Since the girls left we have been travelling around Italy with no real plan. I know it sounds a bit unusual, living and organising accommodation on the fly. We always knew we were going to wing it and see where the tide takes us. This way we are not tied down. If we meet someone on the road who says “You have to go to this…. place”, then we could book it the next day and we’re on our way. The beautiful town of Lucca was just one of these places. A good friend said since you’re in Italy, you must visit Lucca. So, we did. In doing so we had to organise a place to stay and luckily for us we stayed at the Terrace of Perfumes.
The Terrace of Perfumes is an agent run apartment available through Booking.com and AirBNB. Located just outside the old city the Terrace of Perfumes is close to supermarkets and local restaurants. Being an apartment they do prefer stays 3 days or longer.
We were met at the apartment on check in by the apartments owners Mauricio and Valeria and their apartments agent Alessandro. The apartment is situated on the first floor and upon entry you notice how clean and beautiful the apartment is.
This one bedroom apartment consists of a large bedroom which overlooks the street, a lounge area, a fully functional kitchen, bathroom and a balcony area which has that all important washing machine and clothes line. They have thought about everything to make your stay as carefree, relaxing and enjoyable as possible.
Mauricio and Valeria are exceptional hosts and ensure we are settled and welcomed with a basket filled with some produce and a bottle of delicious Chianti. They have a compendium about the apartment and helpful information about Lucca and its must see places and things to do.
We really enjoyed our time in Lucca, walking the thin cobbled streets surrounded by hundreds of year old buildings. Visiting the home of Italian composer Giacomo Puccini and indulging in some of that Italian cuisine. International tour hosts, Urban Adventures offers four incredible tours around Lucca for you to try. So, take a trip to Lucca, experience a tour and book the Terrace of Perfumes. Don’t forget to tell them Simon from Ourworldineview sent you!
Additional Information for the Terrace of Perfumes
Via Borgo Giannotti 389, 55100 Lucca, Italy
Website: Nil Available
Check in: 15:00 hrs
Check out: 10:00 hrs
Book your stay at the Terrace of Perfumes now with Booking.com
After a busy schedule in France the girls were so excited to be heading to Berlin. A city that has had to rebuild most of their buildings due to the devastation of World War II. So, although a city rich in history, good and bad, it is still a new. It is intriguing how Berlin has rebuilt many buildings to match the elegance of their past. For our time, here we are staying at the Scandic Berlin Kurfürstendamm hotel.
The Scandic Berlin Kurfürstendamm is a lovely 4-star hotel near the shopping district of Kurfürstendamm, and quite close to many popular attractions.
Upon arrival to the hotel we enter through the automatic turnstile and are met by a friendly reception desk. To the right of us is a lounge with a business area. And to the left is the stairway down to the Scandic restaurant and an alcove with a Foosball table. Additionally, past the reception desk is a small self-serve shop, stocked with essentials and hotel souvenirs.
The desk clerk allocates us two rooms and we ride the elevator up to our floor. Bright clean white corridors decorated with well placed commissioned street art, this hotel exudes a modern elegance.
The rooms are a nicely decorated spacious area with a king sized bed, a comfortable lounge seat, a desk, fridge, cupboard, safe and television. Each room also has a separate bathroom.
Our bathroom is also a well maintained clean. It is a large room with a large shower cubicle for that well deserved relaxing hot shower.
Now, if you talk to my family, I have no patience when travelling, I like to keep moving. So, a relaxing evening lounging around a hotel doesn’t really suit me. Luckily, the Scandic Berlin Kurfürstendamm has a gym on the sixth floor. Therefore, I didn’t pace around twiddling my thumbs, because I could always go to the gym for a couple of hours and burn off some excess energy.
With treadmills, bikes, ellipticals and rowing machines, I could burn up that extra energy. Additionally, the gym also has some free weights and a multi-faceted nautilus machine. After the workout, you can take a shower and use the sauna to sweat out those toxins.
The hotel is mainly focused on the conference market and has meeting rooms available on the seventh floor. Please ask the reception for more information. Breakfast is also available in the restaurant for €12 per person, per day.
The restaurant is open for dinner and has a descent sized Scandinavian inspired menu. It has a satisfactory range of quality wines from around Europe. So why not be bold and try something you’ve never experienced before. We had the pleasure of dining in the main dining area for a night. They also have a winter garden and courtyard area for those nice days.
We ordered their Weiner Schnitzel, a vegetarian Caesar Salad with roasted pumpkin and their aptly named Scandic burger. All the meals were well cooked and quite large servings.
Overall the Scandic Berlin Kurfürstendamm Hotel is an excellent choice for your stay in Berlin. Perfectly located with easy access to Berlin’s sensational public transport system, and major shopping outlets. The hotel can look after all your needs, with luggage storage available before your check-in and after check-out. If you decide not to eat breakfast at the hotel we found the Clave Cafe on Augsburger Straße towards Kurfürstendamm an excellent option. So, book your next stay below, and tell them Simon from Ourworldinreview sent you!
Additional Information for the Scandic Berlin Kurfürstendamm
After a three-day stay in Amsterdam we are back on a plane and travelling to Paris. Ah, Paris, the city of love! We arrive a week before the 2017 Presidential election and tensions are meant to be high. Although we haven’t noticed it as tourists. We even walked into the middle of a peaceful protest one evening, with French Police calmly directing us away from the area. Our accommodation for our time in Paris is the 2-star, B&B Hotel Paris Porte de la Villette.
Located in the 19th arrondissement the B&B Hotel Paris Port de la Villette is a short walk from the Porte de la Villette Metro Station. Now, although we were safe walking the streets, the 19th arrondissement can be a bit intimidating to first time travellers as it is more a poorer working class area. It is a mixture of cultures with small market stalls on some streets.
As we enter the hotel we notice the security guard overseeing the foyer area to ensure guests aren’t harassed. This is also done to stop unwanted visitors into the hotel. The foyer area has some tourist information, four vending machines, a microwave oven, some tables and a computer with internet access.
A lady receives us at the reception desk and we check into a four person room. As none of us are smokers we ask to ensure we are in a non smoking room. The B&B Hotel Paris Porte de la Villette allows smoking in their rooms, so you must stipulate if you need a non smoking room.
We are given the security code for the door and make our way up to our floor. The elevators are small so we made a couple of trips due to my large backpack. The floors are an olive-green colour so they are a little dark.
The four person room is quite small. It has a double bed and a bunk to accommodate us. All the beds were comfortable, so no complaints. Being a small room, bag storage is limited, so you will be climbing over your bags daily. The room has a small desk near the door and a television on the wall.
Each room has a separate bathroom which again is small. There is no ventilation and no hairdryer available, but the shower is quite good. No issues with hot water here. Rooms are serviced daily, with towels and bedding changed over.
Possibly the biggest improvement would be to make the hotel a non smoking hotel. Because even though we stipulated for a non smoking room it was evident that other rooms on our floor had smokers. Our room even had an ashtray, so I’d say smoking and non smoking rooms depends only on if you actually smoke. It does become a little overpowering for non smokers. We placed a towel on the floor across the door which helped a little.
The hotel offers a buffet breakfast for its guests at an extra cost in their dining area in the basement. Its buffet spread is very limited and you may have to wait until their small supply of bacon and eggs is ready. My recommendation would be to try it one day, and if you are happy with the range and quality then eat there. Otherwise go somewhere else.
Overall the B&B Hotel Paris Porte de la Villette, is what it is. This 2-star hotel, is clean and comfortable. It is in a rougher part of Paris and they do allow their guests to smoke in their rooms. I wouldn’t think it is appropriate for young families for this reason. It has potential to be a lot better than it is. The breakfast range and quality could be a bit better. The bacon was under cooked and rubbery, but this is all easily fixed. The staff are friendly and the security guard is a large imposing figure, so we felt safe.
If you are a seasoned traveller and are on a budget than this may be the place for you as the rates are reasonable. The hotel is close to public transport which is easy to use. There aren’t too many restaurants around the hotel area, so you may need to travel into the more frequented areas to find one.
Personally, I wouldn’t stay here again, only because of the smoking issue. If they are going to continue to allow smoking in their hotel than they need to work out a better way to accommodate this. By allowing their guests to smoke in their rooms increases the risk of a potential fire occurring within the building. My advice would be to stop smoking in the hotel, as you will then increase your customer market. If they don’t want to cease smoking in the hotel then a designated smoking area away from the rooms would be beneficial.
Additional Information for the B&B Hotel Paris Porte de la Villette
4 Rue Emile Reynaud, 75019 Paris, France
Ph: +33 892 70 75 50
To get there catch the Metro to Porte de la Villette station.
Book your stay at the B&B Hotel Paris Porte de la Villette now with Booking.com
After our time spent in Norway we are on a plane heading for a whirl wind tour of Amsterdam. We are only here for a few days to celebrate King’s Day and to meet up with two other travel bloggers. For our accommodation stay we are at the Ibis Budget Amsterdam City South Hotel. From the airport, we catch a train to Amsterdam Zuid, then take the Metro to Kronenburg. It’s then a short walk to the hotel which you can see from the Kronenburg Metro Station.
The Ibis Budget Amsterdam City South hotel is rated as a 2.5-star hotel, but is a new, modern and at a reasonable price. The newness of the hotel is evident as soon as you walk into the foyer. On entry, you have an internet station and storage lockers to the right and a refreshment area to the left. We are warmly greeted at the reception desk and promptly checked in.
We are given a family room for four and take the elevator to our room. The room is approximately 15 square metres and contains three single beds and a single cupboard bed. Our two large windows present a pleasant view of the surrounding area, which is mainly residential. A television with a range of local and international channels is also located on the wall.
Each room has a small clean bathroom, with sufficient space to store your toiletries. The hotel supplies linen and towels for their guests use and rooms are serviced daily. Additionally, a hairdryer is available from the reception desk for a €20 deposit.
The hotel is a 100% non-smoking hotel and has available parking facilities for its guests. It also boasts a games room with table tennis tables and various electronic games. It’s a great safe place for the children to hang out when you have finished exploring for the day.
Free Wi-Fi is available throughout the whole hotel and they offer their guests an all you get eat breakfast buffet for €7.50 per person. This fee is payable at the front desk, when required. Unfortunately, the breakfast range is a little limited for choice, but we were able to find something suitable.
Overall the Ibis Budget Amsterdam City South Hotel is a cool modern hotel. It’s clean and has enough activities available to entertain the average family. Rooms accommodate 1-4 persons so if you have a larger family two rooms may be needed. We found it handy for public transport and was easily able to purchase tickets from the automated machines at the stations. The hotel does have some tickets available at the front desk so be sure to ask them if they can help. They have an arrangement with a local Pizza shop for room deliveries for those days you just want to stay in. Just make sure you notify them if you are going to be paying by credit card when ordering. Pizzas can be ordered using the hotel receptions phone if required.
We enjoyed our time at the Ibis Budget Amsterdam City South Hotel. So, book your stay today and tell them Simon from Ourworldinreview sent you!
Additional Information for the Ibis Budget Amsterdam City South Hotel
Prof J H Bavincklaan 1, 1183 AT Amstelveen, Netherlands
Ph: (+31) 207154333
To get there catch the Metro or Tram to the Kronenburg station.
Book your stay at the Ibis Budget Amsterdam City South Hotel now with Booking.com
Once again, the love of books has prompted us to tack on a stay in Oslo to meet up with our international book club. Every year a city around the world hosts the annual Bookcrossing convention and this year happens to be our friends in Norway. I know it may sound unusual to some of you, to fly halfway around the world to talk and exchange books. However, it’s become more than that. The lifelong friendships you make, the catch up conversations, and the shared meals together are at the heart of these overseas journeys. Yet we do it in the name of books.
This year’s convention was being held at the Markus Menighetshus building in the St Hanshaugen district. Therefore, our accommodation needed to be in walking distance of the venue. After some close examination of the area we opted to stay at the Anker Hotel in nearby Storgata street. The Anker Hotel is a part of the Foundation Anker that supports students in Norway and all profits go back to those students.
Located right alongside the Akerselva River the 3-star Anker Hotel has no fancy facade to make it stand out. It’s just a plain-looking building with a quick automatic turnstile entry. It’s funny how people try to time their entry into these turnstiles. Too fast and you hit the revolving door, yet go too slow and it hits you.
Upon entry, the reception desk which is manned 24 hours is to the right. Check-in time is from 3 pm and all passports are required to be shown so the hotel can register the names of the guests staying in the room. The reception also has safety deposit boxes available for your valuables and some tour guide information about Oslo. Check out the Visit Oslo website because they run, tourist in your own city (Turist I EGEN BY) on selected Sunday’s. These passes give the holder free access to the major tourist attractions in Oslo.
We are greeted by the friendly hotel staff and quickly checked in for the night. We are given a family room overlooking the Akerselva river on the 7th floor and head on up. The floor corridors aren’t richly decorated so there are pretty plain-looking which reflects the same styling within the room.
The room is quite large and has four comfortable single beds lined up along the wall in that dorm room style. There are a couple of chairs and a side table next to the window and a desk and chair closer to the door. A small flat screen television is mounted above the desk which plays local Norwegian channels. However, we could find some English-speaking shows when we had it on. Each bed has its own bedside lamp if you’d like to read at night. The entry foyer has an inbuilt cupboard to hang jackets on, and the door to the right is a bathroom.
Now, the bathroom is quite small, and contains a toilet, wash basin with a small amount of space for your toiletry bags, and a shower cubicle. It is fully tiled from floor to ceiling and is your basic white colour. Although small I must say the shower is fantastic. Instant hot water, wonderful water pressure and the temperature control is excellent. There’s nothing worse than having to adjust a shower because it switches from going hot to cold. Furthermore, as an added bonus the tiled floor is perfectly heated. So, no freezing tiles and cold feet. Another pleasing aspect is that they have a hairdryer mounted to the wall and a good supply of toilet paper if you’re staying for a while.
Unfortunately, the room does not have coffee and tea making facilities in them. But they are available to be borrowed from the front desk if required. Wi-Fi is available in every room on a public network, so no password is required. Internet is a bit static and drops in and out often.
