[Airline Review] – Singapore Airlines A330-300 (SQ979) – Economy Class, BKK – SIN (18 Nov 19)

Check-in

Singapore Airlines’ check-in counters occupy the entire Row K in Bangkok Airport, located in the middle of the airport terminal. There were four check-in queues at the airport for Singapore Airlines: Business Class, KrisFlyer Elite Gold/Premium Economy, Economy Class and one for passengers who have completed internet check-in. There was no queue at the time of our arrival and since my friend has attained Elite Gold Status with Singapore Airlines, we checked in using the counter dedicated for KrisFlyer Elite Gold members. The ground staff at the check-in counter did not look particularly friendly. She also took her time to process our check-in and she left it to use to figure out the boarding gate and boarding time. The whole check-in process took around 20mins. Singapore Airlines has a dedicated SilverKris Lounge in Bangkok Airport, which is conveniently located opposite the gate our aircraft is scheduled to depart. As a KrisFlyer Elite Gold member, my friend is eligible to use the lounge. However, as we are near the boarding time, we did not visit the lounge.

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Singapore Airlines check-in counters are located in Row K

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There was no queue at the time we arrive at the check-in counters

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Singapore Airlines has a counter dedicated for their KrisFlyer Elite Gold members

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SilverKris Lounge at Bangkok Airport is located opposite the boarding gate. Krisflyer Elite Gold members are eligible to visit this lounge as well

The Aircraft

Singapore Airlines deployed its A330-300 aircraft to service this Bangkok to Singapore route. The A330-300 is a tad old and the cabins look a little tired. However, it serves its function of bringing us safely from Bangkok to Singapore.

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Singapore Airlines A330-300 at Bangkok Airport. Bangkok Airport is not exactly the best place to take pictures of aircrafts

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Singapore Airlines A330-300 safety card

The Cabin

Singapore Airlines A330-300 has a total of 285 seats spreading across two cabin classes, with 30 seats in Business Class and 255 seats in Economy Class. The Economy Class is further segregated into two sections, I am seated in the forward section of the Economy Class. The Economy Class cabin has a 2-4-2 configuration with the seats in the middle two columns decked in light brown fabrics and the other four seats on either side in turquoise fabric. The orange lighting used during boarding, coupled with the choice of colours for its Economy Class cabin seats, makes one feel a sense of comfort in the cabin.

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Singapore Airlines A330-300 Economy Class cabin

The Economy Class cabin lavatories onboard Singapore Airlines A330-300 are located between the two Economy Class cabins and at the aft of the aircraft. The lavatory is no bigger than that in other aircraft operated by Singapore Airlines. The lavatory is well stocked with amenities compared to other airlines. Unlike other aircraft types Singapore Airlines is operating, only hand lotion (there is no Eau de toilette) is made available in the lavatories. However, passengers can find other amenities such as toothbrushes, combs and mouth wash. Some other airlines at most only provide hand lotion on top of the handsoap. The tap onboard Singapore Airlines A330-300 are not senor-activated, rather one would have to press the button on the tap to get water flowing.

The Seat

The seats in Economy Class on Singapore Airlines A330-300 are cloaked in turquoise and light brown fabrics. I find the seats onboard this aircraft to be slightly thicker than those in the newer aircraft operated by Singapore Airlines, these thickly padded seats were very comfortable to sit in. Each seat has a pitch of 32″ and is 19″ wide, offering good legroom for its Economy Class passengers during this 2-hour flight. Pillows and blankets are not offered on this flight between Bangkok and Singapore, instead only blankets will be provided upon request from the flight attendant. 

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Singapore Airlines A330-300 Economy Class seats

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Legroom is excellent in the Economy Class seats

I like the inclusion of cup holders in these Economy Class seats, situated on the left of the TV screen, allowing me to stow my drink away without deploying the tray table. There is a coat hook above the cup holder which I never use whenever I fly with Singapore Airlines, I am not too sure if anyone would find this small coat hook to be of any use at all. To the right of the TV screen is where the AV inputs and a USB port are located. These AV inputs of yesteryear show the age of the aircraft with most lifestyle devices using USB ports. I did not try out the USB port and not too sure if it is capable of charging mobile phones. Should one needs to charge their lifestyle devices, there is a universal power outlet on the armrest. The one in my seat has a sticky tape stuck to the top part of the outlet, showing much wear and tear in the aircraft. I like the design of the tray table on this A330-300 Economy Class seats as they can be folded into half (and come with a small vanity mirror) when it is not used for work or meal. This feature makes space onboard the Economy Class seats feel bigger. When fully deployed, the tray table is large enough for passengers to place the meal trays on and still have some space at the sides to put canned drinks.

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Cup holder and coat hook in the seat

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The AV input/output ports seem outdated at this day and age

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Earphone jack and power outlet

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Tray table when folded

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Tray table fully deployed

The seat pocket is large enough to swallow a tablet or an 13″ laptop with ease. There are several compartments in the seat pocket allowing passengers to store smaller items into it. I like the small pockets which is very useful to place my passport or my mobile phone in. The seat pocket contains in-flight literature like Singapore Airlines magazine, duty-free catalogue and programmes that are available on KrisWorld. Each Economy Class seat has a reading light above the seat, which can be controlled via the IFE controller. However, like most aircrafts, the Singapore Airlines A330-300 does not have an airvent.

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Seat pocket

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Seat pocket contents

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Overhead reading lights

In-Flight Entertainment

The In-Flight Entertainment (IFE) system onboard Singapore Airlines A330-300 seems to be dated. The IFE still functions very well, with a minor lag when scrolling through the menu items. The 10.6″ personal TV screen does not come touchscreen function and looks a tad smaller than those found in newer aircraft such as the B787-10. The TV monitor can be tilted slightly for a better viewing angle depending on how much one reclines on the Economy Class seat. The IFE controller is stored below the TV screen with the main controls on the IFE on the front side. These controls allow passengers to interact with the KrisWorld menu and adjust the volumes as well as the reading light. The call button is found on the front side of the IFE controller. A qwerty keyboard is found in the back of the controller together with buttons for passengers who want to play games on KrisWorld. The IFE menu is very easy to navigate through and I had no problems locating the movies I wanted to watch during the flight. KrisWorld, Singapore Airlines’ IFE, is loaded with over 1800 on-demand entertainment options segregated into movies, TV shows, music albums, and games. The Movie menu, where one can find the latest Hollywood blockbuster to oldies, is the only IFE menu I accessed during my flights with Singapore Airlines. I was able to complete an entire movie during the 2-hour flight from Bangkok to Singapore. Earphones for the IFE system on Singapore Airlines are available for Economy Class passengers to pick up in the aerobridge before they board the aircraft. The earphones are reasonably comfortable and provide good sound quality.

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Each seat is fitted with a 10.6″ personal TV

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The IFE controller is stored below the TV screen

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The front of the IFE controller contains the controls for navigating through the IFE system

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There is a qwerty keyboard on the back of the IFE controller

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Older version of the IFE menu, which is still very easy to navigate

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Earphones that Singapore Airlines provides to their Economy Class passengers. There are different size earbuds to ensure a better fit for its passengers

Meal

Meal service commenced about 30 mins into the flight time. My friend and I were not given the options from the in-flight menu. As soon as the seat belt sign was turned off, one of the flight attendants came to us and informed us that Singapore Airlines noted our allergies and took the liberty to help us order a special dietary meal that does not contain our allergens. For this flight, we were served Pork in Black Pepper sauce. The black pepper sauce tasted great and is not too overpowering. We could still taste the tender pork. For desserts, we had Thai dessert – Pandan Jelly, which tasted great and not too sweet. The special dietary meal that we were served was great. The beverage was served at the same time the meals are being served, and coffee/tea service is not offered for this flight. Flight attendants will be happy to provide drinks after the meal service.

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Singapore Airlines helped my friend and I ordered a special meal in view of our allergies

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We got Black Pepper Pork with rice

Service

The flight attendants lived up to the good service, signature of Singapore Airlines, on this Bangkok to Singapore flight. The cabin crews were very friendly and wore smiles on their faces all the time despite a full flight (I can imagine how hectic it would be to serve 255 passengers with a meal within a short 2-hour flight). Flight attendants were seen greeting passengers not just at the door, but throughout the cabin as I walked towards my seat. They were also seen helping passengers storing carry-on baggage in the overhead bin. Flight attendants patrolled the cabin prior to take-off to ensure passengers all get a set of the earphone to enjoy the IFE system. I was taken by surprise when the flight attendant came to inform us that since we did not make special requests for meals, in view of our allergies, Singapore Airlines took the initiative to arrange the meal for us that does not contain our allergens. As our meal was presented to us before the meal service, we were not offered drinks. However, there was a small hiccup during the meal service. The flight attendant noticed that we have gotten our meal and skipped us without offering a drink. I highlighted this to another flight attendant, the situation was rectified immediately. The flight attendant immediately serves us drinks and even checked with us if we want more drinks after the meal service.

