Monday, July 24, 2017

Stay Report: Hyatt Regency, Savannah (July 2017)

Stay Report: Hyatt Regency, Savannah
comment below and let me know your thoughts :)

We were traveling to Savannah and wanted a nice hotel near the waterfront in downtown.  The night before we were going to be there, the Hyatt had award room available with two double beds so I booked that.  The hotel itself is located right on the waterfront, and right in the middle of downtown thus making it easily accessible and walkable to many of the downtown sites and attractions.  From the outside, the hotel looks a bit old and thus first impressions of the hotel are not good.

The entrance to the hotel is on one of the main streets, and the back of the hotel faces and has an entrance to the waterfront.  Parking is available at the hotel, but only valet parking.  From the street, you walk up a ramp and you enter into the huge lobby.  The lobby is an open atrium with large windows thus making the lobby look and feel very large, open, and grand. 

As you enter into the lobby, on the right is the restaurant and coffee bar, straight ahead is the sitting area, and to your left are the check in desks and elevators.  We arrived at the hotel at 4:30p, and even though checkin time is at 4pm our room was still not ready.  Overall checkin was not very efficient as no details regarding the hotel were given.  The lobby had complimentary water so we drank that and relaxed in the sitting area looking outside the windows which overlooked the river.  Half an hour later, I went back to a more experience checkin attendant who gave us a room instantly.  We received our key and took our room to the 6th floor.

The elevators are glass elevators which allow you to look out into the open atrium as you go up to your room.  The rooms are located on either side of the atrium, and thus can either have an atrium view, the street view, or the riverfront view.  We were on the side with the street view.  The rooms themselves were nicely updated and spacious.

As you entered into the room, on the left was the closet area with a closet on one side and cabinet on the other which contained the mini fridge and safe. The closet contained an iron and ironing board.  As you passed through this area you entered into the bathroom, which was a decent size and contained a sink, shower, and toilet along with standard Hyatt toiletries.  As you entered into the room, on left had side along the wall was a chest of drawers with a TV on top and storage on the bottom. Next to the TV was a desk with chairs on both sides; however, there was not enough room between the TV and the desk to fit both chairs so it was a bit tight.  On the other side were the two beds which were a good size and very comfortable.  In between the beds was a nightstand with a lamp, and lamp contained power outlets.  In fact, there were power outlets available throughout the room which was very welcome.

Other amenities in the hotel included a sun deck, a garden deck, an indoor pool, a gym, and free WiFi. As we were only there for one day, I only got to try the free WiFi which was only fast enough for email but not for streaming videos.  The TV was technically a ‘smart’ TV Andy could choose to watch Netflix or YouTube; we tried to watch both but the speed was so slow that nothing would load.  The pool deck and the garden deck were both nice, and the indoor gym was very large.

Overall, it was a nice stay at the Hyatt.  It was a nice, updated hotel that is conveniently located.  The only downside would be the slow WiFi but other than that, a nice hotel.

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Stay Report: DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel & Suites Houston by the Galleria (July 2017)

Stay Report: DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel & Suites Houston by the Galleria (updated)
comment below and let me know your thoughts :)

I have been to the Galleria area in Houston many times and have tried many hotels in the area (see previous blog post) - some good, while others not so much.  I like to try new hotels, but also sometimes try and revisit hotels I have previously stayed at that I enjoyed.  One such hotel was the DoubleTree by Hilton Houston Galleria.  I had previously stayed here in September 2014 and at that time we were upgraded to a suite which was extremely spacious and very comfortable.  I found a really good deal so decided to try the hotel again.  Below are my reviews from 2014 and the updates from July 2017

It was extreme chaos when we checked in. This hotel is located near the Galleria so one would expect they should be able to handle crowds - no! The lines were long and the check-in process was very cumbersome. When we finally got to the front, there was no greeting, no apologies for the wait, nothing - and no smile on any of their faces (there were 3 people working in the lobby checking in guests, and none of them were smiling). The check-in was taking a really long time, and no explanation was given, so I asked 'is everything ok'. The attendant replied 'I am looking for a room' and went back to staring at the screen. No customer service at this hotel. When we finally finished, no cookies were given; I had to ask for the cookies even though they are supposed to be given upon check-in

