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Kaifu Jianguo Hotel (Zhengzhou, China)

3 Case Rating
Location Hotel is located right across the street from Zhengzhou airport, however you cannot walk it and need to take a shuttle bus. The city is over an hour drive away. There is very little to do outside of hotel, its just convenient for the airport. Room The room on the 4th floor had two twin beds but quite large size. Quite comfortable with easy to access plug sockets in between beds where a phone is also located plus switches for all lights. The room is quite spacious and offers a large workable desk with lamp as well as a small curved sofa and glass table. There is also a luggage rack, basic coffee making facilities and large wardrobe with safe. The room decor is ok, not spotlessly clean though and the wall paper is quite grubby with stains noticed. Light is good with large windows with view of airfield. Bathroom is of good size with a large shower cubicle - issue is the water doesn't drain very well the cubicle gains a bit of a puddle for a long while. Amenities are all hotel branded and simple. They offer 2 complimentary bottles of water. The main issue with this room is that it was very hot, the digital AC doesn't seem to go below 25C despite setting lower. It meant sleeping was hard in April when it was quite hot outside. Facilities The hotel offers free WIFI and worked well enough- multiple devices with no issue regarding VPN. There is also a business centre in the lobby. Catering includes a buffet and normal restaurant, also a lobby bar but was never open. There is according to map a SPA and also a chess room but did not see these. The building is quite nice from outside, like forbidden city style. Staff Staff seem ok, but lack much standard of English. Check-in took a while though. Overall its the best hotel closest to the airport but its not of an international standard. However convenient for airport.
[geo_mashup_map enable_scroll_wheel_zoom="false"] Xinzheng, Zhengzhou, China
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Omni Parker House (Boston, USA)

4 Case Rating
Location Hotel is located right in the centre of downtown, right next to freedom trails. Shops, bars, restaurants and everything of a downtown city is on the door step. Perfect location for tourism and business alike. From BOS airport it takes around 10 minutes. Room The room on the top floor was quite small but ok for one person. Classical style old room but clean with wooden decor and beige carpets in a historical theme. A high king size bed is offered in which was very comfortable. Either side are glass top bed side tables, each with lamp, telephone and easy-to access plug sockets built into the side of it.There was also an alarm clock set to wrong time. A wooden desk makes up one of them and is sufficient for working on a laptop, though a large mirror faces you. There is also some small basic coffee facilities. A not so comfortable armchair is also in room and this faces a corner unit that makes up the extensive mini bar. A large TV (with over 50 channels being offered) is on top but it means you annoyingly have to face it at an side view from bed. A small cupboard has a basic luggage rack, ironing board and safe with some robes and area to hang clothes. The bathroom is poky offering the typical combined bath and shower. Very dated and amenities include soaps, shampoo and body lotion from Omni hotels. Being on the top floor, room did have a view of the town hall and also offered blacked out drapes. The window can be opened. There is also a AC unit as well. The room is paper thin walls and got woken up at 3am thanks to neighbours having a party. Facilities The hotel offers a bar and restaurant set in nice grand historical decor. However did not try the food. WIFI is free if your a member of OMNI otherwise you have to pay. There is a business centre with a computer but it is not free to surf internet. Also a souvenir shop and star bucks is in the building. On the ground floor there is a historical walk with pictures plus a full modern gym. Staff Staff are mixed, reception are ok. Restaurant host was a little judgemental when asked where lobby toilet was as he assumed I wasn't a guest. Check-in took a while as behind loads of air crew in which they should have a separate check-in like most hotels- because it takes ages as they get rooms for all their crew. The hotel is in a stately home of classical and historical significance and therefore you pay for it- somewhat like boutique hotel. However for what you get room it seems a bit over priced and it was not a quiet room either. Noisy at 10pm then woken up at 3. Bring ear plugs.
[geo_mashup_map enable_scroll_wheel_zoom="false"] 60 School St, Boston, MA 02108, USA
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Pullman Hotel (Guiyang, China)

3 Case Rating
Location Right in the centre of Guiyang. From airport it takes around 20minutes by car or 12km. On road outside are local shops and banks. Room Room on 20th floor is quite spacious but unusual room for pullmans. Suffering from wear and tear and grubbiness around edges of room. There is a large king size bed, comfortable with bed side tables either side that include lamps, telephone and alarm clock with old style Apple connection. Unplugging lamps allows plug sockets built into bed frame in which are two pin. There is a nice comfortable reclinable chair with a small table. Large double windows with a nice view of the city. Facing the bed is a large unit with desk & lamp, large TV (with 70 channels including BBC, CNN and NHK) and luggage rack. There is also a kettle and some hot drink items. Large wardrobes with Pullman amenities such as yoga mat, safe, slippers etc. The bathroom is most unusual with an open plan set up with two frosted rooms, one with toilet and one with a separate unusual square bath and shower. This has a glass window into room but electronic blinds come down if you wish. In the middle is the sink plus a TV for I guess watching if you are brushing your teeth but poorly positioned to actually see, you are not able to watch from bath. Amenities are all mini bottle Co Bigelow. There is digital Ac unit as well & black out drapes. Overall the room is spacious and interesting but chipped desks and stains on walls & floor makes it not feel up to Pullman standard of cleanliness. Facilities The hotel offers free WIFI that multiple devices can be connected to and also VPN's work. A connectivity lounge or business centre is on ground floor. Catering includes a buffet restaurant and another one. Food is ok at buffet. Leisure facilties include a large olympic size indoor pool, good for lengths. A modern gym, hair salon and a spa. There is also a garden you can walk around which is quite nice outside of buffet restaurant. On the ground floor are some Chinese shops and ATM machines. Staff Staff are ok but don't speak much English. Check-in wasn't exactly warm and welcoming and not really the expectation of an international hotel like the pullmans. Overall a hotel well located if you need to be in Guiyang, however probably the most worn out Pullmans I have ever stayed at. In need of a clean. Would stay elsewhere if came again.
[geo_mashup_map enable_scroll_wheel_zoom="false"] Gong Ming Nan Huan Da Dao, Baoan Qu, Guiyang Shi, Guizhou Sheng, China, 550007
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Second Home Peru (Barranco, Peru)

