PEr FYI

May 4, 2013

San Want Hotel, Taipei…time for this hotel to join the 21st century

If you are looking for a modern, classy place this may not be the best place for you, but if you want clean rooms with a lot of space and a great price I would suggest you give them a try.

There is absolutely nothing modern about the rooms. Everything does have a very 70s hotel feel to it, from wallpaper to furniture to the box TV on a swivel. … you’re starting to get the picture here. There is free wifi but the signal and signal strength is not good at all areas. Other than that it’s a decent place. The rooms aren’t huge, but they are plenty spacious.

If there’s one thing I like about this hotel, location is key salient point. Just a few minutes walk, you will find lots of restaurants, shopping malls, and one of Taipei’s most famous night market (Rao He) is just a 15 minutes taxi-ride away. The mass transit station which connects to major tourist sites is a stone’s throw away such as the Sun Yat sen memorial. There’s even a 24-hour bookstore nearby. You will never feel lonely in this area.

 Having said all that, it’s time for this hotel to join the 21st century & update the product and improve it’s wifi. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

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November 24, 2012

Toucheng Leisure Farm, Toucheng…..Go here for your kid’s fun education and not anything else

Toucheng Leisure Farm in Toucheng, Yilan County, northeastern Taiwan, is geared towards educational holidays. It allows visitors a glimpse of how people used to live in the olden days. I really like the idea of this place and the angle that they are bringing. The experience is relaxing (bordering on boring).

I’m kind of torn. The reason I am torn is because the concept is fun and I had an ok time with activities…making and setting off sky lanterns, learning to mud bake sweet potatoes, fishing, traditional food and light snacks and meals throughout the day…kind of like a Club med, but the food and service aren’t the best. I think that if they step their service up (and at least try to look interested) and try new recipes then they may really have something going here.

The other downside is the old, blah and basic bedroom….somewhat akin to the Low Cost carrier version of a hotel room. The bed was a rock hard place. Now I know what Fred Flinstone’s bedrock was all about. There was no wifi in the room, no power plug-points either – only two. One for the TV and the other in the bathroom.

Go here for your kid’s fun education and not anything else. This is the true truthas I say it as it is…

 

May 20, 2012

The Gurney Resort Hotel & Residences, Penang….in a word…..eeeeew!

There are no excuses for a filthy, unhygienic hotel room but my room in The Gurney Hotel was disgustingly dusty. The curtains (with those holes in them) looked like they hadn’t been washed for 15 years, the carpet was sticky and dirty, and it was generally unclean. Makes you wonder what they are paying the cleaning and house keeping staff for doesn’t it?

My room is certainly big and spacious, but bigger does not mean better here. A grand hotel it is not. The decor was more of 90’s cheap chain hotel feel. It was a big room with a micro-mini TV. And a Mickey mouse ironing board. The beds had some of the most uncomfortable mattresses I have ever slept on.  They were solidly hard and in dire need of replacing as you could be forgiven if you thought you were sleeping on the floor.  The pillows were so soft it was non-existent. The dark and gloomy writing table and work area is more suited for the visually impaired. 

I’m embarrassed to even admit that I stayed at The Gurney Hotel. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

February 11, 2012

Shamiana, Mumbai…..WAAAAAY below standard of the Taj Mahal Palace

Sad to say this was a very disappointing dining experiences in recent memory. The service was very slow and the servers un-interested. Repeated reminders for coffee to be serve were futile for 20 minutes until we stood up to leave. The spread was the usual, nothing exotic – there were some Gujarati starters, few regular vegetarian and non vegetarian vegetables, breads, rice, yellow dal and biryani.

WAAAAY below the standard of Taj Mahal Palace. What a waste of money. It’s just not worth what they charge. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

March 14, 2011

Carol Parc Hotel, Bucharest…Prices are too high and location-wise this hotel sucks

The interiors were very warm and relaxed atmosphere. The bellman and front office staff were all very friendly. I was checked-in by an Angelina Jolie look-alike. David’s room number 103 has a corner terrace with unmatched views of the Palace of the Parliament.

Prices are too high as it was just average and location-wise. this hotel sucks. It’s in the middle of nowhere. Even our cab driver does not know where it is hence we ended up on a city tour for 1/2 hour at 1am until we eventually paid another cabby just to lead our driver there. Oh yes, they don’t have a gym.

I’m going to stay somewhere taxi drivers know the next time I am in Bucharest. This is the true truth as I say it as it is….

March 13, 2011

Swissotel Berlin…if it’s location you are after, you can’t go wrong with this.

The location is excellent, right on the Ku-damm with shops, restaurants and public transport literally around the corner…5 minutes walk to the Zoo station and KadeWe department store.

The check in was efficient and I was shown to my room by the same staff member who explained the facilities including the Nespresso coffeemaker. The furnishings, lighting and fittings were stylish and contemporary and the bathroom was well designed with quality fittings.Very artistic enviroment with genuine paintings and sculptures at the public areas and the guest rooms! The fitness centre was a disappointment, though – just a couple of treadmills, bike and a stair master with 2 weights machine.

Some of the reception and concierge staff at this hotel were extremely skilled at their jobs. Timo at concierge, for example is a an exceptional staff. His colleague at concierge however, has forgotten that he works in the service industry. He goes about his work as though I was an interruption to his work, rather than being the reason for it.

Another bummer is the rooms look into one another in an uncomfortable way.

If it’s location you are after, this hotel is right in the centre of western Berlin. I am definitely staying here on my next trip to Berlin. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

March 8, 2011

Hilton Sofia hotel, Sofia…they aim to please so much you’d think you are in Disneyland. This is the place to be!

This Hilton have the friendliest, most polite and accomodating staff I have ever seen in a hotel….and I have been around. They seem to have the “spirit of Disney” all the front liners aim to please so much, I thought I was in Disneyland. Everyone has a sincere smile on their faces and the people at front desk and the restaurant were so happy to see us, you’d think we were long lost relatives of theirs. The service here is incredible

Minto, in the restaurant was exceptionally attentive. he was playing and entertaining a toddler at breakfast, making everybody in the family so happy. I’d dropped my napkin while standing up and had picked it up, when he appeared within the next 5 seconds (where from, I wouldn’t know) and gave me a new one. Illiyan, the bellboy was a cut above the rest. During one of our trivial chats, he found out that the airport taxi driver had charged us Euro 20. he took it on this own to call the cab company and traced down the driver and made him return the excessive portion.

The rooms are nice and clean, the gym is small but adequate. However, the pool is more for a dip than a swim. The free shuttle will take you to the airport. It’s not even a scheduled run. It’s better than that. It’s on request basis, meaning they will depart to fit your timing.

Location-wise, the hotel is not directly in the centre, but a half and hour walk away from the Alexander nevski Cathedral. There is a small shopping mall nearby.

Hilton Sofia is easily the best in town. You want a happy stay? Don’t stay anywhere else. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

February 27, 2011

Sheraton New Delhi…good dining options in hotel and its vicinity

Dated decor but friendly service – prompt and courteous.

Its location in the new and exciting commercial center of Saket in South Delhi is great as it is very near to three malls – MGF Metropolitan (you can skip this one. You won’t miss anything), Select Citywalk and DIF Place. With so many eateries in these malls (TGIF and Hard Rock Cafe are there if you want some comfort food) and the very good Dakshin, Sheraton’s restaurant that specialises in authentic South Indian cuisine, you’ll never go hungry during your stay. Dakshin’s prawn masala and mushroom masala is recommended but forget the kodi briyani. It’s mushy and soggy. Baywatch is their breakfast room with high ceiling, great pool view and lush landscapes. M Prakash, the chef remembers my special dosa order 2 days later. The mango shake is  a WOW. At this hotel and with the malls beside, you can find that glutton in you.

A couple of hiccups. The internet assistant blamed the  front office for my inconnectivity but when I called front office, they said there is no problem. At 1am, they conspired to waste 25 mins of my time when I simply wanted to send one email before hitting the bed. I ordered a car and driver at the concierge but the car arrived late, causing me to be late for my appointment.

All things considered, you can’t go wrong with Sheraton New Delhi. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

February 6, 2011

Raffles Hotel Le Royal, Phnom Penh…disappointing room but very obliging staff

Filed under: Cambodia, hotel, Travel — Tags: , , , , , — PEr @ 8:57 pm

The room was a bit of a disappointment.  It was an old classic room which was facing the pool. There were not enough power points and that is  a major bummer for business travellers like us. The bathroom was tiled in white and had a bathtub and a shower corner with a glass door. There was a lack of bathroom amenities. The toilet flushes like a geyser. The maddening sound of the gushing water is followed by a upward splash of the toilet water. The jet was so strong, you literally would have to jump to avoid it or ready the umbrella which is provided in the room. (Now I know why they give you umbrellas in the room)

Breakfast was very nice. The meatballs were outstanding.

The best thing about this stay is the very obliging staff. Thy – a trainee – walked me to the gym one morning when I enquired directions to get there. Noemie Payumo, the restaurant manager, went out of her way to answer my enquiries.

This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

January 16, 2011

Le Meridien Barcelona…Prime location. Need I say more?

Located right on the Las Ramblas, the main street with plenty going on. This means everything is literally at the doorstep:  the metro, La Boqueria market, many shops, squares, the shore, restaurants and every hot spots except (Sagrada Famelia & Parc Guell).

The room has small  little touches, like the blue light that comes on in the night if you get up. The bathrooms have the large disc shower heads–nice

Front line staff were adequately knowledgeable but gave the impression that “they have to serve” rather than “they want to serve”. The shining star of the team must certainly be Martha at Front Desk. She has plenty of enthusiasm and demonstrated genuine interest and initiative  to help and serve.  This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

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