Sunday, September 7, 2014

Sheraton Towers Singapore - Feels Like Home

So far this is the only hotel that met all my requests and even exceeded them. I requested for a high floor and I was given the highest floor. I requested for my room to be away from the elevator and was given a corner room far away from the elevator. I asked to change the bed sheets on the morning of my arrival and they changed every thing, including the towels, bathrobes, etc, and I was given a complementary late check out without asking. Thanks.

Even though there is no exclusive check-in for guests under the Towers Executive Programme, check-in was a breeze, and in less than 5 mins we were on the way to our room. However I was required to pay SGD $100 deposit during check-in, maybe because I am using a debit card instead of a credit card, which I feel that the hotel should have informed me earlier when I made the reservation.

Unlike most other hotels, The executive lounge is located at 3rd floor instead of high floor. Because you need to use your room's door card to open the lounge’s door, the staffs stationed at the lounge do not have to ask for your room nos. Although we were disappointed that the lounge does not serve other types of fruit juices, except for orange juice in the evening and the choices of finger food were quite limited, it is still a very good place to relax and chat. 

Nevertheless, we decided to go for our breakfast at the The Dining Room instead of at the lounge next morning, and we were happy for making that decision. We love the breakfast spread at The Dining Room, and really enjoyed our breakfast right next to the garden and waterfall. 

During the stay I witness a few tourists staying in the hotel asking for directions to Newton Food Centre, so for my overseas friends in case you are wondering how to get there, when you come out of the hotel turn left towards Newton MRT Station which is less than 5 mins walk, use the station’s underground passage to get to the other side of the road, take the small path heading towards the overhead bridge which will led you directly to the food centre. Personally I am not a big fan of Newton Food Centre and I find the food there quite average. Nevertheless it is still a good place to try out the local delicacies at a reasonable price if you do not mind the touts. But you really do not need to worry too much about them, just ignore them and they will go away. As for Orchard Road you can either take a 15 mins walk or a train ride to Orchard MRT Station.

Overall it was a pleasant stay and although it does not have a “WOW” factor, but it feels comfortable and relax just like home. Thank you Sheraton Tower for been a great host.

A few days later ....

SheratonTwsSpore, Director of Rooms at Sheraton Towers Singapore, responded to this review, 4 days ago
Dear Alson_Teo,

Thank you for taking time to share your detailed review of our hotel. It is heartening to hear that we have met your requests and expectations. We are also glad that you had a pleasant experience during your check-in and check-out. Your compliments on our Towers Executive Lounge and The Dining Room are appreciated and we are pleased that you enjoyed the breakfast spread.

Please rest assured that your feedback on the variety of food in the Towers Executive Lounge has been duly noted for review and improvement. It was a pleasure having you with us and we look forward to welcoming you back again.

Best regards,
Director of Rooms

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Mandarin Oriental, Singapore - Fantastic Stay Expect For The Lizards

Booked a Club Habour Room over the weekend. Had some problems during check-in. When we told the lady at the counter that we have booked a Club room, she told us that she can check us in on the spot. We were expecting to be check in at the Club Lounge and thus weren’t very pleased with her answer especially after our disappointing stay with M Hotel recently. Not sure what happened but after a few minutes she changed her mind and decided to escort us personally to the Club Lounge at 19th floor. 

The check-in/check-out time for Club guests are different from the rest of the hotel guests i.e. the earliest check-in time is at 3pm, and the latest check-out time is at 4pm. Thus we were prepared to check in as late as 4.30pm in case all the Club Habour Room were fully booked and all the guests decided to check out at 4pm on the day of our arrival. Luckily we managed to get our room at about 3.35pm. While waiting for our room we were served afternoon snacks/drinks which were really delicious.

Our room has a great view over Marina Bay and as I have earlier informed them that we are here for the firework displays, they allocated us a room directly across the firework launch platform which was great. We also requested to change our pillows (too soft for us) and it was done within 10 minutes from the moment we contacted housekeeping.

Really love the service and the ambience of the Club Lounge. The staff there addressed us by names and they are so welcoming and friendly. 

Breakfast the next day was amazing. It has a restaurant setting and you get to order from a menu or help yourself to the buffet, and they have such a wide selection of fresh fruits!  Unlike other hotels, they have a kitchen within the Club Lounge and if you have any special requests, their chefs will be glad to assist you. I love the cherry tomatoes and was informed by the chef that they are from Australia. Unfortunately he was not aware of the brand and he volunteered to check with the purchasing department but I declined his offer as I did not want to trouble him any further. Love the breakfast so much that I was quite tempted to extend my stay for another day.

I really cannot think of anything negative about my stay with Mandarin Oriental, and if I really want to be picky, maybe it was my wife’s encounter with the “lizards” in the bathroom. You see the handles of the drawers have the design of a lizard, and my wife is terrified of lizards and insects. And they look so realistic that for a few seconds my wife thought they were real. Hahas.

Overall it was a fantastic stay and I strongly recommend that you should stay with Mandarin Oriental Hotel at least once when you are in Singapore. It might be expensive but it is worth every cent. 

One last note, if you going to the hotel via Marina Square Shopping Mall (which is next door) instead of via Taxi, you need to use the staircase located at the 2nd floor near John Little. Just follow the direction signs in the shopping mall and you should be able to find the place.

M Hotel - Saved By The Scrambled Eggs

Booked a Suite with M Hotel to celebrate my wife’s birthday. A few days earlier I had sent an email to M Hotel requesting the housekeeping team to change the bed sheets on the morning of our arrival day because my wife and I have very sensitive nose, and are allergic to dusts. Usually housekeeping will clean the room when a guest checked out. However if nobody book the same room for the next following days, some hotels will not clean the room again for the in-coming guest and the bed sheets might get quite dusty.

The next day, Evelyn Lee from Housekeeping replied and assured me that she has arranged for carpet shampoo for my room on 2 July 2014 and Housekeeping will do a thorough clean up for the room on 3 July 2014, and they will also change the bed sheets again on my arrival day. I was impressed by her reply and told my wife that we have made a right choice by selecting M Hotel to celebrate her birthday.

Unfortunately on the actual day it was a disaster. 

We arrived at approximately 4pm and upon arrival my wife approached the concierge (?) who was stationed beside the main check-in/out counter and asked him if there is a separate counter for Club/Suite guests but he told her to queue at the main counter which by then was quite crowded. So what happened to the “Private check-in and check-out at M Club Lounge” for Club/Suite guests? 

After queuing for about 15mins, we were served by a young man who told us that our room is not ready and we have to wait for at least another 20 mins for some "last minute touch up.” What? I thought our room has been thorough clean up on 3 July 2014, and the bed sheets changed on my arrival day as assured by Evelyn Lee from her email reply? So why wasn't the room ready and it was already 4.20pm? What if we had arrived at 2pm instead? 

Half way through the check-in process he told us that he is unable to check us in and advise us to wait at the Club Lounge at 28th floor, and we were supposed to check in there in the first place. I don’t understand. After going through our personal particulars, checking through his computer thus knowing that we have booked a Suite, and signing the confirmation form, etc, you are telling me that you couldn’t check us in? Couldn’t he informed us straight away that we were supposed to proceed to the Club Lounge for our check-in right from the beginning when he knows that we are Club/Suite guests? 

“Maybe they know it is my birthday today and they are doing some last minute decoration of the room” said my wife who sensed that I was getting really frustrated about the whole situation. He might have sensed it too and offered us a complementary late check out at 3pm the next day. We were next been escorted to the Club Lounge and at about 5pm we finally got our room’s key, and it was only given to us after we approached the staff at the Lounge twice to check if our room was ready. 

Although the Suite comes with a jacuzzi I was not in the mood to enjoy it. By the way there wasn’t any birthday decorations in the room, no birthday card/message, birthday greeting. Nothing! (So we were wondering what were the last minute touch up???)

The next morning we no longer expect anything positive from this Hotel and we can’t wait to check out immediately after our breakfast but luckily we met Mr Ricky. 

We went to the Club Lounge for breakfast at about 7am and he was the only person stationed there, and at that point of time I didn’t know he is the Club Manager. I was commenting to my wife how could the Management assigned only a staff at the Lounge to serve all the Club guests? 

When my wife asked for some scrambled eggs and egg omelette, Mr Ricky immediately made them for her although a Chef was already on the way. He could have told my wife to wait for the Chef who arrived a few minutes later, but instead he personally made the eggs and they were absolutely delicious!

I was really impressed by his service and asked one of the staff about him and she told me he is the Club Manager. 

Before going back to my room, I saw him at the Lounge's counter and we had a chat about my experience during check-in and we both agreed that there should be a separate counter for Club/Suite guests or some form of notices to direct them to the Club Lounge like most hotels do. I had another chat with him when we checked out and I must say he is one of the friendliest people I’ve met. If not for him I will not recommend M Hotel to my friends and colleagues. 

Looking forward to enjoy your scrambled eggs again Mr Ricky!

A few days later ....

MHotel_Marcom_Mgr, Manager at M Hotel Singapore, responded to this review.
Dear Alson_Teo,

Thank you for taking time to review.

As a valued guest, your feedback is important to us as we continue to strive to provide our guests the best possible experience.

We appreciate your comments as they are of great assistance in highlighting points of concern from our valued guests and regret that we did not fully meet your expectations during your stay.

Please rest assured that corrective measures will be taken to improve our service.

Village Hotel Albert Court - Slippery When Wet

I have mixed feelings about this hotel. The staff are efficient and helpful like the rest of the hotels under Far East Hospitality and they really go all the way to make the guests feel comfortable during their stays. In term of location the hotel is only about 5 mins walk from Little India MRT Station and so not a problem if you want to go shopping at Orchard Road which is a few stations away.

When we came to the hotel we couldn’t find our way to its main entrance as there is no proper signage. When checking in we were asked to pay a $50 deposit which I find it strange as we have just stayed at Rendezvous Hotel which is under the same Management, and they did not request any deposit from us. After checking in, we were directed to go to our room at the Club Wing which is at the next building, but again it took us a while to find the entrance.

We love the Club Wing! The surrounding designs remind us of the chalets at East Coast park or a resort and the place really smells nice. There are only 2 levels in the Club Wing and you have to cut across the Club Lounge to your room if you are staying on the ground floor or take a lift within the Club Lounge if you are staying at the 2nd floor. If you need to have windows and sunlight in your room, don’t take the rooms on the ground floor, unless you want to risk people peeping into your room.

We really like the room but I am disappointed with the bathroom as it does not have a separate place for standing shower. If you do not want to use the bathtub, you have to be very carefully not to spill water all over the bathroom’s floor. And if you have the habit of wearing the hotel’s slippers into the bathroom, please be very very careful as the floor tends to get very slippery when wet. After I slipped twice during my short stay, I decided to go barefoot whenever I use the bathroom.

I was also surprise to find a Bible in one of the drawers. When doing research on hotels I read somewhere on the Internet that if you see a Bible in your hotel room, asked for a change of room immediately as the room might be “dirty”. So out of concern I went back to the main building, and was advised by a staff that it is a normal practice for the hotel to place a Bible in the rooms.

Feeling slightly better after his assurance I went back to my room but on the way back, I approached another hotel’s guest if she has a Bible in her room and she told me she is not sure. After discussing with my wife we decided not to switch room and see how things go. I know I might sound silly but after a couple of bad experiences in hotel rooms in Malaysia I have no intention to having uninvited guest in my room again. Well I am please to inform you that except for a few noise at about 5am, which we both concluded that it MUST BE from the other rooms, we had a peaceful night.

Another point to note if you are a Club guest is that the evening cocktails are located at the bar at the main building and not in the Club Lounge. And as the Club Lounge does not offer afternoon tea, it is quite deserted most of the time, which is a good thing if you just want to relax, read a book, etc. 

We noticed that even during breakfast, most club guests choose to have their breakfast at Albert Café & Restaurant which offers more choices, as the breakfast spread at the Club Lounge is quite pathetic.

A few days later ...

RameshKanesan, Manager at Village Hotel Albert Court by Far East Hospitality.
Dear Alson_Teo,

Thank you for taking the time to post a review about your experience on Trip Advisor. We appreciate your feedback and will certainly share this with our team. We are currently looking at our food offerings for club and we will improve on it. Our ability to improve our product and service offerings has been a hallmark for this hotel over the past years and we will continue to ensure our guests needs are met and I hope to have the opportunity to welcome you back in the near future and I would be pleased to personally facilitate your reservation.

Stay Village. And Discover.

Ramesh Kanesan
Hotel Manager