Koreana Hotel – Seoul, South Korea Review

Koreana Hotel - Seoul, South Korea

Nothing special, but does everything well for a fantastic price.

The Koreana hotel isn’t going to win any awards for its tired design, but it is a pleasant hotel in a great location with friendly staff at a very attractive price.

I landed in Seoul late Friday and was picked up from the airport via a pre-arranged hotel car. The travel time was about 50 minutes from the airport to the hotel and I actually arrived just before my friend who had landed an hour earlier and took the train.

You will immediately notice that the hotel is very… traditional. The lobby is almost like a time freeze from yesteryear, but the staff are friendly and speak good enough English for check-in to be efficient and painless for a Westerner.

The rooms are fairly small and share the same dated look as the rest of the hotel. The bed is comfy enough, but be careful about the power outlets not charging your devices! This hotel really isn’t the usual type I would stay in, but it has a certain charm to it that is difficult to explain. I had access to the lounge area, which served very basic food but was good to grab a quick snack and wait for my friends to get ready to head out.

The location seemed to be pretty good. There are quiet streets over the road that one can grab a beer at. The subway station is about a 10-minute walk at most and it was relatively easy to flag down a taxi.

I only stayed two nights, but I left feeling the hotel was good value. If you are looking for a luxury hotel in Seoul, then this is far from it. But if you are looking for a clean and cheap hotel that goes well above and beyond its price band, then you can’t go much wrong.

Henann Crystal Sands Resort – Boracay, Philippines Review

Henann Crystal Sands Resort

Nice grounds, good location, a little small.

The Henann Crystal Resort is located in the heart of station 2 and is a pleasant little resort.

Getting from Caticlan airport is easy and efficient. Henann has a private boat that takes you a short 10-minute ride across the water to Boracay and then it’s another 10-minute ride in a van to the resort.

Despite being busy, check-in was fairly painless and we were shown to our premier room. We were celebrating an anniversary and Henann had very nicely decorated the room with balloons and had provided a cake.

Except for the lovely decorations, the first thing I noticed about the room is how small it was. The second was how little privacy you have due to the weird wooden slats that are in the place of blinds. Each of the premier rooms overlooks the thin pool, so you can see into each room on each side, so be reminded to close the slats unless you are into a bit of voyeurism.

We also had an issue with the aircon and the shower in the bathroom, but both were fixed fairly quickly.

As mentioned, the main swimming pool is essentially a long thin pool split into two that runs the length of the resort. This pool doesn’t get too much sun and is mostly frequented by families. Fret not though as there is a fantastic pool located above the restaurant which gets the sun all day and also overlooks the beach. Unfortunately for us, this pool was closed for nearly two days whilst they prepared for a Haloween Party, which was disappointing.

I’d mark the food at the restaurant as ok. The buffet is quite basic and fairly small. There isn’t anything outright wrong with the food, it’s just forgettable and not particularly varied, so we found ourselves eating out quite often.

Checking out and the transfer back to the airport was pain-free. All in all, we found the resort to be pleasant and clean with a nice infinity pool on the roof. It is also reasonably priced.

Hyatt on the Bund – Shanghai, China Review

Hyatt on the Bund - Shanghai, China

Good location, great views, tired rooms.

The Hyatt on the Bund is in a great location and the views overlooking the river are spectacular. Unfortunately, the rooms are a little tired and there is a lot of construction in the area.

Getting to the Hyatt from either of Shanghai’s airports is fairly simple. From PVG, I took a hotel car on a Monday afternoon, which took about 45 minutes all in all. Arriving at the hotel, you are greeted with a beautifully open concourse and check-in was completed swiftly.

I was upgraded to a premium room that overlooked the river and the Bund. The view both in the day and at night was absolutely spectacular and rivaled some of the best cityscapes I have seen on my travels. The rooms themselves, though, are starting to show their age. Lots of dings in the wood with the shower and bathroom area looking dated. The shower was incredibly powerful though and will be sure to wake you up in the morning.

The hotel houses a bar at the very top which gets quite busy, so you may want to head up there early to get a seat. I didn’t spend a massive amount of time in the bar as I opted to take a short walk around the area and found some local bars that were accommodating to westerners.

The hotel gym was closed but they had a temporary gym set up in one of the business rooms. The hotel restaurant, particularly the tearoom, was very pleasant, and there were no issues ordering despite my novice Mandarin.

Overall, I would say this is a very decent business hotel that is reasonably priced and I would happily stay here again.

Le Meridien – Chiang Mai, Thailand Review

Le Meridien - Chiang Mai, Thailand

Great hotel, but really starting to look dated.

This is the second time I have stayed in this hotel within a year. Both years have been for a conference which the hotel handled spectacularly. The food was great and the entire conference went without a hitch.

I was also very pleasantly surprised to receive an upgrade on my room when I checked in.

The last time I wrote my long review, I was unable to comment on the pool or fitness area. The pool is very nice, a large pool which catches the sun almost all day. There are perhaps not as many loungers as one would like, but it shouldn’t be an issue on a regular day.

The fitness area is, unfortunately, very dated. Some of the equipment doesn’t work, there is no traditional wet area with a sauna and such connected directly to the fitness center. Like the rooms, this looks worse than it is and is fully functional.

The staff was brilliant as always, and they were more than happy to accommodate my late checkout until 3 pm, which was very generous.

If you are thinking of staying here whilst in Chiang Mai, then I don’t think you would have too many complaints. The hotel and the rooms simply need modernizing with a makeover.

Coral Sea Resort Hotel – Queensland, Australia Review

Coral Sea Resort Hotel - Queensland, Australia

Nice location, large rooms, nice views.

I think the Coral Sea resort is probably about the nicest hotel on Arlie Beach. The rooms are large, the staff is helpful, but the resort is showing its age and looking a little tired. They close the poolside restaurant very early. They also don’t have anyone on reception from about 11 pm, so if you need anything, you are out of luck until someone comes on the next morning.

The staff are all friendly and helpful, the pool is pleasant, and if you get a Coral Sea Spa Suite, then the jacuzzi is very nice to sit in during the day and watch out over the bay. The location of the hotel allows you to walk down into Arlie in about 10 minutes and you can walk to the marina bay in about 5.

One thing I would say is that if you are booking boat tours via the hotel then be very wary of the weather and open sailboats. Any sort of overcast sky is going to make the experience utterly miserable. So if you are going out, go on a jet boat.