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/

MAXX BY STEIGENBERGER HOTEL, VIENNA, AUSTRIA

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MAXX Hotels by Steigenberger is a new brand of Deutsche Hospitality which combines the famous Steigenberger quality with urban coziness. 


The MAXX Hotel Vienna is conveniently located between Vienna’s Westbahnhof and the city centre on Margaritengürtel. All 195 rooms and suites are furnished in a modern style. Cozy comfort and good facilities provide an environment to have a good time and relax.


I stayed in a Superior Room which was about 24-30 sq.m. and facing the street. The room was spacious with wooden floor and floor-to-ceiling windows. The furnishings were contemporary and modern. A bottle of water, a Nespresso machine and a small minibar as well as free Wifi was provided. The bed was comfortable but had only one small pillow and a small mini blanket. I found this a bit too economical and would have appreciated at least a second pillow.


The hotel also offers a gym on the top floor with a sun terrace. There is also a spa with massages and a Finnish sauna, steam bath, showers and relaxation rooms.


Breakfast at the MAXX Hotel Vienna was delicious with a large choice of breads, cold cuts, cheeses, an egg station and a turbo juice maker where guests could make their favourite fresh juice or smoothie. I found the staff working at the breakfast area a bit uncommunicative. There was no one greeting the guests upon entering the restaurant and besides one word questions such as “coffee?” I didn’t see or hear any interaction or conversations with any guests. I found this a bit sad given the high-level hotel brand and the fact that the breakfast was of high standard.


I enjoyed my stay at the MAXX Hotel Vienna but if they are seeking to compete with the numerous high quality hotels found in Vienna I would recommend they make more commitment to staff training. MAXX Hotels provides competitive rates and are definitely a brand that I would consider to re-visit in the future.

https://www.maxxhotel.com/en/hotels/all-hotels/austria/vienna/maxx-by-steigenberger-vienna

RAFFLES HOTEL, WARSAW, POLAND

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The Raffles Europejski Warsaw is the grand dame of Warsaw hotels. The hotel originally opened in 1857, and was re-launched under the Raffles Hotels & Resorts brand after an extensive refurbishment bringing 21st century luxury to this beautiful hotel. 

The hotel is located right in the heart of Warsaw from where most sights can be reached by foot.

I checked in to a Raffles Room which was spacious and decored in turquoise and cream colours. There was a small library corner with working desk, coffee maker and a minibar. The room had an elegant bathroom with a separate toilet, a rain-shower and a bathtub. The bed was wonderful and I slept very well.

The hotel website promises the famous Raffles butler service but the service was not pointed out specifically and I did not meet a butler on arrival. However, during my stay I requested a shaving kit, which was only provided after my second phone call for it (after 30 min). When the kit was finally delivered, I found a bottle of shaving foam but no razor in the kit, so I had to call again. Surely there is room for improvement in this department. However a call to housekeeping to provide me with more coffee capsules was actioned quickly and the requested items were delivered immediately.

The hotel offers The Long Bar in honour of the original Long Bar in Raffles Singapore; Europejski Grill, the hotel’s fine dining restaurant and The Lourse patisserie, a small cute shop with cakes and pastries. The hotel has its own spa with massage therapy rooms and a swimming pool which will soon be opened. The gym provides state-of-the art equipment and I found the staff there particularly helpful checking if the temperature was comfortable and if any help with the equipment was needed. 

The Raffles Europejski Hotel is a beautiful, chic hotel which has it’s price tag. I found my stay very pleasant and would return anytime.

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