Mercure Zentrum Hotel Vienna (Austria)
I booked this hotel through Expedia, after hours of researching good hotels for reasonable prices in the centre of Vienna. I could have booked something cheaper but didnt want the hassle of having to get public transport everywhere. This hotel by Mecure is cut into two bits, one is a new building which is very tall and thin with just one ... thin corridor for each floor. It also houses the reception, bar and restaurant as well as having a few computers for internet with a printer. I didnt see inside the other older building as I stayed on the first floor of this new one.
The hotel itself was very nicely done, my room was very modern with funky blue lights under the shower in the bathroom, brand new bathroom suite, super clean. The bed was divided into two twin mattresses which was a bit weird but my other hotel in Salzburg had that so I assumed it was the norm. There was a flat screen tv but all but one channels were German speaking so I didnt really watch anything on there. There was a nice grey mirror feature opposite the bed, and a funky headboard made to look like a furry cushion but without any hair. There was also a desk with a plug socket in it for your laptop. I could use fast wifi in my room which was very reliable.
The staff were very friendly, the receptionist was almost like a robot she was so efficient and well practiced at checking in. They were helpful with my questions about Vienna and gave us loads of maps to help us navigate around the city.
It was my partners birthday trip, and I stated this on my expedia booking, there was a knock on the door and a maid came in with a small bottle of wine, and two glasses with chocolates in them with a note from the manager to say happy birthday. I thought this was really nice of them and my partner was mega pleased with the extra attention!
The only problem was that because we were only on the first floor, and the hotel is opposite a night club and near a busy road was that there was a man shouting outside the hotel front door for around half an hour on the second night. He was joined by a group of men being very noisy, and the window was closed and didnt block out the noise at all! No security went outside to challenge the men so I assumed they were staying in the hotel. The room was also unbearably hot on the second night, I had the aircon on the coldest setting and it still was horrible. I think this may be because of the position above the bar and reception with the heating on. I have stated this to both expedia and mecure.
Apart from that it was a good stay on the first night, and the location was amazing for exploring central Vienna. We walked to all of the main tourist attractions and went out for dinner and icecream locally.
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Camp Davy Crockett (France)
Checking in and out We stayed at the Davy Crockett ranch the last week in March. While this is still classed as off season, with the Easter weekend the following week it was an extremely busy time and the whole ranch was actually booked up. We could have stayed at a partner hotel, but we were interested in staying at a Disney ... related hotel really, but this was the only one that could accommodate our party size. We had three adults, two children and two toddlers in our party. The cabins can hold up to 6 people, but as two of ours were toddlers we were able to stay. As with all Disney related hotels it has a theme. This was a western theme with wonderful tepees and logs everywhere.
On arrival we passed the entrance gate showing them our reservation letter to gain entrance. We were then directed to a small building on the left hand side to collect our key. We arrived at 3.20 and the earliest you can check in was 3pm so we did hit the afternoon rush. I stood in line for around 20 minutes despite there being four different staff attending to other holiday makers. I finally reached the front of the queue and was greeted by an overly excited gentleman. As soon as I said hello he swapped from French and began talking to me in English. He then took my reservation letter, and asked me to fill in a form which included my details and passport number which was all very simple and took only five minutes. He then began to run through all the extras I had booked with our stay.
I was given a quick summary of the park facilities, handed my keys and told which path to follow to find the cabin. Then we headed towards yet another gate where we needed to input a code to gain access to the trails to. This needs to be done each and every time you want to access the roads that lead to the cabins. All of the cabins are separated into different sections so they are very easy to find. Ours was the bobcat trail so we were towards the start of the camp. Everything is well signposted so we knew exactly where to go. Checking out is a breeze. Simply vacate the cabin by 11am on your last day, and drop your keys into a small key box on the way out. If you have borrowed any of the extras provided simply pop back into the reception to receive your deposit back, and drop the keys while you are there. If you do not drop your keys in by 11am they will charge you for an extra nights stay so it's better to be a little early if you can.
Getting to and from the parks
This for us was a nightmare. You do need a car to stay at the ranch as it is a 10 minute drive away from the parks, and getting to your cabin itself is a 10 minute drive. The thing is each and every time we returned to the ranch we became lost. The roads were very confusing and the sign post is not marked the exit before but two or three ahead so even with three adults trying to follow directions we found ourselves lost. Then there is nowhere to turn around for miles as it is all motorways so we had to continue for a while before we could head back. It was not until the last two days of our visit we managed to find ourselves back without it taking half an hour. Getting to the parks was a doddle. With one main road and then one exit it actually took five minutes max to get to the Disney parks. Once you reach the car park you need to pass through a barrier where you can gain free entry with your hotel ID pass. This saves you paying the 15 euro's that is usually charged for using the parks car park. This was valid until the day after we left the hotel and saved us a lot in the long run.
The cabin is actually more of a caravan with wooden cladding stuck to it. It is set out on a lovely scenic trail, and while you do have other cabins around you it definitely feels very secluded and relaxing. I was relatively surprised with the size and up keep of the cabin. I had no choice where to stay if I wanted to take my children to a Disneyland hotel as for our party size of seven only the Davy Crockett ranch was suitable for the size of the party. I had read reviews before I went and it had stated the cabins were dated, sometimes unclean and just very basic so I have to admit I was a little worried turning the key and peering inside. Yes the cabin is dated with yet more wooden cladding everywhere, and has a real old feel to it but this is all fitting with the western theme. It was in no way untidy, everywhere was spotless and there were even small miniatures in the bathroom for us to enjoy.
When booking Disneyland were aware that there would be three adults, two children, and two infants. While my son is classed as an infant he was only three months away from being classed as a child, so it was explained there would be a pull out bed for him. When we arrived we found there was a main living area made up of a sitting area and an open plan kitchen area. Then there was one bedroom with a large double bed and lots of storage including a dressing table. In the second bedroom was a set of bunk beds, and finally in the front room the sofa pulled out into a double sofa bed.
We had brought our travel cot along for my youngest daughter but upon inspection there was no pull out bed for my youngest son. I suppose we could have phoned reception and queried this, but as we were on holiday he was actually really excited about top and tailing with my eldest son. My husband and I needed to take the sofa bed as there was barley room to walk around the double bedroom let alone put a travel cot up in there.
The kitchen area was made up of a hob with four rings, a fridge, a toaster, a kettle, a dishwasher and a microwave. Luckily we had purchased the half board dining plan so never really made anything apart from toast and eggs in the morning, but it is lacking somewhat for something described as a self catering holiday. If you were planning to save money by eating in the cabin it would be difficult to put a decent meal together. Also while there was plenty of basic cutlery, and of course a cork screw, we did find that a tin opener and knifes again were lacking. This is something I would suggest taking along if you are thinking of actually using the cabin to eat and prepare meals in.
The bathroom was very clean and although small fully functional. There were towels provided along with soap and some small miniature shower gel bottles. We had taken our own toiletries but did take them home for a keepsake. There is a bath and a shower so perfect for either and everything was perfect for the small stay we were there. Opposite the bathroom was the toilet which is in separate room. This is handy when more than one family are sharing, and this is also were the small supply for cleaning supplies were kept.. You are given a map of the camp which can be exchanged for a cleaning kit at the village shop, but to be honest it is written so small we did not notice this until the day we left. We purchased dishwasher tablets at £2 as they had washing up liquid but no sponges.
It does not have a huge amount of space and with so many of us inside it could feel very small at times. Saying that we barley spent time in the cabin so this really did not bother us; we used it purely for getting ready in the morning and sleeping. Most nights we did not return until past nine, by which time my children were ready for bed. The bunk beds provided a good night sleep for my children, and my sister in law was happy with the double bed in the room. I have to say our sofa bed was lacking comfort, with a dip in the middle made it rather uncomfortable, but we were expecting this with it being a sofa bed. It was clean and all the bedding fresh but it certainly was not 5 * comfort. The whole area was very quiet despite it being mainly families with young children staying in the nearby cabin they were spaced well enough to provide a quiet night's sleep. The curtains could be drawn to block out all light and generally we were able to rest well. There is a Tv that has a few Disney channels and you can turn the language to English which was perfect for our small children. For adults it was a little lacking with news channels, and a guide on how to get the best out of the park but that was all.
