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

 

 

 

 

 

 

Rosewood Yangon Opens as a Centre of Culture and Style in Myanmar

Since the country’s military rule ended in 2011, Myanmar has seen an unprecedented boom in tourism. Places like Yangon, Bagan and Mandalay are now popular tourist hotspots, and businesses – whether high-end restaurants or luxury hotels – are following suit.

The latest addition to the landscape is Rosewood Yangon, which opened its doors recently in the bustling city of Yangon. Showcasing a fusion of contemporary Burmese style and old-world grandeur, it is housed in one of the grandest and most expansive buildings from the colonial era: the former New Law Courts that were built in 1927. The hotel’s location in the heart of the historic district by the banks of the Irrawaddy River make it the perfect base for traveller’s looking to explore the heritage side of things that the city has to offer.

Rosewood Yangon - Building Exterior Bank Street

Guests arrive at the hotel’s majestic portico, lit by three immense 1920s chandeliers, before stepping through two sets of grand iron-framed doors into the lobby. Above the reception desk, a stunning mural by famed local artist Than Kyaw Htay immediately evokes the charm of Myanmar with sunset-bathed pagodas atop peaks floating over a rugged landscape. Every step throughout the hotel showcases the hotel’s transformation – one that preserves the architectural past while offering the ultimate in contemporary comfort.

A wide range of facilities available under one roof includes five distinctive dining venues; recreational options including a spa, a rooftop infinity pool and a fitness studio; extensive meeting facilities featuring a grand ballroom, bridal suite, event studio, Heritage Salon and three meeting rooms; and a sophisticated retail gallery and barber shop.

Unparalleled Stays

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The hotel’s 205 stylishly designed rooms and suites are carefully crafted to highlight the architectural beauty of the building. Along with high ceilings and abundant natural light, most guest rooms feature patios and balconies with view overlooking the city or beautifully landscaped internal courtyards.

The refined Executive Rooms, starting at 45 square meters, are thoughtfully conceived to create comfortable, residential-style living spaces that are equally suited to business and leisure stays. The property’s suite collection boasts the 90-square-meter Rosewood Suite, which includes a separate enclosed bedroom and a spacious terrace that is ideal for afternoon tea or in-room dining experiences.

Rosewood Yangon - Rosewood Suite_01

The Suites have been tastefully decorated using a combination of the old world and the new. Dazzling lacquerware and papier-mâché objets d’art from upcountry Bagan, along with handwoven bed-throws and cushions created by artisans from non-profit Turquoise Mountain, evoke a sense of place. Paintings by Nyein Chan Su lend a contemporary ambience to the elegant guest suites with his bold use of color in semi-abstract compositions. Meanwhile, Pyayt Phyo Aung’s stylized portraits of young Myanmar women wearing traditional thanaka paste on their faces, displayed at guestroom entryways, create a warm and welcoming touch.

High-Concept Dining and Entertainment Experiences

Each of Rosewood Yangon’s five dining venues possesses a distinctive character, with an accent on local producers and seasonality.

Vibrant and fast-paced NOVA European Brasserie features an open kitchen and a huge skylight for natural daylight dining. Seasonal vegetables and herbs are sourced directly from farms in the Shan State of northern Myanmar and fresh seafood comes from the Andaman Sea: at least 70 percent of all ingredients are the bounty from Myanmar’s land and waters.

NOVA Brasserie - Crudo Dessert Bar

The menu boasts European dishes such as Salmon Pastrami and Roasted Porchetta, along with contemporary Burmese fare. A well-balanced wine list with an excellent mix of international labels complements the menu. Conveniently located near the entrance of the restaurant, a crudo bar serves the freshest oysters, seafood and more.

Destined to become a popular Yangon gathering place, Living Room & Patisserie is the perfect venue for a cup of local artisan coffee or premium quality tea paired with chocolates and homemade French desserts, while at CourtRoom Bar, an impressive heritage décor featuring restored dark teak wall paneling creates a luxurious, intimate experience. Here the city’s best whiskey selection takes centre stage, along with bespoke cocktails, a curated selection of fine wines and sophisticated bite-size snacks. The Judge’s Chamber, a separate lounge in CourtRoom Bar, offers a world-class variety of premium cigars amidst faithfully restored wood parquet in a space where the New Law Courts’ judges once deliberated. A large-scale portrait of a cheroot-smoking Pa-O grandmother, painted with acrylic on canvas by Zay Zay Htut, presides over the lounge.

When it opens later this year, the rooftop Y Bar will be the jewel in the crown of the heritage building. The only luxury bar in the city offering a panoramic view over Yangon River, it will undoubtedly become a prestigious evening gathering place for Yangonites, expatriates and international guests – with a live DJ at night and a selection of cocktails inspired by Yangon’s eclectic streets.A Chinese restaurant is also set to open late 2020.

Rich Cultural Experience

To showcase the richness and dynamism of Myanmar culture, Rosewood Yangon has created a suite of bespoke experiences to provide guests with an insider perspective including its “Rosewood Limited Edition” package, available from April 2020.

It consists of a one-of-a-kind arts and history experience in which visitors both preserve and help make history at this turning point of Myanmar opening up to the world. Guests have the exciting opportunity to discuss the Yangon’s preservation efforts with Dr. Thant Myint-U, Myanmar’s leading historian and writer, and founder of the Yangon Heritage Trust, in a rare private audience.

Guests also get a hands-on experience with Delphine de Lorme, artist and co-founder of Yangon Walls, and see how the city’s burgeoning creative community is responding to its modernisation. Together with de Lorne, guests will get the opportunity to rejuvenate Yangon’s back alleys with colourful murals. These and more rich experiences, plus three nights accommodation, are also included.

Relaxation & Recreation

The Fitness Studio offers a complete line of state-of-the-art fitness equipment, available 24 hours a day.  The resident fitness trainer is available for assistance on request. An infinity swimming pool is also located at the rooftop level.

Additional facilities will be opening later this year, including a sophisticated retail gallery offering gifts and collectible souvenir items inspired by the hotel’s rich heritage and the local Burmese culture, while a classic barber shop will offer a premium grooming experience.

When it opens in late 2020, Sense, A Rosewood Spa, Rosewood’s award-wining, signature spa brand, will offer guests a sanctuary of simplicity and purity. Time-honoured Burmese practices will be perceptively customised to guests’ needs, and paired with natural ingredients that are sustainable, carefully cultivated and thoughtfully sourced.

Rosewood Yangon - NOVA Living Room

For Special Occasions

Rosewood Yangon boasts prestigious event spaces, including the Grand Ballroom, the Heritage Salon and the Terrace Suite for hosting exclusive private celebrations. The hotel’s majestic and capacious Grand Ballroom offers one of the most distinguished and elegant event venues in Yangon with its lofty, coffered ceilings and custom-designed crystal chandeliers. A movable partition allows the 1,400-sq.m. ballroom to be divided into two spaces. Meanwhile the Heritage Salon, formerly Parliament’s Chamber of Nationalities (1948-1962), has been meticulously restored and modernized to become, in late 2020, one of the city’s most impressive and unique venues with its double-height ceiling and decorative frieze, renovated to all its past glory.

Introductory offers are available from now until 30 June 2020 and include personal butler services throughout the stay, roundtrip airport transfers and breakfast at NOVA European Brasserie. “Heritage Discovery” with rates starting from USD320, and “Enchanting Yangon” from USD350 for a minimum two-night stay, include selections of hotel signature experiences.

Hotel Review: Movenpick Resort & Spa Karon Beach Phuket, Thailand

Hey, guys!

I recently had the pleasure of staying at Movenpick Resort and Spa Karon Beach, a leading luxury resort in Phuket, ie Thailand’s largest island. They were kind enough to host me for several nights in exchange for a review (while I ran around the island sniffing out stories for work), so a big thank you, especially to the marcomms team!

PS: Since I’ve already published the hotel review for my magazine, this will be an honest review of my experience in my own style of blog writing + unfettered by print limitations like word count or whatnot. Let’s hop into it! 🙂 

CHECK-IN 

1 Hotel Lobby

Checking in at the lobby, N and I were welcomed by a warm and inviting space – modern with an open layout but with Thai touches. As most of you might already know, Movenpick is a Swiss brand, and the Karon Beach resort prides itself in “Swiss efficiency, with Thai hospitality”. Check in was seamless, and we were given welcome drinks to cool off from the sweltering Thai heat, then shown to our room, which was a short walk away from the lobby.

ROOMS & AMENITIES

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There are various configurations to suit different budgets and needs, from Family Suites to Deluxe and Superior rooms, all furnished in a modern, contemporary style. Despite it being high tourist season, they managed to get us a Plunge Pool Villa (thank you, Ryatt!), which was extremely spacious and cosy.

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I loved that they used lots of wood, from the lanterns to the work desk, walk-in wardrobe and furniture, which really added to the tropical resort vibe. Do note that because there are so many trees and plants within the resort grounds, there are also lots of mosquitoes (!) An electric mozzie repellent device is provided, but I recommend closing the blinds and doors when you’re in the room. The bathroom features a window that you can open and close for privacy, making it perfect for couples and honeymooners (winkwink).

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A bathroom that’s larger than my bedroom at home, lol. Shower aside, there was an extremely large stone/marble tub that could easily fit two people in it, and a closet on the right.

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Luxury shower amenities.

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We also got a welcome basket of tropical fruits, and Movenpick’s signature chocolate cake. PS: If you don’t already know, Movenpick started off as a chocolate company, and they are world renowned for their exquisite chocolates!

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And then of course I made a beeline for the outdoor plunge pool. This became my go-to place throughout the stay – whenever I wasn’t exploring the island, I’d go back and take a dip with a book (yes I brought a book with me into the pool). I think N got tired of having to call me to get out so we can have lunch/dinner or whatever, lol.

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Is this not the life?

DINNER AT ORIENTASIA

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Food options aplenty at Movenpick Resort & Spa Karon Beach, most of them facing the beautiful Karon beach front. On our first night, we dined at OrientAsia, which serves authentic Thai and Indian cuisine. Warm shades of red and beige, coupled with low ambient lighting made for an elegant and intimate setup.

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Maybe I’m not looking in the right places, but it’s hard to find good shrimp pakora back in Malaysia. The version here was nicely battered and seasoned, with large, juicy and sizable chunks of fresh shrimp which went well with the mint dip. Despite being deep fried, it was not greasy at all – perfect appetiser!

 

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Stuffed crab shells with a sweet and sour dip was excellent as well.

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Chicken Vindaloo was a tad too oily for my liking.

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The star of the night was the Tom Kha Gai, ie chicken in coconut milk soup. Milky and savoury with a spicy kick, the flavourful broth paired really well with rice. The lemongrass flavour stood out to give it a sour note which was very appetising. The fact that N and I finished it to the last drop is testament as to how delicious it was. 11/10!

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Finishing off the meal on a sweet note, we tucked into a scoop of Movenpick’s signature chocolate ice cream. Just the right amount of sweetness and creaminess to end the night.

BREAKFAST AT EL GAUCHO 

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By night, El Gaucho serves up hearty cuts of steak and grilled items, but they also serve buffet breakfast for resort guests during the day. The restaurant’s outdoor seating offers beautiful views of the beach front, so you can dine with a view.

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Sandy white beaches and swaying palm trees – a scene straight out of a postcard.

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A respectable selection of breakfast items, with local and intercontinental dishes: Salads, fresh fruits, cereal and juices, cold cuts, pastries, and Asian staples of rice and noodles.

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Cheeses and cold cuts.

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Malaysian hotels have to adhere to halal standards, so whenever I’m travelling overseas, I load up on the bacon! PS: I like mine soft rather than crispy. 😛

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FACILITIES

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Movenpick Resort & Spa Karon Beach spans a hefty 9 acres, with beautifully landscaped grounds that take luxury resort living to heart. Tropical palm trees line the paved avenues, and there are lovely gardens at every corner, interspersed with buildings featuring traditional thatched roof designs. In total, the resort boasts 362 rooms, suites and villas. It’s also kid-friendly, with facilities such as a Little Birds Club that has a large play area and a range of programmes and recreational activities to keep the little ones entertained.

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The grounds are so massive it takes a good 15 minutes to walk from the lobby to the beach front! Fret not though – they’ve got buggies at the ready to take you where you need to go.

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For those who want to go swimming, the resort has three pools. The main one is near the lobby and comes with a waterslide for the kids and a swim-up poolside bar. The Coconut Grove Pool (pictured above) is exclusively for Villa guests, but it’s also super deep and does not have lifeguards on duty so I’d suggest going only if you’re a strong swimmer (I’m not. lol). Alternatively, you can work out at the well equipped fitness centre next to the lobby, where there is also an area with a pool table.

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Garden Villas. 

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For an indulging experience, head on to their spa for top-to-toe pampering. N and I were ushered into a couple villa for our one-hour full body massage. The couple villa was beautifully furnished, and our skilful and professional therapists were so good at kneading out our tired muscles that we both fell asleep during the treatment.

MOVENPICK CHOCOLATE HOUR! 

 

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A fun signature activity at all of Movenpick’s hotels and resorts is the Movenpick Chocolate Hour, where guests are invited to indulge in a free flow of snacks and chocolates at the lobby. It was just what we needed after our massage. It’s a small gesture, but such a significant one as it shows their brand of warm hospitality.

LIVE MUSIC, DRINKS AND FOOD AT MINT 

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There is no shortage of things to do at night in Phuket, but if you’re not looking to explore, you can wile the night away at MINT, which serves drinks and dishes such as pizza, pasta and snacks. The atmosphere is relaxing, as the resto is located just steps away from the beach and they have a live band playing music.

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One does not simply say no to wood-fired pizza, and they had my favourite – parma ham with arugula. 

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The buffalo wings were nice, but the scallops were overcooked and rubbery.

All in all, we had an awesome time at Movenpick Resort & Spa Karon Beach – at times, we didn’t even feel like leaving the resort at all! Ideal for families and leisure travelers alike, it’s a great place to unwind and conveniently located just across the street from one of Phuket’s most beautiful beaches. Service is warm, friendly and personalised, the food is good and there are plenty of top notch facilities to enjoy.

MOVENPICK RESORT & SPA KARON BEACH 

509 Patak Rd, Tambon Karon, Amphoe Mueang Phuket, Chang Wat Phuket 83100, Thailand

Reservations: Website or call +66 76 683 350. 

Prices start at RM440 (USD100) per night.

 

 

 

Hotel Review: Sheraton Imperial Kuala Lumpur

With its grand, sweeping staircases and elegant interiors, Sheraton Imperial Kuala Lumpur has long been considered the grand dame of five star luxury hotels in the city. Having been around for a number of years, the decor was getting dated – so the hotel underwent a multimillion-dollar facelift, with refreshed dining concepts and more rooms.

Weekend getaway, here I come!

The first thing that greets guests upon entering is the grand lobby, complete with sparkling multi-tiered chandeliers, tall cavernous ceilings and elegant decor. The hotel is best known for its wide, sweeping staircases that lead from the ground floor up to the ballrooms, making it a popular venue for weddings and photoshoots.

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N and I checked in to our Club King room, which was not only spacious but offered a beautiful view of the city. Boasting 42 square metres of space and a comfy king-sized bed, the room’s modern interior was well furnished, with hues of beige, gold and grey. There was a small work table and sofa bed by the floor-to-ceiling window, as well as the usual amenities: large-screen TV, tea and coffee making facilities, Wifi, etc.

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A thoughtful little welcome gift that was much appreciated 🙂

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Luxurious bathroom with bathtub and separate shower, lighted makeup mirror, all the works.

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Lunch was at the cheerful all-day dining Essence, which features a good selection of local and international fare. Aside from a cold cuts counter, sushi island and dessert island, the space also hosts a noodle bar where you can customise your own noodles to your liking. Not to be missed is their signature curry laksa, which has a rich, savoury broth with just the right amount of kick to get you sweating, and the chicken satay.

After lunch, you can opt to explore the city, or make use of the myriad of facilities available at the hotel, such as the 24-hour fitness centre, the spa (book in advance to avoid any disappointment, as they tend to be quite full), or the swimming pool with its daybeds, cabanas and gorgeous view of the Kuala Lumpur Tower nearby.

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Tuck into a scrumptious, full-course dinner at Sheraton KL’s Chinese restaurant, the aptly named Celestial Court. The restaurant is currently having a promotion called The Fabulous Big Feast, which offers all-you-can-eat ala carte dining for RM148nett per pax, with a minimum of two persons.

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If you still have space, adjourn to the lounge near the lobby for some drinks and music.

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Night view of the city from our window.

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Morning saw us back at Essence for breakfast, with a slightly different line up which included breakfast fare such as pancakes, sausages and ham, porridge, noodles, pastries and cakes, and roti canai.

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After another dip in the pool and some lazing around in the room, it was time for lunch again (seemed like we were just eating the entire time of our stay, lol) at Villa Danieli, the hotel’s Italian restaurant, which was in a standalone building on its own. I wrote a separate review of the place, so check it out here !

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Ending with a nice warm cup of tea at the Club Lounge before our late check out, we were treated to a beautiful day view of the KL Tower atop Bukit Nanas.

It was certainly a relaxing weekend, filled with lots of delicious food! The service was impeccable and we were left wanting for nothing throughout our stay. Best of all, it’s located in a more quiet part of town, but still offers easy access to the bustling Golden Triangle area via the monorail which is just steps away from the lobby.

SHERATON IMPERIAL KUALA LUMPUR

Jalan Sultan Ismail, 50250 Kuala Lumpur, Wilayah Persekutuan Kuala Lumpur

Reservations: +603 2717 9900

Website

Review: Hotel Stripes Kuala Lumpur

Tucked along a quiet stretch of Jalan Kamunting and surrounded by heritage buildings, Hotel Stripes Kuala Lumpur is a luxury boutique hotel – ideal for business people and couples who enjoy the convenience of being close to the city centre, minus the chaotic hustle and bustle. I’ve been eyeing to stay there for some time now, and Mother’s Day felt like the perfect reason to splurge on a treat for the Moomins! 🙂

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Parking is limited, but guests can opt for valet parking service for a flat rate of RM10 per night. The hotel’s unique facade features brick fixtures, paired with a classic colonial-style frontage. Wood, as well as a black and gold colour scheme, are dominant themes throughout the hotel, giving guests a sense of warmth and modern elegance.

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Our Deluxe Room came with a comfortable king-sized bed, fluffy pillows and duvet, a sofa and a cosy worktable. There was a large black and white photo of Jalan Kamunting in the 1940s hanging over the bed. I felt it offset the otherwise modern furnishings quite well and lent the space a sense of nostalgia.

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The workstation had a Bible in the drawer, and there was a glass jar with complimentary candy. The candy was the kind one would be familiar with from one’s childhood – traditional suan mei tang (sour plum), coconut sweets in colourful clear plastic wraps, hawthorne flakes – so it was a nice surprise.

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Floor to ceiling windows meant the room was well lit with lots of natural light. I liked how the sink was designed to be outside of the bathroom, which made it more convenient for us to wash up, in addition to saving space.

Shower was pretty spacious, and there was a bench where you can sit – good for the elderly like the Moomins who can’t stand for long periods of time. Rather than shower amenities in tiny plastic bottles, the bathroom had a wall mounted dispenser, which is better for the environment and reduces wastage.

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The TV had a good selection of channels, and there were also a few in-house magazines showcasing the YTL brand of hotels around the world.

Guests will also find must-have amenities that you’d expect from a five-star luxury hotel, such as a safe, bathrobe and slippers and tea and coffee making facilities. The canned drinks in the mini bar are included with your stay, rather than chargeable as it usually is in other hotels.

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Went up to the rooftop to take a dip in the small but beautiful pool, which offers gorgeous views of the Kuala Lumpur Tower. Its a saltwater pool, which is better than chlorine and is purported to have stress-relieving properties. The deck chairs are limited, so I suggest coming in the late afternoon (if it’s not too sunny) to avoid the crowd.

The rooftop also houses a bar called Man Tou (their specialty is – you guessed it – mantou buns) which is open during the night. The Moo wasn’t feeling well in the evening so we decided to just stay in.

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On the same floor is a small but well equipped 24-hour gym accessible by your room card key.

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Chillin’ in my comfy bathrobe

BREAKFAST 

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The next morning, we headed down to breakfast at Brasserie 25, the hotel’s French-style restaurant. The breakfast selection was not extensive, but what they had was fresh and tasty.

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Salad counter had a couple of cold cuts and cheeses.

 

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Baked goods section offered a selection of bread and pastries.

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Typical Western fare like sausage links, cherry tomatoes and hash browns.  Next to these were Asian breakfast favourites such as porridge, samosa, spring rolls and fried noodles.

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French toast, waffles and pancakes, which diners can pair with various jams and condiments.

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Cereal station

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I recommend the hash browns, which were super crunchy and addictive! The mee goreng (fried noodles) was good, as was the poached egg in cream and spinach.

Overall, Hotel Stripes impressed with its warm and friendly service, good facilities and nice little touches (like the free mini bar and the complimentary candy)! If you’re looking for somewhere close to town but away from the flurry of activity, this might be a place to consider for your next staycation.

**I paid RM285++ (final total RM330) for the Deluxe Room, inclusive of breakfast for two. This is the Marriott Member price.

HOTEL STRIPES KUALA LUMPUR 

25, Jalan Kamunting, Chow Kit, 50300 Kuala Lumpur, Wilayah Persekutuan Kuala Lumpur

Reservations: +603-2038 0000 or visit stripeskl.com.

 

 

Review: Shangri-La Hotel Singapore – A Night’s Stay At One of The Best Hotels In Asia

With its towering skyscrapers and vibrant lifestyle scene, Singapore is a nice place to visit. Now if only their exchange rate vs the Malaysian ringgit wasn’t so high, I’d go every weekend. 😦

As it is, my last visit was in 2016 for a travel assignment – so it was nice to be back again, even if it was just for a short trip. I stayed at the Shangri-La Hotel Singapore, located close to the Orchard Road shopping district. Founded in 1971, it is one of the country’s oldest hotels, but has managed to keep up with the times with splendid yet classic decor and modern-looking rooms. It has also been consistently voted as one of the best hotels in Asia, with the annual Shangri-La Dialogue being hosted here since 2002.

CHECK IN

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The lobby’s high ceiling and towering pillars evoked a sense of space. Check-in was a breeze, as we were given welcome drinks and were attended to by friendly and professional concierge staff.

ROOM FACILITIES

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My Deluxe Room was located in the Tower Wing, which had a nice view of the surrounding skyscrapers, as well as the swimming pool and parts of the garden below. The room itself is spacious and well furnished, with a comfortable king-sized bed, large screen TV and minibar. The fact that they have a large work desk and also plenty of charging ports (both USB and standard) seemed to indicate that they’re geared towards business travelers – but then again we’re so reliant on our gadgets these days that a couple of ports just won’t cut it. I loved that they had a tall window to let in natural light in the day, and warm, ambient lighting when you need to cosy in at night.

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A Nespresso machine, complimentary water and a well-stocked minibar.

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I know alcohol is fairly common in most if not all five star hotels (that’s why they call it a minibar!) but coming from Muslim-majority Malaysia, it’s still interesting for me to see every time I visit a foreign country.

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I was surprised to find a welcome gift on the table, which was a box of delicious chocolates. I might have finished the entire box by myself lol.

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A space saving wooden dressing table, complete with pop up mirror and a compartment for the hairdryer.

I don’t have a picture of the bathroom, but it was very spacious as well, with a bathtub and a rainshower. Guests will also find the usual luxury amenities such as bathrobes, in-room slippers, shaving kit, toothbrush and toiletries.

IN ROOM DINING 

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Hadn’t had anything to eat since the morning, so I ordered room service. They had an extensive menu offering both local and Western dishes, such as nasi lemak, laksa, pizza, fish and chips, salads, pizza and the like. I opted for a Seafood Marinara Tagliatelle, which was delivered promptly (complete with table setting!) in 30 minutes. They also give you a glass of water and bread rolls with butter.

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Presentation was a little messy, as  sauce was splattered on the sides. Taste wise, the pasta was done al dente but the scallops were overcooked and rubbery. Maybe skip the in room dining and dine in at any of the hotel’s 11 restaurants and bars instead.

Didn’t manage to explore much of the hotel as I had an event to attend and left early the next morning, but they offer many other top notch facilities as well, including a pool, health club, spa, meeting rooms and conference halls, ballrooms for events, and a children’s club.

Prices average from RM1,000 onwards.

SHANGRI-LA HOTEL 

22 Orange Grove Rd,  Singapore 258350

 

Hotel Review: Modern Luxury at Marriott Yogyakarta, Indonesia

During my recent stay in Yogyakarta, Indonesia, the Moomikins and I were privileged to stay at Marriott Yogyakarta, the latest five-star hotel to join the city’s burgeoning tourism scene.

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Modern and contemporary, the 347-room hotel is Marriott’s first foray into Indonesia, and impresses with its top notch facilities and delectable dining options. Its close location to the Adi Sutjipto Airport and various attractions also make it the perfect base for both business and leisure travelers.

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Marriott hotels are one of my favourite places to stay at because they have this cosy, warm and welcoming ambience, as opposed to some five-star places which may feel luxurious but ‘detached’, somehow.  The spacious lobby boasts unique local touches, such as decorative kawung batik motifs and Javanese elements.

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Official photo vs my photo in 3…2…1….

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This is why people hire professional photographers. :’D 

We stayed in the spacious Deluxe Pool room, which had twin beds and a view of the pool. There was an additional sofa bed in the corner, as well as a work table. Instead of a conventional walled-off bathroom, the design featured sliding walls – so you can open them up for more space.

As mentioned, I like the cosy, warm ambience you get from the dark wood, clean lines and calming colour scheme. Cleanliness was top notch, there were a lot of channels on the widescreen TV to choose from, and the beds were soft but supportive.

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Welcome towels in cute shapes! 🙂

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Refreshing herbal drinks upon checking in to the room.

DINING

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There are plenty of dining options within the hotel. During our stay, we got to dine at the all-day dining Yogyakarta Kitchen. Bright and welcoming, the restaurant serves international-style buffet, which includes several firm Indonesian favourites.

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Dinner is best spent at the Taman Sari Bar & Grill by the poolside. Specialising in Mediterranean cuisine, the charming outdoor patio dishes out a selection of steaks, seafood and grilled items as you dine under the stars.

*PS: Will be posting an in-depth review of both resto in separate posts. 🙂

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No five star hotel would be complete without a spot of pampering and relaxation. Marriott Yogyakarta is home to Quan, the brand’s signature spa. The spa menu includes various treatments, from traditional massages to body wraps and foot baths. At the recommendation of the friendly therapist, I went for the Swedish massage, which focuses on soothing muscles and releasing tension.

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Besides tourism, Yogyakarta is also a hub for business and MICE, so its not surprising that Marriott has the facilities to match, including meeting rooms equipped with state-of-the-art AV equipment, as well as the 1,870-square-meter pillarless ballroom – the largest in Yogyakarta – making it the grandest venue in town for special occasions.

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The hotel even has its own atelier for weddings, where the bride and groom-to-be can select outfits from local designers, and discuss with the hotel team on table setting, decorations, etc.

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Marriott Yogyakarta is located directly next to Hartono Mall, a modern shopping centre with retail outlets, departmental store, cinema, entertainment centre and restaurants. It was extremely convenient for me and Moo, because she could just pop over for food or shopping when I was busy with work.

We didn’t have time to check out some of the other facilities such as the pool and the gym, but all in all, I enjoyed my time thoroughly at Marriott Yogyakarta, and would definitely consider it as a place for accommodation if I’m ever in the city again. Beautiful rooms and convenient facilities aside, it is also strategically located, with excellent food and even better hospitality.

Rooms start from USD80 (about RM320+) onwards.

MARRIOTT YOGYAKARTA

Jl. Ringroad Utara, Kaliwaru, Condongcatur, Kec. Depok, Kabupaten Sleman, Daerah Istimewa Yogyakarta 55283, Indonesia

Reservations: +62 274 6000888

*I was invited for a review in the capacity of work, which has been published in a magazine. The views here are entirely my own. 

 

Hotel Review: Crockfords @ Resorts World Genting, Malaysia

Opened in 2014, Crockfords Hotel is Resorts World Genting’s poshest accommodation, catering mainly to the casino’s high rollers. I was fortunate enough to be extended an invitation to stay back in August, for work – and since they allowed a guest, I brought the Moomikins along.

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Crockfords is tucked away in a quiet corner, away from the hustle and bustle of the main shopping area. It’s quite a distance to walk, but fret not, as they provide buggy service right up to the hotel’s doorstep.

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Oozing class and elegant charm, the lobby has a cool, black and gold colour scheme, with marble floors polished to a perfect shine. Upon walking in, guests will be greeted by four large flower displays encased in glass – a specially commissioned installation by British artist Rebecca Louise Law. Dubbed “The Four Seasons”, each piece consists of thousands of dried flowers, representing Spring, Summer, Autumn and Winter.

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Part of the winter exhibit.

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More flowers.

Crockfords features 111 Superior Rooms and 8 Junior Suites, each fitted with luxurious Greek Calacatta marble restroom fixtures made exclusively for Crockfords and in-room private steam bath. The one-touch technology also allows guests to control the blinds, room temperature and lighting all from one device.

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Our room was a Superior Twin, and it did not disappoint. It boasted a pastel + grey colour scheme, with soft carpets and marble tabletops, a ‘living’ area complete with couch and coffee table, as well as a large TV and work desk. The beds, separated by a partition, were extremely comfortable, with soft and fluffy duvets, facing a view of the surrounding hills via the floor-to-ceiling glass windows.

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You can tell everything is designed with the guest’s convenience in mind, including ports close to the bed for charging electronic devices, as well as the central control unit between the beds.

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It was still early evening, so we ventured out for a spot of shopping at Sky Avenue to enjoy the cool mountain air, and to see the Symphony in the Skies light show.

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Returned to a pleasant surprise from the hotel – they had delivered champagne on ice and macaroons as part of the turndown service! It felt pampering to be shown such hospitality and care; really makes you feel like a welcome guest. 🙂

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There were also plenty of lotions,creams and bespoke toiletries to take home as gifts.

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Nothing like a restful night’s sleep and waking up to this view!

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Our stay included breakfast at the Executive Lounge, which boasts beautiful sky-high views of the mountains. Guests can choose from the buffet selection of cold cuts, bread and Western fare, in addition to their main breakfast dish.

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Moo had truffle scrambled eggs and bacon. The eggs were egg-celent, and the aromatic, earthy flavours of truffle were prominent in each bite.

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I had the lobster nasi lemak. It was a solid dish, and the star was, of course, the succulent lobster meat cooked in spicy sambal. It retained its fresh sweetness despite the level of heat.

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Best thing – not having to crack open the shell. :’D

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Was taken on a tour of the rest of the rooms. There are only eight Junior Suites within the hotel, so it’s pretty exclusive. Choose from three themes – Gym, Tatami and Mahjong.

The Gym Suite features a high-end Italian gym system so you can work out in comfort within the room, while the Tatami Suite integrates a Zen tea ceremony space. The Mahjong Suite (above) includes a built-in mahjong table that shuffles the tiles on its own at the press of a button!

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The suites come with a living and dining area, a master bedroom and smaller, adjacent room for the maid/security, complete with sliding door for privacy.

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Cosy but luxurious – I’d love to have an apartment like this. 🙂

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Also within the suites is a large and comfortable massage chair to soothe your backaches after a long game of mahjong.

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For the ultimate in luxury, there are three luxury Executive Suites – the Mayfair, Hampstead and Belgravia – each spanning 2,900 sq ft and named after swanky neighbourhoods in London. The suite comes with the whole package – spacious living area with a view of the mountains, large bedrooms, a huge dining room, a small private gym and a spa room.

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The Spa room – you can call the reception for a masseuse.

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Gym area with aerobic exercise balls, towels and treadmill.

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The master bedroom toilet is larger than the master bedroom in my house lol.

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A girl can dream that one day she will be able to afford this. :’D

You also get 24 hour butler service.

Although I wasn’t in the suites, my stay in Crockfords was no less pleasant. Perhaps the most memorable thing is the top notch service and attention to a guest’s needs.  Definitely a place I’d consider splurging on if I wanted to pamper myself or the significant other on an expensive staycation.

Rooms start from RM1,700 per night.

For reservations, call +603 2718 1118.