4 Case Rating
Location The house is perfectly located within the vicinity of Barranco, everything is of minimal walking distance to some good restaurants, bars and a lot of street art work close to location. From Lima airport by Taxi- it takes around 40min-1hr. They use some local cab drivers in which they charge $20 for a pick up. $30 if using an airport taxi. You can walk down to the beach in 5-10 minutes. Miraflores walking is about 45 minutes. The house is on a hill cliff top and offers an amazing view from both the room and the garden of the coastline of Lima out to the Pacific Ocean. It's very relaxing to open the balcony doors and listen to the waves at night with a nice fresh sea air breeze. Room My room (3) was Ocean facing. It's initially a simple modest designed old but large room that grows on you quickly. The bed is very comfortable with a decent mattress and soft linen. Bed side table lamps either side but hard to find access to any close plug sockets. The room offers a chair, side table with two bottles of water on it, a standing fan plus overhead fan with a light directly over the bed. A tiny TV faces the bed offering local cable options and a tall wooden wardrobe. There is an open plan bathroom right inside the room with toilet and a classical old free standing Bath tub combined as a shower with curtains. Couples should be ok but sharing friends might find the open bathroom to be awkward privacy wise, since the toilet is in the same room. Amenities include some eco friendly shampoo and soaps. Decent towels. It initially feels simple comparing to what one is basically charged at the same rate as neighbouring 4 star hotels, but it warmed on me because the ambience is a unique experience. The wooden balcony doors for instance that can be opened, is great for hearing the sea air, you can even have a bath & watch the waves from it (in room 3). I was blown away by how relaxing & unique it is, just listening to the waves and observing the art in the old room was a special experience. Facilities The hotel offers free WIFI that is slightly slow but still it was available throughout the building, works for multiple devices. On my room and I believe the others have communal porch areas where you relax and watch the sea, depending where you are. Front communal balcony as well offers a some nice seats with a great view of the sea, if your not in the front ocean facing rooms. You get breakfast included in the price that is given out to you but it is quite minimal. A slice of melon, pineapple, 3 bread rolls & egg cooked to you liking. It's fresh but could be more of an offering of juices. Obviously you are staying in a art museum and the grounds have paintings and sculptures everywhere. Really nice pieces from this famous Peruvian artist. Tours can be arranged. The beautiful garden has a superb sea view. Stairs there lead to a pool a few levels down the side of the cliff. Nice refreshing pool of decent size for a private house, surrounded by art work. Very secure grounds that has a door bell system to get in the large steel door. There are also friendly animals - dog and cat, they don't hassle you & are very mellow so do not worry if your scared. Staff Staff are ok but not so efficient, booked a taxi to pick me up and one expect staff to check flight arrival time. Because I was an hour & half early from Madrid, I had to take an airport taxi. However return journey used theirs. Driver is very nice but doesn't speak much English. Hotel staff are friendly enough but its got a slight 'this is a privilege to be staying here' vibe, with a detailed rules and regulations letter you get upon arrival (like going to boarding school). However I understand they need to preserve the place, but one wouldn't get such a letter at a hotel. The check-out time is also very early at 11am, most earliest of other hotels in area, but you can use the pool and stow your baggage. Overall though try and speak Spanish since majority of staff don't speak English. I did enjoy my experience staying at an art museum and rate it as that rather than staying in hotel. You do pay for it though but the art work was worth it. Ocean facing rooms is certainly worth the upgrade.
[geo_mashup_map enable_scroll_wheel_zoom="false"] Domeyer 366, Barranco, Lima, Peru
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Radisson Blu Hotel (Addis Ababa, Ethiopia)

5 Case Rating
Location The hotel is located in the centre of the city but in a relatively quiet area. They operate an airport shuttle every 30minutes and takes about 15 minutes to/from Bole airport. To other areas of Addis Ababa like Mercado or the national museum is around 10 minutes drive away. The location is perfect for business or leisure in the city. Room The room is a nice 5 star standard room with an excellent variation of lighting and mellow ambience consisting of brown & cream leather with wooden fittings. The king size bed was super comfortable thanks to the soft mattress topper & soft pillows- hard to wake up. Either side are small side tables with above lamps as well as flexi-reading lights. One side offers a two pin Euro plug socket. There is a workable desk offering a UK and Euro plug socket, phone and lamp with an above large mirror for say doing make-up. A thick cube brown leather armchair is located in corner with foot stool, side table and tall lamp- great for watching the TV that faces the bed. The TV is multi functional with menu showing information about hotel services, wake up and as well as a room service menu shown. 70 International TV channels spanning Europe such as BBC, French, Arabic, Africa and local TV- with plenty of movie and sports channels as well as radio options. . There is a long leather stool at base of TV, a luggage rack, mini fridge, tea/coffee making facilities wth a complimentary bottle of water. Plus a large wardrobe with slippers, shaving kit, dental kit, ironing board, hair dryer and laptop size safe. The spacious bathroom offers both a separate bath and shower cubicle that worked perfectly and offered mini bottles of amenities for hair and body by the french brand Anne Semonin. AC is offered on a dial and the soundproof windows can also be opened, blacked out drapes are also offered for those needing rest day time. Overall very comfortable business hotel room with a premium African ambience. Facilities The hotel offers fast WIFI that can be used for multiple devices, secure using your room number. VPN's work fine. Catering facilities include a buffet style restaurant with excellent standard of food and choices, the different types of fish they offer stood out as exceptionally good. Plus many deserts, fruits and breads as well as traditional local foods, which tasted great. They also offer an outdoor bar that is quite happening in the evening with a DJ playing chilled music and the area has comfortable sofas with fires burning to keep you warm as its cool in the evenings. There is also a bakery lounge area near recepion for breads & coffee's in the morning and indoor bar area. Leisure facilities include a small gym with modern equipment and a SPA with massage facilities that are reasonable priced, say a chair massage of 20 minutes is less than $10. There is also a shop with local goods and clothing. Plus a concierge desk to arrange transfers and tours is also offered. Business centre is also available, plus many conference rooms. Staff Staff are very friendly and hospitable, welcoming at reception & helpful at the concierge desk & restaurant with sincere enthusiasm. The driver also that provides the shuttle is pleasant to chat with. Overall staff are meeting a 5 star standard of service. This hotel is included if your in transit between Ethiopian airline flights over 8 hours and flying business class with meals provided. However despite this I would certainly not hesitate to book this hotel if I was visiting Addis Ababa again.
[geo_mashup_map enable_scroll_wheel_zoom="false"] Kazanchis Business District, Kirkos Subcity Kebele 17/18, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
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Sunrock Guesthouse (Kempton Park, South Africa)

4 Case Rating
Location Guest house is located about 5-10 minutes drive from JNB airport. They offer free 24hr transfers if you inform them of your flight details. If however like me you decide to hire a car, to get to Soweto is about 1 hour and downtown area around 35-45 minutes. Kempton park seems like a suburb of the airport. I wouldn't say there is much to walk to etc. The place is very secure inside a compound. Room The room is rows of ground level attached cottages with glass sliding doors and private covered porches. The room is quite small due to the large king size bed that takes up most of the space. However there is still room for a luggage rack workable desk with kettle & plugs and tall empty wardrobe. The bed is very comfortable with lots of pillows, nice bedding and bed side tables each side. Access to plug sockets though is limited to the desk sockets. If your not local to the country, you will need a plug socket adaptor because SA has their own unique design of which main stream adaptors won't fit. Staff though did kindly provide one to me since I was only there one night. The room also offers a cable TV positioned in corner of ceiling with many international channels. The room also offers an above bed fan but no AC, however didn't find it hot. Decor is warm, homely and room is very clean with a Christian feel about it. The desk is sufficient if you need to get work done. The adjoining bathroom is of adequate size offering a shower cubicle their own in-house branded mini amenity bottles. The noticeable items missing in the room is a safe & mini fridge but this is a guest house. I would say a safe is not important because the property seems very secure in my opinion. A couple of other thing is that a blue light does face you from TV area (when lights out and off) in which can't be turned off. It's kind of annoying so bring an eye mask, There provide a nice collection of main stream magazines to read. Facilities The hotel offers free parking, free wifi (though it is slightly slow) & free breakfast. The breakfast starts and finishes quite early and offers a buffet plus an egg cooked to your liking, it's meeting a good standard of food. They also offer a dinner buffet at around 160zar but since I went out I didn't experience this. All these catering facilities are by the medium size pool in what they call the entertainment zone. This consists of a bar, pool & ping pong table, a gym upstairs and plenty of tables to sit & unwind with complimentary coffee. There is also an out door area with fire burning to relax at. There is also a traditional curio shop. Overall for a guest house it offered very nice facilities. Staff Staff are what shone out at Sunrock. Naturally helpful and caring especially with their concerns about me visiting Hilbrow. Check-in and check-out is fast and they remember your first name. Staff also accompany you to room. Excellent level of service that gave a homely and a relaxed atmosphere to your stay. Previously I stated at Intercontinental at airport & while that is nice. Sunrock proved to be a decent alternative that was quiet, clean, welcoming and excellent value for money. I would definitely stay here again if I go back to JNB.
[geo_mashup_map enable_scroll_wheel_zoom="false"] 11 Park St, Kempton Park Cbd, Johannesburg, 1619, South Africa
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Crowne Plaza Madrid Airport (Madrid, Spain)

3 Case Rating
Location The hotel is located on the side of a motorway about 25 minutes or so from the airport. Its about few miles further out than the Marriot. There is nothing in the area and it feels like a industrial business park. There is a free shuttle in that website states it is every 30 min, however I ran to the bus and the guy looked at me and drove off. Not a good start. However after calling reception, he re-turned up about 15 minutes later. Be ware the bus can only carry possibly about 8 passengers, so if it is busy well your stuffed and have to wait till next one. Saying that you book one back to the airport in the morning in which guarantees your slot. Room The room I was given on the ground floor did not feel like a crown plaza room, more like Crown plaza had just taken over from say a best western standard of room (not premiere) however they charged a reasonable rate so it makes sense- but there is nothing innovative or modern about the room other than the TV. Saying that the room was spacious, clean and very wooden decor, sightly cold & old etc. The bed though was large and quite firm. The most disappointing aspect were the pillows that felt cheap quality and very long, not comfortable and more what you expect at an Ibis. However large bed side tables either side with a phone. Light controls were easy as next to bed and there are lamps either side, each has a spotlight that assume you can use as a reading light - but they didn't work despite many attempts at all the switches. There are multiple light options. There is also one plug socket on one side. The room offers two red felt arm chairs - great for an old couple. A large desk does face the bed and was of good size but looks like it is from the 80's with some obvious wear and tear- opening one of the door is very loose so its certainly not well maintained. This where the fridge is- full of mini bar items and on top sweets and everything chewing gum, halls etc, must be a big income for them. There is also a kettle and some teas and coffee with water bottles though it doesn't say if they are complimentary. The desk though has a lamp & a large mirror- it is pretty spacious to work on a computer from. There is also a luggage rack. Tall wardrobes exist that contain a laptop size safe, iron and board. Plus a robe. The bathroom also felt quite old with a combination shower and bath. No temple spa amenities here like every other C Plaza I have stayed a, instead they have in house 'crown plaza' branded mini bottles shampoo, conditioner, body lotion, x2 of everything except the most important item- shower gel whereby you only get one. However they do offer a dental kit & shoe polish. The washroom does offer a bidet and is clean though- it just looks as dull & clinical. The highlight of the room is the relaxing sleeping kit, different from the temple spa version but has a pillow spray and roll on pulse relaxer. This was nice. Overall the room was disappointing and not really representative of at the all the many crown plaza's I have stayed at globally. The pillows were the item that disappointed me the most. This room you also can not open to get some fresh air, just stuck with sealed windows and AC though that is digital. Facilities WIFI is free and secure worked on two devices. There is a premium option though. They have a business centre but the cheekily charge for internet access on it. I noticed a bar / restaurant and 24 hours room service but didn't use any. There is also a gym but didn't see it. The hotel seems to be a car hire place as well, similar to the Marriot but it is more prominent in reception so expect the bus fills up as a result of this. Staff Starting with the van, other than looking at me and driving off from airport which in itself was rude since i banged on door. But when he did finally return after I complained 20 minutes later, the driver put stuff on top of my bag which concerned me because it had a fragile sticker on it and only noticed this after he removed a large item on top of it. Was not impressed as wanted to put on my lap anyway which he wouldn't allow. Lucki the china items inside didn't break but they could of following this negligence. Reception staff was very unenthusiastic, no welcome no smile, demanding a 50 euro deposit which is fine but I stayed in the Marriot down the road a few days earlier and they did not require this- they just gave me the option. Perhaps I was 'sensitive' because of van issues but I didn't get a warm reception or feel the brand's reputation of service and product is being maintained in line of the reputable standards of the IHG hotels. Definitely the weakest one I have stayed at. However to be fair she did ask when I cud be leaving and booked me in for a van and then offered a wake up- perhaps keen to get rid of me! They also don't read the room requests with pre-booking since when I asked for a high floor which 95% of hotel honour or say sorry they don't have. It felt this hotel just ignores requests. Overall I would say the Marriot down the road is a much better option if its the same price. That hotel has tons of facilities including free use of business centre, vending machines shops and a fantastic spa, pool area & gym polite and warmer staff with a much more modern arty room. Crown plaza honestly felt more 3 star & I got the impression they took over a former lower quality hotel so its in need of an update to meet the global level of the brand. However the sleeping amenity kit they give is very nice and relaxing which aids one to get to sleep on the uncomfortable pillows and destress from the frustration of the hotel. Probably why they have it.
[geo_mashup_map enable_scroll_wheel_zoom="false"] Calle de Lola Flores, 1, 28022 Madrid, Spain
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Madrid Marriott Auditorium Hotel & Conference Center (Madrid, Spain)

5 Case Rating
Location Hotel is located about 15-20minutes from Madrid airport. 20min from T4. The shuttle bus runs every 30 minutes, on the hour from hotel & 25' / 55' past the hour from T4- it is quite a small van which can only carry 19 passenger and don't expect much help with luggage. Within vicinity is the main road from the airport & not much else but there is a pavement if one wishes to walk to some restaurants and a fuel station about 5 min walk away. To downtown Madrid it takes about 20-30 minutes. Room The room on the 4th block looked very new and clean- the decor is all white and has a boutique artistic feel to it by the mellow lighting coming of the white lamps and white and brown painted walls - overall a nice design. It was a spacious room that offered a very comfortable high king size bed with nice little reading lights either side plus lamps built into the headboard. One side offered a phone and the other also had a table. Plug sockets either side for convenience. The room also offers a small table with two arm chairs facing each other next to a tall lamp. It is not a desk but its ok for working. A large Samsung Smart TV faces the bed with apps such as you tube, spotify, twitter etc if you need all that. There is an option to mirror the TV if you have a Samsung phone. TV Channels offered include about 100 cable channels obviously majority is Spanish but some English, lots of German, some French, Russian and a few Chinese and one Arabic channel. There is a nice luggage rack and a large wardrobe containing a laptop size safe, plenty of clothes hangers and a mini fridge, empty apart from two water bottles. There is also a kettle with some hot drinks sachets of coffee and tea. The bathroom felt very modern offering a shower and bidet. Amenities included Acca Kappa mini bottles of shampoo, conditioner, body lotion and shower gel. It was clean with decent towels. Overall room was nice and mellow, with blackout window blinds and I slept well and comfortable. Facilities The hotel is quite big, rooms are located in 4 blocks and can be a longer than expected walk if you are, like me in block 4. This is because the hotel is basically a conference centre with no less than 24 conference rooms and even a Auditorium which you walk past on the lobby level to get to the elevators of rooms. It seems more like a conference centre with a hotel as an addition rather than other way round but I was not there during conference hours so found it not an issue. However the hotel does offers some good facilities. Leisure includes a large pool for laps, sauna, and a gym - all clean & of a modern standard. Catering includes a few bars here and there and a restaurant. I did not try this so cannot comment on food. However a burger via the room service is around €16 but they close at 11pm and I was too late to try. There is also a few computers with printers close to lobby area, a shop with some souvenirs type items and a line of vending machines. WIFI does not require a password and was very fast. In addition AVIS car hire is also in the building. Staff Reception did take a while to check me in due to many guest but lobby staff were helpful & proactive with directing guests in an orderly line to next available check-in desk. They also acknowledge in a friendly manner. Check-in was very detailed and clear about transfers and room directions from a trainee female staff. I also couldn't find the swimming pool and staff helpfully directed me to it. Staff service was as you expect at a 5 star in Europe, meeting a good standard. I just hope guests with large bags get assistance to the rooms as they can be far especially in block 4. Overall for price paid £87 this hotel was good value for money in being close to the airport between flights, it was comfortable with decent enough facilities.
[geo_mashup_map enable_scroll_wheel_zoom="false"] Av. de Aragón, 400, 28022 Madrid, Spain
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Crowne Plaza JFK Airport (New York City, USA)

