Archive for category Hotels

Hyatt Regency, Sydney, Australia

I’ve stayed at a lot of hotels, and I mean ALOT! Somewhere between 150 and 200 hotels over the years all over the world for both business and leisure.

This week I was in Sydney and the work travel booking site bought up the Hyatt Regency on Sussex Street as an option. That was cool, I’ve stayed at a couple of Hyatt’s, primarily the Hyatt Hotel Canberra which was a superb hotel and I would stay there again any day I was in Canberra.

To those who’ve travelled to Sydney for any reasonable amount of time you’ll know that the Hyatt Regency used to be the Sheraton Four Points which was a pretty good hotel when I used to stay there.

A couple of years ago this hotel underwent a refurb and it has reopened as the Hyatt Regency.

Walking into the Hyatt Regency you can see that they’ve splurged the money on the glitz, the hotel reception is superb! The check in was great and the reception staff did all the ego stroking that’s the norm for a decent hotel.

And that’s when, after you scratch the surface, you start seeing that this hotel is mutton dressed up as lamb.

My room was on Level 1 – understandable as my Hyatt Gold membership had expired many years ago. You don’t give your decent rooms to some pleb!

Anyway, I head upto my floor and I am flabbergasted at the disgusting appearance of the common area. Walking down the corridor I guess that they didn’t bother to change the hall carpet when the refurb happened. Disgusting carpet stains (only water I hope) regularly greet me on the walk to my room.

I entered my room and it was refurbed quite nicely… looks like they only skimped on the public areas.

I went out for dinner, got back by 9pm and wanted to have a shower. It was then I find that there were none of the usual amenities in the room – no soap, no shampoo etc! Heaps of cheap moisturiser – maybe this is a pay-per-hour hotel ūüôā

I phone up and ask for some amenities and get the promise they’ll be right up… and then I wait for 30 minutes… not impressed. Certainly not the service of a supposedly 5 star hotel.

In each room there’s also a card you can pop on your door requesting a morning newspaper. You need to get this on your doorknob by 10pm and you should receive a newspaper in the morning… Well, that’s a fib. I had that card on my door at 9pm and I woke up at 6am to no newspaper.

Quite frankly, this is a 2 star hotel under a 5 star name. I told the checkout staff what had happened and that service was better when the hotel was the Four Points, but I doubt that feedback will get escalated.

Do yourself a favour, avoid this place and book a decent hotel!

Only saving grace was the Zephyr bar which offers superb views across Darling Harbour… but you can drink there without staying at the hotel.

I won’t be staying there again and will be telling the corporate hotel buyers it should be taken off the list.

It’s sad to see when good hotels go bad.

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InterContinental Tokyo ANA, Tokyo, Japan

A great hotel, great location, a quick walk to Tameike-Sanno Subway Station and a little further away from Akasaka Subway Station.

This was my third stay here and it has never disappointed. Luckily for me I was able to book my 4 nights using my IHG rewards points that I’d accumulated.

This time I didn’t get a “Fuji view” room… but that didn’t concern me as on my previous 2 stays when I did have a “Fuji view” room I never saw Mount Fuji due to the haze. This time I had a south-east view over the nearby¬†Chosenji Temple and a view of Tokyo Tower.

There’s a 7-Eleven and a FamilyMart about 100 metres away so you can get your fill of these magnificent little drinks!

It looks like the neighboring Ark Hills building is undergoing renovations so a number of restaurants have closed.

Excellent, large, clean room. Superb bed and pillows.

To get to Narita Airport I used the Airport Limousine bus service which stops at the hotel with cost and travel time similar to taking the local trains to Ueno or Nippori and then jumping on the Keisei Skyliner.

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Hotel Metropolitan Nagano, Nagano, Japan

As the Shinkansen from Kanazawa pulled into Nagano Station I studied my google map to make sure that I headed in the direction of my hotel. I thought I’d kept track of the turns that I’d taken but proceeded to exit the wrong side of the station. It took be a couple of minutes to get my bearings but I soon saw the signs directing me to¬†Hotel Metropolitan Nagano right next to Nagano Station.

As I was to find out the hotel is connected to the station through the shopping mall. So you can get to the hotel from the station without going outside.

Nagano is a small city, so you will have no issues walking from the hotel to many of the tourist sites that you will have on your bucket list and there are many good, cheap restaurants in the area surrounding the hotel.

After the cubby hole I was in in Kanazawa my room was huge, probably 4 times larger that my Kanazawa room. The bathroom was probably the size of the bedroom part of my Kanazawa room!

Check-in and check-out were fast.

The king size bed was comfortable as were the pillows. I did hear some faint noises from the adjoining rooms, but it wasn’t enough to cause any discomfort.

Looking back at the room, location and price, this would be one of the best value hotels I’ve stayed in in many years of travelling.

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ANA Crowne Plaza Kanazawa, Kanazawa, Japan

After the relatively long, and slow, train trip from Shin-Osaka to Kanazawa, I popped out of Kanazawa station and spied the ANA Crowne Plaza about 200 metres away.

A quick efficient check-in followed and I was off to my room.

The room was very small, just big enough for the double bed and a small desk. Certainly the smallest hotel room I’ve ever been in. It was then that I noticed a small piece of paper that I was given at check-in apologizing that the hotel was full and I wouldn’t be able to have my usual room upgrade, but to make up for that disappointment I was advised that I could eat and drink the contents of the minibar throughout my stay, and it was refilled everyday! I was happy with the outcome.

The hotel and Kanazawa station are a short walk, 15 or 20 minuutes, from the main drag, but there are a multitude of bus routes terminating just outside the station to get you anywhere you wanted to go.

You can purchase a daily ticket that works on the tourist buses as well as the local buses. And if you have a JR Pass you can jump on the JR Buses. So you’ll have no problems getting anywhere you want to go.

There is a small bar on the top floor with some good views of the Kanazawa skyline, but there is a small cover charge, but if you are drinking between 5pm and 7pm you get a 30 discount, and you also get a discount on food.

The bed and pillows were comfortable, and the bathroom was cramped but functional.

A good location, heaps of transportation options, but if you want some breathing space while you are in your room then you need to spring for a more expensive room, or another hotel.

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ANA Crowne Plaza Hiroshima, Hiroshima, Japan

After Kyoto I jumped on the Shinkansen to Shin-Osaka, and then a second Shinkansen to Hiroshima. It’s around a 2 hour trip depending on how much time you need to wait for the connecting Shinkansen at Shin-Osaka.

There’s no shuttle bus from Hiroshima Station to the Crowne Plaza in Hiroshima but it’s quite easy to get to. Exit the station and get the Number 1 tram to the¬†Fukuro-machi tram stop (second stop after the tram turns left) and it’s about a 2 minute walk to the hotel. Door to door about 25 minutes and costs ¬•180.

One thing to be mindful of is that you can’t use a Suica card on the trams in Hiroshima. I purchased a Kansai One Pass in Kyoto which is an ICOCA card which will work on the trams.

I’d previously made a day trip to Hiroshima from Kyoto – it was a long day (including mistakenly getting on a Nozomi on the return trip which is a no-no if you’re using a JR Pass) and I decided then that I had to return and explore some more.

From the map above you’ll see that the hotel is in a pretty good location. Just a stones throw from the Peace Park, Hon Dori and Okonomi-mura. And getting around is good as you’re close to trams and trains.

I had a very nice room away from the lifts with a view, albeit partially obstructed, of the peace park and museum.

Good, modern hotel in a great location.

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