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Thursday, August 14, 2014

Hotel Fragrance Emerald Singapore Review

I like Fragrance Hotels in Singapore. Even though some of those are less than perfect but considering their budget pricing, their shortcomings can be forgiven. The shortcomings are not serious anyway. I stayed at Fragrance Emerald (Lorong 6 Geylang) for three nights in 2014 and my stay was not bad. The room was more modern than the one I got in Fragrance Crystal (Lorong 18) where I stayed just before coming to Emerald. Fragrance Emerald is either newer of the two or has been renovated in the recent past. The standard "Fragrance" comforts where there alright. A queen bed, a side table, an LCD TV, an open cabinet, A tea/coffee maker with daily supplies, two small water bottles daily, a not so small and clean bathroom, effective air-conditioning, and a window with a view. For 68 SGD per night, I could not have asked for more particularly since the hotel was a few yards from the Geylang main road and within 5 minutes' walk from Kallang MRT Station. The room itself was large enough. Though in Emerald, I did find a couple of things to complain about. The tea/coffee maker was not clean and not in usable condition (see picture below) and the bathroom fittings were not all in top condition. Keep reading...




Thursday, August 7, 2014

Fragrance Crystal Geylang Singapore Review

Fragrance Crystal in Geylang (50, Lorong 18) Singapore is one of the older Fragrance hotels because of which the rooms here are larger than those in the newer hotels like Fragrance Sapphire. Another advantage of staying in Fragrance hotels in Singapore now is that the typical complaints of the past about these hotels stand resolved. My Superior Room (68 SGD per night) was not only large but clean and had all the basic facilities. There was a queen bed, a CRT TV in front of it, a side cabinet, a split AC that worked well, a window with a nice view, a hair dryer, a tea/coffee maker with daily supplies, two mugs, and two small bottles of water daily. The bathroom was decent sized & clean with hot water. House keeping cleaned the room daily. With the window closed, there was no noise from outside and I slept well for all my three nights there. AC was in front of the bed but gave me no trouble. Talking about the typical complaints that people sometimes have about fragrance hotels, I did not see any unwelcome visitor in the hotel in spite of the "licensed houses" outside on Lorong 18. Those houses operate at night and everything is quiet. One can walk through the Lorong and come to the main road in a couple of minutes. A mini mart type of shop is right across the hotel. Keep reading...

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Does Singapore Discriminate Against North Indian Tourists?

I hate to ask this question but I also feel that it must be asked. I have more than one reasons to believe that when it comes to issuing tourist Visas, Singapore does not treat tourists from all locations alike. I have had this doubt since the year 2010 when I got discriminated against in terms of getting a two-months-only Singapore Visa perhaps for being located in Chandigarh (North India) but the information given to me recently (April 2014) by an authorised agent in Bengaluru who arranges for Singapore Visa seems to confirm my doubt. For the sake of clarity, let me mention that some people who apply for a Singapore Tourist Visa get a "Two-year-multiple-entry" Visa while others are given only a "Two-months-multiple-entry" Visa by the Singapore Consulate / High Commission. This authorised agent told me that if I had a Bengaluru address on my passport, I was more likely to get a "Two-year-multiple-entry" Singapore Visa whereas if there was a North Indian address on my passport, I would only get a "Two-month-multiple-entry" Visa. The agent was quite certain of it. He said, they process hundreds of Singapore Visa applications every month and the outcome was always on these lines. Now that was really disheartening for me. Keep reading...

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Fragrance Hotels in Singapore Offer Excellent Budget Accommodation for All

Fragrance Hotels, particularly in the Geylang area of Singapore, have earned an unduly bad name. There are umpteen number of online reviews complaining about insects, human hair, etc. that guests found in their rooms. Another popular complaint is about some plastic material on the bed below the bed linen and even some complain about the rooms being too small. As a result, most Fragrance properties in Singapore manage to get average guest ratings below 7 out of 10. Some "family" guests even used to complain about seeing some unwelcome visitors in the corridors at odd hours whom their children should not have seen. According to my assessment, most of those complainants were being unfair because in the first place they had decided to stay in a Fragrance hotel to save money. Also, it was possible that if a guest gave a good review to a Fragrance hotel, their purpose of staying in that hotel could be questioned. So, to declare that they were better than the rest of the mortals, people found obligatory faults in Fragrance hotels. Keep reading...

Saturday, August 2, 2014

Singapore Changi Airport to City Travel Options - Bus, Train, Hotel Shuttle, and Taxi

Options for travelling from Singapore's Changi Airport to Singapore city are aplenty and really affordable. In this page, I have give all the essential information such as the timings, the availability, and the cost of each of these modes of transport. There are in all four options for going to the city from Changi Airport. These are public buses, hotel shuttle bus service, 4 & 7 seater taxi, and of course the MRT train. MRT train and public buses are available during certain hours of the day whereas the taxi service and the hotel shuttle bus service are available 24 hours. For taking public bus, taxi or hotel shuttle bus service, one needs to go to the "Ground Transport Desk"in the arrival hall. The way to the MRT Train Station at the airport can be found by following the signboards displayed in the arrival area. In this page you will see pictures of those signboards. Keep reading...

