The use of Virtual Private Networks (VPNs) has long been synonymous with business travel and accessing data from a remote location (read: outside the office). However, with the expansion of leisure travel over the years, VPNs are used increasingly to access blocked (geo-restricted) content (read: Facebook and Instagram in China). What most people do not realise however is that VPNs are also extremely important (even in Singapore!) if you are logged a public WiFi as personal details can be stolen from you fairly easily.
One of the questions I get a lot whenever I talk about VPNs is what exactly is a VPN? As mentioned earlier, it stands for a Virtual Private Network and here's a real-world example that will help you understand it better: Everyone knows about the infamous Great (Fire)Wall of China and more importantly, how websites like YouTube and Facebook (amongst many others) are blocked when you are in the country. It is easy to find out where you are accessing the internet from (be it via WiFi or a mobile network) - click HERE to find out if you are not convinced - in this example, it is also how you are identified as being in China. Therefore, the easiest way around this is to 'hide' your actual location by using a VPN. Think about the VPN as a third-party gateway, instead of delivering internet content directly to you, it first gets redirected to a location (as configured on your VPN) before getting delivered to you - this allows you to bypass blocked sites easily!
As long as you are not connected via a secured WiFi (read: outside of home), you SHOULD be using a VPN in order to benefit from online anonymity. Since I travel quite a fair bit and spend a lot of my time in hotels, I do need a VPN to perform information-sensitive transactions (e.g. online banking) online. While some VPN-providers offer a limited bandwidth package, VPN Unlimited offers well, UNLIMITED bandwidth for a duration (or unlimited if you purchase the lifetime access!) of time.
AccorHotels has just unveiled Kuala Lumpur's very first Sofitel-branded property in Damansara - the Sofitel Kuala Lumpur Damansara. Located in the affluent neighbourhood of Damansara Heights, the 312-room property is part of an 8.5-acre integrated development by GuocoLand which comprises of two condominum blocks, office towers and a lifestyle mall.
The Seoul Dragon City is South Korea's first lifestyle hotel-plex that will feature four distinct AccorHotels brands (a grand total of 1,700 rooms and suites), 11 restaurants and bars, 17 meeting rooms, two multi-function grand ballrooms and four floors of entertainment in a Sky Bridge that is suspended between two of the towers.
After being closed for slightly over two months, the famous Tea Lounge in Regent Singapore (who has only quite recently gotten her first Michelin-star restaurant in Summer Palace) will be re-opening on 12 August 2017 (Saturday). The newly-refurbished Tea Lounge will feature 96 seats in an approximate 185 sqm space and it will be the creative space for Gold culinary
Olympian Pastry Chef Alex Chong and his team to showcase their delectable sweets
Slated to open in January 2018, Hyatt Centric Ginza Tokyo is set to become Asia's first Hyatt Centric hotel. The relatively new brand by Hyatt offers full-service lifestyle hotels that are strategically located and they have been created for the millennial travellers in mind. The Hyatt Centric Ginza Tokyo will join the current portfolio of three (Park Hyatt Tokyo, Andaz Tokyo Toranomon Hills, Grand Hyatt Tokyo and Hyatt Regency Tokyo) to become the fifth property to open in the city of Tokyo.
Sofitel Foshan by AccorHotels has just opened in the city of Guangdong in China. The 5-star luxury property is located in China Leading Furniture City – Lecong in Shunde and it offers a direct connection to the 200,000 square-metre Louvre International Exhibition Centre, a destination hub for design aficionados. Sofitel Foshan is the brand’s first property to debut in Foshan and the 23rd property in the Greater China network.
Conrad Bali will be presenting a limited-time "Yum Cha Festival" in August 2017 which will showcase unique steamed and fried gourmet dim sums and Peking duck at the Suku Restaurant (which is located in Conrad Bali Suites.), its all-day-dining restaurant and also Azure, pool-side bar. The buffet spread will also feature dishes prepared by Chinese Executive Chef Simon Leung of Conrad Beijing.
A dual-brand management agreement has just been signed by the InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG®) and PT. Graha Agung Indahsentosa to debut two hotels, Holiday Inn Resort Bintan Lagoi Beach and Hotel Indigo Bintan Lagoi Beach in Bintan, Indonesia. The newly-built hotels are set to open in 2019 and they will be situated in the prime Lagoi Bay area.
One of the most highly-anticipated property in Bali, the Hotel Indigo Bali Seminyak Beach has just opened to celebrate both the ancient and modern zeitgeist of Bali. The newly-built property offers 289 beautifully-appointed rooms that embraces both modern and traditional which is apparent throughout the design of the hotel - there are no hotels in Seminyak that offers such a beautiful blend of old and new.
A brand new Courtyard by Marriott property has been planned for the popular beachside resort area in southern Vietnam. Slated to open in 2020, the Courtyard by Marriott Nha Trang Hon Tam Resort will be situated on an exclusive resort island that is located 20-minutes away from Nha Trang city.
Marriott International has just announced the first Fairfield by Marriott brand in Greater China with the opening of the Fairfield by Marriott Nanning Nanhu Park. A partnership between Marriott International and the Dossen International Group will see the introduction of the brand across different cities in China over the next five years. The new-built Fairfield by Marriott Nanning Nanhu Park will feature open spaces that are suitable for both work and entertainment and the design of the hotel's guest rooms have all been inspired by the fundamental themes of relaxation and simplicity.