When we were looking for accommodation in Moscow, we decided to stick with a brand that we knew well and booked ourselves in the Intercontinental Moscow…so I thought I would do a little review of the hotel so you can see what to expect from your stay.

Russia Travel Inspiration - my hotel review of the Intercontinental Moscow; one of Moscow's top hotels and situated 10 minutes away from Red Square. The Intercontinental brand is always fantastic when it comes to gluten free food and this property is no different. Pop on over to the blog to read more about this luxury hotel in Moscow.

Russia Travel Inspiration - my hotel review of the Intercontinental Moscow; one of Moscow's top hotels and situated 10 minutes away from Red Square. The Intercontinental brand is always fantastic when it comes to gluten free food and this property is no different. Pop on over to the blog to read more about this luxury hotel in Moscow.

Location

The Intercontinental Moscow is probably best described as a business hotel and is located a good 10 minute walk away from Red Square.  To be fair, we preferred this as we were able to move around Moscow via an uber taxi with ease as we weren’t staying around the bottleneck area of Red Square where the traffic doesn’t move with any speed.  There are a few metro lines nearby so I don’t think you will be disappointed with the location and a number of local restaurants.

Pre-Arrival

I had made contact with the hotel about receiving an invitation letter so we could apply for our visa in London.  I made a booking (refundable in case we were rejected) and within hours I had my invitation letter for our visa.  It was super easy…just send an email with your booking number and the passport details of the people on the booking.  Check out my handy tips for travelling to Russia including a great website to help you fill out your Russian visa application form.

Check In

After what can only be described as a long journey from the airport…hello sitting in the back of a car for over 2.5 hours, we finally arrived and I was grumpy (5’11 in the back of a car isn’t fun!).  I had booked ourselves into a room with Club Lounge access as everyone goes on about how expensive Moscow is so I booked the lounge to cut our food costs while in the city…truly it’s not that expensive, maybe years ago but I thought it was cheaper than London!

Russia Travel Inspiration - my hotel review of the Intercontinental Moscow; one of Moscow's top hotels and situated 10 minutes away from Red Square. The Intercontinental brand is always fantastic when it comes to gluten free food and this property is no different. Pop on over to the blog to read more about this luxury hotel in Moscow.

^very swish lobby and smells gorgeous!

The check in was a breeze, all passports must be presented so they can register you as a guest.  That’s the easy bit!

Unfortunately the check in got a bit heated as my club lounge access was removed without my permission and we were upgraded to a suite (more about this later).  This wasn’t handled very well by the individual checking us in so in the end G asked to speak to the Duty Manager…surprise surprise that was who was checking us in.  I ended up leaving the check in desk as I was losing my cool as I felt like we were getting right royally ripped off and G handled the rest of the process.

In the end we were provided with the Club Lounge Access and the room upgrade.  I was over the hotel at this point and we hadn’t even got to the room!

Ambassador Upgrades & Club Lounge Access

Each Intercontinental hotel offers it’s loyal customers different upgrades; there is no consistency so it can make choosing the room that you want for your stay a minefield especially when staying at the Intercontinental Moscow.

I’m a Spire Ambassador (all through my credit card / loyal customer spending habits – no blogger bollocks here folks!) so I have certain expectations of what I will and won’t receive during our stay just like any other paying guest staying at this property.

I booked a King Club Room for two persons and was upgraded to the Moscow King Suite HOWEVER in this upgrade I lost my Club Lounge access which I had paid for and this frustrated the hell out of me…basically I would now need to pay for breakfast, lunch and dinner!

Now if you’re a regular Intercontinental Guest you will understand that if you get upgraded to a Club Room you rarely ever get free access to the lounge (it’s very rare indeed!) however at the Intercontinental Moscow you do – so at the time of our booking, if you booked a night in the Superior Room; you were then upgraded to the King Club Room which included Lounge access.

Now that Club Lounge access is only for one person; you have to pay for the second guest as well.  Confused, yes so was I as the Ambassador program does state that a “single room rate for double occupancy”; my interpretation of this would be that it would include club lounge access for both people staying in the room – it doesn’t…why it is for only one person per room is beyond me as most Club Rooms gives access to 2 people.

The Intercontinental Moscow doesn’t have many categories in the hotel so it makes it difficult to provide upgrades so don’t go looking for a suite as you are unlikely to get one.  If you book a Club Room then you should have the choice of a room upgrade to the Moscow King Suite possibly or you can have free entry to the club lounge for the second person.

Russia Travel Inspiration - my hotel review of the Intercontinental Moscow; one of Moscow's top hotels and situated 10 minutes away from Red Square. The Intercontinental brand is always fantastic when it comes to gluten free food and this property is no different. Pop on over to the blog to read more about this luxury hotel in Moscow.

^^The Ambassador gift included fresh fruit (actually good quality fruit as it can be quite manky at a few properties), unlimited water and a ceramic bear.

Room

We stayed in the lovely Moscow King Suite which was a lovely space for our 4 nights at the hotel…with a spacious lounge area including desk…

Russia Travel Inspiration - my hotel review of the Intercontinental Moscow; one of Moscow's top hotels and situated 10 minutes away from Red Square. The Intercontinental brand is always fantastic when it comes to gluten free food and this property is no different. Pop on over to the blog to read more about this luxury hotel in Moscow.

Russia Travel Inspiration - my hotel review of the Intercontinental Moscow; one of Moscow's top hotels and situated 10 minutes away from Red Square. The Intercontinental brand is always fantastic when it comes to gluten free food and this property is no different. Pop on over to the blog to read more about this luxury hotel in Moscow.

Russia Travel Inspiration - my hotel review of the Intercontinental Moscow; one of Moscow's top hotels and situated 10 minutes away from Red Square. The Intercontinental brand is always fantastic when it comes to gluten free food and this property is no different. Pop on over to the blog to read more about this luxury hotel in Moscow.

…a bedroom with power points right by the bed and the ability to turn off all the lights in the whole suite from your bed (trust me this was a high point…have you ever stumbled around a room trying to turn off every lamp that the night service team have turned on to provide the perfect amount of mood lighting…I normally stub my toe at this point on a large piece of furniture)…

Russia Travel Inspiration - my hotel review of the Intercontinental Moscow; one of Moscow's top hotels and situated 10 minutes away from Red Square. The Intercontinental brand is always fantastic when it comes to gluten free food and this property is no different. Pop on over to the blog to read more about this luxury hotel in Moscow.

Russia Travel Inspiration - my hotel review of the Intercontinental Moscow; one of Moscow's top hotels and situated 10 minutes away from Red Square. The Intercontinental brand is always fantastic when it comes to gluten free food and this property is no different. Pop on over to the blog to read more about this luxury hotel in Moscow.

…and let’s talk about bathrooms…now remember this hotel is probably more business orientated…it was huge and quite lush…

Russia Travel Inspiration - my hotel review of the Intercontinental Moscow; one of Moscow's top hotels and situated 10 minutes away from Red Square. The Intercontinental brand is always fantastic when it comes to gluten free food and this property is no different. Pop on over to the blog to read more about this luxury hotel in Moscow.

Russia Travel Inspiration - my hotel review of the Intercontinental Moscow; one of Moscow's top hotels and situated 10 minutes away from Red Square. The Intercontinental brand is always fantastic when it comes to gluten free food and this property is no different. Pop on over to the blog to read more about this luxury hotel in Moscow.

…honestly the best power shower I’ve had in a hotel for a long time and we both used that bath as the mean streets of Moscow really do hurt your legs…and it came with a little duckie!

Russia Travel Inspiration - my hotel review of the Intercontinental Moscow; one of Moscow's top hotels and situated 10 minutes away from Red Square. The Intercontinental brand is always fantastic when it comes to gluten free food and this property is no different. Pop on over to the blog to read more about this luxury hotel in Moscow.

Ohhh yes, the main attraction….each room comes with gas masks as modelled by G!

Russia Travel Inspiration - my hotel review of the Intercontinental Moscow; one of Moscow's top hotels and situated 10 minutes away from Red Square. The Intercontinental brand is always fantastic when it comes to gluten free food and this property is no different. Pop on over to the blog to read more about this luxury hotel in Moscow.

^^Only in Russia!

Club Lounge

G and I (or my family) have stayed at a number of Intercontinental properties over the years (I will name them all for you – Intercontinental Cairo Semiramis, Willard in Washington DC, Mark Hopkins in San Fransisco, The Venetian Las Vegas, The Palazzo Las Vegas, Intercontinental Lisbon, Intercontinental Porto, Intercontinetal Anthenaeum Athens, Intercontinental Vienna, Intercontinental Malta, Intercontinental Park Lane London, Intercontinental Marseille Hotel Dieu, Intercontinental Amstel Amsterdam, Intercontinental Warsaw, Intercontinental Berlin, Intercontinental Frankfurt, Intercontinental Dusseldorf, Intercontinental Hong Kong…and a few more than are no longer Intercontinental properties…so I know this brand well…the links are my hotel reviews)…and I can safely say with my hand on my heart that this is one of the best lounges we’ve seen at an Intercontinental hotel in a long time.

Russia Travel Inspiration - my hotel review of the Intercontinental Moscow; one of Moscow's top hotels and situated 10 minutes away from Red Square. The Intercontinental brand is always fantastic when it comes to gluten free food and this property is no different. Pop on over to the blog to read more about this luxury hotel in Moscow.

Russia Travel Inspiration - my hotel review of the Intercontinental Moscow; one of Moscow's top hotels and situated 10 minutes away from Red Square. The Intercontinental brand is always fantastic when it comes to gluten free food and this property is no different. Pop on over to the blog to read more about this luxury hotel in Moscow.

The food was overall fantastic and that was including the gluten free items; the breakfast was a fabulous buffet and then you could order a number of other items from the menu if you felt there was still a gap that needed filling…I was a huge fan of milky rice porridge for breakfast.

Russia Travel Inspiration - my hotel review of the Intercontinental Moscow; one of Moscow's top hotels and situated 10 minutes away from Red Square. The Intercontinental brand is always fantastic when it comes to gluten free food and this property is no different. Pop on over to the blog to read more about this luxury hotel in Moscow.

G had explained that I was gluten free and they were super helpful (a reason why we don’t stray often from the IHG brand as their gluten free knowledge is outstanding!)...I was told what I could and couldn’t eat.

Russia Travel Inspiration - my hotel review of the Intercontinental Moscow; one of Moscow's top hotels and situated 10 minutes away from Red Square. The Intercontinental brand is always fantastic when it comes to gluten free food and this property is no different. Pop on over to the blog to read more about this luxury hotel in Moscow.

^^I could eat all this!

The club lounge offers a full breakfast, soups for lunch and a rather delicious dinner with drinks.  I would happily pay for club lounge access at this property again…if you’re pondering about it, my advice would be to do it especially if you have a food intolerance.

Russia Travel Inspiration - my hotel review of the Intercontinental Moscow; one of Moscow's top hotels and situated 10 minutes away from Red Square. The Intercontinental brand is always fantastic when it comes to gluten free food and this property is no different. Pop on over to the blog to read more about this luxury hotel in Moscow.

Polina and her team were fantastic; on our last day in Moscow, we received a phone call telling us that we needed to leave the hotel earlier than planned for the airport as the traffic was really bad…thankfully we made it just in time for our flight.

Facilities

If you are after a hotel with a pool then the Intercontinental Moscow isn’t going to be for you as they don’t have one unfortunately however they do have a sauna to use and G used this a few times and said it was great.

Concierge Services

We used the Concierge service a few times in reception and they were always helpful which is what you’re looking for as a guest on holiday.  As we had Club Lounge access, we gained a lot of information via Polina and her team.

Overall Experience

While the check in left a bit to be desired and the confusion over the upgrade situation for Spire Ambassadors or just Ambassadors in general at the Moscow property…the hotel is really lovely, the staff friendly and the food…well there were no complaints from me on the gluten free front!

Personally, I feel that the Intercontinental brand has dropped it’s standards at a few properties recently so it’s lovely to see an Intercontinental property bucking the trend.

You can stay at the Intercontinental Moscow starting from 45,000 points…booking directly through the IHG.com website guarantees you the best rate however if you find it cheaper elsewhere then IHG will give you the first night free…it’s worth spending 5 minutes having a quick look as I’ve stayed for free before!

Russia Travel Inspiration - my hotel review of the Intercontinental Moscow; one of Moscow's top hotels and situated 10 minutes away from Red Square. The Intercontinental brand is always fantastic when it comes to gluten free food and this property is no different. Pop on over to the blog to read more about this luxury hotel in Moscow.

xx

If you liked this post on Hotel Review: Intercontinental Moscow then why not come and join me on TwitterGoogle+InstagramFacebook and Pinterest – I won’t bite!

The accountant in me loves to save a bob or two and I personally think you don’t have to be an accountant to want to save money when travelling.  You may have seen the ads on telly or maybe you’ve got a friend that already uses the website (like I do with Rachel!)...let me introduce you to TopCashback.com and how you can save some cash on your next trip.

Frugal Friday - How to Save Money When Travelling with TopCashBack.Com. Regardless if you travel on a budget or like staying in a luxury hotel or two, this website will help you save money. There are so many travel hacks, finance tips, travel tips and tricks out there on offer however just with one simple click you can be earning cash back when booking your next holiday, travel magazine subscription or train ticket. Pop over to see the many different ways you can be saving!

Firstly What is TopCashback.com?

The website acts as an affiliate link, so you head into your account and search for the company you want to make a purchase from.  If they’re on the website, click on the link, make your purchase and wait for a percentage of the money to come back to your account in a few weeks time.

Now this is the best bit; you can have the money transferred to your account or if you are avios hungry like me, then you can have the cash transferred into avios points to use for a one world flight (British Airways, Iberia etc) at a later date.

What Travel Companies Are Listed On TopCashback.com?

Hotels.com

At the time of me writing this, you could earn 8.4% back on your hotel stays booked via hotels.com like the very beautiful La Mamounia in Marrakech (the percentage changes depending on what is offered at the time but any cash back means more money in your pocket!) plus Hotels.com have an awesome loyalty programme if you like staying at independent hotels rather than chain hotels…double bubble savings!

Frugal Friday - How to Save Money When Travelling with TopCashBack.Com. Regardless if you travel on a budget or like staying in a luxury hotel or two, this website will help you save money. There are so many travel hacks, finance tips, travel tips and tricks out there on offer however just with one simple click you can be earning cash back when booking your next holiday, travel magazine subscription or train ticket. Pop over to see the many different ways you can be saving!

Lastminute.com / Expedia.co.uk

There are different cash back structures for flights, hotels and experiences etc however I’m a firm believer, if you take care of the pennies and the dollars will take care of themselves.

Travel Magazines

Now when I’m not travelling, I’m a total armchair traveller and I love love love reading travel magazines for inspiration and planning my next trip (and I’m also quite partial to the Good Housekeeping magazine!).  There are a great variety of deals from a few different suppliers – work out who offers the magazine subscription you’re after and then look at who offers the best cash back offer…I’ve just ordered two £5 subscriptions to see if I like the magazine before locking myself into a yearly subscription and I will be getting £4.20 cash back for using their website.

Booking Airfares

We book a lot of airfares and it’s fair to say that I should be booking via the TopCashback.Com website but I’ve not done this as yet…doh doh doh!  So if you’re booking a flight then make sure you book via the cash back website to get some extra pennies in your pocket especially when the airline is having a sale…double bubbling again!  And it’s not just British Airways that offers a cash back – you have Singapore Airlines, Flybe, Thomas Cook Airlines, Air France, Qatar, Cathay Pacific, Emirates, KLM, Monarch, Virgin Atlantic and the list goes on…you won’t lose out on frequent flyer miles or tiers when booking via the cash back website either so don’t fret about that.

Frugal Friday - How to Save Money When Travelling with TopCashBack.Com. Regardless if you travel on a budget or like staying in a luxury hotel or two, this website will help you save money. There are so many travel hacks, finance tips, travel tips and tricks out there on offer however just with one simple click you can be earning cash back when booking your next holiday, travel magazine subscription or train ticket. Pop over to see the many different ways you can be saving!

Ebay

Now you probably think..why have I added eBay and there is a simple reason…they offer 1% on any purchase and you’ll be surprised how many items you can pick up brand new on the website for your gap year or even a city break. !

Trainline.com

If you do a bit of train travel around the UK then make sure you pop through the topcashback.com website to receive some pennies back in your purse.  I go through this website and occasionally it ties in nicely with the American Express offer where I receive a further 5% cash back if I use my American Express credit card…double bubbling again!

Car Rental Firms

The website also offers a number of Car Rental options so you should be able to spot your favourite car rental company and get a little cash back.

Heathrow Airport Carparking

If you’re like us, we will either stay the night before our morning flight at an airport hotel which offers a car park deal or we use Heathrow Airport Carparking…now there are a few options here but G and I like to use the pod as it’s such a quick and easy way to access your car after your flight.  There are some great value deals so take the time to investigate!

Chain Hotels

Now as you know I’m a huge fan of IHG and we stay with them a lot as I’m a Spire Ambassador (I’ve earned this from staying with them and my credit card usage; not through blogging!) however they don’t offer a cash back which I’m totally gutted about…come on folks!  But never fret as the following chains do offer a cashback: Hilton, Marriot, Accor and Best Western to just name a few.

Exploring the UK

I don’t disguise the fact that I love exploring what the UK has to offer and that means purchasing a few memberships like the National Trust and English Heritage (and I’ve even written a post on which is the best for families and the type of properties you want to visit)…go through the cash back website and voila, you get a cash back…use the money to buy yourself a scone on your first visit to a property!

Disneyland Paris

Okay, I wasn’t a huge fan of Disneyland Paris but I know it’s on a lot of people’s wish lists so why not book your vacation via the website and get a cash back.

Frugal Friday - How to Save Money When Travelling with TopCashBack.Com. Regardless if you travel on a budget or like staying in a luxury hotel or two, this website will help you save money. There are so many travel hacks, finance tips, travel tips and tricks out there on offer however just with one simple click you can be earning cash back when booking your next holiday, travel magazine subscription or train ticket. Pop over to see the many different ways you can be saving!

