Happy Holidays to all my loyal readers!
Happy Holidays to all my loyal readers!
Here are some new pictures of the Al-Mourjan Business Class Lounge at Doha Airport. As I have reviewed Qatar Airways several times already, I simply show pictures this time.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The Regent Beijing is located about a 3-minute walk from Wanfujing shopping street, 2 kms from Tiananmen Square and the Forbidden City. Dongdan Railway
s 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.
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.
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.
As I had already checked in online for my evening departure flight out of Warsaw’s Chopin airport, I proceeded directly to the Fast Track security line. This Fast Track line is not easy to find and is located on the right hand side of the terminal and provides Fast Track service to Star Alliance Gold members, LOT Business Class passengers and premium customers of various other airlines. There was no one else in line at security and within a minute I was through.
The LOT Polish Airlines Business Class Lounge is one level up from the main terminal, maybe a three minute walk from the security checkpoint. The lounge offers various seating options, including lounge chairs with or without tables and comfortable sofas. The lounge also has a mini business centre with some PC’s.
The food and beverage offerings where rather modest and made a bad impression. There was an area with snacks (chocolate bars and peanuts), a tiny plate with cold cuts and bread/crackers and two bowls with hot items. One contained overcooked rather unappetising looking broccoli and the othe contained small pieces of something which was probably once beef.I skipped both and went for a coffee only.
No calls for departing flights were made which I found pleasant and made the lounge a good place to spend a little time before departure.