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An Eggs-traordinary Easter With Hilton Hotels

If you haven’t made plans for the weekend, Hilton welcomes you to celebrate Easter with a sumptuous spread of Easter delights and fun activities, to make the season a memorable one.

Rooftop Bar, Hilton Garden Inn KL South – Easter High Tea Specials

Gear up for an afternoon of sipping and feasting with the accompaniment of the KL skyline at Rooftop Bar. The high tea buffet has plenty of mouth-watering fare to dig in to, including special highlights such as Red Devil Egg, Sweet Potato Congee and Meatloaf with Crockpot Potato & Carrot that are guaranteed to delight one’s taste buds.

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4 April 2021 | 12pm – 3pm

  • RM99 nett per person
  • RM169 nett for 2 persons (inclusive of 2 welcome drinks)
  • RM299 nett for 4 persons (inclusive of 4 welcome drinks)
  • RM50 nett for kids (below 12 years old) & senior citizens

For reservations, call +60 3 2771 6888, email KULMY_FB@hilton.com or visit www.eatdrinkhilton.com.

Vasco’s, Hilton Kuala Lumpur – Easter Day Luncheon

Celebrate Easter weekend at Vasco’s as they bring you an exciting line-up of festive delights and activities. The chefs have decked up an Easter feast, featuring premium gourmet specialties such as Slow-roasted Victorian Lamb from Australia, Egg Benedict with Smoked Salmon Caviar on Brioche, Mac n’ Cheese Soft Shell Crab Slider and Crispy Wanton Noodle with BBQ Duck. Children will be thrilled to join in the Easter egg hunt, egg-painting and get their faces painted as well.

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4 April 2021 | 12pm – 3pm

  • RM158 nett per adult | RM68 nett per child (aged 5–11)
  • Option to add on RM120 nett for a free-flow of alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages.

Prior reservations required. 20% discount applicable for in-house guests and partner credit card holders.

For reservations, call +60 3 2264 2264 or visit www.eatdrinkhilton.com.

Axis Lounge, DoubleTree Resort by Hilton Penang – Easter High Tea

Bring the whole family to Axis Lounge for a fun time together. The Easter Sunday High Tea includes some notable highlights such as Chocolate & Strawberry Sandwiches, Grilled Medallion Beef with Mushroom Sauce and Easter Deep Fried Egg. The Little ones will be thrilled, as they’ll get to take part in a treasure hunt and egg-colouring activities too.

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4 April 2021

  • RM88 nett per adult
  • RM44 nett per child (Kids below 6 years old eat for free for every full-paying adult.)

For reservations, call +604 892 8000, email to PENMB_FBD@hilton.com or visit www.eatdrinkhilton.com.

Tosca, DoubleTree by Hilton Johor Bahru – Easter Brunch Buffet

Famed for its rustic Italian fare, Easter at Tosca will wow you with an abundant spread of exotic delights such as Seafood with Pepper & Cocktail Sauce, Roasted Lamb Leg with Rosemary Sauce, Boeuf en Croute with Tuscany Vegetable and Italian Pizzas. Let your little ones try their hands at artsy activities such as DIY pizza and egg painting, before having a splash at the poolside.

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4 April 2021 | 11am – 2:30pm

  • RM118 nett per adult | RM59 nett per child (aged 5–11)

Prior reservations required. 20% off for selected credit card holders and TABLEAPP bookings.

For reservations, call +607 268 6868 or email us at JohorBahru.FB@hilton.com or visit www.eatdrinkhilton.com

Caffé Cino, Hilton Kuching – Easter Goodies

Bright flavours and ornate decorations are par for the course with Easter desserts. Indulge your friends and family with adorable treats such as homemade Easter Cookies, Bunny Strawberry Sponge Cake and Bunny Chocolate Sponge Cake at Caffé Cino. Bound to add the perfect sweetness to your Easter holiday.

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29 March – 4 April 2021

  • From RM15 nett per item | Pre-order is required two days in advance.

For reservations, call +6012 496 3500, email KUCHI_FB@hilton.com or visit www.takeus-home.com.

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Merry Christmas!

Christmas has always been my favourite time of the year. Although I don’t celebrate it religiously, I just like the cheer and excitement that comes with the season – the beautiful Christmas decorations, the splendid feasts and festive dishes, the gifts and the gatherings.

The pandemic has certainly put a damper on things, as many people are unable to celebrate the holiday season with their loved ones due to safety/health concerns, work, or travel restrictions. I had been looking forward to my first proper Christmas with N, but since he’s still stuck in the Philippines, we have no choice but to be patient and hope things get better soon. The important thing is that we’re both healthy and safe.