TravelZoo

Do you get the weekly travelzoo email like I do; I’ve booked a few bits and pieces over the years as the deals can be VERY cheap!  You can get it even cheaper by using the cash back website and getting a percentage back…something to consider right if you are watching your pennies?!

Car & Travel Insurance

After G had over £100k worth of medical treatment after a diving incident in Cyprus a few years ago, I’m a firm believer that if you can’t afford travel insurance then you can’t afford to travel!  There are a number of car and travel insurance options that you can get a rebate on, so do some research and see what the best offer is for you!

Credit Cards

You know when you sign up for a new credit card, well there are a few companies that offer a cash back if you sign up through this website!  Basically they’re offering you free money – use the credit card right, make your purchases and then pay it all off when the payment is due and you won’t pay any interest.  (Only apply for a credit card if you can trust yourself to use it correctly!).

How to Join TopCashback.com?

It’s very easy, just set up an account and bob’s your uncle…you can start shopping.  I always do a comparison between the TopCashback.com and BA Avios eStore websites to see who is offering the better of the deals at the time with cash back and avios.

So have I convinced you to join TopCashback.Com – you can find out more information and register here.

Frugal Friday - How to Save Money When Travelling with TopCashBack.Com. Regardless if you travel on a budget or like staying in a luxury hotel or two, this website will help you save money. There are so many travel hacks, finance tips, travel tips and tricks out there on offer however just with one simple click you can be earning cash back when booking your next holiday, travel magazine subscription or train ticket. Pop over to see the many different ways you can be saving!

I don’t accept freebies for this blog so everything that I write about is something that I’ve paid for out of my own pocket…and I know that my readers like this fact as you’ve sent me emails saying so, which I really appreciate!  There are so many great ways to save on travel in the United Kingdom, you just need to take the time to find them…every Friday I do my weekly spreadsheet updating my finances, hence why Friday is called Frugal Friday in our home, it’s a total eye opener to where our money is going but it has made me so much more careful on how I spend our money now.

Disclaimer: this post contains affiliate links…it doesn’t cost you anything extra to click through however if you do make a purchase then it means I make a VERY SMALL commission.

xx

If you liked this post on Frugal Friday – How to Save Money When Travelling with TopCashback.Com then why not come and join me on TwitterGoogle+InstagramFacebook and Pinterest – I won’t bite!

I have a hotel bucket list longer than my arm these days and it’s growing by the day with so many magical looking hotels almost opening daily around the world.  One hotel that was on my hotel bucket list was the Hotel Alfonso XIII in Seville.

Spain Travel Inspiration - Thinking of visiting Seville on your next vacation to Europe then why not check out hotel review of the iconic five star property, Hotel Alfonso XIII Seville, Spain with it's gorgeous decor and spacious rooms. Click the link to read more of my hotel review of Hotel Alfonso XIII.

My little sister had stayed at this property a few years ago and loved it and I was hoping to fall in love with the property as well.  Hotel Alfonso XIII is part of the Luxury Collection Hotel chain operated by Starwood Hotels so I knew to expect a grand hotel and exceptional service.

Spain Travel Inspiration - Thinking of visiting Seville on your next vacation to Europe then why not check out hotel review of the iconic five star property, Hotel Alfonso XIII Seville, Spain with it's gorgeous decor and spacious rooms. Click the link to read more of my hotel review of Hotel Alfonso XIII.

^^one of the lovely ladies that greets you…stained glass perfection!

We left Hotel Casa 1800 in Seville and walked to Hotel Alfonso XIII with our bags…apparently this was the quicker option than jumping in a taxi and it was a rather lovely walk in the sunshine for a few minutes so I wasn’t complaining.  First impressions…no doorman and a number of stairs to drag our bags up…there are doormen but just never there when you need them unfortunately!

Spain Travel Inspiration - Thinking of visiting Seville on your next vacation to Europe then why not check out hotel review of the iconic five star property, Hotel Alfonso XIII Seville, Spain with it's gorgeous decor and spacious rooms. Click the link to read more of my hotel review of Hotel Alfonso XIII.

We waited to be checked in as apparently on Valentines Day the hotel is packed (and charging silly money hence the reason why we didn’t stay…if they can get away with it why not says the accountant in me!)...we had to wait over 5 minutes to check in as a number of folks were checking out…I would like to say we were checked in with a smile but we weren’t…I dislike reception staff that look like they’ve sucked lemons all day…and they were like this the whole time during our stay!  Smiles are free people!

Spain Travel Inspiration - Thinking of visiting Seville on your next vacation to Europe then why not check out hotel review of the iconic five star property, Hotel Alfonso XIII Seville, Spain with it's gorgeous decor and spacious rooms. Click the link to read more of my hotel review of Hotel Alfonso XIII.

So are you ready for a snoop inside our room…we found our room which was impressive in size BUT…there’s going to be a number of BUT’s in this review…sorry…the room wasn’t sound proof as the windows didn’t close properly (G managed to fix this by shoving a few posh magazines into the window frame to make it sound proof)...

Spain Travel Inspiration - Thinking of visiting Seville on your next vacation to Europe then why not check out hotel review of the iconic five star property, Hotel Alfonso XIII Seville, Spain with it's gorgeous decor and spacious rooms. Click the link to read more of my hotel review of Hotel Alfonso XIII.

…and as G pointed out…there was dust all over the glasses in the mini bar (and you thought I was picky!).

Spain Travel Inspiration - Thinking of visiting Seville on your next vacation to Europe then why not check out hotel review of the iconic five star property, Hotel Alfonso XIII Seville, Spain with it's gorgeous decor and spacious rooms. Click the link to read more of my hotel review of Hotel Alfonso XIII.

…the room was very spacious…you could probably swing at least 5 cats in here no sweat…the rooms are tastifully decorated…if I was to be honest I thought they were a bit beige in nature (i.e. my polite way of saying boring) compared to the rest of the hotel…

Spain Travel Inspiration - Thinking of visiting Seville on your next vacation to Europe then why not check out hotel review of the iconic five star property, Hotel Alfonso XIII Seville, Spain with it's gorgeous decor and spacious rooms. Click the link to read more of my hotel review of Hotel Alfonso XIII.

…but that chair was just perfect for getting cosy with a good book…

Spain Travel Inspiration - Thinking of visiting Seville on your next vacation to Europe then why not check out hotel review of the iconic five star property, Hotel Alfonso XIII Seville, Spain with it's gorgeous decor and spacious rooms. Click the link to read more of my hotel review of Hotel Alfonso XIII.

…the bathroom was huge and I mean HUGE…

Spain Travel Inspiration - Thinking of visiting Seville on your next vacation to Europe then why not check out hotel review of the iconic five star property, Hotel Alfonso XIII Seville, Spain with it's gorgeous decor and spacious rooms. Click the link to read more of my hotel review of Hotel Alfonso XIII.

…where Elemis toiletries could be found lurking behind every shower curtain.

Spain Travel Inspiration - Thinking of visiting Seville on your next vacation to Europe then why not check out hotel review of the iconic five star property, Hotel Alfonso XIII Seville, Spain with it's gorgeous decor and spacious rooms. Click the link to read more of my hotel review of Hotel Alfonso XIII.

We popped into the bar to check out out their drinks menu and maybe consume a beverage or ten…we waited and waited and waited to be served…we actually left as the staff were too busy talking amongst themselves to serve us or even clean the tables around us…we decided to forgo the whole idea of having afternoon tea treats at the hotel as well.

Spain Travel Inspiration - Thinking of visiting Seville on your next vacation to Europe then why not check out hotel review of the iconic five star property, Hotel Alfonso XIII Seville, Spain with it's gorgeous decor and spacious rooms. Click the link to read more of my hotel review of Hotel Alfonso XIII.

^^the bar is lovely if you can find someone who is willing to serve you.

G and I also had dinner at the hotel on our first night and we weren’t impressed…once again the service in the restaurant was haphazard and we had numerous people serving us…we had one fabulous waiter who knew what silver service was and understood gluten free requirements…the rest were just appalling…they forgot to charge us for our drinks…seriously if you want free drinks in Seville then head to Hotel Alfonso XIII (I did inform reception on check out to add the drinks onto our bill and her response, oh well they should have charged you at dinner…okay!)  The gluten free options were limited…and I mean limited…to a couple of fish dishes only.

The gluten free breakfast options the following morning were a lot better…a huge variety and a gluten free corner with so many options…nice to see Starwood upping their game when it comes to gluten free breakfast…

Spain Travel Inspiration - Thinking of visiting Seville on your next vacation to Europe then why not check out hotel review of the iconic five star property, Hotel Alfonso XIII Seville, Spain with it's gorgeous decor and spacious rooms. Click the link to read more of my hotel review of Hotel Alfonso XIII.

…plus all the fresh fruit you could eat!

Spain Travel Inspiration - Thinking of visiting Seville on your next vacation to Europe then why not check out hotel review of the iconic five star property, Hotel Alfonso XIII Seville, Spain with it's gorgeous decor and spacious rooms. Click the link to read more of my hotel review of Hotel Alfonso XIII.

The hotel itself is just breathtaking…the courtyard is truly stunning…

Spain Travel Inspiration - Thinking of visiting Seville on your next vacation to Europe then why not check out hotel review of the iconic five star property, Hotel Alfonso XIII Seville, Spain with it's gorgeous decor and spacious rooms. Click the link to read more of my hotel review of Hotel Alfonso XIII.

…the details…

Spain Travel Inspiration - Thinking of visiting Seville on your next vacation to Europe then why not check out hotel review of the iconic five star property, Hotel Alfonso XIII Seville, Spain with it's gorgeous decor and spacious rooms. Click the link to read more of my hotel review of Hotel Alfonso XIII.

…another snuggle worthy spot to read a good book…

Spain Travel Inspiration - Thinking of visiting Seville on your next vacation to Europe then why not check out hotel review of the iconic five star property, Hotel Alfonso XIII Seville, Spain with it's gorgeous decor and spacious rooms. Click the link to read more of my hotel review of Hotel Alfonso XIII.

…and don’t get me started over the staircase!

Spain Travel Inspiration - Thinking of visiting Seville on your next vacation to Europe then why not check out hotel review of the iconic five star property, Hotel Alfonso XIII Seville, Spain with it's gorgeous decor and spacious rooms. Click the link to read more of my hotel review of Hotel Alfonso XIII.

The stairway to heaven!

Spain Travel Inspiration - Thinking of visiting Seville on your next vacation to Europe then why not check out hotel review of the iconic five star property, Hotel Alfonso XIII Seville, Spain with it's gorgeous decor and spacious rooms. Click the link to read more of my hotel review of Hotel Alfonso XIII.

Strangely enough…I thought the Hotel Alfonso XIII would be truly amazing however the service was truly abysmal to say the least which just shows you can spend all the money in the world on a 5 star hotel and not receive 5 star service.  What makes a great hotel…for me, it’s service hands down!  The hotel itself is exquisite and I love the history that surrounds the hotel.

I did have a look through the trip advisor reviews over the days we stayed and most people were having similar experiences to ours…as one staff member pointed out to us…the hotel is running at full capacity due to the Valentine’s Day holiday…hmmm she got my are you freaking joking face…that’s not my problem…if you can’t handle the hotel at full capacity and offer your guests 5 star service then don’t book it to full capacity!

Spain Travel Inspiration - Thinking of visiting Seville on your next vacation to Europe then why not check out hotel review of the iconic five star property, Hotel Alfonso XIII Seville, Spain with it's gorgeous decor and spacious rooms. Click the link to read more of my hotel review of Hotel Alfonso XIII.

Would I recommend – ummm if you can get a special deal then check it out but in all honesty if we were to go back to Seville we would stay at the Hotel Casa 1800 and pop into Hotel Alfonso XIII for a snoop around…we didn’t think it was worth the money at over 250 euros a night off peak!

We did stay at the Grande Bretagne in Athens which is another Luxury Collection hotel by Starwood and loved it…plus we have booked two Luxury Collection hotels in Peru next month so am hoping this was just a little blimp in the Luxury Collection brand.

