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.

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.

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:

Most people can’t guess which Eiffel Tower picture I took in France from the one I took in Las Vegas…can you?

What’s up with Irish phone numbers!?

If you’re like me and haven’t gotten around to getting your own Irish phone number, you’ll know that figuring out the dial out codes can be a bit tricky. So I’ll save you the 3 months it took me to figure it out by providing the below cheat sheet! You’re welcome! 😉

Here’s what a barebones phone number looks like here: 6110101

You’d type it exactly that way if you had a local Dublin landline.

If you’re dialing from anywhere else in Ireland, you’d add the Dublin prefix, 01.

The number now looks like, 016110101

Now, if you’re dialing from an international number, you’d add the Irish prefix +353 or 00353 and take away the 0 from the Dublin prefix.

The number now looks like, ‭+353 (1) 611 0101‬.

Here are other Irish geographic dial codes.

My 3 Favorite Places to Eat in Boston

If you’re as much of a foodie as I am you’ll appreciate these 3 restaurants!

1. Little Donkey

In the #1 spot is Little Donkey in Cambridge. Combine sweet and savory by mix and matching their Brioche French Toast with a side of the Habanero Maple Sausage. I promise you won’t taste anything yummier than this!

2. Row 34

Our #2 spot goes to Row 34. Looking for the best lobster roll in town? This is where you’ll find it!

3. Cafe ArtScience

With cocktails named after endangered species and a robotic server on display, this Cambridge eatery is the classy nerds haven. My personal favorite menu item is the duck on their dinner menu which I believe is seasonal (fall/winter).

Boston Massachusetts: Pros and Cons

Thinking of moving to Boston? Planning a quick trip? Just wondering what it’s like over there? Well, I lived in Boston for about 7 months so you’ve come to the right place to learn a thing or two about this historical New England city.

Pros:

  • Having just moved from Philadelphia, I absolutely loved how clean Boston is.
  • Boston’s rich culture is evident throughout the city. There’s tons to do when it comes to visiting college campuses or learning about the city’s history by visiting local museums.
  • You’re a stones throw away from Cambridge which is home to both MIT and Harvard.
  • Lots and lots of seafood!
  • If you’re a young professional, you’ll be glad to know that you fit the demographic mold.
  • It’s a sports fans haven.
  • It’s also a sailors haven. If you’re lucky enough you might make a friend or two that’ll take you out on their boat.

Cons:

  • Boston is severely segregated by ethic groups which makes it a bit uncomfortable.
  • Trying to make new friends as a young professional? Sorry, this city isn’t for you. Most Bostonians already made all their friends in college and aren’t accepting new applications.
  • Winters can be brutal but if you’re coming from any other North Eastern state, this won’t phase you at all.
  • Most restaurants are just ok. Moving from Philly, I was shocked by the lack of flavor in Boston restaurant meals. That being said, I did find a couple of hidden gems.

Click here to find out the best places to eat in Boston!

Business Class vs Economy: What You’re Dying to Know

Want to go on this trip!? Ask me for my itinerary today! Click here!

I got the super amazing opportunity to fly Cathay Pacific business class from Philadelphia to Hong Kong, and the perks were unbelievable. For a bit more context, PHL to HK is about a 16 hour flight – flying business class made it seem like a 2 hour flight! Here are a couple things you didn’t know about flying business class:

Bottomless Champagne 

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The air hostess always referred to me by my last name which I found super interesting. She’d ask super politely, “Ms.Arinze would you like some more champagne”…my answer was always yes.

Business Class Lounge

Did you know that airports have secret lounges where the rich and well-to-do hide from us commoners?? Neither did I! These lounges are stocked with meals, snacks, and you guessed it…bottomless drinks! Feeling guilty for spending so much on first/business class tickets? – here’s where to really get your money’s worth.

The Cathay Pacific lounge in HK has private, super cozy, shower rooms. I was able to freshen up and look brand new after spending 16 hours napping :D.

Full Horizontal Recline 

No exaggeration…I literally napped for most of this flight. When I wasn’t sipping champagne, I was full on sleeping. That’s how comfortable theses pods were.

Meals Served in 3 Courses

I will say, I missed the economy meals – they’re a bit more filling. In business class you get a few courses of nicely arranged scraps. I got fruit, salad, and salmon pictured below. IMG_1730.PNG

Never Wait in Line

You always get to board the plane first! Running late from the lounge? Not a problem at all! You get to cut the line and board asap – I found this especially funny.

Overall Flight Experience

10/10

5 Super Weird Things That Happened to Me in Thailand

Oh Thailanddd…where to begin. This is going to sound totally ridiculous but I found myself halfway across the planet almost completely by accident. For someone who travels a lot, it’s still a bit difficult for me to believe that this happened to me – let’s start from the very beginning.

I was living in the suburbs of Pennsylvania, against every single life goal and dream bone in my body, and it wore me down emotionally daily. I often felt stuck in a cycle of work and life that I didn’t want to be a part of anymore – but had no idea how to break free. One night, I had gotten into a huge fight with my ex boyfriend at a friends dinner party and completely lost it. I let all my life frustrations out on him in public and we weren’t even together at the time so it was extra awkward. Maybe I had been holding things in that I should have said when we initially broke up, or maybe I was upset that he hadn’t changed and was still the asshole that would show up 3 hours late to one of his “bestfriends” birthday dinners with a random girl on his hand. Whatever it was, it caused me to have a complete out of body experience that landed me on the island of Koh Samui.

I remember waking up the next morning super embarrassed and thinking, last night would have never happened if I had the courage to follow my dreams and get the hell up out of PA.

I had the sudden urge the leave asap but I didn’t have a plan.

I vaguely remembered a former boss that had told me about a trip she booked using Contiki Tours. She’d gone all the way to South Africa with a friend, but most people who used this tour company were solo travelers that’d get to travel in a group. It was perfect!! I fired up my laptop and booked the cheapest trip that I could go on as soon as possible…”Thai Island Hopper Tour”. It only cost about $650 (which at the time surprised the heck outta me, since I was silly enough to believe it included airfare…it did not). For some reason I thought that they were selling the trip at a super discounted price since it was two weeks out and they needed to fill up the rest of the spots.

I was pretty calm once I figured out that airfare was not included, after-all, how bad could a flight to Thailand be? I was completely delusional!

The plane tickets cost twice as much as the tour itself and it would take me THREE planes to get there! What?? The total journey would be about 23 hours. I was under the impression that it’d take something like two 7 hour plane rides. When I think back on it now, I’m not sure how I could have ever thought that – but I’d already spent over $600 and I wasn’t going to back out.

So I went on the island hopper tour! And here’s what happened:

1. Tourists would constantly ask to take pictures with me

Most people were polite enough to ask, but I once caught a group of women who claimed to be from a rural part of Italy, taking pictures of me in a bikini….awkwarddd. My guess is that a lot of them hadn’t seen someone this dark before.

2. I second-guessed every single action item in the itinerary

The jumping from boat to boat to get to another boat…climbing uneven rocks…riding in open vans with no seat belts…snorkeling when I didn’t know how to swim. It all seemed a bit too dangerous, but I’m glad I did it all.

3. I got bitten by a spider!!

…or a baby mosquito. The lady at the pharmacy wasn’t quite sure but my legs were covered in mosquito bites and this one looked very different. I’ll spare you the details here.

4. This man made me take this super awkward picture

…I’m sorry elephant. I don’t know why he made me do this!! but I’m so glad he did because it’s hilarious to look at now. Also, I was wearing that rain poncho(that I had actually bought in Sintra, Portugal the year before) because I guess it must have been raining season on the Thai islands and we were constantly caught in unpredictable downpours.

Thailand2

 

5. I made friends with complete strangers!

…one of them got attacked by a monkey, lmao! luckily it was caged. Traveling solo really helped me discover who I am on my own, and how I interact with others when I’m out of my comfort zone.

It was a total blast! and an amazing life changing experience.

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