LUFTHANSA

Standard

Lufthansa Business Class, Frankfurt-Ibiza, Airbus A321

Lufthansa has unveiled its new short and medium-haul business class menus which it says have been “inspired by German metropolises”.

The tasting “heimat menus” (heimat translating as “home” or “homeland”) was launched on September 1, and promised not only to change weekly, but also on the outward and return flights”.

According to Lufthansa, the menus have been inspired by the cities of Munich, Frankfurt, Hamburg, Berlin, Düsseldorf and Leipzig; and feature “German classics with unusual components”.

The carrier said that the dishes were created by “young star chefs” Julia Komp and Dennis Puchert, alongside the Gategroup culinary team.

Highlighting the menu’s sustainable attributes, Lufthansa said that the ingredients come predominantly from the regions around Frankfurt and Munich, adding that the dishes would be offered without the use of disposable plastics.

Earlier this year the carrier unveiled its new buy-on-board menu for short and medium-haul economy passengers.

The Aircraft was an A321-100 with a configuration of 36-150. European-style Business– Class means a standard economy seat with the adjacent seat (middle) blocked to offer additional personal space and located in the front section of the aircraft (most European Carriers use these curtain-type variable versions). I booked seat 11A which is probably the best seat in the “house” as there is plenty of space to stretch the legs and it’s convenient to get in and out of the seat without disturbing anyone. 

Boarding started a little late but the crew managed to catch up some time and we landed at Ibiza on-time. The meal comprised a cold fillet of salmon with egg salad and bread roll (one-round of bread and one-round of drinks plus coffee/tea). Flight time was about 1 hr 55 mins. An apple was served before landing as a special treat of the new “Heimat” meal concept. I found the meal and the crew ok, but nothing to write home about.

Lufthansa offers a solid, consistent and reliable product with a comfortable in-flight experience.

https://www.lufthansa.com/ch/en/homepage

THE RITZ-CARLTON HOTEL, BERLIN, GERMANY

Standard

Right on bustling Potsdamer Platz, The Ritz-Carlton, is well placed for shopping, museums, nightlife and key attractions such as the Holocaust Memorial and the Brandenburg Gate, both of which are within easy walking distance of around 10 minutes. There are malls, cinemas and museums all around (as well as small sections bits of the original Berlin Wall right outside the hotel), and the impressive, feature-studded Tiergarten park is right next door.

The hotel’s distinctive skyscraper-style design fits well into Potsdamer Platz’s cityscape. The interiors are classic Old Europe, with baroque chandeliers, marble staircases and Art Deco-inspired furnishings lending an aura of monied refinement throughout the public spaces; and the rooms and suites.

I checked in online and was particularly impressed by the “virtual-key” that was sent to my Marriott Bonvoy App when the room was ready. This mobile key gave me direct access to the lift and my room; and it worked reliably. It is a fantastic way of making travel easier and faster; and is linked to the Bonvoy App which has guest details and credit card information pre-registered.

The hotel ran very smoothly thanks to a well-groomed, professionally-trained, veritable army of staff. Aside from the restaurant and bars, the hotel has  a very comprehensive wellness area in the basement with pool, whirlpool tub, sauna and fitness centre.

I enjoyed my stay very much and would go back to this hotel any time.

https://www.ritzcarlton.com/en/hotels/germany/berlin

INTERCITY HOTEL, BERLIN BRANDENBURG AIRPORT, BERLIN, GERMANY

Standard

I was recently offloaded from an oversold flight in Berlin and was offered a hotel voucher from the airline for a one night stay, including dinner and breakfast. Check-in was very fast and I was informed that dinner would be served until 10pm. I was planning on a short night stay only, taking the first flight out the following morning so I chose to skip both dinner and breakfast. Hotel staff booked a taxi for the next morning and I was accommodated in a clean room with a comfortable bed. The hotel is located at Terminal 5 (currently not in service) and can also be reached by bus from the new Berlin Brandenburg Terminal 1. 

In the InterCityHotel Berlin-Brandenburg Airport at Berlin-Schonefeld Airport the guest will find modern comforts and a pleasant ambience. The airport terminals and the S-Bahn station are located in the immediate vicinity of the hotel. Thanks to the FreeCityTicket being included in the price of your room, guests can travel comfortably and without further cost to the centre of the metropolis of Berlin or to Potsdam. 

The hotel has 198 rooms furnished in warm colour shades and offer to both city tourists and business travellers cosy and comfortable accommodation.

Recreation and rest is ensured by the wellness area of the InterCityHotel Berlin-Brandenburg with its fitness room, dry sauna, steam bath, relaxation area and wellness showers. In addition, the guest will find several jogging paths around the Berlin airport hotel. For all InterCityHotels concerned, the usage of the WLAN is free of charge up to 256 KB/s.

I found this hotel to be a good choice for a short overnight stay for a very reasonable rate.

WALDHAUS FLIMS WELLNESS HOTEL, FLIMS, SWITZERLAND

Standard

The Waldhaus Wellness Resort Flims is one of Switzerland’s grand hotels and spas, nestled in the Flims | Laax mountains at 1,100 meters above sea level. It has a longstanding tradition of hospitality that combines the inviting charm of the Belle Époque with a thoroughly modern approach towards luxury. The Waldhaus Flims hotel and expansive park comprises three guest houses with refined accommodations that overlook magnificent views of the Alps or Waldhaus Park, four gourmet restaurants that draw culinary inspiration from around the globe, and the internationally acclaimed Waldhaus Spa, which offers the latest spa amenities and innovative treatments in an environment that seamlessly merges stone, water, glass and fresh Alpine air.

I visited the Flims Waldhaus Wellness Resort on a rainy Summer day and was impressed immediately by the warm ambience inside, combined with state-of-the-art contemporary luxury and design. There is a huge 3000 sqm. spa. The nice bars and award-winning restaurants and a very impressing Belle Epoque Museum featuring all kinds of hotel memorabilia from the early times impressed me very much (the hotel was opened in 1877). The huge garden and stunning views on nicer days make it a place to feel exclusive and spoiled. 

The resort has three buildings, the main “Grand-hotel”, the Villa Silvana and the Chalet Belmont. All buildings have been renovated in 2016 and feature refined design and, of course, all luxury amenities that a 5-star hotel offers from several restaurants, to room service and 24h fitness centre. 

The Flims-Laax area of Graubünden offers a wide range of sportive or relaxing activities for all seasons of the year. 

The Waldhaus Wellness Resort Flims is a stylish luxurious hotel in a beautiful mountain region and was added recently to Marriott’s Autograph Collection. It is only a 90 minute drive from Zurich and I can warmly recommend it to anyone who wants to indulge themselves.

HYATT REGENCY HOTEL, ZURICH-AIRPORT, THE CIRCLE, SWITZERLAND

Standard

Hyatt Regency Zurich Airport The Circle is located within The Circle at Zurich Airport, and comes with a restaurant and a bar featuring The Circle views and Swiss-inspired cocktails. Among the facilities at this property are a 24-hour front desk and fitness centre, a spa with sauna and relaxation area and room service. The hotel also offers free WiFi throughout the property.

Guests can directly access the hotel from the airport via a protected walkway, not exposed to the weather. The walking time from the airport is approximately 5 minutes.

With Swiss design, rooms at the hotel are equipped with individually controlled air conditioning, a 65″ flat-screen TV with satellite channels and tea and coffee-making facilities. The bathroom includes a walk-in rain shower. Simple design, but all looks neat and clean. There are “garden views” which you can see on my pictures. 

Guests at Hyatt Regency Zurich Airport The Circle can enjoy a full American breakfast buffet at Restaurant Babel, which specializes in Middle Eastern cuisine. There is Bar Iris with blue sofa’s overlooking the lively Circle Square. A little 24/7 take-away “zum Mitnäh” is available too. 

A concierge service and luggage storage space are available at the Hyatt Regency Zurich Airport Circle, which also has several terraces and a Regency Club Lounge with park views. Guests enjoy direct access to the adjacent park and The Circle Convention Centre with state-of-the-art meeting space.

A fully equipped gym is available, including a sauna and a rest area. 

The Zurich Exhibition Hall is 3.7 mi from the hotel, while Zoo Zurich is 5.6 mi away. The Zurich Airport tram station is 2 min walkaway and the airport train station can be reached in 5 min.The train station offers direct connections to most cities in Switzerland, including connections to downtown Zurich which is a quick 10 min away. 

I was greeted in a very friendly matter and all the staff that I met were in a good mood and helpful. There is going to be a Hyatt Place sister hotel nearby which will be opened shortly. 

https://www.hyatt.com/en-US/hotel/switzerland/hyatt-regency-zurich-airport-the-circle/zrhrz

HYATT REGENCY HOTEL, DELHI, INDIA

Standard

The Hyatt Regency Delhi has been a high standard hotel for many years. It is particularly famous and popular for its restaurants which have a good reputation and are very busy every day. From my experience, I can say that all meals that I had at the Hyatt Regency Delhi were delicious and the staff were always friendly and polite.

I stayed in a standard room which was very clean and well kept. The best asset was the mobile air purifier which was placed in the room. With temperatures of more than 45 degrees Celsius outside and generally bad air quality, this gadget is most welcomed. It can be set to purify the air, it can humidify the air, or it can be put into “aroma therapy” mode which is intended to diffuse aromas such as eucalyptus, ocean breeze or lavender. I have tried all features, I guess it worked all right, while the aroma therapy was not really noticeable. But I like the idea of having it in the room.

Rooms have the usual amenities and housekeeping did a good job to keep the room tidy and even a shoe shine service was performed during the room cleaning which I felt was  a nice touch.

https://www.hyatt.com

CENTARA HOTEL & CONVENTION CENTRE, UDON THANI, THAILAND

Standard

The Centara Hotel and Convention Centre Udon Thani was renovated and reopened in 2011 and plays host to Central Plaza Udon Thani, the city’s largest shopping and entertainment centre. The hotel offers a swimming pool, a spa and a gym. There are two restaurants, Ban Chiang and Luk Fatt, and the lively Lobby bar and a Deli Corner.(Karaoke-bar at sous-sol was closed).

I booked a junior suite with a floor area of 72 sq. m. There was a living room, a guest toilet, a good sized bedroom and a main bathroom with oversized shower, bathtub and another toilet. The room offered all the usual facilities, such as in-room safe, refrigerator, coffee maker, tea kettle, 2 flat-screen TV’s and more. Wifi was free and available at a good speed.

Check-in was efficient and CentaraThe1 members receive a special room rate and a welcome-drink voucher. The suite was generally in good condition, except for a small glitch with the air-conditioner (probably because the room had not been used for a long-time) but was fixed quickly. I also received a personal apology from a member of the management team which I highly appreciated.

The quality of the bed and pillows was very good and I had an excellent night’s sleep.

Breakfast was included in the room rate and included a large variety of food and beverage items. The hotel followed international Covid-19 regulations and hygiene procedures. I had a pleasant stay for a competitive room rate and enjoyed good service from the hotel staff.

THE SILVER PALM HOTEL, ALTERNATIVE STATE QUARANTINE (ASQ), BANGKOK, THAILAND

Standard

HOW IS IT TO TRAVEL TO THAILAND DURING THE CORONA PANDEMIC?

This is a review about a trip that I made to Thailand during the Covid-19 pandemic while the ASQ (Alternative State Quarantine) requirement was still in place. The state quarantine is mandatory for all visitors, including Thai citizens. (Thai citizens are also offered a “free” quarantine stay at a state operated facility such as a small hotel or a military camp). There are strict requirements for foreigners who seek to enter Thailand during the pandemic. These requirements include visa, Certificate of Entry, special insurance covering at least USD 100,000, negative Covid-19 test result 72h before arrival and a Fit-to-Fly certificate. Further information is available on the websites of the Royal Thai Embassies around the world.

The ASQ Hotel packages always include 15 nights accommodation (16 days), 3 meals per day, a 24/7 nurse on duty, 2-3 mandatory Covid-19 tests, and airport pick-up transportation. After the stay, guests are issued a completion of quarantine certificate and are allowed to travel freely within Thailand. Guests must also use a tracking app called Thailand Plus.