Spain Travel Inspiration - Thinking of visiting Seville on your next vacation to Europe then why not check out hotel review of the iconic five star property, Hotel Alfonso XIII Seville, Spain with it's gorgeous decor and spacious rooms. Click the link to read more of my hotel review of Hotel Alfonso XIII.

So have you stayed at Hotel Alfonso XIII – did you love or loathe it?  You can read more about my trip to Seville here.

xx

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I love exploring…Dora the Explorer and I would be the best of pals!  When I bought my car last year it gave me the sudden freedom to explore more of England; I now think nothing of driving two hours in search of the unknown but sometimes I like things to be a little closer to home hence why I explored Houghton House in Bedfordshire on the weekend.

England Travel Inspiration - Exploring Houghton House in Bedfordshire, an English Heritage property which is free to enter.  The stair case is now inside the Swan Hotel in Bedford. Click the link to read more about Houghton House and my travel tips for the county.

Houghton House is located on the outskirts of Bedford, a market town in…you guessed it…Bedfordshire!

England Travel Inspiration - Exploring Houghton House in Bedfordshire, an English Heritage property which is free to enter.  The stair case is now inside the Swan Hotel in Bedford. Click the link to read more about Houghton House and my travel tips for the county.

Houghton House is an English Heritage managed property situated in the middle of nowhere…along a drive that makes you think you’re trespassing on someone’s private property…it’s all very rock and roll and a bit muddy at the same time.

England Travel Inspiration - Exploring Houghton House in Bedfordshire, an English Heritage property which is free to enter.  The stair case is now inside the Swan Hotel in Bedford. Click the link to read more about Houghton House and my travel tips for the county.

The property is free to enter…for English Heritage members and non members and it’s definitely worth a visit if you liked ruined old buildings or enjoy photography.

England Travel Inspiration - Exploring Houghton House in Bedfordshire, an English Heritage property which is free to enter.  The stair case is now inside the Swan Hotel in Bedford. Click the link to read more about Houghton House and my travel tips for the county.

Houghton House was an old Hunting Lodge that has had various famous owners in its lifetime including the Dowager Countess of Pembrokeshire whom the lodge was built for, then the Earl of Elgin and then onto the Duke of Bedford who lives in Woburn Abbey. (The Duke of Bedford lives in Bedfordshire…unlike the Duke of Norfolk who lives in Arundel Castle in West Sussex…it’s all so confusing this English title business!)

England Travel Inspiration - Exploring Houghton House in Bedfordshire, an English Heritage property which is free to enter.  The stair case is now inside the Swan Hotel in Bedford. Click the link to read more about Houghton House and my travel tips for the county.

The story goes that the Duke of Bedford emptied the contents out of the house and then ripped off the roof…apparently he was upset over the death of his father…which is a rather sad sad story (the poor man)...so let’s spin it and say he came home and found his wife in bed with his brother and in a fit of rage he demanded the house be partly destroyed…a slightly better story…he never married or had any children.

England Travel Inspiration - Exploring Houghton House in Bedfordshire, an English Heritage property which is free to enter.  The stair case is now inside the Swan Hotel in Bedford. Click the link to read more about Houghton House and my travel tips for the county.

The staircase is now located inside the The Swan Hotel in Bedford which is a rather pretty hotel but with pretty appalling customer service at times…and don’t get me started about the dry gluten free cake that almost made me choke to death…seriously it was almost death my cake!

England Travel Inspiration - Exploring Houghton House in Bedfordshire, an English Heritage property which is free to enter.  The stair case is now inside the Swan Hotel in Bedford. Click the link to read more about Houghton House and my travel tips for the county.

I adore columns so I got my column injection in the nick of time…I haven’t visited Athens this year you see.

England Travel Inspiration - Exploring Houghton House in Bedfordshire, an English Heritage property which is free to enter.  The stair case is now inside the Swan Hotel in Bedford. Click the link to read more about Houghton House and my travel tips for the county.

Even though I almost got blown away while exploring Houghton House, we did manage to get a little bit of sunshine…

England Travel Inspiration - Exploring Houghton House in Bedfordshire, an English Heritage property which is free to enter.  The stair case is now inside the Swan Hotel in Bedford. Click the link to read more about Houghton House and my travel tips for the county.

…and enjoy the beautiful rolling hills of Bedfordshire in the distance…oh wait there are no hills…it’s pretty flat in Bedfordshire and never trust anyone when they mention a hill in this county…they’re talking about a slight incline!

England Travel Inspiration - Exploring Houghton House in Bedfordshire, an English Heritage property which is free to enter.  The stair case is now inside the Swan Hotel in Bedford. Click the link to read more about Houghton House and my travel tips for the county.

I can’t wait to head back when there is a blanket of snow on the ground to photograph Houghton House…and I can’t understand how I didn’t know about this place sooner.

England Travel Inspiration - Exploring Houghton House in Bedfordshire, an English Heritage property which is free to enter.  The stair case is now inside the Swan Hotel in Bedford. Click the link to read more about Houghton House and my travel tips for the county.

Don’t you just love finding places like this right on your back door step.

England Travel Inspiration - Exploring Houghton House in Bedfordshire, an English Heritage property which is free to enter.  The stair case is now inside the Swan Hotel in Bedford. Click the link to read more about Houghton House and my travel tips for the county.

What hidden gems do you have dotted around you that you like exploring?

England Travel Inspiration - Exploring Houghton House in Bedfordshire, an English Heritage property which is free to enter.  The stair case is now inside the Swan Hotel in Bedford. Click the link to read more about Houghton House and my travel tips for the county.

xx

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For last Christmas, I bought G an English Heritage Membership as he wanted to venture to Dover Castle to check out the war tunnels.  I had to remind him recently that his membership was coming to an end so we rattled our dags and made our way down to Kent to go castle hunting.

England Travel Inspiration - The perfect day castle hunting in England visiting Dover Castle, an English Heritage property which is an easy day trip from London by train. Click the link to read more about this amazing castle in England where you can see the white cliffs of Dover and learn about the fascination World War 2 history.

