Tag Archives: hotel review

SEA 2014: Bunwin Boutique Hotel, Siem Reap, Cambodia

We stayed at the Bunwin Boutique Hotel for our time in Siem Reap, and I’d be happy to return again in the future. This was a solid, affordable choice with comfortable rooms, good amenities, and eager service.

The hotel offers free airport pickup and dropoff, which is done via either limo or tuk tuk. We got a tuk tuk. They also offer free tuk tuk service within Siem Reap, which is convenient for going out to dinner and such, and they give you a cell phone so that you can call them to request pick up when you’re done

Upon entering the hotel, it definitely feels intimate and boutiquey. There aren’t that many rooms, so you’re unlikely to run into that many other people, and the staff is friendly and eager to please.

Hotel lobby

Hotel lobby

Bar area

Bar area

Hotel pool

Hotel pool

What was slightly awkward was that we arrived to our hotel room to find a drawn bath full of flower petals. I understand that many of the tourists who come to this hotel are probably couples, but I’m not sure how many couples request twin beds. I’m sure most couples would appreciate the gesture, but my sister and I found it awkward. We also couldn’t actually drain the bath, and it ended up taking over an hour for the hotel to fix it (to be fair, the hotel manager was very gracious and wanted to make up any mistakes to us).

Twin beds

Twin beds

Unrequested romantic bath

Unrequested romantic bath

Functional room

Functional room

Rain head shower

Rain head shower

The hotel also offers tour services at very competitive prices. We hired our drivers and tour guides through the hotel and were generally happy, although we felt that the tour guide was most useful for taking pictures.

Hotel price list for tours

Hotel price list for tours

I also enjoyed breakfast each morning. They had a menu of western and Asian options, and I–being the fattie that I am–was able to request multiple servings with no problems (well, aside from the fact that many servers are often incredulous about the volume of food that I want to and can eat and then assume that they’re misunderstanding me due to a language barrier). The food wasn’t fancy, but it was tasty, and there were enough options on the menu that I didn’t feel bored after 4 days.

Upstairs dining area

Upstairs dining area

Breakfast bread basket

Breakfast bread basket

Fried noodles with eggs

Fried noodles with eggs

At the time that we stayed at the hotel, they also offered a promotion where people staying at least 3 nights would receive free hour-long massages at one of their sister hotels. The massages were good and appreciated.

Overall, I really enjoyed this hotel. The price was great, the rooms were comfortable, the amenities were good, and the service was eager. At the end of our stay, we left a very large tip just because we felt like the hotel was so underpriced for the value that we got.

SEA 2014: Golden Time Hostel 2 Hanoi, Vietnam

I normally wouldn’t write up a review of a hostel stay, but I feel like the Golden Time Hostel 2 in Hanoi deserves a special mention.

It’s not fancy by any means (but it’s a step up from a normal hostel since all of the rooms are private rooms), but the service was incredible. The front desk was staffed by some of the most service-oriented and friendly people that I’ve ever encountered at a place of lodging. Ann in particular always remembers who you are, who you’re with, what you’re doing, details about what you like, and she’s always willing to help out with anything that you need. She could work at any 5-star hotel and teach them about hospitality.

DSC05507 DSC05508 DSC05509Again, the facilities aren’t fancy, but it’s clean and comfortable. The beds and pillows might be a little hard, and the first day that we stayed there the electricity occasionally cut out (which was annoying mostly because it meant that the air conditioning would need to be turned back on), but the location is fantastic (super close to Hoan Kiem Lake and tons of good food around), and it’s very affordable (right now, starting at $20 per room per night). They also serve breakfast, but you should be exploring the streets of Hanoi instead for all of your meals.

When I go back to Hanoi, I’d be happy to stay here again, and I heartily recommend it to anyone who doesn’t need fancy accommodations but wants to experience great hospitality.

 

Hotel Review: Radisson Miraflores Decapolis, Lima Peru

Disclosure: I’m really behind on trip reports, so this hotel stay actually happened in January 2014. Although I try to take good notes, some aspects of trip report might be a bit fuzzy.

I booked a weekend trip to Lima, Peru on a whim, largely because I saw a good fare on The Flight Deal (an awesome site that all travelers should subscribe to). Since I was just staying for a long weekend, I only needed 2 nights at a hotel, and I ended up booking at the Radisson Miraflores Decapolis for 38k Club Carlson points (last night free). From talking with my friends who had spent time in Lima, Miraflores was described as a hip area to be with lots of good food and shopping (not that I care about the latter), and I can confirm that it was a good location for me to walk around and explore.

My flight from the US arrived around 1am, so I jumped in a cab to the hotel. Since I was tired and don’t speak Spanish, I just got a fixed price taxi from the airport, which was 45 soles (~$15 USD), although they first tried to charge me more by pointing to a sign that was confusing.

At check-in, they gave me a room on the 11th floor, which is the highest floor of the hotel that still has rooms. But they didn’t tell me that only one set of elevators would get me to my room, and so I ended up wandering up the wrong set of elevators and getting lost when all I wanted to do was sleep. I had also inquired about late check-out since my return flight was departing at 2:30am, but the front desk refused to offer anything except on day of departure. In general, the front desk staff was extremely unhelpful throughout my stay.

It's a bed!

It’s a bed!

Other room furnishings

Other room furnishings

Bathroom

Bathroom

Welcome amenity (not very tasty)

Welcome amenity (not very tasty)

Breakfast in the morning was decent. The service was great and attentive, but the food itself was mediocre. There’s also a made-to-order menu, and it was fine for me to order multiple things off of that menu.

Breakfast spread

Breakfast spread

More breakfast

More breakfast

And more breakfast

And more breakfast

And more

And more

Restaurant seating area

Restaurant seating area

The roof of the hotel has a cool bar/lounge/pool area. There wasn’t that much usage during the day, but it was more busy at night. I’m not sure that I’d seek this place out if I weren’t staying at the hotel, but it could be a place for a chill night if you’re already there.

Hotel pool

Hotel pool

Lounge seating on the roof near the pool

Lounge seating on the roof near the pool

Fitness room

Fitness room

Numerous reviews online had also mentioned that you get a free $10 bar credit for staying at the hotel. I’m not really a drinker, but given that I was in Lima, I thought I might as well take advantage of it and get a Pisco Sour one night. Before I ordered, I confirmed with both the front desk and the bartender that I would get a $10 credit as a hotel guest. But at check out, I saw that I had a charge for the drink (which I drank approximately 10% of), which led to a somewhat awkward exchange. The person checking me out said that award stays weren’t eligible for the $10 bar credit, while I said that numerous people had confirmed that I was eligible, and then we just kinda stood there for 30 seconds with him looking exasperated at me. Granted, it was only $10, but I wouldn’t have ordered the drink otherwise… Anyway, after me looking pathetically at him, he waived the charge.

It was also an ordeal to get late check out. As I said before, every time I asked, the front desk said that I could only request it on the day of departure. So a little after midnight on my day of departure, I asked the front desk for late check out, and they said I needed to ask in the morning. So I asked when in the morning, and they said they weren’t sure, but the earlier the better as it’s first-come-first-served. I asked why they couldn’t take my request now, and they just kinda shrugged at me and were unhelpful, so I asked them to write down my request for the next shift. Granted, I don’t stay in hotels that frequently, but the whole situation seemed a bit ridiculous.

Finally, the internet in the hotel was painfully slow. I actually ended up using the 2G connection on my phone for all of my internet needs rather than the hotel wifi.

Overall, the hotel has a pretty good location in Miraflores and Club Carlson offers some awesome values with the last night free on award stays, but I probably wouldn’t stay at this hotel again. The service was generally pretty unhelpful, the wifi is not useful, and the hotel isn’t anything special. But perhaps my requests were unreasonable and my experience anomalous, as lots of the reviews of the hotel are pretty positive, so it’s probably a case of YMMV.