We recently spent a lovely weekend at the Grand Swiss-Belhotel in Medan, Indonesia. In this review we will show you the room, the hotel's facilities, a little about its surrounds and a little about our experience in the city.
Flying into Medan airport from Penang in Malaysia we totally forgot about the need to purchase a visa on arrival. $35 USD each. Ouch. You would think that such experienced travelers would remember to look this stuff up before just showing up at immigration but apparently we have gotten rather complacent. The receipt we received said $25 but after some googling it does sound like $35 is the correct price.
The Grand Swiss-Belhotel Medan helpfully organized a car to pick us up from the airport (for a fee of course). Pre-baby we would have found our own way but with a baby already tired from a flight, having a car and a nice man waiting with our name written on a sign was definitely the way to go.
Initial impressions of the hotel, the room and the staff were very positive. The staff were extremely helpful throughout, even when we were dealing with a grumpy toddler intent on making as much mess as possible in their formerly clean breakfast area.
The room itself was clean, modern, very comfortable. As well as the bed, there is a couch, a TV with plenty of channels, a coffee table, and a desk and chair. There is also a small refrigerator tucked away in the ample cupboards.
Zoe immediately started exploring this new space. This mirrored wardrobe particularly drew her attention throughout our stay. Hiding mum and dad's belongings in cupboards and draws has become a regular activity so we had to triple check her favourite hidey-holes before checking out.
Here is the desk and chair. Pretty unremarkable. You can put stuff on the desk. If you like you can sit on the chair.
The breakfast buffet is huge. Pretty much everything you could want is available from freshly cooked eggs, pancakes, fruit, muesli, pastries and an assortment of common Asian breakfast options.
This is just one section of the breakfast. There were multiple stations scattered around.
The hotel also provides a very nice afternoon tea. Afternoon tea is much quieter than breakfast. There are plenty of tables by the large windows where you can sit and watch the world go by while you eat. Those same tables are there at breakfast but you have to be very lucky to be able to snag one.
One rather novel feature of the hotel is its glass sided swimming pool. It is a rather fun feature once you get over the oddity of seeing people's legs kicking away.
Right near the swimming pool is a surprisingly well equipped gym. There is a small but varied set of gear including everything you need for a decent workout.
I am not sure how they got it into the gym but there is a dual cable machine (almost certainly not its proper name), essentially a large arch with a cable and stack of plates on each side. Mounted at the peak of the arch is a pull-up bar which would be handy if it was not so close to the ceiling as to make it impossible to use fully without bashing your head against the ceiling.
Although we never got around to going up there for a drink there is a rooftop bar with a spectacular view. Medan is a much larger city than we expected.
For those with kids, one fantastic feature of the Grand Swiss-Belhotel Medan is being immediately next to Medan's Cambridge Mall. You can get from the hotel into the mall without having to go outside. This is perfect for when it is raining or when your little one is sleeping in their pram but you also want to eat.
On the basement floor there is a wide range of restaurants as well as a supermarket. If you have a young child and you have never experienced being able to go pick up groceries and a meal without having to go outside you are missing out. It is fabulously convenient. Be warned that it can make you reluctant to stray outside your convenience bubble.
If you want a larger mall, Medan's Sun Plaza is maybe ten minutes walk away. It is an easy enough walk (by south east Asian standards) even with a pram. Sun Plaza is a huge mall with a very large number of restaurants and everything else that you would expect from a really big mall.
We really enjoyed our stay at the Grand Swiss-Belhotel Medan. It is not a super budget hotel but it is fantastic value for what you pay. Awesome views, friendly staff, comfort, convenience and a breakfast that I have missed every day since we checked out. If you are looking for a Medan hotel, check it out.