Kenya Lodges: Maasai Mara and Amboseli

Mara Serena Lodge

Mara Serena Lodge in Maasai Mara was the most unique hotel I’ve ever stayed at. I loved how vibrant the lobby and rooms were, it reminded me of The Flintstones. This was my favorite place to stay out of all of the lodges because it was elevated at a very high point with a view of the safari below. It was like the whole lodge was a viewing deck.

I enjoyed how the animals could come close to my balcony. There was no barrier between us and the safari, so animals could roam up to the lodge. I was informed not to leave my doors open because Baboons come in and steal your stuff. The first day I was there, I was looking out my window when I saw a bunch of baboons rush out of the room next to me with fruit in their hands. I laughed so hard because it was such a unique thing to see.

The restaurant was nice and always had buffet style like all of the lodges I stayed at. This restaurant had the best options of food. At night, I drank cocktails and wine by the bar lounge with live music played by a wonderful Kenyan musician.

The pool was amazing because you could just lounge, tan, and look out to the horizon. I would definitely recommend staying here if you are traveling to Maasai Mara.

 

 


Sarova Mara Game Camp

We drove 8 hours through Maasai Mara to get to this camp. It had glamping tents, a nice pool, and restaurant. The room was cozy with a wooden roof, sides made of tent, and a zipper as a door. At night I would hear the sound of animals but it was quite relaxing.

The restaurant was very large and had a great buffet spread. The camp grounds were spacious and beautiful. The entire camp had a barrier around it to keep wild animals out. I could see the clear difference between the greenery within the walls of the camp, and the desert-like land separated by the fence. This was because the grass and plants were able to grow without animals grazing through them.


Amboseli Serena Safari Lodge

We took a flight from Maasai Mara to Nairobi and drove for 6 hours to get to Amboseli. This lodge was near the foot of Mount Kilimanjaro, the highest mountain in Africa. This lodge had red as its theme, which really fit the dry land that surrounded it. The pool area was relaxing and was near a viewing point where you could see animals grazing just nearby. The rooms were relaxing and well equipped.

I spent my last night in Kenya here and enjoyed the afternoon by drinking wine by the pool and watching the animals.

Julia Quisumbing

Striped Self-Tie Waist Pants

During my time in Bangkok, I went to visit Wat Arun Temple. Even though it was hot, I knew I had to wear something that would cover my legs and shoulders to enter the temple. I chose to wear my striped self-tie waist pants from Evernew which I absolutely love! I thought the perfect match for these pants was a white top. Going to a temple, I chose to wear a white deep V-neck long sleeve bodysuit. I was going to be walking all day so I chose to wear my beige flats from GUESS. This outfit was classy, comfortable, and airy. I stayed cool throughout the day because of how thin the top was and how flowy the pants were.


Outfit Details

Top: Forever 21White Long Sleeve Bodysuit. Small

Bottom: EvernewAvery Striped Petite Wide Leg Pants. EUR 32


Julia Quisumbing

Bangkok | Wat Arun – Temple of Dawn

When you go to Bangkok, it is necessary that you see one of the large temples. It was my first time to visit the city, so I decided to go to Wat Arun – Temple of Dawn.

There is an entrance fee of THB 50 per person and the temple is open daily from 8:30am – 5:30pm. To enter a temple in Thailand, men and women must cover their shoulders and knees. I was very comfortable in my outfit and glad it went well with the style and architecture of the temple. Click here to read more about my outfit of the day.

Wat Arun is situated by Chao Phraya River. The tall structure was easy to walk around because it wasn’t very wide. You could go up one of the staircases and walk around the structure at a higher level. There were also stairs going up to the top of the temple, but sadly it was barred off during my visit. The stairs were steep which made the temple look more tall and narrow. Overall, Wat Arun was beautiful and uniquely made. I’d love to get up early one day before sunrise, sit across the river, and see why it’s called “Temple of Dawn”. I’m guessing it lights up beautifully by the sun. It is also nice to walk over to the Chao Phraya River, grab a boat to the other side, and have lunch or dinner at one of the restaurants with the beautiful view of Wat Arun.

