Tag Archives: hotels

Small Luxury Hotels- where everyone is special

One less well-known group of hotels is the Small Luxury Hotels (SLH) “chain”, a loose grouping of about 500 independent hotels (locations here)

SLH has a loyalty program and  it’s interesting because of the very low threshold needed to earn any sort of meaningful status. The program is free to join, and (supposedly) rewards you from Day One.

There are 3 tiers

Special Member

– A hotel room upgrade on us (subject to availability at check-in)
– Access to Club Rates
– Regular Club newsletters with exclusive partner offers

Loved Member

After 1 stay you’ll receive all the benefits above, plus:

– Daily complimentary continental breakfast for two
– Late check-out (subject to availability at check-in)

Honoured Member

After 5 further stays you’ll receive all the benefits above, as well as:

– Free reward nights (terms and conditions apply)
– Priority complimentary room upgrade (subject to availability at check-in)
– Early check-in (subject to availability at check-in)

If you’re not big on the conventional loyalty programs and like to stay at boutique hotels, this might be the “chain” for you. The lowest tier is free to join and already grants you an on-availability room upgrade. Make that 1 stay and you’re already a Loved member, getting free breakfast thrown into the mix and late checkout.

I’d like to point out that there’s a link here you can use to sign up and instantly get Loved member status, thereby skipping you one tier up the (rather short) ladder.

How good are the properties?

The rates in Singapore are rather eye-popping, unfortunately. This is how it priced out for a 2 night (Friday-Sunday) stay for 2 adults

scarlet slh2

Even though the above is for 2 nights, that’s still no small amount to pay!

I checked the prices for booking directly with the hotel and although Hotel Vagabond prices out the same, the Scarlet prices out at $506, surprisingly more than on SLH (and creates the possibility for a BRG claim)

What about more “affordable” markets like Bangkok?

slh bangkok

Still pretty expensive, I’d say. FYI, SLH properties do alright on Tripadvisor- not the best but certainly nowhere near the bottom. in Bangkok, S31 Sukhumvit ranks 198 out of 807 hotels on Tripadvisor, Maduzi fairs much better at 58.

I’d like to clarify that being part of SLH does not mean the hotel has won some special award or is in some way elite (although I’m sure many of the properties are very special in their own way). SLH is not an “award”, SLH is a marketing initiative bringing together various small independent hotels

SLH runs occasional sales which offer 3 nights for the price of 2, or 4 nights for the price of 3. This brings down the rates into more affordable territory,

My advice is that if you’re booking a non-chain hotel, your best bet is to still go via Kaligo/Rocketmiles to earn some milesback, or via Expedia etc to earn cashback. However, if you’re staying enough nights to get good value out of the free daily breakfast, and if the price difference is negligible, you might want to look at SLH.

Trip Report: W Bangkok

Dr Frederick Ee is a medical doctor, author, blogger and traveler. He discovered his passion for travel on his first long-haul trip to New York City in 2012. His quest for premium travel experiences started on that very same flight as he endured a smelly foot beside him from the passenger behind him for the 24 hours of flight from Singapore to New York. He blogs at goodhotelreview.blogspot.com, focusing on hotel experiences. His most memorable moment of travel was to participate in the resuscitation of a collapsed patient during a long flight to Paris. Feel free to add him on Facebook with a message and his Instagram at @drfrederickee

He would like to thank MileLion for having him as a guest writer and hope readers would enjoy his writings and musings


No review of Pyramids hotel, missing luggage and a stay at W Bangkok

W Bangkok

Impressed by the breakfast! And the great Thai service quality

 Visited October 2015 

Bangkok is definitely a popular destination for many Singaporeans as well as foreigners around the world.

Having been to Bangkok many times, and stayed in many different hotels, I have not typed a review for some of them.


Remarkably, W Bangkok has left a deep enough impression for a share.


I arrived in Bangkok after visiting the Pyramids in Egypt. There is no review of the Le Meridien Pyramids hotel on my blog because I hardly explored the place to take pictures.


This may have been a good thing as it is really unsafe in Egypt at the moment.


In fact, that very hotel was bombed a week after my stay.
Continue reading Trip Report: W Bangkok

St Regis Beijing Review

Dr Frederick Ee is a medical doctor, author, blogger and traveler. He discovered his passion for travel on his first long-haul trip to New York City in 2012. His quest for premium travel experiences started on that very same flight as he endured a smelly foot beside him from the passenger behind him for the 24 hours of flight from Singapore to New York. He blogs at goodhotelreview.blogspot.com, focusing on hotel experiences. His most memorable moment of travel was to participate in the resuscitation of a collapsed patient during a long flight to Paris. Feel free to add him on Facebook with a message and his Instagram at @drfrederickee

He would like to thank MileLion for having him as a guest writer and hope readers would enjoy his writings and musings


St Regis Beijing

A Diplomat’s Hotel
Visited July 2015

China is definitely one of the great places for hotel stays and I finally visited Beijing for my birthday.The main objective of this trip was to see the Great Wall of China and 2 sections were close to Beijing, namely the Badaling and Mutianyu sections.

I decided on the Mutianyu section and it was breathtaking!
Here’s a picture on my Instagram with my furry companions!

instagram1

However, my bears were not the only furry ones on the Great Wall that day!

instagram2

Let’s start this review from a few days before arrival.

I received an email from the hotel which started with

“Allow me to introduce myself. I am Henry, your St. Regis Guest Liaison. It is my pleasure to ensure that your upcoming stay at The St. Regis Beijing is beyond expectation.”

“Beyond expectation”? That’s a really strong promise. So I replied to this email with

“This would be my first time visiting Beijing and I would be celebrating my birthday during this trip.

I would be arriving early and hope to be able to leave my luggage with the hotel.

I would also like to request a memorable upgrade if possible.

Thank you very much!

Best Regards! 谢谢!”

And the reply came back as

“We are glad to hear that you will spend such a memorable stay with us. We will special upgrade your room to our St.Regis Suite, a birthday cake will be sent to room in advance as well.
Your early check in request is noted, we will try our best to arrange clean room upon your arrival. If the room is not ready upon you arrive, we will store your luggage at the concierge.”

Wow, a special upgrade to a suite! This trip was already good before its start!

The Arrival

So finally we arrived in Beijing after the few days of anticipation.

Having done my online research, there was one worry on my mind.

The St Regis Beijing is located near many embassies and frequently visited by foreign politicians. If someone important happen to stay at the same time, the increased security will be rather troublesome.

This is the same case as Hotel Grand Bretagne in Athens.

Thankfully, this did not happen and the stay was great!

The taxi ride from the airport was not ideal, but I think speaking Mandarin and being Chinese definitely helped reduce the chance (and extent) of being ripped off.

A large driveway!

So we arrived at 10am at the hotel after a red-eye flight from Singapore to Beijing, and proceeded to the front desk.

Concierge and Front Desk

We were greeted in English, and not only were we upgraded to the suite, it was ready and at no extra charge for the very early check-in!

The lobby is very grand indeed and unfortunately, I didn’t get a chance to enjoy the lobby bar.

Interestingly NTU was holding Admission Interviews at the hotel at that time.

 The St. Regis Suite

I took a few pictures as I made my way to the suite.

The hotel does show a little age, and it is not excessively opulent or cluttered on the guestroom levels. The corridor was a little dark for my preference, and the walls a tad too plain. Compared to the grandness at the front desk, it feels like a different hotel.

The suite, thankfully, is in line with the luxury brand.

The entrance was well lit and decorated.

The living space was very spacious with a full-sized working desk and a large TV by the side. There was even a printer and paper provided!
There was a document on the table reminding guests of the new rule of ‘no smoking’ in indoor areas.

A rule I am very happy about as a non-smoker!

The expansive view was good but unremarkable.

The bedroom was equally big and the bed comfortable and on the soft side.

I always liked a couch near the window like this.
The bathroom was the most indulgent part of the room.

The amenities, the marble and of course, the size.

Standing shower

The bathtub was one of the deepest I have ever seen in all the hotels I have stayed.

Being St Regis, having a TV screen in the mirror is not unusual at all!
TV Remote at the side of the mirror

The bath amenities were put in the nice box on the dual sink.

The products are of course from Remede, as per the brand standard.
The switches are located next to the bed with a power source fixed with a universal adapter.
And if that is not enough, a extension set was found in the drawers.

The In-Room Gifts

The pre-arrival email mentioned a birthday cake and this arrived, with a card, in the evening with the welcome gifts.

The cake looked better than it tasted, but I must declare it is appreciated!

The Lounge

Something different about St Regis Beijing is the presence of a lounge. The lounge is located on the upper floors of the hotel, providing a good view of the surroundings.

I thought I would be able to see the old Palace (now known as the Palace Museum) from the hotel, but I was wrong. Beijing is really massive and spaced out. And the buildings are so big and tall!

View from the lounge
Cookies
Fruit

Lounge also means a Happy Hour in the evening with some food and drinks.

Breakfast

Breakfast was an enjoyable affair. The restaurant is located near the Front Desk and food was plentiful. The selection was mainly Chinese, with some Japanese and some pastries.

There was no crowd and no waiting.

Entrance and waitresses ready to greet guests by the door
The restaurant itself is magnificently furbished as expected.

The Others

A restaurant, Celestial Court was located on the upper floors of the lobby. Looking impressive but no opportunity to dine there during my stay.

The gym and indoor pool was located in the adjacent building and we passed by some shops on the way there.
It was a short walk, but that shows how big the hotel actually is!

On reaching the fitness centre, one has to tap the room keycard for access.

The gym is huge but not surprising for such a big hotel.
However, what I really liked was the indoor pool and that one can escape the smog of Beijing by swimming indoors.
Really liked the ‘Grand Staircase’ into the pool too!

In Conclusion

It was really a great stay without any major hiccups. The upgrade, the early check-in and the cake promised in the email were fulfilled.

If I were to list the greatest problem, that would be of the location and transport options. It was not near the metro and there was not much nearby within walking distance.

However, in Beijing, one is more likely to use taxi or private cars for transport anyway.

Last but not least, how much did I have to pay for this experience?

A daily rate of about 1000 Yuan, slightly more than SGD$200.

This rate would probably be that of a 4 star hotel in most other major cities, competitively priced with Bangkok, Thailand.

Random Decor in the hotel

Happy and Healthy Travels to my readers!

fred