Long time back when I visited Amsterdam, around in the middle of the previous decade, I chose myself a hotel from the center of Amsterdam, as close to the known attractions as possible.
I ended up booking my hotel room from The Albus Design Boutique hotel by the Vijzelstraat street, and the first impression outside the hotel and lobby was quite good.
But when I got into my hotel room, it was a room on the lowest, second floor, and there was a noisy street right outside my room window. Foam earplugs provided by the hotel were waiting for me by the bedside table.
While the view of the lively Amsterdam street was undoubtedly interesting, it did not compensate for the hotel’s thin window glasses, which did not keep the noise at night.
During the weekend, the buzzing and partying people mumbled loudly on the street, and the noise continued almost till the morning. On top of that, some kind of a taxi station had been invented just under the hotel room window and there sure were enough customers there.
I did not eat breakfast nor other meals in the hotel restaurant, as there were several interesting places within walking distance, such as an Indian restaurant I wrote about earlier. In addition, there were plenty of lovely cafés in Amsterdam that served fresh and healthy food and had morning sun on their terraces.
The Albus Hotel seems to be receiving lots of four and five star reviews, but I think those reviewers have slept on the top floor of the hotel. My experience in that hotel was very restless even though the room was in good condition. Fortunately I didn’t have to spend many nights there, even though I otherwise like Amsterdam.
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A few years ago I traveled to the East coast of India to discover a small town called Pondicherry, also known as Puducherry. Puducherry is located some tens of kilometers south of Chennai along the East coast of India.
I chose to stay in a hotel called Sunway Manor, which was a four-star hotel located by a main road called Hundred Feet Road.
My room was spacious and tidy and there were two chairs and a table in addition to the bed, TV and the desk. From the window I was able to see the tops of the palm trees further in the horizon and also the sun rising from the East.
The hotel room service was impeccable and on some afternoons one could find an elephant folded of towels on the bed.
There were two swimming pools in the inner yard of the hotel: a large pool for adults and a small pool for children. There were also a few sunbeds with shadows around the pool, and the shadows were really needed as the sun was shining hot almost all day.
However, in the indoors the climate of Pondicherry did not bother as the hotel was fully air-conditioned.
Puducherry’s common history with France was evident only in the hotel breakfast, where the morning buffet menu included traditional South Indian breakfast along with French delicacies such as pancake, croissant and toast. Fresh papaya, watermelon and fruits along with pongal were also served.
The hotel’s buffet dinner was a wonderful discovery trip to South Indian meals, but a few Indian dishes common even in Finland were also served, and the dishes were not too spicy.
For a small hunger one could order masala dosa from the room service, and it was brought with coconut and other chutneys. My experience was that masala dosa may look as modest as in the photo attached and still taste good.
I was very pleased with the hotel, and if there was something to improve, it would have been having a roof terrace and the sea near by. However, the location was by a major road, and one could have an air-conditioned taxi from the hotel, or even pick up a yellow rickshaw in front of the hotel if one wanted to get to the beach. However though, for cultural reasons, sunbathing was only possible by the hotel’s swimming pool.
The best thing about this hotel in my humble opinion was its SPA, which refreshed the tired and flabby Finnish skin totally. Ayurvedic facial treatments and massages given at the Bodhi SPA, together with high quality ayurvedic SPA products, alleviated the prickly heat problem which is often experienced in them tropical climates. And the customer was able to continue her journey with good memories.
Here’s a short video by me of the Sunway Manor hotel in Pondicherry:
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A big moose was guarding the main entrance, bringing the Scandinavian feel for the guest right from the beginning.
The room I got was ok size for a short visit and it was having big windows, from the floor to the ceiling. The window offered a nice view outside, though there was not much to see except buildings.
In-between the bathroom and the bedroom there was an exceptional glass window decorated with Scandinavian birch leaves. The window was right next to your bathtub, but you could not see outside clearly.
What I loved the most about this hotel, in addition to its central location in Berlin, near the public transport, were the mornings. The morning buffet was one the best I’ve ever had – There were plenty of options for people eating gluten-free and organic food.
Nice detail in the restaurant interior was the clock in the restaurant, which was actually a tv showing videoart of time passing by. What a lovely idea to have art in the morning together with your lovely breakfast.
The restaurants in Hotel Scandic Potsdamer Platz were neat and clean and simply elegant in a Scandinavian way. Coming from Finland, it all felt familiar to me. Over all I had nothing to complain during my stay in this hotel, so if you’re after a nice hotel experience in Berlin, this is one option.
SECOND TIME IN HOTEL SCANDIC POTSDAMER PLATZ IN BERLIN
In June 2019 I made another visit to the Hotel Scandic Potsdamer Platz in Berlin. The big moose I mentioned earlier, was no more there waiting outside the hotel, but otherwise this Scandic hotel had stayed the same.
This time I had booked a superior room. It did not differ much from the previous standard room, except that it was on the second top floor of the hotel and the view from the window was a lot better and more spacious.
The room was neat and clean and in a good condition with a bathroom looking almost like new.
However, when I was making the bath, an unexpected surprise was revealed as the bathtub was filled with greenish water. The matter was investigated and settled for a long time. But even though the interior of Hotel Scandic Potsdamer Platz was decorated with birch and lime green, all the way from the elevator ceiling to the dining room, no explanation for the tinted greenish water in the bathtub was found.
The hotel offered a gym shower and another free room by the next day. But since the water coming from the shower seemed colorless in a glass, it had to do for a quick shower, after a hot day in Berlin. Showergel was missing though but it was arranged later.
Next day the hotel maintenance technician had not found anything to repair in the bathtub, so in the end nothing was repaired.
There really was more than 30 degrees temperature in Berlin in the beginning of June. Inside the hotel room the temperature was at least +26. The room did not get cooler than that without opening the room window in the night. There was a silent cooling system in the room, but it was operating too gently and modestly compared to the traditional A/C systems, which cool the room very loudly but efficiently.
However, the hotel lobby, restaurants and the terrace were nicely cool all this time.
I went to the hotel restaurant once to dine and felt little amused, since the only vegetarian option in the menu was the same burger I had had four years back. But on the other hand – why to change, if the burger and the French fries are as tasty as they were in this restaurant of Hotel Scandic Potsdamer Platz.
It was also possible to have the veg hamburger gluten-free. However, that meant that a small bun was brought in a plastic packaging and the wheat-paned vegetable steak was replaced with some grilled vegetables. Still, with the exception of the bread, the meal was tasty. See more in the pictures.
The hotel restaurant’s drink selection was good even with non-alcoholic drinks. I chose Ipanema, which was a drink consisting of lime, lime juice, white cane sugar and Ginger Ale. The drink got full ten points.
Important note to be made was, that buying a bottled drinking water from a shop in Berlin was nine times cheaper than buying it from the hotel kiosk.
Here’s some more photos from Hotel Scandic Potsdamer Platz, and with a view from the room window, daytime and nighttime –