Shangri-La Hotel – Sydney, Australia Review

Shangri-La Hotel - Sydney

Great location, rooms have an amazing view.

The Shangri-La Sydney is in a great location away from the busy streets, but close enough to walk to the harbour and the Opera House. The rooms are spacious and the service is everything you would expect from a Shangri-La hotel.

It takes about 35 minutes for an Uber to get from the airport to the hotel with a bit of traffic. Check-in was quick and our bags were brought up to the room straight away.

We stayed in a Premier Sydney Harbour Room for an anniversary stay. I can say with almost certainty that the views from this room over the harbour and the Opera house are some of the best views from any city hotel in the world. The room was nice and spacious with a large bathroom and a very powerful shower. We were given a complimentary bottle of Champaign for our anniversary stay.

The location of the hotel is perfect. It takes about 25 minutes to walk to the botanical gardens and about 10 minutes shorter to walk to the harbour. The street on which the hotel is located has a couple of local pubs with an amazing Japanese teppanyaki place on the corner.

The hotel bar on the top floor, of course, had awesome views but the bar itself was a little disappointing. It is small for a start, and it takes ages to get a drink as there are literally two guys making cocktails. Good to pop up, but annoying to stay. There are enough late-night bars in the main financial district to not have to stay in the hotel anyway.

There is no other bar in the hotel, which is surprising as there is usually a lobby bar in Shangri-La hotels. There is a café in the lobby for lunchtime snacks, but I felt the menu was a little basic and bland.

Check out was easy and we were able to get a taxi to the airport.

Shangri-La at the Fort Manila – Taguig, Philippines Review

New hotel that does everything right.

The Shangri-La at the Fort is in a perfect location. The hotel is new and everything is in perfect condition. It will take about 25-30 minutes from the airport with the usual heavy Manila traffic, and just 15 minutes without.

The rooms are nice and spacious with lovely views across BGC on a nice day all the way out to Manila bay. The bathrooms are also large and the showers are nice and powerful.

There is a large selection of restaurants in the hotel, and even more in the hotel mall area.

The pool bar is open until about 12mn, which is an improvement on the other Shangri-Las in the city.

The only complaint is that the aircon in the foyer and the lobby lounge bar is far too cold and you need a jacket to sit there watching the band.

Shangri-La’s Mactan Resort & Spa – Lapu-Lapu, Cebu Review

Shangri-La's Mactan Resort & Spa

Still very good, but needs to be more prepared for the holiday rush.

I reviewed the Shangri-La Mactan in-depth earlier this year, and the general takeaways were…

  • Very easy to get to from Manila and only 15 minutes travel time from Cebu Airport
  • Check-in can be a little slow and frustrating
  • Ocean Wing grants you exclusive access to the Ocean Wing pool which has fewer children
  • Large selection of restaurants
  • Nice grounds

For my resent stay last week I would basically just add…

Overall the resort is excellent with a large choice of dining options and very nice grounds. I have stayed at the hotel on multiple occasions, but this time I felt that the rooms are in need of a refresh and that the resort was woefully understaffed for the number of guests over this holiday season.

There were many times by the pool that you were left wandering around for someone from Acqua to take an order. Almost all the restaurant’s food came out late, or cold, or not at all without reminders to the staff. I appreciate the holiday season is busy but there is no excuse for a Shangri-La to not have the correct number of staff, especially when a single night’s stay easily pays the wages for two local staff for a couple of weeks.

Despite the last line, there was one big difference and that was the bar at Cowrie Cove. The staff there were excellent, incredibly attentive, and went well above and beyond their duties. A specific shout out to Cowrie Cove bar staff, Joanna, who was so kind and friendly, Jeffrie, who was always happy to accommodate mixing any type of cocktail, and DJ Mish, who was more than happy to spin any tune requested.

The Orchard Hotel – San Francisco, California Review

The Orchard Hotel - San Francisco, California

Brilliantly located, rooms are a litte stuffy, great staff.

The Orchard Hotel is perfectly located at the “top” of Union Square, which allows you to walk around the area easily and safely. Across the road is China Town, which again is a breeze to get to, and just down the street are a couple of bars for a drink or five. The rooms are nice, but a little stuffy due to not being able to open the windows.

Getting to the Orchard from the Airport took me about 40 minutes in mid-afternoon traffic. One simply walks out of the airport and then you can open up Uber or Lyft on your device of choice and have a ride pick you up in less than 5 minutes. If there is one thing that is great about San Francisco, it is that you’ll never be waiting too long for a rideshare ride.

Check-in at the hotel was pretty quick, with no queues when I got there. The hotel lobby is very small — you’ll almost walk past the entrance if you are not paying attention. You’ll also notice the restaurant next to the lobby, but outside of breakfast, I think it remains closed. I had breakfast there one morning and it was pleasant enough to fuel your sightseeing for the morning.

The rooms are nice and spacious. As others have said, the bed is very comfortable, so you should expect a good night’s sleep. I personally found the rooms to be a little stuffy as none of the windows open, and the view wasn’t particularly great with the room looking straight across to another building. The bathroom was also spacious, the shower was nice and powerful — very hot, I could have stayed in there for hours!

One, if not THE, main reason to book this hotel is for the location. It effectively sits atop Union Square, which grants you easy access to almost anything in that area, including China town just across the street. There is also a selection of bars right on the same street as the hotel. One is a newly renovated sports bar in a similar style boutique hotel, and a couple of small late-night bars to keep the drinks flowing until 3 am with the barflies. The great thing about SF is that you can just walk around and take in the sights without ever really feeling uncomfortable. It is super easy to just fire up Google Maps, type in what you fancy, and then find a selection of restaurants just a short walk away.

Checkout was also straight forward, with it again being very easy to just hail rideshare to get to the airport. I had a couple of issues with some packages that I had left for collection, and Shane was super helpful in helping me sort them out despite already having left.

At The Orchard, you’re not going to get a modern room or a decadent lobby, or a hotel bar serving up cocktails, but you can’t go too much wrong with The Orchard if you are effectively using it as a business base or somewhere to crash after sightseeing.

Courtyard by Marriott – Carolina Beach, North Carolina Review

Courtyard by Marriott -Carolina Beach

Pleasant hotel right on the beach.

This was my first time to Carolina beach and NC as a whole. So I’m not too familiar with the area. I found the Marriott to be pleasant enough with very friendly staff and great access to the beachfront.

Getting to the hotel took about 35 minutes from Wilmington airport. We hired a car, which we picked up direct from the airport without any issues.
The check-in was pretty quick with two members of staff on the front desk who was super friendly and very efficient.

The rooms are a decent size. My room was right outside the elevators, which tended to get very noisy in the mornings. Each beach room has a large opening door onto a balcony, which allows you to see out across the swimming pool and beachfront. The bathrooms had a decent shower and the bed was quite comfortable.

From the hotel, it is very easy to walk along the boardwalk and stop at the bars and beachfront shops. Outside of the beachfront, there didn’t seem to be too much else in the area, but I am no expert.

Checkout was simple, although they seemed to want everyone to checkout by 11 am, which is a little early for my liking. If you don’t have a car, then make sure you pre-book an airport taxi as there are almost no other options with Uber being very limited.

All in all, a pleasant stay with no complaints.