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Ibis Styles Ambassador Seoul Yongsan (Seoul, South Korea)

5 Case Rating
Location The hotel is located in the area of Yongsan, not far from the centre of Seoul. It is two stops by train to Seoul main train station. For Incheon airport it takes by taxi around 1.5hours, but they do offer a bus service outside hotel that costs around 12k Won & takes same time. This hotel is located alongside many others such as Mercure and Novotel inside the Seoul Dragon City- a sort of small mall of which is on level 2 of the hotel. Brand new complex. Within walking distance is the Electronic centre of Seoul, told it was the cheapest place to buy everything electrical. There is also shops & restaurants in the vicinity. Room The room was fun - themed with the retro game Space invader as shown the back wall. Very colourful energising decor and brand new and spotless since hotel only opened on October 1st this year. It is quite a small room in terms of Asian standards but not poky like Japan. A very comfortable bed with a nice soft mattres topper and premium bedding. Slept very well. Conveniently either side are touch button light controls on small bed side tables with the bed frame offering in built flexi-reading lamps. USB sockets and international plugs are also both sides. Facing the bed is a large SamsungTV with over 40 DTV channels, these include mostly news, sport, kids and drama from Korea but international TV from Russia, Germany, Japan, Middle east and China. There are some English language TV such as Euro news, Fox & some US movie channels. There is a small working desk and lamp- plenty of plugs, a small coffee table and stool. The bathroom is somewhat open plan but with frosted glass cubicles for the shower and toilet. The wash-let toilet is high tech. Shower works well with rain and detachable head. Full set of amenities that includes generous tubes from Derma centric spa, plus dental kits etc. The sink is on a unit within room with plenty of mirrors that had a kettle and plenty of sachets on top. Below is a laptop size safe, a mini fridge with two complimentary bottles of water offered. There is also a tall wardrobe, behind a mirror so quite hidden but there are robes & slippers offered. Digital AC worked well and the room offered a fantastic view of the city landscape of Seoul. Overall a very nice room and most certainly the best IBIS product I have seen in the world. Facilities The hotel offers no password fast WIFI that worked very well for multiple devices. There is a large dining room with an extensive buffet for breakfast. I must say I was very impressed with the standard of food, a lot of offer both hot and cold, Asian and Western with the quality of food being very of a high standard and far better breakfast than hotel's I have stayed at in neighbouring China or Japan. There is also a very colourful bar in the lobby. As mentioned the second floor is a mini sort of mall with clothing shops, hair dressers, pharmacies and other vendors. There is a gym in which has really only cardio equipment, its seems not complete as in a large room but mostly empty but still plenty of cardio machines on offer. The hotel also offers the standard Korean Sauna with hot and cold baths. Very clean and nice. Separate sauna rooms for men and women. Staff The staff are approachable and nice, the reception lady was exceptional helpful with directions for Lotte tower. Check-in and Check out was also smooth. The standard of service was very good. The hotel is very new, very clean and fun- more family than luxury but it is by far the best Ibis hotel I have ever stayed at. Nice room, very high standard of breakfast and pleasant staff, will certainly return again if I return to Seoul.
[geo_mashup_map enable_scroll_wheel_zoom="false"] South Korea, Seoul, Yongsan-gu, 청파로20길 95
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Park Inn by Radisson Davao (Davao City, Philippines)

3 Case Rating
Location Hotel is located around 10 minutes drive from airport. To the centre of Davao it is around 15 min by taxi. The location is right next to a large mall and has a dedicated walkway tunnel to get to it. There are various fast food places & shops in the mall. However lacking any interesting stores or places to eat. Room The room was superior on the highest floor. It was a more spacious room that included a large king size bed that was quite firm. Either side bed side tables and one local plug socket. Reading lamps above plus a telephone and an alarm clock. Facing the bed is a large TV in which has limited cable channels with many channels on system but unable to access since they were not tuned in or someone forgot to pay bill. The room also offered a small sofa, large desk and chair, a mini bar fridge with items such as kit kats and drinks. Within the wardrobe is a laptop size safe and includes a robe and complimentary slippers. The bathroom was spacious but the shower cubicle is quite filthy and has dispenser dove soap as well as small amenity items. They include two complimentary bottles of water. I was presented with a room with no towels and had to call housekeeping with no apology offered. Overall the room has Park Inn decor with the signature nice lighting but unfortunately there were noticeable scrapes on the walls, poor paint job in some areas especially the bathroom and in generally disappointing in comparison to other Park Inn I have stayed at. It is ok value for money though and the room is functional for the business traveller but the room is not luxurious. Facilities The hotels offers secure WIFI for free and generally worked ok. There is a restaurant in the lobby but I didn't use. Breakfast though was provided and was quite nice. A pool is offered and gym but again didn't use. Parking is available. Staff Staff as everywhere in the Philippines are very nice and welcoming and had no complaints about the service.
[geo_mashup_map enable_scroll_wheel_zoom="false"] J.P. Laurel Avenue next to SM Lanang Premier Mal, Agdao, Davao City, 8000 Davao del Sur, Philippines
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Richmond Hotel Premier Tokyo Oshiage (Tokyo, Japan)

5 Case Rating
Location Hotel is located about 1 min walk from Oshiage station. This connects via the access express train from Narita and Haneda airports and takes less than one hour from each. Tokyo station is about 10 minutes away. Tokyo Skytree and shopping mall is only a few minutes walk from hotel. There are many shops, restaurants and some bars in close vicinity. A large supermarket is on ground floor of hotel. Overall a great location. Room The room on the top floor was of good size (for Japan), spotlessly clean, new with sophisticated decor with an air of premium ambiance. Very comfortable double bed especially the pillows. Easy to access plug sockets and light controls with dimmer functions all located on a handy ledge built into frame. Convenient place for a phone. Large TV faces bed and is multi-functional with even free VOD with both western & foreign movies, a nice extra to offer since most hotels in Japan charge. A modern desk is offered with a helpful plug adaptor with cables for all phones. A air purifier machine is on top of desk along with telephone and personal mirror. There is a small chair & coffee table plus cabinet with an empty fridge and some glasses. Amenities offered include a small water in the shape of the Tokyo skytree & not to take away hotel branded pyjamas. The room also has a window with a view that has a door can be slightly opened for fresh air. There is also a laptop size safe, trouser press with iron and ironing board. The bathroom is typical Japanese style with short deep bath and combined shower that worked well. Full set of amenities such as razor and toothbrush plus a shampoo shower gel by the brand - global environmental protection project, in which they also sell products at reception. Overall a very comfortable & functional premium business hotel room in Tokyo. Facilities The hotel offers free high speed wifi. There is a restaurant near the lobby but did not use. Smoking room, touch screen computers, laundry and various vending machines are in the hotel on various floors. Staff Staff very friendly and efficient. However you cannot check in before 2pm for free. You have pay thousand yen per hour from 11am & staff would not budge on this. Appears to be the policy of the Richmond hotels. However check-in and check-out was efficient and polite. I definitely would stay here again, loved the location and room was very comfortable.
[geo_mashup_map enable_scroll_wheel_zoom="false"] 1 Chome-10-3 Oshiage, Sumida-ku, Tōkyō-to 131-0045, Japan
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Dorsett Mongkok (Kowloon, Hong Kong)

