Business Travels: Thistle Johor Bahru Hotel

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Due to the fact that I have a particular client in Johor, I travel down quite often and i’ve always stayed at the same place as I love the rooms and service provided (the door man recognises my face by now). The hotel is about 30mins away from Senai Airport on days without traffic. There’s a KFC just across the street and a McDonalds down the road. So location-wise, it’s pretty strategic. It’s also just a 5-10mins drive to the Immigration Checkpoint where you can cross over to Singapore which is also adjacent to two large shopping malls, Johor Bahru City Square and Komtar JBCC (home to brands such as H&M, Uniqlo, Padini, Vinci, Daiso, and many others). Continue reading

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Business Travels: Park Regis Hotel Singapore

I checked in to Park Regis on Saturday afternoon. Original check in time is 3pm but the front desk was kind enough to check me in earlier and I managed to get my room almost immediately (kudos to them for the flexibility).

My room is on the 2nd floor which is also the same floor as the pool. The room itself is cozy with the soft lighting and I love the large window with the natural sunlight flowing into the room. It also makes a nice spot for reading a book or simply relaxing by the window. It has all the basic needs expected from a 4 star hotel. However an extra touch was the complimentary mobile phone with data. You can freely use it outside of the hotel. But of course you’re expected to take care of it well as there are charges for damaged/lost phone. They also have complimentary wifi in the room as well.

The queen size bed was super comfy and gave me a good night rest after a whole day of walking. One feature of the room that you would have noticed is the unique position of the wash basin and vanity area right there in the room itself. The actual shower and toilet are in separate cubicles behind frosted glass.

My room also included complimentary breakfast at the cafe situated on the 3rd floor. It has the basic toast, omelette station, yoghurt, juices and some mix of local (porridge, rice, etc) and international menu (sausages, baked beans, etc). The spread isn’t very big and could use a little more variety. But it was alright for a quick bite.

The hotel is situated in a strategic spot near the Central Business District (CBD) where my office is situated and also walking distance to the lively tourist spot of Clarke Quay. In fact the nearest MRT station is the Clarke Quay MRT station (purple line) which is just less than 5mins walk from the hotel. You can easily access the entrance to the station via overhead bridge right next to the hotel upon exiting the concierge area.

Through the MRT station underpass, you can also easily access The Central mall which is just directly above via escalator. You can find lots of good Japanese restaurants and other eateries here. There’s a food court downstairs where you can find food on the cheaper side. As you walk outside of the mall, you’ll see the riverside itself which is a great place for a relaxing stroll in the evening.

Overall it was an enjoyable stay here and being centrally located, it made a great spot to set as my base ground.

Business Travels: Singapore – The Beginning of My 2 Months Assignment

As of this date it’s already the end of my 2nd week here in Singapore. Was going to write this sooner, but as usual i’ve been busy and got caught up in a few things. Well anyway here’s the update. I’ve been assigned to work on a Singapore project for about 2 months and have transferred over to the Singapore office from the KL office.

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Since this is a rather long-term stay, i’ve applied for a work pass which was efficiently managed within about 15mins for the application process at the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) office and 3 working days to have the card delivered to my office (you can always count on Singapore for its efficiency). I was also put up at a serviced apartment along Cantonment Road. The place is a nice cozy boutique serviced apartment called Triple 2 Studios next to The Pinnacle at Duxton. I got the Deluxe Studio room which was just nice in terms of size and space. It has a queen-sized bed, couch, side table, wardrobe, drawer cabinets, a small bar table and stool and the following amenities:

  • Free WiFi
  • 40″ Samsung Smart TV
  • Air-conditioning with individual thermostat
  • Contact-less key card access
  • In-room safe deposit box
  • Daily housekeeping
  • Laundry facilities (at the ground floor towards the back of the building. It’s coin-operated (5 dollars each for the washing machine and dryer). But don’t worry, I noticed that they provided 10 dollar coins in your room every fortnight. So the laundry service is more or less covered. Detergent is also provided.
  • Complimentary Coffee & Tea provided for guests
  • Mini bar fridge with complimentary bottled water (2 bottles replenished daily)
  • Microwave and kettle with full dining set (bowls, plates, chopsticks, forks & spoons)
  • Bathroom with hairdryer
  • Toiletries provided (shampoo and body wash)

It’s a fairly new place which just opened up about a few months ago. So they’re still doing some renovation works downstairs for the planned gym room. Everything else is pretty much done and complete. The place also has an elevator. So no worries if you have large luggage with you.

In terms of it’s location, it’s just around 8mins walk to the nearest mrt which is Tanjong Pagar. Outram Park mrt is also within walking distance. But I personally feel the Tanjong Pagar station is closer and easier to get to. For your groceries and basic necessities, you can get it from the Fairprice supermarket which is just about 6 mins walk from the place. Along the same row as this supermarket is also some shops, banks and restaurants. Also there’s a bus stop just a few steps away (almost literally in front of the apartment). So location-wise this is a really convenient place to stay at.

However since this place is pretty much a part of the Central Business District (CBD) area, most shops are closed on weekends. But fret not, there are still some shops opened and the supermarket mentioned earlier is open everyday. Also if you walk towards Duxton road, there are a number of hipster coffee shops opened on weekends as well. As an alternative, you can always take a quick train ride to other areas for more dining options.

So that’s it for my first post on Singapore. More posts coming up soon particularly on some of the places i’ve visited these past few weeks. :)

Business Travels: Brunei

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It’s been a while since my last post. Been busy with work and all that….particularly in travelling. I had a business trip to Brunei a few weeks back which marked my first maiden voyage to that country. I really didn’t know what to expect since i didn’t know much about the place. But after experiencing it all I noticed that it’s a very quiet and peaceful place. I guess most of the the people who come here are those who want to connect with nature and have a relaxing trip to wind down. But if you’re a shopping kinda person, then there’s not much to do here since they’re not exactly the shopping kinda place. They just have a few shopping malls which are more towards local shops. So don’t expect any Zara, MNG or anything like that.

Now back to the main reason I visited this place is for business. So i’ll talk a little bit more on that. On the business side I see their corporate culture is also very relaxing and not hectic at all. I was in Bandar Seri Begawan itself which is the heart of Brunei, but I rarely see any traffic on the roads even on a weekday and the people also go back on time (typical 9-5 kinda job). So work-life balance is practiced well here. But then again, this might be just my particular client. So i’m not sure about the rest. But on a whole, Brunei gives me the whole quiet and slow-paced kinda life. Which is a pretty good thing if you’ve had enough of the hectic life such as the one back in KL.

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As for the place which I stayed, it was The Brunei Hotel. I stayed in their superior room and was given a queen size bed. The rooms were nice and clean. Though a bit simple, it had all the necessary things you need such as cable tv, hairdryer, toiletries (soap and shampoo), and wireless internet access for up to two devices.

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It’s pretty convenient as it’s within walking distance to my client and also to some food options. It’s also just across from the riverside (Kianggeh River) with the “pasar” (market) situated just across from it.

20150415_183151If you’re ever staying around here, I would recommend the Japanese restaurant by the Brunei River called “Kaizen”. It’s just like a 10mins walk from the hotel and has a nice view overlooking the river and their menu is rather extensive. I would always end up ordering a little too much because everything on the menu looked good!

I was in Brunei for 2 days and was back again the week after that for another 2 days. Both trips for business. So I didn’t get to explore much of Brunei. But looking at the amount of foreigners in the airport (both tourists and businessmen), I would say it has it’s own appeal to certain groups of people.

Business Travels: Hong Kong

I’ve been meaning to blog on this LONG ago but never had the time. So here it goes~ Went to Hong Kong for one of my company training a few months ago. One of the perks I get for working in my company (all expense paid trip!). Was there for 4 days and I went there with another colleague where we stayed at 2 different hotels during our stay there. One was Regal Hotel in Causeway Bay and the other was Cosmopolitan Hotel in Wan Chai. You’re probably wondering why we bothered staying at 2 different hotels when they are so close to each other. Well that’s because my company covers my stay during my training sessions only and since I extended my stay there for an extra night for my own leisure, I needed to find a convenient place to stay for the night and that’s how we ended up in Cosmopolitan for a night. I’ll be covering Regal Hotel first. This is a 4 star hotel situated in the centre of the shopping district which is Causeway Bay. LOVE the location!! Being true shopaholics, this was the perfect location for us. There’s a lot of nice shopping places within walking distance such as Times Square, Hysan Place, Sogo, Island Beverly Center and much more. 20140923_212237 20140923_212349 Now talking about the rooms itself, it’s very classy. A lot of golds and mirrors used throughout the room. I was given a queen sized bed all to myself too as we booked separate rooms. Mines had the view overlooking the sea. The room was really clean and well-maintained too. I also kinda liked how they had the ambient music button so if you’re a fan of that you can switch that on and just relax in the room or have a nice long bubble bath in the tub (speakers in the bathroom too). 1

Now onto my next hotel which is Cosmopolitan Hotel in Wan Chai which is also another 4 star hotel but we got cheaper rates here online through Agoda. It was a short 15 min cab ride from our hotel to this one. The rooms are not as flashy as the one in Regal Hotel, but it’s surely nice too. We received a free upgrade to the family suite upon arrival (lucky us!). The suite comprised of two rooms so again we got our own space. Each room has 2 single beds, a flat screen tv and we even had a smartphone provided for us to use freely with no charges! Cool huh? I had the view of the roads below and a slight view of the Happy Valley Racecourse as well. My colleague had the slightly larger attached room with the mini bar. What I like about that is that they gave us a whole variety of mineral water (4 complimentary bottles btw), mints, tea & coffee, and even a microwave too. Convenience-wise, it’s situated along a busy road and you would have to take an underpass to get to the other side towards the shopping district. However they are near one of the tram stops which is just across the road and they also provide free shuttle service to Hong Kong Train station where we took a direct express train to the airport. It was super convenient and far cheaper than taking a cab. The whole journey took about 45mins. Overall I had a great stay at both hotels and would definitely come again when i’m in town. However if I had to choose between the two and if I had a bigger budget, I would say Regal Hotel wins this one because i’m just so in love with the posh room design and easy access to all the shopping areas! 12