I had originally planned to spend the night at Brunei airport, after a later connection but a caring stewardess must have felt sorry for me and contacted a duty service manager who suggested that as the day room was currently being renovated, that it would be better to spend the night in a hotel across the road (literally) from the airport.
I arrived at the Times Hotel at around 1.25am, to be honest I have always been sceptical of Airport hotels, but the Times is a new built hotel located on top of a shopping mall with ATM, plus there is a Multiplex cinema on top of that. (The Empire does not have an ATM)
The first thing you will notice is the Japanese influence from the Nissan that collected me at the airport to the Toto bathroom sanitary ware. Plus there is the touch sensitive lift and controls in your room. Hotel Rooms are a good size and being so close to an airport I was initially concerned about the noise, that said Brunei airport is not exactly a busy regional hub. But from my room I had an uninterrupted sleep, about the only noise, I believe I heard was from (I think) the movie theatre above or it was next door’s room with the TV blasting, but this was certainly not an issue. In fact the only real concern was trying to set the AC onto the lowest setting, in the end I ended up switching it off altogether.
For the price this is not a bad little hotel, there are a few minor points that could be easily rectified, from the moment you step out in the hallway there is this strong dam/ AC smell that you find in some hotels. The room safe is right down on the floor, in fact to use it you need to get down on your hands and knees just to read the instructions, thank goodness I was not some basketball player. The bathroom was clean and functional with no concerns; the only thing missing was the full Toto Washlet toilet, since there was this whole Japanese theme in the hotel. However, the internet does work well here and its free (wireless).
The breakfast was certainly nothing to write home about by the time I went down, it was already 8.20am but there was little choice, and from what I could see it was more of an Asian breakfast than continental. I fancied some toast but there were only two mangy looking pieces of bread left, and even the coffee was out. I waited for about five minutes hoping for replenishment, but nothing arrived so I gave up, and then went down to Coffee Bean on the ground floor of the shopping mall along with a Gloria Jean's. There is also a large supermarket & bakery on the ground floor plus a across the way a decent looking Indian restaurant, which I would not have minded trying, if I had enough time.
A plus or minus point is that my room faced into a square courtyard with a covered roof, so there is no natural light filtering into the room. I initially considered this an issue but later decided that if you are someone transiting from down under to Europe or vice versa this is a perfect room to get your head down uninterrupted. Of course this does mean that you require a light on in the room even during the brightest part of the day (see photos). Some people may have an issue with this, others like myself less so. However, I did find that with little exposure to direct sunlight kept the room sufficiently cooler that you can get away with the AC off, as I did. I would suggest that if you are concerned by this ask for a room on one of the outer walls, with natural light.
I liked the fact that LCD the television allowed you to plug and play your own content, via HDMI interface, for anyone that has a quick scroll around on the limited Brunean television channels will appreciate bringing some of your own content from home to watch. Most movies and television are heavily censored, so much so that you loose half the jokes from your typical comedy. To put it another way, a movie like 48 Hours would probably last no more than fifteen minutes.
As I had to go over to the Empire Hotel to collect my left luggage, as there is no left luggage facilities at the airport Bandar Seri Begawan, just a tip. So I had a bite over during afternoon tea before I came back to the hotel and departed to the airport.
In a nutshell, I would most probably recommend this hotel if you should find yourself in Brunei or just stopping over, and the icing on the cake is that there is a free shuttle bus/van between the hotel & airport. But if you do not have much luggage and the sun is not too bright, it would take you about six or seven minutes to walk from the hotel to the airport.
I did not read any of the reviews prior to staying in this hotel, but to be fair some of the reviews I have since seen are a bit harsh and maybe they need to get out more, and see the world. Previously had nine days in the Empire Hotel and Country Club, but for the price, in the Times hotel you are getting exactly what you are paying for.
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