GRAND HOTEL, STOCKHOLM, SWEDEN

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The hotel is located in the city centre, which makes it ideal to explore Stockholm’s many neighbourhoods, including visits to museums and high-end shopping in the area of Östermalm, the vibrant restaurant scene in Vasastan, the many coffee shops in Gamla Stan, and the trendy bars in the area of Södermalm. Beautiful view of the waters and everything is withing easy reach by foot.


With a rich heritage dating back to 1874, the hotel has seen many refurbishments and updates, the latest one including the façade of the building, now going back to the original lighter colour palette. The style remains classic, yet with a modern touch in the choice of colour scheme and furniture pieces . Don’t forget a visit to Spegelsalen (Hall of Mirrors), where the original Nobel Prize Awards took place from 1901-29, and the  Winter Garden which is still used for performances. (During Covid-19 pandemic a great venue to serve breakfast)

The service is of high standard. My check-in was fast and I felt very welcome by the highly motivated and friendly staff.

The Nordic Spa & Fitness centre is a very busy and popular venue. The spa includes a sauna with the smell of pinewood, refreshing cold and warm baths and luxurious treatments. Although small in size, a calm atmosphere remains. There is also a well-equipped gym. For extra privacy book in the spa suites complete with a massage room, bath and sauna. The hotel is smart enough to pre-advise future hotel guests by e-mail to make a booking if necessary.

I liked the room very much. There were many small details which made me feel very comfortable. Luxurious bedding, plenty of towels, bathrobes and plenty of complimentary water and disinfection towels. 

The Breakfast at the Winter Garter was great. Mood lights and plenty of space created a very special atmosphere which I liked very much.

I had a fantastic stay at the Grand Hotel Stockholm. Perfect personalized service along with classic chic style and a superb location.

I would go back any time despite the high-end room rates. 

Breakfast at the Winter Garden:

SPA:

https://www.grandhotel.se/en

NIKKO HOTEL, DÜSSELDORF, GERMANY

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The hotel Nikko Düsseldorf is located within easy reach of the city center, the main train station and within a 15 minutes drive from Düsseldorf airport. (At the japanese quartier)
The hotel has a capacity of 393 guest rooms and suites furnished in comfortable and minimalist style. Non smoking rooms are available and also specially equipped rooms for disabled guests. In 2018 the hotel Nikko was completely renovated. The fully equipped SKY SPA on the 11th floor of the first class hotel Nikko Dusseldorf is available to recover while you enjoy the view over Dusseldorf from the penthouse pool on the 11th floor. They are also offering massage or cosmetic treatments. (Closed at the time of my visit)

The culinary offer is multicultural. Japanese high quality cuisine is served at the  Benkay Teppanyaki Restaurant. International and Japanese breakfasts as a buffet is offered in the Traveller’s restaurant. Cocktails and Drinks are available at the Lobby bar as well as self-service convenience store for the most desired products for travellers including coffee facilities.  
I visited the hotel during the Corona pandemic. Mask obligation in the premises of the hotel and the front desk was separated with a plexiglas wall,  the like you find them at airports, pharmacies and other places with hight public frequency. 


I stayed in a newer “deluxe” room which was spacious but minimal. Due to the Corona pandemics certain amenities were removed. For instance there were no glasses in the bathroom (not even plastic ones) no coffee pads, spoons, sugar or cream even though the coffee maker was still placed in the room. (Should have been removed completely or full stock it). However I have ordered a coffee maker and it was delivered promptly. There were no water bottles provided or any kind of personal touch. Everything seemed to be working on a very minimal recuded level. This made me decide not to try the breakfast at the hotel as I guess it would be minimal too. The price for the breakfast was not reduced, but the hotel overnight rates were very compatible and fair. 

The staff that I have met were friendly, efficient but again no personal touch or feeling here. All in all my experience at the Nikko Hotel Düsseldorf was ok. 

INTERCONTINENTAL HOTEL, PORTO, PORTUGAL

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The five-star Intercontinental Porto lies in the heart of Porto’s historic centre and is the gem of the city’s accommodation choices. The hotel stands prominently at the end of Porto’s main avenue, Avenida dos Aliados, and is hence in the most central part of the city. The São Bento train station is just 100 metres away and the iconic Clérigos Tower is a three-minute walk. The lively large square is a hive of activity but the hotel’s soundproofed windows block out most of the noise.

I was welcomed by charming staff, check-in was done swiftly, and I was escorted to the room. The hotel’s neoclassical design was spectacular. Swarovski chandeliers illuminate the bright, marbled foyer and lobby; and velvet armchairs create comfortable seating areas with an elegant ambiance.

My room was of average size, facing the square, and was decorated in stylish but heavy dark colours. There were all modern amenities including a Nespresso coffee machine, minibar etc.  The bathroom was spacious and bright. The bed was luxuriously comfortable and I slept very well. Plenty of power outlets were conveniently located on the nightstand and throughout the room. 

The breakfast was my highlight of the morning. The hotel restaurant offers an enormous selection of international dishes. Local and international specialities are offered and, besides the buffet, the staff offer special egg dishes to be served at the table. I had a big pleasure to enjoy this and along with the wonderful service of the hotel’s staff throughout the premises I had an excellent stay. 

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https://www.ihg.com/intercontinental/hotels/us/en/porto/prtha/hoteldetail

 

 

 

DAVID INTERCONTINENTAL HOTEL, TEL AVIV, ISRAEL

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The hotel’s massive lobby is anchored by two chandeliers of floating brass tubes and features Israeli art work behind the check-in counter and along the walls.

I arrived in the middle of the night was given a warm welcome. The agent was super-friendly and explained all features of the hotel including the different breakfast options due to the late arrival.

My room was on the 22nd floor and had a nice city view. The room was decorated in shades of brown and beige and seemed to be a clean standard business traveller room. However, it offered plenty of thoughtful perks for the frequent traveller such as USB ports and power outlets on both sides of the bed, as well as on the working desk. There was a water kettle and I missed my Nespresso maker. Minibar was empty and only filled on request.

The bathroom was of a good size with modern lighting, a separate bath tub and a large shower including a rainfall type shower head.

The bed was equipped with ample pillows and a comfortable blanket for a good night’s sleep. 

The gym seemed to be small at the first glimpse but it was well equipped and was nicely illuminated by a blue light. There is a large pool area with plenty of loungers, a pool bar and plenty of tables to sit and sip a coffee or have a drink and overlook the beach.

The David Intercontinental Hotel is located at the southern end of the beach which makes it easy to go out for a stroll along the sea which I enjoyed very much and made my stay very pleasant and relaxing.

https://telaviv.intercontinental.com/

GRAND HOTEL KEMPINSKI, RIGA, LATVIA

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The Grand Hotel Kempinski Riga was originally built in the 19th Century situated in the heart of Riga. The National Opera house is opposite and the world heritage history centre (Old town) is in comfortable walking distance.  

The hotel offers 141 rooms and suites, a rooftop restaurant with indoor/outdoor seating, a bar, a cigar lounge and an all-day-dining restaurant on the main level. The hotel features the Kempinski Spa with 6 treatment rooms, a full gym and a swimming pool and sauna.

I booked a deluxe room which offered a generous size of 44 sqm with a separate walk-in closet which could be fully closed. The room was tastefully appointed and everything was still very new. A minibar, a coffee maker and water kettle was available.

The large bathroom was equipped with a separate toilet, a bathtub and a shower which had a rain-shower option. The usual luxury amenities were available and a nightly turn-down service was performed. I found the bed super comfortable and I slept very well. 

The breakfast was wonderful with a wide choice of breads, cereals, fresh fruits, cold cuts and salmon, a hot section and a chef who prepared fresh egg dishes daily. A daily “healthy-shot” was offered as well as all the usual breakfast drinks and juices including sparkling wine. 

