[Accommodation Review] – Mayfair Bangkok – Marriott Executive Apartments (2 Bedroom Suite), Bangkok, Thailand (9 – 11 Dec 16)

Location

Mayfair Bangkok is a serviced apartment managed by Marriott Group. The Aparthotel is centrally located in downtown Bangkok, about 7 mins walk to Chit Lom BTS Station. The famous Erawan Shrine, is around 12 mins by foot from the hotel. Siam Square and Siam Paragon is reachable 20 mins by foot from the hotel. There is another BTS station, Ratchadamri Station, which is located behind the hotel. However due to no direct link to the main road from the hotel, to access Ratchadamri Station, one would have to walk one big loop to reach that station. There are two 7-Elevens along the road where Mayfair Bangkok is located, one being around 2 mins walk from the hotel.
Hotel signage at night
Hotel facade
Hotel lobby
Christmas is in the air

The Suite

I checked into the 100m² bedroom apartment suite. As the property mainly consist of Apartments, the suite has everything one would need for long term stay. The suite design is modern and does not lack comfort and gives me a sense of cosiness. The air-conditioning is powerful and is sufficient to cool me down in the midst of the humid weather of Bangkok.
Entrance to Mayfair Bangkok 2-bedroom suite
The view from the living room isn’t that great. It faces an office building

Living Room

A dining table with chairs for four is the first thing that I saw when I entered the suite. It is a small area sharing the same space as the living room. Tucked nicely in one corner of the suite, the dining table does not feel out of the place. Behind the dining table is a cabinet with both functional storage space and aesthetics, with a traditional Thai flavour on the design. The living room is furnished with a maroon 3-seater L-shaped couch and a couple of square chairs at the side, surrounding the relatively large coffee table. The TV console is well positioned directly opposite the couch, allowing guests to watch the TV either on the couch or at the dining table. The space in the living room is sufficient for up to four pax to lounge around.
Dining table with chairs for four
The living room is a great place to chill

Kitchen

Next to the living room is the kitchen, separated by a kitchen counter which also doubles up as storage space for your daily shopping or food. The kitchen is fully equipped with over, stove, microwave oven a dishwasher as well as a large full fridge. The kitchen is also fully furnished with cutlery and dining set for four. On top of that, there are also cooking utensils such as pots and pans, kitchen scissors and knife neatly stored inside the cabinets in the kitchen area. The kitchen also comes with a sink for guests who chose to wash their dishes after using them. Neatly tucked in the corner is where a set of six mugs and a coffee machine can be found. The electric kettle is found on the kitchen countertop that separates the kitchen area from the living room.
Fully equipped kitchen
The kitchen comes with a full fridge and is so well equipped that guests can cook in the kitchen
The washer and dishwasher are placed in the kitchen area

Master Bedroom

Further in the room are the bedrooms. Furthest into the suite is where the Master Bedroom is located. From the entrance to the bedroom, a maroon armchair with a footrest immediately caught my eye. This chair is placed in a corner of the room, that does not sacrifice walking space. I welcome the small coffee table beside the armchair as it provides space for one to lounge in the chair drinking a cup of coffee or tea. On the right of the entrance to the Master Bedroom is where one can find the King Bed. The King bed is placed facing the ceiling to floor window, giving one a sense of spaciousness, other than allowing its occupants to look out into the streets of Bangkok. As one would expect, there  are a couple of bedside tables on either side of the King Bed. The King bed is very comfortable and provided me with quality sleep throughout the night, the bed is large enough to sleep three adults. Furthest to the corner of the room is a work desk, where one can find the only power socket outlets in the room, tucked in one corner. For those who prefer to have their lifestyle devices by their side while sleeping would find this arrange a tad inconvenient. The TV in the Master Bedroom is placed on top of this work desk, angled to face the TV.
Master bedroom in the 2-bedroom suite of Mayfair Bangkok
A nice comfy king bed that provided me with a great night sleep. The placement of the TV is rather weird
View from the master bedroom
To the left of the entrance to the Master Bedroom, one can find the wardrobe space. There are no lack of space for guests to store their clothing in the three wardrobes found in this room. The in room safe is also found stored inside one of these wardrobes. The Master Bedroom has an ensuite bathroom, accessible from opposite the wardrobe area.
There are tons of wardrobe space in the master bedroom
In room safe is found inside one of the three wardrobes in the master bedroom
More storage space in the wardrobes in the master bedroom

