A recent opportunity opened up some time for me to take an extended trip, and I was able to join a college friend for a trip to Asia.
This trip report/review is part of a series. See also:
- 1. Trip to Southeast Asia – Introduction
- 2. Hyatt at the Bellevue, Philadelphia (King Room)
- 3. Hyatt at the Bellevue, Philadelphia (Junior Suite)
- 4. EVA Air Royal Laurel (Business Class) “Hello Kitty” Jet Houston-Taipei
- 5. Grand Hyatt Taipei (Haunted?) Grand Suite
- 6. InterContinental Hong Kong Patio Room
- 7. Coral Executive Lounge Bangkok-Don Mueang
- 8. AirAsia “Premium Flex” Chiang Mai to Bangkok-Don Mueang
- 9. Conrad Bangkok (King Room)
- 10. Conrad Bangkok Executive Lounge
- 11. Conrad Bangkok Presidential Suite Bedroom
- 12. Grand Hyatt Bangkok Grand King Room
- 13. Thai Airways 777-300ER Royal Silk Business Class Bangkok to Stockholm
- 14. Park Hyatt Istanbul Park Deluxe Twin Room
- 15. Turkish Airlines Lounge Istanbul (“July 15 Heroes of Democracy Lounge”)
- 16. Turkish Airlines A330 Business Class Istanbul-Washington DC
In many ways, the airlines and hotels I stayed at are a departure from the typical OneWorld + Hyatt that are popular among those in the points and miles hobby. I had recently signed up for the Chase United MileagePlus Explorer card with a high sign-up bonus, as well as purchased some LifeMiles when they were on sale. As a result, I decided it’s time to burn some of my miles for travel on Star Alliance airlines.
I began my journey in Philadelphia, where I stayed at Hyatt at the Bellevue. This is a property that I have always been curious to check out. However, since I used to live in Philly, I never really needed to stay there. Since I was back in town to visit a few friends from school, I finally had an excuse to.
From Philly, I headed to Washington DC. I decided to stay at the Park Hyatt Washington DC. Sadly, I lost the SD card containing pictures taken at the property, so I won’t be able to review this property.
I must say, however, that I was largely underwhelmed. My room was tiny, the decor was sparse and dated, service was mediocre, and the bathroom (with a tub-and-shower combo) didn’t even have a towel rack or hooks. My repeated call to the front desk about flickering lights in the room went unaddressed, and if it weren’t for the “Park Hyatt Washington” labels on the Le Labo toiletries provided, I frankly would have thought I was at a Hyatt Regency. The only redeeming quality was the fantastic breakfast at Blue Duck Tavern, the hotel restaurant.
I left Baltimore for Houston in United First. From there, I flew EVA Air’s Hello Kitty jet in Royal Laurel class to Taipei. I had booked my friend Emilee on the Hello Kitty jet from Hong Kong to Taipei a while ago, and she graciously wrote a guest review. I didn’t know I was booking a Hello Kitty flight when I put together my own itinerary this time around. Needless to say, it was quite a surprise.
My friend and I stayed at the Grand Hyatt Taipei, where I used a Hyatt Diamond Suite Upgrade for our 3-night stay.
After Taipei, I flew one of many Cathay Pacific daily flights to Hong Kong in Business Class. I reviewed the product a while ago, so won’t be doing so again.
In Hong Kong, I stayed at the InterContinental Hong Kong, which recently jumped from 50,000 to 60,000 IHG points a night. I reviewed it a couple of years ago, though since I received a different type of room this time around, will cover it in a separate trip report.
Singapore Suites took us from Hong Kong to Singapore, where the service was absolutely fantastic as always.
After Singapore, my friend and I visited Chiang Mai. Chiang Mai does not have a lot of chain hotels for us to use points on, so we decided to check out a boutique hostel/hotel called the Green Tiger House.
Leaving Chiang Mai, I flew AirAsia (which Adam had reviewed before) to Bangkok.
Bangkok has a great selection of luxury hotels at reasonable prices. For this 4-night stay, I used my Citi Prestige card for a stay at the Conrad Bangkok.
Unfortunately for us, a twin-room wasn’t available for our first night, so we stayed in a king room with a rollaway bed. On the other hand, though, good for readers, we were placed in one of the bedrooms of the Presidential Suite for our second night. I will review them separately.
At this point, my friend returned to the States, though I continued with an extra night in Bangkok, where I moved and stayed at the Grand Hyatt Bangkok.
Taking advantage of United’s generous routing rules, I flew from Bangkok to the States via Istanbul. First, I flew Thai Airways Business Class from Bangkok to Stockholm.
I then flew Turkish Airlines from Stockholm to Istanbul.
Strategically making a 23-hour layover, I got to see Istanbul a little bit. I stayed the night at the famous Park Hyatt Istanbul.
Finally, I flew home to the US on Turkish Airlines from Istanbul to Washington-Dulles.
That’s it for the introduction. I hope you will enjoy this trip report series!