Thursday, March 26, 2009

Hotel Review

**Disclaimer: this is not an indepth review of the hotels, this is just merely a small overview to help you get a better understanding of what you should expect out of the hotels on a Contiki tour**

When you are on a Contiki tour most of the hotels you stay at are not going to be 4 or 5 star hotels. You have to understand that you get the kind of hotel that you have paid for. None of the hotels we stayed at were horrible, but there are some that I would not recommend to anyone and some that I would rather not stay at again. For the most part, all of the hotels are located outside the city. At some of the hotels it was easy to get right into the city, and at others it was more of a challenge. I also had a different set up than most people because I chose to be in a triple share room because that helped bring the cost of the trip down for me. Also, for couples, its important to know that a lot of times you may get a room with two single beds, or a room that has two single beds pushed together, so don't go expecting to always have a full or queen sized bed waiting for you. In most of the triple rooms we have two single beds pushed together with seperate bedding on each and then another single bed. It wasn't the case for us, but according to our tour manager, sometimes in hotels when you do a tripple share, the third bed may be hiding somewhere.

Now on to each hotel..

Royal National Hotel, London: This hotel was nothing spectacular. I would say the location is good because you are located right near to a tube station (Russell Square) and taxis pull up to the courtyard all the time, so you hardly ever need to wait very long to get a taxi. It is also a good location because the Contiki basement is practically in it and there is a nice pub located right on the corner. There are also great restaurants located within a quick walk of the hotel and a little convience store that you can get some snacks and any last minute items for your trip. One of the strange and slightly annoying things about the hotel was the fact that for many rooms there was only one key. So if one of your roommates went off with the key, you are stuck outside the room waiting and practically begging for someone to come up and let you in. This happened to me and I had to wait almost 15 minutes before someone let me in. The rooms were small, but nice with three single beds, a tv, and a decent sized bathroom with a good shower. Noise was also minimal which was good, so I managed to get a lot of good sleep on the first night.

Ibis, Amsterdam: This hotel may have been the nicest, cleanist, and most modern of all the hotels we stayed at. The rooms were so nice with great bathrooms and a really nice lay out. In this room we had two singles pushed together and then another double. There are two restaurants and a bar in the hotel. Again, we only had one key to the room, but when I managed to lose the key, the hotel staff were very nice and considerate and quickly made me a new key. Dinner at this hotel was a buffet with no labels as to what we were eating and I was not very impressed with the food. The rooms also had an extra mirror, so if the bathroom was taken, you could still get ready and put on makeup elsewhere. The one major drawback to the hotel was the location. The hotel was located about a 30 minute drive from the main part of the city (the hotel was located next to the airport) and we found it difficult to get to. The hotel does offer a shuttle from the train station at the airport to the hotel, but we learned quickly that they don't enjoy waiting for people and they only come every once in a while so we ended up having to take a taxi back to the hotel.

Hotel Montag, St. Goar: This was an absolutely picturesque little hotel that actually only has 28 rooms. The rooms were nice and we had two single beds pushed together and another single bed to the side. The drawback to the rooms were that the lighting in the room was terrible. The bathroom was a little dingy, but nice with tile floor and a walk in shower. This hotel also had an additional mirror to help with getting ready in the morning. The dinner served at the hotel was absolutely amazing but took a while as there was only one person prepping in the kitchen and one man serving our entire group. The hotel also offered an internet cafe for a reasonable price so many people on the tour took advantage of that. There was also a small bar in the hotel with great drinks and great specials. The one strange thing about the hotel was the wake up call which was literally someone coming to our room opening the door and then closing it again. This hotel also only had one key per room. This is a hotel that you have to pack an overnight bag for.

Leonardo Hotel and Residenz, Munich: This hotel was another great one that we stayed in. The beds were comfortable and the room was incredibly nice, clean, and modern. Again we had a double bed and then a single bed in the room. Some people in our group had some issues with the hotel mainly because their rooms were not ready and they had to wait close to an hour to get into their rooms. The bathrooms were really nice with a great walk in shower, but the door to the bathroom is see through, so just be aware of that. The one drawback to the hotel was the fact that it was located away from the city, so we had to get a taxi that was about 20 euro back from the clubs to the hotel. Overall, it was one of the better hotels.

