the Authors Lounged: Mandarin Oriental Bangkok (1) | 作家摯愛:曼谷文華東方酒店 (一)

Don't mind me spending an entire afternoon in this oasis. © Eileen Hsieh

Here I am, lying under the seething midday sun in a poolside cabana, with Thailand Tatler in one hand and a fresh coconut in the other, indulging in the kind of mind and body nourishments unavailable in my country of residence. 

Just as I begin to drift off in the gentle river breeze, the sound of a voice with handbell stirs me awake.

在曼谷炫麗的陽光下,泳池畔的小亭子成了我的避暑天堂,一邊讀著泰國社交雜誌 Tatler,一邊啜新鮮的椰子汁,讓心情漸漸放空。


View of Mandarin Oriental Bangkok from across the river. © Eileen Hsieh

"Madam, would you like to cool off with some of our homemade ice cream?," asks the young attendant behind an exquisite vintage wooden cart, which carries a tub of coconut ice cream and an array of colorful toppings. 

He carefully places a scoop of white ball into a silver bowl and sprinkles peanuts, red beans and a few other ingredients over it, explaining the procedure along the way. Then, before departing, he reminds us of another afternoon treat that will be served in a couple hours.

Mandarin Oriental Bangkok, can I live here please? 

「小姐,請問您要不要試吃我們的手工冰淇淋,解暑一下?」 一位年輕的服務生對我說,他的身後是一輛精巧的手推車,上面放著一大桶椰子冰淇淋與多樣配料。



Fresh exotic flowers and giant lanterns are sure ways to make an impression. © Eileen Hsieh


Consistently voted one of the best hotels in Asia and the world, Mandarin Oriental Bangkok and its predecessor The Oriental have been serving travellers to the Siamese country since 1876. 

The low-rise hotel sits quietly on the banks of the Chao Phraya River and is home to the iconic Authors' Lounge, named for the many famous writers - most notably Joseph Conrad - who've stayed at the hotel over the years.



它的前身 The Oriental 於1876年開幕,標榜提供現代化設備和完美服務,成為了國際文學與政治界人物拜訪泰國最愛的歇腳處。而酒店的標誌性建築則被稱為「Authors' Lounge」,也就是「作家休息室」。

The Oriental Hotel opened its doors in 1876 and is the predecessor of today's Mandarin Oriental Bangkok.  © Eileen Hsieh

We’re in Bangkok to celebrate the Ruby anniversary of my parents, who famously pay little attention to life's milestones and don't ever kick up a fuss about them. Therefore the understated No. 1 hotel in the Bangkok is the perfect choice for this special occasion, and my oh my, does it live to its reputation!

Never have I called a hotel "perfect", but Mandarin Oriental Bangkok comes pretty close to it and has elevated the definition of "utopia" to a whole new level.


「完美的酒店」在我眼裡是不存在的,但 Mandarin Oriental Bangkok 是我有史以來所拜訪過最接近完美的旅館,把「烏托邦」的定義提升到了一個全新的水平。

Be charmed by the stunning local arts and crafts that adorn the hotel walls. © Eileen Hsieh

A gilded elephant next to the reception desk. © Eileen Hsieh

Inside the MOB, during our visit, the world IS perfect. 

Every view is mesmerizing. Every dish is delicious. 

Everyone is smiling. And everyday is sunny.



The elegant, newly renovated Authors' Lounge offers a relaxing setting to enjoy your afternoon tea. © Mandarin Oriental

The hotel leaves a memorable impression the moment you enter its premise. 

From the high ceiling lobby with giant lanterns and fresh exotic flowers, the smooth private check-in (led by two beautiful attendees who welcome us with fragrant floral garlands and show us around our rooms), to the smily staff found in every corner of the property who are always saying hello and offering their help, MO Bangkok feels less like a grand hotel but more like the home of a friend with impeccable taste and a fat wallet, and he's just given us all access to everything under the historic, restored roof. 



酒店裡的員工似乎都很熱情有禮,處處都會有人和你打招呼,噓寒問暖。曼谷文華東方感覺不像是個大酒店,反而像是來到朋友的家... 一個有著無可挑剔的品味,以及鼓鼓荷包的朋友的家。

These charming giant lanterns at the lobby set the tone for our stay at Mandarin Oriental, Bangkok. © Eileen Hsieh

A quiet corner with understated rattan furniture. © Eileen Hsieh


If Chao Phraya River is Bangkok's artery, then Mandarin Oriental is the city’s modern heart, thumping with strong heartbeats since its birth 140 years ago.

Then, The Oriental was Bangkok's image ambassador, providing top quality accommodation that rivalled the best in the West. In 2008 the property was officially renamed Mandarin Oriental, Bangkok.



140年前,The Oriental 是曼谷的形象大使,提供媲美西方的高級住宿。酒店於2008年正式更名為文華東方酒店

View of Chao Phraya from our Deluxe room. © Eileen Hsieh

Today, most rooms at the hotel make the most of its advantageous situation and offer an glorious view of the bustling river, magnifying the notion that you are indeed in one of the most vibrant cities in Asia. 

Our deluxe rooms are elegantly appointed with clean-line furniture and textile inspired by traditional Thai designs. There's a working desk and armchairs, as well as bathroom with large bathtub and a walk-in shower. At 40-sqm (428-sq-ft), the space feels uncluttered and intimate. 



Fresh flowers and crisp linen in our comfortable deluxe room. © Eileen Hsieh

Fresh flowers also adorn our spacious bathroom. © Eileen Hsieh

Beautiful lemongrass toiletries. © Eileen Hsieh

Fresh flowers are the star of the room decor, and everyday a plate of locally produced fruits will be greeting you, along with an adorable card narrating their story, so you'll know what you're eating.

Courtesy of our floor's butler, mom and dad are treated with a bottle of wine, a rose-covered heart and a pink cake with a cute chocolate angel, all of which are delicious and gone in a flash! :) 

There is high speed wi-fi throughout the hotel, and it's complimentary for guests who have registered for an online MO profile.



酒店的 wi-fi 無線上網是免費的,只需要在文華東方網頁上註冊即可。

MY RATING: 10 / 10

At MO Bangkok, I did the unthinkable. I didn't leave the hotel premise once in over 24 hours.

Didn't want to. Didn't need to. 

我的評價:10 / 10



Mandarin Oriental, Bangkok

48 Oriental Avenue
Bangkok, 10500

Phone: +66 (2) 659 9000

Little touches that turn a hotel into a home away from home.  © Eileen Hsieh

My First Impression: Mad, Magical, Marrakech | 我的第一印象:瘋狂,嫵媚的馬拉喀什

The heart of Marrakech's medina - Jemaa el Fna. 馬拉喀什老城的心臟 - Jemaa el Fna 大廣場。 © Eileen Hsieh

The heart of Marrakech's medina - Jemaa el Fna. 馬拉喀什老城的心臟 - Jemaa el Fna 大廣場。© Eileen Hsieh

To many who grow up in Taiwan, Morocco is synonymous with Arab culture. The tales that capture our imagination in the translated version of One Thousand and One Nights come alive in the streets of this enigmatic nation, where veiled women with mesmerizing dark eyes still dance with handsome turbaned men to the hypnotizing tune of snake charmers.

After years of longing, I have finally made it to the cultural capital of this North African nation. But with just six days to discover Marrakech's countless secrets, where do I even begin? 

To see, to smell, and to feel -- that's all I want from this first trip, and just to get lost in time. 

No amount of planning can help me navigate this city's medieval labyrinth, and no words from my pen can properly capture the aura, energy and essence of those I encounter. Maybe with pictures, I can at least present to you some pieces of the grand and intricate puzzle that is Marrakech. 

* Click on each photo will take you to my Marrakech gallery, where you'll find more images of this magical city. 


嚮往多年,我終於來到了這個北非國家的文化首都 -- 馬拉喀什。在短短的六天內,我只想感受她的色,香,味,還有迷失在她迷宮般的古城裡。


* 若想看更多照片,請點一下圖片就可連接到我的馬拉喀什相簿

Marrakech is often referred to as the "Rose City" or the "Red City" for its salmon pink buildings and the nearly thousand-year-old ramparts.  馬拉喀什老區處處可見鮭魚色的建築與  近千年歷史的  城牆,為它贏得了「玫瑰城」或是「紅城」的美名。

Marrakech is often referred to as the "Rose City" or the "Red City" for its salmon pink buildings and the nearly thousand-year-old ramparts. 馬拉喀什老區處處可見鮭魚色的建築與近千年歷史的城牆,為它贏得了「玫瑰城」或是「紅城」的美名。

Bicycles, mopeds and donkey carts are the most common forms of transportation in the narrow streets of Marrakech's medina. 機車,腳踏車與驢車是在馬拉喀什迷宮般的老城裡最常見的交通工具。

Bicycles, mopeds and donkey carts are the most common forms of transportation in the narrow streets of Marrakech's medina. 機車,腳踏車與驢車是在馬拉喀什迷宮般的老城裡最常見的交通工具。

Entrance of a traditional Moroccan hammam bath house, where you can get the most thorough body scrub and come out shiny and new. 摩洛哥 傳統 澡堂的入口,進去被刮掉一層皮後(其實是汙垢啦),保證出來全身亮晶晶。

Entrance of a traditional Moroccan hammam bath house, where you can get the most thorough body scrub and come out shiny and new. 摩洛哥傳統澡堂的入口,進去被刮掉一層皮後(其實是汙垢啦),保證出來全身亮晶晶。

Colorful display of dried plants outside an Herbalist in the souk (market), including these pretty cacti. 草藥店外擺置了許多色彩鮮艷的乾燥植物產品,包括染色過的乾燥仙人掌。

Colorful display of dried plants outside an Herbalist in the souk (market), including these pretty cacti. 草藥店外擺置了許多色彩鮮艷的乾燥植物產品,包括染色過的乾燥仙人掌。

Morocco's coveted argan oil is produced from the kernels of the argan tree. 摩洛哥有名的堅果油(又稱阿甘油)就是由這種堅果搾取而成的。

Morocco's coveted argan oil is produced from the kernels of the argan tree. 摩洛哥有名的堅果油(又稱阿甘油)就是由這種堅果搾取而成的。

Enter the Herbalist den where you'll find remedies for any ailment or enhancement.  草藥店裡賣有各式各樣的 產品, 治病養身防老回春,要什麼有什麼。

Enter the Herbalist den where you'll find remedies for any ailment or enhancement.


Getting lost in the medina leads me to this boutique beauty shop run by a woman, with products made for the modern woman. 迷失在老城裡,竟然撞見這個可愛的有機保養品店,老闆是女生,產品也全是為現代女性所製。

Getting lost in the medina leads me to this boutique beauty shop run by a woman, with products made for the modern woman. 迷失在老城裡,竟然撞見這個可愛的有機保養品店,老闆是女生,產品也全是為現代女性所製。

The boutique owner throws in a couple of these kohl eyeliners as gift, saying they can protect against eye ailments but should only be used on the lower waterline. 老闆娘給了兩隻炭眼線筆,說是可以保護眼睛,不過只能用在下眼線,因為上眼線不好畫。

The boutique owner throws in a couple of these kohl eyeliners as gift, saying they can protect against eye ailments but should only be used on the lower waterline. 老闆娘給了兩隻炭眼線筆,說是可以保護眼睛,不過只能用在下眼線,因為上眼線不好畫。

A variety of hand-made soaps and natural or infused argan oils can be found in the shop. 小店裡賣有 多種類的 手工肥皂與堅果油。

A variety of hand-made soaps and natural or infused argan oils can be found in the shop. 小店裡賣有多種類的手工肥皂與堅果油。

No haggling is allowed in this shop, and the price is still much better than what you'll find in the souk. 這個標榜不二價的小店,標價還是比傳統市場便宜多了。

No haggling is allowed in this shop, and the price is still much better than what you'll find in the souk. 這個標榜不二價的小店,標價還是比傳統市場便宜多了。

Snake charmers entertain onlookers in Jemaa el Fna every evening. Watch the video below to get a feel of the amazing atmosphere in the square. 每天傍晚都有弄蛇人在 Jemaa el Fna 賣藝。不怕蛇的讀者可以看以下的視頻,感受廣場熱鬧的氣氛。

Snake charmers entertain onlookers in Jemaa el Fna every evening. Watch the video below to get a feel of the amazing atmosphere in the square. 每天傍晚都有弄蛇人在 Jemaa el Fna 賣藝。不怕蛇的讀者可以看以下的視頻,感受廣場熱鬧的氣氛。

Dozens of juice stalls compete for business in Jemaa el Fna. The stalls are numbered for easy identification. Jemaa el Fna 大廣場上有十幾家現搾新鮮果汁的攤子,每家都有號碼標示,方便顧客再次光臨。

Dozens of juice stalls compete for business in Jemaa el Fna. The stalls are numbered for easy identification. Jemaa el Fna 大廣場上有十幾家現搾新鮮果汁的攤子,每家都有號碼標示,方便顧客再次光臨。

Tagine (or tajine) is a favorite dish in Morocco. Here's a beef tagine with prunes, walnuts, pine nuts, served alongside a bowl of couscous. 摩洛哥最有名的美食 -- 塔津蓋燉肉。圖是牛肉塔津加黑棗,核桃和松子,配上一碗 古斯米 。

Tagine (or tajine) is a favorite dish in Morocco. Here's a beef tagine with prunes, walnuts, pine nuts, served alongside a bowl of couscous. 摩洛哥最有名的美食 -- 塔津蓋燉肉。圖是牛肉塔津加黑棗,核桃和松子,配上一碗古斯米

Ornate pottery is sold everywhere in Marrakech and makes a popular and affordable souvenir, starting at just 10 dirham (about 1 euro) per piece. 馬拉喀什的市場裡到處可見這些漂亮花俏的盤碗,每樣只要10DH (約ㄧ歐元)起。

Ornate pottery is sold everywhere in Marrakech and makes a popular and affordable souvenir, starting at just 10 dirham (about 1 euro) per piece. 馬拉喀什的市場裡到處可見這些漂亮花俏的盤碗,每樣只要10DH (約ㄧ歐元)起。

Lamp, lamp and more lamp! Take these home and create your very own Arabian night. 家裡放幾隻漂亮的摩洛哥仿古燈,你也可以擁有夢幻的阿拉伯之夜。

Lamp, lamp and more lamp! Take these home and create your very own Arabian night. 家裡放幾隻漂亮的摩洛哥仿古燈,你也可以擁有夢幻的阿拉伯之夜。

Traditional Moroccan leather Babouche slippers come in an array of pretty colors and designs. 五彩繽紛的傳統摩洛哥皮革手工拖鞋。

Traditional Moroccan leather Babouche slippers come in an array of pretty colors and designs. 五彩繽紛的傳統摩洛哥皮革手工拖鞋。

Boutique shops, cafes and hotels line the wide boulevard in the new part of Marrakech.  馬拉喀什新區裡寬敞的大道旁有許多精品店,咖啡廳與酒店。

Boutique shops, cafes and hotels line the wide boulevard in the new part of Marrakech. 馬拉喀什新區裡寬敞的大道旁有許多精品店,咖啡廳與酒店。

The minaret of the 12th century Koutoubia Mosque, the largest mosque in Marrakech. 源於十二世紀的庫圖比亞清真寺與尖塔,是 馬拉喀什最大的  清真寺。

The minaret of the 12th century Koutoubia Mosque, the largest mosque in Marrakech. 源於十二世紀的庫圖比亞清真寺與尖塔,是馬拉喀什最大的清真寺。

Men sitting outside of Ben Youssef Madrasa (also spelled Médersa Ben-Youssef), once the largest Islamic college in North Africa.  坐在 Ben Youssef Madrasa 外小歇的居民,這兒曾是北非最大的 伊斯蘭神學院。

Men sitting outside of Ben Youssef Madrasa (also spelled Médersa Ben-Youssef), once the largest Islamic college in North Africa.  坐在 Ben Youssef Madrasa 外小歇的居民,這兒曾是北非最大的伊斯蘭神學院。

Founded in the 14th century, the Ben Youssef Madrasa in Marrakech had taught Islam to countless pupils until its closure in the 1960s. 於14世紀建立的 Ben Youssef Madrasa,一直是北非數一數二的伊斯蘭神學院,直到1960年代才停止教學。

The intricate mosaic wall in one corner of Ben Youssef Madrasa. Ben Youssef 神學院阿拉伯建築設計經典,處處都是令人嘆為觀止的拼磚和雕刻。

An oasis outside of the maddening medina, Jardin Majorelle is a top tourist attraction in Marrakech. Jardin Majorelle 馬若雷爾花園是城市裡的綠洲,也是旅客的最愛。

An oasis outside of the maddening medina, Jardin Majorelle is a top tourist attraction in Marrakech. Jardin Majorelle 馬若雷爾花園是城市裡的綠洲,也是旅客的最愛。

Entrance of the fabulous Berber Museum. 值得一看的「柏柏爾人博物館」的入口。

Entrance of the fabulous Berber Museum. 值得一看的「柏柏爾人博物館」的入口。

The world-renowned fashion designer Yves Saint Laurent at Jardin Majorelle. 名服裝設計師伊夫•聖洛朗 (YSL) 在 馬若雷  爾花園 的舊宅裡。

The world-renowned fashion designer Yves Saint Laurent at Jardin Majorelle. 名服裝設計師伊夫•聖洛朗 (YSL) 在馬若雷爾花園的舊宅裡。

Tropical colors are dominant in the beautiful Jardin Majorelle. 馬若雷爾花園裡處處都有熱帶的色彩。

Tropical colors are dominant in the beautiful Jardin Majorelle. 馬若雷爾花園裡處處都有熱帶的色彩。

Legacy of a Lonely Baron: Waddesdon Manor | 寂寞男爵的黃金屋:沃德斯敦莊園

Once upon a time, a wealthy and widowed Baron built himself a fairytale castle on a bare hill in rural England.

