Review: The Hotel Brussels Panorama Suite/Superior Twin Room

Introduction: Home QSuite Home
Plaza Premium First Lounge Hong Kong Airport
Qatar Airways 777 QSuite Business Class Hong Kong to Doha
The Sad State of Transit at Doha Airport
Qatar Airways 777 QSuite Business Class Doha to Amsterdam
Hilton The Hague Family Suite
The Hotel Brussels Panorama Suite/Superior Twin Room
British Airways Galleries Lounge Brussels Airport
Qatar Airways 777 Old Business Class Brussels to Doha
Qatar Airways 777 QSuite Business Class Doha to Hong Kong

In Brussels we decided to stay at The Hotel Brussels, due to its great location and competitive pricing. The Hotel Brussels is located adjacent to the Parc d’Egmont, which is walking distance from the city center and many tourist attractions. I loved the location of the hotel, and it was a key reason it quickly emerged as a top contender for us. While we never used the metro, The Hotel is also located right next to Louise station, which is on lines 2 and 6 of the Brussels metro.

The Hotel Brussels is by far the highest-rise building on the Boulevard de Waterloo, and the exterior looks quite modern. Originally branded as a Hilton (the hotel opened in 1969, so we were there for its 50th anniversary), the hotel underwent a complete renovation in 2011, which was when it started sporting its current facade.

The Hotel Brussels Exterior

Continue reading Review: The Hotel Brussels Panorama Suite/Superior Twin Room”

Review: Hilton The Hague Family Suite

Introduction: Home QSuite Home
Plaza Premium First Lounge Hong Kong Airport
Qatar Airways 777 QSuite Business Class Hong Kong to Doha
The Sad State of Transit at Doha Airport
Qatar Airways 777 QSuite Business Class Doha to Amsterdam
Hilton The Hague Family Suite
The Hotel Brussels Panorama Suite/Superior Twin Room
British Airways Galleries Lounge Brussels Airport
Qatar Airways 777 Old Business Class Brussels to Doha
Qatar Airways 777 QSuite Business Class Doha to Hong Kong

For our few nights in the Netherlands we decided to stay at the Hilton The Hague. I’ll be the first to admit that my loyalty is all over the place when it comes to hotels, and I’m also not the best at maximising my points opportunities when it comes to hotel stays. Many of the hotel options in Amsterdam seemed pricey, so I scouted around; I knew that a couple of my friends live in The Hague, and found a decently priced Family Suite (around HK$2,500/night) that would accommodate all four of us at the Hilton, so decided that it was the best option for our four-night stay.

The Hilton The Hague is located in The Hague Central, across the street from Hoogstraat, a street with many shops, decent restaurants, and good pubs. The hotel’s exterior is a little on the drab side, though almost not in an unpleasant way, since there’s something cute about how rustic the brick exterior looks.

Hilton The Hague Exterior

Continue reading Review: Hilton The Hague Family Suite”

Review: Hotel Century Southern Tower Tokyo

Introduction: Revisiting Tokyo…Twice
Cathay Pacific The Deck Lounge Hong Kong
Japan Airlines 777-200 Business Class Hong Kong to Tokyo
A Tale Of Two Observation Decks: Tokyo Haneda vs. Narita
Hotel Century Southern Tower Tokyo
Scoot 787 ScootBiz Tokyo to Taipei
Cathay Pacific A350-1000 Business Class Taipei to Hong Kong
Cathay Pacific A330 Economy Class Hong Kong to Tokyo
Cathay Pacific 777 Economy Class Tokyo to Hong Kong

I’m glad I manage to do what I do on this site, which is review a bunch of airlines and hotels from a well-informed perspective. I always aim to fly new airlines and stay at new properties whenever I’m presented with the need (or the opportunity), and have been fortunate to fly a variety of new airline products and stay at a variety of hotels over the past few years.