As it is a self contained cabin we had little contact with the staff, but that we did have was perfect. Firstly our storage heaters in the cabin decided they would pack in half way through our stay. We rang reception using the phone in the front room, and within 10 minutes an engineer knocked the door and fixed the heaters. This was all done very efficiently despite it being past midnight that the problem occurred. Next our car decided to make a horrible grinding noise, as it obviously did not like the huge drive from Scotland to Paris. We phoned reception and they gave us a list of garages printed out in English on a sheet of paper. They were very helpful each and every time we spoke to them. You can ask for the housekeeper to come and give your cabin a tidy while you are at the parks through the day. This is a free service, but we decided against it as it was only little bits that needed done so i would do that in the evening.
Other than access to the parks the ranch has its very own mini village. To be honest we did not use it all that much as we tended to only return to the cabin to sleep, but from what we did see it was very convenient. We were advised to take our car if we were visiting the village as it is a fair walk from our cabin. This was about a 5 minute drive away so we could have walked it if we had liked but as we only visited on a few occasions this did not really matter. There is a restaurant which we dined at one evening, and is a buffet style service. This was perfect after a long day in the parks and we just wanted a little quiet time rather than trying to beat the crowds. The food was not fantastic, but it was still ok. It certainly matched the budget site well. There is also a swimming pool that is open 8am-10pm. We never made it round to using it although we had planned too as the parks just took up all of our time. The restaurant acts as a viewing gallery to the pool and it looked very impressive. A great size with a wave machine and hot tubs, and we would definitely make the effort to use it if we ever visit again.
The shop like most Disney stores is dominated by merchandise rather than grocery supplies. They do have a lot of essentials like milk, brad juice etc but as you would expect for the convenience it was all overpriced. The few times we visited goofy was also there dressed in his western clothes to match the theme of the ranch. He just tended to move around the shop causing trouble, stealing my chocolate bar. He was brilliant at entertaining the children while I picked up a few bits. I will say that there is a large shopping centre (Val de Europe) about 10 minutes from the ranch which we used a lot more. There are a huge amount of shops, and a 2 story supermarket which was much better value. On the ranch there is a small play area for the children, a petting farm where there are pony rides ($6 for the pony rides), and a large adventure activity park for the adults. Everything is included in the price you paid for your cabin excluding the adult's adventure land there is a fee for this, and you need to book ahead. All of the activities said weather permitting, but I am guessing they mean rain as it was freezing cold while we were there and it was all still open. Finally there is a bar if you fancy a quick drink in the evening it is open 6pm-11pm.
To be honest I thought at first we would have preferred to stay in a Disney hotel rather than the ranch itself as they are more conveniently located. After staying there I actually found it perfect to wind down, and it was the perfect break from everything Disney that is thrown in your face all day. You do need a car as there are no shuttle buses like the other Disneyland hotels, and it is a fair drive so taxis everyday would not be a great option. The cabin is more of a caravan with cladding stuck to it, but the extra space compared to a hotel room was perfect. It is not a 5 * resort and while it is a little dated it all adds to the western theme they have running. The cooking facilities are a little rubbish, but we had booked the half board meal plan with our package anyway so this really did not matter to us. If you are planning to cook I would take extra bits and bobs like a tin opener and sharp knives.
The cabin was clean and fresh, the living area a fair size and even with the bedrooms being a little small it was perfect for the short time we were there. You can hire a hair dryer, an iron and other bits and bobs from the reception for a small deposit. It was quiet enough so that we could get good night's sleep and it really is a nice quiet camp. There is a bench outside with a barbeque, but to be honest it looked like it was 10 years old, so even if the weather had been nicer we wouldn't have used it. We managed to book while it was on offer at 40% off which means we paid close to £600 for 4 nights and 5 days. This includes park tickets for 5 days, the cabin itself with use of all of the facilities in the village, and free parking for the parks. Although we booked this ranch as we had no choice because of our party size, we found this price to be extremely cheap compared to the hotels. It is a self drive self catering holiday but we added a dining plan on top of our basic package. We would return in future as it was reasonable for the price we paid, but after the extras of the Disneyland parks we will be saving for a good while yet : )
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Occidental Allegro Riviera Hotel (Tunisia)
The Occidental Allegro Riviera Hotel is a 4 star hotel. We mainly booked this holiday just to have a cheap, chilled out week in the sunshine. We also wanted a fairly short haul flight and we felt that Tunisia would be perfect for this. Travel Time from The UK We flew from London Gatwick and our flight took 2 ... and a half hours which was lovely as I am used to really long haul flights. The Occidental Allegro Riviera is located about a 40 minute bus journey from the airport, with a few other drop offs included on the way. Our transfers were included in the price of the holiday.
We paid £455 per person for 7 nights on an all inclusive basis which I thought was pretty reasonable. This hotel also has a sister hotel called the Occidental Allegro Abou Sofaine and you can actually use the various facilities at this hotel for free, such as the outdoor and indoor swimming pools, tennis courts, mini golf and the disco although you will have to pay for your food and drinks if you have them at the sister hotel.
Arrival And Check In
As our coach pulled up outside the hotel, we could hear some really loud music playing. As we arrived at the entrance to the hotel, there were four dancers, dancing along to the music. Our rep informed us that this was the hotel animation team and they liked to welcome new arrivals with a song and a dance. At first I found this a little off putting as the main aim of our holiday was to chill for a week and I wasn't sure if the hotel was going to be much more lively and louder than we had expected.
As we got inside the hotel, we were greeted by a porter who took our luggage and asked to check in at the reception. There was only one other couple from the coach that were staying at this hotel so the check in was really quick and we found the reception staff to be very friendly and helpful. We were asked to complete a form while we were checking in and we had to give details such as names, date of births, home address and passport numbers. Once we had completed the forms, we were handed our room key and given directions to our room which was on the 3rd floor.
All the staff at the hotel exceeded our expectations. They were extremely helpful and very well mannered. They looked very smart in their various uniforms and I couldn't help thinking that they must get awfully hot in their uniforms. They all spoke a decent level of English so it was easy to ask them the various things we wanted to know. The waiters in the restaurant were so friendly and had our drinks memorised after our first night there which I thought was rather impressive. The animation team that greeted us upon our arrival were a lovely bunch of people and really tried to make an effort to ensure everyone enjoyed their holiday.
We actually booked a double room so we expected a double bed but when we arrived in our room, we found that we actually had two single beds that had been pushed together to make a double. This wasn't a problem for us but thought I had better mention it as it might be for some people. The beds were clean and had a sheet, a blanket and a top cover so you certainly won't find yourself getting cold. The bed linen was a dark green colour and the rest of the room fitted in with this colour scheme, with the chairs etc all being the same shade of green. Each bed had 2 pillows on it and there were also extra pillows provided (these were kept in one of the cupboards)
In the room, there is a TV (with quite a few English/American channels as well as German and Russian channels), a 2 seater bench style chair, a couple of stool type chairs, a sideboard are, a large wardrobe with a free safe inside, another double wardrobe and a bedside table beside each bed. There was also a radio that was built into the area above the beds.
The bathroom was fairly spacious and consisted of a full length bath, with a shower over the top. There was also a sink and mirror area which was fairly large with plenty of room to store all our toiletries. There was a hairdryer attached to the wall in the bathroom so I wouldn't bother to take your own if you are staying here.
The hotel provided us with fresh, clean towels every day and these were left on the towel rail in the bathroom.
Also in the bathroom was a small toiletry rack on which held free toiletries such as shampoo, conditioner and shower gel. The toilet was located next to the bathroom in a small room of its own which literally just consisted of the toilet. At first I found this a bit odd, with the toilet being separate but my boyfriend loved it as I spend hours in the bath so he could still use the toilet while I chilled out in the bath!
There was also air conditioning in the room although we never used it as our room was in a fairly shaded area of the hotel so it never got too hot.
Each room has a balcony or a terrace and I should imagine that most room have a scenic view, we overlooked one some of the hotel garden and the large swimming pool which was nice. There are sliding patio doors which lead out to the balcony, also meaning that plenty of light was let into the room. Our balcony was furnished with a small table and 2 chairs.
The rooms are cleaned to a very high standard and towels and bed sheets replaced every day.
There is one main restaurant at this hotel which is called Palmiera. This is where the buffet breakfast, lunch and dinner is served. There are also two a la carte restaurants which guests are allowed to dine in for one night per week that they stay at the hotel. Monta Grosso was the a la carte Italian restaurant and Medina was the Tunisian restaurant. Sadly we never actually got to eat in either of these restaurants but all you needed to do was let the reception know which restaurant you would like to eat in and on what day and they sort it all for you.
Palmiera As I already mentioned, this restaurant was the main one and breakfast, lunch and dinner were served here, all in the style of a buffet. Breakfast was served between 06.30am and 10.30am, continental breakfast was served between 10.30am and 11am. Lunch is served between the hours of 12.30pm and 14.30pm and dinner is served from 06.30pm - 09.30pm. Breakfast is self service in the form of a buffet. Breakfast was one of my favourite meals here, purely because there was so much choice - cereals, a large selection of fresh breads, cakes, croissants, fruit and yogurt. There is also chef station where the chefs cook up various items freshly right before your eyes. These items included fried eggs, crepes and omelettes (various varieties). There was a selection of fresh juices which you could help yourself to. As well as all that, there was also a hot selection in the breakfast area which consisted of items such as scrambled egg, toast, sausages, beans, tomatoes and fried potatoes.
As I already mentioned the selection is huge for breakfast and the food is kept nice and hot despite the fact that it is buffet. The food varies every evening which I really enjoyed as many all inclusive hotels that I have stayed in serve the same food day in day out. There was plenty of food to choose between such as soup, loads of salad dishes and vegetable dishes. Every evening, they have a different type of meat being cooked freshly in front of you at the chef station and they also had a different type of fish every night. As well as all the salad and vegetable dishes, there were several meat and fish dishes which were cooked in different types of sauces. Chips were also available every evening and they even had items such as chicken nuggets, fried chickens wings and prawns. All in all the choice was pretty good and you could easily eat something different every night if you wanted to. There were three dessert areas, one of which has sweets such as chocolate and cream cakes, another one consisted of a selection of fresh fruits such as oranges, melon and peaches and the other one served various flavours of ice cream.
There are four bars at the Occidental Allegro Riviera hotel.
As you would imagine this bar is located at the hotel lobby and there are two sections, smoking and non smoking. There is a bar in the smoking side where you can various alcoholic and soft drinks.
The snack bar was located near the pool and served food as well as drinks. Food was served between the hours of 10am and 5pm and consisted of sandwiches, meat and fish dishes and a selection of salads. There was also a chef station in here where you could have various flavoured pizzas and crepes cooked fresh in front of you. There was a small seating area indoors and a larger seating area outdoors so you can enjoy your food in the sunshine. To the left of the food area, there was a bar where again they serve a selection of alcoholic and soft drinks. This is the main area where you get your drinks while you are sun bathing near the swimming pool and although the bar can get busy at times, we were always served fairly quickly.
Late Night Snack Bar
This bar is located in the same area as the snack bar is open between 11pm and 01.30am. The food is limited to snack items such as sandwiches, pizzas and crepes.
The Beach Bar is actually located in the sister hotel as the beach is out the back of the sister hotel. The beach bar is located in the middle of the section of the beach which is allocated to the hotel. Here you can choose from a selection of alcoholic and soft drinks as well as the usual snack items such as sandwiches and pizzas. There are patio style table and chairs laid out on the beach where you can sit and enjoy your food and drinks.
As well as the various restaurants are bars, there are a couple of other places to eat and drink.
The hotel actually has its own nightclub which opens at 9pm and closes at 3am. The nightclub is really nice with soft seats and a large dance floor as well as a stage. Various shows are performed here every evening by the animation team and for the beginning part of the evening the animation team get all the children up dancing while the parents can sit and enjoy a drink. The nightclub has a higher tier where there are soft seating areas and the lower tier has seats laid out for the shows which are then taken away once the show has finished. They serve a selection of hot and cold drinks in the nightclub.
