Barcelona Universal Hotel (Spain)
We stayed at the Barcelona Universal for 3 nights for my husbands birthday. He's a big football fan so I treated him to a trip to Barcelona and the Nou Camp for a game as his present! I wanted a nice hotel that didn't break the bank -this was the first that appeared in the search on Expedia and had good reviews. I paid £189 for the three ... nights in mid January (I booked around 3 months before then) I thought this was a good price for a 4 star hotel, it included our breakfast too! We got a double room with bathroom. The hotel seems to charge much higher prices, a lot of hotel sites do offer this hotel too though so it's worth shopping around.
The hotel is in a great location - it's on the Av Paral-lel in the heart of the city centre. The stairs to a city Metro line are there as soon as you step outside making it easy to get around the city (the station is called Parallel). One of Barcelona's main attractions, Las Ramblas, where there are bars, restaurants and where there's lots of street entertainment and market sellers, is only a couple of stops away via the Metro. The trains run frequently in the day so you're never waiting long. We visited most of the main attractions of Barcelona - the Sagrada Familia, Nou Camp, Olympic parks and shopping areas and it didn't take us long to get anywhere. Las Ramblas is also close enough to walk to, although we're lazy and never did, always opting for the Metro. It seemed a little bit of a faff getting from the main city airport when we arrived, but this wasn't due to the location, just our bad directions as neither of us had been before.
The room was lovely, very contemporary and modern - I think they've been updated since the picture here. The room felt spacious - as we walked in, there was a built in desk and drawers unit on the right with plenty of storage and a bench to put the suitcase - as we were sharing one case there was no arguments as to who got to use it! To the left were two wardrobes, both again with plenty of space. There was a safe in one, which was handy as we'd heard horror stories about pickpockets around the city. The best thing was it was free to use! There was extra bedding in the wardrobe too incase we needed it. There was a bed in the middle of the room with two bedside tables - a large bed (I would definitely say bigger than a king) that I found comfortable; usually it take me three nights just to get used to the bed but here it didn't and I got three nights of good sleep. There was a table and chairs for relaxing and a TV in the room that had a couple of UK news channels on, Sky News and BBC News 24. Our room was at the front of the hotel and facing a noisy road but it didn't seem to impact on my sleep much. The room has blackout curtains which helped! There is air conditioning too, although with our trip being in January this wasn't used so not sure on it's effectiveness. There is free WiFi in the rooms too which was great when planning our days sightseeing.
The bathroom was also spacious. The shower is over the bath but it was a very good shower and because the bathroom was so roomy that didn't bother us having to climb out. The sink area had a massive mirror which was handy when getting ready. There were also a few toiletries free to use - soap, shower gel and sewing kit (that came in handy when one of my buttons fell off!) the ones I remember.
The Hotel Facilities
The breakfast room wasn't huge but it was served through the morning so we never had to wait for a table - someone seats you and then you are left to help yourself. The best tables are those that overlook the road but that's only because I'm nosey! The breakfast served was a buffet of sausages, eggs, bacon etc, then cereal, fruit juices, croissants and toast. It was all out ready so I never asked to order my eggs a specific way or anything - whether you can I'm not sure but the staff seemed helpful and were always bringing fresh stuff out.
Downstairs on the ground floor is the reception and seating in an open plan style where there are a couple of computers for internet access, again not something we made use of but I got the impression they were free with it being free wifi in the rooms. There's also a bar area here but we found this a bit of a joke. On the first night we fancied a drink before going out so went into the bar area which is small but someone came and gave us a little pot of nuts to snack on while they got our drinks ready. Then once we got our drinks, the person that had served us (who I think was between the bar and other facilities) disappeared. We were only having the one drink so when we finished, my husband went to the reception to pay the bill as it is literally right next to it in the open plan room and there was no-one at the bar to take our money from us. He settled the bill and we walked out to get on with our evening. Then from nowhere, a member of staff came running after us towards the Metro asking us to pay up! My husband told him politely that we had done already at reception because no-one was around to take our money at the bar and the man was then very apologetic. We just laughed, but it could have offended other guests and showed that the bar was a bit of a farce, they need at least one member of staff to man it at all times. Having said that, the staff were all very friendly and offered a good service in general. For example, as our flight was in the evening, they looked after our bags on the departure day so we could go out for a full day and then pick them up a bit nearer our flight time.
