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ORIENT STAR: THE BEST ACCOMMODATION IN KHIVA


The reason I say the Orient Star is the best accommodation in Khiva, Uzbekistan is because of its value for money and location. Throw in the historical fact that it’s actually the 19th-century Mohammed Amin Khan Medressa and you have a ‘must stay’ location. It’s just inside the walls from the West Gate, where all transport arrives outside the walls of Khiva. You can get double room for less than $70 if you search Russian language websites and some of the ‘rooms’ are really apartments. My room and the room next door had a long hallway, reasonable and modern bathroom, middle room with desk and massive closet and a full size bedroom. I also had a massive double or even triple length balcony overlooking the ancient city. Magnificent. I was able to dry clothes on the balcony in less than an hour. Inside I had great air-conditioning and a good sized refrigerator and freezer to keep drinks cold. Once I settled I found that the city was all on my doorstep. (I stayed in room 235).

The interiors were nice and moistly stone. In fact the modern bathroom had a full stone floor and now I am thinking I would like one in my own house. The shower had plenty of hot water and pressure. The bath was quite good for a soak and for washing clothes. The toiletries were average, but who cares? The ‘room’ was awesome.

The Kuk Minor Minaret is right at the front entrance. This is arguably the most beautiful Minaret in Uzbekistan. Even the breakfast room was historical and magnificent. It’s in a massive arched room in another building and had a very good breakfast buffet. Everything was great. The only sort of drawbacks were the firm beds – not too bad, but firm and the low ceilings in the stairs. In fact the stairs are death defying sheer vertical tubes where you must hold onto the guard rails for dear life. Luggage needs to be taken up the stairs one at a time. Yep – it’s historical! The best rooms with the balconies are upstairs, but it’s worth the hassle of the stairs.

Make sure you ask for a room with a balcony overlooking the front entrance. This is the best set of rooms in the city. Also look for Russian language or Uzbek websites to book and save as much as 25% on the price. I used an Uzbek site, but have linked a Russian language website below. The hotel does not have its own website.


OVERVIEW:
• Set inside the historic Mohammed Amin Khan Medressa, inside the walls
• 40 rooms (double and singles)
• Fantastic location for sightseeing and transport
• Apartment sized rooms with massive balconies
• Internet Access
• Restaurant, open-air cafe, bar and outside car parking (breakfast included)

ROOMS:
• Air conditioning, large fridge
• Satellite television, Phone, Hairdryer
• Desk, large closets, balconies (by request)

  • Opinion of Price: about average
  • Related to: Historical Travel, Luxury Travel, Architecture
  • Written August 21, 2015
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Orient Star Hotel, Khiva, Uzbekistan

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DoubleTree by Hilton Kuala Lumpur: ON TOP IN KL


This is a fantastic hotel and it has won a few awards. I asked for a high floor and they actually promoted me a few floors up in this very tall tower. I had a nice view of the greenery of the outskirts of Kula Lumpur. If you want a view of Petronas Towers – ask when you reserve your room! My room was a dozen floors above the really interesting outdoor swimming pool on the 10th floor. The room was very comfortable, modern and functional. The large bed was very comfortable and I even had a sofa beside the window. Top of the world! The bathroom was ‘interesting’. It was very nice, had a massive shower and lots of toiletries. Then it gets weird. The whole wall facing the bed and window is one big piece of glass. That means if you are using the toilet – any roommates will be looking at you. There was a large curtain that was electronically controlled – but it’s just weird. Then I got locked in the bathroom – twice. Fortunately there was a telephone in there. Twice someone came and opened the door for me. Twice they put their hand out for a tip. Twice they left empty-handed. Seriously.

The rest of my stay was awesome. After 10 days on thro ad across Burma, this was a good place to rest before going home to the UK.



OVERVIEW:
• 540 climate controlled contemporary rooms and suites
• Outdoor saltwater pool and 24-hour fitness center
• 5 restaurants and bars, including award winning Makan Kitchen
• Free shuttle bus service to Kuala Lumpur tourist sites and nearby business offices
• Directly connected to Ampang Park Light Rail Transit Station
• Event or conference facility - 20,000 sq. ft., latest equipment, 1,300 delegates

ROOMS:
• Air-conditioned and all non-smoking
• King-sized Sweet Dreams® bed, hypo-allergenic pillows, sofa
• Large work desk and ergonomic chair, 32 inch LCD TVs with satellite TV channels
• Great bathroom with walk-in rain shower, hand held shower, great toiletries and hair dryer
• Mini Bar, Iron/Ironing Board, Robe and slippers
• Wired and wireless high speed internet access (fees apply)
• Complimentary breakfast and evening cocktails (executive rooms)

LEISURE FACILITIES:
• Outdoor rooftop pool and whirlpool
• Fitness center, Spa, sauna, massage
• Golf course (within 3 km)

FOOD & DRINK:
• Makan Kitchen – the hotel’s signature restaurant – recipes from six Malaysian local cuisines
• Cellar Door, winery which specializes in fine wines from around the world
• The Food Store - café , grab-and-go' snacks/sandwiches/cakes/pastries (can take-away)
• Tosca - Alfresco Italian cuisine beside the rooftop outdoor swimming pool
• Poolside bar
• Axis Lounge – bar/coffee/tea/light sandwiches/cakes live entertainment in the evenings

BUSINESS SERVICES:
• Audio/Visual Equipment Rental, Business Center, Express Mail, Fax, Secretarial Service

SERVICES:
• Airport transfer, car park
• Bbabysitting
• Coffee shop, 24-hour room service, concierge, laundry service
• Executive floor, facilities for disabled guests, safety deposit boxes
• Car park and valet parking
• Baggage storage, Multi-Lingual Staff, Sight Seeing Tours

  • Opinion of Price: more expensive than average
  • Related to: Spa and Resort, Luxury Travel, Romantic Travel and Honeymoons
  • Written July 1, 2015
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DoubleTree by Hilton Kuala Lumpur

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ANTICA GUESTHOUSE: BEST IN ITS CLASS - SAMARKAND


Antica get an amazing amount of great reviews, and a few bad ones. The truth is that this is a nice place that is very ‘rustic’. By rustic I mean it’s older, a little dusty, but very nice. It is located within its own courtyard and gardens right behind the tomb of Tamerlane (Gur-Emir). In terms of quiet and peaceful – this is truly the quietest option possible in Samarkand. It is absolutely silent at night. The only 2 things that I felt let this place down is that they need new mattresses and the ‘garden’ is overgrown. The bathroom was a little musty, but modern. The rooms are reasonably sized and have full wooden doors you can close over the inner doors to keep the sun out and the air-conditioning in.

Breakfast is very nice and served in the garden. The staff are polite and if you do ask any questions they are happy to help. One of the great benefits is the huge roof area over the main building. I was able to dry clothes on their drying lines within an hour. The central Registan Square is an easy 7-10 minute walk. Restaurants and shops start about 3 minutes walk away.

A very relaxing stay.



OVERVIEW:
• Amazingly quiet and tranquil self-contained gardens and courtyard
• 10 rooms: 7 double bedrooms with two single beds; 3 rooms with three single beds
• Air-conditioned, bath, shower, large fridge, TV
• Wi-Fi and Fax/ Internet at reception
• Restaurant, Laundry, places to dry clothes (quickly)

  • Opinion of Price: about average
  • Related to: Romantic Travel and Honeymoons, Historical Travel, Budget Travel
  • Written June 22, 2015
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Antica Guesthouse, Samarkand

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5 out of 5 starsUser Rating

RHINO RESIDENCY: IN THE HEART OF CHITIWAN


This is an amazing place to stay. It is right in the middle of the Chitiwan National Park and you can see Rhinos in 2 minutes – if you get up early enough. They gather beside the nearby riverbank every morning and you can see whole herds at sunrise. The grounds of the hotel are beautifully managed and you will have large local birds coming for a visit near the nice outdoor pool. The main building houses a very nice restaurant turning out excellent meals and cold beers.

The rooms are basic. They are actually like 24 little cottages surrounding the swimming pool area. They all have terraces and you can sit outside. Inside you have reasonable beds and blankets (its gets cold at night) and plenty of places to store your clothes and bags. Bathrooms have a bath and shower. Due to issues in Nepal, there are times when the electricity does not work. These times are posted at reception and affect all hotels here. The water is a bit slow, but it does the job and hot water runs 24 hours a day. They also provide candles and have a back-up generator, so you will never be in the dark.

The real reason you come to the Rhino Residency is to see Rhinos. And other wildlife as well. The first night you stay here they do an excellent presentation to explain what sorts of animal, birds and even plants live here. Literally next door live 50 different kinds of mammals and 524 different species of birds inside the park. With some of the wildlife, they come into the hotel grounds for a visit from time to time. You will see amazing birds and monkeys sitting outside of your room. The only complaint I had was that the main hotel guide was almost totally devoted to spotting birds. I did see one Rhino close up from the back of an elephant – until crazy Korean tourist scared him off. I also caught a few glimpses of rhinos in the distance. Had I know, I would have dragged myself out of bed at 4:30am, walked 2 minutes to a high bank, and observed about 100 rhinos every morning. The guide never mentioned that. Other tourists told me – as I was leaving. On the plus side I did see lots of birds, took a boat trip down the river, rode an elephant, saw local villages and even saw twin elephants (one of only 2 pairs in the world).

The hotel offers a variety of excursion and services. The staff are amazingly friendly, will run to get you anything you ask, and even cook good food. I had a great meal and nights sleep every night. And whenever I was ready for bed a man came by to deliver a hot water bottle! It’s a very good accommodation.



