The Ferrari 458 Spider

Post by Mark


First I need to make a confession, I haven’t been in a Ferrari since my dad had one back in the mid 80s. It was a gorgeous silver Ferrari 308 but I was too young to appreciate the car back then, I just remember it was loud and it looked like the one on Magnum P.I. Strangely I hadn’t been in a Ferrari ever since which is weird because Ferraris are pretty common in Kuwait. A few months ago when I went to test drive the Jaguar F-Type I found out the same dealer (Zayani) had a Ferrari 458 Spider to test drive as well. I started harassing them to loan me the car for the weekend to test drive until last week I finally got the phone call telling me I could pass by and pick up the car but I would have it only from 10AM to 5PM. After a bit of negotiation I was able to extend that from 9AM to 7PM. It wasn’t the weekend I had wanted, but a full day with the Spider was still going to be a great day.


Sunday morning I got up early and headed to the dealership where after giving me a short tour of the showroom I was taken to the car which was waiting for me in a large pristine white room. The car was in silver blue (Grigio Alloy) fitted with a custom two tone leather and suede interior. I got in the car and the salesman showed me where everything was and how to work them. It’s not complicated to say, it’s just that majority of the options are not in their usual place (spoiler: they’re all on the steering wheel). For example, the turn signals are located on the steering wheel as well as the wipers, high beam switch, the cars start/stop button, the “bumpy road” button, the horn and most importantly the Manettino dial which allows you to control the cars settings with a flick of a switch. I’m not sure why they haven’t adapted this idea to all cars yet but after spending a day with the 458 I started wishing all my FJ’s controls were on the steering wheel, it just makes a lot more sense than having all these nobs spread out behind it.


Once he was done showing me all the controls we drove out of the dealership for a ride around the block just so I could get a feel for the car before heading out. I then dropped him back off to the dealership and headed out on my own… without a chaperon. There I was sitting in a brand new Ferrari 458 Spider all on my own, free to do with it whatever I pleased. First thing I did was send the mandatory snapchat to my friends and then I decided to head out to the desert where I had previously shot the Porsche Cayman. I figured the roads would be empty there and I wanted to get rid of the photography so I could enjoy the car the rest of the day.

Driving the car was a lot easier than I was expecting it to be even though the car produces 570hp out of its mid-mounted naturally-aspirated 4.5l V8 engine. I spent the first 20 minutes of the drive keeping my eye out on the speedometer since the car just wanted to speed and in the end I couldn’t resist the urge not to and just gave up and started keeping my eye out for cops and speed traps instead. When I finally got to my destination I realized it might not have been the best day to be out in the open desert since there was a pretty nasty dusty storm. But since it took me 40 minutes to get there I was not going to turn back now and kept on going even though at some points I could barely see the road because it was covered with sand. Finally I arrived to the location and got out of the car to snap my photos. It was really windy and I ended up getting sand in every crevice of my body but I also ended up with two fantastic photos especially once I converted them to black and white. I packed up my gear and headed back to the city but not before making a quick stop at home to shower and change.

As I mentioned the car is really easy to drive and can actually be very civil if you keep it in sport mode (Ferrari’s version of “comfort”) and aren’t heavy on the peddle. On the other hand if you’re a hooligan you’re also gonna love this car. Once I was back in the city I realized I could still have a lot of fun without breaking any laws (kinda) just by accelerating at full speed out of traffic lights, drifting slightly around corners and roundabouts and down shifting to second gear when going under bridges. Actually by switching the cars gearbox from auto to manual made a world of a difference because I could keep the gears low and have the car scream its beautiful loud Ferrari tones without even trying. But the car isn’t loud unless you want it to be and the interior can be pretty quiet while cruising at normal speeds. Speaking of the interior I was pretty surprised at how spacious it was. I LOVE the center console layout, it’s basically non existent with just AC controls and nothing else. In an age where center consoles are filled with large screens and buttons beyond buttons, it was great to see they kept the interior to a bare minimum.


What differentiates the Ferrari 458 Spider from the regular Ferrari 458 is the fact it’s a hard top convertible. With just a press of the button the roof folds away into the trunk and thats what I did once the sun started setting. Driving the car with the roof down is a whole different experiencing, if you really want to hear the engine sound that’s the best way of experiencing it. As the sun set I knew I would have to drive the car back to the dealer and I think it was the first time where I was both happy and sad to return a car. I was sad because I was obviously returning the Ferrari but also happy because at the end of the day I was driving an KD80,000 Ferrari and I was just relieved to be handing it back in one piece.

So what didn’t I like about the car? Not a lot honestly. The trunk is practically non existent if you opt to have a spare tire, like you might be able to fit one or two grocery bags there and thats it. The sound system also wouldn’t let me stream music over bluetooth which sucks although it did have iPod connectivity via USB. Finally I thought the gas pedal was too close to the brake pedal and so my sneakers kept getting clipped every time I was moving from one pedal to the other to the point I thought my sneakers might get ruined. But by the end of the day I got used to it and just shifted my foot far right so that wouldn’t keep happening. Even though I wasn’t expecting the car to be a disappointment it did surprise me in a lot of ways. I wasn’t expecting it to be such a drivable car and one which could be so civil. I didn’t even have issues going over speed bumps or parallel parking (thank you rear view camera) so I could totally drive this car every day if Ferrari agree on that 90% discount I asked for (pretty please).

The Ferrari 458 Spider starts at KD81,900 and is available at the dealers Zayani.

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Review: The Sony RX1

Post by Mark


A few months back I started looking for a new digital camera to replace my aging Panasonic GX1. I had been using the GX1 constantly since 2012 and it was by far one of my favorite cameras I had ever owned. But, on one trip to London last year I carried my much larger and heavier full sensor D800 camera with me and I just loved the results. I realized the much larger sensor on the D800 allowed me to capture shots I wouldn’t be able to with my GX1, mostly very high ISO shots in very dim light. Because of the size though the D800 isn’t a very practical take everywhere camera and so I started doing my research trying to find a replacement for my GX1. Some of the cameras I considered were:

Fujifilm X-T1
Fujifilm X100s
Leica X2
Olympus OM-D E-M1
Olympus OM-D E-M10
Panasonic GX7
Ricoh GR
Sony Alpha 7R
Sony Alpha 7
Sony RX1
Sony RX1R

From the list above the only ones that ended up grabbing my attention were the Sonys since they were the only cameras on the list that had full framed sensors. Having a full frame sensor would mean I’d be able to capture a lot more detail, have shallower depth of field in my shots and most importantly have better dim light capabilities. In the end I opted for the Sony RX1 because of the size. One of the things I loved about my GX1 camera was the size and the RX1 was practically the exact same size except the lens on the RX1 made it slightly thicker (check the GX1/RX1 overlay visual below). The newer Sony A7 was tempting but since I already had a main camera (the D800), I needed a secondary camera, something small and inconspicuous to take with me on my restaurant reviews and when I traveled. The A7 was a lot more bulkier especially once you added the lenses.


I’ve had the RX1 now for around 2 months and I’ve already traveled with it a number of times and used it in various situations and I really really love it. It’s by far the best compact camera I’ve had. The camera has a full metal body and feels very solid, we’re talking Leica M series quality here without the Leica price tag. The lens is a really bright 35mm F2 Carl Zeiss, its fixed which means I can’t zoom in or out but that isn’t an issue since I was only using the 20mm lens (40mm equivalent) on my GX1 anyway.


The RX1 has allowed me to take a ton of great shots and I’ve been carrying it with me everywhere I go. It has a lot of physical controls as well as customizable buttons so I always have quick access to my most used options. I love the way the camera looks and feels in my hand, it has a slightly retro look but it’s really understated which is how I love my cameras. Another great feature about the camera is the fact that the shutter is silent. When I turn off all the sounds I can take a photo in a quiet room and no one would be able to hear me take photos. It’s how I was able to take the photo of the guy sleeping on the car below without having to worry about waking him up. Finally the ISO capability on this camera is nearly as good as my D800. I’m so confident about the capabilities of the camera I have it set on Auto ISO with the max limit at 12,800. That’s how good the noise at high ISO is, I can shoot up to 12,800 and not have to worry about noise. Combine that with the bright F2 lens and there really isn’t a condition anymore where I would have trouble shooting in.


I really can’t think of anything negative to say or highlight about the camera but I will bring up issues I had read about online and answer them here. Battery life, it’s not that great but that’s an easy fix, the batteries are very cheap, I bought two more and now carry three batteries with me. In the two months I’ve had the camera I don’t think I’ve ever needed more than one battery a day so even though battery life isn’t that great it’s good enough to last you a day out. Some people have complained about the focusing being slow. I don’t think its slow and only faced an issue focusing once and that was because there was hardly any light. I just ended up shooting in manual focus mode and that solved the problem. Finally a lot of people online complained about the fact the screen isn’t tiltable or the fact the camera doesn’t have a built in view finder. Both are good points but Sony built the most compact full sensor camera in the world so I’m sure they had to cut some options to keep the size compact. Personally I’m glad they kept the size small and instead released the A7 with all the extra features they couldn’t fit into the RX1.


I can’t recommend this camera enough, the sensor and lens combo is just unbeatable and I can’t believe how small this camera is. The price is the only reason why not everyone is walking around with this camera strapped to their necks. Amazon sell the camera for $2,800 which is pretty expensive when compared to all the other compact cameras in the market. But, I personally think the only real competition is the Sony A7 and the Leica M series. The Sony A7 costs $1800 without a lens and another $800 for the 35mm F2.8. That brings the total to $2,600 for a larger camera with a lens thats not as bright. The Leica M series on the other hand costs nearly $7,000 without a lens. So when you compare the RX1 to the two the price becomes pretty reasonable. If you can afford the RX1 then get it, you’ll have a hard time finding anything else as good with the same form factor.

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Salt Seafood Restaurant at the Messilah Beach Hotel

Post by Mark


Last week I was invited to pass by the new seafood restaurant at the Jumeirah Messilah Beach Hotel called Salt. I personally think the hotel is the nicest one we have in Kuwait right now so I was pretty interested to try this new place out. One thing I really hate about the hotel though is you’ve got two options for parking, either (a) you give your car to valet or (b) you park in the sand lot across the street. Since I don’t trust valets with my car I have to use the sand lot and it’s never a great start to dinner when you have to spend the first few minutes cleaning the dust off my new fancy sneakers.


If you’ve been to Messilah before then you probably know that most of their restaurants are located in the lower level of the main lobby. Salt is located there as well and they’ve taken up the whole left side area. Once we walked into the restaurant we could immediately tell that they wanted to be the most luxurious seafood restaurant in Kuwait and at the moment they probably are. The restaurant is long and not very wide with two kinds of seating areas, on one side they have curved couches going along the wall and it’s nicely lit. On the opposite side is a much brighter open floor layout with beautiful chandeliers. So far the experience was very fancy until the menu arrived and I opened it up to reveal bright yellow text on a dark blue background which looked really tacky layout (take a look). If I could change one thing in the place it would have to be the menu thats for sure.

Because this is a high end restaurant, everything has to be top notch especially the service which in this specific case I found difficult to judge for a number of reasons. First is the fact I was invited and so they knew who I was, and secondly they had barely been open for a week. Still, if I did compare it to other hotels and restaurants in Kuwait I would say the service was in the top 10 but not top 5. In other restaurants where the service is in the top 5, the staff have been working there long enough to see me grow old while Salt has just opened.


