Last month I was super excited to share my insider Visa Signature hotel tips with you. It’s awesome to get instant access to VIP hotel benefits without having to only frequent a single hotel chain. Their program offers access to various hotel brands.
As part of Visa Signature’s Luxury Hotel Collection, I started my trip at the iconic Taj Mahal Palace in Mumbai, then moved on to the Vivanta Holiday Village in Goa for a bit of rest and relaxation, and most recently I returned to Thailand for a stop at the Hansar Bangkok boutique hotel to play digital nomad catch up mid-way through my trip.
Keep reading to learn more about my free VIP perks at these hotels!
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Taj Mahal Palace Hotel, Mumbai
India was the first stop on the next segment of my long-term travels where we’d begin our four-month trip around Asia. Our non-stop flight from London to Mumbai was under 9 hours yet we felt absolutely exhausted for our 5am arrival.
Fortunately, the hotel staff at the Taj Mahal Palace Hotel was beyond incredible and offered us a complimentary early check in at 9am. Total score! I was beyond grateful to get the chance to catch up on some sleep before heading off into the city.
As I walked into the room my tired eyes grew massively wide as I gazed at the epic view of the Gateway of India from our window. WOW.
The room was absolutely lavish and I was so looking forward to a lush hotel bed to rejuvenate me for the start of this trip. Booking into this relaxing hotel room straight after a long flight was the best decision ever.
Ladies, remember to always give yourself some extra time on the day of arrival to rest up! This will make you much more proactive for the duration of your journey. If you’re participating in an organized tour don’t fly in on Day 1. Allow yourself one or two days before to get settled in (and also after the tour to relax).
This strategy allowed us to power through a self-guided walking city tour of Mumbai followed by two organized ones with Reality Tours: the Dharavi Slum Tour and the Street Food Tour. If you only have time for one, the Dharavi Tour is a must and this is a reputable organization where funds go directly back to the community. I can’t recommend them enough.
Unfortunately, our time in Mumbai was cut short due to sold out flights and train service so we had to make our way to our next destination earlier than planned. Too bad because I could’ve indulged a little longer in the hotel’s pool and I was also dying to check out the internationally acclaimed Wasabi restaurant, too.
Here are a few reasons why you might want to upgrade your stay at the Taj Mahal Palace in Mumbai:
- History of hotel
- Frequented by Presidents, Royalty, and Celebrities
- Awesome location and views
- Walking distance to most sights
- Across the street from the Gateway to India and ferry to Elephanta Caves
- Close to the iconic CST train station (Chatrapati Shivaji Terminus)
- Designer shops located within the hotel including Prada and Luis Vuitton
- Spa services available
- Fine dining including Wasabi, one of Asia’s best restaurants
- Good value for luxury accommodation
Vivanta Holiday Village Resort, Goa
While the Taj Majal Palace in Mumbai was absolutely beautiful, I was more in my element at the Vivanta Holiday Village Resort in Goa. I may be a city girl at heart but my soul loves the sea!
After another red eye flight and only 4 hours of sleep, we arrived at the resort in Goa like zombies. Imagine my surprise when for the second time in a row we were given a complimentary early check-in. However, our room wasn’t ready so they gave us another one to rest in until mid-day. How fabulous!
I have to say these perks are making early morning arrivals way more pleasant (and I could get used to being spoiled like this). The VIP treatment did not end there. As an added bonus, we also got a complimentary double upgrade from garden view room to sea view bungalow. Yay!
While we paid for a standard room you are eligible to a free upgrade if you book through the Visa Signature website (based on availability of course). Talk about getting the most out of your vacation dollars. I love VIP treatment without the price tag!
I’m so happy we started our 4-month jaunt around Asia in style. If you’re traveling long term, it’s important to treat yourself at the start and end of your journey (and in between when you can).
Fortunately, since we didn’t have to rush this part of our trip, we made the most of the hotel facilities including pool, beach side restaurant (with yummy Indian/Western buffet breakfasts), and the peaceful setting from our room.
