Hotel Opera Cadet, 24, rue Cadet, 75009 Paris, France : Hotel Review
Hotels in Paris are usually small and basic but the Hotel Opera Cadet is one notch above that. The hotel is ideal for the traveler who is looking for a friendly hotel, with good breakfasts and nice clean rooms. The customer service was excellent and the staff do speak English (although we always try to speak French when in France).
The Opera Cadet is located about 5 mins Metro ride from the Galleries Lafyette near the Opera district and the hotel is 1 minute from Cadet Metro stop down a quiet side street. Check-in is very efficient with the English speaking staff. The rooms are a good size (not huge, but adequate), with features such as TV, Air Conditioning (which can be very useful in July and August), a nice bathroom and some rooms have a small terrace which overlooks Rue Cadet. Rue Cadet is a small street with local traders, fruit shops and some very nice bistros at the end of the street which are enjoyable and cheap to eat in.
Hotel Opera Cadet runs a buffet breakfast service and breakfast is available from 7:30am to 10:30am with a wide variety of food to cater for all tastes. Friendly waiting staff are on hand to provide teas and coffees. A courtyard area at the back of the breakfast area allows for Al-fresco breakfasts – very Parisienne.
WiFi is available but WiFi costs €5 per hour and reception is limited to the main areas of the hotels, and was not available on 2nd floor.
The Opera Cadet Hotel in Paris is one I will be returning to again, not only for the location, good breakfasts and nice staff, but also due to the fact that it is quiet, comfortable and great to come back to after a long day walking the streets of Paris.
The journey between Christchurch and Dunedin is long but there is plenty to do en-route. The journey takes about 4 and a half hours but it is longer if you stop on the way. These are my Top 5 things to see between Christchurch and Dunedin.
Timaru is a great stopping off point between Christchurch and Dunedin. We ate in a nice cafe on Stafford Street – the only place open on a bank holiday. One of the points mentioned in the Rough Guide was Timaru Gardens. These botanical gardens are splendidly maintained, with a good few walks around a lake and tree lined hillocks. There are also some roses to be seen during the summer months and Timaru also has an annual rose festival. It is certainly worth stopping in Timaru for these gardens – great for stretching the legs en-route to Dunedin.
The Moeraki Boulders are located about 76km north of Dunedin. These huge spherical stones are located on a stretch of Koekohe Beach near Moeraki on New Zealand’s Otago coast. These large boulders are what are known as septarian concretions exposed through shore-line erosion. They originally formed as ancient sea-floor sediments during the early Paleocene, over 60 million years ago. They are amazing to see and worth visiting – best though if the tide is out!
Accommodation in Dunedin: 315 Euro Hotel, Dunedin
The drive between Christchurch and Dunedin is long so once you arrive in Dunedin, you may need accommodation. The 315 Euro Hotel is a nice hotel located up a laneway, so might be hard to find. The check-in was handled very well and we checked into a studio room which was nice, bright and airy. It included facilities such as hairdryer, tea coffee facilities, and a small kitchen area. There was lots of space in room and it had Sky TV which was nice. Other facilites in the complex included a sitting area just inside the main doors and a laundry (handy when travelling). The only negative is that the curtains in the room could be a bit thicker!
On the drive between Christchurch and Dunedin you will see lots of birds and wildlife. One of the best ways to see of the Otago Peninsula and it’s wildlife is by taking a cruise on the Otago Harbour. We went with Monarch Cruises – located on the wharf just behind the chinese Gardens in Dunedin. This Wildlife Cruise includes the spectacular Taiaroa Head and a scenic Otago Peninsula bus tour. You should also pay the extra few dollars for the guided tour of the award-winning Yellow Eyed Penguin Reserve, Penguin Place. Worth Doing !
The Chinese Gardens in Dunedin are of an authentic Chinese design and was built by the Dunedin Chinese Garden Trust has built the Garden and upon its completion, handed over to Dunedin City Council. The Garden is an example of a late Ming, early Ching Dynasty Scholar’s Garden, surrounded by a four metre perimeter wall and features a lake with traditional walkways and stonework. The design of the Chinese Garden was laid out to use authentic Chinese materials and was built by a team of craftsmen from Shanghai. Hand-made wooden buildings, hand-made tiles, lattice-work and hand-finished granite paving stones adorn these authentic exquisite gardens. The Chinese Gardens are open from 10 am to 5 pm, 7 days per week and 7pm to 9pm on Wednesdays.
Copthorne Hotel Commodore Christchurch Airport, New Zealand – Hotel Review
We had originally planned on staying at the Copthorne Central in Christchurch, but following the Christchurch earthquake in February, we had to move our accommodation but still wanted to stay with the Copthorne group hotels – as we had great experiences when staying with Copthorne and Millennium Hotels in the North Island last year.
On arrival at the hotel, the Duty manager, Jaimie, sorted out our reservation and walked us to our room, as well as showing us the facilities in the room. I have stayed in many hotels and even in 5 star hotels I have rarely seen such a level of service and friendliness on check-in. We were well impressed with everything and were blown away by the welcome and the level of comfort at this hotel. Airport hotels are normally just a place to rest your head after a long flight but this hotel is actually comfortable and a delight to stay in.
The room was excellent, very comfortable bed, the room was large, bright, clean and airy. Air conditioning was very good with tea coffee facilities and a great bathroom. There was even a little welcome note on your bed welcoming you to the hotel – which was nicely done.
The breakfasts are served in Pattersons restaurant in the hotel and are very well presented with a lot to choose from. There is also a hot tub and covered pool (which we did not try on this occasion … but it looked nice). There is also a nice garden area with a fire where you can enjoy a drink in the open air if you so wish.
The complex is very secure and safe with key cards required after a certain time to access the main accommodation building and then again at your floor.
We actually stayed twice at this hotel, once on arriving into Christchurch from Singapore and again the night before leaving en-route to Cork via Bangkok/London.
The Copthorne Hotel Commodore Christchurch Airport, New Zealand is a great hotel within 5 minutes of Christchurch International Airport, ideally situated for you to start or end any trip to New Zealand. I would certainly stay here again and hope to visit Christchurch and the South Island of New Zealand again very soon.
We stayed at the Singapore Fairmont Hotel during a 3 day trip to Singapore. The Fairmont Singapore hotel is ideally located in a central part of town, only 15 minutes walk from Clarke Quay. It is situated very close to all major entertainment and shopping districts and there is even a multistorey shopping mall within the hotel complex. The Fairmont Hotel offers 769 luxurious guestrooms and suites, a collection of 16 distinctive restaurants and bars.
On check in we got a complimentary mango juice, which was very welcome after the 11 hour flight from London. The bags were brought to the room for us, 5 minutes after we had checked in and got to the room. The heat and humidity in Singapore can make you feel quite uncomfortable, but the hotel is very well air conditioned and you don’t feel like you are in a hot country.
The rooms are luxurious with a comfortable bed, luxury bathroom and aromatherapy bath products. Our room came with a balcony and the views are stunning from the tower we were in, the 22nd floor looked over the Singapore Bay, where we could see the Singapore Flyer, the amazing Marina Sands Hotel and towards the city centre.
Breakfasts are served in 3 different restaurants but the Asian Market Cafe was the best, with a large selection of foods from typical continental breakfast fare to Chinese steamed dumplings (which I had a good few of as they were very tasty).
In addition, guests of Fairmont Singapore have access to the Willow Stream Spa, one of the largest spa facilities in Asia, offering the best in spa and fitness services. Treatments are very reasonable and the facilities and therapists are excellent.
The concierge staff were also excellent and most friendly – they helped us book a city tour of Singapore as well as organising for our luggage to be held while we awaited out trip back to the airport.
It is an amazing hotel and would certainly return here.
Hong Kong is a fantastic city, vibrant, lots to do and if you want the latest high tech gadgets its the place to go. This is a list of some key items to add to your ‘What to Do in Hong Kong’ list.
Landing at Chek Lap Kok airport you are about 20 miles from the city and you can get a high speed train which takes between 12-25 minutes to get to you the city or a coach transfer which will drop you to your hotel door. The coach transfer is recommended as Hong Kong temperatures can reach high 30’s and lugging a case around in that heat from the train station is not fun when you can relax in the air-con of a coach and get dropped to the lobby of your hotel.
One thing not to miss in Hong Kong is the celebration of lights which happens each evening at 8:15. Get yourself a Star Ferry around this time to enjoy the skyscrapers in the bay lighting up in a type of choreography to be witnessed. We got a star ferry cruise which I think was about €30 and this included refreshments and 1 hour cruising around the bay with nice music as you enjoyed the lights.
If you want to go on a trip, the Big Buddha trip to Ngong Ping is not to be missed. This involves a 25 minute cable car ride which runs from near the airport to the Ngong Ping area. The Big Buddha is elevated on a hill and you can climb up to it for stunning views. Inside the Budda there is a museum all about the history of the Buddha. The trip also includes a vegetarian meal cooked by the monks where you can taste traditional cuisine – this included delicacies such as Lotus Flower which I had never tasted but was delicious. On the trip you also get taken to a traditional fishing village … a thousand miles away from the hussle and bussel of down town Hong Kong.
If you are looking for somewhere to stay, I would recommend the Novatel Century on Jaffa Road. It is very clean, rooms are excellent and very well serviced, the staff go 10 times further to make you happy. The breakfasts are fantastic – I never had Dim Sum for breakfast before ! There is more than enough choice for breakfast. Don’t miss the roof top swimming pool which is best experienced in the late evening when you can hear the busy streets but you are enjoying a swim outdoors in the city with jets flying low overhead – Magic !
Hong Kong has a lot to offer and will be somewhere I continue to return to – however next time we will upgrade to Business Class as our Cathay Pacific flight was just too long to be stuck in economy class, as my legs kept falling asleep from the seats on the Boeing 747-400 which were not all that comfortable.