Since we were two we ended up ordering the following items from the menu:

Acqua Morelli Sparking Water (x2) KD7.000
Baked Chermoula Prawns KD7.500
Pan Fried Scallops KD7.250
Lobster Bisque (x2) KD9.500
Whole Lobster (Medium) KD28.000
Whole Sea Bass KD15.000
Pearl of the Ocean drink KD3.350
Messilah Journey (mixed dessert) KD5.750


From the two starters we ordered I was expecting the Baked Chermoula Prawns to be my favorite since it was prawns stuffed with scallops. But to my surprise I ended up preferring the Pan Fried Scallops instead. That’s because the scallops dish had so many different flavors from the scallops itself to the stuffed calamari, squid ink risotto and even the puree which were all delicious. Once we were done with the starters they brought over a soup plate which large chunks of lobster inside but no soup. I started thinking to myself maybe this was their interpretation of the lobster bisque? Just as I was thinking that the waiter came over and started pouring the soup over my large lobster chunks. Presentation was an easy 10/10 and from everything we ordered I would also have to say the Lobster Bisque was by far my favorite dish.

Read the rest of this entry »

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Review: Anjappar Indian Restaurant

Post by Mark


Back in February I asked for recommendations on Indian restaurants and I now have probably 50 places try out. The first place I decided to go to was Anjappar in Farwaniya (they have a Fahaheel branch as well). I used google maps to help me find the location although google knows it as Anjappar Hotel for some reason.

The restaurant is located on the 2nd floor of the building right across from Metro Complex. The interior wasn’t anything fancy and a friendly waiter seated us right after we walked in. We ended up ordering a bunch of things including:

Mutton Sukka Masala KD2.100
Butter Chicken Masala KD1.750
Anjappar Chicken B/L Masala KD1.600
Steamed Basmati KD0.750
Butter Naan KD0.250
Chicken Kheema Appam KD0.650
Masala Dosai KD0.500
Mango Lassi KD1.000


The food overall was good, I hadn’t had the Chicken Kheema Appam before and loved it. We ordered three main dishes recommended by the waiter and was the Butter Chicken even though the chicken was a bit dry. My biggest issue with the place was actually with the service, and not the waiters who were very friendly but the kitchen who were just too slow. Our rice came out more than 5 minutes after the main courses and then the Mango Lassi and Butter Naan arrived 5 minutes after that. The table next to us were complaining as well since they were there before us but hadn’t received any of their dishes.

The prices were very reasonable and you can actually check out their whole menu online [Here] for a better idea. I’d probably only go back there if I wanted to show someone Farwaniya but other than that I don’t think it’s worth the trip unless you’ve never been there before and want to try something new. Here is their location on [Google Maps]

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Atlantis, The Palm

Post by Mark


Last week while in Dubai I ended up staying at the Atlantis hotel. Since it’s launch I’ve heard a lot of mixed reviews about the place and I now understand why, it’s not meant for everyone, me included.


When I first arrived at the hotel which is located on the artificial island The Palm, I thought I was walking into a shopping mall. There were a lot of people outside the entrance of the hotel and even more people inside the gigantic lobby. It was super busy like no other hotel I’ve ever walked into. It felt like a mall but then I realized it also felt like a Disney resort. My room was their standard room and it looked really generic but had a beautiful view and was pretty large in size. What makes Atlantis so special is the activities they have ranging from swimming with the dolphins to their large Aquaventure Waterpark.


They even have a huge aquarium right inside the hotel thats a lot bigger and nicer than the one we have at the Scientific Center. The hotel also has 21 restaurants, bars and lounges including the very popular Nobu, they have a ton of stores to shop at and they also have a very impressive gym. I actually thought the gym was the trendiest looking place in the whole hotel, it’s very nicely designed, one of the best looking gyms I’ve ever seen.


While at the hotel we were given a tour of the most expensive hotel room in the Middle East, the Royal Bridge Suite. It costs around KD10,000 a night and it’s huge. You check check out the pictures below. And yes I said KD10,000 a night, that’s not an extra zero there by accident.

Personally I didn’t like the hotel. Not that where was anything wrong with it on the contrary, I actually found the hotel really fascinating. I remember watching a documentary once on Harrods and it was mostly a behind the scenes documentary on how the store handles all the traffic and what it takes to keep the place running, I would be very very interested to watch a similar documentary on Atlantis. The hotel is ginormous with over 1,500 rooms and so much foot traffic but yet they still manage to provide great service. In the three days I was there I never felt like I was just another guest. But still, the hotel just wasn’t for me, I prefer my rooms to be trendier looking, I also like my hotels to be a lot smaller and more importantly on this trip I wasn’t interested in any of their activities and thats really what Atlantis is about. On the other hand this is definitely a great place to stay at with children for the weekend. You would never have to leave the hotel and the children would never get bored with all the things to do. Check out their website [Here]

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The Porsche Cayman S

Post by Mark


I’ve had my eye on the new Porsche Cayman S ever since it got released last year. Along with the Jaguar F-Type Coupe it’s one of the two cars I’ve recently been considering for myself. I’ve actually been building my own Cayman on the Porsche website for the past few months, choosing all the different extra options I wanted, deciding on the exterior color and wheels, a very fun process. They even have the KD265,000 918 Spyder available to customize online. I finally decided I’d take the car for a test drive, that way I could have content for my blog as well as decide if the Cayman S is the car for me.


There are two versions of the Cayman, the regular Cayman and the Cayman S. The biggest difference between the two is the regular Cayman has 275HP while the S has 325HP. I picked up the car on Thursday once I got back from Dubai but was really too tired that day to do much driving. Instead I went to sleep early and woke up Friday morning and headed out to the middle of nowhere. Around 5 or 6 years ago while looking for the “Tank Graveyard” I remembered driving on a two lane paved road in the middle of the desert. I figured it would be a great place to take photos and the drive was far enough to allow me to get a chance to properly drive the car. So I headed out from Salmiya north towards the desert and around 50 minutes later ended up at the road I had been on years ago only now it no longer was a two lane road but a six lane highway. I was disappointed since I had driven all the way with a shot visualized in my head and now I wouldn’t be able to do it. I decided to keep on driving in hopes of finding a new location which I did. After another 15 minutes on that road I found an exit which wasn’t marked on the cars navigation nor on Google Maps and I decided to take it and drive and drive. The weather was great, the sky was beautiful and I finally found a spot that I liked and took all the photos I needed.

The car was a lot of fun to drive and I ended up covering more than 200KM that morning. It made me feel a bit guilty since when I had picked up the car from the dealer it only had around 200KM mileage and here in just one morning I doubled it for them. The engine is mid mounted meaning it’s located behind the drivers seat and in front of the rear wheels. It’s basically the best place to put an engine in the car if you want terrific handling. Because the weight is right behind you its as if the weight is where your body is and so you kinda become one with the car if that makes sense. I think that’s the best way of describing it. The car is pretty compact, there are no rear seats just the driver and passenger seat so driving the car feels like driving a go kart which is why it’s so fun. It’s not intimidating at all and right from the get-go you’ll feel very confident in the drivers seat making it a fairly easy car to drive. The car felt a bit stiff and the steering a bit heavy during normal city driving but once I was out in the open and I was able to step on it, the car felt right at home.


Whenever I used to customize my Cayman S on the Porsche website I’d make sure I would add all the cool sounding sports features like active suspension management (PASM) and torque vectoring (PTV) or say the sports exhaust system. What I realized after driving the test drive model which didn’t have any of those features is that I don’t really need them. The stock exhaust for example sounds pretty quiet when driving around normally but as soon as you give it a kick down it starts screaming. It sounds beautiful the way it is so I don’t think I want to pay an extra KD590 for the sport exhaust system. The car I drove had a horrible red interior, I mean I don’t mind red leather seats if say the rest of the interior is all black to calm it down but the model I drove had red leather everything, seats, doors dashboard, steering just red leather everywhere. Which brings me to another expensive add-on you don’t need, a full blown leather interior, just stick to the leather seats. One feature I would highly recommend is an upgraded sound system. The model I drove had the stock sound system but for most of my music it just sounded too boomy. Luckily Porsche offer two different sound system upgrades, for an extra KD160 you get a slightly better BOSE sound system or do what I would do and splurge and get the Burmester high end system for an extra KD910. Expensive yes but it’s not like you can get a better sound system down the line if you’re not happy with what it originally came with.


I don’t think there was anything I didn’t like about the car. Other than the ugly interior color and the sound system, both of which are easily fixed when building your own car, I think the only other issue I had with the car was storage space. I couldn’t find a place where I could put my phone and have easy access to it. There’s space in the door but then you can’t charge it or you can charge it in the arm rest compartment but then if you get a call or you need your phone you have to open the compartment awkwardly and take out the phone. The car also doesn’t have enough space for a single piece of luggage, the front trunk is too small to fit a full sized bag and so is the rear trunk. The only kind of bag you could fit into the car is a carry on and that’s it.

I’m personally still undecided if I’d get the car or not, I’d have to test drive the F-Type Coupe once it launches in May to decide. But, in this price range the Cayman S and F-Type are still my two favorite choices. The regular Cayman starts at KD16,200 while the S version starts at KD18,300. With all the options I want the car ends up costing like KD24,000. If you want to try building your own Cayman (or any other Porsche for that matter) click [Here]

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Flying Business with FlyDubai

Post by Mark


Last week I was invited to try out FlyDubai’s business class during a short two night trip to Dubai. I hadn’t flown FlyDubai for quite some time now and I hadn’t flown their business class at all since they introduced it this past November.


Since last September FlyDubai has also been flying out of Kuwait from the Sheikh Saad Terminal (the terminal previously used by the now defunct Wataniya Airways). There are a number of advantages to this terminal over the main Kuwait International Airport. Firstly the airport is a lot more visually tasteful, it’s cleaner and it has more natural daylight coming in. It’s also smaller which means the process of checking in or landing and getting your bags is a lot quicker. For business travelers you also get a whole wing of the airport just for yourselves. The business class section of the airport consists of multiple lounges, a food area and shower rooms. The lounge looks pretty much the same from when Wataniya Airways was running it which is a good thing. If you have Diners Club or American Express you can also use this lounge even if you’re flying economy. The downside to the airport is that you don’t have a proper restaurant to eat at just a Starbucks. Also, the long term parking at Sheikh Saad Terminal is expensive costing KD5 a day while the long term parking at the regular airport is just KD2 a day. But if you don’t mind walking a bit, there is free parking across the street near the military airbase although I could imagine that filling up pretty quickly.


The business class on FlyDubai is a proper business class with large fancy seats and all the business class amenities you’d expect to find. Their business class reminded me a bit of Wataniya Airways, actually because we were flying out of Sheikh Saad Terminal the whole experience felt like flying Wataniya Airways and thats a good thing since I used to love flying with Wataniya Airways. First thing I spotted when I sat down in my seat was the bottle of Evian water. They could have used any other brand like most airlines would do, but I suspect because they really want the customers to feel this is a true business class, they went with a brand easily associated with luxury.


The seats also had power plugs and large touch screens with access to in-flight entertainment. Before take off we were also served complimentary drinks and once we were in the air we were served breakfast. Disappointingly we didn’t have a choice for breakfast and so I was stuck with yogurt and granola. On the bright side, they did have a drinks menu which includes alcohol and I have to say their Sauvignon blanc was surprisingly very good for breakfast.


After arriving to Dubai, we were shuttled to the terminal in a small bus. Once we arrived to the terminal we had our own priority pass line and within minutes we were picking up our luggage. A very smooth and quick process.


Leaving Dubai is where I thought I would have an issue. The reason I used to dislike flying with FlyDubai is because their airport in Dubai (Terminal 2) used to be the saddest airport ever, like worse than the Kuwait Airport even. But since the last time I flew with Dubai their airport has gone through a major overhaul. The airport looks a lot better now, theres more seating and there’s also more options for food with Paul open there as well as Costa and Subway. Definitely a much more pleasant experience and from what I’m told there is still more work being done.