4 Case Rating
Location Dorsett is situated about 5-10 minute walk from the Olympic metro station in Mong Kok. One stop to Kowloon whereby you can connect to all areas of the city. Located on quite a busy road of which there are many small bars, restaurants, pharmacies and convenience stores located nearby. The hotel does have a free pick up and drop off service to some locations. Room My room on 12th floor was quite compact but with a view. Large mirrors and glass cabinets make up most off the decor. Not exactly cosy but functional. The firm double bed was harder than expected but does offer flexible reading lights offered on both sides of frame. There is one bedside table with a phone with one local plug socket. Bed faces a small glass cabinet unit in which was ok for shirts but not for full length items such as suits or dresses- since it is short. The unit offers a desk area but quite congested with many items on top of it, such as a kettle, an alarm clock with old iPhone socket charging capabilities & the mobile wifi charging station. There is a refrigerator with some mini bar items. There is also a laptop size easy to use safe & facing the bed is the TV. The TV is a bit grainy but offering 32 channels - these include a good balance of movie channels, international news networks such as BBC, Australian and RT plus many local channels. The bathroom is in a glass unit within room, it is quite small & open though glass is frosted. Exceptionally powerful Shower offers both rain and hose versions. Amenities offered are generous sized personal bottles of shower gel, shampoo & body lotion as well as dental kits. The room also has slippers, and in bedside drawers is a helpful plug adaptor and hair dryer. Room has a decent dial AC unit that worked well and overall room was fine, not say premium but good value for money & for the most part clean. Facilities Free open high speed wifi that worked well. The unique feature of this hotel is the personal hot spot mobile wifi phone unit that can be used out and about with your phone/tablet able to connect to wifi without any restrictions. This helpful android based device also offers a a guide to local restaurants, entertainment and shopping with google maps integrated. A nice item but don't loose it. The hotel does have a restaurant but didn't use. There is a small gym as well. Staff Staff offer a good service at this hotel. Good level of enthusiasm & quite efficient. Overall a decent enough budget Hong Kong hotel that actually offers good value for Kowloon. However it is not that comfortable, cosy or premium but is functional for a short stay business traveller. The mobile wifi unit is a really a great unique amenity and great to travel about the city with without racking up using your own data roaming charges.
[geo_mashup_map enable_scroll_wheel_zoom="false"] 88 Tai Kok Tsui Rd, Tai Kok Tsui, Hong Kong
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Bastion Hotel Eindhoven (Eindhoven, Holland)

3 Case Rating
Location The bastion Eindhoven is located about 2.5 miles from the Eindhoven city centre, about one hour walk away. Brand new hotel in a pretty dull business park but close to the major highways. There is nothing to walk to as the area is mostly residential, just a supermarket down the road. The hotel was visited in June 2017, and was brand new. Room My room was on the first floor. I requested a higher floor due to building site below but told was only 1st floor operating as hotel was only 6 days old. However the room was quite spacious & due to being new was very fresh and clean. Two twin beds with small tables either side. Lighting good with lamps & flexi reading lights attached to bed frame. Plus a back wall light that creates a good mellow atmosphere. There is a old Dutch photo picture behind bed that looks a little haunting with people at the turn of the century. TV faces bed, nice flat screen with various channels from region including BBC tv. Small magimix expresso machine on slim desk in front. A relaxing arm chair with foot stall is to the side. Open wardrobes and small safe is offered but not sufficient for a small laptop. The bathroom is quite spacious with a powerful shower. The hotel only offers a small tube of shampoo simple hotel brand. Towels are quite thin as well. Overall room is comfortable and new but AC was not working despite digital display so felt warm throughout my stay in Summer, plus windows cannot be opened. Being new the main door awkwardly screamed like a dying cat every time you close it creating quite an embarrsing noise heard loudly down corridor. It's a business hotel room but is not that functional, not enough desk space to work on a computer etc. Facilities The brand new hotel is still being built, the car park has not even been properly finished. Lots of building mess gets on your shoes and resulting in dirty public areas. Obviously this will be resolved but perhaps they opened too early. Free working WIFI in which worked well. There is a bar and restaurant. Breakfast is fourteen euros in which I felt was extortionate compared to other hotels I have stayed at on his trip so didn't try. They also have a smoking lounge, a pool table, a sort of gym offering only two cardio machines. A pricey vending machine for drinks is offered in lobby where a bottle of water costs nearly three euros. Staff Reception staff were mixed, male staff welcome was little unenthusiastic. When asked how far to walk to city, simply told I have no idea I don't live here. One expects staff to know basic knowledge of how far the centre of city is. The housekeeping staff are also poorly skilled. Both days got woken up at 8am. First by staff simply walking in room (they don't have any Do not disturb signs on doors) then 2nd day by shouting down the corridor and hoovering. So one doesn't need an alarm clock! Saying that female staff on check-out was concerned about how my stay was and seemed to care by noting these issues down.
[geo_mashup_map enable_scroll_wheel_zoom="false"] Laan van Diepenvoorde 30, 5582 LA Waalre, Netherlands
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Lasenta Boutique Hotel Hoian (Hoi An, Vietnam)

