Trottings: Singapore airport’s in-terminal hotel.

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TROTTINGS = Trip Jottings

 

The Fox Trots: Travel Stories from The Fox’s Friends.

 

 

January 22 2012

 

 

Trottings: Singapore airport’s in-terminal hotel.

 

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HE Ambassador Transit air-side hotel at Singapore airport has been around since the commercial airport was moved from Paya Lebar to Changi in 1981. It is owned by Hong Kong-based Harilela Hospitality, which also owns some Holiday Inns in HK and Singapore.

 

Some operations need improvement.

 

It has an unnecessarily-complex online booking procedure, although some of this is understandable in that daily occupancy must be around 125%, with 90% at rack rate.

 

One simplification would be to automatically-enter in the most-common for the items to check (number of guests (1?), number of children (0?), check-out day after check-in (99.5% of guests?), and so on.

 

Also, the reservations department is strict about flight-in and flight-out times. I just entered any flight number and what I knew was the approximate time (because I was too lazy to look it up), and they reverted with questions.

 

The reason is that they hold the booking for 60 minutes after the flight has landed, unless advised before, so they can re-allocate the room to standby travellers if there is a no-show.

 

But why not ask people to book their check-in time? It is very labour-intensive to dialogue with each customer wanting a change.

 

There is no advance payment or credit-card guaranteed reservation. On balance, this seems a good idea. Because doing otherwise might complicate cancellations. This way, standby travellers can be more easily accepted.

 

My Roomnight Report:

 

[] The hotel’s location is not clearly signposted in the terminal – direction signs at the end of my arrival/departure-gate concourse, but then nothing until I got to end of the next arrival/departure-gate concourse, where the hotel was actually located.

 

[] Some shortcomings in the room are important enough that they should be rectified by executive order from the airport authority.

 

[] Bizarrely, the room has a clock (high up on the wall, touching the ceiling – why so high?), but no in-room alarm. This must be almost the most important need in an airport hotel after a bed.

 

This is even more strange when some lounge sofas out in the airport terminal have in-built alarms (not audible, but ones which vibrate the head of the sofa, enough to wake up most travellers).

 

[] Good was that the room had kettle, tea and coffee. Bad was that although having no wardrobe may be acceptable, but some unit, even if with no doors, should be there. And certainly more than the two hangers and four wall-hooks in my room.

 

[] In the shower, the instruction ‘push’ for shampoo actually means ‘push 12 times fast and hard, & push again’ to obtain enough shampoo for a new-born baby. And talking of babies, the shower unit is extendable high enough for small-to-normal-height midgets. Taller travelling midgets and ordinary travellers over 1m tall will find it too low, or suitable for a foot-to-knee shower.

 

 

The Fox’s Friends

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Trottings: Singapore’s world-beating Changi airport.

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TROTTINGS = Trip Jottings

 

The Fox Trots: Travel Stories from The Fox’s Friends.

 

 

January 20 2012

 

 

Trottings: Singapore’s world-beating Changi airport.

 

S

 

 

INGAPORE Changi is the best airport in the world. Every airport executive who has visited there knows, even if they must say otherwise. Likewise for travellers and others, who may get tired of naming Singapore every time, and so vote for Amsterdam or Seoul’s Incheon, or even the awful Hong Kong airport from time to time.

 

 

A few more items I noticed on a recent trip (following my waterfall experience*):

 

[] Small locker units to recharge mobile devices. Each has 16 units (too small for an iPad though) or different types (iPhone, Nokia, etc), some with as many as three cords (for those brands that have more than one type of charger). The unit locks (like a tiny luggage locker), and you keep the key. All free.

 

 

[] A ‘cactus garden’ – outside. Essentially for smokers although there are non-smoking sections. And also a sit-down bar. You can pretend you really are in the tropics. At present, only in T1.

 

 

[] Seats in some departure gates where you can plug in and connect to the internet; they already had free internet terminals, and water dispensers.

 

 

[] At the (many many) work-top stations for travellers’ own devices, the plugs accept all main types of plugs, even including the Australia’s odd one.

 

I had just transitted London (in numbers, the world’s biggest international airport), and it had (many times fewer) recharge stations (and no work-top areas, at least that I could find), and all accepted only the British plug. Worse, the recharge-station was on an island, so cords trailed from there to the computers/devices of people sitting on nearby seats, forcing people to step over the cords all the time. In Singapore the work-top desks are more sensible in many more ways.

 

 

 

Small complaints about Changi, though:

 

[] You need to get a password (from the information desk, registered against your passport, all by hand) to access internet on your own device.

 

 

[] There is no movie lounge in T1 – although you can catch the transit train to go to those in T2 or T3. But the authorities need to take in the ‘interactive’ systems that most leading airlines now use – because you may turn up at the movie room in the middle of a movie. How about a paid-for airline-seat-like movie system in a theatre?

 

 

Plus other points of note:

 

[] The ‘TV lounge’ seats are sensible – the sound comes through speakers in the seats not from the big TV screen. But people sit there and eat and talk. The authorities need to devise a way that reduces that likelihood. So for me the sound from my seat was drowned out by my neighbours eating and talking.

 

(This is still better than most other airports. I have never quite understood why they have huge TV screens showing CNN or whatever, but no sound. What’s the point?)

 

 

[] The airport claims to be the only airport with a swimming pool (it costs US$10/S$13 to enter), but I do not know if this is correct.

 

 

 

*A long-ago post where I remarked that the information counter directed me to my destination saying “turn left after the second waterfall”, leading me later to wonder how many other airports could manage even one waterfall.

 

 

 

The Fox’s Friends