Saturday, August 1, 2009

The Royal Bintang Damansara

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

We had a short stay (one night) here when my daughter and I went to visit my husband who then worked in Selangor area while both both of us remained in Penang, during one of the weekends. My daughter's first exclamation was "I like hotel!!!" so meaning the outlook of the hotel is a satisfactory enough for the little princess, as she can be very picky (no cheap hotel/motel since she has sensitive skins and nose). The hotel is linked to The Curve, which is convenient for shopping but since we arrived in the evening. I can't remember much of the hotel as I was dead tired but we still went for a little shopping in The Curve.

The room is a great satisfactory though the bathroom is placed too close to the bed, and since I was a few months pregnant, night visits to the loo is frequent so I found this inconvenient because my daughter has highly sensitive ears since she was born, she'll wake up at the slightest sound. So every time I flushed, she'll stir a bit but maybe because she was tired too, she didn't wake up =D
I can't comment on the breakfast or other things because it was really a short stay, as in the morning, we woke up and rush for our bus to Penang (we took Aeroline). But I really want to return here one day =)

Penang Bayview Beach Resort

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

My daughter had been bugging us to go to the beach so I search the web for one in Penang since it's nearby so we can gi for the weekend without feeling tired when we returned. I saw the review in Cuti-cuti Malaysia web that the hotel's breakfast buffet is great so we booked the Deluxe Sea-view room on one of the weekends. The hotel has very limited parking so you have to try your luck to get the nearest parking to the hotel, or end up parking a bit further. I was a few months pregnant so my husband will drop us first before he went around for parking and pick us up when we are going out. My daughter loves the hotel's entrance and impressed with the lobby, mainly I think because it's the biggest she had seen so far =D

The room is ok, though we booked non-smoking, it still has the smoking smell. The aircond has it's own mood, sometimes too cold and sometimes feels like nothing at all, but we think it's funny enough not to be offended =) The sea-view was not really a sea-view because our room was at the end of the corner, so all we could see were sand and some trees. The breakfast buffet was just as the review said, so many varieties and quite a good taste too! This hotel is the first time my daughter really eats, usually we have a hard time persuading her to eat out because she likes home-cooked food but here, she happily had her breakfast =)

The pool and facilities it's just ok, but to a 2 year old, anything with lots of water is good enough, so my daughter had a great time with her dad =D We then took her to the beach. Bear in mind the resort does not own the beach, so that's why they do not say much about the beach on the web. There are water and beach activity facilities outside the resort area but painfully expensive. Once you step out of the resort area to the beach, the people doing business there started to swarm over you so becareful to ask the price first before letting them take over you. I thought the horse riding was free or the most would cost below RM20 but a less than 10 minutes ride cost RM40!

All and all, I think this is an ok hotel for us to return to, if we want a hotel by the beach with great food.

Penang Gurney Resort Hotel & Residence

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

I first stayed in this hotel under my company's event which held a one-week bootcamp there. Since I was still breastfeeding at the time and my husband was also working in Penang with me, I took them all to stay with me. My husband needs to commute a bit far since the industrial area in on the other end of the island and the town area is in another end, but luckily the traffic was not as bad as we thought, so he didn't have much trouble. My daughter's babysitter is also in the industrial area, so every morning my husband will drop her off before work and pick her up after work =)
So back to the hotel, the staff are very polite and courteous, helpful enough when you ask them for anything, but when I talk to one of the chef, he said it's because my company has a reputation of complaining a lot, so that's why they were all so careful =D The only thing which I don't really in favor of this hotel is the lay-out, because they have different elevators to go to the residence rooms, hall/ballroom & parking and cafe. So during the bootcamp, we all keep having to turn here and there to get where we wanted =P

The room is a great satisfactory. The first time I stayed there for the bootcamp, we got the king-bed studio suite and the 2nd time when we went there for vacation, we got the twin-bed combined though we booked king-bed, but all rooms were fully booked due to school holiday. The bathroom is great! The bath-tub is a jacuzzi bath-tub and my daughter really loves it! Until now, even if we went to other hotels for vacation, she keeps expecting the bath-tub to have jacuzzi =D My husband loves this hotel because it's build for business stay with workstation so it's convenient for him.
Another thing my daughter loves is the kids pool. It has slides and sands and the shower mushrooms which really keeps her returning here during our stay. To me, this hotel is great for family vacation, apart from the facilities, it's close to the Gurney Plaza where you can shop & dine. You can also go to Feringgi at night for the night markets or even have a picnic at the public beaches in the day. In summary, it's strategically located to all convenience, so that's why my family loves it. The only thumb down for this hotel is the breakfast buffet which looks ok enough but tasteless. Their lunch was ok though. But all and all, I think we'll be returning here again maybe once a year for a short family vacation, since it's close to home and each of us found what we love best - my husband with the convenient to work while on vacation =P, my kids with the facilities and me with the shopping convenience =D

Friday, March 6, 2009

Colmar Tropicale

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

For my daughter's 1st birthday, we booked a room in Colmar Tropicale in Bukit Tinggi, despite some reviews saying it's a boring place. We called a photographer, in fact he was out wedding photographer (Rafi from Magic Clickers) for a whole day photo session and wanted him to make the album as our special gift to our child.
The beauty of the place is just mesmerizing. It reminded us of Disneyland, though a lot more smaller in scale, and minus the characters :) But for a photo shoot, it;s just perfect! The hotel room and things around us all looked like Disney's, which I think maybe Christmas time the place will look a lot more prettier.

I can't remember what type of room we booked, but I think it was a suite. The room had a bit of old log's smell, with creaking wooden floor which reminded us of most of Cameron Highland's hotels. The conflict here is the room and hotels tried to be a recollection of the past, the historical Europe or something, but they didn't quite do it fully which I was a little disappointed, but I guess that kind of thing is not do-able yet in Malaysia. Anyhow, like most reviews said, this is a boring place to stay unless you like sitting in your room and just walk around the area. Not much facilities and the F&B centers didn't even have credit card facility! Maybe they've improved now, I'm not sure, but that was a sure inconvinience since there's no ATM too to draw out cash. Do they expect people to carry bulks of cash around?

Overall, we enjoyed our 3D2N stay there and had a memorable vacation. There was a group of Philippinos singer who sang around the hotel area and they were friendly too. The hotel's staff we rated as ok :) The food - not much choice and if you want to eat out, it's so far away. The food at the restaurant we ate was quite tasteless and cost a fortune, but since we were on vacation, we just think "What the heck" :) So I think 3D2N is the longest you could ever stay here unless you are in for golf.
If they maintain the place well (quite unlikely for Malaysia), then maybe we'll come again for a short visit, just for the sake of taking photos with our kids.

For those travelling there, here's the location map: