Review: Park Hyatt Seoul Park Suite Twin

Introduction: A Wandering Seoul
SkyTeam Lounge Hong Kong
Korean Air 747-8 Business Class Hong Kong To Seoul (First Class Seat)
Park Hyatt Seoul Park Suite Twin
Korean Air Business Class Lounge Seoul Incheon Terminal 2 (East)
Korean Air Business Class Lounge Seoul Incheon Terminal 2 (West)
Korean Air 777 Business Class Seoul to Hong Kong


As I mentioned in my introductory post, I’ve wanted to stay at the Park Hyatt Seoul for years. The last time we came to Seoul we stayed at the Westin Chosun, as the Park Hyatt was quite pricey back at the time. As luck would have it, this time the Park Hyatt was offering suites that were cheaper than booking two standard rooms at another chain hotel. While the hotel website wouldn’t allow us to book a Park Suite for all four of us, upon emailing them they were happy to accommodate, and even said that a rollaway would be free of charge. Sold!

The Park Hyatt Seoul is located in the Gangnam district, which is the financial district of Seoul. While a lot of people work around here, the biggest issue is that none of the city’s busiest areas are around the hotel. Myeongdong, Dongdaemun, Jongno, etc. are where you want to be if you want crazy nightlife, good street food, and lots of cheap, local shopping (they’re famous for a reason), and the area, as the CBD, doesn’t have a lot of that. While the Samseong metro station is right next to the hotel’s entrance, it’s still a 12-14 stop ride away from most of Seoul’s biggest attractions. In terms of shopping malls, a quick walk through Samseong station will bring you to Seoul’s gigantic COEX mall, but it’s more of a high-class, imported-goods mall than a popping local joint. That’s something that’s at least noteworthy, in my opinion.

The hotel has a modern, glass exterior quite fitting with the adjacent office buildings.

Park Hyatt Seoul Exterior

Continue reading Review: Park Hyatt Seoul Park Suite Twin”

Introduction: A Wandering Seoul

Introduction: A Wandering Seoul
SkyTeam Lounge Hong Kong
Korean Air 747-8 Business Class Hong Kong To Seoul (First Class Seat)
Park Hyatt Seoul Park Suite Twin
Korean Air Business Class Lounge Seoul Incheon Terminal 2 (East)
Korean Air Business Class Lounge Seoul Incheon Terminal 2 (West)
Korean Air 777 Business Class Seoul to Hong Kong


This trip report will consist of comprehensive reviews of the flights, lounges, and hotels that I visited during a quick family trip to Seoul, including a roundtrip booked on Korean Air business class.

Needing to be in Seoul with my family, I immediately had a look at Korean Air and Asiana’s business class prices on the route, since I know that Korean Air and Asiana consistently offer low prices on regional flights (the same can’t be said about their longhaul flights, though). I was able to pull up fares of HK$5,200 roundtrip on both airlines, which I don’t consider to be astronomical for intra-Asian business class (Cathay Pacific charges thrice as much). I would also be able to earn Korean Air SkyPass miles had I flown Korean Air, and Singapore KrisFlyer miles had I flown Asiana. I had also flown Korean Air many times before, but I’ve never flown Asiana.

One deciding factor made the choice very easy for me. Korean Air was flying some of their new aircraft with Apex Suites between Hong Kong and Seoul, which we’d be able to book ourselves onto on the outbound flight, despite not being able to on the return flight. Meanwhile, Asiana was flying A330s and 747s between the two cities, both of which feature angled flat seats that wouldn’t make as exciting of a review.

Korean Air Boeing 747-8 Business Class

Continue reading Introduction: A Wandering Seoul”

Review: Andaz Amsterdam Prinsengracht

Introduction: Flying The Nordic Shortcut to Europe
Cathay Pacific 777 Business Class Hong Kong to Bangkok
Oriental Residence Bangkok
Finnair A350 Business Class Bangkok to Helsinki
Hilton Helsinki Airport
Finnair A321 Business Class Helsinki to Amsterdam
Hotel Des Indes The Hague
Hotel Le Royal Luxembourg
Sofitel Brussels Le Louise
Andaz Amsterdam Prinsengracht
British Airways Lounge Amsterdam
British Airways A321 Economy Class Amsterdam to London
My Bloomsbury London
Finnair A350 Business Class London to Helsinki
Finnair A350 Business Class Helsinki to Hong Kong


It took a bit of time to find the Andaz once we arrived in Amsterdam because of some construction that blocked the most direct path to the hotel. The hotel was easily distinguishable by the large Andaz flag outside of it. The hotel is located right next to the Prinsengracht Canal, hence the name.

IMG_0804Andaz Amsterdam Prinsengracht Entrance 

The hotel is decently located. While it’s a little out of the way and not smack dab in the middle of the Centrum area, Amsterdam is an extremely walkable city and it took us 20 minutes by foot to reach most major tourist attractions from the hotel. The local area also has quite a few excellent restaurants and shops.

Continue reading Review: Andaz Amsterdam Prinsengracht”

Introduction: Flying The Nordic Shortcut to Europe

Introduction: Flying The Nordic Shortcut to Europe
Cathay Pacific 777 Business Class Hong Kong to Bangkok
Oriental Residence Bangkok
Finnair A350 Business Class Bangkok to Helsinki
Hilton Helsinki Airport
Finnair A321 Business Class Helsinki to Amsterdam
Hotel Des Indes The Hague
Hotel Le Royal Luxembourg
Sofitel Brussels Le Louise
Andaz Amsterdam Prinsengracht
British Airways Lounge Amsterdam
British Airways A321 Economy Class Amsterdam to London
My Bloomsbury London
Finnair A350 Business Class London to Helsinki
Finnair A350 Business Class Helsinki to Hong Kong


Welcome to my next trip report, and I apologise that it’s taken so long. While some of the installments had been written shortly after I took the trip in July 2017, life happened, so I finished most of the other installments of the report over the past few days.

Last year, our family decided on going to the Netherlands, Belgium, and Luxembourg during the summer. My mother and I also took a week-long detour to spend some time with family in London, as well as to allow me to attend a summer camp. Meanwhile, my father had to head home straight from Amsterdam due to work.

map

Continue reading Introduction: Flying The Nordic Shortcut to Europe”

Review: Park Hyatt Bangkok Park Twin

Introduction: To Bangkok For The Weekend
Thai Airways Royal Orchid Business Class Lounge Hong Kong
Thai Airways A330 Business Class Hong Kong to Bangkok
Park Hyatt Bangkok
Thai Airways Royal Silk Lounge Bangkok BKK Concourse D
Singapore Airlines SilverKris Lounge Bangkok
Thai Airways Royal Silk Lounge Bangkok BKK Concourse E
EVA Air Lounge Bangkok
Thai Airways Royal Silk Lounge Bangkok BKK Concourse C East
Thai Airways Royal Silk Lounge Bangkok BKK Concourse C West
Thai Airways 747 Business Class Bangkok to Hong Kong


I was so excited to be staying at the Park Hyatt Bangkok. The Park Hyatt Bangkok was originally slated to open in 2014, though their opening was pushed back a couple of years, so they only officially opened in mid-May 2017. I was able to see a couple of photos of the hotel when it first opened, which only added to my excitement of staying at the hotel.

After our Thai Airways flight from Hong Kong to Bangkok, we had arranged our own private transport to the Park Hyatt. The Park Hyatt is located above Central Embassy, one of the newest malls in Bangkok. The mall is big, beautiful and contains everything you would possibly want (from a plethora of shops to many great Thai restaurant options), though everything is quite expensive as well. Nonetheless, the hotel looks beautiful from the outside.

Park Hyatt Bangkok Exterior

Continue reading Review: Park Hyatt Bangkok Park Twin”

Introduction: To Bangkok For The Weekend

Introduction: To Bangkok For The Weekend
Thai Airways Royal Orchid Business Class Lounge Hong Kong
Thai Airways A330 Business Class Hong Kong to Bangkok
Park Hyatt Bangkok
Thai Airways Royal Silk Lounge Bangkok BKK Concourse D
Singapore Airlines SilverKris Lounge Bangkok
Thai Airways Royal Silk Lounge Bangkok BKK Concourse E
EVA Air Lounge Bangkok
Thai Airways Royal Silk Lounge Bangkok BKK Concourse C East
Thai Airways Royal Silk Lounge Bangkok BKK Concourse C West
Thai Airways 747 Business Class Bangkok to Hong Kong


Despite only spanning the course of three days, my next trip report leaves me a lot to talk about. Bangkok has always intrigued me – it’s one of the top 10 destinations I believed I hadn’t seen enough of – and I had always wanted to try Hong Kong Airlines’ business class product. The funny thing is that I achieved neither of these goals – I barely managed to visit any of Bangkok during my 55 hours on Thai soil, and I wasn’t even able to book Hong Kong Airlines’ business class product, since their prices were too high to justify flying them by the time our dates were solidified.

A majority of my time in Bangkok was spent in a hotel room, high-end restaurant, or a mall

Ultimately flights between Hong Kong and Bangkok are rather low-yield due to the amount of competition there is, so I can grab another flight there and actually get to explore the city anytime next summer. I’m not too bummed about not being able to extensively explore the city, though based on my parents’ interests, it’s probably a city I would prefer to explore alone.

Here’s the thought process behind what I ultimately decided to book for my trip to Bangkok, as what I did achieve was getting some juicy new review material. Once again, I need to thank my parents for sponsoring my trip, as this trip report would be impossible without their love and support.

Continue reading Introduction: To Bangkok For The Weekend”

Help Me Understand Why Hotels Push Together Their Twin Beds In Twin Rooms

I’m in Bangkok for a couple of days for a review trip, as well as for meeting up with some friends. I planned a good majority of the trip (which isn’t saying much, because I rarely go on trips with a solid plan), and have already shared my initial thoughts on the Thai Airways flight I booked on the way here.

For our hotel I selected the Park Hyatt Bangkok. While I doubt it’s the best value hotel in Bangkok, the decor looked stunning, the rates weren’t too bad and I doubted I’d get to stay at a Park Hyatt for any cheaper than the price we paid for. The hotel itself is absolutely stunning, and I have a lot of thoughts on the hotel that I may distribute across a few separate posts, and will round up soon in a full report.

Park Hyatt Bangkok Park Twin

Park Hyatt Bangkok Corner Deluxe King

Continue reading “Help Me Understand Why Hotels Push Together Their Twin Beds In Twin Rooms”

Review: To Shanghai for Books, Parks and the New Economy – Hyatt on the Bund Shanghai

Introduction
Dragonair 804 A330-300 Hong Kong to Shanghai Pudong Economy Class
Hyatt on the Bund Shanghai
Exploring Shanghai
Dragonair 891 A330-300 Shanghai Pudong to Hong Kong Economy Class

Ranking: Location 5/5 Service 3/5 Modernity 4/5 Little things 3/5 Meals 4/5 Overall 5/5


 

Out of our package list, I decided to choose the Hyatt on the Bund. I felt the need to acquaint with the Hyatt brand, both the Grand and the Park Hyatt prices were ridiculous, and the Andaz was sold out.

The Hyatt on the Bund is  a Category 4 property, which means that a standard twin room costs 15,000 Gold Passport points.

Screen Shot 2014-12-30 at 1.43.19 pm

Hyatt on the Bund Twin Room Details

With a daily rate of ~HK$1560, obviously cash is the better option, but we were on a package rate anyway, which made the value exceptional.

My stay at the Hyatt on the Bund

While the exterior of most hotels out on the Bund (including the Fairmont and the Waldorf Astoria) are old and classic, the Hyatt on the Bund building is slightly out of the action, and the hotel is housed into two tall, ellipsical, modern buildings, which I was fine with. It’s less than a three minute walk from the hotel to the Bund, so in terms of location I was a happy camper. 🙂

IMG_8118

Hyatt on the Bund Shanghai exterior

Continue reading Review: To Shanghai for Books, Parks and the New Economy – Hyatt on the Bund Shanghai”

Bad Apples in Hotel Chains?

Shangri-La is regarded as an international hotel brand and has some gorgeous properties around the world including the Shangri-La Villingili Island, Shangri-La The Shard and Shangri-La Paris. However, they have some less than stellar properties in China…

Take a look at Golden Flower Xi’an by Shangri-La which is one of their two properties in Xi’an (the other being the actual Shangri-La).

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Golden Flower Xi’an by Shangri-La Deluxe Room

It’s not terrible. However, compare that even with The Shangri-La Guilin, which is considered to be a middle of the road property…

SLGL-Bg-Deluxe-River-View-Room

Shangri-La Guilin Deluxe River View Room

Continue reading “Bad Apples in Hotel Chains?”