FAIRMONT HOTEL, BARCELONA, SPAIN

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This five-star resort is located on the prestigious Avenida Diagonal, which is known for its wealth of high-end restaurants and shopping opportunities. The hotel is located approximately 6km (just under four miles) from the city centre, which is accessible by a 15/20-minute taxi ride or a 30-minute metro ride.

The imposing lobby area draws on ultra-modern furnishings and a palette of silver and gold to achieve a look of tasteful decadence. The space is flooded with natural light which enters via a huge window that reaches up through the entire height of the building. It looks and feels like very much like a luxury cruise liner. Avant-garde art installations and intelligent partitions create smaller spaces within the bar, lounge and reception area, adding intimacy and plenty of opportunities for peace and privacy.

I found the check-in procedure to be dreadful. There were about 20 people standing in line for 3 open desks and the handling of each check-in seemed to take forever. It took me full 30 min to get my turn and then another 10 min of processing which I could not understand. I had a pre-paid room and all the agent needed to do was to swipe my credit card for incidental costs and make a photocopy of my ID card or passport. When I complained the agent told me that this was normal as the hotel was full. I was given a voucher for a drink and I told her there should be a manager or someone in charge to help out during busy check-in periods.

All of the nearly 400 rooms and suites are soundproof and are fully renovated. The room amenities featured the usual, and the bathroom was fine too. There was a kettle but no coffee maker.

I slept very well and enjoyed the breakfast in the morning which consisted of a good choice of food and beverages and a nice service.

There are 2 pools available in the huge green garden area. One is a family pool and the other is adults only. The guard was very determined to make sure that the rules were followed and sent away all families with small children. I appreciated that. However on my second day they were no pool towels available until about 1030 am. (Pool opens at 9am). I could not understand how this could be possible in a large hotel like this. 

My stay at the Fairmont Barcelona was fine, but I expected more in terms of service. I guess the takeover of the Fairmont hotels Group by the Accor Group was not a move to make things better and more exclusive. – 1 Star for this hotel down to 4 would be appropriate. 

https://www.fairmont.com/barcelona/

PAU SALALS VIP LOUNGE, BARCELONA, SPAIN

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The Pau Casals VIP Lounge at Barcelona Airport is located in the Schengen Zone Departure Area. It offers a modern stylish layout and a wide range of amenities.

There is a large self-service area consisting of a full bar, a coffee bar and hot and cold food items. There are quiches, sausages, cold cuts, soups and salads as well as a pasta dishes. I tasted a few items and they were all fine.

What I particularly liked is the very efficient staff working there. The food was replenished very frequently and the bar tables, as well as the lounge area of the lounge, were always kept tidy and clean.

The lounge is accessible for premium class passengers of airlines departing in the Schengen area and for Priority Pass holders. 

I found my stay there more than pleasant and wish other lounges were kept so clean.

http://www.aena.es/en/barcelona-airport/pau-casals.html

HOTEL RUNGHOLT, SYLT, GERMANY

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Sylt is an island in northern Germany part of Nordfriesland district, Schleswig-Holstein of and well known for the distinctive shape of its shoreline. It belongs to the North Frisian Islands and is the largest island in North Frisia. The northernmost island of Germany, it is known for its tourist resorts, notably Westerland, Kampen and Wenningstedt-Braderup as well as for its 40-kilometre-long (25-mile) sandy beach. It is frequently covered by the media in connection with its exposed situation in the North Sea and its ongoing loss of land during storm tides. Since 1927, Sylt has been connected to the mainland by the Hindenburgdam causeway. In latter years, it has been a resort for the German jet set and tourists in search of occasional celebrity sightings.


I stayed in Kampen at the Hotel Rungholt which is family managed in the third generation. My room was average sized with a skylight window offering a magnificent view over the sand dunes to the North Sea. Amenities were good, the bed was very comfortable and I slept well. 

The hotel has a spa where massages are offered, a large indoor pool area with sauna and more. 

The picturesque village of  Kampen is only steps away and the beach is within walking distance. I found the location of the Rungholt hotel excellent. 

The hotel has a garden with the typical Sylt loungers. There is a beautiful lounge area where snacks and drinks are served all day. It is cozy and inviting to have a drink or a coffee and cake in the afternoon. The hotel has a main restaurant where a delicious breakfast is served and half-board guests enjoy their dinner. A bar is available in the evenings.

I had a pleasant stay at the Rungholt Hotel and would stay there again without hesitation. 

https://hotel-rungholt.de

SYLT AIRPORT LOUNGE, WESTERLAND, GERMANY

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Sylt Airport is the airport on the German island of Sylt located in the municipality of the same name. The airport mostly caters for summer seasonal scheduled traffic serving major German cities as well as general aviation.

The airport is tiny and there is a maximum of about 6 departures during the summer season and even less during winter.

However, the airport features a small lounge which can be visited by passengers who have a status on the Lufthansa group, or their business class guests, or for a fee of EUR 10. 

The lounge has some nice armchairs, a direct view onto the tarmac, and offers a limited amount of snacks such as nuts and protein bars. Coffee, tea and German sekt is available as well as ice cream during the summer season. 

Despite the limited offerings, I liked the lounge. It was very relaxing, had free wifi and good coffee. Just shortly before general boarding of your flight the agent will personally escort the guests directly to the aircraft which is only a few footsteps away. 

 

https://www.flughafen-sylt.de/

THE REGENT, BEIJING, CHINA

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The Regent Beijing is located about a 3-minute walk from Wanfujing shopping street, 2 kms from Tiananmen Square and the Forbidden City. Dongdan Railways station is less than 1 km away, while Beijing Capital Airport is a 40-minute drive from the hotel. A subway station is right around the corner.

The hotel is a tranquil and luxurious retreat and offers 5-star facilities such as a spectacular indoor pool and spa. It boasts breathtaking views of Beijing.

Spacious with floor-to-ceiling windows, rooms are decorated with modern artworks and fitted with flat-screen TVs, a safe and tea/coffee making facilities. Classy designs are used, showcased by the comfort sofa, hardwood furniture and patterned carpeting. The marble bathrooms come with a bathtub and toiletries. 24-hour room service is provided. Housekeeping is doing a great job and always checking back if more bottle water or anything is needed. 

Gym  workout is possible at the Regent’s modern fitness centre and guests can relax at the heated pool or hot tub. The Serenity Spa provides indulgent massages and beauty treatments at fair prices.

All the 4 international dining venues would definitely satisfy all different tastes, such as Daccapo serving delicious Italian cuisine, Lei Garden with authentic Chinese dishes, plus Morton’s of Chicago, a Chicago-style steakhouse. For cafe-style fare, you may opt for Jinbao 99. Also, the delightful Deli is a nice choice to sample light bites such as sandwiches and pastries matched with coffee. I also tried the breakfast buffet which offers a large choice of local and international dishes.

Beijing’s Dongcheng area is a great choice for travelers interested in monuments, sightseeing and temples. My stay at the Regent was very pleasant and I found the staff always friendly and helpful. 

https://www.regenthotels.com/regent-beijing/