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Hotel Katajanokka – Escape the ordinary.

Hotel Katajanokka is a rather comfortable prison and one of the most uniqe hotel’s I have ever visited. Before it was converted into Hotel Katajanokka, it was literally the old prison of Helsinki. A new prison was built and the decision was made to renovate and recreate the old prison into Hotel Katajanokka.

The beauty of the hotel is almost hidden behind the perimeter wall, but once you enter the gates the scope of this hotel with its rich history comes into full view. Walking in the front door is not at all what you would expect from a prison. No metal gates, no bars and no prison guards taking your belongings and putting you in handcuffs. Instead, you get modern automated glass doors, friendly welcomes from the staff and someone willing to take your bags to your “cell”.

Walking down hotel hallways between rooms that used to be the cells where the prisoners were kept, you almost get the feeling of being in an episode of Prison Break. The rooms are comfortable in size; defnitely not as small as the cells used to be. They broke through the walls and converted 3 or 4 cells into one lovely room with a modern bathroom and enough space for a large bed and dressing table. The rooms still have the original small windows with views into the yard. The decor was stylish with old prison locks and images framed above the bed; reminding us of the unique history of Hotel Katajanokka.

The hotel has also kept an isolation cell in the exact condition it used to be when it was still a prison. So if you like, you can go down and lock your friends up or take some awesome pictures. Another feature is the group holding cell. This is basically a small, dark cave in the foundation of the building that was used to hold large groups of people. I must admit it was quite eery exploring these rooms, but also very intresting. These original cells and many more features of the Hotel Katajanokka are now being used for treasure hunts and team building exercises where you will be given clues hidden inside the dark and scary cells. This to me is an amazing way of sharing the rich history of the hotel with the public.

Hotel Katajanokka also has a gym. You are able to do great workouts in the small but well thought out gym with top of the range equipment. They have everything you need and more for all your workout needs during your stay.

The restaurant is just as impressive. With amazing food and a warm and entertaining atmosphere you find yourself sitting around the table laughing and cracking jokes with the friendly waiters for much longer than you initially intended. If you ever find yourself in this particular prison kitchen, I do recommend the burgers!

Breakfast at Hotel Katajanokka is really amazing. No matter where you are from, you will find exactly what you want at this buffet breakfast. There is even an ipad that controls the juice fountain.

Hotel Katajanokka has exceeded all my expectations. I really loved staying here, but one thing stands out to me above all. The staff. Especially the front desk staff. On our last day in Helsinki our flight left early in the morning which meant we would have a really early checkout before breakfast was available. In most hotels if you put in a request the previous evening, they will give you a yoghurt or some fruit the next morning just to keep you going.

Not at Hotel Katajanokka; here Taija who was on duty told us to come down 30min before we needed to leave so we can eat something. When we got to the reception early in the morning, she had bars and fruit waiting for us. There were also smoothies and shakes. And as if that’s not enough, she offered us coffee and tea and then she told us to have a seat while she fixed us some oats. This is unbelievable. Never have I experienced a front desk staff member at a hotel going through so much effort to make sure we do not leave with an empty stomach. Thank you! This was really appreciated!

In conclusion, Prison Break is a TV series where some inmates desperately tried to break out of prison. However, here you will find yourself willing to do anything just to stay a little longer at this stylish and unique hotel.

Reviewed by World Luxury Awards Executive Manager Tanique Echardt

To book a stay at this unique and stunning property follow the link :www.hotelkatajanokka.fi

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NG Afyon Wellness and Convention – an oasis in the desert…

NG Afyon is quite literally an oasis in the dessert – a welcome retreat with enticing pools, gardens and luxurious delicacies!

The region is famous for the number of hot springs that burst through the earth’s surface and NG Afyon certainly showcases this in a unique way. With no small number of different pools, at different temperatures, both in- and outdoors, the emphasis is on the importance of sustained thermal water treatment as a preventative measure rather than simply a cure for ailments. Furthermore, the spa and wellness areas cater for everyone with not only specific sections for men and women, but also a children’s area and family area. Apart from the pools and jet pools, there are hammams, saunas, steam baths, tepidarium and an outdoor waterpark for the children – the perfect getaway for the whole family!

