InterContinental Grand Stanford, East Tsim Sha Tsui, Hong Kong

I’ve been staying at the InterContinental Grand Stanford in East Tsim Sha Tsui for around 13 years. Probably stayed here 20 times, maybe more, over the years.

Back when I started staying here it was slightly run down, but still a good hotel. The good news is that it’s recently been refurbished, especially the bathrooms, to bring it back upto a great standard.

The location is away from the touristy areas of Nathan Road and the rest of Tsim Sha Tsui but close enough to walk in less than 15 minutes. There’s a decent number of restaurants and bars in the area, and heaps of high end watch stores if that’s what floats your boat.

I used to take a taxi from the airport but this trip I decided to get smarter and take the Airport Express that dropped me off at Kowloon Station from where you can jump on a courtesy hotel transfer bus to many of the local hotels.

After landing from Amsterdam pretty much on time around 6:30am, I was walking into the hotel close to 8:30am.

Luckily my room was ready and I’d been upgraded to a harbour view room that gave me panoramic views of Hong Kong Island across to Wan Chai and Causeway bay, and of the water traffic on this very busy harbour.

The beds and pillows here are always top quality and you’ll get a very sound sleep.

The new bathrooms are very modern but still have the same amenities as have always been provided.

One thing that has changed over the years is that you no longer get a complimentary newspaper every morning. I used to enjoy reading the South China Morning Post to see what was happening while I was visiting.

Great hotel!

Brasserie FLO Amsterdam, Amsterdam, The Netherlands

Brasserie FLO Amsterdam is part of the sprawling Eden Hotel Amsterdam and Rembrandt Square Hotel Amsterdam complex.

Walking you you’re greeted with a large restaurant, white linen covered tables, and immaculately dressed waiters.

The menu is French and Dutch.

For starters I ordered their French onion soup with gruyere and it was good.

For mains I had duck leg which was perfectly cooked and tasted absolutely divine.

To finish off a great meal I ordered the profiteroles filled with vanilla ice cream served with chocolate sauce. It was a excellent way to finish off the meal.

The wine list is pretty good too 🙂 I just had a glass of house red.

Just one further word on the menu, don’t go by the menu on their website. It was uploaded in 2012 by the looks of it and is woefully out of date.

Eden Hotel Amsterdam, Amsterdam, The Netherlands

Eden Hotel Amsterdam is in a perfect location on the Amstel river and just a couple of minutes walk from Rembrandt Square and the tram stop. Pretty much right outside the front door of the hotel is the dock for the Hop On-Hop Off canal boat.

There are heaps of restaurants and bars within a stones throw and it’s an easy walk to many attractions.

Check-in and check-out were both fast, and the concierge was great in pointing me in the right direction and buying me tickets when I needed them.

The hotel itself is a quirky collection of buildings that have been joined together to produce a sprawling hotel complex. My room, which was in an annex in the easternmost part of the hotel had a noticeable downhill slope in the hallway that lead to my room. The Rembrandt Square Hotel Amsterdam is also part of the complex and you can enter the Eden via the Rembrandt Square front door on Amstelstraat.

My room was very small (smaller than the one I had at the Crowne Plaza in Kanazawa) and now takes the prize as the smallest hotel room I’ve stayed in to date. That said, the room was functional, and I got used to the size.

Given the good location, and the ease of access to transport, attractions, restaurants and bars I would probably stay here again.

Here are some pics.

Albe Hôtel Saint-Michel, Paris, France

After a bit of a train delay on the RER B I arrived at Gare de Saint-Michel – Notre-Dame. I then proceeded, as is my way, to lose my bearings and go in completely the wrong direction and exit the station 500 metres from my hotel. If I’d actually looked at the signs, and exited towards Notre-Dame I would have surfaced, by way of a lift, about 50 metres from my hotel. But in the end I had to haul my luggage up the stairs and double back about 450 metres.

Arriving around 10am my room was clean and free, and I was able to checkin.

First impression was that the room was small, but, in hindsight, I didn’t notice the size of the room as the week went on. It was large enough for one person. Walls are a little thin so you will notice your neighbours.

There was a large, and very comfortable, double bed with decent pillows.

The bathroom came with a shower and was a decent size. Though, if you have a late shower you were fighting for hot water with the other guests.

Next to the bed there is a full length window that opened out onto Rue De La Harpe which is a busy street. I was on the second floor and, apart from Friday and Saturday nights, when it was very noisy, I was able to leave the window open to get some fresh, and at times, very cold air.

The TV is a small monitor mounted just above the writing desk, so not the most convenient to watch.

The wifi in the room was woeful though. I had to resort to using my mobile connection a couple of time to be able to do anything 🙁

I opted to pay for breakfast which was a basic, self service continental breakfast. Bacon, eggs, breads, cereal, pastries along with juices, tea and coffee. For €15 it was a great investment to be able to have a full tank for exploring Paris.

Hotel is in a great location and I would have no qualms with staying here again. The hotel is right on top of Gare de Saint-Michel – Notre-Dame metro and RER station. Also a 5 minute walk from Cité metro station a, and 10 minute walk from Châtelet mega metro station. Notre-Dame Cathedral is a 5 minute walk, and there are 100 restaurants and plenty of bars within ~500 metres of the hotel… as I said, it’s a great location.

The view from my room shows the quaint Parisian street the hotel is on.

Just a word of warning, Gare de Saint-Michel – Notre-Dame station is a den of pick-pocketing thieves. As I was leaving to head to Amsterdam, two dodgy Africans tried to pick pocket me. I was lucky enough to notice that I was being sized up while I waited on the platform so was able to keep my whits about me and scream at them as they made their move. Fucking scum!

Hart Hotel, Tsim Sha Tsui, Hong Kong

After the quick train ride on the Airport Express from Hong Kong International Airport to Kowloon station followed by a short taxi ride I was at my hotel in the bustling Tsim Sha Tsui neighbourhood of Kowloon.

Hotel reception is on the 10th floor, so up I went in the lifts that looked like they were being refurbished. The reception area has a modern, industrial feel and the staff were friendly and efficient.

Access to guest floors needs you to swipe your access card which is good as the lifts open up almost directly onto the street on the ground floor. There is, however, an art to swiping your card and pressing the floor number. I just employed the swipe, press, swipe, press method until my floor was selected.

The rooms are very small. I had 2 double beds which took up probably 70% of the wooden floor space.

In the corner of the room is the “bathroom” that consists of  a clear glass door that opens into the toilet cubicle. Given I was in a double room, if you were sharing you’d want to know the other room occupant very, very well, as there’s no privacy while you’re sitting on the crapper.

To have a shower you proceeded through the toilet cubicle into the shower cubicle, and then closed the second clear glass door behind you.

If the curtains in the room windows were open the inhabitants of the the building opposite would get a quite regular, and very disturbing, eyeful. The only saving grace is that it was almost impossible to open the curtains as that required me to climb over one of the beds to get access to them.

The walls between the rooms are quite thin and you can hear everything that your neighbours say and do.

On the plus sides, the hotel wifi was excellent and you can’t fault the location. Walking out of the lifts you have access to hundreds of restaurants and you’re only a 5 minutes walk from the bustling thoroughfare of Nathan Road (and the associated touts 🙁 ).

For a quick, one night stopover with easy access to transportation, food and shopping this is a decent place.

But if I were staying in Hong Kong for more than a night I would find the rooms too claustrophobic and would need to stay elsewhere.