As of last year, the best friend and I have decided that we will do a birthday staycation every year sometime end March because we are March and April babies. Last year we had a 2D1N stay at Rendezvous Hotel, which we thought was way too rushed for us to enjoy properly, so this year we decided to do a 3D2N at Mandarin Orchard.
The plan was for me to check in first and she will check in later due to her schedule. The hotel lobby was packed with people, to my immense surprise. I later learnt that it was peak season for the hotel. Quite a downer really, because peak season meant that there’d be lotsa people during buffet breakfast and all… But oh well.
I got a free upgrade from a deluxe to a superior deluxe room. 😉 ‘was so excited to check it out because I love hotels! And especially 5-star hotels at that!
Once I opened the door to our room, my terrifying memories from Mahkota Hotel Melaka were erased and overridden. It was an extremely inviting space and I was elated to make it my living quarters for the next 2 nights!
There is this amazing television from which I could request for practically everything I need – room service, housekeeping, call a limousine or even an in-room massage. My name was also on the TV with a welcome letter when I arrived. Very awesome!
Where space was concerned, this was quite a bit smaller than many other 5-star hotels, but it was bigger than Rendezvous and it was smack in the middle of the shopping belt afterall. There was still plenty of space for the 2 of us and the room was well-equipped.
The bathroom was quite a stunner. There was a bathtub, but I’d totally forgotten to pack my bath bombs! Sad. Especially since now I have a tub no more I don’t have many chances to use my bombs.
Clean and luxurious bathroom fittings with plenty of space and fluffy, clean laundered hotel towels got me excited like a little girl again.
This jacuzzi shower was quite the bomb. The pool area was really small and there was no jacuzzi pool but this sort of made up for it. Or maybe even better. Actually, I can’t really decide since I’m not a fan of jacuzzis… I must ask the bestie…
An upgraded room meant that we had an awesome view. Opposite us were buildings like The Heeren, Grand Park Orchard and Paragon Shopping Centre.
Since I wasn’t expecting my friend to arrive till much later, I went out to do some shopping at H&M. The location of Mandarin was so awesome! Everything worthy of shopping was just a stone’s throw away! *insert dramatic tears in eyes*
I went there in search of this particular pair of loafers that I’d wanted, and I left the shop with everything else but shoes. -_-”
I got a top, a pair of black shorts, and a cap. ‘would be going to Taiwan soon so I held back on the shopping quite consciously.
When I got back to the hotel it was still too early. So I made me a coffee, threw on a movie on the telly and began replying an email…
My friend finally arrived when it was about 7+. Ah… All that time wasted that she could have been enjoying the hotel… *shakes head in dismay* We were ravenous by then and there was a 40% discount for in-house guests at Triple Three’s buffet dinner. So obviously…
We ended up having dinner at the same place where we’d be having breakfast for the next 2 mornings. As they say, hungry people don’t make good decisions.
It was an amazing spread, I think i might have only managed to try 60% of everything there. Quality of food was high but I’d been eating so much good food in the past few days, I felt like I wasn’t really able to enjoy the feast because my system is so taxed from digesting overly hard. In fact, I skipped all the seafood except for the salmon sashimi.
I only took photos on the first round. ‘was just focused on the food and conversation after that.
Here’s the real downer of the staycation – a very morbidly tiny swimming pool. But tiny aside, there was another very real problem of this pool. It was located on the 5th floor, where the reception counters and all the restaurants were. In other words, it was an extremely public and open space. Since trotting pass such a public place in bathrobes and bathroom slippers would have been socially unacceptable, we had to work out some logistical issues to use the pool.
In the end, I chose to bring my swimsuit to the pool and change there at the bathroom. When I was done swimming, I changed out of my wet swimsuit, dried down myself and then changed back to my clothes again before heading back to the hotel room. There was nothing we could do about our dripping wet hair though. So in the end it was still socially awkward. The pool location was just ridiculous.
Another thing that marred my otherwise glowing experience with Mandarin Orchard was when I called the operator for assistance. The “connect your iPad” function on the TV was not working properly for me so I dialled the operator to get me some technical help. I was annoyed when she asked me “Why do you want to connect your iPad?”. I was very close to telling her “that’s none of your business.” and I would be totally right. If you provide a feature to your guests and it fails, you solve it instead of asking the guest why he/she was trying to use the feature.
In any case, the tech guy that she sent over was totally hopeless as well. I stood there for minutes waiting for him to prod at different tabs on my iPad and I knew right away that he had no idea how to sort it out. Instead of admitting his incompetence though, he continued prodding until I had to ask him how it was going, and then he took the opportunity to say he has no idea and hastily escaped. If I chose to keep mum he just might be doing that all night.
Not exactly 5-star customer service level I would say.
But all in all, it was a very enjoyable and relaxing break. Due to our own individual various other commitments, it’s been some time since the best friend and I had so much time around each other just talking about anything and everything, joking, laughing and shopping and eating like the world is ending. So essentially, I think any hotel might have actually worked to be honest, for it was the company that truly mattered.
Mixed feelings about the 2018 staycation! Looking forward to the staycay but not to being another year nearer to the grave. Sigh.