[Accommodation Review] – Airbnb – Myeongsu’s Apartment (2-Bedroom Apartment), Jeju-do, South Korea (26 – 29 Nov 19)

Location

Myeongsu’s apartment is a little isolated, on a quiet part of Jeju (Airbnb link to Myeongsu’s apartment). There are some orange plantations near Myeongsu’s apartment. However, if one is driving around Jeju, Myseongsu’s apartment is great for exploring Jeju as it is near a highway. The apartment is located around 15 to 20 mins drive from Jeju Airport and around 30 mins drive from Jeju City. There is a convenient store at the end of the street, about 15 mins walk from the apartment. I like the peacefulness created by the quietness in the surroundings of Myeongsu’s apartment.

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Myeongsu’s apartment is located in this building in Jeju

The Apartment

Myeongsu’s apartment is a 2-bedroom apartment with two toilets, large enough to fit a party of six. The modern decor apartment has a total floor area of 99m² and is very comfortable to stay in.

Patio

Entering through the main door in Myeongsu’s apartment is a patio with large cabinets for our shoes. The patio is fitted with senor which lights up whenever we are in this area of the apartment. Another screen door separates the patio to the living room.

Living Room

The living room in Myeongsu’s apartment is minimalistic decored and is very spacious. The living room is decorated with wooden floorings and stone feature wall that makes this part of the living room feels very cosy and comfortable. There is only one three-seater couch that can be converted into a sofa bed and a TV mounted on the wall. At the far end of the living room is a three-panel floor to ceiling glass window, which allows a good amount of natural light into the living in the day. At night, the living room is brightly lited with the combination of lighting from the ceiling lights and the feature wall where the TV is mounted. A fake wall cum shelving separates the living room from the kitchen and dining room.

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Living room in Myeongsu’s apartment

Kitchen and Dining Room

Separated by a semi fake wall that doubles up as a shelf, the dining room is well equipped with everything one needs to cook up a decent meal. There is a large fridge at the entrance that provided us with more than sufficient space to store the drinks we bought during our stay in Myeongsu’s apartment.  A small dining table with seats for four pax is placed in the kitchen where we had our snacks at night. Inside the kitchen, next to the fake wall is the entrance to the indoor laundry yard. Despite being in Korean, the washing machine cum dryer is intuitive to use. Myeongsu also provided washing detergent for guests should they want to wash their clothing.

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Kitchen and dining room

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Indoor laundry yard next to the kitchen

Master Bedroom

The Master bedroom in Myeongsu’s apartment is fairly large. The master bedroom is furnished with one queen-size bed and one single bed allows up to three pax to be accommodated in the room. The sleep quality on the beds is superb, allowing us to rest well after a tiring day of exploring Jeju. Opposite the beds are three large wardrobes where one can put away one week’s clothing for three pax. Myeongsu is also very thoughtful in providing ample hangers in the wardrobe. There is no lack of power outlets in the master bedroom. All power outlets in the room are well placed for guests to charge their lifestyle devices. There is also a good amount of lighting both from the natural lightings, thanks to the large windows in the room, and from the ceiling lighting.

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Master bedroom in Myeongsu’s Apartment

Second Bedroom

The second bedroom in Myeongsu’s apartment is located next to the kitchen, to the right from the patio. The second bedroom is furnished with a queen-size mattress laid on the heated flooring, ensuring guests stay warm during colder months.  There are two wardrobes in the second bedroom, allowing the two guests staying in the room to hang out one week’s worth of clothing. Similar to the master bedroom, there is no lack of power outlets in the second bedroom and all power outlets are very well placed for guests to charge their lifestyle devices.

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Second bedroom

Bathroom

Master Bathroom

Entering a door that separates the master bathroom from inside of the master bedroom is a small powder room for guests to put their cosmetics as well as to doll themselves up. Some shelvings in the powder room give guests ample space to stow their cosmetics. Through another door inside the powder room leads guests to the master bathroom. The bathroom has both a wet and dry area. The bathroom has both a shower booth, with both rain shower and regular shower head, and a toilet as well as a sink area. Myeongsu provides the shower essentials for guests staying in the apartment.

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Powder room

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The dry area inside the master bathroom

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Shower stall inside the master bathroom

Second Bathroom

The second bathroom is accessible from the living room, next to the second bedroom. Similar to the master bathroom, the second bathroom has both a wet and dry area. The shower booth is larger than that in the master bathroom and is equipped with both rain shower and regular shower head. The dry area in the second bathroom has both a toilet and a sink. There is ample space for guests utilising the second bathroom to place their toiletries. Myeongsu also provided all the shower amenities needed for one to shower in the second bathroom.

