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Western Europe

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Liechtenstein – Schloss Vaduz Castle (Vaduz)

Holland – Scheveningen Beach (Scheveningen, The Hague)

Germany – Zugspitze Summit (Garmisch-Partenkirchen)

Germany – Bavaria Neuschwanstein Castle (Hohenschwangau)

Austria – High Alpine Road Motorbike (Zell-Am-See)

Austria – Maltatal (Maltatal)

Austria – Kolnbrein Dam (Malta)

Austria – Innsbruck City (Innsbruck)

Austria – Helliegenblut Winter (Helliegenblut)

Austria – Cow (Helliegenblut)

Austria – Hallstatt River Side (Hallstatt)

Austria – Grossglockner Mountain (Hochalpenstrasse)

Austria – Grossglockner High Alpine Road (Hochalpenstrasse)

Holland – The Hague City (Scheveningen, The Hague)

Austria – Cable Car Over Lake (Zell-Am-See)

Austria – Traditional House (Fernpass)

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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Italy – Packet of Bologna (Rome)

Italy – Scottex Toilet Paper (Rome)

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