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Hotel Review: Noboribetsu Grand Hotel

Hotel Review: Noboribetsu Grand Hotel

Half board, Yukata, and Japanese baths at Noboribetsu Grand Hotel – Review

If you read my last post for my one day itinerary of Noboribetsu, you will remember that I mentioned staying at Noboribetsu Grand Hotel. This is my review of my stay and also my experience with the different facilities in the hotel. I hope you find this helpful in deciding where to stay while in Noboribetsu Onsen.

Booking Noboribetsu Grand Hotel

I did my reservation on Expedia. For those joining us for the first time, I have always been an advocate of Expedia more than that of Agoda. The reason here being that I tend to get the best rates from Expedia thanks to their highly generous price guarantee programme. Unlike Agoda, Expedia appears to normally not only match the lower price but refund you the difference. So for example you booked a room for USD125 on Expedia and discover a similar room going for USD100. Expedia will refund you USD50 (USD25 to match and another USD25). If you would like to know more, you can read about it here. That said, Agoda sometimes offer pretty good rates especially through their secret deal programme. I covered some Agoda travel hacks in my other post where I teach you how to “cheat” when using their secret deal feature.

Interestingly, the hotel offers something called “half board”. Noboribetsu Grand Hotel offers a dinner package on top of the usual morning breakfast. This I believe is for the benefit of the hotel’s guests as Noboribetsu Onsen is really out of the way and there are not many restaurants able to cater to the large number of tourists visiting the area. When I booked, I had no idea what this “half board” will be like. Fortunately for you, I documented by dinner (with loads of photos) and will be sharing them with you below.    

Good Location for Noboribetsu Grand Hotel

The hotel is ideally located being about 200m from the bus stop where you will be dropped off when coming in from Noboribetsu Station. The hotel is prominently located and is easy to spot once you get off the bus. There is therefore no need to worry of getting out your maps/phone to find your way and/or the hassle of dragging your luggage around the small town.

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While walking over to the hotel, try to see if you can make out the slight smell of sulphur in the air!

Checking-in at Noboribetsu Grand Hotel

Check-in time is 3pm. The hotel staff at Noboribestu Grand Hotel appears to be very particular with this. Unlike other hotels that will process your check-in and then inform you to return at a later time to collect your keys, staff here appear to not entertain any such check-ins. Instead, they will politely inform you of the check-in time and ask if you would like to deposit your luggage with them. We just dropped our luggage with them before heading out for our lunch and visiting Hell Valley, Oyunuma Pond and also the Oyunuma River Foot Bath.

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By the time we were done with our foot baths at Oyunuma River Foot Bath and having walked back to the hotel, it was already 4.20pm. We proceeded to the reception for our check-in. The staff spoke good English and it check-in was quick. We were asked to select our dining slot. Apparently, this hotel splits its dinner timing into two blocks: 5.30pm to 7pm and 7.30pm to 9pm. This may be to help facilitate with crowd control and ensure that the restaurant isn’t too pack.

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We decided to go for the earlier slot as this would free up the rest of the evening for us to enjoy the Japanese Baths provided at the hotel.

Rooms at Noboribetsu Grand Hotel

Wow! This room was much larger than the one we had stayed at while in Hakodate. Although a bit dated, the room was spacious. We did not get the feeling that we had to squeeze past each other and/or get around our luggage to move about the room. The sheets were clean and the beds soft. The room also had the expected writing desk, beverage area and an in-room safe.

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One interesting observation I had would be how the toilets/bathroom are done up in the rooms. Having travelled quite a bit, I have not seen a prefabricated toilet/bathroom installed in a hotel room. However, it appears to be the norm at least in all the hotels I stayed while in Japan. You will notice that the bathrooms look out of place and often not flushed against the floor of the room being slightly elevated. While not a major point, it still marks something unique. 

Speaking of uniqueness, for those travelling to Japan expect to be amazed by their butt washing technology. Most of their modern toilets are equipped with special toilet seats that come with washlets. Washlets have heated toilet seats and also water spray technology that helps wash sensitive parts. I assure you that water results in a much cleaner surface than plain old toilet paper. The heated seats felt great especially in the morning. No more cold shocks!

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Other than the usual green tea bags, the hotel doesn’t offer any other beverages. There are, however, vending machines out along the corridor and also at the ground floor where the gaming machines are located. Yes, there are slot machines in the hotel. For a sure-win machine, be sure to try out the drinks and ice cream vending machine. These “slots” offer a 100% win rate!    

Before I forget, the rooms have each a stack of yukatas of varying sizes. There is a sheet explaining how to wear and also the corresponding sizes for different height ranges. Girlfriend insisted we wear that for dinner ><. The instructions are self-explanatory. However, the only things left unsaid was what do you wear beneath your yukata and also how to tie the belt. For me, I went with a pair of shorts (for some sense of decency) and I decided to recall from memory the knot I used to tie for my judo gis. I thought the knot would be appropriate (well… they are all Japanese belts and knots right?).

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Dinner Service / Half Board at Noboribetsu Grand Hotel

We were down at the Grand Hall at 5.30pm sharp and there was a queue already. I soon found out why.

Dinner service is actually a buffet service. So it made sense to go early to maximise your allocated 1.5 hours. The spread is wide so take your time to go scout for the good stuff. Once you are done, join the queue and collect your plates, chopsticks and utensils before eating your money’s worth. Some of the better items would be the sushi, the crabs, tempura (did you know tempura is a portuguese dish?), the roast beef section and also the desserts. I shall let my photos do the talking:

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Cheese melting station – Where chef melts a whole block of cheese and drizzle some of that goodness on roasted potatoes

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All in all, the food was pretty good. Don’t expect anything outstanding though.

While there are service stands pouring out beers on tap, do not be tricked into believing it is part of the dinner. Alcoholic beverages are additional items. Poor me was “forced” to buy two drinks as I felt too embarrassed to cancel my orders for fear of appearing to be a cheapo.The drinks, in any event, per affordable.

Japanese Baths at Noboribetsu Grand Hotel

This was one of the more authentic baths I have experienced so far. Authentic here refers to the type of baths on offer. If you read my post on my half day Bangkok Itinerary, you will have read about me soaking in a “Japanese” onsen while in Bangkok. I had also tried out Korean baths while in Seoul and Busan last year.

The actual bath experience is about the same. You can’t really bathe differently can you?

But what sets these baths apart is the type of baths offered. The baths in Bangkok and Korea either used ordinary water or water artificially enhanced with minerals. The onsen at Noboribetsu taps into the natural sulphur rich waters in the region and is evident from the cloudy greyish brown colour of the water. The onsen also offers the more typical salt baths and also iron baths (pools filled with water rich in iron). Each type of bath has own benefits but since we are in Noboribetsu, I decided to soak longer in the sulphur baths.

One awesome feature at Noboribetsu Grand Hotel’s onsen is its outdoor baths. The hotel offers both indoor baths and outdoor baths. I encourage everyone to try the outdoor baths. Brave the cold, run out nude before dipping into that soul comforting hot pool. The experience is truly enjoyable and beyond words. Just imagine the temperature being close to 0 and you just laze about in the warm pool with snow falling all about you. Perfect.

I will explain in another post how such baths work for those interested. It is really an eye opening experience especially for visitors not used to nude bathing!

Breakfast at Noboribetsu Grand Hotel

Breakfast was again at the Grand Hall. However, unlike dinner service, there are no specified time slots for breakfast (i.e. No split service). Instead, breakfast is from 7-9am. The spread is wide with the usual (bread, yogurt, sausages for a more Western oriented breakfast and porridge, miso, rice for a more Oriental breakfast). Okay, that was an understatement. The spread is quite varied as is evident from the photos below. Nothing too spectacular but do keep an eye out for the Natto beans.

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I think this is one unique item on the buffet spread. Natto beans are fermented soybeans. The way you prepare Natto beans is to pour soy sauce (yes, let it soak in its own essence) over it and give it a good mix. It will become all slimy and sticky. Pop that goo over a hot bowl of rice and it’s ready to eat. Taste wise, it tastes better than it looks. Just make sure you have a napkin to wipe away that goo on your lips!

