Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Merlin Inn (now known as Cameron Highlands Resort)

Star rating: ***
My rating: *****
I think we were one of the lucky few who managed to stay here before Merlin Inn was changed to Cameron Highlands Resort, under the new management. We went for a night stay on the way to KL for a friend's wedding, and during the time, the hotel was already under construction for renovation. At the time, the room rate was very cheap, less than RM200 per night stay for a deluxe room, with breakfast and tea served. Most customers were Japanese tourists who seemed like regulars, and the place is like a golfer's heaven since the golf course is just in front of the hotel. With nice cool climate, and great cup of tea at your room's balcony with view of the golf course, it's a beautiful way to enjoy your evening after a golf game for the other customers or just a retreat from the hectic working world for us.
Since the changed of name and management, the hotel turned to be the most expensive one in Cameron Highlands. They still maintain the same outlook, but from the web I can see they've done great refurbishment for the rooms. Anyway, maybe it's worth to stay here if you really love golfing =) This is how it looks now with the new name as Cameron Highlands Resort...

The resort is located in Tanah Rata but I couldn't get the map. You won't miss it as it's just opposite the golf course! But be aware that the price shoot up since it's now a 5 star hotel..maybe more...

Monday, December 29, 2008

The Lakehouse

Star rating: ****
My rating: *****

The lakehouse holds sweet memories for both of us, as this was the place we had our honeymoon, right after the wedding on Chirstmas of 2005. It's easy to forget where you actually were, as the place doesn't look Malaysian at all, and you are surrounded with people from all over the world. The staff were great and friendly, the foods were delicious and the room, which was the Honeymoon Suite is just outstanding!
I managed to secure the Honeymoon Package which was offered in their web just before the wedding, and when we reached the hotel, we met with another couple who were wed at the same day as us, but couldn't get the package, so we were very lucky =) The package consist of:

3 days 2 nights stays in Honeymoon Suite
1 candlelit dinner
Daily breakfast and afternoon tea
68 fresh roses

Their tea & scones were the best so far, even after we've tried Bala's. Yes, Bala's scones were actually much better, but their cream and jams were not so good, and the price was too high for just 2 scones =P Lakehouse's scones were ok, but they served with cream cheese and hand-made jams, so as overall, Lakehouse won the race =D Their dinner menu is also great, and you should try the chocolate pudding!

The room was really a jaw-dropping beauty, with four-posters kind-size bed, a facing fireplace and antique furnitures. You should see the bathroom which is I think the same size as the bedroom itself! The whole suite is considerably spotless, except for the hot-water bath-tub, or maybe I should call it the pool, which has some hairs of previous customers...a bit yucky but I think overall, that's the only flaw we could find here =) The bathroom has an eerie feeling, as if it is haunted, so we tried to avoid going there after midnight =) I can't remember is the pool has jacuzzi...
We will return here as my husband agreed to make this a yearly family treat, as this place is so special to both of us.

The resort is located in Ringlet which is a bit further from the town,which gives lots of privacy for those looking for seclusion or stress relief:

The Bala's Holiday Chalet

Star rating: ***
My rating: ***

This is the latest place we've stayed, though it's the 3rd time for us travelling to Cameron Highlands. For me, if you are going to Cameron, there's no point staying in normal hotel or apartments, since you can't experienced the 'difference' Cameron has to offer. Cameron's specialty is of course experiencing the European feelings in your own Asian country, so that's why we chose Bala's. The place itself used to be a boarding school for expat's children since early 1930's, and it still carries out the feelings, though a bit of renovation here and there, the basic still remains. If you search in the net, you can see this place got more negative reviews than good ones, and I understand why when I saw the room.

For those looking for top class accomodation, this place is not for you, as I've mentioned earlier, it's a very old building made of huge stones and large strong woods, creaking wooden floors and doors, with some parts were destroyed through time and not repaired. The place is rated as 2 1/2 or 3 stars, so you should know what to expect. The room and surrounding has the old building smells, which to us, is pleasant and nostalgic. The gardens are fabulously well-maintained, though they should clean up the fish ponds once in a while =)

The foods were great though a bit pricey. For people with sensitive skins, I would recommend bringing along insect bites cream or repellents, since the beds may have bugs or whatsoever. Do not bring kids below 5 year old, as my tot had a few insect bites and rashes, playing in the gardens and sleeping on the beds/pillows. For families, taking the family room is really worth it. I would love to take the Raffles or Executive suite, as it looks so nice & comfy, but all fully booked. The staff are moderately friendly, but they love kids =D I like the way they treat locals with no different than non-locals, unlike some other hotels or resort around Malaysia who treats foreigners like kings and locals like dirt, which is so unprofessional, though we paid the same price. I also heard some other well-known hotels or resorts in Cameron who shooed locals as if we couldn't afford the rooms, but you won't get that treatment here at Bala's.

The chalet is located in Tanah Rata:
Overall, we may return here when our kids are bigger, but for the time being, it worth making a hole in your pocket for a more bug-free place =D


This blog will be a logbook of places I've travelled, though not much since after starting the working life, I don't have much time anymore...but hopefully I can enter more entries from time to time. It may not be the latest, as I will also include places I've been before the blog was created, but if anyone considering on going to the places, I hope my view can help to guide you better =) Enjoy