Update: the hotel has undergone renovations so the lobby looks and feels brighter and bigger now.  The lobby contained the business center (two computers with free printing), a bar, and plenty of lounge spaces.  There were still only 3 check-in desks, which seemed a bit small, but check-in went smoothly.  We were greeted as Hilton Honors members, given complimentary cookies, and given the keys to our room.  The attendant did not provide any additional information about the hotel, which was a bit surprising.

All the rooms at this DoubleTree are Suites so the room was very spacious and clean, and the beds were very comfortable.   As you enter, on the left hand side is a galley kitchen, which is a bit outdated but provides a very large fridge.  There is a counter that is connected from the kitchen to the main sitting area, which also has a round table with 4 chairs.  Next to that a sofa-bed/couch with a coffee table in front of a chest with drawers on the bottom and a TV stand on top. Next to the TV stand in the door to the bedroom.  As you enter in the bedroom, you face one of the 2 beds.  If you turn to your right, you go through the open closet (with a safe and iron and ironing board) to go into the bathroom.  In between the two beds was a night stand and in front of the beds was another chest with drawers on the bottom and TV on top.  There was also a desk in the room.  Overall, the furniture was outdated and so was the carpeting, but the beds were spacious and comfortable.

Update: as with other parts of the hotel, the rooms have received an upgrade.  The basic
layout of the suite remains the same, but the furnishings and decor have been updated.  As you entered this suite, on left was the kitchen with a full-size fridge, stove, microwave, sink, and counter space which held the coffee maker.  The kitchen was enclosed and on the other side of the wall was the sitting room.  This room contained a dining table (with 4 chairs), a chest with drawers on the bottom and a TV on top, a desk, and a sofa with a table in front.  The sofa turned into a sofabed.  In the next room were the two beds (which were large and comfortable), a nightstand in the middle (which contained lamps that had plugs on them) and again a chest with drawers on the bottom and TV on top.  Behind the bedroom was an open area which contained the closet (with iron and ironing board), the safe, and storage space.  There was also a decent size bathroom with a sink, toilet, tub, and amenities including shampoo, and hairdryer.  Each of the chest with TVs had a side panel on them to connect other devices to the TV.   

Parking - there are two parking options, self park or valet - there is a charge for both. We choose the self-park because we have a big car, but given the location (near the Galleria in Houston) you would assume there would be ample parking; nope. There is only a 3-level car garage with the first-level reserved for valet, leaving only 2-levels for self-park and these two levels were ALWAYS full. Parking here was a pain, inconvenient, and definitely not worth the money. 

Update: this is an area where there were no changes and it was still a pain. The hotel still charges for parking, and on the weekend - where there are many meetings and parties - the parking lot gets very full very quickly.  It is fine on other nights, but they really need to figure this out to make the hotel really great.

The gym here is small and needs to be remodeled. The gym is located on the 3rd floor, right next to other rooms; it looks as if they took out one room and replaced it with the gym. The gym had 4 treadmills, bikes, weights, and exercise balls so that was good; but the location and layout was extremely tight and uncomfortable.

Update: again an area where there seems to be no change.  The gym still has decent equipment but the location is not good.  There is also an outdoor pool which was very popular with guests.

you have to pay for wi-fi. In today's time, this is just unacceptable to have your guest pay for wi-fi. Its complimentary at Hampton Inn and other Hilton properties, so why not here!

Update: Hilton provides complimentary wifi to its members.  The free wifi was good and provided fast speeds for checking email and for watching videos (on youtube, did not try other streaming sites).

Overall, the location of the hotel, the comfortable beds, and spaciousness of the suites were the only positive.  The inefficient staff, the lack of parking availability (especially when its paid parking and when there are large groups) and no wifi were the negatives.