We aren’t known as early risers…well during the week we are but on the weekends we sleep in so our intention was to get up early on Saturday and head to Dover…we left home just before midday and then hit traffic…doh!

England Travel Inspiration - The perfect day castle hunting in England visiting Dover Castle, an English Heritage property which is an easy day trip from London by train. Click the link to read more about this amazing castle in England where you can see the white cliffs of Dover and learn about the fascination World War 2 history.

We eventually arrived at Dover Castle just after 2pm and I thought that would give us plenty of time to explore the castle and tunnels so we could visit the home of Charles Darwin and Hever Castle…oh how wrong I was.

England Travel Inspiration - The perfect day castle hunting in England visiting Dover Castle, an English Heritage property which is an easy day trip from London by train. Click the link to read more about this amazing castle in England where you can see the white cliffs of Dover and learn about the fascination World War 2 history.

You need a full day to explore Dover Castle…from the moment they open the gates till they close them…it’s huge and you can only enter the tunnels on a tour.

England Travel Inspiration - The perfect day castle hunting in England visiting Dover Castle, an English Heritage property which is an easy day trip from London by train. Click the link to read more about this amazing castle in England where you can see the white cliffs of Dover and learn about the fascination World War 2 history.

As soon as we arrived we joined the queue for the Hospital Tunnels and took the tour which lasts approximately 30 minutes; it’s rather interesting to see the conditions that the medics were working under during WW2.  You can’t take photos inside the tunnels unfortunately.

England Travel Inspiration - The perfect day castle hunting in England visiting Dover Castle, an English Heritage property which is an easy day trip from London by train. Click the link to read more about this amazing castle in England where you can see the white cliffs of Dover and learn about the fascination World War 2 history.

^^You can see part of the tunnels here against the White Cliffs of Dover!

We then checked out the Medieval tunnels…where I safely spotted this chap…I was in the tunnels and he was on the outside…I was a sheep whisperer and managed to get him to turn around for a photo…G found this highly amusing…possibly as I’m a Kiwi and you know what they say about Kiwi’s and sheep…I have a rather crass reply to this that make the English quiver and me giggle…ahhh I love being a crass Kiwi.

England Travel Inspiration - The perfect day castle hunting in England visiting Dover Castle, an English Heritage property which is an easy day trip from London by train. Click the link to read more about this amazing castle in England where you can see the white cliffs of Dover and learn about the fascination World War 2 history.

I had a play on the cannons…what girl doesn’t like something huge and powerful between her legs…there’s that crass Kiwi coming out…she’s being hiding!  And on the English Heritage website it states to wear sensible footwear so of course I took that to mean glitter toe ballet flats…I’m 5!

England Travel Inspiration - The perfect day castle hunting in England visiting Dover Castle, an English Heritage property which is an easy day trip from London by train. Click the link to read more about this amazing castle in England where you can see the white cliffs of Dover and learn about the fascination World War 2 history.

Obviously then I had to try and get off the cannon…which is not as easy as you think…G decided to photograph the car crash…

England Travel Inspiration - The perfect day castle hunting in England visiting Dover Castle, an English Heritage property which is an easy day trip from London by train. Click the link to read more about this amazing castle in England where you can see the white cliffs of Dover and learn about the fascination World War 2 history.

^^I messaged the top photo to my family in NZ; mum came back asking if I had fallen over and torn my jeans – I had to tell her I bought them like that…then Lisa told me that I looked like I was trying to pass wind…I wasn’t just in case you were wondering.

^^^Note to self: my calf looks skinny in the middle photo…must remember to photograph my calf from this angle in future!

We had a wander around the grounds and watched the sun set over the castle.

England Travel Inspiration - The perfect day castle hunting in England visiting Dover Castle, an English Heritage property which is an easy day trip from London by train. Click the link to read more about this amazing castle in England where you can see the white cliffs of Dover and learn about the fascination World War 2 history.

G and I then realised that it was almost closing time and decided to head back first thing in the morning when they open the gates (I’m pretty sure you know how this worked out!)…thankfully we had our membership as a day pass costs £18.00pp!

So what did we do…we went shopping at the Ashford Designer Outlet…it’s not as luxury driven as Bicester however G managed to get a few new items from A&F (I won’t tell you what I think these letters stand for) and guess what…this is the only time you won’t need a torch to enter an A&F store…the stench of cheap perfume isn’t as strong either.

England Travel Inspiration - The perfect day castle hunting in England visiting Dover Castle, an English Heritage property which is an easy day trip from London by train. Click the link to read more about this amazing castle in England where you can see the white cliffs of Dover and learn about the fascination World War 2 history.

I bought a few things from Ralph Lauren and we had dinner at Pizza Express; the best gluten free cheat meal out there…when it doubt, Pizza Express it!  I went for my favourite chicken and goats cheese salad and then tried the gluten free brownie for dessert which I wasn’t a fan of…it was too dry.

G has told me to stop spending and that I had to find a cheap hotel for the night…something about me going home for a month and then heading to Seville…Peru…and I might be looking at booking a trip to France in January but we won’t tell G about that cheeky little trip and oh I’m going to Paris in December…so I booked us into the Holiday Inn in Ashford which is part of my favourite hotel chain, IHG…unfortunately on this occasion the Holiday Inn failed me…the room look grubby and the air conditioning was blowing out musky air…it was more of a Holiday Inn Express than a Holiday Inn.  It was only for a night so we didn’t care too much!

England Travel Inspiration - The perfect day castle hunting in England visiting Dover Castle, an English Heritage property which is an easy day trip from London by train. Click the link to read more about this amazing castle in England where you can see the white cliffs of Dover and learn about the fascination World War 2 history.

Of course we slept in and got to Dover Castle a lot later than planned…we had missed breakfast as well…oops…so while we queued to enter the war time tunnels (which is a total must do) I popped up to the cafe to grab us a cup of tea each and some gluten free biscuits.

England Travel Inspiration - The perfect day castle hunting in England visiting Dover Castle, an English Heritage property which is an easy day trip from London by train. Click the link to read more about this amazing castle in England where you can see the white cliffs of Dover and learn about the fascination World War 2 history.

