Subscribe RSS

Tag-Archive for "Malaysia"

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 The room did seem a bit outdated upon entry to the room but I had read the reviews in advance so I was prepared for this.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.

Gard – trip reports and pictures

P1020793 P1020794

P1020798 P1020802

P1020805 P1020926

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!


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.

Gard – trip reports and pictures

IMG_4170 IMG_4172

IMG_4174 IMG_4173

Marini’s on 57–there is a new rooftop bar with a view in town! Jun 18

IMG_4007I have gone to Kuala Lumpur (or KL as it is also called) for a number of years now and I normally stay at Traders hotel in KLCC. Over the years I have seen new buildings pop up around the area and one of the latest edition is tower 3 or menara 3 right next to the Petronas Twin Towers. When I was visiting a client in the Twin Towers in June 2012 I looked down on Menara 3 (which is 57 floors by the way) and it seems like there were tables and chairs setup there and I decided to check it out. When I went there the same evening I discovered that you enter this place by going to the main entrance of menara 3 (facing towards Mandarin Oriental hotel) and there is a lift up from there. I was a bit surprised by the lift…high ceiling, lots of buttons as it seems to have the potential to stop on every floor and it felt a bit slow. Well, it only takes 60 seconds to the top so I guess you can’t really complain Smile

IMG_4048The first night we came after sunset and we were thrilled to see that you can get a table both inside in the bar (which has glass walls and a great view) and on tables outside. When seated outside you can of course enjoy the KL heat while enjoying the great view. The restaurant and the cigar lounge was not open at this stage so this is just a review of the bar itself – the restaurant is due to open in July 2012. But back to our visit – we went there with some friend and we were a group of four. As an avid traveler I have been fortunate enough to visit a few places around the world and for some reason I love rooftop bars with a view. On this night it was easy to see that the staff was a bit inexperienced and it is no wonder as they had only been open for a week. IMG_4011One example is that the waitress managed to serve the wrong drinks to all of us. The tapas/snack that we had was OK but I think the staff needs to know a bit more about the food…as a trick question I asked the one waitress what kind of cheese we had on the cheese platter and she had no idea. I have to admit that I didn’t really expect her to know it either so it was a bit mean of me to ask a question like that. When we ordered the panna cotta I think they totally forgot about it so in the end we had to ask for it a couple of times but it was worth waiting for: the panna cotta was very good and the same goes for the tiramisu and dark chocolate that came on the dessert platter!

IMG_4052We also went there a couple of days later when they had a soft opening for the sunset happy hour. We got there about 6 PM so this time the sun was still up and we sat outside again. From the outside you get an amazing view of the sun setting in KL and at the same time you are also so close to the Petronas Twin Towers that it almost feels unreal. Once again we tried some of the snack and also tried some of their cocktails and the drinks were very good. I think this will be a great place once the staff gets a bit more experience. The location is great and from the 57th floor you get an amazing view of more or less the whole city and if you get there on a nice day you will experience a great view to the sunset in KL. I’m already planning to go back to Marini’s on 57 to check out the restaurant and the cigar lounge when I return to KL in September J Thanks to Ginny Lotto for the invitation to the soft opening and for introducing us to some new and exciting cocktails. This place is going to be one of THE places to go in KL. Check out the webpage or their facebook page.

Gard – trip reports and pictures

IMG_4008 IMG_4040 IMG_4043


Category: News, Travel  | Tags: ,  | 5 Comments
To the top of Petronas Twin Towers Mar 01

IMG_6998I go to Kuala Lumpur (or KL as it is also called) in Malaysia on business from time to time and I have had the great pleasure of actually working in Petronas Twin Towers and I have been to the skybridge when I went on vacation to Malaysia a few years back (see my KL trip report on my homepage ). As I have worked in the towers I have had the chance to stop by the skylobby on 41st and 42nd floor all the time – but a few months back I came across some information saying that it was also possible to get to the 86th floor – IMG_1258which means that you practically get to the very top as there are 88th floors. So one day when going to work in the towers, I stopped by to check out the ticket situation. The tickets can be bought in the lower level and you reach it by using the escalator leading down near the lobby of either tower 1 or tower 2. When I did the skybridge a few years back when I was in KL on vacation the tickets were free and it was a “first come, first serve” basis and the tickets were only given out day by day. It seems like they have changed that now – these days you can buy tickets in advance for a given time and the tickets are 50 Ringgit (17 USD). The ticket gives you access to the Skybridge and the 86th floor.

IMG_1280So on a Sunday afternoon at 4 pm I had a ticket and I got there 15 minutes ahead of time as instructed. After an introduction where the animation was displayed on water vapor(!) I was allowed to enter the elevator. The whole thing was organized in a great way as people got different color badges and hence it was easy to instruct people around. The elevator that took me up to the skybridge on 41st floor is really a service elevator I guess but they have pimped it a bit as there were screens on the wall displaying the view of the KLCC area as if the elevator was a glass elevator.  IMG_1284The view from the skybridge is pretty good but not amazing in any way – but as it is located about 170 meters above the ground (about 560 feet) you get a good view of the KLCC park and area but a lot of the view is also blocked by the towers. Due to this I have always recommended people to rather check out the view from KL tower instead. After about 10 minutes on the skybridge I was summoned by one of the guards and we were pushed into the elevator once again and this time I was transported to 83rd floor. From here there was a passage where they had posted info about some of the tallest buildings in the world (like Burj Khalifa in Dubai which I had the pleasure of visiting a while back …see ). Once again we had to get into an elevator – this time much smaller and much slower as it only took us 3 floors up to 86th floor.

