[Airline Review] – China Airlines (CI752) / (CI751) – Economy Class, SIN-TPE, (6 Aug 15) / TPE-SIN (11 Aug 15)

China Airlines A330 plying between Singapore and Taipei

On The Ground

Singapore Changi Airport

China Airlines shifted from Terminal 1 to Terminal 3 in Singapore Changi Airport since July 2015. The check-in counter for China Airlines is located at the far end of the terminal, located at counter 11. The airlines shared the check-in row with Sri Lanka Airlines, taking the half that is closer to the entrance to the terminal. As my friends and I arrived at the airport 3 hours prior to the scheduled flight, there was barely any queue. Having previously checked in on China Airlines website, we proceeded to the “Internet Check-in” counter. The check-in took a little longer than it should as we found out that our original seating arrangements were being messed up. The staff at the counter does not seemed to have the authority to change our seating and was trying to get her supervisor to authorise the seat change. After around 10 mins, she managed to get us our original seats and checked in our luggage, handed over our boarding passes and gave us the standard instructions such as the gate and time for us to head over to the gate.
Changi International Airport
Row 11 – Check-in counter for China Airlines
An empty check-in counter
Check-in counters at row 11

Pass the immigration, Terminal 3 of Changi Airport is a shopper’s paradise. There are no lack of shops range from branded boutiques to duty free tobacco and spirits for passengers to spend their time. There are also other faculties in the airport terminal such as activities area for kids, movie theatre and even a butterfly garden in the airport. Our flight is docked at gate B8 which is located along the link bridge between Terminal 3 and Terminal 1. When we arrived at the gate, it seemed most of the passengers have already passed the check point at the gate. Passed the check point, the waiting room seem to be empty. It appears passengers were boarded early.

 

Shopping at airside in Terminal 3
Shopping at airside in Terminal 3
Butterfly garden in Terminal 3
Butterfly garden in Terminal 3
Heading towards our gate for boarding
CI 752 boards in gate B8
An empty waiting area. It seemed boarding has commenced early
CI uses A330 for SIN-TPE route

Taipei Taoyuan Airport

China Airlines is located in Terminal 1 in Taipei Taoyuan International Airport. The airlines occupies a few rows in the terminal, for our flight back to Singapore, we were checked in at row 10. The queue at row 10 was very long for both the regular check in and internet check in. The row seem to be checking in at least 3 different flights, with all flights seem full or near full capacity. The queue for internet check-in snaked around row 10 and spilled over to row 9. We waited for nearly 40 mins on the internet check-in queue for the staff to check-in our luggage. There are staffs deployed n scene to manage the queues and direct those who have not done internet check-in to the right queue. Once at the counter, the friendly staff processed our luggage with a warmth smile, despite probably being overworked given the situation at the airport. She quickly checked-in our luggage and reminded us to remove prohibited items from our check-in luggage at the same time. She handed over our boarding passes and gave instructions on which gate is our flight and the time we had to be there. Before allowing us to leave the counter, the staff told us to wait by the end of the counter for our luggage to be scanned through the X-ray machine before heading towards immigration. Despite the long queue, the staff at the check-in counter processed our luggage efficiently and did not forget a smile.
Heading towards Terminal 1
CI has a few rows in the airport terminal. Our flight check-in is at row 10
This is the queue for passengers who have done on-line check in. It snakes around row 10 and spilled into row 9
There are a few flights that used row 10 for check-in. It seemed that all the flights are near full capacity
Part of the queue at row 10 for passengers who have not done on-line check-in
Check-in counter at row 10
List of prohibited items for checked baggage, CI is very strict in its implementation
There are some shops that sells souvenirs and local produce before the immigration area. This is where we spent some time doing last minute shopping. Most of the shops here have roughly the same product offerings, of the shops, the one in the centre (opposite entrance to the immigration area) is the biggest of all and have more merchandise than the others on the side of the terminal. Passing the immigration, there are a couple of shops selling duty free products such as cosmetics, tobacco and spirits. There is a cafe and a bookstore near Gate A5, where our flight docks at. As the flight is full, there does not seem to be sufficient seating at the waiting room.
Line to enter the immigration area
Shops in the terminal just before immigration
Shops selling local produce
Duty free shops at airside
Duty free shops at airside
View of Taoyuan International Airport
Our flight boards at Gate A5
At the waiting area. Seem like a full flight
Waiting area of Gate A5
Entrance for Economy Class passengers
The bird that is flying us back to SIN

The Cabin

China Airlines uses the A330-300 for the SIN-TPE route. The 2-cabin class aircraft is configured to take up to 313 passengers, with 36 up in Business Cabin and 227 in the Economy class section. The Economy Class cabin is segregated into 2 sections, both being configured in 2-4-2 seating. The Economy Class cabin is decked out in white colour bulk heads and light purple upholstery, which gives a clean feel. However, I find the light purple upholstery looked a little dated.
At the rear of the cabin
Light purple upholstery used in Economy Class cabin
Brightly lighted cabin
Economy Class cabin
No Aircon vent above the bulkhead
Peeking into Business Class Cabin
Business Class seats

The lavatory onboard is very cramp and despite being sufficient for one to do one’s business in, one would find it difficult to turn around. There are no other amenities such as toothbrushes other than hand lotion and hand soap. The lavatory is well-lited with make-up room lightings mounted on the mirror. 

Basin
Only hand soap and toothbrush are available in the lavatory
Toilet bowl
Toilet bowl
Vanity mirror

The Seat

The seats in CI’s Economy Class is decked out in light purple fabric upholstery. Measuring 31″ in pitch and 19″ wide, the seat is rather comfortable for a near 5 hour flight. The seat does not feel too cramp and provided me with sufficient leg room, however when the front passengers recline their seat, getting in and out of the seat can be a problem. As with most Economy Class products offered on the other airlines, the recline button of the seat is located at the side of the armrest. The seats comes with a dual pocket feature, a larger one where all the inflight magazines, aircraft safety card and air sickness bag are located, and a smaller one where one can fit passport or mobile phones. There is a small vanity mirror, located to the left of the IFE. However due to the age of the aircraft, I had difficulty keeping the cover of the mirror stay open on its own. Underneath the mirror, one can find a hangar button, however I find it too small for me to hang my jacket. To the right of the IFE is another small storage area. This storage area does not seem to serve any purpose as it is too narrow to fit any passports and too shallow to fit a mobile phone. Other than a small compact camera, this grove does not even fit a cup. Due to the age of the aircraft, I had difficulty stowing my tray table on both legs of the flight.
Seat in Economy Class
Decent Legroom
Recliner button
Vanity mirror and a coat hangar
The cover to the mirror just wouldn’t stay open
Small storage area, not too sure what can be fitted in here
Aircraft Safety card
Contents in the seat pocket
Some amount of wear and tear, signs of an aging aircraft
Ledge to pull down the tray table
As with most airlines, the headrest can be adjusted for passengers to adjust according to their height. Pillow and blanket, as well as headphones are already placed on the seat prior to boarding.
Adjustable headrest
Pillow and blanket placed on the seat
Headphones

In-Flight Entertainment

The personal entertainment screen onboard both CI752 and CI751 is rather small, measuring 6.5″. I am quite surprise to learnt that the screen in Economy Class is touch-screen and it is very responsive. The entertainment system has the usual Movie selection, featuring some of the latest Hollywood blockbuster such as Avengers 2: Age of Ultron, Tomorrowland. It also has games, TV series, and destination videos other than movie selection. The movies comes in 3 main languages – English, Mandarin and Japanese, for passengers to choose from. The controller is stowed on the left armrest and looks as if it has seen better days. Having said that, it still functions very well.
6.5″ touch screen personal TV screen
IFE controller
There is a fair bit of wear and tear on the controller as well. However it still functions well
Back side of the controller
Different types of IFE controllers used onboard China Airlines

