Hotel Report- ASIA

CLUB CARLSON

Park Plaza Beijing

 

I did enjoy this hotel. First time at this brand. Great location and the staff was pretty friendly. I got a corner room so that was nice. Beijing is a big city and I wanted to get a feel for as much of it as possible so I stayed at this location for 2 nights. I did not like this brand as much as the Starwood hotels but not disappointing just less luxurious.
The best part about this hotel was that the staff spoke excellent english. I know this is a little shallow but after so much time in Asia at this point it was actually a relief to be able to communicate with ease.
NOT unlike almost all hotels on this Asia trip there was a bit of aggressive  communication required to get the benefits I expected due to the hotel membership level I have. Its always amusing to me that if you say nothing at check-in reception will try to put you in the worst possible room if you say nothing so dont be ashamed to speak up as they have no shame in their game!
By speaking up I got access to the club level lounge which included buffet breakfast and happy hour. Often times it means a nicer room.

 

When I was planning for this Asia trip I was trying to decide between Krabi and Phuket in Thailand. The decision depended on a few things like direct flights and cost. It was a really tough choice but I decided to go with Phuket. With my situation with not having any other immediate plans to return to Asia I wanted to make the most out of the stay. I saw so many nice boutique hotels but since I did not belong to their loyalty programs I was hesitant to stay with them with the exception of Twin Palms. The website and reviews just blew me away so I decided to split my time in Phuket between Twin Palms and Le Royal Meridien.

 

Twin Palms

 

TwinPalm – Phuket

 

It was a good decision as Twin Palm was very very nice. The hotel was very modern and had a definite feel of exclusivity. I took a taxi from the Meridien here and driving up I knew it was special. Unlike Le Meridien, it was not exactly on the beach. It was a short walk across the street to the beach. There was an outdoor restaurant and bar area…very nice.

The bathroom area for my room was something I’ve never experienced before in that there was a sunken tub so you are walking at floor level and the tub is below floor level…if that makes sense. Although my pictures are not very good –  sorry –  the property has a feel of sophistication.

Although the beach was nice it was not as nice as Le Royal Meridien which was more secluded and not accessible by anyone outside of the property. The Twin Palm beach was about a 5 minute walk with dedicated attendants and chairs. The dinning area over looked the beach area which was very nice but as with the location there was opportunity for vendors where not an issue at the Meridien so that may be something to consider. Also the dining was a very relaxed setting where as back at the property there was a more upscale  setting.

 

Twin Palms Room

Twin Palms Hotel - Phuket Thailand

Twin Palms Hotel – Phuket Thailand

 

 

Shopping Dinning Road near Twin Palms Hotel - Phuket Thailand

Shopping Dinning Road near Twin Palms Hotel – Phuket Thailand

STARWOOD

I belong to several hotel programs but tend to stay at Starwood properties when possible (W Hotel, Sheraton, Westin etc.)

 

 

Le Royal Meridien Chiang Mai 

Chiang Mai just like every place else was AGONY making a final decision as to where to stay. I mean I do have a budget so it was a no brainer that I had to pick a Starwood property. I guess that may sound strange to a lot of folks as Starwood  properties are not to be frowned upon and I know this but as an American Express member with the Starwood cards you can accrue points pretty quickly and their rewards program is one of the best out there so it can become very affordable using their cash+points option.

 

This was a good choice. The location was very central to the night market and a quick walk to most places you want to be but no place is central to EVERYTHING. I love to walk so maybe its a little farther than I think but I thought that most things were in walking distance. Maybe about 20-35 minutes.

The hotel is modern and the food is very good. Boutique hotels are great but I do feel a bit of relief staying at a chain like Starwood as you expect a certain level in the accommodation. And you do feel a certain level of opportunity to reach out to customer service if things dont go as expected. This is especially important to me as I normally travel solo.

Meridien – Phuket
Le Royal Meridien
Meridien – Chiang Mai

The rooms at the Meridien in Phuket affords views of the beach. I think all rooms but I maybe mistaken. There are at least four dining choices and it was nice to take meals and drinks down at the beach. Very laid back and staff was very friendly. I felt completely comfortable solo here.

 

 

 

Poolside – Meridien Phuket
Le Royal Meridien – Chiang Mai

 

Meridien Chiang Mai
Meridien Phuket

 

Le Meridien – Shopping Phuket
Beach – Le Meridien Phuket
Buffett – Chiang Mai
TwinPalms Room – Phuket
Birthday Surprise – Thanks Royal Meridien – Chiang Mai
Poolside – Le Meridien Phuket
Gym – Le Meridien

 

 

 

So as I mentioned I left the Carlson property to head over to the Sheraton and wow what a difference. The location I would say was better and just a nicer property. Here in the states the Sheraton brand is not really highly regarded but abroad… yes pretty nice. The buffet was outstanding and pool/spa not lacking in any aspect.  This Sheraton is a Dongcheng District.

 

Again, all experiences at the Starwood properties were very nice no complaints. From, food, accommodation, location and service all good. I was very happy with the choices and recommend any of the three.

Here are some pics from the Sheraton in Beijing.

 

Spa and gym entrance – Sheraton Beijing
Indoor Pool – Sheraton Beijing