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Aug 26 2015

Tugu Hotel Lombok

We had a feeling that squeezing in two nights on Lombok would be well worth it when we heard about Tugu Hotels. We were staying on Bali in some beautiful properties and didn't necessarily want to spend more time on a plane or in a car, but when we arrived at Tugu, we knew we made the right decision. Lombok is quieter than it's tourist-ridden neighbor and the locals are ecstatic to welcome any visitors. We arrived during burning season and drove through clouds of smoke coming from the fields on...

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Aug 01 2015

The W Hotel Washington D.C.

Everyone who lives in Washington, D.C., has been to the P.O.V. lounge on the roof level of The W. The stunning view of the Washington Monument, the Mall and even the White House at certain angles, make this a spectacular place to see the District at night. The stylish bar hosts all kind of events from book signings to fashion shows and always draws a big crowd. While Eric and I lived in D.C. we attended a few of these events and brought our visiting friends for a drink on...

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Jul 23 2015

PARKROYAL Serviced Suites, Kuala Lumpur

Frequent travelers know that staying in a hotel can get old. Especially when making a foreign city your temporary home, even a luxurious hotel room can just feel cold and cramped. Serviced apartments are one of our favorite ways to get comfortable in a new city and they are a perfect springboard for getting to know the place. PARKROYAL Serviced Suites offers a modern home away from home in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. [gallery type="rectangular" ids="4724,4720,4719"] *Photos courtesy of PARKROYAL because this happened.  The Rooms These incredibly well-designed serviced suites make creative use of space...

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Jul 17 2015

The Sarann, Koh Samui

The Sarann occupies a stretch of land along the ocean with a beautiful view of one of the beaches for which Koh Samui is so well known. The main town is about 20 minutes away and a complimentary shuttle is available at certain times to take you there. We immediately noticed the uniform of the staff – their striped tshirts, khaki board shorts and white tennis shoes were reminiscent of yacht attire and were much more laid back than the traditional outfits worn at other five star accommodations in Thailand....

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Jun 16 2015

The Five Stages of Losing Your Data

Recently, from our hard drive, which we rely on to store all our data from our travels, came forth a terrible death rattle. It clicked and whirred and simply refused to register and thus began our panic. The possibility of losing all this information, which was mostly photos, has taken us through a range of emotions. As we move through “The Five Stages of Losing Your Data” we are doing our best to find a bright side (care to help us out with that one?) and pass on the valuable...

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Jun 05 2015

Sofitel Bali Nusa Dua Beach Resort

The Sofitel name is one to which we are always drawn due to their beautiful properties, desirable locations and incredibly well-trained staff. Our experience at Sofitel Bali Nusa Dua Beach Resort met our expectations despite a rocky start that involved long lines at immigration, an impatient greeter and a very disorganized check-in after a frustrating flight. Classic travel woes. When we finally made it to our room our anxiety melted away and we soaked up the view of the ocean from our balcony. *Photos courtesy of Sofitel Bali Nusa Dua. (Still...

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May 22 2015

PARKROYAL Hotel, Kuala Lumpur

Kuala Lumpur is a vibrant city drawing business and leisure travelers to the busiest location in Malaysia. While Penang, and especially Georgetown, has become a boutique hotel fanatic’s paradise, the capital city maintains a metropolitan feel with the famous Petronas Towers, massive underground shopping centers and bustling nightlife. When selecting a hotel here, visitors will be faced with plenty of options at different price points and in different locations. We chose to stay close to the downtown area at the PARKROYAL Kuala Lumpur. [gallery type="rectangular" ids="4542,4547,4541,4545,4543"] The Rooms We were exhausted and appreciated the...

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Apr 15 2015

Metal Studio Handmade Necklace Giveaway

Finding local artists is one of the best parts of hunting for souvenirs abroad. We stumbled into the jewelry shop Metal Studio while exploring the Nimman neighborhood of Chiang Mai and kept going back for more. You can read our interview with Boom, the designer and shop owner, here. Her one of a kind designs are inspired by nature and feature unique stones and asymmetric metal details. [gallery type="rectangular" ids="4467,4470"] Metal Studio was one of our favorite souvenir finds in Chiang Mai and in honor of our departure from our home for...