Meal Service

CI752

Meal service started to run about 45 minutes into the flight. Each passengers were given a packet of snacks consisting of rice crackers and some nuts. The second (main) meal service comes about 2 hours into the flight. No menus are distributed on this flight in Economy Class, the pursuers came around informing passengers of their choice. For this flight, Fried Chicken with noodles and Stir Fried Beef with rice were the options. I opted for the beef meal. The beef meal tasted a little too salty for my liking and the gravy is a little too thick. The beef is a little tough as well. My friend had the fried chicken. The chicken tasted soggy and tough, while the noodle tasted blend. There are the usual sides such as salad, fruits and a loaf of bread. The dessert is a small slice of raspberry cake, which I find too sour for my liking.
Snack run
Meal service
My friend had the chicken and noodle option
I took the beef and rice option

CI751

As with my previous flight, first run of snack service comes around 45 minutes into the flight. A packet of rice crackers and nuts were distributed together with drinks. Again, no menus were distributed in this leg of the flight. The main meals came around 2 hours into the flight. On this leg of the flight, Fish with noodles and Chicken with rice were offered. I took the fish with noodles and I find it very tasty. The noodles are not dried up and the fish is well seasoned and not too soggy. I also find the gravy on the fish to be very tasty. My friend opted for the chicken with rice. The spice used to cook the chicken is too overpowering and the gravy is too thick. Ice cream wrapped around 2 biscuits were distributed after the meal service.
Fish and noodle option for me
My friend took the chicken and rice option

Service

Being the Taiwanese national carrier, most of the flight attendants are Taiwanese. The Taiwanese are famed for their warmth and friendly nature. This trait is being carried over to China Airlines. The pursuers are warmth and welcoming and always serviced with a smile. The warmth service can be felt the moment one steps onboard the aircraft. Friendly pursuers are seen greeting passengers at the door. I requested for a can of coke on my outbound flight to Taipei, the pursuer was responsive to the call attendant signal and came back momentarily with my drink. When clearing my drink, she even asked if I would want another can. I popped by the galley at the rear of the aircraft to ask the pursuers for a deck of playing cards, despite having their meal, they dropped whatever they are doing and got me a deck with a smile on their face.
Flight attendants preparing for meal run
Snack and drinks run (note: that is not the attendant who was rude, in fact this attendant is a very nice lady whom provided great service)
However there was an isolated incident that somewhat affected my impression of service onboard China Airlines. The flight delayed for around 30 mins for take off at Taipei Airport, I requested for a drink when the seat belt sign was turned off. A stewardess answered to my call and brushed my request off, stating that they will soon begin their snack service. However this wait was a good 1 hour before drinks are being served. When the stewardess came to my seat during snack service, pulling a long face and told my friend to tell me to put my seat upright. I was shocked by her attitude, does she need to relay through my friend to get my seat put in an upright position? Moreover it is just snack service and not even meal service. She was also seen rude to other passengers seating around my area. I highlighted this to the flight manager, who came by and find out more about the incident. The manager listened attentively and empathetically. He personally popped by, bringing desserts from the Business Class section to express his apologies. There is some form of service recovery displayed by the flight manager, and he also assured me that my feedback will be taken.
Overall, passengers traveling on China Airlines can be assured of the hospitality and the warmth that the Taiwanese are famed for.

