Stayed: Value Hotel Balestier, Singapore, review

My parents bunked at Value Hotel Balestier when they came to visit in Singapore early this month.

I was looking for a place that fits three persons in a room because I wanted to overnight with them during the weekend to make it easier for sightseeing.

The room was S$129 on regular nights, and S$139 on Saturday nights. After the 10 percent service charge and 7 percent Goods & Service Tax (GST), the price comes to about S$150. Quite reasonable for three people.

Superior plus at Value Hotel Balestier

The room that we got, Superior Plus, has a queen-sized bed and a sofa bed. I didn’t pick the room with windows because who actually need a window? (Please tell me why you need one if you do.)

The room is small, as expected in Singapore, but I think there will be enough space for two large luggage.

the extra sofa bed

The sofa bed was surprisingly comfortable. It was firm, unlike some foam beds which crush under any weight.

Amenities

At the dressing table, there is a plastic kettle, three glasses and three bottles of water which are replenished everyday. Hairdryer hidden in the drawer.

There was a DVD player, TV with cable TV programs (which weren’t half as scandalous as the stuff I watched on HBO in San Jose) but no mini-fridge (a pity!).

the loo

The bathroom is equipped with toothbrush sets, shampoo, soap and toilet paper which are all replenished daily.

I had to ask for a Wi-Fi password slip from the receptionist. It said it’s chargeable by S$10 but it wasn’t billed. Not sure if that’s the usual case.

Location

If you are familiar with the Singapore public transport, Balestier Road isn’t a bad location. There are buses to the shopping strip Orchard Road.

But the location’s not fantastic because it’s not near an MRT station, it takes a bus ride to reach Novena station.

Taxi fare in Singapore is relatively cheap (compared to Tokyo) so if you have more than 2 people in a group, taking a cab is often cheaper and faster than the bus.

Finding the place

On Balestier Road, there are THREE Value Hotels, a Fragrance Hotel and some Hotel 81’s. To get to the right Value Hotel *Balestier*, here’s what was included in my receipt:
“By taxi, inform the taxi driver to bring you to Value Hotel Balestier located at 218 Balestier Road (opposite the temple where durians are being sold)”

Summary

Stayed: Value Hotel Balestier, Singapore, review
Good for family of three
Pro: Not too expensive, comfy beds
Cons: Not central

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Stayed: Loc Phat Homestay, Hoi An review

I spent four nights at Loc Phat Hoi An Homestay during my trip to Hoi An. The place is runned by Linh–who deserves her Superwoman title–her husband (Quoc) and the two kids Billy and Tony.

It’s a terrific place for a solo travelling female since being in a homestay feels safer than a generic hotel or a backpacker’s place where you meet drunk kids on their gap year.

It’s also great for an ISFP like me because there is just the right number of people for me to interact with and not feel too overwhelmed.

Since I arranged for airport pickup, I didn’t take note of the address when I left for Hoi An. Airport shuttle was US$13 one way and Linh’s younger brother’s picked me up from Danang airport. It’s a lot more convenient than trying to haggle with cabbies.

The household

The previous tenants were not exaggerating when they say how accommodating Linh and her family is.

Linh whose day job is at a nearby hotel made sure that I was comfortable and changed my bicycle which had a loose chain. She even made extra keys for the tenants.

While I was there, Linh and her family slept in the living room, giving up their room to a pair of travellers. I think there was a mix up so they didn’t confirm their accommodation or something like that. I thought it was really nice of the family.

I also ate two of Linh’s meals, not refusing the second serving like how our Asian culture dictates. The family dinner was nice. And the cau lao which I had before leaving was the best cau lao I had during the trip, trumping even the central market one.

The tenants were really colorful characters. There was R who spent 30+ years with her husband and son on a boat! Two travelling 20-year-olds who asked me to have dinner with them (so sweet).

Room

$10 room

My $10/night room was the one facing the front garden. I had a large window and an even larger bed.

In the room, there are hangers which I used to dry my laundry. Multiple electrical plus. A tiny table with an equally tiny chair (children size) which acted as my makeup table.

Room with a view

The room has a standing fan which I had to use throughout the night because of the hot Vietnamese summer. In the morning, I can see a bit of sunrise right out of the window.

I do feel conscious that the opposite neighbors might see me while I change or sleep in ugly positions, but it’s probably my over active imagination.

Location

The road to Old Town

The house is in the middle of the roads to Old Town and Cua Dai beach. While it might seem a chore cycling to both destinations, it’s actually really easy if you pick Nguyen Duy Hieu to cycle (there’s less traffic compared with Cua Dai Road).

If you don’t have much time in Hoi An, I would recommend staying in the Old Town for the night view. But staying away from the attractions means I have incentive to explore the neighborhood and to discover the best coffeeplace in Hoi An (Cafe 139, on Nguyen Duy Hieu).

At the end of Cua Dai Road is the tailor where I made a qipao (more on that in a future post) so the location’s great.

Taxis are cheap and run on meters so they are a good alternative to cycling.

My trusty bike

Booking

I recommend contacting Linh directly through the site since it takes away the hotel booking site charges that both parties have to pay.

Stayed: Loc Phat Homestay, Hoi An review
Pro: Wonderful hosts, in middle of road to town and beach, cheap (US$10), airport/train transportation available at extra charge
Cons: Might be a bit warm in the room (because of the Vietnamese summer)