About Esme Vos

Esme Vos is the founder of Mapplr, a travel site featuring boutique hotels, luxury resorts, travel guides and restaurant reviews. You can find her on and Twitter.

Kyoto shopping recommendations 2015

kyoto shopping

Just back from Japan with the latest Kyoto shopping recommendations! Here’s where to shop in Kyoto for Imabari towels, makeup brushes, organic skin care,  tea, incense and room wear. (1) Iori for Imabari towels Once you have used Imabari towels, you’ll never go back to your old towels. I was converted to the famous towels […]

Why Uber succeeds: taxis, breach of trust and democracy

uber

I started using Uber only this year, after becoming so fed up with taxis in many cities I’ve lived in and visited around the world. Let me explain my conversion as simply as I can. When I get into a taxi, I expect all of the following: (1) clean passenger seats with functioning seat belts; […]

The Nadler Soho: still my London favorite

The Nadler soho

The Nadler Soho remains my favorite hotel in London. I wrote about The Nadler in 2013 and on a visit to London two weeks ago, I had a chance to reevaluate my earlier review. The good news is The Nadler Soho is even better this time around. I found the staff more attentive and helpful. The […]

Mekong Riverview Hotel: oasis of peace in Luang Prabang

luang prabang hotel

This is a review of the Mekong Riverview Hotel in Luang Prabang, Laos, where I stayed in January 2015. This is the hotel I would come back to if I find myself in Luang Prabang again. Here are the reasons why I love this hotel: (1) It is located on the quietest, most secluded part of […]

Top ski hotels in Switzerland

luxury hotel zermatt

Mapplr’s selection of top ski hotels in Switzerland Riffelalp Resort: luxury hotel high up in the Swiss Alps (Zermatt) Hotel Bellevue des Alpes in Kleine Scheidegg: grand hotel in the shadow of the Eiger The Lodge: Sir Richard Branson’s mountain retreat in Verbier, Switzerland (the ultimate in ski lodge luxury) Hotel Matthiol: cozy modern luxury […]

Top ski hotels in France

top ski hotels in france

If you are headed for the ski slopes in France and you still haven’t figured out where to stay, check out our list of the top ski hotels in France. Hameau Albert 1er: luxury hotel with Michelin star restaurant in Chamonix, France (top choice in Chamonix) Alpaga Hotel (Megeve) Le Chalet Zannier (Megeve) Hotel Koh-i Nor […]

Top ski hotels in Italy

top ski hotels in italy

Here is our list of the top ski hotels in Italy (in Corvara, Madonna di Campiglio, San Cassiano and more). Some of these hotels are family-owned (such as Hotel La Perla Corvara, our favourite in the Alta Badia region), which means you’ll get a lot of personal attention and excellent service. Hotel La Perla Corvara […]

The Thief Hotel Oslo: beautiful design, great location

thief hotel oslo

The Thief Hotel Oslo is a fantastic place to stay because of its gorgeous interior (and exterior) design and its location, a new district called Tjuvholmen, which is still a short walking distance from the center of Oslo. Tjuvholmen has a 2-kilometre seafront (which is pedestrian and bike-friendly) with numerous restaurants and cafes, and the […]

Japan tax free items now include cosmetics, food and beverages

japan

As of 1 October 2014, tourists in Japan can get a tax refund for cosmetics, skin care, food and beverage (e.g. sake) purchases in department stores and other shops offering tax-free shopping. This is big news for tourists who come to Japan to buy high-end Japanese cosmetics brands such as Shiseido, Cle de Peau, Lunasol, […]

Norwegian Air Shuttle 787 Dreamliner: Oakland, California to Oslo

norwegian air shuttle

This is a review of a Norwegian Air Shuttle flight in August 2014 from Oakland, California to Oslo, Norway, specifically the Premium Economy cabin and services. Norwegian began flying from Oakland airport in California to Oslo and Stockholm this year. Although it is a “discount” airline, Norwegian flies the latest Boeing 787 Dreamliner, unlike traditional […]