Overall

Despite aging hardware, the flight onboard China Airlines is comfortable. The entertainment system is great to make the flight less mundane. For a short to medium haul flight, China Airlines is acceptable, however I am not too sure if it would be so for long-haul flights in Economy Class. The service, less the isolated incident, is great. One can be assured of receiving great service onboard China Airlines. More could have done to elevate the situation in Taipei Taoyuan Airport, the airlines should take into consideration the load of the various flights and spread out the check-in instead of having a few flights checking in at the same row for flights with full or near full capacity.
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[Hotel Review] – Taipei Lotty Hotel (Deluxe Double Room), Taipei, Taiwan (6 – 11 Aug 15)

Location

Lotty Hotel Taipei is located in a somewhat residential area of Taipei. The closest landmark is Zhongshan Elementary School, which is a good 5 mins walk from the hotel. This is where one can find the MRT station that is closest to the hotel. There are no lack of convenient stores around the hotel (around 6) and also a couple of 24 hour supermarkets. There is a food street that operates 24 hours around 7 mins walk from the hotel, on top of the 24 hour dim sum restaurant just at the back of the hotel, which stayed open during the attack of typhoon Soudelor. There are also several eateries around the vicinity of the hotel.
Hotel Signage
Hotel Facade
Hotel Signage
Hotel Signage
Along the main street where the hotel is located
Front of the hotel

The Room

The room I have gotten is the Double Deluxe room, it has a total area of 36m². Upon entering the room, I was greeted by a small area for one to put on their shoes, a small latch for one to sit on while putting on their shoes also doubles up for one to stow their luggage. On the wall above this latch are some hook with 4 hangars. These latches is where one can hang their clothing. There are no wardrobes in the room, which makes these hooks the only area where one can hang their clothing. There is another door that leads into the room itself.
Entrance of the room
Small shoe area
Another door that separates the main door and the room

Sleeping Area

Entering the doorway opens up to a very spacious room, the decor of the room is a little dated however some has some sense of cosiness in it. Opposite the second door is a large 2-seater couch, nicely tucked into a corner of the room. The couch is capable of sitting 3 mid-size people comfortably. A coffee table can be found in front of the couch. One can find a study table beside the couch. Turning right into the room when passing the second door, one can find a queen size bed. The bed is very comfortable and provided quality of sleep that allows me to rest very well throughout the night. However the pillows are a tad too soft for my liking. There are however huge cushions on the bed that gives extra support for those who prefer firmer pillows. Right in front of the bed is an ottoman, which provided extra space to stow one’s luggage. Opposite the queen bed is a dresser, which one can put away one’s clothing. The 42 in LED TV is located on top of the dresser, which provided up to 98 channels for guests to watch whilst in the room. There are the standard bedside tables on either side of the bed. The more interesting feature in the room is the mural painted on the ceiling right above the bed. The hotel utilises the oval hollow feature on the ceiling, and painted underwater scenes, which glows in the dark! Right next to the door is where one can find another cabinet where the minibar is nicely tucked away. This is also where one can find the kettle and the fridge. Despite being a 3-star hotel, the hotel provides complementary can drinks (Coke and mineral water), as well as coffee and tea and some small snacks. These complementary items are topped up every day without fail. The hotel even provides reliable complementary wifi, which are chargeable in some 5-star hotels.
2 seater couch and the study table nice tucked into the sides of the room providing more space in the room itself
The couch and the study table
Queen Bed and ottoman in the room. There are also a couple of bedside tables in the room. The whole room is well lited
View of the room from the bathroom
TV opposite the bed
Complementary minibar which is topped up every day
View from the room

Bathroom

Separated by a curtain (yeah that is right, a curtain and not a door) next to the bed is where the bathroom is located. Located to the right of the entrance of the bathroom, half of this space is taken up by a huge jacuzzi tub. The tub is functioning well (something that I would not expect to be found in a 3-star hotel) and soaking in is very refreshing. Beside the tub, in front of the entrance to the bathroom is where one can find the sink on a counter top. The hotel provides full bath amenities including toothbrush set and comb. The bathroom also has a walk in shower area, however only regular shower head can be found. Guests can be assured of having a great hot water shower as it hot water is functioning very well in this room. The walk in shower, however lacks space to put your bath amenities in. The toilet bowl is located next to the walk in shower. There is a small “garden”of some sorts between the bathroom and the sleeping area.
View of the bathroom
Huge jacuzzi tub
Sink area and bath amenities
Toiletries provided by the hotel
Walk-in shower
Toilet bowl
The room overall is functional and the owners took the effort to spruce it up with a sense of cosiness. This is largely attributed to the soft orange lighting that the hotel chose. The location of the powerpoint outlets are however located in weird corners of the room, which takes some time to locate.

