I had decided to stay in Grand Aston City Hall hotel so that I could feel the experience of staying in the newest 5 stars hotel in Medan. This hotel is well located just opposite the famous Merdeka Walk – which is a good place to try out the different food and dine outdoor. Nearby this hotel is the Bank Indonesia office, a beautiful mosque and rows of shops along a busy street. I had booked their deluxe room and asked for a king size bed and I was pleasantly surprised that they allowed me to check in at 11 am in the morning.
Security at the Grand Aston City Hotel hotel was quite tight. The cab driver whom fetched me there had to stop his vehicle for inspection before driving to the entrance of the main lobby. Outside the glass main entrance, my luggage and myself had to undergo a metal detector scan. Next to the rows of elevator, there was a security guard standing there; and I had to tap my room card in order to access to the specific floor which my room was located. I am quite pleased with this tight security features implemented by the hotel.
The deluxe room was spacious and the floor was laminated wood. Apparently everything in the room looked new and fresh as the hotel was relatively new as well. I liked the clean and bright bathroom. The only minor disappointment was that there was no bath tub. The king size bed was very firm and there were plenty of pillows placed on the bed. The firm mattress was one of the best I had every slept among so many hotels I had checked into. The small working desk was sufficient for me to do some reading but I noticed that it was not made of strong solid wood where you can sit on it. The LCD TV was large and there were sufficient variety of international channels to watch. Other things include a mini fridge, a small kettle, complimentary mineral water, tea and coffee bags and slipper. The window of my room was directly facing the famous Merdeka Walk – this place comes alive during the evenings.
I didn’t have time to enjoy the facilities such as the swimming pool and the Gym because I was out from the morning and coming back late in the evening. I will try it out the next time I come back to Medan on a more relax schedule. Breakfast was served in the restaurant called the Spoon Dining Coffee shop which was spacious and neat. The spread of the breakfast was sufficient and there were plenty of choices of food to choose. But I felt that the restaurant staff was not pro active enough to top up coffee and tea and clearing plates. In fact during this breakfast meal, I had to clear the used plates and filled up the tea myself – hopefully they can improve on this service.
Yes I intend to come back to Grand Aston City Hall Medan on my next trip and spend more time enjoying the pool and the food in the restaurant. If you are keen to view more photos of this hotel, please go to the image gallery of my website. All the photos that I took in Medan are placed in under the Medan category.
I stayed in the Swiss-Belinn hotel in Medan a few days ago while I was in Medan Indonesia. This hotel is on Jalan Surabaya and it is not far away from the Polonia Airport in Medan. It took about 20 minutes by taxi to reach this hotel from the airport. I was charged Rp55,000 for this taxi trip after booking it at the taxi counter at the airport -which I felt it was quite expensive. The Swiss-Belinn stated in its website that it is a 3 star international hotel; but in my opinion I would only give it 2.5 star at most and I would shared the reasons for this rating.
Swiss Belinn hotel is located in a minor road and surrounded by rows of shops in front and at the back of the hotel. Many of the shops were run down in appearance and were used by traders dealing in hardware, machinery, food and sundry businesses. The back of this hotel was more interesting – there are many rows of food outlets in a small narrow road shared by pedestrians and vehicles. Many of these food stalls were selling Chinese food such as duck rice, chicken rice, pork, noodles, pastries, etc.
The hotel seems to be popular among budget travelers and the reception area seems to be always crowded with people sitting around the rows of sofa bench provided at the lobby. I saw bus load of tourists coming down from the bus and walking into the hotel with their tour guide. I booked the standard room and was given the highest floor ( 9th floor if I could recalled correctly). To take the lift up to your room, you need to scan the magnetic card on the scanner and pressed the desired floor level – which was good for added security. Just beside the lift was the hotel restaurant where breakfast would be served. One good feature was that there was a 24 hours convenient store located near the lobby; where I bought some beers and snack during the night.
The standard room was compact, spartan but clean. I am rather amused to see that the floor tiles of the room was black and the entire bathroom is black. The black floor and wall tiles in the bathroom created a very dark atmosphere when I was inside it. And to make the matter worse, the lighting on the ceiling of the bathroom was very dim. The hotel should seriously consider using a higher watt light bulbs to enhance the lighting condition – perhaps a 15 watt energy saving bulb for the shower area and another 15 watt energy saving bulb near the basin. Every time when I entered into the bathroom, I felt that I was entering into a cave.
Though the room was compact in size, it was sufficient for 2 persons. There was a kettle and 2 bottles of mineral water provided but there was no mini fridge. The brand of the LCD TV was TCL – a China brand. This LCD TV was acceptable except that you have to put up with distortion in the sound system. The air conditioned system was not strong enough; making the room rather warm. The setting of the temperature would always reset itself to its default temperature no matter how many times I tried to reset the temperature. The walls and door of the room was not thick enough to isolate the noise coming from the next room or the corridor. In fact I could listened to the conversation of people talking right outside the common corridor. This hotel provides very minimal toiletries – so do bring your own personal toiletries set. For the queen size bed – it was clean and comfortable. There were 2 clean pillows provided.
I had booked their Ramadhan package which includes 2 complimentary free dinner. I went to tried out their dinner with the initial impression that the dinner buffet spread would be a limited spread of food available. Actually the spread of food given was good but the problem was that all the food was cold. The rice, fried noodles, vegetables, meat, etc were all cold. I brought this to the attention of a lady staff in the restaurant. I told her that food should be served at in warm temperature and they should used a warmer to heat up all the food. She just listened, smiled and then walked away. Had I know that the food were cold, I would have taken my dinner at Sun Plaza where I was there before returning back to the hotel.
Then in the morning, I walked into the restaurant again for breakfast. I told myself that if the food was cold again, then I would skipped breakfast. Fortunately, the breakfast turned out to be all right. The rice, vegetables, meat, noodles were all served hot. I liked the fish crackers which I think was delicious. The tea was slightly weird in taste and diluted – perhaps they were using some local tea. Overall the breakfast was good considering that it is a budget hotel.
One of the problem that I encounter while staying in Swiss-Belinn Medan was transport. It was hard to get a taxi just off the street. You could get pirated taxi just outside the hotel who would quote you a much higher rate – so you have to bargain but the taxi driver may not be interested in your reduced rate. There were pedicabs just outside the hotel and you need to fixed the rate with them before proceeding to your destination.
Overall, the condition of the room was all right. Improvement should be made on the lighting in the bathroom, air-conditioned settings in the room and transport availability for customers. If you are keen in viewing more photos of this hotel, go to my website at Indonesiapics.com and proceed to the photo gallery section. I would put up more photos over there.