Hotel Helvetia, a boutique hotel in Zurich

Like I said, I didn’t see much of Zurich during my work trip. What I did see a lot of was my room at the Hotel Helvetia. After days of waking up at 4am to reply to emails from my clients working on Singapore time zone, then working fast under high pressure on the day of the shoot itself, I just went back to my hotel room and crashed. I think I must have gone to bed before 9.

It’s a good thing the hotel room was nice, because I spent so much time in it. It was on a sunny corner overlooking the Sylt river and the hills of Zurich. OMG WOW HILLS! said the girl who lives in flat-as-a-pannekoek Holland.

Hotel Helvetia Zurich view from hotel room

A stylish hotel room is such a treat! To have it all to myself, even better.

Hotel Helvetia Zurich bedside

I didn’t make it to nearby Lake Zurich, but my closet doors gave me a tiny glimpse.

Hotel Helvetia Zurich interior

Kiehl’s toiletries in the pristine, white subway-tiled bathroom? Yes please! I was totally Pinoy and took them all home. These are my new favorite travel toiletries, and you can bet I’ll be refilling them for future trips.

Hotel Helvetia Zurich Kiehl's toiletries

I’ve come to appreciate a modern design hotel that doesn’t scream “MODERN DESIGN HOTEL!” The design details at the Hotel Helvetia were on the quiet side of modern, just the restful welcome I needed.

Hotel Helvetia Zurich design details

On the ground floor of the hotel is a bar and restaurant that seems popular with the nearby business crowd for lunch and evening drinks. On the morning I left, though, I enjoyed a quiet breakfast here all to myself.

Hotel Helvetia Zurich bar and restaurant

En route to Confiserie Sprungli for my chocolatey reward, I saw the first signs of spring as I crossed the Sylt. Spring came to Amsterdam much later, but I remember feeling reassured that it indeed was on its way.

Hotel Helvetia Zurich river view

And that’s how I zipped through Zurich in less than 36 hours. Next week, I’ll be back to share some news about the blog, plus some highlights from our week in New York (finally!). Till then, have a wonderful weekend!

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Work trip to Zurich

About a month ago, I traveled to Zurich for work. I spent most of the overnight trip at my hotel (which I’ll show you tomorrow) and at my work location, the palatial Dolder Grand Hotel overlooking the city.

Zurich Dolder Grand Hotel

Let me digress a bit. You might be wondering: what does she do for work, anyway? I rarely blog about work, so this might be a good time to talk a little about what I do.

I work in on-air promotions for television, a niche industry that’s always a bit hard to explain. On-air promotion is what you see on TV that isn’t a commercial or a TV show: trailers (called plugs in the Philippines, or promos everywhere else), branding, and other bits and bobs that tell you about a channel and its shows.

As a writer and producer, I come up with ideas for promos and promo campaigns, write them up into script form, and get them made. That means managing a host of other people and processes—from casting to location scouting, filming to graphics, editing to scheduling—until my 30- or 60-second promo gets aired on TV.

Still with me?

I worked for an agency in Singapore before going freelance. Since moving to Amsterdam, I still work for Singapore-based companies, but my role has evolved. These days, I mostly write promos to help my client (a large international media network based in Singapore) create branded content for companies that advertise on their channels—exclusive, customized promos that are tailor-fit to a brand.

I suppose I’m kind of a matchmaker between brands and audiences. I get to decide where and how they meet, and what kind of experience they’re going to have on their date—a date that takes place in 30, 60 or 90 seconds on television.

I write at home and send my work to Singapore, where it gets produced. But this time, a project involved a shoot in Zurich—all hush-hush, quick, and very last minute. When I got the call from my client asking me to fly in and be a producer for a day, I immediately said yes!

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From Lago Maggiore with love

If you follow me on Instagram, you might have noticed the hashtag #blago2014 on my recent pics from Italy. The seed for that hashtag was planted almost a year ago, when Jillian approached a few blog friends with the idea of meeting up in Lago Maggiore, where she lives. Just an hour by train from Milan, it would be a good base from which to visit the Salone del Mobile. She gave our trip the working title Blago (Blog + Lago) and it stuck!

From Lago with love Relaxed, idyllic Lago Maggiore was indeed the perfect home base for a girly blogger getaway. With the Alps shining in the distance like a mirage, Lago was a dreamy background for early evening aperitivi (an Italian must-do!)… Aperitivi at Lago Maggiore fabulous lunches in hole-in-the-wall enotecas, (read Judith’s mouthwatering post for the full report)… Lago di Orta Al Boeuc charcuterie cheese platter plus the occasional gelato, long rambling conversations about anything and everything, and breathtaking views around the rim of the lake. Lago Maggiore Isola San Giulio I admit, life could have been harder. [Read more…]

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Greece: a few last things

Whenever I come back from a trip, it takes me ages to unpack. For me, the magic of travel doesn’t end when the plane touches down, or when I step inside our home—it’s when all my things are packed away and my suitcase is empty. Reluctant to end the spell, I often leave my suitcase on the floor for days, picking things up and putting them away one at a time.

I feel that way about my photos from Greece. I take a ridiculous amount of photos when I travel, and only post a fraction of them on the blog. I was feeling a little sad about relegating all those images to my hard drive, so I thought I’d choose a last few details to share as a sort of farewell to Greece.

There isn’t really much of a story to tie them all together. But these are the little things that made me smile:

Waking up in, and coming home to, our lovely room at the Kavos Hotel in Naxos.

Naxos Hotel Kavos

Aromatics—dried lavender and garlic—hung over doors in Naxos’s old town.

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Nhow Hotel Berlin

I first saw the Nhow Hotel Berlin last year while sunbathing at the Badeschiff, looking across the river Spree to Friedrichshain. You can’t miss it: it’s a distinctive piece of architecture, a giant glass box perched atop a sprawling brick building.

Nhow Hotel Berlin exterior2

Back then, I didn’t know it was a hotel. And I didn’t know that I’d find myself staying in it a year later! When my husband’s company put us up at the Nhow Hotel for a work event, I finally got to see its quirky and interesting interior, designed by no less than Karim Rashid.

Want to know what I found inside?

[Read more…]

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