5 Case Rating
Location The hotel is located just outside (2km) of Hoi An. It's a good 10-15min easy flat road cycle ride (they rent bikes for free) to the centre. They also offer a free shuttle at specific times to both the centre and the local beach where they have a restaurant. Close-by hotel are a few coffeeshops, restaurants and bar. Room The 7th floor boutique suite is quite a spacious room with a high roof ceiling & balcony. The soft comfortable double bed is in the centre of the room and has bed side tables with warm mellow lamps either side with plug sockets. The bed faces a large double door leading to a balcony with a view of the city. Behind the bed is a desk area, some seats and the mini bar with another window that faces the rice paddies on other side of hotel thru the exterior corridor. To the right hand side of bed is a sofa, separate chair with a coffee table plus a large wardrobe containing an easy to use lap top size safe & soft towel robes. There is also a luggage rack with very comfortable flip flops to use but not take away. To the left of bed is a dressing up table with mirror The TV is located on the side of bed, of which can be moved between bed or sofa, on offer is 40 channels. These include international satellite TV from NHK, FOX to Discovery etc. The open plan bathroom offers two sinks with a separate room for toilet and the very comfortable bath and separate shower. A nice view of city and surrounding area is seen from the modern bath but the window is not tinted so be wary. Amenities are all hotel branded mini bottles of shower gel, shampoo, conditioner and body lotion plus dental and shaver kits. The AC worked well and is digital. Overall a very nice comfortable and cosy room. Facilities The hotel offers open wifi and works fast for multiple devices. Catering options include a restaurant on ground level and this is where breakfast and dinner is served. Breakfast has some good options and food tasted good especially local dish Cam Lau. Dinner I didn't have because they have a set menu but it's a minimum of two people to have it of which means single guests either pay double or go elsewhere like I did. There is also a bar on the pool level & room service of which is mostly western comfort food. The pool is really nice with sun loungers that has a very picturesque setting facing the rice paddies across the street. There is also a gym and on ground level is the spa. The spa is reasonably priced with good skilled staff. I had a traditional Vietnamese and it was incredible. There is also a clothes shop, an area for kids and some computers to use. Hotel offers free bicycle hire of which is a great way to explore this historic city. Overall very nice offering of facilities. Staff Staff are very friendly and enthusiastic in all area and offers a great service with a smile. I loved the Lasenta and if I'm back in Hoi An again, I will surely stay there again. Reasonably priced and it's actually nice to be slightly out of the town centre in a quieter area since it is a very busy in city centre with tourists.
[geo_mashup_map enable_scroll_wheel_zoom="false"] 57 Lý Thường Kiệt, Cẩm Châu, Hội An, Quảng Nam 560000, Vietnam
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Scenic Hotel Auckland (Auckland, New Zealand)

4 Case Rating
Location Located on Queens st. right in centre of downtown Auckland. Comedy clubs, restaurants, bars, cinema and shops - all right outside. From the airport it takes 30-40 min. A convenient sky bus to airport, stops right outside and costs about 32NZD return. Room Room on the top floor was cosy and of good size offering a kitchenette with sink and microwave plus plates and glasses. There is also a kettle and generous selection of tea & coffee. Two arm chairs, coffee table and also a small desk table is offered. A large TV on a movable table is offered with 9 cable channels. It doesn't however face the bed unless you move the table it's on (room 813). The smallish double bed was comfy and offered small bedside tables with lamps. Local plug sockets available on one side. A large wardrobe faces the bed and contains a ironing board, umbrella and laptop size safe. The small bathroom has a shower cubicle with small bottle amenities from a local organic brand. There is digital AC and the room was quiet. Overall a decent cost effective room in centre of Auckland. Facilities The hotel offers free fast wifi for multiple devices. There are two Apple computers in lobby but they charge for internet use. There is a cafe/bar/restaurant in which a buffet breakfast is offered but at a fee. There is also happy hour lunch and dinner for drinks. Food is ok but quite pricey for what it is. Guest laundry machine is offered with complimentary powder in the room. Staff Staff are very accommodating at check-in. Welcoming and managed to find me a room earlier than check-in starts which was nice. The staff in cafe are a bit slow and not as warm. Overall Auckland is expensive for accommodation close to centre, whilst Scenic is not a five star hotel it offers a cosy reasonable priced room with the location being the benefit, especially for Skybus stop for transport to/from airport.
[geo_mashup_map enable_scroll_wheel_zoom="false"] 380 Queen St, Auckland, 1010, New Zealand
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Austria – Innsbruck City (Innsbruck)

