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Hilton Islington Hotel – London, UK

A few years ago I lived in this hotel. I mean I stayed here 4 nights a week, every week for 10 months. Thanks to the Hilton Islington, I was a Hilton Hhonors millionaire!

The contract finished and I never found myself being close enough (or having a big enough budget) to stay here again…until now.

The hotel is situated just off Upper Street, about 10 minutes’ walk from the tube station. The hotel is fairly standard Hilton really although they have recently lowered their prices in the bar / restaurant to match the prices of the plentiful local competition.
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Pestana Chelsea Bridge Hotel and Spa – London, UK

I had never heard of the Pestana group before however I understand that they are big in Portugal. The Chelsea Bridge Hotel and spa is their flagship property outside of Portugal.

The hotel is situated right next to the old Battersea power station which is a 15 – 20 minute walk to the nearest tube station (Sloane Square). The walk is nice, taking you over Chelsea Bridge, past the old barracks and past the hospital where the Chelsea Pensioners live. You can catch a bus outside the hotel that will take you to Sloane Square (5 minutes) or Victoria (about 10 minutes).

Once I knew the name of the hotel I was staying in, I had a look at the hotels website; the pictures are fairly accurate too. The picture of the lobby looks enormous in the picture and in reality is barely functional. I suspect the same of the pool but didn’t try it.
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The Re London Shoreditch Hotel – London, UK

Hotwire had this hotel advertised (hotel name excluded of course) as a four star property in trendy Shoreditch. Shoreditch is a trendy area of London with some really cool bars and clubs. Shoreditch also borders Hackney which is a dodgy area of London. The Re Shoreditch is on Hackney Road which is a very long road linking Shoreditch with Hackney.

The hotel is around a 10 – minute walk from the nearest tube (Bethnal Green) although you can get a bus which drops you off right outside. This isn’t down town Harlem however the East-end of London does have its share of crime; keep your wits about you if you are walking back to the hotel from the tube. Better yet take a cab.
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Marriott Marble Arch Hotel – London, UK

I booked the Marriott Marble Arch on Priceline.  The rate was £85 per night which for a four star hotel in central London is pretty good.

The hotel in situated just off Edgware Road almost in the middle, equidistant from both Marble Arch and Edgware Road tube stations.  The hotel is back one block from the main road which makes the rooms very quiet indeed.

At check-in I was made to fill out a registration card.  This annoys me.  I had already given the same information to Priceline who in turn has give it to the hotel!  Think joined up people!

Anyway after a short check in (and a £50 swipe taken for a three night stay) I was in the room.  I think I had been given a deluxe room as I had two Queen beds in a pretty spacious room; this is London and space usually costs!

Room was real quiet which is so important to me; I was overlooking a side street. The pretend balcony in the room had doors that actually opened so some real air was able to get into the room.  I had all the normal stuff you would expect from a Marriott and actually as a Hilton devotee, I think the Marriott did a pretty good job.

As this was a Priceline rate there was no breakfast.  As part of my healthy living stage (I know, it was a mistake), I didn’t visit the bar either so can’t really comment any more.

I will say that I was distressed every time I used the elevator and read the Executive Lounge badge; I don’t like being a nobody.  What does that say about me?

Marriott Marble Arch, 134 George Street · London, W1H 5DN.  Website

Mount Murray Hotel and Country Club – Isle of Man, UK

I had been in the taxi from the airport for about 15 minutes. The driver was telling me the story of the infamous Fairy Bridge when he suddenly stopped and informed me that we had just driven past the hotel. Oops. Once the meter was stopped he turned around and we drove up a very dark path for about half a mile.

The mount Murray hotel isn’t just a hotel. The mount Murray is a Hotel, Spa and Country club so I suppose I should have guessed that it would be in the middle of nowhere. The hotel is set amongst the private golf course with a very pretty lake that you can see from the hotel bar.

Check-in was exceptionally fast as a pre auth had already been taken from my card. Usual questions were asked about newspapers and wake up calls and I was informed that breakfast would be served in the bistro behind reception. All great stuff. I was told that my room was “over the road” but this just turned out to be over the very small courtyard at the entrance to the hotel.
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Novotel Edinburgh Airport Hotel – Edinburgh, UK

I had arrived into Edinburgh airport late having started the day in the Isle of Man and then had a couple of hours layover in Birmingham. I didn’t have my car at the airport so I would have had to catch a bus then a train and finally get a taxi. As I was meeting a client early in Edinburgh the next day I thought I would stay the night. I used a couple of apps on my iPhone to check prices of hotels near the airport. The Novotel Edinburgh Park was coming in at £95 per night breakfast included. There was also a holiday inn just 2 miles further away coming in a £79. For reasons that I am not yet sure of, I decided to try the Novotel.

I called the hotel directly and asked for the best bed and breakfast rate. I was informed that the rate was £95 as advertised on my Apps. I asked if they could do £80 and they agreed. It was after all now after 11pm. I jumped in a cab and £10 later I was at the hotel. This is a modern building situated a stone throw from the fairly new Edinburgh Park railway station. Edinburgh Park is a business park full of big Plcs and multi-nationals. The M9 is right next to the hotel as is the City Bypass so pretty well connected in all. Continue Reading…

Barcelo Marine Hotel – Troon, UK

I arrived at the hotel around 4:30pm having driven from Edinburgh which took around 90 minutes. I managed to bag the last parking space outside however I should add there is a car park adjacent to the hotel; I was just being lazy really.

This hotel has been in existence for a long time and has changed hands more than once (as demonstrated by the old branding on the wastepaper bin in my room). The property is situated at the edge of the small town of Troon, pretty close to Ayr and Prestwick Airport (PIK).

Check – in was pretty quick, however the staff member was happy to chat and indeed I left with a complimentary upgrade to a Deluxe room.

Club Room at The Barcelo Marine Hotel

As I had laptop, iPad, trainers and holdall I opted for the lift to the 1st floor. My room was at the very end of a long corridor and the first thing I noticed about it was that it was cold. Very cold.  Oh and there was a big stain on the bedspread too.

I had a view of the golf course (well some of it anyway) from one window and I could just about make out the

sea from the other. The room was pretty spacious (although I sort of expected it to be so due to the location), had a King bed, desk and a small coffee-like table (with chairs) in the “turret” of the building. The bathroom was fairly standard however it had everything that I needed and it was pretty big too. The toiletries were standard Barcelo branded stuff which I think is a shame – this is an opportunity to bring out the character of the hotel.

Just as I was about to leave the room for the bar, my mobile rang. It was a business call and I had just changed out of my suit; I looked around the room for the standard notepad and pen however to my dismay there was none. No branded notepad, no branded pen.

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Edgewater Beach Hotel – Naples, Florida, USA

As we pulled up in our rental car I wasn’t sure that we had the right place. I knew there was another Edgewater Hotel in Naples and I was considering the likelihood of having navigated to the wrong one on the Sat Nav.

The building was situated in a nice street full of members clubs and other hotels but there was a distinct lack of branding. I left Mrs Travel Freak and the Junior Freaks in the car and went to investigate.

Once I entered the hotel I found the familiar “Hilton HHonors Worldwide” sign at reception and realised this was indeed the correct hotel. The lobby was small, however I could see into the bar / restaurant and the pool and beach beyond, noting that the lobby and pool were just as the pictures online showed! Continue Reading…

Best Western – CDG, France

We had travelled on the red eye from Miami and arrived into CDG around 9AM. Courtesy of Flying Blue Petroleum I was awarded some (complimentary) goodies at the transfer desk:

A breakfast voucher
Day use of a local hotel
Lunch voucher ( to be used in said hotel)

I thought this was a pretty good offering; the only qualifier is that the layover has to be in excess of six hours.

I picked up my goodies from the transfer desk and asked for directions to the hotel.  I was informed that the hotel was near the train terminal. It transpired that this was not quite true; the train terminal was the location of the bus stop where I could board the courtesy bus that would take us to the hotel. My hold luggage was (luckily) tagged through to EDI however it was a bit of a task moving Mrs TF (Travel Freak) and 3 JTF’s (Junior Travel Freaks) with buggy (stroller) and a million bits of hand luggage.

We didn’t wait long for a bus however as the same bus stops at a number of hotels (6 I think) it took a good 20 minutes or so to be get to the Best Western; it’s also the last stop on the bus route which means the bus is full of guests (and luggage) who have got on the bus to go back to the terminal by this point.

Anyway I digress.  I presented myself a check-in along with my “ticket” from Air France. I was greeted by a very well dressed gentleman ( it is France after all) and was given my room key and a voucher that stated I had 25 euros to spend in the restaurant. So far; so good.
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Hilton Miami Airport Hotel, Miami, Florida, USA

I imagine that most people who stay in an airport hotel have probably used a plane recently… we were no exception.

We had been awake for almost 21 hours and we were really tired. The Junior Freaks had done really well, but were now desperate for some sleep. We enquired at the information desk as to where we could catch the hotel bus from and were told to flag it down outside (the whole US-anything-goes has much less structure than us British).

We hauled our 13 bags and 3 Junior Freaks to a spot on the curb and waited. We then waited some more. And waited some more still. The bus eventually arrived (after a 45 minute wait) and stopped… about 50ft along the kerb. A sudden rush of people appeared and it became apparent very quickly that all these people (and all the bags) were not going to fit. Continue Reading…

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