IntercityHotel Essen review

Time for next hotel review!

Every possibility to travel is good. In September 2019, our friends invited us to their wedding in Essen , Germany, so we made a quick and intensive weekend trip to celebrate with them their big day.

I will not write here about the party, but because of it I had chance to stay in another hotel in Essen (you can find the first hotel review I did from Essen here). This time we stayed in IntercityHotel Essen.

Location and first impressions

InterncityHotel is located in the center of the city, around 5 minutes walking from the train station. It is a perfect location if you need to stay only one night, and you need to have good connection to trains, subway and other local transportation.

For us it was important that the hotel was close to the train station as we traveled from Stockholm to Essen the same day, and our airplane landed in Dusseldorf (around 30 minutes train trip to Essen). We had only few hours between our arrival and the start of the wedding.

Check – in experience

We arrived at the hotel around 1 p.m., and our room was not ready yet. It is my fault, because I did not inform them that we would be arriving earlier and check–in starts at 2 p.m. As I mentioned before, we were short on time, so I asked the personnel in the reception if it was possible to maybe change the room, so we could check in earlier. After a few minutes we got our keys and we could go to our room.

The guy in the reception unfortunately did not speak English very well, so it was a little bit complicated to communicate with him. Fortunately, his manager came to help and explained us that the room we got was prepared for one person, so we needed to take an extra change of sheets and towels. I have to say that it was a weird thing for a customer to do  by themselves in a 4-star hotel. 

Room and general impression about Intercity Essen

Our room was located on the first floor with a window to the street and a view towards a construction site. We needed only the room for one night, so that did not bother us, mostly considering that during weekends they do not work on construction. I am sure that it would be annoying for a longer stay. I cannot complain because originally that was not our room. On our key it was written a room number located in another corner that was probably prepared according to my specification to have a room in a quiet part of the hotel.

The room had a nice size and it had everything you need to have in a hotel room including wardrobe, safe box, tv, mini bar (extra charge) and shoe cleaner 😊. If you like to have coffee in your room probably you would have  been disappointed, because they do not have it in this hotel. However, there is bar down at the lobby, next to reception, where you can order drinks. I did so, and the coffee was tasty plus big thanks for getting lactose free milk for me.

As I always say, the most important part in the hotels is cleanness and bed. And here goes a big applause for IntercityHotel Essen. The room was spotless clean, and the bed was amazingly comfortable. I slept like a baby. I am big fan of hard beds and the bed in our room was comfortably hard with cozy pillows and sheets.

I apologize for not having pictures of the room, but as we arrived late to Essen and we were really tired and short with time so I completely forgot to take them  😉.

Breakfast and restaurant

Next day, after partying the whole night, it was time for breakfast experience. My favorite part of staying at hotels is the morning breakfast with a good variety of choices and the most important thing: that I do not need to prepare breakfast myself.

When looking for this hotel I did not check reviews about breakfast like I usually do most of the time, but it was a nice surprise. The breakfast at Intercity hotel was tasty, fresh, and with a variety of ham, cheese, bread and the most important for me, tea.

I started my day with a small bowl of cereal with yoghurt, followed by some sandwich and I finishing my meal with fresh bread with Nutella 😊. We walked up early this day, so we had a little bit extra free time to relax before my cousin would come to pick us up, so we decided to have a cup of coffee after breakfast.

As I cannot drink milk with lactose, and I forgot to take my pills with me, I asked a waiter for lactose-free milk. Again, it was not a problem and we could enjoy our coffee shortly after they brought it. Unfortunately, the coffee that they served during breakfast was weak and tasteless. Big no for my taste. If you like strong coffee, I recommend you to order it in the bar next to the reception.

Summarizing today’s post, I would like to say that this hotel is worth recommending if you need to have a short stay in Essen.  I think we will stay there again next time we visit this city.

I booked the hotel from the travel agency Ticket.se (where I work) but you can also book it through booking.com using the following link and help me to grow my blog 🙂

That is all for today. I hope that you could find all that you were looking for.

See you on a road!

Kaja 

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Finnair and Helsinki Airport review

In July 2019 I had the opportunity to fly with a Finish airline – Finnair as well as visiting Helsinki International Airport. In this post I would like to share with you my opinion about both of them.

Let’s start with a Finnair. That was my first flight with that airline, and I have to say that my first impression was a positive one. I took a flight from Stockholm to Warsaw via Helsinki (yes I know, Helsinki is not on the straight way to Warsaw, but that was the only flight that fit my time schedule 😉 ).

First flight first impression!

In short flights in the Nordics, as well as above the Baltic Sea area, most of the times you will fight with Finnair’s preferred partner – a company called NoRRA (Nordic Regional Airlines). That happened during my trip. The plane was a small one with only two seats on every side. For me that is a convenient solution. Even though the plane was not the newest one, it was a comfortable trip. The most important thing for me is the cleanness of the airplane during my trip. And here the company surprised me in very good way. The plane was spotless clean and the service fabulous.

Service after boarding

Directly after being able to remove the seat belts, stewardesses started serving beverages. Every customer could choose something to drink between coffee, tea, water and local finish juice in several different flavors. Normally, I am not taking warm drinks on the plane. I read somewhere that the cans where they store water on the planes are not always properly cleaned and that it is easy to get stomach pain. This time, I took a risk, because it was an early morning flight, and everything turned out ok. It was not the best tea in my life, but was tasty and warm, and that was what I needed. 

Helsinki Airport - terminal 2

As I said earlier, I had to change planes in Helsinki Airport to flight to Warsaw. On my inbound travel I had 1.5 hours to kill on the airport. I decided to take a walk around the terminal (I was landing and departing from terminal 2). It is a middle-sized terminal, with many different stores where you can buy tax-free products, local food or clothes and electronics. Almost like on every other airport in the world. However, as it is in Helsinki, they have one, cute small store dedicated to Mumins! Paradise for all children, both the small ones as well as the big ones 😉.

Where to eat on the airport

You can find there also several restaurants serving everything from pasta through fish and deer meat, Espresso Housea Swedish competition to Starbucks, and even an Irish Pub. On my way home, when I had longer waiting time in the airport, I had lunch in Fly Inn Panorama Restaurant & Deli. I ordered a pizza with deer meat and mushrooms. The dish was tasty, and quickly served. The portion was big, so I could not eat everything. The place was nice, with a good viewpoint for departing planes. If you love planes, like I do, you will surely enjoy lunch there. The price was reasonable. For a pizza with water I paid around 20€.

My favorite place on the airport

I would like you tell you about my favorite place on this airport. Wandering around, I found a Book Swap room towards the end of the terminal. Is it not an amazing idea? If you are traveling long and you already read your book, you can leave it there and take another one. Big applause for the creators of this room. 

The room is not only made to exchange the books. It is also a place where you can relax, read, or event take a nap while waiting for your next flight. Remember! Those type of places are designed to relax and rest during long flights, so keep your music with low volume in your headphones not to bother other travelers 😉.

I spent in this room like two hours reading, thinking and watching planes getting ready to take off. If I will visit this airport again, I am sure that that it will be the place where I will spend most of the time. I do not buy unnecessary things on the airports, and there is limit of how much coffee you can drink during the day 😉, so I really appreciate a place where I can sit and read in peace. By the way, you can also take your coffee with you and enjoy it in a peaceful environment.

That would be everything for today. Summarizing, I enjoyed my time during my flight with Finnair and on the airport in Helsinki. I can recommend it to you! If you have any questions about me, my blog, traveling and food leave your comment and subscribe to my blog!

See you on the road,

 

Kaja  

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Best Western Hotel Linköping – review

In June 2019 I had the opportunity to visit again Linköping in Sweden due to a board game convention: LinCon. This time we (me and my boyfriend) chose to stay in a hotel located in the city center, with good connection to Linköping University, where the event took place. As a big fan of the Best Western hotel brand, I found a nice, cozy hotel called Best Western Hotel Linköping. This is a 3-star hotel located in the main square in Linköping, on Hantverkaregatan 1.

How to get there, check-in and the first impression!

As the hotel is placed in the main square, it is easy to reach from the train station in Linköping. You can easily walk there, and it takes around 15 minutes. If you have heavy bags with you, or you do not want to walk, you can always take a bus. From the train station almost all the busses are going to the hotel and you can stop on the bus stop called Kungsgatan.

My first impression was good. Nicely-designed reception and friendly staff. I had booked my room through hotels.com, where I could use my free night (more information about memberships and how to travel for free coming soon). As a member of Best Western Membership program too, I asked if I could use it during this stay. Unfortunately, most of the times the hotel membership does not apply when you book your room through third-party companies like Hotels.com. However, the girl in the reception was really nice and we got two coupons to use in the hotel’s restaurant for 140 Swedish Crowns. That was super nice of them.

