Tag: hotel

Park Inn By Radisson Nevsky – Saint Petersburg, Russia

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I have stayed at the Park Inn by Radisson (Nevsky) on two separate occasions, and it is by far my favorite hotel in all of Saint Petersburg, Russia.

Park Inn by Radisson is centrally located in a great part of Saint Petersburg.  You are just steps away from the huge Galeria mall, with many levels of shopping, dining, and entertainment.  The hotel is also across the street from the entrance to the Metro, and just steps away from the famous Nevsky Prospekt, where you can find any store to satisfy your shopping desires, or any food to satisfy your hunger.

My most recent stay at the Park Inn by Radisson was in August of 2015.  I was flying from Kos, Greece to Saint Petersburg overnight, which had my flight arriving in Saint Petersburg at 3:30am.  Based on my past travels, that put me arriving in the hotel around 4:30am.  Since this was well before check-in time,  i had contacted the hotel to see if it was ok for me to check in VERY early, or if i needed to purchase another night to cover these few hours.  The girl at the hotel confirmed that there was no need to purchase another night, and she would notate my reservation to allow for check in at 4:00am.

I landed in Saint Petersburg, Russia, and breezed through customs/immigration.  Within 20 minutes of landing, I was outside the airport and in a cab on my way to the hotel.

When the cab pulled up to the hotel, my excitement began to build.  I had not slept in over two days, and was looking forward to the few hours of rest I would get before my fiancee met me at 9am.

I walked into the welcoming entry of the hotel, and was greeted by a young, but friendly front desk clerk.  I handed him my passport and reservation.  He seemed puzzled at my arrival, and began to enter my information.  After a few minutes, he handed my passport back, and explained that there were no rooms for me to check in to.  My heart immediately fell.  I was tired, had traveled for 2 and a half days straight, and just wanted to sleep!

The front desk worker saw the notation on my reservation that read “Guaranteed Early Check In At 4am per *the girls name*”.  He shook his head and told me that this girl who did this was new, and did not understand that Friday night (the night that was finishing) the hotel was at 100% occupancy.  The following night (day i was checking in) the hotel had only 80% occupancy, so there were many rooms to accommodate a very early check in time.

The young clerk could see that i was tired, and had traveled a long way.  He told me not to worry, and that he would find me an alternative solution.  After a few minutes, he presented me with three potential ideas.

1.) There was a hotel down the street that i could stay at.  The rate for the next 5 hours would be $275.00 USD.  I quickly turned down this offer.

2.) The second choice was to stay at their sister hotel for free (since it was their mistake).  The only problem with this option was that the hotel was on the other side of the river, and all of the drawbridges w
ere up.  The earliest I could get to the other hotel was 6am.  I turned down this option.

3.)  The third option, “is free”.  There was a couch in the corner of the lobby, he offered to w
atch my bag while i slept in the lobby.  I was so tired, that i didn’t care where i slept.  I figured it was free, and safe, as there was a security guard stationed just 5 minutes from the couch.

I went over to the couch, took out my blanket, put on my eye mask, hugged my leather bag with all my personal items, and fell asleep.

About an hour later, the front desk man came over and began to shake me.  “Mr. John.  There is a room available if you would like”.  I shot right up, grabbed the key from his hand, and ran up to my room.  The door was not even shut before my clothes were off, and i jumped into bed.  I set my alarm, and was off to sleep.

The next morning, we were presented with two coupons for free breakfast.  This was a nice touch.

I love the Park Inn by Radisson Hotel.  The staff has always been friendly, helpful, and try to do the best they can.  The location is great, and the price is awesome.  This is one of the best hotels for the money in Saint Petersburg.  The rooms are clean, modern, and fresh.  Bathrooms are nice, but i hate the showers. I understand that these are common for Europe, but it’s tough for me to get used to them.

In short, if you find yourself in Saint Petersburg, you should pay a visit to the Park Inn by Radisson on Nevsky.

About the Author: The Travel Wolf

The Travel Wolf (a.k.a. John) is a freelance aviation/airline writer, frequent traveler and avid airline enthusiast. I feel most at home when I am 30,000 feet in the air and watching the clouds from above. I love the smell of jet exhaust in the morning!

Dorint Airport-Hotel Zürich

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My friends and I recently spent a night at the Dorint Airport-Hotel in Zurich, Switzerland. It was an overall pleasant experience and I would recommend this hotel to anyone looking for a place to stay near the airport.

