Ibis, Perth, Australia

Anyone else find it incredibly hard to get a hotel in Perth even if you try to book 2 or 3 weeks in advance?

Being a Gold member of Accor’s Le Club I’ve been trying to stay at their stable of hotels of late so I can collect more points.

In Perth we’re able to stay at the Ibis hotel on Murray St.

Murray Street is a mix of cafes, bars and nightclubs. It can get a bit hairy at night (I saw drugs openly being dealt across the road from one of the nightclubs one evening) but is fine and well frequented during the day.

The hotel is reasonable despite is low cost character. No room service or laundry (though you can DIY).

Rooms are clean but cramped and some of the services seem to have been put in the most random of places in the room. For example, in the room I stayed in last time the cable for the internet connection had to me stretched all the way across the room from between the beds to the desk! Why not simply put the internet connection in each room at the desk?

One thing I did notice is that the beds are extremely comfortable. I guess when you can charge upwards of $250++ for a basic room then the least you can do for your lodgers is make sure that the beds are new and comfortable.

The breakfast buffet is reasonable for its cost and has a good basic selection of hot and cold options and a magnificant coffee machine!

The attached bar, Rubix, is probably more expensive for a beer and food than surrounding bars, but you can pop the bill on your room tab so its convenient.

All round its a reasonable hotel for what it costs and I’ve been able to get a room most times that I’ve tried.

Its a quick walk from the hotel to most places in the Perth CBD and the staff are quite good.

Pure South, Southbank, Melbourne, Australia

Had lunch with some colleagues and a business partner at a restaurant in Southbank that I’d walked past a hundred times but that I’d never eaten at.

Pure South ay Southbank is smallish and overlooks the Yarra.

For entree I had a superb pork belly with shitake mushroom, chinese broccoli and seasame dressing. My colleagues all went the half dozen of Tasmanian oysters.

For the main course, two of us went for Huon Salmon, one a Steak and I opted for roast chicken with asparagus, mushroom and dumplings. We were all happy with our choices.

Rather than desert we opted (after a little argument) for 2 cheese platters to share which we thought we wouldn’t finish but was so good that we did.

I can’t remember which white wine we chose but it complimented the meal quite nicely.

In all the food and wine was great. My only gripe was with our waitress who interrupted our conversation several times rather than wait for us to finish. Very annoying to be cut off mid sentance,

Holiday Inn Old Sydney, Sydney, Australia

At work we have a list of hotels we’re allowed to stay at. The Holiday Inn Old Sydney must have been on the list for all of 5 minutes and I must have been lucky enough to book it at the right time. But boy did I have troubles expensing the bill after my trip lol.

Holiday Inn Old Sydney is a heritage listed building that was once the wool sheds I believe. Its situated at the northern end of the historic Rocks area. Its a wee bit away from the office building of the CBD but not too far. If you’re a history buff or ship lover you’ll love the location.

I liked this hotel as I had a room that looked out over George St, the overseas passenger terminal and the Opera House. On my second day there there was also a cruise ship in port that I had a magnificent view of. It amazing how close the ship looked!

The rooms were relatively good for a budget hotel. As with most Holiday Inns the bathroom and living area was a little cramped but functional.

The bed was of good quality and rather comfy as were the pillows. There was an armchair but that wasn’t all that comfortable so I used it for my work bag.

There are heaps of restaurants and bars in the vicinity but since its a touristy area they’re mostly more expensive that other restaurants and bars.

If I needed to stay in Sydney on a budget this would be a good hotel to choose.

InterContinental Hong Kong, Hong Kong

The past couple of times I’d been in Hong Kong I stayed at the InterContinental Grand Stanford on Mody Road in East Tsim Sha Tsui which is the smaller sister hotel of the InterContinental Hong Kong.

The InterContinental Hong Kong is on Salisbury Road right on the Kowloon waterfront overlooking Victoria Harbour and is close to Tsim Sha Tsui and East Tsim Sha Tsui MTR stations, is a short walk to the Star Ferry, and just across the road from the Peninsula Hotel and Nathan Road. Its was very central.

This is the flagship InterContinental Hotel in Hong Kong and from the moment you drive upto the front door you can see it oozing opulence.

I was staying at the hotel for 2 nights using my Priority Club points so I didn’t expect to get the presedential suite but I was overawed by the suite I did get. I didn’t get a view of the harbour but I did get to look out onto the green oasis that was the pool and bar area of the hotel.

The room was large with a work area with a selection of international news papers, a very comfortable king bed and a reasonable sized bathroom with serarate bath and shower. Bathroom amenities were the standard ones that were also in use at the InterContinental Grand Stanford up the road.

Since I was staying on points I didn’t get the free mini bar that I normally get as a Royal Ambassador.

On the first evening my colleague and I were pretty tired so decided not to venture too far from the hotel. We decided to have a couple of drinks in the lobby bar at the hotel that overlooks the harbour. We had a couple of drinks and some snacks before venturing out to try to see the light show that Hong Kong puts on each evening but it was raining so we didn’t last long. I’d seen it before so didn’t care that I’d missed it again.

On the Saturday afternoon afer some touring around in the morning and a quiet lunch, we decided to try the afternoon High Tea that the hotel was famous for. There was a queue for tables when we arrived as the afternoon tea is very popular with locals as well as tourists. Being resident in the hotel we managed to jump the queue a little and were seated in about 15 minutes and then spentthe next hour or so eating cucumber sandwiches washed down with coffee. Very relaxing and all the while we had the great view of watching life going on on Victoria Harbour out the large windows. There was so much food that we didn’t even bother going out for dinner. My colleague crashed and I went out for a couple of beers at a bar I knew up near the other InterCon hotel.

On the Sunday we decided to try breakfast at the Peninsula across the road. Service left a little to be desired but the food was nice.

And then it was time to head back to Melbourne. After a late checkout we used the hotel limo to get to the airport for our evening flight home.

Would I stay at the InterContinental Hong Kong again? Definite yes!

Hotel Sofitel Macau at Ponte 16, Macau

I had a 3 day training course in Macau of all places earlier on in the year. The course was held at Hotel Sofitel Macau at Ponte 16 in Macau and I had the pleasure of staying at the hotel as well.

I’d been to Macau twice before but didn’t bother head out towards where the Sofitel is located. Its a strange but beautiful location which is the mixing pot of a bustling main roads with Chinese and Portuguese restaurants, temples and of course the iconic St Paul’s a 10 minute slow walk away.

The hotel has a courtesy bus to pick you up from the ferry terminal after the one hour ferry trip from Hong Kong. It’s about a 15 minute drive through the worlds largest casino to get to the hotel.

Being a casino the opulence of the the hotel is breathtaking with the reception a large marble affair.

My original room had two single beds, but a bit of a whinge later had me ensconced in a room with a King bed. The room was excellently appointed and the amenities in the bathroom were L’occitaine. Sweet!

The view from the hotel room was south west and allowed me to look over the busy Inner Harbour into mainland China. It was surprising the amount of river traffic that crossed that river. I would have thought that the small boats from relatively free Macau to/from mainland China would have been under excessive control but id didn’t seem to be the case.

Breakfasts and lunches were provided and in the hotel’s Mistral restaurant. The meals were buffet style so you could indulge (or more likely over indulge) in your portuguese and chinese favorites. The quality of the food was top notch, probably one of the better buffets I’ve had the pleasure of eating at!

Under the hotel was a casino. On the last evening I did pay my Macau tax and gambled away around HKD$200. Not a King’s ransom but I had fun and lost.

I’d stay here again and use it as a base to explore the little alleys of historical Macau.