Friday, 12 February 2016

Airport Hotel Transfers – a luxury that is worth it

I don't remember any motorcycle helmets the last time I was in Vietnam - somewhere around 2005.
Wardrobes, chickens and families of 8 all on the same motorcycle - yes, but helmets - no.

Maybe its age, or maybe its income, but these days, I prefer riding in a pre-booked transfer from the Airport to my hotel.

Arrival Charm
I used to think the scrambling for the taxi, or in my backpacker days, the shuttle bus, or even public transport was part of the charm of arriving in a foreign country. It usually meant you had to change your money, attempt to translate some foreign language signage to locate your pick-up point, and try to communicate your arrival address, all of which required varying degrees of charm.

Emergency holiday shortening
Then one year, the father of my partner Mickaeli was ill and facing a major operation. We had booked our holiday to Thailand months before and now wanted to reduce its original 2 weeks down to one so we would be back in Sydney for his hospital stay. Our accommodation costs were suddenly halved, as was our time away. We decided we wanted to make all transport aspects of the trip as efficient and painless as possible. No time wasting arranging land transport, or wrangling luggage. We wanted every minute of this relaxing calm to count before the emotional storm of the major operation when we returned to Sydney.

We upped the standard of our hotel accommodation, and arranged private car transfers at every stage. There was also a practical aspect to this - our arrival in Bangkok was going to be extremely late, so the frequency of the usual transfer options was going to be reduced and we would probably be tired and possibly emotional.

Motorcycles, non functioning water features, parks

Love a man, at an airport, with a sign, with my name on it
Yes, we discovered the joys of arriving to be met by someone with your name on a sign - or these days your name on an ipad. Possibly makes us wankers.

On our recent trip to Vietnam - we used the Intercontinental Asiana hotel's transfer limousine. The man with the sign took our luggage - well most of it (we did have 6 pieces!) and guided us into the pick-up area, after phoning our driver. A black Mercedes S series, with cold towels, cold water, wifi and treats available arrived. Our luggage was carefully loaded, and the number of pieces confirmed with us, before we departed the airport. Our driver checked that music, seats and air conditioning were to our liking and gave us an estimate of our time to the hotel. We sat in the back noting the changes in the Saigon skyline over the 12 years since we had last been in Ho Chi Minh City, inbetween checking our emails, messages, facebook and instagram accounts, and assuring our nearest and dearest that we had arrived safely.

Definitely in Asia now - motorcycles, and electricity wires.

Final Words
Pre-booked private Airport to Hotel transfers, either using the hotel or another ground service make for a soft landing in a foreign land. Sure they are expensive, although sometimes not that much more expensive, but in my book, they are often worth it. Its a pity that good public transport options are not available in as many airports as they should be.

I also have a suspicion that using the hotels service, gets you treated better at your hotel, but more about that in the next post

Hotel limousine very ably negotiating Saigon traffic

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