This cafe is located in the main reception of the hotel and here you can help yourself to fresh tea and coffee. Various cakes are also laid out throughout the day which you can help yourself to. The cakes included fresh doughnuts which were lovely. The cafe itself is quite small with only a couple of seating areas but the cafe is located right next to a larger seating area and you are more than welcome to sit here and enjoy your drinks.
Also in the lobby of the hotel, there is a small cocktail bar and we were surprised to find that we could also have cocktails on an all inclusive basis. The cocktail bar opens at 5pm and closes at 11pm. You can choose between alcoholic and non alcoholic cocktails and although the menu wasn't massive, there was something to suit everyone's tastes.
As I already said, the Occidental Allegro Riviera doesn't actually have it own beach. The beach for this hotel is actually located at the back of the sister hotel which is about a 5-10 minute walk from the Riviera. The section of the beach which is allocated to the sister hotel is not overly huge and it did always looks busy although we always noticed that there were several free sun beds so I can't imagine having any problems trying to find some beds to use for the day. Personally, we prefer to lay by the pool as I always get covered in sand when I lay on the beach so aside from walking down to the beach to have a look on several occasions, we didn't actually spend much time here. However, there were plenty of sun beds with tables next to them. There were also plenty of sun umbrella so you had the choice of sitting in the sun, or using an umbrella and resting in the shade.
The beach is obviously sanding with bright white sand and there were plenty of people swimming in the sea. I dipped my toes into the sea and have to say, I thought it was far too cold to be swimming in but each to their own!! Various water sports are available on the beach (at an extra charge) and these included hiring pedaloes and jet skies and you could also take a ride on a banana boat or go para sailing.
There is one main swimming pool at the Riviera Hotel, although this does have a smaller pool attached to one side which is the designated children's pool. The pool is fairly large and there are areas all around the pool for sun beds. There are enough sun beds for everyone and they are all available free of charge. As you select your sun beds, the pool man with come over to you with soft mattresses for them.
The pool has a deep and a shallow end and you can enter to pool by a set of steps in the shallow end. The pool is open between the hours of 8am and 6pm and guest must not swim in it while it is closed.
There is also an indoor swimming pool which is located on the ground floor of the hotel, opposite the health club. The indoor swimming pool was beautiful with lovely painted walls. The swimming pool is circular and the water was a luke warm temperature, making it very nice to swim in. The day we used to indoor pool, we found that we were the only two people there so the indoor pool would be more suitable for people who like their own peace and quiet.
There is towel station which is located to one side of the main pool. You are charged a deposit of 10 diners (about £5) for the towels although the deposit will be refunded when you return the towels. He towels need to be returned by 6pm every day.
Personally I do not have any children yet but I did notice while staying at this hotel that it would be a great place to take children (as long as you take great care to protect their skin from the Tunisian heat).
The hotel caters for children very well with lots of children areas such as a kiddies area where they can play with toys, watch videos, colour in etc all under the supervision of the hotel staff so you know they are in safe hands.
As mentioned earlier there is a kid's pool which will certainly keep them entertained for a while.
This hotel has a little Health club complete with a sauna, massage rooms and a hairdressers (although you do have to pay extra for these services). My boyfriend and I had an all over massage which lasted about 45 minutes and this only cost us £10 each which I thought was a really good price.
There is a fully air conditioned Gym onsite at the hotel although I have to admit to not using this (I don't use one at home so certainly not using one while I am on holiday)
I would certainly recommend this hotel to anyone wishing to visit Port el Kantaoui in Tunisia. It is in a great location, with some shops about a 10 minute walk in one direction and the Marina and town centre a 10 minute walk in the other direction.
The hotel is modern, clean and has a very welcoming atmosphere. I was impressed with the selection of food available and found that somewhere was open for you to get food whatever time you pleased. I really liked the idea of the disco, as quite often when I go on all inclusive holidays, I am reluctant to leave the resort because everything is already paid for so I liked the fact that you could have a few drinks and watch a show within the grounds of the hotel without having to spend any money. I think this hotel offers everything you would expect of a 4 star hotel.
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