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Flight attendants welcoming passengers onboard

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Flight attendant preparing for meal service

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Flight attendant distributing warm towels

Afterthought

Despite the aging aircraft, Singapore Airlines A330-300 is still very comfortable to fly in. The seats are very comfortable, thanks to the thick padding and the very generous legroom. The IFE, despite a little lag, still functions very well, keeping us entertained with the extensive library of movies, TV shows and music. The meal was delicious and the pork was tender. Despite being a full flight and their second shift, the flight attendants still wore smiles on their faces and ensured that passengers were well taken care of. They were seen patrolling the cabin diligently to take care of passengers’ requests and ensure the cabin is clean for passengers. Overall this is a pleasant flight with Singapore Airlines.

 

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

Location

Vie Hotel Bangkok is situated in downtown Bangkok, a mere one station via the BTS away from the central Siam area where shopping malls such as MBK, Siam Paragon, and Central World are located. The hotel is less than 5 mins walk from the nearest BTS Station – Ratchathewi, making exploring Bangkok on BTS very easy. There are several 24-hour convenient shops in the vicinity, however, they are all located on the opposite side of the main road, which is accessible via the overhead bridge at the BTS station.

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Vie Hotel facade

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Vie Hotel Lobby and Reception

The Suite

My friend and I had stayed in the Executive Suite back in May 2019 (read about it here), this time around we checked out the Deluxe Suite in Vie Hotel Bangkok. The Deluxe Suite has a massive floor area of 76m², which is slightly smaller than the 81m² Executive Suite.

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Suites in Vie Hotel Bangkok

Living Room

The living room occupies approximately half the floor area of the Deluxe Suite. It is the first room in the suite that guests will come into contact when entering the suite.  The Living Room has an earthy colour scheme ranging from the furniture to the wooden flooring used. The wooden flooring gives the suite a unique rustic character. A work desk sits in one corner to the right of the entrance to the Deluxe Suite in Vie Hotel Bangkok. The placement of the work desk in the Living Room of the Suite is not at all obstructive to guests’ movement in the massive living room. The work desk is large enough for guests to do some decent work on, but the lack of power outlet at the desk area means guests would have to remove the plug of the desk lamp in order to charge their laptops. The Living Room is sufficiently illuminated to render the desk lamp redundant. An electric kettle and a Nespresso Machine is found on the glass shelf behind the work desk. I was hesitant in placing anything on the glass shelving as it looks rather fragile. I thought having a wooden shelf would be a much better choice.

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The large work desk in the Living Room of the Deluxe Suite in Vie Hotel Bangkok

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Water kettle and Nespresso Machine on the shelf behind the work desk

Further into the Living Room, past the work desk, guests would find themselves at the lounge area of the Living Room. The lounge area is furnished with two large-sized sofas, which are very comfortable to sit on while watching the numerous local and international channels Vie Hotel has on the large flat-screen TV. The use of mahogany colour on the sofas and the carpet, as well as the curtain, complements the earthy theme in the Living Room very well. Coupled with the use of yellow lights, the Living Room in the Deluxe Suite feels very cosy and comfortable. A large wooden coffee table sits in between the two sofas, allowing guests to enjoy drinks from the minibar while watching shows on the TV.

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The two sofas in the lounge area of the Living Room are arranged in an L-shape configuration

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The sofas are very comfortable to sit on

Opposite the two sofas is a large TV, mounted on the wall between the two wooden doors leading into the Bedroom. There are numerous channels for guests to keep themselves occupied in the suite. I find the cabinet below the TV very useful to stow away my shopping whilst in Bangkok. The minibar fridge is hidden in the cabinet to the left of the left door into the bedroom. Vie Hotels provides complimentary minibar items such as soft drinks, juices and some snacks in the fridge, which are topped up daily during housekeeping, for guests staying in the deluxe suite.

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The TV in the Living Room of the Deluxe Suite is mounted between the two doors leading to the Bedroom

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View of the TV from the sofa in the Living Room

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Night view of Bangkok from the Living Room window

Bedroom

Access into the Bedroom of the Deluxe Suite in Vie Hotel Bangkok is via one of the two wooden doors on either side of the TV in the Living Room. The earthy theme in the suite flows into the Bedroom. A King size bed sits in the middle of the Bedroom, tucked on the wall. The King bed is very comfortable to sleep in and provided me with excellent quality of sleep, leaving me feeling fully charged to explore the hectic streets of Bangkok the next day. The pillows are a tad too soft for my liking, however, this is overcome by the extensive pillow menu that Vie Hotel was thoughtful enough to include where I found a pillow to my liking. Opposite the King Bed is another TV mounted on the wall between the two doors. This TV has the same channel choices as that found in the Living Room.

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Comfortable King bed in the Bedroom of the Deluxe Suite in Vie Hotel Bangkok

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Vie Hotel Bangkok has an extensive pillow menu for their guests

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TV in the Bedroom

The wardrobes in the Deluxe Suite is placed next to the King Bed, comprising a large two-paneled door and a one-paneled door. I find the walking space beside the King Bed a tad limited when the wardrobe doors are opened. The space in the wardrobe is quite generous, capable of swallowing one week’s worth of clothing. There are limited hangers in the wardrobe, but the hotel is happy to bring more when requested. Inside the bigger wardrobe, a two-tiered open shelf provides additional space for guests to put away-smaller items. It is here where the in-room safe is placed for guests to safe keep their valuables.  The storage space in a smaller wardrobe is rather limited. Due to only one door, guests cannot utilise the entire wardrobe space as it can be difficult to reach. An iron and ironing board is stored inside the smaller wardrobe. There is a three-tiered drawer placed next to the entrance to the bathroom, providing more storage space for guests. We utilised the top of this drawer as a ledge to place our luggage on.

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Main wardrobe in the Bedroom

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A smaller wardrobe which I find a tad difficult to access

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Luggage ledge on top of a three-tier drawer by the entrance to the Bathroom

Bathroom

Access to the bathroom is possible only from the Bedroom. The beige coloured marble bathroom has an elegant and contemporary feel in its decor. A large bathtub sits to the left of the entrance. I do find the filling up water from the tap takes more time than using the showerhead. Opposite the bathtub is two cubicles, one containing the walk-in shower that is equipped with both a regular shower head and a rainfall showerhead; whilst the other cubicle next to the sink contains the toilet. Unlike the Executive Suite that I have stayed in a few months ago, there are two sinks in the bathroom. There is plentiful storage area on the sink countertop for guests to stow their toiletries.

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Large bathtub by the entrance to the bathroom

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Dual sink in the bathroom with generous countertop space

Service

The service at Vie Hotel Bangkok was nothing short of impeccable. At the time of our arrival, we were warmly welcomed by the staff at the door and our luggage was promptly taken care of by these diligent staff, who brought our luggage to our suites while another staff processed our check-in. We met with Tong, the front desk staff, who accord my friend the Silver Status with Accor Hotels from our booking records. Tong immediately invited us to the sit-down counter while he processed our check-in, and at the same time gotten his colleagues to prepare five glasses of welcome drinks for our party of five. He went on to explain the ingredients of the drink that we were served. On top of that, Tong also presented us with welcome drink vouchers, which we can utilise at the bar on the ground floor anytime during our stay at Vie Hotel. We did not have to wait for too long for Tong to complete processing our check-in, who also brought us to our suites and explained to us the features in the suite. We would get greetings from Tong whenever we see him on duty at the front desk during our stay at Vie Hotel Bangkok.

We interacted most with the staff at La VIE Bistronomy, where we had our breakfast, during our stay at the hotel. Every morning, without fail, the staff would greet us with the warmest smile. We met Jiw on a few occasions during breakfast. Jiw always greeted us with smiles, she even remembered our preference for beverage every single morning and would bring us Thai Milk Tea (we ordered once during breakfast) after our meals. Jiw took well care of us during breakfast, always asking how we find the food at La VIE Bistronomy.

We first met Beer at the La VIE Bistronomy during breakfast, who greeted us at the door and showed us to our seat in the restaurant. She managed to get us seats that are close to the buffet area and introduced some of the food that is available for breakfast. Beer would be checked with us how we find the food when she was clearing the empty plates on our table. We bumped into Beer again in the lobby when we were leaving for the airport. We raised the concern to Beer that we might not have time to utilise the welcome drink voucher. Beer assured us that we still have time and signal that she will buy us some time by helping us our luggage into our arranged transport. We managed to get some drinks at the lobby before departing for the airport, thanks to Beer who bought us some time.

The service in the Vie Hotel Bangkok is generally impeccable. We were always greeted with smiles from staff at the reception whenever we walk past. Our suites were always immaculately cleaned up the housekeeping staff who ensured that we always have a clean suite to return to after a day’s exploring on the streets of Bangkok.

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Vie Hotel provides Tuk Tuk Service to major shopping malls nearby

Facilities in the Hotel

Swimming Pool

The swimming pool at Vie Hotel Bangkok is located on the rooftop of another building, linked via a bridge between the two buildings. The rooftop infinity pool is a tad small but still allow guests to do some decent laps to burn off some calories from the feasting in the streets of Bangkok. There is a small jacuzzi area in the pool near to the bar. The swimming pool is only accessible via the gym in the hotel.