Update: there have definitely been some improvements to the hotel.  The hotel has been renovated and now the hotel looks more modern and fresh.  The service at the hotel has also gotten better.  The spacious rooms remained the same, but the interiors and the bedding have been updated to provide a nice and relaxing room.  The parking and the gym situation both need to be updated - and the elevators need to be faster.  We spent a lot of time waiting, with other guests, for the elevator.  The improvements the hotel has made turned the decent hotel into a good hotel, but there are still other improvements that need to be made to go from a good to a great hotel.

Monday, June 5, 2017

Stay Report: Hilton Houston Galleria, SW Freeway (May 2017)

Stay Report: Hilton Houston Galleria, SW Freeway
comment below and let me know your thoughts :)

We have stayed at many hotels in and around the Houston Galleria area.  Some of them are nice, others not so much but I am always looking to try different hotels in the area.  We were going to be in Houston and had heard good things about the Hilton Houston Galleria so decided to check it out.  First, the hotel is not near the Galleria; the hotel is located off of Hillcroft and that is about a 15-minute drive to the Galleria.  The hotel itself is located on the interstate service road and does not have a lot of curb appeal.  The hotel recently underwent renovations - both inside and out - so the outside the hotel looks nicer now.  The hotel is surrounded by plenty of free parking.  There is not a lot within walking distance, but there is a lot within a 15 minute car ride.

The main entrance to the hotel is on a street of the service lane.  There are two entrances to the hotel - one to the main lobby and one to the meeting rooms/conference area.  If you enter through the conference area, you walk past the conference rooms as past the elevators to get to the main lobby.  If walk through the main entrance, then you enter into the main lobby with the check-in counter on your right-hand side.  Given the large size of the lobby, the check-in counter was a bit small.  Check-in was a quick and with our key we proceeded up to our room.

The room itself was nice and spacious and looked updated after the renovation.  When you entered into the room, you entered into a wide space which had - on the left hand side - the closet and the bathroom.  The closet was a big size and offered plenty of space, and it also contained the safe, iron, and ironing board.  The bathroom was a bit small but decent and contained a tub, toilet, and sink.  As you entered further into the room, along the wall on the right-hand side table with the coffee machine on top.  It was a little out of place but the table provided a nice place to rest keys when you entered into the room.  Continuing along the wall was the TV on top of chest with drawers on the bottom.  The drawers also contained the mini-fridge.  Further along the wall was the desk which provided a nice, wide working space and lots of counter space.  We had requested a room with two beds, and these were located against the opposite wall.  The beds were generally comfortable and provided a nice sleep.  Overall, the room was spacious and the beds comfortable but there were two negatives to the room - one was a lack of outlets (it was definitely a struggle to find more than one outlet) and two was the sound-proofing.  Either the room had no soundproofing or our floor was very loud because we heard almost every noise throughout the night.  The lack of quiet led to a very uncomfortable night.

Amenities the hotel provides include restaurant dining, fitness, pool, business services, and free wifi.  Due to my limited time, I was only able to try the free in-room wifi.  The wifi was generally strong and provided enough data to check email, browse the internet, and stream youtube.  

Overall, it was an interesting stay at this Hilton.  The refurbishment of the hotel definitely makes the hotel look more appealing and since the hotel is located a bit further away from the Galleria, their prices are about $10-$15 cheaper than Galleria hotels.  This is coupled with the free parking at the hotel overall provides a less expensive stay; however, it the overall price was not that much cheaper.  If my intention was to go to the Galleria, then I would have spent the little extra funds to be closer.  If my goal was to stay within this area, then its a fine hotel.

Friday, May 19, 2017

Upcoming Reviews: Europe

I just booked my next trips so look out for the following airline and hotel reviews in the next couple of months:
  1. Europe - Dublin, Athens, and Edinburgh
    1. Aer Lingus - long-haul
    2. RyanAir
    3. Aegean Airlines
    4. Turkish Airlines - within Europe
    5. Hotels in Dublin, Athens, and Edinburgh
  2. and more!
Stay tuned!

