Monday, 25 November 2019

Nagoya Day 1: Dormy Inn Premium Hotel & Sunshine Sakae

The most anticipated trip of the year is here! After visiting Tokyo (twice), Osaka, Kyoto and Hokkaido, we thought we would visit a new city in Japan: Nagoya!

We headed to Terminal 3 near midnight to board our red-eye flight to Nagoya.

It's a Frozen Christmas at the airport this year!
Excited to board our plane!
Newly renovated playground at T3!

As fans of Singapore Airlines, we will always choose SQ as our first choice if the price is right. Second choice would be any Star Alliance airline (since we're Krisflyer members) or Emirates. We will only consider any other airline (such as budget) as the last resort because excellent service is very important to us when we are travelling with young children.

Singapore Airlines recently adjusted their prices to become very competitive, hence we managed to fly SQ on all our flights this year! πŸ˜„ Our flight from Singapore to Nagoya cost us S$637 per adult, S$620 per child, S$55 per infant (under 2 years old).

Our flight departed Singapore around 1.40am and as it was a night flight, I prayed really hard that baby girl will sleep well and not disturb the other passengers!

Clockwise from left: Just took off from Changi Airport and already super tired! Thankfully she was ok with the air pressure;
This cute bib came in the goodie bag for the baby. It's perks like this that keeps me flying with SQ πŸ˜„;
The super cute kids meal. 

The cabin crew on this flight were very attentive to me when they saw that I had to take care of a baby. Thank God all of us survived the 6-hour flight to Nagoya as the baby managed to sleep while being carried by me throughout the flight! She slept really well while I ended up with a backache and almost couldn't stand up by the time we landed! πŸ˜•

We arrived at around 8.40am at Chubu Centrair International Airport. Japan is 1 hour ahead of Singapore.

We took the Centrair Limousine Bus to our hotel as there was a direct bus service. We paid ¥1300 per adult and ¥650 per child (children 6 years and below is free).

Left: Bus services from the airport to various locations in Nagoya;
Right: Our bus to Sakae is at Berth number 6. 
Left: Bought our tickets from the ticketing machine with the help of a staff on duty;
Right: Our tickets for our bus.
Our comfortable bus to Sakae

As you know, buses in Japan are very punctual so make sure that you arrive at least 5 minutes before the stipulated time.

The journey to our hotel in Sakae took roughly 45 minutes. We alighted at the bus stop and were delighted to discover that our hotel, Dormy Inn Premium Nagoya Sakae Hotel, was just 5 minutes from the bus stop!

We alighted at this bus stop (left) before walking to Dormy Inn Premium Hotel (right) 

We liked staying at Dormy Inns all over Japan (read our Dormy Inn experience in Osaka here and Tokyo here) and have always had to walk a long distance from the bus stop to the hotel. What a welcomed change!

Left: With the kids outside the hotel;
Right: Free drinks at the lobby. 
Checking in at the counter

As it was still early, our rooms were not ready yet. Hence, we left our luggage at the hotel and explored the neighbourhood in search of good food for lunch.

As we strolled casually down the street, we spotted an Ichiran that had no queue at all! Woohoo!

This Ichiran outlet is located on the 2nd floor of Arc Mall but it cannot be found on Google Maps, hence the lack of a queue.
There's another Ichiran outlet in the area that can be found on Google Maps and had a super long queue! 

If you're not aware, Ichiran is very famous for their ramen and the queue is usually notoriously long. The hubby and I had previously queued for about 1 hour at their Shinjuku outlet in Tokyo.

This Ichiran, however, was empty and therefore had enough room to accommodate all of us.

Left: Everyone has their own individual cubicle;
Right: customising your ramen to your specific taste. 
I love that they provided a seat to belt little ones! My girl can sit in it but I had to hold her arm and eat with one hand
The super cute kids utensils
My bowl of Ichiran ramen! So yummy! πŸ˜‹

Once our stomachs have been satisfied, we continued down the street to Sakae for shopping.

Don Don Donki and Mitsukoshi
There's a ferris wheel at Sunshine Sakae

We decided to shop at Sunshine Sakae as the kids were intrigued by the big ferris wheel, which they call the Sky-Boat.

Hanging out at one of the resting areas with a great view of Sakae

We soon found out that if you spend at least ¥5000 at the tax free store at Level 3, you could get a Buy-1-Get-1-Free coupon for the Sky-Boat ride!

An adult ticket is ¥500 and since there are 4 of us that need to pay (my boy and baby were free), we ended up paying only ¥1000 due to the 1-for-1 deal!

Before boarding the Sky-Boat

The cabin can only accommodate 4 persons hence we had to split into 2 groups: guys and gals.

Top view of the cabin with the guys
The girls
You can see Nagoya TV tower (closed for renovations) and other landmarks from the top of the ferris wheel.
Beautiful photo of my boys with such a clear blue skies in the background! πŸ’–

The kids and I loved the Sky-Boat ride! I'd recommend it for some cheap thrills for the kids πŸ˜„

We walked around the area and stumbled upon a shopping building called Melsa. It's small but has most of what we want such as Daiso and Uniqlo.

Various stores found in this building

We decided to find a nice dessert place to chill at since we still had some time and were too exhausted to shop. We decided on Kokonchaya Meibutsu, located on Level 4.

We were more interested in the ice-kachang-ish dessert but were forced to get a drink because they said we were 3 adults and therefore needed to order at least 3 items. The tea was very underwhelming and overpriced! πŸ˜•
Love this chocolate dessert! So yummy! πŸ˜‹
This matcha dessert was also really good and value for money

We were glad to have a nice place to hang out before heading back to the hotel to check in. I also breastfed the baby at the nursing room at Level 6.

Big nursing room with kid toilets and hot water dispenser
Interior of nursing room

We couldn't wait to get to our hotel room as we were all so exhausted after a long flight with very little sleep.

We booked the Double Non-smoking Room with breakfast (accommodates 2 adults) for S$208 per room per night.

We booked two rooms: one for the mum and our eldest girl, and one for the hubby, boy, baby and I.

Smaller than a typical Queen size bed
Left: Tiny TV console;
Right: Baby loves to look at herself in the mirror! 😍
Sink and toiletries
Tiny bathroom
Towels in baskets

Japan is very strict regarding occupancy and will charge you for every additional member of your family. We had to top up ¥2000 per night for one child (my boy), which included a set of yukata and toiletries.

Kid yukata and toiletries for my boy

The ¥2000 used to include breakfast but now the hotel added an additional charge of ¥900 for breakfast, which we felt was too expensive as my boy does not eat a lot for breakfast (had to take turns to go for breakfast since someone had to stay back and take care of him).

In any case, the room/bed is too small for more than 2 adults and 1 child! Hence, if you have 3 adults, you may want to consider another hotel or apartment.

For us, the room was definitely not the reason why we love Dormy Inn. We love Dormy Inn for their amenities, such as their onsen, washing machine, ice machine and microwave!

Going to the onsen! 
You are not allowed to use your phone in the onsen but there was no one in the onsen so I sneaked a quick picture 🀫
Left: Drink vending machines readily available in case you're thirsty;
Right: use of washing machines is FREE! We wash our clothes almost everyday 😁 Dryer is charged though but the air is so dry that our clothes dry really quickly without needing to use the dryer. 
Ice machine and microwave
(used the microwave to heat up my baby's food)

Dormy Inn also offered their very own ramen every night for all their guests for FREE!

Going to Hatago for our ramen
Left: Some drinks provided;
Right: There are high chairs available but these chairs do not have safety belts hence they were not suitable for babies under 1 years who still need support.
Dormy Inn's very own ramen

My kids love the ramen so much they can finish one bowl each! It's so good that everyone usually finishes everything! πŸ˜‹

Dormy Inn is also conveniently located 5-10 minutes from two train stations: Fushimi Station and Sakae Station. Definitely recommend it as a good accommodation 😊

We went to bed really early that night as we were so exhausted at the end of a very long day! Can't wait to explore the rest of Nagoya tomorrow!


Continue to >> Nagoya Day 2: Nagoya Castle & Osu at Night

~~~~~~

Download our Nagoya Itinerary 2019 Printable (pdf to be added when this series has been completed) 
OR
Visit MADPSYCHMUM TRAVELS for the rest of my posts on Nagoya, Japan as well as other travel itineraries!


You can also follow my travel adventures on Instagram via the hashtag #madpsychmumtravels! =)

Monday, 18 November 2019

Desaru II Day 1-3: Hard Rock Hotel Desaru Coast

We're off to Desaru for a short road trip with the hubby's secondary school friends. We've been to Desaru countless of times as we love the cheap fresh-out-of-the-tank lobster and honey. We drink honey on a daily basis and restock quarterly from Desaru Fruit Farm. We visit them so often that the owner told us that she will deliver to our house so that we don't have to drive all the way to them! πŸ˜…


DAY 1

We had a quick stopover at Aeon Bukit Indah to have lunch and load up on groceries before heading to Desaru.

Matchy-matchy Ferrari t-shirts for the baby and I
(the baby Ferrari t-shirt used to belong to the boy) 

Desaru is only 2 hours away from Singapore and is an easy drive all the way (mainly straight roads with few cars). However, if you don't intend to drive, do note that there are NO private hire cars in Desaru and taxis are quite limited hence not very cheap. It might be more worth it to hire a car for the whole day or rent a car.

We stayed at Lotus Desaru the last time that we stayed in Desaru. It had great amenities and was very kid-friendly but was rather outdated.

This time, we were really excited to stay at the new Hard Rock Hotel Desaru Coast! Ever since the hubby booked a room at Hard Rock Hotel Singapore to celebrate our anniversary 7 years ago, I've been in love with Hard Rock Hotels for their unique decor, luxurious feel and kid-friendly facilities.

Checking in at the hotel lobby

It is so much more affordable to stay at Hard Rock Hotel in Desaru than Singapore! Our Superior 2 Double Beds room, which we booked via Agoda, cost S$225 per room per night (accommodates 2 adults and 2 kids). A room at Hard Rock Hotel Singapore would have cost us three times that amount!

The beds are smaller than queen size, hence 1 bed can only comfortably accommodate 1 adult and 1 child.
It was a really tight squeeze for the 2 girls and I!
Left: Special Hard Rock Hotel pillows with guitar details;
Right: Minibar area. 
Hard Rock Hotels have their own special channels on the TV, which play MTVs or music non-stop. The acoustics in the room is also really good for listening to music 🎢 or learning the guitar. 
The wardrobe can be opened on both sides, which is really convenient but meant you had less privacy!
Left: Checking out the mirrors;
Right: Shower and toilet are separated. 
Rain shower and toiletries
Nice size balcony that's great for drying wet swim wear πŸ˜„
Clockwise from left: Couldn't get a cot on the first day of our stay as they were all taken. I managed to get one on the second day though, thank God!;
This super cute pouch came with the cot!;
Love the super cute kids toiletries.
Clockwise from left: Recycling compartment in the bin for separating your trash;
Electrical points at the side of the table;
Bedroom slippers are provided.
In a bid to be environmentally-friendly, the hotel does not provide plastic bottles for guests. Instead, you need to bring these aluminium bottles to the water dispensers located next to all lifts and fill them with water. It may be slightly inconvenient but a small price to pay to help reduce plastic waste!

My kids love swimming so of course it was off to the pool for a nice afternoon swim!

Relatively big pool
Daddy got a flamingo float for the littlest baby! She wasn't very keen in the beginning haha
Our family of 5
One with the gang
Life jackets are provided for kids

The cool thing about this pool is that it is a musical pool! You can listen to Hard Rock's music channel when you're submerged in the water! That's why it's called a Music Pool πŸŽΆπŸ˜„

We're always hungry after a swim and headed to our favourite Super Lobster restaurant for dinner.

Yummy fresh lobsters! πŸ˜‹

You can't come to Desaru and not eat lobsters! It's totally a must-eat for all seafood lovers!

We returned back to Hard Rock Hotel, which has been lighted up with hues of purple and blue. So beautiful!
Some commemorative family photos with the super beautiful Hard Rock Hotel decoration at the lobby!




DAY 2

Breakfast for 2 adults and 2 children was included in our room. The buffet spread was quite good!

Morning breakfast
Playground at the restaurant for kids!
Left: We got randomly allocated such a lovely booth table;
Right: kids enjoyed the pancakes and noodles.
For me, I love the teh tarik, bread and pancake πŸ˜‹

We had planned to go to Desaru Coast Adventure Waterpark today since it was directly located behind the hotel (it is one of the reasons why we booked Hard Rock Hotel).

Direct access to Adventure Waterpark via a private entrance from the hotel
View of the waterpark from the hotel
Look at this enormous water ride! Looks scary to me!

Sadly, the boy was still recovering from flu and was feeling less than well. Hence, we decided to spend the day exploring the hotel and the awesome Hard Rock Roxity Kids Club instead!

The boy really wanted sweets from Hard Rock Roxtars, a shop full of sweets! Too bad that he couldn't =( 

The kids and I love the Hard Rock Roxity Kids Club!


Play room at the Hard Rock Roxity Kids Club
Various things to play in the play room
Lots of play structures for younger kids
Watch a performance or just hang out. Great for parents!
They play various MTVs on the screen
Craft room for the older kids to make various crafts taught by the staff

The girl informed me that there was also a room with game consoles for older kids to play games!

The Kids Club allowed you to drop off your older kids so that the parents can enjoy some time without the kids. We decided to hang out at the cafΓ© next door for some kid-free time =)

Adults enjoying our afternoon tea at the cafΓ©

There is also a Splash Zone located outside the Kids Club that is accessible only via the Kids Club entrance. It is only opened during specific times during the day so do check the opening hours via the TV in your room before heading to the Kids Club.

Splash Zone at the Kids Club
Water splashing everywhere!
Baby girl had fun crawling everywhere and playing with the water

When the time was up and we were leaving the Kids Club, the staff handed my kids a goodie bag each. Inside the goodie bag was loads of fun activities to entertain the kids in their room! What a nice surprise!

Left: One cute bag for each child;
Right: Super cute badges of the Roxity Kids Club mascots
The bag was packed with origami, visor, fan, sunglasses, puzzle, stickers and colouring pictures! So cute!
Left: Very cute Hard Rock sunglasses;
Right: Kids started doing their puzzles immediately. My older girl had no issues while the boy needed some assistance to finish the puzzle.

We were hungry after all the fun so the hubby decided to order some room service (it was surprisingly affordable).

We ordered tiramisu and fried rice with chicken

We met up with our friends to head to the nearest (and only) mall in the area, SKS City Mall, to do some shopping before dinner.

SKS City Mall

There is a Mr DIY and a small supermarket here but don't expect too much. It is definitely not like Melaka or KL where there are shops everywhere.

We proceeded to Nelayan, just 5 minutes from our hotel, for dinner.

Nelayan, Seafood by the Coast
There's a small playground nearby
Having a little fun before dinner
Love this photo of my girls at the beach!
Our seafood spread!
Clockwise from left: Freshly BBQ satay;
Yummy fish;
Cheese-baked oysters.
Salted egg crab
Chilli crab

The crab was fresh but probably cooked in a style that we are not that used to. Overall a good meal!


DAY 3

We checked out the Rock Shop just before we checked out on the final day of our short getaway. You can always find special Hard Rock merchandise at all Rock Shops around the world for the Hard Rock fans! Hotel guests also get 10% off.

Got me a pin to match the pin I got from Hard Rock Hotel Singapore! Fits nicely into my pin collection.
With the Hard Rock Hotel sign in the shape of a guitar
(with me wearing my new Hard Rock Hotel t-shirt!)
A final group photo before we leave

Goodbye Hard Rock Hotel Desaru Coast! We will definitely be back!

The kids slept all the way from Desaru to JB

We met up at the famous Shoon Huat Bak Kut Teh in JB for a late lunch with the rest of the gang before heading back to Singapore.

Shoon Huat Bah Kut Teh
The herbal soup was so yummy!

As usual, we loaded up on groceries and pumped petrol before we came back. Might as well save when we can *laughs*

Shopped at our usual Tesco near to the Second Link

If you've got time, do visit Desaru Fruit Farm for their farm tours and the Ostrid Farm for a great experience for the kids (see my previous post for our experience).

Thank God for another great trip!

~~~~~~

Visit MADPSYCHMUM TRAVELS for my Desaru posts and other travel itineraries!


You can also follow my travel adventures on Instagram via the hashtag #madpsychmumtravels! =)
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