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Novotel Taipei Airport

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Since I arrived at 10:30 pm and figured customs, immigration and claiming baggage would take an hour, I booked a night at the Novotel by the airport. The website made it sound like you could walk from the terminal to the hotel, but you can’t. When I arrived I thought there’d be a shuttle, but there wasn’t after 11 pm so I had to take a cab there. I do wish you could call or arrange a ride or that they’d reimburse for a taxi late at night.

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The night staff was attentive and kind. They efficiently got me checked in quickly. As a gold status member of Le Club Accor, I was upgraded to the executive floor. It’s certainly wise to join this program.

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I was surprised to find a giant stuffed panda in my room and enjoyed the whimsical touch. In addition to the fruit plate, I received some the cute cookies.

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The bathroom had a shower and an ample vanity. The toiletries were the same as they offer in Europe. The desk was big enough, but it was placed right under the television, which mystifies me since someone might want to write emails or blog posts while watching TV.

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The breakfast was outstanding — great service, presentation and food. I’ve got to check my phone for photos. There weren’t any on my camera.

The only problem I faced was when I went to check out. I planned to leave my bigger bag with the bell boy. It’s a typical service and I’ve done this at the Novotel in Beijing and hotels in Thailand and Europe. The clerk wouldn’t let me and wouldn’t budge no matter how I pleaded. It caused me to miss the next shuttle and was a major headache as I had to spend time figuring out what to do with the bigger bag. Another odd thing was I never received a survey from the hotel as I usually do from Accor. It could be a coincidence. I but I did want to provide feedback on what a hassle it was not to be able to store a bag.

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Novotel Blackfriars, London

I just stayed one night at the Novotel Blackfriars in London, but I’d definitely go back. Though small, my room was nicely decorated and the bed was so comfy that I felt like a princess, like the princess in “Princess and the Pea.” The small bathroom was stylish with slate floors and chic toiletries.

Best of all, the location was great. I could walk to the London Eye in 10 minutes and to Big Ben and Westminster Abbey in 15 minutes. It’s half a block from a tube station.

Of course, there’s free wifi and a fitness center, which looked clean and up to date.

As a gold level member, I usually get a plate of fruit and an upgrade. On my stay I didn’t get either. Perhaps there were no bigger rooms available. As for the fruit, which I missed, I got a free drink voucher. I’d hoped for fresh orange juice at the adjacent restaurant, but all they had was standard concentrate. Novotel should just get some fruit to welcome us.

I didn’t eat any meals there. They have a breakfast buffet for $13, but there were several other choices where I could get a good breakfast for less.

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