Category Archives: HOTEL REVIEWS

Hotel Reviews by Wilson Family Travel Blog

Review of the Hilton Cocoa Beach Hotel in Florida, USA

Hilton Cocoa Beach Hotel Review

Review of the Hilton Cocoa Beach Oceanfront Hotel, Florida, USA

We have now stayed twice at the Hilton Cocoa Beach and have found it a great place to unwind before heading off on a cruise. Located right on the beachfront, you can either hang at the beach or let the kids swim in the pool while the adults relax by Longboards or the Beach bar.

Pool & Fitness Center

While it’s not a huge pool area, it is enough to cool down and keep the kids entertained.

The fitness center has a few cardio machines and some weights for those that like to work out while on holidays.

Longboards Tiki Beach Grille

If you’re looking for an outdoor bar with a great atmosphere to sit back, relax and have a few drinks with a bite to eat then Longboards Tiki Beach Grille is the place for you. They have a real good happy hour menu from 4.00pm to 7.00pm (daily except Saturdays). The staff service is excellent and the meals were pretty big. The bar has big screens which always have sport playing and at night there is live entertainment.

Next to Longboards is a sun deck with plenty of deck chairs and at night there are a couple of fire pits for the cooler nights.

You can watch our YouTube Video of Longboards and the Pool Deck area here.

Note: the video was taken before the Castaways Beach Bar was built.

Castaways Beach Bar

The latest addition to the Hilton Cocoa Beach is Castaways Beach Bar. Opened in July 2017 this bar is situated along the walkway from the hotel to the beach. Great if you are hanging out and the beach and fancy a quick drink.

Salt Restaurant

The main dining area inside the hotel is Salt Restaurant. We only ate here for breakfast but it is open for dinner from 5.00pm to 10.00pm featuring modern American cuisine. Breakfast is served between 6.00am to 11.00am and you have the choice of the buffet breakfast or you can dine a la carte. We chose the buffet as the selection was quite good. It had an egg station, bacon, sausages, potatoes, scrambled eggs and waffles. There was also plenty of pastries, bagels, cereals, fresh fruit and yoghurt.

Cool Beans Coffee Shop

If it is a quick bite to eat you prefer or you may just want a Starbucks coffee on the go, head to Cool Beans which is open 24 hours. Cool Beans serves a variety of foods including sandwiches & wraps, cookies, sweets and other convenient snacks.

Our Room

Both times we have stayed at the Hilton Cocoa Beach we have stayed in a two queen room with coastline views. The rooms are good-sized and features included a desk, coffee-making facilities and empty bar fridge. The bathroom is on the small side with all in one bath & shower and has the usual Peter Thomas Roth amenities.

You can watch our YouTube Room Tour video here.

Cocoa Beach

Just a few steps from the pool area is the very nice Cocoa Beach. Through the hotel you can rent beach chairs, umbrellas, surfboards, bodyboards, kayaks, wetsuits and even a volleyball. You can book in for private surfing lessons as well.

If you like walking you can wander up to the Cocoa Beach Pier which takes about 30 minutes if walking along the beach.

Conclusion

The Hilton Cocoa Beach is a really nice hotel, not fancy but great for relaxing on the beachfront. It has really good features including an on-site laundry so you can do a load of washing if needed for those that are travelling on an extended vacation.

We also took advantage of a shuttle service provided to the nearby Port Canaveral cruise terminal which is only $5 per person. We would definitely stay at the Hilton Cocoa Beach again before leaving on a cruise out of Port Canaveral.

For more information on the Hilton Cocoa Beach go to: www.hilton.com

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DoubleTree Orlando Airport Hotel Review

DoubleTree Orlando Airport Hotel Review

Review of the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Orlando Airport 

Staying at the DoubleTree Orlando Airport was very convenient for us after travelling for over 24 hours to get from Melbourne, Australia to Orlando, Florida, USA. The DoubleTree Orlando Airport provides a free shuttle service to and from Orlando International Airport which is very handy.

We had emailed the hotel before leaving Australia to find out where we needed to catch the shuttle from so we knew where to head once we had our luggage.  Although you are actually supposed to ring the hotel so they can send the shuttle we were lucky enough that a shuttle arrived as we were about to call so we just jumped in. Fifteen minutes later we were at the hotel and checking in.

Check-In & Lobby Area

As we were checking in around 10.00pm it was pretty quiet so it was nice and quick and we received our famous DoubleTree cookies (although only 2 for 4 people!) and 2 bottles of complimentary waters for being Diamond HHonors members. Next to the check in desk is a little gift shop selling snacks and drinks. There is also a couple of computers in the lobby for those that need to print off any tickets or surf the net.

King Junior Suite with Sofabed 

Even though it’s the best room at the DoubleTree Orlando Airport, the King Junior Suite it really cheap to book. It had plenty of room for the four of us and comes complete with kitchenette. Included in the kitchenette is a sink, microwave, empty bar fridge and coffee machine

While the living area is a good size, the bathroom however is on the small side with an all-in-one bath and shower. On the positive side though, there was a nice mixture of Crabtree & Evelyn and Aroma Actives bathroom amenities.

You can watch our YouTube room tour video of the King Junior Suite here.

Dining

Apart from the in-room dining service, the only other on-site dining options are Landings Bistro or Landings Lounge. The bistro is open daily from 6.00am – 10.00pm and the lounge is open from 12.30pm – 12.00am.

We arrived just after the bistro had closed so we grabbed a late dinner and some cocktails from Landings Lounge.

As a Diamond HHonors member we were given complimentary buffet breakfasts for the whole family (four of us). Hot food options included scrambled eggs, crispy bacon seasoned breakfast potatoes, sausages and french toast. There was also a waffle machine, breads, pastries, cereals, hard-boiled eggs, yoghurt and fruits.

Pool Area & Fitness Center

As we received a late check out of 1.00pm the kids were happy to spend a bit of time at the pool area before leaving the hotel. The pool area has quite a few cabanas (no cost when we were there) and a fire pit as well.

The fitness center is not huge but it has enough to do a little bit of cardio and some weight work.

Doubletree Orlando Airport Conclusion

Because of its close proximity to Orlando International Airport, we would have no hesitation in staying at the DoubleTree Orlando Airport for one night again if we had an early flight departure or late arrival. With the free shuttle service leaving the hotel every 15 minutes after 4.30am, it makes for easy hassle free travel.

For more information on the DoubleTree Orlando Airport go to www.doubletree3.hilton.com

We have also previously stayed at the following hotels in Orlando;

Conrad Hong Kong Hotel

Conrad Hong Kong Hotel Review

Hotel Review of the Conrad Hong Kong

Located on Hong Kong Island the Conrad Hong Kong offers sweeping views of Victoria Harbour as well as The Peak. Both business travellers and holiday makers will love the elegance and charm that this hotel provides.

Executive Lounge

When we arrived at the Conrad Hong Kong we were escorted up to the Executive Lounge on the 59th floor for check-in (we are Hilton Honors Diamond). It was around 9.00am when we arrived and once we had checked in we were able to help ourselves to some breakfast and drinks.

One thing we have to say is that the staff in the Executive Lounge are amazing. We were checked in by the wonderful Gloria who gave us a map and planned a full day of sightseeing for us. As first timers to Hong Kong, her recommendations were extremely helpful.

There are some amazing views from the lounge overlooking Kowloon and the harbour. Seating however can become limited during peak times as it’s a bit on the smallish side.

The Executive Lounge is open for breakfast from 6.30am – 11.00am and it has a nice selection of hot and cold dishes. Afternoon tea consists of some savoury and sweet dishes served from 3.00pm – 5.00pm. From 5.00pm – 7.00pm it is time for the evening drinks and canapés. Sparkling wine, red wine and white wine is available to self pour while staff will happily serve beer and spirits. There was a good selection of canapés, both hot and cold and it varied each night.

Restaurants & Bars

While we weren’t staying long enough to try out all the restaurants, there is definitely a good selection of eateries and bars at the Conrad Hong Kong.

The Garden Café is made up of a buffet section as well as an outdoor terrace section. As we are a Diamond member we had complimentary access to the buffet breakfast which is very popular (we had to wait around 10 minutes to be seated). The food selection was quite good with a nice mix of western and asian foods.

Garden Café is also open for buffet lunch and dinner.

The outdoor terrace section of the Garden Café is more casual dining overlooking the pool. We stopped by to try the club sandwich which was delicious.

Also open for Curry Tiffin buffet lunch on weekdays is the Lobby LoungeIt offers an a la carte menu for lighter meals and cocktails. The Lobby Lounge is open for breakfast, lunch, afternoon tea, dinner and supper.

Serving refined Cantonese cuisine is the elegant award-winning Golden Leaf Restaurant which is open for lunch and dinner.

The Conrad Hong Kong’s signature restaurant is Nicholini’s which specialises in Northern Italian Cuisine. This Michelin Four Forks restaurant is open for both lunch and dinner.

Another vibrant restaurant where you can enjoy weekend champagne brunch, lunch or dinner is Brasserie on the Eighth. Also on the Eighth floor is the Pacific Bar where you can unwind with some specialty cocktails and drinks.

For a coffee on the go or a sweet treat you can also stop by the Cake Shop which has some amazing dessert selections.

Pool & Fitness Area

With an outdoor heated pool which is suitable for laps or just a quick dip, this is a nice area to just chill out. There is a Health Club featuring cardio machines, stretch equipment, free weights and complimentary group classes. After your workout you can relax in the sauna, steam room, whirlpool or book yourself in for a massage or body treatment.

Executive Peak View Room

We had booked a standard room but upon check-in were upgraded to an Executive Room on the 58th Floor. Even though we arrived at the hotel around 9.00am we were given a room straight away which was much appreciated. The room had nice views of the Peak as well as the Hong Kong Skyline.

The king bed was very comfortable and we found some nice tea waiting for us as our welcome amenity. There was a good-sized desk with easily accessible power outlets.

The bathroom had separate bath (with Conrad rubber duck), shower, double sink and TV. There was also a set of bathroom scales as well as a mini stepper for those that like a bit of exercise in the privacy of their room. An in-built hair dryer was provided but there was no power outlet in the bathroom which was strange.

When we checked in we requested the Shanghai Tang amenities which we received alongside the Aromatherapy amenities. Our guest service agent Gloria also recommended the Refinery for Men amenities which we received as well.

The room had a mini bar and an in-room espresso machine that you can find in most Conrad hotels. Plenty of complimentary bottles of water were also provided.

You can see our YouTube Room Tour here.

Conclusion

We really enjoyed our stay here at the Conrad Hong Kong. The location in the downtown financial district was great, easy walking distance to The Peak and surrounding Hong Kong Park. It is also a nice walk down to Central Pier to catch a ferry or ride the Hong Kong Observation Wheel. The nearest MTR Station is Admiralty Place which is interconnected with The Pacific Place shopping complex.

We would have no hesitation recommending the Conrad Hong Kong and based on the level of service, we would suggest indulging a an executive room.

For more information on the Conrad Hong Kong go to www.conradhotels3.hilton.com

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Conrad Maldives Rangali Island Resort

Conrad Maldives Rangali Island Resort

Highlights of the Luxurious Conrad Maldives Rangali Island Resort

For a true luxury travel experience, look no further than the Conrad Maldives. This little piece of paradise is surrounded by fifty shades of blue and is the backdrop for the most relaxing holiday you could imagine.

The journey all begins when you land at Male Airport and are escorted to the Conrad Lounge at the Seaplane Terminal (read our Conrad Lounge & Seaplane Transfer post here). After a 30 minute seaplane flight you arrive at the resort and are greeted by your personal guest service agent who looks after you for your entire stay. From there it is up to you to make the most of this exclusive resort.

Dining at Conrad Maldives

For a small Island resort there are a lot of different food & beverage options ranging from casual to fine dining. We didn’t get to visit them all but below are the ones we did manage to take a look at.

Ithaa Undersea Restaurant

Ithaa is one of the main highlights of the Conrad Maldives and is the world’s first undersea restaurant. Located 16 feet below sea level, this is a truly unique fine dining experience.

This amazing restaurant is open for a four course set lunch menu at 12.30pm and a 7 course set dinner menu at 6.30pm (children welcome for lunch but not dinner). Be prepared to pay for this experience however as the dinner sitting will set you back US$325.00 per person plus taxes and service charge.

If visiting Ithaa is on your bucket list but not really in your budget range, there is a cocktail hour from 11.00am to 12.00pm which is a bit cheaper at US$75.00 per person and includes one glass of champagne or mocktail as well as a plate of canapés.

You can watch our YouTube video from inside Ithaa here.

Sunset Grill Restaurant

Open for dinner daily from 7.00pm, Sunset Grill is an open-air restaurant that specialises in seafood while guests can enjoy wonderful romantic sunset views.

Mandhoo Restaurant

Offering organically grown produce, Mandhoo is an over-water restaurant that specialises in energising, nourishing and detoxifying the body. Open daily for lunch and dinner (except Mondays).

Don’t miss the fish feeding sessions that happen daily at 1.30pm at Mandhoo (see our YouTube video here).

Atoll Market

Open for breakfast and dinner, Atoll Market is the only buffet restaurant on the resort. Atoll Market is home to eight different kitchens featuring Japanese, Asian, Italian, Western and Indian cuisines. If you are a Hilton Honors Diamond member the buffet breakfast is complimentary and we have to say it is probably one of the best buffet breakfasts we have experienced. There is a vast array of food choices and we always love a sparkling wine with breakfast!

Rangali Bar

Located beside the main pool, the sandy-floored Rangali Bar is the heart of the Conrad Maldives where you can enjoy lunch, dinner or a few cocktails during happy hour (half price drinks from 5.00pm-7.00pm). The extensive food menu will have something for everyone to enjoy while they sit back, relax and listen to some live music.

Vilu Restaurant 

Offering a Mediterranean inspired menu, Vilu Restaurant is open daily for breakfast and for dinner on Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday. There is afternoon tea served at Vilu for all Hilton Honors Diamond members from 4.00pm to 5.00pm as well as a cocktail hour with complimentary alcoholic drinks and canapés from 5.00pm to 6.00pm.

The Quiet Zone

Nestled beside the adults only pool, The Quiet Zone is open for lunch daily and for dinner everyday except Saturdays. There is also a half price drinks happy hour from 5.00pm to 7.00pm.

Activities at Conrad Maldives

While you might just feel like relaxing when staying at the Conrad Maldives, there are a few activities you might want to try out.

Pools 

The main pool is located next to the Rangali Bar and was pretty quiet while we were there with hardly anyone using it.

Right next to the main pool is a little kids pool, only suitable for a very small child though.

Watch our main pool YouTube video here.

The Quiet Zone features an adults only infinity pool, but be sure to get there early in the day as this little area is quite popular.

Water Sports Centre

The water-sports centre is located near the Rangali Bar and it’s here that you can try out one of the many water based activities such as jet skiing, wind surfing, kayaking, canoeing, catamaran sailing, water skiing or even explore the island by paddle boat.

For the thrill seekers, the exciting jetpack experience is also available.

Ocean Sports & Dive Centre

Visit the Ocean Sports & Dive Centre to organise any snorkel or scuba diving excursions where you can witness all that the beautiful Maldivian waters have to offer. There are also a variety of half and full day boat cruises available as well as day and night time fishing adventures. There is  a glass bottom boat if you would like to view the amazing under water coral and marine life without having to get wet.

Sports & Fitness

Fitness might not be the first priority for a lot of travellers but for those that like to keep up an exercise regime while on holidays there is plenty to do at the Conrad Maldives. With a fitness centre that is open 24 hours a day, you can hire a personal trainer or take part in one of the scheduled fitness classes.

You can also head to the beachside yoga pavilion for private or group yoga classes.

Other activities include table tennis, beach volleyball and outdoor tennis.

Spa Retreat & Over Water Spa

The Spa Retreat is an over water full service spa complete with hair salon and manicure room which specialises in holistic spa and beauty treatments.

Over Water Spa is home to glass-floored treatment rooms providing a unique spa experience. After having a treatment you can relax in a private pavilion featuring a jacuzzi out in the deck. Then it’s time to sit back and relax and finish the experience with a nice cup of herbal tea.

Relaxing around the Conrad Maldives

If you’re lucky enough to be staying in one of the Water Villas you will find it relaxing enough just by being out on your private deck. There is nothing more calming than listening to the sound of the waves gently lapping against the Villa. You can read our seperate post on the Deluxe Water Villa we stayed in here.

Even the Beach Villas give you direct beach access where you can relax and enjoy your own little piece of paradise.

When out wandering around the resort, you will come across more little hidden relaxation spots.

Of course sometimes a bit of retail therapy is a great way to relax and there are shops to cater for that as well!

Even if you don’t feel like walking around the resort (especially across the bridge between the two islands) you can call for a buggy which will transport you around.

An alternative way to cross the islands is hop aboard the Conrad dhoni which runs regularly.

When out exploring the resort it was always nice to find a few friendly creatures along the way.

For more information on the luxurious Conrad Maldives go to www.conradhotels3.hilton.com

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