Introduction to The Long Way back to Australia
Bangalore to Mumbai (Jet Airways Business Class Class 737-800)
JW Marriott Sahar (Mumbai)
Mumbai to Abu Dhabi (Jet Airways First Class 777-300ER)
Abu Dhabi to London (Etihad First Class A380)
Tour of Etihad's The Residence
The Frankfurt Hotel (Frankfurt)
Park Inn by Radisson (Luxembourg 1)
Sofitel Luxembourg Europe (Luxembourg 2)
The Westin Grand (Frankfurt)
Lufthansa First Class Terminal (Frankfurt)
Frankfurt to Seoul (Lufthansa First Class A380)
The Ritz-Carlton (Seoul)
Tokyo to Sydney (Japan Airlines First Class 777-300ER)
The Westin Grand
Having taken 3 trains from Luxembourg to get to Frankfurt, I was ready to get to my hotel! Until I realized I had to take two metro's to get there - come on European transportation get it together! Luckily it wasn't too hard to get to where I needed - thanks to all the smart travel apps we have these days, the only issue was figuring out which way to walk once I got out the underground metro.
A little map configuration and a 10 minute walk later I arrived in front of the looming Westin Grand.
Upon walking in, I made my way to the reception where a male receptionist attended me and checked me in. Again, very little warmness - there's a distinct lack of this in Europe with Male's in the hospitality I've seen, which I why I prefer friendlier female staff. The reception itself was quite nice with marble everywhere, mixed in with veneer - but but you could certainly tell this wasn't a new hotel. There was also some seating in the lobby which was nothing too special, and I rarely saw people using it.
They did have a lovely classic car in the lobby, just before the entrance of a posh looking Chinese restaurant - this was a nice feature to have that I felt was unique, and I'm sure many would ag
I had taken a standard Classic room with a King Size bed, which measures in at 23 square meters, nearly half the size of my room with the Sofitel - but still decent for one person. The Westin Grand was a little more expensive however, at $243 AUD per night, but since it was just the single night I decided it would we worth checking out another 5 star hotel.
The lift lobby was nice and brightly lit, the corridors left a bit to be desired though, as it gave off the impression of a worn carpet even with plenty of lighting. Perhaps it was just the tone of the carpets which gave me that look, but everything else seemed well kept.
I was given a room on the 5th floor, which the aforementioned male receptionist told me was an exceptional room, though I'm not sure what he was comparing that too exactly. As is the norm in many European hotels (unless asked for specifically - which I did not want to), I took my own bags up.
The room itself was okay - nothing amazing, but certainly not terrible. I can't say anything in the room itself said '5 star', but as mentioned earlier - you could tell the hotel was showing it's age. A king sized bed, a table with a chair and a tv table dominated most of the room. When I sent a picture to my sister, she couldn't tell why the room itself was so expensive, but that comes with the brand power as well I suppose.
I did like the free coffee nespresso machine with pods, always a great addition in most 5 star hotels.
The bathroom itself was quite tight, and was surprisingly low on amenities - but they had all the basic though.
One interesting thing was that the internet (free w-fi as a SPG member) didn't seem to want to work on my PC, but it did on my phone. I needed to do an online check-in for the flight tomorrow and browse a few emails, so I asked someone to come and help me check out my PC - hoping they would send some tech guy to come help me out. No such luck unfortunately, as they sent one of the ladies from the concierge who literally came to turn the router off and on (though still better than most people out there). It didn't help, so she took my laptop to another room to check - still no luck. At this point she said we can give you the number of Telekom Germany, you can call them and you can ask them to help you. Wait.. 'they wanted ME to call THEM'? That left me quite disappointed because not only did I not have a local number to call on, but they expected me to sort the issue out myself - again not the kind of 'give-up attitude' I expected from Westin staff or properties. For the record my laptop did not work at the Westin, but it worked literally every other place I took it.
Moving on - The view from the hotel wasn't amazing, but it gave a good view to the street below.
I was meant to be meeting a friend who works for Lufthansa, but at the last minute he had to fly out of the country - so I decided to head down to a pub restaurant for some more authentic and local German food. As per my friend's advice I ended up at Atschel - hardly beating the rain which ensued. Since it was packed, I was literally put in the last single bench available, sharing with a lovely old German couple, so I ordered a beer and a schnitzel - and sat back and enjoyed my last dinner in Europe, since I was heading to South Korea the following day.
I'm not a big fan of schnitzel usually, but the combination of a good beer with a very good meal meant I was well fed and happy. Since I had taken the tram in, I decided walk back since the rain was clear and it was nearing sunset. I quickly rushed to the bridge so I could take some great shots of the city and the river - before the sun went completely down.
It was a great way to end the day - as Frankfurt, with it's river ways and tall towers, really reminded me of Melbourne - my eventual destination. As for my experience at the Westin Grand was actually disappointing thanks to the staff, at least till check-out. The whole 'internet on the laptop' situation meant they really couldn't care post the whole 'turn on and off' plan - and it's got me considering going back. It certainly wasn't a Westin feel, and the room itself was okay as I said.
The following morning, I checked out by 12 (after some quick city shopping - chocolates for the family), and decided I wanted to get to the airport early - so I could really test out the Lufthansa First Class Terminal, which I was really excited about. Upon check-out, I got the manager who was actually polite and friendly (to a German degree of course). He even offered to take my bags to the taxi himself, which was nice and asked me where I wanted to go so he could tell the taxi driver. "Lufthansa First Class Terminal please". "Lufthansa.. I believe that is from Terminal 1 sir". "No - not T1, the Lufthansa FIRST Class Terminal". "First Class?" he asked incredulously, before giving me another look of surprise, and proceeding to the car, where he told the taxi driver very clearly "Lufthansa Erste Klasse terminal" - and with that amusing exchange done we were off.
I couldn't wait.