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Tag-Archive for "Golden Circle"

Great hotel for exploring George Town on Penang Jun 25

Traders hotel Penang, Malaysia

P1020790My wife and I stayed at Traders Penang in May 2013 for 3 days in May 2013. We chose this hotel as it seemed to be a decent hotel in the George Town area and we wanted to explore the historic city center for a few days. I also chose it as I’m a Jade member in the Shangri-La Golden Circle program. We took a taxi from the airport in the south of the island to the hotel and it was a fixed price of 44 Ringgit (14 USD) and it took about 30 minutes. The lobby was open with large chandeliers and marble floors. Check in was fast and we got 1419.

P1020792When we took the elevator to our room we were a bit annoyed to see that we had gotten a room right across the corridor from the lifts but this was not a problem at all. The room did seem a bit outdated upon entry to the room but I had read the reviews in advance so I was prepared for this. The walls were a combination of light wall paper and dark brown wood and the floor was wall to wall carpet. The center in the room contained a HUGE bed and the sleep quality was excellent. As a Jade member I had gotten some welcome gifts and it is always great to get some sparking water. There was also a mini bar with various items and the Coke was 8 Ringgit ( 2 ½ USD). Free Traders water in bottles was also provided.

P1020797As usual there was a desk, an old style TV and a water boiler with coffee and tea. The wardrobe also contained a safe, robes and iron/ironing board.The tiled bathroom was OK with a shower option in the bathtub but I’m not a fan of the shower curtain option. But the bathroom did contain the usual amenities that I’m used to from Traders in KL (shampoo, body gel, conditioner, lotion etc). The view from the room was not that great as we look right across to a construction site but again we were not bothered by the noise from this place.

After we checked in we took some time to try out the gym at the hotel – it contained rowing machines, thread mills, stationary bikes and weights and the pool was right outside.

P1020925Breakfast at the hotel was according what I would expect from a good 4 star hotel in Asia. A selection of bread, cereal, juices, eggs etc. But what impressed me the most was the service – when I had breakfast the first morning I went alone as my wife Nikki was not feel great due to a cold. So I tried to balance a tea and a croissant out of the restaurant and a manager stopped me and I explained the situation. He told me to put it down as he would send someone to my room and soon my wife got a croissants and tea served in bed in the room. The same guy also told us that we had to try some local stuff (like roti chanai) so I got the impression that he enjoyed his work with helping and communicating with people.

P1020912The location of the hotel is quite good as it is just in the outskirt of the historic city center. We walked all over the place but if you want to take a short cut remember that there is a free bus service from the Komter area (where the hotel is) to the jetty and most taxis seems to have a fixed price of 10 ringgit within the city center.
Conclusion: The room was a bit outdated but we enjoyed the stay at Traders in Penang as the location is pretty good, breakfast is good and the service was very good. If you are going to check out George Town for a few days this hotel is a good option.

Gard – trip reports and pictures

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Traders Hong Kong–modern, small room and not the best location Aug 12

IMG_2768My wife and I had only one night in Hong Kong in connection with a trip to Korea from Europe. I chose Traders hotel in Hong Kong as I am a Golden Circle Jade member and there are some perks involved in that Smile We arrived quite late at the hotel as we had been a bit delayed and I had arranged for pickup from the hotel. This turned out to be a large bus that had to drop off a few other people before driving us to Traders hotel and hence it took more time than expected.

IMG_2769The check in was fast and we got a room “upgrade” – I had booked the cheapest room as we were only staying there for the night but we were upgraded to a room with a harbor view. The bed was more queen size than king size but then again hotel rooms in Hong Kong are a bit on the small side. There was also a desk with a chair, I got welcome gift due to my Jade membership, we got some complimentary water and there was a small fridge with some drinks. The room also included a wardrobe with a couple of robes, a small safe and iron/ironing board. The room itself was with a beige carpet and light walls and we had a view of the ocean but we didn’t see much of the main harbor as that was blocked by other skyscrapers.

The bathroom was tiled and in light colors. It featured the same amenities that I’m used to when staying at Traders in Kuala Lumpur and there was a bathtub with a shower option (by using a shower curtain).

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We had breakfast at Cafe508 on the lower levels. The breakfast did include most of the stuff that you want for breakfast but maybe we came just after the main rush as it seemed pretty empty and “dirty”.

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P1000155Located on Queen’s Road West it is not the ideal location of a hotel. The hotel is on Hong Kong Island and a bit west of the center. Both my wife and I had problems getting our taxi drivers to drive us to the hotel even if we tried to say the name of the road. I was on Queen’s Road central and ask my driver to continue west as I knew the road would turn from Queen’s Road Central to Queen’s Road West and the taxi driver just suggested hotels along the way. But note that it is not far to walk to the nearest tram stop and from here you can take the tram to get on the subway. Taxi can be expensive in Hong Kong as it seems like the passenger has to cover the toll when driving through the tunnels from Kowloon to Hong Kong Island.

I’m not sure that one night at a hotel gives you enough inside to make a good review. But the bed was comfortable and room was nice but I think I would pick a more centrally located hotel if I was going to spend many days in Hong Kong.

Gard – trip reports and pictures

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Shangri-La Bangkok – Great hotel by the river Jun 19

IMG_7511I have had the pleasure of staying at Shangri-La Bangkok a couple of times. The first time was in October 2011 when I stayed in the Krung Thep wing and the second time in June 2012 when I stayed in the Shangri-La wing. In June 2012 I actually booked the hotel using my Golden Circle points as I was only staying one night. I chose the hotel as the location is pretty good and I am a Golden Circle member and like staying at Shangri-La/Traders hotels.  I travel a bit for work and pleasure and I have stayed at various 4 and 5 star hotels around the world just to give you an idea about the background for this review.

IMG_7513The taxi from the airport cost about 400 Baht (including the 50 Baht airport tax) + the toll station fees of 70 baht.  The reception at the hotel was great as always when coming to a 5 star hotel in Thailand. The staff took care of the luggage of course and we were taken to the reception where we got checked in and I got 1425. This time I was staying in the Shangri-La wing – the hotel has these two wings that both have stunning views of the Chao Phraya River. IMG_7515The room was delicate as always at Shangri-La hotels – a neutral carpet, light wall paper, dark furniture, art on the walls etc. The centerpiece was as always, the over-sized king-sized bed which was quite comfortable. Apart from that there was a sofa by the window with a grand view of the river, a desk and chair and a flat screen TV mounted on the wall in front of the bed. As a Golden Circle member I was also greeted with a welcoming package on the room which is always a nice treat. The furniture under the TV hid a small fridge with a selection of drinks but as usual it is cheaper to buy this outside the hotel (one Coke is 160 Baht) . There is also complimentary water in the room.

IMG_7522The room also included a large wardrobe with hangers, ironing board, iron, a small safe, robes and slippers. The bathroom was also in line with other Shangri-La hotels that I have stayed at around the world…a combination of neutral marble tiles and dark tiles. The sink was in black marble finish and the bathroom also featured a bathtub, shower corner (with a proper glass door) and a toilet. The selection of amenities are not as extensive as when you stay at the club level but you still get a tooth brush, soaps, shampoo etc. When I checked in the duty manager came to greet me and said that I should get in touch if I had any additional requests – later on I did go to the front desk to ask if I could get the L’Occitane shower products and not the standard shower amenities as I love the small of the L’Occitane products. I know this is just for the club rooms but I was hoping the guy would give me a break as I’m a Jade member but apparently not.

My friend stayed at the club level and at 5.30 PM he invited me to the Horizon lounge on the 24th floor for evening cocktails. The lounge has again a stunning view in many directions and there are lots of tables right by the windows. Here they had a small selection of snack and a pretty good selection of wine and drinks that we could enjoy while watching the sun go down over Bangkok.

IMG_7527Shangri-La Bangkok is a great hotel and it has a great standard as you will find in many other Shangri-La hotels in Asia. The room is lovely, the reception that you get at the hotel is great and if you stay at horizon level you will be able to enjoy breakfast and evening cocktails in the horizon lounge on the 24th floor. The hotel is located near the river so it is easy to get around by skytrain as it is located near Saphan Taksin skytrain station. But you can also easily take a river boat bus to go e.g. grand palace. If you want a great hotel and want to stay by the river in Bangkok, you should definitely check out Shangri-La as one of the options.

Gard – trip reports and pictures

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China World Hotel Beijing–excellent Shangri-La hotel May 21

IMG_2571I stayed at China World Hotel in Beijing in May 2012 for a few days. I booked the room online on a Norwegian travel agent and I chose the hotel as the location seemed pretty good, I got a good rate and I am a Golden Circle member and like staying at Shangri-La/Traders hotels.  I travel a bit for work and pleasure and I have stayed at various 4 and 5 star hotels around the world just to give you an idea about the background for this hotel review – so in some ways I guess you can say I have been spoiled by staying at very nice hotels with great service.

IMG_2489I took a taxi from the airport to the hotel and it was about 140 Yuan. The hotel has a great lobby as you often see at Shangri-La hotels and when I tried to check in I was informed that as I had a club room (or Horizon room) I would be checked in at the Horizon lounge on level 20. Check in was fast and I got room 1844 located at the very end of the hall on level 18. The only thing that I found a bit strange with the reception at the hotel was that no one came to take my suitcase. Normally at 5 star Asian hotels the suitcase it brought to your room so that you don’t have to drag it around while checking in.

IMG_2500The room was larger than expected when I walked in.  The curved hallway leads to the room itself and it had yellowish/cream color carpet while the walls were in neutral colors. To start with there was a wardrobe in dark wood with a number of hangers. It also included a couple of robes and slippers together with an iron and ironing board. There were also a number of drawers and a mini safe – I’m not sure there was a plug inside the safe for charging a laptop but it seemed large enough to store one at least.

IMG_2497The bathroom was to the left after the entrance and it was very well laid out with a combination of white marble tiles and beige wall paper. There were both a bathtub (which I personally think is a waste of space) and a great, large proper shower corner – excellent. Shangri-La also knows their amenities and here you will find everything that you need…shampoo, shower gel etc but also toothbrush, shave kit etc. I do like their L’Occitane bathroom amenities and it is nice to not have to bring your own shampoo etc.

IMG_2492The room itself was quite large with a huge king-size bed. The bed was a bit too firm for my liking but it was still comfortable. And it came with a proper duvet and 4 huge pillows. There was a bench to put the suitcase on but I had to look around to finally discover that this bench also included a drawer with the laundry bag.  Apart from that there was a TV bench which included the mini bar and amenities related to that and also a work desk with a chair. There was also a chair with a small table by the window and it provided a pretty good view of the city looking south.

IMG_2490Breakfast was served at the 20th floor in the Horizon lounge and it provided more or less the same view as from the room. The lounge seemed to be a bit small so there was also a section on the 19th floor but it got pretty crowded at breakfast and during evening cocktails. The breakfast was great for me…it included some granola, fresh bananas, a great red berry smoothie and fruit. But there were also eggs to order, bread etc but if you want a huge selection you should go to the main breakfast restaurant on the lobby level. During evening cocktails it was possible to get wine, beer etc but also a nice selection of small dishes.

IMG_2498Location of the hotel is not bad at all. It is right by the Guamao metro station and metro line 1 will take you straight to the Forbidden Palace and Tianamen square in just a few stops. The hotel is also linked to the huge China World complex which includes three other Shangri-La hotels and a large mall with lots of well known brands including Louis Vuitton etc. But traffic is bad around the hotel so taking a taxi around town can take some time depending on what time of the day you go of course.

IMG_2499So what was not that great about the hotel?  Being at room 1844 I was at the very end of the hallway and hence the wifi was pretty weak. That created a bit of frustration but I also had the option of plugging directly into the wall to get broadband. And thank you Shangri-La for understanding that internet is important these days and it should be free of charge!

Communicating with hotel staff was a bit of a challenge. The main hotel staff all knew English of course but it was still a bit tricky to talk to them to ask them about stuff. I had a long conversation with the laundry department to ask when my shirts would be ready pressed and I had a hard time explaining that I had already handed in my shirts and I was just wondering when they would be done. But all in all the staff is great and did our best to help us out whenever we requested any help.

IMG_2491But apart from that…Shangri-La China World Hotel was a great hotel. The staff was great, the room was very nice and the location is quite good for sightseeing the main attractions of Beijing. There are restaurants nearby (including Aria in the hotel itself) that are rated high on e.g. TripAdvisor but do note that they are pretty upscale (like Grill on 79 (Summit Wing), China Grill (Park Hyatt) etc. But I would not mind staying at this hotel again if I had the chance and I would not hesitate to recommend it to others.

Gard – trip reports and pictures



Great hotel in a good location in Delhi Apr 29

My wife and I stayed at Shangri-La’s Eros hotel in New Delhi for a couple of days in April 2012. I booked the hotel online on Agoda and it cost 475 USD for two nights for the superior room. I travel a bit for work and pleasure and I have stayed at various 4 and 5 star hotels around the world just to give you an idea about the background for this review.

IMG_1999We normally just use public transportation to get from the airport to our hotels but as this was our first time in India and since we had such a short time in Delhi, we decided to pre-book transport from the airport to the hotel and combine this with a half day tour afterwards. The trip from the airport to the city takes 30-45 minutes depending on where you are going and how heavy the traffic is. You can arrange for transportation through the hotel but I think it was a bit expensive (costing about 3000 Rupee – (60 USD)) – but if you want to really live it up you can be fetched by the hotel’s Rolls-Royce if you pay for it Winking smileWhen we arrived at the hotel there was an inspection of the car before entering the hotel area and before entering the hotel we also had to go through a security check including scanning of bags and metal detectors. I have to say that the check was pretty superficial. I was a bit disappointed when entering the lobby as it didn’t have the signature scent that I feel one finds in other Shangri-La hotels that I have stayed at.

IMG_1863Check in was pretty quick but I was told that I had to pay extra as I had only booked a room for 1. I reminded them that as a Golden Circle Jade member this is one of the benefits. I also asked about breakfast and reminded them that this was also a Jade member benefit and they agreed to that. The lady that checked us in also took us to our room 1014. We also got a complimentary gift of two Kingfisher beers, Perrier water and some chocolate – it was great of them to give us a room so early in the morning IMG_1862(we arrived at about 9 am). When entering the room the floor was in large black tiles but it went over to a carpet as you stepped into the bedroom. There was a height difference between the tiles and the carpet and I kept stepping on it for some reason. In the hall there was a wardrobe with two robes, enough hangers, a mini safe (large enough for a laptop and with a socket to plug the laptop in) and there was also an iron and ironing board. The small mini fridge included soda and beer and a coke was about 200 rupee (about 4 USD).There was also a water boiler in the entrance and a selection of tea/coffee – and the drawers included coffee cups and glasses. As tap water is not recommended to drink we got two big bottles of complimentary water each day.

IMG_1865The room itself was in cream and yellow colors with dark furniture – one desk and chair and one small table with a chair and stool. The main feature in the room was the HUGE king-size bed which was firm but comfortable. A lot of downlights and lamps filled the room with enough light. The flat screen TV was mounted on the wall and it was a bit to the left of the bed – it would have been great to be able to pull out the screen to see it directly from bed. There were a number of local and international TV channels. One thing that was slightly annoying was the smoke detector on the ceiling directly above the bed – the blinking seemed to light up the room and woke me up in the middle of the night. The aircon seemed to work fine even if it did get a bit hot in the room at night.

IMG_1874The bathroom was in white and black tiles and included a sink, toilet and bathtub with a shower option. As per the new trend, there was a window between the bathroom and the rest of the room but there was also a blinder that could be pulled down for privacy. As usual at Shangri-La there are lots of amenities but the brand of shampoo etc was not the same as I have seen in Asia-Pacific – maybe that have changed it recently? But other amenities included shower cap, toothbrush, sewing kit etc. A cool detail is the heat in the mirror that prevents it from steaming up when taking a shower. The shower curtain worked out pretty good but make sure you have one curtain on the outside and one on the inside to prevent minor flooding ;-)

IMG_2014The view from our room was towards Windsor place – basically a large roundabout and towards Le Meridien hotel. Even if there were lots of traffic on the outside, it was not disturbing at night.
The breakfast buffet was very good – they had a great selection of cereal including granola, muesli and fruit. There was also staff at all stations to provide us with fresh juice (even a mix to your liking), waffles or pancakes, eggs the wayIMG_2013 you like them etc. There was also a good selection of local breakfast dishes but also bacon, sausages etc. Basically this place had all that I could think of having for breakfast. The staff did seem to get a bit stressed out when the restaurant was completely full and on two mornings we were placed at a table where someone had already been assigned. This lead to a bit of discussion between the waiters and the welcome staff in the restaurant but staff in general were very helpful and brought us the food that we ordered. Note that you can also sit outside near the pool area to enjoy your breakfast.

IMG_2015The pool was reached by taking the lift to the lower ground level and it was a large pool with depth of 1.35 meters. When we were there pool seem to go into shade at about 4.30 PM – and you might have to fight for your place in the pool as there were lots of pigeons that seemed to enjoy taking a dip! We also tried out the spa at the hotel and we enjoyed some Indian massage. 1 hour of massage was 3900 rupee (75 USD) according to the spa menu but when we were done with the treatment we found out that this was excluding taxes so it got closer to 5000 rupee (95 USD)– so this is something to keep in mind!

IMG_1878The concierge was very helpful and helped us book restaurants and they also made sure that taxi drivers understood where we wanted to go and they gave us a Shangri-La business card that we could use in case we needed to call the hotel for assistance. I also got help from them to buy a local sim card to be able to call locally without breaking the bank. The shopping arcade in the lobby was a bit of a joke – only two stores and not much happening. And every time you enter the hotel you have to go through a security check.

Location of the hotel is pretty good – located half way between Rajpath and Connaught Place in New Delhi, it is in one of the better neighborhoods of the city. You can actually walk to the places mentioned above but if you do this you must be prepared to be mentally “assaulted” on the way by the auto rickshaw drivers, by beggars and by “accidental” friendly people that want to show you the way to a shopping mall that is very cheap.

Shangri-La hotels are normally a safe choice and the Shangri-La in New Delhi did not disappoint in any way. We had a great stay there and I can’t think of many things that could be changed to make the hotel any better. If you are going to Delhi and want to pay for a 5 star hotel you should really consider Shangri-La Eros.

Gard – trip reports and pictures

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Starwood Preferred Guest vs. Golden circle Apr 25

Over the last few years I have travel a bit for work and pleasure and due to this I have spent a few nights at hotels. Once you start to stay a lot at hotels it can be useful to stick to an alliance of hotels to achieve some benefits like you do on airline alliances. I have ended up staying at Starwood Preferred Guest hotels (Sheraton, Le Meridien, Westin, St. Regis, Aloft etc) and Golden Circle hotels (Traders and Shangri-La).

IMG_1858Just recently I went to Madrid and I ended up staying at Westin as the location was good and I was hoping that my SPG gold card would give me some benefits. To save some time I booked the hotel and flights as a package deal on a travel website and when I checked into the hotel in Madrid I was a bit annoyed that I did not get any benefits from my card as I had booked the room through a third party. Normally it is possible to get free wifi due to the gold card but this was not the case due to this – and it cost like 16€ per day if I wanted to pay for it. I think it is totally over the top to charge 16€ per day for wifi but I guess they assume that if you can afford the room, you can afford to pay extra to get access to the net. I did twitter about this and the response I got was that they offer free wifi in the lobby. Yes, they do offer a bad 256K wifi connection in the lobby but who wants to sit around in the lobby when skyping, surfing the net etc? And I can’t understand this policy of not giving me benefits when booking through a third party – with so many travel websites out there it is perfectly normal these days to use a third party to book plane tickets, rental cars and hotels. So I do hope that Westin and the other SPG hotels soon realizes that having access to the net should be for free as everyone will have some use for it these days. With 16€ per day it was cheaper for me to buy a local sim card and surf using 3G!

The other thing that annoyed me about Westin in Madrid was breakfast. When we checked in the guy in the reception said that they had a special breakfast promotion and it was 22€. I said I would think about it. Next morning we decided to have breakfast at the hotel and I went to the reception to ask about this promotion and it turned out that it was 22€ per person for breakfast and it was not possible to just have breakfast one day. If I wanted the promotion I had to go for breakfast the entire stay. I should of course said that I just wanted a regular breakfast rate for that day as there were breakfast places just around the corner – I normally just have some cereal for breakfast so paying 22€ per day for that was a huge mistake.

IMG_1999A week after I went to Madrid, I was on the road again and this time I went to New Delhi in India. I had the option of Shangri-La or Le Meridien that was just across the road and I think the price was about the same. As I have a Jade membership on Golden Circle (equal to a gold card on SPG I guess) I get certain benefits. I get a room for two for the price of one and breakfast is on the house. In addition to this Traders and Shangri-La hotels also provides free internet at the hotels! So what should I choose? A hotel that charges me for internet, breakfast and gives me no benefits if I book through a third party? Or a hotel that welcomes me with free breakfast for me and my wife, gives me free internet access and actually awards me with a welcome present due to my Jade card? I did ask the same rhetorical question to SPG on Twitter Winking smile Maybe this is just ranting and raving about nothing – I guess for some I must appear as a spoiled brat complaining about these things. Maybe I should just be happy that I get to stay at nice hotels. But the fact is that I do feel more appreciated at Shangri-La and Traders due to my Jade card compared to the SPG gold card. So which alliance is the best? And what should you choose? I guess it depends a lot on where you travel and your budget. Due to the recent events I will be staying more at Shangri-La and Traders at least!

