Grand Skylight Garden Hotel (Shanghai, China)

We stayed here on a recent trip and enjoyed the quiet this hotel offered. It was relatively close to the airport (about 1 hour by taxi) and close to the Shanghai South Railway Station (about 10 minutes by taxi).

This hotel is next door to the Botanical Gardens, there are trees and birds everywhere, loads of greenery, and an entrance to the gardens from the hotel (although we couldn’t figure out how to get through the gate). The breakfast was great (although we booked a villa for 3 people, we only had 2 included breakfasts, so we had to pay for the third). We stayed in a villa, which had 2 bedroom, kitchen, dining room, tv room, 2 bathroom and a laundry. Check in staff were fantastic, had us checked in and in our rooms in about 10 minutes and the Chinese restaurant was fantastic.

One of the beds in the villa was really hard (but that’s often the case with Chinese beds). The fridge in the villa didn’t work. Only 2 breakfasts were included in a 3 person room (as per above) and there weren’t alot of restaurants in the nearby area. Whilst the reception area was gorgeous, the villa itself was a little run down. The business centre staff didn’t speak a lot of English, they booked tickets for our train trip the next day, but it was hard work.

Overall, a recommended hotel, particularly if you’re flying into Shanghai and planning on taking a train out (from the Southern Station) the next day. Also great if you’re looking for somewhere to base yourself whilst exploring Shanghai, particularly as a family group, as the villas are great value.

Evergreen Place Apartments (Bangkok, Thailand)

We stayed here in February 2009 for a week, and found it to be a nice break from staying in crowded hotel rooms. As a traveling party of 5 adults + 1 baby, being able to stretch out in a 2 bedroom apartment, with a separate sitting area was great. We had a type A apartment, which had a large master bedroom, with an ensuite, another bedroom, a small kitchenette area, a sitting room, with a rollaway bed and a couch and tv, and another bathroom. The cot cost an extra 350 THB per night.

The ability to stretch out was fantastic, as we had a baby who just wanted to explore so the bub was able to crawl around a decent (clean) area. The pool was lovely, and the room was cleaned daily. There was a DVD and tv in the room, allowing us to chill out, and a few 7/11’s in the area, great for stocking up on snack food. The location was good – very close to Ratchthewi train station and Asia hotel (maybe a 3 minute walk) and relatively close to MBK (maybe a 10 minute walk). The walk to MBK wasn’t too difficult, however the last part takes you up a flight of steps and over an overpass, difficult with a stroller. Similarly, the walk to the train station wasn’t too bad, but to get up to the train station, you need to either climb the (two) flights of steps, or cross the road to the escalator.

We found the cafe on premises to be overpriced and not all that great. Internet options weren’t great – there was internet in the foyer, but it was quite expensive. As mentioned above, getting to the station etc with a stroller was a bit difficult, and the the beds were quite hard (but that is often the case in Thailand!)

Overall, highly recommended if you’re looking for some privacy, particularly if staying for a while, and traveling with family.