Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Hotel Jen Orchard Gateway x Worst Hotel Experience Ever

I'm not being dramatic but staying at Hotel Jen Orchard Gateway was honestly the worst staycation I've ever had. It's a pity as the hotel's location is fantastic, pool view is gorgeous but the service lacks professionalism. Sure, I've stayed in a few new hotels which had some teething issues and that's understandable but my experience at this hotel was really less than ideal. 

In conjunction with Digital Fashion Week, the hotel hosted an Instagram contest to give away complimentary room stays for the two most creative photos taken at Hotel Jen or Orchard Gateway. A few friends and I took part in the contest so we could use the rooms to celebrate our friend's birthdays and we were thrilled to find out that we won both rooms. However, that's where our happiness ended. 

Our instagram entries for the contest. 

The complimentary hotel stay was only valid for 3 Nov - 4 Nov, and friends took the day off from work so they could enjoy the hotel's facilities. Once we arrived, the guest relations person told us that we had to make reservations for our rooms which we were not aware of since the hotel stay was only applicable to that particular date. We assumed that the two rooms would have been kept aside and that was a mistake on our part. After numerous calls and 20 minutes later, we could finally check in. We requested for double beds but were told that the hotel was fully occupied and that they only had twin beds available. The front desk staff didn't even tell us where the breakfast location was, and only shared when prompted by my friend. 

After the lengthy check in process, we went up to our rooms and were really shocked by the view from the room. The room was facing a large compressor and basically that's all we could see from the room's window. It's completely understandable that the views from certain rooms won't be as great as those proudly emblazoned on the website and since we weren't paying guests, we didn't get a room with a nice view. When we sent friends photos of the view from the room, they joked and asked if we were in jail. Well, I guess you should pick the Superior Room City View or get ready for the Superior Room Shitty View. 

View from the first room - amazing skyline of Singapore

We updated our DFW contact person about the situation and she requested for a change of room for us. The view was much, much better and we were thankful as we did not have to face the large ugly looking container. We went for grocery shopping and when we came up, the new key cards didn't work. We then had to go down to level 10 to get our keycards replaced. 

View from the new room

Our staycation package came with complimentary breakfast, and we woke up early enough for breakfast. A lady (who was in a floral top and jeans / not in the red Jen shirt) asked us which rooms we were from and we told her. While taking our food, another staff came over and told us that our room did not come with breakfast and we had to pay for it. We told them that it was stated on the voucher. When we sat down and were eating our food, the same lady came over again and told us that she checked with front desk and that our voucher did not include breakfast and that we had to pay for it. I was pretty sure that the voucher stated that we were entitled to breakfast, and had to ask the lady if we could finish our meal first before settling the issue. After breakfast, we went to the front desk and the guest relations officer said we didn't have breakfast included. I requested for him to find the voucher we gave yesterday and he said that it was no longer with them as they had sent it over to finance. He then told us to 'sign for the meal first and we can settle this after' - and why should i sign for a meal I'm pretty sure I'm entitled to? Shouldn't you first check with your team internally on what the package entails before disrupting my breakfast several times? We then had to call our contact person again, and she had to communicate with the hotel that yes, we did indeed have complimentary breakfast. When we checked out, the guest relations officer said 'Regarding your breakfast, it's settled.' It would have been nice if you had apologised after you and your colleague's constant insistence that we had to pay for our breakfast. To me, it's really not about paying for breakfast, but it's the customer service. 

After we checked out, a friend shared with us that she had left the phone charger in the hotel room. The first time she called the hotel, she left her number and was promised that she will be updated. After a while, no one called her back so she called the hotel again. A different girl answered the phone, and once again took down her number, promising to call her back. My friend was smarter this time and asked for the girl's name. But once again, my friend did not hear back from the hotel. When my friend called the hotel for the third time looking for the same person, she was informed that the girl she was looking for had left for the day. The person on the line checked on the issue for my friend immediately, and found out that the phone charger was already placed at the front desk all along. The communication between staff was obviously lacking, and no one had bothered to call my friend back. It took three calls over the span of an afternoon for her to retrieve very simple information. 

The quality of service by the staff is really the one sole factor that led to my less than ideal staycation. It is really quite a pity as the hotel location is great, with a fantastic price point. The service staff either need to buck up on their service standard, or the hotel will lose potential guests to other boutique hotels in Orchard Road such as Quincy Hotel (which has fantastic service by the way). It is surprising to find out that the hotel is under the Shangri-La group.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Beijing in pictures

Our staycation at The Quincy Hotel was published on SilverKris! Was (not so) secretly beaming with pride while reading it on my flight.

Street food along Sanlitun never tasted so good, especially after four nights of hotel restaurant food and room service.

It was a glorious day in Beijing and we were so blessed with the wonderful weather.

The legendary Da Dong Roast Duck! Oven roasted duck with crispy skin and succulent meat, mmm.

A touristy trip to Beijing is never complete without a picture outside Tiananmen Square. I was there during Golden Week and the place was extremely crowded.

 Taking a moment to be in my element with iced mocha!

We saw little kids crowding around the candy floss man and decided to get one for ourselves. So incredibly amazed by how huge the candy floss was. This huge candy floss only set us back by RM10, approximately S$2!

A signboard spotted along the streets of Houhai. A really good mojito is not good enough!

There was a quaint little eatery outside Days Inn Forbidden City Beijing. The hotel really reminded me of the inn style motels in the states. The place was musky and not well maintained, but I slowly got used to the place. The only saving grace was that the hotel was walking distance to shopping street Wangfujing and historical landmarks Tiananmen Square and Forbidden City.

 Series of photos taken at 798 Art District - hands down my favourite place in Beijing.

Statues were placed at every nook and crany of the area which was almost the size of Haji Lane. Every spot was a photo opportunity and the whole area exuberated an artsy vibe.

Brunch was at Cafe Flat White - a charming little cafe which served delicious grub. We chose the breakfast set, but they also mains like pasta and pizza.

This Beijing trip marked my first foray into China and the country was good to me. Extraordinary weather, amazing street food and the company of a friend who was so spontaneous to join me.

Till next time!

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Revolution Coffee

Revolution Coffee is hidden in the far flung jungle of Media Circle where Infinite Studios is, and is rather inaccessible if you do not drive. While there is a loop service 191 that ply between Buona Vista and the area, the frequency of the bus is rather erratic.

Perhaps it is this same elusiveness of the place that attracted a steady crowd to visit Revolution Coffee on a Sunday afternoon.

The eclectic, industrial chic design worked well for the place, and it was cosy and welcoming. The colourful chairs which were reminiscent of olden days brought a pop of colour to the place and I loved that the beer crates were recycled to become tables.

We had the Big Breakfast with scrambled eggs, beef sausage and mushrooms, along with french toasts with bacon strips. What took the cake (ha ha) was the pancakes with gula melaka - it was fluffy and the gula melaka butterscotch sauce was not overly sweet. For our drinks, we had the iced mocha, latte and hot cocoa which were all pretty decent.

It's a pretty bold move to say 'In Caffeine we Trust', and thankfully the standard of the coffee was decent.

There's no doubt that Revolution Coffee will become even more popular when the surrounding Mediapolis is up and ready. We saw another cafe Hoopla just next door, and will check it out the next time!

Location : 
#01-03A, 21 Media Circle

Friday, September 19, 2014

Coffee x Chinatown

I'm definitely not a morning person by nature, but I'm trying to be with a little help from my friend caffeine. Working in the Chinatown area means that I'm blessed with a diverse choice of coffee options - from old school coffee filtered with the sock to artisan coffee brews.

Here are three god-sent places which keep me pumped for the day ahead. 

24 Temple Street
Singapore 058569

Craving for traditional coffee brew? Pop by Nanyang Old Coffee for your coffee fix and if you're in the mood for iced-blended coffee, they have it too.

Nanyang Old Coffee 
268 South Bridge Road
Singapore 058817

Coffee, teal or me?  The space was small and intimate, and serves as a take-away counter for your caffeine shots and pastries.

Pleasantly surprised when I saw a handwritten note on the top of the cup 'thank you! have a lovely day!'. Such a small gesture but really brightened up my day.

#01-02 Emerald Garden
31 Club Street
Singapore 069468

Saturday, September 6, 2014

The Quincy Hotel

So impressed with The Quincy Hotel - we were pampered with Moet champagne, chocolates and bathrobes. The 32sqm room was way more spacious than any other boutique hotels I've been to, came with a nespresso machine, a rainshower and a separate bathtub!

What stole my heart was the all day light refreshments available at the lobby restaurant. Think pastries from Dean and DeLuca and Modesto's - rainbow cake, croissant and a wide selection of cheese and ham.

The infinity pool located on the 12th floor came with a lovely view of the city, offering a perspective of Orchard Road you've probably never seen before. Much thought has been put into ensuring that guests are well taken care of, and it's evident from the little things like providing three types of water - cold, warm and room temperature - at the pool area! The gym was also relatively big, placed alongside a sauna and steamroom.

While it looked like we were living it up during the girl's night out party, the reality was that we fell asleep watching Channel 8 dramas. Granny we are.

The Quincy Hotel 
22 Mount Elizabeth, 228517

Leave the men in the dust with our all-new Quincy Girls Night Out staycation package. Indulge in the signature All-Club Benefits. Keep it classy with a bottle of Moet. Glam up and get ready to paint the town red, with a chauffeured journey, no less. Things gonna get crazy, y'all.

♥ Two Studio Rooms
♥ All-Club Benefits
♥ One-way limousine transfer
♥ One bottle of Moet & Chandon Rose Imperial
♥ Gourmet chocolates
♥ Free entry for 4* to The Butter Factory
♥ Complimentary drinks for 4 at The Art Bar @ The Butter Factory
♥ Late check out till 3pm