In this blogpost we will give you an insight into some of the best and worst hotel experiences we’ve had throughout our last year of traveling. While some categories are more important than others, we feel it is our duty to address all aspects of the hotel-life. Let us know in the comments if there are other categories you would like to see added to the list!
Best butler service – St Regis Vommuli, Maldives
From the minute we arrived, until the very last minute before departure, our butler Tom made our stay here an incredible one. From making our restaurant and spa reservations and taking us there with his buggy, to packing and unpacking our suitcases, ironing our clothes without even asking and even helping Laura with buying feminine stuff (which isn’t easy on a secluded island). The man is a legend.
Worst butler service – The Strand, Yangon
In sheer contrast with the butler service at the St Regis, our butler at The Strand only had two tasks: bringing our morning coffee to our room and opening the door of our room (which we are perfectly capable of doing ourselves). She insisted we gave her the room key anytime we left the room as it’s a very heavy brass one. Unfortunately, most of the time, she was nowhere to be seen when we wanted to get in the room, which meant we had to wait until she showed up for a couple of minutes or had to go back downstairs to the reception to ask someone else to open our room.
Best room service – Grand Hyatt, Hong Kong
The picture says it all. Everything was not only presented beautifully for our in-room breakfast, it all tasted incredibly good too (even cold, because we had to take this picture first). The thing we probably liked the most was that they even installed a toaster next to our bed, in case we wanted our bread a bit more toasted than the one they brought us. We also loved the fact that a simple phone call was enough to have the breakfast removed in minutes. Nothing worse than some left over food sitting in your room all day (or even worse: in the hallway).
Worst room service: Courtyard by Marriott, Siem Reap
We once tried to order breakfast in bed here. We checked the weather prediction the night before and it would be cloudy the next day, so we decided not to visit any temples for sunrise and pre-order room service for 8.30am. Long story short, after several phone calls and a trip in my bathrobe to the restaurant downstairs, our food arrived at 10.30am. During these two hours, 3 different people told us: ‘The food is on it’s way as we speak’, which it clearly wasn’t. Needless to say we opted for the buffet breakfast again the next day, which was actually really good.
Best spa treatment – St Regis Vommuli, Maldives
We’re picky when it comes to couple treatments. We both have very different preferences so when we the two of us have an amazing feeling after a couple treatment, it’s definitely a winner in our book. At the St Regis Vommuli, everything was just right: the calming music, the ambient lighting, the silky soft bathrobes, the delicious hot lemon ginger tea afterwards and especially the hands of both masseuses.
Worst spa treatment – Maayo Hotel, Cebu
Spent two nights at this hotel and after breakfast the first morning we decided to book a spa treatment for later that evening. The friendly spa receptionist proposed to try the traditional couple massage and when we enquired which timeslots were still available, she responded there wasn’t a single reservation yet. While this should normally trigger an alarm, we decided to still go for it. We haven’t felt this much pain in a long time. During one hour it felt like someone was stabbing us with knives and hitting us with hammers. Laura had a painful back for the next three days. Never again.
Best breakfast buffet – Grand Hyatt, Hong Kong
This is an absolute no-brainer. The Grand Hyatt in Hong Kong just knows how to do breakfast. On top of a great selection of western and oriental food, you will also find all kinds of vegan and gluten-free options. Everything is just so fresh and tasty. Mouth-watering good.
Best breakfast a la carte – St Regis Vommuli, Maldives
There’s something special about ordering a lobster and alaskan crab omelette with butternut pumpkin puree and oscietra caviar on a secluded island in the middle of the Indian ocean. The white asparagus with polenta fried poached egg, orange hollandaise and black truffle came a close second in best a la carte breakfast dishes we’ve ever had.
Best afternoon tea – Pullman, Cairns
We had our fair share of afternoon teas around the world and never expected it to find our favourite in Australia to be honest. A must for everyone who’s in Queensland. They even made us an all-vegan afternoon tea and it was wonderful. Don’t expect the fanciest of food or presentations. Do expect that every single piece of food is great quality!
Best bed – St Regis Vommuli, Maldives & Ritz-Carlton, Hong Kong
We have a small suspicion both hotels actually use the same beds. While the last thing you want to do when you’re in the Maldives or in Hong Kong is stay in bed all day, these beds made getting out of bed a near impossible task.
Best amenity kit – Hôtel Lutetia, Paris
A bathroom filled with Hermès products is what you get when you stay at Hôtel Lutetia, and they gladly replenish (half) empty bottles. It not only looks good in the white marble bathroom, it smells delicious too.
Best hotel fragrance – The Langham, London
There’s something about the smell at The Langham in London that makes you instantly happy. We’re usually not attracted to hotel shops as items are mostly very overpriced, but we just couldn’t resist purchasing the hotel fragrance at The Langham to make our home smell just as good.
