Club Room Stay at Oasia Novena – Worth It? Read and decide!

Date of stay: March 2017

Since it was J’s birthday, I decided to surprise him with a luxurious-ish pampering staycay, to get his mind off work and away from all the crazy house reno, wedding, planning stuff.

I decided then on Oasia Novena because it looked peaceful and quite luxurious, and had a good location (near food, yay!) without an exorbitant price tag. At the very last minute, I decided to get the Club Room (for the first time) for extra pampering.

With the club room, we were to have Club Lounge access – a private lounge and pool area with refreshments and snacks, as well as a nice room with a bathtub!

Did we enjoy the staycay? Yes.

Was it worth it? Hmm.

Let me share more and you can decide on your own.

 ROOM

The room was slightly on the small side at 25sq-meter. No complaints there though, as it looked really good and was comfortable, just a little less walking space than we expected.

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Pretty much the view of the room from the entrance (toilet to my right, TV and table in front of the bed)

Although there were some reviews of people not getting a bathtub, I’m glad we got a room with one!

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Yay!

Club Room Perk: Complimentary in-room selection of healthy beverages.

This was actually 2 packets of coconut water, 2 sparkling water and 2 bottles of normal mineral water in fridge. Really? We were hoping for a little minibar or even free chips, but I guess that’s not counted as healthy at all. Haha.

Other Club Room Perks: Cable TV Channels (yes, loads of Harry Potter movies to keep us entertained), Nespresso coffee, premium bath amenities… so this was alright, and while really nice, nothing much to be wowed over as well.

CLUB LOUNGE

This was actually the only reason why I would consider getting a Club Rooms again. The club lounge is on the 22nd floor with indoor seating and an outdoor pool area with more seating options.

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Even coffee and chips can look instagrammable!

I loved that we could chill there with unlimited coffee/tea and some snacks (peanuts, tapioca chips..). It made me wonder if this was what I had been missing out all my life. Lol. Okay, but seriously, it was quite good. The staff there are attentive, and don’t judge when you pig out on a bowl of chips. Plus the coffee they make is quite good.

 

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Mini burgers

They also had cocktail hours from 6pm – 8pm where you can get free flow cocktails, red and white wine along with some light bites.

 

YASS.

The light bites were even quite fancy, and we had that for dinner (not really because we were cheap, but because of such a late check-in, more on that later!).

The other thing I really loved was the pool area – a pool and heated Jacuzzi without the massive crowd. Yes.

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Jacuzzi View

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The cold pool

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Of course I had to take some pictures… lol

Because of the cold weather (it was pouring), we stayed mostly in the heated Jacuzzi, which was heavenly, and amazing at night! Love love love.

 

 

SO WHAT’S MEH ABOUT IT?

Okay, so on the website it stated that a Club Room perk was “priority check-in”. In my mind, that’s pretty awesome itself, because what better way to start a relaxing staycay than to skip the long queues of people checking in and out and having a expedited check-in?

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Screenshot from their website

When we arrived, we asked around for the priority check-in, only to be told that it doesn’t exist anymore. Whut. 

We were ushered to join in the queue and I was a little annoyed. When it finally got to our turn, I asked again about the priority check-in and the concierge said as well “Oh, we don’t have that anymore. That recently changed.”

While she was saying that (I kid you not, WHILE she was saying that), there was an Ipad displayed right next to me encouraging guests to upgrade to a Club Room with one of the perks being “priority check-in”. Okay.

To this date, it’s still featured on the website as a benefit of getting a club room. Now looking back, it’s probably not THAT big of a deal, but it was rather disappointing to have the expectation of a fuss-free priority check-in but being told to join the crowd.

*Another perk of Club Room – guaranteed either early check-in or late check-out. (Being Singaporean, I requested for both, lol)

But the thing that happened was that our room wasn’t ready, and would only be ready at 5pm. It was around 2.30pm at that point of time, so that meant at least 2 hours of waiting.

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However, they agreed to let us have a late checkout at 5pm the next day, and we could wait it out in the club lounge with coffee and snacks. Pros and cons, I guess? There were also quite a few guests waiting impatiently there, and occasionally going to check with the staff whether their room was ready. Again not a big deal,, but a rather disappointing start.

PRICE

So was it worth it? I guess it boils down to the price.

The Club Room on Hotels.com (which I do almost all my bookings on) was originally $340, but had a discount at that time of booking to about $280. I’m not sure about you, but that’s on the higher side for us, as we don’t usually spend that much on a staycation.

CONCLUSION

I am still quite undecided if it was worth it, to be honest. Spending that much (for me), I was expecting the weekend to be a little smoother, from a priority fuss-free check-in (that was promised) to a comfortable-slightly luxurious stay.

So it started off shaky with the definitely-not priority check-in, super late delay, but it got slightly smoothened by the late check-out and club lounge perks. So I guess it’s like GPA – once your first semester kind of screws up, even though your subsequent semesters’ GPAs are good, you probably won’t get a stellar cGPA at the end.

