[Accommodation Review] – VIE Hotel Bangkok (Executive Suite), Bangkok, Thailand (14 – 18 Jun 19)

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Hotel Facade

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Hotel Signage

Location

VIE Hotel Bangkok is very well located in downtown Bangkok, which is very close to the central shopping district in Bangkok. The hotel is a mere one BTS stop away from Siam Square and mega shopping malls such as Siam Paragon, MBK and Centralworld. The nearest BTS Staton – Ratchathewi station BTS is located right in front of the hotel and takes a mere 2 min walk from the hotel, allowing guests to explore Bangkok easy. There are several eateries next to the hotel, however, the nearest convenient shop is across the street which is a tad inconvenient to get to as one has to cross the road via the overhead bridge to get access to the store.

The Suite

I stayed in the Executive Suite at the VIE Hotel Bangkok. The Executive Suite has a massive area of 81m² and occupies a corner of the floor. The Executive Suite has a Thai decor and is clad in a comfortable and coherent brown earthy tone with wooden floor and furnishing which exudes a cosy feel in the suite. The Living Room, the Bedroom and the Bathroom are the three main parts that make up the entire Executive Suite.

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VIE Suite section

Living Room

The elongated living room in the Executive Suite in the VIE Hotel Bangkok is very spacious, thanks to the absence of unnecessary walls and partitions. The Thai themed earthy decor can be felt as soon as guests enter the suite. The earthy brown and burgundy colour tones employed throughout the living room is coherent and gives me a sense of comfort. The first thing that caught my attention from the entrance is a 2-door wardrobe at the side of the main entrance. I find it weird for the hotel to place a wardrobe at this area as it does not function as a shoe rack. Throughout the entire stay, I did found no use for the wardrobe. I welcome the full-length mirror by the main door to the Executive Suite so that guests can ensure they look presentable, especially guests who are attending functions before they leave the suite. A display shelf is placed little further into the suite from the main entrance. This display shelf serves the function of the hot mini bar area where the in-room Nespresso coffee machine and water kettle are together with coffee capsules and tea can be found. At the side of the shelf is the first of the few power outlets that are found in the suite. There is some storage space at the bottom of the display shelf, where I used to store the shopping from that I bought during my stay in Bangkok.

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Overview of the living room in the Executive Suite in VIE Hotel Bangkok

The Executive Suite in VIE Hotel Bangkok is fitted with three floors to ceiling windows that not only brought natural light into the living room of the suite, it also makes the suite feels a lot bigger than it already is. The living room is bright in the day due to the natural lighting from the floor to ceiling, however, the living room is rather dim at night. The lighting in the suite does not seem to be sufficient to illuminate the area well. Facing the entrance to the Executive Suite in VIE Hotel Bangkok, in front of the first floor to ceiling window panel lies a fairly large work desk furnished with two chairs and a table lamp. This is a great space for guests to get some work done, as the table is large enough to place a laptop and some work documents on. However, the work desk suffers from the flaw of a lack of power outlets that resonates throughout the suite. The only power outlet that is available at the work desk sits on the floor beneath the desk, making it inconvenient for guests to plug in their laptop or any mobile devices for charging. Opposite the study desk is a long wooden table, that guest can place some small items on. This table serves more for decoration purposes than it is functional.

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Workdesk in the Executive Suite in VIE Hotel Bangkok

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View of the work desk from the sofa area in the Executive Suite

Further into the living room in the Executive Suite in VIE Hotel Bangkok is where one will find two large sofas placed in the near the floor to ceiling window panels. These two sofas arranged in an L-shape manner, furnished with numerous cushions, are capable of sitting four to five guests making this a great place for hotel guests to entertain their friends. A large coffee knee-height coffee table is placed in the space between the sofas. Two-floor lamps are placed on either side of the sofa that is facing the 40″ LED TV mounted on the wall. The 40″ LED TV is mounted on the wall that separates the living room from the bedroom, between the two dual-panel wooden doors. There is no lack of entertainment options on the LED TV in the suite. Guests are able to enjoy programmes from numerous local and international channels such as Fox movies, National Geographic and Discovery Channel to name a few. A minibar fridge is tucked into the wall to the left of the TV. All drinks and snacks in the minibar are free for guests staying in the Executive Suite in the VIE Hotel and will be replenished on a daily basis.

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Sofa area in the living room of the Executive Suite in VIE Hotel Bangkok

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One of the sofas in the living room in the Executive Suite in VIE Hotel Bangkok

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40″ LED TV in the living room

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Minibar fridge with complementary items hidden in the cabinet next to the entrance to the bedroom

Bedroom

The bedroom is accessible via the two dual-panel doors on either side of the LED TV. The Thai decor and earthy colour theme from the living room are also found in the bedroom, making the decor in the suite coherent. Like the living room, the bedroom is furnished with wooden furniture. The King bed, placed by the wall caught my attention when I entered the bedroom. The King bed is firm but comfortable which provided me with excellent sleep quality. However, the four pillows that were placed on the bed is too soft for my liking. VIE Hotel does not have a pillow menu for guests to choose, however, guests can still request for firmer pillows from the concierge. Bedside tables are found on either side of the King bed. The lack of power outlets in the living room also plagued the bedroom. Despite having four power outlets in total on the walls behind the bedside tables, only one of these is freed up for guests to use. The rest of the power outlets are used for the two bedside lamps and phone in the bedroom. The placement of the power outlets, which are hidden behind the bedside table further makes it inconvenient to use. All power outlets in the suite use Thailand standards, guests would have to bring their converter to use them. 

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King bed in the bedroom of the Executive Suite in VIE Hotel Bangkok

The two wardrobes in the bedroom are placed beside the King bed. The wardrobe nearest to the bathroom door is the larger of the two, where the in-room safe placed on top of a two-tiered cabinet is found in. This wardrobe is where I find more convenient to hang my clothing due to the two-panel doors to the wardrobe. The second wardrobe placed nearer to the wall is a tad more inconvenient to access, due to the limited space and the fact that there is only one door to the wardrobe. Here is where one can find the iron and ironing board. Despite being able to hang one week’s worth of clothes for two guests, there is a limited number of hangers in the wardrobe. We had to request for additional hangers from the housekeeping staffs.

Facing the King bed, mounted on the wall that segregates the living room and the bedroom is another 40″ LED TV for guests to enjoy the entertainment options while lying in bed. Beneath the TV is a cabinet that guests can stow some knickknacks. There is a three-tier cabinet placed by the entrance to the bedroom, next to the entrance to the bathroom. This cabinet provided guests with yet more storage options. This cabinet also doubles as a great space for guests to lay out their luggage.

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LED TV in the bedroom

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The three-tiered cabinet in the bedroom next to the entrance to the bathroom in the Executive Suite

Bathroom

The frosted glass door marks the entrance to the bathroom. The decor of the bathroom took a departure from the Thai earthy theme found in the living room and the bedroom. The decor of the bathroom is contemporary and classy, tiled in yellow marble, but is rather small in size compared to the rest of the suite. Much of the bathroom is occupied by a huge bathroom, sitting by the wall to the left of the entrance to the bathroom. Opposite the bathtub is the walk-in shower, equipped with rain shower and regular showerhead, as well as the toilet. The bathroom comes fitted with only one sink and a large sink top counter tucked at the end of the bathroom. Due to the placement of the bathtub, only a section of the sink countertop can be used. VIE Hotel Bangkok uses in-house bath amenities and provided a comprehensive choice of bathroom amenities.

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Overview of the bathroom

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The sink area has a large countertop in the bathroom

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Large bathtub in the bathroom

Service

I find the service in the VIE Hotel Bangkok suffers from inconsistency. The experience with the staffs was generally pleasant in the hotel. The moment we got off the cab, the porters at the door immediately sprung into action and assisted us with our luggage and escorted us to the reception for our check-in. The staff took notice of my friend’s Accor membership and invited us to check-in at the sit-down check-in counter next to the reception. While processing our check-in, another staff served us welcome drinks and took the effort to explain the concoction of the drinks. The check-in process is a tad slow, however, the staff processing our check-in made us feel welcome throughout the process. She even brought us up to our suite and explained some of the equipment in the suite. The staffs at the reception were generally welcoming and were always seen wearing a smile on their faces whenever we walked past them, even late in the night.

The thoughtfulness of the staffs in the hotel was also felt when the housekeeping staff left two cookies and a good night card every single night during turndown service. The diligent housekeeping staff even took the liberty of arranging the toiletries we placed on the sink countertop neatly.

However, when it comes to late night, the porters at the main entrance of the hotel were seen chatting with their colleagues by the door or were not around. This is where one of the inconsistencies of the service was felt. I noticed this to be the case every night when we leave and return to the VIE Hotel Bangkok. We were left with opening the doors ourselves.

The service at LaVIE restaurant also suffers from inconsistency. I noticed that service seem to be more prompt and the staffs were friendlier when the restaurant was not crowded. Plates were cleared quickly and I always return to a clean table and I did not have to wait for too long for my latte to be served. When the restaurant sees more people heading for breakfast, service is sluggish. The latte that I ordered took more than 10 mins to be served and the empty plates were piled up on our table. Staffs were seen patrolling the restaurant floor and I noticed them saw the empty plates on my table but none of the staffs took the initiative to clear them on my table. One of the staff only took action to clear the empty plates on my table when I accidentally dropped my butter knife on the floor. This was the only time the plates on my table was cleared, after which the plates remained piled up until I left the restaurant.

After my check-out, I requested to speak to the duty manager but was told that the manager was not available. I was told by the front desk staff to wait until the manager was available. However, there was no attempt to contact the manager by the staff at the front desk despite informing him that our transport to the airport is already on the way.  I ended up leaving the hotel without speaking to the duty manager.

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We were invited to a sit-down check-in

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Welcome drink served during check-in

Facilities in VIE Hotel Bangkok

Swimming Pool

The swimming pool in the VIE Hotel Bangkok is located on the 10th floor of the hotel, in a separate building. To get to the pool, guests would have to go through the gym and walk through a bridge that links the pool building to the main hotel building. The pool is an infinity pool with a glass panel at the end of the swimming pool facing the main road and the BTS tracks. Swimming in the pool feels as though one is swimming in the air. The pool area is small and is equipped with eight sundeck chairs. There is a small jacuzzi area in the pool by the towel area. Despite the limited size, I find the pool to be a great place to get a good tan due to the absence of trees. However, tanning by the pool is only possible in the afternoon as the hotel building would block the sun in the morning.

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The swimming pool in VIE Hotel Bangkok

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Swimming pool in VIE Hotel Bangkok

Gym

The Gym in the hotel is located on the 10th floor as well. Unlike the gyms in most hotels, which are usually small, the gym in VIE Hotel Bangkok is a fully functional gym. The gym is meant for fee-paying members who are not guests of the hotel. It is well equipped with the equipment that allows guests of the hotel to have a great workout. There is a studio that runs classes on a scheduled basis, hotel guests would have to pay in order to attend these classes.

Breakfast at LaVIE Restuarant

Breakfast is served in LaVIE restaurant, the only restaurant in VIE hotel, located on the 9th floor. There are quite a number of selection ranging from local to international food choices during breakfast. VIE Hotel Bangkok makes minor variations to the breakfast menu daily, however, these variations are so minor that they are hardly noticeable. The food served during breakfast is tasty though. Breakfast is served from 6.30am to 10.30am daily.

