Category Archives: Hotels

Hotels

Third night free with the Visa Signature Hotel Collection

Remember that awesome (short-lived) one-for-one deal that was running last year? If you’d missed it, here’s your chance to get acquainted with its lesser cousin, which offers a potential 33% discount in place of last year’s 50%.

In this new promotion, you’ll get the third night free at Conrad, Waldorf Astoria and Curio hotels if you book by 30 Sep 2017 and stay before 31 Oct 2017. However, this promotion targets weekends and is valid only for stays beginning on Thursday, Friday or Saturday.

If you’re staying for longer, there’s nothing stopping you from booking three nights on the Visa Signature platform and adding separate consecutive bookings elsewhere (e.g. if you can find a cheaper rate, or with a points redemption). It’s also possible to chain this promo if you have multiple guests in the room, e.g. booking a total of 6n under two different guests’ accounts/cards/names – Hilton points earned will be deposited into separate accounts if so, though it’s now possible to transfer Hilton points for free between accounts anyway. Hotels are usually able to combine the bookings and make it a seamless experience for you; you can also email the property ahead to request for this, though in my experience it’s not been necessary to do so.

Booking process

To make use of this deal, you’ll need to make use of the Visa Signature Luxury Hotels booking platform that Aaron’s previously written about.  You get extra benefits such as…

  • Automatic room upgrade when available
  • Complimentary in-room wifi
  • Complimentary continental breakfast daily
  • USD$25 F&B credit
  • 3PM check-out when available
  • “VIP” guest status

Most of these are stuff you’ll already enjoy if you are a Hilton Gold/Diamond member, though the extra US$25 credit is still an added bonus.

I wasn’t able to make use my Visa Infinite card on the system last year for some reason, but local Visa Signature cards seem to work (I used a DBS Altitude Visa).

The reservation email lists the total price of the booking, but upon check out they will discount the third night from your final bill. Based on what I experienced with the previous promo, that discounted sum is charged to Visa and you still get points accrued from the complimentary night, which is especially great if you’re staying at an expensive property like Conrad Koh Samui.

Silkair promo synergy

The current 50% redemption promo for Silkair flights is valid for travel between 1 July and 31 October 2017 (book by 11 July), so there’s a nice possible overlap if you’re able to align reservations for:

  • Bali
  • Koh Samui
  • Xiamen
  • Maldives

Conrad property reviews

There are many eligible properties on the list, but for your reference here’re some that we’ve visited:

Low risk – book first?

The bookings are generally cancellable until the day before the stay , and charges are only made upon check out, so if you’re worried that they might pull the promotion early again this year, there’s nothing stopping you from making multiple reservations first and cancelling those you won’t be utilising. Do read specific terms for your targeted specific before pulling the trigger, though.

Check out the full details of the promotion here!

Closest to the City Walls, the Hilton Imperial Dubrovnik

King’s Landing for GOT fans

The Grand Old Dame of the Modern City

Stayed October 2016
Written May 2017

City Walls and Monastery

From the Sheraton, I moved to the Hilton which is in Dubrovnik and is located right outside the City Walls.

The proximity allowed me to visit the Old Town easily both in the day and at night.

View from the Gate

 

Entrance

The hotel is quite small and intimate and the Front Desk is tucked by the side of the entrance.

 

Hotel Lounge
Corridors

As an elite member, I was thankfully upgraded to a Executive Room with a view of the City Walls from the balcony.

Orange seems to be the dominant colour which is rather unusual but decidedly unique.

The toilet was unfortunately really tiny and cramped. It would perhaps be better without the bathtub.

Hilton Diamond status granted me access to the lounge as well as complimentary breakfast at the restaurant downstairs.

The lounge offers afternoon tea and evening canapes. Some lounges offer quite an insane amount of food during cocktail hours sufficient for dinner, but this wasn’t one of them.

Breakfast was not too bad and many of the tour groups leave pretty early and the place clears out for a peaceful meal.

During my stay at the Hilton, I went on day trips to Mostar and Kotor as well, and had fun taking a great number of photos. Being one of the most well-known hotels in the city, tour pickups were not an issue at all.

