[Accommodation Review] – Aloft Hotel (Stylish Suite), Bangkok, Thailand (19 – 22 May 16)

Location

Aloft Hotel Bangkok is part of the SPG group of hotels and is a sister hotel of W Hotel worldwide. The hotel is located in Sukhumvit Road, and the nearest BTS is Nana Station, which is a mere five minutes walk from the hotel. Nana Station is three stops away from Siam BTS interchange station and one stop away from Terminal 21 shopping mall. However do note that the side of the BTS exit does not have escalator and guests to this hotel are expected to climb three flights of stairs to get to the ticketing area of the station. While walking along Soi 11, one might feel the walk takes forever to reach Aloft Bangkok as it is located far in the street, despite only five mins on foot is required. The area around the hotel is sprouted with bars and pubs, which can be noisy and rowdy at nights. If the agenda is to enjoy the clubbing scene in Bangkok, Aloft Bangkok is an excellent base as the pubs are literally on the hotel’s doorsteps. Despite the clubbing scene around, the hotel rooms are well sound-proofed which is very effective in keeping the noise out of the rooms. There are also tons of street food from the hotel to the BTS station, there are also a few convenient shops in the vicinity of the hotel. Soi 11 from the main road to the hotel can be jam packed with cars and pedestrians at night, one will be faced with traffic jam at nights when going to the hotel.
Hotel Signage at night
Entrance to Aloft Bangkok
There are plenty of seating in the lobby of Aloft Bangkok
Reception area in Aloft Bangkok
Aloft Bangkok has a vibrant vibe throughout the hotel with the use of bright and cheerful colours

The Suite

Living Room

I checked into the Stylish suite, one of the two categories of suite Aloft Bangkok has, measuring a generous 60m². Guests staying in this spacious suite would have ample room to move around, entertain their friends as well as to stow their personal effects. As I entered the suite, a white coloured small round dinning table with four chairs caught my eyes. This dinning set is placed in one corner of the living room of the suite. There is a door to the left of the entrance to the suite, which gives me access to the walk-in wardrobe and the bathroom.

Corridor outside the suite
Main entrance to the suite. The door on the right leads to the wardrobe area and the bathroom
Guests entering the suite will see the dinning area with four chairs

Continuing into the suite, a turn to the left opens up to the couch area. The brown coloured 3 seater couch, together with a large sized cushioned stool is a perfect place for guests to laze in while watching numerous channels on the LED TV in the lounge area. A coffee table is placed between the TV and the couch. There is also a TV rack placed below the wall mounted TV, creating more space for guests to put their stuff on. I like the clever use of space in the suite, which creates a spacious feel throughout the entire suite.

Lounge area in the living room 
The lounge area is located right in front of the dinning area
The placement of the TV allows guests to watch TV even when dinning

The minibar area is well tucked into the wall space next to the dining table. Here is where guests can find a small bar fridge as well as a coffee machine and an electric pot. There is a magazine rack on top of the mini bar area, with the latest magazines for guests to read in the lounge area.

Minibar with complementary water, coffee and tea
Contents in the fridge (chargeable)
Snacks (chargeable) placed under the TV

Bedroom

Through a sliding door from the lounge area, one will find themselves entering the bedroom. Entrance to the bathroom is to the right of the door to the bedroom. Entering the bedroom, a cozy and comfortable sensation is immediately felt. Aloft Bangkok merged contemporary design with hints of Thai culture into the design of the bedroom as seen in the portraits above the headboard of the bed. the main feature in the bedroom is the super King Size bed, capable of sleeping three adults comfortably. There are a couple of bedside tables on either side of the bed, with power sockets, allowing guests to charge their lifestyle gadgets. Aloft Bangkok also provided an alarm clock cum docking device for users of Samsung phones to plug into on the bedside table next to the entrance of the bathroom. The sleep quality on the bed is nothing short of excellence. I had great quality sleep on the bed every night. The bed is so comfortable that I was fast asleep soon resting on it.

Super King Size bed that we sleep 3 adults comfortably 
The sleep quality on the bed is superb. I was left feeling refresh every morning
Clock cum docking device in the suite

Another large LED TV is being mounted on the wall facing the bed. As with that in the living room, there is also a ledge for guests to put their stuff, creating more storage space. Next to the TV, in front of the bathroom entrance is where one can find a work desk.

A LED TV is mounted on the wall opposite the bed

The work desk is tucked onto the wall facing one of two large windows. There is a series of connecting ports, ranging from USB to HDMI and more power sockets on the wall at the work desk.

Work desk
Spacious work desk allows one to do some decent work
Power sockets and various ports for connecting to the TV is available at the work desk

A white colour single seater armchair is being placed with a standing reading lamp in the furthest corner of the bedroom. I find this spot a perfect place for guests to do some reading or simply to chill.

 

Armchair tucked into the corner of the bedroom, providing a great spot for guests to do some reading

Bathroom

There are 2 entrances to the spacious bathroom, one from the bedroom and one from the living room. The design of the bathroom is an ingenious move, by merging the wardrobe area with the bathroom, the bathroom not only is spacious, it is also very functional. Entering the modern designed bathroom from the bedroom, one can find double sinks mounted onto a white table top. The generous double sinks allows guests in the bathroom do not have to fight or waste time waiting for their turns using them. Standard toiletries such as soap, shaver, toothbrush and vanity kits can be found placed between the two sinks.

Twin sink in the bathroom
Toiletries provided. Only one toothbrush is provided despite the records stating there are two of us staying in the suite.

To the right of the sink is two cubicles enclosed in glass, adding even more spaciousness into the bathroom. The toilet cubicle and the walk-in shower are located to the right of the sinks. The shower cubicle does not come with rainshower head, however the showerhead is sufficient to give me the rainshower feel. As a green effort that Aloft Bangkok is undertaking, shampoos and shower gels are not in small bottles, but placed in large containers mounted to the wall in the shower cubicle. The housekeeping staffs ensured that these amenities are topped up everyday they clean up the suite. I particularly like the Bliss all-in-one shampoo+conditioner and the shower gel as they left my skin feeling soft after every shower. The body lotion also leaves my skin feeling soft and does not feel sticky.

The use of glass in the bathing area enhances the spaciousness in the bathroom
Toilet cubicle
Shower cubicle. There are no rain shower head.
Excellent quality shampoo and body wash provided in the shower cubicle

Tucked at the furthest corner of the bathroom is where guests can find a Jacuzzi bathtub, which is a great place for one to relax into after a day’s shopping in the streets of Bangkok. However when I turned on the tap to fill the water in the bathtub, brownish water flowed from the tap. There were also black particles being ejected out of the Jacuzzi jets when being turned on. However these were being resolved by the staff the next day.

Luxurious bathtub with jacuzzi
Brown water coming from the tap in the bathtub. The tap was also ceased up that we can’t use the shower head by the tub

Guests are treated to a generous wardrobe area from the entrance next to the main entrance to the sinks. This area (about 3/4 of the size of the living room) is where the wardrobe can be found. The wardrobe, a single panel wardrobe is capable of hanging two weeks of clothing, however there limited hangers made available in the wardrobe. Guests can located the iron and the ironing board well hidden inside the wardrobe. Beside the wardrobe, built into the wall is a four-tiered open shelving and two large drawers. Hairdryer is stored in the top drawer. The space dedicated to these shelvings are rather generous, guests can put alot of stuffs in these shelves. An in-room safe is being installed in the middle open shelf. Aloft Bangkok designed their suite to give ample space to stow tow big luggage on the ledge opposite the wardrobe.

Wardrobe area in the bathroom. The door leads to the living room
Four tiered open shelf with two large drawers below
The wardrobe is capable of storing more clothing if more hangers were provided 
One of the two ledges for storage of luggages
This can double up as a vanity area or to stow luggage

Breakfast Run

Breakfast was served in Re:Fuel restaurant located on the ground floor of Aloft Bangkok. The spread was not a lot, but sufficient to fill my stomach. I am quite surprised to find grilled pork and soup noodles being served. There is a section of cold sandwiches at the entrance of the restaurant. There are however no signs of eggs nor an egg station. Guests would have to request them from the ever busy staffs.

