Local Heart, Global Soul

April 18, 2012

A Distinctive Look Around…

Filed under: Accomodation,NEW ZEALAND,PHOTOGRAPHY,Reviews,Travel — kiwidutch @ 1:00 am
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We’ve landed for the night at the Distinction Hotel Rotorua… The kids have found the jacuzzi pool, but let’s look around and see what the rest of the place looks like…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

April 17, 2012

A Room of Distinction, (Before The Kiwidutch Kids Strike…)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

The rain has really set in by the time we arrive in Rotorua and we set about finding a place to stay.

The first few places we try either are full up or have no adjoining or family rooms available, and one has only a really tiny studio (that’s also not by any means cheap) that sleeps two-three but they would see what they could do to try and squeeze in an extra bed, and the man there paints a very pessimistic picture as he tries to convince Himself that it will probably be impossible to find anything else at this (late afternoon) hour.

Himself  smells the arm twist ploy and replies we will look further thanks and get back to them if we don’t find anything suitable.

Two places later we find a Family room in the  Distinction (Rotorua) Hotel for far less cost than what the studio guy was asking, and with two double beds so less cramped too.

The bonus is that there are several restaurants within the hotel so we don’t have to go far for a meal and the place has it’s own pool and jacuzzi…
…upon finding this later information, our tired kids are suddenly in looooove with the place.

The room is large enough for two double beds and there’s  plenty of space for the bags, a fridge. mini-bar etc. The first item on the agenda for the kids is to beg a swim before dinner,  and that wish granted, throw the suitcases open and rummage for swimming costumes, get changed and disappear off to the outside jacuzzi pool with Himself  in tow, whilst I put my foot up and have a little rest.

Whilst they were busy dragging suitcases from the van to the room, I took photos of the room knowing it wasn’t going to be in this pristine state for long…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

View out of the window…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(apologies for the lens cap or thumb Oops in the next photo…) … the fridge and tea making things are inside the tall white cupboard…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

March 25, 2012

Napier: Deco City Motor Lodge, We will be Back!

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

We are staying in Napier at the Deco City Motor Lodge… … the only rooms left are up a flight of stairs but I’m not going out tonight so one flight is do-able on sticks.

There’s a double bed in the main room and two singles in the adjoining one and a large bathroom.

Everything is well laid out except for one large door-stopper in the toilet /bathroom that’s positioned a bit too close to where your right foot wants to be when sitting on or getting up from the throne.

We repeatedly warn each other not to trip over it when the door is closed so that we don’t end up with an extra set of crutches in the back of the van.

For the rest everything is clean, comfortable and easy to navigate.

We arrived a bit later in Napier than we intended and had to search for almost half and hour for accommodation that had space,  so everyone is now  tired and hungry. Himself and the kids unload baggage whilst I take photos of the room upstairs and in no time we are settled in.

Before we eat the kids plead for a swim in the small swimming pool they spied on the left as we drove in, and investigation revealed that the pool was open for only another 27 minutes so they threw clothes around the bedroom, hauled on their swimming costumes at breakneck speed and raced out the door  to the pool.

The water in the pool  was unheated and whilst it’s been a reasonably warm day today, it was getting towards dusk when they plunged in and discovered that “fresh” was  rather too genteel a word to describe it,  their squeals and shrieks of shock probably disturbed half the motel. (sorry everyone)

They were really determined  to swim until the pool closed but lasted about 15 minutes, before scuttling back to the room shivering and heading for the shared bath that I already had filling  because I “guessed”  they might need one after hearing  how cold the water was.

There’s been a unanimous decision after the swim for an easy dinner of fish and chips and Himself remembered seeing a take-a-way a short distance away so he sprints off to procure our dinner forthwith.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

The wifi is good so I check my email and sit on the bed with my foot  up typing a blog post…

…the kids find cartoons on the TV and blob out for half an hour after dinner, but after that everyone is so tired that it’s light’s out and I think all of us were fast asleep within minutes.

We had a great night’s sleep and packed up early the next morning because we want to go exploring  before we hit the road.

