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An Impressive B&B Experience in Rotorua, New Zealand: Tickled Trout Bed and Breakfast

My fiancé and I stayed at Trickled Trout Bed and Breakfast from 11-14 August. When we were looking for at places to stay in Rotorua, we were specifically looking at accommodations that are by lake Rotorua and in a quiet neighborhood. When we came across Trickled Trout Bed and Breakfast in Booking.com, we liked the fact that they have a lot of good reviews and we thought the property is nice. However, I was hesitant on the fact that it is a Bed and Breakfast. My previous experiences with Bed and Breakfast accommodations were like being zoomed back in my dormitory days in university where I had to be in a socializing mood all the time, curfew and house rules like I’m a child again.

A picture-perfect sunrise view as I stood on the balcony of Tickled Trout B&B in the morning

A picture-perfect sunrise view as I stood on the balcony of Tickled Trout B&B in the morning

Our stay at Tickled Trout B&B was exactly the opposite of my experiences with other B&B. First of all, Sue and Collin are very kind and accommodating hosts. We had to change our booking dates at the last minute and Sue responded immediately to confirm that they can accommodate our new dates. As we drove from Auckland (generally a 3-hr ride), it took us a while to reach the place because we had to stop for breaks along the way. We ended up arriving later than the estimated time of arrival I gave to Sue but they still received us happily. Second, in terms of privacy, we barely see them around but if you need them, they’re quick to assist you. This is particularly my cup of tea because when I’m on holidays and tired at the end of the day, I find it hard to do small talks. Sue and Collin very much respected our own space. Third, they are very helpful. My fiancé loves fishing (one of the reasons why we wanted to stay near the Rotorua lake) and when we asked about fishing, Sue and Collin immediately arranged a fishing activity for us and even drove us to docks even though it was just a 5-minute walk (or less) from their house.

As for the actual property, it is beautiful! It’s a 2-story house and the 2 guest rooms and a massive living room are in the second floor. The living room opens up to a balcony facing the lake. The room we stayed at was the biggest room – I think it was the Mokoia. I highly recommend getting this room, if available, because you’ll get the beautiful sunrise with the lake view in the morning. My favorite part of the day was waking up early and watching the sunrise in the morning with a cup of coffee in the living room. In the living room, they have electric water boiler, coffee, tea, sweets, books, tv, dvd, touristic activities brochures, etc. The place is very well organized for every traveler’s needs. It was winter when we got there but for summer, I bet the place is also perfect for a quiet sit under the sun while reading and then cooling down by swimming in the lake.

Overall, I highly recommend this place for those who are looking for a by-the-lake, relaxing, comfortable and quiet stay in Rotorua.

Hotel Review: Best Western Plus Laguna Brisas Spa Hotel

For my summer travel this year, I decided to go to South California and see family and friends. For my bonding time with my university girlfriends, we decided to have girls’ Friday night out and Saturday hiking activity at Laguna beach where we also booked a hotel room. We stayed at the Best Western Plus Laguna Brisas Spa Hotel. The hotel is a 3-star hotel.

Location/Accessibility (4/5)

The hotel is located at 1600 S Coast Hwy, Laguna Beach, CA 92651. The hotel is by the main road and can be easily be missed because of its little sign but it is not really that difficult to find. It is maybe a mile and a half or about 2 km from the town center. There is a trolley that runs around the town and you can catch one at the corner next to the hotel.

The hotel is also just few steps from the beach but just to be clear though, it is not along the beach (it is across the beach side).

Rooms and Facilities (3/5)

We had the room with 2 queen-sized beds with kitchen. Being used to European-sized hotel rooms, I find our room massive. It also has a balcony, which can be nice, but it is very close to the next room’s balcony so there’s really no privacy. The rooms are a bit outdated and the carpets are quite old. The hallway smell chlorine from the pool but I’m not bothered by it.

There are complementary coffee and tea in the room but I was disappointed that there’s no complementary bottle of water considering the rate of the room we paid for the night. Coffee and tea are also available at the reception lobby 24/7 (at least from what I understood).

To say that I’m a frequent traveler is an understatement. I say this because I’m not kidding when I say it’s one of the only two times I to encountered a hotel that only starts serving breakfast at 7:30 am. Maybe it’s an American thing. Hotels always start serving breakfast at 6 am. So, I was slightly disappointed with that because if you plan to hiking at 7 am, then you have to find your breakfast some place else (Orange County has beautiful hiking trails that are perfect for early morning activity).

They have parking but not for free, we paid USD 15. It wasn’t a problem with us that they can allow one parking space per room but I could see how this can be inconvenient for a group with more than one car.

Staff and Services (4.5/5)

My favorite part of our stay in this hotel is the friendliness and helpfulness of the staff, most especially the reception staff. They were very accommodating to our requests.

Security (4/5)

The security was pretty standard and I like the fact that there are 2 access doors to the parking garage (doors with access control, using room key, to enter from the garage) from the 2nd floor as the reception is located below the ground level with narrow stairs going out. Building evacuation can be tricky if people are expected to leave the hotel through the main entrance.

Having someone at the reception 24/7 is also a good layer of security.

Price (3/5)

We paid USD 300+ for a night stay at this hotel. I see that the other rooms can be cheaper but for me, this room rate is too high for a 3-star hotel.

Overall, I rate this hotel with 3.7 out of 5. I will likely comeback to Laguna beach for holidays and I might consider staying in this hotel again because of the hospitality of the staff and it’s convenient location. I’d like to try another hotel in the area for comparison.