Tag Archives: hotels

Hotel Review: Radisson Blu Plaza Oslo

Dr Frederick Ee is a medical doctor, author, blogger and traveler. He discovered his passion for travel on his first long-haul trip to New York City in 2012. His quest for premium travel experiences started on that very same flight as he endured a smelly foot beside him from the passenger behind him for the 24 hours of flight from Singapore to New York. He blogs at goodhotelreview.blogspot.com, focusing on hotel experiences. His most memorable moment of travel was to participate in the resuscitation of a collapsed patient during a long flight to Paris. Feel free to add him on Facebook with a message and his Instagram at @drfrederickee

He would like to thank MileLion for having him as a guest writer and hope readers would enjoy his writings and musings.


Radisson Blu Plaza Hotel Oslo

Good location, and a dirty cloth

Stayed Jan 2016

Published Apr 2016

After a great visit of Amsterdam and seeing the many attractions including the canals, museums and the buildings, I stopped in Oslo for the weekend before heading to Reykjavik.

The biggest reason I wanted to visit Oslo was to see the Opera House and the statue of Ms Kirsten Flagstad, the renowned Wagnerian soprano.

The search for hotels began with personal favourite Starwood, which turned out to be zero, and finally I found several Radisson (Club Carlson) hotels.

Since I was going to be in Oslo for just the weekend, I needed somewhere central and considering all the factors, the answer was clearly the Radisson Blu Plaza Hotel.

Located at the central terminal connecting the airport express to the city, it was ideal for easy transfers.

So I arrived at the airport and was able to buy return tickets for the airport express with my credit card (I didn’t have any Norwegian Krone with me).

This took me smoothly to the city and the hotel was just a 2 min walk away.

The front desk was on the ground floor and was extremely busy. It was a good 20min of waiting before my turn.

As a Gold Club Carlson member, I was upgraded to a Business Room on a high floor.

The room was of a good size, however, there was no complimentary bottled water. I was advised to drink from the tap by the staff.

The bathroom was on the small size but it managed to fit a bathtub and I was happy to have warm tiles to step on in the cold weather.

The bath amenities are the standard Radisson Blu’s. It was ok but I preferred my own. Or the Ferragamo from the Waldorf Astoria.

I had a room with city view and the height of the hotel does provide a good panorama.

The hotel has a good (but not excellent) breakfast service and this is obvious from the crowd every morning.

 

 

 

There are some hot dishes and with scrambled and hard-boiled eggs. Not a lavish buffet but definitely great to start the day with.

The sauna, gym and pool are located in the upper floors of the building and one must climb some stairs to reach them.

The pool is small but heated. And no one was using it at all.

 

Right at the top is the small gym, offering glorious views of the fjord.

A very functional stay without much issues.

Except, the dirty cloth in the room when I checked in.

I have no idea if it was left behind by the previous guest or the housekeeping, but it should not be there. Right?

 

Happy and Healthy Travels to all!

Hilton points on sale for 0.5 cents each, interesting opportunities available

Hilton is having a 100% bonus on purchased points from now till 3 June 2016. This allows you to buy points for 0.5 US cents each. This is a non-targeted promotion, so anyone regardless of status or stay history will be able to access it.

hhonorssale

You are limited to a maximum of 160,000 purchased points (base + bonus) per year, so you max this out at US$800 and 160,000 points.

Buying points at 0.5 US cents each can make sense if you have a high value redemption in mind. Here are some ideas

Idea 1: Conrad Koh Samui

In my post on how to hack the Conrad Koh Samui, I mentioned how you could save more than 50% of the listed price just by buying points.

conradusm

Rooms here go at 80,000 or 95,000 points per night, depending on time of year. If you buy points at 0.5 US cents each, you’re paying US$400 or US$475 a night, quite a deal at a property where the going rate is usually double that.

If you’re seriously considering going to the Conrad Koh Samui I’d strongly advise you to read a few of the tips in the hacking article. It could save you quite a bit of money

Idea 2: Conrad Maldives

Or how about the Conrad Maldives?

Rates here can be upwards of US$900 a night, but with your 95,000 HHonors points bought at 0.5 US cents each, you’re looking at a good discount.

conradmaldives

Idea 3: New York on New Year’s Eve

Suppose you want to be in Times Square New York over New Year’s eve. Check out those prices…

hhonorshack

$4K+ for a hotel in Times Square! But if you use your HHonors points, the same room gets cut to US$475. Hardly a steal, but if you’re determined to be there no matter what…

Idea 4: Arbitrage at some low category HHonors properties

There’s something to be said about functionality too. If the glitz and glamor of Times Square on NY eve or a private island in the Maldives doesn’t appeal to you, you can still get a very good discount on low-tier Hhonors properties.

Doubletree KL- Cat 2, US$50

Here is the current Hilton award chart. Note the prices for hotels in Category 1 and 2. 5,000 points is basically US$25, and 10,000 points is US$50. These are great rates if you can find a property you intend to stay in

hiltonaward

So what are some useful properties in these categories? The definition of “useful” will of course vary depending on your travel pattern, but here are some suggestions

  • DoubleTree by Hilton Johor (Cat 2)
  • DoubleTree by Hilton KL (Cat 2)
  • DoubleTree by Hilton Penang (Cat 2)
  • Hilton Garden Inn Hanoi (Cat 2)
  • DoubleTree by Hilton Beijing (Cat 2)
  • DoubleTree by Hilton Suzhou (Cat 2)
  • Hilton Garden Inn Shenzhen (Cat 1)
  • Virtually every Hilton in Egypt is Cat 1
  • Hampton Inn Bakersfield (Cat 2- don’t laugh. It’s a useful rest stop if you’re making the drive between San Francisco and Los Angeles)

Conclusion

Remember that if you’re a top-tier elite, you can request a Hilton Diamond status match. Diamond status allows you to bypass minimum stay requirements during peak periods. Some properties may have 2 or 3 night minimum stays around New Year’s Eve or other big public holidays, but if you’re a Diamond that doesn’t affect you.

As with all promotions, I don’t recommend buying points speculatively, but if you have a trip coming up, why not see if you can make this work to your advantage?

Hotel Review: Andaz Amsterdam

Dr Frederick Ee is a medical doctor, author, blogger and traveler. He discovered his passion for travel on his first long-haul trip to New York City in 2012. His quest for premium travel experiences started on that very same flight as he endured a smelly foot beside him from the passenger behind him for the 24 hours of flight from Singapore to New York. He blogs at goodhotelreview.blogspot.com, focusing on hotel experiences. His most memorable moment of travel was to participate in the resuscitation of a collapsed patient during a long flight to Paris. Feel free to add him on Facebook with a message and his Instagram at @drfrederickee

He would like to thank MileLion for having him as a guest writer and hope readers would enjoy his writings and musings.


Andaz Amsterdam: Deserves an A and no less

Smooth from the Start to the End

Visited Jan 2016
Published Apr 2016

Entrance

After the elegant (and missing George Clooney) Intercontinental Amstel, my next hotel was the Andaz which I was keen to try as a new Hyatt Diamond member.

There are 2 Hyatt hotels in Amsterdam and 1 of them is at the airport. I prefer to be able to return to the hotel to rest in the afternoon and hence, am not too fond of staying at the airport.

So the Andaz was my only consideration.

The name of the hotel in full is the Andaz Amsterdam Prinsengracht.

The theme of the hotel is the ‘Prince of Lost Dreams’, which according to the Facebook of the hotel:

” The prince who gave his name to the Prinsengracht (Prince’s Canal) is also remembered as the ‘Prince of Lost Dreams’.
This prince was known to answer questions of people in such a way that
they were able to vividly remember their inner strengths and most
exciting dreams.
The Andaz Prince represents this legendary personality.
The silent scream of the Andaz Prince also has magic powers of its own. “

The statues of the mystical Prince are scattered throughout the hotel and can also be seen in the picture of the entrance above.

Continue reading Hotel Review: Andaz Amsterdam