[Hotel Review] – Holiday Inn Resorts (1 Bedroom Suite), Batam, Indonesia (26 – 27 Aug 17)

I recently received an offer email from Holiday Inn Resorts Batam. The offer is a value for money, which includes ferry tickets for 2 pax, 1 night stay in a 1 bedroom suite with breakfast for 2, a 60-min message in the Tea Tree Spa in the resort grounds and return land transfer from ferry terminal to the resort for the price of SGD240 nett.

Hotel signage at the entrance

Location

Holiday Inn Resorts Batam is located on the western part of the island, in a rather isolated part of Batam. The resort is about 30 mins drive from the shopping district of Nagoya Hill. Other than Waterfront City Ferry Terminal and a sleepy town of Waterfront City, which is just opposite the resort, there are not much happening in the vicinity of Holiday Inn Batam. Patrons can forget about shopping options around the resort. However the Holiday Inn Resort Batam provides complementary shuttle transfers to and from the resort to Nagoya Hill City from 6am till 10 pm daily. The hotel also provides regular shuttle service to the 2 nearby ferry terminals of Waterfront City and Sekupang. These shuttle services are tied to the departure timings of ferries.

Complementary shuttle service from the ferry terminal as well as to Nagoya Hill shopping district
Reception building in Holiday Inn Resorts Batam

The Suite

Dinning Area

As I entered the 60㎡suite, I immediately entered into the dinning area. The dinning area of the suite is simply furnished with a round table with 4 chairs. A small kitchenette, built by the walls of the suite is found behind the table, next to the main entrance of the suite. Rather than calling it a kitchenette, this area serves more like a pantry where one can find an electric kettle and a container where complementary drinks such as coffee, tea and a couple of drinking water welcomed guests. The mini fridge is well hidden inside one of the cabinets here. There are a number of cabinets in the pantry area, however these cabinets are empty, which makes this area seem poorly furnished.

Dinning table in the suite
Sparsely furnished kitchenette
These are the only items found in the kitchenette on top of the mini fridge
Main entrance to the suite and the dinning area

Living Room

Connected to the dinning area further into the suite, is where one will land into the living area. The living area is furnished with a 2 seater couch. A coffee table is placed in front of the couch. Tucked in one corner is where one can find a 32″ LCD TV placed on the TV console. There are no ceiling lightings in the living room, rather it is lighted with a couple of floor lamps, which gave me a warm and cosy feeling in the night with the lights turned on. Similar to the dinning area, the living area is  furnished with very minimal number of furniture, making entertaining guests a tad difficult due to the lack of sitting area. The plus side of having only the essential furniture makes the living room look large.

A cosy 2-seater couch and a coffee table in the living room
The TV is placed in one corner of the living room, next to the entrance to the bedroom

Balcony

Beyond the living room is a small balcony that overlooks the main swimming pool in Holiday Inn Resort Batam. The balcony is furnished with 2 wooden chairs and a wooden table. The balcony is great place to hang out and relax.

Wooden chairs are found in the balcony

Bedroom

Opposite the 2-seater couch in the living room is the entrance to the bedroom. The bedroom is separated from the living room with a 2-panel sliding wooden door. Inside, the bedroom is furnished with a queen size bed, placed by the wall. A couple of bedside tables provides space for guests to place some small items onto. A dressing table is placed in one corner of the bedroom, next to the windows. There is a small table placed next to the bed for guests to put their luggage onto.

The bedroom is fairly large with the Queen bed and side tables
Desk in the bedroom, there are no TV in the bedroom of the suite
Table for guests to put their luggage on is found in the bedroom

Bathroom

Inside the bedroom, one can find a small corridor that leads to the wardrobe. The wooden wardrobe looks worn, but still serves its intended function of allowing guests to hand their clothing onto. The suite that I stayed does not come with bathrobe. Other than places to hand clothing, an in-room safe is also found inside the wardrobe.

The corridor that leads to the wardrobe and the bathroom inside the bedroom of the suite
A rather small wardrobe with in-room safe

The entrance to the bathroom is located next to the wardrobe. The bathroom is rather small for a suite. The toilet bowl seem to cramp beside the bathtub, which is also where guests would take their shower in. There are no separate walk-in shower stalls. Opposite the toilet bowl is where one would find the sink. The sink area provides sufficient space for guests to stow their toiletries. There are no power sockets in the bathroom for guests to charge their shaver. The hotel seem to undergo some form of cost cutting measures. Holiday Inn uses a standard house brand toiletries throughout the world. However during my stay only a single bottle of shampoo is their house brand, the other bath amenities are not that of the Holiday Inn brand amenities.

Bathroom with bathtub. There are no separate walk-in showers
Shower in the bathtub
Sink area in the bathroom

Swimming Pool

The centre piece of Holiday Inn resort is the large free form swimming pool, located in the centre of the resort. The swimming pool is a great place to get a tan or relax by. There are a number of suntan chairs by the pool for guests to tan on. There is also a jacuzzi area by the side of the pool. Beside the swimming pool is another pool area for children. There is a slide and a small river structure to ensure young guests have a great time in.

View of the free form pool from the balcony
Part of the children pool
Swimming pool in the evening

There is another lap pool in the hotel premises. The in-door lap pool is located beside the only Chinese Restaurant, Dragon Inn in the hotel. The pool was still in good condition and is functional during my last stay. However this time round, the pool seem abandoned. Even the towel counter beside the pool is covered with a layer of dust.

The disused and poorly maintained lap pool in the resort premises

Gym

The resort has a functional gym, located behind the blocks where the rooms are. The gym occupies the entire single-level building, and is rather spacious. There are equipment such as treadmills and a weight machine that allows guests to get a decent, but limited workout. The equipment, however looks poorly maintained as there are rusts on the weight machine.

The gym
There are limited equipment in the gym
Some of the equipment in the gym

Tea Tree Spa

Tea Tree Spa is Holiday Inn Resort Batam’s in-house spa facilities. There are numerous spa villas that will be assigned to patrons who come here for a massage. The villas have a Balinese feel to it and one will definitely feel relaxed when entering the spa premises. Walk pass the reception, one would come to a Balinese gateway to enter into the spa premises. A large straw hut Jacuzzi welcomes patrons and hotel guests to soak their tired bodies away. Entering into the spa villa, one is immediately being transported to Bali, a sense of zen and tranquility plus the use of aromatherapy oil during massage, guarantees to wisp whatever fatigue one might have away. After the massage, one would be given options of ginger tea or lemongrass tea to complete the massage session. I always enjoy the top notch spa massages in Tea Tree Spa, the masseuse whom was assigned to me, though petite in size, she applied great strength when giving me the massage, while constantly asking if the strength is okay. Do come here and book your session early, as they are always fully booked.

Tea Tree Spa
Massage menu
Massage Menu
Entrance to Tea Tree Spa
Jacuzzi inside Tea Tree Spa grounds
The massage villas have a Balinese feel to it
Sauna in Tea Tree Spa
Bathtub in the massage villa
Inside the massage villa

Breakfast

Breakfast is served at the Terrace Cafe, located on the first floor in the building where the reception is. The breakfast served is rather standard, similar to those that one can find in any other hotels. Other than the usual pastries and the continental choices, there are also some local delights. The food tasted decent and nothing impressive, although it does the job of giving me the energy to get the day going.

Indoor seating in Terrace Cafe
Outdoor seating in Terrace Cafe where breakfast is served

Service

The service in Holiday Inn Resorts Batam is exceptional. Upon our arrival, the hotel staff checked us in promptly. They took note of my IHG membership and welcomed me as a IHG member. I was given a letter that comes with the perks exclusively for IHG members staying in the hotel. However when asked if I could have a higher floor suite as stated in my preference when I booked the package, I was met with a cold answer that the hotel was fully booked, with the staff did not even appear to be checking the system to see if a suite has opened up. Other than this little incident, staffs around in the hotel are generally quite welcoming.

The good service at the reception continued the next day when I was enquiring about the shuttle service to the ferry terminal. I was well advised on the timing of the shuttle that I should be catching in order for us to make it in time for our ferry back to Singapore. I called the reception from the suite when I realised that I have mistaken the timing, the staff at the other end of the line replied very politely about my need to change the timing of the shuttle and gave advise on the time I should be at the lobby to process the check-out procedures and make it in time for the shuttle. Upon check-out I was handed a small moment from the hotel with products from Tea Tree Spa in recognition of me being an IHG member. This thoughtful gesture is welcomed and goes to show that the hotel paid particular attention to IHG members.

The staffs at Tea Tree Spa is forever welcoming.  I was there on 2 occasions, once when booking a time slot for the complementary message and the other time for the massage. Both times the staff ensured that  I was made to feel welcome and attended to me promptly. I was offered tea where the staff took prepared without letting me wait for longer than it is necessary. The masseuse at the spa was excellent, not only with their skill of massage but also with their service. They introduced themselves and welcomed us to Tea Tree Spa. Before any procedures, they would take the time to give a brief introduction of the materials being used for the massage. Every now and then, they would always check if the strength used was okay.

The service at Terrace Cafe is good as well. Staffs were seen clearing the plates promptly and would promptly attend to our requests while having breakfast.

Reception in Holiday Inn Resorts Batam
Welcome gift for IHG members

Overall

Holiday Inn Resort Batam is a great place to unwind and relax, especially so with the package that they offer through email (it is not available on their website). The lack of amenities outside the hotel and the distance from shopping belt in Batam did not bother me as I was expecting to stay in the resort premises throughout my stay. The suite, however feels dated and maintenance could be better, nonetheless, I had a relaxing time lazing around the suite. There are signs around Holiday Inn Resorts Batam that goes to show the lack of maintenance, however the main pool is well maintained. Service is good with staffs that are always welcoming and smiling at guests, even when one walks pass the reception. I would recommend Holiday Inn Batam for those of us who just want to stay in the resort, make use of the facilities and have a massage session with the Tea Tree Spa.

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[Hotel Review] – BVilla+Seaside (2-Bedroom Villa), Bali, Indonesia (29 Jan – 1 Feb 16)

Hotel Signage

Location

BVilla+Seaside is located in Seminyak, an upscale area in Bali. Compared to Kuta, Seminyak is less crowded. The location of the villa is just a stones throw away from Seminyak Square and a newly opened shopping mall – Seminyak Village. There are no lack of restaurants around the villa, with Indonesian and Mexican Food just right across the street. Seminyak beach is just 5 minutes walk away from the villa. Getting to places such as Legian and Kuta is a breeze from the villa, which is just around 1 hour away from the villa via cab.
Hotel lobby
Checking into our villa at the reception
Rest area at the reception
The road outside the villa

The Villa

Pool Area

The area inside the villa is fairly large. The front pouch of the villa features a large private pool that greets guests upon entering the villa. The square-shaped pool is perfect for guests to spend time swimming and soaking in. The pool is around 1.5m deep at its deepest point. Beside the pool is a couple of queen size tanning beds, which is a great spot for tanning as there are no vegetation around to block out the sun. These beds are also great to lie on at night for star gazing in the private sanctuary surrounded by the walls of the villa.

Private pool in the villa
View of the pool with the tanning beds
Private pool
The pool is great for swimming or even soaking in

A walkway leads guests from the main door to the living space in the villa. Across the tanning beds on the other side of the pavement is a small garden. Despite it small size, the greenery of this small garden not only provided a sense of zen and tranquility, it also brightens up the pouch of the villa. What I like about the villa is the absence of excessive vegetation, which not only “dirties” the compounds of the villa (with the dead leaves and such), it also minimises chances of bugs calling our villa their home.

Small garden in the villa opposite the tanning beds

Common Area

Further into the villa is the open-air common living area. This area consists of a dinning table for 4 pax as well as a full kitchen at the past the dinning table behind a bar table. A TV is placed on the cabinet where one cutlery are stored facing the dinning table. There are full set of cutlery and cooking utensils as well as a full size fridge for guests to stow the drinks they bought from the local convenient stores. The kitchen features 4 gas stoves. There is a coffee machine by the side of the gas stove. At the side of the kitchen, tucked by the wall is the sink. The dust bin is well hidden at the kitchen area, behind the bar table. Unfortunately, I find the dues bin a tad too small. On the extreme ends of the sheltered common area, one can find a long beach with cushions. This is an area where one can sit on, serving as the sofas at the common area. I would prefer to have proper living area where guests can gather, rather than gathering only at the dinning table. As the common is open-air, it can get rather warm, despite a fan is placed beside the cabinet.

Dinning table area
Couch in the common area
Another couch is found in front of the second room
Water dispenser, unfortunately there are no water inside
Cabinet of cutlery with LCD TV placed onto
Sink in kitchen area
Gas stove in the kitchen
Illy coffee machine is available in the villa
Full size fridge in the kitchen

Bedrooms

The villa has 2 bedrooms, which are essentially 2 separate buildings within the villa located at the extreme ends of the compounds of the villa tucked in the furthest rear of the villa compounds. Both rooms are of the same dimensions, each with the same bathroom outfits. The only difference is one room is furnished with a king size bed, while the other has twin beds. Entering the sliding glass door of the bed room, the centre of attraction is the bedding. The sleep quality on the bed is excellent, provided me with a good night rest, leaving me felt recharged and fresh every morning. To the right of the entrance to the room, one can find an open wardrobe. This wardrobe is segregated into 2 sections. One section has a 4 tiered shelving, with the bottom tier the large enough to stow a 22″ luggage into. Towels to be used at the swimming pool are placed on one of the shelf here when we checked into the villa. The other side of the wardrobe has a top shelf and place for one to hang their clothings. The hanging space of the wardrobe is a tad small, allowing only 5 days of clothing to be hung. There are also limited hangers to go around for hanging cloths. I am sure that more can be requested from the reception. Connected to the wardrobe is a small table where the in-room safe is located. This table, complete with a chair, also doubles up as a work desk. An LCD TV is suspended onto the wall mounting in one corner of the room facing the bed. For the room with the King beds, the bedside table are located on either side of the bed. There is a red coloured lamps placed on each bedside table. Power sockets are, unfortunately, hidden behind these bedside tables.

Twin bedroom
King bedroom
Wardrobe and work table
TV in the bedroom

Bathroom

The bathroom is located behind the bedding in both of the room. The bathroom is very spacious, stretching across the width of the entire room. Upon entering the bathroom, one is greeted with oversize bathtub nicely placed inside the bathroom by the wall. Opposite the bathtub is where one can find huge sink area, which stretches from the door to the bathroom to the shower area, providing guests with alot of space to stow their toiletries. There are twin sinks sitting on top of the sink area and the hotel provided standard bath amenities. However one point to note, they do not provide dental kits for guests. There is a separate standing rain shower located at the end of the sink table. Opposite the shower area is the toilet. One point to note is that the bathtub is rather dirty. We spent some time cleaning up the bathtub, after leaving the water to run, there seem to be dust accumulated in the water. It is a pity that we did not get to use the bathtub due to the filth.

Huge bathtub in the bathroom
Large sink top table with 2 sinks
Shower area
Toilet opposite the shower area
Amenities in the bathroom, no dental kits are available

Breakfast in Villa

The villa does not seem to have a restaurant on its premises. Breakfasts are served in the villa. What I find unique about the breakfast serving in BVilla+Seaside is instead of pre-cook in a central kitchen, breakfast is cooked inside the villa kitchen. One would have to go to reception everyday and inform the staff of your choice of breakfast from the menu. The staff at the reception would check what time we wanted breakfast to be served. Each morning the chefs will come into the villa about 30 mins before the stipulated time for breakfast and do their cooking while we were sleeping. When breakfast is done, they would knock on the bedroom doors and wake us up for breakfast. We can still remember the ever familiar “Knock Knock, Breakfast” each morning during our stay in the villa. Upon seeing that we woke up, the staffs would leave the villa. Having breakfast in the villa by the pool feels relaxing. The breakfast was still piping hot from the kitchen and they tasted very delicious. There are choice of western style breakfast or Indonesian style breakfast. I particularly liked their fried rice topped with a sunny side up. Assortment of breads as well as cereals are also served as part of the breakfast. We were also given options of freshly squeezed juices on top of the coffee and tea.

