Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Treated like a King - Our relationship with the Hotel Industry - Part 1

Since moving to Kuantan in 2006, we have become very much involved with the hotel industry, both in win-win situations with hotels, and at our own personal cost. Today's post addresses how we first became seriously involved with the hotel industry.

The post can be found at my hotels blog by clicking on this link:

I'd really appreciate your visit to my blog dedicated solely to my love of hotels, but you can also read the article in full right here.

We go to a hotel expecting a little pleasure, a little pampering, and on the whole, being treated like a King. As the description of my blog states: "Hotels give ordinary people the chance to enjoy a piece of luxury, and to be made to feel extremely important, for 24 hours."

While not all hotels give you that sort of experience, and shame on them if they fail to do so, most hotels will treat you like a King and really hope that you will return in the future.

Posing for a photo in a room at Vistana Hotel Kuantan with then-Hotel Manager Wayne Lee, accompanied by a couple of staff and my family.

One hot and balmy afternoon I was riding my bicycle back home from Teluk Chempedak beach. On the way I would always pass by Vistana Hotel Kuantan. I was curious. It was a hotel I had only ever been inside twice - once for a university function for my wife, and once to look around the meeting room floors out of curiosity. With sweat dripping down  my face on this particular afternoon, I decided to drop in and ask to speak with the Hotel Manager to make a proposal.

Within 5 minutes, this tall and lean man called Wayne Lee approached me in the lobby and we sat down and chatted for a while. I asked him if he would be willing to give us a free stay if in return, I created a blog post to promote his hotel. To my surprise, he immediately agreed and told me to call him as soon as we were ready for our stay!

This was the beginning of a long friendship with Vistana Hotel Kuantan and Wayne Lee, which continues to run now. This extends to Vistana Hotel KL and our comradeship with Pauline Gan too. From my very first contact as a sweaty (and perhaps smelly young man) who came in off the street demanding a free stay, I was treated like a King.

We continue to be treated with the utmost friendliness and respect by all of the hotel staff at Vistana Hotel Kuantan, many of whom we have become good friends with - Sharon, Ms. Fan, Nurul & Nurul, Hanafidhiyah, Carmen, Azam, Sivabalan, Wan, Kamarul, Aazhar, Zul, Hazriq, Zahar, Aman, Roslina, Yok Chi - and many others who have dealt directly with us for the purposes of business and leisure. My thanks and appreciation cannot adequately be expressed in mere words to all of these great people who have treated us like Kings (and Queens) and presented so many opportunities to our family.

When Wayne Lee was transferred to The Majestic Hotel in KL, the same positive treatment was extended to us there and more friendships have been made, particularly with Steven Chen whom we now deal with at Majestic Hotel. We look forward to our next visit to this remarkable hotel!

Wayne Lee, then-Hotel Manager at The Majestic Hotel KL, poses for a photo with a colleague in a beautiful guest room

Friday, August 1, 2014

Bouncing my rubber band ball

So I've started making a rubber band ball. It's kind of a throwback to my childhood. It now has a 9cm diameter and I recently threw it off our balcony to see how high it would bounce:

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Kuching trip, July 2014

In July, we went to Kuching, Fie's hometown, to visit her family for 4 days. Stayed at her sister's house and spent all our time with family. It was, I must admit, an extremely enjoyable occasion. I am not usually one for big family get-togethers, but with my wife's sisters (all 4 of them, as you'll see in the photos), I was comfortable and really enjoyed their company.

Here's my gorgeous wife with her 4 sisters, all looking rather sumptuous

Florina (the lady on the right of the picture) and I have been best friends since I first met her in Borneo when she was 9 years old, back in 2003. We love taking photos, she's my model.

We took KLIA Ekspres from KL Sentral to KLIA2, the brand new airport which hosts all AirAsia flights. This is me feeling nervous moments after take-off while the plane was executing its climb to cruising altitude:

Here's a great view of the city of Kuching I took during our descent and approach to the runway:

Florianna, the lady in the centre of the first photo, picked us up at Kuching International Airport (KIA) where we immediately went for a special craving only to be found in Kuching - Kolo Mee!

Deliciously satisfying Kolo Mee

This Kolo Mee was worth the plane ticket already. We ate at Wisma Saberkas.

Chatting with my niece, Bintang

Our first night, we stayed at Four Points by Sheraton, another pleasant stay at this particular hotel. Enjoyed our room window with a view of the planes landing and departing from KIA. That window also provided inspiration for a little photoshoot with Florina, which you'll see shortly!

Swimming at Four Points by Sheraton, Kuching

Went to Felicia's house (she's the sister on the left of that photo at the top of the post) to have dinner and hang out before heading to the hotel to sleep.

My wife and sisters with their grandma

So on to the inspirational photo shoot at the hotel. Urai (Florina's Iban name, which I always use while talking with her) and I had a spare 15 minutes at the hotel and ended up with this collection of great photos:

So yeah, that was immensely fun, won't forget that anytime soon! 

Another culinary reason, besides Kolo Mee, that we came back to Kuching was Kek Lapis (or Layer Cake). For this, we drove to Mira Cake House, located just across the river from the main town area.

Bought several kek lapis for RM10 each. Ate a whole one in the car on the way back home! Like an animal!

Everywhere I go in Kuching, I am in a car with company like this:

Chillin' out with Fie and Urai

Another reason we were in Kuching was to be there for my nephew Noah's 1st birthday party. We had the family round for dinner and the birthday celebrations.

Yep, the poor boy couldn't wait to get stuck in!

Big family photo!

Games followed soon after, with Twister providing the laughs:

"Siapa kentut?" translates as 'Who farted?'

A radiant Felicity with her daughter, Bintang

Our beautiful girls with their gorgeous aunty

Really, we didn't want this holiday to end, such was the fun we had in Kuching with family. Our flight back to KL was smooth as we enjoyed the scenery of the skies:

AirAsia's nasi lemak received two thumbs up!

We then took a Malaysia Airlines plane for the 30-minute flight back to Kuantan from KLIA.

It was around the same time we were flying back to Kuantan at around 10pm Malaysia time that MH17 was tragically shot down over Ukraine, ending the lives of the 298 passengers and crew on board. We learned the news not long after we landed. 

I'm extremely grateful for our safe journeys, and ever mindful of the families of those whose journey in life has been cut unexpectedly short. Each moment spent alive, and with family, is a treasure.

Monday, July 7, 2014

Road trip Kuantan - Pekan, Istana Sultan Abu Bakar (Sultan's Palace)

In June 2014 we went on a road trip to Pekan, leaving Kuantan at around 10:30am. As it was our first time driving out to Pekan, we opened the Maps & Navigation app on my phone and followed the route:

The Kuantan - Pekan highway is now 4 lanes wide and is dotted with royal dagger artwork on the lamp posts

It was a very straightforward route and we found the place without any problem. The only problem was the parking was a 5-10 minute walk from the Palace and it was an absolutely scalding hot day! The Sultan of Pahang was holding an open day and there were plenty of food stalls around the grounds. We registered for a tour of the Palace and were soon on our way.

In the shade in front of a fan. Crazy hot day!

Being led on our short tour of Istana Sultan Abu Bakar

First up was the Balairong Seri, or the Throne Room for the Sultan of Pahang:

Posing for a family photo at the Balairong Seri, Istana Sultan Abu Bakar

The Throne of the Sultan of Pahang

The grounds of Istana Sultan Abu Bakar

We were then led to a second hall, forget its name, but it's where the Sultan has events/dinners etc.

Standing in front of the Sultan of Pahang's seat at Istana Sultan Abu Bakar, Pekan

Somewhat disappointingly, the tour was over pretty quickly. Man, I was expecting to go see the Sultan's golden toilet seat or something!

We stopped off at McDonalds nearby Pekan for a good lunch before heading back home to Kuantan. This time we took the following route, which turned out to be much faster:

Returning to Kuantan, we took a right turn from the Kuantan-Pekan highway which brought us to the Tanjong Lumpur bridge

Overall this was a nice road trip but we would have liked to have had a lot more time to spend in Pekan and discover other things there.


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