Quality Hotel Bonaparte (Chile)
Bonaparte Hotel Providencia Santiago We spent a night here on the way through to Easter Island and then two further nights on our return before flying back to the UK. We had enjoyed a wonderful week in the Galapagos then a night in Guayaquil before flying here on LAN Chile. We had a fairly painless flight and were met at ... the airport by our guide as arranged. The hotel is in the city and about twenty minutes from the airport so not too bad a journey at all.
We were welcomed at the desk and after we had both filled in forms we were escorted to our room by a nice young man. He took our bags in and showed us where all the lights were etc and then left us to it.
Fortunately Santiago airport is efficient and the traffic was not too bad so we were quickly in the hotel. Our guide suggested quite strongly that we check in and print off our boarding cards as the Easter Island flight is often overbooked. The hotel reception staff instructed us on what to do, checking in on the computers on the floor where our room was then emailing the desk the boarding cards so they then printed them off.
We had two different rooms here. One was the normal superior double room and the second we were upgraded to a king sized suite which was rather nice. The actual bedrooms were pretty similar really so I will go through what there was in these then go on to our extra posh suite!
The entire room had hard laminate floors while the bathroom was ceramic tiles. It had a nice open feel about it. The bed was, as many are these days, made up with fresh , smooth cotton sheets with a couple of cushions and a matching throw at the bottom of the bed in brown and burgundies. We had plenty of pillow each with four on the bed and they were different hardness so I was able to feel them and select a nice soft one for me.
The bed in the first room was a double or queen sized one while the one in the suite was bigger so a king sized one. It was pretty comfortable so no complaints there.
The furniture was all a medium coloured polished wood including a long tall table which held the large flat screen TV and had two large drawers. A round table with matching upright chair which looked sort of antique but I suspect was a copy. In the double room we also had a minibar/fridge but in the suite this was in the sitting room area.
There was no comfortable chair in the first room and so we used the large window sill for putting our clothes on that we wanted to wear. There was a huge wardrobe with hanging space and shelves as well as a folding suitcase stand and coded safe so no problems about storage even though we didn't actually unpack on either occasion; one of our bags by this stage was full of dirty clothes!
We had a kettle with coffee and tea making equipment in the room near the bathroom in the first room and in the sitting room in the suite. Obviously in the suite we had the sofa bed and a chair to sit on but the sofa bed was VERY uncomfortable and I was glad that no one had to open it up and try to sleep on it.
There didn't appear to be any air conditioning but the window did open and there were heaters which we quickly turned off for the duration of our stay. It was coming in to their winter but certainly didn't need radiators on for us.`
There was more than enough hanging and drawer pace for all our stuff in both rooms that we had as well as room for the bags in the wardrobe too so that the room was pretty tidy whenever we left it.
There was free wifi and on both occasions this worked well on my laptop. We also used the computers on our floor to access the website to check in to our flights and then emailed them to the desk downstairs and they very kindly printed them off in duplicate for us.
There was a coded safe in both rooms which we made use of both times.
The bathrooms were quite a decent size with a basin,, toilet and bath with a shower over it. In the first room the basin was outside the main bathroom and in the suite we had two basins in the bathroom. The water was nice and hot so no complaints at all in either room here. Hair dryers were provided in both rooms too and they were the sort you could take and use wherever you wanted in the rooms.
We were given shampoo, conditioner and two small bars of nice soap. The shampoo and conditioner were pretty good too
This was included in our tariff which was all part of our holiday booking with Llama travel so I am not sure what we actually paid for the stay.
Breakfast was in the restaurant on the ground floor which was really nice. It was again a more old fashioned traditional looking room and set up. We had linen napkins and white crockery so very posh!
The breakfast was still a buffet and you had to help yourself to everything including the tea and coffee and juices. The choice of juice was limited to apple or orange but there was fruit, cereals and yogurt so I was happy. The cooked section offered enough choice to keep my husband happy and you could also find pastries, cakes and other bready type of breakfast things too. It wasn't the best breakfast I have ever eaten in a hotel by a long way but it was also far from being the worst.
The other thing that we found a little disappointing was that on the day we flew leaving before breakfast time they didn't offer a packed breakfast as many hotels so now.
