Abad Airport Hotel (Cochin, India)
~What's in a Name?~ Have you ever booked a hotel just because you thought the name was funny? OK, maybe the temptation of staying in Abad (a bad) Hotel was a driver of choice but it did help that it was the closest and nicest choice near Kochi airport in Kerala. I had originally chosen the hotel and was going to book directly ... but eventually decided to get the local tour company who was arranging our first few days in Kerala to book it for me. As a consequence, I'm not 100% sure what I ended up paying for our stay but it was around the £45 per night level.
~A Stone's Throw~
Our tour company had promised to send a car to pick us up on arrival and the driver had absolutely no problem to spot us since we were the only non-Indians on the Air India Express flight from Mumbai and we stuck out like pinkie sore thumbs. In retrospect it was probably a bit silly to get a pick up since the hotel was so near you could see it from the airport and there were ample pre-paid taxis available. I suspect that if we'd asked the hotel would also have sent a car. So if you're wondering if this is one of those 'airport hotels' that's only just in the same time zone as the airport, it's not. This one is just down the road. The airport is about 30 km from Kochi city though so this isn't an ideal place for visiting the area from but for us it was a perfect place to base ourselves before starting our tour.
The hotel is just a two or three minute drive from the airport and sits on a road that runs parallel to the runway. It's a clean, white-painted, low rise building with just three floors. We pulled up outside and a porter came to grab out bags and we headed into the large marble lobby with a large reception area and lots of chairs and sofas. One of the nicest things about the lobby which we didn't spot until the next day, was that there were windows all round and there was a lot of natural light. And we watched a lady with a chamois leather polishing those windows for all they were worth.
Check in was quick and we handed over the hotel voucher and our passports, checked availability of internet access and breakfast times and then headed to our room.
~A Room with Some Style~
Our second floor room was on the back of the hotel which I suspected would be quieter than being on the front which was the airport side. However, Kochi isn't a busy airport and I think it would be hard to find a noisy place in this hotel, especially since the corridors were thickly carpeted. That might sound like a bit of an irrelevant detail but this was the only Indian hotel I recall from our past few trips that actually had carpeted hallways and this makes an enormous difference to the amount of noise you get coming through from the corridor.
The room was very smart and I was impressed mostly because I do have a tendency to book rather dodgy hotels in India and this was a much higher standard than the dives I normally go for. I would say that the room was easily to the standard of a European three or four star hotel. The lobby and bathroom had marble floors whilst the main bedroom area had warmer wooden flooring. We had two single beds, each with deep thick mattresses which are unusual in the land of the thin and rock-like mattress. The sheets were crisp and smooth and the pillows soft and fluffy. Each bed had a small upholstered bed head screwed to the wall and a small table sa between the two beds to discourage any pushing them together or any hanky panky. Towards the window end of the room were two arm chairs and a coffee table.
The bathroom had a bath and shower which may sound pretty normal but isn't normal for India where you generally just get a shower head on the wall and hope to shower without drowning everything in the room. There was a toilet and a sink with a good sized vanity unit offering plenty of space for all your bathroom paraphernalia.
Out in the vestibule area of the room there were tea and coffee sachets and a kettle. The main bedroom area had a large suitcase stand, a desk with a mirror above, an old style television and a minibar/fridge. The lighting in the room was also good with a variety of lamps according to your needs. The walls were decorated with hand painted flower pictures.
~Sea Food Frenzy~
We ate dinner and breakfast in the restaurant and, since it was our first dinner after arriving in India we decided not to be mean and splashed out a bit. We didn't notice any alcohol in the restaurant and we weren't offered any so I'm unsure whether the hotel serves alcohol. It's not unusual for Indian hotels to be dry but I would have expected one of this price range to have had a bar, but we saw none. I also forgot to check out the contents of the mini-bar so I'm still unsure of the whether there was any booze on site. There was a bound menu with lots to choose from and a card on the table advertising their seafood specials. On most trips to India I'm a strict situational vegetarian. My normal seafood and fish consumption gets abandoned in favour of the safety of vegetarianism. However, this trip was mostly on the coast and I was ready to relax my normal regime and make the most of the availability of great seafood.