Breakfast

Located past the reception is a small area where breakfast is served. The variety of breakfast is rather limited but delicious. The hotel serve the standard Taiwanese breakfast consisting of porridge and some western style breakfast such as toast and sandwich. They even have coffee, tea and orange juice. The staffs took note of certain dietary restrictions and go all way out to prepare food that catered to these restrictions with a smile. Plates are always cleared promptly in the dinning area. Do note that the dinning area is only functional during breakfast service and remains closed at other times of the day.
Dinning area where breakfast is served
Western style breakfast

Service

Despite being a 3-star hotel, the service in the hotel is impeccable and is better than some 5-star hotels. The excellent service started within an hour of booking the hotel even via a third party website. After booking, I received an email from the hotel confirming my booking and giving directions on how to get to the hotel via airport bus. Such a gesture is very thoughtful and is not being accorded even in some 5-star hotels. Since the time I booked the hotel and my arrival, there has been some arrangements that I contacted the hotel. Every time Lotty Hotel took less than 1 hour to respond to my requests.

The staffs in the hotel delivers great service. They are attentive to details and very welcoming. Whenever we walked pass the reception, despite being seated and presumably busy with their work, the staffs will always leave what they are doing and stood up to greet me, asking how was my day and such. The reception staffs are also very responsive. I once complaint the air-conditioning seem to be out of order, within minutes, the staffs got someone to rectify it and even provided me with updates once it was being done. The warmth of the staffs are also apparent whenever we approached them to ask for directions, they are always generous in giving information and recommendations.

The official breakfast time for the hotel is from 7am to 10am. There was a day where we were down late (at around 10.15am), we originally wanted to head out for breakfast, seeing that there are still some activities in the dinning room, we popped by and checked if there are still breakfast available. The staffs at the dinning room, despite starting to clear, the staffs stopped clearing the food and started to serve us food. They even apologise for the lack of variety, instead of turning us down. They even wanted to get the chef to refire the kitchen to cook us some more food. Most hotels, even those 5-star ones would have turned us down.

The housekeeping staffs are also very friendly and responsible. They would diligently clean up our room each day without fail and without lack of standard. They will always smile and greet us whenever we bumped into them along the corridor in the mornings as we were leaving the hotel.

Overall

The hotel does look run down from its facade on the main street, however once entering the hotel entrance it does open up one to surprises. Despite being a 3-star hotel, the basic facilities are well maintained. What surprises me more is the service, one is assured of receiving service that is comparable or even better than what one can find in some 5-star hotels. The staffs provided warmth  service and gave me a sense of familiarity when interacting with the staffs. The staffs took care of their guests very well and are not stingy in providing greetings and information that are valuable. I would recommend one to consider this hotel when visiting Taipei.

[Hotel Review] – Hotel Michael (Deluxe Suite), Sentosa, Singapore (31 Jul – 3 Aug 15)

Location

Hotel Michael is located in Resorts World Sentosa, next to the train system that plys between Singapore and Sentosa Island. It is located at a precinct where eateries and entertainment, such as Universal Studios Singapore, the S.E.A Aquarium, Trick Eye Museum are located. The location of this hotel, as with other hotels managed by Resorts World Sentosa, makes it a great place to explore and have fun in Sentosa and Singapore mainland.
Entrance to the Hotel from RWS
Hotel Signage
Hotel Facade
Reception Area
Art pieces at the reception. Some of these art pieces sells for up to S$10,000
Lounging area next to reception

My Initial Room

The room I originally booked was a Deluxe room. The room is rather small, measuring 37m². Upon entering the room, I was shocked at the state the room was in. The bedsheets are dirty, covering with stains that does not seemed to be washed properly. Out of 4 pillows, all 4 pillows had stains on them. There is a large crack on one of the bedside tables, which seemed to be capable of rendering its users cuts. The couch at the end of the room had a terrible crack on it, the crack is so bad that the sponge in the couch are ready to pop out any time. The curtains in the room is filled with stain marks, which seem to suggest that the last time they were changed was a long time ago. I wonder how one can live in such a filthy environment and if the staffs themselves would want to stay in such a room. There was no in room slippers and all I found was an empty plastic bag, which seemed contain slippers if there is one. For a $400 a night room, this hotel leave me wonder if it is of 5-star standard. I had to call and ask for the duty manager to address these issues. The duty manager – Cecilia popped by my room and was shocked at the state it was in. She asked for sometime to look for another room for me.
There is an empty plastic bag on the lower right hand corner of this closet where it is believed that is where the slippers should be located
No body lotions were provided. I was later informed by the duty manager only suites get body lotions and they are only made available upon request for deluxe rooms
Duvet cover with stains found when I checked in the room
Dirty duvet cover in the room
Stains on the bedsheet
Stains on the pillow case
Stain on yet another pillow
Stain on bedsheet
Dirty curtains that seem to suggest they were never changed
Very dirty curtains
Large crack on the bedside table top
Worn couch where one can see the sponge beneath it

The Suite

I was transferred into the hotel’s Deluxe Suite. The 1 bedroom suite measures a good 80m², providing guests ample space to relax in either in the living room or the bedroom itself. The hotel prides itself for being “a luxurious treat for art lovers”. There are art pieces, in the form of paintings, found throughout the suite that I was staying. More art pieces can be found in the common areas such as the lobby. One can also find mosaic tiled motifs in the toilet. The entire suite is decked out in contemporary wooden architecture, combined with the orange lighting used in the entire suite, the suite eludes a warmth and cosy feel to its occupants. The suite is divided into 3 main sections.

Living Room

As guests enters the suite, one is ushered into a sizeable living room. The living is decorated with a 3 seater sofa, facing the LED TV. On the sides of the sofa is a 3 seater couch on its right, situated right in front of the floor to ceiling window panel, which also is the fire access. It seemed ironical for the hotel to place a couch in front of the fire access, with a sign next to it that reads “Do not obstruct at all times”. To the left of the sofa is a single seater couch. There is also a coffee table, which is essentially a glass panel placed on top of a wooden base. As one enters the main door, there is another door to the right of it, which opens up to a toilet where one can find a toilet bowl and a sink. The wall of this toilet is decorated with mosaic tiles, which not only brightens the toilet, it also removes the boredom of a white wall which is common in most toilets in a hotel room or suite. Behind the single seater couch is where one can find the minibar area. The minibar is well concealed in a huge sized cabinet, where one can find a fridge in the lower deck of the cabinet and the standard glasses, snacks and a Nespresso machine on the upper deck. Despite being a suite, other than the coffee and tea as well as the bottled mineral waters being complementary, the rest of the items in the minibar is chargeable. The hotel do not even provide free wifi, which most other hotels are now providing with complements. The fridge is defective at the time when I checked in, which is one of the many signs that maintenance is not in the hotel’s list of things to do. Beside the cabinet where one can find the minibar, one can find a sink, which is a nice touch for one to wash their cups in.
Entrance to the Suite
Sofa in the living room with art piece hanging on the wall
LED TV in the living room. The red sign on the walls says “Fire Access, Do not obstruct at all times”
TV in the living room
View from the living room
View of the living room. It is obvious that the 2 seater couch is obstructing the fire access
Sink area in the living room
Top shelve of the minibar area
Non-functioning fridge other than the lights. The fridge was subsequently replaced after it was reported faulty.
The door on the left leads to a small toilet, while that on the right is the main entrance to the suite.
Toilet bowl in the toilet next to the main entrance
Sink in the toilet next to the main entrance