Staff cooking breakfast in the villa kitchen
Bread selection for breakfast
Very tasty fried rice
Scrambled egg with sausage and bacon

Spa

On our last day in Bali, after checking out, we headed for the in-house spa in the villa. The spa area is converted from their 3-bedroom villa. Inside the spa grounds, there is a swimming pool, just like the one that is in the villa we were staying in. The villa offers staying guests a 30% discount off the menu price. We opted for a 2-hour spa package, which includes a body scrub, Balinese massage and bath soak in the tub. The masseuses were not only very skilful in their trade, taking away the aches and pains from our tired bodies, they were also excellent in terms of service. Throughout the massage session, we were asked if the strength of the massage was okay. After the massage, we were served tea for relaxation. Massage treatment was done in the villa rooms, which were converted from bedrooms for massage treatments. The price of the massage packages were very reasonable (around SGD 70 for a 2-hour treatment) and is very cheap compared to those we would find in Singapore.
Spa treatment villas
Spa reception area (converted from the kitchen in the villa)
Swimming pool inside the spa grounds
Massage treatment rooms
Bath soak after massage
Spa grounds
Staffs serving tea after the treatment

Service

Service in the villa was nothing short of excellence. The staffs were very friendly and professional in the conduct of their work. Their warmth made us feel welcome in the villa. Our check-in was done in an expeditious manner so that we do have to be held up unnecessarily. The staffs even brought our luggages into the villa while we were checking into the villa. We were escorted into our villa, and the staffs took the effort to explain to us the various facilities in the villa. We were served welcome drinks when we entered the villa that we were staying. Staffs at the reception greeted us whenever we walked past the reception area. Breakfast was done very professionally and staffs coming into the villa without causing much of disturbance to the guests. Our villas were well made up every single day without flaws. Every evening, we would come back to a fresh and clean villa after a long day in Bali. The staffs at the spa were excellent not only in their trade but also in their service. They made us felt so welcome and were not waiting for tips, unlike spas in other places where masseuses would purposely make their presence seen, anticipating tips from customers. The masseuses were even surprised when we approached them and tipped them.

 

Welcome drink were served when we were escorted into our villa

Overall

We had a wonderful time staying in BVilla+Seaside during our stay in Bali. The villa is very spacious and the size of the pool is rather generous. We had quality sleep on the bed. The bathroom felt luxurious, however the condition of the bathtub was disappointing. Service rendered by the staffs were excellent, from the reception to those at the spa. We were made welcome by every single staff we met in the villa. Despite the close proximity to the road, the villa was surprisingly quiet, coupled with the proximity to restaurants, shopping and the beach, BVilla+Seaside is an ideal place to stay whilst in Bali.

 

[Hotel Review] – Bali Island Villas & Spa, Bali, Indonesia (16 – 20 Sep 13)

Location

Bali Island Villas & Spa is located in one inconspicuous area of Seminyak in Bali. Seminyak is an upscale area of Bali and is quieter then Kuta. This area would allow guests to have far greater privacy then one would find in Kuta area. The villa is about 10 mins walk from Seminyak Sqaure, where one can find more dinning options. The area around the villa is rather dead, with limited dinning and shopping options. The villa is also located a fair distance away from the beach and the beach is not directly accessible to guests staying here. Not many cabbies know the location of the villa, hence, one would have to use certain landmarks to guide the cabbies. One such landmark would be W Hotel Bali, which is located just next to the villa. In terms of location, the villa is rather out of the way.
Hotel Signage

The Villa

Kitchen

As one walk into the villa from the entrance, a full kitchen complete with microwave and full set of utensils were made available in the villa. There is even a kitchen island between the kitchen area and the living room. At the side of the kitchen is a small storeroom, where one will find a water dispenser, capable of dispensing both hot and cold water. This made the kettle rather redundant. The fridge and iron and ironing board was also available in this small room.
Full size fridge and water dispenser
Full size kitchen in the villa

Living Room

The living room of the villa feature a 3 seater and a 2 seater couch. The 3 seater couch can be turned into a queen sized bed which can hold up to 2 adults. There is also a book shelf with all sorts of books and some display by the shelving where the TV was placed. The decor in the living room is functional and yet contemporary.
Living room
View of the living room from the kitchen
TV and shelving in the living room
Shelving in the living room with books to keep one occupied
Walk way into the bedroom

Plunge Pool

Facing the living room is our private plunge pool. The pool is rather small, however good enough for one to enjoy a quick dip. The sun tan chairs are right beside the pool, by the entrance from the bed room. beside the sun tan chairs is a staircase leading up to the open terrace, where one will find a day bed under a pavilion. There is a ceiling fan up the pavilion and illumination for one to enjoy the night. There are also a couple of sun tan chairs up on the terrace.
Private lap pool
Private lap pool
Private lap pool
Stairway to the upper terrace in the villa
Upper terrace
View of the pool from upper terrace
Tanning chairs
View of the pool and garden from upper terrace
View of the pool and garden from upper terrace
Upper terrace

Bedroom

As one walked into the bedroom, a huge king size bed greeted us. There is access to the suntan deck beside the pool from the bedroom. In front of the bed is another TV. The decor of the bedroom is simple yet stylist. The bed is comfortable, but the quality of the blanket is rather bad, insufficient to keep one warm should one adjust the air con to the lowest temperature.
King bed in the bedroom 
Another TV in the bedroom

Wardrobe Area

There is a small corridor that doubles as a walk in wardrobe as well as access to the bathroom. The storage space for the wardrobe is massive, it is definitely designed with a 4 person in mind. The safe however is a little disappointing. It is manual and lacked instructions for its use. It is also not secured to any fixtures, which makes it look as though it can be easily removed. We did not end up using the safe.
Walk-in wardrobe