Clinton and Robyn were really nice about giving us some extra milk (the kids polished off all the milk with dinner the night before), and also very helpful with tourist information and how to get where we wanted to be,  so I already know where we want to be staying if we go back to Napier again.

Owner / Hosts: Robyn & Clinton Green Deco City Motor Lodge Address: 308 Kennedy Rd, Napier

Phone: +64 6 843 4342

Fax:+64 6 843 7565    //  Reservation Freephone (NZ Only):0800 536 6339     //   Email:decocity@xtra.co.nz

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

January 31, 2012

We Have Indeed Found a Hidden Haven…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

We touch down in Christchurch city New Zealand to scattered showers and a cool day,  but it’s better than the steadily lowering temperatures that we left behind in The Netherlands earlier and we won’t  to do too much in the first day or so while we get over the jet-lag so we don’t care.

We call Teddy, our favourite car rental man as soon as we get inside the airport and he arrives a very short time later with the minivan we will be using while we are in New Zealand.

After heading back to his office nearly to complete the paperwork Himself takes the wheel and we concentrate keeping tired kids quiet so that Himself can concentrate on driving on the left-hand side of the road.

Various relatives are coming to stay with other friends and relatives for Christmas,  my Aunty’s is in hospital, and will need some quiet recovery time later so we have elected to stay in a B&B just a few minutes walk from another Aunt and Uncle out in a suburb just outside of Christchurch called Belfast.

Accommodation in Christchurch wasn’t particularly easy to find because of earthquake damage,  as more often when I enquired, found that some of the  private accommodation I had bookmarked before the quakes were now utilized for personal used by their owners , or  owners friends and family due to their own homes being uninhabitable, or needing extensive repair.

We own a house in Christchurch too, but it’s got a family in it on a fixed tenancy and we can’t be  throwing them out to accommodate ourselves either.

Rae and Pete of Hidden Haven B&B are fabulous people… although the house is on the Main North Road, it’s on a back section, so once up the long drive to the house, we found that the road noise all but disappears.

There are two bedrooms, a livingroom/kitchenette area that consists of a fridge, microwave and tea/coffee/breakfast  making equipment and the use of a BBQ outside. There is also a seperate games room that we may use, a garden area and to our children’s extreme delight, a trampoline.

We can use Rae and Pete’s laundry facilities, and since we will be busy visiting and eating with friends and family and not be cooking here, this accomodation is perfect.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

January 16, 2012

Understanding What Traveller’s REALLY Want…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

FINALLY, a hotel that “gets” what there travelling guests really want.

During the refurbishment of the Shangri-La Rasa Sentosa Hotel they have added a guest laundry room.

Hurrah!!! For a family on the move, we try hard to pack light but anyone who’s travelled with kids will know just how hard this actually is to do in practice, especially when travelling between a northern hemisphere winter and a southern hemisphere summer.

Any parent of a six year old boy also understands very well that at some moments there are never enough clean clothes, no matter how many you have already packed.

I also hate to death those stupid laundry lists that you find in the folders in the hotel room bureau’s that give you the privilege of laundering a single pair of knickers for $4.00  and charge per item that you mark off one the list.

Surely this must be the most expensive and stupid method on the planet to do a single load of laundry.

On the first floor of the Rasa, there is now a laundry room, where you, the guest can do a whole load of laundry for a small fee. There’s washing powder available included in the price and a tumble dryer to use  for a little extra as well.

Our family used the laundry room twice  during our stay and loved   this feature as a hotel service for guests. For the clothes we have that are not for the tumble dryer, we just used the retractable washing  line over the bath in our hotel room.

Family friendly and Brilliant, Brilliant, Brilliant!

Bravo Rasa, this is a feature that I wish many other hotels would copy.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

January 6, 2012

Desserts to Die For…

The Kiwidutch kids clearly, have already found the  “children’s selection”  of the buffet menu but there are are multitude of other dessert options to choose from. Many of them sound like delicious variations of old favourites like: Orange Chocolate Cake…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Chocolate Trufles, Mango mousse, Green Tea Parfait,

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Mixed Berry Cake …

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

… and Mango Mirror Cake:

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

but there are also many names of items that are new to me like Piandian Chiffon:

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

….and Assorted Nyonyia Kneh. (There are semi-gelatouious type little squares , I tried some and while it was a little strange in texture at first, it was quite nice… it would however say that I think that it’s quite an accustomed taste for Western taste-buds.)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Sigh, so many to choose from and so little space left to fit everything in… (No… we didn’t try them all, we just oogled a lot of them wishing that we had left more space after our main course.)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

January 5, 2012

The Pastry Chef does Wonders..

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

On a side table at the back of the area in the restaurant where the desserts are located there is a beautiful decorative Christmas confection.

I ask one of the chefs who was working in this area if he made it and he said that he didn’t, but that one of the other chefs on duty that evening did, would we like to meet her?

We said “Yes please” and the man went off to find his colleaue.

She was a bit shy at first about being in the spotlight but was very happy when we said that we were fascinated with her handiwork and that we would very much like to take a photograph of her posing with her beautiful creation.

We learned that everything except for the frame in the display was edible, and was either made of chocolate or sugar.

I regretted later on not thinking at the time to ask for tips on how to make something like the chocolate Christmas Tree…

Little Mr. and Kiwi Daughter would have of gladly offered to gobble it all up but luckily for us it’s a Display Only item. Let’s take a closer look at this beautiful decoration…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

January 4, 2012

Hmmm… Awesome or Ewwwww?

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

In yesterday’s post I mentioned the selection of seafood on offer at the Silver Shell, and that whilst I can’t eat them I was enchanted by their photographic qualities.

Himself however delights in fruit de mer and was intent in trying as many of them as possible.

Our children watched in stunned horror as he bought back to the table some little spiral shaped shells and a small pronged impliment, with which he used to ease the slippery beast from it’s shell.

Himself popped his reward for this digging into this mouth and I was honestly rather hard pressed to figure out from my children’s reactions and faces to figure out if Kiwi Daughter and Little Mr. found this action from their father to reach the absolute heights of “awesome” or “ewww”.

Our Singaporean friend will boil out the leftover shells for us while we are in New Zealand and we can collect them again all clean and lovely to take back home to The Netherlands on the return leg of the trip.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

January 3, 2012

The Beautiful Beasts of the Sea…

The dishes on offer at the Silver Shell Cafe are amazing… Luxurourous in fact… Himself is heading towards the seafood section, but with shell fish allergies I am more enamoured with the little beasts photographic qualities.

This post delightes me solely in a visual sense… the layer of ice upon which the morscles rest appears as a shimmerling blue background to the brilliant colours of the crustations and the blue/ green rims of the mussel shells (or are they Paua?) are a one of the beautities of nature.

I love food, I love taking photos, this post is one where I endevour in a very ameatur way to do both justice. Enjoy!

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

 

January 2, 2012

Kids and …. Natural Selection?

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Hmmm, just when you think that you might have succeeded in teaching our children about the necessity of vitamins, the fact that fruit and vegetables are “brain food” …that they need in order to grow and develop, and that in general you need good food to be healthy, you then rudely discover that your six year old son blows all of your illusions of good parenting out of the window in one meal.

Kiwi Daughter was talking photographs and deciding what she wanted to eat this evening, Himself was assisitiing me since I can put things onto a plate but getting my plate back to the table was a trickier obstacle to negotiate.

Having read in the hotel booklet that there was a “Children’s section”on the menu,  Himself decided to trust Little Mr. to make his own food selection.

FAIL….    Imagine our faces when Little Mr returned triumphant to our tabel with his “slection”.

Food to delight a child is certainly was, no doubt about that at all, because Little Mr. was beaming from ear to ear… sadly his smile was swiftly wiped off his face when his horrible parents announced that sorry, nacho chips, potato chips, marshmallows, gummy sweets and jellybeans were not at all what we deemed to be a suitable first course of dinner, confiscated his plate and led him back to the buffet to select to (gasp) a few vegetables that he would have to polish off first before his selected plate could be returned to him.

With much muttering about unfairness he complied and Himself and I were bought down a peg when we realised that probably 100% of our nutritional “lessons”with Little Mr. have been going in one ear and out the other.

Oh well, I guess our horrified faces when he first dumped his plate on the table in triumph were probably priceless too.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

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