[Hotel Review] – Hatten Hotel (Hatten Suite), Melaka, Malaysia (30 Sep – 1 Oct 17)

Location

Hatten Hotel is located in the middle of Melaka, where the only shopping malls are located in the town. The hotel sits on top of Hatten Square a shopping mall that is also linked to the rest of the shopping malls. Hatten Hotel is a mere 7 mins walk from Jonker Street and 5 mins walk from St Paul’s Church, making it a great place to explore the foodie scene and the major sights of Melaka.

Hotel Signage

Hotel lobby on the ground floor

The Suite

Hatten Hotel is an all suites hotel, offering minimally a Junior Suite. Guests staying in the Hatten Suite can check-in at the Premier Lounge located on the 12th floor of the hotel. There are no queues at the lounge at the time of my check-in. I checked into the large 74㎡ Hatten Suite, a 1 bedroom suite. The hotel has very limited Hatten Suites, with 1 on each floor a few more on its top level. The Hatten Suite is contemporary and in its decor and feels very comfortable once I entered the suite.

Living Room

Entering the suite, one would come across a toilet before the mini bar area. The toilet has only a sink and toilet bowl, which is perfect for guests to use without having to enter the bedroom. The placement of the minibar area next to the toilet in the living room makes total sense as guests in the suite can obtain water and wash their mugs without having to enter the bedroom.

Main entrance to Hatten Suite in Hatten Hotel. A small plate of welcome fruit consisted of an apple, orange and pear is placed on the ledge by the entrance.

The corridor inside the suite that leads to the living room. The toilet in the living  room is the first door on the right

The toilet in the living room

Mini bar area, located next to the toilet in the living room

Drinks in the fridge are complementary in Hatten Suite

Passing the toilet and the minibar area, the space opens up to the living room. Placed near the wall is a decent sized dark brown wooden dinning table with 2 chairs. One can have a decent meal at the dinning table. Further into the spacious living is where one can find a large comfortable 3 seater couch, facing a 32″ LED TV that is mounted on the wall. A coffee matching coffee table is placed between the couch and the TV. There are 2 single seat chair and a small side table placed at the end of the living room, right in front of the floor to ceiling windows looking out into the town of Melaka. I do find the single seat chairs a great place to relax and do some work in the living room. The entire living room feels very cozy and comfortable.

View of the dinning area in the Hatten Suite

Dinning table in the living room is of a decent size for 2 pax in the suite

The living room feels luxurious and is a very comfortable and cozy place to laze in while not exploring the streets of Melaka

The use of floor to ceiling window allows a great amount of natural light in and also make the living room look bigger

TV in the living room mounted on the wall opposite the couch

View of Melaka from the living room

View of Melaka from the other window in the living room

Bedroom

The door to the bedroom sits between the dinning table and the couch. A huge king size bed sits in the centre of the bedroom greeting guests. The bedroom decor looks simple yet elegant, with the luxurious feel from the headboard of the king bed. The sleep quality on the king bed is excellent, I feel recharged after a night’s shopping. However the bedsheets are badly stained. The worst stain are found on quilt cover that is facing down, where there seem to be blood stains on them that seem to make the quilt cover look unwashed!

The king bed in the bedroom that provided excellent sleep quality

Stains found on the bedsheet of the king bed

There is a patch of red stain on the quilt cover that faces down

Spot stains that look like blood stains found on quilt cover

More stains on the bedsheet

Opposite the king bed is a elongated dressing table, which provided additional space for guests to place their small items on. I find the placement of the mirror on the wall here a little odd as the table lamp was blocking the mirror, meaning guests will find it challenging using the mirror while seated on the chair that is by the table. Another LED TV is mounted beside the mirror, facing the bed. The wardrobe is found at the end of the walkway in the bedroom next to the bathroom door. The wardrobe is of a decent size, sufficient for guests to hang their clothing. There is a 4 tiered cabinet inside the wardrobe as well as an in-room safe.

Dressing table and the TV opposite the king bed

Bedside table and the use of these bedside lamps gives the bedroom a luxurious vibe

Mirror and a stool where I placed my backpack on opposite the entrance to the bedroom

A decent sized wardrobe in the bedroom, next to the entrance to the bathroom

Bathroom

The bathroom of the Hatten Suite is located inside the bedroom. The marble laid bathroom gives it a opulent feel. As soon as I entered the bathroom, a large sink on a elongated sink counter top tucked to the wall of the bathroom was in sight. The clever use of the mirror that fills up the entire length of the wall in the bathroom makes it look larger. Bathroom amenities are being placed by the hotel staff on the right side of the sink counter top. However do check the labels on the bath amenities as I received 2 shampoos and no shower gel. A hug bathtub sits on the left side of the sink area, tucked by the wall of the bathroom. There is a glass (with curtain for privacy) that looks out into the bedroom, which is ideal for guests to watch the TV from the bathtub while getting a soak. On the right side of the sink is a walk-in shower cubicle, that has both a rain shower head and a regular shower head. The shower cubicle in the suite that was assigned to me smelled mouldy, especially when enclosed. The toilet bowl can be found on the right side of the door to the bathroom.

Sink area in the bathroom of Hatten Suite

Bath amenities in Hatten Suite

The bathtub is located beside the sink area

A large bathtub by the window in the bathroom, where guests can soak and watch TV at the same time

Separate walk-in shower cubicle

There are rain shower and regular shower head in the shower cubicle

Toilet bowl is tucked in a corner to the right of the entrance to the bathroom

Premier Lounge

Guests staying in the Hatten Suite can gain access to the Premier Lounge. The Premier Lounge is nested on the 12th floor of Hatten Hotel and faces Melaka Straits. It is a perfect place to chill out and watch sunset over Melaka Straits. The lounge is empty most of the time at the time of my visit, making it a great place to enjoy some quiet time. I did not see any snacks or finger food being placed in the Premier Lounge, however guests can request for coffee or tea, which the staffs will be happy to serve up. Guests staying in the Hatten Suite can opt to check-in at Premier Lounge, which I highly recommend to do so as there are no queues at the time of my check-in.

