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(Disturbing) Stay Report: DoubleTree by Hilton Lisbon Fontana Park

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The DoubleTree by Hilton property is the only Hilton property in Lisbon, the capital of Portugal, I have seen mixed reviews regarding stay experiences before booking this property, eventually I gave in as I needed stays to complete my diamond challenge in order to keep my status valid til 31st March,2020.

The pictures of the facade of the building was taken the next morning when I was about to check out. The property is like 10-15 mins taxi ride away from the Airport, it is also close to the central area of the city, a 10 mins drive will take you to all the main sights.

I arrived at Lisbon Airport like 11 in the night, so to my obnoxious self, I asked my Uber driver(super kind local lady) to stopped by the KFC near the airport to pick up some unhealthy dinner to fill my stomach as I believe even the hotel kitchen will be closed upon my arrival. The taxi ride cost me like 9 euros which is very cheap compared to Norway, but I do not speak any Portuguese, so, when my Uber driver helped me order the KFC bucket, I accidentally ordered a huge bucket of fried chicken and another huge bag of fries alongside a huge bottle of 7-up. As I paid the 23Euro for the food, deep inside I was thinking, what have I done, no way you can finish all of those by yourself tonight, it would take a whole family to consume all of it. I swiped my card at the drive-thru and life moved on.(Still regretting not change the order when I saw the food til this day.)

Check In:

So I did not had any luggage other than a carry on bag as it was only a one night trip I was taking, after saying goodbye to my Uber driver, I walked into the dark and hard-to-navigate lobby of the hotel with two bags of KFC which was suffusing an “exquisite”(oily chicken) fragrance all around me. The check in agent was very tired and sleepy(11:50 PM), I did not get any cookies upon my arrival. He just handed me a room key and wished me to have a good evening, very polite I have to say, but I was wondering then, what about my upgrade?

I booked a King Superior Room which on their website’s room amenity list stated that includes a Balcony and Bathrobe, both was not featured in my room at 505. So correct me if I was wrong, in this case I was not even upgraded, maybe even downgraded to a room with only a tiny window.(seen in picture below) This was not the only unpleasant encounter during the stay as you will find more about the room which indicates (negatively) of how they deal with the cleaning procedures.

Room Window

The hotel has took an bold and somewhat audacious approach towards the minimalistic design of the building, I have to say I did liked the design with the large usage of dark material on a large scale with the interior, but comfortability has been somewhat significantly decreased in terms of the soft product standard they can provide.

The first room I was assigned was 505 which was not a Hilton Honors floor as you can see from the picture from the legacy on the elevator.

Hallway

The room & the toilet:

I wouldn’t say the room was extremely small, it’s of decent size and it came with a bathtub. The shower amenity was nicely displayed on the counter next to the sink. Everything in the bathroom was clean and organised. The bathroom also followed the pattern of strong contrast between black and white, nothing to complain here, it was a cool experience.

The disturbing bedding:

The guest room was nice even though an upgrade was never offered, it came with 2 free bottle of water for Hilton members and a decent sized bed and a hanging desk next to it. A long and stretched cement-looking surfaced strip can be used for sitting or holder for your personal belongings. These served all of the functions a hotel room ought to have. Then, the real situation came when I took a close look of the bed cover sheets.(close ups below)

Yes, here it is, drips of either water(highly doubt that) or maybe could it be human fluids(???)(highly repelled of). It was not only one drip on the corner of the bed where the cleaning staff might accidentally splashed onto it. Several spots of such occurrence prompt me to ring up the front desk after midnight to ask for a possible room change.

The lamp with a close up can also be spotted with what looks like dirts on it, but after I used a napkin dipped with water trying to remove the dirt-lookalikes, it’s been proven that perhaps that’s the industrial design they are going with, and the cleaning staff did everything the could to polish up the base of the lamp. (Understandable here)

After explaining what I have witnessed on the beddings in my guest room, the front desk agent apologised and said that they will sent up someone to help me move to a new room. As you probably figured out, it’s been another hour passed since I arrived at the hotel with 2 huge bags of KFC, and in order to take pictures for my review, I haded to put everything on the corner and leave them locked until I get all the material I needed, and you probably still remember that I only had one carry on bag with me on this trip, so when the staff (supposedly working for housekeeping) came in (again, same (oily chicken)”fragrance”) and tried to help move my luggage to a new room, the first and only thing he can see and grab was the 2 huge bags of KFC, there I was just left there drop dead for a second and somehow I felt a mix of anxiety and embarrassment as he’s probably gonna wonder for the rest of the night regarding how on earth I was going to finish those by myself.

