Booking 5 Star Luxury Hotels while Planning a Trip to Singapore and Malaysia
I’m currently planning a trip to Singapore and Malaysia and I thought that I would share my experiences and advice with you about booking 5 star luxury hotels for my trip.
For years I have heard that Singapore is a great place to visit. When I saw an email from Scotts Cheap Flights advertising really low fares to for a trip to Singapore I decided that I had better book the ticket.
My Flight Details for the Trip to Singapore and Malaysia
A round trip flight from my home airport (PHX) to Singapore (SIN) typically costs about $900 to $1300 USD. I just checked my exact flight today and it is currently for sale for $1126 – still a few months in advance.
Just for reference I also searched for a flight from PHX to SIN that departed a mere 14 days from the time of this writing. The cost jumped up to a whopping $2013.
Pretty pricey right? Well thanks to Scott’s Cheap Flights I was able to find a ticket for only $492 USD. Crazy, Right? Check out my screen shot below incase you don’t believe me.
One of the best things (for me at least) was that this flight was marketed by Japan Airlines aka. JAL. This is great for two reasons.
Firstly, JAL is a great 5-star airline. They are known for taking really good care of their passengers. In fact they actually were recognized for having the best Economy Class Airline Seat on their international routes.
Secondly, it is a code share flight with American Airlines aka AA. This is great for me for two reasons. Number one, I have Gold Status (kinda useless honestly). More importantly I was able to earn AA Advantage Airline Miles for travel on this JAL flight. I am an avid collector of AA Miles. As a matter of fact, I just used American Airlines Miles to book tickets for a four-month adventure to the South Pacific. You can read my comprehensive guide on how to earn and redeem AA Miles here (coming soon).
As you can imagine I had to book that flight. If you want to see the step by step details on how I found and booked that flight check out my detailed guide on How To Book Really Cheap International Flights (coming soon).
It was a great deal and I knew that it wouldn’t last long so I booked it ASAP. In fact, I booked it before researching anything at all about Singapore. I only knew three things; Singapore is in South East Asia, it’s very clean and modern, and chewing gum is illegal.
I booked this trip to Singapore and Malaysia way back in April for next February so I knew that I would have plenty of time to do research.
So I Booked a Flight for my Trip to Singapore and Malaysia now what?
Well to be honest I didn’t even think about it again for several months. I was actually on a trip to Branson, Missouri when I booked the trip to Singapore and Malaysia and I certainly didn’t want to waste my time doing research on the computer when there was so much else to do on that adventure.
Before I go on to the next phase of planning a trip to Singapore and Malaysia let me give you the (awful) details of my flight itinerary from PHX to SIN.
Depart Phoenix (PHX) airport at 8:21AM on the 15th.
Arrive at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) at 9:20AM (Time Zone Change)
That’s a two hour flight.
Depart LAX at 11:50AM
Two and a half hour layover in LAX.
Arrive in Japan at the NRT airport in Toyko at 4:54PM (16:45) on the 16th.
I lose a day because of the drastic time zone change.
Yikes! That flight leg is 12 hours!!
Depart NRT at 5:55PM (17:55)
A quick 1 hour layover.
Arrive in Singapore at 12:45AM on the 17th.
That is another long flight, almost 8 hours long.
That is a total of over 24 hours travel time! It will be tough but I’m sure I will survive. After all it’s not every day I get a chance to take a trip to Singapore and Malaysia. My ticket was obviously booked in coach so it won’t be comfortable but hey what’s a mere 24 hours out of a long life.
Finding Deals for 5 Star Luxury Hotels on my Trip to Singapore and Malaysia
I typically like to stay at 5 star luxury hotels, not hostels. They may cost more but I put a high value on a good nights rest. At home I sleep on a Tempurpedic bed and it is always hard for me to adjust to the substandard beds that all hostels and many hotels employ.
Typically speaking I always like to book a 5-star luxury hotel when I arrive and depart from an international destination after a long-haul flight.
This trip is no different. After 25 hours of traveling I am going to want to crash hard into a comfortable bed and sleep for hours. I am a big fan of the Intercontinental Hotel brand. They have consistently great quality no matter what continent you are on. They are also a member of IHG which is the largest hotel group by number of properties so it makes it easy to earn points pretty much anywhere I may travel. (Disclaimer: I do often stay in non-IHG hotels and IHG hasn’t paid me a dime to mention them.)
The one caveat of this particular flight itinerary on my trip to Singapore and Malaysia is my 1AM arrival time. This really sucks because I will have to book a hotel for the night of the 16th. Unfortunately no hotel is going to let you check in that early. Some places may be able to get you in by noon or so but 1AM – no way!
Knowing that I will have to go through immigration and customs I wanted to pick a hotel close to the airport. At this point I wasn’t sure where geographically the Singapore airport was located and if it was convenient to any of the activities I might want to do. Of course, I had no idea what sights I even wanted to see so I needed to do some research on that too.
I simply pulled up Google Maps and typed in Singapore airport. What I discovered is that Singapore airport is as far east as you can go in Singapore. This made me realize that I probably only wanted to spend one night in a hotel near the airport.
Using TripAdvisor to Find an Airport hotel on my trip to Singapore and Malaysia
Whenever I am looking for a hotel I always start with Trip Advisor. It’s important to remember to take the reviews on Trip Advisor with a grain of salt. Make sure that you read both 1-star and 5-star reviews. Don’t necessarily trust reviews from people who have only reviewed one or very few properties. 5 star luxury hotels have a big incentive to pay for fake reviews so just be wary.
All warnings aside, Trip advisor is a great tool to help you narrow down 5 star luxury hotel choices. I always change the search results filter to organize the listings by highest ranked first. I usually just skim though the top 20 or 30 to see if any of the large 5-star luxury hotel brands have any great deals going but today I needed to find a hotel located geographically close to the Singapore Changi airport.
Rather than using the typical hotel listing view I immediately switched to map view. This allows me to see where the hotels are physically located and made it easy to pick out hotels located close to the Singapore airport.
The map view made it really easy to see that there is actually a hotel located at the Singapore airport. The Crowne Plaza Changi Airport is located at the airport. You don’t have to leave at all, they allow access directly through the terminal.
According to Trip Advisor the Crowne Plaza Changi Airport hotel is rated #35 out of 318 hotels in Singapore. It has about a 4.5 average rating. I was happy to learn that there was a Crowne Plaza at the airport because just like the Intercontinental they are also a member of the IHG portfolio of hotels. This means that I will earn points on every stay that can be saved up and redeemed for free luxury hotel nights. One other benefit of being an IHG rewards member is that you get access to free wifi at all of their properties. Of course, in my humble opinion all 5 star luxury hotels should provide free and fast wifi for their guests. I mean come on it’s 2017 already.
Finding the Best Rate for 5 Star Luxury Hotels on my Trip to Singapore and Malaysia
I always like to check multiple sites to make sure that I am getting the best rate. Typically I will compare rates between; Trip Advisor, Kayak, the hotel’s official website, and Ctrip (if I’m traveling in Asia).
After an extensive search I discovered that the cheapest rate that I could find was on the official Crowne Plaza website, but only when logged in as an IHG member. The public rate was $152 and the IHG rewards member rate was $146 for their least expensive room.
The least expensive room at the Crowne Plaza Changi airport hotel was booked because I would only be spending a brief night of sleep there. Often times I will book the club level rooms but it just would not be worth it for such a short stay.
I booked on the Crowne Plaza website using my Barclaycard Arrival+ credit card. I did this for a couple of reasons. First of all, I had about 45,000 rewards points and wants to use some of them for this stay. The points convert at 100 point per dollar so this stay will only cost me 14,600 points. Secondly, they offer trip delay protection which means if my flight is delayed because of weather or mechanical problems I will be eligible to be reimbursed for up to $300.
Ok so now I have my first night (morning lol) booked and I can focus on booking out the rest of my trip to Singapore and Malaysia.
Things to do on a Trip to Singapore and Malaysia.
Now you’ll remember that I purchased my plane tickets for my trip to Singapore well in advance without knowing anything about Singapore. It needed to be figured out what there was to see and do in Singapore. I came up with several ideas, which you can see here on my post about the top 7 things to do in Singapore(coming soon).
Quickly I learned that the Orchard area was a tourist area with lots of shopping and typically tourist trap-type places. Not really my scene but I will definitely want to check it out so I want to make sure to stay at least somewhat close to that area for at least one night.
Another big attraction (for me at least) is the plethora of food options. Believe it or not Singapore actually has a few Michelin starred food stalls! Yes, I kid you not, Michelin starred food stalls. This I have to try. If you’re interested you can check out my post about the Michelin starred food stalls in Singapore (coming soon). I knew that was a must so I wanted to stay somewhere that would be convenient to great food stalls.
I learned two interesting and important things about Singapore. Firstly, Singapore has excellent public transportation so it should be really easy to get around, and, get around economically at that.
How I chose to Include Malaysia to my Trip to Singapore
Secondly, I learned that Singapore is right next door to Malaysia. Now, I also knew absolutely nothing about Malaysia so I did a little bit of research. You can read the 7 things that I learned about Malaysia over here(coming soon). Kuala Lumpur is the capital of Malaysia and after doing some research I discovered that hotel prices in Kuala Lumpur are significantly lower than in Singapore.
Armed with that knowledge I decided that I must visit Malaysia too. I mean why the heck not, its super close, I have the time, and it will save me money. No brainer, right?!
The one thing that I did have to check into was how to get to Kuala Lumpur from Singapore. I found that there are basically three options. Firstly you can hire a private driver, this is the most expensive option. Secondly, you can take a bus. They even have a “luxury” or “first-class” bus option but it still takes 6-8 hours. Lastly, I searched for flights. This proved to be the best option there was.
I found a round trip flight from Singapore to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia for only $34 round trip. Yup that’s right an international flight for only $34. Now this cheap ticket was in economy class and I will probably have to pay some extra money for luggage but at only $34 for a round trip flight from Singapore to Kuala Lumpur, who gives a damn!
After booking my flight I new that I needed to get serious about finding some 5 Star Luxury hotels for my Trip to Singapore and Malaysia.
This can sometimes be quite a tedious task. Basically I knew that I wanted to stay in 5 star luxury hotels on my trip to Singapore and Malaysia. I used TripAdvisor to refine my results to 5 star luxury hotels only and then filtered them in order from highest ranked to lowest ranked. Many of the top 5 star luxury hotels in Singapore were unfortunately a bit out of my price range. The Marina Bay Sands for instance, wanted almost $600USD per night. While I would have loved to stay there I just couldn’t justify the cost.
I also knew that I wanted to experience several different 5 star luxury hotels on my trip to Singapore and Malaysia. This is for two reasons, firstly I like to see new 5 star luxury hotels. Secondly, I wanted to be able to create a video guide and article for several 5 star luxury hotels on this trip to Singapore and Malaysia.
After filtering and sorting on TripAdvisor I now had a list that I could start to dissect. There were 35 luxury 5 star hotels in Singapore. I started by writing down the names of the hotels that I thought that I could afford on my trip to Singapore and Malaysia.
Those choices were; Swissotel, Fairmont, Pan Pacific Orchard, Amoy (technically a four star but highly reviewed), the One Ferrar hotel, and Grand Park Hotel.
You probably noticed that I didn’t include many of the most popular 5 star luxury hotel name brands. That is simply because they were too expensive. I would have loved to include the Raffles (sold out), the Ritz Carlton ($456), or the FourSeasons but they were all just a little too rich for my blood on this particular trip to Singapore and Malaysia.
The next phase of my research was to figure out which 5 star luxury hotels in Singapore were the cheapest on which days. You can read my full post (coming soon) all about how to find the least expensive days at a hotel if you want but for now I’ll just stick to the basics.
I essentially checked each 5 star luxury hotel in Singapore for a one night stay for each of the days and then charted them out. Some of the hotels made this easy to do and others more difficult but at the end of it all I came out with a great list of when and where I should stay during my trip to Singapore and Malaysia.
After I had jotted all the least expensive dates for each 5 star luxury hotel in Singapore it was very easy to pick which hotel I should stay in what nights.
The 5 Star Luxury Hotels that I Picked in Singapore
I ended up booking the Amoy for the night of the 17th and 18th. I booked the One Farrer Hotel for the nights of the 19th, 20th, and 21st. As of this writing I still have not booked a hotel for the night of the 26th but due to my 8AM departure I think I will be staying at the Crowne Plaza Airport hotel. I will update once I confirm.