Holland – The Hague City (Scheveningen, The Hague)

Australia – Brisbane Aerial View (Brisbane)

Peru – Lima Bar (Barranco)

Tanzania – Zanzibar Stone Town (Nungwi)

USA – Boston Skyline (Boston)

Best Western Atlantis Hotel (Melbourne, Australia)

4 Case Rating
Location Located in one of the business districts of Melbourne close to city centre , located not far about 5 minutes walk to Sky bus which goes to Melbourne airport (RTN 32AUS). There is also Southern Cross train station, Cole supermarkets, Hungry jacks and Subway outlets all very close to hotel. To drive from MEL airport it takes around 35 minutes. Room The room was simple ,white wall decor, slightly grubby on edges but still fairly spacious. Just had no character to the ambience. But offered functionality. The bed was comfortable of medium firmness offering adequate pillows. Either side are two glass top bed side tables, one with a phone and the other an alarm clock. Light switches that are spot lights above are offered each side. This is a small sofa seat on one side and a wardrobe on the other- this includes a Ironing board plus plenty of coat hangers. A large luggage rack exists as well. Facing bed is a large TV that offered 28 DTV channels some local some American TV series. There is also a DVD player offered underneath. Next to this is a working desk also with a phone and a few AUS plug sockets. No desk light but overhead lights. In the corridor is a small mirror area with plugs - below is a empty mini bar- just sachets of milk to accompany the tea and coffee with kettle on one of the side shelves. There is also an iron there. The bathroom was of adequate size but offering very basic amenities - only x2 soaps, shampoo and conditioner. Would be nice if they offered shower gel instead. Good selection of towels though. Overall for the price the room was functional and good it just felt a bit clinical and dull. Such as no lamps etc. They could also offer better functional amenities. Facilities WIFI is free but only for 3 items up to 1000mb only - otherwise there are chargeable options. Not sure if hotel offers any business facilities. However leisure included a decent size indoor pool, dry sauna and decent sized gym - did not use any but appeared clean. Catering did not try but menu is presented in room. The last order is at 915ppm and breakfast at 1030am. They charge 3 AUS for any room service. food is all Italian pasta and appetisers, but breakfast does offer a good selection of dishes such as Egg Benedict- prices range from 8-30AUS. Parking is available at the hotel inside same building with in/out privileges at 15 AUS a day. Staff Staff explained very little detail at check-in, simply asked for passport but could of explained WIFI or offer some degree of enthusiasm with service. No facilities were mentioned and service couldn't have been more robotic and lacking in detail. Overall this was reasonably priced hotel with a pool and parking. However it has got a poor vibe and room is simply so dull than even Ibis appears more exciting. I would likely try somewhere else in Melbourne.
[geo_mashup_map enable_scroll_wheel_zoom="false"] 300 Spencer St, Melbourne, Victoria 3000, Australia
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Belgium – Canals (Brugge)

Belgium – Market Square (Brugge)

Belgium – Sights (Brussels)

China – City (Chongqing)

Four Dutch Cities In Summer

  Leaving Amsterdam for day in Utrecht and Rotterdam By Train So during June & July, my flights took me to the enjoyable small country of Holland. I flew twice times this summer to Amsterdam all for about 24 hours or less. I also took a long drive to Maastricht from Frankfurt airport but ending up spending an evening there only. Though I was staying in Amsterdam due to my flights, I decided I wanted to spend the day exploring new cities. I choose Rotterdam and Utrecht. The country is so small both the cities are less then 30 minutes away by train from Schiphol airport. On top of that the Dutch rail networks are so convenient and as I discovered in Rotterdam, that the station was unexpectedly, one of the most interesting station I have been to My first trip though was a visit Maastrict, a place I have visited many times before in my late teens since I had Germans friends living closeby across the border. We used to go there and enjoy what Holland has to offer and have always oved this old romantic cobbled street city that feels nothing like Amsterdam. This time I flew into Frankfurt and decied to get to Maastraict by driving thru a very rainy Luxembourg, the adrenes forest and ending up at my hotel/suites by evening time. Despite going off topic from Holland, I wanted to see one new country and that was Luxembourg somewhere that I would not have the opportunity to visit with my job. This super small country was struggle on the day I went since it was pouring with rain and hard to see much of the sights, plus parking was a nightmare. However, I did see a amazing looking building, Luxembourg Bank and the famous Adolphe bridge. Luxembourg - Luxembourg Bank Building Luxembourg - Adolphe Bridge There are some nice building and city seemed very clean, it felt very much like being in parts of France and Belgium but nothing like Holland or Germany. I spent little time there because of the weather. So its one place I need to go back to (though not in a hurry). I continued my drive through Belgium into the Ardennes regions. Being a big fan of the TV series “Band of Brothers” I decided to do a quick stop in the village of Foy where the infamous Battle of Foy happened that took many American and German lives. It is featured in this series as one of the biggest battle scenes. Deep in the Ardennes Foy offers beautiful countryside somewhat similar to England with a large forest. Along the main road there is a statue for those Americans of 101st Airborne Division that died there. belgium-foy-band-of-brothers-memorial My understanding is that it was agift to the village by Tom Hanks. I also ventured into the nearby forest and saw some holes that looked quite clearly like they were former trenches. It had an eairy feeling of darkness of war that occurred here, plus made me some reflective thoughts of where we are in the world today. [gallery type="slideshow" ids="6926,6927"] Anyway by around 8pm following the road parallel to the Meuse river without time to stop in Liege I finally arrived at my hotel, which was more of a b and b suites place but in relaxing garden setting right on the river. My first encounter was a request of a taking a photo of a couple that just got engaged. Once I finally unpacked and drove into Maastricht everything was shut, apart from a few bars and restaurant. Since parking was also a pain, if you don’t want to pay, I had to walk quite far away but this gave me the chance to just walk around this old quiet university city. The interesting cobbled old squares mixed in with cosy little terrace house, gave a romantic feel. As I said I didn’t spend long but did take a couple of snaps. It’s a city that feel totally different to all the others. For one its more old, stonewall with a cross mix of border culture, since Germany and Belgium are very close. It looks like a nice place to live and the river enhanced that. Despite such a short time, I had a beer and some dinner, spoke to some people and found whilst everyone was polite and blunt, it had that north/south divide like in England, more reserved and slight air of snobbiness compared to these other Dutch cities I saw in the North this summer. [gallery type="slideshow" ids="6928,6929,6930,6931"] My second city was Rotterdam and I really did not know what to expect, the Dutch cabin crew on an Asian airline highlighly recommended I visit a market that has these unique cubed apartments. These were kind of ugly but artistic at the same time, the yellow colour looked a bit gross. With the windows formed downwards it did give wonders on how the set up is inside. Imaginations such as lying on a pillow on the windows facing down must be an interesting perspective if some are set up like that.  