sojourneys


The Stones Hotel, Legian, Bali
January 19, 2014, 10:01 am
Filed under: Bali, Indonesia, Marriott | Tags: , , , ,

You know it’s going to be a mixed experience when a hotel’s strongest suit is it gym and it’s worst is it’s restaurants. But first, the rooms. Guestrooms at The Stones Hotel, Legian, Bali¬†either face the pool (for an additional fee), a derelict building, or into another adjacent property. The rooms themselves are fine, with a comfortable bed (with less-than-comfortable pillows), adequate work space, shower and changing area partitioned by a thick curtain. During our stay in December, we had to get the room sprayed everyday because it was infested with mozzies. Imagine hearing the buzzing sound of commando mozzies darting around your face as you try to sleep.

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The hotel can be noisy and unconducive for relaxation. What would one expect when there is a convention onsite that aspires to host events for up to 2,000 at a go on a relatively small property (a feature overlooked during booking). The centerpiece of the hotel is a large pool, which is amply surrounded by deck chairs.

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Despite the claims that there are three restaurants, they are all in one dining space demarcated by sometimes nothing more than a sliding door.

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The best feature of the hotel, which we utilized everyday, was the gym. Generously spacious, it has a nice assortment of equipment and a supply of distilled water and fruits.

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Overall, I would say that despite its branding, The Stones Hotel, which is managed by Marriott emphasizes on the “mood” (and probably the “masses”) without considering the finer touches that make a hotel a great resort. The bathtubs on the upper floors located of all places the balcony with billowy white curtains for privacy is an indication of form above function

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The Renaissance Phuket Resort and Spa
January 11, 2014, 2:58 pm
Filed under: hotels, Phuket, Renaissance, Thailand | Tags: , , ,

Located on the picturesque Mai Khao beach far from the maddening crowd yet mere minutes from the airport, the Renaissance Phuket Resort and Spa is everything that its neighboring JW Marriott Phuket is not. The Renaissance Phuket is boutique with less than 200 rooms exuding tranquility and intimacy, while its sister property bearing the seemingly more glamorous JW Marriott badge is a sprawling complex replete with omnipresent sales staff selling timeshare units that screams mass.

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Guestrooms are spacious, and are decked in neutral palettes promoting relaxation. Its large, comfortable bed with pillow options and adjacent divan are perfect for that much needed postprandial siesta.

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But why spend too much time in the room when other stars of the property include two beautiful pools including one with direct access to the magnificent Mai Khao beach?

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Dining is great, and one of the more interesting options is Sand Box, which besides being literally next to the beach has soft white sand as its flooring. The Lounge, a pub adjacent to the lobby that also serves light fare during the day takes on a different vibe at night with the hanging seagulls creating surreal silhouettes against projected colored lights.

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For the health conscious, breakfast includes a juicing bar with a wide variety of local and imported fruits and vegetables, as well as a small fitness room with hot jacuzzi facilities in the shower room.

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All-in-all, the Renaissance Phuket with its warm and friendly service, boutique vibe, contemporary decor, and direct beach access, makes for a relaxing getaway.