I have stayed in many Accor hotels both as a blogger and on my own and I quite like them. They offer a wide range from Ibis Budget to Sofitel, Fairmont, Raffles and more! They have something for everyone and in my opinion that something is good.
I was invited to Mercure Dwarka (Gujarat) as a blogger. It is a newly opened hotel. It was my first stay in a Mercure.
I had a large, clean and comfortable room at my disposal. My room had a queen size bed and plenty of pillows. For decorating the walls, they use paintings by the local artists. I could see the sunrise from my room. I stayed in room number 202.
There were tea and coffee sachets in the room along with the kettle. I would give the restaurant my water bottle and ask for filtered water which they always gave me happily. I drink so much tea that 1 liter regular water is very little for me.
The bathroom was nice. They use fairly traded products which is a great initiative. The shower always behaved well, with great pressure and just the right amount of hot water I liked. I was comfortable in my room.
The buffet breakfast is served at Makhan (means butter in Hindi) Restaurant. It is the only restaurant within the hotel. They serve good food. Given that Dwarka is a religious city, they serve only vegetarian food.
The buffet has a combination of international and Indian foods. I largely ate Indian but succumbed to donuts once! I liked the masala tea they served.
When you travel in a group you end up spending some time in the lobby waiting for your group members. Mercure Dwarka has a cozy lobby with a view of open fields all around if you care to push aside the curtains. On some days I could see shepherds moving around with their herd.
The front porch and the parking area makes for a pleasant evening walk. By the evening the weather at Dwarka becomes balmy due to the sea breeze. It is fun to go for a walk after dinner.
I hardly ever write about the security features of any hotel. Mercure Dwarka follows the standard procedure of inspecting the car at the entrance. They scan the luggage and ask the guests to walk through the metal detector like any other large hotel in India.
Our local taxi drivers made the routine process interesting. They would complain loudly every time the security would ask them to stop the car and open both the bonnet and the boot. They told me no other hotel in Dwarka did this, and anyway what did they expect to find in the car?
I pointed out to them that they scanned all our luggage too and we too walked through metal detection. I added it is standard over the country at least for the bigger hotels. They were partially pacified when they saw our bags also getting scanned after every trip.
Mercure Dwarka is a modern hotel in an ancient city. It makes for a comfortable stay. The food is good. You need to remember that it is a little outside the city. But as there is hardly any traffic in the city you can be in the center in less than 15 minutes by car.
PS. I was invited by Mercure Dwarka on a FAM Trip as a travel blogger!
My stay at Ibis Singapore on Bencoolen is about to end and I will remember it fondly. Singapore was my first trip abroad when I was a Ph.D. student. I was presenting a paper at Nanyang Technological University. Eighteen years later, I have quit my in academics and I am here as a travel blogger to attend #escapers17 on the invitation of Accor Hotels, Soot, Tiger Air and Asia Holidays.
I have stayed at Ibis before as a blogger (Ibis Delhi Airport, Ibis Budget at Makassar) and on my own (Ibis Budget in London). I have to say they maintain a standard and you can rely on them to find a comfortable room waiting for you on your arrival. Ibis Singapore on Bencoolen was no exception.
Ibis Singapore on Bencoolen is located at 7-8 minutes’ walk from Bugis MRT. To me being near to public transport is important as taxis turn out to be insanely expensive in the end. There are food courts and shopping malls around. Bugis has the Downtown line so you can directly go to the major attractions of Singapore.
I have a comfortable room and for a change I am writing my review sitting in the room itself. I stayed in 1006 at the 10th floor. As I have stayed with Ibis before I am familiar with the layout.
The bathroom is functional and clean. And by night when I have completely tired out myself, I can switch off the room lights right from the bed.
I also like that they place a lot of emphasis on reusing the towels and the linen. I need to find out more about their Planet 21 program. There is a working table in the room but I mostly worked sitting on the bed! I could charge all my gadgets easily.
The Room with Extra Benefits
If you are staying at Ibis you can book a room with extra benefits. It automatically gives you early check-in and late check-out.
However, what impressed me most is the pre-loaded phone called Handy. It comes with a local SIM which already has unlimited internet access. You can make calls to 27 countries (India included) both to the land line and mobile phone.
I used it in a slightly different way! I would turn its hotspot on and connect my own phone to it! And then I would use my phone as I use it anywhere. My family stays in touch with me via Data calls so I did not use the calling feature of Handy. So I did not buy a local SIM at all. I found Handy most useful because all I need was to turn the hotspot on and get connected via my phone!
