We have all stayed in hotels at some stage in our lives and many of us have probably worked in them at some stage, especially when younger doing restaurant, bar or part time work.
My career started having gained qualification at Westminster College London in Hotel Management, and my first job was working for Hilton International at the London Hilton on Park Lane as a trainee. It was a great company to work for and very interesting with guests coming in from all over the world; Americans on the first “Red Eye” flights coming in early in the mornings, to fabulously rich Arabs from Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Qatar. The Royal Family of Qatar the Al Thanis used to take half of the hotel in the summer months when they visited London.
We had guests there for business, holidays and those just visiting friends and relations in London. I soon got to know the most regular guests. It gave me a lot of pleasure to be able to welcome them back and I understood that for these guests, to be recognised was an important reason to use the Hilton as their preferred hotel.
Exceptional customer service in hotels is obviously an essential key to impressing guests; as the old adage says “a smile costs nothing” and it’s a true fact. I have been to many hotels all over the world for both business and holidays and here are a few of my favourites and why they are so enjoyable. Many are 4 and 5 star hotels and I have been lucky enough to stay in them on business but have also been to some for special occasions such as our 25th Wedding anniversary at Grand Hotel Villa Serbelloni in Bellagio on Lake Como in Italy for two days. If you have a very special occasion like a 50th or 60th birthday or wedding anniversary to celebrate its defiantly worth spend a bit more for that prefect hotel. We hope you enjoy looking at the hotels we have stayed at, and welcome your feedback on your favourite hotels. If you would like to write an article about a hotel you have visited please email us at [email protected]
London Hilton on Park Lane – Obviously one reason I chose this as a favourite of mine, is that I worked here with a very professional and friendly team, many of whom are still friends 30 years on. Some have gone onto manage Hiltons in various exotic parts of the world. We have also been to quite a few large charity functions at the Hilton which were very enjoyable and superbly managed. Gavin’s is the Michelin star restaurant on the 28th floor with panoramic views of London and is worthwhile visiting for that special occasion.
The House over-by & Three Chimneys Restaurant – On the Isle of Skye, in Scotland is a magical small hotel with a world famous restaurant which is a real one off experience. We stayed there some years ago and the surrounding area is beautiful with spectacular mountains and lochs with otters and seals swimming in abundance. Dunvegan Castle stands sentinel at the head of the Loch on the shore opposite The Three Chimneys. It is the oldest inhabited castle in Scotland and seat of the Clan MacLeod. The Three Chimneys is set in a romantic location with heavenly sea views.
This world-class Restaurant with Rooms is situated on the shore of Loch Dunvegan at Colbost in the remote north-west corner of Skye, the largest island of the Inner Hebrides, off the west coast of Scotland. Owned by Eddie and Shirley Spear, it has a long-established reputation. The Three Chimneys Restaurant and its 6 spacious bedrooms next door in The House Over-By, have won numerous awards and accolades consistently over almost three decades. Accomplished head chef, Michael Smith, leads the kitchen brigade today. He has already built his own outstanding reputation as a leading Scottish chef and continues to improve and develop the culinary high standards set by Shirley in earlier years.
Chewton Glen – Hampshire is situated in the New Forest and is one of the finest hotels in the UK. An English Original…Chewton Glen is a luxury country house hotel and spa set in 130 acres of Hampshire countryside on the edge of the New Forest National Park, and just a few minutes’ walk from the sea. For a memorable experience just to stay for a special weekend and while expensive has been voted “Best Hotel for Service in the UK” and is also listed as one of the World’s Best Hotels by Conde Nast Traveller readers in 2012. It’s a short walk to the beach with wonderful views over to the Isle of Wight while the hotel is in the New Forest which has thousands of acres to explore, lovely small villages and the beautiful coast here.
Hard Rock Hotel – Orlando Florida. The hotel is themed with various music artists’ clothes and musical instruments and if you are taking older teenagers or grandchildren it’s a wonderful hotel which is right next door to Universal Studios Theme Park. Staff are very friendly and food is great even if the portions are HUGE! We asked one evening for Sushi as a starter and were told by the waiter the portions were quite large so we only had three plates between five of us. In the end we couldn’t even eat those! If you stay here, you get priority entrance into Universal Studios too.
Hyatt Scottsdale at Gainey Ranch, Scottsdale, Arizona. This is a superb hotel in the most beautiful location imaginable right by the McDowell Mountains. The service is excellent with wonderful cuisine. Breakfast alone is one of the most enjoyable ever. Best time to visit is in the Autumn, late September and October when the evenings are cool but the sky is light blue with unbroken sunshine as befits its desert location. Stay in one of the private Casitas (small houses in the grounds) Staff will deliver snacks, drinks and full meals; light a roaring log fire for you every night. There is a huge range of activities from a 27 hole golf course to riding, hiking and use it as a base when visiting both the Grand Canyon and Monument Valley.
Grand Hotel Villa Serbelloni at Bellagio on Lake Como, Italy. The architecture and attention to detail is beautiful with the interiors full of amazing paintings. Rooms have incredible views over Lake Como and the Grand Hotel has a lovely main restaurant also boasting views of the lake. Service is simply flawless as is the cuisine, however, if you want to try something different, the little town of Bellagio is packed with tiny family restaurants that serve amazing food at competitive prices. We enjoyed the best giant prawns ever at a little restaurant by the lakeside with a terrace covered with curling vines wrapped over gazebo. Bellagio is known as La Perla Del Lago (The pearl of the lake) and is considered by many to be the most beautiful town on Lake Como and even in the whole of Italy. I would agree! There are fabulous gardens to visit including those just behind Villa Serbelloni which are owned by the Rockefeller Foundation cumulate at the top in a 2,000 year old fort with magnificent views of Lake Como. Half a mile outside of Bellagio is Villa Melzi which has beautiful gardens and just 10 minutes directly over the other side of the lake by ferry is Villa Carlotta which has got to be the most fabulous Villa and Gardens in the whole of Italy with its luxurious palace at the lakeside.
The Raffles Hotel, Singapore is world famous and oozes history. It is the birthplace of the Singapore Sling which was concocted by one of its bartenders Ngiam Tong Boon before 1915 at the Long Bar in the hotel. The original recipe used Gin, Cherry, Heering, Benedictine and fresh pineapple juice who enhances the flavour and gives it a foamy top when it’s whisked. Raffles Hotel is named after the founder of Singapore Sir Stamford Raffles. It dates from 1887 and is immortalised in the novels of Rudyard Kipling and Somerset Maugham.
It’s a beautiful hotel with large rooms featuring high ceilings and its place in the middle of gleaming skyscrapers. If you are visiting Singapore or want a night stop on a flight to Australia it’s defiantly worth a night’s stay to soak up the atmosphere.
Seehotel Walsstaetterhof, Brunnen, Switzerland is found on Lake Lucern and has a lovely terrace onto the lake which is used for dining at lunch and in the evenings. Brunnen is a stunning small town on the lake surrounded by magnificent mountains and there are many invigorating hikes and mountain paths covering the whole area and also lakeside walks to be enjoyed. It’s well worth a visit in the summer months especially.
Hotel Persal, Finkenberg, Austria is a lovely small family run hotel which suits all budgets, its spotless and serves breakfast and dinner to clients offering all service with a wonderful smile. It’s a perfect ski hotel with a ski bus stop just outside and the hotel also hires out skis and guests can purchase ski passes. The ski area covers the whole of the Mayrhofen resort which has about 160 kilometres of piste with some of the most incredible views in the Alps and a plethora of mountain restaurants.
Atlantis, The Palm, Dubai really is an unbelievable hotel built at the top of the manmade island The Palm off the coast of Dubai. The hotel features superb restaurants such as Nobu the famous Japanese restaurant to kaleidoscope which is a fantastic buffet restaurant featuring different kitchens and cuisine from around the world with a mixture of international dishes-absolutely delicious and you will be spoilt for choice!
One of the most amazing features of the Atlantis is the incredible aquarium which is massive and has huge fish such as Sharks and Manta Rays, Groupons, Eels and some of the most beautiful reef fish. I am not sure I agree with keeping fish in aquariums but it’s an amazing spectacle to witness.
There seem to be constant deals and offers for Atlantis as it’s so big and it also has an amazing waterpark for kids of all ages to be amused so if you want a 4 or 5 day holiday in the sun with your older teenage kids or grandkids this could be the hotel for you!
The Sandpiper Hotel, Barbados. In total contrast to the size of The Atlantis Palm is The Sandpiper a small family owned hotel in Barbados which is located near to historic Holetown. The cuisine here is excellent with magnificent breakfasts. The hotel is very small and quite simple but the rooms are very comfortable and staff extremely friendly and offer wonderful service. For a relaxing week in the sunshine The Sandpiper is a real tonic.
Admirals Inn, Nelsons Dockyard, Antigua. This historic hotel dates from 1788 and features a wealth of historic features. The bar top has got names of sailors in those times carved into it. One of my favourite drinks Planters Punch Cocktail is made here to perfection although it really is very strong! With nutmeg sprinkled on top it’s an amazing taste of the Caribbean. The rooms are lovely and bright and while there is no beach guests can explore the historic dockyard buildings clustered around this wonderful hotel. Nelson stayed in the dockyard and used it as his base to track the French fleet back to the Europe before finally defeating them and the Spanish at the battle of Trafalgar in 1805. It’s well worth staying at the Admirals Inn for a few days and then moving to one of them many beach hotels on the Island of Antigua.
We hope you enjoy reading about our selection of hotels we have stayed at and really welcome your reviews on favourite hotels in the UK and around the world, for other members to visit and enjoy. Please feel free to share your travel experiences with us!