7 Best Hotels In Kuala Lumpur Every Singaporean Should Visit

2016 is shaping up to be a very busy year, and much as I’d love to fly to some place far away for a long holiday, I guess I will have to make do with a short getaway closer to home. This post is about the 7 hotels in Kuala Lumpur that I have either stayed at, or am planning to stay at in the near future. I’m using the tentative dates of 8 – 10 April (*do note that weekend rates are usually higher than weekday ones) and I’ve taken the screenshots off Traveloka, which is an awesome site for booking hotels and/or flights because they provide the total fee (inclusive of taxes) upfront, so you don’t get a shock at the final checkout page. Psst… there are some cool discounts to be enjoyed too!:)

When booking hotels, I usually take note of a couple of things: user reviews, whether there is a decent-size swimming pool or not, and whether the hotel is in a convenient location. I’ve hand-picked 7 hotels in Kuala Lumpur that will cost between S$117 and S$329 per night. See if you like any one of them too!:)

In no particular order of merit…

1) Grand Hyatt Kuala Lumpur

Grand Hyatt Kuala Lumpur

I simply LOVE that view of the Twin Towers. I’ve stayed in Hyatt hotel in Kota Kinabalu before, and I love the Hyatt experience. So this one is definitely on my to-visit list. The most affordable room rate is for the Grand Twin Room (for 2), without breakfast, at S$286.07. Sometimes there are even limited-time sales on Traveloka, so book as quickly as you can using the TravelokaQuick function. As long as your credit card details are saved in the system, the transaction can be done within a minute so you can secure your booking at a great price.

Here’s my screenshot of one such flash sale for Hilton, which is #2 on my list:

Traveloka Flash Sales

2) Hilton Kuala Lumpur

Hilton Kuala Lumpur

I like to compare prices between various sites and I found that Traveloka has a Twin Deluxe Plus promotion for Hilton Kuala Lumpur – for 2 pax, it’s S$196.19. A similar room cost S$206.48 on Agoda, when I checked on 30th March 2016. It’s just a few dollars, I know, but it all adds up in the end, no?

3) Ritz-Carlton Kuala Lumpur

Ritz-Carlton Kuala Lumpur

I need to be at that pool NOW!😀 I think hotels should have great pools because they offer not just a workout, but also a place for relaxation. Another reason why I’d choose to book via Traveloka is because they do offer more choices for certain hotels. For instance, for Ritz-Carlton, there are 6 room types available on Traveloka (the cheapest costs S$329.08 a night), but only 1 room type available on Agoda (the Premier Suite at S$370 before tax).

4) Berjaya Times Square Hotel

Berjaya Times Square Hotel

Once again, I LOVE that view. I can never stand hotel rooms without windows, and those which frustrate me most are windows which overlook, say, someone’s backyard, or an abandoned building, etc. A nice view of the city or a lake never hurts!😀 I stayed at the Berjaya Times Square Hotel last year and enjoyed the hotel’s proximity to the shopping mall which is huge, and I think I’ll be back again soon. The price is pretty reasonable – starting from S$117.66 on Traveloka’s website.

5) Sheraton Imperial Kuala Lumpur Hotel

Sheraton Imperial Kuala Lumpur Hotel

Once again, that pool looks irresistible. And as you can see from the screenshot above, room rates at Sheraton Imperial Kuala Lumpur start from just S$124.60. You can also download the Traveloka app (both Apple and Android versions are available) and enjoy paperless check-in when you reach the hotel. No time should be wasted so you can head to the pool as quickly as possible!😀

6) JW Marriott Kuala Lumpur

JW Marriott Kuala Lumpur

Room rates at JW Marriott Kuala Lumpur start from S$225.79. I’ve stayed at the Marriott hotel in Singapore, but I’ve yet to stay at JW Marriott’s hotels. So I look forward to checking out this one in Kuala Lumpur!😀

7) Le Meridien Kuala Lumpur

Le Meridien Kuala Lumpur

Le Meridien totally has a resort feel to it. I think sunsets by the pool, with a cocktail in hand, would be near perfection. Prices are not exactly cheap but I guess you just have to pay more for quality. If you are looking for hotel rooms that will fit nicely into your holiday budget, then go check out hotel booking sites like Traveloka, compare prices and find the best fit. For me, I think sites with clean layouts and which are user-friendly always get my vote. I really do not like hidden fees!

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 Just a quick 5-step process to book your hotel. It’ll be even faster once you’ve saved your details as a member!Traveloka booking

If you have any other hotels in Kuala Lumpur that you’d like to recommend, or have me review them, please feel free to write in to me.:)

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This post is brought to you by Traveloka, the largest and leading flight/hotel booking platform in Indonesia. Also, do note that the prices stated in this post are based on my own pre-selected dates for check-in and -out.

Things To Do In Singapore In 1-Day: My Indonesian Friend’s Visit :D

I’ve been SO BUSY recently. Among the many things I’ve been doing is taking my pals around Singapore. Previously, my Vietnamese friends came by (read the blogpost here), then a Cambodian (*no time to blog about his trip yet*) and my Indonesian pal just left Singapore today. One day is definitely NOT SUFFICIENT for visiting Singapore, as it will be a crazy rush from attraction to attraction, so please do not attempt this unless you have absolutely no choice. In any case, here are some suggestions for things to do in Singapore. Whether you are a tourist planning a trip to Singapore, or a Singaporean wondering where you should take your pals to when they come here to visit you, I hope this blogpost is useful to you.:)

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I met my pal at the airport in the morning around 8am, and we popped by Tampines Swimming Complex thereafter (it opens at 8am). A shower plus swim would be a delight for most tourists, I guess. In fact, I want nothing more than a hot shower after a flight to get rid of tiredness and to feel refreshed.:) Tampines Swimming Complex on a Friday morning is not very crowded at all, and we sure did enjoy the swim.

Then it was a quick (and light) brunch at Century Square before we headed to Hotel Grand Pacific for a buffet lunch. At Tampines Mall, my pal also bought a tin of cookies from Bengawan Solo. When I’d visited him in Surabaya previously, I brought him a gift of cookies from Bengawan Solo, and he and his family liked the cookies so much that he (also) came here for more.😀

The dessert corner at Sun’s Cafe in Hotel Grand Pacific:

Hotel Grand Pacific Sun's Cafe lunch buffet

I’ll do a more detailed post regarding the buffet later. Suffice to say now that it’s good value for money if you’ve bought a Groupon voucher. The staff are pretty friendly too.

The view from level 10 of the National Library:

Singapore National Library

After lunch, we visited the National Library which was around the corner, and we also went to Bugis+, Bugis Junction, Bugis Street, etc.

Maple Lodge (hostel) is right outside Exit A of Chinatown MRT station (on the left) –

Singapore Chinatown Maple Lodge

Then we went to his hostel at Chinatown – Maple Lodge – which is SO conveniently located just a few steps away from Exit A of Chinatown MRT station. If you’re a ‘backpacker’ visiting Singapore, here’s a good place to stay for just S$15 a night. Check-in time is at 3pm, or so I was told.

With check-in completed, and luggage deposited, we headed to Merlion Park, which is like the MUST-VISIT place for most tourists who want to get that obligatory photo with one of the merlions. We spotted a couple in full wedding attire getting their photoshoot done. The weather was SO hot then! Bless their souls. The bride did not seem to mind at all – no complaints heard – so I guess the groom made a fantastic choice. Hehe! Happy marriage, y’all!

Singapore Merlion Park

Thankfully, I’d thought of buying ice cream when we exited Raffles Place MRT station. If you’re walking towards Exit H, you’ll see a Mr Bean outlet. I bought ice cream for all 3 of us (me, my Indonesian pal, and another Malaysian pal currently studying in Singapore). Thus, there were few complaints about the weather when we stepped out of the air-conditioned premises to make our way to Merlion Park. We were too busy enjoying the ice cream. Haha!

A few quick snaps of the Merlion and we were off to MBS:

Singapore Marina Bay Sands

* I love those clouds *

We took a really long walk to get to Marina Bay Sands. For your information, visiting the Observation Deck of MBS requires a fee of S$23 for adults and S$17 for children (between 2 and 12 years old). Find out more about the fees here: http://www.marinabaysands.com/sands-skypark/observation-deck.html

*The Infinity Pool at MBS is reserved for hotel guests*

We had dinner at the foodcourt at Marina Bay Sands. The prices are much higher than in many other places in Singapore.

Post-dinner snack and chit-chat time:

DC Comics Super Heroes Cafe

We also visited the DC Comics Super Heroes themed cafe at MBS (level 1). I ordered some nuggets & fries, plus a yuzu drink (which was SO sweet). The chirpy waiter gave us some water served in the cutest caped super hero mugs. Service was excellent, despite what some reviewers said on the cafe’s facebook page. The decor of the place is simply awesome. You can find Batman, Catwoman, and many other super heroes. And there’s the Batmobile, the fancy bike (I don’t know what it’s called) and so many photo-worthy spots. Of course, the food’s also superhero-themed so snap away if you’re ordering the burgers, lattes or desserts, etc.

After an enjoyable chat, I sent him back to his hostel. He told me that he fell asleep very quickly because he was so tired. And it’s no wonder too. I clocked over 20,000 steps yesterday, just touring Singapore with him! LOL.

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Nana’s Green Tea at Plaza Singapura. Lunch sets (inc. of a drink) are at S$13.90.

Nana's Green Tea Plaza Singapura

ION Orchard:

Singapore ION Orchard

As for today, we had lunch at Nana’s Green Tea at Plaza Singapura before popping by Orchard Road. We went to ION, Ngee Ann City, Kinokuniya, etc.:) Then we were off to Woodlands where we bought sushi from my favorite sushi takeaway place. He also bought Old Chang Kee’s curry puffs and other snacks.

And then he’s off to Malaysia.:)

I’m gonna miss him. He’s a really fun guy to chat with and hang out with. And he also brought me presents… AWWW…

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Gifts from Surabaya

My generous pal from Surabaya brought me some goodies. There’s Kue Blinjo (which I assume is some kind of cookie), (the famous) Livana’s Lapis Surabaya (which I’ve tried previously during my trip to Surabaya) and Bandeng Asap (Smoked Milkfish).

I do wish I’d thought of bringing him to visit a cat cafe earlier. Will certainly include that in the itinerary the next time he visits. Till then!~:)

Heritage@25: The Most Luxurious Staycation in Singapore

Heritage@25

I had the privilege of being hosted at Heritage@25 last month. It was a staycation that blew me away! And frankly, I was really reluctant to leave. 2D1N was just too short a stay. I could live in this bungalow with such rich heritage forever, really. Guess what, you can even book a stay here too, via airbnb!😀

I was truly being a nag when I told my fiancé, as we strolled around the sprawling compound, that he should (please) make more money so we can buy a huge house like this one. In short, I love it.

[ And yes, there are too many perks to being a blogger. If you don’t have an interest in writing though, just date a blogger. LOL. ]

* A black-and-white picture seems fit for a house that’s over 100 years old *

Heritage@25

And this is what it’s like in the morning, when you prepare to slide into the lap pool:

Heritage@25

Heritage@25, located at 25 Chapel Road, is in a quiet neighborhood. And outside its gates, you’ll never guess that it’s so BIG within. One portion is designated as the venue for events, while the other portion is the residential side.

During our stay, we were the only ones in the huge bungalow, and we relished the experience of walking around the place and pretending we owned it. Hehe!

In fact, it’s quite a walk to get from the Presidential Suite upstairs, to the kitchen downstairs. An intercom system would be necessary if you’d like to tell someone in the bedroom to please bring something down to you. Hollering without the intercom does not help. And it’s good exercise just going upstairs and coming back down. I got quite a workout!

History buffs and those who are interested in places with rich heritage and cultural influences will most certainly love Heritage@25. If you’ve noticed the staircase in the picture above, it actually has Peranakan-design staircase tiles, which are not newly affixed, by the way.

I’ve also been told that in the past, this bungalow was actually near the beach but now the surrounding area has all been ‘built-up’ for land for more properties to be built. Despite the rapid changes, this bungalow is beautifully preserved and while it’s all about preserving heritage, the furniture within is new and stylish!

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The Rucksack Group was indeed very kind to me. They let me have their Presidential Suite! The bed was SO comfortable. But I didn’t allow myself to sleep in the next morning, cos it was a must for us to check out the pool!:)

* the bed *

Heritage@25 Presidential Suite

And here’s the walk-in wardrobe with everything else you could possibly need: iron, safe, etc…

Heritage@25 walk in wardrobe

And the best part of the room has to be the bathroom: toilet on the right, bathtub in the middle and a standing shower on the left:

Heritage@25 bathroom

* well-stocked with toiletries *

Heritage@25 toiletries

And I am convinced this is the BEST rainshower experience I’ve ever had. Yes, even better than the ones at 5* hotels. I’ve never stood under a waterfall before, but it must feel something like that. It simply helps wash away the weariness of the day, and prepare you for a good night’s rest! I need to buy this shower head for my new home! And hope the water bill won’t be too steep!