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Walkway to the swimming pool

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A small rooftop infinity pool

Gym

The Gym at Vie Hotel Bangkok is a fully functional gym that is fully equipped with numerous workout machines such as bikes, stepper machines, treadmills, and weights machines. There is a free weight area in the gym where guests can do some serious workouts. The Gym also holds workout classes for its members, however, guests of the hotel who wanted to join these classes are required to pay for them.

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Entrance to WE Gym in Vie Hotel Bangkok

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WE gym is a fully functional gym like one of those paying gyms

Breakfast

Breakfast at Vie Hotel Bangkok is served at the La VIE Bistronomy Restaurant, located on the 11th floor of the hotel. There is a good mix of local and international choices for guests of the hotel. There are minor adjustments to the menu daily, mainly at the cook to order local dishes bar. There are some freshly squeezed juices served at La VIE Bistronomy during breakfast. The food is delicious but can feel repetitive as the adjustments to the menu is rather minor. Nonetheless, the breakfast at Vie Hotel Bangkok does the job of energising guests so they have the energy to explore the streets of Bangkok.

Overall

We had a fantastic stay at Vie Hotel Bangkok. I find the size of the Deluxe Suite is of the right size, not too big and not too small. The Suite is very comfortable to stay in and the sleep quality on the king bed is excellent. The location of Vie Hotel Bangkok is also a major plus point as it is next to the BTS station and just a mere one stop away from the shopping malls in Siam area. The staff at the hotel provided excellent service who were always seen with smiles across their faces whenever we bumped into them.

[Airline Review] – Singapore Airlines B787-10 (SQ982) – Economy Class, SIN – BKK (14 Nov 19)

At the Airport

Check-in

Singapore Airlines Flights flying from Singapore to Bangkok departs from Terminal 2 of Singapore Changi Airport. Singapore Airlines occupies rows 1 to 3 in the terminal with row 1 dedicated to First and Business Class passengers. Row 2 is dedicated for passengers travelling under Group Travels. Passengers flying with Singapore Airlines on Economy Class uses row 3 to check-in, where most of the counters are designated for passengers who have performed self-service printing of boarding passes and tagging their out luggage from the kiosks available. Only two counters are open for passengers who require assistance with their check-in. As the counters service all destinations operated by Singapore Airlines, there was a queue at the internet check-in baggage drop off counter. However, my friend has attained Gold Elite status with Singapore Airlines, we were able to check-in at one of the two counters for KrisFlyer Elite Gold members in Row 1 and we only waited for less than 5 mins.

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Passengers flying on Singapore Airlines Economy class uses Row 3 in Singapore Changi Airport

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Counters serving KrisFlyer Elite Gold members is located in Row 2

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Counters serving KrisFlyer Elite Gold members

KrisFlyer Gold Lounge

As a KrisFLyer Gold member, my friend is able to bring one guest with him into the KrisFlyer Gold Lounge. KrisFlyer Gold Lounge is located on level 3 of Singapore Changi Airport Terminal 2, just before the entrance to SilverKris Lounge. The KrisFlyer Gold Lounge is decked in an earthy tone that gives a feeling of classiness and makes passengers feel relaxed. The fact that the lounge was not busy with passengers adds to the sensation of relaxation in the lounge. KrisFlyer Gold Lounge is not as big as the SilverKris Lounge next door and the food selection is somewhat limited, however they are tasty and is sufficient to fill one’s stomach. There is a fridge with beverage selection next to the main buffet area, stocked with soft drinks and juices.

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Entrance to KrisFlyer Gold Lounge

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Seating area in KrisFlyer Gold Lounge

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Main buffet areaThe Aircraft

Singapore Airlines operates several aircraft types between Singapore and Bangkok. For this flight, we flew with Singapore Airlines B787-10 which is one of the newest aircraft in the Singapore Airlines fleet.

The Cabin

Singapore Airlines B787-10 has a two-class configuration, capable of carrying up to 337 passengers with 36 Business Class seats and 301 Economy Class seats. Economy Class is split into two sections. All seats in Economy Class are arranged in the 3-3-3 configuration. The seats in the Economy Class cabin are generally decked in light grey fabric with some seats in light blue. The use of purple and orange mood lighting used during boarding makes the cabin looks bright and refreshing.

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The Economy Class cabin onboard Singapore Airlines B787-10

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Economy Class cabin onboard Singapore Airlines B787-10 looks bright and refreshing

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Mood lighting onboard Singapore Airlines B787-10

The lavatories in the Economy Class cabin are located in the mid and the aft part of the aircraft. The lavatories are no bigger than those found onboard other Singapore Airlines aircraft. The use of mirrors in the lavatory makes the lavatory looks larger than it actually is. Singapore Airlines is perhaps one of the few airlines that stocked their Economy Class cabin lavatories with amenities such as toothbrush, combs and razors on top of the handsoap. Passengers can also find hand lotion and Eau de toilette in the lavatory. Singapore Airlines installs sensor-activated tap and toilet flush making the use of the lavatory more hygienic.

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Sink in the Economy Class cabin lavatory

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Toilet in the lavatory

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I like the sensor-activated toilet flush which is more hygienic to use

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Large mirrors in the lavatory

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Mouth wash and hand lotion are available in Economy Class lavatories on top of the hand soap

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Amenities such as toothbrush, razors and combs are available in the Economy Class lavatory

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The step pedal in the Economy Class lavatory

The Seat

The seats onboard Singapore Airlines B787-10 features their new Economy Class seats. The seats in Economy Class cabins are very comfortable with a pitch of 32″ and width of 17.5″. The legroom in the seats is very good, adding more comfort for the 2-hour flight time to Bangkok. Seat recline button is found on the armrest.

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Singapore Airlines new Economy Class seats onboard B787-10

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Economy Class seat onboard Singapore Airlines B787-10

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Legroom is very generous in the Economy Class seats

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Seat recline button

Most of the seat features in the Economy Class seats can be found on the panel in front of each seat, making it look very clean and well designed. It has everything that a passenger needs for their flight. There is a small compartment below the TV screen that allows passengers to stow small items such as mobile phones or the earphones that the airlines provide for the In-Flight Entertainment System. Tray tables can be folded into half and are large for Economy Class standards, capable of allowing passengers to do some work on their laptops. The seat reading light is situated on the ceiling above the seat.

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Seat features are very clean and well designed

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Tray tables can be folded in half and have a vanity mirror

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Tray table fully deployed

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Reading light is found above each seat

There is a cup holder in every Singapore Airlines Economy Class seats making it convenient for passengers to place their cups into while not deploying the tray table. Flight attendant call buttons and switches for the reading light can be found on a small panel on the bottom left of the TV screen. The USB charging port and headphone jacks are located next to the call buttons. There is a small coat hook in each Economy Class seat. On top of the USB charging port, Singapore Airlines is thoughtful enough to install a universal power plug for every two seats for passengers to charge their lifestyle devices, conveniently located under the armrest in front of the passengers.

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Cup holder in the Economy Class seat onboard Singapore Airlines B787-10

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Call buttons, USB charging port and headphone jacks are located in the panel in front of each Economy Class seat

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Each seat has a small coat hook

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Universal power plug in front of the seat

The seat pocket is large enough for passengers to store their iPads. There are two other smaller pockets in front of the main seat pocket, which I find useful to put small items like a passport. The main seat pocket contains the usual inflight magazines such as Singapore Airline’s travel magazine – SilverKris, the in-flight entertainment catalogue – KrisWorld, and the in-flight duty-free catalogue – KrisShop.

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Seat pocket with several smaller compartments in Economy Class

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Seat pocket contents

In-Flight Entertainment

Each Economy Class seat onboard Singapore Airlines B787-10 comes with an 11’1″ personal TV with touchscreen function.The touchscreen function is very responsible and is the only way passenger can control the In-Flight Entertainment system. There is no IFE controller found in the seat since IFE controls can be done on the TV. Singapore Airlines’ KrisWorld has an extensive library of entertainment options, arranged in easy to navigate menus. KrisWorld has the latest blockbuster movies from Hollywood as well as regional movie titles. Scrolling through the KrisWorld is similar to how one would scroll through on their tablet, passengers can swipe left or right to get to the type of entertainment option they desire and click on the large icon to launch the movie or TV show they want to watch.

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IFE menu

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IFE Movie menu

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IFE TV menu

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There is a library of music for passengers who opted not to watch movie

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There is a library of podcasts in the IFE System

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Earphones are placed at the entrance of the aircraft for passengers to take

Meal

Meal service commenced about 30 mins into the flight. Flight attendants went around distributing dinner together with drinks. Passengers were given the option of Char Siew Rice of Green Curry Chicken with fried rice. The Char Siew Rice I opted was very tasty and the pork meat was very tender and well marinated. The rice is a tad hard. I did not like the Quinoa and Vegetable that was served as an appetiser was less to be desired. The Mango pudding dessert is good though.

