Sunway Putra Hotel Kuala Lumpur Launches “Stay-Kawtim, Makan Unlimited!” Package

Staycations don’t have to be pricey affairs.

If you’re keen to explore the city over the weekend, book a stay for you and the whole family at Sunway Putra Hotel Kuala Lumpur, which has just recently launched its new “Stay Kaw-tim, Makan Unlimited!” package, offering unbeatable value at an affordable price. Priced at just RM238 nett per room per night, the package combines:

Superior King Room

  • A 2D1N stay in a Superior Room for two (2) adults and two (2) children (under 12 years old), inclusive of breakfast.
  • An 8-hour eat-all-you-can spree of a la carte orders with over 25 specialties to choose from including Malay, Chinese, Indian, Western and vegetarian favourites and appetising selections for children starting from 12.00pm at the Coffee House.
  • A minimum of RM100.00 in redeemable cash vouchers from participating tenants plus amazing discounts and offers at the adjacent Sunway Putra Mall, which is directly linked to the hotel.

*Terms &Conditions apply.

Chicken Chop

eat all you can on ala carte orders! 

The all-inclusive staycation package is perfect for families and friends who want to take the opportunity to explore Kuala Lumpur’s Diamond Triangle and rediscover the city’s many hidden gems. The package is available for stays on Fridays, Saturdays, Sundays and on Public Holidays, while bookings are to be made from now until 31 August 2020, for a stay period from 14 August to 27 December 2020. While the check-in time is at 3PM, guests can arrive from 12pm onwards to start their 8-hour Makan Unlimited. Make bookings now at www.sunwayhotels.com/sunway-putra/offers/stay-kawtim-makan-unlimited. or call +603 40409888 / email spkl.reservations@sunwayhotels.com.

4 REASONS TO STAY AT SUNWAY PUTRA HOTEL KUALA LUMPUR

Convenient Location

Sunway Putra Hotel Reception

The 5-star, 650-room hotel is nestled in the heart of KL’s Diamond Triangle – known for its vibrant streets lined with trendy cafes and bars, bustling markets and landmarks – making Sunway Putra a great base for your exploration of the city. Aside from being close to hotspots like KL Sentral, Publika, Mont Kiara and Bangsar, the hotel is also conveniently linked to the PWTC LRT station, so you can hop on and get to the KL city centre in Bukit Bintang in under 10 minutes. You can also opt for a semi-guided tour of KL via the Hop-On Hop-Off double decker tour bus.

In short, SPHKL is close to the action, but away from the crowds.

State of the art Facilities 

Fitness Centre

Swimming Pool

Spacious, comfy rooms with top notch amenities, a swimming pool with gorgeous views of the city, a gym where you can work up a sweat (in air conditioned comfort!) – the hotel has got it all. You can indulge in delicious food at the Coffee House as well.

There’s an award-winning mall just steps away 

Sunway Putra Hotel Mall Link

The hotel is part of an integrated development and is direclty linked to Sunway Putra Mall, a shopping haven with eight floors that host over 300 international and local brands. Shop to your hearts content, enjoy the recreational and entertainment facilities such as cinema, indoor children’s playground and karaoke centre, and tuck into delicious food from over 80 renowned F&B outlets and specialty restaurants.

Safety is of the utmost priority 

Regular Sanitisation in key hotel areas

Let’s not kid ourselves – we are in the middle of a pandemic. But given that everyone adheres to SOPs and hygiene practices, there’s no reason why we can’t go for holidays to help boost the local economy. To ensure complete guest safety, the hoel has implemented new normal standard operating procedures (SOPS) and enhanced is hygiene practices and procotols. The Sunway Safe Stay programme, which is implemented at all Sunway brand hotels, incorporates five pillars of safety and hygiene comprising over 30 protocols of heightened cleaning practices – so you can check in and stay with peace of mind.

DID YOU KNOW? 

With the resumption of interstate travel within Malaysia, Malaysians can take advantage of the personal income tax relief of RM1,000 on expenditure related to domestic tourism and hotel accommodation – more reason to enjoy holidays locally. The period for claiming the income tax relief has been extended to 31 December 2021.

Also announced as part of the National Economic Recovery Plan by the Government of Malaysia in June 2020, a service tax exemption on accommodation and related services has been extended to 30 June 2021. Hotel rates are now quoted nett in Ringgit Malaysia (RM) inclusive of a 0% service tax. Additionally, an exemption of tourism tax (TTx) will be given to all foreign tourists staying at any accommodation in Malaysia until 30 June 2021.

SUNWAY PUTRA HOTEL 

100 Jalan Putra, 50350 Kuala Lumpur

General inquiries: +603 4040 9888 or email spkl.enquiry@sunwayhotels.com

 

*Photos courtesy of Sunway Putra Hotel Kuala Lumpur

How A Malaysian Resort Company Is Weathering The Coronavirus Pandemic

What with travel and movement restrictions worldwide by the coronavirus pandemic, the hospitality and travel industry is undoubtedly one of the most impacted. But while many hotels struggle to stay afloat and running despite empty rooms and cancelled reservations, one company in Sabah is proving that it pays to diversify.

Formed in 2007 in Kota Kinabalu, Echo Resorts – a family business which owns Gayana Marine Resort, Bunga Raya Island Resort and Borneo Eagle Resort –  is keeping busy amidst the worldwide pandemic. Founded on the principles of family and community values, it has a wide range of interests covering hospitality, environmental conservation and wellness – and while its hotel division is not operating due to global travel restrictions and the Movement Control Order in Malaysia, it’s business as usual for the other divisions.

Organic Food Supply

Its Borneo Eco Fish Farm by Bayu Aquaculture Sdn Bhd and Green-Os organic vegetable farm has seen a rise in orders from consumers and restaurants since the pandemic began. The fish farm rears an assortment of fish and prawns, including the Backcross Grouper Fish and the Echo Grouper, a hybrid produced by back-cross of a male giant grouper and a female hybrid grouper. The farm adopts environmentally friendly practices, including chemical and antibiotic-free organic feed, to ensure product quality and safety.

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Green-Os organic vegetables, locally farmed without the use of pesticides or chemicals, is popular for its variety of organic vegetables grown in healthy, fertile soil created by quality compost and organic fertilizer.

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“As a result of the Movement Control Order and a conscious desire to adopt a healthier lifestyle in the midst of this pandemic, we are seeing increasing delivery orders from the public. We are pleased that the public are recognizing the benefits of consuming natural, wholesome produce,” says Gillian Tan, Echo Resorts’ owner representative.

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The supplies are also delivered to Alu Alu Kitchen, the group’s restaurant located in the city, which was opened with a mission to serve fresh, organic seafood and vegetables from the farms. Its talented Head Chef Ah Keong creates nourishing menus inspired by Chinese and Malaysian influences to bring out the fresh tastiness of the produce untainted by chemical fertilizers and obtained from sustainable sources. According to Tan, home orders placed at Alu Alu Kitchen has also increased significantly since February, with some families placing orders for the whole lockdown period.

Alu Alu-Fresh Prawn & Vegetable dish

Marine Ecology Research Centre – Corals, clams and seahorses

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In the absence of visitors, the group’s environmental conservation arm, the award-winning Marine Ecology Research Centre (MERC) attached to Gayana Marine Resort, is devoting more time to research and development of its reef regeneration and giant clam propagation programmes, including caring for the Baby Giant Clam nursery. MERC’s successful efforts in the propagation of seven of the world’s giant clams found in Malaysian waters were recognized by the Malaysia Book of Records. The team has also expanded their R&D to include seahorses which have been overly harvested for supposed medicinal values. The recent births from two male seahorses have provided much excitement and encouragement into the behaviour of seahorses with the hope of increasing the seahorse population in the foreseeable future.

Health and Wellness

Reflecting the increasing current global awareness for health, Klinik Gayana and Gayana Pharma from Echo Resorts’ health and wellness division, are registering a higher demand for its supplements and medical services.

Employee Welfare

To keep employees safe and productive in this difficult time, the company has taken concerted action by providing training programmes, educational courses and encouraging voluntary work.

Tan says, “We understand it may take time for travel to return to a semi-normal state and we have decided that this is the perfect time to go back to basics and reinvest in education and training. It has always been our ethos to give back to the local staff, and this is a wonderful opportunity to take them back to school.”

With the temporary closure of Gayana Marine Resort, Bunga Raya Island Resort and Borneo Eagle Resort, 50 hotel employees are deployed to render support to Green-Os (organic vegetable farm), Borneo Eco Fish Farm by Bayu Aquaculture Sdn and Alu Alu Kitchen – aimed at helping them gain a deeper insight into different areas within the group’s approach.

Besides volunteering to man the three resorts during this lockdown period which meant sacrificing time away from their families, employees are also putting their time to good use by making 800 reusable masks for all ECHO staff.

Tan adds,” Employee welfare and wellbeing remain the very core of our business. No employee has been made redundant. These may be trying times, but it has also revealed the tenacity of our people and it has been beautiful seeing everyone rally together to weather this storm.”

As part of its community outreach during this time, Echo Resorts has also contributed towards 2,000 food packs to affected families in need on Pulau Gaya.

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

Love Pink? Check Out W Hong Kong’s New Pink Bling Makeover

Fun fact: As a child, I never liked pink because it was always seen as such a ‘girly’ colour and I’ve never been a girly girl lol.

20 years later, still not a girly girl – but I’ve changed my opinion about pink. I see now the appeal – the rosy hue, the soft, pastel-like hue which exudes feelings of fun, coquettishness, warmth and playfulness.

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While the colour has always been associated with something soft and romantic, W Hong Kong is turning that definition on its head – by taking it on with a fresh new interpretation that blends sophistication with style. Collaborating with multi-brand fashion house i.t, the five-star luxury hotel will see its elegantly designed and exquisitely furnished Extreme WOW Suite get a pink bling makeover – courtesy of Korean women’s fashion and beauty brand STYLENANDA! 

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Established in 2004, STYLENANDA has become a household name in Korea. Their collections are recognised for combining feminine styles with eye-striking silhouettes; with a full range of modern chic and edgy apparel, as well as their own cosmetics line.

Instagrammers and pink lovers will absolutely adore the new pop-up theme of the Extreme WOW suite, which has been transformed to include vivid pink hues spanning over the suite’s 2,000 square feet of floor space with double-height ceilings, all frosted with an ultra-chic pink breeze. 

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Be amazed by all the stylized pink embellishments, pose in front of the bombshell all-pink closet, jump into our W signature bed with pink makeover, toast with your besties in the living room filled with our decadent photogenic décor, pamper yourself with beauty treats in the out-of-this-world bathroom with views of the Hong Kong harbor and enjoy the “STYLENANDA PINK HOTEL” guests only amenities.

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Luxuriate in the spacious bathroom that offers panoramic views of the harbour.

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The pink suite will only be available from September 3 to November 30, at HK$38,000 plus 10% service charge per night.

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For enquiries and reservations, call +852 3717 2992, email wreservations.hk@whotels.com or book online for an unforgettable stay.

Located conveniently in the buzzing West Kowloon district, W Hong Kong brings its signature Whatever/Whenever® service philosophy and whimsical sensory experience, with 393 rooms and a stunning view of West Kowloon Harbor, an award winning bliss® spa, cutting edge business facilities and function space, superior recreation facilities, two signature restaurants Sing Yin Cantonese Dining and KITCHEN with an eventful WOOBAR that are all set to tempt the city’s chic set. With the highest outdoor poolside bar in Hong Kong, WET DECK on the 76th floor provides the perfect venue to have corporate assemblies with fellows or clients. More information at https://www.marriott.com/hotels/travel/hkgwh-w-hong-kong/.

 

You Won’t Believe This Is A Three Star Hotel – Zabeel House Mini, Dubai

Think 3-star hotel, think basic: a place to lay your head down for the night.

Well, think again.

Newly open in the neighbourhood of Al-Seef on the South bank of Dubai Creek, Zabeel House MINI, Jumeirah seeks to redefine the 3-star hotel experience with its chic design, comfortable lodging and experiences that can rival even more expensive hotels.

Zabeel House Mini exterior

Located close to the charming, historic Dubai Creek, the Al Seef district is the brainchild of Meraas, creators of family, couple and tourist-friendly neighbourhoods across the city, such as Kite Beach, City Walk and BoxPark. That means lots of shops, cafes and pop-ups on the doorstep, blending into the city’s past.

Hop in a taxi at Dubai International Airport and be checking-in 15 minutes later – leaving plenty of time to explore.

Zabeel House Mini Self Check In

Guests who wish to do so can opt for self check-in, or ask for help from the staffed front desk. While there are no valets or bellboys, there is an underground car park directly beneath the hotel, as well as a large artwork on the ceiling of the lobby spelling out ‘You are welcome’ in Arabic.

Zabeel House Mini lobby interiors (2) (1)

Instead of the dark, hushed tones of some hotel lobbies, Zabeel House is designed with cheerfulness in mind. Like the rest of the hotel, it is quirky, stylish and made for Instagram, with a different story to discover in every corner. Furniture and airy partitions replace walls to delineate spaces that are washed with light.

Zabeel House Mini floppy disk wall

When you’re ready to head out, look for bikes at the entrance and take one for a ride around the neighbourhood – for free. Al Fahidi and the Textile Souk – two of Dubai’s historic attractions – are only a short trip away. The nearby Burjuman Metro station means it is an easy ride to other attractions around the city. Alternatively, take an abra across the creek to the Gold Souk. You can also loan instant cameras and return the resulting snaps to a staff member – it might just make the ever-growing display at the lobby.

Zabeel House Mini Mish Mash

For a perfect perk-you-up before heading out, catch the roaming barista serving a special Ethiopian Boon coffee blend.

Zabeel House Mini interiors

The young and young at heart will love the menagerie of arty animals around the hotel. Giraffes remind guests to look at the world from a different perspective, flamingoes to relax in style, and the monkey climbing around the swings that hang from the lobby ceiling are there to encourage guests to embrace their inner child and enjoy the hotel as they wish.

Zabeel House Mini Pocket room bed

After a long day out exploring, retire to one of the hotel’s 150 Pocket Rooms, decked out in soothing white linens and interspersed with bright splashes of fun colours. Every inch of the 23-square meter space has been engineered to ensure a light, roomy experience, reminiscent of a hip city apartment.

The pop-art map of Dubai on the ceiling is perfect for planning your adventures as you lay in bed, while the the ‘suite-pad’ iPad that controls the flatscreen TV and provides an A-Z of Dubai’s attractions. There is a bright red SMEG mini fridge and Nespresso machine in every room.

Zabeel House Mini Pocket room interiors 2

Zabeel House Mini Pocket room interiors

An open rail instead of bulky wardrobes, a full length mirror on the back of the sliding bathroom door – everything is space saving and makes the room appear much larger. The towel rail is made from a faceplate of a 1970s amplifier, while the light is held up by a fish hook and hemp rope.

When it comes to food, dining options aplenty. Restaurants C.U offers a mix of Pan Asian and Middle Eastern dishes for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Across the lobby, MishMash offers elevated street food from around the world, and for those who want to get out and explore the neighbourhood, there’s a Grab-N-Go for picking up a perfectly packaged meal.

Zabeel House Mini pool

Relax at the Courtyard, a vast outdoor space where you can lounge with a laptop, coffee or book. The plunge pool is up on the roof with a sunbathing area, bean bags and hanging chairs. There is also a small gym that is open 24-hours a day.

Zabeel House MINI by Jumeirah is the first hotel to open in the Zabeel House by Jumeirah collection. Labelled ‘upscale casual’, the hotel features sharp design and smart service, and are informal in approach with a moderate price point.

Book by 14 June for stays until the end of September at a special rate of AED 280.

zabeelhouse.com

 

Hotel Review: Discovery Suites Manila, Ortigas Centre Pasig

For most of my trip to Manila, I stayed over at the boyfie’s house, but we also spent a night with his fam on a staycation at Discovery Suites Manila in Ortigas Centre, Pasig. This was one of the places I looked up while searching for hotels but decided to skimp on to save money.

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Located at the heart of the Ortigas business/commercial district and just steps away from SM Megamall, the 4-star serviced suites cuts an impressive figure and spans more than a dozen floors, with various facilities such as a swimming pool and a coffee house. The whole place exudes a cosy ambience, thanks to the warm yellow lighting. Since it was Christmas, the lobby boasted a giant Christmas tree and decorations which gave it a festive atmosphere.

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There are different configurations to suit your needs, from junior (studio) to three-room configurations. Since N has a big family, we stayed at the three-room suite, which measures 140 square metres. I was impressed. Spacious and nicely furnished, it looked like an expensive but homely apartment. Polished wooden floors, soft fluffy rugs and sofas, TV and a large study desk made up the living room, while a huge wooden dining table with matching chairs were placed near the entrance.

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More yellow ambient lighting with elegant touches of decor.

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DIning area for six.

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Kitchen, complete with fridge, microwave, utensils and cabinets for those who want to prepare their own meals.

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Master bed room had a king-sized bed with a grand bed stand and traditional work station. Also its own bathroom and bathtub!

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N and I took the third room which had two super-single beds. The duvets were soooo fluffy and soft, I literally sank into them. ❤ They also gave us plenty of pillows. Also in the room was a closet and our very own TV. The adjoining bathroom didn’t have a bathtub but came with a shower and glass partition. I think the overall setup is ideal for families and business travelers who want the feel of a private residence coupled with hotel amenities.

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Welcome cookies/cakes!

N and I went to the swimming pool (no pix though). It wasn’t that big but sufficient to have a dip. Also enjoyed the jacuzzi pool although it was small and people kept hogging it. .__.

