Trip Report & Review Introduction – Southeast Asia

by Enoch

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:

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.

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Junior Suite at Hyatt at the Bellevue Philadelphia

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.


EVA Air Business Class seat

My friend and I stayed at the Grand Hyatt Taipei, where I used a Hyatt Diamond Suite Upgrade for our 3-night stay.


Grand Suite Twin at the Grand Hyatt Taipei

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.


Deluxe Room with Terrace at Intercontinental Hong Kong

Singapore Suites took us from Hong Kong to Singapore, where the service was absolutely fantastic as always.

Singapore Airlines Suites Class seat

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.

AirAsia Thai HOT seat

AirAsia Thai HOT seat

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.


Bath tub in the Executive Corner Room at the Conrad Bangkok

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.

Bathroom in Grand Deluxe King room at the Grand Hyatt Bangkok

Bathroom in Grand Deluxe King room 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.

Thai Airways Business Class seat

Thai Airways Business Class seat

I then flew Turkish Airlines from Stockholm to Istanbul.

Turkish Airlines Business Class seat

Turkish Airlines Business Class seat

Strategically making a 23-hour layover, I got to see Istanbul a little bit. I stayed the night at the famous Park Hyatt Istanbul.

Pool at the Park Hyatt Istanbul

Pool at the Park Hyatt Istanbul

Finally, I flew home to the US on Turkish Airlines from Istanbul to Washington-Dulles.

Turkish Airlines Business Class cabin

Turkish Airlines Business Class cabin

That’s it for the introduction. I hope you will enjoy this trip report series!

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Tony September 1, 2016 - 7:09 am

Bro, do you even rotate pics?

Enoch September 1, 2016 - 8:26 am

Whoa that is freaky! It looked correctly oriented in WordPress but apparently not in the post! Fixed now.

Angee September 1, 2016 - 2:42 pm

What perfect timing for this trip report! I love reading trip reports and I wish more bloggers would do them. I know they are time consuming, but I love reading them, especially when you add in reports on activities in the city.

I’m heading on a similar trip myself. I have a few questions if you don’t mind.

1) How was Air Asia? That is an option for me from Bangkok to Siem Reap. There are other options as well.
2) I have reservations for both Conrad BKK and GH Erawan (diamond with both). Which one did you like better? I’m torn on if I should use a DSU for 4 nights at GH, stay at Conrad or do a mix. What is your suggestion since you’ve sampled both. Can you walk from one to the other?
3) For a separate trip, I’m also flying TK back to the states from IST. Looking forward to your review on this flight. Will you be posting that soon?
4) Will you be doing a report on activities in Bangkok and the other places you visited?

Enoch September 1, 2016 - 2:53 pm

Hi Angee! I will be publishing different installments of the trip report series hopefully over the next couple of weeks. But to answer your questions, AirAsia was perfectly fine! I recommend checking out Adam’s report (link in post) to see his take. The Conrad’s Executive Lounge’s offering is much more extensive than the GH, though the GH’s location is better. I personally really liked the Conrad, even though I was kind of biased going in as a loyal Hyatt Diamond. You can walk from one to the other, but it’s ~20 minutes and I’d recommend just taking a Grab (Uber of Southeast Asia) for a few dollars. Unfortunately, with the nature of this blog, I mostly stick with airlines and hotels in my trip reports. To be honest, WikiTravel and TripAdvisor usually do the trick for me as far as activities go! Hope that helps 🙂

Angee September 2, 2016 - 9:16 am

Thanks Enoch =) Very helpful! I saw Adam’s report! Very helpful! Haha, damn, I was hoping you’d say you didn’t like the Conrad. Tough choice. Why is it so difficult to choose. =P


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