Maybe I’ll just stick to normal rooms from now?

 

What do you think? Was it worth it or not?

 

 

 

Bali’s Most Instagrammable Villa – Cloud Nine Estate

Cloud Nine Estate: Jalan Rsi Markandya 2. Banjar Sebali. Desa Keliki.

Date of Visit: February 2017

Guys, this is definitely NOT a sponsored post in any way, but I just had to share this gorgeous villa with everyone (though a little reluctantly, because I’m definitely looking forward to going back there, and I don’t want them to be fully booked or have their prices increase haha).

Since we travelled there in February for a pre-wedding photoshoot, we were looking for somewhere a little more luxurious (but still affordable) to stay at, so as to complete the whole happy experience. My good friend recommended Cloud Nine Estate long ago, but it was slightly out of budget so I never got around to treating myself.

Until this trip.

Let me tell you, it was so worth it.

It’s literally a little piece of heaven in a quiet corner of Ubud! Every corner was gorgeous and so carefully put together. Most importantly, it was so instagrammable.

The villas are exquisitely crafted with designer pieces, which are, at the same time environmentally conscious. Okay, let me stop gushing about it and show you some pictures.

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The Villa Compound

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My favourite spot to lie and look out into nature

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Even the sofa looks like this!

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LOCATION

It is nestled inside a quiet village of Ubud, about 25-30 minutes away from Central Ubud. You can either contact them to arrange the transport for you, or get a driver to take you there!

Be sure to keep your eyes wide open when you are nearing the villa, there will be a small sign at the side of the road with “Cloud Nine Estate”. Then you have to get off and walk down the steps to the villa. I love that it’s so tucked away from everything else!

Tip: It is quite a distance away from any convenience stall, so if you love snacking, stock up on snacks before you head there!

THE VILLA

They have 3 villas for you to choose from – Star Cloud Villa, Lotus Cloud Villa and another villa which is made of 3 suites (Anjali Suite, Tara Suite and Dewi Suite) which can be booked separately or together.

I stayed in Lotus Cloud Villa, which I absolutely adored. Every nook and cranny was like a dream come true! Even the cutlery were instagrammable, heh!

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Spent the afternoon on this swing bed!

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Instagrammable Bed

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See what I mean? haha!

Even though they had a shared pool (I usually prefer villas with private pools), but since there were only 3 villas in total, there were no issues at all. I went down at least twice, and had the whole pool to myself – I could even nap and float on my unicorn! Oh, and take loads of pictures.

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Unicorn!

FOOD

Yes, the most important for all Singaporeans – how about food?

Firstly, breakfast and tea are provided free of charge. And not just any breakfast or tea – beautiful breakfast and tea.

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Tea time 😀

You get to choose from a menu for breakfast daily (they come by to take your orders in the evening) and there are options like Eggs Benedict, Pancakes and local delights. You can also have coffee/tea AND juice.

They also provide coffee, tea and daily fruits in the villa for you!

For all other meals, they provide you with a variety of different menus that you can choose – Italian, western, local. They will take your order and it will be delivered to you in one hour! In my opinion, the prices were good, and the food was delicious. Just don’t be stupid like us and order ice-cream. What were we thinking, seriously?

WHAT TO DO

I was a little worried that we wouldn’t have anything to do (with me being hyperactive) but once I got there, I did NOT want to do anything.

I lounged around outside, inside, on the sofa, on the bed, by the pool….

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They have a ukelele and yoga mat for you to use..

You can opt for tours (which they will help you arrange), or private yoga classes at the villa itself. You can also go for a long walk in the gorgeous nature. We tried going for a short walk around the area and saw pretty rice terraces, but nothing much.

Another awesome thing you should do is get a massage. Just 5 minutes away from the villa, there are 2 well-known (apparently Ubud’s #1 and #2) spas. We went to Ubud Traditional Spa which was #2 and known for its technique.

It cost about 195,000 IDR for an hour, and although it was a great great experience, I still prefer my go-to spa for Ubud – Jaen Spa.

SERVICE

The service at Cloud Nine Estate was unbelievable – the owners stopped by to check if everything was going well and the staff were extremely conscientious.

They would stop by daily to clean the villa, and another time nearing the evening to do a “turn down” . Anytime we called for assistance or enquiries, they would immediately come over to the villa to talk or help. I felt extremely pampered!

PRICE

So what’s the damage? Prices for the Lotus Cloud Villa starts from SGD$227 per night! Yes, it’s pricier that what I would normally spend on accommodations – but it’s totally worth it.

In fact, I regretted only booking 2 nights there. Most of their customers usually book for a week – and I can totally see why! I’d love to spend a week unwinding in the midst of nature in this peaceful, zen and beautiful villa. #totalgoals

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My dream house for real

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Peace out

Go ahead and book it for your next holiday, you’re welcome!

Watch the vibes here:

 

Seoul Station Airbnb – Perfect For Seoul-Searching below $150 (Must-Go!)

Sweet Studio @ Seoul Station (click link)

First time on Airbnb? Get $40 credit!

Date of visit: September 2016

Perfect for : 3 -4 pax

Seoul was a very impromptu trip for my girls and I, having decided and planned only a couple of weeks in advance. Air tickets were pricey at $800+ (Korean Airlines) due to last minute booking, and we could not spare too much time for accommodation research, in case everywhere would be booked out!

That being said, it was my FIRST time in Seoul and I’ve been watching Running Man and various K-dramas enough to be a little giddy over it, sarang-hae!

Hotels.com provided quite a few options, however as we had 3 pax, the comfortable places were quite pricey, at least $190/night. 5 nights would be a huge dent for us, less moolah for shopping yo!

With this thought, we turned to Airbnb in search for that perfect Korean, K-drama-worthy place. Although we found quite a few places, we eventually decided on this one because of the pictures (superficial, I know), location, and most importantly, reviews!

(Photos from Airbnb, sorry they are a little blurry!)

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Spacious Apartment

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Access to Gym

Of course, anything can look good on website pictures, so let me share more about the place (and some of my own pictures too!)

LOCATION

One of the main points we picked this place for – convenience. It is located super close to Seoul Station – which is pretty much close to anywhere. We travelled to Myeong Dong, Gangnam, Dongdaemun, Hongdae, Bukchon Hanok Village relatively quickly!

There is also an underpass straight to the train station, so when you are travelling back to the airport, you don’t have to lug your things across the road, or when you are returning back at night and don’t feel too safe on the streets!

There is also a cafe right at the bottom of the building, and a convenience store for all your necessities. Oh ya, Gong Cha too, for you Bubble-Tea addicts.

Did I mention that it was walking distance to Lotte Mart? Brownies/Ramyeon/Foooooddd!

The only con was that there seemed to be quite a few sketchy people who were probably homeless, lurking around on the streets nearby. However, they are non-invasive and mostly kept to themselves, and did not even approach us. Overall, I felt really safe there, even though we came back late most of the time.

FOOD

There’s definitely plenty of food nearby (other than the cafe and the convenience store).

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Don’t forget to get your Banana Milk fix from the convenience store!

(Accessories from Statelight.co)

Across the building, there are a number of eateries that open late – all serving delicious Korean fare.

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Our first day’s dinner!

Food is tasty and suppppper affordable – this Buddae-tchigae for 2 and another Soy Bean Stew plus Soju costing less that SGD $10 per person!

Along that street, there’s also foodstands with Ahjummas selling street snacks like sweet potatoes and sausages, as well as a fried chicken joint – for those of you who love jjimae (chicken + beer).

ROOMS

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Our Room!

Our room was spacious and tastefully decorated, with 2 double beds that were comfy! Honestly, I had no problem falling asleep every night. 😀

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Facilities

Just as the listing described, this room was fully equipped with

  • Fridge stocked with drinks (you put 500 Won into the piggy bank for each one)
  • Microwave
  • Washer (the host provides washing powder too!)
  • Stove + cooking equipment
  • Sink
  • Kettle
  • Hair Dryer
  • Cups + Cutlery
  • Wifi Egg (for you to bring around)

In addition, the bathroom was clean and nice, with towels provided too!

I would have loved to check out the gym, but I was wayyyy too tired everyday, besides, I think I burned enough calories walking around those shops lol.

Lastly, this view.

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The Life.

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Gorgeous View

HOSTS

Hosts can usually make or break your experience, and we were fortunate to have good hosts. They made sure we had directions from the airport, and checked in almost everyday!

Whenever we had questions (from how do we get to the airport to where did you get that pretty rug?) they were prompt to reply with very detailed answers. That’s good enough for me.

PRICE

Inclusive of the cleaning & service fee, and a $40 discount I got from airbnb referral, the total cost was SGD $721 for 5 nights, which came down to $144 per night! Totally worth it, in my opinion.

CONCLUSION

Heading to Seoul? If you are not a fan of guesthouses and want something more comfortable and plushy (but don’t want to splurge on a pricey hotel #storyofmylife), this is a place you should look at!

I really love the homey, apartment vibe that makes me feel like I’m actually in Seoul, and living like them, instead of a foreigner stuck in a hotel.

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Brb, Seoul-Searching

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Peace Out!

Hope you liked this piece, stay tuned to more posts on Seoul (what to eat, where to go!)

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Ban Sainai – Krabi’s Hidden Gem below $150 (Must-Go!)

Ban Sainai –550, Soi Aonang 11/1, Moo 2, Aonang Beach, Krabi, Krabi, 81000, Thailand, ‏‎800 120 6467

Date of Visit: May 2016

During my last trip to Krabi, we needed a stopover place to stay before our flight home, as we were in Koh Lanta for the majority of the time (see my review on the gorgeous Atlanta Villa). Because it was only for a night, I was issued a strict budget and reminder to be practical haha!

I kept overlooking this particular hotel on Hotels.com since it looked rather “rustic” and “scruffy” from the first glance – no doubt it had a nice rustic charm, BUT I didn’t particularly want to sleep on wooden floors and straw cottages, so I never did any research on it.

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Looks charming but a tad too rustic right? (Pic from Hotels.com)

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Pic from Hotels.com

 

 

However, since the rooms started from $60+ a night (wow!) and had a great rating score of 4.8/5 on Hotels.com and was also listed as one of the top hotels on Tripadvisor, I did a closer look at it – and no regrets. Absolutely none.

LOCATION

We travelled from Koh Lanta directly to Ban Sainai, so that journey took us almost 4 excruciating hours. Once again, we used Ao Nang Travel at 075684664 for most of our travels (much cheaper than if you were to arrange for them via hotels).

However, it’s only like 30 minutes away from Krabi Airport (nearer than most other nice hotels) and 6 minutes away from Ao Nang Beach, which is a popular destination for tourists, and bound to have a lot of food (Macdonalds yo). In addition, they have daily free shuttles to Ao Nang Beach itself. (Another hotel I stayed at charged like almost SGD $30 for transport one way to Ao Nang Beach!!)

For transport to Krabi Airport the next day, I used Krabi Shuttle, which cost me like 600 baht (SGD $24), cheaper than via the hotel shuttle.

So thumbs up for this location, it’s definitely very convenient to travel for nightlife, night markets, food and shopping (and beach time!)

FOOD

In house food was not bad, their room service took awhile (we were starving from the 4 hour ride so perhaps we were biased with hunger) but it was nice and generously portioned. The cost was reasonable as well, SGD $10 – $20 for main courses. Breakfast buffet had a great variety, from asian food like porridge and rice, to western food like french toasts, omelettes, poached eggs and many more!

Because of such a short time at the hotel, we weren’t able to explore the food choices at Ao Nang Beach (we wanted to chill at the hotel since we paid for it haha), but I’m sure there’s plenty of delicious Thai food there, no problems at all!

ROOMS

Even though there were $60+ rooms available, the upgrades were too tempting to resist. I booked one of the poshest sounding room types available because it was so affordable!

The GRAND LAKE VIEW option featured a 60 sq meter room (the size of a 3 room HDB FLAT) with a King bed, a gorgeous balcony with a lake view. What killed me was that it came with a hammock. A HAMMOCK guys, how can you say no?

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King-sized bed woohoo

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THE Hammock at our balcony

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THE Hammock at sunset – so gorgeous!

It also had a jetted bathtub that comfortably fit 2 people in a bathroom which was very well designed. Oh, and free banana chips. Score!

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Jacuzzi jets for the sore backs – and you can look out at the lake while soaking!

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Sunset

Price: SGD $129 per night. Worth it? I think so.

 

SERVICE

Service was courteous and polite, but not exceptionally amazing (you could tell they were too used to tourists). But that being said, it was good enough to make you feel happy and relaxed. They had buggy services at certain times to drop you at your room, and are extremely professional.

WHAT TO DO THERE

Hop on the shuttle to Ao Nang Beach and eat your fill, shop and party if you’d like, or check out their swimming pool (which looked gorgeous). Or if you are like us, chill. Hang out on the hammock at the balcony, soak in the jetted bathtub and lie in bed watching Game of Thrones (It happened to be showing that night on TV, so why not?)

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Their outdoor pool -photo from hotels.com

 

CONCLUSION

Ban Sainai didn’t look like an obvious choice to soak up luxury, but this is really a hidden gem. If you are heading to Krabi anytime soon, book a stay here and you won’t regret it! It’s really affordable for the comforts provided, there’s plenty of things to do and hey, you get your own hammock!! #dealbreaker

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Love!

Where else can you find this for under $150/night? Spread the word and share this post!

Atlanta Villa – Koh Lanta, Thailand – Villa Paradise below $150 (Must-Go!)

Atlanta Villa – 429 Moo 2 Saladan, Ko Lanta, Krabi, 81150, Thailand

Date of Visit: May 2016

Since we were visiting Krabi (for the first time) for about 6 days, we really wanted to stay on one of the islands nearby. I was torn between Phi Phi and Koh Lanta, and so I read reviews and blogs to decide.

Conclusion: Phi Phi Island is prettier, but wayyyyyy more touristy. Koh Lanta is apparently also pretty, but quieter and slower. So Koh Lanta it was, since I’m honestly not a fan of hordes of tourists shouting and being rude, and jacked up prices.

Accommodations weren’t hard to find, as Hotels.com had plenty of cheap and legit-looking hotel rooms starting from $24. However, I wanted something reallllly special and outstanding – and I found it!

Atlanta Villa was rated 5/5 on both Hotels.com AND Tripadvisor – despite the photos looking meh, when I read into the reviews, almost all mentioned how beautiful and awesome it was.

 Price: $147/night for 2 bedroom villa with a private pool. Oh, and a kitchen, plus a sitting area with a TV. How awesome does that sound?

So let’s get to business about how it was.

 LOCATION

To be honest, Koh Lanta looks like a very sketchy place. Especially since it was low-season, the area looked a little deserted and run-down, which made me worried. This place is ideal if you are looking to hide and chill, since there isn’t much to do there (no shopping too, girls!) The things on the island aren’t that cheap either – a massage costs THB400 (as compared to THB250 in Krabi Ao Nang).

Atlanta Villa was also not very easy to get to. We hired private transportation to take us from Krabi Ao Nang to our place in Koh Lanta, even they had trouble finding it. From the main road, the car would have to take a turn into a tiny dirt path 100-200m up to where the villas are. So if you are going there, keep your eyes open and the GPS working.

If you need transport from Krabi to Koh Lanta – contact Ao Nang Travel at 075684664 – it cost us about THB 500 per person for a shared van, 2-3hr journey.

 FOOD

There are plenty of food stalls near the villa, walkable distance. Nothing fancy though, mainly local fare. There are also 7-11s  (yay!) about a 10-15minute walk away, which we frequented to buy loads of snacks, haha!

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Local food after a scooter ride!

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Thai food! With yummy smoothies for the hot weather.

You can also call for room service from the villa, which is reasonably priced and delivered in lovely bento boxeshomemade, for sure.

 ROOMS

This place is amazing. The pictures on the internet does absolutely no justice to this place whatsoever. Each villa is spacious and tastefully designed, clean and beautiful. The kitchen was well-equipped with stoves, kettle, microwave, coffee machine and everything we needed, and the sitting area was so comfortable! I’m gushing now, but whatever..

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Sitting area, plushy couches with a TV!

Both bedrooms were air-conditioned, very very important since it got rather hot in the day, with open-aired bathrooms. It was quite cool to shower in there – made me feel close to nature!

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Our gorgeous bedroom ❤

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My favorite part of the villa.

The private pool was amazing, perfect to soak in and take a dip, or tan by the side. At night, there are lights in the pool, and the water is warm, so it’s super romantic to lie in the pool and look up at the stars!

 Everything is perfect about this place, you HAVE TO be there to enjoy it!

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Bring your float if you have one (:

 SERVICE

This was probably one of the best factors too – Aor (the villa manager) was very helpful from the very first minute. She was always on standby to assist us and went out of her way even. J had a scooter accident and she even negotiated with the scooter rental company to bring the cost down (we’ve all heard of such horror stories about rental companies scams, right?). From room service, to providing DVDs to watch, to checking up on us, we had nothing to worry about at all.

WHAT TO DO THERE

Hey, the best thing to do – is absolutely nothing. A whole day was spent just chilling at the pool, in the different rooms and watching TV (also because J was injured ugh). But the villa was so homely and beautiful that I wished I had a whole week to do nothing there.

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I could do this all day, like seriously

We also rented a scooter for a day (THB250 / SGD$10) and rode to Long Beach, which was known as the best place to catch a sunset. There were restaurants and massage places along the beach as well!

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Scooter time – wasn’t easy at all man!

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Sunset at Long Beach

Aor also mentioned a beautiful national park which you could get panoramic views of the island – if you decide to go, never ever rent a scooter and ride there yourself – apparently the roads are terrible and caused many accidents! (Don’t say I did not warn you!)

CONCLUSION

Heading to Krabi? Spend some time (or alot of time) here. The quiet island life and some downtime at this precious villa is really one of the best chill holidays I’ve had. This villa is awesome, with a touch of home – what’s more, it’s under $150/night! Seriously, what more can you ask for?

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Villa life!

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Time Capsule Adventure, Malaysia (Must-Go!)

Time Capsule Retreat –  EB4 Belakang Sek Men Sg. Lembing (Pahang, Kuantan)

Date of Stay: March 2016

Another last-minute long weekend planning led to everywhere being overbooked & ridiculously overpriced (Telunas, Langkawi, Tioman…) so I was desperate for ideas. Fortunately, I recalled that a friend of mine had mentioned that there were pretty capsule houses in Pahang, Malaysia – so we googled and bingo! We found the most amazing place to visit.

(Pictures from their Facebook)

Imagine getting away from the bustling city of Singapore, into a quiet town, and staying in these pretty capsules in the middle of the forest? What more could you ask for? While you are drooling, let me tell you about the experience.

Transport

This is the only cumbersome aspect of this holiday, the travelling to get to this ulu place. There are a few options available – we tried both A & B due to costs and availability.

Option A – Flight & Car

  1. Fly from SG to KL (we flew via Jetstar, $140 since we booked rather last-minute)
  2. Private transport from KL to Pahang, exact location.

Since we had 5 people, it was more value-for-money to hire a private MPV for SGD $352 to take us from KL to the exact location in Pahang, rather than fly (since the air tickets were quite expensive by the time we booked). It cost us about SGD$60 per pax, and took 4 hours on the road. Service was reliable and on-time, recommended!  

Option B – Direct Flight + Taxi

  1.  Direct flight from SG to Kuantan (via Firefly, $125)
  2. Taxi from Kuantan airport to Time Capsule Retreat in Pahang

We took this option coming back, since there were affordable flights back from Kuantan directly to SG (1 hour). Do note that the planes are small propeller planes, not for the faint-hearted!

The taxi ride cost us about SGD$35 and took 40min (and we managed to squeeze 5 pax in) so that was really cheap!

Option C – Bus/Coach

There are buses from SG to Kuantan (approx 8 hours) at about SGD $35. You would probably have to take a taxi from Kuantan into the Time Capsule Retreat. But 8 hours?? No wayyyyy. Good luck man, especially if you get stuck in traffic.

Resort

*It’s not really a hotel, so I’ll just call it a resort, to avoid having to write “Time Capsule Retreat” every time I would like to refer to it.

At first glance, the resort looked older and a little more worn than I had expected from the pictures. But after settling in, I loved it!

Even though it was situated in the forest, we did not get bitten much by insects as the hosts diligently lighted repellant for us around the grounds. Still, bring your own insect repellants, please!

The resort consisted of a main building (with standard, no-frills rooms) which had seating area to chill and get water/coffee/drinks from, the capsule area (about 6-8 capsules available), a public toilet, and another area for some special rooms. If you are looking for luxury pools and all, this probably isn’t the place for you.

It was, however, enough for us, since the toilets were always clean, rooms were pretty and the environment was lovely.

Service

This is also another wow-factor here. Since it isn’t a hotel, there was no obligations for any sort of service. However, the hosts/owners were really the best! The lady host welcomed us, sorted us into the rooms and offered to take us into town for lunch since we were hungry. She drove us (5 minutes) and took care of everything, even paying for our lunch! She then told us about the activities we could do the next few days and helped us to organise and book everything.

Throughout the whole trip, she was ensuring that we were comfortable and happy. Many thumbs up to her!

Rooms

Now this is what we came here for!

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My time capsule!

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Everything is white and comfy!

The first night, we all stayed in these capsules for the experience.

Price: only SGD $48 per night!! (RM139)

It was minimalistic and simple, but most importantly, it had a working air-con to relieve us from the scorching hot weather.

There were also power plugs for us to charge our stuff, as well as a little lamp. Bed/sheets were white, clean and fluffy. I was super impressed and happy with my capsule, I wished I could stay in it for many more days!

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Day 2 – in Parallel Aurora room

For the next night, since the capsules were fully booked, we split into different rooms. We took the Parallel Aurora – which was a container consisting of 2 rooms & a bathroom in the middle. Our room was amazing, with this full-length glass window overlooking nature, however the other room sadly had no view, and was very much smaller.

Price: SGD$102 per night (can hold 4 pax!)

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In love with the little night light

There are also many other types of rooms available, such as the Parallel Discovery which has queen sized bed, sofa bed, your own deck anddddd a jacuzzi for SGD$171 per night!

Seriously, isn’t this like a scene from a fairytale?

Food

There’s no food served at the resort, so we had to walk to the town area (about 10min) to get food. Most of the shops are closed in the day, and you can find the most activity during early morning (market opens with many food stalls) and evening time. However, there are always some open, as well as convenience stores.

Food is really tasty and cheap, about SGD 80 cents for a bowl of noodles, and SGD $18 for a big Zi Char dinner for 5 pax. During the weekends, there’s also a night market with many types of food available! Yum!

Things to do

I’ll be uploading a separate post on my itinerary there, but rest assured, you’ll not be bored. No matter what you love, be it nature, trekking, renting a bike and riding, learning about history or just doing nothing, this place is perfect.

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One of our early morning adventures!

Conclusion

At some point of time or another, you MUST visit this place! Take a long weekend to travel here, escape from the stress in Singapore, and just rejuvenate yourself. Nature, cheap food, friendly people and instagram-worthy rooms!

Definitely a fairytale without burning a hole in your pocket!

(To book, check out their FB Page here, and contact them via whatsapp!)

 

Lexis Hibiscus Port Dickson, Malaysia – Villa Getaway by Coach (Must-Go!)

Lexis Hibiscus Port Dickson – 12th Mile, Jalan Pantai, Pasir Panjang, Port Dickson, Negeri Sembilan, 71250, Malaysia

Date of Stay: March 2016

So we’ve been pretty burnt out at work and I wanted to arrange a surprise 3d2n getaway to celebrate his birthday, but I severely underestimated the cost of a whole trip for 2 (2 x transportation, accommodation… why so ex?!). I spent days searching for a place which was not too far away, a little luxurious yet not too expensive, what a typical Singaporean!

No flights, since they were too damn ex – so I was left with either Indonesia or Malaysia to run to! After comparing prices, and hotels, I decided on Port Dickson.

Port Dickson (Malaysia) is situated about an hour away from Kuala Lumpur, approximately 5 hours by bus from Singapore. Thankfully, they had a direct coach from Singapore straight to the hotel (SGD$70/round trip), so the transportation was pretty straightforward.

Why Port Dickson? Like so many others, I was so taken with the pictures of Lexis Hibiscus Port Dickson that I literally decided on the place FOR the hotel.

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Lexis Hibiscus Port Dickson – pictures from their site

This is literally a dream come true – villas on the water, looking out into the vast sea, private pool, a true getaway.

So how did it fare?

Location

We set off from Concorde Inn at 9am, and reached the hotel around 2pm, just in time for the check-in. The coach ride was moderately comfortable, and certainly nothing to complain about. 5 hours was pretty tolerable (any longer would be painful!)

Hotel

The hotel was so HUGE, it required you to take a buggy around. Although that sounds like a logistical nightmare, their service was prompt, efficient and very friendly. We had a few issues at the start of the trip (more details later) that were resolved patiently by the staff.

There were many buggies around to ferry the hordes of tourists, and you could even call for a buggy to pick you up from your room!

Food

There are a 2 restaurants at the hotelRoselle Cafe (western food, nothing much to brag about) and Umi Japanese. I was very impressed with Umi! For about SGD$65 we got

  • 3 types sashimi
  • Cod fish set meal (with rice, soup, salad)
  • Teriyaki salmon set meal
  • Dynamite sushi (monster-sized)
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Dynamite Sushi – prawn tempura, salmon, cream cheese & unagi

 

The food was really good and well-worth the money!

Room service was not unreasonably expensive, about SGD$10 per main, but food didn’t taste fantastic.

Buffet Breakfast had a wide spread from omelettes, hashbrowns, sausages to asian food like Nasi Lemak and porridge. Thumbs up!

TIP: You can also get a taxi to go outside of the hotel for seafood, which most people do. However we were quoted about SGD15 (one-way) to travel to the seafood place. Since there were only 2 of us, it didn’t make sense to pay SGD$30 just to travel there and eat 1 crab (we weren’t big-eaters) :/ So if you are travelling in a group, do check it out!

ROOMS  *The main point of the entire stay here!

Let’s be honest here, at this place, you get what you pay for.

We initially paid for the Premium Pool Villa (SGD$200/night). However, it was only a half-sea view, since we were also facing the nearby villas. That was the thing that bothered me most – I didn’t want to be relaxing in the pool and staring at my neighbours relax in their pools. And I planned to relax in the pool, alot.

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We were initially given the room marked 1, we upgraded to the room marked 2.

Since there were some Premium Pool Villas facing only the sea, we asked if we could move rooms to the ones further right. However they told us we would have to pay extra SGD$59/night (just for a better view).

An upgrade of room category to the bigger Panorama Pool Villas would be SGD$80/night. Since I didn’t feel good in the old room (sink was not working, steam room not working, TV not working…) we decided to upgrade to the Panorama Pool Villa.

The staff were helpful in assisting us to view the Panorama Pool Villa before we made a decision to upgrade (they picked us up from our room, brought us to view, brought us to the counter to do the necessary admin and dropped us in our new rooms).

Total damage: $280/night

Now that all the issues were over, we settled in our new room, and it was LOVELY.

86 square-meter room, huge wide-screen TV, bathtub facing the sea, 2 king-sized beds, private steam room and of course, our private pool facing the vast sea.

It came with daily complimentary snacks, water, coffee/tea and cold soft-drinks – no charge for the minibar, yaas!

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Our pool – facing the sea

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All day in the sun!

We literally spent most of the time lounging in the pool, soaking up some sun and then watching TV. In my opinion, it’s one of the best places to do nothing.

My favourite part? Staring into the sea.

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So relaxing!

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We caught the sunrise too!

My conclusion? It’s either all or nothing here. If you want to really enjoy these luxuries, upgrade to the Panorama Pool Villas facing the sea (there are even more pricey villas available). Don’t travel all the way here and settle for a villa facing the shore or another villa – this sea view is amazing.

P.S. The bathtub facing the sea? You can soak and enjoy the view outside, but if you are going to stand up and shower/rinse-off, please pull the blinds down haha! From experience, there are some jetskis or boats going by.

Other than that, I had a great experience on my 3d2n getaway to Port Dickson, definitely worth going! If you like this post, share and spread the love!

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Cheers!

 

Hotel Aryaduta Bandung (Previously Hyatt) – Good Stay!

Hotel Aryaduta Bandung (previously Hyatt Regency Bandung) Jl. Sumatera No. 51, Bandung, West Java, 40115, Indonesia, ‏‎800 1205131

Date of Stay: August 2015 * at the time of stay, it was still called Hyatt!

We were doing up a pretty last minute plan for the SG50 holidays, and by the time we got around to looking at air tickets, it was insane. Everything was either fully booked, or damn expensive. Lombok, Tioman, Redang… even Bintan lol! Then when I was about to give up and book a staycation in Singapore, we chanced upon this article:

https://indonesia.tripcanvas.co/bandung/unique-hotels/

Man, Bandung looked gorgeous, and these looked like a fantastic idea. Tickets were affordable ($200 per pax) although most of the hotels on the list were either fully booked, or too close to a volcano for my mom’s comfort. She was worrying endlessly about a volcano eruption during my trip, but we still went anyway (sorry, mom!)

So Bandung is a great place to go for a short getaway, check out the hotel we stayed at below and the itinerary here.

Since it was our first time in Bandung, Indonesia to “see some volcanoes”, we opted for something a little more lavish. Hyatt was at quite a steal, approximately $100 per night including taxes for a huge room. The reception was lovely, we were greeted with welcome drinks in nice champagne glasses (although it was some tasty pink juice instead of alcohol in there).

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(Image from Hotels.com)

Room

As mentioned, the room itself was HUGE (I could even monkey around) and was clean and plushy. Did not look worn out at all, which is the case for many big hotels overseas. Wifi, minibar, kettle all present, including a nice bathtub! Great pool, Jacuzzi, gym, spa and everything you can possibly need. We even tried out the room service, which was all fancy and wheeled in on a table (even though we ordered porridge and mee goreng). Top notch!

 

Service

Fantastic, staff played a vital role in helping us source for transportation up to the volcanoes, since we wanted more options (drivers are so expensive!). They also tirelessly gave us recommendations and directions, all with a smile. Would definitely stay at the Hyatt again for this reason!

Location

Awesome! It is adjacent to the Bandung Indah Plaza, which has a Matahari, shops, and cafes/restaurant. Perfect for some leisure walking, even though there wasn’t much that interested us. Outside the Indah Plaza there are some local street food snack stalls, in case you want something really authentic. Opposite the Hyatt Hotel there is a K-mart convenience store (which the security staff escorted us across the crazy traffic to get to, we tipped him after of course!)

Conclusion

How often do you get to stay at Hyatt for under $100? This is definitely a comfy stay and we looked forward to returning each day from our adventures for a guaranteed peaceful rest here. #Holidaygoals

 

**Other Accommodation: Fave Hotel at Chihampelas

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(Image from Hotels.com)

JD opted to stay at another hotel close by, called Fave Hotel at Chihampelas (they have other , which was about $40+ a night. According to him, the room was still spacious (3/4 the size of the one at Hyatt) with a decent gym! So if you are looking to save a little, Fave is definitely a good stay as well!

Amaranta Hotel (Bangkok) – Must Stay!

Amaranta Hotel (2 Soi 5 Pracharatbumpen Rd., Huai Khwang, Bangkok, Bangkok, 10310, Thailand, ‏‎800 1205131)

In preparations for my Bangkok trip in February 2016, I came across this hotel using Hotels.com (as I always do, trying to earn discounts & free nights!). It had a great rating (4.3/5), many positive reviews, beautiful pictures & a decent price at $85/night including all taxes – I was definitely sold!

Of course, I always try to maintain my expectations and not get over-excited, because in many cases the actual rooms don’t look like the pictures (or look like the pictures, but 10 years later). But OH MY, I was extremely happy with this place.

It is apparently very new (hence the rooms looking quite identical to the pictures, and the price being SO GOOD) and I’m sure the prices will definitely go up as more people find this place. Here’s some info below to convince you!

Hotel Decor & Staff

Decked out in gold tones, it has a super luxurious feel from the moment you step in. Everything looks clean and new! Hotel staff are very helpful and courteous, opening doors for us and greeting us everyday. Service is top-notch.

Rooms

I went for the Superior Room (32 Sq meters) which came with a double bed and all the normal hotel things (minibar, LCD TV, kettle, WIFI!) as well as a lounge sofa and a deep-soaking bathtub which you can sit in and watch the TV from. I mean, who doesn’t want to come back to a nice, big room after a long day of shopping, soak in hot water and bubbles while watching movies on cable? If this doesn’t convince you, I don’t know what will. The bed was comfortable and plushy, and we had gold silky bathrobes to lounge around in!

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Plushy bed with a cuppa coffee in the morning

 

Facilities

They have a gym, pool, restaurant/bar. Unfortunately, I only managed to visit the pool on the last day before checking out, but it is gorgeous! I can totally imagine myself relaxing here with a book while enjoying the view.

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Ok, maybe the view is questionable.. but still…

Location

It is walking distance to Hwai Khwang MRT (Not BTS) which is quite near to Chatuchak/Union Mall.

Just below the hotel, you can find 7-11 (great for late night snacks) as well as quite a few food stalls selling Thai/Chinese food (I suspect it’s like a little Chinatown, since the workers in this area speak Mandarin too!).

Also below, there are quite a few massage places (clean ones) with 1hr massage for 180baht – don’t expect much frills here though.

Conclusion

Highly recommended (quick, before the prices get sky-high) for your next getaway to Bangkok!