Bathroom

The bathroom has 2 sinks, so couples need not fight over sinks. As with the other parts of the villa, there are more then sufficient storage space in the bathroom. The centre piece of the bathroom gotta be the oversized jacuzzi bathtub. water pressure from the jacuzzi function of the tub is lovely, and of the right pressure. The tub has a small stairway that allow users to step safely into the tub. However the when filling the tub with water, one is caution not to turn it to the maximum volume, which will lead to small blackish particles into the tub. Signs of poorly maintained piping. There is a separate shower in one corner of the bathroom. The disappointing part about this shower is there is not only no rain shower, the normal shower head of the villa we were in seemed poorly maintained and the water pressure is not consistent.
Sinks in the bathroom
Bathing amenities
Jacuzzi tub
Toilet and shower area
We were promised internet access in the villa, however we only got internet 1 day before checking out, due to some issues with the internet provider. If one were to bang on the 3G network inside the villa, one will be disappointed. the 3G connection inside the villa is very poor. Most of the time we did not get any 3G signals.

Service

Prior to our arrival, I had made arrangements for the complementary transfer, despite my friend and I arrived Bali 1 day in advance, the villa still gladly picked us up from our hotel in Kuta. The driver was early for the transfer, however he only made the call to our room at the appointed time. Very pleasant service right from the start.
As we arrived at the villa, we were escorted to our room and the villa already has everything ready for our arrival. The check in was done in our villa, and one staff is already on standby in our villa, with the necessary check in paper work and welcome drinks already awaiting us. My friend and I was pleasantly delighted with such fantastic service right from the start. Checking in took a mere 5 mins and we got a short brief of the facilities in the villa from the staff. After which, the staff quickly retire themselves to give us the privacy that we need to explore the villa.

Overall

Overall, the location of the villa seem fair, however it just takes 10 mins walk towards Seminyak square. The entrance to the villa is rather inconspicuous. Most of the cabbies in bali might not know the exact location of the villa. The stay is pleasant, the staffs are wonderful. The flaw with the internet and the bathroom area can be further improved to overcome these negative aspects of the stay.

 

[Hotel Review] – Sheraton Bali Kuta Resort, Bali (Ocean View Room), Indonesia (15 – 16 Sep 13)

Location

Sheraton Bali Resort is located in the heart of Kuta Beach, where all the actions in Bali are located. The hotel is situation on top of one of the few shopping malls in Bali – Beachwalk Mall. Here is where one can find most of the big chain restaurants and cafes such as Starbucks and Coffee bean & Tea leaves. There are several eateries and restaurants, pubs within a stone’s throw away from the hotel. The Hard Rock Cafe/Hotel is located within mere minutes from the hotel by foot. Opposite the hotel is the Kuta Beach, which is famous in Bali. There are no lack of shopping and eateries around the hotel. There is also free scheduled shuttle service from the shopping mall to Nuasa Dua.

The Room

Balcony

The room was huge for being the most basic room. There was 2 armchairs in the outdoor balcony for one to relax in and view life pass by in this part of Bali. There was limited views of the sea despite being named the “Ocean View Room”, one can view mainly the street.
Fixtures on the Balcony
View from the balcony at night
View from the balcony in the morning
View from the balcony in the morning

Sleeping Area

The centre of the room is a huge king-sized bed. The bed is very comfortable providing guests with excellent sleep quality, however air-conditioning seemed to be set at 23°C, which was rather warm. There is a small dining table which doubles up as a working desk by the side of the room, as well as an armchair in the room beside the bed. Despite all these furniture, the room by all means does not feel small at all.
View of the room with the King bed
Arm chair by the corner of the room
Corridor into the room
Dining table which doubles up as a work desk

Bathroom

The bath room and the room is separated by a glass wall, where there are blind that can rolled down from the bathroom to provide more privacy for guests who opts so. The wardrobe is located in the bathroom, which is a rather intuitive design. The bathtub is large enough for 2 to soak into. Beside the bathtub is a single wash basin and 2 cubicles, one for the toilet and one for walk in shower with rain shower head and the normal shower head. Both shower heads seemed to be poorly maintained, as the water pressure is not strong enough, despite putting it into full blast.
Good quality showering amenities
Toilet bowl
Walk in shower
Open wardrobe
Hug bathtub

Swimming Pool

The swimming pool is rather small, but has great view of the ocean and sunset. It is certainly a great place for suntanning.
Swimming pool at night
Swimming pool in the day
Swimming pool in the day

Service

We arrived pretty late in the evening, at around 8pm. There was only one counter serving customers, which was the counter for SPG members. Being a SPG member, it did not feel any different. We were being made to wait, despite a few staff walking around the check in counter. Finally after 20 mins, we were being served by another staff who took the initiative to open up another counter to check us in. He immediately identified me as a SPG member and welcomed me. Other then that, the hotel did not seem to make any effort to make a SPG member feel special. Having said that, once we were being served at the check-in counter, the procedure for check-in was swift and we were informed that out room was being upgraded to ocean view room. Our requests for the room was being met. The staffs are great and tried their best to accede to any requests by the guests.
Lobby of the hotel
Artwork at the lobby
Artwork at the lobby
Corridor outside the room
Corridor leading to the rooms

Overall

Overall, the hotel is good, but certainly with room for improvements. Sleep quality was fantastic in the hotel, despite being the “lowest category” room, the rooms are fairly huge. The location of the hotel is great as it is close by to shopping and eateries.

[Hotel Review] – Holiday Inn (2 Bedroom Suite), Batam, Indonesia (26 – 27 Oct 12)

Location

The hotel is located in an isolated part of Batam Island. It is far away from the main shopping district or the nearest decent eatery. The isolation also meant guests can totally relax in the hotel and not busy running to the nearby shopping mall. The hotel is also close to a jetty which only called upon by a couple of ferry operators. There is really nothing much around the area, this also mean that guests would have to subject to the hotel’s eateries or calling room service when one’s hunger strikes.

The Suite

The room that we were assigned was a two-bedroom suite, upgraded from our original booking of one-bedroom suite. We requested for a high floor, corner room as the hotel was fully booked, we were assigned the two-bedroom suite.

 

Dinning Area

Upon entering the suite, a marble floored small dining area with a counter for all the food and drinks welcomed us. The dining table seats a party of four and was nicely tucked in a corner of the suite that is not obstructing. The simple designed suite signals all fixtures were there for a purpose and it is hard for one to find a piece of equipment in the suite that is redundant. The simplicity also meant that there are less clutter in the suite.

Dining area of the suite

Opposite the dinning table is a small bathroom which only has a toilet bowl and a standing shower. This bathroom seem to suggest it is meant for guests staying in the one of the 2 bedrooms.

Bathroom opposite the dining table

Living Room

Further ahead into the room is the living room, featuring a 2 seater couch placed in front of the TV . The 2 seater couch is large enough to fit 3 persons. By the side of the 2 seater couch is a one seater couch  facing the entrance to the balcony. The curtains are thick enough to black out the living room. There are sufficient lighting in the living room to provide sufficient illumination to the entire living room.

Living room

Balcony

There is a small balcony with 2 deck chairs and a small side table for one to relax and relax by the sight of the fantastic swimming pool, which seemed to be the centrepiece of the entire hotel. Other then that the view is nothing to shout out for.

Balcony
View from the balcony

Second Bedroom

The living room is in the centre of the 2 rooms. Upon entering from the main door to the suite, the room to the left features 2 single beds. There is also a small wardrobe tucked at the corner of the room. This room is rather small for a bedroom on its own. However it seemed that the hotel encourages its guests to spend more time in the living room then the bed rooms. There is also a dressing table opposite the beds in this room. The decor of this room is rather minimalistic.

Wardrobe and the dressing table in the room
2 single beds

Master Bedroom

The master bedroom is located on the right from the main entrance. This room is larger then the other room opposite it. The centrepiece of this room is the queen size bed, which provided a decent sleep quality. Personally I did not sleep well in this room, mainly due to the soft and flat pillow. The decor of this room feels cozy and homely. There is another TV in this room, placed on the dressing table. There seem to be more storage space in this room as compared to the previous room.

Master bedroom

Bathroom

There is an attached bathroom in the master bedroom. This marble bathroom is larger then the one in the living room. There is a bathtub, which feels rather small. There isn’t any walk-in showers in this bathroom, the shower head is together with the bathtub.

Bathroom attached to the master bedroom
Standard bathing amenities

The overall decor of this suite feels dated from the living room to the bedrooms and to the 2 bathrooms.

Service

The overall service rendered by the staff in this hotel is fantastic. They were always spotted smiling and were very attentive to guests. We were served with cold drinks upon arrival, while waiting for our turn to check in. The attentive staff even recognised me to be a member of the hotel chain and accorded me member privilege without even producing my membership card. The staff at the reception apologised immediately for our waiting due to her checking in another guest before us. As mentioned earlier on, I had put down my request for high floor and corner room into the system when I booked the stay, without me mentioning it, the staff processing our check in apologised for not having the room that I requested ready due to high occupancy rate. She refused to let us wait till 2pm and gave us complementary upgrade to the location of the room I requested without even me asking.

The staff at the Tea Tree spa was great. They are welcoming and did provide excellent service in their massage. I was frequently asked how’s the strength of the massage and is the massage ok during and after the spa session.

My only complaint is the staffs from the main restaurant in the hotel. I was by the pool and tried to wave for someone to send the menu over, it took me around 30 mins to get some attention. More can be done by the staff here to be attentive to their guests.

Overall

The stay at Holiday Inn Batam was fantastic. Despite the aged suite and the poor sleep quality due to the pillows. Majority of the staffs here displayed exemplary service standards. This is a place to be should one wants a relaxing time without the mad rush of shopping. The air conditioning in the suite was great and managed to cool down the suite in a short period of time.

[Hotel Review] – Furama Villas & Spa Ubud Resort (1 Bedroom Villa), Bali, Indonesia (27 – 29 Jul 12)

Location

The villa is located in one quiet area of Ubud, central Bali. Ubud is also mainly used for rice cultivation and hence the terrain around the villa is mountainous, climate is slight cooler due to the higher altitude. Within the resort, one can find some rice plantation, which seemingly is in the hotel grounds. If one is looking into immunising oneself in the arts and crafts of Bali, the location of this resort is perfect. The Ubud town is around 15 mins drive from the resort, which the resort provides regular drop off and pick up service from Ubud Town.

Resort signage that welcomed us upon our arrival

The Villa

Garden

The villa that we stayed in comes with a small garden, a private pool and a building where one would find the bedroom and bathroom. Upon entering the doors to the villa, one will be greeted with a small garden with a massage gazebo tucked in one corner. There is a small walk path from the main door to the villa building. The garden is simply landscaped but does provide a refreshing and comfortable view each morning guests wake up.

The garden that leads to the villa inside the private compound
Massage gazebo which massage can be arranged in the privacy of the villa

Private Plunge Pool

From the garden, to the left of the villa, one will be able to locate the private plunge pool. The pool is rather large and sufficient for one to do some serious swimming. However the water is tad cold perhaps due to the higher altitude of the location of the villa. There is also a statue by the side of the villa as a decor, this statue pours water into the pool and will be switched off by nightfall. There is also jacuzzi function at the side of the pool, nearing to the suntan chairs. The pool is fantastic for a dip should the sun be a little hotter. There are a couple of tanning chairs in the villa, outside the door leading into bathroom of the villa, however placing the chairs under the shade make suntanning not possible. We shifted the chairs to the pavement leading from the main door to the villa to get the best spot for suntan.

Suntan chairs by the door to the bathroom
Suntan chairs and the entrance to the pool
Balinese statue by the pool

Dinning Area

Outside the villa is a small dinning table with 2 chairs are placed in the front porch of the villa. There is a sink at the side of the porch providing convenience to guests staying in this villa. This dinning table also provides great view of the pool, allowing one to grab some chow whilst swimming.

Dinning area in front of the main door

Bedroom

The bedroom is rather simple in decor. The four posture king size bed forms the centrepiece of the this part of the villa. The bed is comfortable and provides a great quality sleep for nights when we were in the villa. There is also a vintage dressing table by the side of the bed. The air conditioning in this area of the villa is a bit weak that we did not close the netting that comes with the bed. There are also limited power points for one to charge their electronic gadgets. The LCD TV is placed at a counter opposite the bed, which enables one to watch TV from the bed. There is a single-seater armchair in the left corner of the room, by the door into the villa.. From the placing of the armchair, it seem to suggest that the armchair is for one to relax in and not to watch TV. The entrance to the bathroom is directly opposite the bed.

Four posture bed in the room
Confortable bedding in the villa
Hotel logo on the bed runner
Nice touch on the bed and the flower is being changed daily

Bathroom

The bathroom is huge and features an indoor area and an outdoor area. The indoor area has a huge bathtub. The Bathtub is so large that it can double up as a small swimming pool for kids. Due to the large size of the tub, it take a while to fill up the water. Beside the tub, nearing to the entrance from the pool is where one will find the sink. The sink area is rather small for guests to store their toiletries. The shower is located outdoor, behind the villa. This outdoor shower has some stones on the ground to provide foot massages for guests. The toilet bowl is just opposite the bathtub.

Huge Bathtub
Sink area
Bathing amenities, which is being topped up daily
Outdoor shower area

Service

Service is fantastic in this villa. First of all, despite us arriving at around 10pm, the staffs sprung into action and welcomed us immediately. We were served welcome drink, despite being late at night while our check in is being processed. Checking in was a breeze and we found ourselves being driven by buggy to our villa is no time. The staff took time to explain the different features of the villa. We were also being informed to not hesitate to ring the reception should we need any help. Guests were given options either to have their breakfast in the villa, which staff are always glad to take our orders, or in the main restaurant. Even with the huge assortment of breakfast being served, the staffs are never stingy with their smiles.

Service in this establishment is so impeccable that even the housekeeping staffs were always wearing smiles whenever we walked past them. There was an occasion we went to the villa in the midst of making up, the staff were still smiling and asked if there are any requests that we would like to make. It is difficult to fault the housekeeping staff with their high standards of cleanliness, as they ensured no corners are left uncleaned.

Breakfast in the villa by our private plunge pool

Overall

The location of the villa is far away from the usual tourist congregation area of Kuta beach, it is also a distance away from the Ubud centre, however it does provides guests with the tranquility and allows guests to enjoy a different side of Bali. The hardware is well maintained and provides guests both maximum privacy and excellent sleep quality. However being outdoor themed, there are bugs at night around the villa. Service is top notch in this establishment and not once I come across a grumpy looking staff. Excellent property and excellent Staffs.

[Hotel Review] – The Phoenix Hotel, Yogyakarta, Indonesia (12 – 13 May 12)

Location

The hotel is conveniently located in the heart of Yogyakarta, in Malioboro district and is close to a number of sites around Yogyakarta and eateries. It is within walking distance towards the city centre and the Tugu Railway station. The hotel is located in the quieter edge of the city and is a great area to be near the city but not in the midst of the busyness of the city.

Signage and the hotel at night
Courtyard and cafe in the hotel grounds
Hotel rooms

The Room

Sleeping Area

Entering the room, we were welcomed by the contemporary decor of the room. As with many hotels around the world, the bathroom is near the entrance of the room. The well decorated room feels cozy, decked out with mostly yellow golden colours.  The double bed room that we were assigned opens up to the main bedroom passing the corridor with the bathroom to the right of the entrance. The tastefully designed room, though not too big, but does not feel cluttered with too much furniture. The furniture in the room are functional and does not have any piece that felt out of the way. The beds are placed in front of a TV console enables guests to watch TV while lazing on their beds. Further into the room is a small coffee table, where a plate of fruits welcomed us. Beside the table is a single seater couch for guests to relax in should they choose not to lie on their beds. The sleep quality on the bed is fantastic, giving guests a great night’s sleep.

Sleeping area in the room
Comfortable beds
Welcome fruit found in the room
Balcony
Art pieces in the room

The minibar and drinks area is located opposite the entrance to the bathroom. The mirrors in front of the minibar creates a sense of spaciousness. The minibar is where one would be able to find complementary coffee and tea and a tea pot for one to boil water in. The fridge is where one would find drinks like soft drinks and some liquor. There are also a couple bottles of mineral drinks for guests to stay hydrated.

Mini bar

Bathroom

The bathroom is decent in size, decked in brownish marble. It does not come with a bathtub. Upon entering the bathroom, one can find the toilet bowl to the right of the door. To the left of the door is where the sink is located. One can find the walk-in rain shower, which provides great pressure and certainly gave me a great shower.

Rain shower
Toilet bowl in the bathroom
Walk-in shower
Swimming pool in the hotel

Around the Hotel

The hotel seemed to be a museum in itself, displaying a number of colonial collections throughout the hotel. The phoenix theme is apparent throughout the hotel and even in the guest room. One can find sculptures of phoenix on door handles and even on the curtain bar above the bed. There is a room next to the lobby for guests and visitors to understand a little more about the history of the building the hotel is in and the area around the hotel. Relics and displays of Indonesian origins spread across the hotel grounds and it is not difficult for guests to spot hints of Indonesian history by walking around the hotel.

Decos in the hotel
Phoenix sculpture on the handle of the main door
Phoenix sculpture on the curtain bar in the room

Service

The service rendered by the front desk staff is amazing. One can feel the warmth of the welcoming staff upon checking in, who are never stingy with their smiles. The well-groomed staffs paid attention to details and was never stingy in sharing information about the hotel and the surroundings around the hotel. The front desk staff even gave us advise on saving for transfer to the airport upon our checking out and advised us on how much to pay for the trip to the airport. They even helped us hail a cab to the airport. The restaurant staffs were amazing in their service as well, taking care not to cross in front of the customer, even to the extend of walking a few paces beside the customer to place their food.

Having said that, the staffs in the gift shop lack service standards though. They seem more interested in playing on their mobile phones and reading then noticing guests or even serving guests. I was interested in getting some items in the shop, the cold shouldered staffs does not even seem to know their merchandise well and gave me the impression of “do not disturb me”.

 

Overall

The hotel is located at the edge of the city, but is within walking distance to most of the attractions around. The rooms are well decorated and cozy and provides a good night sleep for patrons. Generally the service of the staffs are excellent except for a few black sheep in the gift shop.

[Hotel Review] – Manohara Hotel, Borobudur, Indonesia (11 – 12 May 12)

Location

The main draw for staying in this hotel is its location. This is the only hotel in this area that is located inside the grounds of Borobudur. It also means guests staying in this hotel gets unlimited entry to Borobudur Temple at any time of the day as long as the temple is open.  Other then the proximity to the temple, there is no other incentive of staying here. The hotel is rather far from restaurants and the main town of Magelang. This means patrons who stay here would need to make their own arrangements for transport to the town. Otherwise one would have to dine in the hotel. The hotel also has an auditorium that shows a film that educates patrons of the Borobudur temple and the carvings on it.

Hotel Signage
Gardens in the hotel grounds
One can see Borobudur Temple from the hotel grounds
There are a number of such statues around in the hotel grounds

The Room

All the rooms in the hotel are located on the ground floor. The rooms does not come with card reader and key cards, they used traditional keys to lock the door. The room that we were assigned is room 19.

Room number on the door of the room

Sleeping Area

Upon entering the room, a huge sleeping place greeted us. The decoration of the room looks pretty aged but functional. The room in this hotel is rather simply decorated and all the furniture shout of functionality. There isn’t any piece that is placed inside the room just for decoration, other then a pictorial book which introduces Borobudur. The room we were assigned is a 3 bedder room, which can accommodate up to 3 persons. 2 beds were placed side by side, located to the right of the main door, and the other right in front of the door. There are side tables beside each bed and power points are plentiful in the room. The sleep quality on the bed is decent, and is good enough for guest to rest for the night. Just before the lone bed opposite the front door, a TV was placed for some basic entertainment for guests.

Single bed in the room
Main door and TV in the room
The 2 single beds on the right of the main door

Bathroom

The bathroom is simply furnished as well. Other then the toilet bowl, there is a small bathtub in the  bathroom, with shower head. The bathtub doubles up as the showering area in the bathroom. Beside the bathroom is a small sink.

Aged but functional bathroom

Bath amenities are provided by the hotel, which is stowed on a oldish looking shelf by the door to the bathroom. The hotel provides the standard shower gel, shampoo and conditioner as well as toothbrush and toothpaste for the convenience of guests.

Bath amenities

Balcony

To the left of the lone bed is another door that leads to the rear porch of the room. This is a small area for guests to relax out in the open. This area is where one would find 2 wooden chairs and a small coffee table. This area also doubles up as a smoking area for guests and opens up to a shared garden in the hotel grounds.

Rear Porch of the room
Rear entrance to the room
As this is a 4-star hotel, it does not come with a swimming pool for guests to relax in.

Service

The service in the hotel is reasonable, however one would not be accorded with the standards of a 5-star hotel. The staffs are responsive but does not seem to go all out to make sure that guests’ needs are being taken care of.  Having said that, guests would be served with a welcome drink upon arrival on the hotel grounds, while the staffs prepare to check one in.

Welcome drink for guests checking in

Overall

The rooms in the hotel are aged but functional. Despite the aged furnishings, there is nothing in the room that is broken or malfunction. The sleep quality on the bed is decent and does its job of providing guests rest for nights. The service is decent but not impressive. It seem that the selling point of this hotel is not on the hardware or the service, but its proximity to Borobudur Temple. If being close to the temple is a primary consideration, this hotel will be a perfect choice. However if one is particular about comfort and the decor of the room as well as service, one should look elsewhere.