My husband ordered tandoori king prawns which were served with mint chutney, rice and a small salad though he wasn't ready to relax his food hygiene obsession to the point of eating salad. I ordered a so-called 'Ethnic Seafood Grill' which consisted of squid rings, tentacles, white fish chunks and prawns large and small, with and without tails. This was served with rice that contained cardamoms, dried fruit and nuts and it was very spicy. My husband is a few notches down the scale of spice tolerance from me so I couldn't work out why he looked calm and serene and I was scraping the spice paste off the outside of my food. Then we swapped a forkful of each other's dinners and realized that his was pretty mild whilst (in the words of the famous Spinal Tap) mine went to eleven on the scale of hotness. All of this was served with a basket of flat breads.
In addition to the food we had a bottle of water, two sweet lime sodas and - to soothe the afterburn - two sweet lassis. In total the bill came to 1100 rupees - about £13 - which was almost exactly what we'd paid at Mumbai airport for some very average fast food. It was the most expensive meal we had in the first 10 days of our trip but the quality was exceptional and the freshness of the fish outstanding.
Breakfast the next morning was a bit ordinary. The juice was watermelon (really not a fruit that juices well) although we did enjoy watching a pilot throw cold coffee down himself. We had coffee and tea and my husband tackled the cornflakes, whilst I had a go at the fruit salad. Hubby went for the sedate option of a cheese omelette whilst I got into the holiday groove with egg curry, bhaji and flat breads with tomato, onion and coconut chutneys. This is the kind of thing you do at the beginning of a holiday before your stomach cries 'Time Out' and runs up the white flag.
The hotel has a swimming pool and a health club which we neither saw nor used and both were closed by the time we arrived and I'm not entirely sure where they were. It also has a small business centre which is basically a room with a computer you can use to check email. If you want wi-fi in your room it costs about £4 for 12 hours. There's also a small souvenir shop but we didn't see it open whilst we were there. Normal hotel facilities like laundry service and support with travel arrangements were also available.
We had arrived after dark and had no idea what would be outside the bedroom windows. I was expecting a built up and rather industrial area and when I drew back the curtains I stopped in surprise at the view across lush green fields. A water buffalo was tethered in the field and to one side we watched some locals going about their early morning ablutions. The lush greenery and surprising tranquility was a great introduction to the beauty of Kerala that we were just about to set out and see.
The Abad hotel group has about a dozen hotels and resorts, all of them in Kerala. We saw several of them during our time in the state and all looked to be just as good as the one we stayed in. If you can get over the irony of booking 'a bad' hotel they do seem to offer a great alternative to the better known and often more expensive hotel chains.
Read the complete review
Hotel Midland (Mumbai, India)
~Difficult Choices~ I'm almost always nervous when I book a hotel in India and in Mumbai I was quite concerned about whether the place I had chosen would be OK. In the past I've been lucky enough to stay in some of the finest and most expensive hotels in the city but that was when I was there for work and someone else was ... paying. When it came to putting my hand in my own pocket I wasn't willing to spend a couple of hundred pounds especially for a quick overnight stay before returning to the airport to fly on the next day. Thus my search for a reasonably priced hotel not too far from the International Airport began.
Hotels within easy reach of the International or Domestic terminals come with a heavy mark up that gets even heavier when 15.5% tax is added on top. It's actually more expensive to stay near the airport than to stay in the best areas of downtown Mumbai but since traffic is almost always gridlocked, it's just not practical to spend an hour or more being driven into the city and then another hour or so driving out again next day. I tried to flex my membership of various hotel schemes to see if I could get a good deal and got into correspondence with the Holiday Inn and the Ibis but both wanted ridiculous money for airport transfers on top of their already high prices. With growing frustration I searched the lists on Tripadvisor and found the Midland - nothing very grand but clearly a hotel that really wanted customers and was advertising both free breakfast and free airport transfers. I contacted them by email and reserved a room at the hotel, telling them that we would arrive at about one o'clock in the morning and supplying the flight details for the pick up.
We arrived around 1 am and getting through the airport took a predictably long time. It was nearly an hour between touch down and getting out of the airport partly due to our parking stand being blocked after a passenger on a Singapore Airlines flight decided they weren't so sure they wanted to fly and demanded to get off again.
~Hunt the Driver, Hunt the Hotel~
We'd been warned by the hotel to take great care to make sure we had the right driver when we left the airport. We've been told before that there's a scam where drivers for other hotels copy down the names on the pick up boards of other hotels and try to divert their customers so we knew it was important to be careful and to make sure that the collection board had a proper printed logo for the hotel. Leaving the airport building all the hotel greeters and welcoming relatives waiting for arriving passengers were corralled behind barriers and we didn't have much trouble to find the right person.
