By Michael Chase-Smith |
A review of the luxurious Valley Wing at Shangri-La, Singapore from our Executive Director, Michael Chase-Smith
Another trip to Singapore. I couldn’t tell you how many times I’ve been here, but have to say, my last visit was a fantastic experience and I honestly can’t wait to get back there!
So, apart from the fact that Singapore has gone through an amazing transformation over the last few years and has a great vibe, with fantastic new restaurants, bars and attractions - what made this experience so enjoyable was my stay in the Valley Wing at the Shangri-La Singapore.
Location and Experience
As the flagship property for The Shangri-La group, the Shangri-La Singapore has been an icon in Singapore since 1971 and has always been renowned for its amazing service and outstanding facilities, immaculately maintained.
However, to stay in the Valley Wing takes the Shangri-La experience to another level. The experience starts way before you even get to the hotel, being met at the airport by the iconic “red jacket” concierge and escorted to your latest model Mercedes and transferred in style to the hotel.
From the initial greeting on arrival, there is this sense of luxury when you enter the magnificent lobby with beautiful marble, impressive artwork and a very welcoming lounge area. This is no normal reception and lobby area.
The Room and Amenities
The rooms are large, well designed and you just feel comfortable and at home (albeit a very luxurious home!) Breakfast is a lovely, civilised experience in the Summit Room on the lobby level. A wonderful and relaxed atmosphere.
While Shangri-La is renowned for its Horizon Club, the Valley Wing has its own lobby lounge version of sophistication and indulgence. It's not often I can sit in a comfortable lobby at the end of a work day, manage a few e-mails, make a few business calls and have Champagne, Chablis or a great New Zealand Pinot Noir (or all three!) and some lovely nibbles. The wines are very good quality and free flowing for Valley Wing guests. The cold and hot capapes served between 5pm and 7pm are visually gorgeous and taste better. The staff in the lobby lounge are simply brilliant, nothing is a problem. They are constantly on the move, always smiling and genuinely enjoy looking after the Valley Wing guests.
The Valley Wing is really a luxury hotel in its own right, it is just conveniently connected by a garden walkway and private elevators to the main Shangri-La Hotel.
So, while indulging in the Valley, if you still want to enjoy the tradition of a Shang Palace dining experience, it is only a short walk away from the lobby lounge. Another popular dining option is The Line, which features 16 theatre kitchens, offering food from all over the world- a favourite amongst the locals.
The pool area is also great. I could get in some decent laps and whilst I didn’t get a chance to relax beside the pool, I’m hoping to cram in a couple of hours next time.
Located just a short walking distance to Orchard Road, it’s actually nice not to be right in the centre of the city. The concierge are there to arrange cars and taxis and so wonderfully accommodating to every request. It’s very close to the Botanical Gardens too, so if you are a runner, there is the most amazing tracks to explore.
I have to compliment all the staff in the Valley Wing - Doormen, Reception, the wonderful staff at Breakfast and in the Lounge.
Make this your next stay in Singapore – business or pleasure. You won’t be disappointed. Our personal travel advisors here at World Travel Professionals can organise everything for you, just give us a call on 1800 067 819 or leave an online enquiry.
Safe and enjoyable travels - Michael Chase-Smith.
Book Shangri-La Singapore with World Travel Professionals and you will receive*
- Complimentary full breakfast for 2, including in-room dining
- Early check-in and late check-out, subject to availability
- Upgrade to the next room type within category at time of booking (subject to availability)
- VIP welcome amenities
- Hotel credit of US$100 or 10% of room rate, whichever is higher (per stay)
- Enrolment into the Golden Circle at Jade membership level
*Benefits available from 1 June, 2016
By Michael Chase-Smith |
Thai Airways has recently replaced their Boeing 777’s with the new Dreamliner aircraft, offering daily flights between Brisbane and Bangkok, Thailand. Our executive director Michael Chase-Smith was recently onboard this route, here’s what he experienced:
Review: BNE to BKK onboard Thai Air Business Class
Aircraft: 787-8 Dreamliner
Duration: 8 hours 15 minutes
Purpose: Business conference
I am travelling through Asia this week attending a corporate travel technology conference. With multiple flights over the next week and my first destination Bangkok, I made the choice to fly Thai Airways direct from Brisbane.
