PAN PACIFIC HOTEL, SINGAPORE

Standard

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

Standard


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. 

BUERGENSTOCK RESORT, SWITZERLAND

Standard

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

Standard

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

Standard


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.

MADRID AIRPORT, PUERTO DE ALCALA VIP LOUNGE, SPAIN

Standard

 



The Puerta de Alcala lounge at Madrid Barajas Airport Terminal 2 serves passengers traveling within Europe’s Schengen zone. The lounge welcomes elite and premium customers of a dozen airlines including Air France KLM, Alitalia, Lufthansa and SWISS as well as members of popular lounge access programs such as Priority Pass. All passengers, regardless of airline or class or service, may also purchase access.

The Puerta de Alcala lounge at Madrid Barajas Airport Terminal 2 is located on the upper level, near gate D62. The spacious lounge boasts a long window wall and benefits from ample daylight and exciting views of the tarmac and airport grounds.

While the slightly industrial and old fashioned décor is unremarkable, the layout is open and spacious, with plenty of space to walk around. A single large room is home to a dining area, a seating area, and a business zone. The seats are located by the windows with a side table and power outlet at every seat. Immediately across is the buffet and dining area with both traditional café-style seating and table seating. 

The buffet offers a selection of snacks, salads, sandwiches, yoghurt, and other packaged items such as fruit salads. There are also rotating hot entrees such as pasta dishes. The selection varies, and hot food availability may be hit or miss, but the spread is substantial enough for a quick meal on the ground.

The Puerta de Alcala lounge at Madrid Barajas Airport Terminal 2 is a comfortable lounge, with a pretty strong line-up of amenities for short distance travel within Europe’s Schengen zone. I liked the panoramic window very much. 

http://www.aena.es/en/madrid-barajas-airport/puerta-de-alcala.html

GRAN HOTEL MANZANA KEMPINSKI, HAVANA, CUBA

Standard

img_1967

gm2

With the opening of the Gran Hotel Manzana Kempinski, Havana got its first 5 star hotel. It is located prominently on Parque Central  which is a lively square with a small park and plenty of old vintage limousines available to do a sightseeing tour of old and new Havana.

The Gran Hotel Manzana Kempinski offers 3 restaurants, a roof-top swimming pool and a state-of-the-art spa as well as gym on the top floor which offers a great view. The spa is very beautiful and offers a lot of space and many options which is fantastic. The infinity swimming pool is a perfect place to relax on a hot afternoon while enjoying a magnificent view over the rooftops of Havana.

The rooms are generous in size with an oversized shower and a separate toilet. The decor is very modern and timeless. Espresso-maker and other 5*star hotel amenities were also available. The famous Kempinski “lady-in-red” concierge service is available around-the-clock and is always helpful.

The reception lobby of the hotel is small, but there is a huge bar/lounge on the first floor. The Bar is open 24 hours and features live music including singers and a fantastic harp player which made the waiting time to go to the airport a very pleasant one. A cigar smoking lounge is also located on the first floor as well as another bar called Constante.

Breakfast was served in the Confluencias restaurant and offered a huge variety of breads, fresh fruit, cheese, cereals and muesli. Hot egg dishes such as eggs benedict were served at the table. I loved the breakfast very much as there were also smoothies and healthy juice options available. Good value for money here.

The Gran Hotel Manzana Kempinski is a beautiful new hotel with a solid service for a 5-star hotel but it was missing a “wow” effect such as a little treat for Discovery Members or a staff or management member who was available for chatting with guests or inquiring about their well-being.

 

Screen Shot 2018-11-04 at 16.32.46

https://www.kempinski.com/en/havana/gran-hotel-kempinski-la-habana/