Review: Carlton Hotel, Singapore

So, I just came back from Singapore yesterday afternoon whereby I spent an extremely long weekend there. I flew into Singapore on Thursday morning and spent a day on my own as Sister was only arriving the next morning. I booked for my own one night accommodation with Carlton Hotel so that it would be convenient for Sister and I to move over to Fairmont Hotel when she arrives.

It was by far one of the best hotels which I had stayed. It was due to several aspects which I chose Carlton Hotel over few other options which I had in hand. One of the main reasons was the accessibility. It was in within close walking distance from City Hall MRT Station and a few shopping malls nearby. You do not have to worry about food too as they are plenty to begin with.

This is how Carlton Hotel looked like from Raffles City. The weather was not great on the day when I arrived. It was drizzling at the time when this shot was taken. For your information, there are two Carlton Hotel in Singapore. One was this and the other was Carlton City Hotel. I chose the former due to the accessibility.

I love how spacious and grand the lobby looked. Check in and out were a brisk. I arrived Carlton Hotel way before the standard check in hour and the receptionist was kind enough to grant me an early check-in but it was subjective to room availability at the time. I requested for a room on the high floor on my Agoda booking and the receptionist assigned me to Room 2110 located on the 21st floor.


This was the view which greeted me the moment I opened the door to the place which I called home for the day. It was a lot more spacious than what I had in mind for Singapore’s accommodation. I had seen pictures on Agoda of their room size and the room was pretty much similar to the pictures which I saw on the Internet.



As you walk into the room, you will have the bathroom on your left whereby the shower room and the toilet came in separate cubicles. I love staying in hotels whereby their shower room and toilet come in separate cubicles. It comes in handy especially when you are sharing the room. It is a pain when you need to go to the loo but your sharing partner is occupying the bathroom. So, separate toilet and shower room definitely come as a blessing.

I love their rain shower as much as their hand held shower. Both came with super strong flow of water. Majority shower cubicle in Singapore are small size in general but this one is spacious in my opinion.

The bed was big and comfortable. Nearby to the window was a office desk whereby I used it for my laptop. The room was well lit due to the large panel window and it faces a tall building. One of the things which I love the most of the room is the plentiful amount of sockets! They even provide quite a few USB ports. I recalled having them on both sides of the bed as well as the wall nearby to the office desk. If you had forgotten your phone adapter at home, fret not. As long as you have the cable with you, the USB ports would be your life savior.

All rooms came equipped with this handy phone which you could bring out of the hotel room when exploring the city. It comes with Internet which you could use it for the map and free local call. I did not bring it out with me as I could not figure out how to use it. I did not bother to learn either as I have a local SIM with me at the time.

Verdict: Having said earlier, Carlton Hotel is definitely one of the best hotels which I had stayed in by far. I love the convenience of location of the hotel. Carlton Hotel is easily reached with two nearest MRT stations – City Hall and Bras Basah. However, I personally think City Hall would be nearer despite not trying out the other station. But according to the street information, Bras Basah Station is located 250m from the hotel main entrance.

Carlton Hotel is located just across Raffles City with plenty of food nearby. Lots of bus stops located in within walking distance from the hotel which could bring you to lots of places if unreachable by the MRT. They have CHJMES which is located right across the hotel whereby you get quite a numbers of mid to high end Japanese restaurants. They have Toast Box too if you fancy some local fares.

The room rate per night was about S$293.20 but I redeemed with part of my Agoda points. I paid less than S$200 per night. It was S$40 cheaper when I first checked the room rate but the price increased on the day when I booked the room for real. The room was not cheap but it was definitely a comfortable stay for me.

Carlton Hotel
76 Bras Basah Road,
189558,
Singapore
Tel: +65-63388333

Review: Louis Kienne Serviced Residences Havelock, Singapore

As you all may have known, the family and I had just returned from our weekend vacation to Singapore early last week. It took Sister and I a while to decide which accommodation to pick this time round. Accessibility and location were the main aspect that we put into consideration when choosing our accommodation as we had parents traveling with us this time round.

We thought that it was best to stay in an accommodation whereby it could be easily reached via public transportation. Sister suggested V-Hotel Lavender but I am not sure if parents would be comfortable with the room size as Mom once complained the size of the bathroom at Kingwood Boutique Hotel. The bathroom of V-Hotel Lavender was smaller than that.

While scouting for hotels via Agoda, I decided to try my luck with serviced apartments though I knew they would be expensive than hotel rooms and I came across Louis Kienne Serviced Residences Havelock. Much to my surprise, the price of their two bedroom apartment per night was about the same as what V-Hotel Lavender was offering for two standard rooms. We then decided to pick Louis Kienne Serviced Residences Havelock.

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The hotel lobby is not very spacious but able to accommodate a group of people comfortably. As the service lift is not on the same ground level with the lobby, a ramp was built for disabled guests and convenience for guests when pushing luggage.

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We booked ourselves a two bedroom apartment. We were assigned on the 8th Floor and we got Room 802. It was near to the service lift. The hotel did well with sound proofing as we did not hear much footsteps or voices when guests walked pass by.

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We got a living room, kitchenette and two bedrooms with en-suite bathrooms. There was even a small storage room where you can store your luggage if you do not want them inside the rooms. The sofa in the living can be converted into a sofa bed but chargeable at the rate of S$80+ per night.

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The mini kitchenette was well equipped with induction stove top and microwave. They even provide dish wash detergent. Cooking pots, glassware and cutlery were provided as well. You can find basic kitchen necessities provided. Mom cooked instant noodles for breakfast in the morning we were due for check out.

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The room came with a big wardrobe, equipped with a safe deposit box to safeguard your valuables. Laundry hangers were provided but limited and Sister had to borrow some from parents’ wardrobe. And oh yeah, they have bathrobes too!

Another plus point of the room was that electric sockets are all over the room. Therefore, it would not be a problem if you have many electronic devices which require charging on everyday basis. When we were staying at V-Hotel Lavender previously, both Sister and I had to take turns charging our mobile phones, tablets and camera.

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Bathroom came with the most basic toiletries and freshly laundered towels were replaced on everyday basis. Do remember to bring your own toothbrush, toothpaste and shaver as these three were not provided. I liked that they have ample cabinets for toiletries storage in the bathroom. There was one underneath the wash basin and another one on top encased with a vanity mirror. It came with florescent tubes but unfortunately they were not working.

Verdict: Louis Kienne is rated 4 stars on Agoda which I think they deserved the rating. Location wise, it is subjective to preferences as it depends on which public transport you frequent. If you are used to taking MRT, it is quite a walking distance between the station and hotel. However, Louis Kienne can be easily reached by bus. There are two bus stops located in front of the hotel – Ganges Avenue and Opp Harvest Mans.

On the day of our arrival, we took MRT from the airport and alighted at Outram Park Station. It took us more than 40 minutes to locate the hotel on foot as there were road construction/maintenance along the way. We tried asking for directions to the hotel but majority were unable to direct us as Louis Kienne is a fairly new hotel. If we had alighted at Tiong Bahru Station in the first place, it would have saved us time trying to locate the hotel.

In terms of eateries, I could not say much as we did not attempt to find eatery nearby the hotel on foot but I remembered seeing a food court on our way to the airport. I think the said food court can be reached in within 5 to 10 minutes of walking. Reception is not 24 hours. If you are arriving after reception hours, you will need to inform the hotel early so that late check-in can be arranged.

WiFi was complimentary. Internet speed was fast as I was able to download some drama series episodes rather quickly. However, the downside was that you have to reconnect regularly especially if left idle overnight.

In total, we paid for S$815.01 for our accommodation of three nights. I would say the price was reasonable given the standard room size for hotels in Singapore.

Louis Kienne Serviced Residences Havelock
554 Havelock Road,
169639,
Singapore
Tel: +65- 65919888

Review: Pullman Miri Waterfront

On my previous overnight trip to Miri, I stayed at Pullman Miri Waterfront which I booked through Agoda and redeemed part of my Agoda rewards. It was a good deal to be honest. I had stayed at Kingwood Boutique Hotel twice. Despite being in strategic location and all, I still prefer a bigger room.

Pullman Miri Waterfront is everything what I dream of for a 5-star luxury chain hotel. Pullman Miri Waterfront is the second luxury chain hotel in Miri after Marriott Resort & Spa. Miri used to have Holiday Inn but it was taken over by another management and re-branded as Parkcity Everly Hotel.

Without further ado, let’s get started with my personal review of Pullman Miri Waterfront. My stay at Pullman Miri Waterfront was not sponsored. Hence, all comments of the said hotel will be based on my own personal experience.

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I liked the lobby area. It was spacious and clean. The lighting was good as there was ample sunlight coming in from the outside. Check-in and out process was a brisk albeit I waited for a short while before I was being attended. A deposit of RM100 had to be secured during check-in. It could be in the form of cash or authorization hold of credit card.

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Le Cafe is located on your right when going into the lobby area via the main entrance on the ground floor. A variety of desserts are served and their sandwiches are superb in my opinion. I had their Super Sub Sandwich and it was by far one of the best sandwiches I had. I think it was better than the ones from Subway.

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A random picture taken inside the washroom of the lobby area. The basins looked unique and nice, aren’t they?

Without further ado, let’s get on moving with the bedroom …

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I booked myself a Superior Room with twin beds. I was in awe the moment I stepped into the room as it was a lot bigger than what I had in mind. It was even bigger than the room which I stayed with Sister while at Le Royal Meridien Shanghai.

Each twin bed can fit two comfortably. However, I find the pillow rather too hard for my liking. Sister said I could have requested a softer pillow. Well, I did not bother to do so since it was only for a night anyways.

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Bathroom was spacious as well. It came with a bathtub and overhead shower. I liked the power shower. The water flow was strong. The window came with a blind which you could peek through the outside scenery when having a soak in the bathtub.

I am not a bathtub person so I gave it a miss. I prefer bathroom with overhead shower than bathtub. I find bathtub catastrophic in my opinion. LOL! The hand held bidet sprayer was rather too tight and I had to use both my hands to press down the lock before water came spraying out.

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Essential vanity packs were provided. As I had forgotten to bring my shampoo and conditioner with me this time round, I had to make do with the provided toiletries and the conditioner was pretty bad in my opinion. It did not leave my hair smooth albeit the good amount of conditioner that I applied onto my hair.

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Two fluffy thick bathrobes were provided. I liked their “almost” open wardrobe concept. It acts a separator between the bedroom and the changing area. In-room safe was provided and stored inside a cabinet to safe keep your valuables.

Automatic torchlight was provided in case there is blackout in the middle of the night. Release the torchlight from the holder and the light will work automatically.

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Another thing which I liked about the room is the digital weighing scale. Majority hotels do provide weighing scale in rooms but they are mostly the analog type.
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If you had forgotten to bring the socket plug for your phone charger like I did, fret not. All you need is your phone cable and you could charge your phone or tablet with the USB ports provided in the room.

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Refreshment counter was in the form of a cabinet. Complimentary bottled waters are provided with instant beverage sachets. There was a mini fridge as well but with no content.

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A 42″ LCD screen was installed on the wall facing the bed. That way you could laze on the bed enjoying the ASTRO channels provided. Unfortunately, the TV did not come with USB port which you could plug in your removable device to watch drama series.

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This is the view which I got from my room. This is considered as sea view, I guess? The building on the side is The Wharf if I am not mistaken.

Verdict: Let’s start with the room first, shall we? There was no fault which I could pick inside the room apart from the pillow being slightly too hard for my liking. Other than that, the room was perfect. The room was well maintained and clean. The window is big in size hence making the room extremely brightly lit. However, the room could be very warm in the afternoon when the sunlight shines in.

Location wise, it is strategic in my opinion as it is located in within city centre. However, it could be a bit of walking distance to the major shopping centre in the town area. Lots of eateries nearby especially around Marina Square area whereby it is very happening at night with bistro restaurants around. However, Marina Square is approximately five minutes or more walking distance from the hotel.