The Wartime Tunnels Tour takes approximately 45 minutes and it’s fabulous…all interactive and really explains what happened and how the site was used…

England Travel Inspiration - The perfect day castle hunting in England visiting Dover Castle, an English Heritage property which is an easy day trip from London by train. Click the link to read more about this amazing castle in England where you can see the white cliffs of Dover and learn about the fascination World War 2 history.

….and especially how this gentleman organised the retreat from Dunkirk.

England Travel Inspiration - The perfect day castle hunting in England visiting Dover Castle, an English Heritage property which is an easy day trip from London by train. Click the link to read more about this amazing castle in England where you can see the white cliffs of Dover and learn about the fascination World War 2 history.

G enjoying the gadgets inside Dover Castle especially since he could spy on the folks down at the Dover Ferry Terminal!

England Travel Inspiration - The perfect day castle hunting in England visiting Dover Castle, an English Heritage property which is an easy day trip from London by train. Click the link to read more about this amazing castle in England where you can see the white cliffs of Dover and learn about the fascination World War 2 history.

Once finishing the tour we needed some grub so we decided to hit the main restaurant within Dover Castle…they do a gluten free sunday roast (even the gravy is gluten free!)…I asked while grabbing our cups of tea…always thinking of my next meal.  I won’t say it was the best meal I’ve ever had but it was cheap and cheerful and was just what the doctor ordered…everything in this pic is gluten free…G may have eaten half of it as my eyes are bigger than my belly.

England Travel Inspiration - The perfect day castle hunting in England visiting Dover Castle, an English Heritage property which is an easy day trip from London by train. Click the link to read more about this amazing castle in England where you can see the white cliffs of Dover and learn about the fascination World War 2 history.

So our next stop was to venture inside the castle itself….

England Travel Inspiration - The perfect day castle hunting in England visiting Dover Castle, an English Heritage property which is an easy day trip from London by train. Click the link to read more about this amazing castle in England where you can see the white cliffs of Dover and learn about the fascination World War 2 history.

…over the bridge…

England Travel Inspiration - The perfect day castle hunting in England visiting Dover Castle, an English Heritage property which is an easy day trip from London by train. Click the link to read more about this amazing castle in England where you can see the white cliffs of Dover and learn about the fascination World War 2 history.

…the views from the top of the castle over Dover are pretty darn wonderful (along with the stairs which didn’t freak me out once…I have a stair phobia!)…

England Travel Inspiration - The perfect day castle hunting in England visiting Dover Castle, an English Heritage property which is an easy day trip from London by train. Click the link to read more about this amazing castle in England where you can see the white cliffs of Dover and learn about the fascination World War 2 history.

…now are you ready for a snoop inside Dover Castle; yay for being able to photograph inside English Heritage properties…

England Travel Inspiration - The perfect day castle hunting in England visiting Dover Castle, an English Heritage property which is an easy day trip from London by train. Click the link to read more about this amazing castle in England where you can see the white cliffs of Dover and learn about the fascination World War 2 history.

…the downstairs kitchens…

England Travel Inspiration - The perfect day castle hunting in England visiting Dover Castle, an English Heritage property which is an easy day trip from London by train. Click the link to read more about this amazing castle in England where you can see the white cliffs of Dover and learn about the fascination World War 2 history.

…a crown fit for a princess…

England Travel Inspiration - The perfect day castle hunting in England visiting Dover Castle, an English Heritage property which is an easy day trip from London by train. Click the link to read more about this amazing castle in England where you can see the white cliffs of Dover and learn about the fascination World War 2 history.

….the banqueting hall and racy bedrooms…

England Travel Inspiration - The perfect day castle hunting in England visiting Dover Castle, an English Heritage property which is an easy day trip from London by train. Click the link to read more about this amazing castle in England where you can see the white cliffs of Dover and learn about the fascination World War 2 history.

…me on my throne and needing a step to get onto it!

England Travel Inspiration - The perfect day castle hunting in England visiting Dover Castle, an English Heritage property which is an easy day trip from London by train. Click the link to read more about this amazing castle in England where you can see the white cliffs of Dover and learn about the fascination World War 2 history.

While we were on the war tunnels tour we were informed that we would be able to watch the Vulcan fly over Dover on one of it’s last journeys.  G was excited…me…well not so much…I hear about planes every day at work.

England Travel Inspiration - The perfect day castle hunting in England visiting Dover Castle, an English Heritage property which is an easy day trip from London by train. Click the link to read more about this amazing castle in England where you can see the white cliffs of Dover and learn about the fascination World War 2 history.

We popped inside church for a little nosey…

England Travel Inspiration - The perfect day castle hunting in England visiting Dover Castle, an English Heritage property which is an easy day trip from London by train. Click the link to read more about this amazing castle in England where you can see the white cliffs of Dover and learn about the fascination World War 2 history.

…then hit the English Heritage shop for some yummy jams…they do a rather mean passionfruit curd which sits pretty well inside a victoria sponge!

England Travel Inspiration - The perfect day castle hunting in England visiting Dover Castle, an English Heritage property which is an easy day trip from London by train. Click the link to read more about this amazing castle in England where you can see the white cliffs of Dover and learn about the fascination World War 2 history.

So have you visited Dover Castle before…did you enjoy the tunnels and the castle?  What’s your favourite English Heritage property in the UK?

England Travel Inspiration - The perfect day castle hunting in England visiting Dover Castle, an English Heritage property which is an easy day trip from London by train. Click the link to read more about this amazing castle in England where you can see the white cliffs of Dover and learn about the fascination World War 2 history.

The IHG are currently running an Accelerator Points Promotion and by staying at a Holiday Inn I can earn more loyalty points.

England Travel Inspiration - The perfect day castle hunting in England visiting Dover Castle, an English Heritage property which is an easy day trip from London by train. Click the link to read more about this amazing castle in England where you can see the white cliffs of Dover and learn about the fascinating World War 2 history plus the gluten free food options you can find in Kent.

xx

If you liked this post on Exploring Dover Castle in Kent then why not come and join me on TwitterGoogle+InstagramFacebook and Pinterest – I won’t bite!