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Trip Report: United Airlines, Amsterdam to Washington, Dulles (February 2017)

Trip Report: United Airlines, Amsterdam to Washington
comment below and let me know your thoughts :)

In the past, I have tried to avoid taking American carriers long-haul.  Their service, seat comfort, and overall experience fall short as compared to their international competitors.  The US carriers realized this and have started to invest in their international product, and have been providing discounted fares on their international routes.  For these two reasons, I decided to try United International from Amsterdam to Washington, DC.

United serves Amsterdam from its hub in Washington Dulles and flies the Boeing 767 on this route.  The plane contains Business Class, Economy Plus, and Economy sections.  Given it was an almost 9 hour flight, and I have previously experienced United economy to Punta Cana (review here: United Airlines - Punta Cana) and it was uncomfortable, I decided to purchase an economy plus seat.  In choosing the upgrade, there were two options available – the first was just the economy plus seat while the second was the economy plus seat, priority boarding, and access to the lounge.  There was a price difference between the two options, and in my opinion the higher price did not the extra options available.  For that reason, I choose just the economy plus option. 

The flight was scheduled to take off from Amsterdam at 12p and arrive into Dulles around 3p.  I was staying at the airport (review: Sheraton Amsterdam Airport) so I was able to quickly get to my checkin counter 2hours prior to departure.  When international flight included one free checked bag at 23kg, and when I got to the checkin counter there was no one there.  I was checked in, got my boarding pass and checked my luggage all within 5 minutes.  This gave me more opportunity to explore School airport.

I arrived at the boarding gate around 11am and the plane was already there (it had come from DC earlier that morning).  Even though I had purchased Economy Plus seating, I noticed I was in the last boarding group so I went to ask the agent if I could get into the earlier group – she replied that it didn’t matter as there were only 46 people on the entire flight! A plane that can hold more than 200 people is flying today with only 46 passengers.  Given the light load, we did not start boarding until 11:30am and we were done with boarding by 11:40am. 

There is one section of economy plus seats and one section of economy seats, and both are laid out in a 2-3-2 setting.  I had initially purchased the bulkhead seat, which is the first economy plus seat as that provides more room (although it’s restricted as no moveable armrest).  Given the light load, everyone in the plane could have an entire row to themselves, so I switched to an empty two seater for more room and comfort.  Overall, the economy plus seats provided very nice legroom.  The legroom was plenty so that you could easily stretch out, especially on the long-haul flights.  During the flight I went and tried out the economy seat – the legroom there was decent, but it would be tight for the longer flight and even tighter if the person in front of you reclined their seat. 

Each seat on the plane had its own PTV system, which was controlled both by touch and remote.  USB ports and headphone jacks were available next to the PTV and plugs were available beneath the seat.  The entertainment system was immediately available, which is a nice thing and I am not sure why some airlines only turn on the system once they reach airborne, and the movie selection was very good.  In fact, the movie selection was a lot better than I had expected – there was definitely enough there to keep you occupied for the flight duration.  The TV selection wasn’t as great, but still provided some nice episodes of selected TV shows. 

Given the light load, the flight attendants said it did not make sense to bring out the
service cart so they individually took orders and brought items.  Prior to departure, the attendant came around asking our drink order.  Once we reached cruising altitude, drinks and a snack mix were served while the main meal was being warmed.  Once warmed, the main meal was served.  The meal was decent but the portion was definitely smaller as compared to other airlines – both the size and quantity of food was compact; the flavors were alright (I’ve had better, but I have also had worse).  Ice cream for dessert was also served.  Tea, coffee, drinks, and water were offered when the meal trays were cleared.  After the service, the cabin lights were dimmed for people to relax for the flight.   

