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Archive for June, 2013

Great hotel for exploring George Town on Penang Jun 25

Traders hotel Penang, Malaysia

P1020790My wife and I stayed at Traders Penang in May 2013 for 3 days in May 2013. We chose this hotel as it seemed to be a decent hotel in the George Town area and we wanted to explore the historic city center for a few days. I also chose it as I’m a Jade member in the Shangri-La Golden Circle program. We took a taxi from the airport in the south of the island to the hotel and it was a fixed price of 44 Ringgit (14 USD) and it took about 30 minutes. The lobby was open with large chandeliers and marble floors. Check in was fast and we got 1419.

P1020792When we took the elevator to our room we were a bit annoyed to see that we had gotten a room right across the corridor from the lifts but this was not a problem at all. The room did seem a bit outdated upon entry to the room but I had read the reviews in advance so I was prepared for this. The walls were a combination of light wall paper and dark brown wood and the floor was wall to wall carpet. The center in the room contained a HUGE bed and the sleep quality was excellent. As a Jade member I had gotten some welcome gifts and it is always great to get some sparking water. There was also a mini bar with various items and the Coke was 8 Ringgit ( 2 ½ USD). Free Traders water in bottles was also provided.

P1020797As usual there was a desk, an old style TV and a water boiler with coffee and tea. The wardrobe also contained a safe, robes and iron/ironing board.The tiled bathroom was OK with a shower option in the bathtub but I’m not a fan of the shower curtain option. But the bathroom did contain the usual amenities that I’m used to from Traders in KL (shampoo, body gel, conditioner, lotion etc). The view from the room was not that great as we look right across to a construction site but again we were not bothered by the noise from this place.

After we checked in we took some time to try out the gym at the hotel – it contained rowing machines, thread mills, stationary bikes and weights and the pool was right outside.

P1020925Breakfast at the hotel was according what I would expect from a good 4 star hotel in Asia. A selection of bread, cereal, juices, eggs etc. But what impressed me the most was the service – when I had breakfast the first morning I went alone as my wife Nikki was not feel great due to a cold. So I tried to balance a tea and a croissant out of the restaurant and a manager stopped me and I explained the situation. He told me to put it down as he would send someone to my room and soon my wife got a croissants and tea served in bed in the room. The same guy also told us that we had to try some local stuff (like roti chanai) so I got the impression that he enjoyed his work with helping and communicating with people.

P1020912The location of the hotel is quite good as it is just in the outskirt of the historic city center. We walked all over the place but if you want to take a short cut remember that there is a free bus service from the Komter area (where the hotel is) to the jetty and most taxis seems to have a fixed price of 10 ringgit within the city center.
Conclusion: The room was a bit outdated but we enjoyed the stay at Traders in Penang as the location is pretty good, breakfast is good and the service was very good. If you are going to check out George Town for a few days this hotel is a good option.

Regards
Gard
http://gardkarlsen.com – trip reports and pictures

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Grand Hyatt Kuala Lumpur–close to perfect! Jun 11

We stayed at Grand Hyatt Kuala Lumpur in May 2013 in connection with a vacation to Malaysia. I chose this hotel as I think the location is quite good and the hotel is very new.

P1020776We arrived in the evening and our suitcases were taken care of by the hotel personnel as we got out of the taxi. In this hotel you first get into an impressive foyer with a grand staircase and this area also had a grand ballroom. But to get to the lobby you actually have to take the express elevator up to the top floor located on level 40 to check in. I see that some reviews comment on this as they find it annoying that you have to take another elevator to get down to your room but I will get back to that. P1020777When you get to level 40 and the elevator doors open you get a spectacular view to the Petronas Twin towers both day and night – once the tallest skyscrapers in the world but still one of the most beautiful buildings in the world. Our check in took a bit longer than expected as the woman behind the counter could not find our papers – but when we got to the room it looked like all the paper work and keys had been prepared and had been placed in the room so I think the receptionist did a mistake in the check in process but it was not a problem.

IMG_4171When we got to our room on 28th floor we had gotten a room with a great view of the Petronas twin towers and with windows from floor to ceiling you get an amazing view. Before we traveled you Malaysia I asked the hotel if it was possible to get a vase from room service as I want to buy some flowers for my wife’s birthday – when we got to the room there was a trolley there with a plate with a large domed lid on top. When I opened it was a cheese cake with a sign saying “Happy birthday” – how great is that!

P1020677The hotel opened in the fall of 2012 so it is still a new hotel. The room that we got was great and it was larger than most hotel rooms that I have stayed at. The room has tiles on the floor in the entrance and bathroom part and wooden floor in the bedroom part of the room. They layout of the room was also a bit different than your average hotel room. The huge bed is the center piece in the room as you can actually walk around it. The bed was comfortable and came with several huge pillows. On one side there was an alarm clock with a built in docking station for an iPhone which was handy for us as we both have iPhones. When we were lying in bed we had a direct view to the Petronas twin towers. On the left hand side there was a glass desk and TV. The big flat screen TV was on contraption in order to fold it into the wall or bring it out in order to watch in when in bed – a very good setup in my opinion. On the right hand side there was a sort of sofa with table next to it – and we got some chocolate candy as a welcome gift. There were lots of bottles of complimentary water.

IMG_4166Directly behind the bed there was a bathroom – the bathroom is separated from the bedroom with a window which I thought was quite cool as you with a touch of a button could make it frosty if you want some privacy. The bathroom only contains a shower (with a big rain forest shower head) and a bathtub (toilet and sink is in separate rooms). As you would expect from a 5 star hotel there were lots of amenities: shampoo, conditioner, shower gel, lotion, shower cap, loofah etc. There was a separate room for the toilet and a small walk in wardrobe with a safe, iron and ironing board. Between the room and the shower there was a sink and under the sink there were more amenities such as emery board, hair band etc. On the opposite side there was a bench with cupboards that included glasses, a water boiler with coffee and tea and a pull out drawer fridge.

IMG_4167The breakfast is served on level 38 in the restaurant that is called Thirty8. The breakfast is over the top with a great selection of egg, cereal, bread, Asian style breakfast, good juice, fresh fruit etc. The only thing missing was of course real bacon – as Malaysia is a Muslim country a lot of the restaurants is halal. It is not the most extravagant breakfast that I have come across but I can’t think of much that I was missing in the selection. Thirty8 is also a good restaurant at night and they also serve and impressive champagne lunch on Sundays! (with a free flow of Bollinger).

P1020778The hotel also has a good workout room but if you want to go jogging and can stand the heat, it is easy to walk through the convention center to get to the KLCC park which is ideal for jogging. Right next to the gym there is also a big pool with a number of sun beds. I guess this is a typical business hotel as the pool was never crowded when we were there and it was not a problem finding a sun bed. There is also a bar in connection with the pool where you can buy drinks and food.The location of the hotel is good – located in the KLCC area it only takes a few minutes to walk to the shopping mall KLCC Suria and Petronas Twin towers. You can also walk on an elevated walkway (with aircon) to the shopping mall Pavilion where you get into the Bukit Bintang area.

When I checked out of the hotel I noticed that I had been charged for breakfast. I told them that on the first morning I had to sign a bill and I asked the staff if breakfast was not included. I got the answer that this was only for reference. When I told this to the person checking me out of the hotel, he immediately removed in from the bill. What a great service!

Conclusion

P1020703I have to say that this is one of the best hotels that I have stayed at. The rooms are big and have a good setup. The quality of the room and furniture is top notch; the aircon was quiet and easy to control. The service at the hotel was great – they brought a vase for the flowers that I bought for my wife, they brought champagne glasses when I needed that and there was constant refilling of water in the room and turn down service. I see that some people complain that you have to take the lift up to the lobby and then down to your room in a “local” elevator. I did not think this was much of a problem and you can get around if by taking the lift to the gym and taking a lift to the lobby from there.

All in all an amazing hotel in my opinion and I have stayed at some nice hotels around the world. I would not hesitate to recommend this to anyone. Take a look at the photos and I’m sure you will understand what I mean.

Regards
Gard
http://gardkarlsen.com – trip reports and pictures

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