This wasn’t always the case. My parents love Japan, and as a kid we would always fly to Sapporo for a ski trip  during the winter and visit Tokyo during the summer, using the miles Dad earned for his business trips to redeem flights on Cathay Pacific. During our Tokyo visits, we’d always stay at the Century Southern Tower, as it was affordable, had a great location, and had a room that could accommodate all four of us. I learned a lot about hotels from this place, and after so many years of writing, I thought it was “unfinished business” that I hadn’t written a review of this place. So we booked a twin room at the Century Southern Tower for ~HK$1,900 a night (our first three nights cost HK$1,800, whereas the last night cost more), and rolled up to the hotel at around 10:30 PM after our flight on Japan Airlines.

The Hotel Century Southern Tower takes up the top 15 floors of the Odakyu Southern Tower, which is a minute away from Shinjuku station, near the New South Exit. It’s accessible through a large pedestrian street called the Shinjuku Southern Terrace, which is a really nice walkway (on a nice day).

Hotel Century Southern Tower Tokyo

Hotel Century Southern Tower Tokyo Entrance

Continue reading Review: Hotel Century Southern Tower Tokyo”

Review: The Opposite House Beijing Studio 70 Room

In June, I travelled to Beijing in order to position for a cheap Premium Economy fare to New York. I had the good fortune of staying at The Opposite House, a member of Swire Hotel’s “House Collective” brand through a one-night free offer by booking through Visa Luxury Hotels and Citibank. We booked in a Studio 70 room, which is an upgraded room which normally retails for around CNY 3,000 a night. All in all, we paid around CNY 1,500 each night for our stay. 

We arrived at the hotel at around 10PM after arriving in Beijing on a heavily-delayed Cathay Dragon flight. We had taken a cab to Sanlitun, which was a 20-minute drive from the airport. This area of Beijing is most-known for its nightlife, which is especially popular with expats. The hotel is specifically located as part of Taikoo Li – a large shopping complex where you’ll find many major regional and international designer brands.

The hotel’s exterior is decked out in blue and green glass tiles, which I personally thought looked really cool and simple. I’ll note here that most of the pictures of the hotel interior were taken the night that I arrived when I was really tired and groggy, so I apologise in advance for the crappy quality.

IMG_5920The Opposite House Beijing Exterior

The hotel’s entrance doors are designed in the traditional Northern Chinese style, which was one of many local design touches sprinkled throughout the hotel. We were welcomed by two bellmen who were dressed in grey wool waistcoats, jeans and black t-shirts. They were dressed so casually that at times that we thought they were just random people on the street.

Continue reading Review: The Opposite House Beijing Studio 70 Room”

Review: Park Hyatt Seoul Park Suite Twin

Introduction: A Wandering Seoul
SkyTeam Lounge Hong Kong
Korean Air 747-8 Business Class Hong Kong To Seoul (First Class Seat)
Park Hyatt Seoul Park Suite Twin
Korean Air Business Class Lounge Seoul Incheon Terminal 2 (East)
Korean Air Business Class Lounge Seoul Incheon Terminal 2 (West)
Korean Air 777 Business Class Seoul to Hong Kong

As I mentioned in my introductory post, I’ve wanted to stay at the Park Hyatt Seoul for years. The last time we came to Seoul we stayed at the Westin Chosun, as the Park Hyatt was quite pricey back at the time. As luck would have it, this time the Park Hyatt was offering suites that were cheaper than booking two standard rooms at another chain hotel. While the hotel website wouldn’t allow us to book a Park Suite for all four of us, upon emailing them they were happy to accommodate, and even said that a rollaway would be free of charge. Sold!