Bedroom

A door beside the 3 seater sofa leads into the bedroom itself. The bedroom of this suite is large by any standards. As one enters the bedroom, a large king bed greats guests. The bed occupies about a fraction of the room, facing another LED TV, which is placed at an angle that makes watching it a chore. There is no swivel to tilt the TV to provide guests with optimal angle to watch the TV. In the bedroom, one can also find a small dinning table, with 2 chairs tucked in a corner which does not obstruct the space in the bedroom. The bed is large and comfortable to sleep in and is able to provide one with a good night sleep. However the pillows are a tad too soft for my liking, which gave me neckache when I sleep on one. The hotel does not seem to provide pillow menu for its guests. There is also a dressing cabinet beside the dinning table, next to the door to the bedroom. This cabinet, with a mirror hang on the wall, provides more storage space as well as make up space for female guests. There are also a couple of bedside tables on each side of the bed, which provides more storage space.
King Bed
King Bed, but the pillows are a tad too soft for my liking
Small dinning table in the bedroom
Dresser next to the dinning table in the bedroom
Bedside table. There are very limited powerpoints in the suite. There isn’t any at the bedside tables
Entrance from the living room to the bedroom

Bathroom

Next to the bed is the entrance to the bathroom. Decked out in white marble, the expansive bathroom is rather large. As one enters the bathroom from the bedroom, a small make-up area can be found to the left. To the right of the entrance is where one can find another toilet cubicle fully furnished with a toilet bowl and a sink. Directly facing the door to the bathroom is where one can find a sizeable closet, large enough to stowaway 5 days worth of clothing. The iron and ironing board as well as the in room safe can also be found tucked nicely into the closet. Passing the closet to the left is where the bathroom opens up to a dual sink of the left and a walk-in shower, featuring regular shower head and rain shower to the right. Passing the narrow corridor, one can spot a bathtub situated at the end of the bathroom. The tub is huge enough for 2 to soak into, with a small TV facing the bathtub. The bathroom, despite decked in white marble giving guests a feel of prestige and a sense of classiness, is rather dim in its lighting.
Entrance to the bathroom from the bedroom
Make-up area next to the entrance
Toilet in the bathroom
Huge wardrobe with its contents well organised
In room safe tucked away in the closet
View of the rest of the bathroom
Walk-in shower with rain shower. The controls to the shower and the shower head are behind the door.
Standard bath amenities
Body lotion is available upon request and are not replaced daily, even in the suite
Face towels by the dual sink
Great addition of the bench in the bathroom
Stool for kids to reach the sink
Bathtub
Small TV in front of the tub

Balconies

There are a total of 3 small balconies in the entire suite where one can stand onto and watch the happenings around the hotel below. 2 of these balconies can be accessed from the bedroom and 1 can be accessed from the bathroom (pass the bathtub). The air-conditioning throughout the suite is very good. There are separate temperature control for the living room and the bedroom, which is powerful enough to cool the suite to 16°C.
View from one of the balconies
Corridor leading to the suite
Corridor leading to the room from the reception on level 2

Swimming Pool

The hotel has a small free form swimming pool located on the 3rd level, which allows guests to swim laps in it. There is also a jacuzzi located next to the pool. There is a counter prior to the entrance to the pool, which unfortunately is unmanned. There is also no towel provided at the pool, guests would have to bring their own towels from the room to utilise the pool. There is however a phone, which called, the hotel will arrange for someone to stock up on the bathrobes. There is also a bathroom cum toilet next to the pool. There are limited toilet cubicle (only 1 in the men’s room) and 1 shower cubicle in the toilet.
Small free form pool on level 3
Jacuzzi next to the pool
Jacuzzi next to the pool
Swimming pool
Hotel facade from the pool
Unmanned counters and no towels were seen anywhere here

Gym

Located next to the pool, one can find a small gym. The gym is very small and only provides a couple of treadmills and some stationary bikes. There are very limited weights equipment in this gym.
Small gym
Limited gym equipment
Limited gym equipment

Palio Restaurant

Breakfast is served in Palio Restaurant. The quality of the food is so-so and there are very minor changes to the menu each day. The food does not seem tasty and the variety is rather limited for a 5-star establishment. There are only mass brewed coffee, and latte or cappuccino is not being offered. The fruit juice tasted blended and seemed to be made from cordial syrups. The quality of the food is rather bad and often left cold. There are also no top ups for food.
Breakfast is served at Palio Restaurant
Inside the restaurant
Limited variety for breakfast
Some of the food has wrong label. The green jam is kaya but it is labelled as “Peanut butter”. This goes to shows the staff have no pride in their work
The uninterested staff at the egg station. I waited for about 10 mins before she turned around and take my order. I have asked her a few times, but she just ignored
Breakfast is so-so

Service

The service that I received from the hotel is a far fetch from the 5-star it is being accorded. From check-in to the restaurant the staffs does not seemed to be interested in providing 5-star service to its guests. When I was checking in, the lady at the counter does not seem to be interested in providing information such as where the room is located, where to have breakfast. She is slow in processing my check-in and gives me a feeling that she just wanted to get rid of me at the check-in. Her attitude is bad and seemed to be impatient with my enquiries. Information received from her is scatty. Such attitude seemed to be echoed by the other staffs at the reception. There was an instance I left my room key in my suite and wanted to get one. There is a separate queue at the reception that states “collection of key only”, when approached I was told to join the queue for check-in. I asked the staff what’s the purpose of having a queue for key collection, only at this point I was directed to the lounge which entertains VIP check in. When at the lounge, the staff there was puzzled why I was directed to her. Despite that, she gladly processed my key.
Service at the restaurant is almost non-existence. The staffs are not interested in providing any form of service, other than showing guests to their table and clearing the table. At the egg station, the staff seem to be reluctant to take any orders for eggs, only when asked than was my orders taken. There are no smiles from the staffs throughout the restaurant, which seemed consistent with the service I have received from the reception.
The only ones that provided any form of service are those running operations from behind the scene. My room was being made up by Ken, whom by far provided the best service in the entire hotel. He not only made up my room conscientiously, when bumped into Ken along the corridor while heading out for breakfast, I request Ken to put extra towels, he gladly does that with a smile. My room was well made-up my Ken. Another staff whom I received good service is the duty manager Cecilia. I had contacted Cecilia regarding the state of the room I first checked-in, she immediately attended to me and listened without being defensive. She told note of all the areas and had those remedied immediately.  Cecilia also changed a room for me within an hour, where she ensured the standards of the room is up to mark before arranging for me to move to my new room. Cecilia followed up on a call a few hours later to check if I was comfortable in the new room and if there are any other requests that I need. Cecilia ensured closure to the areas I have brought up and closed the loop with me.

Overall

Hotel Michael, despite being accorded 5-star, does not scream of 5-star from the deluxe room and other facilities such as the pool and the gym, and certainly not the service. While the location of the hotel is great, the suite that I checked into is good. However the same cannot be said of the deluxe room I initially checked into. The service standard is a far cry from being 5-star. Service is almost non-existence in the hotel, especially the reception, where the first contact with guests are being made. Staffs seemed to be impatient with guests and did not seem to realise what 5-star hotel means. They seem to be more interested in gossiping loudly amongst themselves than attending to guests. Despite the queue at the reception being light, they are seen taking their timing punching into their computers than lifting their heads to see if any guest is waiting in line waiting to be served. Restaurant staffs are always frowning and gave me an impression that guests ordering food is bothersome to them. Given the price the hotel charges for a night in a room or its suite, one can find better service, bigger rooms elsewhere. I would not recommend anyone staying here, unless one does not mind paying more for bad service and wanted to be close to the actions in Resorts World Sentosa.