While I wasn’t able to celebrate Christmas with the husband, I still got a bit of low-key celebrating in with a couple of friends. So here’s what I’ve been up to!

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I met up with some ex-colleagues for Christmas brunch, and bought them some pampering items from The Body Shop as gifts.

My office used to have a tradition where we’d all go for a Christmas dinner – usually a buffet at a hotel – where we’d eat and exchange gifts. It’s true what they say about not knowing what you’ve got till it’s gone – I never realised how much I’ve come to enjoy them. It feels a little weird that the company started off with 11 people this year… and now I’m left all by my lonesome. 😦

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More gifts, but for a different group of friends.
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Also took the chance to grab some pampering masks: ChrisZen was having a sale – only RM1 per mask!
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Also, finally managed to clear out the office a couple of days before Christmas. My ex-colleague was supposed to help before he left, but he dropped the ball so I was left to do all of it alone lol.

The main problem was the boxes of electronics and files I had to ship to our main office in Singapore. There were two huge Apple monitors, and I couldn’t find boxes that were big enough to fit them (lesson learned: NEVER throw away your original box). Custom-made boxes are expensive, and it would take time to make them to the required specifications.

In the end, my ex-designer was a lifesaver – she came to the office with two of her friends who do prop-making on the side. They basically cut and put together smaller boxes to make a big one so that the monitors would fit. They also helped to dismantle the wooden cupboard and shelves we had in the office, so I didn’t need to get a lorry service to cart them away. Thanks guys!

I still had to throw a lot of stuff away; 10 boxes of keychains, luggage tags, old magazines, cardboard boxes and stuff. I’m not young anymore so it was torture lugging all the stuff to the big dumpster outside the mall, four floors below. A good workout but my back was killing me for days after lol.

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Rewarded myself for all that hard work @KFry, 1Utama
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Met up with a high school friend, G, who’s back from Ipoh for the holidays. She has three adorable cats. They’re triplets, so they have the same orange and white pattern.

Cats are like people and have unique personalities: which is the case with these three. The oldest, Big Bean, is friendly, playful and affectionate; she loves pets and rubbing on your legs. The middle child, Zhong Fen (Mandarin for ‘centre parting’ – because she has a pattern in the middle of her forehead) is quiet, haughty and antisocial: she shot me a distrustful look when I put out my hand for her to sniff, then promptly turned around and showed me her butt. She also dislikes being manhandled, and protested loudly when my friend’s son tried to hug her.

The youngest, Small Bean, is calm and cool, and likes to observe. The first thing she did after being let out from her cage was jump on top of the fridge, so that she’d have a good view of the surroundings.

I think G’s doing an excellent job with her cats, despite being a first-time owner. They’re all fat, fluffy and clean.

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Zhong Fen
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“Gib pets”: Big Bean
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Christmas Day was spent playing with my DIY candle kit, which I ordered from Lazada. Now, I’m not very good with arts and crafts (or anything that requires working with my hands lol). But the process was actually fairly simple, and I’m happy with the result. Will detail this in a separate post! 🙂

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And finally, I met up with another friend, H, for lunch. It was good to catch up and walk around the mall. Felt almost normal again. The mall was surprisingly empty (we went to Sunway Velocity) – a far cry from how Pavilion KL was over the weekend. The crowd there was crazy. I think people aren’t even worrying about the pandemic anymore. You can’t blame the government when they announce 2,000+ cases if you’re not even practicing social distancing.

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H said: “You’ll probably laugh when you unwrap my present”. Sure enough, I did. It was just really funny that she gift wrapped the Super Rings But it was this simple gift and gesture that, to use the old-fashioned idiom, warmed the cockles of my heart.

So that was my Christmas! I initially wanted to bring a little festive cheer to the house by suggesting we get each other gifts, but was promptly shot down by the Moo. Not giving up though… there’s always next year.

How did you celebrate Christmas? 🙂

Yohoho!

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Experience A Hong Kong Christmas, No Matter Where You Are in The World

A couple of weeks ago, the highly anticipated Hong Kong-Singapore travel bubble (initially set for November 22) was shelved after a surge of cases in the region – much to the disappointment of many. Some hotels and shopping centres, had, in fact, tailored special holiday experiences – ready to welcome their first leisure travellers after over a year of travel restrictions. 

While that obviously hasn’t worked out, that doesn’t mean Christmas has to be canceled. Hong Kong retailers, businesses and artists alike have banded together to bring an immersive and innovative festive season to people all over the world – using the power of technology.

Take a 360-degree virtual tour of Hong Kong’s festive Central Business District 

Hong Kong’s Christmas celebrations are widely considered to be some of the best in the region, with vibrant Christmas markets, stunning displays, fun activities and more. The Hong Kong WinterFest, an annual fixture organised by the Hong Kong Tourism Board, has been a major tourist draw each year – and although visitors might not be able to attend physically this year, they can still expect a veritable wonderland through their screens. 

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Go on a tour of Christmas Town – a snow-kissed virtual CBD based on Hong Kong’s very own Central Business District – which ‘starts’ off at Statue Square, a historic public space in the heart of Central. From there, visitors are free to choose their own adventure: you can learn how to make festive DIY crafts such as aromatic wreaths, ornaments, pop-up holiday cards or candle holders via video tutorials, download holiday-themed Whatsapp stickers designed by famous Hong Kong illustrator like Din Dong, Dustykid and Messy Deck, or tune in to beautiful Christmas carols. If you prefer to just soak in the sights of the CBD’s iconic skyscrapers (which will be all decked out for the holidays), a towering tree and festive Christmas lodges, let Uncle Siu – a popular English educator known for his charming voice – lead you through the innovative 360-degree experience, and make fun, interactive stops along the way. 

The virtual tour of Christmas Town is part of the 2020 Hong Kong Winterfest, which will run until 3 January 2021. 

The world’s first “AI Butterflies Illuminating Interactive Art”

Enter a playground of light at Lee Tung Avenue in Wan Chai, where a seven-metre-tall, stained-glass butterfly and over 350 little LED butterflies have taken up residence. Dubbed “Butterflies of Hope,” it is the world’s first AI-powered butterfly art installation,  created to inspire, uplift and remind visitors of the hope, love, beauty and positivity we have in this world.

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If you are in Hong Kong, afternoon is the best time to visit, as the glass installation refracts natural light onto the ground, painting the boulevard in a myriad of colours. Evenings are a magical affair, with a music-and-light symphony that sees the butterflies taking flight as they ‘dance’ to the sound of music using artificial intelligence.

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The Lee Tung Avenue atrium is also home to a stunning, 12-metre-tall Christmas tree, with some powerful special effects. Combining touchless interactive technology and a special shadow projection technique, the tree projects butterflies onto the clothes of visitors – a feat of art and technology. 

Enjoy the festivities at Lee Tung Avenue until 10 January 2021.

Get lost in the Asia debut of Globoscope, a light showcase from France

K11 MUSEA, a new cultural-retail destination and arts hub on the Tsim Sha Tsui promenade, has turned up the Christmas spirit this year with A Very MUSEA Christmas Village. The village spreads joy and wonderment with a roster of artistic cultural experiences, including the Asia debut of Globoscope.

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Globoscope debuts in Asia at K11 Musea

Created by Collectif Coin, a renowned French art lab, the site-specific immersive light show stretches across the Bohemian Garden, a roof-top open space. A 20-minute private experience can be reserved to enjoy the surreal, sensory light exhibit with family or friends. It’s a sight to behold: Glowing spheres dance and swirl in choreographed light movements, while the dramatic Hong Kong skyline shines in the distance.

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Adding to the festive vibes is K11 MUSEA’s gorgeous Christmas Forest, featuring glistening golden trees in the mall’s atrium. Also not to be missed is a special Santa Muse Parade and a Christmas Market.

Experience A Very MUSEA Christmas Village through 3 January 2021. 

“Christmas Every Day” goes high tech with virtual Santa Meet & Greets

For the past 50 years, Harbour City has marked the holiday seasons with larger-than-life Christmas installations and festive surprises. This year is no different: it’s “Christmas Every Day” celebration once again promises unforgettable holiday memories, complemented by a roster of online experiences. 

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Take a virtual tour of the incredible decorations throughout the mall and “check-in” on social media or share your Christmas wish list with Santa during a virtual Meet & Greet. For the little ones, Harbour City has created an interactive online colouring game, where children can dress up their “Monster Friends” – adorable 3D cartoon characters illustrated by Dutch artist Eva Cremers – and then watch their masterpiece come to life!

The holiday extravaganza continues in person. At the “Christmas Lighting Garden” on the Ocean Terminal Deck, you can wade through a sea of illuminated LED clovers and dandelions and enjoy the “Christmas Lighting & Music Show” every evening with the stunning Hong Kong skyline as a backdrop.

Enjoy Harbour City’s “Christmas Every Day” online and offline experiences until 3 January 2021.

*Photos courtesy of Hong Kong Tourism Board.

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Review: The Body Shop Christmas Scents 2020

Hey guys! There’s just a few more days to Christmas, and we all know what that means – Christmas promos!

Many shops, especially beauty and body care brands, are having sales and festive-season only collections. As someone with a weakness for body care products, it’s hard for me to resist the beautiful, sparkly displays and gift packages. And so it is that I finally succumbed … and got myself some treats from The Body Shop.