Premier Lounge is located on the 12th floor in Hatten Hotel

Reception at the Premier Lounge

The Premier Lounge is a great place to chill in and is empty most of the time

Swimming Pool

The swimming pool in Hatten Hotel is located on 12th floor of the hotel. There are 2 pools in Hatten Hotel, the larger deeper pool and a very small wadding pool with a slide for young guests to play in. The larger pool though is of a decent size capable to allowing guests to swim some laps in, however the swimming pool is usually very crowded making swimming laps a challenge. The swimming pool is tad small for the number of guests that the hotel can accommodate. There are also limited amount of furniture in the pool area for guests to even leave their towels around. Nonetheless the infinity swimming pool, sitting on top of the roof gives great view of Melaka at the edge.

Swimming pool view from my suite

View of the pool

Swimming pool in Hatten Hotel

There is a large sauna room in the toilet next to the swimming pool

There is also a steam room beside the sauna in the toilet next to the swimming pool

Gym

The gym is located on the 12th floor of Hatten Hotel, with the entrance located at the side of the swimming pool. The gym is rather small, however it is well equipped with treadmills, elliptical machines and some weight machines which is capable of providing guests with a decent workout. The drawing point of the gym is the floor to ceiling window which the treadmills are placed, providing a stunting view of Melaka and Melaka Straits while guests are jogging on them.

Entrance to the gym is next to the swimming pool
Some of the gym equipment
Gym equipment
Guests can enjoy the stunning view of Melaka and Melaka Straits working out in the treadmills and elliptical machines in the gym

Breakfast

Breakfast is served in the Chatterz restaurant located on 11th floor of the hotel. Chatterz has a large dinning area, capable of hosting a large number of guests dinning at one time. There are a huge variety of local and western food for breakfast. The food served during breakfast is very tasty. Guests staying in the Hatten Suite can also opt to consume their breakfast at the Alto Restaurant, located on the top floor of Hatten Hotel. The number of guests coming up here is far lesser compared to those heading for Chatterz for breakfast. This means guests can enjoy a peaceful breakfast while treated to the view of Melaka. The food options are lesser in Alto compared to those served in Chatterz.

Some of the many food served during breakfast

Some of the many food served during breakfast

Service

Overall the service in Hatten Hotel is good. Most of the time I met with very polite staffs that makes me feel welcome Hatten Hotel. The good service started at the point of my check-in, where I was made welcome by the staff in the Premier lounge processing my check-in. The staff processed my check-in with speed and briefed me on the privileges that I am entitled as a guest in the Hatten Suite. However during my booking of the suite on the hotel website, I indicated that I prefer a high floor suite. This remark seemed to be overlooked by the staff, making me feel if anyone bother to read the comments left by guests during booking. The staff even asked if I made my booking through their website despite showing her the email printout sent by the hotel. Nonetheless, the staff processing my check-in was patient and made me feel welcome to the hotel.

I find the staffs at the reception on the ground floor are very observant. I returned to the hotel late at night and had left my key card in the suite. As I was approaching the reception counter, the 3 staffs were seen talking to each other initially. One of the staffs saw me approaching the reception counter and prompted the other staffs. They were ready to serve me by the time I reached the reception counter.

Reception staffs on the ground floor

The housekeeping staffs were exemplary as well. I called reception to inform them about the stained bedsheets on my bed and it was already past midnight. Despite taking about 30 mins for someone to come to my suite and change the sheet (which is understandable), the housekeeping staffs first apologized for the stain bedsheets and proceeded to change the sheets swiftly so that I can rest sooner.

The good service in Hatten Hotel is smeared by the staffs at Chatterz Restaurant. I encountered what appeared to be racists behaviour from the security staff at the entrance of the restaurant. As I was queuing up for my turn to be shown to a table at the entrance of the restaurant, a group of Caucasian guests were chatting among themselves at the entrance. Instead of asking the Caucasian guests to move to aside to continue their chat, the security staff instructed me (yes in a very rude manner) to form the queue around them. I told the staff that he should have asked the Caucasian guests to move instead of instructing the queue to be formed around them, however this was turned to deaf ears. When I raised my unhappiness to another staff who showed me to my table, she gave me the look of “not my problem”. After settling on my table and grabbed some food, I returned to an empty table. The container of sugar that was on the table was being cleared and there are no cutlery placed on the table. I had to signal a staff member to bring a set of cutlery. Most of the staff inside Chatterz Restaurant are seen to be standing in one corner and chat among themselves. Plates are seen uncleared on the tables around as though they are not interested in doing their job.

Overall

Hatten Hotel is well located in Melaka and is very accessible in the town of Melaka. Hatten Suite in Hatten Hotel is very comfortable room to stay in. The space is large and yet the furnishing does not make the suite look empty. The Suite has a very comfortable vibe. The sleep quality on the bed is excellent. The service is generally good, but the service standards in Chatterz Restaurant is the black sheep that brought the service standards down.

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[Hotel Review] – Fraser Place (2 Bedroom Deluxe Suite), Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia (5 – 6 Sep 15)

Location

Fraser Place is located about 5 minutes walk from KLCC, where the Petronas Twin Towers are located. It is also around 10 minutes walk from Pavilion Shopping Mall and the shopping malls around it. The property is situated in a place whereby major shopping malls in KL is found. The hotel is located in between Bukit Nanas and Raja Chulan Monorail Stations, making it an ideal base for guests to explore the capital city of Malaysia.
Hotel Facade
The lobby for checking in is located on 2nd Floor
Decor behind the check-in counter
Lobby

The Suite

We checked into a suite 2704, 2-bedroom deluxe suite in the hotel. The 93m² suite comprises of a main hall, a master bedroom and another smaller bedroom. Entering the suite, one will find the living room and the kitchenette area.

Kitchen

Just to the right of the main door is where one will find a full equipped kitchenette, complete with an oven, a stove top and a full size fridge. There is a toaster, an electric kettle and a coffee machine (coffee powder is not included) on the counter top of the sink, next to the stove. A full set of cutlery for four, complete with bowls, plates, glasses, mugs were found in the drawers and cabinets below and on top of the sink area. To the right of the sink area is where one will find a washing machine and the microwave oven. I thought including of washing powder by the hotel was a very nice gesture, showing how well they have thought out on the needs of guests staying in this suite. In front of the stove is a dinning table and four chairs. Complementary soft drinks and instant coffee and tea were placed on top of the table.
Full functional kitchen in the suite
The suite comes with a washing machine and washing powder provided by the hotel
Full set of utensils
The suite comes with toaster, electric kettle and coffee machine
Full set of utensils
All you need for cooking
All you need for cooking
Full set of cutlery and cooking wares
Dinning table in the suite with complementary drinks for 4

Living Room

Further into the living room is where one will find the couch area. A 3-seater sofa placed by the wall, provided space for the suite’s occupant to move about. There is a coffee table in front of the sofa, decked out with magazines for guests’ reading pleasure. A swivel arm chair was placed next to the sofa, in front of the door to the balcony. The LED TV is mounted at the corner where the balcony door is located. It is well thought out on the angle of the TV mounting as it allows guests to watch TV both from the couch and the dinning table. The suite we have gotten has a huge balcony that stretches across the entire width of the suite. When I looked down and up on to the other suites, I realise this is one of the few suites that has a balcony. The balcony looks into the city and is a great place to chill with a cold drink. The entire living looked contemporary and lively mainly due to the bright colours that the hotel chose to decorate the living in.
The couch area is a nice place to relax, watching TV while having some snacks
3 seater sofa
View from the balcony
A large balcony
Large balcony

Bedrooms

Master Bedroom

There are 2 doors inside the suite. The left door leads to the master bedroom, which has a wooden and earthy theme. The master bedroom gotta be the largest room in the suite, even bigger than the living room. Entering the master bedroom, one will be greeted by the study area, with a large work desk and several powerpoint outlets by the wall, this is an area where one can work on. Opposite the study desk is a huge walk-in wardrobe. There are ample space for one to store even up to 1 month of clothing in this wardrobe. Other than the area for hanging cloths, there are no lack of drawers and cabinets for more storage spaces. The only safe in the suite is found in this walk in wardrobe. An artificial wall separates the study area and the sleeping area in this suite. Passing the artificial wall is where one will find the sleeping area. The centrepiece of this area of the suite is the king size bed. The bed is tucked all the way into the room and has a lot of space for one to even dance in the bedroom. Facing the bed is another LED TV and a swivel chair. However the placement of the TV is a tad too far from the bed. Beside the bed is where one will find the entrance to the bathroom. Decked out in yellow marble, the huge bathroom can be further segregated into the toilet area, the sink and the shower/bathtub area. I like the idea of separating the wet and dry areas in this bathroom. The bathtub and the walk-in shower are placed behind a glass door.
Study desk in master bedroom
Walk-in wardrobe and access into the sleeping area of the master bedroom
Walk-in wardrobe in the master bedroom, providing ample storage area
Walk-in wardrobe in the master bedroom, providing ample storage area
Walk-in wardrobe in the master bedroom, providing ample storage area

 

King size bed in the master bedroom
TV in the master bedroom facing the bed
Bathtub in master bedroom
Wet area in the master bedroom bathroom, where one can find a rain shower and a regular shower head with the bathtub behind the glass partition
Toilet area in the bathroom in master bedroom
High quality toiletries

Second Bedroom

The right door in the living room, from the main entrance is where the smaller bedroom is located. When comparing to the master bedroom, the size of this room is a mere fraction of it. Despite being small, this room has its own bathroom. The room, as with the master bedroom is decked out in wooden and earthy tones. When entering the room, a queen size bed takes centre stage. The sleep quality on this bed is superb. I was able to catch a good night sleep on this bed, coupled with the firmness of the pillow, I was well rested on this bed. Opposite the bed is the work desk. There is a TV mounted on the wall beside the work desk, compared to that in the master bedroom, the distance from the bed is ideal (perhaps due to the size of the room). As mentioned there is a toilet in this room, which only has a walk-in shower area and a toilet, other than the sink. Despite the size, the size of the bathroom feels sufficient. There is a wardrobe and some cabinets mounted onto the wall of the room, next to the entrance to the bathroom. The space in the wardrobe is sufficient for one to store up to 1 week clothing, however one can always utilise the walk-in wardrobe in the master bedroom should one requires more space for storage of cloths.
Queen size bed in the second bedroom
Queen size bed with side tables in the second bedroom
Desk area and TV in the second bedroom
Wardrobe in second bedroom
Ample of storage even in the smaller second room
Wardrobe in the second bedroom
Toilet in the bathroom of second bedroom
Quality bath amenities
Sink area in the bathroom of the second bedroom
Walk in shower with rain shower and regular shower head in the second bedroom bathroom. No bathtub in this bathroom though
All in all, the chic design of the suite, coupled with the use of bright colours brings life to the suite. There are amenities that are well thought out that can be seen throughout the suite. The sleep quality of the bed is superb, and one can be assured of a good night rest. The air-conditioning in the suite is excellent and is capable of providing the cool air in midst of the humid climate in KL.

Swimming Pool

The hotel has a roof top infinity pool facing KL Tower, located on the 18th floor of the hotel building. The pool is rather small in size, but provided a great spot for guests to soak in during a hot day. There are, however, limited number of sundeck chairs around. The hotel also has a jacuzzi pool and steam room inside each male and female changing rooms next to the swimming pool.
The gym and swimming pool is located on 18th Floor
Infinity pool on 18th Floor

Gym

Located on 18th floor, one can find a mid-sized gym, housing the standard gym equipment such as treadmills, wights and dumb bells.
Gym in the hotel

Breakfast

Breakfast is served in Swatches Restaurant, located on the 1st floor of the hotel. The hotel serves mainly western and Malaysian cuisine during breakfast service. One can also find fruits and various squeezed fruit juices as well as salads and yogurts during breakfast. Do try the Nasi Lemak served during breakfast, I find the rice very fragrant and the chili sauce for Nasi Lemak very tasty. I also thought the on-the-spot freshly baked croissants available during breakfast service to be very refreshing. The dinning area in the restaurant is large, which seemed to be able to handle the crowd at the time of my visit.
Breakfast is served in Swatches Restaurant located on 2nd Floor
Huge spread for breakfast service
Salad and fruit section
Gluttonous rice
Huge spread for breakfast service
Nasi Lemak
Huge spread for breakfast service
Freshly on-the-spot baked croissants
Coffee machines
A variety of bread
Dinning area in Swatches Restaurant

Service

The service was overhyped and mediocre particularly with the check-in. Despite being early, our check in was processed very slowly and we did not managed to get to our suite until 4pm in the afternoon. We arrived at the hotel at 12.45pm and asked if we could check in. The staff at the reception assured us that we would be able to check in as soon as the suite is being cleaned up and the hotel is in the process of turning around the suite. 30 mins passed that there were no updates. Every time we went up to the staff at the check in counter, we were met with the same answer. Seeing that we were wasting our time at the lobby, we decided to head out to KLCC with our luggage. The staffs, at that time were not interested in rendering any assistance, other than asking us to wait. There was no help in taking care of luggage nor any suggestions to leave our luggage in the left baggage facilities. We went back to the hotel at 3.30pm and checked if our suite was ready, and we were told it wasn’t ready!
I requested to speak to the duty manager regarding the delay. The duty manager at that point was Maini. Maini was very defensive throughout the conversion. She even blamed us for requesting for a high floor suite and would not give us any updates regarding the status of the suite. She insisted that we wait until the suite is ready or if we can’t wait, we would have to put up with their staffs coming into the suite to fix some defects. That is as good as not giving us a choice. As a duty manager, she has to audacity to hand us a suite that is not ready. It appears to Maini, standards is not important, and it is important for her to get rid of us. As a duty manager she did not offer alternate solutions nor was she willing to do service recovery. During our heated discussions, I told her that the least she can do is to upgrade us to the next category (which is 2 Bedroom Executive), but Maini insisted of not doing that and continued to ask us to wait. Throughout the conversion, Maini is not empathetic about our situation and how the delay had screwed our plans for our trip. She is just wanting us to solve her problem instead of her solving our problem. At one point in our discussion, I told her that I wanted to speak to GM, since as a duty manager, the one with the most authority in the hotel at that point in time, wouldn’t do her job. That was the last time I saw Maini. The next staff who came to update us of our room is the Housekeeping Executive, whose job was not to interface with the guests but to ensure that the suite was in good condition. It appeared that Maini as the duty manager pushed her job to someone else. Throughout the conversion, Maini was not apologetic about the delay and gave me the impression that we are posing on her! As a duty manager, Maini failed to understand what it is about service. When Maini was missing in action, one of her staffs at the reception must have felt embarrass that the manager was treating the guests so poorly that she apologised to us on Maini’s behalf. The poor staff had to whisper the apology to us, which clearly shown the disapproval of the manager’s attitude in handling our case. Of course, I never get to speak to the GM as the duty manager was not seen since.
I believe Mani was a one off case. When she pushed her responsibility to the housekeeping executive, Hidayah, things were different. Hidayah displayed empathy with our situation and listened with an open heart. She was shocked that we were not given an alternate suite and were told to wait without any updates. Hidayah told the pains to take over a job which was clearly not in her job scope and exceeded what the duty manager could have done. Hidayah was sincere in her apology about the delay in the checking in and escorted us to the suite. She even showed us where the problem area was and assured us that things were fix. She even told us to give her a call should we need anything. At this point I felt Hidayah has taken over the function of what a duty manager should be doing. Hidayah also took the trouble to show us around the suite and briefed us on the facilities in the suite. When I brought up the issue regarding a late check out, Hidayah arranged a complementary late check out for us almost immediately. Hidayah displayed what is service all about despite not part of her job, instead of pushing the bucket to another person.
The other staff I spoke to the next day when checking out was Danny. Danny was the duty manager on the day of my checking out and took the time to listened with an open mind on my encounter with Maini. He was embarrassed by Maini’s attitude and even highlighted that Maini should have done some service recovery. Danny was empathetic to our situation and mentioned that such things should not have happened. As a duty manager, Maini should have listened to us and help us solve our problem and not keep us in suspense regarding the status of our suite. Despite not his fault, Danny took the responsibility and apologised on behalf of Maini and the team. It is apparent that Danny internalised what is it to be service oriented and thanked me for bringing this feedback to his attention.
Other than the Duty Manager Maini and some of the staffs at the check-in counter, the staffs that we met were fantastic. The housekeeping staff that I met along the corridor smiled and greeted us whenever we walk past. There was an instance I approached her for some bath amenities, despite being interrupted with her work, the staff smiled and acceded to my requests. She even asked if we need more water. This shows that the staff does her job with a heart (of taking care of the guests). The staffs at the Swatches Restaurant were friendly as well. I approached the egg station the staff there were smiling and asked if one egg is enough. Plates were cleared almost immediately by the observant staffs whenever we finished our food. Even when we leave the restaurant, the staff greeted us and bid us farewell.

Overall

The hardware in the hotel is fantastic. We had a good night sleep and the suite is clean and comfortable. The suite is large and very self sufficient. The facilities in the hotel is great (it is a pity that we did not get to use them as our plan was disrupted by the late check in saga). However the service needs to be improved tremendously. Our check-in was way past the stipulated time, the attitude displayed by the duty manager Maini is to be frowned upon. The service lapse and the attitude of the duty manager dissuaded me to recommend the hotel to others. I would think twice about staying at Fraser Place Kuala Lumpur.

[Hotel Review] – Holiday Inn (1Bedroom Suite), Melaka, Malaysia (14 – 15 Mar 15)

Location

Holiday Inn Melaka is located at the edge of Melaka town centre. It faces the Melaka Straits and is placed in a less crowded area of Melaka. Despite this, it is still within 10 mins walk from Jonker Street and the shopping malls are just right across the road from the hotel.

 

Hotel Signage by the Road side
Facade of the hotel from the swimming pool

The Suite

I checked into the Straits View Executive Suite of this hotel. The suite assigned to me is located on the highest floor of the hotel as per my request, facing the Melaka Straits. Upon opening the door to my suite, the vast space in this suite blew me away. The hotel suite is decorated in minimalistic contemporary style. Due to this design concept, any piece of furniture that the hotel places into the suite is more functional that decorative. This, coupled with the high ceiling and the floor to ceiling window (thus allowing more light into the suite), gave me a sense of spaciousness in the suite.
View of Melaka Straits from the Suite. Seem like a new reclamation has just completed. A chat with the staff revealed that a new hotel is in the plans of being built here
View of Melaka Straits from the Suite
View of the pool from the suite
View of Melaka Town from the lift lobby on the floor

Living Room

The suite essentially comprises of 2 rooms and can be further segmented into 2 sections in each room. The entrance to the room ushers one into the living room. Decked out with green carpeting and white walls, the smallish dining area greets guests entering the room. Tucked away to the right side of the entrance, the dining area features a small kitchen area and a sink, which allows guests to only boil water and put away any snacks that they might have brought with them. A wall shelving mounted next to the door, is where one can find a complementary drinking water provided by the hotel. Beneath the counter top of the kitchenette is where one can find the minibar. Minibar is complementary for this category of room. Right in front of the kitten is a small dining table, spacious enough for party of four to gather and have some light meals. Further into this room is where one can find the lounging area. Decorated with a 2-seater couch, a coffee table, a side table, a TV console and a large LED TV, the lounge area allows one to relax and watch local channels. There is a single seater armchair, placed next to the windows, allows one to look out into the Melaka Straits and enjoy the sunset.

 

Entrance to the suite with the dinning area and the small kitchenette
Minimalist Lounge area with sitting and TV console
Dinning Table
Lounge Area in front of the Floor to Ceiling Windows

Bedroom

Between the dining area and the lounging area of the living room, one can find the entrance to the bedroom. This room comprises of the sleeping area and the bathroom. Once one enters this part of the suite, off to the left of the entrance, one can find one king bed. There is also another single-seater arm chair next to the bed. The sleep quality on the bed is mediocre, not exactly the most comfortable bed one would sleep on, nonetheless, it performed its function of giving me a night’s sleep. I particularly dislike the pillows. I am a fan of firm pillows, and find the pillows to be too soft for my liking. Holiday Inn Melaka offers a choice of soft or firm pillows, however I did not take up that option of asking for the firm pillows. In front of the bed is where one can find another LED TV mounted on the wall, next to the mirror. There is a table that doubles up as the make up area for ladies and work desk. Along this fixture is a ledge where one can stow away their luggage.

 

King Bed and a single seater couch by the window.
Second TV inside the bedroom with dressing table doubling up as the work desk and a ledge for luggages

Wardrobe

To the right of the entrance to the bedroom is a small corridor that leads to the bathroom. Along this corridor, one can find a full length mirror mounted on the walls outside the bathroom. The wardrobe can also be located opposite the entrance of the bathroom. The wardrobe is rather sizeable and would have no problems for storage of a week’s clothing for 2. There is also 3 cupboards found inside the wardrobe for extra storage space.
Corridor in the bedroom that leads to the bathroom. The wardrobe is on the right side.
Decent size wardrobe sufficient to store up to 1 week’s clothing for 1 pax. Bathrobe is also found inside the wardrobe.
Ironing board and Iron with the safe and 3 tier drawers tugged away inside the wardrobe

Bathroom

The bathroom of this suite is rather huge. The first thing that caught my eyes is the glass window panel that allows guests to peek into the bedroom, located next to the bathtub. There are blinds that can be lowered to provide privacy for users of the bathroom. The bathtub is good only for one and is rather small. Opposite the bathtub is where one can find the sink. The bathroom features double sinks and double vanity, so that one will not have to fight over the sink. Next to the sink is where the toilet bowl is situated. Beside the sink, and opposite the toilet bowl, is where one can find the walk-in shower. The walk-in shower has both rain shower head and the handheld shower head. I find the pressure for the rain shower to be a tad too weak and used the handheld shower head most of the time. Holiday Inn uses their in-house shower amenities, which is homogeneous no matter which hotel one visits throughout the world. These shower amenities is not exactly ultra luxury, however they function what they are suppose to do. One can still feel refresh using their in-house shower amenities.
Bathtub placed next to a window that peeks into the bedroom
Large mirror with double sinks and toilet bowl inside the huge bathroom
Walk-in shower featuring both a regular shower head and rain shower

Executive Lounge

The Executive Suite comes with access to the Executive Lounge. Located on the 3rd level of the hotel, the lounge is a place to relax in and grab a cold drink. The decor of the lounge is rather classy and gives me a sense of homeliness. The lounge is decked out in earthy tones from the furniture to the carpet, it is indeed a great place to relax in. There are limited couches and a number of dining tables in the lounge, which provides sufficient space for guests. As the lounge is usually very quite, a visit to the lounge can be very relaxing. There is also an outdoor area for guests to enjoy the breeze from Melaka Straits. There is also a small meeting room, which is closed most of the time. One would have to approach the staff manning the counter of the lounge to utilise the meeting room. There are also a number of reading material for guests to browse through whilst in the lounge. Food options is rather limited in the lounge, other than breakfast and evening cocktails, the only food available at the lounge are small amounts of biscuits, which makes the food counter look rather empty most of the time. I was a tad disappointed to learn that once guests check out of the hotel, they are not allowed to enjoy the lounge till their departure, which is different from the other major hotel chains that I have stayed in.
Entrance to the Executive lounge located on the 3rd floor
View from the outdoor seating of the lounge
Outdoor seating in the lounge
Indoor seating in Executive lounge. The decor is rather refreshing and earthy
Reading materials inside the Executive lounge

Tea Tree Spa

One of the main reason for my choosing Holiday Inn over the other hotels in Melaka is the Tea Tree Spa. The spa is inexpensive and the staffs are very professional. Entering the spa premises, one can feel a senses of zen and relaxation. The huge spa premises does not give one a sense of claustrophobia. I took up one of the promotional nearly 3-hour spa treatment, where the staff led me to a private room outside the spa area. The spa treatment is relaxing and the staffs performing the treatment on me is very skillful. One can also find the steam room, the sauna, and hot water jacuzzi inside the toilets of the spa area. The access to the gym is also via the spa.
Entrance to the Tea Tree Spa
Empty and tranquil Spa area
Inside the Tea Tree Spa
Indoor heated jacuzzi inside Tea Tree Spa
Customer rest area in Tea Tree Spa
Private rooms for spa treatment
Inside the treatment room
Treatment room in Tea Tree Spa

Swimming Pool

Holiday Inn Melaka has a sizeable infinity pool located on the 3rd floor of the hotel. Though not Olympic sized, the pool is large enough for one to do some laps in it. There is also limited number of deck chairs for guests. Most of the time the pool is empty, which makes it a good place to grab a tan and relax in. I particularly like the views from the pool at sunset. Due to its west facing, one will be able to grab a good view of the sunset from the pool. There is also a jacuzzi in one corner of the pool.
Entrance to Swimming pool
Swimming pool. A great place to relax as the crowd is rather thin
Infinity pool overlooking the Melaka Straits

Service

The service I experienced in Holiday Inn has more misses than hits. Firstly, the staffs do not give due recognition to guests who are members of IHG. There is a dedicated desk for IHG members, however the sign seemed to be there for display. This could be due to the high traffic of guests checking-in and the hotel is trying to get guests checking-in as soon as possible. Having said that, I have been to Holiday Inn Batam, despite that large amount of guests checking-in, the priority queue for IHG members were respected. Checking-in seemed to be slow as well during my stay in the hotel. On average guests would have to wait up to 20 mins to wait for their turn for check-in. However, staffs were seen serving cold drinks and biscuits to guests waiting for check-in, which is a good gesture.

While waiting for check-in, a staff was trying to resolve a concern that the said guest has raised, which seemed to go unresolved, hence angering the guest. What happened next was the duty manager took over and ticked the staff off in front of the guest instead of hasten to resolve the issue and allow the guest to check into his room soonest. Moreover by doing this in front of the guest, the credibility of the staff will be affected not only to the guest in question as well as those who witnessed this episode. This will send a wrong signal both to guests and the staff involved.

I had requested for late check out when I booked the room through the IHG website, when enquired to the staff who was processing my check-in, his response was late check out was not possible. The reason given was that the hotel was fully booked. There was no attempt on the staff to go the extra mile to ensure good service was being accorded. The next day I tried my luck at asking for a late check out again, seeing that the hotel seemed a lot emptier than the previous day and no signs of it being fully. Another staff attended to my request was able to accord a late check out for me at 3pm. She went to the full extend to check their system and ensured that I was able to receive my late check-out request, unlike the staff who checked me in, who did not seemed to be bother to go the extra mile. When I checked out, I was again served by the staff who checked me in. When I told him he mentioned that late check out was not possible and how I got the extension for late check-out, his response was I was not being charged for the extended hours. This was when I raised the terms of the perks to him for being a Gold elite member with IHG and the terms of my suite, which clearly stated that late check-out up to 4pm subjected to available. The staff in question then gave a sheepish smile and brushed off the issue. This seem to suggest that the staff did not know the product of Holiday Inn well and certainly did not give recognition to IHG members. This is certainly unexpected of an international hotel chain such as Holiday Inn.

Service seemed to be slow generally around the hotel. I requested for extra bath amenities and it took them almost an hour to have them delivered to my room. Having said that, the operator at the hotel’s main concierge line would call back and ensure that the toiletries have been delivered. The latter gesture is good as it allow the staff making the request to their colleague on behalf of the guest to detect and rectify any fault along the chain of communication.
Despite all the slowness and the negative experience, there are some gems around the hotel. Staff at the spa were exemplary. They not only welcomed guests the moment the guest stepped into the spa and were always with their smile. The staffs professionally answered all my questions, no matter how many I have asked and how long it would take me to decide which package to take up. The staffs in the spa always were seen with their smiles on patiently asking all my questions and make recommendations. During the spa treatment, the staffs always checked back in a constant yet non irritating pace how’s the treatment, how’s the strength. I would say this is the only place in the entire hotel where one would receive sincere and impeccable service.
 
The staff at the lounge were fantastic as well. They were always attentive to empty plates (during breakfast service) and looked out on where guests were seating. I took the outdoor seat, which is out of the view of the staffs. Despite that, the staffs were seen checking on guests seating at the outdoor area and promptly clear any empty plates. They always welcome guests the moment one steps into the lounge. I had my breakfast at the lounge, despite the limited variety available, I saw the staffs on duty constantly checking on the level of the food and promptly top them up when it gets low.

Overall

The suite in Holiday Inn Melaka is rather generous in terms of space. I particularly like the view from the suite, however the sleep quality is rather mediocre. Overall the suite serves its function of providing a decent place for guests to rest. In terms of service, I find more misses than hits around the hotel. The number of staffs that bother to take the extra mile in ensuring guests are well taken care off are limited to a mere handful. Most of the staffs just couldn’t be bothered in providing good service and appears to “just do their work”. Despite that there are still a handful of gems in the hotel.

[Hotel Review] – Avillion Port Dickson (Premium Water Chalet), Port Dickson, Malaysia (14 – 16 Feb 14)

Location

Avillion Port Dickson is located on the beach of Port Dickson. There isn’t much eateries or shopping around the resort. It is rather far away from everything else. The nearest town is some 20 mins drive away from the resort. There is a night market in the vicinity, however it would take at leaf 10 mins of drive to the night market. Guests without car will have to eat at the resort, which the price is a little on the high side. This will be a good place for those who wanted to cast away from the hustles of the city.
Water Chalets
View of the sea

The Room

The room I got for this stay is the Premium Water Chalet, which is accommodation built over the sea, located at the far end. This category of room provides privacy to guests and comes with lounge access. The room is modeled after traditional Malaysian architecture with modern concretes as building material. The wooden based room is rustic but furnishings in the room shows signs of ageing and poor maintenance.

Sleeping Area

Once entering the room, a huge four posture king size bed greets guests. The room I have gotten has mosquito net set up around the bed. As the air conditioning in the room is rather week (signs of ageing and poor maintenance), I have called for the staff to have the net removed. The bed is huge and comfortable to sleep in, however the pillows are a tad too soft for my liking.
King bed
Next to the bed is a queen sized day bed, tucked into one inconspicuous corner of the room. The day bed is located next to 2 panels of windows with one looking out into the sea and the other facing the balcony. This is a good corner for one to laze in the day looking out at the sea relaxing. However the day bed feels a little dirty, I did not spend too much time on it during my stay.
Opposite the bed is the TV with a table extending from the minibar which is a short distance away from the door. There is a old wooden 2 door wardrobe. One of the door has a full length mirror that faces the bed. The placing of the mirror is rather weird and I used a towel to cover the mirror most of the time. The wardrobe looks a little run down and dirty, hence I did not use it at all.
TV and the wardrobe

Balcony

Far into the room, between the wardrobe and the queen bed is access to the balcony. The wooden furnished balcony faces the sea and is a great spot for some sea breeze or laze the day away in dry weather. As the balconies of the rooms are built next to each other, the designers of the resort installed a full length partition between the 2 balconies to provide privacy for occupants of both rooms.
Peeking into the balcony
Balcony
View of the day bed from the balcony
View from the balcony

Bathroom

Next to the entrance of the room is the entrance to the bathroom. The bathtub and the showers are separated. Entering the bathroom, one would spot dual sink, catering for 2 guests in the room. There are no lack of storage space in the bathroom for one who opted to bring their own toiletries. There is also a shelf next to the sinks and this is where one would find bath towels and bathing amenities provided by the hotel. It is this area where one can store more items. There is a huge well opposite the sinks that allows guests to looking to the sea and allow occupants to enjoy the rhythm of the sea in the room as well. The open shower is located next to the sea well and a large bathtub is found next to the shower. A small room with the toilet bowl is found between the bathtub and the shelving where the towels are stowed.
Sink area
Bathing amenities
Tower rack
Bathtub
Toilet bowl
Open shower
Sea well

Swimming Pool

There are 2 swimming pools in the resort. One is located next to the restaurant where everyone congregates each morning for meal. This family friendly pool is always packed with laughter and joys of children playing in the pool. There is a jacuzzi section just behind this pool and another smaller pool with slides for children. For more tranquility, one can opt for the adults only pool a little further down from the restaurant (after the small farm area). Here is where one can relax and soak oneself in the rays of the sun.
Main pool
Adults only pool
Small gym

Petting Farm

There is also a small petting farm, which the resort keeps farm animals (and more). One can find chickens, bunnies and parrots here. Peacocks and peahens are found roaming around the resort and not just confined to the petting farm. At certain times of the day, the resort organises feed the animals when one is able to get up close and personal with the animals.

 

Resident of the resort

Avillion Lounge

I had the chance to utilise the lounge during evening cocktail time. The lounge is built over the waters and is located at the centre of the water chalets. There is outdoor seating where one can view the beautiful sunset from. The indoor section of the lounge welcomes a lot of natural light by using floor to ceiling glass in replacement of solid concrete walls, making the whole lounge look huge and bright. The cocktail selection is rather limited and the food is just decent. I enjoyed the ambience of the lounge more then I enjoyed the food.
Outdoor area of the lounge
Lounge
View from the lounge
View from the lounge
Sunset from the lounge
Sunset from the lounge

Service

Service in this resort is fair. One would be expected to wait for awhile (at least 30 mins) in the queue waiting for your check-in to be processed. The check-in is slow and sluggish as though the staffs at the check-in counter was dragging their feet to process your check-in. Smiles are rare at the check-in counter and most of the time the staffs are flustering around like headless chickens. Check-out is equally slow as well. The resort is rather stingy with providing more bathing amenities. When asked for more bathing amenities (their bath amenities are in miserable small bottles), the staffs is rather dodgy in providing more. The staff who delivers the extra amenities came with a long face.
The only places in the resort where one can find good service is at the adult pool. The Indian lady at the pool distributing towels is never stingy with smiles. She will also look out for ideal spots and recommends guests to occupy them. When leaving the pool, she will always smile and wished guests a good day. The other place one can find good service is at the lounge, where the staff greets every guest who walks through the door and immediately attends to the guests. They are also observant and clears up any empty plates conscientiously.
The resort manages the breakfast service quite well. The resort opens up another restaurant on the second level, which is not part of the main restaurant serving breakfast, and diverts any waiting guests there to minimise wait time for guests. Despite being at an annexed restaurant for breakfast, variety is still there and the food gets topped up frequently.

Overall

The resort, despite being a good place to relax in and the great view from the lounge, the facilities including the rooms are poorly maintained and shouts for a make over. The service varies depending on who one meets along the way. One thing for sure the service level for the staffs at the check-in counters needs immediate retraining.

[Hotel Review] – DoubleTree by Hilton (Terrace Suite), Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia (28 Feb – 3 Mar 13)

Location

DoubleTree by Hilton is located at the outskirts of Kuala Lumpur City. It is about 20 mins walk from KLCC and the Petronas Twin Tower. The hotel is rather far from everything else, however the hotel does provide shuttle service to KLCC , Chinatown and other parts of the city. There isn’t much eateries around the hotel, there is a Dome cafe on the first floor of the hotel and some other restaurant that are part of the hotel. To taste local food, one would have to venture out of the hotel.

 

The Suite

Living Room

We were assigned the Terrace Suite, which is large and has a contemporary design. There are 4 sections to the Terrace Suite. The corridor from the door into the living was spacious. It is minimalistically decorated with a single painting, making this area feel rather empty. The Further into the corridor from the entrance to the suite, a work desk is tucked by the wall in the corner of the living room. There is a USB port and a direct HDMI port at the work desk that allows occupants to plug their laptop to the TV directly. There is only 1 power socket at the work desk, guests can plug out the desk lamp located below the work desk should one need more than 1 power socket.

Beside the work desk is where one would find the mini bar, placed inside part of the wall to the suite. DoubleTree by Hilton provides guests with 2 espresso capcules to be used on the espresso machine in the mini bar area. There is only one power socket here, which can be a tad inconvienent for guests of the suite. This means guests would have to alternate the use of the espresso machine and the electric flask that is also placed beside the espresso machine.

Further into the living room, one can find a beige colour 3 seater sofa and a coffee table placed at the other corner of the living room. The 42″ LED TV seem to be off centred at first glance, the TV is actually mounted on a rack that allows it to be swung to face either the work desk or the couch.

View of the living room and the study desk of the suite

Bedroom 

Facing the couch and beside the TV mounted on the wall of the living room, a door opens up to the bedroom of the Terrace Suite. A bulk of the bedroom space is taken up by the King-size bed, which is placed in the centre of the bedroom. The sleep quality on this bed is excellent, the mattress is of the right firmness and the pillow is not too soft. There are a couple of bedside tables beside the King bed. An armchair sits in one corner of the bedroom by the window. There is another 42″ LED TV in the bedroom, however unlike the one in the living room, the TV in the bedroom cannot be swung.

Next to the door to the bathroom is where the wardrobe is located. The wardrobe is fairly large and has no lack of space for guests to put away their clothing. The in-room safe is found inside the wardrobe. Between the wardrobe and the door to the bathroom is a ledge where guests can put their luggage on.

The bedroom

Bathroom

Access to the bathroom is only via the bedroom. The marble bathroom is quite large. From the entrance to the bathroom, one can find the sink area with ample spaces to stow one’s additional toiletries. Further into the bathroom, one can find the wet area enclosed by a glass panel. This area is where the bathtub is located, furthest into the wet area, while the space between the bathtub and the glass wall is where the walk-in shower is located. This placement allows one to shower after take a soak in the tub, without wetting the bathroom too much. Beside the glass wall, in the furthest corner of the bathroom is where the toilet bowl is located.

Bathroom

The Terrace 

Entrance to the terrace is via a door in the living room, between the couch and the work desk. The Terrace is a large outdoor area furnished with a couch and a couple of arm chairs. The terrace faces the Petronas Twin Tower, and makes it a great place to hang out. The side that is facing the road is very windy and one can hardly hear any traffic. The view from the terrace is just stunting.

The Terrace
The Terrace at night
View of the surroundings at night
View of Petronas Twin Tower from the Terrace

Executive Lounge

The Executive loungeis located on the 34th floor of the hotel and is a fantastic place to rest and recharge. The quiet lounge is large and has a terrace that faces the Petronas Twin Towers. Staffs at the lounge are very friendly and welcoming, never stingy with smiles and checking out how one’s day was. They are also full of suggestions that gives guests valuable tips on what to see and where to go in the city. The lounge serves snacks all time and during afternoon and evening, addtional finger food will be served in the lounge. Guests staying in the Terrace Suite can choose to check-in and check-out at the Executive lounge.

 
Signature cookies
Afternoon Tea at the lounge

Swimming Pool and Gym

There is a salt water pool located on 10th floor in DoubleTree by Hilton Kuala Lumpur. Other than the main pool, Jacuzzi and a small pool by the side for kids can also be found here. If one were to suntan here, one would be disappointed as the placement of the pool does not permit direct sunlight to enter the “valley” where the swimming pool is located. There is also a small gym next to the pool. The equipment of the gym is rather limited and feels boring.

View of the swimming pool
Gym

Service

First impression of the hotel was excellent. From the porter at the door of the hotel, who approached me as I was alighting the cab from airport, offering to help with my luggage to the check in staff at the lobby who checked us in with a smile and offering the signature cookies that they offered to all guests checking in. I was initially being assisted by Abigail and her colleagues, whom after offering me the cookies told us that she will be expecting me at the Executive Floor Lounge after I checked in. However the service standards went down hill as I was waiting for my room. As I opted for the eStandby Upgrading offered by the hotel, which gave guests an option to upgrade room at a discounted rate. I opted for either the deluxe suite or the Executive Suite. During check in I was confirmed with the executive suite was available for me and was told that the hotel needed another 5 to 10 mins for the housekeeping to get the suite ready. My wait extended from 5 to 10 mins to 3 hours! Being hungry and tired, I told the staff at the check in lobby that I will be going for our lunch and be back later. I managed to get our room after our bite, and confirmed to the staff if I have gotten the Executive Suite, but the staff was muffled in his reply. When asked if there are any lounge access with our room, all I was told was that our room is on the highest level of the hotel but I would have to pay extra for the lounge access. Thinking that I was assigned the Executive Suite, having no access to the lounge was not much of a big deal. However upon entering the room was assigned, I was shocked to learnt of the room that was assigned was the normal deluxe room. I was rather irritated by the fact that the staff did promised Executive suite at the point of check in and made me waited for 3 hours, end up I got the deluxe room instead. To be frank I felt rather cheated at this point and went to the Executive lounge to get the room issue resolved, after failing to get anyone on the Careline that the hotel has.

At the Lounge, another staff by the name of Khalid, listened to my ranting with empathy and was shocked of the situation that we were in. He quickly worked to resolve the issue and found a deluxe suite for us, on top of that he offered late check out. However my outbound flight schedule does not permit for the late check out. Instead of leaving it as that, I was informed that Khalid will be making special arrangement for me and invited me to the lounge for refreshment, while he get the housekeeping to get ready my suite. At this point I saw Abigail at the lounge and she learnt of our situation and apologised for the foul up. Abigail wanted to take full responsibility of the foul up, however I explained it was not her fault. Despite that she still took responsibility of the situation, and quickly checked with Khalid of the status of my room. After 10 mins, both Khalid and Abigail approached me and told me they explained my situation their duty manager. The duty manager agreed to upgrade me to the Terrace Suite at the price of the upgrade to deluxe suite! I was surprised at the commitment by both Khalid and Abigail had displayed to salvage the situation. The service recovery displayed by both staffs was timely and excellent.

Overall

I had an enjoyable stay at DoubleTree by Hilton Kuala Lumpur. The staffs were caring and observant and made me felt welcome. The service recovery was excellent and staffs such as Abigail and Khalid took it upon themselves to ensure that I was well taken care off during my stay with them. The suite was spacious and nothing short of excellence, the views from the terrace was fantastic and the sleep quality on the bed is great.