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Topics - EJB

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2hr connection. Wide open availability. Anyone know what the amex pricing is?  Other connections available in europe at decent prices, and YUL connection can save a few bucks as well.

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Trip Reports / Room report: Conrad USM 3BR Villa
« on: January 29, 2018, 12:26:27 AM »
Introduction
I tend to plan trips around flights - price mistakes, cheap flights, value redemptions, and aspirational redemptions. My family and I just came back from 9 days in southeast Asia thanks to cheap open jaw Y tickets. We paid 113k MR points for 6 seats on transpacific UA flights

Costs
    Airfare
    • EWR-HKG-BKK//SIN-SFO-EWR: UA/HX Y, 20k MR pp (children were 15k MR). Got bulkhead and row behind on the UA longhauls for entire party due to 1k status
    • BKK-USM: PG Y, 5k EY + $3
    • USM-SIN: MI Y, 12.5k SQ + $30

    Hotels
    • BKK: Somerset Lake Point (Soi Sukhumvit 16), 3BR deluxe apartment, $173 x 4 nights incl. tax using Citi 4th free
    • USM: Conrad Koh Samui Residences, 3BR Villa, $500 x 4 nights incl. tax using Citi 4th free
    • SIN: 30 Bencoolen, Junior Suite + Deluxe Room, ($216 + $136) x 2 nights incl. tax

    There have been countless of trip reports covering the places we went to, so I won't be writing a traditional trip report. Instead, I believe I'm the first to cover the Conrad USM 3BR villa, so I'll be covering that.

    Overall
    This was the most cash I've ever shelled out for a hotel room, but it also was the largest and nicest I've ever been to by a long shot. You could spend 5 days at the Conrad without leaving the resort. You could spend, if you wanted to, 5 days in this room without leaving and have a blast.

    How I booked the room
    Hilton had a 50% off flash sale in early September that included many southeast Asian properties, such as the Conrads in MLE and USM. This deal was stackable with Citi's 4th night free benefit on the Prestige card. I noticed that the combination brought the residences down to pretty affordable levels - IIRC the 2BR residence ended up costing just under $400 including tax for the dates I was interested in, and I was seriously considering booking it at that rate. My alternative was to Airbnb a nice multibedroom apartment/villa. Unfortunately, in the several hours I spent trying to get approvals from the household powers that be, Hilton blocked the flash rate at the 2BR room type and the only available room type was the 3br at 25% more. I tried to get the hotel to reopen the 2BR at the flash rate, but did not have success. I am very happy that I decided to splurge on the extra $100 a night.

    Room Specs

    I copied the below description from the room fact sheet that the hotel sent me. It is pretty accurate

    OCEANVIEW THREE-BEDROOM POOL VILLA
    Tropical motifs are combined with subtle Thai influences and contemporary design to create a unique dιcor featuring rich tones and natural textures. The upper level entrance opens to a private outdoor lawn terrace, ideal for relaxing with family and friends for pre-dinner cocktails while taking in panoramic sea views and exquisite Samui sunsets. This level also includes an open-plan living and dining area, contemporary bar, private kitchen and a spacious sun deck with an area for al-fresco dining.

    The master suite, two junior suites, private pool and outdoor deck are located on the lower level. The master suite boasts its own living area with a 42-inch plasma TV, a stylish circular bed, private study, and a walk-in closet. The adjoining bathroom is a masterpiece on its own featuring a sunken circular tub, outdoor shower, jacuzzi and plunge pool. Two junior suites, complete with king-sized beds, open directly onto the large pool terrace.

    •    766 sqm of indoor and outdoor living space
    over two levels
    •    20 m infinity edge pool
    •    Three king-sized bedrooms
    •    Living room and private outdoor lawn
    terrace
    •    Kitchen with cooking appliances,
    refrigerator, and coffee machine
    •    Fully stocked mini bar
    •    Dining table seating 6 people
    •    King-sized ensuite bathroom featuring rain
    shower, oversized bath tub and spa quality
    amenities
    •    Separate guest powder room
    •    Inflatable toys for pool
    •    Maximum occupancy of 9 people
    •    24 hour butler service
    •    Private Chef on request
    •    Grocery Shopping Service available on
    request
    •    Contemporary Thai-inspireddesign
    featuring original artwork, unique artifacts,
    and locally-sourced stone
    •    Connected with cutting-edge technology
    solutions including satellite television, iPod
    dock, high-speed internet access and secure
    virtual network

    We arranged for RT transportation from USM in a large van with Mr. Samui, stopping off at the Chabad for lunch (2500 baht for RT transfer including stop).

    When we arrived at the hotel, we were immediately greeted by the beautiful entrance, a tropical downpour, complimentary refreshments


    Lyle Lewis, the general manager at the property (and former general manager of the Conrad MLE), introduced himself to us and without us even requesting, made sure that 5 kosher breakfasts were ordered for each day of our stay. We were given 4 drink vouchers for being diamond members, and after 15 long minutes, we were driven to our room. Here is a virtual tour:

    Room entrance

    This is the only 3BR that the hotel has access to. The remaining 6 are either sold or on the market

    Upper floor - Outdoor

    I think the oceanview backyard is bigger than my home backyard...


    Outdoor dining area. We had quite a few pizza dinners, courtesy of chabad, here



    How courteous, they even included a netilas yadayim sink


    View of pool. Yes, this is a private pool. No need to go to the gym if you do laps here :)


    Outdoor staircase to lower level

    Upper floor - Indoor
    Beautiful entrance


    Indoor dining room

     
    Living room, with a very tired 3-year old


    Kitchen, with full size refrigerator/freezer, nespresso machine, microwave, stove, pantry room, and butler's entry (I strongly considered calling room service just to use the butler's entry)



    Lower level - outdoor


    The highlight of the room - the 20m pool. This pool is double the length and wider than the standard pool at the other villa's, and is similar in size to the that of the Royal villa, albeit significantly longer







    We even were provided (upon request) with a large swan. I believe they sell these by the pool for ~$100. I'm not sure who decided it would be a good idea to put a huge inflatable toy in an infinity pool of a hotel complex built on cliffs, though...


    The room even came with an outdoor shower and mikvah - They know how to cater to their frum clientele!

    Lower level - indoor


    Massive master bath. This bathroom is literally bigger than most hotel rooms I've been at. The shower is double-sized with two showerheads




    I couldn't figure out what this thing does, but it looks cool


    Master walk-in-closet. All three bedrooms have large walk in closets


    Master study, for all the studying you'll be doing in this villa




    Master bedroom couch 1 (of 2). You can get kicked to the couch without even leaving the bedroom... twice


    1. It wasn't my birthday, and my birthday is on my Honors account. 2. That's not how to spell my name, which is correctly spelled on my Honors account.




    Hallway where we kept all of our luggage


    Bedroom 2. This was the puny bedroom, with a (gasp) normal sized bathroom




    Bedroom 3















    I can get used to these views



    Overall, our stay in this room was fabulous and nearly flawless. We'd do it again and we wish we had spent more days at the property. I do have several complaints about the room, some minor, and others tongue in cheek:

    • Some of the furniture was showing signs of age (wood peeling, visible scratches, etc.)
    • I really don't get round beds
    • The master bedroom had a severe lack of outlets on the right side of the room
    • All TVs on the bottom floor seemed to not even have digital connections. The reception was circa-1990s grainy. The TVs may be plasma, but the quality was definitely not HD, aside from the TV in the living room (apple TV)
    • The staircase was designed in such a way that we stubbed our toes several times. It was pretty painful
    • A diving board would be great
    [/list]

    3
    Random question, I know. I seem to remember it was an off-brand nespresso machine. Is this true?

    4
    Goods For Sale/Trade / Buying UA drink vouchers
    « on: January 07, 2018, 12:16:36 AM »
    Anyone have these?

    5
    Up In The Air / Cheap ex EU J available OW
    « on: December 24, 2017, 04:19:35 PM »
    Some cities in EU currently have pretty cheap and wide open J fares.

    Many airlines have cheap fares RT, but TAP has cheap fares that allow OW bookings. OW fares are as low as $612-$900 to NYC from cities such as CPH, OSL, BUD, WAW. These fares are J class, come with one free stopover/open jaw, and earn 200% RDM on A3. You can pay an extra $150 or so for them to be fully refundable (or buy the cheaper fare and pay a similar cancellation fee). They are bookable on Amextravel.com for redemption and dates are valid until end of schedule.

    If you have an option, the LIS-JFK flight features their new business class product from AZUL, which is superior to the older product on their EWR flights (but both should be lie flat)

    Child fare is 75% of adult fare (+YQ).

    6
    Up In The Air / Is this too close for shabbos?
    « on: October 27, 2017, 04:23:28 PM »
    USM-SIN landing at 4:20 PM when licht is 7:01 (late Jan). If flight gets delayed I could make emergency arrangements in USM.

    7
    Goods For Sale/Trade / Selling used Bose QC25 @ $125
    « on: October 20, 2017, 02:04:18 PM »
    PM me if interested

    8
    @ Springfield, NJ. PM me if interested.

    9
    Up In The Air / LHR-GYE BA F ~$1050 RT in A
    « on: October 03, 2017, 12:12:52 AM »
    Dates are wide open through summer. Connections available in JFK and MIA. Earns 450% if credited to AS.

    10
    Goods For Sale/Trade / Bose QC25
    « on: October 02, 2017, 08:23:05 PM »
    Great condition, $150
    PM me if interested

    11
    On The Road / Awesome rates to Conrad USM and Other Asian Hilton Properties
    « on: September 06, 2017, 10:10:45 AM »
    link

    Up to 50% off many properties in asia. ENDS 8 SEP 2017, 1PM SGT. Rates are non-refundable. Stackable with Citi 4th night free.

    Conrad USM - 295/night +fees before 4th night free
    Conrad residences - 750/night + fees before 4th night free for 8k sft 3br suite

    Great deals at many other properties, including Conrad Maldives

    12
    Goods For Sale/Trade / Looking for Hilton gc
    « on: September 05, 2017, 01:26:11 PM »
    Large denominations @10% off or smaller (<500) @15%

    13
    Up In The Air / Open jaws to asia for cheap!
    « on: August 17, 2017, 02:46:59 PM »
    I just booked EWR-BKK//SIN-EWR for 38.5k MR/2. Super long flight, but hard to beat the price for 5 tickets.

    14
    Deals/Deal Requests / Brooks brothers - non-iron shirts <$40
    « on: March 21, 2017, 10:18:10 AM »
    Stackable savings at Brooks Brothers.

    1. They currently have a 4 for $199 or 25% off 3+ shirts promotion
    2. Stacks with code BCSP17 ($200 off $500 or $100 off $300)

    15
    Up In The Air / Fuel dump to TLV - $276
    « on: March 05, 2017, 10:52:59 PM »
    This has been posted online on many forums and is starting to get pulled, so I figured I'd post this:

    EWR-TLV-EWR\LLW-BLZ for $276. Bad routing on Ethiopean (EWR-LFW-ADD-TLV). Has been bookable on OTAs, but that may change very soon.

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