Just below are really nice bars to have refreshing beer. holland-rotterdam-cube-houses Rotterdam, being the largest port in Europe is very industrial, large office building tower over the many canals and rivers and first impressions or perhaps the way the route I took was certainly not much historical buildings or cosy cobbled streets houses, like in Masstrict which is why some people have described Rotterdam to me as the ‘Dutch Ghetto” . I was only there on a beautiful sunny day and walked about, mainly in search to get to the tallest tower, since I love to see a city from above. holland-rotterdam-art holland-rotterdam-river However I found the city to be unexpectedly very cool, and why because of the random and amazing art works found on the walls, statues and even the large park with some strange unusual sculptures. All this instantly made this dull industry look of a city an adventure as to what new art would be found around the corner etc. Its retro and its iconic. [gallery type="slideshow" ids="6935,6936,6937,6938,6939"] After finally arriving at Euromast, it looked a bit disappointing in terms of size since it looks a lot bigger when your not up close to it. Measuring 95 metres it looks dull but in someways iconic, it is sort of an old retro building, since an 80 year old Dutch man sitting next to me on flight from china said he watched it being built, while studying for his degree in the park below. holland-rotterdam-euromast Its cost about 10 Euros for an adult which overall was reasonable- you get to standard floor where to walk around and take photos but its not very high. The lift then takes you up to the top though never stops, it has seating and revolves around slowly going up and down also slow to the top and back a few times giving you a full 360 perspective from your seat- the first I have seen in the many tall towers I have visited.This meant you could really enjoy the view without moving and taking it all in – this huge port and seemingly large unnoticed from the ground, green parks The lift ride lasts about 10 minutes. I found it relaxing and would recommend people visit it. [gallery type="slideshow" ids="6943,6942,6941"] However as an alternative when returning to the very impressive structure of the central station, which looks a bit like a landed space ship that I really taking pictures of, you cant say that about many train stations. Holland- Rotterdam Centrall Station To the side though is a tall long large wide stair case that takes you to top of a building, also 95ft. Its free to go up though and the reason for it is that it is to celebrate 75th anniversary of Rotterdam’s reconstructions following the German blitz. The view from the top is very good but its not as good as the Euromast, but still great for photos. There are tall facing office building in front so the view is not that far but does offer a great view of the station. [gallery type="slideshow" ids="6946,6947,6948,6949"] As I saw in all parts of the city, there is this baby face art pictures, which I never found out the reason but I believe it is some festival happening since some musicians also played under a large baby shaped stage not far from the station. Overall I rated Rotterdam, it was an exciting city, less congested and hectic as Amsterdam though it is very industrial, it has character that is very creative. I hope to go back and certainly visit the museum in park It was an enjoyable city to visit for a day and walk about especially in the spring summer time. Though I can imagine like Amsterdam its quite a dark place in winter. My third city is Utrecht this was on another trip and again I decided to take the train down. This is the 4th largest city in Holland and is full of history. I very picturesque place somewhat half way between Amsterdam and Maastricht in the way it looked. It is also a student city.  I really wanted to go up the Dom Church, a tall church that is 112 metres high that is suppose to have an incredibly impressive view of this city. I was very gutted I didn’t get there in time, but it means I will return next time. holland-utrecht-dom-church I had a few beers by the side of the canal and its like a relaxing Amsterdam, without the stoned tourists. The buildings are very interesting, traditional old Dutch arictechture and cobbled streets. I didn’t do that much in Utrecht other than stroll around but I liked the vibe. It was relaxing and the canals like in Amsterdam are very picturesque. [gallery type="slideshow" ids="6951,6952,6953,6954,6955,6956,6957,6958"] Back in Amsterdam in the evening is so different to all the other cities, its very nice in the summer and I used to come here frequently about 15 years ago. I’ve been to many of the main dance music festivals and the Dutch really know how to party. Amsterdam is this really. As you walk about in the evening the smell of skunk looms in the air, which is mostly from the millions of tourists there but everyone seems chilled and happy. Its just so busy but perhaps because it was  asaturday night. [gallery type="slideshow" ids="6959,6960,6961"] Such as contrast to somewhere like London, wherby in Amsterdam no one is really rushing around or looks stressed, though the vibe is certainly different in winter. I enjoyed walking about despite how busy it was. It simply the most unique city in Europe. holland-amsterdam-sunset So that was my various in/out trips of Holland this summer. I have to say I think I liked Rotterdam the best.

