HILTON UNION SQUARE, SAN FRANCISCO, USA

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Just west of San Francisco’s lively Union Square shopping district and around the block from some of the city’s most prestigious theatres, the Hilton Union Square offers a convenient location, though the  Tenderloin neighbourhood, known for its crime, lies to the west and south of the hotel. Market Street — where you’ll find transit options to places like the airport, Golden Gate Park and kitschy Fisherman’s Wharf, as well as the Powell Street Cable Car turnaround — is an eight-minute walk south-east (it’s best to go east for a block or two on O’Farrell Street before turning south). It’s approximately a 20-minute walk to Chinatown. 

With 1,919 rooms spread among a three-tower structure, the Hilton Union Square is like its own tiny metropolis. It’s a bit of a maze getting around – a factor that makes it fun to explore. The lobby itself is massive and blaring at times, though sporting its own central bar, plenty of seating, meaning people-watching galore. The hotel exudes an overall feel that’s both crisp and contemporary: a perfect place for couples, families, and anyone looking for a true urban experience.

This city-within-a-city has almost everything guests could ever need, from an express slot where you can drop your card keys without having to wait in a queue, to a gift shop and an indoor ATM. The hotel features both a health club and a separate outdoor heated pool, complete with palm trees and a whirlpool tub. Room service is available. Like most downtown hotels, parking is available but it’s on the pricey side. Public transport is more convenient.

There are several room categories in all 3 towers, the website gives a pretty good overview. Hilton Honours floors are located on the higher levels and offer free wifi. The rooftop  on the 46th floor is enormous and offers splendid views on all four sides and opens nightly at 4:30pm. The hotel also features a lobby bar, Urban Tavern and an easy-going open coffee-shop in the lobby, which sells snacks and drinks from early morning to late night.

I have stayed at this hotel many times and the staff are always courteous, helpful and have an open ear for all kinds of requests. Even though this hotel is huge, you can easily feel at home here.

https://www3.hilton.com/en/hotels/california/hilton-san-francisco-union-square-SFOFHHH/index.html

PALAZZO RESORT AND CASINO, LAS VEGAS, USA

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This 5-star, all suites, Las Vegas hotel is on the Vegas Strip. The luxury hotel features a full-service spa and health club, pool deck overlooking the Strip, and a state-of-the-art casino.

The Palazzo Las Vegas offers spacious suites with a separate living area and a dining table. In-room media includes 2 LCD HD TVs, a DVD player and high-speed Internet access. The extra-large bathrooms feature a 19-inch flat-screen TV and deluxe amenities. A daily newspaper is available.

The Palazzo (Venetian) features over 80 restaurants and bars, offering an international food selection. 

The Palazzo features 5 outdoor pools, and the neighbouring Venetian hotel pools may be used as well. At the Grand Canal Shoppes, guests will find more than 50 international boutiques. 

The on-site Canyon Ranch Spa and Fitness centre offers fitness classes, massage services, facial and skin treatments, water therapy circuit, acupuncture, and a full menu of salon services. Guests can meet with a nutritionist or personal trainer. I found the opening hours of the Canyon Ranch Gym a bit limited. While almost everything in Las Vegas is open 24hours, the gym opens at 6am in the morning only. Considering the size of the hotel and the number of guests I found this not very customer friendly. Consequently there was a long queue just before the gym opens. (Lots of people have meetings, some have jet lag, thus they might prefer an earlier work-out.)

I found the suite very luxurious and spacious. There are no coffee or tea  making facilities though but they could be ordered on request. The hotel also has a food court, so if you need a quick coffee or a bite to eat, everything is available 24/7.

The bed was very comfortable with plenty of pillows. There was an ironing board, 2 bathrobes and slippers were available.

I have stayed in Las Vegas many times before but this hotel definitely offers  the most spacious and luxury rooms. I would come back to the Palazzo any time. 

https://www.venetian.com/towers/the-palazzo.html

RENAISSANCE HOTEL, LOS ANGELES AIRPORT, USA

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The Renaissance Los Angeles Airport Hotel is located 1.2 miles (about 2 kilometres) from Los Angeles International Airport (LAX). It has an outdoor pool and guest rooms come with high speed internet and flat-screen cable TVs.

Rooms at the Renaissance Los Angeles Airport Hotel have contemporary furnishing and are equipped with a mini refrigerator, a coffee machine and ironing facilities.

The hotel offers a small  outdoor swimming pool and a 24 hour fitness centre that has cardiovascular equipment and free weights.

The restaurant and bar Studio 12 serves American breakfast, lunch and dinner. It has a regional Californian wine menu. There is also space for meetings and events available. My room was spacious with a separate lounge/sitting area. The bed was very comfortable and despite the proximity of the hotel to the airport, the rooms where nicely soundproof and I slept very well.

The hotel offers a 24-hours free shuttle service to LAX airport, self-parking and valet parking. Parking is rather pricey with rates starting at US$40 per day. I had a pleasant stay at the Renaissance LAX and what I liked particularly is the hotel is not as oversized as the other Los Angeles Airport Hotels which makes it a very pleasant place to stay.

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http://renaissance-hotels.marriott.com/renaissance-los-angeles-airport-hotel

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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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/