In it, he filled with the most precious things one could find under the sun: porcelain artefacts with intricate designs, paintings by
masters of the time, exotic birds and flowers from faraway land that people had only heard about but never dreamt of seeing with their own eyes.

He led a life full of opulence and abundance like Aladdin's cave, but no matter how much treasure he acquired, the hollowness he felt inside was never to go away.

This is the story of Ferdinand de Rothschild, and this is his castle. 





Waddesdon Manor was built in the style of Loire Valley chateaus, as designed by French architect Gabriel-Hippolyte Destailleur.  © Eileen Hsieh / Follow That Bug

When was the last time you found treasure in your own backyard? 

The moment I stepped onto the grounds of Waddesdon Manor, I knew I'd struck gold. 

Standing in front of this magnificent French Renaissance chateau, one can hardly believe that we are still in England. Buckinghamshire, to be exact, just one hour of train ride from London Marylebone station




The Parterre at Waddesdon Manor has 50,000 plants, and the bedding is usually changed twice a year, in spring and summer. © Eileen Hsieh / Follow That Bug

Waddesdon Manor was built in the late 19th century by Ferdinand de Rothschild - a member of the prominent banking dynasty - as a country house, a weekend playground to entertain friends and family who wanted to escape London during the summer months.

A passionate collector of arts and artefacts, Waddesdon Manor also served as the perfect backdrop to display his vast collection of treasures from around the world, from old master paintings, exquisite miniatures, to furniture, porcelain and tapestries from the French Court.

Rothschild only purchased the best of the best. In 1882 he famously spent £6,300 on a Riesener writing desk made for France's Marie Antoinette, which would be worth around £530,000 today. And this was certainly not his most expensive acquisition.





The dining room, with table laid as it would've been for a house party in the 1890s. © Eileen Hsieh / Follow That Bug

The china service display includes pieces originally own by the French court. © Eileen Hsieh / Follow That Bug

Baron Rothschild had great love for portraits of beautiful women, as well as chandeliers. © Eileen Hsieh / Follow That Bug

In addition to planting a grand chateau in the English countryside, the baron was also credited for creating the lush landscape surrounding Waddesdon Manor today.

The legend might have exaggerated when it boasted that Rothschild had planted one million trees on his estate of 2,700 acres, but the result of his vision is undeniably impressive. 



Sunset at Waddesdon Estate. © Eileen Hsieh / Follow That Bug

Mature trees are plenty on the estate. © Eileen Hsieh / Follow That Bug

Wildflowers on the meadow. © Eileen Hsieh / Follow That Bug

Today the Waddesdon Estate has expanded to 6,000 acres and offers some of the most stunning trails in all of England.

On my 5-mile walk from the village of Stone to Waddesdon Manor, my senses are mesmerized by a wave of pleasantry... giant trees soaring into the sky, fragrant meadows carpeted with wildflowers, and farm animals on the gentle hills exercising their limbs and enjoying their lunch.


從我住的小村莊 Stone,有一條5英里的步道直通到沃德斯敦莊園的入口。路程中偶爾會看到行車和出來遛狗的居民,但大部分時間都只有大自然陪伴著我。


A view of the rose garden. © Eileen Hsieh / Follow That Bug

A very English rose, in red and white. © Eileen Hsieh / Follow That Bug

Running a manor of such a grand scale was never to be an easy or inexpensive task, so to keep the property from the possible fate of declining, the Rothschild family bequeathed Waddesdon Manor to the National Trust in 1957, along with some 160-acre of land surrounding it, to ensure proper care of the property for all to enjoy for generations to come.

Scroll down for access information and a photo tour of this wonderful time capsule. Enjoy!

Eileen x




Eileen x

Picture Gallery

Waddesdon Manor | 沃德斯敦莊園



Free for National Trust members

House & Grounds Access - £20 Adult / £10 Child / £45 Family 

Grounds Only - £10 adult / £5 Child / £25 Family 

House visits are by timed entry, including for National Trust members. Book House Tickets Here

If you’re travelling by train, you can download a 2for1 grounds admission voucher to use on arrival: 2for1 grounds admission voucher


Regular trains run from London Marylebone to Aylesbury and Aylesbury Vale Parkway.

There's one daily free shuttle bus service between Aylesbury Vale Parkway station and Waddesdon Manor. Click here for details.



Lambeth Palace Garden: The Archbishop's Backyard | 蘭柏宮花園:大主教的後院

Visitors soaking up the sunshine in the garden of Lambeth Palace. 訪客在蘭柏宮花園漫步,享受陽光的洗禮。© Eileen Hsieh

Many of London's most iconic views can be found along the south bank of the River Thames. Sandwiched between Tower Bridge and the Palace of Westminster is a narrow strip of riverside land dotted with museums, galleries, restaurants and seasonal events -- and let's not forget the London Eye -- to keep visitors and locals entertained throughout the year. However once the obligatory pictures with Big Ben are taken, most of us don't often venture westward past the Westminster Bridge, where lies the historic Lambeth Palace.

許多倫敦最具標誌性的景點都座落於泰晤士河的南岸。從倫敦塔橋威斯敏斯特宮之間的一段路上,有赫赫有名的博物館 (如泰特現代藝術館),畫廊,餐廳和季節性活動 -- 還有別忘了倫敦眼 -- 是遊客與居民最愛的休閒娛樂天堂之一。不過,大部分人走到大笨鐘,在威斯敏斯特橋附近自拍完後,並不會繼續往西走,而錯過了一個歷史悠久的好景點:蘭柏宮

A rotunda on the Mound, surrounded by narcissus in the springtime and a black walnut tree planted by Queen Mary in the 16th century. 涼亭坐落在種滿水仙花的小丘陵上,依偎着瑪麗皇后十六世紀種植的黑核桃樹 © Eileen Hsieh

Sitting opposite the House of Parliament next to a busy round-about, this Grade I listed building has been the London residence of the Archbishop of Canterbury for almost 800 years, and houses one of the oldest and largest cultivated gardens in the capital. 

The garden occupies over 10 of the 13 acres of the Palace ground. It's generally not open to the public except for pre-booked tours or special events, but at the request of the current Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby, the Lambeth Palace Garden is opening its doors for all to visit from 12-3pm on the first Wednesday of the month between March to October. 



Morton's Tower gatehouse, the main entrance of Lambeth Palace. 蘭博工的正門,莫頓塔。© Eileen Hsieh

The main palace building and courtyard. 蘭柏宮的正殿與庭園。© Eileen Hsieh

The path to the garden is a stunning prelude to the beauty in store. Entering through the red brick Morton's Tower gatehouse, we stroll to the main courtyard where a famous fig tree stands -- planted in 1556 by the last Roman Catholic Archbishop of Canterbury, Cardinal Pole. (Then came Henry VIII and the reformation and separation of the Church of England from the Roman Catholic Church... etc.) 

Around the corner of the main palace building is where you'll find a small gate leading to the garden. 



The rose arbor on the terrace. 露台上的玫瑰架。© Eileen Hsieh

The "Girl and Swallows" statue surrounded by roses. 玫瑰園裡的「女孩與燕子」銅像。 © Eileen Hsieh

The palace garden is loosely divided into three sections: the terrace, the main lawn, and the orchard. Benches and roses line the terrace, allowing visitors to admire the honey-color stone building it's facing. The main lawn is a parkland style space filled with mature trees and colorful plants (including a black walnut planted by Queen Mary), with a solitary rotunda sitting on a mount covered in spring bulbs of narcissus.

The orchard contains apples, plum, cobnut and quince, and behind it is the plant nursery area and a greenhouse that supplies the vegetables consumed by palace staff. 

The entire area is maintained by three full-time gardeners along with part-time volunteers, using organic principles wherever possible. 





Lambeth Palace has a special place in United Kingdom's history, as it brings to life the relationship between Church and State in Britain. Its garden holds fascinating stories of its own, waiting for us to explore. 

*For more photos of the garden, please check out my Lambeth Palace Garden Gallery.


*想看更多 Lambeth Palace Garden的照片嗎?請前往我的 Lambeth Palace Garden 相簿


Lambeth Palace Rd, London SE1 7JU map



門票:£4.00 成人 / 小孩免費入場

Garden Opening Time: 12-3pm, first Friday of the month between March and October

Cost:£4.00 adult / children free 


Eileen's Top 5 Light Meals near Big Ben | 雅琳推薦:大笨鐘附近五家優質小吃店

Generally speaking, there are two types of people who get off at Westminster Underground Station: civil servants, and tourists. 

With a high concentration of ministries (Parliament, No. 10 Downing Street, the Foreign Office and HMRC) and famous landmarks (Big Ben, Westminster Abbey, Churchill War Rooms and Horseguards Parade), it's no wonder that this part of Westminster is one of the most congested spots in all of London.


長久以來它也是倫敦的藝文重地,英國最有名的地標 - 如大笨鐘和西敏寺 - 還有熱門的邱吉爾博物館,皇家騎士軍隊閱兵場,聖詹姆士皇家公園和白金漢宮等等,也都位於此地,難怪這兒是城市最擁擠的區域之一。

Big Ben, Buckingham Palace, Westminster Abbey and St James's Park are just some of the popular attractions within a short walk from Westminster tube station. (Images: Eileen Hsieh) 

One would naturally assume that an area with such heavy foot traffic would be blessed with an enviable selection of gastronomical delights. But in reality, what you will find is an uninspiring range of chain coffee shops, pubs and a few high-end restaurants more suitable for business lunch than a quick bite on the go. 


Some of the cute pub signs in Westminster, St James's Park and Victoria. (Images: Eileen Hsieh)

I live in this neighborhood, so I know the hidden gems that are only minutes away from popular sights which the tourists never seem to notice. Whenever I go out to pick up a takeaway meal, I often get asked by hungry, frustrated and exhausted visitors where I get my food from, all anxiously searching for somewhere with decent food that won't deplete their budget. 

So, in hopes of making Westminster a more inviting destination for visitors, I'm listing my personal Top 5 Picks for Light Meals in its vicinity -- all within 10-15 minutes of walk from Westminster tube station towards Victoria and St James's Park, where good food, good service and a chilled out atmosphere are guaranteed, so you can refuel and recover from a long day of sightseeing.

Here's to a pleasant dining experience in the shadow of Big Ben!



網上關於 Westminster 附近可靠的餐飲消息真的不多,所以在此向大家推薦我個人最喜歡的五家輕食餐廳,全都離西敏地鐵站步行10-15分鐘內,往 Victoria St. James's Park 方向走。這幾家餐廳的食物美味,服務親切,氣氛悠閒,所以也是小歇的好地點。



The Perfect Place for a Long Conversation, or a Nap

Comfortable leather Chesterfield sofa and tartan cushions at the Blue Boar Bar. (Images: Eileen Hsieh / Blue Boar Restaurant)

Around the corner from Westminster Abbey is this inviting restaurant/pub inside the five-star Conrad hotel. This is also where you'll find me 2 ~ 3 times a month. My first visit here was for a business lunch, then I keep returning for delicious food, nice drinks and impeccable service.

Housed in a grand 19th-century building opposite St James's Park tube station, the Blue Boar may look fancy and stuffy from the outside. But the moment you walk through the door, you'll be charmed by the friendliest staff and quaint decor inspired by the British political landscape.

The vibe here is both intimate and understatedly luxurious, with a mixed menu of healthy and comfort dishes, and oversized leather chesterfield sofas and wing back armchairs positioned next to the floor-to-ceiling windows, the perfect place to watch the world go by.

Do not miss the apple and blackberry crumble with pouring cream. It is pure indulgence and very addictive! 

自西敏寺轉個彎,就可以看到我每個月光臨好幾次的溫馨酒吧 - Blue Boar(藍野豬)。

第一次來到 Conrad 五星級飯店附設的酒吧用餐,是和朋友見面吃商業午餐,之後就愛上了這裡的食物,雞尾酒,還有無可挑剔的完美服務。



菜單提供多樣化的英國傳統美食,也有健康的沙拉和三明治。千萬不要錯過了蘋果和黑莓派,配上香濃的 pouring cream,很容易上癮的!

Succulent steak. (Image: Blue Boar Restaurant)

A burger from the Blue Boar Bar, just one block away from Westminster Abbey. (Image: Blue Boar Restaurant)

Humorous political caricatures are part of the Blue Boar's charming decor. (Image: Blue Boar Restaurant)


Cheap & Cheerful Full English Breakfast and Stuffed Jacket Potatoes

Cafe Nuvo offers simple and tasty breakfast and lunch items and a comfortable upstairs seating area. (Images: Eileen Hsieh)

Where can you get a good full English breakfast for under a fiver near Big Ben? Cafe Nuvo on Artillery Row is the answer. 

At this local gem, you can get a plate of bacon, sausage, egg, baked beans, two thick slices of toast plus tea or coffee for just £3.95. That's at least £1-2 cheaper than any other cafe within a one-mile radius.  

And the portion is large, like American-style large. The sausage is my favorite item in the breakfast, always perfectly cooked and never greasy.

The cafe is open from morning to late afternoon and offers a variety of reasonably priced pastries, panini, jacket potatoes, salads and desserts. It also has a lovely upstairs eat-in area to enjoy a leisurely meal.

This Cafe Nuvo is an easy 10-minute walk from Westminster Abbey and popular with both office and construction workers. Be sure not to confuse it with another sandwich shop with the same name in Covent Garden. 

一早跑來看大笨鐘,想吃正統英式早餐卻又不想花大錢,該怎麼辦呢?答案就是:去 Cafe Nuvo 吧!

這家獨立咖啡廳離西敏寺約十分鐘腳程,只要 £ 3.95 就可以享用份量十足的英式早餐,有臘肉,香腸,煎蛋,焗豆,厚厚的吐司,還有一杯咖啡或茶,價錢比附近的早餐店便宜最少 £1~2。我最喜歡這裡的英國香腸,煎得恰到好處,絕不油膩。

除了多樣早餐選擇以外,Cafe Nuvo 也提供焗烤三明治,烤馬鈴薯,沙拉和糕餅甜點。這家咖啡廳二樓還有舒適的用餐區,深受當地上班族與建築工人喜愛。

編輯註腳:柯芬園 (Covent Garden) 也有一家同名為 Cafe Nuvo 的咖啡店,請別混淆。


12 Artillery Row, London SW1P 1RZ

MAP 地圖 | MENU 菜單






The Ultimate Southern Comfort... and Diet Buster

Southern comfort can be found in this cozy basement restaurant near Westminster Abbey. (Image: Low, Slow & Juke)

Low Slow & Juke is the newest arrival in this part of town. Opened in February, it promises to bring southern smoke BBQ and cocktails to the UK capital. 

Just a two-minute walk from Westminster Abbey, this bar/restaurant is tucked away in the basement of a corner building off Victoria Street and very easy to miss. Inside you'll find a full bar, comfortable seatings and a private dining area spread over two floors.

I was thoroughly impressed with my first meal here. The slow smoked St. Louis Slab Ribs was perfectly charred, tender but not fatty, while the Black + Blue burger with blue cheese sauce was juicy and flavourful. The beer and wine recommended by the friendly staff were excellent too. 

With cute decor, southern hospitality and amazing BBQ (that's way better than Bodean's for about the same price), I think we've got an all-around, finger-licking-good winner here.

Low, Slow & Juke 標榜為美式燻烤慢烤,今年二月才開業,是倫敦最新的肉食者天堂。



若要與倫敦最有名的連鎖美式BBQ餐廳 Bodean's 相比,無論是肉質,燻烤秘方,服務品質,還是價格,我都一定會給 Low, Slow & Juke 打比較高分的。


Low, Slow & Juke wants to win over London with slow smoked BBQ and cocktails. (Images: Low, Slow & Juke)


A Little Slice of Japan in Westminster

Ichi-Riki is a tiny Japanese restaurant that packs a punch. (Image: Eileen Hsieh)

The house specialties are posted on the wall for easy viewing. (Image: Eileen Hsieh)

There's a little slice of Japan in the heart of Westminster, and it's called Ichi-Riki

This traditional Japanese sushi house was established 15 years ago, offering an authentic taste of Japan at an affordable price.

Located 2 minutes from New Scotland Yard on a cobblestone street, this basement gem is sandwiched between a hair salon and a cafe and can be easy to miss.

The somewhat dingy stairs lead into an intimate, old-fashion space with spartan seating and a sushi bar. The menu is simple and covers the basics: sushi, tempura, gyoza, seaweed salad, green tea desserts, and of course Japanese beers and sake.

The restaurant is popular with the locals especially during lunchtime. They don't take reservation for lunch, but you can book a table for dinner or order take-away or delivery

西敏區的中心有一家傳統的日本壽司屋,名叫 Ichi-Riki

坐落在倫敦警察廳(New Scotland Yard)附近的一條石板街道上,緊夾在美髮沙龍和咖啡館之間,一不注意就很容易錯過這家地下室小店。

壽司屋已有十五年的歷史,室內裝潢簡單,菜單也很有日本地道風味 -- 壽司,天婦羅,餃子,涼拌海帶,綠茶甜品,當然還有日本啤酒和清酒。

Ichi-Riki 走平價路線,很受當地人喜愛,午餐時間總是空無一席。他們只接受晚餐預約,也有提供外帶與外送服務。

Ichi-Riki is sandwiched between a hair salon and a health food cafe on a cobblestone street in Victoria. (Image: Eileen Hsieh)


Ozone Coffee Roaster Serving Undoubtedly the Best Coffee in Victoria

Some say Iris & June serves the best coffee in Westminster, if not all of London. (Image: Iris & June)

Coffee lovers - this one is for you. 

Since Iris & June opened its door in 2014, caffeine enthusiasts have been flocking to this Antipodean cafe for the perfect Ozone coffee. Each cup is made with precision and care and the proof is in the taste. 

Hailed by many as the best coffee shop in Victoria that serves good food, the lunchtime queue here can get very long. 

The cafe is located on a quiet street just behind House of Fraser department store. The space is airy, comfy with a touch of industrial chic, and the free wi-fi makes it the perfect place for work, meeting, or just relaxing.


現在要介紹的是倫敦人公認的特優咖啡館:Iris & June


甜點和新鮮健康的午餐也是 Iris & June 的賣點,常常可以看到個體餐飲店的腳踏車來送貨。

咖啡館坐落在 House of Fraser 百貨公司後門的一條安靜街道上,裝潢簡潔,有濃濃的極簡工業風氣氛。顧客可以免費上網,所以許多人抱著筆電來這兒工作,一坐就是一整天。

The cafe is opposite the back entrance of House of Fraser department store. (Image: Eileen Hsieh)

Breakfast, lunch or afternoon tea, anytime is a good time for an Iris & June coffee. (Images: Iris & June Instagram)


1 Howick Pl, London SW1P 1WG

MAP 地圖

020 7828 3130

Brew and Renew: B2 Boutique Hotel & Spa - Zurich | 來釀酒廠泡湯:蘇黎世 B2 精品溫泉酒店

There's something about old buildings that hypnotizes me. 

Maybe it's the uneven walls, the ornate patterns, or the earthy materials, architecture from the bygone era oozes a familiar aura that draws me inside to explore, to appreciate details created by bare human hands and minds before the world's collective reliance on technology. 



The former brewery now sits in the same industrial complex as Google's European engineering hub. / © Eileen Hsieh

I like to create opportunities to cross path with unique structures that catch my eyes. In Zurich, that building is a 19th-century Swiss brewery converted into a hotel, called B2 Boutique Hotel & Spa

旅遊時,我喜歡製造與獨特建築邂逅的機會。在蘇黎世,我的目標是一棟十九世紀釀酒廠改建的旅館:B2 精品溫泉酒店

B2 Boutique Hotel & Spa in Zurich. / © Eileen Hsieh

Lounge area with comfortable chairs with waist cincher. / © B2 Boutique Hotel & Spa

Set on a hilltop overlooking a repurposed industrial complex that houses Google’s Europe engineering hub, B2 Boutique Hotel & Spa's story mirrors Switzerland's developmental progress over the past 200 years:

Industrialization > Modernization > Sustainable Preservation. 

坐落在蘇黎世市中心的一座小山丘上,俯瞰有谷歌歐洲工程中心的工業園區,B2 精品溫泉酒店的故事反映了瑞士過去200年來的發展與進步:

工業化 > 現代化 > 持續性保護。

Cobble stone road leading to the entrance of B2 Boutique Hotel & Spa. / © Eileen Hsieh

Machine hall showcasing the cooling compressing used in the old brewery. / © Eileen Hsieh

Swinging by Google's European engineering hub with sis! / © Eileen Hsieh

Once crowned the largest brewery in Switzerland, the Hürlimann brewery shut down in 1996 after 130 years of operation.

16 years later, after undergoing a painstaking renovation (as documented in this wonderful video), it was reintroduced to the public as a modern boutique hotel, with a green conscience,  homely feel, and Zurich's first thermal bath fed by an existing spring (a must visit!) 

It's also here that you'll find the city's only rooftop thermal pool, offering an expansive view of Zurich's skyline.

Hürlimann 曾經是瑞士最大的啤酒廠,經營了 130 多年後於 1996年正式關閉。



Zurich's only rooftop thermal pool is the perfect place to be at sunset. / © B2 Boutique Hotel & Spa

My main motivation for staying at B2, however, is to see its stunning Wine Library.

With large cathedral-style windows and walls covered with more than 33,000 books (all available to hotel guests), it's an inviting space to enjoy a meal anytime of the day.

Glance up and you'll be rewarded with a spellbinding view of glittery chandeliers cleverly constructed with Hürlimann's very own beer bottles. 

It's little bit Potteresque, with the dark woods and high ceilings and all, a proper hideout from the real world.


The Wine Library ,顧名思義,是品酒與閱讀的地方,提供全天餐飲。



室內設計有點 Potteresque,有哈利波特世界的感覺,若想逃離現實生活,就來這兒靜心吧。

Wine Library. / © Eileen Hsieh

Look up, it's a beer bottle chandelier. / © Eileen Hsieh

Centrally located, B2 is a scenic 15-minute walk from Lake Zurich and the old town, 8-minute walk to the closest train station (Enge), and a 10-minute taxi ride from the main train station, Zurich HB.

The hotel's on-site spa attracts many outdoorsy types looking for some R&R at the end of an active day.

Our two-night stay coincides with Zurich's annual Ironman triathlon, so the hotel is booked to capacity, but you wouldn't know it from the smooth and attentive service.

B2 酒店位於市中心,散步到蘇黎世湖舊城區只需15分鐘左右,最近的火車站(Enge)就在酒店的山腳下,而蘇黎世最大的火車站(Zurich HB)則是約10分鐘車程。


我們剛好碰上蘇黎世一年一度的 Ironman 鐵人三項大賽,酒店毫無空房,不過服務品質完全沒受影響,依然如常友善,有效率。

Long leather sofa at hotel reception. / © Eileen Hsieh

Just by interacting with the hotel staff, one can't help but admire the Swiss and their cosmopolitan way of life. The multilingual staff are friendly to a fault and will happily share all they know about the city if you ask. One casual request for restaurant recommendations leads to enough information to fill a Top 10 list of #GoodEats in Zurich, for which we are very grateful!

We've checked out two of the places recommended by the hotel staff -- the legendary, artsy Kronenhall for rustic Swiss food, and Hiltl, the so-called first vegetarian restaurant in the world -- both are outstanding. 


照著酒店的建議,我們拜訪了蘇黎世最有名,像畫廊似的 Kronenhall 瑞士傳統餐廳,還有號稱是全球第一家素食餐廳的 Hiltl 。兩家都值得推薦。


Contemplation.... / © Eileen Hsieh


B2 Boutique Hotel & Spa has 51 rooms and 9 suites, and each is unique with bespoke furniture and decors. Although not large, our Boutique Room in the former brewhouse feels fresh and immaculate.

It feature a warehouse-sized window that lets in plenty of light and looks out onto the hills and the Google office below. 


B2 精品溫泉酒店共有51間客房和9間套房,每個房間都有獨特的風格。

我們的精品房(Boutique Room)位於前釀酒廠內,空間不大但乾淨清新,從大扇窗可以看到附近的小教堂和山下的谷歌辦公室。

Comfortable double bed in our boutique room. / © Eileen Hsieh

Hotel corridors. / © Eileen Hsieh

A small reminder of the hotel's past identity. / © Eileen Hsieh

Small design touches pay tribute to the building's past, and the minibar is filled with complimentary water, juices and two bottles of -- what else? - cold Hürlimann beer.

房間裡處處可見有工業氣息的懷舊裝飾,迷你吧除了提供礦泉水與飲料外,當然也少不了兩瓶 Hürlimann 啤酒,向老釀酒廠致敬。

The same brand of beer that was once made in the brewery where B2 Boutique Hotel & Spa now stands. / © Eileen Hsieh

It's no surprise to see a Nespresso coffee machine in the room, given that this is the country that brought us the stylish time-saving invention.

But here they kick it up a notch, providing a Zenius pro model which also brews hot water. Tea drinkers, you can relax. 

