Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Kuala Lumpur Hotels - Tune Hotel

I have posted on some of the top end hotels in Kuala Lumpur. Now I am moving to the other spectrum of accommodation in the city - a cheap yet nice hotel.

Tune Hotel has hit on a great business model - an affordable hotel with clean modern design, nice bed and great shower, a cheap place where you would not be ashamed to be seen in. If you are looking for a place just to spend a night, this is it. The usual price is around RM 90.00 per room including towels and air-conditioning. Yes, you have to pay for air-conditioning, or you can choose to save money by just using the ceiling fan. You also have to pay to use their towels, or you can bring your own. The whole thing works on an internet booking system -  the earlier you book, the cheaper the rate.

The rooms are really tiny - just enough for the bed, a wall mounted retractable table and that's it. The bed is really nice, with high quality bedsheets. The real stand out is the shower - great quality with good water pressure and instant hot water. It is better then even some of the more expensive hotels. There is no wardrobe, you have to hand your shirts on wall-mounted hooks. 

There is a Seven-Eleven in the lobby, where you can stock up on essentials - a convenience that even 5 star hotels don't have. There is also a Subway Sandwich Bar, and a Kopitiam-type coffeehouse. There is even an ATM machine where you can load up on cash. They really have thought of everything !

The people behind Tune Hotel are from AirAsia. So far they have proven highly capable of coming up with a great idea and run with it. I can''t wait to see more Tune Hotels coming up in places I want to visit.


Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Kuala Lumpur Hotels - Palace of the Golden Horses

Palace of the Golden Horses is located at the Mines Resort which is quite a distance from the city centre. You actually will pass it on the way down from the airport. It's one of those "destination hotels" where the hotel is supposed to be the be all and end all of your trip. You either love it or hate it.

"Destination hotels" are usually not my cup of tea. They are very Disneyesque - quite artificial and out of this world. Like Sun City in South Africa or Atlantis The Palm Dubai, a whole back story is created to provide the mythology for the design. Palace of the Golden Horses is not as over the top as the other resorts, and it benefits from that restraint. The design is centred around horses, with the horseshoe and other equine paraphernalia featuring heavily in the designs. 

It is a huge hotel, with over 480 rooms and lots of conference facilities. There are also many f&b outlets to cater to the large number of guests. Part of the Mines development which includes a convention centre, shopping mall, turf club and premium residential properties -  the hotel shares a lake and golf course with the Mines Resort about a couple of kilometres away. The hotels are connected by a water taxi service via the lake.

The lobby is large and impressive, with a Moorish design. Though it is quite obvious that most of the details are not hand-crafted, but are cast from moulds. Tricks which are no doubt appropriated from the building of Disneyland and other theme parks.

The huge lobby lounge with nice views to the lake.

The room layout is standard, but quite spacious. 

The Palace of the Golden Horses is a hotel which you need to experience once, just to see what its like. Due to its location, its not the most convenient hotel in KL. Stay there if you need to be near the Mines Resort, or if you just want a different experience which only a hotel like this can offer. Its like living in a fantasy world - a fairy tale palace where you can be king for a day, for a price of course.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Kuala Lumpur Hotels - Traders Hotel

Traders Hotel is a relatively new 5 star hotel in Kuala Lumpur. Part of the Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre (KLCC) complex, it is the natural place to stay if you are attending a convention or function at the KLCC. It is also near the Suria Shopping Centre at the Petronas Twin Towers, and right next to the KLCC Park.

The design of the hotel is in the modern clean-line vein. The check-in lobby is located at a higher level. However, there is a concierge counter on the ground floor lobby. 

The ground floor lobby.

The reception lobby on an upper floor.

The hotel is positioned more as a business hotel. As such the facilities are more business oriented. There are several F&B outlets, the standout is Gobo Upstairs - a Western bar and grill which I have posted on before. 

The room layout is again quite standard, and not as stylish as Hilton or Westin. The bathroom in fact feels quite cramped and could have been bigger. 

The swimming pool at the roof level. At night this transforms in the Skybar - a popular nightspot for the hip and trendy.

The coffeehouse at lobby level. Pity there are no views into the KLCC Park.

In terms of service, Traders is not on par with the Westin or Le Meridien. In fact the staff tend to be a bit cold and business-like. Perhaps this is due to their business orientation.

This is a great place to stay if you need to be near the KLCC. However in terms of service and design there are other better hotels around.

Kuala Lumpur Hotels - The Westin

The Westin is another 5-star hotel in Kuala Lumpur which is a part of the Starwood stable. Located in Bukit Bintang - the Golden Triangle of KL, it is also one of the most conveniently located hotels for shopping. It is right beside the Starhill Gallery Shopping Centre, opposite the Pavilion Shopping Centre and within a short walk to Lot 10, Bukit Bintang Plaza and Sungei Wang Plaza - the epicentre of shopping in KL.

