We stayed at various hotels on our Honeymoon. In this section, we’ll give some background on each hotel and discuss some pros and cons.
Marina Express Aviator (Phuket, Thailand)
Room Type: 1 Double bed (felt more like a queen bed)
Since our flight landed in Phuket around 11pm at night, and there are no speedboat transfers after sunset, we had to arrange for a hotel to spend the night (and left for the island the next morning). We weren’t looking for something too fancy since we would be there for only 1 night, so we came across Marina Express. The price seemed reasonable (it was on sale), the location seemed super close to the airport, the Aviator theme was unique, – and the speedboat transfer confirmed that the van could pick us up from that hotel.
We took a cab from the airport to the hotel – and agreed on a price before getting in the cab (they have set fares for each hotel). We could have gotten a shuttle from the hotel if we had arranged for this ahead of time. Anyway, we took a cab because some locals told us that it was not walking distance (“airport hotel” seemed to suggest it might be connected to the airport or relatively close). It was a short drive from the airport, but it was difficult to find. The cab driver went around the hotel a few times, until we realized that the entrance was in a hidden alley.
The front desk staff were friendly, we checked in with no issues, and went up to our room. The hotel was clean and the aviator theme was apparent everywhere we looked – this was really nice since Faizan has an interest in airplanes and history. Our room was cozy, but clean and tidy. Much better than what we expected at the rate we got it for. The rooms have been newly renovated and the washroom even had a bidet sprayer (“muslim shower”).
The next morning, our pick up was around 12pm so we decided to explore the nearby area until then. Breakfast wasn’t included in our room fee (we chose not to include it), so we asked the front desk for nearby halal food options. They were really helpful and informed us that there were some options just down the street. There were in fact many options in walking distance of the hotel, and we were glad we opted-out of the hotel breakfast plan.
Overall, Marina Express Aviator Hotel was exactly what we were looking for – near the airport, clean, cozy, and close to many halal food options!
Santhiya Koh Yao Yai Resort (Koh Yao Yai, Thailand)
Instagram handle: @santhiyaresorts
Room Type: Ocean View Pool Villa Suite
Santhiya. Where do we even begin? This is where we spent the bulk of our time on our honeymoon. It was the perfect place to relax after our wedding. We seriously couldn’t have asked for more. We had a private villa, private pool, outdoor shower, buffet breakfast, amazing views, complimentary daily snacks/fruit in our room, a sandy beach, friendly staff, and lots of activities available at the resort.
It was really hard coming up with some “cons” for this resort – so the only two we found were that it was a little on the pricey side (but definitely worth it), and that there were lizards on the resort (Samiya doesn’t like lizards). So if you’re not a nature-person, this might not be the best resort for you. It’s important to mention that the lizards or bugs were never in our room/villa, but they were found outside (near our pool) and in our outdoor washroom. Note: Not all rooms have an outdoor washroom – this was included in the layout of the private pool villa. One morning when Samiya felt like sitting by the pool and eating an apple, we had another visitor..a monkey! You can learn more about monkeys at Santhiya on instagram (#santhiyakohyaoyai). We had done some research and knew that monkeys come by if you leave chips or other snacks lying around – but who knew they liked apples too? So be careful with eating outside if you are scared of monkeys. We thought it definitely added to the whole Santhiya experience!
Santhiya was really an amazing escape. Stay tuned for more photos, videos, and food recommendations coming up on our blog! But for now, note that there were numerous local halal restaurants along the beach (just a short 5-10 minute walk from Santhiya). There are many vendors offering full-day excursion packages along the beach as well (range from $70-$120/person CAD depending on activity). Lastly, there are massage therapists along the beach as well (these massages are much, much cheaper than the ones offered at the Spa at Santhiya). If you would like some privacy, they will even put down the curtains so you can still hear the waves and nature (but won’t be exposed to the public). Definitely recommend exploring Santhiya and it’s surrounding areas!
Overall, Santhiya was a dream come true – it’s as simple as that!
Fraser Residence (Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia)
Instagram handle: @fraserresidencekul
Room Type: 1 Bedroom Deluxe (includes full kitchen, separate TV room, laundry machine, and additional powder room)
Our time in Malaysia was less relaxing, and more of a “go-go-go” experience (which is exactly what we wanted). And although we loved the hotel, we probably should have considered this when booking our suite. Here’s what we mean. We were only in Malaysia for 3 days, and had a lot of items on our “to do/to see list”. This meant we wouldn’t be spending much time in our hotel room, so we could have opted for a room rather than a suite. We were under the impression that we would cook dinner and do laundry etc but we didn’t have time for any of that! So it really depends on how long you are in KL for. If you plan on being there more than a week, I think the suite would be a great option. If not, opt for one of their standard rooms.
In terms of the hotel itself – it was clean and spacious, there was complimentary fruit for us in our room when we arrived, the breakfast buffet was AH-MAZING, the hotel was in an ideal location (15 minute walk from Petronas Towers), and the staff was friendly and accommodating (they moved us to a room with a view since we requested this upon booking). The hotel seemed especially family-friendly as many guests came with their young children. Additionally, the hotel’s gym was on the top floor, with an amazing view of the city (although we didn’t actually get a chance to use the gym).
Only one word of caution – the hotel is located close to a cemetery – which may freak some people out. Although there are many hotels near the cemetery – the only reason we remember this is because we asked a hotel staff member the quickest way to get to the Petronas Towers on foot, and they told us the route, but warned that we shouldn’t walk that way at night.
Overall, a great hotel – if we are in KL ever again, would definitely stay at Fraser Residence!
The Plaza Hotel (Seoul, South Korea)
Room Type: Deluxe, 1 King bed
As you read in our Transportation blog (link the word), we had an unanticipated stay in South Korea for a night. What was supposed to be a short lay-over turned into an excuse to explore another country for a day!
Air Canada arranged for our transportation to the hotel and back to the airport the next morning. The airline covered the cost of the room and gave us some dinner vouchers (Seven Square Restaurant) as well. The room we were given was the “Deluxe Room” with 1 king bed. We requested a room with a nice view if possible – and were able to get a view of Seoul city hall square. “Deluxe” seemed to imply that the room would be spacious – however, we found it to be quite cramped and tight.
Other than the size of the room, everything else about this hotel was impressive. The room was clean and seemed newly renovated. It had a control touch panel for opening the curtains, turning on the lights, changing the temperature, etc. The washroom blew us away with its automated Bidet (heated toilet seats!!), glass shower walls, and Hermes Bath amenities. The breakfast buffet had a great variety of options to choose from. The location of the hotel was walking distance from many street vendors and shops – along with easy access to public transportation.
Overall, the room was cozy, clean, and technologically advanced and the hotel was in a great location. However, if we were ever to return to Seoul in the future, we are not sure we would pay the high cost/night as advertised for this hotel. Thanks for taking care of that Air Canada!