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Archive for the ‘travel’ Category

Summit Parkview Hotel, Yangon, Myanmar

350 Ahlone Road, Yangon, Myanmar

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I was basically in the country for a 2 day business trip…

I didn’t want to expect too much since I have very little information about the country…

But the hotel was good… So that’s a good start.

Around 20mins walk from the Shwedagon Pagoda, people’s park is right across the street.

Walking distance from the hotel are Indian, Mediterranean, Japanese and Singaporean restaurants.

Swimming pool was not available during my visit due to expansion/renovation.

room-key

Yes… That’s a real key!

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You get Instant Coffee and 3 bottles of bottled water.

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Robes, room slippers and a standard safe. Laundry/dry cleaning is available.

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You’ll love the size of the shower!

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Usual toiletries are provided (shaver, toothbrush, lotion, soap, shampoo etc)

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I guess for safety reasons… Hair dryer is outside the room.

Fridge is empty (always a big plus for me)

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As you can see… The room is big… High ceiling is also a big plus…

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I guess the ceiling fan is there for power failure (?), there’s also a torchlight.

You don’t get a balcony…

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But from the window, you can see the Shwedagon Pagoda.

Breakfast is inclusive…

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Selection may not be that big. But you’ll always find something.

Gym is available… It’ not big (maybe thanks to the renovation?) But there’s an instructor available all the time!

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I must admit… I’ve seen hotels in Yangon with better location. But I was really happy with my 2 night stay at Summit Parkview Hotel.

Red Planet Hotel (Timog, Quezon City)

https://www.redplanethotels.com/hotel/quezon-city-manila

Stayed at Red Planet Hotel (Quezon City) for 2 nights during my Manila visit. (click here for Google’s Street View)

Located along Timog (near GMA 7) its a couple of minutes walk from GMA Kamuning MRT station. Taxi is always available and you can also take a tricycle (for nearby destinations), they’re parked in front of Caltex.

There’s a 7-Eleven at the hotel lobby. There’s also a nearby Starbucks coffee.

Free parking is available, however it gets full!

They will recommend you to park you car at Caltex (across the street). Parking will cost PhP 50.00 for the first 5 hours and PhP 5.00 for succeeding hours.

Now for the room…

Space is enough, but don’t expect too much.

Red Planet Hotel Bed

No closets, but you get a place to hang your clothes.

Red Planet Hotel Clothes Rack

You get a safe, small table (work station), hair dryer and a TV (32 inch)…

Red Planet Hotel Safe

Red Planet Hotel TV

Red Planet Hotel Hair Dryer

I love the size of their shower room, toilet comes with a bidet.

They will only provide a liquid soap, be sure to bring your toiletries!

Red Planet Hotel Toiletries

Red Planet Hotel Soap

***
What the hotel doesn’t have… Gym, restaurant (so no breakfast provided) and pool.
What the room doesn’t have… Fridge, kettle (for coffee and tea), telephone and dresser.
***

Free room WiFi is provided. Tested the speed using the Speedtest App on my S6 Edge.

Red Planet Hotel WiFi Speed

Again for the hotel’s price, the internet was OK for usual Instant Messengers and booking a ride (either with Grab and Uber)

Personally, my only main issues against this hotel is (1) limited parking and (2) the lack of an electric kettle (for coffee).

I highly recommend this hotel!!!

Location is convenient.

Staff are friendly.

And the rooms are clean!

New Category: Free Internet!

I am starting this new category at ice15(toys) where I will sign-up for free WiFi and test how fast they are!

Tests will be made using the Speedtest.net App

Some of my posts might get old… so please don’t forget to re-check the date before going to the comments section…

KSL Residences (Johor Bahru)

http://kslresorts.com.my/inspire/

Definitely a late post but again, better late than never…

We spent 3 days (2 nights) at KSL Residences at Johor Bahru.

We regularly stay at KSL hotel but this is our first time to stay at KSL Residences

First thing you have to know is that it has a separate lobby from the hotel.

If you took the bus from JB Sentral, I suggest that you look for a hotel staff and ask for their assistance.

The room will NOT get serviced everyday! You will have to fix your own bed and clear your own rubbish.

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Second, rooms doesn’t have WiFi, it’s only available at the lobby.

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Positives, compared to the hotel, you get amenities to cook, a regular sized fridge and a living room.

KSL Residences Kitchen

KSL Residences Room

KSL Residences TV

Negatives…

Sponge to clean your dishes is not provided.
Since service is not available, you will need to look for a room cleaner to have your towels changed.
Room isn’t carpeted.
Room doesn’t have a phone, you’ll need to use your mobile phone to contact the front desk.

KSL Residences has its own pool, gym and sauna.

The pool is awesome, you’ll definitely love it for your laps! But they do not provide pool towels.

