Round The World and other travels

A frequent flyer's collection of trip diaries

This is: Mediterranean Magic (2016)


Hotel 1: Novotel, Heathrow
Thursday 19 May to Friday 20 May (1 night)
Room 242 (Queen Superior, Corner)
This property rarely features in my LHR shortlist, simply because the only reasonable way of reaching it involves the official 'Hoppa' shuttles, with their rip-off fares. On this occasion, however, it was the only choice available that (a) I was prepared to stay at, and (b) offered a decent rate even after adding in the aforementioned, very annoying transfer fees. My room was in Novotel's standard UK format, but included that rare and treasured feature, an inner door. The lobby/atrium area was attractive and clearly popular. I was well treated as an Accor gold member, receiving an upgraded room and a welcome gift of a small box of chocolates.

Hotel 2: Sofitel, Athens Airport
Friday 20 May to Saturday 21 May (1 night)
Room 716 (Executive Twin)
Bruce and I chose Sofitel for our first joint stay of the trip, which for me meant that I was remaining within the Accor Hotels group. Sofitel Athens Airport is located adjacent to the terminal building, dispensing with the need for transfers, and the property lived up to its five-star billing with a comfortable room and stylish public areas. Service in the lobby bar seemed to be on the slow side, although this could perhaps have been attributable to 'cultural differences'.

Hotel 3: AC Colón, Valencia
Saturday 28 May to Monday 30 May (2 nights)
Room 601 (Twin)
Marriott's AC Hotels (which should not be confused with its Autograph Collection) is a stylish and modern sub-brand that focuses on perfecting the essentials of a good hotel stay, rather than on frills and fancies. As an example, there is no room service. Instead, each hotel has an 'AC Lounge' which functions as a work space during the day and as a bar in evening, featuring cocktails, small-plates dining and bartenders with good local knowledge.

The AC Colón is located close to Valencia's main railway station and its associated metro stop. It is also within easy walking distance of the main tourist and business objectives in the city centre. The sense of style was evident from the moment we first walked through the front door. Our room, while compact, was comfortable and featured a small balcony. The AC Lounge in 'evening mode' proved to be an excellent facility, which in this case also featured an outdoor terrace section.

In summary, a highly enjoyable stay and an interesting concept from Marriott!

Hotel 4: Hilton, London Gatwick
Monday 30 May to Tuesday 31 May (1 night)
Room 7236 (Executive Twin)
I have used this hotel many times in the past, and as is customary for a Hilton HHonors diamond member, I was once again allocated a room in the modern wing (with 7xxx room numbers). This property has been losing its appeal of late, and the latest example of the trend was some frustratingly slow and inattentive service in the lobby bar.