I started flying with FlyDubai because they usually had the cheapest tickets to Dubai and I would guess it was like that with a lot of other people. This is why FlyDubai has to work twice as hard to build their business class brand and reputation. They want people to realize that although their economy class has no frills, their business class is a completely different experience. It’s why I was invited to fly with them, to help spread the word about this. Their business class ticket prices seem pretty competitive, I just checked tickets to Dubai this weekend and the cheapest business class ticket Emirates had was KD362 while FlyDubai was KD173. Thing is they fly to a ton of other destinations other than Dubai and I would imagine their business class prices would be competitive on all the routes as well. So overall, FlyDubai’s business class is pretty damn good.

Update: I was just informed there is actually a Chili’s Express and other coffee shops on the 2nd floor of the airport before checking in.

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Review: Hidden Hotel – Paris

Post by Mark

hidden hotel exterior

Last year when I went to Paris I ended up staying at the trendy Le Citizen Hotel which I loved. This year though when I went back during the holidays I ended up staying at another trendy hotel called Hidden Hotel.

hidden hotel interior

Hidden Hotel is a boutique hotel located near the Arc de Triomphe and a few streets away from Champs-Élysées. Being close to the Champs-Élysées really wasn’t the selling point for me but what did interest me was the fact that the George V metro line that was located at the end of Champs-Élysées was just a 10 to 15 minute walk from the hotel. The street the hotel was located on was very quiet and the same applied to all the streets from the hotel to Champs-Élysées. Not that there weren’t any cafes or restaurants all along the way, it just seems majority of the tourists do not wander out of Champs-Élysées into the adjacent side streets for some reason.

hidden hotel interior

The hotel had a very earthy feel to it. All the materials used inside the hotel and the rooms were made of natural wood or stone giving it a very organic all natural feel. They had four different sized rooms to choose from, the Intuition, Emotion, Sensation and Exception. The Intuition was the smallest room they had while the Exception was their super large one. I ended up staying in the Sensation.

hidden hotel room

When you first walk into the room it splits up into two main sections, on the right hand side you had the sleeping area with a fairly large flat screen TV, a desk and a small seating area while on the left hand side you had the closet area and bathroom. Both sides of the room are practically the same size and both sides of the room had large windows which brought in a lot of natural daylight. My room was located on the top floor of the hotel and overlooked a lot of other rooftops. I would sleep with the blinds open and loved waking up in the morning and watching it rain outside while I cozied up in bed.

hidden hotel interior

I found the bathroom very spacious and it was probably my favorite part of the room. The toilet itself was in a small separate room but the sink and shower area were open to the rest of the space. There was complimentary breakfast included along with two separate breakfast areas to dine in. The hotel is spread out into two building next to each other. I think one building contains the large Exception rooms while the other building contained the other rooms. The building I was staying in had cold cuts, cheese and fruits kind of breakfast while the building next door had the more traditional omelets, crepes and pastries breakfast. I could have breakfast in whichever building I wanted and having the choice was good. The customer service at the reception was friendly and very one on one. It’s mainly why I prefer staying at small boutique hotels compared to larger ones.

hidden hotel interior

My only gripe with my stay was with the bed. Although the room had a large king sized bed it was in fact two beds stuck to each other. I hate that since I always end up uncomfortably in the middle. Other than that there really isn’t anything I didn’t like. The room had a safe, hair dryer and lots of power sockets. The internet was fast, the TV had English channels and practically every night when I came back to the room I found goodies waiting for me like chocolates, cookies and even jam. If you do end up staying at the hotel make sure you pass by Café Latéral one night. It’s a typical French style cafe near the hotel filled with mostly locals and a great atmosphere. For more information on the hotel you can check out their website[Here]

Note: The first image in this post is taken from Hidden Hotel

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Pizzeria Amami

Post by Mark


Pizzeria Amami used to be located in Salmiya near AUK and behind Smash Burger, but last week they moved to a new location in Symphony Mall. I hadn’t tried the place until earlier today when I passed by for lunch with a friend of mine.