The hotel is pet-friendly and offers special features to guests which travel with their little loved-ones. (Pic of the “hotel-dog”)

I tried the gym and the swimming pool and found the facilities very modern and chic. Unfortunately, I did not have to time to do any spa-treatments or massages.

The best asset of this luxury hotel (beside the location) are undoubtedly the staff members. Everybody that I have met from the check-in agent to the concierge, the breakfast team and even the housekeepers were all very friendly and helpful. I felt like I was staying with friends and I can only praise them. I highly recommend this hotel and already look forward to staying there again.

https://www.kempinski.com/en/riga/grand-hotel-kempinski-riga/

ANDAZ by HYATT, MUNICH, GERMANY

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Andaz by Hyatt is an upscale lifestyle boutique-style hotel chain intended for cosmopolitan travellers. The Andaz Munich Schwabinger Tor is strongly connected to the heart and soul of Munich.

The hotel features the city’s highest rooftop bar, a full-service spa with swimming pool, event and meeting areas, and four food/beverage outlets. The M’Uniqo is the hotel’s trendy rooftop bar which offers a stunning view over Munich and the nearby Alps. The Lonely Broccoli restaurant is the hotel’s main dining restaurant where breakfast, lunch and steak-house style dinner is served. The Andaz Lounge Bar is more than a classic hotel lobby bar. There is a classic bar, a lounge type seating area which invites guest to sit down, unwind, have a drink, charge their mobile devices  or use the golden brezel for Instagram photo shots. (I found the lower lobby restroom to be the most popular Instagram hotspot). Bicicletta is a coffee bar where healthy smoothies, bowls and other savory snacks and coffees are served. The is a small outside terrace available for smokers or people who prefer to get some fresh air.

My check-in at the Andaz Munich was smooth and efficient. My 9th floor room was large, bright with a fantastic view over Munich and the nearby Alps. The decoration was contemporary and stylish. There was an openly designed bathroom with an oversized shower sporting a rainforest showerhead. The toilet was separate and a small walk in closet was provided. Flat screen TV and a complementary minibar with local drinks and snacks were also offered.

I found my stay at the Andaz Munich Schwabinger Tor very pleasant. This new lifestyle hotel concept, when combined with the hotel’s super-friendly staff, made me immediately feel at ease and at home.

https://www.hyatt.com/en-US/hotel/germany/andaz-munich-schwabinger-tor/mucaz

CONRAD HOTEL, DUBAI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES

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The sky-scraping Conrad Dubai is a view-star hotel with popular night sports, a premium spa, and a completely unexpected palm-filled pool deck for this downtown hotel. 

The World Trade Centre Metro Station on Conrad Dubai’s doorstep provides easy access to several attractions, including Dubai Fountain and Burj Khalifa, both just three stops away. The airport has a station too, but the 10-minute cab ride is quicker. 

I arrived late night with my Uber and was led to the Executive lounge right away to complete my formalities there. The agent was very efficient and within minutes I was done. She explained all the facilities to me and offered me a drink before I retired to my suite.

I booked a King Deluxe suite which was 100 sqm. with a separate living room, a large bed, a bathroom and a separate guest toilet. There was a small kitchenette as well and it was located on the 43rd floor offering splendid views of the city. A Nespresso maker completed the usual luxurious amenities.

I enjoyed the size of the room very much and the services at the Executive Lounge were fantastic. Breakfast offered a wide choice and many items were available upon order as well. 

The Happy Hour offering comprised a full buffet of pre-dinner snacks and a wide selection of beverages. Staff was always attentive and very charming, ready for a little chat when times were more quiet.

The gym was open 24hours and unfortunately I did not have chance to try the spa, but overheard other guest being happy about their treatment.

The pool area was very nice and large enough to accommodate large numbers of users. The pool had a refreshing waterfall and was nicely decorated.  What I did not like about the pool was the very loud music and the ugly cream coloured plastic loungers. 

My stay at the Conrad Dubai was very pleasant and I would return to this hotel without hesitation. The Executive Lounge was the highlight of my stay.

https://www.hilton.com/en/hotels/dxbcdci-conrad-dubai/