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Hotel Review: Grand Central Singapore

Finding a Hotel in Singapore is never been an easy affair. Well, unless you have the money to spend, of course. Otherwise, you will be stuck either with small dirty room, location that is far away from city center, or maybe with both.

We were lucky to find Hotel Grand Central, which are neither has dirty room, nor far from city center. Hotel Grand Central is located right behind Concorde Hotel Singapore, just next to the The Istana, official residence of the President of Singapore. It cannot get more closer to the center of Singapore.

The only concern that we have were the rows of KTV and bar lining up just behind the main reception. We were worried that the noise will disrupt our sleep, or worse, our 6 years old boy. It turns out to be untrue. There are no audible sounds as we slept at our 8th floor room.

So, without further ado, lets explore more of Hotel Grand Central.

Bedroom

As mentioned above, the room of Hotel Grand Central is pretty spacious. The bed can conveniently cater for 2 adults and 1 young kid. Each side of the bed has a sidelamp which bright enough to illuminate the room

Bed and Lamp

Room Amenities

Across the bed, there are a desk, with at TV on the wall. The TV didn’t have so much channel. Forget HBO, AXN, Cartoon Network, and any other entertainment channel. The channel on the TV is mostly related to news. However, what it lacks in channels was made up with the ability to access Youtube directly from the TV, using the remote control.

Entrance

Next to the table is the space to put your luggage, and a coffee maker table. This is where things get interesting. Instead of serving complimentary drinking water in plastic bottle, Hotel Grand Central use central drinking water, which is distributed through a panel on the wall right above the coffee making facilities. The water panel are able to dispense hot water, warm water, or cold water. The hot water button is even equipped with child-safe feature. But it is the cold water that is most appreciated in Singapore’s sunny day.

Water Dispenser

Bathroom

One thing that worth to highlight for the en-suite bathroom of Hotel Grand Central Singapore is steel handlebar to help those who has trouble walking or standing. Not only 1, but 2. There are 1 handlebar for the shower area, and another one next to the toilet. These handlebar can be folded to give more space in the bathroom.

Ready for Those in Needs

Aside from the handlebar, the bathroom is equipped with standard amenities like soap, shampoo and hot water. There are no bath tub in the bathroom. However, it has a ceiling shower, my favorite.

Around the Hotel

Our room rate didn’t include breakfast, as we think that the proximity to Orchard Road will allow us to get some food. We are correct. Just across the street, next to Concorde Hotel, there are stalls selling Noodles and Hainamese Rice in the morning.

There are also convenience store located at the corner of Orchard Road, should you need to buy any daily needs. And if you plan to go somewhere further, there are also bus station nearby. As for the train, Somerset MRT station insite Orchard Central is 5 minutes walk away.

Conclusion: A Hotel worth the Price

We were traveling with a young boy, so we are willing to pay a bit more to make sure me, my wife and our son got a good night sleep. For the price of around 110 USD, I think Hotel Grand Central is worth the price. For comparison, a 3-stars hotel in Singapore might charged as much, mostly with smaller room.

There are also swimming pool and gym, which we didn’t have time to use. Again, comparing to other 3-stars hotel, without swimming pool, that charged as much, Hotel Grand Central stands on the top.

Hotel Grand Central can be booked through Agoda.

Disclaimer: I will earn commission which helps to keep this website running. The review however is purely my personal experience, without bias from any commission. Thank you for your support

Two Shared Bunk Compared: Ubud Market Hostel and Hostel Ubud

In the last couple of trips for business, I choose to stay at room with shared bunk. In this kind of room, I basically rent a bed instead of whole room, and got to share the room with some other people. Because of this, the price per night is very cheap. Both hostel compared here cost around 100.000 rupiah (Less than US$ 10 with today’s rate).

Both are basically pretty good, clean, and could be alternative in case the other is full. Read on to see more detail on how Ubud Market Hostel and Hostel Ubud compared to each other, or scroll to the bottom for short summary.

Location

Both Ubud Market Hostel and Hostel Ubud are located close to each other. Both are also right at the heard of Ubud, some 5 minutes walking from Ubud Palace and Ubud Market

Hostel Ubud is easier to find, as it is located on Jalan Dewi Sita, right across the soccer field. The Bamboo Restaurant which is located at the ground floor also help to find the place.

Hostel Ubud Signage
Bamboo Restaurant at Jalan Dewi Sita. Hostel Ubud is located at the 2nd floor

In comparison, Ubud Market Hostel is located slightly into the small road in front of Tut Mak. They also have small marker situated high above the road that make it even more challenging to spot.

Ubud Market Hostel Signage
Ubud Market Hostel, with the signage on the top right corner

Hostel Reception

Reception Area
Cozy reception area of Hostel Ubud

I arrived at Ubud Market Hostel around 11pm at night. Tired after a long day, it took me a while to find the reception, as the desk is not manned.

In contrast, I arrived at Hostel Ubud at 1am due to flight delays. The reception is well manned, and they set me up pretty quick.  Hostel Ubud did better than Ubud Market Hostel.

Hostel Ubud also has a more comfortable reception area, as shown in the picture.

Bedroom

Hostel Ubud has only 1 bedroom for 20 people. The room is not equipped with Air Conditioner. If you are prone to feel hot at night, pick the top bed to be closer to ceiling fan

Two Hostel Compared
The bunk compared. To the left is Hostel Ubud, and to the right is Ubud Market Hostel

Ubud Market Hostel perform better in this aspect. Its room cater for 6 people, with full wall between beds to ensure privacy. The room is also equipped with Air Conditioner, cloth hanger, and extra space to put your stuff and charge your electronics.

Both hostel have lockable storage available free of charge.  Both require Rp. 50.000 deposit, which will be refunded when you returned the locker’s key

Bathroom and Toilet

Both hostel provide separate area for shower, toilet and wash room. The showers in both hostel are also equipped with hot water. In term of cleanliness, both hostel showers and toilets are clean enough.

Hostel Ubud provide 2 shower areas, 3 toilets and 2 wash sink to be shared with 20 people. Ubud Market Hostel provide 1 shower, 1 toilets and 1 wash sink to be shared with 6 people. Despite the difference in the ratio, I didn’t ever need to queue while staying at both places.

Summary

With the location within few meters, and price range around Rp. 100.000, both Hostel Ubud and Ubud Market Hostel are good value for money. However, I’m like Hostel Ubud a little bit more than Ubud Market Hostel for the following reasons:

  • Hostel Ubud is easier to find at night. Due to location on the main road, it also has more parking space for motorcycle
  • Hostel Ubud reception staff was ready at 1am to receive me
  • Bamboo restaurant at the 1st floor is handy for breakfast
  • Better view from 2nd floor to the football field

Have you stayed in any or both of the hostel? Share your experience in the comment section below.

Hotel Review: Komune Resort & Beach Club Gianyar, Bali

I didn’t surf. Well, at least, I have learned how to surf, and able to stand for a couple of time, and decided that surfing is not my cup of tea. But if I surf and travel with my surf board everywhere in the world, I would be grateful and happy to find Komune Resort & Beach Club at one of the best surf spot in Gianyar, Bali.

Surf Board RackEach room in Komune Resort & Beach Club has its own surf board rack at the front, making it convenient to keep your surf board close and safe. And since all of the rooms are in the ground floor, there are no hassles to bring your surf board through stairs after a good morning or evening surf.

But, even if you don’t surf, Komune Resort & Beach Club is still a worthy place to spend a few nights at. I was traveling with my wife and 3.5 years old son, and there are enough stuff to entertain all of us for our 2 nights stay. The beach itself, swimming pool, fitness center that is the most complete that I found even compared to 5-star hotel, and a daily outdoor kids movie night to give chances for parents to eat in peace.

The downside? First, price. Komune Resort & Beach Club fall into a more expensive side of the range, although it won’t make you broke. The good thing is that, the food is reasonably priced compared to most other hotels. For the experience, I think it is still a good price to pay. The biggest downside for us is the location that is quite far from major crowd at Sanur/Ubud. Sanur will take around 15-20 minutes drive, and Ubud is even longer.

Komune Beach Lounge
The beach lounge, seaside pool, and beach, all in one place at Komune Resorts Gianyar, Bali

Nevertheless, we enjoyed our stay at Komune Resort & Beach Club Bali. Read my few next posts to find out more details on the room, facilities (Did I told you that the gym is the most complete one?), and how I think Komune Resort & Beach Club as one of the most serious supporter of green planet.

Or, book the hotel via this link, or the hotel’s website

Novotel Surabaya: Hotel’s Facilities

I love the swimming pool. And my son love the swimming pool too. The main pool is long enough to swim laps, and not so crowded in the evening. The swimming pool is definitely the main attraction in the morning, and especially in the evening

Main Swimming Pool
The main swimming pool. At the far end is Janggala’s outdoor table, with blue umbrella

Aside from the main pool, there are 2 other pool. The slide pool has a yellow slide hidden behind the rocks. And the other round pool is to cater for young kids.

Yellow Slide Kid's Pool

More importantly, all this pool is located in the middle of the hotel. It is nicely shaded from the sun with the large coconut trees and the hotel building itself, making it nice to swim as early as 3pm.

The gym, on the other hand, was rather disappointing. It is located at the corner of lobby to the apartment, sharing space with no divider wall. The equipment is rather old. Out of 3 treadmill, two of them had their elevation adjustment broken. I end up to lift some weight instead.

The Gym Broken Treadmill

At the back of the hotel, just in front of the lobby of the apartment, there are additional facilities for kids and adult. This part of Novotel Surabaya seems like a bit forgotten and lack of maintenance.

For kids, there are outdoor children playground. Nearby the playground is a cage which host some rabbits. My son love rabbits, especially the part of feeding them. I’m not sure if you are allowed to feed the rabbit. Even if it is OK, you need to grab your own carrots.

Children PlaygroundNext to the playground is entertainment for adult. There are 2 tennis court sharing same space with a basketball ring. Unfortunately, the tennis court looks abandoned. One of them don’t even have a nett

Worn Out Tennis CourtBook Novotel for your next trip to Surabaya via Agoda. There are more picture of Novotel Surabaya in our flickr page.

Novotel Surabaya: Breakfast at Janggala

Breakfast at Novotel Surabaya was served at Janggala Restaurant. The restaurant feels a bit too small to cater all of the staying guest. To be able to accommodate more guess, they also provide outdoor poolside table. I find it quite nice to have breakfast next to the pool.

Food served is standard American/European breakfast, such as salad, fried potato, sausage, fish manier, and croissant. Taste was OK, just a typical hotel breakfast.

Grace Breakfast Plate My Breakfast Plate

What I find is different from other Hotel Breakfast is the large selection of porridge. They serve 5 porridge: chicken porridge, plain porridge, black sticky rice, mung bean and bubur sumsum. Some is sweet, some is salty. Try them all for a nice variety of American Breakfast.

Selection of Porridge

Janggala also serve Opal Coffee, prepared with 2 Saeco Royal espresso machine. Having a proper cup of coffee is important for me, especially if I’m here for a business trip.

Saeco Royal Coffee MachineOne improvement that I feel will add more value is to change the juice with fresh juice. At the moment, Janggala still serve bottled juice. Fresh juice will definitely help to freshen the day of patrons

Juice BarBook Novotel for your next trip to Surabaya via Agoda. Or read the next part of our review about Novotel’s facilites, like swimming pool and gym