Best Club Lounge – Ritz Carlton, Hong Kong
Free-flowing champagne, 5 different meals a day, open 24 hours and located on the 116th floor overlooking Hong Kong with very attentive service from very well-trained staff. One of the few hotels where club lounge access really is really recommended!
Best shower – One & Only The Palm, Dubai
Do you ever have the feeling hotels tend to make showers overly complicated? And you spend too much time finding out which shower head the water will come out of and have no idea how to turn it hotter or colder? Not the case at One & Only The Palm! Large shower, very large shower head, great water pressure, steady temperature and silky soft towels and bathrobes is what you get here. Lovely.
Best bath – Hôtel Lutetia, Paris
Same story as with the shower. Don’t overcomplicate things. While there’s no built-in tv screen to watch your favourite movie while in bath (well, technically you could as there’s a built-in screen in the bathroom mirror but you’d have your head turned at 90 degrees the whole time) and while there aren’t dozens of built-in water jets to give your body a massage, the bath at Hôtel Lutetia is just a very comfortable, rapidly-filling bath made out of a single piece of white marble.
Most famous person – The Gansevoort Park Avenue, NYC
Spent a few nights here while Kim Kardashian had rented the penthouse suite for a couple of months. Getting in and out the hotel was like running an obstacle course trying to avoid the paparazzi camping outside the main entrance 24/7.
Best hotel yacht – St Regis Vommuli, Maldives
Norma, the 66-foot Azimut yacht owned by the St Regis is a piece of art, just like the rest of the resort. The yacht’s three bedrooms can sleep up to 6 guests and is perfect to go explore some local Maldivian islands or sandbanks. At $2.500 per hour and a minimum of 4 hours sailing time, it comes with a hefty price tag though.
Best airport pick-up – Anantara, Hoi An
While the car wasn’t anything special (a BMW 5-series), the cold towels, the large selection of drinks to choose from, and especially the very knowledgeable driver which made an excellent guide made sure our stay started in an excellent way.
Best hotel transfer – One & Only Royal Mirage, Dubai
After having stayed at her sister-property on the Palm Jumeirah in Dubai, we were picked up by a mini-yacht and transferred to the Royal Mirage in style. The sun on our skin, the wind in our hair and the views of the Dubai skyline made this a transfer to remember.
Best courtesy car – Hôtel Lutetia, Paris
Staying at Hôtel Lutetia and need a ride to a nearby restaurant or art exhibition? Step outside the hotel and the Bentley Bentayga courtesy car will be waiting for you with open doors and will bring you to your destination in sheer luxury.
Best pool – SO/ Sofitel, Bangkok
This hotel has surprised us in many ways, but one of the main selling points must be the beautiful infinity pool overlooking the lush Lumpini Park and the Bangkok Skyline. We went to the pool for sunrise, and while we only got sunshine for 20 minutes, the experience was still magnificent.
Worst hotel – Shangri-La Bangkok
It was our first stay at a hotel of the Shangri-La group and while we had heard lots of positive things about the group, we had troubles finding a single positive during our one-night stay. For a complete review of our disaster stay, keep an eye on the review section on this blog.
Best dressed staff – QT, Perth and SO/ Sofitel, Bangkok
We like special things, and the outfits of the staff at both QT Perth and SO/ Sofitel Bangkok are definitely special. While it’s impossible to find a word to describe the outfits worn by both hotels’ staff, and while we wouldn’t want to wear it ourselves, it constantly reminded us that we stayed at special hotels.
Best rooftop bar – Park Hyatt, Bangkok
Ok, so technically we haven’t stayed there as we didn’t have a room booked, but we did spent a whole night there, which kind of counts too, right? We were invited by a friend to come over and have drinks there on a regular week night and what started as ‘let’s go and have one drink’, turned into a full-blown party with an amazing DJ and an even more spectacular MC. Shoutout to the bar manager, who turned out to be a Master at making cocktails.
Best welcome drink – SO/ Sofitel, Bangkok
Calling what we received at check-in a drink wouldn’t do it justice. The potion, as we like to call it, not only tasted great, it looked like something coming straight out of a Harry Potter novel. When the last ingredient was added, it completely changed colour. Magical.
Best upgrade – /
Unfortunately, we have yet to receive a complimentary upgrade. Although we stay at lots of hotels, we have never been given a free one. The same applies for flights unfortunately. Let us know if you have any tips!
Best historic hotel – The Strand, Yangon
A hotel which opened in 1901 and was one of the finest luxury hotels in South East Asia. During World War II, when Burma was under Japanese occupation, it was used to quarter Japanese troops. After the country’s independence in 1948, the hotel was neglected by post-colonial governments, which poorly maintained it. After the 1988 coup d’état, the strand was sold to a Burmese business man, who returned it to its former glory and is now an all-suite, high-end luxury hotel with (bad) butler service again.