All in all I enjoyed my stay! I loved the unit we stayed in. I hope to have a nice apartment like that some day 😛

discoverysuites.com

 

Country Style Boutique Accommodation at Lindenwarrah, Milawa

Visitors on the food and wine trail across Victoria High Country in Australia will likely want to make a pitstop at Milawa, a small produce and craft centre surrounded by vineyards and low lying hills and pastures. It’s  also where our boutique accommodation for the night, Lindenwarrah, is located at. Just steps away from the popular Brown Brothers produce store/winery/cafe, the two-storey country house exudes an elegant yet rustic charm.

credit: booking.com

One of the entrances, flanked by shady trees on a sandy lawn. Sorry, didn’t manage to take pictures of the property on my camera because we were so tired at the end of the day all we wanted was to get up to our rooms. 😀

credit: lancemore.com.au

They’re still pretty old school so doors still use keys instead of electronic slots. I got to my Sunset View room on the second floor and was greeted by a spacious room with a wonderfully calming blue colour scheme, a large (and extremely fluffy!) bed, sheer white curtains framing double glass/wooden screen doors and a beautiful view of the vineyards surrounding the property. 

Bench to chill on in the room. There was also a large TV with a limited number of channels (we’re out in the country after all), a cupboard full of liquor and snacks, as well as tea making facilities.

View from room. Mountains, cattle grazing on pasture, vineyards and a beautiful sunset.

Walked out onto the verandah, which was basically one long balcony with lazy chairs; connected to all the other rooms. Not very good for privacy, since anyone can just walk past my room and peek inside if I don’t have the curtains drawn. There was a nice water feature on the ground floor and a well kept lawn though.

More scenic views. Apparently this is also where they have balloon flights but because of bad weather the next morning we had to give it a miss.

Popping back inside to check out the bathroom, I was super happy to find a wide range of bath products from Appelles, with unique ingredients such as Australian sandalwood and Kakadu Plum. No tub but there’s a spacious shower with temperature control.

Dinner that night with my companions was at the hotel’s in-house Restaurant Merlot, where we enjoyed a four-course meal that included this succulent medium rare thick cut steaks with potato gratin. The food was hearty and delicious.

Other facilities at the accommodation include a swimming pool, guest lounges, a terrace and most importantly, free Wi-Fi so you can still stay connected to the outside world.

For bookings, visit lancemore.com.au. 

Hotel Jen Orchard Gateway, Singapore

In the busy commercial district of Orchard Road in Singapore, hotels are a dime a dozen. But I bet none of them can offer the comfy, home-away-from-home feeling like how Hotel Jen does. Tucked within the Orchard Gateway shopping center, the lobby is accessible via lift to the 8th floor – but fret not, as there are ample signs guiding visitors to the place. It’s also hard to miss the bicycles; a trademark of the brand.

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Delivering five-star quality at a four-star price, visitors can expect all sorts of conveniences, from charging stations in the lobby to trolleys (for all that retail therapy!). True to their #LeaveBoringBehind theme catered to urban travellers, there’s even a large screen in the lounge where you can take a picture of yourself and send a digital postcard to family and friends back home. 🙂

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Although the room wasn’t very large, it was cosy enough with a double bed, work counter, shower and tea/coffee making facilities. I liked that they included a local snack of icing biscuits in the mini fridge – gave it a more personalized touch. 🙂

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The IPTV has everything you need, from a summary of messages, entertainment guide, TV channels, promotions and more. No more boring old TV! 🙂

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The bar/resto area where guests can wine and dine with an epic view of Orchard Road below. But there’s more to come…

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I’m talking about the rooftop view, of course! I think the hotel sports one of the best views of Orchard Road and the Singapore Skyline – unimpeded by other high-rise buildings, one can see all the way to Marina Bay Sands (which lights up with lasers at night!) The infinity pool gives one a sense of swimming and floating up in the clouds..

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Cosy chairs to sit on while sipping on a martini

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We joined a Sunset Yoga session, which is part of the hotel’s activities to promote a holistic lifestyle and urban wellness among travellers. Our dedicated instructor taught us some basic poses, but those were enough to get me huffing and puffing. I’m more inflexible than I realized 😀

Our hour long session saw the sky slowly turning from light to dark. My favourite part was seeing the city slowly coming to life with brilliant lights, and lying down on our mats with our faces to the sky, closing our eyes and feeling the worries melt away.

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When we opened our eyes, it was already dark, and were welcomed by this beautiful view of the night skyline.

Between Hotel Jen Tanglin and Hotel Jen Orchard Gateway, I prefer the former for its quirky charm, but the latter is equally cosy and conveniently located. The MRT station is within the building and it’s just a few minutes walk away from Ngee Ann City, where my favourite place in the world (a huge Kinokuniya bookstore!) is at.

More info at reservations at hoteljen.com/Singapore/OrchardGateway.