Hotel Review: Shangri-La Jakarta

On my recent trip to Indonesia, I had the opportunity to stay at the Shangri-La Jakarta for 7 nights. Our company hosted a multi-day event at the Shangri-La and my colleagues and myself stayed at the Shangri-La for a full week. I expected good service from a Shangri-La but I was absolutely thrilled with the service I received.

Pool Grounds

Everyone in Jakarta loves to smiles and the Shangri-La is no exception. Everyone: bellhops, wait staff, chefs, front desk, management….all were incredibly warm and inviting. Just like everywhere else in Jakarta, security is tight on site. Taxis are easy to retrieve out front with Silver Bird taxis almost always on standby out front.

Lobby Bar

The hotel has just about every amenity you need paired with comfortable rooms. You can take a half point off for the slightly dated room decor but to be honest, it didn’t matter one bit to me. The decor is still upmarket and very comfortable. I hear they are renovating many of their rooms, however. For your point addicts, this property participates in the Shangri-La Golden Circle loyalty program.

Deluxe Room Bath

The location of the hotel is slightly off the main thoroughfares but still very close to all the attractions of Central Jakarta. Traffic is horrendous in this city so always plan to give yourself LOTS of extra time to go anywhere. Fridays are the worst, especially during the afternoon-evening rush!

Spectacular view of Central Jakarta from my room

With my incredible city views every morning, fresh breakfast in Satoo, and well run event space at Rosso, every day started with a great experience. I only dined in two of the on-site restaurants which included Satoo and Rosso. Both the food and service were fantastic within each. The variety at the buffet in Satoo was incredible!

Delicious Shangri-La treats at Satoo
Outside Satoo on the Shangri-La grounds

I highly recommend the Shangri-La for a multitude of reasons. Service is number one in my book and I hope I get to return to Jakarta, just to stay here again.


Hotel Review: Dorsett Mongkok Hong Kong


TripAdvisor is my gold standard for hotel reviews and I use it heavily when selecting hotels. It rarely lets me down but unfortunately, this was one of those occasions. I’m still scratching my head on how the Dorsett Mongkok won a Traveler’s Choice award!

We arrived in Hong Kong in the late evening, checking into the Dorsett around 9:30 PM. The location was claimed to be incredibly convenient to the Olympic MTR station which I must disagree with. The walk from the MTR station is indirect and a good 10 minutes plus. Check-in was fairly easy but they only offered one key. The staff here proved to be incredibly robotic and lacked customer service.

We certainly didn’t expect a huge room (this is Hong Kong, after all) but the room was quite tiny. Cleanliness is important and while I won’t call the place sparkling clean, it was suitable. The bathroom didn’t offer much in privacy so be prepared for that. The worst part about our stay was the fact that the hot water didn’t work properly the first 36 hours of our stay. The water would either get only lukewarm or only last for about 2 minutes. By day 3 of our stay, the hot water worked just fine. The WiFi is provided by a mobile phone hotspot in the room which also allows you to make free international phone calls. The WiFi seemed to be fussy the first night but after that it worked perfectly.

The location in Mongkok is a mixed bag. You certainly get a true Hong Kong experience as it’s not a popular tourist area. It’s filled with locals so if you prefer a more local experience, Mongkok is a good choice. I like Mongkok but I did not like the long walks to catch the MTR trains. There’s a hotel shuttle around Mongkok and Kowloon but it’s a pretty long wait.

Service certainly wasn’t their strong suit at the Dorsett. We didn’t have any issues with service but I don’t ever recall being greeted in the lobby and checkout took a while as the staff seemed short handed.

I don’t see myself returning to stay at the Dorsett Mongkok. There were too many minor frustrations and customer service is important to me. If you seek a no-frills hotel stay, don’t let my review turn you away. But the Dorsett just wasn’t my cup of tea.

Hotel Review: Sofitel Montreal Golden Mile

We stayed at the Sofitel for my 30th birthday while staying in Montreal. We had just spent some time at Mont Tremblant and had a pleasant visit up there. I’m Platinum status with Sofitel’s loyalty program, Le Club Accor, so that certainly added some bonuses to our visit. I was very impressed with the level of customer service that was provided for elite guests. From the moment we stepped on property, we were greeted by everyone with a smile and a Bonjour.

Our room was on the Penthouse level which had excellent views of the city center. I’m sure my status helped us score a great room. Not sure if the rooms facing Mont Royal are better as the views are a tad obstructed. The property isn’t brand new but it’s very well maintained. The bathroom was my favorite feature with marble throughout, a large separate bath and shower, and Lanvin toiletries. The cozy robes and towels were nice as well. The room wasn’t huge but plenty spacious and extremely clean. Cleanliness is very important!

All of the staff was incredible and I appreciated the welcome champagne and dessert. The staff checked on use each evening to make sure we had plenty of coffee, bottled water, and towels. I also loved the Keurig coffee maker in the room.  Keurigs are popping up everywhere in mid-level and luxury hotels these days.

Location is very important to any hotel and this Sofitel property featured an excellent location. I’m all about public transit in any city to trim costs to splurge on other things. The 747 express bus to the airport has a stop about 3 blocks away. The nearest metro stop is only 1.5 blocks away.

My only dislike of the property was Renoir, the restaurant hotel and bar. The staff was not warm at all. Very cold and pouty. The bar experience was so poor that we didn’t return for a meal.

I definitely would return to the Sofitel for a stay in Montreal in the future. I appreciated the post-stay follow up from the management. I would definitely recommend this hotel property to anyone visiting Montreal.