Egg themed dishes 
Hot food area
Noodle station
Grilled pork and bread station
Cold sandwich station

Swimming Pool

The swimming pool in Aloft Bangkok is located on 10th floor. The 1.2m deep infinity lap pool stretches all the way to the edge of the building, where guests can relax, looking out into the streets of Sukhumvit Soi 11. There is a small wading pool at the other end of the pool, separated by hip height glass for safety reasons. There are limited tanning chairs around, however due to the low utilisation of the pool by the guests, I was able to get a spot fairly quickly whenever I visited the pool. There isn’t much trees around at the pool area, guests can be assured of a getting a good tan on most of the chairs. There is a small pool side bar indoors, where drinks and snacks can be ordered from. The water temperature in the pool is just nice, I wasn’t feeling too cold when having a swim there.

 

Infinity lap pool that stretches to the edge of Aloft Bangkok
All the tanning chairs are free from vegetations. Guests can be assured of having a great tan here
Infinity pool with Aloft logo
Edge of the pool

Gym

On the same level as the swimming pool, located by the lift lobby on level 10, is where the gym is located. The gym space is rather small, however there are machines that allow guests to work out every part of their body. There are limited numbers of each type of machine. The gym in Aloft Bangkok has a small corner where the weights are located. A water dispenser is available in the gym for guests to hydrate themselves.

Small but well equipped gym

Service

Service rendered in a hotel is another factor that I pay attention to. The service in Aloft Bangkok is a mix. Service at the reception of Aloft Bangkok is exemplary. I was warmly welcomed by the staff and the duty manager at the time of my checking in. The staffs at the reception introduced themselves to me and ensured that the check-in process does not take too long. I was briefed on the breakfast timing and the location for breakfast. The duty manager even assured me to give her a call should I require more assistance to ensure my stay is comfortable. There was this occasion when I raise some issues to the duty manager, instead of being defensive the duty manager listened with empathy and assured me that the issues raised will be rectified.

I approached the reception the next day to inform them about the brown water from the tap in the bathtub, instead of pushing it away, the staffs ensured that the piping was checked and I returned to the suite with clear water from the tap after the issue was being raised. Staffs at the reception area were always smiling and listening attentively to guests. When I asked to extend my late check-out, by another hour, the staff immediately acceded to my request without asking for reasons. She even voluntarily encode the keycard to my suite to ensure I will still be able to gain access to my suite. The check-out process is swift and fuss-free.

My friend arranged with the hotel for a birthday cake for me. The cake and a bottle of sparkling wine was placed in the suite when we entered.

The professional staffs ensured that I was not held up unnecessarily and even gotten her colleague to hail a cab to the airport. The hotel also provide complementary tuk-tuk shuttle service to the nearby Nana BTS and some other nearby locations. However there was no sign on how to get the service, I only found out on my last day of my stay when I approached the concierge desk in the lobby.

Hotel tuk-tuk that ferries guests to the nearby BTS station
Locations that the hotel can pick up guests from in their took-tuk

However the service during breakfast runs at RE:Fuel does not match up with that provided by their colleagues in the reception area. I was greeted by an impatient and frowning staff at the entrance to the breakfast restaurant on the second day of my stay. The staff did not offer smile and tried to put me up in a table (for four pax, we were a party of two) underneath the staircase leading to the second floor. When I scanned around and saw an empty table by the window and requested to change table, I was told off by the staff that the table is a larger table for four pax. I was only allowed to change table (reluctantly) when I told the staff that the size of that table (by the window) is the same size as that underneath the staircase.

On the third day of my stay, we met the same staff at the entrance to RE:Fuel whom told us that the ground floor restaurant was full. We were invited to use the dinning area upstairs. My friend and I went upstairs after getting our food and realised that none of the tables upstairs were set up for dinning. There were no cutlery set up in any tables upstairs. This is the time we went back downstairs and inform another member of the restaurant staff of the situation upstairs. After learning of the situation, this is when the staff swiftly cleared a table for us. In the process of setting the table, the staff dropped the table mat on the floor (the floor of the restaurant was dirty, at least in the area we were seated), instead of replacing the table mat, she put the same table mat on the table right in front of my eyes. I told another staff of what had happened, he apologised immediately and had the table mat changed.

Stained table mat during breakfast service
The coffee machine in the restaurant was also stained.  There were insufficient teaspoons provided

Despite the service lapse at RE:Fuel, the housekeeping staffs were friendly. I approached one of them to request for body lotion and was met with a smile, despite me disrupting their work. The housekeeping staff was diligent in keeping our suite clean and tidy, ensuring we always come back to a clean suite everyday. However I find it weird that only one toothbrush was provided in the suite, when the records showed that there were two of us in the suite.

Overall

I had a comfortable stay at Aloft Bangkok. The hotel has a hip and vibrant personality, extending from the lobby to the suite. I particularly like the spaciousness and the clever use of space in the suite. There is ample space for my friend and I to store our luggage and our daily shopping. The design of the large and brightly lighted bathroom with direct access to the wardrobe area is ingenious. In terms of service, staffs at the front desk of Aloft Bangkok did a great job to ensure guests feel welcomed. However the same cannot be said of those in RE:Fuel. I would recommend Aloft Bangkok for visitors whom like to pub or appreciates the spaciousness of the suite, however not so for the patronage of the restaurant on the ground floor.

[Accommodation Review] – Hard Rock Hotel (Deluxe Suite), Sentosa, Singapore (13 – 16 May 16)

Location

Hard Rock Hotel is located right at the doorstep of Sentosa Island, within the grounds of Resorts World Sentosa, and is one of the several hotels managed by Resorts World Sentosa. The hotel is located in the heart of action with theme parks such as Universal Studios Singapore, Adventure Cove right next to the hotel. There are no lack of eateries around the hotel, making it very convenient place to stay for guests to explore Sentosa Island and Mainland Singapore. The hotel is very accessible, thanks to the monorail system that ply between Mainland Singapore and Sentosa.
Iconic guitars at the entrance of the hotel
Hotel signage
Artefacts such as items used by rock stars were seen throughout the hotel
Corridor leading to my suite
Hard Rock Hotel signage on the ceiling at the lobby
Lobby
Spacious lobby
Charges of the rooms in Hard Rock Hotel Singapore

The Suite

The Living Room

Upon entering the suite,  a dark purple themed suite greets guests. The main entrance opens up to the living room of the suite. To the right of the entrance to the suite, one can find a dark themed toilet. The functional toilet houses a toilet bowl and a sink. I find this toilet a tad dark. Further into the suite one can find a black dinning table with 2 chairs tucked by the wall to the suite. Next to the dining table is the mini bar area, with a small bar fridge well hidden in one of the three cabinets. On top of the cabinet is a huge counter top with a sink located in the middle of the counter top. A Nespresso machine and kettle is placed on the left of the sink , while the cups and Nespresso capsules as well as the coffee and tea are placed on the right of the sink. One can find 2 purple single seat arm chairs located further into the living room of the suite. There is a huge coffee table placed in front of the arm chairs. A LED TV is mounted onto the wall in front of the arm chairs. The wall separating the living room and the bedroom is mounted with dark mirrors, which makes the suite looked bigger. I liked the high ceilings in the living room of the suite, making it feels bigger. However I do find the suite a little bare without a 2-seater couch, making the living room look under furnished. The absence of a couch also discouraged guests from spending more time in the living room, as the arm chairs are a tad uncomfortable to laze in. I spent most of my time in the bedroom of the suite. There are artefacts of rock stars apparent throughout the entire suite.