The place was empty and quiet so we picked a table near the window overlooking the Gulf Road. Once we sat down an Italian waitress came up to us with the menus. From what I could tell everybody working there was Italian which was a great first impression. The menu on the other hand was fairly disappointing being just A4 sheets of paper printed and then enclosed in transparent plastic. Mine was all bent and it just looked very cheap. The waitress recommended us the Parmigiana di Melanzane to start with which was fried eggplant with cheese and tomato sauce. I also ended up ordering the closest thing to a simple mushroom pizza I could find on the menu which was a pizza called Capricciosa containing, tomato sauce, mozzarella, mushrooms, olives and artichoke (I asked them not to include the artichoke). The waitress asked me if I wanted fresh mozzarella with my pizza and I figured the alternative was frozen mozzarella or something so I said yes. Once the bill arrived later I realized by fresh mozzarella she meant extra cheese on my pizza. Not cool but it must have been a lost in translation moment.


The first thing that arrived was the Parmigiana di Melanzane starter. Although the presentation wasn’t appealing the dish did taste better than it looked. But, I’d still order something else next time since it tasted more like a pizza topping than a standalone starter. Our main dishes arrived once we were done, my pizza was pretty big and looked delicious. I was hesitant to ask the waitress for ketchup since I know it’s usually frowned upon at Italian pizzerias but turns out they didn’t have any issues with ketchup and I was able to get a bottle. The pizza was good although I found it pretty heavy the rest of the day. I left there feeling like I had eaten something very unhealthy but I think that had to do with the fact my pizza had all the extra cheese on it which I hadn’t asked for (I should have said no to fresh mozzarella).


My biggest issue with the place was with their prices. My pizza cost KD5.5 while my friends Penne Al Formaggio (cheese pasta) cost KD6. With two mains, the starter, three soft drinks and 750fils for the extra cheese, the bill came out to KD19.250. The pizza barely makes it into my top 5 favorite pizzas in Kuwait ranking, maybe at #5 so combine that with the restaurants atmosphere and interior which was bland and the total experience just wasn’t worth it for me. If you’re interested in trying out the place they’re located on the Mezzanine floor of Symphony Mall in Salmiya [Map]. They’re open daily from noon till 11PM except for Fridays when they open a bit later at 2PM. Their phone number is 25770733 but the waitress told me it will only be active from next week.

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Koryokwan Korean Restaurant

Post by Mark


Koryokwan is a Korean restaurant that’s been around since the early 80s. They’re considered to be one of the best and even provide the catering for Korean embassy events which is how I found out about them. This past saturday when I passed by the Korean embassy for their lunar new year’s they had the catering from Koryokwan (The Korean embassy in Kuwait by the way has to be the most beautiful embassy I’ve ever been to anywhere). So anyway, I didn’t end up eating at the embassy that day but I did pass by Koryokwan a few days ago to try them out.

Koryokwan is located on the ground floor of the very old Carlton Hotel in Kuwait City. It’s a 3-star hotel that was refurbished awhile back but the building still looks really old from the outside. The interior of Koryokwan on the other hand is just beautiful, one of those places where once you enter you feel like you’re no longer in Kuwait. I actually had the same feeling when I first visited the now defunct Singarea Korean restaurant in Dajeej. I used to love that place and it’s why I ended up mostly being disappointed with Koryokwan. Lets begin with the interior of Koryokwan, even though it looked amazing they had regular English radio music playing and CNN on TV. If this was Singarea for example they would have had either Korean music playing or some strange Korean soap opera on TV. I also found the prices of the dishes expensive. The soups started at around KD4.5 and the main courses at around KD6 and up. That’s 5-star hotel prices which is expected when you’re at a 5-star hotel and getting 5-star service like at Peacock or a restaurant at the Sheraton but this wasn’t the case here. Service was similar to a casual dine in restaurant and it wasn’t that great. Our order for example arrived in this order: Main course followed by our rice 5 minutes later and then followed by our soup. I went there specifically for one dish, the fried chicken with chili sauce and I liked it but you can’t really judge the food on just one dish.

The place is definitely worth trying out but mostly for the experience of trying something new. If you’re interested in passing by they’re open from 10AM to 3PM and then again from 5PM to 10:30PM. They’re located in the Carlton Hotel [Map] and their phone number is 22452759 or 99608277.

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