There’s two very good reasons for this decision, Brisbane airport is an hour from home and I don’t have to transit via Sydney. But the 2nd reason was the main one: Thai Airways is now flying the 787 Dreamliner from Brisbane to Bangkok.
I can now confirm that business class on the 787 is a real treat. The new business class features fully-flat bed seats (which should be mandatory these days), comfortable personal space, and a very generous sized screen for entertainment. As this is the only time I get to watch a movie, I find a good inflight entertainment system a must.
Onboard, the menu was a good mix of Thai and western food and provided four main course options which would please most travellers. My selection of the stir-fried beef fillet was very enjoyable. The French champagne and wine selection were also of good quality.
The staff really made the flight. Very attentive from boarding, efficient, nothing was an issue, and they never went missing in those middle hours of a longer flight when the movie is reaching a peak and you need that last glass of red wine and sparkling water to finish with. They were a very good crew.
The 787 is a very good aircraft in economy or business class and Thai Airways have embraced the next generation of international travel. The technology packed into the Boeing Dreamliner allows for less noise, better quality air and improved smoothing of turbulence. Thai Air offers the right aircraft, combined with quality on-board service - overall a very good experience.
Michael is the executive director of World Travel Professionals, with over 25 years in travel technology and airline experience. Connect on Linkedin
Thai Airways offers daily flights from Brisbane to Bangkok, along with connections to Europe and North America. To book your next journey simply enquire with us and our personal travel advisors will help you make your next business trip an enjoyable one.
Why book with a World Travel Advisor? Learn more
By Ben Aspinall |
Hear Ben's story of his 30 day experience through World Travel Professionals Antarctica Expeditions...
My wife and I have recently returned from a 30 day voyage to the Ross Sea region of Antarctica and the Sub Antarctic Islands aboard the "Spirit of Enderby".
We went on the January, 2015 "In the Wake of Scott and Shackelton" expedition operated by Heritage Expeditions, New Zealand's expedition travel company. I can only try to sum up this once in a life time experience with the words privileged, humbled, exhilarated and strangely peaceful. We have seen the very best and most beautiful that this Earth has to offer. The focus of this voyage is nature and its conservation.
For the past 30 years, Heritage Expeditions has pioneered conservation-driven voyages to some of the most wild, least-explored and biologically rich regions on the planet. Our voyage, or expedition, lived up to this reputation. On our first day aboard we were told to prepare for an adventure, where adventure means " an unknown outcome....". Ominous, but thankfully, true. We were expecting great things, but were not prepared for the boundless wildlife diversity, the breath-taking beauty in the colours of the ice and sea, the combined serenity and strength of mother nature, the generosity, caring and humour of our staff and crew, and the emotions evoked by the human history of exploration of the white continent. We were told at the beginning to expect to come away "changed" by what lay ahead. It was true. We are both better people for it, with a greater respect and regard for this beautiful planet, the oceans and all of the forms of life that we share this world with. It sounds very cliche, but it is true.
Our expedition left from Invercargill, the Southern most town of New Zealand. 50 passengers set forth, with 8 experienced cruise staff and 22 Russian crew aboard the 72 m "Spirit of Enderby" (Professor Cromov - registered name). The first week was spent making our way south into the Southern Ocean, stopping at the Snare's Islands, Enderby Island, Auckland Island and Macquarie Island. We spent time either cruising the coast on Zodiac boats, getting up close to nature, and exploring cliffs, and sea caves or walking on the islands among the spectacular Rata forests and flowering megaherbs interacting with the ever present penguins, sea lions, seals, and sea birds of endless names and species. Strangely we began to recognise the different albatross, petrels, gulls and terns within the first few days. By the end of it all we could identify and name the 7 species of penguin we saw.