If you do not wish to walk far, there are a few famous restaurants across the hotel. You can find Yu Ha Hai located across the main entrance of the hotel. Yu Ha Hai is famous for their affordable seafood and there is also Silverspoon Cafe & Restaurant which is a stone throw away from the hotel main entrance.

Customer service was okay in my opinion. Check in and out procedure was fast but it could have been better. I see that there were some staffs who did not have any task in hand at the time during my check in and out but they did not bother to attend to me first until another receptionist referred me to them to avoid the long wait.

Complimentary parking was included in the room as well. Present your parking key card at the reception counter everytime before you leave the hotel and they will “void” the card so that you could leave the parking area without having to pay.

Room rate was B$75.95 inclusive of service charge and tax. I used up part of my Agoda reward points, so I only paid B$40.30 for the room. I do not mind returning to Pullman Miri Waterfront next time as I like the spacious room size. Pullman Miri Waterfront is suitable for both leisure and business travelers for the location.

Pullman Miri Waterfront
Le Cafe Pullman Miri Waterfront
Lot 1347,
Miri Waterfront Commercial Centre,
98000,
Miri, Sarawak,
Malaysia
Tel: +6-085323888

Review: The Classic (Adjoining), Kingwood Boutique Hotel

I am well aware that I had previously reviewed on Kingwood Boutique Hotel on my previous stay when I went Miri with San Diann and Clara some time last August. As mentioned in my previous few blog entries, Mom and I went to Miri as I needed a lymphatic gland massage.

I booked two The Classic rooms from Agoda as Dad was supposedly joining us too but he cancelled on short notice due to the knee pain that he had been experiencing for days. So, Mom and I went ahead without him. It was too short notice for me to cancel the other room. So, we both had one room each. Very enjoying, I would say.

Upon arriving Miri, we headed straight to the hotel for check-in. The receptionist kindly allowed us to check-in albeit it was way before the standard check-in hour. While waiting for the check-in procedure to be completed, we were served chilled apple juice in champagne flutes and wet hand napkins.

The receptionist asked me if I would like to have adjoining rooms. I agreed as Mom was not keen of sleeping on her own and she even asked if Ing wanted to stay with her for the night. LOL! So, I got the room with a queen sized bed while Mom had the one with twin beds.

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The difference between standard The Classic and adjoining The Classic was that the latter has a bigger walking space as compared to the former. However, the size of bathroom for the latter is smaller as the closet took up half the space. Adjoining rooms have bigger space for luggage storage as they are usually located in the corner of each floor.

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Most twin beds can fit two comfortably per bed in some of the hotels which I had previously stayed in but the ones at Kingwood Boutique Hotel can only fit one per bed. Mom mentioned that the mattress was rather hard for her liking. I find the bed okay for me as you cannot complain much for the price which I paid for two rooms.

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I am glad that they took effort to improve the quality of the hotel. Most of the Agoda reviewers including myself complained that there was no holder to put toiletries in the shower room cubicle and they have this now! However, it would be better that they install towel hook inside the shower room cubicle as it was rather inconvenient to reach for the towel on the outside after shower.

Mom complained that the shower room cubicle size was too small for her. Well, it was okay for me as I had been to smaller ones before. However, I was surprised that Mom would complain about the size when she is only half my body size.

Verdict: Albeit there were complaints of limited parking spaces around the hotel, we had no trouble with that as the hotel concierge had a spot reserved for me with my car plate number printed on the reserved parking space. The hotel manager assured Mom that they have 24 hours security to take care of the safety of guests’ vehicles.

After checking out, I provided feedback to the receptionist in-charge at the time that they should consider placing the coffee cups facing downwards instead of upwards as the coffee cups are prone to collect dust when facing upwards. If you are wondering how much I paid for two rooms per night, it was B$64.21 inclusive of service charge and tax. It was supposedly B$90 plus but I redeemed part of my Agoda rewards.

Kingwood Boutique Hotel
Lot 826, Jalan Yu Sheng Utara,
PO BOX 1838, 98008,
Miri, Sarawak,
Malaysia
Tel: +6-085415888
Website: http://www.kingwoodmiri.com.my

Review: Hotel Mercure Tokyo Ginza

Both Sister and I stayed at Hotel Mercure Tokyo Ginza due to the convenience of location to Disneyland. We can take direct Metro via Yurakucho Line from Ginza-itchome Station to Shin-kiba Station. And then another trip to Maihama Station via the JR Line. Ginza-itchome Station is located on the basement of the hotel. Isn’t that convenient?

Standard check-in hour is 14:00 but they allow check-in at 13:00 subjective to room availability. However, if you wish for earlier check-in, you will have to pay 1000円 per hour. And the same charges apply too for late check-out. As we arrived Tokyo very early in the morning, we left our luggage with the concierge and headed out for breakfast nearby.

The reception area is very small in size but able to accommodate a number of guests though. All receptionists speak fluent Japanese and English. Some are able to speak European language too. So, there is no language barrier problem in the hotel as long as you speak basic English. By the time we checked into our room, it was pretty late at night.

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Sister booked us a Superior Room for double occupancy. The room size is pretty big for Japanese standard as most of the rooms that I had seen online looked a lot smaller than this. However, there was not much space for opening our luggage. So, we had to empty our luggage content and store the emptied luggage by the door. LOL!

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We had twin bed. One bed alone can fit two but Japanese hotel has a strict policy when it comes to occupancy. There was a sofa chair next to the writing table though. Mini fridge and safe deposit box were hidden inside the cabinet. There were beers and soft drinks stored inside the fridge but they do not come complimentary with the room.

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There was a flat screen in the room which we did not utilize since we do not understand the language. So, why bother? Our in-room entertainment were drama series watching from our iPad. Complimentary WiFi service is provided for all hotel guests and the speed was extremely fast. Download transfer rate can reach up to 3MB or more. I think I experienced 4.35MB download transfer rate once or twice.

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The washroom came equipped with a Japanese toilet which warm up by itself when you are seated. Toiletries by Shiseido were provided as well. I only used the body wash liquid and I find the brand too dry for my skin. But I still use it throughout the stay as I did not bring any body wash liquid with me to Tokyo.

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Washroom came with a bathtub as well which is good for soaking your tired feet in a tub of hot water after a long day of walking. I liked that the water was very strong and the temperature was very balanced too.

Verdict: We both loved the hotel due to the location as it was very convenient when traveling to Disneyland. There is direct train service from Haneda Airport to Higashi-ginza Station via Keikyu Line whereby you do not have to transfer in between platforms throughout the journey. Travel fare is about 800円 return trip and travel duration is slightly over half an hour. There are three Metro stations located nearby Hotel Mercure Tokyo Ginza – Ginza Station, Ginza-itchome Station and Higashi-ginza Station. Different stations serve different routes. So, travelling around Tokyo is not a problem as long as you are willing to walk. LOL!

Apart from the convenience of transportation to Disneyland and Haneda Airport, the hotel is located nearby a few eateries and combini stores. Lawson is a stone throw away from the hotel entrance and they have 24 hours McDonald’s right across Lawson. There is a 7-Eleven too nearby. Starbucks Coffee is less than one minute walking distance from the hotel entrance as well. If you are feeling hardworking, you could walk a distance to the Yoshinoya outlet nearby. There is a ramen place nearby the hotel too but they are not open until lunch as it is not habitual for majority Japanese to eat breakfast outside apart from buying food from a combini store.

We both loved the Internet speed of the hotel. It was super quick and downloading only took a short time to complete. As the socket plug in Japan is different from other countries, you can choose to bring your own universal socket or request one at the reception during check-in. We brought one from Shanghai but it was not usable as we got the wrong “head”. LOL!

Room price was on the steep side as the hotel is located nearby the prime area of Ginza and with good accessibility via different Metro lines. We paid approximately B$872.12 for 4 days and 3 nights stay.

Hotel Mercure Tokyo Ginza
2-9-4 Ginza, Chuo ku,
1040061, Tokyo,
Japan
Tel: (+81)3/43351111
Fax : (+81)3/43351222
Website: Hotel Mercure Tokyo Ginza