Sheraton Imperial KL

I booked the stay over the phone. Awesome service through the phone. Professional yet friendly service by the reservation team (sorry I can’t recall the names). The nightmare started when I requested for a special arrangement for my stay, I’m celebrating my partner’s birthday. The housekeeping and concierge called me but I gave up talking to them. I dealt with the reservation team who handled my request. The reservation team communicated to the teams accordingly and ‘apparently’ it can be done. Phewww… My initial request with the mentioned teams was not ‘accepted’. How funny is that for a 5 star hotel! A let down if you ask me.

Anyway moving on to actual stay. Check-in was smooth as it was done at the executive floor. We had coffee and finger food while waiting at the executive lounge.

I was very surprised when we got to the room, which is an Executive Club suite. It was fantastic! It’s huge and looks really good. The bed was comfortable and so relaxing. A clear view of KL tower and you can also spot KLCC.  If you wondering what is included in the room; free breakfast, access to executive lounge, evening cocktails, 2 pcs of laundry per day.

They had the bed decorated with rose petals and decorations which were awesome and a nice surprise to my partner.

The executive lounge is a nice place to be. Relaxing set up and perfect to lounge. The staffs are attentive but some of them are just average. Could be better in the delivery of service as some of them don’t look very keen to ‘serve’. The evening cocktail session was nice, from 5-8pm. A variety of finger foods, fruits, yogurt, bread and drinks, basically bottomless. I enjoyed it.

I also had ordered food while staying here via the room service. It was handled well and food was good.

Check out was fast and smooth. Not much personal touch by the staff.

Overall I loved my stay at the hotel and love love the Executive Club Suite. I have stayed in other hotels’ executive room but this one is most outstanding in term on space, room feature and exclusivity which surpassed by expectation. I had stayed here previously (many years ago) and at that time, all facilities looked dated. Only comment is the service rendered by the staff. While it is sufficient it was not that memorable. No personal touch or I would rather say ‘service with an attitude’, good attitude obviously.

Visited in April 2017.

Lexis Resort Port Dickson, Malaysia

This is my first time visiting Lexis Port Dickson which is about one hour drive south from Kuala Lumpur. It is a popular get away location for most people who works in the city.

My stay was in April 2015(I know, apology for the overdue review). I booked an Executive water chalet by contacting their reservation line. The check in was smooth and fast. We were directed to our chalet via buggy ride. The chalets (Balinese inspired) that we had is not that far from main building. The chalet is quite spacious. The bathroom is separated from the bed area hence it is suitable for big family especially those with kids. Our room had a king size bed plus a day bed, balcony, shower, bathtub, mini fridge, TV with cable channels, coffee & tea facility, with air condition.  There is a panel of glass on the bath area which you can view the sea underneath. Nothing much can be seen other than some water.

Overall the room looks dated (apparently they have around since 1994!) however it was generally clean. We had one problem which was the day bed, it had damp smell. I contacted the hotel to inform on this and they send a housekeeping staff to change the linen on the day bed. Although that was done, the damp smell was still lingering. Since it was only two of us and no reason of using the day bed, we didn’t bother to make it a big deal. Nonetheless the hotel housekeeping should have spotted this when making up the room as the smell was apparent. I wonder how did they miss that?

We had our dinner at the coffee house which is at the main block of the hotel. We were the only people dining at the restaurant at that point of time. Actually if you drive out of the resort, there are plenty of seafood and local restaurant which offers decent meal at decent price. We were too lazy to head out. Back to the coffee house, the wait staff was efficient and friendly. We ordered ‘Nasi Tampi’ which cost us RM50 (inclusive of tax). We were told that this dish can be shared with at least 2 person and they were right. No complaints on the food.

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We didn’t use their facilities but they have swimming pool, archery, beach volley ball, bicycle for rent, gym, children playroom, Segway and so on. Since we were here on a weekend, the facilities were occupied by other guests. Do note that some of facilities are shared with Grand Lexis resort which is just next door (newer), under the same management.

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I had arranged for a surprise birthday cake for my partner which they had assisted accordingly. Overall, it is a nice place for some relaxing time with your family away from KL city. I dont think this will be the right choice if you want to have a romantic holiday.

Pretty awesome stay @ Holiday Inn Resort Batu Ferringhi, Penang

It’s been a while since I have stayed at Holiday Inn hotels. My last experience was at Holiday Inn Express Bangkok which was totally awesome. For now, I am sharing with you my experience with Holiday Inn Resort which is located in Batu Feringghi, Penang.

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Holiday Inn Resort Penang

Prior to my arrival the hotel made a courtesy call to confirm the reservation which was good.

I choose to stay at the tower wing with sea view room instead of staying at the main wing. Apparently the tower wing is newer and more spacious so I had to try it out. I am a regular visitor to Penang Island so I was expecting a hotel for a good rest and perhaps with a good view especially being in Batu Feringgi.

Aside of arriving late, around 10pm, the check-in process was smooth. The room was pretty impressive and it was in my favorite color scheme; blue. The room was spacious, looks new and well ventilated. The balcony is huge with a nice view of sea and part of Batu Ferringhi.

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Tower wing sea view room

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Coffee & Tea

One of my favorite thing about the room was the was super comfortable king bed, more of a super king! I wish I had more time to hang out int he room. There is a set of soft and firm pillows provided. The sheets was clean and smelled fresh.

The bathroom was spacious. Some part of the bathroom (the mirror frame and the area near drain hole) are not very well maintained. The normal toiletries are provided. For others, you may request from the hotel. There is coffee & tea facilities as well. There is a large lcd TV provided in the room with cable channels.

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All marble bathroom.. very luxurious.

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The toiletries.

We didn’t try out the breakfast so couldn’t comment on that. Being in Penang, there are so many choices for places to have breakfast. I did check out the pool and hang out for a while. This hotel (main wing) has been around for many years now. Perhaps a refurbishment on main wing would do the trick.

Anyway I enjoyed my stay at the hotel. The room rates are pretty decent for the area which is a very popular place. I would say the location is pretty good as you can discover all the happenings in this are by foot. The night market is just next door. I cant wait to be back! 🙂

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The view from our room! 🙂

Visited in September 2015.

Where at: 72 Batu Ferringhi, Batu Ferringhi, Penang Island 11100, Malaysia

Absolutely fantastic! Review of Albergo Marin Hotel Venice, Italy.

To be honest, I had some reservation in choosing this hotel as part of our Europe trip in June 2015. Nevertheless it felt like a right choice considering its location which is close to the Grand Canal and easy to find. If you have never been to Venice, believe me it’s very easy to get lost here. It takes about 10minutes walk from the main train station (Santa Lucia) to the hotel. Follow the directions given on the hotel website which are accurate. Do not panic by how the hotel looks from the outside, nearly all buildings in Venice looks the same.

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Albergo Marin: Entrance.

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Albergo Marin: Room.

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Albergo Marin: Room.

We arrived at the hotel at around 9pm so it was rather late and quiet. The guy at the front desk assisted us with the check in. We booked our room through the hotel website (best rate!) and fully paid for the room prior to our arrival. The room that we got was on 1st floor. There is no lift facility hence you will need to handle your own luggage. The room size is average but it was clean and comfortable. You have access to free Wi-Fi, TV, air conditioner (fully functional), ceiling fan, towels, toiletries, hair dryer and free breakfast. The bed is a bit soft for me but I was able to sleep well. The toilet is compact but nothing to complaint about as most establishments in Italy are about the same. Most importantly everything was clean.

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Albergo Marin: Bathroom

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Albergo Marin: Bathroom

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Albergo Marin: Corridor on 1st floor

The complimentary breakfast are consist of fruit juices, milk, cereals, scrambled egg, boiled egg, crackers, cheese, butter, breads, bread toaster, coffee, tea and yogurt. I didn’t expect much but this was more than sufficient for us. Especially having a cup of fresh café latte in the morning is a plus thing for us.  Do note that breakfast starts at 8am.

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Albergo Marin: Breakfast room

You can find a laundry next door and few cafes next to the hotel. It would take about 20-25 minutes’ walk to reach St Marks square. Don’t worry, you will be passing through many canals, shop, souvenir store and eateries so it an interesting walk. A lot of photo opportunities along the way too.

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Albergo Marin : Breakfast

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Albergo Marin : Breakfast

The staffs are friendly and helpful. The lady at the front desk (the owner) was very kind and takes time to explain to you on what & where to go in Venice. You can know that she is very passionate about Venice and provides genuine recommendation. We tried few places as per her recommendation and it was worth it. We stayed here for 3 nights and loved it. It’s a small hotel run by lovely owners who cares for their customers. I would definitely recommend this hotel. Would love to come back.

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Albergo Marin : Reception area

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Albergo Marin : Front desk

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Albergo Marin : Map

Visited in June 2015.

Where at? Hotel Albergo Marin, Ramo elle Chioverete, Santa Croce, 670/b – 30135 Venezia, Italy

Aris Hotel Brussel… Good location and value but…

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Aris Hotel

Aris Hotel is a small hotel (I can’t find any star rating) which is located in the center of Brussels. It’s not a luxury or boutique hotel however I would say it’s more of a budget conscious hotel. In fact I choose it because of its location, price and TripAdvisor.

We arrived via train at Brussels Central station. We took about 5 minutes’ walk to reach the hotel which was convenient. Don’t let the outlook of the hotel to scare you off as it does look dated.

The check in was smooth and we got our room almost immediately. The staff during the check in was friendly which gives some good impression of the hotel. Anyway we got into our room and settle down before we could think what to do next.

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Hotel Aris, reception area.

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Hotel Aris, breakfast area.

The room (and the furniture) looked dated but clean and no funky odour. The bed was a little bit on the soft side but bearable. So what’s in the room other than the bed? Well you have a closet, writing desk, tv, air-conditioner, chair, safe box, bath towel, toiletries and private bathroom facility. I would say that the bathroom is big and spacious for such hotel. Although the furniture and fixing looks dated but they are functional. You have access to free wifi which was at acceptable speed.

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Hotel Aris, room.

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Hotel Aris, bathroom.

The only problem we had was the air conditioner which was blowing warm air instead of cold air. Initially we thought because of the hot weather and it was mid-day hence it could be it was generally warm. Unfortunately it was the same at night. We reported this to the front desk and 2 of their staff came to the room to have a look. The respond from the hotel staff was ‘the air conditioner is functioning well’.

The location of the hotel is pretty awesome. Right outside of the hotel is rows of shops, convenient stores, restaurants and branded stores. The Galeries Royales Saint Hubert is just next door. The Grand Place is just few minutes away.

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Right outside of the hotel.

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Right outside of the hotel.

So in summary, it’s a good hotel if you are considering the cost, location and easy of accessing the city.  The let-down was the dated look and poor air conditioning. Otherwise I am happy with my stay here. Most of the staff are friendly and helpful.

Visited in June 2015.

Where at? Hotel Aris, Rue Marche aux Herbes 78-80 Grasmarkt, Bruxelles 1000 Brussel

Almost made it… Ibis Geneve Centre Gare

Ibis has been in my good book as they offer decent accommodation and affordable. This time, I was keen to stay at Ibis Geneva partially due to offers that I have receive for being a member with AccorHotels. Do note that there are more than 5 Ibis chain hotels in Geneva but I am referring to Ibis Geneve Centre Gare.

We arrived at Geneva Cornavin station (which is the main railway station). From my earlier finding, the hotel is located quite nearby to the station hence we decided to walk.  We took about 15minutes to reach the hotel with our luggage. It was easy to find. The hotel looks well-kept and clean. The check-in was smooth and fast. Probably because we have fully paid for the room at the time of the booking itself.

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The room was good and spacious considering a city hotel. Ibis seems to have same standard with their room which may room familiar with other ibis elsewhere. Anyway the amenities that you would enjoy is TV, air-conditioner, comfortable bed, desk, chairs, closet and toiletries.

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The only issue with the room was the air conditioner which was not cold at all despite choosing the lowest temperature on the control switch. It felt the same although after having it switched on for hours. It was pretty disappointing considering it was summer and it was warm.  Luckily for me, we were here only for one night. I don’t think I will be able to tolerate it if I had stayed longer.

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I have shared this feedback via Trip Advisor and Ibis has responded that ‘air conditioning is prohibited in Geneva’. Now, it’s a shock for me. Anyone knows why is it so?

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As for the location of the hotel, it was convenient for us to get around the city on foot. It takes about 15-20minutes to reach to the old town. The hotel is located on the quieter side of the new town which is fine with us.

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Overall good stay here at Ibis Geneva Centre Gare except for the air-condition issue which is apparently same applies to other establishments in Geneva. Furthermore, accommodations in Geneva is generally very expensive so choose wisely.

Golden Banana Boutique Resort, Siam Reap, Cambodia

Got to know about this boutique resort from TripAdvisor. I did some fact finding and found out it is managed by the same people who manages Rambutan Resort in Phnom Penh. So I thought, give it a try. We enquired and made our booking via online for both resorts hence enjoyed some discount. Yeay! The GBR is slightly more expensive than the Rambutan Resort in Phnom Penh however GBR is slightly older resort. After a long journey from Phnom Penh (8hours journey via private taxi), we arrived safely in Siam Reap. We reached the Golden Banana Resort in the evening so we decided to check-in and freshen up as we were quite excited to explore Siam Reap.

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Chill out area next to reception.

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Patiently waiting for the room to be ready!

