Friday, 16 June 2017

The Best Athens Hotel, A Revisit to the Hotel Grand Bretagne

Still one of the Best Experiences despite a hiccup

The Bane known as DCC


Stayed October 2016
Written June 2017

Ouzo!

After leaving Dubrovik and the delightful Hilton, my next destination would be Bucharest in Romania via Athens. I had a night to spend in Athens and I was thinking of the Sofitel at the airport, the nearby Holiday Inn or back to my favourite Hotel Grand Bretagne in central Athens.

After much deliberation, I decided to go to back to the GB (my previous sterile review is here) as I did not want to waste time around the airport. Similar to my previous stay, I received an email prior to my stay and gave some feedback on my last visit.

The hotel is the usual place for interviews of celebrities and politicians in Athens as the Parliament House is in one view and the Acropolis in the opposite view.

From the airport, I took the Metro to Syntagma Square, remembering to validate the ticket or risk the heavy fine. The hotel is next to an exit but without shelter to the main door.

Front Desk

Lobby




Security wasn't high this visit either, so everything proceeded very fast and I soon reached my upgraded suite which is frankly one of the nicest so far.

The walk to the suite is as pleasant as I remember it. Luscious decor in classic style with tones of opulence and grace.


Corridor


Grand Staircase

Opening the door to the suite revealed a really spacious suite with a separate living room.

The view from the room is of the inner courtyard which isn't anything to shout about other than the associated tranquility.







TV while in the bath? Sure....


I liked the crystal chandeliers and the curtains, blending in the classic feel without being too ostentatious.


But what I really enjoyed was the entire bowl of Werther's Original on the table. There goes the calorie check!



The welcome gift was a box of chocolate and a bottle of ouzo which I didn't drink. as shown in the picture at the top of the post.

After a good night's sleep, I was ready for the delightful breakfast with a great view as I remember.








I still think it is one of the finest breakfast of my stays in Europe.

After a good breakfast, I revisited the spa, gym and indoor pool. Everything is as good as before! Or even better with more furniture for guests to sit.



Spa refreshment

Spa fountain



Last but not least, I checked out the rooftop pool again and it wasn't as crowded as the summer I visited understandably, with only a couple of guests and the chairs mostly empty.





Basically I was very happy that there were completely no issues during this stay and there was such a good upgrade.


Well, there was an issue eventually when I was checking my credit card statement and I was charged in SGD instead of Euro!

I was DCC-ed! (Beware the DCC scam by Milelion)

And so, I emailed the hotel after discovering that, and I was pleasantly surprised to have a fast response. In the end, the hotel gave me some points as good will and another batch of points for their mistake. I did refuse the additional points during the email exchange, but the hotel insisted as service recovery.

This incident improved my opinion of the hotel a great deal!

I often say a good hotel is where everything goes well, and a great hotel is where everything goes better when something goes wrong!

Happy and Healthy Travels!

Friday, 19 May 2017

Closest to the City Walls, the Hilton Imperial Dubrovnik

King's Landing for GOT fans

The Grand Old Dame of the Modern City


Stayed October 2016
Written May 2017

City Walls and Monastery


From the Sheraton, I moved to the Hilton which is in Dubrovnik and is located right outside the City Walls.

The proximity allowed me to visit the Old Town easily both in the day and at night.

View from the Gate



Entrance

The hotel is quite small and intimate and the Front Desk is tucked by the side of the entrance.


Hotel Lounge


Corridors

As an elite member, I was thankfully upgraded to a Executive Room with a view of the City Walls from the balcony.


Orange seems to be the dominant colour which is rather unusual but decidedly unique.



The toilet was unfortunately really tiny and cramped. It would perhaps be better without the bathtub.


Hilton Diamond status granted me access to the lounge as well as complimentary breakfast at the restaurant downstairs.




The lounge offers afternoon tea and evening canapes. Some lounges offer quite an insane amount of food during cocktail hours sufficient for dinner, but this wasn't one of them.





Breakfast was not too bad and many of the tour groups leave pretty early and the place clears out for a peaceful meal.









During my stay at the Hilton, I went on day trips to Mostar and Kotor as well, and had fun taking a great number of photos. Being one of the most well-known hotels in the city, tour pickups were not an issue at all.





A short walk from the hotel would bring me to the cable-car station for an elevated view of the Old Walled City of Dubrovnik, with the opportunity for pizza at a famous shop along the way.


One of the surprises was receiving a printed copy of LianHe ZaoBao, the Chinese version of the Singapore newspaper. I much prefer to read the Straits Times in English although I have no problem reading Mandarin, being effectively bilingual.


Turn-down service was fine too, with some additional snacks on the table and a piece of chocolate.




The gym was not very big, but there were hardly any users anyway, so there's lots of space!

Spa and Gym Reception




I didn't have time to explore the spa and indoor pool, but the pictures from the hotel's website look pretty nice!

Credit: Hilton Imperial Dubrovnik


Last but not least, remember to go to the top floor to get some pictures of the Old Town!




Happy and Healthy Travels!