Tag Archives: hotels

Thailand 2014: Conrad Koh Samui

Introduction
Cathay Pacific Lounge San Francisco
Cathay Pacific First Class San Francisco to Hong Kong
Cathay Pacific Lounge The Pier Hong Kong
Cathay Pacific Business Class Hong Kong to Bangkok
Millennium Hilton Bangkok
Cooking with Poo
Overnight Train from Bangkok to Chiang Mai
Le Meridien Chiang Mai
Patara Elephant Farm
Bangkok Airways Economy Class Chiang Mai to Ko Samui
Conrad Koh Samui
Bangkok Airways Koh Samui to Bangkok
Thai Airways First Class Check-in and Lounge Bangkok
EVA Air Evergreen Lounge Bangkok
Louis’ Tavern First Class CIP Lounge Bangkok
Singapore SilverKris Lounge Bangkok
Thai Airways First Class Bangkok to Hong Kong
Singapore Airlines Lounge Hong Kong
Thai Airways Lounge Hong Kong
Asiana Business Class Hong Kong to Seoul
Asiana Airlines First Class Lounge Seoul
Asiana Airlines First Class Suites Seoul to New York
United Airlines Business Class PS Service New York to San Francisco


While the Park Hyatt Tokyo might be the nicest hotel I’ve ever stayed at, the Conrad Koh Samui deserves some sort of superlative as well because this place is incredible. The views are absolutely stunning, the service is wonderful, and it’s a great spot for relaxation.

The view from the hotel lobby

The view from the hotel lobby

For our trip, we decided to rent a car so we wouldn’t be stuck at the hotel the whole time. Beware: you need to be comfortable driving up very, very steep roads to get to the Conrad. If you’ve driven extensively in SF, you’re probably okay, but it’s really steep and curvy to get to the hotel lobby.

With GPS and in daylight, the drive from the airport to the hotel wasn’t too bad. It took a little getting used to driving on the left side of the road and navigating the relatively small and crowded streets, but we got to the Conrad in about an hour. There’s a Tesco Lotus on the left-hand side of the road on the way to the hotel, and lots of people recommend stopping there to get snacks since the hotel is pretty isolated and the hotel restaurants are all pretty pricey.

When we arrived, we were greeted with cold towels and a refreshing drink. We were assigned room 218, which has unobstructed views (as do most of the rooms) and is walkable to breakfast.

The rooms are gorgeous. Sitting in bed, you can have a view of your private pool and the ocean. There’s a giant tub (that’s honestly pretty impractical/wasteful because it takes forever to fill) and spacious bathroom. But the private infinity pool is easily the best part.

Bed

Bed

TV and view into bathroom

TV and view into bathroom

Giant tub

Giant tub

Separate shower

Separate shower

Loungers by the pool

Loungers by the pool

More pool seating

More pool seating

Unobstructed views

Unobstructed views

Waiting in our room was a small welcome amenity of some fruit and baked goods. Every day at turndown service, more baked goods would arrive.

Welcome amenity

Welcome amenity

The hotel must do a really good job at bug spraying, because there are very few mosquitos on the property. There were lots of ants running around the pool, so I wouldn’t leave the doors to the room open, but it was nice to not have to coat myself in DEET throughout the stay.

The Conrad Koh Samui is really the perfect place to do nothing. An average day for me would be to do some morning yoga, eat a long breakfast, sit by the pool and read, swim a little, sit by the pool some more, swim some more, do a little bit of exploring, watch the sunset, eat dinner off property, come back for an evening swim, and go to bed. There’s a larger main pool for the resort, which is where you should go if you want to swim laps, but the main area can get pretty windy, and the beach isn’t anything special, so there’s not much reason to leave your room unless you want someone to bring you drinks.

View down to the main pool

View down to the main pool

While other reviews I’ve read have been unimpressed with breakfast, I enjoyed it a lot. The Thai eggs benedict was essentially just a poached egg on an English muffin with curry on top, but I loved it. The food wasn’t the best food I ate in Thailand by any means, but I was perfectly happy to eat there for four days. You can also request a coconut as a drink, if you’re so inclined. And although breakfast officially ends at 10:30am, the staff didn’t seem strict about it, and you’re definitely allowed to loiter there well past the end time.