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Second bathroom

The Host

Myeongsu is an excellent host. He is very responsive to communications via the Airbnb app. Months before our trip to Jeju, I have been communicating with Myeongsu, generally enquiring about the apartment. Myeongsu replied within minutes of my messaging with answers that cleared my doubts. Myeongsu also texted me via the Airbnb app giving clear instructions on how to get to his apartment and how can we gain entry into his apartment on the day of our arrival. He was concerned if we had any problems in getting to his apartment and if we were comfortably settled in. Myeongsu even remembered that we wanted to have Korean BBQ that I have mentioned to him months ago and recommended some restaurants with maps and directions on how to get to these restaurants when we got to Jeju. I messaged Myeongsu at around 11pm regarding some of the facilities in his apartment on our first night and Myeongsu responded almost immediately.

Overall

Myeongsu’s apartment is very cosy and comfortable. The apartment is large enough to host up to six guests comfortably. There are numerous TV programmes on the TV in the living room, however, most if not all are in the Korean language. Myeongsu’s apartment is a tad far from the nearest town or city, but a convenient shop about 5mins drive allows guests to get some essentials. The apartment is near expressway, making it a good base to explore Jeju by car. Myeongsu’s apartment has ample parking space for guests to park their rental car. Myeongsu is an excellent host who is responsive to messaging via the Airbnb app. I would recommend one to consider Myeongsu’s apartment only if one is planning to explore Jeju via driving around.

 

 

 

[Accommodation Review] – Hanoi De L’Opera Hotel (Opera Suite), Hanoi, Vietnam (9 – 12 Aug 19)

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Hanoi De L’Opera Hotel Facade at night

Location

Hanoi De L’Opera Hotel is located in the heart of Hanoi in the upmarket French Quarter. It is within walking distance to most of the attractions and restaurants in the city, making the hotel an excellent base to explore Hanoi. The hotel overlooks Hanoi Opera house and is within minutes walk from attractions such as Hoan Kiem Lake, Hanoi Night Market, Old Quarter and the upscale shopping centre – Trang Tien Plaza. There is a 24-hour convenient store within a 2-min walk from the hotel and numerous cafes and restaurants within 15 mins walk from the hotel.

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The Hanoi Opera House viewed from the terrace of Hanoi De L’Opera Hotel

Opera Suite

I stayed in the Opera Suite which is actually a Junior Suite in Hanoi De L’Opera Hotel. The entire suite is decorated in exquisite French-inspired decor, with wooden flooring. The Opera Suite has a floor area of 46m² and has three general areas: Sleeping Area, Lounge Area and Bathroom.

Sleeping Area

The sleeping area in the Opera Suite of Hanoi De L’Opera Hotel occupies the left corner from the entrance to the suite. A huge large King bed with thick mattress, making the bed a tad high, draped with four large soft pillows sits in the of this part of the suite. The sleep quality is excellent providing great sleep throughout the three nights of my stay in the hotel. The bedside tables on either side of the king bed make a great spot for one to set up a base for the charging of their lifestyle devices. There are power outlets, with international plug sockets, by the bedside table on both sides of the bed. This provides a great convenience for guests staying in this suite.

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The king bed in the Opera Suite

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Bedside table by the king bed

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The king bed is placed next to the entrance to the Opera Suite

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Hanoi De L’Opera Hotel provides an extensive pillow menu

Smack right in front of the king bed, enclosed in a chrome cabinet, is the only TV in the suite. The 36″ LCD TV comes with numerous local and international channels, provided guests with entertainment to kill time during their time in the suite. Unfortunately, the TV can only be viewed from the bed, it cannot be swivelled to face the living area.

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The only TV in the suite, which can only be watched on the King bed

Behind the TV cabinet, placed by the windows in the Opera Suite, is a work desk for guests to do some work. The desk is sufficiently sized for one to do some work on, yet not too large that it hinders the movement of guests in this part of the suite. A desk light is the only decoration on this desk and the hotel places some magazines on the desk to provide guests with some reading materials to occupy their time. There are a couple of power outlets underneath the desk, which is a clever way that the hotel employs in order not to clutter up the desk.

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Work desk in the Opera Suite. I find the placement of the power outlet on the floor a tad inconvenient

Lounge Area

The Lounge Area of the Opera Suite in Hanoi De L’Opera Hotel is to the right of the entrance to the suite, next to the bathroom. The centrepiece of the Lounge Area would have to be the contrasting single-seat high back red armchair and the light purple two-seater couch with a rattan glass top coffee table placed on a carpet. For extra illumination, the designers of Hanoi De L’Opera Hotel placed a floor light that resembles those used in movie sets by the window. As mentioned previously, the TV cannot be swivelled for guests in the Opera Suite to relax and watch from the lounge area, hence I would think the purpose of this lounge area is purely to chill and sip some drinks from the minibar.

