Wednesday, 24 December 2014

Intercontinental Bali, Indonesia - November 2014


Having been to Bali many times, I have been stayed in the different parts, including Jimbaran (at Le Meridien), Nusa Dua (St Regis Bali which I unfortunately lost the pictures!), Seminyak (W Bali) as well as Ubud (at the Purist Villas before the start of this blog)

Curiously, I have not stayed at the most popular part of Kuta.

The Intercontinental Bali is located at Jimbaran. 

Why choose this hotel?

The hotel is a very established resort in Bali and is known to be rather authentically Balinese.

The Management

Intercontinental Hotel Group (IHG)

Getting to the Hotel

I would advise a short taxi or limousine from the airport. I was quoted 20 USD for a limousine ride during this visit.

Sunday, 14 December 2014

Grand Hyatt Erawan, Bangkok, Thailand - September 2014

Hotels are aplenty in Bangkok and I have a previous entry on the Intercontinental Bangkok which is actually in the same area.

The political situation seems stable for now, but still very guarded.

The stability of the Royal Family is crucial in Thailand.

Why choose this hotel?

The Grand Hyatt Erawan is one of the representative properties of the brand in Asia.
The hotel is next to the famous Erawan Shrine.
The property is simply gorgeous!
A direct link to the metro is available.

The Management

Hyatt, as stated in the name of the hotel.

Getting to the Hotel

Taxi is definitely the way to go in Bangkok most of the time.
If not, the hotel is at the Chit Lom BTS (metro) station with a connection from the sky-bridge through the mall.

The Hotel

Classic colonial grandeur is evident from the entrance!

Well, take a step back to look at the impressive driveway too!

The lobby is similarly just as breathtaking!

The front desk is at the other end of the lobby, but is easy to spot.

Small ponds filled with koi adorn the lobby. Maintenance must be very costly and labour-intensive.

 The corridors are brightly lit with many nice details such as a chair for sitting and flower bowls.

The basement which is linked to the Erawan Mall is decorated as well.

The Rooms

We had a complimentary upgrade to a Deluxe room upon request. The room was a rather spacious 40 sq m room.

The toilet also has an opening from the bathtub into the room. I wonder why this voyeuristic setup is becoming more prevalent. There is an adequate separate standing shower.

 The bathroom amenities were fine but not memorable.

The view from my room was not too great, blocked by the tall building on the other side of the road.

A special octagon table with an animal (Pardon my ignorance if this represents something divine). It actually holds the LAN wire.

There are some universal plugs in the room if one forgets to bring.

The Food and Drinks

There are quite a number of cafes, restaurants and other shops in the basement of the hotel.  I didn't take any meals here so I cannot comment on the quality and range.

 A restaurant is located at the lobby as well.

The Pool, The Gym, The Spa

I did not get to use any during this stay. Guess I would return someday...

The Service

This made this understand why this hotel is a truly remarkable representative of Hyatt. The room rates are very high for a hotel in Bangkok but I was blown away by the whole service experience.

Firstly, there was a pre-arrival email which arranged for a complimentary room upgrade.

Secondly, we were greeted by almost every staff from the moment we reached the entrance through to the front desk. This was the first time I felt like royalty on arrival to a hotel.

Thirdly, we were given free internet as well which was of good speed.

Lastly, there was even a personalized follow-up email after checkout.

In Summary

Beautiful and big hotel, good location with convenient access and, most importantly, with very impressive service. What more should I add?

Happy Travels!

Tuesday, 9 December 2014

Angsana Ihuru Maldives (And Banyan sister island) - September 2014

The very romantic Maldives.

A country where the ocean, the sky and the land merge as one.

This was my second visit to the Maldives. The first was to W Maldives before I started this blog and that was simply stunning!

I had PMS (Post-Maldives Syndrome) for the whole year and decided to make another trip back to the islands.

Why choose this hotel?

The sister islands (Angsana and Banyan) have one of the best house reefs among the resorts.

They are rather near to the airport and only require a speed boat transfer.

However, this also means the island is not very secluded and one can see quite a few other islands from the resort. Thus, a clear horizon is restricted to some parts of the island.


The Management

Banyan Tree Group.

Getting to the Hotel

Counters of the various resorts are located just outside the airport and one just needs to find the right counter.

Speedboat transfers can be done any time of the day, but seaplane transfers (to further resorts) only happen during daylight hours.

The Hotel

The speed boat will drop the guests at the jetty.
The various parts of the resort are housed in huts and the "rooms" are all villas.

Front Desk



House-keeping staff do their job with small wooden carts.

The Rooms

We were given a Jacuzzi room which I felt was rather dark at times.

The door had a container of water by the side and a tap as shown to wash the sand off the feet.

A comfortable couch is located at the side.

The TV had limited channels and was a little hard to control.

The bathrobe didn't look comfortable and was left untouched.

The bathroom and shower were outdoors, with the jacuzzi as well. The amenities came in refillable bottles.

Standing shower(to the left) and jacuzzi

A part of the beach is private to each room with chairs, a swing and a outdoor couch provided.

The Food and Drinks

There is only 1 main restaurant on the island. The Riveli.

 Breakfast was always busy and the range was satisfactory.

Egg Station

Fruit and Juice counter.

Dinner menu varies nightly and can be a la carte or a buffet.

Outdoor seating is definitely preferable both in the day and in the night.

The buffet I had wasn't too good, but there was no other good alternative.

The bar is next to Riveli.

The Pool 

The ocean is the pool!

The Gym

I never did see anyone using the gym.

The Spa

The spa is located at the centre of the island. Thus, I decided against any treatments as it was not much different from a regular spa.

The Beach And Reef

The beach is very clean and in great condition. I am sure the resort staff contributed greatly to this.

One of the things I didn't like was the breakwater.

The reef is indeed beautiful but I wasn't adventurous enough to go very far.

One can borrow a snorkeling set from the dive shop without additional charges.

The sister resort of Banyan Tree and the Shops

There is a ferry every 2 hours during daytime to the sister island. The Banyan is slightly nicer than Angsana and has more activities.

Great place to laze
Room at Banyan

Another room at Banyan

The shops are both islands are linked and the bill can be charged to a room in either resort.

There is stingray and turtle feeding at Banyan in the late afternoon. The stingrays seems to know the time and arrive daily for their treat.

Some birds also join in the feeding.

The Service

The first impression was bad as my name was wrong on the reservation. 

However, the staff were very nice otherwise throughout the stay.

In Summary

This is a rather nice resort to stay but the feeling of luxury is lacking.

The plus points include a good reef and is close to the capital and airport.

The resort can be rather crowded with guests.

I would much prefer a resort out of the main North Male Atoll.

And thus I was cured of my PMS (Post-Maldives Syndrome) because I realized that not all the Maldivian resorts are as breathtaking.

Happy Travels!