Phuket with Kids: Family Stay at Best Western Allamanda Laguna Phuket, Thailand

Phuket with Kids

Visiting Phuket with kids is no doubt one of the most popular things to do when vacationing in Thailand. Last summer Phuket was high on the list of must-do for our family when we plan our trip to Thailand. Our last visit to Phuket was over 9 years ago and it was before Mr. Z joined our family. So this was his first trip to Phuket. As with other travel plan, we needed to figure out where to stay, what to do and where to eat. Luckily, for the first part we had it covered.

A Family Stay at Best Western Allamanda Laguna Phuket

 

Phuket with Kids- Best Western Allamanda Laguna Review

My sister is a member of Laguna Holiday club (similar to timeshare in the US) and she graciously offered us to stay for a few days using her points. After checking availability and points, we opted to book at Best Western Allamanda Laguna. The Best Western Allamanda Laguna is part of Laguna Phuket, the luxury destination resort that includes seven deluxe hotels and luxury villas along Bang Tao beach in Phuket. The Allamanda is the suite hotel that offers space perfect for a group of friends or families.

Secluded Beach Perfect for Family Getaway

 

Phuket with Kids- Bang Tao beach

With the great location in Bang Tao beach, the beach of Laguna Phuket is perfect for family looking for a true getaway vacation of relaxing and tranquility. The beach is away from most popular beaches in Phuket like Patong beach or Karon beach. Heck, you probably won’t even hear about Bang Tao beach as one of the recommendation on where to stay in Phuket.

Phuket with Kids- Best Western Allamanda Laguna Bang Tao beach

Bang Tao beach with over 4 miles in length is one of the longest beach in Phuket and yet mostly undeveloped. With limited public beach road, the beach is used mostly by hotels and resorts guests. This makes a perfect place to truly relax and enjoy the pristine beach all to yourself.

However, if you plan to explore other parts of Phuket, it will be a bit of a drive. The option will be to get a private tour for a day and a driver can take you around or rent a car like we did. Mr. Rojo was a sole driver during our time in Phuket and he had no problem at all after conquer driving in Bangkok. There are less traffic and the road is clearly marked.

Fun Activities for Kids

 

Phuket with Kids- Bang tao beach horseback riding Best Western Allamanda

We visited Phuket during the low season (in July) so it’s even more deserted. There are a few restaurants along the beach and few activities for kids to do. Most prominently is the horse back riding provided by Bang Tao Riding club. During the high season (from Nov-April), there will be other water sports fun like banana boat, paragliding, water skiing and jet skiing. But our favorite activity to do with kids at the beach was simply enjoying the wave of the beautiful emerald green ocean and walking along this quiet beach to truly enjoy our family time.

Phuket with Kids- Best Western Allamanda Laguna Pool

 

Apart from enjoying beach time, there are also other fun activities available at the resort as well. The resort has great swimming pool by the lake that we took advantage of. Within Laguna Phuket, there are also other pools available for guests including a pool by the beach.

After a quick shower, we also enjoyed a boat ride along the lake to check out other hotels within the resort. The boat is one of the inter-resort transportation that allows guests to travel within the resort area.

Great Space for Family at Best Western Allamanda

 

Phuket with Kids- Best Western Allamanda Laguna Suite

 The reason we chose to stay at the Best Western Allamanda Laguna Phuket because the suite room that provide a great value when travel with kids. All suites include dining area, living room and kitchenette. It’s something that we always look for when planning for our family trip.

Even though we won’t be cooking up a big meal on our vacation especially in Thailand where there are so many places to eat, it’s still nice to have full size refrigerator to keep drinks and snacks for late night. We actually did cook our breakfast daily. It’s cheaper and much easier than get everyone dressed up in the morning for breakfast.

Phuket with Kids- Best Western Allamanda Laguna Bedroom

We stayed at 2 bedroom suites which has 3 levels. The first level is the dining room, living room and kitchen with the view of the lake from the balcony. The 2nd level is the master bedroom with the lake view from the room and master bathroom. The 3rd level is the second bedroom with two twin beds and bathroom. There are also lounge chairs on the roof top, a perfect space to just soak in the beauty of the area.

