Asia 2016 to 2017 Accommodation
28/09/16 to 1/10/16 Melbourne Freebie
1/10/16 to 4/10/16 Kuala Lumpur
Pullman City Centre Hotel and Residences Total $205.94 = 160ringett p/n
“A Delightful 3 days”
Spent 3 nights here. Staff very attentive. The room was very spacious with quite possibly the best bed ever - king size with lovely soft white cotton bedding and numerous pillows. The room itself was a little tired. Highly recommend the buffet breakfast and the yum cha restaurant was good as well. Surrounded by other high end hotels and shops. Will stay here again
Room Tip: Ask for a room with a view of the twin towers
4/10/16 to 18/10/16 Ao Nang
Ibis Styles Hotel Total $508.02 = 950ThaBht p/n
It’s like coming home”
They must be doing something right here - its our third visit and the staff retention rate is awsome! Lovely to be remembered by pretty much everybody. This is a mid-range hotel, well maintained and the staff friendly and courteous. 15 mins walk to the beach. Surrounded by good street food going in either direction. Rooms are small but well designed and comfortable and serviced every day. Breakfast has something for everybody. Wlll be making our fourth visit next year.
Room Tip: An Upper floor overlooking the pool with views to the massive cliffs
18/10/16 to 25/10/16 Chiang Mai
Mercure Chiang Mai Total $218.10 = 816ThaiBht p/n
Poor example of an Accor Hotel”
Booked early through an Accor deal and were upgraded upon arrival which we appreciated. Room was spacious with a very large comfortable bed. Fantastic pool on the 3rd level. Shower was over the original bath with a glass partition - particularly unsafe getting into and out of the shower as there were no rails or anything to hold on to.
A grand old lady gone to seed - patchy paintwork, mismatched furniture, definitely not 4 star. The grounds were poorly maintained with weeds, leaves and green mould in the ponds as well as rubbish everywhere.
For the deal we got was it acceptable but when we wanted to extend for a further week was asked to pay over double - comparable hotels in the area much cheaper, cleaner and newer. Tried to contact senior management but no one at the front desk had an email address, indeed no sign of any senior management in the week we were there. No newspapers. Asked to pay for paper (first 3 pages free) when printing out further Accor Hotel bookings - again - not a 4-star hotel.
Would stay here again at a sale price but certainly not at rack rates.
As an Accor member, I wanted to continue to support the brand but am now staying at a better hotel with a better deal only 150m away.
Perhaps Accor need to look at the standards of their branded hotels. On reading previous reviews I am expecting apologies and excuses from the Secretary to the General Manager but it appears no one is listening.
Room Tip: On the top floor facing the front of the hotel (mostly large tour groups at this hotel)
25/10/16 to 27/10/16 Chiang Rai
Nak Nakara Hotel Total $91.60 = 1200ThaiBht p/n
In 10 years of travelling SE Asia, this would be one of the top hotels. Staff are outstanding, all speak some level of English. Rooms are of average size but very comfortable. Bathroom is very clean with non-slip tiles (not always a given!) The pool is fantastic. We loved everything about the place - only 3 levels, with Thai-style rooves and gardens. Its the little things that made our stay exceptional - chased down the street by the bell boy with umbrellas in case it rained, snacks and cold water always available in reception etc.
Breakfast is outstanding - a huge range of Thai, Western, Japanese.
But most of all its the staff that make this an outstanding hotel.
Handy to the night market, only 3 blocks from the Clock Tower, lots of street food with a little exploring.
Room Tip: One on an upper floor
27/10/2016 to 29/10/2016 Ban Khai
HeaOhm Resort Total $26.90 = 350bht
A Thai love hotel, commonly called “hot sheet” ‘cos they never get cold! Demountable type bungalows along with older concrete models. Clean and very cheap with a BBQ eating place next door. We stay here because it’s our only option to a Thai friend’s village which is only 10 minutes’ walk away.
29/10/2016 to 1/11/2016 Chiang Mai
The Grand Wipanan Total $134.52 = 1170bht p/n
Well designed studio apartment”
Nice airy room with a small balcony, kitchenette, large fridge and sitting area. Lovely bathroom. Located just across the road from Siriwattana Markets which provides the best in fresh and cooked food, at Thai prices. Good internet, cable TV, small safe in room. Serviced daily. Price included breakfast but unless you're wanting ordinary fare, eating at the markets was much more fun.
1/11/2016 to 1/12/2016 Bangkok
Star Estate Apartments Total $1460.80 = 1268 Thai baht p/n
Large airy 2 bed 2 bath apartment on 14th floor overlooking Rama 111 (all 8 lanes!), Wat Periwat and the river. Situated at the front of the building which made it quite noisy but we got used to it. Fabulous view, particularly at night. Nicely furnished, well stocked with everything we needed except for a washing machine. Large light-filled rooms, well maintained. Security was good with key card access only to each floor and several nominal security people at the entrance.
Being in this area was paramount – walking to the park for exercise classes, close to known eating spots and with the BRT directly outside easy public transport access to anywhere in Bangkok.
1/12/16 to 8/12/16 Hanoi
Mercure Hanoi La Gare Total $538.57 = 1,251,860 Viet Dong p/n
“Indifferent reception staff”
Fantastic sound-proof room on the 9th floor due to triple glazing. Small clean room with a really comfortable bed. Breakfast was very good even after a week. Cleaning staff and breakfast staff were helpful and friendly.
However, after check-in the reception staff essentially ignored us - no smiles when entering or leaving reception. A small courtesy but important. They simply seemed completely unaware that we were there. Usually after a week at a hotel you build relationship but not with these guys!
To add insult to injury after checkout received an automated email stating "Warmest greeting etc...." Would have been nice if the reception staff were let in on this!
Room Tip: One of the higher floors with street views
8/12/16 to 14/12/16 Cat Ba Island
Thao Minh Hotel Total $155.30 = 440.000 Viet Dong p/n
“Back for our 4th visit”
Fabulous staff, lovely clean room, great view. The young woman on reception bends over backwards to help. Was ranked 29th on TripAdvisor 7 years ago - is now ranked 4th and well deserved. In the centre of the main street so handy to cheap eats and beer. They have re-branded the restaurant, it's now called Toms and is obviously very successful judging on the number of customers. There are two parts to this hotel - a backpacker style on the left and the more expensive rooms on the right.
Room Tip: Try to get the room on the 10th floor with the huge balcony. A little more expensive but worth ever...
14/12/16 to 16/12/16 Ninh Binh
Binh Minh Hotel Total $33.00 = 280,000 Viet Dong p/n
“Good average room”
Nice family running the hotel. Clean room at the front facing the street which was a mistake as loud speakers at the nearby intersection played jolly music from 7am - not good for sleeping. Smart TV which did not actually work. Overall a good place to stay though as central to everything and safe.
16/12/16 Dong Hoi
Phong Nam Hotel Total $17.65 = 300,000Viet Dong p/n
There are very few mid-range hotels in this town – lots of dives and lots of high end places. After much searching (in a taxi) found this. Clean and spacious but the road noise in the early morning was horrific. The choices for mid-range rooms seems to be very limited.
17/12/16 to 19/12/16 Phong Nha
Thuong Hai Hotel Total $32.95 = 280,000 Viet Dong p/n
Friendly and helpful reception, lovely spacious room at the front with a shared balcony looking onto the main street and karsts. Nice and clean, large shower. Breakfast on the open top floor basic but good. Would stay here again.
19/12/16 to 20/12/16 Dong Hoi
Hanh Phuc Hotel Total $11.75 = 200,000 Viet Dong p/n
Overnight dive on a very noisy corner. Staff were nice but absolutely no English. Rock hard bed. You get what you pay for!
20/12/16 to 24/12/16 Hoi An
Mercure Hoi An Royal Total $220.00 = 935,000 Viet Dong p/n
First of all, we were upgraded to a villa suite as we are Accor members. Fabulous. Large traditional style room with the best bed, huge shower and bath, sitting area and a narrow balcony at the front facing the pool. The staff were exceptional, always greeting us coming and going. Breakfast was also very good. Nice and quiet. Surrounded by restaurants and street food although a little out of town. Manager made an effort to speak to us which we appreciated. Plan to stay again, highly recommended.
Room Tip: Take advantage of the free bikes - in reasonable condition and the town is flat.
24/12/16 to 3/01/17 Danang
Grand Mercure Danang Total $925.03 = 1,503,860 Viet Dong p/n
“Great hotel, great staff.”