Innsbruck: I'm not quite sure what the name of the hotel we stayed at in Innsburck was, but it was a really nice hotel with a lot of space in the rooms, a great bathroom, and lots of outlets which was great. The hotel served an amazing dinner and the bar was a really great place that was a lot of fun and pretty cheap to drink at. They also had a vending machine in the lobby with cheap beer if you would rather drink that. There was also a computer set up in the lobby that had internet for a small fee. The hotel was about a 20-30 minute walk to the main part of town, but was a very easy walk right along the river.

Park Hotel Venezia, Venice: This was a hotel that I was really not impressed with. First, there are two seperate buildings to the hotel and if you were staying in the building away from the main hotel, it was hard to figure out which door you had to go in to get to the room and the hotel staff was not helpful or friendly at all. Our room also did not have any towels in the bathroom and it took close to ten minutes to get the attention of the staff at the front desk to try and get some towels. There is a tiny bar at the hotel and good luck getting service. They will, however, sell you a bottle of whiskey for a very very cheap price. I really enjoyed the breakfast that we had at this hotel. Rooms were basic and very very small. Also, location of the hotel is not really in Venice and was quite a distance from the ferry stop.

Prime Roma Cassia Hotel, Rome:
I really didn't have a problem with this hotel. We had three single beds in our room and the bathroom was nice. The only strange thing was that we had to put our key in a hole in order to keep the lights on. The bathroom was very nice, but the tub had an issue draining anytime someone took a shower. There was great closet space, which was nice since we were there for two nights and there really wasn't a lot of walking about space in the room. The hotel was off by itself located quite far from the city and there is really nothing around the hotel. There is a little shop/bar about a mile or so up a hill from the hotel that sells alcohol and the amazing giant doughnuts. There is also a great hotel restaurant and a nice hotel bar. You can also get a code at the hotel for 5 euros to get on wifi.

Florence: So I have no idea what the hotel we stayed in Florence was and I can't find my list. This hotel was neither bad nor good, but it did have an elevator that broke and people were stuck in it for quite a long time. There are computers in everyroom, so for a small fee you can use it and get on the internet. The rooms were very small and the bathrooms were very long and the shower was actually cold which I did not enjoy at all. Breakfast, however, made up for my cold shower. The hotel was also located in a very sketchy area and we had to walk down an alley to get to it. It was also located away from the city and we had to get a taxi from the club back to the hotel.

Lowengraben Jail Hotel, Lucerne: To be honest, I absolutely hated this hotel. Yes, it was cool because it had a theme, but I really did not enjoy it. the rooms were very small and dingy and the bathrooms were like little cubicles that were just absolutely nasty. we had three single beds with two of them being bunk beds and the beds were hard, uncomfortable, and the sheets were also tough. You also didn't get a key to the room, you got a code, and I struggled with that several times. There are also no elevators in the hotel and there were quite a lot of stairs to go up. The food however was good and the hotel was located about 5 minutes from the major part of town. This is a hotel that you have to pack an overnight bag for.

Ibis Paris Berthier, Paris: This Ibis was not as nice as the one in Amsterdam, but it was a good hotel. We had three seperate beds again and plenty of room for all of our things. There was also a TV in the room and the bathroom was seperate from the shower and sink which was nice. There are nice restaurants in the hotel and also a nice, but slightly pricey bar in the hotel. Again, this hotel is located outside the main part of the city, and is about a 10 or so minute walk from the closest train station. The staff at this hotel were absolutely AMAZING as they provided a subway map for me the day we got there and were willing to give me advice and then when I was the idiot that overslept and had an hour to get to the airport before my flight they were very very very helpful in arrnaging transportation, calming me down, and then coming out to speak to the driver about the need to get me to the airport quickly, so I was very impressed with their customer service skills.

Overall, there were no hotels that were so terrible that I needed to leave and find another one. Yes, there were a few with problems that I wouldn't recommend, but when I think about what I paid and what I got, I am satisfied. Also, for the most part, the hotels are just somewhere you sleep and get ready, so please don't let them define your trip.

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