Heritage@25 shower

And, of course, who can resist the bathtub? My fiancé LOVES bathtubs. I like a good soak in the tub if I have one of those bath bombs or bubble baths. Otherwise, it’s a quick shower and I’m off. Thus, I get to shower first!😀 And oh, these are the Original Source goodies that I received at the Shopee launch:

Heritage@25 Presidential Suite bathtub

After you’re done with your shower, there are in-room refreshments to enjoy. Coffee, tea, hot chocolate, maybe? And check out the aircon remote controller in that very retro-looking cup – I simply love all of these little vintage items around the house:

Heritage@25 refreshments

And in the morning, this view greets you at the living / dining area:

Heritage@25 living room

I love wooden tables that are devoid of clutter (makes them so inviting), and the lush greenery outside and the colorful beanbags at the porch just add such a burst of color to the view you enjoy while eating your breakfast. I really could get used to living here.

For breakfast, there’s bread you can toast, and cereal. There’s no need for a huge spread because Heritage@25 is located in an area which is full of awesome foodie spots – like Katong Laksa, and chicken rice at Katong Shopping Centre.

Heritage@25 breakfast

Inside the fridge you’ll find jams for your bread, milk for your cereal, yoghurt, etc. It really feels just like home.

Heritage@25 fridge

And when your belly is full, it’s a good time to go out and get some sun.:) The lap pool is just outside and I must say that I’ve never had a swim in such serene surroundings! Truth be told, I’m rather intraverted and I can definitely see myself staying here, swimming everyday, reading out on the porch while seated on cushy beanbags, and not even bothering with heading out to the city. Quite the hermit’s life, in fact.

Heritage@25 lap pool

And like I said, 2D1N is simply too short a stay. ‘Forever’ sounds more like it. I’d definitely love to be back here again.:)

Heritage@25 exterior

~ Rates ~

Depending on whether it’s the peak period or not, the rate for the Presidential Suite is between S$380 and S$500. The family suite downstairs – that’s adjoining rooms – will cost S$200 + S$200.

As a rough guide, the rates for the colonial suite, junior suite and presidential suite are from S$200 to S$500.

If you’d like to book the event venue, it’s S$1200 (Mon -Thurs) S$2200 (Fri-Sun) for whole day rental. Alternatively, pay S$120 per hour on weekdays and S$220 per hour on weekends (minimum of 3 hours).

The driveway can accommodate 3 cars but when there are events, there will be a designated valet.

The usual events held here are tea ceremonies, afternoon lunches, afternoon party cocktails, evening parties, etc. There is one restriction: that guests must vacate the premises at 10pm, so as not to disturb the neighbors.

Interested? Contact Elina at elina@thhg.sg and tell her you read my blogpost, and get the best rate possible:)

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*Three pictures in this blogpost are courtesy of StarHub. The rest are my own.*

A Traditional Javanese Wedding And My Favorite Hotels In Surabaya

I got to visit Surabaya in November 2015, and I fell in love with this Indonesian city (the second largest city in Indonesia, after Jakarta). I got to attend Ayu’s traditional Javanese wedding – which was an eye-opener – and I also had the privilege of having my pals take us around the beautiful, though very hot, city.😀

First… the wedding:

traditional javanese wedding

I’m with the gorgeous bride, Ayu, whose name actually means “beautiful”. How apt!

I’ve never attended a wedding that’s not held in Singapore, prior to this, so it was truly a privilege to have been invited to observe the ceremony. I say “observe” because I could hardly understand a word the officer was saying as he rattled on so quickly, though he did crack many jokes and imparted lots of marriage advice to the newly-weds. I was told that one piece of advice to the husband was to not expect/initiate intercourse when one’s wife is menstruating.😀

* the officer is the one holding the marriage certificate *

Javanese wedding

In the picture above, the bride’s father (seated next to the officer) is holding the hand of the groom, and some sort of vow is taking place. Apparently, there are two parts to the ceremony: to be married under the law, and to be married ‘under religion’ (the bride’s father entrusts his daughter to the groom who promises to take care of her, etc).

Surabaya wedding

The duration of the ceremony depends very much on whether the officer is talkative or not. LOL. This one made us stand around for about 45 minutes before the ceremony was wrapped up.

While Ayu used to be a model, she is now a makeup artist. She didn’t do her own makeup for this ceremony though, as it’s rather elaborate. In her shoes, I wouldn’t either. Not when I have to wake up so early in the morning.

I really adore the headpiece – here’s the view from the back:

Javanese bride

And there’s something awesome about stealing one of these Jasmine flower ends from the headpiece:

javanese wedding culture

Apparently, if you manage to steal one without Ayu noticing (Look over there, Ayu! There’s a bird!), you’ll find your true love very soon! However, as you can already guess, there was no need for me to resort to such thievery. Haha! But it’s pretty cool eh? In other cultures, we toss flower bouquets and force our single and unwed friends to catch them. Here, only those who so desire will go ahead and take the initiative.

And oh! I was rather amazed at the bananas outside the wedding venue too. Lots and lots of bananas, which symbolize fertility for the newly-weds:

Javanese wedding custom

There was also an exchange of gifts during the ceremony. In transparent-top boxes were a handbag, shoes, toiletries, a red bra(!), the Qur’an etc. These items signify the groom’s commitment to providing for his bride’s every need. I nearly got teary-eyed hearing this part explained to me, only to get a bit giggly again at the sight of the box containing the fiery red bra being passed from relative to relative in order to reach the front of the room.😀

It was definitely an eye-opening experience I won’t forget:)

And I do wish the couple decades of wedded bliss, filial children and successful careers!

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If you’d like to head to Surabaya, here are some nuggets of information that might interest you:

The time in Surabaya is 1 hour behind Singapore’s. The currency exchange rate in November 2015 was S$1 : 9660 Rupiah.

While the taxi we took to the airport (on the way back) cost 64,000rp, it cost us 145,000rp from the airport to the city via airport taxi (Bukti Sewa Taxi – Rahayu Transport). Choose Blue Bird taxis if you’re out and do keep small change in your wallet as taxi drivers in this country tend to keep the change without you asking them to, no matter the amount. It was quite a culture shock for me, especially when I visited Jakarta. The driver pocketed some S$20+ in change.

We flew to Surabaya by tigerair – no hiccups, and it costs just S$257.56 for return tickets for 2! Juanda Intl Airport T2 (which is new) has very clean toilets. However, the city has lots of mosquitoes, especially in vehicles like taxis!

[ I love the wide open space in the airport ]

Surabaya Juanda Airport

[ Was shocked to see a horse go past our taxi ]

Surabaya roads

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Surabaya Hotels We Stayed In

Surabaya is one of those places where you can get a stay at a luxury hotel without paying exorbitant prices. We stayed in three different hotels over 4 nights, and here’s the pricing (all inclusive of breakfast)…

[ Sheraton $112, Crown Prince $77, ibis styles $49 ]

SHERATON

It’s interesting how taxi drivers pronounce the word ‘Sheraton’ as ‘Share-rah-thorn’. If you have trouble communicating with your driver that you want to go to Sheraton Hotel, just tell them to take you to Tunjungan Plaza which is linked to the hotel.

Sheraton in Surabaya has all the prestige but doesn’t quite live up to all my expectations. For one, the armchair in the room was old and worn. And after we had checked in, we received a call up to the room asking for my handphone number, email and home address. Not cool. They had also initially wanted a deposit of some 500USD. We gave them 500,000rp.

What’s good though is the provision of 4 x 330ml bottles of water within the room.

Sheraton Hotel is pretty close to Pasar Genteng. It costs 12K by taxi, while the return trip cost just 7K. The market is HOT HOT HOT though – bring a handheld fan or a towel if you must. The place is good for purchasing local snacks. [ The taxi base fare is 7K ]

  * award-winning hotel *

Sheraton Surabaya Hotel and Towers awards

* the room *

Sheraton Surabaya Hotel and Towers

* the bathtub in the pretty big bathroom *

Sheraton Surabaya Hotel and Towers bathtub

* toiletries and 2 of the 4 water bottles *

Sheraton Surabaya Hotel and Towers toiletries

[ Their rather large gym ]

Sheraton Surabaya Hotel and Towers gym

[ Pool Bar ]

Sheraton Surabaya Hotel and Towers poolbar

[ Pool – quite deserted, just the way I like it ]

Sheraton Surabaya Hotel and Towers pool

CROWN PRINCE

In terms of cleanliness, this hotel needs to work on their pillowcases and bedsheets, really. But what is really awesome here is the breakfast spread! OMG! Share some pictures with you in a bit.

Crown Prince took just a 200K deposit. And if you book a club room, you get free afternoon tea from 530pm to 730pm – it’s a really limited selection so I wouldn’t bother again next time. And there are only 3 drinks in the free minibar: coke, pocari sweat and Vit C. We did have 2 free in-room snacks though.

[ I really prefer clean and spotless sheets and pillowcases! ]

crown prince surabaya

crown prince surabaya minibar

Breakfast: The banana cake in the top left corner is AMAZING!!! I had more than 3 servings, I think😀😀

crown prince surabaya breakfast

I love the fruit, porridge, veggies. OMG.

crown prince surabaya breakfast

There’s an egg station too! So, because the food is great, I can forgive all else.

IBIS STYLES

My one biggest regret on this trip is not staying a couple more nights at ibis styles. It’s so clean and colorful (so me!) and the bed is super comfortable! Too bad we had an early flight out. Love love love that the hotel prepared a breakfast takeout for us: Choose from noodles, rice and bread.

* Yup, surprised by breakfast takeout! *

ibis styles packed breakfast to airport

[ The quirky and colorful reception area ]

ibis styles surabaya reception

[ The room with the super comfy beds ]

ibis styles surabaya

[ Everything is colorful. Everything! ]

ibis styles refreshment

ibis styles bathroom

ibis styles surabaya washbasin

I’m definitely returning to ibis styles again the next time I visit Surabaya. Apparently, there are many ibis hotels there, but this one is pretty new. I highly recommend it!

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It’s pretty weird how 3 people from Surabaya (they now reside in SG) have spoken to me, and 2 are SHOCKED (frankly, appalled) that I like their city. Their complaints: “It’s so hot! There’s nothing to do in Surabaya! It’s boring!” Only 1 person agreed with me that the food is fantastic – the sole Indonesian language tutor at Indo Slang. I guess we sometimes have to see our own city with new (tourist) eyes, and then we begin to appreciate it more. After all, Singapore can be said to be pretty boring too. Malls tend to shut by 10pm… or rather, sales assistants lock up the cash registers around 9.45pm, and there’s not much of a ‘nightlife’ to speak of, right? But there’s so much to love too.

I really do like this Indonesian city. It also does not have traffic jams a la Jakarta. So what’s there to dislike about it?:) Go check it out soon!:)

And in upcoming blogposts, I’ll share about the food places my Indonesian pals took us to, and the malls we visited, etc. Stay tuned!

5 Money Saving Tips For Singaporeans Going On Holidays

It’s that time of the year when public transport (strangely enough) doesn’t seem so crowded anymore. And weekends at the malls feels like weekdays because there aren’t as many people. And even the hawker centre or restaurant near your office is less packed at lunchtime because many people have gone away for the holidays!:) And if you’re still in Singapore, you are probably yearning for a holiday but wishing it’s not so expensive. I know exactly how that feels. So here are 5 creative money saving tips for holidays that I’d like to share with you.😀

#1: Save on BAGGAGE fees

Backpack or Luggage

*Swop luggage for a backpack: You’ll end up bringing less and it’ll weigh less too!😛

I flew by Tigerair to Indonesia recently – no hiccups, thank God! – and noticed that an Indonesian lady (I’m not sure if she’s a domestic helper so I won’t speculate) was at the check-in counter at Changi Airport and holding up the entire queue. Apparently she had exceeded the baggage allowance for cabin luggage and had to pay S$50, which she wasn’t pleased with.

And for some reason unknown to me, you cannot pay for excess baggage at the check-in counter. You have to walk over to some other counter somewhere else. It would be any traveler’s worst nightmare if he/she is already running late for a flight!

So… here’s what I suggest: weigh your luggage at home first. Then purchase sufficient check-in luggage allowance online before even heading to the airport (maybe purchase an additional 1 or 2 kilograms more than what your luggage weighs because the weighing scale at the airport might not exactly tally with the one you have at home). Then… here’s a tip you’ll want to thank me for (HAHA)… Have the heaviest item (that’s not too bulky) in a small handbag or camera bag, and place it on the ledge in front of you at the check-in counter, effectively blocking the counter staff from noticing it, and even if he/she does, it’s highly unlikely you’ll be asked to get it weighed ‘cos it’s small.

I’ve used this trick in the past for a heavy DSLR camera (now dead), souvenirs (that I regret buying), and even books (one of the worst things to bring along when you’re flying via budget airlines).😛

#2: Bring everything in MINIATURE and SHARE whenever possible

Budget Travel Singapore

Why bring an entire tube of toothpaste when it’s just a 4D3N trip? If you’re sharing it with 5 friends, then by all means, go ahead. Otherwise, look for small tubes. I don’t recommend using toothpaste provided by hotels because they usually taste weird.

So I have a stash of small toothpaste tubes, miniature bottles of skincare, and even those miniature perfume spray bottles that usually come as free samples with magazines. Keep those!!!

I know of friends who bring their entire 100ml bottles of perfume with them when they head overseas. I’m not sure why anyone would do that unless they are holidaying for 3 months or more.

With everything in miniature, you save on luggage space and can purchase souvenirs or do some shopping without fearing that you’ll exceed your baggage allowance when you’re heading back home.

#3: Bring your own F&B on budget flights (OOPS!)

Nalgene bottle

Of course, if it’s affordable for you, go ahead and purchase in-flight meals off the menu. Better yet, book them together with your flight ticket so as to get cost savings and sometimes, even free vouchers.

The next best thing to do would be to have your meals at the airport and board the plane with a full stomach, and be ready to sleep throughout the duration of the flight.

During those rare occasions when you JUST have to bring some food on-board, such as during transits when there’s just not enough time to sit down for a meal and yet you aren’t willing to spend so much on meals onboard, then grab a sandwich or some food that you can easily polish off within 5-10 minutes… and…

Eat them during takeoff and when the plane’s gaining altitude!

That’s when the cabin crew have to be in their seats with their seatbelts fastened, and they won’t be around to tell you that “Sir, no outside food is allowed on this flight”. GIANT DISCLAIMER HERE: I will not be held responsible should choking occur for whatever reason. If you’re incapable of taking small but quick bites, and spitting food out if something goes wrong, then DO NOT follow this tip.

And always bring your own water bottle – not just for choking episodes but because flights can be extremely dehydrating for our bodies! I refill my empty water bottle just before boarding the plane at Changi Airport. The water from the water cooler is FREE and you can take as much as you want. Once on board, however, a small bottle of water can cost upwards of S$4. In the event that you have to purchase water on a flight, ask for 2 cups of ice (cabin crew are usually happy to oblige) and you can share that bottle with a friend (save some money) OR just wait for the ice to melt and you’ll have more water to last the entire flight! This is the reason I’ll always ask for 2 cups of ice, whether I’m flying solo or not.😀

#4: Make all flight and hotel bookings INCOGNITO and don’t pay full price (DUH!)

Google Incognito Window

I’ve read more than a few articles on how to save money when booking flights. Apparently Tuesdays are really good for that. But one good tip I’ve found is to do my price comparisons using Google’s incognito window.

In the upper right-hand side of your screen, just below the red cross button is the button you can click on and see “New incognito window” as one of the options. Or just press Ctrl + Shift + N.

If I’m just browsing today and not actually paying for flights and hotels yet, I don’t want those sites to track my browsing history, know my travel dates or preferred airlines and hotels. If they do, then when I check back online tomorrow, the prices would either remain the same, or have gone up. Meanwhile, a friend might be able to get discounts just because no browsing history has been tracked.

Also, don’t pay full price. Even a mere 7% discount can add up to be a lot of money. Expedia Singapore has some discount codes for up to 60% off!

#5: Notify your overseas FRIENDS and they’ll help you SAVE lots!

Surabaya Sate

This picture shows the truly DELICIOUS satay (or Sate) in Surabaya that I had last month, thanks to my pals who brought me to the best food places in Surabaya. This was CHEAP and GOOD (and every savvy Singaporean’s dream-come-true). The meal (including rice and drinks) for 4 people came up to just S$12. We each had 10 sticks of satay!!! *faint*

My pals drove me around in their vehicle, so I saved loads on taxi fare. Also, they brought me to the cheaper and better places to buy souvenirs and local delicacies like lapis Surabaya (kueh lapis, Surabaya-style). I’d have paid at least a 30% premium if I bought those items at the Juanda Airport, and there’s no guarantee that I’m getting tastier kueh even if they are more expensive. It’s like in Singapore: those Merlion chocolates will cost WAYYYY more if you buy them at Changi Airport versus at Mustafa, no?😉

~ That’s all, folks! ~

If you’re traveling, I hope these 5 tips come in handy for you!😀 If you have more to share, please drop me an email or leave me a comment below. :D Click to read my previous post about 5 creative money-saving tips for “young” people like me. (Did you know that making a donation can give you 3x tax savings?)

6 Things The Singaporean In Me Loves About Japan

Scoot Boeing 787 Dreamliner

Pretty cabin lights during my Scoot flight to Osaka:)

I’ve been to Japan twice this year, revisiting cities I love: Osaka, Tokyo, Kobe, etc. In this blogpost, I’d like to share with you the reasons why I have no trouble at all with visiting Japan twice in almost consecutive months. But first, like all true-blue Singaporeans, let me point out one complaint I have on the Scoot flights to Japan.😀 In case you are wondering, no, it’s not the wonderful cabin lights (those are beautiful). It’s actually got to do with the seats and the Call-An-Attendant button…

Scoot Boeing 787 Dreamliner seat

Scoot went all out in announcing its new fleet of Boeing 787 Dreamliners, and flights to Osaka, and I had high hopes for the airline. As it turned out, even before the plane took off from Changi Airport, the cabin crew had to come round and tell us (and a couple of other passengers) that we had accidentally pressed the Call-An-Attendant button. It’s impossible not to hit the button by accident if you use the armrest. I don’t know which genius designed these seats… but seriously… it must be pissing off a lot of flight crew because they cannot ignore those signals when they light up, but 99% of the time, passengers had pressed them by mistake. (@_@)

And now… on to the GOOD stuff, a.k.a what I go to Japan for😀

(1) Melt-in-your-mouth Kobe Beef

Steak land Kobe Beef

We don’t really get such yummy beef in Singapore, unless you are ok with it costing an arm and a leg. But Steak Land in Kobe is pretty popular among tourists and locals alike. You can choose your preferred beef grade and enjoy it for lunch or dinner.

I’ve been to the same outlet twice and observed that the standards differ. One young chef cooked us really tasty beef but another older one gave us slightly tougher beef in meatier chunks.

So, if you happen to be served by the right chef (teppanyaki style), you can look to the heavens and say, like one happy Minister, HENG AH!😀

I’m no food blogger, so the way I’ll describe the beef is to compare it to marshmallows. The texture is just so soft! Make sure you head to Kobe and try Kobe beef even if you only have plans to visit Osaka, Kyoto, etc, as it’s pretty close by train.

(2) Japanese Curry Rice

Best Curry in Osaka

beef curry rice

I love the beef in Japan, but I love their curry too. And beef + curry is a match made in heaven. And at places where you can order an additional topping of an onsen egg, my goodness, you stop chatting with your dining companion because the food DEMANDS all of your attention.😀

Japanese food is simply put… worth getting fat for. And I’m really thankful that budget airlines are flying to Japan because I really do need to head over again just for oishii meals!

(3) Queuing For Japanese Cheesecake

Japanese cheesecake

Like all astute Singaporeans, we know that something must be good if there is a queue for it. And even if we don’t know what people are queuing up for, it is ok, just join the queue first and find out later…

It was exactly what happened one sunny, summer morning in Osaka. A long line of elderly men and women were queuing up outside a store which sells tidbits. We didn’t know what they were queuing up for, but we joined the line anyway and waited for our turn in the sweltering heat. After sweating for a good ten minutes perhaps, we got to the front and chose 3 packs of snacks (there was a limit of 3 packets per person) and continued queuing in line in order to make payment. Apparently there was some promotion going on that day. And if SO MANY old folks queued up for this snack, it must taste heavenly, right?

Wrong.

It was crunchy, no doubt. But rather tasteless and a waste of time to queue for.

Japanese cheesecake, however, is AMAZING! If you have the chance to eat a slice of cake in store when it’s fresh out of the oven and warm, you won’t forget that taste. Some have raisins in them too. SO GOOD…

(4) Plush Toys From UFO Machines

Little Twin Stars plush

I got this Little Twin Stars unicorn from one of the UFO machines. Probably spent less than S$10 to get this plush. Japanese UFO catcher machines are all programmed in such a way that it’s near impossible to get the toy without spending, say, S$40 or more.

I’m not going to give away the secret here, though.😀

About 2 years ago, he and I brought back a HUGE bag full of plushies. This year, we stopped at one. Hehehe!

(5) Brands + Huge Discounts

Adidas running shoes

I’d bought this pair at a sporting goods fair in Singapore before heading to Japan, and thought I’d bagged a good bargain. Turns out it’s even cheaper in Japan! (@_@)

Many Singaporeans THINK that everything in Japan is expensive. But this pair is about S$50 after the conversion.😀 Also, if you’re a Daiso fan, Daiso items are sold at 108 yen (about S$1.20) so that’s way cheaper than in Daiso stores in Singapore. Also, there are Hello Kitty Daiso items you can only get in Japan, and not in Singapore.😀 Getting an authentic Hello Kitty item for just S$1.20 is UNBELIEVABLE. Check out some of the kitty items I got here.

(6) Spacious and Comfy Hotel Rooms

Osaka Floral Inn Namba

Another misconception that some Singaporeans have about Japan is that the hotel rooms are TINY. This room is in Osaka Floral Inn Namba, and this picture does not do it justice because the “walkway” (space beside the bed) is pretty long and if you need to lay out 5 open suitcases, you can.

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On my most recent trip to Japan, we had our wifi devices sponsored by Ninja Wifi and it is amazing! We had undisrupted wifi throughout and did not have to struggle to connect to some hotels’ lousy wifi networks.

If you’re traveling to Japan and love being connected while you’re at it, then make sure you book a device early and pick it up at the airport…

Ninja Wifi

Easy pickup at the Arrival Hall…

Global Wifi Kansai International Airport

Park Hotel Alexandra: Crystal Club Lounge

Park Hotel Alexandra Crystal Club Lounge

I’ve had a most enjoyable stay in Park Hotel Alexandra’s Crystal Club room (click on the link to check out my review) and the Crystal Club Lounge is part of the experience. Located on the 19th floor as well, the lounge offers a quiet setting and great views. I love that there are only a few people at the lounge each time I visit.😀

Park Hotel Alexandra Crystal Club Lounge

Park Hotel Alexandra’s Crystal Club Lounge has a panoramic view that I think you’ll love too. So go check it out if you get the chance.:) And complementary hors d’oeuvres are served at the lounge from 530pm to 730pm* while light refreshments and non-alcoholic drinks are available throughout the day.

*During those 2 hours in the evening, you can drink your fill of the alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages, and nibble on some of the fruit, cheese and cake. I’d recommend couples to book a staycation in a Crystal Club room and enjoy these perks. I sure had a great time chatting with him over drinks. Too often, we are consumed by work and don’t spend quality time together just chatting with each other over drinks and taking in a scenic view at the same time.😀

Park Hotel Alexandra Crystal Club Lounge

Park Hotel Alexandra staff have impressed me during this visit:

  1. I wanted to head downstairs to the lobby to meet Feby from Febspantry as she’d some cupcakes for me. Alan exited from one of the lifts and I stepped right in, but alas, the elevator was heading upwards instead. And Alan waited for the next lift with me and even apologized for not reacting fast enough in helping me to stop the previous lift (totally not his fault).😀
  2. Sabrina did a great job in the morning, chatting with guests as they waited for an available table for breakfast. *Tip: Head downstairs for breakfast (at The Carvery) EARLY if you don’t want to end up queuing.
  3. Eileen was the only one attending to all the Crystal Club guests during the evening when we had our (free) drinks. When I was eating the coleslaw, she came over with a fresh tray of lemon meringue tarts and offered to replace the one I had taken – she said they taste better when cold.

Park Hotel Alexandra Crystal Club Lounge

After which, she made sure to come by our table, address us by our last names, and ensured that all was well. She also offered me Bailey’s and gin & tonic, and even brought us a bowl of cashew nuts because it seemed like we were happy with our drinks and weren’t going for more food.😀

Free drinks, good service and a great view. What more can one ask for?

Park Hotel Alexandra Crystal Club Lounge

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As for breakfast, it was not at the Crystal Club Lounge during my stay. We headed downstairs for breakfast with all the other hotel guests, at The Carvery. *Breakfast at the Club Lounge (for Club guests) will commence in September 2015.

Park Hotel Alexandra Buffet Breakfast

As with most hotels, there’s an omelette station which serves decent omelettes. The siu mai and pau are pretty good too! But I love the pastries the most! I actually neglected to take a picture of the pastries because I was happily enjoying them!😀

We had a workout session at the gym and also a swim in the hotel’s infinity pool before breakfast, and we were famished. Thankfully, the food did not disappoint. Some angmoh ladies sat at the table next to ours and even they were impressed by the breakfast options.