Second Bedroom

The second Bedroom is the first room on the right that guests would find while walking towards the Master Bedroom. This room is a lot smaller than the Master Bedroom. Despite its size, it is also well furnished with one queen bed, which also provides excellent sleep quality. There are also bedside tables found on either side of the bed. The work desk cum makeup table is located opposite the queen bed, next to a set of two wardrobes which are rather sizable. There is a smaller TV placed on top of the workdesk/makeup table. As the table is rather long, despite having the TV there are still space for one to stow their makeup kits. There is also a floor to ceiling window just next to the queen bed.
Queen bed in the smaller second bedroom. It feels rather cosy in here
Despite its small size, the second bedroom is still very well furnished with a TV, a dressing cum work table and a 2-panel wardrobe

Bathroom

There are two bathrooms in this Mayfair Bangkok 2-bedroom apartment. One of the bathrooms is located inside the Master Bedroom. This is the bigger of the two bathrooms. What caught my eyes as I enter this bathroom is the bathtub, placed at one end, next to the sink area. The Bathtub is rather small and shallow, but does the job of providing one with a good soak. The sink area is next to the door. There is only one sink, sitting on the marble laid counter top. It is rather roomy at the sink area for guests to place additional toiletries. Opposite the sink area, and in a rather weird place is the toilet bowl. When one open the door to the bathroom, the toilet bowl looks somewhat hidden behind the door. There is also a walk-in shower that comes with a rainshower head and a regular shower head, separated by a glass door, which segregates the wet and the dry area.
The marble counter top at the sink adds a sense of classiness to the bathroom.  The bathtub is only available in the  bathroom inside the master bedroom
Walk-in shower and toilet bowl. The toilet bowl is hidden behind the door to the bathroom when opened
The walk-in shower in the master bedroom has both a rain shower head and a regular shower head
The second bathroom is simpler in fixtures compared to the one in the Master Bedroom. What is missing in this bathroom is the bathtub. However I find the layout in this bathroom is better. The toilet bowl is opposite the entrance, unlike the one in the Master Bedroom. There is also a walk-in shower with only the regular shower head in here. Similar to the one in the Master Bedroom, I like the idea of separating wet and dry area. There are also plenty space at the sink for guests to put their toiletries on.
The second bathroom is simpler in its fixtures, it does not come with a bathtub. However it gets the job done
Only regular shower head in the second bathroom

Breakfast

Breakfast is served in the restaurant on level 2. There is a wide selection of food for guests to choose for breakfast. Other than the usual continental and american breakfasts, there are also a small selection catering to local and even an Indian section. I noticed that the menu changed slightly on the both days I went for breakfast. I thought this change in menu is a thoughtful gesture on the hotel part to give guests more variety in choices.
Breakfast is served in the restaurant on level 2
There is a wide selection of food for breakfast. Menu for breakfast changes slightly each day
More food being served for breakfast

Swimming Pool

The Swimming pool is located on 25th floor of the hotel building. The covered salt water swimming pool allows guests to swimming even during inclement weather. However guests who want to get a tan during their swim will be disappointed. There is also a Jacuzzi area inside the swimming pool.
The covered swimming pool on level 25
There is a jacuzzi in the swimming pool
Sauna is found in the changing room where the swimming pool is located

Gym 

The gym is located on 26th floor, which is accessible via a flight of stairs from the swimming pool. The lift does not service the level where the gym is located. The 24-hour gym is equipped with treadmills, stepper machines and stationary cycles. There are also several weight machines in the gym. There is a gym for children outside the entrance to the gym. The lack of equipment makes this area look more like a play area for children than a gym.
A small but well equipped gym
More weight machines in the gym
A small gym for children (looks more like a play room than a gym)

Service

I received very good service throughout my stay in Mayfair Bangkok. Staffs are warm and welcoming and seemed to take it upon them to ensure that guests are well taken care off. The great service started the moment I walked in to the main doors of the hotel, where staffs will always eager to open the door for guests, followed by a “wai” (the traditional Thai greeting gesture) greeting guests at the same time. The staff at the door are so attentive that I find it challenging for an opportunity to open the door myself. Service I received from the staffs at the reception is by no means lacking. They tried their best to ensure that my requests are being met. As I arrived ahead of the check-in timing, the staffs apologized for not having the suite ready for us. We left our luggage with the concierge and returned later to check into our room. To my surprise, the staff had already brought our luggage up to the suite. Whenever I walk pass the reception, there are no lack of “wai” and greetings. Checking out is done promptly as well.
The service at the restaurant were great as well. I ordered egg from the egg station and indicated that I would return to collect the egg at a later timing. Instead of letting the egg sitting on the table turning cold, the staff brought it to my table. It is evident that the staff at the restaurant not only displayed customer centric behaviour, she was also observant in taking note of the table I was seated at. Empty plates are also cleared promptly and there are not situations where I returned to a table of uncleared plates.
Reception area

Afterthought

For the price I booked for the 2-bedroom suite, I find the hotel to be of great value, given its location and the size of the suite. One would expect to pay at least 10% more for other hotels in the vicinity, moreover the rate that I paid comes with breakfast for four. The suite has sufficient living space for four persons comfortably, and the fully equipped kitchen is a bonus for guests who prefer to pack food back to the hotel for consumption. The excellent service I received during my stay adds to the enjoyment of my stay at the hotel. Despite not having tuk-tuk service to ferry guests to the nearest BTS (some of the hotels in the vicinity offers that service), I do not find this a bother as the BTS station is not exactly that far away from the hotel. I would recommend this hotel to those whom plan to visit Bangkok.

[Airline Review] – Thai Lion Air (SL104) Economy Class, DMK-SIN (11 Dec 16)

Thai Lion Air 737-800 that flew me on DMK-SIN leg

On the Ground

Thai Lion Air files from Don Muang Airport in Bangkok. The check-in counter is located at row 8, towards the end of the terminal. All check-in baggages are subjected to be scanned through the x-ray machine before passengers are allowed into the check-in counters which are being cordoned off with metal barriers. At the point I was at the airport, there are a huge crowd, with most travelers from China leaving Bangkok, at most of the x-ray machines. I would advise passengers travelling out of Don Muang Airport to arrive at the airport well ahead of time in order not to be delayed by the long queue at the compulsory x-ray machines. Checking-in was a simple affair however the staff at the counter took awhile to check-in my baggages, despite having completed check-in on the internet. It took the staff around 15 mins to complete my check-in process before handing me the boarding pass and briefing me the gate and the time to arrive at the gate.

Thai Lion Air checks in at row 8
This counter checks-in passengers going to Singapore
Don Muang Airport
Don Muang Airport was the former International Airport in Bangkok before Suvarnabhumi Airport was in operation. Don Muang looks rather run down and old, with limited (and pricey) food options before immigration. There are a number of shops selling the standard duty free tobacco and liquiour as well as suveniors at the airside. There are also more food options at the airside.
Shopping at Airside
We are departing from gate 23

The Cabin

Thai Lion Air is operating on a hybrid business model, it is priced comparitively to budget airlines, however Thai Lion Air throws in 30kg baggage check-in, seat selection (when checking-in online), as well as simple snacks onboard into the price, making it a value for money airlines to fly with. I wasn’t expecting great service or product offering onboard initially, however my experience onboard Thai Lion Air greatly surprises me.
Thai Lion Air uses the 737-800 for the DMK-SIN route and boasts that all aircrafts they used are brand new. The single class narrow body aircraft comprises of 189 seats in total. The cabin is bright and the aircraft looks clean when I boarded it. The aircraft has excellent mood lighting that allows the cabin crew to switch to colours that suits the external environment, helping passengers to adjust to the time of the day.
Boarding Thai Lion Air
The single class cabin is brightly lighted and all the seats are decked out in leather
Aircraft safety card
Mood lighting
Mood lighting at night
Lavatory is a tad small onboard Thai Lion Air, stocking up with the basic amenities such as hand soap and tissue as well as toilet roll. I wouldn’t expect the standard amenities such as that found onboard legacy airlines. Despite that, the toilet is functional and serves its purpose.
Toilet bowl
Basin
Soap dispenser and tissue
Vanity mirror

Seats

Seats onboard Thai Lion Air are configured in 3-3. The seats are decked out in dark blue leather with a seat pitch of 31″ and measures 17″ wide. The leg room is very good and I did not feel cramped up even in a seat with normal leg room. The seats are very comfortable and has good recline. Other than a recline buton, there are no other buttons nor a power socket on the seat. Controls such as the light switch and the call attendant buttons are located on the ceiling of the aircraft. The tray table is pretty much standard size as one would find in any other airlines. Other than a seat pocket at the back of the the seat in front, there is nothing else. Thai Lion Air is based on budget airlines model, hence no In-Flight Entertainment units are found.
Leather seats
Legroom is surprising superb in “normal” Economy seats
Seat recline button
Tray table
Cabin ambience during boarding
Other controls are located above the seat
Seat pocket contents
Menu for passengers who want to order more food
Seat pocket
Back of the seat, not used to no IFE screen

Snack Service

Included in the price of the ticket is a snack service. As soon as the seat belt lights go off, crews readied themselves for snack service. Thai Lion Air distributes crackers and a small cup of mineral water to all passengers onboard efficiently. Passengers can also purchase additional meals from the cabin crew at a reasonable price should they feel hungry, pretty much like the budget airlines model.
Cabin crews distributing snacks shortly after the seat belts sign were turned off
Each passenger was given cheese crackers and a cup of mineral water (sorry for the blurry shot)

Service

The service onboard is excellent, despite the limited interaction with cabin crews. Crews stood by the entrance of the aircraft welcoming passengers onboard with a smile and did the same when passengers disembarked the aircraft. Cabin crew also went around twice (in the short 2-hour flight time) with big trash bags to collect any trash that passengers would like to dispose of. There are also smiles on the faces of the cabin crews throughout the flight.
Cabin Crew conducting safety brief
Boarding process

Afterthought

For this price point, Thai Lion Air is much more than your usual budget airlines. Included in the tickets are 30kg check-in luggage allowance on top of a 10kg carry on allowance, snacks (ok I gotta admit the snack provided isn’t that fantastic, but better than your usual budget airlines which provides nothing), as well as seat selection. With the price point similar to that of a budget airlines but with additional perks, I thought Thai Lion Air is really value for money. The seats are very comfortable with great recline angle and excellent leg room. Cabin crews seem to be warm and welcoming despite the limited contact time. I would highly recommend for one to try out when flying to DMK.

Looking out on the tarmac
Thai Lion Air was surprising good

 

[Airline Review] – Scoot (TZ298) Economy Class, SIN-DMK (9 Dec 16)

Boeing 787-900 that I took for the SIN-DMK leg

On the Ground

Scoot departs from Terminal 2 of the Singapore Changi Airport. Singapore Changi Airport Terminal 2 looks a little dull and dark. It seemed like the Terminal is in need for a make-over, unlike Terminals 1 and 3, which makes use of natural light to make the terminal building look brighter. Check-in counters that Scoot uses are located toward the end of the terminal. When I checked the Terminal flipboard, it was indicated that checking-in will be done at row 11 for this flight. However when I tried to check-in at the Internet check-in counter at row 11, a staff with an unhappy expression pointed to the row behind the counter. I walked around the counter and saw another Internet check-in queue at row 12. The queue for Internet check-in was comparatively shorter than that for passengers who did not perform Internet check-in. I always advise my friends to check-in on airlines website wherever possible as the “regular” queues tend to be longer.
Flipboards like this has been gradually replaced with LED TVs worldwide
The queue for passengers who did not check-in online is always long. I recommend to always perform online check-in
The queue for web check-in is relatively shorter, in fact alot shorter
Counters for passengers who have done web check-in at row 12
The staff at the check-in counter did the standard procedures for check-in, as I do not have any baggage to check-in, merely collect my boarding pass, the process was done rather swiftly. The staff did not forget to remind me of the departure gate and the time that I need to be at the gate. As with the other terminals, Terminal 2 is also a shopping haven at the airside. There are no lack of shops ranging from luxury brands to cafes to bookshops, one can easily find shopping around the airside a great way to spend time after immigration.
Shopping at airside in Terminal 2