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Meal options for this flight between Singapore and Bangkok

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I had the Char Siew Pork rice set

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My friend had the Green Curry Chicken and Fried Rice set

Service

Service onboard this Singapore to Bangkok flight onboard Singapore Airlines in Economy class was good. Despite being a busy full flight, service onboard Singapore Airlines Economy Class was not compromised. Flight attendants are seen offering help to passengers with their carry-on luggage during boarding. Meal service was done with a smile. As soon as the seat belt sign was turned off, one of the flight attendants approached my friend and me to inform us that they have taken note of our food allergies and told us the options for dinner prior to the meal service run. After taking our preference, the flight attendant emerged from the galley with our food ahead of the rest of the passengers. When requested for a can of coke to share with my friend and the flight attendant happily hand us the coke and even asked if it is sufficient for the two of us.

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Flight attendants welcoming passengers during boarding

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Warm towels are distributed before taking off

Afterthought

Singapore Airlines new Economy Class product on the B787-10 is very good. The seats are very comfortable and the legroom is generous for Economy Class. The IFE menu is very easy to navigate via the touchscreen function on the TV and the touchscreen is very responsive. There are loads of entertainment option on KrisWorld that kept me entertained throughout the 2-hour flight to Bangkok. Interactions with the flight attendants were rather minimal as this is a full flight. Despite that, service is always done with a smile. This short flight with Singapore Airlines is quite enjoyable.

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Flying during sunset

[Airline Review] – Singapore Airlines A350-900 (SQ609) – Business Class, ICN-SIN (6 Nov 19)

At the Airport

Check-in

The check-in counters for Singapore Airlines is located in Incheon International Airport Terminal 1. Singapore Airlines occupies the entire at Row D for its passengers to check-in. There are three queues – Business Class, Internet check-in and Economy Class, at Row D. The three queues were empty at the time of our arrival at Incheon Airport. There is no wait time before my friends and I are being served by the ground manager who processed our check-in with a smile on her face and sense of calmness. Our check-in was processed with efficiency and soon the manager gave us our boarding passes and invited us to the SilverKris Lounge together with information on the boarding gate, the boarding timing and directions to the SilverKris Lounge.

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Singapore Airlines uses the entire Row D

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There was no queue at the time of our check-in

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Three counters are dedicated to Business Class passengers in Incheon Airport

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Taking a wefie at the check-in counter

SilverKris Lounge

Singapore Airlines has its own lounge at Incheon International Airport. The SilverKris lounge is located on level 3 near gate 29. The lounge is a tad difficult to find as the escalator is located behind some shops. We were warmly welcomed by the Korean ground staff at the entrance of the lounge. We headed to the main section of the SilverKris Lounge at Incheon International Airport. SilverKris Lounge employs an earthy tone in the choice of colour, which feels very cosy. The SilverKris Lounge only serves passengers flying on Singapore Airlines, which the lounge is capable of handling passengers flying on Business Class today. The lounge does not feel overcrowded and we were able to find seats of our choice. There is a section of seats in the lounge that faces the tarmac for passengers to do some plane spotting.

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The entrance of SilveKris Lounge in Incheon Airport

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Seats in SilverKris Lounge

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There are plenty of seats in SilverKris Lounge

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SilverKris Lounge has a cosy and elegant decor

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View of tarmac from SilverKris Lounge

Food in the SilverKris Lounge is served in buffet style. One can find some noodles and rice dishes as well as finger food like sandwiches and mini burgers. There are also desserts and canapes in the food area for passengers who do not feel like having too much to eat before their flight. In the centre of the main section lies a bar where staff will be happy to serve up some cocktails or liquors. Canned drinks can also be obtained from the fridge at the buffet area. The food served in the SilverKris Lounge was very tasty.

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Cooked food section

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Finger food counters in SilverKris Lounge

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Canapes, desserts and salad section

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Bar counter in SilverKris Lounge

There are shower facilities in the SilverKris Lounge, next to the toilet area. I had the opportunity to take a shower here before my flight. There is a staff readily standing by to provide towels and escort passengers who want to take a shower to an empty room. The space in the shower rooms is not too large, with a wet and dry area. Shower rooms are fitted with both a regular shower head and a rain shower head. Shower amenities are stored in large pump bottles with no indication of the brand that Singapore Airlines uses in their lounge. Hairdryers are found in each shower room.

I noticed a smaller section on the left side of the SilverKris Lounge and checked with the staff what’s inside. I was informed that this section serves mainly Singapore food such as laksa, chilli crab. This section has a Peranakan decor, mainly furnished with dining tables and chairs. This section is empty at the time of my visit, though I did not try any food from this section.

The Aircraft

Singapore Airlines uses the A350-900 and B777-300ER to service between Singapore and Korea. We flew on the A350-900 for this flight between Incheon and Singapore.

The Cabin

Singapore Airlines operates the A350-900 Medium Haul aircraft between Singapore and Seoul. The medium-haul A350-900 is configured with a total of 303 seats across the two cabins on board. There are 40 Business Class seats spread across two sections with the larger 28-seat section in front and 12 seats in the rear section. Business Class seats are arranged in a 1-2-1 configuration allowing direct aisle access to all passengers. The Business Class cabin feels very warm and cosy due to the choice of brown colour Singapore Airlines employs in its Business Class seats. I find the lightings used during boarding is perfect for Singapore Airlines Business Class cabin. The use of orange lightings along the windows adds to the sense of comfort and relax, exuding the same vibe with the colour of the seats. The use of white lightings in the centre row during boarding illuminates the cabin for passengers. And yet the choice of these lightings colours complement each other. During the flight, orange lightings were used during evening timing, as though the airline has brought the evening sunlight into the cabin. As the flight transits to night time, blue colour lightings are employed to assimilate night time. The deployment of mood lighting at different times of the flight is helping passengers to better adjust their body clock.

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Singapore Airlines A350-900 Regional Business Class cabin

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Mood lighting used during boarding

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Mood lighting used in the evening time inflight

Three lavatories are serving the 40 passengers in Business Class on Singapore Airlines A350-900, one of which is situated in front of the entire Business Class cabin while the other two are located between the two sections of Business Class cabins. The lavatories are of a decent size, no larger than that found in Economy Class cabins. The lavatories are decked out in brown leather and wooden panel finishings at the sink and the cabinet to give it a more premium feel. The lavatories are well stocked with amenities as Singapore Airlines do not provide any amenity kit for their Business Class passengers. Other than the standard handsoap and mouth wash found in Economy Class lavatories, Singapore Airlines provides UK brand Quercus hand lotion, facial mist and eau de toilette. The other amenities such as toothbrush and razors are of better quality in the Business Class cabin lavatories. Cloth napkins are also stocked in the Business Class lavatories. There is a latch beside the toilet which can be lowered to form a seat in the lavatory. Mirrors are cleverly utilised in the lavatories to make it feel bigger than it actually is.

The Seat

The seat on this Singapore Airlines A350-900 flight from Incheon to Singapore features the new Regional Business Class seats. Each seat has a pitch of 60″ and measures 28″ wide. All seats in the Business Class cabin give passengers direct aisle access and has superb privacy (depends on where one is seated). Business Class seats are clad in brown leather giving the entire cabin a premium feel. Pillow and blankets are already placed on the seats, together with the only amenities such as slippers, eyeshades and socks. The new Regional Business Class seats are arranged in a stagged manner, passengers would have to choose between better access into their seats or privacy. For seats with the side table on the aisle side, getting in and out is a tad squeezy however passengers will get better privacy in these seats. For seats with the side table away from the aisle, getting in and out is a lot easier thanks to the bigger opening for the seats, however, passengers sitting here will have less privacy.

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Singapore Airlines New Regional Business Class seats in Upright position

The new regional Business Class seats onboard Singapore Airlines A350-900 generally have three modes. Passengers would be greeted with the take-off/landing mode, the most upright position, which can be a tad uncomfortable to seat on. The lounge mode is the second mode and the positioning of the seat that I spent most of the 6½ hour flight time in. The lounge mode is somewhere in between the take-off/landing position and the flatbed position, having a slight reclination but not all the way flat. I find this mode to be very comfortable watching the movies from the Inflight Entertainment System. I spent my time eating in this mode as well. The third mode is the bed mode, where the seat is converted to a 180° flatbed. Sleeping in the flatbed mode is rather comfortable as passengers’ legs can be fully stretched into the ottoman underneath the TV. The seat in the flatbed mode allows passengers to do some tossing and turning during their sleep. However, passengers can feel a tad cramp in the narrow seats (compared to that in Singapore Airlines B777-300ER). The armrests in the seats can be adjusted downwards in flatbed mode to give passengers more space in the seats during their sleep.

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Singapore Airlines A350-900 New Regional Business Class seat in lounge mode

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Singapore Airlines A350-900 New Regional Business Class seat in flatbed mode

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Ottoman in the Business Class seat with storage space for carry-on luggage below

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Legroom is quite good onboard Singapore Airlines A350-900 Business Class cabin

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Adjustable armrest in Singapore Airlines New Regional Business Class seat

Each Regional Business Class Seat onboard Singapore Airlines A350-900 is equipped with a side table where passengers can place some of their things on. There is an indentation in one corner of this side table where flight attendants will place the drinking glasses on. There is a small cabinet with a sliding door on the same side as the side table. Here is where the menu and noise-cancelling headphones are placed during boarding. There is an NFC reader as well as two USB charging ports and international power outlet for passengers to charge their lifestyle devices. Storage space for passengers to stow away small items onboard Singapore Airlines A350-900 Regional Business Class is very limited as this cabinet is the only place where passengers can store small items such as mobile phones and passports, it is not big enough to store a tablet or bigger cameras. Even the older Regional Business Class seats like those on the A330-300 has more storage space (read about my previous experience here). A vanity mirror is found between the side cabinet and the seat for passengers who want to look presentable before they disembark. Seat control buttons, as well as the IFE controller, are stored on the side table is located. The seat control buttons are touch bar and will only light up when passengers touch the seat controls. The seat control touch bar allows passengers to adjust the mode of the seat, the seat lighting, on/off for the TV as well as flight attendant call button.