Food at Ibis Singapore on Bencoolen
Being a vegetarian has become easier and I could find many choices at the Ibis Singapore as a vegetarian. I took many meals here and I could find vegetarian choices at all three meals, breakfast, lunch and dinner. At breakfast they have a bit of Indian options too. The bar cum restaurant has a 24X7 menu which is really useful. I was late one night. It is comforting to know that you will get food in your own hotel when you are dead tired.
I quite liked the hotel. I would happily stay at the Ibis Singapore on Bencoolen again.
My trip to #escapers17 has been sponsored by of Accor Hotels, Soot, Tiger Air and Asia Holidays.
This was a first, Chhavi and I stayed for a night at Ibis Delhi Airport, a newly opened hotel in my own city! We went on the Saturday and came back on Sunday. Now that I have done it, it actually made for a relaxing weekend!
Ibis Aerocity is a newly open hotel in the close proximity to the international and domestic airports in Delhi. When I presented myself at the hotel, there was a big queue for check-out at the reception. Looks like their Pay What You Want campaign is working for them. The campaign ends on September 21. Ibis is an economy hotel from the Accor Group. They have free shuttle service to both the airports.
The Room: We had a cozy, clean room with a tea and coffee maker. The room also had a large flat screen TV. The bathroom is designed to economize on space. It was clean and functional. I liked the hair and shower gel as it had a pleasing mild fragrance. As my daughter would use the milk sachets to make milk for her, we asked for more from the housekeeping staff and they always gave it to her! All over the hotel they have posted messages asking guests to help them save the environment. They put two complimentary half liter water bottles in the room. There is a safe in the room.
The Food: I was pleasantly surprised by the buffet, both for lunch and dinner at Ibis. I have actually stayed in quite a few Accor hotels- Novotel in Pune and Pullman in Putrajaya, Malaysia. I have visited Sofitel in Bangkok. I have always found their food quite good. The food at Ibis, Aerocity was almost comparable to Novotal in Pune. I found the tomato khus khus and the curd rice quite well done. I liked immensely that they had baklava (among many other things) for dessert both at lunch and dinner. I have tried to cut down on sweet but at dinner I went ahead and had two baklava! For the breakfast I went with upma and idli and both were done well. I asked for milk for Chhavi and they gave it. I saw a mother asking for plain rice and daal for her daughter at dinner and she got it too.
At lunch Chhavi was not eating much and I was worried that she would bother me later for food. The e-commerce manager had joined us for lunch and I mentioned this. He said, “Ma’am there is a whole room service menu at your disposal! Order anything you like!” I wonder why did it never occur to me even in spite of having stayed in many hotels. They have a tea coffee dispenser at the buffet which in my opinion is a really nice touch.
The Gorgeous Swimming Pool: Ibis Aerocity has a gorgeous swimming pool. It was our major playground and it was popular with other guests too. On Saturday we spent close to two hours in the pool. I had to finally drag the kid out as she was shivering by the end. But what a gala time we had. I learnt swimming when I was in 4th standard. All through my school and college I had access to a pool. It is only now that I don’t have it, so whenever I get to use one, I go all out.
The kid is learning to swim, she is so hyper that she won’t keep her head in the water for more than a second! We started swimming together at Hong Kong and we continued at Ibis. Ibis has a separate kid’s pool but she wanted to come to the big pool where she could not even stand as the depth is 4 feet. I would take her around and gradually she got the hang of floating. In a way it was good that she could not stand, that way she was forced to do something. I would always remember Ibis fondly as this is where the kiddo started taking baby steps towards swimming!
After coming to the room after the two hour session, I ordered a pizza. She ate three slices, I put on a cartoon on TV and within 10 minutes she was fast asleep. Ibis makes nice thin crust pizzas. With the kid asleep at 6.00 pm I had a lot of free time at hand. I put songs on Sony Mix and read a PG Wodehouse. Oh the bliss of spending a peaceful evening at a hotel in my own city. I woke up Chhavi at about 9.00 pm for dinner. She ate a little bit and fell asleep again in less than hour. I had more free time!
We went swimming again in the morning before breakfast. The swimming pool was the biggest highlight of our stay. After breakfast, which ends at 10.00 am, it was almost time to head back home. My daughter told me as we were walking out, “let us come back again!”
PS. I was invited to the hotel by Ibis. My daughter and I truly enjoyed our stay there.
I started my India travel blog, Travel Tales from India in 2005. In 2016 I realized Travel Tales from India and Abroad better reflected my writings. I love to walk and ride in metros around the world. I have not been everywhere, I am not even close, but it is on my list. I also quit my job as a professor in 2015, it was a happening year! I did a Ph.D. from IIT Kanpur ages ago!
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