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Apr 13 2015

Cameron Highlands Resort Review

If you are making a trip to Malaysia and are on the fence about whether to stop in the Cameron Highlands, allow us to help you make up your mind: you need to go. The Cameron Highlands Resort was a highlight of our trip to Malaysia. We left feeling inspired, relaxed and very very full. We were greeted cheerfully by staff and took a seat in the Jim Thompson tea room to get settled. The room is a look back in time to the days Jim Thompson would arrive there...

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Apr 12 2015

Hotel Penaga Review, Penang

Penang has become a popular spot for hotels with loads of character and the number of small boutique accommodations is one the rise. With trendy nightlife, street art lining the roads and a nearby beach, this small city is a popular destination in Malaysia. The quaint island of Georgetown, with its colonial charm, is especially popular for boutique hotels. Among the best is Hotel Penaga, designed and owned by a power couple consisting of a well-known architect and an environmentalist. The resulting structure is stylish, welcoming and green. [gallery type="rectangular" ids="4337,4349,4334"] The Rooms Our...

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Apr 11 2015

Borei Angkor Resort And Spa Review

As soon as we walked into the lobby of the Borei Angkor Resort and Spa, we felt close to the culture and the enormous scale of historic Angkor in Siem Reap, Cambodia. Huge blocks the size of boulders make up the walls reaching up to a soaring ceiling, and the staff wear traditional Khmer attire. Despite the colossal aesthetic, we were greeted warmly and invited to take a seat on a comfortable sofa. The staff were all insistent on asking our names and telling us their own, always pointing at their...

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Mar 31 2015

Heritage Suites Hotel Siem Reap

Heritage Suites, a small boutique hotel tucked away in a quiet residential section of Siem Reap, Cambodia, is an ideal escape from the dusty city after a day of exploring the famous Angkor temples. The boutique hotel is laid out on lush tropical grounds with a grand dining hall, large swimming pool, spa, and adventure tour operator. The hotel is only 6 kilometers from the historic Angkor temples and just a few minutes by tuk tuk to the pub street and local markets. Convenient, yet secluded, Heritage Suites provides luxurious boutique...

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Mar 26 2015

Stylish And Lightweight Travel Pants: Susan Skinny Pant

We may not always pack light, but recently we have been trying our best to master carry-on only packing. That means lots of pieces that can be worn in multiple situations. When I found the Anatomie Susan Skinny Pant, I thought they were a great stylish option for lightweight travel pants. I always like to have a pair of quick dry pants for hiking and other adventures, but they don't usually look nice enough to wear in most other situations. Well, I've put these pants to the test, I mean...

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Mar 20 2015

Look Good, Do Good: Krochet Kids

Look Good, Do Good is a monthly feature on Poplar Travels that highlights designers and retailers making the world a better place through their products. As travelers, we want to give back to the world we love exploring so much. Suggest an innovative sustainable or philanthropic partner to poplartravels@gmail.com or leave a comment on this post.   Krochet Kids intl. began as three friends crocheting as a hobby and has grown into a successful nonprofit employing women in Uganda and Peru. These women come from difficult circumstances, some were captives and...

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Feb 18 2015

Inspired By Nature: Interview With Boom, Jewelry Designer Of Metal Studio

The first time I went into Metal Studio I found a ring with a large purple crystal that I absolutely loved. I kept saying I was going to go back and get it until Eric surprised me with it on my birthday in January. Even then, I kept wanting to go back for more, and I knew I wanted to meet the designer. Sirilak Samanasak aka Boom is a bright, energetic woman clearly excited to come to work every day. She met me in her store in Chiang Mai’s artsy...

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Feb 16 2015

Images of Buddhism in Myanmar

The most famous photographs of Bagan are of hot air balloons rising over the temples at dawn, but the really spectacular images are the ones that have been there for thousands of years in the cracked and faded paintings inside the ancient pagodas, and in the form of Buddhas sculpted centuries ago. Images of Buddhism in Myanmar that are often repeated include images of Buddha’s past lives, his birth and his enlightenment. Almost 90% of the country practices Buddhism, making it one of the most important aspects of the country’s culture. Myanmar...

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Feb 14 2015

Sala Mae Rim Restaurant Review, Four Seasons Chiang Mai

The Four Seasons Chiang Mai is located farther from the city than we thought. In fact, it’s in the artsy and more rural Mae Rim, the next city over. The location is no mistake, and makes for peaceful setting. Sala Mae Rim, the Four Seasons Chiang Mai's main restaurant, overlooks rice paddies surrounded by the resort’s luxurious villas. We arrived just in time to watch the sun disappear behind the mountains. We started our meal with spring rolls, pork, chicken and shrimp satay with peanut sauce and spicy papaya salad with...

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Feb 11 2015

Look Good, Do Good: Sop Moei Arts and Giveaway!

The cultures of tribal villages in Thailand have changed undeniably over the past decade. The focus of aid for these once isolated communities used to circle around clean water and healthcare. Now, with road access and schools servicing many of these communities, the needs have shifted to more economic concerns. In this latest column of Look Good, Do Good, we discussed the shift and how Sop Moei Arts is working to help create incomes while preserving traditional crafts with shop owner and founder Kent Gregory. [gallery type="rectangular" ids="3474,3485,3494"] Sop Moei, named for...

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Feb 06 2015

6 Stylish Carry-on Bags For Your Next Trip

An easy way to step up your travel style is to upgrade your accessories. The number one travel accessory is, of course, luggage. Lately we have been traveling carry-on only (which we highly recommend), and we’ve grown quite fond of our freedom from wheels. If you’re investing in quality luggage as you should be (not a lesson you want to learn the hard way; nor is “old luggage should be replaced before it breaks,” trust me), you’ll be stuck with it for a while. If you’re a frequent traveler you’ll be...

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Jan 24 2015

Ping Nakara Boutique Hotel and Spa Review: Chiang Mai

Ping Nakara consists of just 19 guest rooms in a beautiful, white Lanna Colonial-style mansion. The decor and arrangement makes guests feel like they have been welcomed into someone’s very stylish home. The floor plan is very open, incorporating the surrounding palms and sounds of nature, while somehow still creating intimate seating areas. The overall atmosphere was calming and chic, with nods to the past reign of teak dealers.   [gallery type="rectangular" ids="3214,3215,3213,3211"] The Rooms The rooms at Ping Nakara are all uniquely decorated. Each has a large balcony, bathroom with separate tub and...

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Jan 21 2015

RarinJinda Wellness Spa Resort, Chiang Mai Review

RarinJinda Wellness Spa Resort in Chiang Mai is a small 35 room resort with a focus on wellness and relaxation. The resort is near the river  on the busy Chareonraj Rd., but the U shape of the main buildings create a quiet haven and preserves the soothing atmosphere. The water features and plants enhanced the sense of calm. Free yoga classes offered each morning and evening and the well-equipped spa on site are all a part of the healthy lifestyle RarinJinda promotes. The Grounds The pool is a central point of the...

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Jan 21 2015

Best Hotels Of 2014

We are only one month into the new year and we have already stayed at some spectacular hotels and resorts. However, before we go on gushing about those, we want to take a minute to look back at the best hotels of 2014. We stayed at some incredible hotels with world class accommodation and making this list involved lots of debate.   We had some especially hard choices to make when it came to best atmosphere, best beach and best food, but we finally narrowed down the winners. Here are the best...

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Jan 16 2015

Look Good, Do Good: Symbology Makes Fair Trade Sexy

Look Good, Do Good is a new monthly feature on Poplar Travels that highlights designers and retailers making the world a better place through their products. As travelers, we want to give back to the world we love exploring so much. Suggest an innovative sustainable or philanthropic partner at poplartravels@gmail.com.  Make the world a better place and look good while doing it! Everyone always wants to know where I got my pretty wrap dress with the bright pink lining and the pretty peacock print. The hand printed fabric and flattering design make...

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Jan 10 2015

A King’s School Christmas in Mae Hong Son, Thailand

Part of our volunteer trip to Mae Hong Son, other than the eye clinic, was joining the kids and staff for a dinner and celebration. On Christmas night, we headed to the remote school that has been working with Toys for Thailand and is home to the children for most of the year. This school has become a model for schools with similar structure and with the help of its administrator and the volunteers at T4T has completely transformed in the past 10 years. Although far from perfect, it is...

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Jan 07 2015

Crosskix: Your New Favorite Travel Shoe

As the name might suggest, Crosskix are a bit of a cross between Crocs and traditional running shoes. How does that work? Really well, actually, and at just 7.5 ounces for a size 9, these featherweight shoes are ideal for active travelers. Deciding which shoes to bring on a trip is always a struggle for us. They take up so much room in a suitcase and are often heavy, but how do you decide which ones aren’t worth it? Especially if you are planning a mix of urban and wilderness adventures,...

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