The attendants were visible in the aisles, and water, fruit, and small snacks were available into the galleys. One strange note: I asked if hot chocolate was available, and I got the following response “normally hot chocolate is only available for first class, but given the light load I will make an exception, but not this is not usually available”.  It was very offputting, and if it’s that much of an effort just say that hot chocolate is not available.  Given all the effort, I was expecting really good hot chocolate, but when it came it was the same hot chocolate that Southwest offers for free on every flight.  Prior to landing, a small snack and drinks were served.  Again, emphasis on small as the portion size on United are very small.  Because we left early, and we had strong winds behind us, we made it to DC almost 30 minutes ahead of schedule.  We quickly landed, taxied to the gate, and deplaned.  

Overall, it was an interesting flight with United.  While the entertainment selection and availability of USB ports exceeded my expectations, the food size was small, the service was decent but could be better, and I had to purchase seat comfort.  Given all this, would I choose to fly American carriers long-haul?  I am not sure; before I had avoided American carriers as much as possible.  Now, I would not seek them out but I would not avoid them.  If the price is right, and the flight time short, and the international carrier option is longer or not as feasible, then I would not avoid American carriers.

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Stay Report: InterContinental Dar Al Hijra, Madinah (April 2017)

Stay Report: InterContinental Dar Al Hijra, Madinah
comment below and let me know your thoughts :)

In my previous trips to Madinah, I had stayed at the Hilton which was located very close to the religious area but the rooms were not good and looked like they had not been updated since 1990.  Because of this, I looked for other hotels and found the Intercontinental – there are two InterCons located in Madigan; one was right next to the religious area while the other was a bit further away.  The reviews for the one next to the religious area were not good so we decided to pick the one that was a bit further away considering previous guests had given it high marks.
From the outside the hotel looked decent enough but on the inside the hotel looked older and had a really small lobby.  As you entered into the hotel, on the left was the concierge desk and straight ahead was the check-in desk.  Further towards the left was a seating area for both the lobby and small café.  Next to the café was the business center and further down were escalators which led to the second floor dining room.  As with the hotel in Makkah, this hotel was also booked as part of a tour package but I had emailed the hotel and was able to locate my reservation and add my IHG number.  For this reason, when I checked in I was greeted as an IHG member, given a welcome letter, and there was fruit and sweets located in the room.  Even though I had emailed the hotel about the reservation, it was a very long and complicated checkin process.  There were two staff behind the desk but neither seemed to a) know what was going on and b) neither seemed to have a good grasp of English which further delayed the process.  I finally checked in and received my keys to the room.  The elevators were located behind the checkin desks, but there were only two small elevators and it took a long time to get a free elevator.
Our room was located on the second floor, at the end of the hallway. The room itself was big in size, but had the same old décor and look as the hotel.  The room was shaped like an L, with long straight side that leads into the main room.  As you entered into the room, there was a small entryway which contained a table; on top of this table was the complimentary fruit and sweets.  The entryway led to a long hallway on the right hand side, which eventually led to the bedroom.  In the middle of the hallway, on the right hand side was the bathroom while on the left was the window which faced out onto the street.  The bathroom was a decent size and contained a sink, a toilet, a bidet and shower.  The shower was big but the sink area was compressed.  Further down the hallway was the bedroom area.
As were three individuals, the room contained three single beds.  As you entered into tone bed area, on the right was the closet and storage shelves.  The closet contained a safe, the ironing board and iron, while the shelves contained the mini bar and complimentary water.  Right next to the closet was the first bed – and there was not a lot of room between the bed and the closet.  On the other side of the bed was a nightstand which separated the first and second bed.  Next to the second bed was the third bed – and again there was little room between the two beds.  On the other side of the third bed was another window.  The beds were comfortable enough to provide a decent nights sleep.  Across from the beds, against the wall, was a desk, a TV on top of a set of drawers, and two chairs with a table in the middle.  The décor of the hotel and all of the amenities in the room looked old; the hotel phone looked old and sometimes did not work and there were a lack of plugs and no USB ports available. 
Amenities in the hotel included a business center, free WiFi, a restaurant, a café, and
concierge services.  The business center was a computer and a printer in a room; however, most times the door was locked so you needed to request the concierge to come and open the door.  There was free WiFi available in the room, but it was spotty and the login terminal sometimes worked and sometimes didn’t.  When it did work, the speeds were decent, but trying to get the WiFi to connect was a bit difficult.  As an IHG member, I received two complimentary drinks from the café.  I was going to order additional items, but again language and communication barriers prevented me from completing this task.  Breakfast was included with our room and this was available in the morning in the restaurant.  The restaurant was also decorated in the old décor and on the first day the breakfast had an odd layout which made it difficult to walk around – had there been more guests it would have been impossible to walk around.  Luckily the layout got better on the second day, but it still was not the best layout.  The selection available in Madinah was not as nice as Makkah and both the selection, freshness, and taste were average. 
As with the hotel in Markham, the Madinah hotel had poor service and poor communication skills. The poor service started at checkin where they could not understand the information, it was right on the screen but they were mixing everything up.  The poor service continued when we tried to contact the front desk regarding an issue.  It took almost 30mins and at the end no one understood a single item.  Same thing happened when I wanted to request a late checkout; when I first approached the desk, the attendants English was not good and so just said “wait for manager”.  I had to come back when another attendant was there who did speak English.  It was extremely difficult to communicate with the staff for any issue.
Overall, it was a disappointing stay at the Intercontinental Madinah. The hotel was located farther away from all the other hotels so it was a longer walk to get the religious area.  Once you got the hotel, the service was poor and the hotel looked old.  In the end, there was nothing positive about the hotel.  There are other hotels which are closer to the religious area, so I would suggest to stay there; at least there is one positive aspect then.

