Thursday, November 18, 2010

Birthday Getaway Celebration at The Club Saujana

My little girl turned one today. Time flies!
Just a year ago, I was at the hospital delivering my little one.. and now she do baby step walking already.
For the birthday celebration, we decided to keep it simple. Rather than throw a big party which she won't remember anyway.... we decided to just book ourselves to a nearby hotel and enjoy the good service. Stress-free celebration.

We made a right choice choosing The Club Sauajana. It was a short drive from Mont Kiara to that hotel. The lush greens around made you think you are not in the city anymore.

After reading several blogs, comments (tripAdvisor), we decided to give this place a try and indeed we were not disappointed.

A quick rundown on the POSITIVES of this hotel:
  • short drive from KL
  • great view from our room
  • they gave us a free upgrade to Terrace Suite
  • the "happy hour" club lounge free drinks at 530pm-630pm was nice... not only did they give free drinks, they had some free nibbles as well -- impressive foodies like carrot soup served in a glass shot and a spoonful of tasty risotto -- perfect company to our Perrier and white wine!
  • they were very quick with all requests we made -- when we called for extra body shower gel
  • the price we paid (we booked the Rejuvinate Package from their official website) includes everything in the mini-bar, this is a great concept! all the drinks you want!
  • aircon was very nice -- the room got cold quickly. the aircon system seems to be very new
  • the pool was very well maintained
  • lots of greeneries around... we were near the golf course... i would highly recommend to golfers!
  • the spa was superb! it was the most most most comforable massage bed we have ever experienced. the place is huge! the service was good also
  • free shuttle to the yummy Japanese restaurant Kogetsu (where I had a super yummy beef teppanyaki -- one of the best i have tried)
Well, not everything is perfect... so there are some points for improvement ...
  • I requested for a baby cot when I booked online, they forgot about it. I had to remind them 2 x when we checked into the room. Finally they sent it over when we were out for lunch
  • the room didnt have a hair dryer --  I kept looking for it... finally in the end I had to request for one
  • there were some small insects near the bathtub... although i assume it is hard to really maintain such a place especially with all the greens around -- prone to insects
  • they only provide 1 bath gel for the huge toilet ... dont know how that is enough if you will use some for the shower and some for the bath-tub... then again, i didnt allow them to come in and do "make-up bed for the evening"... they probably would have refilled?
  • the bar guy who was in charge of the happy hour at club lounge didn't service us immediately after we sat at the sofa, then when i asked about the drinks, he said that the service was over. When i walked to my handbag to get the phone, it showed 630pm... so i had to go and show him the time. in the end he said he can still serve last call. After we got first round of drinks, they came with the food nibbles then asked if we wanted a free second round of drinks which we declined.... i guess that good service made up for the earlier complaint that i have
  • no one taking care of the pool area.... every now and then there would be some staff, but most of the time no one is around so you have to take your own towel. maybe on weekends they are more staffed at the pool area?

Overall, we spend RM1,300 for 1 night stay. This included the Rejuvinate Package (which had 2 x Balinese massage), our lunch at Kogetsu and our dinner in-room.

Highly recommended for those looking for 5 star quality around town.

Tuesday, November 02, 2010

Boracay: how to get there from Malaysia

Ahh... the superb sand of Boracay (Philippines). Perfect weather. Sunny all year. Superb temperature as you jump into the clear waters of Boracay. My recent re-visit to the island was another good experience. The sincere service given by Pinoys (or Filipinos), plus the affordability and great location -- makes up a good vacation.

The Malaysians and expats in Malaysia always ask me about Boracay. How to get there. How much. What is Boracay.

Few bullet points:
  • I am a spoiled brat when it comes to beach quality and water temperature & clarity. This is because going to Boaracy spoiled me and made the standards so high!
  • Every cent you spend on Boracay trip will surely be worth it. Be it single person looking for adventure, party and getaway. Be it couples on honeymoon or lovey-dovey trip. Be it group of friends who want a getaway with adventure and food trip and diving.
  • Of course, this also depends on where you stay. Different hotels are differently priced. And if you stay in a ultra cheap place, well, maybe you won't have the super-duper service or experience,,, but honestly I don't think that will stop you from having a great time either
  • GOOD NEWS on flights. On our recent trip to Manila and Boracay (last September 2010), we took the CEBU PACIFIC flight. And we noticed that it now lands into the "new" airport Terminal 3. This means this is the same airport as the domestic flights that go to Boracay! So for Malaysians who fly to Philippines just for a Boracay trip.. this is what you do.... KUALA LUMPUR --> MANILA (there is only 1 flight out, which leaves 1am from KL and arrives 5am in Manila). You stay at the same airport, take your breakfast. Then catch a domestic flight to CATICLAN BORACAY. There are a number of different airlines you can catch. Check online (this shows a list of different airlines and flight times). Some airlines I have tried: Cebu Pacific, Air Philippines, SeaAir and Asian Spirit. So many options to make sure you catch a direct flight instead of staying overnight in Manila
  • The flight from Manila to Caticlan Boracay is just 1 hour!
  • Then there will be a short ferry/ boat ride, then a car ride. This is slightly different from my past experience which is outdated now. Things seem to have a changed a bit.. modernization!
  • My personal recommended hotel (tried and tested, to avoid disappointment!!!!) I will arrange in order from Best to Good : Discovery Shores Boracay (perfect even if you have a baby !!!), SeaWind,  and Waling Waling. These are all located in Station 1 (the best side of the long stretch of beach in Boracay)

Happy trip! I swear ,,,, you will enjoy your visit to Boracay. My personal favorite despite all the other travels. Or maybe I haven't discovered some of the other superb beaches??? If you know any, do let me know!

Anniversary Gift Idea for Expat Couples

Whenever our wedding anniversary comes up, I panic. I try to think of fantastic getaways, which I used to succeed (during our engaged days and the first 2 years of marriage) -- simply because we were still "single and carefree" couples. Last year, when I was heavy & pregnant, we couldn't go anywhere and the only option was to splurge on a super-duper spa treatment (that catered to pregnant women). We went to Khayreyana Spa (after I reviewed some of the blog entries of other people -- thank heavens for online reviews!) They had masseuse who knew how to treat pregnant women, so I was overjoyed with that. We had a couple's room and did the whole 4-hour long spa treatment which came with scrub, bath, and massage. Overall it was a nice experience, but it will take a while before I go back. I prefer to be adventurous with our little indulgence. If I am not mistaken, we paid around RM 700 for our massage treatment at Khayreyana... and this price became that way because of the "upgrade" options on the scented scrubs (I was a sucker to fall for it!). Anyway if you are on a tight budget, I think this place is a good alternative. Different, very Malay influenced design. Not bad for a 1-time try.

Now let's move on to something more recent. This year's anniversary meant we couldn't escape anywhere as well because I will feel too guilty if baby doesn't come along with us. And if baby did come along without the nanny coming with us, that will mean to spa nor alone time with hubby. So again, the option was to go spa-splurge for our celebration. I searched. And searched. Then I finally had a good idea! After all the advertising that Hammam has done (at the Expat magazine, etc), it was time to finally try it. After a little online search, I saw that people who tried it were fairly satisfied. So we went ahead and booked.

To sum up the experience in very short bullet points:
  • For typical spa-goer like me, this is definitely DIFFERENT
  • If you are too shy to be scrubbed or splashed with water by a complete stranger, then please do no attempt to go
  • Or, if you are the above entry (a bit shy), please go there with you BIKINI or your SWIM TRUNKS. That will protect you a bit from all the exposure that will happen
  • Literally, there will be a person assigned to you who will scrub your whole body (while you are seated and standing up positions), and after the scrub they will take a plastic scooper to pour water on your body. Yes, it sounds like a mother bathing a child.
  • That is the "Hammam and Gommage" part... where they literally will scrub you clean and you can view your DEAD SKIN everywhere... "where did all that come from???"
  • They also make you lie down on a very warm tile... I found this relaxing and different from the sauna
  • The whole Hammam and Gommage was done by Moroccans for both me and hubby. They placed us in a toilet-looking thing (but with exotic Moroccan design). Then they do their thing. So for couples, at least you stay in the same "toilet" room
  • We had our 90 minute body massage afterwards, which were done by Indonesian masseurs
  • Overall we had to pay RM830 for everything. I found it pricey but it was worth the 1st time experience
  • they have a very pushy salesman-cum-receptionist (male) and will try to sell you a whole package. he really tried and tried. He is a pretty good salesman but I think a bit too pushy. Don't be "pushed" okay??? Just insist you want to pay for a 1-time experience and you need to think about it
  • I think overall - great experience especially if you need that "EXOTIC BREAK" with hubby. Though I honestly wouldn't go there every month for a relaxing massage.
Last but not least -- Avi Spa at Port Dickson.
  • short drive from Kuala Lumpur to Port Dickson
  • Superb, superb and I mean superb views from the room!
  • Fantastic staff, very welcoming, not pushy
  • After 4 trials (by myself and with my hubby), i think it is most worth it when you take the COUPLE'S room. Superb view. It wasn't so fantastic for me when I stayed at the single room. Not the same effect.
  • Price is reasonable. Please visit their site. I always take the AVI SIGNATURE RUB
  • Best time to go: always try to book the 4pm or 5pm massage. that way, after your massage you can enjoy the sunset view. super relaxing. love the view. makes the whole thing worth it
  • I would say this is the best choice if you need a short getaway, reasonable yet stunning view
  • See pictures below

Khayreyana Spa in Petaling Jaya
Khareyana Spa
36 Jalan Selangor
46050 Petaling Jaya
Selangor, MALAYSIA
T : +603 7958 6219
E :

Avi Spa Sdn Bhd
Avillion Port Dickson
3rd Mile, Jalan Pantai
71000 Port Dickson , Negeri Sembilan
t: 606.647.5740

Tel No 03-22822180
Bangsar Village 2 (highest floor of BV2)
You won't miss it.. the doors itself are designed very creatively with a "Moroccan" look

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