Tuesday, August 27, 2013

staycation - Hotel Grand Pacific

I've earlier posted a review on BIG Hotel. The day before, we stayed at Hotel Grand Pacific. Perhaps the stark difference in the two hotels made us so happy with BIG. Hotel Grand Pacific was formerly known as Allson Hotel.

Website - http://www.hotelgrandpacific.com.sg

Address: 101 Victoria St (Bugis/Bras Basah area)

Date of stay: End Aug 2013

Room stayed in: Deluxe, level 7 (28 sqm, from Agoda)

Price: S$160 (before taxes)

Check-in/out time: 14:00 / 11:00 hrs (hotel rejected extension of check-out time)

Facilities (Restaurants, recreation, carparking) - Two restaurants, hotel's own cafe (Sun Cafe) and Ah Yat Abalone seafood restaurant. There is a fitness room and pool, but we did not try any of these. Carpark is at basement but non-complimentary. There are three lifts serving the hotel - speed is tolerable.

What's nearby - Many bookshops at the Bras Basah Complex. Our National Library is just oppposite the main road. It is also closer to Bugis MRT (compared to BIG), avoid the heat by walking in the airconditioned Bugis Junction mall access to the MRT instead. For the party-goers, Chijmes is also within 10 minutes walk.

Transportation options - Bugis MRT (East-West Line). There are also a significant number of public buses plying the main road outside the hotel, however these buses can get very crowded during peak hours. However, the same thing can be said of our trains - so avoid carrying bulky items during peak hours when people are going home or work.

Reception - At level 1. Check-in and out was a breeze. The only (and most annoying) gripe is that they did not inform carparking is not complimentary until i checked out the next morning. By then, the damage has been done.

Room (Bed, TV channel selection, airconditioning, furniture, security) - The entire hotel is in need of refurbishment. As such, the room condition is well kept, however very aged and unable to meet the expectations of people who seen better ones at the same price range. Bed comfort is average.

The hotel is still painfully stuck at the CRT TV age and channel selection is not fantastic.

The furniture is dated (can be downright boring if you do not have a liking for antiques).

There is an electronic safe in the wardrobe. Keycard access is required at the lifts, however not properly restricted to the level we stayed at. We had a problem entering the room after supper, the front desk staff was helpful to settle the matter after few minutes of explanation and self-trial.

Bathroom (Toiletries, Bathtub, Water supply) - Basic toiletries such as shower cap, liquid soap/shampoo were provided. Hairdryer is also provided.

Plumbing were largely fine and water supply was good and hot water stably supplied. We felt however, the bathroom felt more like the ones we used in public wash rooms.

Verdict - We are not coming back anymore. Until there is a major renovation and they re-look their check-out timing and parking policy. It is simply not worth the money spent.

staycation - BIG Hotel

This is the first staycation review. Being a reviewer from a local's standpoint, it may not be so useful to the tourists, but i hope to help everyone who is googling for answers.

Website - http://www.bighotel.com
Address - 200 Middle Road (Bugis/Selegie area)

Date of stay - Aug 2013

Room stayed in - Superior, level 13 (around 12 sqm)

Price - S$125 (before taxes)

Check-in/out time - 15:00 / 12:00 hrs

Hotel facilities (Restaurants, recreation, carparking) - Cafe at B1, pub at L1, multi-storey carpark (note: parking is non-complimentary), 3-lift lobby serving the whole tower.

What's nearby - Immediately below the hotel, there is the Cheers convenience store and a roti-prata coffeeshop. If you're vegetarian, you will love this hotel as there are many vegetarian eateries opposite (Fortune Ctr). Walk a bit more and you can access the two big malls Bugis+ and Bugis Junction that are closer to Bugis MRT. If you are a good walker, you can even walk towards Selegie and start off your Orchard shopping journey from Dhoby Ghaut.

Transportation options - Bugis MRT (East-West Line) or Bras Basah (Circle Line). Both stations are equally rather far if on foot. There will be Bencoolen MRT (Downtime Line Phase III), but that is only ready in 2017.

Reception - The front desk is located at B1. If you carry many items, it makes sense to have the taxi ferry you to the drop-off point at L2 (enter by the carpark). The staff attitude was okay, we were there at 14:00 and she informed us she would only do the registration and provide the keycard at 15:00. Did not find out how punctual they were as we went for a meal at Bugis Junction and returned at 15:45.

Room (Bed, TV channel selection, airconditioning, furniture, security) - This is where we were willing to forgive the lack of complimentary parking and late check-in. The room is small, yet it felt unusually cosy. The bed was put on a raised flooring and felt very comfortable. The only problem, very tall or big sized folks will have a problem here - the bed is not that big, and you would be sleeping facing a wall. Also, the small room means only maximum two big luggage.

Thoughtful luggage compartment below the bed

There is no water boiler in the room - drinking water supply is communal and a quality Zojirushi hot water flask was provided.. We prefer this concept as we can get hot water any-time and keep the water warm longer as opposed to normal boiling flasks. Together with the hot/cold water dispenser, there is also an ice-maker near the lift lobby. It can be a bane if you need a lot of water like me... also if you dislike noise, do request for a room further away from these machines. 

Unfortunately, there is no fridge in the room, and there are no hotel alternatives for this missing item. 

The TV selection is good (forgot the listing), but there are news and entertainment channels. Also, there is video-on-demand. A few movies were available at no cost (at least for our stay). The TV is mounted in front of the bed. 

The furniture is of good quality, the wood was left raw (so were some portions of the walls). There is a small working table with two wall sockets and two USB charging ports, one of them reserved for the Nexus tablet. The Nexus tablet would allow us to control the room lighting wirelessly and surf the Internet.

Airconditioning control is via a Daikin controller. The air blows toward the window, which can get chilly at a moment and somewhat warm next. Not really consistent.

There is an electronic safe below the bed. Keycard access is required at the lifts and only for the floor your room is at. Two keycards were provided for our stay.

Bathroom (Toiletries, Bathtub/Shower, Water supply) - The wash basin is slightly bigger than an aircraft's and located outside the bathroom. There is no bathtub, however the rain shower makes up for this. The water pressure is good and hot water very stable. 

Verdict - If the price is right, we will re-visit this hotel.