After the sub antarctic islands, we headed south, spotting our first iceberg at 61 degrees south, and crossing the Antarctic Circle with due ceremony and a Polar blast for Antarctic virgins to appease King Neptune (at 2 am on the fore deck with 5 degrees ocean water ... it was voluntary - but hey I am only ever going to do this once).
Then we pushed for three days through pack ice into the Ross sea, witnessing some of the most pretty hues of blue in the ice that you will ever see anywhere, and increasing our count of penguin, seal and sea bird species. A sunset zodiak cruise among the ice, and a photogenic Emperor Penguin provided excellent photo opportunities.
Then we began 10 days of landings on the continent, in 24 hour daylight. There are 10-12 possible landing opportunities that they can do, but usually weather and ice conditions limits these to just a few. Neptune and mother nature were kind to us and we got 9 landings. We went ashore on some of the most remote islands and beaches you can imagine, steeped in history, vibrant with hues of brown and white, and alive with.... penguins.
We explored an island who's name sums up the barren-ness and isolation. Inexpressible Island. Then we visited three research bases (German, Italian, South Korean) in Terra Nova Bay. I never thought I would cruise along something called the Drygalski Ice Tongue, but we did.
Then on down to the southern Ross Sea, stopping on Franklin Island with 10000 Adelie Penguins, and reaching our southern most destination, Ross Island. Beneath the omnipresent flanks of 4000m high Mt Erebus we explored this area for 4 days, visiting the pristine, preserved huts of explorers Scott and Shackleton, and walking the volcanic shores.
The expedition highlight for most was the several hours cruising the ice edge aboard the Zodiacs beneath a beautiful blue sky, with bright sunlight and the towering sentinel of Erebus keeping watch over us, while a large pod of Minke Whales swam and fed around us. David Attenborough would have been Jealous. To top it off on our way back to the mother ship we explored a bay full of exquisitely carved icebergs glistening like icing on wedding cakes, and displaying yet more hues of fluorescent blue that, unbelievably, we had not seen yet.
The penultimate day came when we reached our southern most latitude, 77 degrees 44 minutes South, in McMudo sound where we celebrated first with drinks on the deck in the warm sunshine, then later with dessert and hot chocolate on the ice shelf, a game of soccer on the ice with the Russian crew, and the Polar Plunge (a quick swim in the -0.2 degree Ross Sea from the edge of the ice.), just after we had watched large pods of Orca nearby.
The journey home included cruising along the Ross Ice Shelf under the midnight sun, and our last stop on the continent at Cape Adare, with 100,000 Adelie penguins and another explorer's hut (we now know who George Borchgrevink is!!!).
Five straight days at sea, saw us arrive at our last place of interest, Campbell Island. We did an 8 hour 14 km walk on this very remote island. My wife and I love bush walking, and have done some of the world's greatest walks. This was by far the greatest we have ever seen or done. The flowering mega-herbs covered meadows on the top of a ridge with purples, pinks, white and yellow, all with a back drop of spectacular lime stone cliffs and turquoise blue seas. We could get up close to scores of Southern Royal Albatross nesting, or soaring majestically and peacefully over this remote landscape. Coming face to face with three elephant seals basking on a beach, will be a moment of joy that I will never forget. These beautiful seals are enormous!
Two more days at sea, (and these were the only big seas of the whole trip) saw us return to Invercargill, changed people. I know I am a better and more peaceful person because of this unique and humbling experience.
Whether you’re a birder, photographer, wildlife enthusiast, conservationist, or simply an adventurous spirit, these expeditions offer an unparalleled travel experience.
Heritage Expeditions is one of the best travel companies we have traveled with. I recommend them to anyone. You can see more on their website and find out about their full year's itinerary of expeditions all along the western pacific from Antarctica up to the Arctic.
Finally we have to thank Marion Picot from World Travel Professionals who made this all possible for us, through her professional knowledge, commitment to us and friendly assistance.
- Ben Aspinall
Ready to Explore Antarctica?
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Contact us today to speak to one of our personal consultants and enjoy the benenfits of our award winning premium travel services.
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