“I’m so enjoying this cruise in the Bay of Kotor! Are you okay, Grumpybear?” “Just feeling a bit seasick.” #bayofkotor #montenegro #cruise #cute #roundtheworld #singapore #igsg #sgig #travel #travelgram #instatravel #traveling #polarbear #grumpybear #letsgoeverywhere #wanderlust #lifeisgood #beautifulhotels #beautifuldestinations #bestvacations #luxurylife #luxurytravel #luxuryhotels #nofilter #softtoy
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“Where are we Polarbear?” This must be the city of Kotor after the cruise!” “I don’t see anything spectacular about this place?” “Well, it is an ancient walled city and the walls even extend up the mountain! Like the Great Wall of China!” “Now I see!!” #kotor #citywalls #montenegro #cute #roundtheworld #singapore #igsg #sgig #travel #travelgram #instatravel #traveling #polarbear #grumpybear #letsgoeverywhere #wanderlust #lifeisgood #beautifulhotels #beautifuldestinations #bestvacations #luxurylife #luxurytravel #luxuryhotels #nofilter #softtoy
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A short walk from the hotel would bring me to the cable-car station for an elevated view of the Old Walled City of Dubrovnik, with the opportunity for pizza at a famous shop along the way.

“Guess where we are, Polarbear!” “Any clues, Grumpybear?” “King’s Landing!” “What?!” #notaGOTfan #gameofthrones #dubrovnik #croatia #kingslanding #cute #roundtheworld #singapore #igsg #sgig #travel #travelgram #instatravel #traveling #polarbear #grumpybear #letsgoeverywhere #wanderlust #lifeisgood #beautifulhotels #beautifuldestinations #bestvacations #luxurylife #luxurytravel #luxuryhotels #nofilter #softtoy
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One of the surprises was receiving a printed copy of LianHe ZaoBao, the Chinese version of the Singapore newspaper. I much prefer to read the Straits Times in English although I have no problem reading Mandarin, being effectively bilingual.

Turn-down service was fine too, with some additional snacks on the table and a piece of chocolate.

The gym was not very big, but there were hardly any users anyway, so there’s lots of space!

Spa and Gym Reception

I didn’t have time to explore the spa and indoor pool, but the pictures from the hotel’s website look pretty nice!

Credit: Hilton Imperial Dubrovnik

Last but not least, remember to go to the top floor to get some pictures of the Old Town!

Happy and Healthy Travels!

The Milelion’s RTW Trip Report: Westin Westminster and a bit of rental cars

Introduction: It’s the most wonderful time of the year
A Tale of Two Lounges: SATS Premier T2 and the Qantas SIN Lounge
Malaysia Airlines B737 Business Class SIN-KUL
Malaysia Airlines Business Class Golden Lounge KUL
Malaysia Airlines A330  Business Class KUL-NRT
Japan Airlines Business Class Sakura Lounge NRT
Japan Airlines B77W Business Class NRT-LAX
The Westin LAX
The Westin Westminster
Aloft Boston Seaport
The Consolidated AA Domestic First Class Experience
American Airlines Flagship Lounge JFK
American Airlines B772 Business Class JFK-LHR
American Airlines Arrivals Lounge LHR
The Great Northern Hotel, London
Sheraton Grand London Park Lane
Westin Paris Vendome
Courtyard by Marriott Madrid Princesa
Four Points by Sheraton Barcelona Diagonal
The Consolidated Intra-Europe Business Class Experience
Sheraton Casablanca
The Casablanca Lounge CMN
Royal Air Maroc B737 Business Class CMN-ACC
Labadi Beach Hotel, Accra
Ethiopian Airlines B772 Business Class ACC-ADD
Ethiopian Airlines Cloud 9 Business Class Lounge ADD
Ethiopian Airlines B737 Business Class ADD-DAR
Protea Hotel by Marriott Dar Es Salaam Courtyard
Tanzanite Lounge DAR
Qatar Airways A320 Business Class DAR-DOH
Westin Doha
Qatar Airways Al Safwa First Class Lounge DOH
Qatar Airways A350 “First” Class DOH-DXB
The Grosvenor House Dubai
W Doha
Qatar Airways B772 Business Class DOH-BLR
The Ritz Carlton Bangalore
Cathay Dragon Lounge Bangalore
Cathay Dragon A330 Business Class BLR-HKG
W Hong Kong
Cathay Pacific’s HKG Lounges
Cathay Pacific A350 Business Class HKG-SIN


Our domestic flight from LAX to DEN landed on time, and after we collected our bags we headed off to the buses that would take us to the rental car facilities. The way DEN is structured is that all rental car companies are offsite, requiring a 7-8 minute bus ride to reach.

I’ve written before about the concept of the National Car Executive Aisle, which I really like. All you need to do is book a mid-sized car, and you can go and pick whatever vehicle you want off the lane. Note that there are two different aisles- the Emerald Aisle and the Executive Aisle. I could access the executive aisle by virtue of my Executive membership, which any Visa Infinite holder can get for free.

The selection on the Executive Aisle, as you’d expect, tends to be better. Indeed I saw a whole range of SUVs, full sized sedans and even trucks on the executive aisle. Book a mid-sized car and pick your own upgrade, basically.

I had an SUV in mind until I saw this beauty lurking…

No, not the truck. The Audi. I need to work on my composition skills. But I was giddily excited.

Oh she was a beaut, with less than 3K miles on the odometer. And her registration says she was registered on Valentine’s Day, 2017. I’m not making this up.

The way the aisle works is it’s first come first serve. The keys are in the car, all you need to do is chope one and drive it to the exit. You then present your credit card and drivers license and you’re on your way.

We took her places. She was a delight to drive and although National didn’t spring for the GPS/Satellite radio features, was still head and shoulders above anything else on the aisle.

How much did we pay? US$40 a day. Yup. So the next time you’re thinking about settling for a run-of-the-mill Toyota, remember that a little research can go a long way.

The Westin Westminster was about a 30 minute drive from the airport.

Westminster is a city that’s technically outside of Denver. But we needed to pay a visit to Boulder, and Westminster was at a nice midway point between both cities. Plus, they had free parking. Downtown Denver hotels wanted upwards of US$40 a night for parking.

The lobby was certainly a lot nicer than the Westin LAX. The stone walls and roaring fireplace much reminded me of a hunting lodge.

The staffed checked us in and gave me an option of 500 points or a breakfast credit.

I noted there was a Starbucks in the lobby too.

No suite upgrades were offered, and I couldn’t be bothered to ask for one. The standard room was nice enough, if not the very definition of standard.

I’ve always thought that hotels could save a lot by taking these sofas out of the room. Who really uses them? Squabbling couples?

There was a combination desk/TV ledge that had power plugs and USB outlets built into it.

There were also 2 free bottles of water for being an SPG member, although in practice you can call down and get as many as you need. The front desk also has a minifridge where you can load up.

The bathroom was nothing exciting- large marble countertop, plenty of counter pace.

It had a shower/tub combination

With the addition of a non-standard Westin item to the mix- a makeup remover. That’s great, because by this point in time my mascara was starting to run.

One small feature that really won me over was the power plugs they had put into the side of the bedhead. It’s such a simple thing in retrospect you wonder why more hotels don’t do it.

Having this allows you to charge your devices as you sleep. I can’t think of how many hotels I’ve stayed at which have put the plugs in inconvenient locations. Say what you will, but I’m the kind of man who sleeps with his phone under his pillow, so I value having it at close reach when I wake up. Y’know, to find out how the world has changed while I was asleep.

Breakfast is served at Kachina restaurant in the lobby.

Here’s the menu

I was surprised by how high quality the offerings were. I mean yes, the dish below doesn’t take much skill to assemble, but the quality was really good.

On the second day I tried eggs benedict, with the heart attack sauce on the side

I certainly enjoyed this Westin much more than the one in LAX. It’s probably not the best place for you if you need to access Denver frequently, but its located near enough to the freeway to give you a straight shot into Denver in just over 20 minutes.