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LaVIE restaurant where breakfast is served daily

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Buffet selection in LaVIE restaurant during breakfast

Overall

VIE Hotel Bangkok is very well located which is a few steps from the nearest BTS station which makes exploring downtown Bangkok very convenient. The Hotel is one BTS stop away from central Bangkok. The Executive Suite while is huge, but the facilities seem a little run down due to wear and tear. Nonetheless, the suite is still comfortable to stay. The service I received around the hotel is inconsistent and seem to be dependent on who you bumped into during your stay. I would hesitate to recommend a stay at VIE Hotel Bangkok.

[Accommodation Review] – Veranda Resort Hua Hin (Veranda at Sea Room), Hua Hin, Thailand (12 – 14 Jun 19)

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Veranda Resort Hua Hin Signage

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Resort Facade

Location

Located in the town of Cha-Am, about 30 mins drive from Hua Hin, Veranda Resort Hua Hin is about three hours drive from Bangkok Survanabhumi Airport. There are no amenities in the vicinity of the resort, less an ATM machine on the ground floor of the annexe building of the resort. The nearest convenient store is about 800m away from the resort. There is a night market in Cha-Am which operates only on Wednesdays which is located 8km from the resort. Guests staying at the resort have to rely on a taxi (or Grab) and infrequent bus shuttles (payable) provided by the resort to gain access to Hua Hin.

 

The Room

I checked into the newly renovated Veranda at Sea Room which has a floor area of 54m². The Veranda at Sea Room has superb views of the pool as well as the sea from its balcony.

Sleeping Area

Entering the Veranda at Sea Room in Veranda Resort Hua Hin, a short walkway leads me into the sleeping area of the room. A full-length mirror is placed on the wall in this small walkway. I like how the resort designed one of the wardrobe doors to cover the walkway, giving guests a suite feel when inside the sleeping area.

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The walkway from the entrance in the Veranda at Sea room

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The sleeping area of the Veranda at Sea room

Walking through the walkway in the room, one would come to the main sleeping area of the Veranda at Sea Room in the resort. This area is the main part of the room, decked out in earthy tone with wooden flooring. The first thing that caught my attention is the dressing table which also doubles up as the TV console. A small lamp is placed on the dressing table and a small mirror is mounted on the wall next to the lamp. Further down the dressing table, near to the balcony is where the 40″ LED TV is placed on the table. The minibar is hidden in the cabinets beneath the TV. As one moves across the room to the balcony, a straw chair and a stone stool, which served more as a table is placed in a corner of the room.

 

The king bed is placed by the wall opposite the dressing table. The sleep quality of the bed is rather good, less the pillow, which is too soft for my liking. The bedside table, which looks like a wooden box stacked on another wooden platform, is placed on either side of the bed. The area on the bedside table is large enough for guests to stow their lifestyle devices, due to the elongated shape of the table. The resort mounts the bedside lamps on the wall, freeing up more space on the bedside table. The placement of the power outlets in the room makes it convenient for guests to charge their lifestyle devices, however, these outlets are not equipped with international plugs. Guests are advised to bring their power outlet converter. The resort was thoughtful to place an outlet converter in the mini bar area, however, the one found in my room was defective.

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King Bed in the Veranda at Sea room

There are a couple of wardrobe spaces in the Veranda at Sea room in Veranda Resort Hua Hin. These wardrobes are placed beside the king bed, which functions as a wall that separates the sleeping area from the bathroom. The wardrobe space on the left has a ledge, which I found only to serve for luggage storage. There is no practical clothing stowage on this wardrobe. The in-room slippers, as well as slippers for guests to use at the beach, can be found in this part of the wardrobe. The wardrobe on the right is where guests can store their clothing. However, there is a limited amount of clothing one can store on this side of the wardrobe. Here is where one can also find the in-room safe placed on top of a two-tiered drawer where guests can use to store some of their clothing. Sliding the wardrobe doors to the right, one of these doors double as doors to the bathroom, while the other as the door to the walkway into the room.

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Wardrobe in the Veranda at Sea room, where the doors double as doors to the bathroom and to the walkway

 

Bathroom

The entrance to the bathroom is between the two wardrobes. The decor of the bathroom echoes the earthy tone found in the sleeping area in the Veranda at Sea room. A huge bathtub, placed in the centre of the bathroom, greets guests upon entering the bathroom. The bathtub is large enough for two guests to soak in. On either side of the wall facing the sleeping area, guests can find two sinks, which is great as guests do not have to wait in line to use the sinks. There are, however, a limited amount of countertop space at either of the sinks. The resort uses Thann bath amenities but provides a limited variety of bathroom amenities. Toothbrushes, shavers and body lotion are not present when I checked into the room and have to be requested separately with the concierge in the resort.

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Bathroom in the Veranda at Sea room

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Dual sinks found on each side of the bathroom

 

There are two cubicles (with no doors) behind the bathtub. The walk-in shower cubicle, which comes with both a rain shower and a regular showerhead is located on the left of the bathtub. The toilet is located in the right cubicle. The room suffers from inconsistent water pressure in the bathroom. Due to the low and inconsistent water pressure, only the regular shower head can be used. Moreover, the water from the shower also has inconsistent water temperature. The low water pressure translates to 1 hour to fill up the bathtub.

 

Balcony

The Veranda at Sea room in Veranda Resort Hua Hin has a huge balcony furnished with a wooden chair and a two-seater couch. A coffee table is placed between this furniture, which makes it ideal to hang out in the day. The view from the balcony is excellent. Despite being partially obscured by the tree in front of the room that I was assigned to, I was able to look out into the pool and the beach area from the balcony. I would, however, advise against hanging out in the balcony at nights. Despite having lights on the walls in the balcony, it is very dim at night. The presence of mosquitoes in the balcony area also discouraged me from staying out in the balcony at night. The resort does not place mosquito coils in the balcony.

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Balcony in the Veranda at Sea room

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View from the balcony in the Veranda at Sea room

Swimming Pool

The free-form infinity swimming pool at Veranda Resort Hua Hin is very big, seemingly sufficient to cater to guests staying in the resort. However due to the low season when I was at the resort, the pool was relatively empty most of the time. The pool is capable of allowing guests to get some decent laps done, while still catering to families with young children. There are a couple of slides at the pool, one for children and one for adults guests to have some fun at the pool. The pool also has a jacuzzi area, nearer to the resort accommodation buildings. There is no lack of deck chairs in the pool area, both under the shade of the tree and some in the open for guests who wanted to get a good tan by the pool.

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Free form pool in Veranda Resort Hua Hin

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There are two slides in the pool, one for children and one for adult guests

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Swimming pool overlooking the beach

Beach

Beyond the free-form pool is a small part of the beach catering for resort guests usage. There are chairs laid out in the beach area as well as the wooden deck facing the beach for guests who do not want to get sand in their sandals. Guests can bring the towel from the pool to the beach for usage. The resort staff kept the beach clean for hotel guests to use.

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Beach area exclusive to guests at Veranda Resort Hua Hin

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View of the beach

Gym

There is a small gym in Veranda Resort Hua Hin premises with a very limited amount of equipment. However, guests can still get some decent workouts in the gym despite being limited. The gym is located in the same building as the cafe and the in-house spa.

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Gym with limited equipment

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Gym with limited equipment

Eateries

There are two restaurants and one cafe in Veranda Resort Hua Hin. Breakfast is served in the Dining Room, located next to the resort lobby. The Dining Room is also the main restaurant in the resort, opening from breakfast to dinner.

 

The other restaurant is ISea at Veranda Resort Hua Hin, located next to the swimming pool. The beachfront alfresco restaurant serves mainly guests at the swimming pool, but also have some dining space for guests.

 

There is a cafe in the resort premises, serving mainly coffee, tea and pastries. However, there is a limited amount of seating area at the cafe.

 

Service

Service at Veranda Resort Hua Hin is generally very good. Every staff we met are generally welcoming, except for the staffs at the ISea restaurant who seems to be interested in chatting with each other and playing on their mobile phones. The moment I stepped into the resort, I was warmly welcomed by the concierge team, who promptly assisted me with my luggage and showed me to the check-in counter. At the check-in counter, the staff promptly processed my check-in swiftly, while another staff served up a cold drink and towels for freshening up. The staff at the check-in counter always wore a smile during our interaction, she even briefed me on the facilities around the resort and the timing for breakfast. After processing our check-in, the staff took the effort to escort me to my room and gave a brief on the facilities inside the room. Before leaving the room, she even reminded me to give the reception a call should I require any assistance.

The staff in the dining room restaurant are very friendly as well. The moment I walked to the restaurant for breakfast, I was greeted with a smile and given the option for outdoor or indoor seating. The staffs took my order for a drink and promptly served up the drink that I ordered. The diligent staff at the dining room patrol the restaurant grounds frequently and ensured that no empty plates are left on the table.

The diligent housekeeping staff were seen always wearing a smile on their face when I bumped into them. These unsung heroes ensured that I always return to a clean room every evening. I called to request for toothbrush and shaver, the housekeeping staff had them promptly delivered with a smile on her face. I would receive a good night note every evening during turndown service, together with a small token from the resort.

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I was served welcome drink and handed cold towels during check-in by the staffs at Veranda Resort Hua Hin

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Guests would receive a goodnight note written by the housekeeping staff every evening during turndown service

Overall

I had a great stay at Veranda Resort Hua Hin. Despite the location is a tad inconvenient, the comfortable room and the facilities around the resort are sufficient to make up for this. Coupled with staffs that are generally welcoming and are ready to render assistance to guests at the resort. I find Veranda Resort Hua Hin a great place to get away from the busy city life with its secludedness and the warm and friendly staff.

 

[Accommodation Review] – W Hotel (Marvellous Suite), Sentosa, Singapore (18 – 21 May 19)

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Signage and Main Entrance to W Hotel Sentosa Cove

Location

Nested in the Eastern end of Sentosa Island, an island to the south of Singapore Mainland, W Hotel Sentosa Cove is a tad inconvenient to get to compared to the rest of the hotels on Sentosa Island. In fact, it is the most secluded hotel on Sentosa island. However, W Hotel Sentosa Cove provides regular shuttle service to other parts of Sentosa Island as well as mainland Singapore. There are numerous restaurants next to the hotel as well as two supermarkets and a 24-hour convenient store near the hotel.

The Suite

I checked into the Marvellous Suite, measuring an expansive 80m². The suite has several main parts: The Living Room, the Bedroom and the Bathroom as well as a huge balcony.

Living Room

Opening the main door to the Marvellous Suite in W Hotel Sentosa Cove, a short walkway leads guests into the living room. On the right of the walkway in the Marvellous Suite is where the mini bar area is located. The mini bar is designed to conceal inside the cabinets. Opening the panels, the top shelf is where one finds a Nespresso Machine, electric kettle and some snacks. Below the shelf is a cabinet where a small fridge is hidden. All mini bar items less the coffee and tea are chargeable. W Hotel Sentosa provides sufficient bottled water, thoughtfully placed throughout the suite for guests to hydrate.