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Stay Report: InterContinental Dar Al Tawhid, Makkah (April 2017)

Stay Report: InterContinental Dar Al Tawhid, Makkah
comment below and let me know your thoughts :)

I was going back of Makkah for the third time and was looking for a hotel that could accommodate three people in one room and one that was close.  I had previously stayed at the Hilton Makkah, which was nice but only accommodated two persons per room, and the Hilton Makkah Towers, which accommodated three people but was not updated and has since been torn down.  I had heard good things about the Intercontinental, and after previous good experience with the brand in other countries decided to book the Intercontinental Makkah Dar Al Tawhid.

The hotel is conveniently located near the religious area and provides clear access to the King Fahad gate number 74.  The location of the hotel is one of the best attributes, as it is still central while not being crowded.  The main entrance to the hotel is on the street, which faces away from the Kaa’ba, while there is a second entrance that leads directly to that area.  The rooms either face the main entrance side or the Kaa’ba side, and there is a price difference between the two rooms.  You enter the hotel through the main entrance, and you can either go downstairs to access the religious area or you go upstairs to access reception.

I had booked the hotel as part of a package through a travel agent, so I was unable to add my IHG number prior to the reservation.  For this instance, I was not greeted as a loyalty member.  I added the number at that time, but still no additional perks were received at the hotel (the hotel had poor customer service all around so I don’t think it would have mattered even if I was able to add my number prior to the reservation).  Checkin was extremely slow, inefficient, and chaotic.  There are about 5 people working behind the desks but there are no real lines and no order; whomever can push to the front and get the persons attention will be checked in.  It was nowhere near the level of a 5-star hotel.  When I checked in, I reminded them that we were three individuals so an additional bed was needed in the room; the front desk said they would alert housekeeping.  I received my key and went to my room.  As I said before, the hotel was split into two sections – those who had the religious view went to elevators A-G and those on the street side when to elevators K-N.  There were plenty of elevators available, another positive aspect of the hotel, but you had to punch your floor number into the keypad and it would direct you to which elevator to use.   This aspect was not explained and many guests had not used these types of elevators so there was a lot of confusion and lot of people getting off on the wrong floor.
Our room was located on the 5th floor.  The hallways and entryways to the rooms were very large – which indicated this was an older hotel (from my understanding, it is somewhat older and has only been moderately updated as the Saudi government has told the hotel it will be demolished; all hotels will be built across the street as they expand the religious portion).  The room itself was large in terms of size, and also looked like it had been moderately updated.  
As you entered the room, you entered into a long hallway which led into the room.  As you walked down the hallway, on the left hand side was the bathroom and then further down the closet.  The bathroom contained a sink, a toilet, a bidet, and a shower.  The bathroom was a decent size, but both the water pressure and temperature were inconsistent; sometimes they were great while others it wasn’t good.  The closet hallway contained two open closets, each wide and the first closet had the iron and ironing board while the second closet contained the safe plus slippers.  There was also supposed to be a robe in there, but that wasn’t provided until the next day.  The hallway ended as you entered the room.