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Side table in each seat onboard Singapore Airlines Business Class seat

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Small cabinet for passengers to store loose items

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Cabinet door can be closed and the headphone can be hung on the hook at the side when not using

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NFC reader and in-seat charging ports

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A vanity mirror that can slide out in the seat

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Seat control panel and IFE controller

The table is hidden under the TV screen and can be deployed with a push of a button under the table. The table is folded into half and is very big when fully deployed. Underneath the ottoman below the TV screen is another compartment where passengers can place their shoes or their carry-ons. Seat pocket in the New Regional Business Class seats onboard Singapore Airlines A350-900 is found on the bulkhead in front of the seat, near to the floor of the aircraft. The placement of the seat pocket is rather unergonomic as passengers would have to unfasten their seat belt to reach the contents inside. There are several reading lights in each seat. One reading light is installed above each Business Class seats and a set of three inside the seat. The set three reading lights, catering to the different positions of the seat, have their individual switches providing much convenience for passengers using them.

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The table is stowed neatly under the TV screen in each seat

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Table fully deployed

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The seat pocket is situated in an inconvenient place in the seat

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Seat pocket contents

In-Flight Entertainment

Singapore Airlines has a great In-Flight Entertainment (IFE) System. Each Business Class seat is fitted with a large 18″ HD TV, making watching movies very comfortable as the TV does not look too small even when the seat is in the upright position. However, these TVs do not a touchscreen function. Controls on the IFE have to be done on the IFE controller. The design of the IFE controller menus is very intuitive, akin to a mobile phone. The menus on the IFE is well laid out and selection of movies from the controller is not difficult. When stowed away in its holder, the IFE controller screen has icons for easy to controls of the TV screen or for passengers to log into their KrisFlyer account where passengers can store their favourite movie titles into a personalised catalogue of entertainment. When in handheld mode, the IFE controller has large wordings and screens for passengers to scroll to look for the movie titles from the controller without having to look at the TV screen.

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Each Business Class seat is fitted with an 18″ TV

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IFE controller icons when stowed, the headphone jack is next to the seat control panel

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The IFE menu is very easy to use

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IFE controller screen looks like a mobile phone

When it comes to entertainment options, KrisWorld (Singapore Airlines’ in-flight entertainment) has an extensive library of movies, TV shows, podcasts, music and games to keep passengers of all ages entertained through the flight. The IFE options are well organised into categories, making scrolling through the options very easy. In terms of movies (which I spend most of the time watching during the flight), KrisWorld has no lack of options. From the latest blockbusters to movies that are made in the 90s to foreign films, one will be able to find something that occupies their flight time with. Singapore Airlines provides noise-cancelling headphones for their Business Class passengers. These headphones are very comfortable to wear and the noise-cancelling function is very effective in blocking out ambient noise. The noise-cancelling function is so good that I have to remove my headphones whenever the flight attendants or my friend is talking to me. To provide passengers with convenience, the volume can be adjusted from the headphone itself.

Business Class passengers are entitled to 100MB of complimentary wifi during flight. Connecting to the inflight wifi is very easy and the speed connection is good. I managed to chat with my family while in the air and post some pictures on my Instagram account as we were up in the sky.

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Business Class passengers are given complimentary 100MB wifi

Meal

Passengers flying on Singapore Airlines Business Cass can use the “Book the Cook” to pre-order meals for their flight. However, the menu from the “Book the Cook” flying out from Incheon is not as extensive as flights departing from Singapore. For this leg of the flight, I did not use “Book the Cook”. When it comes to the in-flight menu, passengers can choose from the four options of the main course. For my meal, I opted for the Hansik and my friend opted for the Seared Chicken Breast. Flight attendants came around the cabin to take orders from passengers on their preferred meal.

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Business Class Menu

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Hansik Menu

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“Normal” menu

About 1 hour into the flight, flight attendants started the meal service with Singapore Chicken and Beef Satay as a canape. Singapore Airlines is famed for its satay in its premium class cabins. Each passenger was served two beef and one chicken satay. The satay is tender and well marinated. The satay sauce that was served on the plate was not too spicy, and the sauce is very thick with peanuts. The satays are so tasty that I requested for a second serving from the flight attendants, who were happy to heat up some more for me and my friend.

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The signature satay onboard Singapore Airlines Business Class

About 2½ hours into the flight, the flight attendants went around setting the table for a meal for all passengers in Business Class cabin, followed by distribution of the meals. Meals are distributed from the kitchen to each passenger. I opted to have Hansik (Korean meal) for this flight. The Hansik started with Grilled Tuna with Yuzu dressing appetiser. The tuna was very tasty and moist and the yuzu dressing it was very well paired with was not sour. While having my appetiser, another flight attendant came around the cabin with a basket of bread for passengers to choose. I opted for the Singapore Airline’s signature Garlic bread, which was full of taste and warm. The flight attendant cleared the plate when I was done with the tuna and served up the main course – Andong Dak Jjim (Korean stewed chicken), which was served with kimchi and pickled cucumber. The stewed chicken was very tasty and tender, the sauce that the chicken was served in is very well balanced. After the main course, I had Yuzu Chocolate pudding for dessert. I did not quite like the taste of the pudding as it is a tad too sour for my liking.

My friend opted to have the “normal meal”, the appetiser and dessert he was served were different from mine. For the appetiser, my friend was served Smoked Duck Breast. The duck breast was very tender and was not dry. Out of the three choices of the main course, my friend opted for Baked Halibut with White Wine Sauce. The Halibut was moist and not flaky, the white wine sauce was very tasty. The main course came with linguine, which was not lumpy. My friend had Caramel Cake for dessert, which was a tad too sweet for my friend’s liking.

Service

The service we received on Singapore Airlines Business Class was impeccable. The flight attendants are very observant and felt that they go all out to ensure passengers have a pleasant flight. We were greeted by the flight attendants with a warm smile at the door the moment step onboard the aircraft. Flight attendants escorted us to our seat and quickly serve up the pre-departure drink. We were given options of apple or orange juice as well as champagne. I was offered an additional drink by the flight attendant the moment she saw my glass was empty. Flight attendants were seen helping passengers to stow away their carry-on baggage during boarding. Throughout the flight, we were always addressed by our surname by the flight attendants. The moment the seat belt sign was turned off, flight attendants go around the cabin serving drinks to passengers, soon after the Satay service commenced.

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We were welcomed onboard by Katherine the In-flight Manager

The meal was presented course by course and individually to all passengers from the galley instead of pushing around a trolley to serve passengers. This gave us a feel of restaurant-style service where food was brought straight from the kitchen. The observant flight attendants cleared the plates almost immediately after observing the plates are empty and checked with the passengers if we would like the next course to be served. The flight attendants will always check how we find the food while clearing the plate. Meal courses were served up moments after the plate was being cleared. The flight attendants ensure passengers flying on Singapore Airlines Business Class stay hydrated by asking if we would like any beverages throughout the flight. At one point in the flight, the thoughtful flight attendant worried that my friend might be thirsty, placed a bottle of water in my friend’s seat when she noticed my friend was deep in slumber.

My friends and I were very well taken care of onboard SQ609 by the flight attendants. It seems they pay a lot of attention to the passengers they are taking care of. The excellent service started with Ms Katherine Chua, the In-flight Manager. She’s the first person we saw standing by at the door greeting passengers with the warmest smile. Before take-off, one seat across me was having problems with the deployment of the table. Instead of allowing the passenger to discover it himself, Katherine appraised the passenger of the issue, followed by offering the passengers vouchers that he can use for duty-free shopping onboard as a form of service recovery. Katherine was seen apologising to the passenger repeatedly (even though it is not her fault) and offered solutions for the passengers during mealtime. Katherine was serving my aisle during Satay service, I commented that I was looking forward to the satay service as I have heard good things about the satays. When Katherine walked past me after finishing serving the passengers, she offered to serve me additional satays and checked with me when I wanted to have the satays. This goes to show that Katherine registers what passengers comments are and took note of them. During mealtime, I was told by another flight attendant that my main course will take a little longer to be served up as Katherine was picking out all the mushrooms in my meal due to my allergy. When the main course was served, I noticed it was Enokitake mushrooms that were in the meal. Katherine must have put in a lot of effort to remove every single piece of the small mushroom. After the meal service ended, I passed the galley to visit my friend in another seat. I witnessed Katherine invested a lot of effort decorating the tray where my other friend’s birthday cake was served. My friend was delightfully surprised when Katherine and her crew brought the cake over to my friend and sang him a birthday song up in the sky. When I saw the end-product of Katherine’s efforts, I was amazed by how beautifully the tray was decorated by Katherine. I was telling my friends that the tray was so well decorated that we can’t bear to take it apart. At one point, I requested plasters from Katherine who brought some for me and even helped me bandage my finger which was cut due to my dry skin. Katherine even brought me a bottle of the hand lotion for me to apply throughout the flight to prevent my hands from feeling dry.

