A perfect 10?

After their hotel stays, many guests receive an online survey asking them to rate the service and facilities.

I have a problem with these surveys — they are often too detailed, too long and too time-consuming; they often demand answers to questions that are irrelevant to the respondent; and they require some of us to think in ways we may not normally think.

Courtyard by Marriott, Bangkok
Courtyard by Marriott, Bangkok

Continue reading A perfect 10?

Review: Courtyard by Marriott, Bangkok

The first thing that struck me on arrival at the Courtyard by Marriott hotel, near the busy Siam central shopping district, was the security.

King-size bed, Courtyard by Marriott
King-size bed, Courtyard by Marriott

The taxi boot was checked and I had to go through a airport-style scanner before entry to the foyer.

Continue reading Review: Courtyard by Marriott, Bangkok

Review: Ibis Styles, Singapore

Ibis Styles on Macpherson
Singapore
June 2016

I chose to stay at this hotel for a very simple reason: it was the cheapest  room I could find online among my preferred brands.

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I was looking for a relaxing stay in a no-hassle place. I’d already chosen Singapore as my destination because of the excellent business-class deal I secured from Oman Air, and the knowledge that I’d be comfortable with my surroundings.

The Styles came in at about S$128 (US$95.50) a night for bed and breakfast. Continue reading Review: Ibis Styles, Singapore

Review: Oman Air to Singapore

Oman Air A330-300* business class
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June, 2016

Yes, it’s the long way around to get from Abu Dhabi to Singapore and back, but with Oman Air it was a pleasure.

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As I discovered when I flew to Bangkok recently, Oman Air has a very good business-class product. Continue reading Review: Oman Air to Singapore

Review: Oman Air experience

Oman Air B787 business class
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May, 2016

My decision to go to Bangkok with Oman Air was made at the last minute. After my original plans fell through, I was looking to spend two weeks at an affordable destination, but with a high level of comfort.

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Oman Air fit the bill, with a business-class fare less than two-thirds the price of the big regional operators, Etihad, Emirates and Qatar. I was expecting that the standards would be a little lower than the other airlines but was delighted to discover that it was very high indeed. Continue reading Review: Oman Air experience

Review: Holiday Inn Express, Bangkok

Holiday Inn Express, Sukhumvit Soi 11
Bangkok, Thailand

This was the cheapest per night of the three hotels I stayed in during my recent trip to Bangkok. But that doesn’t necessarily mean it was a bad choice. In fact, the hotel has a lot to recommend itself, not the least being its location at the end of buzzing Soi 11, home to some well-known restaurants and bars, including the famous Cheap Charlie’s.

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Continue reading Review: Holiday Inn Express, Bangkok

Review: Novotel Fenix Silom

Novotel Fenix Silom hotel, Bangkok
Stay: May, 2016

A nice welcome and attentive, efficient staff made check-in a joy. My flight arrived very early, and I was at the hotel before 7am. Although they didn’t have a room for me then, I was safely ensconced by 9am – which is an excellent five hours before normal hotel check-in time.

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The hotel is located at the far end of Silom, closer to Surasak BTS (sky train) station than to Sala Daeng, which is at the heart of the Silom / Patpong tourist area. Continue reading Review: Novotel Fenix Silom

Review: Costa Diadema

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Before I took my first Costa cruise, I researched the company’s vessels on the usual review sites and discovered that they tended to rank lower than the British and American ships.

Delving a bit deeper, I noticed that the criticism was coming mostly from Britons and Americans whose main complaint seemed to be the “Italianness” of the Costa offering.

Basically, some people didn’t like the fact that ships flying the Italian flag catered largely for Italians. They didn’t like the fact that English was demoted in onboard annoucements and during entertainment programs to a second, third or even fourth language. And they didn’t like the food, especially the authentic pizza (presumably because it wasn’t like the pizza they had delivered back home.)

I’m glad I dismissed this for what it was — let’s call it xenophobia — and decided to give Costa a try. Continue reading Review: Costa Diadema

Review: Atlantic Lounge, Munich

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First up: a disclosure. I have an issue with Munich Airport. It’s a bit boring, so it’s at the end of this review, but I thought I best declare it in case it somehow influenced this review. I don’t think it did.

Those fortunate enough to have the use of premium lounges at airports know that the quality of these places can vary enormously. Continue reading Review: Atlantic Lounge, Munich

Life’s a Dreamliner

Etihad Dreamliner (Etihad.com)
Etihad Dreamliner (Etihad.com)

 

It took a while for me to get around to my first flight on a Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner, but it was certainly worth the wait.

Sweetening the deal on my Etihad Airways flight from Brisbane to Abu Dhabi was the fact that I was upgraded from business class to first class. (Yes, this has been happening to me quite a bit lately. I try to explain why here.)

Continue reading Life’s a Dreamliner