OVERVIEW:
• Amazing location, staff and pool with good foods and functional rooms
• The main building has a lounge, reception, multipurpose room and souvenir shop
• The upstairs restaurant and bar looks out over the national park Himalayas

ROOMS:
• 24 air-conditioned rooms with bathrooms and 24 hours hot/cold water supply
• Each room has a veranda, looks out over the swimming pool area and are quiet

FOOD & DRINK:
• The restaurant serves excellent Indian, Chinese, Nepalese and Continental cuisine
• The ‘bar’ is open 24 hours a day (just go to reception)

ACTIVITIES ON OFFER:
• Elephant Jungle Safari (See Rhinos), Tharu Cultural Program, Bird Watching Tour
• River canoe excursions, village tours, general nature walks
• Museum tours, jungle drives

LEISURE:
• Massive swimming pool surrounded by thatched umbrella shades and hammock
• Badminton court, tennis court, library, mini museum

BUSINESS:
• Conference Facilities for 75 persons
• Transfer from Chitrasari to Resort & Back

OTHER SERVICES (Charges apply):
• Transfer to and from Narayanghat/Bharatpur Airport
• Kathmandu to Resort (by air) including ground transfer
• Kathmandu to Resort (in private vehicle by road)
• Kathmandu/Resort/Kathmandu (in tourist vehicle by road)

  • Opinion of Price: more expensive than average
  • Related to: National/State Park, Jungle and Rain Forest, Photography
  • Written June 21, 2015
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The Rhino Residency - Chitiwan National Park

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HOTEL MERCURY: PEACE IN TAJIKISTAN


I cannot recommend this hotel enough. When my driver arrived in the area after 6 hours of driving, we couldn’t even find it. Then we saw a large door and a man stepped out and beckoned us inside. And the door opened into an impossibly massive private garden with the world’s largest rockery. In just a single second I knew that I would have a good night’s sleep and a restful stay. I was very interested in the small waterfall within the 2 level rockery and the small pool. I knew I would be back later for a refreshing dip in the water. The main building was modern and well decorated. I was quickly escorted up to my room.

The room was very large, had a lot of furniture and a massive double balcony overlooking the entire garden. There was even a second bedroom. The bathroom was a bit old fashioned, but it did the job. There was plenty of storage space, a large desk, plenty of electrical outlets and comfortable furniture.

The rest of the hotel was very nice. They had a very good breakfast buffet in the mornings. The staff were on and for any and all requests. They even had menus for several restaurants that you can order from at reception and have it delivered.

During my stay I was able to wash my clothes easily in the bath and dry them on the balcony. I also had a chance to enjoy a cool drink and good soak in the small outside pool. A very relaxing stay. You cannot even tell you are in a large city once that outside door closes. It’s an easy 5-10 minute level walk to just about anything you would like to see in Dushanbe.



HOTEL OVERVIEW:
• Wonderful gardens, rockery and pool – completely quiet
• Modern rooms - singles, doubles, and 2 or 3-room suites
• Well located, modern and good breakfast buffet
• PC connected with the Internet. Wi-Fi
• Bar, 24 - hour service in rooms, Table tennis, fitness club, billiard club
• Laundry, dry-cleaning, transport services
• Full business facilities including conferences

ROOMS:
• Air Conditioning, Satellite TV, Mini Bar, telephone, coffee/tea
• Shower and bath, toiletries, bath robes
• Desk, furniture, TV, plenty of electrical outlets

LEISURE FACILITIES:
• Massive garden with rockery and pool, all enclosed

  • Opinion of Price: about average
  • Related to: Luxury Travel, Romantic Travel and Honeymoons, Road Trip
  • Written May 27, 2015
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Hotel Mercury - Dushanbe

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MINZIFA: PERFECTION IN UZBEKISTAN


When my driver explained that I had to walk 5 minutes down a wide path to get to my hotel, I was a bit worried. It seemed a long walk from everything. When I finally arrived in the ornate courtyard – I knew that I had reached a very special hotel. It is an older wood-timbered structure that sits within a quiet courtyard in a very quiet residential area. No cars, no noise, just serenity. I was given a key to room 12, known as the ‘Bright Room’. When the door opened I literally said out loud “Wow!”. There are many times I say words about a room loudly, it’s almost never ‘wow’. This is a real wow. I have never stayed in a bedroom that is this ornate. It looks like the inside of an old palace. The beds were comfortable, the air-conditioning was remote controlled and the fridge was massive. If this was not enough, the rooms are all non-smoking and soundproofed. The TV even had some ‘adult’ channels.

The bathroom was modern and functional. It had a deep bathtub and was actually very large. Toiletries were ok and the mirrors were great. All in all everything was great.

The hotel serves a lavish breakfast in the courtyard. They also do something very smart. They place film over all open food so you don’t have to share your breakfast with anything that flies or crawls.

The staff were excellent and very helpful. I also had a good place to dry clothes. Throw in complete tranquillity and this place is worth the 10 minute walk to all the sights.

The hotel describes my room:
“The last room hotel was built as recently as 2010. It is located on the second floor next to the room number 11, where you can climb out of the patio on the spiral staircase. Its main difference - in the presence of a large window overlooking the residential area of the old city, as well as two narrow windows overlooking the historic madrassas "Eshoni Pier, located next to the hotel« Minzifa ».
It is quite spacious and bright room. The high ceiling made of wooden beams of a square shape with elegant carvings. More light add white wall room with arches, the bulk of which - lancet. All arches line the borders of carved Hantzsch with floral motifs. The two lancet arches are light, and behind headboards in 3-arched niches are made. In the side niches are table lamps, and in the central niche, towering over the neighboring, carved chest, which had kept the dishes, and now here are the painted clay whistles and antique metal dish with a wonderful coinage.
Two broad bed of wood handmade with orthopedic mattresses laid out the blue blankets from the Uzbek cotton fabric "adras, hand-made using natural dyes. Pillows, curtains on the windows are also made from the same cloth, and on the wooden floor spread out a large, modern carpet is blue, between the twin beds - with a short pile rug with a floral pattern.
Of furniture there is a small bedside table, benches, tables and chairs and wooden hanger in the style of the beginning of XX-th century.
In the bathroom are hinged wooden doors with carvings. Bathroom tiled brown color, with beige carpet and wooden ceilings.”



OVERVIEW:

• A pristine, completely quiet hotel
• Highly ornate rooms that took 2 years to fully decorate
• Wonderful breakfast included
• Bar – beers are just $2
• 24 hour room service, lunch/dinner $12
• Can arrange packed meals
• They speak English, Russian, Spanish and French
• Sun terrace, bicycle rental, free security parking

ROOMS:
• All individually decorated, please see the website for full photos
• Ai-conditioned, fridge, hair dryer, TV, phone, nice bathrooms

SERVICES:
• Services: Airport/rail station pickup, Guide, Visa support, Tours
• Business Center, computer/internet, fax, photocopy

  • Opinion of Price: about average
  • Related to: Photography, Trains, Romantic Travel and Honeymoons
  • Written May 25, 2015
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Minzifa Hotel, Bukhara, Uzbekistan

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RADISSON BLU AGRA TAJ EAST GATE: LOUD MUSIC ALL NIGHT


I booked this hotel because I would be staying here the night before my Birthday and be able to walk to the Taj Mahal to get my Birthday off to a good start. The website makes this place look beautiful and modern. What they don’t tell you is that they host weddings and you have no real chance of sleeping during the Wedding Season. Which lasts the whole month of February.

When my driver approached this brand new hotel, I thought I would have a great stay and I expected a nice quiet room with a very good bed. The bed was good, the rest was ruined and I hated staying here. At reception I reminded them that I had asked for a quiet room. I was told that not only would they do that, but they had upgraded my room. I thought they were doing this for my benefit. They weren’t.

The room was amazing. It was beautiful, modern and had lots of little extras. First check – the beds. Large, comfortable and I knew I could sleep well. Little did I know this would be an issue later. The bathroom was well appointed and had excellent toiletries. The mini-bar was really a bar area with lots of nice glasses and snacks. Very cool. The TV was huge, had hundreds of channels and also radio stations.

My view was towards the road, but not close enough to hear any traffic. It was a wonderful, quiet room. A real 5-star quality room.

After an early dinner I went to bed early to get ready for my big day at the Taj Mahal on the morning of my Birthday. After about 20 minutes, the floor started vibrating. Then the walls. Even over the air-conditioning I could hear what sounded like the beating of a base drum. Then the music became VERY LOUD. Singing, musical instruments, and base sound beating, beating and beating. Then it got EVEN LOUDER. The bed was shaking. My room was on the 7th floor! What the hell?

I rang reception and could hear loud music there as well. The lying receptionist was shouting over the music saying there was no music! ARGGGHHHHH! How could someone like to a guest like this? They said they would send someone up to the room. A guy arrived and looked inside the room. He said he had checked the other nearby rooms and could hear nothing. He asked if maybe it was my own TV! I asked him about the music we could all hear and the vibrating floors and now even the windows. He denied he could hear anything! Are these people crazy? I threw him out and rang the front desk and told them I wanted the music turned down. Nothing happened. I rang my contact at the tour company who reserved the hotel for me. He said he would ring the hotel. He rang back and said they were denying there was music! I rang reception again and told them to turn the music down. More denials.

That what it for me. I went downstairs and walked into the lobby. The loud music was coming from a large conference facility that was adjacent. The music in the lobby and at the reception desk was LOUD. I decided to walk into what was obviously a wedding. A HUGE wedding. There must have been 1000 people in a massive hall. I grabbed a beer – I was owed at least that – and went back to the reception desk. They tried the ‘I can’t hear anything’ routine again. I became angry and began shouting at them. I said I would be back. I went to see the staff in the wedding reception and told them to turn the music down. They actually did – very slightly.

I marched back to reception and demanded they move me to another room and stop lying about the music. They then explained – the hotel was fully booked and yes, it was about 1000 people. ARGGHHH! I demanded they ring the tour company while I was there. They did and I handed the phone over. At the end of the conversation the receptionist rang someone else and the music volume decreased – just a little. The music that didn’t exist.

I told them that I would go back to the room and see if I could sleep. Once back up I could hear the music reverberating throughout the elevator and my floor. Inside my room – I could still hear the music above the volume of my air-conditioning – now cranked up to maximum.

I rang reception again. I explained that either they move me to another hotel or unplug the music altogether. They explained the music would stop at around 2am. Maybe. Not good enough and I shouted some more. Then the music volume dropped so that I could barely make it out and I drank a lot of beer from the mini-bar. I finally fell asleep. The next day I explained that I would not be paying my mini-bar bill or bar bill as I had to get drunk to sleep. They agreed.

The moral of the story is this. They know they have these loud weddings so their strategy is to deny the obvious. I cannot recommend this hotel in any way after how they treated me repeatedly.



OVERVIEW:
• 10 minute, easy walk (recommended) to the Taj Mahal
• Staff who lie to you
• 142 Rooms & Suites, free Wi-Fi, meeting rooms, Business Centre, Fitness Centre
• 2 Restaurants, 3 bars and one huge wedding party venue (you will hear it)
• Spa and a health club

ROOMS:
• Room types: Superior/Deluxe Bay/Pool View/Business Class/Executive Suites/Radisson Suite
• Wonderful beds, climate control, satellite TV, lots of lights and mirrors
• Free high speed Wi-Fi and wired internet
• Mini-bar area, coffee and tea maker, telephone with data port
• Nice modern bathrooms with good toiletries and hairdryer
• Robe and slippers
• Good desk and chair

FOOD & DRINK:
• Dawat-e-Nawab - six-course Indian dishes (new menu every two weeks)
• The Latitude 24-hour coffee shop (serves alcohol too)
• Liquid Lounge Sports Bar -fine cuisine, extensive wine list, and multi-screen live sports
• Tea Lounge - quick snacks and mini-combo meal, tea/coffee, desserts
• Poolside Bar (burgers)
• Show kitchen – wood fired pizzas

LEISURE FACILITIES:
• Outdoor pool and bar/snacks
• Health Club & Spa
• Steam room, gym, full Spa treatments

BUSINESS FACILITIES:
• Business centre and meeting space for 500
• Free high-speed, wireless Internet, secretarial assistance

SERVICES:
• Free shuttle to the Taj Mahal (not recommended, too many roadblocks, easy to walk)
• Valet parking and a travel desk

  • Opinion of Price: most expensive
  • Related to: Romantic Travel and Honeymoons, Spa and Resort, Luxury Travel
  • Written May 9, 2015
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Radisson Blu Agra Taj East Gate

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2 out of 5 starsUser Rating

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MARGUSH HOTEL: STANDARD TURKEMNISTAN CRAP


In a crazy country like the dictatorship of Turkmenistan, this is a standard hotel. It was only built in 2004 but reeks of old Soviet-era quality. This hotel is dirty, run down and poor. It has potential that will not be realised. It’s a large marble building that only has 28 rooms. The rooms are all on the floor above the massive open lobby along an internal balcony. That’s ok. Unfortunately you have to stay in one of their nasty rooms. No – really – nasty. I had drawers full of other people’s rubbish including the residue from a previous resident combing their hair and cleaning their ears. A hairy comb and used cotton wool buds (q-tips) is bad. The glass in the bathroom? Has never been cleaned. The carpet? Could use a little vacuuming. Sheets? Need new ones. And the nice smell of cigarette. They at least provide 2 ashtrays in the rooms. Too bad I don’t smoke. Curtains? All damaged. Closet? One coat hanger. Towles? One old one – just ask for more. Small fridge – actually that worked great. The really telling Soviet like feature was the electric towel heater in the bathroom. They forgot to install electrical outlets so the power cord just hangs down the wall – as useless as the Housekeepers.

Oddly the worst is the air-conditioning. Centrally controlled – of course. You either get an arctic blast or sweaty heat. They seem to only have an on/off switch.

The best part of the hotel is the bar. Smoky but cold beer just at the side of the swimming pool. Sadly the pool is overused and not cleaned. I have never seen a hotel pool with dark green water. Nasty.

This place is a real shame. The housekeeping department does not seem to exist. Sadly, you really can’t do any better here in Mary. Welcome to Turkmen Hotel standards. At least the cooked breakfast was good and the hotel is quiet.



OVERVIEW:
• 28 air-conditioned rooms (s/d/suites) inside a quiet hotel with nice gardens
• Rooms are not cleaned properly and smell like smoke
• Excellent breakfast (included) and nice looking restaurant/lobby/gift shop
• Full bar
• Swimming pool (nasty), gym, sauna, barbers/ beauty Salon
• 24 hour room service, laundry service, luggage service
• Free parking, Conference rooms, Currency Exchange

  • Opinion of Price: about average
  • Related to: Road Trip, Adventure Travel, Family Travel
  • Written April 25, 2015
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Margush Hotel, Mary, Turkmenistan

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GRAND UNITED (CHINATOWN) - BURMA: TWICE IS NICE


I stayed at the Grand United – Chinatown on my first and last nights in Burma. This is an excellent hotel as long as you are fine with a hotel in a very busy area. The hotel has a saying of ‘Embrace the Buzz’. Chinatown and its car traffic are always buzzing. When I arrived here I was greeted warmly and shown to my room. The room was large. It had a sort of living room with furniture, large desk, a good bed and a reasonable bathroom. Plenty of room to stretch out and relax. The only issue was the traffic outside. Having said that, when I turned up my excellent air conditioning, I couldn’t hear the road anymore.

The room (401) was excellent and had nice things like a cold fridge and flip flops for the bathroom and tile floors. The staff were most helpful and the location was excellent. Chinatown is a very vibrant area day and night. In the evening you have night time outdoor food markets in the street. In the morning you have outdoor pop-up restaurants for a hearty breakfast. There is also an amazing collection of great restaurants and bars. Never a dull moment.

The breakfast room, with a very good breakfast buffet, is located on the roof. From here you have excellent views of the local area. I paid an extra $20 for the rooftop Penthouse Suite. Actually, I liked my room and bathroom on a lower floor better. The Suite was large with 2 living room areas, but the bathroom was smaller and had no way to vent steam.

Both of my stays were pleasant and I am happy to recommend Grand United. They actually have 3 properties and if you stay in all 3 – you get gifts and discounts!



OVERVIEW:
• 24 well appointed and air-conditioned rooms
• Rooftop restaurant and breakfast buffet (included in the room price)
• In the heart of Chinatown

ROOMS:
• Superior Double Room with Street/City View (186.86 sqft/17.36 sq m)
• Deluxe Twin/Double with Street/City View (251.01 sqft/23.32 sq m)
• Penthouse (Special) Room (279.86 sqft/26.00 sq m)
• Air-conditioned, fridge and furniture
• Free high-speed Wi-Fi Internet access.
• 24 hour room service and electrical supply
• Complimentary buffet breakfast
• Hair Dryer, toiletries
• Mini-bar with drinks, noodle cup, potato chips and Coffee/tea-making facilities
• Satellite/cable LED television, Writing desk, Telephone, Electronic safe

  • Opinion of Price: about average
  • Related to: Budget Travel, Romantic Travel and Honeymoons, Adventure Travel
  • Written March 31, 2015
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GRAND UNITED (CHINATOWN) - BURMA

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HOTEL MANDALAY: FAIR TO MIDDLING


I chose the Mandalay Hotel because it was in between U Bein's Bridge and central Mandalay. In retrospect I would have chosen a hotel closer to Mandalay Palace. Don't get me wrong, this is a nice hotel. Its decor and feel is a bit basic, but it makes up for this in other ways. The rooms are reasonably sized and the beds or good. You will have a quiet night's sleep. The rooms have everything you need including loads of excellent toiletries. The mini bar was cold, there was reasonable furniture, plenty of hot water and coffee/tea on my large desk. The rooms will never win a design award, but they, and the hotel, are spotlessly clean. Breakfast was a combination of hot and cold dishes and a cooking station for eggs. Not bad at all.

Hotel Mandalay is a good solid choice that is overpriced - like all tourist hotels here - by local standards. They do have lots of facilities including a swimming pool and tour operator.



HOTEL OVERVIEW:
* 50 rooms and 20 Royal Suites, quiet, good beds
* Free Wi-Fi
* Fitness Centre, Swimming Pool
* Spa-foot Massage, Beauty Saloon
* Free Parking, Shuttle Bus service
* Souvenir Shop, Bicycle rental service, Laundry service, 24 hour room service

ROOMS:
* Air Conditioning, Satellite TV, Mini Bar, IDD Telephone, free Wi-Fi, coffee/tea
* Shower and bath, great toiletries

FOOD & DRINK:
* Dining hall, European, Chinese and Myanmar cuisine. Several. Buffet breakfast
* Romantic Bar

BUSINESS FACILITIES:
* Internet , E-mail, Meeting Room

  • Opinion of Price: about average
  • Related to: Romantic Travel and Honeymoons, Business Travel, Adventure Travel
  • Written December 10, 2014
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CLOVER CITY CENTER HOTEL: GREAT BUDGET CHOICE IN BURMA


This is a great budget hotel. It manages to do a few things most budget hotels do not. First – it’s quiet, yet in the middle of Yangong. It is actually on a side street and is blocked off by massive buildings from heavy traffic on the main roads. Secondly it has nice beds. The rooms are a little small and so are the bathrooms, but it works just fine. I had a good night’s sleep. The staff were very welcoming and could not have been more helpful. They even exchange money at a good rate.

The hotel is perfectly located. It is in the very heart of the city. You can find plenty of shopping, food and places to drink just a few minutes’ walk away. There is even a vibrant street market an night if you want to eat with local people. This is an excellent hotel.

Please note – this is one of 3 Clover Hotels and one of them is confusingly 2 doors away.



HOTEL OVERVIEW:
• 84 quiet rooms right in the center of Yangong
• Free Wi-Fi
• 24-hour front desk, currency exchange and room service
• Lockers, luggage storage, safety deposit boxes , laundry service
• Shared lounge/TV area (they sell drinks, beer)
• English spoken
• Fully renovated in 2012
• Short walk to Bogyoke Aung San Market & Yangon Central Railway Station

ROOMS:
• Superior Rooms
- Room Size: 160 sqft, Double or Twin with bathroom and 32" LCD flat
- Air-conditioning
- Good sized work spaces , electronic safe, tea & coffee-making facilities, fridge
• Deluxe Rooms
- Same amenities, room Size: 280 sqft, Double or Twin

FOOD & DRINK
• Dozens of restaurants and shops close by including street food/markets

  • Opinion of Price: less expensive than average
  • Related to: Budget Travel, Business Travel, Singles
  • Written September 8, 2014
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Clover City Center - Yangong

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THE CLIPPER HOTEL: STAY INSIDE A SEAPLANE - MANILA


THE CLIPPER HOTEL
In 1939 the airline Pan Am's used Boeing 314 seaplanes to transport passengers across the world. Only 12 "Clippers" were built for luxury travel. They carried 77 day passengers and have convertible seats to sleep 36. These flying palaces had a lounge and dining area, and food was provided by chefs from four-star hotels. Men and women had separate dressing rooms and were served by white-coated stewards serving six-course meals. The owner of the Clipper, Juan, has tried to recreate the excitement of a bygone age. It is an art deco like building that is well located in Manila’s most exciting area – Makati. Rooms are comfortable, the beds are excellent and the showers have soap and shampoo dispensers. Downstairs they have a very nice bar, an internet computer for printing tickets and baggage storage. There is free Wi-Fi throughout the hotel.

I stayed in an upstairs superior room the first time I stayed and the ‘Cabin’ when I returned. The Cabin is modelled around the actual inside of the Clipper Seaplanes and is very quiet. It has no windows, but I found this added to the tranquillity. Please note, upstairs rooms do hear some of the vibrant life that is Makati.



HOTEL OVERVIEW:
• Right in the heart of Makati
• Bar, free internet and Wi-Fi, 24 hour desk
• Modern, clean and bright

ROOMS:
• Standard:
- Air-conditioning, TV, free Wi-Fi, ceiling fans and toiletries
• Superior:
- Larger rooms
• Deluxe
- Larger still with a good sized refrigerator

  • Opinion of Price: about average
  • Related to: Singles, Budget Travel, Adventure Travel
  • Written August 30, 2014
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THE CLIPPER HOTEL - MANILA

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Conrad Centennial Singapore: THE BEST HOTEL ROOM EVER


I have stayed in hotels across the world. Great hotels. Fantastic hotels. The Conrad gave me the best hotel room I have ever stayed in. And then I only stayed in the room for 3 hours. When I arrived I didn’t expect much from the hotel as it is a glass/chrome type of high-rise tower. Although I have to admit I liked the glass elevators. Once I arrived in my room, I started to realise this was a very different sort of room. It seemed to have everything. Great little surprises popped up at every turn. The bathtub came with bubble bath and its own rubber duck! The bedroom had a teddy bear to sleep with. There was fresh fruit with a dish, cloth napkins and even cutlery.

I had a lovely quiet room on a top floor and had a good, but short sleep. Before I got up and out I had a nice soaking bath – with the supplied rubber duck! I have listed below some of the neat little extras in my room:

* Fresh fruit * a Teddy bear * rubber duck in the bath * bubble bath * flashlight (electric torch) * Cotton balls * 2 mini bars * Umbrella * iron/ironing board * the desk has things like a ruler and paper clips * nice robes * phones everywhere * electric kettle * Coffee machine

This is a world class hotel. I know. And now you do as well!



HOTEL OVERVIEW:
• 507 amazing guestrooms and suites 31 floors with luxury amenities
• Room types: Accessible, Classic, Premier, Executive, Business and Presidential (Suite)
• Complimentary fitness center (open 24-hours a day) and Centennial Spa (range of treatments)
• Pool (outdoor) Pavilion and bar
• 2 award-winning restaurants and an beautiful lobby lounge
• In the heart of premium shopping/entertainment areas, and next to the Suntec Convention Center
• Meeting/Business Center accommodating up to 21,170 delegates
• TripAdvisor Travelers' Choice® award 2014 - Top 10 Luxury Hotels in Singapore (top 1% of the 748,000 hotels reviewed worldwide)

FOOD & DRINK
• Golden Peony – Cantonese with top Hong Kong chefs (including dim-sum)
• Oscar's Restaurant & Oscar's outdoor Sidewalk Terrace buffets/à la carte – open 24 hours a day!
• Lobby Lounge with a 24-carat gold leaf ceiling and selection of fine liqueurs and cigars
• The hotel is part of the Millenia Singapore development with several hundred restaurants

FACILITIES
• Outdoor Pool Pavilion, Fitness Center, Centennial Spa, Pool Bar
• The hotel is part of the Millenia Singapore development with 100’s of shops & restaurants
• Full business facilities for over 20,000 delegates

  • Opinion of Price: most expensive
  • Related to: Romantic Travel and Honeymoons, Spa and Resort, Luxury Travel
  • Written August 26, 2014
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Conrad Centennial Singapore

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BAGAN THANDE HOTEL: HISTORY, ROMANCE AND NATURE IN BURMA


The hotel began as a two storey building built in 1922 for a visit from the then Prince of Wales. He later became King Edward VIII and abdicated in 1936. The original building is now 2 luxury suites and is the only colonial era building in Ancient Bagan City. I booked this hotel because of this connection and the great reviews. Arriving was amazing. The taxi drove past several ancient pagodas and into beautiful tropical gardens. The room was small, but very comfortable and even had its own porch and chairs to sit outside and enjoy the gardens. The swimming pool was surrounded by tropical plans and more ancient pagodas. The restaurant sits right on the Ayeyawaddy River and offered good breakfast buffets and amazing river views every day. This hotel is excellent. It’s a long walk to any restaurants, but that is the only drawback. It is beautiful, historic, and the staff are very friendly. The hotel is in natural gardens and we even had a resident owl when I stayed here. An excellent choice.

Please note:
The hotel is MUCH cheaper if you book direct with them – but you must do this well in advance. They keep rooms reserved for sales through AGODA.com and the prices are a lot higher if you end up using them.



HOTEL OVERVIEW:
• The historic first hotel in Bagan
• 1 River Suite, 2 Prince of Wales Suites, 44 Deluxe rooms, 20 Superior and 11 Economy
• Large gardens to explore, dine in or have a drink by the Ayeyarwaddy River
• Beautiful pool area with its own temple
• Buffet Breakfast is included
• ATM/cash machine on site
• Free Wi-Fi (in the lobby)
• Excellent location
• Guest library
• 24 hour room service, laundry (next day)
• Quiet – absolute tranquillity
• Tours, car hire, free parking

ROOMS
The hotel has 3 Suites, 44 Deluxe rooms, 20 Superior and 11 Economy rooms. All rooms have:
• Good mattresses and all are quiet and have a porch
• Air-conditioning, en-suite bathrooms, TV, safes, coffee/tea
• Bathrooms with bathtub/shower, good toiletries

FOOD & DRINK
• Acacia Shade Restaurant – riverside dining (breakfast, lunch, diner)
• Panorama Bar – overlooking the river as well

LEISURE FACILITIES
• Beautiful outdoor pool, hot tub
• Bicycle rentals
• Spa with full treatments, massage

BUSINESS FACILITIES
• Business Center and Conference facilities

TRANSPORT
• A taxi from the airport is about $7

  • Opinion of Price: about average
  • Related to: Luxury Travel, Spa and Resort, Romantic Travel and Honeymoons
  • Written August 23, 2014
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BAGAN THANDE HOTEL

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Radisson Hotel Brunei Darussalam: EXCELLENT IN BRUNEI


When I first arrived in the lobby, several uniformed gentlemen made sure that I was checked-in quickly, had full information about the hotel, a local map and showed me to my room. My room was very nice and good-sized. I had to double beds and the mattresses were excellent. My room had lots of neat features. When I opened my large walk-in closet, the lights came on and my robe was hanging there waiting for me to jump into it. Near my bed were electrical outlets that could take almost any type of plug, even ones from the UK. My mini-bar was big enough to put my own drinks into. The bathroom was excellent and I really enjoyed my rain shower and top quality toiletries.

It was evening and I went down to the buffet restaurant before they closed. This was the only issue I had the whole time. I was told I was too late. It was 30 minute until they closed. I walked in anyway. The lazy women there even forgot to charge me. The food was average.

The next day I realised that the hotel is an easy walk to the Royal Regalia Museum, the Sultan Omar Ali Saifuddien Mosque, and the Kampong Ayer Water Village. Also a very easy stroll to a multitude of restaurants.

Relaxing at the hotel is great. They have an outdoor pool with massive covered sun loungers. I enjoyed sitting around reading my book and drinking my duty free mixed with soft drinks and ice from the ‘bar’. Please be discrete, but a multitude of sins can be disguised in a plastic soda bottle.

This is an excellent hotel. Please do ask for a room at the back as some young folks try drag racing their cars past the front at night.



HOTEL OVERVIEW:
• 142 rooms with a great location, fully air-conditioned, quiet, great facilities
• 100% non-smoking
• Currency exchange, car rental, gift shop, tour booking
• Free daily shuttle service to shopping malls
• Free Wi-Fi
• Swimming pool/bar, gym and full SPA
• 2 restaurants and bars
• Free cold drinks in the lobby all day
• Full Business Center and conference facilities 24 hours a day
• Transfer to the airport – chargeable

ROOMS:
All rooms have: Air-conditioning, mini-bar, coffee/tea, bathrobe/slippers, CD/DVD player, large TV, free Wi-Fi, pointer to Mecca, bidet, rain showers, excellent toiletries, extended check-out at 6 p.m. (free!), iPad/iPod docking station, Iron/ironing board, large work desk, universal power outlets
• Room Types: Superior Rooms (23 sq metres), Deluxe Rooms (27 sqm), Executive Suite (54 sqm), Premier Suite (81 sqm)

FOOD & DRINK:
• Tasek Brasserie, an all-day-dining restaurant serving buffet and à la carte choices
• Deals Restaurant – upscale international cuisine
• Pool-side ‘bar’

LEISURE FACILITIES:
• Beautiful outdoor pool area with a bar and light snacks (open daily 6-10 p.m.)
• Full modern gym
• Full SPA and treatments

  • Opinion of Price: more expensive than average
  • Related to: Spa and Resort, Business Travel, Luxury Travel
  • Written August 16, 2014
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Radisson Hotel Brunei Darussalam

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