Friday, August 1, 2014

Annalakshmi Indian Vegetarian Singapore: Eat All You Can, Pay What You Like

Its an Indian vegetarian restaurant in Singapore like no other. Annalakshmi serves great Indian vegetarian buffet lunch and dinner and does not ask for a fixed price for the same. You are at liberty to pay what you think is the right price and they never question your judgement. Actually, this "eat all you can and pay what you like" concept would only be half as interesting if the food at Annalakshmi was not as delicious as it is. Its mostly South Indian food but somehow tastes way better than the typical South Indian food that we are used to having in common South Indian restaurants. Even someone who never tasted Indian food before will love the food here. Annalakshmi operates from more than one locations in Singapore but the one that I visited is in Chinatown. To get there, take Exit "E" from Chinatown MRT and when outside, turn left. After a short walk, you will come at a road crossing from where you need to go left on the Havelock Road. On that road, its another 5 minute walk to a shopping mall called Central Square on the right side of the road. Annalakshmi is on the ground floor of this mall behind the front row shops. The restaurant opens every day from 11.00 am to 3.00 pm for lunch and 6.15 pm to 9.30 pm for dinner. It is advisable to call ahead for reservation (phone: 6339 9993) to avoid long wait for a table. Also on some days they have private functions when general guests are not allowed. Keep reading for food pictures and what is the right price to pay here...

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Perfect Chennai Airport Transit Hotel: Hotel Mahalaya Residency

A transit hotel that is really close to the airport, provides clean and spacious rooms, a free breakfast, free pickup & free drop from/to the airport and costs under 50 USD per night is a real bargain particularly if it happens to be in a metro city like Chennai. Meet Mahalaya Residency (114, GST Road, Pallavaram, Chennai-600043, Phone: 044-22647171,72). I stayed here before my morning flight to Singapore and Hotel Mahalaya Residency proved to be a good decision in every respect. Except for the Onion Bhajji that I ordered in my room being too oily, I have not been able to find anything to complain about. The breakfast was buffet and really nice. I suggest you save time for this breakfast, there was aloo paratha, idli, uttappa, wada, sambar, chutney, boiled eggs, cut fruits, juice, tea, coffee, toast & butter (see breakfast buffet pictures below). Keep reading...

Friday, July 25, 2014

Bagdogra Airport Transit Hotel: Airport Summit Hotel & Spa Review

The nearest airport from Gangtok on the day of writing this article is Bagdogra in West Bengal which is about 5 to 6 hours' drive from Gangtok. To catch a flight from Bagdogra while returning from a holiday in Sikkim requires either to wake up very early and take a cab to get to Bagdogra for the return flight or to stay overnight at Siliguri or somewhere near Bagdogra Airport for the next morning flight. A transit hotel near Bagdogra Airport would thus be a real blessing. Fortunately, there is one such blessing and its called Hotel Airport Summit & Spa and is located in a shopping mall in Upper Bagdogra on the highway leading to the airport (Airport Summit contact numbers: 0353-6512555, 083-888-77-888). The hotel reception and the rooms are on the 3rd floor which is accessible by a lift at the back of the building. An auto rickshaw ride to / from the airport costs INR 150 only. The hotel will arrange pickup/drop by cab at a higher cost. The name has the word "Spa" in it which is a basic massage service which I availed of in one of their group properties in Gangtok (Read more about the Summit Spa here). I have stayed in Hotel Airport Summit once and it is not bad. An Executive Room without breakfast cost me around INR 2100 after a discount given by my booking site. Keep reading for pictures and more...

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Body Massage in Gangtok: Summit Spa in Hotel Ttakshang Residency

The only well known place for getting a body massage in Gangtok is the spa located in Hotel Mayfair near Ranipool a little outside of Gangtok. But there are some problems with that. One, it takes INR 300 to 400 one-way to get there from Gangtok by taxi. So if you are not staying at Mayfair, it proves a little cumbersome. Two, their prices are really high. That is why, having an affordable massage service close to M. G. Marg sounds like a blessing, sometimes even too good to be true. I got to visit the "Summit Spa" at Hotel Ttakshang Residency (Kazi Road, near M. G. Marg) because with my two nights booking at the hotel, a one-hour body massage came complimentary. That was in the March of 2013. Later, I went to this spa again in 2014 even though I was staying in a different hotel. The "spa" is as basic as it gets. They do not even have shower facilities. But the quality of the massage is excellent. The masseuses are girls from Bhutan who have got their training by working in reputed massage joints in Bhutan. Keep reading...
Blog by: Narinder Singh