Hotel Review: The Scarlet Singapore

Here’s my honest review of The Scarlet Singapore!

I was a guest at this The Scarlet from November 15 – 19 2018. I’ll be reviewing my stay based on the 5 most important things I believe a hotel should be rated on: Location/Safety, Staff Friendliness, Room Comfort, Ambience, Amenities.

Location and Safety 10/10

This hotel is conveniently located on the edge of Chinatown less than a 10 minute walk from the CBD (central business district). Singapore is pretty small in general so getting around is easy via taxi or the immaculately clean MRT underground stations. The front desk is more than happy to call a taxi for you whenever you need one.

My favorite thing about the location of this hotel though, is the proximity to the fun local bars in Chinatown. My favorite of which being, Forest Darts Cafe, where the locals come for a night of hilarious karaoke. That being said, the service at this particular bar is a bit racist (they only skip over tables with different ethnic groups in favor of of the local Chinese guests) – but the singing is very funny to watch. I’ll come back to this in a different blog post.

Staff Friendliness 10/10

The staff at The Scarlet are super friendly and polite. All my interactions with them were positive.

Room Comfort 8/10

I arrived after check-in time but my room wasn’t ready and I had to wait in the lobby. I was ok with the short wait, however, when I got to the room it had this weird musky smell that I couldn’t stand, so 2 points off just for that alone. Normally, I’d have asked for a room change but I was exhausted from my flight from Hong Kong so I just went to bed.

The bed was comfortable enough and the room had a fridge which is always a plus for me. There’s also an umbrella in the closet for those rainy Singapore days :D.

My favorite thing about this room however, was the mobile “assistant”. The hotel provides each room with a cell phone for guest to use to make local calls or find their way around the city. Pretty damn cool!

Ambience 9/10

I’m a BIG fan of boutique hotels, and as far as they go, this one was super stylish. It did have a bit of an old muggy feel to it though, hence the point reduction. There’s a difference between antique and just plain old, and this hotel kinda just narrowly misses the plain old vibe.

Amenities 7/10

First thing I’m going to talk about here is the restaurant that’s attached to the hotel. it has different ownership and it complete trash – which really ruins the reputation of the hotel itself. The food is decent but the service is ridiculous.

I went to the restaurant downstairs to get some lunch at Casa Tartufo, and before seating me, the host put his hands in my hair!! He literally reached out and put his fingers on me!! Obviously I was appalled and took a couple steps back but decided to sit down anyway.

This restaurant on it’s own gets a 0/10. Once seated, the host AND the waiter that took my order decided to stand right beside me staring at me and talking about my appearance. Now I’ll say this, a lot of taxi drivers mentioned to me that it’s not very common to see a black person in Singapore, especially one being as dark as myself – but this service was atrocious. I’ve never felt more uncomfortable in my life. I was so uncomfortable that once my food came, I asked for a box, packaged it myself, and went to eat in my room.

The other hotel amenities were fine. I think I just chose the wrong dining option at this hotel(there are 2 others).

Overall rating: 9.4/10

I enjoyed my stay here and would recommend the hotel itself to my friends and followers.

Hotel Review: Meliá Barcelona Sky

Here’s my honest review of Meliá Barcelona Sky hotel!

I was a guest at this Meliá hotel from October 19 – 22 2018. I’ll be reviewing my stay based on the 5 most important things I believe a hotel should be rated on.

1. Staff Friendliness

My rating on the staff at Meliá Sky is a 10/10. Here’s why:

  • Check in was hassle free. We were met by a very polite gentleman around 11pm and he made us feel right at home. He also gave us a pass that allowed complementary entry into one of the local popular nightclubs.
  • At checkout, they stored our baggage for us for countless hours while we went to enjoy the beach, which we really appreciated.
  • We had to work out of their Level Lounge for a bit during the day when it’s quiet. The staff there were more than friendly and accommodating.
  • The only thing I will complain about is that, though they were very sweet, the housekeeping staff wouldn’t stop knocking on our door 😂 Let me explain. We drank too much on Saturday night and were having a bit of a lazy day on Sunday morning. Housekeeping tried to come in and clean the room on multiple occasions between what felt very early and about 5pm when I finally let them in. I’m not deducting any points for this because no one asked me to be that hungover in the first place…but geez let a b*tch sleep!!
Hotel from outside
Lobby area at night
Lobby area during the day

2. Ambience

My rating on the ambience is a 7/10. Here’s why:

A. Cleanliness

There was nothing that stood out to me as unacceptably dirty at this hotel. Although the carpets on the 17th floor where we stayed were a bit worn and looked like they could possibly be stained.

17th floor hallway

B. Decor

This hotel has a very weird theme going. Kinda like it’s trying to be a boutique hotel when it isn’t. Honestly my running joke the whole trip was that it looked like an alien brothel. Like something straight out of a sci-fi movie. Which if that’s your thing then you’d love it here.

The only thing I specifically hated was the picture hanging in my room that made me feel instantly drunk upon first glance. It also really didn’t fit the theme.

Trippy picture in our room

C. Serenity

Here’s honestly where majority of the points were deducted. We stayed in 1711 and it was NOISY. Not sure if it was the neighbors or what but on one of the nights it sounded like someone was trying to force their way into our room. We also heard doors slamming repeatedly every single night.

3. Room Comfort

My comfort rating is an 8/10. The beds were comfortable once you got them to stop rolling around. Idk why the hell their beds are on wheels tbh. I did really like the pillows though. It’s hard for me to find pillows that don’t hurt my neck and these ones were honestly perfect.

Our beds

I also liked that the shower and toilet were in separate rooms because there were two of us, so it was super convenient.

Now let me tell you my biggest grievance here. The lighting was terrible and the mirror was half missing or something. Doing makeup in this room is almost impossible.

Size of vanity mirror

4. Safety

My safety rating is 8/10. Nothing bad happened here except for the afore mentioned incident where it sounded like someone was trying to open our door late at night. However, our room didn’t have a safe which I would have liked.

5. Restaurant Options

My rating here is a 9/10. I did like that there were 2 restaurants and bars in the hotel. One by the lobby and one upstairs by the Level. Breakfast hours were reasonable, which is all I can ask for. Nothing worse than waking up too late and missing breakfast.

However the breakfast selection did not taste that great ☹️.

Breakfast buffet

Dinner did taste much better! But for the price I could have at least gotten a side to go with the meat on my plate.

Dinner at the lobby bar

The room also has a mini bar which is handy if you come home drunk, starving, and willing to pay €5 for a mini box of Pringles.

Mini bar in room

Overall rating: 8.5/10

Review Post: Can Fisher Barcelona! 😍

One of the biggest perks of living in Dublin is that I can jet off to places like Barcelona for the weekend.

I stumbled upon the gem that is Can Fisher on the last day of my trip and it was the perfect way to wrap it up.

Can Fisher is a midsize restaurant right off the shore with an amazing super cozy interior! #VeryInstagramable

But of course you all want to know about the food and the service so I’ll get right to it.

We had one of the catch of the day options recommended by the lovely Lulu, who by the way gets the best hostess award. We also had a pitcher of their white wine sangria.

Hands down it was the best meal I had in the city and also the best service.

Overall rating 5/5 🥂

Review Post: Centra Frank and Honest in Temple Bar

Taking a break from my temporary blogging hiatus to write about my horrible experience at this establishment right across the street from the Ha’penny Bridge.

I walked in at around 3am on September 16th and was refused service. Couple of facts to note here:

1. Yes it was 3am. No I was not drunk

2. It was cold and rainy outside

3. I couldn’t get any cabs to stop, as is typical of Dublin at this hour

4. I figured I’d grab a bite until the rain died down

And so I walked into this establishment expecting they’d serve me food but boy was I wrong.

I walked up to the counter and asked if they sold burgers to which they replied no. I then pointed to a sandwich and asked if I could get that to which the staff replied, “it’s not fresh”.

