[Accommodation Review] – Raffles Hotel (1-Bedroom Presidential Suite), Singapore (28 – 30 Aug 20)

Location

The renowned Raffles Hotel Singapore is an iconic hotel in Singapore. Opened in 1887, Raffles Singapore is one of the few remaining 19th-century hotels in the world. The low rise hotel is located in the heart of Singapore, within walking distance to the business and civic district. Raffles Hotel Singapore is within walking distance to several attractions such the Merlion Park, Esplanade Theatres, Gardens By the Bay and Marina Bay Sands. There are several shopping malls within 5 mins walk from Raffles Hotel Singapore.  Raffles City Shopping Centre, Bugis Junction and Suntec City are a stone’s throw away from the hotel.  Other than the shopping malls, there is no lack of eateries to suit all budgets within and nearby the hotel. There are also several 24-hour convenient shops across the street from Raffles Hotel Singapore. Raffles Hotel Singapore is very well connected by buses and the MRT subway system in Singapore, making it an excellent base to explore the country.

Raffles Hotel Singapore was renovated and reopened in 2019, bringing a refreshing new life to the hotel. The hotel reopened in Aug 2020 with some very good staycation deals after two months of government efforts to curb the COVID-19 in Singapore. The hotel is offering 1-for-1 night stay, coupled with daily breakfast and a $100 dining credit, making a staycation in Raffles Hotel Singapore affordable.

Raffles Hotel Singapore Facade

The Presidential Suite – Sarkies Suite

I originally booked a 1-bedroom Residence Suite and was pleasantly surprised to learn that I was upgraded to the epitome of luxury, the 1-bedroom Presidential Suite. The Presidential Suite is named as The Sarkies Suite after the original owners of Raffles Hotel Singapore and is the one of the two 1-bedroom Presidential Suite in Raffles Hotel Singapore. The 1-bedroom Presidential Suite located in the Main Building, overlooking the tranquil Palm Court and Raffles Hotel’s legendary porte-cochère. The 1-bedroom Presidential Suite in Raffles Hotel as a massive floor area of 260m² spreading across a foyer, parlour, dining room, bedroom, dressing area, balcony and pantry.

The public area outside the Presidential Suite is mostly empty during my stay at the Sarkies Suite, feels like having additional private space outside the suite

The Foyer

I was ushered by one of the staffs at the main entrance of Raffles Hotel Singapore directly to the Presidential Suite for an in-suite check-in. The main door to the suite opens the foyer decked in a black and dark grey colour theme. The foyer, furnished with a green table and a white couch, is where guests changed into their in-suite slippers. The dark-themed foyer coupled with the chandelier gave me a preview of how posh the Presidential Suite will be. Three large window planes let in natural lighting and allow residents of the suite to lookout into Raffles Hotel’s porte-cochère.

The dark colour themed Foyer gives the entrance a sense of classiness
View of the Raffles Hotel Singapore’s porte-cochère from the Foyer
Old school switches furnished in gold plating in the Foyer

Powder Room

From the foyer, the black and dark grey colour theme extends to a small corridor that leads to the Parlour of the suite. There are two doors along this corridor with the door closest to the foyer leading to the Power Room. The dark colour theme from the Foyer extends into the Powder Room, matched with a couple of wall-mounted lightings plated in gold, making this small space an elegant feel. The fore part of the Powder Room is furnished with a large mirror and a marble sink as well as a wooden round side table where the hotel places a box of tissue on. Further into the Powder Room is another door that leads to a toilet equipped with bidet function. Despite the dark theme, the Powder Room is very well lited and does not feel claustrophobic. 

The Powder Room has another toilet further in
Bidet controls in the Powder Room

Pantry

The door next to Powder Room along the corridor that ushers residents into the Parlour lead to the in-suite Pantry. The Pantry is equipped with some kitchen facilities such as a full-size fridge, dual kitchen sink, electric kettle and a microwave oven. The Pantry even has its own wine fridge. Raffles Hotel Singapore provides a full set of crockery, with cups and various wine glasses in this pantry. The pantry is also fitted with a Nespresso machine for guests to enjoy with the complimentary Nespresso capsules and tea. There is another door in the Pantry for butlers to gain access into the Presidential Suite to serve its residents’ in-room dining.

Dressing Room

The third door along this corridor opens into the Dressing room, which essentially is a walk-in wardrobe. Furnished with open cabinets and open shelving space, the Dressing Room is meant for residents of the Presidential Suite to hang their coats and jackets. This space also provides an additional storage area for guests to hang their clothes and stow away their luggage. There is another entrance into the dressing room from the other corridor that leads to the Bedroom.