Here are a few reasons why you might want to upgrade your stay at the Holiday Village in Goa:
- Spacious, intimate bungalows
- Peaceful, serene environment
- Lush, green grounds
- Host to array of native birds within resort
- The only beach front resort we saw in Candolim
- Short drive (or walk) from other Goan beaches
- Close to shopping and local restaurants
- Spa services available
- Easy to get to from the airport
Vivanta by Taj Holiday Village is unfortunately not bookable through the Visa Signature Luxury Hotel Collection at this time but additional options in India can be explored here.
Hansar Boutique Hotel, Bangkok
After a month in India I spent four weeks powering through two new countries (my 38th and 39th) Sri Lanka and Myanmar and was by drained by the end of it. After two non-stop months on the road my next destination was the perfect place to rejuvenate: Thailand!
If you’ve been here before you’ll know how affordable luxury accommodation is in relation to other countries (as low as $100/night). I’ve met many travelers that like to treat themselves in Thailand because it’s an opportunity to stay at world-class hotels at a fraction of the price that you would at home.
In this case I chose to stay at the Hansar Bangkok boutique hotel conveniently located in the contemporary Siam district. I’ve been to this city countless times and I wasn’t planning to do any sightseeing so my hotel had to be perfect.
After having limited internet access during my non-stop travels in Sri Lanka and Burma, my time in Bangkok was to focus on catching up with the website and also veg out for a few days. Since I planned to spend more time in a hotel than usual, I wanted to stay in a place where I could feel at home.
Unlike my previous two plush accommodation choices this was an urban inspired high rise in the middle of the bustling city. Although I booked a standard Studio Suite I was upgraded to the larger Urban Suite as part of the Visa Signature program. So happy they had availability for an upgrade since it was just two weeks before Songkran, the Thai new Year!
After a five star customer service check in we were escorted to our spacious room with a lovely enclosed interior garden that stretched through the entirety of the building.
The room was just what I needed to refuel and get some work done, too. It had its own router with lightning fast Wi-Fi; a complimentary mini-bar for those mid-day work snacks; two flats screen tvs to veg out; and a selection of pillows for a good night sleep. Home away from home!
The location was perfect for what I needed. It was around the corner from all the major shopping malls in Bangkok making it easy to replace some gear and enhance my travel wardrobe, too.
It was also close to Nahm, one of Asia’s best restaurants, where we had dinner reservations on our first night. Yumm! In a complete culinary contrast, the next night we stayed in and ordered room service and had cheeseburgers for dinner. Hey, I need a balance in my meals!
As another Visa Signature perk I received a $25 food/beverage credit and a daily complimentary Western style breakfast which was pretty cool, too.
I did actually do something a bit “touristy” I’d never done before in Bangkok – I went to the Sky Bar in Lebua, the rooftop bar where they shot one of the scenes in the movie the Hangover 2. It was actually pretty cool to see Bangkok from a totally different perspective and watch the city lights glisten in the dark!
Needless to say, if you’re a nomad looking for a home away from home or want a functional living/working space during your time in Bangkok Hansar Hotel is ideal!
Here are a few reasons why you might want to upgrade your stay at the Hansar Bangkok Hotel:
- Functional work space in room
- Ideal for long stays (some suites have kitchenettes and washing machines)
- Excellent Wi-Fi
- Central location to city sights
- Next to Bangkok’s best shopping
- Award winning spa
- Walking distance from MRT transportation
For more tips on maximizing your travel budget, please read my tips on airline frequent flyer programs.
I hope you’ve enjoyed a little insight into my hotel choices as a long-term traveler and you got some useful tips for regular vacations, too. Don’t forget to check out the Visa Signature website to find out where you can score free upgrades and make the most of your travel dollars!
Have any questions? Post them in the comments!
For more travel tips, please
- Travel Resources from 7 Years on the Road
- Detox Spa Retreat in Thailand: Travel Wellness
- 9 Luxury Packing Tips to Glam up without Breaking the Bank
Hope you enjoyed this post on how to score free hotel room upgrades with Visa Signature. Please share it with your friends on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest. Thanks for reading!
This post is part of a Visa Signature promotion featuring their Luxury Hotel Collection. They invited me to test out three of their hotels as part of the campaign so I could experience their reward program firsthand.
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