For the past week, I found myself traveling through Germany, Switzerland, Greece, and Russia.  Our flight home had a long layover in Zurich, Switzerland, so we decided to get a hotel for the night.  We were shocked at the insane prices.  This was the cheapest option at $325 USD per night.

We later found out from a cab driver that hotels in Zurich charge not by the room size like in most of the world, but per bed.  Since there were 3 of us, we could never find a thing for less than $300/night.  $100/bed (person).

This hotel was literally 90 seconds by cab from the airport.  However, the 90 second cab ride will cost you $26 USD.  The route is not walkable.  Cabs are required.

We walked into the Dorint Airport-Hotel Zürich and were instantly satisfied with our choice.  You could tell that this was a higher end establishment, and overall, well worth the $325 for one night.

The man working the front desk greeted us with a smile, and made check-in a quick and easy process.  He also gave us slips with logins for the free Wi-Fi…. ANYWHERE!  We had spent the past week paying obnoxious amounts of money for terrible quality Wi-Fi in our hotel lobby.  It was nice to get it anywhere for free.  In the room, bar, outside, anywhere.

We decided to head up to our room, and were pleasantly surprised.  This was one of the nicest hotel rooms I have ever seen in my travels around the world.  Since there were three of us, we had 2 rooms in one.  There was the big room with a king sized bed, and then a small room to the side with a roll away bed.  Since my flight departed very early in the morning, i took the roll away bed in the small room.

The bathroom was spotless and sparkling clean.  The shower was also very enjoyable.  The shower head was almost a feeling of being in a warm rain shower. It was cool.

We decided to head down to the hotel bar and enjoy a beer after the long frustrating day we had just had.  I was hungry and wanted to eat, but there was nothing around the hotel within walking distance.  The hotel bar offered a tiny ‘limited menu’.  These were basically peanuts, cheeses, and a microwaved pasta plate.  I opted for the pasta plate, as it was better than nothing.  I honestly don’t think I have ever spent $28 on re-heated noodles before in my life.  Either way, it was pretty darn good.

After my friends grabbed another beer, the bartender began cleaning up for the night.  We decided to go outside and sit on the couches.  We enjoyed the cool Swiss air for a while, and headed back inside to go to bed.

The next morning when I left to head back to the airport, a cab arrived within 2 minutes.  This time, the ride to the airport took almost twice as long.  3 whole minutes.  However, it was another $26 charge…

Overall, this hotel is great if you are looking for a place to stay near Zurich Airport (ZRH).  Be prepared to spend a lot of money, as Zurich is the most expensive city in the world.

About the Author: The Travel Wolf

The Travel Wolf (a.k.a. John) is a freelance aviation/airline writer, frequent traveler and avid airline enthusiast. I feel most at home when I am 30,000 feet in the air and watching the clouds from above. I love the smell of jet exhaust in the morning!

Atlantis Hotel – Kos, Greece

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The Atlantis Hotel is a 510 room hotel situated right on the beaches of the sea.  I stayed at this hotel for a few nights and have a mixed opinion on the overall experience that we had.

While planning our trip to Greece for a friends wedding, we wanted to find a reasonably priced hotel that was situated near the town of Kos, but also near or on the beach.

There were many options available, but based on price, reviews, and photos, we decided on the Atlantis Hotel on the North East side of the island.

The Atlantis Hotel is about 45 minutes from the airport, and about a 35-50 Euro cab ride.  Upon arrival, there was a long wait to check in to our room.  Since there were four of us traveling together, we had booked a four person room, and were very curious to see how the arrangement of beds would work out.

After waiting about 20 minutes to check in, the front desk receptionist walked us to our room.  Since there were four of us, we were placed in a building a few minutes walk from the main hotel.  There were no elevators, so we had to carry our overly heavy suitcases up 3-4 flights of stairs.

Once we arrived in the room, we were pleasantly surprised.  The bathroom was simple, yet clean.  The main room contained two small single beds, a table with chairs, and a kitchen area complete with stove, refrigerator sink, etc. The main bedroom led out to the balcony, and contained one large bed, and an older television.

The only room with any type of air conditioning was the main bedroom.  However, it was very weak and would keep the room slightly cool at best.

Since I was due to leave and fly to Russia, I had to shower and get ready.  Upon entering the shower, i instantly became frustrated with the water, and then the shower curtain, as the rod and curtain fell down completely!