More modern then the Sheraton Imperial - The Westin is a stylish hotel, probably just behind Hilton KL in terms of design cool factor. The lobby is quite small, but it has a nice touch of having an all day counter serving refreshing elixirs - actually cold water infused with orange/cinnamon or other fruits and spices. Other facilities are spread over split-levels, with a lobby bar on a lower level and the coffeehouse on the upper level. The overall design is cool, clean and elegant.

The Westin also boasts many F&B outlets which are some of the best in town - the Prego Italian Restaurant, Eest Pan-Asian Restaurant, and Qba Latin American Bar & Grill. Eest is easily one of the most stylish restaurants in KL - worth a special visit just to see the  modern and innovative design. 

The entrance on Jalan Bukit Bintang.

Upper levels of the lobby where the coffeehouse and facilities are located.

The room layout is quite standard, and the design again clean-line and modern. The bed is billed as Westin's famous "Heavenly Bed" which is even offered on sale if you would like to have one of your own. To me it is a little bit too soft - as I prefer a firmer bed.

The view from the room.

The staff at the Westin are very warm and friendly. Checking in is a very pleasant experience. If you have stayed there once, they will remember all your preferences and previous requests. Should be standard for a 5-star hotel - I know, but it is amazing how many hotels get it wrong. 

Yo can't beat the Westin in terms of location. On top of that, it is a very stylish and comfortable hotel with lots of great dining options. Can't ask for more !

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Slumdog tours: A new travel destination in India

Anything come to mind when you think of traveling to India? The Taj Mahal, perhaps? Wildlife sanctuaries, yoga retreats, samosa stands, beach filled coastline? How about a tour of an authentic Indian slum? That’s right, a slum. This seems to be a viable tourist option now, and gaining speed due to Oscar winning Slumdog Millionaire. You can sign up for a merry jaunt through the poorest sections of Mumbai. To take in the poverty and sorrow?

A few weeks ago, while speaking to a student from India about Slumdog Millionaire, I was told this is a new tour for travelers to put on their To-do list. And indeed it is. I was nonplussed to say the least. Times Online does its best to paint a foul picture of these areas. Travelers can pay a fee to tour through.

“But Mumbai’s controversial “slum tourism” industry, which promises fee-paying outsiders a glimpse of life inside the city’s shantytowns, is flourishing. Numbers are up, agents say, as Westerners shun the beaches of Goa and palaces of Rajasthan to experience the reality behind British film Slumdog Millionaire."

I cannot help but picture well-off tourists exclaiming to their traveling companions behind wide eyes and camera flashes how bad that section is, and oooh, look at that over there.

Part of my confliction over these tours is the goal of the tour itself. Just what is it? Is it our human tendency to slow down when passing an accident, to not want to look, but not want to look away? Does someone want to capitalize on the plight of others? Or the equally cynical view that people want to know how good they have it back home?

But perhaps, just perhaps, it’s a desire to really see the world. To feel. International travel can most definitely offer the crème de la crème of the world. It can also offer reality.

An Overview on Touring Destinations in India

India is the only country, which offers wide varieties of tourism. During the India tour, one can experience a thrilling and excellent tour in India. The tourist can begin their India tour from the snow-caped peaks of Himalayan range and may explore upto sea encased peninsular region to the south of India. In the high Himalayan range the tourist can experience the breathtaking and thrilling experience like river rafting, trekking, and mountaineering. The lush green forest and the wildlife sanctuaries of the Himalayan range are one of the fantabulous and delightful attractions of India. Travelers can also enjoy the warmth of nature, imperial waterfalls, and comely panoramas during the India tour. During the travel in the southern parts of India, the tourist can witness fantabulous beaches, lovely hill stations, and lush green forests of the place.

The Indian civilization is known to be one of the oldest civilizations of the world. India is a country, which has fascinated millions of tourist all over the world, since time immortal. It is a land bursting at its seams with rich culture, history, traditions, and natural Some of the tourists get bewildered on the choice of the destination during the India tour. This is because, there are many fantabulous places in India and it is just impossible to captivate the glimpses of these places if you have enough time to tour in India.

Out of many incredible places in India, Rajasthan is one of admiring place for the tourist. To make your tour to India an ultimate one, you should visit Rajasthan. Rajasthan is the land of blazing sand and many fantabulous monuments. It is a land of kings, which narrates legends of bravery. During the Rajasthan India tour the tourist can witness fantabulous forts, historical monuments, admiring palaces of Rajasthan. The Rajasthan tour also offers an opportunity to witness royal monuments and grand palaces of Rajasthan. The Khajuraho temples in Rajasthan are of twenty-two temples. The erotic ancient monuments of these temples are a unique artistic collection. There is no parallel architecture all over the world. There are many other fascinating places like Udaipur, Jodhpur, Bikaner, Jaipur, Pushkar and so on, which you can admire during the Rajasthan tour. The travelers can refresh and enjoy in the various colourful festivals of Rajasthan. So during the India tour, the travelers should visit Rajasthan, which is a incredible part of India.