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The walkway into the suite

The living room is located at the end of the short walkway into the suite. Decorated with purple flower motives, the living room is a both chic and a practical place for guests to hang out. The main part of the living room in the Marvellous Suite in W Hotel Sentosa Cove is furnished with a large curve beige coloured leather sofa, which sits several guests comfortably. There are also two chrome stools on either side of the sofa with an ankle height large coffee table in the centre. Further in one corner of the living room, near to the door to the balcony hangs two cage theme light, which further adds sophistication to the decor of the living room. The living room looks cosy, thanks to the clever usage of soft lightings. Opposite the sofa is a large 40″ LED TV mounted on the wall with numerous channels, international and local, keeping guests in staying in the Marvellous Suite entertained. There are also some drawers by the wall where the TV is mounted for guests to store small items.

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The living room is located at the end of the walkway from the entrance to the suite

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A large curved shaped sofa in the living room with chrome stools and a coffee table

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Opposite the living room is a 40″ LED TV

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Connectivity panel beside the TV in the living room

A fairly large work desk is also found tucked onto the wall next to the entrance to the bedroom in the living room of the suite. The work desk is a tad more simple in decor, creating space for guests who needs to work on the desk. Here is where staffs of W Hotel places four bottles of drinking water daily to keep guests hydrated.

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Work desk in the living room of the Marvellous Suite at W Hotel Sentosa Cove

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View of the entire living room with the work desk from the balcony

Bedroom

The entrance into the bedroom is located between the TV and the work desk. The bedroom is decked out in floor to ceiling glass panels, when the curtains are opened, provides views of the marina as well as the WET Pool. The moment I entered the bedroom, an egg-shaped hanging chair in the room caught my attention. This chair is comfortable to sit in and the placement of this chair is not obstructive in the bedroom. There is a small walk-in wardrobe located behind the door to the entrance to the bedroom. The space in the wardrobe is generous for guests to hang out their clothing, coupled with a three-tiered drawer, of which only two are usable, providing guests with ample space to store their clothing. The in-room safe is found in the top drawer, keeping valuables of guests safe while they are out of the hotel. Inside the walk-in wardrobe is where a cloth steamer (first time I saw one in a hotel) as well as iron and ironing board.

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The egg-shaped hanging chair in the bedroom is the first thing that caught my eye.

The centrepiece of the bedroom is the king bed, which is very comfortable to sleep in. However, I do find the standard pillows a tad too soft for my liking. W Hotel Sentosa Cove provides an extensive pillow menu for guests to choose to further enhance their rest on the bed. The wall feature on the headrest comes with several mood lighting, which screams chic in the decor of the bedroom. Beside the bed are two bedside tables which guests can place their lifestyle devices for charging. There is another 40″ LED TV in the bedroom. The placement of the TV in the bedroom of the Marvellous Suite is rather thoughtful. As the bed is facing the WET pool, the TV is placed in a way that guests are still able to watch TV on the bed, but not obstructing the view of the surrounding from the bed.

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King bed in the bedroom of the Marvellous Suite in W Hotel Sentosa Cove

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Mood lighting in the bedroom

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The TV is placed in the bedroom without obstructing the view of the surrounding

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Pillow menu

Bathroom

The Marvellous Suites in W Hotel Sentosa Cove are equipped with one and a half bathrooms. There is a toilet by the entrance to the suite, where guests of occupants can utilise without going into the main bathroom located in the bedroom. This toilet has a toilet bowl and a sink. Despite being an annexed toilet, the decor in the toilet is rather chic.

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Chic guest toilet

The main bathroom is another centrepiece in the entire suite. The bathroom, located inside the bedroom is very spacious. The first thing that caught my attention entering the bathroom is the large jacuzzi tub placed one corner of the bathroom. With large ceiling to floor glass panels and blinds that can be drawn for privacy, the bathtub is placed with a view of the WET Pool. There is a small ledge mounted on the wall where guests can place small items on. The bathtub is also placed with a view of a 26″ TV hanging from the ceiling of the bathroom.

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Large Jacuzzi tub in the bathroom

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Guests can watch the TV in the bathroom while soaking in the bathtub

The bathroom has two sinks, which provided convenience for both guests in the suite to use without the need to fight over who uses the sink first. The spacious sink has ample storage space for guests to place their toiletries. W Hotel provides quality Bliss bath amenities for hotel guests, and this is the only hotel that I have stayed so far that provides facial wash on top of the usual shampoo, conditioner and shower gel for guests. Guests staying in the suite rooms are provided with large size amenities.

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Double sink in the bathroom of the Marvellous Suite. I like the design of the lighting on the mirror

Next to the sink and behind the bathtub are two cubicles, sharing one glass panelled sliding door. On the left is the shower cubicle which not only has the standard rainshower head and a regular shower head, it is also equipped with a body shower head, which is rare in hotels. The shower cubicle is very spacious as well with ledges hidden behind the shower where guests can place their toiletries. The cubicle to the right is where the toilet is found in the bathroom.

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Spacious toilet in the bathroom

Balcony

There are two configurations of balconies for the Marvellous Suite in W Hotel Sentosa Cove. I called the hotel to state my preference for the larger L-shaped balcony (and was happy that this request was granted when I checked into the hotel). The L-shaped balcony, warped around the exterior of the entire suite from the living room to the bedroom, is spacious and provided me with excellent views of the marina as well as the signature WET pool in W Hotel Sentosa Cove. The balcony area next to the living room is furnished with a table and two cane chairs, with views of the marina, is a great place to relax and enjoy the tranquillity of the surroundings around W Hotel. The balcony area outside the bedroom, facing the WET Pool is decked with a day bed, which is also another great place to laze by watching hotel guests taking a dip in the pool. I highly recommend guests staying in the Marvellous Suite at W Hotel Sentosa to request for the L-shaped balcony.

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Chairs and table furnished at the balcony area next to the living room with colour changing LED lighting

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The entire balcony wraps around the exterior of the suite

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Day Bed in the balcony area outside the bedroom

WET Pool

The centrepiece of W Hotel Sentosa Cove would have to be the free-form WET Pool. The pool is large enough to accommodate numerous guests to have fun in as well as guests who want to get a decent swim in. There are several floats in the 24-hour heated pool for guests to have fun in. At the sides of the pool is numerous jacuzzi area where guests can soak in if they choose not to swim. The placement of the sundeck chairs is excellent in that it provided direct access to the pool. W Hotel recently upgraded the pool facilities to include a tube slide which added more fun for the guests. I tried out the slide and found it to be rather exhilarating. There is a pool bar at the end of the pool for guests to chill out in the water. On top of that, guests can order poolside food from the staffs who are seen patrolling regularly around the pool in the day time to serve guests.

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WET Pool in the evening

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View of the WET Pool in the day

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Hotel guests enjoying in the WET Pool

FIT

The FIT is the in-house gym in W Hotel Sentosa Cove is located on level 1, opposite the in-house AWAY Spa. FIT is one of the biggest I have seen in hotels and is well equipped with work-out machines, treadmills and stationary bikes, capable of ensuring guests having a great workout.

AWAY Spa

Opposite the gym is the in-house spa facility – AWAY Spa. This is where guests can get massage treatment. Hotel guests have complimentary usage of the facilities inside the AWAY Spa without having to purchase spa treatment from the hotel. Other than the usual sauna and steam room, the AWAY Spa is equipped with whirlpools and jacuzzi tubs for guests to use.

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Whirlpool inside AWAY Spa

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Jacuzzi in AWAY Spa

Service

The service at W Hotel Sentosa Cove has improved tremendously since my last stay at the hotel six years ago (read about it here). This time around the service that I received throughout my entire stay was top notch, every staff that I met was very friendly and were always wear a smile on their faces. Vijay, the duty manager was the first person I met was during check-in. I was initially unhappy about the level of the suite that I was assigned to. Vijay quickly sprung into action and check if there is another suite with a higher level that he could check me in. However, due to the hotel running full capacity, there was no other suite available. Vijay patiently listened to my concerns spent time to address my concerns and assured me the suite was one of the best in the hotel. Indeed the suite that I was assigned too was one of the best in the hotel, with great views of both the marina and the pool. My initial concern was unfounded.

Dora, the staff at the reception made me feel welcome as well. As I was heading out to mainland Singapore, I requested for complimentary parking tickets. I initially requested for one ticket. Dora took the initiative to present me with two tickets instead, stating that in case I needed another ticket, I would not have to approach the reception again. Dora ‘s action indicated that she put herself in the guests’ shoes and suggested actions that would remove any inconveniences for the guests. After passing me the tickets, Dora even checked if there are any other concerns that she can help me to resolve. Dora was very forthcoming in her assistance and appeared to be ready to help guests.

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The complimentary birthday cake by W Hotel Sentosa Cove. It even comes with three helium-filled balloons.

One team of unsung heroes in W Hotel Sentosa Cove was the housekeeping staffs. They always keep the rooms clean and tidy every day for guests to enjoy their stay and they did this with the limited time given. My suite was always clean and tidy in all corners, all amenities restocked every day after housekeeping. One of the housekeeping staff who tidied the Marvellous Suite that I stayed in is Alfiane. We met Alfiane a few times along the corridor and every time she was always wearing a smile (despite her work was tough) and was always greeting us. During day three of our stay, we returned to the suite early and found Alfiane was about to finish cleaning the suite. Alfiane spotted us and apologised for making us wait (despite not having to do that). She even asked if we needed any additional amenities. We approached Alfiane a few times while she was working on other rooms to request for additional amenities, Alfiane would always put down her work and attended to our requests. Other than Alfiane, we were greeted by smiling housekeeping staffs who brought the things that we request such as additional pillows, towels, bath amenities, ice buckets.

I called the Whatever/Whenever line several times to request for items.  One of the staff at the Whatever/Whenever line was Charlene. Charlene listened to my requests and ensured that my requests were being fulfilled. There was a time that I called and hung up as the phone was not answered after a while. I received a call back in the suite moments later, it was Charlene on the other line and the first thing she did was to apologise for making me wait too long. I was surprised Charlene would call back to check if there is anything she could help me with.

The staffs (unfortunately I did not manage to get their names) at the WET Pool were always smiling and diligently go about doing their jobs. I saw them walking around the pool to remove any rubbish on the floor and on the tables to ensure guests using the pool have a clean surrounding. I spotted occasions where the staffs actively help guests look for empty chairs by the pool and even moved some bean bags for guests to sit on when they couldn’t find any empty seats for the guests. The staff manning the slide was always seen wearing a smile despite the hot day.

The staffs at the main entrance to W Hotel Sentosa Cove were fantastic too. A few times I was heading out to the nearby eateries for food when these staffs saw me coming, they quickly rushed to open the door before I could do it myself. They were observant and swift in their actions. They welcomed me back to the hotel every time I walked past them.

Overall

My stay in the Marvellous Suite at W Hotel Sentosa Cove was indeed marvellous. The suite was spacious, comfortable and cosy. The decor of the suite is unique and practical. I had great nights of sleep on the King bed and the bathroom was stunning. The balcony in the suite provided with great views of both the marina and the WET Pool and is a great place to chill. This is my second time staying at W Hotel Sentosa Cove, the greatest change I saw was the service. Everyone in the hotel was always smiling and seem to be eager to ensure that guests had a great stay with W Hotel Sentosa Cove. Staff were attentive to guests and made me feel welcome. It is people like Vijay, Dora, Alfiane, Charlene and many more that I met during my stay that makes the stay in the hotel enjoyable. The service we received makes us want to come back to the hotel to try out other types of rooms.

[Airline Review] – Thai Airways A330-300 (TG408) – Economy Class, SIN-BKK (24 Jan 19)

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Thai Airways A330-300

On The Ground

Thai Airways departs from Terminal 1 of Singapore Changi Airport. The check-in counters are located in row 4 of the terminal, mainly serving passengers flying in Economy Class. Business Class passengers are invited to check-in in the SATS Premium Lounge located at the end of row 4. There are mainly two queues for Thai Airways at row 4, one shorter queue for passengers who have completed web check-in and another long queue for Economy Class passengers. As I was early at the time of my checking-in, the queue was not long. However, the counter does not seem to be ready to check-in passengers for the next flight as we waited for quite a while before being called for check-in. The check-in process was swift with the ground staff seems disinterested in engaging passengers other than quickly check us in. She did not even tell us which gate the flight will depart and what the boarding time was. TG408 was originally supposed to depart from C18 but was changed to gate C24 about 1 hour prior to boarding time. The departure gate is a far walk from the immigration counters.

The Aircraft

Thai Airways uses A330-300 to service this sector of the flight. The aircraft shows signs of ageing and extended usage.

The Cabin

The Economy Class cabin onboard Thai Airways A330-300 has a total of 263 seats spread out in two sections. As I entered the Economy Class cabin onboard Thai Airways A330-300, I am greeted by a sea of vibrant colours that Thai Airways use to upholster the seats in this cabin as with other types of aircraft in their fleet. The use of bright and cheerful colours of yellow, purple and blue gives one a feel of holidaying. The widebody twin-aisle cabin has its seats in a 2-4-2 configuration.

There are a few lavatories scattered across the two sections of Economy Class cabins. The lavatories are rather small and do show signs of the ageing aircraft. Unlike those on board some of the newer Thai Airways aircraft, there are no sensor activated taps on board the A330-300 aircraft. Instead, these taps utilise press buttons for both hot and cold water. Despite the ageing feel to the lavatory, the equipment is functioning well. Hand soap and cologne are the only amenities available in the Economy Class lavatory, which is slightly better than some other airlines which only supplies hand soap. Hand soap is available from the soap dispenser next to the tap.

The Seat

Seats in the A330-300 Economy Class cabin onboard Thai Airways has a 32″ pitch and measures 18″ wide. These seats are capable of providing a 122° recline. The seat that I was in also showed signs of ageing. The seat back feels loose and wobbly, when pressed the seat recline button, it falls back almost immediately. When I tried to set the seat back upright for meals and landing, the seat back would have to be assisted by pulling to get it set up right. Nonetheless, the seat is still comfortable for the flight from Singapore to Bangkok. The legroom in the Economy Class seats on board the Thai Airways A330-300 is rather generous, I had a fair bit amount of space from the seat in front of me. Due to the placement of the IFE system underneath the seat, I was not able to place my bag under the seat in front of me. There is a small cup holder on the back of the tray table which does not serve any purpose as it is too big to hold cans of drink or the plastic cup that Thai Airways uses.

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Standard Economy Class seats on board Thai Airways A330-300

The seat pocket in the Economy Class cabin has three tiers with the biggest pocket used to contain in-flight materials such as the aircraft safety card, in-flight catalogue and magazines. This pocket is large enough to put mobile phones and passports in, however, I would think these small items are meant to be placed in the middle seat pocket. I do find the smallest seat pocket to be a tad redundant as it is not able to contain my mobile phone. The seat pocket also showed signs of ageing as the main seat pocket has one side almost falling apart.

The tray table in the Economy Class cabin onboard Thai Airways A330-300 is rather large. The single fold tray table is able to hold the meal tray with space available to put a can of drink and the cup without cramping the entire tray table. I tend to find the tray tables, especially those that have bi-fold functions, on the newer aircraft to be a little tight on space as compared to the one on board the Thai Airways A330-300. Coat hooks are available in the Economy Class seats, which are located on the side of the seat in front of me. The placement of these hooks is a little odd as I cannot think of a way of hooking coats without disturbing the passenger in front of me. As in the Economy Class cabins onboard all other airlines, the reading light is located on the ceiling above the seat. However, there are no air vents on the ceiling. When boarding, pillows and headphones are placed in the seat, blankets can be requested from the flight attendants who are very happy to bring me one when requested for.

 

In-Flight Entertainment

The In-Flight Entertainment (IFE) system in the Economy Class cabin onboard Thai Airways A330-300 is another sign of the ageing aircraft. Each Economy Class seat is decked with a 10.5″ personal TV screen, which has no touch screen function. The TV screen looks a little blurry compared to that on board my return flight on Thai Airways A350-900  which looks a lot sharper. Selection of entertainment options would have to be done through the IFE controller which is stowed on the same armrest as the headphone jack. The IFE controller also feels a little old school, despite having a lot of redundant buttons, which the IFE system does not even use, the controller still does its job in allowing me to select the movies that I wanted to watch throughout the flight. The IFE system onboard Thai Airways A330-300 seems to lag a fair bit, as the response does not seem to be instantaneous. The standard Thai Airways Economy Class headphones are available in the seat pocket when I boarded the aircraft. The sound system on the A330-300 via these headphones does not sound as sharp as those on board the A350-900. This is perhaps due to the age of the aircraft after all the A330-300 has been in the Thai Airways fleet for almost 10 years. The IFE has no lack of entertainment options from the latest Hollywood movies to sitcoms as well as a dedicated menu for Thai movies. The IFE menu was well organised and very initiative to use. I spent my flight time watching movies from the IFE system.

Food

Meal service commenced about 45 mins after taking off. On this flight, we were given the chicken and the fish options. The chicken option is the Fried Rice with pepper chicken. My friend took this option and commented the chicken tasted bland and dry. I took the fish option, which has steamed rice with Fish in Spicy sauce. I thought the fish is a little tough and dry as well, but the flavourful spicy sauce makes up for the dryness in the fish. I only had a mouth of the yam moose cake dessert as I did not fancy the taste of yam. All meals come served with a bottle of water. A little after meal service is completed, the flight attendants went around the cabin serving tea and coffee to complete the meal.

Service

The flight attendants on this flight portrayed the Thai hospitality that is famous worldwide. They are seen smiling and serving the passengers with pride and certainly made us feel welcome on board this flight. The exemplary service starts when we were greeted with warm smiles and the Thai gesture of “wai” as soon as passengers were boarding the aircraft. The smiles extended throughout the aircraft with flight attendants scattering throughout the cabin welcoming passengers. They even helped passengers stow their carry-on luggage in the overhead compartment. During meal time, we were informed that only chicken option is available, however, I highlighted to the attendant that I am unable to consume the chicken meal due to allergies, she immediately helped me sourced the fish option promptly so that I can enjoy the meal. During beverage service, the flight attendants gladly gave me and my friend a can of coke each when requested for it. The flight attendants were seen patrolling the cabin to ensure the safety and comfort of the passengers. They were seen diligently conducting their safety inspections prior to landing. Smiles were seen on the faces of the flight attendants throughout the entire flight.

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Friendly flight attendants during meal service

Afterthought

The A330-300 that was deployed for this journey by Thai Airways shows signs of ageing from the seats to the IFE to the lavatories. However, the flight was comfortable and I was kept entertained by the extensive entertainment options on the IFE system. The meal was mediocre but still able to fill my stomach during dinner service. The service rendered by the flight attendants on board this flight were excellent. They were seen servicing the passengers with smiles across their face, displaying the warm Thai hospitality. What makes for the lack in hardware is balanced by the heartware displayed by the flight attendants.

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Flying above the clouds during sunset onboard Thai Airways A330-300

 

[Accommodation Review] – Hilton Sukhumvit Bangkok (King Executive Suite), Bangkok, Thailand (24 – 27 Jan 19)

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Hilton Sukhumvit Bangkok Signage

Location

Hilton Sukhumvit Bangkok is situated on Soi 24 along Sukhumvit Road, which is the main artillery in downtown Bangkok. The hotel is situated slightly outside the city centre, which brings the advantage of missing out on the traffic jam that has plagued downtown Bangkok. The hotel is located within 3 minutes walk from the nearest BTS station, making access to downtown Bangkok as well as other parts of the city very convenient. There are a couple of upscale shopping malls within 4 mins walk from the hotel. Soi 24 also have a couple of convenient stores nearby the hotel as well as massage parlours for guests to enjoy Thai massages.

The Suite

Hilton Sukhumvit Bangkok has four types of rooms for guests to choose from, namely Deluxe Room, Junior Suite, Executive Suite and Presidential Suite. I stayed in the King Executive Suite with a total floor area of 77m². The choice of grey and earthy colours that runs coherently throughout the King Executive Suite at Hilton Sukhumvit Bangkok feels cosy and comfortable. The minimalist decor of the suite is functional, with every piece of furniture serving a purpose instead of being placed for ecstatic reasons. The view from the suite that I stayed in is superb. The King Executive Suite generally has three areas.

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View of Bangkok from the living room of the King Executive Suite I stayed in

Living Room

The living room is the first area that greets guests as one enters the suite. The decor of the contemporary styled living room exudes a sense of earthiness together with a minimalist feel that makes every furniture in this room functional. To the right of the main entrance to the Executive Suite in Hilton Sukhumvit Bangkok is a small ledge that guests can use to stow their luggage or as a sitting area to put on their shoes. Next to this ledge is the mini-bar area, with a small fridge well hidden into the wooden cabinet. Further into the living room is a large work desk that comes furnished with a very comfortable chair. There are multiple outlets at the work desk including ports that allow guests to connect their computer directly to the television. Guests staying in this Executive Suite in Hilton Sukhumvit Bangkok do not have to worry about the different power sockets as all the outlets come equipped with international power outlets.

Opposite the work desk is a small table which I find very functional. It seems that Hilton Sukhumvit Bangkok to be deliberately kept empty for guests to put small items on. I put my day’s shopping at this table. Further into the living room is where guests will be greeted by the lounging area. This part of the living room in the Executive Suite of Hilton Sukhumvit Bangkok is furnished with a three-seater couch and a couple of armchairs. A large wooden coffee table forms the centrepiece to the lounging area. There are also a couple of side tables on either side of the couch, giving guests ample space to stow their smaller items. Mounted on the wall that separates the living room and the bedroom is a 42″ LED TV, placed opposite the three-seater couch. There is no lack of entertainment options on the television. Guests can find the major international channels as well as lifestyle channels on the TV. The choice of colour in the living room feels coherent and looks very classy and comfortable.

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The centrepiece of the lounging area is the couch set, which is comfortable to sit on

Bedroom

There are two entrances to the bedroom on either side of the wall that segregates the bedroom and the living room. The earthy and cosy decor in the bedroom extends from the living room, giving me a sense of comfort. The first thing that I see as I entered the bedroom is the King bed that is tucked by the wall. Draped in crisp white clean sheets, the King bed was firm providing an excellent sleep quality. However, I did not have a great sleep on the first night of my stay as the pillows provided are a tad too soft for my liking. Hilton Sukhumvit Bangkok has a selection of pillow menus, that one can request online after making their booking at the hotel’s website. The hotel was able to provide a firmer pillow on my request the next day, where I had great sleep quality on the King bed after that. Placed on either side of the King bed are a couple of bedside tables with power outlet conveniently placed for guests to charge their lifestyle devices. Above the bedside tables are a couple of night lamps mounted on the wall as well as a reading light on either side of the bed.

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The King bed in the bedroom which provides excellent sleep quality

Opposite the King bed, mounted on the wall that separates the bedroom from the living room is another 42″ LED TV with the same channel selection as the one in the living room. I find the distance between the TV and the bed to be just nice.

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The 42″ LED TV in the bedroom

Bathroom

The bathroom in the Executive Suite in Hilton Sukhumvit Bangkok can be accessed from the bedroom. The moment one enters the bathroom, a wardrobe area would come into the path of the guest. This small area carved out as part of the bathroom comprises three wardrobes. The wardrobe next to the entrance to the bathroom allows guests to hang their clothes. An iron and ironing board is hidden in this wardrobe. The other two wardrobes are tucked into the wall opposite the door to the bathroom. There is a wardrobe with shelvings that allow guests to store more clothing. The in-room safe is also found in this wardrobe. The other wardrobe is a tad weird. There isn’t any shelving fixtures or bars for the hanging of clothing. This wardrobe, next to the one with the shelvings, seems to meant for guests to put away their luggage. There is another ledge on in this part of the Executive Suite for guests to stow their luggage on. I thought placing the wardrobe area inside the bathroom is a thoughtful design as guests staying in this suite can conveniently change into their clothings after showering.

Walking past the wardrobe area, the thing that caught my eyes is the large bathtub, placed next to a large glass that looks out to the bedroom. Opposite the bathtub is the sink area, featuring double sinks allowing two guests to use the sink at the same time. There is ample space at the sink area for guests to stow their bath amenities. The choice of marble inside the bathroom makes this area look posh and luxurious. The colour scheme used inside the bathroom is also coherent with the colour scheme used throughout the entire King Executive Suite.

Further into the bathroom are two cubicles. The cubicle next to the sink is where the toilet is located. I am pleasantly surprised to find a bidet controller inside the toilet. The toilet seat is constantly heated as well. The other cubicle next to the toilet and beyond the bathtub is the walk-in shower. There are both rain shower and regular shower heads inside the walk-in shower.

The Executive Lounge

Guests staying in the King Executive Suite are entitled to access the Executive Lounge in Hilton Sukhumvit Bangkok. The Executive Lounge is located on the 4th floor in the hotel. The Executive Lounge is decked in earthy tones which enables guests to feel relax in the bustling city of Bangkok. As a guest of the Executive Suite, I am given complimentary breakfast in the lounge. However, should I choose to have my breakfast at the restaurant, there will be charges incurred. Other than breakfast (running from 6.00am to 10.30am or 11.00am depending on the day of the week), Hilton Sukhumvit Bangkok also serves Afternoon Tea (from 2.00pm to 4.00pm daily) and Evening Cocktail (from 5.30pm to 7.30pm daily) at the Executive Lounge. The lounge is opened daily for guests to chill out and enjoy drinks outside these timings. This is a great place to rest and chill out from the warm weather or after a day’s shopping in Bangkok.

The breakfast served at the Executive Lounge has quite a spread, though I suspect it might be a scaled down version compared to the restaurant. However, there are options from western to oriental to local variety for breakfast. One of the advantages of have breakfast at the Executive Lounge is the crowd is much thinner and I was able to enjoy my breakfast without having to rush or queue for food.

Afternoon Tea served at the Executive Lounge was a much simpler affair. Guests are treated to a variety of Tea as well as an assortment of sweets such as cakes, macarons and scones. Evening Cocktail has more spread of food with salad, quesadilla, tacos and pizza. The hotel also serves up four choices of cocktail during this timing.

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Food offering during Afternoon Tea

Swimming Pool

There is an infinity pool situated on the rooftop of Hilton Sukhumvit Bangkok. The pool overlooks the two nearby shopping malls. There is a Jacuzzi function at one corner of the salt water infinity pool. Though the pool isn’t big, guests at Hilton Sukhumvit Bangkok are still able to do some decent laps in the pool. There are numerous suntan chairs around the pool, however, only a handful are great for suntanning. There is a poolside bar by the pool, offering mostly drinks and some finger food.

Gym

Located next to the swimming pool, Hilton Sukhumvit Bangkok is also equipped with a small gym, which is accessible to guests 24/7. Despite being small, the gym is well equipped with the standard gym machines that allow guests to do some decent workout. Some of the gym equipment includes stationary bikes, treadmills, weights and weight machines.

Service

The service in Hilton Sukhumvit Bangkok is impeccable. Every staff member I met in the hotel displayed the warm hospitality that the Thais came to known for and would try their best to make guests feel comfortable staying at the hotel. The good service I experienced started the moment I alighted from the cab, where the porter at the front door is ready to take over our luggage and have them delivered to my room. By the time I reached my suite, my luggage is already in the suite, such well oiled and seamless operations go to show that Hilton Sukhumvit Bangkok focuses a lot on guest comfort and convenience. I was assisted by a staff member – Mos during check-in. Mos was very personable and warm. The first thing she asked was how’s the flight and proceeded to find out if I have been to Bangkok. She seems to be ready to recommend places for me to visit, while at the same time processed my check-in. Mos noticed that I booked into two different categories of rooms, and took the initiative to upgrade my room to the suite that I will be staying to ensure that I will not be inconvenienced during the transition between the two rooms.

The service at the Executive Lounge is generally good, except for the last day of my stay at Hilton Sukhumvit Bangkok. For the first two days of my visit to the lounge, I received warm welcomes from the staff assigned to work at the lounge. The staffs are always very observant and left no empty plates are on the table for more than 2 mins. During cocktail service, the staff took the initiative to introduce to me the food and the cocktails that are available. During breakfast, the observant nature of the staff continued to be present. However, things seem to break down on the last day of my stay during breakfast time. Staffs were seldom seen in the lounge. The egg station was left empty for an extended period of time. There were no coffee mugs available for guests to grab a cup of coffee from. Food was not replenished and many were left empty. Empty plates on my table were not cleared, even when I distinctively saw a staff member of the lounge noticing the plates are being stacked up, but chose to ignore the empty plates.

Despite the unpleasant experience at the Executive Lounge on the last day of my stay, some of the background staff delivered great service. I called the operator a few times to request for additional shower amenities and ashtray, the items that I requested for were delivered within 5 mins of my call. I chanced upon a housekeeping staff and requested for additional coffee and sugar from her. Despite being busy cleaning up the room next door, the staff put down what she was doing and passed me the things I requested with a smile, and at the same time checked with me when she can clean up my suite. The diligent housekeeping staffs worked hard to ensure that the Executive Suite that I was staying is clean and fresh every day when I returned to Hilton Sukhumvit Bangkok after exploring the city in the day.

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Friendly staffs at the reception who are always seen with a smile and ready to help guests

Overall

Hilton Sukhumvit Bangkok was well appointed in Bangkok. With the close proximity to the BTS station as well as to two big shopping malls as well as numerous small shops around, the location of the hotel makes it a great place to stay when visiting Bangkok. The spacious Executive Suite that I stayed in was cosy and comfortable. The design and the furnishing in the suite all made sense. The sleep quality on the king bed in the suite was excellent. I had great night sleeps on the King bed every night (less the first night when I find the pillow a tad too soft for my liking). The service rendered by the staffs in the hotel was superb starting with the staff at the lobby and the reception. Despite the minor hiccup in service at the Executive Lounge, where it appears the staffs were disinterested in providing any form of service, the service in the hotel remains exemplary. Hilton Sukhumvit Bangkok lives up to the promise of satisfying customers during their stay as it says on the card in the suite that I stayed in. I highly recommend this hotel to anyone travelling to Bangkok.

[Airline Review] – JetStar Asia A320-200 (3K686) – Economy Class, KUL-SIN (11 Nov 18)

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Jetstar A320-200

On the Ground

Jetstar departs Kuala Lumpur from KLIA 2, the new terminal for budget carriers. Check-in counters for Jetstar are located in row Z, to the extreme right of the terminal building. As I have completed mobile check-in (which I always recommend my friends to do which can save time waiting at the airport), I headed to the counter for document verification to obtain our boarding passes. There was a small queue at the check-in counter, despite the queue, it did not take us too long to be served. Being a low-cost carrier, passengers who have luggage to be checked-in has to pay extra. The ground staff at the counter seemed friendly enough to assign to us the seat that we have requested for. However, she seems to rely on us to read the information on the boarding passes to figure out the departure gate and the time of boarding.

The Aircraft

The Cabin

Jetstar uses A320-200 to fly between Kuala Lumpur and Singapore. The single-aisle, single cabin aircraft has a total of 180 seats, arranged in 3-3 configuration. The cabin onboard Jetstar A320-200 is decked in white and black seats, with strips of orange on the floor as well as running along the overhead bins, consistent with the uniform colours that the crew are wearing.

There a total of three lavatories for all 180 passengers onboard, one of the lavatories is located at the front of the aircraft, while two others are located at the rear of the aircraft. As with most single-aisle aircraft, the lavatories are a tad small due to the lack of real estate space onboard the aircraft. The lavatory is brightly lighted and is kept very clean by the cabin crew. There are limited amenities in the lavatory, however, it serves the purpose it is built for.

The Seat

Seats in the cabin are cladded in black leather, each having a pitch of 29″ and a width of 17.9″. The seat pocket is cast in hard plastic material, located on top of the seat back instead of at the bottom.  These seat pockets are rather deep, making retrieving of small items difficult. Seat functions are very basic onboard, only seat recline button located on the right armrest and a large tray table is found in each seat. Other seat functions such as air vent and lighting are located on the ceiling above the seat. Legroom is quite good for a low-cost carrier, however, there is limited recline on the seats. Being a low-cost carrier, seats in Jetstar does not come with In-flight Entertainment, there aren’t any drop down screens onboard this aircraft. Safety briefings are conducted manually by the cabin crew.

Service

As with most low-cost carriers, service onboard Jetstar on this Kuala Lumpur to Singapore leg is minimum. Cabin crews are seen only during safety checks before taking off and prior to landing as well as during safety demonstration. Since this is a short 1-hour flight, cabin crews only went around the entire cabin once to solicit in-flight sales. The lack of service onboard is expected of low-cost carriers such as Jetstar. Despite the lack of presence of the cabin crews, they were friendly and smiled at passengers whenever we bumped into them during the flight time.

Afterthought

Jetstar is a low-cost carrier and served its function of bringing passengers from point A to point B at a low cost compared with traditional full-fledged airlines. The seats are comfortable and I do find the legroom to be good. However, seat recline tend to be a little stingy, perhaps due to the operation model in low-cost carriers. For a short 1-hour Kuala Lumpur to Singapore flight, Jetstar served its purpose and is rather comfortable. I would not say the same for longer flights.

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Flying over Malaysian airspace

 

[Accommodation Review] – Pullman Kuala Lumpur City Centre (2 Bedroom Apartment), Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia (9 – 11 Nov 18)

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Pullman Kuala Lumpur City Centre Signage

Location

Pullman Kuala Lumpur City Centre is located in the heart of the shopping district of Bukit Bintang in the capital of Malaysia. The Pavilion Shopping Mall is located opposite the hotel, and also a gateway to the numerous shopping malls in the vicinity. The Petronas Twin Tower is a mere 10 mins walk from Pullman Kuala Lumpur City Centre. Chinatown is just a short monorail ride away from the hotel.

The Suite

Pullman Kuala Lumpur City Centre has two buildings located next to each other. Most of the hotel rooms are located in the hotel building, while the 2-bedroom apartment suite we booked is located on the residence tower. The spacious 2-bedroom Apartment Suite in Pullman Kuala Lumpur City Centre has a total floor area of 97m², which seem significantly larger than most of the 2-bedroom apartments that I have stayed in.

Front Porch

The 2-bedroom apartment suite in Pullman Kuala Lumpur City Centre is a corner suite. Entering from the main door, a front porch for guests to put on their shoes is immediately in our sight. This area is furnished with a fairly large shoe cabinet which seems capable to store more than 10 pairs of shoes.

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The front porch in the suite is furnished with a large shoe cabinet

Kitchen

Further into the suite, separated by a wall, is where a small kitchen in the suite is located. The kitchen is fully equipped for guests to cook a simple meal and comes with simple cookeries as well as a full dining set for four persons. However, only two teaspoons are available in the suite, which seems a tad weird. There is a full-size fridge in the kitchen, perfect for guests to store some food items and drinks. Other kitchen equipment found in the 2-bedroom apartment suite is a microwave and an electric kettle. A bar counter segregates the kitchen from the rest of the areas in this suite.

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Kitchen in the 2-bedroom apartment suite at Pullman Kuala Lumpur City Centre

Dining Room

Opposite the kitchen, a little after the front porch is where guests will find the dining room. The dining room is furnished with a wooden dining table with four chairs. This is a great place for guests in the room to gather, other than dine in the apartment suite. There is another cabinet placed by the wall next to the dining table, which we did not utilise.

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Dining room in the apartment suite

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This cabinet next to the dining table provides suite guests with extra storage space

Living Room

Occupying the largest real estate property in the suite, tucked in the furthest corner from the main entrance is where guests would find the living room. The living room is furnished with a 3-seater couch and two single-seat armchairs by the side. There are a couple of small tables on each side of the couch furnished with table lamps. In the centre of these chairs is a fairly large coffee table. Behind the couch is a semi-circular large window, which gives guests a good view of the city.

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A very cosy living room in Pullman Kuala Lumpur City Centre 2-bedroom apartment suite

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View of Kuala Lumpur from the living room in the suite

Opposite the couch is where a large 49″ LED TV is placed onto the TV cabinet. The feature wall cabinet above the TV not only serves as decor for the room but also provides extra storage space for guests. The heavy use of wooden furnishing in the living room area, coupled with the use of warm yellow lights makes this area feel very cosy.

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TV console area

Tucked in the furthest corner from the main entrance to the 2-bedroom suite at Pullman Kuala Lumpur City Centre is a small work desk. The work desk pretty standard which one would find in most hotels, comprising of two tables, which provides ample workspace for the apartment’s occupants. The hotel has cable internet access, which might provide fast internet complimentary internet access. I find the wifi in the suite to be very sluggish when I connected my phone to it.

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Work desk in the apartment faces the living room

I like the way the hotel place the living room, which is between the two bedrooms, serves not only as a focal point but a very good gathering space for occupants of this 2-bedroom apartment suite.

The Bedrooms

Master Bedroom

The master bedroom in the 2-bedroom apartment suite at Pullman Kuala Lumpur City Centre is found next to the kitchen. The squarish master bedroom feels a tad smaller compared to the second bedroom. At the centre of the master bedroom are the king size bed and a couple of bedside tables on each side of the bed. The use of yellow lighting in the master bedroom gives it a cosy feel. I find the sleep quality on the king bed to be good, however, the pillows are too soft (and gave me neck sore the next day) for my liking. The Pullman Kuala Lumpur City Centre does not provide a pillow menu for guests. Air conditioning in the master bedroom is rather bad. I had turned the temperature to the lowest, but still, find it warm.

The storage space in the master bedroom is not fantastic. There are two wardrobe space and a cabinet below where a 32″ LED TV is mounted. The wardrobe beside the TV  only allows guests to hang their clothes. The hotel managed to squeeze an ironing board and the iron inside this wardrobe, which takes up space in the already limited spaced wardrobe. The other wardrobe is found opposite the entrance to the bedroom, which has only shelves for guests to store clothes folded. However, I would think twice about putting my clothes here as I am not too sure when this wardrobe was being cleaned. There are some more cabinets below the TV which only allows guests to store small items and perhaps their shopping. The only power outlet in the master bedroom is found in the ledge below the TV. There is no in-room safe found in the master bedroom.

Second Bedroom

The second bedroom is located opposite the kitchen in this 2-bedroom apartment suite at Pullman Kuala Lumpur City Centre. Unlike the master bedroom, the second bedroom has an elongated space. The second bedroom is furnished with 2 twin beds each with a side table. There is only a small window in the second bedroom.

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Twin bed in the second bedroom

There is more wardrobe space in the second bedroom compared to the master bedroom, which goes to show the lack of thought by the interior designers of the hotel. It is also weird that the only in-room safe in the entire suite is found in the second bedroom. There are more wardrobe space as well as storage space in the second bedroom, allowing its occupants to store more clothing and items compared to the master bedroom. Similar to the master bedroom, a 32″ LED TV is placed on the cabinet opposite the bed.

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Wardrobe space and TV in the second bedroom

The Bathrooms

There are two bathrooms in the 2-bedroom apartment suite at Pullman Kuala Lumpur City Centre. Both bathrooms are located in each bedroom.

Master Bathroom

The master bathroom comes equipped with a bathtub and a walk-in shower stall. The bathtub is of a decent size, sufficient for guests for a good soak. Guests can opt to shower in the bathtub or utilise the walk-in shower stall.  The walk-in shower stall is equipped with a massaging function shower head.

At the centre of the master bathroom and also the first thing that one would see upon entering it from the master bedroom is the sink area. The master bathroom is equipped with a single sink and the marble countertop has sufficient space for one to put their additional toiletries on. There are cabinets above the sink that provides more storage space for guests. The hotel provides good quality bath amenities. Additional bathroom amenities such as toothbrushes, shavers, are found in this cabinet. However, the hotel does not provide glasses or mugs in both the bathrooms. Beside the sink and next to the walk-in shower is where the toilet is located.

Second Bathroom

Similar to the master bathroom, the second bathroom is located inside the second bedroom. Compared to the master bathroom, the second bathroom is smaller. The second bathroom is furnished with a bathtub, which is the same size as that found in the master bathroom. The bathtub in this bathroom also functions as a shower area as a walk-in shower stall is absent in this bathroom. There is an also a single sink countertop in this bathroom, however, this is smaller than that found in the master bathroom. The toilet in the second bathroom is found next to the sink area.

Ageing Suite

The suite screams of the need for a major renovation. The suite that I was assigned comes with fixtures that are broken and air-conditioning that is not functioning well.

Breakfast

Breakfast for guests staying in the 2-bedroom apartment suite is served at the Living Space, which caters to guests staying in the resident tower. The restaurant is located on the 10th floor in the building and is next to the swimming pool. One would find a good mix of local as well as western options for breakfast. The egg station is located outside the main restaurant area. The food is quite good and sufficient to fill one’s stomach. A small part of the menu for breakfast varies from day to day.

Swimming Pool

The swimming pool at Pullman Kuala Lumpur City Centre is located on level 10 of the hotel. The single swimming pool is separated into three parts, with a small shallower area catering for children and a large, deeper area for adults to do some decent laps in it.
A smaller round pool between the children and the adult pool is where one can find the jacuzzi pool.

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Swimming pool at Pullman Kuala Lumpur City Centre

Gym

There is a small gym located on the 10th floor of Pullman Kuala Lumpur City Centre. Access to the gym is via the keycard to the room. The gym comprises two areas, one area for guests to do their yoga pilates. An area further into the gym area is equipped with some gym machines such as treadmills and weight machines that guests can do some simple work out. The gym in Pullman Kuala Lumpur City Centre is quite simply equipped.

Children’s Club

The hotel has a Children’s Club located next to the gym, which is essentially a huge play area for children and young adults. The children’s club has an indoor playground as well as some computer for LAN gaming and console games such as Xbox and PS to keep children entertained during their stay at the hotel. There is even a movie screen area where guests can borrow movies from the manned counter to watch with their friends or children.

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Children’s Club is equipped with entertainment options for kids and young adults

Service

Service rendered in Pullman Kuala Lumpur City Centre is generally good. Staffs are welcoming at the point of check-in. There are even staffs at the reception area that are deployed to assist guests in check-in and check-out. The porters at the main door to the hotel are very friendly and would always be there to open doors for guests. I called the housekeeping to request for additional bath amenities and my requests were met with speed and efficiency. The amenities that I requested for were delivered to my suite within minutes of hanging up the phone. The staffs at Living Space where breakfast for residence guests is served are very friendly. The lady at the front of the house was always seen with a smile and promptly brought us to our table. Plates were cleared promptly by the staff in the restaurant and food was constantly topped up during the first day when I headed the Living Space for breakfast, However, there seems to be a lack of staff around the Living Space on the second day. This has resulted in plates not cleared and food not topped up.

Overall

Pullman Kuala Lumpur City Centre is very well located with tons of shopping around the hotel. The suite I was assigned is very spacious and is well equipped even for a long-term stay. The suite seems dated and fixtures are falling apart. The sleep quality on the bed is decent, but the pillow is too soft for my liking. Service is generally quite good in the hotel where staffs can generally be spotted smiling whenever guests walk past.

[Airline Review] – Malindo Air B737-800 (OD804) – Economy Class, SIN-KUL (9 Nov 18)

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Malindo Air using Batik Air B737-800

On the Ground

Malindo Air has its dedicated check-in counters in Singapore Changi Airport Terminal 3. Malindo Air shares the same check-in counters as Lion Air and Batik Air. Passengers flying on Malindo Air are given 20kg check-in baggage. Web check-in on Malindo Air was not available for flight departing Singapore. The check-in counters for Malindo Air is located in Row 1 in the terminal building, which is located at the left extreme side of the terminal. The ground staff processing our check-in wasn’t really that friendly, she has a poker face as if she is there just to do her job. The ground staff did not even bother to inform us of the gate the aircraft will be departing nor the boarding time. After processing our documents, she merely passed our boarding pass to us.

The Aircraft

At the departure gate, we found that the aircraft plying this Singapore to Kuala Lumpur route is being serviced by Batik Air B737-800. Despite having Batik Air livery, the only item onboard the aircraft having the Malindo branding is the aircraft safety card.

Cabin

Malindo Air B737-800 is a single aisle aircraft equip with two classes, Business Class and Economy Class. There are a total of 12 seats in Business Class cabin and 196 seats in Economy Class cabin. The Economy Class cabin is brightly lighted and decked with dark brown leather seats with red trimmings, giving it a very clean and refreshing look. The mood lighting present in the Economy Class cabin gives it a very vibrant feel.

There are only two lavatories situated at the rear of the aircraft serving all 196 Economy Class passengers. However, during the flight, only one lavatory was usable. According to the flight attendants, the other lavatory did not have water hence was not usable. The lavatory is a tad small given the size of the aircraft. Unlike most other airlines, Malindo Air uses blue lighting to illuminate the lavatory. Amenities inside the lavatory are limited to hand soap and tissue. Despite being small, the lavatory has all the necessary that served its purposes.

The Seat

Seats in Economy Class cabin onboard Malindo Air B737-800 are arranged in 3-3 configuration, each having a pitch of 32″ and width of 17″. Each Economy Class seat is wrapped in leather, which is very comfortable to sit in and also gives the cabin a premium feel. Legroom in Malindo Air B737-800 is very good, it does not feel cramp during the flight. The seats onboard Malindo Air B737-800 feels very basic. Since there is no IFE onboard, the only seat function that is found onboard is the seat recline button, located on the right armrest. The seat pocket is pretty standard, allowing passengers to store personal items such as passport, mobile phone and even an iPad (though I do not recommend as most airline seat pockets are filthy). Other controls such as air vent and lighting as well as flight attendant call button can be found on the ceiling above the seat.

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Business Class seats

In-Flight Entertainment

I was a tad disappointed to find the absence of In-flight Entertainment system onboard this aircraft. Drop down screens are not even available onboard. Safety briefings are conducted by the flight attendants. The only form of entertainment onboard is the in-flight magazines. Since this is a short 1-hour flight, the absence of IFE did not bother me much.

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The only entertainment onboard is the in-flight magazines

The Food

Due to the short flight time, only drinks are served onboard. Passengers are given options of water or cranberry juice.

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Only drinks are served during the flight. I opted for cranberry juice.

Service

Despite the “basic-ness” of the seats, the service onboard is great for a short 1-hour flight. We were welcomed by the warm flight attendants during boarding and again thanked by the crew when deplaning. Despite the short flight time and the numerous passengers to be served drinks, the flight attendants carried out their duties with a smile. As I was queuing for the lavatory, the flight attendants quickly served those of us in the queue a cup of drink and even returned to ask if we wanted more. Flight attendants were seen patrolling the cabin several times during the short flight.

Afterthought

Would I fly Malindo Air again? For a short flight such as Singapore to Kuala Lumpur, yes I would. However, I wouldn’t consider the airlines for longer flight times. Despite the comfortable seats in Economy Class cabin and the great service, the lack of IFE and the non-availability of web check-in is sufficient to deter me from flying with the airlines for anything longer than 1 hour.

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Flying with Malindo Air

[Airline Review] – Thai Airways B777-300ER (TG409) – Business Class, BKK-SIN (1 Oct 18)

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The refurbished Thai Airways B777-300ER

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I like the Thai Airways logo between the two sections of its Business Class cabins

On the Ground

Check-in

Thai Airways has a dedicated check-in row for Passengers flying on Business Class in Bangkok Suvarnabhumi Airport. The check-in counters are located on the left most of the terminal building, in Row B. The Business Class check-in is a sit-down experience, where chairs are available at the counters for passengers to rest their feet while the ground staff perform their check-in. The staff processed the check-in with efficiency and handed our boarding pass to us in no time. She also reminded us of the boarding time and the gate where our flight would depart. The ground staff also extended an invitation to us to the Royal Silk Lounge. One thing I like about flying out of Suvarnabhumi Airport on Thai Airways is the dedicated immigration counter for Business Class passengers. There is no queue at the immigration counter, which allowed us to clear immigration in no time.

Royal Silk Lounge

Passing the immigration counter, an escalator leads us one floor down to the Royal Silk Lounge. The Royal Silk Lounge at the bottom of the escalator (Concourse D) is the largest among the five lounges spreading across Bangkok Suvarnabhumi Airport. Business Class passengers can access any of the five lounges at the airport. The staffs at the Royal Silk Lounge welcomed us with a warm smile and gave us a printed slip with log in details to the lounge wifi. The lounge at Concourse D, with a floor area of 1,400m², is decked in dark brown colour scheme. There are several food stations spread across the massive lounge and no lack of sitting area. The food on offer at the lounge is mainly Thai food with a small mix of sandwiches. Business Class passengers are also treated with a huge selection of beverages. The lounge is a great place to relax and unwind while waiting for our flight. There is also a selection of magazines and newspapers for passengers to read at the lounge. Business Class passengers are also treated to a 30 min foot massage or head & shoulder massage at the Royal Orchid Spa across from the Royal Silk Lounge at Concourse D. Due to the shortage of time, we did not get to enjoy the massage in Royal Orchid Spa.

Departure Gate

TG409 departs from Gate C7, which is a relatively short walk from the Royal Silk Lounge at Concourse D. As Bangkok Suvarnabhumi Airport is rather long, walking from gate to gate would require a substantial amount of time. My friends and I catered extra time to get to the boarding gate.

The Aircraft

The Cabin

Thai Airways uses its B777-300ER which is refitted with the new Business Class seats on this Bangkok to Singapore route. The refitted Business Class cabin is decked in its iconic purple hue and an earthy brown tone. The earthy brown tone makes the cabin feel cosy, and the purple seems to suggest Thai Airways is paying homage to the colour that most passengers would identify the company with. There are a total of 42 seats in the business class cabin, split into two sections with 24 seats in the forward section and 18 seats in the rear section. The cabin feels very comfortable and the use of mood lighting at different periods of the flight time allows passengers to adjust their body clock to the time of the day in the destination. I am sitting in the rear Business Class cabin, which is separated with Economy Class by a thin bulkhead. This part of the cabin is behind the door where Economy Class passengers boards the aircraft, there seem to be a tad livelier during boarding.

Two of the three lavatories in the Business Class cabin is situated between the two sections of the cabin, with one more next to the cockpit. The lavatory does not seem any bigger than those in Economy Class cabin, however, the use of wood-like materials and the clever use of light combined with mirrors eliminates any feeling of claustrophobic feel that one might experience in this tight space. There is a difference in terms of amenities in the Business Class cabin lavatory compared to that in Economy Class cabin. Other than the hand soap and cologne found in Economy Class lavatory, hand lotion and handkerchiefs are available in the Business Class cabin lavatory. These amenities are presented in white cloths, together with the orchid flowers, gave the lavatory a premium feel. I always like the use of sensor tap onboard Thai Airways lavatories which is more hygienic for its passengers.

The Seat

Business Class cabin onboard Thai Airways B777-300ER are refitted with the new generation staggered Solstys style seats that one will find onboard Thai Airways newer aircrafts such as Thai Airways A380 and A350. The staggered seats in Business Class cabin gave passengers direct aisle access. Business Class seats on Thai Airways B77-300ER has a pitch of 82″ and measures 20″ wide. It is capable of reclining 180º into a true flatbed. Other than the flatbed mode, the Business Class cabin seat has a lounge mode, which is somewhere between the upright take-off/landing mode and the flatbed mode. I find this mode to be the most comfortable when watching TV onboard. The Business Class cabin seats come with massage function, which is great for passengers sitting on them for an extended period of time. There is a button on the seat controls that allows passengers to move the Business Class seats forward and back. Business Class passengers will find a large size pillow and a quilt placed on their seat at the time of boarding.

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Business Class cabin seats on Thai Airways B777-300ER

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Seat control buttons and IFE controller

The legroom onboard Thai Airways B777-300ER is excellent. There is plenty of room for me to stretch my legs out onto the ottoman that comes in every seat. There is a small area below the ottoman where passengers can put their shoes in.

Each Business Class seat on the refurbished Thai Airways B777-300ER is fitted with a side table, which is perfect for passengers to stow their reading materials. This is also where the flight attendants placed drinks or snacks when served to the passengers. Above the side table is where one will find one of the two seat pockets holding in-flight magazines and the menu. A LED reading light is mounted in front of the seat pocket, which comes with a brightness adjustment function. I find the storage bin beneath the armrest very functional and is great for storing small items such as tablet PCs, passports and mobile phone. This storage bin is hidden out of sight, which makes it safe to store small items in. The headphone jack and a seat power socket are found on the side of the seat.

The Business Class seats come with a rather large table, clad in wooden furnishing that is coherent with the furnishing of the side table, giving the cabin a luxurious look. The table can be moved slightly forward to allow passengers to exit the seat without having to stow it back. When stowed away, the table is nicely flush with the bulkhead. There is also a coat hook next to the table. Beneath the stowed table is a small seat pocket where one can find the aircraft safety card and air sickness bag.

In-Flight Entertainment

Passengers on all Thai Airways flights are treated to on-demand audio and video In-Flight Entertainment (IFE) system. Business Class passengers are equipped with a noise cancelling headphone, which is placed on the seat prior to boarding.  The refurbished Thai Airways B777-300ER Business Class seats come equipped with a 15″ TV screen which has a touchscreen function, which feels very responsive. There are two USB ports underneath the TV screen where passengers can use to charge their mobile devices as well. The IFE system onboard Thai Airways is packed a wide array of entertainment options. With more than 100 movies, including latest Hollywood blockbusters and latest Thai movies, 150 TV programmes and 500 CD albums, passengers are assured that they will be well entertained flying on Thai Airways.

The IFE is well organised in intuitive menus that passengers can control from the touchscreen on the TV. The same IFE menu is replicated on the IFE controller which also comes with a touchscreen function.

The Food

Business Class passengers were served pre-departure drinks as soon as we got settled in our seats. I recommend one to try out the Thai Airways signature drink, Violet Bliss, which is only available in Business Class. Violet Bliss is made with butterfly pea and is very refreshing. I had this drink throughout my time onboard this flight. Despite being a short 2-hour flight, flight attendants went around serving drinks and peanuts as soon as the seat belt light is turned off, while the meal is being heated up.

As this is a short flight, meals are served all at once instead of course by course. The crab meat and avocado timbale appetiser are delicious. I can taste the freshness of the generous amount of crab meat, which opened up my appetite for the main course. Business Class passengers are given three options for the main course: salmon, chicken or pork dish. I opted for the stir-fried pork fillet with noodles. The pork is very tender and flavourful and the Sha Cha sauce is delicious. However, I did not quite like the noodle as it is cold and tasteless, which I find does not complement the pork well. After the main meal, I had Thai pudding for dessert which is light and tasty.

The Service

The service in Business Class on this Thai Airways flight is nothing short of impeccable. Business Class passengers were welcomed onboard with the traditional Thai hand gesture and the warmest smile when we stepped into the aircraft. We were served the pre-departure drink and a hot towel as soon as we settled into our seat. The flight attendant showed us where to find the menu and returned to take our orders for the meal. Flight attendants swiftly sprung into action to heat up and serve meals to passengers as soon as the seat belt light is turned off.

The flight attendant serving this section of the aircraft is nothing short of excellent and knew what customer service is all about. She took the time to go around introducing herself to all the passengers under her charge. During her introduction, I am surprised to find out that the flight attendant took the initiative to memorise each passenger’s name and addressed us by our surname. This is the first time I encountered such treatment onboard Thai Airways Business Class! When my friend was not sure about what to have for the meal, the flight attendant took the time to explain how each dish is prepared and the ingredients that go into the meal. The flight attendant recommended my friend the salmon dish, which my friend remarked the meal was the best in-flight meal she had tasted. I remarked to the flight attendant how much I like the Thai Airways signature drink, Violet Bliss, and would always request for the drink whenever I fly in Business Class. The flight attendant took note of my liking and topped up the drink whenever she saw the glass is empty. The attention to details and her taking the time to listen and remember my preference for the drink is what makes flying on Business Class on this Thai Airways flight awesome.

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Flight attendant serving this section of the cabin introduced herself to the passengers prior to taking off

Afterthought

The Business Class seat on the refitted Thai Airways B777-300ER is very comfortable. I particularly like the seat in lounge mode, which I found most comfortable for resting and watching movies. The IFE system is packed with loads of entertainment options that removed the boredom of flying with Thai Airways. The food is tasty and flavourful and does not taste like your typical aircraft meal. The service I received on this flight is nothing but excellent. Just when I thought my last experience with Thai Airways on their A380 was the best, the service provided by the flight attendant on this flight tops it. Her attention to details and dedication to ensuring passengers have a great experience in Business Class is what makes this flight memorable for me.

[Accommodation Review] – Grande Centre Point Ploenchit (2 Bedroom Suite), Bangkok, Thailand (27 Sep – 1 Oct 18)

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Hotel Signage

Location

Grande Centre Point Ploenchit is very centrally located, very near to central shopping malls such as Central World and Siam Paragon in Central Bangkok. The hotel is located on the main street of Wireless Road and is a mere 5 mins walk away from Ploenchit BTS Station. Ploenchit BTS Station is two stops away from Siam Station where Siam Paragon and Siam Square is located, as well as two stops away from Asok Station, which is where Terminal 21 Shopping Mall is located. Nearer to the hotel is the newly opened upscale Central Embassy shopping mall, situated opposite Grande Centre Point Ploenchit. A 2-bedroom suite in Grande Centre Point Ploenchit and its relatively central location is a reason why I chose to stay at this hotel, I paid under S$1,200 for a three-night stay that comes bundled with daily breakfast for four guests. This provides very good value in staying in Grande Centre Point Ploenchit.

The Suite

The 2-bedroom suite has a total floor area of 96m². which modern Thai architecture resonating throughout the entire suite. White is the main colour with a touch of earthy brown, making the suite looks refreshing and clean.

Kitchenette

As soon as one enters the suite, the kitchenette is immediate to the left of the entrance. The space allocated to the open kitchenette is not big, however, it has all the amenities that allow guests to cook a simple meal. A full-size fridge that comes with 8 bottles of water and a can of coke, as well as a packet of fruit juice, is replenished every day in the fridge with compliments of the hotel. Next to the fridge, tucked nicely into the table top, is where one can find a 2-in-1 washer cum dryer. There is a sink as well as a single induction stove located next to it. Other kitchen appliances such as microwave oven and electric kettle are also found in the kitchenette. The kitchenette is also stocked with a complete set of dinnerware sets and cutlery for four persons. A small dining table, capable of sitting four adults comfortably is also found in the kitchenette. This dining table separates the kitchenette area from the living room area.

Living Room

The living room in the 2-bedroom suite of Grande Centre Point Ploenchit is located a little into the room from the entrance. The living room is decked in white with hues of brown that makes the living room look clean and cosy. The space allocated to the living room isn’t really that big, however, it is large enough for the occupants to hang around and interact. The living room is furnished with a 3-seater couch, placed by the wall and a single seat armchair. A coffee table is placed in the centre of the room. Opposite the couch is a large LED TV mounted on the wall. There is a table that runs along the wall where the TV is mounted. This table serves as a great place for us to put our shopping onto. The entire suite is equipped with power outlets that accept international plugs, there are four power outlets in the living room alone. I do find the living room a tad dark at one corner at night, due to the placement of the lighting. However, the living room is well lighted in most parts. The air conditioning in the living room seems to be malfunctioning. Most of the time the living room feels warm, as though the aircon is not working. We contacted front desk a few times to get it rectified, however, the problem seems to persist throughout our stay at Grande Centre Point Ploenchit.

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Living Room

Balcony

The balcony in this 2-bedroom suite is located at the furthest end of the room, right after the living room and is quite large. It runs the entire width of the suite, up to the second bedroom. A single wooden chair and a small coffee table are placed in the balcony, which makes it a great place to hang out and relax by. The view of Bangkok from the balcony is superb.

The Bedrooms

Master Bedroom

The entrance to the Master Bedroom in this 2-bedroom suite in Grande Centre Point Ploenchit is found after the dining table in the kitchenette area. Entering the Master Bedroom, one will find the entrance to the toilet to the left. As one walk past the wardrobe, tucked into the right side of the wall, the room opens up to a spacious sleeping area. The furnishing of the Master Bedroom is a tad weird. Instead of having a standard king bed, twin beds are found in the Master Bedroom. The hotel can configure the bedding in the room to the king bed (by simply pushing both beds together. The colour theme in the Master Bedroom is predominantly earthy, giving the room a very comfortable feel. The sleep quality on the bed is excellent as I was able to get a great night sleep every night. The pillows are of the right firmness for me (I will not be able to sleep on soft or flat pillows). On either side of the bed are a couple of side tables, where I found a couple of power outlets to charge my electronic devices. Other than the bedside lamps, there are reading lights mounted on the wall where the beds are placed. The large picture of a river in Thailand adds some Thai flare into the room. However, I find the distance between the bed and the bedside table a tad far when both beds are pushed together to form a king bed. Opposite the bed, mounted onto the wall is a LED TV. An open ledge and cabinets are found beneath the TV, which provides guests with more storage space. There is no other furniture such are writing desk in the Master Bedroom. Instead of using curtains, Grande Centre Point Ploenchit installed wooden blinds in the Master Bedroom, which is equally effective in blocking out sunlight.

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Bedding in the master bedroom

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TV and cabinet in master bedroom

There is only one wardrobe found in the Master Bedroom located beside the TV. which I find weird given that there are two wardrobes in the second bedroom. The wardrobe size is not large and I can only hang a limited amount of clothing. The presence of a two-tier cabinet inside the wardrobe does create additional space for guests to stow some more clothing. The only in-room safe is found inside the wardrobe in the Master Bedroom.

Second Bedroom

The entrance to the Second Bedroom is located next to the balcony doors. There is also an en-suite bathroom inside the Second Bedroom. Compared to the Master Bedroom, the Second Bedroom is a lot smaller, however, it feels cosier. The second bedroom is also decked out in earthy colours with white walls, giving the bedroom a cosy feel. The Second Bedroom is furnished with Queen size bed, with bedside tables on each side of the bed. Similar to the Master Bedroom, there are lamps and reading lights mounted onto the wall on each side of the bed. Power outlets are also found on the wall by the bedside tables on both sides. Opposite the bed is where a TV is found mounted on the wall. Beneath the TV is a small work desk.

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Queen size bed in the second bedroom

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TV and a small desk in the second bedroom

Unlike the Master Bedroom, there are two wardrobes in the Second Bedroom. The wardrobes are located next to the work desk and stretch to the entrance of the Second Bedroom. Despite having two wardrobes, only one and a half wardrobe space can be used by guests staying in this bedroom. The full wardrobe, located next to the work desk, is similar to that found in the Master Bedroom, which also comes with a two-tier cabinet space. The other wardrobe, by the entrance to the Second Bedroom, only have half the space allocated for clothing storage. There is also a two-tier cabinet inside this wardrobe. The other half of this wardrobe is where one can find the only iron and ironing board in this 2-bedroom suite as well two umbrellas.

Bathrooms

Master Bathroom

There are two bathrooms in the 2-bedroom suite at Grande Centre Point Ploenchit. The bathroom in the Master Bedroom is the larger of the two bathrooms. Decked in brown tiles and dark flooring, the bathroom feels a tad old school and is a glaring contrast compared to the rest of the suite. The Master bathroom is designed with the bathing area on the left and sink/toilet area on the right. Immediately after the door, a walk-in shower stall enclosed in glass panels is the first thing that greets guests. Further into the bathroom, on the left side is where the bathtub is located. The sink area is situated on the right side of the bathroom, opposite the shower stall. The sink area is large enough for both occupants of the Master Bedroom to stow their toiletries. Next to the sink area is the toilet, which comes with bidet function. Grande Centre Point Ploenchit provides its guests will full bath amenities including toothbrushes, which some hotels in Bangkok does not provide. However I find the quality of the shampoo and shower gel to be a tad poor, the amount provided (30ml bottles) seem to be insufficient for both occupants to utilities in a day.

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Shower stall and the bathtub is found on the left side of the bathroom

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Toilet and sink on the right side of the bathroom

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Bathroom Amenities

Second Bathroom

The Second bathroom is slightly smaller than the Master bathroom. This bathroom is also decked in the same colour scheme as with the Master bathroom. There are two entrances to the Second bathroom, one from the Second bedroom and one from the living room. I guess this design is to allow the suite’s occupants’ guests to use without accessing into either bedroom. The Second bathroom is also designed with the bathing area on one side and the sink/toilet area on the opposite side. There is no walk-in shower stall in this bathroom, guests using this bathroom would have to take their shower in the bathtub, where the shower head is mounted at a higher height compared to the one in the Master bathroom. The sink area in the Second bathroom is also a tad smaller compared to that in the Master bathroom. The toilet in this bathroom also comes with bidet function.

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The Second bathroom is smaller and is accessible from the living room

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Bathtub in the second bathroom

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Bathroom amenities

Breakfast

Breakfast is served at BlueSpice Restaurant, the only restaurant in Grande Centre Point Ploenchit. BlueSpice restaurant is located on the ground floor next to the reception. Guests are treated to a mix of Asian and Western cuisine for breakfast. There is also Thai food included in the buffet breakfast. The food served is delicious and I especially like the mango sticky rice, which is served at a limited quantity daily. The mango served was juicy and sweet. There is also an egg station where it is prepared ala-minute. The breakfast menu is adjusted slightly daily so that guests will not get bored with the food.

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Breakfast in Grande Centre Point Ploenchit

Swimming Pool

Swimming Pool in Grande Centre Point Ploenchit is located on the second floor of the hotel. The main pool is large enough for guests to swim some decent laps in. The pool is a great place for guests who want to suntan as the deck chairs are not obstructed by trees or tall buildings. Other than the main pool, there is also a wading pool in the sheltered area of the pool area for children as well as a Jacuzzi pool.

Gym

Grande Centre Point Ploenchit has a small gym, located next to the swimming pool area. The gym is a tad small and is split into two separate rooms. The first room consists of weights, where one can find some decent weight equipment. The other room is where guests can do some running on the treadmills on or do some cycling on the stationary bike.

Service

The service rendered by the staff in Grande Centre Point Ploenchit is excellent. We were greeted with smiles wherever we go in the hotel. The great service started the moment we alighted our cab, where the porters readily received us and helped us with our luggage. The staffs at the reception welcomed us with a smile and processed our check-in swiftly. I approached one of the staffs at the reception regarding the aircon issue in the living room of my suite, the staff took note and the problem was resolved when we returned to our suite. The staff at the reception were seen wearing a smile every time. The staffs at BlueSpice restaurant were great too. We were always welcomed with a smile every day we patron the restaurant for breakfast. The diligent restaurant staff were seen patrolling the dining floor and ensured that no empty plates where left uncleared. The food was constantly replenished by the staff who checks the quantity level of the food on a regular basis. Even the housekeeping staff made us feel welcome. We bumped into them a few times and these heroines behind the scene will always smile and greet us. They did a fantastic job in keeping our suite clean.

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Complimentary refreshments in the hotel lobby

Overall

Grande Centre Point Ploenchit offers excellent value for money for the suite and the location it is in. Despite not being right smack centre of Bangkok, it is close enough to the city centre where all the buzz is. Being situated in this area of Bangkok does bring some tranquillity in busy Bangkok. The hotel is very close to BTS station, which makes it very accessible to other parts of Bangkok. The room is nicely decorated with modern Thai theme and is very clean. The sleep quality on the bed is excellent, provided me and my friends with excellent sleep quality. The staffs throughout the hotel made us feel welcome and are always seen with a smile. I had an excellent and comfortable stay in Grande Centre Point Ploenchit.