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Hotel review – Piergiorgio Palace, Sosua, Dominican Republic

I spent three weeks at the Piergiorgio Palace Hotel whilst learning Spanish in Sosua, Dominican Republic.

Piergiorgio is one of the best known hotels in Sosua and is situated in a residential area around a 10-minute walk from the centre of the town.

For this reason, it proved to be a good choice as it was much quieter than anywhere in the town itself.

The check-in process was very smooth and I was in my room within around 5 minutes of arriving.

The room was clean, comfortable and already pleasantly air-conditioned.

There was also pleasant sea view from my balcony.

Breakfast was included in my rate and there was variety of options.

I tried a couple of dinners, but I preferred to eat out on most evenings because the restaurant tended to play loud and annoying music in the evenings, which fortunately was not audible from my room.

The hotel also has two outdoor swimming pools, of which I made good use during my stay.

Overall, Piergiorgio was the right choice for a three-week stay and reasonably priced at around $72 (£59) per night.

I would happily return to this hotel if I were staying in the area again.

 

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Hotel review – Holiday Inn Montreal Airport

After a superb transatlantic flight with Air Canada, I had a one-night layover in Montreal.

I chose to spend the night at the Holiday Inn close to the airport, using my IHG points.

Shortly before my arrival, I received an e-mail informing me that my booking had been upgraded to a one bedroom suite with a balcony.

The hotel was a short and very easy ride with the hotel’s shuttle, which was sent to collect me after a phone call to the front desk.

My suite was comfortable and well appointed, with a king size bed, living area and kitchen.

There was also a balcony, which I found convenient despite the rather cold weather.

Breakfast, which was included in my booking, was pretty reasonable and included cereals, fruit, yoghurt, juice and coffee, as well as a hot selection of bacon, sausages, scrambled eggs, potatoes and baked beans.

The hotel also has an indoor pool and hot tub, which I was not able to photograph as it was in use for most of the evening.

Photographs can be found on the hotel website.

The water in the larger pool was a little too cold for my personal preference, so I stuck to the hot tub, which was very pleasant.

Overall, this was a convenient, comfortable and good value option at 22,100 IHG points, booked during a 15% off redemptions sale.

This is a hotel I would happily stay at again.

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Hotel review – Millennium Hotel, Paris CDG

I recently had a two night stopover in Paris between flights.

For such a short time, it didn’t make sense to travel to a city hotel when I could stay at the airport and travel to the city without my luggage for the free day.

For that reason I booked the Millennium Hotel a short distance from the airport.

My arrival was complicated slightly by the fact that CDG is very badly signposted and there is very little information about which shuttles depart from which part of the airport. A quick phone call to the hotel established that this particular bus departs from the bus stops between Terminals 2B and 2D.

A further complication was that the shuttle runs only once per hour, at 5 minutes to each hour. Unfortunately I missed one by around 10 minutes.

However, things improved once I actually got to the hotel.

My room was comfortable and reasonably sized and had everything I needed for a short stay, including tea and coffee making facilities, storage space and a mini fridge.

Some of the furniture was a little battered and scuffed and had seen better days, but this was only a minor cosmetic issue and it certainly didn’t reduce my enjoyment of the stay.

The hotel offers a small indoor swimming pool, which was heated to a pleasant temperature and provided a nice opportunity to relax.

The restaurant offers casual meals in the bar area. I didn’t actually try these and couldn’t get any decent photographs as it was very crowded due to a couple of cancelled flights from CDG.

I did, however, try the buffet breakfast, which at €20 was decent value by European standards. The price included bacon, sausages and eggs, as well as bakery items, cold cuts and unlimited juice and coffee.

Again I couldn’t get any decent photographs due to the number of people at the buffet, but it was a fairly standard hotel buffet and I considered the convenience to be worth the price.

Overall, I feel that this hotel offered a perfectly adequate experience for a short stopover and in a city as expensive as Paris, was reasonably priced at €84 per night, excluding breakfast.

Hotel review – Clarion Collection Hotel Folketeateret, Oslo

As part of my two month Scandinavia tour, I spent 5 nights at the Clarion Collection Hotel Folketeateret in Central Oslo.

I had known what to expect from the Clarion Collection chain from my previous visit to one of their properties in Tromsø.

However, I was still impressed with this property.

My Nordic Choice Unlimited Nights package included a room in the “moderate” category, the most basic of several categories.

I was given a small, but well fitted out room.

The deal included buffet breakfasts with a good variety, as well as a single choice main course for dinner.

There was also a small afternoon tea offered each afternoon, as well as a reasonably varied if expensive selection of beers.

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The hotel is also equipped with a nice guest lounge, which is open all day and offers indoor and outdoor seating.

The best thing about this hotel was the location, less than 10 minutes’ walk from Oslo Cetral Station and with a tram stop right outside the door.

However, although I had a public transport pass for the 5 days of my stay, the hotel was central enough to walk to the vast majority of attractions.

Overall, this property was stunning value at around €51 per night with my two month pass.

Normal rates range between around €175 and €250, which for a very central location in a blisteringly expensive city, with meals provided, is not bad for a reasonable level of comfort.

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Hotel review – Hotel Oleana, Bergen

My base for my 3 nights in Bergen was the Hotel Oleana, a centrally located boutique hotel, a 10 minute walk or 2 minute tram ride from the central railway station.

After a quick and efficient check in, I found my room along corridors decorated with colourful images of characters in various stages of undress and opened my door to find my room (or possibly boudoir).

Hotel Oleana, Bergen - room

Feeling rather relieved not to find a mirror stuck to the ceiling, I slept very well on the comfortable bed, aided by the efficient air conditioning. The shower overlooks the rest of the room of course, but this was not an issue for a single traveller and it was hot and refreshing.

There was a minibar, but the price list convinced me to head out for a couple of beers instead.

Hotel Oleana, menu

Breakfast was delicious, with a good range of hot items (actually served hot), smoked salmon, nice cheeses and pastries and good, fresh coffee.

On the morning of my departure, my luggage was stored and sent with a courier to my next hotel in Oslo, while I headed off on the Norway in a Nutshell tour.

I must admit that when I first arrived at this property, the gaudy decor was a little off-putting and I assumed that this was going to be just another “boutique” hotel that places style over substance.

I was wrong. This place has style and substance. It is a comfortable, efficient and thoroughly well run property, which grew on me considerably over the course of my three day stay.

Never judge a book by its cover.

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Hotel review – Clarion Collection Hotel Aurora, Tromsø

My home for the 3 nights in Tromsø was the Clarion Collection Hotel Aurora, booked as part of my Nordic Choice Unlimited Nights package.

The hotel is perfectly situated, right on the picturesque harbour front.

The rooms are comfortable and functional in Scandinavian style.

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The stay included breakfast and like all Clarion Collection Hotels, an evening meal. As this was my first stay at this particular brand, I was a little unsure of what to expect from the evening meal. I was however, pleasantly surprised.

Each meal consisted of a soup of the day and a main course. There was only one choice of main course, but I can honestly say they were all decent. Examples included pork neck and chicken cacciatore. I have pretty universal tastes in food, so I was very happy with it.

There was also a nice salad bar.

Water, orange juice and coffee were included and other drinks were available for purchase.

Breakfast, however, was somewhat of a let down. Most of the cooked dishes – bacon, sausages and meatballs – were stone cold on all three mornings of my stay and the milk ran out within about 20 minutes.

Breakfast aside, I was generally satisfied with my stay and it was superb value as part of my two month Nordic Choice pass, at a cost of €3,000 for 58 nights, which works out at a little under €52 per night.

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Hotel review – Comfort Hotel Runway, Oslo Airport

Prior to my flight to Tromsø, I parked up at Oslo Airport and stayed overnight at the Comfort Hotel Runway, a 10 minute bus ride from the terminal.

This is an airport hotel, designed for one night stays before or after flights and that is reflected in the facilities provided.

With that said, I was perfectly happy with the comfort of my room, which had a double bed, functioning air conditioning and a hot shower, which is all I really cared about for a one-night airport stay.

As a bonus, there was a nice view of the airport taxi ways.

I have to say the food was a bit of a let down. Guests have to option of dining at the restaurant belonging to a neighbouring hotel, but there is very little choice of food on site. I ended up dropping the better part of $20 on a microwaved taco and a soft drink.

Breakfast was limited with the usual bacon and eggs and the addition of a few cold cuts. However, the juice and milk had run out so I was stuck with water and black coffee.

Honestly, this hotel is a perfectly acceptable option for a one-night layover, but the catering is poor. I would recommend eating before arrival or choosing one of the similarly priced options on the other side of the airport, with more options nearby.

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