KSL Residences Pool Area

KSL Residences Swimming Pool

KSL Residences Lap Pool

KSL Residences Lap Pool 2

KSL Residences Eternity Pool

Upon check-in, they will provide a “towel card” which you’ll use to get 2 towels from the hotel side. You’ll need to return the towel before check-out to get your card back.

Gym has less facilities compared to the hotel… BUT you can access the hotel’s gym if needed…

KSL Residences Gym

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If you’re staying as a family (or with friends), KSL Residences makes so much sense.

The rooms are bigger, facilities to cook, and you get amenities of the “residences” (awesome pool) and the “hotel” (awesome gym + dino park).

But if you’re 3 (or less) and have no plans to cook. KSL Hotel is more than enough.

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KSL Residences Bathroom Sink

KSL Residences Toilet

KSL Residences Lawn

KSL Residences Kids Lawn

Mariner of the Seas (December 2015)

Just came back from a 5 days cruise on-board the Mariner of the Seas from Royal Caribbean.

(Click here for information regarding the ship, thanks to Wikipedia)

It was awesome…

First, a quick look at our room…

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Bathroom only had soap and shampoo… Do not forget to bring your own toiletries.

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There’s a TV available, but you can only turn it on, adjust the volume and change channels… You can also purchase on demand video.

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“Input” button does not work…

Day 02. From Singapore, vessel went to Port Klang.

Since I’m based in Singapore, no sense for me to pay extra just to visit KL.

Still, I decided to leave the vessel to see whats available near the port…

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There was nothing!

After leaving the vessel and passing through all those metal detectors, all you’ll see are 2 (or 3) souvenir shops and a convenience store.

There is also a shop that sells alcohol, but we all know you can’t bring them on-board (there are x-ray machines).

If you have a couple of extra Ringgit and did not avail for any of the Royal Caribbean Beverage Packages… You may want to buy sodas/bottled water/juices… If you’re from Singapore, chewing gum is also available.

From Port Klang, next stop was Penang.

Compared to Port Klang, (Day 03) Penang is a better port.

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We also did not sign-up for any excursions.

Outside the terminal, we found some rickshaws who offered a ride at 40.00 Ringgit/hour.

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We asked them to bring us to those street murals for some photos and later asked them to just leave us where we can have local (Chinese) food.

Here’s a thing about all those Penang murals… Sometimes, there’s a car parked blocking it.

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I also tried the “Penang White Coffee” which tastes like instant coffee from Ipoh… (Tried it from 2 different places, a food stall and a cafe… Both tasted the same!)

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Also, you may have heard that Penang food is totally different… Well, I tried their Kway Teow… Hard to judge since I’m a regular customer of Hai Kee Teochew Cha kuay Teow!

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Next port is (Day 04) Phuket…

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Excellent beach! But thanks to our excursion, we were only able to stay there for an hour.

Vessel did not berth since they did not have any jetty for the Mariners, but tender boats left every 10 minutes.

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If you ask me, signing up (and paying) for the excursion is nice, I’ll never go to those places on my own…

But I’ll never do it again! The beach and the sand are so nice to miss.

Fruits tastes good and there’s snacks along the beach.

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Yes, prices remind you that you’re in a tourist spot, but you’re on vacation!

Next day is (Day 05) Sea Day where we get to enjoy the amenities on-board!

Some things to know when you’re on-board the Ship…

1. Check out the timings of the shows… If there’s only 1 show, it tends to be very crowded. Be there early!

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2. Buying Royal Caribbean Beverage Packages on the first day will mean that your paying for it for the entire cruise… So (if you’re paying for the Royal Replenish Package on the first day, that’s USD 22.00 x 5 days…

You only get the free tumbler on the first 2 days… After that, the tumbler will cost USD 7.00.

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Here’s the catch, during “Sea Day” they will be selling Royal Caribbean cups and tumblers. 6pcs at USD 20.00! Sad part is that the tumbler cannot hold hot beverages making it almost useless for me.

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3. Ice Skating rink normally gets full, queue early.

4. Wall Climbing… There’s are separate queue for those who haven’t signed the “waiver”. Sign it as early as you can!

5. On-board shopping is fun and cheap!
– I bought a watch for my daughter, sadly the watch ran out of battery once we reached home.

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Be early if you want to have breakfast at Rhapsody in Blue

Otherwise, there’s always Windjammer and Cafe Promenade.

Chops Grille… They were offering 20% off at Chops Grill on the first 4 nights of the cruise. During Sea Day, 40% off! I can’t guarantee that this is a normal thing, but if you want steak, try Chops Grill!

Our regular dinners was at Sound of Music , service was excellent! food, I can say OK!

4 out of 5 days, they hosted a BBQ at the pool area! Try to get your seat/table early as it tends to get full easily!

Lastly…

Please bring enough clothes!

Day 02 is formal night and its really sad to see people who can’t follow the dress code.

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Plan to go to the gym/play sports… Bring proper gym wear and shoes!

There’s almost no baggage allowance limit. Our bags were almost 30kg each!

So please! Enjoy yourself and be at your best! Yes, you are on vacation but that doesn’t mean you’re wearing shorts and slippers all the time!

One last thing… Hats off to the guys who provided excellent service while we were on-board. Roque (housekeeping), Biju and Jayesh (dinner at Sound of Music) and basically the guys from Chops Grille!

One Pacific Place, Makati (Philippines)

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(photo from Google’s Street View)

Spent a week (November 2015) at One Pacific Place, Makati.

We also stayed on the same hotel last April, however I was too busy (and tired) to take photos and check out their amenities.

Our room (this time) was twin sharing.

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Beds are small (super single) but sheets are nice and smooth.

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Room is cooled by a split type aircon which has a constant buzz at night.

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The room has a mini bar, fridge and a sink!

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TV (with Cable) and a DVD Player!

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You also get a closet, safe and office desk.

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Strangely they provided LAN connection for your laptop however it’s in between the beds… Not even close to the desk!

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Bathroom is spacious, but they’ll only provide a lotion, soap, conditioner and shampoo.

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Bath towels remind me of the ones they provide in our gym… They’re not the soft and fluffy type, but they do not feel old (ehem, Siloso Beach resort).

On the 7th floor, they have an open deck and a kid’s playroom.

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Here’s a panoramic photo of what you can see from the open deck.

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You will also see the pool area from the open deck.

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6th floor has the pool and gym…

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According to the front desk, free Wi-Fi is only available for 2-3 devices, don’t forget to ask them for your username and password.

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Morning speed is promising… But speed dips at night!

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Breakfast is available (2 complimentary) at the restaurant on the first floor…

I suggest that you check out the spread before paying for that third person… Sometimes, it’s just not worth it… (There’s a McDonald’s nearby!

I have only one complain… Your room’s access card does not give you access to their parking! You’ll need to go to the ground floor and ask someone from their front desk to press B1 or P2 for you.

Other than that, this hotel is so clean, coming back is never a question! For their price, accessibility and facilities, highly recommended if you’re looking for an inexpensive place in Makati!

https://www.onepacificplaceresidences.com/

Other than the McDonald’s, nearby restaurants include New Bombay (Indian), KFC, Yellow Cab (Pizza) and North Park (Chinese).

Ayala Triangle is also only 12 minutes (walk) away.

Family Mart and 7-Eleven are also nearby.

If you’re looking for a massage, Touch & Heal (Leviste) is a good place to visit!

Marina Mandarin Singapore

Had an overnight stay at Marina Mandarin last weekend (September 25-26, 2015).

Yes, it’s that odd looking building

Marina Mandarin

The room looked weird and old.

It was a twin bed room, but we didn’t get the usual 2-queen sized bed, instead it was a 2-super single bed set-up (similar SeaCare Hotel and Siloso Beach Resort!)

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Marina Mandarin Singapore Twin Bed

Marina Mandarin Twin Room

Then there’s a weird big space near the window…

You also get the usual TV (with sports, local channels, HBO, Cartoon Network etc). Mini fridge with mini bar and safe.

Marina Mandarin Singapore

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TV is all mounted, but you can adjust the angle, HDMI is located behind the TV.

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Shower + Toiletries is a big let down.

The hotel ONLY provided 1 shower gel, 1 shampoo, 1 conditioner, 1 soap, 1 shower cap, 1 sanitary bag and 2 toothbrush! Yes, NO shavers and NO comb!

The main shower area was also unbelieavably small, an average sized person will have bruised elbows after having their shower.

Our room also did not have a bath tub!

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Consolation? Towels felt new!

Pool area and gym are located at the 5th floor.

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Marina Mandarin Singapore Pool

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Marina Mandarin View

Vanda Ballroom shares the same washroom with the Pool area, so if you’re there for a formal party, be ready to see wet kids on the same washroom!

Weekend breakfast was available from 6:30-10am, served at Aquamarine (4th floor). It was sadly “just ok” nothing fancy, if their staff charges you for breakfast, I would suggest that you just walk to the nearest mall (Marina Square) and have your breakfast there.

If it’s your first time to visit, taxi will drop you at the lobby, check-in/out counters are at Level 4.

The hotel also has a direct link to Marina Square.

If you’re inside the mall, the link is between American Tourister and Sperry Top Sider (3rd Floor).

Map
(taken from Marina Square’s directory)

http://www.meritushotels.com/marina-mandarin-singapore/default-en.html

Marina Mandarin interior

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Since it’s 2015, I have to mention about the hotel’s WiFi.

According to the operator, I can connect ONLY 3 devices.

Once connected to their network, you will have the option to go free, or premium ($32.10 for 24 hours)

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Free connection provided around 4Mbps download and 5Mbps upload.

Speed drops during the night time, as you can see I only got 1.52Mbps download and 4.37Mbps upload.

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