Maximizing Miles in the Maldives: Cathay First, Eating in Singapore, and a Park Hyatt Water Villa – A Grand Suite at the Grand Hyatt Singapore

  1. Introduction
  2. Positioning flights to San Francisco, Sheraton Fisherman’s Wharf, and Some Dim Sum for the Day
  3. Cathay’s New San Francisco Lounge
  4. Cathay Pacific First Class, San Francisco – Hong Kong
  5. The Wing and Cathay Pacific First Class, Hong Kong – Singapore
  6. A Grand Suite at the Grand Hyatt Singapore
  7. Eating in Singapore
  8. Dinner at Waku Ghin, Marina Bay Sands
  9. Singapore Airlines Business Class: Singapore – Male
  10. Transfer to the Park Hyatt Hadahaa, Maldives
  11. Park Hyatt Maldives – Part I
  12. Park Hyatt Maldives – Part II
  13. Park Hyatt Maldives – Part III
  14. Maldivian, Kaadehdhoo – Male
  15. Singapore Airlines Business Class, Male – Singapore
  16. Cathay Pacific Business Class, Singapore – Hong Kong
  17. Conrad Hong Kong
  18. Cathay Pacific First Class, Hong Kong – Chicago
  19. American’s Chicago Flagship Lounge and the Final Journey Home

Singapore is one of the easiest airports in the world to navigate. Last time I was here, though, I tried out the Jetquay meet and greet service largely because it was about half the price arranging for it through the Intercontinental as through any other hotel or arranging it directly, and because I wanted to try it before setting my in-laws up with the service, and also because I wanted to experience it and share that here on the blog.

There’s not any special reason that meet and greets are needed in Singapore, but after traveling for a day or 20 hours I’m not always in the best of sorts, it’s nice not to feel the need to think about what you’re doing, having someone with a sign with your name on it, a nice, comfortable, and spacious car for you, as well as a cold towel and a bottle of water, can be well worth the cost even when that’s twice as expensive or a little more than a taxi.

So I arranged for the Grand Hyatt to have a car meet me at the airport, I set it up on the hotel’s website.

I met the representative with the Hyatt sign once walking into the arrivals hall, was escorted out to the curb where he went to fetch the car. Bags were loaded up and it was about a half hour to the hotel.

One of the things I do like about arranged transportation, and that I consider a major failure when a hotel flubs this up, is that I should be immediately known to the hotel. I can’t tell you how many times I shake my head, pulling up to a hotel in a hotel vehicle and the hotel doesn’t know who I am when I arrive. There’s no excuse for that. If they don’t match up the car to the guest then they should have the driver call 5 minutes ahead. When I get out of the car the staff should know my name at least, though if I’m being checked in on the club level (or better yet, in-room or in-suite) then there should be someone in the lobby who introduces themselves and escorts me to the club or to the room to complete check-in formalities. The Grand Hyatt got that right.

Greeted by name as I got out of the car, escorted upstairs to the club lounge (in the new tower) to check in. I had a seat and the agent began looking for a room for me. My booking was made using two free suite nights from the Hyatt Visa and two paid nights with confirmed suite upgrade. Both my free suite nights and suite upgrades were expiring, so this seemed a reasonable use.

Suite upgrades book into a Duplex Suite, but a little before 2pm when we checked in there must not have been any available and they said “we’ve further upgraded you to a Grand Suite.” The Duplex Suite is two levels, and a larger than the Grand Suite, but the Grand Suite is considered the better room by one category.

The room had a half bath and a kitchen in the entryway, a dining room table and desk and couch in the main sitting room, a bedroom, large bathroom with dual sinks, tub, separate toilet room, and shower, and a large walk-in closet room.

The club lounge is a nice space, and service is good although far from stellar — staff don’t necessarily remember your name from day to day and in my case didn’t remember how I take my coffee each morning. The breakfast spread is good, hot items vary daily, although not the most impressive I’ve experienced. Club guests get breakfast in the lounge and aren’t given the option of breakfast in the restaurant.

The evening service is impressive, several hot and cold items as well as desserts, including sushi.

One of my favorite things about arriving in Asia, a bit jetlagged but on vacation, is that I’m usually willing to just go to sleep when I’m tired. And that means waking up at odd hours. I’ll order coffee from room service in the middle of the night when I get up, and usually some food. So good quality room service is a strong plus in my book.

Here’s the Char Kway Teow and the Nasi Goreng.

Location is going to affect hotel choice primarily on a business trip, this property is on Scotts Road, the Orchard Road area, which is great with plenty around but may or may not match office needs especially given traffic. But cabbing wherever I needed to go was quicker than on my last visit — staying at the intercontinental near the Marina Bay Sands took me a good half hour to get to the Hilton on Orchard road, whereas this time I made it to the Sands in about 10 minutes from the Grand Hyatt.

At check-out, I had to go downstairs to the lobby instead of to the lounge, since the lounge reception doesn’t open until 7am. At the front desk there were a few people ahead of me, so I had to wait, and then when I was helped the process was a bit confused. It was my fault, I was asking for several things — to -pre-arrange a cab to the airport so I wouldn’t have to wait for one to be flagged, to use Hyatt Gift Checks towards the bill, to use remaining Singapore dollars I had in my wallet towards the bill, and then to put the final SGD$10 or so on the Hyatt Visa I had given them at check-in which of course they wanted to swipe again (never understood the need for formal checkout in Asia, along with giving them back the credit card swiped at checkin, while in the U.S. I rarely even check out of a hotel). Each step required checking with someone else, and so the affair was about 20 minutes long.

Nonetheless, it was overall a great stay. I was thrilled with the value, a lovely suite and a nice club, free internet of course as an elite benefit. Hyatt Diamonds have a good value proposition here for sure. Bottom-line: My wife has decided that’s where we stay in Singapore – and last year we were in the Ambassador Suite at the Intercontinental.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community Milepoint.com, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. The Straits restaurant downstairs is quite impressive if you aren’t adventurous or have a guide to the local hawkers…they did it for you and brought it on.

  2. @Singapore Flyer — I considered the Straits Kitchen restaurant, it was my backup if weather kept me indoors, all reports are of high quality food at a more expensive price point but certainly worth it. I opted for the Hawkers instead, which will be in my next installment.

  3. Gary – it will be interesting to hear your take on the hawker/food centers that you tried. I have had not so good to great food at Hawker centers.

  4. Did you have to switch rooms during your stay? Or did they let you stay in the suite the entire time?

  5. @Tony I did not switch rooms. I was confirmed in a suite for all nights — first with my suite nights from the credit card, and then with a confirmed suite upgrade for the next two nights.

  6. Given the category differences, what is the better value for an award night, GH Singapore or GH Hong Kong?

  7. @thrashsoundly the award night will have a higher dollar value in HKG… sadly on this trip i was only in hkg one night, so used points at the conrad instead of the grand hyatt (I did consider 1 night at the Grand Hyatt, and an additional paid night at the GH SIN)

  8. Do you get two free nights every year from the Hyatt Visa or is it a one time sign up bonus?

  9. Very Nice… Karen and I had that same type of suite for our “pre-honeymoon” last March.

    We are headed to TWN in 2 weeks on CX (only business) so am enjoying all the tips for getting around HKG and the lounges.

  10. i stayed there for one night on points in Jan. they escorted me directly to my upgraded junior suite when i arrived and when i inquired if i could eat at the restaurant for breakfast they said they would make an exception and take it off the bill for me (which they did for me and my guest).

  11. Have you considered the St. Regis for a future stay? Not to be contrary to Mrs. Leff, for whom I have the utmost admiration, but worth a try in my book. I really enjoy it there and they took excellent care of me when I arrived quite ill from Jakarta.

  12. @Corey the sgnup bonus for the card is two free nights — and if you’re a Diamond it’s two free nights in a suite — any room category. Then there’s an annual benefit of 1 free night up to category 4.

  13. Going to Singapore soon. Looking back on it, would you still recommend the car service to hotel vs cab? Also, did you arrive with some money already changed or did you use Singapore cash machine? Thank you.

  14. There no need for car service, but JetQuay pricing varies by hotel when booked that way and it was stragely subsidized at the Intercontinental (not at the Grand Hyatt). If at the Intercontinental I’d go high-end with the planeside meet-and-greet just for the experience. Otherwise probably wouldn’t spring for a car service.

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