Let’s pause here for a moment. What!?!? Now I’m guessing the Centra is what has the “kitchen” and the Frank and Honest just shares the space BUT walking into a place with Frank and Honest on the doorpost you’d think I could get a fresh sandwich in there right? If my understanding of this business model is correct then their shared retail space with this Centra is super bad for their reputation.

…ok so then I say, “ok so what do you have that’s fresh?”

To which the staff replies, “Nothing here is fresh, do you want to eat or not!?”

I guess at this point his fellow staff member was “upset” that I was holding up the line and began to yell at me, “Get out! We’re not serving you!!” And then they both turned their backs to me.

Now you can only imagine my complete shock at this whole exchange. I stood there for a while and my delayed reaction was to take out my phone and start taking pictures of the man that yelled at me.

I’m not calling anyone here racist BUT all their white customers walked out happy with food and semi decent service 🤷🏾‍♀️🤷🏾‍♀️

Anyway, so I start taking pictures and this guy approaches me and says, “M’am you’re not allowed to take pictures in here, you’re going to have to leave!”

Hold up ✋🏾✋🏾 not allowed to take pictures? What kind of shady food establishment are you running where people aren’t allowed to take pictures?

So I took a picture of him as well and then I left vowing to tell my tale to anyone that’d listen.

3 Dublin Restaurants You’ll Never Want to Leave

I recommend these restaurants solely on how much time the interior designers spent making them works of art.

1. Xico

The Mexican Day of the Dead theme is evident as soon as you step into this underground restaurant and bar. It’s super cozy and dark, with a hint of horror. Looking for an intimate spot for your next date? Look no further.

2. The Barge

This is a pretty large multilevel bar and restaurant. If you go during the day, the large windows keep the interior pretty well lit. My favorite thing about this venue is the high ceilings that are crafted to mimic the frame of a boat.

3. Idlewild

This Dublin bar is well known for its Espresso Martini, but the lively interior is what drew me in. The bright green velvet chesterfield sofas transport you to a different era. If I had to put a time stamp on it, it’s very reminiscent of the 70s in America.

Dublin tips: Moving into your new apartment

So, you’ve done the most difficult part and secured yourself a place to live in Dublin…congratulations!! However, the trials and tribulations aren’t over yet my friend. Here are the top things you need to know:

1. Get your gas meter unlocked

This is something you’ll want to do ASAP if you’re moving in the winter. You can get your gas and electric done at the same time by calling Bord Gáis and opening a gas and electric account. Note, contact your landlord about paying the gas unlocking fee.

2. Sign up with a trash collection service

This ones a bit odd but I learned the hard way that the city doesn’t have a trash collection service. They’re all privately owned. You can compare quotes online and choose which is the best for you. Once signed up, they’ll send you the bins you ordered. Trash is usually gray, recycling is green, and compost is brown. I use Thorntons Recycling and have the pay as you go service with two bins, trash and recycling only. I fill up my account and they only withdraw money when I put my trash out to be collected. Trash pickup is €10 and recycling is €1. I also bought bin locks because my neighbor tries to put her trash in my bins instead of paying for her own 😂😂

3. Make an appointment to set up your internet ASAP

…because it takes forever for them to actually come out and set it up for you. Which is odd because there should be a self service option.

4. Buy a hanging rack

…because the dryers just don’t work. The washer dryer is combined into one machine that washes just fine but takes like 3 cycles to dry.

American Airlines: Premium Economy vs Economy

We’ve been on the flight from Dublin to Philadelphia for about 5 hours now, and while that time hasn’t quite whiled away, I’m comfortable.

American Airlines has launched its newish premium economy class and I used to be a skeptic but now I’m a believer.

Now, you might be thinking, premium economy is a scam. Why pay extra money to get the exact same services that you would in economy class? The answer is, leg room for days 😉 but you’ve gotta know how to get your money’s worth. I’ll share a two tips:

1. Sit in the first row

If you sit in the first row of premium economy, you’re going to get the most leg room possible and you’ll be the first to get your food and drinks.

2. Order free drink refills 😉

You know how you pay for wine and beer in economy class? Put that lifestyle behind you! AA premium economy serves free alcoholic beverage refills.

Ok now onto the pros and the cons:

Pros:

1. As mentioned above, free alcoholic drinks is always an incentive to get me to do almost anything.

2. The seats are much wider and you get more legroom.

3. They give you a little travel kit just like in business class. It contains toothpaste and brush, mouthwash, socks, done tissues, a pen, earplugs, headphone covers, lotions, and an eye mask.

4. Their back pillow and blanket were surprisingly plush and comfy. I usually suffer from severe back pain on longer flights but not this time!

Pictured: My very messy seat 😂 you can see just how much room I had.

Cons:

1. Odd as hell usability design. The amenities on the seats are not intuitive at all. The outlets and earphone hole are located in an odd hole in the back of the armrest. The tv comes up from beside your feet.

2. The footrest is made for people with very tiny legs. I have super long legs and I couldn’t use the footrest without my knees sticking out in the air 😂😭

3. Their “chef inspired” dining was not filling at all.

Pictured: Pre-arrival meal. Noodle salad, fruits, chocolate pudding, and a breadstick.

Overall rating: 8/10

I would fly premium economy again for the price I paid. About €750.

Getting your nails done in Dublin 101

Dear friends, today I’m going to save you a good €40 by sharing my fav nail salon with you.

While living in the US I got hooked on acrylic nails. It was almost like an addiction. They’d start threatening to fall off after two weeks and I’d frantically rush to the nail salon to get them refilled.

You can only imagine my horror when I arrived on Dublin ready to get my nails refilled and acrylics cost like €65. 😱😩😭

So after paying that exorbitant price once, I vowed to never pay it again…and after weeks of searching I found Elite Nail Bar, a privately owned boutique nail salon run by just the owner herself.

Acrylics here go at about €40 but she showed me how to get the very same stiletto nail look I love using my real nails and gel polish! So now I pay €25 for the gel and occasionally an additional €8 if I’d like for her to add 2 coats of gel nail hardner before putting the polish on.

The best way to reach her is via text and her number is on her website.

Acrylics:

My real nails:

Avoid this Italy tourist trap!

Ok… let me start by saying – it was totally my fault and I should have known better. Now that I’ve eaten that slice of humble pie, let me tell you all what happened to me outside the Duomo Cathedral in Florence.

I was down to my last few hours in the city, so I decided to wander around and squeeze in as much touristy stuff as I could before I had to head to the airport.

Now, I’d seen a few people getting their portraits done by local street artists and considered getting one myself…if I was going to do it, it was now or never. Against my better judgement, I approached a street artist sitting outside the cathedral and began to question him about the work he had on display. Here were the warning signs I should have paid attention to:

1. He was super arrogant and boastful about the little work he did have on display…overly so.

2. When I finally agreed and sat down, he began yelling at a woman and children that were sitting on the bench behind us. When I told him to stop immediately, his response was “they’re just tourists”. I told him that we are all just tourists in other peoples countries and then I helped the woman and her kids. Not sure why I didn’t just leave then 😩

3. I kept looking in his sunglasses at the reflection of what he was drawing, and it looked like trash but I wasn’t sure if it was distorted by his lenses.

4. People kept stopping and staring with very amused looks on their faces.

When it was finally done. He turned it around and showed it to me:

I told him it looked like a lion and nothing like what he had on display. He began to yell that he would never draw what he had on display for such a small price (€30…not small at all)…and in such a small amount of time.

A group of people started to gather…I began asking others if it looked like me, to which one man answered, “more or less”.

With people around me, I was faced with the dilemma of whether to pay this crook or not.

It kept going through my mind that black people can’t get away with throwing public tantrums and that individuals tend to then represent the whole race. If I didn’t pay him it’d become, black people are the worst tourists…or some other stupid generalization to that effect. So I paid him…for the worst possible reason, which really put a bad taste on my whole Italian experience.

For context: