Hotel Atlet Century Park, Jakarta

I stayed in this hotel mid 2011, I think, and it is only now that I had the chance time to review it. I chose Atlet Century Park  because one, it was recommended by British Council Jakarta, two, it’s my first visit to the city and I want to play safe and three, it is the cheapest option available on BC’s list!

It was not disappointing, I must say, but rather adequate for this first time visitor. The hotel was right smack in the middle of the Central Business District and it is easy to get every where. Check-in was a long wait – first, there were quite a number of people queuing and secondly, I was early and thus had to sit at the coffee house for 1/2 hour before I was given a room. This surprises me a bit since most hotels let me check in early. Maybe they were full. So, anyway. The hotel was quite packed, and I found that it was quite popular with Malaysians.

Rooms 

The room was quite large and the bed clean and comfy. There were plenty of space for me to move around (which is not important to me, honestly). No thin mattresses, stains or strange smells, which is good. One thing I don’t really fancy about hotel rooms are their wooden flooring. I reckon that this saves them trouble of cleaning and vacuuming carpets, but the whole wood look makes it look cheap. However, I kind of feel more at ease walking around barefoot on these flooring compared to a carpeted room.

Furnitures and fixtures

Both the seating and work area of the room are also ‘designed’ to complement the wooden look and feel. Thus, no comfy couches or high backed chairs, but rather some simple furniture. Likewise the TV – but this does not bother me much since I am not always in the room. The work table is excruciatingly small and thus, makes it difficult for business travellers (like me, ahem) to work. Plus, if you place some food on the table, it makes it even more difficult to work.

Their mini bar was empty, if I am not mistaken – another surprise – but it didn’t bother me as well because I don’t usually take anything from the mini bar. Sometimes, I do wonder who does given the prices.

One thing worth mentioning, however, was the care they had taken to ‘dress-up’ the towels in their bathroom:

Bathroom

Individual face and hand towels are tied with pretty ribbons. The wordings show the name of their hotel. Even the bath towels are tied with ribbons! (See pic below!)

Other than this, the toiletries provided are pretty standard and they also have a hair dryer available (for the girls!). Again worth mentioning, the bathroom is clean, hot water decent and no stains or whatsoever.

Food and other areas

As mentioned, the hotel is located right in the midst of the Central Business District, which makes it easier for those who does not want to eat in the hotel. Senayan Square, a slightly decent shopping centre is just right next to it and thus, you can pop in anytime for some restaurants.

If you’d like to explore further, larger malls are around 10-20 minutes walk away.

Overall

Good – would recommend!

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V Hotel Lavender

Another post on budget hotels. This time it’s V Hotel in Singapore. I stayed at the hotel in May 2011 (yes, very outdated post!) and it kind of exceeded my expectations. It is not one of those ‘famed’ budget hotels in Geylang, but a proper hotel, without those additional services you don’t need at a fraction of the cost. No concierge services, no bell boy, you have to drag your luggage to your room yourselves (yes, there’s a lift) and no room service.

V Hotel is not exactly a super hotel with fantastic services, but one of the few popular ones sprouting in Singapore. According to the taxi drivers, these hotels are ever popular and they find it easier to pick up passengers from V Hotel (and the likes) compared to the 4-and 5-stars ones now since tourists are cutting back and looking for value for money.

The location of the hotel was superb – although not within the city centre, the MRT station (Lavender station) was just 3 minutes walk away. Check-in was quick and pleasant, although there were loads of tourists around. You will be required to pay in full for the entire duration of your stay upon check-in (ie, you can’t cancel nights or whatsoever). A word of warning here – please make sure that you pay in full when you check in. Yours truly had a staff who forgot to ask me to pay and it was 1.30am in the morning when I got a call asking me to go down and make payment (I arrived late in the evening)

Rooms

The bedding, sheets and pillows are very comfortable and clean, comparable to those in five-star hotels. Obviously, you cannot expect them to give you an option of the type of pillows you want. Internet connection is available for an additional fee. The room is very small though, with barely enough space for you to walk and drag your luggage at the same time.

Furniture and fixtures

The writing table is very small, yes, but you can’t expect much really since this is considered a no frills hotel. Unlike Tune Hotels, though, TV and air-conditioning is included. Tea and coffee making facilities and house-keeping is also included. Although the furnishing are minimal, they do not look cheap, but rather, have a classy look. It may be because of the colour, but then again, the overall feel and touch of them were alright. The chair was a bit heavy though and I’d hate to drag it on the wooden flooring – it’ll probably do damage over time!

Bathroom

Their bathroom, like the room itself, is extremely small. Otherwise it is clean. Basic toiletries are included, together with towels. There is a shower stall, which is also small with barely enough space for me even to extend my arms! So, those of you who are errr… slightly larger in size, you may want to take this into consideration.

Food and other areas

There is plenty of food around the hotel – a food court with regular, value for money fares like chicken rice and noodles. The plus point is that V Hotel is, as mentioned, smack right beside a MRT station. Wherever you want to head to, jump on to the MRT – takes you anywhere!

There is a food court located right next to the hotel, besides a small number of individual shops. The food court serves breakfast, lunch and dinner, which is adequate, selection wise. For those who would like to explore further, Bugis Junction (shopping) is just one MRT stop away and yes, you can walk if you want to. Other than food, you can’t find much shopping in the surrounding area, unfortunately.

Overall

Good! It’s value for money, and will come back here especially on personal visits!

Easyhotel, Edinburgh

Since I am in the mood of writing reviews on budget hotels , I thought I’ll just lump Tune Hotels and Easyhotel after one another. To those of you who are not aware, the Easyhotel chain of accommodation are just like our Tune Hotel – budget, simple and you pay for what you need.

I was on a business trip to the UK and thus, decided to extend my stay and take a trip to Scotland. I was initially deciding between Amsterdam and Scotland, but looking at the costs and all, decided on a Scottish Adventure!  The tour departs from Edinburgh and travelling from Liverpool, I had to find somewhere to bunk in. Hotels in Edinburgh are indeed pricey and I didn’t know how I stumbled across EasyHotel Edinburgh. The hotel is conveniently located on Princes Street, which is a shopping area overlooking the Edinburgh Castle!

Rooms

Their rooms are very very small – in fact, I chose the cheapest one without a window. Those which are larger and with windows are more expensive. And since this is NOT a business trip and I am paying in GBP, I thought I will choose the cheapest. The picture above is taken with the door (entrance) right behind me, so you can imagine the size of the room. The bed takes up almost half of the room and there will be no space for you to walk if you are bigger in size or if you are a couple staying in this tiny one.

 

Furniture and fixtures

There isn’t much to describe here as there are no other furnitures. Yes, there is a small mirror provided and several hooks attached to the wall for your clothes. No cupboards, no luggage racks. You will just need to place your luggage on the floor and try jump across it every time you want to go to the loo.

The bed is comfy and clean, sheets white, dust-free and pillows so-so. I did not pay extra for the TV but just internet access. The room is equipped with at least 4 plug points, so, you can charge whatever you want to charge.

Bathroom

The attached bathroom is equally as small – basically, you can sit on the toilet bowl and brush your teeth at the same time. It was alright for me, since I am not too ‘big’ anyway.

The shower ‘cubicle’ is located right next to the wash basin, in front of the toilet bowl. The size of the whole place reminded me of the toilets inside an airplane. The shower space is is just separated by a curtain and even a fitting room is larger. Anyway, if couples think they could shower together, they should forget it.

Overall

Well, I would say worth my money overall, I wouldn’t be able to afford hotels anyway. And, even though hostels are available, I am still not too keen on cramming myself into bunk beds. At least I had my privacy for two nights.

 

Tune Hotel, KK

This is an extremely dated post which should have come earlier on. However, due to my very busy schedule, I simply could not find the time to post this. Anyway, another hotel review – this time a very popular budget hotel in the Southeast Asia – Tune Hotels!

Yes, it does seem quite incomprehensible for me to choose a budget hotel during one of my business trips, but hey, I did want to try them out and I know they are not so bad. However, I am someone who is not choosy about hotels – as long as they are proper (ie no hanky panky activities) and clean, they’ll do. No point for me to pay so much for services which I don’t use. So, here..

Rooms

Upon checking-in, I purchased the comfort pack (shower gel, shampoo, towel) and also the 12-hour aircon and internet access. Air-con is quite essential for me and of course, to check my emails, internet access. I later found out that the room with the fan on is quite cool and for those of you who can’t stand cold, it may be best to leave only the fan switched on. No need to waste your money on air-con. However, do note that this may apply only for the hotel I stay at – other locations may be warmer and thus, you’d probably need the air-conditioning.

Their beds are clean and comfy, sheets white and pristine, just like all other 5-star hotels. Of course, they do not have those nice, colorful, batik-inspired sheets which runs across your bed, but hey, who needs those when you sleep. Their pillows are alright, firm and fluffy – in fact, they are better than some other full-serviced hotels. No strange smells, no stains.

The room is small, yes, and DOES NOT have a cupboard to store your clothes, chair or sofa for you to lounge on, table for you to write on or even a huge mirror where you can look at yourself. Instead, it has this foldable ‘whatever-you-call-it’ little table where you can put your stuff on and close when you don’t need it. There is a little mirror when the table is unfolded. This lil table is where I place my netbook when I work. Else, just cradle it while you sit on your bed.

And if anyone wants to watch TV, there it is, a very small one attached to the wall. Since I was there for work, I didn’t really need to watch any TV – I was out of the room most of the time anyway. If I am not mistaken, most of the available channels are local ones, so, it may not even be worthwhile buying the TV access. Might as well get internet and then watch youtube. Heh.

Bathroom

And last but not least, the toilet. Small, but clean – simple, as you can see. The shower cubicle, which I don’t have a photo of, is somewhat similar to those regular ones you can find in a normal household. There is hot water as well, which suits me just fine. I think the hotel is quite new and the bathroom tiles still has the ‘grainy’ just-renovated feel. The whole look and feel isn’t too bad – like I said, similar to your regular household bathroom (unless of course you live in a mansion but then again, if you do, you won’t be staying at Tune Hotels)

Overall

In short, I would say Tune Hotels are value for money and well suited for those who are travelling on a budget. As someone who dislikes overly large hotel rooms (they are so depressing) Tune Hotels are great. Most of it are located in nice areas (I think) and if you are bored, you can just walk downstairs and head off to the shops.

Pan Pacific Sonargaon, Dhaka

My last and final trip to Bangladesh with MUSC had me staying at Pan Pacific Sonargaon in Dhaka. It is just down the road from Sheraton, in the middle of town. As with Sheraton, I did not expect much – although it is 5-star, it is not very much different from the Malaysian 3-star hotels.

Check-in was pleasant, not too draggy and the staff there understood English perfectly well and were courteous. It always amazes me when I go to lesser-developed countries than Malaysia – customer service staff there are much more inviting than ours. Ah well, perhaps the mentality is the same – they may not treat their fellow country-men well.

The room was pretty basic, as you can see here, nothing too glamorous but still ok for me. Sheets and bathroom is clean, there are tea and coffee making facilities. There is nothing much on TV though, and what I had on was the usual AXN Channel.

Compared to Sheraton, their room service menu lacks selection – since I went for Western food almost every evening. I didn’t feel like Bangladeshi or Indian food, so, what choice do I have?

One thing I found cute about the hotel is that they are very innovative in labelling their toiletries. And guess what.. they are made in Malaysia! 🙂

Internet connection in the room is not included in the regular room rate but can be requested for an additional fee. So far, I have no problems in the speed of their services compared to any hotels in Malaysia.

Security is tight, so, if you are worried about safety issues while in Dhaka, then both Pan Pacific and Sheraton are recommended.  Another one which is further off town is Westin which I have not tried.

Thistle Hotel, Johor Bahru

Most of my stays in hotel are a result of business trips and this is no exception. I was in town for a college’s open day and had to stay a bit for three nights. Thistle Hotel in JB is not a new hotel, but a reburbished Holiday Inn. It took me a while before I finally realised that I had stayed here couple of years before!I arrived late in the evening after work and thankfully, overall check-in process was pain free. I was surprised that the girl manning the front desk spoke good English (unlike most hotels in Malaysia) so, am suitably impressed.

However, I was given a room waaaayyyy back towards the end which is a long walk from the lifts. On the positive side, my room is a ‘corner lot’ and is thus, huge. I was also given a huge king-sized bed which is clean and comfy.

The curtains can be opened up all the way from one end of the room to the other, so my room was very, very bright and the view excellent in the mornings. Internet connection is also included in the room rate, which is important for me since I need to check my work emails.

 

Their bathroom is the usual – I had all the toiletries I needed – I hate bringing lots of toiletries with me everytime I travel, so, the usual toothbrush, shampoo and body shampoo are essentials. It’s also worth to note that they are one of the ‘green’ hotels where signs are there informing you to hang your towels should you want to re-use them.

 

This napkin is something I saw during breakfast which I thought was really creative, so I took a picture of it. Talking about breakfasts, Thistle has a good selection – things that Malaysian hotels usually have: nasi lemak, toasts, baked beans, omelette counter, cereals, etc. Something extra that they had was dim sum but halal dim sum is always something which I don’t really fancy.

 

Overall a nice hotel, but really out of town, smack in the middle of a housing area. Although it can be quiet and nice, if you are there on business, you’d need to take the taxi everywhere and it’s not going to be exactly cheap.

 

Equatorial Hotel, Melaka

Spent just two nights in Melaka on a business trip and since Equatorial is right next to a shopping mall, I thought why not? The hotel is not exactly cheap, but there weren’t many hotels in the Historical City and I certainly do not want to end up in some cheapo motels. Room rates during my stay there was, on average RM300 and it doesn’t even include internet access! Pfftt..

Beds – I always ask for twin beds the first instance. I sleep on a single bed at home and even if the hotel were to give me a king sized bed, I would just sleep on one side. The bed is comfortable, clean and smell free – well, for that price, they’d better be. Pillows are the right firmness and they don’t give me a headache in the morning.

Check-in procedures were alright. It was quick enough and there was no delays. I like hotels who have prepared all the paperwork in anticipation of a guest checking-in that day. If you have been travelling here and there on the plane all day, the last thing you want is stand at the front desk waiting for the staff to check your name and papers to be printed.

I like their work desk, though, having a sturdy chair with adequate back support! The glass table, while pretty may not be too practical since writing and using an optical mouse on glass doesn’t work!

Their coffee making facilites is stocked with green tea! Yay! I hate drinking water and I always love hotels which gives us one bag of green tea in addition to the regular Boh/Lipton tea

Well, overall a good hotel, but if you ask me, certainly does not worth paying so much. It’s too expensive for a hotel in Melaka, albeit it being 5-star.

I did not opt for their breakfast since I reckon walking out to have breakfast in the nearby shops would be much more convenient, cheaper and tastier!