Registration seemed easy as we have given most information when we booked earlier. Similar to Rambutan Resort, the staff takes time to explain on the hotel where about, hotel policies, the surrounding tourist attractions areas and provided us with a map. The resort can arrange a tuk tuk or taxi, should you need one. We did use the tuk tuk / taxi service here as we came by a private taxi from Phnom Penh who will be our dedicated transporter in Siam Reap.

We got a room on level 2, called Sandlewood. The stairs to go up to the room seemed scary to me, it’s not very wide so you need to watch out when you climb up. On the day we arrive, it has rained earlier so the steps are slippery as it was wet. The room was clean and spacious. The room could have been more spacious if it is not for the slightly odd room shape. It has open a closet, bath with rain shower, a 21” TV, air conditioner, mini bar, jug kettle, coffee & tea amenity, 2 bottles of drinking water (refilled everyday) and FREE wifi throughout resort. The bed was very comfortable and comes with soft & hard pillow. We have a nice balcony facing the swimming pool which has an outdoor bathtub.

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The Sandlewood room.

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The Sandlewood room.

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The Sandlewood room.

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The Sandlewood room.

We had some problem with the air-conditioner so we informed the staff. They came very quickly and tried to sort it out but apparently it was not sorted out. We have problem with the AC whereby it is not cold at all and kept switching off approximately every 2 hours. The whole night we kept waking up to switch ON the AC! Grrr!

The room comes with complimentary breakfast at the pool side. If you want, you can have it in your room but you need to make prior arrangement.  The breakfast is not buffet style but set menu which comes with juice, coffee / tea, dessert and your choice of main breakfast menu. It is priced at USD5 per person.

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The balcony and outdoor stone tub.

 

On the next morning, we left the hotel very early at around 4.15am as we were going to Angkor Wat for the sunrise view. We informed the resort on the night before so they prepared light breakfast for us which were few baguettes, butter & jam and fresh fruits. The following days, we had breakfast at the resort. The concept is pretty similar with Rambutan Resort but over here, you need to ask for everything. They only serve you with coffee/tea and your main choice of breakfast. You need to ask for the juice, yogurt, fruits, etc. Seems weird to me. Why don’t they practice as how they practice in Rambutan?

On the second day, the room AC was still having the same problem despite being told by the reception staff that the problem has been fixed. After a while, I couldn’t take the heat anymore especially after doing our 1st round of Angkor temples hopping. We informed the staff again and they came to check on it. The manager (sorry, I can’t recall his name) but was a nice guy. After checking, he said it is sorted out as managed to reset the AC. After about 30minutes, the same problem occurred; AC switched off on its own! I explained to him again on what has happened since yesterday with the AC and he immediately rang someone from the air-cond company to come over to check the AC. The technician came pretty fast to check on the AC but by then, I was really tired and frustrated. Here we are after a whole day doing temple hopping and now we are having some AC problem for couple of hours when we are supposed to relaxing! I requested him to get us another room. He immediately checked and offered us a room at the other building which has a functional AC but doesn’t have a pool view. I had no choice. We packed our stuffs and went to another room. The staff was helpful in taking our luggage. I was hoping I wouldn’t fall down on the stairs while moving to the new room.

The new room is called Butterfly Pee. Everything is same except there is no view. When you are at the balcony, you will be facing the wall of the other building. On the right there are some local houses I think. On the left is another wall. I am more than happy to get this room as everything is functional but I was just wondering, is this what happens when you have advance booking, especially booking more than one hotel one the same chain?

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Swimming pool

The location of GBR is very good. It is few minutes’ walk to the Hard Rock Angkor (café & shop) which was just opened in mid-June! We were so excited to visit Hard Rock, more on that in my next post. Back to this resort, it is about 5 minutes’ walk to the old market, Pub Street and the night market. In terms of the resort location, it is very convenient spot.  You can walk around for food and perhaps some drinks. Also shopping for souvenirs and local goods are very convenient. The Siam Reap road traffic is less chaotic than Phnom Penh.

Oh yea, there is another hotel with similar name right next to this one. When we reached the hotel, one of the staff checked with us on the exact hotel name before ushering us to the reception, which was a good thing. We were actually at the wrong hotel. Changing the name will be a good idea for everyone. And, another thing, what do they mean by “Strict child policy”? Don’t get me wrong, one of the reasons why I booked the hotel as it ‘seemed’ like an adult hotel hence no kids around but obviously I was wrong. I find it a bit too noisy.

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The view of the resort from Sandlewood room.

So did I enjoy my stay at Golden Banana Resort? Actually I did. The bed and pillows are comfortable and its clean. It is located on the good area for us to explore the town, especially in the evening. I was unhappy with the whole problem with the AC and with the fact that they fully booked hence getting another room was a challenge. The staffs are generally pleasant.