Picking the 5 Star Luxury Hotels that I Stayed at in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
The flight that I booked for my trip to Kuala Lumpur departs Singapore at 1:50PM and arrives at 2:40PM. One interesting thing to note is that I am not technically flying out of Singapore. It was much less expensive to book a flight from JHB (Johor Bharu). JHB is just over the border in Malaysia. I haven’t looked into the logistics of getting to that airport but I will fill in the details (coming soon).
Back to the luxury hotel booking portion of planning a trip to Singapore and Malaysia. I will need a 5 star luxury hotel room in Kuala Lumpur from the 22nd through the 26th. Again it was my goal to book 5-star luxury hotel rooms. 5 star luxury hotels in Kuala Lumpur are significantly less expensive than in Singapore.
It was best that I followed the same process for choosing a 5 star luxury hotel in Kuala Lumpur. I did the same as with planning my trip to Singapore. I searched for all of the dates that I was going to be visiting and plotted them down. That way I could easily recognize when each 5 star luxury hotel was the best deal.
Then I looked up rates for the following hotels. Again I wanted to stay in 5-star luxury hotels in Kuala Lumpur.
- Mandarin Oriental – Cheapest Days = 23rd and 24th
- Shangri-la – Cheapest Day = 23rd
- Intercontinental – Cheapest Day = 24th
- Majestic – Cheapest Days = 22nd, 24th and 25th
- Traders – Cheapest Day = 25th
- Le Meridien – 23rd and 24th
Take a look below to see a visual representation of the least expensive days to get a 5 star luxury hotel in Kuala Lumpur.
Ultimately I choose to stay at the Majestic on the 22nd. The Intercontinental on the 23rd. The Mandarin Oriental on the 24th, and the Shangri-La on the 25th.
See which dates I chose compared to which dates were the cheapest days to get a 5 star luxury hotel in Kuala Lumpur.
Wondering why I chose to stay at certain hotels when there were less expensive 5 star luxury hotels.
I chose the Majestic on the 22nd for two reasons. First off, It was the least expensive 5 star luxury hotel in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia on the 22nd. Secondly, according to their website, if you book your stay direct on their website they will provide you with a free 50 minute spa treatment. The catch is that you have to stay on a Tuesday – Thursday night. I am always skeptical of 5 star luxury hotel gimmicks but this one sounded great it if actually works out. Who wouldn’t go for a free massage at a 5 star luxury hotel in Kuala Lumpur?
The choice to stay at the Majestic was easy. The next two nights were a little more difficult to nail down. This is how I did it.
I knew that I wanted to stay at the Mandarin Oriental, the Shangri-La and the Intercontinental. This was because I really wanted to shoot some footage, take some pictures and write thorough reviews about these three 5 star luxury hotels in particular while on my trip to Singapore and Malaysia. I won’t get into the details of how and why I choose these three but mostly it was because they are well recognized, internationally renowned 5 star luxury hotel brands. In many cities across the globe these 5 star luxury hotels go for over $500USD per night!! As soon as I saw how cheap 5 star luxury hotels were in Malaysia I knew that I had to go.
I knew that I had to choose the Mandarin Oriental in Kuala Lumpur on either the 23rd or the 24th. This would certainly be the most expensive 5 star luxury hotel that I will stay at in Malaysia.
The least expensive night to stay at the Intercontinental was the 24th. This basically meant that the most economical way to see both the Mandarin and the Intercontinental was to stay at the Mandarin Oriental on the 23rd and the Intercontinental on the 24th.
Lastly I had to choose which 5 star luxury hotel I would spend my final night in Kuala Lumpur at. The least expensive was the Le Meridian coming in at a mere $88/night. This was a pretty good deal. In fact it was one of the least expensive nights at any 5 star luxury hotel in Kuala Lumpur. It was beaten out only by its-self and the Intercontinental.
But the thing is that I really wanted to stay at the Shangri-la. So because I am ridiculous I decided to book the Shangri-la for my last night in Malaysia. It cost a whopping $114 per night. Yes that’s right, I paid an extra $26 per night to stay at the Shangri-la in Kuala Lumpur. That’s almost a 30% price increase
I hope that my guide on how I planned my trip to Singapore and Malaysia was helpful. If you enjoyed reading this blog post please check out the rest of the site for more great articles. If there is something in particular that you want me to write about, don’t hesitate to ask! I choose what I write about based on your suggestions.
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