Outside seating at breakfast

Outside seating at breakfast

Hot food options

Hot food options

Egg and pancake/waffle station

Egg and pancake/waffle station

Foods like noodles and congee

Foods like noodles and congee

Pastries

Pastries

Salads and other food

Salads and other food

I found the service at the hotel to be wonderful, and English proficiency was very high. Everyone was cheerful, and the staff would always provide a greeting, even if you’re just driving by in a buggy. There were lots of small touches, like if you’re working out in the gym and running low on water, someone will probably notice and hand you a new bottle. Or I tried going to one of the workout classes and it happened to be cancelled, and I later received a call  with profuse apologies and an offer to reschedule the class to any other time of my choosing.

We didn’t eat at the hotel except for breakfast, so I can’t comment on the other food options at the hotel. We did ask one of the hotel staff for restaurant recommendations in the area, and he gave us the typical touristy recommendations which included Green Talay (which is much espoused on Flyertalk). I asked him if he would ever eat there, and he laughed and said no because Green Talay was for farangs and had good food but was too expensive, so I asked him for where he would eat as a local, and he recommended the restaurant that’s kitty corner to the Family Mart at the turn off from 4170 to get to the hotel. We ended up eating at his recommended restaurant, and we enjoyed it. The ambiance is pretty dismal as it’s just an open-air seating area with the family’s daughter watching Thai TV, but it’s probably the best Thai food for your baht that you’ll find close to the hotel. A giant bowl of delicious green curry was 100 baht, and they’ll make it Thai spicy for you if you choose.

Overall, the Conrad Koh Samui is a great spot for seclusion and relaxation. I’m not sure how you can get much better than your own private infinity pool, and the service at the hotel is top notch. You shouldn’t go to Koh Samui if you’re looking for a great cultural or food experience, but if you’re looking for R&R, this place is great. I booked this hotel at a pre-devaluation AXON award rate, which was an absolute steal at only 145k Hilton points for 4 nights. This hotel is now either 80k (during February and March) or 95k points per night (the rest of the year), which unfortunately makes it a much harder redemption, but this hotel could be a good candidate for the two free weekend night certificates that come with the Citi Hilton Reserve credit card.

Thailand 2014: Le Meridien Chiang Mai

Introduction
Cathay Pacific Lounge San Francisco
Cathay Pacific First Class San Francisco to Hong Kong
Cathay Pacific Lounge The Pier Hong Kong
Cathay Pacific Business Class Hong Kong to Bangkok
Millennium Hilton Bangkok
Cooking with Poo
Overnight Train from Bangkok to Chiang Mai
Le Meridien Chiang Mai
Patara Elephant Farm
Bangkok Airways Economy Class Chiang Mai to Ko Samui
Conrad Koh Samui
Bangkok Airways Koh Samui to Bangkok
Thai Airways First Class Check-in and Lounge Bangkok
EVA Air Evergreen Lounge Bangkok
Louis’ Tavern First Class CIP Lounge Bangkok
Singapore SilverKris Lounge Bangkok
Thai Airways First Class Bangkok to Hong Kong
Singapore Airlines Lounge Hong Kong
Thai Airways Lounge Hong Kong
Asiana Business Class Hong Kong to Seoul
Asiana Airlines First Class Lounge Seoul
Asiana Airlines First Class Suites Seoul to New York
United Airlines Business Class PS Service New York to San Francisco


Le Meridien Chiang Mai is a Category 2 SPG property, which means that weekday nights go for 4,000 points per night, while weekend nights are 3,000 points per night. They’re also known for having great treatment of SPG Platinums, with most Platinums reporting receiving an upgrade to a corner suite.

The hotel isn’t too far from the train station. It’s definitely walkable if it’s not too hot out and you don’t have much luggage. While the first touts right outside the train station wanted 150 baht to take us, we walked just outside the first ring of people and found a songtaew (Chiang Mai’s answer to transit) to take us for 30 baht per person. A regular trip should only cost 20 baht per person, but we did have luggage, so I didn’t raise a fuss. The driver did end up waiting a little bit longer to see if he could fill up his truck with more passengers, but we departed within a couple of minutes.

Hotel lobby

Hotel lobby

While I’m personally not an SPG Platinum, I do know people who are, and I may or may not have used this to my advantage to get upgraded to an executive suite. The room was nice and spacious, with a separate living area, large bedroom, giant walk-in closet, and huge bathroom with separate toilet, tub, and shower. The only downside to the room I found was the numerous light switches, which were somewhat hard to navigate (although I guess provided better customization?).

Living room of suite

Living room of suite

View of entrance to suite

View of entrance to suite

Bedroom of suite

Bedroom of suite

Giant bathroom and tub

Giant bathroom and tub

View from the suite

View from the suite

We received a welcome amenity of macarons and fruit, and I know you shouldn’t look a gift horse in the mouth, but these macarons were easily the worst macarons I’ve ever eaten in my life. They were stale and hard and dense. I also found the assortment of fruit to be odd given that we were in Thailand.

Welcome amenity

Welcome amenity

Since we had executive lounge access, we decided to check out the lounge for afternoon tea. There was a typical assortment of snacks and desserts, and the lounge wasn’t crowded when we visited.

Snacks for afternoon tea

Snacks for afternoon tea

The gym was on the smaller side but had a decent assortment of equipment. There were a number of hotel guests using the hotel pool, but we stayed out of it during our stay.

Gym equipment

Gym equipment

Gym equipment part 2

Gym equipment part 2

Swimming pool

Swimming pool

The hotel has done a good job of staying busy, as there were always tons of people in the lobby. This unfortunately meant that you had to wait a long time to speak to anyone at the front desk and that breakfast was quite crowded, even very early in the morning. I chose to take breakfast in the downstairs restaurant for the first two days, but then I decided I was fine with the lesser selection in the executive lounge and ate in the much less crowded lounge for the remaining days. I thought the best part about breakfast was the noodle bar, which is perhaps a little odd conceptually for westerners, but I loved having a savory bowl of noodle soup for breakfast.

Breakfast pastries

Breakfast pastries

Breakfast hot food

Breakfast hot food

More breakfast options

More breakfast options

Noodle bar

Noodle bar

More breakfast food

More breakfast food

A lot of people like Le Meridien because of its location in the night bazaar. The night bazaar quite literally surrounds the hotel, but I found the night bazaar to be underwhelming and a little depressing compared to the Saturday and Sunday walking streets. The location for the hotel is good, though, and it’s within walking distance of a lot of good food.

Overall, I enjoyed this hotel a lot. The location is good, the price was cheap (3,000 points for a weekend night is a steal), and you can’t beat the price if you’re a Platinum member and are going to get an executive suite. While the service in the executive lounge was good, I was not impressed with the service at the front desk, and the fact that you almost always had to wait to talk to someone was not helpful.

Tokyo for the New Year: Park Hyatt Zurich

Austrian Airlines Business Class Chicago to Vienna
Austrian Airlines Business Class Schengen Lounge Vienna
Austrian Airlines Regional Business Class Vienna to Prague
Turkish Airlines Regional Business Class Prague to Istanbul
Turkish Airlines Lounge Istanbul
Turkish Airlines Business Class Istanbul to Tokyo Narita
Park Hyatt Tokyo
Shinjuku Kuyakushomae Capsule Hotel
Ushigoro
Hilton Narita
Narita-san Shinsho-ji
Swiss Business Class Tokyo Narita to Zurich
Park Hyatt Zurich
Oneworld Lounge Zurich Airport
Swiss Business Lounge Zurich Airport
Austrian Airlines Regional Business Class Zurich to Vienna
Austrian Airlines Business Class Vienna to Chicago


For my overnight layover in Zurich, I decided to spend the other free night certificate from my Chase Hyatt card at the Park Hyatt Zurich, which is now a category 7 hotel. The hotel was relatively easy to get to via train and tram.

Park Hyatt Zurich

Park Hyatt Zurich

Upon walking into the hotel, it definitely felt expensive and luxurious, but the service wasn’t quite as good as the service I experienced at the Park Hyatt Tokyo. There was nothing outwardly wrong with the service, but in general, things felt less polished, and the staff felt more inexperienced, so it’s not the same effortless magic that you can experience at other hotels.

Lobby

Lobby

I checked in at the front desk and was escorted to my room. The room was large for just myself, and there were multiple seating options and a large bathroom. There are sliding doors between the bathroom and the bedroom in addition to a normal door, so you can stare at someone taking a shower from the bedroom if you wish. I’m not sure why they do this?

Bed and view into bathroom

Bed and view into bathroom

Seating in room

Seating in room

More room

More room

The amenities in the bathroom were Blaise Mautin, just like at the Park Hyatt Paris Vendome, and when I called to ask for a shaving kit, it was promptly delivered by housekeeping. It was also an actual kit and much nicer than the normal stuff that comes stocked in rooms, so perhaps it’s better to have some toiletries on demand so they can invest more in them.

Shower and tub

Shower and tub

Sink and mirror with built-in screen

Sink and mirror with built-in screen

I explored the hotel’s amenities, and this part was definitely a bit of a letdown compared to the Park Hyatt Tokyo. The gym was rather small without much useful equipment (for me), though they did have a sauna. But it’s no iconic swimming pool and exercise rooms with sweeping views of the city.

Small gym

Small gym

Sauna

Sauna

Overall, this hotel was nice, and the downtown of Zurich is quite walkable so it has a good location. But I really don’t understand why people would pay the rack rate for the hotel, as most things about the hotel are nice but unremarkable, like the service and the amenities. Then again, Zurich is a ridiculously expensive city, so maybe it makes sense, but you’d be much better off spending your points at a different Park Hyatt.

Tokyo for the New Year: Hilton Narita

Austrian Airlines Business Class Chicago to Vienna
Austrian Airlines Business Class Schengen Lounge Vienna
Austrian Airlines Regional Business Class Vienna to Prague
Turkish Airlines Regional Business Class Prague to Istanbul
Turkish Airlines Lounge Istanbul
Turkish Airlines Business Class Istanbul to Tokyo Narita
Park Hyatt Tokyo
Shinjuku Kuyakushomae Capsule Hotel
Ushigoro
Hilton Narita
Narita-san Shinsho-ji
Swiss Business Class Tokyo Narita to Zurich
Park Hyatt Zurich
Oneworld Lounge Zurich Airport
Swiss Business Lounge Zurich Airport
Austrian Airlines Regional Business Class Zurich to Vienna
Austrian Airlines Business Class Vienna to Chicago


I decided to spend my last night in Tokyo not in Tokyo at all but in Narita. My flight wasn’t so early that I had to stay near the airport, but I had read that one of the most traditional new year’s activities in Japan is to go to a temple, and Narita has one of the largest temples and most-visited temples. Since I had a small stash of Hilton points, I chose to redeem 20k Hilton points for one night at the hotel.

To get to the hotel, I took a JR train to Narita station, and then took the hotel shuttle from Narita station to the hotel. The shuttle wasn’t particularly convenient as it didn’t run very often, was shared with two other hotels, and often made stops at the Aeon mall.

Hilton Narita lobby

Hilton Narita lobby

Check-in area

Garden/waterfall in the center of the hotel

Check-in was relatively quick, and I received a voucher for breakfast and a pass for the gym and pool. I received a room on one of the top floors, and I believe it was an upgraded room as it was quite large. The bed was comfortable, the room temperature could be controlled, and it was simple yet functional.

Bed

Bed

Furnishings

Furnishings

Bathroom

Bathroom

The hotel isn’t far away from the airport at all, so I could occasionally hear planes arriving and departing. It also made for some good plane watching, as I even saw the Turkish flight that I had arrived on.

View from my window (decent plane watching)

View from my window (decent plane watching)

I decided to check out the gym and pool, and while the gym was quite large, I didn’t see a squat rack or any other place to lift heavy free weights, so I didn’t work out.

