Introduction: Flying With Royalty (Or Not)
Review: Air Canada Premium Rouge 767 Tampa To Toronto
Review: Sheraton Gateway Toronto Airport
Review: EgyptAir Business Class 777 Toronto To Cairo
Review: Cairo Airport Lounge Terminal 2
Review: Royal Jordanian Business Class Embraer 175 Cairo To Amman
Review: Grand Hyatt Amman
Review: Royal Jordanian Lounge Amman Airport
Review: Royal Jordanian Business Class 787 Amman To Kuala Lumpur
Review: St. Regis Kuala Lumpur
Review: Plaza Premium Lounge Kuala Lumpur
Review: Royal Brunei Business Class A320 Kuala Lumpur To Bandar Seri Begawan
Review: Radisson Bandar Seri Begawan Brunei
Review: Royal Brunei Lounge Bandar Seri Begawan
Review: Royal Brunei Business Class 787 Bandar Seri Begawan To Dubai
Review: W Dubai Al Habtoor City
Review: St. Regis Dubai
Review: Emirates Business Class Lounge Dubai
Review: Emirates Business Class A380 Dubai To Los Angeles
I was arriving from Kuala Lumpur at around 2:30PM, and departing to Dubai the next night at around 9PM, so I had one night there. After doing some research, it seemed I had two practical options — I could book the Radisson, which had a great location in the center of town and was reasonably priced, or I could book The Empire Hotel, which is the nicest resort in the country, though is a bit outside of town.
Since I was in Brunei to sightsee, I booked the Radisson, which was a very reasonable 75USD per night (Brunei has a local currency, which is equivalent in value to the Singapore Dollar). The hotel was just a 15 minute drive the airport, and has a pretty bland exterior.
The lobby was a bit more stylish, and was large and had lots of natural light.
The associate who checked me in was extremely friendly. She asked if I needed late check-out the next day. I saw a sign posted that all Club Carlson members receive 6PM check-out at no additional cost, which is basically unheard of. She confirmed that this was indeed true, and it worked great for me, since it meant I could stay in my room till it was time to go to the airport.
She asked if I wanted to upgrade to a deluxe room including breakfast for an extra ~20USD, which I agreed to. Soon enough I was sent on my way, though as soon as I got to my room I had a call from the front office associate. She said she just noticed that I was a Club Carlson Gold member, so she said she could further upgrade me to a Business Class room, this time at no extra charge. Cool!
The Business Class rooms are on the sixth (top) floor.
My room, #621, was all the way down the hallway and on the left.
The room wasn’t huge, though was well appointed, at least in a Radisson brand standard sort of way. There was an entryway with the bathroom on the right.
The room had a comfortable king size bed and a chair with ottoman.
Across from that was the desk, a TV, a luggage rack, and the minibar.
The minibar had bottled water and soft drinks (there was no alcohol, as Brunei is a dry country).
Then there was a kettle and a coffee machine.
The bathroom was back near the entrance, and featured a sink, toilet, and walk-in shower.
The shower was partitioned off from the rest of the bathroom by a shield. Because it wasn’t fully enclosed, water splashed around the rest of the bathroom as well.
Toiletries were provided by Rituals.
My room faced some nearby trees and apartments, not that I was expecting much more in the way of views.
Overall the room was comfortable and clean, and the in-room wifi was fast and complimentary.
As a Business Class guest I had access to the Business Class Lounge, also located on the sixth floor.
As you can see, the lounge is open daily from 6AM until midnight. They also serve (non-alcoholic) drinks and canapés in the evenings from 5:30PM until 7:30PM, though I was out and about during those hours, so didn’t get to see the spread.
While I didn’t visit during the happy hour, I did grab some water and coffee from the lounge, and found it to be a nice physical space. I never saw anyone else in the lounge. For that matter, I think I was about the only person on the Business Class level, because when I got up at 6AM, no other rooms on the floor had a newspaper in front of them.
There were dining tables as well as communal tables in the lounge.
The lounge had a selection of tea, coffee, water, and soft drinks.
There were also some basic snacks available throughout the day, like cookies and biscuits.
In the morning I had breakfast in the hotel’s restaurant, Tasek Brasserie. They serve breakfast from 6:30AM until 10:30AM, and I was there right as the restaurant opened.
This had to be one of the stranger hotel breakfasts I’ve had. At first I was the only person there, and then suddenly there were dozens of Australian military in uniform at breakfast. I felt a bit odd as the only non-military person there. I tend to linger at breakfast a bit since I bring my laptop and just sip on coffee, so by 7AM they all left the hotel.
The breakfast selection itself was quite good — I’ll let the pictures speak for themselves.
In terms of other facilities, the hotel has a gym on the second floor, which was small but had decent equipment.
The hotel also theoretically has a pool, though it’s presently under construction. I tried to check it out, thinking they were doing some minor maintenance on it, but it was literally an active construction zone. I’m not sure when it will reopen. At check-in they told me they have an arrangement with a nearby hotel for pool use, those I can’t imagine that’s worthwhile.
The next day I headed to the airport at around 5PM, plenty early for my flight to Dubai. The late check-out offered to all members by this hotel is really awesome.
Radisson Brunei bottom line
The Radisson is the only international chain hotel in Brunei, and exceeded my expectations. My rate was just ~75USD for the one night stay. That’s tough to beat, especially with 6PM check-out. The room was comfortable and clean, the hotel staff were friendly, the breakfast was great, the wifi was fast, and the hotel has a convenient location. Interestingly this hotel was a Sheraton until around 2010, and was then rebranded as a Radisson. While Club Carlson is one of my backup hotel chains, I sure wish this were still an SPG property.
Regardless, if you’re looking to sightsee in Brunei, I recommend the Radisson. Otherwise, The Empire Hotel is certainly a bit more luxurious, though also more secluded.