A few days later, I returned to the hotel after my trip to Russia.  Things had turned from normal to bad.  The room had not been cleaned in days.  The towels were the same ones, and it was just overall disgusting.

I went to the front desk with our old towels and politely asked for new ones.  The front desk receptionist told me “i am sorry, but we only give new towels every few days”.  I was shocked! “Every few days!”  That is one of the most disgusting things I had ever heard.  After a few minutes of arguing and fighting, they finally agreed to send up “just a few” new towels to shower with.

The room had not been cleaned in days, and i had asked about this as well.  Luckily, the next day a housekeeper appeared and cleaned the room, but at this point, it had been 5 days without a cleaning.

The Wi-Fi in the hotel is NOT free, but is cheap.  The downside is that a connection is only available in the lobby, and it is a very weak signal.  I was not able to make calls on Skype/WhatsApp/Facetime, and sending a plain text email took 2-3 minutes to “send” from the outbox.  This was a major let down since I had some work that needed done.

The food was good.  We didn’t purchase the “all inclusive” plan, but ate all of our meals at the hotels facilities.  No one ever checked or asked, so we didn’t bring it up.  The food was all in buffet style format.  Overall, I thought the quality and quantity was good.  You could never leave a meal hungry, but, you could find yourself running from the table back up to your hotel room bathroom.

The hotel offered a pool area and the beach.  The pool was nice, but overrun with families and children.  We relaxed by the pool and enjoyed complimentary snack and coffee.

The beach area was ok, but nothing incredible.  The hotel next to Atlantis Hotel was called “AquaBlu”, and offered an amazing beach that was much better than the Atlantis beach just a few steps away.

The reason I complain about the beach at the Atlantis Hotel, is that it was very rocky.  I enjoy fine grainy sand, and don’t like walking and hurting my feet on stones and rocks of all sizes.  Also, as you entered the water, you could only walk out about 5-6 feet before it dropped off completely.  I really hated this.  It was similar to the water I had experienced in Abu Dhabi a few months earlier.

Since this beach experience was a bit dissapointing, my friend and I walked down the beach to the “AquaBlu” hotel.  As we walked, there were big signs that read “Do Not Enter.  Restricted Military Area”.  Since the corner of the island where Atlantis Hotel and AquaBlu meet is directly across from Bodrum, Turkey, they are an epicenter of refugees entering Europe.  Each night, hundreds or even thousands of refugees will get on to small inflatable rafts, and make their way across the sea to Kos, Greece.  As we walked along the beach, we could see washed up rafts, life vests strewn about, and personal items scattered everywhere.  It was crazy to think about what these items represented.  These were people that made their way from oppression in Syria, through Turkey, and now into Europe.

After crossing through this restricted Military area, we found ourselves on the wonderful beach of AquaBlu.  The reason we did not stay at this hotel, was simply because of price.  A room for us would have been in the $300-400/night range, compared to $100/night for the Atlantis Hotel.

The beach of AquaBlu was amazing.  Finely grained sand.  No rocks.  

As you enter the warm water, you could walk out for what seemed an eternity.  After enjoying the water for a few minutes, we saw a friend of ours named Robert.  He joined us, and we played a fun game with a ball in the water.  I will never forget standing in the water and looking at everything around me.  To the left side was Turkey (Asia), and to the right was Greece (Europe).  It was so cool being at a crossroads like this in the world.  We had fun with our game, and then went to relax on the beach for a while.

My overall opinion on the Atlantis Hotel is this. If you are looking for a nice, safe, clean place to stay in Kos, then this is perfect for the budget minded traveler.  If you have the means to spend more, then stay at the AquaBlu hotel.

The Wi-Fi is a let down, and the staff at this hotel is miserable.  I did not encounter a single helpful, friendly, or courteous person during our entire stay.  The food is good, and the beach is acceptable.

There is a small store next to the hotel where you can buy anything you might need.  Seriously.  ANYTHING.

Also, the thing that bothered us the most with our (4) person room was that we only had ONE key.  Yes.  One key for (4) people.  That was very troublesome, because it meant we always needed to remain together.  The hotel had no other keys, and it was impossible to ask an employee to let you into the room.

If I ever returned to Kos, I would not stay at the Atlantis Hotel.

About the Author: The Travel Wolf

The Travel Wolf (a.k.a. John) is a freelance aviation/airline writer, frequent traveler and avid airline enthusiast. I feel most at home when I am 30,000 feet in the air and watching the clouds from above. I love the smell of jet exhaust in the morning!