Sam I Am Accommodation Reviews
London HOSTEL review: Equity Point London
Only spent one night here, and chose it for the location in proximity to Paddington as I had a very early morning flight to catch. I can't comment on the breakfast due to this, but it was free I was told when checking in, so that's always a bonus It's the perfect location to get to Heathrow being just around the corner from Paddington from which the Heathrow Express leaves.
I stayed in a 4 person dorm room with ensuite which was nice. Clearly numbered lockers and beds, and digital room keys, which is always good. The room was clean and towels were also provided. If you don't bring your own lock for the locker, you can buy one for 3 pounds, or just trust the other folks in the room I was on the 4th floor and the only thing I didn't like was the fact that the stairs were pretty narrow/cramped on the side I was on (might be different on the other side of the hostel), and I'm used to Dutch flights of stairs... it's not so bad in and of itself, but I'd hate to be stuck in a situation where all of us had to head down the steps at the same time. There's also a lift which holds 3 people at a time.
My main gripe was the internet connection provided by Global Gossip (3 pounds a day). For starters, I'd rather every hostel just included free internet, at the very least in the lobby. The wifi was pretty ordinary, and once you've bought access you can only use that on one device which is rather annoying when you try to connect a laptop after hooking up over your phone. Normally I'm able to share the internet connection on my phone via a personal hotspot, but that too would not work, so there might be some kind of block in place. In any case, it's 2012 and I figure multiple devices should be allowed, or at least if you switch off one the other should work (tried that several times to no avail).
Aside from that gripe, a good place to stay that I'd certainly recommend!
London HOSTEL review: Strand Continental
I had a single private room (shared bathroom) and at 55 pounds per night incl. breakfast in the heart of London, I really wasn't expecting much. It's no 4 or 5 star property, but I was very impressed given some of the other reviews I'd read! One of the earlier reviewers had mentioned the rooms being small so I was a little surprised to find my room quite spacious. It included a desk, sink, hanging space and a chest of drawers. And a bed of course My room was on the 5th floor and there's quite a few steps, so if that's a problem for you, this is not your kind of place. Everything was clean, though it's an old building, so the stairway especially is a bit worn. There were two showers for our floor (about 7 rooms I'd estimate) so plenty to go around. One was quite large and had a bath in it as well. It's the middle of London and The Strand is a busy street, so you do hear some traffic, which I don't mind, but others might. I didn't have breakfast at the hotel so can't comment on that. There's a bunch of nice little cafés and restaurants around the hotel. The folks at the reception were very nice and even lent me an adapter that I had forgotten as usual...
All in all, for this price and in this location, I don't think you can get anything better. Definitely would stay here again.
London HOSTEL review: City YMCA, London
I was attending an event around the corner and booked a single room with a shared bathroom for 30 pounds about a week beforehand. A very good deal for being London, so I wasn't expecting anything much. My expectations were blown away though when I saw the room. It was huge (they could easily have sold this as a double room) had a window with a view over London (12th floor) and even had a sink which is always nice when you are sharing the bathroom. And I didn't even realize this but apparently a breakfast was included; always nice!
The bathroom is the only thing that dragged down my facilities/cleanliness rating. Essentially the entire roof was paint peeling off. The showers were okay, but pretty old. Feels like they could use a good deal of redecorating there, but noticed painting going on other floors, so they might already be working on this.
As I said, for 30 quid, this is/was a steal of a deal as far as I'm concerned, and I'd definitely recommend it to others.
Berlin Hotel review: Hotel Pension Charlottenburg
I spent one night here in a single room with shared shower/bathroom and when you consider the price (33 EUR total, and that includes breakfast), I doubt you'd be able to find anything better in Berlin. The location is awesome and the guy (owner?) that showed me my room was very friendly, asking how I'd slept in the morning and showing a genuine interest.
I was also pleasantly surprised to find my room had its own sink which is always welcome when you are sharing the actual shower and toilet (these were shared with only one other single room by the way, and the entrance was next to my room, so hardly a big problem). There was also a small TV, large window into the inner courtyard, plenty of cupboard space and a hair dryer. The only thing I missed in the room in terms of amenities was an iron, but that might be more of a space issue, and I'm sure that if I'd asked one could have been brought to the room.
The bed was comfortable enough, but the walls were a tad on the thin side so you could hear it clearly when folks walked by in the hall talking, or when someone took a shower. Probably not a problem for a deep sleeper, but I tend to wake easily.
If I had to point to any negatives, it would be that the bathroom for my room was pretty cold (it being March and all), and a tad outdated. It was clean though, and once the hot water got going the cold is quickly forgotten. There was also no apparent free wifi in the bedroom. With a password you can get from the front desk, there was free wifi that I could access in both the breakfast room and the general lobby area though. In the lobby area there was also a large fridge with water, soda and beers that could be purchased for 2 EUR each.
The breakfast consisted of coffee or tea, juice, fresh rolls, bread, different spreads (jams, cream cheese etc.) and a plate of cheese and ham. Basic, but good.
All in all, especially considering the price, I'd recommend it.
London HOSTEL review: YHA London Central
Very nice property and I'd recommend it for anyone heading to London. The only reason for the 4 star overall was that I couldn't check in till 2, which seemed more a policy decision than based on cleaning, as my 6 person dorm only had one other person in it (quiet time of year no doubt). I know there's more hostels that follow this policy, but really if you have the bed already available, you should just let people check in rightaway.
Anyway, that small issue aside, the rest of the stay was as I'd expect from a brand new place owned by the YHA. Friendly staff, great shared area downstairs, solid security system (the number of fire doors was amazing!), clean etc. I also really liked the fact that the dorm room had a sink, which is nice late at night for brushing teeth and washing the face. The shower and toilet in the hall on the floor I was on (4th) were both actually private (ie. one room with a shower that could be locked, and same for the toilet), meaning it wasn't your typical dorm block of 6 showers/toilets. Nice, though I do wonder how it would work in really busy times as there only seemed to be two showers/toilets on the entire 4th floor (I could very well be wrong on this though!).
All in all, great place. Slightly expensive compared to some other London hostels, but I thought it was worth it.
Kuala Terengganu Hotel review: Berjaya Redang Beach Resort
A fantastic place to have a holiday! My wife, 3 y.o daughter and me spent a week here in May 2009 and really enjoyed it. The food was fantastic, the beach magnificent, the service impeccable and the sea and pool made for excellent bathing. The pool was especially well thought out considering the very smallest of kids and as a parent you could sit and keep an eye on a toddler without continuously having to participate. There's wifi pretty much everywhere, so staying connected is not a problem.
There's actually two different areas for the accommodation. There's older beach front 'cabins' and the newer, apartment style, rooms about 5 minutes walk up one of the cliffs. Here's a picture of the view from the latter. While the look of the cabins is more rustique, the apartments seem to be more modern (some of the cabins apparently didn't have air conditioning, although a lot were being refurbished while we were there).
I'm giving it 4 stars for Location, just because other than the resort there's not much around. The other side of the island has more things going on, but in turn means you could end up being held awake at night by the nightclubs. So it really depends on what you're after if you like this or not; we thought it was perfect
This is really quite a luxury resort, and by Malaysian standards it's certainly not 'budget', hence my 4-star for value. There's places on Long Beach, on the other side of Redang island that are way cheaper, if budget is what you are after. Then again, compared to similar resorts in a lot of other countries, it was still quite cheap.
I'd definitely recommend it to families and couples looking for a nice romantic getaway. If you're after some partying, choose the other side of the island.
Stockholm HOSTEL review: City Hostel - Central Station
I stayed here before they renovated the place, back when it was called Abbes hostel. I was only in Stockholm for one night and just looking for a cheap, convenient place to sleep and this ticked all the boxes. My only gripe was that I arrived after their main desk was closed, so it became a bit of a hassle actually getting in. I was sleeping downstairs and found the bed comfy, although the ceiling was low and I don't remember any rooms so some might find it a little claustrophobic.
All in all though, it's central and cheap, so would recommend it to travellers looking to experience Stockholm on a budget!
Gothenburg GUESTHOUSE review: Eklanda Bed and Breakfast
I stayed at this B&B while attending TUR in Gothenburg, a travel trade fair that takes place in the Svenska Mässan (Swedish Exhibition Centre). For anyone attending fairs or events there (or at one of the stations nearby) the location is perfect. It was about 200 metres from the entrance. It's about 10 minutes from the city centre of Gothenburg and lots of trams & busses stop more or less in front of the building (as you'd expect near an exhibition centre). So for me on this trip it was basically perfect. I gave it 4-stars for location only because it wasn't actually in the centre, but it depends on your trip if that matters or not.
I decided not to give it 5-stars Overall because I don't think it's the kind of property that will work for everyone. First of all, you are living in the owner's apartment. There are family photos around, you share the bathrooms etc. If that's not your kind of stay, then this is not the place for you. On the flip side the price I paid was very good for a room which would easily have slept 3. A huge double bed and a single bed in a big room. I also saw a colleague's hotel room around the corner and for a single room he was paying 70% more. There was an excellent breakfast laid out for me in the morning on the table in the living room. I was in a rush so wasn't able to eat much, but there was fruit, fresh coffee, rolls, the works. The host is extremely friendly and helpful.
All in all, it's great value and I would recommend it to friends.
Berlin GUESTHOUSE review: Berlin-Cityroom
First off; it's important to understand that this is not a hostel or a hotel. It's more like a B&B than anything else. Having clarified that, it's absolutely fantastic value for money for Berlin. The room I slept in was huge and even had a balcony (facing out on a busy street, but nice to sit in the morning with a coffee). The bed was nothing fancy, but I slept comfortably. The rooms all have their own TV, although unfortunately nearly all German TV is dubbed. The owner was very friendly and helpful, and he sent an email a few days before arrival with more instructions on arrival which was useful.
Location wise, the place was perfect for this particular stay as I was attending the ITB conference which is located a few hundred metres from the guesthouse. However it's a little outside of the inner-city centre if that's what you are after. There is a metro stop about 50 metres down the road, so not difficult getting there, but it's the reason I gave it 4 stars for location. The metro stop nearest the property is not directly accessible from any of the Berlin airports, you always have to make at least one transfer. It's easy though as Berlin public transport is very good.
The only reason I gave it 4 stars for facilities is the lack of wireless internet. It's no disaster though, since there's a computer with an internet connection and when I asked the owner I got a gadget I could plug in the socket which had an ethernet cable. So no lack of internet; but wireless would have been better.
All in all highly recommended!
Utrecht HOSTEL review: The Hostel B&B Utrecht City Center
I stayed here with a group of friends (about 10 of us). The location of this property is pretty much perfect, which was what we were after for the night. Unfortunately that's where the really positive notes about this property end. When we first got there we could hardly believe it was a hostel and it looked pretty sketchy going in too. No one seemed to know where to check in or who would do it, but finally someone appeared that took our money and gave us a key. We were sleeping on the very top floor of the building. The rooms were fine, basic and a little cramped but I've slept in worse. The thing that had our group slightly worried (and considering it was a group of guys on a stag weekend, that takes something...) was that it seemed like a fire hazard waiting to happen and getting out of the place from the top floor looked nearly impossible. The showers were terrible, but that might have been different or better on other floors.
All in all, I'd hesitate to recommend this place to someone else, but the location is good though, and hostels are hard to come by in Utrecht. 2.5 stars overall because of location, so a 3 on average.