Phuket with Kids- Best Western Allamanda Laguna-8

Our room is on the lake front so we had a perfect view to enjoy the Sunset right from our balcony.

Overall, we had a great stay at the Allamanda. The location is perfect for our travel style for this trip – relax, slow and downtime. But for those who are looking for doing things in town, might find that the location is not ideal.

Have you been to Phuket? Where did you stay? 

 

 

Hong Kong with Kids: Comfortable Stay @ Citadines Ashley Serviced Apartment

Visiting Hong Kong with Kids

Hong Kong is a bustling metropolitan that I consider comparable to New York City of the East. With only 426 square miles and over 7 million people, it’s one of the most dense population city. So when we planed our family trip to Hong Kong, we knew we couldn’t expect the accommodation to be anything near what we used to in America.

Luckily, my sister has visited Hong Kong several times so she pointed us to the right direction. We chose to stay in Kowloon side to reduce cost and easy access to many night markets. After comparing to a few options, we booked a room with Citadines Ashley Hong Kong serviced apartment for under $200 a night. I considered it’s a great value for this big city.

Comfortable Room for the Whole Family

The room at Citadines Ashley is not the typical hotel room with bed and table. It’s a small serviced apartment with extra sitting area that can be converted into additional bed at night time. This is nothing new to many of the family sized room we have stayed but the best part for this room is the partition that allows a little bit of privacy. The partition allowed us to be able to put the kids to sleep while we caught up on late night movie.

Even though, the room size is probably not bigger than typical hotel room we used to in America, but the arrangement and the design provides a sense of space and we didn’t feel like we were on top of each other. Every nook is creatively used to maximize the space.

Another plus for this room is the small kitchenette completed with small refrigerator, microwave, sink and stove top. But we hardly used the kitchen though since there are so many food for us to try in Hong Kong. But it’s still nice to be able to store fruits and drinks for late night snack.

Just Perfect Amenities we Need

It would be nice to have a pool or a gym. But to be honest, we hardly use those amenities when we visit a city. With so many things to do in Hong Kong, our short visit was already jam packed with fun activities. However, there are certain amenities that we love and couldn’t live without but hardly standard for most accommodations naming free Wi-Fi. It’s always a pet peeve of mine having to pay extra for free wifi when we know how easy and cheap it is to provide as a complimentary service. So I’m happy that Citadines Ashley doesn’t skim on this essential feature.

The rate that we booked also come with free breakfast for 3 guests each day. So we were able to save on top of the room rate by having breakfast at the cafe.

Great Location for Exploring Hong Kong with Kids

No matter where you stay, the best advice I could give is to find your accommodation near the MTR station. Then you won’t have to worry about the long walk back to your room after a full day of sigh seeing in Hong Kong.

Our apartment is located on Ashley road which is less than 5 minutes walk from the Tsim Sha Tsui station. It made a whole world difference for us in term of exploring the city even at night time. With the convenient of quick walk we even ventured out to the Temple Night market after dinner. Walking along the busy Nathan road at 10pm was an experience we couldn’t easily find from other cities.

So for family who looks to find great accommodation but not yet ready to embrace the whole hostel thing, Citadines Ashely is definitely one worth looking into.

Video Tour of new Disney’s Art of Animation Resort, Walt Disney World, Florida

As promised, here is the video tour of our sneak peek tour of brand new Disney’s Art of Animation Resort in Orlando, Florida. The newest addition resort to Walt Disney World resort in Florida will be opened in May 31, 2012.

Check out our inside look of Disney’s Art of Animation Resort post for detail review and photos.

Video Tour of Disney’s Art of Animation Resort Sneak Peek

 

Inside Look of Disney’s Art of Animation Resort

Disney with Kids Art of Animation Resort.jpg

Recently, we had a chance to get a sneak peek of Disney’s Art of Animation Resort that schedule to open later this month.

The Disney’s Art of Animation Resort will be the new “value” resort in Walt Disney World Resorts. With the concept of fully immersion in Disney’s popular and classic Animation movies – Finding Nemo, Little Mermaid, The Lion King and Cars, guests will be able to experience their stays in their favorite animation movies.

We will have a video review post later. So today I just want to give you the sneak peek into the Disney’s Art of Animation Resort in the photo format. The Finding Nemo section is the first to open. Enjoy!

Animation Hall – Inside the Art of Characters Creation

Disney with Kids- Disney's Art of Animation Resort: Animation Hall

As we walked in, we were in awe with the wall of character development arts. The concept wall displayed the character development from sketch to colored character. It was a amazing to be able to see how our beloved characters have been developed. I could also foresee a fun game we can play with our kids just on this wall alone.

Pixel Play Arcade – Play time for Kids & Adults (too)

Pixel Play Arcade is just around the corner from the Animation Hall. The bright color seats situated right at the entrance is a welcome place for parents so they can sit and relax without having to worry about kids running out of the arcade.

Pool & Playground – Nemo Style

Disney with Kids- Disney's Art of Animation Resort: Finding Nemo Pool

We didn’t experience the pool time during our preview but kids enjoyed the sprayground nearby. The pool is the largest pool in Disney resort outside the water park. Maybe it’s the size of the pool but I still think the pool at the Yacht Club is by far my favorite Disney’s resort pool. Another feature that only guests will be able to experience once the resort opens is the underwater sound system. Guests will be able to enjoy music while swimming in the pool.. I already have Dora’s ‘Just keep swimming.. just keep swimming’ chanting in my head.

The playground area is impressive for kids (and adults.. I admitted I was so tempted to climb up and slide down the coral inspired slide!

Disney with Kids- Disney's Art of Animation Resort: Slide

Everywhere we turned, we were greeted with Finding Nemo characters and environment. It truly made you feel like you are living in the story book of Finding Nemo.

Room for the Whole Family – Family Suite sleeps 6!

Disney with Kids- Disney's Art of Animation Resort: Family Suite Bed

We got a peek at the family suite in Nemo building. The decor is bright and cheerful to go along with Finding Nemo movie. It’s Disney’s value resort with room that is big enough for family of 6.

Disney with Kids- Disney's Art of Animation Resort: Family Suite Dining Table

With clever design to utilize all the space, the family suite includes dining table that turn into a murphy bed at night.

Disney with Kids- Disney's Art of Animation Resort: Family Suite Murphy Bed

Miss J enjoyed helping the Imagineer transform dining table to one of a kind Nemo bed.

Disney with Kids- Disney's Art of Animation Resort: Family Suite Murphy Bed 2

Disney with Kids- Disney's Art of Animation Resort: Family Suite TV Living Room

There is more room to spread out so the whole family won’t be on top of each other. The living room area also features sofa bed, TV and closet space.

Disney with Kids- Disney's Art of Animation Resort: Family Suite Kitchenette Living Room

Small kitchenette area with microwave, sink and refrigerator is a great addition for family who travels on the budget.

Disney with Kids- Disney's Art of Animation Resort: Family Suite BathroomMaster bathroom with walk-in shower is nicely decorated with a few touch of Nemo like pothole mirror.

Disney with Kids- Disney's Art of Animation Resort: Family Suite Plugs

Yes, I’m weird! One of the thing I look for when checking out the hotel room is counting the electrical outlet. As a digital family that travels with more electronic devices than we should, the electrical outlets are like gold mine. So I was happy to see that Disney doesn’t disappointed and provide plenty of electrical outlets throughout the room.

Resort Dining – Cafeteria Style

The dining hall is built in the cafeteria style with different sections from each movie. The large space is sure to be a great place for family to grab a quick bite.

I wouldn’t consider this post as a resort review but more of a resort preview because we only experience the walk-through of the room and surrounding area. The real test will be when they open and see how the service and amenity is. However, having stay with Disney resorts a few times, I have no doubt that you will get the same level of services as other resorts.

Room Types & Pricing

When fully operate, the Disney’s Art of Animation Resort will have both standard room type and family suite type. The price will start from $179 (for standard room) & $249 (for family suite room). Check Disney’s Art of Animation Resort for current pricing and availability.