The Anker Hotel stay comes with a complimentary breakfast in their large dining area. The buffet style service has a broad range of quality food available and as it is all you can eat, you shouldn’t leave hungry.
Other facilities available at the Anker Hotel are a fully licensed bar, luggage storage, laundry service and four different meeting rooms. Wake up calls are also available as your room does not have a clock in it.
In conclusion, the Anker Hotel is a clean, no frills hotel. The rooms are warm and comfortable and in my opinion the shower was perfect. At a reasonable price with breakfast included, the Anker Hotel is a good option for active families on a budget who would use the hotel as a base for their daily activities. So, book now and tell them Simon from Ourworldinreview sent you!
I know I might be biased but the city of Adelaide and the surrounding wine areas are a fantastic place to visit and live. This has been endorsed by travel reporting mega giants the Lonely Planet with Adelaide and South Australia being ranked number 5 in the best regions to visit in the world (woo hoo, home town pride). This fabulous endorsement means additional visitors to Adelaide and with many good hotels in Adelaide, where should you stay? Our team headed into town to see what the Hilton Adelaide Hotel has to offer.
When you know where you’re going and are considering booking a hotel, what are the things you look for? Do the hotels need to offer other facilities like, gyms, swimming pools, restaurants, health spas, business centres or bars? Or are you just looking for a clean room to sleep in free of those pesky bed bugs? Are you a hotel shopper, looking for the best price, or are you loyal to a particular hotel brand?
Hotel loyalty may be new to many of you, but like airlines, hotels offer their customers the option of joining their loyalty programs. If you tend to spend a lot of time in hotels, then remaining loyal and amassing your stays or nights within a certain hotel chain is the way to go. The Hilton Adelaide Hotel is such a hotel that offers its customers earned benefits when staying at any Hilton branded hotel. Their Hilton Honors program allows qualified customers chances for room upgrades, complimentary breakfasts, and access to their executive lounges to name a few.
As recent Hilton Honors Gold members, we thought we’d experience the benefits for ourselves. We decided to book a King Hilton Guest Room and made our way into the city. The Hilton Adelaide Hotel overlooks Victoria Square in the heart of the city.
Upon entry into the hotel the reception desk is located to the left and the Collins Bars is down a short corridor on the right. On check in the hotel staff were very friendly and we were immediately upgraded to a King Hilton Executive room.
We were soon in the elevator and making our way up to our room. The King Hilton Executive Room are quite spacious with plenty of room to swing a cat (no animals were harmed during the review of this hotel). There are complimentary magazines and water available in the room and the Wi-Fi is easy to access and free. The King sized bed is very comfortable with your choice of pillows, based on your preferences.
Rooms offer the usual features like a television with local and paid channels. There is also a selection of in-house movies available. Coffee and tea is also provided and the extremely old bar fridge is fully stocked. The room also has a safe for the security conscious, an iron and ironing board, and a hair-dryer for the large bathroom.
The bathroom is large and contains a bath tub and a separate shower cubicle. Bathroom amenities and towels are refreshed with the room serviced daily.
By booking the King Hilton Executive room or having enough hotel status provides access to the executive lounge on the sixteenth floor. The comfortable lounge is a good place to relax, catch up on some reviews on your laptop or at the desktop computers provided. You can help yourself to the complimentary drinks or snacks like these beautiful macaroons.
The Hilton Adelaide Hotel offers many other facilities for their customers. Their small Swimming Pool is located on the first floor balcony. Amazingly, this balcony area is a little stark, one end of the balcony has the pool and the other half is just a large empty space. This large area could be utilised a lot better to give the hotel added value, something like a balcony bar or outdoor dining area.
The Gym is also located on the first floor which looks out across the pool. This fully equipped gym with an attached spa and sauna area is immaculate, well presented and everything you want from a gym.
If you don’t want a full gym workout then the hotel also has a tennis court and small running track.
If you are getting hungry or thirsty then head to the ground floor and get comfortable in the popular Collins Bar, or feast at Coal Cellar + Grill the Hilton’s on site restaurant. Breakfast, lunch and dinner is served at Coal daily. We decided for breakfast at Coal and with an enormous selection of food options, you will not go hungry eating here.
Overall the Hilton Adelaide Hotel provides good service to its customers, with comfortable well maintained rooms. Some of the furnishings and facilities like the tennis court and pool area are out-dated but the hotel is working to rectify this. The hotel has an excellent restaurant in Coal Cellar + Grill and the popular Collins Bar is always good for a relaxing nightcap.
The Hilton Adelaide Hilton experience was definitely worth it, and they have rooms available from the standard guest room to executive room and suites. So book a stay today and tell them Simon from Ourworldinreview sent you!
233 Victoria Square, Adelaide SA 5000
Rooms available from approximately AUD$150 – AUD$400 per night