瑞士是 Nespresso 膠囊咖啡的誕生地,所以大小旅館幾乎都有它的蹤影。

B2酒店所提供的 Nespresso 咖啡機是商業級的 Zenius 型號,可以泡咖啡也可以煮熱水,泡茶很方便。

Zenius is now my favorite model of Nespresso machine. / © Eileen Hsieh

The semi-open plan bathroom is on the small side, with a standing shower and a separate toilet. But it comes with everything you need, including a powerful hairdryer and nice toiletries by FAIR CosmEthics. I especially like its shampoo, which adds incredible fullness to my hair and leaves it touchably soft. But the conditioner is a bit too watery and doesn't do much for me.

半開放的浴室也是小巧玲瓏,有站立式淋浴和獨立的廁所,馬力大的吹風機,還有 FAIR CosmEthics 衛浴用品。


Small but nicely formed bathroom. / © Eileen Hsieh

Fairtrade toiletries. / © Eileen Hsieh

Small but powerful hairdryer. / © Eileen Hsieh

Breakfast @ The Wine Library

The hotel is keen to use locally sourced ingredients whenever possible, and my stay has opened my eyes to how self-sufficient Switzerland is as a country, especially when it comes to food production. 

早餐 @ 葡萄酒圖書館


Breads from Switzerland. / © Eileen Hsieh

Breakfast buffet with locally sourced delicacies. / © Eileen Hsieh

Swiss jams. / © Eileen Hsieh

Breakfast is served at the Wine Library, and the buffet - with all kinds of fruits, yogurts, specialty cheeses and dried meats - is a proud display of #GoodEats, Swiss style. 

he coffee -- however -- is from Italy. Rightfully so.

酒店裡所使用的東西幾乎都是國產的,早餐 buffet 有多樣化的新鮮水果,優格,起司和風乾肉,全都插著紅底白十字旗,標示出產地。


Freshly cooked egg dishes are served at breakfast. / © Eileen Hsieh

Swiss meats! / © Eileen Hsieh

Important Information: When in Switzerland, drink Swiss wine, because it's so good that hardly any of it gets exported!

Hence Zurich wine is a big selling point at the Wine Library, a perfect accompaniment to Swiss delicacies available throughout the day. 


因為瑞士酒的品質優良產量又不多,在國內就被消耗掉了,所以幾乎沒有外銷的機會。因此蘇黎世葡萄酒是B2酒店 Wine Library 的一大賣點。

Wine Library. / © Eileen Hsieh

All-day menu at the Wine Library. / © Eileen Hsieh

Just can't get enough of this beautiful room. / © Eileen Hsieh

Thermal Baths & Spa

The hotel is located right above the Thermalbad & Spa, well-known for its Irish-Roman bath fed by the Aqui spring. For a fee of 25 CHF, B2 guests can have direct access to the spa's private facilities via the hotel lift.

The spa looks like a secret underground oasis out of an ancient Rome movie, where turquoise water shimmers in the grotto in the vaulted stone walls of the old brewery, with flowy curtains shielding heated stone lounger from prying eyes. 

溫泉 & 水療中心

蘇黎世著名的 Thermalbad 溫泉水療中心,位於B2酒店正下方,有門票(25 CHF)的房客可以通過酒店的電梯直接進入spa,使用所有水療設施。

Thermalbad & Sp 的前身也是酒廠的一部份,有厚實的拱形石牆,還有大酒桶改建成的温泉池。



At the end of the bath ritual, relax in this dark, mystic lounge at Thermalbad & Spa. / © Eileen Hsieh

Roman-Irish bath fed by the Aqui spring underneath Zurich. / © B2 Boutique Hotel & Spa

The self-guided Roman-Irish spa ritual lasts about two hours, and after 10 steps of wet and dry procedures, you're guaranteed to feel soft and relaxed. 

The rooftop thermal pool is beautiful too, although it can get crowded in the evening when lovebirds tend to congregate for the spectacular sunset over Zurich. 

Spa 建議客人花個兩小時,照著羅馬愛爾蘭浴儀式的十道步驟,經過乾,溼,冷,暖的程序來放鬆全身。


One of the giant wooden tubs at the spa. / © Thermalbad & Spa

Back in our room, with a bottle of Hürlimann in hand, we look out from the window and admire this hardworking, environmentally conscious, perfectly kept city that has an eye for the future, and a foot in the past. 

Now we understand why time and time again, Zurich has been voted one of the best places to live in the world. 

回到房間,一瓶 Hürlimann 啤酒在手,我們坐在窗臺上討論這個環保,有氣質,前瞻又懷舊的城市,對它佩服萬分。



The hotel staff surprised me with a birthday cake at breakfast, unprompted! / © Eileen Hsieh

MY RATING: 9.5 / 10

The thermal spa alone would be good enough a reason to stay at B2 Boutique Hotel & Spa. But here the therapeutic energy comes from more places than one: comfortable room, nostalgia design, locally sourced foods, and the incredible staff.

It is truly an all-star hotel.

我的評價:9.5 / 10





Brandschenkestrasse 152

CH-8002 Zurich

Phone:  +41 44 567 67 67

Email: zurich(at)

Japanese Haute Cuisine: Kaiseki Ryori | 精緻的日本傳統美食:懷石料理

For many visitors to Japan, food is undoubtedly one of the most fascinating aspects of this friendly and beautiful country. Japanese cuisine is much more than just sushi, tempura and miso soup, and no matter the region or season, you can always find something fresh and delicious to satisfy your tastebuds. 

Best of all, the current weak yen is also making eating out - and eating well - a much more affordable experience than in the past. 

Last spring, I visited Kyoto and stayed at a quaint little ryokan on Nene no Michi in the temple-filled Higashiyama district, where I had my first experience of kaiseki ryori -- the Japanese version of haute cuisine. Being waited on by our graceful, kimono-clad hostess while enjoying the most visually pleasing (and seemingly endless) dishes of the chef's creation was an endearing highlight of that trip. 

This winter, I chose Motonago again for our family trip to Kyoto and reserved dinner and breakfast during our stay. It was exciting to share the experience with my parents who have had much more exposure to Japanese cuisine living in Taiwan, and get their verdict on the meal that drew me back.

Kaiseki ryori originated centuries ago in Kyoto (then Japan's capital) as a simple meal served at the tea ceremony and later evolved into an elaborate dining ritual favored by aristocrats. Today's it's widely considered Japan's finest style of cooking. 

Our elaborate dinner menu. 這是我們懷石料理的菜單。

The multi-course dinner comprises a series of meticulously presented small dishes inspired by the season, with colors, textures, and tableware to match. Fresh flowers are often used as decoration, injecting freshness and vibrancy to each course. 

Our dinner was everything we'd hoped for. Delicious meal, stunning presentation, along with the best company one can ask for in the world, Motonago had certainly delivered another triumph. 


Motonago ryokan occupies a hundred-year-old wooden building in Kyoto's historic Higashiyama district. 元奈古旅館位於京都有許多代表性寺院、神社的東山區。© Eileen Hsieh





Our Kaiseki Ryori Menu



Aperitif 食前酒

First appetizer 先附

Main appetizer 前菜

Fresh slices of raw fish 向附


Boiled and seasoned food 蓋物

One pot dish 台物

Broiled fish 燒皿

Hot food 溫物

Fried food 揚汁物

Vinegary delicacies 酢鉢


Miso soup 止椀

Rice 御飯

Pickled vegetables 香物


Prepping for tea. #matcha #kyoto #ryokan

A photo posted by Follow That Bug (@followthatbug) on


Kyoto Ryokan 京都旅館


〒605-0072 京都府京都市東山区 高台寺道鷲尾町51

511 Washio-cho, Higashiyama-ku

Nene no Michi, Kyoto 605-0072

Kyoto Prefecture, Japan

Printable Map

Fable of the Exotic East: Raffles Hotel Singapore | 東方寓言:新加坡萊佛士酒店

Raffles Singapore Hotel's beautiful neo-Renaissance entrance with its famous Sikh doorman.  © Eileen Hsieh

When it comes to grand historic hotels in Asia, none is as illustrious as the Raffles Hotel in Singapore.


Elegant walkway by the courtyard. © Eileen Hsieh

Courtyard next to the main building. © Eileen Hsieh

The main courtyard. © Brenda Hsieh

For more than 125 year, this striking colonial-style property has been a frontline witness to this tiny island's tumultuous history and dazzling progress, from British colonization, two world wars, immigration boom, declaration of independence, to the multicultural city state and economic powerhouse that we know today. 

In 1987, on its 100th anniversary, the Raffles Hotel was declared a historic monument by the Singaporean government.