The public areas were quite large, again sort of 'gentleman's club' and very English in its furnishings and set up. The Reception desk was down some stairs as you come into the hotel and the two lifts were to the right as you faced this desk. The public seating areas were again off to the right and if you kept going on round you came to the bar which again was very 'English' looking. Continue around and this was the dining area where we had breakfast twice and an evening meal once.
The evening meal we had was really good and the service efficient despite our limited Spanish and the waitress's limited English we did manage quite well.
Yes; I would say it was a little far out of the main parts of Santiago but the area it was in was safe and very pleasant. On the day we left it had rained all night and as we drove out from the hotel all the streets around were covered in autumn leaves. It reminded us of our autumn break in Paris with its tree lined streets. It was not too far to the nearest underground station which would take you to other parts of the city if you have time to explore which we didn't on this visit but we had been to Santiago before so we were not too bothered.
The hotel was clean everywhere, the rooms were large and light with big windows that did open which I do like some fresh air. The bathrooms were both perfectly good with the one in the suite being slightly larger than the normal room but both were fine, clean and had all we needed.
Other than the meanness of not giving us a packed breakfast one morning we found the hotel perfect for our few days in Santiago and the staff could not have been more helpful and pleasant.
Thanks for reading. This review may be posted on other sites under my same username.
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La Quinta Inn & Suites Houston Bush Intl Airport (Houston)
INTRODUCTION When I first get off a plane in a foreign country I always feel jetlagged, dirty, hungry and generally all-round yucky. On arriving in Houston my Dad and Hubby felt exactly like this, so my friend H and I took them to our hotel for the night, La Quinta Inn & Suites at Houston Bush International ... Airport.
WHY CHOOSE THIS HOTEL?
La Quinta is a big US chain of budget hotels. Our rooms were only $60 a night (split between two sharing!) My friend H selected this one for our first night in Houston as it was so close to the airport where my Dad & Hubby were flying in to. It was just a 10 minute hop by complimentary bus from the airport to the front of the hotel.
The hotel itself was a bright, low-rise yellow structure with a large car park out the front which was free for residents. H was able to park her car right by the reception area which is protected from the vicious Texan sun by a large concrete roof.
Inside, the open-plan reception area was decorated in earthy beige, yellow and burnt orange, with a large wooden reception desk staffed by two people every time I saw it. The rest of the area is furnished with big, squashy sofas and chairs as well as a water dispenser (a legal requirement in Texas) and complimentary chocolate chip cookies (not a legal requirement in Texas, but should be everywhere!)
The reception staff were friendly and professional, assigning us the two twin rooms we had booked. Unfortunately, even though they knew we were one party, with two of our members arriving imminently, they assigned us one room on the first floor and one on the fourth! While we were there we asked about the complimentary airport bus, were told of the times it ran (every 30 minutes) and after requesting a booking, we were booked on to the next bus out.
There were two lifts by reception as well as complimentary luggage trolleys which we were able to use to get our luggage up to the rooms. There was no bell-hop to help us, but hey, it's a budget hotel so we didn't mind.
Rooms were opened with electronic swipe keys which worked well. Both rooms we were assigned were decorated in the same earthy tones as reception, augmented with lime green (it looked better than it sounded!) We had fridges in both rooms and a microwave in H & my room (although not in Dad & Hubby's even though all are supposed to have one). The two double beds in each room were fully made up with plenty of bedding. The rooms had easy-to-operate air-conditioning units
Bathrooms in both rooms included a full spread of toiletries and plenty of towels. Each contained a loo and a combined shower/bath. The shower worked on a simple mix-tap system and was easy to operate.
Both rooms were very clean, had hairdryers, coffee makers (you can't make tea with them despite the official advertising), large TV's with multichannel options, clock/radios and free wifi.
OTHER HOTEL FEATURES
This La Quinta hotel features an outdoor swimming pool and a small gym. I was too hot to use the pool and too tired to use the gym so I can't review them! There's also a free laundry room (very useful!)
GETTING TO THE AIRPORT
After settling in we went back to reception and waited outside for the airport bus. And waited. And waited.
