Friday, December 27, 2013

Ambassador Lounge (T3 Changi Airport Singapore)

I saw so many posting asking about where to take nap when they are on transit in Singapore Changi airport.  As I was using Ambassador Lounge in T3 waiting for my Garuda flight to Jakarta, I thought why don't I take some picture around the lounge and post something in my blog.  Perhaps some people may find it quite useless.

Well, I hope some of you may find it useful.  If it is so, appreciate it, if you can drop a comment so that I know my effort is not useless :)

This is the reception desk of the lounge.  I spoke to the staff there and they told mne actually they have another Ambassador lounge in T2.

When you are about to go into the lounge you will see the "clock wall" where you can see time on different time zone.

There are quite some area for you to seat and relax and enjoy the drink and food.  Well, in my opinion, the food and drink are just so so.   Nothing fantastic.

There is also some area for your internet access.  PC is also available.  However, I did not try how good is the PC there.

I saw quite some people (well in fact most of the people at that lounge at that time, as the lounge quite empty that late morning, around 10-ish am) were napping in the seat.  I found these couple are smart and get the good location.  Well, if you do not need to nap, you can see nice few of the airport also (not really sure what it call, tarmac??)

Actually the lounge also has a nap suite, which you can use for minum of 3 hours for SGD 35.31 (and then can extend it hourly) but I guess this is on top of SGD35.31 that you need to pay for lounge access.  The lounge access comes also with shower facilities, which you can also purchase separetly if you just need to have shower.  Here is what you get when you pay for SGD35.31.

The shower area is quite good and apparently if you just purchase the shower, they give you a bottle of water and snacks.  Not so bad I guess.  Here are some pictures of the shower area.

Unfortunely, they do not let me see the nap area, but they gave me the brochure.   Well, I hope this write up give some idea for some people the next time that they will be in transit in Singapore, especially in Terminal 3 (T3)


Thursday, November 14, 2013

Turkish Airlines Economy Class (SIN-IST-SIN)

Last July, I need to make another trip to Toronto (YYZ).   I decided to try something else.  In April, I took Cathay Pacific (CX) to Toronto, as they have the "best" schedule ex-Singapore (SIN.  However, I found CX long haul in flight service is just so so.  I also do not like their economy seat with touch screen PTV.  Couple with recently CX has just been upgraded their system.  In April, my OLCI was cancelled and CX told me I did the cancellation which I did not and I think it was their system problem.  So with another system upgrade, I am avoiding them at all cost.

It is not so easy task to find an alternative flight to Toronto from Singapore with reasonable price around CX pricing.  There are few alternative such as LH, AY, BA, EK, EY and TK which involes long layover in their hub.  I was contemplating to fly AY, as it will be intereting to do stop over in Helsinki (HEL).  However, the "cheap" price does not earn much in CX Marco Polo Club (I think only 50% or even 0) and as MPC Silver only, I will have no lounge access in HEL.

After doing a bit of research, the choice came to Turkish Airlines (TK).  Few reaons that I decided to try TK:
- In term of transit point, Istanbul (IST) is the best transit point between SIN and YYZ.  It breaks the journey almost into 2 equal halves.  SIN-IST is about 10-11 hours and IST-YYZ is about 9-10 hours (depending on which direction)
- I never been to IST, hence this is a good chance for me to do 1 day transit in IST to explore the city
- TK offers Comfort Class, which is Premium Economy in their B777-300ER which is used between IST and YYZ and the price is quite competitive, just  extra EUR100-200 and the total price is still cheaper than CX M class.

But there is 1 draw back.  The layover in IST is quite long, 7.5 hours for SIN-YYZ leg and 9.5 hours for YYZ-SIN legs.  TK only gives free hotel is the connecting flight is within 10 hours (for Y class) and 8 horus (for C class).  Please note this is not based on your flight schedule but rather on the next scheduled flight (based on timetable).    So, if your connecting flight is 12 hours because you cannot get into the earlier flight (flight full or your own choice), no hotel will be provided.

Here is my flight schedule:

So on 16-JUL, I went to the airport, checkin for my flight.  I want to credit the mileages into my SQ Krisflyer, but I only a Silver status with KF.  I showed my A3 Gold, however, the agent said he cannot issue me a lounge access as it is a third party lounge,  unless I want the miles goes inton my A3.    I told him fine, I still want my miles into KF and he said no issue with Priority Tad.   I think the issue is becuase TK does not have lounge in SIN and they are using SATS lounge.  As I remember correctly  actually Star Alliance rule should allow access to the third party lounge.  Since SATS lounge is not so fantastic and I can use my Priority Pass to acess it or even other lounges, I did not bnother to make any fuss out of it.    I decided to hang around at Sky Lounge instead.
TK 66 route is actually CGK-SIN-IST, but TK does not have any right between CGK-SIN.   The flight was quite full as there were a big group from Jakarta going to Brazil (GRU?) attending the Youth Conference.  It also seems to me that TK may offer the "best" fare to Europe also from CGK, as I saw many people with connecting flight to Europe. 
Here is the A330 plane that will bring me to Istanbul, TC-JNI, name Konak. Later on, I found out the same plane is used for my return flight to SIN.  Here is the plane waiting in Changi for my Istanbul flight.

Here is the plane when arrive Istanbul in the morning,

The same plane is waiting in Istanbul to carry me back to Singapore.

Personally I found the TK A330 is on par with SQ A330 if not even better.  I found the seat recline further in TK rather than SQ.  Seat pitch is also decend (I am 6" tall).  The IFE is good, although selection-wise SQ may still win, but it is still good enough.


Here is the airshow taken somewhere above India

A peak of the Business Class seat

I like this sign board when you board the plane.  It looks very nice

TK is generous enough to give the amenities kits even on economy class.  It contains lip gloss, body lotion, comb, tooth brush, ear plug, eye mask, and socks.  On the return flight, they put it in the tin container which make it very interesting.

Foodwise is OK as the food selection is a bit Mediteranian taste.  Put a side the preference, I found the food quality is good.  The serve supper after take off from Singapore and breakfast just before landing to Istanbul.  What is interesting, they distribute bottle water right after the supper service.  This come very handy for long flight.  I think many other airlines should learn this.

Supper on SIN-IST.  Unfortunetly I did not take the picture of the breakfast


On IST-SIN, they also served dinner right after take off and breakfast just before landed, although it is too late for breakfast based on Singapore time.

Personally I think TK is a good airlines.  I will fly them again, as the service is good and normally their price is quite competitive.
 I will break here, and will continue with coverage of TK Lounge in IST and Comfort Class on the next post.  Stay tune..

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Sofitel Bangkok Sukhumvit

I decided to use my Accor Advantageplus complimentary night in this hotel during my stay in Bangkok early August.

I have seen this hotel since its construction, as it is located in the main Sukhumbvit road between soi 13 and 15 and it is a short walking distance to Asoke BTS and also Terminal 21 shopping centre.

The building looks quite impressive in my opinion. It is very nicely design with some outdoor seating (cafe?) which I guess cater for the smoker.

Actualy I have not been staying with any Accor properties in the past 2 years and any Sofitel in Bangkok for the past 3 years.  The last time I stayed in Accor properties was in July 2011 and it was at Pullman Kingpower Bangkok.   And for Sofitel, I think it was sometimes in 2010 before the Sofitel Silom was rebranded to Pullman G.

Hence, I do not have much expectation when I checked in into this hotel, especially when I am using a complimentary (aka free) stay.   However, to my surprise, as I was still  Le club Accor Gold, I was upgraded to Club room and escorted to Club floor (at 31st floor) for check-in.   So this is a plus point.

The lounge look chic and cozy but however later I found out that the evening cocktail still as per Sofitel Silom which is very pale compare to Marriott (Sukhumvit) for example.  

The check in process was quite fast and I got escorted to my room.  The room still has the impression of brand new.  I think the hotel itself is only about 1 year old.  Here are the pictures of the room. 

The bath room has a glass door with a curtain that can be open to have the look through feature.  Personally I do not really like how they do it.  Other hotel has some button that you can just press rather than mechanically that you have to roll it.   But other than that, the bath room is quite spacious with seperate shower area and bath tube and water closet area.

The hotel provide a turn down service and this is my bed after the turn down

And the welcome fruit for Gold member I suppose?

My room has a very nice view of the swimming pool.

The swimming pool is located in the 9th floor together with the fitness centre and spa.  I do like the smaller swimming pool which have a chairs for you to sit there and enjoy the water falls splash.

Here is the fitness area.  Looks to me a fully functional and brand new machine for you to do some work out.  They also have some trainner waiting in the fitness center.

And I found this in the locker room area.  How creative it is.

I took a breakfast in Voila restaurant in the second floor.  The food selection is good and I think quite value for money especially if you are AdvantagePlus member which will get 1 dine for free.

Not much photos of the resturant other than the entrance and the stair from lobby.  The rest are the pictures of the lobby.

And here are some pictures of the lift area on my floor

Overall, I found the Sofitel Bangkok Sukhumvit shows its quality as a 5 stars hotel which its predecessor Sofitel Silom was fighting hard to achieve it.  Of course, being a brand new building it will be easier for it to achieve this.

I was quite impress with my stay and show some level of commitment from Accor to make Sofitel brand as a recognize 5 stars brand in the industries.