The room itself was quite large and comfortably fit the three single beds.  As you entered in the room, on your left against the wall were two chairs with a table in the middle.  The two chairs faced the bed, which was against the other wall.  Next to the bed was a nightstand and next to that was the other single bed.  There was then a lot of space in between the second bed and the window, and this is where the rollaway was put (once it arrived as it took multiple calls and requests for the bed to arrive).  The beds themselves were decent and provided a comfortable nights rest.  Across from the beds, against the other wall, was the luggage holder with drawers on the bottom, the TV stand with the TV on top and drawers on the bottom, and then the desk.  It was a very long table so it provided some good storage, but there was a definite lack of power outlets and power ports in both the room and in the closet (it was difficult to find two plugs to plug both your device and the iron in at the same time).  What the room did have was a console on the nightstand which electronically controlled the lights and windowshades.  Through this console you could close both the lights and the shades without ever getting up from the bed.  You could also control whether the prayer speaker was on, as you could pipe in the call to prayer and the prayer directly into your room.  Our window faced the street so it wasn’t a great view, but it did allow for some people watching which was nice.
Amenities in the hotel included restaurants that served breakfast, lunch and dinner; a
café that served coffee and light sandwiches; a business center, a spa, a kids room, club lounge, and free WiFi in the room.  Our room came with breakfast so I was able to try the restaurant, as well as other amenities including the free WiFi and the café.  The breakfast served was very good and broad in terms of the food options.  In every country, the breakfast buffet at the InterCon has always been good and here it was also the case with fresh pancakes, eggs, waffles, cheese, salad, bread, and other options available to be served.  The breakfast came with complimentary juices and tea/coffee; any other service needed to be paid for.  On our last day we tried the café, specifically the light sandwich.  We had ordered the croissant sandwich with cheese which basically was a large croissant with a small amount of cheese; definitely not worth the price paid for the sandwich.  The free in room WiFi was nice and provided a decent speed.  There was no mention of a restriction regarding the number of devices, but after connecting 5 devices we were told we had reached our number when trying to connect the 6th device. 
While the room was decent and so was the WiFi, what was lacking was the customer service.  There was no customer service in the hotel at all.  The service was subpar, it took forever to request something and then it took a long time for the requests to be fulfilled, and there were definite communication issues as very few individuals spoke or understood basic English.  We had a plumbing problem and we had been requesting all day for the problem to be fixed, and since morning they had been saying “ok we will take care of it” and did nothing.  By the evening, I went to go talk to the manager at the front desk.  When I went to the front desk, I was told to wait and after waiting for about 25 minutes I was told the manager has requested that I go upstairs and dial a direct extension from my room.  I did that but there was no answer at the extension so I had to go back downstairs to talk to someone, and that’s when the manager’s assistant came to talk to me; he had been behind the desk the entire time.  When I talked to him about the poor service, his explanation was “we are completely full right now and that is why you are getting poor service”.  To me, a hotel should be able to function efficiently and effectively whether you have three guests or three hundred; if you cannot handle the guests then either don’t work here or don’t have these many guests.  I have heard this explanation before and to me it seems like an excuse for poor service and poor management.

Overall, while the location of the hotel and the breakfast are nice the abysmal customer service really left a negative impression of the hotel.  The poor service started at check-in and continued through checkout.  Positives included good location, nice breakfast, decent WiFi, and large rooms.  Negatives included abysmal customer service, lack of communication with guests, and lack of clarity.