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Katherine and her crew surprising my friend with a birthday cake

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Katherine carefully present the cake to my friend

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The birthday cake decorated by Katherine

Ms Rose Bae was the other flight attendant on board SQ609 taking care of passengers on my aisle. Rose portrayed a cheerful and professional persona. She was very attentive and observant throughout the flight. During beverage service, I expressed to Rose that I wanted to try some mocktails. Rose patiently went through the menu of mocktails that I can order on board with me and quickly concocted the mocktail for me. At one point Rose walked past me and saw that I was drinking coke instead, Rose checked if I did not like the drink and offered to make another mocktail for me. I assured her that I liked the drink and just wanted to have coke at that point. I opted for the Hansik meal during the flight, Rose informed me that there are mushrooms in the dish after noting that I am an allergy to mushrooms from the records in a previous flight. I told her I will be fine as long as I do not consume the mushrooms. During meal service, Rose came over to apologise for my main course being served slightly later as Katherine was picking out all the small mushrooms in the meal. Throughout the flight, Rose ensured that I did not go thirsty or hungry and offered food and drinks throughout the flight. She would always offer me drinks whenever she saw my glass is empty. Rose was seen constantly patrolling the cabin and checking if I was comfortable.

The Leading Stewardess, Judy Cho was great as well. My aisle was not serviced by Judy and my interactions with her were limited to during the duty-free rounds she made. I told Judy that I wanted to get an aircraft model for my nephew as he like planes. Judy took the time to discuss with me the suitability of the model for my 3 years old nephew and gave her honest opinion that the model was not suitable for my nephew and persuaded me not to get that for my nephew. Judy returned later with a bag full of in-flight amenities that she put together so that I can give to my nephew as souvenirs from Singapore Airlines. Judy displayed excellent listening skills and thoughtfulness and did not push for sales when it is really not suitable. This goes to show she put her passengers’ requirements at heart and is truthful in her recommendations.

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Judy presenting satay to Business Class passengers

Tze Hwa was the other flight attendant who was very attentive during the flight. He was seen serving passengers with pre-departure drinks and checked with me if I needed additional drinks when he saw my glass was empty. Tze Hwa was also seen helping passengers to stow their carry-on baggage in the overhead compartment during boarding and disembarking. He was also seen patrolling the cabin and constantly checked if passengers want more drinks. Tze Hwa was one of the crews who helped Katherine to surprise my friend with the birthday cake.

Afterthought

Singapore Airlines indeed live up to their company tagline,  A Great Way to Fly, in their Business Class service. The new Regional Business Class seats are narrower than those it replaces and has significantly lesser storage space in the seat for passengers to put away small items. The seat is capable of converting to a full flatbed, which makes sleeping comfortable. The meal was delicious and the satay indeed lives up to its reputation. There are lots of options in the IFE system to keep passengers entertained throughout the flight. What makes this flight enjoyable is the service we received on board. The flight attendants are very observant and come across as being sincere in their service offering throughout the flight. We were very well taken care of by Katherine and her crew that makes us enjoy the flight till this day.

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Flying over Korea

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Flying over sunset

[Accommodation Review] – Novotel Ambassador Seoul Dongdaemum Hotels & Residences (Residence Studio), Seoul, South Korea (2 – 6 Nov 19)

Location

Novotel Ambassador Seoul Dongdaemun Hotels & Residences is very well appointed. The hotel is 5 mins walk from Dongdaemun shopping district where the shops close at 5am every day. The hotel is also very accessible with a bus stop just 2 mins walk and the subway just 4 mins walk from the hotel. The nearest subway stop from Novotel Ambassador Seoul Dongdaemun Hotels & Residences is Dongdaemun  History & Culture Park Station, where three subway lines serve the station. The hotel is one subway stop from Myeongdong shopping district, five stops away from Gyeongbokgung Station and four stops from Seoul Station. Getting to and from Incheon Airport is a breeze with the Airport limousine Bus Stop being 1 min walk from the hotel. There are at least two 24-hour convenient shops nearby the hotel, with one located in the building next to the hotel. Numerous eateries around the hotel open 24-hour.

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Airport limousine stop next to Novotel Ambassador Seoul Dongdaemun Hotels & Residences

The Studio

The Residence Studio has a total floor area of 26m² which is quite good by Seoul’s standards. Despite its size, the interior designers of the hotel did an excellent job is packing a kitchenette in the room and yet does not make the room feel cramp.

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View of Seoul from the Residence Studio

Sleeping Area

The large king bed is the first thing that greets guests upon entering the room. The sleep quality on the king bed is excellent, leaving guests feeling fully recharged every night one sleeps on it. The pillows are of the right firmness to my liking. Novotel Ambassador Seoul Dongdaemun Hotels & Residences also provides guests with a choice of four types of pillows via the pillow menu ensuring guests having a better sleep quality. There are two side tables placed on either side of the bed with reading lights mounted on the headboard of the bed, thus freeing up space for guests to utilise on the side tables. There is an international power outlet as well as two USB charging ports above either of the bedside tables, providing ample outlets for guests to charge their lifestyle devices.

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The king bed is the first thing that greets guests upon entering the room

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The sleep quality on the king bed is excellent

Next to the entrance of the Residence Studio is a couple of armchairs and a small round table, where guests can relax by and enjoy a cup of coffee from the Nespresso machine in the kitchenette. There are some more power outlets and USB ports here, providing guests with more points to charge their lifestyle devices. A large 55″ LED TV is mounted on the wall opposite the king bed and above the armchairs. There is no lack of TV programmes, both local and international ones, to keep guests of the Residence Studio entertained.

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Armchairs and the 55″ LED TV mounted on the wall opposite the king bed

The Bathroom

The bathroom in the Residence Studio at Novotel Ambassador Seoul Dongdaemun Hotels & Residences is a tad tight, but one will not feel too cramp inside the bathroom. A sink and a small countertop are to the right of the entrance to the bathroom. Despite being small, there is still space on the countertop for guests to place some of their toiletries. A large mirror is placed on the wall by the sink, making the bathroom look bigger. A toilet bowl, that comes with remote control bidet, is placed in the corner next to the sink. A walk-in shower with both regular and rain shower heads, enclosed in glass partition separating the wet and dry area of the bathroom, is diagonally opposite the sink. The space inside the walk-in shower does not feel cramp at all. One can still shower comfortably in the walk-in shower. I am amazed that the designers of this Residence Studio in Novotel Ambassador Seoul Dongdaemun Hotels & Residences manage to fit in a wardrobe in the bathroom. This ingenious design not only frees up space in the sleeping area of the room, it conveniences guests of the room in changing their clothes after a shower. The wardrobe is, however, a tad small for two guests staying in the room. The space in the wardrobe at most can hold up to one week’s clothing for one guest and maybe two guests if the clothings are hanged closely. An iron and ironing board is stowed inside this wardrobe. An in-room safe is hidden on the top drawer of the two-tiered cabinet inside the wardrobe.

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Sink and toilet in the bathroom

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Remote control bidet

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Walk-in Shower

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Bath amenities provided by Novotel Ambassador Seoul Dongdaemun Hotels & Residences

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Wardrobe in the toilet

Kitchenette

Despite having a total floor area of only 26m², the designers of the Residence Studio managed to put in a kitchenette area in the room, displaying their cleverness at using space in the room. The kitchenette occupies the corner of the room outside the bathroom and to the left of the entrance to the Residence Studio. The two induction cookers and the microwave in the kitchenette allows guests to cook a simple meal. There is also a rice cooker and some cookwares stowed inside the cabinet in the kitchenette area. The hotel also installed a Nespresso machine in the kitchenette for guests to enjoy quality coffee in the room. In the cabinets under the induction cookers are a washing machine that comes with dryer function and a mini-fridge.

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Kitchenette Area in the Residence Studio

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There is a sink and two induction cookers in the kitchenette

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Microwave oven, electric kettle and Nespresso machine in the kitchenette

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There is a washing machine cum dryer in the kitchenette

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Mini fridge in the kitchenette

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Rice cooker and other cooking wares are found in the cabinet at the kitchenette. There is space here for guests to store their belongings

Service

The service in Novotel Ambassador Seoul Dongdaemun Hotels & Residences is out of this world. From the moment we step into the hotel on the ground level, we can already feel the friendliness and eagerness to help guests from the staff. We were greeted by the concierge staffs and invited to the 20th floor to get our check-in processed. The concierge staff also offered to help us with our luggage and escort us to the reception for check-in, which we declined. At the reception, the staffs welcomed us with the biggest smile on her face. She processed our check-in with such efficiency and made some recommendations for us to explore during our stay in Seoul. The staff also gave us three welcome drink passes (unlike the miserable Ibis Ambassador Busan Haeundae) and recommended us to use the pass at the bar on the 20th floor where the view is more spectacular.

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Concierge staff on the ground floor who are always willing to help

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We were warmly welcomed by the staff at the reception on the 20th floor during our check-in

I always thought the housekeeping staffs are the unsung heroes of any hotels. It is the same for Novotel Ambassador Seoul Dongdaemun Hotels & Residences. We were assured that we will always return to a spick and span suite every night after exploring Seoul. These diligent housekeeping staffs cleaned every corner of the suite and replenished all the amenities in the suite so we do not have to worry about them running out.

When we redeemed the welcome drink from the bar on the 20th floor, we were warmly welcomed by the only staff at the bar. The staff briefed us of the choice of drink we are entitled to and found us an excellent seat which gave us a commanding view of the surroundings after taking orders for our drinks.

The hotel provides free shuttle service three times a day to six major destinations around Seoul include Myeongdong, Gyeongbokgung, Changyeonggung to name a few. Guests are required to arrive at the hotel concierge early and queue up for the shuttle service. We did not manage to catch the shuttle service during our stay in the hotel as the timing does not match ours.

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Complimentary Shuttle service

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This bus would take guests around six destinations in Seoul

Hotel Facilities

Gym

The gym in Novotel Ambassador Seoul Dongdaemun Hotels & Residences is located on the 20th floor. The gym is very well equipped with treadmills, bikes, weights machine and free weights for guests to get a good workout. I like the placement of the bikes and treadmills where guests can do their workout and get a great view of Seoul while doing so.

 

Swimming Pool

There are two swimming pools in Novotel Ambassador Seoul Dongdaemun Hotels & Residences. The hotel requires guests to wear a swim cap when using these pools. The indoor swimming is located on the 20th floor of the hotel and is opened all year long. The swimming pool is heated and is great for guests to swim a few laps in. There is a jacuzzi by the entrance to the indoor pool for guests to relax in.

 

Novotel Ambassador Seoul Dongdaemun Hotels & Residences also operates an outdoor swimming pool on the rooftop (21st floor). Despite being a smaller pool compared to its indoor counterpart, guests can also get a decent swim from this outdoor pool. The outdoor pool is open only from Jul to Sep each year.

 

Rooftop Garden

There is a rooftop garden on the 21st floor in Novotel Ambassador Seoul Dongdaemun Hotels & Residences. There are some chairs in the garden for guests to relax and enjoy the view of Seoul. There is also a bar where guests can order some drinks and snacks while taking in the beautiful scenery of Seoul.

 

Overall

Novotel Ambassador Seoul Dongdaemun Hotels & Residences is an excellent choice for visitors to Seoul. The location is excellent with the Dongdaemun shopping district right at the doorstep of the hotel. The hotel is within minutes walk from the airport limousine bus stop and the subway station. Despite the small size, the Residence Studio is very well designed in terms of space and is very comfortable. The sleep quality was excellent in the king bed. The service we received throughout our stay with Novotel Ambassador Seoul Dongdaemun Hotels & Residences is impeccable. We were always greeted with smiles whenever we bumped into any of the staffs around in the hotel. We felt welcome to the hotel by the diligent staffs working tirelessly around the clock to ensure guests are well taken care of. I would not hesitate to book a stay at this hotel the next time I visit Seoul.

[Accommodation Review] – Novotel Ambassador Seoul Dongdaemun Hotels & Residences (Residence Premier 1 Bedroom Suite), Seoul, South Korea (2 – 6 Nov 19)

Location

Novotel Ambassador Seoul Dongdaemun Hotels & Residences is very well appointed. The hotel is 5 mins walk from Dongdaemun shopping district where the shops close at 5am every day. The hotel is also very accessible with a bus stop just 2 mins walk and the subway just 4 mins walk from the hotel. The nearest subway stop from Novotel Ambassador Seoul Dongdaemun Hotels & Residences is Dongdaemun  History & Culture Park Station, where three subway lines serve the station. The hotel is one subway stop from Myeongdong shopping district, five stops away from Gyeongbokgung Station and four stops from Seoul Station. Getting to and from Incheon Airport is a breeze with the Airport limousine Bus Stop being 1 min walk from the hotel. There are at least two 24-hour convenient shops nearby the hotel, with one located in the building next to the hotel. Numerous eateries around the hotel open 24-hour.

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Novotel Ambassador Seoul Dongdaemun Hotels & Residences Facade

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Airport limousine bus stop is just next to Novotel Ambassador Seoul Dongdaemun Hotels & Residence

The Suite

Novotel Ambassador Seoul Dongdaemun Hotels & Residences has generally two types of accommodation, the hotel side and the residence side. The residence part of the hotel has facilities similar to a serviced apartment. The Residence Premier 1 Bedroom Suite that my friend and I were staying has a generous total floor area of 81m². 

Kitchenette

The Residence Premier 1 Bedroom Suite in Novotel Ambassador Seoul Dongdaemun Hotels & Residences is equipped with a small kitchenette immediately after the entrance foyer to the suite. There is a sink for guests to wash their dishes, which the hotel also provide washing detergent and sponge. Beside the sink is a two induction stove for guests to do some simple cooking with the pots and pans stowed in the drawer in the kitchen island. In the kitchenette area, rice cooker and microwave machine can also be found. The hotel provides china and cutlery for up to four guests usage in the numerous drawers around the kitchenette area. A washing machine is concealed inside the cabinet under the sink in the kitchenette area. The washing machine has a dryer function which is great for guests needing to do their laundry in the suite.

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Sink in the kitchenette

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The washing machine is tucked away in the cabinet under the induction cooker and rice cooker

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Coffee and tea

On top of that, the kitchenette is equipped with a full-size fridge for guests to store the groceries they bought. A Nespresso machine and electric kettle are placed on the kitchen island, which can also double up as a dining table that comes with four high chairs. The design of the suite is so thoughtful that power outlets are installed on the kitchen island for guests to use the Nespresso machine and kettle.

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Full-size fridge in the kitchenette

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A kitchen island that also doubles up as a dining table

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Cutlery and cooking ware are stored in the cabinet of the kitchen island

Living Room

Further from the entrance to the Residence Premier 1 Bedroom Suite, after the kitchenette area in the living room. The decor in the living room is contemporary and cosy, due to the earthy tone used in the decor coupled with the lighting from the ceiling. There is a cabinet placed in the entrance foyer next to the kitchen island, which is great for guests to stow away their shopping items without having the living room looking messy. The living room in the Residence Premier 1 Bedroom Suite of Novotel Ambassador Seoul Dongdaemun Hotels & Residences is very well illuminated at all times of the day. In the day the living room is illuminated with natural light from one of the six floor-to-ceiling windows, and at night it is brightly lighted with the yellow lighting from the ceiling and the floor lamp placed in the corner of the living room. The centrepiece of the living room is the L-shaped couch, capable of sitting five to six persons. The sofa is very comfortable to sit on or lying on to watch the numerous programmes on the huge 55″ TV mounted on the wall opposite the couch. A coffee table between the couch and the TV, laid with hotel literature, is perfect for one to place their drinks or even snacks while watching TV.

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View of the living room from the entrance foyer

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The very cosy living room

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Contemporary and spacious living room

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View from the living room

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Huge 55″ Smart LED TV in the living room

Bedroom

The spaciousness of the Residence Premier 1 Bedroom Suite of Novotel Ambassador Seoul Dongdaemun Hotels & Residences extends into the bedroom. The bedroom is furnished with a large king bed which is very comfortable and made us feel fully recharged to explore Seoul every single night when we were staying in the hotel. The pillows on the bed are of the right firmness to my liking. On top of these pillows, guests can choose from a list of pillow menu to find one that one prefers to get a better night sleep. The spacious bedroom allows the hotel to place an armchair, without obstructing the space, by the floor to ceiling window for guests to relax on with their legs stretched out. I find the armchair perfect to read a book from or simply to gaze at Seoul from the chair.

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Bedroom in Residence Premier 1 Bedroom Suite of Novotel Ambassador Seoul Dongdaemun Hotels & Residences

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A very comfortable King bed in the bedroom

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Armchair placed in the window for guests to read a book or simple gaze out of the window

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Novotel Ambassador Seoul Dongdaemun Hotels & Residences offers four types of pillows in their pillow menu

Bedside tables are installed on either side of the king bed in the bedroom of Residence Premier 1 Bedroom Suite in Novotel Ambassador Seoul Dongdaemun Hotels & Residences. The open style tables are a tad small with all the gadgets such as telephone on the left side table and a tablet dock on the right table. However, these gadgets can be shifted to the bottom tier of the table freeing up space for guests to charge their lifestyle devices. The hotel has excellent power options for guests. Other than the international power socket, there are USB power ports on each side of the bedside table for guests to charge their phones, tablets, etc. Switches for the lighting in the suite can also be accessible via the switches on both sides of the table. Bedside reading lamps are installed on the headboard of the king bed, freeing up even more space for guests to use on the bedside tables. The tablet on the right side of the bedside table allows guests to control practically everything in the suite. From the lighting to temperature to TV and music controls. Novotel Ambassador Seoul Dongdaemun Hotels & Residences is the first AI hotel in Korea. Other than being able to control these from the tablet, guests can gain access to a webpage via scanning a QR code found on the light switch panel in the living room. This webpage allows guests to control everything in the suite from their mobile phone anywhere in Korea, including requests for make-up room, request for additional hotel amenities, room climate, TV control and lighting controls. I find having this control on my palm and on the go to be very interesting.

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Tablet that controls everything in the Residence Premier 1 Bedroom Suite of Novotel Ambassador Seoul Dongdaemun Hotels & Residences on the right bedside table

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Tablet menu

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Lighting control and power outlet above the left bedside table

Another large 55″ smart LED TV is mounted on the wall in the bedroom, opposite the king bed. This TV has the same entertainment options as that in the living room, allowing guests to watch TV from the comfort of the bed.

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55″ Smart LED TV mounted opposite the king bed in the bedroom

Wardrobe Area

Novotel Ambassador Seoul Dongdaemun Hotels & Residences has a generous wardrobe area in the bedroom of the Residence Premier 1 Bedroom Suite. The wardrobe area is an extension in the bedroom, between the king bed and the bathroom. There are a total of three wardrobes, two large wardrobes with two door panels and one smaller wardrobe with one door panel. There is no lack of storage space in this wardrobe for guests to hang out the clothing they bring to Korea. The in-room safe is hidden in one of the drawers inside one of the large wardrobes. On top of that, the iron and ironing board is also tucked away in this wardrobe. The space in the wardrobe area is so large that the hotel placed of a rectangular stool here, giving it a boutique feel, and yet still have sufficient space for guests to move around even with the wardrobe doors open. Having the wardrobe area in front of the bathroom gives guests the convenience of changing into their clothing after a shower.

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There is no lack of space for clothing in the wardrobes

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The in-room safe is hidden away in one of the drawers in the wardrobe

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The wardrobe at the entrance of the bedroom

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Entire wardrobe area in the bedroom

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There is no lack of space for clothing in the wardrobes

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The in-room safe is hidden away in one of the drawers in the wardrobe

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The wardrobe by the entrance to the bedroom of the Residence Premier 1 Bedroom Suite. The hotel is happy to provide additional hangers should guests request

Bathroom

Bedroom

The main bathroom in the Residence Premier 1 Bedroom Suite in Novotel Ambassador Seoul Dongdaemun Hotels & Residences is accessible from the bedroom. This main bathroom is huge. The bathroom is separated from the bedroom by a three-panel sliding door. Entering the bathroom, the first thing that caught my eyes is the huge circular bathtub sitting in one corner of the bathroom. This bathtub is perfect for guests to soak away the fatigue after a day’s exploring around Seoul. Despite being large, the water pressure from the tap on the bathtub fills up the tub very fast, guests do not have to wait for too long before being able to enjoy their soak.

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A large bathtub in the bathroom

Right by the entrance of the bathroom is large sink countertop with a single sink sitting in the middle of the countertop. The countertop occupies 2/3 of the width of the bathroom, which provides tons of space for guests to place their toiletries on. Novotel Ambassador Seoul Dongdaemun Hotels & Residences provides their in-house bath amenities completed with body lotion, dental kit and shaver. The bath amenities are of good quality.

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Sink with a large countertop in the bathroom

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Quality in-house bath amenities

There are two cubicles furthest end from the entrance to the bathroom. The cubicle next to the sink countertop is where the shower cubicle is located. The shower cubicle has sufficient space to place bath amenities as well as a cup for toothbrushes. The shower cubicle has both regular shower head and rain shower head. The cubicle next to the walk-in shower, behind the bathtub, is where the toilet is located. The toilet is equipped with a bidet. Instead of a control panel mounted on the wall, usage of the bidet is via remote control.

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Large walk-in shower

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Toilet with bidet

Guest Toilet

There is another toilet right at the main entrance to the suite at the entrance foyer. The guest toilet, furnished with a toilet bowl with bidet and a sink, is very big. The hotel is very thoughtful in the placing of towel rack with two hand towels in this toilet. This toilet is perfect for the guests of those staying in this Residence Premier 1 Bedroom Suite to use without having the need to enter the bathroom in the bedroom. This toilet is also convenient for guests who wanted to use the toilet without having to walk to the toilet in the bedroom while they are watching TV in the living room.

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Toilet in by the entrance to the Residence Premier 1 Bedroom Suite

Service

The service in Novotel Ambassador Seoul Dongdaemun Hotels & Residences is out of this world. From the moment we step into the hotel on the ground level, we can already feel the friendliness and eagerness to help guests from the staff. We were greeted by the concierge staffs and invited to the 20th floor to get our check-in processed. The concierge staff also offered to help us with our luggage and escort us to the reception for check-in, which we declined. At the reception, the staffs welcomed us with the biggest smile on her face. She processed our check-in with such efficiency and made some recommendations for us to explore during our stay in Seoul. The staff also gave us three welcome drink passes (unlike the miserable Ibis Ambassador Busan Haeundae) and recommended us to use the pass at the bar on the 20th floor where the view is more spectacular. The staff was observant and wished my friend an advanced birthday.

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Concierge staff on the ground floor who are always willing to help

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We were warmly welcomed by the staff at the reception on the 20th floor during our check-in

I had previously requested a birthday cake for my friend whose birthday falls on one of the days during our stay in Novotel Ambassador Seoul Dongdaemun Hotels & Residences. My request was to have the caked delivered at the stroke of midnight and the cake was indeed delivered by a hotel staff despite being in midnight. The staff wished my friend a happy birthday with the warmest smile on his face. As we were receiving the cake, we got locked out of our suite. The staff immediately went to the reception and gotten the master key without letting us wait for too long. We apologise to the staff for making him make the extra trip to get the key to open the door. The staff responded with a smile that it was no trouble and told us not to worry about it.

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Birthday cake with compliments from Novotel Ambassador Seoul Dongdaemun Hotels & Residences at the stroke of midnight during my friend’s birthday

I always thought the housekeeping staffs are the unsung heroes of any hotels. It is the same for Novotel Ambassador Seoul Dongdaemun Hotels & Residences. We were assured that we will always return to a spick and span suite every night after exploring Seoul. These diligent housekeeping staffs cleaned every corner of the suite and replenished all the amenities in the suite so we do not have to worry about them running out.

When we redeemed the welcome drink from the bar on the 20th floor, we were warmly welcomed by the only staff at the bar. The staff briefed us of the choice of drink we are entitled to and found us an excellent seat which gave us a commanding view of the surroundings after taking orders for our drinks.

The hotel provides free shuttle service three times a day to six major destinations around Seoul include Myeongdong, Gyeongbokgung, Changyeonggung to name a few. Guests are required to arrive at the hotel concierge early and queue up for the shuttle service. We did not manage to catch the shuttle service during our stay in the hotel as the timing does not match ours.

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Complimentary Shuttle service

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This bus would take guests around six destinations in Seoul

Hotel Facilities

Gym

The gym in Novotel Ambassador Seoul Dongdaemun Hotels & Residences is located on the 20th floor. The gym is very well equipped with treadmills, bikes, weights machine and free weights for guests to get a good workout. I like the placement of the bikes and treadmills where guests can do their workout and get a great view of Seoul while doing so. 

Swimming Pool

There are two swimming pools in Novotel Ambassador Seoul Dongdaemun Hotels & Residences. The hotel requires guests to wear a swim cap when using these pools. The indoor swimming is located on the 20th floor of the hotel and is opened all year long. The swimming pool is heated and is great for guests to swim a few laps in. There is a jacuzzi by the entrance to the indoor pool for guests to relax in.

Novotel Ambassador Seoul Dongdaemun Hotels & Residences also operates an outdoor swimming pool on the rooftop (21st floor). Despite being a smaller pool compared to its indoor counterpart, guests can also get a decent swim from this outdoor pool. The outdoor pool is open only from Jul to Sep each year.

Rooftop Garden

There is a rooftop garden on the 21st floor in Novotel Ambassador Seoul Dongdaemun Hotels & Residences. There are some chairs in the garden for guests to relax and enjoy the view of Seoul. There is also a bar where guests can order some drinks and snacks while taking in the beautiful scenery of Seoul.

Overall

Novotel Ambassador Seoul Dongdaemun Hotels & Residences is an excellent choice for visitors to Seoul. The location is excellent with the Dongdaemun shopping district right at the doorstep of the hotel. The hotel is within minutes walk from the airport limousine bus stop and the subway station. The Residence Premier 1 Bedroom Suite we stayed in was very spacious and comfortable. The incredible space we had in the suite ensured that we had lots of space moving around and put away our belongings. The sleep quality was excellent in the king bed. The service we received throughout our stay with Novotel Ambassador Seoul Dongdaemun Hotels & Residences is impeccable. We were always greeted with smiles whenever we bumped into any of the staffs around in the hotel. We felt welcome to the hotel by the diligent staffs working tirelessly around the clock to ensure guests are well taken care of. I would not hesitate to book a stay at this hotel the next time I visit Seoul.