The Dressing Room is an additional space for residents of the Presidential Suite to hang their clothing

The Parlour

At the end of the short dark-themed corridor, residents of the Presidential Suite is ushered into a bright, elegant and spacious Parlour, decked out in yellow lighting. The Parlour in the Presidential Suite occupies a bulk of real estate in the entire suite. The high ceiling in the Parlour makes the already expansive living room feels even bigger. In the centre of the Parlour is a pair of black with gold patterned five-seater couch, placed to face each complimented with a large black marble coffee table. This placement makes the Parlour an ideal place for residents of the Presidential Suite to entertain their guests. The addition of a cushioned stool comfortable enough to sit three beside the pair of five-seater couch allows residents of the Presidential Suite to entertain more guests. Placed near a couple of pillars in the Parlour is a pair of white and brown cosy armchairs with a coffee table in between. I find the placement of these armchairs an excellent spot for residents to read one of the books on the shelf or one of the literature Raffles Hotel Singapore places on the coffee table.

Another view of the Parlour in the Presidential Suite in Raffles Hotel Singapore
The Parlour in the Presidential Suite from the entrance corridor
The two armchairs in the Parlour before the Dining Area
Even the chandeliers in the Parlour and the Dining Area of the Presidential Suite in Raffles Hotel Singapore looks like a piece of artwork

A pair of large wall cabinets quietly sits on either side of the 55″ TV in the Parlour, facing the couch area. Rather than leaving them empty, Raffles Hotel Singapore furnishes these cabinets with books, antiques and art pieces, making the vast Parlour appear less empty. These cabinets serve more as a decoration than functional. The 55″ TV appears a tad small due to the large space in the Parlour, especially when viewed from the couch facing it. Walking into the Parlour feels like walking into an art exhibition hall. Raffles Hotel Singapore adorned the Parlour of the Presidential Suite with numerous art pieces and antiques, exuding a heavy sense of luxury. 

There is a 55″ TV and a pair of wall cabinets in the parlour of the Presidential Suite
Shelving with some antiques in the Parlour

A work desk can be found behind the black five-seater couches furthest from the TV. The wooden work desk is of a good size, allowing guests in the Presidential Suite to do some decent work. USB and HDMI inputs are tucked underneath a removable wooden panel on the desk. There are, however, insufficient power outlets on the desk. Guests wanting to keep their laptops charged can use the power outlet on the wall behind the desk. Guests can connect their laptops wirelessly to the TV in the Parlour via a touch of a button on the tablet.

Work desk in the Parlour of the Presidential Suite

Dining Area

There is a sizeable space dedicated to the Dining Area in the Presidential Suite tucked in the corner of the Parlour furthest from the main entrance. The Dining Area is delineated by a pair of pillars and a couple of screens. The size in the Dining Area is large enough for Raffles Hotel Singapore to furnish with an elongated wooden dining table that comfortably sits 12 diners. There is space for guests to move around and mingle before dining in this area, and even space for the hotel to place two additional dining chairs. The elegance of the Presidential Suite extends into the Dining Area. Raffles Hotel Singapore decorated this area with the same chandelier like the one in the Parlour. A large painting hanging on the wall brought colour to the Dining Area. A frosted large mirror hangs on the other wall also contributes to the elegance of the Dining Area and at the same time, makes the area appear bigger.

The large dining table in the Presidential Suite that sits 12 pax

Bedroom

The Bedroom in the Presidential Suite is tucked in one corner of the suite, accessed via another corridor parallel to the one where residents enter the suite from. In the centre of the Bedroom is a two posture King Bed placed in front of a brass wall feature, which enhances the elegance of the Bedroom. The two posture bedding in the bedroom is a great choice as it does not block my view of the TV when lying on the bed. The mattress on the King Bed is firm and comfortable, provided me with a great night’s sleep. There are four pillows on the King bed, which are too soft for my liking. Raffles Hotel Singapore does provide its residents with a pillow menu, as stated on its website. However, this pillow menu is nowhere to be found in the Suite. I had to call the butler to ask for a firmer pillow. A pair of side tables with identical large bedside lamps are placed on both sides of the King bed, providing additional storage space for residents of the Presidential Suite. I like the design of hiding the charging ports in the top drawer, as it does not make the Bedroom look too messy. Residents, however, need to leave the drawer open when charging their lifestyle devices on the bedside tables. A pair of reading lights, providing residents with extra illumination, are also found on the headboard of the King bed.

