Hotels are pretty expensive in Singapore. I was ready to book a hostel and share a room and bathroom with other tourists. Staying in a hostel sounds fun. You get to meet fellow travelers. And based on the photos I have seen, hostel guests really have fun. However, my aunt was not too keen about sharing personal space with strangers. She feared that something bad might happen us for which I quickly replied, “Singapore is a city of fines. They penalize people for acts as simple as chewing a gum or eating in a bus. Imagine their penalty for grave crimes. ” Nevertheless, I looked for hotel for us.
South East Asia Hotel is highly recommended by Filipino tourists in the two forums I frequent. The advantage is that I do not have to pay in advance which is a plus point for a non-credit card user like me. Room for 2 costs only SGD100 a night. This is expensive than the hostel rate in Hong Kong so I looked for savings in other ways like sleeping in the airport and taking a bus trip at night.
All I had to do was e-mail the hotel and reserve a room. In less than two days, I got a reply and it was agreed upon that they will reserve the room for us as long as we arrive at the hotel before 9 AM on the date of our arrival.
I am a DIY traveler so bloopers are expected.
We walked quite far before realizing that there is a shorter route to the hotel. We entered the hotel through the adjacent vegetarian restaurant. HA!
I was wondering why there was no one manning the reception and the guy in the restaurant did not bother to accommodate us. Good thing the lady in the reception noticed and called us. The room was not yet ready so I just paid the fees and we left our bags with her while we set off to our itinerary for the day.
We were back in the evening and a different lady was in the reception so I informed her that I already paid for our room but I do not know what the room number is and that we also left our bags this morning. She gave us our key and told me to go to the other door to get our bags. She opened the door and she was untying the strings on the luggage near the door which isn’t ours. I was quick to say, “These are not our bags. Those are ours”, pointing to the bags near the table. So I walked to pick them up for which she sternly replied, “You stay in the door.” Oops, I might have trespassed into unauthorized area. It was just two steps! Anyway, she handed me the bags. I asked her our room number since we do not know. She replied in the same stern voice, “Where is your key?”. Then I saw the room number. Then, I asked again, “Where are the rooms? What floor?”. (Humirit pa ako!) She told me to look at the keys again. Then, I saw the number 4 before the room number. 4th floor. Sorry po. Tao lang.
Ignorance is bliss, they say. Bloopers kept on coming. When we arrived in our room, it was dark. There was a flashlight in my bag. It was locked so I searched for my bag’s keys to unlock. Using the flashlight, we were able to find the switch but the lights won’t turn on. I decided to go back to the reception area and braced myself for a little scolding from the unaccommodating receptionist. I grabbed the keys and after I locked the door, I realized I grabbed my bag’s keys and not the room key. Argh. We were locked out. Oh my! I was prepared to be shouted at. I had no choice.
God heard my prayers because the unaccommodating receptionist was busy. Another person helped me. And I found out that we only have to do this on the box near the door for the lights to turn on. HA! Probinsiyana-moment!
There was a water heater for the coffee and tea they provided.
Overall, the hotel experience was okay. I will book this hotel if I travel to Singapore again with people who want to stay in a hotel. Otherwise, I will try those fun hostels.
The Casa Blanca Guest House Experience
Since this post says “The Tale of Two Hotels”, here goes the other hotel story. Actually, this is not a hotel. It is a guest house- a house that is converted into a transient space. We stayed overnight in Malacca and I picked this place because it has a room with an ensuite bathroom and it has good ratings in Agoda.
By the way, my Agoda experience was a breeze. I have read of other people experiences- complaining about their unsuccessful bookings with Agoda. I was a bit apprehensive. However, we were only staying for one night so there was not much loss in my part. Luckily, I never experienced such an inconvenience. I was glad they accepted Paypal payments. Because I had a pleasant experience with Agoda, I will book with Agoda again next time I’ll need a hotel.
We rang the doorbell and nice Chinese gentleman greeted us at the door. He knew we were arriving and showed us how to open the front door. It had an automatic lock system. A button near in the wall should be pressed before going outside so that the door will be opened. Along with the room key was a card to use to open the front door. All we need to do was to press the card at the security box outside the door for it to open. (Take that, SEA hotel!)
The room was spacious. I could do cartwheels inside (if only I still knew how).
I was not crazy about the bathroom design. That said, we were more than happy with this clean bathroom.
There is a self-service kitchen. Guest can help themselves with anything available here. For breakfast, I made coffee and got some bread here.
I will definitely recommend this guest house to friends.
Two type of accommodations, two different experiences, two enriched travelers.