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My boyfriend, Gui, thought we should look around to see what more we could find. We stumbled upon a smaller temple while walking through the grounds of Wat Arun. We were pleasantly surprised with rows of golden Buddha. The visual symmetry was pleasing and created a calm ambiance. There were Buddhist Monks walking around, cleaning, and taking care of the temple. The center of the temple had a large structure surrounded by statues of beasts and pillars with touches of gold everywhere.

I enjoyed our little discovery and our time at Wat Arun. I’ve always seen this temple on flight promotions and in photos of Thailand so I am happy to have visited it.

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Julia Quisumbing

Bangkok | Thai Tea Shaved Ice Dessert

Out of all of the desserts that I tried in Bangkok, the Thai Tea Kakigori at After You Dessert Cafe was my ultimate favorite! It was a delicious tall bowl of flavored Thai Tea shaved ice with a sweet cream on top, and a side of extra Thai Tea to pour on top.Untitled-3

The center of the bowl had gelatin making it extra unique.

If you’re going to order this, make sure you are with someone to help you finish it off. My boyfriend Gui and I had a fun time devouring this and it definitely made our evening especially memorable.

The following days, we would remind each other of this dessert in order to tempt the other to return for a second time. I am definitely going back to this cafe on my next trip to Bangkok.

After You Dessert Cafe can be found in many malls around Bangkok. I discovered it while I was walking around the 7th floor of Central World.

 

Julia Quisumbing

How to Find a Housekeeper for Airbnb

I’ve had my fair share of housekeeping nightmares but I have always believed that there was that perfect housekeeper out there. What I realized is that in the Philippines it is very hard to come by a professional housekeeper. If you want the perfect housekeeper, you will have to train them yourself, give them guidelines, and have good communication.

The Housekeeping Service in Baguio

I have Airbnb condos in Manila and Baguio. Manila is easier to manage since it’s where I live but I had to find a way to manage my condo in Baguio from afar. I searched through Facebook and found a housekeeping service called Maid of Wonder Service Provider in Baguio that were extremely efficient and accommodating. For 3 hours of cleaning, the rate I pay is 250 Philippine Pesos. I deposit funds to the manager every month for my housekeeper’s salary, condo toiletries, and laundry costs. When they are low on funds they give me a breakdown of the money that was spent with scanned receipts.

Where to Search for a Housekeeping Service

I suggest to search on Facebook and Google to find a housekeeping service in your area. On the search bar I’d type, “Maids (Location)” or “Housekeeping (Location)”. Click on a page with more than 1k likes and good reviews. Send them a message and explain that you are searching for an on-call housekeeper for a bed and breakfast home.

I searched for “Maids Manila” on Facebook and found many pages that provide housekeeping services in the area. Several caught my attention such as Maid by Alona, with more than 3k likes and a 4.7 rating. There are also pages that have more than 25k likes but no reviews like MaidProvider.ph but it is your decision on which business has the information you are looking for and seems to be a better fit. Try messaging several pages to see which responds faster, provides the best rates, and is more organized.

Airbnb Housekeeping Introduction:

  • Bring them to the home and familiarize them with the space.
  • Show them your laminated Airbnb Cleaning Checklist.
  • Have them clean the condo once.
  • Inspect their work and notify them on what they did correctly and what can be done differently.
  • Tell them your guest check out and check-in time. This gives them the amount of time they have to clean. For example: My guests check out at 11am and check-in at 2pm which gives the housekeeper 3 hours to clean the place.
  • Once a guest books, text the housekeeper for example: “Can you please clean on January 1, 3, 8, 15, and 22? These are the dates that I have guests checking out. Please confirm, thank you!” Then, ensure that your housekeeper puts them in her calendar.
  • Use an app like Viber, Whatsapp or Facebook Messenger to communicate while your housekeeper is cleaning. This will ensure you that the wifi is working.
  • Instruct your housekeeper to message you when she has arrived to your home and once she has finished her work.
  • Have her explain what the condo was like when she arrived, whether the guest was messy or clean. This is for the review you will leave on Airbnb later.
  • If guests message to complain about cleanliness, forward it to your housekeeper so that she does not repeat any mistakes.

This process has worked very well for me and I have had high reviews for cleanliness from guests. I like to tell my housekeeper when someone has left a good review so that they know they are doing a good job.

If you have any questions or suggestions, please leave a comment below! I hope you are able to find the right housekeeper for your Airbnb home, good luck!

Julia Quisumbing