The King Bed in the Bedroom

The space in the Bedroom is large enough for Raffles Hotel Singapore to place a comfortable three-seater couch and a coffee table in front of the King Bed, facing the 55″ TV with a Bang & Olufsen soundbar tucked in one corner of the Bedroom. Despite the addition of the couch and coffee table, there is ample space for residents of the Presidential Suite to move around in the Bedroom. The placement of the TV in one corner of the Bedroom allows residents to be able to watch TV on the King bed and having an unobstructed view of the courtyard through one of the four large window planes in this part of the Bedroom at the same time. A table is found next to the entrance to the Bedroom, which the top part can be flipped open to expose a mirror. The design of this table so flexible that residents can choose to use it as a dressing table or another table to place their stuff on.

The large window planes in the Bedroom allows residents to lookout into the courtyard

The feature wall that the King Bed is placed by doubles up as an open concept wardrobe at the back. The wardrobe has plenty of space for guests to hang their clothing on both ends of the wardrobe as well as to store smaller clothing items. One side of the hanging wardrobe is installed with six drawers for guests to store away smaller clothing items. In the centre of the wardrobe is another six open cabinet shelving. This is where the in-suite safe can be found. There are spaces at the wardrobe for guests to put away their luggage if they choose not to store it in the dressing area.

Open wardrobe behind the King Bed

Bathroom

The main Bathroom in the Presidential Suite can only be accessed from the Bedroom. The entire Bathroom is clad in marble, together with the gold plated taps, gold plated trim on the doors in the Bathroom, and the gold plated chandelier, this Bathroom looks luxurious. Next to the entrance to the Bathroom is a double vanity sink, with two huge mirrors. The luxurious feel in the bathroom is further enhanced by a glass box with gold trimming where residents can find grooming amenities. I find the countertop space at the sink area a tad tight, mainly due to the size of the sinks, leaving not much space for residents to place the toiletries they might bring to the hotel. 

The gold trimmings in the double vanity makes the bathroom look posh

Sitting in one corner of the Bathroom, under the chandelier, is a free-standing bathtub. The bathtub, both large and deep, is great for guests to soak away the fatigue after spending a whole day exploring Singapore. Raffles Hotel Singapore provides a bathtub pillow which enhances the soaking experience in the tub. The hotel even places a gold plated rack on the bathtub that has a tablet stand, allowing guests to watch movies while soaking in the tub.

The white marbled bathroom with golden trimmings
The deep free standing bathtub with gold plated taps

Two cubicles housing the toilet and a walk-in shower are found opposite the bathtub. The walk-in shower fitted with both gold plated regular showerhead and rainshower. The addition of a marble bench in the walk-in shower allows residents to sit on while showering. Similar to the toilet in the Powder Room, the toilet in the Bathroom is fitted with a bidet and comes with heating function on the toilet seat.

Balcony

The space of the Presidential Suite in the Raffles Hotel Singapore is so big that even the balcony is huge. The balcony spans across the entire length of the Presidential Suite. Residents can gain access to the balcony from one of the six doors spreading across the parlour and the dining area. Raffles Hotel Singapore is very generous in furnishing the balcony. There is sufficient furniture in the balcony, yet does not make this space look too cluttered. The balcony is furnished with three single-seater armchairs complemented with individual side tables, a set of outdoor cushioned sofa and a coffee table. There is even a smaller dining table that sits four where residents of the suite can enjoy alfresco dining, with the view of the Palm Courts. The balcony boasts a view of the courtyard in Raffles Hotel, the tranquillity of the courtyard makes me forget the hotel is situated in the middle of a busy part of Singapore.

The massive balcony in the Presidential Suite
View of the courtyard from the balcony in the Presidential Suite in the day
Night view of the courtyard from the balcony in the Presidential Suite

Service

My first impression of the service at the Raffles Hotel Singapore is positive. As soon as I arrived at the main entrance of the hotel, I was warmly welcomed by a brigade of the front door staff despite the humid climate. These front door staffs never fail to welcome residents back to the hotel or wishing us a good day whenever I walk past them at the main door. 

Due to the pandemic, check-in at the hotel is no longer at the traditional reception area.  Guests are encouraged to complete the check-in online for a seamless check-in experience. As I have completed my online check-in, after scanning a QR code, the front door staffs sprung into action like a well-oiled machine and I was immediately escorted by one of the staffs directly to the suite that I was assigned for the in-suite check-in. Information such as the location of the pool and gym and the breakfast location and timing was given. I was also briefed on the facilities in the Presidential Suite.

A personal care kit is placed in the suite for residents during this pandemic period
Fruit platter welcomes residents to the Presidential Suite

I find the service rendered by the butler team to be a mix. The service by the butler team is generally negative when I called them over the in-suite phone. The butler team seem to be impatient over the phone when asked some questions on the hotel and the suite. Most of the times, it seems that the butler who took the call wanted to end the call quickly and did not bother to offer alternate solutions or additional information. I called to ask about the pillow menu and pillow options, the butler just gave a bunch of names of the pillows they have in an impatient manner and did not even bother to describe the pillows options. The butler ended the call by saying one of the pillows in the suite is already the firmest they have, which was not true. He did not even try to solve my problem and his attitude felt patronising. Subsequently, I was given a firmer pillow by another butler when I brought up the pillow issue to the staff at the front desk. There is another instance where I called regarding food delivery, the butler at the other end of the call provided information in an impatient manner, as though I was disturbing him so late at night.

Despite the negative experience with the butler team over the phone, the service rendered by the butler team who came to the suite is pleasant. I met Yujun on the second day of my stay, she is very friendly and amicable. Due to the rain, I was not able to utilise the swimming pool slot that I booked 11 am. I explained the situation to Yujun and mentioned that I only managed to get a book for one pax despite there are two of us staying in the suite. Yujun patiently listened to my situation with empathy and managed to secure a slot for two pax at the pool. Yujun even left a note in the suite stating that she managed to secure the additional slot when I was not in the suite. On top of that, Yujun clarified the several questions that I asked which were information not given at the point of my check-in. I bumped into Yujun, after checking out on the hotel premises. I was surprised that she was able to recognise me and even stopped for a short chat on my stay at the suite. 

Amelia was the other butler who I encountered during my stay at the Raffles Hotel Singapore. She brought the food that I ordered for room service. Amelia carefully placed the food on the dining table in the suite in a professional manner, cognizant of where we were seated on the table, ensuring the food were within reach of everyone on the table. Amelia also demonstrates excellent listening skills and patiently answered the queries I had. Amelia even welcomed my guests as though they were staying at the hotel and checked if we require anything else to make our stay comfortable. As my guests stayed near the turndown service time, instead of assuming that I do not require turndown service, Amelia took the initiative to check if I require turndown service. When I declined the turndown service, Amelia checked if there are any items that I need replenishment. She subsequently brought the item that I requested for replenishment.

It was unfortunate that my interaction with the butler Akira was brief and late, whom I met when I was leaving the Raffles Hotel Singapore. During my check-out timing, Akira called the suite to confirm the charges that I incurred during my stay in the Suite. Upon learning that we did not have the time to claim our welcome drink, instead of letting things slip, Akira took the initiative to bring the welcoming drink, Raffles Hotel’s signature Singapore Sling, to the suite. When Akira checked how was my stay at the hotel, I brought up to him the negative experience I had with the butlers on the phone. Instead of being defensive, Akira took responsibility for his colleagues and apologised on their behalf. When learnt that I require complimentary parking coupon, Akira immediately headed to the concierge to help me get one. He even got me extra face masks in case the one that I use gave way. Akira also informed me that I had extra unused credit with the hotel and suggested for me to head to Raffles Boutique to utilise the credits. When I was at the Raffles Boutique, I was surprised that Akira had made the call to the boutique about my arrival.

During my stay, I met Ales the housekeeping staff who cleaned the suite. I arranged for housekeeping at 12.30 pm on the second day but only vacate the suite at 12.45 pm. Ales patiently waited outside the suite. When I apologised to Ales for making her waiting, Ales gave the warmest smile and told me not to worry about it. Ales cleaned up the massive suite efficiently and diligently leaving the suite in the same state as when I first checked in. I returned to the suite shortly after vacating it, as it was raining that there are limited places I can go. I waited outside the suite for Ales to finish her job. The moment Ales saw me, she apologised for making me wait. Ales even updated me that she was almost done cleaning up the suite and she was on her way to get a vacuum and apologised again for letting me wait longer. When I returned to the suite after Ales worked her magic, the suite smells fresh and was in tip-top condition.

Lay Hoon is the staff who works at the Gym & swimming pool area. Lay Hoon, upon learning that I was checking out the facilities in the gym, showed me around the various equipment in the gym. She also took the time to show me to the pool on my request. On the second day, while waiting for Ales to clean up the suite, I popped by the pool again. Lay Hoon was there welcoming guests. I told her due to the rain, I was not able to enjoy the pool or go anywhere. Lay Hoon brought me to the pool area and told me I could wait at the sheltered area while waiting for my room to get ready. 

Hotel Facilities

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Raffles Hotel Singapore has in place measures to ensure the safety of their guests. Residents in Raffles Hotel wanting to use the swimming pool and gym facilities are to pre-book in advanced. As there are limited slots, each room is allowed to book for one 90 min slot per day.