Capsule Hotel Rex Inn (Kawasaki, Japan)

Location This capsule hotel is located very central to the city of Kawasaki entertainment area - many pachinko places (the Japanese version of fruit machines), bars and restaurants plus across the road is a huge mall. From HND airport it takes about 15 minutes on the Keikyu Main Line, if direct. The station is Keikyū Kawasaki Station in which is about 10 minutes or so walk from the capsule hotel. As you exit into Kawasaki, you come out by a taxi stand, cross the main road and walk right for about 500 metres you will find it. The hotel is opposite a hospital if you need to ask for directions. Capsule This was my first experience in staying in a plastic capsule, mine did not have a TV but a fan. This I thought is a good idea as i can't sleep if i am too hot, but when the shutter is down it simply circulates the warm air because of lack of ventilation, though a very small and weak AC vent. In terms of space there is a small side table on one side of the wall, ideal only for a phone or small book. There is also a plug socket right next to your head! Plus a unit for dimming light and alarm clock radio. Since capsules are not allowed to be locked there is a small wooden shutter to pull down for privacy but even with fan on I felt very hot. The bedding is quite hard and the pillow was unusually hard, as it was a traditional Japanese rice pillow. My capsule was on the top row, with small steps to get down between capsules. Going to the toilet in the middle of the night is quite a challenge since it is hard to see the steps and jumping down would be noisy; likely to wake other guests. The system at the hotel works that you leave your luggage in a locker two floors up, they provide towels for the spa and a t-shirt & shorts as pyjamas. Be wary the lockers are quite small so my bag, which is the largest you can use for carry on, was hard to fit in. You cannot leave items inside your capsule unattended since they are not lockable and to avoid repeating journeys you should grab what you need with you for sleeping in one shot. I brought my laptop in the aim to do some work but it simply is too uncomfortable to use with the size of the capsule - it was ok to sleep with laptop on side against wall but I wouldn't recommending bringing much. I am not claustrophobic but definitely don't go if you are. My other advice is to bring ear plugs but if not, the hotel does sell them in the lobby shop. My whole floor of 30+ capsules seemed full and some loud snoring can make it hard to sleep. Though its excellent value for money the sleep comfort factor was not great, I simply felt too hot after about 5 hours of sleep and even after opening the shutters felt hot but it was an experience that needed to be done. Facilities The hotel offers free WIFI that worked in most places of the hotel. On every floor of the 8 storey building is a small room with sofa and TV and ever other floor has a dedicated well ventilated smoking room. The locker room have Pachinko machines (fruit machines) plus massage chairs and even washing and drying machines. Each floor also has a toilet with 2-3 washlets but for showers, its all very communal on the top floor at the traditional Japanese spa. There is a hot dry sauna with a TV inside, three pools, one freezing, great after the sauna, and others are hot with one of the two outside. For new comer westerners, be aware its all very naturist. There are many sinks around the room with showers and small seats, which offer free toothbrushes and razors, shaving gel and full large bottle of shampoo, conditioner and liquid soap. On one of the floors is a cafe that serves simple Japanese food plus vending machines. On the same room are a line of reclinable chairs in front of TV's for relaxing after a hot sauna and an area with desks to work from with a mini library, mostly manga. On the ground floor pre-reception are shoe lockers since you cannot bring your own shoes in, resulting in everyone walking around bare foot or in their own slippers. There is a small snack shop as well as items like ear plugs. Staff The staff are polite enough though they don't speak much English. The Rex Inn is really for Japanese business men sleeping off a hangover or staying at a cheaper place. Its not that foreigner friendly, there is no guide or much information given when checking in. I did feel a bit alien here since I seemed to be the only non-Japanese. However considering the guests are all in close proximity, no-one talks to each other so I guess this is cultural. However, for £22 it was very reasonable and alongside the spa offered good value for money. I doubt I will stay at here again if I was in need of a decent rest.
[geo_mashup_map enable_scroll_wheel_zoom="false"] 6-8 Ogawacho, Kawasaki-ku, Kawasaki 210-0023, Kanagawa
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