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Onsen Eggs

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Checking out and heading back to Noboribetsu Station

Checking out was easy. The staff had no difficulty in locating my bill from the previous night. I was in and out within 3 minutes. Heading over to the bus station took another 3 minutes.

And we were stuck.

We had forgotten to check the bus schedule and had to wait. So, please either check the timing the day before when you arrived or pop by to the station after your hike. Beats waiting at the station with your luggage.

For those headed to Sapporo, there is a bus service from Noboribetsu. 1.5 hours if I’m not wrong. You can consider this if you don’t already have a rail pass activated.

For us, it was back to the railway station and on the next Sapporo bound train.

If you enjoyed this post, be sure to like and also follow! Grateful for your continued support!!!

   

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Review: New York Hotel, Johor Bahru, Malaysia

Review: New York Hotel, Johor Bahru, Malaysia

During my recent stay in Johor Bahru, I decided to break away from my usual hangout at KSL City Mall and instead stay at New York Hotel which is just slightly off from KSL City Mall.

Booking with New York Hotel

I made my booking on Expedia. While I normally use my DBS Altitude Card for the purposes of earning 6 miles to a dollar, I realised that booking through a DBS affiliated link does not allow me to cash out my existing points in the form of a cash rebate. I have accumulated almost 40 dollars worth of cash rebate and I decided to encash it. After encashing the rebate, the hotel cost me around SGD20+ before tax.

For my Singaporean readers, one awesome travel hack to use especially when you cannot benefit or are not benefitting from DBS’s or [Insert bank]’s affiliate links with Expedia or Agoda is to mix and match your benefits. So good example, in my case, is to match Shopback’s 10% cash rebate for hotel bookings with DBS’s base 3 miles to a dollar rate.

Okay that also came as a shocker for me. The amazingness of this travel hack just came to me as I wrote the above paragraph. For those lost, let me put it in simple layman terms. Using Shopback with DBS’s Altitude Card will get you approximately 8 miles to a dollar or the equivalent in cash instead of the promotional 6 miles to a dollar. The same may be said for DBS’s Woman’s Mastercard for an approximate 9 miles to a dollar.

Okay travel hack aside, please always remember to sign up for the Expedia+ programme (click here for more details) when using Expedia. This allows you to earn loyalty points that can be redeemed as a cash rebate.

Getting to and from New York Hotel

If you are crossing the Singapore border into Johor Bahru, you can either Grab/Uber your way to the hotel or take a cab. If taking a cab, you can consider buying a ticket from a taxi counter (MYR11) instead of risking being quoted a higher price from a flag down. I discussed taking taxis and buying a ticket in my earlier post here.

Getting around from New York Hotel is generally easy especially if you have Uber or Grab. Rides are cheap and cost around MYR3 to MYR8 when I was there.

Checking-in at New York Hotel

Checking in was easy. The hotel staff retrieved my expedia booking and I did not have to make any deposit for my night’s stay other than pay the newly implemented Malaysian tourist tax of MYR10.

The hotel looks a little bit worn out given its age. But all in all, the facilities are still great. The only complaint or negative point I had was with the lifts as they felt slow and/or inefficient.

Room at New York Hotel

My first impressions were that it was really spacious and brightly lit with natural light. Unlike newer hotels where real estate is expensive, I think older hotels have the luxury of having more room space. As can be seen from the photo below, I had not only a double bed to myself but also a writing table, a dressing table and also a sofa together with a coffee table. The room also looked clean and tidy as it should be:

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View of room from the corridor leading to the door, New York Hotel, Johor Bahru

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View of room from the other end facing towards door, New York Hotel, Johor Bahru

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View from hotel room, New York Hotel, Johor Bahru

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Wardrobe, New York Hotel, Johor Bahru

 

The bathroom is acceptable with basic complementary products. They could however have had a hand towel rack installed by the basin:

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Spacious bathroom with bathtub, New York Hotel, Johor Bahru

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Toiletries, New York Hotel, Johor Bahru

Wifi was sometimes patchy in the room as well. While not the best for watching youtube videos, it was good enough for the purposes of doing some quick research on tripadvisor or downloading mobile apps (yes, I forgotten to fix up both Uber and Grab after resetting my Sony phone recently).

TV channels were also limited. While the hotel had subscribed to Astroview Magazine, it did not translate to the hotel having cable tv (Astro, I think offers cable tv as well). So don’t expect to have a dedicated movie channel while you are there. If you are not fussy, you can always make do with the local tv channels and also Singapore channels that are available with their weekend blockbusters at night (I was grateful for that bit of entertainment).

While the room’s mini-fridge was empty, I didn’t find it to be a problem. There is a mini-mart at the ground floor for non-alcoholic beverages and there is also another mini-mart across the road that sells both non-alcoholic and alcoholic beverages.

Sleep at New York Hotel

Overall, the environment was conducive for sleep. Not much disturbance from the neighbouring rooms. The bed although not the softest was acceptable and comfortable.

One great feature of the room is its peculiar design where the air-conditioning switch is located just beside the bed (it took me a minute before I actually found the switch when I just entered the room ><). So just before sleeping, you can tweak the air-conditioning higher or lower depending on your preference and also avoid having to walk to the door in the middle of the night just in case the temperature is not to your liking.

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Bedside panel, New York Hotel, Johor Bahru

Breakfast at New York Hotel

It depends on whether you are actually paying extra for the breakfast.

If breakfast is free, go for it. The spread is decent but nothing spectacular. You have the usual mix of local breakfast food (eg. fried noodles / fried rice / stir fried vegetables) with some american breakfast food (pancakes and sausages). You also have the usual bread counter, egg counter and also a porridge section:

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One of the buffet counters, New York Hotel, Johor Bahru

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The other buffet counter, New York Hotel, Johor Bahru

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Bread section, New York Hotel, Johor Bahru

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Porridge section, New York Hotel, Johor Bahru

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Noodle soup section, New York Hotel, Johor Bahru

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Fried vegetables, New York Hotel, Johor Bahru

If you fancy a really local breakfast, why not toast yourself some bread and apply a generous coating of butter and kaya and also get yourself some soft boiled eggs with soy sauce and pepper?

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My beautiful soft boiled eggs, New York Hotel, Johor Bahru

All in all, the food is decent but I have tasted better even in hotels with simpler buffet breakfasts (less variety but with awesome food).

If your room doesn’t come with breakfast, I would suggest you head out and go hunt down some true local breakfast. For those wanting some Bak Kut Teh (Pork Rib Soup), why not consider visiting Soon Soon Heng Bak Kut Teh (opposite KSL City Mall)? Although not the cheapest (according to Malaysian standards), it offers decent bak kut teh with a variety of additional ingredients not normally used for bak kut teh (eg. mushrooms / clams). Just be sure to be polite as the staff can be rude at times to overly demanding customers or customers hogging seats (There is a review on google critical of the shop after the staff allocated a family of four to a small table. While not the most ideal reaction, I can understand why the staff did just that – The family ordered a portion for a single person!)

Soon Soon Heng Bak Kut Teh

43, Jalan Serigala, Taman Abad, Johor Bahru, Johor, Malaysia

If you don’t fancy having Bak Kut Teh for breakfast, why not try these Nasi Lemak stalls. While I have not tried any of them before, I noticed good reviews for them on google:

Pokok Cerry Nasi Lemak

Kampung Mahmoddiah, 80100 Johor Bahru, Johor, Malaysia

Yummy Nasi Lemak House Johor Bahru

104, Jalan Dato Sulaiman, Johor Bahru, 80250 Johor Bahru, Johor, Malaysia

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Review: The Pines Melaka

Review: The Pines Melaka

If you have been following my recent guide/review post, you would have found out that I recently went to Melaka (also known as Malacca) last weekend with both my mum and my girlfriend for a 2D1N trip.

I stayed at The Pines Melaka.

The hotel is a 4 star hotel conveniently located close to the main attractions (approximately 1.5km away from the city centre). The hotel had great reviews on Expedia  (4.2/5) and appears to have won a fair number of awards:

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Screenshot taken from The Pines’ website

The room rates on Expedia were surprisingly affordable for a four star hotel at S$80 a night (despite the last minute booking I made). A post trip check revealed that the prices can be as low as S$54 a night.

As I was travelling with in a group of three, I was deciding between getting two separate rooms or just splurging on a suite. It turned out that there was nothing for me to ponder over as a suite would cost the same as two separate rooms. So throwing any hesitation out of the window, I booked for the first time in my life a hotel suite.

Checking-in at The Pines Melaka

The lobby is spacious with 4 check-in counters. 

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Service was prompt with the counter staff inviting me to go to the available counter. The entire process took no more than 5 minutes with the staff verifying my passport details and also settling the necessary room deposit and the new Malaysian Tourist Tax which is based on the number of nights stayed and the number of rooms booked. These added up to MYR112 (MYR100 as deposit, MYR2 for the local government tax and another MYR10 for the new tax).

The lobby’s decor was simple but pleasant to the eye. It gave a new modern vibe with artistic undertones. I think one major area is the waiting area at the lobby as it sets the mood every time you go in or out of the hotel. The waiting area looked inviting with the big comfortable sofa set and those huge pillows.

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Every corner you turn you will likely be greeted with some decorative art. This is even so for the floor numbers at the lift lobby on each floor; the hotel had used the opportunity to beautify what would normally have been a plain display:

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The Pines Melaka - Lift Lobby

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Executive Suite at the Pines Melaka

Lift - Executive Floors - The Pines Melaka

Living Room

Spacious. Inviting. Comfortable. These are some words that I will use to describe the suite I got.

As you enter the room, you are greeted by a well lit living room that opens up to your own personal balcony with a coffee table. There is also a dining bar area where you can prepare your own cup of coffee or tea or laze around with your mates and have a drink late into the night. The room comes with complimentary packets of tea and coffee and 4 bottles of mineral water. A sink is installed by the bar area making it convenient to wash up or get water for your boiling kettle.

Interior of Executive Suite - The Pines Melaka

Interior of Executive Suite - The Pines Melaka

Private Balcony - Executive Suite - The Pines Melaka

Around the corner are the bedrooms.

Master bedroom

There’s a master bedroom with its own ensuite washroom, dressing area, television and its own private balcony with two deck chairs:

Interior of master bedroom - Executive Suite - The Pines Melaka

Interior of master bedroom - Executive Suite - The Pines Melaka

Interior of master bedroom - Executive Suite - The Pines Melaka

Interior of master bedroom ensuite washroom - Executive Suite - The Pines Melaka

Interior of master bedroom - Executive Suite - The Pines Melaka

Interior of master bedroom - Executive Suite - The Pines Melaka

Private Balcony for Master Bedroom - Executive Suite - The Pines Melaka

Second bedroom

There’s also a secondary bedroom serviced by a separate washroom:

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Interior of second bedroom - Executive Suite - The Pines Melaka

Bathroom

Interior of common bathroom - Executive Suite - The Pines Melaka

While the toiletries (generic hotel toiletries) are nothing to boast about compared with those I had in Kaohsiung,Taiwan and/or Hilton, Shekou , the room itself was value for money. Being much cheaper and also bigger than those I stayed in before.

Transport around Melaka

If you are in Melaka (or in Malaysia generally), I suggest using Uber or Grab to get around town.

The prices are very affordable. I never paid more than MYR6 per trip during my entire stay there and normally averaged around MYR4 to MYR5 per trip either to or from the hotel.

The waiting times are also short and I normally get picked up in 3 to 5 minutes. Just make sure when booking at busy locations to specify in the notes to driver section where you are waiting and hopefully with some reference to a particular landmark.

Sleep

If you ever tried waking up early to catch a morning bus to Melaka and then clearing an afternoon’s worth of itinerary before hitting a night market, you will comprehend the meaning of “exhaustion”. We were dead tired when we retired for the night.

Having showered, we made ourselves cups of tea before lazing on the sofa in the living room and watching TV. I vaguely remembered watching “Keeping Up with the Joneses” with Gal Gadot being part of the cast. Yes, I was so tired that I don’t really remember the plot. The sofa felt great though.

Once the movie was over, I went back to my room. The bed called out to me. It was firm but not hard and the sheets soft. Perfect!

For those light sleepers, the rooms have rather thick curtains. You don’t have to worry about being awaken by the morning sun if you wish to sleep in.

Breakfast Buffet

The room came with a complimentary breakfast buffet at the cafeteria on the ground floor. The cafeteria is well sized such that we did not have to wait long for tables to be ready despite it being a busy Sunday morning.

Interior of cafeteria - The Pines Melaka

Interior of Cafeteria

The buffet spread was good and featured both local and international cuisine:

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Bread section

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Nasi Lemak section

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My plate of Nasi Lemak

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Egg station!

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One half of the main food area – Waffles, Nasi Lemak,  Egg Station, Dim Sum

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(Sorry for the out of focus shot) The other half – American breakfast and some local cuisine such as fried noodles and fried rice

One interesting thing about this Buffet Breakfast was that the waffle counter was open and so was the ice cream freezer. Ice cream for breakfast!!! Every kids’ (including myself) dream come true.

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I should have made myself an ice cream sandwich >< I especially loved the rainbow Paddle Pop

Are you going to stay at The Pines for your next trip?

Why not check it and other hotels out on Expedia.

If you enjoyed reading this review, be sure to like and also click “Follow” for more awesome content.

Review – 85 Sky Tower Hotel, Kaohsiung

Review – 85 Sky Tower Hotel, Kaohsiung

Another business trip to Kaohsiung, Taiwan. Another tiring 6am Scoot flight from Singapore to Kaohsiung. We landed about 15 minutes earlier at around 10 am and quickly disembarked from the plane before clearing customs. Customs was a breeze and took no more than 5 minutes.

Directions to 85 Sky Tower Hotel

From then on it was smooth experience for me. Cabs were abundant at the time I was at the Arrival hall. I repeated the hotel name to the cab driver (a name that I have finally managed to memorize after having stayed at the hotel at least 5 times the last 2 months). Yes, I am a frequent stayer at 85 Sky Tower Hotel!

The hotel is about a 20 minutes’ drive from the airport and will cost approximately NTD 255 by meter.

If you are staying at the 85 Sky Tower Hotel, do note that 85 Sky Tower has a number of hotels occupying different parts of the tower block. So please specify to your driver which hotel you are staying at to ensure he drops you off at the right entrance (although it will only take you about a minute or so to walk to the correct entrance in any event).

85 Sky Tower

85 Sky Tower is an 85-story skyscraper located in Lingya District and is 378m tall (inclusive of its antenna). Until the completion of Taipei 101, 85 Sky Tower was the tallest building in Taiwan and remains the tallest skyscraper in Kaohsiung. The tower also boasts an observation deck on the 74th floor and offers unobstructed views over Kaohsiung City, the Love River and the Kaohsiung Harbour. For those interested, the admission to the observation deck is NTD180 and takes 43s to reach via the high-speed elevators. For me, as I will be staying at the tower, the views are equally spectacular from the rooms so an additional plus would be the free view I guess.

While I don’t normally get a chance to do any sightseeing, the tower is close to some attractions like Dream Mall, Former British Consulate at Takao, Qihou lighthouse and Qijin Old Street and is within walking distance to the Sanduo Shopping District Metro Station. If you are a foodie, the tower is also close to Ziqiang night market which is not that touristy and offers a more local perspective to the night market experience.

Checking-in into 85 Sky Tower Hotel

Having paid our cab driver, I came out to see my boss waiting for me and the luggage offloaded from the car boot. The hotel staff was helpful with the unloading of the luggage and was more than willing to point us in the right direction. While we didn’t need directions having frequented this hotel so often, it is good that the hotel is putting in extra effort to ensure the best experience for its guests. 85 Sky Tower Hotel is unique in design as the reception is on the 39th floor and may be confusing for first time visitors.

The lifts are on the left side of the entrance and takes you all the way up to the 39th floor.

Checking in was easy. While I am familiar with the Chinese language, the front desk staff was attentive enough to speak in English (very good English) to me for the entire check-in process. Usual questions like whether I require English or Chinese papers in the morning and also basic information regarding room keys and breakfast coupons were dealt with during the check-in. While check-in was supposed to be only after 2pm, the front desk staff were more than helpful in releasing the rooms then as they were already ready.

As we got up from our chairs, another helpful staff directed us to the next set of lifts that will take us up to the rooms. Based on my previous stays at 85 Sky Tower Hotel, this is extraordinary. Normally, the staff would direct you vaguely in the direction of the lifts instead of accompanying you to the lifts. When asked why the difference in service, the staff replied that their management is seeking to improve on customer service and therefore is paying greater attention to these minor details. Good!

Rooms at 85 Sky Tower Hotel

There are generally 3 main type of rooms (leaving aside the suite types):

  • Deluxe Room;
  • Family Room; and
  • Executive Room.

I have stayed in all three types of rooms before.

Each room type has both twin beds or a double bed configuration. Deluxe is the cheapest. Family is slightly more expensive as it is meant to take up to 4 guests instead of 2. The difference between Deluxe/Family type rooms compared with the Executive Room is mainly the extra perks thrown in with the room.

This time round, I was booked an Executive Room. Yippee!

The room is spacious enough with real estate for a working desk and also a sofa area. All room types offer a fruit platter and taster sized portions of nougats from the bakery on the ground floor (i.e. Julian’s):

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Spacious Room

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Spacious Room

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Spacious Room

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For those travelers wondering whether to bring a power plug adapter, the hotel offers universal socket wall plugs in their rooms.

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Ironing board, iron and a mini-safe.

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I mentioned earlier of extra perks being made available for Executive Rooms. These perks include branded toiletries from L’Occitane en Provence (OMG!!!) and also a mini bar with complimentary drinks:

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Depending on your room, your view varies. This time round I had a perfect view of the Love River and also a view of the harbour:

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Sleep at 85 Sky Tower Hotel

Pillows.

I loved the pillows. They are not too thick and you can stack them according to your preferences. If you prefer it to be slightly higher, just add in an extra pillow.

The bed was firm but not hard and offers great support for the back. The sheets were also comfortable. Perfect to spend the night watching television in bed. Speaking of which, the channels are quite varied and should be sufficient for the average traveller:

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While not the best experience I had compared to for example Conrad, Hong Kong or Hilton, Shenzhen, the overall experience was enjoyable and pleasant (I managed to steal a quick 20 minutes nap after checking in and it was one awesome nap!)

Breakfast at 85 Sky Tower Hotel

Breakfast is from 6.30am to 10am on the 39th floor. Be sure to bring those coupons with you to be admitted into the restaurant:

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When you hand over your coupon, you will be given a table “holder” that you can place on any table to reserve the table while you get yourself your breakfast. Perfect for a traveller on their own. No more worries of leaving your table for a short while only to find it occupied by another group of persons:

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There are two areas to sit at. My suggestion is to sit on the left side upon entering the restaurant. You will have a great view of the port:

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Breakfast is laid out on both sides of the restaurant. The hot food is normally on the left side (the portside) and the cold dishes are on the right side. The spread is sufficiently wide with both western and oriental dishes. While I was there, I noticed that there are minor changes to the items on offer each morning (suggesting some kind of a rotating menu):

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While not the best breakfast I had in a hotel, the spread is sufficiently wide giving you a chance to have a taste of different local foods as compared to local breakfast shops outside that only focus on particular food items. My suggestion is to, if possible, have breakfast there once during your trip on a day where you feel too lazy to go around in the morning for food.

Business Center

As I was staying in an Executive room, I also got a chance to use their business center (7am – 10pm daily) for free. If you are on a business trip, this may be a good place to hold informal meetings as there are plenty of comfortable seats and also complementary beverages:

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Happy hour is after 6pm where you have free access to alcohol. So, drink to your heart’s content.

Overall Review of 85 Sky Tower Hotel

Overall, my experience with 85 Sky Tower Hotel has been enjoyable. The facilities although a little dated still retain their old shine. I will visit this hotel again.

However, as I don’t think there’s much difference between the executive rooms and the deluxe rooms to justify the difference in price, you may want to consider saving some money and going with the cheaper room types (unless you have to use the Business Center). The extra perks are not really worth the extra money. Whether to pay for the breakfast depends on you, if you are adventurous enough, why not explore the nearby streets to see what the locals eat.

If you enjoyed my post and are travelling to Kaohsiung, consider booking yourself into 85 Sky Tower Hotel (Agoda / Expedia). Please remember to like and also follow this blog (links below) for more reviews and guides.

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