Pages Navigation Menu

Pillow talk

Pillow talk

Since we sold our home and most of our household stuff in January 2012, we are nomads living off our suitcases. As brand new perpetual travelers we are constantly on the move and although getting there is half the fun, we do look for an anchor in every country.

And that will most likely be the place where we not only rest but also work – our temporary home, the hotel.

Finding appropriate accommodation and holding a fine balance between comfort and budget is not always easy, but independent travel gives you the freedom to chose what you like and the time to look for it.

So far, we have spent the majority of our time enjoying our new lifestyle in Asia by going through up scale hotels to middle priced boutiques to fair budget accommodation. But we always make sure that hotels can meet our needs. That does sound a bit posh but it makes hotel searching a lot easier if you know what you are looking for.

 

Here are some things to keep in mind when looking and booking:

  • Location matters. Being close to the centre, or alternatively, to reliable public transport (metro or sky-train are not bothered by Asian traffic trauma) saves a lot of time and energy.
  • Equally important is to stay well connected – wifi or wired internet is a must for freelancers, like us. Tomek has got an amazing app to check data flow in the hotel room, so in the end our smart-phone has the final say :)
  • Hot water showers for fussy me – but, truthfully, the last time I came across cold water baths was during our first stay in Thailand in 1998.
  • Finally, there are surrounding smell and noise threshold levels to be checked, which should obviously be non existent (no chance) or low (more likely if you are lucky). We do not smoke, so booking a non smoking room is crucial for us. If you are a non-smoker, some rooms will give you the olfactory sensation of an ashtray.  Also, note musty, mouldy odour coming from the bathroom or old air conditioning systems and avoid!
  • Last but not least, the noise issue. Definitely check, if you can switch off the aircon, or if you don’t mind constant humming in you ears. Huge construction sites are everywhere, as Asia is pretty much on the fast track in the world. Give the area a quick scan. And city development involves a lot of drilling and other decibel boosting actions, that are commonly carried out at night due to the day time heat.
  • Oh, I almost forgot about breakfast… which I consider to be a nice bonus but not a necessity when booking. You really do not need to worry about getting a full stomach outside your doorstep in Asia.

 

HOW TO FIND THE PERFECT PLACE

Looking for ‘perfect’ is an endless journey.

But internet is the first step and you can tick off most of the mentioned points right away. I have written about  ‘how we find ourselves a home‘ already but have so far not included another site that deserves to be mentioned, as it saved us a lot of money in pricey Singapore: HostelWorld. Especially useful in fancy but expensive capitals, with a majority of  terribly overpriced upper class hotels and just as shabby alternatives.

We usually give hotels a night’s try and then extend our stay, if all is good. And we always read and leave appropriate reviews which round up the picture. I think that we are short of becoming hotel evaluation pros, being able to predict room quality by the impression we get at reception. It is not rocket-science to avoid landing in an aged cinder block hotel. Finding the affordable stylish option involves just slightly more effort.

Whatever your budget and wherever you travel, where you stay can make all the difference in making your trip a beautiful memory or a time to forget.

Here are glimpses of our sleepovers:

Cambodia – has surprisingly many nice places to stay with usually very friendly staff. We really liked Moon Boutique Hotel in Siem Reap because of its excellent service. Very good breakfast, a welcome fruit basket and free tuktuk rides to the centre and back (compromised on the location a bit), the new and nice pool was just outside our door.

Siem Reap Hotel

 

The bathroom had a generous size.

Siem Reap Hotel

 

After Pol Pot’s terrors Cambodia is reinventing itself with many new and original hotels, as well as colonial style accommodation. We stayed a long time in this gorgeous French colonial villa (turned into a hotel), the Mysteres & Mekong in the capital Phnom Penh.

Phnom Penh Mysteres & Mekong Hotel

 

Thailand – has a massive amount of hotel variety for all pockets. The Furama Hotel in Bangkok is a big (now) Indian hotel chain with a great and huge breakfast buffet but no internet. Instead, we found the ‘Teachings of Buddha’.

Furama Bangkok Hotel

 

It’s convenient to have a desk in your room and I appreciate the balcony behind it… if only internet was working.

Bangkok Furama Hotel

 

Found ourselves this sweet room in Bangkok, a small but stylish and new hotel called Amber Boutique Silom.

Bangkok Amber Boutique

 

Chic interior. Not-worth-the-money breakfast, so after our ‘test day’ we booked without but stayed every time we were in Bangkok.

Bangkok Amber Boutique

 

Bounteous bathroom/closet area. The room even had a (tiny) balcony, which is hard to find in Asia’s hotels.

Bangkok Amber Boutique

 

Thailand’s Koh Samui island. We were a bit disappointed with how little progress the island has made in terms of accommodation since our last visit in 1998. But this former old hotel was just in his finishing phase of a touch up and the view was a winner.

Koh Samui Hotel

 

That’s what I call a terrace.

Koh Samui Hotel

 

Comfy working conditions.

 

Pillow bed perspective. Waking up with sunrise and ocean view was such a luxury.

Koh Samui Hotel

 

The bathroom had a walk in closet but was showing sings of age. There is always a compromise to be made with lodging. But this was a tiny one.

Koh Samui Hotel

 

Malaysia – is a very different story when it comes to habitation. We checked anything from budget to four star and generally speaking, hotels in Kuala Lumpur are very low standard. Dirty, smelly, aircon-noisy and tragically overpriced rooms (I am talking big bucks even for European standards) with chipped interiors and, also common, no-window rooms.

Hotels in Malaysia

 

After searching around in Malaysia’s capital, we found ourselves this neat (because brand new) hotel on our first day. The breakfast buffet has yet to be installed. Geo Hotel is close to the centre but guests have to compromise on serious radiation levels and noise – the hotel windows face the 24h busy bus station and here, buses never turn off the engine. There is also construction noise. It is so loud that we had to change our nice big balcony room for another one, located on a higher level without the sit-outside-amenity.

Workstation for two (we had to sign for another chair) but too small a desk, so we worked from the bed. Just like during school years.

Geo Hotel Kuala Lumpur Cambodia

 

I liked this hotel for its super extreme high ceilings, wooden floor, the big sliding door mirror to the bathroom and superb shower.

Geo Hotel Kuala Lumpur Cambodia

Have you found yourself a nice place in Asia? Please share!

Related posts:

One Comment

  1. It’s a great idea to find out so much (personal checked) information about accommodation in Asia! Tomek doesn’t remember too much about all hotels :)) Dasza, thanks a lot! I hope, in the future I will check them out in reality ;))

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *