Ranking my stays after 6 months living in hotels


Disclaimer: I understand the risk of travelling during this period and I am not saying that it is a great idea. With what’s going on in the world right now, there is absolutely nothing important in this post. This is a share of experience that may be able to help fellow travellers make better travel decisions in future. ❤️

After being grounded in my home country for about 7 months, I left Singapore on 9 November 2020 without a return plan. Since then, I have been living in hotels.

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Pandemic hotel experience

In general, my experience staying in hotels during the pandemic has been amazing. Although, I must admit that it felt very wrong to say that.

Of course, most hotels are running reduced services and not all facilities were opened but having the pool, the gym, the lounge, the restaurant all to myself are something that I could only dream about one year ago.

I feel for hotel staff who’ve had their jobs affected by this pandemic. I’ve spoken to a lot of staff on the ground and it’s somewhat comforting to hear that most of them got to keep their jobs, albeit with reduced salary/working hours.

Room rates

Room rates are at historical lows in all the cities that I’ve been in. Rates at Marriott hotels have been substantially lower than Hyatts and Hiltons. Marriott’s BRG program is also the most lenient. Having discounted Marriott eGiftCards in hand made rates at Marriott hotels a lot cheaper than those from the other 2 programs.


Most hotels now offer à la carte or assisted buffet for breakfast. Some even offer in-room breakfast at no cost! I am not a heavy eater and have never truly enjoyed full buffets like others. À la carte dishes are generally fresher (as they are not left out in the open for a long time) and are plated nicely. This new norm of how hotel breakfasts are handled has been a dream, for me at least.


Marriott and Hyatt hotels have been very generous in offering me complimentary suite upgrades (almost 100%) while my experience with Hilton has been quite the opposite.

Reduced opening hours of hotel facilities

Hotel pools, gym and spas are operating at reduced hours. Not an inconvenience for me.


Ranking my stays (value)

This is how I would rank my stays based on what I got, for what I paid.

I have delayed this article for a couple of days as I had a good feeling about the hotel that I checked into just 2 days ago. And boy, it didn’t disappoint!

10) Sheraton Dubai Creek

What I paid: S$55 nett
Package: Room only (BRG)
What made it value for money: View

Sunset view from Sheraton Dubai Creek

9) The Laguna, a Luxury Collection, Bali

What I paid: S$176 nett
Package: S$133 credit (Marriott STARS)
What made it value for money: Credit, villa upgrade, in-room breakfast of great quality, service

8) The Athenee, a Luxury Collection, Bangkok

What I paid: S$152 nett
Package: S$119 credit
What made it value for money: Credit, suite upgrade, view, lounge quality, breakfast quality, service

Afternoon tea at Royal Club Lounge at The Athenee

7) Sheraton Grand Dubai

What I paid: S$88 nett
Package: Room only (BRG)
What made it value for money: Suite upgrade, lounge quality, view, service

Complimentary upgrade to the humongous Executive Suite at Sheraton Grand Dubai

6) Hyatt Regency Bangkok

What I paid: S$86 nett
Package: Room only (min. 14 nights)
What made it value for money: Suite upgrade, breakfast quality, lounge quality, service, hardware

Hors d’oeuvre at Hyatt Regency Bangkok is often good enough for dinner

5) The Westin, Nusa Dua, Bali

What I paid: S$68 nett
Package: Room only
What made it value for money: In-room breakfast, suite upgrade, location, afternoon tea

4) Aloft Kuala Lumpur

What I paid: S$38 nett
Package: Room only
What made it value for money: In-room breakfast, location

3) Sthala, a Tribute Portfolio, Ubud, Bali

What I paid: S$39 nett
Package: Room only
What made it value for money: In-room breakfast, upgrade, view, service

Jungle Suite at Sthala Ubud

2) Aloft Bali Seminyak

What I paid: S$36 nett
Package: Room only
What made it value for money: In-room breakfast, upgrade, hardware

1) Courtyard Bali Seminyak

What I paid: S$40 nett
Package: Room only (min. 7 nights), free laundry
What made it value for money: In-room breakfast of great quality, suite upgrade, laundry, service, hardware

Suite upgrade is an actual benefit for Platinum members and above at Courtyard Seminyak

Honourable mentions: W Kuala Lumpur, Ritz-Carlton Bali, W Seminyak, Grand Hyatt Bangkok, Marriott Marquis Bangkok.

Ranking my stays (quality)

Here’s a less-exciting list of my favourite stays if price does not matter. This list is based on the quality of breakfast, location, club lounge (if any), views, hardware, service and elite member recognition.

10) JW Marriott Marquis Dubai

9) The Westin Ubud, Bali

8) W Dubai Palm

7) W Seminyak

6) Sheraton Grand Dubai

5) The Ritz-Carlton Bali

4) W Kuala Lumpur

3) Hyatt Regency Bangkok

2) The Athenee, a Luxury Collection, Bangkok

1) Al Maha, a Luxury Collection, Dubai

The more expensive hotels that are missing here are Waldorf Astoria Dubai Palm, Alila Seminyak and Andaz Bali.

Bottom line

I currently have a backlog of 8 Balinese hotels to write reviews on and will be taking a break from hotel-hopping for a while.

I am very comfortable in Courtyard Seminyak right now and will probably be extending my stay for 1 or 2 more weeks. Hard to believe that this high-quality Category 4 hotel is only going for S$40 a night.

Looking ahead, I am not sure how long I’ll remain in Bali. I couldn’t be more grateful to be on this beautiful island at this point in time. Maybe I’ll fly to Batam in the coming months to check out the new Marriott hotels and catch a glimpse of my home country from the shore. 🙂

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