You see, now I think of it, the smart thing to do would be to just share some of those fried chicken with this young looking housekeeping staff here as he’s probably taking night shift jobs to support himself and it would be great to have gave him a favour and maybe ask him about the real cleaning situation here, but it’s just too late in the night and my brain wasn’t working properly, as I was standing there, he has already walked out of the door and led me to my new guest room at 509, same floor level, 4 rooms away, exactly the same set up, exactly the same tiny window.

Pictures below are taken in room 509.

The tiny window as showcase from picture above where on their website, a balcony was listed, which is clearly missing here, the same with the bathrobes.(flip flops)

As it’s getting late and I can finally sitting in my room enjoying my fried chicken just like how Donald Trump would enjoy his cheese burgers alone; but the story didn’t end here.

Mini Bar:

The mini bar came with decent selection of drinks and beverages and snacks were placed next to the coffee cups and water kettle, a coffee machine was missing which in my opinions should be standard to have in a hotel room. Although I felt like maybe alcoholic drinks were absent here as well (other than the beer), or maybe they know that I am still too young?(doubt that)

Everything from mini bar to the safe were tightly packed behind one door of the big closet, the other cabinet has an ironer, blow-dryer and some kits for shoe polishing, I did not see any laundry bag as well as the aforementioned bathrobes which normally should be placed here. (Even Best Western has laundry bags and bathrobes nowadays, but okay.)

Here you can see the view outside the tiny window, it felt like a rather deserted area at night especially accompanied with those graffitis, upon checking on their website, rooms with better views were indeed available, and on the website, all rooms were listed with featuring a balcony, I still wouldn’t be able to understand until this day why I was “downgraded”.

Again, spots of dark mottled objects were witnessed at the end of the beddings, I do feel like this is more understandable as probably it was merely just a scratch here. (Still, careless cleaning staff.)

As I was about to indulge on my desire of sleeping, an alien object was right under the pillow, seen from the close ups from below, it states in Portuguese:”Policia Judiciaria”. Clearly it must belong to the guests from before. But how did it end up in the bed? Another series of questions unresolved inside my head and as confusion and curiosity start to distract me fro sleeping, I rang up the front desk again, at 3:00 am.

Me: “Can you tell me what does it mean by “Policia Judiciaria”?”

Front Desk: “Sorry, how can I help you?”

Me: “I’ve find this pin in my bed, and it says “Policia Judiciaria”.”

Front Desk:” One moment, sir”

After 30 seconds …

Front Desk:”I have checked, It must belong to the guests from the district Judicial Police, they must have forgotten it when they were staying here, should I sent someone to pick it up?”

Me:”I’ve found it near the pillow in my bed, under the sheet.”

Front Desk:” I am so sorry sir, please accept my apologise, it is not how our service standards …”

I interrupted him and said:” I believe it suggests something of how the room cleaning was done.”

Fornt Desk:” Certainly, Sir, my apologise again, …( more corporate jargon) ….”

I interrupted again and said:” You know what, it’s getting too late, and there’s no point in changing the room again, besides I have to check out early tomorrow.”

Front Desk:” Don’t worry sir, I will make sure you get a response tomorrow, our general manger will be here when you check out, apologise again.”

*This is not the exact conversation as how it happened, but a close representation of how the communication went.

After hanged up on the phone and still jet lagged, I took a very hot bath and trying to wake up early to deal with the situation tomorrow, as in less than 4 hours.


I was surprised that I woke up feeling fairly well-rested, maybe the hot bath really helped and then it was time for breakfast.

Breakfast:

So far everything hasn’t turned out to be great through out my stay experience, but then the breakfast was really an eye-opener.

I went through the lobby entering into somewhat a small area looks like Hampton Inn standards breakfast serving area,(really un-enchanted at first sight), and a friendly waiter came to ask for my room number, everything were decent at first.

On the contrary of the dark black interior of the lobby, everything in the breakfast area(also a restaurant in the afternoon) were in the white colour scheme, it can really light up your time after stayed the night in a fully lightless complex.

Other than normal continental European breakfast, a waffle stand was also arranged on the bar area next to other pastries.

