Sydney: Hyde Park Inn

May 4-5, 2014

In conjunction with my last post, I stayed at Hyde Park Inn during my brief stay in Sydney to write my MCCEE.

I made the booking through Agoda and chose this place for a number of reasons: 

  1. Cheaper than other comparable 4-star hotels in the area, but looked very nice, bright, and clean
  2. Lots of positive reviews
  3. Free wifi in room, which is surprisingly not easy to come by – definitely needed this for my studying.
  4. Extremely close to the train station but more importantly, only a few minutes walk away from my test centre
  5. Continental breakfast included

I landed in Sydney around 10am, so I wasn’t expecting to be able to check in when I arrived at Hyde Park Inn. I was simply expecting to drop off my carry-on luggage and find a nearby cafe to study. It was a pleasant surprise that not only was I told my room was ready for me on early arrival, but that I had been given a complimentary upgrade from a Budget Standard Room to a Standard Studio… how lovely! 

From a “Small Compact Budget Standard Room with frosted windows which allow natural light into the room but with no view. This room offers one Queen Bed, with LCD TV and DVD player.” to a studio featuring “one queen and one single bed, kitchenette facilities with a microwave, en suite bathroom with shower facilities, air-conditioning and a window view overlooking Hyde Park.”

Was this a lucky sign for my exam? 😉

I loved that it was extremely bright and spacious. And so much room, too bad I was by myself! 

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It doesn’t look like it in this photo, but the bathroom had some of the best lighting I’ve come across in hotels… you know, the kind where you can actually use to apply makeup properly. Toiletries (except shower gel/shampoo) weren’t included but didn’t matter to me as I always bring my own.

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Hallway with large closet to the left and bathroom on the right. Iron and board were available in case you needed it.And a cute little kitchenette that contained everything you needed. Even a convection microwave oven.

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When I came into my room, there was already some uncovered sliced bread in the fridge, which made me think to myself, “This better not be the continental breakfast.” Fortunately, I was proven wrong when a staff member came by later to drop off breakfast, which consisted of sliced bread, Weet-Bix, cornflakes, fruit cups, milk, orange juice, butter and condiments for the toast. And because I was the only occupant, I got to eat for 2 or 3, who’s complaining?

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The one thing I did not appreciate, which I have seen others complain about in reviews, is the sliced bread. No joke, this was how it was left in the fridge for me. Some was wrapped up, some was not wrapped up at all, and some was very poorly wrapped. What the heck! Who wants dried out AND unsanitary toast? Also, the bread that was already sitting in the fridge? It wasn’t taken away and replaced with this bread… it was left for me. Not cool!

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However, the bread was literally my only complaint of the stay. The staff were extremely pleasant, the beds were super comfortable, everything was clean. Very quiet, which was really important to me in order to study and have a good rest before my exam. Checking out was not an issue and there was no problem with me leaving my luggage until later in the day. 

Would I stay again or recommend to my friends? Most definitely! 

Melbourne: Quest on Dorcas

Mike and I were in Melbourne for the MCCEE on Friday, February 28th. Poor Mike got gastroenteritis the night before his exam and wrote it in horrible discomfort. As for myself, the MCCEE deserves its own blog post, which I will be writing at a later date.

During our time in Melbourne (Feb 26 – March 02), we stayed at Quest on Dorcas, serviced apartments right off St Kilda Rd by the Shrine of Remembrance. And we highly recommend!

Well equipped, lovely, and clean apartments. Quiet, comfortable, and close to the tram station with everything we needed nearby. Staff were hospitable and we were actually upgraded on arrival. We had absolutely no complaints regarding our stay, however, it would be nice to have free wifi and/or newer TVs so we could load watch own entertainment via USB. Thank you Dorcas for a great stay! We will definitely choose you again if ever in Melbourne!

Here are a few photos of our apartment:

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Stayed in the first couple of nights in order to focus on studying. Right after we checked in, we walked to the nearest Coles in order to stock up on groceries and the apartment had everything we needed to make our meals. Our only suggestion would be to have better knives please, it’s hard to cut veggies and fruit with serrated knives!

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The view of Eureka Skydeck 88 from our apartment

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And the lovely night view of CBD

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We didn’t actually go out to see Melbourne until the weekend, those posts coming up! 😀 Thank you for reading and definitely keep Dorcas in mind if you are looking for a place to stay. It is also extremely walkable to the CBD and all attractions 🙂

Day 06: Singapore – Late Check-In @ Vintage Inn

Thursday, July 18, 2013

It was 11:30pm and we had landed in Singapore on time, woo hoo!

Unfortunately, there were also 2 drunk guys with us who caused trouble and smoked in the toilets throughout the flight. Due to this, there was quite a delay in disembarking because the police had to come on board to take them away.

Eventually, we were through customs and meeting our driver (Manesh, I think) to take us back to our accommodation for the night. But there was another guest, also on the same flight as us. So we waited, and waited and waited. Thank god after about an hour he finally showed up and we were on our way into the city.

We were soon at Vintage Inn (right beside Banana Leaf Apolo) on Racecourse Rd. Vintage Inn is a boutique hostel that’s a little nontraditional in the sense that guests sleep in capsules. The staff are extremely friendly and wonderful! The hostel is quite new and very well kept. Everything was consistently clean and the facilities are very efficient in terms of space and design.

(I didn’t take any pictures, but you can see some here on Agoda)

The capsules themselves are spacious (can comfortably sit up) with storage space around the mattress, hooks/hangers, lights, international power sockets and built in lockers with locks.

The capsule design is very sturdy with thick walls and as a result, provides more privacy and peace. Although we were in a room full of other people, conversations taking place in other capsules and snoring at night came across as no more than mere muffles.

A simple hot breakfast and coffee/tea is also included and is prepared for you when you show up in the kitchen in the morning. It’s not anything special but certainly satisfying and a good start to your day.

Did I mention complimentary WiFi? Yep! And only a 100m or so from the MRT.

For $50/night (double bed) with airport pick up and breakfast included, it was a great deal, especially in Singapore! We definitely recommend Vintage Inn! 🙂

By now it was past 1am and we were hungry…

Next up, food! 😉

Day 04: Bangkok – Abloom!

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Can’t believe it was already the fourth morning of our trip! Let me show you where we were staying in Bangkok!

Buffet breakfast provided by the hotel. Small selection, but adequate to get you going until you find some real food out on the streets! 😉

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Pool! Always nice to have a pool!

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Hotel had a really nice and quirky lobby.

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And we’ll end the post with a selfie!

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On to fun touristy-yet-beautiful stuff in the next post!

Day 02: Bangkok – We made it, hi Laura!

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Arrived safely in Bangkok around 7pm. The airport is huge… almost too big! Luckily, despite the vastness of the airport, we eventually found Laura! For those who don’t know, Laura is a friend of Mike’s from Halifax. She’s an infectious diseases doctor currently working in Bangkok doing research. Very kind of her to not only offer to come meet us but arrange our accommodation as well!

We took the Airport Link train for ฿45 ($1 CAD = 30 thai baht) to Phaya Thai station where we transferred to the BTS Skytrain and took it to our stop: Sanam Pao.

Our accommodation, Abloom Exclusive Serviced Apartments, was just a couple minutes walk from the station. We were taken on a quick tour of the facilities (restaurant, gym, pool) before being shown to our apartment.

The apartment was enormous, with a living room, dining area, kitchen, bedroom, etc. Way more space than we could use, especially when we would be out most of the day!

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Mike sitting and watching TV… I mean watching nothing.

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It was already getting late and we were all hungry 🙂 Laura took us to a Thai restaurant close to her place (one train stop away) for some tasty food. We had some spicy curry, stir fried Morning Glory (water spinach/rau muong), chicken with cashews, and a popular tasty Thai drink – Cha Yen.

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Cha Yen is also known as Thai Iced Tea. It is supposed to be made from strongly-brewed ceylon tea. However, due to price, black tea is often with food colouring added to give the distinctive rusty-orange colour. The tea is sweetened with sugar and condensed milk and topped with evaporated milk for creaminess. It is delicious and something we enjoyed often in Bangkok… it is not very healthy though… good thing we can’t get it back in Australia!

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By the time we finished dinner, it was time to call it a night.

Excited to wake up in Bangkok!

End of Day 02 🙂