Gym

Gym

Pool

Pool

The most interesting feature about the hotel is that it seems like every single airline’s crew stays here. I remember seeing crew from United, Air Canada, Swiss, and Emirates, and that’s not even half of them. Definitely the place to stay if you want to socialize with/get to “know” airline crew.

Breakfast the next morning had a decent spread but was quite crowded. I enjoyed squeezing chocolate and peanut butter out of tubes, and all of the buffet items were replaced regularly. There was plenty of western breakfast items as well as Asian foods like congee.

2014-01-01 08.09.10 2014-01-01 08.09.22 2014-01-01 08.09.33 2014-01-01 08.09.57 2014-01-01 08.10.05 2014-01-01 08.10.13 2014-01-01 08.11.12

Overall, it’s a decent hotel near the airport and a good use of Hilton points since you’re not going to get much else out of them since the devaluation. While the hotel shuttle isn’t that convenient to/from the town of Narita, it’s passable, and Narita is an interesting place to walk around for an afternoon or night.

Review: Conrad Hong Kong

For my trip to Hong Kong, I used up my two free weekend night certificates from my Citi Hilton Reserve credit card to stay at the Conrad Hong Kong,

View of the Conrad at night

View of the Conrad at night

To get to the Conrad, I ended up taking an airport bus (in this case, bus A11) to Admiralty station, and then walking through the mall at Admiralty to get to the hotel entrance within the mall. Depending on where you’re staying, an airport bus might be a better choice than the Airport Express as you don’t need to transfer and the bus might stop closer than the nearest MTR station.

At check-in, I was informed that I was upgraded to the Executive Floor, which meant that I had lounge access for my stay, although I didn’t use it except for breakfast.

The room was nice and plenty large for just myself. As I walked in, I was a little surprised that the lights and TV were already on, but there was a welcome message on the TV for me. There was also a small welcome amenity of some fruit and chocolates.

Bed with bear

Bed with a Conrad bear

The TV was already turned on when I came in

Already-on TV

Welcome gift of fruit and chocolates

Welcome gift of fruit and chocolates

The bathroom had two sinks, separated toilet, and separate bath tub and shower. When I first walked in, the room smelled a little funky, like maybe it was a little moldy from all of the humidity, but it went away as the air conditioner chugged on, and I didn’t end up noticing it too much past the first 5 minutes or so I was in the room.

DSC03872

 

Breakfast in the Executive Lounge was good, although depending on when you went, it was quite crowded. I mostly enjoyed the food largely because of the spread had fresh fruit (and not just melons) as most of the food I ate in Hong Kong was devoid of fruit and vegetables.

Seating in the Executive Lounge

Seating in the Executive Lounge

Cheese, bread, fruit

Cheese, bread, fruit

Lots of hot food options

Lots of hot food options

Congee toppings and other condiments

Congee toppings and other condiments

Fruit, meats

Fruit, meats

Cold foods like jarred fruits, smoothies, and yogurts

Cold foods like jarred fruits, smoothies, and yogurts

Warming ovens for pastries

Warming ovens for pastries

View from the Executive Lounge at sunrise

View from the Executive Lounge at sunrise

The service in the Executive Lounge didn’t feel particularly special (or even welcoming) to me, nor did the service of any of the people I interacted with, from the check-in desk to the concierge. Nothing was bad per se, but I expected more from a hotel that retails for over $500 per night (although according to one of my friends from Hong Kong, it’s unreasonable to expect good service in Hong Kong nowadays).

I will say that my room was absolutely silent when I was there; I never heard housekeeping staff or other guests or noise from outside. The location of the Conrad is also convenient, although not quite as close to the MTR as you would think given that it’s technically connected to the Admiralty MTR station, and Hong Kong is so well-connected via public transit that I think location is somewhat less important in Hong Kong than in other cities.

Review: Radisson Blu Plaza Hotel Helsinki Finland

The first redemption that I made with the Club Carlson points acquired from my credit card sign-up bonus (or rather, using my friend’s Club Carlson points since mine didn’t post quickly enough, but that’s another story) was at the Radisson Blu Plaza Hotel in Helsinki. For 44k points, I got a 2-night redemption, since the second night was free with my credit card.

The hotel is located very centrally, just steps away from the main train station in the city center. To get there, I took an airport bus that was 4.50 euro each way and took me straight to the train station.

Outside of the hotel

Outside of the hotel

Given that my flight arrived relatively early, by the time I got to the hotel, it was only around 10:00am, and they said that they were completely sold out and couldn’t offer me early check-in. But instead of telling me when they might be able to offer me a room, they told me to come back at 3pm and no earlier (3pm is the official check-in time). When I asked if they could offer me something earlier than 3pm due to my Gold status with Club Carlson, they said that they couldn’t. Throughout my stay, it seemed like having Gold status did nothing.

Check-in area

Check-in area

After exploring Helsinki for a couple of hours, I got back to the hotel at 2pm and the check-in agent at that time was happy to give me a room. But again, there was no acknowledgement of status, no welcome amenity, no upgrade, etc.

Hallway

Hallway

The bedroom itself was ample for just myself. The bed was large and comfortable, although the covers are only twin-sized, so they have two sets on the bed, which I found a little strange. I enjoyed the lounger in the room, as well as the numerous lighting options.

Nice bed, but oddly split into two

Nice bed, but oddly split into two

Seating area in the room

Seating area in the room

Smallish bathroom, but completely adequate

Smallish bathroom, but completely adequate

Breakfast is offered complimentary to all guests. It’s a buffet with a wide variety of hot and cold options, including some local specialities like karelian pasties with egg butter, herring, and elk pate, and an omelet station. Many things were labeled as gluten-free or lactose-free, which I found helpful. In general, I found the food to be good for a buffet, in particular the pancakes and the karelian pasties, which I had never had before.

DSC03778 DSC03780 DSC03781 DSC03782

Buffet features items like elk pate and herring

Buffet features items like elk pate and herring

DSC03784

Interesting pancakes and karelian pasties

Interesting pancakes and karelian pasties

Like any good Finnish hotel, this hotel had a sauna. There were separate saunas for men and women, and the men’s sauna had a changing area, a conference table, and showers located outside of the sauna. I used the sauna twice during my stay and only encountered one other person using the facilities in that time.

Conference room in the sauna?

Conference room in the sauna?

Sauna

Sauna

Overall, the room and bed were comfortable, breakfast was tasty, and the location was killer. There was essentially no recognition of elite status, though. But for 44k Club Carlson points for 2 nights, I would definitely stay there again.

Burn, United (Miles), Burn: IBIS Beijing Capital Airport Hotel

Introduction
Planning
United Global First Lounge Washington Dulles (IAD)
Lufthansa Business and Senator Lounge Washington Dulles (IAD)
ANA First Square Class Washington Dulles to Tokyo Narita
ANA Suite and Business Class Lounges Tokyo Narita (NRT)
ANA Business Class Tokyo Narita to Beijing
IBIS Beijing Capital Airport Hotel
Air China First Class Lounge Beijing (PEK)
BGS Premier Business Class Lounge Beijing (PEK)
Business Traveler’s Lounge Beijing (PEK)
Lufthansa A380 First Class Beijing to Frankfurt
Lufthansa First Class Terminal Frankfurt (FRA)
Lufthansa B747-400 First Class Frankfurt to New York JFK
United PS Business Class New York JFK to San Francisco


Now, the most unglamorous part of my trip.

I had a roughly 14-hour layover in Beijing, and I contemplated taking the time to go into the city but ultimately decided against it since I’d mostly just be there during night hours and have to leave for the airport around 7am or 8am the next morning. So I looked up airport hotels and found the IBIS Beijing Capital Airport Hotel, which was pretty darn cheap (~$30 for the night) and seemed convenient enough.

The hotel offers a free shuttle service from the airport, but the shuttle doesn’t pick up from Terminal 3, which is where most international arrivals/departures take place. So to get to the hotel using this free shuttle, you need to go through immigration, catch the train to the exit/baggage claim of Terminal 3, take the free shuttle bus from Terminal 3 to Terminal 2 (go out of exit #5 and there should be a post that says free shuttle bus between terminals), go to the arrivals floor of Terminal 2 (i.e. go down a level to the first floor), have someone call the IBIS Hotel (a nice woman working for a different hotel desk called for me), exit Terminal 2 (use exit 11) and walk across the street to the parking garage, and wait for the shuttle inside the parking lot. Or maybe it would’ve been easier to just catch a cab (if you’re doing this, make sure you have the hotel name and address written in Chinese!).

While waiting for the shuttle bus, I ended up asking a security guard-looking person if I was waiting at the right place to take the shuttle to the IBIS. And, well, I’ve heard Beijing accents before, but I found this guy to be nearly incomprehensible, which was unfortunate as the shuttle wasn’t going to come for 15 minutes or so and he started asking me questions in Mandarin and I couldn’t really understand him most of the time so I just kinda stared at him blankly and I think he thought I was dumb (well, I understood enough that when some other guy started talking to him, they started talking about me and the other guy asked, “is he Korean?”, and the security guy said something along the lines of, “no, he’s American but just really stupid because even when I talk really slowly to him he doesn’t understand anything”).

Anyway, the shuttle eventually came, and it was a short ride to the hotel. The check-in agent at the hotel was friendly enough and spoke good English and sent me up to my room after making a reservation for the shuttle bus to the airport the next morning.

Lobby of the hotel

Lobby of the hotel

Dingy hallways

Dingy hallways

But decent-enough room

But decent-enough room

This hotel isn’t great, but I’ve stayed in worse places for $30 a night. Although the hallway smelled like smoke and was a bit sad, the room was clean and spartan. Make sure to bring ear plugs if you’re a light sleeper (well, you should always bring ear plugs when you travel…) because you can hear some planes taking off and the walls are thin. The bed was large and a bit hard, but I slept fine for a couple of hours. There’s no wifi in the rooms, though, so if you need wifi, you need to go down to the lobby, but the wifi there is slow.

I’d probably stay there again if I had an overnight layover in Beijing, but you shouldn’t expect much from this hotel.

Hotel Review: Crowne Plaza Shanghai

Breaking Down Two Mileage Runs for 30,000 EQMs to get AA Executive Platinum
Getting a Chinese Visa
Planning a Mileage Run to Shanghai
Vegetarian Economy Meals on American Airlines
Hotel Review: Crowne Plaza Shanghai
Eating in Shanghai
Getting a Chinese Massage aka Tui Na
First Class Lounge (No. 69) Shanghai Pudong PVG
Concluding Thoughts on My Mileage Run to Shanghai


For my day in Shanghai, I stayed at the Crowne Plaza Shanghai, which I booked for 10k points when IHG was running one of their flash sales.

DSC03048

The Crowne Plaza Shanghai is about a 5-minute walk from the Jiaotong University metro station on Line 10, so from the airport, I took Maglev to Longyang Road Station, Line 2 to East Nanjing Station, then Line 10 to Jiaotong University. All told, this trip probably took me a little over an hour.

Lobby

Lobby

Check-in was quick and efficient, and the agent both humored my poor Chinese skills and spoke very good English. She gave me a free drink from the bar just for being a member of the IHG rewards program.

Gaudy hallway

Gaudy hallway

DSC03052

Welcome amenity

Welcome amenity

My room was on the 16th floor, and the room was plenty large for just myself. There were some free bottles of water in the bathroom (as well as an $8 bottle of Evian in the mini bar) and some fruit as a welcome amenity. The air conditioning worked well, although the fan in the bathroom didn’t seem to work.

Although I didn’t partake as I wanted to go out in the city to eat, breakfast looked like it had a decent spread, but I can’t judge the quality of anything.

DSC03082 DSC03085 DSC03086 DSC03087

Overall, I enjoyed my stay, as I think it was a pretty good deal at only 10k points for the night (~$60 as I bought the points through a Daily Getaway offer earlier this year). The biggest problem I had with the hotel was the internet, as even though they offered free wifi, it was incredibly slow, so I didn’t use it for much besides looking up directions. The location was decently convenient as it’s close to a metro station and there’s some interesting stuff within walking distance. I wouldn’t go out of my way to stay there again, but I’d be happy to return if the price were right.