Here’s a picture of the waffle I made, It feels rather high-end fancy brunch where people get in New York, what? You think it’s ironic to call 2 strawberries on top a waffle fancy? Did I told you that they serve sparkling wine as drinks as well? For breakfast.

Although when I first asked one younger staff if it’s possible for them to open the bottle, he suggested me to ask the other guys working there, so I approached a more senior type figure, a satisfied answer in true service fashion was delivered. (Happy!)

You might think the breakfast looks rather simple or standard, the truth is you are not far from the reality, it was just that everything tasted amazingly fresh and full of taste, from the fruits to the cereal mix I made, everything tasted divine.

The other highlight of my breakfast experience was there was a live music performer playing in the corner,(Wow, even Hilton does not do that these days.) The staff were attentive and super friendly, they were busy replacing or filling any plate that’s half empty. I haven’t see people this service-mined for a long time, here’s a picture of my cereal bowl, it tasted palatably.

As I am writing this review, I figured that maybe it’s because I stuffed too much KFC in my stomach yesterday night? Not sure anymore.

Check Out, The Real Talk:

I did not want the hard working and already-had-too-much-to-do housekeepers get in trouble due to this uncomfortable experience and I believe this is a problem of their management team for either giving them too much to do or having too low of a standard.

So, in a truly sympathetic fashion, I asked the young lady was busy working on the room next to me to come to my room, I asked her if she wanted to keep some of the largely left-over food from KFC, she happily took it. I do hope they share the KFC if they get blamed at work during that day.

Check out:

I was asked by the front desk agent that it was marked in their system that I had a unpleasant experience and the General Manger were expecting me, she asked if I would like to see her, a 2000 Hilton Honors points will be credited to my account as a compensation.I replied that I would be happy to discuss the situation with her if she is available.

The real talk:

The GM came out form the back office of the reception area and walked to me in a big smile, a series of apologises and back and forth of what they are sorry for and what I am making claims based on. I showed the pictures which indicates the spots I have mentioned, and she apologised right after that with some explanation. Instead of the aforementioned 2000 points, she promised with a amount of 5000 will be credited to my account and I gave them my compliments regarding the splendid breakfast service.

In the end of our conversation, she went back into her office and gave me her personal business card and wished to make up with something special for my next stay as they are the only Hilton property in Lisbon. She walked me all the way out of the door and handshake me goodbye.

That was the stay experience where a disturbing hygiene issue developed a series of events mixed with both ups and downs, lefts and rights within a time span of merely 10 hours, here I praise the GM of handling the situation with such professionalism.


Bottom Line:

I do believe this property has some unique characteristics which surely will add lustre to your stay, however a few small things surely can ruin the whole experience if occurred in bad timing, if none of the incidents had happened, I would probably give them a ranking of 6 or 7 out of 10.

However, judging on my personal experience here where I did not discuss the problem of not being hornored upgrades here in detail, it would be a score suggests below.

Score: 4.8/10

Anyway, thank you for reading til this far, and I hope none of this would happen to you guys, if you like, feel free to leave some comments below. Stay Tuned.

On my way leaving Lisbon

Hotel Reviews

Stay Report: Hotel Indigo Warsaw Nowy Świat, King Suite Review

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Hotel Indigo Warsaw - Nowy Swiat - Courtesy Of IHG

The Hotel Indigo Warsaw Nowy Świat is a four-star boutique hotel located next to the old town of Warsaw, Poland. What formerly known as the Branicki Residential House – Smolna 40, the building can be dated back to 1903. Through turmoils during the war, the residence building was developed by BUDIZOL Property to open as an Indigo hotel in May 2017.


How I Got There

The hotel is centrally located, so you may get there by many means of public transportation, but Uber is also extremly cheap in Poland, so the ride-sharing app has been my go-to method of communting around the city.

I arrived at the hotel site around 2 PM, and I was immediately impressed by the architecture itself. The hotel doesn’t look busy at all, in fact, it was a bit too quiet, I guess that’s why they called themselves a boutique hotel.


Check-In

The hotel lobby is mesmerizing, the art installation was majestic and beautiful. Since I booked the stay with IHG rewards points, so I wasn’t expecting anything over and beyond from the hotel; however, to my surprsie, I noticed in the app that room has been upgraded to a suite in advance.

The lady who checked me in was happy to see someone finally showed up when I entered the lobby, she welcomed me with a warm greeting and thanked me for my royalty with IHG rewards, she told me that they’ve upgraded me to their only king suite of the hotel, and she called the housekeeping to check again whether everything was ready before making the room key cards for me.