The Park Hyatt Seoul is located in the Gangnam district, which is the financial district of Seoul. While a lot of people work around here, the biggest issue is that none of the city’s busiest areas are around the hotel. Myeongdong, Dongdaemun, Jongno, etc. are where you want to be if you want crazy nightlife, good street food, and lots of cheap, local shopping (they’re famous for a reason), and the area, as the CBD, doesn’t have a lot of that. While the Samseong metro station is right next to the hotel’s entrance, it’s still a 12-14 stop ride away from most of Seoul’s biggest attractions. In terms of shopping malls, a quick walk through Samseong station will bring you to Seoul’s gigantic COEX mall, but it’s more of a high-class, imported-goods mall than a popping local joint. That’s something that’s at least noteworthy, in my opinion.

The hotel has a modern, glass exterior quite fitting with the adjacent office buildings.

Park Hyatt Seoul Exterior

Continue reading Review: Park Hyatt Seoul Park Suite Twin”

Review: L7 Hotel Myeongdong Seoul

Last year, I took a trip to Seoul. Unfortunately, it was cut short by a last-minute family emergency. However, I was able to snap some pictures during the 3 hours inside the hotel that I had booked for our trip, the L7 Hotel Myeongdong. L7 is a trendy new brand under the massive Lotte Group. I was excited to check out the hotel and see if it all the hype was deserved. 

We made our way to the hotel using an Airport Bus service, which dropped us off one block away from the hotel. After being greeted by some staff on the first floor, we were directed to the lobby which was on the third floor where we were able to check in and given rooms despite the fact that we arrived 5 hours before the published check-in time. The overall process was efficient enough and the associates were quite friendly.

The hotel is located in Myeongdong, which is one of the main touristy areas of Seoul with plenty of great shopping and dining, so I have no complaints there.

IMG_2007L7 Hotel Myeongdong Lobby 

While my mother handled the check-in formalities, I decided to explore the gorgeous lobby area, which was quite honestly the perfect place for an Instagram photoshoot. Right behind the front desk were a couple of decorative benches.

Continue reading “Review: L7 Hotel Myeongdong Seoul”

Review: Conrad London St. James Grand Deluxe Room

Introduction: Spending The Night With A Virgin
Virgin Atlantic 787 Upper Class Hong Kong to London
Virgin Atlantic Revivals Lounge London Heathrow
Conrad London St. James Grand Deluxe Room
Virgin Atlantic 787 Economy Class London to Hong Kong

While a nap after a longhaul sounded great (though to be fair, I did get some pretty good sleep in Virgin Atlantic’s Upper Class), this wasn’t to be for either myself or my dad, as we were off to Bath University to attend a 10:45 AM meeting. Bath is a beautiful campus, though I can’t see myself studying there for four years, was I given the choice (I’d still be happy there, though it’s 20 minutes from the nearest Nandos, so…) After attending all meetings and taking the train back to Paddington, we lugged our carry-ons on the Underground to get to St. James’ Park, where the Conrad St. James is located. (For more on how I booked, check out my introductory post.)

This brings me to the beauty of the hotel’s location. Not only is the hotel literally right across the street from St. James’ Park station (I especially value this in London, as it’s relatively possible to get around London through the Underground than by any other means of on-ground transport), but St. James’ Park is also a relatively quieter station smack in the middle of Westminster and Victoria, two large intersection stations in the middle of Zone 1, each with their own attractions. So while you’ll face huge crowds at both of the aforementioned stations, St. James’ Park typically is easy to get in and out of. In summary, the hotel has a great location.

The exterior facade of the hotel blends in with the area, so it’s rather “classic”.

Conrad London St. James Exterior

It’s worth noting that the hotel used to be an InterContinental up until October 2014. The switch was made overnight, and while initially a renovation was promised, at the end the management company just decided to keep the same rooms, which I have no complaints about (as you’ll read about below).

Continue reading Review: Conrad London St. James Grand Deluxe Room”

Review: Hong Kong Gold Coast Hotel Deluxe Seaview Room

In August last year, I was given a night’s stay at the Gold Coast Hotel in Tuen Mun, Hong Kong. This was a one-night business event that I had in the area, so I was glad to be checking out a hotel I hadn’t visited in quite a while.

Tuen Mun is quite far from the city center, so the hotel is targeted at Hong Kongers looking for a weekend staycation at a nearby destination. It’s adjacent to a beach and is also directly connected to a resort, though otherwise it’s quite isolated from the rest of Hong Kong.

Furthermore, it’s worth noting that I forgot to bring my camera on the trip, so I apologise for the photo quality in this report. With that in mind, I arrived the hotel grounds on Castle Peak Road on a sunny Thursday afternoon. The exterior of the hotel looks rather “textured”, since all the rooms on that side of the hotel are placed diagonally to the side of the hotel in order to maximise space.

Hong Kong Gold Coast Hotel Exterior

Continue reading Review: Hong Kong Gold Coast Hotel Deluxe Seaview Room”

Review: My Bloomsbury London (Brief Review)

Introduction: Flying The Nordic Shortcut to Europe
Cathay Pacific 777 Business Class Hong Kong to Bangkok
Oriental Residence Bangkok
Finnair A350 Business Class Bangkok to Helsinki
Hilton Helsinki Airport
Finnair A321 Business Class Helsinki to Amsterdam
Hotel Des Indes The Hague
Hotel Le Royal Luxembourg
Sofitel Brussels Le Louise
Andaz Amsterdam Prinsengracht
British Airways Lounge Amsterdam
British Airways A321 Economy Class Amsterdam to London
My Bloomsbury London
Finnair A350 Business Class London to Helsinki
Finnair A350 Business Class Helsinki to Hong Kong

I wasn’t planning on actually reviewing the hotel until I checked out, so I’m apologise for some missing photos. 

My Bloomsbury London is part of My Hotels, which is a small standalone chain with three locations around the London area. Bloomsbury is around a 20-minute walk from Oxford Street, within close proximity to Tottenham Court station. The surrounding area is home to Russel Square, the British Museum and the University of London, where I was attending a summer course.

We arrived at the hotel after driving from my aunt’s house on the outskirts of London. My first impression of the lobby was that it was small but intimate. The design was warm and homey. I liked the sit-down check-in desk, which contributed to the boutique feeling. We were welcomed by a friendly associate. Despite our early arrival, she was able to assign us a room.

IMG_0937My Bloomsbury London Lobby 

Continue reading Review: My Bloomsbury London (Brief Review)”

Review: Yumesenkei Amahara Wa-Yo Room

Introduction: Feaster Easter in Japan
Hong Kong Airlines Club Bauhinia Lounge Hong Kong Airport
Hong Kong Airlines Club Autus Lounge Hong Kong Airport
Hong Kong Airlines A330 Business Class Hong Kong to Osaka
Hilton Osaka Executive Suite
Yumesenkei Amahara Sumoto Wa-Yo Room
Yumesenkei Amahara Sumoto Dining
Asuka Lounge Osaka Kansai Airport
Hong Kong Airlines A330 Regional Business Class Osaka to Hong Kong

While I’m starting to get the hang of travel between cities under good value, when it comes to more rural destinations, I’m clueless. I prefer being around the city, staying in awesome chain hotels and experiencing street food off local markets, so finding a ryokan outside of Osaka was something that was completely out of my element. Fortunately my dad offered to help, and he’s done a couple of “tatami runs” before (I had my first of these experiences shortly after I started blogging – wow, I’ve come a long way!).

The Yumesenkei Amahara hotel is located in Sumoto, a stunning town on Awaji Island. It’s quite lively, though the hotel is quite aways from any nearby attractions, so we drove to get around the area. Yumesenkei seems to be a bigger complex that encapsulates a few hotels, with Amahara being the more premium-seeming of the options.

The exterior of the hotel is rather understated, and blends in with the local buildings.

Yumesenkei Amahara Sumoto Exterior

Continue reading Review: Yumesenkei Amahara Wa-Yo Room”