bela-kula-hotel

Bela Kuka Hotel

On my first trip to Macedonia, I was given the choice to head to Skopje or Bitola instead. Knowing that Bitola is the famed ancient Ottoman City of the Consuls and besides the fact that I’ve never been there before, I knew I had to skip the northern city and head south. Thankfully, a guide directed me to the Bela Kuka Hotel where I was instantly drawn by the warmth and cordiality of the people running the establishment. It’s not much, but it’s definitely where the heart is.

I later found out that there are plenty of hotels with more luxurious amenities, grander designs, and more robust services on offer in this part of the country. However, I was deeply intrigued by the throngs of travelers lining up to book a room at Bela Kuka. It’s the friendliness and genuine hospitality of the staff that’s something that no other accommodation can ever replicate. It captures the very essence of a hotel being a home away from home.

Deciding to dig even further, locals say that the Bela Kuka has consistently been rated by travelers as the best place to be in this side of Macedonia, not because of the accommodation and the various services that the hotel provides but rather because of the warm greetings, genuine smiles, and general helpfulness of every single member of the staff.

It is a place where you’d have someone readily showing you the ins and outs of the city, arranging transportation when needed, and all that stuff that all hotel staff are trained to do. However, I did get the sense that Bela Kuka staff don’t just do it because it’s expected of them; they do it because they love seeing their guests happy and content. Now that is really something unexpected.

Bela Kuka Hotel is situated right in the center of the city, just several minutes’ walk towards the Main Square where I got to see the city come to life. The ever-busy Shirok Sokak Street with its many shops and cafes serving piping hot drinks is just right outside the doors of Bela Kuka.

The suite I stayed in is very homey complete with a private bath and shower that I thought I would never find in this part of the world. There’s a mini bar, although I find it quite unnecessary as I’d rather have more time chatting with the staff who are so knowledgeable about the history of the hotel and the city. On hindsight, I think I can ditch my traveler’s guide and just spend 30 minutes or so with these real-life talking historians and story-tellers. They’d definitely bring me up to speed with all that’s happening in the city.

With its central location, a very friendly atmosphere, and hotel accommodation that are quite commendable by themselves, it’s the perfect den for lovers everywhere. Too bad I was traveling alone.

I could have always gone to a classier, chicer hotel and be treated like any other guest. But I’m sure glad I stayed at the Bela Kuka Hotel where I got to become part of a big family, even for a short while.

Soho Grand Luxury Boutique Hotel in New York City

Soho Grand Hotel

Among the hotels in Lower Manhattan, New York, Soho Grand Hotel is one of the more famous ones. I would say that it’s famous because it has been in the New York scene since 1996. It was also featured in several shows like Sex and the City, The Oprah Winfrey Show, and The Sopranos.

Location

The exact location for Soho Grand Hotel is at 310 West Broadway, right between the Canal and Grand streets. The place used to be occupied by a church and among the 8 or so attempts of having a hotel built up in the exact spot, the Soho Grand Hotel stands today with 17 stories and a total of 353 guest rooms and 2 penthouses.

I also found out that the Soho Grand Hotel is just a few minutes’ walk to boutiques and restaurants around New York City. This made me love the hotel more because I don’t have to hail a cab to go around Lower Manhattan. Everything was very accessible from the hotel.

Interior Design

If there’s one thing I can say regarding the interior design of Soho Grand Hotel, is that it is the perfect depiction of the old and new times. The interior showed a glimpse of the time when it was built and this was incorporated into the modern times we have now.

The lobby, hallways, and the dining areas are filled with plush seats that are very inviting. But at the same time, they aren’t bulky as to make the hotel look smaller. There is actually a lot of space for anyone who just wants to walk around the hotel.

However, the room that I stayed in was nothing plush. Instead, the room had a background of New York City on its walls and it gave an industrial and city vibe. I appreciate the effort they put into integrating the culture of The Big Apple, but I just wished they were able to match patterns better. There were patterns that made the room look “noisy”.

Amenities

As for the amenities, the Soho Grand Hotel has everything you can wish for in a New York hotel. As I was on a business trip, it made no sense for me to stay in a place that has a lot of amenities and that was also filled with families.

It was such a relief that the Soho Grand Hotel felt that it was made for businessmen and adults rather than families. You can actually notice it in the amenities they have – they don’t have play places for children and there aren’t any family activities offered. For someone who was on a business trip, I was very content with this.

Instead of having those family-friendly amenities, the hotel has its own fitness center, bar, restaurant, and spa. The room services were also superb so it was a perfect opportunity to just stay in bed during the free time I had in the city.

Staff

Since it was my first time to stay in Soho, I was unfamiliar with where to go and where the amenities were located. Good thing that the staff were accommodating and I didn’t feel the need to be ashamed that I was a first-timer there.