After some ‘aqua time’, enjoy a healthy drink and snack at the Aliva Café’s little greenhouse, and get that extra oxygen boost; or unwind poolside or in one of the hotel’s many lounge areas, bar and even patisserie. The hotel is decorated in the classical French style yet gracefully incorporates the traditional ceramic and tile culture that the surrounding regions are known for. The proud collection of ceramic displays in the lobby were most interesting and enlightening

The hotel has a very big capacity. Yet despite the number of guests, NG Afyon has managed to maintain the luxury of space and privacy and the property itself is large enough that one never feels crowded. As much as NG Afyon caters perfectly to its family-orientated guests, the hotel is also very well equipped to receive business-orientated guests. It has several meeting venues, convention centre and even offers Business Wellness and Corporate Wellness packages. It is furthermore well situated, being only a 5-minute drive to the city centre, which is easily accessible by car.

Our suite had a luxurious bath which uniquely had water directly supplied from the mineral-rich thermal springs found on the property. The varied pillow options ensured a good night’s rest.

The breakfast buffet presented a huge variety of foods, in all forms and catering for all diets. It was a delight to try the many traditional Turkish foods that were on offer before heading for the pools for yet another day of blissful water wellness! NG Afyon is truly an amazing

Reviewed by World Luxury Hotel Awards Representative Mrs. Signe Da Silva

To book a stay at this wonderful property follow the link: https://nghotels.com.tr/ng-afyon/

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Sintra Marmoris Palace – a truly royal experience…

The Marmoris Palace Hotel is located in Sintra, 38 kilometres from Lisbon city centre and a quick 30 minutes from the international airport.

The charming building – previously a private residence and converted into a boutique hotel two years ago – is surrounded by lavish trees and a huge private garden.  Situated on top of a hill, it is overlooking the historical town centre with beautiful views of the castle.

Being a small hotel, it offers guests a truly personalised experience. All from the reception and welcoming drinks to the check-out was a great experience. Our host also gladly assisted us with recommendations for dinner, where to shop for a few necessities that we needed and ideas to explore the town.

The hotel has nine individually decorated rooms – four in the main building – all of which have breathtaking scenic views of Sintra –  and five in an outbuilding a few metres away, all offering privacy and direct access to the garden. The massive en-suite rooms which are beautifully furnished speak of royalty and have all the amenities that you can think of.  

The buffet breakfast has a huge selection of fruit, cereals, pastries and hot food. Taking into account that Marmoris is a small hotel with a limited number of guests each day; this was hugely impressive. 

Beautiful shaded gardens create a calm and relaxed atmosphere and because of the huge premisise it is situated on and surrounding gardens, the hotel offers a totally quiet and noise-free environment to relax in. An indoor swimming pool is also available to guests with a retractable roof overlooking castle hill.

Although my stay at Sintra Marmoris Palace was short, it is truly one of the most exquisite properties I have ever visited. From the perfect location to friendly staff, scrumptious food and attention to the finer details, Sintra Marmoris does not dissapoint and I highly reccomend a stay here if you are visiting Sintra.

Reviewed by World Luxury Hotel Awards Representative

To book a stay at this exquisite property follow the link: www.sintramarmoris.com

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The Pavilions Phuket – what a treat!

Upon entering this hidden gem, you will immediately fall in love with not only the surrounding mountain and ocean views, but mostly with the staff members and their impeccable service!

We stayed for 2 nights on our honeymoon in July 2019 in an absolutely beautiful ocean view villa with our very own private pool, which was very romantic. They spoiled us with a beautiful towel and rose petal presentation on our bed in the villa as well as a complimentary 15-minute foot massage. This resort is very private; located about 25 km away from the hustle and bustle of the busy Phuket town itself which makes it even more peaceful and ideal for an intimate break away, but with this said, they also offer daily shuttle services to nearby shopping centres, beaches etc so guests can enjoy the best of both worlds.

The resort offers 3 restaurants namely; 1- the Plantation club, which focuses on re-interpreting classic Thai dishes & utilising locally sourced ingredients, whilst enjoying the breath-taking views of the surrounding ocean and mountains. Guests can also enjoy their daily afternoon tea at the library area next to the Plantation club; 2-   360° Bar with its ideal sunset experience, creative drinks, tapas entertainment and many more; 3- The Firefly Restaurant surrounded by a tropical garden and bordering a 60-meter freeform pool, offering a wood-fired grill delivering modern Mediterranean BBQ, authentic Thai specialities and is also the place to enjoy a relaxing breakfast.

Guest can enjoy yoga and fitness classes at the gym, as well as traditional Thai massages at the spa that is surrounded by a relaxing swimming pool, tropical plantation and a Khoi fishpond to help you relax even more.

We would highly recommend this resort for those in need of a relaxing break away from the everyday life.

Reviewed By World Luxury Hotel Awards Representative Jana Mathee

To book a stay at this beautiful property Click Here: https://www.pavilionshotels.com/phuket/