I like The Body Shop because they carry a wide range of really nice scents. While I only buy from them once or twice a year, I’m always satisfied with the products and customer service.

This year’s festive range is decidedly Christmas-y, and features three exclusive scents: Warm Vanilla, Winter Jasmine and Festive Berry, available across a range of items such as their body yogurt, body butter, hand and nail cream, and shower gel.

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The shop was running a promo through its social media app, whereby any purchase would be entitled to a free body scrub, so I got the cheapest available item (30ml hand cream – RM25 /discounted RM22.50) and had it shipped to my house. It arrived after 4 working days.

Vanilla is one of my favourite scents, but the Warm Vanilla was a tad disappointing for me. It’s sweet and very strong, and it reminds me of cake. No doubt some people will like this, but it just smells very artificial to me.

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The free 50ml Festive Berry body scrub that came with my hand cream is touted to help exfoliate and refine the skin. I have used it a couple of times in the shower, and it’s pretty good. The consistency is like strawberry jam, and it smells like that too, what with the berry and sugar crystal blend.

You can get the small tub as part of The Body Shop’s festive gift box (RM139), but if you want to purchase the scrub on its own, it’s only available in 250ml jars at RM113.

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My favourite of the lot has to be the Winter Jasmine Body Butter, which coincidentally was the most expensive item I got (RM84, 20% discount for The Body Shop members). It was worth the splurge, though.

The butter is creamy and luxurious, and it looked so smooth and luscious when I first opened the tub I almost felt like it was a shame to use any lol. The floral scent is sweet and relaxing – it reminds me of aromatherapy oils and spa fragrances that they use at massage parlours to help you relax. The skin feels soft and hydrated after application, and you get the smell of jasmine just wafting off of you : best to apply before sleeping !

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If you’re looking to gift, The Body Shop has a variety of items catering to different budgets, all in beautiful packaging. If I had the money, I’d buy them all lol.

But perhaps someone wants to get me something for Christmas? 🙂

Shop online at www.thebodyshop.com.my.

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The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf Malaysia Presents Alice In Wonderland-Themed Treats This Festive Season

Holiday season is just around the corner, and after a year filled with challenges, I think we’re all in need of some festive cheer. To spark some holiday joy, The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf ® is presenting an array of whimsical Alice in Wonderland inspired treats, which are a feast for the eyes as much as they are delicious to eat.

Winter Wonderland
Winter Wonderland

For an unforgettable Christmas party with friends and family, the Winter Wonderland (RM250 for 3kg) makes a wonderful centre piece for any gathering, with its intricate, handcrafted gingerbread detail and delicate frosting on a base of chocolate fudge. Complete the setting with Hatter’s Winter Log (RM 13.95 per slice, RM139.90 for a whole cake), a delightful dessert featuring luscious chocolate mousse and ganache; Cheshire’s Cherry Bundt (RM 8.90 per slice, RM52.00 for a loaf), stuffed with cherries, lemon and butter cream; or Stollen of Hearts (RM 6.90 per slice, RM48.00 for a loaf) with its hearty mix of Swiss dark chocolate, almonds and hazelnuts. Of course, a visit to Wonderland would not be complete without The Red Queen (RM12.95 each), a luscious pastry filled with caramel, coffee and chocolate mousse concealed under a rich red crust of almond chocolate.

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The Red Queen and Minted Ever After cupcakes (left); Hatter’s Winter Log

There’s more for the sweet-toothed dessert lover: choose from an assortment of cakes such as Minted Ever After (RM 7.90 per cupcake, RM 50 per petite cake, RM139.90 for a whole cake), a decadent concoction of dark chocolate and mint topped with cream, fresh redcurrants and rosemary, and Velveteen’s Wish (RM 12.95 per slice, RM129.30 for a whole cake), a red velvet cake topped with crunchy cookie bits and cheese mousse.

Alice's Tea Party
Alice’s Tea Party

For a bit of everything, go for Alice’s Tea Party (RM109 for 20 pieces), a selection of bite-sized treats of Hatter’s Winter Log, Jolly Breadman, Tweedle Tart and Minted Ever After. Top-up as needed with Jolly Breadman (RM7.90 per piece) or Once Upon A Door butter cookies (RM9.90 per piece).

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CF & TL is known for its delectable beverages, and there’s no shortage of exclusive specials to try this season. Indulge in a Chocolate Cookie – a combination of premium espresso and decadent chocolate cookie notes – available in several varieties: the Chocolate Cookie Ice Blended® drink (small RM16.50, regular RM18), Pure Chocolate Cookie Ice Blended® drink (small RM16.50, regular RM18) or hot / iced Chocolate Cookie Latte (small RM16, regular RM17.50).