For me, I think it’s a great value especially family suites that you can sleep up to 6 people in a room. As an advocate for budget friendly family travel, I know $250 per night is not cheap but when I compare with the additional perks you will get from staying in Disney resorts, it’s definitely something worth looking at. I plan to write up another post about the value of Disney resorts comparing to offsite resort in the future. So stay tuned!

Don’t forget to also check out the Video Tour of Disney’s Art of Animation Resort!

Check out what others are saying about the sneak peek:

Thank you Walt Disney World for inviting our family to attend Disney Social Media Mom Celebration by Walt Disney World. We received discount rate for accommodation, tickets and meals. But as always, all opinion and what I wrote are my own.

Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge: Family Favorite Resort in Walt Disney World Resorts

Disney Animal Kingdom Lodge Entrance

Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge by far is one of most memorable and our family favorite resort we have stayed in Walt Disney World. There is no doubt that the Disney’s Grand Floridian Spa & Resort is the most convenient for family but there is something about having animals roaming in the backyard (ok.. not entirely our backyard but you know what I mean) that created a lasting memory for the whole family.

Arusha Savanna View Room – Worth the Splurge

Disney Animal Kingdom Lodge Arusha Savanna View

We chose to splurge on this trip and booked standard room with Arusha Savanna view. There are various room types in Animal Kingdom Lodge and the most popular type is the Savanna View type. There are 3 separate savannas within the Animal Kingdom Lodge which are Sunset, Arusha and Uzima. Each savanna has different type of wildlife but Giraffes are the only animal that can be found in all three savannas.

Disney Animal Kingdom Lodge Giraffe

The animal guide inside the room became handy for kids to help them spot and try to identify the animal. And some animal isn’t that hard to identify. Giraffe, anyone?

Room with Personality

Disney Animal Kingdom Lodge Bedroom

The standard room is a good size for our family of 4 with two queen beds. I love the detail that goes into the decoration to make us feel like we have stay at a safari lodge in Africa.

Disney Animal Kingdom Lodge Mickey Ear

Of course, we won’t see Mickey Mouse towel art in Africa but it’s a little thing to keep the magic alive in Disney World Resort.

Disney Animal Kingdom Lodge Bathroom wall

I love the detail on the wall in the bathroom. Make waiting for my turn to use the bathroom more fun.

Fun Recreation for Family

Disney Animal Kingdom Lodge Uzima Spring pool

Not all resort pools are created equal and the Uzima Spring pool is one of our family favorite.

Disney Animal Kingdom Lodge Uzima Spring Pool Slide

With nicely landscape around the pool providing shade for families, zero-depth entry, 67-foot slide and kid wading pool, it’s one of the best pool on Disney World Resorts.

Disney Animal Kingdom Lodge Playground

For little kids who are not into pool time, the Hakuna Matata playground nearby is a great place to spend that extra energy. The shade area provides great cover during the hot Florida day with a great view of the savanna to boast.

Disney Animal Kingdom Lodge Movie under the Stars

Another fun family activity is the movies under the stars where guests can enjoy Disney movie in the pool under the stars. It was nice to enjoy great weather while watching one of our favorite Disney movie.

Animal, animal, animal everywhere

Disney Animal Kingdom Lodge Animal

One of the most unique feature of Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge is the wildlife encounter that guests can experience throughout the resort. So it’s no surprise that there are various activities available for guests from cultural immersion, animal programs & wildlife encounters to culinary exploration. Make sure to check out activities list when you check-in to find out more about available activities for everyone.

Disney Animal Kingdom Lodge Night vision

We took the Night Vision Animal Viewing where we learned about animals at night time and used night vision goggles to check them out.

Disney Animal Kingdom Lodge Arusha Rock

Arusha Rock and fire pit is also a great place to view animals all day long. The overlook allows guests to be able to have a closer look at animals while they roam around the Arusha Savanna.

Disney Animal Kingdom Lodge Lobby

The stay at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge came with a high price tag. But for special occasion, it’s totally worth it. The kind of service and experience we received during our stay at this resort is one of the best we have experienced. Kids still talked about their visit even months after we have checked out. So if you are looking for one of the most memorable stay for your family in Disney resort, the Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge will not disappointed.