IMG_1275The 86th floor was actually a lot bigger than I thought it would be – when I have enjoyed the view from the lounge at Traders hotel (see my review of this great hotel on ) the top of the towers looks so small – but in reality there was quite a lot of room and the best thing was of course that there was a view in more or less all directions!  It was unreal to see how tiny buildings like Citybank and Traders were compared to the height of the Petronas tower! IMG_1276The 86th floor is located about 360 meters above the ground so the view is just spectacular! Apart from the view there were also various models of the city, of the towers and also a model of how the future of KLCC might be. They also had a couple of screens with some augmented reality (so hang on to your ticket after you go in). After 10-15 minutes at the top we were called again by the guards and after a quick stop on 83rd floor, we took the lift all the way down from 83rd to the ground level (or sub level actually) where we had to go through the gift shop on the way out. If you are into skyscrapers and buildings with a view you should definitely stop by Petronas Twin Towers to enjoy the view from the 86th floor ;-)

Gard – trip reports and pictures

IMG_1277 IMG_1278

IMG_1281 IMG_1285

IMG_1270 IMG_1271

Category: Travel, Video  | Tags: , ,  | 3 Comments
Thaipusam festival in Kuala Lumpur Feb 08

IMG_3431Thaipusam is one of those festivals that I have seen photos/documentaries about but never thought I would experience – but all of a sudden I found myself is Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia for business during this is a Hindu festival. The festival is celebrated mostly by the Tamil community around the world and the festival normally ends with a procession to a temple. But the preparation can be long for those that are really dedicated as it includes more than 40 days of fasting, trying to focus only on God, sleeping on a mat in the temple, goes into celibacy etc. In Kuala Lumpur (or KL) in Malaysia the festival ends in a procession from the Sri Mahamariamman Temple in the heart of the city to Batu Caves IMG_6955located about 15 kilometers out of town – and it ends with a steep climb up 272 steps to the temple there. To understand the photos it is also important to understand that on the day of the festival the devotees will shave their heads (and get some sort of golden painting on their heads) and undertake this pilgrimage while they engage in various acts of devotion. The people carry various types of what is known as kavadi (which means burdens). The simplest kavadi is a pot of milk but there are some that take this even further and they pierce the skin, tongue or cheeks with skewers and they carry huge constructions. You can read more about the Thaipusam festival on Wikipedia:

IMG_6961Thaipusam was celebrated on February 7th of 2012 and I took the train to Batu Caves as lots of the roads are blocked due to the procession. But luckily the KTM Komuter train goes from KL Sentral station and stops right at the Batu caves. When I boarded the rather small train at KL Sentral it was easy to see where this was leading – the train cars were totally packed and I just managed to squeeze in before the doors closed behind me. In advance I has asked Malaysian acquaintances about Thaipusam at Batu Caves and most replied that it included too many people, that it was way too crowded, too IMG_6968hot etc. The train to Batu Caves was only like 2 Ringgit (70 US Cent) and it takes maybe 30 minutes. When getting out of the station, I was basically in the middle of it all. There were people serving food so there was a scent of cooking in the air, music was blasting from loudspeakers all over the place, people were selling books and there was even a couple of rides there (like a ferris wheel). But the main thing is of course the procession that ends here so I made my way over to the steep stairs leading up to Batu caves while I was holding on to my belongs as there had been a bit of talking about pickpockets during the festival. I moved close in on the procession to try to get some nice photos butIMG_6969 unfortunately my digital SLR camera stopped working on me so I had to stick to my small Canon IXUS camera. I guess I got a bit too close to the procession as all of a sudden I was in the stream of people and I was “dragged” towards the steps leading up to the Batu caves. It was fascinating to see some of the people carrying their HUGE kavadis. Each of them seemed to have a team of helpers who provided them with a stool to sit on, some water to drink and that shouted words of encouragement. Many of the people had piercings through their cheeks and tongues, some had hooks in the backs with apples or small bells and some even had larger hooks in the back and with ropes they were held back. The steps leading up to Batu caves were totally packed and I’m glad that people stayed calm as it could have been ugly if people had started panic for one reason or another. I walked up the steps slowly as I wanted to take pictures on the way and because it was 30-35 degrees Celsius so I was actually soaking wet of sweat after a few hours.

IMG_6973Inside the cave itself there were lots and lots of people and I guess this marks the end of the march. I just looked around there for a while and as it was pretty packed it was hard to move around. I don’t envy the people that had to clean up the area after the festival as there was trash everywhere. Going down also took a bit of time as it was packed but it seemed like they controlled which of the three “lanes” in the steps that were leading up and which was leading down. When I came down there were still lots of people lining up to start the climb to the caves and the procession leading to the area seemed to be never ending. Seeing this festival with my own eyes was a real treat so if you are in Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia during thaipusam you should not miss out on a visit to Batu caves. Yes, it is crowded and it is hot – but it is totally worth it.

Some scenes from Batu caves


Gard – trip reports and pictures

Category: Travel, Video  | Tags: ,  | Leave a Comment
Traders Hotel in Kuala Lumpur Jun 28

I have stayed at the Traders hotel in Kuala Lumpur a number of times in 2007, 2008 and 2009. I really enjoyed my stays there but this was written after my first stay there. Back then I had room 3106 on the 31st floor (which is on the club floor – meaning executive floor) and I had a room with a city view. All my stays at Traders have been business trips and I have been to KL a number of times before and I have experience from various hotels such as Renaissance Kuala Lumpur Hotel, Ascott, Federal and Agora. If you need some general info on Kuala Lumpur, please feel free to check out my Kuala Lumpur trip report with pictures and links. Check out the location of the Traders hotel on this KL Google map that I have made. The hotels I have stayed at are marked with yellow pins.