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Cherry Bundt (whole)

Making a comeback for a limited time only is the ever-popular Double Chocolate Peppermint beverages, available as Double Chocolate Peppermint Ice Blended® drink (small RM16.50, regular RM18), Pure Double Chocolate Peppermint Ice Blended® drink (small RM16.50, regular RM18), hot / iced Double Chocolate Peppermint Latte (small RM16, regular RM17.50) and Peppermint Nitro Latte (RM15.95 at selected stores). Best of all, kids get to enjoy their own coffee-free version, as a hot / iced Double Chocolate Cocoa (small RM16, regular RM17.50) and tea lovers can enjoy the hot Peppermint Tea (RM9.60/cup or RM12.50/pot). While you’re sipping on your holiday beverage, upgrade to a complete meal by trying out the brand’s new Black Pepper Chicken Sandwich (RM19.80).

Stollen of Hearts (loaf & slice)
Stollen of Hearts

Even if you’re not dining in, there are plenty of new retail items to celebrate the season on-the-go, or in the comfort of one’s own home. Take your pick from dark-roasted Holiday Blend (RM55 /12oz), Peppermint Tea in a green tea blend (RM45/tin), Limited Edition 8oz Powders in French Deluxe Vanilla Powder, Peppermint Chocolate Powder and Hazelnut  Powder (RM40/tin). Also available are new designs for the Hydro Flask Series (RM205 each) and Frost Tumbler Series (RM128-138).  They also make for great gifts.

Jolly Breadman & Once Upon A Door [cookies]

In line with the season of giving, CB&TL’s popular Gift Tags return with new designs, with proceeds going towards the Caring Cup initiative. This year, the beneficiary is the Assunta Integrated Social Services programme by ASSUNTA Hospital, to help raise funds for equipment upgrades and essential supplies for their new mobile clinic. With the added support, they will continue to provide much-needed medical and healthcare assistance to marginalised groups.

For more info, visit http://www.coffeebean.com.my.

*Photos courtesy of Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf Malaysia.

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Travelogue: Attractions at Underwater World, Langkawi – Malaysia’s Largest Aquarium

*This post was originally published in April 2012 on an old blog. I am gradually migrating some of the content over to this site, and will backdate them once I’ve got things sorted out. (I’ve also added in some updated info). In the meantime, enjoy!

This is a long overdue post. I’ve been lazy busy with stuff at the magazine. Amidst the crazy hustle and bustle of work and saving up for my big Euro trip, I took the weekend off for some well-deserved R&R, far away from the concrete jungles and smoke fumes. Sounds cliche, but never underestimate what an island getaway can do for you. Langkawi it is!

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Departing from the LCCT.

I was feeling really tired for some reason and dozed off right after takeoff. Regretted this immensely after getting off the plane and vowed to stay awake throughout the rest of the flight during the return journey.

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Located far to the north of the Malaysian peninsula, Langkawi island is a lush green landscape of hills and bright green paddy fields underneath an almost unearthly bright blue sky, with an equally bright blue ocean reflecting it. The name of the island derives from Malay, Lang(eagle) and Kawi (a type of stone).

It has been over 17 years since I last stepped foot here, but from the looks of it, this scenic cluster of islands has not changed much. It still exudes the sleepy feeling of an island town where tourism is the main activity, where the shops are still quaint-looking and rarely over two storeys tall, where streets are unlit at night and where the biggest shopping mall is approximately the size of a Hypermart here in KL.

One thing I remember clearly from my visit all those years ago was seeing an eagle fly by Eagle Square. It was the first time I had seen one, and the way it beat its wings majestically as it soared through the air struck me, even as a child, with the same feeling as I feel now whenever I’m in beautiful places. That feeling where your heart seems to burst with emotion and how blessed you are to be witnessing all this breathtaking beauty.

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We rented a modest Proton Wira for three days to get around. Much easier and cheaper than taking a taxi. 

The first order of the day was to go raid the chocolate shops. Chocolates, liquor and cigarettes are duty-free in every shop on Langkawi island, and you will see tourists buying a whole luggage-full of stuff to bring home. I mean, six sticks of assorted flavoured Toblerone bars going for only RM20? A 6-pack of beer for only RM9? Now THAT’s a good deal. 

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Then it was off to the Langkawi Underwater World.  Spanning six acres, it is the largest aquarium in the country. Entrance is quite pricey at RM28 (*updated price 2020 – RM46), and although the place is quite old (it opened in 1995), it’s pretty well maintained. There are over 200 marine and freshwater fish species at the aquarium, as well as a variety of small animals and even birds. 

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You can explore several sections within the complex, namely Freshwater, Tropical Rainforest, Temperate and Sub-Antarctic. The Tropical Rainforest area houses wildlife such as lizards and skinks, birds and fish.

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The aviary allows you to walk freely amongst birds, like flamingoes. They seem very used to human presence.

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The Sub-Antarctic is home to cute penguins. At the Adelie penguins enclosure, I saw this penguin standing perfectly still, gazing up into the white lights. It kind of reminded me of the scene from Happy Feet where the hero penguin gets caught and after a while got stoned as the rest of them because they were stuck inside their cages for, well, literally, forever. Just waiting for feeding time, standing around, swimming in that confined little space with no hope of ever leaving. Some might even be born here and never know that beyond these walls, there is a place where columns of ice are as large as titans, where their kind fished and swam freely in the oceans. It’s a sad existence. I felt rather sorry for them. I feel that animals should be free, but at the same time, there is educational value in zoos and conservation centres – although many of these are mismanaged which causes some of the animals to suffer.

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The rockhopper penguins were much more aggressive. They swam faster, were more active and dove into the water quite often to swim, before leaping up again.

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Moving on to the aquarium proper, which houses plenty of sea life. The highlight of the section is a 15-metre ‘underwater’ tunnel that you can walk through, which has sharks, turtles and giant stingrays.

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A Fu Manchu fish, so called because of the tiny ‘moustache’ it has on its face. It showed me its butt when I tried to take a photo.

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Aside from the marine and wildlife, there is an educational centre and 3D theatre, as well as a cafeteria within the premises.

All in all, the Langkawi Underwater World is a family-friendly attraction where you can enjoy a couple of hours of educational fun. A worthwhile stop if you’re in the Pantai Cenang area.

LANGKAWI UNDERWATER WORLD 

Zon Pantai Cenang, Mukim Kedawang, Langkawi, Malaysia.

Opening Hours: 9.30 AM – 6.30PM (Mon – Thurs), 9.30 – 10.30PM (Fri – Sun)

Tel: +604 955 6100

 

KLoe Hotel – Kuala Lumpur’s Latest Boutique Hotel For Creative Nomads and Travellers

Earlier in February, I had the privilege of attending the launch of  KLoe – Kuala Lumpur’s latest boutique hotel. Located just a stone’s throw away from the city’s Golden Triangle area, the 85-room hotel is designed as a celebration of artistic pursuit – and it shows through the painstakingly curated art pieces, creative decor, and warm and friendly service. The name is a playful portmanteau coined after the capital city’s colloquial initials and the Greek word  for ‘tender, young shoot’.

Kloe Hotel

In a saturated industry that often involves the same old offerings, KLoé’s bold architecture and interior design is a breath of fresh air. Being a homegrown brand, the team has also worked to ensure that they collaborate with local brands and artisans to come up with a hotel that reflects Malaysian contemporary art and design.

Unfortunately, the timing was horrible, as not long after its opening, the movement control order came into place. As an independent hotel group without the backing of a major international hospitality chain, I can imagine that it’s going to be tough for the team at KLoé. Having visited the place first hand, I can tell how much effort and love went into creating a thoughtful and beautiful space for guests to unwind.

Since there is a call to #supportlocalbrands after the quarantine is lifted, here are six reasons why you should check in for a stay at KLoé after the MCO:

Rooms are designed to be comfortable, and to inspire

Kloe Hotel

KLoé’s spaces are designed not just for how they look, but how they feel to guests. Rooms are awash in cool, calm tones of duck-egg blue and sage to put its inhabitant’s mind at ease. Copper-trimmed open storage and vanity counters, coupled with bespoke mid-century furnishings give the rooms a modern, understated feel.  Lending credence to the saying that luxury is in the touch, real oak floors and hand-poured terrazzo tables are featured in all rooms. Savvy globetrotters will find all their necessities covered – from apps to mirror your devices and in-house designed city guides, to artisanal snacks and amenities by cult Australian skin and bodycare brand Aesop.

A celebration of local artistry

KLoé has worked with a local curator to furnish every guest room with original pieces of art, and commissioned artisans to create the hotel’s ​objets d’art ​, from  hand-thrown ceramic lampshades to handcrafted desks that fit snugly in each room.The hotel’s lobby, given the warmer moniker ​The Living Room ​, is a light-filled space housed under a  greenhouse roof. Curl up with a good book from the floor-to-ceiling  bookshelf, browse through the rotating showcase of artisanal crafts or share a 10-foot communal table with a fellow traveller or a co-working city native. Among the locally crafted art and furniture brands and artisans are Lisette Inc, Bendang Studio, thirty3eleven, Stephanie NG Design, Metisse Maison, Aureole Design and Wynk Collaborative.

Made by creatives, for creatives 

Kloe Hotel

The highlight at KLoé is its five one-of-a-kind Lofts, each outfitted to celebrate a particular creative pursuit, whether its art, music, food, plants, or books. To achieve this, KLoé teamed up with five different personalities, all of whom are well-respected thought leaders in their respective fields, to design the lofts’ guest experience.

Kloe Hotel

In ​Room to Listen​, guests will find a vinyl collection curated to suit an array of musical tastes. The mid-century modern room features a built-in sound system centred by a vinyl turntable, and lounge furniture for you to sink into. The room is curated by Rudy La Faber, a creative director in advertising, DJ and owner of left-field music venue Fono, as well as founder of music collective Public School.

Kloe Hotel

Kloe Hotel

(Above) Room to Draw; Joee Cheong 

Unleash your inner artist in ​Room to  Draw, curated by artist and creative entrepreneur Joee Cheong. The room is built as a cosy work studio equipped with brushes, watercolour and acrylic paint, canvas and sketchbooks. If the love of nature fuels your soul, check in to the ​Room To Grow, a verdant conservatory-like loft, curated by and featuring terrariums by Ohsum Mossum founder Ronnie Khoo.

Kloe Hotel

Kloe Hotel

(Above) Room to Grow; Ohsum Mossum founder Ronnie Khoo

Kloe Hotel

You may have seen Singapore-based celebrity chef, food writer and host Sarah Huang Benjamin on TV – she’s also the curator behind Room to Taste.  While you won’t be able to cook per se, the room celebrates all things gourmet and epicurean, with a communal dining table, a collection of cookbooks, and a personal pantry of artisanal produce plus a bespoke kitchen counter with ingredients to prepare your own snacks and drinks.

Kloe Hotel

Last but not least, my favourite is the Room to Read, curated by Nazir Harith Fadzilah, founder of independent bookshop and event space Tintabudi. Inspired by the modern charm of independent bookstores, the room features floor to ceiling shelves of books dedicated to art, culture, philosophy, poetry and literature. The armchair in the room is good enough to sleep in!

Delicious food 

Kloe Hotel

In a country where food is central to the cultural experience, KLoé hopes to distinguish itself as a  destination for dining and conviviality. ​Lucky Coffee , owned and operated by KLoé and sister to the neighbourhood cafe LOKL Coffee Company in KL, offers sandwiches, ready meals, nitro drinks, and other specialty coffee beverages in ​The Living Room. ​

Kloe Hotel

Monroe

Kloe Hotel

Meanwhile Monroe, a breezy California-styled bistro, serves comfort food based around  family and community. To further elevate its dining experience, KLoé is partnering with Empire Eats Group from Singapore to bring its award-winning tasting room and cocktail bar The Secret Mermaid to KLoé, where it will offer the largest selection of American spirits in Kuala Lumpur.

Health and Wellness 

Kloe Hotel

KLoé houses ​B.est Mind & Body ​that will offer a holistic approach to fitness and mindfulness  through a range of yoga, meditation, and fitness sessions.​ ​Alternatively, take a refreshing plunge into the adjacent pool, or have lounge in one of the many comfy and Instagrammable poolside cabanas.

Kloe Hotel

Malaysian Hospitality

As an independent hotel, KLoé’s team of hosts are empowered to better their guests’ stay  in personal ways and are always willing to provide an insider’s guide to the city.  Ng Ping Ho, Managing Director of Kindness of Strangers, the group that owns KLoé Hotel said:  “At KLoé we hope to provide what we believe true luxury really is: a haven where you are shown kindness; where time moves slowly, so you can linger, reflect, connect, and be inspired to explore  your creativity through art, design, music and food.”

Kloe Hotel

Rooms start at RM400++ per night. Book and stay until May 31, 2020 to enjoy 30% off published rates.

KLoe Hotel 

227 Jalan Bukit Bintang, 55100 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Reservations: +603-2772-1313 (24 hours)

kloehotel.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

Review: Alila Bangsar – A Zen-Like Oasis in The Heart Of The City

Tucked in a quiet corner of the Brickfields neighbourhood in Kuala Lumpur, Alila Bangsar is a relatively new boutique hotel by Singapore-based luxury hotel and resort chain Alila; the brand’s first in Malaysia. The hotel has been gaining a steady clientele, mainly business folks and couples looking for a chill place to relax within the city, but still close enough to business and entertainment hubs.

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N and I checked in for a weekend staycation, and I was very impressed by the hotel’s distinctive look and design. Modern and zen-like, the lobby on Level 41 was decorated with lots of greenery, and there were floor to ceiling windows which allowed for plenty of sunlight to filter in + offered great views of the surrounding skyline.

We checked into a King Bed Studio Room with Balcony, which was extremely spacious at 38 square metres. The design followed the same vein as the rest of the hotel spaces, with lots of wood, as well as calming, subtle white and beige tones with darker accents.

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Among all the places I’ve stayed at, I think this has got to be my favourite hotel room by far! I’d be happy to come home to a studio apartment like this, to be honest. 🙂

I liked how areas such as the bathroom and the ‘balcony’ (essentially a small living room/work space) were partitioned, but still very open so as to give a sense of added space. Everything was also neatly tucked away, like the fridge and tea/coffee making facilities in the cupboard next to the TV. The warm, ambient lighting added to the overall cosiness.

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A very Instagrammable workspace

 

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Large bathroom with not one but two lighted mirrors!

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I liked the fact that the rain shower and the toilet were separate. No bathtubs since they’re big on being sustainable/environmentally-conscious here. Which means you don’t get the tiny bottles of shampoo and whatnot, but instead refillable pump bottles. They also don’t use plastic bottles, so you pour water from a glass bottle when needed.

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The King-sized bed was so massive I think four thin people could have fit on it! Pillows were soft and fluffy, as was the duvet although it was a tad too warm even when the room temperature was set to 20 degrees. In-room facilities were good too, with many channels to choose from and plenty of plug points for charging, ironing board, weighing scale, laundry bag, bathrobes, etc.

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Guests will find an Alila bag in the room. If you have any items you’d like to leave behind such as clothes, you can put it in the bag and place it into a receptacle/bin on the ground floor. The clothes will then be recycled or donated. The bag can also be purchased for RM35.

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After checking out our room, we made a beeline for the pool, which is located on the 40th floor surrounded by a stunning three-storey atrium. This is one of the hotel’s prettiest spaces, surrounded by loungers and decorative plants to evoke a resort-like vibe, with sky-high views of the neighbourhood. The pool is not covered so you will not be able to swim when it rains (exactly what happened to us after about half an hour in the water).

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Night view.

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Dinner that night was at Botanica + Co, the restaurant downstairs which serves Western and Asian fare. Our order of a seafood pizza was ginormous:  loaded with shrimp, mussel, squid and cheese. Quite tasty.

Unfortunately we did not manage to visit the bars. For those who would like a sip or two, Alila Bangsar has two very nice bars; Pacific Standard on Level 41, and Lido on the rooftop.

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Woke up early the next morning refreshed after a good night’s sleep. Time to hit the gym! The hotel has a small gym. Not exactly state-of-the-art, but adequate, with mostly cardio equipment.

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Okay, we know the real reason we worked out was so we could eat more at breakfast! Morning meals are served at Entier, which doubles as a French semi-fine dining restaurant for lunch and dinner. The chef used to work at a 2-star Michelin restaurant under world-renowned celebrity chef Joel Robuchon, so he has some serious chops.

Entier offers breakfast set meals and a small buffet selection; which I think is great as it reduces wastage.

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Buffet consists of typical breakfast items: cold cuts, pastries and breads with jams, cereal, cookie, salad and fresh fruits.

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Loved the cold cuts ! Especially the smoked duck and the salami.

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N had the Western / Continental set which consisted of scrambled eggs, chicken sausage, beef bacon and potatoes with mushrooms and cherry tomatoes, baked beans and a pancake with strawberry jam. I had the Asian set of congee with fried crullers, mihun goreng, soft boiled egg and chicken dumplings. Tastewise, not particularly impressive but pretty tasty.

All in all, there are a couple of things that I think they could improve on, but it was still a very enjoyable stay. If you’re looking for a calming, resort-like setting that is still close to the city, then Alila Bangsar ticks all the boxes.

What I Liked: Amazing design, contemporary spaces, the whole ‘sustainable’ vibe, very comfortable bed

What I think they can improve on: Service; staff are eager to please but seem a little inexperienced. Also I don’t think this is something they can ‘improve’ on but the lifts are pretty troublesome. There is a lift from the carpark to the ground floor, then one from there to the lobby, and then guests have to take another lift from the lobby to their rooms. So a total of 3 lifts just to get to my car or out of the hotel to the nearby LRT station.

Shuttle services are available to places such as Mid Valley and KL Sentral.

Rooms start from RM430++ per night.

ALILA BANGSAR 

58, Jalan Ang Seng, Brickfields, 50470 Kuala Lumpur, Wilayah Persekutuan Kuala Lumpur

Reservations: alilahotels.com/bangsar