India: A Perfect Holiday Destination

Interested in India Holiday Tours? Welcome, India Tourism invites you to spend your holidays in India. Travel in India and observe its incredible cultural heritage and get fascinated with historic & magnificent monuments, fantastic forts, terrific temples, and several beautiful holiday spots. Travel in India and marvel on incredible architectural wonders of India. Architecturally beautiful structures, monuments with beautiful design, paintings & carvings, temples with fine carvings & sculptures, fantastic forts, elegant palaces, majestic tombs of mighty emperors, etc are truly breathtaking. During your holidays in India, you will too have a brilliant opportunity to see all these architectural wonders of India.

To see monumental attractions in India your must travel in Rajasthan. There are several monuments in Rajasthan, India. Embark on Rajasthan Holiday Tours and add a special charm in your holidays in India. Among all the holiday destinations of India, Rajasthan, the land of monuments or the land of Kings, maintains a special importance. Unique of Rajasthan served in the milieu of royal forts & palaces, camel safari on sand dunes, exceptional beauty of Mount Abu, friendly people etc make Rajasthan a popular spots for holidays in India. Choose any Rajasthan Holiday Package and embark on tours to Rajasthan, India. Surely, your Rajasthan Holiday will be a mesmerizing and pleasant experience.

Not only monuments, in fact, India Tourism offers a range of experience. It offers an amazing selection of holidays in India. Beach holidays on Goa Beaches & Kerala Beaches, Family Holiday on several picturesque locations, backwater holiday, etc, you can enjoy all this on your India Holiday Tours. If your children are interested in wildlife or water fun, India is fully prepared for it also. Explore Indian National Parks Wildlife Sanctuaries and watch thrilling & sensational activities of wild animals. Go to beach destination and enjoy water funs. Hill Stations of India may also be fascinating family holiday destination. Lush green hill stations of India with their extra-ordinary beauty offer you fascinating spots for you and your family on your holidays in India.

Some of the must-visit holidays destinations and attractions in India are Rajasthan with magnificent forts, palaces, & rustic beauty; Agar with the magnificent Taj Mahal; Kashmir with extra-ordinary natural beauty, beautiful gardens, lovely lakes and snow; Delhi with India Gate, Red Fort, Qutub Minar, etc; Kerala with breathtakingly beautiful natural beautiful, lovely beaches and backwaters; with Charminar, Mount Abu抯 Dilwara Jain Temples, Hill stations like Nainital, Ooty, Darjeeling, Shimla, Manali, etc. You can too enjoy the fascination of India, just choose any one of luxury holiday packages to India and embark on India Holiday Tours

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Kuala Lumpur Hotels - The Sheraton Imperial

The Sheraton Imperial is part of the Starwood chain of hotels. There are 3 Starwood hotels in Kuala Lumpur - Le Meridien, Westin and Sheraton Imperial. Sheraton is the oldest of the 3, and the design is more old school and classical. 

Located along Jalan Sultan Ismail, the hotel is a bit of a distance from the popular Bukit Bintang area. However there is a monorail station just outside the hotel and provides convenient connection to most parts of KL.

Next to the hotel is the Asian Heritage Roll which is an entertainment precinct full of restaurants, cafes and clubs. The Bar SaVanh and CoChine Restaurant - part of the Singaporean Indochine restaurant chain, is just around the corner.

Inside the hotel there are several dining outlets - the Essence coffee house, Celestial Court Chinese Restaurant, and Villa Danieli - a popular Italian restaurant set in a rustic Tuscany villa setting. The Essence coffee house serves a nice buffet dinner daily. 

The room is a bit old fashion, but quite large and luxurious. 

The view from the room.

Despite the age, the lobby areas still have a class and elegance befitting a hotel of this standard. It would make a perfect setting for wedding photos.

The Sheraton Imperial is still one of the nicest hotels in KL and would appeal to those looking for a bit of old world charm and elegance. If you prefer more modern digs, then you should look elsewhere.

Kuala Lumpur Hotels - Hilton at KL Sentral

The other hotel at KL Sentral is the Hilton. I must say this is the most stylish hotel in Kuala Lumpur at the moment. The lobby is really nice, and packed with F&B options such as a lobby cafe, lobby lounge, and wine and cigar bar.

There are also many other F&B outlets which gives you endless options. There is the Sudu coffee house, the Noodle Room which serves all kinds of Asian noodles, the Chynna Restaurant, Senses by Chiong Liew - a fine dining restaurant, Iketeru Japanese restaurant - one of the finest in town, and the famous Zeta Bar - a trendy and popular nightspot. Each of these outlets have a different theme and design which is carried through to the last detail, and they all wrap around a circular atrium with a dramatic winding staircase connecting to the different floors. If you don't like the exercise, you can take the elevator to the top floor and walk down.

The room is the best part of the hotel. The design is modern, sleek and spacious. The bathroom is completely open, with a separate bath tub and spacious shower. The water closet is in a separate hidden compartment. A luxurious and stylish vanity counter provide the nice finishing touch to the whole setup. 

The pooldeck is shared with Le Meridien next door. It is quite spacious and a nice place to relax.

The cafe in the stylish lobby.