The Gym and Swimming pool is located on the third level in the main building of Raffles Hotel

Swimming Pool

I made my booking with the hotel via email before my arrival and was able to secure relatively good time slots to use the pool. The swimming pool in Raffles Hotel is located on the third floor of the main building (where the hotel lobby is) and shares the same entrance as the gym. Despite the rooftop saltwater swimming pool being a tad small, guests are still able to get a few decent laps in it. With the restrictions Raffles Hotel has in place due to the pandemic, the number of residents that can use the pool was tightly controlled. The number of guests allowed at anyone is strictly controlled by the number of sunbeds at the pool. I had no problems getting an ideal spot for sunbathing. 

Rooftop swimming pool in Raffles Hotel Singapore
Another view of the swimming pool

Gym

Similar to the policy for the swimming pool, residents are to make a booking for the gym before we are allowed to use it. The gym in Raffles Hotel Singapore comprises of several “rooms”, instead of a big area like most hotels. By the entrance to the gym is an area for gym users to practise yoga, do some weight training or simply to stretch. Further into the gym, there is a room where most weight machines together with some dumbells and barbells are placed. There is yet another room for cardio training where treadmills and gym bikes, as well as rowing machines, are located. The gym is well equipped with facilities allowing its residents to do some decent workout.

Breakfast

Breakfast was served in the Tiffin Room, located at the main lobby of Raffles Hotel Singapore. There are seatings outside the restaurant, in the lobby area, as well as an outdoor courtyard area on top of the tables inside the Tiffin Room. Due to the measure to curb the pandemic, the sittings are well spaced out and instead of the usual buffet-style, breakfast is served in ala-carte buffet style. The choice of food for breakfast is rather limited and there are no variations during my two days of dining. Notwithstanding, there are still options for Western, Chinese and local cuisines. The food was flavourful and delicious. The Belgium waffles that I ordered tasted crispy. However, when it comes to local delights, I find the sambal chilli to be a big let down. It is not spicy nor fragrant, but the Nasi Lemak tasted great. Upon seated, orders were taken for beverages. The serving for breakfast took quite a while, on the first day of my visiting, food were served around 45 mins to 1 hour after orders were being placed. I also find there seem to be inconsistency in the service at the Tiffin Room. On the first day, we were not offered breadbasket, while on the second day, we were asked if we would like breadbasket. The staff also mixed up my order of omelette with my friend’s on the first day of our visit. I am not too sure if service standards took a dive due to us visiting the Tiffin Room nearing the end of breakfast timing.

Overall

I am privileged to have the experience of staying in the Presidential Suite. The Presidential Suite in the Raffles Hotel was luxurious and comfortable, with ample space, both indoors and at the balcony for residents of the suite.  The Presidential Suite faces the tranquil courtyard, making spending time in the balcony a pleasant experience. The sleep quality on the King Bed is superb, providing me with great night sleep. Despite facing the main road, the soundproofing is excellent. Most of the staff that I met during my stay were welcoming and friendly. My stay would be perfect if not for the less than ideal experience I had with the butler team over the phone.

[Accommodation Review] – Sofitel Sentosa Resort & Spa (Prestige Suite), Sentosa, Singapore (31 Dec 19 – 1 Jan 20)

Location

Sofitel Sentosa Resort & Spa is located near the western part of Sentosa Island, a resort island south of Singapore. Most of the attractions on Sentosa Island are located to the east of the island, hence Sofitel Sentosa Resort & Spa is very much isolated. The hotel does provide scheduled bus services to the other parts of the island as well as to mainland Singapore. Getting around the island is not a problem just a little time-consuming. The only other non-hotel establishment around Sofitel is the golf course opposite. This means that guests staying at the hotel, who are too lazy to step out of the hotel, will have to rely on the overpriced food options on the hotel premises. Being isolated also means guests can relax and enjoy the tranquillity the hotel offers and have a true resort feel when staying at Sofitel Sentosa Resorts & Spa.

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Sofitel Sentosa Resort & Spa Hotel Signage

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The main lobby of Sofitel Sentosa Resort & Spa

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Check-in counters in Sofitel Sentosa Resort & Spa

The Suite

We originally booked to stay in a Junior Suite, however, due to my friend’s status with Accor group, we were given a free upgrade to the massive 64m² Prestige Suite. The Prestige Suite at Sofitel Sentosa Resort & Spa has three main areas, the living room, the bedroom and the bathroom. As we were assigned the ground floor, the suite also comes with outdoor patios both at the bedroom and the living room.

Entryway

Unlike most suites in hotels where one will usually get a view of the living room from the main entrance, entering through the main entrance of the Prestige Suite in Sofitel Sentosa Resort & Spa one will come into an entryway. This entryway is situated between the living room and the bedroom, which both has doors for added privacy.

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We were greeted by an entryway that separates the living room and the bedroom

Living Room

The decor of the Living Room in the Prestige Suite of Sofitel Sentosa Resort & Spa has a heavy retro French flare to it. The squarish living room is cosy thanks to the use of the soft and fluffy carpet and the placement of the furniture, coupled with the use of soft yellow lighting.  A bulk of the living room is occupied by the lounge space consisting of a three-seater sofa, a soft leather coffee table and a couple of stools on the side. Tucked in one corner, by the floor to ceiling window, is a rocking armchair for guests to relax in while doing some reading. There are a couple of shelvings placed by the wall that does little than for decoration purposes. I did found spaces for putting small nick-nacks on this shelving though. In front of the couch is a large LED TV that features locals and international channels. Speaking of the couch, the couch does have a mouldy smell the moment we sat on it. There is an outdoor patio from the living room which can be accessed via the sliding door next to the TV.

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Overview of the living room in the Prestige Suite

Behind the couch, facing the living room is a sizable work desk, which allows guests to do some decent work. The low-back office chair clad in leather is more comfortable to sit in then it looks. However, I do find the placement of the power outlets on the floor a tad inconvenient for guests to charge their lifestyle devices. Next to the work desk, tucked in one other corner of the living room is the minibar cabinet. The cylindrical minibar houses a coffee machine, a kettle with complimentary tea and coffee as well as a fridge together with cups and mugs. I like the design of this cylindrical minibar as it can be closed fully, hiding its purpose when not in use.

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Work desk in the living room

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The cylindrical minibar is well stocked with drinks and snacks

Bedroom

The door on the left from the entryway leads to the bedroom. The retro French decor theme is also apparent in the bedroom, using mainly purple and soft colours, the bedroom feels cosy and comfortable. In the centre of the bedroom sits a large King Bed that provided me with excellent sleep quality. To ensure guests get a good night sleep, other than the comfortable King bed with its luxurious duvet set, Sofitel Sentosa Resort & Spa also provides a limited choice of pillow menu (the menu can be found in the wardrobe). There is a side table mounted to the wall on either side of the King bed complete with power outlets, which allows guests to charge their mobile phones and tablets. Opposite the King bed, sitting on a metal stand is a large LED TV with the same entertainment options like the one in the living room. The metal stand also provides additional space for guests to place small nick-nacks onto.

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King bed in the bedroom

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One of the two side tables in the bedroom

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Power outlets by the side table

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TV in the bedroom

Two wardrobes are tucked onto the wall in the bedroom. These wardrobes provide ample storage space for guests to put away their clothing. The wardrobe on the left mainly consist of shelvings and cabinets and is also where the in-room safe can be found. Despite having a small space for guests to hang their clothes, the storage of iron and ironing board here makes it impossible to do so. The wardrobe on the right mainly serves the function for guests to hang their clothing. Tucked along the same wall as the wardrobes and runs all the way to the door to the bedroom is a ledge where guests can stow their luggage. Some drawers underneath the ledge provided more storage space for guests.

The bedroom has a large floor to ceiling window panel that can be open for guests to gain access to another outdoor patio, complete with deck chairs and table. The view from the patio of the suite that was assigned to us leaves one to be desired as it faces the main driveway to the hotel. Nonetheless, this is a great place to relax.

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Outdoor patio from the bedroom of the Prestige Suite

Bathroom

The retro French theme that is consistent in the living room and bedroom of the Prestige Suite at Sofitel Sentosa Resort & Spa flows into the bathroom as well. The bathroom can only be accessed from the bedroom. The bathroom has a separate walk-in shower, tiled with predominantly red mosaic tiles, it features both a rain shower and a regular shower head. I like the fact that the hotel installed a fairly large stone shelf in one corner of the walk-in shower for toiletries and bath amenities. Sofitel Sentosa Resort & Spa pampers its guests with the luxurious Lanvin bath amenities. The toilet cubicle, located next to the walk-in shower, also uses retro red mosaic tiles making the decor consistent not only in the bathroom also throughout the entire Prestige Suite. The sink area occupies the entire width of the bathroom, features a single sink with ample countertop space for guests to put away their toiletries. The large mirrors installed at the sink area makes the entire bathroom feel larger than it actually is. Next to the sink is a bathtub where guests can soak their worries away. Sofitel Sentosa Resort & Spa provides its guests with bath salt for them to soak in the bathtub.

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A large bathtub in the bathroom of the Prestige Suite

Service

The service we received at Sofitel Sentosa Resort & Spa was good. There are instances where the staffs portrayed the hospitable value of the hotel. Queuing at check-in feels a little chaotic at first, however, the moment the staff processing our check-in realises my friend’s status with Accor Group, they immediately sprung into action and invited us to the counter for Accor Members to process our check-in. Another staff member got busy and prepared welcome drinks and cold towels for us. Our check-in was processed by a staff member named Harshpreeb. Harshpreeb processed our check-in with great efficiency and even escorted us to our suite and ran through every feature and corner of the Prestige Suite. We enquired about late check-out before Harshpreeb left our suite, and instead of calling us, the industrious Harshpreeb personally came to our suite and updated us on the information that we asked for. Our requests for additional bath amenities and ice buckets were met with great efficiency by members of the housekeeping team.

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Dedicated check-in counter for Accor members

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We were served welcome drinks during check-in

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Fresh fruit platter was provided in the Suite

Hotel Facilities

Swimming Pool

Sofitel Sentosa Resort & Spa has a very large swimming pool that guests can relax by. The swimming pool is also large enough for guests to do some decent laps. There is no lack of sundeck chairs and sofas around the pool for guests to relax on. Despite not having a separate pool for younger guests, the hotel did a great job by cordoning the shallower part of the pool to cater for their younger guests. There are more facilities at Sofitel Sentosa Resort & Spa, such as a gym and a spa, however, they are located in another part of the hotel that requires some walk from the main hotel buildings. We did not visit these facilities during our stay this time around.

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Swimming pool in Sofitel Sentosa Resort & Spa at night

Overall

We had a great stay at the Prestige Suite at Sofitel Sentosa Resort & Spa. The suite was large and certainly makes our stay feels comfortable and cosy. The air conditioning in the suite was great, keeping us cool amid a typical hot climate in Singapore. The sleep quality on the King bed makes us feel recharged the next morning. The service at Sofitel Sentosa Resort & Spa was great with staffs paying attention to details and made us feel welcome. Sofitel Sentosa Resort & Spa is a great place to stay and relax if one can overlook the inconveniences of its location.

[Accommodation Review] – Theme Park Hotel (Kings Room), Genting Highlands, Malaysia (30 Nov – 1 Dec 19)

Location

Theme Park Hotel is one of the seven hotels managed by Resorts World Genting and is located on the top of Genting Highlands together with other major hotels. Compared to the other hotels in Genting Highland, Theme Park Hotel feels a tad isolated being located in one corner of the resort, opposite the Arena of Stars theatre. The hotel is about 5 mins walk to the central area in Genting Highlands where food and entertainment are located. There was a concert over the weekend when my friends and I visited Genting Highlands, walking towards the central area in Genting Highlands from Theme Park Hotel was a challenge having to squeeze through hordes of concert-goers.

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Entrance to Theme Park Hotel

The Room

There are two wings to Theme Park Hotel, we were assigned rooms in the Valley Wing which is a 3 mins walk from the main building via a link bridge. My friend and I checked into a very clean 21m² Kings Room. The room feels small but the clever use of space does not make one feel claustrophobic. As we were only staying for one night, I thought space is good enough for sleeping at night.

Sleeping Area

The room has a simple set up, a sleeping area and a bathroom. The Sleeping Area occupies most of the real estate space in the Kings Room. The king bed is essentially a mattress laid on a raised platform. The sleep quality on the bed is decent, but the pillows are too soft for my liking. There is only one bedside lamp and power points one side of the king bed, which is rather inconvenient for the two guests staying in the room. The hotel is very good at utilising the small space in the room by using the space below the platform for guests to stow away items such as their luggage. The in-room safe is also found below the platform.

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King Bed in the Kings Room at Theme Park Hotel

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The bedside lamp and power sockets are only found on one side of the king bed

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An in-room safe is tucked below the platform

A small desk is mounted on the wall facing the window in the King Room at Theme Park Hotel. The size of the desk is too small for any work to be done, coupled with the hotel furnishes this part of the room with a stool, which is uncomfortable to sit on, rather than an office chair. It seems to suggest that this desk is not meant for guests to do work on, but to place small items, after all, who would want to bring their work all the way up to Genting Highlands. There are some complimentary coffee and tea placed on the desk for guests to consume. The in-room phone is also found on the desk. An empty mini-fridge with two bottles of water in the room is placed below the work desk.

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A small desk in the King Room

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Mini fridge below the work desk with two bottles of water

A 32″ LCD TV is mounted on the wall opposite the king bed. There are numerous local and international channels available on the TV, however, most of the international channels seem to be blocked past midnight. A luggage rack is placed next to the TV mounting. There is no wardrobe in the King Room at Theme Park Hotel. Guests will have to make do with the four large hooks mounted on the wall next to the main entrance to the room to hang out their clothing. We only used these hooks to hang our jacket and placed the rest of the clothing on the platform where the king bed is.

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The TV is mounted on the wall opposite the king bed

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Luggage rack

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There are no wardrobes in the room only some hooks on the wall by the entrance

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View from the Kings Room at Theme Park Hotel

Bathroom

The bathroom is located next to the entrance to the Kings Room. The bathroom has a semi open-concept. One will not find the main door enclosing the entire bathroom. The bathroom has a simple but functional setup. Facing the open entrance to the bathroom are two frosted glass cubicles. The left cubicle is the walk-in shower that is only equipped with a regular shower head, which serves its function of enabling us to shower. There is a ledge in the shower cubicle where the hotel placed one set of shower amenities. The right cubicle is the toilet. The sink area is tucked in one end of the bathroom. There isn’t much space for guests to place their own toiletries at the sink area, we had to shift the bathroom amenities provided by the hotel at the sink area to make space for our toiletries. The hotel provides two sets of good quality amenities, including toothbrushes. There is an opening below the sink where we were supposed to hang the hand towels. There are some hooks on the wall of the bathroom beside the sink for guests to hang clothing or towels. Due to the open concept, one has to be very comfortable with their roommate when staying in the Kings Room.

Service

Our interaction with the staff at Theme Park Hotel is very limited. We only interacted with the staffs at Theme Park Hotel during check-in. The service rendered at the reception was a mix of hits and misses. As we arrived at Genting Highlands at 6am, we proceeded to the hotel to see if there are available rooms for early check-in (early check-in is chargeable). We were assisted by a friendly and efficient staff whom after checking regrettably informing us no rooms were available. Seeing that some of us have brought luggage, the staff proposed that we leave our luggage with the concierge so we will not have to lug our luggage while walking around Genting Highlands.

We returned some 10 hours later, after the official check-in time, to check ourselves into our rooms. There are staffs standing by the self-check-in kiosks at the lobby of the hotel, however, none of them approached our party of six to render any assistance or to encourage us to use the self check-in kiosks.

We proceeded to the reception for our check-in and was served by a staff who did not seem to bother to greet or provide any smile on her face. The first thing she asked was why did we not use the self check-in kiosks. She only proceeded to help us check-in after we mentioned that we have three rooms to check-in and coming to the counter seem to be the most efficient way of getting our rooms. The staff then proceeded to process our check-in which took her almost 30 mins to complete the check-in. We are not too sure if she did that on purpose or the system at Resorts World Genting is generally slow.

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Theme Park Hotel Lobby. The hot air balloon looking structure is the reception area where check-ins are being processed

Overall

The location of Theme Park Hotel is good but not great, especially when one is assigned to a room at the Valley Wing, walking to the facilities and restaurants at Genting Highlands means a 10 to 12 mins affair. The King Room at the Theme Park Hotel is small, but the clever use of space in the King Room does not feel small. The room is of a decent comfort and seems to only serve the pragmatic function of providing a bed for guests to sleep. For a one night stay, I thought the King Room in the Theme Park Hotel is alright, but I would not say the same if I am staying for more than one night. The service is a mix and not impressionable at the hotel, the only staffs that we interacted during our stay in the hotel are during check-in. Overall, the King Room in the Theme Park Hotel is good for a one night stay.

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

Location

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

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Vie Hotel facade

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Vie Hotel Lobby and Reception

The Suite

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

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Suites in Vie Hotel Bangkok

Living Room

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

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

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

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

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

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The sofas are very comfortable to sit on

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

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

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View of the TV from the sofa in the Living Room

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Night view of Bangkok from the Living Room window

Bedroom

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

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

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Vie Hotel Bangkok has an extensive pillow menu for their guests

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TV in the Bedroom

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

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Main wardrobe in the Bedroom

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A smaller wardrobe which I find a tad difficult to access

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

Bathroom

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

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Large bathtub by the entrance to the bathroom

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Dual sink in the bathroom with generous countertop space

Service

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

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

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

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

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Vie Hotel provides Tuk Tuk Service to major shopping malls nearby

Facilities in the Hotel

Swimming Pool

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

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Walkway to the swimming pool

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A small rooftop infinity pool

Gym

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

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Entrance to WE Gym in Vie Hotel Bangkok

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

Breakfast

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

Overall

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

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

Location

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

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

The Studio

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

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View of Seoul from the Residence Studio

Sleeping Area

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

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

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The sleep quality on the king bed is excellent

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

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

The Bathroom

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

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Sink and toilet in the bathroom

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Remote control bidet

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Walk-in Shower

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Bath amenities provided by Novotel Ambassador Seoul Dongdaemun Hotels & Residences

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Wardrobe in the toilet

Kitchenette

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

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Kitchenette Area in the Residence Studio

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There is a sink and two induction cookers in the kitchenette

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Microwave oven, electric kettle and Nespresso machine in the kitchenette

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