When it comes to choosing the right hotel accommodation, it is a matter of three things: affordability, facilities and location. Luxury hotels might be out of reach for some of us which then leaves us with boutique and budget hotels or hostels. Boutique hotels are springing up like mushrooms in nearly every city but after some time, they lose their sparkle, not being able to upkeep their maintenance and facilities. Hostels are definitely not suitable for business travellers or for those travelling with families.
However, there is one trusted brand which has appealed to all groups of travellers – family, solo and business – and that is, ibis Hotel. A renowned brand for their simplicity, strategic locations, and most importantly, affordability, ibis Hotel has never wavered from what they have been promoting all these years. And that was the main reason why I didn’t think twice when choosing ibis Hotel during my travels in Coimbra, Portugal.
Standard facilities were the constant theme of most ibis Hotels but not in Coimbra. The Ibis Coimbra Centro Hotel has recently undergone a change – a refreshing change in the interior décor of their rooms to reflect their identity and to connect with guests who are expecting more from the stand hotel stay.
My room was the Fado room that is specially created to reflect the identity and soul of Coimbra. While the typical fixtures and fittings are there in the room (double bed, desk, wardrobe space, TV, bathroom and shower), what makes the Fado room attractive is the panel above the bed featuring the lyrics of a Fado song, and cut-out art pieces of a mandolin musical notes hung on the side wall. Old B&W photos of Fadistas and musicians in Coimbra are also placed in the room. The best part of all is the MP3 player at the desk where guests can switch on to listen to Fado and get carried away by the soulful music.
Apart from the Fado theme, there are two more themes available at ibis Coimbra: Zen and The Game Edition. The Zen room is all about relaxation – just by looking at the photo above the bed evokes tranquility and calmness. A yoga sun salutation chart is hung on the wall by the desk and a yoga mat is available for the guest to use for yoga exercises and/or meditation. And what I love about this room is the finishing touches such as an apple neatly placed on the desk as if to remind the guest that “an apple a day keeps the doctor away” 😊
For those who wish to have fun playing mind games and solving puzzles, they can stay at The Game Edition room. Instead of art pieces above the bed, the guest will find a large Monopoly board game. Puzzles are created for guests in the room and if they are able to solve the puzzles, they will be pleasantly rewarded by the hotel!
The interesting thing about the ibis Coimbra is not only the room themes but the fact that the creation of the themes came from the hotel staff. And everyone was involved in this project, from the hotel director, management team, front desk, kitchen staff, maintenance to housekeeping – they had worked outside office hours to brainstorm, design, draw, paint, sew and install all elements needed to create these unique rooms. Most of the themed-rooms are situated on the third floor, so guests staying on this floor are able to see snapshots of the project along the corridor. Needless to say, the hotel staff are very proud indeed of their project!
Other than the distinctive room themes, facilities such as breakfast buffet, hotel bar and meeting rooms at ibis Coimbra are standard. Nevertheless, the hotel still injects one or two elements to differentiate themselves from the typical ibis Hotel – to remind guests of their Portuguese identity and to make the atmosphere more upbeat. For instance, pasteis de nata (Portuguese custard tarts) at the breakfast buffet and football night at the hotel bar.
Ibis Coimbra is also strategically located in the heart of the city – 700metres away from the Coimbra A train station, 5 minutes’ walk to the city centre and Mondego River, and 10-15 minutes’ walk to the university and the botanical gardens.
While the façade of the hotel looks ordinary, I can assure you that your experience staying at ibis Coimbra will be no less ordinary. Their distinct and modern rooms and the overall customer service of the hotel will make you want to return to the hotel from sightseeing as early as possible for ibis Coimbra is more than just an “accommodation”.
Location & Contact:
Avenida Emidio Navarro n70
No de Registo: 281
Tel: +351 239/852130
Fax: +351 239/852140
*My stay at ibis Coimbra Centro Hotel was generously discounted in exchange for this review. Opinions expressed in this post are my own.
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