Spent 10 days at the hotel. Being Accor members we were upgraded to a deluxe river view room. Upgraded to the privileged lounge for the last 3 days which was a wonderful experience. From the time, we booked to the time we left the staff were exceptional.
Dined at the dim sum restaurant and the seafood buffet, all of which were really nice and good value. This hotel is a little out of the way but there is always taxis available and only costs about 80,000 to get into most city attractions.
Would re-visit just to say hello to the staff - particularly Ms Thao and Ms Lan.
The service, as was the hotel, 5 star, not always a given.
Room Tip: Higher floors with views to the river are excellent
3/01/17 to 10/01/17 Nha Trang
Novotel Nha Trang Total $1435.00 = 3,385,000 Viet Dong p/n
“Lovely surprise upgrade”
As Accor members, we were upgraded to a junior suite much to our delight. Front rooms look directly onto the beach with comfortable balconies. Our room had a double shower with rain shower heads. Everything was well maintained. Breakfast was really good, plenty of variety, even for long-termers. Staff were everything you would expect from a 4 star hotel and more. Beach in front of the hotel was for the use of hotel guests with sun beds and towels - lovely! Mr T helped with local knowledge and deserves a special mention. Will certainly return to this hotel.
Room Tip: Try to book a room facing the beach on a high level - 1711 if your budget allows
10/01/17 to 13/01/17 Dalat
Saigon Dalat Hotel Total $189 = 1,040,000 Viet Dong p/n
Rather a grand older style hotel with spacious rooms with wooden floors. Enormous lobby with chandeliers and sweeping staircases. Indoor pool. Room was large and comfortable. The shower over the very high bath was a killer. Would be impossible to get in and out of for older or infirm people as it was very high and slippery. Breakfast the first day was quite OK but after that is was very ordinary with juices and fruit plates empty at 9.30 and not replenished.
Probably could get a better deal as there is hundreds of hotels in Dalat. Found cold beer and cheap food hard to access. The laneway behind the hotel did have 2 restaurants but very little English.
13/01/17 to 21/01/17 Vung Tau
Pullman Hotel Total $732.29 = 1,510,348 Viet Dong p/n
“We are coming back just to stay in this hotel!”
Welcome upgrade due to Accor Plus card. Large room with sea view, lovely bed, specious bathroom with separate shower and bath. Breakfast is very fresh and varied. Something for everyone. Definitely one of the best breakfasts we've had in 4-month tour of Asia. The BBQ buffet on a Friday evening is spectacular. Went twice and never disappointed. The staff made our stay memorable. Everyone from the cleaning staff to the General Manager made us feel welcome and valued. Having been a chef for 35 years, I was lucky enough to take a look at the kitchens - OMG - the cleanest and best organised I've ever seen. Special thanks to Duy and Quyns in the Privilege lounge, reception and restaurant staff on the ground floor and Mathieu Le Besq (Operations Manager) for going above and beyond. The list is too long to mention everybody! All in all one of the best hotels we've ever stayed at.
Room Tip: High floors are nice for either a city view or a sea view on the other side.
21/01/17 to 25/01/17 Ho Chi Minh City
Pullman Hotel $499.84 = 2,061,840 Viet Dong p/n
“Good solid 5-star hotel”
Well located modern hotel. Our room was adequate but perhaps not to every one's taste. The bath is in the middle of the room with a solid hood thing over it with electric blinds. Professional staff in both the buffet breakfast and privilege lounge. Food was particularly good and plentiful. Evening snacks in the privilege lounge were delicious. Up to the usual Pullman standard and will be returning.
Room Tip: Higher floor for the view.
25/01/17 to 01/02/17 Kuala Lumpur
Pullman Kuala Lumpur City Centre Hotel and Residences Total $544.06 = 252 Ringgit p/n
Upgraded to a Junior Suite much to our joy. Clean, comfortable, fantastic views, couldn't ask for more. I was ill for the 7 days we were there and the staff could not have been more helpful or caring. Wide selection at breakfast. Tried both the Privilege Lounge and the breakfast buffet - both were very good. Evening snacks and drinks in the Privilege Lounge were top quality and plentiful. Our second visit in 5 months and equally as good as the first. Would highly recommend. Within walking distance to many of KL's major attractions.
Room Tip: Ask for high floor with Petronas Towers view.
Asia 2016 to 2017 Transport
All fares are the total price for two people
28/09/16 Air- Launceston to Melbourne Virgin $153.40
28/09/16 Taxi Melbourne Airport to Viewbank $65.10
1/10/16 Taxi Viewbank to Melbourne Airport $68.50
1/10/16 Air Melbourne to Kuala Lumpur Air Asia $592.00
1/10/16 Train Kuala Lumpur A/P to Kuala Lumpur City $36.00 = 110R
4/10/16 Taxi Kuala Lumpur City to Kuala Lumpur A/P $32.25 = 100R
4/10/16 Air Kuala Lumpur to Krabi Air Asia $124.47
4/10/16 Bus Krabi A/P to Ao Nang $11.45 = 300bht
18/10/16 Taxi Ao Nang to Krabi A/P $0.00 comp from hotel
18/10/16 Air Krabi to Chiang Mai Air Asia $153.97
18.10/16 Taxi Chiang Mai A/P to Chiang Mai City $3.10 = 80bht
25/10/16 Taxi Mercure to Bus Station $3.10 = 80bht
25/10/16 Bus Chiang Mai to Chiang Rai $12.70 = 330bht
27/10/16 Bus Chiang Rai to Chiang Kham $3.30 = 86bht
29/10/16 Bus Chiang Kham to Chiang Mai $15.00 = 392bht
29/10/16 Taxi Bus Station to Grand Wipanan $3.65 100bht
1/11/16 Taxi Chiang Mai City to Chaing Mai A/P $3.10 = 80bht
1/11/16 Air Chiang Mai to Bangkok Bangkok Airways $111.76
1/11/16 Taxi Bangkok A/P to Star Estate apartments $14.60 = 400bht
1/12/16 Taxi Star Estate Apartments to Bangkok A/P $14.25 = 370Bht
1/12/16 Air Bangkok to Hanoi Jetstar $180.77
1/12/16 Taxi Hanoi A/P to Hanoi City $23.50 = 400,000 Viet Dong
8/12/16 Bus/Ferry/ Bus to Cat Ba Island $35.50 = 600,000 Viet Dong
14/12/16 Hydrofoil Cat Ba Island to Hai Phoung $21.00 = 360,000 Viet Dong
14/12/16 Bus Hai Phoung to Ninh Binh $10.60 = 180,000 Viet Dong
16/12/16 Train Ninh Binh to Dong Hoi $34.00 = 578,000 Viet Dong
17/12/16 Local bus Dong hoi to Phong Nha $3.90 = 66000 Viet Dong
19/12/16 Local bus Phong Nha to Dong Hoi $3.90 = 66000 Viet Dong
20/12/16 Train Dong Hoi to Danang $20.10 = 342,000 Viet Dong
20/12/16 Taxi Danang to Hoi An $17.65 = 300,000 Viet Dong
24/12/16 Taxi Hoi An to Danang $20.60 = 340,000 Viet Dong
3/01/17 Taxi Grand Mercure to Railway Station Complimentary
3/01/17 Train Danang to Nha Trang $43.00 = 712,000 Viet Dong
3/01/17 Taxi Nha Trang Station to Novotel $1.80 = 30000 Viet Dong
10/01/17 Bus Nha Trang to Dalat $14.60 = 240,000 Viet Dong
13/01/17 Bus Dalat to Vung Tau $26.65 = 440,000 Viet Dong
21/01/17 Ferry Vung Tau to Ho Chi Min $20.60 = 340,000 Viet Dong
21/01/17 Taxi from ferry terminal to Pullman Ho Chi Min city
$4.25 = 70,000 Viet Dong
25/01/17 Taxi from Pullman to Ho Chi Min Airport $9.10 = 150,000 Viet Dong
25/01/17 Air Ho Chi Minh to Kuala Lumpur Air Asia $175.62
25/12/17 Taxi KLC2 to Pullman Hotel city centre Kuala Lumpur $33.00 = 100 Ringgit
1/02/17 Taxi Kuala Lumpur City to Kuala Lumpur A/P $
1/02/17 Air Kuala Lumpur to Gold Coast $620.21
8/02/17 Air Brisbane to Melbourne $261.35
20/02/17 Air Melbourne to Hobart $169.78
These prices were at the time of purchase and also involved hard bargaining at times.