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Hotel Renovations / Hotel News / Borneo Hotels / Malaysia Hotels / Sarawak Hotels / Beach Hotels / → All Tags
View from our Superior Poolside Room at the Damai Beach Resort
The Malaysian state of Sarawak on the island of Borneo is a haven for outdoor enthusiasts and adventure travelers, especially the area surrounding the city of Kuching. A short drive outside the city sits the Sarawak Cultural Village and Mount Santubong, where you can learn about Iban longhouses and explore the exotic wildlife of the rainforest.
There are a number of hotels in Kuching that are very affordable and within a 45-minute drive, but if you want to stay on the coast, the area's flagship resort is the Damai Beach Resort in Sarawak. It recently underwent a series of refurbishments that included upgrades to the main pool, children's pool, and dining areas, and further renovations are taking place as we speak.
Damai is in the midst of adding a new ballroom and parking facilities, which it hopes will attract more events to the property. One other addition that's not being advertised but we saw while on site is the addition of a swim-up bar in the main pool.
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Yes, you read correctly. Best Western has upped their game and opened up their first eco-resort in Malaysia, as part of the Best Western Premier Collection. It's a luxury resort that is both environmentally-friendly and the perfectly tropical for the ultimate in relaxation. And with a name like The Haven, it can't go wrong.
The 100-room resort north of Kuala Lumpur is in the middle of geological formations dating back 280 million years, surrounded by limestone hills, the Bintang and Kledang Mountains and the rivers of Perka and Kinta. As a sustainable resort, The Haven uses 100 percent renewable energy by harnessing the power of the wind and sun; one of the first hotels in Malaysia to do so.
Guests will be able to soak up a little slice of paradise at the four-level, lagoon-style pool and the private tropical gardens. This isn't your parents' Best Western since each room will serve up panoramic views of the lake while still staying tech savvy with flat-screen TVs and complimentary Wi-Fi.
It’s the last day of February, so here’s hoping Spring will come soon to those of us still hiding from the cold. If in addition to a bit of warmth, you could do with some isolation from overcrowded cities, this sea villa at Malaysia’s Pangkor Laut Island should look pretty appealing right about now – it certainly does to us.
There is more than one of these overwater bungalows, but this shot makes it look like it’s just you that is lucky enough to gaze out over and sleep above the Straits of Malacca (between Malaysia and the Indonesian island of Sumatra). Given that this is the only hotel on the island, peace and quiet will be easy to come by.
The conundrum for North American travelers when it comes to Southeast Asia is the upfront cost and the time it takes to get there. Sure, it's a sexy destination, but it's halfway around the world, and most people struggle with finding the time to make the trip a reality.
For what it's worth, travelers who brave the journey will be happy to know it gets much easier on the wallet once you hit the ground. Take Kuching in Malaysia, for example, where not only the food and cost of living is cheap compared to the American dollar, but the hotel rates look really good, too.
A trip to the Malaysian side of Borneo is not complete without experiencing life in a traditional Iban longhouse. Our bro Jaunted is going to dish on that immersive experience next week for those of you who find the idea of sleeping on the floor or in the jungle appealing, but what about those of us who prefer a soft mattress? Well, a remote Hilton property near Batang Ai may be just the compromise.
Officially called the Batang Ai Longhouse Resort Managed by Hilton, this property is a 4-hour drive and a 15-minute boat ride from the nearest airport in Kuching. It's located amongst and adjacent to what makes Borneo famous: the rainforest. This means the main attractions are nature walks, hikes, boating, fishing, and chasing down wild orangutans.
Know what's weird? We just returned from spending 4 days in the country of Brunei.
Know what's even weirder? That, in Brunei, the hotels where we stayed had specifically banned certain fruit, and it wasn't just one fruit. Three fruits are banned in these particular hotels, and the Directory of Guest Services even spells it out in all caps.
Having durian banned from a room isn't anything new to us; the stinky fruitthe smell is often likened to rotting, gross feetis even prohibited from riding in the subway systems of Asian metropoli. It's the other banned fruits which intrigue. They are: Kuini and Cempedak.
What's so bad about these fruits? Well, Kuini is described as having a "characteristic fragrant resinous smell," while Cempedak rates worse, like "fermented urine combined with sweet syrup."
HotelChatter Reviews / Island Resorts / Resort Hotels / Photo Gallery / Malaysia Hotels / Hotel Restaurants / Hotel Beaches / → All Tags
The other day we showed you our favorite shots from our favorite hotel at our favorite island in the South China Sea: Bagus Place Resort.
Comprised of seven hand-built villas, or "chalets" as the folks at Bagus like to call them, the resort is a true island paradise, with white sandy beaches, crystal clear waters, and dense forest cutting you off from any hint of civilization—at night, we could even hear the ooh-ooh-aah-aah of monkeys scurrying around in the treetops outside our room!
Checking In: Check-in is quite an experience here, as it entails taking a private boat from the Tioman Island airport (a tiny little strip of tarmac built on the northern part of the island). After a rollicking 15-minute cruise along the coast—which we mostly spent staring out at the island's gorgeous scenery—we finally pulled up to the Bagus Place jetty.
As we made our way slowly down the insanely-long wooden jetty (where a welcome cocktail awaited us), we took in all the sights, and thought to ourselves, "Oh, this is gonna be good…"
Island Resorts / Killer View / Malaysia Hotels / Island Hotels / Photo Gallery / HotelChatter Reviews / Hotel Beaches / → All Tags
A 45 minute flight from Singapore or Kuala Lumpur, Tioman Island is considered one of Malaysia's most beautiful islands. It is mostly covered by dense forest, with a range of different types of resorts dotted along the coast. By far the most charming of these is Bagus Place Resort, a sustainably-built eco-resort with seven private "chalets," or small villas.
Pictured above is Bagus Place's private jetty. At 162 paces from end to end (we counted), it's the longest on the island.
Click below for more photos!
What's better than a Harrod's store inside a hotel? How about an entire Harrod's-branded hotel?
That's what Qatar Holding—the luxury department store's new owners as of 2010—have in mind, and they're certainly not wasting any time. Construction will start next year on the world's first Harrod's hotel in Kuala Lumpur, in the Bukit Bintang shopping district, says Bloomberg.
The building will house 300 hotel rooms, apartments, and, of course, retail outlets—most likely full of stuff we couldn't afford back in London and probably still won't be able to afford. But it's still fun to look!
Malaysia is heavily courting tourists with the opening of several new resorts. One of them is the Seri Chenang Resort & Spa Langkawi, opening June 30th. The property, located on Langkawi Island on the Malaysian Peninsula, promises to be quite luxe, though determined to add a heady mix of Malay culture to the guest experience. In other words—don’t expect a holiday where your only foreign interaction is with the staff and a plate of noodles.
For being the hotel snobs that we are, we actually dig the "no frills" concept of Tune Hotels. And despite having a room that was only slightly larger than a sleeper cabin on a train, we really enjoyed our stay at the Tune Hotel Westminster in London. The price was right and the room was rather cozy.
But the one thing that did sort of irk us was all the add-ons that the hotel charges, mostly before you even get there.
However, Tune is finally doing away with one fee--the room administration fee. In conjunction/celebration of the new Tune Hotel Bintulu opening in Malaysia, Tune Hotel is dropping this fee across all 12 properties starting today. And you can thank Tune expansion for that.
Labeling itself a "boutique resort," the Club at Saujana is a great compromise if you're wanting or needing to stay in hectic Kuala Lumpur but want a place to sleep that doesn't exactly feel like KL. The Saujana complex where the Club belongs is half an hour out of downtown KL and half an hour away from the airport, so if your plans can accomodate it, this is definitely the quiet way to stay in the Malaysian capital.
The Club at Saujana has 105 rooms set in the middle of a tropical garden and two 18-hole golf courses. Inside, it sounds it's got one like one of those "no expense spared" kind of designs: rooms are "lavishly made with terrazzo floors, marble, and Burmese teakwood, with designer fabrics and European glassware."
Room rates start at 700 Ringgit (almost $200) for a basic Club room, but that includes breakfast and WiFi so, really, not so bad. They also have a Weekend Escape deal going right now: if you stay over a weekend, you'll score complimentary minibar goodies and cocktails, plus "culinary highlights" in the lounge each evening.