Pre-flight: Documents are thoroughly checked at the departure gate at the respective airline (only a handful of airlines are authorized to bring passengers to Thailand).

Post-flight: passengers are gathered in small groups and are guided to various check-points where temperature and documents etc are checked. Finally Immigration, as always, and then passengers leave the airport from designated area where the hotel staff pick up the guests and take them to their chosen ASQ facility. 

I stayed at the Silver Palm Hotel which is a medium priced, 3-star hotel located near Rama 9 Road. As I had already pre-paid the hotel, check-in was smooth and fast. Blood-pressure and fever were checked and I was offered a breakfast before I was escorted to my room. I booked a Deluxe room and I was lucky to have a beautiful view of the pool and the garden. There was a big balcony where I spent most of my day from early morning to sunset. The room was spacious, there was plenty of water available, a microwave oven and a fever thermometer. Fever checking was required twice per day. All communications with the hotel took place via the LINE application. I sent photos of my temperature results every day to the nurse and ordered my food and booked my garden time, all with the LINE app. Garden time was allowed after 5 days after the first Covid test took place and for people with a negative result. 

The food was nothing to write home about. The choice was very limited, sometimes with only 1 or 2 offerings. The food was usually delivered more cold than warm and the taste was ok but not more than that. I pimped it up with seasonings that I brought with me. The staff also offered to buy items from a nearby 7/11 mini-mart and would add 20% to the local price. Other deliveries were only allowed by family members. 

The hotel staff which I met were extremely friendly and helpful. As I did not want to spend a lot of money I was happy with the service of the hotel. Check-out on the last day was possible from 6am and was completed  swiftly and my departure certificate was ready.

There are many choices of ASQ hotels in Bangkok, Pattaya and shortly in Phuket as well. I would recommend everyone to bring plenty of snacks, good books, an HDMI cable to connect your devices to the TV and books, Netflix etc.. to keep you busy. A balcony was essential for me and I was very happy to have it.

Check-in and medical station:

Room:

Garden and Pool:

The Silver Palm:

https://www.thesilverpalm.com

HILTON HOTEL, BUENOS AIRES, ARGENTINA

Standard

With its corporate new builds, Puerto Madero can feel a bit soulless but it’s a good area to retreat from Buenos Aires’ pace. It’s a 10-minute walk across a messy building site – major roadworks are in place  – to the downtown area and to the Leandro N. Alem underground station and buses. The international airport is an hour away by taxi, the domestic airport is 15-20 minutes away.

The hotel is not easy to miss: it’s a large silvery,glass box on the dockside, with the Hilton name in blue. The contemporary style of the structure is mitigated by plush carpets and a lively lobby/bar. The glass-walled lifts offer great views across the nine-floor atrium, which floods the building with natural light. Artworks are spread around the floors.

The hotel’s staff are multilingual and efficient; and check-in was done swiftly. The lobby is a bright airy space for informal meetings and a drink. The hotel has a good gym, pool, sauna, spa and solarium.

The room categories range from plain, spacious Deluxe rooms to large Executive suites, which have access to a dedicated lounge, evening cocktails and all-day non-alcoholic drinks. Deluxe rooms have queen-sized beds, soft pillows, ergonomic armchairs, walk-in wardrobes and large work desks. Rooms with river or city views are available. Bathrooms have powerful showers and bathtubs.

El Faro normally serves a buffet breakfast, including fresh pastries, a range of cereals, a good choice of fresh fruit and juices, and decent coffee. It was closed during the time of my visit and breakfast was served in one of the convention rooms instead. The evening à la carte menu looks interesting, but I didn’t try it. Sommeliers are available and they advise guests about the carefully sourced cellar wines. Croutons is a nice café-patisserie and Alberto’s lobby bar offers a good selection of cocktails and has charming bartenders.

I slept well even though there is a small area where youngsters play and dance but they did not stay too long into the night. I had a pleasant stay, enjoyed the spacious room, and enjoyed a good night’s sleep.

https://www.hilton.com/en/hotels/buehihh-hilton-buenos-aires/