In our room

We got a nice, cozy room in the 3rd floor. The place was small, but for our stay it was more than enough. There were no toiletries in the room as conditioner or body care, so do not forget to take yours with you. In the bathroom you will find only liquid soap/shampoo dispensers hanged onto the wall. It is environmentally friendly, but I like to have something extra to care about my skin and hair.

The only issue with the hotel was the noise from nearby restaurants and clubs during night throughout all of our staying (It was Thursday to Saturday). The windows are not soundproof at all. However, if you can sleep with earplugs, the hotel provides them for free and you can find them in your room. For longer stays the noise, as well as lack of wardrobe, could be an issue.

Breakfast and service

We had breakfast twice there and, in my opinion, it was a good breakfast. Not the best in my life, but for a 3-star hotel standard it was more than enough. They had a variety of tasty and fresh bread, pancakes, fruits, hams, cheese, cereal and more. I think that everyone could find something appealing to eat.

I really love that they have a big variety of teas and those super cute teapots, where you can brew your morning beverage. As a tea lover, I really appreciate it. If you have any allergies you can choose this hotel, because like most hotels in Sweden, Best Western Linköping also offers a lactose-free and gluten-free variants on their food and beverages.

I can highly recommend this hotel but remember to take into consideration the noise before booking your room. As I mentioned before, I booked it through Hotels.com and we paid 757 Swedish Crowns (around 70 €) per night for a double room. I think that for Swedish price levels and the good service that we got in the hotel, it was a good price.

Check my other hotels reviews here!

See you on the road,

Kaja

Once Upon a Road review

Localization
4.6/5
Comfort
3/5
Service
5/5
Breakfast
4/5
Cleaning
5/5
General Rate
4.5/5
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Platinia Apartments – Kraków Review

In December 2018 Carlos and I spent 5 nights in a nice, cozy 3*** hotel in Kraków called Platinia Apartments. This is a small hotel located in Starowiślna Street 12. The location of the hotel is perfect!! In the center of Kraków, between the Old Town (around 5 min walking distance) and the Jewish Quarter- Kazimierz (around 10-15 min walking distance). 

First impression and check-in!

We arrived at the hotel on Friday evening. The check–in was quick and the girl in the reception was friendly. After 5 minutes we were ready to go to our room. The room was placed in the 3rd floor (as we requested) but there is no elevator, so you need to take your luggage up by yourself. We knew about it before we requested a room on the last floor, so it was not an issue for us.

In the room it was waiting for us a surprise on the bed <3. A beautifully wrapped package full of treats to warm us up during the cold winter: chocolates, tea and hot chocolate to make in the room. I just loved it. I felt so happy and pleased when I was opening it.

We stayed in the room 34. The room was nice, kind of big and with a comfortable bed (If you like to sleep on a hard bed). In the room we got mineral water, tea, coffee, wine glasses and even a small fridge which we could use to store things. We did not use it because it was noisy 😊.

The bathroom in our room was clean and ok in size. We also got a basic cosmetics kit like shampoo, shower gel, body care and soap. I think the cosmetics have not been of a really good quality, but for the price we paid it was more than enough. The body care smelled nice 😊.

Some problems in the room

 

 

 

 

Unfortunately, we got some issues in our room, that were not taken care of even after us complaining. The first issue was with the shower, it was broken, and it was difficult to keep it in a good position to be able to shower with ease. Another issue was with the daily cleaning. Probably it was made quick and the staff were not detail-oriented or simply did not have enough time (room cleaning times are usually very short in hotels). We did not get mineral water every day, as we should, the shower was not properly cleaned, and, on the floor we could still find sand from the previous day. I think the blanket on the bed had not been washed long time, because every time after the bed was made, I could find fabrics and dust on my sheets ☹.

Breakfast and service

Breakfast was included in the price. Here I got again surprised in a positive way. The breakfast was super tasty. Every day was there a big variety of fresh bread and always something sweet for small desert. You could also order warm dishes like scramble eggs, omelet, toast with fried egg, porridge or sausages. 

The area was always clean, with freshly served ham, cheese, fruits and more. There was also a coffee machine, which had 3 options: espresso, normal coffee or latte. If you prefer brewed coffee in a more traditional way, do not worry. You can always order it in the kitchen and the staff will prepare it for you. 

I can highly recommend this hotel, but remember to take into consideration the lack of elevator before booking your room. As I said before, that was not an issue for us, and after eating so good breakfast and all those sweet treats that we had in our room, it was good to walk some stairs every day 😉. We booked it directly on the hotel’s website and we paid 745 PLN (around 174€) for a double room for 5 days with breakfast included. In my opinion the price was good for the value we got. You can book the hotel here or using booking.com window on my website. 

Once Upon a Road review

Localozation
5/5
Comfort
4/5
Service
5/5
Breakfast
5/5
Cleaning
3/5
General Rate
4.4/5
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Holiday Inn Express – City Center, Essen REVIEW

The last weekend on October 2018 I spent together with my boyfriend four nights in Holiday Inn Express – City Center in Essen, Germany due to our participation on the board gamed fair – Spiel 2018. This is a three- star hotel, located in Thea-Leymann-Straße 11. The hotel is placed in central Essen, with good access  to cultural places (theater and cinema), gastronomy, and shopping (there is a shopping mall on Berliner Platzer)

 

How to reach the hotel and first impression

The best option to reach the hotel is to use the subway and go out on Berliner Platz station, exit B, which is connected to the blue line – good connection to Essen Messa and Essen Hbf (central station). I chose this hotel because of the good connection to these two stations, which were important for us. 

Problems with our room

We arrived at the hotel tired and hungry at 9 p.m. The check-in was quick, so after a minute we were ready to go to our room and finally rest. Unfortunately, our room was nor exactly like we were expecting. First, we booked the room with a king-size bed or with two single beds connected, bit we got the room with two separated bed instead. Between them was a night table, so it was impossible to put them together. 

I thought that everything could be fixed, so I went down to ask in the reception if it was possible to change rooms. In the first moment the receptionist answered in an unfriendly way, saying that they are the ones deciding which room they give to the customers and that we got that room because we booked through hotels.com and that they are fully booked. 

Angry and disappointed, I came back to the room where in mean-time my boyfriend found out that the carpet on the floor was wet and there was a black hair on one pillow. THAT WAS ENOUGH! We came back to the reception and ask for a new room. This was not a nice first impression, but from this moment on, the staff did everything they could to help us. 

Finally in a clean room

After 10 minutes waiting in bar, we got finally a new key to a new, clean room with two individual beds next to each other. From this moment everything started being better. However, we were still hungry, and they do not have a restaurant in the hotel (I sent a message asking about it before traveling there, but until now I have not received any answer). We bought some snacks in the vending machine next to the reception and went to sleep after a long day.

Problem number 2

After we finally fall asleep, the next problem showed up. The rooms are not soundproof. We could hear every word from our neighbor’s conversation. If you are sensitive to noises when you sleep, think twice before choosing this hotel. 

Holiday Inn Start - Breakfast

As I mentioned before there is no restaurant in the hotel, however they have Holiday Inn Start Breakfast area. We use to have breakfast as early as possible, when there are not so many people. I think that the breakfast was OK. Simple, with cereals, different types of bread, cheese and ham, eggs, and some sweets as well as some fruits. They got Carlos with freshly-baked croissants and hot chocolate (it was amazing). If you are allergic to lactose or gluten the hotel does not offer lactose-free products and it offer only one type of gluten-free hard bread. 

Holiday Inn Express - breakfast

Something for businessmen

If you are on a buisness trip , the hotel provides one working station with a computer connected to the Internet and printer. I am not sure if the service is free or you need to pay because I did not use it. There is also wi-fi in every room, so I was using my laptop and phone to work. The connection was stable and quick even if the hotel was fully booked with exhibitors and online journalists due to Spiel 18.

Summarizing, I think that the hotel was overpriced for the standard that offers. We paid 6513 SEK (around 670€) for four nights. That weekend the prices were also higher and most hotels in Essen were fully booked due to games convention. 

Our stay in this hotel was new experience and I learned to check better accommodation before booking it. I am sure that we will not stay again in this hotel next time visiting Essen. 

That is all for today. I hope that you could find all that you were looking for and see you next time. Our next trip – Christmas in Poland. We will visit Crakow, Warsaw and my home town Mrągowo.

See you on a road!

Kaja 

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