5 Case Rating
Location Hotel is located about 5 minutes drive from JFK airport. They have shuttle buses that go every 15-30 minutes depending on time of day. Manhattan, say Mid town is an hour by car or same via the E train from Jamaica, you can pick this up at Federal circle since hotel offer shuttle buses to pick you up from there. The area itself is next to the perimeter of JFK with other hotels nearby in a residential neighbourhood of Jamaica nearby with not much to walk to. However the view is very good of the airport if you like watching planes fly past. Room The room was a large suite. You enter into a large living room where there is a 3 seater nice wide leather sofa, kitchen area with an expresso machine with star bucks pods, microwave and tableware. There is a large nice living room table for 4. This is next to a large TV on the wall and there is also a walk in closet offering an ironing board and large laptop size safe. The bedroom was large and spacious with nice colourful decor and a very comfortable large king size bed. Lamps and bedside tables either side with phone and alarm clock. Lighting options are good and plug access is plentiful with US plugs built into the lamps. There is a desk and mini fridge plus filter coffee making facility. Large TV above with full US cable channels. Digital AC worked well. The bathroom was spacious with a large shower cubicle, though the fixed shower function hot water seemed to take longer than normal to heat up. Towels are nice and thick, Temple spa branded mini amenities are offered and they include everything but no toothbrush. However the sleep therapy kit is a stand out amenity for Crown Plaza. Overall room was very nice and spacious but for a suite standard it's a shame they don't include a bath tub. Facilities The hotel offers free WIFI for two devices only, its a bit slow but acceptable for email and social media. There are chargeable options for more devices and faster speed. Catering outlets include a bar and restaurant, bar kind of food which was mixed, burger was ok but fries were uncooked since I got a take-out decided to discard them. Breakfast buffet though had a good selection of hot and cold choices. Leisure outlets include a gym with modern cardio equipment with in built TV's plus they also offer a Zen room with Yoga mats and complimentary water. There is also a snack shop, ATM and some computers at reception. There is a large car park as well but unsure if its charged or not. Staff Staff are all really friendly in areas with fast check-in and check out. Overall a decent hotel for staying close to JFK, would definitely come again if in between flights if I had no need to go to city. Only disappointing thing is the high presence of immigration police that stay at hotel & walk around looking moody. Obviously not the hotels fault.
[geo_mashup_map enable_scroll_wheel_zoom="false"] 138-10 135th Ave, Jamaica, NY 11436, USA
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Le Passage Cairo (Cairo, Egypt)

3 Case Rating
Location Le Passage is about 5 minutes away from Cairo Airport, very convenient for flights and very secure. If you feel like venturing out, 10 min drive or 10km is Heliopolis, a wealthy district with stunning archietcture with great dining and clubs such as Ayadina or Sachi. And see the famous Baron Empain Palace. The Pyramids are about 60km away or 1 hour by car. Room The charcterless room on the executive 4th floor is quite small offering a comfortable double bed with wooden glass top bedside tables on both sides with a phone and touch pad lightning controls (the only thing that is innovative otherwise it feels like your visiting your granny in her retirement home). A single two pin Euro plug is under one of the tables. Facing the bed is a decent size TV with DTV channels in Arabic, French, Italian, Russian,Chinese,Indian, English movies and Regional Gulf and African countries. Caters for almost everyone. Glass top desk, more ideal for women doing make up than working on a computer. Though a UK plug socket is close by plus an arm chair and small side table. Though not particularly comfortable or new. Plenty of space for clothes in a large wardrobe with amble amount of coat hangers as well as cupboard that contains a laptop size safe- though credit card swipe system is the function to use it, in which I didn't really like the idea of, so didn't use it. There is a mini bar fridge in corridor and offers soft drinks, beer, some chocolates and nuts and a ... random white t-shirt. The bathroom offers a combined bath and shower but with very basic unbranded amenity bottles of shampoo, shower gel and conditioner. Bring your own toothbrush, shower gel and body lotion as the products are not attractive to use. The bathroom looks quite dated and grimy around the edges. There is a digital AC unit that worked well. Overall the room feels clinical with an ambience that feels like it might be main stream in the early nineties. It also lacks functionality for the business traveller with only two plug sockets which differ. However it is fine for a night between flights but you will feel depressed if you want to experience an authentic Egyptian hotel experience. Facilities The hotel has free open WIFI and worked ok, not super fast but sufficient. There are 4 or more catering options that includes an Italian , Chinese and international Ala carte plus a lobby bar. I had breakfast and it was disappointing not so much the food but the chaos in the buffet restaurant at 6am. It was so busy that all tables are taken on my first day, takes ages to queue up to even use the basic coffee machine with hundreds of people and the cleaning standard is slow and poor with one having to ask staff to clear tables. Perhaps I was just there are wrong time but it did have an overly congested buffet and then searching endlessly for somewhere to sit and eat. The bar to be fair did look more chilled out in the lobby but like the room feels like it might be exciting if it were 1992. This hotel has a casino, discotheque, and whole load of other things none of which I visited as tired between flights but it looks like there is plenty to do looking at the endless signage. There is also a large swimming pool and kids pool, in which was heated. I believe there is a business centre & gym as well. In the lobby there are some shops from jewellery to souvenirs. FOR NON - SMOKERS, be wary this hotel has ash tray everywhere though they are cleaned frequently, the lobby can be smokey depending if there is a Chinese tour group all smoking, there are even ash trays in the corridors for rooms, its seems like a smokers paradise here as ash tray is every 10 metres but this is Egypt where everyone appears to love good smoke. My room even had an ash tray but I couldn't smell smoke, though didn't have that clean fresh smell one expects. Staff Staff seem ok, quite friendly and hospitable in all areas. They do make effort and acknowledge and wish you a good morning which is a nice effort. Slightly pushy in the shops though. Overall though they make some effort. Check-out took a while with only one staff handling a line of guest despite 4 or 5 other desks open. In terms of value for money in which is around 150USD with breakfast (02/2017) I would say the room even on executive floor feels over priced but it is quiet and clean. The only reason to stay here is to be close to airport and is perfect for a smokers that love gambling but its not an interesting hotel experience for someone that travels unless its your first time out of jail. Saying that the staff are nice but breakfast is just chaotic and almost not worth it with mediocre buffet and stress (if you go in rush hour pre 7am). I would only stay here if I had to but wouldn't choose it- the room is just dull and smoking is everywhere.
[geo_mashup_map enable_scroll_wheel_zoom="false"] Cairo International Airport (CAI), Sheraton Al Matar, Qesm an Nuzhah, Cairo Governorate, Egypt
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ITC Hotel (Amsterdam, The Netherlands)

3 Case Rating
Location Hotel is located about 30 min walk from central station or 10 euros by Uber. Less than 10 minute walk is Rembrandt Plein. Lots of bars, restaurants and coffee shops are. In the immediate area is some shops, souvenir, clothing, restaurants nearby hotel. The walk to central station is quite easy to get to. There is also a tram stop very close to hotel in which goes to central station but choose to walk. The canal outside hotel offers a nice view of boats and canal houses. Room The small pokey room; 11 is located at the final frontier of this hotel from reception in which require 3 flights of challenging steep creeks staircases to get to it. Forgot it if your not healthy and have heavy bags, it's a work out getting up & down. However this is a traditional Amsterdam canal house. The room is pokey with single but quite comfortable bed is placed under a leaning roof face. Those that are claustrophobic might find room intense. There is a small bed side table with a phone and a mellow light behind bed. The only accessible plug by bed is occupied by this lamp or if you have along lead the above the sink is a plug. There is also a small wardrobe that has a small safe inside. 13' TV feels small but faces bed and offers various local TV. The room also offers its own sink around corner from bed but no bathroom or toilet. These are just down the hallway outside of room. They are sort of clean but obviously shared facilities so not after a the occupants of a few rooms have had a shower. It's quite creaky inside and outside of room but gives the authentic canal house vibe. The highlight is the view from window across canal and the window is presented open as you enter room, since room gets hot from pipes. It's still felt quite warm despite nice breeze in -1 temperature in February. Summer I wouldn't reccomend as must be very hot as no AC is offered, though I am sure other rooms are less pokey and better ventilated. Main concern of the room is if there is a emergency of fire, if wouldn't be a easy to get out of building from this room. Facilities The hotel offers free secure wifi for multiple devices. Worked well. There is a small cafe / restaurant by reception which offers breakfast at around 7 euros, after reading another various review of breakfast on google decided to just go and eat a nice croissant at a bakery. The area around reception has a vending machine for beers to snacks plus a small computer exists. Staff Guy at reception was friendly and helpful with directions with check-in and was helpful with maps Check out was also fast. Overall one of the lower price bracket hotels for Amsterdam in an lower noise level area. However it takes a good 20 min walk to where most of the main action and attractions are. If you like a view and have heavy bags then expect a challenging stair case walk (rooms 9 and above) and don't worry about things like fire escape then go for top floor it does offer you a good view but since I'm not that healthy it feels like a full work out from the ground. Just popping out is a right mission. Price & view is attractive but comfort is a miss with shared bathroom and pokey rooms. However you do get to experience a canal house. Next time I will look elsewhere.
[geo_mashup_map enable_scroll_wheel_zoom="false"] Prinsengracht 1051, 1017 JE Amsterdam, Netherlands
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Coriacea Boutique Resort (Phuket, Thailand)

4 Case Rating
Location The hotel is located about 10 minutes drive north of airport. You can actually walk down the beach about 10-15 minutes and be located at end of runway, great for watching planes come & go. The only issue is the taxis don't do share vans like they do to Phuket town or Patong in which those places cost like 150baht. To get to Mai Khao is a extortionate fee of 600 baht for a 5-10min journey. About 10 times the price of Bangkok taxis. However after discussing with staff for return journey, I was advised to use grab app in which is about half the price, it's like Uber. Mai Khao is about 5-10 min bicycle ride, it is a small little village but does have a few restaurants, pharmacy, 7-11 & some massage places but don't expect a lively night life spot. The hotel location is quiet with a very clean and nice beach with great sunset, perfect if you need to be close to airport. Some people have commented on aircraft noise but this is only noticeable by the pool on the beach, where you can see take off but at a distance and certainly no overhead planes. Room The room is very nice and meeting a good standard. I found no such mould smell that another reviewer commented on. It's a boutique room with a comfortable mattress topped king size bed. Decent quality and well thought out comfort bedding. The bed offers flexible reading lights, bedside tables & US plug sockets either side. Nice coloured walls and a photo creating a relaxing beach-feel ambience. Facing the bed is a large long desk with a stool facing a mirror. Good for making up but not so much for working due to no plugs nearby. A colourful arm chair and large TV also faces you. Full satellite cable channels that has something suitable for all international travellers to watch. There is a nice luggage rack & mini bar fridge with various items. A large wardrobe with laptop size safe and robes are also offered. The bathroom is of adequate size, very clean and new (hotel is only a year old) offering a rain shower and detachable head. They offer some mini bottle amenities of shower gel, shampoo and conditioner plus dental & vanity sets. The bathroom like majority of new Asian hotels has a window that faces the bedroom but blinds are offered for privacy. The room also offers a large balcony with a comfortable bench suitable for smokers. My room was in lower price bracket and faced the lagoon. It was ok and quiet. The sea view would be nice upgrade though since the sunsets are quite stunning. Overall the highlight of the room was the soft bed in which reminded me close to the Sofitel beds but not quite, though very comfortable and has a warm boutique ambience. Facilities There is fast speed secure wifi for multiple devices hotel wide. For catering the hotel offers a bar and restaurant in which offered a full Thai menu and I enjoyed the tasty yellow curry priced around 200 baht. Cocktails are well made and would recommend their signature Blue Coriacea. They offer a happy hour during sunset hours of 150bt per cocktail. Breakfast overall was a better standard than many Thai hotels I have stayed at outside of Bangkok with three hot food options, eggs as you like it, pancakes or Thai soup made to order but also a continental buffet is offered with breads & fruits. There is a pool, smaller than expected on photos but is nice for a cool dip with fantastic views of beach in front, it's an Infiniti design and there is a swim up bar that didn't seem to be in operation when I was there despite hotel being full. They also offer a gym but the main highlight to me was the free use of bicycles to cycle around the beach, which has a dedicated pathway or road to village. They have lights and the village is quiet so not dangerous to cycle about in which I enjoyed. There is no spa but the hotel can arrange a massage at hotel from local spas in village. If your hiring a car there is ample parking spaces. Staff Staff are generally very friendly but not very proactive. It's not a hotel where you can expect to be offered a drink when on sun loungers by pool but you have to go to bar which means going into restaurant. Not a great option if you are wet coming out of pool. They are quite strict with check-in times and arriving at 10am was told check-in is not open until 2 said in a blunt manner & had to ask if ok to wait by the pool which was not a problem. However asked for a towel and initially told not available but then was offered after asking someone else. Some staff do not speak English that well either. The manager though is very nice and she does the cocktails in the evening. Overall though for Phuket in which is saturated in tourism the staff at this hotel do have an enthusiastic upbeat smile to make passengers welcome and they acknowledge you, which is lacking in many beach hotels in Thailand these days. I certainly would stay at this hotel again when needing to be in Phuket as I enjoyed this very clean boutique hotel. It offers with a decent beach and enjoyed cycling around the village both daytime and in the evening thanks to the great perk to include free bikes since various places in town charge.
[geo_mashup_map enable_scroll_wheel_zoom="false"] Mai Khao, Thalang District, Phuket 83110, Thailand
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Sazani Beach Lodge (Nungwi, Tanzania)

