In between starting our
crazy well thought through expat adventure, S and I took a break to do a spot of travelling (and resting). We chose a varied itinerary, and picked hotels along the way largely driven by where we could stay for free or cheap using points. Possibly not the way the pros do it but it did make the holiday much more affordable. Anyway, come and have a snoop around where we stayed in Thailand and Indonesia, and just what I thought of it…
First up on our itinerary was Bangkok. We’ve visited Bangkok once before (and I reviewed the hotels we stayed in) but chose not to return to any of the previous properties, because I had enough IHG points to stay in the Hotel Indigo for just over a week for absolutely nothing. I am a big fan of Hotel Indigo properties, as they cater well for the millennial traveller (yeah I’m owning it) with things we appreciate like decent wifi, rooftop infinity pools, and interesting decor.
So here is the giant double bed that was just the right side of extremely fluffy:
The buzzing skyscraperscape (is that a word? It is now) as viewed from our balcony:
The handy work desk which my husband spent quite a lot of time in, owing to the mini freelancing gig he scored just before we left:
The extremely glamorous bathroom, which had a walk in shower so huge you practically needed a map to find your way around it:
Some very cool artwork in the lobby:
And about that rooftop pool.
Yes, it was as good as I was hoping. There were those big circular bed things you could lie in, sunloungers, a pop up bar, you could have food served there, there was plenty of shade to lie in and all the towels you could ever want. It was a struggle to leave the pool deck let me tell you.
Good things ¦¦ The styling and facilities in general were impeccable. The staff were some of the most friendly I’ve ever encountered – they knew my name and always greeted me with a friendly smile regardless. It was quiet; the internet worked well (important for my working husband); the whole place smelled amazing; the room was just the right size and I liked the seating area; there was a fridge to keep drinks and snacks cool… It had just been done very thoughtfully and honestly felt like a brand new hotel.
Not so good things ¦¦ The food options didn’t suit me particularly; the menu was quite broad but there was never anything I actually fancied on it. Also, they didn’t cater for gluten free at all even though I pre-warned them. Location wise it was a 5-10 minute walk to the nearest Skytrain station, and the nearest food, which isn’t far except when it’s eleventy jillion degrees and 100% humidity and then it feels quite far. Especially if you have to carry your bags. However once at the Skytrain, it was only a couple of stops to all the major sights so I can’t complain on that front.
Would I return? ¦¦ You know… it was a beautiful hotel, but the inability to cater for my diet suitably (even for breakfast) was a huge let down. Having stayed completely for free, I can’t complain, but I think if I was spending real money next time I might rather choose the Eastin Grand Sathorn. Although the location of that wasn’t amazing, so I think I might still be on the hunt for my perfect Bangkok hotel. Despite the amazing sunset views from the pool.
We picked The Phoenix hotel because I could use some of my Le Club Accor Hotels points which made our stay here another bargain. Annoyingly, you can only redeem Le Club Accor points in batches, so we did have to pay a bit to get us over the line. I think it came in at under £200 for 5 nights including breakfast which is excellent value if you ask me.
The hotel is centrally located, although I would not recommend walking many places because it’s hot, the pavements are inconsistent to put it politely, and you will get harassed whilst walking along. Luckily our hotel always had a couple of taxis on hand which we could use to go wherever we wanted to.
We did spent a fair bit of time in the hotel though, because it was beautiful.
I loved the colourful decorations in our room:
With matching slippers!
The thoughtful welcome amenities
as well as the little jar of jelly sweets they kept topped up every day. Excellent for someone with a sweet tooth like mine. We had a lovely marble bathroom:
With really quite scary amenity holders:
And a very chic balcony:
Perfect for enjoying views of the pool below:
I loved the cosy nooks throughout the grounds:
And the thoughtful phoenix touches around the building:
And the grounds in general were beautiful and immaculately kept.
We had our breakfast next to this koi pond every morning, which made for a very relaxing start. The restaurant was semi-open air which could get a bit steamy at times but I preferred that to an overly air conditioned fridge.
There was also a lovely colonial style sitting room where you’re served a mini afternoon tea on arrival, consisting of a few traditional Indonesian sweets and a cup of tea. It was a lovely touch.
Good things ¦¦ The ambience of the hotel was lovely. It’s a gorgeous heritage building and they’ve maintained as many traditional touches as possible. In general it felt like a peaceful haven amongst the hustle and bustle (and heat) of the city. The staff were wonderfully helpful, nothing was too much trouble, and the pool was just gorgeous.
Something about this hotel reminded both S and I of one our favourite hotels we’ve ever stayed in, the Victoria Angkor in Siem Reap. I think it was the atmosphere and general focus on quality of service.
They had gluten free bread for breakfast which was actually pretty good, and they tried very hard to accommodate my dietary needs at other times. Sometimes I had to work to find someone who understood, but there was always someone.
There is also a travel agent within the hotel who will arrange all the tours you could ever want. We found them well priced, considering they’re part of a high end hotel, and the staff there were extremely helpful. It made arranging tours super easy, you could just pop in at your convenience and arrange something for the next day – and ask all the stupid questions that Google can’t help you with (like what do I wear on a sunrise temple tour?!).
Not so good things ¦¦ There weren’t a heap of restaurants that you could walk to in the locale. However the in house restaurant was very good, and not stupidly priced (by Western standards, anyway). The pool area got a bit busy sometimes… I guess? Honestly there weren’t too many down sides to this hotel. It’s a lovely place.
Would I return? ¦¦ I’m not sure I’d want to return to Jogjakarta itself, as I found the place a bit challenging. More on that another time. However I thought the hotel was brilliant and if we ever did make it back to Jogja, I’d definitely stay at the Phoenix.
For the Relaxing portion of our trip, we ventured to the island of Lombok and stayed in a proper resorty resort in Senggigi. This place was the real deal and is probably one of the fanciest places I’ve ever stayed. We had no points on this one, but as it was the only hotel we paid any significant money for, we were happy to go for a bit of a splurge. We stayed here for 5 nights in total.
We stayed in a couple of different room types, including a garden view room, a pool villa and a one bedroom villa. I’m going to do a post on the resort and room types because honestly I just want you all to go there and I want to help you pick the perfect room.
We caught the night flight from Jogjakarta via Bali, and after checking in and dropping our bags in our room we went straight to the restaurant for a late dinner. I think the memory of walking into the restaurant on the beach, with the waves lit up and a firepit burning nearby will never leave me. I thought I’d wandered onto a film set.
In our three different accommodation options we had outdoor bathrooms:
A pool just to ourselves:
Our own lounging zone:
Our own en-suite Buddha – and greenery for dayyysss:
Sunset views to take your breath away – you can see the sun start to dip behind Mount Rinjani in Bali:
And frangipani trees everywhere that kindly dropped their flowers so I could make full use of them:
Good things ¦¦ Where do I start. The place was everything you think of when you think of luxury. Excellent service, friendly staff, three ocean front pools (!), a little beach, private and secluded rooms (I don’t think you could get a bad one), and that ocean view. I mean…
I ate excellently for breakfast every day – I think it was the best hotel breakfast I’ve ever had. It was a la carte but you could order as much as you wanted (and believe me I did). They had great gluten free options and I’ve vowed to try and recreate these Brazilian eggs myself.
Not so good things ¦¦ You were pretty resort bound; there wasn’t really anywhere to walk to for dinner. However, taxis were always waiting at the front of the property and there were plenty of places to eat in Senggigi so that wasn’t really a huge issue. This is a place you come to do serious relaxing, so if that’s not your thing then you might get a bit bored I guess. I don’t really have a bad word to say about the place.
Would I return? ¦¦ Definitely. I don’t think it’s somewhere I’d go regularly, as it’s a bit of a schlep to get there and obviously it’s a bit on the pricey side, but for pure relaxation I’ve never known anything like it.
I think Qunci is maybe my favourite hotel we’ve ever visited. Where’s yours?
Fancy visiting any of these places? Pin me for later: