The Bucket List: AC Hotel by Marriott Manchester City Centre

Immediately after arriving at Piccadilly Station from London. We took the Metrolink to the hotel which the nearest stop is Shudehill. The AC Hotel by Marriott Manchester City Centre is located just out of the main shopping district of Manchester. The location is not too bad, given its price point. It is just 5 mins from Arndale Centre, the main and largest shopping centre in Manchester. In fact you can literally walk anywhere in Manchester. Although I won’t want to walk all the way from Piccadilly. Victoria is a short stroll away! This is one of the newest hotel in Manchester, only recently built in 2018, located right in the Northern Quarter. Surrounding the hotel are a couple of renovations site since I guess this is an upcoming area. I am alright with it. The hotel does have a super fresh exterior, heck, in fact everywhere in the hotel looks new, clean and fresh. It is a 4 star hotel under the Marriott group. This is also my first time staying in an AC Hotel, for the 4 nights that we were here, the rate was 223 SGD for a family room, although with Citi Prestige 4th night free, that brought it down to 176 SGD. It is one of the cheapest in town. I was actually considering the Crown Plaza as well given the similar price point, but the ability to earn Marriott Points as well made the decision.

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The Bucket List: Residence Inn by Marriott London Kensington

Immigration was smooth and we were thru in mins due to the new policy that Singaporeans are now able to use the egates in UK. Kudoos to that. For my 5 days in London, I choose to stay at the Residence Inn by Marriott London Kensington. It is actually a long term stay property but you can in fact stay one night as well. It is more like a aparthotel. Usually you can find a wet bar with cooking facilities as well. What really attracts me was its fair pricing. London is an expensive place to stay in with prices usually around 300-400 SGD for something decent and in the city centre. The hotel location was superb, right in the heart of Kensington, the most upscale area in London, Tube station nearby. You are right in the heart of the city centre and could walk anywhere, Westfield mall is just mins away on food. High Street Kensington is a stroll away. I also realised that there is a direct tube line from Heathrow to the hotel on the Piccadilly, so that is really affordable and easy to get to the airport. Best of all, a large Tesco is located right next door. I will shall more about this later on. I paid 309SGD per night, after Prestige 4th night free that brought it down to about 239SGD. Furthermore I get to earn some Marriott points.

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A Cathay Present: Hilton Da Nang

Since my ticket on Cathay First Class was from Vietnam to the States. I had choose to depart from Da Nang, since their ticket were the cheapest. Furthermore it does seem that it will be a new city for me. I have never been to Da Nang. I decided to do a one night stay both before and after my Cathay Itinerary. While I have at first plan to stay at different hotels as well as one near the Han River and another near the My Khe Beach. The Hilton Da Nang was also a little pricier than their counterparts. But I immediately jump on the opportunity when they had a flash deal. I book just the entry level room, which is a King Guest Room River view. It cost me about 127 SGD after tax. Furthermore, I will be able to earn lots of points and clock my Gold Status. I think this has been one of the best decision of my travels. I will be sharing on both of my stay. First was a stay without Status. Second was with Gold Status, it will be nice to see how they differ from each other.

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A Cathay Present: The Renwick Hotel New York City, Curio Collection by Hilton

For my second night in NYC, I decide to change hotel to another hilton properties since the rates are much cheaper if I book them separately, it is also a great opportunity to be able to try and review another property from Hilton as well as in NYC. The Renwick Hotel is also part of Hilton, under the Curio Collection, which are more quirky and unique, they have a certain flair that might not suit the normal hotels groups. It might be fun staying at such properties since they might be usually housed in a special rebuilt or renovated buildings. Previously, I have raved about the location of my previous hotel. The Renwick is awesome as well, for checking out midtown and uptown. Perhaps more suitable for the typical tourists since you are super close to Times Square, Empire State, Rockerfeller, Central Park and definitely shopping down the world famous 5th Ave. Heck, Grand Central Terminal is just next door. You are practically at the heart of everywhere! 

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A Cathay Present: Hilton Garden Inn NYC Financial Centre

I was actually due to stay at the Conrad NYC and was really looking forward to it. I do not know why but the rates for the night that I was staying at in NYC were really cheap, in comparison to the others. My Conrad rates were a flexible one, I originally had it at about 240USD per night. However roughly about a week before my stay, I went to do another check and realised that all of the rates for the hotel have drop and in fact, for the friday night, I could find properties that were even at around 120USD. Couldn’t give up this opportunity, I cancelled my conrad stay. I found the Hilton Garden Inn NYC Financial Centre going for only about around 120USD and after taxes and fee, I paid about 147USD. Furthermore,  I am going to get some points and clock towards my Hilton Gold as well. The location was pretty good as well. It is located right at the edge of the banks, in Wall St, in fact just opposite the Subway as well as the Staten Island Ferry. The location makes it a perfect choice to explore lower manhattan, world trade centre and even Tribeca and Soho. I love how sometimes in the Wall St, especially on the weekends and holidays, it become quiet and rates are oftenly low.

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A Cathay Present: DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel & Suites Jersey City

Landing at close to 9pm, we were slightly late in touching down furthermore we had a long taxi. I can’t believe that I was in a metal tube for close to 17 hours, as awesome as Cathay may sounds, I was tired, exhausted and I just want to have a hot bath and hit the sack. I had one night around NYC area before taking the bus down to Washington and meet up with my friend. Thankfully immigration were completely empty and I was the first one thru, there was a slight wait for the baggage and I left JFK at around 915pm. I had actually wanted to take a ride share but it actually cost more than 100USD. HELL. I was staying in Jersey City since that rates are much much cheaper and in fact I got a nice rate at the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel & Suites Jersey City for just 155USD after tax and everything. I made the long journey using the Airtrain, Subway and then the Path, which took me about 1hr 45 mins in total to get to Jersey. Seems like it is a balance between cost and ease. The hotel has a really good location since it is like just a stone throw away from the Path.

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JB X Four Doubletree by Hilton Johor Bahru

Recently, in April, I took a very impromptu hop across the causeway for another trip to JB that have been missing for the longest time ever. I am in need of a massage as well as numerous good food! All at 30% of the price you find back home in Singapore! I kinda feel like the opposite instead, just like how I am when travelling to Europe. This trip all came about when there was a Flash Sale on Hilton recently and I am on a first track to qualify for Gold. Nothing is better than doing it for 70 bucks a night. I got train tickets and with a daypack, here I am in JB. The Doubletree by Hilton Johor Bahru is located just a short walk from the customs and City Square, which I believe that most of you know about.

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