The perfect place for writing, thinking and napping. © Eileen Hsieh

White marbel colonnade. © Eileen Hsieh

Rooftop pool. © Eileen Hsieh

Named after Sir Stamford Raffles, the founder of Singapore, the 10-room Raffles Hotel opened its doors to the public in 1887 offering luxury accommodation, impeccable service, and direct ocean view. 


Old map of Singapore showing Beach Road before land reclamation, with Raffles Hotel on the far left. © Wikipedia

Beach Road -- the street on which the property stands -- used to be on the edge of the island until land reclamation robbed it of its coveted beach access and sea vistas.

Today the hotel is in the business and civic district surrounded by modern high-rises and shopping centres, but inside the old world charm remains intact. 

萊佛士酒店位於濱海大道(Beach Road),顧名思義這條路以前是緊靠著海岸線,後來因為海埔新生地的開發,海灘被填為土地,從此自萊佛士酒店就再也看不到海景了。


Inside Raffles Hotel's main lobby. © Eileen Hsieh

Grand stairs covered with plush oriental rugs. © Eileen Hsieh

Another view of the mult-levl main buildling with separate lobbies and lounges. © Brenda Hsieh

The poster image of Raffles Singapore is no doubt the elegant neo-Renaissance main building and its immaculately dressed Sikh doorman, a palpable reminder of the city state's colonial past as well as the hotel's exclusivity to the rich and powerful.

Erected in 1899, this multilevel space is an architectural delight, with high ceilings, white columns, dark wood trimmings and antique furniture, effortlessly combing style with comfort and deep nostalgia.



An old piano at one of the hotel lounges. © Eileen Hsieh

An elegant lounge in the main building. © Eileen Hsieh

Design inspiration. © Eileen Hsieh

Hallway outside one of the grand suites. © Eileen Hsieh

All 103 rooms at the Raffles Hotel are suites with separate sitting room, original period features, teakwood flooring and oriental carpets. At over 600 square feet, even the smallest of the suites feels spacious, but also a bit tired. 

萊佛士酒店共有103間客房,全都是含有起居室的套房,柚木地板,東方地毯,也保留的許多原有的建築特色。最小的套房佔地約 600 平方英尺(約 17 坪),算是寬敞,可惜感覺有點老舊。

Our courtyard suite with teakwood floor and original period features. © Eileen Hsieh

Fresh fruits in the room. © Eileen Hsieh

It is a grand dame who's showing her age. The dark wood and thick fabric furnishings lend an air of heaviness to the room, and depending on luck you might even get a bathroom with cracked tiles and chipped paint.

On a brighter note, you do get daily replenishment of fresh fruits, Ronnefeldt tea and Nespresso coffee, as well as access to a helpful, 24-hour butler.


不過酒店的服務一流,每天提供新鮮水果,德國老牌 Ronnefeldt 茶葉 和 Nespresso 咖啡,還有24小時隨時待命的管家。

One corner of the famous Tiffin Room. © Eileen Hsieh

The Tiffin Room -- or the room for light midday meal -- serves up Raffles' famous curry dishes on Sundays, an experience billed as "an essential aspect of colonial life in the early 20th century". 

蒂芬懷舊餐館 - The Tiffin Room - 每週日提供萊佛士著名的咖哩自助餐,標榜為「20世紀初殖民生活的一個重要體驗」。

French Toast. © Eileen Hsieh

Mangosteen. © Eileen Hsieh

Fried chicken and rice. © Eileen Hsieh

Eggs benedict. © Eileen Hsieh

Besides curry and afternoon tea, a sumptuous breakfast is also served at the Tiffin Room, where guests can enjoy an extensive a la carte menu with dishes from all corners of the world along with a beautiful buffet. The food is simple and delicious; the service is warm and impeccable. 

除了咖哩與下午茶以外,蒂芬餐館也提供豐盛的早餐,每早呈現 breakfast buffet 和許多單點的世界美食,任君挑選。食物美味俐落,服務親切,無可挑剔。

Breakfast buffet. © Eileen Hsieh

A variety of mouthwatering tropical fruits. © Eileen Hsieh

Breakfast buffet. © Eileen Hsieh

Of course, you can't set foot inside Raffles Singapore without paying a visit to the hotel's most famous tourist trap - the Long Bar, birth place of the Singapore Sling

來到萊佛士酒店,你不可不去新加坡最有名的酒吧 -- the Long Bar -- 新加坡司令雞尾酒的誕生地。

The unmissable Singapore Sling. © Eileen Hsieh

100 years ago the most famous cocktail in Singapore was born. © Eileen Hsieh

The famous pink cocktail consists of gin, cherry liqueur, Benedictine, Cointreau, pineapple juice, lime juice, grenadine and Angostura bitters and is topped with a slice of pineapple and a cherry. The taste of Singapore Sling is exotic, sweet, and complex -- just like Singapore itself.

這杯粉紅色飲料的原料包括了琴酒,櫻桃利口酒,法國廊酒,君度橙酒,鳳梨汁,檸檬汁,糖漿和安哥斯圖娜苦酒,配上一片鳳梨和一顆櫻桃,就成為新加坡最有名的雞尾酒。Singpoare Sling 的味道奇特,甜蜜又複雜 -- 就像新加坡一樣。


MY RATING: 8 / 10

The Raffles Singapore is a grand historic hotel with fine colonial architecture and impeccable style. Come for its old world charm, Singapore Sling, afternoon tea and excellent service. 


我的評價:8 / 10



1 Beach Road
Singapore, Singapore

Phone:  +800 1 7233537 (+800 1 RAFFLES)


The Writers Bar and Raffles Grill in the main building. © Eileen Hsieh

Welcome To The Fantastical World Of Sketch.London | 進入倫敦Sketch的夢幻彩世界

Interesting sketches by British artist David Shrigley adorning the walls of The Gallery restaurant. 餐廳的墻上掛滿了英國藝術家 David Shrigley 的素描。© Eileen Hsieh

On a quiet street in London's busy West End stands an interesting establishment called Sketch. Housed in a traditional white-washed 18-century building two doors from to the sumptuous The East India Company tea specialist on Conduit Street, passersby may notice the gravity-defying Great Dane sculpture on its exterior wall but easily miss the discreet, darkened entrance.

Behind the heavy drapery is where the magic begins. Once your eyes adjust to the dimly lit space, you'll notice that everywhere there's light, there's something wondrous to be discovered. I fee like I've gone down the rabbit hole and been transported to a world far, far away. I have come to a place like no other.

Opened more than a decade ago, the concept of Sketch still feels avant-garde in today's cutting edge London. The multiple personality venue is a "triple dream" - a place for art, food, and music. Just to kick things up a notch, it also has a futuristic bathroom once crowned the No. 1 must-visit toilet by TimeOut London. 

The Great Dane sculpture outside of Sketch. 門外挑戰地心引力的丹麥獵犬雕塑。© Eileen Hsieh

Hopscotch your way into the world of Sketch. 跳格子進入Sketch的夢幻世界。© Eileen Hsieh

Bespoke tableware by David Shrigley are used in the restaurants and available for sale. 你也可以把英國藝術家 David Shrigley 為 Sketch 設計的餐具帶回家。© Eileen Hsieh

Colorful pencils take the center stage at the East Bar. 彩色鉛筆也成了酒吧裡的藝術品。© Eileen Hsieh

This delightful wonderland is the brainchild of an international restaurateur and a French culinary master, and their influences are evident in every detail. Algerian-born Mourad Mazouz (the man behind the stylish Moroccan restaurant MOMO) collaborated with three-Michelin-starred chef Pierre Gagnaire to create a dream world for lovers of all things beautiful - from the artworks on the wall, the eccentric yet comfortable furniture, to the food you taste and the plates it's served on. 

Sketch offers five options for food and drinks: (1) the Lecture Room -- the Michelin-starred dining room serving lunch and dinner; (2) the Gallery -- a gastro-brasserie open for afternoon tea and dinner; (3) the Glade -- a whimsical woodland bar serving breakfast (weekends only), afternoon tea and comfort food; (4) the Parlour -- a dark and sophisticated lounge with all-day dining; and (5) the East Bar -- an intimate, circular space curiously located below the famous bathroom.

The Glade is an enchanting space to enjoy a lazy afternoon over tea. 夢幻森林是個享受下午茶的完美地點。© Eileen Hsieh

Tempting pastries at the Glade. 夢幻森林裡誘人的點心。© Eileen Hsieh

We had dinner at the Gallery, a room dipped in bright pink paint with 200+ original drawings by British artist David Shrigley adorning its walls, part of an "artist-conceived restaurants" programme that sees this space completely transformed by a new artist every two years. While I found the bubble gum palette playful and uplifting, my friend couldn't get pass its resemblance to Pepto-Bismo.

Luckily for our tummies, the food here was anything but upsetting. Everything on the menu had an element of surprise and the unorthodox combination of ingredients turned out to go amazingly well together. (Pig's trotter and kimchi or scallops with curried popcorn, anyone?)

The adorable tableware (also designed by Shrigley) that told me I'd cleaned all my plates was the finishing touch in this fun and fantastic dining experience.


Futuristic design dominates Sketch London's East Bar and bathroom. 未來風格的廁所就在 East Bar 酒吧的正上方。 © Eileen Hsieh 2015


「Sketch」在倫敦已有十多年的歷史,不過它前衛的理念在這個時髦的城市仍廣受好評。這是個「多重人格」的夢幻場地,向來以獨特,離奇的藝術品,美食與音樂為標榜。不過它的成名之作是間未來風格的洗手間,曾被 TimeOut 休閒指南封為倫敦必參觀的廁所第一名

The No. 1 must-visit toilet in London. 「Sketch」必參觀的洗手間。 © Eileen Hsieh

Meeting master chef and creator of Sketch, Pierre Gagnaire. 碰上了來倫敦查勤的 Sketch 米其林名廚 Pierre Gagnaire。 © Eileen Hsieh

這個夢幻世界是由阿爾及利亞出生的餐飲界大亨 Mourad Mazouz 與法國三米其林星級大廚 Pierre Gagnaire 聯手打造的心血結晶,處處可見他兩人獨特的風格。如果你喜愛欣賞,體味美麗事物,屋簷下的每個細節 -- 從牆上古怪的畫,華麗但舒適的傢俱,擺盤精美的食物和下午茶,到貼心的服務 -- 都會讓你會心一笑。

「Sketch」裡分成五區:(1) the Lecture Room 是米其林級餐廳,提供午餐和晚餐; (2) the Gallery 是個餐廳-畫廊混合體,提供下午茶和晚餐; (3) the Glade - 是個童話般的森林主題空間,供應早餐(僅週末),下午茶和輕食; (4) the Parlour - 昏暗的休息室,提供全天候飲食; (5) the East Bar - 舒適的圓形空間,位於洗手間正下方。

Dipped in pink, Sketch's Gallery restaurant is a doll house for adults. The Gallery 餐廳的粉紅世界。© Eileen Hsieh

The bronze bar at The Gallery. 粉紅色的牆襯托著銅色的酒吧。© Eileen Hsieh

我們在 The Gallery 用晚餐。餐廳裡的每一面牆都漆上了亮眼的粉紅色,掛著200多幅英國藝術家 David Shrigley 的素描原作。原來這獨特的裝潢是「藝術家構思餐廳」計劃的一部份,每兩年「Sketch」就會邀請一位新的藝術家來替 The Gallery 改頭換面。我個人是挺喜歡餐廳的泡泡糖顏色,感覺像在芭比娃娃的家裡用餐,不過我的朋友指出這調色很像 Pepto-Bismo舒胃藥,好像也有點道理。


餐廳裡使用的全部餐具也是 Shrigley 設計的,融合了可愛的手寫字體,是這次用餐體驗的點睛之筆。

Paper forks are on the menu too. 菜單一打開就跳出來可愛的紙刀叉。 © Eileen Hsieh

Scallops and curried popcorn. 干貝加咖喱爆米花,盤子上還有附近街道的名稱。 © Eileen Hsieh

Pig’s trotter, kimchi, turnips and carrots.  豬腳切薄片配泡菜。© Eileen Hsieh

An empty dish. 吃光光囉。 © Eileen Hsieh

Sketch London

9 Conduit Street, London W1S 2XG


Phone: +44 020 7659 4500

Click for Opening Hours



* Click Here for an irresistible new year's offer from Sketch.London *

廁所,是「sketch」的成名作,不過它的食物和下午茶也很值得一試。好消息是現在直到三月底還有 £50 的午晚餐折扣呢!把握時機,找個朋友一起來享受美食,迎接新年吧。

Sketch, home of London's No. 1 must-see bathroom, is offering everyone a £50 gift voucher to dine at their beautiful restaurants until the end of March.

Escape to the Emerald Isle: A Taste of Dublin | 拜訪翡翠島:小遊都柏林

A popular legend at the Trinity College goes like this: If you walk under the bell tower and the bell tolls while you're under it, you will fail your exams. You have been warned.

A happy place where it always rains - that's my impression of Dublin.

Covering approximately 45 square miles with merely 1.3 million inhabitants, Dublin feels more like a large town than the capital city of Ireland. It possesses an attractive combination of hospitality, steep history, and comparatively low costs of living. which gives the city an aura of comfort and joy.



"They say you never cross O'Connell Bridge without seeing a white horse." - The Dead.

Irish Gaelic and English are the two official languages of Ireland and can be found on most signs. 

Dublin is also just a short flight from the UK -- perfect for a quick getaway with my winter visitors: my dearest mom and dad. 

From London, there are frequent non-stop flights to Dublin via the national carriers Aer Lingus and British Airways, or discount airlines like Ryanair and EasyJet.

From Dublin airport, the city center is just a 25-minute taxi ride costing around €20. Taxis are plenty and reasonably priced here, and it's an excellent way to get local knowledge as most drivers will be more than happy to give you their own list of Dublin's hidden gems.


都柏林~倫敦只要一個多小時的機程,愛爾蘭航空英國航空,或廉價航空公司 Ryanair 和 EasyJet,都有頻繁的航班。

自都柏林機場到市中心最輕鬆的方法就是搭跳錶計程車。25分鐘的車程約 €20,價格合理,也是個吸取當地知識的好機會,因為司機們都非常健談,也都非常樂意為旅客提供他們個人心目中最棒的景點,餐廳與經驗。

The cast iron Ha'penny Bridge stretches elegantly over the River Liffey in Dublin. Built in 1816, this bridge is nicknamed after the halfpenny toll it once extracted from anyone crossing it.

Multinational flags dominate the facade of this traditional pub in Temple Bar. 

This being my parents' first trip to Ireland, sightseeing was certainly our top agenda. Mom wanted a selfie with the Oscar Wilde sculpture, dad wanted to pull his own pint at the Guinness Storehouse, and I wanted to check out the Long Room at Trinity College's Old Library.

Must-do list settled. Now, where do we want to stay?

這是爸媽第一次來到愛爾蘭,所以有名的景點必然是我們觀光行程的亮點。媽想與王爾德的雕塑自拍,爸要在健力士啤酒中心去學拉生啤酒,我則想去看看都柏林三一學院圖書館裡的「長閱讀室」(the Long Room)。


View of the stadium and canal from the Croke Park Hotel across the street.

The Croke Park Stadium is the home of popular Gaelic sports such as Gaelic football and hurling. (Image Source: Croke Park)

Over the years many of my family vacations have been spent abroad. We would reunite somewhere in the world and explore new sights and cultures together. Therefore I have a pretty good idea about what mom and dad desire from a hotel: 

(1)  Clean, comfortable and preferably spacious room with tea-making facilities and a large bath tub;

(2)  Hot breakfast with made-to-order options, and good coffee, especially latte;

(3)  Central, pedestrian-friendly location with easy access to public transport system;

and last but not least...

(4)  Friendly, unintrusive service and attentive staff.

With that in mind, we scrolled through tons of reviews and opted for the Croke Park Hotel, right across from the most famous stadium in Ireland that bears the same name.


(1)  乾淨,舒適,寬敞,備有沏茶設施和大浴缸的客房;

(2)  可以單點的熱早餐,還有好咖啡,尤其是拿鐵;

(3)  地點中心,適合步行,而且方便搭乘公共交通系統; 


(4)  友好,低調,周全的服務。

基於以上的考慮,我們讀了許多飯店介紹與網路評論,最後選擇的在愛爾蘭最有名的球場正對面的「克羅克公園酒店」(The Croke Park Hotel)。

Ranked #5 on TripAdvisor out of a total of 171 hotels in Dublin, the Croke Park Hotel is a modern, airy establishment in the more urban part of town north of the river, and a 15-minute stroll to the city's main artery - O'Connell Street. There's also a hop-on hop-off bus stop outside the hotel entrance. 

It may not have the period charm of old town Dublin, but it does offer in abundance the most friendly service, excellent Irish breakfast and opportunities for (sports) star-gazing.

** Read more about The Croke Park Hotel **

The Croke Park Hotel 是屬於 The Doyle Collection 旗下的現代精品酒店,在 TripAdvisor 上都柏林 171 家旅館中排名第五,旅客給予很好的評價。酒店位於河道以北,約 15 分鐘腳程可抵達市中心的 O'Connell 大街,酒店門外也有 hop-on hop-off 觀光公車車站。


** 克羅克公園酒店詳細介紹 **

One of the many statues on Dublin's main boulevard - O'Connell Street. 

The Spire of Dublin, also known as the Monument of Light.