News and Reviews on Thailand's
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June 2013 desktop wallpaper calendar

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April 2013 Desktop Wallpaper Calendar -Where is it?

The photo used in this month’s desktop wallpaper calendar was taken at a mystery Bangkok hotel at dusk.

If you think you know where the photo was taken, leave a comment below. The first person to correctly guess will receive absolutely nothing except smug satisfaction as well as a congratulatory tweet/shout-out.

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New Thai Hotels

You may or may not know that I also own and run, which surprisingly, focuses exclusively on new hotel and resort openings in Thailand.

I’ve recently made some changes to make it easier to find news and pictures of a specific hotel you may be looking for.

There are now direct links from every page linking to the main areas of Thailand; Bangkok, Phuket, Pattaya and Samui,  making it easier to find news of new hotels in your specific area of interest.

I’ve also added sections for six of the major hotel brands in Thailand so it is now very simple to find consolidated news on new properties from Hyatt, Marriott, Hilton, Starwood, Centara and the Accor groups. No searching, just one click gets you to the page with all related articles.

Thailand takes 4 of the top ten rankings in annual TripAdvisor poll

TripAdvisor has announced the winners of its inaugural Travelers’ Choice Islands awards. Based on millions of traveler reviews and opinions on the popular travel website, the 2013 awards recognize more than 100 islands across the globe, including dedicated lists for Africa, Asia, the Caribbean, Europe, South America, the South Pacific, and the U.S.

Thai, Philippine, Indonesian, Malaysian and Indian islands all received accolades with Thailand taking 4 of the top ten slots, and Indonesia and the Philippines capturing two each.

Top 10 Islands in Asia:

1. Koh Tao, Surat Thani, Thailand

“Drifting serenely in the Gulf of Thailand, the palm-fringed island of Ko Tao takes its name from the abundant sea turtles that reside on its shores. White sand beaches sheltered by steep hills – some only accessible with four-wheel drive vehicles – and 300 days of sun per year invite long afternoons of lounging.”

Dusit Buncha Koh Tao Dusit Buncha Resort
Its difficult to believe that this resort only carries a 3.5 star rating. While the rooms are basic, the absolute beachfront location is excellent, views amazing and the resort itself is very nice.


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April 2013 desktop wallpaper calendar

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April 2013 Desktop Wallpaper Calendar – L’appart

This photo for this month’s calendar was taken at one of my favorite restaurants in Bangkok, L’appart, atop the Sofitel Bangkok Sukhumvit.

L’appart is fast becoming an icon in the Bangkok dining scene. Taking up the entire 32nd floor of the hotel and designed as a funky Parisian apartment, dining spaces are found in the main kitchen, private dining rooms and library. There is also a funky bar space, shown in the photo used in the calendar and excellent views of Bangkok from the outdoor seating on the wrap-around balcony.

I highly recommend this restaurant, especially for a romantic date.

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Guestroom of the Okura Prestige taken with a wide angled lens

Don’t be fooled by fancy hotel photography

Take a look at the two photos on this page. Believe it or not they are of the same room taken from the exact same spot. Granted one was taken in the daytime and one at night, but that doesn’t change the dimensions or aspect of the room.

If you were to decide which room you were going to stay at based on these two photos alone, which one would you choose? Would you suspect they were the same room?

The top photo was taken with a wide angled lens (10-20mm), the bottom photo was taken with a more “normal” sized 18-50mm lens. Because the shape of the 10-20mm lens is wider it is able to capture more of the image on the sides, top and bottom. This is good for when people want to show, and see as much of the room as possible. With the lens being concave, it makes everything in the middle of the photo look a lot further away than it actually is.

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It is an old trick used by dodgy real estate agents when they are displaying ads for tiny apartments. How many times have you been lulled to visit an apartment by the creatively written description and photos that make the place look a decent size, only to get there and find the place is tiny?

If you want to avoid disappointment upon arrival at your hotel after getting your hopes up viewing beautiful photos on their website, keep a few things in mind.

  • Verify that the room type you book is the one shown in the picture. Of course everybody and every property wants to put their best foot forward. But if you are looking at a super premium deluxe  private pool villa in the photos but book a superior room, the difference will shock you.
  • Watch out for creative photography like photos taken from unusual angles, or photos with something other than the room as the focal point, like a bowl of fruit with the room in soft focus in the background or things like that.
  • Because of the shape of the lens, photos taken with a wide angled lens are sometimes distorted, you may see this in any straight lines that seem warped or angles that look a little off.

I don’t use wide angled lenses for in room shots on this blog, or on any of my other sites and because while they look great, I want people to know exactly what they are getting when they choose a hotel. (That, and I don’t actually own one ;) )

One final note. If a hotel has pictures mostly of the surrounding area, or closeups of things like flowers, cups of coffee or other such stuff instead of actually showing the hotel, that is usually a pretty good sign that if they actually showed pictures of the hotel, nobody would book it. You might like to avoid places like that.


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