 

Layout of the floor I was put up
Entrance to my suite
The dark toilet next to the main entrance of the suite
Living room of the suite. The absence of a couch makes the living room look empty
Minibar area and sink in the living room
Minibar. The price of the drinks are rather expensive, a can of coke will set guests back by S$6.
Complementary coffee and tea
Nespresso machine and electric kettle
Dinning table in the suite
Close up view of the armchairs in the living room
Only 2 armchairs in the living room. No couch for guests to entertain guests or to laze onto
Reading material on the coffee table in the living room
Night view from the living room in the suite

The Bedroom

Entering the door to the bedroom, guests will find a King bed sitting by the wall greeting guests. The purple coloured room feels spacious with an interesting chandler hanging from the ceiling of this part of the suite. An LED TV can be found mounted on the wall to the left of the door (from the bed). There is a day bed fixed by the window for guests to laze on and enjoy the superb view of Harbour Front and the dolphin lagoons of Adventure Cove. From the window, one can see the dolphins swimming freely in the lagoon. To the right of the door is where one can find the work desk equipped with the standard fixtures like a reading light and the phone. There are limited power outlets in this area of the bedroom. Guests can also find a single sized pull out bed between the King bed and the day bed. The sleep quality on the King bed is great. Guests can be assured of a great night sleep on this bed. The pillows are just right, not too soft to my liking. I was able to sleep peacefully and wake up afresh sleeping on the King bed. There are no side tables on either side of the King Bed, however there is a long bench-like table that stretches from the King bed to the entrance of the toilet. There are no wardrobes in this part of the suite.

Very comfortable King bed greets guests in the bedroom
Day bed by the large window in the bedroom. This is a nice spot to laze in.
Work desk
Very limited power sockets in the suite
There is a dock for iPhone users on the work desk
Single-sized pull out bed
A very unique chandler in the bedroom
A long bench served as bedside table found on only one side of the bed
View from the day bed in the bedroom

The Bathroom

Separated by a panel of translucent glass from the bedroom is the bathroom. The bathroom feels a tad cramp compared to the bedroom and the living room. As one enters the bathroom, one can find the bathtub sitting on the right of the entrance to the bathroom. The bathtub is rather large, sufficient for two to have a romantic soak in. Opposite the bathtub, by the entrance to the bathroom, tucked into part of the wardrobe is where guests can find a small TV. Despite having a remote control here (there are 3 remote controls in the entire suite, one for each TV), I was unable to switch channel using the remote control. It seem that the channel on this TV is a duplicate display from the TV in the bedroom. There are no lack of wardrobe space in the bathroom, guests are treated to 2 large wardrobes in the bathroom. The safe and extra pillows and blankets as well as iron and ironing board can be found in the wardrobe further from the entrance to the bathroom. I find it a tad weird and somewhat inconvenient for the wardrobes and a ledge for guests to stow their luggage to be located in the bathroom. Having the wardrobe with the rest of the bathroom fixtures makes the entire bathroom feels cramp. Next to the bathtub is a single sink, decked with a large Hollywood styled mirror. There are ample space for 2 to stow their toiletries on the sink area. There is an outlet for guests to charge their electric shaver, however it does not seem to work in the suite that I was assigned to. Next to the sink, between the sink and the bathtub is where the walk-in shower is located. The walk-in shower has both the regular shower head as well as the rain shower. I find the water pressure to the rain shower head is a tad weak. When I first entered the suite, towels are placed inside the walk-in shower area on one of the three glass shelvings, which I find it weird as the splashes from the shower would have the towels wet. Behind the sink area, in front of the wardrobe furthest from the entrance to the bathroom is where one can find another toilet cubicle. There are no lack of handles in the bathroom area for one to hand their towels to dry.

 

Huge bathtub
Sink area with a large Hollywood style mirror
Sink
A unique stand to store some of the bathroom amenities. The guitar brings out the “rock and roll” vibe
Walk-in shower. The placement of the towels here seem weird as the splashes from the shower head might wet the towels
Regular and rain shower heads. The water pressure from the rain shower head is rather weak
Standard shampoo and shower gel in the walk-in shower. The quality of these feels cheap and does not give guests paying S$1200++ per night a premium feel
Toilet cubicle in the bathroom
Art pieces in the bathroom outside the toilet cubicle
Wardrobe with TV opposite the bathtub. This is one of the many lightbulbs that were fused and not rectified
Wardrobe outside the toilet cubicle. Guests can find bathrobe and extra blanket and pillow here together with the in-room safe. Together these wardrobes provides ample space for guests to store their clothing

The Pool

The key feature of Hard Rock Hotel Singapore gotta be the pool, which the hotel brings the beach into the pool area for guests to play with the white clean sand. There are several other pools for guests to enjoy their day in the pool area. Other than the Beach area, there is also a lap pool, a free form pool with a pool side bar, where guests can order snacks and drinks, as well as a sheltered jacuzzi pool. There is also a pool for children with water slides and fountains for children. Beside the pool is a beach volleyball court, tucked at on corner of the pool area. Guests can spend the whole day at the pool area. Unfortunately, there is some sort of upgrading works at the time of my stay, the shower rooms beside the pool and the gym were closed.

 

Beach pool at night
Swimming pool in the day

Breakfast

The breakfast service in Hard Rock Hotel Singapore runs from 7.30am to 10.30am. Breakfast is served at the Starz restaurant located next to the reception area of the hotel. There are ample space seemingly catering for maximum capacity for the hotel. There is a huge spread of food available for breakfast ranging from local cuisine to Asian cuisine to western cuisine, catering to a wide range of palates. Despite the huge variety of food available, I find the taste average.

 

Pastry section
Asian section
Dessert and fruit section
Pancakes and sausages

Service

The service throughout my stay in the hotel was nothing short of excellent. I was warmly welcomed by Yugen at check in. Due to the time of my arrival, there is no queue and Yugen checked me in swiftly. Yugen also informed me about the location for breakfast and the timing of breakfast. He pointed me to the correct side of the lobby to take the lift to the level where the suite is located. Yugen even took the initiative to checked with me if everything in the suite was okay. When I highlighted that the TV in the bathroom was not working, Yugen took into account the time of my checking in and asked if I would prefer to have the TV fixed now or tomorrow. The staff came at the time I told Yugen the next day to fix the TV. The great service is even showed by the housekeeping staff, Lavinia, who is not just excellent and meticulous in her job, she presents herself as warm and friendly staff. Lavinia ensured that the suite is always in a pristine condition every time she made up my suite, she is also meticulous in ensuring all corners are cleaned. I took some ice from the ice machine the night before, Lavinia even took note to ensure the ice bucket (which was covered) is cleared of melted ice. She is always smiling and greeted me whenever I bumped into her along the corridor. Siew Lam the staff from the poolside issuing towels to guests was also great in her service. She remembered my suite number when I signed out the towel every day. She even advised of the best timing to enjoy the pool. When returning the towels, she recognised me and signed the towels in without me informing her of my room number. The hotel provided welcome fresh welcome fruit and a personalised card signed off by the duty manager of the hotel. The hotel also provided shuttle service to ply through the all the hotels managed by Resorts World Sentosa with 15 mins interval providing guests the convenience of moving around without much walking. However the hotel does not provide complementary wifi in the room and guests are expected to pay for each device hooked onto the wifi at a rather expensive rate, even for guests paying a premium staying at a suite. The hotel also does not provide newspaper for their suite guests.
Welcome fruit on the dining table in the living room
Welcome card
Shuttle service

Overall

In terms of hardware, the suite is very spacious and comfortable. The air conditioning the suite was excellent. However I find the living room to be rather empty with the existing furnishing. The absence of a couch also does not make me feel like spending time in the living room of the suite, making the living room a wasted space. The sleep quality on the bed was excellent, ensuring guests of a good night sleep and waking up feeling afresh. The service rendered by the staffs in the hotel is excellent, staffs were seen smiling and greeting guests. Overall I had a pleasant stay in Hard Rock Hotel Singapore, with the proximity to amenities and attractions in Sentosa, Hard Rock Hotel is a great place to stay.