The infinity pool in front of the restaurant…

Park Hotel Alexandra infinity pool

This staycation was one of the most memorable ones we’ve had (that’s not us in the picture by the way). I’d love to head back here again soon.:) A swim in that pool first thing in the morning is pretty invigorating. You can admire the surroundings without being in a pool that’s too crowded.😉

Park Hotel Alexandra – My Crystal Club Room Review :)

What I love most about Park Hotel Alexandra has to be its superb location. If you’re a foodie, you won’t have to venture far for good food. Within the hotel itself is The Carvery on level 7, IKEA is just next door (Swedish meatballs, anyone?), Anchorpoint and Alexandra Food Centre are just across the road, and there are a number of old-school bakeries nearby.

Also, to get your sporting goods, Queensway Shopping Centre is across the road as well. If you didn’t bring your gym gear, just head over to Queensway Shopping Centre to get a set then pop back into the hotel’s gym:

Brand-new gym that you’ll love… It’s next to the pool too. Great views!

Park Hotel Alexandra gym

*Here’s a tip for you: Queensway Shopping Centre is a place many of us locals go to for sportswear as there are so many stores there selling everything from Nalgene bottles to football jerseys and running shoes. However, there is a store at the (often-overlooked) basement that has a signboard stating ‘Queensway Sports Warehouse Sale’. The prices here are likely the lowest in the entire complex.:) I’ve bought 2 pairs of Nike shoes here on our previous visit. And he couldn’t resist either…

Queensway Shopping Centre

His Nike purchase (S$79) from this warehouse sale, and from Pedro (S$57) at Anchorpoint:

Queensway Shopping Centre and Anchorpoint

*And oh, when you’re at Queensway Shopping Centre, you can try the laksa which is supposed to be linked to the famous Katong Laksa? We had that for supper *oops*

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Park Hotel Alexandra opened its doors to guests in June 2015, has 442 guestrooms and suites, and is “designed in natural woods, earthy shades and prints that embrace the botanical theme and provide a relaxed and tranquil atmosphere for guests”. I have to agree. I felt right at home here. The only downside of being so new is that it can get a bit difficult to lock/unlock the door.

There are 6 room types: Superior, Deluxe, Premier, Crystal Club, Executive Suite and Park Suite. I stayed in a Crystal Club room and I must say I love the view from the 19th floor! My room (1923) overlooks the hotel pool too!😀

 Park Hotel Alexandra crystal club room

The toilet features a standing shower with a rainshower, and comes stocked with amenities any business or leisure traveler will require.

Park Hotel Alexandra toilet

Park Hotel Alexandra toiletries

For your reading pleasure, there’s a copy of The Straits Times, TIME and Fortune magazines within the room too. The cupcakes were sent to me by Febspantry.😀

Park Hotel Alexandra

Why stay in a Crystal Club room? You get to enjoy perks like late check-out at 3pm, light refreshments and non-alcoholic beverages at the Club Lounge throughout the day (very useful if you have work to catch up on), complimentary use of the club meeting room (one hour per stay), 20% off dining at The Carvery, personalized check-out, etc.

The Coffee Belt at the hotel’s lobby offers barista coffee and artisan teas, together with gourmet wraps and homemade pastries. I haven’t tried them since the F&B at the Crystal Club Lounge is complimentary😀Park Hotel Alexandra The Coffee Belt

~ Soft-launch Promotion ~

Stay a minimum of 2 nights and enjoy 30% off Deluxe rooms, plus 20% off F&B offerings for in-house guests at The Carvery and Aqua Luna. Valid till 31 August 2015. Book via http://www.parkhotelgroup.com/alexandra

What To Do In Penang (Georgetown)

It’s my second day in Penang and I already am dreaming of staying put in Georgetown and not returning to Singapore.😀 If you have been following me on Facebook, you’ll know that I had a blog coaching session here yesterday AND I also found my ‘Blogging For A Living’ books being sold in a Popular bookstore in Penang!😀

So… this might be my retirement town in future. LOL! And here’s what you should do when you come to Penang, and in particular, Georgetown:

1) Eat a lot of good food

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My boyfriend and I have been here for approximately one-and-a-half days and this is not all of what we have eaten, just a portion.😀 I really do love Penang’s assam laksa, hokkien mee, char kway teow, and basically, all their street food!

And the food here is unbelievably cheaper than in Singapore. Would you say no to a plate of yummy char kway teow that costs less than S$1.70? You just can’t.

2) Snap pictures of (or with) the street art

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I definitely have more street art pictures to share with you… in my next blogpost.

The pink sling bag in the first picture is from Maku Store (20% off) at Bugis Junction #03-20. The T-rex tote bag is from Tee Saurus (www.tee-saurus.com) and so is the tee I am wearing!😀 Shorts and flip flops from Aeropostale.

Maku Store Singapore

3) Forget about hotels and stay at Carnarvon House

I fell in love with this place from pictures online. Though the rooms don’t come with attached bathrooms, everything is so clean that I feel right at home here.

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The first room we stayed in is called the Carnarvon room, and the second, Kimberley room. There’s cold air-conditioning inside and warm showers outside; I cannot ask for more.

The people who run Carnarvon House are also extremely friendly and very generous with recommendations of what to eat and where to go.

(More pictures in my upcoming blogpost)

4) Visit a wet market and the Clan Jetties

It is quite an experience, I tell you! You don’t usually see an array of fish on display right at your feet, ya? Look out for the bloated brown one in the second picture…

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Besides seafood, you’ll find household items, vegetables, fruit, snacks, accessories, etc, all sold in the market!:)

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I was initially reluctant to head to the Clan Jetties. But Eunice from Carnarvon House had recommended the jetties to us so we walked there from Carnarvon House. Probably a 12 or 15 minute walk. The Chew Jetty is more ‘happening’ than the Tan Jetty. Chew had more stalls selling souvenirs, etc. And I bought some for a giveaway (at the end of this blogpost).

The clan jetties were built by clansmen in the past and traditionally occupied by people of the same surname e.g. Ong Jetty, Lim Jetty, Lee Jetty, etc. You see?! I am destined to stay here at the Tan Jetty. Lol.

5) Buy my book at a Popular bookstore near you😀

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6) Go shopping in the many malls; and share your loot with people at home

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We obviously did some serious shopping. And I could continue replying to emails, whatsapp messages and also posting on Facebook while we were out because of the Global Wifi device I got from the Changi Recommends counter (available at all terminals in Changi Airport). Check out http://www.rentglobalwifi.com if you are like me and dislike having to purchase new SIM cards in your destination country and going through all the hassle of switching SIM cards.

