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Review – Dumont Affinia NYC Hotel in Manhattan

Manhattan, my favorite city in the planet. And with that comes the number of times I book my and family’s stay in hotels in the city that never sleeps. And most of the times, my selection narrows down to areas that are walking distance to Times Square or at least near that area.

I have never booked our stay in Dumont Affinia NYC Hotel before. It was actually my husband who found the hotel in one of the famous travel sites. We booked the Junior Suite which is perfect for a small family. We were 3 so the whole room was really big for us.

What I like:

The hotel’s location is perfect. This is the first time we booked along 34th Street at Lexington (Kips Bay). It is walking distance to the Chrysler Building and a kilometer away from Times Square. It also near shops and major department stores.Other famous landmarks are within walking distance like the Grand Central Station, Madison Square Garden, Rockefeller, and many more.

Check in was fast and so is the checking out. It didn’t take us more than 5 minutes to complete the check in process.

Our room rate include $10 voucher per day per room which is consumable. We could pick up drinks and snacks in their small food kiosk near the concierge that will sum up to $10, any in excess is just billed to our room. How convenient when we get very hungry at night!

The room is huge! Like really huge! Of all the hotels I have been to, this is probably the 2nd or 3rd hotel my family and I have booked in that is really huge. It could pass for a small condominium unit. I kept telling my husband that I could actually live in that hotel and own that room, perhaps just put a partition to make it look like a 1-bedroom unit in a posh condominium.

It has a kitchen complete with gas range and oven, a toaster, a big refrigerator, a kitchen sink and full provisions of cutleries from pots, pans, forks and spoons, plates, saucers, cups, glasses, goblets, knives, bread knife, and even a sponge and dishwashing liquid detergent. I can see that this particular is perfect for business travelers who need to stay in the city for a long period of time as it has complete amenities of an acceptable residential unit.

The bed is huge with plenty of pillows to spare. I slept like a baby that I didn’t even want to go out anymore.

The room is bright with enough natural light seeping in the wide, glass windows.

There’s a big study area that can double as a dining counter as well if you have guests.

The price was right for this type of property. We paid approx. $240 without the daily city tax and another hotel facilities fee that we need to pay per day of stay. The latter 2 were not included in the rate.

The hot water was readily available. It quickly turned hot when you open the faucet in the hot mode.

There’s a pressing board so we managed to freshen up our clothes without having to go to the laundry.

Pets are allowed! Not that I have one at the moment but that is very well appreciated because I love pets and I appreciate properties that give importance to the other members of the family.

Free wifi and the connection was superb!

The sofa was big enough to accommodate another guest and double as another sleeping bed.

The staff are all friendly and helpful.

The  view from our room is ok. We can see a bit of Chrysler Building and the cityscape nearby.

There are plenty of groceries, delis, Duane Read pharmacy nearby.

 

What I don’t like:

The extra hotel facilities fees were $25 per day and I felt that was exorbitant. What facilities did we have to pay for exactly that wasn’t covered by the nightly hotel rate? I wonder.

The air condition unit was broken. It was in heater mode even if we were have set it for cool. I had to call for the technician. It was fixed the same day though. But our first night was a little uncomfortable because we didn’t know the a/c was not working properly until the next day.

 

Facilities:

  • iPod dock
  • Minibar
  • Air conditioning
  • Non-smoking throughout
  • Wake-up service
  • Heating
  • Gift shop
  • Facilities for disabled guests
  • Ironing Facilities
  • Non-smoking rooms
  • Iron
  • Room service
  • Business centre
  • Meeting/banquet facilities
  • Concierge service
  • Luggage storage
  • 24-hour front desk
  • Fitness centre
  • Kitchenette
  • Seating Area
  • Desk
  • Toiletries

 

Nearby attractions:

  • Empire State Building
  • Grand Central Station
  • United Nations Headquarters
  • Madison Square Garden
  • Times Square
  • Rockefeller Center
  • Penn Station
  • St Patrick’s Cathedral
  • Museum of Modern Art
  • Central Park
  • Union Square
  • Fifth Avenue
  • Macy’s

 

My recommendation:  5 out of 5

I feel this hotel is perfect for business travelers and families as they have big suites perfect for such guests. The location is perfect and I can’t complain about it. I only wish the price is not so hefty, not to mention the additional facility fees which I seriously don’t understand. However, those are minor hiccups in our entire stay because I liked the property so much. It’s not so new but it is clean, the bed is comfortable, the whole Junior Suite is huge and view from our room is okay too. I do recommend this hotel.

 

If you’re looking for hotels in Manhattan or in other parts of New York, you may find more hotels from:


Booking.com

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Book The Best Vacation Of Your Life With These Tips



Do you want to have the best vacation of your life? If the answer is yes, then you will find all the information you need for how to plan it on this guide. You can take this vacation whenever you like. But as soon as you read the plan, we think you’re going to want to book it as soon as possible. So let’s get started.

Far In Advance Or Last Minute

We think the best way to get a dream vacation is to ensure that it doesn’t cost a fortune, and there are two ways to do this. You can either book far enough in advance that prices are slashed. Or, you can book at the last minute. You can even head to the airport and jump on a flight when a cancellation is called. But, you won’t be able to decide where you are going if you travel in this manner. Aside from this, you can also look online on sites that offer great deals such as the appropriately named, Hot UK Deals. Or, consider booking everything as a package. This usually takes a couple of thousand off the price.

Avoid: Booking secret holidays is not a smart money-saving move. In effect, you are booking and paying for somewhere before you’ve seen it. You could end up in a complete dump.

More Than A Hotel

What do we mean by more than a hotel? It’s quite simple really. We suggest somewhere that is more than what you are used to. For instance, the Pilar hotel boutique is more than just a place to stay. It’s a personalised experience with services that are sure to make your stay feel like a lavish luxury. You’ll have all the personalised care you could ever ask for and you’ll be surrounded by nature. But you will also be only a drive away from a beautiful urban paradise. It’s the best of both worlds.

Or, you could consider renting an apartment rather than a hotel. This is a way to feel like you are living in a country, rather than just passing through. You’ll be able to cook your own food and enjoy the delicious culinary dishes your chosen destination has to offer.

Tick Off Your Bucket List

If you want the best holiday, you should certainly consider making it a once in a lifetime experience. You can do this by travelling somewhere you have always wanted to go, seeing a site, or challenging your courage. For instance, if you are off to a tropical destination you might want to consider diving with sharks. This is definitely on a few people’s bucket list. Or, you might want to go and explore the Christmas Islands. Who knows where your dreams could take you once you set them free.

Make It About You

The key message to take on board is to be selfish for once in your life. Make this holiday all about you. You choose where you want to go and what you want to do. If you do that, you’re sure to have the vacation of your life. You might even make some new friends along the way. 

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Review – Ras Al Khaimah Hotel

We drove to Ras Al Khaimah (RAK) last 18-19 January, 2013 for a quick and short weekend getaway. Ras Al Khaimah is one of the emirates of the United Arab Emirates. It is a sleepy town compared to the bustling cosmopolitan city of Dubai. However, it has that certain quiet charm that lures city-dwellers  for a quick escape to the fast-paced life in Dubai.

Ras Al Kkaimah Hotel is in the Beachfront, RAK (P.O. Box 37755, RAK, UAE). I am not sure when the hotel was constructed but looking at the old fixtures in the room and lobby gave me the notion that it might be an old hotel.

It is not a big property though. It has 92 rooms, 2 serviceable elevators, an accessible ramp for the handicap, a restaurant in the lobby and near the pool area, a fitness centre with sauna, a big swimming pool and wading pool for the kids, a bar and some mini-offices in the lobby.