There is a pool on the rooftop but as it was January, I wasn't even going to take a look as it was chilly outside! The hotel has a fitness centre and solarium for people wanting to do exercise on their trip (not my cup of tea!)
On the whole, I would really recommend both this hotel and Barcelona itself as a city break. We had a wonderful time and it was great fun - we seemed to pack a lot into those three days and nights and the hotel was perfect in terms of it's location and room. One thing I would say about Barcelona in general though, is to be very careful with valuables. When we were on the way back from the game, a lad who was stood next to us on the metro tried to help someone onto it behind him because it was quite packed - the guy seemed reluctant to squash on though. The poor lad was actually trying to help a pickpocket to get on who was after his phone in his pocket and as the doors shut, the lad realised that the guy had swiped his phone. It was so sneaky and proof that they weren't just stories that we'd heard as we witnessed it happen for real. Next time we visit, I don't think I'll be taking anything with me apart from the very essentials.
I give the hotel four stars, with the service (or lack of) at the bar area letting it down. This may be a little mean though as it might have just been a one off - I'd give it 4.5 stars if it was possible!
Thanks for reading :o)
Read the complete review
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.
Read the complete review
Park Hotel The Hague (Netherlands)
A couple of weeks ago I had the opportunity to accompany my husband on a business trip to The Hague. The hotel we stayed in for 2 nights was called the ParkHotel situated on Molenstraat, a very old part of the city with ancient streets, coffee bars, restaurants and easy access to the centre of The Hague. We flew from Warsaw to ... Schipol, Amsterdam where we caught a train to Den Haag. The airport is about 45 minutes away; the train journey cost 10 Euros (single) and took 35 minutes. This was because the train we caught was direct, indirect trains take about 10 minutes longer.
On the afternoon we arrived the weather was very pleasant so we decided to walk rather than take a taxi, it took about twenty minutes. We could see the hotel sign as we entered the street so we didn't have any problems finding its location. The hotel is adjacent to the sweeping gardens of the Palace Noordeinde, slap bang in the historical centre and within easy walking distance of The Binnenhof (Parliament Buildings). I was very happy with the location and eager to put down our bags and go out with the camera.
As you enter through the main doors you will see the reception area to the right and to the left is the bar and lounge area. The reception area is spacious with a quarter circle reception desk. Two people were on duty when we arrived, both were polite and professional. We were eager to go to our room but for some reason one of the receptionists wanted to take us on a tour to show us the facilities. We are quite independent, don't like a lot of fussing and at this point weren't bothered about seeing the facilities. I know the girl was only being helpful but we could have done without the tour. I did notice that there weren't any newspapers only a stand displaying city maps. I thought there would have been more leaflets and brochures about what to see and do in The Hague.
Having checked in and had a look at the facilities we then went to up in the lift to our room. There are two lifts and a very wacky staircase that reminded me of Escher's drawings.
My first impression of the room was that it was pokey and badly lit. Two single beds had been pushed together to make it look like a double bed and in front of the foot of the bed was a desk so not a lot of room for maneuvering. The furniture looked like typical flat pack furniture in a dark teak colour. Bed linen including the duvet was white with a silky patterned throw over situated at the bottom of the bed in autumnal colours. This matched the full length curtains. On the bed were several cushions and pillows and at either side of the headboard were two reading lamps. The only other lights in the room were situated in the ceiling, two small spotlights. One didn't work so we asked to have it replaced and the job was done immediately but it didn't make a lot of difference, the room had a dark and depressing feeling. I don't think the olive green interior wall helped either or the canopy of old trees belonging to the palace gardens which blocked out the sun's rays.
Behind the net curtains there was a balcony which overlooked the palace gardens and the palace. This was a very nice view but the balcony itself was stark, had one wicker chair, concrete floor with patches of rust leading into the patio doors. This had been caused by standing water and was an eye sore. It was one of the worst balconies I have ever seen, really tacky.
There was a flat screen TV attached to the wall which had 25 channels including BBC World, BBC News 24 and CNN. We had a telephone, a fridge with nothing in it, ironing board and iron. The tea, coffee facilities were poor consisting of a kettle, two cups and saucers, two tea bags, powdered crème. My husband was disappointed because there wasn't any real milk or even sterilised milk. He dislikes tea made with crème. There wasn't any mineral water in the room either so this didn't go down well. You know how dry hotel rooms can get and I think if a hotel is giving itself a four star badge there should at least be a couple bottles of water available to guests.
The en-suite bathroom was compact and big enough for the morning's ablutions. The shower was hot enough and had a very large shower head, like a giant sunflower. The water pressure was low so having a shower wasn't the best experience. One thing I did notice was that the hotel advertised their environmental policies supporting recycling and saving water etc. That's all fine and well except the wash basin was huge and very shallow and for my husband to have a wet shave which he always does he had to use a lot of water which escaped as the plug seal was broken. In the end he had to shave with the tap running. Toiletries were non-existent apart from containers attached to the wall of which there were two containing shower gel and body lotion. Both of these were very nearly empty. Towels were white and not very soft.
I did notice a sign on the door saying that if anyone smoked in this room there would be a fine of 75 Euros to pay at reception. We don't smoke so didn't have to worry about that.
Dining room; there wasn't one. This must be the first hotel I have stayed in that didn't have a dining room. There was a menu card in the room from which you could choose a meal and then phone to the kitchen to order your food. You could either eat in your room or in the lounge attached to the bar. On the first night we noticed that a special meal was advertised at reception consisting of smoked salmon, giant prawns and a salad. This came with a small plate of brown bread and butter and a glass of white wine. As we weren't too crazy about the dishes on offer on the menu in our room we ordered the special and ate it in our room. The price was 16.50 Euros plus a service charge of 3.50 Euros. I thought this was a bit steep as the portion of smoked salmon was only a slither sat on top of potato salad, two giant prawns which were pretty tasteless and a very small salad made up of lettuce, onion, cucumber and tomato. We couldn't find any condiments either so I was a bit disappointed.
On the second night we chose the Dutch Dinner from the menu, a piece of steak served with potatoes and vegetables. This wasn't very appetising at all; the steak was dry and tough as old boots, with a dollop of mustard sauce on the top that had congealed, the potatoes were those chunky types, not salted and no accompanying salt or vinegar or any sort of dressing and to top it all, the broccoli was freezing. The price for this was 17.50 Euros plus the service charge. I thought the service charge was a bit high and really, the meals were overpriced because there was hardly anything on the plate. There is a breakfast room but we didn't take breakfast in the hotel so I can't comment on the food or atmosphere.
Finally, the room the hotel advertises as the Business Centre; a glass kiosk with a PC and a printer. All guests can use this room free of charge. It's hardly a Business Centre but if you forget to bring your laptop then it comes in handy.
We stayed for two nights in the ParkHotel and the price was 350Euros including the meals described above. I think it was overpriced for what it was especially when I compare it to the hotel we stayed in when we were in Shanghai which was also a 4 star but so luxurious by comparison.
The ParkHotel claims to be a unique hotel. I really don't agree with this statement. Yes, the location is wonderful, close to the attractions I have mentioned above as well as Escher in the Palace, the Peace Palace and Scheveningen Harbour & Boulevard. You don't have to walk far to find a shop, café, restaurant or supermarket. Transport connections are good. These are the positives. The negatives are that the hotel is dark and gloomy even though it has a super staircase, there are hardly any paintings in the public areas which give the whole building an institutional feel to it. There isn't a dining room which is something I missed. The food was expensive, tiny portions, lacking in imagination, cold and not appetising at all. Not enough information on hand although I have to say that the reception staff were helpful on a couple of occasions and put my husband in the right direction when he wanted to find the building where he was delivering the training course.
I am going to award the ParkHotel 3 stars as I think that's all it is worth. It's a pretty average hotel, nothing special.
Read the complete review
2 Stars Hotel International
Address: Auricher Straße 20 / Hotel International / 26721 Emden / Germany
Address : 71 Rue de Charonne / Hotel International / Paris / France
Address: 131-133 Boulevard de Magenta / Hotel International / 75010 Paris / France
Address: 2 Rue De La Folie / Hotel International / Rond Point Du Débarquement / 14000 Caen / France
Address: Via Cairoli 31 / Hotel International / 00100 / Rome / Italy
Hotel International / Budget hotel in Istanbul, Turkey.
Hotel International / Eco-friendly accommodation in a nature reserve in Borneo.
Hotel International / Traditional cabin accommodation in Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming, USA.
Address: Sadashivgadh / Hotel International / Karwar / India
Hotel International / Address: Glavna ulica 57, SI-9220, Dolga vas
|2 Stars Hotel International Recommendations 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 ... next|
|dooyoo Results 1 - 10 of 1781|