Hearton Hotel Nishiumeda – Osaka, Japan

The Hearton Hotel Nishiumeda is practically right next door to Osaka Station. There are a lot of eateries inside and outside the station area for you to try out…DSC_0300

The room is quite small compared to the other rooms I had stayed in, but it is decent.
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Bathroom is nice and clean!DSC_0025

But I was faced right next to the train lines… Fortunately I could sleep… The main noise was from the people next door to me. They were all loud, coughing and other things. Hmmm.DSC_0028DSC_0029

A nice hotel. Loved the breakfast buffet. Easy to get to.

Address: 3 Chome-3-55 Umeda, Kita Ward, Osaka, 530-0001, Japan

Court Hotel – Hiroshima, Japan

In Hiroshima, I stayed in Court Hotel. It’s not a far walk from the station – about a 15 minute walk if you come out from the right side of the station (I think it’s the north side you need to get out from… or was it the south?) LOL.

It’s very close to the river, but very far to the tourist sites. Just make sure you know all the public transport routes beforehand… I had no clue, so I was checking Google Maps everyday.
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The room is very neat and tidy but very old fashioned. You might spot some dusty parts in the bathroom… It felt like a hotel room from the 80’s and 90’s. Modern but old at the same time. Bed is extremely comfortable… I slept quite well.DSC_2725

Bathroom looks a bit old, but at least it’s clean.DSC_2726

A nice stay at this hotel!

Address: 7-8 Kanayamacho, Naka Ward, Hiroshima, 730-0022, Japan

Website: https://www.courthotels.co.jp/en/hiroshima/

Ark Hotel – Kyoto, Japan

Ark Hotel is situated in Nakagyo Ward in Kyoto. It’s not far from Kyoto Station, but you have to change from Karasuma Station and then change for the Hankyu-Kyoto Line. Get off at Omiya Station. Just make sure not to get the fast train, as it will take you all the way to Osaka!DSC_2260

The room is nice and clean. It looked a bit old fashioned compared to the hotel in Hakone and Tokyo. The window has double handles… I couldn’t open the window because I didn’t see the other handle!DSC_2263DSC_2264

Thankfully the bathroom has a laundry line! I wish all hotels had this. It’s easy to wash and dry your clothes.DSC_2265

Staff are friendly. And they will make an effort to speak a bit of English… But I think if you throw in a bit of Japanese words to indicate that you understand, I think it will help. Just say “wakarimasu わかります”  I understand or “wakarimasen わかりません” I don’t understand.

I went for the eco-friendly service, where you get vouchers to get a free drink from their drinks machine on the ground floor. What they do is clean the bins and the bathroom, towels are not changed and beds are not made. This is ok for me!

The view from the window is not bad… but I was facing the main street, so I could local officials making their way around town for their local elections. Oh it was noisy!!DSC_2399DSC_2400DSC_2404DSC_2405

I liked this hotel, it was near a lot of stations, shops and restaurants. Wished I could have stayed a little longer!

The only problem I had was locating the breakfast bar… LOL!

Address: 1 Mibukayogoshocho, Nakagyo Ward, Kyoto, 604-8811, Japan

Website: https://www.ark-hotel.co.jp/kyoto/

Resorpia Hotel – Hakone, Japan

So the next hotel I was booked into was the Resorpia Hotel in Hakone. It’s very, very far, and it’s very, very uphill. If you’re a good climber then by all means you should walk it. But with my stamina, the best thing to do is go up in the tram. 

At night, if you go outside, you can clearly see the stars.DSC_2205

 

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The rooms are very clean. I was placed on the 6th Floor, but it’s like a maze trying to find your own room! I really had a peaceful night at this hotel, I couldn’t even hear anyone from the next rooms… Was I the only person on that floor I wonder!

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Bathroom was nice and clean enough.

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This was the view I had from the hotel room. Trees and mountains. I was basically next to the car park as well.
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Although I got off the wrong stop, I think I may have been able to have go through the car park (as I found out in the morning!) to get to this hotel. 

Anyway, if you know which route is the fastest, let me know!! This is the route I took, but you’re actually going uphill with this route!!! ¬_¬””

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The food is excellent here, but make sure to reserve your space, otherwise there’s no other place to buy food… I found out the hard way!!!

Address: 1320-1239 Gora, Hakone, Ashigarashimo District, Kanagawa 250-0408, Japan

Nearest Cable Car Stations: Naka-Gora Station (the one I got off) and Kami-Gora Station (probably the easier route)

Keio Presso Inn – Ikebukuro, Tokyo

Before pressing onto the next holiday blog post, I will introduce to you the hotels that were booked for me.

This is a 3 star hotel, and it’s located in the north west side of Tokyo centre. It’s about an hour and a half to get to from the hotel via rail. But if I had the transfer it would have taken me half-an-hour or 45 minutes to get there.

It’s about a 10 to 15 minute walk from Ikebukuro Station (just don’t get lost when you’re trying to figure out which exit you need to get out of … stay near the East exit).DSC_1861

I had a room with a single bed. It’s quite small but very cozy. The shutters slide open. The wi-fi password is located on the TV saver screen. If you’re used to cold weather it might be wise to open the window instead of using the air-con. When I switched the air-con off, the room became completely silent. Brilliant! DSC_1862

Shower and bath were both decent. Baths in Japan are quite deep, and fairly small – not sure how people manage in them! DSC_1863

A decent hotel. I was able to sleep even though I had jet lag at the time. I would have stayed longer if I didn’t have to travel to other areas of Japan.

Address: 2 Chome-29-11 Minamiikebukuro, Toshima City, Tokyo 171-0022, Japan

Tel: +81 3-5396-0202

Ibis Hotel – Gloucester

After looking at a bunch of places of AirBnB, it was decided by Mr Games that we should stay in a hotel… I can’t remember the price at the time he booked, but it was over £50 per night. We stayed for two nights.
Mr Games booked two rooms with double beds. There were no twin rooms available. 😦
From entering the hotel you got this canteen looking area.

I made sure Mr Games requested an extra duvet as I’m usually the victim of the other person taking the duvet. There was enough space for both Miss Money and I.

Shower was amazing! Toilet could have been a better option. Toilet roll could be placed somewhere more accessible.

The coffee drinkers (Mr Sensible, Miss Money and I) weren’t really impressed with the selection of coffees… the coffee machine outside at the breakfast buffet was more decent!
Overall the hotel was generally quiet. Even our neighbours hardly made any noise. You may hear someone’s shower or TV but it was ok. Could advise on another bin in the room as well…

Address: Corinium Ave, Barnwood, Gloucester GL4 3DG
Tel: 01452 623650
Website: http://www.ibis.com/united-kingdom/index.en.shtml

Veramar Hotel – Costa del Sol, Spain

This is the hotel we stayed in. Veramer Hotel. It’s near the beach, a 5 minute walk. Very close to the supermarket. There’s a bakery and there’s a few restaurants to choose from.
Since Baby B is a fussy eater (not that fussy… but she likes chips, fish fingers and waffles at the moment), we chose a hotel where we were allowed to cook.

We were a bit surprised with the spacing… there was hardly any room to move. Two single beds and a cot… There is a balcony, aircon and a small TV on the wall…

Bathroom was ok! We loved the shower… It was very welcoming.

Toilet was in a strange place and they also provide a bidet! Wow. It’s the first time I’ve seen a hotel provide this. I guess some people have problems with their bottoms… Too much spicy food, huh.

Sorry for the messy kitchen… The main problems of the kitchen were… NO KETTLE and toaster… How does a kitchen cope without a kettle? The cups were quite small, but I’m so happy I brought my mug from Algarve… My trusty mug. Hehehehe. 

The cot… you may need to ask for extra bedding for the cot…

Well, we did have a nice stay, staff were friendly all over.
I think our only main complaint was the kettle situation… But everything was ok. The lift is a little awkward, but you can also use the stairs…
It’s close to everything, and close to the airport if you take the motorway to get there!
If you’re planning to use the sun chairs and swimming pool, make sure to bring your own towels instead of the hotel’s…plus get there early!

Address: Calle Burgos, 2, 29640 Fuengirola, Málaga, Spain
Tel: +34 952 58 05 00

Website: http://www.hotelveramar.com/en/

Regal Riverside Hotel 麗豪酒店 – Shatin, Hong Kong

Ah, one more post about Hong Kong!

Last time we stayed at the Regal Oriental Hotel based in Kowloon. My family didn’t really like that hotel even though there was free WiFi and lots of local stores. But we had to try and go back to the Regal Riverside Hotel 麗豪酒店 (Canto: lai hou jau dim) on this trip! Why?

Because the rooms are much more spacious at this hotel than their sister hotel (plus they finally finished renovating whatever they were doing and installed free WiFi)!

