STEIGENBERGER GRAF ZEPPELIN, STUTTGART, GERMANY

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I arrived at the Steigenberger Graf Zeppelin hotel around noon and as the room was not ready for check-in. I decided to have lunch at the Restaurant Zeppelin-Stüble, one of the hotel’s 3 restaurants. The Zeppelin-Stüble is a cosy local venue which serves regional specialities such as Maultaschen (swabian ravioli) Lentils and Spätzle. The lunch was delicious and was nicely presented. (When I paid my bill, I overheard the waiter offer a lunch special menu to guests which had just arrived, unfortunately he did not offer me those daily deals. They would have been a much better value as the food and beverage prices are generally high at this hotel)

The hotel also features Gourmet Restaurant OLIVO  and Restaurant Zeppelino’S, the hotel’s famous Steakhouse. I was also able to enjoy a great breakfast where wonderful breads, local sausages, and many tasty items were served. Egg dishes and hot beverages were served to the table and I liked that very much.

I stayed in a Junior Suite which was spacious and impeccably clean. There was a separate wardrobe with plenty of space, a safe, an umbrella and two bathrobes. The suite was fitted out with high-quality materials, modern design and latest electronic equipment including a Nespresso coffee maker.

The bathroom was of a generous size, with a bathtub, a toilet and a large shower. Towel warmers were also available. Toothbrushes and other toiletries were available on demand. I found the Kleenex box to be empty after taking out a single sheet and the toilet roll holder was a bit loose. Small details I know, but this could be improved by a simple room check before the guest arrives.

One of the hotel’s highlights is certainly the Zeppelin Day SPA Spa which is located on the rooftop of the hotel and is about 500 sq. m. This luxurious spa is like an oasis after a long day to relax with nice treatment rooms, a pool, sauna and steam bath.

I enjoyed my stay at Steigenberger Graf Zeppelin very much. I found the staff very friendly and helpful, the location across from the Main Station was perfect and I got a good night’s sleep in a comfortable bed. I would recommend this hotel and would not hesitate to come back at any time.

https://www.steigenberger.com/en/hotels/all-hotels/germany/stuttgart/steigenberger-graf-zeppelin

BANYAN TREE HOTEL, BANGKOK, THAILAND

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Pool:

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Banyan Tree Bangkok offers luxurious rooms with views of the city or Chao Phraya River. It features a stylish, roof-top restaurant and bar, a spa with pool and 7 dining options. 

Banyan Tree’s rooms and suites are spacious, featuring wooden flooring and large windows. They offer a seating area, coffee/tea maker and satellite TV. 24-hour room service is available.

Banyan Tree Bangkok’s health club offers a well-equipped fitness centre, steam room and sauna. The famous Banyan Tree Spa offers a wide choice of treatments and is considered one of the best SPA’s in Bangkok. I tried an oil massage in a beautiful room and the massage was very professional, just right in pressure and very relaxing. 

Vertigo and Moon Bar offer panoramic views and serve a variety of western dishes. Guests can sample Thai and Chinese specialties. Banyan Tree Bangkok also provides a dinner cruise along the Chao Phraya River.

Banyan Tree Bangkok is located in Bangkok’s central business and embassy district on Sathorn Road. Lumpini MRT Station is just a 10-minute walk away. 

I stayed in a one-bedroom-suite which was spacious with a lounge area, a working desk, a separate bedroom and an oversized bathroom with stand-alone bathtub, shower and separate toilet. The amenities were luxurious and plentiful. The layout of the bedroom was however a bit unconventional, very dark (good for sleeping) but a small sitting area which I found a bit badly designed as I did not see the purpose of it. Next door was a nice sitting area with large windows and a great view. There was also no turn-down service which should be standard in a hotel of this level.

The Club Lounge on the 19th floor was of a notable size, with a check-in/check-out area, meeting rooms and large restaurant-style area where breakfast, afternoon tea, and evening drinks were served. The quality and food of the snacks were nice and I found the breakfast very good and delicious.

My overall stay at the Banyan Tree Bangkok was nice, but it was lacking a “wow” factor. Maybe this is because of the age of the hotel and the high competition of luxury hotels in Bangkok. However I loved my massage at the Banyan Tree Spa and visiting the Club Lounge was a pleasant experience.

https://www.banyantree.com/en/thailand/bangkok

PAN PACIFIC HOTEL, SINGAPORE

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The Pan Pacific Singapore is conveniently located at on 7, Raffles Boulevard at Marina Square, minutes away from Suntec City; and the Promenade and Esplanade MRT stations.

It is a large hotel with a stunning atrium featuring glass lifts. The Pan Pacific Singapore is famous for its dining outlets which are equally busy with locals and visitors alike. (The Edge, (Local, Regional and International), Rang Mahal (Indian Cuisine), Keyaki (Japanese Restaurant), Hai Tien Lo (Chinese Restaurant), Atrium (longest bar in town) and Pacific Marketplace (Sandwiches and more in the lobby).

The rooms at the Pan Pacific are generously sized and are fitted out with modern decor. The bathrooms offer a large shower with electric shower curtains which can be closed to be totally separated from the bedroom. The large bed is very comfortable and the room offers plenty of electric outlets, a minibar and coffee/tea kettle. There is a day and a night curtain on the floor to ceiling window which can be operated fully automatically and offers complete darkness. 

The hotel offers a gym and a swimming pool (which is surely not Asia’s most beautiful) good enough for a refreshing swim or a few rays of sun.

The service at the Pan Pacific is impeccable, always super-efficient and professional.

The Pan Pacific offers competitive rates when booked online on the hotel website. I always like to stay at this hotel and have never been disappointed.

https://www.panpacific.com/en/hotels-and-resorts/pp-marina.html?gclid=EAIaIQobChMImvehvYOu4AIVAuh3Ch0bAg_NEAAYASAAEgL7C_D_BwE&gclsrc=aw.ds

MÖVENPICK HOTEL, GENEVA-AIRPORT, SWITZERLAND

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I arrived late night at Geneva Airport and was picked up by the hotel’s own shuttle bus service. This shuttle bus runs conveniently around every 20 minutes. Check-in was done within minutes.

This hotel is a classic airport hotel with spacious rooms, a modern bathroom and all amenities that you need. The bathroom is on the smaller side, but functional and eco-friendly soap and shower gel/shampoo dispensers are provided. A scale is also available which most hotels do not offer these days.

The bed is large and comfortable and noise-insulated windows guarantee a noise-free sleep.

Sky-Gym is on the top floor and offers all the usual hotel-gym equipment. As it is located on the top floor it has a nice view over the entire airport which is quite entertaining while you work out. 

The hotel offers a lobby bar, a Japanese restaurant downstairs and the main Mövenpick Restaurant.

I had breakfast at the Mövenpick Restaurant and was not impressed. While the food on offer was of good standard fare, there is only 1 coffee machine available and this leads to long queues and people having to wait in line. There was another coffee machine available behind the bar but the staff were not flexible to help out or in any way willing to assist or accommodate. As the coffee maker is in the middle of the breakfast area people block the way for those who are getting their food.

But the real downside of the place was that half of the restaurant was closed off and blocked by barriers. There were lots of people eating breakfast at the time but the staff were not willing to open up another section but let everybody sit in a cramped area. This situation was annoying and angered some people but the staff did not care which made this a place where you don’t want to come back to and pay a lot of money for your breakfast.

Overall, the hotel is an OK option for an overnight stay at Geneva Airport. However, I think the food and beverage managers need some training in the area of basic hospitality management. 

https://www.movenpick.com/en/europe/switzerland/geneva/hotel-geneva/overview/

BUERGENSTOCK RESORT, SWITZERLAND

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Balanced like an eagle’s nest atop a forested reserve, 500 metres above  Lake Lucerne, the 60-hectare Bürgenstock Resort presides over glass-like vistas, cow-filled meadows and serrated Alpine horizons. There’s road access and a car park, but the best way to arrive is by high-speed catamaran  from Lucerne, then funicular train up to the resort. The high-speed catamaran cuts the journey time from Lucerne to only 30 minutes.


From its origins in 1873 to the Fifties and Sixties, when Hollywood stars such as Sophia Loren and Audrey Hepburn lived here, the Bürgenstock Resort has quite a long and deep heritage. Its image following a nine-year, 500 million Swiss Francs renovation is fittingly spectacular. An architectural collage of four hotels melds 19th-century grandeur with ultra-modern design.

The 10-storey cube-shaped Bürgenstock Hotel cuts a striking contrast beside the Belle Époque Palace Hotel – although the two share a polished lobby with colossal windows. More discreet properties are the larch lattice-clad Waldhotel and chalet-style Taverne 1879. A network of broad panoramic terraces gives the impression the resort is suspended in mid-air.

The resort’s 8 restaurants, lounges and bars, open year-round, encompass Asian specialities, hearty Swiss offerings and ‘clean’ menus free from animal fats and salt. Enjoy French fine dining at RitzCoffier, which has Renaissance-style marbleised pillars and features 3 Michelin Stars. Also worth a taste is Oriental restaurant Sharq, located in a cube clinging to the mountainside. Not to forget the beautiful “Lakeview Lounge” overlooking the stunning alpine view, the lake and the city of Lucerne. Finally, there’s Spices restaurant, a Pan-Asian venue with grand-views and the Oak Grill which has a classy steakhouse atmosphere. All meals during my stay were delicious; and were cooked with the freshest ingredients.


I stayed at the Palace Hotel and my room was spacious, offering the newest state-of-the-art fittings in a contemporary design. There was a Nespresso coffeemaker, a kettle, free soft drinks and beer in the minibar and many other amenities. The bathroom offered a spacious shower, a separate toilet with closomat, Bulgari amenities and a towel heater. 

The hotel also features the 15,000 sq.m. Alpine Spa which is a an attraction in its own right. A large variety of treatment programs are available and both the indoor and outdoor pools offer above-the-clouds views. The Alpine Spa is simply beautiful and complementary access is included in most room rates. (Attention: not all room rates include complementary access to the Spa, check the website carefully not to get any bad surprises. The Spa alone charges about 90 CHF for day-use access.)

The Bürgenstock Resort was voted as Switzerland’s Number 1 hotel in 2018 and I truly enjoyed my stay. I was there during December and there was so much to see and to do. Be sure to allow enough time for a visit. All the hotel staff I met were super courteous and helpful. Everyone was professional, friendly and always open for a chat. 

https://www.buergenstock.ch/en

ASPIRE LOUNGE, ZURICH AIRPORT, SWITZERLAND

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The Aspire Lounge Zurich Airport Terminal E is operated by Swissport and has a fresh and bright ambiance. The lounge offers various seating options including high bar tables, leather chairs, a dining area and a panoramic terrace with outdoor seating.

The lounge offers a good variety of drinks but the food selection is rather limited, comprising a soup, a salad bar, hot dog style sausages with mustard and a choice of 2 warm items. Small packed cheeses and cookies are also available. 

Newspapers are on display for lounge use and free wifi is provided for 2 hours. 

The lounge can get very busy at certain times of the day, depending on flight departures and airlines which use this lounge. I saw many dirty tables which had not been  cleaned for a long time and that made the place look a little sub-standard compared to other lounges available at Zurich Airport in Terminal E.

The lounge is open for public use for a fee of 35 Swiss Francs. (I would recommend to check the occupancy of the lounge before paying the entrance fee)

https://aspirelounge.ch/en/

AXEL HOTEL, MADRID, SPAIN

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The Axel Hotel Madrid is a “hetero-friendly” gay hotel where all adults are welcome. Several Axel hotels are located in various cities in Europe. 

The hotel is located on the busy Atocha Street on the edge of the literary quarter. This neighbourhood, around the Plaza de Santa Ana, is where Madrid’s first theatres sprang up in the 16th century but now the narrow streets are lined with bars, restaurants and independent shops. It is one of the most popular areas in Madrid for a tapas tasting.

Axel hotels are renowned for taking good care of their guests and making sure everyone is having a good time. The rooftop pool, with a sundeck with loungers and a bar, is where the party is at in the warmer half of the year. There is a well-equipped gym on the top floor with big windows so you can gaze across the rooftops. The gym also has a steam room and sensual treatment rooms. 

The Axel has 88 rooms and suites. The hotel offers two room categories – City and Premium. –  The Premium rooms are bigger and have a balcony or a terrace. Design is dramatic, not to mention erotic, with moody blue walls with neon slogans, black-and-white tiled headboards, wooden floors and black lace curtains. It is all glamour in the bathrooms with gold mosaic tiles in the shower. All rooms have bathrobes and slippers, a kettle, safe and minibar.

A bar and a restaurant are located on street level where breakfast is also served. I had a very good nights sleep and I enjoyed my stay at the Axel Hotel very much. I would particularly like to highlight the staff who were super charming and adorable.