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Lounge Area of the Opera Suite

The minibar is placed in the cabinet behind the two-seater couch in the lounge area. The minibar also acts as segregation between the lounge area and the wardrobe. The bar fridge is placed on the left of the cabinet, while in the right cabinet, guests can find wine glasses and champagne flute. I do find it weird that regular drinking glasses are not placed in the suite, we had to call up the operator to get these regular drinking glasses. All items in the fridge are chargeable. Guests can find complimentary coffee and tea as well as coffee cups and electric flask on top of the minibar cabinet. I thought adding a power outlet at the minibar would be great as it would save us the trouble of boiling water from other parts of the suite (such as the bathroom).

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Minibar in the Opera Suite

At the end of the suite, behind the minibar area is a double panel wardrobe. The size of the wardrobe is alright, sufficient for us to place our four days worth of clothing. Guests can find an in-room safe placed on top of the three-tiered drawer inside the wardrobe. Iron and ironing board are also well placed inside the wardrobe, which does not obstruct the use of the wardrobe space. On the right side of the wardrobe is where one can hang longer garments.

Bathroom

The bathroom is immediate to the right as one enters the Opera Suite from the entrance. The French inspiration decor extends into the bathroom, laid with pearl coloured tiles, marble walls and white themed walls, the bathroom looks clean, bright and classy. The semi-open bathroom is walled on one side and draped with curtains on the side where the bathtub is placed.  The first thing that caught my attention opening the French-inspired double panel wooden doors is the large mirror with Hollywood styled lighting surrounding the mirror. The bathroom has a single sink which is placed on one side of the sink countertop. The placement of the sink provides more space for guests to stow their toiletries. Towels are stored in the open cabinet beneath the sink. A cushioned stool is placed in the bathroom by the bathtub for guests to doll themselves up in comfort.

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View of the bathroom from the entrance

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Hanoi De L’Opera Hotel provides good quality bathroom amenities

To the left of the sink is where the toilet and walk-in shower cubicles are located. These cubicles are large enough to provide one with space and not feel too constricted while using these cubicles. The rubber lining on the doors of these cubicles means guests would have to open one door in order for the other door to open. Guests using the door to the walk-in shower would have to be careful as the placement of this door is angled in a way that it might hit the sink countertop if one opens the door with force. The walk-in shower cubicle does not feel cramp and cataphoric. A bathtub is placed opposite the toilet and shower cubicles. This is the part of the bathroom where a curtain separates the bathroom from the rest of the suite. The curtain can be drawn to provide spaciousness for guests while taking a soak in the French-inspired clawfoot bathtub. When guests turn on the tap, water would flow from the tap as well as the showerhead that is by the bathtub. I do find it peculiar that the tap for the bathtub does not come with a switch that toggles between the tap and the attached shower head at the bathtub.

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The bathroom has a semi-open concept

Service

I find the service that I received in Hanoi De L’Opera Hotel is top-notch. The moment our transport from the airport pulls up to the front porch of the hotel, the friendly and helpful porter was standing by ready to receive us and volunteered to help us unload our luggage. I observed as soon as we were at the reception with our luggage for check-in, the staffs at the front desk sprung into action like clockwork. One staff would be focused on processing our check-in, another staff went to the back of the reception desk and presented us with a welcome drink, and yet another staff was standing by ready to help us carry our luggage to our suite. The staff at the reception welcomed us with the biggest smile on her face. Despite being hours earlier than the usual hotel check-in timing, the front desk staff processed our check-in efficiently and allowed us to check into our suite. As we have made some request for the orientation of our suite in the hotel, the staff counter proposed to have us shifted to another suite. According to her, the original orientation we wanted is facing a newly opened club, where music would play into the wee hours of the night. Such a gesture goes to show the staff genuinely wanted to provide good service to guests.

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Hanoi De L’Opera Hotel reception

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Hanoi De L’Opera Hotel lobby

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Welcome drink

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Inner courtyard of Hanoi De L’Opera Hotel

The excellent service did not stop at the front desk. It is apparent in the other parts of the hotel. The staffs at the swimming pool and gym were very hospitable. One staff even showed us around the swimming pool and gym, and another passed us a bottle of chilled water from the fridge inside the gym. Whenever we were at the swimming pool area, the staffs stationed here would always welcome us with a friendly smile. The housekeeping staff not only tidied our suite tirelessly every day and ensured that we would come back to a nice clean suite. The housekeeping staff also performed turndown service every evening, placing a couple of chocolates by the bedside table. On the second day upon returning from our trip in Hanoi, I noticed one of the bedside tables was shifted slightly out from the wall. The observant housekeeping staff must have noticed that I had set up a charging station for my lifestyle devices and shifted the table outwards so that I will be able to access to the power outlet. It is such attention to details that make staying at the hotel a great experience.

The staff at Cafe Lautrec, where breakfast is served, worked with attention to details and efficiency. They would always welcome us every single morning when we were there for breakfast. They left no empty plates and mugs on the table so that we can return to a cleared table and continue to have our breakfast. The staff was even brought us a menu with items we can order for the chef to prepare ala minute. There was one instance I ordered some eggs and wanting to collect them after I had my meal, instead of leaving it by the egg station, the staff went around the restaurant and had the eggs delivered to me.

Hotel Facilities

Swimming Pool

The swimming pool in Hanoi De L’Opera Hotel is located on the third floor. The enclosed indoor swimming pool is touted to be the only heated swimming pool in Hanoi. Despite the small-sized pool, one can still get some decent laps swimming in it.

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Indoor swimming pool at Hanoi De L’Opera Hotel

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Swimming pool in Hanoi De L’Opera Hotel

Gym

Hanoi De L’Opera Hotel is also equipped with a small gym located on the third floor next to the swimming pool. The gym, although being small, is well equipped with modern exercise machines such as treadmills, weight machines and stationary bikes allowing guests to get some decent workout. There is even a small corner of the gym dedicated for guests to practise yoga.

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Gym in Hanoi De L’Opera Hotel

Breakfast

Breakfast was served daily at Cafe Lautrec, located on the ground floor next to the front desk of Hanoi De L’Opera Hotel. There are numerous options, ranging from local dishes to western and orientation dishes that fuelled us with energy to explore Hanoi. The food served during breakfast was delicious and was often topped up. I had croissants every morning during my stay at Hanoi De L’Opera Hotel, these croissants are very fluffy and tasty. Guests can also order from a menu of items that the chef would prepare ala minute. I had the Eggs benedict and they were tasty and the eggs were poached just right. Despite the sumptuous breakfast served every morning, I find dining at Cafe Lautrec uncomfortable. As we visited Hanoi in summer, the hotel did not seem to have turned on the Air-conditioner in the Cafe. Huge fans were used instead, making the environment very stuffy and hot.

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Breakfast is served in Cafe Lautrec next to the reception in the hotel

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Local delights served during breakfast

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Cold cuts and salad during breakfast

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Pastry selection during breakfast

Overall

I had a very comfortable stay in the Opera Suite in Hanoi De L’Opera Hotel. The suite is spacious and the French-inspired decor adds character to the suite. The air conditioning in the suite is excellent, which is a relieve to the heat outside the hotel. The bed is very comfortable to sleep in, provided me with excellent sleep quality. However, the only flaw in the suite is the placement of the TV, which I could only watch while lying on the bed. The service I have received in the hotel is top-notch. Every staff made me feel welcome and were always seen wearing a smile on their face. Their attention to details further adds to the reason why staying in this hotel is a wonderful experience. Customer-orientation seems to be deeply infused into the staffs when it comes to dealing with their guests. The location of the hotel is a major plus point making it a great place to explore Hanoi. I will no doubt stay in Hanoi De L’Opera Hotel the next time I visit Hanoi.

 

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

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Hotel Facade

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Hotel Signage

Location

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

The Suite

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

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VIE Suite section

Living Room

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

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

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

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Workdesk in the Executive Suite in VIE Hotel Bangkok

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

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

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

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

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40″ LED TV in the living room

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

Bedroom

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

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

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

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

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LED TV in the bedroom

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

Bathroom

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

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Overview of the bathroom

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The sink area has a large countertop in the bathroom

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Large bathtub in the bathroom

Service

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

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

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

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

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

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We were invited to a sit-down check-in

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Welcome drink served during check-in

Facilities in VIE Hotel Bangkok

Swimming Pool

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

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The swimming pool in VIE Hotel Bangkok

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Swimming pool in VIE Hotel Bangkok

Gym

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

Breakfast at LaVIE Restuarant

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

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LaVIE restaurant where breakfast is served daily

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Buffet selection in LaVIE restaurant during breakfast

Overall

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

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

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Veranda Resort Hua Hin Signage

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Resort Facade

Location

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

 

The Room

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

Sleeping Area

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

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The walkway from the entrance in the Veranda at Sea room

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The sleeping area of the Veranda at Sea room

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

 

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

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King Bed in the Veranda at Sea room

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

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

 

Bathroom

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

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Bathroom in the Veranda at Sea room

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Dual sinks found on each side of the bathroom

 

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

 

Balcony

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

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Balcony in the Veranda at Sea room

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View from the balcony in the Veranda at Sea room

Swimming Pool

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

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Free form pool in Veranda Resort Hua Hin

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

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Swimming pool overlooking the beach

Beach

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

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Beach area exclusive to guests at Veranda Resort Hua Hin

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View of the beach

Gym

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

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Gym with limited equipment

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Gym with limited equipment

Eateries

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

 

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

 

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

 

Service

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

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

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

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

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

Overall

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

 

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

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Signage and Main Entrance to W Hotel Sentosa Cove

Location

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

The Suite

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

Living Room

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

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The walkway into the suite

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

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

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

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Opposite the living room is a 40″ LED TV

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Connectivity panel beside the TV in the living room

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

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

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

Bedroom

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

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

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

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

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Mood lighting in the bedroom

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

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Pillow menu

Bathroom

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

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Chic guest toilet

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

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Large Jacuzzi tub in the bathroom

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

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

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

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

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Spacious toilet in the bathroom

Balcony

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

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

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The entire balcony wraps around the exterior of the suite

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Day Bed in the balcony area outside the bedroom

WET Pool

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

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WET Pool in the evening

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View of the WET Pool in the day

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Hotel guests enjoying in the WET Pool

FIT

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

AWAY Spa

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

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Whirlpool inside AWAY Spa

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Jacuzzi in AWAY Spa

Service

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Overall

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

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

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Hilton Sukhumvit Bangkok Signage

Location

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

The Suite

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

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

Living Room

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

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

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

Bedroom

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

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The King bed in the bedroom which provides excellent sleep quality

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

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The 42″ LED TV in the bedroom

Bathroom

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

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

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

The Executive Lounge

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

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

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

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Food offering during Afternoon Tea

Swimming Pool

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

Gym

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

Service

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

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

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

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

Overall

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

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

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Pullman Kuala Lumpur City Centre Signage

Location

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

The Suite

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

Front Porch

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

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

Kitchen

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

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

Dining Room

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

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Dining room in the apartment suite

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

Living Room

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

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

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View of Kuala Lumpur from the living room in the suite

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

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TV console area

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

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Work desk in the apartment faces the living room

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

The Bedrooms

Master Bedroom

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

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

Second Bedroom

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

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Twin bed in the second bedroom

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

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Wardrobe space and TV in the second bedroom

The Bathrooms

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

Master Bathroom

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

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

Second Bathroom

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

Ageing Suite

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

Breakfast

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

Swimming Pool

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

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Swimming pool at Pullman Kuala Lumpur City Centre

Gym

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

Children’s Club

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

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

Service

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

Overall

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

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

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Hotel Signage

Location

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

The Suite

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

Kitchenette

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

Living Room

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

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Living Room

Balcony

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

The Bedrooms

Master Bedroom

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

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Bedding in the master bedroom

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TV and cabinet in master bedroom

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

Second Bedroom

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

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Queen size bed in the second bedroom

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TV and a small desk in the second bedroom

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

Bathrooms

Master Bathroom

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

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

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Toilet and sink on the right side of the bathroom

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Bathroom Amenities

Second Bathroom

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

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

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Bathtub in the second bathroom

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Bathroom amenities

Breakfast

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

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Breakfast in Grande Centre Point Ploenchit

Swimming Pool

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

Gym

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

Service

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

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Complimentary refreshments in the hotel lobby

Overall

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

[Accommodation Review] – The Nibbana Villas (4 Bedroom Private Pool Villa), Bali, Indonesia (8 – 11 Aug 18)

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The private pool and the gazebo in the villa

Location

The Nibbana Villas is located in Seminyak area, an upscale and less crowded part of Bali, north of Kuta. The location of The Nibbana Villas is a tad far from Seminyak town centre, approximately 20 mins walk to Seminyak Square. However, the villa is within 5 mins walk to Bintang Supermarket, where a night market full of local food is located. Seminyak is also where most of the villas in Bali are located, mostly comes with their own private pool. The Nibbana Villas seem to share the same facilities as Jineng Villas. Visitors who might have difficulty communicating with their taxi drivers can quote the address for Jineng Villas. There is a small 24-hour convenient store across the road where The Nibbana Villas is located.

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The walkway to our villa

The Villa

We booked a 3 bedroom villa, however, we were surprised to know that we were given a 4 bedroom villa upon our arrival. Since we paid for 3 bedrooms, the staff welcoming us during our arrival informed us that the 4th bedroom, located on the second floor will be locked. However, he is kind enough to let us view the 4th bedroom in the villa, which is slightly smaller than those rooms on the ground floor.

Garden and Pool Area

The villa that we booked comes with a private swimming pool. Walking through the 2-panel wooden door that serves as the main entrance to the villa premises, we arrived at the outdoor area of the villa. From the entrance, it is apparent that the villa is designed with the private pool as the centrepiece in mind. The building structures of the villa are built surrounding the swimming pool. There is a large gazebo placed near at one end of the swimming pool, near to the main entrance to the villa. This gazebo is a perfect place for those who are not swimming to relax in. The private swimming pool in the villa is quite big, occupying almost the entire real estate of the villa, with a few trees planted on either side of the pool. The size of the pool is perfect for its occupants to get a good swim or just to chill out when the day in Bali gets hot. There are a few pool size deck chairs placed around the pool for guests to rest onto while not swimming.

Living Room

The living room is the first room that is near to the main entrance of the villa. The entire living room is air-conditioned, which is a feature I wanted when looking for a villa for my stay in Bali. My previous experience in Bali was met with a war with mosquitoes, hence an enclosed living room for my friends and me to chill out becomes one of the factors when scouting for an accommodation for our trip to Bali. The size of the living room is excellent for us to chill in. The decor of the living is modern, yet comes with a touch of Balinese in the feature wall with the Balinese wood carving. A 3-seater couch together with 2 single seat armchairs (large enough to squeeze 2 persons on) forms the centrepiece of the living room. In front of the 3-seater couch is a coffee table large enough for us to play card games on and to put our snacks on. Tucked by the wall, in front of the couch is a TV console where the cable TV, as well as some books, is placed. The only hairdryer in the entire villa is stored in one of the cabinets in the TV console. There are a couple of chairs and a small side table placed behind the 3-seater couch by the wall, which provided additional seating space for the occupants of the villa. The living room has powerful air-conditioning provided great cooling for the occupants of the villa.

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Living room in the villa

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There are more chairs in the living room to chill out

The Bedrooms

The bedrooms in the villa are identical, except for the placement of the furniture inside the bedrooms. The decor of the bedroom is simple and the lighting in these rooms are bright. The villa uses yellow lighting in the bedroom which gives out a cosy and comfortable feel to the bedrooms. The air-conditioning in all the bedrooms are powerful enough to cool the room within a short period of time. The sleep quality on the king beds is excellent. My friends and I were able to get quality sleep on the beds.

Bedroom #1

This bedroom is linked to the living room with a wooden door separating the rooms. There is another door that faces the swimming pool where guests can gain access into the room. As we enter this bedroom, a king size bed that is placed in the centre of the bedroom caught our attention. The king bed is placed facing the main entrance to this room.  Bedside tables are placed on either side of the bed, each decked with a bedside lamp and power outlet, providing convenience for guests to charge their lifestyle devices and to put small items onto. Behind the king bed is where the dressing tables with a large mirror tucked by the wall at the corner with the exception of one of the bedrooms where the dressing tables are placed beside the bed. A large wardrobe with a safe is placed between the 2 dressing tables. I like the clever use of a headboard in this room as it divides the bedroom into 2 areas and allows access to the wardrobe behind as well as the dressing table. Hangers are provided inside the wardrobe. Despite being able to store a large quantity of clothing, however, there are no hanging racks inside the wardrobes. A TV, facing the bed, is mounted on the right corner of the room next to the entrance to the room. An armchair placed below the TV for guests to relax.

Bedroom #2

Bedroom #2 is located next to the kitchen and dining area. Unlike bedroom #1, the king bed is placed by the wall facing the bathroom as we enter this bedroom. Similar to bedroom #1, bedside tables are placed on either side of the bed, each with a bedside lamp and power outlet for guests to charge their lifestyle devices and to put small items onto.  The dressing tables with a large mirror tucked by the wall at the corner with the large wardrobe are placed beside the bed. Similar to bedroom #1, a safe is placed between the 2 dressing tables. Hangers are also found inside the wardrobe. The TV in the room is mounted on the left corner of this room, between the main entrance to the room and the bathroom. Similarly, the armchair for guests to relax in is placed under the TV.

Bedroom #3

The decor and placement of this bedroom are similar to bedroom #1. Bedroom #3 is the largest of the all the bedrooms. A king size bed, facing the entrance to this bedroom, placed in the centre of this bedroom immediately caught our attention as we enter the room.  Bedside tables are also found on either side of the bed, each with a bedside lamp and power outlet for guests to charge their lifestyle devices and to put small items onto. Similar to bedroom #1, the headboard separates the dressing area and the main resting area in this bedroom. Behind the king bed is where the dressing tables with a large mirror tucked by the wall at the corner. A large wardrobe with a safe is placed between the 2 dressing tables. Hangers are also found inside the wardrobe, but there are no hanging racks inside the wardrobes. We had to hang our clothes on the handle of the wardrobe. The wardrobe is large enough to store a substantial amount of clothing. The TV mounted on the wall to the left corner of the room and faces the king bed similar to the other 2 bedrooms. The armchair in this bedroom is placed in the right corner of the bedroom.