The Cabin

Scoot boasts themselves to be the only airline that uses only 787 in their fleet. The aircraft that is plying being Singapore and Bangkok is the 787-900, which has a total of 375 seats, organised in three class, ScootBiz, Scoot-in-Silence and Economy Class. The Economy Class cabin is decked out with bright blue seats, with the bright LED lights and the large windows, the twin-aisle cabin looked very clean and refreshing. One feature of the window shades on the 787-900 is the electronically controlled dimming of the shades, which worked very well during my flight to DMK onboard Scoot. I noticed at takeoffs and landings, these shades seemed to be centrally disabled to ensure that passengers keep the window shades “up”.
Boarding Scoot 787-900
Aircraft safety card found in seat pocket
Control to dim the window, a feature onboard 787-900
Lights above the seat
Mood lighting while boarding
Cabin onboard Scoot Economy Class
Cabin ambience onboard Scoot Economy Class
Colourful lighting onboard Scoot 787-900 aircraft
The lavatory onboard the Economy Class is of a decent size and is comparable with most legacy airlines. The amenities are very basic and limited to only hand soap, tissue and toilet rolls. Scoot is operating on a budget mode, hence only the basics are provided in the lavatories.
Toilet bowl
Very basic amenities in the lavatory
Large mirrors used to add to a sense of spaciousness
Coat hangers found on the back of the door

The Seat

I booked in the Economy Class seats for this short 2 hour flight from Singapore to Don Muang (Bangkok). The seat pitch in the standard Economy Class seats on Scoot is 31″ and measures 18″ wide. The seats in Economy Class onboard Scoot is 3-3-3 configured. I find the legroom to be very good and I had ample legroom space (I can even cross my legs on my seat).
Bright cabin configured in 3-3-3 arrangement

The seats are very basic, with only a reclining button and three buttons (Call attendant, cancel call for attendant and light control buttons) on the armrest. As Scoot is operating on a budget mode, there are no In-Flight Entertainment Systems nor seat to seat phones. Headphone jacks are not present, neither are any socket outlets for passengers to charge their phones. Behind the seats, one can find the seat pocket with the Scoot Inflight Magazine, menu for ScootCafe, menu for inflight entertainment (to be purchased separately and streamed onto one’s mobile phone or tablet via the Scoot wifi onboard), as well as the safety card for the aircraft.

Excellent legroom onboard Scoot Economy Class
Very basic controls on the armrest. However the placement of these buttons are bad as I kept accidentally hitting the light button
Seat recline button on the side of the armrest
A very basic seat back with only tray table and pockets. Scoot uses streaming into passenger’s mobile phone or tablet to keep costs low
Seat pocket contents
Even the seat pocket is very basic

Service

Scoot being a budget carrier, one would naturally expect minimum service from the airlines. I would rate the service a mix. The inflight service exceeds my expectation. The service started with the pursuers greeting passengers boarding the aircraft with sincerity and warmth. The pursuers were seen wearing a smile when they were patrolling the cabin, be it for safety checks or to sell food and drinks. I purchased a bottle of mineral water from one of the pursuers and she returned promptly with a smile and the product that I purchased. When disembarking the plane, pursuers are seen thanking passengers during disembarkation. While the contact time with the pursuers are minimum, I can still see the friendly and cheerful image that the airlines has pride themselves with.

Due to the lack if IFE, safety demonstration is done “live” by flight attendants

However the ground services is horrendous, especially the call centre. I saw a Facebook post by Scoot on the delay in timing of my flight to Bangkok the day before my scheduled flight. However this notice was taken down minutes later on Scoot’s Facebook page as well as their website. Despite their website stated that all affected passengers will be notified by email and/or SMS, I did not receive any notification via the stated means by Scoot. When I completed check-in on Scoot’s website, the timing I got was the original departure timing. I called the call centre to verify if the flight has been delayed due to confusing communications. The service agent insisted to get my booking reference to check, despite questioning him the need since I have the flight number and the departure date. Afterall I am only confirming the timing of the departure. The staff kept insisting on obtaining the booking reference. Sensing that the conversation will go nowhere, I asked to speak to his supervisor or the manager. The staff replied that there are no supervisors nor managers on duty, any sane person would have rejected this claim by him. When questioned the truthfulness of his claim, the staff then reluctantly provided me with the timing of the flight without asking for my booking reference. I find the Scoot has failed in their promised (as stated in their Facebook page) that affected passengers will be notified (which they have not) and having someone manning the service hotline that treats customers as uninformed.

Afterthought

For a short 2-hour flight, I find Economy Class in Scoot to be comfortable. The leg room in the most basic seat is sufficient. For a longer haul flight, I would think twice about flying Scoot as the lack of IFE make flying a chore. The service onboard exceed my expectations, however not so for the ground staffs from the hotline agents to the staffs processing my check-in. Will I fly Scoot again? Probably not.

 

The flight was very smooth and comfortable