Tag Archives: reviews

Hotel mini-review: Conrad Bangkok (Executive Corner)

Orchid, Elephant, Turtle:
Touring the Thai Conrads

Thai Airways Business Class SIN-BKK (A350)
Conrad Bangkok (Executive Corner)
Thai Airways Business Class BKK-USM
Conrad Koh Samui (Oceanview Pool Villa)
Thai Airways Business Class USM-BKK-SIN


We stopped over in Bangkok and headed back to Conrad Bangkok, where we’d stayed last December. We didn’t manage to snag a suite mega-upgrade this time round, but were upgraded to an Executive Corner room, which isn’t too bad. If you compare floor plans, you’ll see that the room (at the bottom right of the floorplan below) takes up about the same amount of space as the living room in the Deluxe Suite. This is still extremely roomy – it actually also means you don’t spend quite as much time walking around unnecessarily in an overly large room. Or, at least, that’s what I told myself after failing to secure a suite upgrade.

Breakfast and lounge offerings are still pretty much the same (in a nutshell – good) so I’ll just focus on the room.

Upon entering the room you are still treated to a seemingly pointless corridor…

…which I assume is there mainly because of the shape of the building. The room itself is pretty spacious – I do think the extra space is well utilised.

Behind the work desk are the mini-bar and a walk-in closet.

The room came with the standard rice crackers, fruit and chocolates. The fruit platter seemed somewhat less generous this time (just two bananas) – not sure if the suites come with more fruit or it’s just a seasonal thing.

The bathroom came with a bathtub, a single sink, a shower (and the toilet, of course); it was just (very much) more compact than the one in the deluxe suite, unsurprisingly.

The Executive Corner room is technically a three-step upgrade from the basic room, but it’s essentially the same as a Deluxe Corner room (one step up from basic room), only situated on a higher floor and with executive lounge access. That said, the extra space (570 sq ft vs. 441 sq ft) is certainly noticeable and not a trivial upgrade – Hilton Honors Gold or Diamond guests would do well to try to make sure they get at least a Corner upgrade, if available.


Louis believes he caught the premium travel bug after attaining KrisFlyer Elite Gold and occasionally being upgraded while shuttling between the UK, Singapore and Japan (in economy class). These travels have led to a wonderful marriage, as well as a burning desire to maximise his frequency of travel in business class or better.

He travels with a gryphon plush toy, Griffles, which often stands in for him in vacation photos. Griffles continues to amuse (and confuse) air stewardesses, hotel staff and just about everybody else, all around the world.

Miami, no vice: United Economy IAH-MIA

Miami, no vice: Planning
EVA Air Business Class SIN-TPE
Decoding the lounge situation in Taipei
EVA Air Business Class TPE-IAH
Red Roof Inn IAH Airport
United Economy IAH-MIA
Renting with Sixt Miami
Element Miami International Airport
Miami, the Keys and everything inbetween
Orlando: Disneyworld and other distractions
Jetblue Economy MCO-JFK
EVA Air Business Class JFK-TPE
EVA Air Business Class TPE-SIN


Ah, the US domestic flight experience. The thing that reminds you how flying has gone from dress up event to Greyhound bus.

I survived the night at the Red Roof Inn and after checking my bag for cockroaches checked out and caught the shuttle bus to IAH. I surveyed my fellow shuttle bus passengers, wondering which ones had bed bugs and which ones just had fleas.

Most airlines in the States by and large have made check-in into a completely automated process. I checked in and printed my baggage tag all without human interference. The only time I had to make eye contact with someone was when I handed my bag over to the bag thrower handler behind the counter.

It was my first opportunity to test my TSA Precheck, which came along with my Global Entry registration. I found the experience entirely pleasant- you don’t need to remove your shoes, or your belt, or your coat, or your laptop from your bag. You still can’t bring water in, unfortunately, but the line moves a lot faster. You don’t do the full body scan, instead you walk through a single metal detector. Obviously if you only visit the States once a year it’s not worth getting, but otherwise you should really consider it.

I grabbed a quick breakfast in the United Club at IAH Terminal C. I’ve reviewed United Clubs before in other airports suffice to say they’re nothing special. I know the revamped United Clubs are going to offer hot food options but evidently I had one of the older ones because this was just bread, fruit and cereals.

Boarding started promptly 25 minutes before departure. Although I’m a Star Gold member, I was part of boarding group 2 because I was travelling in coach.

UA 1614 was operated today by an A320 aircraft with 3-3 seating in economy.

I had a middle seat near the rear because I booked this flight relatively last minute.

Zooming in on the seat didn’t improve things.

These seats are United’s new slimline models. Apparently, adopting the new slimline seating in economy allows United to operate the equivalent of 14 additional planes each year. And only at the expense of personal comfort! Who needs that, right.

I personally didn’t find the seats unduly punishing, but I can imagine on longer flights the lack of back support will get to you. I also need to note that everyone around me was impeccably polite on this flight and didn’t recline their seat (it’s a 2.5 hour morning flight, who needs full recline?)

Each seatback had built-in inflight entertainment. Unfortunately, I had already seen “Safety Card” before and I knew all the plot twists (spoiler alert: the nearest exit may be behind you!), so I didn’t think it was worth viewing again.

Takeoff was uneventful and the crew came around to start drinks service. Yes, you read that right. There were complimentary non-alcoholic drinks served on this flight. And contrary to popular belief, US airlines still offer free snacks. United Airlines even built a whole marketing campaign around their Stroopwafel offering

Because apparently people need instructions on how to Stroopwafel (and on turning nouns into verbs), United produced a commercial.

And got said Stroopwafel a spot on a daytime talk show. Seriously. I mean, nothing says slow news day…

This probably sums it up best.

Because I am not inclined to Stroopwafel, I amused myself by browsing the menu card to see what the finest in pre-packaged meals and shelf-stable snacks had to offer.

The hot skillet plates didn’t look half bad, actually.

But i’m pretty sure you can’t get french fries looking like that on an aircraft.

The loos at the back of the plane are spartan but clean. I’ve always wondered how people can stand to join the mile-high club in airplane loos. I mean, hygiene people.

 

I’m struggling to find anything else of note to write about. Ultimately it’s domestic economy. It doesn’t get more basic than this. You’re probably better off thinking of domestic flights in the US like a bus, only it flies. Like the magic schoolbus.

We landed on time in MIA and it was time for the vacation to well and truly begin.

Satisfying the Shakespeare in Me | Radisson Blu Metropol, Helsingborg

Satisfying the Shakespeare in Me!

A delightful side-trip to Kronborg Castle

Visited in Sep 2016
Written Apr 2017

I was never fond of English Literature and had absolutely no interest in Shakespeare’s work, and yet, this trip brought me to the setting of one of his most popular work!

Kronberg Castle is the royal castle in the famous play of Hamlet and is known as Elsinore in the story.

While researching the places to visit in Denmark, the castle appeared as one of the interesting sights and after searching, there were no chain hotels in the town around the castle. Not good for me, I love my upgrades and points!

Then, I noticed there was a Radisson Blu in the region, but across the Øresund in the Swedish town of Helsingnor.

Further research revealed that ferries still provide transport across this narrowest part between Denmark and Sweden!

So, I made a refundable booking with my points at the hotel a few months before my trip.
Just 2 weeks before my flight, there was a sale for Club Carlson hotels and the rate was pretty good!

Thus, I booked the cheaper non-refundable rate and then cancelled my prior booking.

Points saved!

Landing in Copenhagen, I took a train to Helsingborg via Malmo and the experience was uneventful.

The hotel was a short 15 min walk from the station, which is also the ferry terminal. So I ended up visiting the terminal several times, for food, for the ferry as well as the train back to Copenhagen.

The hotel looked clean and updated and I went up to the counter immediately. As it was only 10am, my room was not ready and I was unable to check in.

The front desk ladies were very polite and proactively advised what I could visit while waiting for the room, with my luggage under their care.

Front Desk

After a quick tour around the small town, I returned to a small, but adequate-sized room.
There was not much of a view from the room, but hey, I didn’t really come to visit Helsingborg.

I like brightly lit corridors!
Ice machine at the lift landing
Small room with a Queen bed

 

Small toilet

 

View from room

The hotel restaurant Nelly’s Food is apparently rather famous and was definitely packed during lunch and dinner times.

After a good sleep in the comfortable bed, I woke up to a great breakfast at Nelly’s with its open kitchen concept.

 

 

 

 

The restaurant itself is beautiful and drinks, coffee and tea machines were by the side.

 

 

After the scrumptious breakfast, perhaps it is good to check out the small gym.

Well it could be better, but no one’s using it anyway.

 

A short walk back to the terminal and with ferry tickets in hand, I was ready to see Kronborg Castle!

A lovely rainbow added colour to my visit and it was indeed an epic side-trip.

A reminder to readers who may want to try this route, passports are required for the ferry to Denmark and I resisted telling the officer off when he asked if Singapore is a real country as he had never heard of ‘The Little Red Dot’.

Just smiled and waited.

Happy and Healthy travels to all!