This was supposed to be a very short 3 Days 2 Nights weekend getaway when we managed to secure very cheap return air tickets from Jetstar at less than S$110 in December 2014 for both of us. It turned out that our return flight was cancelled last minute due to volcanic activities so we had to stay another night in Medan.
The hotel we booked for the first two nights was JW Marriott Hotel at around S$90 per night. The hotel for the third night was Grand Aston City Hall Hotel our daughter helped us book on that day itself from Agoda at S$82.
There was nothing much to pack as we travelled very light without check in luggage. So we just had to wait for that weekend to arrive and we were off to Medan.
Day 1 – Singapore to Medan
It was a hazy day due to the forest fire from Sumatra as we took a bus to the airport just after noon. Our flight was 3.35 pm on a Saturday and we were scheduled to arrive Medan Airport at 4.05 pm. As we were early, we still had time to head to the food court at Terminal 3 to have a quick meal before clearing custom and immigration.
With our online check in done two days before our flight, we skipped the Jetstar counters and headed into the secured area of the departure hall for immigration clearance. Not long after, we were cleared to board the plane and minutes later, we were airborne and on our way to Medan.
In just a short hour, we landed at Kuala Namu International Airport. Our arrival was 20 minutes earlier than scheduled time. So we happily made our way to clear custom and immigration as quickly as possible in order to catch the 4.15 pm train ride to the city. By 4 pm, we were already at the Airport Railink Service terminal building. We paid 200,000 IDR for two tickets to the city and then went into the waiting train.
The train was very nice and clean. We had taken this train service last year and it was still the same. The windows this time were glazed with a maze window film. There was nothing much to see anyway so it wasn’t a big issue. At 4.15 pm, the train departed sharply on time.
The train stopped twice and waited for about 10 minutes each time for on coming train to pass. It was already 5.05 pm when we arrived at the city centre. The first thing that greeted us was the haze. It was equally bad here. We made our way out and headed to the brand new Centre Point Mall across the road.
It was a good feeling entering this very modern mall with almost all the shops, cafes and restaurants operating this time. It was only partially opened when we were at the mall last year.
We went into Parkson, the anchor tenant of the mall and made our way up. There were discounts up to 80% but we were not ready to shop this first day of our weekend break. We went all the way to the top floor while browsing through offers at Parkson and soon exited this departmental store.
We had a quick round to survey some restaurants and we were hoping to return to the Chinese restaurant we had our meals there last year for our dinner. Unfortunately, it had changed hands. Waiters from different restaurants were out soliciting for business. We went to this GrandDuck Restaurant for dinner as they served dim sum items as well. The prices on the menu looked reasonable too.
We settled in quickly and ordered chicken rice and beef hor fun and soup plus a few dim sum items. We also ordered avocado juice which was very good. The meal came up to around 180,000 IDR for the many dishes we ordered which was pretty good.
After a satisfying meal, we made a quick round several levels in the mall as we wished to check into JW Marriott Hotel as soon as possible to enjoy the hotel.
Our last stop was the basement level where we went to the hypermart to purchase a bottle of water. Thereafter, we went back to the entrance and just in time to hop on to a bluebird taxi and were thus on our way to Marriott Hotel.
It was already dark when we left Centre Point Mall. The city was congested during that time. By the time we arrived JW Marriott Hotel, it was already 6.50 pm. So we didn’t spend a lot of time at Centre Point Mall earlier. Security was tight but we were soon heading to front desk for check in.
During check in, I realized that my pouch containing two credit cards was not with me. Initially, I thought I might have dropped it when I got out of the taxi. Front desk staff Pirton immediately sprang into action. Together with his colleagues, they contacted the taxi company and located the driver to check the taxi but it was not found.
Pirton was however very sympathetic to my plight. He even offered his cell phone for me to call the banks back home to cancel the cards. Anyway, I managed to use the hotel’s wifi to get in touch with my children back home to help contact the banks to report lost of the credit cards.
Check in was trouble free as I used my other credit card still with me. We were given a non-smoking room on level 26. The room was very big, nice and clean. Bed was huge, clean and comfortable with six pillows. However, the pillows were too flat to our comfort and liking.
Toilet was also very clean that came with a small bathtub and a separate shower stall. There were plenty of channels on TV and wifi worked excellently.
Back in the room, we were still in communication with our children to get the banks to cancel the credit cards. They finally managed to get the banks to block the cards after reporting loss on my behalf. However, they were unable to get any information whether any transactions were already made on those cards unless I spoke to the banks personally.
Having settled in, I then requested Pirton to contact Centre Point Mall to check if anyone had found and returned the pouch. In about an hour, Pirton called to inform me the pouch containing my credit cards was found. The shuttle bus driver from the hotel would pick it up and return it to me later that night. It was a huge relief indeed. So around 9.30 pm, I received a call from Pirton again to go down to the lobby to collect my pouch.
The customer service at JW Marriott Hotel was beyond excellence. In fact, it was impeccable. They were so willing to help and their empathy towards guests in distress was exemplary to say the least. We were so glad their staff were English speaking and communication wasn’t a problem at all.
It was just a short weekend break and little did we expect such an adventure of having to deal with loss of credit cards, which would not be something most happy to deal with. We were already too tired after this high drama. After shower and watching TV for a short while, we were knocked off to calm our nerves hoping for a better day to come.
Continue to Day 2 …