It is in a quiet area, I think the nearby community is a residential area but it also few minutes drive to the RAK Mall and the Al Manar Shopping Mall in the city proper.

The price:
We booked 1 night for a triple bedroom (3 adults) for AED 249.00 (approx US$68) inclusive of the 10% service charge.

The amenities/services:

  • Free parking
  • Free wi-fi in the lobby
  • Pool
  • Gym/Sauna
  • Restaurants and bars
  • 24-hr front desk/Concierge
  • Ramp for handicap access
  • Elevators
  • Safety deposit box in each room
  • Air conditioning
  • Hair dryer
  • Toiletries
  • Laundry/dry cleaning service

Some of our photos:

 photo IMG_1633_zps0c0dd28a.jpg
View from our room to the right. You can see the mountains’ vista.
 photo IMG_1571_zpsb7e2a386.jpg
Driveway leading to the front door of the hotel. See the mountains behind me? Beautiful on a clear day!

 photo 19fd164b-6d04-42af-b7cf-2ab7d39893b8.jpg
Pool view from our room

 photo 183e1db9-8dca-449c-80f3-3de9de730e85.jpg
Toilet amenities
 photo 124e3577-0c4c-4f40-85c4-c07329cf44af.jpg
Old light controls

 photo 51706691-c17a-43e1-8820-29b8668838d6.jpg
Empty mini-bar. It’s just a small ref but hotel’s policy says we cannot bring food/bev from outside.
I wonder why they have this in the first place.

What I like:
Situated in a quiet place, just in front of the main road. If you’re billeted in the higher floors then you’ll have a good look of the nearby beach and on the right side is the mountains (if your room happens to be pool-view).

There’s a free wi-fi connection in the lobby. The caveat on this one is that, we have to go down and sit in the lobby to connect. Otherwise, I have no complaints since the connection is actually good.

The beds are very comfortable and our room has a pool-view. So, we can see the beach from a distance and to our right are the mountains. The mountain-scape look so pretty with the contour of the peaks and dips in great detail because they seem so near.

 photo ddd3072a-2f32-4e2e-82b9-aea31f4d6536.jpg
Very comfy beds

The room is just about right with enough walking spaces to go around without bumping on the chairs nor edges of the bed. It’s quite roomy.

The cabinet is spacious.

The bathroom is spacious.

They have free slippers and other basic amenities to go like toiletries, shoe wedge, laundry bags, a pen and stationery and too many soaps. I think we have  4 in the bathroom and I say, that’s too generous!

The staff are very friendly and accommodating. I should have taken their names to commend them for their excellent customer service support. And that includes their housekeeping staff and waiters and waitresses.

Our package came with free buffet breakfast. The breakfast was continental and I am amazed by the wide selection. Their selection is better than the one in Ibis Hotel in Deira, Dubai.

There’s an ample free parking for guests in front of the hotel and you get a good view of the neighborhood too.

 photo e2b877e3-5949-473c-8d89-c94eb3ecaf42.jpg
Ample free parking for guests

What I don’t like:
The lobby is a smoking-area. I find it disturbing to do my online business without someone’s cigar’s smoke wafting to my face.

The hotel’s strict “no outside food/beverages” policy. We are practical travelers and we cannot afford to blow our budget dining in the hotel’s in-house restaurants. And we all know that in-house bars and restaurants’ meals will cost a fortune. We had to drive to the nearby mall to eat.

The fixtures in our room are all antiquated except for the flat TV screen.

The toilet seat is broken and if you’re lucky, you’ll get your skin pinched by accident (I had the misfortune of getting my leg skin pinched when I sat on the broken toilet seat).

 photo 26e03af6-f46b-4a03-9112-a876f180fa06.jpg
The broken toilet seat that pinched my leg skin.

The tub did not have any rubber stopper if you want to soak. We requested as soon as we checked-in and got the stopper in the evening.