The Bathrooms

All of the bedrooms in The Nibbana Villas comes with an ensuite bathroom. The bathrooms in all the bedrooms are identical, with the only difference being the orientation of the facilities in each bathroom. The bathroom in all 3 bedrooms are bright and clean and is rather large in terms of the size. In all 3 bathrooms, the sink area is placed next to the entrance to the bathroom. The sink area is rather sizable with sufficient space for 2 persons to place their personal toiletries. On one side of the sink, one can find a power outlet mainly to charge electric shavers. The sink is placed in the centre of the sink area with a mirror hanging on the wall above it. In the centre of the bathroom is a large bathtub with Jacuzzi function. The tub is clean when we check in and the Jacuzzi function works very well. There is a walk-in shower next to the bathtub that has both a rain shower and a regular shower head. In front of the walk-in shower, next to the entrance of the bathroom is where one will find the toilet. The villa does not provide a full set of bath amenities, soap is provided instead of shower gel. However, toothbrushes are provided in The Nibbana Villas (some hotels do not provide toothbrush).

The Kitchen and Dining Room

Located between the rooms and in front of the swimming pool is where one finds the kitchen and the dining room. The villa uses an open concept for the kitchen and the dining room, likely to cater for cooking needs in the villa. Tucked by the wall of this area is a small kitchenette, fully equipped with 2 stoves, microwave oven, toaster and an electric kettle, allowing its occupants to do some simple cooking. This is also where the staffs of the villa come in every morning to prepare the breakfast that is included in the price of the villa. Along the same kitchen bench is a sink where one can wash their plates in. The villa is also fully stocked with plates and cutlery, sufficient for 8 occupants, to enjoy a decent meal in. There is a water dispenser, capable of dispensing hot (sufficient to make a hot cup of coffee), cold and room temperature water. I find this water dispenser very functional and saves us time to boil water. Next to the water dispenser is where a large fridge is located. The dining table is placed in front of the kitchen area, which is large enough to seat 6 comfortably. This is where the staff would serve breakfast every morning. There is a small stand-alone toilet beside the kitchen and dining area, which is very functional for the villa’s occupants.

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The kitchen in the villa is fully equipped

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Dining table with the fridge and water dispenser in the background

Service

The service we received at The Nibbana Villas is nothing short of excellence. The great service started with the booking. As I booked the villa through a third party website and asked some questions regarding the booking. I was surprised to have received responses from the villa management. The reply was very prompt and the staff relentlessly answered all my queries. When I arrived in Bali, I received WhatsApp messages from the villa informing me that they took note of my arrival time and that the villa was ready waiting for our arrival at the villa. I was also given directions and the exact location of the villa. The staff responding to my WhatsApp messages even told me to give them a call should our driver got lost. I also received text messages from the housekeeping staff to confirm our arrival time. At the villa, we were greeted by a housekeeping staff, who introduced himself to us and showed us around the facilities in the villa. The staff helped us with our luggage, served us welcome drinks and took our order for breakfast the next morning. The same housekeeping staff, came in the next morning to prepare our breakfast and brought together with him another housekeeping staff, who are equally friendly and approachable.

The housekeeping staff are meticulous in cleaning the villa. We would always come back to a clean villa and tidy bedsheets. The housekeeping staff even changed our towels despite us not placing them in the bathtub every day (some hotels will only change towels when they are being placed on the floor or in the bathtub). The housekeeping staff always wore smiles on their faces whenever they bumped into us in the villa. They even helped us with our luggage on our departure date when the front of the villa was flooded. Breakfast is always served on time and the staff would prepare coffee and tea.

Overall

While the location of The Nibbana Villas is not central, my friends and I enjoyed the tranquillity of the surroundings that this location has to offer. Walking to Seminyak Square takes a little longer, but the presence of the nearby Bintang Supermarket more than makes up for the distance. For SGD1,300 for a 3 bedroom private pool villa that comes with breakfast, I thought The Nibbana Villas offer good value. The bedrooms are sizeable and the air-conditioned living room makes a great place for us to gather late at night without worrying about mosquitos. The swimming pool is rather big and the sleep quality on the beds are exceptional. The bathrooms in the villa are bright and clean and the Jacuzzi tubs gave us a relaxing soak. We felt welcomed by the warmth and friendly staffs who are also very helpful. I highly recommend The Nibbana Villas for visitors to Bali.

[Accommodation Review] – Airbnb – Mitz’s Apartment (1-Bedroom Apartment), Osaka, Japan (19 – 26 May 18)

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Facade of Mitz Apartment

When I was planning for my trip to Osaka, I wanted an apartment that has a separate bedroom from the living room which provides space for me to throw my shopping and have sufficient space to do the packing on the night before I depart Osaka. The apartment has to be near to Namba area as this is where I will be taking the train to Kansai International Airport on the day of my departure. Numerous listings on Airbnb around Namba area, but these listings are studio apartments and are very small. I found Mitz’s apartment on Airbnb that fits all my requirements. The price is very reasonable for the location and size of the apartment.

Location

Mitz’s apartment is very well located. It is within 5 mins walk from the nearest subway station, Nippombashi Station, which is 1 stop away from Namba Station. It is also with 3 mins walk from Kuromon Ichiba Market (commonly known as Black Market). There are 2 convenient stores within 2 mins walk from Mitz’s apartment. The apartment is also within 7 mins walk to Dotonbori. Link to Mitz’s apartment can be found here: Mitz’s Apartment Listing on Airbnb.

The Apartment

Porch

The first thing that I come across as we entered the apartment is a small porch where I take off our shoes. It is customary that one takes off one’s shoes before entering any Japanese house. A small cabinet by the wall is where we found in-room slippers and where I can store my shoes as well. There is another cabinet where umbrellas are stored beside the shoe cabinet.

Bathroom

A little further from the porch are the bathroom and the toilet. The toilet is a separate room on the left of the corridor. The toilet is equipped with a wash bidet and has a sink on top of it that saves water. The bathroom is located opposite the toilet, on the right side of the corridor from the porch. The dry area of the bathroom comprises a sink, which Mitz placed a cabinet on top of the sink to create more storage space. Next to the sink is a washing machine. The wet area has a shower head and a bathtub. The bathroom in Mitz’s apartment looked modern and clean. As with most Japanese Bathrooms, Mitz’s bathroom has a heating function which can dry the bathroom in no time.

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Toilet

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Dry Area of the Bathroom

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Wet Area of the Bathroom

Bedroom

Mitz’s apartment has a separate bedroom, which is rare for housing in Osaka at this price point. The bedroom is just next to the toilet. The bedroom is rather small in size, Mitz has placed 2 king size bed in the bedroom, leaving it hardly any space to move around. However, there are 2 doors, one by the kitchen and another by the living room, which makes the bedroom rather accessible. There is a cabinet inside the bedroom, but this cabinet is not usable as the owner has used this as a storage space. The sleep quality on the beds is excellent. I had a great night sleep every night every night. The pillows are not too soft for my liking.

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The bedroom that has 2 king size beds

Kitchen

Further down the corridor from the main entrance to the apartment, opposite the bedroom lies the kitchen. The kitchen is small but is well equipped with stove and a fridge. Mitz has readied some coffee and tea as well as some condiments that we could use.  The kitchen is well stocked with utensils and pots and pans which allows one to cook some simple meal. There are a microwave oven and an electric kettle in the kitchen that we used to make hot water every day.

 

Living Room

Mitz’s apartment has a separate living room, which is fantastic for us to put our shopping and pack on the last day. The living has an L-shaped couch that is capable of sitting up to 5 adults comfortably. There is a sizable coffee table in front of the couch which is very useful in putting out stuff onto. There are also 2 power sockets by the wall near the coffee table, which is perfect to charge our lifestyle devices. As the wardrobe in the bedroom was not usable, we used the living room to store our luggage.

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Living room in Mitz’s apartment

Dining Room

The dining room in Mitz’s apartment is in front of the kitchen and beside the living room. There is a dining table good for 4 pax with 4 chairs placed at the dining table. Mitz is very thoughtful as he has placed a box of tissue as well as a box of wet tissues on the dining table. There is a full-length mirror placed by the wall next to the dining table. A TV is placed at the corner of the dining table, which is visible from the dining table as well as the couch in the living room area. A clothing rack is placed at the other corner of the dining room next to the kitchen.

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Dining Room where the TV is placed

Balcony

There is a balcony in Mitz’s apartment where a small table and 2 chairs are placed. This is an area where we can chill out and take in the sights of this area of Osaka City. There are some clothing racks in the balcony where one can hang their clothes to dry.

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Balcony

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View from the Balcony

The Owner – Mitz

Mitz is a wonderful host. He is very responsive when communicating via the Airbnb app and he always responds to my questions within 1 hour of posting. Mitz is very accommodating towards our timing of checking in. We originally agreed to check in at 6pm, however, due to our travels, I arrived at Mitz apartment at 8pm. Mitz is very patient in waiting for my arrival at his apartment. Mitz is also very helpful in offering suggestions on where I can visit in Osaka as well as the amenities in the vicinity of his apartment during our conversation with him when checking into his apartment. Mitz even left a message on Airbnb app asking how was I doing in Osaka and if there is anything he can help to make our stay comfortable.

Overall

Mitz’s apartment is very well appointed. The location is superb, it is within 3 mins walk to the Black Market, and 5 mins walk to the subway station as well as 10 mins walk to Dotonbori. The apartment is very large for Japanese standards, I particularly like the separated bedroom from the living room, which gave me a lot of space. The bathroom is very modern. Mitz’s apartment is a very value for money for its location and the size. We are very comfortable staying in Mitz’s apartment. Highly recommend for anyone coming to Osaka. Link to Mitz’s apartment can be found here: Mitz’s Apartment Listing on Airbnb.