In previous stays at this hotel, they used to have a big table and chairs available. Now there’s a squeaky sofa and a small glass table which I kept bumping to at night. 😦 It hurts you know! I mostly sat on the floor to eat my breakfast or dinner… Felt the sofa was too high and the table was too low. >_<"" Not sure if they vacuum the rooms as often as they used to. And I don't think they change the bed sheets because I spilt a bit of soy sauce on the duvet cover, nothing was changed. ¬_¬"

We were put on the 8th Floor (lucky number for the Chinese), but really it was unlucky for us as we couldn’t sleep! I switched the aircon to heat but all we got was cold air. Turned it up to 24/25 degrees… and still no hot air… What kind of aircon did they install?

Forgot to take a picture of the bathroom. They haven’t upgraded their bathrooms for years. I think depending on the cleaner you get, you don’t always get new bottles of shampoo or body wash… 😦

Think the hotel has gone a bit stingy for a 4 star. Weren’t like this 6/7 years ago! The cleaners were much more generous with the teas and coffees and sugar… Unfortunately they give out a lot of bottles of water… In the end we had around more than 10 bottles sitting in our room! >_<" Stupid management idea really…
Didn’t take any of the drinks from the fridge… no point. They were more expensive than the supermarket and 7Eleven. 
The only best thing is how fast the lift goes up and down. ^_^

Pointers when staying at this hotel:
– Close to the bus stops but be prepared to wait for some of them, as some are hourly buses
– 2 bus stops away from New Town Plaza, which is where you can take a train
– Far away from a Metro line, so you will need to hop on a bus to somewhere like Yau Ma Tei
– There is a HK$1000 deposit – in case you break anything or order things like room service
– There are restaurants around but walk around to City One or New Town Plaza… or even walk to the Star Seafood Floating Restaurant…
– If you’ve been put in a room near the roads, then I’m afraid there’s nothing much you can do except purchase earplugs
– The walls are not that thick so it’s possible you can hear your neighboring hotel guest
– There’s finally free WiFi!!!
– Try out their restaurants, I never did, but they look good
– It’s generally a quiet area – apart from the traffic
– There’s a dry cleaners nearby, try and find it as it’s cheaper than the hotel!
– There are family rooms available which have more facilities like microwaves and cookers etc.
If I were to give a geeky rating, it would be defo be a 3/5… but 5/5 for location! :p

Address:
中國香港新界沙田大涌橋路34-36號

34-36 Tai Chung Kiu Road, Sha Tin, Hong Kong
Phone: +852 2649 7878

Kinlay House Hostel – Cork, Ireland (from Day 1)

Thought I might change format of my posting. ^_^
Usually I post about the hotels or hostels I stayed in at the end of the travel posts, but thought it would make sense to post it after Day 1’s trip.
Miss Money chose the Kinlay House Hostel on booking.com after searching and searching online for a nice place to stay… and this is what we ended up with.

It’s actually not that far from the city centre, a 10 to 15 minute walk (English time… Irish time runs faster, lol!).

Sorry for the mess! We were trying to dry off, and go out to eat… We got the top floor of the house we were staying in. Was actually surprised to see that we had to actually come out of the reception to get to the house. There’s no adjoining corridor…
I hate stairs (think I may have said that many times in this blog), but there were a few twists and turns so it was a little fun going up the stairs. Now I know what Irish homes are like in Cork. ^_^ 

We had one cup in the room, so I had to ask reception where I could get one. Had to go to the adjourning kitchen which is located near the reception area. Breakfast is free, and basically you can make your own food within the limits of the kitchen. When we went in there it was quite busy, full of hungry people and people on their laptops/ devices.
There’s a small TV, so if you wear glasses, it’s best to wear them. Heheh. The cupboard below was a bit wobbly but usable.

Bathroom was nice and clean. We had to shut the window and put the blinder down as Miss Money was afraid of people looking in!! Hahahahah. Towel were given too. Such a nice hostel compared to The Generator Hostel in Dublin!!

There’ a big dining room at the bottom. Milk and teabags are provided. If we were in Cork longer, I would have enjoyed a meal there. 

I managed to sleep for a good few hours in the hostel. If only Miss Money didn’t go to the loo and if the heating remained on for a little longer I would have a great nights sleep.

Price paid for one night: €59 (€28 per person)

My geeky rating: 4/5

Address: Bob & Joan’s next to St. Ann’s Church Bells, Bob and joan’s Walk, Shandon, Cork, Ireland
Phone: +353 21 450 8966


Crowne Plaza London – The City Hotel @ London Blackfriars

I like being asked to go to things and experiencing a different atmosphere after work, and so I accepted an invitation to go to the Crowne Plaza London – The City which is opposite London Blackfriars station, a four star (deluxe) hotel. I was allowed a plus one, so I took along Miss Pinky (since she lives the closest, and I was pretty sure she wanted a night out after being a parent all day long). ^_^
Was at Miss Pinky’s a little early than expected and she was ready to go! Wow. I’ve never seen her dressed and ready to go out before I could say 1, 2, 3… we actually walked down towards Waterloo instead of taking a bus, through The Cut and into Blackfriars Bridge (which unfortunately has a lot of roadworks at the moment due to nearby building works) and we arrived early than I had expected.

Right before our mini tour (“showcase” as they called it) of the hotel we were told to meet our hostess for the evening in the bar area called Voltaire Cocktails & Champagne Bar. The bar itself is named after the French writer/philosopher/historian as he was exiled to London for six years, this was his escape and one for the city folk. Miss Pinky and I started talking to the people around (well one person), getting to know the hotel, and talking about what I actually blog about. I blog about everything!
Miss Pinky asked a lot of the questions (since she knows more about properties and the housing market). I don’t think I could’ve asked the things she had asked – more about the hotel business, and what they offer internationally… ¬_¬”” I should’ve taken notes. From memory, the Crowne Plaza is part of IHG Hotels and they offer a wide range of hotels and holiday inns, ten types of hotels, and they offer a IHG Rewards Club membership which enables you to stay at those various hotels with a discount… (see end of post for website).
Voltaire Bar
Our hostess Tuhina, introduced herself to us who is the Marketing and Partnerships Manager at the hotel. She is a very bubbly person and has worked in the Hong Kong industry (I believe her because she went “aiya” at one point during the showcase. ^_^). 
We were introduced to the afternoon tea cakes and sandwiches first. I wanted to eat them, but this was just a display. Looks cool and is available Monday to Saturday. I think Miss Pinky will be coming this way for an occasion with either friends or family, they do a cocktails or champagne addition too.

Our hostess left us for a bit, and we sort of lingered to the food. I was already into my fourth day of my low carb diet but welcomed any sort of food that evening. They served up some tuna chunks, duck spring rolls and mini shepherd’s pie. Quality of the food was up to my standards – a delicious thumbs up. (^_^) These food items can be arranged for events.

Finally our tour (showcase) started…

We were shown the champagne library first, I didn’t go up close to see it, but it’s there in the Voltaire Bar and good for a group booking.

Did you know that the Crowne Plaza was once a palace a.k.a Bridewell Palace where King Henry VIII once lived (as well as Hampton Court Palace), so I think this Grade II listed building is just part of what was once a palace. 
Apart from being a palace, after King Henry VIII’s reign it became a prison, a hospital and once a bank. So where am I getting at? Well, the Voltaire Bar is the actual prison part. It’s quite visible when you see the “cells” which are currently formed into private mini rooms or vaults as they call it, and you can sit in them for FREE with no time restrictions.Very different to other bars I’ve seen around London.

There’s actually another entrance to the bar… Miss Pinky and I went through the 19 New Bridge Street main road entrance which is via the two restaurants. The front entrance is actually on the opposite side of the building and away from the main road, so you actually wouldn’t notice that this is a hotel if you hadn’t seen the sign on the side. Very bizarre for a Grade II building. I wouldn’t have even noticed this entrance if I wasn’t told about it.

Here I’m just taking a random picture as I usually do…

Next stop was the Italian restaurant and wine bar, Diciannove (meaning: Nineteen – because of the address of the location, Number 19). From the outside, you wouldn’t believe this restaurant exists in Blackfriars, but it actually does. As you go in, there is a bright element of yellow light and then at the end is a live jazz singer. My sort of dining after a stressful day…

The food itself is of real good quality Italian made products. The chefs actually produce and bake their bread and pasta daily, which I think is amazing. Not all hotels make their own bread, it sounds amazing! 

This whole table of food was just a display so we couldn’t test the wine. 😦 Miss Pinky and the other guests were impressed though. Just looking at my own pictures is making my mouth water for the cheese and meat slices.

Here is Chef Alessandro talking through the products they cook and produce. Quality stuff.

We got to try out the sample foods too…

You probably think the food is really expensive, but truthfully it’ll probably be the average amount you would spend at a sushi bar or a Korean restaurant. So not too expensive from looking at the menu prices. They do an Pronto lunch (12pm-2pm) and dinner (6pm-7pm) 2-course set with espresso for £19.50 and two for one on carafes of wine from 5pm-6:30pm.
The lamb was not overcooked, the pasta was al-dente (which is how I like it) and the scallop was cooked to perfection. I think I want more from just writing this!!

We were about to go into the Chinese restaurant, but were detoured to the guest rooms, so we squeezed into the lift and I can’t remember which floor we went to.

The first room we were shown was a normal room. According to the website, for one night in a standard room costs £134.83. Expensive for me! But there are a few benefits, for example the windows are double glazed, meaning you can’t hear any noise from the outside. We seriously couldn’t hear anything from where we were. 
What most business people had wanted was to switch off electronically so they didn’t place plugs by the beds, so anyone needing a few winks more than they usually have can have a peaceful night in one of these rooms. They are also supplied with a Sleep Advantage aromatherapy kit, a sleeping solution made of natural oils (we got a free sample, which I have not tried yet).

Could not hear anything from below!

Need to have a go at this… but I already sleep well at nights
The next room we viewed was a British designer Paul Smith inspired suite. You can tell it is as there’s all colourful stripes and photography all around. My type of room. Colourful and bright! This room is separated into two parts, so there’s a living room area and the bedroom at the back… there’s also a coffee machine on the side!

I didn’t realise you could have a globe inside a hotel room!

I wouldn’t mind staying in one of these rooms for a few nights. ^_^””
Back down we went and into the Chinese Cricket Club Restaurant. The restaurant is named after the actual Chinese Cricket Club. It’s not actually a club but a Sichuan style food restaurant. So lots of spices, noodles and rice. 

We didn’t get a presentation like the Italian side but the display was good enough. Our hostess explained that the dim sum is handmade daily by a lady chef who also does dim sum workshops monthly at the restaurant.
All of the teas and next food pics are display pictures… too bad! I could’ve downed some of the food there and then, >_<"

At this point we had more food!

This was tasty, not over-spiced nor too salty…not overly greasey too. Not like a Chinese takeaway.

The dim sum was good, it’s too bad I only ate one piece. Miss Pinky couldn’t enjoy any of these as she’s allergic to prawns, so all she could do was look. Wonder if there are any non-prawn dim sum available…? Yes there is according to the menu online! The dim sum is overly expensive compared to China Town so I probably recommend the platter. Are these served all day long? Yes!

The fried noodles were good, had enough spice in it. Because it sat there for a little while it lost a little of it’s crunch texture. But nevertheless it tasted good.

Haven’t had one of these flower teas for a while but always enjoy looking at these.

The Chinese Cricket Club Restaurant is a bit expensive for me (it’s somewhere where my friend Miss Posh would go to) as I know I could enjoy food like this for a little cheaper. Probably a place suitable for the wealthy Chinese business people! Luckily they also have an Express menu at lunch (12pm-2pm) and dinner (6pm-7pm) 2-course set with rice and a drink for £17.50.

Next stop was the Conference Floor!

The basement is “The Place To Meet”!

More food!!

Well, at this point our hostess had to attend to a new arrival group and so our second hostess arrived and showed us the meeting rooms.

The Bridewell Suite can be hired for up to 160 people. I forgot what the history of this room was used for, for Henry VIII. Anyway, you can hire this room for weddings, Christmas parties, a big conference or whatever you need it for. Miss Pinky asked about whether the outer space could also be used for guests if a wedding was held there, and yes was the answer and it doesn’t cost more…

The three Boardrooms can be hired for meetings, brainstorming sessions, debriefings, you name it, it’s catered for the people that need it! It can take up to 10 people. So if you need somewhere to do a meeting and have no space in your own offices, then the Boardrooms would be ideal.

We were shown the sample foods for those using the meeting and conference rooms but the sweets and healthy food stations was an exception for all of us. I tried to avoid this table!! If only we could have had some of the food… 😦

Well, we ended back at the Voltaire Cocktails & Champagne Bar, got our free sleeping sample and that was the end of our showcase…
Miss Pinky wanted cocktails after our long tour, we had just missed the 5-8pm buy two cocktails for £8.50, so had to pay for the full price of these two cocktails… they tasted good though. Worth going and having after work. I definitely would if I worked nearby and there’s always the monthly cocktail masterclasses for £19! 😀

It was time to go, my tummy was calling to eat a bit more because of all the alcohol I had that night.

Goodnight Crowne Plaza London – The City… if you look closely at the ground floor, they have illuminating neon lights glowing from the inside of the hotel restaurants (very Hong Kong style advertising)… 

After the showcase, Miss Pinky said to me that they don’t do Groupon offers (as she’s always having a look at nearby offers)… They have done amazing Time Out, Travel Zoo, Wowcher and Living Social offers and will be starting with Groupon. Also look out for 50% off food on Taste Card. That’s probably what they should aim for. More people would go if there were certain discounts for a small time period. 
To try out the IHG special offers for holidays or business trips look at this website:
To get more information about room rates and their restaurants, then look at this website:
Address: 19 New Bridge St, London EC4V 6DB
Phone: 0871 942 9190