Gard – trip reports and pictures

Traders hotel Singapore Dec 10

IMG_0389I  stayed at Traders hotel in the period from November 15th 2011 until November 23rd – I booked this hotel for our Singapore vacation as I have stayed at Traders in KL (Malaysia) several times and I find it to be good and partially because I’m a Golden Circle member and about to reach Diamond status. You can get to the hotel in various ways – you can take the MRT and walk from Orchard station but it will be a bit of a walk if you are dragging along a big suitcase. The best budget way is probably to take a bus that goes to Tomlinson road which is basically just around the corner from the hotel. We arrived at night after a long flight from Europe so we decided to just take a taxi to the hotel and that cost 30 Singapore dollar at night (prices will vary if it is during the busy period or not etc).

IMG_0391Check in was fast and efficient and we got room 1513 on the 15th floor. The hotel was opened in 1995 and you can see that the hotel is starting to age a bit. The room we got was smaller than the rooms at e.g. Traders in Kuala Lumpur but I guess this is a general issue in Singapore. The room itself had a king-size bed with just one large duvet which worked out fine. The room was with light color wallpaper and a carpet on the floor. Due to the small room and the light walls you could see that people had bumped into the walls and left marks here and there. Apart from that there was room to put down one suitcase – the other one had to be placed on the floor. There was one chair but no table but there was also a desk and a chair. The desk included quite a lot of stationary and I don’t think I have seen that before (stationary like scissors, yellow pen marker etc).

IMG_0390The bed was quite comfortable and from the side it was possible to control the fan speed of the air con (but to control the temperature you had to use a knob on the wall) and the lighting in the room. There was a flat screen TV in front of the bed and some sort of strange “art work” hanging over it. The view from the room was to the pool on the 4th floor. There was also a mini bar behind a strange wooden door which sort of covered it – it contained just a few drinks but as we were staying on club level we could get free drinks in the club lounge all day.

IMG_0392The wardrobe included some hangers and some drawers and the wardrobe also contained a small safe.  The bathroom was really, really tiny – and with one sink, one toilet and one bathtub there was basically just room for one person in there. The bathtub had a shower option and a shower curtain prevented water from splashing everywhere. This is not my favorite shower solution but it worked. As at Traders in KL there was also a range of amenities ranging from shampoo, body wash to a comb, hair band etc. There was also a bit of smell in the bathroom – nothing really bad but maybe it was the smell of a damp shower curtain?

IMG_0744We got several bottles of water each day complimentary but it is also possible to drink the tap water in Singapore. Internet is now free on all Shangri-La and Traders hotels and we did have to log in every day with room number and a password but it worked out pretty good even if we had several devices connected. The location of the hotel is not bad at all – located on Cuscaden road it is 650 meters from Orchard road. On Orchard road you have to walk another 400 meters to get to the Orachard SMRT subway station. But if you want to take the bus there are also bus stops nearby. There were always taxis around and they do run on meter. There is also a shuttle bus that takes guest to the Orchard road SMRT station every hour.

IMG_6832We had breakfast in both the lounge and at Cafebiz (on the ground floor). The lounge is located on 17th floor and the breakfast here is not as lavish as in Cafebiz. In the lounge you can get some cereal, bread, a few hot dished, eggs made according to your wish etc. It provides a breakfast with a view in more a more quiet environment. The lounge is also the place where you can get afternoon tea or evening cocktails if you stay at Club level. The evening cocktails were served from 5.30 to 7.30 pm and also includes some snack food – but remember there is a lot of good food to eat in Singapore so don’t eat too much in the lounge ;-) The girls in the lounge were helpful and nice but we didn’t really use the facilities that much. The lounge seems to be in need of a bit of an upgrade – and how about replacing those uncomfortable chairs by the window ;-) The breakfast at Cafebiz is more lavish and typical for 4 and 5 star hotels in Asia. Here you have a wide selection of basically everything that you can imagine for breakfast and a bit more ;-) It is of course much bigger than the lounge and nosier.

On the 4th floor there is a pool and it can be worth a visit if you want to cool down a bit as it is more or less always 30 degrees in Singapore. Right next to the pool is the gym and it contained new equipment it seemed like. There is also a spa connected to the hotel and a Swedish type massage for an hour cost about 100 Singapore dollar.

All in all I’m quite happy with the stay at Traders hotel. At 330 Singapore dollar (250 USD) + taxes, the hotel room was quite expensive but Singapore hotels are expensive it seems like. The room was on the small side and the bathroom was really tiny – but at least we had access to a good breakfast and the option of evening cocktails. The service at the hotel is very good and the location is not bad at all – but it would have been better if it was a bit closer to the subway station.  I wouldn’t have any problems with recommending this hotel to friends and family.

Gard – trip reports and pictures

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Shangri-La Sydney: amazing view and amazing staff Jul 01

IMG_6086We decided to stay at Shangri-La in Sydney as it looked like it had a good location and as we are Golden Circle Jade members. We took a taxi into the hotel from the airport and in the lobby area there was a long line of people waiting to check in and out. But we asked one of the staff and we were sent to the horizon lounge on level 30 were we got a great welcome by the lovely Emily. There was a line of people waiting there as well but at least there we could sit down after a long flight and relax while waiting for the check in. And what a view there is from the Horizon lounge on the 30th floor! I think this must be one of the best locations and views in Sydney as we had a great view to Sydney Harbor Bridge and the opera house from the lounge. We enjoyed some coffee and juice in the lounge while Emily checked us in and I got room 3417. I booked this online and I had to pay 305 AUD for the room – as we were booking my colleague got the last room on the Horizon level (executive level) but when we checked in I got a complimentary upgrade to Horizon level. It was also possible for me to pay to get access to the horizon lounge but as I where there with a colleague it was sufficient that he had access.

IMG_6088My room was located on the 34th floor and it looked good at first glance. A hallway lead into the room and the bathroom and wardrobe was to the left. The room had a soft and light brownish carpet and the main item in the room was of course the bed with a golden bedspread. There were two chairs with a small table and on one of the walls there was a desk for working and a small desk that contained some fruits that I got and underneath was a small fridge. The wardrobe contained hangers, a safe and a robe.

The bathroom was old school with yellowish tiles and patterns on the floor. But there was both a shower corner and a bathtub and the amenities included shaving kit, toothbrush, emery boards, bath salt etc etc. The shampoo and shower gel was very nice and I enjoyed them during my stay. The best part of the room was maybe the incredible view. Located on the 34th floor I had a view towards the harbor including the opera house and I could see the sun rise every morning – just incredible.

IMG_6089The location of the hotel was pretty good at least for me as I was working in the city center. And from the hotel it is only a couple of minutes walk to “The rocks” area and down to the harbor.  We used the lounge quite a lot as we were working there after the regular work hours. The staff in the lounge on the 30th floor was just great – we experienced service that we normally just experience in Asian countries. A bit thank you to Emily, Jasmine, Jerry, Alexis and so on for being so generous to us. At night there is complimentary drinks and snacks from 6 to 8 and it is always a bit tempting to have some – the stuff they had to eat was quite delicious so be careful to not eat too much if you want to enjoy a dinner later on. They were also very, very generous with the drinks and they had various wines to offer – but a word of advice to the staff: you should be careful calling the Australian sparkling wine for Champagne ;-). We also had breakfast in the lounge and they had a small selection of stuff that you need for breakfast there.

We had to leave the hotel early one morning to fly back home and we left at 5.30 AM. When we came to the lobby they said that we could get the hotel car to take us for 50 AUD in a big BMW X6 – we used this offer as it was the same that we paid the taxi when going from the airport to the hotel.

IMG_6097But there are always some things that can be improved. The lounge is located on the 30th floor and stretches up to 34th floor. I’m not sure if this was the problem but it was more or less always freezing in the lounge and we were sitting around with jackets on. We told the staff several times but as it was central heating there was not much they could do about it. The lifts were also a bit moody – some would read the cards to get to my level and some would not, some would indicate when arriving at a floor and some not. And I did not get the small things that I’m entitled to as a Jade member but it didn’t really matter – I was just happy with the room upgrade. All in all this was a great hotel experience. The rooms might be a bit too old school for me but they seemed to be in good condition. I also enjoyed the view, the complimentary wi-fi in the room and lounge and the incredible staff in the lounge. Travels would be so much fun if all hotels were like this.