I have stayed at many Accor properties both in India and abroad. I have been there both as a blogger and as a paying customer. Recently I was invited to Novotel Vijayawda Varun as a blogger and what a pleasure it was!
I was particularly taken in my the beautiful interiors of the hotel as I walked to my room on the 4th floor. My room was huge, with a view of the city. Since last two years, I spend a lot of time on my daughter’s tennis. So, having a well appointed room to myself was a luxury!
If having a room to myself without a care in the world was luxury, the rooftop running track and the swimming pool were sheer delight. I was given an option of going to the Dew, their spa for a second time but I told them I would rather go for a swim!
I absolutely loved the swimming pool. I could look at all the cool people sweating it out in the gym while I would do a few laps in their huge pool! Then gasping for breath I would stand at the edge and enjoy the view of the city. I did not use the running track but I saw members going for a job with a 360 degree view of the city!
In the spa I went for the signature aromatherapy massage. I was totally pampered for an hour while I just closed my eyes and did nothing! I used the spa on the day of my arrival and it was a great idea. All my tiredness was washed away.
I tried three restaurants at Novotel Vijayawada Varun, the Food Exchange, Gourmet Bar and the Wugan. After years and years of hostel food, I thought I have no taste buds left. But with travel blogging, I think I am getting back to enjoying food. I would look forward to every meal and particularly all the Andhra food at the buffet! At Wugan I enjoyed a mix of Thai and Japanese vegetarian dishes.
At the Gourmet Bar they do the cocktails with a twist. For example their Bloody Mary has chili and salt on the rim with ice stick! At first go I found the chili too much but after a few sips I thoroughly liked the idea! They said the small customization is to cater to the local taste.
We did off beat sightseeing by visiting Unadvalli Caves, Guntur Chilli Market and Kondapalli Fort and toy making. I also visited a Mangalgiri sari making unit. These visits reminded me how much I enjoy going to less visited places!
Overall, if you are looking for a hotel in Vijayawada, I highly recommend Novotel Vijayawada Varun where I was invited as a blogger!
Chhavi and I had the pleasure to go for a staycation (on invitation) to Pullman Aerocity New Delhi for one night. After a while she told me, “this is the most stylish hotel I have come across!” I am always happy to spend time with the kid on holidays and staycations as she is a lot of fun. Pullman is located in Aerocity and is a good place for your rest and rejuvenation.
The Check In
The check in was a breeze for us, we went to the reception and after the usual formalities, we were on our way to the suite we were staying in. But before we went, Chhavi was quite taken in with the lights at the lobby. They reminded me of Changi a little.
We had a beautiful suite with a huge living area and a comfortable bedroom. But the highlight for Chhavi was the large bath tub. If she could have it her way, she would live for half a day just inside the tub!
She also loved the fact that there was a tennis featured chocolate waiting specially for her in the room! She has started playing tennis regularly and it delighted her immensely that the people at the hotel knew about it. A lot of credit to the hotel staff who went through my Instagram highlights and figured that out! It was special for me too.
We had a comfortable sleep in the room. From the bedroom I could see part of the airport but the soundproofing is good, I could barely ever hear the planes!
The Swimming Pool
There is a swimming pool within the hotel but we could not use it as it was too cold in February! But we would surely like to go back and enjoy the pool.
The Dining Options
There are many dining options at the Pullman. Our favorite was Honk Asian Restaurant where I ordered Phad Thai. We had Sushi and Dim sums before it. Chhavi thoroughly enjoyed her drink at the restaurant.
We also enjoyed a coffee roasting session at Café Pluck and later enjoyed a cup of coffee too! The breakfast was served at Pluck the restaurant and we had one lunch there too!
However, my most distinctive experience came at Pling with Kriti the master sommelier. Wine is something that doesn’t make much sense to me with each name vying to be more unpronounceable than the other! To me almost all wines taste good! So, I was not too sure what to expect in the wine tasting session with her. But she put me at ease from the word go and I actually enjoyed my session.
We went into great length about why we swirl the glass of wine, to why we sniff it and where does the aroma in the wine comes from! I had a great time.
It was Bonus Meeting My Student
It was great meeting my student Paramjeet at Pullman. He works nearby and dropped in to chat with Chhavi and me. It is always great catching up with my students! The seem to be more impressed with my travels rather than my teaching!
Overall Chhavi and I had a great time at Pullman New Delhi Aerocity Hotel! For Chhavi it is the most stylish hotel she has visited! I also realized that she has crossed that age when I used to be petrified she will break something when we went out! Kids grow up fast and they grow up only once! I should remember this more often and travel more with her!
PS. Chhavi and I were invited by the hotel to stay with them!
While I was looking for a hotel in Budapest I started with Accor Hotels. I have stayed with them in the past, both as a guest and as a hosted blogger. I quite like them, I know what to expect and they have never disappointed me. Also, they have a great range, right from Ibis Budget to Raffles and Fairmont. My quest ended up with booking Novotel Budapest Danube.
Accor has many properties in Budapest. Sofitel was out of my budget so it was quickly ruled out. I had to choose between two Novotels, Ibis Styles and Mercure. In the end I went with Novotel Budapest Danube because I loved the pictures I saw on the website. I said to myself, “I may not get the view of the parliament from the room but I will surely get it from somewhere.” My only doubt was what if the view was not representative? But I got what I saw in the pictures and more. My sister and I thoroughly enjoyed our stay at Novotel Budapest Danube.
To get my relationship with the hotel clear, I paid for my stay and other major expanses. I did get in touch with the good folks at the hotel before I went. I was given a nice room with a view. Other than a late check out and the nice view, I paid for everything else. In return I did an Instagram takeover for stories on their handle during my stay.
I signed up with Le Club Accor. I got a few emails about my stay before I arrived. One of it was about online check-in. It is a great thing, do make use of it. I entered all the relevant information online. So, when I arrived at the hotel, they just needed a signature or two and my credit card to hold some amount on it! My check-in was a breeze and we needed it. We were really tired after our long journey from Delhi to Budapest with a halt in Rome.
We asked for twin beds and we got it without any mistake. We had a great view of the parliament building from our room. We stayed in 338, it has a great view. On the first day, my sister and I could not take our eyes off it! When we would do Whatsapp calls home, she would show the view to everyone, I did the same. The room with the view made our stay truly memorable!
We had good sleep throughout our stay. The room was made up without fail! The bathroom was clean and the accessories fair trade.
There was tea in the room. But my sister and I are big on tea. So, we carried a bit of milk powder and Indian style ginger tea sachets. It was a great idea. On our next trip together, we will carry more, as we ran out of ginger tea!
I did not book the breakfast with the room. On the first day my sister and I in our great enthusiasm went out for breakfast. From the second day, till our last, we took every breakfast in the hotel. They have a large spread and plenty for vegetarians.
My sister used to like their peaches a lot. I enjoyed the yogurt, eggs, nuts and an occasional waffle! We also liked the baked beans, mushrooms and the choice of breads!
All Accor Hotels to the best of knowledge subscribe to the sustainability program Planet 21. Using Fair Trade products is one part of it. Fare Trade as an organization works with farmers and workers to get them a fair deal!
The usual appeal to the guests to reuse towels is there. I have participated, in a small way, with their Soap for Hope project but in Singapore. I like it a lot that they care for the environment and make a big deal of it!
Proximity to Public Transport
Novotel Budapest Danube is at an easy walking distance from Bethany Tere, a public transport hub. You can catch M2 metro line from here. There are many buses and trams available as well. I used the metro and trams frequently to get around the city.
The Blue Line of Red Bus Hop On Hop Off also stops at Bethany Tere. We bought a travel card which was valid for all public transport with a few exceptions.
Proximity to Restaurant and Shops
Right behind Bethany Tere there are many restaurants and shops. There is a Spar, a general store, from where I used to buy beers. We also did some shopping from there. We tried Edeni Vegan, Coyote Coffee and one Italian Restaurant in the square. You have more options if you hop two stops on M1 and go to Derek Ferm Tere. That takes you straight to the city center right next to the Budapest Eye.
We stayed at Novotel Budapest Danube for seven nights. My sister and I would walk all around the city. It was cold in November. When we would walk through the doors of the hotel into the warmth of the lobby, we knew we were going to be comfortable and well rested! I would happily stay with them again!