With this wifi device, I just switch it on, then connect my handphone via wifi to have internet access. Super convenient. More about this device and current promotions in an upcoming post. It is late and I have to sleep now.😉

But here’s a giveaway that will start on Tues (27 Jan) at 10am:

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Just head to my facebook page (www.facebook.com/thegracetan) when the giveaway begins.:)

Learning Journey: HOST-ing at Grand Park City Hall

I managed to tick off one of the items on my bucket list: Work in F&B! I was invited to Grand Park City Hall (a 5-star hotel), given staff uniforms, and within 3 hours, I had the opportunity of working in F&B, housekeeping, and making a cameo at Reception as a HOST.😀

The hotel has a HOST program in which staff are trained to work in these 3 roles and get significantly higher pay than the other staff who are trained and work only in 1 role.

HOSTs get a fast track up the Progressive Wage Model, NOT by working longer hours, but by working smarter, being more productive and having more skills to contribute to various departments which are facing backlogs

They are empowered to earn more than the minimum salary per job title and they can ‘climb’ up the career ladder based on their capabilities and effort.

progressive wage model

 

The HOST program re-designs traditional roles to enhance employee skills and workforce flexibility through multi-skilling. So during peak periods, the HOST is fluid and skilled enough to be transferred to other sections which may be short of staff. This helps Park Hotel manage the manpower shortage faced in the hospitality industry.

I left the hotel with newfound respect for hotel staff after that learning journey.

Grand Park City Hall

I entered the hotel in my sparkly gold dress and Hello Kitty shoes, and had to change into black uniforms for each role. HR also found me some black covered shoes. I was even given a nametag; which signaled that things were getting serious.

First up, my stint in the F&B department…

1) F&B

Thankfully, there were no actual customers at that time as lunch hour had passed. So it was just a role-play. I had two pretend customers, and all they ordered was juice.

Grand Park City Hall

As luck would have it, the kitchen had a sudden flood of orders from hotel guests who wanted food sent up to them. So the juice for these two customers took an exceedingly long time to be prepared.

I eventually spotted the lady casting anxious yet amused glances in my direction.

What I learnt:

1) Don’t offer freebies – I was more than happy to offer my guests some dessert to make up for the long wait. I must have truly felt at home. LOL.

2) Let a supervisor / manager appease angry guests – If guests are really upset, let a manager handle the situation. Usually, in the face of ‘authority’, guests are easily appeased.

3) Repeat the order before walking away from the table.

*Guess what, after this learning journey, I found myself at Xin Wang Hongkong Cafe at Plaza Singapura around 5.45pm on a weekday when there weren’t many diners yet. Our order was taken by a lady who looked like a manager, because of the outfit she was wearing. I took the trouble of repeating the order for our table of three for her. And she still managed to get it wrong, and sent us an item we didn’t order. *facepalm* On top of that, our food took really long to be served, considering there were few customers at that time, and we were nearly late for our movie. Ordinarily, I would not have hesitated about sending feedback to the company. But this time, I let it slide. It truly is tough working in F&B. On top of being on your feet all the time, you have to be careful not to spill anything or drop and break anything. Customers tend to be hungry and grouchy and if you get their orders wrong, some might give you a tongue-lashing.

Having experienced the shortest of stints in F&B, I thank staff sincerely when my food is served, and not just for demonstrating good manners. I thank those who bring me to a table, and especially those who serve the food and drink. As wait staff, it’s definitely encouraging to be appreciated by those you are serving. So, complain less, praise more, and be a better customer, ok?😀

2) Housekeeping

I was truly privileged to be taught by Jun Jie, who loves his work!

First you have to load up the heavy trolley with fresh bedlinen and all, then roll the trolley out to the rooms. In the room, you have to strip the bed, and then give it fresh bedlinen as if you have OCD (the lines on the duvet cover have to be parallel to the sides of the bed, everything must look straight and crisp, etc).

And the pillows must be placed in such a fashion that the openings on the pillowcases must be facing each other (in the center of the bed) and not outwards. And don’t even get me started on the bedsheet – at the four corners of the bed, it must be folded and tucked it precisely, with that nice straight line at the corner:

At least Park Hotel has installed an Ezy-maid system under the mattress which makes a house-keeper’s work easier, smarter and safer. The Ezy-maid helps to lift the heavy mattress up, so your hands are free to tuck the covers in properly.

Grand Park City Hall

Grand Park City Hall

And, of course, the bathroom…

On top of replenishing the toiletries, and cleaning the toilet bowl, bath tub, etc, room attendants have to leave the bathroom DRY. What this means is you wipe down everything.

I was happy to let the bath tub dry on its own after giving it a scrub-down, but nooooo… I had to dry it with a towel so there’ll be no water stains after.

Grand Park City Hall

What I learnt:

1) Details, details, details! Some guests are extremely particular about how the room looks, so every corner of the bedsheet must be tucked it neatly, the bathroom must be dry, and there must not be any funky smells in the room!

2) Don’t wait around for things to happen. While the Ezy-Maid system is automatically raising the bed to a more back-friendly level, do something else, like removing pillowcases, etc.

3) Work smart – make sure your trolley has all the correct bedlinen you require. If you have to rush back to the pantry to retrieve a missing bedsheet, you are definitely not going to turn around this room in good time.

I felt so tired after ‘refreshing’ this room (I didn’t have the chance to vacuum the carpet because we were running short of time) that I told everyone present I will not mess up hotel beds anymore. I’ll probably just sleep on the cover from now on. It’s so much work for room attendants, who are also assessed based on time taken to refresh a room!

3) Front Desk

Grand Park City Hall

I didn’t get to do much at front desk besides listening to a quick introduction of their duties. When the phone rang, I didn’t dare to answer it as who knows what the guest on the other end of the line could want, right? I let the professionals do the job.😀

*pose for a photo*

Grand Park City Hall

It’s not easy working at Reception either. A lady walked up to us with a huge frown on her face, and asked to call one of the rooms. It seems that her friend was late for an appointment with her, and she could not get in touch with the person.

I was told that people who walk up to the counter to request to phone a particular guest must have their particulars verified or recorded, because guests should not be disturbed unnecessarily, especially if this guest in question is a celebrity.

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Lots of thanks to the patient and ever-smiley Jun Jie for showing me the ropes, and Amrit for teaching me how to be a good HOST:)

Grand Park City Hall

Do fill out a compliment card for these two the next time you visit Grand Park City Hall. It’ll help tremendously in their careers!:) And don’t be surprised too if you find that the front desk staff who assisted with your check-in yesterday, is the one serving you in the restaurant today, and cleaning your room after you leave the hotel tomorrow! You may have just met a multi-skilled HOST!😀

Let the HOST team share more with you in the video below: