nowadays you can find hotel reviews on almost every hotel booking website – sometimes more, sometimes less helpful. So most of my decisions whether to book a hotel or not are based on what I read about it and on which ranking positions it is in the overall statistics. Its fact that sometimes the reviews differ considerably from one webpage to another. So in the most cases I try to read as much as possible and pick the most important for me. As I do not know who wrote the review (whether it was paid or not) I try also to find a friend or relative that already have been in a hotel on my destination and I usually trust his/her advice.
One major disadvantage on current hotel reviews according to me is the overall statistical ranking that is shown. Given the fast changes in emerging markets like Asia one should take into account only reviews from the last one or two years to build rankings. There are pages like booking.com which offer already possibility for a fine grained selection based on the reviewer age but this is not enough.
So for my friend and my readers I’ll try to sum up my experiences from the last journey.
– Ambassador Hotel Bangkok – http://www.amtel.co.th
We stayed here only for a night on our journey to Koh Phi Phi. Had no breakfast and just the standard room. The positive of this hotel is its location – only few meters away from the BTS which is the fastest and most reliable transportation in Bangkok. It is situated right middle in the Bangkok nightlife area, which means you can find thousands of pavement vendors in front of the hotel and on the streets around it. The surrounding bars and cafés are working until late in the night and it might get really crowded on your way to the hotel. As I told you in the introduction in Asia standards change faster than in Europe so this is what happened here. We stayed in this hotel about two and a half years ago and we found it comfortable and good for a city trip. The furniture was new and the room interior was pleasant. This time we found quite used furniture and not that pleasant room missing important equipment like hair dryer. Also the smell in the hotel lobby and in the bathroom was moldy – which is quite often in Asian hotels. The staff was really friendly and check in was fast (we arrived at the evening). I can recommend it for travelers with tight budget and only for one or two days.
– Eastin Grand Hotel Sathorn, Bangkok – http://www.eastingrandsathorn.com
For our second stay in Bangkok we decided to spent 20€ more and tried this hotel. We stayed two nights and had an amazing breakfast. Again the location was one of the most important criteria. The hotel has even a direct connection – via bridge – to the BTS station – the ideal solution in Bangkok given that not every station has an elevator or escalator! The hotel is located direct in Bangkok’s business district. It’s only one station to the Chao Praya River or short taxi drive to the famous Sirocco Sky Bar. The rooms are with panoramic view either to the river or to the skyline. The modern furniture and all amenities you may need make the stay very pleasant so one can spend even a week here. The bathroom was very clean and smelled like new. As I mentioned at the beginning the breakfast buffet was amazing. The hotel can satisfy international guests with wide range of items characteristic for the continental and american breakfast. Also featuring the typical hindi and asian meals, dim sum buffet and fresh made japanese miso soup. The wide range of fresh fruits and freshly pressed juices as also different kinds of water was impressive! But the highlight for me was the natural honeycomb where every guest can scrap fresh untreated honey. I have never seen it before. In order to be fair I have to mention the only one small disadvantage – not enough elevators causing waiting time of a couple of minutes. I would stay again in this hotel next time and would recommend it definitely.
– Holiday Inn Resort, Koh Phi Phi – http://www.phiphi.holidayinn.com
This was our Christmas accommodation. We spent 3 nights and had breakfast as also dinner at the hotel. We were for second time there. The first time it was recommended us by a friend and we had a very pleasant stay. In deed, it is the only one hotel featuring beachfront bungalows on this side of the island. And the beach is really outstanding. Unfortunately many things changed since our first stay. The resort doubled the number of bungalows and due to this the service dropped considerably. What this means in detail: first there is no turn down room service any more – last time it was the case. Second the beach towel service is also gone. Guests are supposed to get beach towels from the diving school counter maybe 500 meters away from the new bungalows. Regarding the price I think that this small but important things should be included. Not only the service but also the quality of the food changed. Last time we tried the dinner buffet on two evenings and we were amazed by the wide range of Thai specialties offered. This time we tried it also on 2 evenings and we were quite disappointed. I think that they just adapted to the european guests – so we found mainly european cuisine. The breakfast buffet was luckily not affected by this changes. It even featured Jura coffee machine and a tasty bakery products. I would recommend the hotel because of the beautiful beach, but maybe not in the peak season. In the festive season it is really overpriced. And the best solution for tasty dinner at really good price is the Jasmine restaurant operated by the sea gipsies – just round the corner.
So this is part one of my hotel review! Singapore and Malaysia are following!