He led us to the car park, passing under a jasmine scented pergola that set just the right slightly exotic tone to our arrival. The hotel car was soon found and - not something you can always assume - the driver was also quickly located. We once waited 45 minutes in the mid-day sun after a driver went AWOL so this was a relief. The car was thankfully of a good size. I say thankfully because some budget hotels will send a tiny little car that's way too small for two people and two suitcases. It took us about 15 minutes to get to the hotel in the Santa Cruz district of the city. I was relieved - until you actually see you're in the right place the imagination can play games with you.
The hotel is situated next to a busy road and an intriguing high level walkway. It's not a particularly impressive looking building but at that time of the morning, who cares. We entered along a corridor to the reception area where the assistant was expecting us, knew exactly who we were and very quickly processed our passports and then sent us to our room with a porter. My husband - bless him - was tipping like a demon with notes for the driver, the porter and the chap who brought a bottle of water to our room. Pre-holiday I'm the finance director, make all the arrangements and bookings, and then as soon as we land, he takes over. Like the Queen, I swan around unencumbered by the issues of money.
~Room to Rest~
The room was small but tidy and (odd as it might sound) didn't smell 'funny'. There's a general scent of mould and decay that permeates much of India and is no fun if you get it in a hotel. Fortunately this one was just fine. The décor was in good condition and the perfect plastering meant that walls and ceilings were beautifully flat and smooth. (You can tell can't you that I hate my textured ceilings at home?) Nothing was dirty but the room was just a bit old and tired in places. The flooring was marble and there were floor to ceiling curtains blocking out the light. The bed was a double made up of two singles pushed together and was made up with slightly aged sheets and the classic light brown Indian hotel blankets. I was speaking to an Indian hotelier on a train a week or two later and asked him about the standard hotel issue blankets. He and his family burst out laughing - clearly they knew exactly the blankets that I meant. Both sides of the bed had bedside tables and on my side were the controls for the ceiling fan and the air con. We tend to switch the A/C off and stick with the fan for fear of freezing in our sleep. Other furniture included a desk, two chairs, a bag stand, lots of cupboards for storage plus a small fridge and a mini safe.
We had a 'right size' wall mounted flat screen television. By that I mean that I didn't leap up and measure it but when lying on the bed, it was just the right size to watch comfortably.
The bathroom was small with a dark purple marble floor and vanity unit. The mixer taps were slightly wobbly but there was plenty of space for our toiletries. There was a loo and - as is typical - a wall mounted shower with no curtain. Always hide your loo roll before you take a shower in an Indian budget hotel! There was a hair dryer for people who care about such things.
We slept quite well for the first few hours because there was very little traffic outside. As soon as the dawn chorus of car horns started we awoke. Noise is a problem but this is India - noise is always a problem. It wasn't bad at 2 in the morning but pretty full on the rest of the time. There's a major road outside with market stalls and lots of passers by. Car horns from the road, building drills and equipment from behind. If you can use ear plugs, might as well bring them.
~Up on the Roof~
We received a phone call that our breakfast was ready which I think was a none too subtle hint to shift ourselves and go and eat. I resisted, double checked when breakfast service ended and delayed as long as we could. The breakfast is served on the roof and consisted of eggs (however you want them) or local south Indian breakfast of idli and sambar (a foul concoction that makes me retch every time I smell it). Coffee or tea and juice were also available. We sat at a table with big sun umbrella and the breakfast supervisor turned on the fan for us before serving perfect spicy masala omelettes and buttered toast.
Internet is available with scratch card codes for the wi-fi at 100 rupees (about £1.50) for a running hour or 175 for two hours contact with multiple log-in. A full day is a ridiculous 900 rupees. Due to the strange times that we were there we didn't eat any meals other than breakfast but the room service menu showed that the food prices were a bit expensive to me but I had to remind myself that it's Mumbai and that's to be expected.
We were due to return to the airport at about 2 pm in the afternoon and our check out time as noon. We asked if we could use their internet room for an hour to pass the time and the receptionist kindly said that we could have a later check out and keep our room until we were ready to leave. This certainly made things a lot easier.
