TROTTINGS = Trip Jottings


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



January 22 2012



Trottings: Singapore airport’s in-terminal hotel.



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