Ten minutes after departure time H went back into reception to find out what was going on. She saw different staff to those on the desk originally. It turned out the dozy reception staff hadn't booked us on the bus after all! She made a fuss, telling them we had to go and meet the rest of our party off their flight, so the reception staff telephoned the bus company and promised one would be there to pick us up in five minutes.
After another ten minute wait we were thoroughly fed-up, jumped in H's car and drove to the airport to meet Dad and Hubby!
There's no restaurant at the hotel and we couldn't find information on room service. Since Hubby & Dad were feeling rough (as described in the introduction) they just ate some plain sandwiches we'd brought with us. H and I wanted more substantial fare as we were both on US time and were both hungry. Unfortunately the only option near the hotel was a Burger King. We were both too tired and hot to jump back in H's car again and go exploring for alternatives.
After a good night's sleep (comfy beds!) we all met up downstairs for breakfast, which was a far nicer proposition than dinner.
Breakfast was included in the price of the room and was a serve-yourself buffet affair. There were plenty of tables and lots of space to sit. The buffet was what I now know to be a standard US breakfast bar: coffee machine, juice, a few (sugary) cereals, sweet pastries, eggs & bacon and waffles (which you made yourself in a really cool machine!). There were also what I thought were pancakes, which I covered in maple syrup. It was only when I took a mouthful I discovered they were actually boiled eggs! Eggs and maple syrup do not go together, I can assure you!
Checking out after breakfast was simple and straightforward so we were in good shape for the next leg of our trip.
The hotel itself was good. The rooms were clean and comfortable and breakfast was OK (but terribly unhealthy!). I would have given the hotel five stars but I'm deducting one for the dozy reception staff bus mess-up, and one for the lack of advertised facilities for tea-making facilities and microwave in the 'boys' room (we didn't use them, but it's the principle). Plus lack of dinner food except for the next-door Burger King? Poor!
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Hotel Sabatino (Milano)
****Why Hotel Sabatino?**** Last December I booked two tickets to see the greatest rock star ever. He was bringing his band to San Siro Football Stadium in Milan. The date was in June, 2013. I wanted a cheap basic hotel located near to a Metro stop so I could get back from the concert quickly and without any fuss and be able ... to go sightseeing later on, using the Metro as my means of transport. I spent ages looking at the options on Booking.com and eventually came up with the above mentioned hotel. I thought, nice name, within my budget, in an accessible location, and looked okay for the money. Okay, the review rating was 6.8% but I wasn't too worried about that. If the bed was clean and comfy, it would do, I knew we would be out most of the time.
****Downtown or Rough town?****
Okay, I'll give you the official location then elaborate further. Hotel Sabatino is in a good location, it is a five minute walk to Loreto Metro Station where you can take line M1 to the Duomo, Galeria Vittorio Emanuelle II and La Scala Opera House or M2 to Castello Sforzesco, Cimitero Monumentale and Palazzo dell'Arte. These are all fascinating attractions and all worth a visit. The Corso Buenos Aires is ten minutes' walk away; here you will find a very long thoroughfare full of stylish shops, cafes and restaurants. Late at night it is rowdy and there are a few dubious characters walking around so be sensible if out and about, don't go showing off your gold watch or your new Iphone. The wonderful Stazione Centrale is only 2 stops away; this is where the bus from the airport arrives so I think you will agree, not a bad location for a hotel.
Now for the bit that the website doesn't tell you. The area is a little jaded, not seedy but definitely worn around the edges. It's a mixture of terraced tenement houses painted in pastel shades with balconies and pretty gardens filled with Mediterranean vegetation, one and two star hotels that have seen better days, little trattorias serving pasta and pizza and it is also part of Milan's Red Light District. Scantily clad ladies don't restrict their presence to standing in front of cars to only late in the evening; they are also around in the day as well. This doesn't bother me but it may put other people off. I like a city to have a bit of character.
****Key, cold beer and bed****
We arrived after 10.30, tired and thirsty. All, I could think of was beer! You walk straight off the street into the reception area, a semi-circular desk with a computer. There was a young Chinese chap to greet us. He smiled and seemed friendly enough. We showed him our print off from Booking.com, he checked his PC, asked for passports to see if we were who we said we were, handed them back and then went to get the key. He couldn't find it at first but after 10 minutes he did. All the time my eyes were focussed on the fridge and the tall bottles of Heineken standing proudly on the bottom shelf. I am not a fan of Heineken but I was parched and it would have to do as I really didn't want to go out again having got this far. There was plenty time to see the Duomo, Bruce and Milan. Tomorrow was another day, I was quite happy to lie on the bed, wipe my brow, kick off my boots and quench my thirst.
****Not tiny or pokey, just small****
Our room was up two flights of marble stairs that could have done with a bit of spit and polish. Key fitted the lock perfectly, no messing about with swipe cards. Sometimes, old fashioned ways are the best!
Yes, the room was quite small with just about enough leg room to manoeuvre around the double bed. My eyes glanced over to the shuttered windows that were wide open and letting mosquitoes in. I couldn't resist looking at the garden and the gardens opposite. They looked very Italian and very pretty. I was happy to be in Italy, even if the room was small and a light bulb was missing from the ceiling light that doubled up as a fan, you know the type of fan that you always come across in a seedy bar in Marrakesh. There was a desk, chair and mirror close to the window which also had bright orange curtains (my favourite colour) and a wardrobe with coat hangers in. The only other piece of furniture was a free standing cupboard that I thought was a mini-bar. It was actually for storing neatly folded clothes and not mini bottles of gin and vodka and the odd packet of nuts. We did have wall lamps above the bedhead but my bulb was missing. The bed was very comfortable for sitting, propped up with a pillow and sleeping in. We had one large pillow each, the correct number for both of us as we don't like to have a mountain of pillows to go to sleep, they usually get thrown on the floor. The flat screen TV was mounted on the wall, not the largest I've seen but if we had wanted to watch Italian footie the view from the bed would have been fine.
****Scrub up time****
For those of you have stayed in Ibis hotels all over the world you will know the size of the bathrooms in this well-known establishment. Our en-suite was a bit smaller. I am not sure how a very large person would be able to move around in the shower unit and you do have to bend as there isn't a shelf to place your shower gel or shampoo on. The shower head was a normal one, the flow of water was adequate, not powerful but hot and wet and did the job, made you feel alive in the morning. The loo and wash basin were bog standard (no pun intended) and several garish looking sachets of shower gel sat on the glass shelf above the wash basin, under the square mirror. The light from the ceiling was dim but there were lights above the mirror so if my husband had wanted to plug in his razor he would have been able to have a shave. Actually, I just realised that he doesn't have an electrical razor; he always has a wet shave so that piece of information is for readers and potential customers only. I don't think I can tell you anything else about the en-suite bathroom except that the louvered door didn't always close properly. The lock was a bit dodgy.
****Yes, I know Italian breakfasts in hotels are not up to much****
I've stayed in enough hotels in Italy and Sardinia to know that you pay over the top for breakfast and it is generally rubbish but the price we paid for our stay included breakfast. There is a notice on the wall at reception stating that breakfast costs 4 Euros so take note if you don't book all inclusive. Was it worth 4 Euros? Let's take a look.
The breakfast serving bar is at the end of the corridor where the reception desk is. There are tables and chairs in this corridor but we chose to sit outside in the garden under cover. The Chinese lady on duty was friendly and could speak a little English, Chinese and Italian. The breakfast is self-service so while we helped ourselves to food she made up a pot of hot water, (you add your own T bag) and a cup of coffee with milk. You can then help yourself to fruit juice but beware it doesn't taste like fresh orange, more like something radio-active. There are two cereal options - the good, reliable cornflake and some sort of crispy pop covered in chocolate, a selection of cheap yoghurts are available to put on top of cereal or eat separately. Across from the serving bar there is a selection of white goods. I don't mean cookers and fridges; I mean bread and pastries with high starch content and no goodness whatsoever. There are croissants in a display unit with a lid but these were filled with sticky apricot jam. I wanted a plain croissant so I could spread a small tablet of butter on to it. There was only one sort of sliced bread, like Bimbo bread that you can buy in Spain, doesn't really taste of anything but toasts nicely, well, that's when the toaster actually does the job. This one didn't, it took ages and then when the lady brought two slices to me they were only slightly browned. The butter was hard so when I tried to spread it on the toast the bread disintegrated and formed a hole in the centre. Still, I covered it up with a slice of plastic cheese and that did the job. The only other things to put on toast or bread were jam or processed cheese portions which I like to take off the silver wrapping and eat whole. My husband who has a sweet tooth tried a croissant, he could have had it heated up in the microwave but declined. He said it was okay. He also tried a piece of Swiss roll that was individually packaged in cellophane; this was very sweet and artificial. When I saw all the white cakes I thought they looked like the owner had bought a job lot from a market but on our last day we went to a supermarket to buy some salami and ham and I noticed the very same cakes on the confectionery shelf. I can't believe Italians eat all this rubbish; still at least the breakfast was slightly better than the last place I stayed in, in Rome. There, I was allowed only one roll, yoghurt and a cup of coffee. My advice is to skip breakfast in the hotel and go to one of the piazzas close by for your prima colazione.