The bathroom sink and mirror are dirty. Dirty in a sense that even if they’ve been wiped clean, the sight of dirty grouts with mildew or stain is just unappealing. Well, I’m sure they’ve been wiped and sanitized but the overall cleanliness is just not at par with other 4-stars hotels.

 photo 1373fef8-c187-49e7-826c-d38e6e9558f3.jpg
No, they’re not designs nor borders. The mirror is practically chipping from behind.

 photo 7becadac-7536-4e18-a097-11a887f72f63.jpg
The bathroom is actually clean and freshly scented but the grouts need to be steamed in the bathroom. All over!

The carpet looked like it was not washed for sometime but I can live with that. We used their free slippers anyway.

My recommendation:
For the non-fussy, practical, short-staying guests – This is a great hotel with value for your money. If you don’t mind staying in an old hotel with basic amenities and outdated fixtures then you can stay here.

For the meticulous and finicky ones – No. This hotel will not be ideal for your discerning tastes.

For family with older/smaller children – Yes. I do recommend the hotel as they have a big pool and a children’s pool too for the kids to enjoy. They have a big grassy area near the pool where the kids can play ball or run around to their liking.

And for the hotel management – I think it’s high time to do an overhaul or refurbishing.

(This is not a paid post for the above mentioned property. All opinions and photos are 100% mine and personal.)

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Weekend at Ibis Hotel in Deira

We love spending overnights in different hotels in UAE. We do not this every single week as this costly habit will definitely burn holes in our pockets. Our family makes it a point to spend a weekend in the nearby areas when time and budget permits at least once every 2 months. We take that opportunity to bond as a family and explore different places and hotels around the UAE.

I chose Ibis Hotel in Deira, Dubai this time. The last time we checked in a hotel was last quarter of 2011 in Hilton Ras Al Khaimah. I decided to book in Ibis because our company gets special rates and I will earn in my A/Club Loyalty Program which is under the Accor Hotels. Ibis Hotel is one of that famous chain.

Ibis Hotel is a 2-star property. However, I feel it can pass as 3-4 stars because it is clean, has modern amenities like other 3-4 stars hotel. It has a basement parking lot for free for guests and clients, restaurants, access for the handicap, free wi-fi at the lobby, internet access in the rooms, vending machines on every floor, ice machine in the 1st floor and is connected to the Novotel Hotel so guests can access the pool with a minimal fee.

I booked a standard room with a queen size bed. The room is actually spacious with very basic amenities and no mini-bar. The cabinet has no door which I find very chic for easy access and there is no safe box unlike other big hotels. The private bathroom has a shower and the body gel and liquid soap are attached to the wall. There were no other free toiletries. However, there is an installed hair-dryer which is okay.

I like this hotel because it is clean, smells good and is walking distance to the nearest metro station. It is situated right in front of Deira City Centre. So, business travellers in Dubai can enjoy this small but very chic hotel for a budget price. I give it my thumbs up!

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Side-Tracked And Still No Hotel Booking

Posted in hotel booking, Japan, Tokyo, vacation
on December 18, 2011
Oh, I am very out of my comfort zone right now! I normally have things sorted out few months in advance before the travel date but I still have not finalized the hotel booking. The hotel we wanted in Shinjuku in Tokyo is full and I am kind of hoping that a cancellation happens so there will be an opening. I told my husband that come January 2012, if there are still not cancellation, we may just have to settle for another hotel in the area or at least in Ginza.
April is a high season. It’s Spring time and a lot of students will be off from school. Aside from that, the weather is pleasant and the Cherry Blossoms will be in bloom; hence, the festivities and the high occupancy rate.
I will surely have to finalize this at one point and we can’t change locations now. We are all excited to go to Tokyo especially my daughter who is already listing stuff to buy. Anyway, I’ll have my answers in few weeks time. Just few more research of good properties and affordable ones too and I’ll be set.
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