3 Case Rating
Location Suzani lodge is located in Nungwi but on the west coast side. The main area of Nungwi is 25 minutes walk down the beach or 8 minutes by car. From the airport it is about 1hr 30 min drive or $50 by taxi one way. If your stay is not extended hiring a car is a preferable option since it's $30 a day in mini 4x4 & roads are ok. Nungwi is the main beach village place on northern tip of Zanzibar, sunrise is on one side (where Savani lodge is) and sunset is where most the hotels are. The location of Sazani has its positives and negative. If you after absolute seclusion and peace the beach is very nice with fewer locals hassling you on the actual beach. The sunrise is beautiful and it is set on a hill facing the Indian Ocean, you will hear the waves breaking even in bed. The sea itself requires shoes due to rocks un-seen due to the cloudier water. I cut myself thinking it would be fine without shoes. Bring sea shoes. The main area of Nungwi village is where the action and energy is at, bars, restaurants and market shops, this comes with people hassling you slightly but unless your prepared to walk 25 minutes each way to get there, which at times you can't do due to tide quite close to shore, it's better to stay there. The restaurants on the beach are fantastic, the beach there is more clearer, placid with an incredible sunset; a must see. The village is quite interesting to walk around to witness Zanzibar village life. Sazani on the other hand is a relaxing location but very much confined to the lodge unless you hire a car. There are taxis though but unsure how much they cost. If you purely don't wanna see anyone, chill and read books and eat at the hotel restaurant and bar then Sazani is a good option. Room The room at Sazani lodge is very simple since it's an eco-friendly lodge. They don't offer AC in which whilst a sea breeze comes thru the open but netted windows, it does get a bit hot at night. They do offer a fan above but it feels like it's just circulating the warm air. The double bed is of an artistic antique style traditional wooden frame with mosquito nets all over & a small cosy lamp inside. The remainder of the room consists of a open wooden wardrobe and a wooden box safe with padlock. The curtains blows in the wind and therefore it can be quite open at night privacy wise if you have the light on. But the breeze and sounds of the waves aids in a restful sleep. The bed is a little too firm for my liking but it was adequate. The bathroom offers a shower and bath combo in some rooms or a simple shower in the other, since I changed rooms. My 2nd room, due to wanting to be closer to reception to get better WIFI has only a shower. It is understandable not up to standard of most places, the water is mainly hot and cold just dribbles in my room. They offer home made soap in which is nice but nothing else so bring shower gel if you prefer that. There was no hooks for the towels in my bathroom in which means you have nowhere to hang your wet towel in the bathroom, though you can do so in room or outside. The room in general is very local and authentic, the traditional African style huts but has ceilings inside & kind of wooden padlock bolted doors to a degree representing the famous Stone Town doors of Zanzibar . My only main discomfort was that without AC it's pretty hot at night even with sea breeze. But I can imagine you get used to it. Outside of each room are seating to listen to the sea & observe the incredible view. They give you a warm 2 litre bottle of water as an amenity. Facilities Wifi is only available if your by reception or room 2. Despite this the speed is still excruciatingly slow so if WIFi is important bear this in mind. Catering includes a restaurant with set menus. I only had breakfast and you get a fruit plate and egg product with bread slices. There is no juice or water but tea and coffee. The breakfast was edible but not particularly amazing and dinner being $10 set menu vs a standard entree menu with fresh fish BBQ on the beach (in main area) at $6 made me go there. If your a fish lover it's exceptional. The lodge is overcharged and other guests I chatted were unimpressed with food when compared to restaurants in the village. There is a bar with a lovely view on top of a rock cliff, the bar tender Omar made that place with his welcoming friendly attitude and it's quite an ideally relaxing spot. At night it was dead when I was there in January, great for a couple but much better bars with energy in the main village that offer some degree of energy. The lodge offers a spa, where the lady charges $25 for an hour ranging from local to Swedish massages. It's nice because you get to hear the sea waves during your massage. There is also an old style gym in corner using cement blocks as dumbell and barbells. They also offer some water sports but overall it's almost half the price to book in town if insurance doesn't matter to you. The highlight though was the hammocks & sleeping beds under a nice shady tree, perfect for listening and watching the amazing Zanzibar sea with a cool breeze for pure relaxation and mediation. Staff Staff throughout this lodge are by far the highlight, they make you feel very welcome and at home. From the managers and reception staff to chef, massage lady and their greatest asset; Omar the bar tender. Simply mentioning where is a good spot for sunset he is willing to take you and sincerely looks after you as a guide. It was liking hanging out with a best friends and I was only there under 48 hours. Thanks to him and rest of staff is what gets the higher rating. Overall though staying at Sazani made me realise I like AC especially when dealing with sunburn from the powerful Sun. Therefore I didn't find the room overly comfortable plus the shower function is poor with things like no hooks added to this. I do realise it's an eco lodge but other than the bed it doesn't seem well maintained. In that regard I think it's slightly over priced for say staying in another secluded part of Zanzibar on the beach like Paje. At the same time Nungwi is a cool place to be with nice energy and stuff going on, it is only slightly cheaper than the main hotels in Nungwi which in my opinion is better place to stay if you like to explore and have some night life, especially if you don't have a car. Yes you can walk but its quite far and the tide can come in. The beaches themselves are both good in both areas but given you don't get a pool, the beach is more swimmable friendly in Nungwi. However the Sazani offers a memorable setting & ambience with really nice staff.
[geo_mashup_map enable_scroll_wheel_zoom="false"] Sanzani Beach, Nungwi, Tanzania
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Rendezvous Hotel Perth Scarborough (Perth, Australia)

4 Case Rating
Location About 30 minutes drive from Perth Airport, around 10-15 from downtown Perth. It is right on Scarborough Beach promenade, the beach is 1 min walk. There are tons of bars, restaurants and shops all less a few minutes walk away or within building. Room Room on the 20th floor offered a nice sea view from a balcony set up with two chairs and a table. The room itself is large with a king size bed soft bed, bedside tables with lamps on each side, both with plug access (AUS) and an alarm clock. To the side of the bed is two nice arms chairs and a small table. Facing the bed is a long unit, with a glass top desk on the right hand side, lamp and plugs. A large set of drawers has a big TV on top with over 40 DTV cable channels with many options. Below is a mini bar that offers some soft drinks, chocolates, beers and a wine bottle. There is also a kettle for hot drinks. A convient luggage rack is also offered on one side. A large mirror sliding doors opens to a large laptop size safe and ironing board. The bathroom is of adequate size with a large shower cubicle. Amenities include Bathe branded body wash, body balm, shampoo and conditioner. Overall the decor is nice and the room is fairly comfortable but would say mid range rather luxurious. However it was clean has digital AC and a balcony with a superb view of the coast. Facilities Catering facilities include a restaurant and lobby bar- that has a nice snooker table. Didn't try the food. Leisure facilities include a lagoon style pool very nice with a waterfall and pool bar. Very nice for children. There is also a observation deck which is great for a sunset over the ocean. There is a business centre as well. WIFI is complimentary for 12 hours. Parking is available for 15 dollars a day. Staff Staff seem friendly and relaxed. Easy check-in and out. overall good service including pool bar area. Overall a nice hotel in a perfect spot. make sure you get a sea view balcony, it is worth it.
[geo_mashup_map enable_scroll_wheel_zoom="false"] 148 The Esplanade, Scarborough WA 6019, Australia
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Sheraton Xi’an Hotel (Shaanxi, China)

4 Case Rating
Location Located fairy near to the main central area of Xian, but just outside of the city wall. To get to say the main city temples it is 2-3km away, whilst the main airport is around 45 minutes drive away. Room The SPG preferred room on the 16th floor was clean and cosy but somewhat dull and dated for their premium loyal members level product. The room offered a large king size bed that was quite tough. It was ok though for sleeping but did not have the noticeable comfy mattress topper experienced in some Sheratons. There were two types of pillow, one feather and soft the other more springy. Slept well though. Either side are marble top bed side tables, each with a lamp and one with alarm clock and phone. You can control the lights with switches and main side has dimmer function but unfortunately no accessible power sockets next to bed. To the side of the bed is a lounge arm chair with foot stall comfy enough to watch the TV that faces the bed in upright position from side. There is a large glass top desk offering a dimmable lamp & mirror plus a full international power socket plug unit with doc sockets. LAN cable is also offered and a phone. The table is clean but feels a bit dated. There is a large wide screen TV facing bed offers around about 52 channels such as BBC, CNN, RT, Bloomberg, discovery with the rest being local Channels. Below the TV is a large cabinet with mini bar of small drinks and a chocolate but also a large red wine. Hot drink facilities include only one sachet of coffee plus breakfast, black and chamomile tea. There is a padded luggage rack conveniently next to the TV. In the hall way is the kettle and two complimentary waters. There is a large wardrobe with lap top size safe, one robe, pair of slipppers, iron and board. The bathroom faces this area and is very Art Deco with the American influence of the combination bath shower. Something you don't expect of a premium 5 star hotel but more along the lines of a motel etc. However though dated, the marble finish bathroom was clean and decorative. Amenities include a full set of Sheraton branded shower gel, shampoo, conditioner, body lotion, dental and razor kits and mouthwash. Towels are decent. The main room has a dial heating/AC system that is quiet and worked ok. Overall a clean cosy room with carpeted floor and classical wooden decor offering good natural light from the large windows. Just lacking anything innovative in room. Facilities The hotels offers restrictive wifi whereby sometimes VPN works sometimes not. For non Chinese users bing is only search option as the rest are government banned. It is ok in room but it is not secure but you need password to use in lobby. Other business facilities include a dedicated business centre with offices and meeting room but also 5 or so desk top computers in the lobby with printer. Again it was slow to use. Catering facilities included three restaurants, only used one for breakfast and was adequate but a bit disappointing such as no egg station. Just a big buffet, other than breads & cereals not much is for the international guest. There is a large lobby bar with many international beers plus a cafe area with cakes etc. Leisure facilities include a pool, long for lengths and a modern gym with decent equipment. There is also a spa for massages. On the ground floor there is A SPG gift shop where you can buy the bedding as well as a Chinese shop for drinks etc. A wedding shop also is there as well as ATM machine. Overall a decent amount of facilities. Staff Staff are quite friendly and helpful and spoke English adequately. Overall for a Chinese city Sheraton it was as a bit disappointing in terms of room and breakfast but does have 5 star facilities. The location though is good for sight seeing and business in down town area.
[geo_mashup_map enable_scroll_wheel_zoom="false"] No. 262 Feng Hao East Road, 2nd Ring Road Yanxian Commerce Jingjidai, Lianhu, Xi'an, Shaanxi, China, 710077
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Days Inn Bellingham (Washington, USA)

4 Case Rating
Location The Days Inn is located on one of the main roads into centre of Bellingham, quite close to University. There is s big Arboretum a few blocks away, great for walks and the coast side park views is within 5-10 minute drive away. Seattle airport is about 2.5 hr drive /100 miles and Vancouver airport is 1hr 20 or so by car. In terms of walking distance there are fast food restaurants and a recreational dispensary across the road. Some other pharmacy and cafes not far to walk. Room The room was quite dated but comfortable for a Days Inn. A large soft double bed offered bed side tables, an alarm clock and each side had a lamp but you will need to unplug one if you need a plug. There is a large heater unit next to a large table with chairs suitable for dining. Facing the bed is a set of wardrobes with TV on top, it's connected to a separate box so it's not so easy to just turn on. However once figured, they offer about 70 channels such as main cable and HBO channels. A desk with mirror in front is shown with telephone, lamp and chair. There is also a coffee maker, microwave stacked on top of a small fridge on floor. A side open wall wardrobe with hangers if offered, and had a luggage rack, iron and ironing board. The bathroom is of standard motel size with combined bath shower unit offering small amenity bottles of body lotion, shampoo and conditioner plus soap. Overall the room was comfortable and reasonable for price paid. The only slight issue I had was the slight pong smell as you enter I think from the carpet. You don't really notice it after a while though. It does feel very dated. Facilities The hotel offers decent standard secure for multiple devices free wifi. Free parking and vending machines. It is a motel. There is a lounge seating area by reception. Breakfast is offered limited to a panacea machine, some breads, bagels, muffins and cereals. There is also some decent coffee offered. Staff Really nice reception staff, chilled out like most of the people in this town. Was able to check me in early and explained details well. The do annoyingly require a deposit despite empty mini bar but presume they have had cases of people walking off with their microwaves or TV etc. Overall good value for money in a town of the interstate between Seattle and Vancouver great for a stop over not far from Canadian border and also good for outlet shopping when not wanting to be close to Seattle area. The room could just do with a safe and some air freshener.
[geo_mashup_map enable_scroll_wheel_zoom="false"] 215 N Samish Way, Bellingham, WA 98225-6030
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Andaman Pearl Resort (Krabi, Thailand)

3 Case Rating
Location The hotel is located down a side road amongst other accommodations about 5 minutes walk to main road down to Ao Nang Beach. The beach itself is a good 20-25 minute walk but tuk tuk charge 50 thb each person one way. The hotel also offers a shuttle service every 2-3 hours dependant on time of day. The area itself is close to a great limestone cliff back drop view from hotel. As you enter the Main Street there is a colourful Mosque and then some market stalls at night. A very good standard but expensive Spa of offered at end of road. From Krabi airport it takes about 30-45 minutes. The later if you take the public bus in which is 150 thb per person and the cheapest option plus the bus driver will directly drop you off at the hotel. Room The spacious but somewhat empty room located on the 3rd floor offered a comfortable king size bed. Bed side tables each side with a mellow lamps on each and left side offering a local plug socket and telephone. The room offered a mini bar in small fridge with a mixture of reasonably priced snacks & non alcoholic drinks. This is a Muslim hotel. Kettle is offered with simple powdered coffee and teas. Above all this at a left angle to the bed is the flat screen TV offering a guide of 40 channels, Local, US and Russian choices. Worked well. The room offers a table and stool with mirror and some further plug sockets. There is also a wardrobe offering a few coat hangers and a small safe, not large enough for a laptop but ok for smaller items. They offer no slippers or robes but a umbrella is in wardrobe. The bathroom is quite spacious but poorly thought out. For instance the open plan shower without curtains means water covers the floor so can be very slippy- there is no dedicated mat. A door mat is offered outside of entrance like for a house, very unusual. The shower has a seperate rain head and detachable with a heater unit you must set otherwise you will end up with cold water. Amenities are very poor, whilst towels are ok, they offer no soap to clean your hands and just basic mini bottles of shampoo and conditioner bottles of hotel brand. I think they would be better off offering a dispenser of shower gel (& soap) since most people prefer there own shampoo and conditioner. Bring your own tooth brush as well since nothing else is offered. One discerning factor is the fact they want you to place used toilet paper in waste paper basket. Not the most comfortable thing to do at a hotel and my previous stay in Ao Nang at another hotel did not require this. The room however does offer a nice balcony with pool views and a nice cliff back drop, it has some plastic chairs and great place to have a drink and watch the sunset. Overall it's a 2 star room standard but it was clean just lacking in functional amenities. Facilities The hotel operates free wifi but very frustrating since they seem to have about 20 different connections requiring login way to frequently since it consistently drops. Catering is very much limited to breakfast only and I was told room service only offered until about 9pm. Breakfast is pretty poor there are some hot dishes all halal but overall standard is terrible. OJ for instance is that powered kind and milk was not well refrigerated just like the melted butter - they should consider placing in ice. We stuck to toast but they do offer some nice cakes. Two of us in our group got food poisoning and we both ate the same breakfast, not previous nights dinner with same symptoms so was more than coincidental, we decided not to eat breakfast for remainder of our stay. Since it is a Muslim hotel there is no bar or any beer available unless you walk to local store. You can get water or cola at the reception. They also offer a pool of good size for laps but no other leisure facilities. No public computer either. Overall pool was nice with sun loungers and umbrellas. Wifi though requires frequent login especially with iPhones as experienced with all 3 of us. Laptops didn't seem to be a problem. Staff Staff overall are the strength of this hotel and the higher rating is based on them. Very kind reception staff, sincere that will go out there way for you. From front desk and cleaning staff all smile and seem sincere and enthusiastic. Overall we got a special rate on third party website which worked out just over 12kthb for 2 room for 4 nights. Still quite pricey but this was high season and the cheapest option for area the than hostels. However it is quite a trek from beach and main bar restaurant areas, saying that a chilled picturesque location with really nice staff. They just need to improve their wifi and functionality of amenities.
[geo_mashup_map enable_scroll_wheel_zoom="false"] 754-754/1, Soi Aonang 11/1, Moo 2 , Aonang, Muang, Krabi, Ao Nang, Krabi Town 81180, Thailand
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Swiss-Belhotel Harbour Bay (Batam, Indonesia)

4 Case Rating
Location Located in a central area in Batam not far from all the downtown area if not within. From the airport it takes about 30 minutes drive. Within area is a convenience store & reflexology across the road and some shops down a walk way. The harbour is also just down the road. Room Room was of decent size, modern with good lighting- very Chinese hotel design. The huge king size bed was very comfortable with a mattress topper offered. Bed side tables each side offering lamps and international plug sockets. No alarm clock but a phone is offered. Facing the bed is a clear TV with a good selection of channels not only local but some international choices. There is also a mini bar below with drink and food items. Plus a kettle on top for making hot drinks. The rooms offers an armchair, coffee table and glass top workable desk with lamp- next to international plugs. The room also has a luggage rack and wardrobe that includes a laptop size safe and slippers but no robes. The bathroom is also of good size offering a spacious shower cubicle but the water pressure seems to fade out now and then which you keep have to turn off and on again, Mini hotel branded bottles of body lotion, shower gel, shampoo and conditioner are offered as well as a full set of amenities such as shaver and dental kits etc. Then only weakness of the room was the digital AC unit - the room was presented hot and it took a long while with AC on with no temperature change so had to call maintenance. They did repair it but then the room became too cold and the fan is quite noisy. This did disrupt my sleep overall which was annoying. Facilities The hotel offers free WIFI which worked fine without any issue, it is not secure and multiple devices can be used. Leisure facilities include a smallish swimming pool but possible to do lengths- with sun loungers and some outdoor seating. There is also a separate male and female sauna and a gym with mostly cardio equipment. There is also a SPA and I had massage in which was quite average. Catering incudes a lounge bar, restaurant and cafe- did not use any of these due to late arrival and early departure. This is all in lobby area and is not that well ventilated - so found it quite hot even for check-in and check-out which is next to these facilities. The hotel does offer meeting and conference rooms as well. Staff Staff were ok but lacked efficiency, check-out took a while with only one staff in the morning, frustrating when you have only one car waiting to pick you up. Overall the bed was comfortable but the AC system let the room comfort down, and this seemed to be the case in the lobby and catering area's as well. It sort of wants to be 5 star but is obviously a 4 star hotel. However if I came back to Batam I would choose alternative hotel as sleep in the most comfortable and this was affected.
[geo_mashup_map enable_scroll_wheel_zoom="false"] Jl. Duyung, Sei Jodoh | Harbour Bay Complex, Batu Ampar, Riau Islands Province 29432, Indonesia
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The Arista Hotel Palembang (Palembang, Indonesia)

3 Case Rating
Location The Arista Hotel is located right in the centre of Palembang, very close a large shopping mall. The airport is around 45min-1 hour drive away. As the mall is across the road there are many shops and restaurants in the mall. Room The room is very spacious brown wooden finish room of walls and floor, offering a very large low level but comfortable king size bed. Bed side table drawers each side that include mellow lamps plus alarm clock radio and telephone on one side. The light switches are all controlled from one side however there are no power plugs- directly next to bed. Facing the bed is a large long wooden desk that includes sufficient space to work from with lamp and a comfortable office chair- two pin socket is offered here. To the right is a TV and some mini bar items. The TV offers 38 Channels of which most are local but some American channels such as Nat Geo, Star, Fox Sport etc, plus Russian TV, Japanese NHK & Al Jazeera. Below this is a mini bar with a small number of items such as drinks and Tobelrone. They are also offer in-house snacks as well. The desk at furthest end does have a kettle and bottle of water etc. There is a built into unit luggage rack as well. Facing this is a wardrobe that has a praying mat, Ironing board and iron plus a small safe. The room also offers some armchairs and a coffee table. Overall offers ambience from lights and has a large glass to floor window with a view of swimming pool. The main weakness is plug accessibility - which are limited to the desks area but nothing close to the bed say to charge phone etc. A large mirrored corridor at entrance is also where the smallish bathroom is. Quite a simple bathroom in comparison to the premium look of the room but still clean. A bath/shower combo is offered and amenities do include generous mini bottle hotel branded shower gel. shampoo & body lotion plus dental kits etc. The shower is not great as the water easily gets all over the floor. Overall the room is very quiet and comfortable, AC is quite dated but worked ok with dial system. Facilities The hotel offers secure WIFI in which worked at varying speeds, sometime quite slow, other times acceptable. There is a business centre and various computers around the lobby area. Catering I did not use but appears to show one Restaurant possibly Chinese, a Coffee shop with Indian food as well as bakery items and a lobby bar. I believe there is one other restaurant. In terms of leisure facilities there is a swimming pool of ok size to carry out lengths and some sun bathing chairs. Plus a mini pool as well perhaps for kids. There is also a gym facility offered which appears to have mostly cardio machines. Staff Staff are ok, initially at check-in asked for a non-smoking room (since only two floors are non-smoking) which was confirmed non smoking yet was given one anyway. However changed it but meant a hassle of having to go back to reception for a 2nd time, which was annoying. However staff were polite and seemed friendly. Overall an adequate quite a comfortable hotel with good ambience close to centre of city.
[geo_mashup_map enable_scroll_wheel_zoom="false"] Jln. Kapten A. Rivai | Komplek Taman Mandiri, Palembang 30129, Indonesia
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Mountain View Lodge (Washington, USA)

4 Case Rating
Location Mountain view lodge is located just off HWY 12, a few minutes from the town of Backwood. Mt. Rainer national park is about a 18 mile drive away. From Seattle airport by car takes just under 3 hours drive and about 100 miles away. Portland is just over 2 hours away. The lodge is an area of stunning nature & about 3 min walk is a flowing river, great for photos. Packwood is small mountain type town with a small logging locals type vibe. It's very chilled & picturesque with Mt Rainer view seen from it. An old scene like going back in time and does offer a handful of restaurants, small food stores, liquor and tobacco store, a salon bar and a few shops and gas station. If you like Burgers then try Cliff dropper - delicious hand made burgers. Room The upstairs standard room was simple but cosy, it's located on inner side of the motel so my windows views was of the garden but directly outside windows are hotel corridors. However the curtains are thick. The room has nice old style wooden wall decor of bright colours. A heater unit and AC unit is offered, the heater worked well. There is a nice antique desk and drawers, all wooden style. The double bed was comfortable and one side has a wooden bed side table with a nice lamp. Plug sockets on wall nearby. Facing the bed on top of the wooden drawers is a smallish TV that offered plenty of local cable channels at least 40, it worked well and was sufficient. There is a fridge in the room and a old wooden desk with large mirror in front plus telephone. The wardrobe is an open closet with luggage rack and coat hangers. Bathroom offers a shower cubicle with plenty of towels plus body lotion and shower gel mini bottle amenities. Overall the room is cosy and appropriate value for money for this idyllic hiking country area. However don't expect a safe or hot drink making facilities. Facilities My room had free wifi with a password and worked fine. Note the area has no phone reception, so having wifi is helpful in planning your day. The lobby though does offer some leaflets and was told they offer breakfast there at 730 in the morning, however had to leave earlier than that so didn't experience it. There is a vending machine for drinks though outside. The grounds of the hotel offer a nice garden with small lodge rooms surrounding it & I believe a communal outdoor fire place. There is a pool that likely opens in the summer and a children's play area. The hotel offers free parking & the highway is right outside but it's very quiet at night. Staff Reception lady was really nice, she offered me a room upgrade on ground floor if I paid hotel directly and cancel my Hotel com reservation. However since I collect nights I declined. She did offer a helpful map of the area for forest hikes & where to eat. Overall it's a old lodge but cheapest in area and it was good, very cosy, very clean, quiet and comfortable at end of October which is not high season as the sky passes were closed. The proximity is great being close to drive to popular hikes and skiing area. Wildlife is also in this area & you may see a elks on the property. I would definitely stay here again if I came back to mount Rainer.
[geo_mashup_map enable_scroll_wheel_zoom="false"] 13163 US Highway 12, Packwood, WA 98361-9786
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