Hotel Review: Holiday Inn Gare de l’Est, Paris


Paris can be an expensive destination for point-earning hotels. Most of the hotel chains (like Starwood or Hyatt) have opted for a strong presence in the high-end market, forgetting about the mid-range market in central Paris.

IHG, on the contrary, has a good footprint in the mid-range hotel market in central Paris. Recently, I stayed at the Holiday Inn Gare de l’Est, and for the price I paid I was more than satisfied with my stay.

Sneak Peek at the Brand New Intercontinental Los Angeles Downtown!


Downtown Los Angeles has experienced a hotel boom in recent years. Marriot started with a Ritz Carlton and a JW Marriot at L.A. Live, and then added a Residence Inn and a Courtyard a few years ago. SPG completed major renovations to their Sheraton Grand property. IHG has an Indigo Hotel in the works, and on July 2 the Intercontinental Los Angeles Downtown hotel will open its doors to the public.

The Intercontinental Los Angeles Downtown Hotel is located in Wildshire Grand Tower, a 73-story building property of Korean Air.  Yesterday there was a ribbon cutting ceremony with Korean Air executives to inaugurate the building, and we could get a sneak peek of how the hotel looks!

Hotel Review: W Beijing – Chang’an


W Hotels disembarked in Beijing at the end of 2014 with a new construction property located in Chang’an Avenue, a centric area of the city relatively close (by Beijing standards) to mayor city sights and some government buildings.

In a 25-floor building, W Beijing – Chang’an offers 349 guest rooms and suites,  2 restaurants, a lobby bar,  a lounge bar on the 25th floor, and event space. Recently I had an overnight long layover in Beijing and it was a great opportunity to check this property out. W Beijing – Chang’an is a Category 4 property on Starwood Preferred Guest. With prices for our dates of about USD 250, it seemed reasonable to book for 10,000 Starpoints.

Hotel Review: Intercontinental Presidente Guadalajara


In order to take advantage of the free days I had in between my LEVEL flights, I decided to book a side trip to Guadalajara, Mexico. It is my first time in the land of Tequila, and I booked the Intercontinental Presidente hotel for the weekend.

The Intercontinental Presidente Hotel, located in the Zapopan district, occupies 12 floors on a building located on a busy intersection between two main avenues. The hotel offers some 35 rooms per floor and meeting/convention/events space.

Hotel Check: Park Hyatt Bangkok (Three Nights Over The Opening Weekend)


The long awaited Park Hyatt Bangkok opened the other Friday and I was the second guest to check in on Friday morning at 8:30AM.

Park Hyatt Bangkok

The hotel was under soft opening when I was there and was to have its grand opening this past Thursday (May 18th). Here’s my take of it based on my three night stay over the opening weekend.

Hotel Review: Yanggakdo International Hotel, Pyongyang.


When it comes to staying in Pyongyang, hotel options are limited. Just a handful of hotels are available for tourists and the Yanggakdo is one of them.

The Yanggakdo International Hotel is the largest operating hotel in North Korea, offering about 1000 rooms in 47 storeys. With a height of 170 meters, it is the second largest building of the country, after the Ryugyong Hotel (unfinished and with no foreseeable opening date). The Yanggakdo was built between 1986 and 1992 by a French developer, and opened to the public in 1995.

Hotel Review: Crowne Plaza Belgrade


Last weekend I was in Belgrde with friends, and I decided to stay at the Crowne Plaza. Located outside the city center overlooking the river and the city walls, and for 70€/night seemed like a good deal.

Hotel Review: Hyatt Regency Cartagena

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Cartagena de Indias (Colombia) is consolidating as a must-visit destination in the Caribbean and hotel chains have noticed. Holiday Inn, Intercontinental, Radisson and Double Tree opened new properties in the past two years. Sheraton is also developing a new hotel (but it’s taking them forever to finish it, as the opening date was pushed back -again- recently), and there’s been chatter of a JW Marriot in planning.

Hyatt Regency is the newest addition to Cartagena’s five star hotel portfolio. This hotel, which opened last December, is the first property of three that Hyatt plans to operate in Colombia. The other properties under development will be located in Bogotá and Cali, with expected opening dates during 2018.

Hotel Trends: The Rise of the Apart-Hotel


In the last few years, we’ve seen a significant transformation in the traditional lodging industry. Booking sites for private homes and apartments such as Airbnb and Homeaway have opened up many more options for travelers beyond traditional hotels.


But on the other side, traditional hotels and online travel agencies have seen their revenues and profits squeezed quite a bit by these and similar sites.  This has led some of the traditional online travel agency sites to include more “apart-hotel” type properties in their inventory of lodging options, particularly in big cities, properties that have all the amenities (or lack thereof) of apartments but rent like hotels.

Review: Yotel “Pod Style” Short Stay Hotel at LHR T4

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A few weeks ago, Sebastian wrote here about a new “micro” type hotel concept at Dubai airport.  I had the chance to try a similar concept that’s been around for a bit longer at London’s Heathrow airport last week , the Yotel.


The Yotel brand is somewhat unique in itself, as it has 5 locations in total, but 4 of these are similar limited service airport locations in London (LHR and LGW), Amsterdam, and Paris, and the fifth is a full service larger hotel near Times Square in NYC.

How To Avoid Hotels With Unfunctional Room Design And (Missing) Furniture? Case: Element Hotel Vancouver Metrotown


It has been my second time staying at an Element Hotel of the Starwood brand yesterday and I was truly shocked by the uncomfortable and unpractical room design at that property.

Element YVR

A month ago I looked over my accounts and figured that I will require one Element stay to complete the Starwood Eleven Brands Promotion so I booked the Element Vancouver Metrotown.

China Daily: Salary Growth In Asia Outpaces Talent Acquisition – Impact On The Hospitality Industry?


This week, the China Daily (access online article here) wrote in it’s weekly ASEAN Edition about the rapid growth of salaries in Asia and the associated effects this has on the ability of companies to attract and retain employees.

China Daily JUL 10I have been to China during the last week and John was there a week earlier. We have already discussed the deteriorated staff performance at length and it seems like the author of the article comes to the same conclusion as we did.

Hotel Check: Park Hyatt Zanzibar (Tanzania) – Park Suite 3311


Park Hyatt Zanzibar (the only Park Hyatt in Africa) had its grand opening on March 8th and allowed bookings on starting March 12, 2015.

Hotel Check Park Hyatt Zanzibar

As I was going to be in the Zanzibar island on its opening week, I decided to squeeze in a stay on the opening night on March 12. The hotel had brought up the opening date from March 30th to March 12th. The hotel was not originally accepting reservation for the dates that I was going to be in Zanzibar.

The Glasshouse Hotel (Marriott Autograph Collection), Edinburgh, Scotland – Review Of My Fantastic Stay At Talisker Studio Suite 47


Marriott has a newly affiliated Autograph Collection hotel in Edinburgh called the Glasshouse hotel. This hotel has been open for more than 10 years, but went through refurbishment this past spring and joined Marriott in mid-June.


The reception are of this hotel is located in an old building that used to be a church. The rooms/suites are on the top floor of the adjacent building that houses restaurants and a cinema. This is a relatively small hotel, as it only has total of 65 rooms/suites.

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