She mentioned nothing about breakfast and I ended up not waking up early enough to find out anyway.

The entire hotel is trying to be sustainable, so the hallway light will only switch on if you make a clear sound, which can be creepy at times.


Practical Info

  • Length: One night Stay
  • Booked Room Category: Standard 1 Queen NS
  • Upgraded Room Category: Suite 1 King NS
  • Booking Made: IHG App
  • IHG Rewards Tier: Spire Elite
  • Booking Through: Point Breaks Redemption (15,000 Points)
  • Room Number: 409

The Suite

Upon entering, the suite looked bright and open, I felt the openness within the enclosed space avaliable, as stated on their website, the suite is only 44 sqm.

The interior is elegant and chic, I liked the strong contrast between the furniture and the plain white wall.

The suite has dedicated space for your luggage and decent closet space for all your other belongings.

The most dazzling thing about the living room would be the window, not only was it up to the ceilings, but the painted window frames made it even more chic and elegant.

The elevated seating space made it even more exquisite, you can just imagine yourself sitting there with a glass of wine and looking out to the window as you are taking everything in with light music playing in the background. (I actually did that.)

With different seating sofas together, you can also have an enjoyable time with friends and families.

Overall the living room layout is decent and nothing is compromised here in order to make up for the seating space.

I’ve chosen the welcome points during check in, but the hotel went out of their way and left a welcome letter with a glas of red wine for me in the room, too. I certainly felt very welcome by this kind gesture.

With the suite upgrade, I was also able to enjoy free soft drinks & snacks as part of their free in-suite offerings.

The counter under the TV is fully equipped with all the glassware and tea sets.

The mini bar has a decent selection of liquor options in addition to the free soft drinks.

One thing I found out during the stay was the scale formed inside the water kettle, that’s very unpleasant to encounter as it feels like the housekeeping lacks some attention to details here.

Behind the sofa sets, you can find a simple desk where you can work on. The desk & chair itself is decent but nothing revolutionary, but the smart appliances will surprise you.

The lamp had a charging head for iPhone and the smart telephone comes with google maps and internet browser, plus many other apps. In my opinion, these small gadgets are huge enhancements to a hotel’s hard product offerings nowadays.

The sky-light ceiling adds another key selling point to the room, it makes you feel the visual extention to the environment outdoor so for a moment I felt like standing under the glass roof of a French museum.


The Bedroom

The bedroom is relatively simple, the design is modern as always, but it’s not the same size as a normal guestroom, in fact it’s smaller.

The bed and pillows are clean and comfortable, the bed the hotel referred to as a king bed is of decent size, but not the biggest I’ve seen, the headboard is elastic and it’s great to lean on.

The hotel offers in-room handy phone which you can take out with you for internet coverage and make phone calls to a dozen different countries free of charge.


The Bathroom

The bathroom went for a black & white decor which brings out the contrast between the chequerboard tiles and other interiors.

The oval bathtub is elegantly designed and looked very chic.

The shower amenities being offered was from the German sport luxury brand Bogner. It was okay to use but personally I didn’t feel anything extraordinary while using it.

Another smart solution they had with the suite was, with a push of a bottom, you may switch clear or opaque the smart glass they’ve installed between the bathroom and the bedroom.


Fitness & Sauna

Although the hotel only has 60 rooms, it has a 24 hours fitness center equipped with a small sauna facility.

It’s not the most well-equipped gym but you can get a work out done without much problem.

The staff reminded me that it take some time to heat up the sauna, so if you are thinking of using it, you would have to call them in advance so they can heat it up for you.


Bottom Line

This IHG property gives great recognition to its elite members, that something may look favorably upon. It has a great location in central Warsaw, while the hotel itself is very quiet and peaceful, so it’s highly recommended that you spend some days with them. The staff doesn’t have to deal with a large flow of guests checking in and out everyday, so they definitely have a lot more time to ensure the quality of your stay experience; besides the hotel was opened 2017, so right now might be the perfect time to try it out.


Ratings

Check-in Experience: 8.5/10

Staff Experience: 9/10

Status Recognition: 9.5/10

Room Comfortability: 8.5/10

Housekeeping Experience: 8.3/10

Overall Experience: 8.8/10

Thanks for reading this stay report, and are you planning to stay here soon? Leave a comment.

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