****Ssh! I'm trying to sleep!****
As our room was situated on the first floor we were able to hear the sound of people checking in at reception. The first night I didn't hear a thing, the second night I was awake for ages listening to one heavy footed person run up and down the stairs and then later he was clanking his key trying to get it into the keyhole. Eventually, the chap at reception, a different one, told him to be quiet and showed him how to use the key properly. The same night I was able to hear traffic noise from the road at the back. The night of the concert I was unable to sleep but it was because I was adrenalized and not because of noisy guests. Like in any hotel you stay in, if the guests are rowdy then you will hear noise. It's luck of the draw.
****Do a deal?****
When it came to pay, my husband decided to pay cash. You can pay by credit card but over the years we seem to have accumulated a lot of spare Euros and wanted to spend some of them. The same chap who we met on the first night gave us the bill, we checked it and it was correct including beers, Vat and City tax. My husband loves doing a deal and he is always negotiating on prices. The bill came to 238 Euros for 3 nights including breakfast and 6 beers. He asked if we could have a discount for cash, the guy agreed and knocked off 18 Euros so we paid 220 Euros. Not a huge discount but every little helps.
It is a good idea to check public holidays in Milan before you book as all the Tratorrias and shops apart from one supermarket were closed on the Sunday we were there. It was a public holiday.
Take some protection against mosquitoes because I was bitten quite badly.
I liked the location and the area even if it is a bit run down. The room was basic but adequate for our needs. I liked the members of staff; they were polite, helpful and not too fussy. The option of taking breakfast in the garden was a bonus on the first day. The bed was very comfortable and I was pleased that we were able to get a cold beer on arrival. I also enjoyed looking out on to residents gardens at the different trees like fig, pine, eucalyptus etc.
I thought the standard of cleanliness could have been higher. Superficially the room looked clean but I think when the cleaners came in it was just a matter of a quick sweep and a mop. A bit more elbow grease could have been used. It was a nuisance not having a bin in the room - only a small point but for me who collects lots of rubbish, an important one. The missing light bulbs, the one in the main room ceiling light and the reading lamp and I think there were a couple missing in the bathroom. It takes a couple of seconds to put a bulb in a lamp so this issue shows a bit of laziness on behalf of the management.
Noise issue - I could be laid back and say that noise happens in hotels but if I'm honest, the level of noise on the second night annoyed me.
WiFi is available in all areas and is free
If you are visiting Milan by car there is a garage that can be used. The hotel has an arrangement with the owners and can obtain fixed rates.
24 hour reception is available
****Do I recommend it or not?****
The answer to this question is Yes, to people like me who want a cheap bed for the night in a city location without any fuss and aren't concerned about the hotel being located in the Red Light District of Milan. If this concerns you, then you won't like the location or the hotel. The hotel's selling point is that it is very close to a Metro, bus and tram stop so getting around Milan becomes a simple task.
We were happy with the price for 3 nights. Milan is quite an expensive city so 200 Euros is perfectly acceptable.
Hotel Sabatino is what it says - a two star hotel and that's the amount of stars I am going to award it.
Address: Via Giovanni Lulli, 6, Citta' Studi, Milano, 20131
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