I didn't feel strongly about the place - I didn't LOVE it and it was very noisy but the room was entirely adequate for what we needed and I'm glad we didn't spend spend 3 or 4 times as much for one of the international chains nearer the airport. My room rate of $98 dollars worked out at about £57 which made this self-styled '2-star deluxe' hotel the most expensive of our two and a half week stay. In any city other than Mumbai I'd have said we got ripped off but for Mumbai airport area this was a bit of a bargain. The price included all taxes (rates advertised on the internet are often subject to an additional 14% tax) and both airport pick up and drop off and breakfast for two. At that price, I really can't help but recommend this as a cost-effective clean option that offers friendly, efficient service.
I have read reviews in which people have used the Midland as a base for a longer stay in Mumbai and travelled in on the local railway from the nearby Santa Cruz railway station. I wouldn't recommend that. We got a nicer, cheaper hotel in a fantastic area of downtown Mumbai for a much better price. The benefits of the Midland pay off best for a short overnight stay between flights.
Read the complete review
Sunny Hotel (Mahajanga, Madagascar)
Sunny Hotel, Mahajanga We flew from Antananarivo to arrive in Mahajanga at about 6pm as we had to fly up north to Nosy Be and down again. Luckily this hotel is literally five minutes from the airport so we were there pretty quickly. RECEPTION This was a large high wooden desk behind which one lady sat. She welcomed ... us and then disappeared to return with a tray of juice as a welcome drink. This was gratefully received as my throat was parched and so fed up with water which I had been drinking all day. We were told we would have dinner and breakfast included here so would only have to pay for drinks.
The downstairs of the hotel was large and airy with windows all around but had a rather tired look about it. The building was one of those squarish totally box like 60s buildings. This area led onto the dining room which also led out to a patio with a huge pool and lovely tropical gardens.
We were escorted upstairs to our room. We stayed two separate nights here with a night at a lodge in Ankarafantsika National Park in between. The first night we had room 7 and the second room 9. They were pretty similar with a good sized double bed with mosquito net made to look like a four poster bed. Room 9 had a red brocade cover on the bed while room 9 had a gold coloured one. There only other difference was we had a fridge in room 7 but not in our second room, however the second room had a light in the wardrobe so you could see the safe without needing a torch.
Apart from the large bed there was a set of dark wood fixed desk and cupboards in the main room and wardrobe down the corridor part. Room 7 had two chairs while #9 only had one but a very comfortable leather chair and both had heavy marble coffee tables. There was a remote controlled old style TV but we found nothing in English to watch so that didn't entertain us for long.
Luckily there was an air conditioner as it was pretty hot. This only worked when the key fob was in the slot in the room so you had to wait a while to feel the benefit but it did work so for that we were grateful. On our second night we found it kept going off and we woke a couple of times very hot. We discovered that if we left the bathroom light and fan on and the door opened then the air conditioner stayed on. As it reached the temperature set it would switch itself off but didn't seem able to switch on again by opening the bathroom and having that fan on it never reached the temperature set and stayed on!
All the floors were tiled in the rooms and everything was very clean but it all had a rather sad and faded look to it. The wooden furniture was put in when the hotel was built and never been changed. It just all seemed a bit tired and dated; as did the entire hotel really. It reminded me of places we stayed in with my parents in Malaysia about thirty years ago before all the posh modern hotel were built and the big tourist take off in the area.
Again this was pretty large and had a corner bath, very posh at the time the hotel was built but rather 'yesterday' now. This had a shower over the bath and a good shower curtain. Toiletries provided included shampoo, an aromatherapy shower gel and a bar of soap. Once again there was no hair dryer. My hair was starting to take great pleasure in the fact that it could do exactly as it pleased and stuck up in all kinds of places with great glee.
The basin was set in a counter top of shiny black marble with coloured bits in it standing on solid stone base. The toilet was fine, all secure and very heavy solid seat cover.
There were plenty of plug holes so we were able to charge our cameras and laptop up ready for the next stage in the journey. There were bedside tables and bedside lights as well as wall lights and a standard lamp but they all had those long life eco bulbs in them so with the heavy lamp shades they didn't give off a huge amount of light. I just about had enough light to read in bed with. Both times we had a bottle of water left in the room, sadly the second time we had no fridge so it was a bit warm.
We had two breakfasts here and they were both the same. A small table was set up with a buffet. You could choose from pineapple or mango juice, there was hot water for tea or coffee and milk all in those jugs you have to push down the lid to squirt out the liquid from. There was a choice of yogurts, a fresh fruit salad, ham and cheese, a choice of two cereals and then a series of covered plates. I think there were about five or six and under these silver covers you found either, hot crepes, bread, pain au chocolate, croissants, some strange looking muffin things which I tried and they were pretty yuk, solid and mildly cinnamon. You could have eggs but they were extra and as I hate them anyway and my husband had eaten enough eggs recently we decided to pass on that offer.
Again we had two of these and each night there was a choice of two entrees, two mains and two desserts. Sadly I forget exactly what we ate the first night but the starter was a salad of sorts and as I can't recall it then it must have been okay. I remember I had fish with vegetables and it was pretty good and I think my husband enjoyed a zebu steak. For the dessert we had flambéed bananas which I do remember as they arrived flaming nicely and my husband's continued for quite some time.
Sadly we were almost alone and were only joined by one other table of three men and a young girl, the daughter of one of the men. Apart from that the hotel was empty.
On the second night I had a very nice crab salad and my husband had what he said was 'one of the nicest fish soups he has ever had'. I then had garlic fried prawns with vegetables but I could have chosen rice or chips with them, in hindsight I think rice would have been better as they were very rich and the rice would have balance that better. My husband had fried chicken on the bone which he was less enthusiastic about but he can't eat prawns so he had little choice really. For dessert we both echoes the crème caramel which was homemade and very tasty.
For this meal we were entirely alone so the hotel was even emptier. At breakfast there was one of table set and that was for a single person.
We were told we were staying at the best hotel in the town and obviously the town had been a place to stop and was no longer on the tourist route for some reason. We were told that French tourists come in the July August months and English September and October so whether it was busier in the July August season I don't know but it did seem very sad that the hotel had so few guests.
It was dated and nothing much had been done to make it more tempting to stay at. The pool looked really nice but we were not there on either occasion during the day to take advantage of it. Obviously there was nothing to draw people to the seaside town of Mahajanga these days if indeed there ever was. The hotel looked as though it was built in about the sixties by the architecture but I couldn't find out when it was in its heyday. Apparently President Mitterrand stayed there for some conference in 2005 and we did wonder if we had slept in the bed that he had used! I wonder if the red carpet was laid up the wooden stairs. There was no lift but it was only two stories high and all the bedrooms were upstairs, downstairs was the conference room, dining area, kitchens, bar and a gym but neither of us felt the need to exert ourselves in there.
We noticed other large groups of people at the Ankarafantsika National Park lodge and they left on the same day as us and we on the same flight to Antananarivo the next day so they must have stayed somewhere in Mahajanga presumably at one of the inferior hotels!
I am not sure what we paid for these two nights but we had dinner and breakfast included both times. As we paid for the entire trip in one payment I can only find out prices either through the internet or if there is a tariff card in the hotel, on the internet the price comes up at £62 per night which is pretty much what it is worth I feel.
So if you choose to come and explore Madagascar and to visit the North West of the country and the dry deciduous forests then don't forget this hotel to break your journey. The staff were so very lovely and really made a big effort to give us all we might want while staying there.
I was glad we only had one night in the lodge and two nights here as the lodge was pretty basic and this hotel though dated was clean, had hot water and air conditioning as well as a variety of food so a great improvement on the night in the middle.
Thanks for reading. This review may be posted on other sites under my same user name.
Read the complete review
Asia Hotel International
Address: 28 Lianfengzhongxiang / Hotel International / West Street / Yangshuo County / China
Address: 18 Street 47 & 84 / Hotel International / Sangkat Srass Chork / Khanh Doun Penh / Phnom Penh / Cambodia / Tel: +855 23 998 422
Address: 15 Brunton Road Cross / Hotel International / Bangalore / 560 025 / Tel: (+91 80) 25584797 / E-Mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Address: 644-2 Sanjusangendo-mawari / Hotel International / Higashiyama-ku / Kyoto / Japan / 605-0941 / Tel: +81 75 541 1234
Hotel International /
Hotel International /
Hotel International /
Hotel International /
Hotel International /
Hotel International /
|Asia Hotel International Recommendations 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 ... back next|
|dooyoo Results 41 - 50 of 1197|